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Vol. 10 No. 32

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

EFCC re-arraigns Fani-Kayode

. . . putting the people first

Ado Bayero: Police parade 7 suspects

>> PAGE 3

>> PAGE 2

Rabiul Akhir 2, 1434 AH


No lopsided recruitment, promotion in Army, says Ihejirika >> PAGE 3

Cardinal Arinze tipped, as Pope Benedict resigns By Etuka Sunday, with agency reports


ollowing the announcement made by the Catholic pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday of his intention to resign as the Head of the Catholic Church on February 28 this year, due to his advanced age, Cardinal

Francis Arinze of Nigeria has been tipped by bookmakers as the most likely candidate to succeed the Pope. Arinze had lost out in a bid to be named Pope in 2005. Arinze who is now 80 years old was tipped ahead of Peter Turkson of Ghana and Marc Ouellet of Canada as the favourite to take

over the mantle of leadership from Pope Benedict XVI who was elected in 2005 by the Vatican's College of Cardinals. According to William Hill bookmakers “during the 2005 conclave of the Vatican's College of Cardinals that elected Benedict, Arinze was considered “papabile,” or a potential successor to the late

John Paul II. When we opened betting last time in 2005, Francis Arinze was our favourite, His odds did drift towards the date of the announcement when Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) became the favourite, but he remained in the top three.” Arinze and Turkson, the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice

and Peace who are considered as progressive candidates, are among 18 Africans in the Vatican's College of Cardinals qualified to vote and be voted for in the forthcoming papacy election. In a statement, Pope Benedict XVI who became the 265th Pope Contd on Page 2

Shocker as Eagles coach, Keshi, resigns By Patrick Andrew


arely 24 hours after the Super Eagles' victory at the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Head Coach of the team, Stephen Keshi, has tendered his resignation to the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF]. Keshi made the disclosure himself on the radio show of a respected South African journalist and presenter, Robert Marawa on Metro FM yesterday afternoon. The presenter later posted the information on Twitter account, @robertmarawa, yesterday thus, "Stephen Keshi has just announced that he handed over his resignation letter after the Contd on Page 2


11th Feb., 2013


BUYING 154.74 242.87 211.09 0.3029 41.25

SELLING 155.74 244.44 212.46 0.3229 41.52


BUYING 208 254.50 42 157

SELLING 210 257.50 43 158

Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (left), assesses the level of destruction after communal crisis, on Sunday at Barikin Abdullahi, in Lafia, Nasarawa state. With him is the former Minister of Works, Alhaji Hasaan Lawan (right).



















Education 27-28 Health


Bayero: Police parade 7 suspects From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he Kano State Police Command has paraded seven suspects that allegedly participated in the attack on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero recently. Speaking to newsmen while parading the suspects at the headquarters of the command in Bompai Kano, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris, said six of the seven suspects

in detention were apprehended when one Adamu Sani, a 35 year old indigene of Tofa local government was apprehended at Sabuwar Gandu by mobile policemen on the day of the attack. Idris said that Sani voluntarily confessed to have participated in the attack on the Emir’s convoy, as well as many other coordinated attacks in the state which included the attack and killing of policemen at Yan Awaki quarters, Tishama, kwanar

Freedom, burning of primary school at Gayawa and sharada by Yahaya Gusau among others. In one of the confessions made by Adamu Sani, he stated that he was recruited into the terror group allegedly by Malam Salisu Mohammed of Unguwa Uku quarters and Malam Sharif Mohammed Ghali, the Imam of Filin Cashew Mosque. The Commissioner of Police revealed that they usually ordered them to go on a Jihad

(Holy War) and anybody who objected to such orders would be killed. Idris said eight of the suspects were at large and have been declared wanted. Their profile, he said, have been forwarded to the Inter-Pol to aid their arrest anywhere in the world. It would be recalled that Ado Bayero was attacked on January 19, 2013 when five persons in his entourage were killed while two of his sons sustained injuries.

Over 6000 ghost workers discovered in Plateau Wakilin ver 6000 ghost workers 17,000 and 18, 000 workers, the replaced, we have had people Adamawa have been discovered in governor became alarmed that resigning, going on secondment the payroll of the Plateau despite the fact that there had and, yet we have not had any Loses Brother been no new employment, the corresponding decrease. state government.


Revealing this in Jos yesterday, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham told Peoples Daily that the ghost workers were discovered after a biometric verification exercise carried out by the state government. According to him, after earlier committees set up by the government to determine the strength of the state’s workforce had put the figure at between

figure kept rising. He stated that the biometric exercise discovered that Plateau should have not more than 11,000 workers, meaning that the remaining were not legitimate workers. In his words: "Between 2007 and 2011, we discovered that the figure of the state civil service kept increasing despite the fact that people have been dying and have not been

He added: "We discovered that before the minimum wage, the wage bill was N1.2 billion monthly and after that it rose to N1.7 billion, then we started asking questions. How come the wage bill, instead of increasing continued to increase, despite the fact that people have been leaving the service through one means or the other and they were not replaced.”


lhaji Gambo Adamu, the younger brother of the Wakilin Adamawa, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, is dead. Alhaji Gambo, 71, died yesterday at the NISA Premier Hospital in Abuja after a brief illness, and will be buried today after funeral prayers at the National Mosque in Abuja at about 10 am. The late Gambo is survived by three children.

Shocker as Eagles coach, Keshi, resigns The resignition that shocked the world, Page 4















WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU The Peoples Daily wants to hear from you with any news and pictures you think we should publish. You can send your news and pictures to:

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Contd from Page 1 game exclusively on 083Sport@6With Marawa on MetroFM." Further, Keshi claimed that he opted to formally resign because the leadership of the NFF had already sacked him just before the quarter-finals match against tournament favourites-the Elephants of Cote d' Ivoire. The football federation had allegedly gone ahead to book return flights for the team on the assumption that the Eagles would be beaten by the dreaded Didier Drogba led squad. But the Eagles shocked the leadership and upset pundits with classic display that routed and overawed the Ivoriens to secure a semi-final ticket. Against Mali in the semi-final, the Eagles dominated with

scintillating samba rhythm that took the continent by storm to the delight of all and sundry and thus forced change of heart from the leadership of the football federation. However, Peoples Daily recalls that Keshi had threatened to quit his post if the leadership of the football federation were not satisfied with his rebuilding process and the pattern he had injected into the squad, the team's seemingly slow transformation notwithstanding. Again, in a veiled notification of his impending shocker, Keshi said during the semi-final's post match conference that his future with the Super Eagles after the Nations Cup was uncertain. "I may or not be the head coach of the Super Eagles after this tournament, in fact, you could be called upon to take up the job," he

said a sports journalist at the media tribune. In the fever of the celebration on Sunday, Keshi reiterated his veiled threat by insisting that he might well be on his last assignment with the young team, "which has taken patience to build," he said. "Patience is needed to identify and groom players. We have lot of talents but people need to be patience to allow for the proper grooming of these players," he said without mentioning who the inpatient fellows were. Sequel to the development, Peoples Daily learnt last that the executive committee went into closed door even as key figures sought to persuade Keshi to rescind his decision. The members had held similar meetings following the

Eagles’ two drawn games at the AFCON and had subsequently threatened to sack Keshi. Speaking in confidence with our correspondent, a former top notchers of the football federation confirmed that Keshi had mentioned his travails with the leadership of the NFF to him adding that he accordingly advised him against being in a hurry to resign. Though NFF officials refused to respond to 'phone calls, the aide to the Minister of Sports denied the resignation even as Nigerians based in South Africa confirmed listening to the programme where Keshi made the disclosure. Keshi replaced Samson Siasia in November 2011 after the latter failed to qualify Nigeria for the 20122 AFCON.

Cardinal Arinze tipped as Pope Benedict resigns Contd from Page 1 in the Catholic Church history said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. “For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on April 19, 2005, in such a way that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose

competence it is,” he declared. Describing the move, Monsignor Oscar Sanchez, a Mexican prelate, said “none of the cardinals had expected it. He summoned a meeting of cardinals to tell them of a decision of great importance for the life of the church. The pope took a sheet of paper and read from it. He just said that he was resigning and that he would be finishing on February 28. “The cardinals were just looking at one another. Then the pope got to his feet, gave his benediction and left. It was so simple; the simplest thing imaginable. Extraordinary! Nobody expected it. Then we all left in silence. There was absolute silence … and sadness,” he said. Also speaking, Federico

Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said “Benedict is 85 and is set to resign not because of "difficulties in the papacy" or a specific illness but instead a progressive decline in his strength. “In the last few months, he has seen a decline in vigour, both of the body and spirit. It was his personal decision taken with full freedom, which deserves maximum respect.” On the possible crisis that may be generated by his resignation, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, said the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28 will not lead to crisis in the Catholic Church since it was done in line with the Laws of the Catholic Church. Following the declaration

made by former Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger who was voted on April 19, 2005 as the bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter and popularly called Pope Benedict XVI would leave the papacy vacant until a successor is chosen. His successor is expected to be elected by the end of March and possibly for the beginning of the holy week on 24 March. Benedict will honour public commitments and engagements until the date of his resignation, after which he will move to a summer residence near Rome and then to a former monastery within Vatican territory. He will take no part in the process to elect a successor. Cardinals will meet and vote on nominees in a series of ballots until a new pope is chosen.



No lopsided recruitment, promotion in Army, says Ihejirika By Joy Baba


he Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, has said there was no lopsidedness in the recent recruitment, promotion, retirement and redeployment in Nigerian Army as is being speculated. Ihejirika stated this yesterday in Abuja at a press conference to counter the allegations of lopsided recruitment, promotion,

retirement and deployment in the Nigerian Army. The army chief said any retirement of officers passes through the army council; it is when the council sits and approves that such officers can go and the officers to be retired usually get six months notice to the retirement day. According to him, "when I assumed office, I was confronted with an avalanche of petitions and we had to look at them.

"What the officers complained about was that the promotion board did not sit as at when they should have and their argument was that, if the board sat when due, they would have been promoted before June that they were retired. "I did a passionate review on the issue so that those officers were given an opportunity to face promotion. Five officers were saved from premature retirement from this review out of which four

are from the North and one from the South-west". Ihejirika also said it was in recognition of the need for the army to have great interface with the populace that he established the Department of Civil Military Affairs as part of his administration's transformation agenda. Any army officer that complains of not being promoted or his junior being ahead of him is not fit to be in the military because military service is a service of sacrifice and selfless service to the nation, the army chief also said. Earlier in his speech, the

Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR) Brig. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, said it is a great disservice to the nation for anyone to choose through deliberate falsehood to link the routine activities of promotions and postings in the Nigerian Army with ethno-religious considerations; adding that if these faceless groups had no ulterior motives, they would have sought to air their grievance through official channels which are available for redress by any genuinely aggrieved persons over any policy or actions of the Nigerian Army.

EFCC re-arraigns Fani-Kayode By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


R-L: Chairman, UBA Plc, Chief Israel Ogbue, former Governor of Zamfara state, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima, Deputy Managing Director, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka and Executive Director, Mr. Abdulkadir Bello, during the Annual UBA CEO Awards ceremony held in Lagos at the weekend.

Family of 8 perish in Katsina auto crash

Senate says Nigerians expend N80bn yearly on medical trips

From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ragedy struck in Katsina in the late hours of Sunday as eight members of the same family returning from a wedding ceremony in Kano on their way to Funtua died in a ghastly motor accident along FuntuaMalumfashi road. A member of the family, Umar Danbaba told our correspondent that all the dead were members of Sada Jamoh family in Funtua who attended a wedding ceremony in Kano on Friday but met their death while returning home on Sunday night. He noted that those who died in the accident which occurred along Mararrabar Kankara Junction include three women, four children and one male driving the car while one woman survived the tragedy. Danbaba added that the accident occurred when a trailer veered off the road and crushed the car in which the victims were travelling in. He stated that all the dead were buried, yesterday morning in Funtua.


he Senate Committee on Health yesterday disclosed that Nigerians spend yearly more than N80 billion to receive health services from various hospitals across the world. The Chairman of Senate Committee on Health, Ifeanyi Okowa, (PDP Delta North), who made this revelation yesterday in Abuja during a one-day public hearing on the National Health Bill, also pointed out that this is mostly due to the poor state of

health infrastructure, equipment and personnel in healthcare centres in the country. He assured that the National Health Bill would be given urgent attention by the senate as the nation’s health sector is in total rot and needs immediate intervention. Speaking at the occasion, Senate President, David Mark, represented by his Deputy, Ike Ekerenmadu, said it is time for Nigeria to reform its health care delivery system. He regretted that the country had lost so much in the past to

other countries due to the challenges in reforming the health sector and put it in good light. “We can’t continue to go abroad for medical treatment. We will need to save all that money to put in place the facilities in the health sector. I am aware that Nigerians continue to go abroad for medical treatment. It’s not only the rich, even the poor do so because churches contribute money to send people abroad for treatment, families contribute money, communities contribute money to send their relations abroad for treatment .

JTF hands over 18 oil thieves to EFCC By Lambert Tyem


he Joint Task Force (JTF) of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Benin has handed over 18 suspected oil thieves to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution. According to Wilson

Uwujaren, the suspects were arrested at different locations in series of operations between October 2012 and January 2013. The command alleged that the suspects were arrested with different trucks, tankers, buses, cars, drums, jerry cans and pumping machines with which they transfer products and liquids suspected to be adulterated

kerosene and illegally refined automotive gas oil, AGO. The suspects include Shedrack Ofosa, Mudia Owin, Ovie Joseph, Nnamdi Albert, John Abuja, Lucky Egbegbe, Andrew Anthony, James Aker, Kadiri Aloysius, Paul Ojo, Oduwere Edobor, Esene Osaghale, Abubakar Isah and Steven Omoghwigho.

ormer Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode was yesterday re-arraigned before Justice Rita OfiliAjumogobia of a Federal High Court in Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged money laundering. Fani-Kayode pleaded not guilty to the 47-count charge of money laundering, contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, which was slammed against him by the anti-graft agency His counsel, Chief Ladi Williams, prayed the court to allow him to continue with the bail granted him by Justice Ramat Mohammed, who earlier handled the case. Williams also prayed the court to allow Fani-Kayode the liberty to travel abroad at will for medical checkup, as granted him by Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, who also had earlier handled the case. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Nelson Okedinachi, did not object to the applications for the accused person to continue the bail earlier granted him. The trial judge, OfiliAjumogobia, in his ruling, held that the defendant would continue with the bail granted him by Justice Mohammed, before whom he was first arraigned in December, 2008 and adjourned the case to March 11 for substantive trial. The re-arraignment of the former minister followed the transfer of Murtala-Nyako from the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court. Nyako handled the case after Mohammed, who granted FaniKayode bail in the sum of N200 million, with two sureties in like sum. It would be recalled that FaniKayode had been in a recent bustup with the Presidency following the trading of accusations of profligacy and corruption between parties loyal to former president Obasanjo and the incumbent.


The resignition that shocked the world


ope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85. The unexpected development the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides. The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope in 2005 after John Paul II's death. Under the Catholic Church's governing code, Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published. But resignation is extremely rare: the last Pope to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the Church. A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said that even Pope Benedict's closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left "incredulous". He added that the decision showed "great courage" and "determination". Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is quoted as saying he was "greatly shaken by this unexpected news". The brother of the Germanborn Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months. Talking from his home in Regensburg in Germany, Georg Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a "natural process". He added: "His age is weighing on him. At this age my brother wants more rest." The Pope is not expected to take part in the conclave that will choose his successor, and will then retire to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office. Father Lombardi said the Pope would then move into a monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican, for "a period of prayer and reflection". At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected. He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades - the scandal of child sex abuse by priests - was breaking. In a statement, the pontiff said: "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. "I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. The Pope's shock resignation on health grounds is an "eruption of modernity" into the Vatican, according to Ezio Mauro, chief editor of Italy's La Repubblica daily. The Spanish daily El Mundo says Benedict XVI will be remembered as "God's sweeper" - the man who tried to resolve the "numerous problems of the Church that did so much harm to its image". In a video commentary, the chief editor of Poland's Rzeczpospolita daily, Boguslaw Chrabota, said: "I'm shocked, just like the whole world is... For a long time we have known

Pope Benedict XVI about his health problems, but we never knew the details, of course. We thought that he would cope, that he would overcome his illness." The editor of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Bernd Riegert, calls the Pope's move "a courageous step, a revolutionary step". "He has helped himself to freedom, he is setting boundaries. No longer will successors be able to cling onto their office." "However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in

order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. "For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that

as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is." A theological conservative before and during his time as Pope, he has taken traditional positions on homosexuality and women priests, while urging abstinence instead of blessing the use of contraceptives. His attempts at inter-faith relations were mixed, with Muslims, Jews and Protestants all taking offence at various times, despite ongoing efforts to reach out and visits to key holy sites, including those in Jerusalem. A German government spokesman said he was "moved and touched" by the surprise resignation of the pontiff. "The German government has the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church. "He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd." Full text of resignation speech Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this

ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the boat of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

Benedict XVI Significant views: Said Christians in Iraq under Saddam Hussein were more free than they are now 25/1 Cardinal Christoph von Schonborn, 68

Country: Austria Elevated to cardinalate by John Paul II Significant views: Said use of a condom by an Aids sufferer could be seen as a 'lesser evil'.

Ghanaian Cardinal is bookies' favourite to become the next Pope


ithin minutes of Pope B e n e d i c t ' s announcement, speculation was rife about who would replace him. There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner - the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. However, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson has emerged as the early favourite, with Paddy Power offering odds of 9/4, closely followed by Canadian Marc Ouellet at 5/2. Here are those in contention, their odds and some of their strongly held beliefs. 9/4 Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, 64 Country: Ghana Cardinal in the Ghanaian Catholic Church Elevated to cardlinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Would like to see a black pope. Believes condoms should be used in marriage if one partner is infected with Aids. 5/2 Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68 Country: Canada Elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Belief that abortion is unjustifiable, even in cases of rape 7/2 Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80 Country: Nigeria Elevated to cardlinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Extreme conservatism on birth control and abortion 7/1 Cardinal Angelo Scola,


Country: Italy Elevated to become Archbishop of Milan by Benedict XVI Significant views: Wants to work more closely with Islam and support Christians in the Middle East 10/1 Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 70 Country: Honduras Elevated to cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: A moderate but is anti-abortion and criticised Ricky Martin for using a surrogate mother 12/1 Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78 Country: Italy Elevated to cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Blamed homosexual infiltration of the clergy for Catholic child sex scandals 14/1 Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 70 Country: Italy Elevated to cardinalate by Pope Benedict XVI Significant views: Strongly against abortion and expressed anger towards same-sex unions 16/1 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77 Country: Argentina Elevated to cardinalate by John Paul II Significant views: Against abortion and euthanasia, is against same-sex marriage but calls for respect of gay people. Washed the feet of 12 Aids patients in 2001. 20/1 Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69 Country: Argentina Elevated to cardinalate by

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson



Borno NBA threatens to drag JTF to UN T From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri

he Maiduguri branch of Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), Borno state, yesterday threatened to drag the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF) before the United Nations, (UN) over what it described as “unlawfull’ activities of the security outfit in the state. The NBA argued that activities of the JTF, which allegedly comprised of arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of people for alleged links with Boko Haram sect and detention without trial for over a year, contravened the international law on human rights. It also observed with dismay the action of the JTF, in spite of the declaration of unilateral ceasefire by the Boko Haram sect, which, it said, is detrimental to the return of peace to the troubled city. This came less than a week after hundreds of women took to the streets of Maiduguri protesting the continued detention of their husbands and children by the task force. The NBA, in a statement issued its chairman, Barrister Hussaini Hala, said: “It is disheartening to note that in spite

Offa/Erin-Ile crisis: We lost nine people, says Offa From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Offa community in Kwara state yesterday confirmed that it lost nine persons to the recent crisis that broke out between it and Erin-Ile, a town in Oyun local government of the state. National president of Offa Descendants Union (ODU), Chief Hamzat Adedeji, who disclosed this when former governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki visited Offa to commiserate with the community over the incident, said 15 indigenes of the town sustained serious injuries during the fracas. It could be recalled that Kwara state police command confirmed that only three people lost their lives as against ten published in few National Dailies. The Oloffa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi who commended Saraki and his team for the visit, urged his people to remain calm. At Erin-Ile, the spokesman of the community, Alhaji A K Yusuf, alleged that Offa people are frustrating government’s past efforts in solving the crisis. He alleged that the Offa people were encroaching on Erin land without regard to the Unity Road constructed by the government to serve as boundary between the two communities. The Elerin of Erin-Ile, Oba AbduGaniyu Olusokun, in his remark said his people are ready to pursue and work for peace at all times.

of the ceasefire declared by the sect, the operatives of the task force continue conducting acts capable of sabotaging the gradual peace that is returning to the state”. “The association considers the failure to conditionally or unconditionally release or charge to court the detainees in the custody of the JTF as unconstitutional, illegal, and an abuse of their fundamental

human rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory”. The association also decried that since the JTF was set up in 2011, not a single suspect was charged to court despite the huge number of detainees. It insisted that since the task

force has no constitutional power to prosecute anyone, it should have transferred the detainees to the appropriate prosecuting authority within a reasonable time. Hala said NBA has resolved that all detainees in the custody of the JTF should either be immediately released on bail conditionally or unconditionally or charged to a court of law having overstayed in the JTF’s custody;

all roads, markets and commercial areas illegally and unlawful blocked or shutdown should be reopened forthwith; all persons displaced or unlawfully chased away from their houses should be recalled and resettled; the JTF should stop all forms of extortion on public highways/ roads, especially against commercial motor vehicles and tricycles who were compelled to pay before allowed to pass.

L-R: Director, Army Public Relations Officer, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General O.A Ihejirika; and Secretary of Nigerian Army, Major General Ugo Buzugbe, during a press conference on the retirement and promotion of some officers of the Nigerian Army, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Police arrest three journalists over killing of Kano health workers From Edwin Olofu, Kano


our persons including three journalists, are cooling their feet in detention at the Police headquarters in Bompai Kano over the killing of nine health workers last weekend by yet to be identified gunmen. The detained journalists are the head of local programme

Mohammed Suleiman Gama, Yakubu Musa and one Mubarak, all of a private radio station in Kano. Musa had anchored a programme criticising the polio immunisation exercise two days before the nine health workers who were on the mandatory polio exercise were killed in two separate attacks in the city.

The three journalists and a former chairman of Kano state Censorship Board, Rabo Abdulkarim, were apprehended apparently because of the coincidence, the killing having taken place not long after the programme was aired, although this is not the first time polio workers were attacked. It would be recalled that two

policemen who were on polio immunisation exercise were killed last year at Dawanau when some unknown gunmen attacked them. Kano state Police Commissioner Ibrahim Idris who confirmed the arrest said whoever is involved in crime would not escape justice, saying the journalist are been held because of criminal intent.

Suleja bombing: Court quashes suspects’ no-case submission By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday refused the no-case submission entered by the six accused persons standing trial for allegedly bombing the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Suleja, Niger state on April 8, 2011. From Umar Dankano, Yola


espite the efforts of the Federal and state governments to address the long standing problems between farmers and cattle herdsmen, a fresh attack which claimed six lives has been reported in Ganye local government area of Adamawa state. Confirming the incident, chairman of Ganye local government area, Alhaji Mohammed Farouk, said six

The trial judge, Justice Bilkisu Aliyu ruled that the prosecuting counsel, Thompson Olatigbe, on behalf of the State Security Service (SSS) was able to establish a prima facie case against the suspected bombers. “Having listened and closely examined the arguments of prosecuting counsel and counsels to the six

accused persons as well as the evidences of the prosecuting witnesses, I hereby discountenance and dismiss the no-case submission of the accused persons.” Justice Aliyu said. The trial judge held that the evidences tendered before the court against the accused persons are such that require an explanation from them, and

therefore posited that they should enter their defence, if they so wish. She stated that the court was convinced that the evidences which introduced the charges are such that required explanation from the accused persons and adjourned the matter till March 12 and 13, 2013 for the accused persons to open their defence.

Six herdsmen, farmers killed in Ganye people were killed in separate occasion involving farmers and herdsmen in the area. Farouk told newsmen in Yola that the incidents started when some strange herdsmen invaded the guinea corn farm of the village head of Ngantu, a border village with Cameroon. “When he accosted them, they threatened him and he had to rush and call some

hunters. “On sighting the hunters, the herdsmen started shooting them with bows and arrows forcing them to retreat and in the processed the herdsmen kidnapped an elderly man, Usman Yakubu, who was later found dead”, Farouk said. The chairman said two days after the incident, dead bodies of three Fulani youths were also found in the area as well as two

other decomposing bodies of two farmers in what looked like the two groups were engage in counter attacks. Farouk who sue for peace caution nomads and herdsmen in the area not to allow the incident caused by strange herdsmen suspected to be from a niegbouring country threaten their cordial relationship and peaceful coexistence for years.



Buhari congratulates Nigerians on Eagles' success By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


R-L: Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo; Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama; and Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, during a meeting on the power sector, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

16, 000 applicants chase 100 Judicial jobs By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


housands of unemployed youths have been queuing for employment application forms at the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) on a daily basis for not more than 100 vacant positions. FJSC is the judiciary organ with the mandate of recruiting staff to fill vacant positions in the federal judiciary civil service in the country. According to a source close to the FJSC, the commission is worried by the mammoth crowd gathering on daily basis since January 19, 2013 to collect and submit employment application forms for just a handful of vacant positions to fill in the

judiciary. The source said: "As at the close of work on Friday February 8, 2013, the commission had received 16,000 employment application forms from job seekers for vacant spaces that are far below 100. "The Federal Character Commission insisted that we must advertise the few vacant positions in the Court of Appeal, knowing full well that with the precarious employment situation of the country, thousands of unemployed youth would flood this place. "In other words, the publication was made to comply with the instruction of the Federal Character Commission to the effect that all vacant positions be advertised,

irrespective of the number of positions available",the source added. The FJSC said that in line with FCC directive, it will issue the application forms for six weeks running before short listing eligible applicants for interview. The source said that the executive secretary of FJSC, Hajia Bilkisu Bashir had to invite a combatant soldier to control the crowd and to avoid chaos around its offices, which is located within the Supreme Court premises. "It is a Federal Character Commission directive that led to the large crowd which is yet to subside. We have issued over 16,000 application forms in the last two

weeks and we still have up to February 28 to complete the exercise of issuing the employment application forms. "The forms are now issued on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while we use Tuesday and Thursday to receive the completed forms. We cannot stop the issuance of the forms before February 28; there is nothing we can do about it because that is what the Federal Character Commission insisted should be done",the sources added. There had been an upsurge of job applicants at the Supreme Court in the last three weeks, following the news that the Apex Court was receiving applications in respect of some vacant positions.

Al-makura appoints Security Adviser, appeals for calm From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


n furtherance of his administration’s effort towards ensuring sustainable peace, stability and harmonious co-existence as the basis for socio-economic development, Governor

Umaru Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa state has approved the appointment of MajorGeneral Asotan T. Umar (rtd) as Special Adviser on Security. In a statement made available to journalists in Lafia yesterday, signed by Bulus Amoyi, Permanent Secretary,

General Administration in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, the appointment is with immediate effect. Meanwhile, following the tension raised by the recent skirmishes in Kwandere, country home of Gov. Al-makura, the

state deputy governor, Hon. Dameshi Barau Luka, in a statewide radio broadcast, has appealed to residents to remain calm and go about their normal businesses, while assuring them that government is on top of the security challenges confronting the state.

Lawyer blames rising cases of corruption on plea bargain


n Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Gabriel Egbule, yesterday said the recognition of plea bargain by judges had encouraged corruption, particularly among the rich. Egbule told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja that the use of plea bargain by corrupt persons as a means to evade adequate punishment for charges leveled against them was unacceptable. "If you go to the prisons, you will

see a lot of poor people who have been in prison for years for charges like theft of handsets and when they are convicted, the court does not hesitate to impose the maximum sentence. "When it comes to the rich, the plea bargain will be introduced", he said. He called for the elimination of plea bargain, stressing that it was encouraging people with corrupt tendencies to get involved in corrupt acts without any fear of being properly reprimanded.

"Even though the plea bargain is not expressly mentioned in the Criminal or Penal Code, by implication it is recognised. "When a person pleads guilty and is ready to admit to some parts of the charges leveled against him, he could have other parts of the charges withdrawn; this seldom happens to the poor. "When politicians or top civil servants are charged to court for serious corruption cases, they automatically and conveniently

enter into plea bargain. "These are persons who have stolen large sums of money running into billions of naira. Such persons find it very convenient to plead guilty and enter a plea bargain that will guarantee them payment of some amount of money and forfeiture of some assets for which they are charged". He said that convicts should be adequately punished irrespective of their status in society in order to deter others. (NAN)

ational leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, has congratulated Nigerians over the successful outing of the Super Eagles at the just concluded African Nations' Cup tournament held in South Africa. In a statement issued yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, Buhari noted that the entire campaign of the Super Eagles typified the resilience, and indomitable spirit embedded in the Nigerian people. He said the head Coach, Stephen Keshi, should be commended for providing the right leadership that saw the players and the rest of the crew through a successful football campaign even when hopes were waning. He further said the conduct of the players on the pitch and outside equally showed the discipline required of champions, calling on the players to build on the success to ensure another successful campaign at the Confederation's Cup in Brazil in summer of 2013.

Reps mull stiffer penalties against vandalism By Umar Muhammad Puma


he House of Representatives has vowed to provide stiffer penalties for offenses relating to saboteurs of petroleum products, computer misuse, cybercrime and other related crimes. Chairman House Committee on Justice, Rep. Ali Ahmad (PDP Kwara) stated this at the public hearing of the Joint Committee on Justice and Petroleum Downstream, that vandalism of pipelines and unlawful exploitation of petroleum otherwise known as bunkering are criminal activities that have assumed a frightening dimensions since the 1990's and that the criminal activities have spread out of the Niger Delta region to other parts if the country. He revealed that over N160 billion was lost to pipeline vandalism between 2009 and 2012; with inestimable amounts in human and environmental losses. He said other criminal activities posing serious threats to the country include the activities of hackers and internet fraudsters, as a result of which Nigerians are losing confidence in the electronic banking sub-sector. In his submission chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, represented by acting Director Legal, Mr. Chile Okoroma, said cybercrime is a new phenomenon; adding that it is important for some of the words in the draft bill to be defined for clearer interpretation.



Huge wage bill stalls payment of teachers’ minimum wage – Suwam From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


pecial Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Solomon Wombo, has said that the State government requires over N1. 8 billion to implement minimum wage for teachers. Teachers in Benue State have been grumbling over

“government insensitivity” to in paying the minimum wage since its implementation in the country over two years ago. In an interview with newsmen yesterday in his office, Wombo said that government was eager to pay the minimum wage to teachers. He, stressed that the wage bill of the state, including payment of over 28,000 local government

staff which gulps over N1.7 billion as well as N150 million for payment of pensions, makes it almost impossible for the state to pay the minimum wage to more than 25,000 teachers in the State. “We are suggesting a way out. The committee set up by the state government to verify the number of teachers in the State has concluded its assignment.

The state government is studying the report. We are not insensitive to the plight of teachers but we cannot borrow money to pay salaries, rather government is working towards cutting cost. I have been holding several meetings with the leadership of Nigerian Union Teachers, NUT, in the state and plead for time with them”, Wombo appealed.

Health workers protesting on non passage of National Health Bill, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


anaging Director of Dermo Imprex Nigeria, Dr. Antony Uwa has given reasons for the long delay in implementing the Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN), an integrated data and information project for Nigeria since 2007. Uwa in a statement said the project was approved by the Federal Executive Council in its May 18, 2007 meeting with the FCT as pilot, and a service agreement was signed between the Federal Government represented by the National

Why BRISIN project stalled Planning Commission (NPC) as coordinating agency, and the service provider Dermo Impex. Dr. Uwa said bureaucracy and vested personal interest in the form of various meetings and bogus requests in the Ministry of National Planning thereby stalling the project since 2007 when funds was budgeted for its implementation. “Since the award of the project in 2007, funds was released by the FCT Ministry which was approved as pilot state to the ministry of National

Planning but the ministry for reasons best known to them refused to release the money to us, the unfortunate story is that the Planning Commission pushed the company into borrowing money to start the project in 2008, but in 2013 we have made moves towards implementing the integrated data and information for Nigeria.” Appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to call the National Planning Commission to order and stop playing politics

‘UniIorin zoo made N1.3m in Dec 2012’ From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


hairman of the University of Ilorin Zoo Management Board, Prof. A. T. Ande, disclosed that the University Zoo generated a total revenue of N1.336 million on gate fees from visitors in December 2012. Ande who stated this in an interview with journalists, said it was a quantum leap from the zoo’s usual monthly income of between N800, 000.00 and N900, 000.00 since the upgrade of the zoo. “Last December, we recorded a total of N1.336

Photo: Mahmud Isa

million from the gate intakes due to the festive period but in other months, we usually make between N800, 000.00 and N900. 000.00 from visitors to the Zoo”. The don added that the suspended canopy walk-way alone generated N173, 000.00 last December as against the N45, 000 it made last October when the structure was first opened to the public. “When you are in the Zoo, it takes courage and added pocket value to climb the suspended canopy walk-way. Some people are below and

they usually appreciate and encourage those who are climbing the suspended canopy walk-way. We had it in October last year and when we started we made N45, 000.00, then in November, we made N74, 000.00 and in December, we generated N173, 000.00.” Ande said that despite the commendations, the University Zoo and Botanical Garden have been receiving from visitors in recent times, the targeted standard to educate, entertain and satisfy the desires of visitors to the Zoo, was yet to be met.

with a project of national interest, Uwa explained that the project would create about 10 million jobs in 10 years, control crime rate among other numerous benefits. He lamented that lack of integrated data and information management infrastructure remain the biggest impediment to Nigeria’s socio-economic development. Dr. Uwa said Nigeria must begin to realize that the modern Information Management approach was the missing link in its development efforts, particularly the absence of a culture of harnessing information, facts, figures, data, and statistics, as the driving force of development, as practiced by the developed countries of Europe, America, and Asia. He said that the Citizens‘ Advocacy Group, CAG, an amalgam of civil society organisations and an advocacy organ of PRONACO, has decided to support the government through the private sector by organizing an Information Management Stakeholders Conference. The Conference is expected to kick start the implementation of BRISIN which has been stalled in the last six years .

Sorcery: “Pastor”, wife face N4.74m fraud charge


couple, who allegedly obtained N4.74 million under the pretext of casting out evil spirits from a man, was on Monday charged before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court. The duo – Chidiebere Okafor, 27, and Amaka Akataka, 23 – both residents of No. 18, Sanusi St., Satellite Town, Lagos, are facing a seven-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, stealing and unlawful possession of charms. The prosecutor, Insp. Samson Ekikere, said that the accused and others still at large conspired and committed the offences at OrileIganmu between 2011 and 2012. According to him, Okafor presented himself as a pastor capable of casting out evil spirits. “The accused obtained the money (N4.74m) in dollars and naira from Mr Patrick Okoro. “Amaka also defrauded the complainant of N280, 000 which was paid into her bank account. “The accused had in their possession different types of charms, following a search conducted by the police on them in their apartment”, Ekikere told the court. (NAN)

Nigerians join Koreans to celebrate ‘Real New Year Day’ in Abuja By Mohammed Kandi


ome Nigerians had a glimpse of the unique custom of the Koreans in Nigeria when they joined their countrymen all over the world in celebrating the New Year called ‘Seollal’. This year’s event attracted Korea’s citizens and friends in Nigeria, mostly children adorned in Korean dresses to dance, wine and dine together, last Friday. The Koreans celebrate two New Year days in a year – one on January 1st, the other for the lunar year, and both are significantly condensed with colouful activities to spur their visitors to a cheerful compassion. Host and organizer of this year’s Seollal and Director, Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja, Mr. Kwon, Yon-ik and his lovely wife received and offered special greetings to the kids present according to Korean cultural practices, as well as gave money known as “Sae-Bae Don” to compensate for the big bows. Mr. Yon-ik said: “Korean new year is the most celebrated holiday season in Korean culture. Families gather up at their home town and share wellwishing remarks and delicious treats.”









Tanker drivers threaten strike over unjust arrest of members By Abdulwahab Isa


buja metropolis and its environs may experience another fuel scarcity should the threat of strike by members of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) materialise as planned. The Union, in a statement released over the weekend by its National Chairman, Comrade Timothy Ogbu, decried the mishandling and maltreatment of its members by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil

Defence Corps in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital. It said seven of its trucks and thirteen of its members have been taken into the custody by officers of civil defence corps in Lokoja on trumped up charges .

"The trucks were impounded even after tendering their genuine weigh bill among other particulars to prove they loaded from Lagos. Members of the Civil Defence not only intercept, effected arrest of the tanker

drivers but also handcuffed them like common criminals, just because they refuse parting with their monies", said the statement. The association also said that, the action of the Civil Defence

operatives has already triggered an effect that could lead to scarcity of fuel products in Abuja and its environs. For instance, the union said, there had not been any loading since last week Wednesday at Suleja depot.

FUNAAB acquires capacity to administer e-Exams From Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


he ongoing 2012/2013 First Semester Examination has added a positive twist as the Management had engaged the personnel of the University's Information and Communication Technology Resource Centre (ICTREC) in the application of Computer Based Test (CBT) for students. The innovation is not only a vast improvement on the conduct of examinations in the University but better still, a drastic and radical departure from the past where the institution hired contractors to conduct the examination. The Acting Head, ICTREC, Dr. Olutayo Ajayi revealed this in an exclusive chat with FUNAAB Bulletin. He described the innovation as unique and a landmark achievement. His words, "in the past five years, we have been using external company to conduct Computer Based Test and this has been causing us fortune. We have dropped that idea, the Professor Oyewole-led management is now engaging members of staff to conduct the examination.

L-R: Chief of Staff to the GOC, 1 Div., Brigadier-General Ohifeme Ejemai, President of the Examination panel, BrigadierGeneral Abdul Mustapha, and, Director of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Brigadier-General Ugwu Chima, during the 2013 Promotion Practical Examination for Army Lieutenants, Captains and Majors, yesterday in Kaduna. Photo: NAN

Kaduna to beef up internal revenue From Nasiru Mu'azu Isa, Kaduna


overnor Muhktar Ramalan of Kaduna State has expressed disatisfaction with the current level of the state's Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and will henceforth reinforce the revenue generating drive to optimally utilise its resources. He expressed this disappointment while playing host to senior partners of C2G Consulting and SAP Africa led by

Minister describes killing of Woman as shameless, cowardly By Maryam Garba Hassan


inister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina has described the recent killings of female health workers on Kano as shameless, cowardly. The women were said to be killed by unknown gunmen during a polio exercise. Hajiya Zainab, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, added that the situation was unfortunate because women and children being the most vulnerable members of any society, are supposed to be protected.

"These dastardly terrorist killings are not only an attack on our collective responsibility to secure a healthy future for our children through elimination of the polio virus but also an attack on humanity. "It is most disheartening that inspite of efforts by Government at all levels to come to the aid of its people, especially vulnerable groups, there still exist heartless and insensitive individuals and groups who are bent on unleashing mayhem and pain especially on those dedicated to the protection of lives and property as well as well-meaning Nigerians who innocently go about their businesses", the statement said.

Onyekachi Uzukane who were in Government House, Kaduna to pay him a visit. In a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna by Ahmed Maiyaki, Director General, Media and Publicity, Yero said the State Government would partner with all stakeholders to improve on the IGR. He stressed that instead of the state IGR improving annually, it is on the decline while the state has all the potential to raise the IGR. Yero said he would like to

know what are the causes and challenges. He asserted that the government is going to fully concentrate on revenue generation through prompt and regular payment of tax as well as other revenues due to the state. He urged the public to cooperate with the government as the IGR would be used to provide basic social amenities to better their lives. Earlier, Mr Onyekachi Uzukane has expressed the resolve of their firm to partner

the state government through sustained working relationship to ensure all necessary avenue of revenue generation in the state are utilised in the interest of the majority. In a separate development, Governor Mukhtar Yero has challenged Development Area Administrators on improving the lives of the people at the grass root. He told them while on a courtesy visit to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House to embark on minor but life improving projects at their levels.

Soldiers not desperate to leave Borno- JTF From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


he Joint Military Task Force, (JTF), said Sunday that soldiers deployed to the troubled city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital to quell the Boko Haram insurgency, are not desperate to leave. The JTF was reacting to a report by section of the media (excluding Peoples Daily), alleging that some soldiers deployed to the state from others parts of the country for peace mission are complaining of 'over stay' saying the three-month mandatory duration has elapsed, without

being rotated. However, in a swift reaction, spokesman for the task force, LtCol. Sagir Musa, in a statement issued to newsmen Sunday night, described the report as misleading. " Rotation of troops on operation is a normal military practice, not a rigid exercise, but a situational and circumstantial. Exigency of duty, challenges on the ground can warrant appropriate superior authority to delay or extend rotation schedule without any ifs or buts", the statement said. "We don't have Civil Society Group(s) and there is no Fundamental Human Rights in

the profession of arms - these are tendentious if the JTF/military must be effective in performing its constitutional responsibility of defending the nation from external and internal enemies. "Here in JTF, rotation is continuous and is currently ongoing. Remember, troops are been moved to Mali, Sudan and Liberia. All the troops cannot concurrently be rotated", it further added. The task force, also urged journalists to avoid nosing into strategic, tactical and operational matters as well as military justice system.



Managing 'recessed' income to make ends meet


he country's economy may not be in recession, but there is no doubting the fact that there is financial crisis which has eaten deep into the pockets of many individuals and corporate organisations. The result is that expendable income would have shrunk for many, thus bringing about the need to introduce some form of cost management. To say management of cost of operation can help achieve a desired goal is not limited to organisations or public sector alone. It is pertinent to know that your everyday activity involves cost. For instance, if you are going to the market, you need to pay transport fare; you also need to pay for the items you are going to buy. According to Isaac Adeyemi, vice-chancellor, Bells

University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, who recently spoke at a seminar on the 'modelling cost management solution for improved cost efficient in the public and private sectors in Nigeria,' said "an organisation that desired to finish well, whether in public or private sector of the Nigerian economy, must hold management of the cost of its operation as a top priority". This is because it brings about operation at efficient level, and Adeyemi therefore submitted that modelling cost management solution for improved cost efficient in both public and private sector of the economy was a must for these operators. Applying this to individual operations, he said, "everybody, whether a housewife or an individual, faces the challenge

of how to use the little resources that we have. The basic Adam Smith problem is still there. The resources are limited, but the needs are not limited. So, you still have a way of making use of those models in your own little way, the household level. "That is why in economics, you talk about micro and macro perspective; so, the model can be re-cultured to a micro level even though we are talking from the standpoint of the macro perspective now. That is the basic challenge, but I think even at the micro level, everybody can make use of it". Sunday Omekwe, president/ chairman of Council of Certified Institute of Cost Management of Nigeria (CICMN), noted also that as an individual, you must know that for every transaction that you partake in, there must be some element of cost. If you have

to move from Ogun State to Lagos, you must look at the cost. What are the best ways you can achieve that objective? So, to an individual, you have to look at best options, the most cost effective way you can attain that particular goal. And so for individual, government and private sector, we propagate and recommend that you look at various options that are available for you to get best value. "I suggest that to run an effective cost-efficient economy, to run a cost-effective organisation (whether private or government), we must simplify our processes or procedures (including our constitution), make deliberate efforts to reduce cost of government (cost management), monitor cost of services provided by others

(benchmarking), process reengineering, among others". Defining cost efficiency, Adeyemi, said "it means achieving result at the optimal cost." This is different from cost effectiveness, which implies achieving result at any cost. According to him, it is possible for a builder who is merely cost effective to build a duplex with N30 million, while similar duplex could be constructed by efficient cost manager at just N20 million. Looking at the two of them, they both achieved the set goal of building a duplex, but while one is efficient by striving to build at minimum cost possible, the other achieved result by building at a higher cost. The N10 million variance will go a long way to save the scarce resources, which could be diverted to the provision of other things and with its impact on profitability if the duplex is for sale.

different audiences for same event. To Charles Iroh, legal practitioner/corporate affairs consultant, the best way to educate people about time is by keeping to time on appointments yourself.

There is no doubt that a lot of people have lost huge returns or lost opportunities as a result of not keeping to time or observing the popular belief known as "African time". He added that the end result is low productivity level, disregard for contract conditions, decline in investment generally and low business esteem for the people in that environment, among others. According to Iroh, you need luck and /or foresight to identify opportunities while time is an agreed period for achieving set targets. Differentiating between investment on time and luck, the legal practitioner explained that investment in time requires set targets, strategy and task scheduling, adding that for group tasks you need division of labour among others. Luck, however, may not have much to do with planning or your potentials. Luck will earn you something that is not necessarily on merit. It is by chance. According to Ikeh, in business, good planning is associated with timely investment and the element of

luck is not given any prominence, but in some other endeavours like sports, you can consider the element of luck. Experts say it is important to maximise your time investment in order to reap good returns or achieve your goal. To this end, Ikeh said time maximisation is all about planning and sticking to it and applying your time well. For people who invested on time and reaped returns, he said there are just too many cases. And it is rule rather than the exception in business. Iroh said you maximise time investment by setting targets, scheduling and doing such comparative appraisals at bench marking of competitors among others. According to him, MTN Nigeria invested in the Nigerian telecommunication industry from the point of its liberalisation in 2001. It has since become a pacesetter in the industry in Nigeria with an ever-increasing subscriber base. This is as against other networks that sold their shares to people who did not have money to pay at the outset and are continually changing brands and selling to different people all the time and making inconsistent policies.

Good time investment yields huge returns T ime and money are two major significant aspects of life you can invest to reap good returns. Among these two things, which comes first? Time of course. You need to invest your time to do some research on any investment you intend to make before you go ahead. You need to invest in your time to learn new things. Whatever your interest may be, if you invest your time to learn about it, you can eventually turn your interest into money. For those who want to set an enterprise or business, you need to invest your time to learn different types of business and build your own based on your interest. There is this clichĂŠ - "time is money", but some people do not realise this, especially Africans. What then could be done to educate people on time investment? Responding to this, Goddy Ikeh, a consultant to Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business (ENABLE) acknowledged that Africans are yet to appreciate the fact that

time is money, adding that it will take a while to get Africans as well as Nigerians keep to time and embrace that culture. Now, some organisations are devising ways of overcoming it by giving different take-off time to

Do you consider the premium on your car insurance too high? Ask questions...


his message is for those who have value for their car and take comprehensive insurance to protect it against theft and accident. It is not for those who only take third party motor insurance just because the law makes it compulsory and so they could have something to show the Police at check points. Unfortunately, what most of you have as third party motor insurance are fake documents


Success in business requires training, discipline and hard work. But if you are not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were - David Rockefeller

and so you stand the risk of going to jail because you are parading fake documents. How do you know it's fake. If your Third Party Motor Insurance is less than N5, 000.00 and you got it not from the office of a National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) registered insurance company, it is fake. You have a lot to benefit from taking a comprehensive insurance. The insurance company will replace your car if it is stolen, destroyed following an accident or fix it back in the case of minimal damages. But you may have felt that you are paying so much premium to insure the car or you want to cut cost on your insurance thereby increasing

your savings, experts say ask questions. For many years you may have paid what the insurance agent told you as the premium value for your car insurance, but now step out and ask questions. Experts from smart money suggest the following questions: *Do I qualify for any additional discounts? Believe it or not, many consumers never ask this question because they assume that their agent is "taking care of them." Although you may trust your agent, it does not mean that they are doing what is best for you. There is a good chance that they are not telling you about additional discounts for one main reason: the more you pay the more the

agency earns. By asking this question, your agent could find that you were eligible for a "good driver" discount because the drivers driving record has been clean for the past five years. *Do you care if I shop around? By asking this question, you are putting your agent on the spot. Deep inside, they want to tell you that they are giving the best deal and that nobody else can beat what they have to offer. In other words, they want to scare you away from comparing their policy to those from other companies. Although you do not need permission to shop around, you at least want your agent to know that you are open to different

options to put the pressure on. By the time you done receiving quotes from different companies, you would have a very good idea of what you wanted to pay as well as what type of coverage was needed. *Do I have more coverage than I need? This is something you have to analyse within you while trying to lower your car insurance premium. You must also know that adjusting your coverage could help you save a lot of money. On the other hand, you need not give up too much protection just to save small money. In the end, your agent will really came through, and will give you exactly what you should pay. (Source:





Killing of 9 female health workers in Kano

igeria's renewed campaign against polio suffered a fresh setback Friday, February 9, when gunmen in a tricycle opened fire on female health workers on routine immunization in Kano metropolis. The attacks left two women dead at Filin Kashu health centre and seven at Hayen Hotoro. Nobody or organization has claimed responsibility for the murders. However, three weeks ago, gunmen believed to be elements in the violent Boko Haram sect attacked the convoy of the ancient city's emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero. And a day before the killing of the young women, a man had gone on a location to denounce the immunization exercise aimed at preventing children from affliction by the wild polio virus. The Kano state government countered, saying the man was wrong. But in a society very distrusting of government, its statement went largely ignored. Reacting to the Friday killings, the state's Commissioner of Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran, said it was "sad" that gunmen targeted the female health workers. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), in a statement, described the killings as "cruel murders". On his own part, Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, said the killings were "barbaric and inhuman" and "meant to instil fear in residents with a view to stopping the immunisation exercise". A presidential spokesman

said President Goodluck Jonathan had extended "commiserations" to families of the victims and vowed to ensure "total eradication of polio from Nigeria" in spite of the current setback. We welcome the prompt condemnation in official quarters of this handiwork of the forces of evil. The young women killed in Kano were the heroes of the effort at eradicating polio in the North which has made Nigeria

It does not help that the most polio endemic areas of the North are those also caught up in the Boko Haram insurgency. To sustain the polio campaign, health workers in the forefront must be protected by the state one of only three countries in the world where polio has remained endemic. They were the "foot soldiers" in a mustwin war to save the lives of endangered children in this part of the country. There are many reasons why the killers of those women and their sponsors must be brought to book quickly. If they are not, unarmed women who today drive the frontline war against polio and other child killer diseases including smallpox will be

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driven off the streets and health centres will shut down, not only in Kano but the entire North. Now if this is the case, we shall no sooner be back to 2003. That was the year that some Kano clerics mounted a sustained campaign aimed at portraying the polio vaccine as a birth control drug. The impact was that resistance to immunization increased and polio which was all but eradicated in Nigeria bounced back with a vengeance. That year's reversal of the gains of the campaign forced a change in strategy by the government and its foreigners. They resolved to make use of local traditional rulers and community leaders, ignored before, to drive the programme. Now the prevalence rate in the North is dropping again, but old enemies are resurfacing. The attacks in Kano polio were just their first salvoes. More are likely to come. This is why the perpetrators must be fetched out fast and made to face the music. It does not help that the most polio endemic areas of the North are those also caught up in the Boko Haram insurgency. To sustain the polio campaign, health workers in the forefront must be protected by the state. Clearly, that was not the case with the 9 women killed in Kano. Reports say that soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) stationed in the city arrived on the scenes only after the killers had fled. This blunder must not repeat itself.









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By Pelumi Olatinpo


stood in that hallway. I could have been standing in the middle of a four-lane expressway with cars zooming past me and it wouldn't have mattered. I was somewhere out in the wild. And if it all felt so foreign and a bit unnerving, maybe it was because I was indeed foreign. I had been foreign for a few months. And if there was ever any sense I could somehow shake this awareness, this consciousness-my daily pilgrimage into the heart of the beast crassly disabused me of such fantastic idea. I was fresh off-theboat, literally. A 16-year-old African boy in an American high school. It was my 11th grade year. That first year was full of battles, and looking back now, I'll say I lost most, if not all of them. It was the constant struggle to belong, if not for anything, just so not to stand out-in any odd sort of way. The sort of way in which you are at an elegant event, and the camera suddenly zooms in on you and the overhead projection screen shows you feverishly picking your nose in a room full of nicely dressed folks. Yes, that sort of odd. It was a majorly all-black school. And even though I joined a supposedly all cerebral extracurricular activity like the chess By Lauretta Onochie


any years ago, before the advent of Paracetamol, APC was the medicine for headache, stomachache and indeed, all aches and pains. Today Nigeria has a headache, a bellyache and all known and unknown aches a d pains. The good news is that we know the cause of most of these aches. Diagnosis? Corruption and poor leadership by the PDP! But it looks like the good old tablet, APC is back in Nigeria; not in chemists and pharmacies, but as a political antidote that promises to heal Nigeria of many of her aches, commonly known as PDP wahala. It is the ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC). Nigeria is a nation where different groups of people in leadership have come to promise us heaven on earth, only to turn around to confine us to hell by impoverishing us the more. The present reality is the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. These people, since 1999, have made millionaires out of their immediate families and friends. That has also changed. They began to make billionaires out of their cronies and now, we are at a stage where many suspect that there might be more dollars in Nigeria than in America. Nigerians have met disappointments at every turn. Where we have been promised bread, we got stones and where we were promised soup, sludge was forced down our throats. Its all too recent and still raw as we all are now choking from air pollution, not only from the fumes from our electric-generating sets but from the corrosive materials in the breath of fresh air we were promised by the current ruling party and its arrowhead of corruption, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. We, as a people have come to the stage where we lost all hopes in our leaders and consequently,


What's in a name? team, I increasingly found it soothing and convenient to abandon all sense of grammatically-correct English. My un-American accent already made my English extra-noticeable, why compound my conspicuousness? I eagerly and happily embraced the loving, warmth of Ebonics. I spoke it so often that even when at home, I found myself consciously battling to reset to default It was a furious determination to fit in. My name gave me away every time I had to introduce myself. It loudly announced to teachers, students, and administrators that I was not from these shores. But if only I was able to speak just like them, if my accent became American somehow, then, no longer will there be a second to contemplate how different I was or ask me to explain the origin or meaning of my name. For me, throughout that first year, I had found the perfect road map for survival and I'd be damned if anyone was going to take it from me. My 12th grade and final year of high school was next, and there it

was, I had a "Paul on the Road to Damascus" moment. Well, it was more a series of moments, a series of awakenings. It somehow began to sink in and weigh heavily on me how lost I'd become. Africa was high on my mind. Nigeria was high on my mind. But my new-found identity had a low tolerance for dual consciousness. This Americana identity I was laboriously trying to perfect had only one seat available in the lifeboat. I could no longer claim I was a bona fide son of the land of my birth if the identity of old is anathema. Something had to

give. I had to choose which was more important. I still have to live in America, after all. And there was no deceiving myself, I knew either way, the sacrifices resulting from my choice were going to be substantial and everlasting. It has been a journey ever since then. And it has not been easy. I have in recent past, on occasions introduced myself as "John" or "Jonathan" to a stranger, who at an event asked for my name. Just because at the moment, I did not wish to provoke a conversation on


...pieces to an identity, but incontestably symbols of a resistance. If I am so visibly invested in an African renaissance, how can I persist or assist in the subjugation of a people, a continent, by conforming to foreign dictates which devalue and trivialize the African aura, the African persona?

where I was from or what my name meant. Or maybe, unsolicited, I wrongly put it upon myself to save the stranger the hassle of struggling to pronounce "Pelumi." These were undeniably guilty moments. And I quickly afterward silently repudiate myself for a gross lapse in consciousness and a cowardly attempt at conventionality. I have long come to realize my name, my accent, my African identity are more than jigsaw pieces to an identity, but incontestably symbols of a resistance. If I am so visibly invested in an African renaissance, how can I persist or assist in the subjugation of a people, a continent, by conforming to foreign dictates which devalue and trivialize the African aura, the African persona? And this is not to declaim that one cannot hold dual citizenship. I believe one can, but I also believe it is impossible to hold an equal level of devotion and loyalty to both. In any moment of truth, one will have to suffer for the other. So if you were to ask me some years from now, "What's in a name?" I'll simply tell you this: Nothing ‌ Only everything. Pelumi Olatinpo can be followed on Twitter @pelumitv

APC, the pill Nigerians must swallow in our nation. They have cheated us out of our national inheritance. They have run down our national infrastructures and left them in their dilapidated states. Examples are our roads and hospitals. They have, through their greed reduced our life expectancies to 47 and 45 respectively for men and women. They have made us look small among the comity of nations. We have become a people who are no longer warmly welcomed to other nations. Close to home, some African nations have been brave to voice the fact that we are bad news. Our leaders have become the butt of jokes as they go around the globe parading ignorance. The Nigerian print and electronic media mostly became instruments of misinformation for peddling lies, innuendoes, gossips and propaganda in favour of those who use our collective wealth to suppress the truth. And then the Social Media emerged! Subdued Nigerians found a live wire. Many began joining the social network such as Twitter and Facebook. Some went in with their body, soul and spirit. Others went in slowly and cautiously. And then, it exploded! Nigerians threw caution to the wind, taking the bull by the horn. They went for

the jugular, chocking the day light out of the present inept, corrupt and clueless government of President Jonathan. Nigerians on the Social media used it to their maximum benefit, exposing the corruption, ineptitude, incompetence and the waste that were and are still the hallmark of this sick government. But this government, this sick government of President Jonathan still refuses medication. It struggles on, refusing to see that the people they asked to serve need to be served. This sick government that refused to take all prescribed medications devised means of avoiding contact with Nigerians for fear of being lynched by angry Nigerians. Private jets became the new means of mass transit for our corrupt leaders and their friends, along with their religious associates. Nigeria's Independent celebration events which we looked forward to as children in Nigeria, became a private affair. Children in our nation have not been given the opportunity, even on children's day to interact with the man who decides on their behalf. The new found confidence of Nigerians, armed with the deluge of authenticated data on the corrupt activities of the present


This is a chance Nigerians must take with both hands and firmly plant their feet on. APC is made up of the known at the present but unless we all join at this its inception, the unknown would remain in the background

administration of President Jonathan, gave wings to the courageous showings of the #OccupyNigeria Movement a year ago. That became the first arrow shot in recent times by the Nigerian people at their ignoble leaders to put them on notice that it would no longer be business as usual. A lot more corruption has been unearthed and exposed since then and all we hear from them are denials, denials and more denials. The complicity of our National assembly is not in doubt neither is the collusion of our judiciary. It is common knowledge that people, (yes they are Nigerians), are eager to keep the Boko Haram crises going because of the huge gains from the unaccountable security votes for that region. "Vampires" I call them. Those who flourish and bask in the blood of others are called vampires. Ordinary Nigerians are therefore left to their own devices as unemployment soars. Lynching and mass rape have become the order of the day in a nation that has lost her morals and community spirit. Campus prostitution, armed robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking fraud and scamming etc are now ways of earning a living in a nation blessed with huge natural a d human resources. I clearly understand the apathy, suspicion, scepticism and distrust with which some of us view APC, the soup-pot or what some of us call a collection of strange bedfellows. After all, some of these apothecaries who prepared this APC, have been in the forefront of the Nigerian politics for decades and have not been part of the solution, to say the least. However, we must look beyond the people who are the principal players in APC now. If one was drowning, and someone threw

him a life line, he would grab it and ask questions later about the identity of the life saver. Our nation is sinking. We have no time to dilly-dally. Our problem had been that we did not have a united opposition in our nation that was proactive. Now we do. One has presented itself. A party like this APC is what many of us have been campaigning for. There is no way we are going to have an opposition that is led by people we do not know. Nigerians and, indeed, the world, are predisposed to starting from the known to the unknown. Many people may not know how tediously many of our well meaning youth have worked to build a solid opposition, but were not taken seriously because they are not known. This is a chance Nigerians must take with both hands and firmly plant their feet on. APC is made up of the known at the present but unless we all join at this its inception, the unknown would remain in the background. I therefore, appeal to Nigerians, especially our youth population, to join, no, to invade this APC. Its only when we are in that we can have a say from the beginning and make the necessary changes like standing against god-fatherism, mediocrity, tribalism, nepotism and other vices. Once we allow them to become a cabal, we would have ourselves to blame. Nigeria was standing between the devil and the deep blue sea and suddenly, a ship appears out of the deep blue sea. This may be our last chance to recover our nation by ourselves through democratic means. It is not going to be easysailing but we are the ones that must make the difference. Suddenly, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Follow @Laurestar on Twitter



The cowards of Filin Kashu By Malcolm Fabiyi


here will be no ornate tombstones to commemorate their gravesites, no epitaphs to capture the service they rendered. But the nine health workers - all women who were gunned down by the cowards of Filin Kashu and Hayen Hotoro in Kano deserve to be remembered for their service, and courage. By the turn of the 21st century, the world had declared victory over Polio. Decades of health outreach and comprehensive vaccination campaigns had helped turn the tide. That was until 2003, when some clerics in Kano turned their anti-western musings into a frontal assault on vaccination programs. Under the withering assault of ignoramuses wrapping their prejudice with the garb of piety, vaccination programs in Northern Nigeria unravelled,

By Simbo Olorunfemi


hatever the result of the match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso on Sunday, the point has been reinforced - the problem with Nigeria, simply put, is that of leadership. The challenge that confronts us is that of leadership one with a developed mind of its own, unmoved by the shenanigans of an ignorant, boot-licking sections of the media, yet vociferous and always seeking to arm-twist leadership into going the wrong direction. What is lacking is a leadership that is resolute enough to proceed on the strength of its foresight and conviction to do what is right. A leadership not overwhelmed by the need to dance to the populist tune of a less-thanknowledgeable mass with claim to expertise on subjects they know little about. A leadership, daring to push the people on a track it had designed with the objective of taking the people to the Promised Land. A leadership strong enough to fly on the wings of its wellfounded conviction, damn the naysayers, and go down on its dagger, should the outcome not be favourable. Stephen Keshi has always stood out for his sterling leadership qualities. A man of unmistakable charisma, the 'Big Boss' started making his mark, from his days at St Finbarr's College, Lagos. As the Captain of the famous NNB Football Club, Benin in the 80s, Keshi soon became an integral part of a crop of an NNB-dominated national football team. In a twist of fate, the late arrival of the Stephen Keshi-led group of players from NNB to the Green Eagles Camp resulted in their suspension by NFA for 6 months from all footballrelated activities in Nigeria. But that was to open another vista for him and his generation of footballers. He left for Ivory Coast and from there, for Europe, opening the gateway for other African players to make a career of football abroad. It was in the national team,

poured resources and a defeated into the effort to s c o u r g e stem the tide of returned. Polio Polio in the is mostly Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text North, the real spread through messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written heroes of that contact with effort have been stool from an contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 the women of infected person. words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and N o r t h e r n In a nation a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed Nigeria. These where sewer to: mothers, sisters systems are and daughters non-existent, The Editor, have set about where sewage Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, righting the spills onto roads 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. wrongs that illand backs up Email: informed men into homes, SMS: 07037756364 had brought where feces about. laden open They are the d r a i n a g e systems run alongside market considered to be one of the most foot soldiers in a war for the lives stalls, where the public health entrenched global reservoirs for of their children. And they were system is in shambles - wild polio virus. Nigeria is one of making progress too, before the vaccinations are the only only three countries in the world, recent attacks. Last Friday, the bulwark against the spread of a where Polio is deemed to be cowards of Filin Kashu and disease that has no cure. endemic. The other members of Hayen Hotoro murdered nine After the set-backs of 2003, that list of infamy are Afghanistan women, who were all health Polio returned with a vengeance, and Pakistan. Although an array workers on an immunization and today, Northern Nigeria is of global organizations have exercise. The cowards also made


history with their gruesome attack - and they join the Taliban in Pakistan in the perpetration of cowardly attacks on defenseless health workers. The sounds of gunfire are long gone, but the echoes and the impact will reverberate for some time yet. The unarmed foot soldiers - the women of Northern Nigeria that drive the frontline fight against Polio might be driven off the streets. Health clinics are likely to remain shuttered, and diseases like Polio and smallpox might once again run rampant. The Nigerian government must move swiftly to ensure that the culprits are found - just as they have done in finding those who made an attempt on the life of Kano's Emir. These women are as deserving of timely justice. And the clerics of Northern Nigeria must speak up against this assault on their women, and the future of their children. Sheikh Gumi 's condemnation of the killings is an excellent first step. Now others, especially in Kano, and Borno must speak out. Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi is visiting professor of Lagos Business School.

Nigeria needs a Stephen Keshi now however, that Stephen Keshi's leadership was more evident. For 14 years, he bestrode the Eagles like a colossus. He was not called 'Big Boss' for nothing. He was powerful. He was influential. He was reported to have had input in team selection, at that time. Whatever was the case, you could not ignore Keshi. He had a mind of his own. It was for the reason that Keshi was his own man that it took the Nigerian football administrators so many years, until their hands were forced into giving him the opportunity to serve as Head Coach of the national team. They knew him as one they could not push around. He had served meritoriously as an Assistant to Shuaibu Ahmodu (another man serially wronged by Nigeria, in spite of his tireless work for the national team, qualifying the team for the World Cup two times, only to be shoved aside by the Administrators on both occasions.) The no-nonsense stance of the Coaching crew that led to the suspension of Victor Agali and others at Mali 2002 for breaking camp rules was instructive. But a compromised section of the sports

media was not for that effort to instil discipline and worked to see Ahmodu out of the door. His major sin - not exactly media-cuddling. It is no surprise that Keshi, with a single-minded approach, has built the present Eagles team, away from the orchestrated campaign to undermine his efforts, on the backbone of discipline, character and right mental attitude. These values, he is pushing, that have long gone AWOL in our national life. Is it a surprise that not many saw the sense in what Keshi was doing? In his own words, "... there were lots of problems back home when I left out some of the senior players in the team, but I had my own reasons, which are known to me only... I know that some people did not understand, but I knew exactly the type of players we wanted, the mentality, the players who can work for the team." In only 5 weeks, he has been able to build a team of an otherwise indisciplined set of Nigerians that has some semblance of unity of purpose, unlike teams of the recent past. Keshi proceeded with his work, in spite of distractions from detractors and beer-parlour

Keshi was confident enough to build a team in line with his own template. He built a team, and did not simply assemble an array of stars to jostle for shirts with bulging egopips on their hefty shoulders. In so doing, he has succeeded in instilling discipline, forged character and harvested commitment from the team. He was not afraid to pick and drop players. His team is not made up of nominees by governors of the 36 states and party stalwarts

analysts who always seem to know more about football than those who are professionally involved with it. The Administrators' body language was all too obvious. In any case, they had only reluctantly fallen back onto Keshi following the monumental failure of the favoured son, Siasia. Not a few felt they were only waiting for Keshi to fail for them to bury him. The report in the papers last week only confirmed the known. But Keshi beat them to it. He kept to his plan, a joker to his chest. He was man enough to identify the strengths of Daniel Amokachi, who has proved fearless with his thoughts and voice on football, just as he was a rampaging bull on the field. He expressed his preference for Keshi as National team Coach, even when it was politically incorrect and inexpedient to do so. A good Leader is never afraid to surround himself with strong men. Keshi opted to give the homebased players a chance. He inspired them, shored up their confidence and incorporated them into his main team. The 23-man team to the Nations Cup is made up of 17 debutants. There are not those names that easily roll off the tongues. Same Nigerians who had, before now, called for 'fresh legs' and home-based players were not impressed. He did not decorate the bench with the new boys. He made them core members of the unit. Oboabona and Mba are first team players, even though they play at home. The captain of the team, Joseph Yobo, has spent more time on the bench than the field of play. Keshi has not played names or reputation. He has proved himself a leader not given to nepotism. What has Keshi done differently that has made him successful where many others have failed? What is he is doing that the political leadership not doing? What stands out in his style of leadership? What does he bring to the table that

Nigeria can learn from? Keshi is not a product of some good luck. He, for a while, sought the job. He considered himself qualified for the job and did not wait on some benevolent god to ordain him for it. He prepared himself for it. The knowledge gathered from his mistakes and misfortune has prepared him for the position. When the Abuja gods would not nod in his direction, he got his hands dirty in Togo and Mali, gaining valuable experience that has become handy in his march to the Nations Cup final. Keshi was confident enough to build a team in line with his own template. He built a team, and did not simply assemble an array of stars to jostle for shirts with bulging ego-pips on their hefty shoulders. In so doing, he has succeeded in instilling discipline, forged character and harvested commitment from the team. He was not afraid to pick and drop players. His team is not made up of nominees by governors of the 36 states and party stalwarts. He was not afraid to pick raw diamonds and refine them for his use. He was not afraid to lose his job, by risking it all, and for that, he has gained it. Nigeria needs a Keshi. A man who is not only prepared for the job, but has the wherewithal to inspire, stand his ground and build from the ground up, even in the face of cynicism. Nigeria needs a leader with a roadmap on where he wants to take us and is ready to stick with it, see it through, irrespective of criticism by those who do not know and do not know that they do not know. Nigeria needs a Keshi - a man who is not afraid to appoint strong lieutenants, one who is not intimidated by paper tigers. Nigerians need a Keshi now. This is the hour for our own Keshi. Simbo Olorunfemi is reachable on


Everybody's got opinions/ About the way they think our story's/ Gonna end/ Some folks feel it's just a superficial thrill/ Everybody gonna have a think again/ …I stumbled my whole life long/ Always on my own, now I'm home/ …And I feel as if my home is in your arm - song by Anita Baker


ne of the enduring memories of my days as a starry-eyed youngster was the letters my mates and I used to write. The love letters in particular. Way back in the late 1970's when I was at LGEA Primary School, Odoba Otukpa, my mates and I would scribble all sorts of what we called "hearttouching" notes to any girl with whom we were either infatuated or in love. And it so happened that on this Valentine Day I had a little bit of inspiration. And, pronto, I started writing to one of the two girls who were the apples of my eye in those days (I think I was in either Primary 3 or 4 then). Absorbed in this venture, I never noticed that one of our Teachers had entered the class, until he snatched the paper on which I was scribbling. "What's this, Sonde," he asked, his eyes scanning the paper with abiding interest. Silence engulfed the entire class as he started reading aloud what I had written: "Dearest Felicia, I see in you my Valentine Day…" He paused as laughter erupted across the class. "No wonder!" the Teacher continued, like a scientist who had stumbled upon an astounding discovery. "So this is what you always do in school daily? Okay, Mr Valentine Day, follow me now…." Countless years have come and gone between then and now. By Onyekaba N. Charles


hen on Saturday, 9th February, 2013, the game between Manchester United and Fulham at Craven Cottage was delayed, due to the unusual power outage , there was so much unrest and panic in the stadium. The players and fans were lost as to what would have been responsible and probably how long it will take before it will be addressed, while the officials and management who seemed completely embarrassed ran 'helter-skelter' to address the issue. Credits to them, it took them just 9 minutes to proffer solution to the problem, yet the next morning all the Sunday tabloids in the UK captured the incident, some even went as far as terming it "embarrassing and disgraceful" not just to the English Premier League whose TV audience is over 4.7 billion but also to UK as a whole. The drama that followed the events at London continued the next day in far off New Orleans, where half the super-dome at the Super bowl went dark. That, according to Greg Bishop of New York Times was among the oddest moments in super bowl history. As was in London, there was panic; fans were glued to their seats, players remained in the field and it took 35 minutes of consultations and work from the officials and


Felicia, a Val like no other But memories of that incident, like so many others, have lingered till tomorrow, particularly whenever Val Day approaches. But arguably the most enduring thing of all has been my affection for Felicia. Indeed, over the years what had started as a childhood infatuation has been growing into something else. Something passionate. Something neither years nor seasons nor age could quench. Despite my deepening affection, however, I was too shy, or scared, or both, to approach Felly, let alone make my feelings known to her. Even then I kept hoping that somehow she would become mine one of those days. What astonished me is that even after the woman's second marriage had ended, the flame kindled in my heart way back in my primary school day continued to flicker. You could, therefore, imagine how thrilled I was when circumstances eventually brought her and me together. To me, it was a dream coming true. Just when I was about to give up after over 20 years of nurturing my secret affection for her, just when I thought Felly may never be mine, a miracle of sorts materialized. Ever since then my life hasn't been the same. How can I describe this feeling, this experience? According to Napoleon Hill in his book Think And Grow Rich, "Memories of love never pass. They linger, guide

about her two previous marriages; about the fact that she has reached menopause; and about this and that thing. And I would tell them not to bother. "Poor Sonde," they would snigger behind my back. "He has either gone mad or he has been charmed." What started as mere friendship g r a d u a l l y blossomed into a different kind of 0803-2159-249 (SMS only, pls) love. So much so that in the past upon my heart forever, the couple of years this unique lady whole thing has been guiding, has been virtually everything to and inspiring, and motivating, me: my friend, sister, lover, mother, and wife rolled into one. me beyond words. Not a few people out there, As Anita Baker puts it in that particularly in Otukpa, assume song, "My weary mind is rested/ that I'm mad to feel so deeply in And I feel as if my home is in your love with this woman. Such arms/ Fears are all gone/ I like people would go on and on about the sound of your song/ And I the fact that she is older than me; think I want to sing it forever." and influence…. Every person who has been moved by genuine love knows that it leaves enduring traces upon the heart." Truly so. Not only has my love for Felly forged enduring traces


In a moment she seized me, in a moment she conquered my heart. My doubts were cast away; my fears dispelled. For I have recognized you, Felly, without seeing you. I have felt you without touching you. And I have understood you without hearing you

Forever? Yes, forever. Forever like Michel Quoist, who once confessed that: "The die is cast, Lord; I can no longer forget you. In a moment you seized me, in a moment you conquered me. My doubts were cast away; my fears dispelled. For I recognized you without seeing you. I felt you without touching you. I understood you without hearing you." Yes, the die is cast; I can no longer forget Felly. In a moment she seized me, in a moment she conquered my heart. My doubts were cast away; my fears dispelled. For I have recognized you, Felly, without seeing you. I have felt you without touching you. And I have understood you without hearing you. Hearing or reading this, some may laugh. "Dem" may call it madness or foolishness. "Dem" may say "na charm". Let them say. He who feels it, he who experiences genuine love, knows it. "Everybody's got opinions/ About the way they think our story's/ Gonna end/ Some folks feel it's just a superficial thrill/ Everybody gonna have a think again/… And I have made a vow/ … So I tell you now/ I'm giving the best that I got/ Giving it to you, baby. Bear in mind that this is a dream, an affection, that goes way back to our day as primary school kids. A dream, a love, which no other love/lady could successfully overthrow. A love that neither adversity, nor opposition, nor delays, nor disappointments, nor disagreements, could overcome. A love "stamped" on a paper that Val Day some decades ago. Because you are so special, so uncommon. Because you are a Valentine like no other. Wishing you a blessed Valentine Day.

Like New Orleans, like Nigeria representatives from the electric company before the power was restored. As expected, this incident made all the headlines in the States on a Monday morning where investigation continued without definitive answers. In the days that followed, I have watched with keen interest as events unfold and I have subsequently read many online articles on the two incidents. While some analyst have even compared both events in many ways, the one comparison that has interested most Nigerians is that of CNN's Christiane Amanpour who made a mock comparison of "America's

35 minutes of power outage to Nigeria's 52 years of darkness." According to her, while the audience worldwide waited patiently for the power to be restored in the Super bowl incident, many Nigerians took to the social media to react sarcastically: "power outage at super bowl on Sunday, Nigeria doesn't look dark anymore" tweeted one Nigerian, while another tweeted: "if they had super bowl in Nigeria, the power coming back would be the real surprise." CNN's Christiane Amanpour who happened to be the first international journalist to

interview President Goodluck Jonathan after his resumption to office in April, 2010 (a conversation which had focus on the epidemic of power outages in the country) would have probably been so shocked that she did a TV documentary with highlights on President Jonathan's comments on another interview early this year with and the subsequent reactions of Nigerians who expressed their anger, frustrations and even called Jonathan a "Liar". In the interview conducted on 23rd January this year, when asked about the state of power supply in the Nation, the president

Even though I won't to be drawn into the controversy, it is obvious that the truth of the matter lies in the president's "definition of the words "pleased" and commitment" , especially when the statistics from the country's concession regulatory commission shows that 60 percent of Nigerians are still without power access

replied: " That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government - that our commitment to improve power is working," he said. "I promise you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria." Even though I won't to be drawn into the controversy, it is obvious that the truth of the matter lies in the president's "definition of the words "pleased" and commitment" , especially when the statistics from the country's concession regulatory commission shows that 60 percent of Nigerians are still without power access. While you reflect on whether power supply has improved remarkably in your area in the last 3 years of Jonathan's administration to match his bragging right, I will sit here and imagine what he said interview money (US 60,000 dollars) and other monies stolen by our corrupt politicians/pension chiefs would have done to justify Jonathan claims of "commitment" to improving the epidemic power supply in the country. Onyekaba N. Charles can be contacted at



Paediatrician urges mothers to de-worm children per term

L-R: Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide discussing with Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i, at the General Aviation Terminal, Muritala Muhammed Airport, at the weekend, in Lagos.


HIV prevalence reduces in Abuja By Josephine Ella Ejeh


IV prevalence rate has been reduced from 9.9 percent in 2008 to 8.6 percent in 2010, the Secretary, Federal Capital Territory(FCT) Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya has revealed. Dr. Demola further revealed that over 90 health facilities in the Federal Capital Territory are providing Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. Speaking when the Chief Executive Officer Institute of Human Virology Nigeria and his team paid him a courtesy call in his office in preparation of signing of memorandum of

.....As over 90 health facilities offers PMTCT services understanding between FCT Administration and institute of Human Virology in the area of HIV and Aids, he said the FCT Agency for the Control of AIDS has recently conducted mapping of hot spots of most at risk population with the aim targeted HIV intervention to these populations. The Secretary, reaffirmed the Federal Capital Territory Administration’ s commitment to ensure zero new HIV infection in the territory through HIV counselling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission, promoting behavioural change and

reduction in stigma and discrimination. In a remark, the Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Dakum said the purpose of the visit was to formally introduce the US PEPFER lead and its partners to the FCT and the ACTION PLUS- UP project, a 5 year comprehensive HIV/ Aids program founded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids relief (PEPFER) through the centre for disease control and prevention (CDC) to be implemented in the FCT and other states of Nigeria Dakum assured that the institute and its partners would ensure that all activities to be carried out

are aligned with the road map of the FCT HIV/Aids strategic plan there by playing the role of cheer leaders with the government structures. This was as he stressed the need for partnership as a panacea for success, hence Institute for Human Virology’s collaboration with Excellence and Friends Management Consult and Solina Health in the renewed drive of stepping up the fight against HIV/ Aids in the territory. He also advocated for the integration of HIV programs into laudable program such as the SURE-P and the midwives service scheme.

Shell extends housing offer to Abuja residents By Josephine Ella Ejeh


hell oil company has said it is offering residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) part of its 190 housing units presently under construction in Shell Coop East Garden at Gaduwa/ Lokogoma District as part of its contribution to housing development. Briefing journalists, Principal Partner of the oil company, Mr. Dan Iguodala Cole said the project being executed under the umbrella of Shell East Staff Investment Cooperative Society Estate,

Abuja was a non profit venture initially meant to provide affordable accommodation solely for staff. He added however, that “but a lot of people think that since Shell does have its area of primary assignment in Abuja, other residents should be given opportunity to also live in the estate so some units are been given out to non staff”. According to him, “Shell is not out to make profit but to contribute to the housing stock and provide housing for Shell staff and we are selling to outsiders at the same cost we sold to staff. No discrimination”.

He said the company has plans to make the road linking the estate motorable before the FCT administration gives the area attention. On the mode of payment, Cole said: “We are looking at 30 per cent initial payment for those that want to pay by instalment but the balance of the rate would have to be paid within one year. However, if they have understanding with a bank it may give them up to five-10 years to pay the remaining balance”. He revealed that some banks like UBA, GT, UBA have already shown interest to partner with buyers.

Peoples Daily gathered that the 190 housing units which comprises 2 bedroom semi detached bungalow, 3 bedroom bungalow, 4 bedroom terrace duplex and 5 bedroom terrace duplex with all relevant facilities are been given out at the rates of N20million, N25 million, N40 million and N45 respectively. Also speaking, the Project Manager of the construction company BMB Nigeria Limited handling the project, Mr. Oke Mbakwe said actual construction commenced on the site October 2012 and assured that the project would be completed June, this year.

Pediatrician at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Dr Solomon Adeleke, on Monday, urged mothers to de-worm their children every term, to prevent them from worm infestation. Adeleke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that most children were at risk of having worm, because they ate things they picked from the ground. He explained that when children walked on bare foot and removed their shoes to play football, there were high chances of them contracting worm. “So they are at risk and if the worm is in them, it affects their growth and some of the worms may even get to a bigger size and cause intestinal obstruction. Adeleke said that worm could cause abdominal pains, feeling of vomiting, and inflammation like fever and other multiple symptoms which could present, sometimes, as malaria. “It also causes anaemia: lack of blood because it can enter a particular place and continue to suck blood, hence some children came to the hospital with very low blood. “This could lead to operating on the child to remove the worms before they multiply,” he said. Adeleke further advised that children between two and 10 years be de-wormed, three times yearly, as a way of reminding mothers on the need to carry out such activity and for the health of the children. He said worms could be contracted through various means such as food, water contaminated with worms or worm eggs, mosquito carrying worm larvae and soil containing worms. The doctor counselled that careless disposal of faeces and open defecation should be discouraged to check the prevalence of worm infection in children. “We should observe proper washing of vegetables and cooking of meat, because worms can be found in meat. He also said that worm affects adults, especially the farmers who go on barefoot while working on the farm. “When you go to the farm with barefoot, worm infestation can occur, especially hookworm which is very common. Ascaris and hookworm were the most common worms in the body”. He said that preventing worm infestation would be possible if the children and farmers learnt to wear their gloves. (NAN)



Proprietors advise parents on cultural values


he Proprietress of Prime Scholars’ Academy at Karu, Abuja, Mrs Rosemary Pam, has advised parents to create cultural awareness for their children and wards. She gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja, saying that

if parents harnessed the nation’s cultural values, crises would reduce. Pam said that Nigeria’s culture and traditional norms had necessary indices that could bring about the needed good governance in the country. She said that this could only be achieved if there were culture re-awaking and awareness

which, she said, should begin at an earlier stage in life. Speaking on the preparation for the school’s 2013 Cultural Day celebration slated for June, Pam said it was organised to catch the children young to learn and appreciate cultural values. “Each year, this special day honours the traditions of a

particular ethnic group in Nigeria and this year’s edition will display, among other things the Eyo festival. “This festival is unique to Lagos State which also features masqueraded figures, called Eyo, believed among the adherents to represent the spirits of the dead,’’ she said. The focus of our Cultural

Day is to unite the children at early stage and expose them to various cultures in their country to engender unity and peace. Pam advised parents to ensure that their wards were properly enlightened on the values of the country even before they were taught by their teachers. (NAN)

School principal appeals for sporting facilities By Usman Shuaibu


he Principal of Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs Sylvia Inyang, has appealed to the authority of Secondary Education Board (SEB) as well as philanthropic individuals to provide sporting facilities for the school to enable it to participate favourably in sports competition. Inyang, who made this appeal in a two-page address delivered during the 13th inter-house sports competition of the school in Gwagwalada, said that her administration would continue to encourage the students in sports competition. According to her, “within the limited sporting facilities available, the school is not lagging behind other schools in the area of sports in the FCT. We have won laurels both in Gwagwalada Area Council and the FCT in general”. She explained that despite the efforts made by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to provide sporting facilities in school, the leadership of the school was not satisfied with the facilities being put in place in the institution. The principal commended the FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed, the Secretary FCT Education Secretariat, Alhaji Kabir Usman and Chairman Secondary Education Board, Hon. Marrof Akinwande for their commitments towards the progress of education in the territory. On his part, the guest of honour at the occasion, who is a Deputy Director of Education at the Secondary Education Board, had encouraged the school principals to continue to organise inter-house competition among the students to fish out hidden talents. At the end of the competition, Red House (Gwagwalada) took the 1 st position with 134 point, white House (Kwali) maintained the 2 nd position with 132 point while the 3 rd position went to Pink House (AMAC) with 118 point.

Car washers doing their business at Lugbe.

Photo: Joe Oroye

FCT residents advise politicians on merger


ome residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to shun all the divisive tendencies that undermined the success of similar efforts in the past. Some of the residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone said that overall interest on national growth should be the focus of the new party. NAN recalls that four political parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and All Nigeria Peoples Party, (ANPP), recently agreed in Abuja to form the APC. The residents said that with the merger, Nigerians were looking forward to seeing a formidable political movement with credible performance. A Public Relations Practitioner, Mr Chibuzor Nzem, said the modality for sharing of positions would pose

the greatest challenge to the successful performance of the APC. He cautioned that all parties in the alliance should see the project as a way to reposition Nigeria’s democratic experience for optimal development of the country. “Its a very great and welcome development, especially now that Nigerians are yearning for change in the way we are being governed. “They should agree on clear cut formula on how to share positions because that’s where the selfish interest of our politicians could derail the progressives. “This project would only work well if all the parties involved in the merger are focused on moving Nigeria forward and not on advancing selfish interest,’’ he said. A shop attendant in Wuse, Mr Peter Alu, described the merger as vital for the growth of Nigeria’s democratic governance but said the project could be “sabotaged by those

who don’t care about Nigeria. “I am afraid because the new progressives’ party might be pulled apart by those forces that never want Nigeria to progress. “All Nigerians should pray and hope that this new arrangement would help to add to the growth of our democracy. “Its too early to say they can really pull their weight against the party in office today. Let’s see how they fare in the build up to 2015 elections,’’ he added. Also speaking, a food vendor, Mrs Eunice Oleku, said that Nigerians were tired of the antics of some politicians who were only interested in furthering their selfish ambitions. She said Nigerians needed good governance, irrespective of the party in office and not just a government for mere governance. “I will support any arrangement that would make life good for the poor masses who are struggling to survive in their own little ways. “If the new party would

cater for our interest and not only for the rich people, then I pray they should succeed if they are truly for the masses. “But they must prove to Nigerians that they are different from those who tried similar things in the past,’’ she advised. Mr Josses Ayuba, a cab driver, said the masses wanted change but expressed fears that Nigerians could not count on the current crop of politicians in the country. He said that until the political class purged itself of greed and selfishness, the new merger of progressives might crash before the elections in 2015. “Nigerians should watch and see because they may not be different from what we know. They have to convince Nigerians to trust them. “We need change but let this new party avoid greed, selfishness and the lust for personal gains, otherwise they may scatter before 2015,’’Ayuba warned. (NAN)






- Pg 21

Etisalat shortlisted for GSMA

Mob: 08033644990

NDIC to participate in Kaduna Trade Fair N igeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is set to participate in this year’s 34th Kaduna International Trade Fair as part of the initiatives to enhance public awareness on the mandate and activities of the Corporation. The NDIC activities at the trade fair, which takes place b e t w e e n F e b r u a r y 22 and March 3, 2013 include the production/transmission of

the NDIC radio and television jingles, display and distribution of the Corporation’s in-house research publications with branded souvenirs and the NDIC Special Day. The NDIC Special Day also serves as a platform to showcase

the landmark achievements of the Corporation and its contribution towards the safety, soundness and stability of the financial system. In addition, the Special Day attracts dignitaries including Chief Executive officers of banks

and other financial institutions, the academia, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and labour unions. The other invited guests are primary and secondary schools’ teachers and students, mass media and market women.

NDIC staff will also be on hand at the Corporation’s stand to receive and educate visitors on the NDIC mandate and activities as well as to address their enquiries and share the inhouse publications and branded souvenirs among the visitors.

Nigeria’s oil export suffers setback By Etuka Sunday with agency report he expected rise in Nigeria’s crude oil export in February may not after all materialise as ExxonMobil has again declared force majeure on Qua Iboe, the nation’s key oil export grade due to pipeline repair work. The disruptions to Qua Iboe loadings mean that three out of 11 cargoes originally scheduled to load in February will be delayed until March, it was gathered.Qua Iboe is Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream with exports. Before this announcement, it was expected to produce around 400,000 bpd in February, according to shipping schedules. A recent Reuters report had indicated that oil supplies in Nigeria were due to rise in February to 2.18 million barrels per day (bpd) or by around 10 percent more than in January, after flooding and theft late last year caused major disruptions to exports. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Nigerian crude oil exports were impeded by several declarations of force majeure - a clause that means a company will not be able to meet its contractual obligations due to events beyond its control - by some oil majors. In October, crude oil exports again suffered a major set-back as Royal Dutch Shell declared force majeure on exports of the Bonny and Forcados grades of crude oil due to pipeline damage caused by oil thieves and flooding. The force majeure declaration on Bonny Light was lifted early in November while the one on Forcados was lifted at the end of November. Early November, Italian oil firm Eni declared a force majeure on Nigerian oil exports which was lifted late January, raising hopes that supply problems would end in Nigeria.Also in November, Mobil Producing Nigeria, a subsidiary of the United States oil giant, ExxonMobil Corporation, declared force majeure on Qua Iboe crude oil exports in November due to the November 9, 2012 oil spill in Qua Iboe oil field. The force majeure was lifted mid-December following the completion of the cleanup of the oil spill in Ibeno area of Akwa Ibom state.


L-R: MDCEO, NEXIM Bank; Roberts Orya, Executive Chairman, Obodex Group, Chief Don Etiebet and Senator Don Meredith of the Canadian Senate at the captains of industry roundtable with the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Hon. Ed Fast at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

China overtakes U.S. to become world’s biggest trading nation By Aminu Imam with agency report


hina surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods, a milestone in the Asian nation’s challenge to the U.S. dominance in global commerce that emerged after the end of World War II. U.S. exports and imports of goods last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China’s customs administration reported last month that the

country’s total trade in goods in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion. China’s increasing influence threatens to disrupt regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for countries including Germany, which will export twice as much to China by the end of the decade as it does to neighboring France, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Jim O’Neill. China became the world’s biggest exporter in 2009, while the U.S. remains the biggest

importer, taking in $2.28 trillion in goods last year compared with China’s $1.82 trillion of imports. HSBC Holdings Plc forecast last year that China would overtake the U.S. as the top trading nation by 2016. While China is the biggest energy user, has the world’s biggest new car market and the largest foreign currency reserves, a significant portion of China’s trade involves importing raw materials and parts to be assembled into finished products and re-exported, an activity that

provides “only modest value added,” Eswar Prasad, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) official. Last month China’s trade expanded more than estimated, with exports rising 25 percent from a year earlier and imports increasing 28.8 percent, government data released yesterday showed. The U.S.’s bilateral trade deficit with China, which peaked in 2012, could remain a flashpoint of tension between the two countries, Prasad said. (Source: Bloomberg News)

Banks urged to grow consumer lending portfolios By Abdulwahab Isa


xperts have called on Nigerian banks to expand their consumer lending portfolios in order to remain profitable and competitive. The Chief Executive Officer

(CEO), CR Services, Taiwo Ayedun, who spoke recently at an annual stakeholder’s forum of the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), also said there is a huge opportunity for increased credit growth and profitability in

Nigeria, given the huge number of employed people without access to bank loans. He noted that out of the 42 million Nigerians that are gainfully employed, only 8.2 million have access to loans, while less than 1.6 million have access

Management Tip of the Day


Get the parental leave you want

hen you’re about to become a mother or father, it’s critical to know how much time you can take off and with what pay. Here are three tips for getting the leave you want. Do thorough research. Review your organization’s employee manual or talk with someone in HR to understand the

official policy. Then ask around to find out what other people have gotten and how other companies compare to your own. Talk to your manager. Most individualized arrangements start as a negotiation between a valued employee and her manager. Bring it up with your boss as a problem you’re hoping to solve

together, not a demand or threat. Ask for the longest amount of time you can afford. People often underestimate how long they’ll want to take — you can always return to work earlier if you choose to. Source: Harvard Business Review

to loans from banks.He said this offers a huge market opportunity for banks to lend, adding that the problem however is that banks presently prefer to lend to corporate bodies, and high net worth individuals. He said this is due to the lack of a mechanism to identify individuals who are good borrowers, and those who will repay their loans.He observed that these problems were responsible for the problem of huge non-performing loans, which was the major cause of bank distress in the past. He pointed out that in developed countries, these problems are solved through the services of credit bureaus, leading to the growth and explosion of consumer lending, or lending to individuals.



COMPANY NEWS “Naija Bonds”


he International Finance Corporation (IFC) raised the size of its debut Nigerian local-currency bond sale to N12 billion ($76.3 million) after investors sought more than twice the amount initially offered amid pent-up demand for Nigerian debt.The World Bank unit planned to issue N8 billion and increased the amount after orders came in at N20 billion, Jingdong Hua, vicepresident and treasurer at the IFC, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.The “Naija” bonds (which the IFC bond is known as), will be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) mature in February 2018, and were sold with a 10.2 percent coupon.UBA A new set of 93 management trainees have successfully completed the third edition of the banking school programme of the UBA Academy as part of the bank’s pre-requisite for gainful employment in the institution.At the colourful convocation ceremony held at the bank headquarters,the group managing director/CEO, Phillips Oduoza described the banking school as a key platform for gauging the human capital investment of the bank noting that ‘human capital investment’ remains UBA Plc’s biggest asset. Similarly, Deputy Managing Director, UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka threw more light on the core objective of establishing a banking school noting that it afforded the bank the opportunity of identifying the variousdepartments that the prospective staff would best fit in.

Delta state/UNIDO


he shoe factory which will be the biggest in the country would be financed by the state government and UNIDO.Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghgan, who gave the hint in Asaba at a recent press briefing, said the state government has already released its fund for the project.”The shoe factory will be sited in Asaba and what we want to do is to build an area where our local shoe manufacturers will come together and improve on their skills, and the quality of their production. We are going to have the biggest shoe factory in Nigeria. We are in partnership with UNIDO as part of capital human development,”he said.He added that as part of the state human capital development programme, more fund has been released to the office of the micro-credit scheme to empower more people in the state. Uduaghan posited that beneficiaries of the microcredit scheme that are doing well would be funded to graduate to small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

Renewable energy resources, how viable for Nigeria? By Etuka Sunday


he rise of oil prices and geopolitical instability has been a major force in contributing to the rise of global investments in renewable energy.Today the focus of the world is on renewable energy. Every country is putting its grey hairs together to brainstorm on how to come up with an alternative sources of energy particularly electricity for better life and economic stability.

For a country like Nigeria that has been experiencing epileptic power supply nothing could be more satisfying than having such an alternative source of power for its teaming population. Just last year, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union (AU) Commission, H.E Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, said effective implementation of sustainable energy solution is crucial for Africa’s successful long-term social and economic development, therefore called on African leaders to work for the development of Africa’s renewable energy resources. Commissioner Elham made the call in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in an event organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), while addressing participants convened to ensure that Africa’s renewable energy potential is kept high on the political agenda. Addressing the participants comprises of African Ministers, civil society organizations, international organisations and development partners, among others, the Commissioner highlighted the significant role of the African Union Commission

on the infrastructure and energy sector. “In February 2009, African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government decided to develop renewable energy resources in order to provide clean, reliable, affordable and environmental friendly energy,” she recalled. Underlining renewable energy as a key factor for Africa’s sustainable development, and the fact that a huge gap has been registered

using energy production, she called on African countries, Governments and concerned organization to work together for the development of Africa’s renewable energy resources. Mrs. Elham further highlighted the following issues as a means of achieving Africa’s renewable energy: giving priority for renewable energy projects, allocation of sufficient budget, technology transfer or manufacturing on the regional scale, capacity building and creating conducive environment for private sectors to invest on renewable energy. Sources Energy



Hydropower: Water’s usability to generate electricity is tremendous since the kinetic energy of flowing water is amply used to produce hydroelectricity such as to rotate turbines. It’s a form of renewable energy where it contributes to less pollution of environment and consumption of fossil fuels. Tidal Energy: Tidal energy, also called Tidal power, is a renewable source of energy and a form of hydropower used to generate

electricity using the energy of the tides. Though not widely used to generate electricity, it can be called as the energy resource of the future with the current rate of depletion of nonrenewable resources. High costs and limited availability have kept tidal energy from being utilized to its full potential. Wave Power: Wave power is the transport of energy on ocean wave to carry out multiple jobs like

electricity generation, water desalination and pumping of water into reservoirs. Wave power is not currently used on a commercial scale though the first wave farm was opened in Portugal in 2008. Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy is the thermal energy generated and stored in the earth that verifies the temperature of the matter. This clean and sustainable type of energy is found in shallow hot ground water, hot rocks a few miles beneath the earth’s surface and in the molten magma if we go deeper. Geothermal energy produces few emissions and is consistently available for use. Wind Energy: Particularly in seabed, hilly areas and seashores, wind is easily available and hence it is less expensive source of energy. By utilizing the momentum and transferring it to rotor blades, energy can be produced from wind. The process of producing energy from this source does not create any type of pollution but the maintenance can produce negligible amount of water or air pollution. The usage of windmills or wind turbines to produce energy

is constrained to installing them in windy areas where wind flows with high speed as otherwise wind cannot be utilized to produce energy. Solar Energy: The sun is the most important source of energy. The sun rays can be used as a mean of producing the energy. Photovoltaic cells possessing the characteristic of converting heat to energy are used to generate electricity. When sun rays strike the surface of these photovoltaic cells, electric current is produced. This device is also less expensive as it is made up of silicon which is one of the most abundant elements on earth. The only limitation of using solar energy or solar panels or photovoltaic cells is that they can produce electric current only in the day, when bright sunlight is available in abundance. Installing photovoltaic cells or solar panels hence cannot produce energy in rainy or snowy seasons. Biomass Energy: Biomass power is the electricity generated from biomass and is obtained from wood, crops, harvest residues, urban refuse and industrial wastes known as biomass. It is one of the important sources of renewable energy and serves as an essential part of waste management process. Pulp and paper industries in the United States are prominent generators of biomass. Obtaining power from biomass substances is more cost-effective than that of obtaining it from wind using wind turbines or windmills or any other source as it requires less investment. Investing in renewable energy The renewable energy market has become a major player in the global economy attracting giant companies such as Sharp, Royal Dutch Shell and Siemens. The need and awareness for a cleaner and sustainable source of energy has led to the widespread application of renewable energy to satisfy consumer demand for energy. Governments of most countries are providing incentives to promote use of solar, wind, biomass and other forms of alternative energy. Ways to invest in renewable energy Investing in renewable energy is easy for an investor. Stocks: Companies involved in the renewable energy industry today are predicted to be the leading companies in the global market of tomorrow. Purchasing stocks such as wind stocks, biofuel stocks, geothermal stocks, solar stocks, hydroelectric stocks and other green stocks ensure profitable returns from the flourishing renewable energy industry.



Telephone subscribers divided over NCC’s N4 SMS charge policy By Chris Alu & Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


here appears to be mixed reactions from the telephone subscribers over the new uniform charge of short messaging service (SMS) imposed recently, by the telecom regulatory agency, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) on all network providers. Last month , NCC announced a new uniform tariff charge for all off-net SMS, pegging it at N4.00 per message for all domestic off-net , with effect from February 5, which was one of their first regulatory intervention assignment of the year 2013. According to the regulatory body, the directive to this effect

will not place a price cap on International SMS at this time. The development, which was a welcome idea to many Nigerians, also witnessed criticism from consumers and telecom operators. When Peoples Daily sought the views of some Nigerians over the development, only a few expressed their happiness about the new policy as most of the people spoken to argued that the NCC is supposed to enforce the quality of network service by the ntwork providers when making calls instead of concentrating on the message charges. They further opined that not most Nigerians make use of text message in their daily businesses. A recharge card seller,

Mohammed Magaji, said he did not even notice the change in the charge of his text messages. “It takes me a long time before I text a person; I prefer to call, hence it will be difficult to notice the amount they are charged”. Asked about his view to the new policy, the recharge card seller didn’t hesitate to make his mind known, saying that “such kind of policy ought to be on the quality of network rather than on only text messages”. Therefore, its impact on his daily telephone engagement is minimal. However, the initiative was commended by a Youth Corper, Emeka, who uses MTN and expressed his delight saying he noticed the change in the price per each message. He stated that he

came to acknowledge the price when he sent a message to a different network, and was charged only N4, instead of what it used to be, which was N7. As such, the Youth Corper didn’t hide his satisfaction to the policy owing to his much use of messages. “Actually, I appreciate it, because I send text messages a lot, and I receive a lot of them,” though, according to him, he was not aware of the introduction of the policy until when he noticed the price he was charged. Although it is clear that there had been low awareness to the introduction of the policy, and the subsequent taking effect, some people told Peoples Daily that they are not unaware of the policy but regard it as not the

most crucial aspect. Barrister Hamza is one of such subscribers, who maintained that what subscribers need from such network providers is quality network and low call rates, saying that he recently sent an SMS to another network, different from the one he uses, yet “the usual N8 was taken out of my account. So I don’t know when they will start complying with the NCC policy”. He then expressed his hope that the regulatory commission will sustain the tempo of protecting the interest of consumers and urged the commission to ensure a cheaper call rate, which will affect every GSM subscriber, as against text messages.

Oba Otudeko chairs "2013 Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition"


notable champion of interAfrican trade and business cooperation, and Chairman of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Ayoola Oba Otudeko, has accepted to be the chairman of the forthcoming Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition, slated for April 23-25, 2013 in Abuja. According to a press statement issued by Digital Africa 2013 Director of Sponsorship & Publicity, Mr. Frederick Apej, the Digital Conference & Exhibition, slated for April 23-25, 2013, will be held at Nicon Luxury Hotel, in Abuja. First Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of Nigeria’s biggest financial

institutions with operations throughout the country, as well as in South Africa, United Kingdom, France and China, is the Official Banker of the conference Convener of the pan-Africa ICT confab, Dr. Evans Woherem, confirmed this in Abuja over the weekend saying, “We are delighted that this distinguished Nigerian, foremost investor, and respected African business leader will chair the 3-day Digital Africa 2013” Giving an update about the event, Dr. Evans Woherem, MD/CEO of Compumetrics Solutions Limited, the promoter of the conference, said, “Our

focus is to bring ICT people from Africa and the rest of the world to interact closely with the users and consumers of ICT across major sectors of the society such as agriculture, universities & polytechnics, military and paramilitary, creative arts, SMEs, hospitals and clinics, etc” Dr. Woherem explained that, “The aim of this continental technology gathering is to promote a better integrated Africa, using modern ICT tools. The event is therefore an important platform to network, share knowledge on the latest developments in the ICT world, do business, and sign deals” The conference programme,

which comprises plenary and breakout sessions, is complemented by a parallel exhibition of various ICT products, devices, services, solutions and innovations. The event is open to delegates, sponsors and exhibitors from the 54 countries in Africa, as well as from the rest of the world The program has been

Galaxy S IV reportedly set for March 15 debut


amsung Electronics is set to unveil the Galaxy S IV smartphone at a March 15 event, according to fan site SamMobile. The successor to Samsung's Galaxy S flagship franchise will

begin selling in early April, according to the report, which cited an unnamed source. S a m s u n g , meanwhile, remained mum on the timing of the launch. "We don't comment on rumors or speculation," said a S a m s u n g representative. There's increasing interest in the launch of the next Galaxy S smartphone, which Samsung has built up as a worthy rival to Apple's iPhone franchise. The Galaxy S III landed with all of the attention of an Apple launch, and the anticipation over the Galaxy S IV is expected to be even higher. As with previous launches, the Galaxy S IV would launch in Europe and Asia before the end of April, the fan site said, while the Americas, Australia, and Africa will get the phone around May or June. (Source: CNET)

Oba Otudeko

designed to add value to the leading global computer and telecom brands targeting the virgin and juicy African markets, ICT investors from Europe, the Americas and Asia, seeking fresh markets, and ICT industry regulators and agencies across African countries wishing to showcase their potentials to the world Also expected at Digital Africa 2013 are major African telephone service providers, major African broadband service providers, top telecom and IT hardware makers, assemblers and suppliers, top software and solutions providers, and Africa’s leading banks at the forefront of unleashing the untapped opportunities of mobile money across the continent Mr. Oba Otudeko was the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce which he led from May 2000 till June 2011. During this period, trade between both countries grew from $16.5 million in 1999 to $2.9 billion in 2010.

Etisalat shortlisted for GSMA Global Mobile Awards


he Etisalat Group has been shortlisted for four GSMA Global Mobile Awards for its advanced service portfolio that is helping to enrich digital communities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.The Global Mobile Awards are the telecommunications industry’s prestigious international awards and Etisalat’s nominations in 2013 follow its successful participation in the 2012 awards which saw it winning three awards.Nominated for two categories - “Best Mobile Service for Emerging Markets” and “Best Mobile Product for Women in Emerging Markets” Etisalat’s Maternal Health

program “Mobile Baby” is enabling birth attendants and midwives to ensure safer pregnancies by enabling them to quickly and accurately identify, communicate and act on obstetric emergencies. The program was recently expanded to include services that support care for children with severe acute malnutrition and to help eradicate polio in West Africa. Working with its program partners, D-Tree International, Etisalat Mobile Baby will continue saving countless lives whilst greatly enhancing the life expectancy of women and children across continents. (Source: Techtimes)



The 10 most expensive cities in the world Namba Parks located in Osaka, Japan

Tokyo, Japan (+1 place)

Sydney, Australia(+4)


he cost of living globally has surged with Sydney and Melbourne ranked among the five most expensive cities in the world, according to an annual survey. Asia and Australia account for 11 of the top 20 most expensive cities, Europe eight and South America one, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘Worldwide Cost of Living’ index showed. No North American cities featured in the top 20. Tokyo reclaimed the title as the world’s most expensive city. Last

year currency swings pushed Zurich to top spot, but government exchange rate controls relegated it to seventh this time. Osaka was ranked the second most expensive. The survey is based on costs of more than 160 items ranging from food and clothing to domestic help, transport and utilities. Also featured in the 2013 top 10 were Singapore, Paris, Caracas and Geneva. London moved up one place to 16. Asia and Australasia may have 11 of the 20 most expensive cities, but

Paris, France (-2)

they are also home to six of the 10 cheapest. Mumbai and Karachi were the joint cheapest locations in the survey, followed by New Delhi, Kathmandu and Algiers. Referring to India and its forecasts for growth, the EIU said: “Income inequality means that household spending levels are low on a per capita basis, which has kept prices down, especially by western standards.” Rounding out the bottom 10 were Bucharest, Colombo, Panama City, Jeddah and Tehran.


Report as at Monday, February 11, 2013





Kano reels after Emir attack W

e suddenly saw them running towards the convoy, shooting again and again,” says Muhammad “Dalatu, remembering the recent attack on one of Nigeria’s most revered Muslim leaders, the emir of Kano. “There were about eight of them. They were not wearing masks and they looked young - between 25 and 30 years old. We got down under the seats of the bus,” recalls the journalist who was in the convoy just a few vehicles behind the emir’s blue classic car. Emir Al Haji Ado Bayero survived but his driver and three bodyguards were killed, apparently valiantly shielding him from the gunmen. “I was very scared and I couldn’t sleep for two days because I was wondering what condition the emir was in,” says Mr Dalatu. His comments reflect the high regard many here have for the religious leader. ‘Respect declined’ At the emir’s offices near the palace in Kano, there are plenty of worried-looking faces. For many it was unthinkable that gunmen would attack the man seen as the second most important Muslim leader in the country, after the sultan of Sokoto. “We are shocked. They shot at him from all sides just like hunting animals in the bush,” says Abbas Sanusi, the emir’s senior counsel. He says that they have no idea who might have been responsible for the attack. The words are chosen carefully. Even though many analysts suggest this was the work of the Islamist militant group popularly known as Boko Haram, palace officials do not draw this conclusion. It may be safer not to mention the Islamist militants at all. However, there are some in northern Nigeria who were not surprised at the assassination attempt. “The masses have found out that the emirs and chiefs are now stooges of the political class and this must stop,” says a former military governor in northwestern Nigeria, Usman Faruk. He says that the budgets of these rulers are largely paid by politicians - and as a

consequence traditional and religious leaders are caught up in politics and have lost their independence. “He who pays the piper dictates the tunes,” says Mr Faruk, who chairs the Northern Development Focus Initiative. “Their respect has declined and will continue to unless they stick to their own jobs. “The Muslim and Christian leaders should not rely on goodies given to them.” ‘Drastic consequences’ In July and August 2012 suicide bombers tried but failed to kill the shehu - or traditional ruler - of the Borno emirate in north-east Nigeria as well as the emir of Fika in Yobe state. Those attacks were widely blamed on Boko Haram. The majority of Boko Haram’s targets have been linked to the government -

either police, military or other local officials. So could it be that Boko Haram sees religious and traditional leaders as legitimate targets? “We do not think the attack happened because of religion or politics,” says Mr Sanusi. “The emir is over 80 years old and has been on the throne for 50 years and you

can’t say he’s been involved in politics,” the adviser explained. The attack has had drastic consequences for tens of thousands of young men, who face losing their means of earning their living. Because the gunmen are reported to have fled on the back of motorbikes, Kano state has banned such

If a boy is trained up to secondary school or diploma level even if there’s no job in the government, by virtue of the education he has been enlightened and he will find a job for himself

machines, known as “achaba”, from being used as taxis. “One person, one bike” is the rule. “This is the only job we have. We depend on it to get something to eat and to look after our families,” says Muhammad Sani Hassan, chair of the Kano branch of the Commercial Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria. He says that no members of the association have given lifts to gunmen carrying out attacks. “The only thing you can blame some of our members for is recklessness on the road,” Mr Hassan says. “By banning us you are now opening another door of criminality,” he said, urging the state government to provide alternative jobs or training. Kano Governor Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso disputes the idea that banning the

bikes is only going to deepen poverty and drive recruits into the hands of criminal groups, including Boko Haram. He says that Kano’s government is creating jobs. “We decided to buy 1,000 taxis, which we are giving to young men on hire purchase,” he said. “There are also 500 buses and we have 250 brand new Toyota Corollas which will be used as luxury taxis.” ‘Begging’ The fact that all these vehicles are exclusively earmarked for diploma and degree holders says a great deal about the lack of job opportunities in Nigeria. Mr Kwankwaso also argues that motorbike taxi riders have been told to register with the local government and that a return to the streets of twowheeled taxis has not entirely been ruled out if security improves.

But he suggests the high rate of accidents involving these bikes - more than 10,000 in 2012 with 2,000 deaths - means Kano would be better off without them. For the tens of thousands who are suddenly out of work, the ban is a crisis. “We are begging. We are borrowing money from people as most of us doing this job spend what we earn each day,” says Mr Hassan, who had been riding his taxi for 20 years. Compared to other parts of Nigeria, the north is severely underdeveloped. In parts of it as many as 70% of the children do not get any education beyond studying the Koran. While the Boko Haram name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden” many experts would argue that education is the key to Governor Kwankwaso says that the motocycle taxi ban will reduce road deaths

lifting the area onto a more stable footing. “The main source of recruitment is people who are illiterate. You give them naira and they will go and kill for you. It’s happened here in Kano for 30,000 naira ($190, £120),” says Mr Faruk.

The Emir of Kano is revered and seen by many as above politics

He says that for many years a lack of education has been a major contributor to insecurity in Nigeria. “If a boy is trained up to secondary school or diploma level even if there’s no job in the government, by virtue of the education he has been enlightened and he will find a

job for himself,” he says. “If you leave him untrained he is ready fodder for any insecurity in this country. To prevent insecurity we have to go back to school.” It will take at least a generation before any investment in education yields results.

Right now for so many people in northern Nigeria the focus is on short-term survival - how to feed the family and how to stay safe from the guns and bombs. As one resident of Kano put it: “If the emir of Kano is not safe then who is?”



Valentine’s Day: Another season of romance, affection and lust By Kayode Olaitan


t was on Feb. 14 in the early 1990s. The console of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), Ibadan, switched on to a love song composed by a popular actor, the late Ade Love. It was a prelude to a programme packaged for the Valentine's Day celebration that year. The programme, among others similarly lined up for the day, tried to sensitise the public to the essence of Valentine's Day. Many residents, who were apparently ignorant of the purpose of Valentine Day, were somewhat encouraged to engage in varying social activities which they perceived could justify the celebration. That was almost two decades ago but observers insist that there are still some misconceptions about the essence and importance of Valentine's Day. The observers note that people, particularly young men, use the day to engage in drinking, initiating romantic or lustful associations and visiting loved ones. What then is the real essence of Valentine's Day? Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, describes the celebration as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. It is a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints, particularly Valentinus who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. Besides, Valentinus reportedly showed love to his jailer by healing his daughter while he was still in prison. Observers, however, note that contrary to the noble acts of Valentinus, which compelled the Church to set a day aside to commemorate him and celebrate his values; most people now misconstrue the day as a time to engage in sexual escapades, lustful desires, romantic outings and merrymaking. Mr. Folasayo Adisa, a public analyst, stresses that Valentine's Day should primarily entail displays of love, expressions of pleasure, friendships and particularly, affections toward family members. “It is unfortunate that the public has mixed everything together; some get it wrong to the extent that they view the day as a day to date and have sex. “In some places, the day is

seen as a day to throw party and make merry; although this might be an infinitesimal part of the whole show, it should not be the ultimate. “However, the ability of any person to walk up to somebody he or she has not been friendly with for sometime would justify the essence of the celebration in that circumstance,'' he says. Adisa urges the people to study the motives behind any event before deciding to participate in it, adding that this will ensure that the purpose of their participation is not defeated by engaging in different things altogether. Sharing similar sentiments, Pastor John Abiodun of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Abuja, insists that only few people could really define the essence of Valentine's Day. He notes that some segments of the society, especially the youth, have mistaken the event for a time to engage in social vices, such as drinking and illicit relationships. “Perhaps, people are not knowledgeable about the day; it is a day to show ideal human values by sharing love with others in character and materials. “Yet, this is not just for the celebration alone, it has to

endure even after the celebration because our God is Love and He enjoins us to love each other. “Believers must, irrespective of any celebrations, make life worth living for others, especially the less-privileged members of the society by showing love to them,'' he says. Abiodun, nonetheless, bemoans the attitude of some youths to the Valentine's Day celebration and he underscores the need to properly educate the youth about the purpose of the celebration. A journalist, Boluwatife Jeremiah, describes Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate good deeds, demonstrate love and give gifts to loved ones. She, however, insists that such attitudes ought to be part of the people's lifestyles, saying that they will surely promote and sustain good relationships within various communities. “Above all, I strongly believe that Valentine's Day is a time to demonstrate love in our society; it is a time when people should give gifts to each other. Indeed, it is a time to strengthen natural affection,'' Jeremiah says. Sharing similar sentiments, Malam Awwal Abubakar, a student of Federal College of

Education, Zaria, however, cautions that Islam “does not approve Valentine's Day celebration because of the doubts regarding its origin.'' He, nonetheless, concedes that it is a good development if the larger society decides to observe such a day to flaunt love, affection and peace. “The spectacular element in the celebration is the people's intent to show love, promote peace and help the less privileged. If such expressions are genuine; they are good and they should be sustained, even after the celebration,'' he says. All the same, Mr Iheanyichukwu Ukpabi, a risk manager, opines that in the Nigerian context, Valentine's Day celebration should be used to promote peace and harmony in the society. “We should love our neighbours because God loves peace. Therefore, the celebration of Valentine's Day means that we must eschew bitterness, while embracing peace and love,'' he says. Besides, Miss Happiness Ogwu, a public servant, says that Valentine's Day celebration in Nigeria should be used to promote good neighbourliness and affection for fellow citizens. “To some extent, some

people have used the occasion to settle quarrels, reunite, make new friends and engage in worthwhile ventures. “I think Nigerians should use the coming Valentine's Day to promote peace and religious harmony in the country, while praying for our leaders to lead us well,'' she says. Nevertheless, Mr Olufemi Ayodele, a lawyer, underscores the need to educate the people about the essence of Valentine's Day. “Nigerians, particularly the youth, should jettison the notion that Valentine’s Day connotes amorous relationships and promiscuity; it is a commemoration of the agape love which was displayed by a saint. “The focus should, therefore, be on love for others and not on sex, booze and worldly pleasures,'' he adds. Mr. Clinton Chukwuka, a movie producer, has a similar viewpoint. “Valentine's Day is a season of love, care and enjoyment. It's a day to reach out to the lessprivileged members of our society, including orphans. “It is not a time to engage in sexual escapades; you cannot promote love through sexual promiscuity,'' he says. Source: NAN



Agitation continues in the review of revenue-sharing formula By Obike Ukoh


here is no dissension on the desirability of the review o f the present revenue sharing formula, the opinion only differs on “who gets what.'' Governors and the people of the Niger Delta have made it clear that they want more from the present revenue-sharing arrangement. They argue that the present sharing formula is skewed in favour of the Federal Government and wants that reversed. The House of Representatives in November 2012, passed a resolution urging the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), to advise President Goodluck Jonathan to submit a new revenue-sharing formula before the National Assembly, in accordance with constitutional provisions. The lawmakers were of the opinion that the constitution had been `` observed more in the breach since 1999 with regard to revenue-sharing among the three tiers of government.'' Section 32, Part I of the Third Schedule of the constitution empowers the RMAFC to: “Monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account, review from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principle in operation, to ensure conformity with changing realities. “Provided that any revenue formula which had been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly, shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of the commencement of the Act.'' Speaker Aminu Tambulwal had said: “RMAFC must come before the House Committee on Finance to explain why it has been unable to pass the new revenue formula to Mr President.'' However, there is hope that the RMAFC may present the new revenue formula to the president this year as N1.3 billion was allocated to the commission in the budget for the exercise. The present revenue sharing formula came into force in 2002, and in the new formula, governors will definitely want more money allocated to the states. Under the current formula, the Federal Government gets 52.68 per cent; states, 26.72 per cent; local government councils, 20.6 per cent and 13 per cent for the oil-producing states. The governors intensified

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state

President Goodluck Jonathan their agitation for upward review of their share of national revenue in the first quarter of 2011, when the new minimum wage took effect. Although governors of the northern states are in the forefront of the agitation on the grounds that the present sharing formula has impoverished the north, they say other states are not better off. Dr. Babangida Aliyu, Chairman, Northern Governors' Forum, says all the states in Nigeria except Lagos, are in alarming financial crisis. Aliyu who is the governor of Niger, says most states depend solely on monthly allocations because they do not generate enough revenue internally and can not execute projects. “It is not only states in the northern part of the country that are not in a position to meet all their financial obligations. Virtually all states in the federation, apart from Lagos State, are in the same boat.'' The governor notes that the revenue formula should be reviewed, `` if for nothing else, it has outlived its usefulness, especially when it is the law that it should be reviewed.'' Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta says review is necessary because existing indices attest to the fact that challenges in the Niger Delta can no longer be accommodated by the 13 per cent derivation fund allocated to oil producing states. Gov, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom also aligns with Uduaghan, saying that increased allocation is needed to remedy environmental degradation in the Niger Delta caused by oil exploration.

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala “The governors are saying that exploration is affecting aquatic life, it impacts on the sea, on livelihood of the people on the sea shore because life there can never be the same again.'' Mr Elias Mbam, Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says the commission is ready for a new revenue allocation sharing formula as public hearings were conducted in the six geopolitical zones to enable Nigerians make input. Mbam says that recent political developments in the

country has gvien rise to fresh dimension to revenue-sharing debate, stressing that there is the need for restraint on the part of the commission. Mbam explains that the commission has made reasonable progress, noting that the issue has a lot of implications in the peace and unity of the country. “We are conscious of that and we are very careful in all our actions and inactions. “So we do not want to be joined in the politics of the review exercise. “We want to retain our image as an unbiased umpire, we will

be fair and devoid of any political consideration in terms of politics of any section of the country,'' the RMAFC chairman says. Mbam calls for effective exploitation of local resources by states and local government councils to reduce the constant agitation over revenue-sharing formula. He says that the diversification of the economy will help to create wealth, boost employment and revenue. In his explanation, the present government's efforts to diversify the economy have started yielding fruits, as N1.7 billion revenue from solid minerals is ready for sharing. `` For the first time, solid minerals will be contributing to the Federation Account. `` What is holding us from forwarding the sharing formula is the 13 per cent derivation. `` We have asked the Ministry of Mines to provide us the states where the revenue was generated so that they can get their 13 per cent derivation.'' While it is legitimate to seek the review of the revenue sharing as stipulated by law, analysts want the governors to show aggressiveness to generate more revenues internally. They point to the fact that the economy of defunct Western Region was sustained by cocoa production, Northern Region by groundnut and cotton production and Eastern Region by palm produce. They advise the governors to harness the natural endowments in their respective states, in order to contribute to the finances of the federation and also to benefit from the derivation principle. Source: NAN



Poor packaging of cashew products costs Nigeria huge foreign exchange, says Adesina By Mohammed Kandi


he Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has said that poor handling of cashew locally has cost Nigeria huge losses in foreign exchange. Adesina, who made the observation at the second Stakeholders and Action Plan Formulation Forum organised by the National Cashew Association

of Nigeria (NCAN) recently in Lagos, said the situation also denied the country of employment opportunities. He pointed out that increasing cashew production of 120,000 tonnes by 20 per cent would create more than 344,000 jobs. “Nigeria exports about 80 per cent of her annual cashew production in its raw form to India and Vietnam; only less than 20 per cent is processed locally.

“Though with low processing capacity, Nigeria still compares favourably well with the West African average of five to six per cent and East Africa's of about 30 per cent. “The study showed the multiplier effect of raw cashew nuts sold at 1,000 dollars will create 50 new jobs and household income of 1,143 dollars in the local economy,” he stated. The minister added that

processing only 50 per cent of Nigeria’s raw cashew nut annually would generate an additional income of 14 million dollars. “Processing 50 per cent of Nigeria’s RCN annually would generate an additional income of 14,160,000 dollars basically for youths and women living in rural communities,’’ he said. Adesina said that cashew has been added to the nine other crops being promoted by the Federal

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in 2013. The minister, while commending the association, said that the cashew industry had enormous potential, if grown sustainably as a major cash crop in Nigeria. He advised the association to continue to partner with other affiliate associations.

Fishermen in Rivers beg govt for storage facilities


ishermen in Oyorokoto, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers, have appealed the government to assist them with fishing tools to increase their catch. The fishermen told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Oyorokoto that the most important factor militating against their occupation was lack of storage facilities. They said that many of them had the necessary experience to catch different kinds of fish in the high sea but their efforts were not commensurate with their total production. According to Mr Peter Ejit, one of them, ``God has given us strength to fish but after the large catch, if you are able to use half of them, you just thank God. ``The reason is because fish can only live for very few hours outside the water and because we don’t have storage facility, we will just be seeing our efforts go down the drain. ``Sometimes, we ask ourselves why should we be suffering like that, taking all the risk in turbulent water but because that is our natural occupation, we remained in the business,`` Ejit said. Mr Christian Iman said the fishermen needed more government encouragement to make them happy while doing their business and contributing to food sustainability. Iman said they needed coldroom in the area and other moden amenities like schools and banks. ``Give us the sense of belonging to encourage us; we believe we have the capacity to ensure the availably of fish at cheaper rate in the state,`` he said. Another fisherman, Mr Jude Ikor, called on the government to harness ways of using the spoilt fish as manure for farming if it could not assist them with storage facility. ``If they collect the decayed fish from us, it will reduce the amount of frustration we pass through, seeing our efforts wasting as the fish start decaying frustrates us. ``This is why some fishermen joined in the illegal bunkering because fish business is now a poor man's job and nobody wants to be poor, especially when government did not assist with fishing basic needs. ``So, if they can’t help us store the fish, let them always collect the spoilt one and use them as fertilizer for farming. ``This fishing port is the largest in this West Africa but we lack the most important thing for fishing, which is storage,`` Ikor said.(NAN)

Fishermen in Rivers state|

Seeds company targets 5, 000 tonnes annually before 2015 - Chief Executive


a-all Green Seeds', Zaria, will produce 5,000 tonnes of seeds annually before the winding down of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), Mr Steven Attah, Chief Executive Officer of the company, has said. Attah disclosed this in Abuja recently in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He praised the Federal Government's ATA policy, noting that it was capable of improving the nation's agricultural production. Da-all Green seeds' chief executive said that his company produced 1,200 tonnes of seeds during the ATA's first year as

against the 500 tonnes it used to produce. Attah, who assured that the company would produce 2,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes of seeds in 2013, said that the ATA had built the confidence of the company in the area of trade channels and relationship with agro-dealers. ``We have been able to also increase our farmers’ population and our employees have been increased. We now have agrodealers that we can trust to some extent because we know that they are under check and we also believe that only credible people will be sustained under this agenda.

“Before the winding down of the agenda, we are targeting the production of 5,000 tonnes of seeds per annum, which is 10 times our production level two years ago,’’ he said. Attah explained that even though the mobile phones might not be the ultimate thing the farmers need, it would be a platform to ensure that the government’s fertiliser reached them on time. “The mobile phones for farmers is not a luxury, it is a platform being developed to yield billions in the future.’’ “It should not be looked at as if the seeds and fertiliser are more

important because these things cannot get to the farmers without the e-wallet.’’ He expressed regret that the company was experiencing shortage of funds and inadequacy of manpower. “Financing has been a major challenge; even when we get the funds from the banks, it usually comes late. Some banks are making efforts but the efforts are not good enough yet. “We are expanding and we need more experienced hands to work with; to get this we have to train people and it takes a lot of time and money,’’ Attah said (NAN)

Jigawa govt drills 1,000 tube wells to boost irrigation farming - Commissioner


ommissioner for Agriculture in Jigawa, Alhaji Rabiu Isah, has said that the government has drilled 1,000 tube wells across the state to boost irrigation farming. Isah made the statement recently in Jangargari, BirninKudu local government area of the

state during the demonstration of methods of cultivating Irish potato. He said that the administration of Governor Sule Lamido was committed to the development of agriculture. To achieve this objective, the commissioner said that

government would rehabilitate Warwade, Dambo and KafinDamba dams in the state. Represented by Alhaji Mohammed Danzomo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Isah said that government had completed the rehabilitation of Agufa Irrigation

Scheme in Miga Local Government Area. The Managing Director of Jigawa State Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (JARDA), Alhaji Gambo Aliyu, said the authority would collaborate with Fadama III Pragramme to boost agriculture in the state. (NAN)



Canadian Govt provides N300m grant to boost vaccine research Stories By Mohammed Kandi


he Canadian Government has committed N300 million to assist the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) in the production and improvement of vaccine research against diseases known as pathogens which are capable of affecting animals and humans. A team of experts from the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade led by the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Christopher Cooter, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during his visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, pledged to upgrade the institute. “The Canadian government will make financial contribution toward infrastructure upgrade, integrated equipment and facility for Biosafety Level-Three,” Cooter stated adding that “Biosafety Level-Three is the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s designated biological containment laboratory.” Cooter also stressed that his country was delighted with the new partnership, assuring that it had concluded arrangement with Nigeria to strengthen biological security and research. “This follows on a commitment made by our Minister of Foreign Affairs during his visit to Nigeria in October 2012, to increase security co-operation, including biosecurity,” he explained. He said that the Biosafety LevelThree biological containment laboratory would be located at the NVRI premises, which currently has a Biosafety Level-two designation. Cooter noted that since inception, NVRI has been serving as the central veterinary laboratory for the country and offers technical

assistance to other national laboratories in West and Central Africa. Responding, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina said that the Mou was as a result of the efforts of his ministry and the Canadian Global Partnership Programme against the

spread of harmful pathogens. He informed that Nigeria, which has one of the largest livestock populations, could not meet its protein demand due to poor genetic breeds, poor nutrition and disease. According to him, the NVRI was important to the Livestock

A group of graduates from the Department of Agriculture Extension and Management, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure

AfDB to support rice production with $150m


he Rice Value Chain Development Programme (RVCDP) of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) has received a major boost as the African Development Bank (AfDB) said it will support the programme with 150 million dollars. This followed the Federal Government’s request, asking the banks to provide support for its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) via the value chain intervention development of rice, cassava, aquaculture and sorghum. To address this problems, the Federal Government had promised to add to domestic food production by 2015, 20 million metric tons create 3.5 million jobs in the agricultural sector in the same period; provide over N300 billion of additional income for Nigerian farmers and make Nigeria selfsufficient in rice production. The AfDB’s Chief Operations Officer, Dr Patrick Agboma, who made the pledge in Abuja at a two-

Commodity Value Chain, noting however that “the institute in addition, undertakes surveillance and diagnosis of animal diseases and also provides extension services to farmers.” “It undertakes training of intermediate manpower in animal health and veterinary laboratory

technology,” Adesina said. He expressed regret that the capacity of the institute had been eroded over time due to obsolete equipment and human capacity, but promised that the present administration would address this anomaly with well articulated restructured plan. Adesina therefore stressed the need for rapid development of the livestock sub-sector with low disease prevalence as major component of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).

day stakeholder’s workshop on preappraisal mission of AfDB-assisted Rice Value Chain Development Programme, said that the fund would be used to provide infrastructure that could boost rice production. “For instance you know in BidaBadeggi, Niger, rice has been produced before all of us were born. Infrastructure that we have there has really deteriorated and if governments thought it wise to develop the infrastructure, it will go a long way to meet the objective of ATA,” he explained. According to him, the bank had held discussions with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the project saying “they agreed that the entry point for the programme will be setting up crop processing centres located across the country.” Agboma also said that the crop processing zones would be located in areas with high potential for production of rice, cassava,

aquaculture and sorghum. He said that the pilot rice project would be in Adani, Enugu State; Omor, Anambra; Agbadu, Kogi, and Bida-Baddegi, Niger, for lowland and irrigation farming. In her remarks, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that the crop processing centres would be provided with the necessary infrastructure to attract investors. She said that 13 sites had been designated for the first set of the Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ), adding that “the crop site selection was based on the criteria of cultivated hectares, production volume, volumes of production surplus and yield per hectare.” Odusote noted that the stakeholders’ workshop was organised to garner inputs that would enrich the identified rice value chain, in order to package a bankable intervention programme in line with the ATA.

Ministry partners group to boost ATA, agric extension services


n a bid to enhance the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has entered into a fresh partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The major aim of the new partnership, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said, was to improve agricultural productivity and production, food security and nutrition in the country via better support to farmers. “The involvement of SAA will strengthen the country’s national extension system and ensure smallholder farmers have access to critical services such as training on new agricultural technologies and advice in areas such as input supply, credit, marketing and farm management,” Adesina explained. He said: “The partnership will help the country to revamp and

transform its extension programme to reach millions of farmers with timely and quality extension services. It will strengthen and re-build our flagging extension education system and bring new technology to farmers.” Adesina therefore described Sasakawa Global 2000 as “a strategic partner in our quest to transform the agricultural sector. It is well known for the success of its extension programmes in the world, where it has helped Kenya, Mali, Ethiopia, to reach millions of farmers with improved agriculture, and post-harvest technologies.” In her remarks, Chairperson of SAA, Prof. Ruth Oniang’o, advocates more support for the small holder farmer in Africa saying “it is vital to support the small-and very small-scale farmers who form the backbone of African agriculture. We cannot just leave the farmers to do this on their own.”



Preventing stigmatisation of ‘child witches’ in Akwa Ibom By Nathan Nwakamma


ultural beliefs and superstitions play a significant role in the state of affairs of virtually all African societies. The notion that children could possess supernatural powers to bewitch their parents is one of the beliefs that hold sway in Akwa Ibom communities. Analysts maintain that the ``child witch'' syndrome, which is a mere superstitious belief, has been an age-old social problem. The superstitious belief about ``child witches'' in Akwa Ibom communities is so strong, while the stigmatisation of those children accused of having deviant supernatural powers is rampant in all the communities. On assumption of office, Gov. Godswill Akpabio expressed his disgust for the phenomenon and initiated some steps to address the plight of the stigmatised ``child witches''. Sustained media spotlight on the ``child witch'' syndrome has drawn national and international attention to the social problem, as various agencies are devising ways to solve the problem. There are, however, divergent views on the role of the media in bringing succour to the children, who are hitherto stigmatised for allegedly possessing witchcraft powers. While some believe that the media spotlight had portrayed Akwa Ibom in a bad light, others believe that media advocacy was responsible for the coordinated efforts to end the social malady in the state. Mr Aniekan Umana, Akwa Ibom's Commissioner for Information, accused some nongovernmental organisations in the state of collaborating with some foreign interests to ``paint gloomy pictures of our children and hence, dent the image of Akwa Ibom. ``These organisations have no other interest than to paint Akwa Ibom black and damage the image of the state for selfish gains," he stressed, while testifying before a panel set up by the government to investigate the ``child witch'' syndrome in the state. However, Mr James Ibor, the Executive Secretary at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, disagreed with the commissioner's sentiments. His words: ``The views that the role of the media in the `child witch' issue is negative are baseless and unfounded because there are ample evidence that the stigmatisation of `child witches' is prevalent in Akwa Ibom. ``Facts are sacred and

judicial investigations have shown that the prevalence is high; the media has been a useful advocacy tool in drawing the attention of the public and government alike to the plight of the stigmatised children. ``The media have played commendable roles and this has brought relief to the innocent children, who are stigmatised

their right to education a criminal offence,'' Udoh said, adding: ``This is one way of laying the foundation for a greater Akwa Ibom.'' Besides, observers note that Akwa Ibom is one of the first states that signed the Child Rights Bill into law. Shortly after signing the bill into law on Dec. 5, 2008,

administration to tackle the plight of ``child witches'' frontally and urged all the three tiers of government to collaborate in efforts to stamp out the social malady. Sakai stressed that the stigmatised children needed peace, healing and the restoration of their dignity by the society that treated them

Godswill Akpabio Governor of Akwa Ibom State

and falsely accused of having witchcraft powers by members of the society.'' However, observers note that the Akpabio-administration has been striving to promote the interests of the less-privileged children, including the ones who are stigmatised as witches, since 2007. They cite the administration's policy on free and compulsory education at the primary and secondary school levels as a strategy designed to expand the access of the lessprivileged children to quality education. Mr Ita Udoh, the former Special Adviser to Akpabio on Education Matters, noted that as a result of the policy, school enrolment had received a remarkable boost. He said that the policy had also stimulated a massive expansion of the infrastructure of public schools, while boosting the morale of teachers via giving subventions to schools in proportion to the number of their pupils. ``The child-friendly disposition of Gov. Akpabio remains a source of pride to this state and the government has made any effort to deny children

Akpabio said: ``This is an Act to protect our children and posterity; we have come to make a law to protect everything we cherish and value. ``It would be completely futile to sustain the gains we have made in terms of development and progress without preparing the next generation for sustaining our legacy. ``It should be pointed out that this bill is today being domesticated in Akwa Ibom state and today marks a great stride for our children. Going from the general to the specifics, observers maintain that the state government, via its various interventions, has been able to give hope to children who are stigmatised as witches, under-privileged children and children in general. Mr Kingsley Udom, a lawyer, noted that the government built a rehabilitation centre for abandoned children in Uyo, adding that the centre, equipped with world-class facilities, could accommodate more than 300 children, who were once rejected by the society. Sharing similar sentiments, UNICEF's Country Director, Dr Suomi Sakai, commended the various efforts of the Akpabio-

harshly because of fetish accusations. All the same, observers note that children in the rehabilitation centre, closely supervised by the governor's wife, Mrs Unoma Akpabio, are looking quite healthy and refreshed, as they are given adequate nourishment and health care. Mrs Akpabio regularly visits the centre and one of the children, Mary Akpan, said that the children often found such visits psychologically and socially fulfilling because they ``lift our spirits and give us a sense of belonging. ``I never thought I would one day see the governor's wife faceto-face. It was like a dream come true; I can see she really likes children. I am very happy that she comes to see us; we also welcome her visits with joy,'' she added. Analysts note that with the domestication of the Child Rights Act by Akwa Ibom, the situation regarding the ``child witch'' syndrome is bound to change, as family courts have also been set up to try parents who abused the rights of their children. The state government recently amended the Act to

make it criminal for anyone to call a child a witch. The law prescribes up to 12 years in jail for offenders. Besides, the government has been prosecuting parents who contravened the Child Rights Act, while the family courts have been striving to give justice to children, whose rights were blatantly abused. For instance, two parents in Uyo and Eket were convicted in July 2012 for accusing their children of having witchcraft powers. However, the efforts to better the lot of stigmatised children in Akwa Ibom have not been hitchfree. The government had been piqued by a programme of the Cable News Network (CNN), which used film footages from Akwa Ibom to validate claims on the prevalence of witchcraft in Africa. Gov. Akpabio then accused some NGOs in the state of exaggerating the ``child witch'' problem via the CNN programme for financial gains. Nevertheless, the government on Nov. 22, 2010 set up of a commission of inquiry to look into witchcraft accusations and child abuses in the state. The commission, chaired by Justice Abraham Joseph, was expected to come up with recommendations on how to protect the children from various forms of child abuse. The commission, which has since submitted its report to the government, received 34 memoranda from individuals, NGOs, faith-based organisations as well as other institutions and sat for five months between Jan. 14 and May 25, 2011. It held 30 public sittings in Uyo and also had a session at the Nigeria High Commission in London on May 5, 2011, where it took evidences and testimonies from 73 witnesses before concluding its assignment. The panel of inquiry, among other things, recommended the closure of privately run orphanages with inadequate facilities and the Ministry of Women Affairs promptly evacuated children from these orphanages and relocated them to the new facility established by the state government. However, the main concern of stakeholders now is how to ensure the survival of the government's efforts to take care of the less-privileged children, including those wrongly accused of possessing witchcraft powers, even after the expiration of Gov. Akpabio's second term of office. Source: NAN



Zionism neoliberal style ANALYSIS By Charlotte Silver


n the recently adopted revisions to the Prawer Plan, which would forcibly relocate up to 70,000 Bedouins in the Negev, Israeli Knesset Member Benny Begin attempts to distract attention from the overtly racist tone of the original plan proposed in 2011. Instead of characterising Bedouins, whose impoverished communities are scattered across the vast Negev, as illegal squatters, foreign invaders and land robbers, Begin's report coolly asserts the mutual advantage the Prawer Plan will have on Jewish and Bedouin communities alike. Disregarding the fact that Bedouins have uniformly rejected the Prawer Plan, Begin writes: "It is the government's responsibility to take action in order to enable the Bedouins to extricate themselves from these circumstances and to grant them, and particularly the younger generation the tools necessary to successfully cope with the challenges of the future." The language of benevolence and goodwill decorates Begin's 16-page report and disguises the Plan's actual intention of displacement as one of "development". At least 44,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel will be displaced from their homes if the plan goes forward. Attempts to prettify Israel's land-grabbing policies are not new, but have metamorphosed over time. Once the Jewish National Fund's tree-planting project greenwashed the expropriation of Palestinian land; today, promises of egalitarian progress through joint industrial zones and a blossoming private sector accompany the Zionist project in the Negev. Today's rhetoric, embodied in Begin's report, reflects the trend in Israel to "privatise Zionism", a phrase Neve Gordon and Erez Tzfadia coined in 2007 when writing about the proliferation of private security firms manning checkpoints in the West Bank and demolishing Bedouin villages in the Negev, as well as the increasing presence of real estate moguls developing the land from which Bedouins had been expelled. In 2009, the Israel Land Administration enacted a law that would privatise historically state-owned land that had been expropriated from Palestinians expelled from their homes in the Nakba of 1948. In an interview in 2010, Shir Heverexplained to me that the timing of the above land reform bill, "coincide[d] with the very deep shift within Israel from a republican, strongstate model of an ultranationalist welfare state, into a

The language of benevolence and goodwill decorates Benny Begin's 16-page report and disguises the Prower Plan's actual intention of displacement as one of "development". new model of neoliberalism, while still keeping the ultranationalism". Zionists' pursuit of the Negev has a long, if failed, history. Israeli leaders have always regarded the Negev as an alluring, but vexing, frontier - a canvas for "pure Zionism" as Daniel Mattio, chairman of the Chicago Israeli Philanthropic Fund, described it in 2008; and a measure of Zionism's vitality, as David Ben-Gurion said: "The Negev will be the test of the creative ability and pioneering valour of Israel." In a definitive historical overview of the various efforts to Judaise the Negev, researcher Rebecca Manski explains that the government began to place them in the hands of private firms in 2006. That year, the Israeli government allocated $4bn to the private development group, Daroma Idan Hanegev, Ltd, and the American managing consulting giant, McKinsey & Co. According to Manski, this massive outsourcing was "unprecedented" and consisted of a two-tiered approach that "involv[ed] the removal of unrecognised Bedouin villages on the one hand, and incorporation and construction

of new Jewish towns on the other". A couple of years earlier, in 2004, Haim Blumenblat, the CEO of Daroma, joined Ben Gurion University president, Avishay Braverman on a JNF panel discussion at the annual Herzliya Conference, during which they rallied around the JNF's attempts to revamp stalled efforts to Judaise and "develop" the Negev. Blumenblat declared: "We need to build new communities and develop young leadership that can implement this vision." Speaking with less tact but decidedly more honesty, Braverman qualified what Blumenblat meant by "vision" and "new communities": "If Zionism is a motivating force, then it needs to travel south to the Negev, so that Israel does not turn into a Palestinian state. If we follow this model, I believe there will be a breakthrough." The model Braverman refers to takes form in Blumenblat's "Negev 2015" or "Plan Daroma", which, according toDaroma's 2005 slideshow, views private development as the surest way to "improve the quality of life which will attract people and businesses to the area". The first step toward creating such


prosperity is to remove "barriers to economic development (eg, bureaucracy)". Like Begin's Prawer Plan, "Negev 2015" also presents itself as simply an egalitarian enterprise, promising improved infrastructure in the dilapidated Bedouin townships with more opportunities for businesses and employment for everyone. Meanwhile, the plan dedicates 1.2 billion NIS to Jewish settlements while overseeing the wanton destruction of so-called unrecognised Bedouin communities that have made their home in the Negev for hundreds of years - without the assistance of massive government subsidies. So far, the only proposal Daroma and Begin have come up with to relieve unemployment and poverty among the deliberately destabilised population of Bedouins in the Negev is through joint "JewishBedouin" industrial zones. Modelled on the industrial zones, Israel has established inside settlements in the Occupied West Bank, businesses receive ample incentives to establish factories in these zones where exploitation of workers is rampant.

That year, the Israeli government allocated $4bn to the private development group, Daroma Idan Hanegev, Ltd, and the American managing consulting giant, McKinsey & Co.

Take, for instance, SodaStream, the company that has marketed itself as providing a solution to the extravagant waste produced by bottled water and sodas, while it seeks to downplay its rivalling reputation as a profiteer of Israel's occupation of Palestine. SodaStream, a prominent target of the BDS campaign, has placed its main factory in illegal settlement Ma'ale Adumim's industrial park, Mishor Edomim. Why did SodaStream establish its flagship factory inside an illegal settlement? According to Peter Wiseburgh, the founder of the company, the decision was not political, but economic. "It was a good deal. Not a political act." To be sure, the Government of Israel lures businesses to set up shop in settlements by offering low rent, tax incentives and a lenient enforcement of environmental and labour protection laws, while presenting these endeavours to the outside world as providing the local population with a "hub for coexistence and a bridge for peace", in the words of Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin. In reality, industrial zones like Mishor Edomim are more accurately described as exploitation zones, where the most vulnerable workers trade their labour for a little cash. Kav LaOved, an Israeli workers' rights organisation, has consistently reported that SodaStream pays Palestinian workers substandard wages, subjects them to poor working conditions and fires them at any sign of protest. Yes, establishing a factory on occupied land provides capitalists very "good deals", indeed. It's no wonder then that SodaStream accepted a 25 million NIS grant from Israel's Investment Promotion Centre to build its next plant within Israel's Green Line, in the Idan Industrial Zone of the Negev, which will function in much the same way as settlement industrial parks like Mishor Edomim. According to the director of the IPC, SodaStream chose the industrial zone in the Negev - over many other options - because of the alluring tax cuts the State of Israel offered it. Doubtless, the promise of reduced "bureaucracy" (read: worker and environmental protections) makes the deal that much sweeter. As Israel throws billions of dollars into making the Negev a place where "people want to live", there are tens of thousands of people who live there now and would prefer to remain - without the interference of state-driven, predatory capitalism armed with bulldozers and demolition orders. Source: Al Jazeera



Kenya accuses EU of trying to influence vote

Kenyan Foreign Minister (L) with UK Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham


enya's foreign minister summoned European Union ambassadors on Monday after Britain, France and others said they would have only limited contact with one presidential candidate, who is wanted by the war crimes court, if he wins the March 4 vote. The minister accused the envoys of stoking tensions and attempting to divide the country ahead of the elections by making

remarks last week that "are clearly inflammatory and could have the effect of polarizing the country". Kenyans cast their ballots in the first presidential poll since ethnic clashes erupted after a disputed 2007 vote after which more than 1,200 people were killed. Alliances forged by the main presidential contenders have lined up a repeat of a largely ethnically based contest.

Presidential contender Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, who have formed one alliance, have both been summoned to face the International Criminal Court (ICC) in April for their alleged role in directing the violence at the last polls. Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri said he had called in the ambassadors to register his "utmost displeasure" over what he said appeared to be an orchestrated attempt by the EU to influence Kenyan's voting during the elections. "You will appreciate that with the impending elections just three weeks away, this is a tense moment of national reflection," Ongeri said in a statement after the meeting with the ambassadors. "The question that begs an answer therefore is whether the EU has an interest in the outcome of the elections." Britain, France and other EU states said last week that if Kenyatta is elected, they would have only limited contact with him because he is indicted by the ICC. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, the country's top diplomat to Africa, last week said in a teleconference that Kenyans should be careful

who they elect, warning that "choices have consequences". Prime Minister Raila Odinga leads in the polls to replace retiring President Mwai Kibaki, while Kenyatta, son of Kenya's first president, is running a close second in a tight race. Lodewijk Briet, the EU's head of delegation, said the bloc does not favor any candidate. "We have reiterated that we strongly support the Kenyan government and that we do not in any way favor any particular candidate. It is up to the Kenyans to make that choice," Briet told reporters after the meeting. "And we are very keen to make sure that cooperation with the ICC continues." Should Kenyatta not cooperate with the ICC, Western countries are likely to treat him in a similar way as they have Sudanese President Omar Hassan. Bashir was ostracized by foreign governments after defying a 2009 ICC indictment for alleged war crimes committed by his forces in the western Darfur region. Kenyatta has repeatedly said he will cooperate with the ICC, but should he not do so, it would cause concerns for foreign investors and Western governments, which want Kenya to be tough against impunity to prevent further election violence.

French General Bernard Barera, who cited Malian officials. The combat started at about 2:00pm local time (14:00 GMT) in Gao's commercial hub and the fighting continued through the night. Later, the sound of gunfire was replaced by the clattering of helicopters overhead. On Monday morning, French helicopters fired at a police station at the centre of the clashes, the AFP news agency reported. A tense calm had descended on the

city by the afternoon, and it was unclear how many fighters on either side had been killed. Earlier, on Saturday night, a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives at a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Gao, killing himself and injuring one Malian soldier. Another suicide bomber, on a motorcycle, blew himself up at the same security post on Friday, killing only himself and injuring a Malian lightly. Troops at the checkpoint where both suicide attacks occurred said no one else was wounded in Saturday's blast.

Mali rebels launch guerrilla attack on Gao


n armed rebel group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, has claimed responsibility for an attack on the city of Gao in northern Mali and a suicide bombing the day before. Hundreds of residents gathered around the heavily damaged police headquarters building in the center of the city early on Monday, where body parts lay strewn about a day after al-Qaida-linked rebels launched a surprise attack on the city. "Yesterday we had the gunfire and hid in our homes

all evening," said Soumayla Maiga as he stood with his friends near the rubble of the police offices. "We were stunned when we came out and saw what happened." Fighters armed with AK47 automatic rifles sneaked into Gao on Sunday to launch a surprise attack on the Malian army in the most populous city in northern Mali, two weeks after French and Malian troops routed the al-Qaeda-linked fighters in the city. The attackers used canoes to cross the Niger River to penetrate Gao, according to

Tunisia party 'in government U-turn'


unisian President Moncef Marzouki's party has reversed its decision to withdraw from the Islamist-led government, an official has said. The secular CPR party said it would stay in the coalition for another week to give talks a chance, he said. The CPR had earlier threatened to quit the government if two Islamist ministers were not replaced. Tunisia's political crisis has deepened since last week's killing of opposition politician Chokri Belaid. Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Tunis, and other cities, to demand the government's resignation. They blamed the main Islamist party, Ennahda, for Mr Belaid's death. Congress for the Republic (CPR) Secretary-General Mohamed Abbou told a news conference that the party had decided to remain in the government. "The party has decided to freeze the resignations of its ministers for a week for more discussions on a coalition government," he said. The CPR is one of two nonIslamist partners in the Ennahdadominated coalition.

Mr Marzouki

Guinean military chief killed in plane crash in Liberia


he head of Guinea's armed forces and other senior military officials from the West African state were killed on Monday when their aircraft crashed close to the Liberian capital Monrovia, a Guinean presidential official said. "There was the chief of staff and five other military officers on the plane," said the source at the presidency in Conakry, who asked not to be identified. "It's clear that everyone on the plane is dead." Guinea's military chief, General Kelefa Diallo, was on the plane on a security mission to Liberia, police in Guinea said.

Forest area near Monrovia where the plane crashed.

Diallo was a close ally of Guinean President Alpha Conde, who was elected to lead the world's top bauxite producer in late 2010, ending two years of military rule. Security officials in Liberia said that at least 10 people were killed in the crash, which occurred at Charlesville, some 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Monrovia. "Senior Guinean military and defense officials were on the plane," Liberian Defense Minister Brownie Samukai told Reuters. "An investigation in now underway into why it happened." Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf declared a national day of mourning for Tuesday.

General Diallo was one of the major architects of reform of Guinea's restive military, which had seized power in the former French colony in 2008. Some 4,000 soldiers were forced to retire under a U.N.-backed scheme to slim the bloated armed forces. Diallo's predecessor, Nouhou Thiam, is in prison facing trial for his alleged role in a gun and rocket attack on President Conde's home by soldiers in 2011. Conde's government has been trying to organize legislative elections for May, the final step in the transition back to civilian rule and a prerequisite to unlock millions of dollars of frozen foreign aid.


Europe and Americas


n investigation by the British charity ActionAid has found that a major British corporation avoided paying income tax on hundreds of millions of dollars earned in the African state of Zambia.


British firm 'avoids paying tax' in Zambia- ActionAid

The charity says that Zambia Sugar, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF), has paid almost no tax in Zambia since 2007.

The company moved millions of dollars out of Zambia and into tax havens like Mauritius and the Netherlands, reducing its taxable profits.

The report also accused ABF of "exploiting two separate tax breaks originally intended respectively for domestic Zambian farmers and big

foreign investors". ABF has denied the allegations, describing ActionAid's assertions as "illogical". "The mill and related activities provide employment for more than 5,000 people," ABF said in a statement.

Romania rejects blame for horsemeat


he Romanian prime minister has denied allegations that two abattoirs in his country sold horsemeat purporting to be beef to European food companies. Victor Ponta said checks had been carried out and there had been no breach of rules and standards. The abattoirs had been linked to the contamination of processed meat products sold in Europe. UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is due to update MPs on the horsemeat scandal later on Monday. The discovery of horsemeat in beef products has led to processed food being withdrawn from sale in Britain, France and Sweden. Mr Ponta expressed anger that his country had been blamed. "From all the data we have at

the moment, there is no breach of European rules committed by companies from Romania or on Romanian territory," he told a news conference. "I am very angry, to be honest." In France, the government has summoned meat industry representatives for crisis talks. Seven French supermarket chains have already withdrawn frozen ready meals made by Findus and food supplier Comigel. An initial investigation found the meat originated from Romania. French investigators have visited two companies involved in the import and processing of meat to try to establish at what stage the horsemeat was labelled as beef. The UK government says that an "extensive" criminal conspiracy may have taken place.

Deadly car blast hits Turkey's Syria border

Romania Prime Minister, Victor Ponta.


t least eight people have been killed and 30 others wounded following a carbomb explosion near the border between Turkey and Syria, according to the local mayor. A Syrian-registered car is believed to have been at the centre of Monday's blast on Turkish soil, Huseyin Sanverdi told the NTV news channel. Dozens of ambulances were dispatched to the scene at the Cilvegozu border crossing in the southern Turkish province of Hatay. An official from Turkish foreign ministry confirmed the explosion, adding that the blast triggered a fire that damaged around 15 cars. "We don't know whether this was a suicide bomb or whether a car that was smuggling petrol across the

Site of blast at the Cilvegozu border crossing.

border blew up," one Turkish official told Reuters news agency. Television footage and photographs showed severe damage to a series of cars at the border, where a gate was blown open and part of the roof collapsed. "There was an explosion in the no-man's zone. It was not a mortar attack. It was very strong," a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said. The Cilvegozu border gate, several miles outside the town of Reyhanli, sits opposite the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, which the rebels captured last July. Refugees cross back and forth and Turkish lorries also deliver goods into no-man's land between the two gates, where they are picked up by Syrians.

Mexico gang 'security chief' caught


he Mexican military says it has captured the man accused of being the security chief for Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, Mexico's most wanted drug lord. A military spokesman said Jonathan Salas was arrested without a shot being fired in north-western Sinaloa state. Three helicopters and at least eight navy vehicles surrounded Mr Salas. Last year, the governor of

Sinaloa mistakenly announced that Mr Salas, who is also known as The Ghost, had been killed in a clash with the Navy. Mexican prosecutors accuse Mr Salas of being the man tasked with guarding Joaquin Guzman, the fugitive leader of the Sinaloa cartel. Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo", or "Shorty", was arrested in 1993.

But he has been in hiding ever since he escaped from his maximum-security prison in a laundry basket in 2001. The US State Department has offered a reward of up to $5m (ÂŁ3.2m) for information leading to Shorty Guzman's arrest. Mr Salas was detained on Saturday near the town of Costa Rica in Sinaloa state. Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez has not

commented yet on the arrest. In March 2012 he had told local media that Mr Salas had been shot dead by Marines. S t a t e prosecutors later denied Mr Salas's death saying that he had escaped the clash with the military alive.

Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo" leader of the Sinaloa cartel.



Asia and Middle East Japan offers nuclear help to Saudi to free up oil


apan has offered to help Saudi Arabia build nuclear power stations to free up more oil for exports, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday, but a visiting Japanese minister said he was not seeking a supply increase now. Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi's visit at the weekend was aimed at securing extra oil from the world's biggest exporter in case of instability in world supply, Japanese officials had said. Japan's reliance on oil imports has risen after its own shift from nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, but any deal to give Japanpriority access to Saudi crude in the event of supply shortages would worry other oil importers. "It was not that we have asked for any specific request for increase of production or supply. It was just the confirmation of the relationship we have," Motegi told journalists when asked whether he had sought assurances Japan could get more oil in a crisis. Motegi had offered help building nuclear plants to free more crude for export and to meet rising Saudi demand for electricity, Kyodo news agency said. A Saudi official told Motegi he was hopeful Japanese technology could be used. Saudi Arabia's plan to build up to 17 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity over the next two decades has offered a possible lifeline to plant builders hit by a lack of demand since the Fukushima disaster. Motegi met Saudi Deputy Oil Minister Abdul Aziz Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Crude imports from OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia, Japan's biggest supplier, accounted for 31 percent of Japan's total in 2012, rising five percent from the year before to offset a cut to Iranian imports due to sanctions. State-run Saudi Aramco signed a deal with Japan in 2010 to store 3.8 million barrels of crude in the Asian nation's Okinawa Oil Base for emergency supplies to the region. Saudi Arabia is the only country with enough spare oil production capacity to compensate for any significant global supply disruptions.

Japan trade minister, Toshimitsu Motegi

Syria rebels 'take control of key dam'


yrian rebels are reported to have seized control of the country's largest hydroelectric dam, in what would be a strategic loss to the government. Activists and opposition groups said fighters had taken over entrances and exits of the dam in the northern province of Raqa. Reports said the dam on the Euphrates River was still operational.

A Syrian opposition leader meanwhile has criticised the government for not taking up his offer of peace talks. Moaz al-Khatib, of the Syrian National Coalition, said the regime's response sent a "very negative" message to the world. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activists group, said Islamist fighters now controlled the Tabqa dam. The

facility provides much of the electricity to the city of Aleppo. Rebels launched an offensive in Aleppo in July, but since then the city has been divided between fighters and government forces, with neither side apparently able to push the other out. "The rebels took control of the dam, which is still in operation. They are guarding both entrances but have forbidden the fighters from

Moaz al-Khatib

staying inside for fear the regime will bomb it," SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency. The SOHR said Islamist fighters also took over three districts in the neighbouring town of Tabqa, where employees of the dam and their families live. The SOHR is one of the most prominent organisations documenting and reporting incidents and casualties in the Syrian conflict. The group says its reports are impartial, though its information cannot be independently verified. In a statement on his Facebook page, meanwhile, Mr Khatib said the government had "lost a chance to engage in a dialogue" to end the two-year conflict. Last month, Mr Khatib said the Syrian National Coalition - an alliance of opposition groups - would meet Syrian officials, so long as Syria freed 160,000 political prisoners. Mr Khatib's overture, which has the backing of the US, was criticised by many of his coalition colleagues, who reject discussions while President Assad and his inner circle remain in power. On Friday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said the government was prepared to hold talks with the opposition without preconditions.

Inquiry ordered into deadly India stampede


government inquiry has been ordered into what led to a stampede that killed at least 36 people at a train station in the northern Indian city where millions of devout Hindus have gathered for a religious festival, officials say. More than 40 million people were in Allahabad on Sunday to mark the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu religious festival. People thronged to the main hospital in the city on Monday to see if their relatives were among the 36 dead and 30 people injured in

Sunday evening's stampede at the train station. Tens of thousands of people were in the station waiting to board a train when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos. Mohammed Azam Khan, the head of the festival's organising committee, resigned from his post on Monday "on moral grounds". Witnesses blamed police action for the stampede. "We heard an announcement that our train is coming on

platform number 4 and when we started moving toward that platform through a footbridge, we were stopped. Then suddenly the police charged us with batons and the stampede started,'' passenger Shushanto Kumar Sen said. "People started tumbling over one another and within no time I saw people, particularly women and children, being trampled over by others," Sen said. Police denied they had used batons to control the crowd.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, India's railways minister, said that an inquiry has been ordered into what led to the stampede. The chief medical officer of Allahabad district said the death toll rose to 36 after 14 more people died during treatment, the Press Trust of India and NDTV news channel said. Dr P. Padmakar, the medical superintendent of the main state-run hospital said 23 of the 36 people killed were women.

at the site and released without charge. The Western Wall is administered under strict Orthodox ritual law, which bars women from wearing the religious garb or publicly reading from the holy scriptures. Rosenfeld said the women had acted "against regulations set by the High Court", citing a decision of a decade ago upholding Orthodox rules at the site to avoid tension between worshippers. The incident highlighted the divisions between the more liberal branches of Judaism and politically powerful Orthodox groups that traditionally limit the role of women in prayer. Susan Silverman, who immigrated to Israel from Boston, said police escorted the group to a station after they refused to remove prayer shawls. She said in a telephone interview from the police station

where the group was held that they had been among more than 100 women attending the hour-long prayer session. "They [police] said 'take off your prayer shawls', and we said 'no'," Silverman said. Once the prayers were over they were escorted away, Silverman said. Silverman also said the

Orthodox tradition barring women from wearing prayer shawls amounted to "spitting on Sinai", naming the site where the Bible says God handed the ancient Israelite leader Moses the 10 Commandments. "All Jews are in a covenant with God," regardless of their gender, she said.

Israel detains women over prayer shawls


sraeli police have detained 10 women at one of Judaism's holiest sites for wearing prayer shawls, which Orthodox tradition sees as solely for men, authorities confirm. Among those detained on Monday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City was Susan Silverman, a reform rabbi who is a sister of the famous US comedian Sarah Silverman, and her teenage daughter, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld has said. Two other US citizens and Israeli members of "Women of the Wall", a group that campaigns for gender equality in religious practice, were also detained. The group routinely convenes for monthly prayer sessions at the Western Wall, revered by Jews as a perimeter wall of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem. Some of its members have been detained by police in the past for wearing prayer shawls

Shawled men at the western wall in Jerusalem.



Women look their oldest at 3.30pm every Wednesday- report W

omen look their oldest at 3.30pm every Wednesday, a study has found, because that is when energy levels plummet, work stress is at a peak and the effects of any weekend late nights finally kick in. he research shows one in ten women (12 per cent) find Wednesday the most stressful day in a typical week. But they reveal Thursday is the day they are most likely to have sex. It gives them a youthful rosy glow which could contribute to why women feel so happy on a Friday - 60 per cent name it as their happiest day. A quarter of women feel stressed several times a week while one in five (19 per cent) admit they will work through Wednesday's lunch hour. The study, carried out by the tanning brand, St Tropez, revealed two thirds experience a "slump in energy levels" midafternoon every Wednesday. This forces a quarter of women to reach for a sugary snack on a bid to boost their mood and energy. Nichola Joss, St. Tropez skin expert, said: "It's fascinating that 3.30pm on a Wednesday is the time women look their oldest. "Combine the highest stress levels of the week on a Wednesday with the natural mid-afternoon slump and it seems that's why women can look older than their years." And Ms Joss revealed how a woman's sex life can have a big impact on how they feel. She added: "Many women credit a healthy sex life for keeping them looking and feeling young. "As the mid-week slump passes and stress levels begin to decrease, it's fascinating that Thursday is the evening they are most likely to feel amorous." Almost half of women (46 per cent) are likely to indulge

in a boozy treat at the weekend - another reason why women look their eldest mid-week. Ms Joss says it can take a few days for the signs of the boozy weekend to show. She added: "Processing the toxins in alcohol and sugar can put strain on the body. "It can take up to 72 hours for the visible effects of alcohol to show, so the effects of drinking on the weekend may not present themselves until Wednesday afternoon." The shock of going back to work was shown to give many women sleepless nights.

More than a third (37 per cent) reported Monday night is when they are most likely to get a bad night's sleep. Ms Joss added: "A lack of sleep on a Monday does not bode well for how the skin will look on Wednesday. "The effects of a lack of sleep can take 48 hours to show on the face, so if many women sleep badly on Monday they will look their oldest on Wednesday." F u r ther findings showed that the average British woman gets six hours and 43 minutes sleep a night. Ms Joss continued: "For

maximum anti-ageing benefits it's essential women get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. "Too little and your skin cells can't rejuvenate, too much can result in puffy, older looking skin." Another effect of the midweek slump is that more than one in ten (12 per cent) women will abandon their skin care regime on a Wednesday. Ms Joss added: "Even if a woman doesn't wear make-up, it's essential to cleanse the face of build up from everyday pollution. "Letting these build up clogs the skin making it duller and drier, and superficially older."

And 15 per cent of women begin using anti-ageing products between the age of 21 and 25 - which proves to be an important weapon against ageing. Mary Collins, 31, from Portsmouth, said: "After having a drink on the weekend, the tiredness definitely catches up with me by Wednesday. "But I'm always hoping I have a special night on Thursday. A bit of romance makes me feel younger and happier - and Friday is when I feel my best." The research was carried out to support the launch of St Tropez Gradual Tan Plus AntiAgeing Face.

Two thirds of women experience a "slump in energy levels" mid-afternoon every Wednesday.

Unborn baby grabs doctor's hand from womb


photograph taken by a father in the US state of Arizona of his daughter's C-section birth has become an internet sensation. Fifteen seconds before Randy Atkins' daughter Nevaeh was born on 9 October 2012, he snapped a picture of something that even the doctor who delivered her has never seen before. The photograph shows the

baby's hand reaching out while she is still in the womb and grabbing the doctor's finger. Mr Atkins and his wife Alicia posted the picture on Facebook just before Christmas and it has since gone viral. Mrs Atkins, who is herself a professional photographer, had the picture printed on canvas and gave a copy to

gynaecologist Dr. Allan Sawyer, who delivered her daughter. Dr. Sawyer said the photograph showed something "really rare." He said he usually sees the baby's head appear first. According to Facebook's statistics, Mrs Atkins' page was seen by more than 36,000 people in just one week since the photo was released.

Baby Nevaeh clutches the doctor's finger.



Butter is good for you - and margarine is chemical gunk By Joanna Blythman


ike my grandmother before me, I have never had a tub of margarine in the house. Perhaps thanks to her, my gut instinct has always told me that butter is better for you. Not only does butter taste incomparably better, it's a natural product that human beings have been eating and cooking with for centuries without damaging their health. Why swap it for margarine, a highly synthetic and unpleasanttasting concoction laced with additives and cheap, low-grade oils refined on an industrial scale? Especially, if I tell you that without colourings margarine isn't yellow at all, but actually an appetite-crushing shade of sludgy grey. If my preference for butter began with instinct, in the past few years it's been supported by a growing body of scientific research that not only indicates that there is absolutely no reason to stop eating butter, but also leads to one inescapable conclusion: that decades of government health advice, particularly in regard to heart disease, cholesterol levels and the consumption of fats and oils, have been plain wrong. It's so wrong, in fact, that I believe the health establishment now owes us an apology. We have been conned into believing that margarine was better for us than butter. The nation's morning toast has been ruined for decades by kind-hearted women thinking they were doing the best for their husbands and children by switching from butter to marge. Confronted with such a bleak, butter-free future, there will be many who will have wondered whether life was even worth living. That is why the latest news from scientists working in the U.S. will have been greeted with loud cheers at breakfast tables all over Britain and, at mine, by a vehement 'I told you so!' For, having reanalysed a study originally carried out in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the

scientists have confirmed what many of us have believed to be the truth for years. Margarine isn't better for you than butter. In fact, margarine is actually more damaging to your health than butter.

The exact opposite turned out to be true. Those who ate more of the safflower-derived products were almost twice as likely to die from all causes, including heart disease. Suddenly, margarine isn't looking the healthy option that

plain wrong. Butter isn't bad for you; in fact, it's healthy, being high in vitamins, beneficial saturated fats, the sort of cholesterol that is vital for brain and nervous system development and various natural compounds with anti-fungal, anti-

The truth: Evidence shows butter is better for you than margarine despite decades of advice to the contrary The scientific evidence is compelling and totally at odds with decades of official advice that we should all be cutting down on our consumption of animal fats. Taking a sample of middle-aged Australian men who had either experienced a heart attack or suffered from angina, half were advised to cut their animal fat intake and replace it with safflower oil (which is similar to sunflower oil) and safflower oil margarine, while the other half continued to eat as normal. If the unholy alliance of Government nutritionists and the food processing industry were right - and margarine really was better for you, as they've been claiming for decades - you'd expect the men who switched to safflower oil to live longer and have better health outcomes.

Butter vs margarine: The nation's morning toast has been ruined for decades by kind-hearted women

those expensive marketing campaigns claim it to be. For a start, the once widely accepted wisdom that saturated fats are bad for you - an idea on which so much health advice is founded - is looking increasingly shaky. So fast is the shift in scientific thinking that there is a growing belief that natural saturated fats like those contained in dairy and meat, as opposed to those contained in marge - may actually turn out to be good for you. Certainly, these fats have already been identified as key components of cell membranes, essential for the production of certain hormones and having an important role to play in the transport and absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Indeed, earlier this week, a meta-study (a study of studies, if you like) from America, covering almost 350,000 people, came to the sort of shock conclusion that a few years earlier would have made front-page news. Now, however, it merely confirmed what a growing body of scientific opinion already believes that there is, and never was, any good evidence linking intake of dietary saturated fats with blocked coronary arteries and heart disease. It was, of course, in the belief that the exact opposite was true that millions of us were persuaded to give up butter and switch to margarine. Now, perhaps, you see why our public health advisers should be in the dock explaining themselves. For so much of what we were told was gospel truth turns out to be

oxidant and even anti-cancer properties. Margarine, by contrast, has always been much worse for you than its profit-grabbing

manufacturers have ever been prepared to admit. In the early days, it was made with 'hydrogenated fats', which were so dense that solid concrete couldn't have done a better job of blocking your coronary arteries. Honestly, this stuff was lethal. Confronted with irrefutable evidence, the food-processing giants reluctantly went back to their laboratories and reformulated their product. This time, they boasted, margarine would be made with 'interesterified' vegetable oils (a treatment that rearranges the fat molecules under high temperature and pressure, using enzymes or acids as catalysts). It made the oils less dense and therefore, they hoped, less damaging to our health. Why we should believe the manufacturers a second time around I haven't a clue especially as they never took responsibility for the tremendous damage they had done to global health with their hydrogenated fats - which are now banned in parts of the U.S. because of the concerns about the effects they have on our health. The best part of 20 years on, the components of margarine, or 'spreads' as food processors prefer to call them, may have changed, but the arguments over their impact on health have not. Source:

Losing faith: Our faith in the official health agencies melting away faster than .多.多. well, butter off a hot knife

Buttering up: The good news is that we can carry on eating butter (in moderation, of course)



PDP'll recapture Zamfara come 2015 say party chairman From Salisu Zakari Maradun, Gusau


L-R: Senator Abdul Ningi, Senate President, David Mark, Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi and Minister of Foreign Affairs , Viola Adaku Onwiliri on the arrival of the Federal Government high powered delegation to South Africa to cheer Super Eagles at the AFCON final match, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

PDP wades into NASS, Jonathan face-off By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday disclosed that it would be holding meetings with the leadership of the National Assembly and President Goodluck Jonathan to deliberate on issues germane to national development. The party's National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who made this known while briefing newsmen at the party's Abuja headquarters however said the meeting is not going to be basically on the current disagreement between the National Assembly and Jonathan over the latter's refusal to sign the 2013 Appropriation Bill into law.

Metuh said party's meeting with the leadership of the Legislature and the Executive arm s of government would be part of the routine quarterly consultations with the officials in government by the ruling party. The PDP spokesperson however disclosed that the meeting may interfere in the budget imbroglio if raised but that it was not summoned basically because of the budget disagreement. Metuh made it clear that the party has yet to be officially informed that there was a disagreement between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Presidency stressing that the party would not interfere in the government process until when it is officially notified to do so.

He said the President and the leadership of the National Assembly have the capacities to iron out any differences in the process of budget making even as he noted that much fuss is being made out of the alleged disagreement between the two arms of government. Metuh added that peoples should be rather commend the government for making the budget ready for signing on time and should not dwell on the disagreements even as he assured that the budget would soon be passed into law. Answering questions as to why the PDP has yet to convene its National Executive Council (NEC)'s meeting in spite of calls from the governors on the platform of the party, Metuh

explained that the vacancy in the party's Board of Trustees (BoT) chairmanship was responsible. He added that the BoT issue would be sorted out in the next three weeks after which the party's caucus would meet to convene its NEC. Commenting on the merger efforts by the opposition to challenge the PDP at the 2015 general elections, Metuh said the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was a welcome development as the existence of a virile opposition would only spur the ruling party into action. According to him, "The opposition would make the elected and appointed officials on the platform of the party to work harder ; it would further challenge them."

LAHA summons commissioner over non payment of veterinary doctors' salary arrears


agos State House of Assembly (LAHA), yesterday summoned the State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mrs Florence Oguntuase, for her refusal to honour its resolution. The House directed Oguntuase to appear before it at its plenary on Feb. 12, to explain why she failed to treat the resolution with the urgency it required. The News Agency of Nigeria

(NAN) reports that the House had passed a resolution in Sept. 2012 directing the commissioner to pay the seven-year arrears of the state Veterinary Doctors and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) vet officers from 2003 to 2010. Mrs Omowumi Edet (ACNOshodi-Isolo I), who spoke under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, noted that the ministry had failed to honour the resolution after being passed in Sept. 2012.

Edet, Chairman, House committee on Establishment and Training, said that although the commissioner had replied the House in Dec. 2012 about the step being taken to address the issue, nothing concrete has come out of it. Based on the investigation conducted by the committee, the document is begging for attention on the commissioner's desk without actually forwarding it to the governor to expedite action on

it, `` she said. Mr Taiwo Kolawole, the Deputy Speaker, said that such an act should be condemned in its entirety. “We need to invite her and that would help us to know why she had failed to honour the resolution,`` he said. In her contribution, Mrs Funmilayo Tejuosho (ACNMushin I), said that the House should not be in haste to summon the commissioner. (NAN)

he chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Zamfara state chapter, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha, has said that the party would win the Zamfara governorship elections in 2015. This is coming as he debunked the speculations making the round that the former state governor, Senator Ahmed Sannin is planning to decamp into the party ahead of the 2015 polls. Mallaha made the assertion in Gusau, capital of the state while answering questions from newsmen during the week. According to him, although his office did not get anything with the regard to the intention of former governor to join the PDP, he however said the party's doors are opened to anyone who wished to join the PDP in the state. The chairman also explained that had Ahmed Sani made such intention, he would have known, being the chairman of the party in the state, "but as far as my office concerned, there is nothing like that, but nontheless we welcome the idea,". He further stated that PDP, being the biggest and strongest party not only in Nigeria, but the whole continent, is always looking for people whose participation and presence in it will help to move it forward. The Zamfara PDP boss commented further that the party is still strong in the state considering the number of prominent people that embraced it even after their defeat at the 2011 polls. "You can hear me witness that today, despite our defeat during the 2011 election, but still people are trooping into it, those who were not with us at that time," On the recent merger between the four political parties, the chairman stated that the merger did not scare them in anyway, and that it even helped their party to come out with some ideas and strategies to help them in facing any future political challenges, especially the 2015 elections.



Shema signs 2013 budget into law


ov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State yesterday signed the state’s 2013 budget of N114.1 billion into law. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the governor presented a budget of N114.5 billion the state House of Assembly which was slashed to N114.1 billion. Shema, in the budget tagged: “Budget of Responsibility’’, said that 72 per cent was earmarked for capital expenditure, while 28 per cent would be spent on the recurrent expenditure.

He commended the lawmakers for their support toward moving the state forward, urging them to sustain the good efforts. Shema said the government would continue to pay more attention to social services aimed at improving the living condition of the people. According to him, the social services included provision of foreign scholarships to indigenes, payment of WAEC/ NECO fees, poverty alleviation programme and agricultural development.

He said that government would also continue to maintain free medical services to accident victims, kidney patients, pregnant women and children, the aged and the physically challenged persons. Shema also assured that the administration would ensure regular promotion and payment of entitlement of civil servants to boost their morale for effective service delivery. He urged people of the state to continue to support the administration’s policies and programmes for the

development of the state. Earlier, the Speaker, Alhaji Ya’u Gwajo-Gwajo, said that the adjustment followed some corrections made by the house during the budget defence of the ministries and departments. Gwajo-Gwajo urged the State Government to ensure full implementation of the budget for the development of the state. He assured that the lawmakers would continue to join hands with the executive to improve the living condition of the citizens and move the state forward. (NAN)

L-R: House of Rep members, Hon.Ahmed Ali,Hon. Manu Swa, Hon. Ibrahim Hassan El-sudi and Hon. Abubakar Sade shortly after the wedding Fatiha of Hon.El-sudi at life camp Mosque on Friday.

Aliyu: Opposition gang-up against PDP will fail By Adeola Tukuru


overnor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has described the merger among the nation’s frontline opposition parties as normal, noting that alignments and realignments were simple political intercourse expected in every emerging democracy. Governor Aliyu, who spoke in Abuja at the opening of a one day Pre-Implementation workshop for the 2012 Conditional Grant Scheme of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), maintained that such arrangements were necessary for the growth and development of our democracy. Aliyu who is also the Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) however said the merger of opposition parties in the country cannot defeat the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The Niger State helmsman said while he agreed no democracy can grow without a credible opposition, the PDP has become a

national party that is rooted across the country and it would be difficult for the merger of the opposition to defeat the party even if all opposition parties were to come together. “I agree that no democracy grows without a credible opposition, but let me say that the PDP is a national party that cuts across all sections of this country and has touched the lives of the

people positively. So, it will be difficult for these four or even all the opposition parties to defeat the PDP at the polls in 2015,” Aliyu said. He said the current PDP internal crisis would strengthen the party, adding that the seeming disagreement among the party stalwarts was healthy for democracy, emphasizing that the party would come out stronger.

He said the PDP has done well for Nigeria in the last 14 years, especially in the area of projects and programmes that affect the life of the grassroots man. “For instance,” he said “the MDGs office since inception has embarked on a number of critical projects in the agriculture, education and water sectors, which has led to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger

Mark urges Nigerians to unite in AFCON victory By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


enate President, David Mark, has urged Nigerians to reciprocate the victory of the Nigerian Supper Eagles in the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition by living together in unity and peace, especially in the face of the current security challenges facing the country. In a statement issued yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, Mark described the victory as a moment of glory for the country, urging Nigerians to savour it, being the first time Nigeria is lifting the trophy since the past thirteen years. Mark who led the government delegation to watch the final of the 2013 African cup of Nations in South Africa, expressed pleasure over the victory, saying it has offered the needed tonic to boost the peace and unity of Nigeria. In addition, he commended the Stephen Keshi boys for their successes at the continental championship, saying the nation is indebted to them. "You deserve our honour and praise. The Federal government and indeed all Nigerians are indebted to you. You have restored our dignity and pride. You deserve our honour and reward", Mark stated. While commending the Super Eagles for the team spirit which they displayed throughout the competition, he implored Nigerians to emulate the team spirit that brought the victory. Mark particularly praised the Head coach of the Supper Eagles and his coaching crew for doing an excellent job, pointing out that Keshi is a child of history and destiny. He Said: "As a player and captain of the Super Eagles in 1994, Nigeria won the nations cup. As a coach of the Super Eagles in 2013, he brought honour to our dear country. Keshi has proved to be a great asset to the nation. The nation is proud of you".

Lagos lawmakers task presidency on 2013 Budget


he Lagos State House of Assembly on Saturday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the 2013 budget, to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians. Some members of the assembly called for the endorsement of the budget in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Mudashiru Obasa, (ACNAgege), said the increase in the budget was justifiable, as the National Assembly did it to

enable them to implement their constituency projects. Obasa said such projects would enable the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy, adding that such projects would complement the efforts of the executive. “I think the National Assembly has done their part on the budget; it is after they have done the necessary thing like the budget defence that they increased the constituency projects allowance. “And I think their position

was in the interest of the people. I urge the president to comply and sign the budget in the interest of the people.’’ Mr Bisi Yusuf (ACNAlimosho I) urged Jonathan to sign the budget in the interest of the people. Yusuf, Chairman House Committee on Transport, Commerce and Industry, urged the presidency not to play politics on the lives of the people. He said the friction between the National Assembly and the presidency on the budget would

slow down development in the country. “ The Federal Government should not play politics with the lives of the people on the budget matter. “They should resolve the issue and sign the budget for the benefit of the people. “Government should know that the hopes of Nigerians depend on the budget,’’ he said. NAN recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan withheld assent on the budget over the constituency projects. (NAN)



I spoke with Suntai, says Acting Governor From Yusha’u Alhassan


he Taraba state Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, has dissociated himself from the recent report by the Sahara reporter that during his visit to Germany he was not able to speak with governor Danbaba Suntai. The Chief Press Secretary to the Acting Governor, Kefas Sule, told news-men during a news briefing in Jalingo that the report was mischievous and a misrepresentation of fact pointing out that during his visit to Germany he was able to speak with Governor Danbaba Suntai and met him in stable condition. He explained that even when he was leaving Germany, he bid farewell to Suntai who asked Tarabans to continue to pray for the peace and stability of the state. Kefas Sule expressed dismay that the same Sahara reporter that authored the mischievous report was not at the venue when acting governor arrived Nigeria and granted interview to thirty seven different correspondents in Abuja and all the correspondents quoted correctly except Sahara reporter. Kefas Sule said the publication by the Sahara reporter was a calculated attempt by disgruntled elements who did not wish Taraba state well and appealed to Tarabans to disregard the tissue of lies by Sahara reporter. He said his principal is committed toward continuing with the good works of governor Suntai pending his arrival to continue his exemplary leadership to the state.

PPA calls merger by opposition parties futile effort


he National Chairman, Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), Mr Sam Nkire, has predicted that the recent merger by four political parties, ANPP, CPC, ACN and APGA, in the country, will fail. Nkire made the prediction in a statement he made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja. He said that “the best and most workable arrangement” for the parties involved would have been for them to keep their structures and field one candidate for the presidential election. “The real problem will start when it comes to filling party positions at the federal, state, local government and ward levels,’’ he said. He said that for every new position created in APC, three former office holders in the four merging parties were bound to lose their positions. He said that it would not “be easy to ask Nigerian political office holder to step down for another and become an ordinary member and expect 100 percent loyalty from him or her’’. The national chairman urged members, intending to join PPA to do so, and assured them that the party was “ready and willing to accept anybody’’. (NAN)

L-R: Chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Deputy Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Abdurahman Kawu Sumaila, Senator Kabiru Gaya, and National Women Leader of ANPP, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, during the press conference on the announcement of the new political party Action Progressive Congress (APC), recently in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

AFCON’s victory: PDP, Wamakko, Ihedioha commend Eagles By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, have commended the Super Eagles for their victory over Burkina Faso’s Stallion in the concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) held in South Africa. While the PDP described the victory as a confirmation of its earlier declaration that the nation has entered into a new era of possibilities and will surmount its challenges under the current dispensation, Wamakko who described himself as a number one fan of Super Eagles said with the spirit of “Can Do” demonstrated all through the soccer competition by the Eagles, it would not be out of place to begin to see Nigeria as capable of winning the a World Cup. The Deputy Speaker, on his own, hailed the doggedness and fighting spirit of the team while acknowledging the prayers and support of all Nigerians as key to the victory. He urged Nigerians to continue to exhibit the spirit of unity and patriotism demonstrated during Nigeria’s campaign at the tournament.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement said the fact that the team won the trophy which has eluded the country several times in the past was an indication that nothing is impossible for Nigeria and that the doors have been opened for the nation to achieve other goals. “The fact that our players won the trophy is a confirmation of our earlier declaration that Nigeria has entered a new era of possibilities. With this, it is clear that the nation will surmount all its challenges under the present dispensation. It is an indication that there is nothing impossible and that collectively we will overcome all the challenges we

are facing as a nation”, the party said. Wamakko in a chat with newsmen in Abuja said since Nigeria had won World Cup three times during FIFA Under-17 soccer competitions and made impressive showings during the Under-20 World Cup Soccer Competition with Sliver Medals, Nigeria stands a great chance to proceed to the next World Cup and win the trophy. He charged the Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi not to see the winning of world Cup as an impossible feat, but should rather take up the challenge by starting early preparations for the next competition, riding on the crest

of the implicit confidence which he stressed the players in his team now have in him. The Deputy described the victory as very significant as it signals the return of the days of soccer glory to the country especially at a time Nigeria has attained the landmark of centenary as a nation. The jubilant Deputy Speaker noted that the victory has greatly lifted the spirit of Nigerians and urged the team and football authorities in the country to commence preparations in earnest for the 2014 World Cup qualifying matches and ensure that Nigeria not only qualifies for the festival in Brazil, but wins the trophy for the first time.

…Reps to host victorious Eagles at plenary


peaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has congratulated The Super Eagles over their victory even as he disclosed that the House will host them during its plenary. In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal described the victory as sweet, reassuring and a

reaffirmation of the superiority of Nigeria over other African countries both in football and other areas of human endeavor. He said the Eagles have not only regained the hearts of supporters the world over with their mesmerizing display, they have also lifted the spirit of the nation. The Speaker said the unity of purpose shown by the team and their handlers reaffirmed the

notion that when all hands are on deck, achieving common objective will be a lot easier. While congratulating the team and the nation for the achievement, Tambuwal urged football authorities in the country to double their efforts and ensure that the team not only qualifies for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but win the trophy for the first time.

Chief Judge wants judicial officers to contribute in reforming judiciary


he Chief Judge of Kaduna State, Justice Rahila Cudjo yesterday urged Judges and Magistrates in the state to help in the ongoing efforts to reform the judiciary. Cudjo, who made the call in Kaduna during the routine monthly visits to prisons, said judicial officers should render their assistance by being upright in handling cases.

She also urged them to be diligent in the discharge of their responsibilities. Represented by Justice Balkisu Mohammed, the Chief Judge further appealed to the judicial officers to treat cases on time to ensure timely justice to contending parties. She solicited for increased cooperation between the judiciary and prison service officials, saying

such would help in decongesting the prisons. Cudjo, who visited Kaduna Main Prison, advised Judges and Magistrates to ensure that matters before them were treated with dispatch. “you should ensure that any alteration on warrant papers are dully signed to enable prison official do their work with ease.’’

The Chief Judge also advised them against lateness, saying, “timing speaks of the kind of persons we are. We are here to reform the judiciary, therefore, we must show good example by coming on time”. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kaduna main prison has 753 inmates out of which 522 were awaiting trial and 18 serving life sentence. (NAN)



Kano, Yobe killings: Mark advocates Lawmaker faults synergy among security operatives governors on By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


gainst the background of the recent killing of nine health workers in Kano state and two foreign doctors in Yobe, Senate President, David Mark, has advocated for a synergy between the various security operatives, as a measure to contain the killings which he described as senseless. In as statement issued yesterday by his Chief Press

Secretary, Paul Mumeh, Mark charged the security operatives to redouble their efforts to arrest the people behind the crime, and as well, secure lives and property in the country effectively. According to him, “This is barbaric. This is sacrilege. It is unimaginable that those who were offering services to save lives were themselves murdered in cold blood. Something has gone wrong. This is inhuman.”

He emphasised that the attacks and killings of the polio vaccinators must not be swept under the carpet, saying all right thinking persons in the society must rise up to the challenge. Mark argued that no matter the level of anger in a man’s mind, taking the life of another human being cannot be justified, adding that there are many lawful channels through which aggrieved persons can seek redress

rather that resorting to violence. He also decried the reported assassination of three foreign doctors in Yobe state and tasked security agents to do everything possible to reveal those behind the crime. “Security operatives must collaborate with each other in order to properly police the society and save our people from further destruction,” the statement read.

L-R: Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziru Tambuwal, Niger State Governor, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, his Adamawa state counterpart, Admiral Murtala Nyako, former Head of State, General Abdulsami Abubakar, and his wife, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, during the grand reception in honour of distinguished indigenes of Niger state, recently at the Idris Kutigi Conference Centre, in Minna.

LG tasks residents on taxes, levies


he Chairman, Ijebu-Ode Local Government, Ogun, Mr. Rasaq Daddah, yesterday appealed to residents of the town to be prompt in the payment of their taxes and levies. Daddah made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Ijebu-Ode. The local government boss said the appeal became imperative so that government could be better positioned to provide dividend of democracy to the people. Daddah said the council was targeting N80 million internally

generated revenue (IGR) for the year. “We need to improve on our drive for IGR to provide basic amenities to the people. “And it is on this note I want to appeal to the good citizen of IjebuOde to pay their taxes and levies promptly,’’ he said. Daddah said that without improved IGR, it would be difficult for the council to properly implement its budget. The LG boss, who said that the council had devised new method to improve its IGR, added that the

method would not be burdensome to the people. “We know that IGR is a very difficulty thing to derive but we want to be creative. “On our part we have devised new method to improve on our IGR while at the same time we take into consideration the human face element. “We don’t want to come up with taxes and levies that people will be complaining of. “We all know the socioeconomic problem people are facing now.

“And that is why we want to strike adequate balance between increasing our IGR and at the same time not inflicting pains on the masses.” Daddah, however, assured the people that their taxes would be judiciously used. He said that his administration placed high premium on integrity, transparency and accountability. He said the council would also welcome constructive criticism and suggestion on how to improve on its IGR. (NAN)

Nigeria's problems surmountable, says Cleric


igeria's problems are surmountable with collective resolve and hard work, Rev. Canon Chinedu Muonyelu, said on Sunday. Muonyelu, in his sermon at St. Stephen's Anglican Church, In-Land Town, Onitsha, Anambra, urged Nigerians to always tell their leaders the truth in order to build a vibrant and

purposeful country. He said that constructive criticisms would help the leaders to pilot the affairs of the country in the right direction. ``Not minding their pride and placement, tell them the truth in season and out of season. ``If he or she does not agree with you now, he would see reasons to your suggestions later.

``And with that, you have performed a critical part of your role as a follower, who wants things to get better,'' Muonyelu said. ``God is still able to heal and deliver our country from its myriad of socio-economic problems. ``But most of us are just sitting on the fence; not contributing our

little quota to make God's hand to move the country. He urged Christians to be actively involved in nation building and show the light and positive direction for others to follow. The cleric prayed for the country and its leaders, especially President Goodluck Jonathan and governors of the 36 states. (NAN)

LG autonomy


Member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Garba Datti, has advised state governors not to prevent local government Areas from becoming autonomous. Datti (CPC-Kaduna) gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. He said if local governments were autonomous, the funds allocated to the councils would no longer be diverted by some governors. "Some of the state governors used local government funds to embark on personal projects. "The activities of some governors necessitated the need for the House of Representatives to amend the constitution in such a way as to grant local government councils the autonomy they deserve," he said. Datti alleged that on some occasions, governors were in the habit of releasing money to the councils for personnel and overhead cost only while the remaining funds were used for political purposes. "The joint account between the state and the local governments is a big joke as it has been bastardised by the state governors. ``If the joint account is meaningful to the local governments, majority of the governors will not be rejecting the proposed autonomy for local councils. There is something fishy," he said. Datti, however, advised state assemblies not to be rubber stamps in the hands of their governors. He urged them to desist from taking directives that would not lead to the development of their councils. He said that majority of the state assemblies lacked the political will to amend the constitution in such a way that would lead to the economic development of their states. He said the assemblies only voted for those things that would serve the ``whims and caprices'' of their governors. Datti advised the governors not to work against the amendment of the constitution that would grant local government autonomy by being clogs in the wheel of progress of the societies. On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the legislator said he was not in support of the provision of fund for the host community in the bill. He said that the 13 per cent derivation given to state governments should be given to the host communities. "I am not totally against the host communities fund. ``But the experience we have had in the past with the 13 per cent derivation given to the state governments was not palatable. ``The fund should instead be given to the host communities,'' he said. (NAN)



Inter fans chant racist abuse of Balotelli

I Mario Balotelli

nter Milan President Massimo Moratti has expressed his disappointment after a section of his club’s fans chanted racist slogans about Mario Balotelli during their weekend win over Chievo. A section of the San Siro crowd chanted about Balotelli, who arrived at rivals AC Milan from Manchester City last month, as Inter triumphed 3-1. Inter’s president was swiftly made aware of what had happened and said he hoped there would be no repeat of the

abuse during the Milan derby on February 24. Last week, film emerged of AC Milan vice-president Paolo Berlusconi - the younger brother of the club’s owner Silvio describing Balotelli as “negretto della famiglia” while speaking at a political event. Berlusconi was later photographed making up with Balotelli and said: “I spoke to Balotelli, though in reality there was no need seeing as he is an intelligent lad. He had already understood my phrase was an affectionate one that was turned into a stupid media circus.

Manchester City manager ready to make changes


anchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he will drop players who are not “ready to fight” for the team. The Premier League champions have fallen 12 points behind Manchester United in the title race following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton. Following the defeat at St Mary’s - City’s third in the

Premier League this season - Mancini said his side have only a “10% chance” of retaining the Premier League title. He also labelled the display as the worst his side have produced in three years. With the Blues also eliminated from European competition, it has placed extra pressure on City in the FA Cup ahead of their clash with Leeds at

the Etihad Stadium. Mancini won the competition with City in 2011 and said he will make significant changes to his team this weekend. Manchester City have taken just two points from their last three matches, against QPR, Liverpool and Southampton City won their final six matches of last season as they overhauled

Manchester United’s eightpoint gap to lift their first league title since 1968. Striker Carlos Tevez is expected to return to City this week after a family problem, and skipper Vincent Kompany should also be available again, as will Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure, who were not risked at Southampton after late returns from international duty.

Manchester United wait on defenders as Madrid loom


Van Persie

CL: Juventus’s Anelka expects stern Celtic test


n-loan Juventus striker Nicolas Anelka believes Celtic will provide a stern test in the Champions League. The Frenchman, who joined the Italians from China’s Shangai Shenhua, insists Neil Lennon’s side will be a dangerous proposition in today’s first leg in Glasgow. Antonio Conte’s Juventus beat Fiorentina 2-0 at the weekend to open up a five-point lead in Serie A and arrive in Glasgow in confident mood. Juventus, meanwhile, have taken Rangers up on their offer of training at Murray Park.

Nicolas Anelka

anchester United is hopeful that defenders Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will be fit to face Real Madrid in tomorrow’s Champions League first leg clash at the Bernabeu. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had to take both players off during Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton but is optimistic that neither will be sidelined for long. Jones, who had recovered from the bout

of shingles that forced him to miss England’s Under-21 international with Sweden, played as a midfielder, manmarking Marouane Fellaini, before going off after nine minutes of the second half. Centre-back Evans, who has recently recovered from a hamstring injury, came off with nine minutes to go If both Jones and Evans are ruled out, Ferguson would have only five

UCL qualification harder than ever – Ateta


rsenal midfielder Mikel Ateta has claimed the standard required to secure Champions League qualification in the Premier League is the highest in European football. After the Gunners kept themselves in contention for a top-four finish with a hard fought 1-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday, Arteta suggested the bar had been raised over the last decade. Arteta suggested Arsenal’s next four games would define the season as they look to bolster their Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup challenges. And he said he believed the signs were good, with the north London derby at White Hart Lane on March 3 highlighted as a potentially seasondefining clash. “This is the month where everything can look brighter or look really bad for the end of the season, but we are looking OK now and we have players hitting top form,” he added. “The Spurs game will be a big derby. This one is at their place and it could be decisive but we believe we have the quality to be where we deserve to be and we will fight until the end to get there.”

defenders Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Chris Smalling and Rafael da Silva in contention for the four places at the back. Meanwhile, Ashley Young is expected to be available, but the winger - who had been out with a knee injury has not featured in the last five matches. Ferguson said on Friday that Young had returned to fitness, but he was not even on the bench for the Everton game.

Florent Malouda

Malouda vows to expose Chelsea details


helsea outcast Florent Malouda has vowed to “explode” the details of his first-team exile just as soon as his contract with the European champions ends next summer. Malouda, 32, has not appeared for the first team since a pre-season friendly at the end of July after being ordered to train alongside the youngsters in the club’s youth academy for the remaining year of his contract. Reports speculated the Chelsea hierarchy was unhappy the French international did not secure a move away from Stamford Bridge with rumours a switch to Brazilian club Santos broke down due to Malouda’s wage demands. The Champions League winner insists otherwise. Malouda brought public attention to his situation by tweeting a picture of the entrance to the west London club’s Under-21 team training facility in September, adding. Rather than push the former Lyon man towards the exit, however, Malouda said the move had merely encouraged him to harden his own stance. “If you’re excluded for a whole year, it’s very, very long. You have to be ready mentally. All of this is being done to break me mentally. In reality, it motivates me hugely,” the Guyana-born midfielder explained, though still under contract he was unwilling to go further.

No rush over Allardyce contract


Mikel Ateta

est Ham United will wait until their Premier League status is secured before considering a new deal for manager Sam Allardyce. S u n d a y ’ s disappointing 2-1 defeat at struggling Aston Villa left them seven points above the drop zone and in the relative safety of 11th place. But the loss at Villa Park was their sixth consecutive away defeat in all competitions while they have won only one in eight overall. West Ham co-chairman David Gold is in no rush to offer Allardyce, who

took over in the summer of 2011 and led the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt, extended terms but also insists that is something all parties are happy with. Allardyce has struggled to win over the West Ham fans due to his direct style of play. But Gold made no attempt to hide his disappointment at the side’s latest defeat on Twitter on Sunday evening. Disappointed for the fans who traveled hundreds of miles on a miserable day to lose to a team in the bottom three. We should do better.



1] Real MadridManchester United and Celtic-Juventus feature among four last 16 clashes taking place this week as Europe's best vie for places in the UEFA Champions League last 16.


Ireland's Cian Healy is cited for stamping on England's Dan Cole in the first half of the visitors' Six Nations win in Dublin.


Rafael Nadal is denied the Chile Open title on his comeback from injury as he loses to Argentine Horacio Zeballos in the final






2] Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti has expressed his disappointment after a section of his club's fans chanted racist slogans about Mario Balotelli during their weekend win over Chievo. 3] England will give a late fitness test to Eoin Morgan before their second T20 international against New Zealand today. 4] Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose was named in the team of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, and he spoke exclusively to FIFA after the Super Eagles' final victory over Burkina Faso.



Rangers to host Mba, Agbim, over Eagles victory

T Golden Eaglets salute gallant Super Eagles

S Sunday Mba toasts of the moment

Ambrose relishes Confed Cup challenge


igeria defender, Efe Ambrose is now “looking forward to going to Brazil” for the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup in June. “It is a big thing, and we are all looking forward to going to Brazil. And we will not only be going there to play for Nigeria, but we will go there to make Africa proud. “The Confederations Cup is bigger than what we were playing for in South Africa,” he said. The Celtic man revealed that Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi had always wanted to see the Super Eagles win the African title and qualify to feature in the ‘Festival of Champions,’ as the Confederations Cup is also known. The former Kaduna United centre-back, who played as a right-back all through the 2013

Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria, added that Keshi’s “trust and confidence” was enough to motivate them to winning the continent’s biggest football prize. “He said, even before we came here, that his aim was not only to win the cup, but to go to the Confederations Cup. With his dream, it helped us a lot to know that we had a bigger thing ahead of us. Nobody gave Nigeria the chance because last year we did not even qualify for the finals, so everybody wrote us off. “But this made us more determined to work hard, train more and prove people wrong. We wanted to make sure that we are a giant of African football, and we wanted to bring back the glory of the past to the present,” Ambrose said. He stated that winning the African title has now overtaken the silver medal he won with Nigeria’s Under-23 team at the


Akpoborie says enough of foreign coaches for Eagles

onathan Akpoborie, an exinternational, has advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to build on Coach Stephen Keshi’s success at the Africa Nations Cup and end employment of foreign coaches for Super Eagles. The Super Eagles on Sunday beat the Stallions of Bukina Faso 1-0 to win the Africa Cup Nations for the third time. Akpoborie in Asaba, Delta, said the performance of the Eagles at the South Africa tournament showed that indigenous coaches could excel. “Keshi has proved that a Nigerian coach can handle our national team. From the day he started the job and gave opportunity to players in our local league, it was obvious that he knew what he wanted to achieve with the team. “He put premium on our local players and he has proved that we can build our national team around them,” he said. Akpoborie advised the country’s football administrators to look inwards and develop the local league, saying that Keshi had proved that “there are good players there to be developed”. He said the new national team put together by Keshi “has

character and discipline’’ and that he was confident that it would qualify the country for the

Stephen Keshi being lifted high by Dan Amokachi after the AFCON cup victory

Beijing Olympics in 2008. “This is my biggest achievement that I have had to date. Before this, it was the Olympic silver medal. But this is the biggest, so this is one of the greatest moments of my life. It was always my dream to play in the Nations Cup, but I would have never thought of winning it. “So now I just have to thank God and all Nigerians, from the President to the last person in Nigeria for their belief. It is no longer about us on the pitch, it is all about team effort and we are one, because football unites us and I know people at Celtic and back home in Nigeria will be celebrating for us and waiting for the cup to be paraded in Nigeria,” said Ambrose. The African champions will face Tahiti, Uruguay and world champions, Spain in Group B of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

uper Eagles’ junior siblings, the Golden Eaglets, have joined the chorus to congratulate their older brothers over their victorious outing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Johannesburg on Sunday. Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Garba Manu, who said the Eagles’ win was a foretaste of a brilliant year for Nigerian football, said the Eaglets were being inspired by the performance of the Eagles. “We are so happy for the success of the Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON because this is a big boost for Nigerian football,” Garba said. “We prayed for them and we are so happy that they made Nigerians proud in the end.” “Of course, we have to salute the courage of Keshi for taking some home-based players to the tournament,” noted Garba who assisted late Yemi Tella when Nigeria won the 2007 FIFA Under17 World Cup. “Significantly, the rest of the national teams will have to emulate the Super Eagles and bring more trophies to Nigeria this year.” The Golden Eaglets’ Princeville Hotel Camp in Calabar was a scene of extraordinary celebration on Sunday after the Super Eagles’ added a third AFCON title following earlier successes recorded in 1980 and 1994. The Eaglets will represent the nation at the CAF U-17 Championship in Morocco in April.

next World Cup. He stressed the need for the development of a strong U-17

team that would serve as a pool for the Super Eagles, and urged the NFF to give it attention.

he Executive Secretary, Rangers International FC of Enugu, Paul Chibuzor, says the club will host its players who participated in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), won by the Super Eagles. Reacting to the Eagles’ win, Chibuzor said the players would also be rewarded for doing the country and Rangers International FC proud. “We are proud of Mba and Agbim who just signed-on with Rangers. We will host them in grand style and with the arrival of our dear governor, Sullivan Chime, it is going to be a double celebration. “They are expected to feature in the CAF Champions League between Rangers and Sporting do Principe of Sao Tome and Principe next Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium,’’ he said. The Managing Director, Enugu State Housing Development Authority, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, said the victory was the best thing that happened to Nigeria in recent times. “The victory will go a long way in dousing the security tension in the country. It is also the beginning of Nigeria’s centenary celebration,’’ Asogwa said. The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Investment and Treasury Matters, Mr Victor Atuonwu, described the victory as “a good omen for Nigeria’’. “It is a good sign for Nigerian football. I am particularly happy for Stephen Keshi who becomes the second man in Africa to win the cup, both as a player and a coach,’’ he said.

Golden Boot winner, Emenike, dreams more success with Nigeria


mmanuel Emenike dreams more exploits for the Super Eagles after he netted four to become joint top scorer in the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Spartak Moscow hitman, who could not play the final because of injury, was excited to win his first winners’ medal on his debut appearance. “I am very proud to be an Africa champion. This means a lot to me and it has boosted my career. It gives me more confidence that I can achieve more with Nigeria,” he said. “I am happy with my achievement and that of the team as a whole. I never thought of becoming the top scorer, my aim was to help my team win the trophy by doing my best and contribute to the team’s success, but I never knew God has his own plans for me. “I am excited. I am on top of the world to have achieved this even when many believed it was impossible. We fought till the end and believed in ourselves.” The former FC Cape Town and Mpumalanga Black Aces both of South Africa star said he was very much at home on his return to South Africa. He said his Goal King award and winners’ medal are for his parents because they have supported his career.



Quade can’t wait to fight again


uade Cooper loved his first taste of professional boxing and wants another bout later this year. The 24-yearold Australian rugby international knocked out fellow Australian Barry Dunnett in the first round in Brisbane on Friday night. The bout was on the undercard of the tournament in which All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams beat South African Francois Botha on points. Cooper said on Saturday he wanted another fight sooner rather than later. He hinted at a return to the ring after his rugby commitments with the Wallabies and Queensland Reds. “Once I go into the ring there’s all the lights, all the cameras … that’s where I want to be,” the Wallaby playmaker told reporters. “I said to my guys afterwards I didn’t want to get out of the ring. I would love to have another one later this year, although I have a big year of rugby. “I’ll just continue to train so when the opportunity arrives in December or something like that I will be fighting fit.” Cooper took a couple of blows early from Dunnett before bouncing back to hurt his opponent with a powerful combination, sealing the fight within three minutes. “I had so much fun, I can’t explain the feeling. It was such a buzz,” Cooper said. “I am not going to lie but I was doubting whether my skill and athleticism was going to be enough. But once you get in there you’ve just got to trust your ability.” The only downside for Cooper was that his Queensland Reds teammates missed out on his boxing debut as they were playing in their final pre-season trial against Super 15 champions Waikato Chiefs at the same time as his fight.

Quade Cooper

Usain Bolt

Bolt, Blake to open season at Kingston meet


amaican sprint heroes Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake are set to open their 2013 athletics season racing in the 400 metres on Saturday at the Camperdown Classic outdoor meeting. Bolt achieved legendary status by defending his three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The 100m and 200m world-record holder is among some 30 athletes from Racers Track Club, directed by trainer Glen Mills, slated to compete in the meeting, according to the club’s website. The elite group also includes Jamaica’s Warren Weir, bronze medallist in the 200m at the London Games, along with Blake, a double silver medallist in London who last year established himself as the second-fastest man in history behind Bolt. Blake used a 9.69sec run to win the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne. The reigning 100m world champion opened his 2012 campaign at the Camperdown with a personal best in the 400m of 46.49. Next Friday, Bolt is scheduled to be in Houston, Texas, to take part in a celebrity game as part of the NBA All-Star Game festivities. The Boston Celtics fan plans to take part in an exhibition along with stars from the world of entertainment and former NBA players such as Dikembe Mutumbo and Clyde Drexler.

Yohan Blake

NBBF modifies men, women basketball leagues


he President, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijani Umar, on Friday said that the Men’s DSTV Basketball and Zenith Bank Women Basketball leagues would dunk off tentatively on Feb. 25. Umar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the competitions had been modified to make them more competitive and cater adequately for the players’ welfare.

He said that logistics were being put together by the sponsors and stakeholders for the leagues to resume. “We have sent our proposals on financing of the leagues and other competitions that will come up this season to our sponsors to look into. They have signified their continued partnership with us,’’ Umar said. According to Umar, the coming season will experience modifications in

the competitions to bring development and make the leagues more competitive and attractive. “We have made some changes to enhance the quality of the games and a considerable limit of transfer fees will be allowed for the clubs and players. “We are keen on this because it will put a check on players moving from one club to another looking for better wages. With this, clubs can keep their home grown talents and nurture

them to achieve their desired objectives,’’ he said. He disclosed that the end of season playoffs had also been modified to accommodate more games to make it more competitive. “We are changing from the regular eight teams that played each other in the season playoffs. “What we will have now is four teams from the Savannah conference playing each other and also four from the Atlantic

conference, with two teams emerging from each conference for the finals. “It is the combination of these two teams from each of the conferences that will play in a new format called the ‘Final Four’,’’ Umar said. The president said that the new season would experience an increase in number of matches and the level of competitions would make the two leagues a little less predictable. “We are going to have

Instructor urges NWF to commence preparation for Rio 2016


Weightlifting Instructor at the National Institute for Sports (NISports), Sefiyat Onubaye, has told the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF) to commence preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics without delay. Onubaye said in Lagos

on Saturday that the federation had to change the culture of late preparation toward major international events like the Olympics. “We have the talents around us, what we need to do is to keep them together for three good years so that they can deliver the goods for the

country. “Such talents need proper handling and exposure to equip them with the necessary skills alongside their coaches,’’ she said. She stressed that stakeholders would have to lend their support in equipping the athletes in the different weight

categories, for them to train without let or hindrance. “We have facilities like the halls and spaces for athletes to train but what we lack are modern Olympic standard equipment. “When we prepare our athletes for international major events, we have to

be conscious of the standard required for success, therefore, we must strive for the desired results,” she said. The instructor advised weight-lifting coaches in the federation to constantly acquaint themselves with current trends in the sport for better performance.

four more teams added in the coming season to the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League. Already we have 10 teams vying for honours and an additional four will bring about more competitiveness. “There will also be a National Open League where old players can come in to play and league teams can play non-league teams. This will really be exciting for basketball in Nigeria because we are looking at discovering other talents that abound in the states,’’ he said. The president said the NBBF was open to talks with players and other stakeholders. “Players are important to the development of the sport, we are concerned about their welfare and we want to see good transformation of the game in Nigeria. “We’ve also met with the National Consultative Forum, a body of stakeholders on issues that will transform the game and our players,’’ he said.



Tribute galore for Super Eagles

ACN greets Super Eagles, says victory shows Nigeria’s endless possibilities Ayodele Samuel,Lagos

T Eagles’ victory challenge to Jonathan’s administration From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


he National President of Afonja Descendant Union (ADU), Alhaji Abdulkarim OlolaKasum has noted that the victory of Super Eagles over Burkina Faso in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations should challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. OlolaKasum in a statement yesterday stated Super Eagles got a mandate and delivered stressing that all political class should fight for the glory of people not themselves. “The Eagles’ resounding victory should serve as a challenge to the political class. The Eagles have satisfied the aspiration of the nation by winning the coveted cup. It should be the turn of the political class to also win the economic, social and security wars facing the nation. “President Goodluck Jonathan and his executive team, David Mark and his legislative team, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and her team of legal luminaries, should also pull their resources together to solve the multisocioeconomic and judiciary problems of this country.” The ADU President, who wonders why the Presidency, legislature and judiciary were in wild jubilation over Eagles victory while their mandates were not delivered, noted elected officers should work harder to emancipate the people from the clutches of bad governance.

he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has congratulated the Super Eagles for winning the Africa Cup of Nations after 19 years of waiting, saying the victory shows what Nigeria can achieve when it allows talent, rather than mediocrity, to lead the way. In a statement issued yesterday in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the Eagles’ victory just a little over a year after Stephen Keshi took charge and began a rebuilding process, shows that transformation need not be an


‘’The Super Eagles, who were not among the pre-tournament favourites, won because the coach assembled his team based on talent rather than any extraneous considerations, and also because the team and its technical crew believe that when there is determination and self-belief, no mountain can be high enough. ‘’If Nigeria will always field its best eleven in all human endeavours, be it sports, economy or politics, and also allows a visionary rather than a waffling dreamer to lead the team, the country will always be a world beater. That is the lesson from the Super Eagles’ class of 2013,’’ the party said.

Falcons Paul Hamilton said it was a superb performance. “I was astonished with the display on the pitch, it was a good game. I hope they would excel more to be greater world champions. They are boys with potential and can bring back Nigeria’s football glory,”

Hamilton said.. Fanny Amu, former Golden Eagles coach said, “I think we didn’t do badly. We still need more work as it was a tough one. “The blend of home players with the foreign players was a good decision to make and it worked out. The game was a

President Goodluck Jonathan Meanwhile, ACN has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for opting to jet to London for the launch of Obasanjo Foundation instead of travelling to South Africa to witness the final match.

Coaches hail Eagles’ victory C

oaches, Joe Erico, Christian Chukwu, Henry Nwosu, Fanny Amu and Dominic Iorfa have expressed joy over Nigeria’s victory at the 29th AFCON for the third time. In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, they said that the players and coaches were committed and motivated to succeed. “I am glad that we came out as winners, although it was not an easy task. Our task now is more on the Confederation’s Cup in Brazil because the world would be watching us as the new African champions,’’ Erico, the former Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer, said. Also, Nwosu, a former assistant coach of the Super Eagles, expressed confidence in the coach and his crew. “I am happy that Keshi has made us proud as Nigerians, indeed we deserve the win. That the goal was scored by a homebased player only goes to show that Keshi saw the blend would be a perfect fit.” Another former coach and Eagles captain, Chukwu expressed satisfaction with the performance of the team describing it as wonderful. “They should not, however, relax or allow this to get to their heads because more hurdles are still ahead,” he said. Former head coach of the Super

Women league praises Eagles he Chairman of the Nigeria Women League Board, Dilichukwu Onyedinma, has congratulated the Super Eagles for their superlative performance in the 29th edition of the Africa Nations Cup held in South Africa. According to Onyedinma, the performance of the Eagles and their emergence as the new African kings after 19 years of asking, has wiped anguish felt by Nigerians over the years. “I want to commend the technical crew led by Coach Stephen Keshi for believing in the

endless quest. ‘’The Super Eagles, who failed to qualify for the last edition of the Nations Cup in 2012, rose to win the cup a year later. Keshi’s transformation agenda has produced positive results, even when not everyone believes in him,” this is how it should be,’’ it said. ACN noted that while Nigerians were not too happy at the players’ performance in the group stage, they rallied around them the moment they stepped up their game in the knockout stage, an indication that Nigerians do not need endless prodding to support a winning team, whether in sports or politics.

Nigeria League, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the board and management of the NFF and Nigerians for waiting for almost two decades before winning this trophy.” The member of the NFF executive committee charged Keshi to now consolidate on the gains and continue the rebuilding process to produce a formidable team for the country. ”I think he should consolidate on the gains and give Nigerians a team after their hearts,” she concluded.

tough one indeed and our opponents gave us a hard nut to crack, luckily for us we had a win,” he said. Dominic Iorfa, an exinternational, said head coach Keshi made it possible. ”I happy for him, I know the feeling of winning a trophy.

Joseph Yobo and Dan Amokachi jubilating with the AFCON trophy

…Onigbinde, Ogunjobi, Owolabi react


ormer Super Eagles Coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, Taiwo Ogunjobi, and Felix Owolabi, have praised Coach Stephen Keshi and the Super Eagles their victory over the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the final of the 29th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Sunday’s victory ended Nigeria’s 19-year AFCON title drought while Keshi became after late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary to win trophy a player and coach. Onigbinde, a CAF and FIFA instructor said yesterday that he was elated that Keshi has finally restore pride to Nigeria football and the domestic league in particular. “I am happy that Keshi was able to beat my record. This has vindicated me on my hard stance that Nigerian coaches are better. I continued pressing it on him to be focused when he reached out to me because distractions could get him off the tracks. It is a victory for him and all African coaches,’’ he said. Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, the former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation, also said Nigeria’s victory was well deserved, adding that the country was eagerly waiting for the cup. “I am happy for Coach Stephen Keshi and all the players and I hope that we can continue in this spirit in the World Cup campaign,’’ he said. Also, former Green Eagles player, Felix Owolabi, called for a heroic welcome for the Super Eagles and appealed to the Federal Government to declare public holiday to receive the triumphant Super Eagles. Further, Ajibade Babalade, a former Super Eagles defender and Manager of Shooting Stars Football Club, said a new vista had been opened for Nigerian football with the Super Eagles victory. “Indeed I am overwhelmed with joy. It is a new beginning for Nigerian football,’’ Babalade said. Among the rewards for the Super Eagles was a $1.5 million first prize and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil where they will face world and European champions, Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay.


Adenuga splashes $1 million on Eagles

Eagles to commence preparation for 2014 World Cup, says Minister


elecommunications tycoon Mike Adenuga yesterday rewarded the victorious Super Eagles with a cash gift of $1 million (N155m). Top officials informed confirmed to a wire service that Adenuja received the Eagles squad in Johannesburg where he made his donation. Already, Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Alikjo Dangote, has already rewarded the team with $800,000, while the country’s President Goodluck Jonathan will receive the team at a special reception in Abuja tonight. Jonathan is expected to announce national awards for the squad, cash gifts as well as house gifts most likely in Abuja as was the case when the team won the tournament in 1980 and 1994. The President has hailed Sunday’s victory, saying it gives Africa hope. “We have emerged as the beacon of hope on the African continent by proving to Africa and the world that a strong Nigerian team put together and trained by a Nigerian coach can stand the test of time and successfully rise to the challenge of the most formidable opponent,” lauded Jonathan. “The Nigerian spirit stands strong and steady as we march to the destination of greatness.” Various state Governors have also indicated interest to host the team during a nation-wide trophy tour.


ports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi says that with the Africa Cup of Nations now over, preparation had begun for the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Abdullahi disclosed this in Johannesburg, South Africa, moments after the Super Eagles defeated the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0, to lift the 2013 AFCON trophy. The minister said that upon returning to Nigeria, he would ask the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to forward to him plans that would make the Eagles prosecute the World Cup campaign creditably. The minister expressed his determination to build on the success the team had achieved at the Nations Cup. He said his ministry would collaborate with the NFF to formulate plans for the team’s adequate preparation for the World Cup. According to him, the Super Eagles’ victory at the competition was the outcome of long preparations which would be similarly adopted in preparation for the World Cup. Abdulllahi noted that the Eagles’ victory at the 2013 AFCON was an indication that with enough preparations, the team could go places. He commended all Nigerians, the NFF and the Supporters Club for their relentless support to the Eagles to achieve success. “I believe that the support Nigerians and the supporters club members, led by its President-General, Dr Rafiu Oladipo, had given the Eagles would continue in all international competitions,” Abdullahi said. He expressed gratitude to the players and the coaching crew, led by Stephen Keshi, stressing that the victory had made Nigeria to become the best football nation on the continent. Emmanuel Emenike was awarded the golden boot of the competition; Mikel Obi was the Man of the Match, while Victor Moses received the fair play award of the tournament. With the 2013 AFCON victory, Nigeria has now won the continental football trophy three times, first in 1980 as hosts and in 1994 in Tunisia, when Keshi was the Eagles’ captain.


Oliseh faults CAF over Pitroipa


ormer Nigerian captain, Sunday Oliseh is not sure the technical study group of Caf got it right after Burkina Faso winger, Jonathan Pitroipa was named as 2013 Afcon player of the tournament. Pitroipa played a starring role as he inspired the Stallions to their first-ever Afcon final but Oliseh insists Nigeria forward, Victor Moses should have been awarded the accolade. “For me, Moses is the player of the tournament. Not because I am a Nigerian or because I like him. His technical appreciation of the

game is something to behold. He is my player of the tournament,” Oliseh said. Moses was however included in the team of the tournament by the Caf technical study group. Four other Nigerians, John Obi Mikel, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike and Efe Ambrose made the tournament XI. The other players in the team include Burkina Faso defender Bakary Kone, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, Cape Verde captain, Nando Neves.

Jonathan to receive, reward triumphant Eagles in Abuja today By Patrick Andrew


resident Goodluck Jonathan will today receive and reward the victorious Super Eagles and technical officials at state banquet at the Aso Villa where the team and federal government delegation will be driven to on arrival in Abuja later this evening. The Eagles’ contingent will depart Johannesburg, South Africa in a chartered Arik flight this morning and touch down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from where the players will be driven through the Abuja metropolis in a motorcade. Peoples Daily Sports learnt that President Jonathan, who watched the final on television in London and later congratulated the players for their gallant performance, has attributed the victory to the on-going transformation in Nigeria. “This is a sign of the good things happening in Nigeria and a sign of good things to come. This is a transformed Super Eagles, and their success shows that with cooperation we can achieve a lot. we should all work together to achieve our common goals,’’ President said. Further, he described the team as a “transformed Super Eagles’’ and urged Nigerians to close ranks in other human endeavours to ensure the success of the transformation agenda. On the basis of this, the president, who had encouraged the players prior to the final in a teleconference, will formally

Super Eagles showing off the trophy meet with them and reward them accordingly as he had promised. It would be recalled that Nigeria first won as hosts in 1980 and 14 years later the second victory in Tunisia and secured her third sip from the trophy after 19 years of asking.

Interestingly, unlike the previous squad, the present team is under rebuilding process with 17 (including six homebased players) of the 23 players never having played at a Cup of Nations, stunned the world and captivated Africa.

The Eagles, who won in spite of not being among the top contenders, supplied five players to CAF 11, Vincent Enyeama was named the best goalkeeper, Victor Moses won fairplay trophy while Emmanuel Emenike won the golden boot.

PDP says Eagles’ victory confirmation of a new era


he Super Eagles’ victory at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa is a confirmation that Nigeria has entered a new era of possibilities, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja and signed by Mr Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party.

The statement said the victory was an indication that the nation would surmount its challenges under the current dispensation. It said the fact that the team won the trophy, which has eluded the country for many years, “shows that nothing is impossible for the country”. The statement added that the victory had opened the doors for

the nation to achieve other goals. “It is an indication that there is nothing impossible and that collectively we will overcome all the challenges we are facing as a nation,” Metuh said. The Super Eagles on Sunday beat the Stallions of Bukina Faso 1-0 to win the trophy for the third time. Nigeria won the cup for the first time in 1980. It last won it in 1994.


Say what?


Some Interesting Facts •Goethe couldn't stand the sound of barking dogs and could only write if he had an apple rotting in the drawer of his desk. •Hang On Sloopy is the official rock song of Ohio. •Hershey's Kisses are called that because the machine that makes them looks like it's kissing the conveyor belt. •Honeybees have hair on their eyes. •Human teeth are almost as hard as rocks. •Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete. •Hydroxydesoxycorticosterone and hydroxydeoxycorticosterones are the largest anagrams. •Hypnotism is banned by public schools in San Diego. •"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. •If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes. •If NASA sent birds into space they would soon die; they need gravity to swallow. •If you bring a raccoon's head to the Henniker, New Hampshire town hall, you are entitled to receive $.10 from the town. •If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.


Friday’s solution


Vincent Enyeama attempts to pick up Referee Djamel Haimoudi had just blown for full-time in the African Nations Cup final in which Nigeria beat Source: Burkina Faso 1-0 to end their 19-year wait for the title.

. . . putting the people first



Canadian receives six-match suspension


he secretariat to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has yesterday notified the Canadian Soccer Association of a decision reached at the FIFA Disciplinary Committee meeting held on 20 November 2012 related to the player Olivier Occean from the “A” representative team. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee decided, following incidents that occurred in the Preliminary Competition match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil played between Canada and Cuba on 12 October 2012, that: The player Olivier Occean is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. c of the FDC by committing an act of unsporting conduct and art. 57 of the FDC for displaying several acts of unsporting behaviour and using offensive language towards match officials in the scope of the match played between Canada and Cuba on 12 October 2012. The player Olivier Occean is to be suspended for six (6) matches. The automatic match suspension has already been served during the Preliminary Competition match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Honduras v Canada, on 16 October 2012 In view of the fact that the representative team of Canada did not qualify for the next round of the Preliminary Competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil played at CONCACAF level (“Round 4”), the remaining five match suspension is to be carried over and served during the representative team’s subsequent official matches, in accordance with art. 38 par. 2 a) of the FDC. The player Olivier Occean is ordered to pay a fine to the amount of CHF 7,500 and costs of proceedings in the amount of CHF 1,000.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Winning this tournament is an honour. I came on board a year and a half ago, and my dream was to make all Nigerians happy. — Keshi, coach of victorious Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON championship

Pension scam: The racist conviction of Africans I

n Nigeria we all live in interesting times. The political class is having a hell of a jolly time. The judiciary is courting public scrutiny because judges are now living in interesting times. Public servants are also having a swell of a time. The senators are leading the dance in this interesting milieu. The representatives are not immune to the bug of interesting times. In a nation that brags about as the giant of mother Africa, it should be expected that Nigeria must be a land of interesting people. A land of interesting habits, interesting manners, interesting characters. Take our love for life and fun. We are loud. Our men are loud. Our women are loud. Our youths are loud. The rich are loud. The well connected are loud. Our politicians are loud in their habits. They are loud in their manner. They are loud in their tastes. They are loud in their sartorial elegance - whether in suit or agbada. President Jonathan controls eleven aeroplanes. They call it presidential fleet. Jonathan goes about with a fleet of darkened SUVs and battalion of minders. His public-funded kitchen budget still stands at N1billion. That kitchen must be loud with expensive utensils that befit the ruler of the giant of Africa. Nigeria is now a country without Pentecostal modesty. Our pastors are modern day arrogant Pharaohs. In carriage, in cassock, in speech they all look like medieval emperors. Churches are no longer a place of celestial calm and repose but consulting malls for business deals. It is no longer a place where we show penitence for forgiveness. It is rather a place of macho affluence. This is to say that our churches are now loud. Pastors now come to the pulpit in expensive Gucci suits. They catwalk the podium in expensive lace material. The glory of Christ has been replaced by the glory of materialism. They now indulge openly in the things that will make Satan proud. They know the signposts or the roads that lead to every herbalist homes. Strange but not surprising is the fact that all leaders of Nigeria's biggest churches have private jets. Except the heads of MFM and Deeper Life ministry. The rest are jet set mighty men of God who require loud

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EFCC boss, Ibrahim Lamorde Gulfstreams to spy on God from 33,000 feet. A very loud way to post our prayer to God for answer. On land, pastors are not different from celebrities. They cruise around in darkened SUVs and the latest Hummers. Many are prayer merchants. They sell prayer sachets even to the president in Aso Rock. And in return, Jonathan in many of his loud habits had been known to give out loud cheques to our pastors. In Nigeria, there is ongoing loud flirtation between pastors and politicians. Now look at it this way. If pastors and politicians could brazenly insult their followers by voting for lavish living, who then will rein in the greedy impulse of other strata of society for corruption? The story of one big time crook called John Yakubu Yusufu and his other loud crooks did not surprise me at all. He is the feral meanness of the triumph of corruption in Nigeria. He is a true apostle of loud greed and a good discerner of our interesting times. We have a history of big, loud stealing. What we have now are new actors from unlikely places. Bank chiefs stole loudly. All former police heads stole loudly. They could not even spare money for our police college. Worse, these looters are still living loud and large. They are birding about like free agents! Why would anyone agonise

over a man who defrauded pensioners of a mere N27billion? To be shocked or surprised is to diminish the stature of Nigeria as giant of corruption in Africa. Some may say the world. Furthermore, anyone who is angry over the maltreatment of police pensioners is yet to understand the depth of our soulless embrace of love of money. Look at the president. Despite his utopian pledges to transform Nigeria and exorcise the ghost of corruption, the guy is nothing but a latter day Nero who fiddles away while Nigeria burns. There is a touch of pantomime to his drive for transformation. Yusufu is hugely heartless. He has been living a large, loud and comfortable existence by existing on poor pensioners' money. And for this apostate infidel of a thief to walk away after killing thousands of pensioners is the ultimate postmodern assault on our legal system. However, we have to thank Justice Mohamed Talba for bringing forward the inevitability of Nigeria's Spring or grassroots revolution. His surname should be substituted for Taliban. Judge Talba is conservative, archaic and phoney. Judges are no longer the image of thick-rimmed, bookish and sombre characters we used to know. By training, tradition and temper they are meant to be recluse and avoiders of world of corrupt contamination. His judgement on the N27billion pension scam is nothing but a calamitous retreat from the habit of judicial fairness, the atrophy of upholding the sacred tenet of justice and the occupation of the realm of justice largely by cowardice, corruption and cant. His inaction to take proper action on the scam is affirming the accusation that in Nigeria justice is now privatised to the highest bidder. Abroad, the actions of both Yusuf and Justice Talba will again begin to prompt the racist

conviction that Africans are prone to evil, lying, stealing, wickedness, corruption, venality and mismanagement. Revelation of scam like this is guaranteed to contribute to the centuries-old racist slur that Africans - blacks are inherently amoral, lazy and corrupt. Consider the evidence, in Nigeria judges and politicians compete vaingloriously for the extreme manifestations of our excesses. They live on income they had never had to work for. They live in billion naira houses in Abuja. In a nation where majority of helpless Nigerians live on $1.00 a day. They borrow each other 's private jets to do money sorties to Dubai. They borrow each other's wives. Believe it. These people are the worst philanderers on planet earth. Go and read the unpublished bedroom manner of their lifestyles. Governors' mansions meant for statecraft have been re-crafted as places of high jinks and sadomasochism where girls in high heels parade themselves like sacrificial goats before men whose provenance to govern has been high-jacked painfully by perversion. Virgin and desolate islands are being converted and configured into apartheid playgrounds. First, it was Victoria Garden City in Lagos, then Banana Island, then Maitama in Abuja and now back again to Snake Island in Lagos. Yes, Snake island has been turned into a temple where rich Nigerian billionaires, many of them judges and politicians, bling about in opulent but ignoble vanity. A telecommunication giant's chief and his friends have metropolitanised and globalised this once sleepy Atlanticencircled haven. There must be an enclave where they could live undisturbed by the wailings of latter day saints like Tunde Bakare and Dino Melaye. Why this monumental waste in a nation of feral sufferers we called the Nigerian masses, majority of whom live on average of N150.00 naira per day? Is there anything more starkly ignoble of our egotism, backwardness, crudity, injustice, shame, failure, waste, ignorance and cultural affirmation of vanity? Believe it or not, Justice Talba, Yusufu and the entire judicial and political class in this instance steer Nigeria back to the caves. Can we send these people to China?

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, Tuesday 12, February, 2013 Edition  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Nigeria