Page 1

Vol. 10 No. 52

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Bauchi bans corporal punishment in schools >> PAGE 9

Ansaru posts video of slain foreign hostages >> PAGE 2

Jimadal Ula 1, 1434 AH


Reps query CBN, FIRS, Customs over missing N7.935bn revenue >> PAGE 3

Nigeria still a military state, says Fashola


R-L: Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-MAkura, presenting letter of appointment to the new Secretary to State Government, Hajiya Zainab Abdulmumin, yesterday at the Government House, in Lafia.

agos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday said the frequent disregard and flouting of civil laws by military personnel showed that Nigeria has not been fully demilitarized. Fashola said this while receiving Maj-Gen. Abel Umahi, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in his office in Ikeja. Fashola said that such misbehavior gave the Nigerian Army a bad image, and advised that all relevant authorities must close ranks to curb the problem. Fashola also advised those in charge of distributing uniforms in the force to be more careful so that it would not get into the wrong hands. “I think that with the larger military community, we haven’t had any problem. Like in any dozen, one will find one with questionable disposition. Contd on Page 2

Striking judiciary workers lock out CJN By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ederal Judiciary workers began an indefinite strike action yesterday across the country over alleged failure of the Federal Government to implement the Consolidated Judicial Salary Structure (CONJUSS). The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Alooma Mukhtar, was among the first casualties of the strike action as the aggrieved workers locked her

out, along with other justices. In Abuja, the workers under the auspices of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) brandished several placards and blocked entrances to the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal High Court as they sang various solidarity songs. In an apparent move to avert a breakdown of law and order and possible hijack of the protest by hoodlums, armed military men were positioned at the entrance to the Aso Rock Villa where the

Supreme Court is situated while anti-riot police squads manned the various courts. The decision of the workers to embark on the strike action followed the expiration of the 21day ultimatum which the union had earlier issued. National President of JUSUN, Marwan Mustapha Adamu, told journalists that the union decided to embark on the strike action due to the insensitivity of the Federal Government to the plight of Judiciary workers at the federal

courts. He said the agreement for the implementation of the Consolidated Judicial Salary Structure for Judiciary workers between the Federal Government and the union was reached in 2009 and that government has refused to issue circular for the payment of the salary structure. As result, Adamu said, the payment of N37,000 minimum wage for federal judiciary workers could not be effected noting that Contd on Page 2

PD INDEX 8th March, 2013


BUYING 154.75 234.50 201.78 0.2878 41.26

SELLING 155.75 236.02 203.08 0.3078 41.52


BUYING 208 254.50 42 157

SELLING 210 257.50 43 158

























First ladies' N4bn ego trip, Page 4

Feature Int’l

30 31-34

Strange World 35 Digest










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Video shows bodies of slain hostages By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, with agency reports


video posted online appears to show the corpses of some of the seven foreign hostages abducted by the extremist sect, Ansaru in northern Nigeria and later killed. The video, viewed by The Associated Press yesterday, matched still images released earlier by Ansaru when it claimed the killings. The face of one of the corpses in the video also resembled that of one of the hostages already named by authorities. European diplomats said Sunday that the hostages had been killed. Yesterday, Nigerian Interior Minister Abba Moro told the BBC Hausa Service that those nations said that it was “likely” that their citizens had died in the attack. “We hope they’re alive,” Moro said. Moro did not respond to requests for comment yesterday from the AP. Nigerian officials often speak to the BBC Hausa service, as it is viewed as one of the dominant independent news sources.

In the video, a gunman stands in sand, holding a rifle near what appears to be dead bodies. A later shot in the video shows three male corpses, one of whom appears to have been killed by a gunshot wound to the head from a high-powered weapon. The video has no sound. An accompanying caption for the video in Arabic calls it: “The killing of seven Christian hostages in Nigeria.” Another description includes the statement Ansaru released Saturday claiming that it killed the hostages, signed by a man with the name Abu Usamatal Ansary. Ansaru fighters kidnapped the foreigners Feb. 16 from a camp for the construction company Setraco at Jama'are, a town 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi state. In the attack, gunmen first assaulted a local prison and burned police trucks, authorities said. Then the attackers blew up a back fence at the construction company's compound and took over, killing a guard in the process, witnesses and police said.

Those kidnapped included four Lebanese and one citizen each from the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy. Local officials in Nigeria initially identified one of the hostages as a Filipino, something the Philippines government later denied. The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku yesterday failed to provide the position of the Federal Government on the foreign hostages that were reportedly killed in Nigeria. When Maku was approached by State House correspondents on the position of the Federal Government on the incident, Maku said he had not been fully briefed. “I don’t have the full brief to give you,” he said as he walked out of the Presidential Villa where he had earlier attended a security meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan. When he was further asked to comment on the listing of Nigeria as a terrorist state by France over the incident, the minister kept mum. Also at the meeting were Senate President David Mark and top security chiefs.

I've never been Ezekwesili's aide - Chiahemen


ditor-in-Chief of National Accord newspaper, Mr. Tom Chihemen, has denied speculations that he was a former aide of erstwhile Education Minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesile. In a press statement issued by the publisher of the Abuja-based weekly last night following claims by the anti-graft agency, ICPC, that he had served as Ezekwesili’s lieutenant, he debunked the allegation, saying it was a company in which he had some stake, that had a business transaction with the said ministry. Text of Chiahemen’s press release, made available to this newspaper, reads: “My attention has been drawn to a front page lead story, which appeared in the

Monday, March 11, 2013 edition of Daily Sun newspaper under the caption: "Fresh trouble for Ezekwesili ....ICPC set to arraign former aide." “In the said publication, where I was referred to as an aide to the former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, the Head of Media of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Folu Olamiti, reportedly accused me of "making a political statement out of" my recent encounter with the Commission. He was quoted to have said " sane person should take any allegation made by Chiahemen seriously.." “I find it necessary to clarify that first, I was never an aide to

the former minister of Education and I had no personal business transaction with the Federal Ministry of Education during her tenure as minister. Rather, Cattigan Communications Limited, a Media & Publicity consulting firm in which I had interest, was appointed to handle advertisements placing on behalf of the ministry between August 2006 and May 2007. “I made no political statement in the release I issued on March 7, 2013 in response to enquiries from family members, colleagues and friends. It only contained a detailed account of what transpired between me and the ICPC from March 6 - 7, 2013. My statement, which is still in the public domain, contained no allegation against the ICPC as I only tried to recall my encounter with officials of the Commission”.

Anenih, Nnamani, PDP governors brainstorm on party stability By Lawrence Olaoye


hairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, and former Senate President Ken Nnamani, stormed the PDP Governors’ Forum yesterday to strategize on how to

strengthen and stabilize the party ahead of the 2015 general elections. The meeting had eight governors and eight deputy governors in attendance. The governors who attended include those of Kwara, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Kaduna, Taraba (acting) and the host

governor of Akwa Ibom state. States represented by the deputy governors include, Adamawa, Plateau, Katsina, Kogi, Abia, Bauchi, Ebonyi and Benue. The governors who were absent are those of Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Rivers, Niger and Kano states.

Nigeria still a military state, says Fashola Contd from Page 1

“And, I think that they are those that seek to give the military the name that we all know that it doesn’t bear. We must all work together to ensure compliance with law and order. “We know that in spite of the fact that the military have left governance. I think that Nigerians haven’t fully demilitarised themselves. “Therefore, it is a penchant even for people to wear all sort of fatigue and pose as military officers when they are not. “I think that in the last 24 to 48 hours, the brigade commandant was filing a report to me of some citizens that he apprehended for walking around in military uniform. “This is why it is important that we close ranks because people defy civil law enforcement that is the policemen by wearing uniform and we mustn’t encourage that kind of thing to continue in any form,’’ he said. He commended the Chief of Amy Staff for granting his request to inspect engineering survey of part of Bonny Camp, in line with the proposed rehabilitation of Ahmadu Bello Way. Earlier, the GOC thanked all residents and the Governor for accommodating the troops of the Division and for his numerous provisions for the Army. Umahi reiterated that the Army would support the state government in ensuring security of lives and property.

Striking judiciary workers lock out CJN Contd from Page 1 32 state governments have started paying their judiciary staff the consolidated salary structure. According to him, leadership of the union were scheduled to meet with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, yesterday evening with a view to addressing the grievances of the union. Meanwhile, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr. Sunday Olorundahunsi, has appealed to members of the JUSUN to return to work as their grievances were being addressed at the highest levels including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).



Boko Haram refutes JTF claim on killing From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


he Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad popularly known as Boko Haram, yesterday refuted the claim by the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF) that 52 of its members were killed in a gun battle with security forces. This is the first time the Boko Haram faction, led by its spiritual leader, Mohammed Shekau, and would send a statement to newsmen in the past one year,

since the killing of its former spokesman, Abu Qaqa. The JTF had at the weekend claimed that its operatives conducted series of operations in various locations in Maiduguri metropolis, killing 52 suspected insurgents and recovered high profile arms and ammunition. However, reacting to the claim, the group in a statement emailed to newsmen by one Abu Zinnari who claims to be its new spokesman dismissed the report as propaganda. On the contrary, the group said

that it emerged victorious in all the operations carried out by the security forces as several soldiers were killed with armored tanks destroyed. Part of the statement which was written in Hausa said, “this is a message from Jama'atu Ahlil Sunnah Lida'awati Wal Jihad in respect of the purported killing of our members during a raid by the JTF in Jajeri area of Maiduguri, last Friday. “The truth of the matter is that we were the ones that triumphed during the encounter because we

killed many soldiers and destroyed four Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).” The group however admitted that it lost only three fighters in all the encounters. “What is obvious was that the JTF had only succeeded in killing innocent civilians, not our members as claimed. “It had made similar statement in respect of the attack we launched on military barracks in Monguno town on Sunday, 3rd March, 2013. “They claimed to have killed 20 of our fighters and destroyed

four of our vehicles. This is far from the truth as we only lost three members but had succeeded in attacking and destroying their barracks including two APCs. “We also carted away large quantity of arms and ammunitions,” the statement further claimed. “We challenge Nigerians to go to Monguno and see the level of colossal damage we inflicted on the barracks. As far as we are concerned, the attack in Monguno favoured our movement,” the statement said.

Three kidnapped sailors freed


L-R: Newly appointed chairman, Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST), Barrister Ngozi Udodinm Chianakwalam, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawal Ngama, during swearing-in of the IST chairman, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Reps query CBN, FIRS, NCS over missing N7.935bn By Umar Muhammad Puma


he House of Representatives committee on Public Account yesterday queried the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the discrepancy of N7.935 billion in the money generated and remitted by the Nigerian Customs Service to the Federation Account in 2007. Similarly, the committee also queried the unexplained delay for five months in the remittance of the sum of N14.210 billion being import duty collected and lodged into CBN Port Harcourt by Customs Area Command Port Harcourt. The money was said to have been collected in in August 2006 but was not transferred to the Federation Account until january 2007. The Committee’s Chairman, Hon. Solomon Adeola (ACN Lagos state), who gave the order yesterday said audit examination of the records maintained for the Federation Account at the Nigeria Customs Service revealed that the

total amount generated and remitted by the service for the year 2007 was N233.430 billion while total of amount received by FAAC was N241.366 billion thereby resulting in a discrepancy of N7.935 billion. According to him, “this implies that the actual amount of revenue generated and remitted by the NCS was less than the amount presented to FAAC for sharing as indicated by the CBN.” Acting chairman of the FIRS, Alhaji Mashi, the CBN Deputy Governor (operations), Tunde Remo, the Accountant General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, were mandated to work with some members of the committee led by Hon. Pally Iriase to reconcile the differences and report back on Wednesday. Remo had expressed worry that these issues took place as far back as 2007 and many years after, they were yet to be resolved while Mashi had earlier told the committee that both the FIRS and CBN had reconciled on the N582 million difference and discovered that it was only N261 million resulting from double entry error.

But the PAC chairman further disclosed that at the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, it was observed from the component statements of 2007 that Joint Venture Cash Calis (JVC) of the sum of N549 billion Excess Crude of the sum of N1.168 trillion and Petroleum Product Subsidy of the sum of N236.641 billion were deducted from proceeds of crude oil sales, whiie the sums of N25.951 billion and N62.542 billion were excess proceeds deducted in respect of Petroieum Profit Tax (PPT) and Royalties espectively. He said theses deductions were made before the net revenues were paid to the Federation Account contrary to the provisions of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which requires all such revenues to be paid directly into the Federation Account. Other queries expected to be addressed by the CBN include the N124.673 million allegedly deducted from the Federation Account and described as “Funding of FAAC” but the details

of the disbursement of the funds were not made available for audit examination. The CBN is to also explain the States’ Contractual Obligation in which the sums of N210 million and N13.341 million were paid in the months of March and April, 2007 respectively as contractual Obligations to a contractor, by the order of the Governor of Anambra state. The chairman said, “this payment is contrary to the provisions of sections 162 (1), 162(3) and 120(3&4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. “The Accountant-General of the Federation has been informed of this irregular payment from the Federation Account and he was advised to ensure that -henceforth payment of contractual obligations from the Federation Account should cease. “Another case of irregular payments from the Federation Account was the sum of N540 million paid to the Governors’ Forum Secretariat Project and upkeep of the Federation Account secretariat.”

hree sailors including two Russians have been freed following weeks in captivity after pirates raided their cargo ship off the coasts of Nigeria and Cameroon, a shipping company said yesterday, according to Associated Press. Carisbrooke Shipping Ltd. of the United Kingdom said in a statement Monday that the men had been released after the February 7 attack on the MV Esther C. “The three officers were confirmed as being safe and in good spirits on March 11 after 31 days in captivity,” the company said. The company did not say whether a ransom had been paid to secure release of the. Such kidnappings typically end with a ransom payment being made, usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lagos shuts Isolo General Hospital mortuary From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Lagos state government has announced the permanent closure of the mortuary at the Isolo General Hospital with effect from today, to safeguard public health norms, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, has said. Idris who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos called on members of the public to make arrangements to collect the bodies of any deceased family member or relations being kept at the mortuary before the closure takes effect. He advised any members of public who require mortuary services for their loved ones to transfer them to Gbagada General Hospital mortuary or the General Hospital Lagos mortuary in addition to state mortuaries at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Lagos Island General Hospital, Ikorodu General Hospital and Epe General Hospital, all of which he said remain open for use by the public.



First lady’s N4bn ego trip By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


couple of weeks ago, outrage greeted the proposal by the FCT administration to build a N4bn African First Ladies' Peace Mission Building in Abuja. Even the Senate was angered by such irresponsible proposal in that the office of first lady has no place in the Nigerian constitution. Other contentious proposals contained in the budget are the construction of the Abuja city gate at the cost of N7.5 billion and the renovation of vicepresident guest house in Asokoro, Abuja at N150 million. What is also more annoying to most in the court of public opinion is the fact that the authorities tend to show less interest in the security situation bedeviling the country. A case in point is the recent declaration by the Inspector General of Police that they can't guarantee security to the people. This is tantamount to telling Nigerians that "You are on your own". It is also coming at a time when corruption assumed a frightening dimension. To further expose the extent of corruption and thievery, a Former World Bank Chief and exNigeria Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesil recently challenged the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to account for 67bn in the foreign reserve left by the Obasanjo-led administration. Just as Nigerians await government's response to this poser, the FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed, in his usual fashion of kowtowing to those in power, presented a self-serving budget proposal to the senate, including the N4bn First Ladies' Peace Mission Building. Ever since he became FCT Minister in 2010, Senator Bala Muhammed has always tried hard to ingratiate himself to those in high places by robbing the common people of their houses under the guise of "illegal structures". As if that is not enough, he wants to use the money paid by the victims of his draconian injustice to build a mansion of questionable utility. The African first ladies have never been known add much value outside their matrimonial constituencies. During their last meeting in Nigeria, the major streets in the nation's capital were painted with Nigeria first Lady's picture. Several Senators and groups condemned such anti-people's proposal. Joining the debate, Sen. Babajide Omoworare condemned the allocation of N4 billion for the first lady's mission building, describing it as scandalous. According to Omoworare, the allocation is nothing but misplaced priority, wondering why such a huge amount was earmarked for the office of first

First Lady Patience Jonathan lady, which he said was not recognised by law. Describing it as an aberration, Omoworare asked if such a development had ever been heard of in the United States, Ghana or any part of the world. He also criticised the allocation of funds for the construction of the Abuja city gate and vice-president's guest house, noting that it was wrong when only N1 billion was allocated for each of the federal universities. "N4 billion for first lady's office is scandalous. We allocate money for immaterial issues. Some of these allocations should have been moved elsewhere. There ought to be concentration on infrastructure. "If N1 billion was budgeted for each federal university, how can you budget N4 billion for first lady's office? I've never heard that in the US or Ghana. "Again, N150 million for renovation of the VP's guest

FCT Minister Bala Mohammed house is not done. All these are against the principles of federalism. What Abuja suffers is maladministration. "It is not proper for us to allocate money for the building of the first lady's mission house in the FCT budget. It is against federal system of government and again, how can we budget N7.4 billion for entrance gates? I support the bill for second reading but l oppose all these. It is wasteful spending," Omoworare said. In the same vein, Senator Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central) added that the N4 billion allocation for the first lady's mission building was absolutely unnecessary especially in the face of rising unemployment in the land. Ojudu told his colleagues that posterity would not forgive them if they approved the allocation. Also, while joining hundreds of women who took to the streets in Lagos state to protest against the proposed


construction of the N4 billion African First Ladies Mission, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, whose speech was read by Okei-Odumakin, said, "A mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation - Four Billion naira, no less! - is being attempted in your names openly, in an attempt to institutionalize an illegality through a debasement of the democratic process. It is no longer secretive but in-yourface, and damn public opinion! "Your names (women) have been invoked as the ultimate beneficiaries, and thus, you are vicariously implicated. "In the name of St. Valentine and the love I bear for you all, please dissociate yourselves from this display of shameless avarice. "I shall not go so far as to ask you to denounce what you probably know nothing about, but if you ever get to hear of it, distance yourselves from the gross impropriety." Okei-Odumakin, in a letter

Despite this near universal condemnation, the first lady through her spokes man, Ayo Osinlu, has declared that there was no going back on the project, which she considered as an "all important continental attraction to the country"

to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, said women were scandalised by the culture of waste that had become the hallmark of governance in Nigeria, especially in recent times. She said: "Even in an era where fiscal irresponsibility is the norm, and not the exception, the allocation is an especial egregious insult on Nigerians. "To budget such a huge amount of public funds for a ceremonial office that is not recognized by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a resounding slap on the collective visage of the majority of Nigerians at a time when tens of millions live on less than a dollar per day. "To do so when the majority of Nigerians are the unwilling patients of poverty pandemic deriving from criminally poor leadership is tantamount to spreading salt on an open wound. "The office of the First Lady is not a creation of the constitution. Rather, it is the accursed child of the whim and caprices of our country's insensitive elite. "This culture of unbridled wastage has since been embraced by the spouses of successive heads of government, particularly under the current democratic dispensation. "We fervently hold that a government with an appropriate sense of duty and an eye on posterity would deploy the resources to be wasted on Mrs. Jonathan's flight of fancy on critical infrastructure. "To do otherwise, is to be insensitive and irresponsible." Despite this near universal condemnation, the first lady through her spokes man, Ayo Osinlu, has declared that there was no going back on the project, which she considered as an "all important continental attraction to the country". According to him, aborting the project, "offends the originality African culture of charity to obstruct any effort to promote peace and development such as the decision of all African First Ladies to rise up to the social responsibilities of mothers and wives of leaders on the continent to save the women, children and the aged from the traumatic. He added that, "It will amount to abdication of responsibility by Nigeria and that level of disappointment will be injurious for the leadership status of Nigeria in Africa Should this shameful and ill conceived idea be smuggled in to the budget, the present administration should be ready to answer the tax payers in whatever form the questions will be asked



Court orders 8 more constituencies in Oyo Assembly From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


L-R: Niger state Governor, Dr.Mu'azuBabangidaAliyu, in a warm handshake with Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, during the governor's sympathy visit to the emir yesterday, in Kano.

Boko Haram: Jonathan should reconsider amnesty – Muslim Youths From Ayodele Samuel,Lagos


he National Council of Muslim Youth O r g a n i z a t i o n s (NACOMYO) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to reconsider his position on the request for unconditional amnesty for the Boko Haram sect . NACOMYO yesterday in a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Kamal’ddin Akintunde, also called on President Jonathan to jettison religious and tribal sentiments as well as sectional considerations in the overall interest of peace and progress of the nation. The association has also described the comment credited to Christian From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


en of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Kebbi state command last week displayed gallantry as they intercepted and arrested five men believed to be members of a syndicate who specializes in hoarding kerosene and sale to the members of the public at exorbitant prices in the rural areas of the state. Luck ran out on them as officers of the corps on a tip off burst the gang elements at Ambrusa Village, a surburb of Birnin Kebbi town in a two trucks at the late hours of Friday. Parading the arrested men and their goods before newsmen at the command headquarters in Birnin Kebbi yesterday, the Commandant of the corps, Muhammad Aminu Abubakar explained that the

Association of Nigeria (CAN) and pan Yoruba group, Afenifere on amnesty for the sect as parochial, unpatriotic and uncharitable from peace-loving groups. Commenting on CAN’s stand, the group explained that that Boko Haram’s notorious activities cut across the strata of the society, including religious institutions, press, military formations, financial and economic establishments and therefore saw CAN and Afenifere’s comments as misplaced. It said the Sultan’s call for amnesty for the group was born out of good faith and a genuine concern for the growing insecurity in the country. NACOMYO implored President Jonathan to embrace

the laudable idea of the religious and traditional ruler as a complement to some previously taken initiatives and a demonstration of magnanimity on the part of government. “The need to exercise caution and restraint by the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Afeniere, a pan Yoruba group and other religious and social-political groups in the country and presidency over Sultan Muhammad Abubakar’s call for amnesty for the dreaded sect, Jamahtu Ahlis Sunnah liddaawatil Wal Jihad (BokoHaram) has been stressed. “We therefore urge such group and individuals to eschew all forms of sentiments in the quest for peace in the country. NACOMYO stated that the

sultanate’s comment was in good faith, born out of genuine concern for the growing insecurity in the country. NACOMYO stated that if the initiative had performed the magic in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, why not for the sect, noting that the olive branch would ginger, motivate and spur their colleagues to come out of hiding ”for the restoration of normalcy in the socio, economic and political facets of our dear nation, Nigeria”. “Boko Haram issue seems to have defied possible solution and therefore granting amnesty has been advocated by Sultan is peace driven and restoring. We therefore counsel peace loving Nigerians not to oppose any move that will guarantee lasting and sustainable solution peace in

Kerosine hoarding; 5 men in NSCDC custody

Federal High Court in Ibadan has ordered an additional eight constituencies to the 32 seats of the Oyo State House of Assembly. Making the order on Friday, March 8, 2013, Hon Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo, ordered the restoration of the constituencies and pronounced that elections into them must be held within the next 90 days. The court, in its judgment on the suit filed by the Attorney General of Oyo State against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in suit no FHC/ IB/CS/39/2012 held that by virtue of the mandatory provisions of Sections 91 and 112 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Oyo House of Assembly’s constituencies were inadequate. Counsel to the state government, Babatunde Aiku (SAN) had asked for the restoration of the constituencies. The court held that by those provisions of the constitution, the House was to consist of three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives. According to the judge, by a community reading of the constitution, Oyo House of Assembly, as constituted at present, was not up to three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives which she said was a breach of the provision of the constitution. At present, the Oyo House of Assembly has 32 state constituencies while it has 14 federal constituencies. The learned judge, therefore, restored additional eight constituencies namely Ibadan North 3, Ibarapa South West 3, Ibarapa Central 4, Irepo, Itesiwaju, Oyo East, Saki East and Surulere. The court further ordered INEC to conduct elections into these eight constituencies within 90 days. in the state would do everything possible to stop unscrupulous element in the society in their nefarious trade in order to stem tree-felling for firewood. He added that at the end of their investigation, the men would be charged to court for prosecution.

men were members of a syndicate which buys the commodity from various filling stations across the state at the of N2, 000 per 30 liter jerry can and sell them to the public at the

rate of N4,000 and above making it too expensive for the public . Abubakar added that because of the ungodly activities of these men, kerosene which the

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Jonathan’s incompetent, says senator


enator Babajide Omololare, representing, ACN Osun state, has expressed doubt over the competence of President Goodluck Jonathan to administer Nigeria, accusing the President of being very slow in taking decision. Speaking to journalists yesterday, Babajide said that the President is only reactive to development, and therefore, falls prey to wrong advisers. While pointing out how difficult it was to impeach the President, the Senator observed that the PDP still controls the senate, stating

that it would be difficult to raise the issue as PDP senators would oppose it. He however emphasised that there must be limit to politics, saying that if the President is not performing as seen in the case of President Jonathan, the Senate should play a moderating role aimed at keeping the President on his toes. He however refuted the claims that the senate is a rubber stamp to the executive, saying that the

government supply at cheap rates to the people is now been sold at inflated prices. The commandant noted that, with Kebbi state prone to desert encroachment, the civil defense

upper legislative house still commands authority before the executive, recalling the cases of Abdulrasheed Maina, subsidy crisis, as point in questions. Moreover, he challenged the leadership of the senate to do more, particularly in oversight functions on the executive, through which the impact of democracy could be felt in Nigeria. Speaking further, he observed that the senate has more work to do in areas of constituency projects,

insisting that if the lawmakers have taken decision on what project was desirable by their constituents, it should be executed for maximum benefit. He recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo wasted over $10 billion on power, yet there was no single kilowatts added to the national grid, arguing that if the lawmakers then were alive in their oversight, such fraud would gave been dictated at an early stage and stopped.



Save the Children donates drugs to Kebbi From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


L-R: Son of Slain Kwara Commissioner of Police, Mr. Onyekachi Asadu, IG Mohammed Abubakar, wife of late Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chinwike Asadu, and Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), during a condolence visit to the family of the slain commissioner, yesterday in Enugu. Photo: NAN

No feud among PDP governors, says Bamanga Tukur T

From Edwin Olofu, Kano

he national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has dismissed insinuations that there is no love lost between the Rivers state governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and the Akwa Ibom state governor, Godswill Akpabio over the latter's new status as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors' Forum. Speaking to newsmen at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Tukur said, all was well with the duo, saying there was nothing wrong for his office to create a new forum for the PDP governors, describing the step as part of his reform agenda. "The understanding of the public on the Governor Amaechi and Governor Akpabio issue may be a mistake. Governor Amaechi is the chairman of Nigeria

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


ollowing the intervention of well-meaning individuals including the Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Lagos State Government yesterday re-opened the Ladipo Market with what traders describe as harsh straight conditions. The reopening was announced by the Ministry of the Environment after a tripartite meeting which has in attendance, Mr. Ikechukwu Animalu, President LACEC, Pastor Steve Paul, Secretary of Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers'Association, ChairmanMushin Local Government, Hon Babatunde Adepitan and Commissioner for the Environment-Tunji Bello

Governors'Forum, while Governor Akpabio is the chairman of the PDP Governors' Forum. "They are two different institutions; and this is what people fail to understand. There is no division among the PDP governors. My governors are my foot soldiers. The emergence of the PDP Governors Forum is part of the needed reforms and that is what I have come to do in the PDP-to reconcile the party. "I believe in reconciliation without confrontation; I believe in reconciliation without revenge. My ambition is the rebuilding of the PDP based on equity and justice," Tukur stated. On his endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan's 2015 ambition, Tukur said it was too early to start thinking of who gets what in 2015, "the issue of 2015 is not the agenda now because we have not concluded the agenda for 2013, not to talk of 2014 and then

2015." Tukur who was in Kano to commiserate with the Emir, Alhaji Ado Abdullahi Bayero over the 19 January attack on his convoy, also had a brief meeting with Kano PDP leadership at the airport before boarding his flight back to Abuja. At Bayero's Palace, Tukur thanked God for sparring the life of the Emir and prayed that God to continue to guide and protect the Royal Father. Emir Bayero in his response, urged Nigerians to pray for the return of peace and stability in the country. The Kano state Acting Governor, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Ganduje took time to enumerate the achievements of Dr. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso's administration in Kano ranging from revolution in education, road construction, agriculture and massive human development. According to Ganduje who spoke

at the brief meeting at the Kano airport, it was Kwankwaso's desire to make Kano gain the status of states like Lagos in terms of commerce and socioinfrastructural development. Addressing party men, Tukur acknowledged achievements so far recorded by the PDP government in the state, saying that in the nearest future, Kano would regain its status as the commercial nerve centre of the North and entire country. "I want to salute the Acting Governor and the Governor for the good work they are doing here, because from what I have seen on ground, I really salute you,"Tukur stated. The PDP boss was in Kano in the company of PDP National Legal Adviser, Chief Victor Kwon; PDP Board of Trustees Secretary, Senator Walid Jubrin; former Deputy Senate President, Nasir Ibrahim Mantu; Principal Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Ida; Political Adviser, Ahmed Mohammed Gusau and party chieftain, Salisu Magaji.

Fashola reopens Ladipo market represented by Engr. Muyideen Akinsanya(Permanent Secretary office of Drainage Services) the Lagos State Government. Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello listed some of the conditions for reopening of the market including complete removal of all illegal structures and attached structures built along canal paths and that traders must be confined to the main markets. "Under no condition must they trade or solicit for customers on the main road, they must remove all shop attachments built round the market/canals, remove all derelict and abandoned vehicles parked within the market as far as the

expressway, remediate all forms of degradation on the roads and market area, sort out waste management issues with LAWMA as they cannot continue to dump into the canals, ensure total cleaning of the entire market and adjoining streets which they have degraded, among others," he said. Officials of the State Government and leadership of the market also signed an agreement that the market must be kept clean always and that no street trading would be allowed. Parts of the agreements includesd proper security arrangement in the market acceptable to the Government and which cost shall be borne by the traders. The bond included that Aguiyi

Ironsi International Trade Centre would remain closed until a resolution was reached with Mushin Local Government among others. It would be recalled that the market was shut on the orders of the State government on Monday, February 25, 2013 following the abuse of sanitation laws including indiscriminate dumping of refuse inside drainage channels, engine parts and wares in drainage channels, construction of stalls on drainage alignments, conversion of market roads for trading and blocking access roads with spare parts, derelicts and abandoned vehicles, thereby making the network of roads within the market inaccessible to motorists.

ave the Children organization has donated drugs over 5 million naira to Kebbi State Government due to the outbreak of measles in some communities in the State. During the handing over ceremony of the medical supplies at the premises of Malaria Control Unit in Birnin Kebbi yesterday, the field officer of the organization, Ahmed Saidu said that medical support to Kebbi State came from an assessment conducted in some communities affected by measles outbreak to assist in the management of the disease. ''After an assessment of the situation and we hereby‌ assist with the management of the cases to cater for about one thousand children'' Ahmed said. The organization, according to him, was founded in the UK in 1919 working in more than 120 countries to promote child right to health, education, protection and freedom from hunger and has been in Nigeria since 2001. The Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Sambawa commended the good gesture of the organisation and promised good use of the drugs. He said the State has recorded over 2 ,500 cases of measles in the last two months in 14 local governments as well as emergence of Cerebro - Spinal Meningitis last December.

Senate did not query NSCDC over scam, says Ministry By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Ministry of Interior yesterday denied that the Senate ever queried the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), over recruitment scam. Reacting to Peoples Daily report with a banner headline "Senate queries Civil Defence boss over recruitment scam", the Chief Press Secretary, Taye Akinyemi, said no agency under the ministry was queried, adding that the Senate only wanted a clarification which was given to them by the Minister, Comrade Abba Moro. On issues of recruitment in all the services, Akinyemi said that the minister explained to the Senate that there was no recruitment going on in any of the services and that the scam that earlier rocked the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), was since canceled by the minister. He further said that the minister assured that what ever takes place in the ministry must be in line with Federal Civil Service rules and the directive of Federal Character Commission.


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has announced his intention to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem later this year. He said that he would use the opportunity of the planned visit to the Holy land to engage authorities of the State of Israel on the need for a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between it and Nigeria which, according to Jonathan, would make the annual ritual more worthwhile for Nigerians. Jonathan spoke yesterday while receiving the report of the Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor-led Federal Government delegation to the 2012 Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem, at the State House.


Jonathan set to go on pilgrimage this year Jonathan who frowned at alleged discriminatory tendencies by various state governments on sponsorship of pilgrims promised to look into a recommendation that members of the Federal Government delegation be given a two-year tenure as against the current arrangement where members are appointed every year. According to him, “there is a sense in the suggestion because there will be continuity and memory and such decision will also help me because I won’t keep appointing people every year. “It was for the same reason of continuity and institutional memory that we decided that

the Sultan of Sokoto by virtue of his position be the permanent leader of the government delegation for Muslim pilgrimage while the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria leads that of Christian pilgrimage every year. “Government cannot force state governments to sponsor pilgrims if they do not want to do so. “If they decide to pull out from sponsoring pilgrims, there is nothing we can do about it but if some state governments are sponsoring pilgrims of one religion and leaving out the other, that is against the law. “Nigeria is a secular state and so nobody should be

discriminated against based on religious belief.” Jonathan lauded the National Christian Pilgrims Commission led by Mr. John Okpara for gaining the confidence of the Italian authorities to the extent that the country grants visas to intending-pilgrims through the commission, making it unnecessary for pilgrims to personally appear at the Italian Embassy. “I am pleased to hear that Italian authorities now rely on the commission to issue visa to intending pilgrims. “It is a sign of confidence in the commission led by John Okpara and indeed in the

country,” Jonathan said. Presenting his report earlier, Oritsejafor who is also President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had urged the President to endeavour to go on pilgrimage every year, along with state governors who are Christians so that they have a firsthand knowledge of what pilgrims go through in the holy land. According to Oritsejafor, 16,372 Nigerians took part in the pilgrimage but regretted that some state governments from the northern part of the country did not sponsor any pilgrims for the exercise. He named the affected states to include Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue and Gombe.

NDIC urges Judiciary to protect bank depositors By Sunday Ejike Benjamin he Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has appealed to the Judiciary to assist it in protecting the banking system in order to restore the confidence of depositors. The NDIC Managing Director, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, made the appeal yesterday at a sensitization seminar for judges on, “the challenges to deposit insurance law and practice” in Abuja. According to Ibrahim, the seminar is one of the steps being taken to involve stakeholders towards achieving greater efficiency. To achieve its mandate, Ibrahim emphasized the need to address the menace of liquidationrelated litigations, execution of court judgments, vulnerable funding base, and difficulty in recovering debt owed to failed banks by debtors, poor public awareness and inadequate legal frame work. According to him, “the Nigerian Judiciary, legal practitioners and other esteemed stakeholders have important roles to play in ensuring that the mandate of the NDIC is realized. “As our partners and stakeholders, I urge you to use your good offices an privileged positions to ensure that the corporation is empowered and rightly positioned to discharge its mandate in the interest of the Nigerian banking system as a whole.” The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, in his speech explained that the sensitization seminar was intended to keep the Federal High Court judges abreast of the critical role played by the NDIC in the discharge of its institutional mandate. He said the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over NDIC activities such as the prosecution of directors and officers of banks suspected of committing banking malpractices.


R-L: Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'I, and Minister of State for Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, inspecting locally made science products by Nigerian students, during the 2013 Commonwealth Day Celebration, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Zaki Biam victims, Benue govt disagree over N41.8bn settlement money By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


lans by the Federal and Benue state governments to negotiate the payment of N41.8 billion compensatory damages awarded victims of 2001 Zaki-Biam armed soldiers invasion for the loss of their lives and properties have been rejected by some of the victims. The victims denied the knowledge of the move by the Federal Government to settle them with N8 billion through Benue state government in lieu of the judgment and insisted that government has no briefing or authority to act on their behalf. In a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, the victims expressed displeasure that they were not consulted before the alleged out of court settlement was reached. In the petition dated March 11, 2013, the victims through

their lead counsel Chief Sebastian Hon (SAN) praised the move by the Federal Government to honour the judgment but claimed that no official of Benue State government has authority to negotiate for payment of N8 billion as full and final satisfaction of the judgment sum. It would be recalled that a Federal High Court had six years ago awarded N41.8 billion damages against the Federal government for the loss of lives and properties incurred by the people of Zaki-Biam during the soldiers’ brutal attacks on their communities in 2001. The petition read in part: “Our clients are deeply worried that over two weeks after they wrote to you through our office, there has been no reply from your high office, in spite of the weight of the issues we raised in our first letter on the matter.

“Rather, our clients have continued to read in the media about alleged settlement between the Federal Government and the Benue state government for the judgment debt to be reduced from N41.8 billion to a mere N8 billion”. “More worrisome, is the fact that those media stories started surfacing immediately after we wrote to your office demanding for payment of the entire judgment sum. “The actual and collateral damage done to our clients and millions of other persons who were directly or indirectly affected by the genocide of 2001 cannot even be compensated in monetary terms; hence any insinuation that the sum of N41.8 billion awarded by the Federal High Court is too big an amount is, with respect, not wellgrounded. “As we humbly pleaded with

Your Excellency in our previous correspondence, we hereby reiterate that as the father of the nation, and given the enormous psychological and real damage caused the TIV people by the rampaging soldiers in 2001, it is just fair, just and reasonable that this entire judgment sum be paid to our clients through our office and to other judgment creditors, to avoid a feeling among the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria, the TIV nation, of deliberate government alienation. “The blood of the victims of the Zaki Biam genocide, both living and dead, is crying for justice, more than twelve years after the genocide; and more than six years after the Federal High Court awarded compensatory damages to the hapless victims of that infamy.”



L-R: Chairman, Presidential Team on South East Ecological Project, Chief Emeka Eze, Anambra state Governor, Mr Peter Obi, representative of Federal Ministry of Land , Housing and Urban Development, Engineer Esther Okougha, Director, Ecological Fund Office, Jude Mekwunye, and others, during the inspection of Ecological projects of South East, recently in Onisha, Anambra state.

L-R: Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, Chairman of NDIC, Ambassador Hassan Adamu during the NDIC annual seminar for judges, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Main gate of Federal High Court in Ibadan closed due to strike by Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria, yesterday.

L-R: Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Osita Chidoka, former Head of Service, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, and Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Jonas Agwu, during the former Head of Civil Service visit to commemorate with FRSC on United Nations decade of action on road safety, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Photo: NAN


L-R: U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Terrence McCulley, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, OPIC Executive Vice-President, Mimi Alemayehou, and Nigeria's Ambassador to U.S., Professor Ade Adefuye, during the visit of U.S. Corporate Council on Africa Infrastructure Trade Mission to the minister, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: NAN



Man bags 9 months for stealing BB phones


n Oshodi Magistrates’ Court in Lagos yesterday sentenced a 20-year-old unemployed man, Azeez Adams, to nine months imprisonment for stealing two Blackberry phones. The Magistrate, Mr Akeem Fashola, sentenced Adams after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and stealing. Adams, of no fixed address, blamed his action on the devil and pleaded for leniency. The magistrate gave him an option of paying a fine of N60,000. Earlier, the prosecutor, Cpl. Kehinde Olatunde, had told the court that the accused and others at large committed the offence on March 5, at 9.30p.m., at Oshodi. He said that the accused and others conspired to steal a N64,000 Blackberry Touch phone belonging to one Miss Oloruntimilehin Olayinka, and a N25,000 Blackberry Bold phone, property of one Mr Emmanuel Adebiyi “Olayinka and Adebiyi were receiving calls at the bus stop when the accused snatched their phones and crossed to the other side of the road. “The accused was pursued and when he discovered this, he quickly passed the two phones to his colleagues, who escaped with them, while he was arrested,’’ the prosecutor said. According to him, all efforts to recover the phones have proved abortive.(NAN)

L-R: Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr. John Kennedy, Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo,President Goodluck Jonathan, National President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Primate of all Nigeria/Bishop of Abuja Diocese, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe, after the presentation of the 2012 Christian Pilgrimage to the State of Israel and Rome report of the Federal Government delegation, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Bauchi bans corporal punishment in schools From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi State government has banned all forms of capital punishments on students of secondary schools in the state. The state commissioner of Education Alhaji Aminu Ibrahim disclosed this while addressing principals of secondary at the ministry of education conference hall Bauchi

yesterday, saying the state government would not tolerate any form of corporal punishment on its students across the state. According to him, henceforth punishment in schools should be such that would add value to the school, including as clearing of waste, weeding of grasses, drainage clearing, sweeping and other related punishment. He said “any student found wanting should be suspended and

should only reinstated through the ministry of education for any disciplinary action or word of warning”. Aminu also charged principals to properly monitor students against sharp practices such as examination malpractice during examination and any other academic engagement. He appealed to the principals to be vigilant and ensure that all visitors and strange- looking people

Jonathan’s visit to Borno,Yobe worsened Boko Haram crisis - ACN From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


ction Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said President Goodluck Jonathan’s tactless show during his belated visit to Borno and Yobe States last week has worsened the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed and maimed hundreds of innocent people, especially in the two states. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also said while the decision to grant amnesty to any person or group was the prerogative of the government, the argument advanced by the President for denying amnesty to Boko Haram members was as illogical as it is puerile. It said, for a President who has unwisely stayed away from the beleaguered part of the country for too long, last week’s visit only succeeded in inflicting additional pain and insults on the victims of the insurgency, who could have used a little dose of

succour and empathy from their leader. ‘’There is no doubt that there has been an upsurge in attacks and killings since the President’s visit, with the clashes between the JTF and the insurgents leaving many dead, drive-by shooting in Kano claiming the

lives of innocent people and the unfortunate killing of foreign hostages who were abducted last month in Bauchi. ‘’If this upsurge can be used as a barometer to measure the success or otherwise of the President’s visit, then one can only reach one conclusion: The

visit is a total failure!’’ ACN said The party also expressed shock at the way the President openly displaying anger when what was needed was temperance, talked down on the people, who have suffered so much in the hands of Boko Haram, at his town hall meetings.

programmes would commence in this year’s academic calendar. According to the VC, the programmes were to have started since the inception of the University but for the inadequacy of competent staff adding that the new courses include economics, political science, environmental science and computer science respectively. On accommodation, Professor Amin said the Federal

Government recently awarded contract worth N2 billion for the construction of administration blocks, ICT building, University Library and two faculty buildings which will be completed before the end of this year. He stressed that they are on the process of establishing the University farm to be used by the students and “also acquired 20 houses from Jigawa state government and converted them into a temporary accommodation for our staff”.

Dutse varsity has inadequate PhD lecturers, laments VC

From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Dutse, Professor Jibrilla Dahiru Amin said inadequate PHD holders to man key responsibilities are hampering the learning progress of the institution. The Vice Chancellor who addressed journalists on the two year anniversary of the institution yesterday in his office, disclosed that new

are appropriately checked before allowing them into school premises. The Commissioner of education however reiterated the commitment of the ministry towards proper supervision through the zonal directors to monitor activities of all secondary schools in the state to ensure effective leaning and character in the schools.

Kogi pupils to receive free bags, writing materials From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


upils in over 2000 public primary schools in Kogi state are to receive school bags and other writing materials free of charge from the state government. Kogi state Governor, Captain Idris Wada disclosed this yesterday at the flag-off ceremony for the distribution of text books and writing materials to primary school pupils at the State Stadium in Lokoja. The governor noted that the gesture was the state’s contribution to basic education adding that that the stage was set for a revolutionary turn around in the Basic Education sector. Governor Wada said that his administration has paid a counterpart contribution of N872 million to enable the state access infrastructural fund from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBE), Abuja. He stressed that 278 classrooms have been renovated while construction work on 733 classroom blocks and 1002 classroom blocks have reached an advanced stage.



Abide by fed character principles, Kuta tells leaders From Iliya Garba, Minna


L-R: Acting Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mr. Emmanuel Amlai, Deputy Director, Legal of CPC, Mr. Emmanuel Ataguba, and Deputy Director, Public Relations, Mr. Abiodum Obimuyiwa, during a press conference on 2013 Consumer Protection Day, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kano is more secure than Abia, says Faruq Lawan From Olanwareju Lawal, Ilorin


member of House of Representative, Hon. Faruq Lawal has noted that security in Kano state is more guarantee than in Abia state where it is unpredictable. Lawal who stated this in Ilorin in an interview with journalists after the 50th birthday celebration of a member of the House in Ilorin said the Kano situation was exaggerated and that the city with about eleven million people was not a dangerous place to live. "If anybody says he cannot go to Kano because of insecurity, that person is being mischievous. There are millions of people in Kano who are doing their businesses without

any problem of insecurity. Yes, here and there you get some pockets of insecurity, but come to think of it, Kano has a population of about 11 million people and if in a month you hear of single attack, it doesn’t mean that wherever you go to in Kano is insecure. "We are not in a war situation, the level of threat in Kano is over exaggerated and I believe that is equally one way of solving the problem. "We must consciously have this confidence that the crisis of insecurity not only in Kano but other state of the federation is something that can be solved. The reality is that I feel safer in Kano state than in Abia state, because if I go to Abia with my state recognition I can easily be

NLC denies embarking on strike over 1% deduction From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Bauchi state Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has denied any strike action over the one percent deduction from workers' salaries to fund the agency for Orphans and Venerable Children in the state. The state NLC Chairman, Comrade Hasimu Gital who disclosed this at the weekend during an interview with newsmen in his office in Bauchi said, “the ultimatum labour gave to the state government over the one percent deductions from workers salaries did not have effect because labour is trying to convince the government through dialogue to revert the deductions as labour law

states that when an ultimatum is given and there is dialogue over that a pending issue, the ultimatum must be set aside until the matter is amicably resolved or there is a deadlock on that issue and as am talking to you now, we are still holding talks with the government to resolve the problem at hand”. The NLC chairman disassociated labour from the allegation made by some civil servants in the state that it would sell out to the state government over the issue, saying,“labour is not kicking against the establishment of the agency for orphans and vulnerable Children. What labour is against is that nobody should be forced to contribute to charity. Contributions to charity should be made voluntary”.

kidnapped. So we need to try to downplay the issue." He suggested that government need to lead the way in providing long term solution to the problem by empowering the people. "This can be done by creating jobs and reducing poverty especially among the youth to the barest minimum. Where you have the very large population of people who are poorly educated, who have no hope in future, then you are breeding the ground for insecurity and that can happen anywhere in the world." On the alleged Northern control of majority of the oil blocs in Nigeria, Lawal said there are other statements that conflict the position of Senator Eta Enang.

"His statement is not backed by empirical data. I have also seen the statement by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) that said the senator’s disclosure should be properly investigated. "Without necessarily taking on Senator Ita Enang, my first impression is that it is purely cheap political statement. Of course, ACF had demanded a probe into that. We may never know the truth until a proper analysis. Senator Enang needs to back his analysis with data to prove what he is saying is right. We are living in an age where somebody cannot just wake up to make a statement that is so potent and so important especially sources of oil resources in this country".

hairman, Senate Committee on Federal Character Commission, Sen. Dahiru Awaisu Kuta has observed that if leaders will abide with the existing principles of federal character as enshrined in the constitution, all Nigerians will enjoy a sense of belonging for continuous peaceful co-existence and progress. Sen. Kuta who made the assertion in an interactive session with journalists at the weekend in Minna, the Niger state capital noted that section 143 and 144 of 1999 constitution as amended have dealt so much on the Federal Character Principles that has not been implemented. He said, the senate has passed a resolution arising from so many complaints from the public on preferential treatment as well as irregularities in employment in our federal establishments apart from the allegation that the highest bidder gets the vacant job. According to him, the senate committee on federal character and labour have been given the mandate to investigate complain from the general public as well as ascertain whether the over 300 federal establishments in the country abide by the principles in terms of employment or recruitment in the last two years. Kuta lamented that since the commencement of public hearing on the issues, nobody has given evidence of alleged demand for money before being employed into the civil service. Kuta said, the essence of the investigation panel is to ensure that when jobs are spread or when people are being employed so as to ensure that all states of the federation are taken care of in the exercise without insisting that applicants have to know somebody before they get jobs.

Attah Igala calls for peace, urges Boko Haram to drop arms From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he newly coronated Attah Igala, His Eminence, Idakwo Ame Oboni has stated that peace is the necessary condition for attracting development in the Kingdom, State and the country at large. Oboni who went through all the traditional rites on Sunday at Idah to commence his traditional leadership of the Igala nation stressed that for peace to have full meaning through the length and breath of the country, the Boko Haram sect should embrace peace. Attah Igala noted that with partial paralysis of some parts of the northern part of the country

through the activities of the sect, most families who eke their living in the north have been forced to relocate to other areas reducing the economic potentials of the north. "Peace is the first condition for development in the country and is the catalyst, without which all the struggle to join the world economic race, will be in vain", he said and called on all Igala sons and daugthers at home and in diaspora to live examplary lives to representing the philosophy and aspirations of the fathers of the land which is honesty and transparency. Performing the traditional rites which included choosing where he would be buried when he dies,

amidst unprecedented crowd which thronged Idah Erane, to witness the tradition, the Attah said that time had come for Nigeria to assume its rightful position as leader of the black nations by exhibiting right attitude towards development. Sunday’s occasion climaxed the initiation rites to Attah’s palace which commenced on Wednesday March 6th, at Ugwolawo with traditionally staying a night, trekking from Ogwolawo to Idah, staying two nights at Achadu palace, March 7th and 8th, moving to Ojaina on the 9th where the late Attahs were buried and on the 10th choosing a place to be buried when he dies at Idah.



Ideas that help you stay firm on your budget Y

ou know the bit when you set up a budget. You write down how much income you have and then you decide how it gets split up. You can use various techniques like a zero based budget, an envelope system, or you go through each budget item step by step, tweaking your projected expenses to make them fit your income. At the end of this exercise you know how much of your income is spent on necessary expenses like housing and transportation, how much is spent on less necessary expenses like entertainment and travelling, and how much you plan to put into savings. It may seem like this is an involved process, but deciding how to spend the money is really the easy part. It does take some time to split up your income so that you have a realistic budget, but a budget tells you only how you think you should spend your money. It does not tell you how you are actually spending your money. The hard part comes after you have set up your budget. When you have decided how you should spend your money, you must make sure that you actually spend your money according to your plans. How do

Biz Tip: Know what you do. Do what you know


on't start a business simply because it seems sexy or boasts large hypothetical profit margins and returns. Do what you love. Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It's not only important to create a profitable business, it's also important that you're happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn't in it, you will not be successful.

Quote The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. — Dennis Waitley

you do that? Here are some ideas to help you stick to your budget: Write down your everyday expenditure: Personally, I think this is the hardest part of all. Why? It's best if you write down everyday expenses then you know what you really spend it on. It is not good if too many expenses end up in the category "different" or "sundry". So you have to be diligent, and really account for every kobo to make this work. If you are married, you also need a spouse who writes down every kobo spent. In other words, you need discipline to really keep track of your spending. Confirm during the month to see how you are doing Make sure that you have enough money to spend in each category and overall to last you for the month. Cut back if you are spending your money too quickly and you might relax a little if you are starting out a little too tight with your money. Compute up your expenses At the end of the month, add up your expenses, compare your expenses with your budget in each category, and compare your overall spending with your income and savings plans. This may sound complicated, but it

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance minister, whose office prepares Nigeria's annual budgets just takes a bit of time to sit down and check out the results of your hard work over the last month. Make adjustments When you know how you actually spend your money, you can then decide whether you need to change your budget so

that your plans match your actual spending better. Of course, you can also decide that you have to adjust your spending so that your expenses fit your plans. After doing all these, you will have some valuable information that helps

you plan your expenses better. You know how you actually spend your money. Finally, be aware that you only gain that knowledge if you do the hard part of living by a budget, that is, if you record your expenses kobo for kobo.

Do you have unclaimed insurance benefit? Meet your insurer


ust like there are unclaimed dividends in stock market, there are also unclaimed benefits in insurance. So, while the unclaimed dividends are swelling in the coffers of quoted companies, unclaimed benefits are also swelling in the coffers of life

insurance companies. Unclaimed benefits are those benefits due to policyholders, but have not been claimed. For many beneficiaries, unclaimed life insurance policies are difficult to find. As such, many insurance benefits often go unclaimed. Many

people have no idea that they are even a beneficiary or that a life insurance policy even exists. And it's not likely that an insurance company will begin to look for you to come and make claims or get your benefit, expect for few companies. This is what AIICO Insurance plc is doing, trying to reach out to beneficiaries of unclaimed benefits in her book, a rare attitude that industry watchers are commending. There are number of reasons for unclaimed insurance benefits. One reason is that the policyholder who took out the policy may have kept it a secret to his or her family/beneficiaries while alive before death knocked. In this case, the supposed beneficiaries are not aware of the insurance policy of

the late relation and so would not present any claim to the insurance company. In this instance, the unclaimed benefit gets lost with the insurance company expect if the insurance company decides to trace the policyholder's beneficiaries after some time. This development, David Sobanjo, group managing director, AIICO Insurance says makes AIICO a market leader and pacesetter in the nation's life insurance industry. Another reason is a situation whereby the policyholder overgrows the expected benefit or amount called sum assured at the point of maturity, and so may not have the time to meet the insurance company to claim the benefit. This is more common with politicians and top business executives. The third reason is when the policyholder dies before maturity date of the policy without nominating a beneficiary. Like one man said, "I did not allow my wife to know my insurance worth because she could put all her mind there even when I am still walking about. And like some women will do, they can afford to kill the man to make claims on his life policy."





Hugo Chavez (1954-2013)

ast Tuesday, Hugo Chavez, the President of the Republic of Venezuela gave in to the cold hands of death after more than a year of fighting cancer. The charismatic former Venezuelan leader who brought global attention to his country of about 25 million people was enigmatic in many respects. He came from a humble background; his parents were public school teachers. He enrolled in the military and was known to be engaged in discussions about politics and ideology and was particularly fascinated by the history of Simon Bolivar, the Venezuela-born 19th century South American ideologue and freedom fighter. His early exposure to radical literatures including materials on the Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, generated passionate political consciousness even while in the army. As was with Nasser of Egypt, who formed the Free Officers Association, Chavez founded the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement. In 1992, following nationwide protests that greeted the harsh austerity measures introduced by President Carlos Andrez Perez, Hugo Chavez and his movement launched a military putsch in February of that year, which was unsuccessful. Chavez was held incommunicado, but nine months later, his colleagues launched another coup d' etat, during which they seized a television station where they aired Chavez's taped speech. The coup was put down, but the Chavez testament forced the hand of the authorities to put him on trial. He was convicted and

sentenced to two years imprisonment. In 1994, he came out of prison and formed a political party, "Movement of the 5th Republic". Under its platform, he contested the 1998 presidential election and won a landslide victory. On taking office that year, he immediately began to introduce radical social and political reforms, starting by renaming his country after the South American independence hero, Simon Bolivar. The official name of the country became

In sharp contrast, Nigeria's oil blocks are toys our leaders give to girlfriends and political hangers-on, while the majority of Nigerians wallow in misery

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. With the social reforms in top gear, he made to seize control of the country's national monopoly, the PDVSA. There he met stiff opposition by the Venezuelan establishment and in the confrontation that followed in 2002, the opposition launched a coup backed by the United States' Bush administration. President Chavez was abducted to an unknown place for two days and following massive popular protests, he was restored to power. On his return, he took control of the country's oil company and used the oil

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revenues to finance his package of social reforms which included affordable and accessible housing, health care facilities and education that benefitted previously marginalised Venezuelans. Along with the radical domestic social reforms, Chavez called for South American unity to resist the United States' hegemony in the region. His clarion call resonated throughout the region, resulting in the election of social reformist and revolutionary governments there. From Brazil to Argentina, Uruguay to Paraguay, Bolivia to Ecuador, Chavez's cry for regional unity and solidarity of all marginalised peoples of the world re-echoed loudly. At his death last week, the spontaneous outpouring of emotions in Venezuela and across the region was really moving. Herein lies a lesson in leadership for our country whose leaders are completely out of touch with the poor masses of the population. Ours is a leadership that would rather slavishly serve foreign interests than those of the nation. Food for thought, for them, is why Chavez was so loved. He used Venezuela's Godgiven wealth for the good of his people. In sharp contrast, Nigeria's oil blocks are toys our leaders give to girlfriends and political hangers-on, while the majority of Nigerians wallow in misery. Chavez had shown that it is possible to use the wealth of the people to meet their basic needs and that is why Venezuelans are mourning their departed leader. We commiserate with them in this their moment of sorrow.









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Man-to-man about woman: Lessons from Awo By Omozuwa Gabriel Osamwonyi


ne of Nigeria’s all time political philosophers and strategists, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was born on March 6, 1909. He would have enjoyed the spotlight that day last week, if we had a national culture of celebrating the life and times of heroes of hope. Efforts should be made to ensure that men and women who selflessly laboured to leave befitting legacies for posterity remain evergreen in public consciousness. This is absolutely important against the backdrop of a manifest generational value shift. Altruistic values are now disdained. Materialism is nibbling our national soul. Hence, there is a new but debased service culture, which places self at the centre; others at the margin, in the shadows. Public service is now a gravy train. Does service to the nation mean anything to Nigerians? Leaders behave very badly these days.Globally, there is a gross lack of living legends and models worthy of emulation. Therefore, we need to excavate history and showcase the best of every era. Otherwise, we will soon forget the meaning of leadership and entrust our destiny to rudderless moral dropouts. Our efforts to build a valuebased, corruption-free society will record significant milestones, when slagging atrophic leadership is no more

our sole preoccupation, but dominating popular imagination with images of our past heroes who laboured sacrificially for a prosperous Nigeria. This will not only popularise their lofty qualities, it will enable many to ingrain them as well. If you are like me, you would have started asking some of these questions.Why did Chief Awolowo live and die a happy man? Why did he splendidly succeed in his private and public life? Why are his legacies still celebrated? One answer suffices. We will examine it soon. The sincere encomiums distinguished leaders showered on Awo in my view are apt summaries of his political greatness. Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, remarked at his death: “That he is the best president Nigeria never had.” In the same vein, General Yakubu Gowon noted “He had true presidential qualities. The services he rendered to Nigeria were second to none. Chief Awolowo was dedicated, disciplined and serene. In the single-mindedness of his devotion to the business of government and his political career, he was resolute and almost stern. He was indeed a charismatic leader who commanded great respect among followers.” Awo was a strategic leader of leaders, a man’s man. Yet he was a great husband and father. His life speaks to today’s man on how to achieve wholeness and

succeed in all facets of life. His historic eulogy of his wife, the admirable Chief Mrs. Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo reveals the secret of his private success. At his 70th birthday celebration on March 6, 1979, he joyfully described his wife as “a jewel of inestimable value.” This expression did not stem from puppy love. At this time, they had spent forty-two years together as married couple. Yet, there was a youthful exuberance about his adoration for his wife. That’s a true quality of love: exuberant admiration and genuine reverence. Awo embodied many truisms. Highlighting his relational skills will help men. Particularly those who think that building life-enriching relationship with the lady they love is like a corkscrew that can't be straightened. Those who say things like: “Spousal relationship is a minus that won't add up. There is nothing to anything. Love is buried in the graveyard of idyllic past. It’s a delusive fantasy, futile to pursue. It is better to be alone.” Yet their self-image is best described by the odd half of a scissors. Their hearts ache with longing for the lady that will complete and complement them for life. Admit it. Being alone is tough. The life of a lonesome guy is like a tragic tale. So is that of the unhappily married. So let’s extrapolate some truths from Awo’s love life, so that we can build rock-solid

homes, which are the true foundation of a great nation. Like Awo, don't put a price-tag on your lady. She is priceless. Don’t come to her thinking, everything is for sale. Everyone has a price. That’s contrary to the wisdom of Awo. Even though in his days, it was fashionable to see women like expendable possessions, he never did. And it paid off hugely. Just imagine what a tragedy his life would have been if he was tempted to see his wife in the light of the dictum: “Women are like clothes in the market place they go to the highest bidders” Awo’s wisdom says give her attention, and then give her things. Have you ever wondered why he had the courage to marry even in the face of an impending bankruptcy? He knows the affection a royal and loyal lady can’t be bought. He knew there is more to lasting romance than finance. Your lady needs you, not your things. She won’t give you her affection, simply because, you always give her nice things. But she will if you fondly give her attention. The lady with the deportment of a queen like Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D. Awolowo knows what counts forever. She values intangibles more than perishable things. She will never barter affection with things. Not all ladies will swap total wellbeing with material comfort. So be there for her. Listen to her. Talking is to ladies what

football is to guys. Ladies in the main are “phatic communicators.” So, when she is talking pause, ponder, then you will perceive the unsaid. Accept this as a rule: What is unsaid is more important than what is said. Awo prioritised touching hearts over touching bodies. This is difficult to say in today’s world of sex is everything. But then, the lady with the bearing of a queen does not consider your head fit for a crown, if you seek to touch her body before touching her heart. Touching her heart requires work. Yes, Intelligent lifelong work. Awo did not objectify his wife. It will profit you to keep in mind that your lady is not a plaything. Treat her like an embodiment of grace deserving tenderness and respect, not like a shop-worn toy. The objectification of loved ones is a TABOO. It is the bugbear of many failed, failing relationships. Learn from Awo fidelity pays. Don’t break her heart. Break her barriers. The heart of a truly beautiful lady is not cocoon in steel. The seat of her emotion is as soft as eggshell. Handle it delicately. Like Awo, publicly celebrate the virtues of your lady. Back your words with deeds. Don’t say it is not African to publicly compliment your wife. We are not more African than Awo. Omozuwa G. Osamwonyi is on

Nigeria: Elections, electronic tech and Kenya lessons By Tunji Ariyomo


s Kenyans awaited the result of their presidential election, the potential impact of the reported glitches that characterized the country’s use of electronic technology on the credibility of the electoral process is a subject that should interest Nigerians and other Africans desirous of getting over the continent’s famous electionrelated violence and the resultant loss of lives and political instability. Kenyan “election officials had said the new electronic voting system broke down, snarling the process and forcing the tallying to be done manually,” (Nima Elbagir, CNN, 7th March 2013). While electronic voting is different from electronic registration, my aim in this article is to share with the reader my past thoughts on getting election-related technology use right and the critical opportunity missed by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 2010/2011. These suggestions based on the Nigerian scenario will mitigate the impacts of glitches and breakdowns, help counter sabotage, prevent electoral heist (rigging) and make election violence unappealing while the principles advocated will apply in equal measure to Kenya or any other African country desirous of deploying technology in a manner that can effectively

impact and strengthen democracy. I reproduce my previous article on the subject below: At over N89 billion, Nigeria’s voter registration exercise is sure to be one of the most expensive single information technology projects in recent time. As I argued before, at the start of the whole debate about the processes adopted, recent events and news emanating from INEC, the Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission about electronic register versus manual register only confirms one thing – our fears were genuine and justified. What we had in mind is turning out to be very different from what INEC had in mind. Technology may end up playing a rather marginal role in the success of the forthcoming elections whereas our expectation was built around it as the major deal – as the transformational elixir required to get identity verification right for the voting age and permanently ensure only real living people can vote and that only one genuine vote can come from one genuine person for one particular candidate seeking one particular post. At the onset, I suggested that the basic ingredients that would make such an application of technology a huge success in a place like Africa were not being put in place while no attempt was being made to institutionalize the registration programme in such a way that it

would become a system driven process rather than being people driven as well as ultimately ensuring that the huge billions to be sacrificed for the purpose served as sacrifice ‘once for all time’ in our quest for proper identity or record management thus permanently ensuring that agencies of government that are in the perpetual habit of asking for billions of naira for records’ automation and identity card data acquisition can simply be told to ‘go liaise with INEC’! Essentially, the core of my position was that INEC as a body needed to adopt a “technology use” policy that would make it impossible for even the worst of saboteurs to undermine the process – a policy that would stipulate the objective and the checklists of dos and don’ts that would get us to this objective plus the systemic controls that would ensure the processes are self

governing, thoroughly fair, beyond manipulation from within or outside and that the data’s integrity is sacrosanct. To achieve this, I suggested the development of a Biometric Registration Policy Instrument as the starting point. This is essentially a one to two page document containing codes of conduct. We can call it our Rules of Engagement for the application of technology in attaining a credible election. The mood of the nation favoured INEC leading such a charge at the time because everything being asked by Prof. Attahiru Jega from the relevant to the out-rightly extraneous was being approved by the National Assembly. Given the fact that NITDA, the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency which should have

INEC as a body needed to adopt a “technology use” policy that would make it impossible for even the worst of saboteurs to undermine the process – a policy that would stipulate the objective and the checklists of dos and don’ts that would get us to this objective plus the systemic controls that would ensure the processes are self governing

provided such a policy cover was for all practical purposes asleep and seeing that the momentum clearly favoured an INEC-led initiative towards getting it right, it was my considered opinion that we could apply technology onceand-for-all time to solve our recurring electoral challenges. What type of systemdriven process? I was privileged to deliver a technical paper at the Annual AGM of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers in October 2010 where I stated amongst other things that one way of getting it right in Nigeria is the evolution of “a system driven institutionalized approach to promoting efficient development.” I went on to argue that it would promote sustainability and help to “escape corruption-induced pitfalls on the path of development.” My position was informed by the fact that human beings are generally inclined to take advantage of systems. White, black, yellow or coloured – human beings are the same. What would therefore make the difference is if the system’s environment permits subtle manipulation or if it is the type that offers a cast iron protection that could be breeched only at an individual’s peril – and whether the rules of engagement equitably apply to everyone with equal consequences. To be continued



By SOC Okenwa


n Nigeria (my beloved country) the Generals, living and dead, are still calling the shots by imposing their surrogates to hold the nation hostage. What fuels their staying power, their gripping influence on the national polity is their ability to manipulate elections, mind-boggling corruption, impunity and mediocrity. Nigeria without Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdulsalami Abubakar (with Gen. Sani Abacha gone) would have been a nation keeping a date with her destined greatness! But come 2015 an Hugo Chavez may come visiting the landscape with good tidings! Hugo Chavez was not only charismatic but intrepid; in chosing to work for the people he was loved and loathed. But love him or hate him you could not ignore his charm, his populist rethorics and his rabble-rousing diatribes against the West and their neo-colonialism and capitalism. The West were forced to pay attention to his management of power with the sole objective of serving his nation and his people. With oil wealth to flaunt Chavez commanded

Chavez: Dominus Vobiscum! (II) have liked attention President globally -Barack Obama helping those in (even openly need and Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text canvassing for providing his re-election succour to those messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written recently during in distress even contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 the presidential beyond his words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and poll in the US national a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed late last year). frontier. That is to: The major factor what leadership that worked for entails, a Chavez during leadership The Editor, his presidency without empty Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, was that he was grandstanding 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. prepared for and Email: power and when megalomania. SMS: 07037756364 he got it he did A his best to leave conspiratorial an immortal dimension to legacy behind. We shall all miss American diplomats had been the Chavez demise was however him! expelled for 'subversive added by his annointed At a summit in 2007 in Lima activities'. successor, former bus driver, Peru the Spanish King openly The late Comrade Hugo Nicholas Maduro who alleged rebuked the 'garrulous' Chavez Chavez was a highly that scientific autopsic evidence asking angrily: "Can't you shut up controversial figure who spoke of the cause of death would and keep quiet?" Diplomatic his mind in whatever expose America's involvement! circumstance sometimes without relations between Spain and Of course the US dismissed the Venezuala had been very any diplomatic niceties. In New claim as "absurd". The United controversial during the Chavez York during one of the UN's States has had a tumultuous years. In 2002 when a coup d'etat General Assembly meetings he diplomatic relation with was executed against Chavez the had labelled the former US Venezuela under Chavez. And then Spanish Prime Minister had hours after announcing Chavez's President George W. Bush as a congratulated and recognised the "devil". Though he seemed to death Maduro declared that two


coupists before it was put down by Chavez's loyalists. The 'terrorists' involved in seperatist movements against the Spanish state were said to be exiled in large numbers in Caracas -- aided and abetted by Chavez. The truth remained that the Spanish King must have been irked by the rising international profile of Chavez coupled with his camaraderie with the exiled Spanish seperatists. What he said might not have been undiplomatic or vulgar enough to warrant such open reprimand but Chavez maintained his radical revolutionary self refusing to be intimidated or cowed by an old Monarch reputed for his longevity, reverence and reticence. Adios Hugo Chavez, Dominus Vobiscum! (Goodbye Chavez, God be with you!) In this prevailing national melancholic mood we -black and white, young and old, male and female -- we are all Chavez! Viva Frater!! Concluded Okenwa can be reached via soco_abj_2006_r

Akoji, truth and Nigerian Law School By Ope Owotumi


uring the Occupy Nigeria period, Nigerians the world over were overwhelmed by a feeling of oneness and camaraderie never before seen in recent time nor replicated afterwards (until the Nation's triumph at the last Cup of Nations). Nigerians looked out for each other, defended each other, supported themselves and most pertinent to this piece, educated each other. New twitter handles were launched, old handles shot into top gear and online news portals experienced an unprecedented wave of visitor traffic. People like Omojuwa, WilDeji, Elrufai and GED (to name a few) became household names or more popular for two things- the direction of the nation's masses in the struggle for an affordable life and the education of the world as to the ramifications and implications of the struggle These were the unorganised media. The organised media were not left out. While outfits like Radio Nigeria and NTA showed the sad effect of state ownership on the quality of reportage and journalism, private sector-run news agencies were aglow with blow by blow articles, editorials and many a opinion about the dangerous tilt of the government's policies. The non-print pressmen also joined the fray. Some nascent news websites got popular while some websites that merely achieved more than gossip in the past now had a sense of direction and could broaden their reach. But when verified, dependable information was sought, it was websites that the majority visited. Since then, Sahara Reporters has been the yardstick for accuracy and unbiased-yet-tough analysis and reportage to many and it didn't

matter that Occupy Nigeria was over or that there were no tangible reasons to take to the streets in protest. When you needed to unearth scandal and governmental irresponsibility or just seek out news in general, you visited despite their diaspora situation Just as the spell of rebellion lost its power on the prodigal son in scripture, the spell of deceit and false positives cast on us by the seemingly effective press has lost its power. The scales are off our eyes and all our illusions as to their proficiency are dissolved On Wednesday, the 6th of March 2013, our attention was drawn to a poorly written, badly investigated and presumptuous article by one Soni Akoji on the Sahara reporters website (see article here- YcO8X8). An easy way to tell a false story is to insert enough truth in it to make it believable and to make the falsehoods in it negligible. But to every reasonable man under the sun, no falsehood is negligible for we owe it as a duty to be unbiased, objective and unendingly committed to truth Soni Akoji starts his narrative by the finger-pointing and namecalling characteristic of an article with little substance and a lot of sentiment. The reference to Franc Utoo (which Soni Akoji ignorantly spells as Frank Urthur) as "a close confidant of Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue state" is a prime example of such shallow and abysmal finger-pointing and partial reportage. For the avoidance of doubt, Franc is a career politician whose repertoire includes the Student Union Leadership of the Benue State University, the Student wing leadership of Benue State under Governor George Akume, the leadership of the Transparency International Club in the Newcastle University

and most recently, the Chair of the Students' Representative Council at the Headquarters of the Nigerian Law School. As such, he is known to many political leaders of our time in varying degrees and the reference to Governor Suswam as his confidant is an unnecessary diversion meant to drag the name of the good Governor into the mud of a crisis that he knew nothing about nor had anything to do with. More so as Franc Utoo is not a cardcarrying member of any Nigerian political party. We are not surprised however that Sunny Akoji would stoop so low as to fight dirty. We expect such tactics from the fledgling Politician-Pharmacis t from Benue State who has always been intimidated by the political prowess and achievements of Franc Utoo who he deems a rival to his present and future ambitions. We expect such tactics from the amateur writer who cannot accurately analyse without whipping up sentiment. We expect such tactics from a man who, having not been taught the pillars of Natural Justice would not understand the need to hear the other side before ranting in judgement. And may we add that during the Occupy Nigeria protests, the said Franc Utoo led the largest demonstration in Benue state over the course of three days against his "confidant" Indeed, Franc Utoo announced the sum of N500,000 TO BE SHARED. He never announced that as the TOTAL SUM. Before the First Lady doled out the said sum, Mr. Franc had already intimated her of plans to celebrate the Law School's Golden Jubilee Anniversary in grand style, to which the First Lady graciously pledged to support. When she eventually gave out the money, she delivered it with

two intents- to fulfil her pledge and to generously gift the cheering students at the Hostel. As President with the discretion to allot and appropriate, Mr. Franc Utoo separated N500,000 for the Golden Jubilee and the balance for sharing to the students. It is worthy of note that at least six other Student Parliamentarians (including the Secretary-General, the Director of Socials, the Public Relations Officer1 and the Provost Marshall) were present at the scene that day but the Chairman in an unprecedented show of transparency appointed four unknown students from the crowd of students present to count the money and share to the students. No leader attempting to embezzle would have done this It was Aristotle who said that "To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." Indeed, no leader however efficient, can avoid dissent whether in the form of criticism or rancorous uproar. Indeed, students in the heat of passion demanded the impeachment of the Chairman and threatened their representatives with recall if such a resolution wasn't met. In a bid to satisfy the demands of the said students while remaining committed to fairness, the Students' Representative Council passed a vote of no confidence on the Chairman that night and asked the Chairman to step asidea decision that was announced to a rowdy session of students the next morning. However, a vote of confidence was eventually passed by the same house at approximately 6:30pm on Wednesday, the 6th of March 2013 We will like to state that our house is very much in order and the controversial sum is intact and in the custody of the school. We are a family of learned

gentlemen headed by a gallant, efficient and indefatigable leader. Our track record with finances is impeccable (with so many members running their offices with personal funds) as we have been a rallying point for the raising, collation and distribution of funds for our colleagues in need- today, a deaf colleague of ours has access to an interpreter she doesn't pay for because of our efforts and another colleague who lost his dad was set-off to the tune of almost a hundred thousand naira without controversy If there are Nigerian youths who, as Soni Akoji pontificated are simply "waiting for their turn to continue with business as usual when the mantle of leadership eventually falls into their hands", they are not in the Students' Representative Council of the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus. We bemoan the death of analytical and verified journalism in Nigeria, the decline of professionalism and highest ethical standards in endeavour and the manipulation of the ship of free press into the chaotic shipwreck of misinformation and misguided, malicious reportage. One can only imagine that all other articles hosted by the Sahara Reporters are the product of lopsided feeders, presumptuous storytelling and deep-seated ill will by their disgruntled authors. One can only imagine One can only wish that the biting remarks of A. J. Liebling that "the function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money," were true when news websites and media proprietors will publish spurious stories and unverified, vilifying tales to maintain readership and visitor traffic Owotumi wrote in from Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus



Between IBB, Mark, Akume, Okiro and a priest The memories of what you suffered from people, write on the sand where it will be blown away and forgotten. The memories of what people did to make you happy, write on the stone where it will be remembered for ages - A philosopher in the Amazing Results of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Pearle


t is not every day that tears flow freely down the cheek of the average man. "Big boys," they say, "don't cry." Once in a while, however, men, or big boys, have no choice than to cry. An unexpected occurrence or outpourings from the heart would affect you in such a way that, before you know what is happening, tears would begin to flow freely. Such was the scenario at St. Sylvester's Catholic Church, New Nyanya, Nasarawa state, on Sunday, March 3, 2013. Come and see a multitude crying with abandon. Fully grown men and women, alike, that is. Shedding tears before our very eyes. Crying like babies. What happened? What elicited the river of tears? Don't strain your ears; I will tell you. The unusual spectacle was witnessed during the book launch and fifth priesthood anniversary of Rev. Fr. Lawrence Soja Anyembugu, the parish priest of St. Sylvester's. The priest, in the course of the programme, recalled how after losing his dad at a tender age, his mother had struggled against all odds to raise him, her only son. You could, therefore, imagine her utter shock when the then young chap informed her old

woman that he was joining the priesthood. Which effectively meant that he would not marry, let alone bear children. For the typical parent, nothing could be more devastating than the knowledge that one's only son would never bless them with a grandchild due to his religious obligation. Little wonder, the widowed woman initially resisted her son's move. But when it dawned on her that Lawrence was truly passionate about the priesthood, she supported her only son wholeheartedly. Imagine how boundless her joy would have been if she were around to witness Rev. Fr. Lawrence's consecration as a priest that memorable day five years ago.

And, as the reverend poured out his heart penultimate Sunday, tears began to flow… Indeed, few among the mammoth crowds who trooped out that day to witness Anyembugu's great day could avoid 0803-2159-249 (SMS only, pls) being affected by the emotion-charged atmosphere. Here, right before our very eyes, is not But, alas, that was not to be. just a man of God, but a priest The Grim Reaper, death, struck with a difference. A priest who, shortly before her son's moment of glory. Death plucked away this despite his humble circumstances, despite the huge indomitable woman with heart odds against him, and despite the of gold, depriving her of the joy of enormous family pressure on witnessing her son's life dream him (being his parent's only son) coming true. Death denied the resisted all those for a noble poor woman the golden cause. opportunity of seeing the A young man (as he was ordination of the son for whose then) who, in spite of the glitter education and training she had and glamour which secular work endured so much, invested so presented him, opted for the less much, and sacrificed so much. glamorous and less materiallyrewarding priesthood. A man who, despite peer pressures and the mockery of relatives and friends who thought he had gone mad by opting to be a priest, persisted and has remained faithful in the Lord's vineyard ever since then. No less heart-touching is the Reverend Father's outpouring of thanks, gratitude and appreciation. Listening to Lawrence Soja Anyembugu as he showered encomium upon " all those who contributed to the success of both my fifth anniversary as a priest, and the book launch; both children, youths, men and women alike," as he put it, one would think that


Anyembugu says he is particularly grateful to the likes of former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida; Senate President David Mark; Senate Minority Leader, George Akume; exInspector General of Police, Mike Okiro; His Lordship, Bishop Ishaya Audu, among many others

each and all of us had dazzled him with billions of dollars. "In fact, to me, the whole thing felt as if each and all of those people had given me more than billions of dollars," he would later say. "You see, my brothers, it's not all about money and materialism alone, as important as these are. What matters most, what made me so joyous, is the empathy, the brotherhood, and the affection demonstrated by all and sundry. Frankly, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude." In that respect, Anyembugu says he is particularly grateful to the likes of former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida; Senate President David Mark; Senate Minority Leader, George Akume; ex-Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro; His Lordship, Bishop Ishaya Audu, among many others. "By being here personally or through their representatives, they have honoured me enormously and in a way that words are too inadequate to describe," he added. His attitude reminds us of the story of the 10 lepers healed by Jesus Christ. Only one of them bothered to return to Jesus and say "thank you." The nine others simply waltzed away. Check around you. As it was with those nine lepers yesterday, so it is with many of us today; we rarely ever care to say thank you. We rarely bother to demonstrate appreciation or gratitude.Rev. Fr. Lawrence Soja Anyembugu, thank you for showing us by example how to demonstrate uncommon appreciation for both small and big things.

As Minna hosts national discourse on corruption By Tunde Olaniran


ome Thursday 14th March, 2013, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi would lead a theme of our scholars like Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Sheikh Abdallah, Kabiru Mato, Segun Adeniyi, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Prof. Chidi odinkalu, and numerous state governors, and traditional rulers to Minna. Their purpose is to brainstorm on issues of indiscipline, corruption and disregard for rules and regulations in Nigeria. The special guest of honour is Sultan Saad Abubakar. The event is a collaboration between Niger State Government and National Planning commission. Nigeria is a dynamic society yearning for an ordered and a civilized atmosphere for the much needed growth and development. Despite all the institutional structures put in place to enhance these desires, the country is still in a state of flux. But for any meaningful progress to take place, there must be a collective resolve to surrender the goals of the human rights to an atomized state with all the obligations and responsibilities. This holds the truism that people’s existence is

rooted in the adherence to some rules and regulations There is no doubt that Nigeria needs changes in people’s attitudinal behavior. Such changes must be deep, meaningful and must provide positive response to the country’s rules and regulations. But often most people misunderstand government and it motives for enacting rules and regulations. Ignorance therefore becomes the bedrock for the disregard to these rules and regulations. Perhaps the best starting point should have been to distinguish between what constitutes a law and, rules and regulations. These two concepts are often juxtaposed by lay men. While a law is an enforceable edict with the police as enforceable agent, rules and regulations are associated with codes of conduct which tell how things should be done. The glaring differences are the consequences associated with the breaking of the provisions. However, rules and regulations are guides to the way people behave in any given society. They are a body of enacted or customary rules that are recognized by a community as binding. It is this binding force that makes it distinctive. In other

words, any established custom with a binding force later becomes a law. It could be perceived as a set of abstract rules that regulate the behavior of individuals or groups in a society. These rules and regulations are codified and shielded by institutional backing. No matter the definition given to the concept of rules and regulations, the common aim is to regulate human behavior in any society. These body of rules are also enacted to re-condition and create a better attitude of the people for a tenuous relationship between an accepted social morality and a wider social ideal. Further more, rules and regulations are so designed in order to emphasize the need for orderliness and stability as a fundamental pre-requite for human existence, or for the preservation of an existing order. Above all, it is to initiate changes both within and, to revolutionalize other social values. But on why people have disregard for rules and regulations protend some mixed feelings. This is moreso that there are some basic assumptions that are inherent to all human beings. One is that human beings are prone to breaching existing

laws or rules and regulations. For instance, there is the thinking in human beings to get away with any thing or deviant behaviours when those in authority are not watching. It could also be when enforcement is lax or when fear of getting caught is absent, people who seeming appear as law abiding may feel embothered to do what otherwise what they would not do. Also, some people disregard rules and regulation because they feel driven by force of circumstances to do what they would not do. However some do so to bring about what they perceive as solutions to hardships and injustice. This is corroborated by an old adage that everyone has his price. This translates to the fact that every good person is ever willing to violate an existing rules and regulations. Someone may appear amiable under normal circumstances but suddenly undergoes a personality change especially when material gain in involved. Another force that propels peoples’ disregard for rules and regulations lies with the law enforcement agents charged with the responsibility to enforce the provisions therein. Its critics, rightly or wrongly, describes their performances as ‘corrupt’.

That they are not only honest in thoughts but dishonest in deeds. They are no role models for the obedience to enacted rules and regulations. There are incidences where violators of rules and regulations get away unpunished. This seems to inspire ordinary citizens to break rules and regulations. This aids the psychological import that all human beings are susceptical to wrong thinking. The implication is that every day the human mind is infested with countless suggestions and temptations to do wrong. Even if the wrong is carried out, this is often cheered and glorified. There is the need for the operation capacity to coincide with the condition that necessitate enactment of rules and regulations. So from the inception, the rules may seem to be designed more as a show piece rather than functional instrument. Hence, the impression often created is that some people are above the law. When this impression is thus created, other people would begin to perceive the provisions as something that must be breached. Tunde Olaniran wrote in from Minna, Niger state



NUJ urges stakeholder’s support for FCT minister By Adeola Tukuru


he Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ FCT Council, has called on stakeholders in the territory to support the development initiatives of the minister, Sen. Bala

Mohammed. Chairman of the Council, Comrade Chuks Ehirim, in a statement in Abuja, said the development of the FCT was a collective responsibility that requires the contribution of all stakeholders. According to Ehirim, the

various steps taken by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, to boost its internal generated revenue was a welcome initiative as the development needs of the territory is enormous. The statement reads: “The NUJ in the FCT wish to appeal to all stakeholders in the territory to

support the various development plan of the FCTA and especially the efforts of Senator Bala Mohammed to make Abuja the dream of all wellmeaning Nigerians. “As we all know, the FCT requires huge capital outlay to achieve the numerous projects to make it a world class capital

therefore the need to not only streamline the revenue generation but also to seek alternative means of internal revenue generation. It is in this regard that I urge all stakeholders to support the minister’s revenue drive for the good of us all.” Ehirim also praised the minister for overhauling outdoor and signages in the FCT, stressing that it would not only boost its revenue but add to the aesthetics of the city. He further appealed to the minister not to be distracted by criticisms in his quest to leave a lasting legacy in the FCT.

Church donates items to Kuje prison inmates By Adeola Tukuru

A Judicial workers locked all the gates to Courts of Appeal due to a strike demanding for improved welfare package, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Polio outbreak: FCTA takes campaign to Churches, mosques By Adeola Tukuru


ollowing the recent spate of outbreak of Wild Polio Virus in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) the FCT administration has launched a polio immunisation campaign in churches and mosques in Bwari Area Council. The Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who led officials of the FCTA, FCT Primary Health Care Development Board and others on the exercise, blamed the reoccurrence of polio cases in the territory to urbanisation and the influx of people from other parts of the northern states to Abuja. She said on Sunday that the

exercise which was part of the fourday polio immunisation exercise flagged-off in the FCT last Saturday, would continue for three months. “There has been an outbreak of polio in the Federal Capital Territory. We have been polio free for two years but because of the rapid urbanisation and people coming into the territory in large numbers from other parts of Nigeria, we have unfortunately had three cases of polio in the territory in the last three months, what has been traced to migrants from other states from the northern part of Nigeria”. This was as she urged parents to immunize their wards continuously and encourage other

mothers to do likewise because the vaccine is harmless and easy to administer. “So once it happens, the world standard is that we immunise again for three consecutive months. Our children are the most important thing that we have and we must protect them. I want you to see that every child under the age of five is immunized. The polio vaccine is just two drops of liquid in the mouth, it is very easy to apply, it is harmless, and it cannot overdose. So all the children, lets immunize them again. Don’t say my child has been immunized before; let’s immunize them again, again and again. And more importantly, be your neighbours keeper; take it on yourself to

encourage everybody to get their child immunized,” she said. Speaking at the exercise, Chairman, Bwari Area Council, Hon. Peter Ushafa, said prevention was better than cure, so there is need for the sensitization exercise which he said would continue till all the children in the council are immunised. High point of the event was the donation of 50 chairs by the chairman to some of the churches visited by the team which include the Mountain of Fire Ministries and Deeper life Bible Church. Other churches and mosques also visited include ECWA Goodnews Church, St. Theresa Catholic Church and Living Faith church.

Nupe chief solicits for cooperation to support indigenes in FCT By Usman Shuaibu


he Chief of Nupe indigenes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Musa Shaba Gupa, has solicited for support and cooperation among the people within the six Area councils so as to reduce

some pending issues affecting them in their respective areas. Shaba Gupa who made the call in interview with Peoples Daily in his palace in Bwari, pointing out that his leadership is set to cooperate with other tribal chiefs in the territory for the benefit of mutual understanding.

He appealed for greater understanding and loyalty to his leadership, saying that he will try his best to see that every group within the Nupe community is being carried along. The chief further advice its indigenes residing in the FCT to shun any act that could bring

disgrace to Nupe community and urged the officials of Nupe association to work hand in hand with him to move Nupe chiefdom forward. Chief Gupa also appealed to his people to send their children to school, adding that education is the best asset they will bequeath to their children.

Catholic society, Knights of Saint Mulumba (KSM), Wuse Sub-Council has donated items worth thousands of naira to inmates of Kuje Prisons. Chief Anthony Ezekwesili, KSM Wuse Sub-Council Leader who presented the items in Kuje said the donation was part of KSM commitment to attend to the poor. “The cardinal duties of KSM is to attend to the poor, visit the helpless, help people in prison and ensure that whatever they are lacken, such as food, dresses and medication are provided. “It is based on this that we brought foods, reading materials, board for learning, indoor games like ludo, monopoly and chess to enable them develop themselves while in prison,” he said. According to him, people in prison are always very idle, so instead of thinking evil, the materials we donated will make them set their minds on God and good ideas that will improve their conditions. In a sermon on forgiveness at the mass in Kuje Prison Chapel, Rev. Fr Victor Nyoroh, the Chapel Priest linked forgiveness to the time of Jesus Christ. He called on the inmates to emulate the live of the prodigal son who after disobeying his father came back to seek for forgiveness. Earlier in his remark, Christopher Nango, the chaplain had commended members of KSM for the items donated to the inmates. He said the gesture would no doubt reduce idleness among inmates of the prison. Items donated to the inmates include, plastic tables and chairs, set of mass box, reading materials, learning board as well as indoor games such as ludo, chess, and scrabble.


By Chijioke Okoronkwo


he cost of renting houses in Abuja is excessively high and this trend has been giving the residents, who are mostly civil servants, a serious concern. The residents are worried that relevant authorities are either unaware of the situation or simply not doing enough to intervene through appropriate measures. They say that the seeming apathy of the authorities over the years have left most tenants at the mercy of shylock landlords and property agents who impulsively increase house rent even when the cost of building materials has not increased correspondingly. The concerned residents note that most of the houses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were built in the 1980s and 1990s when building materials were relatively cheaper. However, stakeholders attribute the current situation to some factors, such as the sustained demolition of houses in the FCT and the dearth of land allocations to property developers. Mr Okezie Obi, a property consultant, noted that the massive demolition of houses during the era of Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai as the FCT Minster contributed to the astronomical rise in house rent. He said that suburbs such as Idu, Karmo and Gwagwa were home to the bulk of the middle-class people living in the FCT, prior to 2006. Obi recalled that the houses’ demolition was carried out without making alternative arrangements for the accommodation of the dislodged residents; adding that this brought a lot of pressure on the remaining houses. “The landlords whose houses were spared during the exercise capitalised on the ensuing rush for accommodation and hiked their rent. “Many residents of Gwagwa, Idu and Karmo hastily went to Kubwa, Gwarimpa, Nyanya, Karu, Gwagwalada, Lugbe, Kuje and other parts of the FCT in search of accommodation. “The landlords in these areas, seeing how desperate the people were to secure accommodation, started exploiting the situation. “A self-contained room in Kubwa, Dutse,Lugbe, Karu and Nyanya now costs between N200,000 and N300,000, while same costs between N300,000 and N450, 000 in Gwarimpa, Wuse, Maitama, Asokoro and other areas in the city centre. “One bedroom flat in Kubwa, Dutse, Lugbe,Karu, Nyanya and some other suburbs costs between N350,000 and N450,000, while same costs between


Addressing high cost of house rent in Abuja N600,000 and N1.5 million in Gwarimpa, Wuse, Maitama, Asokoro and other parts of the city centre.’’ Obi urged the FCT Administration (FCTA) and the area councils of the FCT to allocate lands to small estate developers who were willing to build affordable houses. He, nonetheless, noted that most houses in the lowdensity areas of Abuja were not occupied because most residents could not afford them. Mr Austin Osas, a civil servant who resides in Kubwa, recalled that he paid N250, 000 as annual rent in 2008 when he moved into his onebedroom apartment, adding, however, that the rent was increased to N350,000 in 2012 without any reason to justify the increase. Osas bemoaned a situation in which rents for houses which were built several years ago were arbitrarily jacked up at the expense of the tenants. “I think the so-called agents just connive with the landlords to increase the rent arbitrarily so as to boost their percentage and earnings. “The FCTA should emulate the Lagos State Government by checking the activities of these middlemen called estate agents,’’ he added. A landlord in Lugbe, Mr Oraba Damian, however, insisted that he was obliged to increase his house rent in line with the prevailing socioeconomic realities in the society. He said that the estate agents were there to inform landlords about the prevailing trends in renting house within the neighbourhood, adding that the landlords had no other choice than to act accordingly. All the same, Oraba said that house rents were sometimes increased to reflect the rising cost of building materials, particularly when such houses were new or newly renovated. “I must, however, admit that it is not proper to increase rent when the house is not new or has not undergone any renovation. “The cost of renting a house

FCt Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed should normally reflect the cost of building the house but the rising inflation in the country nowadays also affects house rent,’’ he said. Nevertheless, Mr Paul Ikeodo, a lawyer, underscored the need to expedite action in efforts to introduce a rent control mechanism in the FCT. He stressed that such measures would address the interests of all stakeholders as litigations involving landlords and tenants over rent issues were on the increase. Ikeodo, nonetheless, said that was exploitative to ask a tenant, who was probably a civil servant, to pay two years’ rent for a house with an annual rent over N400, 000. He urged the FCTA to take a cue from Lagos State Government which outlawed the demand of house rent

The cost of renting a house should normally reflect the cost of building the house but the rising inflation in the country nowadays also affects house rent

exceeding one year’s rent from all categories of tenants. “The reviewed Lagos State Tenancy Law of 2011 prohibits a landlord from demanding or receiving from a sitting tenant rent in excess of six months for a monthly tenant and one year from a yearly tenant, irrespective of the nature of the tenancy held,’’ he said. Ikeodo noted that such tenancy laws protected the rights of tenants, while guaranteeing the rights of landlords at the same time. This is not to suggest that the government is not aware of the harrowing times facing Abuja residents with regard to rising house rents. For instance, the National Assembly is also involved in the campaign to tackle the menace of high house rents in Abuja, as the bill for an Act to re-enact the Recovery of Premises Act (Abuja) 2013 recently passed through the second reading at the Senate. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Smart Adeyemi (PDP- Kogi), seeks to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants, rent control, recovery of premises and other allied matters. In the lead debate on the bill, Adeyemi said that the bill was meant to deal with the

administration of arbitrary and prohibitive rents imposed by landlords in order to reduce the hardships facing tenants in Abuja. He expatiated that the bill clearly spelt out the procedures for recovery of premises in the FCT. “The bill seeks to alleviate the hardships of tenants by making housing affordable and rents sustainable in the FCT. “This will help tenants, especially the low-income earners who are the majority of FCT residents, to get decent accommodation which is within their income. “This bill is basically to protect innocent Nigerians from the sharp practices of landlords, not minding the stiff opposition that may arise from property owners,’’ he said. Adeyemi, who chairs the Senate Committee on FCT, said that if passed into law, the bill would make it unlawful for any landlord to demand for rent in advance. “It stipulates that the landlord is entitled to receive only six months’ advance rent from a sitting tenant. “It also provides for a rent review mechanism which requires landlords to review their rents, not earlier than two years from the previous review.’’ Adeyemi said that the bill also recognised the need for tenants to be reimbursed for repairs carried out on their apartments after obtaining the written consent of the landlords. He said that the bill would ensure a downward review of rents and curb arbitrary rent increases by setting maximum rent limits, as influenced by the location of the property. “We would together make history by stemming the activities of shylock landlords and land speculators within the FCT. “This will also give FCT residents and, indeed, Nigerian citizens an opportunity to live worthy lives in befitting accommodations,’’ he added. Supporting such measures, analysts believe that landlords will continue to exploit tenants if adequate and enforceable rent-control policies are not introduced. They, however, underscore the need for the government to initiate mass housing schemes so as to provide a sustainable solution to the myriad housing problems facing the residents of Abuja. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)




Two alleged fake Police officers bag 6 months imprisonment for joint act, impersonation


n Abuja Senior Magistrates Court has sentenced Charles Ukhuedobah, 32, Abdullahi Saka, 32 and Paul Okeli, 36, of no fixed address to six months in prison for joint act and impersonation. The three men were former Nigeria Police officers. Senior Magistrate Hauwa Aliyu gave the sentence without an option of fine after they

pleaded guilty to the charges. The accused, during police investigations, were found to have been dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force between 2003 and 2010 for various disciplinary offences. Police Prosecutor, ASP Usman Jibrin told the court that the accused persons with one other, now at large, raised a fake signal (Letters of deployment)

posting them from their former Police command to Niger State Command. Jibrin said that the purported letters of deployment were dated July 14, 2012 for the first accused; June 6, 2012 for the second accused and Sept. 27, 2012 for the third accused person. He said that the offence contravened sections 79 and 132 of the Penal Code. (NAN)

Man, 21, bags 6 months jail for selling employer’s motorcycle


n Upper Area Court sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja has sentenced one Dauda Haruna, 21, to six months imprisonment for selling a motorcycle without the consent of the owner. H a r u n a , o f Secretariat Road, Gwagwalada, was tried on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and cheating, punishable under sections 312 and 264 of the Penal Code. The Presiding J u d g e , A l h a j i Babangida Hassan, said that each count attracted three months imprisonment but gave

the convict an option of paying N25,000 as fine. “The court finds you guilty of the offences and hereby convicts you for same offences for which you admitted to have committed. “You are hereby sentenced to three months imprisonment on each count charge. You have an option to pay the sum of N25,000 or to go to prison for six months. “Compensation of N12,000 should also be paid to the complainant,’’ the judge said. The Police Prosecutor, Insp. Martha Paul, told the court that

the convict was entrusted w i t h a Jincheng motorcycle by one Onyuku Adoh of same address but the convict sold it without the complainant’s consent. Paul said the motorcycle was valued at N12,000 and that the case was reported at the Gwagwalada Police Station by Adoh. The prosecutor applied for summary s e n t e n c i n g of Haruna after he pleaded guilty to the charges. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict cried when the judgment was pronounced. (NAN)

3 men charged over alleged joint act, breach of trust, cheating


hree men has appeared before a Karu Upper Area Court in the FCT for alleged joint act, criminal breach of trust and cheating. They are, Yahaya Jibrin, 38, a Computer Analyst, of No. 29, Sam Ango Avenue, Kaduna State, Haruna M o h a m m e d , 41, a businessman, of Mpape and Abubakar Bakari, a 37-year-old civil servant, of Mararaba, Nasarawa state. The Prosecutor, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, told the court that one Kabiru Mohammed, of Kaduna State, reported the matter to the Wuse Divisional Police Headquarters, Abuja on Feb.4,2013.

He said that the three accused persons fraudulently collected N3 million on the pretext of securing employment in the Customs Service for six of Mohammed’s kinsmen. Adamu said that the accused persons allegedly converted the money to their personal use. He also told the court that the alleged offences contravened sections 79, 312 and 322 of the Penal Code. Section 79 stipulates that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone. Section 312 stipulates

that whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend to seven years or be fined or both. Section 322 states that whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or be fined or both. The three accused p e r s o n s , however, denied committing the offence. The Judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N1.5 million each with one surety each that must reside within the court’s jurisdiction. The case was adjourned to April 5,2013 for hearing. (NAN)




Mob: 08033644990



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FG asks NERC to implement alternative funding for meters

Investments, Securities Tribunal gets new chairman By Abdulwahab Isa


resident Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Ngozi Chianakwalam as the Chairman of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST).

Unpaid N1m premium: ICAN threatens to blacklist Niger Insurance From Musa Pam, Jos he Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Jos District Society yesterday threatened to blacklist Niger Insurance Company plc over unpaid N1 million premium. The insurance firm was said to have failed to pay the N1 million life insurance of its member, Mr. Edward Dedekimor in spite of spirited efforts put up to redeem it. At its Annual General (AGM) held in Jos, the institute gave the insurance two weeks within which to pay up or face being blacklisted. Mr. Clement Suhunshak, Chairman of the institute said spirited efforts to get the premium paid failed and said, “We don’t have to continue begging for what is our right; enough is enough.The insurance policy is what we think is good for our members, but the settlement process is very slow with the insurer which called for the agitation for a change, `` he said. Suhunshak, who was returned as chairman for a second time along side his exco members described the performance of the institute in past year as “very successful“. He said that plans were underway to ensure that the building of the North Central Zone and the Jos District secretariats become a reality during his tenure. According to him, a committee that is handling the N200 million secretariat complex was doing all it could toward the success of the fund raising. The chairman said that the yearly MPCE workshop had been scheduled for April 10 and 11, 2013 at Elim Top Suits, Rayfield, Jos and urged members to adequately prepare for it. He lamented the effect of the security challenges in the Northern part on activities of the institute in 2012 and expressed the hope that things would pick up with the relative peace in the state. He called on members to display high sense of professionalism in their practice so as to not only give the institute a good image but to build themselves up as credible accountants. However, members of the institute passed a vote of confidence on its EXCO to serve for another one year term.

T FG to seek amendments to IST Act,

Performing the inauguratio in Abuja, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala described Chianakwalam a seasoned lawyer and veteran public servant who is more than qualified to lead the Tribunal. The Minister said the appointment of a very strong lawyer with varied experiences in the civil service and the corporate world is a key component of the law and order being championed by the Federal Ministry of Finance to promote investments in the country. She said the Tribunal has so far done a wonderful work that has remained largely unsung,

adding that President Goodluck Jonathan had to personally review and approve the nominees to the Tribunal to ensure the best hands were on deck there. Dr. Chianakwalam had served as Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Abia State and Director, Registry, Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja before being selected as Honourable Chairman.She takes over from Dr. Nnenna A. Orji whose twoterm tenure ended November 30, 2012. Also, a Bill seeking to amend the Investments and Securities Act (ISA 2007) that established

Investments and Security Tribunal (IST) is in works at the Ministry of finance awaiting dispatch to the National Assembly. If its scales through legislative hurdle, it will enhance the work of IST to ensure its Chairman and other members of Tribunal seamlessly, transmit to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Minister of state for finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama stated this yesterday in Abuja at the inauguration of board for IST headed by Dr. Ngozi Udodirim Chianakwalam as its new Chairman. He said IST was the equivalent to the Federal High

R-L: GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), McKinsey & Company, Mr Michael Halbye, during the visit of the Halbye to UBA Head Office, recently in Marina, Lagos.

Management Tip of the Day


Don’t make a career move you’ll regret

o matter what industry you work in, what role you fill, or how successful you are, chances are you’ve made a bad career decision. Here are two of the most common ones and how to avoid them: Taking the job for the money. Many people opt into high-paying, but ultimately

dissatisfying, careers. And once they get there, they often feel trapped. If you’re considering taking a job for the salary alone, take a step back and think about how the job might be meaningful (or not) aside from compensation. Not quitting sooner. People who finally leave a job to pursue a passion often look back and

think, “Why didn’t I get out of there sooner?” You won’t get those years back. If you’re yearning to do what you really care about but biding your time, save yourself the future disappointment and quit sooner rather than later. Source: Harvard Business Review

Court. He therefore, urged the new Chairman to liaise with the National Judicial Council (NJC) to obtain their inputs to the amendments.

Kaima road to gulp three months allocation of Kwara, says Gov From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


overnor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara state has disclosed that if the state government would embark on contstruction of Kaima-Kisi Federal Government road, it would cost N8 billion, which equivalent to three months federal allocation to the state. Governor Ahmed, who stated this while speaking during his monthly media chat tagged: “Governor explains”, said most of the federal roads in the state were desirable but the amount may be too cost for the state to bear. He noted Offa-Okuku roads which is the boundary between Kwara and Osun state were also desirable stressing that federal government should help the states on construction of the roads. Speaking on the withdrawer from ratings agency, Fitch, Governor Ahmed said it was due to the annual rating was no longer required for any major financial transaction. The Governor said Kwara state was the ones that invited Fitch to rate the state as a prelude to raising funds from the capital market in 2008/9 and to benchmark against best practices in financial management. “We decided as a state when we were going to issue a bond in the capital market to explore the possibility of not only accessing the capital market but also showcasing ourselves to the world as benchmarking against best practices”,he stated. He said that Kwara state was the first in Nigeria to be rated by Fitch, adding that the state decided not to renew the annual rating this year. ”If you want to continue to be rated, you should pay for it and continue to submit data which will be analysed. We did it up till last year; We now feel that since we don’t have any major thing we require the rating results; for now, we can step it down this year.” The Governor explained that the withdrawal from Fitch rating has nothing to do with the state’s financial standing, saying, “For those who don’t understand, it has nothing to do with our efficiency as a government. What it tells you is that we do not need that rating to do anything this year”.



COMPANY NEWS West African Central Bank


he Central Bank of West African states said las week that it had cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent, taking advantage of moderate inflation to seek to stimulate growth in the eight-nation bloc. It was the second cut to rates in eight months after the bank trimmed its key lending rate by 25 basis points to 3 percent in June, citing political crises in Mali and international economic uncertainty. The bank also cut its marginal lending rate by 25 basis points, to 3.75 percent from 4.00 percent.

Fidelity Bank Plc


o further drive Nigeria’s financial inclusion programme by promoting a savings culture, Fidelity Bank Plc has rewarded 26 customers in its ongoing 25th anniversary promo.Specifically, five of the customers were rewarded with a car each while others were rewarded with cash prizes. The promo draw, which took place at the bank’s head office in Lagos recently, was monitored by representatives of the Consumer Protection Commission and the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission.

Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc


lour Mills of Nigeria Plc, makers of Golden Penny products, has announced the setting up of a food research centre known as “Flour Mills Food Research Centre” at the University of Ibadan. The centre, according to the company was the first of its kind in any Nigeria’s tertiary institution. Group Managing Director of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Dr. Emmanuel Ukpabi, while flagged-off ceremony at the university main campus in Ibadan, said that the partnership was between Flour Mills of Nigeria and University of Ibadan to promote research and development on the study of foods in Nigeria.

NNPC's Andrew Yakubu tackling Nigeria's pipeline menace In less than one year in office as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Andrew Yakubu's drive to sanitise the downstream sub-sector of the industry has brought relative stability to fuel supply and distribution nationwide, writes Etuka Sunday.


he developmental drive of the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, within his one year in office, is a promise well kept and also a pointer to the fact that people of good mind still exist in Nigeria. Engr. Yakubu made it clear during his inaugural speech that the rehabilitation of decaying downstream infrastructure, which include pipelines and the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) inland jetties would be central to his objectives as GMD and that he is following it jealously. It could be observed that while the 21 PPMC inland depots across the country have remained largely underutilized due to their near epileptic state, the operations of the PPMC has been seriously encumbered by the activities of pipeline maraudersthus making the task of conveying petroleum products across the over 5,000km of vast network of pipelines- a living nightmare. Engr. Yakubu came out clearly with a high sense of responsibility and identified some of the problems, saying that there were over 774 break points within three months, from Atlas Cove to Ilorin Depot from August to October 2012. According to the GMD, between Atlas Cove and Mosimi Depot, 181 break points, from Mosimi to Ibadan, 421 ruptured points and from Mosimi to Ore, 50 vandalized points. Also, between Ibadan and Ilorin, a total of 122 break points were recorded.Records indicate that with the incessant attacks on the nation’s vast artery of pipelines about 70 percent products distribution is through trucking, or what is known in the industry parlance as bridging into the hinterlands.This requires massive fleets of petroleum product trucks of up to 1,212 trucksloads coming out from the depots every day to meet the daily estimated national consumption. At an average vehicle turnaround of about 8-10 days from the South to the North and return, a minimum of 10,000 trucks are required to ply the roads daily.Faced with this ugly scenario, the GMD, with the support of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke hit the ground running. Thus, within the last nine months the downstream sector has witnessed tremendous activities despite the challenges posed by the seemingly endless

....revamping moribund PPMC depots

attacks by vandals on the nation’s vast crude/products pipeline network. So far, the aggressive facilities rehabilitation program has witnessed the revamping of the hitherto comatose PPMC Benin Depot re-commissioned complete with the rehabilitation of the 89.9km Warri-Benin pipeline; Aba Depot has also been recommissioned with the recovery of the Port Harcourt Aba pipeline to restore product supply to the depot. Also, the Okrika PPMC Jetty has also been rehabilitated and re-commissioned while rehabilitation and expansion of the Atlas Cove Jetty is also ongoing. On the 14th January, 2013, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, visited Arepo, in Ogun state, on an on-the-spot assessment of the ruptured System 2B pipeline which had caught fire as a result of the activities of oil thieves who hacked into it, assured Nigerians that the incident (the third in a series of attacks on the System 2B Pipeline that supplies products to Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Ilorin Depots) would not cause fuel scarcity in any part of the country. He therefore immediately mobilised engineers to the site to

clamp and fix the ruptured points to restore pumping of petroleum products as promised. He ensure the clearing of the pipeline's 'Right of Way', to make the area accessible and difficult for oil thieves and vandals to carry out their nefarious activities in hiding. He also assured on the provision of platforms for security men to effectively monitor movements in and around the area, the deployment of a technology to make the pipeline inaccessible to oil thieves and vandals and also collaboration with the state governments and other stakeholders for the effective security of the pipeline. On February 26th 2013, the GMD kept faith with his commitment to restoring sanity to the Arepo axis by paying a working visit to the site. This time around, the tour was designed to consolidate on the on-going clearance of the system 2B Right of Way by engineers of the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps. He also herald the introduction of the state-of-the art Horizontal Direct Drilling System (HDD), designed to redirect the pipelines and ensure that vandals and hackers to gain easy access to the pipelines by burying them deeper into the

ground. He said NNPC has also built a watch tower, police post, and would ensure that the hot spots would be completely secured, adding that this would also prevent the loss of lives. "NNPC will also build a platform that will ensure easy access at anytime for the security forces over the swamps", he stated. Last week in Edo state, the strategic Benin Depot of the PPMC, which has been dragging since 2005, was commissioned - an action that prompted Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo state to say that with the re-activation of the Benin Depot by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Federal Government has demonstrated its resolve to sustain the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas industry, and therefore pledged to mobilize resources as well as the people of Edo State to combat the issue of pipeline vandalism which he described as a national menace. Engr. Andrew Yakubu has said that in the months ahead, the drive to revitalize the nation’s petroleum products depot will be sustained, with the re-opening of the Gombe and Jos depots saying Mosini, Aba and Benin have been recommissioned and would continue until the 21 depots become fully operational. At the commissioning of Okrika Jetty, the story is not different, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, has called on the leaders and people of Okrika community of Rivers state to see oil facilities in their domain, especially the Okrika Jetty and the pipelines that lead to it, as their own and protect it as such, adding that the economic benefits of the jetty to Okrika community and the entire nation are immense as it guarantees the evacuation and distribution of products from the Port Harcourt Refinery across the country. For Engr. Andrew Yakubu, anything short of success in the transformation of the downstream sector is unacceptable. That is why he is not sitting at the comfort zone of his office to give directives. Being an action man as he is, he prefer visiting states and communities to ensure that pipelines vandalisation and crude oil theft are given the necessary attention to permanently stop such heinous acts that had cost the corporation lots of billions of Naira, and also posing serious threat to the Nigeria’s economy.



MTN Group announces N2.4 tr rise in revenue Stories by Chris Alu


TN Group has reported that its full year revenue, which rose by 10.9 per cent to reach $15 billion (N2.4 trillion) per year, driven by rising mobile data revenues which were up by nearly 60 per cent. The Group achieved this despite the loss in revenue in Nigerian market, which fell by 0.8 per cent over the year following significant tariff declines amid heightened competition. Profits were up by 2 percent, which was below market expectations. The company only reports earnings on a per share basis and did not provide net figures.. Over the past year, subscribers increased 15.1per cent to 189.3 million, a strong result in the face of the ongoing subscriber registration requirements and network

challenges in key markets. Looking ahead, the company anticipates reaching the milestone of 200 million subscribers by mid-year. According to the MTN’s Corporate Service Executive, Mr.Wale Goodluck, MTN Nigeria

reported that the company’s 500 base transceiver stations are currently inactive. He explained that the biggest issue that impacted on the performance of the Nigeria operation of MTN Group in the last year result was the

availability issue, which included attacks and closure of base stations in the country, as well as decrease in tariff, where MTN recorded 30 percent reduction in tariff last year. Goodluck added that security challenge in that part of the

country has hindered efforts in repairing those destroyed cites, noting that some of the communities are also opposed to repairing the base stations, arguing that if the cites are repaired it further renders them objects of further attacks.

Mobile number portability commences next week


he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the much awaited Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service will begin from March 26, to afford the telecom consumers the ability to choose or fire his or GSM service provider and still retain his or her number. The Director of Public Affairs of the commission, Tony Ojobo stated this on Friday in Abuja. “There will be a launch by the end of this week with a flag-off ceremony; So, we are looking at 26th of March or there about”. Ojobo stated that the said service providers who try to woo consumers that have submitted request forms to another service provider will be dealt with by the Commission. “The ability to choose or fire your GSM service provider is one whose time has come in Nigeria, and will only deepen competition among operators and improve service quality, so I think its a good one”, he stated. The service, however, will not be available to consumers who haven’t registered their SIM cards. Touted as the next big thing, proponents of Mobile Number Portability said it will drive competition in the industry. For instance, if an operator fails to provide good quality of service, a telecoms subscriber has the freedom to switch to another network. It will definitely encourage all telecoms operators to provide services at an optimal level. Industry watchers are optimistic that the scheme would not only foster competition in the industry, but also throw up fresh opportunities for value added service providers.

Chairman of the Rosehill Group, Alhaji Suleiman Yahyah receiving his certification from John Lim, Chairman of the Singapore Institute of Directors, as the first African to be certified as INSEAD's Corporate Governance Director. INSEAD is the world's foremost business school.

Main one collaborates Phase3 telecom on apen access network


ain One and Phase3 Telecom, have collaborated for a connectivity edge network that give all oil companies broadband access in Port Harcourt for availability and efficiency. It is one major step taken by the two fibre-optic companies towards making robust and reliable broadband capacities availabile for businesses in the oil region. Phase3 Telecom has in recent times been emphasising on the Open Access Network as a model that would help enhance reliable and affordable high speed

broadband connectivity in the region and has taken steps under a private sector framework to align with Main One to achieve it. “We want to implement an Open Access Model in Rivers state so that its indigenes can plug into the global knowledge grid. A well connected society stays competitive on the leading edge of development,” said Stanley Jegede, CEO Phase3 Telecom. The partnership will provide great opportunity for government MDA’s to leverage on our network to enhance broadband connectivity in and

out of Port Harcourt City. CEO of Main One, Funke Opeke said that, “It will strengthen oil sector businesses and enhance efficiency in the region through the connectivity.Those we served have used it to transact business at the right time and have exchanged highly technical information to get their business done. “We are prepared to engineer our services and deliver value to our customers. We are also affordable; We are here to help the oil and gas services deepen their operations”, she stated.

Airtel unveils data plan for blackBerry 10


irtel, one of the major telecom providers in Nigeria has unveiled special data bundled packages exclusively for the top notch smartphone device, shortly after becoming the first operator to sell the flagship BlackBerry 10 in its shops nation-wide. The BlackBerry10 data plan, which features three different bundles: BB10 Max, BB10 Mid and BB10 Lite, is primed as currently the best package in the country, as customers get up to 1.5GB, offering more bytes than any other in the market. It is available to both pre-paid and post-paid customers. Postpaid customers can access the data plan by contacting their Key Account Managers or visiting the nearest Airtel showroom for activation.

In addition, prepaid customers can also activate the plan via sms by sending BBM, BIM and BLM for BB10 Max monthly, BB10 Mid monthly and BB10 Lite monthly, to special code 440. According to the Airtel Nigeria’s Chief Marketing Officer, Olu Akanmu, offering the customized and exclusive data bundle plans for customers who purchase the BlackBerry 10 is not only unique, but further demonstrates the company’s innovativeness. He said, with data speed up to 42mbps and presently the largest 3G network in Nigeria covering 36 states plus the FCT, enjoying the latest BB10 smartphone is best done on Airtel network. ”We are a committed brand that continuously seeks to give our

esteemed customers a head-start on technology and innovation. Only a fortnight ago, we became the first operator to sell the BlackBerry 10 smartphones across our shops. Today, we are backing up this feat with another first, by providing those who have purchased the phones opportunity to enjoy our superfast Internet and Messenger services that rides on our superior and widest 3G coverage in Nigeria”, said Akanmu. The new BlackBerry flagship Z10, which is currently the toast of the smartphone family, is positioned as a premium handheld device, with the capacity to hold the interest of high net-worth individuals, trendy youths and accomplished professionals across corporate suites.

Also, Otuya Okecha, Head, Business Solutions & Sales at Phase3 Telecom, said that all MDA’s stand to benefit from the tremendous bandwidth opportunities available on the Open Access Network, adding that the connectivity edge that Main One and Phase3 Telecom fibre network infrastructure offers can help enhance eLearning opportunities for educational institutions in the city as well as meet the bandwidth connectivity requirements of multinational companies and oil companies. He emphasised that Phase3 Telecom has already demonstrated its backbone connectivity strengths in recent times, coupled with a strong after-sales support service, by provisioning bulk bandwidth to key mobile network operators, Internet Service Providers, MDAs, financial and higher education institutions in the country. Okecha stressed the need for users of bandwidth to see Main One and Phase3 Telecom as two wholly African and truly indigenous telecom service provider companies that have fibre-optic transmission services as their area of core competence. He likened Main One to being the shipping vessel that berths at the port city while Phase3 constitutes the pipelines that distribute from the products of the vessel to depots and other terminal points within the hinterlands.



From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


gainst the backdrop of Nigeria’s ranking as the 35th most corrupt nation on the global index by Transparency International in 2012, Chairman of Vitafoam Nig. Plc, Chief Samuel Olaniyi Bolarinde has demanded that President Goodluck Jonathan take a more affirmative action to assure Nigerians that he has the political will, courage and sincerity to fight corruption to submission. Bolarinde stated this in his

Vitafoam Chairman reiterates affirmative action against corruption company announces N245.7m as dividend address at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company yesterday in Lagos, where he said it was disheartening to note that the pandemic had spiralled in intensity, scope and sophistication, especially as it

affects the Nigerian business environment. He noted that the state of insecurity has become a major concern to Nigerians and affirmed that the banking sector reforms which created fiscal discipline and

monetary stability has not translated into improved living condition for the masses due to the prevailing high level of profligacy at the various levels of government. The outgoing Chairman, who

Experts decry budgetary and fiscal indiscipline in Nigeria By Etuka Sunday


ccounting and financial experts recently in Abuja decried what they described as the high level of budgetary and fiscal indiscipline in some states of the federation especially in the area of budget deviation, which is against the international standard practice that allowed only 5%

Ferry business receives boost in 2 years - NIWA

deviation at most. This was revealed during a workshop on: “Boosting transparency and accountability of public funds in Nigeria: State’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (SIFMIS)”’ organised by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) in Abuja, with participants drown from all over the states of the federation. They said that good governance requires public office holders to be accountable to the public for their performance, and

therefore advocated for the full implementation of Public Financial Management (PFM) and State Integrated Financial Management Information System (SIFMIS) to ensure transparency and accountability of public funds in Nigeria. Giving the overview of PFM and IFMIS in Nigeria, a public finance expert, Chinedum Nwoko said budgetary indiscipline and deviation, lax internal controls and weak internal audit system, poor bookkeeping, accounting and reporting culture, high debt

profile with poor debt documentation, especially payment arrears (EPA) and nontransparent system are some of the problems militating against the successful implementation of PFM in Nigeria. Nwoko said that PFM is forced to serve the interest of politics, adding that a fiscal system is subordinate to the political system or control therefore emphasized that integrated financial management would enhance fiscal performance only if PFM and politics run parallel to each other and not otherwise.

has served the foam manufacturing company for over four decades, stated that despite all these challenges the future holds great prospects for the company, as its various expansion programmes crystallised. “In the coming year, efforts will be geared towards consolidating the various investments for optimal result. It is projected that the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy will persist in the coming year resulting in reduced public spending and consumption rate across the globe.” Upon the recommendation of the board, a dividend of N245, 700,000 representing 30 kobo per share was approved for shareholders at the meeting. While announcing his retirement from the Board of Directors of the company, Chief Bolarinde thanked members of the board (past and present) and shareholders and re-affirmed his continued support to the board and the company.


he Lagos Area Manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr Joseph Ororo, on Friday said that more than 10 private operators joined the ferry business in the last two years. Ororo said this in a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said that the number of new entrants was still not enough as there was still room for more private operators to join. “We are encouraging more and more people to take to the business because we want to free our roads of traffic menace and prevent wear and tear on our roads. One of the challenges of the business is that it is capital intensive. To put an ordinary fibre passenger boat with capacity for 25 passengers on the water costs between N3.5 million and N5 million. “If it were on the road, an operator would have acquired more than two second-hand buses with the same amount,” the Lagos area manager said. According to him, the profit margin for the private operator in Lagos is low and it is difficult to break even unlike in Port Harcourt and Bonny areas of Nigeria. He attributed this to the fact that Lagosians had not really taken to water transportation as a substitute for road transportation. Ororo said that NIWA in its task of providing an enabling environment had been sensitising the populace and investors about ferry operations through seminars and workshops. We encourage private operators by spreading the good news of water transportation. We also help to reduce whatever charges the operators are meant to pay the government by giving them tax relief or rebates to reduce their operational costs,” he told NAN.

L-R; Director, Mallam H. Usman; Technical Director, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi; Company Secretary, Mr. Lekan Sanni; Chairman, Chief Samuel Bolarinde and Managing Director, Mr. Joel Ajiga at Vitafoam's Annual General Meeting held over the weekend in Lagos.

FG asks NERC to implement alternative funding for meters By Etuka Sunday


he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been given the go-ahead to commence the implementation of an alternative funding scheme that will see to the rapid deployment of electricity meters in the country. NERC, in a statement, said the go-ahead was announced after a presentation by Dr. Sam Amadi, the Chairman/CEO of NERC at the weekend, to the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP), with PACP expressing satisfaction with the recommendations made by NERC, and has asked for the immediate implementation of the scheme, called: “Credit Advance Payment for Meter Installation

(CAPMI)”. The Commission said the scheme would help customers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installation of prepayment meters, adding that one of the top priorities of the Commission was to ensure that the huge number of unmetered customers is reduced as rapidly as possible, and within the shortest possible time and that by doing so, the menace of “crazy billing” and other commercial losses will be greatly reduced. “In June 2012, NERC had announced that customers were no longer required to pay for electricity meters because the new tariff, at the time, had incorporated the cost of the meter in the fixed charge component of

the bill. This unfortunately, has not worked as well as the Commission had expected, and nine months after the announcement, an unacceptable number of Nigerians still remain without meters. This prompted NERC to act quickly in coming up with customer centered alternatives,” the statement said. “The Commission has also developed guidelines for the procurement and installation of the meters by accredited vendors and installers. Local manufacturers of meters will be given priority over importers, all of whom will be subject to strict guidelines and standards set by the Commission. “NERC is mindful of the fact that there are customers who have in the past made payments for

meters to their electricity companies and will ensure that customers who made these payments from January 1, 2011 are supplied within a stipulated period. “This scheme is optional and will not be imposed on customers. Only those who are willing to advance money for meters may partake in the scheme. The distribution companies are to implement this scheme until the core investors take over, expectedly by the third quarter of 2013' the NERC stated. In the meantime, CAPMI is to be subjected to a rigorous consultation process, commencing with a meeting with the core investors of the privatized electricity distribution companies.


Report as at Monday, March 11, 2013





Apo: Battle over a people’s resettlement Indigenes of Garki in the FCT intensify their efforts to ensure hitch-free resettlement following years of agitation and uncertainty. Bassey Udo reports


or indigenes of Garki, one of the sprawling sections of the nation’s capital city, the struggle continues. The struggle to ensure a hitch-free

resettlement from their ‘ancestral’ home to the ‘brand new’ site in nearby Apo, that is. Accordingly, the indigenes have constituted

an 11-man team that would work with the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ministerial committee on the implementation of Apo Resettlement Scheme. The constitution of the team representing the four communities of Garki Gbagyi, Garki Hausa, Akpanjenya and Apo, followed the resolution of the problems that had threatened the successful implementation of the scheme. Members of the team include the President of

Water vendors like these are common sight at Apo; will they also resettle to Garki?

Garki Youth Association, Joel Yezegbe; Youth Leader of Garki Hausa, Abdulwahab Musa; representative Apo Community, Daniel Vundabo; and his counterpart from Akpanjenya Community, Yohanne Gade. Other members include Josiah Shinkpe, Ayuba Tanbo and Christopher Zakka, representing Garki Gbagyi; Abubakar Liman and Danlami Bala (Garki Hausa), and Gbaiza Gimba and Elisha Baba for Greater

Gbagyi Development Initiative. The Sa-Peyi of Garki, Usman Nga-Kupi, and his Council of Chiefs in a letter presented to the I m p l e m e n t a t i o n Committee, reaffirmed their commitment to work with other members of the Committee towards the realization of its terms of reference. “We hereby state without any fear of contradiction that we are impressed with the job of the fact-finding committee.

We admit that the recommendations of the Committee were fair and just,” they noted in the letter. The Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement, Yusuf Tsaiyabu, who received the Garki representatives at the meeting, commended their decision to be part of the committee, saying that this was in the best interest of the communities and the successful implementation of the scheme. The team would work with four sub-committees constituted by the ministerial committee to fast-track the realization of the terms of reference of the committee. Mr. Tsaiyabu named the sub-committees to include those for Policy Implementation, headed by the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Micah Jiba; Community Liaising & Participation, chaired by Director of Inspection, Planning and Management of Area Council Services Secretariat, Joshua Kaura; Data Verification, led by the Director of Resettlement and Compensation, Francis Okechukwu; and Movement, headed by the Special Adviser on Lands to Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Steven Awoniyi. Mr. Tsaiyabu told committee members to see their assignment as very crucial, requiring full participation, adding that all sub-committees are expected to submit their reports by March 27. The Minister of State for Abuja Olajumoke Akinjide, recently inaugurated the

Working and cooking in unsafe places like this is a common sight in some parts of the FCT, including Apo. (Insert: FCT Minister Bala Mohammed) ministerial committee on the Implementation of Apo Resettlement Scheme chaired by Mr. Tsaiyabu, with the Special Assistant to the Minister of State on Resettlement, Benedict Ogenyi, as secretary. The committee’s terms of reference include implementing the recommendations in the report of the ministerial committee on facts-finding and the way forward on Apo Resettlement Scheme. The committee is also

expected to liaise with the Urban and Regional Planning Department to ensure that the final design of Garki Village is prepared for implementation in order to determine the exact number of houses to be left within the integrated area; consider complaints or omissions on allocations and other related issues that might have been outstanding, and effect immediate movement of the three communities (Garki, Apo and Akpajenya) to the

We hereby state without any fear of contradiction that we are impressed with the job of the fact-finding committee. We admit that the recommendations of the Committee were fair and just

Apo Resettlement site. This is even as the people are said to have raised the alarm over alleged moves by certain interests to kill a crucial report pertaining their common cause. As reported by a national daily: the “Natives of Garki District in Abuja Municipal Area Council have raised the alarm over alleged plans to abandon a report of the Ministerial Committee on Apo Resettlement Scheme headed by the Solicitor General of the FCT, Mrs. Helen Oloja. “The residents have called on the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to put his words into action by seeing to it that the report of the committee is implemented to the letter. Recall that Minister of State for the FCT , O l o y e Olajumoke Akinjide, in August 2012”, inaugurated a committee on the resettlement of Garki people and the committee submitted its report on December 13, 2012. The reports added that: President of Garki Youth Association (GYA), Comrade Joel Yazegbe, who spoke on behalf of the

natives, also urged Mohammed to restructure the Department of Resettlement and Compensation of the administration if any meaningful resolution of the resettlement crisis is to be achieved. "We don't want the report to go the way of other reports of past administrations which were not implemented. We commend the FCT administration for setting up the Ministerial Committee on Apo Resettlement Scheme. This is the best attempt made by the FCT administration to once and for all, resolve the problem which has lingered for four years. "The members of the committee met with all stakeholders including the elders, traditional rulers, youths and others. They also visited the area to see things for themselves. We told them our demands and we are hoping that they will keep to the trust they showed during the stakeholders' meetings," Yazegbe said. He further said the indigenes were holding talks among themselves and

it has been unanimously agreed that partial implementation of the recommendations of the report would not be accepted, adding that they would soon hold a news conference to that effect. "We want to be resettled and integrated by the administration within the Apo Resettlement and Garki Village. We are demanding that we are allowed to be part of the implementation process. The administration should not allow the department of Resettlement and Compensation to drive the implementation process because they are responsible for the current crisis in resettlement. "The department of resettlement and compensation cannot be trusted with the implementation of any resettlement scheme as it has failed woefully in the last four years. We want the Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, to restructure the department and bring in trustworthy people who understand the objective of the department," Yazegbe added. Source: Premium Times



By Joy Baba with agency report


he Nigerian Navy has initiated high level discussions with oil producing companies and marketers to find lasting solution to bunkering and pipeline vandalism which have become commonplace in coastal areas of the country in recent times. Declaring the parley open, the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, said the meeting was convened to find immediate solutions to the increasing rate of oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the coastal region which often led to supple disruption. Companies represented at a meeting held with the top echelon of the Naval Command led by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral D. J. Ezeoba, were major petroleum drilling firms and high profile marketers in the oil and gas sectors. Those represented at the meeting included Oando, African Petroleum [AP], Total, Mobil and Chevron as well as representatives of the ministers of finance and the minister of petroleum resources among others. The minister said that the Federal Government has become worried by the increasing ease with which petroleum installations were vandalized and compromised in the country and has challenged the security services to tackle the problem

Navy partners oil firms on pipeline vandalism head-on. She noted that the sabotage of petroleum product installations in the country has become regular incidences and added that unrestrained theft of oil products have resulted in the loss of huge sums of revenue. The minister called on oil producing companies and marketers to cooperate with government to halt the menace of oil thieves and properly secure the nation’s oil installations from both internal and external sabotage. Earlier in his address, the Chief

of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral D. J. Ezeoba disclosed that the meeting with the oil companies was called in keeping with President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to the Navy to immediately curb crude oil theft before the menace gets out of control. He said the ease with which vandals violate installations despite the presence of security personnel has become a source of worry. “It is instructive to note that whereas illegalities in the offshore areas appear to be on the decline, those in the creeks and

offshore areas are on the increase despite the presence of multiple security agencies within the environment,” Ezeoba said. The Naval Chief also said that the high cost and chronic scarcity of refined petroleum products combined with poverty was responsible for creating the fertile ground that encouraged the proliferation of illegal microrefineries especially in the Niger Delta region. Ezeoba regretted that the illegal refineries have continued to encourage and provide incentives for crude oil thieves as

Soldiers arrest impostor with tattoo of military symbol


wo soldiers on Friday at the Orile Bus Stop on the LagosBadagry Expressway in Lagos State apprehended one Mr. Assassu Ubong who paraded himself as a soldier. The soldiers, who refused to identify themselves, arrested Ubong, 27, inside a commuter bus plying CMS-Mile 2 route. The soldiers dragged Ubong down from the bus when it stopped at the bus stop. Ubong was wearing an army fez cap and plain clothes.

When the soldiers wanted to know his identity, he told them that he was a soldier and showed an army identity card, which the soldiers discovered to be fake. Probing further, the soldiers discovered that Ubong had a tattoo of military symbol on one of his hands. Ubong later told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was an ex-soldier. He said that he was dismissed from the army in 2010.

Asked why he took to impersonation, Ubong said, “after my dismissal, life was unbearable for me. “I then decided to procure a fake military identity card. “ In the morning, I will join a particular vehicle from Mile 2 to Lagos Island and wear my army cap. “When the police see me, they will not collect money from the driver. “At the end of the day, the driver will settle me.” (NAN)

L-R: Commander, 9 Brigade, Brigadier.-General Adeniyi Oyebade, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, Secretary to Lagos state government, Dr. Oluranti Adebowale, GOC, 81 Div., Major-General Abel Umahi, Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, and Lagos state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, during the GOC's visit to the governor, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

196 cadets take oath of allegiance in Makurdi


he Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, over the weekend in Makurdi administered oath of allegiance on 196 Direct Short Service Commission Cadets of the Nigeria Army, course 20/12 batch. The News Agency of Nigeria

(NAN) reports that the graduation is the 20th in the history of the Nigeria Army. Ihejirika, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno charged the cadets to uphold the values and ethics of the Nigeria Army. “I charge you all to be loyal, disciplined, hardworking, and

exhibit good character and competence, to be able to face the challenges ahead. “As a nation, we are today faced with terrorism, vandalism of oil pipelines, ethnic and religious crises, so prepare your mind to overcome these challenges”. He advised them to work

hard to justify the opportunity given to them to serve the country on the platform of the Nigerian Army. Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue urged the officers to be good ambassadors of the army and the nation. NAN reports that of the 196 cadets 12 are women. (NAN)

well as pipeline vandals but he warned that the end of their business has drawn nearer with the collaboration between government and stakeholders in the industry in the war on the monstrous vandals. The deliberation, he stated, will provide resource materials for a wider consultative retreat slated to hold in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State next month to “develop an operational template that will clearly define tangible actions to address this hydra-headed scourge.”

JTF denies complicity in Niger Delta oil theft


he Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta on over the weekend denied complicity over oil theft as Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said the menace was threatening its operations. The SPDC had threatened to shut its Nembe Trunk line because of rising incidents of oil theft within its pipeline network in Bayelsa. Mr Mutiu Sumonu, the Managing Director of SPDC, on March 4, urged the JTF to step up its activities to reduce oil theft, currently standing at about 60,000 barrels daily. Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the JTF spokesman, however, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that the outfit was recording significant success in the fight against the illegal activities. According to him, the facts at our disposal are that from January 2013 to date, 260 suspects, eight vessels, nine barges and 90 boats have been arrested. “We have also destroyed 452 illegal oil refining points. The JTF has not in any way relented in its task of combating oil theft in the region. “The statistics peddled by SPDC is very doubtful, they should look inwards as their staff possessed the expertise to crack and clamp and not the JTF,” Nwachukwu said. Nwachukwu said the JTF had adopted a robust strategy in combating oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities at various stages. According to him, this include advocacy, enlightenment campaigns, surveillance of oil installations and pipeline network. “Crude oil theft involved a complex network from the source, where crude is stolen, transported, refined and distributed. “We recently raided a distribution centre in Yenagoa and destroyed the warehouse, where the products are stored. “It is a continuous exercise aimed at making crude theft cost-ineffective, thereby, discouraging it,” he said (NAN)



Soldiers discover assault rifles and bomb making devices in senator’s house Stories by Joy Baba


igerian soldiers have discovered Six AK 47 assault rifles and some ammunition and bomb making devices in the house a serving politician, Hussain Dei Dei near Dalet barrack in Kawo area of Kaduna city following raid. This was contained a press statement from Nigeria army’s division 1 internal security force. The statement said the force was led by Brigadier General TC Ude and the raid carried out on Tuesday, March 5th 2013 at about 5.30pm following

intelligence report in the area. The statement further revealed that two men, two women and five children were arrested during the operation. Apart from six AK 47 assault rifles the military listed the following items were recovered: - One light Machine Gun. -One teargas Launcher. -Twenty Seven Loaded and Seventeen empty AK 47 magazines. -One FN Rifle Magazine. -Five Sub-Machine Gun

Magazines. - Four Pistols Magazines. -One loaded Light-Machine Gun Magazine. -Two Hundred and Seventy Five (275) rounds of 7.62 mm (NATO Ammunition). -Seven Hundred and Sixty Five (765) Rounds of 7.62 mm Special Ammunition. -Fifty Eight (58) Rounds of 9mm Ammunition. -One Hundred and Twenty Five pieces of Detonator-33. -Two Reels of Detonating Cords. -Nine Small Cans of Prepared

IED. -One paint Can of Prepared IED. -Nine pieces of 9-Volt Batteries. -Three Bags of White Chemical substance. -Five pieces of Remote Control Switches. -One Reel of Firing Cable. -Six pieces of Assorted Car Plate Numbers. The statement also urged members of the public to cooperate with the army to fish out terror cells in Kaduna. According to the statement “We would like to seize this

opportunity to solicit for more information about these terrorists and to assure you that every information received will be treated with absolute confidentiality. “Once more, let me assure the good peoples of Kaduna State in particular and Nigerians that the Nigerian Army in collaboration with other Security Agencies, will not relent on its efforts at ensuring the safety of lives and properties of the good citizens of our dear nation “.

Army pledges to defend Nigeria’s unity


igerian Army has said it will do all that it can to defend the unity of the nation to aid in sustaining its democracy. The General Officer Commanding 2 Division, Major General Ahmed Jibrin stated this in Edo State while paying courtesy visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole as part of his familiarisation tour of units under his command. Maj. Gen. Jibrin pointed out that since development could only thrive in a peaceful environment, Nigerian Army would do all its power to promote peace and unity in the country. Gen. Jibrin during his visit to the 4 Brigade Garrison and 322 Artillery Regiment in Benin City assured his men of improved living conditions and advised them to be responsible and obedient at all times. Governor Oshiomhole, on his part, commended the officers and men of the 4 Brigade who he said had been helpful in internal policing and other security issues.


he Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the NorthWest Nigeria has said 52 insurgents were killed in an operation that lasted for over ten days in Maiuduguri, Borno state capital adding that it lost two members of the force. This was contained in a statement signed by the spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa over the weekend. The attack came just a few hours after President Goodluck Jonathan lavished praises on JTF for its gallantry in the fight against the menace of insurgency during his two days working visit to Borno state. The operation according to the statement was based on information and intelligent reports. The statement said in series of operations had been conducted against the insurgents for over 10 led to deaths and arrest of

Sarkin Sudan Kontagora, HRH Alhaji Saidu Namaska (m) with Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and some senior Army officers at the Sarkin Sudan’s Palace, Kontagora. Photo: Joy Baba

JTF gun down 52 insurgents some of the insurgents including 10 of their commanders. According to Sagir in the statement, “During these operations under the period stated, there were exchanges of fire that led to the death of 52 Boko Haram terrorists including 10 commanders of the sect. “Seventy terrorists were also arrested.” The fight Sagir said lasted for five hours between the hours of 3.00 and 8.00pm around Bulabulin, Bayern quarters Jajeri areas of Maiduguri metropolis. The statement further said JTF had also seized a number of weapons found in their possession which include; 3 Anti Aircraft Guns, 10 Rocket Propelled Grenade Tubes, 3

General Purpose Machine Guns, 17 AK47 Rifles, 3 G3 Rifles, 1 Pistol (Lama), 20 RPG Bombs, 12 RPG Chargers, 1x 36 Hand Held Grenade.

Others are: 1 Teargas Rifle, 33 AK 47 Magazines, 11 FN Magazines, 3 G3 Magazines, 11,068 Assorted Ammunitions, 2 Technical Vehicles with mounted Anti Aircraft Stands, 1 Box of weapons cleaning kit, 4 Swords and 2 Knifes, 5 Walking Talkies, 4 VHF

Hand Held Sets, 1 Multi Links Router and assorted uniforms and kits. The operation according to Sagir, recorded the largest arms recovery ever made by JTF since the commencement of the insurgency.

Ihejirika lauds Army’s effort in managing security situation


hief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Azubuike Onyeabor Ihejirika, has lauded efforts of the Nigerian Army for what he described as its efforts in managing internal security in the country despite the activities of the Boko Haram sect, especially in the Northeast part of the country. Ihejirika, who was

represented by the General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Major Gen. Obi Abel Umahi, stated this at the Nigerian Army Finance Corps West Africa Social Activity (WASA) over the weekend in Lagos. Ihejirika also said that WASA was an activity inherited from the colonial masters to

unwind and socialize with families and host communities in an informal way devoid of traditional military theatrics. According to him, “We have reasons to congratulate ourselves because when we do stock taking; we believe that we have discharged our duties creditably. We have reasons to socialise”.



EU farmers, consumers shift ground on GM food, intensification Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye


n endeavour by farmers, scientists, agribusiness operators, and stakeholders in agriculture to "globalise" in support of Genetically Modified (GM) food for which the EU policy makers and government representatives are hitherto inflexible, has received a major boost with actors voting almost at parity. The sixth Forum for Agriculture (FFA), held at The Square, Brussels, Belgium, recently ended with capitulation by the Europeans on some key issues. The first came after the impressive presentation made by Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina on Africa's new way for food production and economic development. FFA has become, to Europeans, a "Davos for agriculture," as one of the speakers said at the event. As European countries set the pace for themselves on the future of their own agriculture, a discovery at Brussels shows that Africa is one of the solutions they are considering, as one of the leading speakers noted that "there are a lot of complementarities between Africa and the EU. This brought Nigeria into focus as it addresses its own peculiar agricultural challenges and prospects. And that opportunity was amply utilised as Dr. Adesina sought to convince Europe of the prospects ahead for Africa in agriculture. Franz Fischler, Chair of Forum for Agriculture 2012 and chairman of Rise Foundation, agreed that the future of agriculture in Africa is bright. In his concluding remarks, Fischler said he was impressed about the optimism expressed by Dr. Adesina on the future of African agriculture. He said he became convinced after listening to the minister, although he stressed that the EU agricultural stakeholders have been pessimistic before now. Joris Relaes, Director of Cabinet at Cabinet MinisterPresident Kris Peeters, told the gathering of farmers, scientists, agribusiness operators, EU policy makers and government representatives that "transition towards bio-economy is already happening." He estimated EU's bio-economy as being worth 2 trillion euros. He reckoned that "every euro invested in bioeconomy now will yield 10 euros in 2025." Bio-economy involves a production system that uses biological systems, one of which,

Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina presenting paper at a Forum for Agriculture (FFA), held at The Square, Brussels, Belgium

prominently, is the genetic engineering. Bio-economy is expected to lead to a reduction in carbon dioxide; it was agreed at the forum. And Mr. Relaes concurred that genetic modification cannot be avoided if bio-economy is to grow. He emphasised that bio-economy is "knowledge-based" and "would require investment and innovation to grow." If issues discussed were not put into vote, it could easily have been concluded that Relaes expressed only his own opinion. At voting time when four key issues considered as urgent priorities were tabled, a greater number of participants, standing at 31 per cent of voters, voted in favour of a shift in stance, accepting widespread application of new technologies, including genetic modification as the most urgent option of solutions to European agriculture, going forward. Europe has hitherto been very rigid on application of genetic modification in agriculture. Dr. Sara Nigro, explaining Syngenta's involvement in the forum, said this was "big for awareness on public policy making to have interactions, debates and discussions on ideas." According to her, it was nice to interact with stakeholders who are farmers and consumers in such a place, to know what their customers want on agricultural policy. This, she said, was "a good way

to discuss, to create awareness on how farmers can interact with the environment." According to Dr. Nigro, "biotechnology can help protect farmers against losses and in the conservation of genetic materials, especially medicinal plants." It can also help on "what types of interventions are needed," such as herbicide tolerance, disease resistance tolerance and higher yields. "It could be introduced as a balance," she said, "but the education of the people is key. It is good to get scientists to discuss and explain why genetically modified foods are safe." Another thorny issue in European agriculture also received a hard look. Europe is not taking lightly the issue of intensification. Again, De Castro, Chair of Agriculture and Rural Development Committee,

European Parliament, noted unapologetically that "sustainable intensification is the way to go." He called for "more public investment in research and development," arguing that the private sector spends so much more than the public sector on R&D. Despite a call for intensification of agriculture as part of the theme of the conference, voting revealed a narrow difference (at 44 per cent) between those who want farm sizes to increase to enable economies of scale and those who are in favour of intensification (42 per cent) while 18 per cent of voters were undecided. Europe may well be backpedalling on earlier decisions on agricultural intensification, forced on them by rights activists. Allan Buckwell, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of


biotechnology can help protect farmers against losses and in the conservation of genetic materials, especially medicinal plants

Environmental Policy, simply observed that battery cages farming in poultry and livestock cannot be washed away, especially as extensive farming puts pressure on land. This statement came against the backdrop of a dilemma on whether to open up more land for farming or to sustainably use existing agricultural land under intensification. It was agreed upon that intensification in crop farming is not the same as animal farming. And Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for the environment concluded that "agricultural policy must work in favour of biodiversity, wastes and climate. We must keep partnership between agricultural and environmental policies. Franz Fischler reiterated what Bob Zoelick had earlier said, that "we are starting a new era in agriculture." And, in the coming one decade and a half, "we can expect a steady increase in commodity prices, volatility and increase in prices." Fischler said that the profitability of agriculture in Europe will not grow. Europe will lose an increasing number of agricultural work forces. The question then came: how to intensify sustainably, considering economy, ecology and social protection? Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye is a Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.



Agric ministry trains women on entrepreneurial aqua-culture By Mohammed Kandi


s part of its effort to strengthen the A g r i c u l t u r a l Transformation Agenda (ATA) with a view to create wealth and employment for women, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has organised a three-day training exercise for young women in aqua-culture entrepreneurship in the South-West part of the country as part of its effort to create employment for women in the area. The exercise, which was flagged-off recently in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, had participants from Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos state. A statement issued by Muhammad Alkali Adam, an official of the ministry, quoted the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, as saying “the training is part of this administration’s efforts in addressing the problems of unemployment and hunger in the country.” The Permanent Secretary, represented by Regional Director, South-West,


Participants at the ongoing workshop on bee-keeping and honey processing for youths and women at Shada in Gwagwalada, Abuja.

Abdulkadir Olayekon, declared that the ministry’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) would not only tackle the problem of unemployment among women, as well as create wealth and achieve food security

…Partners NGO to educate women and youth in bee-keeping, honey processing


he Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Betty Nnadi Farms, has organised a ten-day bee-keeping and honey processing workshop for youths and women carefully selected different parts of the country. The training, which is ongoing at Shada in Gwagwalada, Abuja, is the initiative of Gender and Youth Division of the ministry towards reducing unemployment rate in the country. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, dislosed that, “This group of trainees will essentially function on their own rights as an organised bee-keepers and honey processors that can have links with their counterparts all over the world I term s of marketing and sharing of ideas.” Represented by the ministry’s Director of Planning, Research and Statistic, Umar Hussaini, Odusote said at the end of the training, “each trainee will be supported with a starter pack comprising; Top Bar Hive, Trap Hive, Bellow Smoker, Bee Suits

River basin undertakes irrigation for rice farming in Delta

and Veils, Hive Tools, Boots, Hand Gloves and Swam Trap.” Also speaking, Dr Betty Nnadi of Betty Nnadi Farms, a corporate organisation that specialises in beekeeping and honey processing in Africa, advised that beekeeping be made a top priority in socio-economic development and environmental conservation in the country. “It is estimated that the sector could generate as much as 9-10 million dollars each year from sales of honey and beeswax and employ about 5, 000 people,” Nnadi said. “In recent years, demand for the product both in the local and the international market have increased. Turkey request for over 10 tonnes of honey every year and Nigeria has bigger market in the United Arab Emirate (AEU), East Africa Region, while the markets for beeswax are in Japan and EU countries,” Nnadi explained. One of the participants at the training, Magit John, urged other members to concentrate in the programme so as to achieve the entire benefit of the workshop.

in Nigeria. Odusote observed that there was the need for Government at all levels to convert its human resources into actionable programmes and have them implemented to make meaningful impacts on the economy, adding that, “it is also necessary to set up a deliberate drive for the training of our employed women and Youth Nationwide on different agricultural enterprises along the value chains.” The permanent secretary also said the theme for the training focuses on organising women into co-operatives and train them in fish farming, advising participants to “be committed and build consensus around all relevant areas of aquaculture to see that the targets for fish production and reprocessing in Nigeria are achieved.” She therefore implored them to make best use of both the theory and practical sessions that could prepare them best trainees, assuring that any trainee who shows high level of commitment and seriousness by putting what she learnt into practice will

further be supported and encourage in forming cooperative groups. Also speaking, Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Peter Odetomi, described the training as “timely” as the government’s attention has been shifted from crude oil based revenue to agricultural production. Odetomi also pointed out that the Oyo State Government was doing a lot to strengthen aquaculture activities in the state, with a view to making farming an attractive business to all class of people in the state. In her remarks, Deputy Director, Women in Agriculture, Mrs Zainab O. Towobola who double as coordinator of the training, informed that the ministry intends to encourage local fish production, processing and facilitate trade development so as to elevate the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises from local to national levels. Towobola commended both the consultants, resource persons, participants and the state government for making the training workshop a huge success.

enin-Owena River Basin Development Authority has said it will embark on land irrigation for rice farming in Delta. The Manager, Asaba Area Office of the organisation, Mr. Charles Ovweigho, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba recently. Ovwigho said that 100 hectares of land, out of the 200 hectares earmarked for rice farming on Asaba-Illah Road, would be irrigated to enable the farmers to cultivate the commodity during the dry season. He explained that the entire 200 hectares would be cultivated during the rainy season, adding that the 100 hectares for the irrigation would also be cultivated during the dry season. He said contract for the irrigation was awarded in 2012 at N200 million, adding that the project was split into two units. He said the cost of the irrigation in one unit included the installation of sprinkling system, electrical works and other accessories. Ovwigho stated that the project was part of Federal Government’s strategies to ensure food security in the country. “The whole essence of the irrigation is for the rice farmers to have the opportunity to cultivate rice in the dry season”, he said. He said preparation of the 200 hectares would begin this month to enable planting to begin in May. He also said that Federal Government would compensate persons whose farms were destroyed by the recent flooding “with improved rice seedlings and other inputs”. “Most of the farmers were greatly impacted by the recent flooding and government has promised to assist them with the clearing of the land and with improved rice seedlings to enable them to go back to business.” (NAN)

Onion preservation: Kebbi govt. approves training for officials, farmers in Morocco


overnor Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State has approved the training of government officials and farmers in the state in Morocco in the technology of preserving and drying onions. The statement issued by the Press Secretary to the Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Mua’azu, in Birnin Kebbi, said the governor gave the approval in response to

the request of farmers against the background of large scale production of onions. It said the training was aimed at improving the commercial production of onions through modern farming methods. The statement said the farmers had expressed fears that they would lose the value of their produce because of the lack of knowledge of the preservation

and drying of onions. It said the choice of Morocco for the training was because of the advanced technology at its disposal for the preservation of onions. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aliero and Gwandu local government areas are major commercial onion producing parts of the state. (NAN)



Harnessing renewable energy sources for development By Cecilia Ologunagba


s a result of the danger posed to the environment by fossil fuels, the world is shifting towards low-carbon energy to be powered by new energy sources. These new sources range from cleaner fossil fuels to renewable energy. Fossil fuels are high-carbon sources of fuel like oil, gas and coal which form the bulk of energy consumption worldwide. Renewable energy comprises energy mix of wind, bio-mass, solar, hydro and geothermal. It is low in carbon, cheaper and environmentfriendly, experts say. Mr Henner Weithoner, Chief Editor of Renewable Energy Journal based in Germany, notes that some companies and countries will source for alternative energy because fossil fuels will be difficult to maintain because of Kyoto Protocol. ``Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that sets binding obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. ``Most countries did not carry out the agreement arrived at during the Copenhagen conference as regards reduction of carbon dioxide emission. ``Lack of commitment on the part of those countries has increased the cost of achieving the carbon dioxide goal and it has made it less likely to happen, unless commitments are fully implemented by 2020. ``Renewable energies are entering the mainstream but we need longer-term support to boost their competitiveness,'' he says. Available statistics show that more than 80 per cent of the energy consumption in the world is still fossil fuels while renewable energy is put at 20 per cent. Nigeria is one of the countries that relies heavily on fossil fuel, especially oil and gas to meet its energy needs. The Nigerian Energy Policy Report estimates that less than 40 per cent of the population is connected to the National Grid. The report says the grid is powered by hydro and thermal, which itself comprises of fossil fuels which are capable of emitting carbon dioxide. Nigeria is faced with the challenge of increasing energy production to meet its local demand and probably for export. The country is also faced with the challenge to develop technologies to open new sources of oil and natural gas that will be environment-friendly and emit less carbon dioxide. A German solar consultant, Dr Klaus Heidler, says for Nigeria to address these challenges, it must develop its hydro potential by fully utilising its dams and rivers for hydro-power. Heidler says it is dangerous for a country to rely solely on one source of energy, but that it is always good to combine it with at least four types of renewable energy.

Solar panels being nstalled on a residential roof ``Hydro-power does not supply much electricity during dry season because of low level of water in dams; so there is the need to generate other sources to augment hydro source. ``Solar set can generate and store power during the day while wind energy generates power more in the night. ``It will take at least four mix renewable energies for

sustainability in case of crisis situation.'' Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who agrees with Heidler, says that ``Africa must not be delinked from the renewable energy revolution.'' According to him,`` renewable energy holds the promise for Africa's energy self-sufficiency and availability.'' Mr Imo Ekpo, a dam and energy

Renewable energy resources wind turbines

expert, says for Nigeria to overcome its electricity problem, it must utilise its renewable energy potential effectively. Ekpo urges the government to take drastic action that will ensure reliable and sustainable power supply. He, however, attributed the low development of renewable energy in Africa to paucity of funds to develop the sector.

He identifies other factors responsible for the under-utilisation of hydro and renewable energy potential to include inadequate manpower, inconsistent policy and political instability on the continent. In order to harness its renewable energy potential, Nigeria in 2007 launched the Renewable Energy Master Plan. The Council for Renewable Energy in Nigeria (CREN), says the renewable energy plan includes short, medium and long-term targets for a comprehensive renewable energy development. ``The successful implementation will result in the installation of 2,945 mega watts of wind, solar photo voltaic, solar thermal, small-scale hydro and biomass by 2025, roughly equivalent of the entire capacity of energy used in Nigeria today.'' The council also states that renewable energy has the potential to boost the economy by generating 500,000 jobs in the next 10 years. ``The injection of 2,945 mega watts of renewable energy will address the issue of estimated $1 billion lost yearly by manufacturers due to unstable power supply,'' CREN says. With all the benefits that renewable energy has over fossil fuels, experts want the government to intensify efforts to harness the renewable energy potential of the country. They say if necessary actions are taken to develop the sector, Nigeria will overcome its energy challenge very soon. Source: NAN



ANALYSIS By Charles Onunaiju


ugo Chavez, former Venezuela President who died last week after more than a year battle with cancer is no ordinary leader. His country of about 27 million people is not even reckoned as a heavyweight in the region, where Brazil and Argentina are considered regional power houses. However, Hugo Chavez took his country from relative obscurity to international stardom. The former military paratrooper, whose parents were teachers, was agitated at the misery of the majority of Venezuelans even when the country is hugely endowed with oil wealth. While in the army, Colonel Chavez was studious, reading materials on Argentineborn Marxist revolutionary, Ernesto Che Guevara and the 19th century South American liberator, the Venezuelan-born Simon Bolivar. Within the army, Chavez founded the revolutionary Bolivarian movement and following the nation-wide protests at a severe austerity measures imposed by president Carlos Andre Perez, he launched a coup in February 1992, which failed after 18 lives have been lost with about 60 persons injured before the coup was put down. Colonel Chavez was sentenced to two years in jail and when he came out he founded the movement for the fifth republic. Earlier while he was in the military academy, senior officers in the army hierarchy has been alarmed at how he has embellished his course content which he teaches with revolutionary exhortation and then sent him off to one of the most interior areas in the country, Apure state. There, Chavez activism did not cease, as he sought out the indigenous tribes and began linking them in organizational chain with other marginalized groups. Having been freed from military duty after completion of his jail term, Chavez launched headlong into politics. In 1998, he was elected the president of the Venezuelan Republic. After taking office in 1999, he launched massive social and political reforms and efforts by his government to take over the country's national oil company (PDVSA), which was held by the former ruling establishment and their international partners drew their ire, resulting in 2002 military coup, which saw president Chavez briefly kidnapped. The massive denunciation of the coup and popular protest for his restoration to power led to his been returned to office two days after he was abducted from the presidential palace and taken to an island. The U.S then, under the extremist neo-conservative clique led by the trio of George W. Bush, his vice president, Mr Dick Cheney and defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld openly backed the coup against Chavez. Many conspiracy theorists

Hugo Chavez

A tribute to Hugo Chavez (1954-2013) believed that while Chavez was held by the enemy for that period, he was infected by the deadly cancer virus, when it was considered inauspicious and too dangerous to liquidate him then. However, from the 2002, president Chavez took drastic measures to deepen his social reform, which he dubbed the Bolivarian revolution named after the South American 19th century independent hero Simon Bolivar. The government took total control of the national oil company using its huge revenue to finance the social missions which includes new hospital, schools, affordable housing for the poor and marginalized groups, including the minority AfricanVenezuelans. The core of his social and political reform at home was the integration of the marginalized groups into the mainstream of society through vast spending on education, health, housing and infrastructure linking formerly inaccessible interiors to the central cities. According to a BBC obituary, under Chavez, "Venezuela has the fairest income distribution in Latin America."

Basic essentials were heavily subsidized as a litre of petrol is sold cheaper than a bottle of coca cola. The Venezuelan ambassador to Nigeria nearly caused a diplomatic foure, when he visited the ministry of information in 2009 and reportedly wondered aloud why the price of petroleum product is so high and why the exploration and production of Nigeria's oil is still in foreign hands. President Chavez brought the full benefit of the Venezuelan natural resources to its people. However, if Chavez has limited his Bolivarian revolution to the deep and profound domestic reforms, perhaps he would be known as mere honest leader to his people. President Chavez took on, the Mr Bush White House; denouncing him at a time he launched the U.S infamous war against terror, wondering aloud "how terror could be used to fight terror". From his denunciation of the U.S Empire to a clarion call for the unity of south Americans, president Chavez shot to global spotlight. He was unsparing in attacking U.S bully tactics against countries of strong


Having been freed from military duty after completion of his jail term, Chavez launched headlong into politics. In 1998, he was elected the president of the Venezuelan Republic.

independent position, like Iran. Chavez would chastised the U.S openly for leading the campaign against Iran's nuclear programme, while condoning the only well-known but undeclared nuclear armed state in the region, Israel. At Chavez's funeral in Caracas last week, president Ahmadinejad, the only non-South American leader to attend the funeral made a dramatic move of kissing the coffin of Chavez, which was massively applauded. Chavez did not just rally South American unity, but bankrolled most of its institutional building blocks. And from the example of Hugo Chavez, most countries in the region plucked in for reformist and revolutionary leaders breaking the stranglehold of Washington in the region. Immediately after Chavez's victory in 1998, Bolivia elected its first ethnic Indian leader, the socialist Evo Morales and former shoe shine boy and previously perpetual presidential candidate, Mr. Inacio De Lula and his formerly fringe workers party (PT) was elected in a landslide in Brazil, the region's most populated country. Taking cue, Argentina, another regional heavyweight elected the late Nestor Kirchner who was succeeded by his wife, Christine, Ecuador elected the formidable former economics professor Rafael Correa, Nicaragua returned the revolutionary Sandinistas to power, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras, Peru also returned moderate reformist and revolutionary parties to office. Cuba which has previously stood alone in the revolutionary defiance of Washington found itself among regional dependable, chief among them, was Chavez's Venezuela. The acting president of Venezuela, Mr. Nicholas Maduro,

who Chavez has appointed the vice president while on sick bed and had exhorted Venezuelans to rally behind in case he did not survive as has happened now, was a Cuban trained trade unionist. MrMaduro, former foreign minister, who is 50 years old, was also former bus driver, and wellhoned in the socialist paradigm. Mr Hugo Chavez electrified the region and beyond with fiery revolutionary exhortations of unity of all developing nations. He placed Venezuela in the vanguard of developing nations seeking a more equitable fairer and just international economic order. He sought to establish a Bank of the south as an alternative to the stringent conditions imposed by the western controlled Bretton Woods institutions of World Bank and international Monetary Fund (IMF). He actively promoted Venezuelan engagement in Africa, opening new embassies and strengthening the existing ones. As part of active co-operation with Africa, Venezuela under Chavez provided scholarships and other training and capacity building measures for African countries. When the first Africa South America summit was held in Abuja in 2008, constrained by a general election, he was candidate at that time to attend; he sent a high powered delegation led by the foreign minister, Nicholas Maduro. His most dependable regional ally, the Bolivian leader Evo Morales attended the Abuja meeting. Earlier in 2007, he hosted the elaborate Venezuela Africa cultural fiesta which brought several cultural groups, Intellectuals and artists from across Africa including Nigeria. Under President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela became a global force not in the realm of rhetoric as the west claims, but a critical builder of third world solidarity, effectively seeking alternative institutional platform to foster mutual co-operations other than ones created and dominated by the west. With the death of Hugo Chavez, a key chain in the resistance to imperialist hegemony has broken. At the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world was nearly ensnared to the seemingly humble and victorious west determined to establish a global dĂŠtente equality, freedom and fairness. It took the Hugo Chavez to alert to the new insidious imperialist machination at world domination which was no less pernicious to the era of super power rivalry. From his election to the presidency in 1998, Hugo Chavez was an indomitable social reformer at home as a formidable whistle blower on the world stage, regarding the Washington machinations and exposing the several levers and strands of western manipulation and domination for which he was heavily paid by demonization and ridicule in the western press. In the death of President Chavez, the world's marginalized people have lost a bold spokesman and for the Venezuelans, an irreplaceable social crusader and ardent visionary have exited.



ICC drops Kenyatta co-accused's case T

he International Criminal Court (ICC) has dropped charges against Francis Muthaura, a coaccused of Kenya's presidential election winner Uhuru Kenyatta, the prosecutor has said. FatouBensouda said some witnesses were too scared to testify, while another had recanted his statement. Mr Muthaura was accused of fuelling violence after the 2007 election. Mr Kenyatta, who won last week's election, is due to be tried later this year on similar charges. Mr Muthaura, a former cabinet secretary, was on the same side as Mr Kenyatta during the disputed 2007 election, following which more than 1,000 people were killed and about 600,000 were left homeless. Mr Kenyatta is accused of organising attacks on members of ethnic groups seen as supporting RailaOdinga against President MwaiKibaki. He denies the charges. Ms Bensouda stressed that

her decision had no relation to Mr Kenyatta's victory over Mr Odinga in the 4 March election. "Let me be absolutely clear on one point - this decision applies only to Mr Muthaura," she said in a statement. "It does not apply to any other case."

Ms Bensouda said she had dropped charges against Mr Muthaura for some reasons which include"several people who may have provided important evidence have died, while others were "too afraid" to testify for the prosecution;the

"disappointing fact" that Kenya's government had failed to provide important evidence, and failed to facilitate access to witnesses; anda key witness against Mr Muthaura had "recanted a crucial part of his evidence" and admitted taking bribes" Ms Bensouda added.

Uhuru Kenyatta (centre left) and Francis Muthaura (centre right) were on the same side during the disputed 2007 election.

Alcohol poisoning kills 51 in Libya


t least 51 people have died after drinking tainted homemade alcohol in Tripoli, Libyan health officials say. They say 378 have been taken to the capital's hospitals since Saturday, and the number may rise further. A hospital official told the BBC the deaths occurred from methanol poisoning and that many patients were undergoing kidney dialysis

for treatment. The consumption and sale of alcohol is illegal in Libya, but it is available on the black market. The Libyan health officials say 38 people have now died in Tripoli hospitals and another 13 as they were travelling to neighbouring Tunisia for treatment. A state of emergency has been declared in the capital's hospitals.

The alcohol in question is a cheap local brew known as Bokha. It is distilled from various fruits like figs, dates or grapes. But industrial spirits - like methanol - are sometimes used to increase the potency of the drink, the BBC's RanaJawad in Tripoli reports. Health risks after drinking methanol include kidney failure, blindness, seizures and

death. Interior ministry official Hussein al-Amry told the BBC that special units had surrounded locations where the homemade alcohol was thought to have been brewed. He added that the ministry was prepared to use force if the owners did not comply with an order to vacate the premises. Alcohol is also smuggled into Libya from Tunisia, Algeria and Malta.

Malawi: 10 arrested over failed coup plot


t least 10 people in Malawi, including current and former government ministers, have been arrested over an alleged coup plot. Police fired tear gas to break

President Joyce Banda

up a crowd protesting against the arrests in the main city, Blantyre. Among those arrested are government minister GoodallGondwe and ex-minister Peter Mutharika. They are accused of plotting a coup to try and prevent President Joyce Banda from taking power last year. Her predecessor, BinguwaMutharika, unexpectedly died of a heart attack last April. "I can confirm that following the release of a report into the death of President Mutharika, the law enforcement agencies in Malawi are of the strong view that certain criminal offences were committed by certain individuals and as a result arrests have been effected," Information Minister

Moses Kunkuyu told the BBC. Eight former government ministers have been arrested, including ex-Health Minister Jean Kalirani and Presidential Affairs Minister Nicholas Dausi, says Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre. The report, presented to Ms Banda last Wednesday following an official inquiry, alleged that government ministers and other senior officials held a number of secret meetings aimed at preventing Ms Banda - then vicepresident - from assuming the presidency in accordance with the constitution, our reporter says. According to the report, Peter Mutharika, a brother of the dead president and a former foreign minister, and Mr Gondwe, the current economic planning minister, had suggested to army

commander Gen Henry Odillo that the military "just take over", our correspondent says. However, the report quotes Gen Odillo as saying "he was uncomfortable with the suggestion for it was not provided for in the constitution", our correspondent adds. Peter Mutharika is the presidential candidate of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in elections due next year. Police fired teargas at around 500 people protesting against the arrests outside police headquarters in Blantyre, while another group, estimated to be in the thousands, blocked the main highway to the capital, Lilongwe, with boulders and branches, AFP news agency reports.

South Sudan army to pull out of border buffer zone


outh Sudan's President SalvaKiir has ordered his country's army to pull out of a buffer zone area on the border with Sudan as agreed at African Union-brokered talks, South Sudan's army spokesman said on Monday. The two former civil war rivals agreed at the talks on Friday to order the withdrawal within a week to ease tensions that have plagued them since South Sudan seceded in July 2011. After teetering on the brink of full-scale conflict in April during the worst border clashes since their split, the two countries had agreed in September to set up the buffer zone. However, they did not implement it. The agreement, if adhered to, would be a major step toward resuming oil exports from landlocked South Sudan through pipelines in Sudan, which Juba shut off during a row over fees more than a year ago. Both countries depended heavily on oil for revenue and the foreign currency they use to import food and fuel for their conflict-weary and impoverished populations. "The Sudan People's Liberation Army has received instructions from the commander in chief of the SPLA (army), President SalvaKiir, to effect the withdrawal from the proposed safe demilitarized buffer zone," South Sudan armed forces spokesman Philip Aguer said. The withdrawal would take about two weeks, he said. Negotiations over unresolved issues after the partition of the two countries, including border disputes, oil and debt have been marred by mutual distrust from a decades-long north-south civil war when some 2 million people were killed.

President SalvaKiir


Asia and Middle East


everal Afghan and US-led coalition service members have been killed in the latest suspected insider attack on the international military force. Afghan officials said the incident on Monday took place in Wardak, a flashpoint province for


Scores killed in Afghan 'insider attack'

Taliban violence on the doorstep of Kabul, the capital. "Today one or several individuals wearing an ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) uniform turned his or their weapon at a group of Afghan ... and coalition service members and killed several on both sides," a NATO spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said that a man wearing an Afghan police uniform opened fire with a mounted machine gun. Our correspondent said the shooting reportedly went on for 20 minutes and that the incident would be the second insider attack in Afghanistan within a week. Two Americans were killed

but it was yet unclear how many Afghan soldiers had died in the attack, our correspondent said. SediqSediqqi, interior ministry spokesman, confirmed the location as Jalrez in Wardak and said a delegation had been sent from Kabul to investigate. The incidents comes after the end of a two-week ultimatum from Hamid Karzai for

Washington to remove a USoperated elite force from the troubled province because the Afghan president said they were fuelling "insecurity and instability" there. In separate incident on Monday, Afghan officials said that US troops shot and killed two civilians as their truck was approaching a US convoy.

S Korea-US drill stirs tensions with North


outh Korean and US troops have launched a joint military exercise as North Korea, which has slammed the drill and threatened both countries with nuclear attack, severed its hotline with Seoul.

Bodies found in Aleppo's 'river of martyrs'


yrian opposition campaigners have said at least 20 bodies of young men shot by security forces were found in a small waterway running through the contested city of Aleppo. Sunday's discovery was the largest in a single day of number of bodies lifted from what became known as "the river of martyrs" after 65 bodies washed up in late January. An average of several bodies a day have been appearing in the river since, several activists in the northern city, which is near Turkey, told Reuters news agency. Most bodies found so far floated down the River Quwaiq to the opposition-held Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood after being dumped in an upstream district in central Aleppo under the control of President Bashar al-Assad's forces where several security compounds are located, opposition activists in Aleppo said. There was no official comment from the government. State media said the bodies found in January were those of people abducted and killed by al-Nusra Front. Syrian authorities have banned most independent media, making it difficult to verify reports from inside Syria. Video footage taken on Sunday, which could not be immediately verified, showed 16 bodies of young men dressed in casual clothes lying on the banks of the small stream. Some had their hands bound, and many appeared to have been shot in the head or had deep wounds to the neck. Some were gagged. One body was covered with mud and flies. Louay al-Halabi, an activist in Aleppo, said he was present when the bodies were dug up. He added that bodies had been turning up in Quwaiq when the water level, which is controlled from a government held area, was on the high side. "I counted 23 bodies today. One man literally had his brains blown out," Halabi said. Halabi said the men appeared to have been prisoners at security compounds in governmentcontrolled areas taken either dead or alive to a public park in the centre of Aleppo that has been turned into a barracks.

The start of the two-week annual "Key Resolve" exercise follows a week of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea lashing out over tightened UN sanctions adopted after its third nuclear test last month. Pyongyang has condemned the joint manoeuvres as a provocative invasion rehearsal and announced that - effective Monday - it was scrapping the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War with the South. The South's Unification Ministry confirmed that the North appeared to have carried through on another promise to sever the hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul. The two sides habitually speak twice a day, but "the North did not answer our call this morning," a spokeswoman for the South's Unification Ministry said. The hotline was installed in 1971 and the North has severed it on five occasions in the past - most recently in 2010. And the RodongSinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling communist party, confirmed in Monday's edition the "complete end" of the ceasefire which halted the 1950-53 Korean War hostilities.

US war ships participate in the joint military exercises, dubbed Key Resolve, between South Korea and the US.

Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline defies US


resident Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have inaugurated a controversial gas pipeline linking the two neighbours. The US has warned that the project could incur sanctions connected with Iran's nuclear programme. The long-delayed pipeline is seen in Pakistan as a way of alleviating the country's chronic energy shortages. The work on the Iranian side is almost complete. Monday marks the start of construction in Pakistan. Live television footage showed the two presidents shaking hands with dignitaries as the ceremony got under way at the border. A total of 780km (485 miles) of pipeline is due to be built in the country over the next two years. Dubbed the "peace pipeline", talks on the project began in 1994. The pipeline was initially intended to carry gas on to India, but Delhi withdrew from negotiations in 2009 just a year after it signed a nuclear deal with the US. The US says the project would enable Iran to sell more of its gas, undermining efforts to step up pressure over Tehran's nuclear activities.

Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Left) with President Asif Ali Zardari at the inauguration.

Bodies being retrieved from River Quwaiq.



The Indian coin divers of Yamuna river I t sometimes amazes me how humans are able to find a source of livelihood in almost any type of environment, in accordance with their surroundings. Case-inpoint, the coin divers of the Yamuna River, in Delhi, India's capital city. This unique group of men works around the year, braving the bone-chilling cold waters even during winters, to dive into the river and retrieve coins from the bottom. The same coins that are thrown into the waters by passengers of boats crossing the river, as an offering to the River Goddess. Wondering what such an offbeat job pays? Well, sometimes as little as 100-200 rupees (US $ 2 to 3) a day, and sometimes as much as a diamond ring. 22-year-old Sartaj Ahmed has been in the profession of coin-diving for the past 6 years. The brave young man says he started diving when he was just a boy, but it was only when he turned 18 that he began hunting for coins. "Some days I get 100-200 rupees but on lucky days, I can find small trinkets. I have even found a gold ring once." 34year-old Sajad Ahmed has been at it for 20 long years. He says it gets harder and harder each other, but they really do not have any other

A diver preparing to delve coins. choice. 21-year-old Amit Kumar, who's been doing this for 10 years, says, "We dive into the river and collect coins, brass, copper, sometimes even silver and gold." Diving for coins is the only source of his daily income. "What can be done, I have to do something for my living. We live here so we keep diving here." Vicky, another young diver, says, "I dive and normally take home money for my daily expenses." Raju says that he

prefers coin diving because he doesn't like working for a boss. It's very easy work, they say, since they know exactly where the coins are. Sometimes, they actually witness devotees flinging coins, so they can dive for them immediately. And as trains pass by on the bridge over the river, they know to dive exactly between pillars numbered 8 and 9, because this is where all the devotees drop their money. The divers

say it isn't bad luck for them, taking the offerings of the devotees, because they believe that the holy water neutralizes all things evil that come their way. The diving technique is unique the go in head first with their hands stretched out and feet up. They keep their eyes closed the whole time so their hands become their eyes when they search for the money. Each diving session lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, before they come

out and try again at a different spot. The coin divers begin work at 7 or 8 in the morning and go on until they break for lunch, sometimes diving from the bridge and sometimes from the banks. The hunt for treasure continues post lunch, as long as the sun is in the sky. The coin divers are so skilled at fishing things out of the river that their services are sometimes employed for other purposes. The Delhi police, for instance, takes their assistance in fishing out bodies that have been dumped into the river. They've even been issued official 'diver' ID cards by the police. Sajad likes this aspect of his job. "I feel like I'm doing my bit for the dead who have been denied a proper funeral," he says. Interestingly, the divers are pretty smart and have devised innovative ways to get coins out of the river. If the water's too cold and they're unable to go in, they use strong magnets tied to strings and that works really well for the newer coins. Now, there's an interesting way to try 'fishing for money'. Now, if you're ever in Delhi and desperately in need of somechange ,you know where to look.

Bathing in fermented Sawdust - the latest bizarre beauty treatment from Japan


orget about greasy creams, mud wraps and even Botox shots. All you need to keep your skin looking healthy and beautifulis a good old fashioned fermented sawdust bath. It's all the rage right now in Japan, and everyone seem to love it. Women will do all sorts of weird things to their bodies in order to keep themselves looking younger for just a little longer. That includes extreme plastic surgery, having their breasts slapped, and even their teeth

chiseled, but the Japanese seem to have discovered a much less intrusive magic way of rolling back the clock and keeping old-age disorders at bay - bathing in fermented sawdust. It's really not as disgusting as it sounds, and many beauty experts from the Land of the Rising Sun swear by it. Apparently, just 15 to 20 minutes of being covered in sawdust from cedar and cypress trees improves circulation, cleans skin and helps with muscle pain, among other health claims. A diver preparing to delve coins.

Therapist administering the sawdust bath.

Enzymes from vegetation and fruit ferment within the sawdust to warm the body, bringing the temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius and making you sweat like you've just finished a 2-hour marathon. The process is said to activate your internal organs, thus optimizing metabolism, raising immunity and improving circulation. It also stimulates sweating without clogging the pores and washes away sebum and dirt from your skin. The popularity of

fermented sawdust baths at beauty salons around Japans has soared in recent years, but the treatment itself was invented over 70 years ago, in Hokkaido. Today, it's considered a miracle cure for a variety of conditions, including acne, anemia, hypertension, arthritis and e v e n o b e s i t y , which makes women gladly fork out as much as 짜6,300 ($70) to get buried up to their necks in sawdust, for 15 minutes. The dry sawdust from Yoshino Cypress trees grown in the Nara Prefecture is finely ground and undergoes a

unique fermentation process. Enzymes from fruit and flowers are added to the wooden byproduct, making it each temperatures of 70-80 degrees Celsius, without any artificial heating. So there you have it ladies, the magical beauty treatment you've been waiting for. Unfortunately, you probably won't find it available in many places outside of Japan just yet. So the next time you plan a trip to Nippon, make sure to visit one of the many fermented sawdust beauty salons, and see what all the fuss is about.



How foods that leave a bitter taste in the mouth could prevent asthma attacks T By Claire Bates

hey may create an unpleasant sensation in the mouth, but how we respond to bitter foods could help scientists prevent asthma attacks. A study found eating something tart stimulates taste receptors in the airway cells

which improves airflow by relaxing the muscles. Some foods such as Thai kale and bitter melon can even dilate airway cells that have already contracted, a process known as bronchodilation. Scientists from the University of Massachusetts hope the discovery will pave the way for

Bitter melons and Thai kale can dilate airway cells, according to a study By Roger Dobson


ith its sweet, earthy taste and ruby-red interior, beetroot is a favourite of foodies, but there's far more to it than that. We explain how the secret weapon of sports stars increases fitness and can help stave off cancer... Hale and hearty The majority of beetroot's benefits stem from the unusually high levels of nitrates it contains gram for gram it possesses about 20 times more than most other vegetables. Nitrates have suffered a bad reputation because of their use as a food additive. Animal experiments had linked their commercial use to

potent new treatments for asthma. Study leader Dr RonghuaZhuGe, said: 'I am excited that someday, with more research, there may be a new class of bronchodilators which are able to reverse an asthma attack quicker and with fewer side effects than is currently available to patients.' He added that experiments in mice suggest the relaxing effects of bitter substances may even be faster and stronger than current asthma treatments. Bitter taste receptors most likely evolved to help alert the body to potentially harmful foods that have spoiled or are toxic. The receptors have long been thought to only exist in certain cells present in the tongue. Over the last few years, however, scientists have come to realize that these receptors are present in many other cells throughout the body. Specifically, bitter taste receptors on smooth muscle cells in the airway act to relax the cells when

exposed to bitter-tasting substances. A hallmark of an asthma attack is excessive contraction of smooth muscle cells, which causes narrowing of the airways and subsequent breathing difficulties. Dr ZhuGe examined the effect of bitter substances at a cellular level. During an asthma attack channels on the membrane of smooth muscle cells in the airways open. This allows calcium to flow into the cell, causing it to contract and making breathing difficult. Dr ZhuGe's findings suggest bitter foods shut down the calcium channels allowing the cells to relax. Dr ZhuGe said: 'With this new understanding of how bitter substances are able to relax airways, we can focus our attention on studying these receptors and on finding even more potent bitter compounds with the potential to be used therapeutically to end asthma attacks.' The findings are published in the journal PLOS Biology. Source:

Asthma sufferers currently have two inhalers. A brown one to prevent attacks and a blue one to relieve symptoms

The humble root which fights cancer, boosts endurance and lowers blood pressure

cancer and in the Sixties the World Health Organisation set upper limits on their use. However, recent studies have shown that nitrates in beetroot lower blood pressure. A 2010 study carried out by Queen Mary's University in London found that drinking just one 250ml glass of beetroot juice a day dramatically lowered blood pressure for several hours. It also found that the higher the blood pressure, the greater the drop observed. A new study carried out by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that a 500ml glass of the juice led to a significant drop in blood pressure after six hours. If beetroot juice was consumed w i d e l y , researchers say we could see a ten per cent reduction in death from cardiovascular disease. Nitrates lower blood p r e s s u r e because bacteria in the mouth and gut convert it into the gas nitric oxide, which relaxes and widens the blood vessels, allowing blood to circulate more Three cheers: A daily glass of beetroot juice can freely. help lower blood pressure Athlete's

Slowing down the beet: Beetroot may halter the progression of dementia as well as the growth of cancer tumours choice Studies carried out by the University of Exeter have shown that nitrates not only lower blood pressure but improve stamina too. A 2010 study found that adults who drank 500ml of the juice a day could exercise 16 per cent longer than those given a drink supplement with nitrates removed. 'Nitrates work in synergy with the other antioxidants that beetroot contains to reduce the oxygen needed by muscles,' says Stephen Bailey, who worked on the study. 'This enables them to work more efficiently and slows fatigue.' Indeed, disabled athlete David Weir put some of his gold medalwinning success at the London Paralympics last summer down to a regular intake of beetroot juice. England rugby player Ben Foden

as well as marathon runner Helen Davies also rate the drink as a great endurance booster. Brain booster A 2011 study carried out by Wake Forest University in North Carolina found beetroot may slow the progression of dementia. It is thought this is because nitric oxide boosts blood flow to the brain. Beetroot's high folic acid content - approximately 75 per cent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) in just two or three small beetroots - may also play a role as previous research has suggested the nutrient protects against Alzheimer's. Fighting cancer Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beetroot its rich hue, is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to possess anti-cancer

properties. In 2011, a study carried out by Howard University in Washington, USA, found that betacyanin slowed tumour growth by 12.5 per cent when exposed to prostate and breast cancer cells. More research needs to be carried out to see if consuming beetroot would have a similar anticancer effect. High in fibre Nutritional therapist Dr ElisabethPhilipps recommends the vegetable for digestive troubles. 'Beetroot is high in fibre and a 100g portion - about two or three small beetroot - contains ten per cent of your RDA, which helps regulate bowel movements,' she says. Source:



Group endorses Deputy Senate leader for Bauchi guber race From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


roup known as Bauchi State Concerned Citizens has endorsed Deputy Semate Leader, Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi, representing Bauchi Central to contest the Bauchi state governorship seat in the forth coming general election in 2015. The State Secretary of the group, Alhaji Murtala Maiyadi, stated this while briefing newsmen at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Bauchi State Chapter, said the call became necessary because of his essential qualities and many dividends if democracy through the provision of social amenities and poverty eradication among the people of his constituency and the entire Bauchi state at large. Murtala said some of the essential social services and projects executed by the Senator included construction of 17 solar boreholes, 320 hand pumps worth millions of Naira in Darazo, Ganjuwa, Misau, Dambam, Warji and Ningi Local Government Areas. The Secretary added that Senator Ningi did a lot in rural electrification; he provided 658 solar electric poles in 14 villages and supply a transformer in front of the Palace of the emir of Misau. He said the Deputy Senate Leader had provided 365 cars and motor-cycles and over 400 sewing and grinding machines apart from constructing many

rural and urban roads woth hundreds millions in the Senatorial District. Murtala appealed to the people of Bauchi to rally round and support the Senator to come forward and contest for Bauchi guber seat in 2015 because of his

essential leadership qualities and services to his people. Ningi who spoke to newsmen at the Palace of Emir of Ningi separately about the number of his posters that filled all nooks and crannies of Bauchi state, said “initially I don’t know the groups

sponsoring the pasting of my posters in different places in the state, later I was able to discover some of the groups but in my opinion, I have no single plan for 2015. I am committed to complete the mandate given to me by my people”

L-R: Secretary to Akwa Ibom state government, Mr Umana Okon Umana, Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, Principal, Ibesikpo Secondary Commercial School, Mr Louis Edet, CSOS Representative, Oluwale Okuniyi, during Ibesikpo Secondary Commercial School, during the good governance tour of Akwa-Ibom state recently. Photo: NAN

Local government chairman promises transformation agenda From David Hassan, Gombe


he newly elected chairman of Gombe local government, Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar Sagir, has said that his election at the poll came at the right time as he promised to make electorates smile in the area. The chairman while speaking in an interview with

this reporter in his office also commended electorates saying their efforts at the poll deserved commendation. He said his administration would not shy away from putting the electorates first in his activities. While commenting their efforts, the chairman said despite challenges he faced during the election people were able to come out en-mass to elect

candidates of their choice. He thanked Gombe state Independent Electoral Commission GOSIEC for allowing a free fair election in the state. Speaking further, the chairman called on the 11 local government chairmen in the state to emulate the good work of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo for his service

delivery to the people. The chairman who also promised an open door policy to the people said his administration has concluded an arrangement to move the local government forward. He called on citizens of the area to give him a maximum support in order to achieve his assignment, noting that without peace in the area there would be no development.

Court orders additional eight constituencies in Oyo Assembly From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


Federal High Court in Ibadan has ordered an additional eight constituencies to the 32 seats of the Oyo State House of Assembly. Making the order on Friday, March 8, 2013, Hon Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo, ordered the restoration of the constituencies and pronounced that elections into them must be held within the next 90 days.

The court, in its judgment on the suit filed by the Attorney General of Oyo State against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in suit no FHC/IB/CS/39/ 2012 held that by virtue of the mandatory provisions of Sections 91 and 112 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Oyo House of Assembly’s constituencies were inadequate. Counsel to the state government, Babatunde Aiku (SAN) had asked for the restoration of the constituencies.

The court held that by those provisions of the constitution, the House was to consist of three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives. According to the judge, by a community reading of the constitution, Oyo House of Assembly, as constituted at present, was not up to three or four times the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives which she said was a breach of the provision of the constitution.

At present, the Oyo House of Assembly has 32 state constituencies while it has 14 federal constituencies. The learned judge, therefore, restored additional eight constituencies named Ibadan North 3, Ibarapa South West 3, Ibarapa Central 4, Irepo, Itesiwaju, Oyo East, Saki East and Surulere. The court further ordered INEC to conduct elections into these eight constituencies within 90 days.

Nwodo urges NASS to include 2-party system in constitution


hief Charles Nwodo, former National Chairman of de-registered Progressive Action Congress (PAC), has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to include twoparty structure in the country’s consistution. Nwodo made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja. He said that the two party system could only come through an amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to him, as it is today, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees multiple parties,and that amendment to the specific clause on multiplicity of parties is necessary. “And if it is to be amended, two thirds of the entire National Assembly will have to vote because it has to do with the fundamental human rights of the citizens,” he said. He said that the two party system decreed by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida failed because they were packs of strange bed fellows that eventually crumbled . Nwodo, however, lauded the emergence of All Progressives Congress (APC) through a consensus process, adding that evolution could give birth to a formidable two-party structure. “It does not mean that where there are two major political parties other smaller parties will not exist along with the two major ones. “ He said the two major parties will be in the front burner of the democratic movement, just as it is in the USA, where we have the Democrats and the Republicans,” Nwodo said. Nwodo said there was no time the country would operate a twoparty system without amending the constitution. “ Even some political parties say they are registered as a political party and not registered to merge with other political parties,” he said. He expressed optimism that the existence of a strong opposition would encourage vibrancy in politicking and contest, as the ruling party would need to sit up or be given a good run for its money. “Just recently, the APC governors visited Borno and Yobe to sell the new party and to tell the electorate the reason why they should give them their support, come 2015.” He, however, called on Nigerians to support the merger so that they would have more dividends of democracy. (NAN)



CNPP welcomes sacked Benue PDP commissioners – Agan


L-R: Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole,Secretary to Edo State Government, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, and Hon Patrick Obahiagbon, praying at inaugural sitting of Edo State Executive Council in the second tenure of the administration of Governor Oshiomhole, yesterday in Benin.

APC rattles PDP, as Anenih set to beg Obasanjo T

he leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), increasingly feeling the pressure stemming from the formation of the All Progressive Congress (APC), has held an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC), an online news medium said yesterday. The party's National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who also heads the NWC, hosted the meeting at his Wuse II residence in Abuja

on Sunday night. Sources told Sahara Reporters that at the top of the agenda was the subject of zonal reconciliation tours aimed at assuaging aggrieved members of the party. Attendees were reportedly unhappy that their efforts to dissuade some opposition governors to join them had failed. The NWC is to design the reconciliation programme for the six geo-political zones of the

country. Even the promise by President Goodluck Jonathan to select one of the three APC governors from the North to be his running mate in 2015 was said to have been roundly rejected by the angry governors who are deeply unhappy at his leadership. It has also been learned that the National Caucus committee of the party, which met in Abuja on Wednesday night, mandated the new Chairman of the Board

of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, to reach out to some aggrieved members of the party, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Theophilus Danjuma, who have both been critical of Jonathan's leadership. On Monday, PDP governors, who are increasingly spending more time in Abuja than in their States, are to meet again in Abuja to look at the crisis rocking the party and advise both the President and the NWC on the way forward.

Kenya election: APGA congratulates Uhuru Kenyatta By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ll Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has congratulated the new Kenyan President-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, over his victory in the last week’s presidential election held in the country. In a statement issued yesterday by the party’s Interim Publicity Secretary, Sagir, said that the Kenyatta’s victory is a

sweet music to lovers of democracy, particularly in Africa where elections are marred with irregularities, violence and voters apathy. It also observed that the success of the presidential polls is an eloquent testimony of the commitment and determination of the good people of Kenya to build a strong, virile and prosperous democratic nation. APGA noted this as a

departure from the violence that characterized the 2007 elections in which about 1000 people died. It further commended the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, for taking the path of honour in challenging the results of the polls in court instead of resorting to self-help that would have heated up the polity and lead to violence and deaths. “Nigerians should learn from the Kenyans exceptional

patriotism in conducting free, fair, peaceful, transparent and credible elections, and always protect their votes to ensure they are counted and count,” APGA said. The party also noted that Nigeria ought to be the great arsenal of democracy in Africa, urging politicians to eschew bitterness and imbibe issue-based politics that will uplift the frail democracy in Nigeria.

Lawmakers' immunity bill, roadmap to strengthen democracy – Legislator


member of the National Assembly, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, said in Port Harcourt yesterday that the bill on immunity for lawmakers was a key to strengthened and improve democracy. Chinda told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the bill would enhance freedom of the lawmakers to speak on any subject during legislation without fear or favour. ``We can now tread on even dangerous areas of discourse; for example, I can expose shady deals of persons or companies in the process

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of lawmaking. ``The immunity will permit lawmakers to be protected from defamatory allegations by affected person or persons,'' the Lawmaker said. Chinda described the bill as a movement from the legislative Privileges Act to the constitution. He said that the immunity was already entrenched in the lawmakers' Legislative Privileges Act, but needed to be made a law. The lawmaker explained that the immunity was not the same with executive immunity, rather a right

to be make contributions in lawmaking without limitations. According to him, the immunity cannot restrict law enforcement agencies or EFCC from prosecuting any lawmaker found culpable. Chinda said the primary purpose of making the bill a law was to establish a stronger and more viable democracy not to promote impunity. The lawmaker emphasised the imperativeness of such a law, which he said was being practised by countries like Indonesia and Ghana. He decried the 1999

constitution, and said that it was made by the military. Chinda said that the intention of the House of Representatives was to cushion the ``civilian democratic'' constitution. He lauded the lawmakers for such an effort, which he said was a demonstration of responsive and responsible representation. Chinda, however, assured Nigerians of the House of Representatives readiness to institutionalise democracy in the country with its attendant nonnegotiable dividends. (NAN)

he Chairman of the Conference of Nigeria’s Political Parties (CNPP) in Benue, Mr Baba Agan, said yesterday that the opposition was accepting some of the commissioners recently sacked by Gov. Gabriel Suswam. Agan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi that some of the sacked cabinet members were relieved of their appointments for fraternising with opposition political parties. Agan, who shielded the identities of the affected excommissioners, said they (exc a b i n e t members) were “merely trying to eke a living in the PDP administration of Gov Suswam”. Efforts by NAN to get reactions from the affected commissioners failed as their handsets were switched off. NAN, however, recalls that Suswam had dropped 11 commissioners out of the 16 that made his new cabinet. Suswam had warned the commissioners to refrain from partisan politics, advising those with partisan interests to resign their appointments to pursue their political ambitions. Some of the dropped commissioners were Mr John Ngbede, Water and Environment; Mrs Elizabeth Ugo, Education; Science and Technology; Godwin Adah, Tourism; Comfort Ajene,Works and Transport. Others were Mr Benjamin Ashaver, Works and Transport; John Tondo, Lands and Survey; Dr Orduen Abunku, Health; Dr Eugene Aliegba, Agriculture; Mr Jacob Omenka, Rural Development And Cooperatives; Mr Simon Kwaghbula, Housing and Urban Development, and Mrs Elizabeth Allagh for Women Affairs. The chairman said the upcoming All Progressive Congress (APC) was a national project, saying “this project is for the total emancipation of the Nigerian nation from the clutches of underdevelopment”. He said the CNPP in the state was mobilising support from market associations, student organisations and the business communities towards building a massive structure that would form the next government at the state and national level. “At the moment the APC is preoccupied with issues of unifying the opposition elements in the country for the purpose of forming a strong, reliable and unified political structure. “The party believes in the unity and the oneness of this country and is ready to enhance it through its well elaborate structure,” he said. (NAN)



CPC blasts Jonathan over visit to Borno, Yobe N

Okei-Odumakin wins US courage award

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ongress for Progressive Change (CPC) has criticized the recent visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to the north-eastern states of Yobe and Borno states, saying it is another empty expedition. In a statement issued over the weekend by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, CPC recalled that last Thursday, the President began a two-day tour of Yobe and Borno states, to witness the impact of the unabated insecurity unleashed on the residents of these states in the last three years. CPC said though the claims by those at the power corridors have been that the tour is aimed at proffering a long term plans; it is difficult to believe that the real reason was not to match up the progressive governors in the two states. The party which described the visit to Borno and Yobe states as tumultuous also questioned what the difference between the security situations in those states between the time the President was postponing the visit to them and the time he made up his mind to visit them last Thursday. The party argued that the feat of reasonable security in the state was achieved by the progressive governors in freely interacting with the people on the streets of Maiduguri, insisting that this made the President to believe that a trip to these volatile states is possible, though with the aid of a 3,000-strong Police force led by the Inspector General of Police (IGP). “It was obvious that the kneejack response of the Presidency to

•••Says it’s useless the Progressive Governors’ visit did not consider the necessity of a meaningful interface with the traumatized citizenry as an integral part of such a visit!” CPC said. It also observed that the antecedents of the President in courageous crisis management leaves much to be desired, recalling that after the bomb blast at the precinct of Eagle square, the venue

of the Independence anniversary on 1st October, 2010, the President, who was frightened, was forced to shift the subsequent celebrations to the barricaded walls of the Aso-villa. It is our belief that power of the President and the Commander-inChief comes with the responsibility that transcends mere adornment as the Field Marshall at National ceremonies.

According to CPC, the President, like the ancient Centurion, should never be lacking in nobility, honor and valor, regretting that in the last three years, hundreds of Nigerians in the Northern states had been deceased, with many more suffering different degrees of disabilities. “Indeed, countless Nigerians in these areas have been caught in the cross fire of the war beyond boundaries that have defined daily living. All these are desirous of succor from the leadership.” CPC said.

R-L: Wife of the Senate President, Mrs Helen Mark, presenting a cheques of N15, 000 to a beneficiary, Mrs Cornelius Adah, during the 2012/2013 David Mark Scholarship award, yesterday in Otukpo, Benue state.

Offa rerun: ACN candidate accuses PDP of foul play From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he suspended and ousted Chairman of Offa Local Government, Prince Saheed Popoola, has denied the insinuation that he would not partake in the re-run election of the council ordered by Court of Appeal. The Appeal Tribunal recently ordered a rerun election in the ACN-controlled council following a petition by PDP that it was not duly notified of the bye-election that produced ACN’s Popoola as the

executive chairman. Popoola in a statement he issued in Offa yesterday alleged that the PDP has been enmeshed in different plots since the court ruling to gain unfair advantage in the election, including spreading rumour of his withdrawal from the race. “Our attention has been drawn to some dirty tactics our opponents are devising to, by all foul means, gain control of the Offa Local Government as the rerun election closes in. One of the tactics is the rumour being spread that I

have withdrawn from taking part in the upcoming rerun election. “We wish to alert our numerous supporters and good people of Offa that this is not true and should be ignored. It is the cowardly handiwork of PDP. I remain the candidate of the ACN which members and leaders stood by me throughout the legal struggle. “We are also aware of their other evil plans to ensure I do not participate in the election, especially after overtures to get me to dump my party, ACN, for

the PDP have failed. These evil plans would also crumble, God willing, because democracy is about free choice and does not thrive in an atmosphere of intimidation or blackmail. “We urge our supporters and all lovers of democracy in Nigeria to remain vigilant as the rerun election draws near. Our opponents are very desperate politicians who would resort to any tactics, however foul, immoral or illegal, to deny Offa people their right to free choice.”

Group calls for democratisation of FCT administration


he General Secretary, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), an NGO, Mr Emma Ezeazu, yestesday called for the democratisation of the Federal Capital Territory Administration for rapid growth and development. Ezeazu at a conference on democratising governance in the FCT in Abuja stressed the need for

reforms to strengthen area council’s autonomy. “The way and manner in which FCTA is being run is not in line with democratic procedure, as critical decision concerning the natives of the area are taken without consultation. “For instance, the issue of land acquisition, in many cases, the FCT original inhabitants were not

properly consulted nor compensated,” he said. Ezeazu decried the level of infrastructure decay in the satellite towns, and said that 60 per cent of the satellite communities drank water from stream. He called on the National Assembly to make provision for elected governor to administer FCT in the

unfolding constitution review instead of a mayoral status for FCT. “This will make the administration of the area more people oriented,” he said. He urged the FCT minister to allocate N10 billion annually for water supply in the territory, and said that “this will reduce the level of disease within and outside the metropolis”.

igerian democracy activist and women’s right advocate, Josephine Odumakin, has been honored, alongside nine other women, with the United States Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. The U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama, with Secretary of state, John Kerry presented Joe’s award to her at a ceremony in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the US State Department. The ceremony coincided with the International Women’s day. Joe Odumakin heads the Campaign for Democracy and has been involved with a lot of initiatives to broaden Nigeria’s democracy. Other recipients of the award are Malalai Bahaduri, First Sergeant, Afghan National Interdiction Unit (Afghanistan); Samira Ibrahim, Coordinator, Know Your Rights (Egypt); Julieta Castellanos, Rector, National Autonomous University of Honduras (Honduras); and Elena Milashina, journalist, human rights activist (Russia). Others include Fartuun Adan, Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (Somalia); Tsering Woeser (Wei Se), Tibetan author, poet, blogger (China); Razan Zeitunah, human rights lawyer and founder, Local Coordination Committees (Syria); Ta Phong Tan, blogger (Vietnam); and Nirbhaya “Fearless,” champion for justice (India)

Kano introduces tenure system for Perm Sec, Directors The Kano State Government on Monday announced the introduction of tenure system for permanent secretaries and directors in the state civil service. The state's Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Umar Minjibir, who announced this in a statement in Kano stated that permanent secretaries would serve a period of four years subject to reappointment. According to the statement, directors will serve for a single term of eight years. It stated that the policy was aimed at creating opportunities for the upward movement of middle level manpower to assume positions of authority. The statement said that the police was in line with the present administration's desire toward reinvigorating the civil service machinery. ``It is evident that over the years, there had been a vacuum created as result of embargo on employment which led to few middle level manpower in the state service. The government explained that the measure was carefully analysed and initiated in good faith to bequeath lasting legacy worthy of emulation. (NAN)



Gov. Dickson advocates promotion of culture

L-R: Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, with Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, during the flag-off campaign and handover of flags toPDP candidates, recentlyat Gwagwalada, in Abuja.


Photo: Mahmud Isa

Lawmaker wants Taraba PDP members to unite A

lhaji Ibrahim El-Sudi, representing Gashaka, Kurmi and Sardauna Federal Constituency of Taraba in the House of Representatives, has appealed to aggrieved members of the PDP in the state to unite. El-Sudi told newsmen in Jalingo on Monday that a divided party could not win election in a competitive

political arena. He wondered why members of the PDP would engage in internal crisis when opposition political parties were forming strong alliance ahead of 2015 general elections. ``Our party is in control in the state but we cannot continue to be strong when divided.

``Whatever differences that exist among us must be buried for us to continue to win, especially now that opposition political parties are forming alliance,'' he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP in the state is currently experiencing internal crisis as immediate past state Chairman, Dr

Abdumumini Vaki's faction could not recognise the new leadership of the party led by Mr Victor Bala. Vaki's faction had written several petitions to the national secretariat of the party calling for cancellation of the ward, Local Government and State Congresses that produced the new officials in 2012.

Commission resolves 421 cases in Ogun — Official


he Federal Public Complaints Commission in Ogun resolved 421 cases out of 802 brought to it in 2012, an official said in Abeokuta yesterday. The Public Commissioner in the state, Mr Wale Ogunbanjo, gave the information during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said the commission recorded a tremendous achievement with the resolution of the cases. He said: “From January to

December 2012, we received 802 complaints out of which 421 cases have been resolved, with 381 cases pending.’’ Ogunbanjo said that complaints so far treated by the commission included cases relating to contracts, public nuisance, fraud and labour. He said investigation of complaints and their resolution were made at no cost to the residents, adding that they were also treated with confidentiality. The commissioner recalled that 899 complaints were

received by the commission in 2011 out of which 528 were resolved while 371 were pending. He, however, expressed optimism that all pending cases would soon be resolved. Ogunbanjo urged residents to take advantage of the commission’s services and stressed that they were not the exclusive right of a select few. He said the commission was established by the Federal Government to provide impartial investigations on behalf of

citizens, who felt cheated by the actions or inactions of government and its agencies and corporate organisations. “The commission is independent of government bureaucracy. It is given extensive powers regarding disclosures and access to all government information. “We are empowered to enforce compliance in order to obtain necessary information that will help us in our investigations,’’ Ogunbanjo said. (NAN)

ov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has called on people in authority to endeavour to promote the culture and traditions of their people for proper transfer to the future generation. Dickson made the call while speaking with newsmen after watching the Alagba Masquerade Festival of Kalabari in Buguma, Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers on Sunday. He said that his administration was promoting the culture and tradition of the people of Bayelsa and stressed the need to preserve them. The governor said that he was in Buguma to identify with the people of the community and their culture, adding that the people were Ijaw people also. “I have conveyed the message to them (Kalabari people) as well as all the Ijaw people outside Bayelsa; I’m also their governor; I told them that they have two governors. “They have the governor of the state that they should all support and in addition, they have another governor in Bayelsa,” he said. Dickson said that he was also at the festival to tell the Kalabari people that they were one people with the Ijaw people and should not allow anything to come between them. He urged the people to work together to promote the course of unity and peaceful co-existence among them. “I have assured them that I will work with their governor and with all other constituted authorities to ensure our people have a future; our people have hope,” the governor said. Dickson, who was admitted into the Ekeni Society by the Kalabari King and his Council of Chiefs and elders, thanked them for the honour and privilege they did to him. “By admitting me, I have the honour and privilege of being a member; I’m doing this to underscore the importance of our culture and tradition,” he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the masquerade festival is an age-long celebration of the Kalabari Kingdom. The festival was formerly done once in every 18 to 20 years, but efforts are being made to make it a more frequent event. (NAN)

PDP not afraid of merger by opposition parties — Ahitogo


he National ViceChairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) North-Central Zone, Alhaji Yusuf Ahitogo, says the party is not afraid of any merger by opposition parties ahead of the 2015 general elections. Ahitogo stated this in Lafia on Saturday at the Grand Reception/ merit/ Awards for Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, state Party

Chairmen and other major stakeholders. He said: ”the merger talk by other political parties will not in any way affect the ruling party; it is not giving any of our members any sleepless night.’” “The parties have done it before; they failed, so what magic would they use now to fight PDP.? “Our party remains the largest party in Africa, and we are

determined to follow the provisions of the party’s constitution which is aimed at transforming the country and also provide basic needs of our people.” Ahitogo said the outcome of the merger arrangement by other political parties was like a merger of strange bed fellows, adding that all the members affected by the merger talk have their own personal interest.

He, however, appealed to members of the PDP in the zone to assist in ensuring that the party recaptures Nasarawa, come 2015 elections. ”The past two years have been difficult for us at the zonal level with the loss of Nasarawa to the opposition in 2011, this has adversely affected our political activities in the entire NorthCentral.”

Ahitogo, who also doubles as North Central chairman, appealed to leaders of the party to come together and close rank with each other in the interest of the party, “as we move closer to 2015 general election for maximum result”. In his remarks, the party’s North Central Youth Leader, Mr Kwaghgba Amande , explained that the youths remained the life


















































\1/ Tiger Woods wins the World Golf Championships event in Miami as Graeme McDowell's challenge fades. \2/ Andy Murray avoids a third successive loss in Indian Wells by coming back from a set down to beat Russia's Evgeny Donskoy. \3/ England is optimistic locks Joe Launchbury, Geoff Parling and Courtney Lawes will be fit for the Six Nations match with Wales. \4/ Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes that Luis Suarez would be "the best player ever not to win an award" if he does not claim an individual honour this season. \5/ Phil Ball takes in a game at Real Betis' Benito Villamarin and puts himself among some of Spain's most passionate fans.





\6/ Franck Ribery will miss Bayern Munich's Champions League last-16 second leg against Arsenal due to an ankle injury. The Bundesliga side, who lead 3-1, are already without Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng through suspension.



Tanzania face FIFA axe over interference


IFA has threatened to ban Tanzania from all competitions if the government continues to interfere with the operations of Tanzania Football Federation (TFF). The world soccer ruling organ says there have been various reports of accusations by local media that the ministry of sports has interfered with the

operations of the local football body. A letter to President Leodegar Tenga from FIFA has quoted the Minister of Sports in Tanzania Dk. Fenella Mukangara saying that the government has urged TFF to use the 2006 constitution in this year’s election, while it has already been amended. “It also indicated that the TFF has been urged to stage a General

Assembly and the elections by the date calculated by the government. Also indicated that the Government intends to establish an Interim Committee if TFF fail to undertake the orders,” said part of the letter signed by the Secretary General of FIFA, Jerome Valcke. FIFA says if the accusations reported by the local media shall be established to be true, it means

the government is intervening in the activities of TFF. “We would like to remind all members of FIFA are required to conduct their activities freely without interference by another person as defined in Articles 13 and 17 of the Constitution of FIFA.” “So if these instructions issued by the government will be implemented, this issue will taken to the top FIFA authorities

for further action, including suspension of Tanzania as it becomes when there is a government intervention,” said the letter. A copy of the letter was also sent Confederation of African Football (CAF) reiterating some of the penalties that Tanzania will face if they are suspended which includes suspension of the national team and participation international club competitions in accordance with Article 14 of FIFA’s constitution.

I want to add value to Super Eagles’ attack, says Babatunde Kryvbas of Ukraine young winger Michael Babatunde has said he will make the most of his surprise invitation by African champions Nigeria. The former Olympic team winger has been picked for a March 23 World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar. He talked to about what he hopes to achieve with the Super Eagles as well as at his ambitious club.


ou have been called up by the Super Eagles. How do you see this opportunity? I am happy with the call-up to the Eagles. I have always been hopeful that I will get the chance to play for Nigeria again as long as I’m doing well for my club. Honestly, this

invitation is a dream come true for me. What do you think earned you this invitation? I have been doing well for my club and I believe I also did well with the Olympic team in 2011 and the coach (Stephen Keshi) was at the London 2012 qualifying

tournament in Morocco. You have been likened to the great Lionel Messi. Has that affected you? I am flattered by this comparison, but as a young player who is willing to learn all the time, I know I have to keep working hard. I always feel challenged whenever I read such comparisons. It is great to be likened to Messi, the best player in the world. I still have a lot to prove. Messi is an exceptional talent. I can only hope to be like him and this could make me a better player. It is always my dream to live up to expectations and so far, so good, I have not disappointed. Do you think you have all it takes to break into the Eagles first team? As I said, I am always ready to learn, I am not in Eagles to outshine anybody, but to convince the coach that I am a player who could really add value to the team. I will be there to serve my fatherland, not to displace anybody. I believe it is my time. What do you hope to achieve this season? I always want to improve season after season. My target is always to do better than what I did the previous season. I want to lift my team. I enjoy great support here and that was why they were reluctant to allow me to leave in January.

Michael Babatunde

Ukraine league started

last week with Kryvbas playing a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev. Do you think your club could really compete with the big guns? We are aiming higher and would want to finish well this term. My target is to help my team finish among the top eight at the end of the season. We could even better this if we can be more consistent. You almost left Kryvbas during the winter transfer window, but they slammed one million pounds price tag on you to scare away the suitors. Were you disappointed that you did not move? I am not disappointed because they want the best for

me. Only an incredible offer could take me away because they know I have what it takes to improve at any club in this world. I know the best offer will come at the best time and what I need now is to focus on my game. They want me to grow with them and then get a better deal in a top club in a top league either here or outside Ukraine. Back to the national team, do you think you could make left wing your own in the Eagles? I will answer that question on the pitch not on the pages of newspapers. I just need the chance so that I could answer that question properly. It is only then that everybody will really appreciate my talent.

Guardiola will bring Messi, Ronaldo to Bayern, says Becker


he former tennis star is looking forward to the former Barcelona coach joining his boyhood club and joked that the Liga stars will want to follow him to Germany Former tennis star Boris Becker has joked that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will want to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich next season. The 45-year-old has supported the Bavarians for his whole life and is excited to see how the former Barcelona coach fares at the Allianz Arena, but warned him that Jupp Heynckes will be a tough act to follow. "I am very happy with the

signing of Pep Guardiola," the six-time Grand Slam winner told Mundo Deportivo. "With his arrival, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will want to come. One would play on the left and one on the right! "Pep is the best coach in the world but I was a little surprised to hear he chose Bayern. It will be a challenge for Guardiola. "Heynckes can win it all, the Champions League, the league of course, and the DFB-Pokal." Bayern currently sit 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, are in the Pokal semi-finals and have a 3-1 first leg lead over Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Harambe Stars to play Norway for Eagles


he harambe Stars of Kenya have proposed a friendly against Norway before a World Cup qualifier against the Super Eagles on March 23. Kenya coach Adel Amrouche said in Nairobi over the weekend that he intends to use the game against Norway to assess the quality of the foreign-based players and some of the local players.

“I have requested the federation to organize for a friendly in Norway. In that friendly I intend to call in all the foreign-based players from where I can monitor them or future consideration,” he said. The former Burundi coach also stressed that the African champions Nigeria are beatable only if his team can have the belief in themselves.

“Football results come with hard work and belief. Nigeria is beatable, away and home, if and only the mentality of our players is right,” he added. The team, which started training last Friday at the Kasarani Stadium, have 29 locally-based players in camp preparing for the match, to be played in Calabar, Nigeria, with Amrouche planning to cut down

the number in a few days’ time. Meanwhile, France-based youngster Divork Origi is reportedly in line to receive a call-up to Harambee Stars ahead of this crucial match. Assistant coach James Nandwa said the 17-year old in their squad following his recent performances at club level in the French top flight league. Origi, who was nurtured in

Belgium at Genk FC’s youth team, burst into the limelight earlier this year after scoring six minutes into his competitive debut for Lille against Troyes in a Ligue 1 match. The new Kenyan law allows for dual citizenship which implies therefore that Origi, whose mother is Belgian, could still retain his Belgian passport while playing for Kenya.



AC Milan may edge Barcelona out of CL today B

Franck Ribery

Ribery ruled out of Arsenal clash


ranck Ribery will miss Bayern Munich’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Arsenal due to an ankle injury. Bayern boast a 3-1 advantage heading into tomorrow’s meeting at the Allianz Arena, after impressing in the first leg at Emirates Stadium to leave Arsenal staring at an exit. But news of Ribery’s absence through sprained ligaments in his left ankle will serve as a minor boost for the Gunners, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng are already out due to

suspension. Bayern released a s t a t e m e n t yesterday confirming the France international, who has scored once in this season’s Champions League, will be absent for the encounter. The Champions League is Arsenal’s only hope of silverware this season after exits in the FA Cup and League Cup two sides not plying their trade in the Premier League. Manager Arsene Wenger, though, accepts his side must ”make the impossible possible” if they are to reach the quarterfinals of the competition.

arcelona needs to p r o d u c e s u p e r l a t i v e performances today, if they hope to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after opening their round of 16 ties with defeats by two-goal margins. The Catalan club will have the advantage of playing at home when they tackle AC Milan today Since Tito Vilanova left for New York for medical treatment, Barcelona has depended on Jordi Roura as a relay to pass on their absent coach’s instructions. The longer Vilanova has been gone, however, the more the team’s play has suffered, especially in defence, with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Deportivo La Coruna finally ending a run of 13 matches in all competitions without a clean sheet. In midfield, Barça’s trademark fluency and rhythm seem to have waned, while the forward line is short of its devastating best. As a result, Los Azulgrana recently suffered consecutive losses to Real Madrid and find themselves needing

Bayern reveal Wenger approaches


ayern Munich president Uli Hoeness says the Bundesliga giants have tried to lure Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to the Bavarian capital on numerous occasions over the past 18 years. Wenger’s men will do battle with Bayern in their Champions League round of 16 second leg match this week after going down 3-1 in the first leg three weeks

Arsene Wenger

ago. Ahead of the clash, Hoeness revealed Bayern’s admiration of Wenger stretches back to the mid 1990s, before he moved from AS Monaco to J.League outfit Nagoya Grampus. “We did try to get him at Bayern Munich a few times,” Hoeness told The Sun newspaper. “We were very surprised. From Japan he

went to Arsenal and over the years, whenever we were looking for a new coach, Wenger was always one we considered. “He’s a very serious person, very strong and has a very good idea about the game. There have been a few moments where we have discussed his name over the years. “He has always remained loyal to Arsenal which is fantastic behaviour. But it is true we wanted him at Bayern a few times.” Wenger, though, will not be joining the Bundesliga leaders anytime soon, after Bayern signed former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola to take the reins from next season. Hoeness believes the capture of Guardiola is a sign of the strength of German football at the moment. TODAY’S MATCHES Barcelona v AC Milan Schalke 04 v Galatasaray

to come back from two goals down against a Milan side in full flow. That said, the Camp Nou outfit still have a formidable weapon in Lionel Messi, who hit his 40th La Liga goal this campaign with a delightful chip against Deportivo. The Argentinian forward remains capable of outrageous individual exploits, but the telephone lines between New York and La Masia will surely have been extra busy of late as Barcelona strives to rediscover their collective swagger. In the Milan camp, the main question mark concerns who Massimiliano Allegri will field up front, given that Giampaolo Pazzini is unavailable due to a leg injury and Mario Balotelli is ineligible for selection. Allegri is likely to decide between 18-yearold French talent Mbaye Niang and 22-year-old Spanish striker Bojan Krkic, who originally learnt his trade at Barcelona. Whatever happens, I Rossoneri have vowed to attack, with VicePresident Adriano Galliani promising his side will not allow the Catalans to lay siege on the Milan defence. “It won’t be like Fort Apache,” he said. Unbeaten on home soil in the Champions League this season, Schalke are currently on a high after edging local rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Jens Keller’s side can also draw confidence from the fact that they have won every single previous home encounter against Turkish clubs, though they must cope without Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after the Dutch forward suffered a knee-ligament injury at the weekend. That will have come as welcome news for Galatasaray, who fully believe in their chances, not least since they have won their last two away games in Europe. Motivation levels are also likely to be high among the club’s sizeable G e r m a n - b o r n contingent, while dangerous trio Wesley Sneijder, Didier Burak Drogba and

Yilmaz all have the ability to make the difference. Hamit Altintop will be eager to impress when he returns to the town where he was born to take on former club Schalke, for whom he played between 2003 and 2007. The versatile Gelsenkirchen native scored 11 goals in 113 outings for the German club and caught the eye thanks to his superb vision and powerful shot which was again to the fore when he fired against a post in the first leg.

Lione Messi

Giampaolo Pazzini

Hamit’s twin brother Halil the younger of the two by ten minutes also turned out for Schalke, the forward representing Die Königsblauen from 2006 to 2009 and notching 17 goals in exactly the same number of games as his sibling. Returning to the present, Altintop is actually one of five German-born players in the Galatasaray squad, along with Hakan Balta, Engin Baytar, Ceyhun Gulselam and Furkan Ozcal.



Ogbeide rues Wolves loss, says team better than Sharks


he Warri Wolves Coach, Solomon Ogbeide, has praised his team for a good game, in spite of a 1-2 loss to Sharks of Port Harcourt in a professional league match in the Garden city. Wolves lost to home side, Sharks on March 10 in one of the opening matches of the 2012/2013 Nigeria professional league season. Ogbeide said a day after the game in Port Harcourt that in spite of the lost, Warri Wolves played better football and were tactically more disciplined than Sharks but were unfortunate to surrender the maximum points to the hosts. “Well, the league has just started and we hope to make good things to happen, because it does not matter how many times you fall. “When you fall, then you have to wake up and do it again; my only regret is “the goodies’’ my boys have lost as a result of the loss.

“Although, my boys played well, I am happy with the result and I must tell you that we are not disgraced or discouraged by the loss. For me, I have seen mistakes from my boys and we are going back to work hard to ensure winning the trophy,” he said. Ogbeide called for proper handling of the league to ensure a successful outing for clubs. “We have to be sure that the league is properly organised, from the administration and many other things,” he said. Daboere Dokubo, Chief Coach of Sharks, described his team’s victory during the game as, “a good step to start”. Dokubo said that the performance of his team had shown that the boys were ready to win the NPFL trophy. “We discovered some member of our team from the Street Soccer Competition organised by the Rivers government for youths in 2012. We have six of the boys participating now in the Nigeria Professional Football League,” he added.

Heartland shift focus on Union Sportive


eartland coach, Ransom Madu has said his side loss of their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) opening game to debutants, Nembe City, will count for nothing against their CAF Confederation Cup opponents, Union Sportive Bitam on Sunday. The Federation Cup holders, who were stunned 1-2 by Nembe City at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri last Sunday, are scheduled to play against Gabonese side in Africa’s second tier club championship on a low in Owerri this weekend. The Nembe-based side shocked their experienced side with an opening goal through Brown Braye in the 47th minute while Heartland restored parity through Tope Olusesi in the 71st minute. However, the week one giant-killers stunned their hapless hosts a minute later with the winning goal through Samuel Akinbinu. Madu said luck was hard on his side but assured of a better performance against Union Sportive Bitam. “Continental is continental while league is league. It’s two different things entirely. We’ll give Nigerians something to cheer about when we host US Bitam on Sunday in the CAF Confederation Cup. “Nothing strange about the home defeat to Nembe City, it’s football, they played well, used their chances and won. We played well too but were simply unlucky. “The defeat couldn’t be undone. We have to overlook the defeat and simply march on. We have tough work on our hands, we don’t have information about the Gabonese side only that they’re a high-scoring side. “So we have to work on our attack to ensure we win convincingly to make the reverse fixture in Bitam, Gabon a bit easy,” he said. Heartland and Lobi Stars representing Nigeria in the Caf Confederation Cup were drawn bye in the first round of the competition. RESULTS Bayelsa Utd 1-0 Lobi Stars Akwa Utd 1-0 Dolphins FC Shooting Stars 2-0 Gombe Utd ABS FC 0-0 Kwara United Sunshine Stars 1-0 Kaduna Utd Sharks 2-1 Warri Wolves Heartland FC 1-2 Nembe City Nasarawa Utd 0-0 El-Kanemi Warriors Wikki Tourists 0-1 Kano Pillars Enugu Rangers 1-0 Enyimba

Rangers vs Enyimba

NPFL: Nembe City, Pillars set pace By Patrick Andrew


any were skeptical and rightly so. The kick-off date for the 2012/ 2013 Nigeria Premier League now known as the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) had been missed severally. Besides, a myriad of hiccoughs which necessitated unsavoury comments about the league such as the lack of title sponsorship, poor officiating, hooliganism and other hindrances remained unresolved. Yet, the Interim management committee constituted following the sacking of the Victor Baribote-led board had insisted all was well, despite facts to the contrary. Even assurances from the Nigeria Football Federation that the March 9 kick-off date would be sacrosanct did little to persuade the majority to believe in the date. And so, aside from the die-hard faithfuls,

especially members of the interim committee and some clubs, not a few were of the view that the date would come and be gone uneventful. However, it did come but nothing without the season’s formal beginning. Matches were indeed played in several centres. Interestingly, some results are heartwarming, if one considers the past trend when home wins were the rule rather than the exception. But there were exceptions. Nembe City and one of the debutants, a team whose entry into the elite club seems dented for alleged faulty path it adopted to secure promotion, stunned Federation Cup defending champions and CAF Confederation Cup campaigners, Heartland of Owerri right in front of their teeming fans. The Bayelsa state team won 2-1 to silence the boastful Heartland who had hitherto promised to teach Nembe City a lesson of premier league soccer. Similarly, Kano Pillars-

the league defending champions and CAF Champions League flag bearers who only recently turned back a team from Central Africa Republicshowed that their championship stuff by beating Wikki Tourists 10 to claim the three points. Also, 3SC sent a warning signal to other contestants with 2-0 spanking of Gombe United. Before the match, which was played at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, the visiting team boasted of a two-season unbeaten record away against the Oluyole Warriors. But with two breathtaking goals in the first half through strikers Tony Edjomariegwe and Osagona Ighodaro, the Stars showed that they weren’t in the mood to allow the record to remain untarnished. Ighodaro had fired home 17 goals in the friendly matches played before the commencement of the league. The win has given 3SC leverage with which to

build on to have a successful season and return the State to continental games like in the past. Traditional home game winners, Akwa United expectedly won at home against Dolphins despite playing a man down for a good part of the match. Sunshine Stars secured a narrow win over kaduna United despite having myriads of begging chances. Ajani Ibrahim who got only a goal throughout last season started this term brightly when he netted his side’s only goal in the eighth minute of the game marred by missed chances and poor marksmanship. Much was in the offing ahead of the match after Sunshine did a massive clearance of the technical crew few months after the team got to the semi finals of the 2012 Caf Champions League before losing to Al Ahly of Egypt 4-3 on aggregate. The lads played all their hearts out but were undone by their lack of direction at scoring positions.

Unuane condemns defender’s rough play


oach Samson Unuane of Kwara United FC of Ilorin has condemned Ganiyu Ogungbe’s attitude that earned him a red card in a derby with Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC. Ogungbe, a defender, received the marching order in the 87 th minute, after a second bookable offence in his debut as Kwara United’s player in the season’s opening match which ended goalless. Speaking shortly after the match on Sunday, Unuane said that the red card was a well deserved one. He queried why a player of Ogungbe’s calibre should act the way he did to his opponent on the field. Ogungbe had elbowed ABS hit man, Abdulrahman Bashir, few minutes to the end of

the match, after he had earlier received a yellow card in the game for a rough tackle. On his team’s performance in the game, the coach said the “Bukola boys’’ as ABS players are fondly called by their admirers, would have realised that they met a different Kwara United team. He said that “this is the first game and this is how it has always been. It is always difficult to get it right at once. “But by the time we play two, three matches, I believe we will blend together as a team and you will see a better Kwara United team,’’ Unuane said. He, however, rated their opponents high in the 2012/2013 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) first match for the teams.



Oboabana, Agbim, Gabriel hit camp as Eagles resume training today


FCON 2013 heroes Godfrey O b o a b a n a , Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwueke, Reuben Gabriel and 20 other domestic league members of the Super Eagles were in the camp yesterday preparatory for the resumption of training today.

Godfrey Oboabana

Oboabana, the only home-based player that featured in all the matches and excelled arrived in camp along with the newly called up players and were ready for the training that had earlier been scheduled to kick-off yesterday. Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, though rescheduled the training

today probably to allow the players settle into the camp and be in tyhe mental and physical mood for the exercise that is meant to prepare them ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against the harambee Stars of Kenya. The qualifier, which comes up on March 23 at the UJ Esuene Stadium

Chigozie Agbim

Calabar, will the Eagles first game since they emerged African champions at the 29th edition of the African Cup of Nations in South Africa, last month. The Eagles stopped top favourites the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the semifinals 2-1 and then beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-

0 in the final. Eagles' Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, confirmed yesterday that almost all the invited players except three were in the camp. Already, Keshi has called up 15 foreign-based players to team up with them for the match. They are expected to arrive in the camp a week to the march.

Reuben Gabriel

Maigari blasts CAF, urges structural changes By Patrick Andrew with agency report


minu Maigari, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari, has urged the executive committee of CAF to change it’s structures and thus allow

Aminu Maigari, NFF President

fresh breathe in personnel and administration for the good of the game in the continent. Maigari, who lost his bid to join the CAF Executive Committee to Benin’s Moucharafou Anjorin, said the current structure hinders brilliant minds from participating in the administration of the game in the continent. The Nigerian, who stopped short of calling CAF a clique, said unless existing structures were re-designed to allow injection of new ideas in elections and the administration, the game would remain in the woods in the continent. “I am proud of the campaign we conducted. But it is time that African football begins to put in place a structure that will allow the best to emerge

onto the CAF Executive Committee,” Maigari said in what is nothing short of a veiled criticism of CAF. Perhaps, he may have made a thinly veiled reference to the incidence that led to the removal of the Anjorin and another suspended football administrator Amadou Diakite was also re-elected to the August body. Three years ago, the Beninoise was removed from his position as FA president and spent time in prison over allegations that he misappropriated around USD$650 000 in sponsorship money. Diakite, a Malian, was handed a two-year ban from all football activities by FIFA after being found guilty of ethical violations of the Fifa code, for his attempt to manipulate the vote for the 2018/2022

World Cup hosts. He defeated Hassan Musa Bility and Augustin Senghor, presidents of the Liberian and Senegal federations respectively, in Sunday’s vote. Maigari, Vice President of CAF’s West B zone and member of the FIFA Players’ Status Committee insisted that he is not bitter, and advocated for Nigeria to get a special place on the Exco “The poll was an experience and I have no hard feelings. That’s what life is all about. You learn every day. “Nigeria football is big, not only because we are the current champions of Africa at both junior and senior levels, but also as a result of what we have achieved in the past, on and off-the-field. “It is my considered

view that Nigeria should always be considered for a seat on the Executive Committee,” said Maigari. At the General Assembly of the Confederation of African Football in the Moroccan city, the NFF President polled 17 votes in the first round as against 27 for Anjorin and only nine for Hima Souley, a former President of the Niger Football Federation. However, as CAF rules stipulated that simple majority would be 28 votes, Anjorin failed to emerge as outright winner in the first round and a run-off was called between himself and Maigari. A lot of serious politicking and horsetrading went on in the auditorium before the second round, which Maigari lost 19-35.

Martins retires to Major League Soccer


ewly recalled to the Super Eagles, Obafemi Martins, has finally quit European football and is set to transfer his services from Spanish club, Levante, to Seattle Sounders in the Major League Soccer (MLS) of the USA. The player, who has been in fine vein of form, personally announced on his tweeter handle @oba_martins that he would be joining the likes of Robbie Kean and Thierry Henry. “Finally, I can now announce that I have just signed for Sounders FC.A big step to take in my career. It’s a big challenge but I’m ready,” said the much-travelled striker, who has been recalled to the Eagles for a World Cup qualifier against Kenya later this month. “This is so difficult for me to do, but I really do love my fans. Levante fans are the best... I will always cherish the time I played here. “I look forward to this new era in my career... I also look forward to meet my new teammates and the Sounders FC fans, my new family...” He added: “I will like to thank Levante UD for giving me a great opportunity to play in one of the best leagues in the world...” Sounders are believed to have paid off the striker’s get-out clause after a longdrawn negotiation with Levante. ‘Obagoal’has also played in Italy (Inter Milan), England (Newcastle United, Birmingham City), Germany (Wolfsburg) and Russia (Rubin Kazan).

Obafemi Martins




Say what?

Last edition’s solution

Some Interesting Facts •Life is broadly defined as the condition of an organism that exhibits growth through metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation to its environment. These characteristics separate living organisms from inanimate objects. •The cell is the basic unit of life, and an organism must be composed of at least one cell to qualify as a living thing. •The cells of every living organism contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a nucleic acid that holds the genetic instructions for the development and functioning of a life form. It is this substance that allows a living thing to grow and reproduce. •DNA was first discovered in 1869 by Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher who noticed a microscopic substance in the pus on discarded bandages. The substance was later identified as DNA. •A virus straddles the definition of life and, according to scientific definition, is not technically alive. It is composed simply of DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) strands surrounded by a protein shell and requires a host cell to metabolize and reproduce. When not within a host cell, a virus lies dormant and is nothing more than a static organic particle. •Scientists estimate the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and first began to support life forms approximately 3.7 billion years ago. •While scientists universally believe that naturally occurring amino acids were mediated by nucleic acids to create the first life forms on Earth, the question of how nucleic acids originated from inanimate matter is still being studied today. There is no definitive answer yet as to the origin of life on Earth. •Throughout history, two dominant theories of the origin of life on Earth have prevailed. Abiogenesis, a theory that is now widely discredited, holds that life was and is spontaneously generated from decaying organic matter. The theory of biogenesis, on the other hand, maintains that new life is produced from existing life forms. •The oldest living things on Earth are believed to be single-cell prokaryotes, more commonly known as bacteria. Scientists have discovered fossils of such prokaryotes from roughly 3.5 billion years ago.


A heavily tattooed and pierced man who goes by the name The Creature says his appearance is so Source: bizarre that even his five-year-old daughter is scared of him.

. . . putting the people first



Manchester United player face FA action


he Football Association may choose to take action against Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United defender was involved in an incident with Chelsea striker Fernando Torres during Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final. Ferdinand appeared to trip Torres over in the 86th minute before pushing him in the back as the striker got back up to his feet. The FA will study the footage before making a final decision but Blues boss Rafa Benitez refused to comment on the altercation. “I haven't seen the replay you can see the replay," he said when asked for his response. "You have an advantage and can do it now. He added: "I don't talk about things that happen on the pitch." Benitez confirmed that he had spoken to Torres about the incident but again refused to go into any details. United scored two goals in the opening 11 minutes, however, they saw their lead slip as Chelsea fought back to force a replay in the second half. “We gave them the impetus to claw their way back into the game. We played some great football at times but were so careless at times," Ferdinand said. "If you are careless you are going to get punished. That was the case. “But we are still in the cup. Wembley is waiting for one of us to go through and hopefully it is us. We go to Stamford Bridge for the replay with confidence. “We have the tools. We have been there before this season and done well and with the squad we have we don't fear going anywhere.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE I am grateful to the Nigerian government for their help and cooperation. We are utterly determined to work with them... to combat the terrorism that blights the lives of people of northern Nigeria — Mr. William Hague, British Foreign Secretary

Ghosts, elders, amnesty, Jonathan and 2015 (I) W

hen, arising from a meeting of the Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna last week, the Sultan of Sokoto called on President Jonathan to extend amnesty to the Boko Haram insurgents, the thinking in many quarters was that there had been some prior understanding between the Sultan and the president on this weighty matter. It was thought that the idea was for the Sultan to wet the ground, or loosen the soil for Jonathan to plant the seeds that would grow and flourish, and help bring to an end the Boko Haram nightmare in the North. It was the first of such a call by the Sultan. And, coming as it did after the well-attended meeting of the JNl, a body whose membership is dominated by traditional rulers and elders from the North, not a few thought that even if there had been no consultation between the Sultan and Jonathan, the former's call for amnesty represented the "official" Northern position which the President would find hard to ignore completely-especially with 2015 not too far off. And there were just as many who thought that a declaration of amnesty by Jonathan would be the only gesture that would give his visit to Borno and Yobe states- the main theatres of the war -real meaning, and go some way to change certain popular but negative perceptions about his person and leadership. After all, in the three years since the start of the insurgency, and with all the heavy death tolls, massive destruction and near-collapse of the economies of the most affected states, the president hadn't, before last week's visit, shown enough concern to pay a personal visit to the war front, even on a daytrip. And the excuses given for his non-visit were, at best, laughable, totally lacking in purchase order even among unenlightened Nigerians. Which is why, whether the visit had long been planned, as the president's men and his party officials would want us to believe, or not, the preponderance of opinion among Nigerians is that Jonathan was shamed into last week's visit to Borno and Yobe by the visit to Maiduguri the week before by the nine governors of the opposition All Progressives Alliance. How the event was arranged and managed for them

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim

President Jonathan will remain a subject of speculations and rumours but the nine governors on their visit walked the streets of Maiduguri, visited the market, mingled with the town's ordinary folks, saw and assessed things for themselves and topped everything with a N200 million donation to the two states. A small donation, yes, but what a big and kind gesture it was! It was a show of concern, courage and leadership. And it was, without a doubt, a major coup de grace against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Jonathan. Many had thought that Jonathan would figure a way to even the scores, stage some kind of a counter-coup that would at least minimise the impact and political significance

of APC's deft move, by offering, if not amnesty, a package of federal interventions that could significantly change for the better, the socio-economic situation in the two states. But that was not to be. He went, he saw what the security operatives wanted him to see, including orphanages, but he offered nothing. Nothing! No amnesty, no mention of the dialogue option; no cash donation, no definite promise of federal intervention; no condolences for the loss of lives, no expression of sympathy for the massive destruction of property and whole neighbourhoods in the big towns and cities of the two states; no kind words or compassion for the leaders and people for the obvious suffering and inconveniences occasioned by the virtual military occupation of the two states; and no regrets or genuine concern shown for the near-collapse of the economies of the two states and the consequent further impoverishment of the populations resulting from the insurgency situation and the Nigerian state's militarised response to it. The president, it seemed, made up his mind to act tough and talk tough, as a Commanderin-Chief visiting a territory conquered by a unit of his forces

He went, he saw what the security operatives wanted him to see, including orphanages, but he offered nothing. Nothing! No amnesty, no mention of the dialogue option; no cash donation, no definite promise of federal intervention; no condolences for the loss of lives

would do. Even the town hall meeting with the Borno elders in Borno was a fiasco, with Jonathan talking down to the elders in a not-too-respectful manner and-deliberately, it seems-flouting the established protocol order by recognising former Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sherrif, before the incumbent governor, Shettima. The elders can hardly be blamed for feeling insulted, not only because their reasonable and well considered case for increased federal presence and intervention as a way to reduce poverty and create jobs went unaddressed, but also because their knee-bent plea for the withdrawal of the soldiers was met with a challenge thrown at them by Jonathan to sign a bond with him to take responsibility for any loss of life after the withdrawal of the soldiers. What the visit and the town hall meeting showed, and which was very significant, was this: the status quo remains. The JTF stays, the economic situation remains unchanged, the insurgency continues and the killings and destructions go on unabated. To be fair to Jonathan, the issue of granting amnesty to insurgents, or to any body or group that has taken up arms against the State, is a very weighty one. It is an issue that requires deep and clear thinking on the part of the leaders. It is much more so in a country like ours where there are many flash points, with groups and forces fighting for advantages and using primordial sentiments and ideologies, and where the political cosmology of the mainstream politicians still revolves largely around the concepts of region, religion and ethnicity. So far as we know, only one faction of the Boko Haram sect declared a unilateral ceasefire and indicated willingness for dialogue. What about the other factions? Will the offer of amnesty lure them to the table? Will they accept the offer, if granted? What signals will amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents flash across the country? Will it encourage other groups, with similar or even different ideologies and agendas, to also take up arms against the State with the hope of getting amnesty in the end? Was the amnesty granted the Niger Delta insurgents all a mistake which should not be repeated?..

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, March, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 12, March, 2013 Edition