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Vol. 10 No. 74

Thursday, April 11, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Jimadal Akhir 1, 1434 AH

JAIZ Bank appoints PDP crisis: Hassan Usman Tukur may new MD sack aides >> 5


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Alams pardon: Again, US flays FG By Agaju Madugba & Ikechukwu Okaforadi, with agency reports


he United States of America (USA) yesterday re-affirmed its earlier position on the Federal Government's state pardon for

former Bayelsa Governor, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha, describing it as lawless. Alamieyeseigha is wanted in the United Kingdom for money laundering charges but the President Goodluck Jonathan-led National Security Council

granted him and some other exconvicts presidential pardon. The pardon has since become a subject of controversy following condemnations from various groups and individuals as they question government's sincerity in the fight against corruption.

Even in the midst of the public outcry, the presidency also insisted yesterday that it has no intention of handing over Alamieyeseigha to the British authorities, arguing that he had served a prison term for the offences he committed.

Condemning the decision, the U.S. had, through its official twitter handle, described it as "a setback in the fight against corruption." The US Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland at Contd on Page 2

Boko Haram rejects amnesty proposal

ď ŹAs Buhari lauds FG over committee T By Zainab Ahmed Maska

he Jama'atu Ahlussunah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram sect, has turned down the federal government's proposed offer of amnesty, saying that its members have not offended anyone to warrant amnesty or pardon. Speaking yesterday on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, noted that it is his group that ought to grant amnesty to the Nigerian government. President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier set up a committee to look into the possibility of amnesty for the sect following the calls for amnesty by some eminent Nigerians, provided the sect members put down their arms. But the sect leader said that they are at war with the Nigerian government in retaliation for the killing of many Muslims and abductions of their wives in Contd on Page 2

L-R: Rector, Ramat Polytechnic, Dr. Babagana Umara Zulum, with Borno state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, during the governor's visit to inspect 500 beddings constructed by the polytechnic for schools, yesterday in Maiduguri.

LEADERSHIP editors: Jonathan defends police action

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PDP crisis: Tukur may sack aides By Lawrence Olaoye


here are indications that the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have resolved to relieve some of his personal aides of their jobs for him to extricate himself from the crisis that they allegedly partly ignited for him in the party. This is coming as the party's National Working Committee (NWC) resolved to ignore the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)'s report which invalidated the election of eight of its members, insisting that it would no longer comment on the matter. It was learnt that Tukur had come to the realisation that most of the challenges facing him in the administration of the party are caused by his personal aides who, most often than not, interfere in the functions of some other

members of the party's NWC. An informed source close to the PDP Chairman who would not want his name in print said: "Yes! It is true. The National Chairman has made up his mind to change most of his personal aides any time from now. He is a listening leader and a democrat to the core. He had assessed the whole crises and had heard a series of propositions towards finding a lasting solution to it for him to settle down and move the party forward ahead of the 2015 general elections. One of such propositions is the sack of the personal aides to give peace a chance". He continued: "As I speak now, the National Chairman is already searching for their replacements. Those coming in will be made up of the best hands in their various chosen professions. They will bring in their wealth of experience to assist in prosecuting the 10 point agenda of Alhaji Tukur

along with his NWC members''. It would be recalled that trouble started at the inception of his tenure when Tukur appointed several aides, including Alhaji Abu Fari who was made his Chief of Staff, and the suspended National Secretary of the Party Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola raised objections about such appointments which he said were not contained in the party's establishment books and as such did not sign their letters of appointment. It was gathered at a stage Fari assumed the de- facto National Secretary of the party and was accused of signing official letters on behalf of the party, something which ought to be done by Prince Oyinlola which later prompted Alhaji Tukur to fire him. The source pointed out that some of Tukur's personal aides also attend the party's NWC meetings with some of them having the temerity to contribute at such

meetings even when they are not statutorily qualified to be there. Some members of the NWC are however opposed to this practice. Meanwhile, the NWC yesterday resolved to pass a vote of confidence on Tukur's leadership, insisting that they remained intact, indivisible and united to promote the policy of the party. Briefing newsmen after the weekly NWC meeting, the party's spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh said: "the NWC has resolved to remain focused on the activities of the party and not to respond to any rumours on the National Convention of the party. The NWC is satisfied that the National Convention was conducted in accordance with the party's constitution and we stand by it." Metuh also disclosed that the party's NWC remains united and passed a vote of confidence in Tukur's leadership.

Alams pardon: Again, US flays FG Skills acquisition as panacea for unemployment, Page 4



Strange World 35 Digest










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Contd from Page 1 a daily press briefing in Washington DC said that "we see this as a setback for the fight against corruption and also for our ability to play the strong role we have played in supporting rule of law and legal institution-building in Nigeria which is very important for the future of the country obviously". She added: "We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we have been trying to do with them. We are continuing to look at what is appropriate." Also, at a teleconference on USNigeria Bi-National Commission in Abuja on Wednesday, the Political Counselor, Embassy of the USA, Gregory Lawless, told journalists that "the situation has not changed." He maintained that his country has not departed from its earlier statement in which it condemned the action of granting pardon to Alamieyeseigha. Lawless, however, added that

whatever the disappointment was, the US had since moved on with its relationship with Nigeria. "We have a very mature relationship. So we can recognise our differences and opinions on issues. We are moving on we have a lot of things to do," he noted. Lawless also assured Nigeria of the US support to tackle violent extremism. Responding to a question on the proposed amnesty to Boko Haram members, Lawless said,"we are a working group as government of Nigeria embraces a more holistic approach to the issue of violent extremism, whether it is in the north or other areas. "We think it is a positive development. We will work with Nigeria government as it develops its own policy approach as to counter violent extremism." Reeling out the successes achieved so far by the Bi-National Commission, Lawless said the Commission had successfully integrated civil society into the electoral process prior to the 2011 elections.

However, dismissing the possibility of extraditing Alamieyeseigha to Britain for trial over his criminal activities bordering on money laundering for which he jumped bail in London, Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, told Premium Times in an interview yesterday that government has not received any formal request from the Britain for the extradition of Alamieyeseigha. According to him, even if such a request is made and the Federal Government turns it down, there should not be a big deal over such refusal. He regretted that Nigerians do not take their country seriously, recalling that some Russians were caught with stolen Nigerian crude oil, and the Russian government did everything possible to ensure that those criminals were not tried in Nigeria. According to Okupe, "there is absolutely nothing that the Russian government did not do to

ensure that the people were not tried here. "They applied every diplomatic force and efforts; and these are criminals, thieves who stole our oil." While condemning every reason to extradite the former Governor for trial, Okupe said that some years ago in Malaysia, a Briton was prosecuted for a serious criminal offence which attracts a capital punishment but that the Queen of England went to campaign for the transfer of the convicted person to go and serve his jail term Britain. On this basis, he argued that if this happens all over the world, "why should we release a Nigerian citizen who committed an offence in Nigeria for which he has been punished? What is the interest of Britain? "The offence was not committed in the U.K, it was committed against the people of this country for which our laws have punished the man and he has served his term."

Boko Haram rejects amnesty proposal Contd from Page 1 Plateau state and Zangon Kataf in Kaduna state. This is even as former Head of State, retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday gave a rare commendation to the Federal Government for setting up a committee on the fundamentalist Boko Haram sect. Government had on April 4 said that a committee would be set up to look into the possibility of granting amnesty to members of Boko Haram, who had been waging a bloody campaign against the country in recent

years. Buhari gave the commendation while addressing newsmen in Abeokuta.The former head of state who was in Ogun to commiserate with Mrs Hannah Awolowo on the death of her son, Oluwole Awolowo, described the amnesty gesture for Boko Haram as a welcome development. "It is good that the Federal Government has set up a committee on amnesty. I have not seen the terms of reference but it is a good step in the right direction." He described the decision as a

bold step capable of restoring peace to troubled areas of the country, adding, "whatever that will bring peace to us as a people, we should do". Buhari who noted that there had been precedence on the issue of amnesty, recalled that the former Niger Delta militants once benefitted from a similar gesture. "This is not the first time amnesty will be granted to a violent group. You remember it was granted to the militant group in the Niger Delta during the time of late President Musa Yar'adua."

Buhari, a former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general elections, was accompanied by Mr Tunde Bakare, his running mate during the elections. The CPC chieftain, who had earlier addressed party supporters, said he was in the state to condole with the Awolowo's over the death of Oluwole. He said that he would also go to Ekiti, to commiserate with the government over the death of Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka, the Deputy Governor of the state who died on April 6.



FG approves N2.1bn for permanent voters' cards


R-L: Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, and Minister of Youth Development, Barrister Inuwa Abdulkadir, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, yesterday at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Leadership editors: Jonathan defends police action T

he Presidency has denied issuing an order for the arrest and detention of four editors of Leadership newspaper who were released on Wednesday. President Goodluck Jonathan's Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) Dr. Reuben Abati, asserted in a statement yesterday

that the police was merely performing constitutional responsibility of forestalling incitement and the breakdown of law and order that may have arisen from the publication of the 'bromide' story. Abati described the Leadership 'bromide' story as inimical to public

peace and democratic stability adding that, it "seeks in the main to cause civil strife, engender a breakdown of law and order, and negate the values of our democracy is a very grievous act indeed that should not be ignored." According to him, the police reacted to the publication in the

public interest to nip in the bud the possible effect it could have on "ethos of governance and professionalism arguing further that the publication "like all others that threaten our democracy and undermine law and order it become the duty of the Police as an institution to investigate."

Gunmen kill nine in Borno attacks From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


nknown gunmen, on Tuesday, carried out multiple attacks in two local government areas of Borno state, killing nine persons. In the one of the attacks, which occured in the evening, unknwown gunmen killed four officials of the Borno state government, while on an inspection tour of some secondary schools in Dikwa town, administrative headquarters of Dikwa local government council Dikwa which is located along the Nigeria-Cameroon border is about 80 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital city and had previously witnessed series of attacks, allegedly perpetrated by suspected insurgents. The deceased persons, Alhaji Tijjani Mafi, Alhaji Modu Kura Gubio, Gubo Zanna and Alhaji

Modu were members of the Schools Feeding Programme Committee overseeing Borno central senatorial district. There were conflicting reports over the incident as a source in the town claimed that the victims were reportedly ambushed by the gunmen, while traveling in a Toyota Hilux vehicle shortly after paying a courtesy visit on the monarch of the area, the Shehu of Dikwa, Alhaji Shehu Masta. The assailants had reportedly fired several shots on the vehicle, killing the officials on the spot and made away with the vehicle, witnesses said. "The deceased persons had just left the palace of the monarch, after inspecting some public schools to ascertain the quality of the food being served to students, when five men, armed with assault rifles, waylaid them and fired sporadic shots at the vehicle. All the occupants died on the spot,

while the assailants fired shots in the air, before fleeing the scene with the vehicle. However, another source had it that the men were killed on their way to condole one of their friends, whose mother died recently. The funeral of the deceased persons was conducted yesterday evening in the residence of them, Alhaji Mafi, with Governor Kashim Shettima, top government officials, politicians and traditional rulers in attendance. In the other incident which happened late night, five persons were feared dead in separate attacks in Bama local government area. Reports had it following the multiple attacks, that tension has now erupted in the town. Witnesses told newsmen on phone that both incidents occurred late night when suspected insurgents, raided two

homes comprising that of a yet to be identified lecturer of the College of Education, Bama and set it on fire. The lecturer was reportedly burnt to death alongside his four family members as the invaders waited outside the house shooting sporadically, seemingly to ensure that nobody escapes, according to residents. Similarly, another teacher with Government Secondary School Bama, was shot and killed by another gunmen, who stormed his house. The incident has now crippled socio-economic activities in the area as the entire town was deserted with hundreds of heavily armed soldiers, backed by armored tanks conducting extensive patrol. Both the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF) and the state Police Command, declined comments on the two incidents.

head of the 2015 general elections, the Federal Government has approved the sum N2,117,500 for printing of permanent voters' cards the contract of which has been awarded to ACT Technologies Limited and is scheduled to be completed in six months. This was one of the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday at the close of which the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, told State House correspondents that the approved sum will cover the production of 33,500 voters' cards that will be utilised as national identity cards for future elections. Also approved by the council was the National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) which is intended to address high level of unemployment and will be made part of the scheme of service of the federation to integrate people with requisite skills into the system. According to Maku, a permanent identity card that will last 10 years is in the offing and the next voter's identity card to be issued will be used for 2015 elections. A working document of the Council's meeting shows that, after the 2011 election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) sought to print 73,500,000 permanent voters' cards to replace the ad-hoc ones used for the election. Subsequently, "the Commission printed 40,000,000 permanent cards in 2011 for the first phase of the project which is in progress, culminating in the second phase in which the remaining 33,500,000 cards will be produced. "After deliberation, Council approved the contract for the second phase of the printing of 31,500,000 permanent voters' cards at the rate of N65 per card," the document stated.

Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman


Skills acquisition as panacea for unemployment By Obike Ukoh, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)


rom all indications, even though unemployment is now a global problem the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is quite alarming. Concerned observers note that unemployment rate in the country is in the region of 23.9 per cent, describing it as very outrageous. They warn that if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend, it may induce social upheaval in the country. Commenting on the rate of unemployment, Chief Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour, said: Unemployment has reached a frightening dimension in our country that it now constitutes an affront to government's development effort.'' Wogu described the 23.9 per-cent unemployment rate as quite worrisome, adding that `` government is not insensitive to the plight of youths who spend their youthful years and vigour going in search of non-existent jobs. ``The present government is committed to addressing the unemployment problem through well-targeted intervention that will empower the citizenry to be architects of their own future,'' he said. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who also commented on the high level of unemployment in the country, said that if something was not done urgently to address it, it might soon trigger a serious crisis in the country. ``We are sitting on a key of gunpowder in this country due to the problem of youth unemployment. ``We have almost 150 universities now in the country turning out these young Nigerians but without job opportunities for them,'' Obasanjo said. Sharing similar sentiments, Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said that a national emergency plan was required to solve the country's unemployment problem. ``Unemployment resonates everywhere; we have never had unemployment as huge as this in our history. Urgent steps must be taken to check the trend,'' he stressed. Aregbesola wondered why the retirement age for certain category of workers was increased to 70 years without due regard for the high level of youth unemployment in the country Besides, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu

Rufa'i, also acknowledged the danger posed by the high incidence of unemployment in the country, arguing that only skills acquisition would stem the trend. Rufa'i, who spoke recently at a workshop on ``Youths and Skills: Putting Education to Work'', said that the key to bridge the gap between schooling and work was quality technical and vocational education. ``We recognise the crucial role of technical and vocational education training in poverty reduction, job creation and sustainable development,'' she said. The minister, nonetheless, identified the challenge facing Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) as the low estimation of TVET. Also, the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia, underscored the importance of skills acquisition in efforts to tackle unemployment when he addressed corps members recently in Katsina. He advised serving corps members to focus their attention on skills acquisition so as to enable them to be selfreliant after their service year. Sharing similar sentiments, Obasanjo stressed the need for the training of graduates outside their academic disciplines as a way of stemming unemployment. The former president identified agriculture as one of the sectors with great potential to create jobs. ``I am not saying that agriculture will make you a billionaire; in fact, if you want to be one, don't go into agriculture. ``Nevertheless, if you practice agriculture well, it will make you comfortable,'' he added. Obasanjo recalled that he enrolled at Moor Plantation, Ibadan, after his stint as military Head of State in 1979, to learn modern agricultural techniques before venturing into largescale farming However, a company executive, Mr Dominic Ovieghara, blamed the high unemployment rate in the country on some defects in the nation's education system and called for increased funding of technical education. ``We have a lot of unemployed graduates because our education system produces many graduates with no technical skills to fit into the industrial sector, which has room for expansion,'' he said. Ovieghara, who is the Managing Director of a Warri-

Chief Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour based equipment fabrication company, noted that Nigeria with about 22,000 secondary schools and less than 200 technical colleges could not produce enough technical manpower to drive the country's industrial development. ``Although government seems to be working hard to address the deficit, the country needs to increase its budget spending on education, so as to provide for technical education,'' he said. However, analysts opine

that if the country's tertiary institutions strictly adhere to the admission policy of 60 per cent for science and 40 per cent for other disciplines, graduate unemployment would not have reached such an alarming proportion. They also argue that science and technology are the driving forces of the 21st Century civilisation. That is not to suggest that all the country's universities are not adhering to the admission policy of the Federal Government.


a company executive, Mr Dominic Ovieghara, blamed the high unemployment rate in the country on some defects in the nation's education system and called for increased funding of technical education. ``We have a lot of unemployed graduates because our education system produces many graduates with no technical skills to fit into the industrial sector, which has room for expansion

Prof. Barth Okolo, the ViceChancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who stressed that his university was complying with the admission policy, also described science as the ``centre of development''. ``Science is the centre of development in the world. As a university, we have taken it as a key priority to train 60 per cent of our students in science courses and 40 per cent in other fields,'' he said. All the same, there appears to be no end in sight for the current unemployment problem bedevilling the country that has over 150 universities turning out graduates mainly in the humanities and social sciences every year. Experts, nonetheless, suggest that the solution to the problem entails a marked policy shift in the country's education system with tangible emphasis laid on skills' acquisition and technical education. All in all, the experts insist that government should adequately fund technical education, while skills' acquisition courses should be introduced in the curriculum of the country's tertiary institutions. (NAN)


By Abdulwahab Isa


he Board of Directors of Jaiz Bank Plc yesterday announced the appointment of its erstwhile General Manager in charge of the Business Development Group, Hassan Usman, as its new acting Managing Director. A press statement by the bank’s spokesperson, Idris Salihu, explained that the development followed the resignation of the pioneer Managing Director, Muhammed Mustapha Bintube, after almost 10 years of nurturing the bank. According to the statement Bintube resigned on personal moreover having achieved the mandate given to him by the bank’s Board of Directors. The statement noted that the credit behind the success of Ja’iz goes to Bintube, describing him as distinguished and a quintessential banker with several years of experience. The bank reiterated its commitment to its underlining principles of high ethics, transparency, fairness and the socio-economic development of the Nigerian people.


JAIZ Bank appoints new MD The statement described Hassan as a Chartered Accountant and a seasoned banker who graduated with a first class Degree in Accounting in 1985 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and became an Associate Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1989. He obtained a post graduate diploma in Management in 1995 from Maastricht School of Management. Bitunbe resigns Hassan also attended the Oxford University Executive Management Programme in 2002. His work experiences include, Financial Controller of Nigerian Development Company Limited, Kaduna, Financial Controller and Treasurer at NAL Merchant Bank PLC between 1996-2001.,

General Manager, Banking Services, Inland Bank, Deputy General Manager and Head Business and Financial Advisory Group, NAL Merchant Bank. He is a Fellow of the Institute. Jaiz got its regional banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on 11th November, 2011 and commenced operations on the 6th of January, 2012 in three locations, Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.

According to him, the plants were shut down last Friday to enable Chevron carry out routine maintenance on the gas pipelines which are expected to take a few days to be re-started According to the Minister, "from Monday we started seeing an increase that has stabilised and it is still going up. "Just this afternoon, we have been told that it has

reached up to 3400 megawatts and it is expected to hit 4000 megawatts tomorrow, we are in the process of rehabilitating general facilities and we will be shutting down from time to time to avoid any incident of system failure." Nebo who briefed journalists dismissed reports of total system failure at the plants adding that the routine shut down had become necessary to forestall

Hassan Usman

Minister explains sudden power drop

By Etuka Sunday


inister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, yesterday attributed the sudden drop in the nation's power supply from all time high of 4600 megawatts to about 3200 megawatts few days ago, to maintenance currently being carried out by Chevron on its gas plants and pipelines.

over-loading. He also spoke on the issue of Labour saying that, "we have had a substantial agreement with Labour and in no distant time we will begin settlement and then final handing over of the Generating Companies and Distribution Companies to those who have paid their 25 per cent eventually, until the whole Labour issues are completely resolved." In her contribution, Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, said the Ministry had successfully finished the verification of all PHCN staff, remaining only the casual staff. She said that the funds for the payment of the PHCN severance package would be ready soon for disbursement.

Kogi council polls: IRI trains candidates From Sam Egwu, Lokoja

K Police pension scam suspects arraigned, yesterday at the FCT High Court, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, and five others before an Abuja High Court for allegedly stealing about N40 billion belonging to the Police Pension Funds. Kigo who is currently a Director in the Police Pensions Office was re-arraigned before Justice Hussain Baba along with Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Habila Zira, Christian Madubuike and John Yusuf, who had earlier been convicted, on an amended 18count charge, bordering on

Police pensions fraud: EFCC re-arraigns Perm Sec, others criminal breach of trust and theft. Meanwhile, the Chief Accountant of the Police Pensions Office, Mrs. Uzoma Cyril Attang, who was arraigned by the antigraft agency for the first time in connection with the alleged fraud, was granted N10 million bail and two sureties in like sum by the trial judge. The accused persons are standing trial for alleged complicity in the illegal diversion of about N40 billion from the Nigeria Police Pension funds. The accused persons pleaded

not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the EFCC following which Justice Baba said that, “based on the understanding between the prosecuting counsel and counsels to the accused persons, the previous bail granted the suspects still subsists on the existing terms”. The court also granted Attang bail in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like sum. Attang, was alleged to have abused her position to enrich

herself while she served as Chief Accountant in the Police Pension Office between 2003 and 2008. Attang who was absent in court when the other suspects were first charged, was in charge of the police pension fund when N7.8billion was stolen through 10,863 cheques. She was also discovered to have personally signed 1,042 cheques to the tune of N1, 141,309,080.25. Justice Baba adjourned the matter to 3rd and 4th of June, 2013 for hearing.

ogi State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC ) in collaboration with International Republican Institute (IRI) yesterday organised a sensitization workshop for candidates participating in the May 2013 local council polls in the state. The IRI Country Director, Robina Namusisi, said the aim of the programme was to ensure violent free election through the creation of awareness among the candidates and the electorate. She said the institute had been involved in electoral activities since 1999 in the country through giving support for political the parties and participants so as to deepen democracy in the Nigeria. She called on the candidates for various elective positions in the forth coming council polls in the state to shun violence during their campaign, voting and after the elections. Earlier, Governor Idris Wada promised to ensure adequate security on the election day. The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Olugbenga Jegede, said the state would not condone any acts of violence and electoral rascality from groups or individuals.


Poland to build $2m foam industry in Kaduna


he investment drive by the administration of Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna state has received a boost with the declaration by a Poland firm that it is ready to build a N2 billion foam making industry in the area. Speaking with journalists after an investment meeting at the Government House, leader of the Polish delegation, Mr. Janusz Litwin, said the investors were ready to establish their business in Kaduna because of the investment friendly atmosphere. A press statement by the Governor’s Director-General (Media and Publicity), Ahmed Mayaki, said that the Polish company, Organika Trade Holding, had already visited the proposed site for the industry and will soon commence work. According to the statement, “the Polish investors are happy to invest in Kaduna as a preferred investment haven due to growing economic activities in the state as the investors have confidence in Kaduna with the return of peace and stability. “In a similar development, the Palestine Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Montaser Abuzeid, also led a delegation on a courtesy visit to Governor Yero yesterday during which the envoy called for partnership between Kaduna state and the State of Palestine in the areas of economic and infrastructural development. “Abuzeid invited Governor Yero to pay an official visit to Palestine to enable the two sides enter into agreement on ways to mutually benefit from investment opportunities. ”In his remarks, Yero reiterated the readiness of Kaduna state to welcome investors from all over the world that are ready to establish businesses in the state. “He said that government would continue to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state and will encourage investors to come to Kaduna in order to provide more jobs for the teaming unemployed youths. “Kaduna state has witnessed influx of investors since the publication of the Fitch rating in February which declared the economic outlook of the state as very bright. “The state has also witnessed peace and stability while the Yero administration continues to work on modalities of building and sustaining genuine reconciliation among the people.”


Pardon: CSO Slams Jonathan over Alam, demands reversal By Stanley Onyekwere


ivil rights activists under the agies of Say No Campaign-Nigeria group of the Civil Society Organisations (CSO), has described the lingering issues on pension scam and the recent presidential pardon to some individuals as acts of impunity by President Goodluck Jonathan. The CSO which staged a peaceful demonstration in Abuja yesterday urged Jonathan to reverse the pardon to his former boss, DSP Alamieyeseigha and others convicted thieves, arguing that, “it is untimely, unacceptable and immoral.” The group also demanded immediate resolution of the

… Kicks off nationwide protest against corruption in Nigeria pension crisis, for the benefit of the pensioners, extradition of Alamieyeseigha to United Kingdom to face charges of corruption, a stop to the current siege on the civil society/media by security agencies and release with immediate effect of those unjustly arrested. The protest which started from the Labour House, Central Area of Abuja terminated at the entrance to the National Assembly. Speaking at the rally, the convener, Auwal Musa Rafsajani, said the aim was to send a signal to corrupt leaders and the government that Nigerians are tired of living

under shackles of corruption, poverty, violence, impunity and deregulation, including the rape of both the nation’s economy and persons. According to him, “the protest sends signal to corrupt people, sponsors of violence, sponsors of election rigging and sponsors of artificial poverty in the country that Nigerians are tired and sick of their activities. “And we are tired of living in abject poverty and seeing corrupt people enjoying their loot as well as seeing Nigerians being killed as ants. So that is what this protest is all about.” Another activist and coconvener of the campaign,

Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the protest was a follow-up to a recent conference on issues of corruption and other political developments in the country by network of CSOs in Abuja, where it promised to stage protests across Nigerian major cities against the increasing cases of impunity and corruption in the country. “The initiative is an awareness creation platform without time limit, with the aim of mobilising citizens to be aware of what is happening around them, and possibly begin to resist the rising traces of impunity and get to own the fight against corruption”, he stressed.”

L-R: Yobe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam, condoling with Muhammad Bukar Lawan Goroma, eldest son of a Yobe PDP stalwart, Alhaji Lawan Goroma, who passed away last Monday, in Damaturu yesterday.

Trial stalled as Legal Aids Council decline legal representation for Boko Haram suspects


he trial of seven suspected Boko Haram members at the Federal High Court, Abuja, was stalled on Wednesday because of the absence of legal representation for the accused. Usman Sani, Abdulrahman Musa, Mahmud Mohammed, Kabir Mohammed, Umar Danjuma, Ibrahim Abba and Abdullahi Lawan are accused of killing and raiding banks in Bauchi State in 2011. The judge, Justice A.R Mohammed, held that the court would take the pleas of the suspects without legal representation if they failed to make legal representation. “The case carries a heavy penalty which hovers between life and death sentence, so we must give the suspects opportunity to defend themselves. “In the light of this, the

suspects are enjoined to get the services of lawyers on or before the next adjourned date of May 28. “However, the court would have no option left than to take the plea of the suspects with or without legal representation on that day,’’ the judge said. He ordered that the suspects be remanded at the Kuje Prison. The suspects were alleged to have robbed some banks in Bauchi State in 2011 for the purpose of raising funds to support the Boko Haram sect. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court has failed twice to proceed with the trial because of none legal representation for the suspects. At the resumed hearing, the prosecutor, Mr. David Kwase, said that attempt to get legal assistance from the Nigeria Legal Aids Council for the suspects did

not yield any positive result. “My Lord, I did write to the Legal Aids Council as I promised to do in the last sitting but the council did not respond to my letter. “I want to, therefore, suggest that the court accepts the arrangement of the suspects to defend themselves. “My Lord, in fact from experience, it has always been a tug of war to get Boko Haram suspects to accept government paid lawyers,’’ he said. The suspects were alleged to have raided Unity Bank of Nigeria Plc Alkaleri branch in Bauchi State, on July 18, 2011 and carted away N17.8 million. They were accused of invading Intercontinental Bank Plc, Azare branch on Dec. 4, 2011 in the state and carted away the sum of N7.3 million. The suspects were also alleged

to have attacked Guarantee Trust Bank in Azare, Bauchi State, on Dec. 4, 2011, where they stole another N25.1 million. They were also accused of breaking into the Alkaleri Divisional Police Headquarters and assisted in the release of some terrorism suspects in detention. At Tafawa Balewa Town, also in Bauchi State, the accused persons were alleged to have shot sporadically and in the process, killed DSP Ola Mukaila Adeleke. Other police officers allegedly killed by the suspects in the raid of Dce.4, 2011 were Babangida Ibrahim, Suleiman Ibrahim and Mohammed Adamu. The prosecution said that by the actions, the suspects contravened Section 4(1)(a) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, which is punishable by death under Section 4(2) of the Act. (NAN)



Protestors storm HoS office, demand Maina’s return ByAdeola Tukuru


ver hundreds of supporters of embattled chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, (PRTT), Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday disturbed flow of traffic as they protested at the Office of the Head of Service in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) calling for his reinstatement. The protestors, made up of civil society groups, market women and youth groups, said the protest became necessary in view of the unwillingness of the Head of Service to reinstate Maina as chairman of the PRTT despite a court ruling directing that he be returned to office. Leader of the demonstrators and Executive Secretary of Legislative Watch,Comrade Ngozika Ihuoma, who spoke to journalists during the protest march, said it was a solidarity march with Maina for his reinstatement as chairman of the PRTT and to draw attention to the fact that since November 2012

when the Head of Service usurped the payment of pension of federal retirees, the process have become “unwieldy with backlog of pensions.” According to Ihuoma, the Federal High Court Abuja on March 27, did not only vacate the arrest warrant issued by the Senate against Maina, but also directed that he be returned to continue with his task at the PRTT. “This is not a protest march rather it is a solidarity protest with Abdulrasheed Maina, the chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, over the March 27 court judgment in his favour. We are here today from over 10 civil society groups, market women and youth associations to urge the Head of Service of the Federation

to fast track Maina’s return to office based on the court ruling. “We cannot continue to claim to observe the rule of law but fail to obey court rulings on very fundamental issues such as this. The PRTT as you know, has done well but some people out of their own personal score, have set out to derail the process of streamlining federal pension but thank God, the courts saw through it and have ruled favourably on the suit brought by Maina.” The protestors later moved to the Federal High Court to register their protest against the noncompliance with the judgment of the court by the Head of Service. It would be recalled that Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court in Abuja, issued an order of perpetual injunction

restraining the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, from arresting Maina.

The court made the order after it vacated the warrant of arrest issued against him by the Senate.

Sardauna Memorial College alumni holds AGM May 4 By Abubakar Ibrahim he Sardauna Memorial College, Kaduna Old Boys Association (SAMOBA) has rescheduled its Annual General Meeting for Saturday, May 4, 2013 by 10 am. According to a statement issued by organizing committee member and onetime headboy of the school, Grp-Capt Manu Ibrahim (rtd),the April 27 date has been cancelled due the Joint


Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam taking place that day. Meanwhile, Old Boys of the Class 79 set are advised, according to the statement, to meet in the school at Kawo, Kaduna on Saturday, April 13, 2013 by 10 am. Highlight of the event include awards to distinguished Old Boys in recognition of their success in various fields of endeavour.

Wamakko disburses N1bn loan to LG farmers From Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


okoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko has set up committees at various levels for the disbursement of 1 billion Naira loan to farmers in 23 Local Government Areas of the state. The Committees, he said, will collaborate with the beneficiaries to ensure judicious utilization of the resources. According to him, the State government has concluded arrangement in conjunction with Bank of Agriculture(BOA) to commence the disbursement to 50 million Naira to each of the 23 Local Government Councils in the state as part it effort towards eradicating poverty as well address youth restiveness among others. Speaking in Sokoto, while presenting cheques to the beneficiaries, Governor Wamakko described the scheme as another milestone towards boosting agriculture in the sate, but however called on the beneficiaries to utilize the opportunity, so that the nascent sector would experience another revolution in the state and country in general. Meanwhile, thousands of farmers yesterday thronged the venue of the event in order to witness the lifeline to their colleagues. In his remark, the MD/CEO of the Bank of Agriculture, Malam Muahmmadu Santuraki, , said only genuine farmers would benefit from the programe, considering the financial implication of the loan so that more beneficiaries would be involved in sustaining the scheme.

L-R: Chairman, Action Committee and Strategy, Youth Wing Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), Ringsum Joshua, YOWICAN President, Simon Dolly, and Organisation National Secretary, Nwaya Christian, during a press conference by YOWICAN on amnesty for Boko Haram sect, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Security has improved in the north - Gov Aliyu From Iliya Garba, Minna


he Governor of Niger State Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu has said that the security situation in parts of the north has improved in recent times and called on all Nigerians to join hands to bringing permanent change where peace and tranquillity will reign supreme in the region. Governor Aliyu made this confirmation on Wednesday in Minna, the Niger state capital when he received delegations from the Arewa Transformation Support Initiative who paid him a courtesy visit at Government House. According to him, “things are calming down now in the region, but we are not out of the woods yet, everyone should work towards a permanent solution to the security situation in the north and the country. I have noticed that security in the north has improved”. He said, to ensure permanent peace in the north and other parts of the country, governments should compel the teaching of the

tenets of Islam and Christianity in schools adding that if ”if Bokoharam members are vast in the Islamic religion, they will not kill anybody because Islam says there is no compulsion in religion”. Governor Aliyu added that ignorance was another cause of the crisis emphasised the need for parents to pay more attention to the education of their children. The governor also observed a serious dysfunctional relationship between the government and the governed necessitating the need

for Nigerians to pray fervently for the nation to have the “leadership that will move the country to greater heights”. He stressed the need for the country to engage its teeming youths so as to discourage them from vices inimical to the security of the country. President of the Arewa Transformation Support Initiative, Alhaji Mohammed Danjuma said as a result of the insecurity in the northern part of the country, the group set up a

data bank of the unemployed youths in the north which would be assessed towards solving the unemployment problems in the region. Danjuma said the main objective of the forum was to transform the youths by stopping the practice of finger-pointing and docility through job creation and empowerment and therefore solicited the assistance of not only governments but well to do in the region

Kudos to Gov Yero on youth empowerment By Agaju Madugba overnor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State has been commended for the laudable effort towards creating programmes that has direct bearing for the people in the state, The Chairman Ramalan Yero Security Vanguard Alhaji Abdullateef made the commendation in a press release signed by him stating that the GovernorYero administration was committed to youth empowerment demonstrated


through the SURE-P Programme launched recently. He said, it was a clear demonstration that the present government in the state will not leave any stone unturned in developing both human and capital resources in the transformation of the Kaduna State to greater height . “Governor Ramalan Yero is a visionary leader per excellence and we are very optimistic that his vision and mission will not be in vain... all and sundry in the

state should rally round Yero’s administration’’, he said. The group also appealed to the governor to ignore the activities of disgruntled politicians in the habit of unconstructive criticism and cheap blackmail, but always welcome constructive criticisms with open mind. The group has also described governor Muktar Ramalan Yero 100 days in office as a landmark step in the right direction for the socio- economic development of Kaduna state .







Customs seizes N35m contraband T A From Umar Dankano, Yola

he Eastern Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service says it recorded a seizure of contraband goods worth N35.2m from smuggling activities, on Nigerian waterways. Comptroller of Customs in charge of the command, Alhaji Buba Ibrahim, made the disclosure to journalists yesterday during his working tour of Adamawa state. He listed the seized items to include, 11,027 bags of foreign rice, 420 pieces of used tyres, 52 bales of used clothing items, 20 used cars and 200 motor cycles, among others. Buba noted that the Customs Service has procured two new water patrol vessels.

He urged persons with the intention of joining the illegal business of smuggling to shelve the idea while those already in the business should endeavour to stop. Meanwhile the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said on Wednesday that it seized drugs worth N3 million from hawkers at Karmo market in the FCT. This is contained in a statement by the agency in Abuja, signed by Mr Abubakar Jimoh, Acting Director, Special Duties. The statement stated that the drugs were analgesics, antibiotics and aphrodisiacs. According to the statement, the hawkers violated the law against open hawking of drugs and handling sensitive drugs they are not authorised to sell.

``Also seized from the hawkers are controlled drugs like Tramoldine, which is a popularly abused medicine by drug addicts and various brands of aphrodisiacs. ``Some of the drugs were not carrying NAFDAC registration number. ``NAFDAC officials arrested the drug hawkers while the man who is alleged to be the main supplier of the drugs is on the run. ``The officials broke into the warehouse following a tip-off and carted away different brands of drugs which were illegally stored in the warehouse under unhygienic and bad storage conditions.'' The statement said that the raid was led by the Assistant Chief Regulatory Officer of the agency's FCT office, Mohammed Bashir.

The statement said Bashir condemned the practice of open sale of drugs under harsh weather conditions which could alter the potency and render the medicine inefficacious. He said: "The practice of hawking drugs deteriorates the drugs, affecting their active ingredients and also affecting their potency. `` This is why we carry out regular raids in all the markets, so as to rid the markets of such illegal drug merchants. ``The Karmo market is located in one of the most densely populated and poorest areas of the FCT, '' he said. Bashir explained that the hawkers stockpiled the drugs in wooden shacks carrying no identification about the nature of the business, just to evade detection of NAFDAC.

L-R: Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, Captain Muktar Usman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Mr. George Ossi , representative of the Head of Service, Dr. Ezekiel Oyewumi, and the Director, Air Operation Department, Naval Headquarters, Commodore John Manujibeiyi, during the opening of African Aviation Training Organisation (AATO) conference, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Police attack protesting Benue teachers From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi rmed policemen attached to the Benue State Government House yesterday attacked primary school teachers who embarked on a peaceful protest to demand the payment of the new minimum wage. While the teachers who carried leaves and placards waited patiently for the Governor Gabriel Suswam to address them, some policemen descended on the Chairman of state branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Godwin Anya and his Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) counterpart, Comrade Simon Anchaver, and whisked them away. The policemen then shot canisters of teargas on the teachers, to disperse them. Earlier, the teachers had blocked the major road in front of the NLC state secretariat at Wadata, chanting solidarity songs. After much argument, the NLC Chairman reluctantly decided to lead teachers to the government house amidst tight security. One of the teachers who spoke to Peoples Daily on condition of anonymity said they got a circular in which 50 teachers were selected from each local government to participate in the protest and lamented the inhuman treatment meted out on them by the government. According to the teacher, "other workers in Benue state have been enjoying minimum wage for over two years now. "I do not know why our own case is different. Now we came to press home our demand and they are driving us away with teargas."

Groups donate N130m equipment to Uniuyo

New NDE Director resumes work A By Etuka Sunday


he new Director, Special Public Works Department at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Muhammad Ada Shuaibu, has resumed duties at the NDE headquarters. Prior to his elevation,


overnor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina state has approved the release of N25 million for the production of 2.5 million seedlings in the 32 nurseries in 26 local government areas across the state. Shema who stated this at the launching of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and fencing materials purchased by the department of forestry in the state, noted that the seedlings would be used for government planting programs. According to the Governor who was represented at the programmeby his Deputy, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Faskari, the sum of N13 million has been released for farm forestry and extension services for the production of posters, vests,

Shuaibu was NDE Coordinator and Deputy Director at the FCT NDE. In a message he sent while receiving Shuaibu, the NDE Director-General, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed, expressed the hope that the SPW Director would strengthen and fast-track its

activities, considering the conviction of the Director General, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed and management that he can rejuvenate and reposition the SPW to execute its mandate efficiently and transparently. In his response, Engr. Muhammad promised to work

with other officers in the department to create more employment for the teeming unemployed youths in Nigeria. He also pledged to improve upon the good works of his predecessors and craved for the support of all, to vindicate the confidence the management and Board have on them.

Katsina to spend N25m for seedlings From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina stickers and other media equipment. Shema said that the Federal Government's Great Green Wall Sahara project will be implemented within local governments bordering Niger Republic. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Forestry, Alhaji Abdulwahab Sani Store, lamented that desertification problem in the state has increased which he attributed to uncontrolled human activities. Kaduna gives N3m to families of slain policemen

Kaduna state government has given the sum of N3 million to the next of kin of two policemen who died in active service with Operation Yaki, the state's joint security outfit. The money, according to the Coordinator, Col. Mamman Dangana (rtd), was shared to the children of the deceased as a gratuity as pledged by the state government. He noted that the security outfit has a good welfare package for its personnel. Meanwhile, the state government has refurbished 10 Toyota Hilux vehicles and handed them Operation Yaki for distribution to different divisional police stations in the

state. Speaking during the handing over of the vehicles, the Director General (Media) to the Governor, Ahmed Maiyaki, explained that the rehabilitation of the vehicles shows the commitment of government in ensuring the protection of lives and property of citizens. He said the Governor had earlier made a promise when he distributed 40 brand new Hilux vehicles to Operation Yaki that all dilapidated vehicles would be rehabilitated. "Today we are witnessing the fulfillment of that promise by the governor," Mayaki said.

From Mike Etim, Uyo s part of its corporate social responsibility, Oriental Energy Resources, in Collaboration with AFREN PLC has donated equipment worth N130 million to the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. Speaking at the commissioning the equipment, Chairman of AFREN PLC Mr. Egbert Imomoh, said it was the intention of his organisation to transform the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department of the University. Over the next few years, the Chairman pointed out that Orient and AFREN intends to also invite other operators in Akwa Ibom state to partner with the company in implementing a five year strategic development plan for the department of Chemical and petroleum Engineering which will include the acquisition of teaching and research laboratory equipment and soft ware. The development programme according to the Chairman, will also include, construction of a distance learning facility, raising $18 million within the period, establishing a Petroleum Industry Board for the department and establishing an endowment fund to support the laboratories.




he recent trend in choosing a career is quite different from what was obtainable some years ago, presently when choosing a career most young people consider their relevance to the society in the future and how much they will earn instead of the relevance of their talent in building a career. Truth be told, if you want to be guaranteed that your career will be a success, you will have to earn a degree in a field which will continue to grow well in to the future, at least a career that will remain competitive in the next couple of years. Experts believe unprecedented revolution in the technology sector has caused rapid and almost un-predictable changes in career demand in recent times. No doubt, careers in technology are one of the fastest growing of our age and looks to

What's your career path portends to your future life?

Money Tip:

What a startup job candidate needs? Entrepreneurial Spirit ancy King, owner of nelking, whose firm manages every aspect of the recruiting process for startups so they can focus on building the business, sums entrepreneurialism up beautifully. "If you fear being unemployed, think twice about joining an early stage startup. The best startup employees think like entrepreneurs and know that if it doesn't work, they'll just be on to the next thing," she says. To get a sense of a candidate's pioneering side, ask a question like: "Tell me about a shift you or your company made that fundamentally changed your role, the product or the company. What did you think about the change? How did you contribute to the change?" "You cannot hold onto how things were done in your last company," King suggests to startup job candidates. "Granted, some of the experience and lessons you learned will be useful. If you start every sentence with 'Well, when I was with...' it's likely, you won't be adaptable to the rapid changes startups naturally embrace. Embrace change or die." As a recruiter, keep your ears peeled for this type of behavior, as it may be an indicator that the candidate isn't quite ready to make the leap to startup Dom.


Quote No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others... or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. - Calvin Coolidge

Rugby is a money-spinning sport, but what does the future portends? span into the future. For a successful career in the near future you will have to make sure that you choose a sector within the technology field that is guaranteed to progress over your lifetime experts advise. Computer Hardware Engineer and Software Developer, Systems Software Engineer are two major careers in this sector that are high in demand presently and are even expected to rise much higher in future. Within the sector there is also a high demand for Network Systems and Data Communications analysts. These Analysts handle the virtual nuts and bolts of an I.T. department designing, building, testing and

maintaining information systems, internal or Internetwide. The reason for the rise in demand is believed to have been orchestrated by the rise in mobile data trend in smartphones, tablets and "cloud computing" (subscription-based or pay-peruse services like apps and data storage). These careers require basically a four-year degree and provide a very high salary for so very little educational and technical background. As the costs of the medical industry continue to raise, the need for quality and affordable employees within the sector also

rise. Research has discovered some of the highest paying careers in recent times are in the medical field. Common amongst them are; Dentist, Dr. Seuss once wrote, "Teeth are always in style." Dentists surely think so. They make their living diagnosing and treating our teeth and gums, and counseling us on how to maintain good oral health. Dental Hygienist according to experts is expected to grow in demand also because of the greater emphasis on health care. Registered Nurse will always have great hiring opportunity because of its expanse (from pediatric care to geriatric care,

and everything in between) and as a substantial chunk of our population ages, the necessity for qualified Registered Nurses intensifies. Experts also say Veterinarians are among the top careers in recent times, thanks to rising national pet population and the increasing demand for livestock as a food supply. Veterinarians have been able to boost their earnings while enjoying enhanced job security. Medical scientist study human disease and conditions, working in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and university research centers with an overpopulation and increased international travel which have quickened the spread of known diseases and given rise to new ones; SARS, AIDS and avian flu requiring new medicines and cures has led to an increased demand of Medical scientist. The pharmacist and the physician are also high in demand. The Engineering field also boasts of bright future experts says, the demand for Quality assurance engineers who are involved in software testing, serving as the gateway between the software programmer and the users of the programme are expected to rise. Aerospace engineers who design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missile are also highly demanded presently. Nuclear Engineer researches and develops ways to get benefits from nuclear energy and radiations also expected to rise in the near future. Also expected to rise is the demand for Petroleum Engineer who design methods for extracting oil and gas from the earth's surface which currently is one of the world's most priced commodity.

Trading work for never-ending weekends: How to retire early?


'm a long way from retirement, but I've definitely had those days. You know the ones I mean: when you're tired and irritable, when it's cold and gray and windy, when everything feels like more of the same old thing, when you haven't had time to do your laundry let alone spend time with your friends, and, on top of it all, the thought of grinding out a few more decades at the office seems utterly insurmountable. If you hear the word "retirement" on a day like that, it probably sounds a lot more like "emancipation" (I know it does for me). After all, if you didn't have to work, you could spend more time with your family and your friends, catch up on your golf game, take up new hobbies, and travel the world... Hold on a minute. If you're slipping away into sweet reverie, you might need a reality check. Here it goes. Retiring early is no dream; it's a goal, and an ambitious one at that. That isn't to say you can't or shouldn't go for it. But unless you strike it rich in the lottery, succeeding at retiring early will mean careful planning, hard work, and near-superhuman selfdiscipline. Here's what you'll have to do to make it happen. Save - a Lot You probably already know that experts recommend that

you save a lot for retirement. Exactly how much is a matter of debate. It's also highly personal, as it depends on your lifestyle, what you want to do during retirement, and (everyone's least-favorite calculation) how long you think you'll live. This is where things get tricky in terms of retiring early. In essence, working for a shorter period of time puts you at a disadvantage on both ends of the saving equation: you'll have fewer earning years, and more

years during which you'll have to rely on your savings. So how much might you need to save? Rather than start with someone who makes six figures, let's look at averages. The medium income in the developed nations is equivalent N800, 000. Average life expectancy is almost 78 years. If you are 35 and would like to retire at 60 with 80% of your pre-retirement income, you will need to save a lot of money. And that's assuming you get the estimated

Social Security payment. You can check out the retirement calculator I used to figure this out, but no matter how you fiddle with the numbers, retiring early will add up to a big one. Live Cheap Saving enough to retire early will mean living on less than you make, and you'd better get used to it; your Spartan lifestyle will become even more crucial when you stop working. When you're working eight (or more) hours a day, a wide-open schedule can seem like a dream come true. But there's another financial benefit to working that you may not have thought of: being stuck at work all day leaves you with much less time to spend money. So what about when you're retired and have nothing but time? Can you keep yourself occupied and keep your spending in check? This can be a real challenge, especially when expensive hobbies and travel are part of your plans. This is why having a lot of savings and using careful planning are so important. A good financial planner can help you with this, but when you don't have earning power, you need a good cushion to ensure your money lasts. After all, the last thing you need is to run up against the end of your savings when you're too old to go back to work.

Share your Money Tip: do you have a business/money idea, and you want to share it with our dear readers? Then, send it to: or (text it to 08091904890)




Stirrings in Bauchi Assembly


he Bauchi state High Court, presided by Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Zango, will tomorrow begin hearing in a case brought by the only female member of the state's 31-strong House of Assembly, Mrs. Rifkatu Samson Danna, challenging her indefinite suspension since June 7, last year. Her 'offence' is that she challenged a decision of the House leadership to move the headquarters of Tafawa Balewa LGA, which she represented in the House, to a new location. She accused the leadership of having taken the decision outside the House where it ought to have been raised. Besides, she argued that the action breached the 1999 Constitution which lists 774 local government areas and their headquarters. The House, headed by Speaker Yahaya Mohammed Miya, did not like her dissenting voice and charged her with insubordination, and making "repugnant, disrespectful and derogatory" remarks. She was referred to the House Committee on anticorruption, ethics and privileges for investigation. The Committee returned a guilty verdict, recommending that she either be made to apologize in writing for her "misconduct" or be suspended indefinitely. The House, however, went for her jugular, suspending

her indefinitely and withdrawing her official car and police detail. Besides, her salary and allowances have not been paid for the 11 months she has remained suspended. Mover of the suspension motion, Hon. Abdulkadir Dewu, said Rifkatu's apology was "rude" and unremorseful. On her part, Rifkatu said she did

No doubt, this is a case that will either strengthen the hands of the judiciary as a fearless, independent arm of government or present it as a lackey what she did in the interest of her constituency and to protect the Constitution. In her suit, she is asking the court to restore her seat in the House and award her N30 million as general damages. Her case has aroused deep interest, because, not least, she is the only female member of the House. Secondly, her suspension has serious security implications for

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the state because she comes from Tafawa Balewa, notorious for sectarian and communal violence. Stopping her from taking her seat in the House has effectively denied her constituency a voice in government; this does not help the cause of peace which the government hopes to build in this volatile part of the state. Accordingly, the court will have to decide whether Rifkatu received a fair hearing. Or was she a victim of gender persecution by a House dominated by men? Also, it has to decide whether the matter was properly introduced on the floor of the House. Did it breach its own rules? Beyond this, it will have to rule on the constitutionality of the House's decision to move a local government headquarters away from where it had always been. Sections 109-110 of the 1999 Constitution, as we have pointed out, is quite clear on the immutability of the nation's local government structure. Only a constitutional amendment can alter that, something not done before the Bauchi Assembly took its decision. No doubt, this is a case that will either strengthen the hands of the judiciary as a fearless, independent arm of government or present it as a lackey. A courageous decision, based on the facts of the case, will do our democracy a world of good.









“To be a reputable, profitable, innovative and technologically reliant media company offering world class services and products”


By Seyi Awofeso


ver 5,000 persons have altogether been blasted or shredded across the far northern states; including the past commander of Nigeria's first division at the 1967 Biafra civil war - Major General Shuwa who was shot dead point-blank last November at his house frontage in Maiduguri on a Friday by a seven-man gang in mufti, where he'd sat awaiting a courier to deliver a razor blade for him to shave. An army general and an Air Commodore were later blasted in the same month by explosives planted inside the Jaji military cantonment in Kaduna State by suspected militiamen, along with several civilians. Into this cauldron, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) stepped in last year. First order of business, according to the Forum, was the immediate withdrawal of the army units deployed by President Jonathan to fight off the self-described "warriors of the almighty" whose arc of discord now runs from Kebbi to Jalingo through Kano and Maiduguri. That way, the Forum hoped civilian casualty figures as collateral damage would cease, but what the Forum did not say makes what Lt.General Danjuma later said in March this year more poignant. For the Arewa Consultative Forum did not say the current belligerence in northern Nigeria was a civil war. Last October or thereabouts, the ACF - comprising traditional chiefs, as well as almost all notable political and ex-military


Sultan of Sokoto's dilemma generals in northern Nigeria wrote to President Jonathan. Remove all soldiers deployed to fight in northern towns and grant the opposing forces amnesty, the Council demanded inter alia. President Jonathan, assessing the intelligence reports more closely, rather flinched and swatted off any suggestion to withdraw protective military units without a matching guarantee of peace from the Arewa Council, likely because Jonathan, like General Danjuma, also assesses that a civil war is underway. Besides, America's own intelligence reports, as adumbrated by its former Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell, suggest a direr situation than the syrupy suggestion of forces' withdrawal made by the Arewa Council without any substitute guarantee against the opposing forces. "Boko Haram has the potential capacity to overwhelm the government of Nigeria", John Campbell had warningly told Al Jazeera on 8th January this year. Whilst President Jonathan has since somersaulted and abided the fact of amnesty, a fortnight ago, much against the grain of his earlier stated convictions - that amnesty can only be granted to known persons - the Arewa Council which put itself forward as amnesty champion, was quickly given the task to sort out the terms of Jonathan's amnesty and by implication, enforce it.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, 56-year-old, who superintends all Muslim emirates in northern Nigeria, himself a retired Brigadier, in all probability, will chair the "Jonathan amnesty committee" but with his own added gravitas as president-general of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. With just a few days into the job, as yet, the Sultan keeps his thoughts under wraps, but if what other northern notables publicly worry about is anything to go by, the Sultan's thoughts may not be less worrying. According to Mallam Adamu Ciroma, a five-time federal cabinet Minister and exGovernor of Central Bank, "the Boko Haram solution should start with the northern State Governors identifying Boko Haram-looking people in their states for consultation". Speaking on the same day, this Tuesday, the Niger state Governor and Chairman Northern States Governors Forum, Dr. Muazu Babangida, called on the governors in the North to begin to unmask the ghosts among them "so that we will be talking to human beings and not to ghosts." Tellingly, no state Governor is a member of Jonathan's Amnesty Committee - chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto. So, the usually non-partisan Sultan seems to have his work cut out for him. For if indeed the Governors are key to peace, and

even though that's not obvious, then, sorting out the amnesty terms will be a long procedure. Firstly, the governors have to find "Boko Haram-looking men" in their domain, which is a tall order. To be sure, no one can be granted amnesty simply for looking like Boko Haram, if Boko Haram does not have any known specific way of dressing. At any rate, it is legally libellous to finger-point anyone, without proof, as a possible member of a local terrorist organization. The Sultan may choose to avoid this cul-de-sac, but for what other option? If now the Sultan chooses to side-step the decidedly partisan state governors, he would only have a similarly beleaguered crop of northern traditional rules, also targeted by Boko Haram, to confer with, much worse, as improbable mediators. This procedural hurdle is already daunting enough, but even if it is overcome, it would not be a step forward in any amnesty, until a bilateral meeting can be held with the belligerents themselves, rather than with, say, the State Governors who do not publicly say they foster or fund Boko Haram so as to negotiate its proposed amnesty. Who will the Sultan of Sokoto now meet and confer with? One other possibility is to call up Alhaji Ahmed Datti, who is President of the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, but not much may be expected here, because Alhaji Ahmed Datti had

publicly renounced further participation in Boko Haram mediation, since, according to him, Jonathan's government has been so talkative as to leak the progress in the proxy talks that he held two years with Boko Haram on behalf of Jonathan's government. Assuming the Sultan can still overcome this obstacle, and, choose to call a secret meeting of his own effort, the Boko Haram fighters' attendance can't be guaranteed if their militias were the ones who threw the explosives at the Emir of Kano this year, killing two guards. For that would mean the emirates, superintended by the Sultan, are within Boko Haram's reach. The Sultan of Sokoto, despite his military training, has a lot more to worry about. Whilst Alhaji Shekau putatively heads Boko Haram, the Sultan likely does not know who heads Ansaru or the other cross-national militia group. In effect, his meeting with Boko Haram alone, even if it holds, would be a quarter success, if the two other operative militias are excluded or reject the talks, along with another less known militia group, named Jambs. The Sultan's real task is not so much how to form a quorum of disparate militias but what amnesty means to, say, Boko Haram which sees its mission in terms which no amnesty can deliver. Seyi Olu Awofeso is a Legal Practitioner in Abuja

Combating Nigeria's poverty of aspiration By Omozuwa Gabriel Osamwonyi


igeria is poor. We are poor in many ways: Materially, ethically and so forth. Material poverty is ravaging the wellbeing of almost 100 million Nigerians. Moral and ethical poverty have turned some of our leaders to gravediggers. Consequently, Nigeria is no more a land of opportunity for all; but an ostensible burial place of innovation, entrepreneurial initiatives and cutting-edge scientific solutions. The cancer of spiritual poverty is destroying our nation inside out. Yet, Nigerians are very religious. Collective thoughtlessness, which is indicative of philosophical poverty, is fragmenting our nation along ethno-regional and religious lines. Even our culture is not left out. Don't our rundown museums signify cultural poverty? All these are compounded by poverty of aspiration at different levels of our national life. Hence, we are pleased to be a mediocre nation struggling to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Even though, we have the human and natural resources to be a nation pioneering global development. We should have long exceeded the loft goals of vision 20:20:20. But, we aspire low. Our abysmally low annual spending on Research and Development (R&D) has made innovation-driven economic growth elusive in our quest for

national development. How many innovations are patented in Nigeria annually by the Registrar of Patent, Trademark and Industrial Design? Compare it with that of other nations. What picture emerges? Juxtapose the above with the statement made some decades ago, by the admirable General Yakubu Gowon that; "Nigeria's problem is not money, but how to spend it." Short-termism, which is suggestive of poverty of aspiration, is the source of most of our problems. Do we have a talent management system in place? Are we truly concerned about the educational development of exceptionally brilliant children from indigent homes? Look at our streets. What do you see? Children of school age hawking, begging, washing cars or stealing. Poverty of aspiration is pronounced among the poor, but it is not exclusive to them. Many superrich Nigerians and their children are battling with it as well. Their fanatical pursuit of illicit pleasure affirms this. Some pleasure-seeking rich "kids" sell their parents' orchards to buy fruits. Our failure to stress the

dignity of labour is raising a generation of armchair dreamers that have succumbed to the mundane and are incapable of preserving heritage. They have not learned the art of autographing their works with excellence and are pleased to be nobodies. Being squanderers with passion for easy money, sex, drugs and gambling makes them feel like Olympic gold medallists. They embody the dark sides of humanity, as they "enjoy" wealth without work. Which areas of human endeavour are most of our impressive success stories of social mobility coming from? Politics, entertainment, 419, to me, this seems like an exhaustive list. Is it surprising then that a primary school child was once asked; "what do you want to become?" He answered, politician. When asked why, he said, so; I can have fleet of cars, retinue of aides and buy nice cars for my parents. This demonstrates one fact: a society that venerates money cannot inspire succeeding generations to attain lofty heights and make this world a better place for all. In such a


At the root of Nigeria's poverty of aspiration is a "I-pass-my-neighbour" mentality. A man that has a roof over his head, eats well and wears good clothes seeks to be crowned guardian of the people's prosperity

society, nobility of character, excellence in all things, prudential living and the drive to innovate are conveniently sacrificed at the altar of money. The ravaging spread of philistinism in Nigeria is fueled by our disregard for innovation and historic achievements. This is a nation without venture capitalists of repute. This is a nation where the intelligentsia and literati can hardly afford the basic needs of life. This is a nation where "the labour of our heroes past" is openly belittled by tribal flag-wavers. Is it still a puzzle why the drive to achieve pathbreaking success is uncommon? At the root of Nigeria's poverty of aspiration is a "I-passmy-neighbour" mentality. A man that has a roof over his head, eats well and wears good clothes seeks to be crowned guardian of the people's prosperity. He is beatified and becomes an object of popular worship. Only a nation lacking in humanity confers divine qualities on people of means. This practice does not foster social cohesion, but fragmentation. It creates oppressive class system, which makes the dreams of the underclass to die unborn. When life keeps screaming NO at poor kids as they knock on the doors of opportunities, it could make them to acquire learned helplessness. Once this happens, they stop scanning the horizon for opportunities and resign to fate, assume "sidon-look" posture and slowly slide into misery and vices. As a society, it seems we have acquired learned helplessness. Our dependency mentality is predicated on it.

Sadly, it is hampering our collective capacity for remedial actions. This is why we abdicate legitimate responsibilities, claiming they are someone else's business. Also, it is stifling our creative impulse for national reconstruction, particularly that of the young. Open and progressive societies do not allow situations to hamstring the imagination of their youth. A society that cannot awaken the creative imagination of succeeding generations, and create enabling environments for them to attain stardom in their chosen endeavours, is at the cusp of social and cultural collapse. This is why government at all levels must step up the quality of our education through enhanced funding. Public education should not be for the poorest of the poor, making them barely literate. Otherwise, as we gradually transit to a knowledge-driven economy, those educated in public school will lack the needed competence to excel. Our system of education must become the source of innovationcommercially viable innovationif we truly seek to raise a nation of champions. To this end, stressing the dignity of labour, promoting entrepreneurial culture and embracing the scientific spirit are imperative. Equally we must allocate more money to R&D.We cannot truly progress if we are not concerned about our place in history and mentor others to be legacybuilders. Omozuwa Gabriel Osamwonyi is on



By Dele Agekameh


he government may d away with NECO for the purpose of enhancing productivity and efficiency but certainly, there is no justifiable reason for wanting to scrap it. The government is believed to have made up its mind to scrap some of its agencies in line with the white paper submitted by a committee set up last year to study the recommendations of the Stephen Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies. Among them are the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), and National Examination Council (NECO). It is expected that with the scrapping of the UTME, individual universities would henceforth conduct their own admission examinations and admit students. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, will only set standards and ensure compliance as it will now act as a mere clearing house. In the same vein, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is expected to take over the functions and vast infrastructure of NECO. This means that WAEC would now conduct two external examinations in a year with one holding in January while the second would be conducted in November of every year. Expectedly, the move to tamper with NECO and UTME has attracted controversy across the land. While some people have applauded the government for attempting to tinker with the two bodies, others have vehemently kicked against the move. For instance, while some say the scrapping of NECO will check duplication of examination by secondary school leavers, others maintained that allowing By John Igholi


he fact that a man died does not mean he lived. Similarly the fact that a man is pardoned does not mean he did not commit the crime. The recent pardon granted the former Bayelsa state governor is once again anchored on our selective or collective but more probably forced amnesia. Nigerians love to forgive while our government loves to forget. Just watch any Nollywood movie; it is always about crime and forgiveness. The plea for pardon is one of the most endearing characters of the Nigerian. No matter who is hurt, or the amount of damage caused, the Nigerian will always plead for pardon and expect it else you are branded wicked. Unfortunately, in Nigeria it is not your sins are forgiven; go and sin no more, rather you are pardoned, go and continue sinning as much as you can. This is the premise on which the outrage against this "long expected" pardon was based. If the wrongs done by politicians are easily pardoned, how come the poor who have done no wrong are not even pitied nay pardoned? Is it because they did not join political parties as bigwigs or that they refused to help develop or steer election results to favour the ruling party's candidates? The Nigerian poor are presently under a

NECO? Wait a minute! limited to the NECO, is examination believed to body to exist have arisen side by side because due with WAEC has Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text diligence may broken the messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written not have been monopoly contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 followed at the hitherto words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and marking enjoyed by venues by the WAEC as well a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed examiners as provide an to: marking the alternative for examination students. Their The Editor, papers. There's argument is no doubt that that while Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, the provision of WAEC is a 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. a valid and regional Email: reliable examination SMS: 08134607052 assessment of body, NECO is a students' wholly performance is indigenous and successful venture, the body also the only way to ensure that national body that is well had its own teething problems at stakeholders in education could positioned to assess students in inception. It was initially begin to see examinations as a Nigeria. Nigeria picks 54% of the confronted with several means of restructuring and bill for running WAEC. daunting challenges that sought reviving the moribund Some people have also been to undermine its examinations. educational system in the quick to go into history. Their Most of these challenges have country. This will ensure the argument is that NECO was been surmounted. credibility of examinations established in April 1999 when Unfortunately, in the last few taken by candidates in Nigeria, Nigerian students were years, Nigerian students have as well as engender global trust suffering untold hardship in the successively recorded woeful in results issued on them. hands of WAEC. The results, especially in English The idea that one establishment, they argue, was Language and Mathematics in examination body is better or in line with decisions reached at both WAEC and NECO preferable in Nigeria has been the 49th meeting of the examinations. there all along. But what I think National Council of Education. These results have attracted should engage the attention of The establishment of the Council a lot of public reaction and our policy makers is the at that time, they noted, was in discourse. Commentators seem increasing number of candidates response to the outcry of to agree that the results reflect who could not obtain the Nigerian students over the the current state of Nigeria's mandatory pass marks in both problems they were educational system and that English and Mathematics - a encountering with the something urgent needs to be prerequisite for admission into examinations being conducted done. Public discourse has also the University - in the last few by WAEC in the country, been engendered at various years. Many of the candidates especially the Senior Secondary could not also secure the Certificate Examination and the seminars, workshops, and conferences on how to proffer mandatory credit-level pass General Certificate solutions to the inadequacies mark in five subjects needed for Examinations. that affect students, teachers, admission into tertiary With its massive educational administrators and institutions. This has created a infrastructure and permanent policy makers in the country. big problem in the education site located on the outskirts of However, the problem of sector. Minna, the Niger State capital, mass failure in school certificate It is the standard of education NECO has recorded many examinations, though not that has fallen to unimaginable successes. But like every other


level and not the standard of the examination bodies. In that case, NECO cannot simply be scrapped because WAEC is there standing by. If at all the government has identified any problem with NECO, it should put necessary mechanisms in place to strengthen it rather than scrap it. Like the Yoruba say, "Ori bibe ko ni ogun ori fifo", literally translated to: "Cutting off the head is not a cure for headache". Besides, it is clear that with the infrastructure it has put in place in the country, NECO seems to be better positioned to conduct qualifying examinations for Nigerian candidates than WAEC. Now, how do you ask a tilapia to attempt to swallow a whale? Absolutely impossible. With about 37 offices located in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, it is obvious that WAEC has no capacity to take over and manage the assets and or liability of NECO. About 5,000 people are said to be employed by the body. In a country where unemployment has soared to high heavens, how will government manage the high unemployment figure that may arise from scrapping NECO? This is because there is no way WAEC can immediately absorb even a quarter of that number. This will surely increase the number of unemployed Nigerians roaming the streets and who would likely be easy prey to criminality which the security agents are struggling to cope with. At any rate, rather than take hasty actions that will further compound the problems in the education sector, it is imperative to overhaul the country's educational system through appropriate and dynamic learning skills for pupils and effective teaching methods for the teachers. Dele Agekemeh is on

Time to pardon the poor poverty sentence worse than any prison term. The fact that there is no time limit to their poverty imprisonment makes the situation even worse. No matter what the poor has done we must plead for their pardon now. The pardon they require is security so they can go about their businesses and worship, schools and good education so their children can be trained or educated to meet the present day standard of living. If they are well forgiven, we may throw in electricity and portable water so they can carry out small businesses, charge their mobile phone batteries, listen to radio, watch some television and have good water to drink and cook

their meals. A true pardon will set them up in community or cooperative farming where food production will be rewarded with payments and supply of agricultural machineries, seedlings and agrochemicals. The farmers may not need to visit a website or use mobile phones to obtain the information they need neither will their children buy scratch cards and upload CVs and documents on nonexistent websites or those only known to "Ogas at the top". The poverty level has rubbed off on every Nigerian and only a full scale pardon or amnesty will address this present level of economic dependence we have in Nigeria today.

In Nigeria, the road to pardon is also the road to future appointments and elections. Some pardoned politicians are already heading some government institutions and establishments. It will not be any news if as a pardoned man the former governor of Bayelsa follows the career path of his colleagues: eight years in government house as governor to eight years in the Senate or House of Reps and from there to four years as a minister of the federal republic. Finally appointment as a board chairman or director of an agency is the icing on their cake of milking the poor of their expectations. This is may be the

In Nigeria, the road to pardon is also the road to future appointments and elections. Some pardoned politicians are already heading some government institutions and establishments. It will not be any news if as a pardoned man the former governor of Bayelsa follows the career path of his colleagues: eight years in government house as governor to eight years in the Senate or House of Reps and from there to four years as a minister of the federal republic

retirement plan being earmarked for him. Incidentally, this state of affairs creates a rearrangement in societal values. It is now do all you can to get to the top and thereafter seek for pardon (i.e. if you are caught). Many Nigerian poor have not lived a day in their lives. They have been stumbling from one problem to another; starting from the hope that education will give them a job to hoping that marriage may bring succor or having children will bring blessings their way, they grumble and fumble in the rat race to survive. They look longingly and helplessly to the government for help but what they get is the mean smile of a government full of help that is not available or within their reach. "We are doing our best" is always the government's cliché when asked about efforts to give a better living condition to the poor. They quickly point to areas where help is not given in selected countries or use statistics and development indices to prove that they are doing better than you reckon. So much has been expended, much more is planned and prayers have been said. All we need now is pardon or amnesty (from poverty) for the poor. John Ogholi lives in Lagos.



Thatcher and the African By Ayo Faleti


ne of the favourite proverbs of the great Achebe (may God rest his soul) is, 'If someone cannot remember where the rain started to beat him, such a person will not know where to dry his body'. I have been completely taken aback by the reactions of many Nigerians, indeed Africans, to the death of the so-called Iron-lady of British politics, Baroness Margaret Thatcher. That Thatcher was a divisive figure is probably an understatement. She was as conservative as they come. She belonged in that group of politicians alongside Reagan, Kissinger and Pinochet, who harbour total contempt for the ordinary folks, and who believe strongly that 'Might is always right'. These people appeal to the basest of human instincts, preying on the weak and vulnerable, at home and abroad. Thatcher's failing arose not necessarily from her ideology (Tony Blair, with a different ideology, will almost certainly also be vilified in death), rather it emanated from the hubris of an ambitious politician, and a glaring lack of scruples and fellow-feeling for the weak and vulnerable. She and her ilk hobnobbed

with the apartheid regime in South Africa; even while their respective governments' official policy stood in condemnation of the abominable regime. Thatcher went even further than her fellow travellers; being a very regular visitor to the racist enclave that South Africa was and his only son making the country his primary abode of residence. She obviously believed in white-supremacy, and saw everyone different as a potential target of dominion. In fact, her son was tried and convicted of complicity in trying to forcefully take over the control of a sovereign oil-rich African nation. Like mother, like son; Baroness Thatcher never hesitated in deploying the machinery of the British government to ensure that her wayward son escaped justice. Thatcher was the Prime Minister that took Britain to war against Argentina over the Malvinas, a group of islands off the coast of Argentina. She was able, with the help of her close friend and fellow supremacist Ronald Reagan, to defeat the puny military of Argentina and further the cause of colonial tendencies and domination into the twenty-first century and even till this very day. The Thatcher doctrine of 'Might is right' has no moral compass. Despite the fact that she was a very capable individual and

even more so, a woman who succeeded in the male-centric arena of politics, Thatcher failed to use power to fight on the side of the powerless. The argument that she did well for her country is being contested by a big segment of the British population. One thing is clear and undeniable: she presided over the terminal decline of British industry and facilitated its replacement by a virulent brand of casino-based pseudoeconomy, more commonly called the financial sector. It is quite bewildering to see people from Glasgow to Manchester to Sheffield, jubilating happily, even gloating, at the death of the departed politician. Why would any African with full functioning faculties, celebrate the death of such a controversial figure? I go back to Achebe, 'until the lion starts to tell its own stories, the story of the hunt will continue to glorify the hunter'. Africans needs to learn the act of looking after their own collective interests. A Nigerian leader once said publicly that the country does not need history in the school curriculum. With these kinds of leaders, it is clear where the cluelessness of the African comes from. Without a good number of people in the know of what led us to where we are, how are we ever going to know the way to where we should be? The

vacuum thus created is filled by all sorts i.e. CNN, Sky, BBC etc, who are all but mouthpieces of hegemony: social, political, economic and cultural subjugating agents of imperial powers. Any African whose last name is not Botha, Verwoerd or De Klerk, should have no reason to eulogise Thatcher in death; it is counter-intuitive and only shows such a person as utterly confused. Why would any selfrespecting son or daughter of Africa have any regard for Thatcher who openly referred to Mandela as a terrorist on many occasions? She was never an advocate of 'live and let's live'; at every point, her modus operandi was, 'I am right, you are dead!' I cannot but see it as poetic justice that the great Madiba eventually outlived all his detractors, Thatcher included. It is depraved consciousness for an abused people to valorise the purveyors of their calamities. It is this same warped consciousness of the African that makes so many to subscribe to the idea of a commonwealth of nations, so soon after gaining flag independence from the same Queen and country which have plundered them so unconscionably hitherto. Selfflagellation is a symptom of deep psychosis; African's reactions to the death of

Thatcher confirm the existence of psychological torture in the recesses of the average African mind. Consequently, as Africa continues to be led by half-wits, many of the African leaders have released meaningless statements commiserating with the government and people of Britain on the demise of Thatcher. The trite saying that a people get the government they deserve is quite apposite. This same self-loathing underpins most African's attitude to their native cultures and languages. It is as if everything foreign, everything from Europe and America is better than anything Africa has to offer. We can attribute these tendencies to Kolo-mentality, as Fela said, but there needs to be emancipation at some point. If we do not summon the effort to correct these anomalies, we can simply forget altogether the much desired renaissance of the African. Margaret Thatcher is gone but her toxic legacies lives on. For the religiously inclined, she will answer for all her deeds to the ultimate Supreme. However, for those who have survived at the sharp end of her political exertions, these times call for sober reflection, and actions, to undo the vestiges of her social, political and economic policies, and definitely NOT to sing the praises of the departed. Ayo Faleti is the author of "Yoruba proverbs and their contexts".

Okorocha's APC gamble and its aftermath By Mbadiwe Gregory


hief Rochas Okorocha was elected Imo state governor through what can best be described as "polling booth defiance by Imo state electorate against ruling PDP's winning machinery." He started his tenure by embarking on development projects in nearly every nook and cranny of his state, and began to be adored by the people. Suddenly he became a subject of incessant bashing by the media; why, how? At first, inner city blues were generated through pulling down some inner city land marks by some of the mayors appointed by Gov. Okorocha to modernize the principal cities of the state. Before the governor sacked or redeployed the mayors, antigovernment sentiments had set in. If asked to choose between road infrastructure and pipeborne water, most of the youths that voted for and thronged around Rochas Okorocha as governor-elect to protect their votes, would go for pipe-borne water. But at its onset, the administration said it had privatized water supply in the state. People continue to dig private water boreholes. What shall become of Imo state's underneath by the time, for example, one-third of the families

in the state had dug water boreholes? Above all, can any city truly thrive without public water supply system? PDP had its 27 LGA bosses on the ground when Okorocha assumed office. It has been a battle of wits between the governor and the LGA bosses since then. Things got so sour that when the governor's deputy was accused of receiving kickback from a construction company, the state PDP rallied for the deputy governor and there were muted calls for the governor's impeachment. Governor Okorocha is seen by many as having one leg in APGA- the party that catapulted him to power - and the other in whichever political party that can feather his nest. Many people

have likened his recent trip to APC merger talks to his predecessor's trip from PPA to PDP - to end with outcome not favourable to the governor. 'Azu anu uka' in Igbo describes one who does not listen to his critics. Okorocha has earned that nickname among some Imo folks. If his aides ever read the media, they reluctantly joined issues with the governor's critics; and when they did, they mostly created controversies more than the issue they came out to rebut. Owerri and its environs have little or no industry of repute but have about 150 hotels ranging from 5 to 2 stars (many more are under construction); all the five federal and state universities and polytechnics in Imo state are in and around Owerri with a


student population of about 70,000; cost of immovable property is sky bound. With its notable more female than male student population, Owerri thus serves as a Mecca of sorts to Xrated and swashbuckling tourists. Gov. Okorocha's early acts in office included the restraining of activities of nude dancers' clubs in the city. Last year, Okorocha's aides, like in a military regime, suddenly announced that Imo state University - since temporarily located on a disused college premises in the heart of Owerri city - was on the verge of being permanently relocated to the governor's area of ancestry, Ogboko, in Ideato South Local Government Area. Their main reason: the state capital was

All said, before Gov Okorocha's flight to APC, reading the media from the southern flank of Nigeria could give one the impression that Okorocha was a governor for special scrutiny in the country. Did he thus take a flight for life to APC merger? Did he join for his personal political ambitions; or did he join the merger, as he said, to help in building a more potent opposition to the menace of the ruling PDP? Time will tell

bearing a human population it could not sustain. The governor drew the ire of many people, perhaps more from not making enough consultations prior to that, than from anger of any group opposed to a state executive's decision to find a permanent location for a tertiary institution the government finances. With the exaggerated recalcitrance as well as tantrums displayed by those that opposed the move to relocate IMSU as proposed, they gradually and inadvertently raised a ground swell of opposition to their desires: today - home and abroad - walls of opposition to having all the five federal and state tertiary institutions of learning in Imo state located only in and around Owerri have risen among people from the other two senatorial zones of the state. All said, before Gov Okorocha's flight to APC, reading the media from the southern flank of Nigeria could give one the impression that Okorocha was a governor for special scrutiny in the country. Did he thus take a flight for life to APC merger? Did he join for his personal political ambitions; or did he join the merger, as he said, to help in building a more potent opposition to the menace of the ruling PDP? Time will tell. Mbadiwe Gregory (



Traders decry lack of infrastructural facilities in Gwagwalada By Usman Shuaibu


omatoes and pepper sellers Association in Tugan Maje, Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has raised alarm over the lack of infrastructural facilities in the market ,calling on

the Gwagwalada Chairman - elect, Hon. Abubakar Jibrin Giri to come to their aide. The secretary of the association, Mallam Abubakar Usman, urged that whenever the Chairman-elect assumes office, he should remember them in order to attract revenue generation in the market


He also urged the chairman to expand the market so as to enable the marketers to have spaces for their transactions. Usman, who made the call in an interview with Peoples Daily, asked the chairman –elect to open up access roads in the market to

deter the drivers from parking their vehicles anyhow along the road side. He said that the leadership of the association would give the necessary co-operation to the new government of the area council in the interest of peace. Usman further appealed to the

officials and the members to work towards the progress of the association saying that the welfare of the members would be considered. The secretary, who spoke on behalf of the association’s chairman, Mallam Abdulkadir Dogo urged the government of Gwagwalada Area Council to upgrade tomato and pepper market to a standard market in the nearby future.

Over 32,000 new vehicles registered in FCT By Adeola Tukuru

T Idu section of the Abuja light rail under construction.

Photo: NAN

NAFDAC raids Karmo market, seizes drugs worth N3 million By A’isha Biola Raji


he National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday raided Karmo market in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seized drugs valued at N3 million from alleged illegal drug hawkers in the area. The drugs were ranging from analgesics, anti-biotic and aphrodisiacs to the general public. The alleged drug hawkers were arrested while selling the drugs in the open market by NAFDAC officials as the violation of the law

against open hawking of drugs and handling of sensitive drugs they are not authorized to handle. In a press statement signed by acting the Director, Special Duties, Abubakar Jimoh described the drugs seized from the hawkers as controlled drugs like Tramoldine, which is a popularly abused medicine by drug addicts and various brands of aphrodisiacs, some of which are not carrying NAFDAC registration number. “NAFDAC officials arrested the drug hawkers while the man who is alleged to be the main supplier of the drugs to the illegal market is still on

the run,” he said. He said the agency’s officials broke into his warehouse following a tip-off and carted away different brands of drugs which he illegally stocked in his warehouse under unhygienic and bad storage conditions. Also the assistant Chief Regulatory Officer of the NAFDAC, FCT office, Mr A.M Bashir, who led the raiding team, condemned the practice of open selling of drugs under harsh weather conditions which he said could alter their properties and render them less efficacious. He said, “The practice of

hawking drugs deteriorates the drugs, affecting their active ingredients and also affecting their potency. This is why we carry out regular raids in all the markets so as to rid the markets of such illegal drug merchants.” The Karmo market, according to him is located in one of the most densely populated areas in the FCT is attracted to criminals of various shades. The drug hawkers stockpile their drugs in wooden shacks that carry no identification to evade detection from NAFDAC official, he said.

Kuduru community tasks Bwari chairman on social amenities By Usman Shuaibu


he district head of Kuduru village in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mr. John Kure, has called on the second term chairman elect of the area council, Hon. Peter

Yohanna Ushafa to provide them with basic amenities such as electricity as well as portable drinking water for the people in the area. Kure, who made the call in an interview with Peoples Daily begged the chairman to repair dilapidated

roods in the area. He urged the chairman to consider the royal fathers in scheme of things at all times and pleaded with him to carry the traditional rulers along. According to him, the leadership is ready to cooperate with the

government of the area council for the betterment of his subjects in Bwari. Kure therefore, appealed to the entire people of Bwari to desist from any act capable of causing disharmony among them and warned the youths against social vices.

Raid of illegal motor parks in FCT, a continuous exercise, Minister By Adeola Tukuru


he FCT Administration has warned touts operating at the illegal motor parks in the Federal capital Territory (FCT) that the raiding exercise will be a continuous one until the City is rid of illegal parks

as well as the touts operating in them The Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed revealed that they have closed down over 42 illegal Motor Parks around the Federal Capital City. He further advised those still illegally operating commercial

motorcycles within the Federal Capital City to desist from doing so; stressing that the long arms of the law would soon catch up with them. Bala also assured the residents of the Federal Capital Territory that his Administration would not rest on its oars until all traffic bottlenecks

confronting the city are cleared. Senator Mohammed therefore solicited for the cooperation and understanding of all the residents of the Federal Capital Territory to enable his Administration fully actualize the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.

he FCT Administration has registered a total of 32,479 new vehicles in the first quarter of 2013 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed revealed that these new vehicles were registered through the Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS) and that 3,937 vehicles that committed various traffic offences were also impounded during the period under review. Senator Mohammed revealed that the FCT Administration impounded a total of 2,149 commercial motorcycles (Okada) between January and March 2013. According to him, “the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services also impounded 37 unpainted taxis in and around the Federal Capital City, Abuja”. He also revealed that the FCT Administration closed down 42 illegal Motor Parks around the Federal Capital City and warned that the exercise will be a continuous one until the City is rid of illegal parks as well as the touts operating in them. Mohammed specifically advised those still illegally operating commercial motorcycles within the Federal Capital City to desist from doing so; stressing that the long arms of the law would soon catch up with them. While commending the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services for achieving this feat, the Minister assured the residents of the Federal Capital territory that his Administration would not rest on its oars until all traffic bottlenecks confronting the city are cleared. Senator Mohammed therefore solicited for the cooperation and understanding of all the residents of the Federal Capital Territory to enable his Administration fully actualize the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.



Man, 27, docked over alleged culpable homicide T

he police on Tuesday arraigned a 27-year-old man, Yahaya Abubakar, in an Abuja High Court for alleged criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide. The prosecutor, ASP John Ijagbemi, said Abubakar of Berger Quarry, Mpape Village, Abuja, on April 22, 2012 at about 19.45

p.m. within the jurisdiction of the court, committed culpable homicide. Ijagbemi said Abubakar stabbed one Moses Maha (now deceased) with a knife in his chest, causing him several body injuries, which later led to his death. He said the offence was punishable under Section 221(a)

of the Penal Code. Section 221(a) states that “anybody who intentionally causes death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.... shall be punishable with death”. Abubakar, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Ijagbemi prayed the court for

a short adjournment to enable him produce his witnesses. Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf granted the application and adjourned the case to May 23 for further hearing. He ordered the accused to be remanded at the Kuje Medium Prison till the next adjourned date. (NAN)

Okada riders helping their colleague who was involved in an accident with his passenger, recently along Kugbo hill, in Abuja.

Photo: Mahmud Isa

Bar man bags 6 months imprisonment for stealing N112, 500


he Karu Senior Magistrates Court on Tuesday sentenced a bar man, Fabian Ukortsaha, 27, of Apo New Site to six months imprisonment for stealing N112,500. Police prosecutor Eze Okwuchukwu told the court that on April 1 at about 3 p.m. Nonso Idego of 50 Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki II, Abuja, reported the matter to the police. “Ukortsaha picked the key to the bar and stole the sum of N112,000.

“During police investigation, the said money was recovered from him,” he said. Okwuchukwu said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 288 of the Penal Code. Section 288 stipulates that “whoever commits theft in or from any building, tent or vessel, which building, tent or vessel is used as a human dwelling or used for the custody of property the person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both”.

Okwuchukwu said that since the accused had pleaded guilty to the charge he should be summarily tried. When asked if he has any reason to give why the court should not convict him, the convict pleaded for leniency. “I plead with the court to be lenient with me. The money was kept carelessly, that is why I took it and kept it in the staff room. “I showed the money to the operation manager that I found it carelessly,” he said.

3 men arraigned over alleged theft of 2 generator sets


he police on Tuesday arraigned three men, Jacob Dauda, Benjamin Emmanuel and Aliyu Ayouba before an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court for alleged joint act and theft. Police prosecutor Mr Francis Tanko told the court that the case was reported by Messrs Owolabi Olusegun and Emareyo Stephanic, both of No. 44, Lome Crescent, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja to the Wuse police station, Abuja on April 2. Tanko said that the accused jointly stole one Elepaq generator set valued at N35,000 and one United Daner generator set valued at N52,000 belonging to the

complainants. The prosecutor said that the offences were contrary to sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. Section 79 stipulates that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone. Section 288 says whoever commit theft in or from any building, tent or vessel, which building, tent or vessel is used as a human dwelling or used for the custody of property shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which

may extend to seven years or with fine or with both. The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. In his ruling, Magistrate Christopher Oba, granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N100, 000 each and sureties each in like sum. Oba said that each surety must have a means of livelihood and should also be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. He also said the prosecutor must come along with his witnesses on the next hearing date and adjourned the case to April 15,2013 for hearing. (NAN)

The Senior Magistrate, Mrs Ann Akobi, said the accused could not give any convincing reason why he should not be convicted. “I found him guilty as charged and sentence him to six months in prison with an option of fine of N3, 000,” she said. Akobi ordered that the recovered N112,500 be released to the owner immediately. (NAN)

INSIDE FCT COURTS Court remands 2 men over alleged theft


Karu Upper Area Court, Abuja, remanded two men, Kingsley Ozor, 32, and Isaiah David, 29, all of no fixed address, in prison for alleged joint act and theft. The prosecutor, Cpl. Silas Nanpan, told the court that Miss Joy Joseph of No. 15, Central Road, Karu Site, Abuja, reported the matter at the Nyanya Police Station on April 2. He said that on the said date, the complainant went to Diamond Bank, Nyanya, Abuja, and withdrew N500,000. “While crossing the road, the accused snatched her handbag containing the said amount of money, and fled on a motorcycle,” Nanpan said. He said that when the complainant cried for help motorists and commercial motorcyclists chased the accused, and assisted the police to arrest them. Nanpan further said that during investigation, the duo confessed to have been snatching people’s valuables in Benin City, Port Harcourt, Mararaba and Nyanya in the last one year. He said the offences contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. Section 79 of the code states that “when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.’’ Section 288 states: “Whoever commits theft in or from any building or in or from any railway carriage, lorry, minibus or aircraft used for conveyance of passengers or

Labourer, 25, jailed for assault in Kuje


Kuje Area Court in the FCT yesterday sentenced one Fidelis Nyere to four months imprisonment for assault and causing hurt to a police officer. The Judge, Justice Nuhu Ibrahim, however, gave Nyere an option to pay eight thousand naira as fine or remain in prison custody. “You are hereby sentenced to four months imprisonment with an option to pay the sum of eight thousand naira as fine,” Ibrahim said. The Police Prosecutor, Samuel Ochefu, told the court that the case was reported at the Kuje Police Station on April 8 by one CPL. Victor Gabriel of FCT

Police Command. Ochefu said that Nyere, a labourer who resides at Gosa, Airport Road, Abuja, assaulted and caused injury to Gabriel. The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provisions of section 264 and 242 of the Penal Code. He said that during investigation, it was discovered that the accused refused to pay after eating in a restaurant and when the complainant tried to intervene he was assaulted and injured. When the charges were read to the accused he pleaded guilty and told the court he never knew Gabriel was a police man. (NAN)


Man, 20, remanded in prison custody for allegedly stealing 2 clippers


Gwagwalada Upper Area Court in the FCT yesterday remanded a bus conductor, Yahaya Emmanuel, in prison for allegedly breaking into a shop and stealing two hair clippers. Emmanuel, 20, a resident of Giri Gauta in the FCT, is accused of stealing a pair of shoes, a DVD player, a stabiliser and an amplifier. The accused is facing a twocount charge of shop breaking and theft. The police prosecutor, Insp. Martha Paul, told the court that the accused broke into the shop of one Musa Gimba of the same address on April 6 and stole the items valued at N39,000. Paul said that during investigation, the DVD player and clippers were recovered from the accused. She said the offences contravened the provisions of sections 342 and 286 of the Penal Code. Section 342 stipulates that, “whoever commits the offence of house breaking between sunset and sunrise is said to have committed house breaking by night. Sections 286 stipulates that, “whoever intents to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to take it is said to have committed theft. The prosecutor then prayed for an adjournment to enable her call witnesses, but the accused, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The presiding judge, Alhaji Babangida Hassan, granted the application of the prosecutor and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison. Hassan adjourned the case to May 22, 2013 for hearing. (NAN)


FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board to sanction racketeers in hajj operations


he FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board has said it would sanction any member of its staff found guilty of racketeering over hajj seats during the 2013 hajj exercise. A statement from the Board’s Public Relation’s Officer (PRO), Malam Muhammad Lawal, in Abuja, said the decision was in line with the directives by the acting Director of the board, Hajiya Fatima Suleiman Gumi. It warned staff against any

act capable of tarnishing the good reputation of the board and the FCT administration at large. It stated that the board would not relent in its efforts at ensuring prudence in its operation, and explained that the board had mapped out strategies to monitor the activities of its staff throughout the exercise. The release stated that the board would comply with the procedures setup by the

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON). It also said that it would abide by the rules and regulations stipulated by the Saudi Arabian Government for this year’s hajj. It warned members of the staff of the board to adhere to the ratio of 80 percent for first timers and 20 percent for old timers in the registration of intending pilgrims. According to the release, such pilgrims must

present their e-passport at the point of registration. It said that the board was getting set for the commencement of the registration of its intending pilgrims for this year’s hajj as all machinery had been put in place for the success of the operation. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the board has created three e-registration centres for the exercise expected to commence soon. (NAN)

Sympathisers struggling to put out fire in a vehicle, on Tuesday at area 10, Garki, in Abuja.

Photo: NAN

Abuja residents laud water vendors, waste collectors


ome residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday commended the activities of water vendors and waste collectors for improving their lives. The residents described the activities of the vendors and waste collectors as complementary to government programmes and services. The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that water vendors, known as Mairuwa, and waste collectors, called Maishara, provided essential services, such as water supply and waste collection. Mr Emeka Agu, a banker, said that the services of the two groups filled the huge gaps created by the ineffective operations of government agencies. “The long negligence from government created most of these ugly things we see and experience

today. “If you come back from work, wanting to have a shower and never getting to see water and no strength again to look for it, you will appreciate the services of water vendors. “Or coming back to meet a home from which unpleasant odour welcomes you, you will understand the place of waste collectors in environmental sanitation. “I must be objective here that those people are really very important, especially in this situation we found ourselves,” Agu said. A health officer, Mrs Martha Akpan, while applauding the services of the groups, advised them to be clean since the water they fetched was used for different purposes at home. “The services of these groups are indispensable, that is why they should be taught basic hygiene of

keeping their cans clean, washing their hands before filling the cans. “Waste collectors should wear nose masks and hand gloves. “Where the government fails to provide water, the water vendors (Mairuwa) come in and where there are no means of refuse disposal, the waste collectors (Maishara) come in. “Where there is no water board, commercial borehole business thrives but I sincerely commend the services of these two groups,” Akpan said. Mr Micah Bature, a lawyer, also said that without the Mairuwa and Maishara life in the dry season would be miserable in the FCT. “I am saying this because if you cannot sink a borehole in your house, during the dry season you are on your own. “Our government should please help us out, not to have water in a country like ours with abundant rivers is a big shame,”

Bature said. On their part, a water vendor and waste collector expressed joy rendering such service in spite of its hardship. Malam Babangida Audu, a water vendor at Karu, a suburb of Abuja, said that he embraced the service to raise money to establish a big farm in his home in Katsina State. “It is really tedious to do this work because it involves moving from one house to the other but with time people trust you and always want you to bring water for them when they are in need of it. “I make enough money from this business which thrives mostly during dry season and I am saving to have a big farm in future when I go to my village during the farming season,“ Audu said. NAN observed that the waste collectors normally return to their villages for farming, though

some remain to continue providing the service. Mr Suleiman Aliyu, a waste collector, also told NAN that he stayed behind sometimes to enable him to save more money when his colleagues returned to their villages. “I will like to be a great merchant, so I need enough money to help me start off my dream business and that is why while others leave for farming I stay behind to make a little money. “When I save enough to start, I will quit my present work of waste collection and go back to my place. “Meanwhile , I think I am enjoying my work, it may be dirty but it is an honest way to earn a living,” Aliyu said. He urged youths to engage themselves in useful economic ventures to live as responsible citizens and shun social vices. (NAN)




Mob: 08033644990



- Pg 20

Nigeria, Canada N6bn trade relations to increase soon

Nigeria Customs introduces new portal to ease international business transactions


he Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) said on Tuesday that it introduced Nigeria Trade Hub, NTH, an interactive portal, to promote seamless international business transactions in the country. The Public Relations Officer of the service, Wale Adeniyi, said in Abuja that the portal was a single window to enhance international trade processes in Nigeria. Mr. Adeniyi said that the interactive portal would assist importers or exporters to obtain correct and timely information to enable decision making in carrying out business in the country. He said that the project was in concert with all regulatory agencies that were involved in the management of trade in the country. He said that the portal was seamlessly linked to the Nigeria national single window ensuring that once the decision was made with import or export transaction, all selected details captured during the search would be transferred to the single window. Mr. Adeniyi said that the initiative would save the importer or exporter the time and cost of rebutting all information on their goods. “Now, it is basically a trade information platform whereby anybody who wishes to do either import or export business in Nigeria can visit or access the porter and get all information needed. First for customs, it helps to classify products. It is an online base portal that can be accessed by anybody, anywhere in Nigeria so long as you are on the internet. So, it is an internet driven project; that is why we say it represents positive development on how ICT is helping customs to serve Nigeria better and to facilitate economic development,” he said. Mr. Adeniyi explained that for an importer or exporter to access the portal he/she needs to log on to ”The website gives you a single window on everything needed to know about trade,” he said. The customs spokesman said that the portal provides the importer or exporter with contact details of all organisations linked with trade in Nigeria. It also provides the importer or exporter with the searchable contact directory that would provide details of all processing agencies and other supervisory government agencies and organisations related to trade in the country. He said that the portal had a harmonised system of goods classification that would assist and guide the importer or exporter with accurate harmonised system classification of their products to aid compliance and provides all the necessary tariff and guidelines information of the prohibition list, taxes, and duties due. (NAN)

L-R: General Manager, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ezendenna, works centre manager, Mr Abdullahi Suleiman, and Chief Executive Officer, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr Olushola Akinniranye, during the commissioning of 132kv control room extension station of transmission company of Nigeria, yesterday in Kaduna. Photo: NAN

Panic grips UBA staff over alleged imminent mass purge By Abdulwahab Isa


n imminent mass purge at one of the Nigeria’s biggest bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) reverberated yesterday in the social media

circle. News of over 500 staff of UBA staff asked to exit the bank is believed to have been put in the domain of social media circle bysome of the affected staff. The story posted on the

Facebook wall of one of our correspondents drew the reporter’s attention to the mass purge currently on going in thebank tailored to reduce the bank staff strength by over 500.

GTBank Pioneers Social Banking in Nigeria By Aminu Imam


oremost Nigerian financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc has once again raised the service bar for Nigerian financial institutions with the recent unveil of its ‘Social Banking’ service on Facebook. The new offering which is the first of its kind by any Nigerian Bank allows the public open GTBank accounts and get Customer Service support on Facebook. Speaking about the innovation, Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc; Mr. Segun Agbaje said the Bank’s objective is to engage the public where they work, live or play and the new service would enable persons on social networks

like Facebook commence a banking relationship and perform transactions 24/7, safely and conveniently, without having to leave the platform. According to Mr. Agbaje ‘This novel service presently allows people open GTBank accounts and get customer service support on Facebook and in a couple of weeks we will introduce new service options that include money transfers, airtime purchases and bills payments’. He further affirmed that GTBank was committed to the convenience of its stakeholders and the Bank would continue to introduce value adding alternative channels into the future.

Guaranty Trust Bank has been at the forefront of industry innovations within the Nigerian financial service sector over the last 22 years. The Bank is the first Nigerian institution to have recognized online/social channels as an emerging service point and has over 1 million followers on Facebook; the largest for any African Bank. Additionally, the Bank recently introduced GTBank Mobile Money, a highly secure application that allows customers and non GTBank customers perform transfers and payments from their mobile phones to any mobile phone subscriber within the country.

Management Tip of the Day


Get customers to advocate for you

hen deciding whether to give you their business, prospective customers trust one source of information above all others: their peers. To sell more, you need to get your current customers marketing and selling — advocating — for you. First, find the core customers

who are passionate about your company. One way to do this is by asking the “net promoter” question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” Then, for those who respond with “highly likely,” make it easy for them to do so right then. Give them the option to easily post a recommendation to their

Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter followers. Try giving them the tools to write a product review on a site important to your market. Or make it simple for them to upload a video singing your praises. Source: Harvard Business Review

The alleged sack story posted yesterday went thus: ”Are you aware of the mass sack going on in UBA Plc? Over 500 staff of UBA Plc havebeen asked to resign forthwith just like that. The worst is that nomeaningful severance packages accompany this sack. Again because the management have stampeded and stamped out unionism in UBA, nobody can fight back. The press is well taken care of such that they don’t sayanything. We that are remaining are working in fear and those who haveopportunity, waste no time in defrauding the bank”. Last week, two staff of UBA allegedly stole over N536 million from its Lagos Cash Movement center. I am sure this was done in anger as rumour had it that the DeputyManaging Director recently bought a bullet proof custom made Ferraricar at N128million”. But a senior officer of the bank who spoke with our correspondent on phone from Lagos, but asked not to be quoted because he had not got permission to speak on the issue, outrightly dismissed the story. Rhetorically, he asked, “Who will do the bank’s job if 500 were sacked asbeing rumored in social media circle?” Nonetheless, he said there were instances whereby some staff were sacked recently for misconduct, adding that those involved are engaged in whipping up sentiment to curry sympathy. Effort by Peoples Daily to speak with UBA’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Charles Aigbewere unsuccessful as his mobile phones were not reachable.



Ayodele Samuel <> 0806 372 7788




ne of the leading telecoms operators in Nigeria, Airtel, has reassured consumers of its continuous commitment to delivering world class services that would ensure personal and business growth in the country. Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava, gave the assurance in his opening remarks at a special consumer forum organised by the company for its Corporate Customers held during the week at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to the COO, Airtel Nigeria, since its entry into the Nigerian telecoms market, has driven unparalleled significant changes that have opened new chapters in telecoms service delivery in the country.



orld second largest personal computer makers, Lenovo, visited Nigeria last week with a commitment to the country’s market. The company’s delegation was led by its executive director and general manager, Lenovo Middle East and Africa, Oliver Ebel. The delegation held a meeting with representatives from government and private organizations as well as business partners where the company pledged to empower local channel through its Partner Network Program launch.

Lekki Port


he managing director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, Mr. Haresh Aswani has projected that the state-of-t he-art Lekki Port project, scheduled to be operational by third quarter of 2016 will generate $200bn revenue and create 163,000 new jobs.Located in the Lagos Free Trade Zone at the Lekki suburb, Aswani explained that the Lekki Port, conceptualized as a multi-product industrial and logistics hub would spread across 90Ha of land and shall be built at an estimated cost of $1.55 billion. He further said the deepsea port, which will be located 65 km east of Lagos Mainland shall become the gateway to West African region and would be one of the most efficient and modern maritime facilities that will cater to containerized, liquid and dry bulk cargo par international standards.

Stories from Ayodele Samuel, Lagos igeria will next month advance its N6.7 billion trade relations with Canada as Vice-President Muhammad Namadi Sambo heads a Federal Government delegation to Ontario to cement economic ties in the areas of mining, agriculture, health, education entertainment and other crucial areas. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga told State House correspondents yesterday after a meeting with the Vice-President that Nigeria was on the verge of boosting its already strong economic relationship with Canada. The minister said previously, the trade volume was determined largely by crude oil export, raw materials and jobs exportation, “but there is going to be a shift now; We want to do better trade and stay at a favorable position in the value chain.” Nigeria is one of Canada’s largest trading partners in subSaharan Africa. In 2011, alone the value of merchandise trade with Canada stood at $2.7billion, consisting of $2.5 billion in Nigeria’s exports to Canada and $199 million in imports. Similarly, a huge chunk of the country’s export to Canada revolves around oil and gas.Next month’s meeting of the Nigerian delegation with its Canadian counterpart is a follow-up on a similar one held in Nigeria in January, during which the Minister and the Canadian Minister for International Trade, Honourable Ed Fast co-chaired the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission met in Abuja. According to Aganga, the Canada investment forum is billed to discuss and strengthen economic ties, pointing out that the Federal Government is is also putting measures to reduce



he Federal Government has settled hostilities against Nigerian traders in Ghana as it secures a reversal of the Ghanaian government’s closure of over 40 shops belonging to Nigerian traders. The agreement to reopen the shops was reached at a meeting between the Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Idrissu, and the Nigerian delegation to Ghana, led by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom. A statement from the ministry said the decision of the Federal Government to send a delegation to Ghana to tackle the difficulties being faced by the Nigerian traders was to further re-affirm its commitment to the welfare of Nigerians at home and abroad. The Ghanaian trade minister pointed out some issues of violation of mutual agreement, which the Nigerian government promised to look into, stating however that he was happy with Nigeria’s way of handling the issue.The shops were closed on February 6,

Nigeria, Canada N6bn trade relations to increase soon “We are going to do that and hopefully sign some MOUs before we come back; but for all these to happen you need what we call Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA), but with the Canadian government, we have a different agreement called VIPA. We have negotiated that and they are coming here around 15th to 20th to finalise the negotiations that will provide the legal basis for most of what we did in terms of investment promotions,” the minister explained.

Vice-President Muhammad Namadi Sambo

Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga

export of raw materials while focusing efforts on the export of finished goods, in order to put the country in a favourable position in the value chain. “There are three things happening between Nigeria and Canada. One is the bi-national commission between the two countries which is going to hold and which is going to be chaired at the Vice President’s level with the ministers who will look at it and implement it. “The second big thing happening between Nigeria and Canada is the investment forum which is going to take place between 2nd and 4th of May, 2013. The preparations and the business relationship between the two countries are going on extremely well. We have had a lot interests from the Canadian government and private sector. We have also had about 60 to70 Nigerian companies who have shown interest in the forum. We have a number of state

governments which are willing to participate. So, everything is moving on in the right direction”, he stated. Aganga, who noted that knowing the potentials that Canada has in the area of mining, power, health and education, the government is looking at the possibility of investing heavily in human capacity management. He continued: “In the area of aviation, we already have a strong relationship with Canada and the Minister of Aviation will be there to follow up. We will be looking at agriculture and related areas, including petrochemicals. He also indicated that considering that both countries huge film industry, Canada has requested that a synergy be created in the two disparate ensembles, so that some of the Nollywood stars can work with their Canadian counterparts.

Nigerian traders, Ghana government face-off settled

Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom 2013, for alleged Ghana’s laws on foreigners. According to traders, the shops, Nigerian traders in

violation of trading by reports by belonging to the Okaishie

Market area in the Central Business District, Accra, were closed in February by Ghanaian authorities and traders ordered to vacate the place without any alternative.

LCCI worries over Nigeria’s Debt profile


he Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have expressed concern over Nigeria’s public debt which stood at $48.5bn (N7.1trn) as at December 2012. Of the amount, domestic debt accounts for $41.97bn representing 86.5 per cent, while external debt accounts for $6.53bn, representing 13.5 per cent. LCCI President of the Chamber, Mr. Goodie Ibru, speaking at a quarterly press conference on the state of the economy, said it is clear that the issue of domestic debt presents a big challenge for the economy and is beginning to raise sustainability concerns. He said cost of debt service is on the high side and in the 2013 budget the sum of N591.8bn was earmarked for debt service, adding that in 2012, the amount was for debt services was N559.6bn. The LCCI President said that the high yield on the Federal Government bond and treasury bills contributed to this level of debt service, saying, ”The amount being currently used to service debt is about 36.5 per cent of the capital budget of the Federation. “The debt figures by the Debt Management Office do not capture the entire ramifications for the national debt. For instance, debt owed to local contractors by government ministries and agencies, which run into billions of naira, are not captured. For several years, many of these contractors have remained unpaid and some have even gone bankrupt”, he said. He added that the bonds issued by AMCON, which is well over N4tn is also not captured in the debt records and it is necessary for all these to be brought into the picture, so that the true position of the public debt and its sustainability would be better appreciated. He, however, pointed out the need to diversify the economy, noting that the risk to sustainability of current levels of oil prices is real.



Employment is not necessarily a white-collar job â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Abuja-based tailor By Hauwa Anaja


n school days, young adults who secured admission into higher institutions of learning were often advised to face their studies and shun every form of distraction. At that time, even doing business while studying, was considered a distraction, except in rare circumstances. As time went by, business by students became a normal phenomenon. It became normal to find students selling bread, noodles, snacks and other basic hostel needs like beverages, toiletries among others in their hostel rooms.Some even converted their rooms to a "mini-mart". However, what was not common and still remains rare in Nigerian institutions today is having students who have learnt one basic art or hand craft business while in full time school. Some set up hair dressing salons and others set up barbing salons. But for Mrs Fatima Hassan, a mother, tailor, and employer, school environment was the avenue that launched her to the fashion and tailoring world. "Funny enough I didn't learn tailoring," she narrates. "It happened that my aunt I lived with as a child was a tailor and growing up with her, watching them sew, I also began sewing playfully by cutting pieces of clothes and putting them together to form doll baby attires, and gradually at exactly the age of thirteen, I began joining pieces of clothes together to sew for the smaller children in the house and it was basically a pastime. Mrs Hassan continues: "I launched my fulltime tailoring when I was in the university, which was as result of theneed for pocket money and other small change for petty expenses, in the hostel and classroom, handouts, textbooks and so on, so I decided to take my mother's machine to the hostel and sew for money since my mother was not making use of it." At the time, not only did the business encourage her to earn money for herself, it also made her realise she could sew as a complement even though she had a certificate."The interesting thing is, I didn't even consider it a distraction because I always took up jobs I had the time to do", she further states. Quite challenging you may think, but of course everyone knows the major excuse a tailor gives for not meeting deadline is time. However, Mrs Hassan tells me how she was able to

Mrs Fatima Hassan combine studies with business comfortably. "I would collect only clothes I could meet deadline and whenever exams were fast approaching, I would stop sewing to face my studies and to be honest, I didn't have any carry over at all." Mrs Hassan tells me the unique contributions of the

business in her life. "Even while at school, I was sending pocket money to my younger ones, when going for holidays, I will buy some basic things we need in the home, and I practically started giving back to my family as a student,' she recalls. After graduating, she


immediately secured a shop, and as a young graduate she became an employer of labour. "Infact I didn't wait for service because I was so interested in owning my own shop and employing people," she muses. Mrs Hassan says being able to start her business from

Mrs Hassan says being able to start her business from nothing and growing it to something, has only made her to understand that one does not need to wait for a whitecollar job before employing him/ herself.

nothing and growing it to something, has only made her to understand that one does not need to wait for a whitecollar job before employing him/herself. "Right now, I employ three people, two tailors and a designer. When I finally secured a job, I had to get more hands, but either ways, I get clients from my office, and every once in a while, I still sew clothes. It is unbelievable the way this business helped me financially before I secured a job. "At times, I will even pay my daughter's school fees, I still used to send money to my parents and younger ones in school, and believe me, I don't know how I would have been able to do all those things while I was waiting for and searching for a white collar job," she recounts. So, what are you waiting for? Get on board and start something. Employment is not necessarily having to wear a tailored suit and designer shoes to an air conditioned office. It is having a source of income that's reliable. It's never too early or too late.



Five banks own 60 percent assets of Nigeria’s banking sector - Report By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


he top five Nigerian banks owned 60 percent of the banking sector assets in the country. This was contained in a report released, Tuesday, by The Banker, a publication of Financial Times of London. The top five banks, according to The Banker, comprise Zenith Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and

United Bank for Africa and owned about 60 percent of overall assets. It said some foreign investors have suggested Nigeria will soon go the way of South Africa, where the four largest banks have an 85 percent market share. For them, Nigeria’s midtier and small lenders will struggle to survive and several would be taken over by bigger

rivals in the next few years”. The report said: “Nigeria’s banking sector has become highly concentrated over the past 10 years, with the biggest five banks now dominating market share.But executives at smaller firms are not worried. They insisted that innovation and nimbleness, not to mention the huge scope for growth in Nigeria, would see them make up

for their lack of size”. According to The Banker survey report of the banking sector in Nigeria, “A decade ago, Nigeria had almost 90 banks. Two rounds of consolidation since 2005 in response to a hike in capital requirements, while the second came in the wake of the country’s 2009 financial crisis, have seen the number drop to few more

Export Promotion Council staff lament poor condition of permanent site

Diamond Bank swings to 2012 profit, shares fall


iamond Bank’s 2012 pretax profit was N27.5 billion, against a loss of N17.9 billion a year earlier, but an annoucement that there would be no dividend sent its shares tumbling. Diamond Bank shares shed N0.50 per share or 7.14 percent to N6.45 on Tuesday, after the results announcement disappointed investors expecting a dividend. Diamond’s shares have risen 42 percent so far this year. ”It appears that the bank’s negative retained earnings hindered management’s ability to pay a dividend. We had forecasted dividend payout of 0.3 naira per share,” analysts at Renaissance Capital wrote in a note to clients. Gross earnings at the midtier lender jumped 34.8 percent to 112.4 billion naira during the period, as against N83.4 billion the previous year. (Bloomberg)

By Abdulwahab Isa


Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wammakko (middle), issuing fifty million Naira cheque to representative of farmers from Tambuwal Local Government Area, yesterday in Sokoto. With them is MD/CEO of Bank of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammadu Santuraki (right).

Nigeria to delay rebasing Kano govt to support dry, wet season farming of GDP until next year


he rebasing of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is expected to increase the estimated size of Africa’s second-largest economy by about 40 percent, was likely to be delayed until next year, the head of the statistics bureau said yesterday. The National Bureau of Statistics Director-General Yemi

Kale said it was unlikely that they would be able to carry out the rebalancing by a target of the last quarter. The recalculation will enable Nigeria to join the ranks of middle-income countries and put it much closer in size to South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy. – (Reuters)


he Kano state government says it is determined to support dry and wet season farming to boost agricultural production in the state. The state’s commissioner of commerce, Dr Damburam Abubakar, made the pledge at a sensitisation programme on new technologies for tomatoes drying held at Kura export production

village, near Kano. Abubakar said the state government had placed high premium on the initiative of tomato drying, and urged the farmers to patronise the exercise for the good of the society. According to him, the initiative will enhance food production as well as boost the income of the farmers.

Access Bank falls to 3-month low after downgrade


ccess Bank Plc, Nigeria’s fourth- biggest bank by market value, fell to the lowest in more than three months after it was downgraded by FBN Capital Ltd. The lender retreated 7.5 percent to 9.17 naira by the close in Lagos, the commercial

than 20.As well as creating banks with far bigger balance sheets, the changes have resulted in a more concentrated banking sector. It could be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had said: “I’m concerned about the concentration of the banks at the upper end because very large institutions tend to lend to large multinational corporations and invest in government securities. “They don’t have time for the middle, which is where economic growth happens and jobs are created. I don’t think we’re looking for any more institutions that would be too big to fail”.

capital, the lowest since Dec. 31. FBN Capital lowered Access Bank to underperform from neutral and the 12-month target price was reduced to 8.30 naira per share. First-quarter results were below expectations and have weakened chances of the bank meeting return-on-equity

forecasts for this year, Bunmi Asaolu, an analyst at Lagosbased FBN Capital, said in emailed report yesterday. Access Bank’s profit in the three months through March declined 27 percent to 9.21 billion naira, the lender said yesterday. Revenue dropped to 52.7 billion naira from 53.1

billion naira. The stock has gained by 1.3 percent this year, compared with the 19 percent advance by the 10-member Bloomberg Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking Index (NGSEB10) and 22 percent rise in the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index. (Bloomberg)

ome staff of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have expressed resentment against the decision of the management relocating them to the council permanent building still under construction. Those that bared their minds to Peoples Daily said the decision to relocate them from a rented apartment in Wuse 11 to the NEPC permanent site, an edifice adjacent to the National Communication’s Commission (NCC) still under construction was a bad decision on part of the management. An insider confided in our correspondent that the new edifice, which is still under construction as the time of filing this report lacks every facility expected to enhance efficiency in discharge of official conduct by staff. A staff who asked not to be quoted because of the sensitive nature of the issue said no office has tiles, most of the toilets are yet to be fixed, most office lack air-condition and several offices yet to be plastered. The status of the Council’s former corporate headquarters located in the highbrow area of Wuse 11, a rented apartment, could not be established yesterday. A source was of the view that the management must have taken decision to avert an increment in rent by the property owner. NEPC Head, Corporate Affairs/Media, Mr. Joe Ita confirmed to our reporter on phone that the NEPC has moved to its permanent building. He said the relocation had nothing to with irreconcilable difference bothering on rent between the property owner and the management.


Report as at Wednesday, April 10, 2013





Living in a changing world World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey, at the Intel Trendspotting Summit 2013, x-rays the issues and challenges embedded in today’s fast-paced, technology-savvy world


oday, 43 percent of Nigeria’s population is under 16. Though Nigeria has high youth unemployment today, some argue that in the 21 st century it will be youth, not oil that becomes Nigeria’s most precious resource. Contrast that with China – a country poised to go through a wrenching demographic change with the doubling of the ratio of old to young people over the next 20 years – with the loss of some 200 million workers over the next 30. These forecasts highlight some key fundamental transformations and challenges facing the globe over the next decade and beyond. We are in an era of transition. Global power is shifting from west to east, from north to south, but even within the south there is no one size fits all. And today’s weaknesses – like the youth bulge – may turn out to be tomorrow’s strength. There are other key changes: the world’s population is increasing, is moving to cities, is becoming more connected and better armed with technology. But that also means increasing demand for natural resources – already China is the world’s biggest consumer of minerals such as copper, aluminium, and nickel - and it means coming to grips with the harsh realities of a changing climate. Behind the Wheel of Global Growth So what lies behind changing patterns of global growth? As engines, Europe and the United States have stalled. The drivers of global growth are likely to be led by a handful of economies, most from the developing world. And in contrast to the current unequal distribution – where high income countries hold more than two thirds of the global stock of capital and wealth – the world in 2030 will likely see global capital stocks about equally distributed between high income countries and

countries that are now developing ones. Just consider a few projections: By 2025, the combined real output of six major emerging economies – Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, Indonesia, China and Korea – is expected to match that of the Euro Area, the largest economic area of the world today. By 2025, economies such as Indonesia and Brazil will likely be as important economically as Japan and the United Kingdom. What are the implications of these changes? Today, people are living longer, with more access to education and health care, less chronic disease, and lower infant and maternal mortality. But there has also been another shift: - call it a residual of two successive financial and economic crises in the United States and Europe; or call it another illustration of history’s relentless rise and fall of empires - but the fact remains that after centuries of western and northern dominance, developing and emerging economies are no longer looking at Europe and North America for their economic models. Countries are looking to Mexico and Brazil for lessons on innovative poverty reduction programs – conditional cash transfers – which put money into the pockets of the poor; to India on how to build an IT outsourcing industry; and to Chinese examples of how to reach development scale. Many developing countries have designed and implemented solutions that have no precedents in the developed world – like the microfinance models in Bangladesh and Indonesia and some of the rapid bus transit systems in Colombia and Brazil, or the use of mobile technologies for all kinds of services in Africa and elsewhere. The past four decades has been marked by the outsourcing of

manufacturing tasks from industrial countries to the developing world, especially East Asia. The same pattern is now obvious for services. In fact, services are the fastest growing component of world trade. Developing countries are now exporting not only traditional services, such as transportation and tourism, but also modern and skillintensive services such as financial intermediation, computer and information services, legal and technical support and other business services. And the shift in economic gravity, influence and exemplars is likely to bring with it a shift in global decision making and changes in the governance of world bodies, including the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. Let me focus on four key changes. First, A Rising Middle Class Continued rapid growth in emerging markets will give rise to an unprecedented expansion of the global middle class – by one estimate up from about 1.8 billion in 2009 to about five billion in 2030. By some estimates, by 2030, 8 out of 10 of the world’s middle class people are expected to be living in the South, accounting for 70 percent of total consumption expenditure. A middle class that can worry much less about basic food and housing and more about their rights and voices as citizens. And for the first time in decades, Africa is no exception to these trends—Africa is on the rise going through unprecedented growth. SubSaharan Africa has been growing at nearly 6 percent on average over the last 8 years – partly due to commodity prices. If Africa can deal with its three main challenges: key infrastructure constraints, conflict, and fiscal transparency, there is the opportunity of an even deeper transformation than we have seen in the past decade.

CHANGING WORLD: Caroline Anstey A new World Bank Group report finds that of the 50 economies making the most improvement in business regulation for domestic firms since 2005, 17 are in SubSaharan Africa. The implications of this for growth and business are big. What does this rapid expansion of the global middle class mean in practical terms? It will trigger an explosion in demand for housing, consumer durables, and cars. Take India. It was just 24 years ago that the first car was manufactured in Mumbai. In the 1990s job opportunities in the car, IT and other industries fuelled the wealth and purchasing power of the middle class. Today, India’s car market is poised to become the third largest automobile market next only to the United States and China. And India isn’t alone. It’s estimated that in just one year – 2010 - the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia,

India and China – added about 14 million cars to their circulation – a figure that implies about 46 million people were added to the middle class – roughly the population of Spain. More cars means more congestion and pollution highlighting an even greater need for alternative mass transport systems like the Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRTs). From the world’s first BRT put in place in Curitiba in the 70s, the concept has spread throughout the Latin America region. And we’ll see greater demand for education and millions more tertiary educated workers joining the global workforce. The signs are already evident. India has close to 20 million students in higher education, nearly as many as the United States. Both countries are outpaced by China, with 30 million postsecondary students. It’s predicted the number of Chinese college graduates could swell by 200 million

over the next two decades – more than the entire labor force of the United States. A rising global middle class will ratchet up demand for energy, natural resources, food, and water, with climate effects exacerbating food and water shortages in some areas. Demands will change. It’s already evident in East Asia on the food front. The importance of rice is on the decline in all countries, while demand for meats, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables and processed foods is on the rise. If this rising middle class consumes the same overall as rich countries do today, by the middle of this century we will need two worlds instead of one. Managing this rising demand while allowing developing countries to grow is, in my view, the defining challenge of our time. Climate change will only serve to amplify existing resource stresses. On current trajectories, half of the global population will be living in

water scarce countries by the end of the century and 35 percent of Sub-Sahara’s cropland will become unsuitable for cultivation, with severe impacts on food security. The world’s farmers will need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed a population expected to pass nine billion people. And a rising middle class is also poised to trigger political changes in emerging economies. As these countries become more participatory and the middle class gets a stronger voice, the challenge is to maintain the focus on inclusive, pro poor and climate- smart growth. Second, Galloping Urbanization We all know cities have been long been a magnet, but the numbers today are growing exponentially. Today’s urban population of about 3.6 billion people is projected to reach 5 billion by 2030. The world will

then be two-thirds urban, with 90 percent of this growth in the cities of South Asia and Africa.The built up area used by cities will double from 2000 to 2030. At the same time, urban densities are decreasing which will see the cost of delivering infrastructure services rise and make housing costs higher and less affordable. The move to urbanization is of course not unique to the developing world. Virtually no country has moved up the ladder to high income status

without urbanising. Urbanization matters for people wanting a path out of poverty. For every ten people lifted out of poverty in the East Asia and Pacific region, two were helped simply because of the urbanization process. Even in SubSaharan Africa, half of the drop in poverty originated in urban areas and through the urbanization process. The Megacities But urbanization today is much more about the growth of megacities - where the sheer number of residents can easily be larger than those of many countries. In 1970, the world only had two megacities – Tokyo and New York. In 2011, there were 23 – accounting for 9.9 percent of the world urban population. Basically the number of people living in megacities had multiplied almost ten times. By 2025, the number of megacities is expected to increase to 37. Asia will have gained another nine, Latin America two, and Africa, Europe and Northern America one each. And it will be people living in megacities in the developing world who’ll feel those cities swell. Some estimate that in cities, one billion people will enter the global “consuming class” by 2025, with enough income to become significant consumers of goods and services – injecting around $20 trillion a year in extra spending into the world economy. The Urban Face of Poverty But the growth of cities and megacities has also brought an urban face to poverty. There are now some one billion people living in urban slums in developing countries. And their numbers are projected to grow by nearly 500 million between now and 2020. Slums are growing the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa, south-east and

If this rising middle class consumes the same overall as rich countries do today, by the middle of this century we will need two worlds instead of one. Managing this rising demand while allowing developing countries to grow is, in my view, the defining challenge of our time

western Asia. And its women and children who bear the brunt of improper sanitation and poor health care in slums. Lack of adequate sanitation can affect a teenage girl’s schooling. In Kenya’s urban slums girls in grade 4 to 8 who’ve reached puberty miss – on average – six learning weeks a year. Third, The Mobile Revolution Today more people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet. With some six billion mobile phone subscriptions in use worldwide, three quarters of the world’s inhabitants now have access to a mobile. The developing world is now more mobile than the developed. Innovations that began in Africa – like dual SIM card mobile phones or using mobiles for remittance payments – are now spreading across the continent and beyond. ICT’s directly contribute around 7 percent of Africa’s GDP, which is higher than the global average. While that’s impressive, it’s also transforming the lives of ordinary Africans with mobile phones used for financial services in Kenya, agricultural market information services in Ghana, electronic filing of taxes in South Africa or sensor based irrigation systems in Egypt revolutionizing traditional practices. New tools are helping Africans face challenges like climate change or HIV/AIDS and the wider use of ICT in government is bringing more openness and transparency. We’ve already seen mobile money has transformed the Kenyan economy, where mobile-facilitated payments now equate to a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product. And with improvements in fibre optic connectivity and open platforms, Africa’s now being touted as being on the verge of becoming a major beneficiary of massive open online course – leapfrogging into digital education. Some 68,000 kilometres of submarine cable and over 615,000 kilometres of national backbone networks have been laid in the past few years. The internet bandwidth available to Africa’s one billion citizens grew 20-fold between 2008 and 2012. These electronic

highways will provide the trading routes of the future. Fourth: Women, the Next Emerging Market. Today women are the next emerging market. The financial power of women is expanding at a faster rate than at any other time in history, with much of this growth in emerging markets. Global consumer spending by women is projected at $28 trillion in 2014, up from $20 trillion in 2009. And the growth of womenowned businesses is one of the most profound changes in the business world today. But that potential is still grossly under-supported. On average only five to ten percent of women owned businesses in the developing world have access to commercial bank loans. And women owned businesses account for only 3 percent of venture capital investments globally. And yet we know that under-investing in women not only limits economic and social development, it puts a brake on poverty reduction. Seeds and fertilizer in the hands of a woman can boost crops. Cash in the hands of a woman can increase twentyfold the chance of her child’s survival. And a business in the hands of a woman can thrive. In the USA today women owned firms are growing at twice the rate of all other firms, contributing nearly $3 trillion to the US economy and directly responsible for 23 million jobs. we also know that Today, worldwide fewer than half of women have jobs, compared to almost four-fifths of men and yet interviews with women in 93 communities across 20 countries show that women aspire to work for pay. So why is there this vast untapped economic and productive potential? Worldwide, education levels of women have increased. It is barriers like legislation, cultural restrictions, informal work, and limited access to finance which are holding women back. Our Report on Women Business and the Law surveyed 141 economies to look at those barriers to gender equality. In 102 out of those 141 economies, there is at least one legal difference that can hinder women’s economic opportunities. That’s a pretty large indictment, but it also means that there is potential for a big shift in this area.



FG to curtail the activities of illegal miners By Mohammed Kandi


n furtherance of the Federal Government's effort in curtailing the nefarious activities of illegal miners in the country, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has purchased and distributed six surveillance vehicles to enhance the operations of mines officers at various sites of the country. A statement issued in Abuja by the ministry's Deputy Director of Press, Marshall H. Gundu, said the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, commissioned the six surveillance vehicles yesterday. Sada, who disclosed that the vehicles (Landrover) were purchased at the rate of 8.5 million naira each, informed that the trucks had the capacity to access mines sites which other vehicles could not. Sada said: "The purpose of the vehicles was the fact that they were the standard mining vehicles anywhere in the world, and there was the need to have one in each state of the federation to ensure proper monitoring". He noted that one of the problems hindering the


regulatory operation in the minerals and metals sector was the inability of mines officers to get into the far and remote areas where illegal mining operations are prevalent, adding that "if we are able to get any fund intervention from the government, we will be able

to buy a large number of vehicles so that every state of the federation can have one". The Minister assured that proper maintenance of the vehicles had already been put in place with the maintenance agreement reached with the company

that supplied those vehicles. While presenting the bunch of keys to the surveillance vehicles to the South-west Zonal Mines Coordinator, Engr. Emmanuel Alagada on behalf of other beneficiaries, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr.Linus

NEMA calls for collaborative efforts in disaster management T T

Awute said the ministry appreciated the herculean task faced by mines officers in reaching the mines sites in order for them to carry out the monitoring of mining activities. The Permanent Secretary said efforts of the ministry are in top gear in proffering solutions to those militating problems facing the mining operations in the country. He added that this gesture was aimed at increasing the revenue accruable to government from the mining operations, enhancing the regulatory functions of the government as well as reducing the rate of illegal mining operations in the country. He expressed optimism that more surveillance vehicles were coming and that the ministry was being properly positioned towards the diversification of the economy of Nigeria. He said that illegal miners are in trouble and the presentation of the vehicles would go a long way at promoting operational activities at the sites, adding that "the first batch of mines surveillance vehicles were shared to Zamfara and Ogun States and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja."

Forestry key to economic development and sustainability, says UN Officials

Mohammed Kandi, agency report

he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for collaborative efforts by stakeholders in disaster management. North-West Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Malam Musa Ilallah, made the call during a one-day interactive session with security personnel and other stakeholders in Kano. The forum, with the theme 'Emergency Preparedness and Joint Response to Disaster,' was organised by the agency. He said that despite efforts being made by stakeholders in disaster management, there was still communication gap that existed, hence the need for such forum to address the challenges. "This forum is aimed at

exchanging ideas by the stakeholders for effective disaster management in the future. "While preparing for response, there is the need for information sharing, unity and collective participation," he said. Ilallah said a situation where stakeholders were prevented from responding to a calamity would not augur well for the country. In his remarks, the FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Mr Shehu Zaki, said the command had a mobile clinic for the immediate treatment of victims. Zaki, represented by his assistant, Mr Christopher Kuje, expressed concern on how other agencies hindered the services of stakeholders in the name of security and policing.

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was represented by Mr Ibrahim Muhammad at the occasion Muhammad said that the only way forward for joint response was for stakeholders to acknowledge the importance of each other in addition to adequate supply of gadgets to personnel. Mr Shu'aibu Jaafar, who spoke on behalf of the police, stressed the need to cordon a disaster zone to control crowd and give investigators chance to have firsthand evidence. "Such necessary steps are not meant to hinder other stakeholders but to make things easier and coordinated,'' Jaafar said. (NAN)


he vital role of forests in global development and people's lives as well as protecting these resources for future generations are at the heart of discussions at the Forum on Forests, senior officials have said, as the United Nations body began its current session. "The 10th session of the Forum is a timely opportunity to reemphasize the critical role of forests in global development," Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo told a news conference on the opening day of the two-week meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. "This is especially important given the ongoing deliberations on defining a post-2015 United Nations development agenda with sustainable development at its core," he added. The current session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10) will examine these issues, in addition to its main focus - forests and economic development. 21 March has been designated International Forests Day and Member States are urged to come up with forest-related activities to mark this day. Forests have always played a major role in human history. Over time, the interaction

between humans and forests has changed in response to social and economic changes. Sustainability which is founded upon these core concepts found its roots in scientific forestry more than three centuries ago. For example, in 1713, Hans Carl von Carlowitz, Chief Mining Administrator at the court of Kursachsen in Freiberg (Germany), published his work "Sylvicultura oeconomica" in which he demanded that no more trees should be felled than could be replaced through the planned sowing and planting of new trees. He called this approach "nachhaltig" or "sustainable". The concept of sustainability has its roots in many traditional societies as well, going back many centuries. Discussions are under way at the international level on a global development agenda beyond 2015, the deadline for achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the same time, Member States are discussing the creation of a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs), as agreed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held last year in Brazil.



Breaking the vicious cycle of conflicts between herdsmen and host communities I ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT

n the northern part of Nigeria, amidst them, livestock husbandry is one of the major agricultural practices. Also, crop cultivation is equally practiced during the short rainy season. One of the principal functions or activities of animal husbandry is mainly grazing, which is generally carried out amidst other land leading agricultural groups with resultant encroachment into other land users and farming practices. In recent time, from the far northern to the north central, conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and farming communities have grown intense, due to non-availability of rangelands across the country. Oftentimes, such conflicts leave behind ruins of unimaginable magnitude when dusts finally settled. The recent communal conflicts between the Fulani herdsmen, who labour day by day to graze their cattle and some communities, could be attributed to the apparent rise in intolerance for the nomadic herdsmen by the host communities. These conflicts between nomadic Fulani pastoralists and farming communities across Nigeria have come to be regarded as a time bomb if governments at various levels failed to address the issue as quickly as possible. To resolve this culturedbased conflict such as the unending clashes between Fulani nomads and farming communities, would usually involve fostering efficient communication among disputants, and to also establish rangelands (grazing zones) to curtail the reoccurrence of such communal clashes. It is unarguable that conflicts have always remain part of the human nature; seeking to resolve rather than contain conflict situations have proved useful in managing real and legitimate differences between people before they snowball into unending crisis. It therefore remains that proactive conflict resolution measure remains the best approach to minimizing such clashes. To say that clashes between farmers and pastoralists over grazing fields are on the rise throughout the country is to say the obvious as pastureland shrinks. It is instructive to point out that these clashes between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and indigenous communities in various states of the federation could snowball into something else; the end which could be unpredictable. There's the urgent need for the conscious efforts by


By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only)

governments to provide rangelands for grazing to put an end to the perennial feud or the vicious cycles of conflicts which breeds clashes. Government should also create provide settlement camps for grazers. This will go a long way to put an end to the incessant community clashes witnessed today. The only conscious effort by government is the fadama

used for dry season grazing, but due to high competitiveness of fadama it also often leads to clashes. Livestock department of the agriculture ministry should create daily radio public awareness program, using vernacular to foster brotherhood amongst the herdsmen and their host communities. Rangeland consists primarily of grasslands which includes forested land that is used for grazing. Unfortunately, ecologically responsible grazing has not been the norm, on public and privately owned lands which have continued to breed crisis. The recent peace agreement between farmers and Fulani hersmen in Doma, Nasarawa State witnessed by the police and traditional rulers from the area to avoid the possibility of crisis in future should be encouraged throughout the federation. The agreement stated that nobody should take the law into his hands and that any issue that would lead to the breach of the existing peace should be reported to the appropriate authority. It is an understatement to say that no positive development can take place without peace.

Failure to put climate on G8 agenda will cast a shadow on greenest governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;


he real and present danger of climate change was not discussed at the leadersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; summit, hosted by William Hague. William Hague yesterday hosted a meeting of foreign ministers from the G8 group of rich countries paving the way for a gathering of the countries' leaders in June. The existential threat presented by Iran and North Korea is on the agenda for both. But the real and present danger of climate change will not be discussed at the leaders' summit. It was recently revealed that David Cameron's adviser for Europe and global issues, Ivan Rogers, blocked moves from Germany and France to make climate change a G8 agenda item. This is short-sighted and risks undermining the last hope for an international agreement that could avert catastrophic climate change. According to Faith Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, the world has just four years to implement the changes necessary to avoid a temperature increase above 2C. If we wait any longer, we will lock ourselves into high-

carbon infrastructure that takes us above this threshold. Two degrees constitutes a level of warming referred to as a "dangerous" by scientists. All major countries agreed in Copenhagen that temperature rises should be limited to below this level. In two and a half years' time, world leaders will meet in Paris under the auspices of the United Nations to thrash out a deal to make good that promise. Despite the disappointment of Copenhagen, there has been plenty to suggest that a global deal is possible. The world's largest emitter, China, is taking this agenda seriously by launching seven pilot schemes this year ahead of a national roll out in 201516. This forms the key part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases per economic unit by as much as 45% before the end of the decade. Meanwhile, investment in Chinese clean energy rose 20% last year, according to Bloomberg. In the US, trading on the California carbon market began on 1 January while nine northeastern states have been participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for

six years. Last summer, Australia launched its own carbon pricing regime which led to a 9% drop in emissions from power plants in just six months. Diplomats are looking at ways to link the scheme to the EU emissions trading scheme which would bring business to the UK since, according to Intercontinental Exchange, 91% of emissions trading takes place in the City of London. Countries in every continent have now launched or are considering a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. In addition to New Zealand and Japan's systems which are already under way, Russia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico all announced plans in the last year. But bringing these schemes together and reaching agreement in 2015 is still a long way off. To reach a deal, concerted focus and leadership will be necessary at every gathering of international leaders. Last year William Hague appeared to agree and wrote: "David Cameron's great ambition to lead the 'greenest

government ever' relies heavily on a Britain that is leading the way on the world stage, pressing for determined and united global action, setting an example to other nations, cajoling those who do worse and aspiring to match those who do better." But there are now concerns that the UK government may be watering down its and Europe's own ambition. As well as blocking efforts to introduce a target to decarbonise the UK's power sector by 2030, George Osborne is now understood to be pushing for slower ambition across the EU by opposing a new renewables target to replace the current one which will expire in 2020. The foreign secretary has an opportunity this week to wrestle this critical agenda from the Treasury to the Foreign Office. Without the G8's leadership, our last chance for ambitious international action may pass us by. Will Straw is associate director of the thinktank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). Source: The Guardian



EMERGENCY UPDATE Still on the 2013 flood prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response workshop By Sanya Adejokun


lthough humans can do little or nothing to change the incidence or intensity of most natural hazards, they have an important role to play in ensuring that natural events are not converted into disasters by their own actions. It is important to understand that human intervention can increase the frequency and severity of natural hazards. Casualty statistics from annual incidences of flooding since 2010 in Nigeria has been on the increase. In 2010, flooding displaced more than two million people. In 2011, about 102 persons were believed to have died from flooding in various parts of the country. In 2012, figures from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) showed that seven million, seven hundred and five thousand, three hundred and ninety eight persons were affected by the flood between July 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012. Of the affected population, two million, one hundred and fifty seven thousand, four hundred and nineteen internally displaced persons (IDPs) were registered across the affected states. In addition, 363 deaths were recorded, while eighteen thousand, two hundred and eighty two people were treated for injuries they did sustained during the flooding. The report added that Adamawa and Kogi states recorded top digits of sufferers. Two hundred and fifty six local government councils throughout the federation were adversely affected. Just as it did in 2012, the Nigeria Meteorological (NIMET) Agency has warned that more rainfall, which might eventually lead to more floods, should be expected in some parts of the country this year. The Agency identified Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara and other neighbouring states as top on priority list, adding that there will be lower amount of rainfall especially for the Southwest compared to the devastating flood of 2012. "The summary is that based on the conditions that are prevalent at the time of making the prediction, we are predicting that the rainfall pattern in 2013 will not be different, very different or significantly different from what we saw in 2012. However, some areas especially in the western flank of the country covering Sokoto State, Kebbi State, parts of Kwara State and parts of Niger State are likely to have higher rainfall than last year. We have some other areas, particularly from western part of the country may witness slightly lower amount of rainfall." Interpreting the implication of the predictions, NEMA's

Hon. Abegunde Ifedayo, Muhammad Sani-Sidi and Senator Clever Ikisikpo at the National Consultative Workshop on 2013 Flood Prevention Director General, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi said the North-west and other parts of the country would witness huge rainfall that might result in bumper agricultural yield but that some dams might overflow, leading to loss of lives and means of livelihood. He warned that slippery roads, runways and poor visibility during the rainfall might cause road and air accidents, while excessive rains could wash away earth roads, houses, farmlands and other infrastructure. He then urged government at all levels to make adequate provision for medicines and vaccines, while proper refuse disposal mechanism and clean-up of drainages and reservoirs should be carried out regularly. Alhaji Sani-Sidi called for the provision of navigational aids at airports, while storms barriers and end dykes should be erected along riverbanks and coastal areas. He also emphasised the need for states and local governments to improve their capabilities to manage disaster by setting up and equipping their disaster management bodies. Regrettably he noted, only224 out of 774 local governments in the country have functional emergency management committees. Between March 26 and 27,

2013, stakeholders gathered at the Rockview Hotel, Abuja to brainstorm on how to avoid another catastrophe like that witnessed during the rainy season of 2012. Participants at the workshop organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were drawn from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs),state emergency management agencies (SEMAs), the UN System, international organisations, Red Cross, university Centres for Disaster Risk Management & Development Studies (CDRM&DS), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), CBOs and the media. The workshop focused on the lessons learnt from the 2012 flood disaster in Nigeria, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), strategies for prevention, mitigation and preparedness and dissemination of early warning messages to the stakeholders including the vulnerable communities. The workshop was chaired by the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia and declared open by Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, the Governor of Delta State who was special guest of honour. NEMA Director-

General Muhammad Sani Sidi delivered the keynote address with goodwill messages delivered by Chairman, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Clever Ikisikpo, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Disaster Abegunde Ifedayo, Director General, National Environmental Standard Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA)Dr. Mrs Ngeri Benebo, representative of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Choice Okoro-Oloyede, and Secretary General, Nigerian Red Cross Society Alhaji Bello Hamman Diram. After extensive deliberations on the papers presented and the syndicate group work, the participants observed that when considered in relation to the 2012 flood disaster in the country: NEMA and stakeholders had developed plans, policies and guidelines for emergency preparedness and response for the country. Concerning that, documents such as the National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP); Search and Rescue and Epidemic Evacuation Plan for Nigeria (SAREEP); National Disaster Management Framework (NDMF); National Contingency Plan (NCP); Lake Nyos Disaster Response Manual and, MultiDisciplinary Epidemic Early

The summary is that based on the conditions that are prevalent at the time of making the prediction, we are predicting that the rainfall pattern in 2013 will not be different, very different or significantly different from what we saw in 2012. However, some areas especially in the western flank of the country covering Sokoto State, Kebbi State, parts of Kwara State and parts of Niger State are likely to have higher rainfall than last year. We have some other areas, particularly from western part of the country may witness slightly lower amount of rainfall

Warning System have all been published to serve as workbook. Also, NEMA activated the National Contingency Plan and facilitated weekly National Humanitarian Forum to strengthen effective coordination of disaster management mechanisms and information sharing respectively. However, vertical coordination in some States and Local Governments was weak. Notwithstanding, participants observed the need to strengthen States Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs). While some States do not have functional and well-funded SEMAs, others do not have SEMAs backed by law that can effectively embark on emergency preparedness and respond to disasters. Also concerning the 2012 incidence, relief materials were concentrated in urban camps in some states while stakeholders at state and local levels did not respond promptly to the needs of the displaced population. In addition, community members were not involved in rescue efforts before, during and after the disaster in yet other states while funds were not prioritized at the state levels to respond to sectorial needs. These were in addition to the fact that some of the affected communities did not benefit sufficiently from the relief materials distributed during the 2012 flood disaster. While stressing the importance of the media in emergency management, the workshop commended NEMA's information management technique during the 2012 disaster but lamented that the international media coverage of the event was inadequate and so, limited the level of response by the global community. Participants also noted that media practitioners were not adequately involved in sensitisation efforts, while baseline data from different sectors were inadequate. After the exhaustive review of the 2012 disaster situation, participants at the two-day workshop then issued a 16-point recommendation as a way to ensure effective management of such disasters in future. The recommendations include: NEMA is to strengthen its coordination role at all levels and improve its capacity in humanitarian response, partnership, advocacy and information management. That NEMA in collaboration with stakeholders should review the National Contingency Plan (NCP) while Response Strategies should be developed and used by NEMA, SEMAs, LEMCs and Humanitarian community to ensure adequate preparedness and response. It also said: "NEMA and Contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d on page 29



EMERGENCY UPDATE NEMA tasks South-West states on rainfall


he National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), has urged state governments in the SouthWestern States in the country not to treatthe recent rain prediction by the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET) with levity. The South-West Zonal Coordinator of the Agency, Mr Iyiola Akande, made the appeal in Abeokuta, Ogun, at a workshop on ``2013 Flood Prevention, Mitigation and Awareness Programme''.

The workshop was organised to address NIMET's seasonal prediction for 2013 rainfall for the region. NIMET had recently predicted torrential rainfall in the zone for 2013with attendant effects on health and agricultural yields. Akande appealed to the respective state governments in the zone to take proactive measures to control the effects of the rain. The Coordinator said that although the prediction was

worrisome, the Agency had taken steps to manage possible effects of the rain. While soliciting the support of the people, Akande assured that NEMA would intensify efforts at educating the people and other relevantagencies on the need to prepare ahead for the season. "For us as an Agency, we will not be caught napping, but we want to appeal for support from Nigerians, particularly, those in the South West, to ensure a floodfree environment," he said. (NAN)

Lagos floods

Still on the 2013 flood prevention... Contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d from page 28 partners should mobilise humanitarian actors to develop standardised rapid and sectorial assessment tools and widely circulate for use. States without SEMA should be encouraged to establish one backed by law, while all SEMAs should be adequately funded and staffed to ensure effective coordination, Emergency Preparedness and Response." "NEMA should work with sector leads to develop comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to facilitate proper monitoring, transparency and accountability in disaster response. Humanitarian actions should be guided by Humanitarian principles: Neutrality, Humanity, Impartiality and Independence," the recommendations stated. "Early recovery should be integrated into response plans to reduce transition period. NEMA

and SEMA should mobilise relevant agencies and organisations such as National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal/State Ministries of Information to disseminate information on the SRP for 2013, targeting vulnerable communities using the media (print, electronic and internet)" Also, as part of the forum's recommendations was that the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMoWR) should facilitate structural mitigation by the construction of buffer dams, dykes, levees, barriers and flood diversion channels to prevent flooding. "The Federal Ministry of Water Resources should prioritize the dredging of major Rivers to reduce siltation and increase river capacity and ensure proper dam management. There should be strict enforcement of environmental laws, Land Use Planning, Development Control and building codes," it stressed. "States and Local

Governments should partner with the private sector to ensure effective municipal waste management?and regular maintenance of drainage facilities. State Governments should resettle communities within flood plains and develop evacuation plan to facilitate effective and timely evacuation of vulnerable population during flooding," the forum proposed. "River Basin Development Authorities should ensure effective drainage basin management. Need to conduct baseline survey of flood risk areas and the production of flood vulnerability maps at the local, state and national levels for medium and long term flood disaster management," it said. They also suggested that states and local governments should ensure adequate training of actors to adequately address disaster issues. Sanya Adejokun is National Coordinator, Journalists Against Disaster Initiative


2013: Prepare for massive flooding!


ollowing the recent prediction by the National Meteorological Agency (NIMET) saying there may be more and intense flooding in 2013, the need for immediate collaborations and rational brainstorming on recurrent issues of flood disasters in the country was brought to fore, when the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) organized two-day Consultative Workshop on flood prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response. Apparently, the occasion was meant to create a platform that would provide useful information and recommendations about the anticipatedflood disasters; primarily to create a better understanding and scrutiny of issues relating to emergency response strategies particularly by officials of the agency in collaboration with all stakeholders on disaster management. The forum, which was cosmopolitan in nature was honoured by stakeholders in disaster management who were drawn from public and private organizations, as well as from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, National Space Research and Development Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Nigeria Red Cross Society, Media Information Committee on Emergency Management , UNICEF, OXFAM, YADI, OCHA, JADI, CCFN, among others. While commenting on the drastic increase in hydro-climatic disasters the country has witnessed in the past few years with a growing spatial coverage and number of communities impacted, DirectorGeneral of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi noted that the recurring floods and the attendant hazards must serve as a wakeup call to emergency management stakeholders, governments at all levels, individuals and the organized private sector to rise up their responsibility on disaster risk reduction. His words: "This emerging trend of annual floods couple with a wide ranging human and nature induced emergencies experienced in recent times have put to test our national resilience and pose a challenge to emergency management stakeholders in Nigeria. Disaster such as large-scale of flood of 2012 can retard our national development process and hinder the achievement of projected national development agenda including the Millennium Development Goals. "The need for us to re-strategize and foster stronger collaboration on principled and effective disaster management remains paramount. Despite the competing demands on NEMA stakeholders, we must work together to protect and

improve the lives of vulnerable citizens as well as enhance their resilience", he said. In his own remarks at the occasion, Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who pointed out that the devastating experience of 2012 has brought about the need for the immediate sensitization on the impacts of global warming. He commended NEMA for organizing consultative workshop that would help improve preparedness and create awareness in the country beyond that of 2012. Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, urged the states to learn from the early warning alert on the year 2012 flooding which was totally neglected by some states; and exercise necessary preventions and preparedness against the current year. Some of the participants had in there good will massages attributed the devastating 2012 flood disasters to the global climate change which was aggravated by increase in volume of rainfall and the release of excess water from Lagdo dam upstream of River Benue in neighbouring Cameroun which also coincided with the release of water from Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro Dams into Rivers Benue and Niger. Others identified causes of the floods to include poor drainage networks and inadequate culverts/ canals, obstructions of water ways, weak soil texture/structure, land topography, ineffective management of solid wastes, deforestation, land degradation, sedimentation of aquatic ecosystem, precipitation and wind effects. Meanwhile, it was revealed that over the last 25years the average global surface temperature rose by 0.56c by the end of the century, while a further rise by 1.4-5.8c has been projected by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For instance, in Nigeria, Mean annual temperature has increased by 0.9c since 1960, an average of 0.20c per decade. The past decade was the hottest of the past 150 years, and possibly of the past millennium. The hottest 22years on record have occurred in the 25 years since 1980. The IPCC forecasts a global temperature increase of 1.4ÂşC to 5.8ÂşC above 1990 temperatures by 2100. Without doubt, the vulnerable populations across the globe are already feeling the impacts, irrespective of the level of economic development. In order to mitigate the impacts of flood, the forum recommended provision of necessary working tools, equipment and training to strengthen the operations of National/State Emergency Management Agencies; proper land use to minimize overgrazing, deforestation; massive public enlightenment, advocacy and sensitization of communities on flood issues; improved Early Warning System; immediate



Water for Borno: Promise made promise kept others". According to the

By Victor Izekor


n the heat of electioneering campaign it is characteristic of politicians to make promises upon promises. Some of these are outrageous, some unattainable and others outright impossible. Yet, the sugar coated politicians would stop at nothing to convince even the doubting Thomas, that heaven will come to earth. Ironically, some of the educated ones are easily swayed by these make believe stories of the flippant honey bee politicians not to talk of the innocent masses. There are however honest but few politicians who would say it as it should and call a spade a spade and not a digging instrument. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, The Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Mohammed Goni stood out in this group. And of course the latest comer of this latter group is Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state. They ate brutal in frankness and careless whose ox is gored. What they promised the electorate is what the voters would get. They believe that between a politician and the masses of the people, the electorate who are called to vote, there is a kind of social contract which must be honoured. The terms of such contract must be precise. There should be no ambiguity, no deliberate deception. It is the surest way to disaster for politicians to deceive the people. And because of their honestly, focus, foresight and vision, they are achievers as they go for that they pledged without looking back. Today, they are adored remembered and praised. While the dead among them left behind living memories, the living give hope of the day and a better tomorrow. When two years back, Kashim Shettima was soliciting for number one citizen position of Borno State Government House, on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples' Party (ANPP), he like other contending candidates for the governorship position made promises. On coming to power Kashim articulated the implementation of his promises on the interim and long term measures encompassed in his Programme of Action. On the interim measures governor Shettima pledged compensation of all victims of recent crisis to be done with immediate effect. Procurement and distribution of 5,000 Keke-Napep tricycles and 100 buses to ease in intra city transport within the Metropolis. Purchase of food stuff worth N2 million for distribution to the people. An economic stimulus package for the business community in the state through micro finance bank in every senatorial zone towards the provision of soft loans to traders/ marketers and cooperatives to boost and position entrepreneurship. In the long term measures, Kashim pledged a grassroot socio-economic empowerment programme aimed at creating 500,000 jobs in the next 4-6 years. Agriculture will be the centre piece of the programme and all developmental initiatives will revolve round it. The programme will be anchored on three crucibles: Vocational and skills acquisition centres, farming skills acquisition centres and entrepreneurship development schemes. The long term measure also include revamping and repositioning of the state educational system towards meeting the challenges of the time. With such well articulated programme loaded with promises and hope, people initially adopted a "Siddon look" approach to see where Kashim goes thereafter. To the consternation of many, before the shout of Jack Robinson Shettima almost half - way into his first tenure has delivered. He has made do his pledge and kept his promise. Almost all the interim measures as contained in his Programme of Action have been completed while some contained in the long term are

Borno State Governor KASHIM SHETTIMA being prosecuted vigorously. For example, while over 2000,000 youths are being empowered directly or indirectly, victims of various security challenges in the state have been compensated and thousands provided with tricycles (Keke-Napep) to ease transportation in the state capital and environ. The success story of provision of water in the desert zone readily to mention among others. When Shettima assumed office, he pledged to drill at least 100 boreholes within his first 100 days in office. He made do his pledge as he constructed within the period over 100 boreholes located in various parts of the state. In the words of Alhaji Mai Sheriff, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, "it has never been so good. Through the instrumentality of Governor Kashim Shettima we have touched the lives of the people because as the governor promised during his electioneering, we have succeeded in drilling 100 boreholes of various depths and rehabilitated over 200


In the words of Alhaji Mai Sheriff, the State Commissioner for Water Resources, "it has never been so good. Through the instrumentality of Governor Kashim Shettima we have touched the lives of the people because as the governor promised during his electioneering, we have succeeded in drilling 100 boreholes of various depths and rehabilitated over 200 others".

commissioner, "residents in Maiduguri and other villages and towns in Borno state attest that the coming of the boreholes had to greater extent checkmated the activities of the water vendors". After his fulfillment of his 100 days in office pledge with regards provision of water, S h e t t i m a intensified efforts though various elaborate water schemes all aimed at reducing to the minimum the thirst of the people. Addressing the people of Borno on his task to tackle water shortages and hardship in the desert state, Shettima declared, "â&#x20AC;Śprovision of portable water supply will take the centre stage as we will ensure that every sizeable community is availed with source of water supply in form of cement and tube wells, boreholes and municipal dams for human and animal consumption. In addition, the Maiduguri surface water supply scheme and the treatment will immediately undergo comprehensive turn around maintenance. We shall also construct a new Kulluluri situation in the ever expanding state capital. In the same vein we shall vigorously pursue the completion of Biu Dam Project in partnership with the Federal Government". As pointed out earlier, Shettima's administration has drilled already over 150 boreholes of various depth and sizes and rehabilitated over 200 boreholes across the state. While the sum of N450 million was spent on drilling, rehabilitation of boreholes gulped N50 million. Drilling of more boreholes and rehabilitation of the existing broken down ones has commenced in large scale to ease the insatiable demand for water. The Maiduguri Water Treatment Plant is currently producing about 45 million litres of potable water daily to most part of the Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere, in addition to the supply from the 135 functional boreholes in the State Capital and 123 boreholes in the Local Government areas. The administration has also procured 50mt of Ammonium Sulphate, 55mt of Lime and 3,600 drums of HTH for water treatment costing over N285 million. Similarly, 72 trucks of AGO and 80 drums of Engine oil to run the generating set at Alau Water Pumping Station, Water Treatment Plant and functional boreholes in the State Capital have be procured at the sum of N427, 600.00 annually. These boreholes are being serviced at a cost of N14,000,000 quarterly to ensure steady water supply. Victor Izekor writes from Maiduguri



Can international justice foster reconciliation? ANALYSIS By David Tolbert


oday, on April 10, the UN General Assembly (UN GA) is holding a thematic debate on the role of international justice in reconciliation processes. The debate was called by UN GA President VukJeremic, of Serbia, in the wake of the recent acquittal of Croatian General Ante Gotovina by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Unfortunately, it has become clear that the real purpose of this debate is directed at undermining the ICTY, rather than to discuss an important issue, not only in the Balkans, but in a growing number of countries. Experience shows that by holding to account those who have committed serious crimes, criminal justice processes demonstrate that no one is above the law and mark a break with a past of abuse and horrendous crimes. Through prosecutions, a number of societies have shown that human rights are to be taken seriously and victims can feel genuinely protected. However, the relationship between criminal justice mechanisms, like the ICTY, and reconciliation has been blurred by loose discussion by court officials and others. Claims that these judicial institutions can contribute in some ill-defined way to reconciliation are not always anchored in a clear understanding of criminal justice, nor do they have a normative basis. While the UN Security Council did mandate the ICTY to "contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a lasting peace" in the former Yugoslavia, it never defined - how? How was a court that was established as a deadly inter-ethnic conflict raged on (and was yet to see its worst atrocities, including the Srebrenica genocide) to act as a tool for reconciliation? And just as importantly, what conception of reconciliation did the Security Council have in mind? These questions deserve serious examination, as we have seen similar expectations set for other international courts, including the International Criminal Court (ICC). Reconciliation means different things to different people. In Latin America, attempts to ensure accountability for massive human rights abuses committed by right-wing military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980sgave rise to a strong view among many civil society organisations that reconciliation was a code word for impunity and amnesia, placing a burden of forgiveness on victims, while letting torturers and killers escape justice. A different approach was to

"Many leading Serb politicians, including the current Serbia President, TomislavNikolic, are well known for their refusal to acknowledge that genocide was indeed committed by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica," writes Tolbert [EPA]. be taken in South Africa in the early 1990s. There, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under the Chairmanship of Desmond Tutu, promoted the virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation, not only on a pragmatic basis, but on the basis that it reflected values of particular importance in Africa. We should be clear that not only is reconciliation understood differently by different people, but it makes little sense to think reconciliation can mean the same thing in the context of a war between states and in the intimate violence between communities driven apart by civil war or repression. The most powerful example we have today of inter-state reconciliation is almost certainly that of France and Germany. It is easy to forget that they were the bitterest of enemies and that France, in particular, had suffered humiliation in three wars over three quarters of a century. How did this reconciliation come about? At least partly, it was possible because the German leadership, which was able to accept its fault

and enter into a commitment to radically reform Germany's relationship with the French state. It was about a genuine acceptance of responsibility. France, however much pain and bitterness it still felt, also saw that a new path had to be found. Despite some nominal apologies by former heads of state, such process never unfolded in the former Yugoslavia. In fact, many leading Serb politicians, including the current Serbia President TomislavNikolic, are well known for their refusal to acknowledge that genocide was indeed committed by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica. The ICTY did establish facts about the Srebrenica genocide, and the International Court of Justice ruled on it, but this was clearly insufficient to catalyse an acknowledgement of the kind Germany offered to France. This example may not even be entirely relevant to the Yugoslav situation, in which a formerly unified country was divided up into independent states. After conflicts that we think of as civil wars and


repressive regimes, our understanding of reconciliation needs to be more realistic. Repression and internal strife tear apart the social contract. What citizens had believed they could legitimately expect of each other and their state institutions is rendered worthless, as abuse and atrocity rips the heart out of the basis of trust. In these circumstances, so familiar to what used to be close knit communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, reconciliation should focus on what it takes to restore the trust of citizens in each other and, perhaps more importantly, in the state itself. That trust has to be earned. It cannot be built on denial, and it cannot be built on relationships of power. It has to take seriously the dignity of the parties involved. Recognising the truth of what happened is essential, but so is some degree of justice. We cannot reasonably expect people, and victims in particular, to trust that their rights will be protected under a new regime when no effort has been made to vindicate them in the aftermath

Recognising the truth of what happened is essential, but so is some degree of justice. We cannot reasonably expect people, and victims in particular, to trust that their rights will be protected under a new regime when no effort has been made to vindicate them in the aftermath of the most egregious abuses

of the most egregious abuses. Can impartial national courts help restore this trust by demonstrating that the state will take seriously the crimes of the past? Possibly. Can international courts be expected to do the same on their own, by conducting lengthy, complicated trials, often removed from the realities of their constituents, who are likely still struggling with the underlying causes of violence? Much less likely. Criminal justice processes are important, but their principal objective is to conduct fair trials of often extremely complex factual situations and command structures. We should be careful about assigning them objectives tied to complex and contested notions like reconciliation, expecting that a limited number of trials in The Hague will somehow solve all ills in a postconflict society. In this sense, the UN GA debate is entirely miscast. The ICTY's record can be regarded as impressive when it comes to the numbers of indicted persons, as compared to other international courts; the fact that all fugitives have been captured and brought to trial; and that it has brought to justice some of those most responsible for atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia. On the other hand, its contribution to the process of reconciliation in the region has been severely limited. In searching for the reasons why this is so, we may need to recognise that international courts may not be equipped to fulfill such expectations - and that, as in the case of the ICTY, there is sometimes simply no existing process of reconciliation for them to contribute to. Source: Al Jazeera



Security: U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission suggests a ‘holistic approach’ By Abdulkadir Isa

Somalia acknowledges rape by soldiers


fter months of denial, Somalia's government has for the first time acknowledged that its security forces were involved in rape cases that drew an international outcry by human rights groups. Army commanders often denied accusations that soldiers were involved in a spate of rapes, attributing the crimes to alShabab fighters who allegedly wore army uniforms to smear the reputation of the military. "Those few among the security forces who rape and rob our citizens must be fought and be defeated just like Shabab," President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said while speaking to military cadets at a training camp in the capital, Mogadishu, on Monday. "Criminals who commit rape ought to be opposed just like [al]Shabab," Mohamud said in a statement issued by his office. He also affirmed that his government would "fight those who rape as he'd fight alShabab", referring to the rebel group fighting his government and the African Union forces in Somalia. In March, the New York based Human Rights Watch accused Somalia's security forces and armed groups of raping and beating displaced Somalis who came to Mogadishu fleeing famine and armed conflict. Somalia has begun military tribunals in which soldiers have been punished and the number of rapes have declined since then, residents say. "The president's commitment to tackle abuses,including rape, by security forces, is an important first step but needs to be followed by concrete action, including proper vetting of police and military," Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said. "And the government needs to appropriately investigate, suspend and prosecute members of its forces who commit crimes, in line with international standards." The most prominent rape case was one in which an alleged victim accused government soldiers but was herself put on trial and sentenced to one year in prison for insulting the state institution. A reporter who interviewed her was also arrested and jailed one year for offending national institutions. Human rights groups denounced the convictions. An appeals court acquitted and released the woman and the Supreme Court later overturned the verdict against the reporter.


he U.S.-Nigeria Bi-Nigeria Binational commission has suggested a holistic approach for Nigeria as a panacea to security threats - kidnapping in the Niger delta and especially violent extremism in the north. The Binational commission has identified accelerated development in education, health, water and power sectors as a model to curb violence and revive the country's lost glory. This paradigm as the stand of the binational commission was made available by Gregory Lawless, member of the commission and political counselor of the U.S Embassy yesterday at the U.S. embassy in Abuja.

The envoy stated that the regional security cooperation working group had met for the first time in January of 2012 and outlined a comprehensive response to violent extremism in which the model was adopted. Mr. Gregory highlighted the accomplishments of the U.S.Nigeria binational commission since inception in 2010 as "successful integration of civil society into the electoral process prior to the 2011 elections, sustained innovative dialogue on energy policies to increase investment and agreement to spur partnership with the Nigerian army to build its' civil affairs capacity which is an important signal of commitment to build trust between Nigerian citizens and the security services".

Speaking on structural reforms, He added that the Binational commission had worked out modalities in subgroups saying, "we have met eight times since 2010, and last June the highest level Binational commission gathering in which four working groups - Good governance, Intergrity and transparency, energy and investment, food security and agriculture and the Niger delta and security cooperation met in Washington". The October meeting in Portharcourt followed and a way forward on key issues such as private sector growth in areas of Agriculture, bridging the divide between civil society and state governments in Niger delta development, and environmental

factors as it relates to the Niger delta were highlighted. Mr. Gregory refuted reports of the United States halting purchase of Nigerian crude and buttressed his country's readiness to help Nigeria in capacity building, Foreign Direct Investment and transfer of technology to build on the current trade volume of $5.4b. It will be recalled that the Nigerian government had set up a committee to look into the possibilities of an amnesty package for the Boko Haram sect, an idea contrary to the U.S security policy. Mr. Gregory had also emphasized Washington's disappointment with the presidential pardon to ex-political office holders with cases of money laundering in the United Kingdom.

Legal row over Mandela's companies


he daughters of South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela have launched court action to oust three of his aides from companies he set up, a local newspaper reports. Makaziwe and Zenani Mandela allege the three have no right to be on the boards of two companies worth about $1.7m (£1.1m), The Star reports. One of the accused, Mr Mandela's lawyer George Bizos, denied the allegation. The case comes amid growing concern about the health of Mr Mandela, 94. On Saturday, he was discharged from hospital after being treated for a recurring lung infection and pneumonia. Mr Mandela had fluids drained from him. His latest stay in hospital was his fourth in two years. Makaziwe and Zenani Mandela filed court papers on Tuesday, alleging that Mr Bizos, Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Mr Mandela's ex-lawyer Bally Chuene were never appointed as shareholders or directors of Harmonieux Investment Holdings and Magnifique Investment Holdings, The Star reports.

Makaziwe Mandela, who has, with her sister Zenani MandelaDlamini, filed papers seeking to oust the three men from two companies' boards. The two companies were set up to channel money from the sale of artwork, bearing Mr Mandela's signature, for his and his children's benefit. "All three - Bizos, Chuene and Sexwale - were invited to resign as directors, which invitation they declined," Makaziwe said in an affidavit, the newspaper reports. "Bizos, Chuene and Sexwale were not formally appointed by the

shareholder [Mandela] of the companies by way of any resolution." Mr Bizos, a respected human rights lawyer and close friend of the former president, told The Star that they would defend the case. Mr Mandela's daughters were trying to "get their hands on things that should not be sold", he said. "There is no basis to the allegations. We are not hijackers,"

Mr Bizos is quoted as saying. "The public should ask themselves why five years later these allegations are being laid. We are confident we were regularly appointed at the wish of Mr Mandela five years ago." Mr Sexwale told South Africa's privately owned eNCA television station that there was something "dodgy" about the court case. "I still do not know what the quarrel is about. As a colleague and a comrade of Nelson Mandela, if he appoints you, you do the job." Makaziwe is Mr Mandela's daughter from his first wife, Evelyn Mase and Zenani from his second wife, WinnieMadikizelaMandela. He is currently married to GracaMachel, the former first lady of Mozambique. Mr Mandela is widely regarded as an icon of the antiapartheid struggle. He spent 27 years in jail for fighting white minority rule. Mr Mandela was freed in 1990 and became South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. He stepped down after one term in 1999.

Qatar offers Egypt $3bn lifeline


gypt has been offered an economic lifeline by Qatar, which will buy $3bn worth of its bonds. The cash will come in addition to a previously promised $18bn investment in Egypt from Qatar by 2018. Qatar will also supply Egypt with natural gas when needed, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said. Earlier, Egypt’s planning minister Ashraf El-Araby said it was “very possible” that the country would ask the IMF to lend

it more money. Egypt has already asked the International Monetary Fund for Egypt is burdened by fuel shortages and a currency crisis, which have pushed inflation towards 9% from just over 6% in January, including a big rise in the price of food. The Egyptian pound has depreciated sharply and the country’s foreign reserves have fallen to $13.4bn, enough to pay for just three months of imports, according to economists.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani says Qatar will help Egypt.



Asia and China anger at Japan-Taiwan disputed island fishing deal Middle East


apan and Taiwan have signed a deal allowing Taiwan to fish near a group of disputed islands, prompting China to express “extreme concerns”. The agreement allows

Taiwan to fish within 19km (12 miles) of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China and Taiwan both claim the island chain, which is controlled by Japan. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which does not have official diplomatic

relations with Japan. The deal comes after 17 years of negotiations between Japan and Taiwan, local media has reported. The islands offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits. They have been at the heart of considerable diplomatic

tension between China and Japan, most recently in January when Japan said a Chinese frigate put a radar lock on a Japanese navy ship near the islands - something China disputes. In January, a boat of Taiwanese activists also tried to reach the islands, but were

forced back by the Japanese coastguard. “These negotiations are about the protection of maritime resources in the East China Sea,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary YoshihideSuga said on yesterday.

Kerry promises to help Palestinian economy


John Kerry(L) met earlier in the week with Mahmoud Abbas (R), the Palestinian Authority presi-

S secretary of state John Kerry has wrapped up three days of high-level Middle East diplomacy on a positive note, saying he held "very constructive talks" with Israeli and Palestinian leaders but offering few specifics. Talking to reporters after holding private talks with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Kerry said the parties all committed to a process that could "create the conditions for peace" so that they can return to the negotiating table. Kerry said he would soon announce new measures to help the Palestinian economy, but offered no details on how he plans to tackle the deeper issues at the heart of the decades-old IsraeliPalestinian conflict.

Kerry stressed that he was mindful of the "good intentions and failed efforts" that have dogged regional diplomacy in the past and said he'd focus on "laying the groundwork so we can bring people to the table with a clear understanding of what we're beginning on, what we're trying to do, and where we're trying to end up." Kerry, who has committed the United States to a multi-month diplomatic effort, stressed that he was being intentionally coy on the specifics of his new peace push. "It's not going to be done and shouldn't be done in piecemeal public releases," he said. "It's best done quietly." Peace talks broke down in late 2008 and have remained frozen since then.

Malaysia sets date for landmark elections


Prime Minister Najib Razak

he date for Malaysia's highly anticipated polls, which are expected to be the closest in the country's history, has been set, the head of the country's electoral watchdog has announced. Malaysia's general election is to be held on May 5, Aziz Yusof, the Election Commission chairman, said on Wednesday. Yusof said balloting would be preceded by a two-week official campaign period kicking off on April 20. The general elections will determine whether Prime Minister NajibRazak's governing coalition, can extend nearly 56 years of uninterrupted rule and prevail over an opposition alliance that accuses it of corruption and authoritarianism. The opposition Peoples' Alliance, led by Anwar Ibrahim, the former

deputy minister won five of Malaysia's 13 states in 2008 and stands a strong chance of toppling the coalition. Najib has promised regular cash allowances for the poor as one of numerous incentives for voters to hand his National Front coalition another five-year mandate. Ibrahim however is calling for faster political and economic reform and has pledged to tackle government authoritarianism and corruption. He has promised tax cuts, an increase in subsidies and to address complaints of discrimination against minority ethnic Chinese and Indians. About 13.3 million Malaysians will be eligible to cast ballots to fill 222 seats in the federal parliament and to choose representatives for 12 state legislatures.

South Korea raises alert with North to 'vital threat'


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (L) looks forward to Obama for support.

outh Korea has raised its alert level to "vital threat" amid indications the North is preparing for a missile test. At least one ballistic missile with an estimated 3,000km (2,000-mile) range is fuelled and ready for launch, US and South Korean sources say. Pyongyang has been making bellicose threats against South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region. The threats follow tough new UN sanctions imposed on North Korea last month after its third nuclear test.

Separately, an initial investigation by the South into a major cyber attack last month that affected a number of banks and broadcasters has said the North is to blame. North Korea is believed to have completed preparations for a missile launch after it moved two Musudan missiles to its east coast, Yonhap news agency says.In anticipation, the South Korea-US Combined Forces have raised their alert level to Watchcon 2, to increase surveillance monitoring,Yonhap quoted a senior military official as saying.



Barack Obama unveils $3.77tn budget plan


S President Barack Obama has unveiled a $3.77tn (ÂŁ2.4tn) budget that proposes fresh taxes on the wealthy along with cuts to benefit programmes. The White House is offering to trim pensions and healthcare costs, but only in return for $700bn in new revenue. However, the Obama plan is viewed as having no chance of being fully enacted by the deadlocked Congress. Republicans Senate leader Mitch McConnell branded the budget a "left-wing wish list". The Democratic president will host a dinner for senior Republicans on Wednesday evening to sell his proposals. Conservatives have refused to agree to new revenue after passing tax rises on earnings over President Obama unveiled his plan on an unseasonably warm morning in the White House Rose $400,000 in January. Garden. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have balked at Mr additional $1.8tn over 10 years, spending, and about $130bn incomes would be shielded from Obama's compromise offer to cut bringing total potential from Social Security, by the changes. Social Security pension reductions to $4.3tn, according changing the way cost-of-living The cost-of-living payments. adjustments are calculated. adjustments would also raise to administration estimates. Mr Obama's budget aims to Elderly and disabled $100bn in revenue over 10 years Cuts in the plan include about reduce the US deficit by an $400bn in government health recipients with the lowest through changes to tax brackets.

France's President Hollande toeradicate tax havens


rench President Francois Hollande has called for "eradication" of the world's tax havens and told French banks they must declare all of their subsidiaries. He was speaking after presenting a draft law aimed at "moralising" French public life - a response to the tax scandal that has shaken his presidency. France's ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with fraud over a secret Swiss bank account. Mr Hollande said a new central agency would fight fraud and corruption. Earlier the French Socialist government set a deadline of 15 April for ministers to declare their assets, as part of the new transparency drive. Mr Cahuzac admitted last week that he had hidden about 600,000 euros (ÂŁ509,000; $770,000) in a Swiss bank account, causing shock in France. He has now been

expelled from the Socialist Party for lying about his financial affairs. Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Mr Hollande said "tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and worldwide".

"I won't hesitate to consider as a tax haven any country that refuses to co-operate fully with France." He said French banks "will have to publish every year the full list of their subsidiaries in

France's ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac

the world, country by country". They will also have to explain their business, he said. "In other words it won't be possible for a bank to hide transactions carried out in a tax haven." Mr Hollande said a new national, specialist prosecutor would act on cases of fraud and corruption. In addition, "a high-level authority will be created to monitor the assets and interests of ministers, members of parliament, top elected officials", he said. A list of banned professions for politicians will be drawn up, to prevent conflicts of interest. Referring to the disgraced minister Jerome Cahuzac, he said "the judiciary is on the case - it will have to give its judgement". He said Mr Cahuzac should not return to the lower house the National Assembly.

Georgia to reinvestigate 2008 war loss to Russia


eorgia will re-investigate its disastrous five-day 2008 war with Russia to see whether President Mikheil Saakashvili was partly to blame, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said on Wednesday. Ivanishvili, a billionaire who became prime minister after his opposition coalition defeated Saakashvili's former ruling party last October, has been trying to assert his supremacy over the president, creating an awkward power struggle. In his strongest criticism yet of his rival, Ivanishvili accused the president of mishandling the run-up to the war.

"I also think that our government led by the president acted in an inadequate way in that situation," Ivanishvili told a news conference. "I consider it absolutely unjustified that military units were put on alert and military actions started before Russia crossed our borders." An independent report commissioned by the European Union in 2009 blamed Georgia for starting war with Russia, but said Moscow's military response went beyond reasonable limits and violated international law. The report said both sides had broken international

humanitarian laws and found evidence of ethnic cleansing against ethnic Georgians during Russia's intervention in the rebel province of South Ossetia. Ivanishvili dismissed concerns questioning Saakshvili as part of the investigation was aimed at damaging his rivals reputation and could harm Georgia's image, calling it a "normal European practice." Saakashvili has said Georgia was responding to an invasion by Russian forces when it attacked breakaway South Ossetia. Russian forces pushed deep into Georgia, taking control of the main east-west highway,

the Black Sea port of Poti and the strategic garrison town Gori. Russian jets bombed army bases and the military airport as well as other buildings, and more than 100,000 civilians on both sides were displaced at the height of the conflict. Some have been unable to return. Since the conflict, Moscow has recognized South Ossetia and the other rebel province, Abkhazia, as independent states. The EU report said Russia's counter-strike was initially legal, but its military response violated international law when Russian forces pushed into Georgia proper.

Europe and Americas Mexico sentences reporter's murderer


judge in Mexico has sentenced a man to 38 years in prison over the 2012 murder of crime reporter Regina Martinez Perez. Jorge Antonio Hernandez Silva was found guilty of homicide and robbery. Regina Martinez, a correspondent for news magazine Proceso, was found beaten and strangled to death in her home in Xalapa, in eastern Veracruz state. The prosecution says Hernandez confessed the crime, but colleagues of Ms Martinez say he was set up. Ms Martinez had been working for the investigative news magazine Proceso for 10 years when her brothers reported finding her body in her home. Before that, she had worked for local newspapers in the Veracruz region. She often wrote about drug cartels and political corruption. At the time of her murder, the Veracruz state government said that all lines of investigation would be exhausted, and that "the fact that she was a journalist is one of them". Six months later, Hernandez was arrested and prosecutors said he confessed to the robbery and murder. In an opinion piece in Proceso, Ms Martinez's colleagues said that there had been inconsistencies in the investigation leading to Hernandez's conviction. They said that fingerprints found in Ms Martinez's home did not match those of Hernandez. "We didn't believe [the legal system] then, and we don't believe them now," Proceso's op-ed piece reads, "and we still don't know who the real culprits are." Many journalists in Veracruz believe Ms Martinez was not killed as part of a robbery gone wrong but because of her investigative work. They say her murder in April 2012, that of photojournalists Gabriel Huge and Guillermo Luna in May, as well as the killing of crime reporter Victor Baez in June, are part of a campaign of violence and intimidation against journalists who investigate alleged links between drug traffickers and politicians in the state of Veracruz. According to the US-based pressure group Committee to Protect Journalists, Veracruz is one of Mexico's most dangerous states for the press, with rival drug gangs vying for control and silencing those who stand in their way. Prosecutors say they are still searching for a second suspect in the murder of Ms Martinez, a minor drug dealer on the run from police.



Thai family uses crocodiles as watchdogs to fend off burglars


ho needs watchdogs and alarm systems when you have two full grown crocodiles protecting your house? Awirut Nathip says no burglars have dared come anywhere near his home in the 15 years since his two crocodile pets have been keeping guard. Burglaries are reported regularly in the city of Phitsanulok, where AwirutNathip and his family live, but thanks to a perfect security system, they haven't had any problems for a good fifteen years. Just like everybody else, they used to worry about their safety, until they bought their t pet crocodiles, Thong and Ngen. After that, no one dared set foot on the property uninvited. And for good reason, as Awirut's unusual guard dogs are very aggressive, especially during the hot summer days. In order to keep them under control and make sure they don't become frustrated by the unbearable heat, he sprays them with cold water at least 10 times a day, and even lets them cool off in his air-conditioned office from time to time. Even so, Ngen is kept in a ditch next to the house, because he is so aggressive, while Thong does his rounds in the yard. "If we're upstairs he'll come and lie in front of the door. We're not worried at all. No one would dare to get in," Mr Nathip says. Although some would argue the crocodiles are a danger not only to Awirut and his family, but also to his neighbors, they actually approve of his unusual protection method, and feel safe with the predators close by. One of them, PrajitCharoensakkhajon, says: "I'm not frightened of him. I'd rather feel secure because he'll watch our homes. Thieves wouldn't dare to come round because they think the crocodile is fierce, right?"

Teenage girl has been on a noodle-only diet for 11 years


eorgi Readman, an 18year-old teenager from the Island of Wight, England survives only on cheap instant noodles, because she is afraid to eat other foods. The young hairdressing student goes through about 30 miles of noodles every year.GeorgiReadman got hooked on instant noodles when she was just five years old, after watching her older brother eat them, but they became her only source of nutrition after suffering a case of severe food poisoning at age eight. From that point on she couldn't bring herself to eat any fruits or vegetables, and only occasionally diversified her diet with small bits of potatoes and chicken. Whenever she goes out shopping, Georgi's mom always stocks up on 11p (¢16) packs of M Savers chicken noodles, because that's the only brand she's sure her daughter will eat. Any other kind of noodles might have green bits in them, so she would have to sieve them first. "I always fancy noodles and could easily eat two packets at

once. I've even eaten them dry and uncooked before," Readman says. She has always been a fussy eater, but ever since her food poisoning as a child, Georgi claims she goes into a panic,

18-year-old Georgi Readman

sweats and starts heaving whenever she tries to swallow any fruits or vegetables.Doctors have diagnosed GeorgiReadman with Selective Eating Disorder, which means she can't stand to

eat anything else but the food she's comfortable with for fear she might get sick. Unfortunately, her bizarre noodle diet has left her so malnourished that her doctor

thought she had leukemia and told her she had the health of an 80-year-old woman. She suffers from a constant lack of energy and has a fragile immune system. The 5ft 3in tall girl acknowledges her problem, and wishes she could stomach something else besides chicken noodles. Her dream is to start eating normally, put on some weight and be able to go out with her friends without being embarrassed that they'll see her freak out because of a salad. After repeated visits to the doctor, Georgi has been referred to a cognitive behavioral therapy expert who will hopefully help her overcome the bizarre fear of food. Selective Eating Disorder has become more frequent in recent years, with cases of people eating only junk foods like pizza or potato chips and putting themselves at risk of anemia or other more serious conditions associated with lack of vitamins, iron or calcium. Most SED sufferers will only eat around 10 types of foods, but in extreme cases such as Georgi's they'll stick to just one or two.



Tickle your chin to banish chronic snoring D By Roger Dobson

octors are using a 'chin stroker' to tackle snoring. The device stimulates muscles under the chin with small electric shocks, which they say helps ease symptoms in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. This condition, which triggers snoring, causes the tongue to flop back into the throat. Other soft tissues in the throat can also collapse, blocking the airway. The idea is that by stimulating the muscles that control the tongue and other parts of the throat, the airways will widen, therefore silencing the snores. Obstructive sleep apnoea affects around 4 per cent of middle-aged people, and leads to the sufferer's throat closing repeatedly during the night. Snoring occurs when the airway is partially obstructed the sound is generated by air rushing past the soft tissues in the throat. In severe cases the airway can become completely blocked, stopping breathing for up to ten seconds, before the brain jolts the body awake, causing the airway to reopen. By Emma Innes


iving birth to a baby in November may reduce its chances of developing immune disease such as multiple sclerosis, according to new research. The study, by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Oxford, suggests that the development of new born babies' immune systems and their levels of vitamin D vary according to their month of birth. The scientists said their findings support the need for further research into the potential benefits of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy. Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS, a disabling neurological condition which results from the body's own immune system damaging the central nervous system. This interferes with the transmission of messages between the brain and other parts of the body and leads to problems with vision, muscle control, hearing and memory. The development of MS is believed to be a result of a complex interaction between genes and the environment. The 'month of birth' effect is particularly evident in England, where the risk of MS peaks in individuals born in May and drops in those delivered in November. As vitamin D is formed by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, the 'month of birth' effect has been interpreted as evidence of a prenatal role for vitamin D in MS risk. In this study, samples of cord blood - blood extracted from a newborn baby's umbilical cord were taken from 50 babies born in

Snoring occurs when the airway is partially obstructed - the sound is generated by air rushing past the soft tissues in the throat Risk factors include being overweight and some medications, including sleeping pills. The condition also becomes

more common around the time of the menopause, possibly because hormonal changes cause the throat muscles to relax more than usual.

The new treatment, on trial at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, uses a technique known as continuous transcutaneous

electrical stimulation. Electrodes are placed either side of the throat directly underneath the jaw. These deliver small electrical shocks that cause the muscles to contract, pulling open the airway. An earlier study involving 33 patients showed that using the device at night for ten minutes at a time stimulates the genioglossus muscle, which runs from the chin to the tongue, and helps widen the airway. Another small study, with six patients, at Tohoku University School of Medicine in Japan found a 50 per cent improvement in symptoms. Now doctors at Guy's and St Thomas' have developed a new version of the device that senses when an episode is taking place by using a small microphone that detects the sound of snoring and a sensor that detects airflow from the nose. It then delivers a burst of electric currents until normal breathing is restored. The electrical currents are painless, and do not wake the patient. The device is being tested in a new trial involving nearly 50 patients. Source:

Babies born in November have a lower risk of developing conditions such as MS

Babies born in November are least likely to develop MS while those born in May are at the greatest risk November and 50 born in May between 2009 and 2010 in London. The blood was analysed to measure levels of vitamin D and levels of T-cells - white blood cells which play a crucial role in the body's immune response by identifying and destroying infectious agents, such as viruses. However, some T-cells are 'autoreactive' and capable of attacking the body's own cells,

triggering autoimmune diseases, and should be eliminated by the immune system during its development. The results showed that the May babies had significantly lower levels of vitamin D - around 20 per cent lower than those born in November - and around double the level of these potentially harmful autoreactive T-cells, compared to the sample of November babies. Co-author Dr Sreeram

Ramagopalan, a lecturer in neuroscience at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: 'By showing that month of birth has a measurable impact on in utero immune system development, this study provides a potential biological explanation for the widely observed 'month of birth' effect in MS. 'Higher levels of autoreactive T-cells, which have the ability to

turn on the body, could explain why babies born in May are at a higher risk of developing MS. 'The correlation with vitamin D suggests this could be the driver of this effect. There is a need for longterm studies to assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women and the subsequent impact on immune system development and risk of MS and other autoimmune diseases.' Source:



Bishops want leaders to prioritise public welfare By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


olitical office holders and public servants have been urged to first consider issues and policies that will guarantee the welfare and security of their citizens. The Catholic Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasugga, accompanied by the Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Bishop Michael Apochi Ekwoayi, made this call in Otukpo, Benue state, during a visit to the Senate President David Mark, who recently celebrated his 65th birthday. According to the statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Paul Mumeh, Mark, in his response, promised never to deviate, for whatever reason, from doing what is right and noble before men and God both in personal and official capacity. “I will do only those things I can defend before Him. I will continue to do what is right and noble before men and God at all times. I will do only those things I can’t defend before God”, Mark said. Mark, who further pledged that his utterances and actions will be dictated by the fear of God, also thanked God for His mercies and privileges to him. The Senate President further disclosed that he has dedicated the rest of his life to serve God and humanity, urging the various religions to pray for leaders at all levels for God’s wisdom to guide them in the discharge of their duties. “...both the Clergy and politicians exists because of the citizenry”, he said, just as he emphasized that as the President of the Senate, he will continue to be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to enable him to be fair and just in the discharge of his duties. Meanwhile, he assured the Bishops that equity and justice will be the guiding principles for the government in the distribution of social amenities and appointments, such that no part of the country is marginalized. Earlier, while receiving some members of his constituency from Oju/Obi federal constituency led by Hon. Samson Okwu, Mark urged them to be law abiding, pointing out that government is still mindful of their demands for improved social amenities.

Former presidential candidate of CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari, addressing his party supporters, yesterday in Abeokuta.

Photo: NAN

Jigawa D/Speaker urges Jonathan to assent to disability bill From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


eputy Speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Inuwa Sule Udi, has appealed to President Jonathan to assent to the disability bill that was first passed by the National Assembly in 2000, and passed for the second time in 200 and later in 2009. The Deputy Speaker who made the call yesterday at the official inauguration of the constituency office for the Jigawa State House Assembly member representing Dutse,

who is also a disabled person urged Jonathan to emulate Governor Sule Lamido who has given priority to physically challenged people. He advocated for dedicated department of government committed to managing disability issues. Udi said inability of the government to provide a robust legal framework to safeguard the rights of People Living with Disability has reflected in the plight faced by these individuals. He advocated for their rights to be protected when designing public

infrastructures. Similarly, Chairman Joint National Association of persons with disabilities, Jigawa State chapter, Muhammed Usman said the representation of Adamu Shaibu Jigawasada in the State House of Assembly is not only for Dutse but for all disable persons in the State. He appealed to all concerned stakeholders to utilize the opportunity of the constituency office to channel their complaints. “As a result of this seat, we have another person with disability who has been engaged as the personal Assistant

to the law maker.” He urged the Presidency to emulate the Jigawa State governor by giving voice to people with disability at the national level. The disability bill which passed the second reading in the Senate recently seeks to address the challenges faced by people living with disabilities (PLWDs) including issues of poverty, unemployment, access to security and assistive devices, education of children and young people with disabilities, and access to housing, public health services and transport.

APGA headquarters deserted following Appeal Court ruling


he National headquarters of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been devoid of activities following the Court of Appeal ruling on the leadership of the party in Enugu on Monday. A Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the party’s headquarters in Abuja yesterday reports that none of the national executives of the party was seen in the office. The APGA Director of Publicity, Mr Ifeanacho Oguejiofor, told NAN that the development was due to the fact that most of the members travelled to Enugu in

connection with the judgment. NAN recalls that the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu ruled that APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, should continue in office pending the determination of the substantive suit. In the application dated Feb. 28, Umeh prayed the appellate court to stay execution of the order of an Enugu High Court, which scuttled his position as national chairman of the party. He also prayed the court to grant an accelerated hearing to his appeal. The Counsel to the appellant, Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), pleaded

that a preservative order be given by the superior court to preserve the status quo of the former chairman from being taken over by “strangers”. He argued that some members of the party had scheduled its national convention for April 8, adding that a temporary deferment of the judgment of the trial court was in the interest of justice. “The defendant at the trial court, who is now the appellant was restrained from parading himself as the national chairman of the party. “The question now is what will

be the fate of the party without a national chairman. “I plead with the court to give a preservative order to protect the status quo of the appellant and temporarily defer the judgment of the trial court. “Especially now that they have fixed a date for the national convention of the party,’’ he said. Jude Okuli, the respondent, told the court that he was not aware of the appeal because he was not served by the appellant. “We will wait for the judge to decide on this matter because we were not duly served before this court sitting,’’ he said. (NAN)



2015: Women will occupy 50 per cent legislative seats – Minister


inister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina, said yesterday in Abuja that the ministry was already strategising to ensure that women captured 50 per cent of National Assembly seats in the 2015 elections. The minister disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan. Maina who said she briefed the council on the performance of the ministry in 2012 decried the poor performance of women in past elections and noted that she was poised to change the trend. “In the area of political empowerment for women in the

legislature, women did not do well during the last elections, but we, the Ministry are out to make sure that this time around women capture at least 50 per cent. “Already, we have started strategising. We may not have the resources, but we have the technical and the numerical strength to do that and I assure you that this time again, we are going to use our numerical strength to do that at least for women to have as many women in the legislature as we possibly could. The minister said that the ministry was also collaborating with other ministries like those of works, petroleum resources and others to ensure that women won juicy contracts to empower them financially. She noted that the trend by

which men were being awarded big contracts on roads construction, oil and gas should be reversed adding that there were capable women contractors for such jobs. Maina commended the president for identifying with women and for recognising their potentialities. She said the Federal Government had achieved the 35 per cent Affirmative Action for Women with the appointment of women into key positions. According to her, there are 13 female ministers in the federal cabinet occupying sensitive ministries like finance, petroleum resources, education aviation, and water resources and so on. She also said that beside the appointment of the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria, the

administration had appointed 31 per cent of judges in the judiciary from the womenfolk. Maina said that women occupied more than 30 per cent of ambassadorial appointments, as wells as 26 per cent of permanent secretaries appointments. The minister also said that women were also appointed to represent the country in the United Nations, the AU and in ECOWAS. She said the administration was the first to produce first female viceadmiral in the Nigerian Navy; the first female pilot fighter and admission of females as cadets in the Nigerian Army. She identified violence against women, particularly the menace of rape, as one of the major challenges faced by the ministry. (NAN)

Group of Civil Society Organisations protesting against pension scam and some of the shocking political decisions of Federal Government, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Lawmakers extol virtues of late Margaret Thatcher


ome members of the House of Representatives have described the late former British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher as a political icon. In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the legislators urged leaders to emulate her. Rep. Arua Arunsi (PDP-Abia), who is the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs said, “she did very well, she gave the

womenfolk the ability to say I can do it , and do it even better,” He noted that her demise was not only a loss to the British Government “but also to the entire world,” Rep. Beni Lar (PDP-Plateau), who is the Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights, said that Thatcher was an example of leader, who has the ability to make decisions and stick to them even in the face of opposition. “She is perhaps the most powerful

and renowned woman that ever lived,” Lar said. Rep. Abiodun Balogun (ACNOgun), said that late Thatcher would be remembered for her immense contributions to humanity. He described her as a role model and a pioneer of women leader in the world. “There is no way you will not mention her name (Thatcher), when you talk about women leaders,” he said. Also speaking, former ANPP

governorship candidate in Benue, Prof. Daniel Saroh, described Thatcher as “an exemplary leader and outstanding politician of the 20th century”. Saroh added that she was a successful woman, who did a lot to uplift the wellbeing of her people. Thatcher served from 1975 to 1990 as leader of the conservative party, “she was called the Iron Lady The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Thatcher died of stroke on April 8. (NAN)

PPA calls on political stakeholders to desist from heating up the polity


am Nkire, the National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), has urged political stakeholders to desist from activities that can heat up the polity. Nkire made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja. He said that the display of wealth

by some political office holders was fuelling the unstable security situation in the country. He advised political office holders to have attitudinal change in the discharge of their legitimate duties. According to him, those occupying government positions must be interrogated on how they run their offices and also on the use of public

fund. He advised the political office holders to always embark on policies that had direct bearing on the lives of the people. The chairman urged Nigerians to criticise perceived political leaders, who were giving tacit support to greed and corruption. He said that until Nigerians were

more interested and involved in the act of governance by holding public officials accountable, it would be difficult to tackle corruption headlong. Nkire stressed the need for Nigerians not to rely on prayer alone in order to reduce the high level of corruption in the land, but to take action that could bring about positive changes. (NAN)

Kogi LG election: Aggrieved PDP aspirants rush for CPC, ACN tickets From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


s a result of alleged imposition of candidates in the Kogi chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), aggrieved members of the party have resulted into picking their tickets from the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Speaking with this reporter in Lokoja yesterday, one of the aggrieved aspirants, Hon Funsho Olumoko whose landmark achievement in security control for his people speaks volume in Ijumu local government said that it was not enough to impose a candidate on the electorates but that it was better for the electorates to choose their leader. He further reiterated that internal democracy as envisioned by Ijumu local government was thwarted by a few clique who want to hijack party organs in the local government insisting that the people would definitely decide on May 4, 2013. He called on security agencies to give the people equal opportunity to test their popularity for genuine democracy to thrive in the state as attempt to disenfrachise anybody would not be tolerated. Others who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity maintained that imposing a candidate would be a sign that PDP is being controlled from outside because the governor, Capt Idris Wada made it abundantly clear that he had no candidate but the sudden change was unbelievable.

INEC retires 20 Directors in major shakeup


ix out of the 26 Directors in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters survived the ongoing shakeup in the commission A dependable source at the INEC headquarters told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that the commission had 67 directors nationwide The source said that the affected directors were either retired or redeployed and assigned to lower offices, The source pointed out that the exercise was aimed at repositioning the commission to meet the emerging challenges. According to the source, some of the affected directors with two years left in service are advised to retire with full entitlements or be redeployed to lower offices. The source said some of the directors accepted the options while some rejected it and threatened court action. Meanwhile, April 12, has been slated as the handing over date, the source said. (NAN)



PDP can’t infiltrate new merger APC, says Coordinator, Buhari Youth Organisation INTERVIEW Hon. Baba Abubakar Suleiman, a Minority Leader of the Bauchi House of Assembly and the coordinator, Buhari Youth Organisation who represents Azare Constituency, in this interview with newsmen in Bauchi, bares his mind on his new assignment. Our Bauchi Correspondent, Ahmed Kaigama, was there. Excerpts:


ow are you preparing for the new task as the North East coordinator of Buhari Youth Organisation? Of course, the task and magnitude of the assignment speaks volumes for themselves. Before, I was coordinating only Bauchi, but recently he (Buhari) called me for a meeting where he decided to saddle me with the responsibility of coordinating youth activities in the six states of the zone. Actually, as you rightly know, it is going to be a daunting task on me but I believe Insha-Allah I will be able to coordinate all the six states in the zone. Right now we have started making contacts and networking within the zone and at this state of your interview we are looking for an office in Bauchi which is going to be the headquarters of the zone under the Buhari Youth Organization. Will that office be under the CPC as a party or under Buhari Youth Organization? No, it is going to be under the Buhari Youth organization but not the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) as a party. Considering the security challenges bedeviling the North-east sub-region, how will you achieve the aims and objectives of the organization? Yes, we have every confidence that success would come along our way because Buhari has teeming supporters in the North-east geopolitical zone. It is true there are some security challenges worthy of consideration. When one delves into public affairs, especially if

you look at the situation in Maiduguri and Damaturu, the capitals of Borno and Yobe states, but we consider this as a challenge which needed to be tackled in spite of the insecurity situation. But, mark you, the security situation is improving day by the day. If you go to Maiduguri or Damaturu, for instance, people are returning back to their places of abode that were hitherto deserted for insecurity. And I assure you these security challenges in the zone would soon go for good Insha-Allah. Are your preparations towards the formal launching of the Buhari Youth Organization part of electioneering campaigns for Buhari towards 2015? We are not campaigning but we want put the machinery in place where youths will understand what we are planning in terms of contacts and mobilization. General Muhammadu Buhari is a product for the Nigerian populace especially the North-

Hon. Baba Abubakar Suleiman East zone where it was his stronghold since 2003. The task ahead now is to mobilize the youths because they are the active participants in any team or Nigerian project, especially during or prior to elections. And now with the merger in place, nobody knows who will carry the APC presidential flag come 2015 general elections. Despite all these, General Buhari is a household name in the Nigerian politics and for him being the leader of the CPC ,and if eventually the merger becomes a reality, which we are very optimistic between

now with the merger in place, nobody knows who will carry the APC presidential flag come 2015 general elections. Despite all these, General Buhari is a household name in the Nigerian politics and for him being the leader of the CPC ,and if eventually the merger becomes a reality, which we are very optimistic between now and June this year by the grace of God, the four political parties will collapse to form what was already known as the All Progressives Congress (APC)

now and June this year by the grace of God, the four political parties will collapse to form what was already known as the All Progressives Congress (APC). So in that regard, we are trying to mobilize the youths, telling them the ideals of General Muhammadu Buhari, his dreams and aspirations for our great country, Nigeria. And we will continue doing so until all the contenders that will aspire for the seat of the Presidency under the new party. Nigerians especially the youths will have the belief that Buhari is the most suitable candidate who has the love of the country at heart. So we all will give him all our support come 2015 to vie for the presidential election by the grace of God. Don’t you think that this type of organization will at the end of the day run into doldrums; what assurance will you give the people or the youth in particular? What I’m telling you, not only the youth in the Northeast zone but the entire country, though there are similar organizations in the past that have failed, but it is the system failure, and can all be ascribed to the practices and

manipulations of election that led to the bottleneck. But I am assuring you that Buhari Youth Organization will achieve its aims and objectives especially in trying to enlighten people on the leadership qualities of General Muhammadu Buhari and to also solicit their support if eventually given the mandate to contest the Presidency come 2015. Despite Buhari’s good organization, there are allegations that PDP normally infiltrates into his organization or party to thwart his efforts. How could you stop such situation? Well, we are all aware right from 2003 there are so many instances where there are infiltrations into the Buhari group or organization, but from 2003 to date, it is not a small period and therefore all the supporters of General Buhari and the party are doing all that we could to make sure we knock out the penetrations on the APC or supporters of Buhari. So I don’t think this will happen this time around, but I know there are some elements that whatever you are going to do, even if you look at it religiously, even our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had during his time witnessed some hypocrites and he don’t know them until when God told him those who are hypocrites. So, we cannot preempt that situation but we are trying to make sure that these infiltrations have been minimize to the barest level to enable us achieve the set objectives. But don’t you think that the thirst for power among makers of the merger will bog down the entire project? No, there are differences between merger and alliance. All that had happened in the past are alliances not merger especially in 2011 when political parties in the country had alliance. But in this case we are talking about merger. In alliance, all parties remain as political parties but in merger all parties involved will collapse to form one entity. Our experiences in the past have taught us how to deal with similar situations.

Group expresses concern over growing corruption, poverty in Nigeria


alam Auwal Musa, Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), an NGO, yesterday expressed concern over the growing level of corruption, poverty and impunity in the country. Musa made the statement at a rally on “Say No to Corruption in Nigeria’’ organised by a coalition of civil society

organisations in Abuja. “The level at which corruption is growing in Nigeria is worrisome, it has led to infrastructure decay and affects the image of the country in the i n t e r n a t i o n a l community,” he said. According to the director, if corruption is tackled head-on, all ills associated with our society will disappear, as there will be equitable distribution of the

nation resources. Musa said that there was nothing wrong with the Nigeria climate or air, adding that corruption was the greatest cankerworm facing the progress of Nigeria. He said that the economic difficulty bedevilling the country was not due to absence or inadequate human and material resources, but the lack of fairness, justice and deep

corruption. “The rate at which public officers and their collaborators in the civil service steal with impunity casts doubt on the seriousness of the government to combat corruption,” Musa said. He highlighted some of the major problems facing the country to include corruption, insecurity, election irregularities, and “rape of both the economy and persons’’.

The executive director said that the lingering security challenges had turned the nation into a state where citizens lived in perpetual fear of the unknown, which was a product of corruption. He advised security agencies to stop intimidating members of the civil society organisations and the media, as well as release with immediate effects those arrested. (NAN)



Corruption: Rep. Farouk knows fate May 2

L-R: INEC National Commissioner, Mr. Chris Igha, INEC Chairman, Professor Atahiru Jega, National Commissioner, Ambassador M.A.Wali, and National Commissioner, Dr. Nura Yakub, after their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja.


Photo: Joe Oroye

UPN will take over South West- Fasehun From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Chairman of the Committee for the Resuscitation of yet to be registered Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Dr. Federick Fasehun, has said his party will take over south west region in the next election. Addressing members of the party during the maiden meeting of the UPN held yesterday in Lagos Fasehun, said the party aim is to sanitize the nation’s political space beginning with the south west.

Prior to the untimely resting of UPN founded by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the pattern of elections in the Second Republic showed that the party had a virtual monopoly of seats in the SouthWest and a sizeable representation in the old MidWest. “Those championing the resuscitation of UPN aim to bring sanity into the Nigeria’s political space, beginning with the South-West, a credible political association such as UPN will serve as a reliable, focused, people-oriented political vehicle, “ Fasehun

said. Lamenting the quality of leadership and service that political parties have been giving to Nigerians, he said that the bulk of the nation’s yearly budget goes into the drain-pipe of corruption, through vast cash holdings, Nigerian banks and foreign accounts. “One reason for our collective disappointment is that unlike many democracies of the world, government in Nigeria has failed to make the citizen the centre-piece of governance. Worldwide, democracy is seen as the

government of the people, by the people, for the people. But the Nigerian situation is rather very paradoxical” he said. Fasehun noted that even without corruption, the cost of governance had become excessively prohibitive and unreasonable. “ Government has become the most profitable industry in Nigeria today, with returns on investment well over 10,000 percent. There is real danger for the country and we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch politicians run the country aground through profligacy and corruption.

Tanko wins IPAC chairmanship election


ational Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr Yunusa Tanko, yestesday in Abuja won chairmanship position at the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) election. IPAC is recognised by the Electoral Act as a convergence of the representatives of all the registered political parties in Nigeria. It’s primary objectives are to monitor and observe election in Nigeria and ensure that the code of conduct for political parties is maintained. It is also to ensure that Nigerians have free and fair election among others. “In line with relevant provisions of the Political Parties Code of Conduct, 2011,

IPAC is expected to elect, under the supervision of INEC, a Chairman and a Secretary for a one year term, based on merit and com m i t m e n t . He defeated Muhammed Nalado, National Chairman, Accord party by 13 votes to 10 votes. Mr Peter Amen of Peoples Progressive Alliance polled 13 votes to emerge as Secretary while his opponent, Dr Dele Ajadi of Action Alliance scored 10 votes. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of 23 out of the 25 existing political participated in the election, while APGA and ACN were absent. The election was presided

over by Mrs Toyin Bamidele, INEC, Deputy Director, Political Parties Monitoring. Addressing the gathering, Hajia Amina Zakare, INEC’s National Commissioner, Political Parties Monitoring, commended the delegates for the peaceful conduct of the election. S h e p r o m i s e d t hat the commission would continue to create conducive atmosphere and take firm stance on the activities of IPAC to ensure political development. Responding, Tanko said IPAC, as a united entity would continue to ensure and aid peaceful conduct of elections in the country. He promised to set up conflict resolution committee for the political parties to help

curb anti-party sentiments within the political and inter party structures. Nalado, who lost the chairmanship election told NAN that the exercise was “very transparent” and promised to work for the success of the body. NAN gathered that election into the post of Deputy National Chairman, Deputy Secretary, Treasurer and Publicity Secretary would be held at a later date. Alhaji Shittu Mohamed, Chairman, National Reformations Party and Mr Emmanuel Mok, Chairman, National Transformation Party, of the de-registered parties were the immediate chairman and Secretary of IPAC respectively. (NAN)

ep. Farouk Lawan, the former Chairman, House Ad hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, who is facing corruption charges in an Abuja High Court, will on May 2 know his fate.. The court, presided over by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, yesterday reserved Thursday, May 2 to rule on Lawan’s application seeking to quash the corrupt charges against him. Lawan is standing trial alongside his Vice Chairman, Boniface Emenalo, on a sevencount charge of allegedly obtaining $600,000 bribe from Mr Femi Otedola, the Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas Ltd. At the resumed hearing in the case on Wednesday, the defence counsel, Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), brought an application seeking to quash the charges against Lawan and Emenalo, his clients. “My lord, this application is seeking an order of the court quashing charges number FCT/ HC/CR/76/2013.” Tarfa said the application was brought on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction and competence to try and determine the offences in the said charge. He added that the conditions precedent to prefer same had not been fulfilled, thereby rendering the charges incompetent. The defence argued that the proof of evidence tendered by the prosecution counsel, Chief Adeboyega Awomolo, did not disclose the commission of any offence by the accused in the circumstance of the charge. “My lord, the charge as constituted is devoid of essential ingredients to suggest the commission of the offences for which the accused stand charged,” Tarfa said. Awomolo urged the court to reject the application, describing it as frivolous and an abuse of court process. “In view of this we have filed a 12-paragraph affidavit and written address urging the court to dismiss the application.’’ He said the application raised two small issues, as to whether the accused “are entitled to see the written statement of the prosecution witness and whether the court can by the application look at the merit of the application seeking to quash the charges, before trial”. Tarfa told newsmen later that the leave to prefer charges against Farouk ought not to have been granted. “And secondly, the charge does not disclose prima facie case against the accused persons. “Fundamentally, these are the two issues, having regard to the proof of evidence and the material before the court as at the time the application was filed.” Oniyangi adjourned the case to May 2 for ruling on the application. (NAN)



Nigeria is broke, pulls out of 2014 CHAN F Sylvanus Okpala, Assistant Super Eagles coach sacked Monday night for lack of funds

ollowing consecutive failures to qualify for the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) and paucity of funds to prosecute next qualifiers, Nigeria has opted out of the 2014 tournament. This was disclosed yesterday by a member of the Nigeria Football Federation executive committee, Chief Emeka Inyama, who asserted that participation in the tournament would be a huge

Inyama hopes IGI’s N27m sponsorship will buoy up NNL


he sponsorship deal brokered between the Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc and the Nigeria National League is seen as a fresh breath that would generate further sponsorship interests in the lower rung of the domestic league Emeka Inyama, the Chairman of the NNL drew this conclusion at a ceremony where the deal was formalised also said that the partnership would encourage corporate sponsors who believe in the league and thus usher in more sponsors. Yesterday’s signing ceremony was historic because it was the first time in Nigeria that second-tier would have an official insurer. IGI became the league’s maiden official sponsor with N27 million for three years “At last, we are delighted to have a sponsor because for a long time, the league has been in dire need of money and corporate support. Now that we have IGI identifying with us, we believe and hope that this partnership with them will usher in more sponsors. “I believe that it will trigger

Emeka Inyama, Chairman NNL

effects of more sponsors who believe in what we are doing and we will do everything possible to ensure that IGI is satisfied with the sponsorship,’’ he said. The league, after the board meeting held earlier in the day, agreed that 80 per cent of the partnership fee would be distributed evenly among the 31 NNL clubs. Responding, Rotimi Fashola, the Managing Director of IGI, said the company’s decision was born out of its commitment to supporting the government in sports development at all levels. “And the whole idea is from the fact that sports have become a household name in Nigeria and there is no way one can leave it to government alone to handle. “We have discovered that from the 21 years of IGI that the way forward is to join the government in supporting sports at all levels. “Now, we have identified with football and it is one of the major milestone both in our history and the history of sports development in Nigeria,’’ he said. Fashola promised that IGI would improve on the packages if the partnership worked well. “This is just the beginning, we can always review the contract to improve on the package for the league after this first agreement,’’ the managingdirector said. According to the communiqué of the board meeting issued to newsmen, the league also resolved that all indebted clubs will be barred from further participation if payments are not made before April 30. It also reaffirmed that the second round of the league would start on April 13. The league also resolved that all match official appointments will be published in the national dailies to ensure transparency.

drain on the paltry funds at the disposal of the board. “The home-based Eagles won’t play in the CHAN as we have withdrawn from the qualifiers due to lack of fund. We have a lot of financial commitments and we have to look at the competitions in order of importance”, Inyama said. Nigeria were due in June to battle Cote d’Ivoire in a qualifier for the tournament reserved for players featuring

in their respective domestic leagues. The forthcoming CHAN will be staged early next year in South Africa. Nigeria hosted the maiden edition of the fiesta which was introduced to assist CAF affiliates to grow home talents since majority of the renowned stars were foreign-based. Then, under the charge of Samson Siasia, the domestic league Eagles lost in the final and failed to secure qualification in

the subsequent editions. Inyama said yesterday that the board had taken the decision as parts of its efforts to conserve funds for fundamental matters. Also, he confirmed earlier reports that the NFF are broke and has taken measures to downsize the technical crew and backroom staff of the various national teams as well as slash the Eagles win bonus of $10,000 by half.

Irabor says new guidelines for registration of premier league teams underway By Patrick Andrew


ew guidelines for a properly structured elite league will soon be unfolded by the League Management Committee (IMC) with a view to regulate the quality of teams participating in the domestic premier league. The Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) that metamorphosed into the LMC, Nduka Irabor, said yesterday that not all the 20 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) would eventually fit into the new evolving league structure. According to him, the new guidelines would ensure clubs meet the basic requirements for professional football clubs before being considered for registration and participation in the new set up. “We’re just in the transitory period same as the league that’s running at the moment. We’ve not started the Premiership. The Premiership clubs are not the present 20-team Nigeria Professional Football League. “In fact, I’m certain not all the present crop of 20 teams in the NPFL will be part and parcel of the vision I have for the Premiership. “Clubs that will participate in the envisaged Premiership must show financial evidence to sustain and meet financial obligation to its players. “After 21 years of professional league no team can boast of owning a stadium rather what they can show is mere access to stadium. “We’re evolving a league that will be vibrant and enhance improved earnings to clubs and players not to club owners, managers, referees or administrators. “We intend to start proper youth team structure in respective clubs not what obtains in some feeder

teams where you have players with over 30 years of age. “We’re not looking at the ongoing league season for the changes, not even the next season but the process is already ongoing,” the former federal lawmaker said to Irabor said the shares in the League Management Company (LMC) will be available to the participating clubs in the new premiership format. “The LMC shares will be given to participating premiership clubs when the premiership properly evolves,” he said. He said the curtains on the 2012/13 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season will be drawn in September. “The 2012/13 NPFL season will end in September. We’ve structured the fixtures to accommodate our teams on the continent and the Federation Cup matches,” he said.

Nduka Irabor, Chairman, LMC

Octathlon athlete wants government to establish sports academies


amuel Aladesuyi, an Octathlon athlete, who represented Nigeria at the maiden Africa Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) in Warri, yesterday appealed to the government to establish academies for all sports. Aladesuyi, who placed second in the event with 4,820 points, said that standard academies would enable athletes to combine education and sports. “The government can

establish sports academies to bring out the talent in both established and budding athletes; they can also have access to training without necessarily missing lectures. “Sports academies are important because combining education and sports will be made easier for us all . At times, I miss training because of school and vice versa. “The academy will prepare us for the future because it will

make provision for our education and sports objectives,’’ he said. Aladesuyi also advised athletes to believe in their dreams and abilities and not to be self-defeatist. “The slogan we adopted for the AYAC was ‘Yes we can do it’. That is the belief that any upcoming athlete should adopt. They should always believe that they can do it and they will succeed,’’ he added.



CAHB official, Aluko, determined to reposition handball Kickoyin Aluko, a member of the Working Committee female head of CAHB during its last meeting of the of the Confederation of African Handball (CAHB), continental body on November 17, 2012 in Morocco. boxing to has promised to maximised her position to hasten “I have always had a passion for the growth of the pace of development of the game in Nigeria. handball in Nigeria, and I want to believe that the go S p e a k i n g opportunity has come, which I must exploit,’’ she said. yesterday in Lagos, Aluko, who was one of the country’s foremost female she said her handball players in the 70s, said that she would use her professional appointment into position to ensure that the HFN benefited from all CAHB the handball programmes. soon in highest legislative “As I former player, I will make sure that Nigeria is organ offers her the fully represented in CAHB and also make extra effort for Nigeria, needed opportunity our players and officials to benefit from any grant. to restructure the The former liaison officer of the National Sports says operations of the Commission (NSC), Lagos office, urged players and H a n d b a l l officials to be committed, so as to enhance the assistance Federation of that could come from her position. coach Nigeria (HFN), for Aluko, who also coached the country’s junior and



letus Okegbe, the National Kickboxing Coach, yesterday hinted that plans are underway for the emergence of professional kick-boxers in Nigeria. Okegbe, who disclosed that many amateur kickboxers would soon complete their mandatory participation in three National Sports Festivals, said thereafter they would become professionals. “After the completion of their three mandatory participations, the kickboxers will be ripe enough to become full professionals. “This is because the fighters will have gained enough experience from the festivals and the time will be ripe for them to take up the sport professionally. By going professional, they will be able to trade overseas and carve a name for themselves,’’ he said. According to him, kickboxers started featuring in the National Sports Festivals in 2008 in Kaduna, tagged; ‘Kada 2008.’ “Although, Kada 2008 was non-scoring in Kickboxing, Kick-boxers have been competing at subsequent festivals which have given them the opportunity to adequately understand the rules governing the sport. “So by the next national sports festival in Calabar in 2014, they will be fully ready to become professional fighters and make a name for themselves,” he said. Okegbe said that kickboxing was like boxing because the game had a professional fighting angle to it, where athletes could actually fight for money and make a living. He said that he foresaw a bright future for the sport because the country was blessed with an abundance of skillful and strong fighters. The coach, however, bemoaned the continuous dearth of competitions due to lack of sponsorships and training facilities and equipment, saying they were hindering against the development of the sport.

Dr. Lanre Glover, FIBA vice president

better performance. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that Aluko was appointed as a member of the working group and

senior female teams from 1985 to 1999, charged other former players to contribute their quota to the development of the sport. “I believe that with the contribution and commitment of our players and officials, coupled with the support of former players, we will be able to go a long way in promoting handball in the country,” she added.

Kogi appoints administrator for clubs From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Kogi State government has approved the appointment of Mr Paul Aiyenugba as the administrator of the state-owned football clubs on temporary basis with immediate effect. The Kogi State-owned clubs are the duo of Nigeria National League’s

Kogi United and Nigeria Professional Women League’s Confluence Queens of Lokoja. While appreciating the Governor Idris Wada on the appointment in a chat with newsmen, described the opportunity as wonderful, stressed that his wealth of experience as a special adviser will be well-utilized to advance the clubs in terms of performance and welfare.

“I’m delighted with the appointment and my experience as the special adviser will go a long way to improving the managements and welfare of the clubs “A Paradigm shift for positive in the management and performance of the clubs – tasked by the state government on the ensuring the clubs will not collapse but get to the next

level,” Mr Paul said. The appointment according to the statement released will see Mr Paul Aiyenugba serving in interim capacity pending the installment of a substantive Management Committee for the clubs. Mr Paul Aiyenugba until his appointment is the Special Adviser to the Kogi State Government on Sports development.

Donaire, Rigondeaux set for Saturday’s unification clash ‘


ilipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire, the WBO junior featherweight champion and his WBA counterpart, Guillermo Rigondeaux are shaping up for Saturday night’s unification clash in New York City. The bout, scheduled at the Radio City Music Hall, will be Donaire’s13th world title defence in what many believe will be a brilliant fight. The 30-year-old Donaire, whose professional record stands at 31-1, with 20 wins inside the distance, is regarded as one of the top boxers, pound for pound, in the world. Last year he beat Toshiaki Nisioka, Jorge Arce, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr and South African Jeffrey Mathebula. Before winning the WBO belt Donaire held the IBF and IBO flyweight and the WBC and WBO bantamweight

titles. His only loss was in his second professional fight in March 2001. Rigondeaux, 32, was an outstanding amateur, compiling a record of 400 wins and 12 defeats. He won seven Cuban titles and two Olympic gold medals, in 2004 and 2008. He turned professional in May 2009 and won the WBO belt in January last year when he knocked out Rico Ramos in only his ninth professional fight. He has made successful defences against Teon Kennedy, whom he stopped in the fifth round, and Robert Marraquin, whom he beat on points over 12. Donaire has exceptional hand and foot speed and is a powerful puncher but is up against an opponent who has good defence and can counter with his a powerful southpaw left.

Nonito Donaire

Guillermo Rigondeaux

Plateau Sports Council receives volleyballs, nets


he Plateau Sports Council has received 50 volleyballs and four nets from the Volleyball Federation of Nigeria (NVBF). Nicholas Nshe, Chairman, Plateau Volleyball Association, who presented the balls to the Director of Sports, Mrs Esther Sunwar, on behalf of the federation, said the gesture would boost the game at the grassroots. “The balls and nets are donated by the federation for distribution to schools as its contribution aimed at developing the game at the grassroots. “It is an effort to encourage the young generation’s passion for volleyball,’’ Nshe said. The chairman assured the director that the association was willing to partner with the sports council to ensure that the balls were distributed to selected secondary schools. “The federation assured us that if the balls are used appropriately, the gesture will continue in the next four years,’’ he said. Nshe appealed to the government to continue to support the association with funds for participation in c o m p e t i t i o n s , particularly the forthcoming volleyball tournament in Jigawa. Receiving the items, Sunwar said the gesture was in line with the Plateau Government’s resolve to develop sports at the grassroots. The director said that the government had directed local government council chairmen to construct mini stadia in all the local g o v e r n m e n t headquarters to boost sports development. “The incumbent administration in the state is interested in sports and that is why government is building an ultra modern stadium at Zaria Road in Jos,’’ she said. The Plateau Director of Sports urged other sports federations to emulate the good example by the NVBF.



Malaga petitions UEFA

Drogba proud of personal comeback


fter scoring a delightful goal in Galatasaray’s brave Champions Leaguequarter-final exit to Real Madrid on Tuesday, Didier Drogba feels he has silenced those doubters who thought his career was over. When Chelsea’s matchwinner from last season’s

Champions League final headed to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua last summer, many thought the career of the Ivorian, 35, was in its final throes. His speedy return to Europe to join Galatasaray in January was greeted with scepticism, but having helped the Turkish club

past Schalke in the last 16 and pushed Madrid in a 53 aggregate defeat, Drogba believes he has shown he is far from finished. “A few weeks ago, people were telling me, ‘Goodbye’, the exMarseille forward, who backheeled home a Nordin Amrabat cross in

Galatasaray’s 3-2 secondleg triumph, and they buried me a little bit. I’m proud of my comeback. Drogba can now turn his attentions to helping Galatasaray retain their Turkish league title. The Istanbul side currently tops the Super Lig table with 56 points, four more than local rivals Fenerbahce.

Mourinho may remain at Bernabeu


Coach Jose Mourinho

eal Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho refused to commit his future to the club after his side reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League with victory over Galatasaray. Mourinho refuses to commit to MadridJose Mourinho is to hold talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez at the end of the season to discuss his future at the Bernabeu. Mourinho has a contract with Madrid until 2016 but speculation regarding his future has been rife of late, amid suggestions he could seek a new challenge in the





summer. The Portuguese has been most strongly linked with a return to his former club Chelsea, whom he left in 2007 before taking over at Inter Milan a year later. “When the season ends

Didier Drogba to the Liga title last season while this campaign, although they are trailing Barcelona by 13 points in the league, Los Blancosare in the final of the Copa del Rey and in the semi-finals of the Champions League after their 5-3 aggregate win over Galatasaray.

Malaga blames racism for UCL exit


alaga owner S h e i k h Abdullah AlThani blamed racism for his side’s dramatic Champions League defeat at Dortmund and called for Uefa to investigate. Dortmund scored twice in injury time to complete a stunning 3-2 win and move into the

last four. But Felipe Santana’s winner appeared offside and Qatari owner AlThani believes his side should have won. Al-Thani, of the Qatari Royal Family, was named owner of Malaga in June 2010 after the 53-year-old bought the Spanish club. A series of off-the-field financial problems mean

Malaga is banned from European competition for one campaign when they next qualify. After the first leg in Spain ended goalless, Malaga were minutes away from a place in the Champions League semi-finals when substitute Eliseu put them 2-1 up, also from an offside position.

FA Cup semi-final: Wigan shun 10,000 tickets


igan Athletic has so far failed to sell at least 10,000 of their allocated tickets for Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Millwall. This has prompted the FA to take the unprecedented step of opening a zone for neutral fans. Both clubs were allocated just over 31,000 tickets for the game.

While the Championship club are expected to sell their full complement, Premier League side Wigan are struggling to sell their section. A maximum of 6,000 tickets from what was originally a Wigan section will now be sold to neutrals before Saturday’s game. Wigan’s failure to sell out their section is not

altogether unexpected, with the club averaging just short of 19,000 for home matches in the Premier League this season. Tickets are still available for Sunday’s semi-final between Manchester City and Chelsea, although that match is expected to sell out in the next 24 hours.

Piero wins Sydney FC award


talian superstar Alessandro Del Piero has capped an impressive debut season in the A-League by being named Sydney FC’s player of the year. The former Juventus great, the biggest signing in Australia’s domestic league history, has played a major role in increasing attendances, television audiences and media interest. He has been impressive on the pitch, scoring 14 goals, which also earned him the club’s golden boot award at a ceremony on Tuesday. The 38-year-old Italian, who spent 19 years at Juventus, scoring 208 goals in 513 appearances, joined Sydney last September.

Arsenal will force Wenger to spend



I will sit down with who I have to sit down with, who as well as being the president is also my friend and is the legal and emotional representative of all Real Madrid fans,” Mourinho said. Mourinho led Madrid


alaga are set to make a formal complaint to UEFA about the performance of referee Craig Thomson and his assistants during their 32 Champions League quarter-final second-leg loss at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. Two injury-time goals gave Dortmund the most improbable of passages to the semi-final of Europe’s elite competition, with replays showing several players from the Bundesliga team in offside positions in the build-up to the winner. Malaga’s director general, Vicente Casado, confirmed in a statement released on yesterday that the club will be filing a written complaint with European football’s governing body regarding the standard of refereeing in the match. The statement read: “We are outraged about the injustice which this club has gone through. After having gone through injustice in the office, we have now had it on the field. This club will officially complain to UEFA about the refereeing. “Our complaint will not be against UEFA, it will be against the level of refereeing, which was not at all up to the standard expected. The clubs are expected to be at a certain level of organisation, which is what we are doing. We also ask that the other things involved are at this level. One of these, the most important, is the refereeing.

Theo Wolcott

ormer Arsenal vicechairman David Dein is confident that Arsenal will force Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad with signings in the summer as they look to close the gap on their rivals. The Gunners are currently battling for Champions League qualification with the side fifth in the table, two points behind Tottenham but with a game in hand. Wenger’s side is 21 points off Premier League leaders

Alessandro Del Piero Manchester United, which has led to criticism over the quality of Arsenal’s strength in depth. The Frenchman has subsequently come under pressure to spend in the summer, and, amid suggestions he has £70 million at his disposal, Dein is sure his former colleague will bolster sufficiently. “He is one of the best managers in the world, he has been coaching for 30 years, he knows what he is doing, he knows what he wants and I think it’s just a question of identifying the right talent.



Liu may out Shanghai Diamond league, whole season, says coach

Liu Xiang


ormer Olympic champion, Chinese hurdler, Liu Xiang, may miss next month’s Shanghai Diamond League or even this season as he is yet to fully recuperate from

the injury which ended his bid to win back the Olympic title in London last year. Liu’s coach, Sun Haiping, said the 29year-old, Olympic champion over 110m in 2004, would make

a “full recovery” from his ruptured Achilles tendon, but would probably not be in action this year. T h e announcement confirms that Liu, who is undergoing

treatment in the United States, will miss next month’s Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, an event he has headlined in recent years. “We expect a full

recovery, but he cannot take part in any training now. Therefore he will probably miss all meets this year,” according to the Sun, who was quoted in the China Daily.

Last year in London, Liu clattered into the first hurdle in his opening heat and after being helped up, he hopped the length of the track before symbolically kissing the last barrier and exiting the Olympic arena. The incident was strongly reminiscent of 2008, when Liu, the defending champion, also limped out of his first heat at the Beijing Olympics, shocking his home fans and reducing a TV announcer to tears. In August, Liu was forced to deny an alleged cover-up in London after reports said state network CCTV knew about his injury but was barred from revealing it by China’s propaganda department. According to media reports quoted by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, CCTV broadcaster Yang Jian, who wept live on air in a repeat of 2008, had prepared scripts in advance. Liu shot to stardom at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when he became China’s first male track and field gold medallist. He has already ruled out competing at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

CC Trophy: Nigeria, Kenya in handball semifinals battle today N

igeria and Kenya national U-20 female handball teams will battle for a slot in the final today at of the ongoing Continental Challenge Trophy Championships in Djibouti. Nigeria had on Tuesday night defeated DR Congo 24-13 in the quarter-finals to berth at today’s semi-finals game. The male counterparts are equally scheduled to tackle Mozambique in the other semi-finals of their category. The male team had trashed Uganda 55-16 in the quarter-finals, also on Tuesday night. Confirming this development, Musa Hamza, the technical director of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), expressed delight with the teams’ performances and was optimistic they have the abilities to lift the trophies in their categories. “I am very impressed with the brilliant performance of our teams and we are very

Bolaji Abdullahi, Sports Minister

optimistic that we will make it to the finals. “We have started well, the spectators are also thrilled by the skills displayed by our young players who are participating in the competition for the first time,’’ he said on telephone. According to him, the national teams

qualified to represent Africa Zone III in the competition at the zonal qualifiers of the tournament held in Accra, Ghana in 2012. He added that the Nigerian teams would represent the continent at the Handball World Cup, if they should win the championships which end on Friday.

Fed Cup: Kvitova to lead Czechs against Italy


ed Cup holders Czech Republic yesterday named a five-member squad led by world No 8 Petra Kvitova for their semifinal tie against Italy on clay in Palermo on April 2021. Besides Kvitova, team captain Petr Pala has called up world number 21 Klara Zakopalova and 25th-ranked Lucie Safarova along with doubles specialists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the world numbers four and five in doubles. “I’ll make the final decision on the team on the spot depending on the health and shape of the players,” Pala, who can only name four players for the actual tie, said on the team’s Facebook page. The Czechs eased past Australia 4-0 at home in this year’s first round in February, while Italy beat the United States 3-2. Kvitova and Safarova, both left-handed, led the Czechs to two straight Fed Cup victories in 2011 and 2012. Besides the two recent wins for the Czech Republic, the former Czechoslovakia lifted the

Fed Cup five times between 1975 and 1988. Italy won the trophy in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

...As Spain, Ukraine in Davis Cup playoffs


pain, who won three of the last five Davis Cup titles, will have to beat Ukraine in the playoffs to avoid relegation from the World Group, according to the draw made on Tuesday. The Spaniards lost 3-2 to surprise team Canada in the first round without Rafael Nadal and other top players to go into the playoff pot for the first time since 2006.

Ukraine are in their second playoff via the European/African zone and bidding to join the elite World Group for the first time when they play the Spaniards September 13-15. The other playoff ties are Netherlands v Austria, Croatia v Britain, Switzerland v Ecuador, Germany v Brazil, Poland v Australia, Belgium v Israel and Japan v Colombia.

World League: Official urges cricket team to remain focus


he Regional Development Officer (South East) of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Emeka Igwilo, has advised the male national cricket team yesterday to sustain their determination at the on-going Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 7. This follows the performance of the male team that yesterday secured its second win at the competition with a 171 runs victory over Botswana at the tournament in Gaborone, Botswana. Nigeria had made 287 runs against 116 runs by Botswana and had defeated Ghana with six wickets in their second match. It lost to Fiji Island in the first and Igwilo was delighted that the country has continued to impress. “Kudos to Team Nigeria for its second victory in the competition, it is good news that needs to be sustained till the end of the event. Nigeria must not drop its ranking in international cricket. “With victory in this tournament, the team can assure Nigerians of that. It’s not over yet. The destination is still far. With good team spirit, commitment and sacrifices, we shall all celebrate the success,” he said. Nigeria’s victory was boosted by Oladotun Olatunji, who scored a century in the competition which has six countries. A century is one of the batsman’s targets when batting and it means the batsman did a 100 runs. Olatunji made 125 runs from 95 balls which included 12 fours and four sixes. He was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’ for his outstanding performance. Nigeria will meet Vanuatu, a team that has not suffered a loss in the completion on Wednesday, and later Germany.



PICTORIAL 1] Malaga are set to make a formal complaint to UEFA about the performance of referee Craig Thomson and his assistants during their 32 Champions League quarter-final second-leg loss at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday 2] FIFA reviews a big week of women's international action as USA and Germany again displayed their quality, Canada continued FIFA Women's World Cupâ&#x201E;˘ preparations while UEFA Women's EURO aspirants also kept busy. 3] Jose Mourinho is to hold talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez at the end of the season to discuss his future at the Bernabeu 4] The Professional Jockeys' Association is to ask for no jump racing to be held on the day after the 2014 Grand National. 5] England batsman Nick Compton is included among Wisden's five cricketers of the year 6] Players and officials found guilty of racist behaviour face 10-match bans as part of new plans proposed by Uefa. 7] Audley Harrison will fight American heavyweight Deontay Wilder on Amir Khan's undercard in Sheffield on 27 April.










fat and no bone. •Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. •Hawaii has the only royal palace in the United States. •Chicken liver can be used to change A type blood to O type blood.

hearts. •If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction. •The hair on a polar bear is not white, but clear. They reflect light, so they appear white.

•The best time for a person to buy shoes is in the afternoon. This is because the foot tends to swell a bit around this time. •The typical lead pencil can draw a line that is thirty-five miles long. •Due to precipitation, for a few weeks, K2 is taller than Mt. Everest. • Astronauts get taller when they are in space. •There are over one hundred billion galaxies with each galaxy having billions

of stars. •The surface area of the lungs is roughly the same size as a tennis court. •A dog can hear sounds that are 100 times fainter than the faintest sounds that a person can hear. If a person can just hear a noise that is coming from 10 feet away, a dog could hear that same noise from 100 feet away. •If a sole (a type of fish) lays upon a chessboard it can change the colouring of

its body to match the pattern of the chess board. The sole takes about 4 minutes to make the change. •Of all the animals on earth the mosquito has contributed to the deaths of more people than any other animal. •In the courts of the Roman Empire, instead of swearing an oath on a bible, men swore to the truth on their statements while holding their genitals. Hence the word 'testify', from 'testicles'.

•The first soap powder, produced in 1907, was made with Perborate and Silicate - hence its brand name, Persil. •If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, there would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Americas and 8 Africans. Only 1 would own a computer. •All elephants walk on tiptoe, because the back portion of their foot is made up of all

Yesterday’s solution

Some Interesting Facts


Say what?

•It takes only 8 minutes for sunlight to travel from the sun to the earth, which also means, if you see the sun go out, it actually went out 8 minutes ago. •The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. •An octopus has 3


Odin Eating Like a Person: The well-dressed German Shepherd snacks on a jar of peanut butter, using his arms and hands.


. . . putting the people first



UEFA proposes 10-match ban for racist abuse


layers and officials found guilty of racist behaviour face 10-match bans as part of new plans proposed by UEFA. UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino also revealed clubs could be forced to close part or all of their stadiums if fans racially abuse players. “What we are proposing is that if a player or official is found guilty then they will be suspended for 10 matches. Speaking at the Soccerex event in Manchester yesterday, Infantino added: "If supporters are found guilty then there will be a partial closure of the stadium. “This means the section where offence took place will be closed. If there is a second offence by the club's supporters there will be full closure with a minimum 50,000 euros (£42,700) fine. The debate on racism intensified this season after AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led his team off the field during a friendly in Italy after facing abuse. The Ghanaian walked off the pitch during a match against Italian team Pro Patria after he was abused by their fans. Chelsea captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez were both found guilty of racial abuse by the Football Association last year. Terry, 32, was banned for four matches and fined £220,000 for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand on October 23, 2011. Uruguay striker Suarez, 24, was sanctioned following a clash with Manchester United's Patrice Evra during the 1-1 draw at Anfield on 15 October 2011 and was handed an eightmatch ban and £40,000 fine.

Gianni Infantino UCL Results Barcelona 1 PSG 1 Juventus 0 B/Munich 2


0803 0805 0803 0805 0803

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Whatever a leader does while in ofice will endure for generations to come. — Mallam Mukhtar Yero, Governor of Kaduna state on impact of good leadership

Notes on dubious Obasanjo legacy T

he contributors and editors of a two-volume work on former President Olusegun Obasanjo's legacy (1999-2007) are naïve and deluded to think that they can callously, and with the impunity that characterized the Obasanjo regime, re-write our recent history that every living Nigerian is an eye-witness to. The Obasanjo self-centered roadmap, designed principally to perpetuate his rule, has brought the country to its current state of paralysis and chaos. In the political context, Obasanjo's most nation-damaging legacy was the 2007 election, following the acute personal political bruises ever inflicted on him, after the collapse of his third term plot. This was in spite of having heavily compromised the gluttonous and mercantile sector of the then National Assembly, the House of Representatives in particular, with bribes. After every desperate effort to cling to power, falling flat on his face, Obasanjo plotted his revenge on the nation. After causing so much disaffection and division in the ruling party (PDP), he picked, singlehanded, the party's candidate for the presidential poll. In the full knowledge that his candidate for the election were hard-sell, he set out desperately to compromise all state institutions including the military, police, and the already compromised electoral commission run by a spineless minion, keyed-in to the project "do or die", which culminated in the fraudulent election victory of the drab Yar'adua/Jonathan ticket. Obasanjo's political travesty and electoral malfeasance was denounced and decried universally as the worst in all human experience of the electoral process. Even the beneficiary of the travesty, the late president, could not hold on to the Obasanjo electoral chalice in good conscience. Right at the point of receiving the certificate of return in the office of the electoral commission, he announced an electoral reform committee. In spite of having been handpicked, late President Yar'adua repudiated Obasanjos' worst excesses including his last desperate action of auctioning the Kaduna and Warri refineries to Messrs Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, two well-known regime operators and insiders masquerading as independent entrepreneurs. During his short time in office dogged by poor health until his eventual death, Yar'adua targeted Obasanjo's most egregious infraction on the nation's socioeconomic life and placed them in reverse gear, prompting the petite despot to hit back at him. When Yar'adua's health challenge became the nation's most serious discourse, Obasanjo's intervention was to simply ask him to abdicate. With Yar'adua out of the way, following his death, also handpicked vice-president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, was shoved in. After the experience of having his excesses reined in by a politically

311 689 606 327 454

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GUEST COLUMNIST Charles Onunaiju savvy and overly ambitious vice president who has a mass-based political machine, Obasanjo shopped for a spineless neophyte for vice president. While the controversy over the president's health was raging, and a cabal led by the late president's widow waged a relentless war of disinformation, the vice president did nothing and said nothing in defence of the Constitution, ostensibly waiting for his legendary luck to smile on him, which eventually did happen, with the death of President Yar'adua. Today, the nation is tortured through the chaos of insecurity and the mindless looting of the national treasury, while poverty, misery, squalor and hunger mount an unprecedented assault on the ever bigger vulnerable sector of the population. In Obasanjo's eightyear rule, he imposed a most socially insensitive economic policy, helped along by a band of ideologically rootless and socially inchoate technocratic clique that is a caricature of traditional liberals in the Western sense. The OkonjoIwealas, El-Rufais, Soludos, Ezekwesilis, unleashed on the nation as reformers, set out on an epic and unprecedented asset stripping and looting of the nation's collective patrimony, superintended and overseen by Obasanjo. El-Rufai, whose current vocation consists of playing a phony opposition and his obsession with budget figures and statistics had the temerity to auction the nation's telecom flagship to a Dutch firm, whose headquarter was an uncompleted building. In an uncanny exhibition of impunity, el-Rufai recently claimed that the Dutch firm that drove NITEL and Mtel into bankruptcy won a competitive bid overseen by him. The core person in Obasanjo's economic management team, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, harangued the nation with exiting the debt trap as the core component of their economic policy. She claimed that after exiting the vicious creditor clubs' stranglehold, there would be enough funds to confront domestic the challenges of rebuilding infrastructure, job creation and even reviving moribund industries. After a dubious debt buyback arrangement, in which the country paid out 20 billion US dollars, the highest capital flight suffered by any country in history, neither infrastructure was rebuilt and the job market kept shrinking under massive de-industrialisation. Promoted to coordinating minister of the economy, a job most people said made her a de-facto

prime minister in the current administration, the woman is still on the theme of fiscal discipline to rebuild infrastructure and create jobs. She recently led a road show to China to shop for credit to rebuild infrastructure and create jobs, a grand mirage in the context of her neo-liberal grandstanding. For more than a decade, after the Obasanjo government seized on the well-worn out theme of privatization of the public sector, a discredited credo of the Washington consensus, almost every aspect of Nigeria's economic life has been privatized, but there has been no single successful privatized firm better run and more profitable. In the power sector, which is continuously mutilated and mutated, neither efficiency in service delivery nor profitability has been recorded. After spending almost 20 billion US dollars in the sector, the country still generates less than 3,000 mega-watts, less than the total generated for China's Beijing international airport alone. The Islamic Republic of Iran under intense sanctions from the West, generates 70,000 megawatts of electricity, with distribution extending to neighbouring countries of Turkey, Iraq and Armenia and Syria. Following in the tradition of military rule before him, the Obasanjo regime turned the oil sector into a huge patronage industry. Oil blocs became toys, literally, given freely to associates and even girlfriends. In nearly thirteen years of civilian rule, not a single refinery was built, in spite of having given more licences than any other government to private sector stakeholders to build and manage refineries. The massive corruption unearthed in the fuel subsidy regime indicated that for the seven times Obasanjo adjusted the pump price of fuel upwards, it was actually stealing from the public and handing over to the regime's fronts. Under President Jonathan and his petroleum resources minster, Mrs Deizani Alison-Maduekwe, billions of raw cash are handed out to siblings of ruling party hacks and others for absolutely nothing under the dubious regime of fuel subsidy. There is probably no place under the sun, where state institutions are more explicitly deployed for criminal purposes. Obasanjo's socially rootless and insensitive technocratic elite, still dominant in his foster regime of Jonathan and Namadi Sambo, is driving the country on the high way of socio-economic bankruptcy with a heavy toll exerted on its

political and moral trajectory as a collateral. Worse still, they have impoverished the national discourse, reduced it to the narrow confine of whether one individual public officer is doing well or not and completely obliterated the big picture of ideological and policy debate. In a short treatise (only 177 pages) but an intensely scholarly work, Looting Africa, a South African academic and activist, Professor Patrick Bond, exposes the trajectory of Africa's contemporary underdevelopment, even revealing how the Obasanjo/ Okonjo Iweala debt buy-back of 2005 was a scam and part of the project of the West to loot Africa with active connivance by home collaborators. Looting Africa has been published since 2007 and is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the double-speak of the likes of Okonjo-Iweala, Obansajo and others in the heinous agenda of Africa's underdevelopment. No short note on Obasanjo's dubious legacy would be complete without reference to the infamous saga of the kidnap of a seating governor by a group of political felons backed by the Obasanjo led federal government. After the attempted kidnap the then governor Chris Ngige of Anambra state, after he allegedly failed to deliver the state treasury to the felons, who were his alleged political backers, Obasanjo famously quipped that declining to respect a pre-election agreement in which he was rigged to office in exchange for delivering the state treasury to them, was at the root of the governor's travails. As the nation's chief law officer, commander of its armed forces, and the general overseer of its institutions, Obasanjo watched with obviously satisfactory glee as the institutions are systematically torn shreds. From the Uba/Ngige kidnap saga, and the tacit endorsement of the Obasanjo ledfederal government, the criminal gangs who would not mind to explore the governmentsanctioned new crime frontier quickly bought into it. Within a very short while, after the governor kidnap saga, the new crime, bourgeoned and exploded into the most lucrative crime industry. Till date, with a national spread, it appears no crime pays more than the kidnap industry and no white-wash will exorcise it from the baggage of Obasanjo presidential legacy. The reason why Obasanjo's presidential legacy is not a mere academic exercise or just a theoretical question is that, it is an existing political paradigm that eats away the nation's fabric. While my modest effort is to put in short perspective, its essential features, the most important thing is to politically repudiate it in our national life. Mr. Onunaiju is a journalist based in Abuja.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 805 727 9862. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 11, April, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 11, April, 2013 Edition

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