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Vol. 9 No. 45

Friday, October 12, 2012

. . . putting the people first

Zhul-Qadah 25, 1433 AH


Constitution Review: State Assemblies dump govs By Richard Ihediwa


tate governors may have started losing grip of political machineries in their states ahead of the 2015 elections as the 36 state Houses of Assembly have pointedly demanded their financial autonomy and that of the

. . . Demand autonomy for selves, LGs 774 local councils saying such has become non-negotiable in the current review of the 1999 constitution. The legislators who handed down their demand at the opening

of the Senate public debate on the review of the constitution yesterday in Abuja appeared to have resolved to go into a major political tussle with their state governors as they asserted that

their financial autonomy and that of councils was the only way to check corruption in the states. Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria (CSSLN) and the Speaker

of Gombe state House of Assembly, Inuwa Garba, who presented the position of the state lawmakers at the debate said the state lawmakers also regretted the circumstances that led to the failure of the state assemblies to support the proposal for their Contd on Page 2

Petinrin now favourite for defence portfolio

Mu’azu or Yarima may replace Bala as FCT minister

By Our Reporter


here are strong indications that the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin (rtd), is favourite to become the new defence minister and coordinating minister for security. There are also feelers of a major cabinet shake-up which will see some notable ministers losing their seats and the reshuffling of others. The exercise according to reliable sources in the Presidency is likely to affect some strategic ministers including that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Notable politicians from the north including former Bauchi state Governor, Adamu Mu’azu, or former Zamfara state Governor,


11th Oct., 2012


BUYING 154.7 248 200.6 0.2854 41

SELLING 155.7 249.7 201.8 0.3054 41.5


BUYING 202 257 40 158

SELLING 204 259 42 160

Senator Ahmed Sani Yariman Bakura, are being considered as replacements for Senator Bala Mohammed as FCT minister. The choice of Petinrin, who is expected to be officially pulled out of service today was said to have emerged following the insistence of some military top brass that due to the prevailing security challenges facing the nation, the defence ministry should be manned by a highly experienced person with a very strong military background. It was learnt that the service chiefs had prevailed on President Goodluck Jonathan to pick one of them instead of former FCT Minister, Senator Adamu Aliero, who was initially tipped for the position. As the minister of defence and coordinating minister for security, Petinrin is expected to be saddled with the task of superintending over all military formations, office of the National Security Adviser, the State Security Service, and the Police among others. Also having served as Chief of Defence Staff, Petinrin is expected to command very strong respect among the service chiefs, the military and other security apparatuses in the country. Petinrin, who hails from Osun Contd on Page 2

Okupe is a trouble maker, says Mark >> PAGE 3

L-R: Benue State Governor, Dr Gabriel Suswam, with the Founder and former President of Republic of Namibia, Dr. Sam Nujoma, on Tuesday in Windhoek, shortly after attending a special investment forum on Nigeria organised by the Namibian High Commission to Nigeria.

Hajj 2012: Bwari pilgrims grumble over altered flight schedule >> PAGE 3

Atiku demands two party system, state police, zoning >> PAGE 4




National Flood C’ttee to raise 100bn in one year


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem





















resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday charged members of the National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to raise funds and rehabilitate the flood victims within a year. The President had on Tuesday during a nationwide broadcast announced the constitution of the Committee co-chaired by business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) chairman, Olisa Agbakoba. “We believe that this committee can conclude this job in 12 months. I belief that within 12 months we will be able to see how we can resettle these people and they will begin to live their normal live”, he said. According to him, Nigeria was facing it’s “own unfair share of the global, phenomenon of flooding”, saying “as a government we feel terribly worried, we feel sad that

this ravaging flood is really affecting so many of our people.” The Federal Government, he said was compelled to set up the Committee to generate funds to assist government in managing the affected people. The Committee is expected to have an overview of the degree of impact of the floods, raise funds to complement or augment Federal Government’s effort to cushion the immediate effects and rehabilitate the people. The President spoke further, “we wouldn’t want people to begin to live in camps, they should be able to go back to their communities and settle down. You will also have to advise government on other areas from your own experience how you think we can handle these victims. He said members of the Committee were carefully chosen based on “your credentials, based on what you have been doing before. All of you here are in one way or the other been involved in philanthropic duties because this is

an assignment that you need people with empathy not people that will see it as a privilege of touring or getting allowance for travels. “But people that have the human feelings and kindness and of course the development partners are people who have been working with government to create wealth in poor communities. “When people face this kind of flood devastation, it is no longer a national issue, it is an international issue. Because the magnitude of refugees”. President Jonathan thanked the development partners for accepting to “serve on this special committee. Nigeria will continue to be grateful to you especially to the organisations you represent”. Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the inauguration, the co-chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said they will strive to raise as much as N100 billion so that the flood victims could be

rehabilitated properly as well as put in place measures to guide against future occurrence. He also expressed optimism that the international community will come to the country’s aid in bringing succour to the victims, recalling that prominent Nigerians have always been assisting victims of natural disasters in other countries. His words, “what we are expecting next is to begin to see the goodies coming and we will try as much as possible to raise funds both locally and international to complement’s government’s efforts in terms of making sure that our fellow Nigerians do not really suffer from devastating calamity. We will go round and see what needs to be done to ensure this does not reoccur again. “We are targeting N100 billion minimum, we do not want to look at it as a government issue. For some of us when there were disasters in other countries we helped and so we expect people to help us”.

Petinrin now favourite for defence portfolio

Boko haram does not represent Islam, says Unilorin VC, Page 7

Inter’l Digest

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Contd from Page 1 state, it was gathered, was picked because of his performance as Chief of Defence Staff, a position which also placed him in a vantage position to have a good grip of the security challenge in the country. It was also gathered that his choice was also an attempt to appease the South West, which has been complaining of marginalisation and poor representation at the federal level. The clamour for the replacement of the former minister, Bello

Halliru Mohammed, with somebody from the North West where he hails from was defeated by arguments that zone already has very good representation at the federal level having produced Vice President Namadi Sambo, Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal among others. Though it is not clear which minister will eventually be sent packing in the expected shake-up, there are fears that those whose ministries performed below the expectations of the President would

be sent packing. Also some of those indicted by the National Assembly in its probes may be affected. The National Assembly had recently indicted some ministers and called for their sack. On Thursday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives told President Jonathan at the 2013 budget presentation ceremony that reports coming from the House committees currently on oversight function to ascertain the level of implementation of the 2012 budget were unimpressive.

In the changes anticipated, sources hinted that Mu’azu who is also from the Bauchi state as the FCT Minister Bala Mohammed is being tipped to for the job so as not to tilt the pan against the North East. It is not however clear if Mohammed would be retained in the cabinet or not. It was gathered that the move to bring in Yarima later on is part of the plot to get the core North West and the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) into the game-plan ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Constitution Review: State Assemblies dump govs Contd from Page 1 financial autonomy in the 2010 amendment. The demand would require the amendment of section 162 of the 1999 constitution to abolish the State and Local Councils Joint account and pave way for the inclusion of the state assemblies and local government councils in the First Line Charge for direct allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Apparently referring to state governors, who were said to have mounted pressure on state legislators to reject the proposal in 2010 for fear of losing their control over political machinery in the states, Garba said the lawmakers, would this time resist any attempt by any person to make them drop the bid which he listed as conditions that would warrant their support for the current review. According to him, “What we need now is absolute separation of powers. What happened the last time was what many people see as magic. I want to state here that this time it is not going to be business as usual. State legislatures must have financial autonomy. That is the only way we can effectively fight corruption. Local councils also must be granted

autonomy in the constitution. If we do this many of the agitations in the country will end. “I want to state here that nobody can intimidate us or stop us. I say this on behalf of the 36 Speakers of state houses of assembly. If anybody wants to stop us let him come out and face us”, he said amidst applause by stakeholders. He said it is only when the local councils and state assemblies are granted financial autonomy that the nation will witness meaningful development in all sectors of the economy. Already the Senate President David Mark led leadership of the Senate saw the position of the state legislators as a healthy development and a pointer towards the further entrenchment of democratic culture in the system. State legislators are key to amendment of the constitution as any alteration must be supported by 24 of the 36 state assemblies before it could pass. President Goodluck Jonathan had already forwarded a bill seeking complete autonomy for councils following public outcry that governors were cornering their own shares of statutory allocation in the joint account. Governors have also been criticized for overbearing control

over the selection or election as well as administrative activities of council executives with many rejecting the powers to sack elected chairmen of council and imposition of caretaker committees to man councils.

Mark, Ekweremmadu yield to Nigerians


resident David Mark has assured that the Senate under him will ensure that only the will of Nigerians will prevail saying the Senate do not have any presumptuous agenda or preconceptions in the exercise. Mark who stated this at the opening of the Senate public debate on the constitution amendment yesterday in Abuja also vowed that the Senate will not allow any vocal minority to hijack the process and invoke its views on the majority. Mark’s position is coming against the backdrop of insinuations that there are plans by some powerful lobbies to hijack the process especially in the case of agitation for the creation of more states in the country. Mark said: “Let me assure you also that whatever view you espouse here shall ultimately count. In this most solemn of tasks,

the National Assembly neither harbours any presumptions, hidden agenda, preconceptions, nor an intention to foist a fait accompli. It is the ultimate synthesis of the desires of the people of Nigeria, analysed and carefully considered in the context of modern realities that will prevail. What the Senate will certainly resist is any attempt by a vocal minority to tyrannically hijack the process and impose its views on the majority.” The Senate President said the Senate has since resolved to carry along critical stakeholders including the Houses of Assembly of the states, the federal and state executive, civil society and sociocultural groups and the general public in the exercise. Also speaking at the opening, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Constitution Review Committee, urged Nigerians especially the political elite to “subordinate every sectional, ethnic, personal, and narrow group interest to national interest”. He said all clannish tendencies, grandstanding, and posturing must give way for the bigger picture of the health, peace, unity, and prosperity of the nation state.



Hajj 2012: Bwari pilgrims grumble over altered flight schedule By Maryam Garba Hassan


Flood displaced persons returning home after the volume of water has started subsiding, yesterday in Gassol, Taraba state. Photo: NAN

Internet love scam: Unilag student bags 18-month jail term From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ustice Aishat Opesanwo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, yesterday, sentenced one Michael Opaleye, who claimed to be a student of the University of Lagos, to 18 months imprisonment for internet love scam. Opaleye was jailed by Justice Opesanwo for defrauding an American lady, Kathy Lunsford,

of 9,200 US dollars under the pretext of getting married to her. The convict who claimed to be studying computer science at the university, had pleaded guilty to the charge of obtaining by false pretence and forgery. He had entered into a plea bargain deal with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and offered to pay back the money to his victim.

Justice Opesanwo in her judgment said the sentence would commence on March 15 when he was first arraigned before the court. She also ordered Opaleye after his release from prison, to pay N100, 000 monthly to the victim through the EFCC until he refunds the total amount involved in the scam. The convict is also to forfeit the

electronic appliances and other items purchased with the proceeds of the crime, which were recovered from his house during the investigation, to the EFCC. EFCC counsel, Mr. Anselem Ozioko, said Opaleye had between 2008 and 2011, swindled Lunsford by making phoney marriage proposal to her through e-mails. He said Lunsford had sent Opaleye the said amount as part of his travelling expenses from the United Kingdom to the United States to facilitate their marriage.

Okupe is a trouble maker, says Mark By Richard Ihediwa


enate President David Mark has reacted to yesterday’s outburst by the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe to the effect that he (Mark) and Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal derided President Jonathan during the budget presentation on Wednesday. Mark, who expressed shock on the issue had in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday cautioned Okupe to know his limits saying and desist from trying to cause disaffection

between the National Assembly and the Presidency. The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to media attacks on the Office and Person of the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, by the Senior Special Assistant to the Mr. President Dr. Doyin Okupe to the effect that the President of the Senate derided President Goodluck Jonathan during the budget presentation on Wednesday. “It is instructive to first state that Senator Mark and Mr. President are on the same page in the onerous task of ensuring the actualisation of the

transformation agenda of this administration. There was nothing derisive in the welcome address of the President of the Senate at the budget presentation. We challenge Dr. Okukpe to revisit the speech and discover his misadventure. “It is therefore strange that Dr. Okupe would meddlesomely attempt to create unnecessary disaffection between the legislature and the executive. “It is common knowledge that budgets are estimates of revenues and expenditures of the Federation for the next financial year. Section 81 of the1999 Constitution (as amended) is very explicit. The

position of the Senate which was expressed by the President of the Senate is that in line with constitutional provisions, the legislature has a right of appropriation. “Dr. Okupe as a public affairs manager has a responsibility to make friends and create a harmonious working relationship between the executive and other arms of government. His job is not to make enemies and create unfavorable atmosphere for Mr. President. We take exception to such unwarranted attack on the Office of the President of the Senate and we urge Dr. Okupe to know his limits.”

National Assembly gave him out as an overzealous official doing a hatchet job in order to be relevant in the scheme of things. The statement reads: “The attention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has been drawn to a press conference addressed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, where he made disparaging remarks about the leadership of the two chambers of the National

Assembly with regards to the remarks of Senate President David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the presentation of the 2013 budget. “The Speaker wishes to state that the remarks of the two leaders where in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and that all statements by the two leaders were backed by facts and figures from field studies by the legislators and expert advises.

“It is apparent that Okupe is dabbling into areas where he is totally ignorant about. The uncouth manner in which he replied elected representatives showed his apparent lack of respect to the legislature as an institution. The entire remarks he made gave him out as an overzealous official doing a hatchet job in order to be relevant in the scheme of things. “The Speaker and the House of Representatives will always stand by the tenets of good governance and true representation at all times.”

...He has no respect, says Tambuwal


peaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has also berated the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe for his verbal outburst against him and Senate President David Mark even as he describe him (Okupe) as a person that lacks respect. Tambuwal in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam said his entire remarks against the leaders of the

ntending pilgrims from Bwari Area Council in the FCT have expressed dissatisfaction with the FCT Pilgrims’ Welfare Board officials over what they described as the officials’ lack of commitment to the plan to ensure hitch free airlifting exercise as well as deviation from the original flight schedule. According to the aggrieved pilgrims, the original flight schedule stated that pilgrims from AMAC which comprises of mostly highly placed people and those sponsored are to be the last to be airlifted to the holy land for this year’s Hajj. However, that was not the case as the board is alleged to have exchanged pilgrims from Bwari with those of AMAC who were to be the last but had already left for the holy land while the pilgrims from Gwagwalada Area Council are now to leave with the last flight. Peoples Daily investigation however revealed that the aggrieved pilgrims were ready for a showdown on Tuesday when they were conveyed to the airport to board the flight that was available. According to our source, the pilgrims were told there was flight on ground and were taken to the airport only for them to discover that the flight in question was already full with only 29 seats left to be filled by some of the pilgrims from Bwari while the rest were left under the sun from morning to 9pm in the night before they were told to go back to the camp. They further alleged that there is always vague information from the officials regarding the flight schedule lamenting that despite the early preparation by the hajj Commission still pilgrims are subjected to untold hardship at the camp and the airport as they are always left for hours at the airport only for the officials to discharge them to go back to the camp. However, the Public Relations Officer of FCT Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Aliyu Usman, in a telephone interview with Peoples Daily, denied the allegations.

HRW condemns JTF, Boko Haram By Adamu Saleh


he Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the activities of the Joint Task Force (JTF), in the fight against the activities of Boko Haram accusing both parties of engaging in abuses and extra-judicial killings. The Africa director of the HRW, Daniel Bekele,who disclosed this after a research carried out by the body, said excessive use of force and other human rights violations, such as burning homes, physical abuse, and extrajudicial killings are crimes against humanity. The report, which includes a photo essay, is based on field research in Nigeria between July 2010 and July 2012, and the continuous monitoring of media reports of Boko Haram attacks and statements since 2009.


NMA wants right to health


he Nigerian Medical Association has equally called for the inclusion of health policy objectives into the chapter two of the 1999 constitution, saying this will ensure that Nigerians can have access to preventive, protective and maintenance healthcare services. The National President of the Association, Dr Osahon Enabulele who made the presentation said that right to live is equivalent to right to health since health is life. Base on this, he called for the inclusion of right to health in the chapter four of the constitution. He also said that there shall be provision for the Presidential Adviser on Health, who should be appointed under the confirmation of the National Assembly. He said such appointee will advise the nation and the President on how to tackle unforeseen health issues



Atiku demands two party system, state police, zoning

Stories by Richard Ihediwa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ormer Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for the institution of a two party system in the country even as he made case for the recognition of the six geo-political zones in the constitution. Atiku who stated this in a

memorandum he forwarded to the Senate Committee on Constitution Review which started its open public debate yesterday in Abuja also called for the decentralisation of the nation’s police to pave way for the establishment of state controlled police in the country. Making a case for a two party system, the former Vice

President said such will strengthen the nation’s democracy “by entrenching strong political parties capable of competing for power at all levels of government on the basis of ideology” which he said was principally missing in the nation’s polity. Atiku in canvassing for the recognition of the six geo-

IGP opposes state police

Agbakoba wants more power for states, LGs


he Inspector General of police, Muhammed Abubakar, has kicked against the clamour for state police expressing fears that such will create rivalry between the center and the state in the effort to provide security of lives and property in the country. Presenting a memorandum on the issue during the public hearing, the Inspector General of Police, also argued that the demand of state police arises due to insufficient funds at the disposal of the Nigerian police to fight crime. He explained that the section 214 which established Nigerian police did not make it clear on where it will source its funds, saying that dependence on the federal and state government for equipment and finance greatly contributes to inefficiency of the force, hence the clamor for state police. “Nigeria is not mature for State police now, the idea will create unhealthy rivalry between the central and state police, thereby derailing the focus on provision of security for Nigerians, “he stated. He noted that the essence of government is to provide security to lives and property of its citizens, saying that since this can be achieved through one strong power center, the police should be controlled by such central power.

T Abuja indigenes at a rally demanding creation of Abuja state and protesting alleged non-compensation for their land acquired by government, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Richard Ihediwa

Abuja indigenes demand state


he indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja yesterday stole the show at the public debate when they staged a protest at the venue demanding that the territory be granted the status of a state in the constitution. The indigenes who have been staging a road show on the demand for the democratisation of the FCT since the beginning of the week are also demanding for the establishment of a Mayorate for the Federal Capital City (FCC).

NYSC DG begs lawmakers not to scrap scheme


he Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nnamdi Okorie-Affia, has urged lawmakers not to scrap the scheme saying that those who are calling for such were misinformed. He said the scheme has contributed immensely to the unity of the country and as such should be encouraged instead of being scraped. Speaking during the public

political zones said such will help the nation maximally harness the natural and human potential in the country and reduce the tension caused by quest for power at the center. On state police, Atiku said such will effectively guarantee security of lives and property across the country. While other former leaders such former Military President Ibrahim Babangida also supported the establishment of state police, others including President Goodluck Joanthan had rejected it saying the nation was not yet ripe for such. It would be recalled that the nation had during the Babangida regime practiced a two party system with Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) producing candidates for the 1993 general elections.

hearing, Okorie-Affia recalled the circumstance that led to the establishment of the scheme, saying that to a large extent, the scheme has been able to achieve its rationale. He also stated that inculcating the ideals of unity among the young people will make the unity of the country stronger. He also noted that most young people acquire various skills that will make them self-reliant during their service year.

The indigenes who took over the Abuja ECOWAS Parliament premises, venue of the public debate in their cultural regalia, vowed to continue the protest until their demands were met. They argue that they were denied their rights to select their leaders since they territory do not have an elected governor pointing that such was against their fundamental human rights. They argue that the FCT with a land mass of 6,000 square meter qualify for a state. The Abuja indigenes also lamented the forceful takeover of

their ancestral lands by government as well as failure to recognize their rights in appointments into key positions in the FCT administrations. The residents carry placards and banners with inscriptions such as “govern us don’t rule us”, “democratize Abuja”, “don’t deprive us of our rights” “We need a state” and so on. The protest went on throughout the period of the public hearing, prompting Senate President David Mark to reflect some of their demands in his speech.

Minister demands abolition of child marriage


he Minister for Women Affairs, Zainab Maina, has called for a clause in the constitution that will effectively outlaw child marriage in the country. The minister also demanded for more political relevance for women saying that aside the appointive positions, the National Assembly and the state assemblies still do not have adequate female representation. She also demanded that the language of the new constitution should be such that will give no regard to gender, pointing out

that the rampant use of the masculine pronouns was not acceptable. On child marriage, the minister said the practice devalues the girl child and encourages illiteracy among the female folk. She added that there should be a commensurate punishment for obnoxious practices against women at the grassroots. She advocated for a preferential treatment for women who are physically challenged, so as to give them a sense of belonging in the society.

he former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba, has called for a drastic devolution of power at the three arms of government to help check the concentration of enormous powers at the center and to give more powers to state and local councils. Speaking during the Senate public hearing on 1999 constitution amendment yesterday in Abuja, Agbakoba also stated that Nigeria is very diverse, pointing out that the challenges bedeviling the country stem from inability of the current political practice to address the divergent interests in the country. He said since Abuja cannot contain this clash of interests, there was need to evolve a new political framework that will address the yearnings and aspiration of Nigerians. “At the executive arm for instance, concentration of power in Abuja has made the grassroots to suffer and this is why people are calling for state police.” He stated. Speaking further, he advocated for the review of the power sharing formula such that more powers would be enlisted in the concurrent list than contained in the exclusive list. He further stated that the bulk of legislative powers should be ceded to the state assemblies; which is nearer to the peculiarities and problems of the people, adding that there shall also be a single central legislature that deals with national issues. Agbakoba cited the case of a land dispute in the South East lasting up to the Supreme Court, arguing that such matters, in power devolution, will better be decided by the state judiciary rather than the Supreme Court.



Export of livestock Mpape demolition: Market men/women file N1.4bn suit against FCDA produce will boost loss they suffered during the counsel, Mr. Wilfred Albert million, cost of materials By Sunday Ejike Benjamin demolition. Okoi, said the shops were destroyed was put at N454 GDP, says Expert By Mohammed Kandi


he president, Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Prof. Gabriel Ogundipe, yesterday, said the export of agricultural livestock produce will not only create a reliable revenue base for the Federal Government but is capable of boosting the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Ogundipe made this known yesterday at the opening ceremony of the VCN Continuing Education Programme held in Abuja. According to him, the agricultural sector in recent times has been contributing greatly to the GDP. He noted that the livestock sector required more attention so as to improve productivity. He urged the council to extend its support to the development of the profession, adding that “it is obvious that for any country to develop, agriculture and especially livestock needs to be improved upon because you have to export meat to other countries. So aside from taking care of animals we process them for export which is capable of contributing to our GDP”.

Drama as House C’ttee disagrees at CIPPO during oversight By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


here was a mild drama yesterday at the office of the Customs, Immigration, Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO), leading to the postponement of the oversight tour by the members House of Representatives Committee on CIPPO. The disagreement was made public after the members had a close-door meeting, which could not resolve the pending issues they had among themselves and the verification of CIPPO’s performance of the 2012 budget. After keeping the press waiting for about an hour, the chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Bawa Kamba, angrily came out of the office and told newsmen that CIPPO was not ready with its documents for verification, adding that the committee will come back next week Wednesday to ascertain the readiness of CIPPO. “We have come to ascertain their performance regarding the 2012 budget, unfortunately when we arrived here there was no document presented to us for verification. We have decided that we will go to enable them put their house in order before next week”, the chairman said. However, the deputy chairman and some members of the committee, countered the claim of the chairman, saying that the report was submitted to the committee and that they will again look at the report before they return next week.


ome market men and women in new market of Mpape village have filed a fresh suit against the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) and the Bwari area council over the demolition of their markets and goods by officials of the FCDA. The plaintiffs are asking the court to award N1.4 billion to them as compensation for the

In another separate suit filed before the court by residents of the area, the court was forced to adjourn till October 31, 2012 for the hearing of the substantive suit. The absence of the counsel to the FCDA and the inability of counsel in the case to exchange processes necessitated the adjournment. The traders, through their

demolished after the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation warned the FCDA not go on with the exercise. They told the court that while the demolition exercise was going on, they were barred by heavily armed policemen from entering their shops to pick any item. The cost of the building destroyed was put at N500

million, rent was put at N.9 million, and the sum of N2 million cash. The plaintiffs in the suit are Evangelist Emmanuel U. Akubue, Adaeze Igbokwe, Chimezie Ucheaga, Chzzy Ucheaga, Habibu Musa and Chukwu Emeka George. They filed the suit on behalf of themselves and the occupants of the market.

President Goodluck Jonathan, and Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, in group photograph with the members of the Fund Raising Committee on Flood Relief/ Rehabilitation, after the inauguration, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Flood a major tragedy to Nigeria - Alison-Madueke By Muhammad Nasir


isturbed by the level of devastation wrought by the raging floods in most parts of the country especially in the Niger Delta region, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, yesterday, described the situation as a major tragic disaster in the history of Nigeria. Speaking at Government House, Yenagoa, after an

...says no impact on oil and gas operations yet extensive fly-over tour of some flood-impacted communities in Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, Mrs. Alison-Madueke expressed shock and disbelief at the level of devastation inflicted on the communities. “I have flown over other communities in Delta and Rivers states as well as my own village in Bayelsa state and in all these areas, we could not find a single

solid ground to land and that in itself means that we are facing a major tragedy. It means that at this time, Bayelsa state and other impacted states are faced with looming food crisis. We are actually facing a crisis situation and we must act swiftly and collectively to seek a robust solution to the disaster”, AlisonMadueke stated. On the impact of the flood on

oil and gas operations, most of which are domiciled in the region, the minister stated: “At this point in time, we have not received any report that any of our installations have been adversely affected but we are still receiving the reports as we speak. If the water level continues to rise, we will find out what the impact is but as at now we have no report to that effect”.

Again, Lagos to shut 3rd Mainland Bridge on Sunday From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Lagos state government has said the 3rd Mainland Bridge will be closed totally to traffic on Sunday to allow for thorough repair work on the bridge. The government has advised motorists in the state to make use of alternative roads on Sunday as the bridge would undergo complete diversion of traffic from 6.00 am to 12 midnight on the said date. Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, who disclosed this in Lagos, said the complete diversion of traffic from the bridge is to allow the contractor, Borini Prono, to do the

concrete casting of the expansion joints currently undergoing repair works on Oworonshokibound section. Opeifa said the concrete casting and drying process require zero vibration, hence the diversion of vehicular traffic away from the bridge from Adeniji Adele to Oworonshoki end on Sunday. He added that during the diversion, motorists inward Lagos Island and Ikeja would be restricted from having access to the bridge from 6.00 am to 12 midnight. While commending the perseverance of Lagosians since the commencement of the repair works on the 11.8 km bridge on 8

July, 2012, appealed to road users to bear with the government as the repair works and diversions would soon be over. Opeifa urged motorists approaching from Lagos end to follow the diversion at Adeniji Adele interchange to connect Carter Bridge, link Iddo interchange where they could easily connect Ikeja, Ojota, Ketu, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Alimosho, Oshodi, Abule Egba, among others through Eko Bridge, Herbert Macaulay Road and ApapaOshodi Expressway. He added that those going to Lagos Island as usual would be diverted at Oworonshoki to

connect Ikorodu Road (via Anthony interchange) to link either Jibowu to Murtala Mohammed Way to Iddo or continue to Eko Bridge through Funsho Williams Avenue or Agege Motor Road (via Oshodi interchange) to link Moshalashi to either Jibowu to Murtala Mohammed Way to Iddo or continue to Eko Bridge through Funsho Williams Avenue or in the alternative use Apapa-Oshodi Expressway through Mile 2 to connect Ijora then Lagos Island. “Road users should adhere strictly to traffic rules and regulations during the remaining period for the completion of the repair works on the 3rd Mainland Bridge.


Niger to be reference point for youth development Commissioner By Adamu Saleh


iger state will soon be a reference point for youth development and achievement in the country, the Commissioner for Youth Development, Mrs. Victoria Jummai Jiya, has asserted. Mrs. Jiya made the assertion when officials of the state's Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation paid her a visit in her office in Minna. In a statement signed by Malam Umar Muhammad Kwatach Focal Officer in the directorate, the commissioner noted that there were great achievements in youth development and achievements through the Youth Empowerment Scheme designed for youths in the state. In his remarks the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youth Development, Malam Iliyasu Dhacko, highlighted the ministry's achievement in youth empowerment especially in welding, fabrication, painting embroidery making, and shoe making.


Thugs attack teachers for flogging Oba’s grand daughter From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


uspected thugs have attacked Federal Government Girls College, Benin teacher for allegedly flogging the granddaughter of the Oba of Benin. The student was said to have been injured in her hand. Academic activities at the school are at the lowest ebb as the teachers now leave the school premises before closing hours. Unconfirmed reports from the school, suggest that the staff are warming up for industrial action to protest the assault.

It was learnt that thugs invaded the school on Monday and started beating up some teachers over alleged flogging of a student in the school one of the teachers. The thugs, allegedly led by one Tony, started attacking the teachers including one of the vice principals when the teacher that did the flogging could not be produced. Edo state chairman of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Joe Aligbe said the flogging incident which took place two weeks ago was not reported to the school authorities. Aligbe said the thugs were

armed and threatened to return if the staff was not produced. According to him, our members are now afraid. We are here to appeal to them for calm. The principal is not aware. I know the Benin Monarch will not approve of this action". Vice principal, Special Duties, Mr. Ihiridan Harga, said the school management team are new and was not aware of the flogging of a Benin princess. According to him, "the alleged offence was committed before we resumed here. We were not aware of the flogging. They were many and led by two chiefs". "We didn't even know the staff

NDLEA seizes 301g of cocaine, 3,000 Euros in Aba


45,000 visually impaired people get free medical support in Jigawa From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


evelopment partners on eye care in collaboration with the Jigawa state government have offered free eye treatment to about 45, 000 less privileged people and mostly rural dwellers as part of effort to achieve the Vision 2020 Right to Sight. This was disclosed by the state's commissioner for Health, Dr. Tafida Abubakar while presenting his address during the 2012 World Sight Day celebration and public lecture at the Manpower Development Institute in Dutse capital of the state. Dr. Tafida Abubakar explained that this year's celebration was titled: "Elimination of Avoidable Blindness", noting that over 19,000 cataract operations and 24,000 traciasis surgeries were conducted on various patients with the ailments in the state between 2007 to date. The commissioner explained that the state government is highly committed to achieve the elimination of avoidable blindness and based on this, "we introduced eye care programme which is accessible to all people of the state including rural dwellers". Dr. Abubakar maintained that, "Right to Sight" which is included in the Vision 20-20-20 is primarily aimed at eliminating the avoidable causes of blindness in order to give all people in the world particularly millions of the needless blind the right to sight.

they claim that beat up the granddaughter of the Oba of Benin. They started beating up everybody. The principal invited the police and the police said they must get invitation by writing before they come. The police didn't come". Efforts to get comments from the palace were unsuccessful. Some staff at the Public Relations Department said they did not have the official approval to respond. Public Relations Officer to the Oba of Benin, Mr. Robinson Osayamen, in a telephone interview said: “We have not heard of it all, apart from journalists calling me�.

First contingent of the 501 Kano State Government sponsored students in Malaysia for postgraduate studies posing with officials of the Malaysia government and college authories.

Ireland to partner Taraba in development From Yusha'u Alhassan, Jalingo


reland has indicated interest to partner with Taraba state government to develop the state. The Irish High Commissioner to Nigeria, Patrick Fay, gave the indication yesterday in Jalingo when he called on Governor Danbaba Suntai at the Government House, Jalingo. He said over the years his country had partnered with a number of states in Nigeria, pointing out that a lot of business

ventures abound in Ireland. He urged Taraba state to avail itself of the opportunities with a view to enhancing its economic and infrastructural status. He thanked the Government and people of the state for commiserating with Ireland over the death of its nationale working with the PW Construction Company on Takum road. The High Commissioner also expressed delight with the warm reception accorded him and his entourage in Taraba, saying it was a sign of a good working

partnership between Ireland and Taraba state. Responding, Governor Danbaba Suntai described Ireland as fast growing economy in Europe adding that people of the country are hardworking and industrious. He said P.W Construction Company which had its root from Ireland was doing great construction works in Taraba state saying its charges were moderate compared to other high profile construction firms in Nigeria.

2 bag 1-year jail term for conspiracy From Yusha'u Alhassan Jalingo.


Jalingo Magistrate Court has sentenced two persons to one year imprisonment without the option of fine for criminal conspiracy, intimidation and defiling a church in Jalingo. The convicts are Ahmed Mohammed and Usman Alhaji Yusuf, both from Kogi state. The two sometimes last month,

were alleged to have criminally conspired and trespassed into a place of worship, Integrity and Prayer Centre, Jalingo, and buried charm (juju) inside the church. The two convicts also within the period under review, intimidated the pastor of the church, Reverend Andy Moses, threatening that his four daughters would die if they continued fellowshipping with the church.

The convicts had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges when they were read to them in the court, hence their summary trial following the application by the prosecution. Delivering his judgment, the Chief Magistrate Bulus Nyinputen, said the judgment was in pursuance of section 97 and 246 of the Penal Code and that the convicts have the right to appeal within 30 days.

he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has arrested a university dropout with 301.6 grams of cocaine and 3,000 Euros concealed in spiritual candles for export. Mrs. Florence Ezeonye, the Commander, NDLEA in Abia state, told newsmen in Aba yesterday that the suspect was a former civil engineering student of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, (FUTO). She said that the suspect was arrested on Oct. 5, in a courier house while trying to dispatch the hard drug in five spiritual candles to his former school mate living in Vietnam. She said that the officers attached to the courier house became suspicious when the suspect arrived the office late and wanted the candles in a parcel couriered. According to her, they took the candles in the parcel from him and opened them only to find cocaine and money in travelers' cheques of 500 Euros each. "This is peculiar because of the way the drug was concealed in spiritual candles. "In my 20 years experience in the job I have not seen such concealment where all the candles being exported to Vietnam carry drugs and foreign currency. "When all of them were destroyed and opened we found a total of 301.6 grams of cocaine and about 3,000 Euros concealed in what were called spiritual candles", Ezeonye said. The commander urged the youths between 22 years and 30 years to know the kind of friends they keep. She said that the suspect had confessed that he never knew that something like that could be concealed in a candle, stressing that he thought he was just helping a school mate. Ezeonye said that the case would soon be charged to court. (NAN)



Boko haram does not represent Islam, says Unilorin VC From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. Ish-aq Oloyede, has advised Nigerians and other countries to stop referring to Boko Haram as representatives of Islam. Oloyede who made this clarification yesterday in his inaugural lecture entitled “Islamics: The Conflux of Disciplines”, which marked the 116 series in the institution, said any human being who does abnormal things should be called by his father’s name.

“The world is fragile and the nation is distressed because of the domineering discourse of the hate-mongers. We need to build bridges of mutual understanding and harmonious co-existence and shatter the walls of hatred. “We must all realise that we

share a common humanity and we all originate from Adam and we shall all return to God, the Just Judge. “Terrorism is abhorred by Islam, a religion of peace. As such, all real and imagined conflicts should be resolved

peacefully. As the perpetrator of the Norwegian terrorism was not acting on the dictates of his religion but his own inner insolvency, those who terrorise and kill should be condemned as Islam absolves itself from all evil deeds for which Islamaphobes

direct attacks at it”. Oloyede, who is the outgoing VC of the university, suggested that if Nigeria would move forward, both Islamic and Christian religious studies should be made compulsory in nation’s institutions.

ACN decries Uniport students’ killing, wants culprits brought to justice From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has strongly condemned the lynching of four students of the University of Port Harcourt by a mob, saying such a barbaric act ‘’debases our humanity and strips us all of our dignity’’. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said all those involved in the horrendous and callous act should be fished out and brought to justice to serve as deterrence. It said that in a society governed by law, it is imperative that those who are deemed to have committed any offence whatsoever be allowed to have their day in court rather than be subjected to mob justice. “This is what informs the saying that it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer,’’ the party said. It described as encouraging the statement credited to the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, that the police will investigate the killing and that such act is unacceptable in any democratic society where the sanctity of human life remains key. ACN said all Nigerians should be concerned that the situation in the country has deteriorated to such a level that human beings could be so cruelly treated, so mercilessly beaten, so senselessly hacked and so callously doused in petrol and set ablaze, a treatment that should not even be meted out to animals. “The implication of the incredible act of wickedness meted out to these young men is that many of our people are becoming numb to actions that should ordinarily jolt human sensibilities. This is what happens in an environment of uncontrolled violence as we have across our country now, where mass killings are becoming the norm.

L-R: Wash Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Mr. Bisi Agberemi, Head of Programmes, WaterAid in Nigeria, Mr. Ziyok Ishaku, and Mrs Jumai Wakaso from Ministry of Water Resources, during the launch of the sustainable total sanitation project by WaterAid in Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-0wo

DPR seals MRS, Obat, Ascon petrol depots in Apapa From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


ollowing the non compliance of oil marketers to revert to the approved sale price of N97 for litre of petrol, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has commenced the sealing of recalcitrant dealers’ depots in Lagos. Dealers so far affected include MRS Oil and Gas Ltd, Obat above the recommended price.

The Deputy Director, Public Affairs of DPR, Mrs. Bilema Osibodu, told reporters in Lagos that marketers had earlier been warned of the consequences of such action. She said “sequel to our recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) held with Depot Operators and Marketers, during which the Department warned that appropriate sanctions would be meted out to enforce compliance for violations, including the sale

of petrol (PMS) above approved prices, we have commenced the sealing of identified depots”. Mrs. Osibodu explained that the DPR action was based on credible information received on the depots which confirmed that they were selling PMS above approved prices. “We hereby state that this sanitisation exercise by the Department is a continuous one in addition to the ongoing petrol station surveillance nationwide,

to ensure compliance with the approved price for PMS. Our reporter who went round some fuel filling stations along border communities between Lagos and Ogun state however discovered that most filling station still dispense the product above the approved N97 per litre. Sales outlet along Agege, Ijushaga and Ajuwon, and those along Ojodu-Berger, AlagboleAkute road sell the PMS for between N105 and N120 per litre.

various achievements in their states. A statement signed by the chairman of the chapel, Prince Kola Oyelere, stated that the trio will be honoured during the forthcoming Annual Lectures/ Role Model Award slated for this Saturday in Kano. The statement further revealed that the August

gathering will be chaired by an elder statesman, and former Nigerian Permanent Representative to United Nation, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule (Danmasanin Kano). Oyelere said that the Director General of Center for Management Development, Dr. Kabiru Kabo Usman will deliver a lecture titled

“Leveraging on Technology and Social Media for Competitive Positioning”. Other distinguish Nigerians expected at the event include, the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido, Bauchi Governor Isa Yuguda, and the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Muhammad Dahiru Abubakar.

to the eradication of all forms of discrimination based on age and there is also the need to take necessary steps to ensure that older persons have access to their rights. Christopher charged the support of everybody, the executive, legislature and the judiciary and other stakeholders to enable SCANON realise its dreams. “We believe all the senior citizens in Nigeria will actively participate in this important and timely crusade of our efforts to

improve the well being of the elderly persons in Nigeria”, he said. He explained that the aims and objectives of the group are to explore, develop and sustain activities that would be encouraged to share their experiences in government, business, social and political life with the younger generations. He added that SCANON is formed primarily to highlight the inadequacy, insufficiency and general lack of programmes, policies and infrastructure for the care of the elderly persons in Nigeria.

Journalists to fete Kwankwaso, Wamako, Akpabio in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ano state Correspondent’s chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has concluded arrangements to roll out red carpet to celebrate the governors of Kano, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; Sokoto, Aliyu Magatakda Wamako; and Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio for their

NGO advocates better life for senior citizens By Adeola Tukuru


nongovernmental organisation (NGO) known as the Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON), has advocated adequate healthcare, transportation, care givers and pension problems amongst other, in order to promote the well being of the senior citizens of Nigeria for a better life expectancy and also for enhanced comfort and dignity. The chairman of the group,

Rear admiral Christopher Ehanmo (rtd), made this call yesterday at the official inauguration of SCANON. He explained that the senate passed a bill titled: “National Agency for Elderly Persons (Establishment) Bill 2009 (SB.15)”. However the House of Representatives did not pass the same bill and therefore the bill could not be sent to Mr. President for assent. He stated that the recognition of the fundamental human rights of older persons and commitment


Oshiomhole assures monks of govt support From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


overnor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state has assured monks in the Order of St. Benedict in Ewu, the central part of the state, of government’s support in giving adequate publicity to the breakthroughs in their herbal work and other researches. The governor also promised to pay a visit to the monks in their monastery with a view to providing the infrastructure needed in the area. Oshiomhole made the declaration during a visit of the monks led by their Prior, Rev. Dom Peter Eghwrujakpor, where he said: “Since you are not a profit making organisation and you are part of Edo state, the state government can be of help to your activities with our stateowned electronic and print media. “From your exposé today, it is clear you are involved in a spiritual lifestyle of total abstinence. You need support to help mankind in the way you have chosen to. We have to take advantage of our state media to inform the public on the need to take advantage of the services you provide”, he noted. The governor assured the monks that between now and November 8, this year, he will pay a visit to the monastery to have an on-the-spot assessment of the condition of the road leading to and within the monastery and what could be done by the state government.


Nigeria can’t manage its elderly population, says NPC By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Festus Odimegwu, yesterday, estimated that with a current population of 167million, Nigeria has an elderly population of 3.2 percent and “there are already indications of our unpreparedness to manage our elderly population

even with this little percentage”. Odimegwu revealed this yesterday at the inauguration of Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON), noting that these appears good at the moment because the country is seemingly spared the challenges of contending with an elderly population. In his words: “The recent appearance of old peoples’ homes in Lagos and other urban centres

in Nigeria, a practice so alien to our culture, is an indication of the challenge. Images in the media of pensioners sleeping outside offices for their pension and gratuity are quite worrisome”. He further pledged to partner with SCANON in sensitising the government and the society by providing reliable data on the elderly, with the view to assisting government formulate good

intervention policies for the welfare of the senior citizens as well as build the capacity of the country to contain the imminent consequences of ageing population. “This is in tandem with the philosophy of population management of the present commission and the objectives of the newly created population Quality Improvement Management Department”.

Kalarawi tasks Nigerians on good conduct


prominent Islamic scholar, Alhaji Tijjani kalarawi, has urged Nigerian leaders and Nigerians generally to conduct the country's affairs and themselves in ways that will make the international community to take the country, the government and the Nigerian people much more seriously than is the case at present. Alhaji Tijjani, who was particular about the recent problems and controversy surrounding the airlifting of Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2012 Hajj, which has led to the deportation by the Saudi authorities of about 1000 women pilgrims, said he was almost certain that American or British or German women pilgrims in the same circumstance as the

unfortunate Nigerian women would not have been treated the same way. Alhaji Tijjani, who was speaking to Peoples Daily in an exclusive interview in Abuja last Sunday, said the way a country's nationals are treated is largely a reflection of how seriously or on seriously the country and its authorities are taken by the international community. The Islamic scholar said the Saudi authorities must be blamed for being too strict or impatient with Nigerians this year, adding that it was very wrong of them to have detained our hapless women under terrible conditions without adequate or food or medical attention. Women, he emphasised, deserve to be treated with respect,

no matter their offence, adding that Saudi authorities owe these women and Nigerians an apology, especially as some of the women actually went to the Holy land not alone but along with their husbands who, as it happened, did the immigration formalities and passed before the women, so it was therefore not entirely the women's fault. Kalarawi was however emphatic that it is the Nigerian authorities, especially pilgrim boards officials, and some of the pilgrims themselves who must shoulder the largest part of the blame for what happened, which, he said, had brought shame to us as a people and a nation. He said the requirement of Muharrami (guide) for a female pilgrim, which is at the root of the

empasse this year, was a necessary one that could not, under any circumstance, be waved, though the law allows for a group of women pilgrims to be under one Muharrami. This requirement, he explained, is for the safety and protection of the female pilgrims themselves, and is aimed at preventing situations whereby pilgrims, males and females, would be driven by desire or lust to engage in act that would invalidate their Hajj and bring them to shame. He said the behaviour of our pilgrim officials in sending our female pilgrims to the Holy land without meeting in full the requirement for Muharrami could not be excused under any circumstances.



ECOWAS parliament sets up c’ttee on Mali, Guinea-Bissau crises By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


L-R: Education Programme Manager, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Mamedu, Deputy Country Director/ Director of Programme, Actionaid, Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, and Executive Director, Society for Promotion of Education and Development, Mr. Toochukwu Okafor, during press briefing on activities to mark 2012 International Day of the Girl Child, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Jonathan’s aide seeks international aid to curb sea piracy

From Muhammad Adamu, Kaduna


he Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan on Maritime Service Olugbenga Leke Oyewole has called on nations of the Gulf of Guinea to join forces and surmount the criminal activities of pirates in the region. He said countries in the subregion have come together in the past with Nigeria and Benin republic initiating moves to mitigate insecurity. The President’s SSA said this in an interview with newsmen at the end of a 2-Day maritime security seminar organized by the Department of Maritime Warfare of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) yesterday in Jaji, Kaduna. He however expressed

satisfaction with the synergy between Nigeria and countries in the Gulf of Guinea in terms of maritime security. ‘When you look at the incident that led to the joint arrangement between Nigeria and Benin Republic, you see that the Lagos offshore, way back about two years ago was invaded by pirates as far as the Port. But recently, due to operations of the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA at Lagos offshore, the pirates were rooted out which led to significant reduction in attacks of ships to Cotonou and that made the president of Benin to meet President Jonathan for assistance. “The Nigerian Navy and NEMASA were ordered by the President to go forth with the operation. Since their presence in Benin Republic, no single attack

has been recorded. “Its amazing to also find out that the attacks shifted to Togo where we now have reports of insecurity. So, naturally if they key into the arrangement, they will also move from Togo. Ghana should be aware, Ivory Coast should be aware, which can go into Liberia to Senegal and probably back to Cameroun and to other countries around. “So we believe that the synergy cannot be over emphasized, it is necessary because if nations come together now, it will exterminate this menace’, he assured. Ambassador Gordon Bristol, African Multilateral Affairs Division(AMAD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the workshop tagged ‘Improving National and Regional Cooperation for Effective

Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea: A Panacea for Development” the workshop is apt because the Gulf of Guinea where the West African SubRegion has increasingly become important an alternative source of Hydrocarbon as well Marine and other resources. Bristol decried the nature of maritime crime such as Piracy, Sea robbery, hijacking , resource theft as alarming and has affected not only the countries in the region but in the entire world. “Nigeria as you know is in the forefront in devising ways and means of tackling these challenges. ‘Basically, the entire world is interested in the stability and maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea region where the West African States are located.

Mubi, Uniport killings are signs of systemic breakdown, says TUC From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he recent gruesome murder of over 40 student of the Federal Polytechnic in Mubi and lynching of four final year counterparts of the University of Port Harcourt by the Umuokiri-Aluu community, has been described as a signpost of a nation whose system has continued to fail its citizen when needed most. The Trade Union Congress TUC yesterday told journalists that the nation’s socio-economic space have within the past weeks experienced double tragedies that have further become clear

pointers to overall institutional decay and system waste in Nigeria. The union said, the incidents were signs of the inability of the Nigerian nation as presently constituted, to creatively and efficiently confront the different challenges that would always occur in every nation state. A statement signed by its President General Peter Esele and Secretary General John Kolawale noted that “it is indeed an unfortunate sign that the system has irretrievably broken down.” The statement read in parts that “The TUC strongly believes

that these very unfortunate events of the last weeks underpin the decrepit nature of the various institutions of government in Nigeria. It captures a systemic decay that makes it rather difficult for the state apparatus to respond to not only emergencies but general issues confronting both Nigeria and its people.” While lamenting the poor state of Nigeria legal institution to address perceived injustice, TUC said “the continued undermining of the institutions of Justice in Nigeria through the flagrant disregard of the various processes of the Law and the open compromise of the actors in the judiciary and the disgusting

desecration of the hallowed chambers of the Courts have all led to an increasing loss of faith in its ability to deliver justice appropriately and timely.” “The inability of the various institutions of Law enforcement to protect the lives and properties of the citizens but rather engage the people in pervasive extortion has also left a bad taste in the mouth. Nigerians do not have any faith in the usefulness of the police force especially as a tool for combating threats against the ordinary citizens but see it as an instrument for undermining the freedom of the populace in favour of the wealthy.”

he Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament has raised a parliamentary committee to look into the political situation in the Republics of Mali and GuineaBissau. It was among the resolutions reached by the ECOWAS parliament at the end of its last session in Abuja yesterday. Ike Ekweremmadu, who doubles as the ECOWAS Parliament’s Speaker and Deputy President of Nigeria’s Senate, said the resolution has become imperative to ensure the sustainability of democratic rule, peace, and regional stability in the sub-region. He also urged the Authority of Heads of State and Government to expedite the application of sanctions against the perpetrators of acts intended to obstruct the normal conduct of the transition which was painstakingly installed in Mali. The speaker further staed that expeditious application of such sanction was paramount in ensuring that the sacrifices which ECOWAS makes to restore the territorial integrity and constitutional order in Mali yield fruit. He therefore called on the transitional government and specifically the interim President of Mali to exercise his full powers in safeguarding national independence and territorial integrity and respect international agreements.

Etsu Nupe blames depression on poverty, ignorance


he Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar has identified poverty and ignorance as the major causes of depression among many people in the country. According to him, the high rate of poverty and ignorance are among the major factors responsible for depression globally”. Alhaji Abubakar stated this Tuesday in Bida, Niger state during the Federal Medical Centre, Bida’s 5th Annual Heath Week and World Mental Health Day celebration. The traditional ruler said that with increased awareness and availability of health facilities and services, reduction in poverty level and the dangers of drug abuse by youths, mental health cases in the country would drop to the barest minimum. The royal father who was represented by the Galadima Magani Nupe, Alhaji Aliyu Baba said the FMC management team was playing greater role toward socio economic development of Nigeria. According to him, “their effort cannot be over emphasized, as their idea across the globe to sensitize the people was borne out of selfless thinking and concerns for individuals that bother on the plight of the well being of the citizenry”.



Mubi, Aluu killings show total system failure, says NBA By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), yesterday said the gruesome murder of over 40 students in Mubi, in Adamawa state and another four in Aluu, Rivers state show a total system failure. NBA president, Chief Okey Wali (SAN), while addressing a press conference in Abuja charged security agencies to restore the confidence of Nigerians in their ability to protect lives and properties. The NBA boss also challenged security operatives to identify and prosecute the Mubi and Aluu

killers and collaborators, to assuage the feelings of Nigerians. He said, “There is no disputing the fact that these show a total system failure. Neither of these dastardly acts took place in a timeframe that the security agencies would not have arrived the scene and prevented the murders, if there had been timely intervention”. “The NBA repeats its support for the call for state police, we believe that it will inter-alia, aid adequate funding, training and intelligence gathering... Our policing system today has failed, it is underfunded and so ill equipped and incapable of protecting lives

and properties’’, he added. The association also called on governments at all levels and private organizations to join hands in providing relief for Nigerians who were displaced by flood. NBA president said the disaster has exposed the country's level of preparedness for disaster prevention and emergency relief operations. He said that he has directed the 100 branches of NBA nationwide to monitor the sufficiency and spread of relief efforts by the government and private organizations. Meanwhile, the association has criticised the federal government for saying that the country has no

sufficient facts to appeal the international court of justice judgment on the disputed Bakassi Peninsula. “Ordinarily, NBA ought to be member of the committee. Since we were not made members of the committee, we cannot tell how the committee arrived at its conclusion. But we had earlier maintained a position of Bakassi, that is that there exist fresh facts with which to ask ICJ for review of its judgment’’. NBA stated that was aware that there are grounds upon which the government may legitimately apply for a revision of the ICJ judgment of October 10, 2002.

Kabo Air completes airlifting 15,800 Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kogi pilgrims From Edwin Olofu, Kano


abo Air Limited has said it has completed the airlifting of over 15,800 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia allocated to it by Kano, Adamawa, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kogi States. This was contained in a statement signed by Kabo Air Manager, Corporate Affairs Alhaji Aminu Hamza and made available to newsmen in Kano on Wednesday. According to the statement, over 15,800 have so far been airlifted while the remainder would be in the holy land before the deadline set by the authorities.

NOA boss charges youths on volunteerism By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


Block of classrooms at Government Science School, Lafia, refurbished by the administration of Nasarawa state Governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura. Photo: Ali Abubakar

CACOL condemns killing of UniPort 4 From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) and Popular Music star, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj have condemned the murder of the four students of the University of Port Harcourt by some ruthless elements in Aluu Village, a neighbouring community to the institution.

Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran flayed the high level of callousness, saying, "Jungle justice is by any means and all ways barbaric and alien to modern justice… amounts to extrajudicial killing which our society and constitution abhor. No matter how grave the crime the UNIPORT 4 committed, supposing they even perpetrated a capital offence, the law should have been allowed to take its

course. This is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a state being governed by a set of constitution, not one Banana Republic where anyone could take laws into his hands. The murderers should be smoked out of their hide-outs and made to face the full brunt of the law," Adeniran said. D’banj, a United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace, in a statement, bemoaned the gruesome murder of the four

young men, “brimming with great dreams, unfulfilled aspirations and a promising future”, on an allegation of stealing mobile phones and laptops. “To express the depth of my pain and shock at their murder is impossible. And understanding how events could have degenerated to this level is truthfully beyond me,” said D’banj. He called for justice over the Potharcourt incident including the heartless killing of another 40 students in Mubi, Adamawa State.

Bureau of Statistics workshop for journalists commences By Muhammad Sada


three-day workshop organized by the National Bureau of Statistics in partnership with UNDP, commenced yesterday at the Hill station Hotel in Jos, the Plateau state capital to train journalists covering the Bureau on efficient

and better ways of data collection, dissemination as well as control of statistical activities. Declaring the event open, the representative of Plateau state governor, Mr. John Datung who is also the state’s Planning Commissioner, welcomed the participants and pledged the government's support to journalists

and the Bureau while also calling on the participants to ensure effectiveness and fairness as well as comprehensive collection and dissemination of data in alliance with the Bureau so as to provide the government with precise details of what and how to tackle many issues bedevilling the nation. In their respective addresses,

the officials of the Bureau including the representative of the Statician General of the federation, Dr. Yemi Kale and Mr. John Okparaku thanked the participants and called for a more harmonious relationship between journalists and the Bureau. The workshop is expected to last from October11 to 13.

he Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri has implored Nigerian youths to define their roles in terms of the development challenges of the nation by up-scaling their involvement in voluntary services for community development. Omeri, made this call when the Speaker of Nigerian Youth Parliament, Abdullahi Hussaini Maibasira in company of other leaders of the parliament ,paid him a courtesy visit in his office. A statement issued Wednesday in Abuja by the Chief Press Secretary of the Ministry, Paul Odenyi, urged the youth to identify with the NOA’s Citizens’ Responsibility Volunteer Scheme (CRVS) which was launched last month for youths engagement and training preparatory to employment. While condemning youths abandonment of education for political thuggery, the NOA boss admonished them to imbibe the value of patience which he said would bring the good things the youth aspires for. The NOA helmsman also charged the parliament to propagate the positive values of patriotism, tolerance, hard work and good conscience among Nigerian youths through effective use of social media. Responding, Maibasira disclosed that the parliament was seeking partnership with NOA to assist in the prosecution of the Agency’s "Do the Right Thing": Transform Nigeria campaign and ensure its longevity even beyond the tenure of the Director General.



Goals are completely worthless if you can't achieve them


efore you, as an entrepreneur, can hope to successfully start a new business, you need to set some goals and milestones to lead the way. It's easy to talk in the abstract about all the possible applications for a new technology, but you don't have a viable business plan, until you have specific targets on what you will produce, when, and how. Yet many people avoid these specifics out of fear of the unknown, or set some totally unreachable goals. I'm a believer in having a healthy disregard for the impossible, but it does help to have a structured path to get there. Only when you have conceptualized your idea into realistic goals can you move on to prepare an implementation plan. Yet even the best entrepreneurs are not sure why they succeed or fail. As a result, they blame failures on the wrong things, and are surprised when they can't reproduce successes. Carol S. Dwick, Ph.D., in her new book "Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals," outlines some great recommendations around goal setting in general, and I've adapted them to the startup environment as follows: Formalise your goals. Setting a goal requires the conceptualization of an idea into a structured thought, and formalizing that thought into one or more goals. For a startup, that formalization is a business plan. It's hard to know when you have arrived, if you never figured out and declared where you are going. It's about execution. Most of

the time, startup founders know what needs to be done to reach a goal, but just don't manage to actually do it. Focusing on execution is essential for success, whether it be for business or personal goals. Action trumps thinking, especially when the future in uncertain. Seize the moment. Given how busy most entrepreneurs are, and how many goals they are pursuing at once, it's not surprising that most routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal, because they simply fail to notice the opportunity. Startups who move swiftly get traction with customers and investors. Know what to do. Once you've seized the moment, you've got to figure out exactly what you're going to do with it. This is why experience in your business domain, and experience running a startup are so valuable to investors. Everyone can learn, but it takes time, and goals are jeopardized with time in this rapidly moving world. Put your shields up. Goals require protection - distractions, temptations, and competing goals can steal your attention and your energy, and sap your motivation. Entrepreneurs need to focus on creating value for their customers and investors, and be sure to spend time on critical business issues, rather than the current crisis. Know how you are doing. Achieving a goal also requires careful monitoring. If you don't know how well you are doing, you can't adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your

10 promising businesses you start from your smartphone (II)


rofessional Videographer: Smartphone has more than enough support to make fine video. Put it on YouTube, and do not forget to take only nice object. You will get more offers. 7. Phone writer Smartphone is empowered with writing apps now. If you like to write things, you can write your own new novel and get it published. 8. Travelling or tour guide If you know well your town, then it is your opportunity to introduce it to your tourists. Get

contacts and be the professional one. 9. Public car service This can be very profitable. People will like someone friendlier and nicer to help them move from one place to another than hiring a cold angry taxi driver. 10. Mystery shopper Many people may think this is not a legitimate job. However, you can make it legitimate by doing it right. Register yourself on a company. They formally call you the auditor. Concluded

progress frequently against milestones and financial projections of the business plan. When you create goals in business, no matter how unrealistic they might seem, you are deciding that they are possible and that you are going to find a path to meeting them. To make this happen, you need

all the motivation you can muster, and all the guidance from experts, to achieve success in these goals, and achieve your long-term dreams. It probably means stretching beyond your comfort zone, by developing creativity if you are mainly practical, and mastering the art of execution and

organization if you are mainly creative. Also, you need to really believe that you can achieve your goal, even if it's taking longer than you planned. Don't concentrate so hard on reaching your goal that you lose sight of why you set it in the first place. Enjoy the ride. Read more: http://

Street smart disciplines every entrepreneur needs A

s a mentor and advisor to entrepreneurs, I find it's easy to recognise "street smarts" when I see them, but it's hard to explain the specifics to someone on the other end of the spectrum, even if they are willing to learn. Street smarts are disciplines that can be taught and learned. In the urban world, being street smart means instinctively knowing how to keep yourself safe from scams and bad guys. It means you know your way around, how to handle yourself in tough situations, and how to "read" people's intent. In reality, the startup world contains those same very risky streets, but in the business context. A new book by John A. Kuhn and Mark K. Mullins, "Street Smart Disciplines of Successful People" has put some meat on the bones of what it means to be street smart in business. I like their outline of seven key disciplines, all of which can be learned and practiced, that may actually be required for business success: Work smart. This means using discipline to get smart before you start working. Find out everything you can about the business domain you are targeting. In addition, maintain a change-oriented and futurefocused mentality, with an actionable execution plan. When someone tells you they are working hard, it's usually an excuse for not working smart.

Present everything. If you are trying to gain commitment or persuade someone, practice the discipline of thinking beyond conversational chatter. The four steps of a successful presentation always include preparation, practice, delivery, and asking for the order. Make these part of every interaction with partners, customers, and team members. Deal with people. People do business with your people, not your startup. Finely tuned people skills make you more likeable, warm, friendly, open, and effective. Put yourself in their heads to see things from their perspective. Have patience, and listen actively before speaking. Street smart entrepreneurs practice this discipline until it is not work. Watch your money. It's not unusual for creative entrepreneurs to find finances difficult to understand, intimidating, or just a numbing bore. If you feel that way, find a partner who loves that critical side of the business. In reality, the discipline to manage cash does not require a financial genius. It just requires a discipline of relentless focus. Get more business. This discipline is the art of making a constant of new business opportunities, new customers, and new revenue flowing into your startup. Develop an aggressive prospecting mentality, stay close to current and past customers, get referrals, and optimize Internet

marketing. If you startup isn't evolving and growing, you are failing Manage yourself. Entrepreneurs will always be wearing many hats in their business and personal life. Even the more important activities can sometimes be excuses to avoid the underlying challenge of working toward you life-changing goals. Learn and practice time management disciplines. Banish procrastination. Be decisive. Have fun. Everybody sells. It may not be in their job descriptions, but everyone in a startup should be selling. The very first moment that you have contact with an investor, or a customer has contact with your team, an impression and a perception is created. That perception is your reality, and you only get one chance to make it a good one. Source: StreetSmartDisciplines. com

Quote There is no such thing as a self-made man. We are made up of thousands of others. Every one who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success. — George Matthew Adams




Immolation of 4 Uniport students


n October 6, a Saturday, four undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, were arrested by vigilantes in their off-campus hostel in nearby Omuokiri Aluu village for alleged theft of cell phones and laptops. The young men - Ugonna Obuozor, Mike Toku Lloyd, Tekena Erikana and Biringa Chiadika - were marched off naked, taken to an open space, beaten till they became unconsciousness, old tyres forced round their necks and then set ablaze. Women watched the immolation of those bright youngsters, in their early 20s, not in awe but with frightening sadistic glee. A video clip of the killings went viral on Youtube almost immediately. The killing of the Uniport students occurred five days after gunmen killed 26 students of Federal Polytechnic, Mubi in Adamawa state on Independence Day, October 1. Here the killers went to the students' off-campus hostel in the night, called out their victims by name. And as they emerged from their rooms, they were either shot in the head or had their throats sliced. What distinguished the two tragedies was the sheer bestiality of the Port Harcourt incident. Reports had it that there were policemen in the crowd that gathered to watch the students' slow, painful killing. Rivers state Governor Rotimi Amaechi was mild in his condemnation of the university students' killing, describing it as

"barbaric, sad and really unfortunate". Speaking after presiding over an emergency meeting of his executive council, he ordered a "thorough investigation". A day later, the police in Port Harcourt announced the arrest of 13 suspects including the village head of Omuokiri Aluu. They pleaded with the students of the university not to carry out any reprisals against their host community. But on Tuesday, the students did just the opposite,

The existence of vigilantes in virtually all communities in this country throws public disenchantment with our law enforcement agencies into sharp relief burning houses and vehicles. We, at Peoples Daily, condemn the recourse to jungle justice by residents of Omuokiri Aluu. They allowed their bestial instinct to get the better of them. The law allows someone who is not a policeman to make an arrest in the event a crime has been committed, but it also requires that the suspect be handed over to the police immediately for investigation, and prosecution if their inquiry establishes a prima facie case. This

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the residents of Aluu did not do. Instead, they took the law into their hands. As shocking as it sounds, among those who summarily executed the four students were retired service men who should have known better. That said, what happened in Port Harcourt, last weekend, showed the level of distrust across board of the Nigerian police to investigate and punish crime. The existence of vigilantes in virtually all communities in this country throws public disenchantment with our law enforcement agencies into sharp relief. Indeed, we find the comment made by the mother of one of the students, Mrs. Chinwe Biringa, very disturbing. She said she had been told that policemen were at the scene of the killings yet they did nothing to stop them. "The explanation they (policemen) gave was that they were overwhelmed by the crowd and they had insufficient bullets, but those people were with only sticks, not guns!" We understand her deep sense of frustration. We must, however, make clear our position that, by all lawful means, let us protect ourselves and property from lawbreakers but we must not descend into the lawlessness and impunity demonstrated by Aluu residents. Obeying the law, no matter the degree of our disappointment with its implementers, is what defines our humanity, different from base animal instincts.









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By Ifeanyi Uddin


ver the last two weeks, I have bought fuel (in different parts of Lagos) for N105/litre. Two features distinguish the outlets, which sold to me from the others that did not: the relative absence of queues at the pumps; and the furtive manner of the attendants. Invariably, the latter would let me know, sotto voce, that their pump-station price was at an N8 premium to the recommended retail price. And so it should be. For whatever the constraints to the regular supply of any good/ service (and we do not know for certain what the cause of the current fuel scarcity is), if demand remains unchanged, price should adjust upwards. If nothing else, this almost natural “law” guarantees that scarce resources are used by those parts of an economy that need it the most (or, which often is the same thing, can best use it to the greater benefit of all). Eventually, though, the new high price either forces a drop in demand (as substitutes are found for the good/service in short supply, or more efficient resource


The market and fuel scarcity conversion processes guarantee increased value per unit consumed), or invites new sources of supply. So, in the light of this dynamic, why am I still religiously opposed to the federal government’s tireless efforts to synchronize the domestic pump station prices for petrol with the price for crude oil on the international markets (“remove the fuel subsidy” according to the local usage)? For at the heart of the pro-subsidy removal argument is this appeal to the price mechanism. It is not so much that governments’ balance sheets are haemorrhaging in support of the subsidies (circumstantial evidence suggests that were we to staunch this particular leak, such is the incompetence and venality of our governments that they will very quickly find other faucets to leak resources through). The more powerful argument (the one, unfortunately, that is scarcely suggested in the incessant debates around this issue) is that

our crude oil is indeed a scarce asset. Priced below the rate at which the market would have cleared it, we are encouraging inefficient uses of it. We are, in other words, wasting it! In all of the preceding, though, the operative noun is the “market”. Amongst its many definitions, easily the most commonplace is that “the market is a place where buyers and sellers meet”. If, however, the forces of supply and demand must exhibit the reciprocal effects described earlier, then the market’s processes must be as transparent as they are competitive. In other words, it should be as easy for inefficient suppliers to restructure their processes, up to and including firing staff (or, failing which, they quit the market), as it should be for more efficient suppliers (because of new and better processes) to enter into the market. Of course, the latter will bring in new staff (maybe not in the old numbers); and, again, society is the wealthier as a result.

Alas, anyone who has followed, however cursorily, the shenanigans in the wake of the central government’s attempts earlier this year to remove the subsidy on petrol would realise that what. On account of which, it makes little sense to hope that the demand side of the “market” will benefit from either more competitive prices, or from product/service differentiation on the back of the planned price reforms. Yet, one cannot ignore the chicken-and-egg quality to this problem. Do we remove market rigidities first, before freeing prices? Given that corruption is the major structural problem here, this then becomes a life-time task. In the alternative, do we free prices in one fell swoop, praying that the “big bang” approach forces the impediments out of the way? Ordinarily, this dilemma ought to be easy to redress. We have seen “natural monopolies” successfully privatised elsewhere. Still, just as a market

needs be transparent and competitive to allocate resources properly, a competent regulator is needed to keep an inefficient market chugging along until such time as the structural rigidities which conduce to these inefficiencies are overcome. Our tragedy, as we pretend to reform the economy, lies in our failure to acknowledge that government must pass muster, if it is to superintend a functioning market economy. No regulatory capture. No vested interests. No corruption (or at least not on the industrial scale that we have here). A competent government is also described in terms of its ability to provide non-disruptive responses to market failures. Or, in extremely poor economies such as ours, to the challenge of ensuring that the poor and the vulnerable do not suffer a disabling exclusion from economic opportunities because of their relative lack of the wherewithal to participate in a free market. Ifeany Uddin is reachable on Twitter .

President Jonathan’s Tuesday morning broadcast By Folabi Ogunleye


HEN it emerged on Monday that President Goodluck Jonathan will address Nigerians in a nationwide broadcast billed for 7am Tuesday, the thought that immediately came to my mind was of his wife, Patience, who is reported to be convalescing in far away Wiesbaden, Germany. I feared that an unfortunate change of situation had compelled the president to finally dignify his “beloved” Nigerians, at whose instance he exists as president and commander-in-chief, with an update concerning our first-lady’s health situation. The expected reaction of the average decent human is to hope that Mrs. Jonathan gets better soon. Therefore it is only natural for one to hope that the president’s address would not be over some negative news concerning her health condition. After all, for several weeks now, Nigerians have read all sorts of diagnoses on what ails the first lady, from Parkinson’s, to food poisoning and ‘side-effects of a surgical procedure’ – no thanks to the silence of Aso Rock, the unofficial name of the presidential villa, in the face of raging curiosity over Mrs. Jonathan’s health condition. It turns out on Tuesday morning that President Jonathan’s address had little to do with the first lady’s health. Instead the president dealt with the issue of devastating floods that continues to render thousands of Nigerians homeless, hamper many businesses and destroy infrastructure across large swaths of the country. The address is welcome, and it is unique in the annals of leadership in Nigeria, considering that previous leadership showed scant regard for such addresses in times of similar grievous natural disasters.

Yet the president’s address is curious for a couple of reasons, first of which is that Mr. Jonathan chose work hours, on a weekday when Nigerians will either be at work, or rushing to work, to make an important nationwide broadcast. When signals went out from Abuja to media houses across the country that the president will be addressing Nigerians on Tuesday, the impression was that presidency officials sought as wide an audience as possible – hence the announcement a day ahead of time. But this much is obvious: a 7am address on any given work day will only get a minimal audience. Beyond the issue of the address or its timing, however, are more important things. There is, for one, the surface appearance that the Goodluck Jonathan government cares. And hopefully it truly does, for it is not unusual for governments to speak of specific or grand ideas with little to show for the effort. The flood disasters of 2012 have been deadly and widespread; if the government is able to handle its aftermath with as much compassion as with efficiency, it will be to its credit – a rarity in governance, both in Nigeria and in the region, as proven over several decades of selfrule. It is not enough to rouse the nation to watch you say how many billions in local currency you are throwing at a problem, or how many committees you have created to tackle the problem, or, how many billionaires in the private sector you have entrusted with raising funds for the victims of a major disaster. Further steps must be taken to see that every step taken, and every initiative made, brings quantifiable results beyond the mediocre ones to which Nigerians are already used, as the government trumps same as great achievements. The Jonathan

Administration can use a little bit of pleasant surprise – for itself, and for the Nigerian population over whose affairs it presides. The air in Nigeria is thick with cynicism, justifiably so. It is why, when it turnsed out that the theme of President Jonathan’s Tuesday morning address centered on the flood disasters in many parts of the country, many Nigerians will scoff at his remarks, yinmu-ing their noses while expressing suspicions to the effect that the address was nothing but a stunt or a pretention to empathy at a time when the government’s popularity is rapidly waning, amid a myriad of challenges, from security to general instability. Ordinarily, one should not doubt Mr. Jonathan’s empathy for the victims of the demoralizing natural disaster presently seen everywhere from Kaduna, in the north of Nigeria, to Anambra and Imo, in the southeast of the country. The images of the scale of destruction, wrecked by swelling of bodies of water in Nigeria, which in turn was occasioned by unusually heavy seasonal rains that have drowned as many persons as homes and businesses, tugs at the most rigid of hearts. But, having been taken for granted for way too long, Nigerians have become deathly cynical – even on the relatively small issues addressed by

government. Take for instance the issue of the health of their first lady, the president’s wife. Aso Rock has gone from pretension [that nothing was amiss – that no such thing happened to the first lady] to denial [that the first lady was only exhausted and therefore taking a deserved rest] and outright manipulation [through the release of grainy video clips and images of the president and the first lady smiling into the camera in some foreign location]. It is another instance of the government taking the citizens for granted. Now, consider the option where shortly after Mrs. Jonathan took ill, Aso Rock released an official statement saying that the first lady was indisposed and is receiving treatment for her health condition at a hospital in Germany. Consider also that such statement stated, without giving too many minute details of the ailment, what the health condition is and how the first lady is faring, while asking Nigerians for their support and best wishes for the first lady as she recuperates. Consider all that and more, and imagine what would have been, as opposed to what is. It is highly doubtful that if the above option had been adopted by Mr. Jonathan and his communication experts in Aso Rock, Ms. Jonathan’s health

Beyond the issue of the address or its timing, however, are more important things. There is, for one, the surface appearance that the Goodluck Jonathan government cares. And hopefully it truly does, for it is not unusual for governments to speak of specific or grand ideas with little to show for the effort

condition would be the subject of the type of insensitive avalanche of ‘diagnoses’ that we continue to see on the pages of newspapers and on the social media websites, courtesy of the same old ‘informed sources’. If Mr. Jonathan is cavalier with facts on matters small or personal, why should anyone expect any better on issues bigger and more critical in nature? Truth be told, it would have been mostly goodwill messages for the first lady if Aso Rock had frontally addressed the issue of her health situation with the Nigerian people. Unfortunately, as an African and as an African leader, President Jonathan has doubled down on that culture of secrecy that stems from a popular mindset that sees enemies lurking in the shadow of every success or affliction – ‘enemies’ who are ready to take one’s joys and replace it with sorrow, or add to whatever affliction or ill-luck with which one may be contending. It would be quite accurate to imagine that as I write, there are victims of flood out there who are ascribing their current travails to the handiwork of such “enemies.” And you wonder why ‘pastors’ are thriving so much in Nigeria. The president and the first lady ceased being private citizens the moment they offered to enter the gilded cage of public service at the very zenith of leadership in Nigeria. They cannot eat their cake and have it; attempting to do so only exposes them to the very kind of invasions [of privacy, psychologically or otherwise] that they seek to avoid. Mr. Jonathan would do well to address the issue of the health condition of our first lady, not just for his own sake, but out of respect for the people whom he referred to as “beloved” in the opening line of his Independence Day address, only last week. Folabi Ogunleye is on Facebook



Does Jonathan deserve a second term? I

By Bayo Olupohunda

n spite of frequent denials, the race for 2015 has begun in earnest. The clandestine reference to the politics of a second term and the discourse involving the interest and the re-election of the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, which have often been dismissed as a distraction by the President and his aides, is breaking out in the open. Will the President contest a second term in 2015? It is always a matter of time before the bubble will burst. As is often the case in the past when debating the possibility of a second term by an incumbent, the intrigue-laden battle for the most coveted seat in the country comes with a tinge of déjà vu. Denials, double speak and, self-effacing rhetoric is the name of the game. And the president has stayed true to script as we know it – stay above the fray when talking about a second term; let the foot soldiers do the work. Recently and just as he has done many times when the thorny question of second term rears its stubborn head, the President had admonished those political jobbers fixated on the politics of 2015 to allow him concentrate on the job at hand. Really? Such statements by the president have not doused speculations that he may be interested in contesting another term when the present one ends; neither does it deny his interest in another term in office thus fulfilling the old second term code- keep them guessing. For those familiar with the politics of presidential elections, especially when it comes to running for a second term in our democracy, it is a taboo for an incumbent to come out in the open to announce

his interest for another term. As is Northern Youths for Peace and judging by the present, the often the case, it is more of the voice Reconciliation, is planning a five- president should be heading back of Jacob but the hand of Esau. The million man march in Abuja for to Yenagoa in the 2015. But it was history of presidential race in the president’s re-election bid (déjà not always like this. During the Nigeria has often been done by vu?). campaign that heralded this proxies. So it was during the military Another senator from the north government, the President was years when a five million man has promised to lay down his life if branded as the “breath of fresh air”. march was organised for late Head the president is not reelected in Billboards, posters, advertising of State, Sani Abacha, to transmute 2015! Given the series of jingles the media sold candidate into a civilian president. In 1999, endorsements and many more that Jonathan to the electorates as the Obasanjo was ‘coerced’ by friends will come, one does not need a crystal redeeming candidate, a shift from the old order and associates to who will put us contest the back to the path presidency. of recovery. His third term The brand debacle was Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text “Jonathan was conducted by messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written a box office hit. hundreds of foot contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 He won the soldiers who tried words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and election easilyvainly to sell a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed a victory made another vexing to: possible largely term to bewildered because of the Nigerians. The The Editor, groundswell of same scenario is Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, sympathy for playing out again 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. him after as the race to 2015 months of elections begins. As Email: let persecution by expected, those SMS: 07037756364 the Yar’Adua who constitute the cabal. It did not core of President Jonathan constituency are in the ball to determine the president’s even matter that the President was field already. And make no mistake; decision in the coming months. That the flag bearer of the PDP. In spite there is no smoke without fire. This the President will throw his hat in of the image of the President’s time, the second term “expression of the ring is as sure as crude oil flowing party, he emerged from it all to win interest” was heard from the leaders out of the oil fields of Delta. But the the election. His victory was seen of the South-South geopolitical zone pertinent question is if he deserves a as triumph of ethnic agitations. when they gathered in Effurun, second term given his dismal President Jonathan thus became Delta State recently to endorse the performance so far. Can he ride the the symbol of minority struggles. President for a second term. tide of poor public rating to bid for As a representative of the under At the meeting headed by the another four years? Will the current privileged, having tasted poverty convener Chief Edwin Kiagbodo wave of sycophantic endorsements himself, he was expected to Clark, the incumbent was endorsed matter in the long run? Has the understand where the shoe to complete his eight years tenure president performed well to pinches. He was expected to do things when they echoed ‘yes’ to a voice guarantee a second term when he vote. If that was expected, the eventually signifies his intention to differently in Abuja; a city where the system is skewed against the endorsement of the President by a do so? youth group and a senator from the Perhaps, the President can turn poor, and rewards the rich. North is a pointer to where the his poor run into sterling President Jonathan came with so pendulum will swing in the coming performance before the next much hope in 2011. In 2015, months. A youth association in the election. He has promised that Nigerians will and should ask him north, under the umbrella of already. Nigerians are waiting. But hard questions. Has he fulfilled the


hope they invested in him? Can they continue to hope in a president who they believe has failed to match the expectations invested in him with performance? Many Nigerians now believe that the President is more of the same rather than the “breath of fresh air” that sold him as the favourite in 2011. Can he confidently ask Nigerians to vote for him again as he did during his elections if he does not live up to his promises? The President incurred the wrath of Nigerians when he consented to the removal of fuel subsidy and later turned to belittle the subsidy protest recently. Why is the President so insensitive as to call the protest sponsored given that lives were lost? The President promised to fight corruption? Has the scourge not become endemic in his government? Is the country safer than he met it? The politics of 2015 should not be decided on endorsement by sycophantic groups. Nigerians will ask the President if their lives were better four years after. The vote should count when the political parties presents their candidates for the 2015 elections. The determination of our country’s future should not be left to the politics of phony groups and political jobbers. It should be about performance. If President Jonathan does not change his present lethargic attitude to governance (he still has three years) no amount of endorsement will guarantee him a second term. In 2015, Nigerians will ask, does the President deserve a second term? He will then have to present his scorecard. Bayo Olupohunda is a literature and creative writing teacher at Whitesands School. Lagos.

‘Normalizing’ abnormality: A familiar Nigerian tale By Al-Amin Abba Dabo


am sure every Nigerian could write a book on our nation’s problems. We are all tired, frustrated. When will things change for the better in this country? What is wrong with Nigeria? However, I have come to realise that Nigeria is not the problem. In fact, Nigeria has served us very well indeed. The problem is NOT Nigeria. The problem is spelt just like Nigeria, but with two consonants (n and s) added at the end. The problem is NIGERIANS. We have dragged Nigeria’s reputation in the mud, shamed our motherland and been our own worst enemies. So what is the basis of my rather clichéd statement? In the past few weeks, two events kept me up at night. First , scores of students were massacred in Mubi, Adamawa state. Second, four students were brutally murdered by a village mob in Aluu, Rivers state. I won’t discuss the reasons behind the killings because NO REASON would be good enough to warrant those heinous, mindless acts. I relate to these events particularly because I am a student myself and share a lot in common

with the victims that were murdered in both events. I want to address the first event. I am sure, we all deject and condemn all acts of violence at whatever scale; but this has blown off any scale. This is just inconceivable. It’s beyond my ability to even imagine how traumatizing it must have been for those students, being called by their names and being murdered in cold blood. Word has it that elections in the polytechnic might have triggered this despicable act. Elections? Let me rephrase that. Polytechnic elections? Rather than asking what Nigeria has become, I say, what have Nigerians turned into? It is definitely an innate behaviour for humans to value life but committers of such crimes were clearly not born with it. How do the perpetrators sleep at night? Their eyes might close, but God does not slumber. In this life or the next, justice shall be done. This brings me to the second event. Four Port Harcourt university students were accused of theft. Okay! Accused of theft! No big deal, I won’t judge, one would say. ‘Innocent until proved guilty’. We’ve all heard that, either in movies, from our parents or friends or you might have just heard it from me. These students, however,

were stripped naked, beaten out of consciousness and were burnt to death. If you need a reminder of the severity of this case, stick your finger in a naked flame to rediscover what being burnt feels like. I can’t find the right words to express my disgust at seeing the video of the killings. Yes, I saw the pictures and a video. We all did! It is not peculiar for Nigerians to whip out their phones and start recording moments of primitive, inhumane behaviour. They consider it ‘actionpacked’ and invaluable social networking and Blackberrybroadcasting material. One has to be scarred for life seeing such. The audience was chanting ‘Dis one no die, hit am again’ and ‘fire’ as a man was striking the head of one of the victims with a massive piece of wood. Women, children, the elderly were all present. NOT a single soul spoke out against the actions of the mob. To be fair, even if one thought it was unacceptable, to speak out at that time would probably have yielded no results. Again, there are conflicting stories as to whether the students were guilty or not but that is not important. No one deserves to be treated in such a wicked, vile and unforgivable way. Animals

wouldn’t behave in such a way, and yet, some Nigerians do so. I know we all have opinions as to what the causes of such acts in Nigeria are. Perhaps the most popular would be the ‘failure of government’ or ‘poverty’. There are numerous opinions on the causes of ‘de-humanization’ of Nigerians. Mine is: ‘Normalizing’ abnormality In my opinion, the socially acceptable levels of insanity in Nigeria have gone through the roof. We have grown particularly insensitive about the plight of others and have become undisputed champions at playing the ‘Blame game’. We have managed to silence the voices in our heads telling us to change for the better or to act or speak up. We have become pawns, controlled and held hostage by our own inability to speak the truth and our cowardice to act upon it. Nigerians are religious people. Whatever your faith, God listens and answers your prayers. What God will not do, is come down to solve your self-inflicted problems. However, being The All Kind, God will empower you to solve them yourselves. Folding your arms and praying will not change anything. Our Ancestors have been praying

long before us. To move Nigeria forward, we need to change as a people and quit lamenting. Nigeria needs all hands on deck, so do the little you can. Do what is within your power, as I have just done. We clearly do not trust the government enough to rely on it to solve our problems. If track record is anything to go by, that of the Nigerian government is laughable. In fact, I can boldly state that the government cannot solve all our problems. The solutions lie with us. It is worth noting, that a government is a reflection of its people. Serious people have serious governments. So why is Nigeria lagging behind? What have Nigerians been doing wrong? What is the way forward? The answers to those questions vary and are subjective. We can all offer guidelines and propose solutions that we believe would change things for the better. Hold your thoughts for a second. Let me first highlight our biggest problem as a people and offer this vitally important pre-requisite to your proposed solutions. Let us think ‘Nigerian’. Al-Amin Abba Dabo wrote in from Preston, United Kingdom and can be reached at



Flooding is national security emergency By Chinedu Ekeke


resident Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday October 9, 2012 announced plans by the federal government of Nigeria to respond to the current ravages of floods throughout Nigeria. The government has established a committee and in addition, billions of Naira has been slated to be spent in addressing the plethora of problems arising from this massive flooding.

Response to these floods so far is too slow and tepid at best and nonexistent at worst! The proper thing for the president, the federal government and all strata of government in Nigeria to have done and should urgently undertake, is, a public demonstration of empathy and sympathy with millions of Nigerians who have suffered from these ongoing floods. Secondly, the Army, Navy, the Air Force and other paramilitary assets and

coordinates, should be massively deployed to serve as

relief workforce as a matter of national priority!

The proper thing for the president, the federal government and all strata of government in Nigeria to have done and should urgently undertake, is, a public demonstration of empathy and sympathy with millions of Nigerians who have suffered from these ongoing floods

It is the case that millions of Nigerians are suffering as victims of these floods. It is also the case that there are no evacuation plans by the various levels of government throughout Nigeria. Nigeria’s ability to manage crisis is being severely tested. Thousands of homes are underwater and waterlogged. Millions of Nigerians are stranded and helpless in Amassoma, in Yenagoa, in Otuoke etc all in Bayelsa state. Paul I Audijie from New York, USA.

Nigeria and the election challenge By Umar Ardo


igeria, ‘the giant of Africa,’ is today a big question mark. And indeed, on many major issues of our contemporary world, Nigeria’s current situation calls to serious question the ability of the country to develop and remain united to becoming the pride of Africa. One such key issue is the thorny challenge of electoral process to our democracy. Since independence, Nigeria has continuously been plagued by electoral malpractices. Till date, this problem has not been resolved – in fact, it seems to be growing. As we mark our 52th Independence Anniversary, I think it is pertinent to pause and ask, why? Why have we failed to conceive and implement a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process in which the votes count in producing acceptable leadership? Other than putting the entire blame on the ‘greedy politicians’ who are usually accused of turning every elections as a ‘do-or-die affair’ and therefore all is fair, I think if we take a much closer look at the entire electoral process and its administration since 1999, we will be able to see a lot more than politicking to explain our endemic failure in this venture. Theoretically, democracy is per forcefully about relationships between peoples, instruments, institutions and processes in the conduct of public affairs. Every nation creates its own constitutions and laws, and establishes rules and regulations guiding the operational processes of these relationships – i.e. its democratic practice. Like all democracies, the Nigerian democracy has its key instruments (and other subsidiary instruments), its principal institutions and its people-based and people-led processes. All these are basically expressed through standard electoral procedures, which encompass but not limited to formulation of election laws, the preparation for elections,

political parties’ nomination of candidates, the actual voting exercise, the counting of votes, the declaration of results, constitution of Election Tribunals and disposition of elections litigations. The key Nigerian democratic instrument is the 1999 constitution (as amended) and its principal subsidiary instrument is the Electoral Act (as variously amended). The key institutions of democratic governance are the three arms of government (the legislature, executive and judiciary), with other added major support executive institutions. In this context, the critical support executive institution is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Although listed under the executive arm, INEC is defined by the constitution as Independent, and clearly has sufficient explicit constitutional provisions to reasonably guarantee its independence in the execution of its duties and powers. In fact, constitutionally INEC can be as independent in its operations as the Judiciary if the officers of INEC so choose. Practically, the central problem of the nation’s electoral challenges can be squarely located in the gaps, omissions, commissions and inexplicable inconsistencies in the operation of these instruments, by the institutions and processes meant to regulate and guard the conduct of voting; both at primary and secondary elections. Throughout the process as outlined above, i.e. formulation of election laws, preparation for elections, the actual voting exercise, the counting of votes, the declaration of results, the resort to the Courts for adjudication, the attitude of INEC to the proceedings and the disposition of the Judiciary towards the entire electoral process, and in each and every step of the way there are fundamental failings. But to be fair, while the instruments of democratic governance (the Constitution and the Electoral Act) and the democratic institution (the legislature) performed relatively well, the hands of our

democratic clock has been drawn backward by another key democratic institution (the judiciary) and the critical support executive institution (INEC). Over the years, we have seen how internal inadequacies and expressive political realities inherent in these institutions conspired to record judicial pronouncements on fundamental national cause that are unhelpful to the development, expansion and consolidation of Nigeria’s electoral process and democracy. For instance, the Nigerian legislature has made huge progress in legislating on the key electoral instrument, the Electoral Act, to guide and regulate our electoral processes for the entrenchment, enhancement and advancement of our democracy. Given that the vote is the foundation of democracy, these legislations were progressively aimed at ensuring that the vote actually counts. Other than advancing the cause of general elections, amendments were made to enter specific clauses in our Electoral Act aimed at entrenching internal democracy within our political parties. Our parties are required by law to progressively open up to democratic tenets in all their electoral processes. While INEC is empowered by law to monitor all political party elections to ensure compliance to democratic due process, the courts are given jurisdiction to adjudicate on party issues previously declared no-go-areas as internal party affairs.

However, on many critical instances, both INEC and the courts failed to stand up to their responsibilities in ensuring the provisions of the law in the electoral process. While most times INEC looked the other way on critical matters, the court on its part, often declines on its jurisdiction to make judicial pronouncements on the true letter of the law in critical electoral processes. For example, between 2008 and 2011, in line with its constitutional duties, INEC wrote four letters to the PDP rejecting the result of congresses held in 8 states of the federation. INEC held the results as illegitimate and requested the party to reschedule and re-conduct lawful congresses. PDP ignored INEC and continued with those unlawful EXCOs. Oddly enough, these same EXCOs produced and submitted to the same INEC candidates for elective offices and INEC accepted and filled in these candidates for the general elections of 2011. The same epicycle is repeating itself. Since the PDP Congresses and convention in March this year, INEC has again written three letters to the PDP National Working Committee rejecting the EXCOs of the party in 9 states and advising the governing party to reschedule and re-conduct congresses, but the party has again so far ignored these letters. It is left for all to see what INEC will do this time again. The Court severally did not exercise its jurisdiction on fundamental electoral cases. In

Over the years, we have seen how internal inadequacies and expressive political realities inherent in these institutions conspired to record judicial pronouncements on fundamental national cause that are unhelpful to the development, expansion and consolidation of Nigeria’s electoral process and democracy

some cases, the courts give illogical and contradictory judgments that only help to further create serious inconsistencies and confusions into the process. While the legislature is trying to advance our electoral process, regrettably, INEC and the courts are drawing us back. In many instances, the actions or in-actions of the courts gave audacity to dishonest politicians and political parties to circumvent and undermine the electoral process to the detriment of our democracy and national cohesion. In the final analysis, therefore, these actions and inactions on the part of INEC and the judiciary have ruined rather than advanced our electoral processes, and the course of democracy and democratic rule in Nigeria. This is the central origin to the near total collapse of credible electoral process in our current democratic dispensation, with the consequent erosion of internal democracy within our political party structures. It is therefore a matter of urgency that Nigerians of good standing come together and arrest the drift before it is too late. Attaining this noble goal for our national politics requires that men of courage, honesty and patriotism take serious interest in our electoral processes. Often, Nigerians become keenly interested only in the election proper. This is wrong. The processes leading to the elections are as important as the elections themselves. To this end, Nigerians should be fully involved in the formulation of the electoral legal instrument. Also, very importantly, close scrutiny and pressure must be put on INEC to ensure that it acts responsibly in all its duties and functions. The commission must make all its preparatory actions and plans for all elections transparent, and must explain to Nigerians clearly the processes employed to monitor elections within political parties and the manner and method of conducting general elections. Dr. Umar Ardo is on Facebook



FCT private school operators lament multiple taxation


Street hawkers take to their heels upon sighting members of Abuja Environmental Protection Agency, AEPB Task Force at Utako yesterday Photo: Miriam Humbe

Frustrated man threatens to commit suicide By Stanley Onyekwere


adio listeners, who called in yesterday, to participate during a late night phone -in programme ‘Welding the Storm’ on Vision Fm Abuja were thrown into panic mood when one Friday Ibrahim of Karu, Abuja threatened to take his life by

locking himself up in the well. Ibrahim, a first time caller on the programme, monitored by our reporter, who called to join the discussion on the topic of the day; ‘what causes frustration.?, however, did not give much detail for his decision but only said that he can no longer continue living in frustration before dropping the call.

“I’m the master of frustration, I don’t need to climb eight storey building like the story of the man that killed himself in Port Harcourt; but as I’m talking to you I’m going to lock up myself in the well, to end this frustration”, he threatened. The programme, which is aired live on the station from 10 to 12 pm, Monday to

Wednesdays of every week, has its participants popularly referred to as ‘Welding the Storm family’. Following the threat, most Welding the Storm family members, who called in during the programme, in a bit to stop Ibrahim from carrying out his threat, counselled him against resorting to committing suicide as a way out of the frustration he was experiencing, urging him to have a re-think and see beyond his present condition.

Abuja parking service provider laments military brutality By Josephine Ella


ntegrated Parking Services (IPS), one of the contracted on-street parking management firm employed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to deploy this service in the territory has lamented the manhandling of its parking attendants by officers of the Nigerian Army. The Managing Director, Mr. Iliyasu Abdul, lamenting the ordeal his staff have been facing

in the hands of military men in the FCT to Peoples Daily yesterday, said that often time they exude attitudes towards attendants as if they were above the law guiding street parking within the city, thereby violating the rules. According to him, as if this was not enough, they brutalise his staff when they are confronted to pay for parking at marked bays at designated official parking controlled zones in different parts of the city, or question on why they park on

walkways and shoulders of the road. “One of the major challenges we are facing is from the military men and security agencies. We don’t have problems with the SSS and the police but the soldier go hay wire and attack our staff. They hijack our staff and putting them in the boot. They are ceasing and damaging our equipment, which is not proper,” he lamented. He said he had written to the chief of army staff and chief of

defence staff to intimate him about the harassment from his staff, “but up till now we have not got any reply from them”. While appealing to the authorities to call their men to order, he added: “We believe that as a fighting force in the Nigerian force, they should be one of the institution that will back this issue of discipline because all this orderly parking is discipline on the part of the motorists, so the military has to prove that they are discipline by doing this”.

Yoruba leader appeals for flyover in Zuba By Usman Shuaibu


traditional ruler of the Yoruba in Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council, Dr. Wasiu Tunwase has appealed to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to

construct a flyover in Zuba. He said if the flyover was constructed the long ZubaKaduna Expressway, it would reduce accidents on the road. Tunwase, popularly known as Otunba of Zuba, who made the appeal in an interview with Peoples Daily in his palace in

Zuba, urged the minister to focus on the development of the area. This was as he alleged that he had neglected Zuba in terms of infrastructural facilities and urged to consider providing social amenities for the residents

He also called on the minister and the Chairman of the Area Council, Hon. Zakari Angulu Dobi to repair roads in the area that were no longer motorable. He called for combined efforts of the minister and the area council to move Zuba to the next level of development.

resident of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) Dr Bukola Dosunmu, has cried out over the multiple taxation imposed on the association’s members by the FCT authorities. Dosunmu spoke yester day in Abuja, at a news conference to mark the 2012 NAPPS Day. “We are appealing to the National Assembly Committees on the FCT to speed up processes that will enable the establishment of an FCT Tax Revenue Board as this is the only way out of the multiple taxation pressures on businesses in the territory,’’ she said. Dosunmu said that business owners, including NAPPS members had continued to fall victims to the activities of touts and impostors who often took advantage of the absence of the revenue board to extort members. She said that private schools in the FCT paid as much as one million naira annually as taxes without receiving any incentive from government. Dosunmu named some of the charges imposed on members of the association as tenement rates, school buses, mobile advertisement rates, sanitation, loading and off loading, radio tax, gas emission and road taxes. She said that the association members were made to pay stationary adverts and sign board taxes, school tax, proprietors and staff taxes as well as taxes imposed by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. “We appeal to the FCT Administration to factor all the charges and taxes for schools together to be paid annually as it is done in other states across the country,’’ she said. The president of the association appealed to the FCT authorities to provide affordable lands for school expansion projects as well as improve on the process of obtaining Certificates of Occupancy in the territory. “Education is the biggest financial burden in the economy and when effectively funded can produce visible positive effects on end consumers, the pupils. “The society has a false impression that the money generated by private schools is fully ours but any school funded by commercial loans is generating money for the banks. “We need a bail out through the provision of special funds for schools at low interest rates, ’’ she said. Dosunmu appealed for the inclusion of private schools in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) projects to enable them access roads, borehole water projects and electrification of schools in rural areas. She decried a situation where parents were made to pay parking charges while dropping or collecting their children during school runs. “This activities take only five minutes and we are appealing to the authorities to give consideration to parents at this peak hours,’’ she said.



Disengaged seamen and water transport workers of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), protesting over non-payment of their terminal benefits since 1995, on Wednesday in front of Ministry of Transport, in Abuja.

A young man collecting waste, yesterday in Nyanya. Two middle-aged women buying roasted yam, yesterday in Wuse, Zone 5, Abuja.

A cobbler doing what he knows best, yesterday in Garki village, Abuja.

Abuja Environmental Protection Board Task Force team destroying Illegal market, recently in Garki, Abuja. Photos: Justin Imo-owo






- Pg 20

Aviation Safety: Stakeholders brainstorm in Abuja

Mob: 08033644990

Budget 2013: Crude oil found in inland basins – Jonathan By Aminu Imam


resident Goodluck Jonathan has said it found oil in its inland basins as the country stepped up exploration after missing targets to raise reserves and output. “We are determined to further develop on these findings and expand the scope of such explorations,” President Jonathan told lawmakers on Wednesday when he presented a total expenditure of N4.92

. . . seeks to boost reserves trillion for the 2013 fiscal year before a joint session of the National Assembly, in Abuja. In 2013, the government plans to spend 16 billion naira ($102 million) exploring for oil in the inland basins, Jonathan said.

New finds were made in four inland basins including Anambra, Chad, Yola and the Benue Trough and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is leading the exploration. Nigeria gets more than 95

percent of its foreign-exchange income from oil exports. The nation, with an average daily output of 2.4 million barrels, is targeting 40 billion barrels of crude reserves by 2020, up from 37 billion barrels now, according to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu. That was after the Federal

Government missed plans to boost reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2010 and output to 4 million barrels a day. At least 90 percent of Nigerian crude is pumped from the oil-rich Niger River delta by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA in joint ventures with the NNPC.

CBN plans strong macroprudential framework to prevent further financial crisis By Abdulwahab Isa


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday said it was developing a strong macroprudential framework to prevent financial crisis in the banks in future. The CBN Deputy Governor, Financial Stability, Dr Kingsley Moghalu said this while presenting a paper at the 2012 Continuous Education Programme (CEP) for Directors of Banks and other Financial Institution in Lagos. The theme of the programme is: “Advancing Corporate Governance from Compliance to Competitive Advantage’’. Moghalu said that other proactive steps taken by CBN to prevent financial crisis in future included establishment of a comprehensive framework and resolution of banking crisis with strong scenario planning. He said that CBN would create a more endurable framework for the financial stability of the banks, ensure stronger micro-prudential regulation and supervision of individual banks. Moghalu said that CBN would also ensure protection of consumers’ rights and promotion of financial literacy and strong compliance and enforcement regime as well as data integrity and reliability. He added that the apex bank would come up with competency and skills development in the banking industry. Moghalu said that so far, the ongoing reforms in the banking sector had impacted positively on the financial system. He said that the resolution of the crisis in the banking sector was not a guarantee against another crisis in future.

L-R: Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Director, Budget Office, Dr Bright Okogu, during a news conference on 2013 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Shell faces lawsuit over Niger Delta pollution By Muhammad Nasir with agency report


he Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) faces a lawsuit from four Nigerian villagers yesterday in a case that could set a precedent for damage claims against international companies. Filed in a local court in The Hague, where Shell has its joint global headquarters, the case seeks to make Shell and other corporations responsible for pollution from three oil spills between 2004 and 2007 in the Niger Delta. Plaintiffs are four Nigerian farmers and fishermen and campaign group Friends of the

Earth. The four are seeking unspecified compensation and argue they can no longer feed their families because the area has been polluted with oil from Shell's pipelines and production facilities. The biggest pollution problem in the Niger Delta was caused by thieves who steal oil from Shell's installations, adding that around 150,000 barrels of oil are stolen every day in the Delta. That is worth about $6 billion a year, Castelein noted. However, Friends of the Earth said it hoped the case would set a precedent and lead to "an end to the corporate crimes committed by oil giants like Shell in Nigeria and around the world".

FCTA seeks foreign direct investment for devt. By Josephine Ella


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration (FCTA) said it has developed a concept of Public Private Partnership (P-P-P) to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the expansion of the nation’s capital. The Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, disclosed this at a ceremony marking the “FCT Day” at the seventh Abuja International Trade Fair held at the J.T. Useini Trade Fair Complex. Represented by Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke

Management Tip of the Day

Presentation coming? Know these things about your audience


ou need to understand people on a somewhat personal level to develop a presentation that resonates with them. But how? Start by asking yourself these questions, and use your answers to tailor your speech:·What are they like? Think through a day in the lives of your audience. Reference

something that they face every day so they’ll know you “get” them.· Why are they here? What do they think they’re going to get out of your presentation? Are they willing participants or mandatory attendees? Highlight what’s in it for them.· What keeps them up at night? Everyone has fears or pain

points. Let your audience know that you empathize — and that you’re here to help.· How can you solve their problems? How are you going to make their lives better? Point to benefits you know your audience cares about. Source: Harvard Business Review

Akinjide, he explained that the PPP concept was currently being executed through Joint Ventures (JV) and Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) as exemplified in the Abuja Mass Transit System and Housing Development. He listed the priority sectors for investments under the FCT Road Map to include: New Districts/Engineering infrastructure, Housing Development/Real Estate, Satellite Towns Development, Agriculture, Industry/Manufacturing Development, Tourism/ Hospitality, and Small and Medium Enterprises/Youth development. Other sectors are Health/ Environment, Education, Transportation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Finance and Solid Minerals Development. He assured that the FCT Administration would continue to put in place the right mix of structures to ensure that residents, entrepreneurs, business and public services compete as an emerging global economic centre.




NSE Index


igeria’s share index climbed to a 20-month high to the cross 27,000 point threshold on Thursday, driven higher by gains in banking and commodities stocks. Diamond Bank is one of the 25 stocks eligible for market making under a new stock exchange system meant to boost liquidity, so its share price can rise up to 10 percent a day, up from the old 5 percent limit that still holds for most stocks. Nigeria’s share index has gained almost 30 percent this year, one of the best performing frontier markets in Africa. The last time it went above 27,000 was February 2011.

Ondo state govt


he Ondo State Government on Wednesday engaged 100 youths in tractor operation as part of efforts to reduce unemployment. Gov. Olusegun Mimiko stated this during a training programme for the operators and mechanics in Akure. Mr Ademola Olorunfemi, the Commissioner for Agriculture, who represented the governor, said that the government was collaborating with private sector operators to strengthen and improve demand for tractor operators. Mimiko said that the empowerment would deepen tractor service delivery to enhance job creation. The Federal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Rufus Omakinwa, who represented the Minister for Agriculture, Adewumi Adesina, said that the programme was organised to equip the youths with appropriate skills in handling the tractors.

Toyota recall


ccording to fresh buzz, car-maker Toyota has decided to recall 8,700 units of its Corolla and Camry models in India so as to rectify faulty power window switches. Reportedly, the Japanese automaker will recall Corolla Altis manufactured between July 30 to December 31 in 2008 and Camry’s models manufactured from September 1, 2006 to July 31, 2008. The recall is a part of a global exercise and will start from next month. The firm is reportedly going to recall around 2.47 million vehicles in the US, 1.40 million vehicles in China and 1.39 million vehicles in Europe. Moreover, Toyota will also recall 650,000 vehicles in Australia and Asia and around 490,000 vehicles in the near and Middle East.

N144tr investment buoys Nigeria’s ICT V

South Africa gets its first 4G service

By Chris Alu


he rapid development and transformation of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) space is orchestrated by some $900 billion (N144 trillion) invested in the sector over the past decade. The figure is best estimated as reliable statistics are hard to come by, but coming from who should know, it is more accurate approximation of the profound investment in the sector. Ernest Ndukwe, chairman, Open Media Group and immediate past executive vice chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), who stirred the now famous telecommunications revolution said that explosion in ICT created a new breed of entrepreneurs that resulted in the remarkable improvement in the space in the last 12 years. “Until 2008, South Africa was the leader in the African telecom market but Nigeria overtook it in 2010 ,” he added. Ndukwe told a compelling story of how Nigeria became an investment haven and said that the open market approach adopted by the sector promoted rapid development in communication. As at the end of August 2012, he noted that the country’s fixed and mobile lines stand at 105 million, with a teledensity of 7.5 per cent, all propelled by private investments into the sector,

Immediate past executive vice chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Ernest Ndukwe which he puts at over $900 are experiencing poor mobile billion since February, 2011. services due to the recent Peoples Daily however attacks by some states of the gathered that the telecom north. industry has particularly The attacks have also excelled as it rose from a mere halted fresh investments in 400,000 connected lines in some of the states as operators 2001 to very high record. tread with upmost caution. In the midst of all these, the Elsewhere, telecom sector is plagued by a legion of operators said that the sector’s problems, most of them survival is being threatened human. by the N10 billion annual The ICT industry is faced multiple taxations levied on with security issues at base them by the federal, state and stations, multiple regulations local governments. and taxation, unfriendly host Gbenga Adebayo, communities, vandalism chairman, Association of among other Ibrahim Sule an Licensed Telecommunications ICT consultant warned that if Operators of Nigeria, the problems are not (ALTON) said that regulation addressed, the growth recorded and multiple taxation will in the sector will be reversed. retard growth in the telecoms A l r e a d y , industry if not properly telecommunication operators addressed.

Aviation Safety: Stakeholders brainstorm in Abuja By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


viation stakeholders in Africa are currently in Abuja the Nigerian capital to brainstorm over the fate of the industry in the region as well as the module to adopt to achieve the best practices in the sector which has been described as the hub of transportation the world over. The meeting which is the 20th in the series sitting under the aegis of the AFI Satellite Network Management Committee is being attended by representatives from across Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Algeria, Angola etc. In his keynote address, Director General of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engr. Mazi Nnamdi Udoh who was represented by the

Director of Safety Electronics and Safety Services (DSEES), Engr. Ifeanyi Nwankwo said the meeting was coming at an auspicious time especially with the challenges of transiting from the present to the new directives of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO is an agency of the United Nations (UN) which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport aimed at ensuring safe and orderly growth of the aviation industry. The NAMA boss further posited that efforts are on by the Satellite Network Management Committee (SNMC) to engineer the entire network to make it more efficient and cost effective for member states to run and

maintain. “We are here to talk about our common interest as a body and I am optimistic that at the end of this gathering, all the member states would have learnt one new experience on how to improve on what exists currently. “Another benefit is that we will all increase and improve on our use of the band-weight which is which is what empowers the operation of any agency in the continent. Interestingly, since the bandweight is very expensive and scarce too, it is only proper that we meet to discuss on how best to share and manage what we have for the benefit of our different operators across the continent. That is the only way we can maximize what is available for us to use in the satellite”.

odacom yesterday launched South Africa’s first super-fast, nextgeneration cellphone data network using Long-Term Evolution technology. ‘’It’s live today, it’s commercially available. LTE is now officially launched in South Africa,” Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said at the MyBroadband Conference 2012 in Midrand. Joosub previously said ‘’Europe is falling behind in LTE deployment”. Vodacom is launching its LTE network before the United Kingdom, home to its parent Vodafone. Only Portugal and Germany have launched LTE networks in Europe. LTE offers a major increase in data speeds. Currently 3G speeds reach 43.2 megabits per second, but LTE offers double that speed or up to about 100Mbps. A test at Vodacom World reached 63Mbps. About 80% of Vodacom’s networks offer 3G speeds of 21.6Mbps. High data speeds are necessary for the kind of services that are becoming more popular on the internet, especially video. MTN has announced its LTE will be available by the end of the year. Both Vodacom and MTN have said the networks will first be available in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. Vodacom executive head of consumer data Jannie van Zyl said LTE represents a sea change for networks: ‘’There is a new technology roadmap and that is LTE.” LTE is much more efficient than 3G, he said. ‘’Unfortunately we don’t have the spectrum that other operators have but aren’t doing anything with, like Sentech, WBS and Telkom. Give us that spectrum and we’ll do something with it.” LTE uses a specific range of radio frequencies, including the 800Mhz spectrum still being used by analogue television signals. South Africa is behind schedule to switch over to digital TV signals that will free up this spectrum. Both Vodacom and MTN are reusing some of their existing 1800MHz spectrum. While the 3G services use networks designed to carry mostly voice calls, LTE is designed for data specifically. Voice calls will ultimately be a data service on LTE, using Voice-over-Internet Protocol similar to other internet telephony services like Skype. Because of its speed, LTE will vastly improve the experience of surfing the internet, watching video and other services. Van Zyl showed a smartphone using LTE and said he was receiving 60Mbps download speeds. “I’m carrying this in my pocket. A few years ago we couldn’t get 60Mbps on fibre,” he said. He also said Vodacom is the single biggest BlackBerry internet service operator in the world. ( S o u r c e : h t t p : / /



Fiscal Dispute Resolution (Appeal) Mechanisms (2)


nce disputes are referred to the Supreme Court and a decision is reached, it is expected that all parties shall comply strictly with the decision of the Court and such a dispute would be deemed as fully resolved. In no instance should any party to a dispute resort to extra-legal methods to resolve such disputes. Between State Governments The Nigerian constitution also provides that disputes between State Governments shall be referred to the Supreme Court for adjudication. However, as stated above; such option shall be deemed as the final option when all other dispute resolution mechanisms may have been exhausted. In this regard, avenues, which may be explored includes: I. Deliberations between the State Governments, by their Attorney Generals, Commissioners of Finance or any other relevant State officials or agency; II. Deliberations at the level of Governors Forum; III. Deliberations at the level of National economic Council; IV. Deliberations at the level of Council of States, which would be a more formal process than (i) to (ii) above; and V. Mediation by other State Governments, Federal Government agencies/other organs of Government, such as the Judiciary. However, where the Judiciary is involved, mediation shall be carried out in a manner as not to affect the independence or impartiality of the Judiciary, given that the dispute may subsequently be referred to the judiciary for adjudication. One dispute is referred to the Supreme Court and a decision is reached, it is expected that all parties shall comply with the decision of the Court and such a dispute would be deemed as fully resolved. In no instance should any party to a dispute resort to extra-legal methods to resolve such disputes. Between State and Local Governments Disputes between State and Local Governments shall as much as possible be resolved informally without resort to litigation. This is particularly important given that close relationship and interdependence between States and Local Government and the potential dislocation and distraction to Governance which disputes may trigger. It is expected that all available avenues, such as deliberations between relevant officials, mediation by traditional rulers and other State and local Government organs and other relevant stakeholders at state and Local Government levels would be considered. Where all alternatives dispute resolution mechanisms fail, disputes may be submitted

National Economic Council) at Federal or State level would be first considered. The Executive and Legislature should also established informal and formal processes for resolution of disputes, such as the use of liason offices and the organs of the Judiciary (such as the National Judicial Council).In certain instances, it may however, be necessary to refer certain critical issues to the Judiciary for clarification and resolution in order to aid the development of the Nigerian economy and bring certainty into Government Policy and administration. Where such matters are referred to the Judiciary and a decision is reached, expected that all parties shall comply strictly with decision of the Court and such a dispute would be deemed as fully resolved. In no instance should any party to a dispute resort to extralegal methods to resolve such disputes.

FIRS Ag Chairman Alhaji Kabiru Mashi for judicial adjudication as a last resort. Once disputes are referred to the Judiciary and a decision is reached, it is expected that all parties shall comply strictly with the decision of the Court and such a disputes would be deemed as fully resolved. In no sense should any party to a disputes resort to extra-legal methods to resolve such disputes. Between the Executive and legislature Disputes between the Executive and the Legislature shall as much as possible be

resolved informally without resort to litigation. This is particularly important given the close relationship and interdependence between the Executive and Legislative arms of Government and the potential dislocation and distraction to Governance which such disputes may trigger. In this regard, it is expected that all available avenues, such as deliberations between relevant officials, mediation by traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders and institutions of State (such as Federal and State Executive Councils, Council of State,


Taxation is basically the process of collecting taxes within a location. In this regard, tax has been defined as a monetary

Amongst and between the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary Following from the above, it is also expected that disputes between any of the three arms of Government shall be resolved amicably. The processes identified above shall also be considered here, so that as much as is possible, such disputes are resolved in an informal setting given the important role each arm of Government plays in the administration of the country and the potential dislocation and distraction which a prolonged disputes may bring to Governance. In particular, disputes between any of the other arms and the Judiciary shall be resolved amicably and in a discreet manner. This is particularly necessary to safeguard and maintain the integrity, independence and impartiality of the Judiciary, as it may be called upon to resolve disputes between the other arms. With Taxpayers It is expected that there would be disputes between taxpayers and organs of Government. This is normal in any society and our laws therefore provide detailed processes for resolving such disputes. In this regard, the Nigerian Constitution recognizes the right of every Nigerians to submit disputes to the Courts for adjudication, whether he is a taxpayer or not. Other than such general disputes, there are specialized processes relating to the resolution of tax or fiscal disputes between taxpayers and tax or revenue authorities. In this regard, the Tax appeal process, which is an integral and important part of the tax administration process, is provided for under relevant tax legislation. The appeal process is available to every taxpayer, who is aggrieved or dissatisfied with a decision or ruling made by the tax authority, relating to the tax status of such taxpayer, the

interpretation/application of tax laws, and such other matters affecting the rights and status of the taxpayer. It shall therefore be the responsibility of tax authorities to ensure that the tax appeal process is easily accessible to taxpayers and all its processes and procedures simplified. In this way tax-payers would be encouraged to take benefit of the process to resolve tax disputes, rather than resort to self help. Tax authorities shall carry out enlightenment campaigns on the availability of the appeal process, some that all tax-payers, large or small, corporate entities and individuals are aware that they have a right to submit their disputes for adjudication. Alongside this, however, alternative dispute resolution procedures should also be encouraged between the tax authorities and the taxpayers, so that only matters which cannot be resolved otherwise are submitted for adjudication. Where matters are submitted for adjudication, the integrity, independence and impartiality of the tax appeal process should be guaranteed to ensure that an aggrieved taxpayer can seek redress with the confidence that his dispute would be considered in a free, air and objective manner. In this regard, tax appeal bodies and all their organs should be provided relevant autonomy and funding to enable them discharge their duties and guarantee their independence. Definition of Taxation and revenue and the implementation of Taxation in revenue Generation (1) The National Tax Policy is a document, which is essentially about taxation and other ancillary matters connected with taxation. It is therefore a proper premise to begin with a discussion on what constitutes taxation and distinguish it from revenue, while situating its role in the context of revenue generation. Taxation is basically the process of collecting taxes within a location. In this regard, tax has been defined as a monetary charge imposed by the Government on persons, entities, transactions or properties ton yield revenue. It has also been defined as the enforced proportional contributions from persons and property, levied by the State by virtue of its sovereignty for the support of Government and for all public needs. Taxes may also be defined as a “pecuniary burden laid upon individuals or property to support government expenditure. A tax is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced/compulsory contribution, exacted under the name of duty, custom excise, levy or other name. Taxes are therefore a financial charge or levy imposed upon an individual or legal entity by a State or a component of the state. (Concluded)



World’s 10 most hated cities (1) They’re not the worst cities in the world, they’re the best at bugging people. Introducing the places guaranteed to swing your mood southward The worst thing that could

ever be said about a city is not that it merits “top 10 most hated” status. No, the worst thing that could ever be said about a city is that it’s not even worth discussing.

Say what you like about these 10 places (and lots of people do), they all prompt conversation. OK, plenty of critical conversation according to our findings, but

we mean that in the most positive light. So let’s re-name this one “10 cities travelers most love to hate” — and secretly hope that they remain, if not “awfully

beautiful,” at least “beautifully awful” to some degree. Because who really wants a world full of Vancouvers and Stockholms?

Cairo, Egypt

rank high on any serious globetrotter’s bucket list, visitors these days are forced to turn more than just a blind lung to a recent World Health Organization report that equatesbreathing in this city with smoking a pack a day. “Avoid the crowds and protests and it should be fine otherwise,” advises one recent visitor on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree. “We can’t predict what will happen, but keep your ear to the ground and you should be OK,” hedges another. It needs to be asked: Was modern Cairo really what Pharaoh Khufu had in mind in his 5,000 Year Plan?


here are other cities coping with even more crippling air pollution, maniacal driving, ridiculous traffic, overpopulation and post-revolution stress — though not too many, and none we can think of that travelers would ever put very high on a sightseeing list. Cairo, of course, impels us to come anyway — which naturally breeds some resentment. Home of the world’s last remaining ancient Wonder and an incomparable wealth of history and antiquities that

J a k a r t a , Indonesia Hate Belize? No no no. I'd just prefer to be somewhere else.

Belize City, Belize


ew tropical outposts less than a three-hour flight from Dallas have spawned as many alluring Sunday travel section taglines as Belize — a diving and cruise ship magnet that has been dubbed “Central America Lite,” “the other Caribbean” and “the gateway to the world’s second

Lima, Peru


atin America’s fifthlargest metropolis may be marginally cleaner than Mexico City, somewhat safer than Sao Paulo and way more beach-friendly than La Paz, yet Lima continues to quietly suffer from the worst, if well-meaning, curse in travel circles: being constantly described as a place that’s not

largest barrier reef.” With all that warm press and tourist traffic passing through, you’d expect Belize City to have kicked its nagging reputation as the sorriest port o’ call on either edge of the Caribbean. Crime. Drugs. Dilapidation. Welcoming committees of bored, desperate touts. A vibe that screams avoid-being-outafter-dark-and-wait-for-yournearly as dull as everyone else keeps saying it is. “If you’re prepared to delve into the nooks and crannies of this massive city, then you can find plenty to admire,” blogs one Lima supporter, after delivering the mortal blow that “most people that I’ve spoken to about Peru don’t really rate Lima. It’s ugly, it’s boring, it’s not traditional enough, are the main complaints I’ve heard.” (Source: CNN)

real-itinerary-to-begin. Belize City has it all. When your own Director of Tourism owns that Belize’s main transport hub is “consistently rated as the worst destination” among cruise passengers, something more than the city’s famous swing bridge may need adjusting. Until then, it’s full speed to the puddle jumpers and water taxis.

station, at your hotel and everywhere in between. “There are plenty of cons to be aware of,” blogs TravBuddy in a post entitled “Scam City: Delhi’s Tourist Hustles and How To Avoid Them,” which lists several popular ones by name: The “Government Tourist Office” scam; The “Hotel Commission” scam; The “Fake Train Station” scam; The “Airport Transfer” scam, etc. Learn these. Commit them

to memory. Then go out and freely soak in the opulence of New Delhi, the breathless chaos of Old Delhi — the otherworldly extremeness of it all, knowing that your street savvy is really no match for a place that makes New York look prenatal. “Avoiding scams and touts in Delhi,” posts travel c o m m u n i t y site,, “the chances are really high that you will be scammed anyway.”


These guys aren't even the hawkers -- they're the hawkees.

New Delhi, India

T Lima: world's biggest victim of faint praise.

akarta isn’t nicknamed “The Big Durian” (thorny, odorous fruit you might actually enjoy if you give it a chance) for nothing. “It is a very demanding city from a traveler’s perspective, full of surprises and awaiting difficulties,” notes one TripAdvisor expat who came to love Jakarta after six months. “Once you get to know it, you can’t have enough of it.” The obvious snag.

Indonesia’s 8 million annual tourists arriving at this springboard to Bali, Yogyakarta, Sumatra — anywhere but here — spend on average 7.84 days in Indonesia according to a 2011 study by the country’s Central Bureau for Statistics. How long will it take most visitors to decide they haven’t enough time to gain an insider’s appreciation about this sprawling city choked with traffic, pollution, poverty and tourist “draws” largely revolving around random street adventures and an epidemic of malls? About 7.84 seconds.

ravel scams happen everywhere. But few cities fuel as much lengthy discussion and strategizing about them as India’s sprawling capital — arguably the world’s favorite place for travel forum junkies to dish on their favorite travel forum topic: How to avoid getting fleeced outside the airport, at the train




Yobe’s ecological sanctuary dies as climate change chases birds away I

t is late October 2008, in the remote, rusty and rural Dagona, in Bade local government area of Yobe State, north-east Nigeria. The Dagona waterfowl’s sanctuary is luxuriant. The sky is clear, and the clouds float mapping some enchanting artistic imprints on the celestial canvas. Nature is loudly expressive as seen in the vast ecological splendor. It is a season of visitation by large colonies of colorful, beautiful amazing birds. The presence of the birds spreads a unique pull on this wetland, further enriching the already beautiful scenery and elegantly underlining the rare tourist attraction to this incredible location. It is exactly four years now and the elements have dramatically changed. Yobe state is troubled and held captive by visceral violence and terror. So also is Yobe’s only ecological sanctuary. In the last few years, the villagers have been concerned about the drought that has turned water and wetlands into sand and dust. The drought is drying up the wetland vegetation with incredible speed. The local birds have become scarce. “We observed the migrant have stopped coming in greater numbers,” Musa Dagona, a local farmer in the area, said. This year, the inhabitants prayed for rainfall, but the rain came with floods and destroyed houses, farmlands and killed many people. The flood also washed away most of the rich ecosystem on its part, including bird nest, eggs and small animals. “When what the habitats migratory birds depend on are disappearing, they will look for other options where the ecosystem is rich,” said Mohammed Abba, a professor of climatology at the University of Maiduguri. The village head of Dagona, Abubakar Gambo, recounted the rich environment where he grew up during the colonial era. Mr. Dagona said it was after a hunter caught a large bird with his hunting gear, which

A close view on birds building their nests had an inscription, Queen of England, that the villagers began to appreciate the ecospectacular values of their environment. A flip at the visitor’s book to the wetlands illustrated the potentials of the Chad Basin National Park as a world class ecological splendor that can attract revenue for growth and development. The book bore the names of Prince Bernhard of Netherlands who was at Dagona in 1987, to Prince Philips, in 1989, and Prince Charles and late Princes Diana

in 1990 and many other prominent visitors, tourists and researchers. The migratory birds are as diverse as the guests and tourists to the wetlands. Birds leave the winters in Israel, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, England, and North America to spend months in the primitive village of Dagona. One of the fastest migrant birds mostly found in the Yobe wetlands and was in great numbers in the past is the Golden Plover. It is now scarcely sighted. A golden plover makes 150 – 200

kilometres per hour in flight. The grim reality of climate change… The ecosystem in Dagona and many Fadamas in Yobe state is said to play host to a large variety of food for birds. These foods include insects, fish and other aquatic creatures. And each year, between October/November to March, the environment receives these visitors. “But now I am worried, even a child knows that all is not well with our environment,” Mr. Gambo said. “The land is sterile and

most of the vegetation have gone.” The Director General of the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, during a visit to the wetland districts said, “We are now living witnesses to the reality of climate change and global warming where areas considered as dry savannah are daily witnessing excessive torrential rainfall.” This year, heavy rainfalls have caused havoc across Nigeria. “The inevitability of changes occurring due to

climate change is now a wellestablished reality,” Mr. Muhammed says. For these migrant birds, increasing temperatures disrupt their annual migration rhythm. A lot of the birds change their routes, shorten or completely cancel their journey as a result of changing temperatures. Even the villagers that are not scientists observe that the local and migrant birds that always formed an incalculable horde at the last quarter of the year and the first quarter of each year, have been reduced

to sets of thin clusters. During this trip, PREMIUM TIMES reporter found that many parts of the Bade-Nguru wetlands are submerged by flood waters. The few places with low volume of water have been overgrown with grass. Therefore, it is likely that when the visiting birds come, they will not find food. “Only the few local birds that are familiar with the environment can feed,” said a consultant to the National Park Service, Maiduguri, George Stopfords. Two traditional rulers, the Emir of Nguru, Mustafha Jari, and the Emir of Gashua, Abubakar Suleiman, while welcoming officials of NEMA to their respective palaces in the wetlands during a recent duty tour, stated that the torrential rain in the areas is unprecedented. Mr. Jari said over 4000 households were affected in two towns as they recorded several deaths. Many expert accounts predict that with the floods in many parts of the world and unpredictable weather patterns, interruption of bird migration is imminent. A flight of hundreds or thousands of miles from Israel to the north-east of Nigeria is already hazardous, and storms that require detours can exhaust birds and create much higher migration mortality, experts say. What is worse, with the destruction of nest, eggs and chicks by floods, the future population of birds are threatened. Human activities to blame… Interestingly, the reasons tourists give for not being able to make it to the Yobe wetlands anymore are the same reasons given for the disappearance of the migrant birds. Tourists say that climatic change and terrorism have resulted to them staying back. “Today, the fear of terrorism attack has engulfed the whole world and Africa cannot be left behind. The governments and the people of West Africa have been attacked in the recent past, particularly in Nigeria,

Guinea, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire,” a tourism expert in Nigeria, Donald Akwara, said. Yobe State and indeed all of Northern Nigeria is embroiled in violence. This has robbed the poor people of Dagona the benefits that every community that play host to tourists get. When the tourists and researchers stopped

coming to the park, the revenues also stopped. The park can no longer provide the social amenities it once provided for the host communities of these precious migrants. The wetlands play a vital role in the economy of the semi-nomadic Fulani pastoralists, who graze their

We are now living witnesses to the reality of climate change and global warming where areas considered as dry savannah are daily witnessing excessive torrential rainfall

A bird’s nest

livestock during the dry season. Evidently, the blend of crop farming, fishing, grazing and bird-watching tourists in the wetlands brings a serious ecological conflict especially between livestock grazing and conservation of migratory birds. The prominent feature in this conflict is in the area of common water use between water-related migrant birds and the cattle. At Dagona waterfowls sanctuary for example, all the open water bodies have been covered by Echnochloa stignina grass brought in by cattle. The pastoralists themselves also lop vegetation to feed their livestock. Several studies carried out by scientist from the University of Maiduguri

highlighted the devastating effects of fertilizers and pesticides use by farmers in the wetlands as they end up in the water, destroying the aquatic life in it. This in turn, poisons the birds and sometimes man that is on top of the food chain. For many observers interviewed for this report, governments and conservationists must braze up by constantly educating people on the best approach to manage the environment. Also, many lovers of the environment in Yobe said, the punishment for poachers and those trading in endangered species must be harsh like the one for the terrorists that have taken away their freedom. (Source: Times)




Death: Whatever time is timely (II) A

llah says: “O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that we created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, In order that we may Manifest (Our power) to you; and we cause whom we will to rest In the wombs for an appointed term, then do we bring you out As babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that They know nothing after having known (much), and (further), Thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when we pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).” [alHajj: 5] In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. Last week we saw some of the numerous Qur'anic evidences establishing that Allah has no surprises; nothing takes Him unaware or sudden! In fact, nothing had happened in the pass

nor is happening now, or will ever Allah intended to create our father happen in the nearest or furthest Adam, He addressed the assembly future without His decree on of the Angels and told them His exactly what, when, how, why and plan to appoint a vicegerent to the planet earth for reason best known where. Another proof debunking t h e untimeliness of the death of any being is the creation of an By Husain Zakariyya inbuilt clock t h a t Yawale unstoppably ticks right from +234-8052952900 (sms only) conception through the cradle and to the grave of every to Him alone. He destined for them creation. This clock remind us of to live and die there. Therefore, the the various stages of growth of fact that your sojourn on this planet every living thing. Allah in His has beginning, means that one typical wisdom, set rules of day you will surely vacate it for measurement to all processes from good. Allah says: “(Allah) said: "Get ye down. with life to death. Allah says: “O mankind! if ye have a doubt enmity between yourselves. On about the Resurrection, (consider) earth will be your dwelling-place and that we created you out of dust, then your means of livelihood,- for a time. out of sperm, then out of a leech-like He said: "Therein shall ye live, and clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, therein shall ye die; but from it shall partly formed and partly unformed, ye be taken out (at last).” [al-A'araf: In order that we may Manifest (Our 24-25] Allah has decreed a long time power) to you; and we cause whom we will to rest In the wombs for an before the creation of human race appointed term, then do we bring and their descendance to this earth you out As babes, then (foster you) that they can only live on it. As if that ye may reach your age of full Allah is telling us that no matter strength; and some of you are called your advancement in technology, to die, and some are sent back to the you cannot discover any habitable feeblest old age, so that They know planet conducive and life nothing after having known (much), accommodating, other than this and (further), Thou seest the earth earth! In a way, and for long time barren and lifeless, but when we pour He was warning us to stop wasting down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it both manpower and resources swells, and it puts forth every kind trying to discover another of beautiful growth (in pairs).” [al- habitable planet different from the earth! Hajj: 5] Subsequently, there is another Another reminder which surrounds us is our spacious natural inherent which keep on environment; the earth! When reminding us that changes are


A faithful died while prostrating in Salah at Ka’abah, Saudia Arabia.

continuously taking place inside our body systems signifying our expiration through ageing and senescence. The idea of this signal is to remind us that death is coming at any moment so do not be caught unaware. “Therein will They cry aloud (for assistance): "Our Lord! bring us out: we shall work righteousness, not the (Deeds) we used to do!" - "Did we not give you long Enough life so that He that would should receive admonition? and (moreover) the warner came to you. so taste ye (the Fruits of your deeds): for the wrongdoers there is no helper.” [al-Fatir: 37] The reality of the matter is that there is no untimely death. Every soul knows that life in this world is not permanent or without end. The only problem with us is that we do not get prepared early enough to encounter death, by taking so many things for granted. We have forgotten that our lives are not under our control nor are aware of their exact expiry dates. No one has the precise information of his or her hour. Although, there are only some indicators which serve as sign posts and bills on our fences of lives. There is also no scientific inventions yet, which can give accurate data of the span of our lives. We all have to be contented with these basic natural sighs such as aging, sickness and diseases. However, I am not refusing to accept the fact that there are the occurrences of sudden deaths; sudden because they came

unprepared or too soon than we anticipate! This type of death usually pounces on young people who have set for themselves a fictitious long life span. The truth of the matter remains that Allah has warned us to remain alert always. He is always sending us reminders, directly and indirectly. Every day we open a newspaper or magazine we read advertisement and obituaries of the passing on of people who much younger than us; that is not for fun! In the Qur'an Allah has served us such warnings especially when we find ourselves engulfed in the delusive events of the world; when we are busy businessing! Allah warns: “Say: ‘O My servants who have transgressed against their souls! despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to Our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped. "And follow the best of (the courses) revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes on you - of a sudden while ye perceive not!-Lest the soul should (then) say: 'Ah! woe is me!In that I neglected (my duty) towards Allah, and was but among those who mocked! Or (lest) it should say: 'If only Allah had guided me, I should certainly have been among the righteous! Or (lest) it should say when it (actually) sees the penalty: 'If only I had another chance, I should certainly be among those who do good! (The reply will be:) 'Nay, but there came to Thee My Signs, and Thou Didst reject them: Thou wast haughty, and became one of those who reject faith! On the Day of Judgment wilt Thou see those who told lies against Allah.- their faces will be turned black; is there not In Hell an abode for the haughty? But Allah will deliver the righteous to their place of salvation: no evil shall touch them, nor shall They grieve.” [az-Zumar: 53-61] Indeed! Many a times people become unmindful about death or pretend not to be watchful or get ready about it because of the amount of sins or atrocities they have committed. They became half-hearted with its occurrences in places, simply because they have lost hope in the life after death! This fear and despair, nevertheless, has been alleviated by Allah in what we have just read, adumbrated above. Notwithstanding the amount of sinfulness, Allah is Oftforgiven, oft-Merciful! Just repent, and He is waiting to forgive you forever! The only sin which Allah never forgives anybody who dies without repenting is shirk; associating Him with anything in prayers! Allah says: “Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.” [an-Nisa’i: 48]



Blood and gold: Inside Burma’s hidden war ANALYSIS By Jason Motlagh


ald patches of dirt and shredded tree stumps speak to the artillery barrages that rained down on rebel Capt. Malang Naw Mai and his men when they arrived at their hilltop outpost nine months ago. He has since lost about onefifth of his unit in combat, but the veteran officer insists the Burmese Army's ruthless treatment of ethnic Kachin civilians fuels his resolve to hold the frontline. "I'm proud to be fighting their oppression and I will be satisfied if I die fighting," he says. The war in Kachin reignited last year when the Burmese Army attacked a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) post near a disputed hydropower dam site, ending a 17-year ceasefire. It has since ramped up its offensive, calling into question the authority of a nominally civilian government that has repeatedly ordered it to stop fighting. "This so-called reform process has made it possible for the government and the government means the military - to get away with almost anything," says Bertil Lintner, an author and journalist who has covered Burma for more than 30 years. "Things they would have been severely criticised for in the past are being ignored by the international community." So far, more than 75,000 ethnic Kachin civilians have been driven from their ancestral lands. Human rights groups allege the Burmese army is intentionally attacking civilian areas, with wide-spread evidence of torture, rape, forced conscription and summary executions. Both sides employ child soldiers and continue to sow the ground with land mines. According to a June report by Human Rights Watch, at least 10,000 additional Kachin refugees are stranded in makeshift camps across the border in China, where authorities still refuse to grant the United Nations and relief agencies access. Thousands have reportedly been forced back across the border, into harm's way. Such grim developments contradict the reform narrative now emanating from the longtime pariah state, officially known as Myanmar. Since coming to power last year, the government, led by Thein Sein, a former general, has freed hundreds of prisoners, eased media censorship and reached agreements with other ethnic minority rebel groups in a wide-ranging push to open up the country after decades of isolation. The West has eagerly responded. Following historic byelections in April in which

democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to parliament, the European Union suspended most of its sanctions. The US has likewise declared the country open and appointed its first ambassador in 22 years. In June, just days after formally easing key sanctions against Burma, the US state department led dozens of representatives from top American companies - including Chevron, GE, Boeing, GM, Google and Goldman Sachs - to Burma to meet officials and explore investment opportunities. GE signed a deal that same week. But voices of caution are sounding. In her Nobel prize acceptance speech in June, Suu Kyi warned against "blind faith" in Burma's trajectory, asserting that ethnic tensions like those in Kachin state must be eased for the country to find its footing. As western businesses beat a path to her homeland, Burma watchers are concerned that ongoing rights abuses against the Kachin and other ethnic minorities could be further marginalised. "The international euphoria about the reform in Burma is definitely premature, especially with the crimes against humanity we're seeing in Kachin state," says Matthew Smith, a field investigator with Human Rights Watch. Outmanned and outgunned, KIA guerillas have fought the Burmese military on and off for decades in their bid for greater political rights and control over lands rich in minerals, timber and, more recently, Chinesefunded hydropower projects that were brokered during the ceasefire period. While other rebel movements in Karen and Chin states have inked deals with the government, KIA officials insist the Burmese used the truce as a cover to broker multi-billion dollar energy deals with China without their input. The current fighting was touched off when the Burmese Army advanced on KIA outposts near the Taping River. "The main reason this war goes on is that Burma is trying to solve our differences by force, not dialogue. Even though we are not in a good position, it is compulsory for us to fight for our rights," says Gen. Sumlat Gun Maw, the KIA's vice chief of staff. Recent advances by the Burmese army toward Laiza, the KIA's administrative capital,

Vastly outnumbered and outgunned, the KIA depends on a steady stream of recruits to fill its ranks [Jason Motlagh] have forced the general's staff to relocate their command center to a hotel a stone's throw from the Chinese border. Today, the former boom town is empty, while the newly displaced continue to swell camps on its outskirts. While China's close ties with Burma's former military government are well-known, it also remains the KIA's lifeline to the world. Basic necessities such as medicines and rice must be smuggled into Kachin territory, and the KIA war chest is largely depends on taxes and illicit crossborder trade in products ranging from dry goods to teak. In Laiza, the Chinese Yuan is the currency and Chinese mobile phone networks keep locals connected. China hosts Kachin university students, and when soldiers are seriously injured, lax border controls allow them passage to better hospitals for treatment. At the same time, Chinesefunded infrastructure projects are at the crux of the conflict in Kachin State, none more so than the Myitsone dam, a joint venture between the Burmese government and state-owned China Power Investment Corp. Slated to be the largest of seven along the Irrawaddy River, it was approved on grounds that it would benefit a region with poor infrastructure economic prospects. In fact, the $3.6bn project would have sent


90 percent of the electricity generated to China's southwestern Yunnan province. Sean Turnell, an expert on the Burmese economy, notes that the Kachin have "witnessed decades of having their resources extracted and this causes incredible animosity." The Myitsone dam project, he adds, is a case in point. Adding insult to injury, more than 12,000 Kachin have been forcibly relocated to Chinese-built camps to make way for the dam. While they have been issued free homes, appliances and utilities, they are unable to return to farmlands that have since been ravaged by mining and timber projects. In the face of unprecedented public pressure over the dam's social and environmental impact, President Sein halted construction last year, a rare shot in the arm for civic activism. Yet locals argue work has never stopped, and his orders that the Burmese Army end its brutal campaign in Kachin state continue to be ignored. Gen. Gun Maw of the KIA says this proves Burma's generals still call the shots behind the scenes. "What we want is freedom and liberty," he says. "But the Burmese Army still has no will for dialogue."' In recent months, informal rounds of peace talks between the

At the same time, Chinese-funded infrastructure projects are at the crux of the conflict in Kachin State, none more so than the Myitsone dam, a joint venture between the Burmese government and state-owned China Power Investment Corp.

warring parties have gone nowhere. According to KIA sources, the Burmese Army maneuvered artillery deeper into their territory while one meeting was being held inside China. Many children who fled the fighting arrive in the camps without their parents [Jason Motlagh] Kachin communities continue to be uprooted by the fighting. At a sprawling camp outside of Maija Yang, the second-largest town under KIA-control, fresh waves of displaced Kachin described indiscriminate artillery and mortar fire that killed and maimed even as people fled. "It was chaos; we didn't know which way they were coming from," says Pansang Brang, a 72year-old farmer. Of late many are arriving from Shan state, to the south, where they escaped heavy fighting near pair of major pipelines that will pump oil and gas to China starting next year. May Li Awng, the founder of a grassroots aid group, says she is receiving more and more children who are turning up without their parents. "Some try to run (back to find them) but don't know the way and get lost," she says. For the time being, they are safe from harm. Just eight miles away, up a series of muddy switchbacks, Capt. Naw Mai and his men keep up their bush patrols day and night for signs of Burmese infiltrators. The hilltops are quiet but they must be vigilant. Their forwardmost position sits opposite a Burmese Army outpost less than 1,200 meters away. A days-long gun battle could erupt at any moment. "Even now, we don't initiate fight with the Burmese Army camps around us," he says after surveying the enemy position with his binoculars. "We are just protecting our land." Source:



Striking S.Africa gold miners reject pay rise offer France goes tough with African leaders at Congo summit


resident Francois Hollande looks set to make African leaders sweat at a gathering of French-speaking nations in Democratic Republic of Congo this week, when he attempts to cut murky ties with France's former colonies. More than 70 French-speaking countries, many of them African, will arrive in Kinshasa for the 14th annual Francophonie summit October 12-14, with Congo's eastern rebellion and the Islamist takeover of Mali's north to top the agenda. Hollande has vowed to promote democracy in a continent known for flawed elections and 'sit-tight' leaders, and, unlike his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, he will travel to Africa without any company executives, something that would "muddy the waters", one adviser said. In a sign he means business, he put pressure on the summit's host by saying democracy in Congo, a former Belgian colony, and its rights record is "totally unacceptable", an apparent swipe at 2011 polls that won President Joseph Kabila a second term. "I will address those within French-speaking countries to tell them that this is their language, but there is also the language of values and principles. Among those values and these principles is democracy, good governance and the fight against corruption," Hollande said in Paris late on Tuesday. Yamina Benguigui, France's Minister for the Francophonie said the summit would be an opportunity to set Hollande apart from Sarkozy, who caused outrage in 2007 in Dakar in a speech laced with allusions to colonialism and the suggestion that Africa had failed to embrace progress. The shift in French-African relations is arguably due to France's changing economic priorities - away from Africa and toward the burgeoning markets of China and Latin America.

French President Francois Hollande


triking South African gold miners have rejected the industry's latest wage offer, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday, dimming hopes that wildcat strikes that have paralysed the industry could come to an end. "This was a final offer from the companies. They said take it or leave it," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said. "Now that it has been rejected our options have been exhausted." Since August almost 100,000 workers across South Africa including 75,000 in the mining sector - have downed tools in often illegal and violent strikes that may hit economic growth this year and undermine investor confidence in the minerals hub. Africa's top two bullion producers AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields have been hit by an estimated 48,000 miners taking to the streets fighting for higher wages. The wildcat strikes, which started in the platinum industry and spread to other mining companies and beyond, have raised questions about President Jacob Zuma's leadership and tarnished South Africa's reputation among foreign

investors. Production of platinum group metals fell 1.9 percent in August compared to the same month last year, data showed on Thursday, a sign the unrest was taking its toll

on Africa's biggest economy. Gold output still rose 0.4 percent in August as the strikes only spread to bullion the following month. The rand fell to a 3-1/2 year

low against the dollar earlier this week and Moody's cut South Africa's government bond rating last month, citing the government's difficulty in keeping up with spreading unrest.

Striking platinum mineworkers dance as they leave a meeting on negotiations at Lonmin"s Marikana mine

EU-approved vessels fishing illegally in Sierra Leone- report


ine of the 10 vessels believed to be responsible for the bulk of more than 250 reports of illegal fishing off the coast of Sierra Leone are cleared to export their catches to the European market, an

environment watchdog group has found. Illegal fishing is rampant in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea where impoverished coastal nations with little capacity to police their waters lose up to $1.5 billion in annual

A vessel apprehended for alleged illegal fishing activities

income to ships operating in protected zones or without proper licences. The European Union has set up regulations to prevent vessels involved in so-called illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing from accessing European markets. An 18-month investigation conducted by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), however, documented a long list of abuses including fishing inside exclusion zones, using banned equipment, and transhipping fish illegally at sea. The majority of cases involved ships accredited to sell their seafood at EU ports. "As the world's largest importer of fish, the EU has a crucial responsibility to combat IUU fishing around the world," the report by the British-registered

charity said. "The lack of communication and coordination between the EU and coastal states in West Africa means that there is a vacuum of information on what is happening in the area with the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world." EJF, which carried out surveillance in conjunction with 23 local communities in southern Sierra Leone, said ships refused to pay fines, covered identification markings, bribed officials and fled to neighbouring counties to avoid sanctions. It said many also sailed under so-called flags of convenience. The report says events last year exposed a problematic system under which ships' flag states, many of whom have no effective oversight of vessels, were given the primary responsibility for verifying whether catches were legitimate.

Ghana court refuses to free Argentine warship


Ghanaian court has refused to free an Argentine warship seized in a debt dispute involving the South American nation's creditors. The Libertad, a training ship on a tour of Africa, was detained at the request of NML Capital, which is suing Buenos Aires for defaulting on its loans. Argentina condemned it as a "vulture funds' stunt" and lawyers argued as a military vessel it enjoyed immunity. But the judge said Argentina had waived immunity as part of its loan deal. Akwasi Sarpong in Ghana's capital, Accra, says lawyers acting for the

Argentine vessel also put in a plea for the warship to be allowed to refuel to keep the vessel's engines running and to service the crew. The judge asked lawyers for both sides to come to an agreement on that request, he says. NML Capital is a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management, one of Argentina's former creditors. Argentina defaulted on more than $100bn (ÂŁ62bn) of debt in 2001 and 2002, the biggest default in history. The majority of these loans were restructured in 2005 and 2010, giving creditors around 30% of their money back.

The three-masted tall ship is docked in Tema port, east of the capital Accra


Asia and Middle East


hina's foreign minister on Thursday defended the withdrawal of its senior delegates from the International Monetary Fund meeting in Tokyo as "completely appropriate" although the head of the multilateral organization said they would "lose out".


IMF, World Bank urge China, Japan to overcome differences China's delegation is being led by the Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao and the vice head of the central bank, Yi Gang, instead of their bosses, in what appears to be a snub to Japan as host of the IMF and World Bank meetings

this week. Japan is hosting the gathering for the first time in nearly half a century and about 20,000 people are expected to attend the events, which end on Sunday, making it one of the world's largest

international conferences. The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said she hoped the world's second- and third-largest economies could resolve their differences "harmoniously and expeditiously".

"I think they lose out by not attending the meeting," she said of the Chinese officials. "And they will be missing something great." According to Chinese protocol, only the most senior officials usually lead such trips.

Obama nominates new Afghan commander


Head of the IMF (R) Christine Lagarde with moderator Kaori Iida next to Japan's Finance Minister Koriki Jojima (2nd R) and Klaus Schwab,

resident Barack Obama has nominated General Joseph Dunford, the deputy Marine commander, to lead the war effort in Afghanistan and oversee plans to withdraw most of the US combat forces from the country by the end of 2014. Dunford, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace General John Allen, who was nominated by the president on Wednesday to become NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe. Dunford, who served in Iraq, has been assistant commandant of the Marine Corps since October 2010 and had been widely expected to take charge of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan as Allen rotated out of the post. "If confirmed by the Senate, he will lead our forces through key milestones in our effort that will allow us to bring the war to a close

responsibly as Afghanistan takes full responsibility for its security," Obama said in a statement. Dunford would assume command of 68,000 US troops who make up the bulk of the coalition force of about 100,000. Allen, nominated to succeed Admiral James Stavridis in a post traditionally held by a US officer, led the NATO campaign in Afghanistan from July 2011. Both nominations by Obama are subject to US Senate confirmation. If approved, the moves would take place in early 2013. "For more than a year, General Allen has served with distinction as the commander of US forces and NATO's International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] in Afghanistan, seeing us through a critical period in our military efforts and in Afghanistan's transition," Obama said in a statement.

Israel says drone was Hezbollah's Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the drone shot down over Israel last week was launched by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Israeli fighter planes shot down the drone north of the Negev desert after it entered from the Mediterranean. It flew some 35 miles (55km) inland before being shot down. In a statement, the prime minister vowed that Israel would continue to defend its borders. "We are acting with determination to protect our borders," he said during a visit to the frontier with Egypt. "As we prevented last weekend an attempt by Hezbollah, we shall continue to act aggressively against all threats," he said.

General Joseph Dunford

The drone, which did not carry any explosives, was destroyed over a largely uninhabited area. On at least three occasions unmanned aircraft operated by Hezbollah have been detected over Israeli territory. On Thursday, Mr Netanyahu's office also announced the date of the general election as 22 January. The vote was brought forward by nine months after the prime minister failed to agree an annual budget with his coalition partners. His right-wing coalition government has been in power since 2009. The date selected was chosen as a compromise date following consultations between Mr Netanyahu and heads of

Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize for Literature


Mo Yan is the author's pen name, which means 'don't speak'

hinese author Mo Yan has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for literature. A prolific author, Mo has published dozens of short stories, with his first work published in 1981. The Swedish Academy praised his work which "with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary". The 57-year-old is the first Chinese resident to win the prize. Chinese-born Gao Xingjian was honoured in 2000, but is a French citizen. Mo is the 109th recipient of the prestigious prize, won last year by Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer.

Presented by the Nobel Foundation, the award - only given to living writers - is worth 8 million kronor (ÂŁ741,000). "He has such a unique way of writing. If you read half a page of Mo Yan you immediately recognise it as him," said Peter Englund, head of the Academy. He said Mo had been told of the award, adding: "He was at home with his dad. He said he was overjoyed and terrified." Born Guan Moye, the author writes under the pen name Mo Yan, which means "don't speak" in Chinese. He began writing while a soldier in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and received international fame in 1987 for

Red Sorghum: A Novel of China. Made into a film which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1988, the novella was a tale of the brutal violence in the eastern China countryside where he grew up during the 1920s and 1930s. Favouring to write about China's past rather than contemporary issues, the settings for Mo's works range from the 1911 revolution, Japan's wartime invasion and Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. "He has a very impressive oeuvre," Michel Hockx, Professor of Chinese at the University of London, said. "He has a large readership

and he addresses the human condition in a way in which the Nobel Committee likes to see." Mo's other acclaimed works include Republic of Wine, Life And Death Are Wearing Me Out and Big Breasts and Wide Hips. The latter book caused controversy when it was published in 1995 for its sexual content and depicting a class struggle contrary to the Chinese Communist Party line. The author was forced by the PLA to withdraw it from publication although it was pirated many times. After it was translated into English a decade later, the book won him a nomination for the Man Asian Literary Prize.


Europe and Americas Russia demands Turkey explain intercepted jet


oscow has accused Ankara of endangering Russian l i v e s after Turkey forced a Syrian passenger plane to land and seized what it suspected was military equipment being ferried from Russia to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Damascus said on Thursday the interception of the Syrian Air plane was an act of piracy, further heightening tensions between the neighbours after Turkey's chief of staff warned his troops would respond with greater force if shells from Syria continued to hit Turkish territory. Military jets escorted the Damascus-bound Airbus A320,which was carrying around 30 passengers from Moscow, into Ankara airport late on Wednesday after Turkey received intelligence that it was carrying "non-civilian cargo". Russia, which has stood behind Assad's government during an 18month-old uprising that has killed some 30,000 people, angrily demanded an explanation. "The lives and safety of the passengers were placed under threat", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that 17 of its nationals on board were refused access to Russian diplomatic staff. Turkey said it had acted within international law. "We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace," Ahmet Davutoglu, Syria's foreign minister, said. "We received information this plane was carrying cargo of a nature that could not possibly be in compliance with the rules of civil aviation," he said in Athens during an official visit. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Said, Syria's transport minister, accused Turkey of "air piracy", according to Lebanon's Al-Manar television station. The country has also closed its airspace to Turkish planes, a development that followed Ankara's declaration that Syrian airspace was "unsafe" for Turkish aircraft. Russia is one of the closest allies of Assad's government and has blocked several UN resolutions against Damascus.

The grounded Syrian jet sits on the tarmac in Ankara.


First Black judge to lead Brazil supreme court


he judge overseeing a major corruption trial in Brazil has been appointed president of the Supreme Court, the first black person to hold the post. Judge Joaquim Barbosa, who was born into a poor family, has been praised for his judicial independence. He will take over the post once

the "Mensalao" corruption trial ends. Brazil has the largest black population after Nigeria. Many are descended from African slaves, but black people rarely achieve high office. Mr Barbosa, 58, was elected by his fellow judges, following the Court's tradition of nominating its

most senior member. Born in the remote town of Paracatu in the state of Minas Gerais and the son of a builder, Mr Barbosa was educated in Brazil's much criticised state school system. He later moved to the capital, Brasilia, where he studied for a law degree at the city's best university.

Judge Joaquim Barbosa

To support himself through university, he worked as a typist and a cleaner in one of the city's courts, and later began a successful career as a public prosecutor. In 2003, he became a household name in Brazil when he was appointed by then President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the Supreme Court. Two mixed-race judges had previously been members of the court, but Mr Barbosa said he was the first one who could be "widely recognised as a black man". "This act has great significance, as it indicates to society the end of certain visible and invisible barriers," he said at the time. He has been in the spotlight in Brazil in the last two months as the rapporteur of the case against some of former President Lula's key aides. The case became known locally as "Mensalao", or "the Big Monthly" allowance. Judge Barbosa angered government supporters when he convicted senior members of the Lula government. On Tuesday, former chief of staff Jose Dirceu, the Workers' Party's former president, Jose Genoino, and treasurer Delubio Soares were found guilty of corruption.

French police release five terror suspects


ive men arrested in antiterror raids in France have been freed but seven remain in custody, some of whom allegedly planned to fight in Syria. The 12 were arrested after a grenade attack on a Jewish shop in Paris. Police shot dead the alleged organiser of the attack when he opened fire. Two suspects were involved in a network for Islamists waging jihad abroad, prosecutor Francois Molins said. It was the most dangerous terror cell found in France since 1996, he added. The seven people remaining in custody are expected to appear in court. Following the arrests, bombmaking materials were discovered at a garage in the Paris suburb of Torcy

on Tuesday night. Mr Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said one of the detainees had acted as a contact for would-be jihadists while the other had travelled to Egypt and Tunisia. The alleged cell, he said, was the most dangerous to have been dismantled since the Algerian-based GIA. A number of foreign Islamist militants, including Europeans, have been fighting in Syria on the rebel side, against the government of Bashar alAssad. Two Britons, a man and a woman, were arrested this week at London's Heathrow Airport on suspicion of travelling to Syria in support of alleged terrorist activity, and specifically of a role in the abduction of a British photographer there. The French police raids followed

an attack on a kosher grocery in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on 19 September, in which one person was injured. The man alleged to have organised the attack, 33-year-old

Jeremie Louis-Sidney, was shot dead at his home in Strasbourg on Saturday in an exchange of fire with the police. An ex-prisoner who served time for drug-trafficking, Louis-Sidney had recently converted to Islam.

Garage where the bomb-making materials were found

US embassy security chief killed in Yemen


he Yemeni chief of security at the US embassy in Sanaa has been assassinated, security officials have said. Qassem Aqlani, who was reportedly in his fifties, was shot dead while on his way to work early on Thursday. A gunman on a motorcycle reportedly opened fire at him and fled the scene. Aqlani had been working for the US embassy in the Yemeni capital for nearly 20 years. A US diplomat said Aqlani was in charge of coordinating a US and Yemeni probe into an attack last month on the embassy by protesters angry over an anti-Islam film that

Yemeni soldiers stand guard as protestors demonstrate

triggered a wave of deadly demonstrations across the Muslim world. The attack comes as Yemen's USbacked government is waging an offensive against al-Qaeda's branch in the country, taking back territory and cities in the south that the group seized last year. The assassination resembles other attacks recently that have targeted Yemeni intelligence, military and security officials. Those attacks are believed to be in retaliation for a military offensive by Yemen's US-backed government against Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).




Will the US VP debate deliver substance?


t's hard to find a subject that hasn't been written about ad nauseum in this presidential election already. For the candidates, every word, movement, and campaign commercial has been dissected, evaluated and judged. The national polls remain close - much more so since President Barack Obama's performance in the first debate. It's the conversation one can't get away from: at the grocery store, in a taxi, among White House press colleagues: "What the hell was that?" Even before the moderator [or spectator with a good view, as I'm now referring to Jim Lehrer] took his seat, expectations were very high for the sitting president. His opponent, Mitt Romney, had not exactly proven himself to be the best orator during the Republican primaries. President Obama, on the other hand, is well known for his oratorical prowess. Last Wednesday, however, appeared to prove just the opposite. Obama did not perform well and it cost him. As many media and political commentators have said, he came off as bland, boring and just plain bad. Here is what I do know: Obama's poor showing and

Joe Biden Romney's strong performance has raised the stakes for Vice President Joe Biden. Four years ago, when Biden debated Sarah Palin, the expectations were high, too. The press expected Biden to wipe the floor with the then governor of Alaska. Instead, he delivered a

Paul Ryan muted performance - some say to avoid the impression of coming off as a bully next to his less experienced counterpart. Ryan is not only familiar with the complexities of legislating, but is also quite ideologically charged. So on Thursday night, when these

two go head-to-head, there's the distinct possibility that what we'll see is a real debate. There are many issues that need an honest discussion in this country and these two candidates couldn't be farther apart on most of them. The country seems split along with them. This is a nation divided,

in many ways. The American "to-do" list is growing after two years of broken government: how will you handle a fraying safety net, a stagnant economy and a debt that seems too big to even be real ($16tn)? The country, it seems, needs to pick a side and, in my opinion, the only way to really convince people one way or the other is to have an honest discussion. If there is one chance in this campaign for a real policy discussion, that will probably only be possible at the vice-presidential debate. That may not be what the public gets, however, from the media's dissection of Thursday's spectacle. Commentators have been quick to discuss appearances, body language and the "best lines of the night" - or, as the media describes them, zingers - rather than the actual nuts and bolts of what either side is arguing, and their relative merit. Knowing that, maybe these men, who have both spent their entire adult lives in government, should take the time to explain how they see "their government" at its best and let the people decide which side is right.

In appeal to swing voters, Romney offers a more centrist message


ith less than a month to go before Election Day, Mitt Romney faces a choice between whipping up the support of his conservative base or appealing to swing voters who could be persuaded to back his bid for the presidency. In recent days, Romney has chosen to focus on the latter, pushing a more centrist message on the campaign trail. His latest turn came Tuesday when he told the editorial board of the Des Moines Register that he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion. "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney told the Register.

Romney campaigns in Arizona

He would use an executive order to reinstate the so-called Mexico City policy that bans foreign aid from being used to fund abortions overseas, the Republican candidate told the Register. Still, that's a softer stance from Romney, who strongly advocated cutting federal funds for Planned Parenthood during the Republican primary and has said repeatedly he would appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Afterward, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul appeared to temper Romney's comment, telling National Review that Romney would "of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

But the distinction appeared to be between whether Romney would advocate specific legislation or merely support a bill that came to his desk, if he were elected. Asked for clarification, Saul simply emailed a somewhat vague statement she had provided to other news organizations seeking comment. "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a prolife president," Saul said in an email to Yahoo News. In a statement to reporters, Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith called Romney's statement "deceptive." "It's troubling that Mitt Romney is so willing to play politics with such important issues," Smith said. "But we know the truth about where he stands on a woman's right to choose. Women simply can't trust him." Romney's abortion comments come as the candidate has softened his approach on the trail, sprinkling his stump speech with personal anecdotes about the Americans he's met on the trail and helped in his private life. At the same time, he's embraced a more moderate political stance, emphasizing bipartisanship in Washington-a theme he's talked about previously on the trail but made a focal point of his remarks at his first debate with President

Barack Obama. "I will do everything in my power to draw on that greatness of the American people: to make us more united as a people, to have us pull together, to reach across the aisle and find good Democrats in the House and Senate that care deeply about America just as I do," Romney said at a rally in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Sunday. "I know they're there. I know they'll work together if they have leadership that will actually work and share credit and find ways to solve our great challenges. I know that's going to happen." It's a message that Romney is expected to push again and again in the coming weeks. Aides to the GOP candidate told Yahoo News his closing argument will include a heavy emphasis on his record as governor of Massachusettswhere, as he often reminds voters, he was a Republican in a heavily Democratic state. That's a shift from Romney's message in February, when he told a gathering of Republican activists that he had been a "severely conservative" governor in Massachusetts. But one major unknown is whether Romney will move to embrace the health care reform law he signed as governor of Massachusetts. It's legislation that is widely considered to be Romney's shining policy legacy but one

he has distanced himself from as he has campaigned to repeal Obama's health care law, which was modeled after Romney's bill. But Romney has softened his language there, too, telling NBC News in an interview last month that his decision to champion health care reform in Massachusetts is proof of his "empathy and care" for the American people. That interview came as Romney sought to defend his remarks, captured on a secret video at a May fundraiser, in which he suggested Obama supporters-which he estimated to be 47 percent of the countryhad a "victim" mentality and were too dependent on the government. After the video was made public, Romney initially doubled down on his remarks. But in an interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity the day after his first debate with Obama, Romney dialed back on that rhetoric, too, insisting he had been "completely wrong" to make the suggestion. "Clearly in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands, of speeches and question-andanswer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong," Romney said. "I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that's been demonstrated throughout my life."


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2012 With Tobias Lengnan Dapam 07036990957

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln film to premier in November B O

D’banj signs new music producer after Jay Sleek joins label

ne of the best directors in the history of Hollywood, Steven Spielberg is set to premier a movie about the former President of the United State of America (USA), Abraham Lincoln, on November 9th, 2012,Hollywood reporter has said. It added that the movie which starred Daniel DayLewis as President Abraham Lincoln — will play first in only a few theaters before expanding its footprint on Nov. 16. Hollywood reporter added that the film which is titled; ‘Saving Lincoln’ is the Newest Movie in 2012’s crush of films

arely three weeks after D’Banj signed popular music producer, Jay Sleek into his new record label, DB Records, he has picked another music producer, Divine Ifeanyi Austin better known as Fear Deevee, to join Jay Sleek in his music label, has said. It said that the producer after working with the likes of EddyRemedy, D’Prince, Shank, Wizkid, Davido, Muma Gee, Wande Coal, Terry G, Piper, DammyKrane and recently with D’Banj’s brother, Kay Switch in ‘SisterCaro’, ‘Gone Are The Days’ and ‘Oluwa Is Involved’, Fear Deevee now has the opportunity to work with the ‘Kokomaster’, as D’Banj is fondly called. A representative of Fear Deevee disclosed to that the deal was signed this week by the parties involved. It was also gathered that Fear Deevee is ready to deliver and soar high with working with D’Banj.

about the 16th President. Also as partners, Disney will distribute Lincoln domestically through its touchstone label, while 20th Century Fox will release internationally. The two studios partnered in financing the biopic, is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Hollywood reporter further said that the film, starring Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones is a likely award contender and will hit theaters just as awards season beginner.

At last, Tonto Dike drops album


ulti- talented actress, Tonto Dike whose incursion into music industry was announced through her twitter a few days back has finally released her single album, has revealed. The sultry actress, Tonto who was seriously attacked by her fans when she made her pronouncement into music is

about to become the new kid on the musical scene as her single titled “Itz ova” and “hi” have been slated for online release from Wednesday October 17,2012. It added that another track “hi”is in a way more like techno pop and was inspired by Wiz Khalifa. The track is somewhat controversial and has lyrics that will leave peoples mouth hanging open.

Abraham Lincoln

First AMBO winner turns musician


he name Azizat Sadiq otherwise known as Zeeza is not new in the Nigerian showbiz industry, particularly Nollywood, after winning the first ever Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) Season one, which earned her a lead role in the movie ‘Sitanda’. Zeeza has also had a slight romance with media powerhouses like BBC World Service Trust and MNET

Africa on projects like ‘Wetin Dey’ and Edge of Paradise. She later went to the UK, where she is now based. After being away for a time, Zeeza has now made a stunning comeback to the razzmatazz industry by delving into music. This is coming after completing a course in music in the UK, has said. Just like the likes of Tiwa Savage and others who

stormed Nigeria from abroad to pursue music career, Zeeza is now ready to take the Nigerian music industry by storm. With three singles, she is not stopping. The most prominent of the songs ‘Laulau’ features One Lyf. Zeeza is currently working on a musical movie called ‘Urban Rhythm’ where she played as an artist and is also recording songs for her upcoming album.

2face, D’banj record new song


he first-ever musical collaboration between 2face and D’banj is set to take it toll as the duo have started recoding on a new song, has said. This development has excited stakeholders in the entertainment industry, who described it as a marvelous collaboration. It further learnt that the two sensational voices in the music industry had last week disclosed that a video was already been shot for the Don Jazzy-produced song titled. ‘Feeling good’.

L-R: 2face and D’banj

Madonna dedicates L.A. performance to child activist shot in Pakistan


adonna brought her eye-popping MDNA tour to L.A.'s Staples Center on Wednesday night, where she dedicated a song to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani child activist shot in the head and neck on Tuesday by a

masked member of the Taliban, Hollywood reporter has said. Dressed in a leather skirt and black beret, the music icon took a break from the evening's theatrics to tell the sold-out crowd of 18,000 that it was

time "to have our serious chat." This made me cry," Madonna said. "The 14-yearold schoolgirl who wote a blog about going to school. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you realize how sick that is?" she told the crowd.

"Support education! Support women!" she shouted, to the crowd's cheers of approval. Yousafzai, one of the most outspoken and influential advocates for girls' rights to education in the Middle East, remains unconscious in a

hospital since the shooting. However, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said of the assassination attempt, "Let this be a lesson," and pledged that the Taliban would try again to kill her should she survive her injuries.



Titanic: Jack didn’t have to die, says Mythbusters T

he long the subject of debate on whether Leonardo DiCaprio’s character had to freeze to death is finally laid to rest as Mythbuster’s version disagree

with Cameron. The original version by Cameron in the finale that broke the heart of millions of young girls in 1997, dreamy free spirit Jack Dawson

(Leonardo DiCaprio) froze to death in the icy Arctic as he clung to a makeshift raft selfishly boarded by his new girlfriend (played by Kate Winslet).

Actress Kate Winsler and Leonardo DiCaprio

Many saw that as an ultimate sacrifice, going down with the Titanic to save his young love, but whether it was necessary, pundits posited that the pair could have shared the raft, or taken turns on the wooden island of hope. Hollywood reporter revealed that a new episode of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie test the various ways Jack could have survived. Turns out, a little life jacket improvisation could have meant that Jack didn’t become a handsome Popsicle. However, the director of the epic, James Cameron was less than convinced, that the scenario had to happen in the script, he said, even if his scientific thesis was proven wrong. “Actually, it’s not a question of room, it’s a question of buoyancy,” Cameron told IGN recently. “When Jack puts Rose on the raft, then he tries to get on the raft. He’s not an idiot, he doesn’t want to die. And the raft sinks and kind of flips. So it’s clear that there’s only enough buoyancy available for one person. So he makes a decision to let her be that person instead of taking them both down.”

Jude Abaga (MI)

MI now UN Ambassador on migrants smuggling


ude Abaga popularly known as MI or Mr. Incredible has been nominated as a UN ambassador on smuggling of immigrants, has said. The popular rapper was nominated this tuesday in Abuja to lend his prominent voice in speaking strongly against the menace of smuggling. The smuggling of migrants into different countries has become a cause of concern especially to the the United Nations which is working assiduously to limit the rampant movement of people from one country to another.

Nkem Owoh tussles widow over land


his is not about camera ready, action thing, but this is a transfer of character from Nollywood films in to reality, as a

reknown actor, Nkem Nwoh, was reported to have engaged a widow in a land tussle, has revealed.

It added that the petition before Enugu State Commissioner of Police indicated that the actor was alleged to have fraudulently acquired the land which belonged to a widow. “On September 30, according to the report, Osuofia who bought a disputed land, went to that portion of land with thugs, where a widow had built a house, demolished the entire building. “Meanwhile the land

belongs to this widow, who had secured it with the husband before the man passed on. Somehow, Osuofia got the title documents from God knows where and when it became clear he wrongfully bought the land, he tried to beg the widow, Mrs. Gloria Ayogu, to sell but the woman blatantly refused”, the petition said. H o w e v e r , said when it was evident that the woman didn’t bug, Nkem, who had,

persuaded and later started threatening her, the woman insisted she was not selling because that was the only thing her husband, Late Ben Ayogu, left for her three young children. “I call on men of goodwill to join in condemning this dastardly act of this man. He had been bribing his way around police circles but a petition is currently before the Enugu State Commissioner of Police on this matter, “the widow said.

Chidi Mokeme returns to anchor Gulder ultimate search after seven years


Nkem Owoh

alented Nollywood actor and TV host, Chidi Mokeme has made a stunning comeback into Gulder Ultimate Search (GUS), which he anchored in its first and second seasons, has revealed. This development is coming seven years after Mokeme left the show. Since he dumped the reality TV show, many lovers of GUS have craved for his return as they complain that other hosts, Tintin and Bob Manuel Ndokwu do not have the spice Chidi adds to the TV programme. Now, the organisers of the show have returned Chidi

amidst drop in the viewership of the programme to increase the level of followership.

Chidi Mokeme

This year’s edition is being held at the Usaka Forest in Obot Akara, Akwa Ibom State.



Toddler gulp’s whisky instead of juice at birthday party A

toddler drank half a glass of whisky through a straw after a restaurant accidentally served him spirits instead of fruit juice at his second birthday party. Sonny Rees drank the 40 per cent alcohol, which was served with water, when the error went unnoticed at Frankie and Benny's restaurant in Swansea. But when he started pulling strange faces and wriggling in his chair each time he took a sip, his mother smelled the unmistakable whiff of spirits in his glass. Sonny was taken to an accident and emergency unit where he was kept under observation by doctors. His anxious mother Nina Rees, 34, said: 'We went to the restaurant just after midday, and I had ordered him lime juice and water, his

Sonny Rees, 2, tucking into a whisky class

Cassie Slane waThe Frankie and Benny's restaurant in Swansea where staff served Sonny the alcoholic drinks selling a child-friendly computer tablet on the home shopping channel when she collapsed

favourite. 'The drinks arrived and i was encouraging him to take sips because he was eating salty things. 'We had finished our first course when we noticed he was pulling a face as he was drinking. I took the glass from him and took a sip myself. 'It was whisky, I would say a double. As soon as I sipped it I had the slight burning feeling in my throat and warming in my chest. 'Sonny had taken about ten sips - he was obviously intoxicated. I immediately went into a panic and a rage - I was crying my eyes out.' The family even took birthday photos of Sonny with his drink, not realising what it actually was. Sonny was asleep by the time he arrived at Morriston Hospital in Swansea where staff monitored his vital signs. He was later given the all-clear and allowed home. The two-year-old has now completely recovered while the restaurant carries out an investigation into Saturday's drinks mix-up. Mrs Rees, her husband Howell and six other family members took Sonny to their local Frankie and Benny's for his birthday. The family ordered a fruit cordial for Sonny - but a stag-do was going on in the bar and staff mixed up Sonny's drink with a whisky and water ordered by one of the male revellers. Mrs Rees, an IT teacher, complained to the manageress who refused to believe her until she took a sip herself. Mrs Rees said: 'The reaction of staff at first was awful. They said it couldn't have happened and just went and got him some water and walked off. They more or less dismissed me. 'I called NHS Direct who told me

to take him straight to A&E.' The restaurant gave the family a 50 per cent discount off their bill and a manager phoned Mr and Mrs Rees at home in Pontarddulais, Swansea, the next day to apologise. A Frankie and Benny's spokesman said: 'The company is incredibly sorry for what happened. It was a human error and we are putting measures in place to ensure it never happens again.'

Brewery Debuts Bull Testicle Beer


Colorado brewery's newest stout features an unusual list of ingredients: roasted barley, hops, sea salt, local malts and bull testicles. What started as an April Fool's joke is now the Wynkoop Brewing Company's latest brew, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, the Daily News reported. Flavored with 25 pounds of bull testicles, a local delicacy in Colorado, the beer was thought up originally as a hoax. But when beer bloggers and customers requested samples, brewers decided to give bull testicle beer a try, the Daily News said. Wynkoop describes Rocky Mountain Oyster as a slightly viscous, deep-brown stout with hints of chocolate syrup, Kahlua and expresso flavoring, along with a savory umami-like note. The brewery will debut its newest beer at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver from Oct. 11-13.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company recently created the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, a bull testicle-flavored beer

Florida zoo charges visitors $200 to swim with tiger cubs for half hour


private zoo in Florida is charging visitors $200 to spend a half hour swimming and playing with baby tigers. Dade City's Wild Things, which is located outside of Tampa, Florida, advertises its new money-making attraction as 'an amazing encounter' that includes 'playing in the grass, bottle time and swim time,' according to its website.

A guest having a $200 swim

The zoo charges an additional $10 for anyone that wants watch the encounter. The price includes a CD with photos and videos of the experience 'including action shots and posed shots in the water with your cub,' according to the website. The one-on-one playtime is limited to tigers no heavier than 40 pounds, due to a state law that restricts how closely the

public may interact with large cats. Animal rights activists condemn the zoo's practice of charging visitors for access to the animals, calling it abusive and dangerous to the animals' health. 'The cubs are awakened repeatedly for anyone who will pay to pet them or take photos with them,' said one critic on the 911 Animal Abuse website. 'Cubs don't like holding still for petting sessions and photo opportunities. The swimming solves that problem ‌ because the cub has to swim for dear life.' The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a warning citation to Dade City's Wild Things last year for a number of violations, including an incident in which a handler forced a tiger cub into a swimming pool after the animal appeared hesitant to enter the water. When the animal tried to exit the pool, the handler forced it to keep swimming. 'The cub swam towards the

Animal handlers at the Florida zoo say the big cats love to swim and interact with people handler located at the pool wall and extended its paws towards the edge of the pool apparently wanting to get out of the pool,' a U.S. Department of Agriculture official wrote in an inspection report dated September 2011. 'Instead of pulling the cat out of the water and stopping the encounter the handler decided to continue with the swimming.' The zoo says the animals enjoy swimming and that they are especially easy to control in

the water. 'Tigers are known as the best swimmers of all the big cats, with webbing between their toes to make their feet more like flippers,' the zoo states on its website. 'We can manipulate them more easily as they are floating. When they are young, they love taking baths and then we slowly introduce them to the pool.' The zoo also offers swimming lessons with alligators whose mouths are taped shut.


By Solomon Asowata


n Sept. 18, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, released 233 inmates from the Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Security Prisons in Apapa, Lagos. Phillips set the prisoners free during her visit to the prisons. One hundred and thirty of the released prisoners were from the maximum security prison and 103 were from the medium security prison. Some of the freed prisoners, according to the prison authorities, had spent more than 12 years in prison awaiting trial. Phillips said that the prisoners’ release was pursuant to the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Special Provision Act CAP C40, 2007, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. She said the law empowered the chief judge to grant freedom to inmates who had been in custody for a long duration awaiting trial and those who had shown genuine remorse for their offences. According to her, the gesture is also aimed at reducing prison congestion. “This is our own little way of reducing congestion in our prisons. “Besides, there is a maxim we have in law that it is better for 10 guilty persons to go free than for one innocent person to be unjustly incarcerated. “For those of you who are lucky to be released today, I admonish you to go and sin no more; I want you to go and make your mark positively in the society”, Phillips told the inmates. The chief judge, however, warned against the temptation of releasing prisoners arbitrarily, stressing that a thorough screening of the inmates ought to be carried out before any release was affected. She pledged to visit prisons regularly to carry out similar exercises in future. In his remark, Mr Tinu Oye, the Deputy Controller, Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, commended the chief judge for the gesture, noting that some of the inmates had spent more than 12 years in prison awaiting trial, even for minor offences. Oye said that the Prerogative of Mercy Committee, which was set up by the Federal Government, should regularly visit prisons across the country to address such cases. “A lot of our inmates are writing their GCE (General Certification of Education) examinations. “Some of them are students of the National Open University of Nigeria and they need scholarships to enable them to complete their studies,” he said. Also speaking, Mr Tunde Ladipo, the Deputy Controller, Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, described the number of inmates released during the exercise as unprecedented. Ladipo stressed that 2,370 out of the 2,502 inmates of the prison were awaiting trial, adding that the situation resulted in the prison’s congestion. Sharing similar sentiments,


Prisoners’ rehabilitation and crime reduction

L-R: Mr Bello Sucess, Controller-General Nigerian Prisons Service, Zakari Ibrahim, and Ogun state Controller of Prisons, Mr Adams Babatunde-Lawal recenty at Ibara Prison, Abeokuta, during the Controller-General's visit to Ogun state. Photo: NAN Mr Ade Ipaye, Lagos State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, said that the inmates’ release would effectively decongest the prisons. “The release of the inmates sends a very strong signal not only on the capacity of the chief judge but also on the excellence which Lagos State is known for,’’ he said. Ipaye noted that it was a common principle in law that “a man is presumed innocent until he is found guilty by a competent court of law”. He, therefore, said that keeping people in detention for a long period without convicting them of any specific offence was barbaric; stressing that such practice should be abolished in the interest of justice. All the same, Mr Adesina Adegbite, the General Secretary of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, kicked against the release of the inmates. He said that the government released the prisoners without carrying out a comprehensive data capture activity on them. Adegbite stressed that the preparation of a computerised database of prisoners who were paroled was desirable as part of efforts to monitor the movement

and activities of freed prisoners. “These people have been released into the society and we have no way of checking their activities now. “Some of them have nobody to turn to in the outside world and may, thus, be forced into criminal activities again,’’ he added. Mr Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, the Director, Prisoners’ Rights Advocacy Initiative (PRAI), shared a similar viewpoint, insisting that the state government ought to have captured the inmates’ data prior to their release. “It would have been better if the Lagos State Government had made efforts to rehabilitate the released inmates for the next two months, at least, and resettle them properly. “For most of them, the future is bleak. I hope and pray that in the coming months, Lagos State will not experience an unprecedented rise in armed robbery cases,’’ Adetola-Kazeem said. Two prisoners, Williams Owode and Azubuike Ossai, who are serving life sentences at the maximum prison, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most of the released prisoners might soon return to the prison. Owode, who has so far spent

18 years in prison for murder, noted that most of the released prisoners had not acquired sufficient skills to enable them to earn a living. Ossai, who said that he had spent more than 10 years awaiting trial before his conviction for murder in June 2004, said: “We that have been here long enough to know that some of these people who are jubilating now will be back here in the next few months,” he said. Ossai, nonetheless, conceded that some inmates of the prisons had been learning trades such as tailoring and shoe making. “Some of us have even graduated from the university but nobody is looking into our cases,’’ he moaned. Such cynical comments notwithstanding, the released prisoners were full of praises for the chief judge, expressing profound gratitude for their rescue from prison. Betram Anwagu, 54, recalled that he was remanded in prison on July 20, 2005, after he was arrested over alleged armed robbery. “I was selling provisions at the CMS area; one day, I fought with another trader and the police came to arrest us. “The next day, they brought

two other men to join us in the cell and later took all of us to court on robbery charges. “That was how I found myself here and even the woman I was planning to marry has abandoned me,” he moaned. Anwagu said that his major preoccupation now was how to survive in the society. “When I was there (prison), I learnt how to make shoes. If I am able to raise some money, I will eke out a living as a shoe maker,” he said. For 25-year-old Kehinde Arewa, who spent five years in the prison before his release, reuniting with his family in Ilesa, Osun State, was his top priority. “I want to go and see my family because it has been a long time since I saw them last,” said Arewa, who claimed that he was a tailor before his arrest and incarceration over alleged robbery Analysts believe that even though the prisoners’ release is commendable, governments, individuals, groups and corporate organisations should make concerted efforts to rehabilitate and resettle freed prisoners. Such efforts would discourage the ex-prisoners from going into crime again, some say. Source: NAN



Tomatoes shown to lower stroke risk I

n a groundbreaking new study that’s sure to send healthconscious guys running to the produce market, tomatoes now are linked to lower stroke risk in men. Researchers examining the blood levels of more than 1,000 Finnish men ages 46 to 65, found that those whose blood contained the highest levels of lycopene had 55 percent less chance of suffering a stroke. Those results, published in the October 8 issue of the journal Neurology, held true even after adjusting for the men’s age, health and other risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Because stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country, the fact that simply adding more tomatoes to your diet can add years to their life is big news for men in their middle years. Effects of lycopene on women’s stroke risk was not studied. Why Lycopene? Lycopenes are a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and helps guard against the formation of blood clots that block blood flow to the brain, Jouni Karppi of the department of medicine at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland and lead author of the study, told ABC News. “Eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods is associated with a lower risk of any stroke,” Karppi said. “This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke.”

The study followed the men for an average of 12 years, during which time 67 of them had a stroke. Lycopene was the only antioxidant associated with a lower risk. While researchers also checked levels of the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and retinol in the men’s blood, none of those were linked to a reduced stroke

risk. 10 Diet Changes to Extend Your Life It’s That Flashy Red Colour Tomatoes and other brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are full of serum carotenoids, the yellow, orange and red pigments that give produce its vivid color and, scientists already knew, help to prevent heart disease and

stroke. The Finnish study affirms that it is lycopene, the powerful red carotenoid found in tomatoes, that is most effective in avoiding strokes. High levels of lycopene also are found in tomato-based products, such as tomato sauces and paste. “This study supports the recommendation of eating [more] servings of fruits and vegetables

a day,” said Nancy Copperman, MS, RD, director of public health initiatives at the North ShoreLong Island Jewish Health System, in an interview with MedPage Today. For a break from eating tomatoes, she recommends eating watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava, all rich in lycopene. Source:

found in legumes and whole grains. Talking about a source of complex carbohydrates - honey; a recent theory has enlightened a relation between weight loss and honey. A spoon full or two of honey

just before sleep, either with warm water or just the honey, fuels up the liver, eases your stress hormone and assists in the fat burning process of the body. It also brings good sleep as well as helping you lose weight.

Various ways you can have honey in your diet With warm water: Fats, the unused resource in your body, has no use as in today’s scenario. Basically, your body stores fats to be used at the time of starvation

which is almost a situation that you may rarely go through. Now, the fats are nothing but a reason for you being overweight and unhealthy. Honey has been observed to mobilise the fats and thus help in burning them for release of energy. This energy is used for various physical activities. You can have a table spoon of honey added to the same amount of warm water. It will help you in proper food digestion as well decrease your weight. With lemon: Honey can also be taken along with warm water and lemon juice. Most people have this drink early in the morning believing it to help in losing belly fat. With cinnamon: You can also add cinnamon powder in warm water along with honey. Mix one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of cinnamon powder and a cup of warm water properly and then have it on an empty stomach. Although many people have experienced weight loss with regular consumption of this mixture, it has not yet been found out as to how it brings that effect. Honey has many other health benefits too, apart from weight loss. If you are overweight and want to lose weight, try cutting your calorie intake but make sure that you do not deprive your body of essential nutrients. Source:

Benefits of honey for weight loss H

oney can be used as an aid to weight loss © Rex Your diet plays an important role in your attempt to lose weight. Whatever you eat is a source of calories and may get converted into fats if not eaten in a controlled manner. Various low calorie foods are advised for people who are obese and need to lose weight. Out of those many food stuffs, there is replacement to the high calorie sugar i.e. honey. You may find many substitutes to sugar but honey is one of the natural substitutes and is not prepared out of any processing. This makes it a better choice if you are really concerned about your health. Honey has various health benefits, apart from just reducing your calorie intake. If you feel discomfort after meals and have digestion problems, you can have honey after meals for proper digestion of food and prevention against many other stomach problems. Honey is a source of simple carbohydrates. If your food is rich in sugar or some complexes of sugars, they are carbohydrates. Being simple or complex carbohydrate depends on the stacking and binding of sugar molecules. When the sugar molecules are stacked in rows, it forms complex carbohydrates which take longer time to get digested. These types of carbohydrates are most often



NRF Inaugurates Constitutional Review Committee By Umar Muhammad Puma


he Northern Reawaking Forum (NRF) has inaugurated a 38 man committee Constitution Review Committee headed by Prof. Muhammad Nur Alkali that will look at the 1999 constitution with a view to proposing amendments in any area which, in its opinion, will add value to the general structures, better governance and stable polity. Inaugurating the committee in Abuja yesterday, the Chairman of the group, Hon. Muhammad Kumalia, said the aim of the group is to promote good leadership, which will make positive impact in the lives of not only the northerners, but the entire country. According to him, the Forum is a non-partisan, non religious nonethnic and nonprofit organization aimed at promoting the values and objectives of the region, thereby promoting socio-economic and strategic interest of the north. Kumalia said the committee members were carefully selected to facilitate the articulation of positions that would represent the interest of the region. "A Constitution is the ground norm of the society and serves as the compendium of their way of life, ours cannot be different; it must be a writing template that will reflect that which represents the wishes and aspiration of our people". He added that the Forum deemed it imperative to set up a constitutional review committee to look at all the issues being canvassed in the polity and come up with proposal for the amendment and or repeal and re-enactment of the constitution. He added that the committee's selection was done on merit and distinction. "This is a clarion call to duty and the redemption of our people from squalor, poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment," he charged. In his acceptance speech, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Alkali callede on the members of the committee to work hard and appealed to them to be more dedicated and contribute positively with open mind in order to achieve the aims and objectives of the committee.

Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tamubuwal (3rd left),celebrant, Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa (middle) ,Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (3rd right) ,House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande Adeola (2nd right), Hon. Samuel Adejare ,Muniru Hakeem (left), and other dignitaries, during the 50th birthday of Abika Dabiri Erewa, yesterday at National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Reps vow to continue fight against corruption By Lawrence Olaoye


peaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal yesterday stated that the House will not relent in its battle against corruption, bad leadership and commitment to good governance. The speaker said this when South East leaders under the auspices of South East People's Assembly paid a courtesy visit on

the leadership of the House. The group was received by Speaker Tambuwal and his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, who later led other members of the House present into closed door session with the visitors. Tambuwal challenged political office holders to be fair and equitable while discharging the responsibilities entrusted to them as leaders while enjoining them to re-examine themselves

and their activities with a view to ensuring that benefits of democracy get to all Nigerians. He noted that the House was being driven by the tendency of ensuring that democratic dividends trickle down to the citizens of the country thereby stimulating a better Nigeria. Leader of the delegation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, commended the House leadership for the effective manner they

championed the battle against corruption in the oil sector, urging them to remain consistent. Some of the South East leaders who were on the delegation included; Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Dr. Walter Ofonagoro, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Senator Sylvanus Ngele, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Comrade Peace Obiajulu, and a host of others

Ogun Assembly warns council chairmen against diversion of fund


he Ogun Assembly Committee on Local Government on Wednesday in Abeokuta warned council chairmen against diverting funds meant for capital projects. The chairman of the committee, Mr Olakunle Oluomo, gave the warning during the committee’s oversight visit to Ewekoro, Ifo and

Ado Odo/Ota councils. He said that any money received from federal allocation through the state government should be used in developing the local government areas. Oluomo advised the chairmen to embark on aggressive revenue drive to increase their internallygenerated revenue and avoid

depending solely on federal allocation. He also advised them to be prudent and transparent in running the affairs of their councils, and endeavour to carry along councillors in conducting the affairs of the councils. “The councillors should be involved in the activities of the local

government so that they will have the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of their wards,’’ he said. Mr Oludele Soluade, the chairman of Ewekoro Local Government, said that the council had started the grading of roads in some wards in the local government. (NAN)

Flood fund: ANPP calls for transparency By Umar Muhammad Puma


ollowing the approval of the establishment of a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to raise funds in support of government's efforts to provide urgent relief for victims of recent floods across the country, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has called on the committee to be more transparent and accountable so that the purpose

for setting the up the body will not be defeated. The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Emma Eneukwu, stated that the party is worried because the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has a doubtful history of adhering to best practices. While noting that the fund requires undiluted application of developmental best practices, the ANPP stated "We are reminded of a

similar patriotic and laudable intervention project in the no distant past which turned out fraudulent to the utmost embarrassment of the nation. Then, Mr Kenny Martins and friends, managed to secure The Presidency's nod in a project they explained would help salvage the fast dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian Police infrastructure and human capacity, but turned around to embezzle the N50 billion

raised from the people in a fiscal coup led by Martins". The Fund Raising Committee recently constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan has more than thirty members to be co-chaired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba. Others in the committee include Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr. (the Chief Fund Mobiliser) and representation from credible institutions, the National Assembly, diplomatic missions, and

international development partners. ANPP stated "Let Nigerians also be reminded that the said Presidential Committee on Police Equipment Fund [PCPEF] was also made up of credible individuals known for their integrity, including personalities from the corporate sectors, aviation, local government, multinationals, media, embassies, hotels, industrial sector, law enforcement, and so on".



Kogi guber suit: Wada floors Makinde By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he legal tussle over the election of Captain Idris Wada as governor of Kogi state was yesterday brought to an end as a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the suit filed by a chieftain of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Hon. Oyebode Makinde challenging Wada's swearing in. Makinde, in the suit filed through his counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) wants the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state. Oyebode had hinged his application on the ground that he was interested in contesting the

governorship seat of Kogi state. The trial Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, in his judgement held that the plaintiff has no locus to institute the said case since he did not participate in both the primary election of the PDP where Wada emerged as the standard bearer of the party and the December 3, 2012 gubernatorial election where Wada eventually emerged as the governor of the state. The Judge said, "I have gone through the affidavit deposed to by the plaintiff, I cannot find anywhere the plaintiff averred that he contested the primary where the third respondent emerged, winner, there is also nowhere in the affidavit that said he contested the governorship

election. His only ground is that he is interested in contesting the election. "This is not enough ground to qualify him to institute a suit, the suit seems to me as an afterthought or why did he wait until after the swearing in before coming to court. The plaintiff does not have the locus standi to bring this suit", Justice Kafarati stated. On the issue of jurisdiction, Justice Kafarati held that the court does not have the power to entertain the suit being a post election matter adding also that the suit should have been directed to the state election petition tribunal. He said: "It is apparent that this case was filed after the election and swearing in of the third defendant,

it is obvious that the plaintiff is challenging the election. The Electoral Act has established election petition tribunal in all the states of the federation and it is vested in them jurisdiction to hear all post election matters. "It is clear that Section 285(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 33 of the Electoral Act as amended provided that it is only the tribunal that can hear post election matter. "The claim of the plaintiff is outside the jurisdiction of the court, the suit is hereby dismissed", the Judge held. The court however awarded the cost of N150, 000 in favour of the governor and N100, 000 in favour of INEC.

Osun PDP clears air on kidnap of Speaker’s wife


he PDP in Osun yesterday dissociated the party from the kidnap of Muibat, the wife of the Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salam. Mr Diran Odeyemi, the state PDP Director of Publicity, Media and Strategy, made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo. NAN recalls that some hoodlums had kidnapped the Speaker’s wife late on Tuesday while returning home from her shop at Oke-Oyo area of Ejigbo in Osun. Odeyemi dismissed the insinuations in certain quarters that the abductors might be PDP members hoping to settle a political score with the ACN in Osun. “It is criminal of any right thinking person to think that way. “The PDP, as one of the opposition parties in the state, is not violent and more so, we don’t have anything to do with the Speaker. “As a matter of fact, we in the PDP even sympathise with the Speaker for the kidnap of his wife by suspected kidnappers. “And it is our wish that she comes back home unhurt,” he said. Also speaking, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, the ACN Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy in Osun, urged the Federal Government to tackle the security challenges in the country. The ACN spokesman urged the state police command to do everything possible in securing the immediate release of Muibat from her captors. (NAN).

L-R: Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Senate President David Mark, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Chairman, Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, during the public hearing on the proposed amendment of 1999 constitution, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Lawmakers call on FG to resettle flood victims in Rivers


he Deputy Leader of Rivers House of Assembly, Mr. Ewor Robinson, has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to resettle victims of flood disaster in the state. Ahoada-East, Ahoada West and Abua/Odual local government areas were mostly affected by the devastating flood in Rivers. In a motion before the House on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Robinson also urged the Federal

Government to provide relief materials for the affected communities. Robinson, who represents Ahoada East constituency 1 in the assembly, called on the state government to urgently apply measures to mitigate the sufferings of the affected people. He appealed to the House to send delegations to the affected communities to carry out onthe- spot assessment of the situation. The lawmaker called on

both the state government and the relevant council authorities in areas where the flood took place to provide food items for the victims to cushion the effect of food scarcity. The deputy leader appealed to the House to take any other steps deemed necessary to alleviate their sufferings. NAN reports that 14 communities were affected by flood in Ahoada East, 23 in Ahoada West and 21 in Abua/ Odual. ( NAN)

Momoh wants citizens to see Nigeria beyond 2015


rince Tony Momoh, the National Chairman, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has called on Nigerians to see the existence of Nigeria beyond 2015. Momoh, a former Information Minister, made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday. According to him, nobody

should doubt the existence of Nigeria beyond 2015. “The year 2015 will come will go, Nigeria will not break up, the fact is that Nigeria is going to grow, evil may be everywhere in Nigeria but evil has a life span,” he said. He said that the CPC believed that Nigeria would grow from strength to strength anchored on justice. Momoh, however, stressed the

need for Nigerians to uphold justice for the development and sustenance of “true democracy” in the country. He predicted that Nigeria would become a world leader in the next 25 years with equity, fairness and justice in place. “Nigeria does not just have a future, it has a mission, within the next 25 years Nigeria will be a world power anchored on spiritual recognition. (NAN)

Ondo Election: Agagu plans arrest of LP leaders with Police, MCO alerts From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he immediate past Governor of Ondo state has been accused of attempting to rig next week's election in the State by sponsoring insurrections in the state as well as planning to use policemen from the Force Headquarters in Abuja to arrest leaders of the Labour Party (LP) on trump-up charges. The Mimiko Campaign Organisation (MCO) which raised this alarm yesterday stated that this was the highlight of a plan by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s resolution in a meeting held among its top government officials in Abuja on Wednesday. The organization in a statement issued by its Director of Publicity and Media Relations, Mr Kolawole Olabisi, alleged that part of the plan was to infiltrate the state with paid thugs who would be armed to intimidate LP leaders in order for them to perpetrate their rigging plans while policemen would be sent in from Abuja to begin to pick the ruling party's leaders all over the state beginning from this weekend. According to the MCO's spokesperson, this latest in the series of the evil machinations of the former governor was borne out of his desperation and this, it recalled, had been on for a while culminating in a petition he wrote first to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and later the Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN) over a purportedly fake security report which he claimed was what the court used in sending him out of office. It listed some of those to be arrested on spurious charges to include his (Agagu's) Brother-inLaw, Segun Ayerin, who lately decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the LP, Mr Ade Adeniyi, Yele Akinya, Mr Wale Ogunmade who is the Caretaker Chairman in Okitipupa Local Government, his Ose and Owo local governments Council caretaker chairmen, Ogunsakin Kolawole, Adekanbi Ayorinde Olu, Alhaji Jimoh Bello, Ogunwa Oboli, Dapo Iwala and Dr Ikeemelo amongst others. While stating that Agagu's problem stemmed from his pride and his refusal to accept defeat from Dr Olusegun Mimiko despite glaring evidence that his party, the PDP cannot win the election, MCO stated: "Agagu is highly egocentric; this ego was bruised by his loss to Dr Olusegun Mimiko in the 2007 Governorship election despite all the money, influence and power behind him. "A man who is obsessed by ego is easily irked when his ego is bruised; so it is with Agagu. First he lost as Governor to his former Secretary to State Government (SSG). He also lost in his vaunted ambition to become a Senator of the Federal Republic also to Mimiko and now he is propping up Olusola Oke, a lightweight, to challenge Mimiko again.



Reps laments low budget release to NIA, SSS By Lawrence Olaoye


ouse of Representatives Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety has expressed dismay over the non release of full 2012 capital budget allocation of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and State Security Services (SSS). The committee, in a statement after an oversight visits to the agencies' facilities in Lagos, lamented that budgetary releases to the agencies stood at 50% even when it was less than three months to the end of the year. The statement, signed by the chairman of the committee, Rep Bello Mutawalle (PDP- Zamfara), noted that the situation could have an adverse effect on the fight against the insecurity challenges facing the country. "It is really sad that in spite of the huge security challenges bedeviling the country, it is not deem fit to make full releases of the capital allocation of these two important agencies," Mutawalle said. The situation, according to him was capable of portraying the Federal Government as unserious in addressing the issue of insecurity, adding that, "the situation as

regrettable and condemnable as it is will not be allowed to continue by the committee." The committee, however, commended the NIA and the SSS for effective utilisation of the capital releases so fart made to them, a situation it noted had transformed the agencies and uplifted their capacity to discharge their mandate. "The committee noted with satisfaction how both the NIA and the SSS were able to through prudent management of the little releases made to them achieve significant milestone in their capital budget implementation in spite of the fact that they were so far given only 52% of their 2012 capital allocation. "They have demonstrated that with full funding they will not only improve their capacity to tackle the menace of insecurity in the country, but can also be at par with their counterparts in other countries," Mutawalle noted. The visit was part of the oversight tour by all the committees of the House to their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to ascertain the level of implementation of the 2012 budget.

Uduaghan inaugurates flood management C'ttee From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


overnor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state is to set up a committee comprising credible Deltans to manage the 500 million naira flood disaster fund grand it by the Federal government. The governor, who announced this at a meeting with political appointees and House of Assembly members in Asaba, said the committee when functional would decide how to utilize the fund to resettle flood victims in the state. He said he was already scouting for men of integrity in the state and would appoint them in no distant time. The governor who promised that he would not interfere in the management of the fund said his major concern was how to resettle the flood victims. His words "I will not meddle in the committees work. I will not disburse this money and definitely will not be part of what they shall do. Whatever decision they take on how to disburse the fund shall be well with me. Let members of the committee decide what to do with the money". Uduaghan called on Deltans to remain calm, peaceful and be united more than ever before in the face of the current flood challenges. He enjoined them not to create tension even as he cautioned against unnecessary agitation, brickbat and quarrel. The governor who reminded Deltans that the state was currently going through trying times said "these are trying times and this is not the time to quarrel and create tension. We should be our brother's keeper. People are going through

trauma and need to be comforted". Responding to questions, the governor enjoined Deltans not to politicize the flood issue and promised to give even attention to all parts of the state affected by flood. According to him, there were periods for politics explaining that the flood issue was not a political matter and should not be an instrument of politics. "I have short term plan, middle and long term plans for the flood issue and we are very serious and not playing politics. When politics come we play it, but not with flood issue where our people are suffering," he said. Uduaghan also directed the Flood Control Management Committee not to allow more than 800 flood victims in one camp. He therefore directed the committee to decongest any camp accommodating more than 800 victims to ensure good space and comfort. He stressed the importance of sanitation in the camps especially the evacuation of waste to check the outbreak of epidemic. Cautioning that no pregnant woman should be allowed to deliver in the camps, he said "Any pregnant woman nearing labour should be moved to the hospital. Indeed no pregnant woman should be allowed to deliver in any camp". The chairman of the committee and Deputy Governor of the state, Prof Amos Utuamah (SAN), in his briefing said more than twelve local governments areas have been submerged by flood in the state. Utuamah said the flood disaster was increasing in tempo and enjoined Deltans to contribute towards the rehabilitation of victims.

L-R: Registrar, Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP), Hajiya Hajara Usman, Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Hon. Essien Ekpeyoung, and a member of the committee, Hon. Joseph Akilaja, during the committee oversight function to IAP office, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

2013 budget: Former minister, dons, hail FG on high education vote


takeholders in the education yesterday lauded President Goodluck Jonathan for giving the sector the highest budgetary allocation in the 2013 Appropriation Bill presented on Wednesday. Jonathan had proposed a N4.9 trillion budget to the joint session of the National Assembly for approval. The proposal allotted N426.5 billion to education while Defence came second with N348.9 billion and the Police had the third highest share of N319 billion. A former Minister of Education, Mrs Chinwe Obaji, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone that the move was “a right step in the right direction’’. “We are happy to see such a development coming to the education sector, depending on where the money will be applied to. “Having said this, we must also wait and see if the said amount will be released fully and the implementation carried out without a hitch. “I also hope that the bill will be speedily looked into and the funds quickly released to take care of capital projects in the sector,’’ she said. Obaji added: “My major worry, however, remains that of

prudent management which has been a major challenge with public funds.” The former minister said it would benefit the economy more if the funds were judiciously used for what they were meant for. She, however, called for effective measures in monitoring the use of the funds. Also speaking, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, immediate past President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), expressed the hope that the education vote, if approved, would turn around the fortunes of the sector. “If actually the fund is released to the sector, it means that we have started seeing the need in getting our priorities right because the emphasis should be on human capital development. “However, we would need time to look at how the budget to the sector got to be one of the highest beneficiary, where it should be channelled, the implementation, how it should be managed and what it portends to the sector. “It is only when we study all these details that we would be able to get a better view of how this would transform the system for the advancement of the country’s economy,” he said. Dr Olubunmi Ajibade, a

Senior Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, said the budget, if approved, would be one of the best things that had happened to the sector in recent times. “We have been advocating crucial funding of the sector because that is the only way to restore its glory. “There is no way we can talk about national development without sound education. “However, we must realise that budget is not equal to money released and money released is not equal to money judiciously spent, which is where the worries lie. “It is wise that every fund is spent on what it is meant for and so I am advocating that the National Assembly should monitor the implementation of the budget. Mr Ademola Onifade, Director, Centre for Environment and Science Education, at the university, told NAN that the “jumbo allocation’’ would improve the standard of education in the country. “This is a good development. In so many years, education has not given this kind of attention. “The allocation will help to improve education in all areas in terms of infrastructure and welfare of teachers and workers in the sector. (NAN)

House passes bill establishing Plateau SEMA


he Plateau House of Assembly on Wednesday in Jos passed the bill establishing State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill had been with the relevant committee of the Assembly since January. Reacting to the passage, the Acting Secretary of SEMA, Mr Alhassan Barde, said it had ended a 10-year struggle by

officials of the agency for legal backing. “We have every cause to thank God, the state Executive Council, the House of Assembly and the Judiciary for this. “SEMA Plateau will now work within the framework of the law to ameliorate effect of natural disaster on individuals. “With SEMA law in place, we will have the opportunity to have full support from the

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),” he said. The Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi, had during a visit to Plateau, urged the state government to urgently pass the bill into law. Sidi decried a situation where every minor disaster in Plateau was referred to NEMA, adding that the myriad of conflicts recorded in Plateau had been tasking its efforts. (NAN)





an you introduce your self? My name is Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman. I was born in Argungu in Kebbi state. I had my primary school education in Birnin Kebbi and my secondary school education at Queens College, Lagos, from there I went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for my A levels and later joined the Law faculty. I graduated from the university in 1981 and went for my Law school and graduated in 1982. After my Law school, I worked briefly with Sokoto State ministry of Justice at a state council both during my Youth Service and for about four years thereafter. I later went for my Masters at the London School of Economic Political Science and subsequently joined Continental Merchant bank where I worked for some years both as capital market staff and later as Secretary of the bank before I joined NAL Merchant bank and later joined Aluminum Smelter Company. I later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) up to 2008 when the late President Yar’Adua appointed me as Minister for Women Affairs and subsequently President Good Luck Jonathan appointed me as Minister of State Foreign Affairs in 2010. After leaving the ministerial appointment, I was appointed the Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the Ecowas Commission. I am married with children. What informed your decision to study law? A lot of reasons but probably I might have been influenced by my father who was a judge (Alkali) and I grew up with those principles. Again, initially I had wanted to study psychology but when I went to ABU, Zaria they didn’t have that there but they have a faculty that offered physiology, so I took the first art course which was law and since then there was no going back because I have really enjoyed the law profession, it gives one a lot of perspective on almost every aspect of life. As a former Minister of Women Affairs, in what way do you think the issue of child rape and violence against women which are on the increase can be addressed? It is a very disturbing trend. I think there is the need to review our laws and have more punitive measures against such criminal actions most importantly also, there is the need to empower women particularly the girl child. In a society like ours, whoever is at the low end of the spectrum where you are helpless, you tend to be more vulnerable to attacks, so, if women are empowered, and the girl child in particular is promoted to go to school and stand on her own the issue can be reduced. Poverty is another thing because a lot of these crimes happen in societies where there is a lot of poverty. I believe a combination of those factors will really help to remedy the situation. How would you assess the role the judiciary plays in addressing such menace? A lot is going on now as relevant ministries are trying to promote laws that will ensure that such crimes are minimized. There is the issue of Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women

Women should be involved in conflict preventive initiatives Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman is a lawyer and a former Minister for Women Affairs and Minister of State Foreign Affairs; presently she is a Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission. In this interview with Maryam Garba Hassan, she talks about her role in government’s adoption of gender mainstream in all aspects of national development, 35 percent affirmative action, among others. (CEDAW). Nigeria has been a signatory but is yet to ratify it; people are clamouring for the enactment of the law that will particularly address violence against women. A lot of progress has been made in that direction and there are still some reservations by some of our parliamentarians and major stake holders but I believe eventually the law will be enacted. The civil society and NGOs have shown a lot of concern particularly the Federation of Female lawyers Association in Nigeria (FIDA) has come out in support of women and children who have suffered these kinds of problems and they have offered their services free of charge. I believe the review of our laws to become more effective and forceful will help toward alleviating it. What is your take on the present administration’s 35 Percent affirmative action? I will say kudos to the present administration, they have tried. The promise made during campaign to give Nigerian women at least 3035% in appointive positions has been fulfilled, today we have almost 35, it is much better than it had ever been. In terms of elective, it is very poor, this last outing took women back from where they were before because unfortunately this country still practices politics of money, if you don’t have money you cannot sometimes get there and there is still discrimination against women when it comes to elective positions. I am happy with the review done by Justice Mohammad Uwais’s Committee on electoral reforms; if it is implemented we would have achieved a lot. I believe the government will still look at the recommendations because they somehow made it possible for women to get to the 35 or 30% level. Through affirmative action, government has taken a law saying women are going to be given this and it is stated there so, it has to be implemented. A lot of countries, who have had advancement in terms of women’s participation in government both in elective and appointive positions, have been countries that have put it in their Constitution not only the electoral law but the Constitution of that country. Look at South Africa, currently it is 50-50. Those are the kinds of actions we need to take to ensure women get the percentage they are yearning for, because when women are in charge they do excellent work and nobody can dispute that. Look at the women we have at the Federal Executive Council, they are all high flying and performing. All we need is the opportunity, if this country will

Hajiya Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman continue promoting women with a lot of positions then the nation will be put on the path of sustainable development. How do you juggle the demands of your career and the home front? I will say it is by the grace of God. I am lucky I have support both at the home front and my workplace and from my relatives and friends. It needs a lot of balancing once you are working, to ensure that your work does not suffer and that you can achieve with a bit of planning. As advocate of peace, how do you think peace can be restored in the country? The security situation in the country is unfortunate. The government is trying a lot of

strategies to combat the problem but a lot of times the citizens tend to always look up to government to do everything for them even in situations of conflict. It is the responsibility of all to ensure that there is peace. We should go back to our values, love thy neighbors as yourself, unless we do that we will keep on having problems. When these things happen it is the women and children who suffer. A lot of provisions has to be made, women should be involved in every initiative government is taking for the prevention of conflict at all levels to ensure peace and security in the country. A lot of government organizations make that mistake of thinking that women do not have a role to play in conflict prevention and

We need to empower our youths and women, build our institutions and have enough infrastructure so that everyone will be gainfully employed and fully engaged

resolution, but they are the mothers and wives of the youth used to perpetrate these crimes. We need to empower our youths and women, build our institutions and have enough infrastructure so that everyone will be gainfully employed and fully engaged and government and the citizens also have to make provisions for the orphans and vulnerable children that have fallen short of support because of these kinds of situations. As former Minister for Women Affairs, what can you say is your greatest achievement? I would say one of the things I feel most proud of is to have been part of the system that finally got the Federal Executive Council to pass a resolution that gender issues must be main streamed in all aspects of our national development. The policy had been there before I became a minister and it had been pushed progressively by my predecessors but it was during my tenure that it was adopted by the government. The policy ensures that every ministry when planning and coming up with policies must take issues of gender into consideration and there must be a gender officer in every ministry and government agencies so that the officers will ensure that when you are looking at a bigger picture you don’t forget the aspect that concerns gender, women and vulnerable children. I was also in a little way able to campaign extensively for maternal mortality, infant and child health care, I went round the entire 6 geopolitical zones in the country and discussed with governors, State Speakers, the judiciary and the traditional rulers to bring to the front issues relating to women, children and other vulnerable groups in the society so that government at all levels will be aware and take it into consideration when they are budgeting for projects. It was during my tenure also that a lot of states adopted the programme of free health care for pregnant women and children under 5 to help our children and also reduce maternal mortality rate. It was during my tenure that we introduced support for primary health care in selected states and donated ambulances to take women to hospitals because one of the key issues that add to the incidences of maternal mortality is when a woman is in labor and cannot have access to the hospital because it is far from where she is. We got the support from MDG office and got a number of ambulances which we distributed to some selected states that were mostly affected by this phenomenon.



Nigeria will weep again, says Liberian coach


he Lone Stars will inflict pains on the Super Eagles just like the Syli Nationale did last year to deny Nigeria the ticket to the 2012 Nations Cup finals, according to Liberia head coach, Kaetu Smith. Smith also believes that Nigeria’s Super Eagles are still basking in old glory and will be rudely awaken from

their dream tomorrow in Calabar when they clash with the Lone Stars in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifying. The former LPRC Oilers coach believes that his Lone Star can replicate Guinea’s feat of last year by eliminating their Nigerian counterparts from the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa. Also, Smith holds no fear for

Nigeria’s parade of foreign-based players but says that the result tomorrow will judge between them who file out the better more determined and visionary team. “Personally, I am not afraid of the Nigerian team whether it is home-based or (overseas) professionals. “Nigeria aren’t like before,

because they are living in the past. If Togo can qualify for the World Cup (in 2006) and Guinea could qualify at their expense in the last AFCON qualifier, Liberia can do same too,” said Smith. The Lone Star arrived vie a chartered flight from Monrovia yesterday with a 125-man delegation.

Nations Cup qualifier

Amodu, Chukwu, Siasia ill-luck won’t affect Keshi, says Peters C By Patrick Andrew and Albert Akota

oaches Shuaibu Amodu, Christian Chukwu, Samson Siasia have one thing in common: they all subjected Nigeria to batedbreath Nations Cup Finals qualification saga. Amodu and Chukwu threw the nation into permutations and the head-to-head rumbling in their eras as chief sweat merchants of the Super Eagles. Siasia failed to realise that with 2-1 win he could have coasted easily to the finals and as such opted to press for more goals. But it boomeranged as the Syli Nationale of Guinea through dangerman Pascal Fendora struck in their much desired second goal to put them on level terms with the Super Eagles. It meant joy for Guinea but firstly anxious permutations for Nigeria and finally tears. Guinea had the edge having secured a head-to-head advantage. Siasia was promptly sacked as were the indigenous duo before him. Now, Eagles’ helmsman Stephen Keshi is almost in similar permutation scenerio except that the Eagles hold away goal advantage and would qualify at the expense of the Lone Stars of Liberia were tomorrow’s game to end on a barren or 1-1 draw.

However, there are fears that the aged-old Achilles heel: indigenous coaches’ ill-luck could return to haunt Keshi. Permutations based on head-to-head, the centre referee, who has never officiated any match in which Nigeria emerged victorious, complacency of foreign-based players, who are likely to dominate the squad, and illluck have kept many Nigerians in anxious care ahead of tomorrow’s game. But former Assistant Director Technical of the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) James Peters, has dismissed all that and asserted that the ill-luck of the previous indigenous coaches would have no effect on keshi. “The ill- luck that had been the bane of previous indigenous coaches will not affect Keshi. He is a different person, has a different aura and psyche. Further, he has adopted a completely different approach to team building by blending foreign and domestic league-based players to form a new Eagles. “No, I can categorically state that Keshi’s positive aura will spill over to the team and produce the result we all want: victory for Nigeria. Also, I can tell Nigerians categorically that the Lone Stars will not beat Eagles in Calabar,” Peter said quite confidently.

Super Eagles rounding off their training yesterday

Kadiri Ikhana

Ikhana drops 3 players from Falcons’ camp


uper Falcons Coach Kadiri Ikhana yesterday dropped three players ahead of the African Women’s Championship (AWC), scheduled to hold from October 28 to November 11 in Equatorial Guinea. Falcons Media Officer, Chisom Mbonu, disclosed yesterday that the dropped players were two attackers and a defender from the 24 that were in camp after the initial chopping from the original 27 called up since September 16. “The dropped players were Sherifat Saheed and Shola Oyewusi, both attackers of Sunshine Queens and a defender Inneh Queens’ Chidiebere Maraihe,” Mbonu said. Ikhana had previously dropped three players, bringing the total number of players dropped to six, leaving 21 in camp. The players dropped earlier, included: Fausat Olayiwola and Ijeome Emenike and Chiudo Ehiudo both of Inneh Queens. The statement added that the team still had four goalkeepers, including the captain, Precious Dede. “This is good for us because the position of goalkeeper is a very key one, being our last defender,” the statement said. The Falcons are drawn in Group B with Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia for the continental championship.

Nothing but victory for us, Mikel assures C

helsea defensive midfielder John Mikel Obi, who will be making his maiden appearance in the Super Eagles’ colours since Stephen Keshi resumes, has declared that the Eagles will want nothing but comprehensive victory over the Lone Stars of Liberia tomorrow.

Mikel, recently recalled to the team after his spat with the technical crew, was convinced that the Lone Stars will not constitute a stumbling block to the Super Eagles’ quest to berth at the 2013 Nations Cup finals in South Africa, come next January. “The boys will give their best

and make sure we are in South Africa next year. And winning on Saturday is the only way to be in South Africa,” Mikel declared stressing that the players will work to prevent a repeat of the 2011 experience. Then, the Eagles had allowed the Syli Nationale of Guinea to

level up and deny them the ticket to the 2012 Nations Cup that was jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. And whereas the coach Samson Siasia was sacked most of the players that participated in that game except Osaze Odemwingie, Obinna Nsofor and

Kalu Uche are in the present team. Mikel, who touched down in Calabar on Wednesday after sorting out his visa issue, also pledge loyalty to Nigeria and said he is ready to play for Nigeria.”I’m ready to play for Nigeria and for the gaffer (Keshi),” he said.



CAF Champions League: Al Ahly, Sunshine Stars to play behind closed doors


he second leg, semifinal game between Al Ahly and Sunshine Stars in the 2012 Caf Champions League in Alexandria or Cairo is expected to hold behind closed doors. According to reports in Egypt, the interior ministry of the North African nation wrote the country’s football association to state that it cannot guarantee the safety of fans for the game

Cletus Itodo

billed to hold at either the Military Stadium in Cairo or the Borg El Arab in Alexandria on October 21. The Egyptian interior ministry cited security concerns for its decision to order Al Ahly to play their game against Sunshine Stars without fans. The Egyptian government has placed a crowd ban at stadia across the nation since the Port Said disaster that left more than 70 fans dead in

February during a Premier League game between Al Ahly and Al Masry. But Sunshine Stars’ midfielder, Dayo Ojo is unmoved by the news that they will play the Cairo Red Devils behind closed doors. “I don’t think it will affect anything or the quality of the game. They are a very good side whether their fans are in the stadium or not. All we will want to do is to shock

them though it is a tall order for us. “In football anything is possible and we won’t go there to sit back because we have to play to score as we have no choice after the first leg ended in a draw,” said Ojo to Al Ahly and Sunshine Stars played out a 3-3 draw last weekend at the Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu-Ode leaving the Egyptians as favourites to progress into the final.

Nigeria, Guinea kick-off time now 2pm Sunday


AF has acceded to the request of the Guinean FA to have Sunday’s second roundfirst leg 2003 African Under-17 qualifier kickoff time brought down to 2pm from the usual 4pm. The match billed between the Golden Eaglets and their Guinean counterparts

comes up a day after the all-important 2013 Nations Cup qualifier at the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar. This was confirmed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that the adjusted has been accepted even as the football federation said it was necessary to assist

the Guineans’ flight arrangement. The Guinean delegation wants to return to Lagos immediately after the match on Sunday in order to connect with their early Monday morning’s flight back to Conakry. The NFF granted the

request of their Guinean counterparts since they would have to wait till next Friday if they miss their already scheduled arrangement. Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed Chadian match officials for the game with Mahamat

Tahir Oumar as the Centre Referee. He would be assisted by the trio of Yaya Issa (1st Assistant Referee), Mahamat Badjouri (2nd Assistant Referee) and Cordier Adam (Reserve Referee). The Match Commissioner is Alhaji Yunisa Alim Sesay from Sierra Leone.

Manu Garba

Governor’s Cup: Nigerian tennis players vow to break jinx


igerian tennis players have vowed to break the 11-year jinx at the annual Governor’s Cup, that no Nigerian has won since its inception. The Lagos Tennis Championships had started in 2000 with Osaro Amadin clinching the Women’ Singles trophy as its maiden champion, while Nigerian’s U-S-based Sule Ladipo took his turn the following by winning the Men’s Singles. Ladipo’s victory was controversial because the defending champion Claude

Ngoran felt that he was cheated. Ever since, no Nigerian has won either the men’s or the women’s singles. Currently, Ivorian Claude Ngoran is the defending champion having won the 11th edition last year and has indicated interest to defend the trophy. That would mean sustaining the jinx. But the Nigerian players won’t want that. They are determined to break the jinx and install Nigerians in all categories of the championships. They hope to do so when the fiesta serves of from today

through October 29 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. Nigerian’s Shehu Lawal and his colleagues, had, however, pledged to break the jinx this year. Shehu Lawal, ranked 1409 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), was the only Nigerian already listed in the main draw for the first week of the two-week tournament. Lawal, who sounded optimistic during a pretournament interview, promised to stun the visitors by beating them to podium

honours. “I am ready to break that jinx this year, I am fully prepared to make Nigeria proud and lift the trophy this year,” Lawal said. Other Nigerian players apart from Lawal were, however, listed on the qualifier draws. The male qualifiers players were Clifford Enosoregbe, Onyeka Mbanu, Kehinde Alade, Destiny FordDa Silva, Monday Igbinovia, Samuel Omoile, Ganiyu Yussuf, Pekun Akingbde, Sunday Igbinovia, Omotayo Kaseem, Sanni Adamu and

Bolaji Olawepo. The female qualifiers players were Christie Agugbom, Chinenye Izuogu, Blessing Samuel, Blessing Anuna , Osariemen Airhumwunde and Laurent Rochette. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the championships has assured massive turnout of players both foreign and local at this year’s tournament. Pius Oluwole-Akinyelure, the LOC chairman, told NAN that players from 55 countries including the U.S and Russia, as against 33 last

year had registered for this year’s event. Oluwole Akinyelure added aside the 80,000 dollars prize money, the championships would also gulp another N70 million for accommodation, feeding and allowances for international and local officials. NAN reports that the championships would be jointly sponsored by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria.

Super Falcons will retain AWC trophy, Ikhana assures


Esther Sunday

uper Falcons’ chief sweat merchant, Kadiri Ikhana, has assured that the Super Falcons will retain the African Women Championship (AWC) scheduled to be held in Equatorial Guinea, later this month. Ikhana, who had signed a four-year contract in which he was specifically mandated to retain the trophy and at least get to the last four at the FIFA Women World Cup, said he been impressed with the performances of the players in camp. Speaking after the training session yesterday, the former coach of CAF Champions League back-to-back winners-Enyimba FC, said

the players’ response have given him confidence, stressing that he would promise without reservation that the Falcons would dust others to clinch the trophy. “Nigeria has one of the leading female teams in Africa and we started early, so it’s a good thing we made good use of the time.’’ He said that the eight foreign-based players he was expecting would arrive before the final list was drawn and that the first batch was expected on Oct. 14. The coach said the players had yet to arrive because of their engagements with their clubs. “Currently, we have 26

players in camp and we intend to drop some now and then when we get to Ghana we’ll draw up the final list. “The foreign-based players will most probably meet us in Ghana because they have not been released by their clubs and they may not be released until Oct. 17 or Oct. 18. “But I think they will begin to come in from the Oct. 14, but then the last set will come in on Oct. 19.’’ Ikhana, a member of the Bendel Insurance FC of Benin that won the FA Cup in 1978, said that friendly matches were being arranged to sharpen the team’s competitive edge. He said the team would leave for Ghana between

Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 to prepare properly for the tournament. “We expect to have some international matches in Ghana before we move to the venue of the tournament. “We’ve had two local friendly matches already with the U-21 male counterparts and the allstars team,’’ the coach said. The Falcons would kick start the defence of their trophy on October 28 in Group B that comprose Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia. The final would be decided on November 11. The team defeated South Africa 4-2 in the 2010 edition in South Africa to clinch the title.

Francisca Ordega




rdinarily, Nigeria, Liberia clash won't have engendered tension irrespective of the venue of the match. Al mighty Nigeria would have scared the life out of Liberia. In fact, speculations would have hinged on what number of goals the Eagles would drown the Lone Stars with. Well, that was then: an era when the likes of Liberia would hardly qualify to hold the candle light for illustrious Nigeria. Not any more. Nigeria now struggles to beat minions and they aren't such anymore. Last year, October 7 to be precise the Syli Nationale stunned the Eagles in front of thousands of fans at the National Stadium Abuja. It was indeed 2-2 draw but it was technically grand win for Guinea. They landed in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea at the expense of

Eagles on the road again Nigeria. Tomorrow, the Eagles will again confront a not-tooimpressive opponent, one lacking their pedigree in status and parade of stars. Even on the plank of Nations Cup history, Liberia neither boasts of Nigeria's record, glut of stars nor had Nigeria's clubs and national teams' podium honours. That also includes the cadet level where Nigeria has both continental and global acclaim. And the mere mention of Liberia makes Nigeria uncomfortable. Thunder had struck once with

devastating consequences. The scar lingers and the memory still very fresh. It hurts and haunts the nation, whose passion for football often borders on the frenetic. But the signs are recurrent. True, no friction within the camp as there was when Vincent Enyeama was excluded for alleged insubordination. But like there was a returnee who eventually inadvertently dealt in the Eagles with unpardonable misses, another returnee has hit the Eagles with plump; though it seems a pleasant aura,

It’s a war. We must be reminded that whoever lacks the fervour, bravery, the ‘taste for blood’ must have no part in the war. It's no venue for cowardice, it’s a theatre but not for theatricals, rather the men are on the mat and in the trench the Mafia style.

Usain Bolt

Bolt pondering 400m, long jump in Rio


orld’s fastest man Usain Bolt is still toying with the notion of adding the 400 metres or long jump to his repertoire after retaining his 100 and 200 Olympic titles. The 26-year-old, who also helped defend Jamaica’s 4x100 relay crown in London, said on Wednesday he could opt to branch out at the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s just to find

something else now to strive towards,” Bolt told reporters at a sponsor’s event in Tokyo. “There’s a few things I’ve thought about. “I could try another event, maybe the long jump or the 400 metres,” added Bolt, who came onto stage dancing to loud reggae music. “There’s a few things I could try in sports I could work towards, so we’ll see what I decide at the start

of the season.” The 100 and 200 metres world record holder had previously said he would be concentrating on completing a ‘three-peat’ in his own events but appears to have had a rethink. Bolt said he wanted to keep pushing himself towards fresh challenges after becoming the first man to retain both the 100 and 200 Olympic titles earlier this year.


some have for that singular reason become cautiously suspicious. So the Eagles are on the road again, albeit with a new helmsman, vim and ardour. who to field. Reason should no venue for cowardice, it's a pedigree, theatre but not for Nevertheless, there are overshadow fears that the untoward current form and docility theatricals, rather the men may repeat itself in a gory (knack to act on instruction) are on the mat and in the circumstance. That would must claim premium over trench the Mafia style. No, we don't need lazy be most unfortunate, stage name or club. Yes, experience may be resort to the divine for excruciating yet numbing. But, Keshi and his crew necessary but zest, hunger succour. He also owns can avoid sad tales. By and that determination to Liberia. What the Eagles simply doing the needful, carve a niche for one's self are need is tactical discipline, being thorough and inevitable. No, it's not for burning anger to stamp who may be authority, instill fear in the meticulous in plot, execution those and even in celebration of somewhat unwilling to miles of the Liberia, punish well deserved success within throw themselves into the them with delectable artistic the 90 minutes, the team game, those incline to spare round leather display. Show gut, strength, can spare the nation angst their souls on the pitch must be excluded. depth, technical and tactical and the resultant pains. It's a war. We must be discipline and denounce All Stephen Keshi needs is in all to be less sentimental and reminded that whoever complacency utterly denounced lacks the fervour, bravery, ramifications. See you in pandering to public the 'taste for blood' must South Africa. And may your sentiment in the choice of have no part in the war. It's road be rough!

By Patrick Andrew

“It’s a great thing to achieve the goals that you always wanted,” he said, perched precariously on a stool, wearing a yellow tracksuit and a baseball cap backwards. “For me it was an honour. I’ve worked hard to become a legend. To go home after the race, sit down and reflect on what just happened was slightly emotional. I didn’t cry though,” Bolt added with a laugh. “For me it’s a wonderful stepping stone in my life to become a legend in my sport.” Bolt has been linked with professional cricket but his passion lies with soccer and he spoke of his desire to play the game after hanging up track spikes. “I want to try football,” said Manchester United fan Bolt, who received a ‘Bolt 9.58’ jersey in honour of his 100 metres world record time on a recent visit to Old Trafford. “At the end of my career it would be something I would love to try because I think I’d be good at it,” added Bolt, who has given Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo sprinting tips. United manager Alex Ferguson even offered to give Bolt a run-out in a future charity game against Real Madrid’s ‘Legends’ team after meeting the sprinter. “I’ve played charity matches in Jamaica and I’ve done well,” Bolt said. “I think it’s something I’d like to try definitely.”

Khan, Bradley, Magee have opponents for December fights


mir Khan, Timothy Bradley and Brian Magee will take to the ring December in exciting fights that are meant to offer them chances for title prospects. Khan, a former WBA and WBO junior welterweight champion, is scheduled to fight Carlos Molina in Los Angeles on December 15. On the same night, Bradley will defend his WBO welterweight belt against Robert Guerrero in Miami. Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao on points in June in one of the most controversial fights of the year. Magee has signed to take on Mikkel Kessler in Herning, Denmark, on December 8. Khan, a Briton with a professional record of 26-3, including 18 knockouts, returns to action against Molina, whose record stands at 17-0-1; 7. Molina fights out of Norwalk, California. Khan’s most recent fight was in July, when Danny Garcia stopped him in the fourth round. In December last year, Khan lost on points to Lamont Peterson. But Tony Jeffries, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, won’t be fighting again. The promising boxer from Sutherland in England has been forced to retire because of problems with his hands. He turned professional in February 2009 and will go out with a record of 9-0-1, with 6 knockouts. Other recent snippets from boxing sources are: Celestino Caballero has vacated his WBA featherweight title. Muhammad Ali has been awarded the Liberty Medal for his work to promote humanitarian causes. Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, 68, has been in hospital in Chicago, recovering from stomach surgery. Billy Tudor, the president and former chairman of the North Staffs Ex-Boxers Association in England, has died at the age of 81. Tudor began boxing at school at Stoke-on-Trent and had first fight in the booths at 15. Fighting at featherweight, he turned professional at the age of 16 in November 1946. He retired in October 1951 with a record of 7-5; 3. It seems Evander Holyfield, who will be 50 on October 19, may retire soon. According to an article by Donald McCrae Holyfield lost all of the nearly 500 million US dollars he earned from boxing. The former heavyweight champion has been divorced three times and it said to have 11 children from five women. Timothy Bradley

2013 Nations Cup qualifier



Coaches laud organisers of Wushu-Kungfu seminar


articipants at the ongoing Nigeria Wushu-Kungfu Federation (NWKF) Taolu Judges and Coaches course have said it would enhance their skills in coaching and improve their officiating. They said at the close of the seminar that they would use the knowledge acquired at the threeday programme to improve athlete’s skills. Ajibua Alayode, a referee with

the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, said that he would apply the new rules in Wushu championships. “I am now aware of the current officiating rules because the course is being handled by resource persons that have wealth of knowledge in the sport. “Its an opportunity that has really helped me to update my technical ability which I will also

pass to athletes during training,’’ Alayode said. Ibrahim Shitta, a coach from Lagos State, said the programme had assisted him to be aware of the current developments in the sport, especially the techniques. Shitta added that the course had introduced to him the various stages through which he should train an athlete and bring out the best in him. “We have upcoming athletes but

Odua cycling tourney build-up to “Eko 2012,” says coach

they had acquired from the programme. “It is a good step for officials because it is only through such courses that we can evaluate our level and learn new things that will improve our abilities,’’ he said. Bello Abiodun, a referee from Ondo State, also applauded the NWKF for the programme, and urged the federation to make it a quarterly event.

8 to represent Nigeria at World Powerlifting Championships


he Nigeria Professional Powerlifting Association (NPPA) has disclosed that eight Powerlifters would represent Nigeria at the World Championships scheduled for October 29 through November 4 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Secretary of the association, Peter Oluwo, said this in Lagos that the lifters would be competing in squat, bench press and dead lift events at the championships. “Eight Powerlifters will represent the country at the championships. All the eight are males and they will be participating in all the categories at the tournament,’’ he said. According to him, the Powerlifters to be selected after trials will travel to South Africa for more training before the championships. “Although they have been training in the country, they will travel to South Africa before the end of this week for further training, before departing for Puerto Rico,’’ Oluwo said. He urged private organisations and individuals to support the Powerlifters to enhance their performance at the championships. “Many of the lifters have been using their money to prepare for the competition. “They need more financial support to motivate them so that they can perform well at the championships,’’ he said. The tournament is an annual competition in the calendar of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).


ndo State Cycling Coach, Chris Aladeyelu, has confirmed that the maiden edition of the Odua Cycling Championship would serve as a professional camping trial ahead of the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF). Aladeyelu disclosed this while assessing the competition which he described as timely and added that it would be used as a tune up for cyclists selected to represent Ondo State at the 18th national sports fiesta, tagged “Eko 2012’’. According to Aladeyelu, the Odua states of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Lagos would participate at the championship, adding that each state would be represented by six cyclists and two officials. “The championship is billed to hold in Ibadan, just one month to the scheduled commencement of the national sports festival in Lagos,” he added. The preliminaries of the championships would commence on October 27, while the competition proper would begin on October 28, over a distance of 120 kilometres within the Ibadan metropolis.

this course has added something new to my knowledge that I will pass on to athletes,’’ he said. Emmanuel Eze, an Enugubased coach, applauded the technical board of NWKF for organising the course which, he said, would produce competent technical officials. Eze urged participants to ensure that athletes in their states benefitted from the knowledge

Yakubu Adesokan, Olympics champion

18th National Sports Festival

Hard work earn FCT male handball team qualification, says coach


ala Mohammed, Assistant Coach, FCT Male Handball Team, yesterday attributed their qualification for the 18th National Sports Festival to hard work and non-reliance on the authorities. Mohammed confirmed in Abuja that they were the only male handball team that qualified after stiff competitions in the zonal elimination in Jos in September. According to him, the team will now represent the NorthCentral zone based on their constant training and commitment without waiting for the Handball Federation of Nigeria to plan programmes for them.

“Apart from the female basketball teams which also qualified, other teams that went from Abuja did not qualify, this is because of the level of training we have been doing. “We did not wait for the authorities and I really commend the players for their efforts though we have been checking them seriously to ensure that they come for training,’’ he said. Mohammed said that the players made sacrifices by not waiting for the authorities, which helped the team to prepare ahead and not wait till the camping was approved few weeks to the competition. “When we talk of authorities,

it depends on the competition that you are going for and who are the authorities in that regard. “We try as much as possible to see that we do not have to wait for the Nigerian factors, we have to prepare ahead. We also realised that with such a situation we have to work in advance,’’ he said. The coach said that there was need for periodic training and competitions to enhance the performance of athletes. He said that 20 players were currently in camp and 16 would be selected at the end to represent FCT at the 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9.

Sen. Bala Mohammed, FCT Minister

Ondo wrestlers ready for medals haul

T Lagos Gov. Babatunde Fasola

he Ondo State wrestling coach, Purity Akuh, on Wednesday in Akure said that his wrestlers were ready to clinch medals at the 18 th National Sports Festival in Lagos. Akuh said that the state had

wrestlers who would defend their titles while others would win gold at the fiesta. He said the wrestling team was determined to surpass its record of four gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the last edition of the Games in

Port Harcourt in 2011. “We have started our training before the state camping begins and we train two times daily from Monday to Saturday. “I think by the time we train like this till the festival proper,

we will be counting our medals in double figure. “We have wrestlers who can and will win medals for Ondo State in wrestling, and I believe we are on the right track for achieving that,” Akuh said.

. . . putting the people first


QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE At a whopping $33.6 billion, government appears to be monopolizing domestic borrowing to the unhealthy exclusion of the private sector. — House of Representative Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, on government’s domestic debt

SPORTS Managing the impending hunger LA TEST LATEST

Real Madrid agree •15ma-year deal with Ronaldo


ristiano Ronaldo is all smiles. The leg over expert, who has been moody for "professional reasons" and had declined to celebrate after scoring, is now in cloud nine. The Portugal skipper and former Man United wing attacker, who has been in terrific form for the La Liga defending champions, is said to have agreed a new mouth-watering deal with Real Madrid. According to report, Cristiano Ronaldo has settled terms with Real Madrid over a new contract and it means that he would perhaps not be pondering offers from PSG, Man City and Azhi, all of which were said to have been alerted by Ronaldo's sadness for "professional reasons" with Real Madrid. Terra says negotiations have reached a positive conclusion which will see Ronaldo extend his deal from 2015 to 2017 and see his wages jump from •10 million-a-year to •15 million-a-year. The new agreement sees the former Man United star move into second place on the football earners' table, ahead of PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on •14.5 million-a-year, but still behind Anzhi's Samuel Eto’o on •20 million-a-year. Ronaldo is delighted with the new agreement, which could be confirmed after the international break. Although Ronaldo had repeatedly said his sadness had nothing to do with money and some even suggested that he may have had the mood after being overlooked for the award of European Player of the Year award, a prize that was won rival club’s Iniesta, the boisterous player seems content with the new deal. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that Ronaldo had insisted during the break for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers that he was content with his present earnings but was unhappy for reasons not unknown to Real.


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and malnutrition T

he cost of a measure or mudu of beans has just reached a never-before-seen price of N500. For most Nigerian families, beans and their derivatives like akara and moi-moi are the richest source of nutrients and very often the only source of proteins - meat, fish, milk and eggs having disappeared from their menus long ago. The new price of beans means that if a small family on minimum wage buys two mudus or measures per week, they would spend N4,000 per month, or a staggering 20% of the family income on a single food item. Being locally grown and readily available, beans are known in virtually all Nigerian homes and consumed by most. But with such a high price, this important staple may also vanish from the list of affordable food items for many families. What makes the situation doubly alarming is the fact that the bean stock currently in the market was harvested last year, when by most accounts, farmers had a comparatively rich harvest. This year, tens of thousands of Nigeria's farmlands are under water, having been inundated by floods from heavy rainfall and releases of water from some dams. Beans are only a metaphor for the impending food shortages across Nigeria, worsened by the floods which have devastated large swathes of farmland from Adamawa to Jigawa, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi to Cross River, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Edo, Delta and Taraba states. Apart from the loss of lives and disruptions of travels and commercial activity, thousands of Nigerians have suddenly become internally displaced and deprived of their means livelihood. With little or nothing to harvest, the prices of practically all food crops eaten by Nigerians would double or quadruple. Another implication of the damaged infrastructure caused by the flooding is that what little produce and livestock that survived the flooding may not be able to reach their traditional markets, thus resulting in higher costs to the consumer. Reports indicate that one of Nigeria's most important food producing areas - the Hadejia Basin - has been substantially washed away by the floods. Large parts of Benue state, 'the food basket of the nation', also experienced flooding and loss of produce and farmlands. While we count the visible losses in terms of lives, property, farmlands, livestock and critical infrastructure, the worst effects of the flooding may only manifest next year and beyond because this year's harvest is effectively lost, and the fact that flooded communities and farmlands take years and even longer to recover, if at all. Prolonged rains have done a lot

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NASIR EL-R UF AI EL-RUF UFAI ON FRID AY FRIDA of damage to substitute crops that in lean periods might mitigate the situation. These are largely millets, sorghum and maize. All the three did not have enough sunlight at critical times as the rains kept pouring with high intensity and without respite. Again, the rains persisted when the crops needed to be dried for storage. Both scenarios have upped post-harvest losses, further reducing supply of carbohydrates to make up for the anticipated shortage of beans. Worse still, the poor would compete with the breweries, livestock feeds and food processing companies, as well as our neighbouring countries, for the scarce supplies that would be released to the markets. Another aspect that government seems unwilling to confront is the number of farmers that have abandoned their farms in the North East and parts of North West. The case is particularly desperate in Yobe and parts of Borno, Bauchi and Gombe States. It is also important to ask why government chose to ignore flood warnings issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) until the situation got out of hand. At the moment, NIMET has forecast another round of flooding in 16 states of the federation. What is the FG doing and how would all these factors impact on food security? The agricultural sector had consistently grown above 7% in terms of growth in the previous decade, but it collapsed in 2011 and is not forecasted to grow by more than 4% this year as a result of the floods and the failure of President Goodluck Jonathan's voucher system of fertilizer subsidization. Agricultural production is unfortunately but likely to suffer a double whammy this year and next for these reasons unless we get luckier. A serious government should not only be concerned, but should by now be taking proactive measures to ameliorate the now inevitable food shortages, as well as help farmers to resettle, while seeking more lasting solutions to flooding. Already, the price of bread has gone up by about a quarter this year. With major cassava producing states under flood, even President Jonathan's joke about cassava bread may turn out to be another bite of empty air for many

Nigerians. Before this year's devastating floods, Nigeria's agricultural value was worth about N15 trillion, as against its true potential of N40 trillion. There was already a gap of about N25 trillion. What makes the situation saddening is that we have about 50 million farmers and abundant land and water resources, but out of an estimated 4 - 5 million hectares of land that can be irrigated, only about 60,000 hectares are currently irrigated. Out of about 323 dams in the country, only few are used for irrigation purposes. No figures exist yet for the true cost of this year's floods, but it would be in trillions of naira. Last year, Nigeria spent N635 billion to import wheat; N356 billion on rice, N217 billion on sugar and N97 billion on fish, but it may not be that easy to solve our food shortages by simply resorting to importing food; several parts of the world's most fertile food producing regions have also been inundated, or in the case of the United States, are suffering their worst drought in decades. Niger Republic - from where Nigeria imports large amounts of the beans we consume has also suffered flooding; Russia had to suspend wheat exports for a while. Globally, the price of food has gone up by about 10%, with experts predicting more increases. Niger Republic avoided hunger in the last two years through intensive use of irrigation. The strategy not only reduced the country's reliance on imports but it also created a new industry as well as significantly raised income levels in the affected areas. Despite our country's vast irrigation infrastructure, irrigable farmlands estimated at more than 4 million hectares, the food imports mafia is likely going to coerce President Jonathan into expensive food imports that millions of Nigerians in both rural and urban areas will not be able to afford. This strategy, by refusing to put to work assets owned by the poor in the form of irrigable farms and wetlands all over Nigeria, would be the same strategy that while increasing poverty in rural Nigeria, would concurrently increase income levels of the few local moguls and their Asian collaborators in the rice, wheat, stock fish, and tomato paste

import businesses. For the over 112 million Nigerians living in poverty, what would the situation be like next year when rural residents and farmers would have eaten what little of their stored foods which were not destroyed by the floods? How many Nigerian families would face starvation simply because they cannot afford even the most basic food stuffs? Currently, Nigeria is ranked a very poor 80 out of about 200 countries in terms of food security. Which government can talk of safety of life and property when tens of millions of citizens are hungry? Government should not wait until Nigerians start dropping dead from hunger before acting. Efforts must be made to avoid the chaos that would follow any government backed massive importation of food because the process will be abused like the fuel subsidy regime. Indeed, one cannot rule out the emergence of a food subsidy cabal that will replicate the corruption that still trails the fuel subsidy cabal. (Incidentally, everybody seems to have forgotten the 2.6 trillion that was stolen by that cabal). Nigeria must take urgent action to manage the impending national food shortages, inflated food prices and possible malnutrition for millions of families. One would expect government to consider these critical posers: what is the extent of the damage to farmlands and agriculture? What is the quantity of livestock lost? How many Nigerian families are at risk of hunger and malnutrition? What is the quantity of grains left in our Strategic Grain Reserve and functional silos nationwide? What quantity of food do we need to import, from where and at what cost? A government with vision would take immediate measures to protect millions of vulnerable Nigerians from the effects of rising food costs, hunger and malnutrition, while considering long term measures to rebuild damaged infrastructure, incentivize farmers and improve the agricultural sector. In the 2013 budget proposal, agriculture has been allocated only N80bn against the background of the challenges the sector faces. What is the thinking of government? Obviously, it is yet to appreciate the enormity of the looming food security problems. With a meager 35% for capital investments, we have not even started. If millions of Nigerian families are already facing hunger because of government inactivity and misplaced spending priorities, imagine what it would be like at the turn of this century when all our oil would have dried up, or when technology would have made fossil fuels redundant! By that time, Nigeria would have a population of over 700 million. We hope that the governments of those days will be better and more proactive than the ones we see today.

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, Friday 12, October, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 12, October, 2012 Edition