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RABIUL AWWAL 19 - 20, 1433 AH


How Kabiru Sokoto was re-arrested — Page 3

“I want to go to hell”

—Ex-Catholic leader

— Pages 9, 10 & 11

Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State (left) in a handshake with the National Chairman of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu at the opening of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting at the ANPP National Secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.




Kids who pedal seven kilometres to school everyday

With or without fuel subsidy Mmesoma and Melody are set to go By Richard Ihediwa


t a time their contemporaries in Abuja, Lagos and other major cities in the country ride on air conditioned buses to school with knapsacks filled with all sorts of confectionaries, these kids in a village near Aba in Abia state, pedal about six kilometres on bike everyday to and from school. Eight years old Mmesoma and his sister, five years old Melody, do not have anything of such privileges. To them, the painstaking pedalling on the rough road to school is the luxury as there are many other less fortunate children, their age, who go the same distance to school on foot. The kids who interestingly bear the same surname- Ihediwawith the reporter narrated that

Mmesoma engaging the road

before the old bicycle came their way; they actually made it to school on foot. “Before they gave us the bicycle (they, referring to their parents), we sometimes trek back from school when we don’t have money to pay for commercial motorcycles. Our mother will take us to school on her bicycle and we will trek back home after school”, the boy said. The distance between Mmesoma’s village and his school near Aba main town is a little above three kilometres and the kids have to ride about seven kilometres every day on the bike to and from school. With pain mixed with calm adventure, Mmesoma, beamed with an innocent smile as he recalls the ordeal he faces with his sister every school day. According to him, the onus of

riding to school fell on him when his ten year old elder brother who used to carry them on the bike went to live with their aunt in Nsukka, Enugu state last year. Mmesoma recounted as his sister held tightly to the bicycle with one hand and her brother’s school bag with the other, that they had fallen many times especially on muddy or sandy parts of the road. During such occasions they sustained minor bruises. “We used to fall. We have fallen many times and we used to have injuries on our legs”, he recounted. He however, assured that he has mastered the road which is also plied by motorcycles, cars and lorries especially those going to the popular Ekeakpara Market in Aba. He disclosed that he rides on the edge of the road to avoid being hit

by a motorcycle or a car. Mmesoma, who is in primary four, said the major challenge is having to ride on sandy road during the dry season as well as muddy and slippery road in the rainy reason. He said riding in the rainy reason is very tough as the road was always flooded. Sometimes, they fell in the mud and to avoid such he has to come down and drag the bike along until they were clear of mud. During the dry season, Mmesoma, said one of the biggest challenge was when one encounters a speeding vehicle which usually raises dust. “Dust will cover your eyes, your nose, your mouth and everywhere,” he said smiling. It takes Mmesoma and his sister, who declined to speak throughout the encounter about 45 minutes to get to school given the rough road and the fact that they take some minutes to rest during the journey to and fro school. By the interaction, it was clear that the kids were finding it difficult to cope with studies. Mmesoma said they were always tired by the time they got to school. They get to school late and he often sleeps off in class. He also confirmed that his grades were not usually good. When jokingly asked what type of food they had in their school bags, Mmesoma said they had their school books but no food. According to him, they were always given N10 or N20 to buy biscuit, which they shared for lunch. Mmesoma said he likes the bicycle but would prefer going on motorcycle or car. He said his father used to take them in his car before it got bad because of the bad road.

Jolly good ride to school

Asked if their school has a school bus, he answered in the negative but recalled that he has seen some school buses on the road near the town. Mmesoma, who said he likes school but preferred that it was nearer, could not tell what he wants to be in the future as he smiled shyly when that question was posed to him. However, he said his sister wants to be a nurse when she grows up. Effortlessly but carefully , Mmesoma levelled his bike on the earth road; he told his sister to hold on tight; putting his left foot on the corresponding pedal, he pushed gently, then nudging forward, the bike rolled on as he levels the other leg and sped off to school. Even when the reporter waved and shouted a loud “bye bye”, the kids could not wave back as they had to concentrate on clinging to the “metal horse” as the bicycle is called in the Igbo speaking south east. In all, the ordeal passed by Mmesoma and Melody as well as many other children their age across the country is largely unacceptable in the 21st century Nigeria at the time children should have access to school a short working distance from home. It is appalling to note that in a state like Abia with its very high internally generated revenue and huge federal allocation, children cannot still go to school with ease. The Government in that state, and of course, all states of the federation where children still go through such painful ordeals should wake up to their responsibilities in the general interest or else Mmesoma and his contemporaries would not forgive them for not setting good examples for our leaders of tomorrow.



How Sokoto, Xtmas day bomb suspect was recaptured …as sect denies NTA video By Julius Ogar with agency reports


scaped suspected Boko Haram operative, Kabiru Umar (aka Kabiru Sokoto), was yesterday re-arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) working with other security agencies. Kabiru is said to have been rounded up in a hut where he was hiding with his brother. The spokesperson for the SSS, Mrs Marilyn Ogar, told newsmen in Abuja on Friday that Kabiru Sokoto, was arrested at MutumBiyu in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba at about 4.30 am. Sokoto was being sought for allegedly masterminding the bombing of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger state on Christmas day, 2011. It was gathered thatofficers arrested Sokoto as he hid behind a clothesline at a home in the state. Briefing newsmen on how he was re-arrested, Ogar said Sokoto had earlier taken refuge in Umaisha town in Toto Local

Government Area of Nasarawa state before he fled to Taraba. According to her, “Kabiru Sokoto was picked up from where he was hiding in a clothes rack at the residence of an accomplice. On his escape, he had taken refuge at Umaisha in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State before he fled to Taraba where he was eventually re-arrested,’’ she said. Ogar did not name the accomplice or say whether they had the accomplice also in custody. Giving details in Sokoto’s identity, Ogar said the 29-yearold suspect was born to the family of Umaru Jabbi of Gagi village in Sokoto South Local Government Area. She explained that upon the death of his father, the suspect’s uncle, Abubakar Dikko, adopted him and gave him his name. Ogar further stated that the suspect, who completed his secondary education in 2003, was admitted to the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Sokoto, and described him as a “truant with extremist tendencies” before she was declared a leader

INEC ready to conduct todays NASS re-run election in Nasarawa From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is ready for today’s re-run election in Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency in Nasarawa state. Elections would be conducted specifically in Odu and aAkum wards in Nasarawa LG and two units in Toto LG, the commission today. INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Nasarawa, Ahmad Makama, who stated this

also assured that the commission is fully mobilised to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the area. He said that the commission has since last week distributed non sensitive materials while the sensitive materials had followed two days ago. Five political parties are to participate in tomorrow's re-run election, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), being the major contenders.

of the Boko Haram sect in Sokoto in February, 2009. Reports as at yesterday, indicated that Sokoto had been flown back to Abuja, from where he had escaped from police custody in the first instance. Police named Sokoto, an alleged member of the Boko Haram, as the prime suspect for the Dec. 25 bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, which killed about 40 persons. Sokoto's escape just a day after his arrest caused a national embarrassment and became part of the chain of events that led to the forced retirement of former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Ringim. Meanwhile the sect has continued to deny a video aired on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), purporting to be prepared for dialogue and naming four representatives with whom the government could negotiate. A statement by the sect’s spokesman, Abul Qaqa, denied that the persons who had spoken in the video were members of the group or known by it.

PENGASSAN threatens to shut oil and gas operations By Richard Ihediwa

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Rivers State government and the management of Vam Onne Nigeria Limited, to settle the lingering industrial relations crisis in Vam Onne or have all oil and gas operations in the state shut down indefinitely. The oil workers on Friday accused the company of collaborating with some politicians, including the Deputy

Again Boko Haram, Police clash in Kano From Bala Nasir, Kano


h e Police and gunmen suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect yesterday engaged in a shootout when the gunmen attacked a police post in the Old

Shagari Quarters in the Kano metropolis. Sources said the shootout lasted for over 20 minutes before the gunmen withdrew. Following the recent destruction of some other police stations in the recent attacks by the sect, some police

Kabiru Sokoto in Police custody yesterday

units were sent to the post at the Old Shagari Quarters where they were also attacked yesterday. As at press time, it extent of the attack was not known as the police has yet to make pronouncement on the attack. However, sources said there were no casualties in the attack.

Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Leyii Kwanee to sponsored thugs to assault the members and disrupted the peaceful protest by Port Harcourt PENGASSAN against the Management of VAM Onne Nigeria Limited. In a petition addressed to the Governor Rotimi Amaechi, dated February 8, 2012 and signed by the Assistant General Secretary, PENGASSAN Port Harcourt Zone, Comrade Sunday Onyemachi, the workers said, “As a result of this development, our National Secretariat has directed that, after seven days, with effect from February 9, 2012, there will be a complete shutdown of all oil and gas operations in Rivers state. The petition read in part, “It is pertinent to stress that the Country Manager of Vam Onne Nigeria Limited, Mr. Eugene Fogli engages in anti-union activities ranging from intimidation, harassment, lockout, victimization and enslavement of Nigerian workers, flagrant abuse of our extant labour laws, and release of Nigerians from

employment without clearance from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and more importantly refusal to honour agreement which was held at the instance of Prince of Onne Community, Prince Dr. Jime Osaronu and Mr. Sunday Dudu, at a meeting between the Association and the Management which was held on November 15, 2011 at Novotel Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. “The harassment of our members by these thugs place in the presence of the policemen detailed to monitor our peaceful exercise which commenced on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. The State Security Services (SSS) Onne were also aware of this ugly development. “ The union said that since the thugs were armed and had assaulted some of its members, they had to leave the scene to avoid any bloodshed, adding that Fogli has started recruiting new staff to replace PENGASSAN members who were locked out because they exercised their fundamental rights to belong to trade union.



Bayelsa election to go on, Court, INEC declare By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


federal high court in Abuja sitting before Justice Donatus Okoronkwo, yesterday, said it did not grant any order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from going ahead with the conduct of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa state. This is just as INEC yesterday in a statement said the election will hold today noting that it was not served any court notice to shelve the poll. Justice Okoronkwo in his ruling also stated that he did not order INEC to appear before it to show cause why the court will not stop it from conducting the Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa state. The judge stated this while reacting to media reports that he issued an order stopping the Bayelsa election as well as ordering the electoral body to appear before him yesterday to show cause why he should not grant the exparte motion brought before him by the governorship candidate of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), Chief Kenneth Gbaliga Gbalikuma, seeking an order stopping the conduct of the election by the electoral body. The judge ordered the media organisations that reported the erroneous story to publish a retraction and correct the misinformation. However, the electoral body in the statement signed by the Kayode Idowu, Press Secretary to its Chairman said it was fully mobilised for the election today. “INEC wishes to make clear that as at today, Friday, September 10, 2012, it has not been served with the said orders. By all means, the Commission is law-abiding by character. But it cannot act on orders of the Court that it has not been served. “It is hereby restated therefore that the Governorship Election in Bayelsa State will hold as scheduled. The accreditation of registered voters will begin at 8a.m. in Polling Units across the state as planned,” the statement reads.

L-R: The Secretary, Home Economic Teachers Association of Nigeria (HETAN) Abuja chapter, Mrs. Lilian Chukwuedo, Vice President, HETAN, Tabitha Percy and President HETAN, Mrs. Eucharia Onyebuchi, during the HETAN post conference workshop in Abuja yesterday.

Jigawa guber: Supreme Court upholds Lamido’s election By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Supreme Court yesterday upheld the election of Alhaji Sule Lamido as the governor of Jigawa state in the April 2011 governorship election in the state. In a short unanimous judgement, the apex court upheld the judgements of the Jigawa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal which had earlier dismissed the petition filed by the Jigawa state

chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar against governor Lamido of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lacking in merit. The court held in the judgement that Governor Lamido is qualified to contest the governorship election in the state, pointing out that the appellants failed to prove that the certificates the governor used for the election were forged. According to the justices of

the apex court, the appellants did not show any evidence to prove the allegation of the non compliance to the provisions of the Electoral Act which they alleged in their appeal. The court therefore affirmed the judgements of the election tribunal in Jigawa state and that of the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal which upheld the election of Governor Lamido. Reasons for arriving at the judgement, the court said, will be given on February 24, 2012. The Court of Appeal had, in its judgement held that the

tribunal had followed the right path as at the time frame of 180 days within which it closed the case, adding that allegation made by the appellants that Sule Lamido was not eligible to contest the April 2011 governorship election due to lack of qualification, was an issue that had no relation with the appeal. When contacted, the counsel to the first and second respondents, Governor Sule Lamido and PDP, Barrister Offiong Offiong, described the judgement as a victory to the Nigerian judiciary.

ANPP lifts suspension on Kogi guber candidate, chairman Inaugurates Sokoto campaign c’ttee By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has lifted its suspension of the party’s governorship candidate in Kogi state, Obollo Okpanachi, and the state chairman of the party, Patrick Daudu. In a communiqué issued at the end of its National

Executive Committee meeting held yesterday in Abuja, the party said the decision was based on the recommendation by the disciplinary committee set up to review their alleged anti party activities prior to the Kogi election. According to the communiqué, “the committee recommended their reinstatement having satisfied itself that both party leaders

have shown remorse for their actions and pledged to turn a new leaf accordingly”. The NEC further ratified the nomination of Tijani Musa Tumsah, as the national secretary of the party, replacing Shettima Lawan Ali, who resigned the position to serve the Yobe state government. In another development, the national chairman of the party, Ogbonnaya Onu, has inaugurated a 24-man Sokoto

State Gubernatorial Election Campaign Committee, headed by the Yobe state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam. In his acceptance speech, Gaidam pledged to work together with other members of the committee to secure victory for the ANPP candidate in Sokoto polls. Other members of the committee include: Senators Kabiru Gaya, Bukar’Abba Ibrahim, Abdukadir Jajere, Mohammed Lawal, among others.

Court summons EFCC officials over Daniel’s trial From Dimeji Kayode, Abeokuta


gun State High Court hearing a 43-count charge against former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel yesterday, ordered the appearance of two operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over alleged foreknowledge of judgment yet to

be delivered by the court. Daniel’s legal team led by Prof Taiwo Osipitan, had at yesterday’s sitting alleged the anti-graft agency officials to have aired a programme on Channels Television on January 28, 2012, which bothered on contempt and preempted the judgment of the court on the pending trial. Prof. Osipitan drew the

attention of the court to the televised programme at the resumed hearing of the ongoing corruption trial of the exgovernor, and also tendered a video which was accepted as evidence by the court. Osipitan further told the court that, the EFCC programme was an infraction that touched on the integrity and sanctity of the

judiciary. “Between the last adjourned date (January 27, 2012) and today, there was a development. The development touches on the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary. It is like a leakage of Your Lordship’s judgement’ he declared. “The EFCC went on the TV to pronounce that the application of

the defendant was frivolous. We are still arguing in court and EFCC went to Channels to say Your Lordship has overruled us. It calls to question the charge by EFCC. It is a leakage of the judgement and it is very worrisome and troubling. We must bring this before the court for necessary action.”he stressed



Why I betrayed AlMustapha —Katako Mohammed Abdul alias Katako, was the serving military officer who provided the evidence that led to the death sentence on the CSO to the late Military Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha over the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. However, in this interview with Edwin Olofu, he opens up on what actually led to his testimonies saying he was compromised.


ho is Mohammed Abdul? My name is Mohammed Abdul (Alias Katako) I’m a serving soldier with Nigeria Army Unit 313 Artillery Regiment in Minna in Niger state You were a witness in the Kudirat Abiola case. What is your reaction on the recent death sentence by hanging of Major Hamza Al- Mustapha? I know the judgment is not right and is not correct. It was not just. I was part of the trial right from the beginning. I gave evidence in the court twice. In the first evidence I gave, I lied and in the second evidence, I gave I told the court the truth about what happened. Contrary to my first evidence, the day that incident happened, I was not even in Lagos I was in Azare town in Bauchi state. That was the day I got married. That was the 4th of June 1996. I didn’t know how it happened, but later there was an arrangement between myself, sergeant Rogers and government officials to lie in the court. The first time I was arrested I was not introduced to Major Al-Mustapha’s case. After several months in detention and after undergoing many procedures of torture and suffering, I was asked to testify against Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abacha. What happened after that? Let me narrate to you how it all happened, I was working in the annex of the Dodan Barrack when the then OC, SSS called me and said that he will come and pick me so that we go to the airport to pick some dignitaries. I told him my location and he came and met me. On our way, he said we should stop over in the SSS headquarter to refuel our car. I remarked that they don’t give fuel there and besides that it was late. He said there was a special arrangement for us. I said ‘ok’. When we got there, he said that we should go and say hello to the boss but I declined. He insisted and we went and after exchanging banters he told the boss that he has brought me. At that point I was shocked. The boss said I should remain and he left me there. I was asked to go and wait in an office. I waited there for three days without anybody talking to me. That was

Mohammed Abdul

how my journey into detention started. I was subjected to all manners of ill-treatments. At a point, I was asked to implicate Mohammed Abacha, because I was told that they wanted to collect money from him and I was promised to be given 10% of any amount they collected from him. They also promised to buy me a house and at the end of the trial I will be taken out of the country. So, that was the arrangement. Sergeant Rogers was present, the former Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Rtd Colonel Kayode Are, former Minister of Justice, late Bola Ige, former Commissioner for Justice in Lagos, Professor Yomi Oshibajo and his deputy Arthur Owerri were present. It was in the presence of these people that they promised us. And out of these they only bought house for me. So they bought the house for you? Yes; but at the end of the day

my conscience didn’t allow me to continue lying. That was why when I went to the court the second time, I told the judge the truth about what happened. But to my greatest surprise I heard a different judgment and they sentenced him to death. I have been worried. I have not been able to sleep since the day I heard this judgment. That is the reason I made up my mind to meet you and have this interview so that the world will

hear the truth from me at least to clear my conscience. I need to be free with myself and my God because I know I have put a lot of people into pains and I am not happy. That is the major reason why I am granting you this interview. Can you make yourself clearer, you said your testimony was against Mohammed Abacha, where is the connection to Al Mustapha’s case?

Like I told you earlier, my conscience kept on hunting me every day. I’m not feeling comfortable because I think of the hereafter not what I will gain here in the world. Because on the Day of Judgment, as a Muslim, I know I will be asked about all my deeds in the world.

Yes. You know I was asked to testify against Mohammed but later I was used again to do so against Al-Mustapha. I was told that if I cooperate, the promise will be fulfilled. I and Rogers sat again with them. I was thought to say I was among the team that killed Kudirat Abiola and that I was the person that drove the car. I agreed and a statement was written in the SSS office in Abuja on my behalf and I signed. At the end of the day when we went to court we told the judge all the lies but afterward nothing came out of the promises that were made. My conscience keeps pricking me every day. I told myself that as a Muslim I was not supposed to be bothered with the things of this world but what will be in the hereafter. I decided to repent and stop lying. So when I went to the court the second time, I told the judge the truth of the matter during cross examination. What is the truth of the matter? The truth is I was not in Lagos on the 4th of June 1996. I was in Azare and I don’t know what happened in Lagos that day because I was not there. You said the government made some promises, so had the government fulfilled its promises, would you have reneged on your statement? No! It is not that. Even if the promises were fulfilled I wouldn’t have changed my mind. Like I told you earlier, my conscience kept on hunting me every day. I’m not feeling comfortable because I think of the hereafter not what I will gain here in the world. Because on the Day of Judgment, as a Muslim, I know I will be asked about all my deeds in the world. I don’t need to say it myself with permission from God, the truth must be revealed. So that was why I changed my mind and decided to say the truth. What was your relationship with Hamza AlMustapha? I never work with him; I only worked with Mohammed Abacha and the only time I saw him was when he came to see Mohammed. Before the incident we have never sat to discuss with him even for once in my lifetime except in the SIP that was in the SSS headquarters. That was the first time we discussed, and before the SIP, this statement was written.



Nursing mother butchers own children to death Contributed by Kingston Obungabia , Calabar


t was a sordid site, Thursday, when a five month old baby and her two years old sister were mercilessly butchered by their own biological mother at Ikot Enebong axis of 8-miles, in Calabar municipality. The name of the five months old was given as Fedora, and her sister’s, Blessing. The woman, who was simply identified as Mrs. Temple Peter was said to have committed the act after she had allegedly hypnotized her husband into a deep sleep from about 7 am till 2.00 pm, thereby stopping him from going to work. On that fateful day, she allegedly advised the husband to

‘rest’ while she prays with the children. As the husband was ‘resting,’ she was busy smashing the baby’s tender head on the floor after successfully scraping the head with broken bottle as if she was conscripting her into the military. It was after the unwholesome deed was done that her husband, a Rivers State-born Mr. Temple Peter woke up from slumber to see his two children in a pool of their innocent blood. Our reporter who spoke to Pastor Gabriel Ojugbo of Lifeline Assembly of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and who incidentally is the family Pastor to the Peters, gathered that the mangled corpses of the two children have been deposited in

the Calabar general hospital mortuary. Pastor Ojugbo, who narrated the incredible tale to Peoples Daily said, it was at about 2.30pm that the children’s father, Temple, rushed to him, panting, to inform him that the children have been killed by their own mother. “I rushed to their apartment and what I saw was as if I was dreaming. The baby’s head was scraped probably with a broken bottle. The sitting room was messy with blood stains everywhere. “I met her on top of the two years old with her full weight, shaking the child terribly and with an open Bible close to the girl’s head, and by the time I shove her aside, we discovered the girl was stone death.

“I confronted her and she said she was trying to cast away demons from the children because any time she looks at them, she would see an old man in their eyes. She accused the husband of not being sensitive to the things of the spirit,” he told this reporter. Investigations revealed that the same implement used in scraping Baby Fedora’s head was also used by the woman to put marks around Peter’s head while he was allegedly unconscious in his bedroom. Pastor Ojugbo believed strongly that the mark was to render Peter incapable of taking any action immediately, thereby working on his subconscious mind. Meanwhile, her husband is cooling off his heels at the Cross River

State Police Command Headquarters. A police source told Peoples Daily that investigation into the gruesome killing was on-going. The source, who did not want to be named, told our reporter that even in that condition at the police custody, the “man wants his wife by his side and was always yearning for her uncontrollably”. But his wife was said to have attempted to escape after the deed, but was caught along Eta Agbor Road, behaving as a mentally deranged person. As at press time, she was said to be receiving treatment at the Psychiatric hospital, Calabar. Efforts to speak with her or the husband did not however yield fruit.

Abdulkadir Sunusi Dantata buried in Kano From Bala Nasir, Kano


u n d r e d s of people from all walks of life attended the burial of late Chairman of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Alhaji Abdulkadir Sunusi Dantata in Kano yesterday. The burial was carried out at the Dantatas in Koki at about 10am in a ceremony presided over by paternal uncle of the deceased Alhaji Aminu Dantata. The traditional three day prayers for the repose of the

deceased were conducted immediately after the burial at his Koki residence. Kano business tycoon and philanthropist, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and former military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida among other family members and business partners of the deceased observed the prayers Alhaji Abdulkadir Sunusi Dantata's corpse arrived Kano in the morning yesterday after which the burial followed immediately.

Normalcy returns to Onitsha as soldiers patrol commercial city Mourners carrying the body of the late Chairman of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Alhaji Abdulkadir Sunusi Dantata to his grave in Kano yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Nigeria set to deploy 700 soldiers to Liberia From Agaju Madugba


h e Federal Government is set to deploy another set of 700 troops from the Nigerian Army, on a peace keeping mission abroad. Last December, 800 soldiers from the 24 Battalion of the Nigerian Army were deployed to Dafur, Sudan, for peace keeping operations, under the United Nation’s Mission in Dafur (UNAMID), after a predeployment training programme at the Nigerian Army Peace keeping Centre, Jaji, near Kaduna. Speaking yesterday at the conclusion of another predeployment training for the fresh batch of soldiers who are

being deployed to Liberia, Commander of the Infantry Corps, Major-Gen. Mohammed Isah, warned the soldiers to avoid any acts that could tarnish the image of the country while in Liberia. According to him, “you must justify the resources committed on your training by the nation, by conducting yourselves professionally when you get there and try to be good ambassadors of the country. “Nigeria has made a name in peace keeping operations and I want you not only to maintain the name but improve on the credibility of what has been done before now. “I urge you to remain focused and highly professional

in the discharge of your duties. Earlier in his welcome address, Commandant of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh, noted the soldiers have been adequately prepared to face the challenges of their assignment.


o m m e r c i a l activities resumed in Onitsha, Anambra, yesterday, after Thursday’s protests against the killing of a commercial bus driver by a policeman. Soldiers from the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, began a 24-hour patrol of the commercial city to forestall further violence. Security men had taken over the security of the Onitsha Central Mosque, public installations and major buildings. It was also observed that the soldiers patrolled the

commercial city all night to ward off hoodlums and criminals. It was observed that hoodlums, who hijacked the protests, damaged some makeshift stalls and wares belonging to petty traders from the northern part of the country around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Mr. Rowland Omoteje, the acting Area Commander of the police force in Onitsha, said the killer cop, whose name he withheld, was being interrogated and would undergo orderly room trial and prosecution.

16 persons burnt to death in Benue auto crash From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ghastly motor accident along Makurdi/Otukpo road yesterday claimed the lives of 16 persons who were burnt beyond recognition. The accident occurred in Jato village, Aliade, Gwer Local Government area and

involved a Peugeot 504 station wagon car with registration number Anambra AAH 37 ABN, a bus with registration number BENUE XQ 639 MKD and a scarlet car with registration number Kano AA 74 GGW. The Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Aliade, Mr.

Patrick Ezekwe who confirmed the incident, blamed the accident on the driver of the scarlet car who was driving without headlights and in attempt to overtake the bus, collided with the wagon. Mr. Ezekwe however said two children survived the accident.



Subsidy Probe: Exposing the ‘oily’ malfeasance in the petroleum sector By Lawrence Olaoye


efore the commencement of the House of Representatives investigations into the nations’ subsidy regime beginning from 2006, there has been series of insinuations suggesting sharp practices in the nation’s oil and gas sector. In the Sixth Assembly under the leadership of Dimeji Bankole as Speaker, series of investigations were carried out both at the off-shore and onshore with far reaching r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s . Particularly, an ad-hoc committee under the chairmanship of Rep. Igo Aguma, former Chairman of House Committee on Gas conducted a probe into the management of the nation’s oil and gas revenues with a view to blocking all the perceived leakages. The outcome of the Aguma’s led investigations culminated in the introduction of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that is yet to be passed by the National Assembly. At the Aguma probe, it was discovered the nation was being seriously short-changed as facts came to the fore as the volume of crude being exported on daily basis was being grossly underreported. Volumes of crude being pumped at the well-head were discovered not being wholly delivered at the loading bay. This was even when the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the public hearing told the lawmakers that it played no role in ascertaining the volume of crude being drilled and exported daily by the Joint Venture partners. The latest inquest into the operations of the nation’s subsidy regime was triggered off with the decision of the government to withdraw the subsidy on fuel on the first day of the year. This unpopular decision was accompanied by serious public outcry necessitating the emergency plenary by Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s led House. An ad hoc committee was set up under the chairmanship of Rep Farouk Lawan charged with the responsibility of looking critically into the nation’s subsidy regime with a view to identifying the challenges facing the sector in order to ascertain the actual volume of subsidy the government pays on a liter of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and Kerosene (DPK) imported into the country. Before the constitution of the committee, there have been doubts over the veracity of the claims made by the government that it paid N1.3 trillion as subsidy for PMS imported into the country in 2011. While some maintained that the figure

Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonj-Iweala

quoted as subsidy was bogus and outrageous, others maintained that the government never paid any kobo as subsidy. This is coming on the heels of the breakdown by the former Minister of Petroleum, Professor Tam David-West, indicating that the landing cost of petrol is far below the erstwhile N65 being charged at the pump point. The general suspicion in the House was further exacerbated when lawmakers realized that the actual budgetary provisions made for subsidy in 2011 was N350 billion. About N650 billion was however expended for similar purpose in 2010. The astronomical rise in the subsidy cost in 2011 became suspicious but further information coming out of the current probe had confirmed the doubt as the total subsidy paid to the importers and oil marketers in 2011 is currently inching towards N2 trillion, the highest ever. Apart from exposing the fraud in the system, the ongoing probe has succeeded in exposing the lack of coordination among government agencies involved in the administration of the subsidy regime. Figures coming from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), fail to synchronize. This prompted the question on whether these agencies were not working at cross-purposes in the subsidy financing drama. While the NNPC maintained that the subsidy funds the

nevertheless acknowledged by the CBN when Lemo remarked that there had been less pressure on foreign exchange from the petroleum sector since the beginning of the investigations. According to him, the demand for foreign exchange from January this year had been moderate and commended the commitment of the House leadership noting that exposure of Commercial Banks to Importers of Petroleum Products, contributed to the distress witnessed in some Banks about a year ago. Apart from the financial malfeasance revealed at the probe, it was also discovered that most helmsmen of agencies are not aware of the economic realities of the country as critical agencies including the NNPC, PPPRA and PPMC could not state with accuracy the pump price of kerosene commonly used by the downtrodden in the country. While the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Austen Oniwon, told the committee that the retail price was N40.90, the official retail price of the product, even at the NNPC retail outlets all over the country is N50 per litre. The Managing Director of the PPMC, Haruna Momoh, when asked the same question, told the committee that the market price of the product in Lagos was N75 per litre and N80 in some other places but the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Reginald Stanley, disagreed as he maintained that the actual prevailing pump price of the product was N130 per litre.

government paid, including the one it deducted from source, was N1.3 trillion, Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the committee that it approved a little over N1.7 trillion. The CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who should know being the banker for the country, insisted that the actual subsidy paid so far stands at close to N2 trillion with a possibility of rising further when the bank decides to settle the outstanding Sovereign Debt Notes in favour of I8 marketers yet to be settled. The probe also exposed the alleged impunity with which those at the helms of affairs in the nation’s oil monolith, NNPC, operate. Although, the nation’s constitution mandates all revenue collecting agencies to remit funds into the government coffers for appropriation, those in the oil sector circumvent the law by directly deducting subsidy from the source without recourse to appropriation. Frantic economic arguments were proffered for the NNPC’s decision to deduct funds at source, but the committee maintained that doing so was an affront to the law and thus, an illegality. It was also discovered that the Customs charged with the statutory responsibility of inspecting imported products in the country was excluded in the oil deals. This exoneration, of course, provided the required lacuna for corruption to thrive in the system with avalanche of proofs that certain marketers and importers draw subsidy funds with falsified documents. The impact of the probe was

Stanley added that the landing cost of kerosene is N151 and the subsidized retail price is N40.90k. The PPPRA helmsman disclosed that the government pays between N105 to N112 per litre as subsidy on Kerosene imported into the country. There are suspicions however that Kerosene imported into the country is being hoarded. Some others argue that the product is being sold through an intermediary which accesses the subsidy only to resell the product to marketers who later make Kerosene available to end users at an exorbitant price. The PPPRA boss however acknowledged that there was a problem in the distribution of kerosene in the country even as he added that the same distribution template used in distributing PMS without problem, is what is being employed to distribute kerosene across the country. Asked about the distribution template, the PPMC Managing Director disclosed that 58.48% is through Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN); 25% through the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMMAN) and 16.52% through the NNPC Retail Outlets across the country. The Committee however pointed out that there was no way the product would be sold at the recommended price as the percentage accorded the NNPC Retail Outlets was too meager just as it submitted that the masses are at the mercy of business people who have the major share in the distribution chain.




“I want to go to hell!” — Ex Catholic leader *Will conduct own funeral *Says Christian preacher secretly consult him *Why Gowon was angry with him

Former Catholic Mass-server who later converted to African traditional religion, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon is now a worshipper of the Devil. In this exclusive interview with Osaigbovo Iguobaro in Benin, he bares his mind on why he worships the devil saying he has made up his mind to go to hell.


o u were a renowned Catholic now you are neck deep in a traditional religion. What happened? If you ask me if I believe in God, I will tell you “Yes and No!” I do not know the meaning of the word, God; but if it’s the God that created men and women, popularly referred to as ‘Osanobuwa’– meaning the God of heaven and earth in Bini language, then I will say yes that is if the word creation is a reality. But I do not believe in the story of creation which the Bible tells. Why? The reason was that it is very difficult for a mature mind like me to believe. The problem we have today is religion, mine is not excluded. Moreso, a lot of people who parade themselves as men of God are misrepresenting God by arrogating to themselves various titles. Those people are not preaching salvation.

In the 1980’s, a sum of $ 6,000 dollars was reportedly stolen in Vatican City where the Pope lived. I was privileged to feature on a television programme with one late Rev. Uwaifo. I asked him if there were any Ogun or Olokun priest in the Vatican City and his reply was No! So the priests in the holy City should examine themselves. Are you saying that your religion is the best? Even Christ himself knows that as a traditionalist, my name ‘Osemwegie Ebohon’ is known. I’m a High Priest and the name ‘High priest is boldly written in the bible. One day, a Christian pastor was passing in front of my house in Odenede Steet, off Alohan Street/Dumez road in Benin City. The man was holding a bible in one hand and a bell in the other. He

Pages 10,11




“I want to go to hell!”


Contd from Pg 9 started shouting my name, ‘Osemwegie Ebohon’ Jesus is calling you’. I became interested that even Jesus recognizes me either in heaven or on earth. However, I told him to allow me to investigate him because God ought to send a renowned servant of his as a messenger to come and meet me instead of sending a man in rags like him. That was what I told him. I asked him why he didn’t send the Pope but the man insisted and continued shouting that God had a message for me. He said God told him to tell me that I will leave my religion and serve him. I told him I will give him 12 strokes of the cane because he had trespassed. After that he left. I have made up my mind about who and what I want to serve and that does not include Christ. Even if everyone in Africa or the world converts to Christ, I’d rather be alone because I want to go to hell. Yes I want to go to hell. 15 years before the death of Beko Ransom Kuti, he said a similar thing. I have my reasons why I would love to go to hell. What are the reasons? I will tell you. When a thief is tied to stake in Nigeria after death sentence has been passed, ideally, he will be given three

options to determine the kind of God he would want to pray to before he is killed. From my own personal experience in life, the condemned prisoners usually prefer to pray and plead with God with the bible though he was a thief. Most of the people who looted the wealth of Nigeria were Christians and I cannot afford to stay under the same roof and worship with them because they will corrupt me. Since many of them said they are going to heaven, then, I’d rather go to hell and stay away from such people. One day, Prof. Wole Soyinka visited my cultural center some years ago when the BBC did a film on me; before he departed, he wrote on my visitors’ note, ‘I wonder why people like you can afford to stay in a country where truth is a crime’. Also two Reverend Fathers from Oxford University have written their Doctorate thesis on me and my virtues. It was said that you are already prepared for you own death and funeral. Yes. Besides, I will sit down some day and supervise my funeral. I have made all the arrangements to tell the spirit world and the living that you can grow above certain things by nature. Moreso, I am working

seriously like I said to bequit the centre including my my late father’s sanctuary for posterity and perhaps that has confirmed what I said earlier that I will preside over my funeral. When I lie on the bed of life, I will ask a medical doctor to pronounce me clinically dead. My burial rites will last for seven days, the ceremony is going to be very inexpensive. Will it be announced? Yes, everybody will be there including the Police, journalists, curators, government officials and anybody who wants to come. I know when it is going to be. But we haven’t got to the time yet. The items that are going to be used will be kept in my late father’s room. One of the items is ‘Aro-mie-Iyeke’, meaning your eyes do not see behind. So you think of the hereafter and death and judgment? Let me make it clear that I am not afraid of death. I do not want to go to heaven and there is no cause for alarm. From my understanding, there are three major cause of deaths that can take a man. Old age, accident and sickness are the known ones but they are sub-divided into 21 parts. I will go through one of them which is old age; before it will happens, I will bury myself because you can never trust man and if my children attempt to do it the other way by taking my corpse to a church, then I am sorry for them because the church will go up in flame. I’d rather prefer to be buried with a mat in a shallow grave. I do not subscribe to expensive coffin. In the late 1980’s, late Nnamdi Azikiwe once said that, ‘a time comes in a man’s life when prayers alone can no longer help him’. Therefore when I see some people gather to pray I pity them from the depth

of my heart because they do not know what they are doing. I wonder if the God they are making request in his name has gone blind, old or deafened that he can no longer hear because of the way they shout. I respect the Muslims and some Christians very much. They do not shout on their creator or their father. When my father was alive, if I shout at him, it means my end had come. If you visit my cultural centre on Sunday, you may be deafened by the noise from about six churches that surround my house. What I do not understand is whether they think that the noise could make me join them. I have gone round the churches and find out that majority of the leaders of the worship centres are hungry illiterates. So, I may be offending my ancestors if I put them out of business. So, if I have the fortune of becoming the President of Nigeria, I will sanitize the church and fix the benchmark for registration on N20 million because it has become a lucrative business in some parts of the country. What is the meeting point between faith in God and your traditional activities? There is no meeting point but you could say that there is a partial meeting point because all religions on earth are the same. Besides, the Ten Commandments in the bible have been existing in Benin kingdom since centuries ago and the same could also be said in so many other African religions. The commandments were in operations in ancient city of Benin before the British brought a bible in one hand and a gun on the other. The story of Benin massacre in 1897 is there to prove me right. If I am a traditional worshiper and I am

Ebohon’s cultural centre in Benin city

going about in the street with the crucifix of Christ, then you have to examine my brain. But you practice idolatry? Idolatry is not in my religion alone, but in the church and other forms of worship. My worry is that whenever idol is mentioned, Christians think it is applicable to worship of graven images including my humble self, which is a lie. But when you look at the dictionary meaning of idol, you will discover that there is no religion on earth which does not have idol. The White man was bent on wiping out African religion and at the same thing applies to paganism. Paganism is a relative word and if you are a Christian and you do not believe in what I believe in, then you’re a pagan to me and vis-visa. What is your attitude to the Devil? Binding and killing the Devil are common phrases used by Christians in most worship centres today; everybody is binding the Devil, yet, they are unable to kill the Devil or stop him from tormenting them. But in African religion, we do not kill Satan or Devil, rather we appeal to him (Devil), not to bring problems or scatter our heads. To give flesh to my summation, look at Job Chapter 3 which is one of the Bible books. It reads, ‘and God sat among his children and among them was Satan..’ I am not the writer of the Bible. Check, if what I just said is true. In 1994, I had the privilege as the foremost traditional worshipper and native doctor, having been a Catholic MassServer, to preach at Holy Cross Cathedral along Mission Road in Benin City. I was invited as guest speaker to talk on burial custom

Contd on Pg 11




“I want to go to hell!” Contd from Pg 9 among the Benin which lasted for three hours. At the end of the lecture, the then Archbishop of Benin Diocese, Bishop Ekpu asked one Rev. Father Theophillus Ewaenseha (retired), to move a vote of thanks. Ewaenseha threw a harmless joke to the congregation. He said ‘if every one of us in this hall can practice Christianity the way Ebohon is practising traditional religion, then there will be no problem in this country’. The congregation was quite. The clergy man echoed again, ‘If you have any objection to what I have said, please raise up your hand”, but there was a deep silence. It is said that some Christian preachers are your Clients. What is your relationship with them? Well, we have a secret relationship. They usually come in secret and sneak out in secret. However, we cannot divulge such secret because that is what we use to eat. Do your Children share the same values of life with yours as a traditionalist? Well, like every other human beings, I have problems as far as that is concerned. I made a mistake and the mistake is that I over educated my children. For instance, my first daughter has four degrees including two medical degrees. My second daughter, who is a lawyer and a pharmacist is currently doing another course in nursing.


In addition to that, my third daughter is an accountant and she is currently studying medicine at Emri University. So, how will I be able to build a bridge between myself and them? This orthodoxy is a case you and I will decide. However, occasionally, I put it to my children that I will be an honour to me as a father if any of my them will became both a medical and a native doctor. Despite their beliefs, whenever they want to eat anything, they will come and ask me whether it is proper for them to eat that or this food. However, my hope is not dash because God has blessed me with a son in-law who is a pharmacist. He has vowed to continue from wherever I stop if my children refuse to take over. What are the nature of cases the traditional courts including the one at your compound adjudicate on? We handle all manner of cases of course. The name of the court is ‘Ogua’Edion’- meaning, traditional elder’s court. Here nobody tell lies. If you do, you will be struck dead. Our Society today worships money in its diverse ways; with this comes corruption and criminality. Do you see light at the end of the tunnel? Well, unless corrupt leaders and their followers are brought to book, our problems would not be solved. There is corruption everywhere. Sometimes when you see armed robbers and

corrupt officials you begin to wonder who is worse. Whether Nigeria will disintegrate or not, there are certain things we must do. Unfortunately, the few persons who know what to do have failed to act and if Nigeria disintegrate then we must blame politicians. It is unfortunate that the ears of our leaders are full of wax that they do not listen to useful advice. There was a certain prophesy I gave several years ago, one of such was the death of Gen. Mutala Muhammed (Rtd.), I saw Mutala in the sun where there was blood. Late Ernest Ikoli came to meet me about the prophesy. A similar prediction came some years ago in this country when I said three people were going to be executed for a crime which they committed and was backdated. In addition, I said, on the day they were going to be executed, there will neither be rain nor sunshine and their government will crumble following a breach of one of the laws they made. Soon afterward, one Ogedengbe Bartholomew backdated their crimes and immediately he was made to face execution in Lagos state and there was neither rain nor sunshine on that day. Barely one week later the government of Idiagbon and Buhari crumbled. Idiagbon had made a law on that year that no child should be allowed to go to pilgrimage, yet his first son did. That was what happened. Go and check your records. Today in Nigeria, we have serious problems and we must stand up and tackle all of them. You were once a journalist. You practiced in the 70’s and 80’s alongside people like Dele Giwa. How do you see the profession today in terms of holding the government accountable and responsible? Journalism profession is fast becoming weak as the Nigerian labour in Nigeria. In 1963, I led a protest march against the ministry of education of the defunct Midwest Region. I led the women’s wing. We got to the root of the matter and their agitations were met without delay. The reason I will not blame the practitioners too much is that there is so much hunger in the country. At that time, although, I earned little, but out of the meager salary, I gave scholarships to nine persons. So a lot has changed now. There was a particular year I wrote a story about certain widow who was heavily pregnant and when it was time to deliver she was brought to Central Hospital in Benin City. As at the time the expectant mother was brought in only a


few nurses were on duty and there was not a single doctor on duty. The nurses were making frantic calls for a doctor because the woman needed a Caesarian Session. When I heard about it I went to Benin Golf Club where I meant a medical doctor and told him about the problem but he said it was none of his business. At the hospital, a black dog ran out from underneath the bed the expectant mother was laid and eventually she gave up. I wrote the story and the following day it was published on the Nigerian Observer newspaper. It was provocative. So, when the former governor of defunct Midwest region/Bendel state, Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia read the publication, he was very upset. Ogbemudia visited me in my house to confirm the veracity of the story. At about 5 o clock the following morning, the governor drafted security men to the hospital. No worker was spared including the doctors who were made to sit on the floor by the soldiers before their appointments were terminated. I never knew how an Indian couple who were on a verge of

been dismissed traced my house the following day to help save her job. Her husband attempted to bribe me but my conscience did not allow me to fall into the trap of accepting the largesse. I had a similar experience with an Iranian who came to Nigeria during the wake of the civil war. The White lady was shabbily dressed and she was with some Nigerians at the ministry of establishment who deliberately wrote their addresses on five Pounds note and give to her. When I left, I wrote the story which was typed by late Ebenezer Williams. Before, he began to type the story, he lit his cigarette. The following day, the story was published and it cause great stir in Nigeria. Consequently, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who was head of state began to rage and the reporter was threatened with sack. Yet, another of our colleague, Aloba, wrote another piece as follow up, title, ‘Fatherland in tears’ and concluded, “I have written; I cock my pen and I am waiting for the consequences.’ He was sacked as the General Manager of Midwest newspaper Corporations. So we were fearless and did our jobs to the best of our abilities.




Nigeria militants tied to government —Azazi


s l a m i s t militants behind a growing insurgency in northern Nigeria have links in government and the ability to extend their attacks to previously safe parts of the country, Nigeria's national security adviser has warned. Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people over the past year in raids on police stations, government buildings and churches in the remote north-east and the capital Abuja. But suicide attacks in recent weeks on two of the north's biggest cities, Kano and Kaduna, suggest the militants' reach is spreading, with intelligence agencies unable to keep up. "When I speak to governors, I say it possible to happen anywhere," General Owoye Azazi told the Financial Times in an interview in the capital Abuja. "These people [militants] wear shirts and trousers. They don't have marks on their heads saying Boko Haram. They look and sound like everybody." The anonymity extends to some of the movement's more powerful supporters, which is complicating efforts to stop the insurgency and hints at a political dimension to the conflict. A senator and an air force officer are among those arrested for allegedly assisting Boko Haram. "It tells you that we have them among us," General Azazi said. The rapid rise of Boko Haram, which means "western education is forbidden" in Hausa, has caused great alarm in Nigeria, where the 160m population is roughly evenly split between Christians and Muslims. While the bulk of attacks are at aimed security forces, raids on churches have led to fears that the movement is trying to spark a sectarian war. There are also concerns about ties with international terror groups. General Azazi said that security forces had recovered training manuals written in Arabic, training videos, and "martyr videos" recorded by Boko Haram suicide bombers. "I watched videos of their weapons training, which is very professional. They are also innovative in making IEDS [improvised explosive devices]," he said. "I want to believe very strongly that there is outside assistance. We are thinking of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb."

National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi

Until now, the government has tried to crush the insurgency using force. But the strategy has largely failed, and may have helped Boko Haram gain sympathy in the northeast from people already angered by perceived imbalances in the country General Azazi said that the militants easily slipped across the porous borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and admitted it was taking time for security forces to master counterterror tactics. "Crimes we were used to are armed robbery and car snatching. But Boko Haram has suicide bombers with explosives." Such tactics were employed in the attack on Kano Nigeria's second-biggest city, on

January 20. More than 180 people were killed when militants struck eight targets in a co-ordinated strike. "The attack was a big shock and a setback for us. Our feeling was … people did not expect a city like that to be attacked,"

said General Azazi. "If they can come to a place like Kano that is neutral and cause mayhem in a predominantly Muslim city ... that woke people up." Security forces subsequently arrested Abu Qaqa, the main spokesman for

General Azazi said that the militants easily slipped across the porous borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and admitted it was taking time for security forces to master counterterror tactics.

Boko Haram, in Kaduna, about 100 miles from Abuja. But in an attack that has been interpreted as a direct response, two suicide bombers in separate vehicles attempted to enter the 1st Army division headquarters in Kaduna on Tuesday. One of the bombers, wearing a military uniform, detonated his charges after guards fired at him. The other bomber was shot dead. The army reported no casualties. General Azazi said a negotiated end to the conflict was difficult, as Boko Haram's leaders remain in the shadows. "Some people say that we must reach out to them. But if you reach out to somebody 10 steps away from the centre, you are wasting your time." Source: Financial Times



S/Court ruling: Why we had problems in Kogi —House Leader Alhaji Yakubu Yunisa is the Majority Leader of Kogi state House of Assembly. In this interview with Sam Egwu, he bares his mind on a number of burning political issues in the state including the latest disagreements that trailed the ruling of the Supreme Court on the tenure of the former governor of the state.


h e recent ruling of the Supreme Court led to political friction in the state resulting in the state having two governors. How did the House look at the issue? It was hectic. I really went through one of my most harrowing moment since I became a member of the Kogi State House of Assembly in the past five years. What I went through is better imagined than experienced. This was a judgement that was not categorical. Somehow, by law, since the judgement was silent; not definite and decisive, the Speaker of the House of Assembly rightly was the person to assume the office. It was not tribal, not religion, but law. It is contained in the statute book of law that governs us as a nation. We all agree. In that confusion, the law did not realise that there was an election in Kogi state which has produced a winner and a certificate of return issued. It was the fault of judgement that kept us against ourselves. At last, reasons prevailed; that is why we are here and Governor Wada is on his seat. In fact, the opposition wanted to use that against the party to cause disaffection between the members of the great party. It was not the fault of the governor-elect; it was not the fault of the Speaker, but fault of the interpreters of the ruling of the Supreme Court. Where did you stand during the period of disagreement between the Speaker and the then Governorelect? We had a Speaker who was God fearing; who was always there for the members in the time of need; who had listening ears; who would not want any member cheated and whose humility disarms everybody. Of course the members were all there behind him. I know that the Speaker was fully aware of the loyalty and dedication of members behind him. There were no tribal sentiments. We have one political umbrella that was covering us and that is our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party had the final say in all matters that borders on interpretation. It informed the decision why we all queued behind our Leader, the leader of the honourable House of Assembly, Hon. Abdulahi Bello. You said there was no tribal sentiment but people said Justice Ibrahim Shaibu Atadoga, the President Customary Court of Appeal, an Igala, sworn-in Capt Idris Wada also an Igala person while Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, an Ebira sworn in Hon Abdulahi Bello also an Ebira. I am not a lawyer, I am a lay man on legal interpretation, ask lawyers about that. What I can say is that we have come out of the debacle and we are stronger and more resolve to work

Alhaji Yakubu Yunisa

together as a body under one party. The three big tribes in the state have never had cause to have any distrust against one another beginning from when we were a province in Kwara to now that we have our state, Kogi. One interesting thing I have come to discover is that, Kogi is blazing the trail for others to follow. We have been turned into guinea pigs to test run all laws in the country. Our enemies want us to fight but Allah in His infinite mercy says no! The wish of God is final, we are one. The issue of the Greenfield refinery has been a controversial one. Is it true that there are plans to relocate it from Ibogiri? When the insinuations that there were plans to relocate the Greenfield was made known to us, we went to the then governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris for clarifications. He told

us that the stories that the project has been moved to Ibogiri were not true. He then called the Vice President when we were all with him and the Vice President confirmed that nobody can tamper with the location of the refinery. The site of the refinery remains Itobe, and nowhere else. I would like to make this known to the people that nobody has changed the location of the project from Itobe. How would you rate the House of Assembly so far? What is the remarkable difference between this session and the ones before it? I can say with all sense of humility that the current members are quick to understand issues that concern the entire people of Kogi state with a view to bringing them out for attention. If you look at the way members are eager to present motion on the floor of the House and the geniuses of the motion, you will

certainly agree that the members are fast adapting to the rules of the game. We have just spent six months in the House and this period has been characterised by hard work on the part of the members. But some people insist that the House is not doing enough to ensure implementation of resolutions from motions. I can assure you that all the motions moved by members of this House since the inception have been in good faith; to have direct impact on the people they represent. You will agree with me that it is desirous to have a good motion before implementation. That is to say that members have the love of their constituency at heart, that is why they present good motions and we are working hard to ensure that they are implemented for the benefit of the people. How many motion and bills have the house successfully passed since its inception on June 3, 2011? The House has been able to move about 62 motions and twelve bills. It is good to note that all members from different constituencies have presented one or more motions. That shows clearly a deviation from what was obtainable in the past. The cooperation of members and understanding by members inside and outside the chambers has been wonderful and had contributed to the high productivity rate we have achieved. There is mutual cooperation irrespective of party or tribal affiliations. Even members of the opposition cooperate with PDP members who in the overall task of moving the state forward. We do not unnecessarily divide on issues that border on development. All motions from members, either from minority members are treated equally on their merits. Some people are still not happy with the house that many of the bills you pass are not followed up vigorously to ensure speedy signing by the executive. They are worried that though the bill on sanitation which prohibits reckless refuse dumping has been passed, the practice is still rampant in the state. Honestly, it is a gradual process. The people need orientation. We need to engage in orientation, advocacy and proper education, more so that the state capital is rural-urban settlement. However, I want to assure you that the current legislature in Kogi state is working to achieve massive development in the state. Very soon, you will see a house that would be strict with its laws and prepared to take Kogi to the next level. All these are possible if the new governor would relate with the House very well. We are optimistic about that because we have seen in him a man who is ready to take the state to the next level.



Adamawa guber: Factors that helped Nyako to win From Blessing Tunoh, Yola


h o o s i n g who rules Adamawa state is largely determined by a number of factors including religion and ethnic considerations. Political clout is usually secondary in this setting otherwise no one would have thought that Brigadier Muhammad Buba Marwa with all his track record of performance would place third in the just concluded governorship election. Prior to the 2007 gubernatorial election in Adamawa, it was common knowledge in the state that Admiral Murtala Nyako was reluctant to play active politics talk less of vying for the governorship seat but he was prevailed upon against his wish. Political big wigs in the state including Marwa, were all tactically edged out either by disqualification or outrightly forced to step down for Nyako’s emergence as consensus candidate. However Nyako’s return bid proved to be more complex than his experience in 2007 as he faced stiff opposition both from within and outside his party as some influential politicians in the state, across party lines, joined forces against him. Several groups consisting of antiNyako elements emerged. The contention between him and them was his style of governance, the perceived tilt of patronage and allegations against the governor for promoting a“Fulani agenda” to the detriment of other ethnic groups in the state with some of the antagonists were at some point close to the former chief before they fell out. One of such persons is Senator Jibril Aminu who brought the groups under a single umbrella he called “Adamawa Forum for Change (AFC). Nyako’s first coming was impressive at take-off; addressing water, medical care and had won the heart and indeed votes of youths in the state with his Special Assistants programme and youths empowerment schemes. However, opposition chieftains insist that at a point all development stopped and austerity regime becoming the order if the day. This led to the inability of ministries to function for lack of running costs; protracted strike action by state workers sequel to failure to implement minimum wage and other sundry issues added credence to their arguments. However, Nyako had more friends than enemies and coupled with the goodwill associated with incumbency, it became clear that it would take a unified and well organized opposition to unseat him. Tell tale signs that the opposition would not achieve their aim of unseating Nyako surfaced when the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive

Gov. of Adamawa state, Alhaji Murtala Nyako Change (CPC) which are considered two most formidable opposition parties in the state began a battle of ego which weakened them. While CPC’s candidate Brig. General Muhammad Buba Marwa believes he is more sellable than any other opposition candidate and should be given their unanimous support with a promise to serve for just one term, Engr. Markus Gundiri of the ACN on his part argued that he did not at any point in time moot the idea of stepping down for Marwa not to talk of forming an alliance with the CPC on such terms. As the race got hotter, Nyako enjoyed the support of the presidency led by Vice president Namadi Sambo, all three senators of the state, former governors of defunct Gongola state Bamanga Tukur and Wilberforce Juta, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar (whom Nyako’s bid actually brought together on a common ground since their altercation) among other PDP bigwigs.

Gundiri on his part had the support of the former governor Boni Haruna and his group consisting of non-Fulani ethnic groups in the state and elites of the state. As for Marwa, it was more of a “one-man-riot” since he joined the CPC after he was edged out of the PDP primary.Most of the goodwill he enjoyed was from people outside the state who were either partakers of his achievements when he served as military administrator in Lagos and Borno states or his political associates. On the side lines were the ANPP and ADC candidates who were also cleared by INEC to take part in the election. They were however, by no means considered a threat or asset by any of three major contestants. Few weeks to the election, the state House of Assembly changed leadership from Barr. Sadiq Dasin to Umar Ahmad Fintri, both of PDP extraction. The move was strongly opposed by officials of Nyako’s government and leadership of the PDP culminating in protest by thugs

As the race got hotter, Nyako enjoyed the support of the presidency led by Vice president Namadi Sambo, all three senators of the state, former governors of defunct Gongola state Bamanga Tukur and Wilberforce Juta, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar (whom Nyako’s bid actually brought together on a common ground since their altercation) among other PDP bigwigs.

said to have been sponsored by the party who cordoned the complex and put legislating on hold for at least seven weeks. Civil servants on the other hand were aggrieved with the nonpayment of their salaries for two months at a time when the Federal Government lifted subsidy on petroleum products to add to the hardship of longsuffering workers in the state. The opposition quickly took advantage of both situations which was attributed to the PDP-led government to campaign for change. Security situation in the state also became fragile with the killing of about 15 Igbo traders in Mubi Council area of the state by unknown gunmen just as 12 worshippers were shot same day in a church at the state capital which compelled the state government to impose a curfew and put in place security measures to forestall reprisal from victims and further escalation of the situation. The development also led to postponement of the election earlier billed for January 14th to 21st, and later February 4th, while the state experienced a panic driven mass exodus of mostly non-indigene Christians, who believed the attacks were targeted at them. Another implication the situation had on the intertwined Muslim/Christian communities of the state was a belief by Christians that the attacks were intended to scare them away from polling units by the Muslim contestants –Nyako and Marwa and a resolve to vote for their own while some Muslims on their part who initially were in the opposition retraced their steps. Opinion sampled by Peoples

Daily Weekend indicates that playing the religious card in Adamawa proved to be a double edged sword that rubbed off negatively on Gundiri who was placed as Nyako’s biggest challenger and his supporters insisted was well on his way to the government house. It did not come as a suprise therefore when out of total number of 1,843619 who were registered for the election only 685, 113 eligible voters took part in the election out of which 26,850 votes were invalidated. A breakdown of the result indicates that Nyako got 302,953 votes which represented 44.22 per cent of valid votes cast and the required 25 percent in all the 21 Local Government Areas of the state. Gundiri on the other hand scored a total of 241,023 votes to place second on the table (35.1 per cent) while General Buba Marwa got 107,546 to come a distant third position (15.7 per cent). Mrs. Musa, who was running mate to Usman Belel in ANPP bore the party’s flag when Belel dropped out of the race on the eve of the election; she scored 3885 (0.57 per cent) while Dr. Zainab of the ADC placed fifth position with 2846 votes (0.40 per cent). The much touted gubernatorial election in Adamawa state has come and gone but the aftermath would remain with key actors of the process for a very long time with a lot of lessons to be learnt. The pattern of votes indicates that there are serious grievances in many communities with regards to a feeling of social exclusion that needs to be addressed. For instance Nyako’s 302,953 block votes is dwarfed by the random 355,300 opposition votes which registers the level of his popularity. On the percentage table, it is safe to submit that Governor Nyako is loved by 44.22 per cent of people in the state while 55.78 per cent voted against his governorship. In his inaugural speech, governor Nyako however handed an olive leaf to his challengers and lauded their maturity and peaceful conduct adding that “there is no democracy without tangible opposition, so I pay a special tribute to them for putting a clean and peaceful contest and gallant campaign devoid of bickering.” He also invited them to eschew bitterness, mend fences and face the task of nation building with one voice as posterity would judge the actions of all politicians. It is based on this that the Former Vice president Atiku Abubakar advises Nyako to “carry all stakeholders along rather than isolating or alienating groups however small, the PDP should lead the way in terms of internal cohesion, unity and harmony. This should be the immediate concerns of governor Nyako.”



Mark, There Senate are 160and the duty of

ongoing projects worth N3trillion —Works Minister

Minister for Works, Arch Mike Onolememen, said there were 160 ongoing road projects in the country, formally abandoned but now almost completed, and worth over N3trillion. At an interactive session with journalists, organized by the Nigerian Pilot/Newsworld Leadership Forum in Abuja, he revealed how he restructured the ministry hitherto, bedeviled by underfunding, project management problems, underhand dealings and collusion with contractors and many more. Jamila Nuhu Musa was there. What is the condition of major projects undertaken by your ministry? There are four of such projects for national road rehabilitation. We had the Presidential Initiative project with a total contractual commitment of about N250Bn, the zonal intervention project which has N270Bn, the access road to the port and the refinery amounting to 20Bn, and then the collaborative venture funded projects of multilateral agencies, that is the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank amounting to N20Bn. In effect, we have ongoing projects of over 3trillion naira at the Ministry of Works. And as a project manager myself, I needed to go through the executive summary of the projects and found out that many of them were at various stages of completion but over 80% of them were abandoned as a result of nonpayment of claims and other difficulties. We first made sense of the number of the projects that were ongoing and it was clear that there was no way we could drive all those projects at the same time. So prioritization was key in identifying the economically vital roads among them. What were the initial challenges? Apart from funding problems, the ministry was also bedeviled with management problems as most of our projects were not well supervised. There were a lot of allegations about other billings by the ministry staff, if you like collusion with ministry staff, if you like contractors in some cases, and we needed a structure that will help drive the prioritized projects. That brought about the restructuring of the ministry in the first two months of attaining leadership of the ministry. Restructuring was

undertaken and the objectives were clear, to reposition the ministry to better deliver on the services as far as project implementation was concerned. Give us a breakdown of the roads in the country? We have a total of about 200,000 kilometres of roads in the country out of which the federal government share is about 35,000 kms, between the 36 state governments we have about thirty thousand killometres while the local governments in the country have about 135,000 kms. although federal government shares account for about 70 % of the movement of goods, services and persons because they are the major arterial roads that connect the state capitals that lead to the borders, international airports, sea ports, refineries and other places of major interest across the country. What were other lapses of the ministry? The planning and design department for instance, which is the heart of the federal ministry of works had only one director who was responsible for all the roads, bridges designs, appropriation of the bill for engineering, measurement and evaluation across the country. Similarly, we had only a director under the highway construction and rehabilitation department, we had only one director in Abuja and I thought the structure was not well suited for efficient service delivery in the road sector. So I got President Jonathan's approval to restructure the bureaucracy at the ministry. And at the end of the day, those two departments gave birth to about 12 functional and active departments. We also created a new highway planning arterial geotechnic and quality control department. For the highway construction and

rehabilitation department, we broke it further down into six zonal directorates which means all the 6 geopolitical zones in the country has a director of highway construction and rehabilitation, for us to be able to focus on the federal government ongoing projects in the zones for better supervision and better service delivery. These directors have no recourse to Abuja in terms of critical approval that will move the project forward in the zones. What measures were put in place to monitor projects at that level? A zonal ministerial monitoring committee was established for each of the zones and its membership drawn from the private sector, made up of seasoned civil engineers. This made it possible to have independent report apart from the one the zonal directors presented to the ministry. That way we were able to initiate checks and balances in the system and curtail cooked up stories from the zonal offices. What is the situation of dual carriage ways? Our plan is a good network of dual carriage ways that would link the six geo political zones of the country. In order words, to ensure that Nigerians in any part of the country are able to set out from their houses in the village through category B highways, and drive to any other geopolitical zone on dual carriage ways. Beyond that, is also the commitment to ensuring that all our roads to the sea port, international airports as well as the road to the refineries are well taken care off because they oil the wheels of the economy of our nation. What is the presidential initiative project all about? I was coming to that. It is especially geared towards linking the 6 geopolitical zones

Minister for Works, Arch Mike Onolememen on dual carriage way. It was an initiative taken in 2006, under former President Olusegun obasanjo when he awarded the Abuja-Lokoja road, the KanoMaiduguri road, the Shagamu -0re Benin road, the east- west road. But we have also included the Onitsha- Enugu- Enugu Port Harcourt road as well as repairs of the Abuja- KadunaKano roads; work is ongoing on all these projects. As important as these roads were, we discovered they were not properly funded and the contractors had downed their tools and were not on the sites, so we had to reengage them and kick start the projects. We also ensured that the Onitsha Owerri dual carriage way was also completed. The ShagamuOre- Benin road was also added to ensure that that segment was also completed. Given the Nigerian factor of delay tactics how far has work gone on the projects? We have been able to sustain the high tempo of construction activities in all the roads. A typical example is the Abuja-Lokoja road, which during the yuletide, we opened some of the new sections that were under construction, we did the same for all the major carriage ways in the country and this helped to reduce traffic lock jam during the period. In Abuja, we were able to complete work on the Giri flyover bridge and the Gwagwalada bridge and open them to traffic and for the first time, very reasonably

we reduced the lock jam that was the usual feature if you were travelling out of Abuja by road. The Shagamu -Ore- Benin road, a portion of the road which was a nightmare to the people was recovered. So people could leave Onitsha head Bridge and make Lagos in 5 hours. The major demarcation that we had around upper Eweka up to Onitsha head Bridge was also a major challenge because it made nonsense of the effort of the federal ministry of works on the Onitsha -Owerri axis because when we were dualising it, we had completed the section handled by Julius Berger but the other section handled by another company was largely uncompleted, so we took it up as a challenge and approached the President who approved a special intervention on that road to the tune of about N2bn naira to recover the major devastation on that part of the country. How about the northern axis? We had the Sokoto-Illela challenge in Sokoto state, which is on the road to the boundary with Niger republic. It was a major washout during the year but the federal ministry has intervened and work is progressing satisfactorily now. On the Gombe bypass, we have just completed work there, the Kano-western bypass; work is also being completed as we speak. Then of course, we have Potiskum, Biliri highway which work is ongoing there too.




I earn more than civil servants says Nasarawa laundry man

always a tough time for him when such happens as some of the customers even a few demanding for outright replacement. Jibrin Abba, Babawoshi's partner revealed that having learnt the trade seven years ago, he is proud to say that through the business, he was able to train himself up to the diploma level. From his earnings, he has been able to assist his parents in solving some of their financial needs, as well as reaching out to other relatives. "I can say I earn more than a graduate, only that a graduate earns his salary piecemeal at the end of the month but my earning is daily.

He also lamented over the problem of power supply, which according to him, makes them resort to using charcoal iron, which is not very efficient. "Electricity supply is unstable, there is power supply for two to three hours but our business cannot thrive on such insufficient supply so we resort to the local charcoal iron”, he said. On why with his diploma in public administration, he did not seek government employment, Abba, retorted that he presently earn more being self-employed than he could as a government worker. He said he is fulfilled working in

A degree holder may not earn as much as I do monthly”, he said. Also commenting on their challenges, Abba said the major constraint is when clients fail to turn up to collect their clothes on schedule. "We have workers under our employ and if customers do not turn up to collect as scheduled, we sometimes find it hard to pay our workers”, he said.

the laundry business which will serve as a means to satisfy his needs, to marry a wife, build a house and have a measure of dignity. Abba also called on youths roaming the streets searching for elusive government jobs, as well as those engaged in political thugerry to have a rethink and learn a trade so they can be selfemployed. For these hard working Nigerians, business has been brisk. Customers were sighted trooping in to either bring in dirty clothes for washing or collect fresh, crisp, clean clothes. The two young men who from all indications have found expression for their lives, rather than succumb to the prevailing circumstance that would have reduced them to a life of penury and total dependence on the goodwill of an otherwise exploitative society.

By Ali Abare Abubakar


0 years old Muhammad Abdullahi, popularly known as Babawoshi is a resident of Police barrack street in Lafia, Nasarawa state capital. To him, wisdom is using his God given strength to fend for himself and be in a position to cater for his day to day needs, more so in a society that is becoming increasingly hostile to the teeming youths desperately seeking means of livelihood in an environment replete with harsh economic realities. Abdullahi, barely literate but quite unlike most youths in his situation, somehow realised early in life the truism of the Biblical injunction that 'from the sweat of your brow thou shall you eat'. Having nothing to fall back to but the brawn in his arms, ventured into the local laundry business, often times referred to as 'dry cleaning' even though the entire business is about the use of water and detergent to make dirty clothes clean. Seven years ago, Abdullahi started in an old dilapidated low roof house partly as a live-in office, where he eked out a living washing clothes mostly for friends and acquaintances. Later on the business started attracting other customers and ultimately turned into the now thriving business, with which he has been able to marry, sustain himself and family and even send his kids to school. Narrating his experience to Peoples Daily Weekend, Abdullahi, beaming with satisfaction, was quick however, to point out that the journey hasn't been all that rosy. According to him, "from the beginning it was really tough, considering that I have to woo customers and patronage at its lowest point." He said though with a measure of patience and a bit of resilience, he was able to weather the storm to success to the extent he no longer has to rely on anybody to take care of his needs including the increasing family expenses. From the laundry business, Abdullahi has even diversified as he has invested into local transportation as he now owns three commercial motorcycles and plots of lands waiting to be developed.

Muhammad Abdullahi

According to him, “looking back, I thank God for his mercies; I married in this business and even send my two children to school. Now I have three commercial motorcycles that I gave out on loan and two plots of land waiting to be developed." On his earnings as a laundry man, Babawoshi paused briefly before saying, “I earn more than a graduate working in government employ." He further disclosed that apart from his partner, Jibrin Abba, who also learnt the trade under him, he has seven workers earning their keeps under him, stressing that, "These workers receive their pay based on an agreed plan, whether to be paid daily or at the end of the month. And they can earn as from a thousand naira daily and even more depending on their individual efforts." On the challenges inherent

in the business, Babawoshi stated that his major problem comes from accidents in which client's clothes get burnt during ironing, as most of the iron is done with charcoal iron for the lack of steady electricity. Also he lamented that he has problems when clothes are misplaced in the shop or mistakenly delivered to the wrong customer. According to him, it was

On his earnings as a laundry man, Babawoshi paused briefly before saying, I want to say, with all things being equal, I earn more than a graduate working in government employ.



Arts Kiddies World

Relationship Healthy Living

Mercy Johnson and Ramsey Nouah land multimillion naira deal Page 25

Mercy Johnson



From the Archives

Do you have old pictures for memories? Send them to

Edna Park, Miss Nigeria at the Miss Universe Pageant (Miami, 1964)

Edna Park

Edna Park

Edna Park


wenty-year-old Edna Park was the first Miss Nigeria to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant, and she impressed all in attendance with her regal bearing and unflappable confidence. One of the questions on the forms for the contestant biographies required the contestants to state what they hoped to gain from their participation in the competition. Most of them replied with typically insincere, faux-inspirational pageantry clichés like “To represent my country,” “To make friends” and “To travel.” Edna Park however, stated in no uncertain terms, “To win the crown.” When the names of the finalists were announced, Edna Park was not among them. Ms. Park immediately collapsed in tears and had to be carried off the stage. When she failed to stop crying after two hours, she was administered sedatives by a physician and admitted to the hospital for overnight observation before eventually returning to Nigeria. To her dismay, she found that the incident had earned her much ridicule in the Nigerian press.

Kid pageant, Olubunmi Jibowe giving banquet of flowers to Queen Elizabeth in the 1960s.


Boko Haram challenge: Are check points the answer?

A roundabout in Yola By Ali Alkali


o u r n e y s are part of human existence. Man is always on the move, either to change abode or explore other opportunities for making his life better. Equally, the earliest history is recorded by explorers who spent their lives on the move. If it were today, we can simply call those explorers journalists; because journalists, like the ancient explorers, also travel often and record history in a hurry. No historian, these days, can write anything without relying heavily on journalists’ reports. Recently, I was asked to travel to Yola and Mubi, in Adamawa state, from Abuja for an assignment; and I was to travel by road. That exited me because I wanted to see the road; for, my previous two trips to Yola were by air. The first was in 2003 when late Lamido of Adamawa, Aliyu Mustafa, celebrated his golden anniversary on the throne. The second was in 2010 when Malam Nuhu Ribadu flagged up his presidential campaign in Yola. But travelling by air, though fast, easy and convenient, takes most of the thrill and life time

experience out of any journey. Most of the experiences worth remembering are usually what happened before take up or after landing. In between, you only remember tiny single-serving sugar, single-serving coffee, single-serving cake and singleserving cup of juice. Even the people you meet on each flight are just one-way single serving friends. One of my single-serving friends, however, once told me a story that I remember any time I board a plane. He told me that his boss told him that any time he (the boss) makes a trip he knows that his wife was secretly praying for a crash or mid air collision, because their company’s life insurance coverage says, “the policy pays off triple if you die on a business trip.” Another experience you may remember when you travel by air is you, or other passengers, walking the aisle to the toilet. From Abuja to Yola is a journey of eight to nine hours, considering the poor condition of some parts of the road. I was not early enough to catch the first, or even the second, vehicle to Yola from Tifa Motor Park, Nyayan/Mararraba, Abuja.

So, because once it was 9am, the drivers were not so sure of getting enough passengers to Yola, they usually load to Gombe. I had no choice but to join the vehicle to Gombe. But I never knew that I was about to embark on a 14-hour journey that day. The first warning came when I realized that it took us four hours to reach Jos, which normally should take two hours or less. Did I join a rickety car? No. The delay was due to many military checkpoints searching for Boko Haram bombs. When we reached Jos, it occurred to me that I should have counted all the road blocks/check points we passed, but I did not. So, I decided to do so on my way back. To navigate through the traffic of Jos metropolis took us another hour. After reaching the outskirt of the town we stopped to fuel up, eat and pray (those of us who are Muslims). All the way, from Abuja to Bauchi, I was uncomfortable because I was sandwiched in the center of a back seat. The guy at my right was dirty with scars all over his hands and neck; and he never said a word until we reached the place he wanted to alight from the vehicle in Bauchi.


The one at my left was arrogantly inconsiderate, because not only that he slept and slightly snored but he was a very tall guy with long legs that he opened too wide like he had gonorrhea or something, thus occupying a lot of space and forcing me to close mine too tight. We reached Gombe central Motor Park around 4pm. I was unlucky that the vehicle to Yola was just leaving as we entered the park. Unknown to me, once it is 4pm, hardly any vehicle leaves from the park for Yola; but the union guys told me to wait, that another car going to Yola had just gone to get fuel and will be back soon. I waited for over two hours, but no vehicle to Yola. I took my bag, came outside the park and asked someone if there was another place that I can get vehicle to Yola. He simply called a motorcyclist and told him, “Take this man to Mil-Uku.” Mil-Uku is a road-side garage, three mile away from Gombe town (thus the name Mil-Uku, meaning three miles) on the way to Yola. And once it is evening all passengers to Yola go to Mil-Uku to board vehicles. At Mil-Uku, I did not wait for 15 minutes before we took up for Yola. But it was already 6:45pm. Two hours on the road, just before reaching Savannah Sugar Company’s sugar cane large farm in Numan, two buses flashed us dawn and alerted us that armed robbery operation was in progress about two kilometers away. So, together with the buses, we returned to the nearest military check point. But the officers could not go and pursue the armed robbers because they did not have vehicle there. So, we waited for about one and a half hour, until other motorists coming from that direction confirmed that the robbers have gone. We finally arrived Yola at 11:15pm - that was 14 hours after leaving Abuja; and I had to beg the driver to take me to any hotel he knew because there was a dusk to down curfew on Okada riders, and there were no taxis. The hotel he took me to, Mahmud Guest Inn at Jimeta, was the worst hotel I have ever seen in my life, so far. The room smelled badly, with broken bed, dirty sheets and worn-out rug with insects crawling freely. But I cannot leave and look for another hotel because, outside, the streets were empty and I knew nowhere else to go. Well, what do you expect from a hotel that charges 2,500 naira per night? To cap my predicament, all the electric socket points in the room were dead. So, I knew I was going to wake up in the morning with many contacts to call and dead phones in my hands. What a day! The first thing in the morning was to check out and look for a decent accommodation before starting my work. Yola has changed so much within the last nine years since I had gone round to explore the town in 2003. The Jimeta I knew to be so crowded now has well tarred wide roads with business outlets flourishing. Despite the security

challenges that caused the death of some Igbo people in Mubi about two weeks earlier, normalcy had returned to Yola, and Igbo people were freely conducting their businesses. The following day I proceeded to Mubi, which was three hours drive from Yola. Honestly, I was expecting to see a small town but I was taken aback when I found big town with so many banks, markets and shops at every major street. Equally, I was expecting to see a moderate building as the Mubi Emir’s palace not a gigantic edifice. I simply began to realize the historical importance of Mubi when I saw the many colonial buildings it still hosts which now accommodate police headquarters, courts, schools and ministries. The prison, near the emir’s palace, tells its own story. On my way back to Abuja, I decided to count all the military check points; and I counted 40 (from Yola to Gombe 12, Gombe to Bauchi 6, Bauchi to Jos 6, Jos to Abuja 16). The return was equally hectic. It was the same routine of frequent stops at check points and sometimes coming out of the vehicle to be searched or asked to open your luggage. At a particular check point near Alkaleri in Bauchi state, we were held for three hours because the queue was over five kilometers long. But the general discussion among all travelers was, these rampant, though intimidating, check points cannot stop the movement of explosives by Boko Haram. The military and the police cannot find bombs by opening vehicle trunks and merely casting a glance at the luggage. What the security agencies need is sophisticated equipment that can detect explosives, dangerous chemicals and fire arms without even stopping the vehicles. If the federal government is really serious about check mating Boko Haram, more than 80 percent of the huge security allocation in 2012 budget must go to the purchase of latest equipment in the world. We arrived Abuja at 1:20am - 13 hours after leaving Yola. Now, a little history lesson: The name "Adamawa" came from the founder of the kingdom, Modibbo Adama, a regional leader of the Fulani Jihad organized by Sheikh Usumaanu dan Fodio of Sokoto in 1804. Modibbo Adama came from the region of Gurin, which is now just a small village, and in 1806 received a green flag for leading the Jihad in his area. In the following years, Adama conquered many lands and tribes. In 1838 he moved his capital to Ribadu, (the home town of Malam Nuhu Ribadu’s family) and in 1839 to Joboliwo. In 1841, Modibbo Adama founded Yola where he died in 1848. Before it became a state in Nigeria, Adamawa was a subordinate kingdom of the Sultanate of Sokoto which also included much of northern Cameroon. The rulers bear the title of Emir, but mostly called ‘Lamido’ in the local Fulfulde language.



What to do when the heart stops beating A

heart attack is most commonly caused by a sudden blockage of the blood supply to the heart muscle itself, for example a blood clot. The main risk is that the heart will stop beating. Signs *Persistent central chest pain often described as vice like or a heavy crushing pressure *Pain spreading (radiating) to the jaw, neck and down one or both arms *Breathlessness *Discomfort high in the abdomen, similar to indigestion. *Possible collapse


without warning. *Ashen skin and blueness at the lips *Rapid, weak pulse which may be irregular *Profuse sweating, skin cold to the touch *Gasping for air (air hunger) *Nausea and/or vomiting. Safety steps: *Sit them in the 'W' position: Semi-recumbent (sitting up at about 75° to the ground) with knees bent *Call the Doctor for emergency help and tell ambulance control you

suspect a heart attack. *If available and not allergic, give them a 300mg aspirin tablet to chew slowly (provided they are not under 16 years of age) *If they have any medication for angina, such as tablets or a spray, assist them to take it. *Constantly monitor and record breathing and pulse rate, until help arrives. *If they become unconscious, refer to the treatment for someone unconscious but breathing.

Sit them in the 'W' position:

Call the Doctor for emergency help and tell ambulance control you suspect a heart attack.


Onion juice tea for asthma, bronchitis and cough (asmachilca)


uring day time: Take one medium onion, chop it, and cover with 1 glass of boiling water. Put a lid on, and let it sit for minimum 3 hours (overnight is ideal), strain it, and drink in small sips during the day. At night, take 1 cup (only one cup - 200ml), Mucus-less diet is essential (no dairy, no meats, crabs, shrimps, pop drinks, and the proper waste management - bowel movement is a must...



Effects of heat in the body T

h e human body normally regulates its own temperature very well, but can be affected in a number of ways when it suffers the effect of extreme temperature, in particular the very young or elderly are the most susceptible to the effects of heat Prickly heat Prickly heat is a highly irritating prickly red rash, hence the name, and it most commonly occurs in hot weather. It is caused by bacteria or dead skin cells blocking sweat glands. The rash particularly affects areas where sweat is trapped and cannot evaporate, such as the feet for instance. People who often have prickly heat also tend to be susceptible to heat stroke. You can recognise prickly heat by a prickling or burning sensation over the affected area, there will also be a rash of tiny red spots or blisters. Treatment Your main aim is to relieve any discomfort and pain so you should stay in cool conditions as much as possible, and cool the skin

by gently sponging with cold waterHeatstroke This condition is caused by a failure in the thermostat located in the brain. This regulates the body temperature. The body then becomes dangerously overheated usually due to a high fever or prolonged exposure to heat. Heatstroke can also result from the use of drugs such as ecstasy. In some cases heatstroke follows heat exhaustion when sweating ceases and the body then cannot be cooled by the evaporation of sweat. Heatstroke can develop with very little warning, causing unconsciousness within minutes of the casualty feeling unwell. Signs of heatstroke They include: " Headache " Dizziness and discomfort. " Restlessness and confusion. " Hot flushed and dry skin. " A rapid deterioration in the level of response. " A full bounding pulse. " A body temperature above 40 degrees Celsius or 104

degrees Fahrenheit. Treatment Lower the body temperature as quickly as possible and arrange for the person to see a Doctor. Quickly move him/her to a cool place and remove as much of the outer clothing as possible, wrap the person in a cold wet sheet and keep the sheet wet until the temperature falls to 38 degrees Celsius or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit under the tongue or under the armpit. If no sheet is available, fan or sponge the person down with cold water. Once temperature appears to have returned to normal replace the wet sheet with a dry one. Always monitor and record the vital signs, the level of response, pulse and breathing rate until help arrives. If the temperature starts to rise again repeat the cooling process. Caution though, if the person becomes unconscious open the airway and check breathing and be prepared to give rescue breaths and chest compressions if necessary, or if he/ she is unconscious but breathing normally place him/her into the recovery position, please refer to the relevant tips.


Using dried bay leaves and orange peel to whithen your teeth


h e use of pure rock salt and water on a tooth brush may be an efficient way to whiten and brighten your teeth. It's a cost effective way to get that white bright smile that you have wanted for long. Adding this to your regular dental routine may be a great asset to your smile. Lemon juice is very efficient in cleaning your teeth, but its impact on tooth enamel is short of disastrous. Consequently, this technique should not be used when cleaning your teeth effectively at home As soon as your enamel is gone, it can't be replaced, and so the age-old lemon juice option is not really a great choice.

Use of whitening strips has been recognized to trigger teeth to become additional sensitive. This really is generally attributed to extended and very frequent use. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the whitening strips once a week in order to prevent these side effects from taking over the ill that comes from this product. Hydrogen peroxide, many people use the age old remedy of cleaning their mouths with hydrogen peroxide to whiten their teeth. There are also hydrogen strips available which are generally much less harsh on your teeth and mouth than normal whitening strips are. Consequently, this can be

a very effective technique for whitening your teeth with minimal side effects. Make certain you are cutting back on things like soda, cigarettes, wine, and so on that cause discoloration inside your teeth. It's amazing how effective this may be as you employ other teeth whitening methods. Not only will this strategy assist whiten your teeth, but it will be very efficient in keeping them white. A great at home tooth whitening solution is using dried bay leaves and orange peels which have been dried. Simply grind these ingredients together and add some water on your toothbrush.

This cannot just help whiten your teeth however it also can prevent dental diseases. Make sure you are aware of any side effects or methods that may trigger deterioration to your teeth over time. Numerous house remedies for whitening your teeth are fantastic, but you will find those that are destructive for your teeth. Know what you're obtaining into prior to your accepting home remedies which you know absolutely nothing about. One of the simplest and most efficient issues that you can do to be able to get whiter teeth would be to brush and floss regularly. By doing this, you'll prevent food

stains from discolouring your teeth, you'll rid yourself of gum illness, plus it assists in making your mouth smell much better. Using the bark of a walnut tree to eliminate stains and discolouration from your teeth has been known to be an effective technique. This removes the yellowish layer from your teeth. All you do is use the bark in the walnut tree as a toothbrush. In using hydrogen peroxide as a teeth whitening agent, you must keep in mind to keep it in your mouth for a significant quantity of time. Make sure not to swallow the peroxide, as this will cause you to vomit. You'll need to do this at least one or two times a week. Many people do not realize that strawberries are extremely good for your dental health. Don't just rely on eating them. Daily use them to rub your teeth, and you'll notice an excellent whitening effect produced by the strawberries rubbing your teeth. Try it, and you will not be disappointed. For whiter teeth, steer clear of smoking or drinking coffee, because these practices can trigger receding gums or yellow teeth. Brush your teeth three times each day, and floss! If you would like to obtain fast results, whitening strips can help lighten your teeth, but you have to preserve wholesome practices to ensure your teeth stay white.


PAGE 23 With Aunty A'isha 08082071393.

Sights and sounds The Queen cele br ates celebr bra her 60-year reign


onday 6th of February marked the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign on the throne. And that means it’s the official start of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 and to celebrate there are


Six-year-old beats adults at chess

Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), became republics. Elizabeth met her future


six-year-old from Oxford is taking part in his first adult chess tournament after becoming obsessed with the game. Callaghan took up chess last hot season because he suffers from bad asthma.

Princess Elizabeth aged 7, 1933

“Neither of us used to play chess. We were looking for a game or a sport Callaghan could play indoors.” His goal is to be the youngest ever grandmaster and grandmasters are normally much older adults.


Queen Elizabeth II gun-salutes at Hyde Park and the Tower of London on Monday. In the 60 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the country has had 12 prime ministers. She became Queen so long ago; David Cameron the present prime minister of Great Britain hadn’t even been born by then! About Queen Elizabeth: Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) was born on 21 April 1926. She is the head of common wealth nations. Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father ascended the throne as George VI in 1936 when his brother Edward VIII left the throne. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. When her father died in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon.

Now he is captain of his chess team at SS Philip and James Primary School, playing against children who are two years older than him. He also regularly beats his father Steve at chess. His mum Sarah said,

husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937. After another

Unusual kittens found with 18 extra toes between them

Princess Elizabeth aged 3, 1929 meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth though only 13 years old fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters. They married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. She has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her reign of 60 years is the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Her Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in 1977 and 2002; her Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated now. Elizabeth’s only sibling was Princess Margaret, born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, (home female teacher) Marion Crawford, who was casually known as ‘Crawfie’. Lessons were concentrated on history, language, literature and music.


wo kittens with slightly unusual feet have been handed over to a cats rescue centre in Hampshire. The pair has between them extra 18 toes: Ned has an extra eight toes and his brother Fred an extra 10! Normally cats have five toes on their front paws and four on their back but having extra toes is not that unusual. When found, they were in poor condition, but are now on the mend and will be given new homes in about two weeks’ time.

Ned has an extra 8 toes - but it doesn’t affect his health

Having extra fingers or toes is called polydactyl, which usually means having one extra on each paw, or sometimes having an extra two or three. Extra toes don’t affect the cats’ health, and now Ned and Fred are on the mend they should go on to lead healthy and happy lives.




Don't pay bad for bad


ola and Babi were good friends in their days. Both were young ladies, and they had loved each other heartily from when they were children. They-always wore the same kind of dress, and they went together everywhere in their village and to other villages as well. They did everything together, so much so that anyone who did not know their parents believed they were twins. So Dola and Babi went about together until when they grew to be the age for marriage. Because they loved each other so much, they decided within themselves to marry two men who were born of the same mother and father, and who lived together in the same house, so that they might be with each other always. Luckily, a few days after Dola and Babi decided to do so, they heard of two young men who were born of the same mother and father, and who lived together in the same house. So Babi married one of the young men while Dola married the second one, who was older than the first one. So Dola and Babi were very happy now,

living together as they had before they had been married in their husbands’ house. A few days after their marriage, Dola cleared a part of the front of the house very neatly. She sowed one kola-nut on the spot. After some weeks the kola-nut shot up. Then she

filled up one earthen jar with water and she put it before her new kola-nut tree. Then every early morning Dola would go and kneel down before the tree and jar. She would pray to the tree to help her to get a baby very soon, and after the prayer, she would drink some of the water which was inside the earthen jar. After that, she would go back to her room before the other people, in the house woke. Dola did this early every morning, because she believed that there was a certain spirit who came and blessed the kolanut tree and the water in the night. After some months, the kola-nut tree grew to the height of about one metre. But now the domestic animals of the village began to eat the leaves of the tree and this hindered its growth. One morning, Babi met Dola abruptly as she knelt down before the kola-nut tree and jar and prayed. After she had prayed and then stood up, Babi asked in surprise, ‘Dola, what were you telling your kola-nut tree?’ To be continued… From: The Village Witch Doctor & Other Stories by Amos Tutuola


Banana bread

Preparation time: about 90 minutes Ingredients: 2 eggs 1¾ c. sifted flour 2 tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. salt 1/3 c. vegetable oil 2/3 c. sugar 1 c. mashed bananas (about 3 bananas) What you need: oven (you’ll need help from your adult assistant) measuring cups and spoons mixer sifter spatula small bowl medium-size bowl large bowl bread pan coated with nonstick cooking spray what to do: 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). 2. Beat eggs well in a small bowl. 3. In a mediumsize bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 4. In a large bowl, add the vegetable oil. Add the sugar a

Jessica Justin Jessica is a pupil of Dominion International School, Jabi, Abuja. She like dancing. Her role models are her daddy and her mummy. Jessica want to be an important citizen of Nigeria when she grow up.

JOB FOR THE WEEK Name and paint the picture below with different colour pencils of your choice

little bit at a time, and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. 5. Add the eggs to the mixture in the large bowl and beat well. 6. Add some of the flour mixture to the large bowl and beat well. Then add some of the mashed bananas and beat some more. Continue adding

flour, then bananas, then flour, then bananas, until everything is mixed in. 7. Pour mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 70 minutes. 8. Flip your banana bread out of the pan, let it cool for a bit, and cut it into slices to eat and share!




KANNYWOOD/NOLLYWOOD Mercy Johnson and Ramsey Nouah land multi-million naira deal

NDLEA opposes N25m damages for Baba Suwe!



Little Michael Jackson L

ate Pop Star, Michael Jackson may have reincarnated in Nigeria with the dancing prowess of 10 year old Suleja based Bobby Prince Garba alias Little Michael Jackson who perfectly mimes and dances virtually all of Michael’s tracks with much ease at the gardens and other relaxation spots. Led by his father, Ras Prince Garba, a raggea artish on their visit to Peoples Daily, Josephine Ella and Miriam Humbe took them on their music careers and other issues. Excerpts: Tell us about yourself? My name is Bobby Prince Garba alias Little Michael Jackson, 10 years old and schooling in Madalla primary school, am in primary six Madalla Primary School. I like to dance Michael Jackson

music and have been dancing his music since 2009. Thoug dance other musics but I like Michael Jackson more. So I am a musician; I sing live music on stage too. I started dancing and performing since I was one. I also like Makosa and Igbo native music. Who inspired you? My dad and mum are musicians, I also sing and dance. I use to watch Michael Jackson’s videos, I have all his videos at home and when he died, I said I wanted to dance his music because I like his dance steps. It took me one moth to master his songs I can mime, sing and dance ‘Starting Something, Smoke Criminal, and many more. I will like to study music in the university and be a full time musician in the future. How have you been able to cope with music, dancing and your academic work? I come back home 2pm,

rehearse from 4pm to 6pm and then sleep very early and go to school the next day. It does not affect my academic work. I came first in our last examination. Do your friends laugh at your deadlock? It’s natural, from birth. When did you start performing openly? When I was two I would follow my mum and my dad to sing and dance on stage. I have been to Ghana, Port Harcourt and other places. I am not shy on stage because I am already used to it. I pray that God will make me excel like 2face Idibia. What is your advice to talented kids? They should believe in themselves and not allow anyone to discourage them. Which Nigerian musicians do you admire? 2face and Whiz kid, Michael Jackson and usher.

he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Wednesday asked a Lagos High Court in Ikeja to stay execution of its earlier order that the anti-drug law agency should pay N25m to Nollywood actor, Mr. Babatunde Omidina, aka Baba Suwe, for violating his rights to personal liberty. Justice Yetunde Idowu fixed March 2 for ruling on the application. Idowu, in her judgment condemned the agency’s disregard for the actor’s constitutionally guaranteed rights, and also ordered the agency to tender public apology published on “conspicuous pages of two national daily newspapers within 21 days.” The judge said, “If you can treat Nigerian citizen this way, what are you portraying to the outside world.” Baba Suwe was arrested on October 12, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos by operatives of the NDLEA on the suspicion of ingestion of substances likely to be banned drugs. The NDLEA, on October 21,

Bobby Prince Garba

Baba Suwe obtained the Federal High Court order to further keep him in its custody for additional 15 days. He was released on the order of Justice Idowu on November 4, after 24 days in detention

op actress Mercy Jonhson Okojie and gorgeous actor Ramsey Nouah have hit it big with proprietors of an entertainment company called Globeceleb,the organizers of a new Reality TV Show called,The Next Soap Star.The deal with the Managing Director of Globeceleb, Ms. Jessica Oweife Vangestel was signed on Saturday January 28,2012 at Quarter Jack,Surulere,Lagos State. The actors are signed for three months to anchor,train and nurture 30 housemates who are expected to debut the reality show in the nearest future. Mercy encouraged every talented youth to watch out for this new reality television show and see it as a pathway to their careers.She equally disclosed that the show will create and build stars,so the youths should take advantage and get registered as auditions would be in Lagos,Calabar,Abuja,Port Harcourt and Bayelsa states. Source:

Mercy Johnson

Ex-Miss World, Agbani Darego in hot romance with Bayelsa top politician


Bobby Prince Garba

Agbani Darego

x-Miss World,Agbani Darego, is said to be em broiled in a hush hush romance with one popular and influential Bayelsa politician. The Beauty Queen is said to be very discreet about the development. In 2010, there were speculations that the politician who used to head a Federal Government Interventionist Commission was in romance with one of the daughters of a late president and there was an elaborate wedding plan in the offing before the president’s prolonged sickness which led to his death put paid to the plans. According to a reliable source,Agbani Darego’s romance with this erstwhile guber aspirant in Bayelsa State might lead to marriage any time soon. Ibiagbanidokibubo Asenite Darego is one of the elegant ladies Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Pageant has ever produced. She is the first black woman from Africa to win the Miss World pageant, in 2001, beating Miss Scotland and Miss Arab.

Ramsey Nouah




9ice— “I Have sold over 8 million Don Jazzy, Terry Tha copies of my recent album” Rapman on war part


lapo Meji Records front man 9ice has claimed that his latest double album, Bashorun Gaa and Versus, released late last year has so far sold more than 8 million copies and he is still counting. The Afro-hiphop act made this claim in an interview over the week. The singer, who admitted that though there is no sound scanner or proper mechanism to check the actual number of sales of CD in Nigeria, stated that he relies on the figure from the printing firm that handles the album jackets. He also hinged his facts on the proceeds already generated and money that has exchanged hands between him and the marketers.”I know what I am talking about. We printed our catalogues in one single place and as they printed, there are verifiable records of jackets they reeled out…I don’t know about other artistes, but whenever I release an album, it sells,” 9ice said in defence of the far-fetched figure. The 35-track double album is the singer’s fourth release. And some of the tracks on the Versus album featured great artistes including Kwam 1, Tuface Idibia, PSquare, Mode 9, M.I, Tiwa Savage, Banky W, Wizkid, Timaya and Duncan Mighty.9ice has concluded plans to organize a high powered album launch concert on 11 March at the New Expo Centre, Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The concert, already generating a buzz, is being put

together by Cecil Hammond’s Fly time Promotions —the firm with a track records of A-list gigs including Harp Rhythm Unplugged and Koko Concerts among others. The concert will have 9ice performing with a live band and also feature all the artistes on the Versus album with special performance by World Beat maestro, King Sunny Ade and Fuji music honcho, Kwam 1.

Terry Tha Rapman ne thing that can never be taken away from people is to disagree to agree. On February 9, 2012, the battle line was almost drawn between top Nigerian music producer, Don Jazzy and Nigerian rapper, Terry Tha Rapman. Confirmed information by revealed that, Tha Rapman vehemently took to social networking site, twitter, to show his displeasure on Don Jazzy’s comment on Nigerian rappers in a recent publication.


How Davido paid Neato C N1million for hit single ‘Back When’

Don Jazzy According to the rapper’s tweet, “just read what Don Jazzy said about rappers and rap music. With all due respect, that is just WRONG; it is a diss to we rappers though. Boys Are Not Smiling(BANS). Terry Tha Rapman then went ahead to tweet Don Jazzy’s comment, which goes thus, “if you decide that you want to do rap, there is one thing you should put at the back of your mind, your parents are not proud of you.” For now, no one knows if Don Jazzy would hit back at the rapper.

Groan Alone: What’s gone wrong with Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin? The actor looked worryingly gaunt as he stopped to pose for a photo with a fan




p and coming music artiste, Davido, came into the public-fore last year with his hit single, Back When. The two singles (Back When and Damiduro) of son of a billionaire business mongul, Deji Adeleke, have now become street songs. According to gist confirmed by from a reliable source, the young artiste paid the sum of N1million to rapper, Neato C, who is the son of former Aviation Minister, Kema Chikwe, to feature

in the song, Back When. As were told, Davido approached Neato C to feature in the said song. Though Neato C did not want to be part of the song, but as a way to tell him no, he charged Davido a million naira, thinking he would not be able to afford the amount. The source further said that Davido did not waste time in making the money available to Neato C, who then agreed to do the song with Davido.

Neato C

uccess: The child star in Home Alone Rex He captivated audiences as the cheeky cherub-faced lad in movie hit Home Alone. But Macaulay Culkin cuts an altogether less wholesome figure on a day out in New York. The actor looked worryingly gaunt as he stopped to pose for a photo with a fan. Sporting a wispy goatee beard, the 31-year-old’s black leather jacket hung off his thin frame as he clutched an energy drink. His appearance is certainly a far cry from the cute boy who played Kevin McCallister in the 1990 film Home Alone, which grossed more than £300million worldwide. He was the decade’s biggest child star and commanded £4million a movie by the time he starred in 1994’s Richie Rich. By the mid-1990s Culkin was estimated to be worth 1998, with the judge firing his dad £25million. But rather than set Christopher Culkin and mum him on the road to adult Patricia Brentup and giving the superstardom, his career family’s accountant sole charge of imploded. He endured a vicious his fortune until he turned 18. That same year, Macaulay dispute with his parents, who he sued amid allegations they married his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Miner, but the couple sadly mishandled his fortune. The actor won the case in divorced four years later.

In 2002, he embarked on a relationship with actress Mila Kunis, which lasted eight years. Two years later he was arrested in Oklahoma City for possession of marijuana and two controlled substances. He initially denied the charges in court, but t h e n reversed t h e

plea to guilty and received three suspended prison terms. The child star was also caught up in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial in 2005 and was even forced to testify. He defended his friend, saying he had stayed over many times in his bedroom but nothing had ever happened. Jackson was later cleared.




Lindsay Lohan's Kris Humphries, attorney Neighbours glad she to put Reality TV on trial? moved out!


indsay Lohan's neighbours are not exactly crying over the fact that the actress moved out of their Venice Beach neighbourhood amid a recent stalking scare. "Everyone is just ecstatic that she moved," one local resident said. "Goodbye to her and all her drama. Since she moved here it's been a complete circus." "With a revolving door of friends in and out of her house a n d paparazzi camped o u t permanently. Everyone was so sick of her," the

citizen added. Another neighbour was even less sympathetic to the star, which has had legal troubles for years and moved to Venice Beach as a respite from them last year. Glad to see that turned out so well. "Seriously, every time we heard a siren we hoped and prayed it was

the police carting her off again and we would be left in peace," the neighbour said. "It was a nightmare when she was here ... [Samantha Ronson] has lived right next door for ages and she's never been any drama, she's very low key." " S h e just goes about her business, b u t Lohan w a s like a

hurricane, or some other natural disaster tearing through the neighbourhood constantly." Lohan recently moved out of her Venice Beach condo because of security concerns. She is said to be staying in a room at the Chateau Marmont.


t made him millions of dollars, and opened up the door to a number of marketing opportunities, but Kris Humphries has reportedly had it with reality TV. He's preparing to take that industry down! Having filed for annulment on the basis of fraud, Humphries must now go to court and prove that Kim Kardashian never had any intention of honouring her long-term marriage vows. To do

that, a source tells TMZ, his lawyer plans to "expose the M.O. of reality TV" by depicting it as a wholly scripted business. The ironic catch? This same attorney wants the annulment trial open to cameras. Is there any chance Kris might win his fraud case? It's unlikely, for a myriad of reasons: 1. He proposed to Kim, making it difficult to argue that he was duped into anything.

Kris Humphries

2. The pre-nuptial agreement between the ex-couple is actually quite detailed, with certain clauses related to many years in the future. Why would Kim even put those in place if she planned to divorce Kris in a little over two months? 3. KRIS HUMPHRIES MARRIED KIM KARDASHIAN ON AN E! SPECIAL! How can he claim he thought the union was based on love and not ratings?

Kim Kardashian


Prateik-Amy, the latest item on the B-town's love block


h e stars of the upcoming romantic film Ek Deewana Tha, Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson are

totally in love and have never missed any opportunity to display their affection to each other in public.

Babbar was recently questioned about Amy Jackson. The actor said: "She is a very hard girl to please…to be honest." Adding, "When you have to shoot something like this (romantic film) then you have no choice but to have a chemistry. We are extremely close, we support each other's career. There is obviously chemistry, but we worked on it and I hope people appreciate it. We are close and comfortable with each other." Dismising all the rumours about him moving in with Amy, Prateik says, "If the speculation about me moving in with her goes, then I am happy about it. She is beautiful…isn't she? But no, we haven't (moved in together)," Prateik Babbar disclosed. The couple are so into each other that, these days, they are rarely seen without each other.

Deepika out, Priyanka in!


ow that Deepika Paukone has reportedly walked out of Ramesh Taurani's sequel to the 2008 thriller Race, it is heard that Priyanka Chopra is most likely to step into Deepy's shoes. The actress has gone through the script and is said to have liked it. Says's a source close to the project, "It would be rather nice if Priyanka accepts the offer. She had been considered for the role earlier as well. She is aware of the script. So there won't be any time lost over narration. Things can easily fall into place". Priyanka Chopra is currently in Hyderabad, shooting for Rakesh Roshan's Krrish 3. The actress will meet Taurani as soon as she returns to Mumbai.

Kim Kardashian



VALENTINE SPECIAL Hurray! The valentine’s season is here again. As lovers all over the world get set to mark another Valentine’s Day, next Tuesday, Nigerians speak on their plans to celebrate the day known as the season of love. While some expect to spend the day indoors in the company of their loved ones, others have loads of plans to celebrate the day outdoors and to give gifts to their beloved. Miriam Humbe and Rukayatu Mohammed went were in the street where they got the voices of the people about the oncoming event. Mrs. Mimidoo Okoronkwo, (Business woman)

Mrs. Nonye Ayere (Beautician)



y plan for that day is to attend a church service which is specifically organized to mark it in the company of a friend since my husband is out of town. If however he gets back before Valentine’s Day, of course, I will love to spend it with him and go out with him to wherever he will choose to take me to.

Chigozie Nwabueze (Driver)

Chigozie Valentine means a lot to me and is a welcome development. As you can see, I am out here in search of my means of livelihood, and hopefully I am expecting to make some money at the end of this week. My utmost desire is to buy a car for my fiancée to show my love to her and to celebrate with my friends. Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed on February 14 every year to honour one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering

Adetokunbo Oshoba (Banker)

Adetokunbo intend to attend a church program which is specially organized for couples for the Valentine season. After that, we will go for dinner at Cupid Resort and bar. I believe the Valentine season is all about rekindling the love in which both couples share no matter the number of years you have spent together. It is also about sharing love to the less privileged and the needy. For that, I look forward to giving to the orphanage homes some good gifts I can afford for the children’s upkeep.




will spend it with my husband though he is not much of the out-going type. On

confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”) The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. M o d e r n Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th c e n t u r y , h a n d w r i t t e n valentines have given way to massproduced greeting cards.

that day, I will make peppered chicken or goat meat and serve him with wine or juice and we will spend the evening alone chatting and renewing our love and marital vows.

Eugene Akagwu (Student)

Sunday Francis (Business man)

Sunday will like to celebrate the valentine in Abuja but because of the current security lapses in the country owing to the Boko Haram threats, it may hinder my celebrating in the way I planned to. I planned to go to the Millennium Park but I may just change my mind about that. I am hoping that at the end of today, I will have enough money to celebrate it in style. Also, I want to surprise my fiancée with beautiful gifts.

I Eugene am a student, so after lectures that day, I will take my lady out to a hotel in Keffi where we will sit by the pool side. I love to see her nice dentition so I am going to make her laugh a whole lot so I can enjoy looking at her beautiful face. I already have a fine wrist watch I bought for her so I am going to present it to her when I drop her in front of her hostel and tell her how much I love her.





How to make your cell phone last longer T

o d a y , cell phones can be a costly investment. If you want to get the most out of your purchase, then you should learn how to take care of your cell phone to make it last as long as possible. Taking special care of your phone will ensure that it lasts longer and costs you less on repairs and parts replacements. Temperature-Wise: One of the things you can do is to keep the temperature around your cell phone fairly warm. Cold leaches the power out of your battery and it can actually harm the touch screen if the phone is left in direct sunlight and heat too long. Handle with Care: There are the basics to cell phone longevity as well. Handle your cell phone with care and resist the urge to toss it to others. Water, in fact any liquid in

general, can sound the death knell to cell phones. If you want to keep you cell phone functioning for any length of time, make sure you keep it dry. Don't forget to get a case! There are many cases that will protect your fragile phone from the accidental drop. Don't think you will be so careful as to never drop your phone. Trust me on this one‌ I speak from personal experience! Increase Battery-Life: Some people don't realize that the first thing that will die on their cell phone is the battery. There are ways to make sure that your battery's longevity remains intact as well. *Condition the battery: The first thing you should do when you get your new cell phone is make sure the battery is good and dead. Most batteries will have a partial

charge on them. Resist the temptation to charge the battery right away. In fact, many owner's manuals tell you to do this very thing. Of course, the manufacturers have an interest in getting you to buy a new battery sooner rather than later. Use the phone until the battery is completely dead, then charge the battery fully. Once you have done this for four or five cycles and then you can begin charging it on a daily basis because you have properly conditioned your cell phone battery. This practice will not only help give you more time between necessary charges, it will actually lengthen the life of the battery and your phone will work like new for a longer period. *Charge only when needed: Let your cell phone discharge fully

or at least up to less than 50% before charging it again. If the cell phone battery is kept on ac charging all the time or if it is charged when it has sufficient charge left, it tends to get "weaker". *Do this once a week: Every week, at least once, let your cell phone discharge fully. That is, let the battery die out and let it charge while in off state. You can do it on a weekend night. Then you can use the cell phone as usual (and charge it as usual) the entire week. This will rejuvenate the battery and make it last much longer. Turn it off: Turn your phone off whenever you're not using it. This will allow the batteries to cool down. *Don't overcharge: Don't leave your phone on charging for extended periods of time; take it off

the charges once it has charged itself fully. In case you charge overnight or let it charge unattended, you can use an outlet timer and set it to the approximate charging time span. It will automatically put your battery offcharging once the time limit has been reached. *Android Specific: As an owner of an Android phone, I can also tell you the following suggestions. *1. Don't buy or use any app that is a "task killer". The Android operating system already has the most efficient battery saving system built in. There is no need to kill running tasks. Many people make the mistake of using a task killer for their apps when there is no need *Turn off GPS, Wi-fi, and 4G systems whenever you do not need these. These are the most battery draining uses. *Purchase an extended battery that doubles the life of your android phone. There are many extended batteries for sale. *How to save your phone from "drowning": If the unthinkable does occur and you drop you cell phone into water, don't panic! All may not be lost. However, you will have a very short time in which to act if you wish to save your phone. Here's what you should do: *The first thing you must do is get your phone out of the water as quickly as possible. *The second thing you must do is turn the phone off. The main reason that phones are killed when submerged in water is due to the electrical shorts that take place in the water. *The secondary reason that phones die when exposed to large amounts of water is corrosion. If you can get the phone out of the water quickly, and turn it off and allow it to dry, you have a better chance of your phone surviving. Leave the phone off and disassemble it as much as possible without causing any damage. Turn out all of the parts, like micro SD cards, SIM cards, and the like onto an absorbent surface and allow to dry overnight. "Do not use a hairdryer; the heat can cause damage of another sort. The only thing you can do is waiting till morning, reassemble the phone, and try to power it up to see if it works.




Tips for a positive outlook despite being wife and mother


o your to-do list is already packed and the days fly by in a blur. Is it really worth it to add more things to your agenda? In a word: yes! Women are notorious for sacrificing their own needs for those of their families. But when we don't pay attention to the activities that nourish us, body and soul, we're doing ourselves (not to mention our families) a great disservice. Plus, making time for these often-neglected actions can help us reach our overall life goals, says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, a psychologist and the author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. "Regardless of what you want to achieve-a better marriage, a healthier life, a happier family, and taking time to do what you really want to do will actually help you achieve it." Read on for these special to-dos you should work into your schedule for a more positive outlook. It's ironic, and kind of a shame that our closest, oldest, dearest friendsthe ones who can be the most valuable to our well-being-are the easiest to put aside when we're busy. So why do we do it? Because we assume they'll understand. But, making time for your female friends or dining with an elderly, like your mum or mother in-law is one of the most important things you can do for your well-being. "Being with your friends helps reduce stress, and it can normalize what you are experiencing," says Dr. Lombardo. Just think of those times when you were totally spinning your wheels, thinking you were the only one with a terrible-two toddler, a too-tight budget or a boss from hell. One lunch or glass of drink with your friend and you didn't feel nearly so alone, right? Another reason girl pals are crucial: to keep you from relying completely on your spouse for support and a social outlet. Making time: You might hate

Visit a friend's boutique

to hear it, because it sounds so "to-dolist-y," but you do have to schedule meet-ups. "Plan some girl time at least once a month," says Dr. Lombardo. "If both of your lives are just too crazy, try combining activities, such as volunteering together, joining a club or class together, or exercising together." You cook their food, drive them to school and some of their activities and help them with their homework. But do you spend quality one-on-one time with your kids as individuals? "Many women report that there's not enough actual time, not to mention emotional energy, left in the day" to hang out with each child, says Dr. Ruskin-but you are missing out if you don't. When it's just you and your son, even for a short stretch of time, you end up with a closer bond; you help him feel respected and valued for who he is (which will in turn help him form healthy relationships as an adult); and, over time, you're more likely to remain in the loop in his world (which is invaluable as he hits his teen years). Making time: Assign each of your children a different highlighter color, and shade in a 30minute block per week on the calendar, suggests Dr. Ruskin. It doesn't have to be a four-day vacation with each child; what matters is for that 30 minutes a week, it's just you and him. You don't even necessarily have to leave the house: "If one child enjoys making jewelry with beads, the other collecting baseball cards and the other playing with blocks, then for 30 minutes each week you should participate in those activities with them," says Dr. Ruskin. Indulging your creative side You used to be a top-notch knitter, or an amateur guitar player, or a passable poet. So why did you give up those creative outlets? Lack of time is the most commonly cited excuse, followed by that nagging

Get wise counsel from mother-in-law

One-on-one time with the kids sense that you're being selfish with your time when your family needs you. But you should flip that idea on its head, says Dr. Lombardo. "Being creative and pursuing your own interests boosts your happiness, and when you're happier, you're a much better mother, wife, friend, workeryou name it!" Making time: First, identify something you would like to do-either something new or a beloved pastime you can take up again. Then look for idle pockets of time (like when you watch a TV show you don't really love just because it's on) and dedicate the time to the creative activity instead. Remember to experiment with what makes you excited, because when you're jazzed about something, you'll find a way to work it into your schedule. (A little guitar playing in the basement after the kids go to bed or a photography class during school hours, suggests Dr. Lombardo.) Feel like you're done with school? Fair enough-but you should never be done with learning. "The motto, 'If you don't use it, you lose it' applies to your brain as much as to your muscles," says Dr. Lombardo. "When you stimulate your brain by learning a new skill, your overall cognitive

abilities improve, too." Making time: Luckily, finding a way to learn something new isn't that difficult. Try searching for local classes (community colleges and public libraries are great resources); practicing a new language with an online course or CDs; or checking out the tai chi class your gym is now offering. Sleep We all want to snooze more, but how tempting is it, after everyone else in the house is asleep, to catch up on reading, DVR'd programs or folding laundry? "Women often report that it's only when the house is finally quiet that they can either relax or get chores done without anyone asking something of them," says Dr. Ruskin. But sleep, she notes, is more important than you may realize. "Mind, body and emotions are all connected, so a lack of sleep is not just bad for your health; it affects everything." Making time: Work backwards from an ideal hitting-thehay time, so you don't allow evening activities and tasks to spill into your before-bed routine, says Dr. Ruskin. And stick to it! If you find that, even if you get to bed on time, you can't sleep because your head is filled with things

you need to do, take an hour before bed to list them out and find other times in your day or week to get them done. "Give yourself permission to end your day," says Dr. Ruskin. Exercise For some women, regular dates with their running shoes or Zumba class are non-negotiable. For others, the desire to exercise, not to mention the feeling that we should be doing it for health as well as sanity, winds up on the end of the to-do list. One reason we shift it off the schedule: the intimidation factor, says Hanley. If you can't manage 60 minutes of all-out sweating, you just don't bother. Making time: "Give up the notion that you have to get sweaty to call it exercise," says Hanley. A 15-minute walk a couple of times a week, some yoga stretches at your desk, a Pilates DVD in the den all make the grade. "Incorporate exercise into your regular life. If you can, walk your kids to school instead of driving them. Use a bicycle or trek for local errands." Pursue physical activities that are fun for you. Is it Tennis or a dance class? "Anything you find enjoyable is something you'll commit to," says Hanley.



Protect How toyourself choosefrom proper diseases by eating healthy

kitchen lighting

Pots & Pans


hen you want to renovate or redesign your kitchen, you will be interested to get some of the best pieces of advice regarding the right type of lighting for this space. Here are some useful tips for you to use in order to make the wisest decision when purchasing kitchen lighting. First, there is a wide range of kitchen lights you can choose from but the main types are functional lights and decorative lights. Functional lighting include all the lights you will be using when cooking while decorative lighting includes all the lights that are used in order to add a decorative touch to the whole space or set the right mood. When you are looking for functional kitchen lighting, you should go for the fluorescent or recessed one. For instance, over the

stove lighting is among the most common options when it comes to functional lighting. When trying to use decorative lighting, you should go for a soft lighting installed right underneath the kitchen cabinets. However, if you are lucky enough to own a kitchen with many windows, natural lighting can be used during daytime as well. Now that you have decided what type of lighting you want for your kitchen, you will have to shop carefully for each of the kitchen lights in order to save your money and provide yourself with quality items. Before you purchase a particular type of kitchen light, you will have to come up with a quite detailed plan in order to know where this particular light will be placed in your kitchen space. Keep in mind that placement is extremely

important in order for you to see everything when you're spending your time in the kitchen. As you purchase, you should think about how a particular type of light is going to look with your current kitchen design and in your house. Shop around, look at all the available items and prices and decide on whether a particular type of kitchen light is what you really need for your home. If you think that you cannot do this by yourself, you should hire a professional in order to select the right kitchen lights for your space. You may just replace outdated and old lighting but adding some new lighting items is another story because such an addition can require extra electrical skills that you may not posses. Keep this aspect in mind while shopping for new lighting. Don't overlook your kitchen when thinking

about a new lighting project in your home. Try to remember that kitchen lighting is developing along with all the modern needs related to having a beautiful and functional home. In fact, kitchen lighting is among the most interesting and versatile projects to handle and it can also become extremely challenging due to all the shelves, cabinets and appliances that are quite numerous in every kitchen. The first approach to your kitchen lighting is to think about task and functional lighting - consider all the areas that need such task lighting. For instance, places such as counters, sinks and tables don't have too much shadow and they

can be illuminated with bright lights. A task light will work best when the fixture is close enough to your work area because this placement will provide you with maximum light. Small under cabinet lights can be great choices as well especially if you are interested to have enough light for your pantries. The options available in this case include spot lights, directional lights and fluorescent tubes. Decorative or ambient lighting serves as general lighting. This general lighting will provide your kitchen with overall illumination. For instance, fluorescent tubes could be a great idea for your kitchen due to their increased

Homemade French onion dip


his favourite recipe for this classic dip showcases onions three ways: fried, roasted, and fresh. Makes about 3 ½ cups Ingredients: 4 medium onions (2 quartered lengthwise, 2 finely chopped) 1 cup olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 cup mayonnaise ½ cup cream cheese, softened ½ cup sour cream 1 tbsp. fresh lemon

juice Hot sauce, such as tomato paste with pepper, to taste Cut raw vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, and cauliflower, for serving Instructions: 1. Heat oven to 425°. Toss quartered onions with 2 tbsp. oil on a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally until soft and slightly caramelized, about 45 minutes; set roasted onions aside to

cool. 2. Place roasted onions in a food processor and puree until smooth; add mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight. 3. Heat remaining oil in a 103 frying pan over medium-high heat; add finely chopped onions and cook, stirring until brown,

about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until deep golden brown, about 16 minutes more. Transfer onions to a strainer set over a bowl to drain; discard oil or reserve for another use. Transfer fried onions to paper towels to drain; set aside. 4. To serve, stir 2/3 of the fried onions and the scallions into dip, and transfer to a serving bowl; top with remaining fried onions and serve with fresh vegetables.

With Hajiya Ramatu Usman Dorayi

efficiency and even and broad illumination. Some incandescent down lights could be a good choice for your kitchen as well because they can add an extra dramatic effect to this space. You can also use surface lights, conventional recessed lights or light fixtures that are installed on a chain or pendant because this is a good way to provide the space with direct lighting. Other quite interesting lighting options may include adding a quality layer of accent lighting. This is to be done for your collectable, artwork and kitchen occupancy sensors (these sensors are a great idea for a kitchen with multiple entrances).




Funmi Iyanda’s sleek styles


lufunmilola Aduke Iyanda, better known as Funmi Iyanda is a multi award winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger. She produced and hosted Nigeria’s most popular and authoritative talk show ‘New Dawn with Funmi’, which aired on the national network for over eight years. Funmi

is the CEO of Ignite Media, a content driven media organization operating out of Lagos. Funmi’s foray into television began when she started producing and presenting “Good Morning Nigeria” a breakfast magazine television show. The show became a hit, with its “Heroes” segment which exalted the achievement of deserving members of the society and “Street Life”, which unlike many shows at the time went out on the streets in search of compelling Nigerian human interest stories. The show focused on the injustices suffered by Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable members Ankara such as women and and children. The show plain was syndicated on green national television. We bring you the many sleek fashion styles of this ace broadcaster with the hope that you will find them delightful enough to enhance your ward robe especially for the fashion victims. There are various styles to

Bright colour Ankara with matching top combination

Short sleeve lace top, casual look for the work place.

Black and white Ankara casual wear

choose from ranging from the nicely tailored Ankara native wears to the evening wears with the right shoes and accessories to match, all of which make the TV star a model of sorts.

Slim fitted evening wear with high heels



FG sells $937m T-bills, yields dip F

FCMB completes Finbank buyout

By Miriam Humbe


e d e r a l Government said yesterday that it auctioned 149.27 billion naira ($937.92 million) worth of 91-day, 182-day and 364-day treasury bills this week at lower

yields than its last sale. At its third auction this year, the central bank sold 67.22 billion naira in 264-day paper at 16.89 percent, 50 billion naira in 182-day at 16.09 percent and 32.06 billion naira of 91-day bills at 14.70 percent.

The 182-day paper was sold at a marginal rate of 16.10 percent at the previous auction on January 25, while the 91-day was issued at a 14.79 percent marginal rate. The total subscription stood at 316.85 billion naira compared

with 258.13 billion naira at the previous auction. Nigeria, Africa's second biggest economy after South Africa, issues treasury bills regularly as part of monetary control measures to help lenders manage their liquidity. ($1 = 159.1500 naira)

By Augustine Aminu irst City Monument Bank announced it has completed the acquisition of rescued lender Finbank, which it says will double its branch network and customer base. FCMB shares were up almost 4 percent on Friday at 4.10 naira per share. The mid-size lender has won all necessary regulatory approvals for the deal and Finbank will become a wholly-owned subsidiary, it said in a statement to shareholders. Finbank was among nine lenders rescued by central bank in 2009. Four of the bailed out banks have since merged with rivals while three others were nationalised for failing to find merger partners. The ninth reduced its size to survive. FCMB which operates from 133 branches said the buyout ends the recapitalisation process for Finbank but it did not disclose how much it paid for the stake. Finbank has 180 branches and is worth around a tenth of FCMB's value of 104 billion naira.

NTDC boss urges LGs to identify tourism sites By Augustine Aminu tunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), has stressed the need to reawaken the 774 local governments to identity the tourism potential of their areas. Runsewe made the statement on Thursday when the project Director of `Naija 7 Wonders’, Mr Ikechi Uko, and members of his committee paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja. He said Nigeria had enormous tourism potential that could be harnessed to boost its image. “Some of the local governments do not know the tourism potential that they have, we need to promote the tourism destination and the state government must be involved. “We need to market our destination for tourism to thrive ,’’ Runsewe said. He commended the committee for identifying the seven major tourism sites and encouraged them not to relent in their effort on tourism development. Earlier, Uko listed the seven wonders of Nigeria as Idanre Hills, Osun Grove, Obudu mountain resort, Benin Moat, Kano City Wall, Sukur Kingdom and the National War Museum in Umuahia. Uko stressed the need to build a body of locations that were `must see’ for every Nigerian and visitor and could be universally recognised and promoted as tourism destinations. “The seven wonders will excite the nation as every one will be interested in the results and will deliver dividends to the sites,’’ he said. Uko said the selection of the sites was done by a 50- man committee of professionals.


L-R Chairman Dangote Group of Companies Alhaji Aliko Dangote in a handshake with Bauchi state Governor Alhaji Isa Yuguda and Chairman Fort Oil Chief Femi Otedola during Commissioning ceremony of Dangote Cement Factory at Ibese in Abeokuta Ogun state yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

SMEDAN, Stakeholders, to launch Payment Guarantee Scheme By Miriam Humbe with agency report


o guarantee irremovable payment due to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria , a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and TSX Advisory Limited, a Lagos-based legal entity charged with business development. The MOU, which was necessitated by the need for the two bodies to create a viable institutional partnership to push government’s backing on SME development through the proposed project, tagged ‘SME Payment Guaranteed Scheme (PGS)’, was signed recently by both parties at the SMEDAN Headquarters in Abuja. Prior to the signing of the MOU, SMEDAN had met with stakeholders in the scheme made up of private and public sector

institutions/regulatory agencies to facilitate stakeholder ownership of the scheme. Present at the meeting held on February 8, 2012 were representatives of Interswitch, TSX Advisory Limited as well as representatives of the National Planning Commission, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange Commission. Also expected to be part of the scheme are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Speaking during a presentation of the scheme at the SMEDAN Headquarters, the TSX Representative, Mr. Charles Ifedi said that SMEDAN’s support of the scheme was critical to improve the performance of SMEs in the country. He added that TSX, established to carry on

strategy, business development and debt factoring and project management for SMEs would support SMEDAN’s mission of closing the financial gaps that were not covered by small and medium enterprises credit guarantee schemes (SMECGS). The scheme is designed to help SMEs reduce risk in SME cash flows by ensuring predictability in receipt of payments for goods and services, enhance access to finance and reduce financing cost by closing financing gaps and enhance access to lower cost financing due to payment guarantee and improve SME performance through increased output as a result of confidence to sell on credit, and by extension, enhancing contribution to employment generation. Features of the proposed scheme include but are not limited to: uniform documentation requirement, guaranteed payments for goods and services, insurance protection against erroneous or

fraudulent payments and receivable certificate issued for value supplied. Mr. Ifedi enthused that with the successful implementation of the scheme, the contribution of SMEs to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would improve, the country would record higher technical skills and income levels among workers and dangerous trends such as unemployment and other attendant social vices would be cut down to the barest minimum. Pledging SMEDAN’s unflinching support, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Muhammed Nadada Umar said he was excited about the project, and welcomed more collaboration to heighten the success of SMEDAN’s mandate. ‘’Therefore,’’ he said, “we at SMEDAN would help to design and apply the guidelines for SME participation in the scheme, provide advisory oversight, and even support the training of prospective participants when the need arises”.


Katsina govt earmarks N350m for bee keeping, fisheries, poultry By Miriam Humbe


he Katsina State Government has earmarked N350 million for the establishment of three skills acquisition centres to empower youths in fisheries, poultry and bee-keeping. Alhaji Shafiu Inono, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Fish Farming, Poultry and Bee-keeping, made the announcement on Friday in Katsina. He said the centres would be sited in Daura, Funtua and Katsina, while the infrastructure of the existing fish farms, fish markets, fishery training schools, poultry and bee keeping houses would be rehabilitated. Inono said the beneficiaries of the project would also include the less privileged and physically challenged persons in the society. Others are women, youths and retired civil servants to enable them to improve their living condition and produce enough fish, poultry and honey for both domestic consumption and export. He said the project was expected to create job opportunities for the people, improve the state's revenue base, and boost socio-economic activities in the area. Inono said government would collaborate with both national and foreign firms to organise training sessions for the beneficiaries of the project and equip them with modern methods of fishery, poultry farming and beekeeping.


FG,World Bank to spend N3 billion on prepaid meters project By Augustine Aminu


r . Joseph Ciroma, Assistant General Manager, PHCN, Abuja, says about N3 billion will be spent to provide free prepaid meters to electricity consumers in Karu, Nyanya and its environs. Ciroma who spoke in an interview on Friday in Abuja,

said the project was being sponsored by the Federal Government and the World Bank. “The value of this contract is approximately N3 billion, although we have the dollar component of foreign companies and local companies. “These meters are 117,000 in number, comprising single phase

and three phases, about 60,000 have been supplied and delivered by the contractors and we have only installed 43,000.” He said that these meters were replaceable and would last for about 20 years, adding that PHCN had “defect liability agreement with the World Bank on this.” According to him, the meters

are guaranteed for 13 months after installation, and each has “20 kilowatts hour that customers will use before recharging.” Ciroma appealed to all PHCN customers to promptly pay their bills, saying that the Federal Government and the World Bank had spent a lot of money on the project.

From Left: Executive Director, Editorial Matters, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Dipo Ogbede, conducting the DirectorGeneral, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. Joseph Odumodu (r) round NAN facilities at the headquarters in Abuja when he visited yesterday.

Anambra chapter of AFAN tasks govt on fertiliser supply

KADP sensitises farmers on benefits of cooperatives

he All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Anambra has appealed to the state government to ensure early procurement and distribution of fertiliser to farmers. The state Chairman of the association, Chief Nnamdi Mekor, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigera (NAN) in Awka on Friday Mekor npted that farmers had

By Augustine Aminu he Kaduna State Agricultural Development Programme (KADP) has commenced mass awareness campaign to sensitise rural farmers on the need to form cooperative groups. Malam Shehu Aliyu, the organisation’s spokesman, disclosed this on Thursday in Kaduna in an interview with newsmen. He said the campaign underscored the determination of


begun preparation for the planting season in earnest. “As a matter of fact, farmers in Anambra began preparation for the planting season in November 2011, especially those who plant yam. “All that our farmers need now is early procurement of fertiliser by the state government for distribution to the farming population.” The chairman decried the usual late distribution of the

product to farmers and called for a reversal of the trend, to ensure a bumper harvest. On the N1 billion agricultural loan to farmers in the state, Mekor expressed regret that the state government had not released the loan AFAN members. When NAN contacted the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Godson Ezenagu, he said that the list of genuine farmers to benefit from the loan was still being compiled.


the government to boost agricultural activities in the state. He said during the exercise, farmers would be educated on the process and benefits of forming and registering cooperative associations. Aliyu urged farmers to form and join existing cooperative groups in order to take advantage of the various credit facilities provided by both the government and the private sector to develop agriculture.



Sovereign national conference will take Nigeria backward, says Hon Sadiq L a s t week, a group of Nigerians converged in Lagos asking for the convening of a sovereign national conference to discuss the country’s structure. Is this called for? This is democracy, everybody has his or her own opinion; the minority will always have their say and the majority will always have their way. Even in US where you have a Constitution that everybody accepts; if you trace their history, you will discover that at one time or the other, they had problems with their Constitution. The issue of Sovereign National Conference has been on in this country for a long time now. When this issue comes up, people advocating this will always find themselves in the minority. Of course the minority cannot impose themselves on the majority, no matter how strong their views and opinions are. What is it that they want to discuss in that conference that cannot be discussed in the two chambers of the National Assembly? The last time, we wanted to amend the Constitution, they came up to say that until we hold the Sovereign National Conference, we cannot amend the Constitution but we were able to amend the Constitution successfully. If they have views about the ways federalism in this country can be best practiced, they can bring it up through their representatives in the National Assembly and state houses of assembly. When it comes to the issue of voting, they can vote for which party they feel strong about. There is no where in the entire world where you can have a perfect federalism. As we continue with the amendment of the constitution in the National Assembly, one way or the other, we will arrive at the kind of federalism that we desire. What they are asking for are things that cannot even be achieved in the next one hundred years of the life of this country. In this country, we have different tribes and ethnic groups; how do you then determine who represents them in such a conference. What is going to be the modality for nominating those representing the people. You see, this whole issue is a funny issue; some Nigerians will wake up one day and start propagating one funny idea. These people are trying to make themselves relevant in the Nigerian political space. Some of those advocating for the Sovereign National Conference are saying there is something wrong with the amalgamation of the north and south of Nigeria in 1914 by Lord Luggard? I don’t believe that. What is

Hon. Mohamed Asema Sadiq is the Chairman, House Committee on Steel Development.. In this interview with Augustine Aminu, he spoke extensively against the recent call by some politicians in the country for a Sovereign National Conference to restructure the country’s federalism.

Hon. Mohamed Asema Sadiq

strange in the amalgamation of the north and the south. First, we are all blacks; Africans. Do we have blacks mixed with Chinese? Are the Nigerians in the south mixed with Russians? Are we not the same people who were trading with each other from the north and the south before the coming of Lord Luggard? What is strange there? Before the British came, we were a strong united people, we talked with strong voices. You see, the larger you are the better for the country. Those advocating for the breaking of the country on the basis of the resources in their region, can never tell what the other region can have tomorrow. In some local government areas in the country, you can find oil but in my own local government there is enough steel that can feed the whole of Africa; so what you find in one place is absent in the other. Some of those advocating for the conference are saying that the larger ethnic groups are cheating the small ones?

I don’t agree with them. There is nowhere in the world even in your house or village where you have a large clan and the big clan will not cheat the smaller ones. There are ways also that smaller ones will cheat the large clans. It all depends on the methodology. For instance, the Hausa tribe is a large tribe compared to my own tribe, Ebira and there is no way they won’t attract more resources than my own tribe. In sharing the resources among the tribes in the country, you will discover that the minority tribes are cheating the majority tribes because by the time you gather what all the minority tribes gets, it will be larger than that of the majority tribe. To me, I think it is natural that the larger they are, one way or the other, they get larger benefits. That does not mean that they are cheating you. Some people maintain that the presidential system is not working for the country, and it is very expensive; so they are saying

that the ethnic nationalities should come together and fashion out the kind of government they want. Do you think the presidential system of government is working in Nigeria, and do we need a change? The presidential system of government is working in Nigeria. Those who are saying that the presidential system of government is not working in Nigeria are economical with the truth. If we were not operating the presidential system of government, many things would have been worse than this. The developments we have in the different parts of the country today is made possible through the presidential system of government. The regional government in the past did not bring developments like the presidential system. The regional government did not bring development closer to the people like we have now. So, what we are practicing now is better,

because states and local government areas are components parts of federalism. The only problem of the presidential system of government is the control of the police at the centre. Every state and local government is supposed to have control of its police force for effective policing of the community. The presidential system of government brought about the creation of federal constituencies, states and local government that brought governance closer to the people. So I don’t think the presidential system of government is not working, just because one or two component parts are missing. What about the cost. The anti-presidential system elements are saying that it is too costly for the nation. They are advocating for a parliamentary system where we can have parttime legislators. What they are talking about will not work in this country. It will even worsen our situation. When you start having part time legislators, what can they achieve? Even now that we have full time legislators, we can’t cope with the enormous works in our hands. You can see now the enormous works in the National Assembly, what if you start having people on part time. It is not practicable in this country. They are only talking about cutting cost. What of the works being done by the members? Those on part time cannot give the works in the National Assembly the kind of time we are putting in now. The practicing of part time legislators will make Nigeria to suffer. The work will not be done and more money will be lost. I believe that those making these suggestions are the enemies of our democracy, who cannot find relevance in the existing political parties; they are politicians who cannot contest elections and win. They are the ones who are always castigating the National Assembly and advocating for all these kind of conferences. In Britain where they practice part time parliamentary system, they spend more. The National Assembly is the real hob of democracy. The money you invest in the National Assembly is not a waste. They should stop seeing the National Assembly as a conduct pipe to waste money. Those calling for Sovereign National Conference have one axe to grind with the present system or the other. They may have lost elections and no more relevant to the system. Now they are propagating one theory or the other to suit their whims.



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President Jonathan: Tackling unemployment Re: Sovereign wealth fund


t is fundamental reality that man shall not live by bread alone, but it is perhaps more fundamental that man cannot live without bread, because food is a basic need of life. One gray area in Nigeria’s economic planning has been the inability to industrialize to accommodate the ever growing population of high caliber and intermediate workers. It is government’s inability to provide job opportunities for Nigerians that has precipitated soaring unemployment in the country. The National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) has put the figure of unemployed Nigerians in the first half of last year at 23.9 per cent, up from 21.1 per cent in 2010 and 19.7 per cent in 2009.As at last year, the total number of unemployed Nigerians rose from more than 12 million in 2010 to more than 14 million in 2011, with the figure increasing by 1.8 million between December 2010 and June 2011. Again, the incidence of unemployment according to the NBS, was highest among youths aged between 15 and 24, and 25 and 44, adding that the problem was more pronounced in the rural areas. These bas statistics are certainly not acceptable. It is against this background that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan set up an Economic Advisory Team to chart a direction for the nation’s economic rejuvenation efforts. Mr. President believes that with concerted efforts, Nigeria is still capable of meeting the Millennium Development Goals. The National Transformation Blueprint designed in line with the Vision 20: 20:20 document stipulates that Nigeria will have a large, strong, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy that effectively harnesses the talents and energies of its people and responsibly exploits its natural endowments to guarantee a high standard of living and quality of life to its citizens. Fundamental to the

WRITE TO US Peoples Daily Weekend welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed to: The Editor, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Email: Vision are two broad objectives – optimizing human and natural resources to achieve rapid economic growth, and translating that growth into equitable social development for all citizens. This will be pursued within the social context of a peaceful, equitable, harmonious and just society, where every citizen has a strong sense of national identity and citizens are supported by an educational and healthcare system that caters for all, and sustains a life expectancy of not less than 70 years. The blue print is geared towards the eradicate extreme hunger and poverty; enhancing access to quality healthcare, Provide accessible and affordable housing and providing sustainable access to potable water and basic sanitation among others. Specifically, the transformation agenda seeks to stimulate primary production to enhance the competitiveness of Nigeria’s real sector; significantly increase production of processed and manufactured goods for export. It was also geared stimulating domestic and foreign trade in valueadded goods and services and strengthens linkages among key sectors of the economy. President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledges that fact that unemployment had become one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria and that it could only be addressed with innovative ideas that would empower youths to create jobs. The President said “My conviction is that if government decides to create enterprises, to employ people, the rate

will go at arithmetic means but if we have a programme where we identify some talented creative youth and empower them to employ, the rate of employment will grow in a geometric progression”. President Goodluck Jonathan recently declared his administration`s commitment to creating job opportunity for the army of unemployed youth in the country. Under a new scheme: government has introduced the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria nicknamed (YouWin!), and an estimated 110,000 jobs are being planned as part of government`s efforts to tackle unemployment in the next four years. The President disclosed that due to the age distribution of youths, “which makes them more in number”, it was imperative for them to take the driver’s seat of the country’s development and therefore need all the support his administration could offer. While President Jonathan and his economic team are making concerted efforts to appeal to the UNDP, and other development partners to contribute their quota the bad statistics seem to be unending. Added to these bad statistics is the disclosure by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) which puts the number of Nigerian graduates who completed the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) within the last five years but have remained unemployed at over 200,000. This is appalling. It should be noted that President Jonathan appealed to UNDP to assist Nigeria in this programme which aims at providing jobs for the

young, since in his own words, Nigeria’s population will in November, 2011, rise to 166 million. To underscore the need for partnership and collaboration, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, has said job creation and employment generation is at the fore-front of the transformation agenda of the administration under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan. The minister said this when playing host to Ambassador Terence McCulley. He added that one of the cardinal objectives of the Jonathan administration is job creation and employment generation. These pronouncements underscore Jonathan’s commitment to job creation. It was the need for the Federal Government to create job opportunities that informed President Jonathan’s Economic Advisory Committee to take agriculture as a priority. The advantages of the policy option cannot be over-emphasized. It is a pro-poor growth initiative that is capable of generating employment, ensuring food security and production of locally sourced raw materials for industries. Whereas this policy helps to diversify the economy, the spill-over benefits of contributing to the GDP and foreign exchange cannot be overemphasized. Mr. President can take this further by initiating the equivalent of President Obama’s JOB ACT to make it mandatory for private companies and multinational corporations to employ Nigerians who have the requisite skills, competences and capacity to contribute to the economy. What is clear is that president Goodluck Jonathan is deeply committed to tackling the menace of unemployment like never before. Idumange John, is Deputy President, Niger Delta Integrity Group.



Public and subsidy reversal Sultan opinion Sa’ad and conflict resolution T By Sa’ad Abubakar Zongre

h e closest I came to meeting the current Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, mni, CFR, was during the commissioning ceremony of the Taraba State Muslim Council (TSMC) secretariat in Jalingo on Monday, 2nd August, 2011. The event was part of the itinerary of the Sultan’s threeday working visit to the state and his speech on the occasion dwelt on the necessity for all Nigerians to fully imbibe the culture of understanding, tolerance, forgiveness and cooperation in day to day interaction with each other in order to co-exit peacefully and prevent the outbreak of violence such as the minor sectarian crisis that occurred in Wukari few days earlier, upon which, he even paid a strategic visit to the city. The Sultan’s timely arrival in Wukari on Sunday, 1st August 2011 contributed significantly in the restoration of sustainable peace in the then tensed city as captured by this writer in an article titled, “Sultan and Wukari Crisis’’ that was published in the Daily Trust

newspaper of August 19, 2010 thus; “For a long time to come, residents of Wukari will continue to make reference to the visit as an event that proved quite instrumental in strengthening the feeling of goodwill and unity among them. Definitely, the Sultan exhibited first class sensitivity and responsibility in personally coming to commiserate with the people in their hour of grief as a spiritual and royal father”. Providing succour to those in need without any element of discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity or sectionalism has being the trademark of Sultan Sa’ad’s leadership since he took the oath of office five years ago. He is certainly one of the most progressive sultans ever produced by the Sokoto caliphate in the over 200 years of its chequered history.In a lecture titled, “Islam and Peace–Building in West Africa’’ which he delivered at the Samuel L. and Elizabeth Jodidi Annual Lecture at Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University, MA, USA, as published by the Nigeria Sunrise newspaper of October 31 to November 6, 2011, the sultan re-emphasised the

positive role of the body in these words;… “We chose to take the difficult path, the path of positive engagement, which would engender meaningful discourse, improve communication and understanding and change the dynamics of our operating environment to that of trust and confidence.…the NIREC, provided the right platform for the engagement.… Firstly, we affirmed the sanctity of human life, Muslim and Christian, and insist that anybody who takes the law into his hands, regardless of the circumstances, must bear the full legal consequences.…we also

find that we must act together to address issues related to electoral reform, good governance and anti corruption.’’ The major security challenges facing the Sultan’s reign at the moment—the protracted Jos religious crises and the Boko Haram horror, were, to a certain extent, the products of bad governance, widespread corruption, poverty, illiteracy and a flawed electoral process. The Sultan and NIREC must therefore, do more to consolidate on the seeming progress achieved in respect of the Jos crises and find the right formula to answer the ravaging Boko

Providing succour to those in need without any element of discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity or sectionalism has being the trademark of Sultan Sa’ad’s leadership since he took the oath of office five years ago.

Haram question. It is necessary for the Sultan to use his influence to preach the values of “prevention is better than cure” to those in the corridors of power at all tiers of government by urging them to provide selfless and responsible leadership in line with his submission in the earlier–mentioned lecture thus; “governance, at all levels, must translate into tangible benefits for all Nigerians regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliation. Nigeria has the resources to make life more pleasant for its people”. For example, his dignified refusal to show any element of desperation on the introduction of Islamic banking in the country by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not only showed that he is a real father to the nation, but won him admirers across all religious, political, tribal and sectional divide. May Allah grant our Sultan more years of spiritual, selfless and meritorious service to Muslims, Islam, Nigeria and indeed, the entire mankind! Zongre sent in this piece from Yerima Bappa Sanda Road, Turaki A Ward, Jalingo

As Murtala Nyako wins

Public opinion and subsidy reversal T By: Mohammed Awwalu Ibro

he gubernatorial election held last Saturday will go down in history as the freest and fairest in Adamawa state. Before the election, there was serious apprehension and fear in all the nooks and crannies of the state, perhaps as a result of the BokoHaram menace, which had spread to many parts of the North. In the build up to the election, the state capital, Yola and one of the local governments, Mubi witnessed shootings that led to the death of some Igbo, leading to a curfew that lasted for weeks. This coupled with the fact that Christians from the southern part of the country who lived in the North had been threatened and given three days ultimatum to leave, further gave rise to trepidation. As if that was not enough, the election was postponed on two occasions by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for reasons which was harped on insecurity. After it seemed the election would not hold for the upteenth time, it was at last, held in a conducive and peaceful atmosphere, devoid of rancor and violence. In fact, the people of Adamawa conducted

themselves in a manner that showed their understanding and workings of the elements of democracy. It was quite a surprise that the post election violence witnessed in some parts of the North was non-existent in Adamawa state, which indicated that the winner of the election was voted for by the majority of the people. The voice of the people had prevailed (even as there was voter apathy in many local governments) and it is for this reason that INEC, gubernatorial candidates, the politicians, political parties, the people of Adamawa and all stakeholders must be commended for a job well done. This goes to show that sanity has been restored in our electoral process and the lessons of electoral triumph must be learned by all to further strengthen the electoral process. Having said this, Adamawa state in the last couple of months had witnessed boisterous political activities with campaign posters of the different political parties and their candidates hanging around the nooks and crannies of the state, in readiness for the gubernatorial election over the weekend. The most visible parties and their candidates included, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose

candidate, Vice Admiral Murtala Hamanyero Nyako, was the incumbent governor of the state, until the Supreme Court proved otherwise, while General Muhammad Buba Marwa was the candidate of the Congress for Political Change (CPC). The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on the other hand had as its flag bearer, Engineer Markus Gundiri, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) had Alhaji Ahmed Usman as its candidate while the African Democratic Congress (ADC) had as its flag bearer, Dr. Zainab Kwonchi. Each of these candidates were well known individuals in the State and had cut a niche for themselves in their respective and chosen profession. After the election, Vice Admiral Murtala Hamanyero Nyako was declared winner, having polled majority of the votes and won in over 14 local governments. Nyako’s electoral victory could be seen on his populist skills acquisition programme, free medical services for nursing mothers and infant under five, among others. However, feelings among the people proved otherwise. The governor, many believed, had done little or nothing for the vast majority of its civil servants, despite being a party to the Minimum Wage deal. They

pointed to the fact that when the issue was in the embryonic stage, Nyako himself had argued the 18,000 naira was too small, yet refused to pay his workers when the Bill was signed into law. This, to observers led to series of strike and for months, workers were not paid back log of salaries. In the area of education, observers argued that the Nyako’s agenda for the state paid little attention to education and this could be seen in the falling standard of education from the primary, down to the tertiary level. Teachers and lecturers had gone on strike for months as the governor refused to pay them backlog of salaries agreed upon. They pointed to the fact that many of the schools have no visible structure, children learn under the most horrific conditions, there are also lack of basic amenities in the schools like chairs, tables, chalks, standard laboratories and even dearth of qualitative teachers. Education to these observers has been nothing to write home about in the state. They also argued that health workers have been treated badly, leading to month long strikes with little evidence of a viable clinic, health centre or hospitals in major towns and villages, while both state and

federal government roads are death traps. Observers argued that the closure of the legislative chamber by PDP thugs and stern looking policemen attested to the impunity and disregard for the rule of law in the state. As he is sworn-in in a couple of days, Governor Nyako must prove himself worthy and truthful to his people. He must continue his people oriented programme not only within places they had been felt, but in places that are yet to see his goodwill. He must observe a level playing field to all irrespective of tribe, ethnic affiliation, political leanings and religion. He must not play a political vendetta upon those who did not vote for him because it’s the beauty of democracy to have opposition all the time. The governor must ensure he uses his second term to finish up projects and erect new ones that will last a life time. The governor must understand that a man of history is not one who came and left with nothing, but one whose name and actions had been left on the sands of time for people to remember. Raheem Oluwafunminiyi is a social commentator and political analyst who resides in Ibadan. Email:



The issue of population upsurge in Public opinion and subsidy reversal the Federal Capital Territory By Tonye sagbama


buja, the Federal Capital City is the fastest growing city in Africa. With a steady rise in population in the last ten years, and it has recorded an emphasized growth in the last two years; the over spiralling growth stems from some socio-political developments in the country. Among these are the recurring incidents of Boko Haram uprising in parts of the North, notably Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Kano and other areas. Secondly, kidnapping and hostage taking in some parts of the South-South and Southeast, the rising spate of armed robbery in various parts of the country and other social unrests in various parts of the country. All these factors have contributed to a very large extent to the migration of people in their thousands to Abuja. The FCT created in 1976 during the regime of General Murtala Mohammed. At its inception, it was uncertain if the Abuja apparition will be achievable. Nonetheless, the vision of a vibrant and developed National Capital "Abuja" has not only been achieved 34 years after, but has turned into an enormous accomplishment. A noticeable trend of the migration is that most people taking flight from these places of variance, most often end up resettling. One worrisome trend of the migration is that most people fleeing from these areas of conflict, most often than never end up resettling in the FCT, rather than returning to their home states because of insecurity in those parts of the country.

In this same light, we also have people that are migrating from the Southwest, as a result of problems like congestion and armed robbery also make Abuja their final abode. It is also well known that even the Nigerian elites who do not want to migrate out of the country always look up to Abuja as the middle place where they can settle and enjoy facilities and amenities that are comparable to what is obtainable in the western world. A remarkable demographic tendency of this human movement is the fast growth of the older generation in the FCT. People of 60 years and above who are not productive are being resettled in Abuja by their children and grand children for fear of their being kidnapped because these people are often targets of kidnappers and armed robbers in other parts of the country. There is also a worrisome growth in the population of younger people of 35 years and below. In the area of transportation, the effect of the increase in population has been quite telling on FCT because this has resulted in congestion on the roads and the highways within and leading to the city, thus making commuting a harrowing experience to and from work in Abuja a petrifying experience for most road users, The flashpoints are the entry and exit roads to the FCT, namely the outer Northern Expressway (ONEX), the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) and of course the Nyanya/Mararaba/AYA road. All these places are congested because even residents in far away places like Jos, Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi, Lokoja, Suleja and even Minna access the

Abuja city centre from these places for contracts, jobs and various business interests. This has cumulated into a serious challenge facing the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and by extension the Federal Government with regards to solutions to the Abuja's ever increasing population influx; based on this harrowing experience of commuting in the Abuja, the FCT Minister has found a solution by formulating a policy that encompasses not only the construction of roads in the FCC which is the city center but also in the Satellite Towns and Area Councils, this has set a mechanism in place to rapidly decongest the City Centre thus spreading the population of residents across the 8,000 sq. Kms of the territory, this is an unprecedented feat in the history of the FCT. The road that is now being constructed by the FCT Minister and which is expected to be commissioned before the next rainy season, starts at Dutsen Alhaji and passes through the Kubwa-Zuba City Center 10 Lane Expressway cutting across Lower Usuma Dam, Bwari and passing through Jere and then busting out on the Keffi-Nyanya Expressway, the road is expected to decongest traffic in the North-East Axis for vehicles coming from Nassarawa, Plateau, Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba and Benue will have a choice to divert and veer off the City Center if they are going to Kaduna, Niger, Southern States, etc. Another diversion is simultaneously being constructed by the Federal

Capital Territory Administration, it will start in Karshi and cut behind Asokoro then link Kuje Area Council before stretching of towards Gwagwalada thus bypassing the whole City, Airport Road and even Gwagwalada town for travellers going to the South East, South West and some North Central States thus avoiding the traffic grid that the residents of the FCT are currently experiencing. Regrettably, the budget of FCT has not appreciably increased or doubled over the years to address these challenges. Conceivably, now that the 2012 budget is being defended, it could be a period for the government to put in some measures to make sure that enough resources is made obtainable to tackle this new pestilence. This will clearly afford the FCT administration to accelerate the process of opening up of the satellite towns, ensuring the outward drift by excess population to the satellite towns. In addition, educational and health facilities in the FCT will also be expanded. In Senator

Bala's apparition for an improved and a more dynamic transport system from a mono model system to a multi model system; this can be fast tracked through the construction and completion of the mono rail projects that the Minister has initiated, in addition to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which the current FCT Administration recently introduced, and they will have dedicated lanes for big haulage buses to ply the city. The current administration under Senator Bala Mohammed is dexterously working towards tackling the plethora of challenges bedevilling the growth of the FCT; as he has emphasized on several occasions that by the time he completely implements his vision and developmental plans (idea and modernization), the Federal Capital Territory would see outstanding improvement in infrastructure development and economic performance. Tonye Sagbama 6, Epe Close Area 1, Garki Abuja.


It is also well known that even the Nigerian elites who do not want to migrate out of the country always look up to Abuja as the middle place where they can settle and enjoy facilities and amenities that are comparable to what is obtainable in the western world.

Polio Eradication: Partnership that will reversal work Public opinion and subsidy By Dike Chigbue


e c e n t l y renewed efforts were put in place to ensure the eradication of polio in Nigeria by 2013, the mechanism to achieve this task was ignited with a framework in the partnership between a joint committee of World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Funds and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). A commendable effort which is worthy of being supported by all stakeholders and Nigerians putting into consideration of the devastation that polio has caused in Nigeria and sub Sahara Africa. In putting words into action the pilots of the health sector in Nigeria have significantly hit the ground running by initiating this partnership that will hopefully eradicate polio. According to the Executive Director of National

Dike Chigbue

primary health care development agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad ; that the effort of the federal government has made it

compelling for it to direct for the constitution of a high level committee and presidential task force for polio eradication with the

mandate of providing an accountability framework to hold all tiers of government and stakeholders accountable for clearly defined roles and responsibilities, in addition the Hon Minister for state for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate, said Nigeria was set to fast track action plan to reverse prevalence of polio and intends to scale up national response to achieve total polio eradication by 2013. Nigerians and stakeholders have no doubt whatsoever in the capacity of Dr. Ado Muhammad to deliver on this challenge considering his outstanding pedigree and experience in public health in the past 20 years and his supervising Minister of state for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate who equally has vast experience in primary health care having been the immediate past Executive Director of NPHCDA.

The Ministry of Health and NPHCDA remains the frame work through which this partnership will bring relief to Nigerians as the committee will operate at state and local government level. The Executive Director has promised that individuals of integrity will only be selected for the polio immunization program. This is a partnership that will indeed make Nigeria leave the league of polio endemic countries, WHO and UNICEF remain internationally known institutions that have contributed immensely to countries that have tackled polio while the leadership at NPHCDA have clearly shown its commitment to bring about the desired change so we therefore call on the federal government to continue to support this drive for the interest of our nation. Chigbue is Executive Director, Stand Nigeria Initiative.



World cancer day

L-R Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi and the Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme, Dr. Patience Osinubi at a press conference recently By Etuka Sunday with agency report


h e World Cancer Day is often celebrated on the 4th February. It’s a yearly event which unite the world in the fight against the disease through awareness creation, educating the public, and lobbying for change. Since it’s by every person, organization, and government, individually doing their part, that the world will be able to reduce the global cancer burden. According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and even death. Recently, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to marked the “World Cancer Day” as part of the effort to stamp out the dreaded disease from the country. According to report, each year globally, 12.7 million people learn they have cancer, and 7.6 million people die from the disease. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease; it kills more than half a million Americans every year. Global report has it that more people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The World Health Organization projects that without

immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80% by 2030, with most occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Research suggests that one-third of cancer deaths can be avoided through prevention, and another third through early detection and treatment. Despite having proven interventions for prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and care for cancer, these medicines, technologies, and services are not widely available in low- and middle-income countries. At the United Nations Summit on Communicable Diseases in September 2011, leaders from more than 120 countries declared non-communicable diseases, including cancer, a global priority and committed to taking action to address them. While most of CDC's cancer programs focus on the United States, CDC is working on a number of initiatives to reduce the burden of cancer around the world. For example, CDC is collaborating with the PanAmerican Health Organization to train health practitioners in Latin America to screen for cervical cancer using lowcost technologies readily available in limited resource settings. CDC also has joined with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the Union for International Cancer Control, and other organizations to create the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development in Low- and MiddleIncome Countries (GICR). GICR will help countries develop the capacity to

produce reliable, high-quality information on the burden of cancer so that effective policies for cancer control can be developed and implemented. In August 2012, CDC will host the National Cancer Conference in Washington, D.C. This important conference will bring together cancer experts from around the world to translate research into practice to improve public health. One of the six conference tracks will focus on international issues. How cancer starts Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells. Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell. Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. DNA is in every cell and directs all its actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does.

People can inherit damaged DNA, but most DNA damage is caused by mistakes that happen while the normal cell is reproducing or by something in our environment. Sometimes the cause of the DNA damage is something obvious, like cigarette smoking. But often no clear cause is found. In most cases the cancer cells form a tumor. Some cancers, like leukemia, rarely form tumors. Instead, these cancer cells involve the blood and blood-forming organs and circulate through other tissues where they grow. How cancer spreads Cancer cells often travel to other parts of the body, where they begin to grow and form new tumors that replace normal tissue. This process is called metastasis. It happens when the cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph vessels of our body You can reduce your risk for cancer The number of new cancer cases can be reduced, and many cancer deaths can be prevented. Research shows that screening for cervical and colorectal (colon) cancers as recommended helps prevent these diseases by finding precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous. Screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancers also helps find these diseases at an early, often highly treatable stage. A person's cancer risk can be

reduced by avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active. Vaccines also help reduce cancer risk. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and some vaginal and vulvar cancers, and the hepatitis B vaccine can help reduce liver cancer risk. Cancer prevention starts in childhood You can also reduce your children's risk of getting many types of cancer later in life. Start by helping them adopt a healthy lifestyle with good eating habits and plenty of exercise to keep a healthy weight. Then follow these tips to help prevent specific types of cancer— Most skin cancers can be prevented if children and teens (and adults, too) are protected from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don't have to be at the beach to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful UV rays whenever they're outdoors. Human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex, is the main cause of cervical cancer. It also causes many vaginal and vulvar cancers. A vaccine to prevent HPV infections is recommended for girls 11 and 12 years old, and for girls and women 13 to 26 years old who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to start smoking, or quit if you do smoke. In 2009, one in five high school students was a current smoker. Smoke from other people's cigarettes ("secondhand" smoke) also can cause lung cancer. Talk to your children about why you don't want them to smoke, and don't expose them to secondhand smok How cancers differ No matter where a cancer may spread, it is always named for the place where it started. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the liver is still called breast cancer, not liver cancer. Likewise, prostate cancer that has spread to the bone is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer. Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. That is why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their particular kind of cancer.




Omeri and challenge of repositioning NOA By Miriam Humbe


n January 16, Mr. Michael Omeri AgboOmeri was appointed as Director-General to replace the former DG, Alhaji Idi Faruk. Faruk was said to have lost face with the Presidency following the failure of the agency under him to adequately inform Nigerians on government policies and programmes. The inability of the agency to effectively enlighten Nigerians on the electoral process in the recently conducted 2011 general elections led to election apathy, large chunks of voided ballot papers and avoidable preelection and post-election violence in various parts of the country leading to wanton destruction of lives and property. Apart from other perceived incompetence, the last straw that broke the neck of the Faruk led NOA was the perceived inability of the agency to effectively enlighten Nigerians on the reasons adduced by government for its decision to remove the subsidy on fuel. It is widely believed that the agency failed in its responsibility when it was needed most even as some observers opined that most of those who took to the streets to protest the policy were not adequately informed and had to be left at the mercy of perceived bias interpretations. Many believed that some Nigerians could not meaningfully and adequately engage in the entire process because NOA did not provide the necessary platform and mobilization vehicle necessary to enable government to carry the people along. It was at this point that the Presidency was said to have started shopping for Farok's replacement. There was the need to get a replacement that would have the charisma and prowess to champion the mobilization of Nigerians for greater productivity. This is especially coming against the backdrop of the fact that the agency is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of formulating and carrying out political education programmes to ensure that Nigerians across board are adequately informed and carried along on all government policies and progmames so as to avoid social and political frictions in the country. NOA is saddled with the responsibility of carrying out public education on issues such as voter education, voter registration and voting exercise and enlightenment on population census.

Mr. Michael Omeri Agbo-Omeri

The agency is also to take care of the task of formulating and preparing pro-active campaign guidelines for mobilizing and educating Nigerians as well as design and production of informative, communicative materials such as documentaries, posters and flyers and raising the consciousness of the masses on national issues also form part of the mandate of NOA. The agency is also responsible for enlightening and educating the populace on their civic responsibilities such as their constitutional rights and duties as citizens of Nigeria and providing appropriate framework for the teaching of civic education at primary and junior secondary levels. NOA is also mandated by law to carry out advocacy campaigns on government policies and programmes in order to educate the people on government activities and to encourage active participation in same. The department of civic education also advocates against anti-government activities and practices like vandalization and wanton destruction of public property. From its activities in the

recent past, it is widely held that the agency did not perform well under Faruk and must be repositioned. Many factors led to the choice of Omeri as the new NOA boss, chief among which is his proven capacity for massive citizen orientation and mobilisation. Omeri's appointment has been seen by many political and social watchers as a round peg in a round hole especially given his track record in private and public life. It will be recalled that Omeri was among those behind the formation of Neigbour to Neighbour campaign front that championed the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo at the 2011 general election even in the face of stiff opposition from very powerful contenders. With Omeri in charge of planning research and strategy, the organization was able to penetrate the nooks and crannies of the country and achieved a massive mobilization of Nigerians from all walks of life to support Jonathan to victory. Omeri and his team took the nation by storm and were able to sell Jonathan and his manifesto resulting in his

victory at the polls. It is therefore expected that Omeri will bring his wealth of experience to the NOA and reposition it to carry out its mandate effectively and interestingly, he has already hit the ground running. In less than three weeks after assumption of office, Omeri left no one in doubt as to his commitment to make NOA work again when on February 7, he organised a one-day retreat to tap from the experience of former MAMSER and NOA chief executives. This was part of on-going consultations at all levels at finding viable ways of improving the performance of the agency. Speaking at the event, Omeri said the retreat provided a platform for mutual exchange of experiences, ideas and coaching which will help the agency to unravel the secret behind the successes of the past of the agency. He said it was his agenda to evolve creative ways of making NOA a more pro-active, knowledge-based and activitydriven agency in order to create optimum impact towards the fulfillment of its mandate. Part of the strategies being put in place according to the DG,

is the establishment of a corporate social responsibility unit within its structure. This unit will work to harness resources to boost its activities. It is intended that through this, a platform for public/private partnership towards the attainment of the NOA mandate will be provided. In doing this therefore, a Neighborhood Development Ambassadors Scheme which is designed as an engaging platform for service at the community and neighborhood level will be given adequate life of its own by the Omeri-led NOA. The challenges before the new DG are however, quite daunting. In the first place, he will be dealing with an agency of government which has for a very long time, appeared to have lost its focus and orientation. This is especially as he resumed at his duty post at a very difficult time in the history of the nation when threats to national security in the form of terrorist activities from some disgruntled elements in the polity is nearly tearing the nation apart. In order to give his administration the desired life line, the absolute cooperation and full participation of all the tiers of government ranging from the federal, state and local governments and all the chapters of NOA in the 36 states of the federation the 774 local governments and all Nigerians in the activities of his agency will act as a sort of rebirth and boost its strides. Before his appointment as NOA boss, Omeri has held many positions. He was Special Adviser, Political and Governmental Matters to Senate President David Mark; Partner Consultant, Policy/Investment, Gulf of Guinea, Consulting Ltd (GGC), Abuja; Date Director, Corporate Services and Business Development, Triscet Shelters Ltd; Manager Secretariat, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Head Office, Abuja; State Controller, FMBN, Lafia Office; Public Relations Manager, FMBN; Commissioner state Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport, Nasarawa state; Commissioner, Ministry of Information, Youths, Sports and Culture, Nasarawa state among others. Born in Adamawa in 1964, Omeri who hails from Nasarawa holds a degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maiduguri and a Master's Degree, in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos and an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Course Certificate from the Centre for African Family Studies CAFS, KENYA among many others.




Reps intervene in renewed hostilities in Niger Delta By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives has been engaged in a flurry of activities towards the task of nation building in the last few weeks. There have been series of security challenges facing the nation, especially from the dreaded Boko Haram in the north. The latest has been the renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region orchestrated by the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the NigerDelta (MEND). The militant group which adopted a seize-fire due to the implementation of the amnesty programme initiated by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua began another dangerous campaign by blasting oil installation and threatening oil majors in the creeks. The group has succeeded in instilling fears into the people of the Niger Delta, including the expatriates working Onshore and Off-shore in the area. The realization of the damage that the continued activities of the dare-devils in the nation’s honey-pot could wreak was at the heart of the motion sponsored on the floor of the House within the week. The Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who presided over the plenary, condemned the renewed hostilities on oil installations just as he equally pleaded with the MEND to sheathe the sword and allow peace to

reign in the country. He said “We must put the nation first in all our doings as Nigerians. We must be guided when dealing with issues that relate to national security because it affects everyone. We plead with MEND to please give peace a chance while lasting solutions to the problems are being explored.” To this extent, House committees have been mandated to investigate allegations and counterallegations in the administration of the amnesty programme as there are indications that the discontentment emanating from the exercise was at the heart of the latest hostilities. Not a few are optimistic that the timely intervention may save the day if well handled. The Ad-hoc committee investigating the nation’s subsidy regime chaired by Rep Farouk Lawan also made the headlines when, in its findings at the just concluded public hearing, indications emerged that an oil importing firm, Vitol Oil, circumvented the extant financial regulations. The Committee may recommend a ban on Vitol from conducting fuel importation business in the country. This indication emerged when the ad hoc committee conducting the subsidy investigations discovered that the company circumvented extant regulations of the Central

The committee while probing the management of Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) alleged that Vitol Oil Company abetted and aided illicit oil trading by some Nigerian importers by circumventing the regulations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on foreign exchange. The committee while probing the management of Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) alleged that Vitol Oil Company abetted and aided illicit oil trading by some Nigerian importers by circumventing the regulations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Other multinational companies set to appear before the Committee in camera next week for similar probe include Transfigura, Sahara Energy and Duke Oil. Senator Ahmadu Ali , former Chairman of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), is expected to meet with the committee in similar manner. In a related development, the helmsmen of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), PPPRA and Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) demonstrated ignorance of the economic realities on ground in the country when they gave conflicting prices for kerosene before the ad-hoc committee. While NNPC boss, Austen Oniwon , told the committee that the retail price of the product was N40.90, the official pump price of the product nationwide at the NNPC retail outlet is N50 a litre. Harunna Momoh, Managing Director of the PPMC told the committee that the market price of the product was N75 per litre and N80 in some other areas, while the PPPRA boss maintained that the actual pump price of the product, outside the NNPC retail, was N130. The PPPRA boss seems to have a little knowledge about the suffering of the common man using Kerosene for domestic purposes. Even at that, some argue that the product actually sells between N150 and N170 a litre in some other climes.


Senate and the Post UME exams By Richard Ihediwa


h e Senate opened its doors this week with the 2012 budget defence also topping its agenda for the week. Several committees took on ministries and agencies under them even as lawmakers continued to harp on prudence and implementation of budgets as passed. However, the upper house took many Nigerians by surprise when it opened plenary on Thursday and among other things endorsed the controversial post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) by higher institutions in the country for candidates seeking to gain entrance into such schools. That surprising endorsement follows the approval of the recommendations of the Senator Uche Chukwumerije led Senate Committee on Education which investigated the alleged illegality of the postUTME and the failure of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) to conduct examinations acceptable by universities. Many were surprised because during the public hearing, scores of stakeholders, who appeared including JAMB as well as lawmakers during the debate on the motion that led to the investigation, rejected the examination and described it as illegal and exploitative. At the end of the day the committee thought otherwise and in its report it held that it could not sustain any charge of illegality against the postUTME and concluded that the inclusion of written tests in screening by universities is legal and legitimate. However, in a show of solidarity to parents, who have been complaining over high fees, the Senate

slashed the examination fees into tertiary institutions and pegged it at N6, 000 per candidate. It also ruled that the fees should be a unified and onestop charge with JAMB receiving N4, 000 and N2, 000 going to individual tertiary institution. Lawmakers also resolved that state and private universities should be persuaded to accept the proposal for N6, 000 admission fee ceiling per candidate while the hidden and extra levies charged by universities in respect of some courses be banned. To ensure compliance, the upper house put a clause for reprimand. According to the report, ‘Disregard of the ceiling on a composite examination charge should attract reprimand, suspension or termination of appointment of an erring head of tertiary institution,’ Furthermore, the Senate said the legality of the post-UTME underlines the importance of adequate funding of the education sector by government. Observing that JAMB has serious challenges in conducting fool-proof m a t r i c u l a t i o n examinations, the Senate banned all ‘miracle centres and JAMB special centres’ and directed that m a t r i c u l a t i o n examinations be conducted on week days to reduce incidents of impersonation. While approving the streamlining of the JAMB Act, the Universities (Miscellaneous provision

amendment) Act 2003 and the statutes of universities, the Senate said the monitoring mechanism on fool-proof implementation of admission guidelines should be intensified. To curb malpractices by candidates sitting for tertiary matriculation examination, the Senate said penalties for infraction contained in existing laws especially for staff of examination bodies be substantially increased. While the position of the Senate is applauded though there are parents and students who still believed that the exams should have been completely abolished, there are apprehensions that the resolution may end up not being implemented since it does not have the force of law. The Senate is expected to mount pressure on the executive, especially the Ministry of Education to ensure that universities complied with the directives. In all the upper house has in the last few weeks engaged people oriented issues that have been begging for answers. It is expected that it will sustain the tempo so as to ensure that it achieved that overhaul of the system in line with its commitment to provide leadership to the nation on issues that have direct impact on the welfare of the common man. On the whole, it must find a way to ensure that its resolutions are implemented by the executive.

The Senate is expected to mount pressure on the executive, especially the Ministry of Education to ensure that universities complied with the directives.



Jonathan mourns three legends as FG claims helplessness against Boko Haram


ven with a lot of activities involving President Goodluck Jonathan and other top Presidency officials in some parts of the country in the past week, the main news items actually came from the expression of sadness and condolences over the death of three outstanding national icons. First , it was former lawmaker, diplomat and First Republic minister, Ambassador Mathew Mbu, who breathed his last in faraway London on Monday at the age of 82. The Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr . Reuben Abati had to issue a statement on behalf of President Jonathan which celebrated the contributions of late Mbu to national development and condoled with his family over the loss. “Many,” according to President Jonathan, “will remember the late Dr. Matthew Mbu for his many diplomatic assignments, but “I remember him for his calm disposition and mature contributions which helped Nigeria through difficult times between 1967 and 1970 and then again in 1993 during the June 12 political crisis when he served Nigeria as Minister for Foreign Affairs.” President Jonathan further observed that the late Dr. Mbu’s contributions to Nigeria are enormous and that he was indeed one of Africa’s major voices in the global arena in the last five decades. As if the club of Octogenarians in the country planned it, frontline economist and former Economic Adviser to late Maximum Dictator, Gen Sani Abacha, Professor Sam Aluko followed suit. He also died in London few hours after Mbu’s passing away at the age of 83. A statement also signed by Abati said: “The President received with immense sadness and a feeling of great national loss news of the passing away of Nigeria’s veteran economist par excellence, Prof. Samuel Aluko. “On behalf of himself, his family, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, the President extends sincere and heartfelt condolences to Prof. Aluko’s family.” President Jonathan also

urged his family, friends, associates and admirers to be comforted by the knowledge that the renowned economist lived a life full of many indelible achievements and notable contributions to national development. Still on Tuesday, Alhaji Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata, the eldest son of the famous Dantata family in Kano, died in Germany. For his contribution to industrialisation and economic growth especially in the way he took over the business empire of his parents and improved it to a large extent, his demise caught the attention of the President. Abati’s statement this time read thus: “President Jonathan joins the family, the people of Kano and other Nigerians in mourning the late Chairman and co-founder of one of Nigeria’s leading construction and engineering companies, Dantata and Sawoe Limited.” It continued: “The President prays that God Almighty will grant eternal rest to Alhaji Abulkadir who, along with his other siblings, successfully carried forward the expansion and diversification of the business empire founded by their famous father, late Alhaji Sanusi Dantata.” He further prayed God to comfort Alhaji Abdulkadir’s family and heirs, and give them the wisdom and fortitude to maintain and build on his legacy. In what sounded as an expression of cluelessness as to the way out of the current security challenges in parts of the country, the Minster of Information, Labaran Maku emerged from the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting and expressed government’s fear

over the inability of security agents and other Nigerians to stop Boko Haram elements from destroying the northern parts of the country. While the generality of Nigerians expect government to be on top of the battle to crush terrorism, the council according to Maku said Boko Haram insurgency was getting out of hand and could as well destroy the economy of places like Kano if other stakeholders do not assist government in tackling the issue. "It makes no sense to attack innocent people and destroy the North. Sokoto is the spiritual headquarters of Islam in Nigeria and the terrorist group claims they want to attack the city. "In what way does that help Islam, or progress and development of the region if that is what they are fighting for?" Maku lamented. He also shocked the nation when he disclosed that government was not even sure if the Boko haram tape played on NTA during the week was authentic. President Goodluck Jonathan expressed similar helplessness later in the week when in a meeting with an European Union (EU) delegation sought the assistance of the EU in mopping up small arms from the country. The arms which he claimed may have found their way into the country after the Libyan crisis, may also get into the hands of violent groups like the Boko Haram sect. On Tuesday, after a meeting of the Economic Management Team at the villa, Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji told State House correspondents that the Federal Government


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem 08098639161 had recorded tremendous progress in its efforts to make more power available to Nigerians with the record of 5,000 megawatts of electricity now available at the national grid. He also spoke on the ongoing union crisis in PHCN over the redeployment of electricity staff, saying that government had settled 50 percent of their arrears and is also negotiating with the unions.” He added that the issue of redeployment was the prerogative of an employer and that no employee can dictate to the government. Just like his predecessors in office who vomit so much figures and mesmerize their audiences about the paper progress they make in the power sector, Prof Nnaji said his own but as usual, we are yet to see the light shining in our homes and streets. Also speaking after the meeting, President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said the new 6 million tonne cement plant he built at Ibese, Ogun state would not only provide jobs for Nigerians, it would also save the country about 2 billion dollars since importation is expected to be stopped. The plant, he said, would also make cement more available to Nigerians at cheaper prices. So, while commissioning the plant in Ibese on Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan justified the award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) to Dangote,

In an attempt to further enhance government’s programmes on job creation and poverty reduction, a N50 billion Fund has been established. Other initiatives include the N30 billion Nollywood Fund; You-Win, where individual winners are entitled to up to N10 million SME grant; and the Train-to-Work (TRATOW), which will create 100,000 jobs, he added.

saying that he had contributed enormously to the country’s economy. Jonathan in fact added that the country needed more Dangotes. Still on the economy, earlier in the week, the President was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the 6th CBN annual micro finance conference and entrepreneurship awards in Abuja where he announced government’s plan to create 100,000 additional jobs through its Train-to –Work programme. “In an attempt to further enhance government’s programmes on job creation and poverty reduction, a N50 billion Fund has been established. Other initiatives include the N30 billion Nollywood Fund; You-Win, where individual winners are entitled to up to N10 million SME grant; and the Train-toWork (TRATOW), which will create 100,000 jobs,” he added. The President was also at the campaign flag-off of PDP candidate, Aliyu Wamakko, who is his bidding to return as the governor of Sokoto state. Unlike the tongue lashing his own former governor, Timipre Silva had received in Bayelsa the previous week, Jonathan eulogised Wamakko, saying they he had done well and deserved to be supported for a second term in office. President Jonathan used the opportunity to restate the commitment of the PDP to the provision of more dividends of democracy to the Nigerian populace. As the dust surrounding President Goodluck Jonathan’s reported bid for the African Union chairmanship seat failed to settle, an online columnist, Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor had at the beginning of the week, claimed that he had a press release signed by Dr Reuben Abati in which Jonathan threatened to pull Nigeria out of the AU if the President is not made the chairman with immediate effect. Reuben Abati however denied the statement in a telephone conversation with Peoples Daily Weekend.


Use your gifts “


t Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, 'Tabitha, arise.' And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive." (Acts 9:36-41 NKJV) In this passage of the Scripture, we see two believers using the different gifts God has given them. The first is Dorcas and the second is Peter. I want to talk about Dorcas first. Dorcas had a special gift of compassion and giving which she used generously, and blessed the poor with especially the widows. That was a commendable act on her part. Just like Mary who anointed Jesus with the expensive alabaster oil, she did what she could do. (Mark 14:39) Mary couldn't prevent the

religious leaders from killing Jesus. She couldn't even go to ask for his body to be buried (that was an assignment for someone else) but she could anoint his feet with that expensive oil. She gave what she had, and Heaven gave her an eternal reward, which includes the mention of her good deed till today even in this message. Back to Dorcas! There was no record that Dorcas laid hands on the sick to heal them; she didn't raise the dead. She didn't organize any crusade. But she did what she could do - she used her gift of generosity; she blessed the poor. Dorcas was not a believer in words alone but also in deeds. She acted out her faith in God by showing the love of God to the less privileged. "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matt 5:16 NLT) Her faith wasn't a dead faith; it was a living faith. James 2:20 says, "Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?" (NLT) Verse 26 adds, "Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds." (NLT) Dorcas wasn't a fool! She possessed the wisdom of God which embodied among others mercy and good deeds. James 3:17 says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds." (NLT) Heaven noted Dorcas' good deeds just as Heaven noted the generosity of Cornelius in Acts 10 and orchestrated his salvation and that of his household. Cornelius'

generosity was rewarded by Heaven. 2 Thess 3:13 says, "But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good." (NKJV) Dorcas didn't give up doing good deeds till she gave up the ghost. She lived out Gal 6:9: "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (KJV) Dorcas used her God given gift. The second person in Acts 9:3641 I want to talk about is Peter. He was in Lydda, and was sent for to come to Joppa after the death of Dorcas. Putting outside all the widows who were crying over the death of their benefactor, Peter knelt down and prayed and Dorcas was raised back to life, and presented alive to the saints and widows. Here we see Peter using his own God given gift -the gift of special faith and working of miracles. The Body of Christ God hasn't given all Christians and ministers the same gifts but different gifts. We are to use the gifts He has given us. (1 Cor 12:4- 11) The Bible compares the church (the body of Christ) to the human body with many parts performing different functions. The make-up and location of each part is determined by the functions it is supposed to perform. Every part is useful and no part can perform all functions - each can only do that which it's given to do. All the parts cooperate and work harmoniously. And gifts are to be used to bless others not for selfish use. (1 Cor 12:12-31) Rom 12 also talks about the different gifts that God has given believers in the body of Christ to use. These gifts are not the same, and believers are called upon to use whatever gift God has given them. Identify your gift and use it


GREEN PASTURES By Pastor T.O. Banso GSM: 08033113523 Peter was able to identify his place in the body of Christ. He knew his part and used the gift that God had given him. He didn't play the same role that Dorcas played, and vice versa. Each was able to identify his or her place and function there. That is what God expects you to do. Have you identified your gift? If you have, use it. Your gift may be different from that of another person but there is no one who has not been given a gift. The problem is always about using it. Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the talents (money) in Matt 25:14-30 where one of the servants was condemned for not using the talent given him. Paul told Timothy, his protégé in the ministry, "Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership." (1 Tim 4:14 NKJV) Peter didn't neglect his gift. He identified it and used it. Like he said to the man at the Beautiful Gate who was born lame from his mother's womb, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6 NKJV) One can say Dorcas had silver and gold, which she used generously to provide for the poor and the widows while Peter had the gift of special faith which he also used and led to Dorcas' restoration to life.

No gift is inferior to the other. Don't be envious of others because of their gifts while you neglect your gift. Use your gift according to the ability that God has given you. "God has given each of you special abilities, be sure to use them to help each other, passing to others God's many kinds of blessings." (1 Peter 4:10 TLB) Use your gifts in church, at work, at home and everywhere possible to the glory of God and to bless humanity. TAKE ACTION! If you are not born again, kindly say this prayer now: "0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God" I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be.

A Math professor is called to preach! (1)


n 1973, while serving as Math Lecturer at The University of Lagos, W.F. Kumuyi started a Bible study group with 15 university students who had come to him requesting training in the Scriptures. By the early 1980’s that small group had grown to several thousand, at which time Deeper Life Bible Church was formally established. By 1988 the congregation had grown to 50,000, and now numbers 120,000 members, making it the third largest Christian church in the world. Dr. Johan Combrinck reports that the Deeper Life Bible Church not only has an attendance of 120,000 every Sunday, but has planted 500 churches in Lagos, 5,000 in the rest of Nigeria (with an independent estimate of more than 800,000 members in Nigeria alone), and 3,000 elsewhere (with missionaries to 40 countries of Africa) as the movement missionary contribution. (Source: AFNET). Dr. C. Peter Wagner, in an article titled 'Those Amazing Post-Denominational Churches'

wrote: "By far, the most rapidly growing segment of Christianity on all six continents is a type of church that does not fit traditional categories or classifications. Missiologists have recognized its presence for some time, but it is such a recent phenomenon that they have not yet agreed on a name for it. Perhaps one title that would fit is the term 'post-denominational." "Go to almost any metropolitan area and ask to visit the largest Christian Church. Chances are it will be one of these new postdenominational churches'. In Lagos, Nigeria, it would be the Deeper Life Bible Church, pastored by William Kumuyi. On a recent Sunday I saw 74,000 adults worshipping together, with 40,000 children meeting in a separate building across the street." (Apostolic Team Ministries, Intl., Newsletter 09). How Did It Happen? Journalist Alan Isaacson provides a helpful study of this phenomenal ministry in his book Deeper Life, talking with many members of the church who told

him how Christ has miraculously intervened and changed lives in response to prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel. In Pastor Kumuyi's own words: "God, in the growth of Deeper Life Bible Church, has strategically and prudently used miracles to ‘make all men come to Him' (John 3:26). We take Christian living and holiness seriously."

Pastor W. F. Kumuyi

According to Isaacson, “The history of Deeper Life is very much the personal story of W.F. Kumuyi. He is a gifted man, clear-thinking and humble. He is a dedicated Christian and deserves the title ‘the man of God,' which his followers have given him. Since he was a young man, Kumuyi has devoted his time to reading and studying the Bible. He knows the Scriptures inside out, and has struggled to understand and apply them. As he shares that struggle and his love for the word of God, so people have been drawn to him for advice, or simply to listen. When he preaches, his message is clear, simple, and profound. Poor street traders who can barely read sit next to university professors, all equally captivated by the way Scripture becomes suddenly relevant to them. Pastor Kumuyi's own Christian life developed because he took the Bible so seriously, and so the Deeper Christian Life Ministry has developed in the same way. In Alan Isaacson's own words, he "preached Deeper Life into existence." His sermons were

captivating, wrote Isaacson, "I would classify him as one of the greatest living preachers, giving a straightforward Bible-based message, his sermons thorough, and always personally challenging. He always gave a wide range of cross-references which were read in their context, supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He spoke clearly and authoritatively to the Nigerian situation. He dealt sensitively with African culture, but also made a firm stand in highlighting the points where local culture was incompatible with the will of God. While stressing the high moral tone which is one of the virtues of most African cultures at their best, he was at pains to specify those aspects of local culture which were unchristian and even evil. In this way he was not only concerned with some kind of personal holiness, but also genuinely seeking the wholeness and harmony of the community at large, where truth, honesty, and justice should be the predominant characteristics.



Unemployed docked for stealing phones


n unemployed man, who allegedly stole two telephone handsets worth N62, 000, on Friday appeared before a Surulere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on a four-count charge. Mr. Lanre Rasheed (22), who had no fixed address, is standing trial for conspiracy, assault, stealing and stabbing. Rasheed, however, pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor, Inspector Gabriel Ekundayo, told the court that the accused committed the alleged offences on Feb. 6 on Omoniyi St., Sari Iganmu, Orile. Ekundayo said the accused and six others, now at large, accosted one Miss Blessing Owo and demanded her telephone handset. Ekundayo said that when Owo refused, they beat her and collected her Nokia C3 telephone handset worth N17, 000. The prosecutor said that the accused also stabbed one Mr. Dickson Jacob who intervened. He said that Rasheed stabbed Jacob with a broken bottle on the head and right hand. The prosecutor said that the accused also made away with Jacob’s Nokia E5 mobile telephone worth N45, 000. He said the alleged offences contravened Sections 170, 171, 285 and 409 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State. Magistrate M. K. O. Fadeyi granted the accused bail in the sum of N150, 000 with two sureties in like sum. He adjourned the case to March 5 for trial.

Church leaders should build people not empires —Cleric By Augustine Aminu


he General Overseer of the Christ Apostolic Church (CFC) Bible Ministry, Prophet Oliver Mbonu has challenged church leaders to concentrate on building people and not empires. Mbonu, who spoke ahead of a church revival in Abuja yesterday, said clerics must not forget their calling, which included expanding the ministry of Christ. He warned that what the country need at this period is men who have the fear of God, stressing church leaders must ensure they raise God fearing men by always teaching the truth People, he said, are more valuable than property, which he noted had become the obsession of many churches. He lamented that churches have been dissipating energies in building projects than people. He said, ‘’the people you refuse to build today will turn around to destroy the empires you are building tomorrow. If church leaders build people, property are bound to follow but if they do it the other way round, it will be destructive.”

Benue denies plot to punish teachers From Uche Nnorom, Makukrdi


h e Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Solomon Wombo has frowned at the decision of Primary school teachers in the state to continue to down tools indefinitely in protest of the state government’s intention to embark on a screening of all teachers on its payroll.

Mr. Wombo said during an interaction with journalists yesterday, that the exercise is not meant to witch-hunt any teacher and pleaded with them to call off the strike in the interest of the state and the pupils. According to him, the government commits an average of N1.8billon monthly to the payment of salaries of over 26,472 teachers. Teachers in Benue state have been on strike for over three

months following the decision of the state government to conduct screening which they considered as suspect, alleging that the screening have become too many. In another instance, Wombo also intimated that his office is presently undertaking a head count of local government staff as a way of checking increasing wage bill that has hit over N1.7 billion monthly. The adviser added that the action which is a continuous

exercise is meant to fish out ghost workers and check waste at third tier of government in the state, maintaining “it is to ensure accountability and frugal management of the resources at the disposal of the state government”.He further said that the exercise would avail the state government an opportunity to update the actual staff strength of the 23 local government areas of the state for proper documentation and planning.

Lecturers, parent and student react to legalisation of post-UTME


r . Yinka Ajala, Head of Geography Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has commended the Senate for legalising the post-UTME test. Ajala, who made the commendation in a telephone interview on Friday, added that this would assist in sanitising the activities of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). He said that this would also put an end to the dubious activities of some hackers, adding,

“there are so many irregularities in JAMB results due to the activities of hackers. “It is a good thing that the National Assembly has legalised post-UTME, because the process will help to weed out candidates who got high marks through illegal means at JAMB examinations. “Some students who score high marks in JAMB cannot perform when they seat for the post UTME because the result they had is awarded to them. “With this new process, it will

sanitise the educational system to some level and only qualified and good candidates will get admitted into the tertiary institutions”. A lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU), Part Time Study, Mr. Lanre Fadeyi, however, criticised the action of the Senate. Fadeyi said that the action would not regulate the already existing irregularities in the examination process. “I will criticise the legalisation of post-UTME because it will not end the irregularities in the educational system. There are

other important issues facing the educational system waiting for the attention of the lawmakers, than the issue of post UTME. However, Jide Koleosho, a student seeking admission, said that post-UTME would remain a challenge to students, adding that it would be more difficult to pass, since it has been legalised. “I feel JAMB should be the only body to organise examinations for candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions”, he said

Roads, bridge construction: Plateau works out modalities for compensation From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he committee on dualisation of roads and construction of flyovers set up by the Plateau state government, yesterday, visited the areas to be affected by construction work and assured owners of marked properties of government’s adequate compensation. Permanent secretary Ministry

of Works And Transport and chairman of the committee, Mr. Sunday Hyat led other members of the committee on assessment visit which took them to Dogon Karfe, Old Airport Road; to Rayfield through Yelwa Club; to Kugiya and Miango Rukuba roads as well as the British American Junction, state Secretariat junction and former Uma Bread and Little Rayfield Road. Mr. Hyat while addressing

community leaders and residents of the areas to be affected by the construction work, told them that the administration of Governor David Jang is embarking on massive road construction and building of flyovers in the JosBukuru metropolis in order to transform the city of Jos to a mega city comparable to any other modern urban centers. He appealed to them to support the initiative and

enlighten their subjects to cooperate with government fully for the success of the programme. Hyat explained that where buildings, utilities and economic trees would be affected, compensation will be paid after assessment and appealled to them to make reasonable demands saying sub committees have been set up for the smooth and early take off of work.

Student charged with forging NYSC certificate, varsity result


25-year-old, Florence Abudei, who claimed to be a student, was on Friday in Lagos arraigned for forgery and impersonation. The accused, who lives in FESTAC Town, is facing a threecount charge of conspiracy, forgery and impersonation at a Surulere Magistrates’ Court.

She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Investigating Police Officer, Cpl. Solomon Akinlotan, who represented the prosecutor, told the court that the accused committed the offences between Dec. 2011 and Feb. 2012. He said Abudei, with others still at large, forged a National

Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate, NYSC letter of posting, a student’s identity card and statement of result of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra. Akinlotan said the accused had on Feb. 3 presented herself as a corps member at Etisalat office, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The offence, he said, contravened Sections 363, 378 and 409 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State. Magistrate A. O. Soladoye granted the accused bail in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case to March 23 for trial.

Perform or be sacked, Ajimobi threatens new council chairmen From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


overnor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday swore-in five newly-appointed Transition Committee Chairmen, and threatened that any council chairman who fails to perform to expectation would be shown the way out.

Speaking at the ceremony in his office, the governor said the new council chairmen should be diligent and work towards achieving the aims and objectives of the ruling party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). “This government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We

place the people first. You must, therefore, give your best to serve the people. “You should also note that your positions are not permanent. In fact, there is nothing like permanent position in Oyo state again. If you fail to perform to expectation, we will not hesitate to relieve you of your post,” he

said. Gov. Ajimobi charged them to be visionary and study the needs of the people with a view to meeting their yearnings and expectations. He urged the new council chairmen never to embark on projects that had no direct bearing to the needs of the people.



Keshi wants four years to build Eagles By Albert Akota


uper Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has outlined the importance of long-term planning for the building of a competitive national team squad. The trainer, who replaced Samson Siasia last year following the latter’s failure to lead Nigeria to a place at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, has overseen a few warm-up games since taking over the reins. Keshi says he needs at least

four years to build a strong national team. “National team coaches don’t really have the luxury of working with players for an extended period of time. In a given year, the maximum number of matches on the average for a national team is nine matches and for each of those games, you only have about four training sessions with the boys so it’s difficult,” Keshi said. The former Togo and Mali coach also made a point about

supporters of the national team imbibing the quality of patience as he continues his process of rebuilding the Super Eagles. “It takes time to build

professional players from home team and the foreign-based, it will take a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years to build a solid national team,” Keshi

explained. Keshi is currently preparing 29 home grown players for another tune-up game against Liberia on February 15.

NNL returns Meridian, Sadauna to Kano


ollowing written assurance of adequate security at the Kano township stadium by the state FA, the Nigeria National League (NNL) has asked Meridian Airways and Sadauna to return to their base in Kano. The duo is expected to play its Matchday Two games this weekend in Kano. Also the fears of Abuja-based FRSC of insecurity in Maiduguri have been allayed by the Borno State police command. The command has given assurance of adequate security for all El-Kanemi Warriors matches in the ancient city. The state FA on Wednesday submitted a letter of assurance from the state police command to the secretariat of the NNL. In another vein, the team manager of FC Abuja, Cletus

Nwaobi has been handed a twomatch suspension due to his unruly behaviour during the team’s Week One win over the 36 Lions in Abuja. Match reports hold that Nwaobi assaulted one of the officials leading to his being issued with a red card by the centre referee. NNL secretary, Ayo Rahaman informed that the 36 Lions have been granted permission to play in Offa, Kwara State pending the completion of work at the Lokoja stadium. He, however, reprimanded Sokoto United for not honouring their Week One match against Nasarawa United, warning that the NNL will invoke the necessary articles to ban the team if they fail to honour their next away match.

Stephen Keshi Super Eagles coach

ABS youngsters get improved package League players battle for clubs


layers of Nigeria’s only private Premier League club, ABS formerly called Bukola Babes are in for a good season as their management has approved an improved package. The club which paid the lowest salaries and signing-on-fees last term has reviewed players’ remuneration in line with the club’s new status. Last term, all players registered for the Nigeria Primer League (NPL) received N30, 000 as monthly salary and a signing-on fee of N300,000, as they operated on a shoe-string budget. Players received N4, 000, as match bonus for a victory at home and N8, 000 for away victories, last term.

Elephants, Zambia aim to boss African final Page 46

top stars like skipper Fade Adebayo, goalkeepers James Aiyeyemi and Wasiu Ibrahim, top scorer, Abdulrahman Bashir, Audu Akeem, Henry Ubom, Adua Oniyani and Aminu Abdulkadir among others will enjoy some increment for remaining with the team. The big names, who made their NPL debut last term, will receive N1million as signing-on fees, while players recruited this term will get between N800, 000 and N600, 000. However, all players will receive N50, 000 as monthly salary. The transfer of enterprising midfielder, Bassey Otu-Effiom to Norwegian side, Lillestrom, earned

the club •200,000 Euros (about N31million) last term, while domestic transfers equally yielded substantial dividends to boost the club’s finances.

Fade Adebayo

Eagle's camp bubbles as Keshi hits 50 Page 47 … Demands birthday victories


By Albert Akota


ôte d’Ivoire will carry the mantle of favourites into Sunday’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations final, a pressure they say they are happy to deal with, but they warn they are mindful of the abilities of opponents Zambia. The Elephants are Africa’s highest-placed team in the FIFA/ Coca-Coca World Ranking and that standing has been confirmed by an efficient march to the final. Five successive wins, nine goals scored and none conceded understates a steely determination for a talent-laden squad who have been in a similar situation in recent editions of the Nations Cup but failed to live up to their star billing. “We accept that the pressure is on us but we are staying calm as we consider this final,” reiterated Coach Francois Zahoui after a hardfought 1-0 win over Mali in the midweek semi-final. Côte d’Ivoire is Goliath to Zambia’s David, with the Zambians making unlikely progress to the final for the first time since 1994. The underdogs had, by their own admission, set their target on a spot in the lasteight, but they have more than exceeded expectations after beating Ghana 1-0 in their semifinal on Wednesday to reach the final in Libreville. But iconic striker Didier Drogba said he was not surprised with the result or the identity of the opponent on Sunday. “They are tough, and we are going to have to work on the mistakes we made in our semifinal in the days before the


Elephants, Zambia aim to boss African final

Côte d’Ivoire

Zambia match,” he said. Zambia firing right ambia will not be used to such stars of the African game going out of their way to recognize them as a difficult foe, but their work over the last fortnight has made many sit up and takes notice. Despite a squad of relatively little-known, mostly Africa-based players, Zambia’s victory over the Black Stars affirmed the potential that French coach Herve Renard has been espousing since the first round


Kwarasey looks bright as Ghana play Mali

Adam Kwarasey hana goalkeeper Adams Kwarasey is picking up the positives despite their failure to reach the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Black Stars battle for bronze against Mali today in Malabo.


The Black Stars were dealt a devastating blow at the continental showpiece after Zambia beat them 1-0 in the semifinal in Bata on Wednesday. The Norwegian-born glove man was criticized for his poor aerial judgement in the tournament, but he says he is learnt a lot on his debut. “This is was my first major game at such a big tournament and surely I made some mistakes but I have learnt a lot,” Kwarasey said. “I believe that the experience that I have garnered from this tournament will go a long way to shape me and make me a better goalkeeper for my nation. “When the team wins, we all take the credit and when they lose, the same principle should apply,’’ he added.

when he warned that the Chipolopolo Copper Bullets were a team not being taken seriously enough. However Renard, in his second stint with the team, had to implore his players to dig deep in the closing stages of the semi-final win as they held on desperately against the Ghanaians. “I told them that if they let this slip it would be something they would regret for the rest of their lives,” he said frankly. Now they will need further

mental and physical strength against the Ivorians in the biggest game of their lives at Stade l’Amitie in the Gabon capital. Said dynamic winger Rainford Kalaba, who has been one of the stars of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon: “It is still not done, and Zambia has one more game to go before we can be on top of Africa.” Zahoui has much the same conviction, with a note of respect for his veteran side. “Luckily we have 23 players who have been

FIFA President in Gabon

Joseph S. Blatter


he FIFA President attended the CAF Congress yesterday morning, which would be followed by a press conference alongside CAF President Issa Hayatou. Blatter who arrived in Gabon’s capital Libreville to attend the CAF congress will also use the opportunity to watch the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday. The President has announced

“it’s great to be back in Africa The congress which also attended by H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon noted that governmental support is key role for football development. Ondimba mentioned that the social dimension of football and the importance of good governance have taken the leather game to an enviable height.

clear in their minds, and they want to end this tournament at the top.”

Kante proud of Mali’s effort


edric Kante confirmed his pride for Mali was they bowed out of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations with their heads held high. Mali fell out of the tournament after losing to Ivory Coast on Wednesday evening, thanks to a sublime solo effort by Gervinho. While elimination has left a painful sorrow in his and his teammates’ hearts, Kante admitted that there was little more his country could do and they should feel pride in their valiant effort. “The disappointment is great,” Kante told CAF’s official website. “It was a tough game and we fought hard but it wasn’t to be. We knew it would come down to small margins. We made a little mistake and they scored through a good player Gervinho. “We knew they had big personalities while we have a young team that lacks experience. A team like Ivory Coast will not leave mistakes unpunished because they have quality players. “We do not have any regrets about the game because we gave everything. If you told us three weeks ago we would be contesting for third place l would have been happy,” concluded the Panathinaikos defender. Mali are set to play Ghana - who were stunned by a 1-0 loss to Zambia - for a third place play-off on Saturday evening and they will be hoping to give their fans one last thing to smile about.

Dalglish in optimistic mood against Man Utd


enny Dalglish believes Liverpool will be buoyed by their recent successes over Manchester United as they prepare for today trip to Old Trafford. Dalglish’s first match on his return to the club in January 2011 to replace Roy Hodgson was a 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford, in

which captain Steven Gerrard was sent off. However, the Reds gained revenge with a 3-1 Premier League win at Anfield last March and had the better of a 1-1 home draw in

October before their 2-1 FA Cup victory last month. Dalglish feels those results will give his players confidence, but warned United represent tough opposition. “It is a huge game,” Dalglish said. “Everyone looks forward to it on both sides and it is important for both clubs to get something from the game.

Cedric Kante



Eagle's camp bubbles as Keshi hits 50 … Demands birthday victories By Albert Akota


leasant surprises are gradually becoming the hallmark in the camp of the national team, Super Eagles located at the Bolton White Apartment in Wuse Zone 7, Abuja. One of such was night dinner organised in honour to the chief coach, Stephen Keshi. The players and officials walked into the dining hall to find a beautifully made cake with the number 4, the national colours and a boot in it with the inscription happy birthday to SoK. It immediately generated interest as that initials simply translates to Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, who it would be recalled marked his birthday on January 23, but was unfortunately out of the country on other assignments. As tongues kept wagging, smart officials and players were already congratulating the ‘Big Boss’ and he smiled away, acknowledging all and thus began what was to be a mini-party, though without the usual beverages, Just the dinner and the beautiful cake. Keshi was to declare later that he felt duty bound to mark his 50th birthday while his team is in camp because they have been bringing him joy. “My wife and children had expected that we will mark my golden jubilee together but national duty calls and here. I could not also mark it on the day it fell on because the team was not in camp and I was also away from the country. So this is an opportunity to say a big thank to God and to the Super Eagles for attaining the golden age,”Keshi said. An ad hoc committee was immediately constituted for the

cake-cutting ceremony, with Team Psychologist Robinson Okosun anchoring. Eagle’s central defender Papa Idris, said the

Muslim prayers, pouring blessings on the coach and his family, while Team Coordinator; Emmanuel Atta did the Christian version.

Rivers govt backs Eguma


......hits VON 3-nil The Home based Super Eagles commanded 3-0 win against nationwide division one side Voice of Nigeria (VON) to intensify the build-up for the friendly against Liberia next week and the Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda on February 29 th . The match played at the artificial turf of the FIFA Goal Project in the Federal capital saw Head Coach Stephen Keshi, trying out many new players who proved too much for the amateur side. However, it was regulars like goalkeeper Okemute Odah, Godfrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa, Azubuike Egwueke, Papa Idris, who all starred in the defence, Gabriel Reuben, Ossai Uche, Sunday Emmanuel and newcomer Henry Uche, who held sway in the midfield while Kalu Uche and Izu Azuka, where handed the striker’s role in the 4-4-2 formation of Keshi.

“This is the national team of Nigeria and I’m honoured to be the Head Coach, the best birthday gift I demand from you is to always win the matches we have ahead of us and I can assure you money will surely come. There are millionaires and billionaires out there expecting victory from you, so that they can bless you with their money, Keshi admonished. Let’s make Nigerians happy again by winning all our games and get blessed”. The birthday cake was then cut by Keshi

The game started on a high note for the Eagles when after just two minutes, Uche raced clear from the left, found a lurking Kalu who pushed the ball to Azuka to tap in for the opening goal. That goal seemed to have woken up the VON side, as they started contesting every ball and stopped the free flow rhythm of the national team. It must be said though that the Eagles goalie was practically on holidays despite the resistance of the opposition. The game continued in a ding dong fashion until in the 41 st minute when Oboabona’s furious overlap from the right found Azuka in the danger area, in his first time shot was saved by the keeper. As the first half was coming to a close Oshaniwa had other ideas as his overlapping break from the left tore the VON defence apart and he laid it for Azuka to coolly finish for the

third and last goal of the encounter watched by a sizeable number of Abuja residents, members of the female U20 side, the Falconets and a battery of journalists. The second half was also very eventful even though there were no goals. Big Boss Keshi changed the entire squad that featured in the first and brought in the like of Dan Akpeyi in goal, Kingsley Salami, Bathlomew Ibenegbu, Kola Anubi,Obina Nwachukwu, Chidi Osuchukwu, Kabir Umar, while Osas Omamo, was made the skipper. It was one way for the Eagles but they were wasteful in front of goal with Barnabas Imenger and Umar the worst culprit. Keshi said at the end of the encounter that he was impressed with his wards display, but added that the new ones needed time to blend with the rest of the squad.

he Rivers state Government has thrown its weight behind embattled manager of the Dolphin FC, Stanley Eguma following his ban from all football related activities for the next five years. Eguma was banned for his alleged involvement in the matchfixing scandal between Sunshine Stars and Lobi Stars in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) game played during the 2010/2011 season. The sponsor of the NPL champions has now moved to back the trainer following the decision of the NFF disciplinary committee to ostracize the former Gabros coach. “We will appeal against the ruling (to ban Eguma). I had a meeting with the technical and management team of Dolphins (on Thursday) and the judgment against Dolphins holds no ground,” Rivers State sports commissioner,” Fred Igwe said. The commissioner stressed the need for the club to appeal against the decision ‘to ensure that the integrity of Dolphins is protected.’ “We need to ensure that the integrity of Dolphins FC is protected and the only way to achieve this is to ensure that we launch a vigorous appeal,” Igwe said. Dolphins will face Akwa United tomorrow at the Port Harcourt Liberation Stadium on Matchday 8.

Africa Cup of Nations Ghana vs. Mali Sunday Zambia vs. Ivory Coast Barclays Premier League Man Utd vs. Liverpool Blackburn vs. QPR Bolton vs. Wigan Everton vs. Chelsea Fulham vs. Stoke Sunderland vs. Arsenal Swansea vs. Norwich Tottenham vs. Newcastle Sunday Wolverhampton vs. West Brom Aston villa vs. Mancity French Ligue 1 Auxerre vs. Lorient Lyon vs. Caen Montpellier vs. AC Ajaccio Valenciennes vs. AS Nancy Brest vs. Dijon Rennes vs. Sochaux Sunday Lille vs. Bordeaux Nice vs. PSG TOULOUSE vs. St. Etienne German Bundesliga Bayern Munich vs. FC Kaiserslautern Borrusia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen Mainz vs. Hannover 96 VfB Stuttgart vs. Hertha Berlin Werder Bremen vs. TSG Hoffeinheim Borussia M’gladbach vs. Schlake 04 Sunday Augsburg vs. Numberg Cologne vs. Hamburg Italy Serie A Udinese vs. AC Milan Cagliari vs. Palermo Sunday Parma vs. Fiorentina Catania vs. Genoa Atalanta vs. Lecce Inter Milan vs. Novara Bologna vs. Novara Nigeria Premier League Kwara United vs. Enugu Rangers Niger Tornadoes vs. ABS FC Kano Pillars vs. Heartland 3SC vs. Sunshine Stars Sharks vs. Lobi Stars Rising Stars vs. Warri Wolves Sunday Enyimba vs. Gombe United Dolphins vs. Akwa united Kaduna United vs. Wikki Tourist Ocean Boys vs. Jigawa Golden Stars Portuguese Liga Maritimo vs. Sporting Benfica vs. Nacional Sunday Pacos Ferreira vs. Fierense Olhanense vs. Rio Ave Beira Mar vs. Guimaraes

Stanley Eguma

BIG PUNCH Thus will God cause the believers to grow in strength, so that through them He might confound the deniers of the truth. But unto such of them as may [yet] attain to faith and do righteous deeds, God has promised forgiveness and a reward supreme.' [Quran 48:29]


Peace triumphant 'MUHAMMAD is God's Apostle; and those who are truly with him are firm and unyielding towards all deniers of the truth, yet full of mercy towards one another. Thou canst see them bowing down, prostrating themselves [in prayer], seeking favor with God and His goodly acceptance: their marks are on their faces, traced by prostration.This is their parable in the Torah as well as their parable in the Gospel: they are like a seed that brings forth its shoot, and then He strengthens it, so that it grows stout, and in the end stands firm upon its stem, delighting the sowers.Thus will God cause the believers to grow in strength, so that through them He might confound the deniers of the truth. But unto such of them as may [yet] attain to faith and do righteous deeds, God has promised forgiveness and a reward supreme.' [Quran 48:29]

When they had finally reached an agreement the Prophet told Ali to write down the terms, beginning with the revealed words of consecration, In the Name of God, the Good, the Merciful, but Suhayl objected. "As to The Good," he said, "I know not what he is. But write, In Thy Name, 0 God, as thou wert wont to write." The Prophet said, "Write,


Ibraheem Sulaiman


e are now in Rabiul Awwal, the month in which Prophet Muhammad was born. It is perhaps apt, therefore, by way of commemoration, to reflect on one of the most defining moments in Prophet Muhammad's career, a defining moment in the destiny of Mankind. This is the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. It took place in the sixth year of the Islamic Calendar, that is 627. The Prophet, acting on a vision from God, set out for Mecca, a distance of about two hundred and fifty miles, to perform the pilgrimage along with about one thousand five hundred of his companions. According to the time honored law binding all Arabia, all pilgrims to the Sacred House have a right of free passage, none may be barred. The pilgrims had reached the edge of Mecca when they were denied entry. According to the Quran, the Arab Aristrocracy, Quraysh, 'harbored a stubborn disdain in their hearts - the stubborn disdain [born] of ignorance', against Islam, against the Muslims, against the Truth from God. But in contrast: 'God bestowed from on high His [gift of] inner peace upon His Apostle and the believers, and bound them to the spirit of God-consciousness: for they were most worthy of this [divine gift], and deserved it well.' [48:26] So one side desired war, the other, peace. Negotiations went back and forth, envoys from both sides shuttling frantically, for several days. In the words of Martin Lings:


0803 0805 0803 0805 0803

The Ka’aba

In Thy name, O God, and he went on dictating: "These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayl the son of Amr"; but again Suhayl protested. "If we knew thee to be the Messenger of God," he said, "we would not have barred thee from the House, neither would we have fought thee; but write, Muhammad the son of Abd Allah." Ali had already written "the Messenger of God," and the Prophet told him to strike out those words, but he said he could not. So the Prophet told him to point with his finger to the words in question, and he himself struck them out. Then he told him to write in their place "the son of Abd Allah," which he did. The document continued:

311 689 606 327 454

7458 1765 3308 1969 0344

"They have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years, in which times men shall be safe and not lay violent hands the one upon the other; on condition that whoso cometh unto Muhammad of Quraysh without the leave of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him unto them; but whoso cometh unto Quraysh of those who are with Muhammad, they shall not be returned. There shall be no subterfuge and no treachery. And whoso wisheth to enter into the bond and pact of Muhammad may do so; and whoso wisheth to enter the bond and pact of Quraysh may do so." The treaty ended with the words: "Thou, Muhammad, shalt depart from us this present year, and shalt not enter Mecca when we are present

in despite of us. But in the year that is to come, we shall go out from Mecca and thou shalt enter it with thy companions, staying therein for three days, bearing no arms save the arms of the traveller, with swords in sheaths."! The general mood of the companions of the Prophet as they digested the terms of the treaty was one of 'sullen and explosive silence' to use Martin Lings words. The Quraysh had felt triumphant, having prevented the Prophet from achieving the object of his mission and securing what appeared to be a treaty wholly in their favor. The moderation, magnanimity and foresight of the Prophet had yet to dawn on all, neither the Muslims nor the haughty aristocrats. But God revealed the strategic significance of the treaty, saying, as the Muslims headed home: 'VERILY, [O Muhammad,] We have laid open before thee a manifest victory.' [48:2] The crux of the matter is that the Prophet had secured peace for Islam, and that is the supreme victory. Armed with peace with Islam's most formidable enemy in the north the Prophet moved swiftly to consolidate peace in Madina, the city-state, over which he was sovereign, by disrupting and dismantling all the military and political enemies to the south. He then began to concentrate his effort on a universal mission, exploring avenues to spread Islam beyond Arabia, to all parts of the world. He sent envoys to the rulers of the great powers of the time, Rome and Persia, which were, as Haykal says: 'the greatest states of the age and the makers and arbiters of world policy and world destiny.' The Prophet invited them to Islam, along with rulers of Egypt and Abyssinia [Ethiopia] among others, in words pure and pristine: 'Accept Islam', he exhorted each of them in his letter, 'and you will be safe.' Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantuim,

responded with much courtesy and respect. 'Had it been in my power,' he said to a confidant, 'I would certainly have taken the trouble to meet him and wash his feet.' The other super power behaved differently. The Persian emperor, Chosroes, known as King of Kings, and sometimes as god, tore the Prophet's letter into pieces. 'Even so,' the Prophet said calmly when his envoy told him, 'will God tear his empire into pieces,' adding at another occasion, 'my religion and my kingdom will replace that of Chosroes and will sweep all before it.' Negus, King of Abyssinia, accepted Islam, saying in his reply to Prophet Muhammad, 'I submit myself to God, the Lord of all the Universe.' Thus did Islam enter Africa in peace, dignity and sublimity. The following year the Prophet, along with two thousand of his companions, proceeded to Mecca for the pilgrimage, as agreed in the treaty. Sir William Muir, moved by what Ameer Ali calls an unconscious thrill, for he was a most bigoted critic of the Prophet, writes as follows. 'It was surely a strange sight, which at this time presented itself in the vale of Mekka, - a sight unique in the history of the world. The ancient city is for three days evacuated by all its inhabitants, high and low, every house deserted; and, as they retire, the exiled converts, many years banished from their birthplace, approach in great body, accompanied by their allies, revisit the empty homes of their childhood, and within the short allotted space, fulfill the rites of pilgrimage. The outside inhabitants, climbing the heights around, take refuge under tents, or other shelter among the hills and glens; and, clustering on the overhanging peak of AbooKubeys, thence watch the movements of the visitors beneath, as with the Prophet at their head they make the circuit of the Kaabeh...and anxiously scan every figure if perchance they may recognize among the worshipers some long-lost friend or relative. It was a scene rendered possible only by the throes which gave birth to Islam.' This was how Prophet Muhammad, through peace, won the moral victory over Mecca, and brought the entire world under his grip.

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Saturday, February 11, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Saturday, February 11, 2012 Hot Weekend Edition

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Saturday, February 11, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Saturday, February 11, 2012 Hot Weekend Edition