Page 1

Vol. 8 No. 57

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tinubu to Jonathan: Recognise MKO, drop sentiment >> PAGE 2

. . . putting the people first

Reps query PTDF over audit report >> PAGE 2

Rajab 22, 1433 AH

Man, 67, 'rapes' 14-year-old girl >> PAGE 5


Jaiz Bank licence not at risk- MD >> PAGE 19

Bandits go berserk, kill 23 in Zamfara From Salisu Zakari Maradun, Gusau


rmed bandits have yet again attacked villagers in one of the sleepy villages in the predominantly rural state of Zamfara, killing no fewer than 23 persons. The latest casualty figure

brings to at least 115 the number of persons killed since October last year in similar attacks by the wandering armed robbers who have terrorised the arid villages along the Nigeria-Niger border areas in Zamfara state. In the latest incident which

occurred in the evening of last Sunday in Dan Gulbi Village of Maru local government area of the state, the attackers, according to sources, launched a massive onslaught on the village, apparently sensing that it was a Market Day, when many people from

neighbouring villages throng the village to buy and sell. A source in the village disclosed that a “large number of people carrying dangerous weapons, including guns, entered into the market and started shots in the air, causing commotion among the people

who scampered for their lives, but ultimately shot and killed 23 people�. Most other eyewitnesses put the death toll in Dan Gulbi at 23, but a local government official claimed that the Contd on Page 2

Kano mass wedding: Four fake suitors unmasked From Edwin Olofu, Kano

T L-R: Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, Chairman, Technical and Administrative Review Panel On Domestic Airlines, Group Captain John Obakpolor (rtd), member of the panel, Captain Mfon Udom, during the Inauguration of the Panel, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

he Kano state Hisbah Board said it has unmasked two couples who were already married and participated in the last mass wedding organised by the board in Kano recently. Director General of the Kano state Hisbah Board, Malam Abba Said Sufi who dropped the hint yesterday while speaking with newsmen in his office, said one of the commanders of the board betrayed them and presented two couples who were already married. He further revealed that the Hisbah Contd on Page 2



CONTENTS News Editorial

2-11 12





















Tinubu to Jonathan: Recognise Bandits go berserk, MKO drop sentiment By Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja, & Ayo Oloye, Lagos


ction Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola yesterday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to shun sentiments and accord the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola a befitting recognition. Aregbesola who played host to frontline traditional rulers in the country in Osogbo while speaking against the background of June 12 anniversary urged the royal fathers to prevail on the President to recognize Abiola posthumously as a President-elect and accord him all his rights and privileges. Speaking before that assemblage of the nation’s traditional rulers which include the Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers and the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; his co-chairman, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Ooni of Ife; Shehu of Borno; Alhaji Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe; and

other traditional rulers drawn from across the country, the Osun state governor said according Abiola his deserved honours would go a long way in healing the wounds inflicted on the psyche of the people by the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections. He said, “We demand for recognition of the victory of Nigerians over disunity, backwardness, poverty and primordial sentiments which MKO’s sweeping victory on June 12, 1993 represented. Therefore, for the complete restitution of the nation’s battered psyche, MKO Abiola must be recognised as a President-elect and given all rights and priviledges deserving of his Presidency. That is when his immortality can be complete.” In a similar circumstance, Tinubu said the only acceptable honour due to the late democracy icon from Jonathan was to declare him as the second duly elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to him “The spirit of June 12 is that of patriotism, that of a burning desire to join hands to build a bet-

ter country, June 12 was a rejection of religious and tribal politics, a demonstration of commitment to the ideals of a free society and that of a dogged spirit to vote for the best candidates.” He added “Now, the most honorable thing to do is for the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, to recognize M.K.O. Abiola as the second duly elected executive president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria posthumously. We should accord him, even if posthumously, the recognition and all the rights and privileges due to that office. Finally, we should declare M.K.O’s birthday a national public holiday, just as it has been done in the United States for Martin Luther King. Or June 12, the date of the election could be declared a public holiday. I call upon all Nigerians, particularly politicians to imbibe the lessons of June 12 and by so honor the man, Abiola, who made it possible. The man who revealed to us all what we never knew about ourselves that though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we can still stand.”

Reps query PTDF over audit report he House of Representatives yesterday queried the offi cials of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) over alleged diversion of the sum of N2.8 trillion accrued to Fund from signature bonuses. The Audit examination of the statement of consolidated revenue fund for year ended 31st December 2006 further revealed shortfall in revenue collection worth N81,904,469,177.27 on eight heads of recurrent revenue. The committee during the scrutiny of the report also queried the N94 billion fund accrued to Ecological account and requested for the submission of the mandates as well as inflow and outflow statements for year 2006 within four days. The report, also queried the utilisation of multi-million naira grants and donations by several international agencies to many federal ministries, extra-ministe-

rial departments and agencies for implementation of specific programmes which are beneficial to the nation. The lawmakers expressed the concerns during an interactive session with management team from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation led by Jonah Otunla. Solomom Adeola, chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, had queried the rationale behind the diversion of public funds without following due process and recourse to the Minister of Finance and office of the Accountant General of the Federation. Adeola also queried the unilateral diversion of N250 million for registration of Galaxy Backbone and additional sum of N625 million for operational activities; N593 million deducted from N2.5 trillion fund domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, noting that management of PTDF "used it to finance departments of government for outsourcing

programme, the detail of the outsourcing programmes was not in the books. From what we heard, and from very reliable source, the signature bonus account is meant for who? "I agree with the Auditor General that there are a lot of problems in the Petroleum Trust Development Fund and the account as reported by the Auditor General has been shrouded in secrecy and that particular account is not made known to us." While reacting, Mr. Babayaro, Director in charge of signature bonus account, PTDF however noted that the approval for the release of the PTDF was from the Presidency (by fiat) but managed by the Accountant General's office. To this extent, the Committee has summoned management of the 22 agencies as well as Debt Management Office (DMO) to explain how the monies were sourced and spent.

Contd from Page 1 Commander who brought the couples from Gabasawa local government area has been suspended and full investigation has commenced on the issue. Sufi added that the house furniture and the N20, 000 empowerment fund, N10, 000 bride price that were given to the purported suitors by the state gov-

ernment to support their marriage have been retrieved by Hisbah. He warned that henceforth anyone caught will be prosecuted, noting that Hisbah has now set up a screening committee headed by the district head of each local government that comprises of the Divisional Police Officer and the head of the

State Security Service (SSS) of that local government. He said the committee would screen prospective couples beginning from their ward to avoid any foul play in the future. It would be recalled that the board had married out 100 couples in an elaborate occasion held recently in Kano. Sufi added that the board would

By Lawrence Olaoye

Jang is the major threat to peace in Jos, says Chom Bagu, Page 38

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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kill 23 in Zamfara

Contd from Page 1

robbers killed 27 people. Ibrahim Sidi, an official with the Maru local government council told Associated Press (AP) that he and other officials counted the dead after the attack. Talatu Mai Tasshi, a woman who escaped the violence, said she hid inside of empty sacks as the gunmen stalked other people preparing to sell their goods. The operation, according to the source, lasted for about 3 hours and also led to the destruction of valuable items and property including cash, worth millions of naira by the bandits. Hours later the police went to the scene and evacuated the corpses to a hospital in Gusau, saying that they were investigating the incident. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Sanusi Amiru, who confirmed the incident, said he will not make further comments on the issue until the Police Commissioner returned from the scene of the incident. According to a security source, some of the affected towns and their casualties include, Magami where about 35 people lost their lives in two separate attacks; Dansadau lost 15 people in a reprisal attack on it by the bandits after the residents fend off an earlier attack. Other towns affected include Birnin Magaji which lost at least 36 people who were killed and set ablaze while they were returning from the market in another town, and Lingu Ado which witnessed the killing of more than seven people as a result of the unhindered activities of the armed bandits that appear to have made Zamfara a safe haven for their heinous activities with little or no challenge from security operatives.

Kano mass wedding: Four fake suitors unmasked marry 250 divorcees and widows before the beginning of the Ramadan (Muslim fasting month), adding that Kano state Governor, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has directed the board to marry out 4,000 widows and divorcees. He added that already they have commenced training seminar for the would-be couples that will soon be married.



Power tussle in PDP as Bamanga’s aide, National Secretary trade tackcles By Lawrence Olaoye


he Chief of Staff to the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abu Fari, yesterday, affirmed his supremacy over the national secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Abu Fari in a letter in response to an earlier one written by Oyinlola to Tukur titled ‘Illegal acts prejudicial to the interest of the Peoples Democratic Party’ insisted that he had the mandate of his boss to carry out his duties. The response to the letter by Tukur’s Chief of Staff was copied to President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of

the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, chairman of Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Amaechi, PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur and all members of the National Working Committee (NWC), dated June 8, 2012. Abu Fari said: “All letters written by me including the one you mentioned were done and dispatched on the authority of the national chairman”. He added: “I sincerely believe that the correspondence was in good faith and without any calculated attempt to undermine your office as you misrepresented. For your information, there was no correspondence in effect carried out by me without directives of the national chairman. You may wish

to cross check in order to ascertain my source of authority”. On the insistence of the national secretary for the office of the national chairman to use the establishment manual instead of the constitution, the chief of staff to the national chairman wrote: “I want to visit your persistent emphasis on establishment manual and your attempt to recognise it far and above the constitution of the party. In order to educate you substantially, the constitution came first above the establishment manual and any regulations governing the party. “The establishment manual which we produced in the year 2000, before you joined the party, was with a singular intention to

run the national secretariat smoothly. The said establishment manual is currently under review. It was reviewed by the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC) without its adoption and approval by the National Executive Committee (NEC), hence its present review status. For the fact that the document is to be reviewed has given room for consistent inputs to accommodate new ideas for the best interest of our great party”, he explained. Commenting on the allegation that the office of the National Chairman wants to set the National Working Committee (NWC) on a collision course and settle old scores, Fari emphasised: “It is most regrettable that in your capacity

as the national secretary, you listen and believe in speculations without substantiating and recourse to facts. I cannot imagine how we can set the National Working Committee (NWC) on collision course with the PDP governors and how I intended to settle scores with staff of the national secretariat over disagreement in the past. All these are unfounded allegations and were figments of your mere imaginations”. “I will like to remind you that my appointment as the chief of staff to the national chairman was strictly at his pleasure. I do not think there is any guiding regulations or law that prohibits the national chairman in doing so…”

Sultan, Azazi, other royal fathers meet in Osogbo over security


he Sultan of Sokoto and chairman National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, has urged traditional rulers to honestly address the issue of insecurity in order to boost development. The Sultan made the appeal at the 2012 General Assembly of the NCTRN yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun state capital. According to him, there is the need for total commitment by all and sundry with a view to finding a lasting solution to the security challenges. The Sultan urged Nigerians to pray fervently for solutions to the problems confronting the country, pledging that traditional rulers would play their own roles in the interest of peace and progress.

President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the event by Gen. Andrew Azazi, the National Security Adviser, said security should be seen as everybody’s business and urged the traditional rulers to ensure security in their domains. Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun said the involvement of the traditional institution remains a major way to address the issue of insecurity facing the country. Aregbesola said traditional rulers were in a better position than those who held political offices to tackle insecurity at the grassroots because the people remain loyal to them. Among those present were Oba Okunade Sijuade, the Ooni of Ife and Oba Jimoh Ajagungbade, the Soun of Ogbomoso.

Biotechnology agency wants DNA databank for security By Joy Baba

Anti-bomb Squad at the Plateau State Polytechnic premises, yesterday in Jos following a bomb scare. Photo: NAN


irector General National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) Mr. Bamidele Solomon has called

Dangote Group leading industrial revolution in Nigeria — Jonathan By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has commended the giant strides of Dangote Group, saying it is spearheading industrial revolution in Nigeria and the African continent. The President made the commendation yesterday while commissioning a 5.25 million metric tonnes per annum Line-3 cement plant of the Dangote Cement at Obajana, Kogi state. The President also performed the line 4 plant groundbreaking ceremony for the 3million metric tonnes per annum. With the commissioning of the new Line-3, the production

capacity of the Obajana plant will be raised to 10.25 million mtpa and by 2015 when the fourth line would have been completed, the entire four lines would be having a combined production capacity of 13.25 million mtpa, thus making the plant the single biggest plant in the world. President Jonathan also disclosed government’s plan to make president of the Dangote group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote the chairman of a cement institute to be established soon. “Indeed, it gladdens my heart that DIL is spearheading a silent industrial revolution in the country through its laudable activities that have put Nigeria on

the world map as an emerging economic giant in Africa. Today’s event will further cement the company’s capability to compete effectively with other global giants in the industry and also fast track Dangote Cement’s ambition of ranking among the top eight cement producing companies in the world by the year 2015. Also speaking, Alhaji Dangote said: “With the completion of our 5.25 million metric tonnes per annum Line-3 Plant, Obajana will become the single largest cement plant in the world with a combined capacity of 10.25 million metric tonnes per annum. It will also interest you to note, distinguished ladies and

gentlemen, that we have achieved all this in less than 10 years. The 3.0 mmtpa Line-4 Plant, whose foundation stone Mr. President will also lay today, will further take the capacity of Obajana to 13.25 mmtpa, when completed by 2015. This will indeed make us the power house of cement in Africa. “The launch of our 6.0 mmtpa Ibese Cement Plant; the commencement of our Ibese Phase II Plant, with the same capacity; the completion of our 5.25 mmtpa Obajana Line-3 Plant; and the increase in the capacities of other local cement manufacturers, have ushered us into a new phase of industrialisation, as a country.

for the need for a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) databank of all Nigerians security, healthcare and other institutions. Mr. Solomon made the call yesterday in Abuja in an interview with newsmen at the opening ceremony of a training workshop tagged “Basic Techniques in DNA Isolation, Manipulation and Application organised by NABDA in collaboration with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, for biotechnology and forensic scientist in Africa and beyond. While relating DNA to the unfortunate incident involving the DANA airline, Solomon said that the victims of the crash would have been easily identified if there was a DNA database. “DNA is a history book that can tell the origin of any species and it’s unique to each individual so we can isolate every species even one on one. The DNA fingerprinting would have been a veritable tool in that particular occasion.”



Plateau govt announces ban on motorcycles

JNI urges FG to investigate alleged supplier of weapons to Jos militants

*We’re already in court, says ACOM ORAN

From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna

From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


lateau state government yesterday announced ban of operation of motorcycles popularly known as Okada within the Jos greater master plan. Announcing the ban to Journalists at state police command amidst tight security, the state commissioner of information Mr. Abraham Yiljab said any motorcyclist found operating with the Jos greater master plan would pay a fine of N 20,000 or have his motorcycle seize. The ban is in the interest of peace and beauty of the state Mr. Yiljab said urging all affected to cooperate with government saying adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure peaceful enforcement of the ban. According to him, both religion, political leaders, traditional rulers, stakeholders and the leadership of the motorcycle riders were adequately consulted and all agreed to the measures taken to ban the activities of Okada within the Jos greater master plan. Yiljab disclosed that government has provided alternative means of transportation saying the ban is backed by the legislation of the state House and signed into law by Governor Jonah Jang in 2010. Reacting to the ban, Alhaji Babangida Maihula, National President of Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) disclosed that already the association had gone to court to challenge the decision of government on their operation in some parts of the state.

UNILAG rejects new name From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Senate of University of Lagos after an Emergency Meeting yesterday rejected the renaming of the institution as Mashood Abiola University, Lagos. “The proposed re-naming of the University of Lagos is not acceptable in its entirety as it is a mere declaration of intention with no legal effect. The University of Lagos Senate supports all legal processes being carried out by all stakeholders on the subject”. The school announces that all academic activities should resume on Monday, June 18, 2012, while, the Halls of Residence will be reopened on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 4.00p.m.


he Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), has called on the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate the case of a customs officer alleged to have been supplying weapons to militants in Jos. In a statement signed by the Secretary General of JNI, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu in Kaduna yesterday said it received the news

of the suicide bombing and attack on worshippers at a church in Jos with shock regretting further that the despicable act occurred at a time the nation is still mourning death of many people in the DANA plane crash in Lagos. Dr. Aliyu, said, “the JNI received with shock the dastard act of suicide bombing at Christ Chosen Church of the Rukuba Road area, in Jos, Plateau state and also the gun attacks said to

have been carried out on worshippers in Biu, Borno state. We therefore condemn in strong terms these sordid acts on worshippers. “The statement condemns the act saying ‘I is painful that at this moment of mourning the victims of DANA plane crash the nation is still witnessing these barbaric incidents. “May Allah the Most High, continue to protect us and bring

to book the perpetrators. “We call on the Federal Government to thoroughly investigate the case of a customs comptroller who is being accused of supplying weapons to his tribesmen in Jos because he is one among many that have been causing havoc to the nation. “Similarly, we call on the state government to make arrest of perpetrators particularly those carrying out reprisal attacks.”

Yobe state governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam (left), in a handshake with former MD of defunct Bank of the North, Alhaji Muhammad Bulama (right), when the governor visited to condole with him over the death of his brother, Engineer Mustapha Bulama, yesterday in Mauduguri.

Name Boko Haram in your cabinet, CD challenges Jonathan From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


he Campaign for Democracy (CD), yesterday challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to make public the names of members of his cabinet he alleged to be members of the Boko Haram sect. President of CD, Dr. Joe OkeiOdumakin challenged the President while delivering a lecture titled: ‘The Media and the Search for Good Governance in the Midst of Insecurity’ organised by the correspondents chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun state council Odumakin told the President to stop cosmetic approach in solving the problems, emphasising that revealing the identities of those officials in government would serve as the first step to convince Nigerians that the Presidency is serious in fighting the Boko-Haram sect.

Speaking further, the CD boss posited that much as the President had admitted the existence of Boko Haram in his government, he should not remain silent on the issue pointing out that “Nigeria is now in the intensive care unit with all the symptoms of a failed State because of bad leadership”. “Nigeria today is ranked as one of the twenty poorest nations of the world despite the fact that it is the world’s seventh largest producer of petroleum and gas. The tragedy of Nigeria is pervasive pathology. Its leadership selection process excludes its best while celebrating mediocrity’ Odumakin further stated. ‘The incremental influence of that pathology has created a failing State that is unable to do much more than uphold the conclave of looters that holds the country hostage. In many ways, every election process turns out

to be worse than the preceding cycle”. “Upon taking power after stolen polls, the new leadership often proceeds to enthrone a ruling ethos that is defined by a searing contempt for the people. That is why, despite the billions of dollars that Nigeria State has earned over five decades, it remains at the bottom of human development league. It is a fate that Nigerians must reject because a better life is possible,” the Human Rights Activist affirmed. “Fifty -two years into Nigeria’s attainment of nationhood, it still has the status of what domestic and International observers call a failed State, failing State, or failed asset”. She spoke on corruption “Beyond corruption and inefficiency, my first suspicion that the Nigerian State is idle came several months ago when newspaper reported with glee that the Federal Executive

Council, known by the Constitution as Executive Council of the Federation had approved the citizenship applications of eighty-two aliens”. Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi earlier in his welcome address said “The theme of the maiden lecture was borne out of the genuine measure to ensure that peace reign supreme in our dear country. Peace is a basic requirement in any democracy; no democracy can flourish in the absence of peace”. Akinyemi explained “We all know the role of the media but how have we fared in the quest to have good governance in all tiers of government, particularly in this period where insecurity has assumed a worrisome dimension. We are of the strong conviction that Journalists can use the power of the mass media to evolve good governance even in the midst of glooming insecurity”.

One feared dead, 4 injured in Ibadan NURTW clash, commuters stranded From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


middle aged member of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Oyo state chapter was feared dead yesterday following a reprisal by factional union members yesterday in Ibadan. It was gathered that no fewer

than four people sustained various degrees of injury during the early morning clash that lasted for several hours. According to reliable source, the clash started on Saturday which saw two people believed to be loyalists of new caretaker chairman dead while others were badly injured.

Our reporter gathered that yesterday’s clash was a reprisal which spread across all motor parks in the ancient city of Ibadan. The ugly incident forced other members of the union to pack their vehicles off roads which subjected thousands of commuters to severe hardship.

Some students and civil servants were forced to long distance trekking as means of getting home. One of the drivers (Ajasa) who spoke with our reporter disclosed that, commercial drivers in the state are no longer interested in unionism urged the government to scrap its activities.


Man, 67, ‘rapes’ 14-year-old girl From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state police command, Kulende Division, has arrested 67 years old Ahmed Atanda for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl named Hauwa at Oke-Andi, along Sango area, Ilorin. Our correspondent gathered that Atanda, a private driver in Ilorin was caught red handed while raping the victim by her mother, Adijatu Saliu, who had sent her to fetch water last week Thursday. Adijatu said when Hauwa did not return on time, she became suspicious. Uncomfortable, Mrs. Saliu had to send her older daughter to look for her who eventually found out that the driver was having fun with her sister before she rushed home to alert her mother about the development. While speaking with our correspondent, Mrs. Saliu, who was depressed by the development, said: “When I got there, I met that old man on top of my daughter, and I had to tap him to leave my daughter who is under him and shouted for help. I met him on top of my daughter on that day and we reported the case at the Kulende Police Station.” The victim, Hauwa, who acknowledged that the man raped her, said she was sent to fetch water by her mother before the incident happened. In his reaction, Atanda who denied raping the victim said he was in the bush to cut some herbs to treat himself before the girl called him to assist her to lift a bucket of water on her head. Atanda, a father of two and a divorcee, who hails from a village Tanpado, along Oke-Oyi, in Ilorin East local government area, said he was embarrassed that the mother of the victim accused him of raping her daughter when he cannot have any in his pelvic region.


Tension in Taraba as gunmen attack village, burn houses From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


ension has continued to brew in Lau and Karim Lamido local government areas of Taraba state, as unknown people in Lau attacked Fulani communities in 2 villages: Ababare and Katibu in the local government. The police PPRO who confirmed the incident, told

Peoples Daily correspondent in Jalingo that it was Bachama communities from Adamawa state that made the attack. He said the police from the local government division are there and that Taraba state police command has sent additional reinforcement, including mobile police to the area. The PPRO said that in the incident, there was no threat, while

nobody was injured, but houses were burnt down, adding that five persons have been arrested. According to an eye witness, the attack was retaliation by Bachama communities from Adamawa state, against Fulani, where there has been misunderstanding between them since last year. A resident of Abbare told Peoples Daily that 7 people were killed and about 12 injured,

while houses and properties were burnt. He said the fighting was a guerrilla war where people from Abbare village were killed at bush by the Bashama communities. He claimed that some of those killed “were complying with the eviction order given by the Bachama only for them to be attacked and killed while crossing River Benue.’’

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, during the commissioning of the 5.25 million metric tonnes per annum Line-3 cement plant of the Dangote Cement, yesterday at Obajana, Kogi state. Photo: Joe Oroye

N27.5bn theft: Absence of prosecution Mining sector cannot develop without witness frustrates trial of Atuche, others skill acquisition, says minister From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, yesterday, frustrated the trial of former Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), Mr Francis Atuche and two others before Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja. Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth and the former Chief Financial Officer in the bank, Ugo Anyanwu, are standing trial over allegations of stealing N27.5 billion belonging to the bank by EFCC. According to the prosecution led by Kemi Pinheiro, the witness, David Olom Nkpe, who

is still being cross examined by Atuche's counsel, Anthony Idigbe, had believed that the court would not sit on the premise that the new Chief Judge would be sworn-in on Monday. According to Pinheiro, the witness was mistaken to believe that the court may not sit due to the possible swearing in. “I agree the witness made a mistake and I tender our unreserved apology for this,” he said. When asked for his reaction, Idigbe said he has no objection as he would also be asking that Wednesday's date be vacated to enable him attend the collation of reports of the Presidential Task Force Committee on Fuel subsidy utilisation.

By Mohammed Kandi


he Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Mohammed Sada, has stressed the need for adequate skill acquisition and proper application by mining operators and other stakeholders in the minerals and steel sector of the economy. “Nigeria, being endowed with huge deposits of mineral resources cannot develop the sector, if relevant skills are not adequately acquired and properly applied by both mining operators and other

stakeholders in the minerals and metal sector of the economy.” Sada stated. He made the declaration during the handover ceremony of Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists recently, noting that despite huge deposits of mineral resources in the country, there will be no development without skill acquisition. In a statement issued by the ministry’s Deputy Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu, he said that developed nations became great not only because they are blessed with natural resources but as a result of relevant skills people have to do complex things.

Contract inflation: Bankole loses bid to stop tendering of document By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, yesterday failed in his efforts to frustrate tendering of documents against him before a Federal High Court in Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Bankole is standing trial over a 16-count charge bordering on contract fraud in the House of Representatives when he was

Speaker. The trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, in admitting the document as evidence held that since the certification of the documents are valid and not been contested by the defence, the court has no option than to over-rule their objection. Bankole had, through his lawyer, Wale Akanni, argued that the documents which included minutes of series of meetings purportedly held in the conference room of the former speaker over

the purchase of some stationery were not serially numbered and incomplete. An inconsistency, the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo attributed to typographical error which he said had not in any way affected the contents of the documents. When the matter came up yesterday, Justice Okorowo over ruled the objection of the defense and admitted the documents as evidence on the grounds that the content and the certification of the

facts are not been contested and as such the documents remains admissible. The court therefore went ahead with the cross examination of the second prosecution witness, Adeboye Adeniyi, an investigative officer with the EFCC who tendered letters of agreements entered into by the House of Representatives and some companies on the inflated contract scam as additional evidence. After the witness was

discharged, the prosecutor, Otemu Oghenovo who held the brief of Festus Keyamo prayed for a long adjournment to enable them subpoena their remaining witnesses. Though Bankole’s counsel, Akanni objected to the request for adjournment and accused the prosecution of delaying proceedings. The case has now been adjourned till September 24, 25, 26 and 27, 2012 for continuation of trial.


Suit against NLC over illegal sack slated for Aug 7 Buy Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, has adjourned till August 7, 2012 for the adoption of written addresses in the case of unlawful termination of appointment suit brought against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) by Comrade Onah Iduh. Justice Adejumo fixed the date after consultation with the defence and claimant's counsel at the end of cross examination of a witness. Comrade Iduh was until March 2011, the Acting Head of the Department of Information and Public Relations of the NLC. At the resumed hearing of the matter, the only defence witness in the matter, Comrade Happiness Okechukwu, an account officer in the employment of the NLC, told the court that she is not conversant with the conditions of service or the constitution of the NLC. When asked by counsel to the claimant, Emole Orji to state whether the appointment of a staff could be deemed rightly or wrongly terminated, Comrade Okechukwu responded: "I cannot say whether the appointment of a staff is rightly or wrongly terminated. I am not in a position to state whether or not the employment of the claimant in this matter is rightly or wrongly terminated." According to Comrade Okechukwu, her involvement in the case was based on the fact that she paid a cheque into the claimant's account on 14th of July 2011, shortly after the termination of the claimant's employment with the NLC. She said though she could not remember the interval between the termination of the claimant's employment and the period the cheque was deposited in his account, but said however that the claimant rejected the amount paid into his account and refunded it by depositing the exact amount into the Zenith bank account of the NLC. It will be recalled that Comrade Onah had approached the National Industrial Court sometime last year asking it to, among other things, make a declaration that the purported termination of his employment with the NLC on the pretext of on-going reorganisation in the NLC was illegal and against the ideals of what the NLC represents. He therefore prayed the court to reinstate him and to grant him costs in the sum of N20 million as damages.


Steer clear of Edo politics, Oshiomhole tells Jonathan From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


do state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has warned President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stop using different groups to cause chaos

in the Edo polity. The governor who spoke at a rally organised by the women wing of the ACN to drum support for his reelection bid, reminded the President that the state voted massively for him and not the PDP in the last presidential

election. The governor's statement is coming ahead of President Jonathan's visit to the state on June 30th for the gubernatorial campaign flagoff of PDP governorship candidate, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) campaign.

."Edo is our own, we are not looking for external forces. He (Jonathan) should not submit to the forces of manipulation and darkness. In any event, I am ready to fight against the forces of manipulation. No amount of Abuja oxygen can put them on their feet," he said.

Ghana VP to deliver lecture at 7th Lagos Assembly anniversary From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Vice President, Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, will be the guest lecturer at the first year anniversary of the 7th Assembly of Lagos state House of Assembly and the commemoration of June 12 anniversary. This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the chairman, House Committee on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity, Segun Olulade. Immediate past governor of the state and National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will be guest of honour at the event, which is scheduled to hold at the Assembly's Chambers today.

School children returning from school in an open truck following the withdrawal of commercial vehicles on some roads, yesterday in Ibadan, as a result of clashes between factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). Photo: NAN

IsDB commits N96bn to food security in Islamic world By Aminu Imam


he launch of a $600 million (N96 billion) Food & Agribusiness Fund to promote strategic investment flows and expertise into the food and agricultural sector in Islamic countries was announced yesterday by the Director of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Mr. Farid Masood,. The fund is a strategic partnership between ICD and a qualified management team, advised by Robeco - a subsidiary of Dutch Rabobank.

The ICD Fund will address growing food security concerns by capitalising on the region's largely under-exploited potential for increased food production and supply. The Chief Executive of ICD, Mr. Khalid Al-Aboodi, commented thus: "The fund is the first public-private partnership of this nature and size to address the inefficiencies and wastage facing the food and agricultural sector throughout our member countries. "Boosting regional food production, supply and trade, the fund's investments will also lead

to creation of jobs, transfer of technology, promotion of sustainable practices and poverty alleviation. The fund will significantly benefit from ICD's standing and resources in the Islamic countries". The fund will be managed by a specialised asset management company that will house a team of seasoned professionals, including secondments from ICD and Robeco, who together shall bring extensive investment experience and track record in the Islamic countries and international food and agricultural sector.

Bauchi SEMA expends N154.8m on disaster management From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has expended the sum of N154.8 million on assistance to disaster victims across the state. The permanent secretary of the agency, Alhaji Mahmoud Garba, disclosed this in Bauchi while presenting a report. He said the agency spent N50 million on the maintenance and upkeep of internally displaced persons as a result of different crises in and outside the state.

Nigeria can’t progress in atmosphere of insecurity - Lawmaker From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, yesterday, said it would be difficult for Nigeria to achieve

meaningful growth and development in the midst of insecurity. In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Michael Jegede, the Senator, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, condemned the

recent spate of bombings and terrorist attacks in the country. Appealing to perpetrators of such heinous acts to have a change of heart and allow peace to reign, Abatemi-Usman, noted that the continuous killing of innocent lives was not the best way of resolving

grievances. He wondered why the attacks would be coming at a time when the people and government of Nigeria were yet to get out of the shock created by the DANA Air crash, which claimed over 160 lives on June 3, 2012.



Ikeja NBA election: Court threatens to strike out parties who fail to file processes From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


n Ikeja High Court, presided over by Justice Opeyemi Oke, yesterday, threatened to strike out any of the parties who failed to file processes in the on-going Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch leadership crisis suit within the next seven days. The court gave the order while giving a ruling in the matter. Justice Oke had reordered the interim injunction which restrained the chairman of the NBA Ikeja Branch from swearing in the newly elected officers elected at the May 9, 2012 election of the branch and ordered all parties, who are defendants in the suit filed by one

Former army chief calls for completion of Ajaokuta, Itapke iron ore


ormer Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Alwali Kazir, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to revive the Ajaokuta Steel and Itakpe Iron Ore in Kogi to provide jobs. He also appealed to the people of Ebiraland in the state to embrace peace to usher in development in the area. Kazir made the call at a book launch in Abuja. He said that it had become imperative to check unemployment, especially in Ebiraland to avoid youth restiveness. Kazir traced the origin of antisocial behaviour among the youths in the area to rising unemployment. The former army chief said that if the two establishments were revived, they would provide jobs for the youths and shield them from anti- social behaviour. (NAN)

of the contestants, Mr. Yinka Farounbi, contesting the result of the election, to file their respective preliminary objection and response on point of law to the motion on notice filed by the claimant. At the resumed hearing of the suit yesterday, Mr. Sunday Agumemo, counsel to the 8th defendant, Memuna Esegine, had told the court that he just filed a fresh preliminary objection to the motion on notice of the claimant and sought to

withdraw the initial preliminary objection. Agumemo, had argued in the new application that the claimant ought to have brought the suit through a writ of summons and not through an originating summon while in the initial application, he had questioned the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. Counsel to the claimant, Mr. A.A. Adewunmi had confirmed receiving the application on Monday but said that he would

need time to study and respond to it appropriately. In her ruling, Justice Oke reminded all parties in the suit against doing anything that would lengthen the dispensation of justice in the matter. Justice Oke said she would not hesitate to strike out any party that failed to file processes in the matter within the next seven days. Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to June 19, 2012.


From Usman Shuaibu, Minna


he leadership of the National Kakanda Development Association (NKADA) cutting across Niger and Kogi states, has organised a reception to honour four government functionaries who have been elevated to leadership positions. Speaking at the occasion, the president of NKADA, Comrade Abdulmalik A. Muye, called on the Kakanda speaking people to be united in order to move the association forward. He further urged Kakanda people resident across the country to co-operate with the leadership of NKADA to put to an end to some of the lingering problems affecting the association, while warning them against insubordination. The four functionaries who were honoured include: Dr Ado J.G. Muhammad, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Honourable Usman Magaji; member Niger State House of Assembly representing Lapai constituency, Dr (Mrs) H.N. Muhammad; permanent secretary Niger state Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Co- operatives and Hon. Isah Saidu Baka; chairman of Lapai local government council.

Town planners L-R: Principal, Government Arabic College, Alkaleri, Hajiya Safiya Shal, receiving some text books from Bauchi state deputy governor, Alhaji Sagir Saleh, during the distribution of educational initiative books and other instructional materials to public and community secondary schools, yesterday in call for Bauchi. Photo: NAN Taraba citizens urged to support Suntai enforcement have direct bearing on the lives Maijankai said the Assembly, of building From Yusha’u Alhassan Jalingo passed 57 bills and other of the people of the state. ajority leader Taraba He noted that if the various motions into law within the code State House of projects included in this year’s first legislative year.


Assembly Charles Maijankai has asked Taraba people to continue to support Governor Danbaba Suntai to bring more development to their doorsteps. He stated this while speaking to Peoples Daily reporter in Jalingo. Charles explained that Governor Danbaba Suntai has laudable programmes that

budget are properly executed the governor would put smiles on the faces of Tarabians. The legislator observed that in spite of the meagre subvention being collected by the state from the Federation Account every month, Governor Suntai has been able to execute various projects in the state. On the performance of the state House of Assembly

According to him, the bill passed by Assembly on state and local government joint projects was aimed at complementing the efforts of one another. The majority leader said that the N10 billion loan approved for the purpose by the State House of Assembly was in safe account and assured that the Assembly will ensure judicious use of the money.

ACN chieftain chides Supreme Court over Benue guber verdict From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi hairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Benue state chapter, Comrade Abba Yaro has criticised the Supreme Court over the recent verdict in the 2011 Benue state governorship elections.

NKADA holds reception for government personalities

Comrade Yaro, who was reacting to last Friday’s verdict by the apex court upholding the election of Governor Gabriel Suswam against Professor Steven Ugbah and Daniel Saror of ANPP, expressed displeasure over the judgment maintaining that it was an indication that one

cannot have confidence in the judiciary. He added that it translates to encouraging violence in election in Nigeria and the win at all cost syndrome. The ACN chairman posited that if something is not done to change this ugly trend in the

judiciary, there would be chaos in 2015. Comrade Yaro said his party has accepted the verdict and committed the decision of the apex court in the hands of God who is the ultimate judge of every man even as he appealed to his supporters to remain calm.


he national president of the Town Planners’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TPRCN), Mr. Kabir Yari, yesterday, called for enforcement of the building code to curb collapse of buildings in the country. Yari who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the building code was supposed to ensure that structures were constructed according to safety standards. He said that the existing building code was not being enforced and that there was no adequate sensitisation on the code. “A building code should not be left to government officials alone, it must be a code for everybody in the city, particularly potential home owners, who should know it will protect their safety”, Yari said. (NAN)





Some judges and Khadis, during the induction course for newly appointed judges and Khadis, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN L-R: Public Affairs Coordinator, Julius Berger Nigeria, Mr. Clement Iloba, Head, Corporate Communications, Angela Schmidt, a senior staff, Bunmi Oladejo, Senior Public Relations Officer, Grace Ayoola, and Coordinator, Eduvision Computer Institute, Simon Damuala, during the presentation of N1 million cheque, to Family Care Eduvision IT School as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the company, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa



Anambra state ministry of environment demolishing some illegal structures, yesterday at Nnewi triangle, in Nnewi metropolis. Photo: NAN




Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (middle), dispensing kerosene to members of the public, during the flag-off of Eyiyato KeroDirect Enterprise, yesterday in AdoEkiti, the state capital.




FG to create 370,000 jobs out of subsidy funds By Abdulwahab Isa


he Federal Government has outlined how it intends spending part of its share from the partial withdrawal of subsidy on fuel. The Co-coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who said this yesterday in Minna, Niger state capital, said about 370,000 jobs are to be created nationwide in the next few months. This she noted would be achieved through the Community Services and Women and Youth Employment Project which is a part of the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme of the

Government. According to the Minister, the project is a direct Federal Government intervention to redress the current high youth unemployment rate in the country. “Youth unemployment currently stands at 37.5% and 47.5% in the age groups of 15-24 and 25-44 respectively. This situation is not acceptable to government. Therefore, the Community Services, women and youth of SURE-P is a direct Federal Government intervention towards creating opportunities for women and youths across the country”, a statement issued by Deputy Director (Press) A.I Okorafor

quoted. The Project, which has three components via Community Services Scheme, Graduate Internship Scheme and Vocational Skills Development, will be operated efficiently, transparently with emphasis on merit, the Minister promised. The Graduate Employment Scheme is to be executed in partnership with the organized private sector which would be encouraged to engage the services of fresh graduates while the Federal Government pays their stipends for two years during which they would acquire the necessary expertise and professionalism to enhance their employability.

On the other hand, the Skills Acquisition Scheme is to be executed in partnership with master trainers who will help unskilled youths to acquire new skills that will make them productive and employable. The Minna project was launched with an initial 300 beneficiaries drawn from the three senatorial zones and selected through the Community Development Associations of the various communities. However, the programme targets to employ 10,000 Niger State youths when fully operational. In his remarks at the occasion, the Niger state Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu

L-R: Deputy Director, Annual Report and Public Account, Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Daniel Bosa, Director, Treasury Audit, Mr. Tomothy Osunuga, and Deputy Director, Treasury Audit, Mr. Goddey Daniel, during their meeting with House Committee on Public Account, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Consultant identifies over 7000 ghost workers in Niger From Iliya Garba, Minna he consultant who carried out staff verification in the 25 local government areas of Niger state at the weekend, exposed no fewer than 7000 ghost workers on the payroll of the councils. Out of the figure, 3,394 are fake local government staff while the rest are teachers in primary schools across the state. The government had hired a consultant to verify the number of workers in the local government areas of the state following the huge salary bills it has to contend with as a result of the payment of the N18, 000 minimum wage. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Local government, Alhaji Adamu Garafini who briefed journalists in Minna, yesterday said a total of 26,846 staff were on the list in the 25 local government area while only23, 452 were screened, 19,296 were cleared by the consultants.


He said that 3394 local government workers did not appear for screening, raising the suspicion that they are ghosts. According to Alhaji Garafini, the consultant also discovered that 207 staff had duplicated salary accounts into which monthly stipends are paid simultaneously while 565

were under aged having been employed when they were not up to 18 years. The Permanent Secretary also revealed that 2,157 teachers were discovered to be unqualified even when they are performing their duties creditably, while 319 are due for retirement but refused to retire.

He said following the protest by the public and the show of sympathy by the Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the government has released over N1, 9 billionn for the payment of the salary arrears to all categories of workers in the local governments while government white paper into the report of the consultant is being awaited.

‘Omega principals’ to take over secondary schools in Niger From Iliya Garba, Minna


n order to boost the standard of education in Niger state, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Susan Gana said that ‘Omega’ principals would be used to reposition secondary schools in the state. Some secondary schools have between two to three principals, a development that often create friction and confusion among staff

and students. Represented by the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Dr. Peter Sale Sarki at a press briefing yesterday in Minna, Gana said the government will organise a retreat for the school heads during the long vacation after which the ‘omega’ principal will emerge. Mrs. Gana said that the problem with education in the state ‘is management’ and to solve

the problem, “it is important that those managing education are brought up to date on management.” She however said that the infrastructural problem facing institutions in the state cannot be solved over night as a result of the lean purse of the government adding that “if we put the whole budget of the state in a year into education it will not solve the problem.”

expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for choosing Niger as the first state to launch the project. He revealed that the state’s own Graduate Employment Scheme had already employed 6000 graduates and promised that part of Niger State’s share from the subsidy removal would be used to create jobs for the youths.

IT experts express mixed feelings on use of e-books


ome experts on Information Technology have expressed divergent views on the advantages of electronic books (ebooks). The experts expressed their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos. Electronic book is a publication in digital form, consisting of texts, images or both and readable on computers or other electronic device. The Chief Executive Officer of Global ICT Ltd., Mr. Tunde Awoseni told NAN that Nigerian readers and school administrators should take the advantage of electronic books as an alternative means of teaching. He said that the cost of delivering learning materials would eventually reduce through the Internet as a result of the lowcost ICT devices. According to him, e-book is a technological innovation that may bridge the digital divide by the use of electronic device to read books. “In this 21st Century, e-book has come in electronic format that has gradually taken over from traditional printed books as technologists are discovering new and better ways to improving human lives. “With today’s technology, people can read e-books anywhere such as in the bus, train, aircraft and while standing in a queue, ‘’ Awoseni said. He advised school administrators and government to promote electronic books to teach students so that they would catch up with their counterparts on digital systems. Mr. Ofulue Aniekwe, another IT expert, said that electronic books could violate Intellectual Property Right (IPR) if not well used. “It is difficult to deal with copyright violators in the conventional books and now that books can be read online, it might even be more difficult catching culprits who are supposedly online, `` he said. Aniekwe, who is also a publisher, said that with the advent of e-books, publishers envisaged rampant cases of infringement on copyright. “At first, most publishers had problem allowing books online, but many are now getting more published online as readers are more attuned to e-books than the conventional books. (NAN)



Ajimobi to sack indolent civil servants From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


R-L: Rector, Waziri Ibrahim Federal Polytechnic Birnin Kebbi, Malam Mohammed Nabade, with his deputy, Malam Garba Kangiwa, during a news conference on the 11th joint convocation of the polytechnic, yesterday in Birnin Kebbi. Photo: NAN

Bomb scare disrupts activities at Plateau Polytechnic From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


omb scare yesterday disrupted academic activities at the Jos Campus of the Plateau State Polytechnic as students and staff vacated their halls and offices for fear of explosion. Our correspondent gathered that some mischief makers purportedly planted an explosive

device in the ceiling of the one of the classrooms of the school building. A source said the device was suspected to have been planted in one of oldest blocks of class rooms popularly called BEPCO Block with more than 30 classrooms and offices accommodating both students, academic and nonacademic staff. The institution's authority

were said to have asked the Police Anti-bomb Squad to comb the building to ascertain the genuineness of the case. A visit to the institution showed students and lecturers gathered in groups discussing the incident while lectures could not hold in the campus for the fear of unknown. The Rector of the Polytechnic, Mr. Dauda Gyemang, assured

students to return to their classrooms as the Anti-bomb Squad certified the area to be safe. According to the Rector, “on many occasions, there have been incidents of theft at the ICT Centre of the school and few laptops have been stolen. I think this case is no exception; someone was just trying to play pranks…” Mr. Gyemang lamented the dearth of security personnel manning the institution but assured that he had written to the state government on the shortage of academic and security staff.

overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state has said that corrupt and indolent civil and public officials do not have a place in the state of his dream. He stated this yesterday at the swearing-in of 12 permanent secretaries recently appointed by the government. Although he said that it was not his administration’s plan to engage in the sacking of workers, Gov. Ajimobi, however, said no corrupt civil servant would be allowed a place in his government. “We will not tolerate corruption, inefficiency and nepotism in the civil service”, the governor said. According to him, as much as his administration recognises hard work and competence, it would not tolerate indolence under any guise. Gov. Ajimobi said that in the last one year, government had been watching its workforce, department by department and schedules by schedules, stressing that disposition and attitude to the business of government were the parameters to gauge loyalty of civil servants. “This is in line with our genuine intention to correct the visible flaws in the state’s drive for socio-economic development, to the benefits of our people. This has been evident in the constitution of a robust State Executive Council, made up of men and women of high quality and proven integrity, who are not only ready to serve but have also proven their mettle in their respective chosen careers”, he said.

Citigroup boss warns against extravagant Crises cause development to elude Plateau - Don spending of oil savings By Abdulwahab Isa


midst the global economic crisis stirred by euro zone and Greece debt burden, government has been urged to take preliminary measures by cultivating savings culture from oil earnings. Besides, it should demonstrate genuine effort towards implementing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a means to open up the sector for both competitiveness and transparency. These, were the submissions of Managing Director of Citigroup, Dr. David Cowan yesterday in Abuja at the Securities and Exchange

Commission (SEC) lecture series with a theme: “Global Economic Trends and the impact on Nigeria’s Capital Market”. Cowan in his lecture drew a link between prevailing global economic crises in the European zone and the Greece debt burden on the one hand, and the indirect economic buoyancy the impact has brought to bear on oil export countries including Nigeria. Consequently, Cowen challenged the relevant authorities to beware that “high oil prices should not be taken for granted as has been the case in recent years “advising that Nigeria must be cautious on running down it savings.

He pointed out that with PIB passed on good time, Nigeria could conveniently move from the current 2.2 million barrel oil daily production to 4 million barrel a day. Other areas of focus listed by Citigroup MD to be accorded priority include, the Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) to shield government against possible future oil price shock. In his contribution, Dr. Kingsley Obiora from the office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, noted that Nigeria’s economy is on right track and advised the financial regulators, especially those responsible for the stock market to look inward and come up with how the capital market can be the engine of Nigeria economy growth.

From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies of the University of Jos, yesterday, disclosed that development has eluded Plateau state as a result of the persistence crises bedeviling some parts of the state. Speaking at the peace advocacy visit to Jos South and Barkin Ladi local government areas of the state, the Director General of the centre, Prof. Nanven Audu Gambo, said Plateau state is far behind in terms of development because of security challenges confronting the state adding that other states are far ahead of Plateau in terms

of development. He said the resources allocated to the state to provide social amenities to the people are being channeled into the provision of peace and security. According to him, "The Plateau people have continued to suffer problems of bad roads, lack of water, electricity, bad schools and other social amenities since 2001, when violence first erupted in the state". Prof. Gambo urged the people to resolve to live in peace with one another irrespective of their political, ethnic and religious affiliation saying the benefits of living in peace outweigh crisis as investors would be scared from coming to invest because they are human beings.

CISLAC calls for probe into $600,000 dollar bribery allegation


he Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), yesterday, called for probe of the alleged $600,000 bribe against a “key member” of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime. This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by Malam Auwal Ibrahim, executive

director of CISLAC. The statement called on the National Assembly and the executive arm of government “not to let the current scandal serve as a straw to bury the probe report under the carpet”. It advised the leadership of the House to urgently institute thorough investigation into the

alleged bribe and involve antigraft agencies to also probe the circumstances and reality of all claims. “Those indicted by the report may go to their wits end in order to rubbish an exercise that is widely applauded by Nigerians in view of the nasty dealings it uncovered”, CISLAC said.

The organisation warned that the outcome of the probe panel should not be tampered with but should be implemented by the Federal Government to the later. The organisation warned that any attempt to foot-drag in implementing the report, as endorsed by the larger House would be viewed by the public “as a lame

to thwart the entire report”. According to the statement, the 7thSession of the House of Representatives enjoyed tremendous respect and goodwill from the public. “It should therefore shun sentiment and do all that is needed to be done to clear its name from this odious allegation.” (NAN)



INEC to introduce permanent voters card to check electoral frauds T

he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has concluded arrangements for the introduction of permanent voters’ card to checkmate electoral malpractices in the country. Amb. Lawrence Nwuruku, the INEC Commissioner for South-East, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

in Abakaliki yesterday. Nwuruku listed the malpractices to include multiple registrations and multiple voting, among others. “These are some of the measures taken by INEC to stop electoral frauds. The permanent voters’ card is designed to capture the bio data of an eligible voter. “INEC is putting things in

order so that the vote of every eligible voter in Nigeria will count”, he said. “The Electoral Institutes are being revitalised to properly educate the voters. If the voters are not educated, we cannot get it right. “We are all voters from 18 years and above. If you are educated on your rights, you will

get it right,” Nwuruku added. He explained that the aim of introducing INEC clubs in schools was to help educate the pupils and students on the voting system and their rights. The commissioner said that when such students attain the age of 18, they would now be fully prepared to exercise their franchise, adding that the

commission would also introduce a system that would ensure continuous registration of voters. To achieve the objective, he said many members of staff of the commission would be posted, on a permanent basis, to local governments areas for the purpose. “You see the revision of voters’ list and registrations of new voters are, very important in our electoral system. All these are the modernisations that will help sustain the system,” Nwuruku said. (NAN)

FMC Abeokuta workers embark on another strike From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


orkers of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, yesterday embarked on another round of industrial action accusing the management of nonchalance to their welfare, as well as accusing the Medical Director of imposing a chairman on the medical advisory committee on the workforce. The Monday strike which is the third within six months was on the order of the Joint Health Workers Union of the hospital. But the management in a counter move issued a directive for the workers to ignore the union leadership. However, the union leaders rose to the challenge as they were seen within the premises to enforce the stay-at-home order, further alerting the workers to comply with the directive. In spite of the repeated announcement by the hospital management warning that whoever failed to report to work would face sanction as contained in the civil service rules and regulations, offices in the hospital remained locked. Policemen were however drafted in to keep order.

Ogun declares June 12 public holiday From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


he Ogun state government has declared today, (Tuesday) as work free day to celebrate the annual June 12 anniversary. Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the State Government made this known in a statement issued in Abeokuta, the state capital. The press release made available to journalists in Abeokuta said that the holiday is declared in honour of the late icon of democracy, Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, who won the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election. According to the scribe, the work-free-day will also be used to commemorate Democracy Day.

L-R: Chairman, Ijaw Youth Council, Ibani clan, Mr. Telema Pollyn, Leader, Bonny Youth Federation, Mr. Gift Furo, and Ijaw Youth Clan Leader, Mr. Ala Hart, during a press conference on the marginalisation of Bonny youth By NLNG, yesterday in Port Harcourt. Photo: NAN

Online registration of govt contractors to commence in 2013 By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) yesterday presented the national database module for the registration, categorisation and classification of federal contractors, consultants and service providers to the general public. According to BPP Director General, Engr. Emeka Ezeh, the national database will contain the identities of all federal contractors, their owners, directors and capabilities and it will make it easier for BPP and other anti-graft agencies to fight crime in the system. In his welcome address at the presentation held at State House Auditorium, Abuja yesterday,

Engr. Ezeh said: "The centralised database and categorisation of contractors and service providers doing business with the Federal Government is anticipated to enhance efficiency, save cost in public procurement, improve budget implementation and increase professionalism, besides initiating transparency in public procurement business." He added that the new database system which is in practice in the USA, India, Wales and Tanzania, would help reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria through the elimination of multiple registration and pre qualifications in the various MDAs. In an interaction with reporters after the opening ceremony, Engr.

Ezeh noted that: "Today's event is a milestone in the history of this country because we are bringing technology into procurement business wherein contractors have to click in online and fill in their data. This is to completely eliminate the chances of human contact and bribery and corruption in contract awards." "They will also be given an identification number with which they will continue to use in doing business with all government parastatals and agencies. We will verify their claims with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other relevant agencies and stakeholders with regards to the claims made the

contractors. On when the online process will become fully operational, Engr Ezeh said the bureau was still in discussion with the Head of Service of the Federation, adding that all other processes will be completed before 2013 when the online registration will take full effect. The BPP boss decried the habit of contractors in misleading MDAs about the volume of jobs they can execute, adding that the new system will make it easier in discovering false claims. He also stated that any contractor found guilty of making false claims about his or her capacity will be banned from doing business with government for 10 years.

Muslim lawyers advise FG to dialogue with Boko Haram


he Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), yesterday, advised the Federal Government to dialogue with the Boko Haram sect, to curb the spate of violence in the country. MULAN made the call in a communique issued at the end of its 17th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Lagos,

which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). The communique was jointly signed by MULAN's President, Mr. Tajudeen Adewara and its Lagos state chapter chairman, Musoddiq Sanni. It reads: "The security situation in the country, whereby armed robbery, militancy, incessant bombings by identified and

unidentified groups, extra-judicial killings, wanton destruction of property, vandalism of oil pipelines and kidnappings are getting worse, require urgent solution. "MULAN urges government to in particular, heed the call of wellmeaning Nigerians to engage in dialogue with the Boko Haram sect toward an amicable solution to the problem".

The group urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reinstate Justice Isa Salami as the President of the Court of Appeal. It also opposed the increase in electricity tariff, arguing that the increment was done without due regard to the provisions of Section 76 of the National Electricity Act and Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution. (NAN)





President Jonathan’s delay in assenting to bills

oing by some Presidential pronouncements as well as acts of commission and omission, there is little to doubt that the President Jonathanled executive arm of the government has a disdain for its legislative counterpart. This disdain may well explain the President’s delay in assenting to the bills passed by the National Assembly, for which the two chambers of the legislature have had cause to voice out their frustration recently. Early in the year, when in the wake of the fuel subsidy crisis the House of Representatives passed a resolution on January 8 asking the executive to revert the pump price of petrol to N65, the Presidential spokesman, Mr. Reuben Abati described the resolution as “mere expression of opinion.” The Presidential spokesman was roundly condemned for this ill conceived remark. At a one-day symposium on Monday, May 28, organized to mark the nation’s 2012 Democracy Day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal used the occasion to, among other things, accuse the President of not assenting to Bills sent to him from the legislature. “In as much as it is the constitutional role of the legislature to pass laws, it is equally the constitutional responsibility of Mr. President to assent to same; it is however disturbing to note that the Executive had shied away from its responsibility by not assenting to bills passed by the National Assembly,” the Speaker said. Then at the opening of a public hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology on a bill to set up an erosion control commission recently, Senate President David Mark reechoed the Speaker’s accusation against the President over his failure to assent to some bills passed by the National Assembly.

The Senate President, who spoke through his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu on May 30, also said President Jonathan “distorted facts” when he said that the lawmakers tore up the budget proposal sent to them thereby making it difficult for the executive to implement it. “A number of bills that would have changed a lot of things for this country have not been signed,” Mark said, advising the executive “to dialogue with the legislature in matters like these and find a common

We want to join the leadership of the National Assembly in, on behalf of Nigerians, expressing our displeasure over the executive’s tardy handling of bills from the legislature, a development which may well have been responsible for the clear lack of direction by the administration in its past one year in office ground instead of shifting blames. “We expressed our displeasure over some of the bills which we have sent to the Presidency for assent since last year that have not received presidential assent. And in response, the President said that it is because we are creating agencies. We will continue to create agencies if it is important, because that is why we are here,” he said. “So, we have to do our job. Most of those bills have nothing to do with agencies. I remember we have the State of the Nation

OUR MISSION “To be the market place of ideas and the leading player in the industry by putting the people first, upholding the truth, maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards while delivering value to our stakeholders”

Address Bill, it has nothing to do with any agency and it has not been signed. We have the National Health Bill. It has nothing to do with an agency. It has not been signed. We have the Air Force Institute of Technology Bill and Tobacco Bill,” he stressed But in place of a convincing argument to explain his refusal to assent the bills, all the President could do was to accuse the lawmakers of “tearing” the 2012 budget proposal and acting against the manifesto of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), admonishing the leadership of the Assembly against openly criticising the government as, according to him, that is what “anti government people want”, adding that the executive and legislature must be seen to be working together for their own good. “If we begin to see this clear division, then you are also exposing the National Assembly to people who are antigovernment to use. “There is theoretical separation of powers, but where the executive and the legislature come from the same political party, they must work together for democracy to be meaningful to Nigerians,” he said. We want to join the leadership of the National Assembly in, on behalf of Nigerians, expressing our displeasure over the executive’s tardy handling of bills from the legislature, a development which may well have been responsible for the clear lack of direction by the administration in its past one year in office. We also think Mr. President’s allegiance to the ruling party and not the Nigerian people smacks of a very shallow understanding of the place of the sovereign in a democratic setting. Government’s allegiance, we believe, should be first and foremost to the people not the ruling party, no matter its popularity.








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By Peter Claver Oparah


he smoldering smoke from the ill fated Dana Airline crash in Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos, has gradually died down and with it, a nation tottering on the brinks of security maelstrom has gone back to its troubled sleep. Life, as in the greatly unsecured and un- assured form we have known it as Nigerians, has assumed its normal style. Oh yes, an un-shockable nation (apologies to the late Dele Giwa) has shown its fly-in-the-pan reactions. Crocodile tears have been shed, weeks of mourning have been declared, flags have been flown at half mast, but the nation retires to its state of decay to await the next crash. The president has cried and assured it will never happen again. People have expressed their traditional piety but you can bet that from the scene of that fatal crash, most have gone to resume the same dawdy ways that pockmark life and conduct of every business in a nation that is fast becoming a scourge to the human race. I wonder who believed the president when he vowed that we won’t experience such crash again. At most he has been dour and uninspiring in leading a meaningful exit from such charred cases. Many wonder whether he meant a crash of a Dana plane in Iju Ishaga on a bleak Sunday afternoon. If that was what he meant, he might be right. We may not experience such again. If however he meant that Nigerian aircrafts would not crash again, he was indulging in a flattering hyperbole. As a president whose words have lesser meaning than any president in the history of the country, he was not scoring a first in such hyperboles. He was far from hitting the bull’s eyes with such statement and woe betides whoever


A nation in distress takes his words here to the bank. Remember the moratorium to cement manufacturers to crash cement price last year? Remember the ultimatum to sell kerosene for N50 a liter? Remember the false promises and the prurient vow to turn Nigeria to a modern wonder with the proceeds from the fuel price increment last January? Remember the promise on power, mass transit, state of the wonder rail lines, etc? Which one has been met except in breach? So Nigerians, pummeled by bad leadership, have come to treat the words of their president as the free outpourings that occur in an average beer parlour. The issue of presidential flippancy is not our concern in this report but the fact that Nigerians are living corpses; whether they are flying in the air, traveling on roads, praying in churches and mosques, sitting in the comfort of their rooms or in any other place. Nigeria has become a looming disaster region and no one is spared its negative fallouts. What better way to show the kind of dire security risks and imponderable safety options facing Nigerians presently than the many events of the week of the fatal Dana Air crash? In the middle of the week, travelers, bystanders and other sundry road users on the ever-busy but horribleLagos-Ibadan Expressway (?) were roasted in an early morning inferno as a full laden petrol tanker tipped over on the uneven, scraggy and tight road. It splashed its combustible contents on people and automobiles near its deadly vicinity and a wild fire consumed so many Nigerians, so many vehicles, and properties. It locked up the narrow road for the

rest of the day and this imposed huge trauma on road users who ply that gateway to Nigeria’s commercial and economic nerve. A day after that, there was a repeat of such similar hell on another stretch of the same road; this time with deadlier effects. On the morning of the day of the ill fated crash, Boko Haram terrorists set upon worshippers in two churches in Bauchi. When they have exhausted their deadly mission, more than twenty Nigerians lay dead, many others sustained varying degrees of injury while properties were destroyed. On Friday, a Nigerian cargo plane exported its nuisance value by crash landing on road users in neighboring Ghana. It took with it, ten lives and with the benefit of hindsight; it was just a fore runner to a deadlier carnage in Nigeria. The Dana Air crash took with it all passengers on board, the flight crew and of course several other Nigerians that were relaxing in the comfort of their homes thus climaxing the security miasma that threatens every Nigerian at present. There is practically nothing to show that the nation has seen its last air crash as there is nothing to suggest the security wild cat that threatens to devour all of us is about to be caged for reasons we shall see in the course of this report. Sometime in the week preceding this chain of ugly events, I had written on the social media forum thatNigeria is a land where horrible reports of insecurity struggle for space with each other. In another, I had written that in the present day Nigeria, a heinous case of corruption merely waits to be displaced each day by more

egregious cases. And in both, I had tried to draw a nexus between the increasingly insecure state we have in Nigeria with the rampant cases of corruption, which to all intents and purposes, had been elevated to a directive principle of state policy by successive governments in Nigeria and has been made a binding law by the present government, which has so far, shown the most tolerant and permissive attitude to corruption. I still wonder why anything can work in such state of sleaze and audacious stealing. The sordid state of Nigerian security and the Nigerian state at present is a demonstration of what corruption a culture of impunity can do to a nation. Nigeria resembles the Hobbesian state of nature where life is brutish, short and nasty and every Nigerian is a potential victim of this Frankenstein monster nurtured over the years and which has now assumed full manhood. In the opinion of Theophilus Danjuma, a ranking PDP chieftain and a former Chief of Army Staff, Nigeria is very much like Somalia today. And Somalia typifies a state where law and order have irretrievably broken down. The systematic enculturation of an amoral order that rests on the rotten pillars of corruption, graft and avarice has gotten to a dizzying height that leaves us with no better expectation than the disheveled state of anomie we are living with today. Life has become so cheap that Nigerians are living corpses to the forces of Hades that have been littered so generously in the polity to snuff life out of any Nigerian at the drop of a hat. The reality of the frightful Nigerian state at present is that one

can meet extinction mid air in the flying coffins that pass as our airplanes, on the rickety roads as mobile infernos, unlatched trailers, heavy duty vehicles struggle for space with all manners of small vehicles on our crater-riddled, narrow, ill maintained roads. What more, armed robbers, killers, kidnappers, terrorists of all guise and persuasions lie in wait for Nigerians on the roads, ready to pounce on hapless Nigerians at will. Even in the worshipping places, markets, work places, schools, Nigerians are potential causalities to all manners of criminals who run rings round a confused, clueless and corrupt government and make mincemeats with Nigerians at will. Hunger, privation, disease and want complement this destructive ennui that has been let loose over Nigerians while the government dithers and those in governments feed fat from the common till. Through acts of corruption, public treasury is there for the incessant raiding of those that warm government positions. Annual budgets merely finance the freebies, nuances, idle lives, excesses and idiosyncrasies of those in government, together with their civil servant collaborators and of course their private sectors laundry men, who help them stash public funds while the public sector suffers. As a result of corruption, our roads have remained death traps even as trillions of Naira were reportedly spent on them, our health facilities have turned to mortuaries, our schools have gone decrepit, the energy sector continues to generate millions of megawatts of darkness, our energy sector wobbles on the weight of trillion Naira scams and Continued on page 15

Jonathan’s MAUling of UNILAG

By Charles Ofoji


ast week on this website, I had once again mooted that Jonathan’s greatest obstacle to success as president is himself. Time and time again he has shown, as a result of his unnecessary unforced errors, that he is his own chief enemy. They simply resuscitate the question, as to whether he was ready to be president. On Democracy Day, I got to listen to his speech by chance. Nothing else to do; just lazing in bed. What would he say that other presidents before him have not said and promised Nigerians? What would be different? In any case, when I started watching, Jonathan was reading from a prepared speech before his nose, like a school boy forced by the teacher to read from a textbook in class. And his body language was not helpful. You could easily see that he did not believe in what he was reading to his “fellow Nigerians”. What was only inspiring, as the reading progressed, was that it was a comprehensive report of his stewardship, untypical of our

leaders. He covered almost everything. Telling Nigerians what the state of things was before he assumed office, and what it is on that day. For the first time, since I supported his presidency, I was impressed. I was compelled to nod along as he read. Unfortunately, at the end, he shot himself at the foot once more. Jonathan capped his speech by announcing the renaming of the iconic University of Lagos after the Late Chief MKO Abiola, the “presumed winner” of the dubiously annulled June 12 Presidential elections of 1993. In a singular statement, Jonathan illegally attempted to erase my Alma Mata. I was speechless! “This can not be possible,” I later breathed. But what could be possible? Jonathan had once again embarrassed people like me, who desperately wishes that he succeeds as president. He once again proved, through another needless boo-boo, that he is the one preventing himself from blazing the path to greatness. I had spent the next hours pondering over Jonathan’s illegal and provocative MAULing of

University of Lagos. He now wants the great school to be called MAUL and no longer UNILAG. Impossible! The legendary University of Lagos was established by Act of Parliament, and in Article 1 of that law, it is stated that the school shall be called: University of Lagos. To repeal, amend or otherwise alter those provisions, a legislative amendment would be needed. This is why it baffles me how the president could delude himself to think that he could change any provision of that Act by a mere executive pronouncement. This can never be possible. This aside, the action of Jonathan is very fascist and has the footprints of a ruthless dictator. As in the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy, he acted contemptuously arbitrarily. Apart from being or pretending to be a democrat, Jonathan comes from the academia. Therefore, one would have expected him to consult with the school authorities, Student Union and Alumni Association before he could contemplate changing the school’s name. For the avoidance of doubt,

the late Abiola deserves every honour he could get for paying the supreme sacrifice for our freedom. But what I am saying is that you can not sacrifice a brand like University of Lagos for cheap populism. It therefore seems to me that Jonathan only wanted to ridicule the late Pillar of Sport and divide the Yorubas with such doubtful recognition. First, the name Abiola can never overshadow UNILAG of 50 years of iconic excellence till life on earth is through. So, it was no honour. Secondly, Abiola was a National Hero. So why regionalise the recognition. Since he was acknowledged as Africa’s Pillar of Sports, renaming the National Stadium Abuja after him would have been more suitable. Or re-naming the Eagle Square to Abiola Square. If to those in power, it must be a university, despite the fact that a polytechnic in Ogun State has already been named after him, then the University of Abuja, which is not yet a brand or any of the new proposed 9 federal Universities. Unilag students are rioting and resisting the name change. The school has been shut down

for two weeks. Could this be the aim of the recognition? To rubbish Abiola’s name or what? ASUU is also spoiling for war. I will encourage them to ask a court of competent jurisdiction to declare Jonathan’s rascality illegal, null and void. Typical of fascists, the reaction of the government is that “there is no going back” and that the change “is in the interest of the nation”. I also watched Information Minister, Labaran Maku defend the government decision on NTA’s Tuesday Live. As always, he likes to talk, but what his listeners don’t like is the content of what he says. Could England ever contemplate renaming Cambridge or Oxford, No! How could people who say they are democrats insists on what is overwhelmingly rejected by the people? University of Lagos is possibly Nigeria’s finest institution, a brand with enormous goodwill acquired over five decades. This can never be wiped away by a misguided presidential exuberance. Charles Ofoji can be reached at



Letter to President Jonathan: Request for public inquiry into the Dana air crash By Dr Jibrin Ibrahim & 23 others


e the undersigned representatives of NKatalyst, a non-partisan network of individuals from diverse sectors committed to the promotion of Nigerian unity and progressive change, hereby request the establishment of a publicly accessible and representative inquiry into the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012. Background and Purpose The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas 83 (MD83) with Registration Number 5N-RAM and 153 people on board departed Abuja for Lagos in the afternoon of June 3 but crashed five minutes to landing at Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos. All the 153 passengers on board were reportedly killed as well as unverified number of persons on ground. The fallen aircraft destroyed several buildings and rendered a good number of others uninhabitable by the force of the impact on earth surface. Environmental experts have also reported possible emission of radioactive materials in the neighbourhood. Available information from insider sources and passengers who have flown in the aircraft before the incident suggests that it ought not to have been in service on that day and in fact should have been retired on account of incessant engine faults if the oversight agencies as well as the airline had been steadfast with maintaining aviation safety standards, although the Dana Air disputes these claims. Therefore, an open and accessible public Inquiry will help in ascertaining what really caused the crash and resultant deaths and destruction of property by investigating the immediate and remote causes and bringing

Possible Terms of Reference to justice any persons or corporates home for Christmas. The Panel should among other found culpable. 8. September 17, 2006 Chronology of major Air Crashes Twelve Nigerian military things look into the following as in Nigeria personnel, mostly high-ranking part of its Terms of Reference: a. Investigate and determine Nigeria has experienced one too officers, were killed in a plane crash the cause of the crash and many crashes resulting to mass in Benue state. Six survived. deaths in the last twenty years and 9. October 29, 2006 - An ADC examine contributory factors; b. Inquire into the roles played all the aircrafts involved were airliner with 114 passengers on registered and operated in the board crashed and burned after by the regulatory bodies and other country, which calls into question take-off from Abuja, killing 96 organisations responsible for airspace management in Nigeria, how serious we take aviation safety people. and security: 10. June 3, 2012 - A Dana Air prior to the accident; c. Examine what regulatory 1. September 26, 1992 - A passenger plane carrying 153 guidelines, Nigerian Air instructions and Force C-130 orders were c r a s h e d applicable and minutes after whether they taking off from Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text were complied Lagos airport. messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written with; Around 200 contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 d. Determine people died. words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and the state of 2. June 25, a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed serviceability of 1995 - A Harka to: the aircraft and Airlines Sovietr e l e v a n t era Tupolev The Editor, equipment; T u - 1 3 4 Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, e. Establish the crashed at level of training, Lagos airport, 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. r e l e v a n t killing 15 Email: let competences and people. SMS: 07037756364 qualifications of 3 . the crew November 13, 1995 - A Nigeria Airways Boeing people crashed in the Agege suburb members involved in the crash; f. Ascertain if search and rescue 737 crashed on landing in Kaduna, of Lagos, killing everyone on board killing nine people. and an unconfirmed number on facilities were fully available, utilized and functioned correctly; 4. November 7, 1996 - A Boeing ground. g. Ascertain the number of 727 operated by Nigeria’s ADC It is disheartening to note that Airlines crashed on its way from the standard response of the people on ground that lost their Port Harcourt to Lagos. All 142 Government of Nigeria (GON) to lives and value of property all these aforementioned crashes destroyed at the site of the crash. passengers and nine crew died. h. Assess any health and safety 5. May 4, 2002 - A Nigerian was to set up secretive technical EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 crashed in investigation panels whose reports at work and environmental Kano. At least 148 people were were apparently neither made protection implications to the killed, 75 on the plane and at least public nor acted upon. In a way, residents of the area in which the these technical panels became a crash occurred. 73 on the ground. i. Determine and comment on 6. October 22, 2005 - A tunnel through which successive Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing governments ran away from their any broader contributory factors causes including, 737 airliner crashed shortly after responsibility of making Nigerian or oversight, take-off from Lagos. All 111 airspace safe and secure for all management, maintenance culture and passengers and six crew were killed. stakeholders. Your government is in a historic resources. 7. December 10, 2005 - A j. Make appropriate Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC9 from position to break this vicious cycle Abuja crashed on landing in Port of public deceit if it heeds our recommendations. We request that the Harcourt, killing 106 people, half request to convene a public inquiry membership of the panel should of them schoolchildren on their way into the crash.


be broadly representative including members of nongovernmental human rights organizations and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This is to ensure transparency and accountability. We look forward to a favourable and timely response to our request in order to take advantage of the mood of the moment; provide some assurance to the bereaved that the death of their loved ones will not go in vain; prevent avoidable air mishaps in future and more importantly ensure that the Nigerian airspace is not only safe but complies with international aviation safety standards. We thank you for your kind consideration and attention to our request. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Yours faithfully, Dr Jibrin Ibrahim Dr Otive Igbuzor Saudatu Mahdi Bilkisu Yusuf Ayisha Osori Prof Ebere Onwudiwe Yemi Candide-Johnson Ayo Obe Saka Azimazi Maryam Uwais Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim Innocent Chukwuma Chris Kwaja Hassan Hussaini Dr A. S. Mohammed Nsongurua Udombana Asma’u Joda Nsirimovu Anyakwee Dr Kabir az Zubair Martin Obono Dr Hussaini Abdu Aisha Oyebode Hubert Shaiyen Dr Arabo Ibrahim Bayo Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman Dr Charmaine Pereira Yusufu Pam Dr. Chidi Odinkalu N-Katalyst, 16 A7 Street, CITEC Mbora Estate, Jabi/ Airport Road Bypass Email:

Again and again and again …never again By Dr Arese Carrington


y heart and prayers go out to the family of victims of the Dana plane crash and the nation as a whole. Thoughts and emotions run through my mind nineteen to the dozen as I think of my native country Nigeria, who like a prodigal child continues to squander its opportunity for the love of money, greed and corruption. There is a clear difference between the inevitable and the avoidable. A lot of the disasters that are befalling the nation can be classified as avoidable. Bad roads leading to multiple fatal accidents, poor maintenance and inadequate emergency services leading to fatal crashes, collapsed buildings due to defective construction are but a few of the avoidable tragedies that have befallen the nation.

I will never forget the plight of the students who lost their lives in the ill fated Sosoliso plane crash on 10th December 2005 in Port Harcourt. I keep remembering when my husband, Ambassador Carrington laid the foundation stone for the Jesuit College which they attended on April 1st 1995 in Abuja and gave an address titled “Hope reborn on the field of dreams”. How as he looked over the empty fields he saw hope reborn in the dreams and bright future the school would offer the students who attended it, but he feared what lay in wait for them once they left the college and entered into the harsh reality outside. In his speech, he said in part: “But, I must also frankly say, that as good as my long-range vision may be, my vision dims when I try to gaze beyond the confines of the school. The horizon is much hazier, and I don’t think it is just a case of the lingering

winds of harmattan. Because the great challenge for all of us, after the Jesuits have done their job of bringing in children from all parts of Nigeria, educating them, giving them strong values, is what happens when they graduate and leave? What will the picture be outside of the walls of this college? Will the society they return to be nurturing and accepting of the values they learn here?” “Let us pray that these students matriculate into a society in which getting rich quickly is no longer a cherished value; in which corruption is to be shunned and not envied. A society in which freedom and democracy flourish.” Unfortunately the answer to his question revealed itself when those innocent children became victims of a corrupt nation that cuts corners regardless of the cost to its citizens. A crash that when it happened lives could have been saved if proper

emergency and rescue services where in place. After all did Captain Sullenberger of U.S Airways not land a plane on the Hudson river in New York and all its passengers were rescued? We remember the students not as individual but en mass as a group but to their loved ones, friends and family, their names are forever individually engraved in their hearts while that pain continues to linger on. On the other hand we remember the names of the VIPs because theirs are headlined in the media when they are a victim of a disaster. Their positions are then filled with new people who promise heaven and earth. In our quiet moments let us examine our hearts and minds and ensure we are not guilty of omission or commission. In a democracy it is the right and duty of the people to make certain that those governing are accountable

to those being governed. The people’s fundamental basic human rights for life, liberty and freedom must be put above corruption and greed. Some of the people in the building the Dana plane crashed into may never have flown before, living on the precipice of poverty but became victims and lost their right to life. Again and Again and Again each time there is a catastrophic disaster we hear the words: “Never again will this be allowed to happen”. Let us stop kidding ourselves, unless it is backed up by the necessary action, such as accountability in all sectors, good governance, transparency and an end to corruption or at least consequences for corruption….the sad truth is “Never Again” becomes empty words. Dr Arese Carrington is the wife of former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington



Making a case for agriculture in Nigeria By Ogbonna Nnaemeka Henry


he history of agriculture of course dates back to the fall of man where, after tasting the forbidden fruit of which identity and nomenclature points in no other direction than an immoral roll in the hay, he was divinely sanctioned and stripped of many fringe benefits of the luxurious Garden of Eden, among which included the fact that he would have to toil and till on the ground for his sustenance. Since then, man has taken that punishment in his stride, and has, as time and generations progressed, conscientiously made effort to cushion every difficulty and strain on that chiding rod. The oil boom in Nigeria of the later part of the nineteenth century which was harbinged by the discovery in Oloibiri 1956 of sedimentedA crude oil deposits opened a floodgate of opportunities, foreign exchange and local and international attention, such that it had the net effect of shifting both private and governmental focus away from agriculture, which was hitherto the single largest economic pillar of the country in those times. It is no gainsaying mentioning the fact that the groundnuts which the pyramids of Northern Nigeria boasted of serviced the needs of most of sub-

Saharan Africa, Europe and America, while the exploits of the cocoa farms of Western Nigeria are better witnessed than imagined in the beverage industry the world over. That is apart from the huge income and impact made from other agricultural products such as cassava, maize, sorghum, millet, sesame, grossing millions of naira in foreign exchange. Sadly enough, oil denied the country this mustard seed of potential by the fleeting respite it offered, by way of a burgeoning level of acceptance and acclaim in the world market, and of course acquiring meaningful proceeds, and the nickname of black gold in the process. Within every sane and rational recluse of analysis, I dare say with the other side of my tongue that oil and its attendant exigencies has not brought development anywhere in the world, but rather has fuelled greed, avarice, and sectionalism. A casual streaming of the profiles of oil rich regions in the world is a simple pointer to the truth and veracity of this fact-Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and most recently, our dear giant of Africa and most populous black nation, Nigeria. This is in addition to the indolence and lackadaisical attitude it has unleashed on not

only our policy makers, but also our teeming youth and even teenagers. In the oilfields of the Niger Delta, reports of truancy at work by the so-called indigenes who are simply spirited into sensitive positions are commonplace, and on the basis of the fact that the community has an understanding with the companies, they hardly feel the sledgehammer of sanction. In some isolated cases they even hire impersonators who share the monthly pay with them. When billions roll in by the second into state coffers by divine and natural design and not by any contributory ingenuity or research by any local technocrat or knowledgeable person, what can be expected other than primitive stealing, embezzlement and mismanagement of its proceeds? The kind of nonchalance and deliberate triviality with which we treat funds accruing from oil, and the brazen manner offenders go scot-free with its inevitable looting does not in any way depict a system that sweated, tasked and toiled for what it is freely enjoying and psychosavouring. And as is expected of such a system, there is no other mineral worthy of discourse in the face of oil, leaving our rich deposits of iron ore, tin, columbite, granite, coal and the like to either be

savagely exploited by people who are aware of its potentialities, or just left to waste away. The terrorist monster, disagreements, riots and fighting, resource control, derivation and deprivation arguments and many such unnecessary figments of dissatisfaction all are traceable to one source: oil, in the simplest terms. Oil has sure brought commensurate income to Nigeria worthy of mention, but it is in no way comparable to what agriculture is capable of doing to an economy such as that of Nigeria. Apart from the traditional beneficial derivatives of assurance of food supply all the year round, provision of stable and secure sources of engagement and livelihood, raw materials for the agro-allied industries and the like, what oil is earning this country is in no way estimable to what stable and sustained agricultural focus in terms of political will, governmental input and research and development can assure this country, and that is putting it mildly. For while crude oil is just a non-renewable source of energy, agriculture maintains its pride of place as the most traditional and efficient means of driving a country, people and economy to whatever height. There will not always be sediments of fossil under

rocks in the soil, but God has made sure there will always be nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients in the soil to fertilize and germinate every living seed thrown into the soil. At this juncture, kudos must be given to the government for their effort at stepping up agricultural proceeds over the years in programmes like Operation Feed the Nation, FADAMA, Green Revolution and most recently the value chain initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. This is calling on every stakeholder that holds the allround prosperity of this country dear at heart to heed this economydiversification call to agriculture. Government should devote more energy and resources to driving and making succeed the agricultural sector, while the private sector should also key in and contribute their own quota to making Nigerian agriculture comparable to that of nations such as Israel, China United States and the like. Agriculture remains the most potent power and economic index this country needs to both make life more meaningful to more members of the populace, and to enthrone Nigeria in its pride of place in the comity of nations. Ogbonna Nnaemeka Henry can be reached at

Jonathan’s book gift to the Nigerian child (II) By Simeon Nwakaudu


inister of State for Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike believes that the structures put in place by the Federal Ministry of Education and UBEC are robust enough to protect the interest of the Nigerian child and ensure that the books are not diverted. Wike said that the mechanisms were jointly worked out with the State Universal Basic Education Boards and security

agencies to avoid the mistakes of the past. According to him: “The Ministry of Education will neither accept nor tolerate the malady of the past where such textbooks were either found in the open markets despite the branded inscriptions against such unwholesome practices or left unutilized in the storerooms of schools, unprotected from destruction by water, mold and pests. For us, education remains

key to national development and the administration of President Jonathan is determined to ensure that primary school pupils and Junior Secondary students have access to relevant books for better learning to take place”. To the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, the commission will collaborate with all the State Universal Basic Education Boards and other stakeholders to deliver the books to the children. The UBEC

is riddled with abject lack of hope. The government that should help out the citizenry is in dire need of help. Its soul is gone and in this state of crisis, it rather exacerbates the national tragedy that Nigeria faces today. Ethically rusty, morally ship-wrecked, lacking in integrity, deficit in character, hollow in clues, bereft of ideas, the present government leads in the ranking order of atrophy and national tragedy that looms all over the country and its citizens. It has failed in mobilizing the will and the capacity to act in the face of the threatening tempest that pokes ceaselessly at the soft underbelly of every sector in Nigeria. Its coziness with corruption has further worsened an already bad situation such that Nigerians look for divine solution to their worsening problems. It is not too late for Nigeria to start the process of repair that will positively improve on the security crisis in the country but also mend

the many sectors that have been badly mauled by corruption. The citizenry must lead an ethical regeneration that should target a return to the hallowed ethos that disallows the prevailing culture of corruption that reigns presently. An affirmative action that should attract citizens to take more pro active moves to protest the raging corruption and incompetence that have grown into portent threats to the nation and its citizens must start and all Nigerians must sign up to it. The national tragedy is becoming so real and scaring that no one would be spared its wide reach. The citizenry should constitute itself into a formidable force against the corrupt acts that have almost completely wrecked the country. I believe there lies our salvation from the present state of national perdition. Peter Claver Oparah wrote from Ikeja, Lagos E-mail:

A nation in distress Continued from page 13

unbridled stealing. In fact, the nation’s infrastructural state is so decadent that nothing more than the present state of bedlam is possible. Poverty walks on all fours, as graduate unemployment has reached a crisis point. These and many more details of a collapsed state have sowed dread, fear and ennui on the minds of every Nigerian that life has become so unpredictably cheap. At a time like this, when Nigeria totters on the brinks of disaster, the lack of an inspiring, competent, knowledgeable and incorruptible leader to lead a possible recovery stands out so pointedly in the confusion and lack of wit that afflict our leaders. Operating under a searing halo of corruption, the present Nigerian leadership demonstrates the hopelessness and helplessness that loom over the country at present-and this is a very fearful scenario. The present government that should offer hope

Executive Secretary noted that no effort will be spared in ensuring that criminal elements in the books supply system are deterred from denying zthe children their right to access these books. What President Jonathan has done by distributing books free of charge to Nigerian children in public schools is simply to show an example privileged Nigerians and corporate organisations that the time has come for every group to make practical contributions to set the nation’s education sector on the path of growth. Chairman, Senate Former Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije was full of praises for the Presidential action, which he said that the Senate will continue to identify with and support. Senator Chukwumerije commended the Federal Ministry of Education and UBEC for working round the clock to address the decay in the nation’s basic education sub-sector. The Federal lawmaker noted that if the Senate had any doubts about the books distribution to less privileged Nigerian children will be successful, such doubts were dispelled by the realistic mechanisms put in place to get the books to the remotest parts of the nation. Also speaking at the books’ distribution flag off, the House Committee chairman on Education, Rt. Hon. Farouk Lawan, said that the free books distribution programme is one of the best initiatives of the Jonathan administration to address the basic challenges facing the education sector. Lawan said that he

administration in the last one year has impacted positively on the nation’s education sector. For the less privileged children across the country, President Goodluck Jonathan has presented a gift of knowledge embedded in the critical books to be presented free of charge to them. The only role they have to play is to make themselves available to receive these books and take the very next step to read these books to upgrade heir knowledge. Even as the Federal Ministry of Education and UBEC have put in place mechanisms to check the diversion of books to markets, parents and other Nigerians have a role to play to stop these evil minded persons from succeeding. Nobody should patronise anyone selling these free books. The duty parents owe to the nation is to quickly report anyone selling he books to law enforcement agents, so that they can face prosecution. This nation belongs to every Nigerian. As such, no criminal element should be given the free hand to frustrate genuine Presidential efforts to empower the greatest number, who are the less privileged. For Nigerian child, President Goodluck Jonathan has made available books in core subjects. This is a gift of life, which will help all Nigerians have access to the good things of life. Hidden in these books are the treasures of personal and societal growth. Nothing can be greater than this Presidential gesture of love. Concluded Simeon Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant (Media) to Minister of State for Education.



‘They came, demolished our houses secretly and ran away like thieves’

Scene from the demolition exercise at Kpaduma community.

FEATURE By Adeola Tukuru


esidents of Kpaduma community, located at Asokoro district have decried the demolition of their houses by the Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). The residents, who said that they had instituted a legal action at a Federal High Court, demanding the court to bare the FCDA from further demolition in the community, lamented that despite this, the development control went ahead at the weekend to pull down structures in the area. Peoples Daily recalls that the natives of Kpaduma, had sometimes in March last year, dragged Federal Capital Territory Administration

(FCTA) and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to court over alleged attempts to forcefully displace them from their area. The community, which were seeking an injunction from the court to stop FCTA and FCDA from displacing the original indigenes by reallocating their plots of land to non-indigenes and some government officials without providing necessary facilities to resettle them, had in the suit, asked the court to save the indigenes from being rendered homeless by government authorities. Lawyer to the community, Mr. Mela Nunghe, had said that the community had been complaining and if their complaints were listened to, the case would have been settled without resorting to legal action but that the authorities concerned had

Photo: Adeola Tukuru

vehemently refused. Similarly, the councillor representing Garki Ward, Mr. Bala Iya, who spoke on behalf of the community, had said that the community decided to drag FCTA, FCDA and AMAC to court, as a result of the continuous harassment and threat from non-

indigenes who claimed that residential plots of indigenes had been reallocated to them without the knowledge of the original indigenous owners. Some of the resident said that they lost properties worth over N8m to the ‘illegal’ demolition exercise, alleging that they were not

They came to demolish our house secretly and ran away like thieves, because people were not around, I and my family were in the village for my father’s burial. I doubt if they were truly sent by the government to carry out this demolition because if they were, they would have first met with the chief before going to demolish houses that people are still living in

given prior notice of the demolition which took place at the weekend. Lamenting their loses, the displaced residents said when most of them were out of the community in search for their daily bread, officials of the development control invaded their residence, pulling down their buildings in their absence. For instance, one of the residents, Mr. Musa Jibril, told Peoples Daily that he had gone for his father’s burial ceremony, only to receive an urgent call, requiring him to return to the village because his residential building has been demolished by FCDA. According to him, all his property was still inside the building when it was demolished. “They came to demolish our house secretly and ran away like thieves, because Continued on page 18



Demolition: Anger grief as Kpaduma residents recount losses Continued from page 16

people were not around, I and my family were in the village for my father’s burial. I doubt if they were truly sent by the government to carry out this demolition because if they were, they would have first met with the chief before going to demolish houses that people are still living in,” he said. A councillor representing Garki ward, Hon. Bala Iya, whose house was also affected in the exercise, said that the authority of developmental control acted unjustly for embarking on the demolish without informing residents. He further described the exercise as an injustice that the Federal Government must look into and ensure that justice is done. “Although the Director of the Development Control Unit in FCT is coming with the name of the FCT Minister and that of Mr President, that they sent him, but this is not

the right way to go about this whole thing. I am not disputing that they should not go about doing what they want to do, but we are human beings and should be treated as such,” the councillor said. Continuing, he added: “If they have anything in mind, they should have contacted the chiefs in Garki ward, that they have intention of using our community. I am also a leader in Garki ward, but they disregarded us and went ahead to demolished our houses and quantifying the demolished houses, they are worth over N8m losses. An obviously angry, Iya warned the development control to put a stop to such illegal demolition, or expect crisis from the indigenes. In the same vein, he appealed to the FCT minister and the National Assembly for justice to have its course. His words: “The Director of Development control should stop this illegal demolition of our residential buildings, if

they do not stop it, it will result to a great crisis in FCT and it may start from my village. They are treating us like animals and we are human beings like them. I am calling on the FCT Minister Sen. Bala Mohammed and the National Assembly to quickly act on this injustice against on us, because if they do not intervene, there may be havoc”. Also reacting to the

incident, Secretary to Kpaduma community, Simon Baba, condemned the demolition by the development control,saying that the way the FCT government is going about forcefully evacuating original inhabitants of FCT, may not yield positive results. “It is unfair the way we are being treated in this FCT. We did not know when these people came to demolish our

I do not know why this government has no human face at all for its citizens, after forcefully acquiring our farmlands; they are coming to our houses to push us outside without alternative provisions and more than 500 houses have been marked for demolition in this community without any alternatives for us indigenes, this is wickedness

houses. Now many of our people are homeless. They are pushing us to the wall. This is injustice, we are law abiding people, we are in court and the court has not given any verdict on the issue and they are demolishing our houses without the conclusion in the Federal High Court. “I do not know why this government has no human face at all for its citizens, after forcefully acquiring our farmlands; they are coming to our houses to push us outside without alternative provisions and more than 500 houses have been marked for demolition in this community without any alternatives for us indigenes, this is wickedness,” he said. In a bid to get the reaction of the development control on the matter, several calls were put to the mobile phone number of the spokesperson of the department, Mrs. Josie Mudasiru as well as a text message, but were not responded too.





3 1. L-R: A sachet water hawker and a cobbler while plying their trade, yesterday at Area 1, in Abuja.

2. Two youngsters having a nice time, during their friend's birthday party, at the weekend in Garki, Abuja.


. Dignity in labour as these two young men eke out a living with their wheelbarrows, along Zuba, in Abuja.

4. Local musicians entertaining guests, at a naming ceremony, on Sunday in Apo, Abuja.


Photos: Justin Imo-Owo and Mahmud Isa





INSIDE - Pg 20 ‘Lasaco Assurance committed to oil and gas’

Mob: 08033644990

Banks’ profit to reduce as FG plans domestic debt cut By Abdulwahab Isa


he Federal Government has begun an ambitious programme to bring the nation’s domestic borrowing to a sustainable level by the year 2015, which analysts say will likely cut into the huge profits of Nigerian banks which are the major holders of government debt. The main route to domestic borrowing in Nigeria is through the issuance of Treasury Bills (T-bills) by the Central Bank and many analysts have argued that the current volume of Treasury Bills and Federal Government (FGN) Bond issues could be crowding out the real sector from the credit market. “Beginning this year, we are reducing the amount we borrow by N100 billion annually and by 2015 we will bring it so low that we are no longer crowding out the private sector,” Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, told BusinessDay. “N1 trillion was initially proposed for 2012, but by a deft maneuver, the figure was collapsed to N744 billion.” Okonjo-Iweala added that it

Flight schedule AIR NIGERIA (MONDAY - SUNDAY) LOS-A BJ: 07.15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.30, 17.00, 17.20, 18.30 ABJ-LOS: 07.00, 09.30, 10.30, 11.15, 16.15, 19.15, 19.35 ABJ-KANO: 18.40 KANO-ABJ: 08.35 ABJ -SOK (MON): 09.35 ABJ-SOK (FRI): 10.10 ABJ-SOK (WED/SUN): 11.20 SOK-ABJ (MON): 11.35 SOK-ABJ (FRI): 12.00 SOK-ABJ (WED/SUN): 13.20

AEROCONTRACTORS (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 06.50, 13.30, 19.45 LOS-ABJ (SUN): 12.30 LOS-ABJ (SAT): 16.45 ABU-L OS: 07.30, 13.00, 14.00, 19.00 ABU-LOS (SUN): 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 ABU-LOS (SAT): 18.30

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10

was not the desire of government to further worsen the debt position which at current levels compare very favourably with virtually all of Nigeria’s peers. Nigeria’s domestic debt stock stood at N5.96 trillion as at March 31, 2012, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). FGN Bonds made up 61.44 percent of the debt, Treasury Bills, 32.63 percent, while treasury bonds made up the rest at 5.93 percent. Nigerian banks held N2.85 trillion worth of investment securities on their books at the end of 2011, according to Stanbic IBTC Bank analysts, Muyiwa Oni and Rele Adesina, in a January 2012 research note.

Adjusted electricity tariff will attract investors, says Power Minister From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


inister of State, Power Darius Dickson Ishaku has stressed that price adjustment in electricity will attract foreign investors into the electricity market. The Minister who made this assurance during a courtesy call on Governor Gabriel Suswam yesterday explained that the new price adjustment is in pursuance

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IRS AIRLINES LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

By Jamila Nuhu Musa


anaging Director of the first Islamic Bank in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank Plc, Alhaji Mustapha Bintube has said that the licence of the bank is not at risk. Bintube was speaking at the 10th Executive Walimatul – Qur’an and 9th Nigeria Merit Award presentation organised by Al-Habibiyyah Academy in Abuja. He called on the public to disregard a short messaging service (SMS) making the rounds to the effect that there is a threat to the licence of Jaiz Bank, saying after a long struggle to institute the first licensed Islamic bank in Nigeria, plans are on to establish branches in all the 36 states of the federation with a view to enhancing non-interest banking

services in the country. Bintube regretted however, that the accounts are not commensurate with the enthusiasm that greeted the initiative due to inadequate publicity. He therefore called on Nigerians to avail themselves with the opportunities of Islamic banking as they have a lot to benefit from them. The managing director reiterated that Jaiz bank has many poverty alleviating products and services to benefit all and sundry. In his words: we have products to enable you buy a house, reconstruct your house, buy household appliances, cars and so on. He pointed out that there are plans for a Jaiz foundation to cater for such organisations like the Al-Habibiyyah to benefit from school construction and

he said. He intimated that his ministry, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), is embarking on sensitisation tour across the country to educate electricity consumers adequately on the new tariff. Governor Gabriel Suswam hailed the Federal Government for deeming it necessary to sensitise the people on the new

price adjustment, contending that price adjustment must be backed by steady power supply. He noted that the intended privatisation of the power sector will go a long way in reviving the sector for optimal production. “We hope that this will not end up in the air conditioned rooms but should be implemented for the benefit of the consumers. This could cause apathy if not well handled”, Suswam stated.


8th June, 2012 BUYING 0.2782 192.9771 239.011 41.2852 154.84

SELLING 0.2982 194.2234 240.5546 41.5518 155.84


BUYING 210 250 40 156

SELLING 212 252 42 158

other services for the benefit of humanity. Earlier, chairman of the occasion, and also former inspector general of police Alhaji Musliu Smith, commended the Al-habibiyyah Academy for contributing immensely to Islamic development in the country through its programmes such as the Arabic for Beginners, Advance Qur’an, Advance Executive Qur’an, Zakat foundation, Ramadan Tafir among others. Guest lecturer at the occasion, Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, said the lecture titled: Integrating the Almajiri into Formal Education System: Perspectives from Qur’an and Sunnah, as apt, and that the almajiri system once provided a gate way to education

and early life training for many Muslim children in northern Nigeria, adding however, that Arabic and Western knowledge are fundamental to human experience and progress. On her part, wife of the VicePresident, Hajiya Amina Namadi Sambo, who received the award of Jewel of Womanhood, applauded the initiative of Al-Habibiyyah in propagating the religion and pledged continued support in enhancing the cause of Islam. Other beneficiaries of the Award included Minister of Education, Professor Rukkaiyatu Ahmed Rufai, Governor of Osun state AbdulRauf Aregbeshola, Governor of Imo state Owelle Anayochukwu Rochas Okorocha and the Managing Director of NERFUND, Alhaji Baba Maina Gimba.

Management Tip of the Day



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to the electricity law of the country, adding that it has positive and negative impact on the rural and urban consumers of electricity. “Private homes will pay as low as N4 per kilo hour while commercial and industrial consumers will pay N10 per kilo hour. Without this adjustment, investor will not come into the electricity market. The market has to be free for this to happen”,

Jaiz Bank licence not at risk- Bintube

ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00

L-R: Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Nwanze Okidegbe, Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office Head of Service, Mrs. Kehinde Ajoni, and Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Engineer Emeka Ezeh, during the presentation of national database for the registration, categorisation of contractors, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Grow your company without sacrificing culture


very company wants to grow. But growth often brings some hiccups, especially when it comes to organizational culture. If you’re growing fast, here are two ways to keep your culture intact: Spend a lot of time communicating. If people are

unhappy, don’t try to squelch their anger. Instead, identify the loudmouths. Spend time listening to them, not interjecting your own thoughts. That way, you can learn more and solve their gripes. Measure culture. It’s tough, but not impossible. Use

internal surveys or interviews to get a baseline. Find out why people enjoy working at your company and what they value. Use this information to monitor what matters most to your employees. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS Competition slashes John Holts earnings


ohn Holt has made public its full year 2011 result showing a steep 42 percent drop in turnover from N10.2billion in 2010 to N5.9 billion in 2011.

Airtel signs global deal with Opera Browser


harti Airtel, a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, announced that it has signed a global arrangement with Opera Software to offer a customised and co-branded version of Opera Mini Internet browser for Airtel mobile customers across its operations.

Sahara Group pumps first oil, expands trade east By Muhammad Nasir with agency report


s the centre of world oil demand shifts east, Nigeria-based energy firm, Sahara Group has started pumping its first crude oil and plans to expand trading activities in the Middle East and Asia, the chief executive of its trading division said.

Privately owned Sahara, which had a turnover of $8 billion (N1.28 trillion) in 2011, is along with Swiss-based traders Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore, one of the main independent exporters from Nigeria, via term contracts with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Already present in the African fuel distribution and

power sector, Sahara this year started pumping its first oil. “We are currently focused in fully developing one onshore block (OPL274), where we believe to get soon a peak production of minimum 25,000 barrels per day,” said Fortunato Constantino in an interview. The firm also has stakes in several offshore Nigerian oil blocks, including OL284 and OL286.

Citigroup boss warns against extravagant spending of oil savings By Abdulwahab Isa


midst the global economic crisis stirred by euro zone and Greece debt burden, the Federal Government have been urged to take preliminary measures by cultivating savings culture from her oil earnings. This was the submission of the Managing Director of Citi group Dr. David Cowan yesterday in Abuja at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lecture series with a theme: “global economic trends and the

impact on Nigeria’s capital market”. Besides, he said, it should demonstrate genuine effort towards implementing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a means to open up the sector for both competitiveness and transparency. Cowan, in his lecture, drew a link between the prevailing global economic crises in the European zone and the Greece debt burden on one hand, and the indirect economic buoyancy the impact has brought to bear on oil export countries, including

Nigeria. Consequently, Cowen challenged the relevant authorities to be aware that “high oil prices should not be taken for granted as has been the case in recent years” and advised that Nigeria must be cautious on running down it savings. He pointed out that with the PIB passed in good time, Nigeria could conveniently move from the current 2.2 million barrel oil daily production to 4 million barrel a day. Other areas of focus listed by Citigroup MD to

By Muhammad Nasir


SON discovers petroleum products adulteration depot in Port Harcourt


he Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has clamped down on a filling station in Port Harcourt, where petroleum products including petrol and diesel are said to be adulterated and sold to unsuspecting motorists and household users.

Telecom operators lament industry challenges


he Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Friday pleaded with the Federal Government to address the challenges confronting the network operators.

be accorded priority include the Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF), to shield government against possible future oil price shocks. In his contribution, Dr. Kingsley Obiora from the office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, noted that the Nigeria’s economy is on the right track and advised the financial regulators, especially those responsible for the stock market to look inward and come up with how the capital market can be the engine of Nigeria’s economy growth.

‘Lasaco Assurance committed to oil and gas’

Deloitte announces N120bn investment in strategic markets s part of its drive to further deepen its presence, across the world, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), at its annual World Meeting, held at the weekend, announced a commitment of US$750 million ( N 120 bn) in investments in strategic markets over the next three years, a continuation of the prior three-year strategic market investment programme (FY10-12), financial year 2010, 2012, which totalled US$500million.

Sahara also expects to become a producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the next few years through Nigeria’s long-delayed Brass LNG project, alongside shareholders Eni and Total. “The plan of the shareholders is to take a final investment decision by the end of the year. We participate with a 2 percent stake and are willing to market a significant part of the 10 million tonnes per annum plant production,” he said.

L L-R: Guest Lecturer and Special Assistant to the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Dr Kingsley Obiora, with Managing Director, Citigroup African Economic, Mr. David Cowan, during a lecture on global economic trends and impact on Nigeria's capital market organised by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

OPEC’s crude oil output jumps to 31.75m bpd in May By Muhammad Nasir

OPEC chief hints at action to reduce oil glut

rude oil production from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose to 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 31.75 million b/d last month. In a survey carried out by OPEC, oil industry officials and analysts showed that May production marks a rise from April’s output level of 31.71 million b/d and is the highest level since October 2008 when OPEC volumes averaged 32.26 million b/d. “The number that really matters is the jump from January to May this year, which shows that OPEC output rose from 30.87 million b/d in January to 31.75 million b/d

last month,” said Mr. John Kingston, Platts’ global director of news. According to the survey, Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s largest exporter and has boosted its output by 50,000 b/d to 10 million b/d in May. OPEC’s president signaled yesterday it could act to reduce a glut of oil that has knocked the price down towards double digits, but said it was unlikely to set individual country production quotas at a meeting this week. However, Abdul Kareem Luaibi, who also serves as oil minister of Iraq, said maintaining the price at $100 (64.33 pounds) - $120 a barrel was “reasonable and acceptable”,


but repeatedly declined to specify what action if any OPEC might take when it meets on Thursday. Supply from OPEC is running nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd) above a self-imposed production ceiling of 30 million barrels per day set when ministers last met in December. At the time, individual targets for countries were not allocated. Oil is now trading at about $100 a barrel after falling back from a four-year high of $128 in March. Worries about the slow pace of global economic recovery have helped depress prices, which had been boosted earlier this year by tension between the West and Iran over its nuclear programme.

asaco Assurance has affirmed its commitment to the oil and gas industry. This was disclosed recently in a statement by the firm’s Executive Director, Babajide Wright, who noted that the company is a major player in that sector and it is working hard to leverage on its potential. He said one major area the company has demonstrated its core policy is through prompt claims settlement. According to him, LASACO pays claims promptly. It is a policy its management pays attention to most, especially in oil and gas business. “International oil companies pay premium promptly, when claims materialise, we should do so too,” he added. He said the depth of the company’s professionalism in handling business, especially in the oil and gas sector, has made it to stand out from among its competitors, adding: “Lasaco’s involvement extends beyond growth of the company, it also encompasses ways and means of developing the market. It contains technical capacities to develop the industry. To this end, Lasaco has been in the forefront for capacity building and professional training. On how the firm intends to maintain its position in the industry, he said it will organise training and seminars, both locally and internationally for middle management and top management staff, attachment programmes in overseas for staff with international affiliates to get more knowledge of how the business is practiced abroad.



NDIC set to boost students knowledge on banking, finance From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


s part the measures put in place to boost depositor’s knowledge on the banking and financial matters, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has presented a handbook to the Lagos state Ministry of Education aimed at enhancing financial literacy of secondary school students. The Managing Director of the NDIC, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, while presenting the handbook titled: ‘ Basic Knowledge on Banking’, to the commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye stated that available evidence showed that an average Nigerians bank customer lacks the requisite knowledge necessary for making important financial and investment decisions. According to him, as result of this dearth of this basis knowledge many banks depositors had suffered some loses by placing their funds in illegal and unlicensed hands which are not

insured by the corporation. Ibrahim, who was represented by the deputy director, Establishment, NDIC’s Lagos office, Mr. Peter Eigbiremonien said that the book cover some important issues such as the definition of a bank, types of financial institutions, the reasons why depositors should keep their money in banks, different types of bank accounts, basic information people need when choosing which banks to open an account with. He explained that the corporation’s decision was based on the need to catch them young in understanding the principles and practice of banking. He urged the commissioner to ensure that secondary schools in the state put at least six copies of the handbook in their various libraries to enable junior secondary school student have access to it. Responding, the commissioner thanked the management of the NDIC their support and assured that the

books would be distributed to the school library. Oladunjoye, who expressed optimism that the book would position students better to know some rules in banking, said 6,400 copies of the book would be enough to go round the secondary schools in the state. She said that although most of the secondary schools in the state were overcrowded because of children’s population, the government has embarked on reform to ensure that proper students are enrolled in the state school. She commended the corporation for its guarantee to pay a sum of N500,000 per insured depositor in the event of failure of commercial bank in the country and N200,000 for depositors of microfinance banks and primary mortgage institutions. She said that the new amount being paid by the NDIC in recent times is more encouraging compared to previous years.

Group scores Jonathan high on economy, employment


he Concerned Advocacy for Good Governance (CAGG), a non-government organisation, has scored President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration high on economy and employment in the first one year. The National Coordinator of CAGG, Mr. Olusegun Bamgbose, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba, Abia state that the Federal Government had put the inflation rate under control. According to him, prices of goods and services have been stable. Bamgbose also said that Jonathan’s administration deserved commendation for initiating the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (You WIN) programme to create more jobs for Nigerians. He said that the programme,

if properly implemented, would reduce the unemployment of youths in the country. He said that Jonathan had lived up to his promises of initiating measures to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal by providing vehicles to all the states across the federation. “Generally, one can score this administration high, the states now have more resources at their disposal,” he said. Bamgbose, however, said that security had been the greatest challenge of the present administration. He urged the Federal Government to tackle the security challenge to further improve the economy. “It has not been easy but the Federal Government has recorded some breakthroughs in terms of security,” he said. (NAN)

Borno targets becoming largest exporter of gum Arabic


he Borno state government said that it plans to make the state the world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic soon. The Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Hassan Mustapha made the plan known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri. Mustapha explained that the plan was part of the government’s policy to harness the full potential of the state. He said the Ministry of Environment had raised 20 million assorted seedlings of the plant for planting toward the attainment of the target. “Our ultimate target is to

become the world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic in the next few years. We believe we have all it takes to attain the goal because of our numerous potential. “Already, more than 20 million seedlings have been raised across the state for planting during the rainy season,’’ Mustapha said. He said that apart from gun Arabic, the ministry had also acquired different seeds, including Acacia Senegal and other economic trees for planting across the state. “Sudan is currently the world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic. “We believe we should be able to overtake Sudan as the largest exporter of the commodity going by our strategies and plans,’’ Mustapha said. (NAN)

Prices of tomato, pepper rise across Lagos markets


R-L: Kaduna Sate Governor, Mr Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, MD/CEO of Jaiz Bank Plc, Alhaji Mohammed Mustapha Bintube, a Director of the bank, Malam Falalu Bello, during a visit by the bank's Board of Directors to the governor, recently in Kaduna.

EU’s airline safety bans hinder Africa - IATA


irlines have urged Western governments to do more to improve safety in Africa, and accused the European Union of failing to grasp the continent’s needs by banning dozens of carriers. The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents most major airlines, said a list of operators banned from the EU included several that are safe, that and the EU failed to aid others needing practical help. Plane crashes in Nigeria and Ghana have killed over 160 people in the past week, increasing concerns over Africa’s

safety record. “The airlines on the EU blacklist are on it because the EU hasn’t adequate confidence in the safety oversight provided by regulatory authorities, so the airline can be perfectly safe but the EU decides the regulator isn’t doing its job,” said IATA’s Tony Tyler, director general of the Geneva-based airline lobby. IATA says its members must pass a tough check-up called the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Airlines in the scheme, which also contains many nonIATA members, had a 53 percent better safety record last year than ones outside it, Tyler said.

“This is why we think the EU banned list is a misguided approach. It is not helping anybody and it is not improving safety.” The latest EU blacklist includes 279 carriers from 21 states, 14 of which countries are African. The list includes a handful of IATA members including Sudan Airways and part of the fleet operated by Air Madagascar. IATA says African aviation safety improved from 2010 to 2011, but the continent’s accident rate is still the worst in the world. (Reuters)

rices of some soup ingredients have increased by an average of 65 per cent in some markets in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. A market survey by NAN in Lagos yesterday revealed that prices of the ingredients have gone up astronomically since rain started. Traders at Mushin, Mile 12, Ipaja and Ishaga markets said they raised the prices of the ingredients because of limited supply and higher cost of transportation. At Mile 12 market, a big basket of tomatoes now sells for N13, 000 from the old price of N9, 000. The same bag of tomato sells for between N12, 000 and N17, 000 at markets in Mushin, Ipaja and Ishaga. The medium-size basket of pepper goes for between N6, 000 and N6, 500 in all the markets against the old price of N5, 000. The price of onion is, however, relatively stable in all the markets. The traders described the current high prices of tomatoes and pepper as “beyond imagination”. Mrs. Nike Ayansanwo, leader of tomatoes sellers at Ipaja market,

said that the security problem in some states in the north had affected the supply of tomatoes and pepper. She said that the security issues were being compounded by deteriorating roads across the nation and high cost of transportation. Mrs Eniola Bakare, a tomato seller, said that the current price of tomatoes was higher that what obtained throughout 2011. Bakare said also that farmers attributed the increase to heavy rainfall and flooding of tomato farms. Busola Shodiya, another seller, said that the high prices had made some customers to avoid the ingredients. “People who were buying N500 worth of tomatoes now pay N700. There is nothing we can do; it’s because of the heavy rain,” Shodiya said. (NAN) Mrs Olamide Koku, a customer, said that she now depended on tin tomatoes to support her cooking. “I no longer use fresh tomatoes, I buy some pepper and then buy tin tomatoes to make soup. This is alright by me,” Koku said. (NAN)


From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


he Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Ohii has advocated capacity


NAFDAC canvasses capacity building for firms building in drug manufacturing as a veritable tool needed in championing the fight against counterfeiting in Nigeria and

neighbouring countries. Speaking at the World AntiCounterfeit Day, 2012, Ohii submitted that 80 per cent of

counterfeits circulating in Nigeria are foreign, which were imported into the country illegally.

L-R : Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom, Minister of Trade and Investments, Mr Olusegun Aganga, Niger state Governor, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, and Director Community Service, Women and Youth Empowerment in SURE- P, Mr. Papka, during the flag-off of community service, women and youth empowerment scheme of the SURE-P, recently in Minna.

Industrial court President admonishes NLC to put its house in order By Muhammad Sada


he President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, at the weekend admonished the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to put its house in order. Justice Adejumo gave the advice at the resumed hearing in the case of unlawful termination of employment brought before the National Industrial Court against the NLC by Comrade Onah Iduh, who was until March 2011 the

Acting Head of the Department of Information and Public Relations of the NLC. Justice Adejumo’s counsel came when the case was called and the parties declared their appearance. “I have stated before that it is better to always settle your disputes,” Justice Adejumo said, adding that “you will be a more united front. It is better that you put your house in order. What Nigerians are reading in the pages of newspapers about you (NLC) is not good. At the end of the day, the union will suffer.” At the resumed hearing, the

only defence witness in the matter, Comrade Happiness Okechukwu, an account officer in the employment of the NLC on cross examination based on her sworn witness statement, told the court that she is not conversant with the conditions of service or the constitution of the NLC. According to Comrade Okechukwu, her involvement in the case was based on the fact that she paid a cheque into the claimant’s account on 14th of July 2011, a couple of months after the termination of the employment of the claimant with

the NLC. It will be recalled that Comrade Onah had approached the National Industrial Court sometime last year asking it to, among other things, make a declaration that the purported termination of his employment with the NLC on the pretext of on-going re-organisation in the NLC was illegal and against the ideals of what the NLC represents. He therefore prayed the court to reinstate him and to grant him costs in the sum of N20 million as damages.

Commissioner urges Southern Kaduna people to develop entrepreneurial spirit


he Kaduna state Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kish Adamu, has advised Southern Kaduna people to be industrious and explore opportunities for self-reliance rather than depend on government for survival. “Southern Kaduna people must be enterprising; they must step up their capacity to identify and explore abundant resources and work harder to improve their living standards. “Yes, their son is the governor of Kaduna today but they must note that Gov. Patrick Yakowa is for everybody. We must be up and doing if we want to grow as a

people,’’ Adamu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos at the weekend. He decried the low entrepreneurial spirit of the people in Southern Kaduna, saying they should not continue to look up to government to provide schools, houses and other basic necessities of life for them. Adamu urged the people to harness the rich natural and human resources in their midst to overcome poverty. “Once we take the first step, we shall find that it is not difficult to forge ahead but if we expect everything to come from Yakowa, we are getting it all wrong,’’ he

said. Adamu cautioned the people against putting ‘unnecessary pressure’’ on the governor but promised that whatever was due to the area would be given to it. He said Southern Kaduna was still a vast space and urged the people to return to the farm, while those blessed with resources should return home to invest to improve the lot of the people. He also urged Southern Kaduna people in elective and appointive positions to “play their parts very well’’ and lobby for projects and opportunities for their people. “We cannot have our people

in various choice positions only to keep crying over marginalisation. That will be a vain cry,’’ he said. Adamu expressed happiness over the development brought to Southern Kaduna since the inception of democracy, saying people from the area were currently holding positions many thought they could not hold. “Our people have been made ministers, ambassadors, secretary of state government, head of service, and now governor. Democracy does open vast windows of opportunities and we cannot even count our blessings,’’ he said. (NAN).

He assured that once Nigeria ceases to depend wholly on imported drugs, it will get rid of the menace. Ohii, who was represented by the Director, Narcotics and controlled substances, NAFDAC, Pharmacist Hashim Ubale Yusufu noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has opened doors of opportunities adding that it has equally actively encouraged the local pharmaceutical companies in developing the necessary capacity. He further stated that with the local content policy, Nigeria can favorably compete with other countries abroad. ‘’80 per cent of the counterfeits in Nigeria are foreign, by the time we can develop our own capacity, we will overcome this. With the local content policy we can compete with big countries of the world’’, he said. The theme of the event, ‘Fake medicine kills... take a close look’, he said, was apt as counterfeiting leads to drug resistance, death among others dangers.

NEM Insurance’s gross premium grows by 31 percent From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


EM Insurance Plc. has recorded a gross premium income of N8.4 billion for the financial year ended 31st December, 2011. This showed a growth rate of 31.2 per cent when compared with N6.4 billion written in the preceding period in 2010. Addressing shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Lagos, the Chairman of the firm, Chief Adewale Teluwo commended the company for maintaining a good financial performance since the last first years. According to him, investment income also increased by 31.7 per cent over 2010 while NEM Insurance Ghana Limited achieved a profit before tax of N25.9 million against loss of N10.4 million recorded in the previous year. Profit before tax for NEM insurance Plc. moves from N1 billion in 2010 financial year, to N1.45 billion in the period under review representing an increase of 40 per cent while profit after tax which stood at N 833 million in the comparable period of 2010 rose to N1.3 billion in the period under review, showing a surge rate of 58 per cent. Shareholders at the meeting approved a dividend payout of 5 kobo per share to investors whose names appeared in the company register.




Farouk Lawan in the eye of a storm •Will he survive it? By Lawrence Olaoye


arouk Lawan needs no introduction in the legislative parlance in this country having succeeded in representing the Shanono/Bagwai Federal Constituency of Kano state in the House of Representatives since 1999. The lawmaker who shot into limelight immediately after he was first elected in 1999 when he indicated interest in becoming the Speaker then was beaten by Rep Salisu Buhari, also from Kano state. Since then, he has succeeded in building his reputation to a venerable level in the parliament with the leadership always difering to his opinions. Lawan, based on this reputation has been generally referred to as Legislator Emeritus, having been regarded as one of the most experienced and of course intelligent lawmakers in the parliament. Although some of his detractors have dismissed him as a very cunning politician who usually deploys intrigues and blackmail to fight his selfish political battles by garbing such in patriotic clothings, most of his

ball, preferring instead to negotiate his relevance in the incoming leadership under Tambuwal. Following the intervention of the House in the protest that followed the removal of fuel subsidy by President Goodluck Jonathan in January, the lawmakers resolved to investigate the subsidy regime and Lawan was made the head of the ad-hoc committee saddled with the responsibility. He invited those involved in the subsidy scam and several revelations were uncovered indicating that the nations had been robbed blind by an oil cabal. Several local and international companies were indicted in the scam but there have been several reports, in the course of the investigations, that the committee may have been compromised. The House as an institution and Lawan as an individual laboured hard to dispel

moves. But suddenly, the allegation that has been severally denied by the House leadership reappeared, again this time with precision. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had referred to the members of the National Assembly armed robbers and rogues wondering what manner of laws are expected from them. The old man was virtually proven right when the Chairman of Zenon Oil, Femi Otedola, came out to authenticate the allegation insisting that Lawan actually collected the sum of $620,000 as bribe for the name of his company to be expunged from those indicted in the probe. Otedola spilled the beans shortly after Lawan overtly denied being compromised. The Zenon Oil boss confirmed that he actually gave the money as part payment of the $3 million deal to Lawan and the Secretary of the ad-

the insinuation, insisting that though there were attempts by the oil cabal to offer bribe to members of the committee, they were being patriotic enough to repel such

hoc Committee, Boniface Emenalo. Otedola narrated how Lawan at the outset of the probe had approached him to get some insight into the workings of the

Hon. Farouk Lawan

colleagues actually fear him. The lawmaker is perceived as one who could pull a surprise at any time with his oratory

day, what with. This oratory and his Chameleonic character was first deployed when he led the plot against the first female Speaker in the House of Representatives, Hon. Olubunmi Etteh, in 2007. With Etteh's removal, the Kano born politician instantly became the 'king-maker' as his Integrity Group played a pivotal role in the emergence of Etteh's successor, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole. Throughout the Sixth Assembly, Lawan was not only being respected, he was also being feared by the leadership. At the inception of the Seventh Assembly, it was gathered that Lawan was lured to contest the Speakership of the House with a view to polarizing the support base of Rep Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. But, a foxy Lawan, adept at the politics of divide and rule refused to play

downstream oil and gas sector. According to him, he obliged him and ensured that his managing directors of Forte Oil Plc and Zenon Oil appeared at the subsidy probe during its public hearing after both companies had been invited by the committee. Otedola said he decided to involve the security agents when he suspected that Lawan was bent on extorting money from him. He said "As a lawabiding citizen, I decided to involve the security agencies and they advised me to play along, which prompted me to offer to pay part of the money with the promise that I would pay the balance when my company's name had been removed from the report." The security agencies, he disclosed, gave him serialised dollar bills for the sting job and there are call logs, video and audio recordings in the possession of the agencies to confirm all that had transpired between himself and Lawan. Reacting to the allegation, Lawan claimed

he was never involved in the scandal maintaining that the allegation was coming from those members of the indicted oil cabal who would do anything to rubbish the recommendations of the Committee to escape justice. He said "I wish to categorically deny that I or any member of the committee demanded and received any bribe from anybody in connection with the fuel subsidy probe and I believe this is evident from the thorough and indepth manner the investigation was carried out and the all e n c o m p a s s i n g recommendations produced therefrom as approved by the House�. With the ongoing accusation and counteraccusation on the matter, critics have raised the fears that the reports of the subsidy scam may have been rubbished by the unfolding drama. They pointed out that should it be established that Lawan was indeed culpable in the bribery scam, the report of the committee would have

been considered unworthy of implementation by the Executive. They have also raised the fears that the integrity of the institution of the House would have been rubbished in the eyes of the people. The rebranding exercise embarked upon by the leadership of the House may have been jeopardized by the greed of an individual who would want to acquire odious wealth through illegitimate means. Again, the bribery scandal coming only after a year of Tambuwal's leadership when he was gradually gaining public confidence may have set the progress made so far by the Green Chamber into the reverse gear. With the latest allegation making the rounds, subsequent probes by the House may not ne taken seriously by the public as they mad be stereotyped as another Lawan's probe that would ultimately be tainted with bribery allegation. Meanwhile, there has been debate on whether

the government should press forward with the implementation of the subsidy probe reports which is currently having the attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of not. While some argued that the latest allegation does not detract from the sanctity of the reports, others are of the opinion that the latest development calls for a halt on the actions to ne taken by the government. The House of Representatives, while urging the security agencies to investigate the allegation of graft against Lawan even as it promises to set up an independent committee to equally look into the matter, it called on the government not to backout in its resolve to prosecute those indicted in the scam with a view to recovering lost funds. Should the allegation against Lawan be proven right, the erudite lawmaker may have been caught in his own contrivances with grave consequences on his political future.


By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde


wamma Malama is one of the most famous women in Hausaland. She was not famous by her profession but by the heart she shared with the most renowned singer yet in Hausaland – Alhaji Mamman Shata. That was over 50 years ago. But she is still kicking. He in turn composed for her a love song unrivalled by any – in my opinion – among the dozens he made for various women he came across in his life. At the age of 86, I met Gwamma still strong yesterday in her native town, Kankia, Katsina State, on my return journey from Maradi. She is a jovial lady who must have captivated many during her youth, as Shata acknowledged in his song. She was picked as a young girl by Native Authority officials and taught specifically how to administer injections to patients and during vaccinations exercises. Recruited in Kankia, she was transferred to Katsina, Kaduna, Malumfashi, and many other places. It was while she was in Malumfashi that she first caught the attention of Shata, then also a slim, handsome boy with long “Afro” hair, marauding from one playing ground to another across Hausaland, but particularly in the old Katsina Province (now Katsina State). When I mentioned her love affair with Shata, she felt shy, covered her face and laughed until her forehead almost touched the ground. She pleaded, saying, “Please leave that matter, for among us are my children.” But when after she normalized her position, I told her that Shata did love her, she readily replied, smiling: “And I loved him too.” Then came another prolonged laughter before I said, “That made the two of you Romeo and Juliet!” I think Shata was captivated not by her beauty alone. Gwamma said she used to wear the most expensive dress and bracelet of her time. Combine this with her status as a female health worker – when you hardly meet female public officials in Northern Nigeria - you have a girl that everyone would love, particularly the artist. So if her dress had brought her out among other girls - and you know she had the money to outwit them, being a health worker – her status must have played a subtle role in pulling Shata towards her. When it comes to association with women, man differs from other animals, said Charles Darwin: He often goes for status, not simply biological features. The affinity between Shata and Gwamma was instantaneous. He must have noticed her during her posting in Malumfashi such that immediately she appeared at the playing ground for the first time they were to meet, the Gwamma pulled his heart like how a magnate would pull iron filings. Shata instantly improvised one of his most memorable songs – Gwamma Malama. When I asked her where she met Shata and how their legendary love started, she answered, saying, “It was right there and then.” Shata would continue to sing his Gwamma song wherever he went. I watched him repeating it on TV in far away Sokoto in the early


Gwamma Malama - A true love story in Hausaland 1980s, over thirty years after he invented it. The most comprehensive version of the song was recorded by EMI in Lagos, obviously after Gwamma was transferred to her hometown, Kankia. That transfer pained him, but he assured Gwamma, in a metaphor, that it is the nature of public service – difficult but sweet: The rodent of the anthill is difficult to dig (and catch)… But its meat is sweet. The rodent of the waste heap is easy to dig Throw it away; its meat is bitter(in taste). Likewise, public service is sweet but difficult: Gwamma! I was told that you have been transferred to Kankia. Yet, distance did not extinguish the fire of their love. Shata continued to visit her in Kankia and later Katsina. She recalled that when he later sustained a fracture, he was treated by one Danazumi there in Kankia. I can easily imagine Gwamma cooking for him throughout those sorrowful days. Her Shata was sick! Two stanzas that make the song a bit wild to the pious ear except if it listens to them from the perspective of a literati as it does to those of Imru’ul Qais, Abu Nuwwas or Qais Majnun – was where Shata invented a wound and pleaded with his Gwamma to violate her professional ethics and treat him. Listen to him, luring her to his nest: I have sustained a wound on my body Come and examine it for me Oh Gwamma! Come and examine it for me, in camera. Then give me an injection of aphrodisiac The relevance of such old songs is how they graphically portray the social condition of Hausaland before leisure was completely divorced from our lives. To me they do not only teach and entertain; they are historical records too. Having seen Gwamma “live” in Kankia, I asked Sada, my guide, to escort me quickly to a shop. We returned with a small gift, which I presented her with at the end of the brief interview. My remarks then: “Hajiya Gwamma! Here are two wrappers: This is in recognition of the service you rendered to our people in those days when there were so many diseases but few health workers around. This other one is given in memory of your Shata, who stuck your name on our lips, painted your portrait as a beautiful and expensive girl in our memory, and made you a Mecca for us his fans and students of Hausa literature alike. And this N2,000.00 is for tailoring. Thank you so much.” She accepted the little gift with all pleasure. The Interview Me: We are here today in the company of a famous woman in

Alhaji Mamman Shata Northern Nigeria. She is among the health workers during the First Republic and with whom Shata acquainted the acquainted the world for over 50 years now. Her name is Hajiya Gwamma Malama. We will discuss briefly with her. Hajiya! You are welcome. Gwamma: You are welcome too. Me: I will ask you some few questions without wasting much of your time. First of all, were you a health worker? Gwamma: Definitely. Me: How did it start? Gwamma: When I was employed, I was asked what work I would like to do. I replied, “Whatever you my employers wish.” They then said, “Okay. Can you administer injections?” I replied, “No one is born skilled. If I will be trained, I can do it.” Me: Where were you first posted to? Gwamma: Here, Kankia. Me: Then to where? Gwamma: Katsina, then Kaduna…I know everywhere in Kaduna (laughter). Me: Good. In your work, did you serve under Europeans? Gwamma: Yes. We worked with Sister… … … Me: No. No. You don’t have to remember their names. That was up to the First Republic. Right? Gwamma: Yes. Me: And you continued beyond the coup and the civil war…

Gwamma: Yes… even after the civil war. Me: So you used to administer injections in hospitals and during vaccination exercises, when there were many diseases like meningitis, small pox, wounds, etc.? Gwamma: Yes. Both… Me: Let me tell you. We were your patients then… (laughter). If I were to show you my legs, you would count over seven large wounds of all kinds… (laughter) but due to your effort all such diseases are now absent… Gwamma: Yes. They are absent. Me: May God reward you abundantly. Does the government pay you any pension? Gwamma: Yes. I receive pension. Me: How much? Gwamma: It is not much, just N6,000.00, monthly. Me. That is good. I will now ask you about something. You are not famous because of your public service. (Gwamma started laughing) You are famous because of the song that Mamman Shata did for you. What was actually your relationship with Shata, if I may ask? G w a m m a : Laughter….Laughter… (After a while she spoke, but still laughing). My children are around. Please don’t ask about that here. (I visited her with some two elderly looking people, Sada and Musa, who are in their 60s, perhaps, and two of my

sons - Omar and Omer - were managing the cameras). Me: But he really loved you… Gwamma: And I loved him too… (Laughter) Me: That made you Romeo and Juliet… (Laughter). Gwamma: (Again she became consumed by laughter) Me: At what time of your life did he compose the song for you? Gwamma: I was fairly grown up then. Me: So did you just hear the song first on radio or… Gwamma: No. Everything started at the theatre, there and then. Me: In Malumfashi... Gwamma: Yes. In Malumfashi. Later, he used to visit me here (in Kankia), then in Katsina… Me: Now that so many years have passed because as you told me some moments ago you are 86… Gwamma: Yes, I am 86. Me: What would you tell the younger generations? Gwamma: You see I sometimes say there was no war like Hitler’s. Even those of Saddam Huseyn or Ojukwu were not as bad. You know the final moment of Hitler is unknown. Did he commit suicide? No one knows. His body is not found to date. Me: Finally, what would you like to tell your numerous fans that listen to your song and would love to meet you, one to one? Gwamma: (laughter). Then, we used to adorn ourselves with cinkuna (?). Do you know them? (laughter) Me: No. I don’t. Gwamma: We used to wear them from neck to knee. They are like the gold jewellery of today. If a young man would meet his friend who did not go to the market that day, he would ask the friend: “Did you go to market today?” The friend would say, “No.” Then he will say, “I did. Gwamma was terrific.” (laughter and clapping) Me: So you were really into fashion then? Wao! You were spending your salary on dresses? That must have endeared you to Shata. You must have stood out amongst your peers so much so that once Shata saw you from afar, he had to enquire about you. (laughter) Gwamma: Actually, when he sustained a fracture, he was treated here at Danazumi’s house. Me: Oh sorry! Finally, what advice would you give to younger generations? Gwamma: Well, they should try to tread the world cautiously, with the fear of God in their mind. For us, our time has passed; only repentance is left. It is now theirs. Me: Oh. Oh. Thank you. Thank you. Viewers, this is the end of our chat with Gwamma Malama. As you can see she is still strong. She can get up quickly and walk about without any difficulty. Thank you. Gwamma: Thank you. Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde is a renowned columnist based in Jos



North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surrounded by weeping children on official visit


hese North Korean children had no doubt been instructed to weep with joy at the opportunity to walk alongside Kim Jong Un. But perhaps they were a little too young to have honed the art of sycophancy as they gave the impression that they were simply deeply upset at having to entertain such an esteemed visitor. The youngsters, all members of the Korean Children’s Union, appeared more like a group who had been snubbed by their pop idol. But in the Communist state, the only idol they are allowed to worship is their Dear Leader, and so made a good show of for jostling for position to be as close to him as possible. While the over-exaggerated display of affection is typical of the country, Kim Jong Un is already proving himself unlike his father with a willingness to mingle closely with those he rules with an iron fist. The latest leader of the worker’s paradise - the world’s only ever hereditary communist dictatorship - chose the rally to make his second speech at a major public event since taking power in December. About 20,000 young people gathered at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium for Wednesday’s speech, which capped an unprecedented sixday children’s festival. The celebrations took place two days after North Korea’s military

threatened to fire at South Korean media companies unless they apologised for criticisms of the festivities, including a report comparing the event to Hitler Youth rallies during Germany’s Nazi era. North Korea typically holds mass events for landmark anniversaries such as the leaders’ birthdays and the founding of the Workers’ Party or military, but this is the first time such extensive celebrations have been held for the founding of the Korean Children’s Union, the first political group young North Koreans join. North Korean children are taught from an early age to be loyal to the Kim family, with education about the childhoods and accomplishments of founder Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il beginning in kindergarten. Seeing and hearing their new leader in person is likely to reinforce a sense of paternal awe among the children, who are raised to refer to the leaders as ‘father.’ Kim walked into the stadium, accompanied by two children, to the cheers of the young delegates to the Korean Children’s Union. Wearing the red scarf of the political organisation around his neck, he smiled and laughed with easily with his audience. He told the children, who travelled to Pyongyang by plane, train and bus from across the nation, that they were the future masters of

Meeting the Dear Leader: A photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walking surrounded by weeping members of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) during a joint national meeting of KCU organizations at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang.

Special occasion: Kim is led to his seat by uniformed members of the KCU. The unprecedented event is the first time a festival has been held to celebrate the founding of the youth group 66 years ago and it was attended by youngsters from across North Korea.

Revolution is a serious business: Kim sits among the young North Koreans, wearing the red scarf that is the emblem of the KCU, the first political organisation that North Koreans join when they are just seven years old

Dreams for the future: Kim told his young audience that they were the future masters of 'a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony'.

‘a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony.’ By speaking publicly twice in his six months as leader, Kim already is distinguishing himself from his father. Kim Jong Il, who died in December, addressed the public only once, two years before he succeeded father Kim Il Sung. ‘By mingling with kids, Kim Jong Un is showing that he is a leader who can interact with the public,’ said Ahn Chan-il, a political scientist who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul, South Korea. ‘He understands that one of the keys to winning back the respect of

the people is by starting with the young generation.’ In the lobby coffee shop of Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel, waitresses in bright red suits gathered around a big flat-screen TV to watch the speech. Throngs of children dressed in their school uniforms could be seen with their families in parks and plazas. June 6 marks the 66th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Children’s Union, which students join at age 7 until they graduate at age 13 to the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League. South Korean media have called the festivities ‘a political show.’ The

criticism prompted the North Korean military to warn it would fire at South Korean media outlets if Seoul refused to apologise for orchestrating what North Korea called a ‘vicious smear campaign.’ The North’s statement was the latest in a series of threats aimed at South Korea’s president and news agencies following the death of Kim Jong Il, which Pyongyang feels was not respectfully acknowledged by Seoul. The Korean peninsula remains in a state of war because the 195053 conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Source:



Distraught’ Dave and Sam Cameron left daughter Nancy, 8, behind in pub for 15 minutes


avid Cameron mistakenly left his eight-year-old daughter in a pub by herself when he drove off without her, it was revealed on Sunday night. The Prime Minister – who had been enjoying Sunday drinks with his family near Chequers – only realised his eldest daughter was missing when he arrived back at his official country residence. The Camerons had been drinking at the Plough Inn, in Cadsden, Buckinghamshire, with their three children and two other families. As they went to leave, Nancy

went off to the toilet without telling them. The Prime Minister was driven back to Chequers, which is two miles from the pub, with protection officers in one car, while Mrs Cameron drove their other children in another. Mr Cameron presumed that Nancy was in the car with his wife, while she thought that their daughter had jumped in with the Prime Minister. A spokesman for the Prime Minister last night said he was ‘distraught’ when he realised what had happened.

Popular: The Plough pub, where the Camerons are regulars.

David Cameron, pictured holding his daughter Nancy at a wedding in 2007, thought Samantha Cameron had all their children but she thought Nancy was with him

Mrs Cameron thought her daughter had travelled back to Chequers with the Prime Minister.

The Plough is a short drive away from Chequers. ‘Thankfully when they phoned the pub she was there safe and well,’ the spokesman said. ‘The Prime Minister went down straight away to get her.’ When Mr Cameron arrived back at the pub he found his daughter happily helping the pub staff. It is understood she had been left by herself for 15 minutes. A Downing Street spokeswoman said today that the Camerons take full responsibility for looking after their children and were not blaming security officers for failing to ensure that Nancy was with the party before returning to Chequers. ‘They are their children and they take responsibility for them,’ said the spokeswoman. ‘No-one is going to face disciplinary action. This was an error.’ The spokeswoman declined to discuss whether Mr Cameron had drunk alcohol with his meal. ‘He had gone with friends at lunchtime, with a number of families with children, and they left in various different vehicles,” she said. ‘As you know, the Prime Minister is a very busy man but he always tries to live as normal a life as possible with his family.’

Asked how often this involved a visit to the pub, she replied: ‘Occasionally.’ The spokeswoman declined to discuss the security arrangements around Mr Cameron and his family but said they were always kept under review. Last night a pub ‘insider’ said: ‘You’d have thought that someone would have done a headcount or something.’ The source told The Sun: ‘It’s not like you can look up David Cameron in the phonebook and then ring to say you’ve left your daughter behind. ‘It’s frightening that the Prime Minister of Britain can forget something so important as his own daughter.’ Friends of Mr Cameron last month told how he enjoyed drinking ‘three or four glasses of wine’ over lunch at the weekend. The revelations were in a biography that criticised the amount of time the Prime Minister spends ‘chillaxing’ The book records weekends at Chequers singing karaoke, playing frames of snooker, and tennis against a machine dubbed ‘The Clegger’. After long lunches the Prime

Minister likes to recharge his batteries with an afternoon nap, the book claimed. A source told the authors: ‘If there was an Olympic gold medal for ‘chillaxing’, the Prime Minister would win it.’ One adviser claimed that the Prime Minister ‘spends a crazy, scary amount of time playing Fruit Ninja’, a computer game in which players use a cartoon sword to slash fast-moving fruit. Mr Cameron has previously been branded ‘DVD Dave’ for his love of watching Danish dramas in bed with his wife Samantha. He also finds time for a weekly date night. Plough landlord Steve Hollings, who has run the pub with his wife Sharon for more than 13 years, said the Prime Minister and his family regularly pop in for lunch or drinks. Mr Hollings said Mr Cameron had again been in the pub with his family at lunchtime yesterday, and had spent about an hour there. Speaking as he prepared the bar for the lunchtime rush, Mr Hollings confided that the incident happened ‘some time ago.’ ‘It certainly wasn’t this weekend, or three weeks ago as they are saying on TV,’ he insisted. Mr Hollings said: ‘What do you want me to say? That he’s a neglecting father? Well he’s not. ‘He’s a great father and genuine family man and a genuine guy. ‘I’ve only got good things to say about him. ‘He’s not the Prime Minister when he comes down here; he’s just David Cameron, a family man.’ The Plough has been nestled in the picturesque Chiltern Hills since the 16th century and is the oldest pub in the area. Its traditional Sunday roast is served for £14.95. The Prime Minister and his family spent Boxing Day lunch at the pub. Source:


Agric union president wants regular supply of fertilisers


r Simon Anchaver, the National President of Agriculture and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAEUN), has called on the federal and state governments to provide fertilisers for farmers always. Anchaver made the call in Makurdi on Monday at a reception organised by Benue workers for him, following his election as the National President of AAEUN. He said that availability of fertilisers for farmers at all times would go a long way in boosting agriculture production. He further urged government at all levels to encourage irrigation farming to enhance agriculture and improve farmers’ income. He lauded Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue for supporting him during the election and solicited the cooperation of members of the union to enable him to succeed in the office.

Chief Boga Abuul, Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue on Labour Matters, promised to support Anchaver to enable him to effectively represent the state at the national level. Abuul also assured Benue workers of their welfare packages to enable them to perform very well in their jobs. Mr Ordue Tartenger, the President of Trade Union Congress in Benue, described Anchaver’s victory as a great feat which ought to be celebrated by workers in the state. Tartenger also urged Anchaver not to relent in his efforts in the fight for the welfare of workers. The State Chairman of AAEUN, Mr Jemimah Uji, assured the president of the workers support to enable him to succeed and urged him to remain resolute in his struggle to transform agriculture. (NAN)


Niger govt to distribute 100 tractors to farmers T

he Governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu, has said that his government would distribute 100 tractors to farmers to boost food production in the state. The governor, who made this known in a broadcast marking Democracy Day in the state, said 50 of the tractors would be issued out to farmers for rice cultivation while the rest would be made available to other farmers.

He said the programme would be coordinated under the state Tractor Hiring Scheme, adding that “We are also adopting the Drip Irrigation Scheme in the three agro-ecological zones of the state to boost year-round agriculture production with a view to creating employment for our youth while enhancing food security in the state.” Aliyu said the state would continue to consolidate its ranking

as the state with least incidence of poverty in the country. “We believe that once we can conquer poverty, hunger and greed our state will be the most peaceful and secured state in Nigeria”, the governor said. “I therefore appeal to all Nigerlites to eschew bitterness and animosity, and come together to build a Niger state of our pride,” he said. (NAN)

Over 720 cooperatives benefit from N1bn agric loan in Edo, says Commissioner


ver 700 cooperatives have benefitted from the N1 billion commercial agriculture credit scheme, the Edo Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Abudul Oroh, has said. Oroh, who disclosed this in Benin, the Edo State capital, said the state government’s effort was geared toward alleviating poverty among the citizenry. The commissioner noted that since the inception of the Adams Oshiomhole’s administration, the agricultural sector in the state had witnessed a huge transformation, adding that “the loan is meant to assist farmers to purchase farm implements and seedlings in other to guarantee food security and create employment in the state.” “The boost in the agricultural sector is as a result of the implementation of various government policies to ensure job creation, income and food security.

“In the past three and half years of the administration, the governor has shown the strong will and desire to transform the agriculture sector,” he added. “He (Governor) has done this through prompt payment of counterpart funds to donor agencies programmes and settlement all outstanding arrears,” he said. According to the commissioner, 48 co-operative farmers benefitted from Akoko-Edo, 19 from Egor, 17 from Esan Central, 35 from Esan N/ East, 54 from Esan S/East, 25 from Esan West, 33 from Etsako central, 54 from Etsako west, and 27 from Etsako East. Other beneficiaries are 18 cooperative farmers from Igueben, 64 from Ikpoba-Okha, 51 from Oredo, 68 from Orihiomwon, 49 from Ovia N/East, 17 from Ovia South-West, 43 from Owan East, 42 from Owan West and 56 from Uhumwode Local Government Areas of the state. (NAN)

Farmer wants govt to organise cassava, fish cooperatives to sustain industry in Delta


farmer, Mr Jerry Ossai, has advised the Delta government to organise cassava and fish farmers into cooperatives to realise its objectives of promoting cassava and fish industries in the state. Ossai spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba while responding to the state government’s plan to establish six cassava and four fish feed mills across the state before Dec. 31. He said that organising these groups into cooperatives would help sustain government initiatives to establish 10 industries in the state. He said that the government’s plan to establish the industries was good but the approach needed to be properly worked. “Unless you organise the people who are producing the raw materials for these industries in such a way that these industries will

be permanently serviced, we may run into a problem. “Government should go the extra mile to form cassava cooperatives and fish production cooperatives and organise them properly. “There should be a determined effort by government to have these two major components it is starting to drive well organised into cooperatives with clearly defined objectives of producing the raw materials to feed these factories,” Ossai said. Ossai, a small-scale farmer, added that unless this was done, there could be problems of where the factories would be located and how to source the raw materials for the industries. He urged the government to also ensure that there was market for the produce from the industries so as to sustain production. (NAN)

Newly procured tractors on display to boost farm production

Delta farmers require tractors to boost rice production


he Chairman, Rice Farmers Association, Delta State Chapter, Mr Silvanus Ejezie, has appealed to the state government to assist rice farmers with tractors to boost production. Ejezie, who stated this in Asaba, the Delta State capital recently, noted that the use of herbicides in land clearing would not encourage large scale production of rice. He said farmers adopted herbicides for farm clearing because of the difficulty they encountered in getting tractors to prepare their farms for planting. “We appeal to the state government to assist the farmers with tractor services, fertilisers and improved seedlings to encourage improved outputs of all crops.

“We want the government to support us with tractors because land preparations consume so much of the farmer’s funds,” he said. He said using tractors for land preparation was preferred to herbicides because of the high cost of the chemicals. Ejezie expressed dissatisfaction with the state government’s decision to give priority to cassava, fish, plantain and tomato production, saying the policy was discriminatory against rice production. “At a recent meeting with stakeholders, Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan said cassava, fish, plantain and tomato production will be given priority. “So, in spite of the Federal Government’s initiative to stop rice

importation, the Delta Government has ignored rice production,” he said. Ejezie, however, expressed optimism that with sufficient rainfall during the year, rice farmers could produce up to 400 tonnes of rice at the end of the season. Reacting to Ejezie’s comments, the Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Mr Misan Ukubeyinje, said the state was investing in areas where it had comparative advantage. Ukubeyinje said that Delta could not be said to be a rice producing state and as such the government could not invest much in the sector. “We, therefore, have decided to encourage production of those crops we can produce in abundance,” he said. (NAN)

AfDB group boosts Liberia’s agriculture, food security programme with $52.50m


he African Development Bank (AfDB), has approved 46.50 million dollars grant to Liberia under the bank’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Liberia also received a loan of six million dollars from the AfDB fund to finance the country’s Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialisation (SAPEC) project. The grant and loan agreements were signed on Tuesday by AfDB’s Vice President for Sector Operations, Mr Kamal Elkeshen and Liberia’s

National Investment Commission Chairman, Mr Natty B. Davis at the bank’s ongoing annual general meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. According to Elkeshen, the two agreements reflect the strong partnership between the country and the bank toward the government’s reconstruction process. He said that the goal of the SAPEC project was to reduce rural poverty and household food insecurity. “The other aims are to increase, on a sustainable basis, the income of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs, particularly women, youths and the physically-

challenged,” he said. Davis earlier described the development seed funds as milestones, saying: “this is the first agreement my country has signed since it launched relationships with the African Development Bank Group.” He urged the bank to establish its presence in Liberia, adding that the loan and grant would help the government to realise its policy of taking services to rural communities. NAN reports that from available data, the AFDB group’s cumulative commitment in Liberia is estimated at 200 million dollars. (NAN)



We need a mixture of cassava flour and wheat flour to fight diabetes, says nutritionist Following a recent statement credited to one of the National Assembly members, disapproving proposition by farmers to include at least 3040 percent cassava flour in all cassava confectionaries and the need to encourage citizens to eat more of cassava bread than the wheat bread, Professor of nutrition and President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, in this interview with Mohammed Kandi, holds contrary opinion. Excerpts:


ith the emphasis on food fortification, would you say Nigeria is on the right path in addressing the problem nutritional deficit? Well, you fortify food for so many reasons. First of all, when you observe a gap either in particular micro nutrient relating to deficiencies you find in the populace, then you think of ways by which you can remedy that. For instance, there are three different levels: Supplementation in which the micro nutrient in question is given in the form of capsules or tablets or added in some food for children. But that is not sustainable because it is so expensive to import such micro nutrient dense, either powders or capsules. However, the second option is fortification. In fortifying food, we look at a particular food that we believe is available to majority of the people. And one thing is that if you have a centrally processed food system like you have in developed counties, is easier for people to make that demand. But in Nigeria you realize that many of our foods are not centrally processed. So the only foods that are fortified right now are the flour; the wheat flours, the maize flour in form of semolina, you also have the vegetable oil, the sugar and the salt that is iodized. These are centrally processed to some extent. Therefore is easier to use them as vehicle for fortification. But you know, many Nigerians do not eat these foods as stable. Therefore we are thinking of a situation where you have small holders within each community, for instance where they make maize flour, rice mill and those kind of small holders within communities. A similar thing was demonstrated in Adamawa State about two years ago. It could also help to add to the nutrient that is deficient to the food particularly; micro nutrient that is the focus of food fortification. But again there another option, we call the dietary diversification which is the best option in which case the person gets all the nutrients from his diversified diets that he or she consumes because all the foods, if you can combine them appropriately to have an adequate diet, then all the micro nutrients

President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Ayodeji, during the launching of cassava bread in Abuja. will be available. But something happened recently in Nigeria which we need to celebrate the issue of biofortification where cassava that contained yellow flesh was found to contain adequate beta carotene which is the major source of Vitamin A. I was at the celebration at Umudike, Abia State, when it was launched and what that showed was that, there is no home in Nigeria where cassava products are not consumed. If we can develop that in such way that the cassava that is now naturally fortified with Vitamin A, it will become our source of carbohydrate foods, say for garri, fufu or whatever way you wish to prepare your food with cassava products, then indirectly, you are taking in may be enough Vitamin A that you do not need to bother so much about other source because cassava products are well known in Nigeria and there is no where they are not consumed. It is breakthrough in a way for Nigerian people. Firm issues are being raised that comparing quality of wheat flour with cassava flour is almost impossible, is that the right thinking? I must say that I was alarmed when a motion was moved in the Federal House of Assembly and some information was provided that cassava was food that will lead to increase in diabetes. Such motion should not have been because in the first instance, the prevalence that was quoted from that report that the diabetes rate in Nigeria is between 20-30 percent is completely not true. The diabetes rate in Nigeria is less than 10 percent. In fact, we have not done any recent survey as that was just a projected percentage. The last survey that was done was around 1992 and it was not even a nationwide survey and put the diabetic rate at 2.5 percent. From 1992 till now, there is projection that it must have increased but up to the point of about 9.5 percent. So the issue of the issue of 20-30 percent does not arise.

The other was that, since the person who was making that motion said that cassava flour when added to wheat flour to make bread will increase the rate of diabetes is completely untrue because when we talk about diabetes, there two things you talk about. The Gglycemic index (GI) which measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose, and the Glycemic Load. Now, foods with low Glycemic Index are foods that diabetics are advised to consume and cassava is not among the high Glycemic Index Food. In fact, wheat flour has high Glycemic Index from between 7072 while cassava has a Glacemic index between 46 and 60.That is the

Prof. Ignatius Onimawo

range for cassava. Having that at the back of our minds, it then means that when you mix cassava flour with low Glycemic Index with wheat flour that has high Glycemic Index, the blend that will come with the Glycemic Index will come down. In essence, if we are going to attack diabetes, then the mix of cassava flour and wheat flour is even the right step to start with because by the time you combine cassava flour with that wheat flour, the Glycemic Index of the overall product will come down because that of white bread is 70 as at now. So when you bring cassava flour into it, it may bring it down to about 60 percent, thereby giving a better product that will fall within the

range of medium Glycemic Index food. Right now, bread as it is, is in high Glycemic Index group. So with the coming of cassava flour, you can bring it down to a medium Glacemic Index food. Therefore, I don’t know where the person got his information from. There was a survey that was conducted in Kenya and in that survey they found that out of over 1, 380 people that were studied, they got their energy or calorie intake from cassava. About 86 percent of that number got their calorie intake from cassava and none of them was diabetic. In the same survey, those who were diabetic in that community, they found that they rarely took cassava. They were eating other sorts of food hence cassava is not implicated as such anywhere as the causative effects for diabetes that is the point I am making. What is your advise to the government and the people? My advise is that the policy of government on the inclusion of cassava flour into wheat flour for the production of bread is a step in the right direction and I thought the argument were going to be , may be the crumb structure of the bread, may be the weight of the bread these were going to be issues because of the fact that there were no gluten in cassava flour. But that is not the argument. Even then, the American government through the programme we had in Lagos recently have shown that even in such situations where you use a product that do not contain gluten, you should add about 5 percent soya beans flour to that particular formulation, then the loaf file improves and therefore the crumb structure of the bread also improves. We have communities in Nigeria that do soya beans. Benue State is an example. I think is another opportunity for government to encourage soya beans producers so that they include 5 percent soya beans flour along with the 40 percent of cassava flour to the wheat flour to produce our bread. And that is where we have several advantages. One, the Glycemic Index will be lower because the GI soya bean is lower than that of cassava. So GI will be low and soya bean contain a lot of protein and protein will be good in bread and the crumb structure will be fine and the taste will be better and it will be more nourishing than the other way. I want to state that there is need for nutrition education in Nigeria. Federal government should partner with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and other institutions so that we can take this message to the grass root and to every Nigerian even to the National Assembly. In fact, it is good that the National Assembly member raised this issue perhaps because he has interest of Nigerians at heart. He didn’t want Nigerians to become diabetic and therefore, now that the information has come, is good that they too be informed about this so that they will be better placed to serve the Nigerian public.



Obama’s Iran and Syria muddle


ANALYSIS By Jackson Diehl


rom one point of view the connection between our troubles with Syria and Iran is pretty straightforward. The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is Iran's closest ally, and its link to the Arab Middle East. Syria has provided the land bridge for the transport of Iranian weapons and militants to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Without Syria, Iran's pretensions to regional hegemony, and its ability to challenge Israel, would be crippled. It follows that, as the U.S. Central Command chief Gen. James N. Mattis testified to Congress in March, the downfall of Assad would be "the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years." Making it happen is not just a humanitarian imperative after the slaughter of more than 10,000 civilians, but a prime strategic interest of Israel and the United States. So why are both the Obama administration and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu unethusiastic - to say the least - about even indirect military intervention to topple Assad? In part it's because of worry about what would follow the dictator. In Obama's case, the U.S. presidential campaign, and his claim


that "the tide of war is receding" in the Middle East, is a big factor. But the calculus about Syria and Iran is also more complicated than it looks at first. The two are not just linked by their alliance, but also by the fact that the United States and its allies have defined a distinct and urgent goal for each of them. In Syria, it is to remove Assad and replace him with a democracy; in Iran it is to prevent a nuclear weapon. It turns out that the steps that might achieve success in one theater only complicate Western strategy in the other. Take military action - a prime concern of Israel. Syria interventionists (such as myself) have been arguing that the United States and allies like Turkey should join in setting up safe zones for civilians and


anti-Assad forces along Syria's borders, which would require air cover and maybe some (Turkish) troops. But if the United States gets involved in a military operation in Syria, would it still be feasible to carry out an air attack on Iran's nuclear facilities? What if Israel were to launch one while a Syria operation was still ongoing? The obvious answer is that the result could be an unmanageable mess - which is why, when I recently asked a senior Israeli official about a Western intervention in Syria, I got this answer: "We are concentrated on Iran. Anything that can create a distraction from Iran is not for the best." Obama, of course, is eager to avoid military action in Iran in any case. But his strategy - striking a


diplomatic bargain to stop the nuclear program - also narrows his options in Syria. A deal with Tehran will require the support of Russia, which happens to be hosting the next round of negotiations. Russia, in turn, is opposed to forcing Assad, a longtime client, from power by any means. If Obama wants the support of Vladimir Putin on Iran, he may have to stick to Putin-approved measures on Syria. That leaves the administration at the mercy of Moscow: Obama is reduced to pleading with a stone-faced Putin to support a Syrian democracy, or angrily warning a cynically smirking Putin that Moscow is paving the way for a catastrophic sectarian war. At the root of this trouble are confused and conflicting U.S. aims in the Middle East. Does

If Obama wants the support of Vladimir Putin on Iran, he may have to stick to Putin-approved measures on Syria. That leaves the administration at the mercy of Moscow: Obama is reduced to pleading with a stone-faced Putin to support a Syrian democracy, or angrily warning a cynically smirking Putin that Moscow is paving the way for a catastrophic sectarian war.

Washington want to overthrow the brutal, hostile and closely allied dictatorships of Assad and Iran's Ali Khamenei - or strike bargains that contain the threats they pose? The answer is neither, and both: The Obama administration says it is seeking regime change in Syria, but in Iran it has defined the goal as rapproachment with the mullahs in exchange for nuclear arms control. Obama tries to square this circle by pursuing a multilateral diplomatic approach to both countries. But if regime change in Syria is the goal, Security Council resolutions and six-point plans from the likes of Kofi Annan are doomed to failure. Only a combination of economic and military pressure, by Assad's opposition or outsiders, will cause his regime to fold. A collapse, in turn, could undermine the same Iranian regime with which Obama is seeking a bargain. So it's no wonder Tehran sought to add Syria to the topics for discussion at the last session of negotiations - or that Annan wants to include Iran in a new "contact group" to broker a settlement in Syria. The Obama administration rejected both proposals because they are at odds with Syrian regime change. This muddle may delight Vladimir Putin, but it's not likely to achieve much else. Jackson Diehl is the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of Washington Post



Obamas’ freedom of Cape Town honour divides South Africa


Hosni Mubarak’s health continues to deteriorate


osni Mubarak's health has deteriorated further, with the ousted Egyptian president slipping in and out of consciousness and being fed liquids intravenously, security officials have said. Doctors had to use a defibrillator twice on the 84year-old, according to officials at Torah prison hospital, where the former leader is serving a life sentence. They did not say whether Mubarak's heart had stopped or if he suffered from irregular heartbeats, but said Mubarak had slipped in and out of consciousness three times so far on Monday after similar difficulties on Sunday. Mubarak's sons, one-time heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were by his side, the officials said on condition of anonymity since they were not authorised to speak to the media. The pair are being held at Torah prison awaiting trial on insider-trading charges. According to Egyptian officials, Mubarak's health has deteriorated sharply since he was convicted on 2 June of failing to prevent the killings of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that removed him from power last year. They have also said he is suffering from depression. He and his sons were acquitted of corruption charges. Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, visited him in Torah on Sunday and, according to the officials, demanded he be transferred to a better-equipped hospital outside the penal system. The officials said such a transfer was likely unless Mubarak's health improves.

Mubarak in court during his verdict hearing on 2 June: officials say his health has deteriorated sharply since his conviction. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

estowing an honour on America's first black president might seem an uncontroversial choice for postapartheid South Africa. But what was good enough for the Nobel peace prize committee is just the latest trigger for acrimony in the polarised city of Cape Town. Its decision to grant president Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, the freedom of the city has provoked a growing backlash from rival parties, churches, Muslim groups and trade unions, who branded it a "political gimmick". They warn that if the couple ever set foot in Cape Town to accept the award, they will be greeted by mass protests drawing attention to America's human rights record. The dispute began a month ago when Patricia de Lille, the mayor of Cape Town and member of South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), announced the nomination of the Obamas for the city's highest accolade. "For this city, as for the entire world, president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are the guiding stars to our eventual destination," she said. "In a cynical age, there is a desperate need for universal hope - hope that acts as a reminder that, no matter what the odds, even the supposedly unattainable is within our grasp." "Freemen of the city" include Nelson Mandela and the archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, she added. Michelle Obama had travelled to Cape Town last year during a tour of Africa. To some the award seemed in keeping with a longstanding

Cape Town's decision to grant Barack and Michelle Obama freedom of the city has been branded a 'political gimmick'. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images relationship between the US civil rights and South African liberation movements: Obama has recalled that his first taste of political activism was speaking at an anti-apartheid rally. In the immediate afterglow of his 2008 election victory, it may have struck a popular chord. Now, however, South Africans have doubts. Tony Ehrenreich, the provincial secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions in western Cape, said it was "appalled" at the award, citing "the atrocious behaviour of the USA on the Palestinian question, and their endorsement of Israel aggression against the people of Palestine." Ehrenreich, who as the candidate of the governing

African National Congress (ANC) was defeated by De Lille in the last mayoral election, accused her of ignoring the majority of Capetonians. "Obama has done nothing for the city of Cape Town that in our view deserves the freedom of the city, as he does not represent the value system of the city people of justice and fairness." In a joint letter to president Jacob Zuma, two Islamic organisations, the Media Review Network (MRN) and Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), said they were "astonished and dumbfounded" by De Lille's decision. "Obama's intimate role in authorising US drone attacks overseas is a cold-blooded account of how he and his disciples in Washington decide on who will

live and who must die," they wrote. "Innocent Pakistani, Yemeni, Somali and Afghani civilians have lost their lives or have suffered traumatic injuries that have changed their lives for ever." The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union also condemned the move. "We are totally opposed to this because the majority of the poor people of Cape Town are still treated like outsiders in their own city and nothing has been done by Ms De Lille to narrow the huge inequality gap that exist between the rich and the poor," it said. De Lille's office said the Obamas would still be given the award because more than 60% of the city council voted in favour.

Libya: British diplomatic convoy attacked in Benghazi


wo people were injured when a British diplomatic convoy was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade in Benghazi, in the most serious of a spate of assaults on foreign targets in Libya's second city, local security officials said. An embassy spokeswoman said the British ambassador to Libya was in the convoy but was uninjured. "Two close protection officers were injured but all other staff are safe and uninjured," the spokeswoman said. The injured officers were receiving medical treatment. The convoy was hit about 300 metres from the British consulate office in the al-Rabha neighbourhood. Police cordoned off the area, and a damaged but still intact car windscreen could be seen lying on the ground. A source from the government's high security committee said the grenade was fired at the front of the vehicle, blowing out the windscreen. Another security source said the convoy was leaving a

restaurant when the attack happened. "We are looking into who is responsible, an investigation is under way," the source said. In London, a Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that a British embassy convoy had been attacked in Benghazi. "All staff are accounted for and we are liaising closely with the Libyan authorities," the spokesman said.

Some analysts have blamed attacks in Benghazi on Islamist militants exploiting the security vacuum left after Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow last year. The eastern city was a cradle of the uprising that ended Gaddafi's 42-year rule, but is now a hotspot for violence, with arms readily available and state security forces struggling to assert their authority.

Workers bring a damaged windscreen into the British consulate office after an attack on a convoy in Benghazi. Photograph: Esam Omran al-Fetori/Reuters

Security experts say the area around the city is host to a number of Islamist militant groups who oppose any western presence in Muslim countries. Last week an explosive device was dropped from a passing car outside the offices of the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The blast that followed slightly damaged the gate in front of the building. On 22 May a rocket-propelled grenade hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the city, blasting a small hole in the building but causing no casualties. A month earlier in Benghazi, a bomb was thrown at a convoy carrying Ian Martin, the head of the United Nations mission in Libya. No one was hurt. The worst-case scenario for western governments is that the attacks could be the start of an Iraq-style insurgency by Islamist militants. However, analysts say an insurgency is unlikely to gain the kind of momentum it did in Iraq, mainly because western states have no military presence on the ground in Libya.



China to send its first woman into space


ne of two female fighter pilots will become the first Chinese woman in space later this month, after the two were shortlisted for a place in the three-person team that will blast off in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, the state news agency Xinhua

said. Chinese media described Major Liu Yang, from Henan, as a "hero pilot" who achieved a successful emergency landing after a dramatic birdstrike incident spattered the windshield of her plane with

blood. Meanwhile, her rival, Captain Wang Yaping, from Shandong, is said to have flown rescue missions during the Sichuan earthquake and piloted a cloud-seeding plane to help clear the skies of rain for the

Either Captain Wang Yaping (l) or Major Liu Yang will join the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft docking mission. Photograph: EyePress/Photoshot

A Buddhist man brandishes a machete amid rising tensions in Sittwe, Burma. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand was jailed for 11 years for 'acting against national security'.

Beijing Olympics in 2008. "They are selected as members of the first batch of female astronauts in China because of their excellent flight skills and psychological quality," said Xinhua. This month's mission is regarded as an important stage in China's ambitious space programme. "The Shenzhou-9 will perform our country's first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module," Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the manned space program, told state media. "It means China's spacecraft will become a genuine manned shuttle tool between space and Earth. It can send human beings to space stations or space labs. This will be a significant step in China's manned space flight history." China will be the eighth country to see one of its female citizens go into space, and only

the third to put one there itself. Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman to go into space in 1963. Both the women shortlisted are in their 30s and have one child: Chinese authorities have decreed that only mothers can train as astronauts, apparently because of their concern that spaceflight might affect women's fertility. Earlier this year, the deputy editor-in-chief of an official magazine said women astronauts should also have no scars - which might open and bleed in space - nor body odour. "They even must not have decayed teeth because any small flaw might cause great trouble or a disaster in space," said Pan Zhihao of Space International, published by the China Academy of Space Technology. But he also told China Daily that female astronauts tend to be more "keen and sensitive with better communication skills than their male counterparts".

Burma clashes kill scores despite curfew imposed in Arakan state


cores of people have been killed in Burma as sectarian violence escalated despite the declaration of a state of emergency in the western state of Arakan. A strict curfew was imposed at the weekend on four towns, including the state capital Sittwe, but clashes between Buddhists and Muslims continued late into Sunday night. The Muslim district of Nazir in Sittwe was set ablaze in the latest of a series of arson attacks across the state carried out by groups on both sides. Chris Lewa, head of the Arakan Project, an international agency monitoring Burma's westernmost state, said witnesses

had reported between 50 and hundreds dead. Multiple reports from sources on the ground alleged that security forces had opened fire on Muslims in the town of Maungdaw, where foreigners are forbidden to enter. An Arakanese agency worker living in Bangkok told the Guardian her family home in Nazir had been razed and a family friend, a former politician, had been killed. Her father was missing, while three of her friends, all former staff at the office of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), were also detained. "It seems police are targeting the educated people like they did in Cambodia," she said.

Iranian Kurdish journalist stages hunger strike over ill son


any imprisoned Iranian journalists, stripped of their basic rights by the government, are going on long hunger strikes to draw attention to their plight in a country described by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the "world's worst jailer of journalists". Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, who was named the international journalist of the year at the British Press Awards in 2009, is on his third hunger strike after his 10th request to visit his ailing son in hospital was turned down. Kaboudvand's son Pejman was diagnosed with a rare blood condition and has been "gravely ill" in a Tehran hospital for five months, putting the family under immense emotional and financial pressure. In a letter smuggled out of Evin prison last week, the 50year-old Kaboudvand said he had been left with no option but to go on hunger strike since the

authorities had withheld all news about his son's condition and continued to deny him temporary leave to visit him. Speaking by phone from Tehran, Kaboudvand's wife, Parinaz Husseini, told the Iran Blog she was very worried about her husband's health and did not understand why the authorities were blocking his request to see his son. "Maybe the reason for their refusal is his Kurdishness or the fact that he has refused to repent and ask for forgiveness from the authorities," she said. Kaboudvand, who himself suffers from multiple serious health problems, is serving an almost 11-year prison term, which began in July 2007, for "acting against national security by establishing the Human Rights Organisation of Kurdistan and proposing a campaign to boycott the 9th presidential election" which brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office in 2005.



Russian police launch raids ahead of anti-Putin march A

rmed police launched a series of raids on Monday on the homes of prominent opposition activists as Moscow braced itself for a mass street demonstration against President Vladimir Putin. Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, socialite and television presenter Ksenia Sobchak and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov were among those targeted.

"There is a search going on in my home," Navalny wrote on Twitter shortly after 8am local time. "They almost split the door in two." Police also cordoned off Navalny's office, where the prolific campaigner runs his Anti-Corruption Fund and coordinates his exposés involving government bodies and large companies. Russia's opposition has a licence for up to 50,000 people

to attend a rally on Tuesday , a national holiday. But those targeted were ordered to report to police for questioning on Tuesdayat 11am - a time that could prevent their attendance at the march, which is due to begin in central Moscow at midday. Officials said the raids were a part of an investigation into the violence that broke out between riot police and protesters at the last opposition demonstration on

6 May. Police confiscated computers and other electronic equipment as well as flags, photographs and clothing. Searches were also conducted in the homes of the parents and parents-in-law of several of the opposition activists. Celebrity socialite Sobchak, often dubbed Russia's Paris Hilton, tweeted that she did not have time to get dressed before police "stormed in". The raids are the latest in a series of moves by the authorities against Russia's

opposition movement. New legislation that imposes draconian fines on participants in unsanctioned demonstrations was rushed through the Duma this month and signed into law by Putin on Friday. It increases fines for individual participants 150 times to 300,000 rubles (£6,000) and for organisers to 1 million rubles. Putin and the prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, publicly defended the new law, saying it wasin line with European standards.

Hurried Spanish banking bailout fails to calm market nerves

Russian police officers guard the entrance of the building where opposition leader Alexei Navalny lives. Photograph: Leonid Lebedev/AP

US commerce secretary, John Bryson, named in hit-and-run crash


he US commerce department says secretary John Bryson suffered a seizure in connection with two traffic accidents in the Los Angeles area that left him injured and unconscious. Bryson was cited for a felony hit-and-run tied to two Los Angeles-area traffic crashes on Saturday, though he has not been formally charged. The commerce department says Bryson was taken to the hospital for examination and remained overnight for observation. He was released and returned to Washington. The department says an investigation is ongoing. Bryson, 68, was treated at a hospital following the crashes Saturday evening, the Los Angeles county sheriff's department and the San Gabriel police department said in a joint statement. "Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident over the weekend," the commerce department said Monday. "He was taken to the hospital for examination and has been released. He has sustained no injuries." The secretary was driving alone in a Lexus on a major street in San Gabriel when he allegedly

struck the rear end of a vehicle that had stopped for a passing train. He spoke briefly with the occupants and hit their car again as he departed, officials said. The car's occupants followed him while calling police. Bryson then allegedly struck a nearby car minutes later, the police departments said. Bryson was found alone and unconscious in his car and was treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital. There was no immediate indication that alcohol or drugs

played a role, the departments said. Duran said authorities don't know if Bryon had a prior medical condition. "When the first officer rolled up on the scene, he was behind his wheel unconscious," Duran said. "But our officer did speak with him at the hospital." David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said on CBS's This Morning that he doesn't have any details. "This news broke overnight, so I don't have anything to contribute to that," he said.

Commerce secretary John Bryson was found alone and unconscious in his car and was treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy's triumphant approach to the bailout appeared to annoy Germany. Photograph: Juan Medina/ Reuters


bailout of up to •100bn for Spain's ailing banks failed to calm nerves about the future of the euro on Monday amid confusion over the plan's details and worries that Greek voters might choose to abandon the single currency. The hurried bailout announcement after an emergency video conference of eurozone finance ministers at the weekend was meant to ease pressure on Spain and other troubled European economies ahead of Sunday's elections in Greece. But Spain's borrowing costs rose on Monday, nudging closer to levels that are considered unsustainable and dragging Italy towards the danger zone. Europe's stock markets fell slightly, despite an early bounce, the FTSE 100 in London finishing down 0.05%. Investors worried about uncertainty over the amount of bailout money Spain would take, the mechanism for providing it and the conditions attached to the deal. "The size of the deal is meant to show a real commitment on the part of the eurozone to stabilise the system," said Robert Pavlik, of Banyan Partners. "However, this just moves the problem down the road and shows how nervous the EU was going into the Greek election." Spanish prime minister

Mariano Rajoy's triumphant approach to the bailout appeared to annoy Germany and other eurozone countries who must persuade sceptical voters that the money is well spent. As he tries to escape the devastating political price paid by other European leaders who have asked for bailouts, Rajoy has told Spaniards that the •100bn comes with no strings attached except for the banks receiving the money. He refuses to call it a bailout. But Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, warned that - as with Greece, Portugal and Ireland - Spain must answer to the feared "troika" that enforces the debt repayment terms imposed on other bailed out countries like Portugal, Greece and Ireland. The troika is made up of the European commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank. "The Spanish state is taking the loans, Spain will be responsible for them," Schäuble said. "There will likewise be a troika. There will of course be supervision to ensure that the programme is being complied with, but this refers only to the restructuring of the banks." "Of course there will be conditions," EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia added in a radio interview. "Whoever gives money never gives it away for free."



'I’m just ill, not a monster': Chinese mum discovered with seven tumours can’t afford surgery bill

·Mother-of-two Li Hongfang, 40, has watched the tumours grow on her face for the last TEN years ·She has been unable to afford £60,000 medical bill to have them removed ·They started growing slowly in 2001 but she ignored the swelling because she thought it was nothing to worry about

‘I am NOT a monster’: Li Hongfang, 40, has a rare condition which has caused tumours to grow on her face - but she is unable to afford treatment


Chinese mother-of-two has been left disfigured by tumours which have been growing on her face for the last ten years. Li Hongfang, 40, is shunned in public because of the rare condition which has caused her face to slowly swell. She has been unable to get medical treatment for Chordoma because she cannot afford it. The illness is a form of bone cancer which causes tissue to grow. The trouble started in 2001 when she noticed a small patch of swelling on her forehead which she initially ignored because it was not painful. When her condition was finally diagnosed four years later, doctors said she had seven tumours growing on her face. But she has been unable to pay the £60,000 or 600,000 yuan medical bill and has been forced to watch them slowly grow. The mother said: ‘I know that a lot of people see me as a monster but I am just a normal woman and a mother inside.’ Nightmare cancer that has ruined a mother’s life Li Hongfang has Chordoma which is a type of bone cancer which causes tissue to grow. The most common place where the tumours begin to grow is in the skull and at the bottom of the spine. Although global figures are not available, in the U.S. the cancer affects around one in a

The woman she used to be: Lu Hongfang with her son before the tumours began to grow introduced. the needs of those it is supposed Many cannot get access to to be treating. She was told she it or simply cannot afford it would have to pay to cover the and many of the 700 million cost of the operation - which is people in the countryside have far beyond her limited means. to travel to cities to get decent By 2009 she met Guo care. Yingping, 40, who as an Officials are debating a orphan knew something about programme which aims to loneliness and the two became provide health insurance for all friends and later married. its 1.3billion people by 2020 Her two sons, now aged 17 but at the moment the Chinese and 14, have left home to work. health system falls far behind Source:

Nightmare illness: The mother-of-two is shunned in public because of her rare condition. The tumours on her face have been growing for the last 10 years million people. In western countries, a sufferer would have the tumour removed before being given high doses of radiation therapy. But because of China’s healthcare system, Li Hongfang has been unable to afford proper care. The cancer may be rare, although there have been some instances of several members of the same family being hit by the tumours. When she was diagnosed, she was living with her husband and two sons in Tianchao village, in Qianxian

county, in west China’s Shaanxi province. She said: ‘We didn’t have much money but we were very happy and we loved each other and our two boys. I would say life was good then. ‘I didn’t think anything of it when I got a small swelling on my forehead – I thought it was probably just an insect bite. ‘It didn’t even itch or ache in anyway – but it also didn’t go away and in fact just got bigger and bigger.’ In China, healthcare has disintegrated in recent decades when the old state system was dismantled and medical fees

Grief: Li Hongfang was hit by the death of her husband shortly after she was diagnosed with Chordoma



How the man cured of AIDS has inspired doctors to discover revolutionary new treatment


imothy Brown, 46, became the first person in history to be cured of HIV after receiving a blood stem cell transplant from a person resistant to the virus. In 2007 doctors made the breakthrough surgery as they treated Brown for the leukemia that he had been diagnosed with a year earlier. And now doctors are one step

Cured: Doctors are being inspired by Timothy Brown who was infected with HIV for more than a decade when he was given an transplant of bone marrow with HIV resistant cells in 2007.

closer to emulating the success of Brown’s surgery to help the estimated 34 million people worldwide who are HIV positive. Experts hope that umbilical cord blood transplants could provide a similar solution to Brown’s in curing the virus. Brown - often known as ‘The Berlin Patient’ because he formerly lived in that city - first tested positive for HIV in 1995. In 2007, when he was still living in Germany, Mr Brown was undergoing extensive treatment for leukemia. During the course of his treatment, doctors gave him a bone marrow stem cell transplant from a donor with a genetic mutation that made him immune from HIV. The mutation, called delta 32, occurs in an estimated 1 per cent of people descended from Northern Europeans, with Swedes being the most likely candidates. The percentage is far less than in people of other races. In 2007 Brown’s doctors tested nearly 70 donors before they found a match. However, stem cell transplant isn’t feasible as a widespread treatment for HIV patients because it is often very difficult to find a matching bone marrow donor, and much harder to find one who also carries the HIV-

'Cured': Timothy Brown feels guilty at being the only person cured of the virus but hopes his story will give hope to the millions with the disease resistant gene. Conversely the match between donor and recipient in umbilical cord transplants does not need to be so close, according to Dr. Lawrence Petz, medical director of StemCyte, an umbilical cord blood bank. Petz told ABC News that

How worrying takes its toll on a woman’s brain I

f you’re one of those women with a tendency to fret, here’s something else to start worrying about. Women who are worriers have to work harder to perform simple tasks than men, and make more mistakes on difficult ones, researchers claim. In a US study, those who suffered from anxiety had distracting thoughts that got in the way of them succeeding. By contrast the men tested showed no signs of anxiety, and didn’t have to work so hard to achieve the same results. The discovery could lead to better ways of identifying and treating anxiety problems, which affect women more than men. Around one in six Britons suffer some form of anxiety. Overall, 13 per cent will develop it at some point in their lives, according to Anxiety UK. A research team at Michigan State University enlisted the help of almost 150 college students, half of them women. An electrode cap was used to measure their brain activity while they performed a simple task, which involved identifying the middle letter in a series of five-letter groups on a computer screen. They were also asked to complete questionnaires rating how much and how often they worried. Although the women who

rated themselves as more anxious performed the same as the men on the tasks, researchers discovered their brains had to work harder at it. And as the test became more difficult, the anxious women did worse, suggesting that worrying got in the way of completing the task. Girls who identified themselves as ‘big worriers’ recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the test, according to the study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology. Professor Jason Moser, who led the study, said the female hormone oestrogen may be driving the increased response in

women. It is known to affect the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the front of the brain, the area that controls learning ability. Professor Moser added: ‘Anxious girls’ brains have to work harder to perform tasks because they have distracting thoughts and worries. ‘As a result their brains are being kind of burned out by thinking so much, which might set them up for difficulties in school. ‘We already know that anxious kids – and especially anxious girls – have a harder time in some academic subjects such as maths.’ Source:

Breakthrough? It is hoped the discovery will lead to better ways of identifying and treating anxiety problems, which affect women more than men (file picture)

Brown’s transplant was made more complicated because the blood stem cells came from an adult donor. ‘When you do that [stem cell transplants] you have to have a very close match between donor and recipient,’ Petz told the news station. ‘With umbilical cord blood, we don’t need such a close match. It’s far easier to find donor matches.’ However, out of 17,000 samples of cord blood Petz and his colleagues have found only 102 cord with the genetic HIVresistant mutation - so the bank needs to be built up over time. ‘At the present time, I feel there’s no other way to cure a reasonable number of patients other than using cord blood,’ Petz told Fox News. The first cord blood transplant on an HIV infected patient from the Netherlands was performed a few weeks ago and Petz’s team have another transplant lined up for a patient in Spain later this month. It will take months before

researchers can tell if the treatment has made any difference to the patient’s HIV. ‘We don’t know the final outcome yet, but we’re very optimistic that the transplant will be of significant benefit to the patient,’ Petz told Fox. Like in Brown’s case, the transplants aren’t carried out solely to treat AIDS, the patients have an additional condition that requires the transplant. ‘It can be done. It’s just a matter of time,’ Petz said of finding a cure. Since his transplant Brown’s body shows no signs of HIV. ‘I feel good,’ Brown told ABC News. ‘I haven’t had any major illnesses, just occasional colds like normal people.’ Brown, who feels guilty to be the only person to have been cured of the illness, hopes his story will inspire sufferers that a cure is possible. ‘I don’t want to be the only person in the world cured of HIV. I want a cure for everyone,’ he said. Source:

CCR5: People who inherit two copies of CCR5, the so-called 'immune gene', one from each parent, seem to have strong immunity to HIV. The mutation, occurs in an estimated 1 per cent of people descended from Northern Europeans, with a lower percentage in other races.



How Middle-Belt undermined North, by Chom Bagu Chom Bagu, a pro-democracy crusader in this concluding part of the interview he granted to Danlami Nmodu, (Publisher/Editor), says the major threat to peace in Plateau state is the governor, David Jonah Jang even as he maintains that Jonathan only succeeded in using the people of the Middle-Belt to rise to power without giving them anything in return.



f it is not a mysterious group, why has it been difficult to contain it? Because we have no security. We have no security. These ones, if you put NYSC people to do the security, they will do a lot better. Do you know why? Because the security issue is not about holding a title; it is about commitment to security. Are these ones committed? I don’t think so; they don’t look like they are committed to anything .If an SSS man meets Boko Haram man today and the Boko Haram man brings N2m (Two million naira) and gives him, will he not look the other way and leave him to go?..These are people breaking banks. Since the man has ten million and he meets a group of these people and he brings that money out, they will take it. Wallahi they will take it and pretend.. Your argument is that probably even the security operatives are not being properly taken care of; they are not being motivated enough to do their job They are not motivated. I am not talking of being taken care of. They are not motivated and they have been so politicised that they only give political office holders what they think they want to hear. And because of that, it means a lot of the real security report doesn’t get to the office holders so that they can use the information to take a decision. Anyway, most of our political office holders have been hijacked by the security. The presidency is a security controlled environment. That is why somebody said even if you put a dog there, it will function. If you are director of press there, is it not the security people who vet all the press statements? They vet it and tell you what to say. That is what happens there…They organise and contain them. The basket that contains the presidency is a security outfit. So politicians only bounce around. If that is the case ,it becomes difficult … So you think there is the need to reorganize the presidency towards pro people establishment? Yeah .You have to make it a political office. The presidency should be a heavily politicised setting. When you see the Obama presidency, it is his party people who are in charge of key processes.

They have different offices. The security people have their own, they brief the president every day. But it is just one….. This stranglehold of security Yes. Alot of the policy…Look at community radio, who is stopping the community radio, is it not security people…And yet we all know that if you do community radio you will open the space, you will democratize the country So how did the security take over the polity? It is the handiwork of the military So it is a failure of our political leaders Yes, and they (politicians allow it) because they want to hold on to power and most of them come without having any understanding of power. And because they don’t understand power, what happens?Even the president… They surrender to the security people? They think the issue is stability, okay I want to be in power. I don’t want anybody (else) and that is why somebody, Labaran (Information Minister) will go and warn Buhari. How can you dare warn (him).You can only counter him with your own argument. You can’t warn him; this is a presidential candidate of another party and you say you are warning him, because he said the government itself is Boko Haram? He has that license to say so. You can only reply him. You can’t warn him. What is the warning about? Sometimes the warning is that the minister is now behaving like a security agent…He is now a security agent, he is no more a politician who has only one piece of the truth, other party also have their own truth. So you can’t warn them. This security approach. In your own view, Buhari had the right to say what he said? Yeah, he is a politician. He wants to replace this government. So if he has a point that is against the government, if he doesn’t say it what makes him different from the government? The government itself had insinuated that Buhari is instigating Boko Haram. Are they not saying so? Yet they know they have no evidence. And so the man shifts it back to you and said in fact you are the Boko Haram. Then you warn him. No, you don’t have that power. All these battles about our

Chom Bagu democracy, civil society activism and those in government seeking to hold on to power. It’s like a battle between those who want better elections and those who want to maintain the status quo. And some of us felt that the coming of Professor Jega would make some difference. Given our experience so far, especially with the last elections, do you think our hopes were misplaced? Ehhh, you know Jega is a public lecture radical. Public lecture radical? Do you know why? Because if you look at Jega, Jega is a rigid person. I mean Jega is intolerant if you know him well. I am saying that you can’t be a good revolutionary and a good radical and be intolerant and be rigid. For example if Jega sees you now drinking Star, he will start looking at you. So what is the radicalism there? He doesn’t see the right of people to live their life the way they are..He is just a conservative. In practice he is a conservative. It is like you are telling us about a different person That is why I said he is a public lecture radical. He can read a good paper. But in terms of the practice, those who know, go to ASUU and see whether some of the radicals in ASUU will support Jega. They are not likely to support Jega. They are very critical of Jega. Look at how he

determined who are the good people who would manage the elections with him, university dons (vice chancellors). Me and you know, how can you say the university dons (vice chancellors) that they are the good people when we know the crimes they are committing on the campuses. That is cut and paste. There are Nigerians whether they are academic or non academic who are good. And Jega knows this but he would not dare bring them on board. Look at his advisers, are any of the radicals you know? The guys he carried to that INEC are they the radicals you know? I don’t think so. His Chief of Staff is right wing. It is not that Jega publishes this his so called radical things in public, it is who does he work with? Who are the kind of people he trusts? And that is why you will not see a difference because he is an establishment man You mean Jega cannot midwife good elections? I don’t think so. He doesn’t have the character to do it. He has the goodwill because people believe that he was a good ASUU President. But he doesn’t have the rock determination to move the election in that direction because while Jega was busy dealing with the radicals, he was doing a lot of things with the Obasanjo government. Like what? Ha ha? He was one of, if you check I can’t mention some of the key committees they put Jega and

they did it deliberately. We thought after the Uwais (Committee) thing if they had given it to Jibo (Dr jibrin) Ibrahim I can tell you that there would be a difference. Not that Jibo is publicly more radical than Jega, but Jibo believes in democracy. He will not compromise at all. He believes in it and if you meet Jibo, he lives it. Jega doesn’t. You get the point. Jega doesn’t. If he gave it to Jibo, I would say yes he would try. But most people may not know the man you call Jibo. But what makes him stand out to the point that you are recommending him for such a very important position? They were all in Uwais Committee together. Jibo has been in the civil society. He lives in Abuja here and even nationally he has been a main rallying point. That is Jibo, you are talking of Dr Jibrin Ibrahim Jibrin Ibrahim,yes. That one I can trust because he has been in the middle and everybody knows him. Everybody can vouch for him and say this guy ,you can trust him. There are places I will not trust Jega. And we have seen in the last elections. He was simply aiding PDP. That is a very strong allegation. We thought he did some of the things he did like stopping the presidential election because of logistic problems here and there. But you don’t believe that? A: I don’t believe that because Jega assured everybody that everything was there. How can you, if you have elections to run, if you have not seen the ballot papers, you will fix the election and assure the public that the election would hold on this day. He assured us that everything was in place. So what logistics? Why did he stop it, the electoral materials? Is it not so? He didn’t know them? He didn’t know they were (not) there? Two,J ega immediately he got into that office, his emphasis was money. That was what just told me that this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. Why was it money? What is the difference with Iwu.It is money , money, money. But doesn’t he need money to really get things in place? But he should not emphasize it because if you emphasize it, you miss the point. Because the

Contiuned on page 38



Jang is the major threat to peace in Jos, says Chom Bagu Contiuned from page 37 government can give you the money. Nigerians will fight for you to get the money, but what is your policy thrust? It is that policy thrust that will make Nigerians to be happy so that if the government doesn’t give you the money, the public come on your side. In the end, you find that Jega (conducted) one of the most expensive elections in the world. What kind of radical is that? I get the impression that from what you are saying that Jega is not carrying his radical constituency along with him He didn’t. In fact he despises them. That is why I am wondering why? He despises them. Check, who are the radicals with him? May be the only one I can say is Ebeano. But the other ones are not You mean Professor Ebeano? Prof. Ebeano, I mean he is somebody I can vouch for and say he has also been very consistent. But the others,I don’t know where he got them from. But with this scenario and now that we are working towards 2015, that means you don’t expect any radical change in the electioneering process? Even if there will be radical change, it will be because the people who are going to contest elections are going to be a bit different from the ones we had the last time. If genuine radicals and genuine Nigerians who know what governance is about decide to run, they could force the pilot, because they are not just going to leave things to run on their own. If I am contesting elections, it is not going to be easy for you to rig me out. You‘d know that you have war on your hands..You try it ,you know you will fail. That is it. But if you are waiting for PDP to award you the position, then of course you can’t fight. It means you will not make the kind of arrangement, you will not mobilize people enough to stand and defend their votes. Now given the scenario you have painted so far, especially let’s go back to this issue of Jonathan being clueless Very, very clueless about how to run Nigeria. I don’t think he understands it. That is why somebody just said he is a President for the Niger Delta, that he doesn’t know anything. But even the Niger Delta I am not too sure he is comprehensive. But we already hear, like chief Edwin Clark has declared that Jonathan is going to run for election in 2015. Who is Clark? Chief Edwin Clark , a godfather from the SouthSouth Nobody. He is an absolute nobody. The south-south cannot deliver the Presidency. You know that. As a journalist you know it,

Bagu can the South-south deliver a Presidency? No way. They don’t have the numbers. They have to align with two other regions if they want it. So the way they are talking, how will they do it? They are thinking that they will rig the elections? Maybe. The second, they won this one, how did they win it? Is it not because the middle belt undermined the north and the North lost confidence. That was the basis. But why did the middlebelt agree to undermine the North? They undermined the north because they knew that given the kind of crisis that we have in the middlebelt that if you had a full muslim northerner as President he is going to strengthen the forces that are attacking the middlebelt Who undermined the north now? I am saying that the middlebelt deliberately decided to undermine the north, to say we are not going with you, we are going to support Jonathan, even though Jonathan promised them nothing and has given them nothing. But they did it. The Neighbour to Neighbour, who were the guys who were running it? It was a pure middle-belt set up. So what was the reasoning like you said? The reasoning was that if a northerner, muslim northerner becomes president, the middlebelt would suffer. How? Ha ha? Because of the crisis, the violence in Jos and other places. That was the calculation. That was the pure calculation. They said let’s support Jonathan because Jonathan being a minority will depend on us and it will provide a space for us to come and contest the elections 2015.And the middle-belt is also a clueless body of people who don’t have any strategic thinking.

Do you agree with this reasoning? Iam not agreeing, I am describing what informed it. And they were doing that hoping that Jonathan will recognize and compensate them. They underestimated the structure of Nigeria: That every president is looking at the strength of the regions and what they can do to him as president. He (Jonathan) knows that the north can totally undermine him and make his government very unpopular. But you see the middlebelt didn’t understand. The middlebelt went to the north to mobilize northern Christians. That was done. But no northern Christian now was made a minister, so everybody is crying. The middlebelt self, the people who got there were nobody. So everybody is crying , saying this guy (Jonathan) messed us up. He used us and dumped us. I have heard people saying that the middlebelt people are thoroughly disappointed in Jonathan because they felt he betrayed them. He used them and dumped them They offered themselves to him. Middlebelt people? Yes. Why can’t you produce the candidate yourselves? Produce a candidate. You wait till I come out. You come and support me, you now want rule, to take the power from me, how will I agree? Is that strategic, does that make sense? So they went to fight for Jonathan, he didn’t pledge anything to them, he didn’t promise them anything. Jonah Jang would use N3billion of Plateau state money to campaign for him. Suntai in Taraba did the same thing. N3billion? Yes. That ‘s why he can’t pay salaries. Up till now, he has not been able to catch up and pay salaries of civil servants as at

when due. So they did that because they are supporting a Christian President. The man comes round and then they found out the man has other priorities. He is looking at the damage that other people can do to him. Since these ones offered him support free of charge, why should he worry about them? This kind of reasoning is fundamentally flawed. You support a candidate because of some sentiment; will that lead us anywhere? That is why I am telling you that it makes no sense. It doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t move the polity anywhere. They have been making sure that there has been no issue on the table. So Jonathan comes and tells you that he won’t promise anything. Can you imagine anywhere in the world that the president says I am not promising anything, and he is elected? Take for instance, the issue of whether he was going to do one term or go for a second term. I remember very well, former President Olusegun Obasanjo announced that Jonathan said he was going to do only one term. But now, they are saying he didn’t make the promise It is not the first time. He (Jonathan) denied the zoning even though he is a signatory to it. So he is not a man of homour. And (they ) are like that because they lack political experience. They lack political experience, so they now put cunning as a replacement for political skills. Now cunning can only work once or twice, then it will not work again. Because people would have understood the game. Jonathan is going to attempt to run but if what I am seeing happens, he will be disgraced. Disgraced in what sense? He will not win. Jonathan will not win? He can be humiliated. Don’t forget that the north is going to come back. It is just that the north is not united. If they were able to patch something, they will come back with a vengeance. The middlebelt is totally divided. They are not ready, most people are not ready to support Jonathan “No. The governor and his.., they are not for peace. And I don’t know what they are thinking about. And yet, it is their people that are being killed. But they are not for peace. They are not at all. Anytime you see peace is trying to come back to Jos, just listen to the governor” In the middlebelt? Yes, because they are so disappointed. Of course, the churches are saying you know..they are trying to play religious politics. But the people are saying it’s not it. The man is a President, he has not helped plateau. What did he do? He seized

the money that belongs to the local governments that were under attack. Is that your friend? Somebody is being attacked, then you seize his money. No salaries were paid for five months. They only released the money a week or so ago (in May) and they just paid them some two months salaries, some one month. And you are saying those people should vote for him?… Now that we are talking about the Jos issue, why do you think that the Jos (Plateau) crisis has seemingly become insurmountable? The Jos crisis has become insurmountable because you can’t make peace unless government supports that peace. That is my sector. I was in Jos. There was a meeting, this World Council of Churches came and they brought Muslim and Christian leaders together to say what are the issues and how they could help. The first person to collect the microphone was the Gbong Gom Jos. He seized the mic and he spent the next fifteen to twenty minutes abusing Hausa and Muslim leaders to their faces there, asking individuals who are you, where are you from? Are you getting me? The first one was Nakande, former minister to stand up and he said no, we are not going to take this. What nonsense is this, and he shouted him down saying ‘you are rude to the throne’ That was how everybody left the meeting o! So the Plateau elite are no helping peace? No.The governor and his men; they are not for peace. And I don’t know what they are thinking about. And yet, it is their people that are being killed. But they are not for peace. .Anytime you see peace is trying to come back to Jos, just listen to the governor. When he went for medical check up, he came back, there was relative peace in Jos. What did he do? He went to commission the new Government House and what did he say? That they are going to change the name of streets in Jos. What does that tell you, if you are a Muslim or Hausa guy? You know he wants to change Ahmadu Bello Way. That is what will come to your head; that the purpose of changing a street name is to further humiliate the Hausas and Muslims. That is the purpose and violence came back. Everytime you see peace is trying to come, the man says something, then violence comes back So government is the major threat to peace in Plateau? In Plateau,Wallahi, they are the major threat as far as I am concerned. I am just coming from Jos. I’m so disappointed because the World Council of Churches there is a good will and they also have some Muslims among them. Source:




Edo guber: Lawmaker lauds INEC on use of corps members By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


do State House of Assembly legislator representing Owan East Constituency, Hon Folly Ogedengbe, yesterday commended the courage of the leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for including National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members in the conduct of the

July 14 2012 Governorship election. The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, lawmaker who kicked against the use of Civil Servants only in prosecuting the election which has drawn the flank of opposition, however maintained that if INEC had backed down to do the bidding of the voices of Babel, it would have amounted chaos. Ogedengbe, commended the

INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru Jega for helping to reduce tension in Edo through his useful counsels to pliticians, especially the various candidates vying for the governorship election. “I must commend INEC Boss for retaining NYSC members to serve as ad-hoc staff in the forthcoming election in Edo state because as you know corp members are neutral in the election held in the state. I want

to give INEC a pass mark for ensuring that the election will be conducted with NYSC members which I have no doubt will bring about fairness in the July 14 th election. The use of civil servant as ad-hoc staff will be hijacked by political parties which will generate more tension as civil servants could be induced by desperate politicians to rig the election”, he said.

Suswam extends olive branch to opposition parties From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


overnor Gabriel Suswam of Benue state has extended the olive branch to the opposition parties in the state to join hands with his administration to galvanize growth and development. He stressed that only genuine reconciliation amongst the various political leaders can enhance peace and stability of the State. The governor who made this statement while speaking with newsmen at the weekend after the Supreme Court verdict that upheld his election, urged the opposition parties to accept the judgment in good faith. He dedicated his victory to God and the down trodden in the state, maintaining that his government would accept all shades of opinion to move the State forward. “The reality of the Supreme Court verdict calls for total reconciliation among the people of Benue state and all political leaders. We must all shelve the spread of dangerous rumors and falsehood that tend to create division among the people and also set them against each other. We must all jettison those ideals that divide us political and socially but rally round each other to build a state of our dream”. “I know we cannot all belong to one party but we must come together and properly harness our potentials and ideals that would help the government take the state to another level of development”, Suswam urged. The governor reiterated the resolve of his government in the next three years to focus on poverty reduction and wealth creation through agricultural development.

People waiting for election materials at INEC office in Eket Headquarters of Akwa Ibom state, during the local government polls, on Saturday in Akwa Ibom state. Photo: NAN

L.G election: Zamfara ACN supports ANPP From Salisu Zakari-Maradun, Gusau


ith few days to local government election in Zamfara state, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which had earlier entered into alliance with the ruling ANPP, had called on all its members to support, and elect candidates of the ANPP at the election. The party alos called on its supporters to avail the ANPP of all their moral and financial support so as to prevent the Peoples Democratic Party from recording any impact at the polls. Chairman of the party in

Zamfara, Alh. Salihu Maibuhu Gumi, made the declaration in Gusau, the capital of the state while speaking to some selected journalists at his residence. According to him, the alliance between the two parties has come to stay, considering the fact that all the promises made by the ANPP to ACN with regard to the appointments have been fulfilled. He explained that it was for that reason that the ACN did not field any candidate for the forth coming local government election scheduled for 23rd of this month (June)2012. Maibuhu also stated that the

party executives have recently met and discussed issues related to the election, where a collective decision was taken that no candidate should be fielded. ”We have no problem with the ANPP right from the beginning. In fact it was one of the reason why we took the decision of having alliance with it, and we have seen a good start,” commented Maibuhu. He further commented that after the gubernatorial election, the ANPP after it has won the exalted seat of the governorship, appointed two ACN members as commissioners, four special advisers and two permanent commissioners.

Jigawa Police denies intimidating ACN chieftain From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he Jigawa state police command has refuted the allegation credited to the Jigawa State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), accusing the Commissioner of Police Mr. Theopillus Kayode, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of criminal investigations, Mr. Aminu Kogi, Abdul Idris and ASP Isa Dahiru for harassment,

intimidation and blackmail. The state police Commissioner who spoke to newsmen in his office yesterday in reaction to the petition by the ACN leader in the state sent to the Police Service Commission said he has not received any petition to the effect. He indicated that his command acted on a complaint made by one Alkassim Ta’ambu who alleged that the ACN

Chairman had abducted him to Kano for three days. Theophilus pointed out that the suspect was subsequently arrested on 11th of May, 2012 and was charged to court on the 14th May, 2012. He said the police has a mandate to maintain law and order, ‘We are not politicians so we have nothing to do with his party and their challenge to the governor’s victory in June 2011at

the gubernatorial election tribunal as to harass him or intimidate him.” The Police Commissioner however declined further comments on the issue since it may be prejudicial to the case already before the court. The Jigawa State ACN chairman Dr. Abubakar Hassan Fulata had petitioned the Police service Commission over alleged harassments by the state police.

Insecurity: Fayemi calls for National Conference From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


kiti state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has traced the recent series of violence across the country to high level of unemployment among the able youths and called for National Conference. The Governor, who made the call in Ilorin yesterday while delivering a lecture at the Nigeria Bar Assocaition(NBA) Kwara state branch 2012 biennial law week noted that there must be renegotiation among the aggrieved parties in order to find lasting solution to the nation’s crises. “As panacea to the ground-swell of agitations and recurrent outbreak of conflict in the country, there is the need for a National Conference, in which the various constituencies and groups in the country would come together to renegotiate the terms of the Nigerian union, and deal decisively with all the nagging and contentious issues that have been animating the country in a negative manner. “Issuing from this is the necessity of instituting a comprehensive constitutional reform process, in which the responsibilities and preserves of the various levels and tiers of government will be fundamentally reviewed. And, questions pertaining to the Federation Account, the Federal Character Principle, State police, fiscal federalism, etc would be ultimately sorted out. “What has compounded the recent crisis and underplayed the need for dialogue has been the influence of years of military rule in Nigeria and the exclusive, personality driven projects of current civilian rulers. The militarisation of the national psyche also affects individuals in their daily lives. Nigeria witnessed, especially under the last military dictatorship, intense communal conflicts that disrupted peaceful relations in several communities. “Some of the conflicts have antecedents in old animosities, but many were resource-driven, spurred by perceptions of unequal distribution of government resources. Incidents of aggression, impatience, and competition arise in domestic violence and other family disputes, over petrol queues, in the conduct of motorists, and in the behaviour of the armed forces and police in dealing with ordinary people”. Governor Fayemi added that the immediate causes of increased violence and crime include the high unemployment and poverty levels stressing that “at the root, however, is the loss of a culture of compromise and accommodation. “This point cannot be overemphasized; Nigerians lost their culture of dialogue in a period when militarisation and the primacy of force had become state policy. Nigeria needs a return of the culture of dialogue. This may not necessarily culminate in a sovereign national conference, although some perceive this as the only solution to the crisis of governance in the state.”



Referees’ association slams Keshi, Eagles By Albert Akota


he Nigeria Referees’ Association (NRA) has lambasted Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi and his players for lacking the needed vim to chart desired positive course in the national team. The General Secretary of the association, Prince Moruf Oluwa, said yesterday while x-raying the team’s performances so far in the 2013 and 2014 Nations Cup and World Cup qualifying matches and warned that peoples’ patience with the team would soon run out. Though the scribe admitted that the team was undergoing a rebuilding process, he said however regretted that the processing was becoming too long and warned that Nigerians are

likely to seethe over the team’s inability to produce needed result. The referees’ association he said has charged both keshi and the players to redouble their efforts and restore pride to Nigerian football by winning matches and earning the respect of other soccer powers in the continent and beyond as it used to be. “I don’t want to single any out player because it takes a team to succeed. The re-building process of the Super Eagles is a very good idea for Nigeria but soon Nigerians will give out of patience, unless keshi acts now to avert that. “We urged the technical crew and the players to live up to expectation of Nigerians and that they can do by getting the results

that Nigerians want. If the result is not forthcoming even the rebuilding process of the Eagles that Nigerians are happy with will elicit negative response from the teeming fans of Keshi and the Eagles,” he said. The scribe urged Keshi to draw lessons from what happened to

Samson Siasia who in spite of enjoying public support got unexpected response from the same public when he failed to lead the Eagles to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup. Further the scribe urged the Eagles to defeat the Amavubi of Rwanda in this weekend’s 2013

African Cup of Nations qualifier in Calabar. Moruf implored the technical crew to feature only the best noting that if the best are mainly the domestic league players Keshi should leave out sentiment and line them up against Rwanda because what Nigerians need is the result irrespective of those the coach uses to prosecute the course.

NFF demands no mercy for Rwanda “


e don’t want any draw. In fact, there should no mercy for Rwanda. What we insist on is routing of the Amavubi Stars on Saturday. Anything short of that means failure on your part.” This was the charge of the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari during a breakfast meeting

New NFF Act: Presidential assent in August, as NASS legal unit peruses clean copy

with the players and stressed that in spite of the understanding shown by Nigerians for the ongoing rebuilding process victory on Saturday was non-negotiable. Maigari charged the Stephen Keshi-led technical crew to fashion out a winning plan that will see the Eagles not just beating their opponents but routing out of the contention for the 2013 Nations Cup race. “We are happy to remain at the head of the qualifying group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification race, despite drawing in Malawi. But there will be no room for a draw on Saturday. It is a match we must win. “I also want you to devise a strategy that will ensure a convincing win. We are re-building but there are matches that we cannot afford to let slip. This is one match that we must win.

“The NFF will continue to give you total support in all engagements, activities and programmes of the Super Eagles. Please go ahead and guarantee victory for Nigerians to be happy on Saturday,” said Maigari. In response, Coach Keshi assured that they would ensure that hope of the nation was realised in a fashion different from recent experiences. “We know it is an important step for us to get back into the African Cup of Nations, which we missed this year. Everyone knows how critical this match is. However, we will play without pressure in order for us to deliver.” The Super Eagles will fly to Calabar this morning to firm up preparation for the clash with the Amavubi, which first leg in Kigali at the end of February ended 00.

Stephen Keshi

Nnamdi Oduamadi

By Patrick Andrew


he draft to amend the controversial operational instrument of the Nigeria Football Federation 2004- CAP 110-as amended and which later generated hiccups over name-change and other legal encumbrances- is currently being perused by the legal unit of the National Assembly following the submission of the same to the unit. This was revealed by the Chairman of the House Committee on Sports, Honourable Godfrey Gaiya, who hinted that the draft is being looked at with a view to producing a clean copy that would be forwarded to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent. “We have done a lot of underground work. We want to enable President Goodluck Jonathan, may to assent to the new NFF bill soon the NFF to function properly with an acceptable legal framework. To that end, we have collated and sieved through the 200 and more memoranda that we received at the public hearing that we organised last Match. “After that, we set up another committee to look at all the presentations with a view to addressing the issues that were presented during the public hearing and in the issues raised in the memos submitted. The committee has finished its work and submitted its recommendations to the House Committee on Sports and we, on our own part, have forwarded same to the legal unit of the National Assembly,” he said noting that hitherto controversial areas were adequately addressed. Further, Gaiya said the clean copy of the draft would be made available to the House to ensure all areas of conflict for which amendments were demanded have been strictly expunged as well inclusion of the new legal name that had been a matter for legal battle between the NFF board and a parallel NFA. “The sub-committee has finished and handed over the draft to the legal unit of the NASS who in turn will ensure that none of the areas are at variance with the law of the land. As soon as we are back from our recess, the clean copy of the report will be referred back to the main committee who will present it to the leadership of the House. “We are giving ourselves the time frame of between now and August to lay the report before the whole committee of the House to look at it and then forward it to the president for assent,” he said adding that once that was accomplished all the controversies over name change and other legal hiccups shall have been sorted out. Aminu Maigari, NFF president

... Amavubi hit Lagos tomorrow


uper Eagles opponents in the must-win second leg of the second round of matches in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier, the Amavubi Stars, are expected to hit Lagos tomorrow with a contingent of 23 players and 17 officials including sports journalists. The team is expected to arrive in the country aboard Rwanda Air but would be accommodated in Lagos for the night and would be flown to Calabar Thursday morning, according to the NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu. The Confederation of African Football has appointed Ivorian Noumandiez Doue to be Centre Referee for the crucial match. He will be assisted by compatriots Songuifolo Yeo (Assistant Referee 1), Moussa Bayere (Assistant Referee 2) and Bienvenu Sinko (Reserve Referee). The Match Commissioner if Abdoulaye Lawandji Mahamat from Chad.



NFF praises Nigeria Police over Obodo rescue

Nadal stops Djokovic’s dream, wins record seventh French Open


he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday applauded the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji M. D. Abubakar and the Nigeria Police in general for rescuing Nigerian international Christian Obodo from kidnappers in record time. The midfielder was abducted on Saturday in Warri, Delta State by four gunmen who later demanded $188,000 ransom price from his family. But the Police stepped and within 30 hours were able to free the player from his abductor. The successfully operation occurred barely hours after the NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari appealed had on the kidnappers to set the player free on patriotic grounds as he had represented the nation with passion both as youth player and later Super Eagles midfielder. “We are very happy with this development. It was the first time that a Nigerian player had been kidnapped and honestly, we feared the worst. “But I want to use this opportunity to appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji M. D. Abubakar and the generality of the Nigeria Police for the marvelous job done to set the player free, ” Maigari said. Obodo played for Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt six years ago, among several other international caps in the colours of the Super Eagles. He is currently playing his club football for Udinese FC in Italy, though he spent last year on loan with Lecce.


Christian Obodo

WBC title: Pacquiao’s mother demands Bradley rematch By Patrick Andrew with agency report


anny pacquiao’s mother is furious. Her son was beaten controversially on Saturday, a defeat that ensured his loss of the WBC welterweight title to American Timothy Bradley. Instead of consoling his bemoaning son over the loss, mama

Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao has joined the fray by calling on the authorities to organise a rematch. She believes that her son will take the second opportunity to revenge the loss. Ironically, Dionisia Pacquiao has for years publicly urged her son to walk away from the ring. Not any more. Instead, she wants him to get into once more if for the last time. Dionisia wants her son to retire with a clean record. “I wanted him to retire before, but now I want to see this rematch happen. I want to let all of Manny’s fans to know there will be a rematch, and he will get back his belt,” Pacquiao’s emotional mother, 63, told GMA television from her southern Philippine hometown. Pacquiao is a social phenomenon in the Philippines, where his status as one of the greatest boxers ever has propelled him to huge riches, a movie career and election to parliament. He has won world titles in an unprecedented eight divisions, but suffered his first defeat since 2005 when Bradley took his WBO welterweight title on Sunday. The split-decision defeat resulted in his record dropping to 54 wins, 4 defeats and two draws. Even Las Vegas promoter Bob Arum questioned the scoring, describing the result as “nuts”. Many in the Philippines also insist their hero was robbed. Dionisia Pacquiao said she believed her son won on points, and called Bradley a “dirty fighter” for clinging on to him during exchanges. Philippines’ Army Scout Ranger spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said the military brass also wanted Pacquiao, a reservist colonel, to face Bradley again. “Let’s settle this once and for all. There should be a rematch, and Pacquiao will then be more vicious and knock Bradley out,” he said. Both boxers have already indicated their interest in a rematch, setting the stage for a lucrative bout, probably in November. But the Philippines’ influential Catholic church leaders regard Pacquiao’s loss as a sign for one of their most famous sons to quit the sport. Pacquiao, who had a reputation for womanising, gambling and drinking, recently said he was dedicating himself to religion after a dream in which God told him to follow a righteous path. “We’re very happy he has found his way after a spiritual conversion of some kind,” Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a senior member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said. “But he should quit now and just continue to inspire the people with his other pursuits.”

afael Nadal clinched a record seventh French Open title yesterday by defeating world No 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 and shattering the Serb’s dream of Grand Slam history. In a fractious final pushed into a third week for only the second time because of Sunday’s rain, the Spanish world No 2, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final, also took his Paris record to a staggering 52 wins against just one loss. Victory, which was achieved on a Djokovic double fault, allowed him to break the tie for six French Opens he shared with Bjorn Borg. It was the 26-year-old’s 11th Grand Slam title, taking him one behind Roy Emerson, three off Pete Sampras and five away from the record of 16 held by Roger Federer. For five-time major winner Djokovic, the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, it was the end of his dream of emulating Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding all the Grand Slams at once. He was left to regret his unforced error count of 53 which undermined his challenge. “For me it’s a real honour, this tournament is the most special and for me to have this trophy is unforgettable - it’s probably one of the greatest moments in my career,” said Nadal, who needed just 49 minutes on Monday to complete victory. Djokovic, who had won the pair’s epic Australian Open final this year, admitted that Nadal had been the better player. “Rafa was better. He is a great player but I hope to come back next year and do better,” said the Serb, playing in his first Roland Garros final. After Sunday’s suspension, the players, meeting in a fourth successive Grand Slam final, resumed with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, but with Djokovic in the ascendancy and serving for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set. But a forehand error from Djokovic, with the court at his mercy, gave Nadal a break point and the Spaniard seized it when the Serb had been left flat-footed by a net cord which allowed his opponent to push through a winner. The set remained tight as would be expected with the pair meeting for a 33rd time. Nadal moved to 5-4 as the umbrellas went up all around Philippe Chatrier Court and the players sat courtside to wait out a passing, heavy shower and complained to tournament referee Stefan Fransen about the slippery conditions. Djokovic finally buckled when a monster forehand from Nadal set up championship point which he converted when the top seed tamely served up a fourth double fault. The celebrations were ecstatic as Nadal fell to his knees and consoled Djokovic before the champion climbed into the player’s box to embrace his family. Meanwhile, Djokovic has admitted that he was disappointed at losing his chance to make history but conceded that the better player won. “The better player won today, so congratulations for that,” Djokovic said, refusing to blame rain and the decision by tournament officials to delay the match a second time late on Sunday, which he said helped Nadal recover his form. “He is definitely the best player in history on this surface, and results are showing that he is one of the best players that ever played this game, and he is only 26 years old. Hopefully we can have many more battles,” Djokovic said.

Rafael Nadal with French Open trophy

I wanted him to retire before, but now I want to see this rematch happen. I want to let all of Manny’s fans to know there will be a rematch, and he will get back his belt



Benzema deny United move


arim Benzema has ruled out a summer transfer to Manchester United, who he says have tried to sign him every summer for the past four seasons. The 24-year-old, who will lead France’s attack against England on Monday in their Euro 2012 group D opener, said he was ‘very happy’ at Real Madrid after establishing himself as the main striker in Jose Mourinho’s team. The former Lyon star told the

Sun he was used to speculation about his future, despite playing for the La Liga champions. ‘The rumours about my future are common, every summer it’s the same that I will be going to this club and that club,’ Benzema said. ‘ I am very happy at Real Madrid and the thought about leaving has never crossed my mind. I know Manchester United have tried to sign me for the past three or four seasons.

City eye Benzema


anchester City is weighing up a move for France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. City could be in the market for a new striker this summer with doubts surrounding the long-term futures of Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. Real hitman Benzema is thought to figure highly on City’s wanted list for striking reinforcements, with the 24-year-old catching the eye for club and country over the last 12 months. Benzema enjoyed his best season to date with Real last term, scoring 32 goals in all competitions as Los Blancos won the Primera Liga title. Real Madrid would be loathe losing Benzema, with the Frenchman established as a key member of Jose Mourinho’s squad, but City are thought to be ready to test their resolve to keep hold of the former Lyon man. Agent, Jonathan Hope, who is working on securing the UK mandate for Benzema, has revealed he has put forward the player as a possible arrival at the Etihad Stadium this summer. “We are working closely to secure the exclusive

‘When I was at Lyon they and a number of other English clubs wanted me but could not agree terms with Lyon. Besides, I wanted to go to Spain and I can honestly say I have never regretted that decision. ‘I’m still young and I have a contract at Madrid until 2015. I still want to achieve things at the club. I have had a taste of success after winning the Spanish title but I want more.’



mandate to obtain the paperwork firstly after a serious interest from the champions. “We spoke with Manchester United two years ago and it went nowhere, which I can see is perhaps regretting on their part.

Vurnon Anita

ewcastle has made a bid for Ajax star Vurnon Anita, according to the player’s agent. The versatile 23-year-old, who can play as a defensive midfielder and as a full-back, has enjoyed back-to-back Eredivisie titles with the Dutch giants. Alan Pardew’s men are making their move for the Holland international with three caps to his name. Anita’s representative Harry Lulofs said: “Ajax are very satisfied with him and want to keep him, but Newcastle have been watching him for a long time and really want to sign him. “This is the first offer Ajax has received for Vurnon and we’ll soon see how they react. “The only other Premier League club to get in touch was Norwich. Paul Lambert called me to ask about him.

Fellaini refuses to rule out Goodison exit


Karim Benzema

Bayern table £20m for Dzeko ayern Munich will table a £20million bid to take Edin Dzeko back to Germany. Manchester City reckons that could prove the ace up their sleeve which sees Thomas Muller move in the opposite direction.

Newcastle set for Vurnon

Last month the Premier League champions would listen to offers for Dzeko, who cost them £27m from Wolfsburg 18 months ago. City has also been alerted to the fact attacking midfielder

Muller, 22, has hinted he may have to quit the Allianz Arena for regular first-team action. The prospect of landing Muller in exchange for Dzeko plus around £5m is hugely appealing to Etihad chiefs.

arouane Fellaini admits he may be forced to leave Everton to fulfil his desire to play European football. The Belgium midfielder, who signed a new long-term contract in November, has been linked with a money-spinning move to Chelsea this summer. Fellaini, 24, is currently happy with life at Goodison Park but the lure of playing in the Champions League or Europa League could tempt him away. He said: “If I have got to go, I will go. If not, I repeat, I am at Everton. “I am ambitious I want to play in the Champions League or in the Europa League. “Last season we finished seventh and were not able to qualify for Europe, which was a shame.” Fellaini added: “If an ambitious club comes in for me? Why not, just to gain experience. “But I’m on vacation right now, I do not give speculation too much attention. “Every year they say I’ll be transferred to the left or right but I’m still at Everton. “If it comes, I take, if it does not come, I stay at Everton, where I am happy, and where I still have a four-year contract.

United lead chase for Powell


lex boss Steve Davis has confirmed the England Under-18 international’s representative is currently negotiating over a move away from Gresty Road, with United topping his list of suitors. “I still envisage him leaving us this summer, but if it doesn’t happen then we would welcome him back for pre-season. “We’ll see what happens this week because obviously I would like to know as soon as possible if we are moving forward without him or not.” The move away from Crewe would be final for Powell, with Davis ruling out the prospect of an immediate loan return being part of any transfer deal. The 18-year-old further enhanced his reputation with a spectacular strike to open the scoring in last month’s 2-0 League Two play-off final victory over Cheltenham at Wembley.

Liverpool chase Chelsea star


Edin Dzeko

Nick Powell

Daniel Sturridge

iverpooL is plotting a £15million summer swoop for Daniel Sturridge to help fire them back into the Champions League. New boss Brendan Rodgers will act quickly after the departure of Dirk Kuyt to Fenerbahce and the Chelsea striker, 22, is at the top of his wanted list. Sturridge may be offered a new deal at Stamford Bridge soon – but his future at the club is far from certain. the former Manchester City forward won’t commit to anything until he discovers if Roberto Di Matteo is given the Blues job full-time. Sturridge has been unhappy at his lack of games under Italian Di Matteo and, when he has come on as a substitute in a wide position, he doesn’t feel comfortable. He sees himself as playing in a central role. Liverpool would be delighted to make him one of their main men and it’s no secret that they tried to get him to Anfield as part of the Fernando Torres deal when the Spaniard joined Chelsea last year.



By Patrick Andrew with agency report


lean sweep of the medals in the 100m at the Olympics Games in London will be Jamaica’s to lose, according to reigning 100m world champion, Yohan Blake. Blake, who clinched the world title in Daegu, South Korea, following a false start by compatriot and reigning Olympic champion, Usain Bolt, in a matter-fact express, said the trio of himself, Bolt and Asafa Powell are capable of sweeping the medals at the London Games. Blake, aided by a 0.7m/sec tailwind, will best be tested by training partner Bolt, Asafa Powell and a host of rivals at the Jamaican Olympic trials in late this month June. But he boasted after winning in New York Jamaica are capable of sweeping 100m Olympic podium sweep clean. “I’m excited. We get to push each other in training. It’s going to be a cracker in Jamaica in a few weeks. Being undefeated is important going into the trials You feel invincible. I’m prepared for trials. That’s the key. Qualifying for the Olympics is what matters.” Speaking on the Games proper Blake says Jamaica have enough arsenal in the short distance races to dominate and added that his major concern is keeping a clean slate and remaining in top shape before the Summer Olympics Games in London beginning from July 22 through to August 15. The Jamaican, who won Saturday’s New York leg of the Samsung Diamond League, was disappointed with the 9.90 seconds winning time he clocked. But he feels staying in top shape in eventually peaking at the London Olympics Games is better than recording tremendous time but slumping at the Games. “I just wanted to keep a clean sheet

Olympics 2012: 100m clean sweep possible for Jamaica, says Blake going into the Olympics. I feel a little disappointed. I wanted to do something better. Just one of those days,” Blake said. Blake battled back to edge Trinidad and Tobago’s Keston Bledman at the line in 9.90 seconds, winning by .03, with American Michael Rodgers third in 9.99 and 2008 Olympic runner-up Richard Thompson fourth in 10.09. Last year in South Korea, Blake became the youngest world 100m champion by winning the final after world record-holder and reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt was disqualified for a false start. Meanwhile, in another exciting race of the evening, Dutchman Churandy Martina edged Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade in a photo-finish for the 200m

Yohan Blake

We get to push each other in training. It’s going to be a cracker in Jamaica in a few weeks. Being undefeated is important going into the trials You feel invincible.

title in 19.94, both .03 off Blake’s 2012 world-best 200m time, and former world champion Sanya Richards-Ross won the women’s 200 in 22.09. Fraser-Pryce, the 2009 world champion and defending Olympic champion, grabbed the lead early and won in 10.92 seconds, her best time so far this year coming three weeks before Jamaica’s Olympic trials. American Tianna Madison was second in a personal-best 10.97 with Carmelita Jeter, whose 10.81 is this year’s world best, third in 11.05. Kenyan’s world record-holder Rudisha cruised to victory in 1:41.74, the fastest time in the world this year. Kenyan Alfred Kirwa Yego, the 2007 world champion,

was a distant second in 1:44.49. “It was a fast time,” Rudisha said. “It felt good for my first time in the United States. I’m in great shape and I’m expecting to perform well in London.” Two-time world indoor champion and last year’s world outdoor runner-up Abubaker Kaki of Sudan pulled up starting the last lap and did not finish. Dominican teen Luguelin Santos won the men’s 400 in 45.24, .06 ahead of runner-up Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion, in a strong field. Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, reigning 5 000 and 10 000 Olympic champion and 5 000m world record-holder, won the 5 000 in 14:50.80 with compatriot

Meseret Defar, the 2004 Olympic and 2007 world 5 000m champion, 6.22 seconds back. World champion Jason Richardson took the 110 hurdles in 13.18 with fellow American Jeff Porter second in a personal-best 13.26. Beijing Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver was fourth in 13.37. American Bernard Lagat won the men’s 1 500 in 3:34.63 with Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman second, .10 of a second back. Ethiopian Fantu Magiso celebrated her 20th birthday by winning the women’s 800 in a national-record 1:57.48. South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen won the women’s javelin with a throw of 69.35m, the longest distance in the world this year. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams, a three-time world champion and the reigning Olympic champion, won the women’s shot put with an effort of 20.60m.

RESULTS Men’s 100m 1. Yohan Blake (Jamaica) 9.90 2. Keston Bledman (Trinidad and Tobago) 9.93 3. Michael Rodgers (U.S.) 9.99 Men’s 200m 1. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) 19.94 2. Nickel Ashmeade (Jamaica) 19.94 3. Warren Weir (Jamaica) 20.08 Men’s 400m 1. Luguelin Santos (Dominican Republic) 45.24 2. Jeremy Wariner (U.S.) 45.30 3. Chris Brown (Bahamas) 45.35 7. Oscar Pistorius, South Africa Men’s 800m 1. David Lekuta Rudisha (Kenya) 1:41.74 2. Alfred Kirwa Yego (Kenya) 1:44.49 3. Andrew Osagie (Britain) 1:44.61 Men’s 1500m 1. Bernard Lagat (U.S.) 3:34.63 2. Ayanleh Souleiman (Djibouti) 3:34.73 3. David Torrence (U.S.) 3:35.48 9. Peter Van Der Westhuizen, South Africa Men’s 110m Hurdles 1. Jason Richardson (U.S.) 13.18

2. Jeff Porter (U.S.) 13.26 3. Orlando Ortega (Cuba) 13.35 Men’s High Jump 1. Jesse Williams (U.S.) 2.36 2. Robbie Grabarz (Britain) 2.36 3. Trevor Barry (Bahamas) 2.31 3=. Jamie Nieto (U.S.) 2.31 Men’s Long Jump 1. Mitchell Watt (Australia) 8.16 2. Fabrice Lapierre (Australia) 8.14 3. George Kitchens (U.S.) 7.88 Men’s Discus 1. Zoltan Koevago (Hungary) 66.36 2. Frank Casanas (Spain) 65.21 3. Vikas Gowda (India) 64.86 Women’s 100m 1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) 10.92 2. Tianna Madison (U.S.) 10.97 3. Carmelita Jeter (U.S.) 11.05 Women’s 200m 1. Sanya Richards-Ross (U.S.) 22.09 2. Bianca Knight (U.S.) 22.46 3. Mikele Barber (U.S.) 22.96 Women’s 400m 1. Francena McCorory (U.S.) 50.06 2. Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) 50.10 3. Rosemarie Whyte (Jamaica) 50.62 Women’s 800m

1. Fantu Magiso (Ethiopia) 1:57.48 2. Molly Beckwith (U.S.) 1:59.18 3. Marilyn Okoro (Britain) 1:59.37 Women’s 5000m 1. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) 14:50.80 2. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) 14:57.02 3. Gelete Burka (Ethiopia) 15:02.74 Women’s 400m Hurdles 1. Ti’erra Brown (U.S.) 54.85 2. Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica) 54.91 3. Queen Harrison (U.S.) 55.32 Women’s Pole Vault 1. Fabiana Murer (Brazil) 4.77 2. Yarisley Silva (Cuba) 4.70 3. Nikolia Kiriakopoulou (Greece) 4.60 Women’s Triple Jump 1. Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 14.71 2. Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) 14.45 3. Dailenys Alcantara (Cuba) 14.24 Women’s Shot Put 1. Valerie Adams (New Zealand) 20.60 2. Jillian Camarena-Williams (U.S.) 19.62 3. Michelle Carter (U.S.) 19.32 Women’s Javelin Throw Sunette Viljoen (South Africa) 69.35 2. Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) 68.73 3. Kara Patterson (U.S.) 60.33






c d

a. b. c. d. e. f. g.


McLaren's Lewis Hamilton says his latest victory in Canada means as much as his maiden win in Montreal five years ago. Andrew Strauss says resting James Anderson and Stuart Broad was not the reason for England's below-par display in the drawn final Test. Harlequins lock George Robson will captain England in Wednesday's tour match against the South Africa Southern Barbarians in Kimberley. The first British women to compete in an Olympic boxing tournament are named in the final Team GB squad. Spain's Rafael Nadal wins a record seventh French Open with a 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 victory over world number one Novak Djokovic. Rory McIlroy finishes joint-seventh at the St Jude Classic as a final-hole double bogey ends his hopes of victory. Tom Daley says it would be a dream come true to win Olympic diving gold after his place at London 2012 is confirmed.





UERO 2012

UEFA wants more trained security personnel


he Union of European Football Association (UEFA) has asked local authorities to step up security for open training sessions at Euro 2012. The request follows the racial abuse of Dutch players by

some spectators watching training in Krakow last week. An increased police presence at training grounds is one option that UEFA have asked to be considered.


Gerrard okay with draw

ngland captain Steven Gerrard was satisfied after his side launched their Euro 2012 campaign with an encouraging 1-1 draw with France in

Donetsk. Joleon Lescott nodded home the opener

“Any such behaviour is totally incompatible with UEFA’s zero-tolerance policy. While to date there has only been one isolated incident, Uefa is confident the local authorities will adequately deal with the issue,” a statement

in the 31st minute only for Samir Nasri to beat Joe Hart at the near post with a fine

said. Mark Van Bommel complained specifically of racist abuse, the Dutch FA said this was mixed with anti-Euro 2012 chanting believed to have been prompted by the fact Krakow has not been given any matches in the tournament. The Panorama programme last month raised the issue of potential racism at Euro 2012 after filming supporters in Ukraine giving Nazi salutes and taunting black players with monkey noises. strike nine minutes later. England tired in the second half, but they held France out to secure a point from their Group D opener. Gerrard was impressed by the performance of 18-year-old Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was preferred ahead of Stewart Downing on the left flank. England coach Roy Hodgson was pleased with his side’s defensive performance and felt they could have taken all three points. “France doesn’t panic in the final third so you have to be much disciplined in your defending,” he said. “To finish 1-1 and ask the questions of them that we did, I’ve got to be happy. “We kept them at bay and there weren’t that many situations in front of our goal where I was panicking in any way. And there were a few situations in their third where we would have scored a second goal with a bit of luck.” Hodgson refused to criticise the display of referee Nicola Rizzoli. “The referee did OK. It’s foolish to start commenting on the referee’s performance,” he said.

Cech eyeing victory over Greece today

P Ireland can shock Spain, says Trapatoni I England versus France today

reland coach Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted his team can still shock world champions Spain on Thursday at UEFA Euro 2012 as the Irish look to bounce back from their opening defeat to Croatia. Ireland take on Spain in Gdansk, Poland, having already lost their opening Group C match 3-1 to Croatia in Poznan on Sunday after Mario Mandzukic scored twice. The 73-year-old Italian coach said he has to rebuild some dented Irish confidence before taking on Vicente del Bosque’s Spain, who were held 1-1 by Italy in Gdansk, and a second defeat would almost certainly put Ireland out. Trapattoni compared Ireland’s chances against Spain to those of Chelsea who beat Bayern Munich in a penalty shoot-out in last month’s Champions League final having equalised through their only genuine chance of the game.

“Spain are the world champions, they have ten players from Real Madrid and ten with Barcelona, they are only missing (Lionel) Messi,” joked Trapattoni, whose side had kept 11 clean sheets in a 14-match unbeaten run before Sunday. “We know they are technical, but I can also remember Bayern Munich dominating Chelsea, Chelsea only had one corner (which they scored from) and (went onto) win the game. Football is like that. We know they are good, we know they have confidence.” Del Bosque played a 4-3-3 formation against Italy with Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas up front before bringing on Chelsea’s Fernando Torres for the last 15 minutes, who had several late chances for the defending champions. Trapattoni says he suspects del Bosque may start with Torres against the Irish and shuffle his side. “I think after I saw the game, maybe he will play with Torres. Vicente made the change when they needed a striker, he had a good opportunity, I don’t know who he will play against us. I have ideas how they will play, but I must keep them to myself.” Trapattoni has come in for some criticism in the Irish media for leaving in-form Sunderland wing James McClean on the

bench, but putting West Bromwich Albion striker Simon Cox on the wing for the last 35 minutes. Having conceded a goal after just three minutes against Croatia, Trapattoni said his side must raise their level of concentration or risk getting punished again by the Spanish. The Ireland team trained here on Monday, but Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne sat out with blisters from Sunday’s defeat, while veteran goalkeeper Shay Given reported no reaction after having knee problems before the Croatia game.

Vincente del Bosque, coach of defending champions Spain

etr Cech claims Czech Republic have shrugged off the misery of their defeat to Russia and are ready to revive their Euro 2012 challenge. The Czechs were comprehensively outplayed by a classy Russian outfit, but they are not cast adrift as their Group A rivals Poland and Greece played out a 1-1 draw. Greece is up next for Michal Bilek’s side today and Cech insists the players are ready to respond. “I think the anger has changed into determination. Determination to fix the bad start we had in the tournament. We felt the disappointment immediately afterwards, for sure. “We did not succeed in any way in that first match, but we know we have another 180 minutes to play to allow us to qualify for the quarter-finals. So we’re determined to do just that,” he said. Russia were full value for their 4-1 win, but the Czechs were guilty of making mistakes and Chelsea keeper Cech insists the players have held their hands up. He said: “The only lessons we learned were not to make unnecessary mistakes and to play much more aggressively. They had a lot of space and they have some very good players, so they were able to use that. “We attacked them too late in the game, and they had already created their chances and scored them. We do not want to repeat those same mistakes and we will, of course, play more solidly in defence.”

Del Bosque does not regret selection Giovanni Trapattoni,Coach of Ireland

TODAY’S MATCHES Czech Rep. vs Greece Poland vs Russia RESULT Sweeden 1 Ukraine 2 England 1 France 1


icente Del Bosque has suggested he may continue with his policy of fielding a Spain side without a recognised striker. Del Bosque had many in Spain scratching their heads when leaving Fernando Torres, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo on the bench against Italy. He elected to deploy Cesc Fabregas in a free role, supported by Andres Iniesta and David Silva.

It almost backfired as Spain needed a goal from Fabregas to rescue a point in a 11 draw with Italy. Spain will clash with Ireland, who opened their campaign with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia, and even though it is perceived as a must-win game – there is a chance that Del Bosque will persist with Fabregas in attack. “We have a lot of confidence in what we

did,” Del Bosque said on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. “We have three fantastic forwards but Cesc is also a good forward. “He has a lot of composure on the ball, he links up well with everyone and he gets into good scoring positions. “We did what we thought was best even if we risked being mistaken. We have players who are very difficult to control and I thought it was the right time to do it.”



Badminton enthusiasts urge BFN for more national competitions B

adminton enthusiasts on Sunday appealed to the Badminton Federation of

Nigeria (BFN) to regularly stage competitions to keep the players busy and in the process, sharpen

their competitive edge. Some of the players in separate interviews complained that they

Ifraimu Jinkam, Grace Daniel, the only badminton player that will participate at the London Olympic Games

Nigeria, Surrey Chamber of Commerce UK sign MOU


igeria’s Bank of Industry (BOI) and Surrey Chambers of Commerce UK have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on trade and investment opportunities in each other’s economy during the London Olympics Games. The Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian contingent to the games will camp at Surrey before the commencement of the fiesta on July 15. Ms Evelyn Oputu, the Managing Director of BOI, signed the agreement in London on Sunday on behalf of Nigeria. Oputu said that the Olympics would provide the ideal stage to showcase the best of Nigeria’s culture, sports and diverse investment opportunities. She said BOI would collaborate with the Nigerian Olympic Committee to boost the country’s exports and attract investment to Nigeria in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda. Also, Ms Louise Punter, the Chief Executive of Surrey Chamber of Commerce, said with 6,000 start-up businesses yearly, Surrey was one of the leading areas in the UK’s economy. “With 250 major companies, three universities and 6,000 business startsups every year based on up to date hi-techs and innovations, Surrey offers the best business opportunities and economic bounties for investors,” Punter said. Under the agreement, both parties shall jointly promote various Nigerian cultural products in Guildford from July 15 to July 17. Also both parties shall jointly organise seminars on the specifics of doing business in Nigeria along the lines of training/information sessions on import/ export procedures, cultural and business practices. Also, exhibitions showcasing Nigerian products will feature commercial and cultural activities as well as opportunities for corporate matching/ networking during the period.

Sani Ndanusa, NOC president


uper Eagles’ utility player Efe Ambrose is to miss the team’s next game in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, an official confirmed on Sunday in Blantyre. The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Musa Amadu who confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however said there was no cause for alarm over the development. Ambrose had been booked in the team’s two matches in the 2014 World Cup African Qualifying Series, played against Namibia’s Brave Warriors and Malawi’s The Flames. The match against Namibia was played in Calabar on June 3 in the opening matchday of the qualifiers, while the game against Malawi was played on June 9, in Blantyre. Ambrose was booked in the 72nd minute of the Blantyre game, while he was carded by referee Khalid Abdel of Sudan in the 89th minute of the Calabar match. According to the competition’s rules, the FC Ashdod player will now miss the team’s next game in the competition, which is the Matchday Three game. The match, which is a home tie for the Eagles, is against Kenya and it is scheduled for March 22, 2013. “Ambrose will miss a match as a result of the competition’s rules, and this is in the World Cup qualifiers and not the Nations Cup qualifiers. “So, he is going to miss the Nigeria/Kenya match of March 22, 2013, and not the Nigeria/Rwanda match of June 16 in Calabar,” Amadu said. He expressed confidence that the team would not suffer the absence of the player, even though he lamented the development.

were getting discouraged by the lack of local competitions. Ifraimu Jinkam, the country’s number one ranked player, said that the lack of competition was not doing the sport any good and that it was dampening the enthusiasm of the players. “Players improve when they train and put into practice all the moves they have learnt in competitions; this is lacking at the moment,”she said. He urged the federation to reach out to multinational companies to come to the aid of badminton by partnering with the body to sponsor some of its programmes. By so doing, Jinkam said budding talents from the grassroots would be discovered. “If we can rely little on government allocation and look for an alternative by getting the help of corporate bodies, it would help the sport,” Jinkam said. Eneojo Abah, the number two ranked player, complained that no badminton championships had been staged in Abuja since the year began. “We have not had the Abuja Badminton Open Championships this year, and this is not good enough for players. “We usually go for international

championships, which is good, because we earn points to increase our ranking at the international scene. But, what about our local competitions? “When we have national competitions, talents are discovered, upcoming players have the opportunity of playing with seniors and they will know their strength and weaknesses. “I want to use this medium to appeal to BFN that they should organise local competitions for us, to enable us maintain our form,”he said. Abah stressed that long term sponsors should be wooed to the game to maintain the visibility level of the sport among youths. Meanwhile Abuja-based Mohammed Bako said the lack of national competitions was gradually taking its toll on players and coaches, adding that some states had had to organise competitions on their own. “The development of badminton is at zero level as far as I am concerned. The states are trying on their own but at the federal level, it is not enough. “We urge the BFN to organise national and inter-state championships to boost the profile of developing players in the country, ‘’ he said.

Yellow cards rule Ambrose out of Nigeria/Kenya match “Ambrose is a fine and useful player of the team, no doubt, but I am sure the team’s technical crew will find a solution and ensure his absence does not become an impediment for us,” the NFF General-Secretary said. Speaking on the development, Ambrose regretted the situation where he would be missing the game as a result of bookings. “It is not easy to be ruled out of a game as a result of cards. It makes some game followers to view you as a bad player.

Efe Ambrose

“However, my major worry is not being available to help the team, even though I am confident and assured of my teammates’ capabilities. “I am sure I will not be missed, even though I am not happy at it at all. But I wish the team well and will be around to lend support from the sidelines,” he said. Ambrose has been playing for the Eagles as either a midfielder or a defender and had played in the past two games as a right fullback.

. . . putting the people first

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2012


Enyeama anticipates Keshi axe in Calabar


agles stand-in skipper Vincent Enyeama has said he would not be surprised if he were dropped from the new team Stephen Keshi is rebuilding, beginning from the game in Calabar on Saturday against the Amavubi Stars of Rwanda in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier. The Lille goalkeeper made this shocking declaration yesterday when he addressed the rest of the squad in Abuja. “I won't be surprised if during this period I'm dropped from this team. Nobody is too big to be asked to go if he's not measuring up, but I must commend those of us that are here for being very committed not only to qualifying for the World Cup but also the Nations Cup,” Enyeama said. The goalkeeper, who has now been an international for 10 years, was widely blamed for Malawi last-gasp equalizer on Saturday in a World Cup qualifier in Blantyre. He fumbled a long ball inside his area and from the loose ball John Banda fired home to draw Malawi level in stoppage time at the weekend. But Enyeama, who struggled for first-team action in France last season, said he would rather ask that the Malawi game be consigned to history as the next focus is Saturday's 2013 Africa Cup of Nations clash against Rwanda. “We were supposed to win in Malawi and it didn't happen, that is now in the past. We must forget that and be ready to beat Rwanda silly to qualify for the next Nations Cup. “Don't forget that we failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup and God forbids thunder will not strike twice in our time. That is why I'm begging us to leave issues of last week behind and get ready to pound Rwanda for the Nations Cup, Enyeama said.

Vincent Enyeama


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE If it tur ns out tha e is a God, I turns thatt ther there don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever — Woody Allen

OBJ’s coded message A

few heady members, from mainly the opposition parties in the House of Representatives, responded to former President Olusegun Obasanjo's attack on the National Assembly members, by paying him in his own coin, including recalling a weighty allegation by the man's son, Gbenga, that his father had maintained an improper relationship with his (Gbenga's) wife. The reaction of the legislators as a group and an institution has, otherwise, been unusually tamed, although OBJ had been unsparing in his attack. The legislators are "rogues and armed robbers," OBJ had said, in clear language, and at a crowded public gathering. The Senate's guarded response, said in a barely audible tone, was a mere, 'name the rogues and armed robbers among us.' The response of the House was no less subdued. The Senate has issued some kind of invitation to the man to appear before it, which many people see as half-hearted and very few think will be honoured by the man. If such an insult had come from any other person - including perhaps, the incumbent president, GEJ - hell would have been let loose. The legislators would have summoned to use all the powers they have in the books and outside it to make the person pay for his insolence. When, some years ago, one of its members, Nuhu Aliyu, said similar things of his colleagues to what OBJ has now said, the Senate forced him to eat his words and apologise, which he did. Maybe it was out of the respect and reverence the legislators have for OBJ that their response to his attack on them had been so measured and tamed. The man had been a two-time leader in this country, and, until his recent resignation, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on whose platform a considerable majority of the legislators had been elected. But it is also not unlikely that the legislators' response was partly informed by their fears of the man. Many of the leading figures in the Senate, especially, have been long in the circle of power. And, OBJ, by virtue of the positions he has held, knows them and knows their records even better. In life generally, but in politics especially, the fear of those who have and can use damaging information against one, is the beginning of wisdom. But even at that, and even if we make allowance for the fact that subtlety is not OBJ's natural state, we must still wonder why the man came down so hard on the legislators and chose to use the language he used. What has made the man so annoyed that he could be so abusive to the legislators? Was he trying to

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo tell us some urgent message, flashing across the nation a signal that needs decoding to decipher its message? Of course, our first reaction to OBJ's tirade on the legislators is to see it as a case of a pot calling the kettle black. And there is an important sense in which it is so. That corruption is rife in the legislative arm of government is something only a few would deny. Even fewer would deny that our judiciary, which OBJ didn't spare in his speech, is also riddled with corruption. But what can also not be denied is that OBJ isn't exactly the saint his attack on the two institutions would suggest. He certainly cannot absolve himself of blame for the stench of corruption oozing from the two institutions. In part because of his military background, and in part due to his own personal and attitudinal disposition, OBJ, throughout his eight-year tenure as president, considered and treated the legislature as his own backyard, whose leaders it was his prerogative to appoint, and the judiciary as an institution that was there to do his bidding. In the process of ensuring that the two institutions remained and behaved as such, he corrupted both. It was during OBJ's tenure as president that a "Ghana-must-go" culture was developed, its main feature being the constant movement of huge bags filled with Naira or dollars from the Aso Villa to the National Assembly for the purpose of keeping the legislators sweet and getting them to pass his bills and elect as their leaders his preferred candidates. Of course, OBJ didn't always have his way, but he never tired of

trying, of sending the "Ghanamust-go". And who in Nigeria doesn't know OBJ turned his government's privatization exercise as an avenue to get juicy public ventures sold off to his friends and cronies? Or that his library project was made possible through outright extortion from public officers and wealthy businessmen? But it would be foolhardy to allow all this detract from the significance of what OBJ has said, or to fail to read correctly the message in it. Certainly, if, in spite of his own obvious involvement in the spread of corruption in the land, and his not-so-impressive performance as president (only 8,000 jobs created during his eight years, for instance), OBJ still had the nerve to say what he said, the man must be trying to pass a message. And it behoves us to listen. OBJ's outburst perhaps signifies a parting of ways with the Jonathan presidency.Maybe it is informed by the man's growing frustration, engendered by his growing irrelevance in the scheme of things in the country today. Perhaps the old man is no longer being carried along by the President and his men in the conduct of the country's affairs. It may be, then, that OBJ is, by hitting the legislature and the judiciary, registering his protest, hoping - and knowing - that the executive will get the message, and start to mend its ways, before it too is hit. But a more plausible explanation for OBJ's outburst seems to me to be that he is serving the nation a warning - a warning that things are not okay, that danger is lurking somewhere near. OBJ may not be your typical politician, but his military background, training, war experience and years in public office have helped to sharpen his instincts, and given him a knack for sensing danger from afar. We have seen proof and practical expression of this in the man over the years. In his here direct, and there indirect ways, OBJ had on several occasions given us warnings which have proved prescient, but which were sometimes misread or ignored completely. Part of this, of course, may be said to be opportunistic. OBJ is well known for always wanting to be

with the winners, no matter how the winning has been achieved. But let's not allow his motives to detract from the significance of his usually timely warnings. Now, let's consider the facts. He made a scathing criticism of the Shagari regime in 2003. A few months later, it fell. He did the same with the Buhari regime; it was ousted a few months later. His criticism of the Babangida regime came only a few months before circumstances forced the man to step aside. Is OBJ then, by his latest outing trying to tell us something, perhaps to warn us that all his not well with the country and that something may give? True, he restricted himself to the legislature and the judiciary. But OBJ, much more than the rest of us, knows that the two arms of government operate within a system in which the executive is the driving force. If two of the system's two arms are rotten, it cannot be different with the third arm. Who, in any case, has ever seen or heard of a fish that starts rotting from its tail or trunk? The rot always starts from the head. It may well be, in fact, that OBJ's real worry is not so much with the legislature and judiciary as with the executive itself. And, in reality, there is much that should worry OBJ, and the rest of us. Things are not getting done, or being done in accordance with a clear vision or a well-articulated grand plan for the Nigerian future. The nation's insecurity challenge seems insurmountable. The whole atmosphere stinks of corruption. The president is not showing leadership, and appears clueless as regards many of the issues and challenges confronting us. And a cabal, narrow in its worldview and totally lacking in grace in the way it thinks, acts and relates with others, seems to have taken over in Aso Villa. There is clearly a real cause for alarm. Maybe this is largely why OBJ has resigned his chairmanship of the PDP Board of Trustees and is now out in the open warning the nation. And, maybe, this is also why, as we hear, he, and some other concerned elders, have decided not to be mere onlookers, but to be proactive. There is talk that OBJ is already leading some other party elders to shop for a replacement for Jonathan in 2015. It is said that the elders are looking northward, in order to avoid a situation in which a northern candidate will be running against a southern candidate in a country that has already become highly polarized politically. A sensible move in such trying times for Nigeria, many will say. But are we really reading OBJ's message correctly, and are we going to heed his timely warning?

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 606 3308. e-mail: ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday, June 12, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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