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Ba yelsa: ACN to c halleng e Dic kson Bay challeng hallenge Dickson kson’’s victor y as J ona than jubila tes victory Jona onathan jubilates


Vol. 7 No. 72

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rabiul Awwal 21, 1433 AH


I N S I D E Gunmen kill 5 in Borno, Kaduna

Boko Haram suspects arrested in Katsina

Zambia clinch Afcon title in dramatic style

Unidentified invaders carried out separate attacks in Borno state reputed for the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect; and in the southern part of Kaduna state at the weekend – Page 3

A combined team of security operatives comprising the SSS and military personnel, yesterday raided a hideout of suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram in Katsina metropolis – Page 4

Zambia have won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in their history after a nail-biting 8-7 penalty shoot-out victory over favourites Cote d’Ivoire in the Gabonese capital Libreville – Page 41

Electricity tariffs double by April By Abdulwahab Isa


lectricity tariffs will increase up to 88 per cent under reforms designed to revive the power sector and attract outside investors, the Minister of Power, Mr. Bart

Nnaji was quoted as saying yesterday in Abuja. The proposed new rates, seen by the Financial Times, will be announced in the coming weeks, before the privatization of 18 state-run power generation, distribution and transmission

companies this year. But the move is likely to cause controversy, coming just a month after the removal of fuel subsidies, which caused petrol prices to more than double. The price increase prompted street protests and a weeklong

nationwide strike, forcing President Goodluck Jonathan partly to backtrack. The federal government said the higher “cost-reflective tariffs” for residential and commercial electricity customers were necessary to

ensure that investors could make a profit. Under the new pricing regime, due to become effective in April, tariffs will rise 25-88 per cent, though most customer classes will see a 50 per cent Contd on Page 2

Why 1 Division was bombed – GOC From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


ajor General Joseph Shoboiki, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, says the arrest of a gunrunning suspect and a terror group spokesman by his men, precipitated the February 7 bomb attack on the division’s Kawo, Kaduna headquarters. Contd on Page 2

Zambia players celebrate their penalty shoot-out victory over Ivory Coast at the end of the Africa Cup of Nations final at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on February 12. Zambia won the match 8-7 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 after extra-time. Photo: AFP / Franck Fife


























Bayelsa: ACN to challenge Seriake Dickson’s victory as Jonathan jubilates By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem r. Kemela Okara, the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate in Saturday’s Bayelsa state governorship, says he will challenge the victory awarded to the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, Mr. Seriake Dickson. Okara scored 9,627 votes to place third as against Dickson’s 417,500. Speaking yesterday in Yenagoa, the ACN candidate said that based on what the party had seen, it had rejected the result of the Feb. 11governorship election. He said reports received by the party from different parts of the state showed that there were irregularities during the election. He said that the party expected free and fair elections, but that it did not see such.


Okara said that the party would pursue a legal option because the will of the people was manipulated. “If the reports coming to us confirm what we have been receiving from different parts of the state, clearly, we will have no option, but to pursue a legal option. “We will have no choice but to pursue a legal option. “Clearly, it is not right in a democratic context for the will of the people to be manipulated, for people to be intimidated and their rights taken away, “That is certainly not right. And we have to now pursue the options available to us constitutionally to address that,” he said. Okara said the party was still compiling reports from its agents across the state and would make

its final observations on the election known to the people of the state. He urged supporters and members of the Action Congress of Nigeria to remain law abiding as the party would challenge the outcome of the election constitutionally. Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday thanked the people of Bayelsa state for voting for the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his party, in Saturday’s governorship election. , thereby giving a resounding victory to the party’s candidate, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson. A statement by Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan also congratulated the candidate, Seriake Dickson and his running mate, Rear Admiral John Jonah

on their victory. “As they prepare to assume office at the helm of governance in Bayelsa state, the President urges them to fully dedicate their tenure to giving effective, purposeful and result-oriented leadership to the people of the state who clearly reaffirmed their confidence in the PDP on Saturday,” the statement said. It continued: “President Jonathan expects that Hon. Dickson and his incoming administration in Bayelsa state will work with total dedication and commitment to justify the peoples’ confidence by rapidly delivering visible and significant improvements in the living conditions of residents of the state.” He assured Dickson of the “full support, assistance and cooperation of the Federal Government” as he sets out to transform Bayelsa state.

Electricity tariffs double by April

Kwara: Why opposition disagrees with Governor Ahmed over N70b rice project, Page 37

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Contd from Page 1 increase in their bills. The government hopes that cushioning the blow for the poorest consumers – a policy absent during the fuel subsidy removal – will ensure that there is no repeat of the public outcry. “We are making sure that the urban poor and rural dwellers be provided a subsidy so that they don’t see a significant increase in tariff,” Bart Nnaji, the minister of power, said in an interview in Abuja. “The rest should be able to pay for it.” Nigeria sells power below cost at an average of about 10 naira, or six US cents, per kilowatt hour, one of the cheapest rates in Africa. But despite having large reserves of natural gas that can fire thermal plants, the country’s

electricity supply and service is among the world’s worst, with half of the 160m population lacking access to the grid. Peak output is little over 4,000MW, with per capita consumption just 3 per cent that of South Africa, Nigeria’s rival for the continent’s biggest economy. Frequent blackouts mean that most of Nigeria’s power comes from privately owned petrol and diesel generators, greatly increasing business costs and deterring potential investors. It is hoped that privatization will greatly improve service and output, with the government targeting 18,000MW output by 2016. The new tariff was calculated to reflect the real cost of supplying electricity, with a return of

investment factored in, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. This comes to about 23 naira/ kWh, which Mr. Nnaji said was near the average price in Africa and less than half the cost of selfgenerated power in Nigeria. The biggest consumers of electricity, wealthy individuals and businesses, will pay the highest rates, cross-subsidizing the less well-off. The government will also provide a 60bn naira subsidy this year, allowing the tariff for the poorest customers to be fixed at 3.3 naira. Previous attempts to reform the power sector have foundered, despite the injection of billions of dollars. But these efforts appear to have momentum.

Bolanle Onagoruwa, directorgeneral of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, charged with selling the six state-owned power generation and 11 distribution companies carved out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, told the Financial Times that privatization should be finished by the end of the year. Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in investing, according to the bureau of public enterprises. Nigeria’s transmission company will also be privately managed, with Canada’s Manitoba Hydro and Power Grid Corporation of India shortlisted to submit bids. The World Bank, which is providing partial risk guarantees to investors, said Nigeria’s power sector reform was one of the most complex undertaken in Africa.

Why 1 Division was bombed – GOC Contd from Page 1

A statement by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations Officer, 1 Division, Lt. Col. Abubakar Edun, said that Shoboiki made the remarks, when he received the Minister of State (Defence), Mrs Olusola Obada, on Saturday in Kaduna. It said that the minister was in Kaduna for an on-the-spot assessment of the failed suicide bomb attempt on the headquarters of the 1 Division “Major General Joseph Shoboiki informed her that troops of the division are involved in internal security operations across the state, contributing to the peace and security of the nation. “The division arrested a suspected gunrunner and a spokesman of the Boko Haram

group, a move which is believed to have led to the bomb attack,’’ the statement said. According to the statement, the Commander, 1 Division Intelligence Group, Col. Digol Golo, narrated to the minister how the suicide bomber carried out the attack at 12.18 pm that Tuesday. Responding, Obada said terrorism appeared to be a global phenomenon that required all nations of the world to come together to fight the menace, the statement said. It said that the minister commended the Nigerian Army for its role in combating terrorism, urging it not to be deterred by the attack. The army and the SSS jointly arraigned the gunrunning suspect, Nuhu Marafa, and his

son, Musa, on Friday in a Kaduna Chief Magistrate’s Court on a twocount charge of gunrunning and funding a terror group. The 1 Division also arrested one Abu Darda, who claimed to be the spokesman of the terror group in Kaduna recently. Marafa, 54, a former national treasurer of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association (PTDA) and his son, Musa, were arrested on January 14. The troops conducted a search on the suspect’s house located at Trikania, where a pump action gun and 43 rounds of ammunition were seized. On Feb.2, the suspect approached a Federal High Court in Kaduna seeking to be released unconditionally.

Marafa’s counsel, Bello Ibrahim of Bello Ibrahim , argued that the army’s failure to arraign his client before a competent court of law on any allegation or charge within 24 hours had violated his right to fair hearing. The High Court adjourned the case to Feb. 8, but in a strange twist, the army proceeded to the Chief Magistrate‘s Court with a two count charge against the suspect and handed him over to the SSS. Chief Magistrate Bashir Bello directed that the accused be remanded in the custody of the CID for further investigation and adjourned the case till March 8 for mention.



Gunmen kill 5 in Borno, Kaduna From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri & Mohammed Adamu, Kaduna


nidentified invaders carried out separate attacks in Borno state reputed for the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect; and in the southern part of Kaduna state at the weekend. The latest attack took place at old the Maiduguri ward of Jere local government council of Borno state, on Saturday night, killing three people, including a husband and his wife. Although both the spokesman of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF), Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed

and the state police commissioner, Mr. Simone Midenda could not be reached for comment as at press time, our correspondent gathered that the incident occurred at about 9.30pm. Residents of the area told newsmen that the assailants, numbering about five and armed with sophisticated weapons stormed the area, firing in different directions for about 30 minutes before attacking their victims. An eye witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that a Chadian couple was the first to be attacked when two of the gunmen climbed the fence of their house, while others took position outside.

The attackers were said to have stabbed the husband before firing several shots at him, while the wife was killed as she courageously grabbed one of the gunmen and attempted to seize his rifle. Shortly after the incident, the assailant raided another house and killed another man, belonging to the Shuwa-Arab ethnic group. Although the motive behind the latest killings could not be ascertained, it was however learnt that, this may not be unconnected with the reprisal attacks allegedly being carried out by members of the Boko Haram sect. Recent attacks are said to be targeted at individuals accused by

the sect of leaking information to security operatives, which led to the arrest of some members. Sources at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), revealed that the bodies of the deceased persons were deposited at the morgue of the hospital. In a similar development unknown assailants attacked Angwan Musa, a village near Zonkwa in Kaduna state late Saturday night, matcheting two people to death and injuring one other person. The Commissioner of Police in Kaduna state, Bala Magaji Nasarawa who confirmed the incident to our correspondent,

called on youth in the area to remain calm and assured that the hoodlums will be tracked down to face the full wrath of the law. Corroborating the incident, the District Head of Zonkwa, Malam Musa Gayya, told our reporter on phone that the situation was under control with the JTF already deployed to the area. He said the attackers came under the cover of darkness and descended on the unsuspecting villagers, killing a man and a woman,while the third male victim barely escaped with his life when other neighbours quickly mobilised and alerted other villagers who chased away the attackers.

Obasanjo dey kampe From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


ontrary to another round of rumours which spread in some quarters yesterday that the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is dead, our correspondent reports that the former president is hale and hearty. Obasanjo attended church service at the Chapel of Christ The Glorious King, located along the Presidential Boulevard in

Abeokuta, yesterday. Our correspondent had dashed to Obasanjo Hilltop private residence on hearing that the former president had died; but later moved to the church where the former president alongside other dignitaries including former Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Ekiti state governor, Segun Oni;Chief Gen. Tunji Olurin (rtd); Gamaliel Onosode, Senator Ayo Arise, etc, joined Obasanjo in celebrating the anniversary of the church.

Tinubu is ‘hale and hearty’ From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


L-R: INEC Returning Officer in the Bayelsa state governorship election, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Edwin Nwatarali, and INEC National Commissioner, Dr. Ishmael Igbani, during the collation of the election results at INEC office in Yenagoa, yesterday. Photo: NAN

Sam Mbakwe Airport runway lights begin test run From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he runway edge lights at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo state has commenced test run years after it stopped working. The community airport which had been operating twelve hour flights daily will now be extended to sixteen hours daily when the test run is completed and based on approval by concerned authorities. The manager, Mr Henry Ogbonnanya disclosed that the

airport which had been without airfield lightings for years, will now attract more flights to the area as the airport will operate for more hours. Mr. Ogbonnaya explained that notice will be sent to airmen to be informed about the state of the runway. On the remodeling of the airport, the airport manager assured passengers of a befitting terminal at the end of the exercise ,adding that both the cooling system and conveyor belts will function

optimally. Mr. Ogbonnanya lamented the inability of government to complete the construction of the perimeter fence of the airport as a result of youth restiveness in the area. According to him, youths and women in the airport community always carry out protests and demonstrations along the airport runway over the non payment of compensation but added that the matter was being looked into by the government.

Mark, Tambuwal congratulate Dickson By Richard Ihediwa, Lawrence Olaoye


enate President David Mark has sent a message of congratulation to the Bayelsa state governor-elect, Mr. Seriake Henry Dickson and his running mate Jonah John over their victory in Saturday's gubernatorial poll in the state. Mark, in the message implored the duo to rise up to the challenge of massive infrastructural

development of the state which he said was in dire need of upliftment. A statement issued by Mark's Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, quoted him urging Dickson to rise to the challenge and bring development to his state. In a similar development, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday congratulated Mr. Henry SeriakeDickson for his victory at the governorship election conducted in

Bayelsa over the weekend. The Speaker in a statement signed on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, said with Dickson's emergence, the people of Bayelsa will benefit from the new governor's experience and administrative acumen. He said now that Hon Dickson has emerged the winner of the election, the people of the state should support him to enable him fulfill his campaign promises.

onfusion yesterday trailed the political circle of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, when the news that its National Leader and Former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is down with stroke and was smuggled out of the country on Friday night. Members of his party and loyalist however besieged his Ikoyi residence in anxiety to know the health status of their leader who has been off the social scene in the past weeks. Reacting to the report, Sunday Dare, Special Adviser on Media to the party chieftain said Tinubu was hale and hearty. “Asiwaju enjoys good health and will be around much longer than many

wish”, he said. He described the story as malicious and patently false saying the story represents the worst form of journalism if it can be called that – lacking in rigour and professionalism. “It is the figment of the wicked imagination of the writer and fits perfectly into the smear political campaign by his political opponents which began last year to wish him ill, so has to weaken his political clout and get him out of the way. The sponsors of this campaign of calumny are known and will soon be unmasked”. He said Asiwaju Tinubu will return to the country this week at the time of his choosing, as soon as he completes the business that necessitated his trip outside the country.

Tough times await corrupt policemen, says IG From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, has declared that tough times await Boko Haram and other criminals across the country as he announced the commencement of Police Intelligence School in Kwara state. The IGP who stated this while briefing journalists after he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in his office, said his strategy was to ensure that his officer go after the criminal by fighting them while corrupt

policemen would be dismissed from the service. Abubakar who had earlier informed Governor Ahmed about the intention to establish an Intelligence School in the state, said the choice of the state was not far from the fact that it has a good environment for officers to learn. The IGP who later addressed his men at the state police headquarters, informed them that those who would could not cope with the proposed reform in the police should leave the service stressing that there was no room for corrupt officers any more.



Gunmen kill two traders in Potiskum From Hussaini Jirgi, Damaturu


he Yobe state police command said on Saturday that two businessmen were shot dead by unidentified gunmen at the Potiskum central market in Potiskum local government area of the state. The state police commissioner, Alhaji Lawan Tanko, who confirmed the killing to our correspondent, said the two businessmen were killed in the afternoon of that faithful day. He also confirmed the killing of one Islamic scholar at his residence at Rigar Fulani opposite Texaco filling station along Maiduguri road in Potiskum at about 6:34 am. Eye witnesses said three gunmen trailed the businessmen to their shop in the Potiskum central market along Muhammed Idrissa way and shot them at about 5; 32 pm and fled.

Lagos NURTW crisis: Lawmaker sues for peace From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


member of the National Assembly, Yakub Balogun has sued for peace among the warring members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in some parts of Lagos state. He said there was need for those engaged in bloody clash to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue. Balogun who is representing Lagos Island federal constituency II in the House of Representatives told Peoples Daily in an exclusive interview that many innocent residents had suffered from the lingering crisis. He noted that the state would only move forward in the atmosphere of peace, law and order.

Boko Haram suspects arrested in Katsina From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


team of security operatives from the State Security Service (SSS) and the military, yesterday raided the hideout of suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram in Katsina

metropolis and made some arrests. Peoples Daily gathered that the team of security personnel stormed an uncompleted building at about 6:00pm. Our correspondent gathered that the incident took place around Kasuwar Katako along KatsinaDutsin-ma road.

An eyewitness said that the security personnel arrived the scene in four Hilux patrol vans and barricaded roads leading to NTA and NAN offices located in the area. According to the eyewitness, three suspects were arrested but he said there was no exchange of

gunfire. When contacted, army spokesman, Lieutenant Ikediche Iweha said he could not confirm the incident as he was away in Kano. He, however, told newsmen to wait till tomorrow (today) so that he could get accurate information.

L-R: Acting Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abuja council, Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdulkareem , Vice- President, Zone H, NUJ Otunba Gbenga Onayiga , Special Adviser, Media and Strategy to the Kogi state Governor, Mr. Jacob Edi, and Director-General, National Teachers Institute, Dr. Aminu Sharehu, during the NUJ 2011 Special Recognition Awards and Dinner at the weekend in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Pastor arrested over alleged kidnap of Indian national From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


Celestial Church Parish founder, John Fadoungbo has been arrested by the Ogun state police command for allegedly conniving with five other suspects to kidnap an Indian national and collecting N3million ransom from the victim’s family. The cleric was at the weekend paraded alongside his gang members at Eleweran police

headquarters, Abeokuta, having been arrested at his Irawo Meje parish, located along OwodeEgba/Abeokuta road. The police commissioner, Nicholas Nkemdeme while parading the suspects, said the pastor was the spiritual consultant of the gang, who in the course of investigation confessed to have taken part in the crime. He added that the gang had kidnapped Bibhas Bhanjdes, an Indian national, who is the

General Manger of Midgal Nigeria Plc. in Abeokuta alongside his driver, and kept them in a hideout. They later demanded a ransom from the family. He said the victims’ family had to part with the sum of N3million before they were left off the hook. Other suspects include; Olanrewaju Aremu, Chidi Odunmber, Ejike Mbaeze, Ayo Ifejie and Ndubusi Nwafor. All the suspects confessed to the organised crime, while the N2million, left of the ransom was recovered from

them. The suspects were paraded with other exhibits which include one locally made pistol, one life ammunition and two laptops. The cleric while responding to questions from Peoples Daily said he regretted his involvement in the illegal deal, lamenting further that, he established the church about a year ago. Meanwhile, the police commissioner said on completion of investigation, the suspects would be taken to court.

Don’t attack peaceful communities, environmentalists caution JTF From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has cautioned the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger Delta not to attack peaceful communities in executing its threat to crush the renewed attacks on oil facilities by the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). ERA/FoEN said the caution is premised on a statement by JTF spokesman, Lt. Colonel Timothy Antigha that suspected bombers of an Agip pipeline in Brass local government area of Bayelsa state are advised to turn themselves in for “interaction” with authorities of the JTF in Yenagoa. A statement from the special

adviser to the President on Niger Delta and chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, also indicated government had given the military the nod to tackle the security challenges in the Niger Delta. MEND on Saturday February 4, 2012 blew up the crude oil trunk line belonging to Italy’s oil multinational subsidiary in Nigeria, Agip, saying the attack was prompted by the insincerity of the Jonathan administration in tackling the environmental problems caused by oil companies in the Niger Delta, corruption in government, and plans by the present administration to embark on construction of nuclear plants, among others. But in a statement issued in

Lagos, ERA/FoEN said: We deplore the bombing of pipelines because it increases the pollution in the region and damages the peoples’ struggles for survival. However, we hope the JTF deadline for the bombers to

turn themselves in will not be an excuse to attack peaceful communities as has been the case whenever security agents fail to resolve cases of this nature. The Federal Government must


My victory is for all, says Dickson

he governor-elect of Bayelsa, Rep. Seriake Dickson, yesterday said his victory at last Saturday’s polls was a victory for all. Dickson stated this while speaking with newsmen at his Opolo residence in Yenagoa, shortly after he was declared the winner of the election by INEC. He said, “I want to use this opportunity to assure those, who contested against me, all my opponents, all the parties, all the candidates, including my opponents

at the PDP primaries that today’s victory is a victory for all. “We are all winners. There are no losers by this declaration. Yesterday, we may have been opponents in this election but with this declaration by INEC, we are all winners. “I invite you to participate in building a greater and more prosperous tomorrow for our people. “We were all in this race for our people for the service of our people and

guarantee that security forces act responsibly and respect the rights of the law-abiding citizens while responding to security challenges in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.

so for all of you who contested against me today, a new dawn has arrived. “It is a call to duty because we are not in this for ourselves and now our people have spoken loudly and clearly”. He commended the people of Bayelsa, INEC and the security agencies for the thorough job and peaceful conduct of the election, noting that it put to rest speculations that the people of Bayelsa were violent. (NAN)



TASUED students call for sack of commissioner

Muslim group urges Boko Haram to embrace dialogue

From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta

From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


tudents of the scrapped Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, in Ogun state yesterday called on the state Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Segun Odubela to resign his appointment for what the student body described as his naivety and incompetence in managing the state’s education sector. The aggrieved students under the banner of the Union Government of the institution in a statement, signed by Mesrrs Abdullahi Oyekanmi and Azeez Agboola, president and public telations officer respectively, equally gave the state government 48 hours to sack the commissioner. The students' demand arose from the scrapping of TASUED and its conversion to an institute under the Faculty of Education, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye. The government had through the commissioner and his Information colleague, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, also directed the institution’s management to stop further admission of fresh students for the 2012/2013 academic session. However, while insisting for the sack of Odubela in a statement made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the students stated that the merger of TASUED with OOU lacked adequate consultation from relevant stakeholders in the educational sector. "We want to make the entire public know the reason behind the vicious merging of TASUED by the Commissioner for Education and his cohorts. Barrister Segun Odubela is a graduate of the OOU, Ago-Iwoye”, the students stated. "TASUED is a flagship in helping to make Ogun State have a first class university. There are 117 universities (federal, state and private) in Nigeria today and in the latest ranking done by the world acclaimed and Europebased International Webomatrics Centre which ranks all world universities every year and which NUC also relies on, the seven-year-old TASUED was ranked 30th position, unlike OOU which was ranked 56th and which government wants to merge TASUED with."


group known as the Muslims Coalition for Peace in Nigeria, has urged the Boko Haram Muslim sect to embrace the dialogue option being proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan, in order to stop portraying Islam in bad light. The coalition, comprising various Muslim groups from the 19 states in the North, said that it was worried that the Boko Haram

issue as well as activities of militant groups in parts of the Niger Delta pose a great threat to the hitherto peaceful co-existence of Nigerians. The group in a communiqué after a one-day conference in Kaduna yesterday, commended sections of Muslim and Christian communities in the north for resolving to continue to live together even in the face of efforts to divide them. The coalition’s coordinator, Sheikh Abdullah Isa Basher, signed the communiqué, along with,

Malam Auwal Kabir, Alhaji Umar Babandede, Alhaji Ibrahim Bauchi and Malam Bulama Askira. The communiqué said, “the conference commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his peace overtures and the desire to open dialogue so as to ensure peace, stability, unity and progress of Nigeria. “The coalition noted the increasing attempts to portray the religion of Islam in bad light, as supporting violence when indeed

Islam stands for peace and brotherhood and urged all wellmeaning people to separate activities of some Muslim sects from the religion of Islam. “The coalition expressed concern over the increasing cases confrontations between members of Boko Haram and security agencies and called for urgent measures to resolve the conflict, especially trough dialogue being proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan.”

R-L: Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, in a handshake with Alhaji Aminu Dantata, during a condolence visit he paid to the family of late Abdulkadir Dantata, at the weekend in Kano.

Asaba residents decry continued scarcity of kerosene


esidents of Asaba, the Delta capital, have decried the continued scarcity of kerosene and its attendant high cost in the city. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that households in the city and its environs have been experiencing scarcity of the commodity for more than three years. The situation had led to exorbitant cost of the product, which was currently being sold at between N120 and N150 per litre at few filling stations selling the

commodity. NAN investigation revealed that the development had boosted black market operations because filling stations hoard the item from the public and sell to black market operators. At the black market spots, a litre of the product sells for between N160 and N180. In the circumstance, most families have resorted to supplementing kerosene with firewood, which they get from scavenging construction sites and farms as well as patronising wood

dealers from neighbouring villages. A bundle of wood sells for between N100 and N300 depending on its size, as against its previous rates of N50, N80 and N120. Residents who spoke to NAN on the issue, accused petroleum marketers of sabotaging government’s efforts by selling kerosene and other products above regulated prices. They were also of the opinion that the marketers create artificial scarcity in order to exploit the

people and advised the government to set up different teams to constantly monitor the supply and sale of the product. Mrs. Grace Anyasi, a house wife, told NAN that the “frustrating situation” had forced her to resort fully to the use of firewood. “Before now we can walk into a filling station and buy the product but now even with the price at N120 or N130 depending on the filling station, the product is not readily available”, she said. (NAN)

Hausa community leader advocates rehabilitation of Boko Haram bomb victims From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Sarkin Hausawa of Ibadanland, Alhaji Ahmed Zungeru, has called on the Federal Government to ensure immediate rehabilitation of all victims of the bombings from the Boko Haram Islamic sect.

He made the call in Oyo yesterday at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of his coronation. The Sarkin Hausawa who emphasized the need for continued peaceful coexistence of Nigerians decried the activities of the Boko Haram sect, saying they had

continued to threaten the legacy of peace bequeathed on the nation by the founding fathers. He reiterated his earlier call for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference where all segments of Nigerians would bare their minds on the peaceful way forward.

“The menace of the faceless Boko Haram sect calls for an avenue of dialogue and we hereby appeal to the federal government for an immediate rehabilitation of the victims of this obnoxious killings. “God is miraculous and does not make mistakes by joining the

North, South-east, South-south and the South West together, and from different backgrounds. “What level of politics are we taking Nigeria to? We must be prayerful and resist these political reactionaries because they have put us in very serious upheavals”, he submitted.



Gombe CAN elects new officials

Executive Secretary, Abuja National Mosque Management Board, Alhaji Ibrahim A. Jega (right) exchanging greetings with the Secretary General, Association of Investors and Business of Turkey and Nigeria, Mr. Yavuz Zemheri (centre) and Engineer Faruk B. Umar (left), during the official commissioning of the association's Abuja office, recently. Photo: Mahmud Isa

From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


Counsel moves to file perjury charge against Jang From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


ild drama ensued in the legal tussle between the sacked chairmen of Bokkos and Langtang north local government areas and the Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang when counsel to the chairmen Garba Pwul, said he has taken steps to establish a criminal case of perjury against the governor and the Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Edward Pwajok. Briefing newsmen in the

state, Pwul disclosed that the last appearance of the governor and the Attorney-General in court showed that one of them must have lied under oath because Jang through his new counsel had argued at the last hearing that he (Jang) has not asked anybody to hold brief for him regarding the matter and asked the court to investigate same. According to him, this contradicted the earlier statement made by the AttorneyGeneral in a memorandum of

condition of appearance dated January 25, 2012 in which he applied to enter a conditional appearance for the state government as well as the state governor who is the second defendant in the suit. Pwul said the office of the AG is the final authority on any legal matter concerning the state and for the AG to have made such statement of conditional appearance in the court showed that he had the consent of the state governor to

NACA advocates positive behaviour on Valentine’s Day


he National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has advised Nigerians to avoid things that could impair their sense of judgment and keep away from risky behaviour during the Valentine celebrations. NACA’s Chief Prevention Officer, Programmes Department, Mrs. Uduak Daniel, made the call in Abuja yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). “Therefore whatever you do, whoever you love, whatever you take or wherever you go in order to find love or to express love, make sure that you consider your future

today, make sure that you are in your right senses. “Don’t take things that will impair your sense of judgment; that will help engage in risky behaviour.’’ Daniel urged people to use the opportunity to establish their status, especially when going into a new relationship, adding that those that knew their status should stay positive. She lamented that the day was supposed to be a demonstration of love and gratitude to people in one’s life, noting that unfortunately many merely indulged in sexual orgies to celebrate the day.

represent him or that he was lying under oath when he made the statement. The plaintiff counsel further disclosed that both was a serious matter of perjury and as senior public officers, perjury affects their integrity in the discharge of their duties to the public as they should be seen as persons who should lead by example. According to him, this is a matter he would take up in court to establish who among the two public officials actually lied on oath and that the allegation if proven, would enable the court to mete out the necessary penalty as in a criminal case.

he Gombe state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Saturday conducted elections into executive positions with the chairman, Rev. Abare Kallah being re-elected. Rev. Kallah scored 65 votes to defeat Rev. Kawuwa JP, who scored 12 votes, other elected officials of the association included Mr. Iliya Bako, vice-chairman; and Rev. Samuel Bulus, secretary. Also elected are Rev. Adams Boyi, Mr. Iliya Victory, Mr. Solomon Ayewale, Rev. Alfred Shilong and Pastor Thomas Ejiniyi as assistant secretary, treasurer, financial secretary, public relations officer (PRO) and Auditor, respectively. Speaking during the election, the chairman of North East CAN, Rev. Shuaibu Byal, urged Christians to be cautious and alert to the security challenges facing the zone. He enjoined the newly elected executives to ensure that they upheld the trust and confidence reposed in them by the followership. Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Rev. Abare Kallah expressed gratitude to the entire Christians in the state for re-electing him to serve the association for a second term. He assured Christians that he would work towards the completion of the CAN centre and the establishment of an office complex for the use of the association. In an interview with newsmen shortly after the election, Kalla said he was ready to face the challenges of leadership and urged members to give him constructive criticism. He prayed for guidance to enable him to overcome the challenges before him and solicited the support and cooperation of Christians through their advice to ensure the success of the executive.

Restore power, reduce unemployment, unsteady electricity to turn the wheels of says lawmaker production. From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


he Chairman Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence, Senator Mohammed Magoro, has said the only way to reduce the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria is to ensure adequate capacity for the Power Holding Company to provide steady electricity across the country. Magoro who stated this while addressing newsmen at the weekend in his home town shortly after the celebration of 2012 annual HOULA festival, said youth unemployment is rampant because most Nigerian industries are comatose due to

The Senator, who represents Kebbi South Senatorial District, further explained that companies are now moving to Ghana, lamenting that the security lapses in Nigeria most especially some part of the North and Niger Delta has affected companies thereby raising the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria. Senator Magoro who commended the effort of the security agencies in Nigeria for tackling some of the security challenges, urged the Federal Government to initiate training and retraining of security agencies and equipping them with communication gadgets.

NTDC appeals for tourism facilities in new FCT districts From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Director-General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe has appealed to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, to include tourism facilities and

infrastructure in the three newly created districts in the territory. Commending the minister on the creation of these districts in a statement, Otunba Runsewe said his appeal was based on the fact that tourism activities in the new districts would open them up, jobs would be created through investment

opportunities in the sub sector while the city of Abuja would also be decongested. He noted that tourism was a major player in the economy of most nations; citing the creation of new districts as a trend in countries such as China , UAE, South Africa, Canada and Uganda where tourism infrastructure and

facilities are included in the planning of new districts. Otunba Runsewe specifically urged the minister to carve out at least 35 percent of each of the new district for tourism activities. Listing other benefits , Otunba Runsewe said tourism activities would bring investors particularly in ecological,

cultural and agricultural tourism, thereby boosting economic and social activities at the grassroots. It would be recalled that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory announced the creation of three new districts in Katampe, Maitama Extension and Kagini 1 covering 777,231 hectares.



Al-makura commissions Lafia modern market From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero (middle), in group photograph, during a condolence visit to the Emir in Kano at the weekend.

375 police husbands petition IGP over postings From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


bout 375 husbands of female police officers under the Zone 8 Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have petitioned the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, over alleged inconsiderate and abnormal posting of their wives. This is coming after Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of police, Ephraim Amakulor, on Wednesday, February 8, 2012, allegedly issued posting letters to about 500 policemen in the zonal command in Ilorin to proceed to

Lokoja, in Kogi state in a reorganisation of the force to combat and arrest the menace of Boko Haram and other forms of crime and criminality in the state. It was gathered that, out of the 500 affected police officers in Kwara state, 375 were females. While speaking with journalists in Ilorin on the development, husbands of the female police officers, who besieged the ‘A’ Divisional police office in Ilorin, said through their spokesperson, Peter Akhigbe, that the women are all married, adding that some are

pregnant, some have just given birth, while others are either nursing mothers or are newly married. Akhigbe noted that the transfer was capable of separating couples and leading to broken homes. The troubled husbands, who queried the role of female police officers in the fight against members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, lamented that there was no provision of accommodation for their wives who would have to procure accommodation for themselves in Kogi state.

Kaduna is polio-free, says Yakowa From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


aduna state governor, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, has said the crippling polio virus has been eradicated from the state since 2009. However, according to him, government will continue to fight the virus because, “Kaduna state is surrounded by polio infected states and I have also been informed that there are still some children who have missed the routine polio immunisation administered by both parents and caregivers.” Yakowa spoke at the weekend during the launch of the Polio Free Torch campaign in the state, by the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). According to him, “Nigeria is one of the most entrenched reservoirs of wild polio virus in the world. “In response to this, the Federal Government and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum signed a re-confirmation of the Abuja commitments, pledging to

reach at least 90 percent of children with polio vaccine with the goal of eradicating polio from the country, improving routine immunisation and strengthening primary health care. ”In view of this development, this administration has made polio eradication initiative a top priority in the health sector. “In our fight against this disabling disease, the Kaduna state government had spent huge resources in 2011 in immunisation, advocacy and control of the polio menace, with a view to retaining the polio-free status of the state. “We are also committed to sustaining the state Task Force on Immunization meetings in order to ensure coordination of the polio eradication initiative. “I have also directed all the local government councils in the state to ensure regular meetings of the Local Government Task Force on Immunisation and engagement of stakeholders, especially traditional and religious leaders, in the campaign against polio in their respective areas.

“It is the combination of these efforts that made Kaduna state polio-free since 2009. The success achieved was a result of the commitment made, by both the government and also by other stakeholders in the state, particularly our traditional and religious leaders.” Highlights of the ceremony were decoration of some

The husbands, who claimed that female police officers were not posted away from their families during the regimes of IGPs Tafa Balogun, Ehindero or Ringim, wondered why the police had to implement such policy suddenly. In his reaction, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), of the Kwara State police Command, ASP Dabo Ezekiel, said the transfer was done from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, adding that the aggrieved husbands should direct their complaints to Force Headquarters. stakeholders in the fight against polio as Polio Ambassadors as well as handing over of the polio free torch to Yakowa, by the NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr. Ado Muhammad. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria is the only polio-endemic country in Africa. In 2011, 58 cases of wild Polio virus were reported in Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Yobe and Borno states.

n ultra modern market estimated to have cost the Nasarawa state government several millions of naira, was recently commissioned by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura. He said that the commissioning of the complex was a fulfillment of the long awaited aspiration of the people for a state-of-the-art market, stressing that this would mark the beginning of more robust commercial activities in Lafia essential for the promotion of socio-economic development in the state, and indeed, the North Central zone. Al-makura pointed out that since the creation of state in 1996, the influx of people into Lafia and the attendant growth and expansion of business activities have overstretched the available facilities in the old Lafia market, placing undue constraint on free movement of goods and services within Lafia metropolis, thus necessitating the construction of a modern market which was initiated by the administration of former Governor Abdullahi Adamu. He disclosed that his administration would embark on the construction of a modern market in Akwanga soon, and complete that of Keffi, adding that already, government has addressed all grey areas stalling work on the Keffi market project. In his welcome address, the state commissioner for commerce and industry, Ahmed Mohammed, stated that the commissioning of the project was a glaring testimony of the determination of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) administration to provide the necessary impetus for the economic growth of the state. The edifice, which is to be managed by the Abuja Market Management Limited, comprise of 105 shop and stalls, a fire station, police post, clinic, a court, a bank, an administrative block and ample parking space.

Why Bauchi govt relocated Tafawa Balewa LGA Hqs From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he Bauchi state government yesterday defended its position on the relocation of the Tafawa Balewa local government headquarters, saying the decision is not targeted against anybody, religion or ethnic group in the state. While reacting to a press statement issued by the Church of Christ in Nigeria and the Sayawa Elders Council condemning the relocation of Tafawa Balewa’s headquarters, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Isa Yuguda, Mr. Ishola Michael, said the action was temporary pending the return of normalcy to the troubled zone.

The government’s spokesman further explained that the steps taken by the state was to restore lasting and permanent peace in the assuring that the seat of the council would be returned. The Church of Christ in Nigeria and Elders Council of Sayawa community of Tafawa-Balewa local government had condemned the resolution of the Bachi State House of Assembly to relocate Tafawa Balewa LGA headquarters to Bununu owing to insecurity in the locality. Also, President of COCIN, Dr. Soja Bewarang and spokesman of Sayawa community commended the boldness of the few members of the House, particularly Hon.

Rifkatu Sambo who was suspended for rising up in defence of democracy and the constitution by rejecting the resolution and called on the House to immediately reinstate Sambo. Dr. Bewarang in a press statement issued in Jos, said the church viewed the action of the state House of Assembly as double victimisation, oppression and total denial of the fundamental rights of the Sayawa people. According to him, a group had attacked the community resulting in loss of lives and properties but instead of the Bauchi state lawmakers condoling the people for the calamity, it relocated the headquarters to another place.



SON targets big reduction in substandard products in 2012


he Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it plans to reduce the number of sub-standard products in Nigerian markets from its current 70 percent to 30 percent before the end of 2012. Speaking at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, SON’s director-general said at present 70 percent of consumer products in

Nigeria are sub-standard, compared to 85 percent in 2011. “This year, our target is to reduce that further by half, which means that by the end of this year we should be looking at about 30 percent and we have already lined up programmes to ensure that that happens”. Odumodu told NAN that 80 percent of consumer products imported into the country were mainly from Asian countries.

He blamed the influx of some of these sub-standard products for the “death” and non-performance of many indigenous companies, which couldn’t compete favourably with products dumped on Nigeria. Odumodu said ensuring good quality of products coming into Nigeria remained a main priority for the agency, which he began to head one year ago. “To be able to achieve that, we need to have

accredited laboratories, but today we can’t boast of such internationally-recognised laboratories in Nigeria. “But that we have already started on that journey and within this year we are going to certify some of our laboratories”. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SON currently operates a textile/leather laboratory in Kaduna, a science laboratory in Lagos while its Enugu facility hosts its

engineering laboratory. The director-general said SON had put in motion processes to ensure that all products imported into Nigeria were tested and certified to be of good quality. Under the new SON’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), Odumodu said manufacturers abroad who were making products destined for Nigeria would be profiled.(NAN)

Okada ban: Potiskum youth want tricycles From Hussaini Jirgi, Damaturu


ver 20, 000 youths of Potiskum local government area in Yobe state, have called on the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam to provide additional 5, 000 tricycles and give them directly to the ACOMORAN not to politicians and tribal champions. A statement issued on behalf of the youths signed by their chairman, Usman Alhaji Saleh, and which was made available to our correspondent in Damaturu, said providing only 20-50 tricycles to five local government areas under emergency which have been hijacked by some politicians and tribal groups is unacceptable. According to the statement in Potiskum local government alone had more than 30,000 motorcycle riders who relied solely on okada business to feed their families. It said the state government didn’t provide any alternative for them and that 95 percent of the youth are suffering as a result of the ban on motorcyclist across many affected areas.

Ajimobi promises partnership with local, foreign investors From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state has indicated his administration’s readiness to collaborate with local and foreign investors towards ensuring the rapid socioeconomic development of the state. He gave the indication at the weekend while receiving a group of local and foreign investors – TNL Consortium – led by its Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Kinlock, who was on a courtesy visit to his office in Ibadan. Gov. Ajimobi said his administration would do everything possible to ensure that investors were attracted to the state which, according to him, was blessed with a lot of human and material resources. “Oyo state, in terms of potentials, has the highest, including land mass for the restoration, transformation and repositioning agenda of our government,’’ the governor said.





Nigeria will not break up, says Bishop From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he presiding Bishop of New Generation Bible Church, Kano, Godwin Elomobor, has expressed optimism that even in the face of mounting insecurity occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria will not disintegrate. Elomobor who spoke to

newsmen in Kano, said the problem with Nigeria is not based on religious difference but the inability of the leaders to provide good leadership. He urged Nigerians irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation to demonstrate patriotism and imbibe peace, harmony and tolerance, adding that at this critical moment of the nation’s history, “all we need

is prayers.” He lamented the way southerners are leaving the North in droves, stating that the situation does not call for such action as whatever is happening at the moment could be over-come through ceaseless prayers. “Anybody that is, however, persuaded to move is free to do so, but from what I see on ground, the

security is adequate. The President, the governor of Kano state are really trying their best in that direction. I also appreciate the police, the army and other security agencies and the people of the state for joining forces in securing the state. “I don’t see Nigeria disintegrating; I therefore appeal to the southerners leaving in droves to return as I see peace

around the corner. We cannot afford a repeat of what happened in Nigeria in 1966. Christians should learn to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I do not support retaliation or reprisal attacks. Elomobor advised the Federal Government to enter into dialogue with Boko Haram if that will bring peace.

Dutse emirate distributes Zakkat From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


L-R: Akwa Ibom state deputy governor, Mr Nsima Ekere, with Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, at the 18th John Wood Ekpenyong Memorial Lecture of Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers in Uyo, at the weekend. With them is the chairman of the chairman, Mr. Ayodele Sangosanya. Photo: NAN

Kwara NUJ suspends correspondents over forgery From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kwara state, has suspended the correspondents of Leadership and Daily Trust newspapers, Abdullahi Olesin, and Mustapha Abubakar repectively and four others for alleged forgery of the union’s official documents and outright disregard for constituted authority.

The union in a statement made available to our correspondent in Ilorin and signed by the Kwara state chairman of the union and its assistant secretary, Elder Stephen Oni and Evang. Asonibere Albert respectively, stated that the suspension has been approved by the national secretary of the union with immediate effect. Other suspended include

Ahmed Shittu of ThisDay, Demola Akinyemi of Vanguard, Mohammed A Rabiu of New Nigerian and Akeem Olatidoye of The Herald newspapers. The statement which described their action as antiunion, stated that “the national secretariat of the NUJ has approved the indefinite for inciting other members of the union against the leadership of the state

Edo NCWS faction leader expelled From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he national president of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Mrs. Nkechi Mba who conducted last Friday’s election of the council in Edo state, has expelled the self acclaimed state president, Mrs. Ayela Uwangue. Her expulsion according to Mrs. Mba, is sequel to her refusal to workFrom Olanrewaju Lawal,

Ilorin with the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) in the state. Mrs. Mba disclosed this to newsmen in a telephone interview in Benin City. Reacting on the matter, Edo state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Inumidun Idehen, described the the Uwangue-led executive as fraudulent. Idenhen threatened Uwangue

group which she described as social deviants to immediately handover the property of the council (which she alleged they had converted to personal use) in their possession or face prosecution. The fragile peace being experienced by the Edo State chapter, National Council of Women Society (NCWS) has deepened; following the dissatisfaction of some members with the recently held election for new executives of the association.

Dantata was a pride to indigenous contractors - Atiku From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ormer Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the death of Abdulkadir Dantata, chairman of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, was a major blow to Nigeria’s local construction companies at a time they were trying to assert themselves side by side with

international construction giants. In a condolence message released by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President noted that, under the leadership of the late Abdulkadir Dantata, the company was able to compete side by side with construction giants such as Julius Berger, Lorgiani, RCC, Styre and other foreign companies. According to Atiku, the late

Abdulkadir Dantata led his company to reckoning through sheer determination, hard work and vision. He said Dantata’s tenacity to excel had made his company to win the trust of the government and was as result, contracted to execute major public projects including the Abuja Airport Road, the AYA flyover and some other projects.

council, a situation which could have led to the breakdown of law and other in the state”. The statement added that “meanwhile, the state council has been directed to drag the suspended members as well as others found to be involved in the allegation in the course of investigation, before the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the council to answer charges of incitement and forgery of official documents”.

he Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Muhammadu Nuhu Sunusi, has commended the people of the Dutse Emirate for giving out Zakkat to the poor stating that it is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam as stipulated by the Holy Qur’an. Alhaji Sunusi who launched the distribution of 2011 Zakkat at Danfusan village in Kiyawa local government area, announced that Kiyawa district was the first in Zakkat collection in the emirate. He said the emirate collected 67, 837 bundles of assorted grains and an estimated of 1, 261 bags of food items. The emir explained that the emirate has also collected food items worth about N128 million as Zakkat in 2011. He said 25,196 people are to benefit from the Zakkat distribution in the emirate stating that Kiyawa district came first in the collection with 7, 120 bundles of grains and 369 bags of millet amounting to over N1 million. The emir called on people to always give out Zakkat and as at when due for Allah’s blessing. He also appealed to people to pray for peace and harmony of the state and the country at large. In his speech the district head of Kiyawa and Dokajin Dutse, Alhaji Aminu Wada, said the district will maintain the tempo in the collection of the Zakkat.

Jigawa disburses N230m for 2012 students’ WAEC/NECO fees From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


O fewer than 17,582 senior secondary school students are to sit for this year’s NECO and WAEC examinations across the Jigawa state. A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the state’s Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Malam Ismaila Ibrahim, said all the students are to write both WAEC and NECO examinations respectively. It stated that the state government has paid over N101 million as WAEC fees and N129 million as NECO fees respectively for its students. The statement further explained that all senior secondary schools in the state would be used as substantial examination centres.

Meanwhile, the Jigawa state College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Ringim, has admitted 2,000 students for the 2011/2012 academic session. The Provost of the college, Dr. Abbas A. Abbas, announced this to our reporter on telephone. He said the admitted students include 1, 500 males and 500 females. He explained that the college received N45 million from the state government last year for its capital projects. He said the projects executed include construction of five toilets, modernisation of some structures and the purchase of lap top computers for teachers. According to him, the college is making contact with Bayero University, Kano, in order to affiliate for the introduction of a degree programme in Qur’anic science.



NEMA warns of fire disasters From Mohammed Adamu, Kaduna


s part of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA’s) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), response strategies, the North-west zonal office of NEMA in Kaduna, has embarked on a sensitisation campaign across the seven states in the zone on hazards associated with fire disaster especially at this period. Speaking in Kaduna, Ilallah warned that indiscriminate bush burning, improper use of cooking gas, leaving candles lit or electrical appliances and

kerosene lanterns when out of view; and careless handling of flammable objects and substances like petrol or kerosene, among others, are amongst harmful practices that cause fire outbreaks. The Ag. Zonal Coordinator added that researches conducted by the agency and its relevant stakeholders show significant low level of awareness on fire safety in Nigeria, as less than three percent of the 160 million inhabitants of the country presently have the required basic fire safety knowledge. He said “the awareness campaign will promote a growing recognition from

the public, civil society and private sector that the only way to address the escalating human and economic costs of disasters is not a reactive emergency assistance but building the appropriate legislative framework to enhance effective disaster management delivery.” The campaign which has taken place in Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano and Kebbi states is aimed at sensitising the public, students teachers (primary and secondary) and ward heads at the grassroots level on fire prevention, mitigation and control.

Parents, students cry out over nonrefund of SSCE fees in Nasarawa From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he decision by the Nasarawa state government to intervene by paying the National Examination Council (NECO) fees for all its students in SSIII this year, may not yield the desired result following complaints from aggrieved parents and students that school authorities are yet to refund fees collected prior to the order by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura. Investigations by Peoples Daily reveals that parents and students who paid a sum of N28, 000 as fees for both

NECO and WAEC, are yet to be refunded part of the money which the government has agreed to pay on their behalf. A mother, Hadiza Isa, a resident of Angwan Rimi in Nasarawa, headquarters of Nasarawa local government area, lamented her inability to get refunds after paying N28, 000 as fees for NECO and WAEC for her son schooling at Government Science School, Nasarawa. She told our correspondent that in order for her child to register for the two exams, she went to a loan shark to borrow the said amount which till now she has not been able to pay back. Another complainant,

Emos Musa, a student of GSS Udeni, said he paid N28, 000 for the two exams but with the recent proclamation by the state government, he had expected the school authorities to refund part of the fees but as at now, no explanation was given as to what will happen after the state government agreed to pay for the NECO exams. When contacted on the matter, Abubakar Hussaini, state commissioner of education, said he is yet to receive any complaint on the matter but that if any parent or student has complaints to make on the fees, the ministry is ready to address it.

Kebbi launches 2012 Bauchi students dry season farming, commend NGO over health facilities sells fertiliser at From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

N1,700 per bag

tudents in Bauchi state have commended a nongovernmental organisation, African Children Talent Discovery Foundation (ACTDF), in the effort provide 20 health centers, one at each of the local government areas of Bauchi state by the. The spokesman of the students, Comrade Hassan Adamu from the University of Maiduguri, gave the commendation at the weekend while talking to journalists in Bauchi, describing the gesture as a welcome development in the march towards a healthy society. He said that the establishment of the health institutions by the ACTDF in Bauchi state would complement government’s efforts in health care delivery to the people. Adamu also expressed delight with the foundation’s commitment to the establishment of special schools in states of the federation, saying the gesture is worthy of emulation by other NGOs. They also commended the leadership of ACTDF, Engr. Noah Dallaji, whose NGO is non-political, non-religious, and non-profit, for transcending the boundaries of religion in its community services to Nigerians.

From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi bout 90,000 of assorted fertilisers would be distributed to farmers this year throughout the state using the usual modality and selling at N1, 700 per bag to farmers. This was disclosed by the deputy governor of Kebbi state, Alhaji Ibrahim K. Aliyu at the flag-off and launching of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs sales for the 2012 dry season farming in Jega town at the weekend. He said 150 trucks of the commodity would be disbursed to target areas and cooperative groups/communities who engage in dry season farming. Alhaji Aliyu said Kebbi state government has procured 7, 500 irrigation water pumps, improved seeds and chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) for distribution to farmers, adding that it will participate in 2012 dry season farming also known as NATASHI’’. The deputy governor further explained that the traditional rulers such as the district head and village heads should be involved in making sure that the fertiliser and other agricultural inputs reach all nooks and crannies of the state.







The furore over Ribadu’s new appointment

ast week, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, announced the appointment of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission {EFCC] and presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Nuhu Ribadu, as chairman of newly created Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force. Expectedly, the announcement has generated divergent reactions from Nigerians, some even urging Ribadu to shun the offer and others asking him to accept it. Those who argued against Ribadu taking up the new job saw the appointment as a subtle move by the federal government to garner credibility and shore up its fast dwindling reputation which suffered a massive hit with the illtimed removal of fuel subsidy and the resultant protests by millions of Nigerians. The ACN on whose platform Ribadu contested the last presidential election was quick and vehement in its rejection of the appointment, saying that it was a clear sign that the federal government was out of its depths in solving the problems facing the nation and was only fishing for credible personalities to bolster its own sagging credibility. It went on to warn that Ribadu was on his

own if he chose to take the appointment. However, those who want him to take the job argue that it is by so doing that hope in waging a successful war against corruption especially in the highly corrupt oil sector can be regained. Without a doubt, Nuhu Ribadu is one of the very few Nigerians who have earned the trust of his compatriots as a result of his

Going by his track record, no one is better placed for the tough job than Ribadu. We hope he will not disappoint commitment and dedication to the fight against corruption while heading the EFCC under the President Olusegun Obasanjo government. Whatever minuses that may have been recorded while he was heading the anti-corruption body, there is a consensus that the fight back then seemed to have recorded more successes than had been since his unceremonious departure. Since he has gone ahead and

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

accepted the job, we urge him not to relent until accountability and due process are instituted in the management of petroleum revenue accruals. We agree with his statement announcing his decision to take up the offer: “Regardless of our affiliations, our differences and our engagements, it is at least safe to say that we have a national consensus on the deadly impact of corruption on our march to greatness…if we would effectively isolate and defeat this scourge therefore, we must all see it as a preeminent national security threat. We must see it as a war within our borders, a war that has assumed a systemic and endemic character, but in which all must urgently enlist with our different capabilities or accept to all go down with the ship”. We agree with Ribadu’s rallying call for all to join hands in defeating the scourge of corruption in this country and we believe his new position is a crucial one in that regard. The ugly revelations that have emerged at the just concluded House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee public hearing on the petroleum sector have left no one in doubt that that sector needs urgent cleansing. Going by his track record, no one is better placed for the tough job than Ribadu. We hope he will not disappoint.








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Nuhu Ribadu and the petroleum cabal T By Kehinde Laniyan

he Federal Government, last week, announced two new committees which are directed at reforming Nigeria’s petroleum sector. The first committee, headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, is meant to improve revenue administration and collection in the upstream/ downstream sector of the oil industry and it is generating much heat already – understandably. The second, which is equally important, will assess the state of our refineries, ensure self-sufficiency and improve production capacity in the shortest possible time. The Petroleum Revenue Taskforce, according to the government, was set up in fulfillment of the yearning of Nigerians for probity in the petroleum sector. The federal government had accepted the fact the petroleum sector needs to run in such a transparent manner than we have at present. Consequently, the taskforce will determine and verify all revenue due and payable to the federal government, collect all debts, enforce agreement for operators, develop automated tracking and use technology to monitor production and export of Nigerian oil both in the downstream and upstream sectors. As a career police officer, Mallam Ribadu is not new to such enforcement of rules, procedures and recovery of looted public funds. He was the most celebrated and published head of the Nigerian anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial crime Commission, EFCC. Mallam Ribadu’s appointment has received so much political commentaries and blogs on social media with balanced opinions enough to create confusion in most minds. This is not unexpected considering the fact

that he was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the leading opposition political party in Nigeria. Ribadu contested the presidential elections and lost, coming distant third to President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC. Some critics saw the appointment of Mallam Ribadu as a way to buy credibility for the petroleum sector as presently being administered. The administration of the hub of the Nigerian economy is certainly not too impressive given scams and scandals that have trailed the subsidy regime. The withdrawal of subsidy on petrol early this year created the mother of all protests and strikes that grounded the Nigerian economy for more than one week. Ribadu is believed to have served the country without blemish as the anti-corruption czar building very impressive profile that got him jobs outside Nigeria, even in faraway Afghanistan. He was the first Chairman of the EFCC, the foremost and reputable anticorruption agency in Nigeria. Mallam Ribadu had been a rule enforcer for many years, but his stint in EFCC betrayed his other side that earned him vitriolic criticisms of those with knack for the rule of law in the fight against corruption. He had the backing of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at the time. The question is, will the present administration give Ribadu the kind of support that will make him to succeed in this assignment? It seems his uncommon zeal in prosecuting high profile corruption cases of public officers including the rich and the powerful in the society was behind the modest success

he recorded. Can he reinvent the wheel? Many will remember with some fun the celebrated investigation and prosecution of Ribadu’s former boss in the police force, IGP Tafa Balogun. Ribadu said he had consulted before accepting this fresh appointment and an indication of that was the testimony of his friend and colleague in the anticorruption crusade, Mr Femi Falana who admitted speaking with Ribadu few days before his appointment. However, Falana quickly remarked that Ribadu was on his own. This conclusion was similar to that of Ribadu’s political party, ACN. In a release that followed Ribadu’s appointment, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the acceptance of the offer was an infringement of the party policy barring its members from serving in PDP government. The party agreed that Ribadu is a credible personality which was poached from them and called it an attempt by PDP to decimate the opposition political party. Reminiscent of those days of acerbic political campaigns for power and crisscrossing of the political terrain, ACN saw this as an opportunity to descend

heavily on PDP and his “underhand tactics”. For Mallam Ribadu, fighting the scourge of corruption which has become so endemic in Nigeria was more important than personal quests, group and political affiliations. And for the good reason of continuing with the “war without borders”, which he called corruption, he could not refuse the temptation to serve Nigeria once more in this new capacity. Mallam Ribadu in response to pressure from friends and associates seeking explanation for his acceptance of political appointment from President Jonathan noted that the decision was personal to him and this therefore clears associates of any complicity. He added further that he took the offer in the interest of the larger society and if this is the case he would fear no blemish to himself. This is an indirect reply to the poser from his “erstwhile” political party. Mallam Ribadu believes he still has few things to offer Nigeria. He is right because the oil sector in Nigeria stinks like a rotten egg and he could probably perceive the foul smell from faraway Afghanistan where he

Mallam Ribadu’s appointment has received so much political commentaries and blogs on social media with balanced opinions enough to create confusion in most minds. This is not unexpected considering the fact that he was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the leading opposition political party in Nigeria

just concluded a United Nations assignment. Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala while testifying before the House ad hoc committee probing the management of the subsidy regime agreed that all stakeholders, including President Jonathan’s administration have realized the urgent need to clean up the system, make it more transparent, accountable and efficient. She passionately pledged the cooperation of the government to the task before the House of Representatives. And to get this done will require searching for the best willing and tested hands around. The petroleum sector had become a focus of attention since October last year when the Jonathan administration decided to remove subsidy on fuel because the huge consumption subsidy was no longer sustainable. This is more so when there is suspicion by Nigerians that some “petroleum cabal” had made nonsense of the good intention of the petroleum subsidy programme. All over the world, it is common to execute sound subsidy regimes built around social welfare packages in such areas like education, agriculture, health, including petroleum sector. However experiences have proved the contrary in Nigeria, because through illicit collaboration, good subsidy programs were frustrated and the message and the messenger were trapped by clever Nigerians. Consequently, huge subsidy funds never got to eventual beneficiaries the government had intended them for. These are some of the riddles Mallam Ribadu and his committee members would be made to unravel. Kehinde Laniyan can be reached at

MD Abubakar: A radical professional to the rescue By Sule Ya’u Sule


he recent appointment of Alhaji Mohammed Dahiru (MD) Abubakar as acting Inspector General of Police has created a situation of rising expectations from those who know the stuff the man is made of. It has also elicited mainly positive reactions from quarters which mean well for the nation and its often maligned police force. Optimism is high and those compatriots with understanding of what it requires to lead a Police Force in the 21st Century seriously believe the new IGP will make a difference. They draw their optimism from Abubakar’s solid resume as a radical, brilliant and professional officer. The Nigeria Police has performed abysmally in recent times and suffers serious image crisis. It has been largely inconsequential in tackling terrorism and other security challenges facing the country. Its

human rights record is among the most atrocious in the world. Corruption in the larger society has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Force. Security experts serious doubt its helpfulness as an institution in fighting or preventing crime or even in routine neighborhood watch. Frequent change of guard at the top has robbed the Force of any opportunity for meaningful and sustainable reform which it critically needs to reinvent itself. A sense of helplessness has fuelled increased agitation for State Police by persons who rightly or wrongly attribute the declining fortunes of the Force to the rigid centralization of Command and Administration structures. It is tempting to lapse into despondency or cynicism when a new IGP into town promising reform because the tough rhetoric of reform mouthed by previous incumbents did not translate into action. Like a ritualized habit,

every IGP makes the usual noises about reforming the Police at inaugural meetings but they all left the institution poorer, far more corrupt and more distrusted by the public. Positions in themselves do not translate into capacity unless change is driven by integrity, passion and positive attitude. Those who promise change must embody it in character and form. Previous Police leaderships failed to effect change either in the structures, effectiveness or public perception of the Police simply because they themselves did not embody the change they preached. In comes Abubakar, a career operations officer par excellence, the man of action who enjoys incredible goodwill rare among his peers, a thoroughbred crimefighter. It was an appointment based strictly on merit and which the public has applauded as spot. A round peg in a round hole, they say. While many will readily

grant him the benefit of the doubt, there are others who have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, well aware that it would take gargantuan efforts to clean up the mess he is inheriting. It is imperative to note here that few IGPs in recent history have enjoyed comparable gush of goodwill from within and outside the Force as MD Abubakar and there is ample justification to expect genuine reforms in the Police from an Inspector General who has engendered positive change and personified exemplary discipline in previous positions he held. What Abubakar brings to his new position is his integrity, passion for the job, a track record in fighting crime, untainted professionalism and incredible humility. A well-trained and meticulous officer, he earned his pips for effectively handling crisis situations at key moments in parts of the country. The man served

in Kano, Plateau, Abia and Kwara States with distinction and his tenure is fondly remembered for tackling crime and reining in the corrupt tendencies of the officers and men under his command. He was very effective in Lagos as CP. His efforts at curtailing the excesses of Policemen especially at checkpoints are well documented. In all commands he served, he endeared himself to those who came across him. The testimonies abound on his extended efforts to communicate his tough anticorruption stance. He always warned the public to desist from offering bribe to Police men. He never tired of educating his men on how corruption destroys their lives and career. Officers who served under him variously described him as being as tough as nail, resilient and a detribalized officer who would not compromise discipline. History beckons on the new Continued on page 14



Why watch the North kill off themselves? By Farouk Martins Aresa


he rate at which Boko Haram is killing off either Northerners or Southerners, there will be no the next generation of Nigerians. It was the Sarkin Hausawa in Lagos state that cried out for public demonstration against Boko Haram like those done during the fuel price increase. Many of us derided him and asked where he was when Southerners were being killed in the North. Adapting Pastor Martin Niemöller’s words to Nigeria: First, they started killing the Hausa, we did not rise up in anger because we are not Hausa. So they started killing the Berom, we did not speak up because we are not Berom. Then they started killing the Igbo, we did not demand justice because we are not Igbo. Later, they started killing Christians, we did not fight because we are not Christians and when they came for us, there was no one left to defend us. In retrospect, Sarikni Hausawa was right. Whoever the sponsors of Boko Haram are, they have created the Frankenstein that they can no longer control and which will come back to haunt them. We may be on our way to Lebanon civil wars unless all Nigerians come together to arrest this situation by concerted effort. It will also be imprudent to blame the President alone for reacting after the fact instead of being proactive before innocent people are mutilated. Since both sides sent students to Libya to train as terrorists. African borders are so porous, some Nigerians are

blaming mercenaries from with negotiations. It has always of all those they have Niger, Chad and even the been the opinion of this writer corrupted, that know which remnants of Gaddhafi’s that in negotiations, charity way their Country should tow. recruits that crossed over to must begin at home with the The chaos and misery they cause havoc. In good times, help of local chiefs and created still lingers, they want Africans need not worry about representatives rather than to come back and splash their their brothers and sisters in staying put in Abuja and state old useless carcass. Some of the utterances of their midst, but tolerance has capitals as ethnic champions; run low in this type of threatening to put on military these political leaders have not helped. It is situation; made one thing worse by economic to fight for hardship in our greater i n d i v i d u a l share of countries. At the Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text w h a t same time we messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written comes out must remain one contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 of your another’s keepers. words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and backyard Nigerians are a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed but a changing for the to: t o t a l l y worse as we are different becoming more The Editor, game to hostile to one Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, demand another. It is 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. more of getting to the point what is not where Nigerians Email: let yours in prefer to live SMS: 07037756364 the first peaceful outside place, with their states or Country rather than live at uniforms if Nigeria’s breakup the rational that its God’s gift for all. Using that as an excuse home in pieces. Sincerely, those jeopardizes their oil blocks. The greatest jokers are to cause mayhem is that are displaced, have no place to go. Never mind those septuagenarians that should be incomprehensible. Each time asking them tocome back preparing their days in hell the Government sucks to claiming they are ready to irresponsible demand, the more home. Come back to what? Despite all the insults of fight for the unity of Nigeria, ants are attracted to the honey. There are those that believe living in foreign countries but helpless to end their states’ legally or illegally, Nigerians mayhem. They are not and that the cause of the violence is are accepting their fate as cannot scare a weakling. All that the North saw their turn refugees. Some are even afraid they can do is listen to some as President going to the South to come home on holidays and talisman maker spending their and are bent on making it if they do, they stay in fairly loot killing the next generation difficult for Ebele until he peaceful area/hotel far from of Nigerians wishing that the relinquishes power. It is their hometown and loved ones. young blood will make them nothing short of blackmail and This started as fear of being live longer. They should go and those might as well wait another turn. The individual kidnapped, it has grown into choke on their loot. We have not fully recovered craving for power has been our fear of being roasted by Boko Haram or MEND. The Militia from the civil war they fought problem since Independence including OPC and MASSOB looting banks, cities and with no successful projects we villages crying they were can be proud of. Ebele could be are sending hot reminders. Strong deterrent measures fighting for Nigeria. Out of over better, but not moving. By by the government against 160 million Nigerians, they telling those that brought him lawlessness and jungle justice think we cannot find young to power to get lost, he has are not mutually exclusive dedicated men and women out emboldened his opponents.


We may have reached a point to let everyone know that until outrageous salaries and benefit of the politicians and senior civil servants are cut according to size, working class and poor Nigerians will not make any more sacrifices. There are more wastes from the top than there are from the bottom. Indeed, demands for salary increases are vicious circle to chase ever increasing prices. More young people are idle with no means of livelihood because whatever the Country makes is concentrated in the hands of a few. Every generation have to fight the oppressors of their time to regain their right for the future. Young people in the six geographical zones are the ones that should have more say in the National Conference some see as a dialogue to reconstitute Nigeria while others see it as a means to total dislocation of the Country. At the end of the day, young people have to take their Country back. Your great fathers were fighting for Independence and your fathers and mothers were fighting against corruption of collecting ten percent on government contracts. Today, while some of you were asleep or indifferent, corruption has blown through the sky to over 100 percent kickbacks. They take 20 percent from the next contract after 100 percent from the present. Young people can use their valuable time in unity protesting against corruption, instead of using foreign religion and ethnicity to divide themselves. Farouk Martins Aresa is reachable on

MD Abubakar: A radical professional to the rescue Continued from page 13

IGP to restore public confidence in the Police. MD Abubakar has started well by laying down a SixPoint Reform Agenda with strong emphasis on improving Capacity and Accountability. It is already winning him critical acclaim. This is one time the successful implementation of Police Reform Programme is directly linked to the survival of the country, more so as the security situation in the country has created deep panic among the citizenry even as many victims of terrorism are trooping back to their home states. It is gratifying to hear the new helmsman’s radical proposals to overhaul and update the intelligence gathering arm of the Police, equip and train undercover agents to infiltrate criminal gangs and terrorist cells. Intelligence gathering, training and access to modern forensic technologies are the modus operandi of modern Police work. Abubakar, often praised as a dedicated crime-fighter and strategic thinker is living up to the hype. He plans to expose his officers and men to the best training

tactics and equipment in order to safeguard themselves and the country. He has spoke eloquently of his readiness to rely on Surveillance Cameras, DNA Analysis, Computerized License Plate Scanners and other hightech world where criminals think far ahead of law enforcement agents, this is indeed a welcome move. His new proposal ‘Neighbourhood viewpoint’ that determines the crime and disorder priorities from the community perspective which he intends to inaugurate and make central to the new policing plan is reform in the right direction. The best Police practices have their foundation in citizen vigilance. Criminals must be identified and reported to people in whose midst they live. His plan to survey every neighborhood in the country to determine crime and disorder priorities from the community perspective, the cornerstone of his ‘Neighbourhood Viewpoint’ suggests Abubakar comes to the job with a blueprint and is the most prepared officer to be appointed IGP in recent history.

Abubakar is proposing to delegate effective authority to AIGs and this initiative is the most effective response to leadership failure at the State Commands and the attendance clamour for state Police by exasperated Nigerians. Zonal AIGs would be empowered to make administrative and operational decisions in their areas and would be held responsible for acts of lawlessness and disorder in their

various zones. Another of public concern, flagrant human rights violation by the Police, is captured in Abubakar’s radar. He has warned that he will not tolerate the act of detaining suspects beyond the statutory 24-hours. Suspects are either charged to Courts with prosecutable evidence or released. Rights violation and corruption are possibly the areas that earn the Police the most public odium

MD Abubakar has started well by laying down a Six-Point Reform Agenda with strong emphasis on improving Capacity and Accountability. It is already winning him critical acclaim. This is one time the successful implementation of Police Reform Programme is directly linked to the survival of the country, more so as the security situation in the country has created deep panic among the citizenry even as many victims of terrorism are trooping back to their home states

and his decision to address them is elating. He has warned that any senior officer flouting the directive would be sanctioned as he plans to set up a Monitoring Team to enforce compliance at all State and Zonal commands. Nigeria desperately needs an IGP of Abubakar’s caliber. Here is a new Police Boss committed to radical reform of the force and community ownership of crime fighting and prevention. His pledge that the Police under him would partner with the people in the communities, irrespective of their social status, economic positions and religious beliefs is reassuring. It is also heartening to hear a new IGP reassure a beleaguered nation that “the basic task of law and order confronting the force are surmountable, it only requires qualitative leadership and partnership with relevant agencies and the citizens”. It depicts a thoroughbred and highly professional officer ready to confront a nation’s criminal tormentors and masterminds. Sule Yau is reachable at



Al-Mustapha: The wrong arm of the law


military government is, by definition, a conspiracy. It takes over power through a conspiracy and sustains it through the same dark alleys. No military government, no matter how benevolent, can stand public scrutiny. The decision by the Obasanjo government to set up a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, popularly referred to as “Oputa Panel”, under the highly respected Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, was believed to be the best thing to do under the circumstances. The military first took over power in 1966, barely six years after independence. They went back to the barracks in 1979. After a fouryear recess, they came back at the end of 1983 to seize power. This time, they kept it till 1999 - a good fifteen years! The first thing the military do when they take over power is to void certain provisions of the Constitution. In most cases, such sections are the ones that deal with the fundamental human rights of the citizens; also affected are the sections that provide for certain offices, particularly the legislature which they proceed to abolish. Their venture into politics even affects the internal operations of the army itself, distorting such well known traditions like esprit de corps and

the command structure. Given their conspiratorial approach to governance, so many things went wrong and even the heads of such governments were in no position to explain. The Oputa panel was thus fashioned to calm nerves and provide an atmosphere conducive for genuine reconciliation without which peace, stability, unity and progress will continue to elude the country. A similar exercise had taken place in South Africa after the collapse of Apartheid. Setting up the Oputa panel was a wise thing to do under the circumstances that brought Obasanjo to power again. It gave some people the opportunity to vent their feelings that had been bottled up, some since the Nigerian civil war. There was also the case of the executed drug traffickers during the Buhari regime and the killing of Dele Giwa by a parcel bomb during the Babangida regime - all in the 80s. But as the proceedings of the committee got under way, it became clear that some people wanted to use it not as an avenue of reconciliation but a stage for theatrical drama and a settling of old scores. Events that took place during the government of General Sani Abacha were still very fresh in mind and consequently stirred a

lot of emotions. The star actor in 12 June, 1993 presidential what eventually took the shape of election, the late Chief MKO a TV sitcom was Major Hamza Al- Abiola. Those cases have dragged Mustapha, Chief Security Officer on and on with dramatic turns to the late Head of State, General and twists. After 15 years in detention Sani Abacha. As the CSO to a man who was referred to in the media and 13 years of trial, Justice as Nigeria’s maximum leader, Al- Mojisola Dada of a Lagos State Mustapha had unfettered access High Court on January 30, 2012 to all types of classified documents. passed a death sentence on Al The mysterious death of his Mustapha and Lateef Shofolahan principal and his sudden detention after convicting them for the after the tragic event made him a conspiracy and murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. veritable The conviction source of juicy has kicked off yet tales. Oputa another round of Panel gave him controversy. First the chance of is the fact that it his life to take took the court 13 his case direct good years to to the Nigerian deliver a people. judgment. That it Outside the took so long to get Oputa Panel, Emmanuel Yawe the final judgment there was a 08024565402 has become a b i g g e r subject of debate. It p r o b l e m is argued that confronting Al-Mustapha, Mohammed, a son Mustapha’s lawyers should be to the late Abacha, some other held responsible for the delay military officers and some top because they employed every officials of his government. They known dilatory tactic and wacky were charged with among other technicalities to frustrate the crimes the attempt to kill the expeditious hearing of the case. publisher of the Guardian Still, it is believed by his defenders newspaper, Alex Ibru and the that no matter what delay tactic actual killing on a Lagos street of was used, a judiciary system that Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the is efficient should have disposed presumed winner of the annulled of the case in a shorter period than

what it took. More fundamentally, Justice Mojisola relied on the evidence of Muhammed Abdul, also known as Katako, and Sgt Rogers to pass the guilty verdict on the men. But it is also on record that the same men withdrew their damning evidence against Mustapha pleading that they were bribed, coerced and intimidated into implicating the men. It appears the court did not take the retraction of these two prosecution witnesses into consideration before the final judgment. In an interview granted Radio France after the judgment, Katako argued that he fabricated the evidence that implicated and led to the conviction of Mustapha. In our laws, whenever there is suspicion as to the guilt of a defendant, it is normally resolved in favour of the accused. The Lagos High Court did a poor job in the case of Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan. After the wrenching ordeal of a 13-year trial, the court still went ahead to convict the two accused persons based on very weak evidence. Thus, Al-Mustapha and co have been caught by the wrong arms of the law. It is very doubtful if the Court ofAappeal will uphold this kind of judgement.

Ribadu’s appointment: Confronting the ‘seven sisters’?


resident Goodluck Jonathan must have been really jolted by the nation-wide shutdown, through protests, occasioned by the over 100 percent increase in petroleum price. Since winning a partial victory by decreeing N97 per litre, refusing to revert to the previous pump price of N65 per litre, as demanded by the labour movement, the civil society and the Nigerian masses, the Jonathan administration has been engaged in a flurry of damage control activities. It has been a committee galore for every conceivable aspect of the oil industry, including the reinvestment of the fuel subsidy removal windfall. One of such emergency committees is the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force to which President Jonathan appointed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as chairman. It is a Mission to confront the dangerous ‘Seven Sisters’ – the original designation of the pioneering oil companies. Ribadu’s acceptance of the appointment has generated criticism, particularly from his party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) of which he was presidential candidate in the April 2011 general elections. It is apparently lost on the critics that the man is putting himself on the firing line in responding to this national call. A malaise of this country is that people mostly see the “ilabe”, (the largesse) in appointments while discounting the risks. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has courted controversy since his appointment as pioneer chairman

of the Economic and Financial of stealing. In the warped thinking Crimes Commssion (EFCC) by of some, putting an IGP in handPresident Olusegun Obasanjo. cuff was considered outrageous but Like the typical policeman that he you wonder. Wasn’t the offence is, he was not averse to cutting outrageous considering that Tafa, corners when he corners a the nation’s chief thief catcher was criminal suspect. He was not a caught as a thie? Let’s call a spade, slave to bureaucratic processes, a spade, please. Which is why I was hence the charges that he rather disappointed that Gbenga tramples on the rights of suspects. Omotoso, in his Thursday, But his traducers acknowledge, if February 9 back-page column in grudgingly, that he has passion THE NATION newspaper in his commitment to his admonished Ribadu: ”No assignment, even if the charge of handcuffs, please”. So, is Gbenga selective prosecution endures. saying handcuffs are only for Together with another Mallam, poor, lowly placed suspects? I say, Nasir el-Rufai, the exminister of the Federal Capital Territory, also an Obasanjo appointee, they were the stormy with petrel of that administration. On Obasanjo’s exit, there were those who wanted their pound of flesh and 0803 364 7571 (SMS only) the duo literally became endangered species. It got to a point where both Mallam, more handcuffs, please! had to flee the country. Both men We need to restore the value of have one thing in common: public shame to reduce the PASSION. For them, there were tendency to brazen theft of public no half measures, right or wrong. money. This has the potential of They also achieved results. El- dissuading many light-fingered Rufai substantially restored people from dipping their hands Abuja to sanity, stepping on big in the national till, thereby saving toes in the process, including the nation the human and demolition of the building of the financial cost of prosecution for then ruling party’s chairman, theft and corruption. Ahmadu Ali. Other faint hearted Now, Ribadu’s second coming people would have considered Ali is a testimony that results-oriented an untouchable, but not this performance will, down the road, Mallam. be recognized. It would have been As for Ribadu, he got his former a disservice if Ribadu had declined boss, the disgraced former to serve, as some had urged. Inspector-General of Police, Tafa The ACN, in its reaction to Balogun, hand-cuffed, when he Ribadu’s acceptance of the offer, was brought to court on charges had noted that he did so “in his

The Bisibee Bisi Olawunmi

personal capacity” stressing that as a leading opposition party “it will continue its regular constructive criticisms” of government, describing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party as “clueless and inept”. It wondered why Jonathan wants to poach “credible personalities from the opposition” without first admitting being “incapable of solving the myriad of problems facing it” and cautioned anyone accepting such offer to be wary that it could be booby trap to rubbish such credible personalities. I think the ACN finds itself in a dilemma. Its very point that the Jonathan administration is clueless about s o l v i n g p r o b l e m s besetting it makes a case for credible people to come his rescue and, by extension, the rescue of the nation. As to open declaration of failure by Jonathan, surely the ACN should know that the president indirectly admitted this when he sought help from all parties after his election in April 2011. The ACN had rejected the offer. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse. A Ribadu accepting to serve is a measure of courage and patriotism. Of course, it carries a risk of being frustrated. The answer to that is the courage to resign. In this column on June 6, 2011 captioned : “Coalition Government – Risks & Gains”,

in the wake of President Jonathan’s call for a broad-based government, I had pointed out that “if the winner takes all zero sum game have been counterproductive to the nation’s progress, we should have the courage to experiment, genuinely, with a broad-based government”. I had argued: “For a change, opposition elements as party nominees or those appointed on their individual merit should be willing to serve the nation”, contending that “it is in our collective interest to do so”. I went on to warn that if the Jonathan presidency gets overwhelmed with the problems besetting it, the risk is high that he drags us all down with him. Eight months later, the situation has gone from bad to worse, creating a new urgency for those who have competencies to come to the rescue. It would seem, however, that some people have made a vocation of being “activists”. But then the opposition, as government in waiting, must have a country to inherit. As for Ribadu, the best anyone can wish for him s safe passage on the slippery terrain of the oil industry. He has a daunting task. The stakes are much higher. But we cannot lose hope that the Nigerian condition is beyond redemption. And someone must bell the cat. So, let Nuhu Ribadu bring his passion to bear on the oil industry. Perhaps, just maybe perhaps, his contribution may make the difference. This nation needs to be salvaged before Transformation can take place.



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FCT minister condoles with late Dantata family By Josephine Ella


Members of the Enviromental Vanguard of AEPB during a cleaning exercise at the launch of the house to house sanitation campaign recently in Abuja.

100 members of environmental squad quit job By Josephine Ella


o fewer than 100 members of the Environmental Vanguard recruited by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) have resigned, on investigation by our correspondent has revealed. In November last year, the board recruited 400 youth to enforce environmental laws in various parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially within the city centre. The move which was to

...AEPB says majority sacked for double play tackle sundry environmental nuisances such as street trading, hawking, prostitution, street begging, illegal parking and a host of other nuisance was in view of the increase in these menaces. However, barely three months after the team was constituted, investigations has revealed that due to some factors which the Head of Information and Outreach Programme of AEPB Mr Joe Ukairo said includes their inability to cope with the job,

100 members of the team have dropped out. “Four hundred people were recruited by the AEPB but along the line they could not cope because it is a risky job and because of the hostility towards them from people,” he said, adding however, that “people are now beginning to appreciate what they are doing”. Another factor which accounted largely for the drop in number of the team, Ukairo said is insincerity on the part of some members of the team, which

made the board to relieve them of the job. “Majority were officially dropped because there were cases of double standard, insincerity, touting, etc, so we had to let them go,” he said, explaining, “we don’t want to groom extortionist so we can’t keep them”. He said that plans by the board to augment the existing number was emphasising that; “we are taking in more enforcement squad members. Even if they are 600 they will not be enough”.

Man jailed six months for cheating, misappropriation


n Abuja Chief Magistrates' Court Friday February 10 sentenced a 55-year-old man, Aladesegun Oyebisi, to six months' imprisonment for criminal breach of trust and cheating. The Chief Magistrate, Mr Musa Jobbo, convicted Oyebisi, ,

without an option of fine though the accused pleaded guilty to the crime. Police Prosecutor Abdullahi Adamu, had told the court that on Jan. 26, one Mrs Habiba Dauda of Federal Low Cost Housing Estate, Kuje, Abuja had reported the matter at Wuse police station.

He said that on Dec.12, 2011, Dauda gave the convict N600, 000 to sink a borehole for her at her home in Edo, adding that an agreement was signed to that effect. Adamu said that the convict did not sink the borehole as agreed but converted the money to his

personal use. The prosecutor said the offence contravened Sections 312, 322 and 309 of the Penal Code. The chief magistrate ordered the convict to pay N600, 000 as compensation to the complainant while also serving out his jail term. (NAN)

Boko Haram: Kwali chair proffers intelligence gathering as solution By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman of Kwali Area Council, Hon Joseph Shazin has said that the Federal Government should employ intelligence gathering as a tool in tackling the high spate of insecurity in the country,. Hon Shazin said this when the Management of the Peoples Media Limited paid a him courtesy visit in his office yesterday.

According to him; “the level of insecurity in the country is on a high rise and so many revelations were coming out”. He noted however that he is encouraged by the recent reports gotten from security agencies that they were on top of the situation. He explained further that at the grassroots level, they have been sensitizing the residents of Kwali on the need to be mindful

of the kind of people they accommodate and how they can be security conscious. In his words: “The people of Kwali Area Council are very accommodative and friendly to visitors who come into the town but we have cautioned them to take precautionary measures and we are holding meetings with stakeholders”. Earlier in his speech, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), of

Peoples Media, Mallam Ali M Ali thanked the chairman for receiving them. He noted that the chairman has put the right things in place to make Kwali area council different from how it used to be. He praised the chairman for repositioning the council and appealed for cooperation between the council and the peoples media in delivering on dividends of democracy to the common man.

he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has joined other Nigerians to commiserate with the family of Late Alhaji Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata. Describing the late frontline construction magnet as a strong believer in Abuja as Nigeria’s symbol of unity, the Minister said the news of the death of the Chairman and co-founder of one of Nigeria’s foremost construction and engineering companies, Dantata & Sawoe Limited came to him as a rude shock. In his condolence message to the Dantata family of Kano, the Government and people of Kano State and other Nigerians, Senator Mohammed stressed: “For those of us in the FCT in particular, his death is a devastating blow because of his immense contributions to the development of the territory. “In the last 25 years, his company, Dantata & Sawoe Nigeria Limited remained a major player in general infrastructural development of FCT. “We are all quite abreast of the strong belief of this fallen hero in Abuja as a modern capital city and centre of Nigerian unity. Thus, his exit also constitutes a source of grief for the Nigerian construction industry, and the FCT which his company straddled like a colossus,” he added. The FCT minister who sent the condolence on behalf of his family, the FCT Administration and the entire residents of the Federal Capital Territory, said the late Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata would be remembered “for his goodwill, thoroughness, patriotism, fatherly affection and perseverance for a long time”. He prayed that the Almighty Allah grant his soul ‘Ajanah Firdausi’ and give those he left behind the strength to bear the great loss. The late Alhaji Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata passed on Tuesday February 7, 2012 in Germany.



Man docked for theft


32-year old electrician, Daniel Ogolo, was on Friday arraigned at an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court on a two-count charge of joint act and theft. The Police Prosecutor, Cpl. Paul Anigbo, told the court that on Feb. 7, Auwalu Mohammed and Danjuma Maisamari, both of Sunny Vale Homes, Abuja, reported the matter at Lugbe Police Station. Anigbo said the complainants claimed that the accused and one Danjuma, now at large, was caught by security men cutting an armoured cable in the estate. He said that while Danjuma escaped and when was questioned, the accused confessed that he and Danjuma went to steal the armoured cable. The prosecutor said the offence was contrary to Sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. However, the accused pleaded not guilty and Senior Magistrate Aliyu Shafa granted him bail in the sum of N50,000 and one surety in like sum.He adjourned the case to Feb. 18 for further hearing. (NAN)

Jabi indigenes decry neglect by FG By Adeola Tukuru


he Etsu of Jabi, Alhaji Yakubu Auta has raised alarm over the refusal of the federal government to keep to promises made to indigenes since they were relocated some time ago. Speaking during an interview session with newsmen, he noted that “The government of the Federal Republica during Shagari administration wanted to take us to Niger State, but we refused since we told them that it would be impossible for us to forfeit our ancestral land. “They promised to compensate us for taking our land, which they have not done till date. We are caged-in here, yet, our family size is expending. “They (Government) said they have built a housing estate for us at Dei-Dei for the past ten years it has not being given to us. Even when we build here the government demolishes it. Where will are grown-ups and newly married youths’ stay?” he” lamented. He further lamented that his people lack land to farm since government has appropriated all the land to itself. He therefore called on the government of President Goodluck Jonathan and the FCT administration under Senator Bala Mohammed to look into their plight and put measures in place their alleviate their sufferings. He informed that the housing estates built for them lacked roads, water, electricity and other basics amenities and that not until these amenities are put in place, occupying them will be difficult.

A typical busy day at Wuse market Abuja.

Photo: Mahmud Isa

House to House inspection introduced in FCT E

nvironmental Health Officers will soon embark on house to house visits to ensure cleaner homes and environment in the FCT. Alhaji Ali Kaka, the Assistant Director, Environmental Health and Safety Department of the FCT, made this known when he visited the Sa’Peyi (traditional ruler) of Garki in Abuja on Saturday. “They (sanitary inspectors) will not only inspect the environment but will enter people’s rooms to ensure that they keep their homes clean. “We used to carry out monthly sanitation but the majority of the people don’t

actively participate in the exercise. “Most of them will be inside their houses without keeping their environments clean. “We felt that the best way is to go back to the days when people used to keep their environment clean. “That is why the environmental health officers or ‘wale wale’ in the local language will go out now to inspect each house. “Defaulters will be fined; that’s why we are forewarning them by sensitising them on the need to keep their surroundings, gutters and houses clean. “We want them to know that

things have changed. That is why we are here to inform the traditional rulers. They will go with us to sensitise their people.’’ Kaka told the chief that the aim of the visit was to sensitise the people and for the community heads to be involved to ensure the success of the plan. He said the department would continue to sensitise the public to enable everybody key into the programme to restore cleanliness to the territory. Mr Jacob Garki, the District Head of Garki, who represented the Sa’peyi, said that since monthly sanitation was not enough, there was the need to make people understand that

health is wealth. Garki said the idea was laudable and should be supported by all to ensure that the environment was kept clean. “We will appoint people within the next one or two weeks to go round the community. This group will consist of every tribe; every ethnic group will be involved. “Anyone who refuses to heed the directive should not blame the environmental authority for any punity measure meted out to them.’’ Garki said he had requested for disposable bags and waste bins to be given to the community.(NAN)

Tricycle operators beg to operate in city centre By Adeola Tukuru


hairman of Tricycle riders, popularly known as Keke Napep in Utako, Jabi and Airport areas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mr. Muhammad Jikatalahu has appealed to the Minister of the FCT, Sen. Bala Mohammed to allow them continue their operations in the city centre. The tricycles boss who was worried by the threat of ban

from operating in the capital city, told journalists at the weekend that they were appealing to the present Minister to rescind the order considering their number and their dependants. “I am pleading to the Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to please have a rethink about this issue, because we the Keke drivers are many and some of us have more than five children, while some have more than two

wives, and we are all eating from this business. “If we are stopped from this work, it will cause a lot of problem for us, we are just pleading in the name of Almighty God, please let them allow us to continue in business so that we can get our daily bread” he pleaded. He assured the Minister that in the meanwhile, they have appealed to their members on the need not to go beyond restricted areas during their

operations. Mohammad noted that both the operators and those that patronise them would be the losers on the long run if they are not allowed to continue in business. Speaking on their relationship with other transport Unions in the FCT, Muhammad said they were in the best of terms with them while advising his members to continue to be law abiding at all times.



Exposed: America’s destabilization plot against Nigeria (II) continued from Friday


tage 1: Pakistanizing Nigeria With the scourge of Boko Haram as an existential reality, in the coming months the spate of bombings and attacks on public buildings are likely to escalate. High value symbolic targets like churches, mosques and large congregations of people of both faiths will be targeted. There will also be escalation in provocative statements and incitements by groups to violence. For good measure and effect, the bombings and attacks will be staged on days of observance of religious activities. The goal is to exacerbate tension and mutual suspicion among adherents of the two faiths in Nigeria and leading to sectarian violence. This pattern of destabilization operation is taken out of the Pakistani manual of destabilization where a sustained spate of CIA sponsored bombings and sectarian violence stretched the ability and resources of the law and order agencies to cope rendering the country weak and vulnerable to foreign intervention. Stage 2: Internationalizing the crisis Having the set the stage for an intractable sectarian violence pitting Christians against Muslims and between the various disparate groups in the country, there will be calls from the United States , European Union and United Nations for a halt to the violence. A plethora of advocacy groups around the world will struggle for the photo opportunity to mouth concerns about the carnage and humanitarian catastrophe. They will try to make a great show of providing humanitarian aid. For effect, there will be carpet bombing coverage by the International media on the Nigerian crisis with so-called experts discussing all the ramifications who will strive to create the impression that only benevolent foreign intervention could resolve the crisis. There will be a deluge of international conferences at various capitals around the world all ostensibly aimed to save Nigerians from themselves. Meanwhile away from all the public flurry of activities, the US which initiated the crisis in the first place will be secretly drawing up plans to carve out Nigeria for its strategic and economic benefits. Stage 3: the Great carve out under UN mandate Following worldwide outrage at the scale of carnage resulting from all out war among various sections of Nigeria secretly induced by the United States and its allies, the stage will now shift to the United Nations where

President Goodluck Jonathan debates will take place on how the world body will work to resolve the crisis. There will be proposals first for an international peace keeping force to intervene and separate the warring groups and or for a UN mandate for various parts of Nigeria to come under mandated occupying powers. Of course behind the scenes the US and its allies would have secretly worked out which areas of Nigeria to occupy guided as it were by naked economic interests. It is trite really which power or powers eventually occupies Nigeria for whatever reasons. By the time the UN comes to take a decision to hand over Nigeria for occupation under its mandate, no part of Nigeria will emerge or profit truly from the exercise. The rump areas of Nigeria will all come under occupation and puppet governments will then be set up at the behest of the occupying powers. Nigeria 's fall will be like that of humpty-dumpty, into pieces beyond recognition. The main beneficiary will of course be the United States which started all this in the first place and which will be there to profit at the end. By engineering

the break up of Nigeria , the United States would have eliminated a potential continental rival paving the way to the institution of a Pax Americana in Africa and secondly it would have limited its main global strategic rival China from direct access to badly needed energy and other mineral resources on the resource rich African continent. QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES AS NIGERIANS Against this background Nigerians need to stop and ask critical questions; what real purpose does it serve to deliberately leak a supposedly classified report from a US Intelligence organ normally restricted to only a handful of US policy makers only, to the media and for good measure ensure its wide circulation in the country against whom the action is targeted? Does that not indicate a statement of intent by the country that originated the report to serve as psychological intimidation for the purpose of softening up the targeted country making it ripe for intervention? In any routine investigation of an act, investigators usually call in the statements of material witnesses

before or after the act whether deliberately uttered or inadvertently; does the statement by the United States National Intelligence Council on the break up of Nigeria in 2015 not amount to culpability in this regard especially in view of the escalation in the seemingly intractable acts of subversive violence taking place in Nigeria after that statement was released and also in view of US antecedents in matters such as this around the world? Why is it that a country which has always been known for its resilience and ability to resolve its problems without outside interference? Is this not indicative of the very Nigerian saying that the witch cried in the night and the child died in the morning? Why is someone somewhere hell bent on engineering Nigerians to form the unNigerian habit of harbouring and perpetrating desperate, extreme and unforgiving actions against themselves? Should we all 160million of us stand idly by and allow the United States achieve its selfish and diabolical aim of sowing discord in our country leaving us with widows, orphans and humanitarian problems as it has done in other places? Are we going to allow the

labour of our heroes past which bequeathed us a nation second to none and reputed to be the backbone of Africa to die in vain? From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan and Latin America, America 's track record around the world has been nothing but ugly. In the words of its own statesmen, America has no permanent friends but permanents interests which translate into a healthy and utter disregard to the sensitivities and interests of other countries. That has pretty much formed the basis of US interaction around the world. The same situation will play itself out if we allow them in to our country. Nigerians let us stop and think before we allow the big bad wolf in, for we will have nobody but ourselves to blame when our chickens start to get missing. NEXT REPORT FROM GREENWHITE COALITION: FOCUS ON TERENCE P. McCULLEY, AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN NIGERIA. A few Posers: 1 .He is one of America 's top Foreign Service officers and in the parlance of the State Department, an "old Africa hand". Do you know that Terence P. McCulley, the current United States Ambassador to Nigeria was one of the architects of the Africa Crisis Response Initiative, ACRI which sought to undermine Nigeria 's involvement in ECOMOG? 2. Do you also know that he was also among the prominent resource persons that worked on establishing AFRICOM? 3. Do you also know that Ambassador McCulley's alternate designation is State Department Coordinator of the AFRICOM from which position he is to diplomatically sell and smoothen the way for the entry of AFRICOM into Nigeria ? 4. Do you know too that his main brief as Ambassador to Nigeria is to coordinate activities of the United States Government using the convenient cover of the Embassy of the United States in Nigeria? 5 .Do you also know that the full classified report by the United States National Intelligence Council on the possible break up of Nigeria which parts were only selectively released contains details of how the US plans to carry out this desired end? Plus: •The full details of the bombing of the UN Building in Abuja ; who did it and how it was done. •You might also need to know real mission of the so-called foreign security experts who

continued on page 26


PAGE 19 08033644990

Citibank announces micro lending for small holder farmers


itibank Nigeria has announced a capacity building and micro lending scheme for Nigeria’s small holder farmers. Managing Director/Chief Executive, Citibank Nigeria Mr. Emeka Emuwa announced the scheme during the Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony. On the occasion the bank also honored fifteen Nigerian micro-entrepreneurs. The 2011 Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony held in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF). The awards ceremony was held as part of CBN’s Sixth Annual International Microfinance Conference, which drew top government officials and dignitaries including the host, Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Arc. Namadi Sambo, who presided over the opening ceremony.

Others in attendance included six state governors and representatives from international development agencies. In a goodwill message delivered at the ceremony, Emuwa, highlighted Citi’s various microfinance projects and investments around the world. He said the bank has introduced a new agricultural initiative with Citi Foundation to provide capacity building, microfinance and linkage support to small holder farmers in Nigeria. The

project, Citi Microenterprise Development for Rural Farmers Initiative (CMDRFI), will kick off with a pilot scheme for small farmers in Gagbasawa LGA in Kano state later this year. The project was developed in partnership with Growing Businesses Foundation, Kano State Agricultural Development Agency and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, with the Central Bank’s development finance department providing consultation and guidance. In his speech Mr. Emuwa stated, “We believe that the

outcome of the pilot scheme in Kano will enable us create a model that can be replicated across several local governments and states in the country. We will continue to work with our partners to explore ways we can bring our global knowledge and expertise to bear in this strategic sector of the Nigerian economy.” At the awards ceremony, cash prizes were handed out in five major categories – Best Micro Business Model, Most Marketed Product, Most Innovative Product, Employment Generation and Best Female Entrepreneur.

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

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

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


L-R: Anambra state Governor, Mr Peter Obi, Chairman Fort Oil, Chief Femi Otedola, Chairman Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Bauchi state Governor, Malam Isa Yuguda, and Katsina state Governor, Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Shema, during the commissioning ceremony of Dangote Cement Factory at Ibese Abeokuta, in Ogun state, recently. Photo: Joe Oroye.

Total to cut gas flaring in Nigeria


rench supermajor Total said it was moving ahead with plans to develop an oil field off the coast Nigeria in a sustainable manner by reducing gas flaring. Total announced the start of the second phase of development of its Ofon oil field about 40 miles off the Nigerian coast in shallow waters. The development plans include an increase in production from 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 90,000 boe per day, the company said. Total said it was working to reduce the amount of natural gas flared from the offshore field and overall greenhouse gas emissions. “In launching Ofon Phase 2, Total is increasing the pace of development of its resources in a sustainable manner,” Jacques Marraud des Grottes, a vice president of exploration and production for Africa at Total, said in a statement. The company said most of the phase 2 development is focused on recovering natural gas, which the company will compress and send on shore. Total has been criticized for its environmental record in Nigeria following a legacy of oil spills the supermajor in part blames on saboteurs. (UPI)

Exxon, NNPC seek N232.5bn for JV project


xxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest energy company by market value, and state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are seeking a $1.5 billion loan (about N232.5 bn) for a joint venture to develop offshore oil fields

in Nigeria, according to three people with knowledge of the transaction. Standard Chartered Plc and South African lenders Standard Bank Group Ltd and Nedbank Group Ltd. are among the banks involved in the deal, which is due


10th Feb, 2012 BUYING 0.296 205.8198 246.0632 41.4622 155.5

SELLING 0.316 207.1434 247.6456 41.7289 156.5


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45


BUYING 243 43 154

SELLING 257 45 159

to be signed in the next few weeks, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the terms are private. Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. crude imports. Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni run joint ventures with NNPC that pump more than 90 percent

of the country’s crude. Exxon subsidiary Mobil Producing Nigeria is the second-largest oil producer in the country, according to the company’s website. NNPC spokesman Levi Ajuonuma didn’t answer calls seeking comment and Exxon spokesman Nigel Cookey-Gam in Nigeria couldn’t be reached by telephone and didn’t respond to an e-mail. (Bloomberg)

Management Tip of the Day


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

INSIDE - Pg 20 Unity Bank tops in agric financing

Stop the whining on your team


e’re all grown-ups here, right? Then why do teams still whine? It’s part of the human condition to complain, but it doesn’t have to derail your group. When people on your team get frustrated and need a sympathetic ear, do the

following: Insist on accountability. Don’t allow people to present a problem without attempting a solution. Advise them to do what they think is necessary to achieve results. Encourage positivity. If the whining is about fellow

teammates, encourage the group to work with each other to better understand the nature of the problem, and then create a joint solution. Remind them that most people aren’t intentionally difficult. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fines over ruled by a judicial panel


he $235 million fines slammed on two British airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways have been over ruled by a judicial panel.

GKFX Financial Services Group opens office in Nigeria


KFX Financial Services Group (trading as GKFX), a young and dynamic brokerage firm offering global online currency services and commodities trading, has opened a country representative office in Lagos.

Customers get 50% price slash on Lifemate’s products


or existing and prospective customers of Lifemate Nigeria Limited, it is get-back time as the company is offering as much as 50 percent price slash on its furniture products.

By Aminu Imam


nity Bank’s consistent agric-financing and support to small scale entrepreneurs has been recognized by the financial industry. The bank was adjudged second best by the apex Bank in an evaluation done on the 24 Banks. The award was announced last Tuesday at the opening session of the 6th Annual Microfinance Conference and

Unity Bank tops in agric financing Entrepreneurship Awards, which held at the Ladi Kwali Conference Hall of Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja. The occasion was attended by the Vice-President, Architect Namadi Sambo, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor; state governors, members of National Assembly, stakeholders and captains of industries. According to CBN, the

Barriers blunt trade within Africa- World Bank


outh African grocer Shoprite spends $20,000 a week in import permits to truck meat, milk and other goods to its stores in neighboring Zambia. One of its trucks may need as many as 1,600 documents to cross a border in southern Africa. Another major South African retailer Woolworths pays full tariffs to transport food and clothing to its franchise stores within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional trade bloc because some documentation is too costly. Such examples of red tape and trade barriers are costing Africa billions of dollars and depriving the region of new sources of economic growth, according to a new World Bank report. “It is clear that Africa is not reaching its potential for regional trade,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank vice president for Africa

and a former Nigerian minister. “African leaders must now back aspiration with action and work together to align the policies, institutions and investments needed to unblock (trade) barriers,” she added. Just last month, a leaders’ summit of the African Union in Ethiopia called for a continental free trade area by 2017, a move that means more countries will have to align their policies and institutions to create an Africa-wide market. Blocks of countries have taken steps to integrate but higher trading costs have also led to significant price differences between countries. World Bank research shows that maize in Juba, in South Sudan, is about three times more expensive than in neighboring Uganda. Africa’s economies are growing faster than almost every other region in the world except for

Aso Savings and Loans puts value of mortgage at N32 bn

developing Asia, and more trade would boost growth, reduce poverty and create more jobs, the World Bank said. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently cut its forecast for world growth due to a worsening euro zone debt crisis, it projected African economies would grow at a healthy 5.5 percent in 2012 and 5.3 percent in 2013. Oil-rich countries like Angola are set to expand by around 10 percent this year and even non-oil producers like Ethiopia, Kenya,

Tanzania and Botswana are averaging over 5 percent annually. To be sure, the World Bank believes Africa needs to grow at around 7 percent a year on average to make a dent in poverty and trading more with itself can help. “The cross-border production networks that have been a salient feature of development in other regions, especially east Asia, have yet to materialize in Africa,” said Marcelo Giugale, the World Bank’s director of economic policy and poverty reduction program for Africa.(Reuters)

FCMB completes Finbank buyout


irst City Monument Bank (FCMB) on Friday said it has completed the acquisition of rescued lender Finbank, which it says will double its branch network and customer base. FCMB shares were up almost 4 percent on Friday at 4.10 naira per share. The mid-size lender has won all necessary regulatory approvals for the deal and Finbank will become a wholly-owned subsidiary, it said in a statement to shareholders. Finbank was among nine

Inflation rates from Jan, 2011 to Dec, 2011 Max = 12.8%, Min = 9.3% for period in display. Current Inflation rate = 10.3% Source:CBN


he Naira firmed to 158.85 to the dollar on Friday, its strongest in two and half months, supported by dollar sales

Earnings Report for Banks

Eurobond up 0.35 percent


he average price of Nigeria’s Eurobond appreciated marginally by 0.35% to US$104.78 from US$ 104.41 during the week ended January 9, 2012.

2012 budget: BPP tasks permanent secretaries on implementation


he Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) has charged permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service on the need to ensure that the implementation of the 2012 budget of the federation is timely and to follow base provisions of the Procurement Act.

of the Microfinance Policy, Regulatory and Supervisory Framework for Nigeria in 2005. As one of Nigeria’s leading retail bank, Unity Bank Plc was judged very good in corporate governance in 2010. The bank has over the years been supporting small scale industries and entrepreneurs to develop the informal sector as catalyst to Nigeria’s economic growth.

lenders rescued by central bank in 2009. Four of the bailed out banks have since merged with rivals while three others were nationalised for failing to find merger partners. The ninth reduced its size to survive. FCMB which operates from 133 branches said the buyout ends the recapitalisation process for Finbank but it did not disclose how much it paid for the stake. Finbank has 180 branches and is worth around a tenth of FCMB’s value of 104 billion naira.

Naira hits strongest level in two and half months


so Savings and Loans plc has up to 40,000 mortgages worth about N32 billion in its books, which according to the company probably accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of the country’s total mortgage, Mohammed Shehu, executive director, Operations and Technology of the company has said.

awardees were subjected to the rigorous of verification in the areas of calendar period, size and institutional eligibility to ensure that they conformed to the stated guidelines for the awards. Other awardees include First Bank of Nigeria that was third while Union Bank was first. The entrepreneurship awards were instituted by the CBN in 2006 after the launching

Source:Pro-share Nigeria

by energy companies. The Naira had closed at 159.20 to the dollar at the interbank on Thursday, its strongest since Nov. 16. Traders said additional sales of about $54 million by U.S. oil company Chevron’s local unit to banks had boosted dollar liquidity and helped the naira climb further. The Nigerian currency has progressively strengthened against the dollar in the last two weeks as a result of large dollar sales by state-owned energy firm NNPC and some subsidiaries of multinational oil companies. “Dollar liquidity remained strong in the market and we are expecting further gains in the near term because of possible additional flows from oil companies in the coming days,” one dealer said. Traders said the outlook for the naira was stable given confidence that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ‘s foreign reserves were at a comfortable level and due to increased revenue from oil exports. Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood at $34.72 billion by Feb. 2, better than the $30 billion comfortable threshold set by the CBN.



NSE, Morgan Stanley partner on maiden investors’ clinic From Benson Esomojumi, Lagos


he Nigerian Stock Exchange in p a r t n e r s h i p with Morgan Stanley, a Global institutional securities and wealth management firm,will beconducting the maiden edition of its Investors’ Clinic Series on February 15, 2012 in Lagos. The one-day clinic will have in attendance top retail investors from DealingMember firms across the country, coming in to share their investment experiences as well as learn from experts, strategies on how to properly structure their investment portfolios. Thisis one of the new investor education initiatives designed bytheNigerian Bourse to address the


rading activities end in the negative territory for the second week running as the bears rules throughout all sessions due to continuous sell pressure while investors await corporate announcements from top performing banks which may attract more patronage to the equity market. Furthermore, trading activities on the Nigerian bourse retraced on Tuesday to open the first trading day of the week after the Eid-El-Maoulud celebration pessimistic as the bears re-surfaced. Equity market closed red on Wednesday due to continuous sell pressure while NSE slides on Thursday as market outlook closed depressed amid low volume turnover and Naira votes. Subsequently, market maintained downtrend on Friday as continuous selling activities further impacted market outlook negatively while trading closed with aggregate loss for the week.

low investor confidence in the market. The Chief Executive Officer of The Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema said that The Exchange developed this initiativeinrecognition of the need tobring back local retail investors to participate in the market.

“The Investors’ Clinic will help in educating these investors about portfolio diversification principlesand the risks and rewards associated with investing in the market. Their stockbrokers will also be exposed to ways of helping them restructure their portfolios to enable them make

informed investment decisions” explained Onyema. It was revealed that The Exchange,as part of a recent market segmentation exercise had classified listed companies into Large, Mid and Small Cap categories and stocks underIncome and Growth groupings. By way of example, companies with Income Stocks means that they have a policy to pay dividend while Growth Stocks would be ones that do not pay dividends but rather plough back profits to grow the business.”The Clinic will assist investors in understanding and applying this type of information when developing their investment portfolios”, he stressed.

Treasury Bill yields decline as bids double offer


igerian Treasury bill yields declined for a second weekly auction, with bids being made for more than double the 149.3 billion ($938 million) sold. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold 32.1 billion naira of 91- day bills at a yield of 14.70 percent, 9 basis points lower than the 14.79 percent at an auction on Jan. 25. The bank sold 50 billion naira of 182-day securities at 16.09 percent, 1 basis point lower than the

previous sale, and 67.2 billion naira of 364-day notes at 16.89 percent, 0.3 percent lower than at the last sale on Jan. 11, the CBN said. Bids totaled 316.85 billion naira, outstripping the amount sold more than twofold and the most since the Nov. 24 sale. Nigeria’s consumer inflation rate fell for the first time in four months to 10.3 percent in December, from 10.5 percent a month earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Jan. 18.

With the CBN committed to containing inflation, “it appears investors will continue to enjoy attractive returns from purchases of treasury bills,” Gregory Kronsten, chief economist at FBN Capital Ltd. in London, wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. The CBN maintained its benchmark interest rate at a record high on Jan. 31 to curb inflation after the government partially removed fuel subsidies, boosting gasoline costs.

All-Share Index drops by -1.22% as unprofitable transactions dominate the week In the same light, the key benchmark indices slides by 0.41% to open the first session downbeat due to renewed selling activities. The second session maintains previous negative position while NSE Index dips further by -0.48%. Nigerian stocks sustain southwards movement as small Cap stocks predominantly contributed to the downtrend while index plummeted by -0.30% to end the third session in the red zone. Consequently, continuous selling activities witnessed on Friday further impacted market outlook negatively to close the session with -0.04% loss while All Share Index closed with -1.22% aggregate loss for the week.

Further analysis on acquiring banks showed that the share price of Access Bank Plc closed positive with +6.16% gain recorded in the week, ETI Plc moved southwards by 4.49% as FCMB Plc also moved in the same direction with 4.53%, Sterling Bank Plc closed positive with -1.19% gain while Union Bank Plc closed negative with -4.97% loss recorded. However, the All-Share Index in the week under review dips by -1.22% to close at 20,623.63 as against a decline by -0.07% recorded last week to close at 20,877.64. In the same vein, the market capitalization in the week depreciated by N80.05 billion (US$533.69million) to close at N6.49 trillion

(US$43.31billion) as against depreciation by N4.73 billion (US$31.55million) recorded last week to close at N6.57 trillion (US$ 43.84billion). The total volume traded in the week closed at 1.34 billion units valued at N7.00 billion (US$46.70 million) compared with 1.61 billion units valued at N15.10 billion (US$100.69 million) exchanged in 17,458 deals last week. The volume transaction in the week when compared with the previous week data moved down by 16.81% as against upwards movement by +21.91% recorded last week. Weekly value also went down by 53.62% as against positive position of +49.91% recorded last week.

INVESTORS NEWS BEAT CBN sells N149.27 bn in Treasury Bills


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Friday, said it auctioned 149.27 billion naira ($937.92 million) worth of 91-day, 182-day and 364-day treasury bills this week at lower yields than its last sale.

10 percent of bonds mature mid-2012


ver 10 percent of the entire bond market will be due for maturity in the first half of 2012 and there are strong feelings that the Debt Management Office( DMO) may roll over issues into longer tenor bonds .

Decline in auction of treasury bills


or the second week auction treasury bill yields declined, with bids made for more than double the N149.3bn ($938m) sold.

Banks bond investment now N1.63tr


anks, which are major institutional investors that take positions in bonds were holding bonds estimated at N1.63trillion as at the end of 2010.

FG to finance 2012 budget deficit with N800bn bond


he Federal Government is planning to raise N800billion in domestic debt in 2012 through bond issue to finance the budget deficit, a development that is expected to grow the country’s domestic debt stock to N6 trillion. At present, total debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 18 percent, below the Debt Management Office (DMO”s) threshold of 30 percent.

Short tenor-bonds attract higher yields


nvestors in sovereign bonds with short duration are earning higher yields as three year bond last week attracted 16.36 percent yield compared to 14.06 percent from 20 year bond. Five – year bond with coupon rate of 10.50 percent attracts yield of 16.13 percent as 7 year bond with coupon of 10.50 percent paying 15.83 percent. Investors in the 10 year-bond are reaping 15.45 percent yield. Source:Pro-share Nigeria



Research funding as catalyst for industrialisation

Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council Prof. Peter Onwualu


he imperative for Science and Technology in any nation's quest for industrialisation can never be overemphasised. As a matter of fact, technological development never exists in a vacuum as certain requirements like research and development must be in place as precursors. For this reason, not a few Nigerians think that the necessary attention has not been given to research and development in the scheme of things, especially as relates to funding. "This country must establish a national science foundation; a national science technology innovation fund or a national research fund, specifically for research and development," says Dr Umar Bindair, the Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, . Prof. Asuquo Thomas, DirectorGeneral, Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), on his part, stresses that the science and technology sector in Nigeria requires more funding than presently obtains, so as to spur genuine development. Observers say that even when some scientific breakthroughs had been achieved, they were never commercialised in such a manner as to facilitate growth in the economy. No doubt, funding has been a major constraint in efforts to foster researches in the nation's tertiary institutions and other specialized institutions as a result of which scientists and stakeholders have clamoured for government's increased funding. They hinge their clamour on the premise that the institutions deserve to, indeed prove their relevance to national development through stimulation of industrialization. Besides, they also stress the need for effective linkages between the research institutes and the nation's industries. The Vice-Chancellor, Kogi state

University, Ayingba, Prof. Hassan Isah says that the only way the country can attain sustainable development is through the effective funding of research. He adds that though research is time and money-consuming, it is the best thing to do if the nation wishes to develop must materialise. "Yes! Good quality research is time-consuming and it is moneyconsuming but it is the best thing to do for any country that must develop,'' he insists. According to him, the country does not lack manpower, as it has many researchers in the sciences, arts, and other fields. "The problem is lack of adequate funding for research and teaching. Nigeria has yet to devote real funding for research. "Any country that does not invest in research will always battle with economic problems," he says. He draws a parallel with the U.S. for instance, where money devoted to research in the medical unit of the U.S. Army surpasses the monies devoted to research in the entire African countries put together. Bindir supports Isah's viewpoint and urges the Federal Government to provide enough funds for research and development. "The government and the private sector, which bankrolled tertiary institutions, should ensure that the institutions are better funded than they are now. Bindir and Isah are not alone in such viewpoint as other heads of agencies saddled with researches are not relenting in their appeal to government for more funding for their respective institutions and endeavours. Prof. Peter Onwualu, DirectorGeneral, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), points out that apart from funding, there is also the desirability for a very viable manufacturing sector, all in efforts to achieve Vision 20:2020. "One of the crucial imperatives is a robust manufacturing sector

that can produce the needed goods and services required for knowledge-based productive economy as against a consumerimport-dependent economy." The RMRDC director-general insists that local fabricators of machines are not getting adequate support in terms of funding and patronage. "This will require investment in the neighbourhood of five trillion naira in the next five years. ``This will translate into more than 10,000 new industries, 10 million jobs and N20 trillion in terms of wealth creation in the next five years.'' he stresses. Thomas, however, notes that"while we are aware that government has so many competing interests to take care of, we will love to see a situation where we are better funded. "With such funds, we can have the requisite infrastructure in place to practice our profession and contribute to the development of the country.'' For Prof. Gabriel Ogunmola, a former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, no nation has developed without science and technology to drive its economy. Ogunmola laments that science and technology has lacked the necessary funding to make its meaningful contributions to economic development. Prof. Cleopas Angaye, DirectorGeneral, National Information Technology Development Agency, also shares similar sentiments, even as he calls for the devotion of a oneper cent GDP to ICT development. "If we can invest even one per cent of our GDP in the development of science and technology and information technology, we will grow and the transformation we are talking about will be very rapid,'' Angaye insists. On his part, Prof. Olusegun Adewoye, Director-General, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, commends President Jonathan for his transformation agenda as well as his promise to create jobs. "We in the science community urge him not to be distracted by some unscrupulous politicians.'' Dr Willie Siyanbola, Director-

General, National Centre for Technology Management, says that the expected passage of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy bill will enable greater funding for the sector. "We have invested so much in iron and steel, refineries, petrochemicals, fertiliser and cement companies but we find that the common denominator for all of these is failure; not because we don't have engineers or scientists but because we do not understand how to manage these things," he bemoans. Other arms of government appear not to be averse to the necessity for greater fund allocation to the science and technology sector, even though some stakeholders allude to past promises that were never kept. The Senate Committee on Science and Technology, for instance, says that it recognizes the many challenges that bedevil the science and technology sector. Its Chairman, Sen. Robert Boroffice, recently pledged the commitment of his committee to redressing the neglect of the previous years, adding that it would collaborate with the Executive and the Ministry of Science and Technology in particular, to ensure adequate funding. "Once we pass the resolution and it is of interest to the country, I am sure the executive will look kindly to it, to ensure that it is implemented. "When they bring their budget to us in the National Assembly (NASS), we shall be very sympathetic. We shall be able to enhance the allocations to Science and Technology in general." He emphasizes that Nigeria can not afford to ignore science and technology, which both constitute the engine room and driving force for development. "It is becoming obvious that we cannot do without science and Nigeria cannot become the exception, especially now that we have a transformation agenda that is at the heart of the president," he adds. Underscoring the NASS' resolve to boost Science and


The Vice-Chancellor, Kogi state University, Ayingba, Prof. Hassan Isah says that the only way the country can attain sustainable development is through the effective funding of research.

Technology in Nigeria, Senate President David Mark assures that the issue of proper funding for the sector will be addressed in the 2012 budget. He decries the neglect of the sector for so long a time, stressing that the situation will definitely change for good. "We will definitely do anything that we can to ensure that we advance in science and technology. For a very long time, we deemphasised science and technology to our disadvantage. "We've realised that now, and we must begin to place emphasis on it. So, definitely, I believe that the 2012 budget must adequately address the requirement of the science and technology ministry," he assures. On his part, Prof. Ita Ewa, the Minister of Science and Technology, reiterates that development of science and technology will be integrated into the nation's infrastructural development. Ewa stresses that with adequate funding, Nigerian scientists can build any machinery or equipment needed by our local industries, which in turn will help develop our needed manpower. According to him, the ministry is committed to the sector's development and will deal with any saboteurs in that regard. The international community has also been helpful to science and technology development in Nigeria in many ways, especially through research grants. In the lead is the World Bank. The bank, as part of its efforts at funding research in Nigeria has devoted five million U.S. dollars ( about N750 million), to 12 Nigerian research institutes under its Step B Projects. Dr Tunde Adekola, a Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank discloses that the grant will be released in 2013 when the second phase of the Bank's Step-B Project is expected to begin. The official said that the selected institutions will serve as centres of excellence, noting that the essence is to promote partnership and collaboration between the agencies and the World Bank. According to him, the bank's support is designed to improve what is already on ground and to leverage on what the agencies are doing. "Instead of spreading the funds all over as we were doing before, we will now work with 12 institutions to make them become centres of excellence,'" he expatiates. Adekola explains that the 12 agencies were selected based on the quality and importance of their research works, adding that over 200 other institution will also get smaller amount of funds from the World Bank. Among the benefitting institutions are the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure, Idu, FCT; Sheda Science and Technology Complex, Kwali, FCT and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria. Observers say that such a gesture by the World Bank is indeed salutary and will certainly give boost to other measures of government in Nigeria to boost researches in various research institutions. (NAN).




At last, hope for Nigerian sickle cell anemia patients Recently, Nigerian sickle cell anemia patient’s was raised with the first successful stem transplant performed on a patient with sickle cell anemia by medical scientists at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, the Edo state capital. Nigeria ranks as the world’s number one sickle cell endemic nation hope with an annual infant death rate of 100,000. This represents 8 per cent of infant mortality in the country. The issue that needs to be addressed by government to give the hope some permanency, is for the cost of the transplant and drugs for patients to be made affordable by the average Nigerian plagued by the ailment. Maryam Garba Hassan writes;

Health Minister, Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu


ickle Cell is an inherited chronic blood disease where the red blood cells become crescent shaped and function abnormally, making it difficult to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen to other cells. The disease results in anemia also known as low blood counts, and is followed by episodes of pain and increased susceptibility to infections by sufferers. Usually, it is inherited by sufferers who themselves inherited the gene hemoglobin S from both parents. Each parent must be a carrier of the sickle cell trait before one can inherit the disease. One can also inherit sickle cell anemia if one of his/her parent is a carrier of the trait and the other parent has sickle cell. Many years after the discovery of Sickle Cell Anemia and the struggles of local and international scientists all over the world to find cure for the hereditary disorder that is terminal, a situation that made the society to believe that patients will not live long no matter what is done to save the person’s life, hope has been rekindled in the

heart of patients and their loved ones with the story of successful stem cell transplant in Africa. Although, a number of scientists in the world came up with solution such as the stem cell transplant which has generated so much debate among Nigerian religious scholars on the idea of using foetus’ cell to experiment the theory, as well as Pregnancy Genetic Test, which involves carrying out test on the sample of three months old foetus to know if it is carrying the S gene or is a carrier of Sickle Cell trait, the number of both carriers and sickle cell keeps growing in the country. The breakthrough for the country came when the first Nigerian and fourth in Africa stem cell transplant surgery was successfully performed on a Nigerian patient with sickle cell anemia, Master Mathew Ndik by a team of medical scientists at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on 14 th October, 2011. The former sufferer were presented to the public January 2012 as AA genotyped boy, this feat

rekindled the hope of sickle cell patients and others that require regenerative medicine for a cure. However, the cost of the transplant is put at between N2.5 million and N5million for a patient locally and N25 million overseas while the cost of the drugs as reported by UBTH for the first beneficiary was put at a whoopy 2.1 million. This high cost for operation and drugs may have dashed the hope of sufferers especially those coming from poor backgrounds. The surgery which was performed on a 7year old sickle cell anemia patient, who had suffered stroke, was the first of its kind in the country and the third in Africa. It came on the heels of earlier ones carried out in Egypt and South Africa. The breakthrough was achieved through a one-year training collaboration of selected workers at the hospital led by Dr. Nosakhare Bazuaye with the University of Basel, Switzerland. According to the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Michael Ibadin, the sickle cell anemia patient, Mathew Ndik, had his cells

replaced with those free from sickle cell disease, from his 14 year old brother after it matched. Prof. Ibadin disclosed that it cost the hospital about N6 million to carry out the transplant but that the cost would be significantly reduced if more patients are treated. Nigeria as the most populous black nation has the highest concentration of sickle cell anemia in the world. Dr. Bazuaye announced that the UBTH Stem Cell Transplant Centre was planning to carry out a minimum of 27 transplants in a year, and urged state governments to sponsor at least one patient. According to him, the Centre cost UBTH over N50 million to establish from internally generated revenue and that for now, the stem cell transplant is for those in the age bracket of 15 years and below. With the UBTH’s first successful stem cell transplant, there is hope that patients afflicted with cancer could lose composure after rigorous chemotherapy, and those with leukemia can benefit from the feat. The UBTH feat has given hope to Nigerians that despite the deplorable condition of the nation’s health sector coupled with poor funding, dearth of continuous medical education and equipment, something good can after all come from the sector. It is saddening that apart from joining the rest of the world to celebrate the UN Sickle Cell Anemia World Day on June 19th to create awareness on the pandemic and even as the figure is rising in the country, since out of the 150,000 born with the disease in Nigeria annually, over 100,000 do not make it to their fifth birthday, little or no attention has been given to patients by the government and international donors like the attention HIV/Aids and cancer patients get. Their destiny is left in the hands of God because they seem not to be receiving enough attention from the

society and government. The pains the patients experience and the psychological effects on their parents are worth telling the world that these categories of people need care, support and counseling. Although NGOs and the Nigerian Sickle Cell Foundation, is reaching out to them with the necessary support to cushion the expenses of the financially draining, and emotionally disturbing but avoidable disorder, government’s intervention and support in this area of medicine have become necessary in view of its importance and the expensive nature of the new medical technology. Moreover, the practice

depends much on hi-tech equipment, which will be sourced abroad. During the 2011 UN World Sickle Cell Day, the minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Nigeria ranks first as the sickle cell endemic country in the world with an annual infant death rate of 100,000, representing 8 per cent of infant mortality. The breakthrough, plight of the patients and the financial aspect of the disease, should be a wake –up call to the government, to give support to UBTH and the patients especially those coming from poor backgrounds and other medical institutions that are interested in regenerative

medicine that holds a lot of promise for many afflicted with life-threatening ailments in the country. A 33 year old banker and Sickle Cell Anemia patient, Mrs. Halima Mahmud, said

it makes her happy to know that finally, if she is able to undergo the transplant, she will bid farewell to pains and the trauma experienced by her loved ones who always accompany her in and out of

The breakthrough, plight of the patients and the financial aspect of the disease, should be a wake –up call to the government, to give support to UBTH and the patients especially those coming from poor backgrounds and other medical institutions that are interested in regenerative medicine that holds a lot of promise for many afflicted with life-threatening ailments in the country

Mathew Ndik, first successful sickle cell transplant operation patient after surgery at UBTH, Benin City

hospitals. ”I could not sleep because of joy when my husband called me on phone and was reading the story of the first Nigerian to have undergone a successful stem cell transplant. That shows that God willing, I will grow old with my three children, she said”. However, a mother of 4 year old twins whom are both patients of sickle cell anemia, expressed fear over what she described as negligence on the part of government on innovative ideas and researches carried out by Nigerian scientists and intellectuals. “It is a good thing that happened to Nigeria and the medical profession, but my fear is that the government may make empty promises to help these group of people and the hospital, as it has done to individuals and group talents in the past some of whom are today making Nigeria proud in other parts of the world where they are appreciated. There is no Nigerian that will not be happy if the government can pay part of the surgery cost for a loved one, they don’t have to pay everything but a little help will be appreciated and may put a smile on the face of a patient. You need to be close to a patient to know what they go through during crisis, from the use of oxygen, blood transfusion, surgery, broken

bones to the life that depends on drugs and extra care to ensure that he or she remains free from malaria”. Again, poor availability of resources to the public health and welfare sectors and inflation are curtailing access to appropriate medical and social services. This situation is frustrating to the families of a growing number of surviving patients in urban or middle to upper income groups. Efforts to create more awareness of SCD are paradoxically increasing frustration and stigmatization in the absence of a commensurate improvement of services. Any measure aimed at

enhancing the sensitization of health professionals, policy makers, and resource allocators to the pertinent issues in the control of SCD would seem to be at this stage an important step in the right direction. World Health Organisation, (WHO) recently observed that 24 percent of the population in Nigeria are carriers of the mutant gene and the prevalence of sickle-cell anaemia, is about 20 per 1000 births. I. U. Omoike, Director of the Centre for Sickle Cell Anaemia, Benin City, lamented that there is low awareness about the disease

in Nigeria and cautioned that if adequate care is not taken, in ten years’ time, everybody in the country would have somebody living with the sickle cell anemia. Based on the 2006 national census figures, it could be said that over seven million Nigerians are afflicted with the dreaded disease, thus making Nigeria the country with the highest number of sickle cell anemia patients in the world. If the strategy used by the Government for the control of HIV/AIDS can be used for the prevention of this disease that equally has no cure, then the country will be free of this agonizing pandemic.

Professor Olufemi Akingunju, former head, Nigerian Sickle Cell Foundation



Boko Haram and the Nigerian state: Time for a re-think Contd. from Back Page weapons, uniforms and detailed intelligence against the Nigerian security agents is improving. Above all, they are succeeding in terrorising host communities into silence and enforced acquiescence, which improves their capacities to operate within innocent localities. These apparent collusions or silence attract hostility and some heavy-handed treatment from security agents, and local hostility against security agents rises, without necessarily tilting in favour of the insurgency. The insurgency scores another goal against the government, by raising public resentment and hostility around its attempts to fight those who wage a war against the state and citizens. Whether it was their intention or not, the Boko Haram insurgents appear to have achieved some of the core objectives of terror. One is to induce fear in the minds of the public through the use of spectacular acts of violence aimed at the citizenry and the state in order to achieve political objectives. The second is to force the state to adapt its strategies and utilize its resources in the manner the terrorist organizations want; in other words, to get the state to adopt and act out the agenda of terror. The third is to tap into a latent sentiment which glorifies successes against the state, most commonly found among those who share the world view of the insurgency. This guarantees for it a hard core of volunteers and latent admiration within its primary constituency. The longer the insurgency lasts, the more it taps into these assets.

The conflict with the Boko Haram is also opening up some old wounds which the nation can do without at this stage. Opportunistic posturing which question the utility and viability of the Nigerian state are assuming centre stage in a nation where appalling failure to govern well is already exposing many of our weaknesses. Worn out and expired tribal champions who are unable to find space in mainstream political processes are setting up shops, reminding the nation that it never really was very far from what it is today: weak, afraid and drifting. They want tribal conclaves which should have powers over and above the constitution to decide how we should live; or whether we should live in one country at all. Presumably, they see themselves as the leaders of these primitive constituencies. Elderly Nigerians who should build bridges across communities and assuage our fear are stoking fires of irredentism and conflict, because they are of no relevance otherwise. A few with their eyes on compulsive applause from foreign lands say they know who the Boko Haram elements are, but they lack the courage to name names. Many others think moving whole tribes and regions away from the Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria will give them peace (and some relevance as small fish in small ponds). Others think the mere talk of restructuring Nigeria will get the north all worried, and perhaps become marginalized even further from fully participating in the affairs of the nation. Those who think leaving or diluting the Nigerian state is their solution to the threat of Boko Haram are behaving like the man who locks

up his shop in the market, because the market is on fire. The Nigerian government is desperately trying to get the United States to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, with an eye on extensive assistance in funding, training, intelligence and logistics which is bound to be intrusive and complicating. The U.S and its allies are reluctant to get overtly involved, while they are still licking their wounds from the adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The rest of Africa is watching with marked trepidation, as the largest nation sinks into despair and reeks of inept governance. All these make the need to explore some practical steps towards a comprehensive resolution of this stand-off imperative. One of these practical steps should involve exploring the value of mutual acceptance of a three months moratorium on all attacks and arrests. In these three months, avenues should be explored to put arrested Boko Haram suspects through the judicial process, and where it serves the law and public interest and security, they may be released from detention. The insurgency leaders should also demonstrate their control over their people by ceasing all attacks, and perhaps, in this manner, they may expose criminals widely suspected to be killing Nigerians and attacking churches and banks and making it appear as if Boko Haram is responsible. It may help to assure the nation that Boko Haram’s claim that it attacks only agents of the state and those who betray it is, in fact, true. After all, Boko Haram says many killings and

destruction are done by agents of the state. Above all, it may help to convince the nation that the insurgency has both a capacity to inflict violence, as well as discipline and political maturity, and is not just a ragtag army of people who know how to make and explode bombs. A three-month moratorium on hostilities and arrest should be used by both the government and Boko Haram leadership to intensely explore options to their current strategies. The challenge, of course, is to find who will broker this ceasefire agreement. Respected ulama and other leaders should get involved in mediating between the two, with firm assurances that their safely and integrity will not be compromised. There must be people respected and trusted by Boko Haram leaders, and acceptable to government, who also have the courage to step forward. This is the time for leadership and sacrifice. The period should be used to explore genuine avenues for resolving the core grievances of the insurgency, and no options should be excluded. By the end of the moratorium, a formal and structured platform should emerge which may allow an all-inclusive dialogue and a roadmap towards a comprehensive resolution. The proposal for a moratorium on hostilities, arrests and trials should be given serious consideration by those genuinely involved in the search for solutions. The north is paying a disproportionate price for this insurgency, which is a national problem. Where the national leadership fails to act, or has no ideas, northern leaders should step

up their involvement for the search for peace. Polite and politically-appropriate language will not do anymore. The option of a ceasefire should be given serious consideration, because the only other option is a continuation of current hostilities which are threatening the lives of every Nigerian in the short term, and the future of the nation as one entity in the long term. There will be some Nigerians who will scoff at the idea of a ceasefire and dialogue with Boko Haram insurgents, but they should be reminded that it was dialogue and massive concessions initiated by a President from the north that brought the delicate and expensive resolution to the Niger Delta insurgency. There may be some in government who will feel that government is capitulating. They should be reminded that the government is actually losing this war, and it shows no capacity to win it in the long run, going by its present disposition. There may be some in the Boko Haram leadership who will insist on fighting on. But they should know that fighting alone, without some objectives which are achievable, is a wasteful exercise. The nation has taken note that Boko Haram has a grievance, and a capacity to force attention to it. It is time to consolidate on this, and not fritter it away in a war that is fast taking its toll on it. Above all, it is time for all Nigerians, particularly those respected by the people as men and women with unimpeachable integrity, leaders of opinion and the ulama to stand between the government and the Boko Haram insurgency, and broker a ceasefire for at least three months.

Exposed: America’s destabilization plot against Nigeria (II) continue from page 18 came to "investigate" the bombing. Did they really come to investigate the incident and provide the details of their actual findings to Nigerian authorities or their real brief was mop up any stray evidence from the bombing site in order to obscure the involvement of those who sponsored the act? •The US Embassy in Nigeria operates a network of so-called safe houses all over Nigeria from where it runs various subversive operations including electronic intelligence, surveillance, planning and carrying out of covert operations in Nigeria . We will provide details of the locations and addresses of such safe houses in Nigeria in the next GREENWHITE COALITION Report. About the GREENWHITE COALITION The GREENWHITE COALITION as the name implies, is inspired from the colours of the Nigerian flag and

has set out to rally Nigerians to the flag in defence of the greater interest of the Nigerian nation in the face of plans by the United States to destroy our country and our future. It is a citizen's volunteer watchdog made up of Nigerians of all ethnic groups and religious persuasions who are alarmed at the dark plans of the United States of America to break up our dear country. We have taken it upon ourselves to spare no effort to expose and thwart the United States Government from carrying out its diabolical plans in Nigeria . For this we are dedicated to ferreting out information and plan counter actions against any untoward moves by the United States Government in Nigeria . In this endeavour we are fortunate to count on the support of well placed functionaries of the United States Government and other highly informed sympathizers who supply us with valuable inside information on the intentions of the United States Government as it affects Nigeria. These

persons are themselves alarmed and appalled by the fact that the Government machinery of the United States has been hijacked by rogue elements denying the vast majority of American citizens their fundamental constitutional rights as envisaged by the founding fathers of America . Needless to say that these persons among who are those who served America diligently are aghast at the foreign policy of the American government which purports to act in protection of the American people but in reality protects the corrupt corporate elements that have taken America and Americans hostage. In the coming days and months the GRENWHITE COALITION will manifest in many ways legally in the Nigerian public domain in its efforts to prevent our country from coming under the American boot. This write up is the first in the series. Many more will come with pinpoint expose of the American

Government plans against Nigeria . The United States Government is hereby put on notice; we will not allow our women to be turned to widows and our children orphans as in Iraq , and elsewhere. We will not be turned to refugees at the

President Barack Obama

mercy of so-called humanitarian charities. Nigeria must take its place under the sun. Concluded ILIYASU GADU, on behalf of GREENWHITE COALITION, can be reached at



Entrepreneurial education will curb unemployment, says educationist Nigerian Turkish International Colleges count achievements


By Abdullahi Yunusa


he Deputy Managing Director, Nigeria Turkish International Colleges (NTIC) Mr Dauud Piraz, said the school has recorded huge successes in the last year. Mr Piraz, who said this to newsmen in Abuja, disclosed that the school came third at an International Mathematics Olympiad competition, held in the Netherlands in 2011. The Deputy Managing Director also said that the school won other prizes locally and at international levels. “The school recorded significant successes in 2011. One of the notable awards received by NTIC in 2011 is the International 52 nd Mathematics Olympiad Bronze medal.” He credited the school’s successes to the combined efforts of teachers, who are both of Turkish and Nigerian origin. Mr Piraz said the school awarded scholarships to indigent students, who performed well in the NTIC scholarship examination.

Gombe College of Education takes off in October, says Dankwambo


ombe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo has said that the proposed Gombe State College of Education in Billiri will take off in October. Governor Dankwambo who made the plan known in Gombe recently when he received the Chief of Tangale, Mr Abdu Maisharu, on a courtesy visit to his office, said full academic activities would commence at the college temporary site, while construction work at the permanent site continued. The governor said the establishment of a state college of education was necessary to serve as training ground for primary and junior secondary school teachers. In his speech, Maisharu said he was at the Government House to express gratitude to the governor over the appointment of Tangale indigenes into positions in government. He also thanked the governor for establishing the college in Billiri. The chief also pledged the support and loyalty of his people to the Dankwambo administration.

n educationist, Mrs Fatimah Womiloju, has said that the introduction of entrepreneurial skills in the education curriculum would curb the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria. Mrs Womiloju who said that the inclusion of basic entrepreneurial skills would also enhance the mental ability of students said,“They should embrace entrepreneurial skills for them to greatly benefit from the future and to also make the

society a better place for us. “If our institutions are engaging students in entrepreneurial education now, they will be well equipped for the future, if they don’t acquire it now there will be no time to do such,“ she said. She said that an entrepreneur would create job and wealth for himself and employ others. Speaking as the guest speaker at the 50 th Founder’s Day celebration of the Nawairud-Deen Grammar School,

Obantoko, Abeokuta, she advised students to take the opportunity in entrepreneurial education to acquire skills for future development. She commended the state government for introducing entrepreneurship education skills in the school curriculum. “I want you to take full advantage of the opportunity to know what you can do on your own, in addition to what you have been taught.” An old student of the school, Mr Akin Sotelu, advised students

to learn various languages in order to increase their chances in the labour market and society at large. He advised parents not to impose careers on their children and wards. “They should not allow their parents to choose their careers for them as they may not have the required knowledge of a qualified counsellor. “Students should not involve in examination malpractices; it is only when you are ready that you can achieve your desire”.

Students from Government Girls Secondary School, Abaji and Government Secondary School, Gwagwalada, during their recent visit to the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja.

Kano to empower youth through education By Abdullahi Yunusa with agency reports


he Kano state Government says it is focusing on education as a means of empowering the youth and a tool for social re-engineering. The state Governor, Dr. Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who stated this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, noted that education is the key to prosperity. According to the governor “To us education is key because without education, no society, no country, no community can prosper. That is why the state government has initiated the Community Re-orientation Committees at the state level and at all the 44 local governments of Kano state. “The committee is composed

of 11 key people from each of the 44 local governments, especially the traditional ruler there, the Chief Imam of the local government, the Chairman of the PDP and the Chairman of the opposition party in the local government. “ We didn’t want to make it look like it’s partisan. It’s something that requires the support of everybody because their work is not just for party people but for the entire people of the local government. “We are using it to give all the kids that are entering into our primary schools, two sets of uniforms; we are using the CRC to give all the primary schools pupils lunch, because across the state now, the state government, in conjunction with the local governments and the community will give out

lunch five days a week. ‘’The CRC is charged with the responsibility of rehabilitating schools; we asked the CRC to raise some money locally within the local government and in addition to that we have given them N5 million each”. The governor said that the state was also rehabilitating old schools as well as constructing new ones to expand the horizon of opportunities for the people of the state. “We are also in the process of establishing so many new primary and secondary schools and of course we are building brand new classrooms; so far we are targeting 1,000 classrooms which we are in the process of finishing now. He also said that his administration was building a

new university to complement the existing state owned university of science and technology. “Now we are establishing a conventional university and that university is going to be called ‘Northwest University’ and it will be sited right at the centre of the city. “Northwest University is to cater for the state itself and of course the other six states within the northwest and even the neighbouring states.” Kwankwanso said his administration would establish 20 new specialised schools to further empower the youths. He listed some of them to include the Kano Fisheries Institute, the Kano Hospitality Institute, the Kano Mechanised Agriculture Institute and the Kano Informatics Institute.



Students may resist future ASUU strikes-NANS President Mr. Dauda Mohammed is the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). In this exclusive interview with our education correspondent, Abdullahi Yunusa, he sheds light on a number of issues relating to the state of tertiary education in the country, increased funding, brain-drain as well as the recent strike by university lecturers under the auspices of ASUU.


isputes between S U U and the Federal government over issues bothering on the state of university education and welfare of lecturers date back to the 1970s. Don’t you think this unhealthy development is partly responsible for the rot in the nation’s university education system? Well, strike actions are legitimate, civil and acceptable ways of venting grievances or opposing certain policies in any part of the world. Strikes are not peculiar to Nigeria alone. Expectedly, strike actions come with their negative consequences. But to be frank with you, that of Nigeria, especially within the Ivory Towers has become too much. The rate at which university gates are abruptly shut in the country in the wake of strike actions is not in the best interest of university education. Unfortunately, university students are usually at the receiving end each time university lecturers under the auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal government ruffle feathers. The situation should not be allowed to continue this way. Undoubtedly, incessant faceoffs between stakeholders in the education sector also contribute to the many problems facing the sector. Little wonder students in tertiary institutions across the country are always scared each time news of ASUU strikes spring up. Personally, I usually become scared whenever university lecturers threaten to down tools. The consequences are very damning; in such situations undergraduates are left with nothing other than to go home. Like it has often stated, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So, it’s very worrisome and disturbing each time lecturers A

Mr. Dauda Mohammed vacate classrooms because the consequences are dire on them and the system generally. I see a new era of friendly relationship between ASUU and FG. Last week’s suspension of the two months old ASUU strike was an indication of the fact that both teams have resolved to work in peace and harmony. The whole situation boils down to any of the parties honouring agreements entered into. Government is a continuous thing, if one government enters into an agreement with a union, it behoves on the new government to honour such agreement. I am happy both teams have found a common ground which eventually led to the suspension of the strike action. We hope and pray that the Federal government fulfill the agreements entered into with the union. ASUU, in order to ensure that government doesn’t fail to implement agreement entered into, has set up a team to effectively monitor the level of implementation. Do you foresee another strike action in the event government fails to fulfill its promises? Well, I don’t want us to sound or appear pessimistic about the issue. We should express hope that the event of the recent past doesn’t repeat itself. I believe nobody will be happy to see university students stay back at home for months oweing to strike actions. I feel pained as an undergraduate being forced to vacate my hostel because of strike actions. We pray both

parties continue this way. Should government fails to honour its agreement with the union and ASUU insist on embarking on another strike action, what would the students do? Like I said earlier, we don’t pray to witness any strike again. We are tired of being treated like orphans, and that is why we always implore government to honour whatever agreement it has entered with university lecturers. Well, should university lecturers insist on embarking on another strike, university students will not sit and watch them. We will get involved through various legitimate means. We are not violent people; we are very responsible, patriotic and peace-loving humans. If it happens, we would stage a protest to ensure that the

strike action is reversed with immediate effect. We cannot continue to watch both government and university lecturers for whatever reasons make us go through difficulties in our bid to acquire degree certificates. Unarguably, students and parents are usually those at the receiving end. Imagine the fate of medical students, who by the nature of their discipline have to spend years to earn their certificates. It can be very frustrating to spend more than the specified number of years in school simply because government and lecturers have found it pretty difficult to reach a compromise on very simple issues that can be amicably resolved. It all boils down to the issue of trust. Lecturers have always argued that government has perfected the habit of not fulfilling agreement entered into with them, especially as it pertains to the recent one entered into by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua’s administration. Government all over the world is all about continuity. A new government in place is expected to continue from where the old one stops. As argued by ASUU, government has not given it reasons to believe it for once and that accounts for why trust has no place in the entire saga. Am happy both teams have resolved to end their feud for now, we do hope that nothing new, in terms of disagreement comes up again. Brain-drain has been identified as one of the problems facing university education in the country; do you blame this development partly on incessant ASUU strikes? Personally, I don’t see reasons why those who are in the best position of helping to fix the nation’s tertiary education system are daily leaving Nigeria for other countries within and outside the shores of Africa. For whatever reason, I condemn such move. Life is not all about personal comfort; it’s more of going out of your way to assist

Like I said earlier, we don’t pray to witness any strike again. We are tired of being treated like orphans, and that is why we always implore government to honour whatever agreement it has entered with university lecturers

others in achieving their goals in life. I can’t imagine why those trained by Nigerian lecturers some years ago and have reached the stage of helping to groom others will decide to go away just because ASUU and Federal government are at loggerheads. It’s sad and very disturbing. Who do we expect to build the country for us if every one of us decides to leave the country? No matter how terrible the situation might look today, if we don’t fix it, I tell you, no one will solve the problems for us. Almost on a daily basis, the country’s best brains are leaving the country for other countries. I think it’s high time we stopped that if at all we are expecting things to change in Nigeria. We cannot continue to contribute to the development of other countries at the expense of our own dear country. When you go to universities in the USA, India, China and some European countries, an appreciable percentage of their lecturers are Nigerians. As a matter of fact, they all schooled here before leaving for those countries. We shouldn’t lose hope in the ability of the country to swim out of it current challenges. We should give our support to this current administration to enable it right the many wrongs in the country. The challenges are enormous and that is why we must all contribute our quota towards ensuring that government at various levels deliver dividends of democracy to the generality of all. As students, we also have our many roles to play. Its wise government carry us along in whatever they want to do. They should take advantage of our strength, vigor, intelligence and physical abilities to achieve their positive and peopleoriented objectives. We are willing to work with government in realizing its objectives for the overall benefits of all. Increased funding for universities across the country is one of the demands pushed forward by ASUU. Do you support that, in view of failure by some university administrators to justify how previous funds given to them were spent? Yes, funding is major component of the education system. We are working hard on our part to see that government at both state and federal levels adhere to the UNESCO 26% budget for education. Education is key in the development of any nation, so no amount spent on education should be seen as waste. I’ve always maintained that government should not just release funds to universities without monitoring how they are spent. Government should be very concerned on how funds released for the education sector are spent.



Plateau health ministry sensitizes residents on Lassa fever T T

he Plateau Ministry of Health recently organized a sensitization workshop for the people on ways to prevent and curb the spread of Lassa fever. Its Permanent Secretary, Mr. Jacob Wangdem, told the Newsmen in Jos that, workshops are being carried out across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state by the Disease Control Surveillance Department of the ministry. “The sensitization became necessary because we conducted a research and found that the disease is usually reported between November and March. “We have engaged specialists who are sensitizing the populace on how the disease is transmitted, its symptoms, and how it can be prevented,’’ he explained. According to Wangdem, the disease is transmitted by multimammalian gland rats (bush rats) which are reservoirs of the disease as the Lassa virus stay in them. “These rats are mainly found in the bush, but during the dry season, farmers indulge in the act of bush burning which makes the rats leave their natural

Gov’s wife urges public to take health issues seriously


rs. Omolewa Ahmed, wife of the Kwara Governor, has advised residents of the state to take their health seriously since the government has made provision for health facilities. Omolewa, who said this on Thursday in Ilorin, while speaking to newsmen, also warned them against selfmedication. She said the state government had made free-drugs available in various primary health care centers in the state with some health personnel available. She disclosed that the state government had pledged to support her pet projects- LEAH Charity Foundation and Adopt Child Program. She further stated that, government had helped the foundation by declaring free education for every child in the state. “Just recently, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed heard our cry to launch the scheme and has declared free education for all. “The Clinic-on-Wheels program will also continue as well as the empowerment programs for women because we believe that when you empower a woman, you have empowered the whole family.” She said that her pet program is not only concerned about giving out free drugs but also embarking on advocacy programs on how to ensure healthy living. (NAN)

habitation in search of safety. That takes them to the houses. “The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans when the saliva, urine and excreta of the bush rat come in contact with humans, their food and water. “The fever comes with bleeding and that is why it is sometimes referred to as hemorrhagic fever. Bleeding could be from the nose, gums and in urine.

“Asides bleeding, people should watch out for the general symptoms of ill-health like headaches and fever,’’ he said, adding however, that the disease had similar symptoms with malaria. He advised that proper tests should be conducted to ensure that the patient is adequately treated. Wangdem advised people to instill the act of covering their

food and water properly, adding that the importance of clean environment could not be overemphasized. He said, “people should ensure that they have clean and less clustered surroundings so as to keep the rats away; again, before you take soft drink, ensure you wash the surface of the can, because such cans are prone to dirt during storage processes.’’ (NAN)

R-L: Minister of State Health, Dr.Muhammad Ali Pate, Minister of State Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama and Special Adviser to the President on Economy, Prof. Sylvester Monye discussing during a recent Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Continental mosquito found in UK, raising virus risk


pecie of mosquito capable of transmitting a disease called West Nile virus to humans has been discovered breeding in Britain for the first time since 1945. Scientists, who studied marshlands in southern Britain, said they have recorded significant populations of the mosquito, known as Culex modestus, at several sites in counties of Kent and Essex during 2010 and 2011. West Nile virus mostly infects birds, but when it is transmitted from birds to humans by the bites of mosquitoes it can occasionally cause severe disease and sometimes kills. “It’s not clear how long this specie of mosquito has been in the UK,” said Nick Golding of Britain’s Oxford University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), who conducted the research. “It’s not too worrying at the moment, but it’s something to watch,” he said in a telephone interview. He stressed that although the mosquitoes have been found in Britain, the virus they carry has not yet been detected there. A handful of Culex modestus were collected on the southern coast of Britain and recorded more than 60 years ago, but didn’t appear then to be an established population.

The species hadn’t been seen again in Britain until now, said Golding, whose findings were published in the journal Parasites and Vectors. He said that the new population had arrived fairly recently, possibly via international shipping. Disease surveillance experts suspect the Culex modestus species may be behind recent sporadic epidemics outbreaks of West Nile virus in southern Europe. The virus, which survives in nature in a cycle involving transmission between birds and mosquitoes, is commonly found in Africa, the Middle East, North America and West Asia and can cause neurological disease and death in people. Miles Nunn, a molecular parasitologist at CEH who reviewed the finding said that, in continental Europe Culex modestus mosquitoes are able to transmit West Nile virus. Nunn noted that the transmission was possible because the virus could reproduce inside them, and then passed on when the mosquito fed on both humans and birds. “However, in the UK the mosquitoes biting habits and ability to transmit West Nile virus

have yet to be investigated.” Golding, Nunn and colleagues at the CEH, Britain’s Health Protection Agency, and Oxford University are presently conducting more studies to see how widespread the mosquitoes are and whether there is any risk to human health. The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors disease in the European Union, warned last year that West Nile virus might have established itself in parts of southern Europe. The ECDC’s latest surveillance report said that as of January. 13, 2012, 96 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus were reported in the EU, more than two-thirds of them in Greece and others in Hungary, Italy and Romania. In 1999, a West Nile Virus strain circulating in Israel and Tunisia was imported into New York and led to an outbreak that spread through the U.S. in the following years. The WHO says on its website that the U.S. outbreak, which lasted around 10 years, showed that “importation and establishment of vector-borne pathogens outside their current habitat represent a serious danger to the world”. (Reuters/NAN)

Surgical Aid Foundation partners Abuja Hospital on aid mission

he Surgical Aid Foundation (SAF) in collaboration with Kelina Hospital, Abuja and other stakeholders will host a series of minimal access surgeries in Abuja. The Consultant Urological Surgeon and President of Kelina Hospital, Dr CelsiusUndie, said this at an open forum with the press in Abuja on last week. “All surgeries will be minimal access surgeries, so no open surgery will be done during the course of the program.” “Open surgeries are still popular in Nigeria today, but with high technology equipment, we can gain access to affected body area through a small incision or through the natural orifices of the body.” Undie explained that minimal access surgeries, otherwise known as endoscopic or laparoscopic surgeries, did not require the patient to be cut open and this drastically reduced the recuperation time. He said that Nigerians spent a lot of money every year to travel abroad in order to have these surgeries done. “Apart from taking away money from the country, these patients found it hard to consult with their doctor as a follow up to the surgery.” Undie explained that eligible patients would not have to bear the full cost of the surgeries, due to the support of the SAF and other stakeholders, who contributed funds and supplies. He said that manufacturers of surgical equipment including, Cook in South Africa, Johnson and Johnson, Marcus Medical and Karl Storz in Germany, had agreed to donate materials. He said that this would be the third year that Kelina Hospital would be hosting this kind of medical outreach. The consultant surgeon said that between March 15 and March 21, the Société Internationale d’Urologie (SIU), lead by their President, Dr Mahesh Desai, would perform the series of surgeries. Undie said that all the surgeries would be urological because that was the specialty of the team of visiting surgeons. He said that Desai would also give a lecture entitled, “Health initiative by the Société Internationale d’Urologie” at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel on March 21. According to him, patients who cannot afford the surgeries need to be made aware of the opportunity. “Also, Nigerian Urologists who want to take advantage of the learning opportunity should also contact the SAF.” He said that he had applied for accreditation from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, to accept the surgeries as part of the Continuous Medical Education (CME) activities. All Nigerian medical doctors are required to show proof of attending a certain number of CME activities before they can be re-registered each year. (NAN)



‘Belly bottom’: A graphic warning of what happens when diabetics inject insulin at the same site every day


55-year-old man with type 1 diabetes shocked his doctors, after he revealed what looked like two bottom cheeks hanging below his navel. The patient from South Africa had been told to inject his lifesaving insulin jabs into two areas of his stomach to control his bloodsugar levels. However, he hadn’t realized that he needed to rotate the injection site around different parts of his body because the hormone insulin encourages the buildup of soft fatty swellings within the layers of the skin. The man went on to develop ‘firm and pendulous’ masses on his stomach, a condition known as lip hypertrophy. Mild cases are

surprisingly common; however this patient had a severe case as he hadn’t changed his injection sites for three decades. Dr Stan Landau, from the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology in Johannesburg, was part of the team who treated the patient. He told Mail Online: ‘We are a group of five senior doctors with many years experience between us and have never seen such a case before. ‘We felt we needed to publish the picture in a journal because it was such an extreme case.’ Dr Landau said the patient had continued to inject himself in his stomach because he thought the lumps were normal in insulin

users. ‘He had seen others with similar, but smaller masses in the same location. Sadly the lumps, though painless, had never been inspected,’ the expert said. Dr Landau added that although the lumps may shrink slightly the disfiguration would be permanent without plastic

surgery. The patient was encouraged to rotate the injection-site and use a smaller needle. He was also given a different type of insulin. Unfortunately the team lost contact with the patient after he failed to return for follow-up appointments. Writing in the New England

What is your face telling you about your health?


our face is a mirror of your mind, and of your general health. The different parts reveal your state of health, and your facial expressions readily disclose your emotional state. During the day, your skin produces extra oil to protect it from temperature changes, dirt and micro-organisms, as well as oxidation caused by UV light and pollutants. At night your skin ‘breathes’ to rid itself of waste as well as repair any damage. Your skin also reveals your lifestyle. Extreme dryness could indicate a poor diet, low in essential fatty acids, while premature ageing could be caused by excessive sun exposure or smoking. Your face also reveals the state of the internal organs. A red, bulbous, greasy nose, possibly with prominent veins,

may indicate high blood pressure, heart and liver disorders or excess alcohol consumption. Yellow skin can indicate disorders of the liver, spleen A pale face may mean weak glands, congested and inactive liver and/or anemia. Cracks at the corner of the mouth can show Vitamin B2 deficiency and digestive disorders. Did you know that women’s lips look fuller and more sexually alluring when oestrogen levels are at their highest, just before ovulation? Lips are not skin as such but mucous membrane so they do not produce oil and lack protective melanin pigment needing extra care to keep them smooth. They can also develop cracks due to depression, tiredness, or lack of Vitamin B.

Lipohypertrophy: The male patient had developed two fatty masses as a result of decades of injecting insulin into the same two sites

Daily jab: Insulin can be injected into the stomach, arms, bottom and thighs

Health notes: Give your bones a bonus


Skin deep: Your face can reveal the different parts of your state of health (posed by model)

Journal of Medicine, the team said the case highlighted the need for better medical advice for diabetes patients. ‘Sadly many people with diabetes haven’t received proper education in terms of how to give an insulin shot correctly,’ Dr Landau said. ‘It needn’t be so.’ Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin. It usually appears in patients before the age of 40. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel. Without it the glucose builds up in the blood. Diabetes affects approximately 2.8 million people in the UK. Type 1 account for one in 10 people with the condition and is treated with daily insulin injections along with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

omen reach their peak bone mass between 25 and 30. This bone density remains pretty stable until menopause when falling levels of oestrogen can lead to a rapid decline. One woman in two in the West will suffer from osteoporosis, the fragile porous bones that cause severe fractures, and one in six will have a hip fracture. As leading nutritional expert Marilyn Glenville advises that, the biggest thing you can do to protect your bones is to start looking after them as early as possible, and certainly from the age of 40 to 45. It’s particularly important for those with risk factors, including a family history of osteoporosis, taking little exercise, smoking, poor diet (drinking alcohol/caffeine/fizzy drinks, eating excessive sugar and red meat), irregular periods, early menopause, weight changes, digestive problems, taking drugs such as steroids. Here are some of Marilyn’s tips: Take weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging, dancing, aerobics, yoga, racket sports: aim for 30 to 60 minutes five times a week.

Look after your stress levels: when you’re under pressure, your adrenal glands have to work overtime and can’t produce the oestrogen precursor androstenedione which helps to offset the effects of the menopause. Exercise will help, so too does taking daily time out to relax and regular holidays, as well as simple breathing exercises. Keep your body alkaline rather than acid (which leaches calcium from bones and teeth) by avoiding too much meat protein, caffeine, sugar and fizzy drinks. Eat lots of vegetables, some dairy, and increase your intake of boron-rich foods, e.g., soya beans, apples, pears, raisins, broccoli, hazelnuts and almonds. (Boron is a bone mineral which improves calcium absorption; make sure it’s included in your daily multivitaminmineral.) Use the natural sweetener xylitol: it doesn’t cause bloodsugar swings and can also directly strengthen bones and teeth. Available as a sugar substitute (e.g Perfect Sweet), and found in fruits, e.g., raspberries, strawberries and plums. Take the following daily supplements from age 40 to

45 onwards: Osteoplus by Natural Health Practice, £19.96 for one month’s supply, a specifically formulated multivitamin and mineral supplement for good bone health; Vitamin C Plus, £12.77 for one month’s supply, with an alkaline form of vitamin C for healthy collagen plus bioflavonoids. Boost your intake of vitamin D: your body can’t absorb calcium without this vital nutrient, now known to be deficient in most people. Eat plenty of oily fish and eggs, spend time outdoors in sunlight, and consider a supplement such as Bio D Mulsion Drink bone-strengthening herbal teas: blend equal parts of the following and sip a mug up to three times daily – alfalfa, oat straw, horsetail and nettles (buy as dried herbs from your local health food store). Consult a homoeopath: while homoeopathy can’t be relied on by itself to correct osteoporosis, it may help your body absorb calcium and generally function smoothly. For qualified local practitioners, contact the Society of Homeopaths,



Syria: How China and Russia restored UN credibility ANALYSIS By Charles Onunaiju


he United Nations founded at the end of the horrendous second world with explicit mandate to save mankind from the scourge of war and its ravages has rather under its banner and in different guises authorized and supervised wars whose devastating impact were no less horrendous than the one that gave rise to it .The question is how did the foremost world body come to this miserable state where it now supridents wars, it was originally designed to prevent. The UN latest forage was the relatively stable and prosperous North African country of Libya. Its former flamboyant and eccentric leader, Colonel Muammar Ghaddaffi has reputation for routine disdain for the finesse of orthodox international diplomacy. Moreover, with stupendous oil wealth, he punches far beyond the weight of his small country and through several actions; he slighted the major patrons at the current global system. It took a little agitation for political reforms by a handful of elite groups, mostly lawyers and human right activists in the country’s Eastern city of Benghazi to trigger an armed insurgency to drive the country to civil war. Most Western nations who could hardly let the opportunity pass them by cashed in by hounding the United Nation to pass the notorious resolution 1973, authorizing a no-fly zone to protect civilians. The resolution which heavily indicted the former Libyan regime for military response to armed provocation said nothing of the armed insurgents, who were heavily armed and generously bankrolled by the very sponsors of the UN resolution. Under the banner of the UN, a western militaristic dinosaur and a cold war relic, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) revived its military fortunes and deployed heavily in Libya, in clear violation of its own rules. Its article five clearly states that its war machine would only be called to duty if any of its alliance members is militarily threatened. The entirely domestic issue of Libya,s politics did not threaten any member of the NATO. While the devastation of Libya was in full force, the United Nation gleefully watched and issue meaningless platitudes for a quick resolution, having by its action of lending its platform to the NATO/Western aggression “brought untold sorrow” to a

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon section of mankind which according its founding preamble, it was designed to stop. With Libya flattened and handed over to the local protégés of the western political patrons of NATO, the largely reclusive State of Syria was the next on target for the western alliance, riding a roughshod on the Arab spring, originally targeted at heavily western patronized regimes in the region, notorious for massive corruption and alienation of their own people. Syria is a pivot Arab nation with an impeccable credential of Pan-Arab and anti-imperialist cum Zionist political enterprise. while the Baath Party, a pan Arabist, socialist political platform whose founder, Michel Aflaq was himself a Syrian, may have unduly dominated the political life of the country, it has largely kept in check, the precarious religious balance among the majority Sunni Muslim, their shitte counterpart and the minority Christian community.

Syrian President Bashar Assad

The Syrian Christian community is reckoned to be best and well treated among their other minority peers in the region. Ethnic minorities have also had a remarkable voice and importance in the Syrian political life, thanks to the leadership of the secular Baath party. Apart from a healthy co-existence of Syrian religious and ethnic groups, Damascus has been most adept and prominent in pan-Arab political ferment. Since the seizure of its Golan Heights by Israel in the 1967 war, Damascus has provided sanctuary to the radical Palestinian groups, most notably the HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, the two main resistant forces to Isreal and its western backers. Damascus also provides comradely cover to the militant Lebanese group, Hezbollah, which bloodied Israeli army in a 34-day war in 2006 and ended the occupation of southern Lebanon by Israel. Besides what Washington and Brussels

But whether stripping Iran of its only and reliable ally in the region would bring Tehran to its knees is hard to say, given that the western proxy war, fronting the former Saddam Hussien Iraq, eight-year long war did not bring Tehran to capitulation

consider, Syria’s spoiler role in the region by supporting anti-Zionist forces, Damascus is more vilified for standing shoulder to shoulder, to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the traditional bogeymen of western and their regional allies. With a plaint regime in Damascus, not only will the Arab resistant forces be thrown into a political limbo, but Tehran would be constrained to stand alone in a region where assorted autocracies function as pawns in western cheese board. But whether stripping Iran of its only and reliable ally in the region would bring Tehran to its knees is hard to say, given that the western proxy war, fronting the former Saddam Hussien Iraq, eight-year long war did not bring Tehran to capitulation. The desperation to get President Bashar Assad out of the way, using the surrogate Arab league as a cover is understandable. The league, discredited by its confusion over Libya, in the case of Syria is acting as the front office of the tiny emirate of Qatar, who has unabashedly taken up the western and Israeli cause in the region and largely bolstered by its ownership and control of the influential AlJazeera cable news. The Arab league which originally threw its weight behind the resolution 1973 for the establishment of no-fly zone in Libya later complained that the massive NATO aerial bombardment was beyond what it earlier supported. The complaint was ignored. In the case of Syria, the league sponsored- draft resolution at the United Nation calling for the

Syrian leader to step down was a thinly disguised western document, targeted at fulfilling its long term agenda of regime change in Damascus. Like in Libya, the Arab League and its western backers only see the heavy handed response of the Syrian regime but nothing of the armed insurgents who callously murder even ordinary Syrians with a neutral attitude to the conflict. Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto powers, know very well that they were tricked in the case of Libya where one voted in favour and the other absented. This time, both Beijing and Moscow were not ready to lend the credibility of the UN especially its Security Council to the well- known and predetermined western political project of regime-change in Damascus. Mrs. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State called the Russian and Chinese action, a ’travesty, a word more appropriate for western manipulation of the United Nations to achieve its own political ends. While the Syria regime is claimed to be butchering its own people, the Bahrain Sheikhdom, home to US naval fleet in the region brutally put down its own people calling for modest reforms. The neighbouring Saudi Arab lent a helping hand in suppressing the Bahrain pro-democracy protest by sending armoured tanks. Not a whimper was heard from Washington, and its allies about the massacre of Bahrain pro-democracy agitators who were unarmed. But armed insurgents in both Libya and Syria were canonized as prodemocracy saints. The only shameful part of the unfolding melodrama is the criminal appropriation of the UN platform for plainly partisan power game orchestrated by the big powers. In the case of Syria, China and Russia has saved the UN from been further demeaned as the board room of western war ministry. Like in the case of the Iraq, the Washington and its allies might try the alternative of constructing the “coalition of the willing” as a way of by-passing the United Nation to effect a regime change in Syria through outright invasion. Russia should concomitantly invoke the long standing treaty of friendship with Damascus to come to its help militarily while Beijing should provide the necessary political and diplomatic cover. This time, Washington and its allies must be stopped in their tracks to enhance the human prospects in our endangered planet. Onunaiju is a journalist based in Abuja.



Egyptian police detain four over ‘incitement’


gyptian authorities have detained four people, including an Australian journalist and an Egyptian labour activist, on suspicion that they had distributed cash to workers and incited them to take part in a strike demanding an end to army rule, the government-run Al-Ahram has said. Austin Mackelland Kamal el-Fayoumi were detained in Mahalla on Saturday along with Aliya Alwy, their Egyptian translator and Derek Ludovici, a US student. Fayoumi, who was interviewed by Al Jazeera last April, is known for his role in the 2008 protests in the industrial city of al-Mahalla alKubra north of Cairo that inspired the April 6 movement. The case has been referred to the prosecutor general for investigation, al-Ahram said. "Our car got rocked and beaten against the glass ... got called all sorts of things. Police escorted us to station," Alwy posted on her Twitter account before their detention. Following their detention she tweeted on Saturday evening that they were being handed over to intelligence services. "Charges brought against [us] of inciting protest and vandalism. Witnesses have been produced to confirm it." Activists and commentators have tweeted developments using the hashtags #freeaustin and #freealiya. Mackell had tweeted on Friday "Logging off for the night now, tomorrow will be heading to #Mahalla to see how the #Feb11 strike goes there." General Mostafa Baz, police chief of the northern Gharbiya

DR Congo presidential aide killed in crash


Fayami is known for his role in the 2008 protests in the industrial city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra province, told reporters the four were suspected of having co-ordinated over the internet to meet in Mahalla, which has a history of labour strikes, to "incite people to protest". The Australian Foreign Ministry said an Australian national was detained in Mahalla and that the embassy in Cairo was seeking advice from Egyptian police on possible charges arising from the arrest. "Consular officials from the

Australian embassy in Cairo have spoken to the man ... He has confirmed he is being treated appropriately by local police authorities," the ministry said in a statement. Accusations of alleged foreign meddling in Egyptian politics have increased in recent weeks. Authorities in Cairo are prosecuting 43 foreign and Egyptian activists, including about 20 Americans, who had worked for pro-democracy

groups, including US -based organisations. Activists had called for a nationwide strike on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak from power and to press demands for a faster end to the rule of the military council that replaced him. The Egyptian army has previously been involved in the detention and torture of antigovernment campaigners.

emocratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila's chief adviser has been killed in a plane crash near the eastern town of Bukavu, an Interior Ministry official said. The official, Richard Ilunga, confirmed the death of Augustin Katumba Mwanke and said the accident occurred yesterday. Ilunga said said finance minister Matata Ponyo Mapon and Marcellin Cishambo Rohuya, governor of the South Kivu province, who were travelling with the aide, survived the crash. He did not have details of their condition. Small and often ageing aircraft are used to traverse the DRC, a vast country with dense forests but without roads. Accidents are common as some airports lack even the basic facilities to function normally. Last July dozens of passengers were killed when a plane crashed as it approached Kisangani airport. Rescuers managed to pull 40 survivors from the wreckage, officials said. The aircraft belonged to the Hewa Bora Airways which is on a European Union list of airlines banned due to security concerns, as are all carriers certified in the DR Congo.

New Zimbabwe constitution could bar Mugabe candidacy


imbabwe's President Robert Mugabe could be barred from running for another term, according to the first draft of a new constitution that also seeks to trim presidential powers. However, Mugabe, who has been accused by the West of using death squads and violence to intimidate voters, will probably muster his political might to sink the proposal, analysts said. Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African country since independence from Britain in 1980, was forced into a powersharing deal in 2008 after a disputed election and compelled to draft a new constitution. "A person is disqualified for election as President if he or she has already held office for one or more periods, whether continuous or not, amounting to 10 years," according to the

draft seen by Reuters. Mugabe has been nominated as his ZANU-PF party's candidate and intends to run in an election he wants held in 2012. Under the powersharing deal with his rival and now prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, elections must be held by next year with a new constitution drawn up ahead of the poll. A referendum on the new constitution is expected to be held later this year. Presidential powers, including the right to make senior appointments in government and the military, would be significantly curtailed, according to the draft. Douglas Mwonzora, a cochairman of the parliamentary committee driving the constitutional reforms representing

Tsvangirai's MDC party, said the draft was the first of several that would be produced before the referendum. The stateowned Herald newspaper, whose views often echo those of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, denounced the proposal. "The draft is personalised to attack President Mugabe. Here is a constitution being disqualify the leader of one of the Zimbabwe"s President Robert Mugabe addresses a joint meeting of senior parties," it quoted members of his Zanu PF and the opposition MDC party of Prime Minister Morgan an unnamed Tsvangirai to discuss political violence, in Harare, recently. source as saying.



Israeli air raid kills Palestinian in Gaza


Palestinian in Gaza has died after being wounded during a series of Israeli airstrikes, Gaza medical sources have said. The fatality was identified as Abdel Karim Zatuniya, an elderly man serving as a guard at the barracks in the Zeitun area, southeast of Gaza city. He died when a farm near Gaza City was hit by a missile strike late on Saturday night, in which four other people were wounded. No armed group in Gaza announced Zatuniya as a member. Three other Saturday night airstrikes - near the Karni crossing east of Gaza City, east of Khan Younis and at an empty house in Rafah - resulted in no further casualties. The Israeli military confirmed launching the strikes, and in a statement early on Sunday said its aircraft "targeted a terror tunnel and a weapon manufacturing facility in the northern Gaza Strip, a terror tunnel in the central Gaza

Strip and an additional terror tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip," noting direct hits. "These sites were targeted in response to the rocket fire on communities in southern Israel," the statement read. It said that a Friday night rocket from Gaza that struck between two houses in the Hof Ashkelon area had lightly injured an Israeli woman. Earlier on Saturday night, a rocket fired by Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel causing no casualties or damage, an Israeli police spokesman said. "A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol region. It landed in an open area without causing any damage or injuries," Micky Rosenfeld told the AFP news agency. Speaking in Tehran on Saturday, Ismail Haniya, Hamas prime minister of Gaza, reiterated his movement's long-held stance that it "will never recognise Israel."

Four other people were wounded in the Israeli air raid [AFP]

Greece set to agree on bailout as Germany demands action


reek lawmakers looked set to endorse a new and deeply unpopular austerity deal yesterday to secure a multi-billioneuro bailout and avert what Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned would be "economic chaos." After days of dire warnings and threats of rebellion, parliament began debating the bill setting out 3.3 billion euros ($4.35 billion) in wage, pension and job cuts as the price of a 130-billion-euro rescue package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund - Greece's second since 2010. Greece needs the funds before March 20 to meet debt repayments of 14.5 billion euros. But the bill has caused turmoil within the ruling coalition and deepened a social crisis among Greeks already hit by a round of

cuts and tax hikes to ease the country's huge debt burden. During the debate a Communist Party deputy hurled the pages of the bill on the floor of the chamber and in fiery exchanges with lawmakers, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned them: "If the law is not passed, the country will go bankrupt." He said the vote in the 300-seat parliament, which began shortly after 2 p.m. (1200 GMT), had to come by midnight "because come Monday morning, banking and financial markets must get the message that Greece can and will survive." Euro zone paymaster Germany ratcheted up the pressure yesterday, saying Europe needed action, not words.

Anti-austerity protesters draped with Greek flags stand in front of police guarding the parliament in Athens February 11, 2012 during a demonstration on the second day of a 48-hour strike by Greek workers unions.

Europeans protest controversial internet pact


ens of thousands of people have marched in protests in more than a dozen European cities against a controversial antionline piracy pact that critics say could curtail internet freedom. Some 41,000 people rallied in Germany on Saturday, including 16,000 in Munich and 10,000 in Berlin, against the AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was negotiated between the 27-nation European Union and 10 other countries. Many brandishing "Stop ACTA" banners and wearing Guy Fawkes masks - a symbol of the cyberactivist collective, Anonymous, that advocates freedom of speech and information - the mostly young protestors also braved subzero temperatures to mass in cities such as Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Prague, Paris, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius and Vienna.

ACTA is awaiting ratification from several governments, but intense opposition led by Internet users has forced some EU states including Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to freeze their ratification process. "We see the suspension of ratification as a victory, but we cannot over-estimate it," the vicepresident of the Czech Republic's pirate party, Mikulas Ferjencik, said. "We want ACTA to be stopped completely," he added. In Sofia, more than 3,000 demonstrators marched along major downtown boulevards, booing at the buildings of government and parliament. Shouting "No to ACTA!" and "Mafia!", they accused the government of signing the agreement secretly and without consulting the public.

A demonstration against the signing of the international copyright agreement ACTA in Slovenia [REUTERS]



Al Qaeda leader backs Syrian revolt against Assad


l Qaeda leader Ayman alZawahri, in a video recording posted on the Internet yesterday, urged Syrians not to rely on the West or Arab governments in their uprising to topple President Bashar al-Assad. In the eight-minute video,

entitled "Onwards, Lions of Syria" and posted on an Islamist website, the Egyptian-born Zawahri also urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to come to the aid of Syrian rebels confronting Assad's forces. "Wounded Syria still bleeds day

after day, while the butcher, son of the butcher Bashar bin Hafiz (Hafez al-Assad), is not deterred to stop," Zawahri, wearing his white turban and seated against a green curtain, said. "But the resistance of our people in Syria despite all the pain,

sacrifice and bloodshed escalates and grows," he added. Zawahri took command of al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Special Forces in a raid in Pakistan last May. A Muslim should help "his brothers in Syria with all that he can, with his

life, money, opinion, as well as information," Zawahri says. Syrian forces bombarded districts of the city of Homs on Saturday in a campaign to crush the revolt against Assad, whose ally Russia said.

Rockets hit Homs opposition Venezuela opposition picks candidate to face Chavez as Arab ministers meet


enezuelans voted yesterday in an opposition primary expected to name a young state governor to challenge Hugo Chavez later this year at a close presidential election in South America's biggest oil exporter. With each of Venezuela's 18 million registered voters able to take part, all eyes were on turnout as the clearest test yet of the opposition's strength and chances of ending 13 years of Chavez's socialist "revolution". The reaction of yesterday's losers will show if the fledgling Democratic Unity coalition is ready to rally behind the winner and mount a dynamic campaign for the October 7 election that could chip away at the president's still-dominant popularity. Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, 39, is the frontrunner with a lead of as many as 20 percentage points over another governor, Pablo Perez, and three other candidates. "I aim to be a president who talks

Demonstrators gather during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Homs, on Friday


poradic rocket and gunfire broke a respite in Syrian government attacks on opposition-held districts of Homs city yesterday as Arab League officials in Cairo discussed ways to halt the crackdown and shift President Bashar al-Assad from power. The activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were been killed in Baba Amro yesterday morning and at least 34 rockets had rained down on the neighbourhood. Earlier, traumatised residents had straggled from their homes after Syrian forces eased a weeklong bombardment that has killed hundreds and caused a

humanitarian crisis. A few families were allowed to leave mostly Sunni Muslim opposition districts where people had been trapped indoors for days by relentless artillery and sniper fire, residents said. International efforts to resolve the crisis, the longest of the Arab Spring revolts which saw the overthrow of leaders in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia last year, picked up in Cairo. The Arab League meeting opened with the resignation of the Sudanese general who led the monitoring mission to Syria, Mohammed al-Dabi. He had been a controversial figure because of his country's own poor human

rights record. The League proposed that former Jordanian foreign minister Abdel Elah al-Khatib, the U.N.'s trouble shooter for the Libya crisis last year, was made special envoy for the Syria crisis. The League, which suspended Syria over a crackdown that has killed thousands since March, was also to discuss a possible joint United Nations-Arab monitoring team to replace a League mission called off last month as violence intensified. A Syrian opposition leader said Gulf ministers would also discuss a proposal to recognize the exiled Syrian National Council (SNC) in a move to further isolate Assad.

Charges against president "politically motivated": Pakistan PM


rime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, in an interview broadcast on Saturday, said corruption charges against Pakistan's president were "politically motivated" and that the president had immunity as head of state. In the wide-ranging interview with Al Jazeera television, he also criticised U.S. drone attacks on militants near the Afghan border as counterproductive and said Pakistan never authorized them. Pakistan, he said, backed any Afghan-led peace plan to establish peace in the neighboring country and in no way supported Taliban insurgents. Gilani's statements were aired on the eve of a hearing at which the premier faces indictment for contempt of court

over his refusal to request the reopening of corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, cochairman of the premier's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). "There had been a lot of cases against him, and they were all politically motivated," Gilani said, referring to Zardari. "He has got immunity. And he has not got immunity only in Pakistan, he has transnational immunity, even all over the world." Asked if he would rather resign for the sake of the president, Gilani said if convicted of contempt, he would automatically lose office, so there was no need for him to quit. "There's no need to step down," he said. "If I'm convicted, then I'm not supposed to be a

member of the parliament." Monday's expected indictment of Gilani pushes Pakistan's political crisis into a new phase. It is unlikely to lead to the fall of the government, but will continue to paralyze the country and further empower its military, analysts say. "The Court is neither likely to trigger a collapse of the PPP government nor lead to military intervention," wrote Shamila Chaudhary in an analysis for Eurasia Group. "But the judiciary will remain a critical factor in Pakistani politics for the duration of the election cycle that ends in February 2013." The civilian-judicial confrontation stems from thousands of old corruption cases thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military president Pervez Musharraf.

much less, who doesn't invade Venezuelans' personal lives so much," Capriles said in a pointed reference to Chavez's longwinded speeches, which local media are often obliged to run live. "The real game begins on February 13," he added, relishing the chance of a showdown with Chavez. Capriles hails Brazil's market-friendly but sociallyconscious policy model as his inspiration and has said he would take a "no shocks" approach to dismantling Chavez's statist economic policies such as currency controls. He might move faster to end controversial friendships with anti-U.S. figures such as the leaders of Iran, Cuba and Belarus.

Singer Whitney Houston dies in LA at 48


hitney Houston, who reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behaviour and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died aged 48. Houston died on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where she had been staying for the past two weeks. Kristen Foster, her publicist, said that the cause of death was unknown. "At 3:55 pm, Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton hotel," Mark Rosen, a police spokesman, said. Rosen said police received an emergency call from someone in her entourage and found Houston on the floor of her room as attempts were being made to resuscitate her. "There were no obvious signs of criminal intent at this time, and it is being investigated by the Beverly Hills

Whitney Houston's career in pictures

police department," he said. Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds, reporting from Los Angeles, said that Houston had been seen at public events in good form, and had been working on postproduction for the film Sparkle in recent weeks, a film which she was producing. A coroner's official said yesterday that the singer's body has been transported from the Beverly Hills hotel and is awaiting an autopsy. A white coroner's van believed to be carrying Houston's body left the Beverley Hilton in the early hours of Sunday morning. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office said an examination had not been scheduled and that investigators are awaiting reports before an autopsy can be conducted.



Naked man arrested after four hours on top of 220ft LA police tower A naked man who climbed to the top of a 220ft Los Angeles police tower has been arrested following a four hour stand-off with emergency services. The unknown man scaled the lofty communications tower, ripping off his clothes as he went screaming, ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’. He was finally rescued after LAPD crisis intervention officers ascended the tower, while the Los Angeles Fire Department also ensured his safe return by placing air cushions around the base of the tower. Officers brought him down some of the way using a makeshift basket before he could reach a safety ladder towards the base of the pylon. Attending officer Karen Rayner said the man, believed to be in his 30s and 40s, parked his car in the police department’s driveway before he made his way up the tower. She said: ‘He started taking his clothes off as he climbed.’ It is not yet known why the mystery man decided to climb the tower.


table tennis-playing baby has become a smashing success on YouTube after wowing viewers with ping pong skills way ahead of his young years. Appearing in a video named 'Jamie playing multiball',

The naked man was arrested following a stand-off with police (Picture: AP/Reed Saxon)

It is not yet known why the unknown man climbed the tower (Picture: AP/Reed Saxon)

wonderkid Jamie returns shot after shot while perched on the left hand side of the table. He calmly swats the balls back at his dad and trainer, pausing only to regain his Zenlike composure. On 44 seconds he displays a

to refill the box of table tennis balls halfway through. While most of the praise online has understandably been reserved for Jamie, one commenter on YouTube remarked on his father, saying 'that is an awesome dad'.

wholly unconventional backhand before gleefully launching into a series of powerful smashes aimed straight at his dad. In fact so efficient is Jamie in his Forrest Gump-esque whiff waff skills that his dad has

Daffy Truck: Farmer marches hundreds of ducks along motorway

Jamie's dad may have his work out however in coaching him to greatness, however; since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988 Chinese athletes have dominated, winning 20 out of 24 gold medals available.

Buggsy the tortoise found stuck in fence after five-month search


missing tortoise was returned to his family after getting trapped in a wire fence – for five months. Buggsy was found stuck fast in a field a quarter of a mile from his home after his owners had given up hope of seeing him again. ‘He was spotted in the fence by a neighbour and we think he was there for most of the time he was missing,’ said Lucy Cameron, 43. ‘He had rust on his shell and was underweight. ‘If he had not been stuck he would have dug into the ground

to hibernate in September. ‘It’s lucky we had a mild winter up to that point as I think he would have died during this cold patch. ‘Tortoises can survive a long time without eating, especially if the weather is mild, because it helps to slow their metabolism right down. He was really undernourished when he was brought home. Buggsy has been put under heat lamps at his hutch in West Wickham, Cambridgeshire, and is eating his way back to health.

Mr Ling asked motorists to be patient as he escorted the ducks (Picture: EuroPics[CEN])


otorists must have thought they had gone completely quackers after a farmer was spotted marching hundreds of ducks along a busy motorway in China. After impressively coaxing the usually unruly rabble of birds into a well drilled unit, farmer Xu Ling promptly marched the beaked birds along

a 70mph highway in Changde, Hunan. Mr Ling was transporting his herd of ducks back to his land from a nearby lake where they had been feeding. Despite the risk of a fine and a caution from the police, the farmer took the superfast highway to avoid taking the long route home. ‘I know I shouldn’t do it and

that the police will fine me if they see me, but I have more than 200 birds and you need a wide road to herd them all along at the same time,’ he explained. ‘The only other way home is through lots of small alleys and you lose too many birds like that. ‘I apologised to the drivers but my ducks can only go so fast so I beg them to be patient,’ he added.

Recovering: Buggsy is nursed back to health by Mae Cameron, seven (Picture: SWNS)



An hour of tai chi twice a week helps people with Parkinson’s disease to walk P

eople with Parkinson’s disease often suffer from shaking limbs and stiff muscles, which makes moving increasingly difficult. Now scientists have found practising an ancient Chinese martial art could help both their balance and ability to walk. A team from the Oregon Research Institute assigned nearly 200 patients twice weekly sessions of 60 minutes each in either tai chi, resistancetraining or stretching. Those who did the gentle martial art outperformed the stretching and resistancetraining groups in tests of balance and length of stride when walking. Those in the tai chi group also experienced fewer falls than the stretchers, and just as many falls as the resistancetrainers. ‘These results are clinically significant because they suggest that tai chi, a low-tomoderate impact exercise, may be used, as an add-on to current physical therapies, to address some of the key clinical problems in Parkinson’s

disease’ said lead author Fuzhong Li. ‘The improvements in the

balance and gait measures that we demonstrated highlight the potential of tai chi-based

movements in rehabilitating patients with these types of problems.’

Drinking just one glass of milk a day could boost your brain power, say scientists

Tai chi entails regular practice of deep breathing and relaxation techniques to calm the mind, combined with slow and gentle movements. It is based on tenets in Confucian and Buddhist philosophies that there are two opposing life forces, yin and yang, which govern health. Ill health results from an imbalance in these forces, but it can be corrected by tai chi by improving the flow of internal energy through the whole body, according to these beliefs. Last year, scientists from Hong Kong Polytechnic University found the practice helped elderly patients to avoid dangerous falls. Parkinson’s is a progressive motor-system disorder that affects more than 120,000 people in the UK and around one million in the U.S. Symptoms usually appear in people over the age of 50 and include body trembling, stiffness and loss of balance. Drugs and surgery are two possible treatments however there is no known cure. Source:

Revolutionary putty could heal bone fractures in days rather than months, claim scientists


nyone who has broken a bone knows how long and arduous the recovery period can be. Now scientists say they have created a revolutionary ‘putty’ that can put the healing process into super-drive. Scientists from the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center used adult stem cells to produce a protein involved in bone healing and generation. They then incorporated them into a gel, combining the healing properties into something they labelled ‘fracture putty.’ Working with Dr John Peroni from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine the team used a stabilising device and inserted putty into fractures in rats. Video of the healed animals at two weeks shows the rats running around and standing on their hind legs with no evidence of injury. The RBC researchers are testing the material in pigs and sheep, too. ‘The small-animal work has progressed, and we are making good progress in large animals,’ study leader Dr Steve Stice said. The researchers hope the putty will revolutionise fracture treatment for injured soldiers. ‘Complex fractures are a major cause of amputation of limbs for U.S. military men and women,’ Dr Stice said. ‘For many young soldiers, their mental health becomes a real issue when they are confined to a bed for three to six months after an injury.

A 'fracture putty' could have people with broken legs up and moving as fast as days afterward, claim scientists

‘This discovery may allow engineering approaches like them to be up and moving as fast implants and replacements which as days afterward.’ may eventually be combined with However, more animal trials our approach. We are looking at will need to before it can be tested other applications, too, using this on humans. gel, or putty, to improve spinal ‘The next step is to show that fusion outcomes.’ we can rapidly and consistently One of the best hopes for the heal fractures in a large animal,’ fracture putty is in possible facial Dr Peroni said, ‘then to convert it cranial replacements, an injury to clinical cases in the UGA clinics often seen on the battlefield. where clinicians treat animals The project ends in mid-2012. with complex fractures all the time.’ ‘By then we are to deliver the Between 2009 and 2011 the system to the DOD,’ Dr Stice said. group were awarded $1.4million Source: from the U.S Department of Defense for testing the putty in sheep. This year, they revealed bone can be generated in the animals in less than four weeks. However, the scientists may have to find new funding as the Department of Defense may cut the grant for biomedical work. The team said they aren’t the only group working on a faster fix for broken bones. ‘Our approach is biological with the putty,’ Dr Stice said. ‘Other groups Fractured tibia: Broken legs are commonly are looking at due to motorbike accidents but can also polymers and result from sports injuries



Kwara: Why opposition disagrees with Gov. Ahmed over N70b rice project ANALYSIS The political drama in Kwara state has taken another dimension after the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Spanish company, Vasola Consortium, on 26 January 2012, over rice cultivation, processing and packaging through public private partnership (PPP). Opposition parties are crying wolf, writes Olanrewaju Lawal


ecently, Kwara state Government signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Spanish company, Vasolar Consortium. Under it the state government would provide land for foreign farmers expected to produce 40,000 tonnes of rice annually, while Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) would as the financier of the project. The agreement, in which the state government is to provide land and loan facility to fast track the commencement of Cultivation, Processing and Packaging, is worth Over 70 billion turn over within four years. Just like in Shonga commercial agricultural scheme funded by the state government during the regime of Dr. Bukola Saraki, which was handled by Zimbabwean farmers displaced by the Zimbabwean government. “We deem the whole arrangement a monumental fraud. For one, our research since the Thursday event reveals that no company exists under the name Vasolar Consortium whether in Spain or anywhere in the world! Assuming, without conceding that such a company exists in Spain, how come it is not listed or registered with the Spanish’s equivalent of our own Corporate Affairs Commission? Does that not raise the question of credibility, which is sin qua non in any business deal?” Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) asked. While signing the agreement, the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed said the development would not only pave way for employment of youths but also diversify the economy of the country which mainly depends on crude oil. The governor who disclosed that Nigeria had spent 2.6 billion dollars on importation of rice said the initiative of the state government would further put an end to over dependence on foreign food-stuff, while over three million youth in the state will be fully engaged. The governor, who is a former Commissioner for Finance, Planning and Economic Development under the immediate past administration, noted that with the modern technology and experts of the Spain consortium, Nigerians would also provide sufficient man power, coupled with the presence of River

Niger and fertile land, would be enough to make their investment profitable. However, the major opposition party in the state, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in a statement issued and made available to our correspondent in Ilorin maintained that the agreement was another avenue by few individuals in government to divert public fund to their personal businesses. The statement, which was signed by the state chairman of the party, Mr. Kayode Olawepo entitled “N70b MoU for rice farm: A contract with a nonexistent company?” ACN dismissed the programme as “unsavoury borrowing habit of the PDP-led government in Kwara state without commensurate execution of projects for which such funds were sought.” The opposition party declared that “Today, in line with our commitment to ensure that it is no longer business as usual in Kwara, we are again raising the alarm over what is clearly another attempt to commit public fund and property to yet another questionable project. Last Thursday, the PDP government signed an MOU with one ‘Vasolar Consortium of Spain’ for the cultivation, processing and packaging of rice in commercial scale in the state. “Under the agreement, according to media reports, “the consortium will provide a total capital of N70 billion over a period of four years while the state government is expected to provide about seven million Euros and 20,000 hectares of land to kick-start the project. It continued to argue that “Since the whole project is tagged a N70b venture and the ‘Vasolar Consortium’ is to provide this fund over a period of four years, why must Kwara government commit another seven million Euros of taxpayers’ fund to the same venture it is certain to convert to a private venture, just like it did with the fraud called Shonga Farm? If, as it is clear from the above, that Vasolar Consortium is a nonexistent company, why give out 20,000 hectares of fertile land belonging to our people? “This fraud must not stand. We urge the people of Kwara state to resist by all means legal this fraudulent arrangement under the guise of

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed commercial farming. Enough is enough!” the party warned. Similarly, the Alliance for Democracy(AD) in a statement by its state Chairman, Mr. Bilyaminu A Aliyu and Secretary, Michael Sunday said if Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed insisted on seeking advice and assistance from America farmers and refused to make use of Kwarans and Nigerians experts, it was then clear that the governor has hidden agenda.

harvesters and soon”. The party, which questioned the management of Shonga farm, noted, “by the way, what is wrong with the South Africa farmers in Shonga farm? Why is the governor running to Spain for assistance or advice? Had the South-Africa farmers in Shonga farm disappointed him? Why the governor cannot continue to make use of them, instead of Spain farmers?” The Alliance for Democracy (AD) suggested that the PDP led

What the governor needs to do is to make available to Kwara farmers/ peasants, co-operative societies, modern and new farm equipment such as tractors, plough, harrowers, riggers, planters, harvesters and soon The party stated that “We of AD Kwara state chapter disagree in totality with the Governor of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed on his plan to invite or seek assistance from America farmers on how to improve agriculture in Kwara state. We see the governor’s attitude as Neo-Colonialisms. This action or plan of his, amount to underrating the indigenous farmers and agroeconomists and slap on the faces of Kwarans, and agrarian in Nigeria. “What the governor needs to do is to make available to Kwara farmers/peasants, co-operative societies, modern and new farm equipment such as tractors, plough, harrowers, riggers, planters,

government should seek for moral advise from other parties, saying, the state has many professionals; it has professors in agriculture at the Kwara state University, University of Ilorin and other institutions in the Nigeria who can offer their services on this field, stressing that, the state government should stop “fooling the people.” However, the state government in its reaction to the allegation of fraud by the ACN said their agreement was reached through extensive negotiation with the approval of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The state government, in a statement through Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media

and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede said the Kwara state government N70b rice joint venture with Valsolar Consortium was product of extensive negotiation, due diligence which had Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)’s approval. The statement explained that “the State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, received a letter of intent from the Spanish investors in October 2011, seeking to partner with the state government to set up rice cultivation, processing and packaging project in the state, following a recommendation by the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria. Considering that the company is undertaking similar ventures in other parts of Africa, under Project Africa Rice, and in line with the government’s policy of encouraging foreign direct investment, officials were subsequently dispatched to Spain to open discussions with the company. The delegation was also directed to conduct vigorous checks on Valsolar’s legal status as well as assess its capacity to invest the needed funds in the project. These checks included original copies of Valsolar’s certificate of incorporation, the articles and memorandum of association which were sighted and duly notarised copies obtained for the state government’s record. Government also has duly notarised and authorised English translations of these documents indicating that Valsolar was registered on July 7, 2006 with registration No. B06479802 in Extre Madura Region of Spain. The state government also has a duly authenticated resolution by Valsolar’s board authorising the company to invest in Kwara state. All the documents have been authenticated by the Embassy of Spain in Nigeria where they are available for verification. Furthermore, the proposed Joint Venture Company, ValsolarKwara Company Limited, has been approved and reserved by the CAC which could only have been achieved based on the presentation of all relevant documents concerning Valsolar Consultoria 2006 SL”. The statement further said that “under the terms of the MoU, government’s seven million Euro investment which is ten per cent of Valsolar’s annual investment has been held in an escrow account as show of its commitment to the project, which can be either be withdrawn or reinvested in the project at the end of the four year investment period.” The state government also emphasized that the Rice Project will generate 12,000 jobs over the value chain, stimulate economic development of the state as well as ensure the development of the agriculture in the state through transfer of technology and training of farmers.



Why we insist on sovereign national conference, by NSG scribe INTERVIEW Dr. Tony Uranta is the executive secretary of the National Summit Group. He is the brain behind the just concluded National Dialogue held in Lagos. He spoke with selected journalists at his Lagos residence. Peoples Daily’s Ayodele Samuel was there.


hy were most invited Northern leaders not at the

dialogue? Well, to us, the North was well represented at the dialogue. Maitama Sule was represented by Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Ishak Lakin Akintola came to represent Lateef Adegbite who was to represent the Sultan of Sokoto. Adegbite was out of the country, but we have Malam Uduman, Nasiru Kura, the chief missioner of Ahmadiyya. We had everybody that could influence thought from every part of this country. The whole idea of their being one entity called the north has been over taken by event. First, there is a class war going on in the whole of Middle East Islamic nations and northern Nigeria. Cast your mind back that Boko Haram, when they started they were killing governors’ families, emirs’ families and others that they felt are not in synchronizations with what they stood for, which is exactly what Al-Qaida was doing; which was why Bin Laden was in exile even in his own Saudi Arabia. This is not about a section of the country wants it or wants to oppose it any more. It is for every section to come and talk. If the people of Borno say Shari’a is what they want, they should have Shari’a; but they must do it in such a way that they don’t infringe on the right of any Christian living in Borno. We can also ask ourselves: do we still want the unitary system of government, which we are currently undergoing, or should we have a federal system of government or co federal system of government? These are the different questions that must be answered in the national Conference. This is why every Nigeria must be there. That was why Niger Delta people say our oil not Nigerian oil when it comes to sharing the booty, but nobody says our challenges when it comes to addressing the issues of despoliation of human degradation and other issues that affect the region in particular. And Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, my friend, has postulated the fact that maybe Boko Haram is killing because they do not like the idea of the principle of derivation. Well, we need to sit together to ask

ourselves the questions, on what basis was Nigeria formed by the British or what basis did we decide to move ahead in 1960 and 1963? What were the constitutional requirements or duties? If we had regions, do these regions have their different constitutions, were they free to exploit their resources and pay a tax of 50% to the centre? Is there anything wrong with that? Is that not a principle of derivation? If it was right then, then why is it wrong now? Even though the people that are now supplying all the money, have now been cheated out of over 37%, because if we are going by the 1960 constitution, then the Niger Delta should receive 50% of the total revenue accrued from the resources that are derived within it. Now these questions must be addressed; and when they are addressed, we shall learn that every state of Nigeria is rich and we shall learn that the major problem Nigeria has is that we lack leaders with vision and creative imagination to exploit the resources that are available to them, especially the human resources. Don’t you think the conference may not work out, just like in 2006, especially with the suspicions in different ethnic groups? It takes a Goliath to promote a David; it takes a conflict to show up the strength in a person or a people. If you don’t have arguments, if you don’t have conflicts, then you have not spoken the truth. Like the Yoruba will say, if brothers go inside a room to resolve an issue, and they come out with smiles, they have not spoken to each other. Therefore, if you want to come out with a consensual position, there must be some gives and some take; nobody will be there to

Dr. Tony Uranta

insist on a position without being able to give in for several other positions. The problem with the 2006 conference, which I was invited to but opted not to attend, was that the people there were not fully representatives of their ethnic nationalities. Because when we come to it, we are nation states built up with the amalgamation of ethnic nationalities. My town, Opobo had treaties with the queen and king of England. For you to enter into a treaty with a king, it means you are recognized as a sovereign state. So, if anybody asks Opobo to concede its rights under those treaties before they created Nigeria these questions have to be addressed. Did anybody ask the man in Borno to give up his Islamic education and embrace Western education he must answer certain question. If the man in Borno wants to study along Islamic way, bank along Islamic way, he has a right to. You would have to ask yourselves, will we be able to live together? And since I believe that it is not all

Like the Yoruba will say, if brothers go inside a room to resolve an issue, and they come out with smiles, they have not spoken to each other

Nigerians’ desire to live together, we would have to give and take. There can be no extremist positions like, say what Boko Haram is doing. That’s extremism. How will you describe the role of civil society groups, like Save Nigeria Group, SNG, in mobilizing the people during the last protest on the removal of petrol subsidy? Nasir El-Rufai and Tunde Bakare were trying to build an opposing position that would inflame the society excessively. If they had succeeded, it would have eventually brought back the military; and I do not want them back in Nigeria again. Any democracy is still better than the military! The Niger Delta has resolved that if the military should ever take over this country, again, we are going to declare a Niger Delta Republic; and I know that Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) will declare Biafra; whilst Yoruba too will declare Oodu’a Republic …and others would follow suit. I pray nobody tests this forecast. I don’t think that was the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, because it was widely disseminated via news, and in paid adverts, last October, that Pastor Tunde Bakare and company had been expelled from this non-partisan fold the moment they became executives and candidates of

political parties. Moreover, investigations show that Pastor Bakare never registered SNG with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Even if he had, the body’s other leaders expelled him, and never rescinded that position. Anyway, we must remember that conveners/founders could be set out to pasture, in their prime… or, did we not all see how one of the greatest men to live “Steve Jobs” was tardily removed from the very company “Apple Inc.” he had co-created? Enough said. Pastor Bakare is a man of God, so I would not want to go further than this. Why did you not join in the protest against the removal of subsidy as a civil society leader? I was invited to march with them, but I told them I cannot run (after two strokes, a spinal surgery and a cancer scare). This was apart from the fact that I had opposed street protests (advocating instead a stay-indoors strike), because I knew there was no way that there would not be some level of confrontation. I am so happy that our ill-trained, triggerhappy cops did not fire live bullets at Professors Pat Utomi and Nwabueze, as they sought to join the street protest against soldiers on Lagos streets, but only fired teargas. I could remember the case where only women marched peacefully in Ikeja, yet they were arrested. Thank God the police did not go beyond tear gassing. However, I played a very humble but crucial role. I was always sensitizing Nigerians on the need for arriving at an understanding with government, and advised the president accordingly. In fact, it is not impossible that my advocacy was part of what resulted in the president’s second speech, and in labour calling off the strike, after voices of reason, including those of our national legislators, had empowered them to meet with government. It became obvious that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, leaders were in a quandary; for, each time labour reported back to certain civil society leaders, these intractable personalities, some of whom were only using the protests for personal political leveraging, said they would not end the strike if the federal government did not revert to the old PMS price of N65. The government said N120 but they said N65; the government said N100, they said no, N65. I rationalized that if things continued that way, the labour leaders themselves would lose credibility and the confidence of the masses; but thank God, at the end a compromise was reached.



ANPP guber candidate pledges even distribution of projects From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


he governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Alhaji Yushau Muhammed Ahmed, has promised to ensure even distribution of projects across the state, if given the mandate by the electorate. Yushau made the pledge yesterday, while addressing party supporters in Yabo local government area of the state. He maintained that the party will not discriminate against any part of the state in terms of the provision of social amenities to the people. "ANPP will ensure even distribution of projects in all the 23 local government

council in Sokoto and will not discriminate against any section of the society," Ahmed said. He also challenged people of the state to take their destiny into their hands and bring an end to the PDP led administration in the state. He advised youths to shun violence and guard their votes during the forthcoming governorship election. "We are all brothers, so we should avoid fighting one another but join hands together by protecting our votes to ensure the defeat of the PDP in the forthcoming election," Ahmed said. The ANPP candidate promised to transform the state, if voted into power.

Tuggar challenges Yuguda’s victory at Supreme Court From Ahmed kaigama, Bauchi


he gubernatorial candidate of Congress for Progressive Chgange (CPC) in Bauchi state, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, has gone to the supreme court to challenge Governor Isa Yuguda’s victory in the last April general election. Peoples Daily gathered that the embattled CPC candidate Yusuf Tugggar, has filed a notice of appeal against the Court of Appeal judgment that upheld the victory of Governor Isa Yuguda in the last election conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday 28 th April 2011. The CPC gubernatorial candidate wants the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Appeal Court delivered on 7 th January 2012 and declare him and his deputy as winners of t h e Bauchi state gubernatorial election. The notice of appeal filed by his Counsels, led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria Olawale Akoni, Barrister Oyetola Oshobi and Barrister Kingsley Osuh faulted the judgment of the Court of Appeal. According to them, “the Court of Appeal erred in law

when it failed to act on the evidence of the 1 st to 3 r d respondents’ non compliance of section 177 (c) of the 1999 constitution”, arguing that Yuguda and his deputy were not qualified to contest the election because all the gubernatorial aspirants were required to satisfy the constitutional requirements in order to qualify for the election. Tuggar alleged that Yuguda and his deputy were not nominated and sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is part of the constitution on the grounds that there was a documentary evidence RW 47 in which the state secretary of PDP “stated and confirmed that Yuguda and his deputy were not nominated and sponsored by the party at the said election, it was tendered by the appellants through RW 47 under cross examinations and it was admitted as exhibit 24". He said “in its judgment, Bauchi state Governorship Election Tribunal excused and ignored RW 47, because the appellants did not plead that Yuguda was not sponsored by his party PDP. And the judgment of the lower court was against the weight of evidence before the court.

CPC wins NASS re-run election Returning Officer, disclosed in Nasarawa that the CPC candidate, Musa From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), yesterday emerged victorious at the conclusion of the re-run election conducted on Saturday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency. Declaring the result in Nasarawa LG, Merijani Peters,

Baba Onwana, scored 48769 votes to defeat Samuel Egya of the PDP who scored 46810 votes. The election which was peaceful and orderly, recorded a mass turn out of voters as the two major contenders fully mobilised their supporters to come out and take part in the exercise, which according to sources, “is a plus to INEC on its ability to conduct a credible, free and fair election.”

CPC rejects Sokoto, Cross River poll dates C By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

ongress for Progressive Change (CPC) has rejected the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fix 18th and 25th February for the conduct of the governorship elections in Sokoto and Cross River state respectively. In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Rotimi Fashakin, CPC claimed that INEC did not publish / display a statement of the full names and addresses of the nominated candidates, thirty days to the new dates for the governorship elections in the affected states. In addition, CPC maintained that no political party equally

submitted its nominated candidate to INEC, sixty days before the new dates, pointing out that the commission is not set to conduct elections according to the stipulations of the Law. CPC went further to back its stands by citing section 34 of the 2010 Electoral Act, which states that, “The Commission shall, at least 30 days before the days of the election, publish by displaying or causing to be displayed at the relevant office or offices of the Commission and on the Commission’s website a statement of the full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated.” “Our Party submitted the name of its candidate for the Sokoto state governorship election on 5th January, 2012, according to INEC guidelines.

Based on the provision of the electoral act in Section 31(1), the earliest date for the governorship election to hold in Sokoto state is 5th March, 2012.” CPC argued. The party also stated that with the submission of the candidate for the Cross river state governorship done on 7th February, 2012, the earliest date that the election can hold is 8th April, 2012. While stating that INEC had taken cognizance of those legal provisions when it originally scheduled governorship elections in Sokoto and Cross-river states for 10th March and 14th April, 2012 respectively, CPC noted that those dates also fall within the 90-day window that the Supreme Court judgment of 27th January, 2012 provided for elections to hold in these states.

100-year-old Habiba Muhammed Yusuf voting at Dogon Agogo polling unit during the re-run election in Bassa Jos-North Federal Constituency, in Jos, on Saturday. Photo: NAN

Bayelsa governorship polls: NBA commends security agencies From Agaju Madugba


he Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has commended security personnel who participated at weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa. “The security agencies deserve praise for the robust way in which the security of the elections was handled,” the NBA Election Working Group (EWG) said in its report after the polls, noting further that, “of particular mention is the positive and complimentary role played by the Nigerian Air force in distributing electoral materials to all the difficult river side terrain that are inaccessible by road.” The report jointly signed by the NBA EWG Chairman, Dafe Akpedeye (SAN) and Alternate Chairman, Festus Okoye, said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), introduced additional security features in the ballot papers to prevent their duplication and movement from one local government to the other. The report said, “The INEC colour

coded the ballot papers and made them local government specific. This is a good innovation that should continue to be replicated in other states. “The INEC showed that it has come of age in the manner it tackled its logistical issues in its timely distribution of electoral materials even in a difficult terrain of Bayelsa state that is mostly river side. “In majority of the polling units monitored by the NBA EWG, electoral materials arrived fairly early and accreditation of voters started between 8 am and 9am. The polling was orderly and people behaved well and majority of them appeared to understand the voting processes and procedures. “The location of polling units remains a significant concern. Some of the polling units in Bayelsa state are located in people’s houses, mechanics workshops, and street corners and peoples corridors. “Some of them are also too close to each other. The location of some of these polling units in awkward places makes it difficult for presiding officers to set up properly and guarantee the

secrecy of the vote in terms of the location of voting cubicles. “The locations of the polling units also pose challenges to the security agencies in providing adequate security cover for the elections as some of them are in vulnerable places that cannot be cordoned off in period of crisis. “Voter turnout for the election was low. Some of the registered voters stayed away from the polling units for a variety of factors. “Some of the voters claimed that they stayed away because of the confusion relating to uncertainty as to the authentic candidate of one of the political parties. “Some others claimed that they stayed away on account of the confusion on whether the court will accede to the request of some litigants to postpone the elections. “Some of the voters refused to vote and or threatened to disrupt the electoral process on account of the fact that they expected funds from certain individuals that made promises to them which said promise was not fulfilled at the time of accreditation and voting.”


Senator donates 350 motorcycles to party faithful From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


enator Abu Ibrahim, representing Funtua Senatorial zone of Katsina state has donated 350 motorcycles to executives of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in all the eleven local governments of his constituency. Making the donation, at the weekend in Musawa town, Senator Ibrahim noted that all the eleven local government executives of the party would share 243 motorcycles, while executives of the party at the ward level in the eleven local governments would get the remaining 107 motorcycles. According to him, the donation of the motorcycles was aimed at assisting the party executives at all levels in his constituency to get ready for effective mobilization as the local government election in the state draw nearer. He said “our party, CPC, has the largest number of supporters in the state and it is proper if we begin early preparations for the local government’s election. I wish to call on all our executives to make good use of the motorcycles for proper mobilization and canvassing for votes during the elections”. Similarly, Senator Ibrahim said sequel to a census of broken down boreholes he conducted across the eleven local governments of his constituency he would soon start the rehabilitation of the 520 of such boreholes so far identified. The Senator also recalled that he had assisted communities in his constituency with drugs worth millions of naira during the outbreak of cholera epidemic in some areas, adding apart from sponsoring one person for eye treatment to Egypt, he would soon send another with similar ailment to India for treatment. He also disclosed that he had donated three transformers for some communities in Faskari, Matazu and Musawa local governments to ease their power problem, assuring that he had submitted projects to be executed in his constituency in this year’s budget. In his remarks, a factional leader of the CPC in Katsina state, Alhaji Maje Sayyadi Gafai thanked the senator for the donation and pledged to immediately embark on reconciliation move to bring back aggrieved members of the party back into it.


PDP chair: Group drums support for Alkali From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Movement for Good Governance has thrown its weight of support for Professor Ahmed Alkali for the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the forthcoming party’s election. The Chairman of the group, Emmanuel Mba, who declared the

support for Alkali at a stakeholders meeting held in Kaduna at the weekend to evaluate the state of the nation and activities of the nongovernmental organisation in Kaduna, said the group is recommending Alkali as PDP chairman due to his invaluable contributions to good governance as National Publicity Secretary of the party. “One of our purpose as a group

is to study the polity and help identify good leaders that use the opportunity given to them and position of leadership to better the lots of Nigerians,” Mba stated. While further explaining the reasons for supporting Alkali , Mba emphasised that the group is worried about the state of insecurity and high level of distrust between the southerners and northerners due to the frequent bombing and killings

by the Boko Haram sect. He, however, believed that with a focused leadership and sense of direction in the ruling party, PDP, the current problems of insecurity and distrust would be tackled. Meanwhile , he urged Nigerians to remain calm in what he described as “trying times” and enjoined PDP members to support someone such as Alkali who ha tested and trusted to be a good leader to led the party.

I will not victimize any district head, says Dakingari From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi


ACN governorship candidate for Bayelsa state, Mr. Kamela Okara, casting his ballot during Saturday’s governorship election at ward 10, unit 12, Opotobo polling unit, in Bomuondi,Yenagoa local government area, on Saturday. Photo: NAN

ebbi state Governor Alhaji Sa’idu Usman Dakingari has denied allegation that he victimized traditional rulers or civil servant in the state. Dakingari spoke yesterday after re-instating the suspended district head of Kangiwa, Alhaji Sulaiman Zango who paid him a thank you visit in government house Birnin Kebbi, adding that his administration has never intimidated or victimized any civil servant or traditional ruler irrespective of any political differences. He cited the cases of the suspension of two district heads of Kangiwa and Bakuwai, saying that he withheld the approval to that effect in spite of the recommendations from sole administrators of the two local governments, to pave the way for reconciliation. Dakingari said the government is confident that intending pilgrims from the state will depart to Saudi Arabia for the forthcoming Hajj from the Ambursa Airport, as modalities have been put in place for the provision of required facilities at the airport. He urged the people in the area to support the re-instatement of the district head in order to promote unity in the area and the state at large.

Plateau: CPC wants court to sack Jang’s council chairmen From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


ne of the opposition political parties in Plateau state, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has sued the state governor, Jonah Jang, the state Attorney General, Mr. Edward Pwajok and Plateau state Independent Electoral Commission(PLASIEC) challenging the legality of the respondents to constitute caretaker committee chairmen. In a suit No.PLA/J36/12 filed

before at High Court sitting in Jos, the party is challenging the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants through originating summons; and a 32 phagraphs affidavit sworn to as deponent in support of the summons by state chairman of the party Alhaji Mubashiru Aliyu. The suit was filed by Y.G.Hawaja Esq, counsel to the party. CPC is also seeking relief for a declaration on the legality or otherwise of the defendants of appointing, selecting, choosing,

constituting or nominating a caretaker management committees to run the affairs of the 17 Local Government Councils in the state, without conducting elections in a democratic way as enshrined in section 7 of the 1999 constitution, amongst four other reliefs sought. CPC also wants the court to dissolve all the 17 LGC management committees chairmen appointed by the state government and issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining

the 1st-3rd defendants from retaining, re-appointing, appointing and or constituting caretaker, interim or transitional advisory management committees, or in whatever name or form, to run the affairs of the 17 councils in the state. The plaintiff further sought an order directing the Plateau state Independent Electoral Commission to conduct elections into the offices of the 12 local government councils whose tenure has expired having enjoyed their three years tenure.

Benue Assembly indicts two council chairmen for financial recklessness From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi enue State House of Assembly has, at the weekend, lamented the gross financial recklessness of the chairmen of Logo, and Ukum local government councils in the state. Both local council chairmen are accused of flouting accounting systems in preparation of financial records and carrying out financial


expenditures without recourse to due process. Presenting the report of the house committee on public account on the activities of local government areas in the state, the Chairman of the committee Mr. James Ochojila informed the house that the Ukum chairman was spending public money with impunity. The committee further indicted the two council chairmen for not having budgetary estimates to guide

them in project execution, noting that they do not keep revenue accounts to avoid paying debts incurred by their predecessor. Members who contributed to the issue, Avine Agbum, Jato Iaana, Terhemba Chabu, B. B. Nungwa, Joseph Ojogo, Samson Ocholi and Baba Ode expressed sadness over the lackadaisical attitude of the two council chairmen, and called for stricter monitoring of the two councils and holistic appraisal of the local

government councils in the state to ensure good governance and acceptability at the third tier of government in the state. The assembly particularly directed the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs that oversees the affairs of local governments in the state to stop the reckless spending of public funds by Ukum Local Government Chairman, Mr. David Sev-Av and his Logo counterpart.

Ruling on the debate, the Speaker of the House, Mr. David Iorhemba, directed the local government councils to set up revenue committees as stipulated in the state revenue law, to act as a check on the financial excesses of the chairmen. The Speaker also directed the Logo Local Government Chairman, Mr. Iorzer to commence negotiation with all the banks; the council is indebted to with a view to commencing payment without delay.



Oboabona, Eagles Bash Kaduna DSS 4-0 Oshaniwa T vow to make Rwanda list Stories By Albert Akota


he Super Eagles full backs, Godfrey Oboabona and Juwon Oshaniwa, have vowed to make the expected star-studded squad that will confront Rwanda in Kigali by January 29. Speaking after trouncing Nationwide division one side DSS of Kaduna 4-0, on Sunday in Abuja , Oboabona, who spoke first said he was certain that with his output so far he will be among the few that Head Coach Stephen Keshi will pick for the battle of Kigali . The bulky right full back who skippers Sunshine Stars of Akure, said he has learnt a lot from the national team technical crew to make him a constant member of the national team, especially now that the position is up for grabs. “I’m determined to make the team to Rwanda and by the special grace of God; I will be among those to be in the team for the Nations Cup qualifier. On the friendly against Liberia on Wednesday, Oboabona, said he’s thinking of nothing but victory. “My teammates and I have the winning mentality in us now and it will be very difficult for any team meeting us to go unbeaten”, he said. Oshaniwa on his part said he was looking forward to a battle for the left back position with Queens Park Rangers of England star, Taiye Taiwo. “I believe there is time for everything and this is our time that is why I’m so confident that I will be in the team to Rwanda”, he said. Like his teammates, he believes that the Eagles are prepared enough for the Liberia friendly and will come away with victory. “The technical crews have been able to give us the mentality to win games and the world will see a bit of that on Wednesday when we play Liberia. I believe that all things being equal victory will be ours”.

he national team continued its build up for this week friendly against Liberia yesterday morning in Abuja, with a comfortable 4-0 bashing of Nationwide Division One side Dynamic Sporting Solution (DSS) of Kaduna. The match played at the synthetic pitch of the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja, saw the Eagles dominating from start to finish with little resistance from the Kaduan side that was apparently overwhelmed by the occasion.


Starring skipper Chigozie Agbim in goal, Godfrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa, Papa Idris and Azubuike Egwueke in the defence, the midfield had Uche Ossai, Sunday Emmanuel, Ejike Ozoenyi andGabriel Reuben, while Sunday Mba and Kalu Uche were the arrow-heads. The Kaduna side took the kickoff and just after 5minutes the Eagles struck when diminutive Ozoenyi raced clear from an Mba pass to slip past the goalkeeper of DSS for the opening goal. It was the turn of the goal creator Mba in the 22nd minute after been cleverly fed by midfielder Reuben, to hit home the second. The Kaduna side led by Ahmed Jubrin was animated as he started to yell at his players to stop according the national team too much respect. Things seemed to fall on deaf ears as Enyimba hitman, Kalu Uche made it three after Ejike had ran clear off his marker on the left side of the pitch to lay him an inch perfect pass. the power of the team which become customary during friendly games when Stephen Keshi introduced new faces to the squad like Bathlomew Ibenegbu, Osas Omamo,Uche Oguchi, Barnabas Imenger, Obinna Nwachukwu, Izu

Azuka, Ahmed Adesope Kabir Umar, Kingsley Salami, Kola Anubi and goalkeeper Okemute Odah. The little difference as the Eagles continued their dominance of the game with little resistance from the highly organised Kaduna side. In the 70 th minute, Izu Azuka, dribbled past the defence of DSS and was heading for goal, when he was hacked down by a defender. The referee promptly pointed to the spot and Azuka himself stepped up to riffle home goal number 4, in the largely one sided game. The scoreline stood like that till the referee sounded the home whistle, even as Imenger, Nwachukwu and Ibenegbu all came close to increasing the goals tally. At the end of the day, Keshi in a chat with players and officials of DSS, told them that he was highly impressed by their level of professionalism and urged them not to be demoralized by the scoreline. “I have spotted one or two good talents from your squad and I will be watching out for you guys. You had a wonderful game against your national team today, please keep it sup the spirit”, he admonished.

Zambia clinch Afcon title on penalties


ambia defeated Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties to win the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations final after a 0-0 draw following extra time yesterday. Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba

wasted a great chance to break the deadlock on 70 minutes when he blazed a spot kick over and Zambia skipper Christopher Katongo was foiled by the woodwork in the first period of extra time.

Zambia team celebrating African Champion

After 14 kicks were converted, Kolo Toure and Gervinho failed to find the target for the Elephants as Zambia’s Rainford Kalaba also blazed over. Stoppila Sunzu found the top corner to complete an amazing victory. It was a heartbreaking end for Ivorian skipper Didier Drogba, who missed a spot-kick in normal time. It means the wait goes on for an Ivory Coast team replete with many Premier League and European stars, with the country losing the 2006 final to Egypt in the same way and last winning the tournament 20 years ago. For the Chipolopolo, who have already been runners-up twice, it concluded a tournament where they were inspired by the loss of the 1993 Zambian team after a plane crash close to the venue of the final in Libreville. The last time the southern African country reached the final in 1994, it was just a year after 18 Zambian teams members died as they took off from the Gabonese capital. The current team had spoken of the strength they had gained in remembering that tragedy.

E/Guinea, Gabon missed Super Eagles, says Etuhu


Godfrey Oboabona

he Super Eagles and Fulham of England midfielder, Dickson Paul Etuhu has said that the Equatorial Guinea-Gabon 2012 Nations Cup missed a lot with the absence of giants Nigeria , Egypt , South Africa and Cameroon . Speaking on the Cable News Network (CNN), Etuhu, who was previewing the final between Zambia and Cote D’Ivoire, said Nigeria in particular has a way of adding colour and panache to the Nations Cup over the years and it must be admitted that they were sorely missed. He however said he was sure that the Nigerian side will bounce back at the next edition of the championship

scheduled for South Africa in 2013. Meanwhile, Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi, at the weekend said that he was sure that the current Super Eagles squad will not only qualify for the championship in South Africa but will be one of the major contenders for the trophy at the tourney. “We have started well with the homebased squad and the response I must say is tremendous when the foreign based join, you can expect a solid team, and from there we can start thinking of the tournament proper. I think we have a team that can make a serious challenge for 2013 tourney,” he said.




Selolwane sets for Botswana retirement


Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane

otswana captain Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane is set to announce his international retirement. Selowane, who scored Botswana’s first ever Africa Cup of Nations goal last month, will retire next week. Selolwane is currently in camp with his South African club SuperSport United as they prepare for the second half of the season. The veteran, now 34, is expected to lift the lid on how the pre-tournament row over bonuses affected morale inside the Botswana squad. The coach added that he was hoping his most experienced player would confirm his intentions soon so that he can

plan for the forthcoming 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers. Tshosane refused to comment directly on the reports of sour relations, but did indicate that there was dissatisfaction within his squad. “I consider myself a parent to all these boys and I can feel it when one is unhappy - but I have to handle it like an adult,” said the man who guided Botswana to their maiden Nations Cup. Meanwhile, it has emerged that other players within the Zebras squad are keen to step down from international football - including goalkeeper Modiri Marumo. “A number of other players told me they were retiring after the Nations Cup,

but it appears some of them will change their minds,” said the coach. One man Tshosane is hoping will change his mind is Marumo, the Zebras’ 35-year-old goalkeeper. Botswana was knocked out in the first round of the Nations Cup after losing all three of their Group D matches. After an opening defeat to Ghana, Selolwane scored in the record-equalling 6-1 defeat by Guinea before the team lost 2-1 to Mali, with Mogakolodi Ngele finding the net on this occasion. Botswana will be keen to keep their squad together as the Zebras try to qualify for the 2013 Nations Cup in neighbouring South Africa.

Sebastian Barnes

Don’t blame Gyan for Ghana woes, says Barnes

Mali beat Ghana to finish third M E ali finished third at an Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after beating Ghana 2-0 in Malabo. Forward Cheick Tidiane Diabate struck twice to join the list of tournament top scorers with three goals. The game turned when Ghanaian defender Isaac Vorsah was sent off for a second yellow card after 64 minutes. Coach Alain Giresse danced on the pitch at the final whistle with his delighted players as the Eagles recorded their best Nations Cup result since 1972. Forty years ago, they reached

the final on their maiden appearance at the tournament, only to lose to eventual champions Congo. Mali’s victory in the Equatoguinean capital atoned for their 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Black Stars in the group stages, with Diabate saying afterwards that the players were keen to avenge the Franceville defeat. Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic did not seem to share such a desire for victory as he started the game without a recognised striker, choosing to play Brothers Andre and Jordan


Odemwingie hat-trick sinks Wolves

eter Odemwingie scored a hat-trick as West Bromwich Albion triumphed 5-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday to move further away from danger and leave their beleaguered local rivals inside the Premier League drop zone. Roy Hodgson’s side continued their strong away form to jump eight points clear of 18th-placed Wolves, who endured a fourth straight home defeat to put manager Mick McCarthy under increased pressure as the boos rang out at fulltime. Nigerian Odemwingie’s deflected effort put West Brom ahead before Steven Fletcher’s superb turn-andshot on the stroke of halftime brought the hosts level. Jonas Olsson’s shot slipped through Wayne Hennessey’s

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hands to give the visitors the lead and West Brom then ran riot with Odemwingie’s second and third coming either side of former Wolves man Keith Andrews netting on his debut. Manchester City beat Aston Villa 1nil yesterday to claimed the table leader of the EPL after champions Manchester United reached the summit with Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Liverpool.

Ayew up front in an experimental system. The Serb abandoned his scheme ten minutes before the break, as he brought on Prince Tagoe for Samuel Inkoom but by then some of the damage had already been done. After a couple of long-range efforts from Ghana and the slightest half-chance for Mali, the Eagles opened the scoring midway through the first period as Diabate stabbed home from close range. Samba Diakite tested Kwarasey shortly afterwards from a tight angle, but that was

the last meaningful first-half action for the 6,000-odd fans who had come to watch the last Nations Cup match in Equatorial Guinea. Early in the second period, Ghanaian substitute Sulley Muntari thought he had brought his side level when volleying home Vorsah’s knockdown but the goal was ruled out for offside in a tight decision. Vorsah’s elation soon turned to despair as he became the third Black Star to be sent off at these finals after earning a second yellow card for his foul on Garra Dembele.

Peter Odemwingie action

x-Ghana Under-17 captain Sebastian Barnes has recounted his own nightmare and wants fans to back off striker Asamoah Gyan’s case. Gyan has received a bashing for his first half penalty miss in Ghana’s 1-0 defeat to Zambia at the African Nations Cup semifinal clash. Barnes was made the scapegoat when Ghana lost the final of the 1993 FIFA World Under 17 championship to Nigeria. He fouled his opponent close to the 18-yard box and the resultant free kick allowed Nigeria to score the winning goal. The former Bayern Leverkusen player suffered a lot of backlash from fans who threatened to burn his house and teach his mother a lesson but then government provided maximum security to ensure his safety. The 36-year-old, who has acquired a Uefa License B coaching certificate, wants fans to stop their unruly behavior. ‘’It’s a shame that he (Gyan) has been going through these things. I think we should rather support him rather than chastise him,’’ Barnes said. “I went through a similar experience during the 1993 world championship where I had to endure the threat from fans for many weeks. “About 30 soldiers were deployed to protect me and my family at Tema and the experience was bad. Some of the fans made me a scapegoat and wanted to do their worst.” He added: “Therefore I want to urge Gyan to be strong in these trying times. He’s made us happy in the past and so if he misses a penalty, we shouldn’t over criticize him. “He’s still young and there is lot to come from him in the coming years.” Gyan is expected to lead the lines for Ghana in Saturday’s third/fourth-place play-off against Mali in Malabo.



Rooney backs Gerrard for England captaincy M anchester United striker Wayne Rooney has put aside club rivalry by stating that Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard would be the best man to lead England at Euro 2012. England are without a permanent coach or captain after John Terry was stripped of the armband by the Football Association pending a racial abuse trial and manager Fabio Capello quit in protest. “For everyone asking, I would love to be England captain. But that’s up to new manager to decide. Gerrard is perfect choice for me,” Rooney wrote on his Twitter feed. Rooney, who cannot play in the first two Euro 2012 group games against France and Sweden because of suspension, is seen by pundits as an unlikely pick for captain with Gerrard the bookmakers’ favorite for the role whoever takes over as coach. Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce is in

Steven Gerrard

Ennis excites on home soil J essica Ennis was satisfied with her performance on day one of the UK Trials and Championships as she builds up to the defence of her world indoor pentathlon title next month. The 26-year-old started the day with hard-earned victory in the high jump. She then threw 14.09m in the shot put, which placed her sixth, but still exceeded her target for the event. Competing on familiar territory at the two-day event held at the English Institute of Sport, where she trains in her home city of Sheffield, the former outdoor world heptathlon champion cleared her opening three heights at the first attempt, but needed two attempts to clear both 1.85m and 1.87m.

She took three attempts to clear 1.89m and found herself trailing Emma Perkins, who set a new personal best when she cleared the same height first time. But Ennis then dug deep to clear 1.91m at the first attempt to seal victory and equal her best jump of 2011. She also paid tribute to Perkins’s performance, adding: “You always want to jump as high as you can for yourself, but when you have someone there in a real battle it makes you raise your game. Her 14.09m in the shot put was some way down on Ennis’s personal best of 14.67m, but she was happy after setting herself the target of throwing

more than 14m. Ennis is due to compete in the 60m hurdles and long jump on Sunday, ahead of the Grand Prix at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena on 18 February, as she continues her Olympic build-up. Veteran Yamile Aldama won the triple jump with 14.09m, and the 39year-old continues to impress after reaching the World Championship final last year. Margaret Adeoye won the 200m in 23.36 seconds, the fastest time in Europe this year, while Jonathan Mellor produced a storming finish to win the 3,000m title in a personal best of 7:58.36.

Man United vows to win Europe league, says Alex M

anchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists the club will be playing to win the Europa League after questions about their desire to be in Europe’s secondary club competition. United were surprisingly knocked out

of the Champions League in the group stage, with Sir Alex saying that a place in the Europa League was their punishment. UEFA president Michel Platini was angered by those comments, though Sir Alex said they were taken the wrong way.

Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson

Now the United boss says he will be playing a strong side when the Red Devils take on Ajax in the Round of 32 this week. It will be the first time the two sides have ever met in a competitive match. He said: “We definitely want to win this tournament. I am treating this seriously. We’re going to have a go. The thing is to look forward to it. It’s still European football; it’s still a good standard of football. The great thing is that we don’t have a game on the Saturday, so I can play my strongest team - and I will play my strongest team. It’s a bit of a bonus for us. It’s amazing that in 55 years’ involvement in Europe; we’ve never played each other. The name of Ajax still has that aura about it. They are not having a great time at the moment and their directors have resigned, but I think playing against United they’ll be well motivated. Like ourselves, they have always produced good players and played good football. sThey have a great stadium and great pitch. Hopefully we can get through. If we do, we play Athletic Bilbao or Lokomotiv Moscow in the next round, so that would be a challenge, but then it takes you to the quarter-finals and once.

temporary charge for this month’s friendly against Netherlands with Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp tipped by Rooney and the media to be approached about becoming the fulltime coach before or after Euro 2012. FA chairman David Bernstein is determined not to rush an appointment and said age was no barrier to 64-yearold Redknapp. Rooney’s preference for midfielder Gerrard as captain comes after the forward scored twice as hosts United beat Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday in a game marred by Luis Suarez refusing to shake Patrice Evra’s hand. Liverpool striker Suarez was banned for eight games for racially abusing Evra in October and his fresh antics were followed by scuffles in the tunnel at halftime between the teams, who are fierce rivals and whose animosity has previously spilled over into the England setup.

Kevin wants Ricky for world title


evin Mitchell set his sights on an all-British world title fight with Scotland’s Ricky Burns after beating Felix Lora at London’s York Hall. Mitchell outpointed his Dominican rival over 10 rounds before challenging WBO lightweight champion Burns. “I’ll be a world champion in the summer, I promise you,” said Mitchell. “I’ll have another fight in March and we’ll fight Burns in the summer. Ricky Burns is a lovely lad but I’m going to have to beat him.” Mitchell, 27, fought Australia’s Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim lightweight title in 2010 only to be stopped in three rounds. However, he stopped Manchester’s John Murray in eight rounds last July to put himself back into world title contention. Another option for Mitchell would be to fight Brandon Rios, who beat Murray last December to claim the vacant WBA lightweight crown. Coatbridge fighter Burns, 28, was promoted from interim title-holder to full WBO champion when previous incumbent Juan Manuel Marquez vacated the belt.

Kevin Mitchell



ou were assistant national team coach to Daniel Passarella between 1994 and 1998. How much is that experience helping you in your current job? We’ve got a similar system so it’s been useful to some extent, but many years have gone by and I’ve had to adapt in every respect. Some things have changed, like society, young people, the pressure and the media, and football’s different today as well, but what’s changed most of all is the environment the game’s played in. What do you mean by that? It’s something that can take you over, get a hold of you, but you’ve got to control that. There’s more and more pressure now and that’s not good for football in general, and there’s violence out there too, though not when the national team plays. It’s up to all of us who sit in front of microphones, and I’m talking about coaches and journalists here, to calm things down a little. If we took our foot off the accelerator and pressed down on the brake a little, then we’d all feel better for it and we’d have a better standard of football too. Talking of football and the South American qualifiers in particular, there seems to be less of a gap between teams now. Does that concern you? That’s definitely the case. Take Uruguay. They’ve maintained their high standards, while Chile are having one of their best spells ever and Venezuela are on the up and up, without question. Peru has come on a lot too and Colombia has raised their game again as well. Maybe Ecuador and Paraguay have leveled out a bit, but that can happen when you go through a transitional phase. They’re all very competitive sides, though, and there’s not much to choose between them. There were a lot of empty spaces in the stands for the Bolivia game at the Monumental in Buenos Aires. Why was that and what can you doing to win the fans back? There’s a series of factors that come into it, plus the fact we haven’t been getting results for a while. It’s like any sport, though. As soon as the team starts playing well and winning games, the fans will start getting enthusiastic again. If we’d had a game right after the Colombia match, then the expectations would be different for sure, just because of the way we won there. To bring the fans back we need to get results and play better football. How hard do you find it to handle a team with so many star players in it? To earn the respect of his players, a coach has to show he knows what he’s talking about, have an appetite for hard work and be a good person. That’s true with every player, from the part-timers down at the bottom to the megastars. Obviously, the difference with the megastars is that you have to show you know more and work harder. So the key is for the players to value their coach? Yes, absolutely. They start sizing you up from the moment you walk into that dressing room. That happens in any league and it happened when I was playing. The better the footballer, the greater the demands, and that’s when you have to push yourself harder and raise your game. You also have to remember that there are a lot of players who are in Europe and who like their coaches to be hard taskmasters. That’s not exactly my style. I try to win my players over by showing them what I know, by working hard, by being organised and a good person with it. Every coach has their own style, but I don’t need to shout or pull faces. How do you explain the fact that Argentina has gone 19 years without winning a trophy? You have to break it down and look at each competition individually. The World Cup is very hard to win and sometimes the tiniest detail can be the difference between going through and going out. But when you look at Argentina’s history and potential, the Copa America is hard to understand. You shouldn’t forget that we always get knocked out by the big teams, never the minnows. With Diego Maradona, it was Germany who did for us. In 1998, when I was there, we got the Netherlands, and with Jose Peterman, Germany beat us on penalties. With Bielsa we went out in the first round, but we didn’t have any luck. Sweden had one attack and scored, and we had England defending deep in the second half. There’s no explanation for it. There’s just always been a combination of little things that have come together, and always against the big teams. To earn the respect of his players, a coach has to show he knows what he’s talking about, have an appetite for hard work and be a good person.


A coach must be a good person, says Argentina coach

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella spoke frankly about a range of burning issues. Discussing the external pressures impacting on the game, the demands of coaching a starstudded squad and the task of taking the national side back to the top again; the former Estudiantes coach reveals his obsessions, fears and dreams to FIFA. com.

Changing the subject slightly, what’s Alejandro Sabella like at home? I’m very calm and relaxed, though I do find it hard to switch off from my job. My wife often reminds me I’m at home, but it’s like I’m not there (winks). At weekends, when I’m not out in the country, I sit down and watch football from Saturday morning through to Sunday night. I hardly get out of the house. If it wasn’t for mealtimes, I wouldn’t even move (laughs). You say you’re calm. Do you ever get upset about anything? I worry about getting things wrong, about forgetting or overlooking something, like missing something out. So what’s harder for you: coaching the national team or bringing up three girls? (Laughs) Being a football coach is tough, very tough. It’s a different kind of pressure. Family is very important, but we football folk are pretty strange. Supporters are fanatical about the game, and when you make a living out of football it’s no different. You have to immerse yourself in your job and things that happen outside the game can sort of pass you by. That’s a mistake. Sometimes we don’t give our families the time and attention they deserve. Moving back to football, what do you make of the standard of the Argentinian league? It’s dropped a bit and you don’t get great games now. They tend to be more hardfought and intense, but the situation’s tough. A lot of players have left, and the four most dangerous attacking players from last year have all left: Ricky Alvarez, Erik Lamela, Maxi Moralez and Enzo Perez. [Note: Perez recently returned to Estudiantes]. It’s all related and it all impacts on the game, the entertainment level, the game-changers, the goals and all that. In that respect, I think pretty much the same about Italian football. It’s not very pretty to watch but it’s very difficult to play in. You need be there, don’t you? That’s the only way to see how difficult it is. In an earlier interview you described Lionel Messi as: “The best player in the world, a player who can change a game quicker than anyone”. You saw that for yourself when you were at Estudiantes, in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009. That’s right. After that final against Barcelona I remember sitting on the beach with my assistants doing some pre-season preparations. A young lad ran by and shouted: “Are you still looking for Messi?” I was really angry at first, but then I just laughed because it was such a good line. Messi made us suffer that day, no question, and he settled the game in style. Did you tell him that story? Yes. I told him about it and we had a good laugh. He’s a very laid-back kid and that’s great. Some people say he has to mould his game to the Argentina team, while others say it’s the other way round. What’s your view? In the first half against Colombia, for example, our approach to the game left him a bit isolated. After they scored, though, we loosened up a bit and played the way we’d planned. We need to make him feel comfortable and think about what’s best for the team. And what’s best for the team is, first and foremost, to make him feel comfortable. And if at any given time we have to go and take a different approach, it’s our job to get him to see why.

Argentina coach, Alejandro Sabella



Pictorial i: Kevin Mitchell sets his sights on an all-British world title fight with Scotland's Ricky Burns after beating Felix Lora. ii: Tim Bresnan is eager for a return to England colours when the one-day series against Pakistan begins in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. iii: Cheick Diabate scored a double to help Mali claim a 2-0 victory over ten-man Ghana and finish third at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. iv:Two teams that began the opening weekend full of optimism approached the second on very different trajectories. v: Great Britain takes on Slovakia in their Davis Cup match at Glasgow's Braehead Arena. vi: Tiger Woods registers five birdies in six holes to charge up the leaderboard at the Pebble Beach National. vii: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has suggested Carlos Tevez could make a sensational return to boost their bid for the title.








QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE W hen y ou mak e a mistak you make mistake e, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, lear n fr om it, and don't learn from repeat it. aul "Bear" Br yant —P Paul Bry



Lescott sends City back on top


anchester City returned to the top of the Premier League with a rare away win of late, beating a floundering Aston Villa side whose nightmare home form shows no sign of easing. City went into the match at Villa Park on the back of just one win in their previous six matches on the road, and after seeing rivals United depose them at the summit with their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford. With the pressure on Roberto Mancini's side, Joleon Lescott's 63rd-minute hook shot was enough to see the Eastlands club home, leaving Villa without a home win since 5 November. That is a run of five defeats and two draws, the kind of form that will have Villa nervously looking over their shoulders at the seven-point gap to the relegation zone. It also further increases the pressure on manager Alex McLeish. The first half was instantly forgettable from a Villa perspective as McLeish's side mustered one half chance, that a looping header from Richard Dunne in meeting a Stiliyan Petrov free-kick that was comfortably collected by goalkeeper Joe Hart. Opposite number Shay Given was by far the busier, but even then he was barely extended to any great degree, despite City's dominance. Appreciably, where Villa did shine was in defence, with central pairing James Collins and Dunne particularly solid in meeting head on the attacking firepower City possess, notably via Sergio Aguero and David Silva. As early as the third minute the duo signalled their intent, with Silva knocking a tame Collins clearance into the path of Aguero for an edge-ofthe-area shot collected by given at the second attempt.

Joleon Lescott


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Boko Haram and the Nigerian state: Time for a re-think There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, and not as many separate ones - Anwar Al-Sadat, President of Egypt (1918 – 1981)


t is now tragically obvious that neither government nor Boko Haram will accept that it is losing a war which is bringing unprecedented levels of fear, pain and deprivation to the nation. In the last few weeks, the Boko Haram insurgency has escalated its campaign of terror, and says that it is doing so in response to arrests, killings and detentions of its members in Maiduguri, Kano and Kaduna, among other areas. It also claims to have issued threats to people in Sokoto through its leaders that it will attack the city if its members continue to be arrested. The government, on the other hand, has intensified its crackdown on members, and has made many arrests. There are allegations and accusations in Maiduguri that suspected members of the insurgency were being murdered by soldiers after being arrested in their homes. Some prominent members of the group have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation, but neither the attacks nor the propaganda from the group is abating. The audacious attack on military formations in Kaduna on Tuesday February 7, which is coming in the midst of the unceasing attacks on police stations in Kano is a reminder that the group’s intention is to continue to wage war against the Nigerian state and its agents, and if innocent citizens, Muslims or Christians alike get caught in the crossfire, it is just their ill-luck. The manner in which this conflict is developing is now a matter of intense national and global concern, and it is threatening to trigger even wider conflicts in the polity. With all the human, technical and material resources at its disposal, government appears incapable of preventing spectacular and devastating attacks on security agents and the public. Its intelligence, if it is has any, is obviously severely faulty, when it could not prevent large and coordinated attacks on many targets in Kano, and the subsequent attacks almost on a daily basis on police stations in the city. This failure had long been registered in the nature of the

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FIFTEEN MINUTES with Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

IGP, Mohammed Abubakar endemic assaults in Borno, Yobe and Bauchi states in the last few months. But the recent attacks on military formations in Kaduna have exposed the weaknesses of the government and security agencies even more. Although from all appearances, Kaduna had long expected an attack, the fact that an attack was made at the heart of the military establishment in a city which houses the nation’s security assets, in spite of elaborate precautions, has shocked the nation. The reported attempt to blow up Kawo overhead bridge near the two military facilities indicates that the insurgency in beginning to target critical civilian infrastructure. If this is the plan,

it will add a most frightening dimension to the conflict, and will in all likelihood, hurt the north even more than it is doing now, with the economy of Maiduguri in tatters, and Kano and those Kaduna feeling the intense heat. On the other hand, Boko Haram must by now be acutely aware that the general population is both afraid and angry with it. It is fighting a war in the name of Islam and Muslims, and many of its victims are Muslims who just want peace and are praying desperately to be delivered from Boko Haram bombs. It wants the same thing most Muslims and Christians want, which is a just and fair Nigeria where leaders live as God decreed, and where lives are not taken at will without repercussions. Overwhelming majority of Muslims still believe that suicide and murder are irredeemable sins, so the insurgency is unlikely to find overwhelming support among the Muslim community when it claims that it sacrifices lives of young people, and murders hundreds, in the interest of Islam and Muslims. Millions of Muslims share the pain of the mass murder of Muslims in Zangon Kataf, Zonkwa, Jos and Yelwan Shendam, but most Muslims cannot see how the bombing and shooting of Christians and fellow Muslims, as well as policemen and

Boko Haram must by now be acutely aware that the general population is both afraid and angry with it. It is fighting a war in the name of Islam and Muslims, and many of its victims are Muslims who just want peace and are praying desperately to be delivered from Boko Haram bombs

soldiers today will avenge those atrocities. Most Nigerians also doubt that Boko Haram will succeed in bringing the Nigerian state to its knees, and forcing it and all Nigerians, Muslims and nonMuslims alike, to live only under the Sharia or risk living in perpetual conflict. Significantly, Boko Haram is operating in an environment which gives all Muslims the comfort that if they are murdered, Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala will visit their sins on their murderers, and they, in turn, are assured of Aljanna Firdausi, while their killers will be condemned to hell. As Muslims, they should also know the fate of anyone who takes the life of another, whatever his faith, without just cause. There is also the danger that the insurgency will suffer splits, fatigue and a dilution of its essence, leading it to an inglorious defeat, or a long war with itself. The history of insurgencies the world over is consistent in demonstrating that it is born of a popular cause; it gathers momentum and taps into fear and genuine support, but will suffer defeat unless it has a capacity to know when to fight, and when to settle. Unless there is a dramatic improvement in the capacity of the Nigerian state to obliterate all traces of Boko Haram in the next few months, or a radical re-think on the part of Boko Haram to renounce all hostility, this conflict looks likely to drag on and take more casualties. Both possibilities appear highly unlikely. Boko Haram leaders have very deep suspicions of the government’s offer to discuss their grievances, provided they can reveal themselves. They know that to expose themselves is to give up their strongest weapons; and they say that past efforts to discuss with the agents of the government have betrayed them. Government, on the other hand, it talking from many sides of its month, but will not admit to a failure to bring the insurgency to an end. It looks set to continue to throw troops and barricades at it. In the meantime, young people willing to commit suicide during missions appear to be more and more available to the insurgency. The ability to make local bombs appears to be spreading. The sophistication and intelligence of the Boko Haram field operations appear to be improving. Their access to Contd. on Page 26

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Monday February 13, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Monday February 13, 2012 Hot Edition

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Monday February 13, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Monday February 13, 2012 Hot Edition