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Vol. 12 No. 51

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Safar 7, 1435 AH

ASUU strike: Varsity lecturers defy FG


>> Pg 5

Tambuwal: Jonathan encourages corruption  Govt needs help, says Okonjo-Iweala

>> Pg 2

L-R: Former Plateau state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, Chief Solomon Lar’s widow, Professor Mary Lar, a daughter of Chief Lar, Hon. Beni Lar, who is also the member representing Langtang North/ Langtang South in the House of Representatives, and one of her sisters, during a memorial lecture in honour of late Chief Solomon Lar, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Apo 8: Rights Commission summons SSS, others

By Benjamin Ejike


he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has summoned some officials of the Directorate of State Security

(SSS) to appear before it to answer questions over the alleged extra judicial killing of eight citizens in the Apo District of the nation’s capital. Also invited to appear beContd. on Page 2

G5 won’t return Man bags life jail Muslims facing hard d to PDP for killing granny times in Nigeria, >> Pg 7 – Wamakko >> Pg 3 says Sultan >> Pg 9

















Stockwatch S/Report

23 24,25





Agric Feature

28,29 30

Our voter register has shortcomings -Jega admits– Page 38















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Jonathan encourages corruption, says Tambuwal By Sunday Ejike Benjamin, Abuja and Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


peaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday in Abuja accused President Goodluck Jonathan of encouraging corruption in Nigeria through some of his actions and inactions. This is even as the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, cried out against the rising cases of corruption in the country, urging Nigerians to help the federal government in the fight against corruption. Tambuwal made his allegation against Jonathan while responding to questions after he presented a paper titled: “The Role of the Legislature in the Fight against Corruption in Nigeria”, during a-one day roundtable to mark the ‘International Anti-Corruption Day’, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in Abuja. According to the Speaker, “the President’s ‘body language’ seems to be encouraging corrupt practices in the country”. Tambuwal said the Jonathan administration specifically failed to act on the corruption cases reported to it by the National Assembly. Continuing, he said: “Take the (fuel) subsidy (scam) probe, the pension (funds scandal) probe, the (Securities and Exchange Commission) SEC probe and recently the bullet-proof car cases. After the House of Representatives did a diligent job by probing and exposing the cases, you now see something else when it comes to prosecution. “In some cases, you have the government setting up new

 Govt needs help, says Okonjo-Iweala committees to duplicate the job already done by the parliament. Take the bullet-proof cars case, the (National Security Adviser ) NSA, with all the security challenges confronting the country, should not be burdened with a job that can best be handled by the anti-corruption agencies,” he said. Speaking on the recent case involving the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, he argued that the government has no business setting up any administrative committee in a corruption case that was clear to all Nigerians, lamenting that since the three-man presidential committee submitted its report to Jonathan, he has refused to take any action on the matter. “What the president should have done was to explicitly direct the EFCC to probe the matter. With such directives coming from the President, I am sure we still have good people in EFCC who can do a good job”. “By the action of setting up different committees for straightforward cases, the president’s body language doesn’t tend to support the fight against corruption, otherwise how would one justify the ever dwindling budgetary allocation that goes to the judiciary, which has the core mandate of fighting corruption in the country. Their annual budgetary allocation dropped from 19 to N16 billion. “Even the 2013 Budget has not been implemented up to 45 per cent; trillions of Naira is being mismanaged by public office holders. How would one explain the continuous functioning of the SEC without budgetary allocation? I understand the Minister of Finance and Office of the

Accountant-General of the Federation are secretly funding SEC without appropriation, but we are investigating them”, Tambuwal said. Aligning with Tambuwal, the President of the NBA, Okey Wali (SAN) said for the judiciary to fight corruption effectively, it has to be strong, virile and financially and institutionally independent. “It is only when the Bench is well funded and independent that it can be bold and courageous to impose adequate punishment for perpetrators of corruption”, he said. Speaking at a different forum in Lagos, Okonjo-Iweala said that the government needed help to fight corruption in the country. She said at an interactive session with the private sector that the government needed support from the sector to successfully tackle the menace. “It’s a serious issue for us because its destroying our country, eating deep into the fabrics of the economy; we can’t have infrastructure and development with these level of corruption”, she said, adding that though the government was not helpless, it needed help, “and I think the private sector can help us”, she stressed. “We are not helpless but we need your help to grow the economy and it begins with the private sector joining hands to help government fight corruption, mismanagement and waste in government. “It begins with you to say I would not pay bribe, not only will I not pay, I will report to authorities, also by supporting those trying to fight Corruption, not castigating those trying to

fight it, where we are not doing well, point it out to us, anywhere you see wastage, report to us, we would do something about it,” she added. She added that the fight is not for one individual or government, adding that corruption is also rampant in the private sector. She said a large amount of Nigeria’s income was being cornered by a small population of the country, stressing the need for Public Private Partnership in the fight against corruption. “Government can’t do it alone. If we need to put a 10 billion Dollars on infrastructure and government cannot provide that, we must task the private sector”, she said. Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has tasked President Jonathan and the anti-corruption agencies to combat the menace in Nigeria. CACOL Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, speaking during a rally to mark the International Anti-corruption Day in Lagos, described corruption as the worst form of human rights abuse. He urged the anti-graft and security agencies to expedite action on the allegations of official corruption levelled against many government officials, be it at federal, state and local government level. “Corruption is the worst form of human rights abuse any one can think of. Corruption is waging war on the rights of the innocent. Corruption is tyrannical; bringing home poverty, deprivation, want, fear and even death to the innocents”, he said.

Apo 8: Rights commission summons SSS, others Contd. from Page 1 fore it are officials of the Defence headquarters and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The killing of the eight, which has come to be known as the Apo 8 incident, involves operatives of the SSS and some soldiers who accused the deceased of being part of the dreaded sect known as Boko Haram. But residents of the Apo area and relations of the eight persons killed said the deceased who innocent citizens who were victims of extra judicial killings by the security agents. The NHRC swiftly waded into the controversy, promising to get to the root of the matter to unravel the mystery over whether or not those slain were mere innocent.

Briefing newsmen on the ongoing probe of the Apo 8 saga by the commission after its 5th Statutory Meeting in 2013 yesterday in Abuja, Chairman of the NHRC Governing Board, Professor Chidi Odinkalu announced the decision to summon the SSS operatives and other security agents to answer questions on the matter. He said the NHRC council had identified three key issues on which its investigation would be based. These, he said, include whether or not those killed were members of Boko Haram, and whether or not excessive force was used in carrying out the operations. Professor Odinkalu had in September vowed that the commission will not allow any organisation or individual no matter how highly placed to interfere

with its investigations on the incident. While admitting that the incidence was complicated as a result of the involvement of security operatives, he said he will not pre-empt findings by voicing any opinion on the investigation but that the human rights council will release a report after its investigation. The DSS had alleged that its operatives arrested 12 members of the Boko Haram during the operation at the uncompleted building which is behind the Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja. In a statement by its Deputy Director and head, Public Affairs, Marilyn Ogar on Friday September 20, the service said the operation “was sequel to information obtained from two (2) Boko Haram elements

Kamal Abdullahi and Mohammed Adamu, who had earlier been arrested for terrorist activities”. The agency also claimed that the two Boko Haram suspects led the security team to uncompleted buildings where arms were purported to have been buried underground. The SSS spokesperson said when the “team commenced digging for the arms, they came under heavy gunfire attack by other Boko Haram elements within the area, which prompted immediate response from the security team”. The state security service did not however show journalists the arms recovered from the building, neither did it show any of its operatives that was hurt in the heavy gunfire from the Boko Haram suspects.




G5 won’t return to PDP, says Wamakko Sokoto

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi Abuja and Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


he five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), have dismissed possibilities of returning to the ruling party, emphasising that their stand cannot be changed for any reason. Speaking for the five governors, in other words known as the G5, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto state, told journalists yesterday after a five hour marathon meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, that they attended the meeting to inform the President what they have decided. The meeting between Jonathan and the defecting governors started late Sunday night and ended early Monday morning at about 3:00 am, with two out of the five defecting governors, including Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano and Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto in attendance. While briefing journalists on

the outcome of the meeting, Wamakko, said “Well the meeting went on very well because some of us came here as governors and our position has been known.” “On behalf of the five of us, I have already briefed Mr. President our position as G-5 that we are no longer in the PDP mainstream and that we are already in another party. But as a President of this country, if he calls us, we will come and listen to him and respect him as a leader of our country, otherwise what we had there was mostly a PDP affair,” he added. It would be recalled that on the 26th of November, five out of the seven aggrieved governors of the PDP, including Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, announced their defection to the opposition APC, after a long meeting with leaders of the mega opposition party. Governor Babangida Aliyu and Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa were members of the Abubakar Baraje-led faction of the PDP that

announced a merger with the APC, even though they later dissociated themselves from the merger, saying they were still members of the PDP. Approached by journalists after the meeting, Wamakko said they could not turn down the President’s invitation, but had told him that they no longer belonged to the PDP. When asked why they took the pains to sit through the whole meeting, despite it being a PDP affair, Wamakko said, “We had to tell the President and Chairman of the BOT our position. We can’t just be going about talking, we had to come and tell them the truth where the truth must be told and that is why we came here”. Reacting to the outburst of Governor Wamakko, the Chairman of the PDP Governors forum, Akpabio, told journalists that Wamakko spoke for himself alone. Akpabio who said the issue of APC was not discussed at the meeting, quickly added that if one member of the PDP in a state decided to leave, it does not mean the others will go with him. “Please, you have to distinguish the issue state-by-state. You have

to take the issues state-by-state. I wasn’t here when the governor of Sokoto was talking to you and I know that the governor of Sokoto State is just one member of the PDP in Sokoto and if he says he is leaving the PDP, I am sure there are still thousands of other members of PDP who will say we are staying within the PDP. “So you can’t say all hope is lost. How can all hope be lost? The party is very robust, large and as much as possible we are interested in keeping our leaders together. That is why, we as governors are all here. “We will continue dialogue; this is not going to be the end. We have narrowed down few issues which we are taking up with Mr. President and the governors are also going to discuss. You saw the number of governors today, we are more I think 17 or 18 governors and you can be sure that the number will keep increasing,” he said. Akpabio also noted that three of the aggrieved governors attended the Sunday night meeting, an indication that dialogue was still going on.

L-R: Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, presenting an award of the Forbes African Magazine Person of the Year 2013 to President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Deputy Governor declines to join APC


he Sokoto State Deputy Gov., Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari, has said that he remains a loyal member of the PDP in spite of the defection of Gov. Aliyu Wamakko to APC. Shagari said this in Sokoto yesterday while addressing newsmen. Shagari said that he had been a loyal and supportive member of the PDP since 1998 and would remain so. According to him, ``I am not aware of any move by Gov. Aliyu Wamakko and other members of the PDP to defect to the APC until today (Monday). “I was never consulted by anybody and it was only today that I knew about the move. “I have also been loyal to my governor and the party since we were elected in 2007 till date.” He said that he owed the responsibility and respect to be contacted on this issue. “In politics, there is always room for dialogue, negotiations, mending fences and discussions. “ I joined PDP voluntarily and not because of anybody,” shagari said. The deputy governor said that he was a highly principled person. “If I give my words, I give my words. I don’t have the habit of jumping from one party to the other. NAN recalls that the state executive council, on Monday at its enlarged meeting presided over by Wamakko, approved a ``mass defection’’ of the people of the state, including all commissioners and special aides, to APC. (NAN)

Mandela: Fashola recalls Nigeria support for anti-apartheid cause From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


s the world continued to pay glowing tribute to late former South Africa President and Apartheid icon, Dr. Nelson Mandela, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, yesterday, said, Nigeria deserve the glory of post anti Apartheid gains because it paid a huge price for what South Africa has become today. Fashola, speaking to newsmen in Lagos said: “There are more questions to answer. When you

look at the part of the world where ovation is now the loudest, it was the part of the world the pain was the most vicious. In a very cruel irony, history is being revised. “The people, who collaborated with the government that enthroned apartheid at that time, are the people that are paying the biggest tributes now. But I ask myself: is this not the time for deep reflection? I doubt if African country expended as much time, as much money and as much commitment as the Nigerian Government.

“I was a teenager then in 1976 when anti-apartheid campaign really gained resurgence in every home in this country. Nigeria paid a huge price for what South Africa has become today. I remember the anti-apartheid campaign was at the core of Nigerian foreign policy.” “Apart from scholarship given to South Africans, I remember President Yar’Adua met Thabo Mbeki in South Africa and he was telling me about their relationship, which he said was dated to when Mbeki used to come to Zaria

for student exchange programme. I remember we did not go for Commonwealth Games because of South Africa. I remember we took drastic measures against the foreign collaborators of apartheid regime and nationalised assets. “Brigadier-General Joe Garba was our Foreign Affairs Minister and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi was the Director-General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. There is no home that the anti-apartheid campaign was not then. Our university halls were named after Mozambique and all

of these places. We funded all of these organisations in Angola and Zimbabwe among others.” The governor, however, noted that the tragic irony was that Nigerians were the ones being driven out of South Africa. “But the British can enter South Africa. We have to take a visa. These are deep questions because they hurt me. People like Fela nearly lost their voices, singing about freedom for South Africa.” Fashola also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to play the leadership roles the nation’s deserve at the burial of late Mandela.

Page 4 Report


Counting the cost of corruption in Nigeria I

t is no longer news that corruption is the greatest pandemic in our society in Africa, at large and Nigeria in particular. Worse still, a known fact is that corruption has affected every facet of Nigerian life. A handful of Nigerians trace the root of corruption to our leaders. Even though some truth can be found in this assumption, it is also not out of place to warn that this assumption is, for many reasons an unsustainable fantasy. The basic truth is that virtually every Nigerian is liable to the consequences of corruption, no matter how lowly placed. Its practice is such that its effect is felt in decision making even at the lowest level. Nigerians have consciously or unconsciously managed to accept the doctrines of corruption. This, as a result, has given birth to what is known today as the “settlement culture” or in another term, the Nigerian syndrome. It is not surprising to hear Nigerians excusing a wrong doing with the saying; ‘Na Nigeria we dey’; Corruption spreads through all the facets of the Nigerian society we all know that a typical Nigerian can hardly discharge his legal responsibilities without one form of bribery or the other, as everyone wants a little more than he rightly should earns; that is a negative kind of economy that is been practiced in our country. The consequence is that operational budgets are exceeded inadequately because various interests are articulated into end prices as the producer’s aim to maximise profit will not be compromised. What this means is that in addition to the increase in the cost of goods sold to attain expected profit margin, there is an underlying increase in price brought about by the corrupt practices of actors involved during the period of work in progress. These, of course, include the government officials and middle men. The biggest business client in Nigeria is the Federal Government of Nigeria. Nigeria’s economy has been heavily dependent on oil. Income generated from oil is alleged to have exceeded $320 billion since the 1970’s. It goes without saying that this ignoble act by leaders in government has had a negative and equally protracted effect on the level of development in the country. The diversion of public forms, which gives birth to financial distortion of facts for various reasons, has not had any positive effects on Nigeria’s ailing economy. This distortion arises in three ways, namely: By shaping the official priorities of Government; by deflecting allocated resources away from their original destination or purpose and by undermining the tax or fiscal base of government.

Some Nigerians protesting the removal of fuel subsidy by the Government on the streets of Lagos in 2011 The concept of public interest no longer represents the key basis for determining public expenditure because resources are channeled where corrupt officials and politicians decide it best suits them. Potential investors are wary about corrupt environments. Where progress can only be guaranteed through bribes or enforced extortion causes investment managers to rearrange their investment policies to accommodate payment of bribes. Profit margins are squeezed by bigger bribes. Corruption inevitably creates an uncertain terrain which affects the root of credible business. The consequence of this assault on integrity is bigger than our poor country men at independence could have anticipated. Many potential investors refuse to do business in our environment, which is inherently corrupt, not only because they need to pay more in order to secure their interest, but because the story is so pathetic that the possibility of these investors losing automatically cannot be overruled. So, how should the government pro-actively deal with corruption? The events on the recent and even distant past within the Nigerian terrain should let Nigerians realise that what this coun-

try needs is a pro-active measure against corruption. The citizens need to wake up to their rights, by choosing their leaders rather than selling their votes. This is the first necessary proactive measure and a major prerequisite for success in the battle against corruption. It is common knowledge that Nigeria has a healthy array of laws regulating economic and financial crimes, almost to the point of being over-legislated. In the year 2002, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions Act was enacted. This Act, reenacted in 2004, creates a variety of economic and financial crimes and vests the enforcement of these crimes in one body. The Commission is responsible for enforcing the provision of the key economic and financial crimes legislation in Nigeria including the Money Laundering Act 2004; the Advance Fee Fraud (and other related offences) Act 1995; the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts and Financial Malpractices in Banks) Act 1991; the Bank and Financial Institutions Act 1996; the Miscellaneous Offences Act 1985. Section 7 of the EFCC Act 2004 extends its powers to Economic and Financial Crimes in the Penal and Criminal Codes. The object of criticism howev-

er, has been the failure in enforcement. The situation is so bad that some Nigerians back out when called upon to support policies and programs because they have no faith in the attendant implementation process. There should be an aggressive approach to prosecute offenders and impose drastic measures on those found liable. Suffice to say that social, legal and political commentators all accept that there is a serious problem with regard to the respect for the Rule of Law in Nigeria. Regretfully, this disregard of the law exists at every level of society. Confidence in the legal system must be rebuilt and restored. An environment whereby there are 100 corruption-related cases in various courts and over 300 cases at various stages of investigations - with only a very few percentage of that concluded - is appallingly inadequate. There have been difficulties generally, with achieving compliance with court orders. Many blame the obsolete procedure and slow pace of proceedings for this attitude on lawyers and the entire judicial system Nevertheless, there are other criticisms of the judicial system virtually all anchored on the poor pace of criminal prosecutions and attendant causes within the Nige-

The citizens need to wake up to their rights, by choosing their leaders rather than selling their votes. This is the first necessary pro-active measure and a major pre-requisite for success in the battle against corruption.

EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Lamorde rian Judiciary. Others suggest that the judiciary is politicallycontrolled. There must be visible change by strengthening this arm of governance through an adoption of active programmes. Achievable and practical reforms should also be seen to funded by the Government, through funds made available by Government from the proceeds of crime. A lot of questions have often been asked about what the government plans to do with funds accrued from corrupt public officers. The time for Nigeria to start seeing the use of the process of a comprehensive review of enforcement processes must be embarked upon. Only such debilitating consequences will deter those who prosper in corruption, especially if the effect extends to assets other than those deemed to have been illegally acquired. Analysts have advocated that consideration should be given to creating an Economic and Financial crimes Court out of the current Federal High Court armed with rules that will ensure comprehensive and speedy consideration of cases, at least at first instance. One of those rules should be that all rights of appeal against all interlocutory decisions may be pursued only at Appeal Court, thus recognising that the bulk of the delay in hearing cases at first instance arises from interlocutory appeals. In a nutshell, corruption has stolen from Africa huge reserves of funds that could have been used to properly address the equation of poverty and disease. Africa has, indisputably, some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the world despite over $300 billion dollars of aid made to Africa since 1980. The vast majority of those monies have vanished into a sink hole of fraud, distortion and waste. Nigeria, despite its huge wealth, remains plagued by the consequences of waste that have been occasioned solely by corruption. The biggest victim remains its people. Corruption is a crime against humanity, the large component of who have no role or choice in creating these circumstances. The necessity to heighten the profile of the campaign to eradicate corruption cannot be over emphasised. Corruption, not disease, threatens Africa with extinction. It is time to aggressively redress that imbalance.



News ASUU strike: Lecturers defy FG directive to resume classes From Umar Dankano, Yola, Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto, Edwin Olofu, Kano,

with Agency reports


ecturers in Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH), Yola, have resolved to continue with the ongoing nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The federal government had directed all federal universities to end the six-month-old strike and resume work yesterday. The university’s ASUU Chairman, Mr Augustine Ndaghu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that majority of the more than 300 members of the union in the university who attended the latest meeting voted overwhelmingly for continuation of the strike. The ASUU Chairman of Adamawa State University (ADSU), Mubi, Mr. Molem Ishaku, said lecturers in the institution had also agreed to continue the strike. He said “in the first place, it was not the government that told us to go on strike and therefore it should not insist that we must go back to work.’’ Commenting on the development, the Protocol and Information Officer of MAUTECH, Malam Mustafa Migawa, said the university had received Federal Government circular regarding the opening of the university and had commenced implementation. Migawa said forms had been sent to the various departments of the school to be filled by lecturers who wish to resume work. “We shall wait and see if the response of the lecturers is positive or not, and that will prompt the school management’s next line of action.’’ Meanwhile, a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who visited MAUTECH and ADSU reports that the campuses were empty, as there were no students. The story is the same at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, as the lecturers also resolved to continue with the six-

month old strike. The ASUU Chairman in the institution, Dr Faruk Tambuwal, told our correspondent yesterday in Sokoto that “our position on the strike remains the same and the strike continues. He said the union held its congress meeting on Dec. 3 and members resolved to continue with the strike. Tambuwal added that “it was also resolved at the meeting that nobody will sign any register. Meanwhile, the university’s management had opened registers in the two campuses of the institution, as contained in a statement issued by the Registrar, Alhaji Kakale Jabo. The statement quoted the registrar as saying “the salaries of members of the union were stopped since September, in line with the no-work, no-pay policy. In Kano, lecturers of the Bayero University Kano (BUK) yesterday defied Federal Government’s directive to return to work. Our correspondent gathered that none of the lecturers resumed work at both the old and new site of the university and most offices

remained locked. The ASUU secretariat at the old site was also deserted but a security guard was seen watching the structure. When contacted on phone, the ASUU Chairman, Dr Mahmoud Lawal, said the lecturers would not return to work until their demands were met. He added that “government did not order the closure of the universities, so, how can it order it to reopen?. We have addressed a news conference and made our stand clear last week.’’ At ABU Zaria, the story is the same as lecturers also defied Federal Government’s directive to return to class. All the lecture halls and offices remained closed on Monday as no lecturer was seen at the Samaru and Kongo campuses. When contacted, Dr Mohammed Kabir-Aliyu, the Chairman of ASUU, ABU chapter, said the union did not call-off the ongoing strike. He said “we didn’t call-off the strike. We are strictly adhering to the directives of our national body and not anyone else.

“The Federal Government cannot give us directive to go back. We will not resume work until the national body directs us to do so.’’ It is the same story at University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) as lecturers there too remained away from school and as lecture theatres remained closed. A NAN correspondent who visited the university campus in Maiduguri on Monday reports that academic halls were empty. Dr Musa Abdullahi, the university’s ASUU Chairman, said in a statement in Maiduguri that the strike would continue until the demands of the union were met. The statement noted that “the UNIMAID chapter of ASUU has found it necessary to address the public so as to clear the union’s stand on issues surrounding the strike. Malam Ahmed Mohammed, the institution’s Chief Information Officer, said the authorities were waiting to hear from ASUU before taking a decision. He said “we cannot just announce the re-opening of the in-

stitution without hearing from ASUU.’’ Lecturers at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi (ATBU) have also refused to resume to work yesterday. Alhaji Zailani Bappa, the Principal Public Relations Officer of the university, said the lecturers were expected to resume on Wednesday and not Monday. He said the decision to ask the lecturers to resume on Wednesday came up after the Senate held a meeting on Dec. 5. The federal government had asked university council to conduct meetings to decide when to ask their various lecturers to resume and also when to ask the students to resume. “The council met on Dec. 5 and came up with a resolution that all lecturers should resume by Dec. 11,’’ he said. He added that by the end of Wednesday, the council would decide on the next line of action and if a substantial number of the lecturers resume, then the council would fix a date for the resumption of the students.

L-R: Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku, and Kaduna state Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, inspecting the new Government House project, during the Good Governance Tour to Kaduna state, yesterday in Kaduna. Photo: Joe Oroye

250 academic staff resume work at UniAbuja

By Maryam Garba Hassan


he indefinite strike called by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may have begun to wane gradually as over 250 lecturers resumed work yesterday at the University of Abuja in compliance with the Federal Government's directive and threat to sack any defaulting lecturer. Although full academic work is yet to begin at the university, most of the lecturers who have resumed were reported to be in their offices

sitting idle. Few students running distance learning programmes were also seen at the lecture theatre waiting to take their examination which was disrupted following the strike. One of the lecturers, Yau Damagun disclosed told newsmen that,"250 lecturers have already signed the register which is a fair number, although some lecturers who are fanatic with unionism are still sitting on the fence”. Meanwhile, the three universities in Ondo state yesterday also resumed normal academic activities in compliance with the Fed-

eral Government's directives. Mr. Adebanjo Adegbenro, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), said it had complied with government's directive to university lecturers. According to him, the institution has resumed since last week and everything has been put in place to ensure that normal academic activities resume this week. Also at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, the PRO, Mr. Victor Akinpelumi, said both students and lecturers resumed at the school since the last

two weeks. "We don't have any problems here. Our students and lecturers have resumed and academic work has commenced in earnest," Akinpelumi said. The Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, did not join the strike. The institution's PRO, Mr. Yinka Adekalu, said the school did not have any union in place "and since our lecturers are not members of any union, we have no problems". Federal Government had last

week issued a directive to Governing Councils and Vice Chancellors in all the public universities to reopen the institutions on December 9, with a sack threat to any defaulting lecturer. However, the development had angered the striking lecturers who insisted that they were ready to be sacked enmass and that they would only return to classrooms unless their fresh conditions, which includes settling their four months salary arrears and disbursing the N200billion intervention funds were met.




Good governance tour: Community holds Maku hostage From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku, was on Sunday held hostage for about two hours by the Angwa Romi community, in Sabo ward of Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State. The Community demanded to know why the Federal Government promised assistance to them during the 2012 flood disaster and has not been fulfilled the promise. Maku who was in Kaduna in continuation of the Good Governance Tour was in the community to inspect the nine kilometer Romi-Karatudu road but was welcomed by large members of the community who trooped out from their worship centres, and in a twinkle of an eye, the minister was encircled by the crowd. Sensing that there might be problem if the security applied force to disperse them he directed they should allow them to speak their minds. The spokesman of the Romi community who is also a human rights activist, Comrade Aaron Anche, said since the inception of the present Federal Government the communities, like many other communities in Southern Kaduna senatorial zone have not benefitted from any Federal government projects despite the fact that the ruling government got bulk of its votes from the zone. Comrade Anche who said the entire Romi community was consumed by the 2012 flood disaster in the state, added that the Federal government never fulfilled its promises to assist the affected victims. “We only read only on the pages of newspapers or heard from radio and television that trillions of Naira has been approved by the federal government for assistance to those affected by the 2012 flood. We in Romi community have been neglected or forgotten by the federal government”, he said and blamed the state government for the 2010 flood disaster, saying the abandoned Romi-Karatudu road project, particularly the bridge which forced the flood water to over flow its bank during rainy season. In his reaction, Mr. Maku pleaded with the community to be patient and promised to table the grievances to the appropriate authority and advised them to always table their petitions through peaceful means.

Empty lecture hall at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, due continue ASUU’s strike, yesterday in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

2015: ‘Jonathan empowers 16 PDP Govs with N32bn’ From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Interim National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed has alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan gave N2 billion each to 16 Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governors and neglected others. The APC spokesman who stated this yesterday in Ilorin while addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)

secretariat, noted that the accrued money from the oil benchmark ought to have been distributed among the governors across the country instead of just Governors loyal to the President. He noted that the party had discovered that the President was trying to empower these governors ahead of 2015 general elections and suppressed others, stressing that the strategy of President Jonathan would not work out. “He was sworn in to defend the Constitution of Nigeria, treat

everybody equally without sentiment and bias and he is now giving out money meant for all Nigerians to set of governors. This would not work out because the people of Nigeria would not vote for him in 2015”, he said. Speaking on the breaking of law and order by insurgents in Borno state, Mohammed said President Jonathan strategies are not working despite imposing state of emergency for seven months in the state and other areas. He observed that instead of the President to invite all

stakeholders, including Traditional rulers, religion leaders, Presidency was busy using military to fight insurgents who are fighting to avenge the murder of their leader, Yusuf Mohammed. The APC spokesman who advised President Jonathan not to treat the symptom of the disease alone but find solution to the cause of the disease suggested that without all stakeholders’ involvement in the crisis, it would be difficult to solve the problem of the Boko Haram insurgents.

Government won’t interfare with Nat. Confab, says Jonathan By Evelyn Okakwu


resident Goodluck Jonathan said he will not interfere with the structure and processes of the impending national dialogue. He said this while addressing a team of leaders from the South-East geo-Political Zone at the Presidential Villa yesterday in Abuja. A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, revealed that

the President said his administration had left it to Nigerians to determine the framework, content and process of the dialogue. “If you listen to the radio, watch television and read on-line, you will realize that Nigerians are talking. We listen and read the commentaries. But all the discussions and ideas need to be harmonized. “We must come to a point where we can move in one direction,’’ President Jonathan stated.

Regarding the expected duration of the national dialogue, President Jonathan said the process would be completed before the commencement of the 2015 elections. The President, who said the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue will soon present its report to him, also spoke about the various developmental efforts in his administration, in the areas of aviation, agriculture, transportation and power.

He assured the delegation that his administration will do all within its powers to ensure that projects such as the Second Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of South East roads and expansion of the national rail network to the zone are completed on schedule. The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, applauded the President’s effort towards initiating the upcoming national dialogue.

N1.8bn subsidy scam: EFCC re-arraigns Tukur’s son, others From Matthew Irinoye, Lagos


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned Mahmud Tukur, son of the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and four others overr their alleged fuel subsidy scam. Tukur was arraigned afresh alongside Ochonogor Alex,

Abdullahi Alao, son of prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arikesola-Alao and Eterna Oil and Gas Plc before a new trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja. It would be recalled that the trial was transferred from Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo to Justice Lawal-Akapo after the former was moved to the Commercial Division of the High

Court. The defendants who are facing a nine-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and use of false documents had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them. EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, alleged that they had between January and April 2011 in Lagos, fraudulently obtained the sum of N1.8 billion from the

Federal Government. He alleged that the defendants obtained the money from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 80.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit. They were also alleged to have forged a bill of lading dated April 28, 2011, which they used in facilitating the fraud. Jacobs said their alleged

offences contravened Sections 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act of 2006. According to him, they also contravened Sections 467 and 468 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003. Justice Lawal-Akapo however asked the defendants to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted by the former trial judge.




Man gets life jail for killing granny From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


32–year old man and a Staff of General Hospital, Kirfi, Usman Abubakar received life imprisonment for killing a 60–year old woman. Abubakar was charged with three count charges, bordering on culpable homicide punishable with death; attempt to commit culpable homicide and criminal intimidation, contrary to section 221, 230, and 397 of the Penal Code Laws Cap 108 laws of Bauchi State by the State Counsel, Barrister MM Adamu. The convict was arrested by

the Village Head of Kirfin Kasa, Alhaji Umaru Mohammed and taken to Kirfi Police Division in Bauchi State, when Usman Abubakar killed a 60 year Old Woman, Maman Saleh Mahmud with a hoe at Kirfin Kasa, the accused hit her with a Hoe and subsequently cut her legs as In his judgement, Justice Abdulkadir Hassan Suleiman of the Bauchi State High Court Number 10, said from all the evidence before the court, there was no eye witness that saw the accused when he was committing the act, except the confessional statement of the accused. Justice Abdulkadir said the

Prosecution has established that the death of a human being has occurred beyond reasonable doubt and the prosecution has proved their case on confessional statement of the accused. He said the accused, “has no defense at all because he had voluntarily taken Indian hemp, Valium five, suck and die and other assorted substances and killed the deceased old Woman. “I hold that the accused has no defense, I hereby found the accused guilty of culpable homicide not punishable with death under section 224 which sentenced him to life imprisonment”, he said adding that, “I hereby find Usman

not guilty for the second and third court charges for the offences of attempt to commit culpable homicide, and criminal intimidation under section 229 and 297 of the Penal Code” and, “the accused is here by discharged and acquitted on second and third count charges”. Prosecution Counsel added that the suspect also attacked one blind man called Chindo Makaho of the same address and also threatened to kill another woman. He said Preliminary investigations showed that the suspect committed the act under the influence of intoxicants which he had voluntarily taken

before committing the said acts, and presented nine ifferent witnesses that testified against the accused. Counsel to the accused, Barrister Jonathan Adams asked the court to discharge the accused for the offence he is standing trial and argued that when the accused acted,he was not on sound mind to understand that what he did was against the law.

Signature Heels mixes fashion with humanitarian work By Hassan Haruna Ginsau


L-R: President/CEO, Transcorp Plc, Obinna Ufudo, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, Chairman, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, and Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, during the Facts Behind the Figures of Transcorp, yesterday in Lagos.

Mandela burial: I ‘can’t pay huge’ travel bill, says israeli PM


sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled plans to attend memorial events for the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, citing travel and security costs, Israeli media reported Sunday. Netanyahu, whose spending habits have recently come under

fire, cited costs of about $2 million to travel to South Africa for the memorial, Haaretz reports. Recent reports have revealed that Netanyahu used almost $1 million in taxpayers’ money for upkeep on his three residences last year. Tuesday’s memorial service

for the late former South African president and anti-apartheid leader is expected to draw up to 80,000 people, including more than 50 world leaders. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance, along with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Security concerns

in the large stadium where the memorial is taking place mean Obama and other world leaders are likely to observe from behind bulletproof glass, the Associated Press reports. Mandela’s burial is planned for December 15 in his childhood village of Qunu.

Consider our welfare, disabled persons tell leaders From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


isabled Persons in Bauchi have called on the country’s leaders and public spirited individuals as well as organizations to spare a thought for the less privileged and the people with disability in the society. The leader of the disabled persons, Alhaji Abdullahi Jibrin made the call during the distribution of food items to the disabled persons group by

governor Isa Yuguda in Bauchi state. He said it was necessary for Nigerians across all sectors to pay more attention to the physically challenged persons. “It is more edifying to commit resources on projects and causes that will impact on the lives of others, particularly the less privileged. We are supposed to be our brother’s keeper. Whatever we have, we must always remember that there are others who do not have at all, and always be ready

to share with them”, he said. The food items distributed include 5,000 bags of maize, 3,000 bags of Sorghum and sugar, and over 2,000 bags of rice , which will be distributed across the 20 LGAs of the state. In his remark, Governor Isa yuguda of Bauchi state who was represented by his Aide, Alhaji Salisu Maisuga said the governor was disturbed by plights of the less privileged in the society , “that is why the state government is up and doing by ensuring that the less

privileged in the society are always made happy”. He maintained that nobody could say what the future holds for the disabled persons and this he said made it imperative for people to be concerned about their well-being. Yuguda later said government should be encouraged and supported in its efforts to make the society better, stressing that by engaging the disabled in vocational activities, they would be taken off the streets.

ignature Heels, an innovative Abuja based fashion house recently held an exhibition showcasing its African inspired shoes for men and women in Abuja. All shoes on display were made from indigenous African fabrics mainly from Nigeria and Ghana. The fashion house plans on opening up a factory in Nigeria in order for its products to be 100% made in Nigeria. The company which prides itself on its catch phrase “motivationally Nigerian”, aims at Nigerians and Africans at large, looking inwards to promote and foster transborder trade on the continent and Nigeria in particular. In the company’s philosophy of every shoe telling its own story, origins and tales behind fabrics used in making the shoes were told during the showcase. Aside from all the fashion, the designer also engages heavily in humanitarian work with 5% of all the day’s proceeds going towards the Christmas bond for children on 20th December, 2013. Speaking to our reporter, fashion heels C.E.O; Adora Onyechere said the fashion house is working closely with relevant authorities towards creating evacuation centres for people displaced by the various religious and tribal conflicts gripping the country. The displaced persons in Kabusa who fled the violence in Jos have been enrolled in skills acquisition, children have been enrolled in schools. Signature heels in collaboration with UBEB hosted primary school children from Abuja to a commiseration project on May 27th where children were taught skills and received free medicaal checkups.


Photo Splash

A road show organised by ICPC and Niger Delta Anti-Corruption Network to mark the 2013 World Anti-Corruption Day, yesterday in Port Harcourt. Photo: NAN


Empty hostel at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, due to ASUU strike, yesterday in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

L-R: Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Bardeh, Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, wife of the Commander, Presidential Air Fleet (PAF), Mrs. Mercy Ebong, Commander, Presidential Air Fleet, Air-Vice Marshal Uko Ebong, and President Goodluck Jonathan, after the decoration of the PAF Commander with his new rank of Air-Vice Marshal, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (right), state Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Audu Bajoga (left), new couple, Mr. Elias Abutu (2nd left), and Deputy Governor’s daughter, Mrs. Amina Audu Abutu (2nd right), during the wedding reception of the Deputy Governor’s daughter, at the weekend in Kaduna.

L-R: Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, Commander, 9 Brigade, Brigadier-General Adeniyi Oyebade, and Commandant, Nigerian Army College of Logistics, Major-General Abubakar Gana, during a workshop for officers of the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN


Firewood users smoke 60 sticks of cigarette daily– Research From Yakubu Mustapha Minna


esearch findings globally has shown that people who cook with firewood may be inhaling not less than 60 sticks of cigarette daily which has been the cause of death among many after the dreaded HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Niger state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr Mustapha Lemu who disclosed this in Minna yesterday while addressing the press at the end of the state executive council meeting noted that there was therefore need for Nigerians to shift from the use of firewood in all their cooking and adopt the use of cleaner and safer method. Lemu who attributed the deforestation to use of firewood by most homes in the country said the Niger state government has taken the initiative to discourage the use of firewood. He said government is now partnering with the United States Agency for International Development and the German Technical Partner in the procurement of energy efficient stoves to be distributed to schools and homes in the state. Lemu explained that 100 of such stoves provided by the donor agencies have been donated to educational institutions in the three senatorial zones of the state for experimental purpose adding that the other 100 purchased by the state government will be shared to some households across the state for the same objective, saying also that households that will be given the energy saving stoves will be committed to allowing researchers entry into their homes to gather information on the efficiency of the gadget. The major objective behind that adoption of the energy saving stoves the Commissioner said is to, among others address respiratory problems among those using firewood for their cooking, reduce the rate of deforestation of the environment and generate employment for the youths since the stoves will in the long run be produced in the state.


News Muslims face hard times in Nigeria, says Sultan

From Mohammad Kaduna



resident General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar yesterday said Muslims are facing had times worldwide, particularly in Nigeria. The Sultan disclosed this at the Inauguration of 13 Standing Committees of JNI held in Kaduna. The Sultan marveled at the hard times being faced by Muslims in the country. “We need to come together and unite all Muslims groups into one strong body. With that,

I believe the almighty Allah will give us victory. We know that JNI has been facing some challenges but I always maintained that problems identified are 50 percent solved. “It’s now left for us to solve the remaining 50 percent problems. It means by our coming together today, we have indicated our readiness to partner everybody to move this organization forward. “JNI of yesterday was not JNI of today because there are so many challenges in our lives most especially since after 911. Therefore it is left for us Muslims to always stand for the truth and do things according to the holy book and Hadith of our Prophet

SAW,” he said. Sultan tasked the scholars and Ulamas in attendance on unity, saying so long there is division among them, things cannot go right. He stressed the need for Southern and Northern Muslims groups to work together for the development of the religion, adding that JNI is not a northern religion group but for the whole Muslims in Nigeria. “We are one and I am also looking forward to see Muslims and other organizations in the south when they have their meetings inviting our Muslims brothers from the north to be part of their meetings. It will be

a good development for us,” he said. He added that all hands must be on deck because of the challenges facing Muslims and that if they, as leaders failed to solve them history will not forgive them. In his remarks, JNI Secretary General, Sheikh Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said the committees were set up in order to achieve the enormous aims and objectives. He stated that the daunting challenges facing the Umma require every discerning Muslim to collaborate in the upliftment of the religion through laudable aims and objectives of the JNI.

L-R: President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association Anti-corruption Unit, Malam Yusuf Ali (SAN), during the International Anti-corruption Day celebration organised by Nigeria Bar Association, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Corruption is dangerous phenomenon in the society- ICPC From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Independent Corrupt practices and other offences commission (ICPC) has described corruption as the most dangerous phenomenon that deters growth and development of the country. The North-East Zonal Director, Mr.Bulama Naji Ali who made the observation on the occasion of World AntiCorruption day in Bauchi said,

corruption is being celebrated in public offices. He blamed public office holders for the abuse of office for their personal gains while occupying juicy offices that they did not merit. According to him, the paradox of corruption has created permanent poverty following misuse of the nation resources and untapped potentials resulting to insurgents, oil theft, kidnapping which are barriers to meaningful

development. Ali attribute corruption to failure of the past anticorruption measures where there was no stiffer penalty hence a significant paradigm shift in fighting the menace by successful government. According to the zonal director, fighting corruption is far beyond public enlightenment, mobilizing people to reject corruption in all ramifications and develop zero tolerance, appropriate law for offenders.

In his remark, the guest speaker, Dr. Mohammed Dauda Yusuf described corruption as an abuse of public office for their personal gains. Yusuf frowns at the manner successful government had handled corruption with levity and the result consequences has deter meaningful development brewing to abject poverty, robbery, gangsters among other anti-social behaviors that are inimical to societal development.

NDLEA arrests 16 with 96.55kg of suspected Indian hemp in Niger From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Niger yesterday said it has arrested 16 suspected peddlers in various parts of the state with 96.55 kilogramme of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp. Commander of the agency in the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Abdul who revealed this in a chat with journalists in Minna said the

arrests were made in November this year. “The Niger command of NDLEA carried out a number of raids and routine stop and search operations in the month of November 2013. “The operations led to arrest of 16 suspects and a seizure of 96.55 kilogramme of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa and one kilogramme of psychotropic substances,” he said. Abdul said the seizure under review was 800 grammes of seeds

of Indian hemp from illicit hemp farmer in Babana, a border town in Kainji Local Government Area of Niger between Nigeria and Benin republic. He explained that the quantity of seeds recovered from the raid operation shows that marijuana is being cultivated in the border town or somewhere near the town. He said the command is working on the lead and many others with the aim of making a major breakthrough in its counter

narcotic efforts by identifying and destroying marijuana farms in the area. Abdul said interstate transport of cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) is always high toward the end of the year hence the command mapped out strategies toward intercepting the drugs as they approach the state from Southern part of the country and Benin republic. He said the agency had charged the suspects to Federal High court, Minna for trial.




Alleged N4.7bn fraud: Babalakin challenges court’s jurisdiction From Matthew Irinoye, Lagos


he Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin has challenged the legality of the criminal charge filed against him and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Ikeja High Court. Babalakin is facing trial alongside Alex Okoh, Stabilini Vision Ltd, Bi-Courtney Ltd and Renix Nigeria Ltd for fraudulently transferring N4.7 billion on behalf of the convicted former governor of Delta State, James Ibori. The anti-graft agency has alleged that Babalakin and his

co-defendants fraudulently assisted Ibori to transfer huge sums of money through various parties to Erin Aviation account in Mauritius for the purchase of a Challenger Jet aircraft. The defendants who were however billed for a fresh arraignment before the new trial judge, Justice Lateef LawalAkapo after the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo was moved to the Commercial Division of the High Court, resisted the arraignment on the basis of their pending applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction. During the proceedings, counsel to EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) expressed

displeasure and disappointment that Babalakin was not in court and prayed the court to revoke the bail earlier granted to him having failed to attend proceedings twice. He argued further that Babalakin’s absence in court was a breach of his bail conditions and act of disrespect to the court. In response Babalakin’s counsel, Mr. Wale Akoni (SAN) urged the court to discountenance Jacob’s appeal for revocation of Babalakin’s bail, arguing that Babalakin’s absence was on the ground of his pending application challenging the charge and jurisdiction of the court. He said one of the prayers in

the said application, which was about to be heard by the former trial judge, was that Babalakin’s physical appearance be dispensed with pending the determination of the application. Justice Lawal-Akapo in his short ruling on the issue however said Babalakin ought to be in court, adding that bails are granted to ensure that defendants are in court at a named date irrespective of whatever happened in court. The trial judge, however ruled in favour of Babalakin and adjourned the matter till January 20, 2014 to hear all defendants’ application challenging the charge and court’s jurisdiction.

Global terror championed by alQaeda has encroached into Nigeria, says NSA By Joy Baba


he National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki has said that global terror championed by Al-Qaeda has encroached upon the frontiers of Nigeria’s security and that the country is responding to this threat on all fronts. Dasuki, who was represented by Ambassador Layiwola Laseyinde stated this yesterday while delivering a keynote address at a workshop organized by the National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria titled: “Strategic communication plan for counter insurgency operation against Boko haram insurgency”. The NSA also said Nigeria has realised that military action will not counter terror if not accompanied by a robust public diplomacy aimed at building consensus against violent extremism. According to him, “we seek to create a nation in constant conversation with itself, employing communication to heal wounds and build trust as we confront violent extremism”, and condemned the attackers, saying terrorism is un-Islamic. In his welcome address, Commandant of NDC, Rear Admiral Patrick Agholor said strategic communication entails all effort to create, strengthen and preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of national interest.

L-R: Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engineer Mustafa Bello, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr. Dauda Kigbu, and member, NIPC Council representing NIPC Governing Council Chairman, Architect Sotenjo Koshoedo, during the 9th National Conference on Investment (NCI), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

217 foreigners become Nigerian citizens By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


t least 217 foreigners were yesterday given the citizenship certificate to formally become Nigerians. Of the 217 beneficiaries, 88 were given the certificates of citizenship by registration while 129 were given the certificates of citizenship by naturalisation. Presenting the citizenship certificates to the beneficiaries who came from various states across the country, Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, urged them to be good citizens of the country. Moro, said the certificate presented to them was in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration aimed at attracting investors and people of goodwill in to the country. He said the ministry rigorously interviewed and screened the deserving candidates to ensure they are legitimate and with the interest of the country at heart. The Minister said Nigeria was recognized across the world based on its contribution to peace in African region, urging them to use the wealth of their experience and contribute towards great development in the country. Moro further called on them to obey all the national symbols in the country and to relate freely with the people around them, thereby learning societal and construal values that will enable them integrate easily with the people. Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Carvino Erico, who spoke on behalf of the new Nigerian citizens said all of them will be law abiding and do their best to promote the interest of the country. Erico who said he had been in the country for 43 year, added that “it is an honour to finally become a Nigerian”.

NUC pledges effective regulation of varsities By Maryam Garba Hassan


xecutive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, has said the commission will henceforth ensure effective regulation of universities to avoid breakdown of the system. Okojie made the pledge yesterday in Abuja at the opening of an exhibition as part of activities to mark the commission’s 50th anniversary celebrations. He said Nigerians have been talking about the university system’s failure adding that it is a grand design to keep the Commission low and down and that NUC will not let that happen. He said from now on, the commission will ensure effective regulation of all universities in the

country, adding that, without the Commission, there would not be a proper university setting and that NUC was doing fine in spite of the difficult circumstances it was in. Okojie added that NUC was

more than determined now to surmount all challenges hampering the running of an effective system. He said NUC at 51, is a success story and only those who cannot

recognise milestones in their lives have problems. “We started with only six departments, now we have 11, this is a reflection of the needs of the moment,” he said.

Corrupt persons will be prosecuted, proceeds of their crime seized, says ICPC boss By Joy Baba


he Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ekpo Nta has said the commission will not hesitate to prosecute corrupt persons but shall also continue to deny them the enjoyment of the proceeds of their crime through asset seizures and forfeiture. He also said Corruption Risk

Assessment (CRA) is a preventive tool but it goes hand in hand with the enforcement of sanctions against unacceptable behavior. Nta who stated this yesterday in Abuja at the public presentation of the report of CRA of selected Nigerian Ports said this is a major function of ICPC as contained in section 6 (b) of the corrupt practices and other related offences Act 2000 which mandates the commission to examine the

practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where in the opinion of the commission such practices aid or facilitate fraud or corruption to direct and supervise review. He further said the essence of the CRA is to ensure transparency and clean corruption prone processes at ports within Nigeria, International business community, clients and all other stakeholders.



ou can never be too prepared for a job interview. You never know what minor element of your personality or presentation can make or break your chances. While you maybe polished to a luster for the usual interview questions and your resume is gleaming, what about some of the other intangibles involved in getting hired? After all, for better or for worse, about a third of hiring managers assess candidates and make a hiring decision within the first 90 seconds or so. Fair? Of course not but it does mean that it’s critical to control those elements that aren’t just about your previous job performance. Recently, education research firm Classes and Careers published an interesting information graphic that rolls up a slew of less obvious things that influence the hiring process. For starters, there are a slew of nonverbal queues that hiring managers consider mistakes that can cost you the job. The most egregious ones are failure to make eye contact which is at the top of the list. Other dealbreakers include failing to smile, bad posture and fidgeting. In addition, your choice of clothing is important. More than

Money Tip: Before you give up your current career, you’ll need to assess the advantages and disadvantages and test-drive your budget to determine whether your savings are sufficient to support your lifestyle during the transition.

Quote To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you– Tony Dorsett


Money Sense

Mistakes people make in job interviews half of hiring managers say that your choice of clothes can be the deciding factor when choosing among similar candidates. In particular, it can be a liability to

dress too fashionably or trendy. According to Classes and Careers, here are the 10 most common mistakes people make at job interviews:

10. Over-explaining why you lost your last job 9. Conveying that you’re not over having lost your last job 8. Lacking humor, warmth or

personality 7. Not showing enthusiasm or interest in the job 6. Inadequate research about the position or company 5. Concentrating on what you want rather than what the company needs 4. Trying to be all things to everyone 3. Winging the interview 2. Failing to set yourself apart from other candidates 1. Not asking for the job

…why employers don’t want to hire overqualified candidates


hen you’re applying for jobs, being told that you’re being dismissed because you’re “overqualified” for a job you know you could do well is incredibly frustrating. After all, having higher qualifications than what a job requires should be a good thing, shouldn’t it? To job seekers, being told they’re overqualified can feel like being told by a date that they’re too funny or good-looking and leaves them wondering why it’s a dealbreaker. So why is being overqualified so often seen as a bad thing? It’s understandable to be rejected if you’re not qualified enough, but what’s the concern about the overqualified? When hiring managers label job candidates overqualified, here’s what they are thinking. 1. We can’t pay you enough: Employers will often assume that if you have more experience or education than the job requires, your salary expectations are probably higher than the role pays too. 2. You don’t really understand what the job is: Hiring managers will worry that in your quest to get hired somewhere, you’re being overly optimistic about what the work will be like. For instance, that you think you’ll be doing high-level office administration

when what they need is someone to run the front desk. Or that the advert might say data entry, but you assume that surely you’ll be able to quickly prove yourself and take on more interesting work when they really just need someone who will do data entry and be happy with it. Related to that... 3. If you take this job, you’ll be bored: Hiring managers often think that someone who used to do higher-level or more interesting work can’t possibly be happy with less challenging responsibilities, and they assume that you’ll quickly get bored, then frustrated and then want to leave. 4. You won’t be happy working for a manager with less experience than you: If you have significantly more experience than the hiring manager, she may worry that you won’t be happy or comfortable taking direction from her, and that you’ll think you know better. What’s more, if the hiring manager isn’t entirely secured in her skills, she might worry that

you do know better and that you’ll be judging her decisions which can lead to her passing on your candidacy altogether. 5. You’ll leave as soon as something better comes around: Because hiring managers often can’t understand why someone would want a lower position than what his or her background might qualify him or her for, they often assume that you’re only interested in the job because you’re feeling desperate. They figure you’ll take it for the paycheck, but that you’ll leave as soon as something more suited to your background comes

along. So what do you do if you’re hearing that you’re overqualified for jobs you actually want? The best thing you can do is to understand the concerns above and address them head-on. You can do that by explaining why you’re genuinely interested in the position. For instance, you might explain that while your kids are in school, you want a job with stable hours that doesn’t require the level of responsibility you’ve had in the past or whatever is really true for you. (And that’s key - it needs to ring true for you; don’t make something up.) If you know hiring managers are likely to worry about your salary expectations, you can also say explicitly that you’re clear about the lower pay that comes with the position, and that it’s fine with you. Ideally, you’d address this in the cover letter, to avoid having your application discarded before you’ve even had an interview. But once you get to the interview stage, be prepared to discuss it again, and probably in more detail. Overall, the idea is to understand what worries managers about overqualified candidates and address their concerns head-on, proactively and genuinely.




Ekweremadu’s strange constitutional posture some level of stability. This is clearly a misreading of the political temperature of the politics of that region. It should be clear to even a passive observer that Latin America remains a land of permanent tension where poverty and injustice has led to grave instability. Anybody who sites Latin America as a template Ekweremadu and those of stability to be emulated by Nigeria is either profoundly who habour the anti democratic tendencies of ignorant or is an unpatriotic who does not wish forcefully appropriating the citizen Nigeria well. sovereignty that belongs The beauty of our democracy to the people should be is that at least in theory, warned that Nigerians are it gives the electorate the watching their dangerous opportunity to reward those who perform well with another term and punish the non performers by voting them review committee had recommended a seven-year tenure out of office. Ekweremadu and those who habour the for the executive branch with the anti democratic tendencies of proviso that the current office holders should not benefit from it. forcefully appropriating the sovereignty that belongs to the It is rather strange that the man people should be warned that who chaired the committee to Nigerians are watching their make that recommendation will suddenly make such a dramatic u dangerous antics. We wish to remind him – turn on such a sensitive issue. and his collaborators of the The Deputy Senate President’s immortal words of President argument sounds rather weak. JF Kennedy:“Those who make First, he sighted the example of peaceful change impossible Latin America as a region where make violent revolution elongated tenure has brought inevitable.” amendments were effected to create a single term in each of those countries and this brought a major level of stability in the region. It is on record that Ekweremadu’s constitutional

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n a recent interview with journalists, the Deputy President of the Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, suggested a Constitutional review that will grant all serving governors and the president an extension of two years in office after the expiration of their tenure in 2015. The amendment, if effected, will be a solution to “ most of the challenges we have today…. All we need to do is to exercise patience and give them two more years. After that, we move to one term tenure that can be five years, six years or seven years depending on what we all agree upon. The cost of all these elections and all the problems that come with it would have all been resolved. So, it will help to reduce cost of election and also reduce the crisis that may come up due to ambition to run for another term in office,” he said. The Deputy Senate President drew inspiration for his recent advocacy from what happened in Latin America in the 70s. He said when the problem of transition became a challenge there, constitutional











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Opinion By Peregrino Brimah


pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest… I have kept my pledge, being faithful and loyal; now it is time I am honest. We need to all come forward in the interest of life, to discuss and deliberate on if and how to break up Nigeria into manageable pieces. The nation is simply too large, the people too sheepish and the leaders too opportunist and rapacious for it to work. And in the interest of life, dignity and progress, smaller projects will be more favourable. Some of us have dreamed of, and solicited revolutionary fresh, new leadership; but 157 million Nigerians, who can make this happen, are not ready; and people continue to die, pollution continues unabated in the creeks, poverty deepens, insecurity expands, influence and representation is woeful and hopelessness and depression are the nation’s hallmarks. Reading a letter the Sheikh of Borno wrote to Sultan Mohammed Bello of Sokoto in 1824, in which Sheikh ElAmin El-Kanemi expressed his country’s desire of the Sultan of Sokoto’s country, I had an epiphany. Like the Emirates United, would we not be better-

Nigeria: Do we need to break this up? off as United Nations than this clumsy, crippled monster? We are not patriotic. Our civilians do not care about the country and under such conditions; it is pricking that our soldiers and police, the only true patriotic Nigerians by virtue of their profession, should continue to make the ultimate sacrifice, dying while combating deadly ills in the creeks and in the deserts. I am being honest here; it is my pledge to Nigeria. I will not fight for Nigeria in Nigeria. I will not die in Borno or in the Niger Delta creeks or at the hands of Ombatse to clear up the continued spillage of the recklessness and callousness of our derelict civilian regime and ethno-combatant, intolerant masses. Those of us who strongly advocated a SoE and full military combat to squash Boko Haram, did not anticipate this… that military engagement will not be properly financed and not accompanied by rounding up of the political sponsors. Something does not add up when the ex-governor of the state who is strongly implicated in the evolution of this menace, sleeps in peace and even purchases

the ‘most expensive jet in the nation;’ when indigenous and central politicians responsible live in splendor, while youth from around the nation die in combat. May God bless our soldiers and the Civilian JTF who honestly deserve better than dying for internal, civilian government and politician caused wars and deplorable states of security. Under different circumstances, had we had real leaders for long in our history, that built the nation and not only robbed it, and who cared about the people and did not hate us, things could have turned out pretty different. We would have truly loved Nigeria. Like Ghana, where they all wear the nation’s cloth, have a kentelaced parliament and fly Ghanaian flags. In Nigeria, our flag is money, dollars, not even naira; our presidential podium is laced with dollars. Goodluck can perhaps better find his level and be appreciated as a leader in Ijaw land. Security challenges can be best managed by domains for their domains. The battle with Boko Haram can best be managed by involvement of the El-Kanemi emirate. The kidnapping in the South can best be managed by

their state traditional-political led initiatives. Complicating the management by referring to a center causes suspicion, accusations, desertion and failure. Traditional leadership should either be scrapped or merged back into regional governments. Those who occupy traditional leader seats need have a real role in the progress, safety and security of their regions. They are the first line to the community. Ironsi on 24 May 1966; released Decree No. 34. Excerpt: “The provisions of the Decree are intended to remove the last vestiges of the intense regionalism of the recent past, and to produce that cohesion in the governmental structure which is so necessary in achieving, and maintaining the paramount objective of the National Military government, and indeed of every true Nigerian, namely, national unity. The highlights of this Decree are as follows: The former regions are abolished, and Nigeria grouped into a number of territorial areas called provinces. . . . Nigeria ceases to be what has been described as a federation. It now becomes simply the

Republic of Nigeria.” Gowon’s Decree No. 8 of 1967 which effectively restored Nigeria as a confederacy fulfilled much of what is preferable. This decree as some opine, provided 95% of the Aburi accord’s demands. It stated, “…legislative and executive powers of the Regions have been fully restored and vested in their respective Military Governors. But the provisions of section 86 of the Constitution of the Federation ensure that no Region shall exercise its executive authority so as to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive authority of the Federation or to endanger the continuance of federal government in Nigeria.” But Ojukwu fought, Gowon created states and the rest is history. It is extremely sensible we return to being a confederacy of 6 or more pieces. Ms. Ndidi Uwechue [ENDS] from UK suggested toward our Conference that “Nigeria remain one country but administered in 6 Zones, like Switzerland with its 3 distinct areas of German, French, Italian. Abuja to remain the FCT and not part of any Zone. And to scrap the Senate: It is too costly and we need only one Legislative

Oshiomhole: Five days that changed a life By Okechukwu Peter Nwobu


uring the last Presidential election campaign in the United States, the Presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, during a fund raising event made a very scornful comment that 47 percent of Americans are irredeemably wedded to government dependence because of their victimhood mentality, do not pay tax and will never take personal responsibility for their lives. Romney made this disparaging comment in a private setting, not knowing the video will end up in the public domain and become a major issue that derailed his quest for the office of the President of the United States with, ironically 47 percent of the votes cast. So, when I watched the video footage of Governor Adams Oshiomhole publicly, verbally skinning a widow, Mrs Joy Ifijeh who was kneeling, weeping and begging for mercy, capping it with venomous words that she should ‘go and die,’ it was shocking, an unbelievable political equivalent of suicide. What made it doubly repulsive and scandalous was because it was Governor Oshiomhole who had uttered the words, because he is a man we all believe stands with the common people represented that day on a Benin street by the kneeling, weeping, pleading Mrs Joy Ifijeh. Mrs Ifijeh, inconsolable and sorrowful wailing that she is a widow was not meant to blackmail the governor but she was telling

him to have mercy because she is all alone, the only breadwinner in her home, toiling to put food on the table and pay bills, in a nation without any kind of social safety net for anyone. Greatly touched and united by her grief, it was not surprising that many of the comments I read on social media that ceaselessly pounded Governor Oshiomhole remembered that widows and orphans occupy a special place in God’s heart. Anyone who saw the video, heard Governor Oshiomole’s acidic words and the anguished cries of Mrs Ifijeh, will not be surprised that it did not take long for the video to go viral, summoning social media warriors who rapidly continued the spread of the story, swiftly expanding the frontiers of vilification and mounted cyber barricades of spontaneous but determined protests everywhere against Governor Oshiomhole. It is easy to conclude that if not for social media network, by nightfall of that

same day, Governor Oshiomhole would probably have forgotten he had had an acrimonious encounter with a widow. But social media made it an unrelenting war the governor would never have won, one that regardless of the outcome will long be remembered in Nigeria. First came the climb down through a weak apology to a group of women visitors to his office but very few were appeased because the widow, Mrs Joy Ifijeh lives in Benin City, could be tracked down and directly apologized to and Governor Oshiomole wisely did just that, significantly putting out the snowballing raging fire of anger aimed at him. Governor Oshiomhole’s deft action to apologize and atone also swiftly weakened the unfolding attempt to turn Mrs Joy Ifijeh into a political football, perhaps as Joy the Widow, Nigeria’s twisted version of Joe the Plumber. The apology obviously also lifted an impossible weight from his slight frame and

It is easy to conclude that if not for social media network, by nightfall of that same day, Governor Oshiomhole would probably have forgotten he had an acrimonious encounter with a widow

flourishing political future as well. Some will say it was the unrelenting condemnations and political expedience that triggered Governor Oshiomole’s act of contrition and atonement but we easily forget that there are politicians in Nigeria of the ‘I dey kampe’ extraction who would never have apologized, but would have enraged the public the more with subsequent weightier insults because that is their nature. Today, while Governor Oshiomole would wish to turn back the hands of the clock, Mrs Ifijeh and her children will thank God for a nightmare that ended in ways none of them ever imagined possible. It took five days from when Governor Oshiomole verbally gutted Mrs Ifijeh to when he directly apologized to her. Those five days changed the life and story of Mrs Ifijeh forever. Indeed, if anyone had told her when she woke up on the morning of November 28, 2013, that on December 2, 2013, she will have breakfast with the governor of her state in Government House and be two million Naira richer, her story known to a world asking to pitch in to help her, she would have considered that person an unsalvageable lunatic. Five days in the life of mortals is a very trivial amount of time but so much could happen within that seemingly miniscule speck of time to change the direction of our lives for good. Coming up against her state governor, Mrs Ifijeh’s world had considerably buckled on November 28 but by the end of that day, it must have

been clear to her that she was not alone. She may never have heard of YouTube or social media network or what it means but at the end of that first or second day, she would have realized that with the Edo state PDP announcing a donation of N250, 000 and people she does not know and will never meet asking to know how to donate money to her, that her encounter with Governor Oshiomhole would have a positive ending for her. Her cries and pleading tugged at hearts including that of God and it worked miracles. It reminds me of the Word of God that, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,’ as it did for Mrs Joy Ifijeh. We tend to believe that miracles happen only when the blind see and the deaf hear but I now know that when we all rise up as the people did for this widow, we cause miracles to happen, move physical, mental and emotional mountains. Governor Oshiomhole’s act of restitution is sufficient proof that we can and it changed the life of Mrs Ifijeh and those of her children for good. Mitt Romney never recovered from his wretched comment and never will but Governor Oshiomhole will, because I know that regardless of his mistake, he still stands with the people. On December 2, 2013, Christmas came 23 days early for Mrs Ifijeh and her children. Not many fairy tales end that way. Only God creates this kind and it took five days. Okechukwu Peter Nwobu




Mandela: Only the deep can call to the deep By Adeolu Ademoyo


e gave us many signs that he was leaving. But we fell on our knees to beg him not to leave instead of falling on our knees to learn and imbibe his ethics. He told us in no uncertain terms that the work of the laborer was finished that he had to leave. We knew he was passing into the ages as Mr. Barak Obama; the American President gave public face to our intuitions, for Madiba will no longer partake in the eating of matter but in the ethical ideal. Yes, gone into the ages, gone to meet and join the pantheons of ideal beings whose moral teachings live on. When the giver of life calls, we must answer. It is a compulsory immortal tax, an eternal categorical obligation. Now that we know that he has answered the eternal call to return for his job is finished here what shall we do, what shall you do? What did you tell your children about him who was called here and has been re-called back? Remember he said, “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” Ask yourself, what you will do in Mandela’s position when inevitable death comes

calling? Yes, it is good that you declared three-day mourning period for Mandela in Nigeria. Will it not be a good way to honor Mandela’s memory if the one who declared a three- day mourning in Nigeria also declare at least one-day war against corruption, against the un-ethical in

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our lives-just in memory of him-Mandela who gave his all? Should he who declared three day mourning in Nigeria, not also work hard to see the death of corruption and declare a day to mourn corruption and immorality? Have you told Nigeria about the N255m aviation armored car contract? How did you “build” that “church” in Otuoke, in Bayelsa state? And to your predecessor and mentor, how did you “build” that “library” and farms in Otta Abeokuta, Ogun state? With whose money? Answer Mr. Presidents; tell the world before you shed crocodile tears on our Mandela’s transition. Recall that he said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what

difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Did you tell your children this, that it is not the number of cars, the number of houses you used stolen government money from fake armored car contract to acquire that matters but the difference you make in peoples’ lives? Answer before you “mourn” Mandela’s death. Did you listen to him? Do not forget that Madiba said: “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” Where were you when you heard this? Or did you even hear? Were you not morally missing in action?

Did you gather your children together to let them imbibe this? Tell your children that Madiba said….“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they

can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Remember Martin Luther King in Madiba and Madiba in Martin Luther King? That is the power of love, the divinity, unity and spirituality of love. Did you gather your children at dinnertime and reveal this to them? Did you reinforce this in these children? Please do if you have not. Me? Oh yes I did that here in the Diaspora. Trust. Believe. I did in honor and celebration of our Madiba. Make it known that Madiba said, “…A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the

economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour.” Did you listen? Did you not say recently that the truth the press write is “gossip’? Answer. Our Madiba also said….“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” Did you tell your children this? I told mine. Adieu Mandela, you now belong to the ages, for nothing miraculous again after this. You will no longer partake in material death and the dirt of our material mortality any more, you will now partake in perpetual profound peace and love, in eternity, in the ideal and in the adoration of peace with your fellow ideal ones, the heavenly ones…we will remain connected and united in the divinity of the eternal path of life… The Ethical Ideal in our lives is eternal, it lives on-it is the first and last principle in life. The Ethical Ideal trumps everything. Madiba Mandela, You represent this. Adeolu Ademoyo aaa54@ is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

The Madiba bows out of the amphitheatre of life By Tope Oriola


acob Zuma, President of South Africa, put it succinctly when he announced to the world on 5th December 2013 that “our nation has lost its greatest son”. It was the beginning of brilliantly crafted tributes to the world-historical symbol of social justice, and racial equality. The world has lost a fine gentleman, the embodiment of perseverance and the fullest expression of the struggle against apartheid and its bizarre hue-driven minority rule. The world has lost an essential part of its beauty as Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela bows out of the amphitheatre of life. Nelson Mandela exhibited uncommon grace in the face of extreme injustice that could be fabricated only by institutionalizing brazen gradation of human lives. He demonstrated the noblest of human attributes. Nonetheless, Mandela cofounded Umkhonto we sizwe, the Spear of the Nation, after becoming frustrated with the supposed failure of peaceful protest against the backdrop of a state

architecture of control that evinced no capacity for mercy in suppressing dissent by the majority of its people. Mandela and the African National Congress would remain on the terrorist organizations’ list of the United States until 2008. Mandela’s experiments with violent repertoires of protest and 27 years in prison appear to have woken something in him: The idea that people learn to hate and can be taught to love — a line quoted in a recent biographical motion picture that bears his name. Frederik de Klerk, who took over the reins of the

South African state in 1989 and performed a catalytic role in deinstitutionalizing the shocking travesty of apartheid, has been severally cited for praising Mandela’s “remarkable lack of bitterness”. Such is the sheer force of love, compassion, understanding and eagerness to engage with the Other demonstrated by Mandela. Mandela pursued the path of reconciliation between peoples of South Africa rather than seeking what cynics would see as a well-earned pound of flesh. It is the reason we mourn and yet celebrate the passing of this icon.

There are several lessons that may be drawn from the Madiba’s life. First, Mandela died once. He stared death in the face multiple times and refused to give up on the antiapartheid struggle although it meant being away during the crucial parts of his children’s development and watching himself become an aged prisoner of a brutal regime. Second, as a leader, Mandela demonstrated simplicity and humility. We are in the season when people will debate what Mandela said and did not say. Amidst his numerous fine-grain statements and effervescent language, I find

I often wonder what Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe thinks of Nelson Mandela. Mandela avoided what was universally recognized as the existential conundrum of African leadership — the tendency to cling to power

one particularly striking and didactic: “It is not the individual that matters. I come not to you as your leader; I am your servant”. Encapsulated in those words are a deep sense of the collective, which relegates the self — and its concomitant aggrandisement — to the background and a conscientious humility. This is the fabric of humility that makes a Pope to wash the feet of convicted felons as well as the homeless and plant a kiss on a disease-ravaged integument. Third, Mandela used the levers of power for the welfare of the socially marginal. His record on access to water, electricity, education, employment, and old-age pensions among others are commendable given the limited virility of a 76-year old Head of State. Fourth, Mandela was a uniter-in-chief and laid the foundation for a multiracial state. The South African constitution remains one of the most socially progressive even by the highest ideals of liberal democracies around the world. He was not solely responsible for

cont on page 15



Comment When freedom of speech becomes crime By Emmanuel Onwubiko


or many decades that military dictatorship existed in Nigeria before the transition to civilian rule in 1999, the Nigerian Police Force had experienced retrogression brought about by the powers-that- be, who had consistently used the police operatives as agents of coercion and attack, targeted at the civilian populace that resented any unpopular policy imposed on them by the dictators. For the better part of the Generals Buhari, Babangida and Abacha years of military dictatorship from the early 1980’s to late 1990’s, the remnants of what are left in the progressively destroyed policing institution, joined their colleagues in arms in the armed forces of Nigeria to stifle popular protests and civil disobedience, activities used as potent tools by democratic forces to oppose military tyranny. Among the notorious military regimes, those of Generals Babangida and Buhari were known to have frontally confronted press freedoms which are necessary for any successful protest by the civilian populations to take place.

It is on record that these two notorious dictators listed above also rolled out draconian decrees to emasculate fundamental freedoms including right to free protest. Several pro-democracy campaigners who dared them were sentenced to various terms of confinements in the largely dysfunctional prisons and other detention centers. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN); Chief Femi Falana (SAN); Chief Olisa Agbakaoba (SAN) Comrade Shehu Sani were some of those who were brutally dealt with by these military despots for daring to stage one form of protest or the other against dictatorship. But the suppression of press freedom and other

essential democratic rights by the then military rulers did not stop popular discontents and formations of platforms that championed the restoration of civil rule. Going through several literatures on how press freedom and rights to peaceful assembly were curtailed by the military, the historical record in www. seems attractive. Sadly, the civilian government officials that benefitted from the sacrifices of organizers of popular protests that chased out military rulers since 1999 have also demonstrated their dislike for popular protests. From 1999 to 2007, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who as military dictator in the late

1970’s was responsible for the military attacks against popular dissents such as the overrunning of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s shrine in Lagos, also used the police and other members of the armed forces to suppress popular protests. But a major irony of the hatred against protesters by the politicians is what has been happening with the current President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime which largely gained legitimacy when ordinary Nigerians protested against the failure of his then boss, (Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua) to hand over to him while he, (Yar’adua) was away on medical grounds. It therefore follows, that it is in the interest of President Jonathan’s government to

Several pro-democracy campaigners who dared them were sentenced to various terms of confinements in the largely dysfunctional prisons and other detention centers.

check the excesses of the Inspector General of Police and the state commissioners of police, who have lately unleashed terror on innocent protesters, some of whom are only voicing their anger against rising cases of corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria. Senate President and the hierarchy of the legislature must stop forthwith any attempt, covertly or overtly, that seeks to undermine civil protests and civil dissents because freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy. Nigerians must collectively say no! to this unsavoury legislation targeted against freedom of speech be it through the instrumentality of the mass media or the social media. How can the same National Assembly that passed the Freedom of Information Bill, be the same tool used to deny fundamental human rights of Nigerians through the passage of this draconian anti-free speech legislation? Wonders indeed, shall never end with Nigerian politicians. Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria; Blogs @Www. Huriwa.Blogspot.Com; Www.Huriwa.Org.

The Madiba bows out of the amphitheatre of life cont from page 15

the constitutional reforms and other changes but his uncanny ability to broaden participation, enliven conversations, and provide overarching vision for what ought to be was a functional masterstroke and quintessentially Mandela. In addition, the Madiba took the not-so-common step of opting for a singleterm presidency even though he could have handily won re-election or even tinker with the constitution for a limitless tenure of office. I often wonder what Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe thinks of Nelson Mandela. Mandela avoided what was universally recognized as the existential conundrum of African leadership — the tendency to cling to power in spite of oneself and all one has worked hard to achieve — by leaving power when the ovation was loudest. Alongside multifaceted official corruption, this phenomenon partly explains the conditions of many African states

and why the Mo Ibrahim Foundation could not find any African leaders worthy of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership in four out of the award’s seven years of existence. Mandela’s death should be used to renew the commitment to praxis in South Africa in particular and all over the world in the age of protest. The uniter-in-chief is gone but vestiges of apartheid remain well and alive. Communities like Kleinfontein, where nonwhite people are not allowed to live or work serve as reminders that there are those who do not wish to be equal with anybody. A diminishing yet powerful minority may also prefer the idea of “separate but equal”. Regimes such as the South African apartheid state endured because they dispensed spectacular benefits to a few at the detriment of many others. Official apartheid may yet be over but it continues informally within and outside South

African boundaries. It is fundamentally a class-based apartheid: The growing disdain for the poor and pervasiveness of blame the victim mentality couched in neo-liberal governance strategies. For instance, unofficial economic apartheid exists in Nigeria with the alarming gap between the rich and the poor — the gargantuan wealth of a few vis-à-vis the grinding poverty of the masses. This non-policy knows no religion, ethnicity or region. It is the consequence of generations of cluelessness in high places, the oil inebriation of the political class and the fatalistic attitude of the dominated class. Pope Francis has set the tone against informal economic apartheid on a global scale through his papal exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) in which he advocated greater economic justice by calling for rejection of “an economy of exclusion”, the “new idolatry of money” and “a financial

system that rules rather than serves.” President Obama has also taken up the theme of economic justice after increasing impatience from the left. Of course, inheritors of stupefying ill-gotten wealth and creators of magical riches from the brigandage of unbridled markets or what Naomi Klein calls “Disaster capitalism” and miscellaneous forms of corruption are busy urging other people’s children to work harder for stagnant inhumane wages. Sovereign states may hoist all the flags in the world at half-mast in honour of Mandela but the real way to honour the Madiba is to fight for a fairer society. For a start in Nigeria, this would mean doing right by the people of the Niger Delta and ensuring that the almajiris in the North have a future. It also means returning to the rudiments of the functions of a state — security of lives and property as well as providing basic social services for the people. An environment where young people may fulfil their

dreams is also a prerequisite. Finally, Former UN Secretary General and Chair of “The Elders”, Kofi Annan, conveys the sentiments of millions around the world when he states that “We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief”. Many will call Mandela a saint either out of sheer adoration or inadequate knowledge of his antecedents. Mandela was not a saint. He was a human being with the same feelings and flaws as all of us. However, he showed that we could transcend our deepest fears with courage and love and concern for issues that might not directly affect us. His life also demonstrates that love and hatred are choices we make. The global amphitheatre has lost a prominent actor. The plot will not remain the same. Good night, Nelson Mandela. Tope Oriola is assistant professor of criminology & socio-legal studies at the University of Alberta, Canada.



FCTA staff protest over poor welfare By Stanley Onyekwere

…as minister links problem to huge monthly wage bill


The minister maintained that there is no way any reasonable Administration would embark on promotion exercise without first verifying the actual number of its workforce and ensuring that manpower budget, vacancies, establishment and budget are provided to cater for the additional costs envisaged. Mohammed disclosed that the biometric exercise has been concluded and over 3,000 staff have cases to iron out; adding that to be sure that injustice is not done to any staff, those with cases have now been rescreened and cleared in batches while their salaries are

ome of aggrieved staff of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) yesterday staged a peaceful protest at the Secretariat over their unresolved lingering welfare issues. The workers had recently expressed grievances over some welfare issues, ranging from delay in promotion, salaries and wages, non-allocation of lands to some staff with meritorious long service in the FCT Administration and amongst others. Meanwhile, while addressing the aggrieved staff, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed linked the development to high number of staff and huge monthly wage bill of the administration. According to the FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John ObinnaChukwu, who spoke on behalf of the minister, disclosed that the administration has staff strength of over 28,000 personnel and pays about N3.6 billion monthly as wages and salaries. He added that it was this high number of staff and huge monthly wage bill that informed the decision of the FCT Administration to embark on biometric exercise to ascertain that these monies are not being paid to ghost workers. He however assured the protesting staff that the administration would work hard to tackle the issues raised. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Muhammad HazatSule, said the FCT Administration under Bala’s supervision has never delayed staff salary, as wages and salaries are always paid on or before the 25th of every month.

restored accordingly. He added: “After all these done; the administration would now embark on promotion exercise based on the vacancies declared and availability of funds. On the issue of long service award to deserving staff, the minister said his administration has already set aside some plots of land to be given to some staff with meritorious long service in the FCT Administration. He however, noted that some staff had already been allocated plots. The Minister disclosed that his administration is making

arrangements with reputable motor companies in conjunction with financial institutions to organize a car loan scheme for qualified staff. “The Administration is also working on the allocation of Affordable Housing plots for the staff Cooperative Societies and the Unions to have befitting staffing housing scheme for its members. “The FCT Administration wants to ensure that every dime spent is well spent with commensurate value in tune with the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government”, the statement added.

Some school children showcasing the cultural attires of the Yoruba people, during the 3rd Doveland International School’s 3rd annual cultural Day with the theme: “Know Your Root”, in Abuja, at the weekend. Photo: Stanley Onyekwere

Petti community decry lack of drugs at health centre By Usman Shuaibu


nhabitants of Petti village, in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have decried lack of drugs at the primary health centre in the area. The residents, who spoke to our reporter during the ongoing media assessment tour, to ascertain projects in the community, being carried out

by the Chairman of the council. They alleged that most patients at the clinic are forced to buy their prescriptions at a higher cost, from patient medicine dealers in the area. While urging the chairman of the council, Ibrahim Daniel, to come to their aid by providing drugs, to enable them have access to good medical facilities in the community. They however berated the

chairman of failing to employ adequate personnel at the clinic, to cater for the need of the people. A resident, Mr. Musa Wakili, said even the boreholes in the area being inspected by the tour team was constructed by the former Chairman of the council, Joseph Shazin Kwali. Similarly, in their separate responses, two other residents of the community, Mr. Mohammed

Adamu and Mr. Samson Barde, claimed that the current administration of Kwali area council had not initiated any project in the area. Also, another resident who pleaded anonymity said that despite the installation of a transformer in the area, the residents have no electricity supply, to boost socioeconomic activities there.

FCT SURE-P: ‘1,000 women to be engaged next year’ By Stanley Onyekwere


bout 1,000 women are to be engaged by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) under its Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) by next year, in order to empower them to contribute meaningfully to the development of the Territory. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala

Mohammed made this disclosure after being conferred with the FCT National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) Pillar of ‘2013 Achievements Award’, recently at the Merit House, Maitama. The Minister particularly said that the job of re-greening exercise of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (Airport Road) and MurtalaMuhammed (KubwaRaod) Expressways respectively would be

given to the women. According to a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Muhammad HazatSule, the minister reiterated that the empowerment of the women would definitely translate into the empowerment of the whole society. He said that women in position of authority always perform creditably well which has made his Administration to earmark 40

percent of appointments to women. “Women are more humane in nature than their male counterparts and therefore whatever they earn from such empowerment would take care of more people in the society. “In tune with the vision and aspiration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the FCT Administration would give more women opportunity to excel”, Bala added.

Senator donates motorised boreholes to Karu communities By Stanley Onyekwere


he Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the National Assembly, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, has commissioned three motorised boreholes he donated to three communities in Karu,of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). Those benefited from the gesture are Angwar Hausawa, NEPA Quarters and Boyiy community respectively. Speaking at the occasion, Aduda said he embarked on the water project for the communities to address the water problem facing them, which he optimism that the boreholes would help cushion the effects of the water problem in the affected areas. Represented by FCT Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bitrus Kura, the senator enjoined the communities to make good use of the projects andprotectthem against vandalisation. He also appealed to the communities and other villages in AMAC to be patient with the constituted authorities. The village head of Hausawa community, Karu, Mallam Suleiman A. Musa, who described the Senator’s gesture as extra ordinary, as he is not part of the executive officials that are constitutionally empowered to provide projects for the communities. According to him: “The senator is doing this from his meager entitlements; his duty is to take part in law making process and not to execute projects as he is doing for various communities, that’s why he must be commended for taking the initiative”. He added that mechanism would be put in place to safe guard the boreholes and called on other elected politicians in the territory to emulate the senator. Earlier, in their separate remarks, the Senior Legislative Aide to the Senator, Ali Danjuma Kawu, and the Chairman Karu ward, AnyisaDaniel, urged the communities yet to benefit from the gesture to be patience, saying the senator’s humanitarian gesture would go round the communities. Highlight of the event was the presentation of three generating sets as an alternative energy to empower the bumping machines when there is power outrage.




L-R: Wife of the FCT Minister, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed, receiving a gift from Proprietor of Doveland International School, Mrs. Tina Chukwu, during the school’s cultural day celebration, at the weekend in Abuja.

Security operatives controlling crowd during the fire incident at Conoil filling station, recently at Central Area, in Abuja.

A young man hawking handkerchiefs, yesterday along Mararaba-Abuja road.

A young boy hawking sachet water, yesterday at Nyanya, in Abuja.

Taxi driver buying sachet water from a young man, yesterday at Area 3, Garki, in Abuja. Photos: Mahmud Isa, and Justin Imo-Owo





24-year old applicant docked over theft


he police have arraigned Musa Adamu a 24-yearold applicant of Mararaba Junction, before a Mararaba Upper Area court for theft. The police prosecutor, Cpl. Stephen Kwaza, told the court that Abubakar Sani of the same address reported the matter at ‘B’ Divisional Police Station. He said that Sani told the police that the accused came to his room and stole N20, 000 from his travelling bad and absconded. Kwaza said the offence contravened Section 288 of the Penal Code. “The section provides for a maximum of 7 years’ imprisonment or a fine or both for anyone convicted of the offence,’’ the prosecutor said. The Presiding Judge, Mr. Vincent Gwehemba, granted the accused bail in the sum of N50, 000 and two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case to December 18 for further hearing. (NAN)

Applicant arraigned for breach of trust, cheating


19-year old applicant, Dutfa Ducbong, was arraigned before a Senior Magistrates’ court in Wuse, Abuja, for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. The Prosecutor, Cpl. David Udor, told the court that one Louis Omume of Lugbe by Primary School, Airport Road, Abuja, lodged a report against the accused at the Wuse Police Station. Udor said that during police investigation, Ducbong could not give a satisfactory account of the items. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 312 and 289 of the Penal code respectively. The Senior Magistrate, Aminu Eri, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100, 000 with a surety in like sum. Eri, who ordered that the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court, adjourned the case to January 8, 2014 for further hearing. (NAN)

Scene of traffic gridlock on Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway, that lasted over 1:30 minutes yesterday,when Julius Berger crane fixing beamon the pedestrian flyover bridge under construction, blocked large portion of the highway near Wuye District, Abuja. Photo Abubakar Ibrahim

Cult member docked for alleged intimidation


self-acclaimed cult member, Victor Achaga, 27, of Aso C, Mararaba, was arraigned in a Grade 1 Area Court, Aso Pada, Mararaba for alleged criminal intimidation. The Police Prosecutor, Friday Adaji, told the court that Charity Duke of the same address reported the matter on November 27 at the ‘A’ Division Police Station, Mararaba.

“On November 27 at about 9.45 a.m., while Duke was discussing with one of her debtors, one Simon Achaga, interfered and without any tangible reason started insulting and intimidating her. “He said that he is a cultist and will deal with her,” Adaji alleged. He said the offence contravened provision of

Section 397 of the Penal code. If convicted on the charge, the accused can be sentenced to seven years in prison term or an option to pay a fine or both. However, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The judge, Mr. Albert Maga, granted the accused bail in the sum of N100, 000 and a surety in like sum. Maga ordered that the

Woman, 29, charged with adultery


he police have arraigned a 29-year old married woman, Ngozi Ugwu, in an FCT Chief Magistrates’ court in Karu, on a three-count charge of adultery and forgery. Ugwu, a mother of four, is accused of re-marrying another man while still legally married to her first husband. The prosecutor, Cpl. Shem Simon, told the court that the case was reported by one Innocent

Chinedu said to be the accused person’s first husband. Simon alleged that Chinedu legally married Ngozi before he travelled to Portugal in search of greener pastures, and that the union was blessed with two children, Chimanya and Chisom. “Even when Chinedu was there, he never stopped calling to ask of their well-being and regularly sent money for their upkeep. “But the accused decided to get

married to one Chinedu Ugwu of Enugu and abandoned the house her former husband rented for them in Lafia after waiting for just three years. “The accused person also forged the birth certificate of Chinedu’s two children and changed their surname to her father’s name. “The complainant, on his return to the country last year, spent a whole year to locate the accused person, who had married Ugwu and by whom she already has two children.

Man, 25, arraigned for conspiracy, theft


he police have arraigned Aliyu Mohammed, 25, in a Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ court, Abuja, for criminal conspiracy and theft. The prosecutor, Cpl Monday Akor, told the court that on October 10 at about 4.20 a.m., Mr. Oni Gabriel of God Spring Assembly in Kubwa, Abuja, lodged a report at Maitama Police Station. Akor alleged that Mohammed

surety must be a traditional title holder, possess a landed property and must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. He ordered that the surety should write undertaking that the accused will not commit similar offence again. He adjourned the case to December 12 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)

of near Bannex Plaza Wuse 11 conspired with one Hamisu Haruna to snatch a Samsung cell phone valued at N18, 000 from Gabriel. Akor said that on the same date at about 1.30 a.m. Gabriel went to LG office to drop a passenger. He said Mohammed conspired with one Hamisu Haruna, now in custody at Keffi Prison in Nasarawa State,

to claim that Gabriel brushed Haruna with his car. He said that in the process, Haruna snatched Gabriel’s Samsung cell phone valued at N18,000 and handed it over to Mohammed who escaped with it to an unknown place, and was arrested on Nov. 26. The prosecutor said the accused person’s action contravened the provisions of section 97 and 287 of the Penal

code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The presiding magistrate, Mr. Shuiabu Adamu, admitted him to a bail in the sum of N100, 000 and a surety in like sum who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. He said the surety must be a public servant on no less than GL 6, and adjourned the case to January 15, 2014. (NAN)

“The accused person refused to release the complainant’s children to him, claiming that they were not married before they were born. “The complainant decided to report the matter for the court to assist him in getting his children back since the accused is happily married to another man now,” the prosecutor said. But the accused pleaded not guilty, saying the complainant abandoned her and the children and travelled to Portugal since 2005 without communication or money for their upkeep. She said he showed up after eight years to claim paternity of the children he abandoned for so long. “He can’t say the children are his, after all there was no legal marriage between us before they were born,’’ she said. In her ruling, Chief Magistrate Hadiza Shagari admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100, 000 with a surety in like sum. The case was adjourned till January 13 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)



INSIDE, 08033045613

L-R: Brand Manager, Mouka Foams Limited, Mr. Stephen Uwazota, General Manager, Next Cash and Carry Company, Mr. Gaucav Handa, and Account Manager, Mouka Foams Limited, Mr. Omotosho Babatope, during the opening of new sales outlet of Mouka Foams, yesterday at Cash and Carry plaza, at Kado, in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Committee pegs unclaimed dividends at N45bn


he Unclaimed Dividends Committee inaugurated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has put the figure of unclaimed dividends at N45 billion. The Committee’s figures contrasted sharply with SEC’s earlier announcement which pegged the unclaimed dividends profile at N60 billion. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee, headed by Mr Kyari Bukar, the Managing Director, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), had submitted its report to SEC. Other members of the committee are: Mr Bayo Olugbemi, Managing Director,

First Registrars; Dr David Ogogo, Executive Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Registrars, and Mr Dipo Aina, a former President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers. Sources close to the committee and SEC told NAN on Monday that the unclaimed dividends in the nation’s bourse reached N45 billion or 4.58 per cent of the total dividends declared as at June 30, 2013. SEC had earlier announced that the unclaimed dividends hit N60 billion in 2012, against the N42 billion recorded in 2011. Unclaimed dividends represent the monetary value of (profit) pay-outs by quoted

companies, which have not been claimed or received by shareholders. The sources, who pleaded anonymity, said that the disparity in the figures was due to improper understanding and calculation of the unclaimed dividends. They argued that dividends can only be termed unclaimed 15 months after the payment date, stressing that SEC based their computation on six months after payment. The sources said that the committee also recommended the aggressive implementation of the e-dividend policy, investor education on electronic dividends payment, electronic

Customs: Sokoto command seizes N101m contraband goods From Mahmoud Mohammad, sokoto


he Sokoto area command of the Nigeria Customs Service ( NCS) said it had seized contraband goods worth about N 101 million from January this year, to date. The Deputy Comptroller General (DCG) in charge of Enforcement, Investigations and Inspection, Saka Yunusa, disclosed this in sokoto yesterday, while addressing newsmen shortly after inspecting the seized goods. The sized items included hard drugs, rice, cooking oil and clothing materials, among others.

Yunusa also said that the seizures were recorded in the three states under his jurisdiction which include Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states. He also stated that the area command had secured ten convictions during the same period under review. “There are also seven suspects in custody in the command, who are undergoing various stages of prosecution,” he added. The DCG further commended the officers and men of the command in the area. “All the officers who recorded these seizures would soon be rewarded through promotions by the customs headquarters. The

officers and men of the service, nationwide are fully committed to the religious implementation of the federal government’s fiscal policies,” he added. Yunusa also said that the officers and men were committed to taming the menace of smuggling activities in the country. “Though our borders are porous, the management of the service is committed to stopping the menace. The management will continue to motivate the officers and men, to enable them discharge their duties effectively,” Yunusa, assured stressing that the zone is seriously battling with smuggling activity due to porous border.

share transactions and an efficient postal system. The committee also recommended a strong collaboration between SEC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the acceptance of dividend warrants into savings accounts. NAN recalls that SEC had at its third quarter Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in September 2013, inaugurated a market-wide committee to study and make recommendation on how to eliminate the increasing value of unclaimed dividends. The committee was also directed to look into the causes of unclaimed dividends and the actual figure of unclaimed dividends in the market. The other mandate of the committee included the proper definition of unclaimed dividends and what could be done to address the problems in the market. (NAN)

Ex- Tanzania president joins Microsoft Board - Pg 21

Indigenous companies to account for 30% oil and gas production next 5 years-Aluko -Pg 20

Christmas: Demand for used clothes soars in Asaba -Pg 22 Exchange Rates CBN as at 5th December, 2013 Buying





252.90 254.54


210.27 211.63










MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY Make the most of your next conference with social media


ealing with logistics and meeting a new horde of people can make out-oftown conferences stressful, but using social tools can help you make them as productive (and fun) as possible. With LinkedIn’s advanced search, find new or established connections in your destination city. If you want to meet with any of them while you’re in town, reach out ahead of time. To minimize dress-code anxieties and packing hassles, use a Google

image search to find photos of past years’ events and check out what people wore. Use OpenTable to book 8-to12-person tables at restaurants near the conference venue for each evening of the conference, and invite people to join you for dinner. (Saying you’re “convening a gang” avoids the implication that you’re paying for the whole table.) Enlist a few co-conspirators to invite two or three people each. Source: Harvard Business Review



Enegy US Tech Companies call for more controls over online surveillance


ight major US web companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook, made a joint call on Monday for tighter controls on how governments collect personal data, intensifying the furor over online surveillance. In an open letter to US President Barack Obama and Congress, the companies said recent revelations showed the balance had tipped too far in favor of the state in many countries and away from the individual. In June, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden exposed top secret government surveillance programs that tap into communications on cables linking technology companies’ various data centers overseas. After Snowden’s disclosure, many of the big Internet companies warned that American businesses may lose revenue abroad as distrustful customers switched to local alternatives. “We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens,” said the letter from the eight firms which also included Microsoft Corp, Twitter, LinkedIn Corp, Yahoo Inc and AOL Inc. “But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.

Local firms to account for 30% oil and gas production next 5 years-Aluko


o-Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Energy, Kola Aluko has predicted indigenous companies will account for over 30% of oil and gas production in Nigeria within 5 years. In a paper presentation at the oil and gas conference ‘African Oil Week’ held in Cape Town, South Africa, Aluko said, “Nigerian companies like Atlantic Energy have pushed for increased local participation in the upstream sector. As recent as 5 years ago, 6-7 international oil companies were producing over 97% of Nigeria’s oil and gas, now Nigerian companies are producing close to 10% and I believe we can have 30% of Nigeria’s oil and gas production being produced by Nigerian companies within 5 years. The time is now for

companies like Atlantic Energy and other indigenous companies to step up to the plate.” Speaking earlier, the Co-CEO, Atlantic Energy, Scott Aitken said, “there are 100’s of underdeveloped discoveries onshore Nigeria and with the recent divestments of onshore assets by International Oil Companies operating in Nigeria, this would increase the opportunities access of Nigerian indigenous oil and gas companies to 8 Billion barrels of crude oil and 46 Trillion cubic feet of natural Gas Gross Reserves. Mr. Aitken discussed the challenges to the development of existing assets and increasing production including ageing infrastructure some of which have not been replaced or maintained properly further to which he

suggested a detailed evaluation and phased infrastructure replacement/upgrade. He also noted Host Community/ stakeholder relationships & expectations were having a negative impact on production levels and suggested improved community engagement and update needs assessment. Mr. Aitken made an example of Atlantic Energy’s Strategic Alliance with the exploration arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) wherein Atlantic Energy provides funding, technical and project management assistance to NPDC for designated assets. He also reported that Atlantic Energy has made significant


Electricity: Kaduna to generate 30MW from Gurara Dam …as Maku expresses concern over slow pace of work By Etuka Sunday with agency Report


$2.6 trillion stolen annually, says AfDB

he African Development Bank (AfDB), says an estimated 2.6 trillion dollars is stolen annually through high level corrupt practises in Africa. This is contained in a statement released by the AfDB’s President, Dr Donald Kaberuka on Monday as part of activities to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day. He said that the figure amounted to more than five per cent equivalence of the global GDP, The statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Addis Ababa, added that another one trillion dollars were being paid in bribes across the world every year.

achievements through an increase in the reserves of the assets covered by the Strategic Alliance as well as new field development programmes. He noted that Atlantic Energy has invested over $500 million further to the Strategic Alliance Agreement with NPDC and also noted that NPDC and its Joint Venture partner have commenced a 60, 000 barrel of oil per day flow line and flow station reinstatement.

L-R: Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Engineer Andrew Yakubu, exchanging pleasantries with Minister of Information and Leader of the FG Good Governance Team, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Sunday at the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, in Kaduna

Investors flout NERC’s deadline of N10bn remittances


ndications have emerged that Electricity investors have flouted the deadline given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to remit about N10 billion to the Federation Government’s account. NERC threatened it would sanction investors that refused to meet up with the set deadline which expired last week. However, from reports, it was discovered that some investors could not meet up the Thursday 4pm set date. The actual amount remitted by

the firms could not be confirmed yesterday as stated by NERC. According to the Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, the remittances were monies meant for services rendered to the companies by the government and directed the power firms to make the payment to the electricity Market Operator. Amadi said that they are complying but could give the actual amount remitted, saying, “I may not be able to give you the actual details now; but I believe they have started responding. I will call the Market Operator

to get the actual facts and by Monday (today), we will know the true position of things.” Amadi said last week that out of the N12bn that was supposed to be remitted by the DISCOs, only N2bn was paid to the operator of the Nigerian electricity market as of Monday. He said, “The Market Operator is the one that receives these remittances and will have up-todate information on the amount so far remitted. But as of Monday, the report from the MO is that only about N2bn has been paid and N10bn is outstanding.”

aduna state Government has said that plans are on the way for it to generate additional 30 Megawatts of electricity from its Gurara Dam project by December 2014. Coordinating Director, Multi-purpose Gurara Water Project, Mr. Ibrahim Babaji said in Kaduna adding that the project was initially designed to supply water to the Lower Usuma Dam for use by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He said power generating plant component of the multi-purpose dam had been completed and work on the transmission facility had reached advanced stage. Babaji said other components of the water project which included the water supply scheme and the irrigation facility were at various stages of completion. The project awarded in 2001 at the cost of N15 billion, he said had been reviewed twice to include the power generation and irrigation components. Babaji said the review had increased the cost of the project from the N15 billion to N54.4 billion. Special Assistant to the Minister of Information, Mr. Kingsley Osadolor, who represented the minister, said the project was reviewed to accommodate the needs of the people of Kaduna State. He said in reviewing the project, government considered the electrical and agricultural needs of the people of Kaduna state.



Ex- Tanzania president joins Microsoft Board Stories By Chris Alu


icrosoft has appointed former Tanzania president, Benjamin Mkapa as external board of Advisory Council for Africa. The board is expected to provide guiding strategic investments undertaken by the Microsoft for Africa initiative across the continent and ensuring Africa is closely aligned

to broaden African development goals. Speaking at the swearing in ceremony in Tanzania,Mkapa said, “I am deeply honoured to chair the Africa Advisory Council and to represent this prestigious group of council members because we all believe deeply in Microsoft 4Afrika’s mission to help Africa improve its global competitiveness. According to him, Africa

together with Microsoft team,’ we look forward to helping to grow African leaders, encourage and support African businesses and highlight African innovation here on the continent and on the world stage, “he stated “Not only will the group help Microsoft Africa to understand and engage in existing areas of untapped potential, but we are confident it will also help us break new ground within

the initiative’s targeted sectors, including healthcare, education and small business enablement, said Mkapa. The council will meet in person twice annually and will also hold regionally focused meetings at other times in the year. The council members have also committed to contribute to 4Afrika efforts in capacitybuilding with African youth leaders.

Ict Glo launches 200% bumper tariff bonus for prepaid customers


Communication Biztellers

Internet penetration still stand at 33% in Nigeria - NigComsat Boss


he Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) Engr.Ahmed Timasaniyu Rufai has said that Nigerian internet penetration still stands at 33%. He put broadband penetration at 6%; and 72.25% of access is via wireless networks, mainly GSM while the remaining 27.75% access is via other services. According to him, 2G mobile coverage is 65% while 3G

is only 35%, that is to say only urban areas enjoy broadband services in the country. Speaking at the 6th edition of the e-Nigeria 2013 conference on local content organized by Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja, Rufai said in a country where over 70% of its population resides in the rural areas, the limitation of access to broadband via cable may be bridged via NigComSat-1R which could serve

as conduit to improve access links but sadly NigComSat-1R is grossly underutilized. Presenting a paper titled “Satellite based broadband in Nigeria, prospects and challenges” Why Broadband? He explained that Africa remains the least wired continent in the world today “in terms of robust telecommunications infrastructure and systems to cater for its nearly one billion populations”.

This , he said underscores the reason for high demand in the form of communication satellites and variants of terrestrial wireless systems more than in any other continent for the sole purpose of bridging its digital hiatus, complementing the group of inadequate terrestrial ICT infrastructure in the rural areas, swampy and landlocked terrains thus playing a critical role of delivering ICT readiness in unserved and underserved areas.

MTN launches movie platform for Nigerians


TN Nigeria has partnered with Do Media to launch an exclusive mobile movie platform for subscribers in the country. Users will need to subscribe to the MTN DoBox app to be able to rent any movie,

including the latest blockbuster releases. Alongside the app, subscribers can access cheaper data to use the app by purchasing a DoBox Internet Bundle (DIB) before renting movies with a ‘token’. Gafar Williams, chief

executive officer (CEO) of Do Media, said: “We are very lucky to have chosen the right partners, MTN, to promote this initiative and also this is one of MTN’s bold steps to deliver a new digital world to its customers.

“Indeed, this move has reinforced MTN’s leadership position in leading the charge in the delivery of invaluable digital world to ICT subscribers in Nigeria.” Movies will be available in multiple languages including Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba.

lobacom, has introduced a new and unique Bumper tariff plan for pre-paid subscribers as robust value of 200% instant bonus on every recharge for this chrismas season. The bumpa tariff subscribers can use the bonus to text or call any network across the country and to browse the internet. Globacom said the 200% recharge bonus will be given to Glo subscribers every time they recharge their phones with airtime worth N100 and above. Speaking about the new bonus offer, Adeniyi Olukoya, Globacom’s Marketing Coordinator, said that Glo Bumpa was conceived to give additional superior value to subscribers and enable them fulfill their passion of staying connected with friends, family and business associates beyond what their standard recharge credit would have given them. “In order to bring unprecedented value to our loyal subscribers, we have configured Glo Bumpa in such a way that it allows subscribers to use their bonuses to text or call any network in Nigeria and also to browse the internet. This unique move is unsurpassed in its novelty and gives our subscribers not only great value but the freedom to utilize their bonuses in any way they want,” he said. Olukoya further explained that Glo Bumpa comes with a flat tariff of 50k/sec for Glo-to-Glo calls as well as calls to other networks. It also comes with a flat rate of N4 per SMS to all networks, while international SMS will be charged at N10 per SMS. He added that Glo Bumpa is available to all prepaid subscribers on the Glo network and those on other networks who port into Glo. Another exciting part of the tariff plan is that the subscriber will continue to enjoy the 200% instant bonus for as long as he or she is subscribed to Glo Bumpa and keeps recharging his or her phone with credit. “We are committed to delivering bigger and better value to our subscribers in terms of competitive tariffs and product offerings. As we march into the New Year, our subscribers are going to see more propositions that will deliver unlimited value to them and reinforce our vision as Africa’s biggest and best telecommunications network”, Olukoya said.




Christmas: Demand for used clothes soars in Asaba


ome few weeks to Christmas celebration, demand and prices for used clothes popularly known as okrika, have soared in Asaba, the Delta capital. A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) showed that many parents were patronising dealers of used clothes at the Ogbeogono Market, buying them in large quantities. A T-shirt formerly sold for N150 now sells for N200 while a higher grade of shirt earlier

sold for N600 now costs N800. A dealer, Mrs Chioma Okafor, told NAN that Christmas period was good for dealers in second-hand clothes and shoes, because they normally recorded high sales. According to Okafor, the period was a time to make up for the dull moment in the business witnessed between July and Oct., adding; ``the rush hour is just beginning.’’ She said there would be rush and prices would go even

higher one week to Christmas. ``That time, you cannot get any cloth for N200, even ones that are not of good grade; the least price for one will be N400.’’ Another dealer, Mr Raphael Amuka, said that dealers increased the prices of the materials because prices of other items also go up during the period. ``If we continue to sell our own goods the same prices we used to, we will not be able to get money to buy other things

needed by our families for the celebration.’’ A parent, Mrs Obiagheli Udodi, said she was in the market to buy second-hand clothes for her children because she could not afford new ones due to their high prices. ``If you are patient enough to go round, you will get good wears for your children for Christmas. Some materials you get here are stronger than some new ones”, Udodi said. NAN reports that as dealers in used clothes were beginning

to record high sales, their counterpart in new clothes had yet to experience boom in business. Mrs Roselyn Adigwe who sells children’s new wears said that she had not started to record high sales. Adigwe said that parents usually rushed for their children’s clothes a week to Christmas while some would wait until a day to the event. She said that the prices of their wares had not increased because there was no rush. (NAN)

2014 Budget: Group tasks Zamfara Assembly on cost benefits derivation From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau


R-L: Financial Director, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc (JBN), Mr. Wolfgang Kollermann, recipient 40 years Long Service Award, Mr. Akinola Isiaka Adisa, and Executive Director, Operations JBN, Mr. Dave Herron, during the presentation of long service award to the staff of Julius Berger, at the weekend in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Adamawa Govt proposes N97.9 billion budget for 2014


damawa state Governor Murtala Nyako has presented a budget proposal of N97.9 billion for 2014 before the state House of Assembly. Nyako said N58.2 billion or 59 per cent of the budget was earmarked for recurrent services, while N40.1 billion or 41 per cent was for capital development. He said the budget would be funded through the estimated

N45.5 billion statuary allocation, N31.6 billion capital receipts and N7.5 billion Internally Generated Revenue. Others, he said, are: N7. 9 billion value added tax, N2.6 billion petroleum subsidy, N2 billion excess crude and N500 million ecological funds. A breakdown of the capital allocation in the budget tagged “Budget of Deliverance of Democratic Dividends” showed

that the road and transport subsector got the highest share of N13. 5 billion, followed by education with N10.6 billion, while general administration got N6.5 billion. The Speaker of the House, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, said the budget would be scrutinised before approval. Fintiri said the house would ensure that the budget estimates were holistically implemented to

engender budgetary discipline. He stressed the need for public agencies to be more transparent and accountable in all financial transactions. He added that ``in view of this, all relevant House Committees have been empowered and directed to monitor and oversee the actions of every organ of the executive to ensure full implementation of approved estimates.’’ (NAN)

amfara state Budget Working Group {BWG} has suggested to the State Houseof Assembly to critically examine the cost benefit of long term loan that state government is proposing to secure in its 2014 budget. States’ Chairman of BWG, Bachiri Sarkin Fulani Bungudu tasked the state Assembly men in a statement noting that, members of the state Assembly should endeavor to find out whether the loan will be tied to a specific capital projects that would benefit the people of the state. While commending states’ legislatures for their oversight functions that led to discovery that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies {MDAs} were yet to access their 2013 for capital projects, the group urged the state House of Assemblyto ensure that executives arm released appropriated funds to MDAs promptly . The BWG also appealed to the House standing Committee set up by the State House of Assembly, to co-opt the group in their oversight processes to enable an independent observation and advise the house where necessary.



Stock Watch

Report as at Monday, December 9, 2013




Special Report

Oil and religion: The origins of conflict in Nigeria run deep T

he coming of 2013 was not auspicious for Nigeria. Despite being rich in oil, the country is overwhelmed by corruption and violence. The north of the country has been torn apart by terrorist attacks that saw police stations bombed, cars torched and the streets littered with bodies. More than 200 people have died so far in January alone. How could a nation so rich in resources descend into such turmoil? The answer lies in a history of ethnic, religious and political fault-lines that go back centuries. Deep fractures Nigeria is riven by corruption at every level, from the policeman at the roadblock demanding a “fee” from a lorry driver to the most senior politicians – albeit the latter are able to wrap much of their largess in the cloak of legality. A Nigerian Senator’s

annual salary is running into millions of naira while70% of Nigerians are classified as poor, with 35% living in absolute poverty. The situation had been compounded by population growth, government mismanagement, corruption and climate change. Whereas once Nigeria was an agricultural exporting nation, it now imports food. Up to 80% in rural areas live below the poverty line. The onceproud peasant farmer, who sustained his family and exported surplus, is now an urban unemployed school leaver, ready fodder for any leader with a message of hope. The Boko Haram Muslim terrorist sect in northern Nigeria, founded in 2002, translates as “no to Western education”. The organisation has been responsible for up to 1000 deaths in Nigeria over the past three years, including

Nigeria’s troubles are fuelled by ethnic and religious tensions.

those from the most recent bombings in Kano. In 2009, police assassinated its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, and the movement went underground, forging links with al-Qaida. It had little trouble recruiting among the urban underclass and has moved from isolated attacks on police and churches to coordinated atrocities against Muslims in major cities such as Kano, directly challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s government as well as the Muslim establishment. As a nation, Nigeria is fractured along ethnic, religious and class lines, encompassing more than 158 million people and 450 ethno-linguistic groups. The majority of those in northern Nigeria adhere to some form of Sunni Islam, while Christianity, in the guise of various Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism, dominate

in southern Nigeria. There are also significant adherents to traditional religious beliefs.Cultural concepts of political legitimacy, the rule of law and rights to land, differ markedly, resulting in a pluralistic state with few shared values. The British colonial policy of “indirect rule”, through tribal chiefs and Muslim Emirs fostered ethnic fragmentation, in which “strangers” had only restricted land rights. Christian missionaries brought Western education to the south, but were excluded by the British from Muslim areas. Christians were thereby advantaged over their northern counterparts in the postcolonial competition for employment within the bureaucracy and Western economic sector. Delta blues Northern Muslims’ resentment at perceived

discrimination and disadvantage has led to repeated clashes in the fifty years following independence, especially in northern cities such as Kano and Kaduna, with their large Christian populations. There have also been sectarian Muslim versus Muslim conflicts, often sparked by local charismatic religious leaders. The religious and ethnic became the main vehicles for political mobilisation in the postcolonial era, threatening to tear the nation apart. In 1966, a coup sparked riots across the north, the massacre of thousands of non-Muslim Igbo and, ultimately, secession of Igbo-dominated Biafra and the Nigerian civil war. The military sought to diffuse ethnic tensions by creating 12 states, each with a share in the newly discovered oil bonanza, but this only fuelled minority demands for

the creation of even more states. Today there are 36 states and 774 local government areas based on ethnicity and religion. Revenues from oil production were divided among the states, ostensibly to enable the resource-poor to maintain social services. But successive military strongmen, politicians,

corrupt bureaucrats and businessmen swindled much of the money. The people of the oilproducing areas of the Niger Delta, who bore the brunt of ecological degradation by the oil industry and humanrights abuses of the military, eventually took up arms. Divide and rule

President Jonathan is being urged by colleagues and the media alike to take control of the rapidlydeteriorating situation in Nigeria. The president, meanwhile, has vowed to focus on the economy

Blown-out motorbikes in Kano following a recent blast early this year.

President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to keep violence under control

When the military eventually handed over power to a newly-elected civilian government in 1999 there was a general feeling of hope and renewal, often couched in terms of a romanticised history of the tribalethnic society. Twelve northern states introduced various

forms of Sharia law between 1999 and 2002, with Muslim politicians extolling a “return” to traditional values. The non-Muslim minority feared loss of human rights and civil liberties. But in non-Muslim areas, ethnicity and religion played no less a role in defining “community”, exclusion of “outsiders”, and notions of rights and morality. One of the first acts of the new civilian government was to grant the oil-producing areas first call on 13% of locallyderived oil revenue, in addition to their share of

revenue. While a longoverdue compensation for decades of neglect, this further enraged the poor and unemployed in other parts of Nigeria, especially in the Islamic North. No end in sight The 2011 elections were marked by violence, with more than a thousand killed. But despite widespread electoral fraud, these elections were more creditable than the preceding three. Some 72 of the 109 incumbent senators lost their seats, while only 100 of the 360 members of the House held their seats. PresidentGoodluck

Jonathan, a southern Christian, held on but violence escalated. President Jonathan is being urged by colleagues and the media alike to take control of the rapidlydeteriorating situation in Nigeria. The president, meanwhile, has vowed to focus on the economy. But sadly, unless Nigeria’s political leaders are prepared to address problems of inequality, corruption, and a more socially equitable redistribution of oil revenue (worth US$59 billion in 2010), Nigeria faces a grim future. (Source: Huffington Post)

Some of the youths in the North, who are mainly unemployed, are being taken advantage of by the insurgents to perpetrate their nefarious activities



Feature What Next for the ICC in Africa?


n October 11 and 12, the African Union (AU) held an extraordinary summit to discuss its relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although the court’s supporters were able to defeat a proposal to withdraw en masse from the ICC, member states voted unanimously to declare that heads of state should not be tried while in office, a clear blow to accountability for international crimes on the continent. Since the summit, the ICC and the UN Security Council have made important decisions that will continue to affect the court’s standing in Africa and particularly in Kenya. African countries remain central to the success of the court, with 34 having ratified the Rome Statute. But after several tumultuous weeks, the ICC’s future in Africa is quite uncertain. While there is no public and official listing of how countries voted during last month’s AU summit, Think Africa Press has reported that the member states calling for withdrawal from the ICC included the usual suspects-Ethiopia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Sudan--as well as more surprising voices of dissent, such as Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, and even Uganda. On the other side, countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Botswana, and The Gambia are believed to have supported continued engagement with the ICC. These results show no clear regional divisions, and both sides include countries with histories of massive human rights violations, though some of the detractors have historically been the worst offenders. Some analysts have suggested that West Africa is now the main base of support for the court, but it is clear that this region alone could not prevent a vote to withdraw, and that support from other parts of Africa was also important. In its decision on Africa’s Relationship with the International Criminal Court, the AU reiterated its “concern on the politicization and misuse of indictments against African leaders by the ICC” and suggested that prosecutions against heads of state, like President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya, “could undermine sovereignty, stability, and peace.” The summit decided that heads of state should not be tried during their tenure in office and stated that the trials of Kenya’s president and deputy president should be suspended. Both men are charged with crimes against humanity related to postelection violence that resulted in over 1,200 deaths and the displacement of approximately 600,000 people in 2007 and 2008. In his closing remarks at the end of the session, Ethiopian

African Union (AU) in session

prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said, “I believe our meeting today ... has clearly reflected our disappointment as far as Africa’s relationship with the ICC is concerned,” and that the decisions made “safeguard the constitutional order, stability, and integrity of member states.” In practice, however, the AU’s position seems likely to weaken the order, stability, and integrity of African nations. It would leave individuals accused of massive human rights violations in office without any clear judgment as to their guilt or innocence, damaging their legitimacy and encouraging impunity for lower-level crimes. Victims would be denied justice, and citizens in general would be less able to hold their leaders accountable for alleged abuses. The decisions made at the AU summit could also pave the way for further clashes between African governments and the ICC, even if the immediate threat of a full AU withdrawal was averted. The bloc’s declarations are simply incompatible with the laws that govern the court. Article 27 of the Rome Statute, which so many African countries

The International Criminal Court’s first conviction of Congolese warlord, Thomas Lubanga has reopened the debate on why the court has only tackled cases from Africa.

have endorsed, is unequivocal in stating that the court will not make any distinction based on official capacity, and that highlevel government positions “shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility” through the ICC. While the legal basis for the court has not changed since countries such as Kenya signed the statute, the political will to implement it has clearly eroded. Since the AU gathering, the ICC has released several important decisions of its

own that will also influence its relationship with Africa. In midOctober, an ICC appeals panel ruled that Ruto must travel to The Hague to attend his trial, and that each absence must be individually approved by a judge. The following week, the ICC postponed Kenyatta’s trial after the prosecution agreed to a defense request, marking the third postponement of the case. The trial will now start on February 5, 2014, to give both sides more time to prepare their evidence. Both of these decisions have been

Further complicating the picture, Nigeria and other states have come out with strong statements in support of the court since the AU vote, while the authorities in places like Sudan and Kenya have cracked down on civil society and protesters, restricting local voices that could criticize their government’s position.

subject to conflicting political interpretations, and neither dispels the uncertainty over how the ICC will respond to Kenya’s position on the trials in the long run. On November 14, the UN Security Council rejected a request to further postpone the cases against Kenyatta and Ruto. In the meantime, Kenyatta’s government is seeking to prosecute 15 witnesses who plan to testify against him at the ICC for crimes committed in Kenya. Further complicating the picture, Nigeria and other states have come out with strong statements in support of the court since the AU vote, while the authorities in places like Sudan and Kenya have cracked down on civil society and protesters, restricting local voices that could criticize their government’s position. The outcome of this struggle is still in doubt, and it is essential for the ICC to defend itself against claims of politicization or bias. The court must counter these allegations in a transparent and fact-based manner, while also acknowledging its flaws. For its part, the Security Council will need to explain why it has not sent the ICC more cases of mass atrocities outside Africa-in countries including Sri Lanka and Syria--to increase accountability for international crimes in other regions of the world. Finally, citizens, civil society, and governments in Africa must continue to demand that the AU keep its commitments to human rights and the rule of law. A sustained debate about the role of the ICC will hopefully lead to a sustained discussion about the need to strengthen domestic and regional legal systems, which would make recourse to The Hague unnecessary. (Source: World




Curbing the insurgency onslaught in Maiduguri military enclave By Joy Baba


ast week’s pre-dawn attack on military formations in Maiduguri, Borno state capital can be said to be one of the deadliest since the beginning of insurgency in 2009 within the north east region. Hundreds of men suspected to be members of Boko haram sect hit some military formations in Maiduguri killing an unspecified number of security operatives and insurgents in the predawn attack. It was reported that the attackers damaged three de-commissioned military aircrafts, two helicopters, over 50 military vehicles, 15 trucks and scores of building belonging to the security forces. Over 300 insurgents were said to have launched a six hours attack on the 33 Artillery Battalion of the Nigerian Army, 79 Composite base of the Nigerian Air Force and 777 housing estate police outpost, all of which are within the vicinity of the Maiduguri International Airport, beginning from 2:30 am. Reports also had it that the insurgents were armed with assault rifles and other dangerous weapons comprising of Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPGs) Anti-aircraft guns mounted on Hilux vehicles, General Purpose machine guns (GPMs) and explosives among others. Sources said the insurgents over powered security personnel who in most cases always fled upon sensing defeat The Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS) Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, after an emergency led by the National Security Adviser Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) with President Goodluck Jonathan and other security Chiefs on the day of the attack told State House correspondent when approached for comment on the situation in Maiduguri that “it is being managed”. Why manage a situation that can be prevented? Why will you wait till the damage is done before managing it when you have the wherewithal to prevent it? Though a press statement from the Director of Defence Information (DDI) said two Air Force personnel were injured while 24 insurgents killed in the course of the military trying to repel the early morning attack, sources at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital

Some Nigerian troops patrol the streets of the remote northeast town of Baga, in Borno state early this year

(UMTH) told journalist that several corpses of both security personnel and civilians as a result of the attack were deposited at the morgue of the hospital. What is baffling most Nigerians is the fact that the insurgents could achieve their aim in a seamless manner in different locations simultaneously within military formations in the city. Military has no excuse for their formations of all places being attacked by insurgents at this point in the fight against insurgency, especially in Maiduguri, after assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram members have fled the state after the raid in Sambisa forest. Many close observers have pointed out that if insurgents can carry out a coordinated attack on three different

military formations no matter the attempted repel, then the ordinary man on the street has no security at all. The military should have known that these insurgents will not relapse on their mission even if attacks are not recorded for a period of time and that any point there seems to be silence means they are strategizing on a more deadly attack. Why relapse on security measures when the battle is not yet won? Is it that the Commanders who keep attending various security conferences at the expense of tax payers’ money are not giving the right directives to their men or that the men are not following instructions of their commanders? From the turnout of events in recent times, Nigerians should learn to take their security in their

hands any time they don’t hear of any attack for a while, because the next one will claim more lives since the peoplesaddled with the responsibility of national security aren’t living up to expectations. While addressing journalists on the line-up of activities for the upcoming 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the Minister of Information and supervising Minister of Defence, Mr. Labaran Maku said the newly established 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, which took over three months (August 2013) into the State of Emergency, has not settled down properly, and that is why there are still series of attacks in the state. He also said that by the time they settle down, deploying enough personnel, resources with more information are well developed, we won’t hear of such

Many close observers have pointed out that if insurgents can carry out a coordinated attack on three different military formations no matter the attempted repel, then the ordinary man on the street has no security at all

attack again. However, the question on the lips of many is that: How long will it take the Nigerian Army to settle down in the North-East when, if all things being equal, the emergency rule would have been lifted by now? Is Maku trying to tell Nigerians that the 7thDivision wasn’t prepared before taking over such a huge task, when according to a press statement signed by the DDI in August, 2013, after the Joint Task Force handed over to the Army 7 Division said the takeover is with immediate effect? Why will Nigerian Army take over in a seemingly war situation when it is not 100 percent prepared? The Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, a few days before the Maiduguri attack, during a convention of Nigerian Army Regiment Sergeants Major (RSM) said Army Authority has acquired a cargo of new arms and ammunitions to fight terrorism and no longer obsolete as being alleged. Where were the new arms and ammunition when 33 Artillery Battalion of the Nigerian Army was attacked? The big question, in the final analysis is: “When will Nigerians look at the kind of military we have, beat their chest and go to bed with two eyes closed, saying, ‘we are safe or in safe hands’?




Our training save post-harvest losses, Kwara youth farmers task Ahmed wastages in agriculture, says Provost on appointment of members By Mohammed Kandi


he Provost, Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology, Kano, Mohammed Hadi Ibrahim has attributed the dramatic reduction in yearly loss of millions of Naira to postharvest management and processing storage to the training programmes his collage had been offering to stakeholders across the country in the last two years. Ibrahim also said the successes recorded by the on-going Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in the last two years was related to the management of produce wastages, using the simple local content materials to handle post-harvest and process storage of food by women and youth farmers. According to him, “the College was established to conduct manpower trainings in post-harvest handling and process storage

which is very strategic to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.” “Our major contribution to ATA is the training programme we initiated in 2011, whereby we train women and extension officers on the method of food storage in Nigeria. The women are trained largely on processing of perishables for preservation for better market while the extension workers are trained on various methods of food storage for further transfer of the knowledge to local farmers. This programme, like I said, started in 2011; and based on its success of reducing millions of naira wastages incurred yearly in the sector, and it is creating jobs for more people at the value chain of post harvesting and storage, and it has covered many states of the federation,” he said. He pointed that the training component allows follow-up for

the beneficiaries, saying the feedback has been very encouraging based on what was seen in the market place, adding that “many of the participants are also led to where they can locally source materials for their post-harvest handling and process storage.” Ibrahim added that some of the people that came from the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have commercialised the training for more efficient and competitive marketing, stressing that “in the last two years, we have trained some artisans on how to construct some of these technologies since they are easy to construct using the local content like storage driers. We taught them the construction of technology for storage using kerosene and solar driers. Some of these artisans have really commercialized this knowledge by selling it to the farmers, which is the main aim of the training”.

Katsina Govt. spends N320m on purchase of grains - Commissioner

By Mohammed Kandi with agency report


r. Kehinde Osasona of the Kwara Youth Farmers Association (KYFA), yesterday urged Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed to appoint one of the farmers as co-ordinator of the group, to enhance efficiency. Osasona, the association’s Secretary-General, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin that the association had just won

the Accra-based Ghana Farmers’ Organisation award. He said that the group was dedicating the award to Sen. Bukola Saraki, the initiator of the Youth Farmers’ Scheme in the state. “It is good that this award came at a time the state government is still basking in the euphoria of the best Governor in Agriculture Award conferred on Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed by the Business Day Newspaper,’’ he said.

Water scheme boosts supply in Sokoto - Director


he Sokoto State Water Board says the recently completed 92-million-cubic-litre water scheme in Asare Village of Wamakko local government area has increased supply to residents. The board’s Water Supply Director, Malam Nasir Mu’azu, made this yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a water stakeholders’ meeting held in Abuja. He said the scheme, which cost the state government N2.6 billion, was executed from May 2012 to June 2013, had expanded water supply in Sokoto and its environs. ‘’Concerning water supply, the present Sokoto state government, under the leadership of Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, has achieved a lot. ‘’He executed a 92-millioncubic-litre underground water supply scheme which we are run-

ning daily and people have seen the great improvement. ‘’Presently, most of the residential areas, almost one third of the town, has benefitted from this water supply scheme. ‘’All those people that spent almost a year without running taps now have constant water supply.’’ Mu’azu explained that the scheme, accompanied by new raw water pumps and power generating sets, were designed to augment the existing 147.2-millioncubic-litre water scheme already in use. This, he said, was part of the state’s Water Supply Master Plan spanning 2012-2025, projected to boost water coverage in the entire state. He, however, solicited the support of the Federal Government, international organisations and donor agencies in order to meet the overall water supply demand in the state. (NAN)

AFAN appeals to Federal, Gombe govts for loan, farming inputs

Some grains that had been harvested by farmers in Kano on display in the market


he Katsina state government said yesterday that it had spent N320 million on the purchase of excess grains from farmers. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Musa Adamu, made this known in Katsina during a news conference. He said the grains included maize, Guinea corn, millet, beans,

rice and soya beans, adding that the commodities were stored t in some of the government’s warehouses. Adamu said the grains were purchased above market price, to enable the farmers to enhance their performance. He said the grains would be sold to the public at subsidised rate, to ease their hardships, particularly during dry season.

The commissioner also said that the state government had established three seed cultivation centres as part of efforts to provide farmers with improved seeds. On fertiliser, Adamu said the state government had spent more than N32 million on fertiliser subsidy this year, adding that the government would continue to accord agriculture top priority. (NAN)


he All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Gombe chapter on Monday urged the Federal and Gombe State Governments to ensure early provision of farm inputs for dry season farming. Alhaji Gambo Sarkin-Noma, the Secretary of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe that if the inputs are made available to farmers on time it would enable them to plan well for the season. He commended the federal and state governments for assisting farmers with farming inputs during the rainy season, noting that the gesture had contributed to the in-

creased harvest recorded this year. The secretary said that if dry season farmers received such assistance, bumper harvest would be guaranteed. According to him, if the requests of the farmers can be met, it will reduce the challenge of food insecurity in the state and the country at large. Sarkin-Noma also noted that government’s support to agriculture in the state would create employment opportunities for unemployed youths in the society. He urged farmers to double their efforts during dry season farming to ensure good harvest. (NAN)

Our training save post-harvest losses, wastages in agriculture, says Provost By Mohammed Kandi


he Provost, Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology, Kano, Mohammed Hadi Ibrahim has attributed the dramatic reduction in yearly loss of millions of Naira to postharvest management and processing storage to the training programmes his collage had been offering to stakeholders across the country in the last two years. Ibrahim also said the successes recorded by the on-going Agricultural Transformation Agenda

(ATA) in the last two years was related to the management of produce wastages, using the simple local content materials to handle post-harvest and process storage of food by women and youth farmers. According to him, “the College was established to conduct manpower trainings in post-harvest handling and process storage which is very strategic to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.” “Our major contribution to ATA is the training programme

we initiated in 2011, whereby we train women and extension officers on the method of food storage in Nigeria. The women are trained largely on processing of perishables for preservation for better market while the extension workers are trained on various methods of food storage for further transfer of the knowledge to local farmers. This programme, like I said, started in 2011; and based on its success of reducing millions of naira wastages incurred yearly in the sector, and it is creating jobs for more people at the

value chain of post harvesting and storage, and it has covered many states of the federation,” he said. He pointed that the training component allows follow-up for the beneficiaries, saying the feedback has been very encouraging based on what was seen in the market place, adding that “many of the participants are also led to where they can locally source materials for their post-harvest handling and process storage.” Ibrahim added that some of the people that came from the non-governmental

organisations(NGOs) have commercialised the training for more efficient and competitive marketing, stressing that “in the last two years, we have trained some artisans on how to construct some of these technologies since they are easy to construct using the local content like storage driers. We taught them the construction of technology for storage using kerosene and solar driers. Some of these artisans have really commercialized this knowledge by selling it to the farmers, which is the main aim of the training”.




Halal -meat industry capable of yielding $1.2tr interest yearly – Adesina By Mohammed Kandi


inister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has called on citizens of the D-8 member countries to take advantage of the enormous opportunities abound in the growing HalalMeat industry, with the potentials of yielding up to $1.2 trillion in interest annually. Adesina made the call at the weekend during the meeting of the D-8 Agricultural Ministers in Abuja, where members proposed the establishment of a D-8 HalalMeat Investment Commission to cater for its meat needs, as well contribute to global economic trade. The proposal which was made

by the Nigerian government, is expected to drive the development of technical capacity, investments, certification, market and trade development among member countries. The minister said with growing population of over 1 billion people and a 60% Muslim population in the world, there was the need for members to exploit all the opportunities in the trade. “The Halal meat market accounts for 16% of global trade in meat, but it is worth noting that none of the D-8 countries feature in the top 10 as exporters of Halalbeef, even though they account for 60% of the population of Muslims,” he said. “The size of the Halal meat

industry is growing at the rate of over 4% annually, and is estimated to have grown from $625 billion in 2012 to $ 2 trillion by 2013. There is need for the D-8 to launch a major initiative around the Halal-meat industry development to take a major share of this rapidly growing industry,” he added. According to Adesina, “We, therefore, propose the establishment of D-8 Halal-Meat Investment Commission to drive the development of technical capacity, investments, certification, market and trade development. With its population of 60% of Muslims in the world, D-8 countries should be able to achieve $1.2 trillion share of the global Halal-meat market, which is cur-

rently dominated by western countries.” He also assured members of Nigerian support, saying the present administration was committed to ensuring assess to Halal meal market in Nigeria. Responding, Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr. Seyedi Ali Mousavi, disclosed that over 26% of the world's children population are stunted as a result of poor nutrient, with 2 billion people suffering from micro-nutrient deficiencies. Mousavi, who challenged member countries to harness the resources to end hunger in their countries, however, called on the Ministers of Agriculture to encourage private investors in the

fight against hunger. “I am also of the firm belief that private sector active engagement in our collective agricultural cooperation will play a significant role in improving the situation rapidly, with clear positive impact on the state of distribution of income and wealth in the D-8 member countries. We should certainly take it upon us to work towards this end- both individually and collectively,” he said. The D-8 member countries include Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey. The 5th D-8 Agricultural Meeting on Food Security is slated to hold in Turkey in 2014.

Yuguda distributes grains to disabled persons From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


From Left: Director Adamawa Cocoa/Palm Oil Production, Dr. Aliyu Mu azu, Mrs. Zainab Adamu of Cocoa division, Fed. Min. of Agricultur,Abuja and Alhaji Usman Biri ( 1st right) Chairman, National Gold Cocoa Growers, Adamawa Chapter and other members of Cocoa farmers in Toungo local govt. area of Adamawa, during the visit of agric officials to some cocoa farms

Agricultural biotechnology crucial in fighting malnutrition in Nigeria - Minister


he Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said agricultural biotechnology was crucial in fighting the malnutrition affecting some parts of the country. Adesina, who said this at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, in Abuja, noted that as the country’s food needs arise, Nigeria would find healthier, safer and environmentally sound ways to address them. He condemned the misconception by some people about science in agriculture, noting that there were numerous benefits when chemicals were not applied in food cropping. “We have malnutrition in some areas and we are using orange flesh sweet potato, and orange flesh sweet potato comes out

of bio-technology. It has vitamin ‘A’ inside of the sweet potato. So, it is good for children. “The other one is what you call pro-vitamin ‘A’ cassava, cassava that has vitamin A in it. So we have started work now to distribute it to two million farm households, especially women. “So that they can process this and feed their children and there are better vitamins because if you don’t have vitamin A it causes blindness,’’ the minister said. He also spoke of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring good regulatory environment and laws that are necessary in promoting genetically modified crops. “We are putting in place a good regulatory environment, good biosafety laws. We are building our capacity with Nigeria Biotechnology Development Agency to

do monitoring assessment, risk analysis and all of that,’’ Adesina added. (NAN)

n an effort to alleviate the suffering of persons living with disabilities in the state, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state has distributed over 10, 000 bags of assorted food items to the vulnerable persons across 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state. Yuguda, who distributed the food items at the weekend, through his aide, Alhaji Salisu Garba Maisuga, said the food items would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of persons living with disabilities in the state. He said the items were meant for distribution to the blind, lepers, crippled, and deaf and dumb in the society, with a view to alleviating their sufferings and discouraged them from street begging. Maisuga said the governor had sympathy and love for such persons, thereby organizing compulsory assistance of food items for the needy in a period of every six months in the state.

The food items distributed include 5, 000 bags of maize, 3, 000 bags of Sorghum and sugar and over 2,000 bags of rice. Receiving the donations, the Sarkin Makafin Bauchi, Alhaji Abdullahi Jibrin said, the items as usual will be distribute across the 20 LGAs of the state for immediate distribution to the Disabled persons group by group in all the 20 LGAs and to ensure that no any beneficiary was left out of the gesture. Jibrin commend the governor for the kind gesture and reassured the government that the Disabled persons will redouble their efforts towards praying for the success of the government as well as for peace and prosperity of the state and the country at large. Jibrin also urged the federal government and the rest of the governors in the country to emulate Governor Yuguda good gesture of feeding the disabled persons twice a year. According to him this will help in reducing street begging in the country.

Adamawa cocoa farmers reap bumper harvest

From Umar Dankano, Yola


he National Gold Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, Adamawa Chapter, said it members have recorded bumper harvest this year in the state. The Chairman of the association, Alhaji Usman Biri, made this known in Toungo, headquarters of Toungo Local Government Area of the state. Biri also said that the cocoa farmers in the state were extremely happy and thanked God for the bumper harvest this year. “Adamawa is among the cocoa producing states, where we have

over 300 registered farmers in three local government areas of the state. “This year alone, in one of my farms, I harvested a total of 1, 321 kilogrammes of the commodity”, Biri said. According to him, the cocoa producing areas in the state include Toungo, Ganye and Jada local government areas. Biri, who stated that he had already planted 3, 000 trees of improved variety of cocoa in one of his farms on Ganye-Toungo road, however, noted that the major problems affecting cocoa farmers in the state had been the

lack of support from federal and state governments. He said that lack of inputs and other incentives such as market outlets were among the challenges threatening the cocoa production in the state. “Due to lack of official markets, we sell our commodity to the black marketers at low price, who usually come from Ondo and Oyo states," he said. He said that the ugly trend was affecting mass production of the commodity in the state, adding that some of the farmers threatened to abandon cocoa farming.




Can SURE-P remove unemployed youths from Kaduna streets? From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


ince she completed secondary school two years ago, 23 year old Sophia Mamman’s dream is to get admission into any of the tertiary institutions in Kaduna state; but the dream is yet to become a reality. According to her, while she awaits the admission of which she was not sure of getting, she stayed at home doing nothing apart from helping her mother with house chores. The young Sophia, who hailed from Kachia local government area of the state, was lucky to be nominated or selected to take part in the Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment Programme, (SUREP)’s Agriculture Skill Acquisition scheme for youth and women in the state. “I was just sitting at home doing nothing since I graduated from secondary school, until I became fortunate to be selected in the skillsacquisition programme. I was told that I will be trained on hear dressing. Honestly I am very happy,” she said. Sophia advices young ladies like her to try to be self-employed whenever the opportunity knocks on their doors. Usman Sani is another young man from Unguwar Rimi, Kaduna, who confesses to being a political thug some years back, particularly during the 2011 elections. According to him, most of the time, he participated in election rigging for some politicians in the area. “We also caused violence during election in my area; but now that I have been nominated for this SURE-P training where I will be trained on aluminum-making, I don’t think I will engage in such bad behaviours again,” he said. He said that by the time he completed the three weeks training and gets capital to set up his business he would no longer have time for political thuggery. According to him, most of the youths that cause violence in the society are mostly unemployed. “We commended the state government for this training,” he added, smiling. Also, a youth from Kagarko local government area, who gave his name as Sama’ila, said with the opportunity given to him it will enable people like him who have been unemployed for many years to be selfreliant. Sophia, Usman and Sama’ila were among the 7,600 youth and women selected from all the 23 local government areas of the state to be trained in skills-acquisition under the 2012 SURE-P Agriculture, Youth and Women Empowerment Scheme, sponsored by the state government. The state government has said that after the training, which will last three weeks or a month, the participants are entitled to capital to set up their business and be selfemployed. The statistics given by the state government on the project is that 1,500 women will serve under the women empowerment programme, while 2,300, both women and youth, will serve under the agricultural enterprise and 1,500 under irrigation farming. These beneficiaries, according to the state government, emerged after a careful and painstaking process, which saw the establishment

Dr. Christopher Kolade, former Chair, SURE-P Lt. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, Ag. Chairman, SURE-P of committees in all the 23 local government areas comprising officials of relevant Government Ministries/ Departments and Traditional/Religious leaders. It was gathered that those under youth empowerment programme are going to be trained on different areas, namely: Aluminum works, block-making, brick-laying/Masonry and fish-processing. Others are GSM repairs, honey processing, animal husbandry, leather works, photography, plumbing works, and printing. Under the women empowerment scheme, a total number of 1500 hundred beneficiaries would be trained, 65 from each Local Government Area. The skills under the scheme includes: Beauty and Cosmetology; Hair dressing; Tie-anddye; Catering and Event management; Fish processing; Rice milling; Vegetable processing. The training will be conducted in 6 centres, 2 in each of the three senatorial districts of the state. In the same vein, 2,300 beneficiaries of the Agriculture enterprise will be trained on the following skills namely; bee-keeping; cassava production; cattle fattening; fisheries; ginger production; irrigation; maize production; piggery; poultry; ricemilling; sheep/goat and sugarcane

production. Another 1,500 beneficiaries will be trained in irrigation farming, while the training is to be conducted in 10 centres across the state. The state government also stated that at the end of the training, each beneficiary will be given a starter package relevant to his or her area of training. to enable them start their own businesses, so as to become self-reliant. “By providing you with gainful self-employable skills and the wherewithal to start up your businesses, we have taken a bold step to reverse the ugly trend of youth restiveness in our state”, the state Governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, said while flagging-off the scheme at Murtala Square Kaduna on Tuesday 26 No- Kaduna state Governor, Muktar Yero vember, 2013. Governor Yero said it is not The governor, who addressed the participants, added that as a proper for government officials to leader he is an apostle of anti-fa- nominate people for any governvoritism and pledged to continue to ment skills acquisition programme fight to ensure that the state’s resi- based on sentiments or religion, as dents are given equal opportunity he charged top government officials to desist from such behaviours. irrespective of tribe or religion. He added that out of the 7,600

Governor Yero said it is not proper for government officials to nominate people for any government skills acquisition programme based on sentiments or religion, as he charged top government officials to desist from such behaviours.

nominees for the SURE- P programme he never nominated a single individual; rather, he gave the task to the committee responsible for such assignment. “I always preached equality among all the people and advocate that opportunity is given to those who will make the best use of it. People should be selected based on merit and that is why I always encourage government officials to always allow the best to be picked for any programme. “You are all my candidates, because you are all from the 23 local government of Kaduna state. You are all nominated by local government committees in your area, which made up of traditional rulers and religious leaders,” he said. The Governor further explained that his administration gave more emphasis on human development, especially among youth and women, because they are the foundation for development in any nation. “ If any government construct roads or other projects, but were later destroyed by restive youth then the state has not achieved anything; however, if emphasis is laid on human development, especially youth and are gainfully employed, they will never become agents of violence or terrorism,” he said. Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the State’s SURE-P committee, who is equally the state deputy governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, said the scheme is aimed at enhancing the economic well-being of women and youth in the state. He also added that the government also involved consultants that will train the participants for the three weeks programme. Also, the lead consultant, Alhaji Dahiru Sani, of the Kaduna Business School, said the program will help trained women and youth on agriculture. He charged the beneficiaries to pay attention to their trainees and that they should be happy to be among the people that will be empowered in small skill entrepreneur. “ We hope that someday, the beneficiaries will become wellknown business tycoons in the country,” he said. He therefore, commended the state government for the opportunity given to the youth to be self-dependent. Because of the crowd that gathered at the venue, some political watchers in the state were of the view that the gathering looked more of a political gathering for the governor, given the politicians that graced the occasion. Notwithstanding, the fact still remains that the governor gave people like Sophia, Usman, Sama’ila and many others in the gathering a chance to be self-employed or dependent after the training. Therefore, it is the hope of all concerned citizens of the state to appeal to the governor to come up with more projects that will empower and remove more innocent youths, political thugs and hoodlums off the streets of the state. Doing so, many believe, no doubt will help move the state forward; more so, now that Governor Yero has stated that his administration will pay more attention to human development. This, in plain language, simply means providing more employment opportunities to the teeming unemployed youth in the state.




South Africa after Mandela ANALYSIS


political icon, a revolutionary, and a moral standard for the country, Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 after the infamous Rivonia trial, which, barely sparing him a death sentence, imprisoned him for life at Robben Island. After 27 years in prison, he was released in 1990, when former South African State President FW de Klerk dismantled the apartheid system. Upon gaining power in the first democratic elections in 1994, Mandela lived true to his ideals: equal rights for all - black and white, majority and minority. He steered a remarkable transition in a society damaged by decades of discrimination. The African National Congress’ (ANC) rise to power saw the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which aimed to establish a common history and promote forgiveness and reconciliation. As news of the passing of the first president of a democratic South Africa swept international media, questions arose regarding what will happen in the country, and how the nation will face its biggest challenges. Many of the problems of the apartheid system have still not been solved by the policies of the current government. Economic inequality is one of the highest in the world, with the average white South African still earning four times more than a black citizen. Almost 20 years since the first democratic election, 47 percent of South Africans are considered poor. There are high levels of xenophobia, the escalation of which we witnessed in the 2008 attacks on immigrants in Johannesburg. The rates of HIV/AIDS remain high almost 20 percent of South African children are AIDS orphans - which carries severe social and economic consequences. None of these problems are new. They existed during Mandela’s presidency and they have remained on the agenda for the past fifteen years. The challenge after his passing will be to find another public figure, or a group, in South Africa to symbolically lead the fight for social justice, and use social influence to pressure decision-makers into enacting reforms. Mandela had also long been the symbolic leader of the ANC - he was its president from 1991 to 1997, and was a founding member of its

Mandela (centre) with Mbeki (R) and Zuma (L)

Youth League. Since the first democratic elections in 1994, the ANC has consistently won over 60 percent of the votes. In recent years, however, the party has seen some internal disagreements, and new political parties have been established by former ANC leaders, including Congress of the People (2008), Agang (2013), and Economic Freedom Fighters (2013) which is the new party of Julius Malema, the former Youth League President. These have certainly diversified the political landscape of South Africa, but they haven’t grown strong enough to challenge the “political monopoly” of the ANC. The splintering of the party indicates that ANC has reached its goals as a social movement - liberation and racial equality - but that it has not fulfilled

its promises as a political party. The party has been losing its voter support over the years. In 2014, they will probably resort to “playing the Mandela card” ahead of elections, but the strategy of relying on old fame and the enormous popularity of their late leader cannot last long. The ANC is inevitably headed towards an identity crisis, and as the disaffection of its electorate grows stronger, its leaders will have to think of a different rhetoric, and deliver results to regain support. Mandela was also largely seen as the father of the “New South Africa”, not only because of his historical role in the anti-apartheid struggle, but also because of his success in uniting a nation ripped apart by a racist, segregationist regime. After his death, there is no other prominent figure

to lead the way to unity and cohesion of the nation. The white minority already has fears that South Africa might become a less tolerant, more racist society. Since the end of apartheid, and especially in recent years, the idea of “South Africa turning into Zimbabwe” in terms of rights and land ownership of the white community has been steadily spreading within this part of the population. This idea is exaggerated, as the circumstances in South Africa differ significantly from Zimbabwe, and it is unlikely that Malema’s calls for land appropriation will materialise. Those claiming that the white minority in South Africa will have much to fear after Mandela’s passing, usually refer to the high crime rates and attacks on farms. However,

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

research by the Institute of Security Studies indicated that whites are less likely to be murdered in South Africa than any other racial group. Violent crime in the country happens mostly in the poor, black neighbourhoods and a large percentage of murders take place due to “a mix of social and economic factors”, and interpersonal assaults. Regardless of whether the white community’s fears are substantiated or not, South Africa is facing a problem, as a significant number of its white citizens have left the country in recent years. It is yet to be seen, after Mandela’s passing, whether Zuma can reassure the white community and prevent further fear-provoked emigration. Although South Africa has suffered a great loss with Mandela’s death, it is unlikely that the country will disintegrate or fall into chaos and violence. As the nation and its politicians mourn, it is important that his ideals and legacy are remembered and applied in future policy-making. And what better political ideal to follow than the one expressed in his words: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Source: Al Jazeera




Daughter tells of Mandela’s final moments

N Somali woman who reported rape sentenced


Somali court has sentenced to jail a woman who said she was raped and two journalists who reported her story. The court passed the verdict on Monday in the c apital Mogadishu, saying the journalists were guilty of defamation and insulting state institutions. The 19-year old woman, who is also a journalist, was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence for defamation and lying, during which time she will be confined to her home, said Judge Hashi Elmi Nur. The journalists are to serve out their sentences, of one year and six months respectively, or pay a fine in order to win early release. It is the second time this year Somalia has jailed a woman for speaking out about rape and journalists for interviewing her. “The manager of Radio Shabelle, Abdilmalik Yusuf, was found guilty of offending state institutions, and therefore will serve a prison term of one year,” the judge told the court. “Journalist Mohamed Bashir was found guilty of defamation and making false rape accusations, so he is given a six-month jail term.” Both have the possibility of paying a fine to leave jail, equivalent to around a dollar per day of their sentence, so around $365 for Yusuf, and $180 for Bashir. Rape, and reporting on sexual assault, is one of the most sensitive topics in Somalia. The alleged victim last month told the independent Radio Shabelle she was attacked and raped at gunpoint by two fellow journalists. But it was the journalists who listened to her story who were jailed. Last month the United Nations in Somalia called for a “proper investigation” into the case, while the United States said it was “deeply concerned”. Neither of the men accused of the rape were arrested. ‘Unscientific and degrading’ In February, a Somali journalist and a rape victim he interviewed were both sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of “offending state institutions”. In that case, the court found the woman had lied after a midwife conducted a “finger test” to see if she had been raped, which Human Rights Watch (HRW) said was an “unscientific and degrading practice that has long been discredited”.

elson Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe has told the BBC about the “wonderful” final hours of the former president, who died aged 95 last Thursday. Ms Mandela said his wife Graca, the children and grandchildren were all there to say goodbye. South Africa is observing a series of commemorations over the next week, leading up to the funeral on Sunday. More than 100 current or former heads of state or government will attend the funeral or Tuesday’s national memorial. Makaziwe Mandela told the BBC’s Komla Dumor: “Until the last moment he had us, you know... The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with him on Thursday the whole day.” She said: “I think from last week, Friday until Thursday, it was a wonderful time, if you can say the process of death is wonderful. But Tata [Nelson Mandela] had a wonderful time, because we were there. “When the doctors told us I think Thursday morning... that there was nothing that they could do, and said to me ‘Maki call everybody that is


here that wants to see him and say bye bye’, it was a most wonderful day for us because the grandchildren were there, we were there.” Ms Mandela paid tribute to the doctors for the 24-hour care. She said: “It was like there were soldiers guarding this period of the king - yes my father comes from royalty - without them knowing they were actually practising our rituals and culture, they were there in silence and when we as family members come in they would

excuse themselves and just a few of them would be there to give us the time to be around my dad’s bed.” Ms Mandela said that, for the past few months, she would tell her father that she loved him and that would see him again tomorrow. “And maybe he would open his eyes for just a second and close those eyes,” she said. Ms Mandela said she believed her father had fought not just for political freedom but also for spiritual freedom.

“He talks about the fact that it takes courage to forgive. Forgiveness is a very difficult thing,” she said. “I think he knew that if he didn’t forgive, he would be forever imprisoned spiritually. The lesson we can take from his life is to have the courage to forgive other people. “None of us are born hating another - we are taught to hate and if you can teach a human being to hate you can also teach a human being to love, to embrace and to forgive.”

French troops push further into C.A.R

French troops in the C.A.R capital Bangui


rench troops are to begin disarming rebel fighters across the Central African Republic, as thousands of foreign soldiers pour into the country in an effort to stop recent violence.

The plan to seize weaponry comes after the country’s president told Al Jazeera that he was not in complete control of his country. Michel Djotodia said he could not stop armed groups operating, as

a wave of killings left hundreds dead in just a few days. “It is too much to say I have no control. I control my men. The men I can’t control are not my men,” said Djotodia, who came to power after a mainly Muslim armed group now known as Seleka overthrew President Francois Bozize earlier this year. The former rebels who control the country were on Sunday patrolling neighbourhoods across the capital, Bangui, despite an order to return to their barracks. The Red Cross says 400 bodies were found after three days of fighting between Seleka and a largely Christian armed group named Anti-Balaka [“antimachete”, the weapon of choice of

many Seleka fighters]. Meanwhile, thousands more international troops are on their way to the embattled country. The African Union has about 2,500 troops there now, but is increasing that to 6,000. In addition, the 1,200 French troops already in the country have been bolstered by the arrival of 400 more soldiers. On Saturday, the country’s interim authorities ordered all forces except foreign peacekeepers and the presidential guard off the streets of Bangui, after a hospital in the capital was been attacked by Seleka rebels. The armed men reportedly pulled injured victims from Bangui’s Amitie hospital, and shot dead at least 10.

Muslim Brotherhood leader appears in court


he leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has appeared in court for the first time since his arrest in August. Mohammed Badie was seized along with other Brotherhood figures after the Egyptian army ousted the Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in July. Hundreds of Mr Mursi’s supporters were killed in clashes following the ousting. Mr Badie, who is the movement’s General Guide, denied the Brotherhood had acted violently . He is facing charges of inciting violence and murder over the deaths of eight anti-Brotherhood

protesters outside the movement’s headquarters in Cairo. Mr Badie was in court in Cairo along with other Brotherhood figures. He asked why the death of his son and the burning down of Brotherhood offices were not being investigated instead. Mr Badie was a prominent figure at the Brotherhood’s protest camps in Cairo, but went into hiding as the military-backed interim government increased its efforts to shut down the protests. His 38-year-old son Ammar was killed in the protests. In a separate case, Egyptian prosecutors referred the secular

activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others for trial. They are accused of breaking Egypt’s new laws against protests by demonstrating without

permission last month. Mr Fattah was prominent in the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Badie following his arrest on 20th, August in Cairo



International Asia & Thai PM calls snap election, Middle East protesters want power now


hai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament yesterday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok seeking to install an unelected body to run the country. Police estimated about 160,000 protesters converged on Yingluck’s office at Government House, but there was none of the violence and bloodshed seen before the demonstrations paused last Thursday out of respect for the king’s birthday. The protesters want to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006 and has chosen to live in exile rather than serve a jail term for graft. There was a carnival atmosphere as protesters gathered at Government House, with unarmed police and troops inside the gates. The demonstrators made no attempt to get into the grounds but said they would camp outside overnight. After nightfall, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban made a speech to his supporters. “From this minute onwards, all Thais have taken power back for the people,” he said.

He called Yingluck’s government incompetent and corrupt for policies such as a costly rice intervention scheme and water management projects, and he said the people would select a new prime minister. But he gave no clues as to how that would be done, or how he planned to take over the levers of power. Aware that the allies of Yingluck and Thaksin would almost certainly win any election, Suthep has

called for a “people’s council” of appointed “good people” to replace the government. As such, he was dismissive of the early election. “The dissolving of parliament is not our aim,” he told Reuters. Opposition Democrat Party lawmakers resigned en masse from parliament on Sunday, saying they could not work with Yingluck. Democrat leader Abhisit

Vejjajiva sidestepped a question on whether his party would take part in the election. “House dissolution is the first step towards solving the problem,” Abhisit, a former prime minister, told Reuters as he marched with thousands of flag-waving protesters in Bangkok’s central business district. “Today, we march. I will walk with the people to Government House.”

carrying fuel, crashed into the train tracks, reports say. Pictures from the scene showed black smoke billowing from the crash site. The collision happened at 11:21 local time (04:21 GMT) at a train crossing in Bintaro Permai, police say. Earlier reports had said that the truck was carrying liquefied gas canisters. At least five people have been found dead inside the carriages, police said. The number of injured is estimated to be at 78, police added. Dozens are reportedly suffering from burn injuries. Most of those being treated

were women, hospital officials say, as the first carriage which caught fire was exclusive for female passengers. The truck is said to be from Pertamina, a state-owned oil and gas company. Witnesses say the train’s first two train carriages caught fire and loud explosions were heard. Local journalist Pandu Jati, who was aboard one of the train carriages, told the BBC passengers in his carriage kept on trying to open the doors and the windows until they managed to evacuate from the train. At least 500 passengers were believed to be aboard the different train carriages, reports say.

state. “Chang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scenes.” It accused him of offences such as financial mismanagement and selling off national resources for his personal gain, but it also denounced him for leading what it called “a dissolute and depraved life”. “Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under

the care of the party,” the KCNA report said. It added that he had “improper

relations” with several women and “was wined and dined at back parlours of deluxe restaurants”.



10 people in a huge explosion and injuring scores. The incident happened in south Jakarta. The vehicle, said to be a truck

The moment of impact when the train collided with the fuel tanker


he removal of chemical weapons from Syria may be delayed slightly due to the difficulties of operating during a civil war, the head of the global chemicals weapon watchdog OPCW said yesterday. But any hold-up should be small and the mid-2014 deadline to destroy these weapons remains realistic, said Ahmet Uzumcu, whose Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been charged with supervising the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal. The most dangerous chemical weapons have to be removed by December 31 while weapons in a second category have to be shipped out by February 5. “In view of the circumstances in this country, it will be quite difficult to meet this timeline,” Uzumcu, who is in Oslo to accept the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday, told a news conference. “There are very demanding timelines that we want to fulfill and I’m confident that the deadline of end of June next year (to destroy the weapons) will be met.” The Hague-based OPCW was given the task of overseeing destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks following a sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus in August which killed hundreds of people. The deal, in part brokered by Russia, averted U.S. missile strikes. Uzumcu said difficulties included security, particularly on secondary and access roads to various facilities, and the strict verification process that required extensive cooperation with the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Still, he said the first part of the removal could happen in early or mid January while the second part could be a “few days” delayed. The weapons will be taken out of Syria on a cargo vessel but authorities still have not yet picked the port where their destruction can be carried out.

Indonesia train crashes into fuel truck, killing 10 in ball of fire crowded commuter train crashed into a fuel tanker on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital yesterday, killing at least

Syrian chemicals arms removal may be delayed- OPCW

North Korea images confirm removal of leader’spowerful uncle


orth Korea has broadcast images of the once powerful uncle of leader Kim Jongun being removed from a meeting, confirming reports of his dismissal. The dramatic images show Chang Song-thaek being escorted from a party session by uniformed guards. The state news agency KCNA accused Mr Chang of forming factions against the state, corruption and “depraved” acts such as womanising and drug abuse. Analysts say such a public dismissal is unique and could signal a wider purge. It is the biggest upheaval in North Korea’s leadership since Mr Kim

succeeded his father two years ago. Seen as an economic reformer, he handled talks with Pyongyang’s only major ally. China, The KCNA state news agency said the decision was announced after a meeting of the ruling communist Korean Workers’ Party Politburo over the weekend. News of his dismissal filtered out in South Korea last week along with reports that two of his close aides had been executed for corruption. It is unclear when these latest images date from. The KCNA report accuses Mr Chang of being part of a faction working against the North Korean

Song-thaek being escorted from a party session by uniformed guards.



International Europe and Americas US defence chief holds Ukraine’s talks with Pakistan leaders president agrees to offer of talks

The last Pentagon chief to visit Pakistan was Robert Gates in January 2010. Ties between the US and Pakistan have been seriously strained over US drone raids in Pakistan’s tribal belt as well as Afghan Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan’s borders. But the Pakistani government says “substantial progress” has been made in repairing the relationship.

Hagel was visiting the country “in recognition of the tremendous support that Pakistan has provided in the war on terror”, a senior US defence official said before his arrival. ‘Friction in relationship’ Hagel wants “to deepen our defence partnership” and to affirm continued US military assistance, the official said. “There is some friction in the

relationship” and Hagel wants to tackle that “head on” to try to forge a better understanding between the two countries, he said. Due to security concerns, Hagel’s visit was a “guarded secret”, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said. He described as “upbeat” the Pakistani government’s response to the visit, while noting that since July 2012 Pakistan had received close to $1.2bn in military aid from the US. “The Pakistani [government] is very keen to continue that strategic partnership with the United States despite those serious differences,” he said. In recent weeks, activists opposed to the drone raids forcibly searched lorries in northwest Pakistan in a campaign to disrupt NATO supply routes to and from Afghanistan. Contractors concerned The club-wielding protesters have prompted US officials to halt the shipments to protect the safety of lorry drivers ferrying NATO equipment. Contractors were still concerned over anti-drone protests and a suspension of the arrangement had not been lifted, officials travelling with Hagel said.

of economic problems including slowing growth, the highest inflation in the Americas, and shortages of basic goods including milk and toilet paper. Yet an aggressive campaign launched last month to force businesses to slash prices proved popular with consumers, especially the poor, and helped Maduro’s candidates on Sunday. “The father of the revolution has gone, but he left the son who continued helping the poor,” said government supporter and pensioner Freddy Navarro, 62, in Caracas.

Sunday’s election was the biggest political test for Maduro since he narrowly won the presidential election after Chavez’s death from cancer ended his 14-year rule of the OPEC nation. Winning the overall vote share may help Maduro shake off perceptions of weakness, enabling him to exert more authority over the different factions in the ruling Socialist Party and perhaps take unpopular measures such as a currency devaluation. “The Venezuelan people have said to the world that the Bolivarian revolution continues

stronger than ever,” Maduro said in a late-night speech, referring to Chavez’s self-styled movement named for independence hero Simon Bolivar. The government took nearly 200 municipalities, with three-quarters counted, reflecting the traditional strength of “Chavismo” in rural and poorer areas. As expected, the opposition performed well in urban centers, keeping the principal mayorship of the capital, Caracas, and that of Venezuela’s second city, Maracaibo. The opposition also won the capital of Barinas, Chavez’s home state.


kraine’s Russia-minded president has supported a call for talks a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Kiev, strengthening anti-government demonstrations raging for weeks in the capital. Viktor Yanukovich’s official website said yesterday that the president backed an initiative of an “all-national round-table” suggested by Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine’s first post-Soviet president. “In his opinion, such a roundtable can become a platform for mutual understanding,” the website said. Meanwhile, the country’s riot police took up position in streets near Independence Square where about a thousand protesters were still camped out near Kiev’s city hall, which was occupied by demonstrators. Opposition activists have asked protesters to leave the city building and another building they had occupied to avoid clashes, but the police presence stoked fears that the government planned to disperse the mass protests that have gripped Ukraine’s capital for weeks. The policemen, wearing helmets and holding shields, formed a chain across Kiev’s main street outside the city building. Hundreds of protesters blocked several main streets in the centre of the capital, eyewitnesses told the Reuters news agency, responding to calls from opposition leaders to defend their demonstration from possible police intervention. “The opposition must stay here and do everything to stop the police from breaking up a peaceful demonstration,” Vitaly Klitschko, an opposition leader, told Reuters. Klitschko called on those people who were elderly or frail to go home. He also said he, with other opposition leaders, was ready to hold compromise talks with Yanukovich, but feared that police crackdown was imminent. Yanukovich has faced weeks of protests after shelving a treaty with the European Union last month to focus on ties with Moscow.


Hagel (L) in dialogue with the new army chief General Raheel Sharif


huck Hagel, the US defence secretary, has held talks with Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, as part of an effort to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. During Monday’s meeting in Rawalpindi, Hagel and Sharif pledged to work together to strengthen the countries’ relationship.

Maduro survives Venezuela electoral test


resident Nicolas Maduro’s government won a majority of votes in Venezuela’s local elections on Sunday, disappointing the opposition and helping his quest to preserve the late Hugo Chavez’s socialist legacy. With votes in from three-quarters of the nation’s 337 mayoral races, the ruling party and allies had combined 49.2 percent support, compared with the opposition coalition and its partners’ 42.7 percent, the election board said. Since taking power in April, Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver, has faced a plethora

Putin dissolves state news agency, tightens grip on Russia media


resident Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media yesterday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow’s image abroad. The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin’s hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule. Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin’s concern about the president’s ratings and image. The head of the new agency,

to be built from the ashes of RIA Novosti, is a conservative news anchor, Dmitry Kiselyov, who once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals organs should not be used in transplants. “The main focus of ... Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) is to highlight abroad the state policy and public life of the Russian Federation,” said a decree signed by Putin. Sergei Ivanov, the head of the presidential administration, told reporters that the changes were intended to save money and improve the state media. But the new organization has strong similarities to APN, a Sovietera news agency whose role included writing articles about “the socialeconomic and cultural life of the Soviet

people and items reflecting Soviet society’s point of view on important internal and international events”. RIA said in an English-language article about Putin’s step: “The move is


the latest in a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape which appear to point towards a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.”



Strange World

Life-size gingerbread house sets new record T

he world’s largest gingerbread house has been erected on Texas A&M Traditions Club grounds, in Bryan, Texas. The 39,201.8 cubic-foot house set a Guinness World Record this year, and is helping raise funds for a local trauma center. It measu r e s 6 0 f e e t by 42 feet and its tallest point rises 20.11 feet. The idea for the house first came to Bill Horton, managing director of the Traditions Club, in September 2012. He was watching a Food Network special on gingerbread houses at the time. At first he thought he could get the house done by November, but soon realized that it would take a lot more work. That’s when the project got postponed to this year. “Everybody got excited that we were trying to do this,” he said. Ninety percent of all the raw materials were donated – from lumber to electrical supplies to ingredients. Lots of people volunteered too. Club members, bakers and locals joined hands to create the home. They made the exterior of the house entirely with

ginger bread and icing, using 816kg of butter, 7,200 eggs, 3266kg of flour, 1361kg of brown sugar and 22,304 lollies. Horton said the house has everything except indoor plumbing. “It was a lot of fun and had a lot of challenges.” “Being in Texas, we had some challenges building outdoors,” Horton said. “We had some high humidity and had to reduce the amount of butter we used to make it harden up. Now we’re facing a big winter storm, and I’ve tossed and turned all night about how to cover it.” To create the record, the club had to make sure they broke the previous record – a 36,600 cubic feet gingerbread structure built inside the Mall of America in Minnesota. They also had to make sure the house was edible. “The Guinness guy said it had to be real gingerbread and icing, so I ate a chunk,” Horton said. “He said, ‘Either that’s real gingerbread, or you’re an idiot.’” Horton didn’t really have to eat the house to prove it’s real, though. The bees swarming around it are proof enough. The exterior of the house requires daily maintenance,

especially the parts where the heat has melted some of the candy. The club has had to call in a beekeeper, who spotted a cluster of about 2000 bees. Visitor fees are $2 for

children and $3 for adults. Several people have made generous donations too, raising the total collections to $150,000 in the first week. If you’re watching your

weight this Christmas, you probably don’t want to make a trip to this house. The 36 million-calorie structure is bound to rekindle your cravings!

The world’s largest gingerbread house

27-year old woman marries 72-year old man in China


hang Feng was 23 years old when she declared her love for 68-year-old Wen Changlin. The unusual couple, now 27 and 72, have a beautiful baby boy named Tian. Although they look very odd together, their smiles show how happy they are. The couple from Hunan province in China have been making TV headlines ever since baby Tian was born. Changlin admitted that their age makes them an unlikely pair. “Yes, I look like her grandfather, but I am used to the stares. What is important is our love and the fact that I was able to give her the child she so desperately wanted to cement our union,” he said. The story of how they got together is a very unusual one. In 2001, Zhang and her father were suffering from a medical condition. Changlin, a Chinese doctor, moved into their home to care for them. He lived there until 2006, when Zhang’s father passed away. During this time, Zhang began to feel safe around the doctor, trusting him more than anyone else. “He took such good care of me that I began

having feelings that he was Mr. Right,” she said. Three years later, Zhang realized that Changlin was the only man she knew who could offer her security, and she loved him for it. So she did what she felt best – she proposed. “I would like to stay and take care

of you. I’d like to live with you,” she confessed to him. It took Zhang three more years to convince her family and Changlin that she wasn’t out of her senses. Her family was extremely upset that she didn’t have a boyfriend her own age. Changlin himself wasn’t sure.

Zhang (centre) and Wen (R) with their son Tian (L)

“I was hesitating, as we have such a great age gap and villagers were whispering and her mother was against this strongly,” he said. But eventually, they all came around and the wedding took place in April last year. Changlin is a very happy man

now. He plays with little Tian all the time. “He is a heavenly gift to me. Now is the happiest time of my life,” said Changlin, whose first wife passed away years ago. “I didn’t have the feeling when I got married for the first time and had four children, as those are expected, but now it’s the true joy to me.” Changlin’s children aren’t bothered by his new family. “She takes good care of my father, and they are living with joy. God bless them,” his 42-year-old daughter said. Zhang is enjoying her married life too. “I am living in real happiness every day. We don’t have much romance, but we are living in happiness,” she said. Her mother, who is 66 years old, doesn’t seem to have any objections, now that she has a grandson. “I don’t have much against it now, as long as they are happy.” Zhang and Changlin obviously aren’t affected by generation gap, but one does wonder how much time they might have with each other. Zhang isn’t worried about this, though. She thinks her husband is very healthy so they would live happily for a long time.




Could Facebook trigger eating disorders?

Teenage girls who spend hours flicking through photos on Facebook are more likely to have body image problems that could lead to eating disorders By Emma Innes


eenage girls who spend hours flicking through photos on Facebook are more likely to have body image problems that could lead to eating disorders, doctors have warned. It is not the overall time spent on the social network that is the problem, but the amount of time

spent looking at pictures, they said. This includes looking at other people’s albums as well as posting selfies. The more they look at photos on Facebook, the more likely they are to think of themselves as too fat or as having the wrong body shape. That in turn leads to body

image problems which can result in anorexia and other eating disorders, said researchers from the American University, Washington. They analysed the Facebook use of 103 adolescent girls along with their answers to a psychological questionnaire specifically designed to test their body image satisfaction. Little connection was found between the overall amount of time spent on the social media site and how they viewed their shape and size. But there was a correlation between spending a large proportion of that time looking photographs and body image problems. T h e s e i n c l u d e ‘internalising’ where young girls begin to see a very thin physique, rather than an athletic one for instance, as being the ideal shape for them. This leaves them dissatisfied with their own size and shape, even if they are healthy and fit, researchers wrote in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking. Researchers Evelyn Meier and James Gray reported: ‘It is not the total time spent on Facebook or the internet, but the amount of

Facebook time allocated to photo activity that is associated with greater thin ideal internalisation, self-objectification, weight dissatisfaction, and drive for thinness.’ The problem is that, for many teenagers, Facebook has replaced traditional face to face conversations, said the researchers. This means they see others in a kind of ‘digitised’ form when they

see their photos of the site, rather than see the person, in the flesh, which may give them a different visual impression. Journal editor Brenda Wiederhold said: ‘Given the connection between eating disorders and body image distortion and dissatisfaction, it is important to identify contributing factors in this particularly vulnerable group.’ Source:

It is not the overall amount of time spent on the social network that is the problem, but the amount of time spent looking at pictures on the site

Vitamin D supplements ‘don’t ward off ill health’ By Sophie Borland

Waste? Fish oil contains vitamin D


aking vitamin D supplements in order to ward off illness could be a waste of time, a study shows. Scientists saw little evidence that the pills lowered the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s or other diseases. For decades, scientists assumed that the mineral, one of the most popular supplements in Britain, had numerous health benefits. But a review of 462 studies involving more than a million adults has concluded that a lack of vitamin

D is not a trigger for many common illnesses. In Britain, the supplements market is worth £700million a year – a growth of 16 per cent in five years – and the most popular pills are multivitamins and fish oils, which contain vitamin D. The main reason scientists thought vitamin D could protect against disease was that patients with cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s had very low levels of the nutrient. But the French researchers now suspect that, rather than vitamin D deficiency leading to disease, these illnesses stop the body from producing vitamin D, so sufferers have lower levels. Lead author Professor Philippe Autier, from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, said: ‘What this discrepancy suggests is that decreases in vitamin D levels are a marker of deteriorating health. Ageing and inflammatory processes involved in disease occurrence . . . reduce vitamin D concentrations, which would explain why vitamin D deficiency is reported in a wide range of disorders.’ But his study – published in The Lancet – did not cast doubt on the supplement’s effect on the bones. The mineral is known to protect against bone thinning and the bone disorder rickets.

Two months ago the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, called for free vitamins to be given to children after it emerged that a quarter of youngsters are short of vitamin D. Presently it is only available on prescription to under fives from low income families. In addition, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are advised to take one vitamin D tablet a day – which they can get on prescription – to ensure their baby’s bones are healthy. Other academics said more research was needed before vitamin D was discounted.

Professor Peter Selby, honorary clinical professor of metabolic bone disease at Manchester Royal Infirmary, said: ‘One problem with this sort of systematic review is that it can only examine the studies which have been published previously, so it is limited by the level of vitamin D in subjects in these studies. ‘It could very well be that the apparent negative results of this study have been obtained simply because they have not been looking at people with a sufficient degree of vitamin D insufficiency to have any meaningful biological effect.’

More investigation: Other academics said further research was needed before vitamin D was discounted

Other recent studies have also cast doubt on the curative properties of vitamin D supplements. In one case, scientists found ‘no convincing evidence’ that vitamin D supplements would fend off a cold. Testing was carried out on more than 300 adults in New Zealand over 18 months in 2010 and 2011. Half were given extra vitamin D while the rest took placebo tablets. The vitamin D group caught 3.7 colds per person on average, compared with 3.8 colds per person for the placebo group. In October, a review of previous studies by University of Auckland researchers claimed taking vitamin D supplements did not improve bone mineral density at the hip, spine, forearm or in the body as a whole. Professor Ian Reid, the study’s leader, said: ‘Most healthy adults do not need vitamin D supplements. ‘Our data suggest the targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in healthcare.’ Professor Reid reviewed 23 studies examining the effects of vitamin D supplements on bone density Source:



Tragedy as G5 takeover APC structures (II) ANALYSIS


e have gone far and we are doing underground work and no devil can dislodge us... but not that I refused to follow them to Government House. Anywhere we want to go, we must have reason for going there and the reason must be known before going. The APC’s door is open to all those who are willing to join and I’m not against anybody joining,” he said. In Kwara state also, the political climate is already boling over this merger. It would be recalled that in the 2011 governorship election in the state, the ACN candidate, Mohammed Belgore, was the rallying force for the opposition front, even though he lost the election. The opposition camp in the state led by Begore has been kicking against the decision by the APC leadership in allowing the G5 to defect into APC. This is because the defection by the G5 automatically means subsuming the opposition structures in the state under Senator Bukola Saraki, a former governor of the state. Presently, the political structures in the state is led by Saraki because he has two out of the three senators from the state. He also has 16 local government chairmen, in addition to 23 out of the 25 seats in the state House of Assembly, and 183 ward councillors. Reacting to the defection of the Saraki group, the APC leader in the state, Belgore, who has been having a running political battle with Saraki, boasted that he was the arrowhead that made APC popular in the state. He said his exit from the party will reduce the party to nothing, even as he took a swipe on the leadership of the party for being inconsiderate by disregarding the APC stakeholders in the state in consoidering the defection. “There cannot be APC in Kwara State without our input. We would not compromise the course to liberate the people of Kwara state. There was a lot of apprehension concerning the entry of G7 Governors and what it portends for, one APC members in Kwara and two, for the political terrain in Kwara generally”, Begore said. While vowing never to surrender his political pursuit in the state to any interest, he admitted that APC supporters in the state are already itching to defect to PDP, where they

Before the eventual defection of five out of the seven rebel governors of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on November 26th, the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) met severally with the G5 governors and resolved to relinquish to them, APC structures in their states. In this piece, Ikechukwu Okaforadi analyses the unease hanging over this pact.

Ex Gov Attahiru Bafarawa believe they will find relative peace with the old PDP. From every indication, the APC stakeholders in Kwara are not considering any option that would amount to relinquishing the party structures to Saraki group. This, even though is the thrust of the defection plot, may see the party loyalists trooping into PDP. Saraki is considered to be the new godfather of Kwara political structure, after single-handedly ensuring the emergence of current Governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, against the wish of his own late father fathers a his friends. This is why the leadership of the party does not want to allow Saraki to take over the party, as they said it would put the party in crisis especially before and during the 2015 elections. “It is so soon to get so desperate, even though we are conscious of the antecedents of these people, the entrants should be prepared to listen to instructions from those they met on ground instead of attempting to take undue advantage”, a statement issued by the old APC leaders in Kwara warned. They even threatened that the original members of the APC in the state have other options open to them, if the party’s national leadership go ahead to install Saraki or Governor

Gov Aliyu Wamakko Ahmed as the new leaders of the party in the state. Adamawa state is not left out of this palpable tension. Revelations emerging from the state show that both governorship candidates of defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Buba Marwa and Markus Gundiri, are already plotting to give no breathing space to Murtala Nyako. As the interests of the three political heavyweights threaten the unity of APC in the state, analysts are saying that crisis may implode in the party soon. Recall that they had fought each other in the 2012 state gubernatorial election. Before Nyako’s defection, Adamawa chapter of the APC

was already in hot waters, as there were intense intra-party struggles for the control of the party’s soul between officials of the three parties that collapsed into APC. This gang-up against Nyako was because of the suspected romance between the interim national vice chairman of APC, Umar Duhu and Nyako. In fact, the former was said to have been spotted in Adamawa Government House when he visited the later obviously to re-asure him that the coast was clear. This has therefore generated a bad blood among the original stakeholders in the APC camp, especially given that it was Nyako that forced Marwa out of PDP to CPC, where he contested against Nyako and lost. Reacting to this gang-up,

Even though it is still early to judge the merit or otherwise of this latest decision by Buhari and Tinubu, observers who have read the handwriting on the wall say the APC would have put in a more challenging contest if it had not opened its doors to the G7 or G5

Duhu said he owe no party member any obligation to explain the activities of the party, adding that he receives instructions from Abuja and implement. He added that the national leadership of the party has drawn a road map to accommodate all the merging political parties through an accepted sharing formula, pointing out that it is hasty for people to start crying wolf when the state harmonisation committees were not yet inaugurated. These pockets of misgivings among APC stakeholders, to a reasonable extent, give an insight into what most likely would play out in 2015. It is clear that there would be permutations that will see defection and counter defection between the PDP and APC members, depending largely on which camp one’s interests are better guaranteed. Given this scenario, it becomes possible that PDP will certainly give a formidable fight APC in those five states where APC would have had easy sail given the crisis in PDP already. PDP may loose some of its strongholds to APC but APC will in turn loose some of its strongholds to PDP, even though the figure cannot be quantifies now. Even though it is still early to judge the merit or otherwise of this latest decision by Buhari and Tinubu, observers who have read the handwriting on the wall say the APC would have put in a more challenging contest if it had not opened its doors to the G7 or G5. The argument now is that Buhari and Tinubu have lost the sympathy of loyalists who had been following them especially when the time was toughest. People like Bafarawa, Shekarau, Marwa, to mention few, gave their best to Buhari and Tinubu, during the conventions. Allowing ex PDP governors who could no longer stay with their party leadership to joint APC questions the real difference between PDP and APC. It even becomes more tragic as the two leaders have agreed that APC structures which their followers committed their flesh and blood to build, should be handed over to the just come PDP breakaways. Concluded




Group justifies Sen. Ake’s rejection of NDDC nominees By Aminu Imam


L-R: Chairman of PDP, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu state, Chief Pius Azor; representative of Enugu state Government, Mr. Ezenwukwa Ikechukwu, and member representing Oji River at Enugu state Housen of Assembly, Chief Don Uzogbado during legislative constituency meeting, on Sunday in Enugu. Photo: NAN

Our voters register has shortcomings -Jega admits By Ikechukwu Okafordi


hairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega has admitted that the current voters register being used by the commission has some shortcomings which makes it far from being perfect, even though he said the register has the requisite integrity to stand for any election. Attahiru Jega, who spoke during the 4th quarterly meeting with registered political parties

yesterday in Abuja, said however that the voters register was not as bad as some politicians are trying to make it appear. “As we are all aware, complaints were made about the register of voters in the aftermath of the Anambra governorship election, with at least one political party/candidate alleging that the register is lacking in integrity and calling for the cancellation of the election. “Let me use this opportunity to categorically affirm that while our register of voters is not perfect, it has requisite integrity

and it compares favourably with any register of voters on our continent. “Nonetheless, we have to keep on improving upon it and we have plans to keep doing so through the continuous voter registration process,” stated Jega. The chairman told the political parties that the quarterly meeting with the political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has been affording the commission vital ideas towards strengthening mutual trust

ahead of the 2015 elections. Also speaking, IPAC chairman, Yunusa Tanko said political parties were disturbed at issues of voters register public enlightenment in the recent Anambra election, hence their working visit to the INEC chairman after the election. Tanko noted that the registered political parties in the country are ready to work and abide by the relevant laws, in the conduct of their activities and hoped that INEC would also stick to its electoral rules guiding its affairs.

Ex Anambra gov endorses confab By Usman Shuaibu


ormer governor of Anambra state, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has thrown his weight behind the proposed national conference, saying it will provide veritable opportunity for Nigerians to discuss and address issues affecting the various ethnic groups in Nigeria, thus fostering unity of the country. Ezeife, who is now the chairman,

Governing Board of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), stated this when he spoke to newsmen yesterday, during the first annual dinner of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Niger State chapter which took place in Suleja. He also said the national dialogue initiated by President Jonathan would usher in new Nigeria where every Nigerian would be treated as citizen irrespective of place of birth

or residence across Nigeria. According to him, Nigeria has the largest concentration of blacks in the world, saying it justifies why the national dialogue is needed, to forge ahead as a super power of all blacks. He called on Nigerians to participate in the national dialogue so as to resolve some grievances faced by Nigerians, even as he said it is through the national dialogue that issues would be resolved amicably.

He appealed to the aggrieved politicians to engage in constructive criticisms instead of accusing the government of the unnecessarily, urging Igbos across the country to be united anywhere they find themselves. In an interview, the chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Niger State, Igwebu Ike, urged Igbo youths to live in peace for the overall development of Igbo community.

he Ijaw Justice Forum, a socio-political pressure group based in the Niger Delta region, has spoken in defence of the position of the Senator representing Rivers-West Senatorial District, Sen. Wilson Ake, who had rejected the nomination of some of the board members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The group, in a press statement signed by the National Coordinator, Tom Douglas and National Publicity Secretary, John Dokubo, said they were satisfied with the position of Senator Wilson Ake as well as Sen. Magnus Abe in their petition against the nominees. The group stressed that the stance of Senator Ake at the plenary of Wednesday, December 4, 2013, was in line with the expectations and aspirations of majority of the people of Rivers state. “Senator Ake, who is one of the longest serving Parliamentarians in the National Assembly as at today, spoke the mind of Rivers people when he opposed the nomination of Mr. Ogiri and must be commended by the people of the state for his courage. “Those insinuating politics in the issue are not knowledgeable of the situation in Rivers state and are not qualified to speak... If they are talking about competence, we believe that there are more competent people who can deliver than the nominees cleared’’, the group stated. They also said the nomination of Itotenaan Henry Ogiri was not in line with what Rivers people expected of the Federal Government, adding that Rivers state, with its vast resources and as a host to the Commission, ought to have been given the respect it truly deserves by consulting the leadership of the state before the appointment of a representative of the state in the board. It denied that the Senators were playing politics with the issue, saying rather that it was the federal government that played politics with the nomination of the board members. The group wondered how there will be a cordial working relationship between the board and the state government, which has been slighted by such nomination.

APC boss in Kebbi assures party loyalists of victory in 2015 From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ll Progressives Congress (APC)acting chairman in Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bunu Jega has assured loyalists in the state that the party will win the 2015 governorship election in Kebbi. The chairman made this remark in Birnin Kebbi, while hosting some local government party officials who

came to congratulate him yesterday on his election as the party’s interim State Chairman. The acting chairman said that the ruling PDP in Kebbi has failed woefully because the present government has embarked on wasteful projects to the tune billions, citing the construction of the state Airport, the construction of new schools and new General Hospitals

instead of renovating the existing ones, as well as the construction of Makera road, as some of the areas where the ruling PDP has failed. “The ruling PDP in the state is busy carrying out wasteful projects which has no direct bearing on common man. Look at how the state capital is neglected, the road infrastructure is very poor, there are no good roads, all the roundabouts in

the state capital are full of bumps and pot holes, I mean Birnin Kebbi, the state capital is steal a rural capital”, he said. He called on the people to rally round the new APC in the State and the country in general to save Nigeria from anarchy and insecurity, maintaining that Kebbi State was traditionally the home of opposition, assuring that the opposition will

takeover the state from PDP in 2015. APC chieftains from Fakai, Suru, Dakingari, who spoke at the occasion, reiterated the need for party members to maintain trust, unity and scout for more people, even from the fold of other opposition parties. Mohammad Sani Dakingari said “our unity is our strength, we should build the APC based on mutual trust and understanding’’.



News Extra

BRIEFS Int’l Anti-Corruption Day: ICPC harps on

Senate President condemns FG’s threat to striking varsity lecturers From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


enate President, David Mark, has condemned federal government threat to the Accademic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Mark made the condemnation at Ugbegun Community, Esan Central local government area of Edo State during the interment service of late Professor Festus Iyayi. Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, member Senate Committee on Education, who represented the Senate President, said he was mandated by the ``entire Senators’’ to represent them at the Ceremony. `` I condemn all provocative threats made by whosoever. To me, we (Senators) are all Nigerians including ASUU members who are committed to getting the country’s education sector right. So issuing threats by whosoever is condemnable’’. According to him, Iyayi’s death has, ``put a hole on some of the issues we (Senators) want to see happen. But the Senate and the House committee on education will do all it take to get this issue resolved.

…As Iyayi’s widow promises to ‘marry’ husband again From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


idow of former President of the Academic Staff union of Universities (ASUU), Mrs Grace Iyayi has vowed to marry her husband (Professor Festus Iyayi) after death. It happened at the gravesite of the disease at Ugbegun Community in Esan Central local government area of Edo State where Mrs. Iyayi paid last respect to her husband. “I am proud to be your wife and mother of your children. I will marry you again if I come back to life again. Rest in the bosom of God and till we meet again. I know we will surely meet on the last day’’, She said.

attitudinal change amongst Nigerians

From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC) has stressed that only attitudinal change among Nigerians remains the panacea for fighting corruption in the country. Head of the Benue State office of the ICPC, Mr. Hassan

Mohammed made the assertion yesterday during an interactive session with stakeholders to mark the 2013 International Anti-Corruption Day in Makurdi, Benue state capital. Mohammed regretted that most Nigerians are daily denied of social amenities because of the attitude of those who engaged in corrupt practice. He also said corruption is a

thing of the mind, adding that if the war against it must be won, then it requires the cooperation of all stakeholders in the Nigerian project to ensure that the cankerworm is completely eliminated from the body “If Nigerians don’t begin to see corruption as the bane of our socio-economic and political development and begin to abhor such acts, we may not be able to make much progress in the

onslaught against the menace”, he said. Also speaking, the Acting Chairman of Board, Makurdi Federal Medical Centre (FMC), and head of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit of the FMC, Dr. Michael Edache urged Nigerian lawmakers to lead in the fight against corruption by making legislations that would discourage corrupt practices in the country.

Edo workers suspend protest strike From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


L-R: Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe, and NHRC Board Chairman, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, during the 2013 5th statutory meeting, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

JNI tasks new Kaduna finance commissioner on honesty From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


he Kaduna state chapter chairman of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Jafaru Makarfi has called on the new Kaduna State Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Samaila Aliyu Makarfi to be honest and work diligently towards assisting the government of Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero in its effort to

improve the socio- economic development of the state. Makarfi made this known in his remarks as the special guest of honour at a dinner organized by friends and associates of the new commissioner in Kaduna on his recent appointment at the weekend. He said the new commissioner has a duty to cooperate and be loyal to the state governor in order to assist in implementing policies

that will move the state forward. He urged the new commissioner to remain honest, committed to his work and be patient with people now that he is holding a political office. In his remarks, the father of the commissioner, Alhaji Abdullahi Alhassan Makarfi described the new commissioner as honest and urged him to work harder to justify the confidence reposed in him by the state governor.

Uni-Ibadan alumni to honour Ekpo Nta, Okojie, others By Maryam Garba Hassan


he Abuja branch of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association will on Saturday, December 14, 2013, honour five of its distinguished alumni at its end-of-year dinner in Abuja. A statement signed by

Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, Chairman, Planning Committee of the alumni said those to be awarded its “Distinguished Alumnus Award” are Barr. Ekpo Nta, Chairman of ICPC, Dr. Henry Akpan, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, legal

titan Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, and Mr. Peter Igoh, the immediate past Director-General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. Chairman of the Abuja chapter of the UI Alumni Association, Barr. Ismaila Alasa, said the honorees were chosen for their various contributions to the development of Nigeria.

orkers in Edo State have suspended their oneweek strike, following the intervention of Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa yesterday. Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade Emma Ademokun called on Governor, Adams Oshiomhole to sack the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Environment and public utilities, Major Lawrence Loye (Rtd. In a communiqué jointly signed by Comrade Emma Ademokun of the NLC, Comrade Charles O. Oronsaye of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Comrade Shaka U. Otoede of Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), the unions said, “the level of attainment of the demands of Labour by Edo State Government in relations to personal intervention on the issues by His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa as well as the call by eminent citizens led to the suspension till first week of February, 2014”. The communiqué read by Comrade Ademokun said: “SEC-insession had a thorough assessment of the issues at stake and noted that Government has agreed to revisit the balance 20% consolidated salary structure for health workers in February.” The leadership of the State Organized Labour also noted Government’s agreement to pay the balance of 10.5% teachers’ salary allowance (TSA) to Primary and Technical School Teachers effect from July 2013. He further said, “Edo State Government agreed to release all the outstanding four years promotions from 2010 to 2013 to the Civil Service, Boards and Parastatals in the State”.

Boko Haram: IPMAN urges FG to assist owners of burnt filling stations


he Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has appealed to the Federal Government to assist owners of filling stations destroyed by Boko

Haram last Monday in Maiduguri. Alhaji Muhammad Kuluwu, the association’s chairman in the state made the appeal on Monday in Maiduguri after inspecting the eight filling stations burnt by the

insurgents at Njimtilo area of the state capital. He said some trailers belonging to petroleum marketers were also burnt during the attack on military facilities by the insurgents.

Kuluwu described the incident as a serious set back to the socioeconomic revival of the state and called on the government to assist the victims. He listed the affected filling

stations as: ANGUS Oil, BITMAS Enterprises, AVN Nigeria Ltd. and AISAJA Oil Nigeria. Others were MADAYS Oil and Sons, Kime Oil and NNPC retail station. (NAN)



News Extra

No plan to sale Katsina farm centres- Commissioner From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


atsina State Commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Musa Adamu Funtua has dismissed rumour making the rounds in the state that the government had concluded arrangements to sale its farm centres spread across the state. Funtua who stated this while briefing newsmen on the activities of his ministry within the last six years, stated that there was

never a time the government contemplated selling the centres to private hands. He added: “These centres are central to the development of agriculture and the extension services activities. We rely on them to provide agric support to our farmers. So the issue of selling them did not arise”. Funtua however disclosed that in order to encourage mechanized farming in the state, the government purchased and distributed 340 tractors with all

its accessories to farmers at 50% subsidy. On irrigation farming, the commissioner noted that the irrigation sites had been increased from 100 hectares to 3000 hectares of land, adding that the state now has 25 existing sites. “To encourage this irrigation farming prospective farmers were supported with assorted seeds, fertilizer and free diesel. We also provide them with extension support and try as much as

possible to assist them in having access to good markets”, he said. Similarly, Funtua stated that that the government had embraced the Songhai Mechanized Farming Techniques where an agreement of N3 billion was signed between the government and the organization. According to him, the sites selected for the programme were located in Zobe, Mairuwa and Sabke dam sites all located in Dutsin-ma, Funtua and Mai’adua local governments respectively.

Minister wants free treatment for pregnant women, new born babies

Agric begin sensitises enumerators in Gombe From David Hassan, Gombe


he Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is holding a one-day workshop to sensitize enumerators on how to conduct rural infrastructure survey to gather data on areas to improve the welfare of rural farmers in the North-east and South-east zones respectively. Director of Policy and Data Bank unit of the department of rural development in the ministry, Alhaji Ahmed Majidadi, stated this yesterday in Gombe. He said the main objective of the workshop was to sensitize the public on the current status of infrastructure in the rural areas.

Mandela: Nigeria loses a dedicated friend, admirer – Shehu Malami

From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


he Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina has appealed to all tiers of government, especially states and local governments to give pregnant women and their new born babies free and accessible care so as to bring succour and relief to the povertystricken rural dwellers. Maina made this call yesterday when she paid a courtesy visit to the Acting Governor of Kebbi state, Alhaji Ibrahim K. Aliyu, during her advocacy visit to the state. “Your Excellency, one of the Administration’s avowed commitments is to give the Nigerian woman a pride by ensuring that the country meets the 30 percent affirmative action goal of the United Nations, and the 32 percent target of the National Gender policy’’, she said. The minister called on various governments in the country to consider establishing ultra modern hospitals for women and children, so as to further consolidate their gains of arresting maternal mortality and child morbidity in the state. Maina further explained that she was using her visit to appeal to the State House of Assembly to pass the Child Rights law in the state, adding that is the only way Nigerian children, irrespective of the state they are domicile, could enjoy the rights recognized in the UN convention on the Rights of the child. Responding, the acing governor thanked the minister for choosing Kebbi state as part of places she was paying her advocacy visit, promising her that more women would be considered in the state cabinet.


By Gabriel Gwajime

N L-R: Special Adviser to Lagos state Governor on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello; Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello and Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, briefing journalists on Nelson Mandela’s death, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Kogi gov, a visionary leader, says World Bank From Omale Adama, Lokoja


he World Bank, through its representative in Nigeria, has described Kogi state Governor, Captain Idris Wada, as one of the visionary leaders the Nigerian country has ever had. The Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly stated this yesterday when she met the governor to devise the best ways the World Bank

can assist the state in areas of infrastructural development. The meeting, which was at the instance of the World Bank, aimed at building a strong home grown development agenda between Kogi state and the Global Bank. Expected to be a continuous one, the meeting will soon witness a repeat visit of the Country Director to Kogi state. It would be recalled that some few weeks ago, Marie-

Nelly and other officials of the World Bank visited the state to ascertain government claims of ongoing projects and inspect them at their various sites. Governor Wada had earlier commended the World Bank for its assistance to Kogi state. The governor said his vision was to develop the agricultural sector in the state, just as he assured that his administration will remain focused.

igeria’s first High Commissioner to postapartheid South Africa, Ambassador Shehu Malami, in his tribute to the late President Nelson Mandela, said “Nigeria [has] lost a dedicated friend and admirer and I have personally lost a great benefactor uncle.” Ambassador Malami, who is also the Sarkin Sudan of Wurno, noted: “Mandela was always courteous and graceful. He was forever grateful to Nigeria for what Nigeria did to him, to his ANC and Southern Africa as a whole.” According to the former envoy, the late Mandela “passionately believed in the Nigerian leadership of Africa. He [was] never tired of remembering the monetary contributions Nigerians made for liberation movements, involvement of the Nigerian Air Force flying-in needed supplies, scholarships to South Africans and giving succour to the ANC refugees like Thabo Mbeki. The Sarkin Sudan of Wurno declared that it was his intention to travel to South Africa to attend Mandela’s funeral and express his sympathies to members of the late president’s family.

Buk commences 20 new regular, distance learning programmes


ice-Chancellor of the Bayero University Kano (BUK), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, has announced that the University would commence seven new degree programmes by the next academic session. He also said BUK would start

thirteen new degree programmes under its distance learning programme in 2014. Professor Rasheed made these announcements to BUK alumni during their national convention held at the university’s convocation arena.

A statement signed by Iliyasu Dhacko said the VC expressed the hope that the new leadership of the Alumni Association would complement the efforts of the University Management toward lifting the institution to greater heights.

At the convention, a former Registrar of the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, Mallam Datti Usman was elected president of the BUK alumni association, while Barrister Mike Anache emerged National Legal Adviser.



NYG to serve as a pool for elite sports- Abdullahi Stories by Albert Akota


he Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi has assured Nigerians that talents discovered at end of the ongoing National youth Games (NYG) will be groomed. The minister, who stated this yesterday while visiting the sporting venues of the NYG, said that the discovered athletes will move from one level to another until they reach their optimal level where they can serve as a pool of athletes to represent the country at international tournaments. “The encouragement was the support received from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to organize this type of games that will bring together thousands of our budding youths from different parts of the country to

participate and compete against one another, “he said. The first point of call was the Velodrome at package A of the Abuja national stadium where he joined several other spectators to watch the Boxing event; the match between Duniya Hammed of Kastina State and Bulius Enoch of the FCT in the 52-54kg weight category. The next point of call was the Weight-lifting gymnasium where he watched the Parapower lifters doing their preliminaries. The Minister commended Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to grassroots sports development part of which he said gave birth to the national youth games. Speaking on the issue of screening, the minister noted that issues bothering on age limit will arise, adding that the

most important thing however is to ensure that any athlete competing in the competition is actually under 17. “If we have any athlete above this age bracket competing, no matter how good the athlete is in the games then the purpose of the games would have been defeated”. He further said that the screening exercise is to check the influx of overage athletes stressing that at any point of competing that once there is any reasonable ground to doubt the age of an athlete that athlete will automatically be disqualified. He said that the Commission will continue to be strict on the issue of screening saying that the NSC is building a stock of athletes that would eventually form the bulk of the nation’s pool of athletes for international competitions.

Bolaji Abdullahi

Eagles battle gruelling schedule in Brazil Plateau state weightlifters


frican champions, Nigeria will battle potential exhaustion from extensive travel during the group stage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup finals in Brazil. The Super Eagles will face Group F opponents, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina in Curitiba, Cuiabá and Porto Alegre respectively. Stephen Keshi’s men will make a trip of 1,726 kilometres

Moses in action

from Curitiba (venue of their first group game against Iran on June 16) to Cuiabá where they will take on BosniaHerzegovina in their second group game on June 21. Four days later, the Nigerian contingent will then embark on an even longer journey that will involve the navigation of 2,145 kilometres from Cuiabá to Porto Alegre where they will be saddled with the task

of stopping the Lionel Messiinspired Argentina. Overall, the Nigerian team will be expected to cover 3,871 kilometres for their group games alone. In 2010, the Nigerian team covered just 950 kilometres for their three group games against Argentina, Greece and South Korea in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban respectively. Meanwhile, Super Eagles midfielder, Sunday Mba acknowledges that the trips in Brazil will be grueling but does not believe it will adversely affect the players. “We players are used to such things and I can tell you that when you play at the World Cup, you don’t really worry about these type of things. Also, we are not the only team that will travel for long distances at the tournament so it’s really not such a big deal,” he told Nigeria’s first game at the 2014 World Cup finals is on June 16 against Iran at Arena da Baixada, Curitiba. Five days later, the African champions face BosniaHerzegovina at the Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá before rounding off their first round campaign against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Argentina at the Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre on June 25. The Super Eagles have never gone beyond the second round of a World Cup.

disrupt proceedings over teammate’s disqualification


he Plateau weightlifting team yesterday in Abuja disrupted proceedings in the female 48kg event at the ongoing National Youth Games (NYG) over a ``last-minute disqualification’’ of their athlete. The Plateau team’s supporters disrupted the competition for over an hour, insisting that their athlete be recalled to the competition. Egbo Christopher, the team’s coach, said the disqualified weightlifter had met all the requirements of the screening committee, insisting that the federation was the one that caused the problem. He said his athlete was actually 17 years old and could not be disqualified because of whatever the officials could have observed. Christopher added that the weightlifter was a medal prospect for the state in her category. “My female athlete is under-17, she passed the screening on Saturday at the stadium, and it was shocking for us to come here today to be told she would not participate, and without any reason. “But they are just scared that she will win her event, and the federation is the cause of this problem. “The painful thing is that, she is my team’s only hope for that category. I did not come with another weightlifter,’’ he said. Sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi, who interrogated the girl and upheld the screening committee’s verdict, to quell the uproar. Abdullahi had insisted that even

if an athlete had scaled through the screening procedure, he or she could still be disqualified at any point in the competition. He pointed out that an athlete who had participated in a National Sports Festival (NSF) could not be under-17, saying the screening committee was right in disqualifying the athlete. “This is the first edition of the Games and definitely there will be issues about age. ``The most important thing for us is to ensure that any athlete competing in this tournament is within the age bracket. “So, if we have any athlete above 17, no matter how good the athlete is, he or she will be disqualified, because any failure to do that will be defeating the purpose of the Games. “What we agreed was that even if you escaped the screening and, at the point of competing, if there is any reasonable ground to doubt your age, you will be disqualified,’’ the minister said

Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang




Minister pays Wizkid N3m to play for 10 minutes at NYG Opening Stories by Albert Akota


he Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Bolaji Abdullahi again, displaying extravagant spending at the opening ceremony of the National Youth Games (NYG). The opening ceremony which was scheduled for 2.00 pm on Sunday did not start until 4.00 pm, featuring the popular musician, Wizkid who was said to have been paid N3 million to entertain the guests and athletes. Surprisingly, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid mounted the stage immediately after the first half ended but only played for 10 minutes.

However However, those who thought they will enjoy his music after the end of the opening match between Oyo State and Abia State were wrong. He left as soon as the match ended. Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi and NSC Director General, Gbenga Elegbeleye, are now gradually being noted for extravagant spending. Peoples Dialy recalled that the NSC spent millions to bring top musicians like Ice Prince, Olamide, DJ Kenny among others to perform at the re-opening of the Abuja stadium after the regressing of the main bowl pitch that gulped N97 million. Few days after the reopening, members of the House of

Bolaji Abdullahi

Representatives Committee on Sports, on oversight function lamented the huge sum spent to regrass the pitch that was said to have been badly done. “You know the Minister is a youth, in his mid-forties and he likes music. We are not surprised that he is spending millions of naira to bring young musicians to Abuja to entertain whenever he has a function in his ministry,” a stakeholder in sport who pleaded anonymity said. The National Youth Games bring together Under-17 youths from all the states of the federation with the sole aim of catching them young. Minister commends committee for screening out over-aged athletes Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi in Abuja commended the Screening Sub-Committee of the on-going National Youth Games (NYG) for thoroughly screening the athletes for the games. Abdullahi gave the commendation while speaking

with newsmen during the opening ceremony of the games at the Abuja National Stadium. He said the decision not to award medals at the competition was also part of moves to discourage desperate sports officials who might want to win by all means. “If we allow athletes over the stipulated age to participate, that will defeat the purpose of the games. “But what we have put in place is for every participating athlete to get a certificate of participation. This is to ensure that there will be no incentive for cheating. “It is also to ensure that contingents do not have room to bring over-aged youths into the competition,” Abdullahi said. The minister noted that the aim of the games, which was to develop athletes, would be defeated if medals were introduced to it, as participants would ensure they won at all cost. The screening committee appeared to have been thorough in

its job following Abdullahi’s directive on strict compliance with the age requirement. More than 20 states were affected by the development, including Osun’s table tennis team and Delta’s powerlifting team, as their key athletes were disqualified from the games. The screening exercise also affected Abia which lost more than five players in its football team following their disqualification. The committee had screened out most of the over-aged athletes on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8 to ensure compliance with the games’ age requirements. The sports being competed for at the games are boxing, badminton, handball, squash, taekwondo, track and field, weightlifting, basketball, football, para-powerlifting, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and wrestling. The games will end on Dec. 14, with the departure of athletes and officials fixed for Dec. 15.

Eagles to play March 5 pre-World Cup friendly-NFF

Eaglets star, Alampasu for Belgian club


est goalkeeper at the 2013 U17 World Cup Dele Alampasu is set to complete a move to Belgian side Genk. Alampasu, who helped Nigeria to win the U17 World Cup, has

Dele Alampasu

been invited to the home-based Eagles preparing for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) billed for next month in South Africa. The agent who brokered the deal for Alampasu, Goke Oshotoba said,”Everything has been concluded with the club but the player won’t join the team until after CHAN. “The good thing about this deal is that Genk came after the player on their own after watching him at the U17 World Cup. So, they have agreed to have him go get more experience at CHAN if he eventually makes the final squad to the Championship.” However, Oshotoba will not divulge the financial details of Alampasu’s contract. “It would not be right to give you details of the contract. When the time is right we will let all that out but now all I can confirm to you is that Dele Alampasu has agreed to join the Belgian side Genk.

Eagle’s last friendly was against Italy last month


he Super Eagles will kick off their World Cup build-up with a friendly on March 5 in Europe, officials said. However, an opponent has yet to be named. “We will make use of the first FIFA friendly window on March 5 and so play a friendly in Europe,” general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),

Musa Amadu said. Amadu also disclosed that the NFF will hope to soon conclude on major decisions on the preparations for the World Cup. “Issues like the training base and opponents for friendly matches will soon be decided on after last week’s draw in Brazil,” Amadu said.

Last week, a section of the media reported a major brewery was planning a friendly for the Eagles against fellow World Cup finalists England to be played in Nigeria as part of the build-up to Brazil 2014. Nigeria is drawn against Argentina, Iran and BosniaHerzegovina in the first round. They open their campaign on June 16 against Iran in Curtiba.




Brazil violence leaves Juninho in shock J uninho Pernambucano said he was left stunned by the crowd violence that marred the final day of the Brazilian league season and warned local authorities to improve security ahead of the World Cup. A man was evacuated to hospital by a helicopter that landed on the pitch, two other fans were also hospitalised after supporters of Atletico Parananense and Vasco clashed in the stands in Joinville where the match had been moved with Atletico banned from playing home games in their own stadium. The game which Atletico eventually won 5-1 to claim a place in the Copa Libertadores and consigning Vasco to relegation was stopped after just 15 minutes and held up for more than an hour before order was restored by riot police firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Former Lyon midfielder Juninho, who was under contract with Vasco this season having left New York Red Bulls but has been out since November with an injury that could lead to the 38-year-old’s retirement, said he was horrified by the scenes. The clashes in Joinville are the latest in a series of incidents at Brazilian football grounds in the year before the nation hosts the World Cup finals. A Copa Libertadores qualifying match between Gremio and LDU in January almost ended in tragedy when a safety barrier in one stand of the recently opened Arena do Gremio collapsed, while a month later a 14-year-old fan of Bolivian side San Jose was killed by a flare lit during a Libertadores clash at Corinthians. Earlier this month, part of the Sao Paulo stadium that will host the 2014 opener collapsed, killing two people and causing significant damage.


Strong emotions turned into violence at Atletico Paranaense vs. Vasco da Gama.


























UK Snooker Championship 2013: Robertson beats Selby to emerge winner


eil Robertson became only the eighth player in snooker history to win the Triple Crown with a 10-7 victory over Mark Selby at the UK Championship. Robertson, 31, fought back from 5-1 down to add the title to his World Championship and Masters triumphs. “To become the first overseas player to win all three is a fantastic feeling,” the Australian told BBC Sport.

Selby, the 2012 UK Championship winner, missed the chance to overtake Robertson as world number one. Robertson won the World Championship in 2010 and the Masters - the game’s most prestigious invitational event - at Alexandra Palace last year, while his UK Championship victory is his ninth ranking title. Robertson and Selby, 30,

had faced each other in the Masters final at the beginning of the year when Selby came out on top 10-6. And the defending UK champion, who had made snooker’s 100th maximum 147 break in the semifinal against Ricky Walden, started the match in stunning fashion, stroking in a sublime 130 clearance en route to a four-frame advantage. But Robertson, who

Neil Robertson

withstood a comeback from Stuart Bingham in the last four to reach the final, hit back with breaks of 54 and a superb 123 to stay in touch at 5-3 after the first session.

He then won three of the first four frames in the final session, including superb back-to-back centuries of 122 and 132 to restore parity at 6-6.

Gemma Steel stars turn champion at European Cross Country


emma Steel won the individual silver medal as Great Britain’s women clinched team gold at Sunday’s European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade. The 28-year-old finished four seconds behind France’s Sophie Duarte to improve on her bronze medal in 2011. Andy Vernon clinched an individual bronze to help the men’s team win overall bronze by just six points. The women’s under-23 and junior teams also won gold as Britain topped the medals table with nine in total. Emelia Gorecka, 19, won individual gold in the last race of her junior career, and said: “It was nice to sign it off and it was never going to be easy.


Steel’s gritty performance came at the end of an impressive year for the Charnwood Athletic Club runner, during which she became only the ninth UK woman to run 10km in under 32 minutes. She ran Sunday’s 8km course in 26 minutes 39 seconds, holding off Dulce Felix of Portugal in the battle for silver. Paula Radcliffe, who won individual gold medals at the European Cross Country Championships in 1998 and 2003, as well as a team gold in 2003, was impressed with Steel’s performance. Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton had been hoping for a third successive gold but had to settle for fourth place.

Woods loses to Johnson Hearn confirms Burns, Crawford WBO lightweight fight at World Challenge


ach Johnson beat world number one Tiger Woods in a play-off to win the World Challenge in California. In a remarkable conclusion, Johnson found water with his approach at the 18th before holing from the drop zone. Playing partner Woods then put his bunker escape to within four feet and made par to force a

Zach Johnson

play-off. At the first extra hole, again the 18th, Woods found sand once more with his approach and missed a par putt from five feet to hand Johnson victory. Woods was the tournament host at Sherwood Country Club and aiming to win his sixth tournament of the year, although this was not an official PGA Tour event. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, a two-time winner of the competition, was highest-placed European on five under in the 18-man event. Woods and Johnson, the world number 16, finished the regulation 72 holes on 13 under par. Woods carded a final-round 70 while Johnson fired four birdies in his last eight holes for a closing 68.


romoter Eddie Hearn says Ricky Burns will defend his WBO lightweight title against Terence Crawford in February. The unbeaten American will come to fight in Glasgow as Burns attempts the fifth defence of his belt. Coatbridge fighter Burns has not fought since breaking his jaw in a draw with Raymundo Beltran in September. Hearn says that the date will be Ricky Burns confirmed soon. Fears had been cast over in the second round, but 30-year-old Burns’s boxing fought on in a contest future following the match Beltran’s management with Mexican challenger and many other observers Beltran at Glasgow’s SECC. believed the 32-year-old Burns’s camp said their had won. fighter sustained the injury There were calls for

Beltran to be given a re-match, which Burns appeared keen to do. However, the WBO have ordered Burns to fight mandatory challenger Crawford first.



Sports P-i-c-t-o-r-i-a-l 1. Reaction to the World Cup draw from across South America has been varied 2. England captain Alastair Cook insists his side can fight back despite going 2-0 down after another emphatic Ashes defeat. 3.Liverpool’s Luis Suarez makes our elite XI after yet another fine show 4. Cristiano Ronaldo is in sight of a record goals tally for the UEFA Champions League group stage when Real Madrid visit FC Copenhagen on Tuesday, with the Portuguese fully fit after missing the last three matches.


5. Connacht earn the most famous win in their history as they stun Toulouse in Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash in France

3 2






I remain best for every league, says Robben

F How big a role would Jupp Heynckes have played in the title if you win? We won the Champions League with Jupp Heynckes, so because of that it would be his title too. What is the appeal of this tournament? It’s a contest between the best teams from every continent from all over the world. Even if football in Europe is perhaps on a different level, it’s still a great tournament to play in. It’s also a global advertisement for football. It brings different playing cultures together and that’s great. Do you remember any previous Club World Cup matches, such as those played by Feyenoord or Ajax? I think Ajax won the Champions League once and then beat a Brazilian team in the Club World Cup. I was still a kid then, but it was very special because a Dutch team was playing in the tournament. I was about ten years old, and the idea of being a world champion was massive to me at that age. Is the tournament also important as a global advertisement for FC Bayern? Yes, of course. Our success last year was a great advertisement for the team, but this would definitely be a bonus. We really want to show what we’re capable of there, and that can only be a positive thing for the club and all its players. FC Bayern has become a global brand, much more so now than a couple of years ago. Have you noticed an increase in interest internationally? I’ve definitely noticed that. It has a lot to do with our successes last season but also those of previous years, when you look at our performances. The whole club has made such great strides in recent years, so it’s normal to expect people to take notice. Has the image of the club also changed during that time? I noticed it a little in Holland too. Ten years ago, Bayern were

not nearly such a popular club, but since Van Gaal’s era and the period after that, things changed completely and we have a lot of fans there now. How important is it to finish the year on a high at the Club World Cup before the winter break? It’s definitely important, but if it doesn’t work out, we’ll carry on again after the break. There’ll be a lot to play for then. From March and April the next round of trophies will start to be handed out and we want to be there for that. By netting in the Champions League final you settled a score in that particular fixture. Will you settle another old score in the Brazil 2014 Final? You can’t compare the two, but if things work out, maybe I can retire (laughs). So much has to happen first for Holland to reach the Final.


ho are your favourites for the World Cup?

For me, it’s still Brazil, Germany and Spain, and there are a few other dangerous teams. I don’t think so, but I’m positive. At home, everyone wants to hear that we’ll go there and become world champions, but we’ve got to be realistic. There are some teams that are better than us right now, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s positive for us, as we can spend the next few months until the World Cup improving, taking small steps and then we’ll see what happens. Who are your favourites to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or? All of the 23 nominees thoroughly deserve to be on that list. It’s also great for Bayern that we have six players nominated; that reflects our achievements last season. In my opinion, lots of players have earned the right to win the award. For us, we won the most important title last season. To win an individual prize like this is a special honour and a huge compliment. I’m already very proud just to be among the 23 players, as it’s a great list full of great players. Ronaldo and Messi are two guys in a class of their own, but which of them will win, I don’t know.




Some Interesting Facts

hewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying! • The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher. • Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries. • Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages them. • The word “queue” is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed. • Beetles taste like apples, wasps like pine nuts, and worms like fried bacon. • Of all the words in the English language, the word ’set’ has the most definitions! • What is called a “French kiss” in the English speaking world is known as an “English kiss” in France. • “Almost” is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order. • “Rhythm” is the longest English word without a vowel. • In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging for the murder of a child • A cockroach can live several weeks with its head cut off. • Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete. • You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath • There is a city called Rome on every continent. • It’s against the law to have a pet dog in Iceland. • Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day. • Horatio Nelson, one of England’s most illustrious admirals was throughout his life, never able to find a cure for his sea-sickness.


• The skeleton of Jeremy Bentham is present at all important meetings of the University of London • Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than lefthanded people • Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, everytime you breathe! • The elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump! • One quarter of the bones in your body, are in your feet! • Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different! • The first known transfusion of blood was performed as early as 1667, when Jean-Baptiste, transfused two pints of blood from a sheep to a young man • Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails! • Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin! • The present population of 5 billion plus people of the world is predicted to become 15 billion by 2080. • Women blink nearly twice as much as men.


• Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, and had only ONE testicle. • Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible. • Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a “Friday the 13th.” • Coca-Cola would be green if colouring weren’t added to it. • On average a hedgehog’s heart beats 300 times a minute. • More people are killed each year from bees than from snakes. • The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words. • More people are allergic to cow’s milk than any other food. • Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand. • The placement of a donkey’s eyes in its’ heads enables it to see all four feet at all times! • The six official languages of the United Nations are: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. • Earth is the only planet not named after a god. • It’s against the law to burp, or sneeze in a church in Nebraska, USA. • You’re born with 300 bones, but by the time you become an adult, you only have 206. • Some worms will eat themselves if they can’t find any food! • Dolphins sleep with one eye open! • It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open • The worlds oldest piece of chewing gum is 9000 years old! • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds • Queen Elizabeth I regarded herself as a paragon of cleanliness. She declared that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not • Slugs have 4 noses.

Say what?


‘The knight and his steed’: This photograph by Nicolas Reusens Boden, from Sweden, shows a redeyed tree frog on the back of a beetle. Source:

. . . putting the people first



Ambrose laid ambush against Barcelona in CL clash


fe Ambrose has said Celtic is highly charged to go all out and win Barcelona as a reward to their fans. Despite the fact that Celtic are currently placed bottom of their UEFA Champions League group and have no hope of remaining in Europe no matter the outcome of the match. The Nigeria international said: “We know we were not at our best in the Champions League this time but football does not always work out the way you plan. “The important thing was we made it to the group stage and fought hard. “It is a special game when you play in the Nou Camp at any time. We want to go there and put a smile on the faces of our supporters. “We know we are not going through but we want to give them something back and hopefully get a result.” The 25-year-old defender said he believes a lack of clinical edge has ensured there will be nothing at stake in the Nou Camp, where he’s aiming to go one better than the 2-1 defeat last term. “I believe we’ve created more chances in the group than we did last season but we couldn’t convert them at important times,” said Ambrose, who scored his first league goal this season at the weekend. “That’s the difference. We played well at the Nou Camp last season and were very unlucky to lose late on. It is a stadium where you want to play well and we’re in great form at the moment.” CL today’s matches Benfica v PSG Munich v Man City FC København v Madrid Galatasaray v Juventus Man United v Donetsk Olympiakos v Anderlecht Real Sociedad v Leverkusen Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moscow


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QUOTABLE QUOTE You know in politics, you don’t wait for too long. It is better we participate in the 2015 elections rather than wait. I can assure you that we will reject the 6-year Single term proposal roundly. As Governors, we are not ready to support it. – Govs to Senator Ekweremadu

Single term proposal: PDP’s last straw?


eputy Senate President (DSP), Ike Ekweremadu, is, by the virtue of his position in the Senate, in the topmost bracket of “big men” in the land. He is Number Five on the national protocol list, a position that gives him a weighty voice in our affairs. Last week, talking to a select group of reporters in Lagos where he had gone as part of an official tour to give a situation report on the constitution amendment process, the DSP, who is chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Constitution Amendment, tried to reopen the issue of a single tenure for the president and governors, which had earlier been rejected by both his committee and the whole Senate. Now, Ekweremadu wants the National Assembly to raise and pass motions for a re-consideration of this already settled issue, and the adoption of another “doctrine of necessity” that will give the incumbent president and state governors additional two years in office from the end of their tenure in 2015, thereby substituting, as from 2017, a six-year single term regime for the four-year two-term arrangement currently provided in the constitution for such elected officials. This, the DSP believes, will heal the wounds, usher in a new era of peace, and put paid to the rancour and crises that attend elections in the country, which he believes are at the root of all our problems. The DSP believes that the quest for second term by the incumbent elected officials is the bane of the tension and crisis in the polity. Remove the second term provision and the problem is solved. QED! This ban-the-second-term idea is neither new nor friendless. Its history is as long as its advocates are many and varied. In fact, the DSP must be said to be in a fairly big company, whic includes many of the top elites from his Ibo constituency and the presidency itself which, no sooner than the 2011 election was over and Jonathan was sworn in started an open campaign for the adoption of the single-term arrangement. But this is precisely why we should worry. This is why this country deserves the concern and pity of those who love it and want to see its progress. For, where is the hope when the highest echelon of leadership in the country, whether out of genuine convictions or for self-serving purposes, canvass and push ideas that are not grounded on a good and proper understanding and appreciation of our history and its lessons? How can Nigeria make any significant progress when those who lead it, either out of sheer laziness or the inability to think clearly and deeply, always

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim

DSP Ike Ekweremadu proceed on their tasks armed only with faulty and jaundiced perspectives and unclear understanding of the problems at hand? This, plus greed, is the main reason why, many of the decisions fashioned to address important matters can only be described as almost touchingly illiterate, our development is not well planned, opportunities and turns that can lead to greatness are often missed and the nation keeps punching well below its weight. Our history, as far as the issue of tenure elongations or any changes that work to prolong the incumbent officials’ stay in power, is very clear and instructive and it is that any attempt by any leader to overstay his welcome in office invariably meets with spontaneous and stiff opposition from all corners of the country. We may be a nation where only a very few, if any, things are settled, but on this issue of opposition to any attempt by the leaders, military or civilian, the vast majority of peor cle are firmly agreed. In fact, this is the one thing that shouts back to us loudest from across the little over five decades of our history as an independent country. Of course, ours is a free nation where every citizen is entitled to hold and impart opinions. But in particular those who lead, those who seek our mandate on the basis that they have what is required to take the nation from a bad to a much better place, must show by superior reasons and arguments why any changes they want to make or new things they want to introduce is to be

preferred to what obtains. Unfortunately, there has been none of this so far. In the case of the single term issue in particular, almost all the advocates seem to be drawing from the same stagnant pool of ideas. The single term advocates ascribe almost magical powers to the arrangement. They claim it can bring about significant reduction in the cost of election, douse tension and eliminate rancour in the polity. But they do not advance in support of all this any cogent arguments or credible evidence that are convincing. In fact, the arguments they advance betray on their part a gross and almost incurable misunderstanding of the real nature and fundamental causes of our political problems. They fail to see in particular that if under their single tenure arrangement an incumbent governor is barred from seeking reelection, his party will be no less interested in retaining its power in the state and will do just about anything and spend any amount to do so. There is individual incumbency and there is party incumbency, and the one is no more or less likely than the other to lead to problems, depending on the forces and factors in the polity. And if performance is, as it should be, a major consideration, isn’t it much more logical to assume that the governor who eyes a second term has more incentive than the one that does not to post an impressive scorecard that can earn him a re-election? In any case, while the two-term regime gives the voters a certain measure of hold on the leaders who one day must come back to them seeking their support and votes, which is the real essence of democracy, the single term arrangement gives the electorate no such control. It leaves them entirely at the mercy of the leaders who, as we all know, may sometimes be irresponsible. It is in effect, antipeople and anti-democracy. More importantly, the problems sigle term advocates want to avid by their proposal are merely the symptoms of a much deeper malaise: the unjust system we run, the inequalities in the country, the greed, inanities and tedious divagations of the politicians,

the corruption in the polity, etc But, of course, this latest attempt to get from the backdoor what could not be gotten from the front door is hardly about logic and fine arguments. Given the timing and circumstances of EKweremadu’s proposal, it seems that what is at stake, in short, what is of the essence in this whole affair is survival. Not so much the senator’s individual political survival as that his party. Consider the situation. The All Progressives Party has come on the scene, enjoying a somewhat enthusiastic welcome among the people and especially the radical elements in the country, presenting an alternative platform, posing a real threat to the Peoples Democratic Party, its numbers swelled by the recent merger with the new PDP, and clearly seems poise to keep growing at the expense of the PDP. The PDP, on the other hand, is embroiled in internal crises and losing support and members fast. APC’s gains are its losses. The configuration of forces in the polity is changing fast, to the PDP’s disadvantage. Ekweremadu, as DSP, is a major stakeholder in the PDP. To be fair to the man, he has been a consistent advocate of the single term. But as chairman of the Senate’s constitution amendment committee he must have known and felt, first hand, just how averse Nigerians are to the idea of tenure extension or single tenure. It seems to me, therefore, that if it cannot be said that in re-opening the issue he is only doing his party’s bidding, it will be farfetched to say that there is a convergence of interest that makes the DSP a good choice who is willing and happy to be doing what he is now doing. Now he is flying his party’s kite, hopping, in good time and things work out well, to be rewarded with its ticket to fly at the governorship in Enugu State. For the PDP, the proposal is, in an expression of desperation and a desire t quickly halt a trend that, left unchecked, can easily put paid to its almost 13-year dominance. In a sense, therefore, the DSP’s proposal is one of the few remaining straws that the PDP is trying to catch to stay afloat. And the idea is to use the 2-year transition period the DSP has proposed to, draw out and wear down the APC, exploit to the fullest the opportunities afforded by its control of the state and our resources to strengthen its hand, to see to it that the novelty of the APC among the people is worn out and slow the momentum toward change. It remains to be seen how things will work out, and in whose favour.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234 814 292 9046. Cell: +234 802 443 2099; 803 7007 759. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 10, December, 2013