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Budget: FCT Minister risks NASS sanction o ver br eac h of pr otocol ov breac each protocol

Vol. 7 No. 93

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Rabiul Thani 20, 1433 AH



Gunmen attack Mandawari police station in Kano >>PAGE 3

Fraud: NGOs want pension mgt overhauled

Soldiers accused of killing six people in Mubi

>>PAGE 4

Abandoned patients’ bill hits N6m in 30 days

>>PAGE 4

>>PAGE 10

42 marketers to import 4.8bn litres of fuel >>PAGE 19

PDP chair:

Nyako, Bamanga Tukur disagree By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


s the race for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmanship slot zoned to the North-East region hots up,

Adamawa state governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako and a frontline aspirant to the position, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday disagreed on the modalities for the selection

of a new national chairman for the party. Rising from a meeting convened by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa yesterday in Abuja, Nyako

and Bamanga Tukur who spoke separately to State House correspondents, differed on whether or not a new chairman for the party should emerge through consensus.

While the PDP chairmanship candidate dismissed the talk of having a consensus candidate from the region, Nyako told the State House correspondents that Contd on Page 2

Muslims break fast, pray at CAN hqtrs in Kaduna From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna & Mohammed Kandi, Abuja


uslim and Christians youth leaders yesterday jointly condemned Sunday’s church suicide bombing and reprisal attacks in Jos that claimed many lives just as they prayed to God to Contd on Page 2

Zamfara state Governor, Alhaji Abdul'azeez Yari Abubakar (left), discussing with Chairman of Zamfara state Universal Basic Education Board (ZUBEB), Alhaji Murtala Adamu Jangebe (right), during the official flag-off of ZUBEB contracts project, Wednesday in Gusau, Zamfara state. With them is Chairman of ANPP, Zamfara state chapter, Alhaji Lawali A. Kaura (middle).


























Katsina LG caretaker: How Mangal, Inde, Barkiya, others lost out, Page 37

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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House wives happy with Borno curfew


ome house wives in Maiduguri yesterday, expressed their de light with the current curfew imposed on the city, saying it has helped in promoting family bond. The Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order (ORO) had imposed curfew in some Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state to curtail the increasing attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants. A cross-section of the housewives, interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri, said that the curfew had helped in keeping their husbands

at home. Mrs Zainab Ali, a resident of 505 Housing Estate, Dikwa-Ngala Road, said the curfew had created an avenue for her to know many things about her husband. “I got married to him in 2007, he had never stayed at home for more than seven hours, except when he was ill. but now he comes home as early as 5 p.m. and stays still around 8 a.m. before leaving. “My family has really benefitted from the curfew because we now have opportunity of staying together for longer period,” Ali, a

school teacher, said, noting that after realising what he had been missing at home, her husband often stayed till 9 a.m. before leaving for business. “Although the curfew has its negative side, my family is better off, because the children have had the opportunity of staying with their father regularly. “I am sure many families have similar experiences,” she said. Mrs Larai Ezekiel, also a resident of the estate corroborated Ali’s claim, saying that the situation had afforded her family an opportunity

to move closer to God. “My husband always comes home late in the night before the curfew because he stays with friends at joints for a long period of time, he comes back when we are fast asleep. “But now, he comes home early, pray with us before going to bed, he even monitors the movements of the children closely,” Ezekiel said, adding that her husband also attended church services with his family on Sundays and prayed fervently for God’s protection.” NAN)

Nyako, Bamanga Tukur disagree Contd from Page 1 the option was best for the party’s unity. Asked by newsmen what his view was on the proposal for adopting a consensus candidate from the North-East that would be endorsed at the March 24 national convention of the party, Nyako said: “It is only better than to go and get twothird majority; it is not easy, so this consensus adds to the unity of the party and also, it is easier for us and less costly.” He however urged candidates who are against the consensus option to go ahead with their plans. Commenting further, the Adamawa state governor said whoever President Jonathan wanted in the position should be considered by all party members as the best candidate. He said: “The question is who the President wants; whoever the President wants we should support, just like in my state, they should concede to me who I should like to see in the leadership of the party. The

person should be somebody who is electable, who is marketable, somebody who the voters can vote for in the primary.” On whether Bamanga Tukur met these requirements, Admiral Nyako said the question should be directed at the President, saying, “Ask Mr.President now. It is his decision. Why are you asking me? Am I not a small man from Adamawa? I am just one state out of 36 and FCT but I assure you we will do well.” Nyako’s stand was in line with the opinion of the Presidency as expressed by Vice- President Mohammed Namadi Sambo at an earlier meeting held with the North-East PDP governors on Sunday. But Bamanga Tukur who was governor of old Gongola state told newsmen that he was not interested in the plan of the NorthEast governors to have a consensus candidate. Tukur said: “It is a competition. It is good, the more the merrier. We want to deepen democracy.

Everybody who believes they have solution or improvement for our party, let them come.” On whether his visit to the Villa was a further proof that he had the President’s backing in his ambition, Tukur said: “Our party will take a decision at the Eagle Square with people voting at the ward front as we are doing now or at local government level. For the people to back me, I will tell them what I am doing.” Asked if he thinks presidential backing was not a factor, he said, “Of course, the President is a member. I canvass them: the President, the governors, President of the Senate, all of them.” On whether he does not think he was too old for the job, he replied thus: “PDP leadership is not a job for the children; it is a job for the daddies at the moment.” The meeting was held with governors of Bauchi, Isa Yuguda; Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwabo and their Taraba state counterpart, Danbaba Suntai in attendance, as well as Tukur’s home governor, Nyako.

Yesterday’s meeting, said to be at the instance of Jonathan with only Bamanga Tukur out of almost a dozen persons who have so far declared for the PDP chairmanship, seemed to have confirmed speculations that the North-East governors may have held back their support for Bamanga, who is Chairman of the Africa Business Roundtable even though he was being touted as the President’s favourite. Also in attendance at the meeting were Vice-President Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and the Political Adviser to the President, Ahmed Ali Gulak. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, were also sighted at the State House around the time of the meeting, held between 10am to 12pm, even though it was not clear whether their presence was connected to the race for the PDP chairmanship seat.

Muslims break fast, pray at CAN hqtrs in Kaduna Contd from Page 1 bring a permanent solution to the problem. The condemnation came when Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna state Chapter, treated dozens of Muslims to a breaking of lent fast Sunday night at the state headquarters of CAN. Chairman of CAN, Youth Wing, Kaduna state Chapter, Diji Obadiah Haruna and Leader of the visiting Muslim group and National President of the African Youths for Conflict Resolution, Dr. Suleiman Shuaibu Shinkafi said the bomb attack and reprisals that followed were uncalled for at this time that the country was trying to find solutions to its numerous problems. The Muslims were also provided with a make-shift mosque to conduct their Magrib (evening) prayer in the premises of CAN, as their hosts later served them food, signalling the breaking of the lent fast. In his welcome address, Chairman of CAN, Youth Wing,

Kaduna, Diji Obadiah Haruna said hosting of the Muslims was rather “a great lesson for Nigerians and our political leaders to emulate, considering the suspicion and frequent ethno-religious unrests that bedevilled the country.” He expressed hope that the gesture will restore the spirit of togetherness that was in existence before some selfish groups and individuals tore the two most popular religious followers apart. In an emotion laden tone, the CAN youth chairman further said, “Our quest to bring back the true spirit of togetherness has given birth to an association that will foster unity between Muslim and Christian faithful to continue to live peacefully as one entity who worship the same God. “The aim of today’s gathering is to host our Muslim brothers to break today’s lent fast with us as has been the practice many years back, before the unfortunate crises that tried to divided us. “Love is the key and even when you are down, you will still need it to prosper. The more you plan for

progress, definitely, the more some obstacles will come your way; but I believe we will conquer those evils that do not wish our coming together well, until we return to that once peaceful co-existence. “We pray that this gesture will help to create harmony between the two religions in Kaduna and Nigeria at large. We are all from one God and we all believe in the same God and return to him for prayers. “We pray that this serves as the beginning of a better understanding and a better sustainable peace among the two of us and I urge all of us to take the message of togetherness out there to our fellow brothers and sisters anywhere in the world,” he appealed. Leader of the visiting Muslims, Dr. Shinkafi, in his remarks, called on both Muslim and Christian youths not to allow any groups or individuals who would hide under any faith to continue to divide them along ethnic or religious lines to achieve some selfish goals.

Continuing, he said: “I urge us all to respect each other’s religion and to stop the incessant killings and bombings or any act of terrorism against each other through whatever name that both Christian and Muslim doctrines have disowned. “We pray that God will expose those who want to see us apart and may God continue to join us together in his glory and mercy. “Today is really a happy day for us and I am calling on our leaders to emulate us in order to foster true unity and growth of the country. I am also calling on all Nigerians from the two religions to continue with these traditions that we believe will bring back the lost unity and togetherness among us and offer us a unique opportunity to discuss our differences,” he emphasized. Dozens of the Muslim representatives from different Islamic sects and groups in Kaduna, Kano,Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kwara Zamfara and Jigawa states attended the fast breaking event.



Budget: NASS may sanction FCT minister over breach of protocol

L-R: Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, Rivers state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and Ondo state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, after the meeting of the Committee on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

By Lawrence Olaoye


Gunmen attack Mandawari police station in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


unmen, suspected to members of Boko Haram, in the early hours of yesterday attacked Mandawari police station in Kano metropolis. Eyewitness accounts said the gunmen, driving in a Golf car, opened fire on the policemen on duty at the station. One policeman was shot in the stomach and another one on his leg during the attack, while residents who came out to go about their daily businesses scampered for safety as the police

responded by firing back at the gunmen. In the ensuing gun duel that lasted for about 10 minutes more gunmen arrived on motorcycles, but were successfully repelled by the police. This is the third attack on the Mandawari station since the January 20th attack on the ancient city by gunmen. The Kano state Police Command confirmed the incident in a statement, saying the police successfully repelled the attack and that there was no casualty on both sides.

“On Monday, at about 0740hours, a group of armed men who were on motorcycles joined by others who dropped from a Toyota Liteace bus, advanced on foot and attacked the Mandawari Police Division. Policemen on duty, who were on alert, successfully repelled the attack and pursued the hoodlums into the neighbourhood with a view to making an arrest, however, no casualty was recorded and investigation is in progress”, the statement stated. Meanwhile, the Command confirmed that two armed men

attacked a policeman in his residence in Taurani area of the state, but the officer disarmed one of the assailants and killed him. “On March 11 2012 at about 0900hours two armed men on motorcycle attacked a police officer at his residence located in Tarauni local government area in Kano. The officer disarmed one of the hoodlums and shot him dead with the rifle. Also, a motorcycle Jincheng and 21 rounds of live ammunitions were abandoned and recovered; investigation is on”, the statement further said.

Police blast explosive device in Kaduna From Lawal Saddiq Sanusi, KadunaA


olice yesterday said they blasted a kitbag in which a suspected bomb was said to have been kept by unknown persons at the house of a former Kaduna-South local government chairman, Alhaji Auwalu Ali Tafoki along Gangara Road, Sabon Gari, Tudun Wada a suburb of Kaduna metropolis. Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP, Aminu Lawan, told our reporter that what the police discovered were bundles of water, electricity bills

and other paper documents, which had been moved by the bomb experts for further inquiries. He said they would wait for the experts to give their report before they can say whether it contained any Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). It was gathered that a suspected bomb, kept inside a kit bag was discovered around 6 am by the owner of the house after he returned from the morning prayer at a nearby mosque. Having suspected the kit, he immediately notified members of his family to vacate the house as he went straight to Unguwar Sanusi police station to inform

them of the strange bag. Our reporter who visited the venue reported that men of the Nigeria Police cordoned off the area as bomb disposal experts tried to dispose the bomb as well as Nigerian Fire Service personnel who were also stationed incase of any fire incident that may result if the bomb went off. The ex-local government chairman who was crying profusely told our reporter how he discovered the bomb. “It was around 6 am after I came back from the morning prayer that I saw the strange kit inside my compound.

Immediately I saw it, I woke up my family from sleep so that they can leave the house; I also asked my family not to go close to it and from there I went straight to Unguwar Sanusi police station to notify them. ‘It was the police that decided to call bomb disposal experts and they confirmed it was a bomb, which they disconnected. I can’t say how the bomb came into my house because I was the one who open the gate this morning to go and pray,” he said in tears. According to him, they were about ten people in the house at the time the bomb was planted but that they are all safe.

here are indications that the National Assembly may have elected to sanction the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)’s Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed for allegedly breaching protocol by forwarding his 2012 appropriation proposal directly to the legislature. Lawmakers are unanimous in their observations that the usual practice is for the minister to route his budget through the Presidency to the National Assembly. Although, the action of the Minister was considered unprecedented by some of the lawmakers at the House of Representatives and the Senate, some lawmakers, especially in the House argued that Mohammed has not broken any law by forwarding the appropriation bill through a letter to the National Assembly. Chairman House committee on FCT, Rep Emmanuel Jimmeh, while responding to the development said there was nothing wrong with the Minister’s action even as he assured that the letter would be treated by the parliament. According to him, all constitutional provisions regarding the FCT administration permit the Minister to act in such a manner. He said Mohammed, as a Minister under Section 302 of 1999 Constitution and those of the FCT Acts, has delegated powers of the President. He added that presentation of N306.5 billion presented by Mohammed via a letter dated 14th of February, 2012 was acceptable to the House. Contrary to Jimmeh’s submission however, a Senator, who craved anonymity pointed out that it amounted to serious breach of protocol for the minister to send his budget directly to the legislators, without passing it through the Presidency. He added that it was wrong for the leadership of the National Assembly to have received the letter in the first place. The source said “The letter should have come from the President and not the Minister. The leadership of the House was also wrong in collecting the letter and the budget proposals from the minister.” The confusion trailing the letter is said to have generated a heated debate between the officials of the two chambers of the National Assembly, who have resolved not to read it before the plenary to avoid trouble.

Expert advises CBN to restore investor confidence in financial sector


financial expert, Mr. Eddie Osarenkhoe yesterday advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to map out aggressive measures to restore investor confidence in the banking sector. Osarenkhoe, the immediate past President of Finance Houses Association of Nigeria (FHAN),

gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said that the step was necessary to ensure stability in the banking sector. According to him, the financial sector has been overheated by the recent financial crisis and needs urgent attention

to achieve sustainable growth. Osarenkhoe said that there should be proper regulation and control of the sector, stressing that all policies should be adhered to by all the operators. “The CBN also needs to monitor and constantly supervise how loans are being disbursed in the banking sector,”

he said. Osarenkhoe said that a situation where bank directors gave loans to customers without collaterals was over. He said that there should checks and balances on loans disbursement to customers. The expert also advised the apex bank to encourage the banks

to expand their loans to the real sector to boost the economy. “This will boost employment generation and reduces dependency ratio in the country,” he said. Osarenkhoe advised the CBN to do more in educating Nigerians on the advantages of its cashless policy. (NAN)



Pension scam: NGO seeks overhaul of pension fund mgt


he Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), an NGO, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to overhaul Pension Fund Management (PFM) to address the issue of corruption in the management of pension funds in Nigeria. The Executive Director of ZCC, Mr. Auwal Musa gave the advice yesterday in Abuja at a briefing on corruption and probe of pension fund in Nigeria organised by the NGO. Musa decried the attempt by the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service to disband the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) and urged President Jonathan to strengthen the task force team in order to address corruption in the country. “ZCC calls on Mr President to demonstrate support for fight against corruption by giving support to the establishment of an independent pension Funds monitoring team.” According to the ZCC boss, people who are indicted on mismanagement and looting of pension fund should be disclosed and referred to appropriate agencies for prosecution. (NAN)

Eight killed in another Fulani attack on Tiv settlement From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


n yet another attack by Fulani attackers, eight Tiv farmers were killed on Sunday evening at Tse Yaji village, near Kadarko, in Nasarawa state. Confirming the incident to newsmen in Lafia yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Cornelius Ocholi said those that lost their lives in the attack include seven Tiv persons among them Hon. John D. Jongur and a retired army officer, Ajohol Adoonkor as well as an indigene of Plateau state whose identity was yet to be ascertained as at press time. However, there were claims by our sources that when the Tiv villagers learnt of the imminent attack on Sunday, they reported to the police authorities who dismissed it with a wave of the hand. Peoples Daily further gathered that during the attack, the police at Kadarko Divisional Police Station were again informed but they said they had already sent a signal to the state headquarters and they would not go into the trouble spot until they got “orders from above.” It was learnt that even the soldiers that were earlier pulled out of Kadarko but were later returned on Sunday were unmoved by the plea of the Tiv peasants to enter the area and rescue their kith and kin. The explanation of the soldiers was that they did not have orders to go to any place other than Kadarko town where they were posted. A top government source also told our reporter that only the governor had the powers to direct (and often times it is in form of a request) the soldiers through their Commander to carry out such assignments and since the state governor, Umaru Al-Makura was out of the country there was nothing that could be done.

Soldiers accused of killing six civilians in Mubi By Mohammed Kandi


esidents of Mubi community in Adamawa state have accused officers of the Nigerian Army of assassinating six civilians in the area. One of the residents, who was simply identified as Malam Ahmed, in a report monitored on the Hausa service of the BBC, disclosed that, “at about 3am yesterday

(Sunday), we heard serial gunshots and when we peeped, we saw two white Toyota Hilux loitering around the area and later in morning, we saw six dead bodies.” “We later realised that two of the deceased were from the community, they were Abdulmalik and Goro, but we could not recognise the other four bodies,”

he added. “There is no doubt they were soldiers because we saw that they were in their white Toyota Hilux moving around the town earlier in the day” adding that, “we don’t know their motive but it may not be unconnected with the allegations that they (deceased) had something to do with the Boko Haram sect.”

According to Ahmed, residents of the community have been living in fear of uncertainty saying “only God knows what will happen next.” When contacted, the spokesperson of the Joint Task Force in Borno state, Lt. Col. Mohammed Hassan declined any response concerning the killings, saying “for now, I have nothing to say.”

Accountant faces N2.5m beer theft charge


ankole Anyinuola, an accountant with a private firm, Eunik Nigeria Ltd., Lagos, was yesterday charged before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court with the alleged theft of cartons of beer, valued at N2.5 million. Anyinuola of 5, Obaniwanfe Cele-Egun St., Ajah, a Lagos suburb, is standing trial on a twocount charge of felony and stealing. The accused, however, pleaded innocence of the offences. But the prosecutor, Sgt. Innocent Odungbe, said the accused had sometime between April 2011 and January 2012 sold hundreds of cartons of beer and converted the money to his personal use. He said the cartons of beer belonged to Eunik Nigeria Ltd, the employer of the accused. Odungbe said the offences contravened Sections 285 and 404 (2) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2011. Magistrate M.A. Ogunsanya granted the accused bail in the sum of N250,000, with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case to March 30 for further hearing. In a related development, a man, George Kubuye, also appeared before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court over the alleged theft of a Honda Accord saloon car, valued at N600,000. Kubuye of Apese IjiyanmiSavage Street, Victoria Island, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The prosecutor, ASP Julius Oyakhilome, said the accused had on Jan. 5 at Lekki, Lagos, conspired with others, still at large, to steal the car with registration number PP 29 KJA, property of one Hamisu Mohammed. Oyakhilome said the offence contravened Sections 285 and 409 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2011. Magistrate A.O. Botoku granted the accused bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case to March 21. (NAN)

L-R: Edo state Governor Adams Oshiomhole, receiving a souvenir from Chairman, National Union of Edo South Youths, Mr Collins Osaghae, during the group's visit to the governor, yesterday in Benin.

Osun commissioner sued over unpaid rent From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday fixed April 27 for ruling on a motion filed by Osun state Commissioner for Youth Development, Stephen KolaBalogun seeking to set aside proceedings in a suit instituted against him and his wife, Taiwo over alleged refusal to the arrears of a rented apartment. The apartment in question is situated at No. 51C, Oduduwa Crescent in the Government Reserved Area (GRA) of Ikeja in Lagos. The owner of the property, Justice Adeniyi Francis Adetokunbo Ademola sued the commissioner and his over alleged refusal to vacate the property despite the issuance of quite notice on them. The claimant averred that the commissioner and his wife have been living in the said apartment since August 1, 1997, and that the annual rental value of the property was N2 million. Out of the N2 million rent for 2007, the claimant stressed that



Orji pledges support for NYSC By Tinuade OredoyinA


overnor Theodore A. Orji of Abia state has assured the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) of more support towards the realisation of the scheme’s statutory mandates in the state. The Governor made the pledge when he received the NYSC Management led by its Director General, Brigadier General Nnamdi Thomas Okore-Affia, on a courtesy call at the Government House, Umuahia. The governor reiterated the government’s commitment to place the NYSC programme in the state’s priority list.

He added that part of the commitment was the recent award of contract for the construction of more lodges and staff hostels at the permanent orientation camp in Isiala Ngwa to ease accommodation problem. Earlier in his address, the Director General NYSC, Brigadier General Okore-Affia, said he was in the state to thank the government for its support and cooperation to the NYSC in the state. Okore-Affia also briefed the governor on the new NYSC posting policy in four key areas as approved recently by the Minister of Youth Development Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, and also solicited the state government’s support towards its implementation.

NGO wants proper budget management in Nigeria


non-governmental organisation, ActionAid Nigeria, has said that proper management of Nigeria's budget would lead to more economic growth. The Country Director of the NGO, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, said this in Abuja yesterday at a one-day Town Hall meeting on ‘The 2012 budget and the Economy’ organised by the NGO and Citizens Wealth Platform, another NGO. He said the late preparation of budgets hindered effective implementation and the much expected economic growth. “How can we ensure that four months to the close of the year, we have our budget documents and presentations made? That

will give the National Assembly and even at the state level the opportunity to review the document and be able to pass it at the record time. “But when we begin to prepare budgets or present budgets to the Assembly in November or in December, you will never get it right; this is not the kind of budget that we should be running in an economy like Nigeria if we have to transform our economy, that transformative process must start from how we manage our budget.” Stakeholders from government parastatals, international donor agencies, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and the media attended the meeting. (NAN)

FRSC commissions 44 housing units in Gwagwalada


he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), yesterday commissioned 44 housing units in Gwahwalada to address the challenges of accommodation among officers. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Osita Chidoka, FRSC Corps Marshal, said the housing programme was to enhance job satisfaction among personnel adding that the commission had articulated plan that would make the FRSC housing scheme affordable for officers and marshals. According to him, the 44 housing units are part of the development of another 478 housing estate in partnership with the private sector in Kuje. Chidoka said the housing

scheme had also taken possession of more than 3,000 plots of land within FCT and other parts of the country to address housing challenges of staff. “We had built 270 housing estate at Masaka for our junior officers, and work has reached advanced stage for the commissioning of another 320 housing estate at Lokogoma for senior staff,” he said. In his remark, Mr. Emmanuel Ogunleye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, commended the FRSC for the housing scheme and assured that the ministry would meet the housing needs of Nigerians in line with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government. (NAN)

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan with Benin Republic President, Boni Yayi, during the latter’s visit to President Jonathan at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Oyo is deteriorating, says ex-minister From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


former Minister of Justice and Anthony General of the federation, Chief Richard Akinjide, has said that Oyo state is deteriorating and that governance is stagnant across the 33 local government areas in the state. The chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lamented

the level of increased poverty and unemployment among the youths in the state adding that Governor Abiola Ajimobi has not performed up to expectation since he became the governor. Akinjide, the chairman of the state PDP elder’s forum and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who also described the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as a

deceptive party, stated this during a chat with newsmen in Ibadan. In a swift reaction, the state chapter of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said that it would not not honour the former Attorney General of the Federation and National Party of Nigeria (NPN) kingpin with any response over his criticisms of the party in power in the state.

Minister seeks review of deadline for NYSC members’ resumption to camp By Morufat Ojulari


orried by the death of 18 NYSC members last Tuesday, the Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, has sought for the review of the camp resumption deadline. The 18 NYSC members from the Imo State University died in an accident on Tuesday on their way to Taraba state for the batch ‘A’ orientation programme. The minister expressed his worry yesterday in Abuja when he visited the NYSC orientation camp in Kubwa, at the opening ceremony of batch ‘A’ skills acquisition sensitisation programme.

He said a situation where corps members would be under pressure to resume for camp within 24 hours was unacceptable, adding that such deadline must be addressed without further delay. Abdullahi, while calling for a minute silence for the deceased, added that a lot of lives had been lost through such order and all effort would be put in place to address it. He said countries that Nigeria helped to set up their NYSC scheme some years back such as Ghana, South Africa and Gambia had realised that, there was need to review the scheme to meet present challenges. According to him, 38 years

after Nigeria started NYSC, the law establishing the scheme was still operational, while the challenges keep multiplying by the day. He said the scheme started years ago with only hundreds of students, adding that about 250,000 were now being mobilised annually. Abdullahi, however, said the biggest challenge facing the country was what to do with the increasing youth population, stressing that the 250,000 corps members were more than the entire civil servants in the country. “One of the challenge we face is the distribution of corps members, everybody wants to serve in Abuja and Lagos, our response to this is that there will no longer be any preferential posting.”

Nigeria, 5 others ratify D-8 preferential trade agreement – Uhomoibhi By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


igeria and five other D-8 member-nations have ratified the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) aimed at boosting trade by reducing duties. Nigeria’s Commissioner to the bloc, Martin Uhomoibhi, who announced this yesterday while declaring open the 31st session of

the D-8 Commission in Abuja, urged member countries yet to ratify the agreement to do so. He said that the PTA was established in 1997 to foster economic cooperation among developing Muslim nations including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, was central to the development of trade and

economic cooperation among member states. According to him, the group focuses on five priority sectors of trade, which includes agriculture and food security, industry and small and medium enterprises; transportation, civil aviation and shipping; and energy, mineral and mining. Uhomoibhi, who is also the

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the private sector remained the driving force behind the PTA, being ``the engine for economic growth and international trade.’’ He called on member nations to encourage and support the full participation of their business communities in the implementation of the agreement.

“The PTA is central to the development of trade and economic activities among member countries and I hope members will ratify it. This session in Abuja will afford us the opportunity to review progress of the PTA and there is the need for continued involvement of the private sectors in its implementation as the engine for economic growth and international trade,” he said.



Senate begins gas production probe By Ali Alkali


he Senate Committee on Gas yesterday began probing into gas production in Nigeria and the role of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as policing body for the petroleum product industry, with a thumb down for DPR for its dismal performance. DPR had awarded a contract of installing what it calls 'Real-time gas monitoring' equipment at 116 locations, within nine months; but three years later only 10 locations

are equipped. According to the chairman of the committee, Sen. Nkechi Nwaogu, "We cannot reconcile the two contradicting facts of being at the 7th position of countries with large gas deposit and our dismal production level. "As regards this gas committee, if Nigeria does not think that gas has assumed a very high position, both the government and the National Assembly would not have separated it from oil." The Senate Committee on Gas summoned the DPR and the

contractor working on the 'Realtime Gas Monitoring Project' to ensure that"Nigerians are getting value of their money"after noticing that the billions of naira sunk into the project from inception in 2009 to date was not commensurate with the work on ground. Without real-time monitoring system, the committee lamented, nobody knows what is being produced and what is flaring away. "Nobody knows what the International Oil Companies

(IOC) are taking away from our resources. They are just giving you any report they so wish," said Senator Gbenga Ashafa (ACN, Lagos). According to the chairman of the committee, "We want to know why the contract remains unfinished, unexplained despite the money pumped into the project every year from 2009 to 2012." Answering questions from the committee, Mr. Dozie Irrechukwu, deputy director (technical services) DPR, revealed that out of 116 locations where monitoring equipment

should be installed only ten were completed. That was just 8.3 percent. DPR received a through bashing from the committee for failing in discharging its responsibilities "as policeman in the petroleum industry." "How do you feel as police in the oil and gas sector about this dismal performance? You are the regulator of the industry; and you have given a contract that has a time-line of nine months and in three years only 8.3 percent of the contract is executed. Is it good?," asked Senator Nkechijustina mockingly.

NNPC explains alleged recruitment exercise By Muhammad Nasir


L-R: Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, members of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, during an interactive session between the committee and officials of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

HURIWA to Jonathan: Stop bombings or quit By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ollowing the incessant attack on places of worship and selected government institutions and recently in Jos, the Plateau state capital, the Human Right Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to resign if he can't tackle the problem. The group which said it was piqued by the inability of the present administration to effectively address the spate of attack in the country, added that it was high time the

President rose to the challenge to protect lives and properties of citizens and non citizens alike. The rights group in a statement jointly signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the Director of national media affairs, Zainab Yusuf, totally condemned the bomb explosions by alleged Islamic fundamentalists, targeted at scores of worshipers at the Saint Finbers Catholic Church in Jos, Plateau state, while blaming the heads of armed military security in Plateau state for total lack of

professional competence. The statement also indicated that such lackadaisical attitude led to gruesome murder in the North East, North West and North Central parts of Nigeria of the country. It urged the President to buy the current technology from the western powers that are capable of automatically detonating improvise explosive devices before they are planted by the perpetrators of terrorism even as it called for foreign military assistance from the USA, UK, Israel and Saudi Arabia to stop the ongoing widespread bombing campaign by terrorists targeted against innocent Nigerians.

he Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, clarified issues surrounding the reported recruitment exercise advertised on the Corporation's website and on some online media. The NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma explained in a press statement that the job vacancies concern some vacant positions at the Doha, Qatar Headquarters of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF which Nigeria is a member. “We wish to clarify that at the

moment NNPC is not recruiting. The said job vacancies on the NNPC website are meant for aspiring professionals who wish to work at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), with Headquarters in Doha, Qatar, whose Nigeria's Secretariat is currently under the headship of Engr. Billy Agha, who is an Executive Board member of the Forum and also our Group Executive Director, Engineering and Technology,'' Ajuonuma explained. He stated that the NNPC is providing the space for the job vacancies in its website to ensure that Nigerians have access to International job opportunities.

Vigilant Lagos residents foil burglary attempt


he prompt intervention of neighbours on Kano Street in the Ebute Meta area of Lagos metropolis saved one of the houses from being burgled on March 9 by a man who impersonated a carpenter. A prosecutor, Insp. Philip Ugbodu, told a Yaba Magistrates' Court yesterday that the fake carpenter, Adebayo Timilehin, 42, had already gained entry into the house when some neighbours, who were suspicious, pounced on him and demanded to know his mission. ``He had successfully entered the apartment when two other neighbours, who noticed his movement, drew

closer to the house. ``The accused (Timilehin) told the residents that he was a carpenter sent to repair a wardrobe in the house,'' Ugbodu said. He said the accused was apprehended and taken to the police station for interrogation, after the house owner, Mr. Samson Fatai, who was called on telephone, denied sending any one to his house. The prosecutor said the offence contravened Section 305 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State. Timilehin, who resides at Moloney Street, Yaba, pleaded not guilty. (NAN)

Widow sues agent for hijacking late husband’s estate


30-year-old widow, Saadatu Auwal, has instituted a civil action against an estate agent, Hamza Rayyanu of Hayin Danmani Quarters in Kaduna, accusing the agent of hijacking her late husband's estate. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the case was filed before a Kaduna Sharia Court

on Monday. Auwal, a mother of three, in the suit urged the court to direct Rayyanu to surrender the property to her. She also urged the court to stop her husband's relations from interfering in issues concerning the estate. She said that Rayyanu, 40, had in collaboration with her late

husband's relations, hijacked the estate and denied her and her kids, the revenue generated from the property. The plaintiff said that as a result of the development, she and her children were starved of funds and care. Auwal urged the court to compel the agent to remit the proceeds realised from the estate since her

husband died in 2010. In his defence, Rayyanu said he was hired as caretaker of the estate by one Basiru Doma with an instruction that he should be remitting the proceeds to him. Rayyanu said the agreement for his engagement was reached in the presence of the complainant's guardians. Doma, who was also in the

court, said the agreement for renting out the estate and that of remitting the money to him was reached in the presence of the complainant's representatives after her husband's death. He said that although he was collecting the proceeds from Rayyanu, he was remitting money to the complainant whenever there was a request. (NAN)



CCTV: Local contractors accuse ZTE of unfair dealings By Abdulwahab Isa, Adeola Tukuru & Tobias Lengnan Dapam he breach of contractual agreement in the installation of public Close Circuit Television (CCTV) system in the Federal Capital Territory by the main contractor, Chinese telecommunication company, ZTE Nigeria Limited may jeopardise Federal Government’s bid to replicate the CCTV project in Lagos state, investigation has revealed. Peoples Daily exclusively gathered from one of the local contractors involved in CCTV installation that the ZTE was hell bent on forcing local contractors to review down the contract price by 50 percent for the Lagos project if they want to execute even when the job scope remains the same. This is coming when the Federal Government, the main client, never asked ZTE to reduce its quotation for the Lagos project. The FG, in 2010, signed a contract worth of $470million with ZTE for the provision of CCTV sequel to the high security challenges facing the country especially in Abuja, the seat of government. The installations designed to be carried out in two phases starting with Abuja and the Lagos, was to help the Nigerian police fight crime and reduce insecurity in Nigeria. The installation work started mid 2011 in Abuja with about 15 local sub-contractors hired by ZTE to undertake them. But a sub-contractor that spoke in confidence with our correspondent has accused ZTE of reneging on most agreements after the projects had been certified completed by the Chinese telecoms firm. According to him, through and rigorous selection process of Nigerian local sub-contractors was carried out by ZTE, was done to verify claim of competency and staff strength by each subcontracting firm. Our source said, the contract agreement signed with ZTE entails payment of 30 percent of each Purchase Order (PO) of the agreed contract price, as mobilization fee to start the project. However, he said "when the project eventually started and the PO was signed between ZTE and each contractor, ZTE reneged on the advance payment guarantee (APG) option and subcontractors were made to source for money on their own to start the execution of the project". "Beside, the contractors were not paid as at when due and have to wait for longer period before payment which put additional pressure on the contractors. This also made it difficult for the contractors to pay their staff regularly" he said. He also said that ZTE reneged on agreement on provision of security for the facility. "The security for the sites was to be in the hands of the subcontractors till the sites were completed, working and accepted by ZTE. After acceptance, ZTE

T vandals destroy equipment has refused to issue Provisional Acceptance Certificates (PAC) that would make it possible for the sub-contractors to apply for the next payment of 20%. The payment were structured as 30% after erecting the poles, 45% after completion of the job and handover, 20% to be collected about two months after PAC and the last 5% is to be paid in few months" he said adding that all efforts by the local contractors to compel ZTE to honour agreement were rebuffed. The source said local contractors were also in dilemma over fresh clauses smuggled into the agreement by ZTE. He said months after the sites had been handed over by the local contractors in perfect condition, vandalization of installed equipment such as deep circle battery ,Solar panels and the cameras have taken place with ZTE bent on removing cost of the vandalised parts from the local contractors. "Many of the sites have been

vandalized in Abuja with batteries and solar panel removed and ZTE is deducting the cost of the equipment from the sub-contractors and these items are very costly and are in US dollars" one of the local contractors said. Peoples Daily checks at ZTE Nigeria Limited office, Central Area Abuja confirmed the Project Director resides in Lagos. However,the firm's Assistant Outsourcing Manager, Ganiyu Rasheed Adetuniji confirmed that the Lagos project was on pipeline but declined to react to various breaches in agreement raised by the local contractors. He said the project was a sensitive one that involved security noting that information demanded by Peoples Daily would require clearance from the police. Assistant Project Manager with ZTE, Engr. Saheed Omotara threatened to unleash security agent on Peoples Daily reporter should this report be published.

"It's purely a business affair, if it suits you, go ahead, if doesn't, you pull out", he said. Meanwhile ZTE is said to have, in an e-mail sent to all local contractors last Sunday, reiterated that the contract sum hitherto agreed and signed by local contractors were no longer valid. ZTE management is said to have scaled down by 50 per cent what was signed in the agreement with a threat that any dissatisfied local contractor was free to pull out. A local contractor told Peoples Daily of their resolve never to participate in the Lagos project with 50 per cent downward review affected by ZTE. When contacted for comment on the development, the spokesman of the FCT Police Command, Jimoh Moshood, told one of our reporters who visited his office that "no one will speak to you on the issue of CCTV, because it is a covert operation".The Nigeria Communications Satellite Agency (NICOMSAT) is the government agency supervising and advising government and the Nigerian Police on the

project. Contacted yesterday, NICOMSAT Head, Public Affairs Sunday Aragba Akpore declined comment. However, a source close to the security circle told Peoples Daily that the project which he called National Public Security and Communications System (NPSCS) was a police project whose contract was awarded to ZTE by the federal government. The project, he explained would enable all security agencies including the police to communicate seamlessly with each other on security and surveillance issues. Our source explained that it is designed to run on Code Divisional Multiple Access (CDMA) 450 MH2, adding that "but because it may be too large a network for the security agencies, government appointed NICOMSAT to serve as technical adviser to the police for the purposes of ensuring that standards are kept and maintained, and for the purposes of commercializing the excess network capacity for voice and data in order for government to recoup part of its investments in the project". It was learnt that the contract is structured in a way that ZTE which is the major contractor reports to the police and also aligns with sub-contractors for site work on places where such surveillance equipment are installed on the advice of the police.

Soldiers stopand-search on strategic roads in Onitsha


A truck which bumped-off the Badagry expressway, on Sunday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Kogi deputy gov assures PDP members of hitch-free convention From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


s the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention slated for March 24 approaches, Kogi state deputy governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi has pledged the continuous support of members in the state for a peaceful congress.

Awoniyi who represented the governor, Capt Idris Wada at the just concluded PDP governors meeting gave the pledge yesterday in Lokoja through a statement issued by Mike Abuh, Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor. According to Awoniy,i the party would strive to abide by

every of its laid down rules in ensuring an acceptable candidate as national chairman of the party. He restated the party's leadership by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, noting that the party was blessed with credible aspirants for the national chairmanship.

oldiers from the 302 Artillery Regiment and 44 Field Engineers, Onitsha, Anambra state have started stopand-search on major roads leading to markets and churches in Onitsha. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the soldiers were searching passersby who carried bags or other suspicious items. Speaking on the development, Brig.-Gen. J. Abuka, the Commander of 302 Artillery Regiment, told newsmen yesterday in Onitsha that the soldiers were out to address a number of security issues. “Their presence does not pose any challenge to law-abiding citizens,'' Abuka said. Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, the Anambra Police Public Relations Officer, said the presence of the soldiers and the stop-and-search were to compliment police efforts in checking crime. Chukwuemeka said that since there were no more police roadblocks, the soldiers drafted to the strategic roads would probably fill the gap. (NAN)



Lagos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (2nd right), former Commissioner for Justice and Chairman of Lagos state Law Reform Committee, Mr. Olasupo Shasore (right), Director, Legislative Drafting, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Tola Akinsanya (2nd left), and former Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters and member of the committee, Mr. Akeem Olajide Bello (left) during the inauguration the committee, yesterday in Lagos.

Wamakko buys 20 buses for transport agency From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


okoto state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, has purchased 20 buses worth over N116 million to the Sokoto State Transport Authority. Presenting the buses to the management of the transport company yesterday, Wamakko said the gesture was meant to alleviate the suffering of the people and to enhance intercity transport. He said the buses were given to the company on loan while challenging the management of the company to utilise the buses judiciously and “not divert them for personal purposes”. The governor said 20 additional buses have been procured for onward distribution to private individuals.

Kogi lawmaker wants new prison in Koton-Karfe From Sam Egwu, Lokoja.


he member representing Kogi/Koton-Karfe constituency in the Kogi state House of Assembly, Alhaji

Saidu Akawu Salihu has urged the Federal Government to build a modern prison in Kotonkarfe to checkmate activities of undesirable elements which led to a jail break last month.

The lawmaker disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Lokoja while explaining the recent motion he moved on the floor of the House calling on the Federal Government to complete the

Igbos in Kogi laud Dim Ojukwu From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


resident of the Igbo community in Kogi central senatorial District, Chief Joseph Anikwe has expressed regret over the recurring grievances that led to the civil war saying that all men of good will should work hard to keep the country together as one indivisible entity. The president disclosed this yesterday in Okene at a function to honour the late Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu with a call to government at all levels to address the security challenges facing the foundation of the country. He noted with regrets that

after the war which ended over forty years ago, the same problems that precipitated it has become sophisticated that both friends and foes of Nigeria are calling for its dismemberment. He called on leaders to rise above sentiments to avoid the termination of our nascent

democracy. Anikwe charged the government to formulate policies and promote actions that would unite the people rather than divide them adding, “our strengths lies in our people”. He enjoined the Igbos to work hard in upholding the

abandoned prison project in the area. He noted that the old prison at the heart of the town was posing serious danger to the citizenry adding that the virtues of uprightness and selflessness which Ojukwu was noted for saying that they should eschew evil and strive to maintain peace with their host communities. He admonished them to cultivate the culture of hard work and industry and to be committed to causes that would engender peace and prosperity of the country.

recent jail break in the area has sent a warning signal that the time was ripe for the relocation of the prison to the outskirts of the city. Alhaji Akawu further stressed that the prison which is one of the oldest in the country has become obsolete and needed urgent repairs while the new one was being planned. Commenting on the February jail break at KotonKarfe which led to the death of a prison warder, he called on the government to beef up security around the prisons to forestall future attacks on prisons across the country.

First African female judge sworn-in at UN court


ulia Sebutinde from Uganda officially started her term as a Judge at International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague yesterday, becoming the first African woman to sit on the UN Court. According to an ICJ press

release, “her career objective is to contribute to world peace through the adjudication and settlement of legal disputes at national, regional and international levels.” Ms. Sebutinde, 58, has worked for 32 years in the legal

and judicial field. Before joining the ICJ, she conducted judicial inquiries into high-profile corruption cases in Uganda and was a Judge prosecuting the former Liberian president Charles Taylor at a special court in

Sierra Leone. With Sebutinde, three female judges currently sit on the UN court bench, the other two being Judge Xue Hanqing from China and Judge Joan Donoghue from the US. Both were elected in 2010.

John Holt gives commitment on quality products By Abdulwahab Isa


ohn Holt Plc has reiterated its commitment to the provision of products of the highest quality to its teeming customers on fire and other safety/security equipment in the country. The reassurance was given by the Branch Manager, Fire and Safety Solutions, Mr. Segun Adeniji at the just concluded Security, Fire and Safety seminar/exhibition, organised

by IFSEC West Africa in Lagos, a statement by the firm said. Mr. Adeniji, explained during the event that held from the 6th-7th March 2012 at the Eko Expo Centre, that although the market is awash with sub standard products, John Holt Plc would not compromise on quality products/service delivery. He maintained that the company would continue to strive at all times make available to the public worldclass Fire & Safety equipment

and other products. In his remarks during the exhibition, Mr. Anthony Ezeani, Chief Fire Officer, United Bank for Africa Plc said he had been using John Holt's products especially its safety/security products for nearly 20 years. In his words, "I have visited the company's branches in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos to patronize them'. John Holt, he stated, had been a major player in the Nigerian market for a long time and was noted for high quality products, "though their

prices may be a little bit high." To Mr. David Laburta of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), John Holt is doing a good job by providing quality products and that the company's products are appreciated by top executives. In the same vein, Mr. Tomi Oyemade, Design Engineer, Molecular Consultants, explained that due to the high quality products from John Holt, his company always recommends his clients to them for quality products.

Some of the products showcased at the exhibition included Ultra High Pressure System( UHPS)-Rustenburg, Fire extinguishers-Angus, Fire jackets and Safety Boots. Others were fire helmets, Hose-reel, Fire Hoses, Smoke detectors, Uni doctors, Foam making branch pipes and Fire trucks. Collaborating with Angus Fire UK and Rosenbauer of Austria, John Holt Fire Safety Solutions division has maintained leadership positions in sales, installation and maintenance of firefighting equipment in the country.



NCC warns against operation of illegal frequencies


he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday re-issued its warning against unauthorised use of the 5.2 - 5.9 GHz and 5.470 - 5.725 GHz band frequencies. A statement signed by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, alleged that some banks were still operating those frquencies illegally in spite

of previous warnings. NAN recalls that the NCC, had in April, June and November 2011, gave public notices on the illegal use of the frequencies. “The commission wishes to also advise banks to ensure that their ICT service provider(s) do not buy bandwidth from illegal operators and unauthorised service providers on the 5.2 - 5.9

GHz and the 5.470 - 5.725GHz band frequencies. “All concerned banks or any person(s) affected should note that it is a criminal offence to operate in the frequency not duly assigned by the commission pursuant to Section 122 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003. “The consequences of such act

may lead to imprisonment, sanction and forfeiture of equipment used in operating illegal services,’’ the commission stated. Ojobo said that Section 141 of the NCA of 2003 gave officials of the regulatory body the authority to enter the premises of any affected person or licensee to enforce the law. The commission advised all

banks operating on the bandwidth to immediately vacate the band. “The enforcement unit of the commission shall, without further recourse, start nationwide enforcement action. “This include, but not limited to prosecution, fine and confiscation of equipment used in the illegal transmission of services,’’ Ojobo stated. (NAN)

EFCC doles out N34.4m to families of slain officers By Lambert Tyem


L-R: Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Mr. Chido Onumah, Chairman, Steering Committee of Zero Corruption Coalition (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, and a member of CISLAC, Bolanle Asimolowo, during a press conference on the growing incidence of corruption and the Senate Committee on probe of pension fund management, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Court dissolves marriage over abandonment of mother, newborn


n Oshodi Grade ‘B‘ Customary Court in Lagos, yesterday dissolved a four-year-old marriage over abandonment of the woman by the man. A student, Mrs Rekiyatu Bello (27), had sought divorce, claiming that her husband, Murphy, abandoned her and a baby shortly after their

marriage in 2008. The Court President, Alhaja A.I. Olorunimbe, dissolved the marriage, following the continued absence of the respondent, Murphy. “Since the petitioner is already remarried with a child in her new marriage and the respondent had never shown interest in the case, the

marriage is hereby dissolved,`` Olorunimbe said The court bailiff had informed the court that Murphy, who resided at No.1, Mohammed Lawal St., IsheriOsun, was duly served the court processes but refused to appear in court. “The respondent claims that he does not know the petitioner

and is not aware of any child and, therefore, cannot appear in court”, the bailiff informed the court. She claimed that Murphy was fetish and irresponsible. “I now have a child for another man who wants to marry me, but he wants me to dissolve my first marriage,’’ she told the court. (NAN)

he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday presented cheques worth N34.4million to four families of Officers who met their death while on duty. According to Wilson Uwujaren Head, Media & Publicity, the gesture was part of the slain officers’ terminal insurance benefits to their next of kins. Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde who handed over the cheques to the relations of the departed officers, expressed deep sadness over their death and assured that the Commission would continue to ensure that they did not die in vain. “We owe the families they left behind, our widow’s mite to help alleviate whatever hardship they may face over the loss of their loved ones”, Lamorde said. The deceased officers were Alhassan Matthew; Nandir Daniel, Sunday Owai and Enoma Orishemola. Alhassan Matthew died on June 26th, 2010; Daniel on July 27,2010, Owai on October 2,2010 and Orishemola on March 31, 2011.

Deji Abiola: Court rejects application to quash charge From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ustice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High court sitting in Ikeja, yesterday, refused to quash the one count charge of stealing instituted against the son of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Deji Abiola by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and discharge him of the count. The court also fixed trial for May 7, 2012 if the parties failed to settle out of court as they both indicated willingness for amicable reconciliation. Justice Onigbanjo in rejecting

the application said the complainant has the prosecurial power to charge the applicant, contrary to the applicant’s claim, and that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the case. Deji’s counsel, O.A. Fasugba had through a Motion on Notice dated September 13, 2011 brought pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria told the court to quash the one count charge against him. He further prayed the court for any other order that the court deem fit. He asked for an order of the court discharging the defendant

and any other order that the court deems fit. The application was predicated on the grounds that the complainant has no prosecurial power to file against the defendant, the charge of stealing which was a state offence that could not be prosecuted by the commission and that there was no proper complainant before the court. The court, according to him, therefore lacked jurisdiction to prosecute the case. Other reasons adduced in the application, supported by a six paragraph affidavit include that the totality of evidence did not

reveal any prima facie case and is therefore frivolous and an abuse of court process especially since there was no complainant before the court. Opposing the application, counsel to the anti graft commission, Omeiza Adebola told the court to discountenance and dismiss the application as it was premature and incompetent. According to him, the single issue that needed to be determined was whether the application was not premature. He cited Section 260 (2) (4) (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos, adding that this section states

that any challenge to a proof of evidence must be after the prosecution has closed its case and any application that a case be quashed must be raised at the point of arraignment. He added that the application needed not be entertained at all as they have gotten a fiat from the Attorney General through the Lagos Director of Public Prosecution. Deji was arraigned by EFCC on June 30, 2011 on allegations of collecting the sum of N35.5 million from Mr. Jide Jose, under the pretext of helping him to import printing machines from Switzerland.



Jigawa inaugurates justice reform commission From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Alhaji Goni Aji (Right), welcoming the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari, Prof. Geoffrey Okogbwa (middle), during the vice-chancellor’s visit to the ministry, recently in Abuja. With them is the Registrar, Alhaji Ibrahim Jalingo (left). Photo: NAN

Jos remains calm amidst fears From Bayo Alabira, Jos


espite the tense atmosphere yesterday morning in Jos, Plateau state capital, following the near clash between the youths of Doualla area of Nassarawa and those of Angwan Rukuba in Jos North local government area, business activities continued as usual throughout the day with no major incidents. Our correspondent who went

round some business areas in Jos, discovered that early in the morning all businesses were open until few hours later when the trouble around Nassarawa area was sensed; shops along Masallacin Juma’a Street began to close, while people started hurrying in different directions. However, the impending clash in Nassarawa area was contained by men of the Special Task Force (STF), who dispersed the youths of the two areas who

wanted a show-down owing to some allegations that youths in Dualla had not seen one or two of their members since the incident on Sunday. But before noon all the businesses were fully open including those around Massllahcin Jummu’a Street which were earlier closed due to the security matters, also areas along Ahmadu Bello, Murtala Muhammed Ways, Banks roads was fully occupied with business

activities with customers patronizing banks and other related businesses being carried out in respectively locations within the metro polis. Also reports indicate that Bukuru, the headquarters of Jos South local government area was calm, as motorcyclists were everywhere carrying passengers from one point to another. and women selling yams were conducting their business.

igawa state Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Yakubu Abdullahi Hussaini yesterday inaugurated the chairman and members of the Justice Sector and Law Reform Commission. Inaugurating the commission in Dutse, the commissioner described the formation of justice sector and law reform as a positive move to bring justice to the door steps of the people. He explained that the commission was tasked with the responsibilities of formulating and executing programmes with a view to reforming the justice sector. He urged members of the commission to pay attention to the local government by-laws with a view to harmonising them into the system. Responding, the chairman of the committee, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, commended the state government for choosing them to work for the development of the state. In his remarks, Prof. Tabi’u Muhammad of the Department off International Development – DFID, said Jigawa is the first in the federation to establish such a commission. Permanent members of the commission include Justice Abubakar Tahir and Alhaji Ali Musa Hassan. While Malam Nasiru Gwiwa, Alhaji Baba M, Alhaji Aminu Hassan and Hajiya Ladi Gwaram are part-time members while Barrister Musa M. Imam will serve as secretary.

Refuse dumps take over Onitsha Labour leader urges Nigerians to town – NAN survey dwell on nation’s strengths


eaps of refuse have taken over most parts of Onitsha metropolis in Anambra, even as the state’s Ministry of Environment strategies to enhance refuse evacuation across the state, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. A NAN correspondent, who went round the metropolis and its outskirts yesterday, observed that most receptacles have been filled up to the brim, while un-cleared refuse were littered around them. Some unauthorised places, especially in Awada and some other neighbourhoods in the commercial city have also been turned into dump sites. However, Dr. Michael Egbebike, the Commissioner for Environment, told NAN that the ugly development was caused by the inability of the refuse consulting firm to

work on Sundays in Onitsha. Egbebike said that the ministry in collaboration with the firm handling Onitsha refuse evacuation in Onitsha-Laga International Waste Management - would address the problem. “When they are coming out to the receptacles, all we need to do now is to increase the capacity to evacuate, which is what we are now doing in Awka. “We are now taking delivery of massive equipment; which would enhance evacuation in Awka. “But the good news, the good thing is that this waste is coming out into receptacles and not in gutter. “So, in Onitsha, we are also putting pressure on the contractor, putting pressure on them to make sure that they increase the capacity to evacuate”. (NAN)

By Muhammad Nasir, with agency report


he vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Issa Aremu has called on Nigerians to dwell more on the nation’s strength and opportunities rather than on its weaknesses. Aremu made the call during the weekend in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He maintained that in spite of some security and economic challenges facing the country, Nigeria had also made significant progress in all areas of human endeavour that is worth celebrating. “We have been so loud on our weaknesses and very silent on our strengths, and above all, on our opportunities and it is time for us to change the narrative of this country from

hopelessness to that of hope.” “We must change the discourse from that of violence to that of peace, disunity to solidarity and cooperation, corruption to development, disintegration to a united and prosperous Nigeria”, he said. The labour chief also criticised those calling for a sovereign national conference, accusing them of undermining the nation’s hard-earned democracy. “The people making the call are failed politicians who don’t have the patience to wait for another election. It’s another shortcut to power and we can’t tolerate that”, Aremu noted. He said the idea of SNC was archaic, stressing that this was relevant only when the nation was being ruled by the military.

Abandoned patients’ bills in UBTH hit N6m in 30 days From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he medical bills of abandoned in-patients treated and discharged but denied freedom to leave the various wards in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, have accumulated bills N6 million in 30 days. The number has risen because of the Federal Government policy

which allows patients, especially accident victims to be treated first before payments are made. Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Michael Ibadin gave the above indication in an interview with newsmen in Benin City, shortly after waiving a substantial part of the bills of two accident victims whose bills had accumulated to N400,000 and N405,000 respectively, following the

intervention of a philanthropist before they were freed. “In terms of the figure, about three percent of our in-patients are unable to pay their bills. If you collate the total figure from the various wards, every month the accumulated bills won’t be less than N6 million because as you have them in Accident and Emergency ward, so also you have them in Maternity, Children and

Surgical wards”. It’s not easy for us and if you go to the ward and announce that any patient who is unable to pay his bills should leave, then, you may be giving a wrong signal…The hospital can run aground and there will be nothing else. “…Obviously, some patients from the onset knowing the inherent nature of how the system works, give fake addresses, so when

it comes to tracking them, when you get there, you’re told, they are not resident at the address that was given. “…The bills are getting higher because while the patients are still in hospital, you have to feed them and treat them. We cannot say while you’re unable to pay your bills, stop eating and we do not want to isolate anybody on the basis of his/her financial status”, he said.



Nigerian Army evicts 114 illegal occupants of Bakassi Resettlement Camp T he 13 Brigade of The Nigerian Army in Calabar, has evicted 114 residents of Bakassi Resettlement Camp in Ekpri Obutong. The Army Public Relations Officer of the Brigade, Capt. Joseph James made this known on Sunday while addressing newsmen. James said that the exercise was to evict illegal occupants of the Bakassi Resettlement camp otherwise called the ex-militants camp. He said the Army evicted the illegal occupants for security

reasons. “We tried to make them see reason why they should leave that place for their own safety”. The Army PRO said proper identification was on-going for the people in the barrack after the eviction. “When they were raided, they were brought to our barracks for proper identification. As I’m briefing you now proper identification is going on here. “The essence is to document every one of them to know what they do and the reason why they

are occupying the place. “Before they are granted bail, we ask the relatives to write an undertaking to ensure that the persons will never go back to that camp. James, however, said that no incriminating objects were found on them. “When people cluster at a particular area which has been tagged as a place for ex-militants, people are not expected to be there. The essence is for them to look for a better place to stay rather to

mix up themselves in a place set aside for ex-militants. “What we did was to evict the entire occupant from that place for security purpose and to let them look for a better place to stay because staying there they may likely constitute threats to security.'' Reacting to the eviction, one of the evictees, Mr. Effiom Bassey, said he was in his house in Bakassi Estate when the army raided the place. “I was in my house in Bakassi Estate where government

allocated to me as the host community chief. I heard a knock on my door, I saw soldiers everywhere, they used force to come in and I explained myself that I am one of the village heads. Also speaking, Mr. Dominic Daniel, a pastor in Christ the World Church in Bakassi, said he came to the barracks to ensure the release of five of his members. “I'm not happy at the eviction because when I asked my members they said there was no previous notice. He called on the government to give the evictees two months to enable them to look for alternative houses to stay. (NAN)

UI dashes FCE Okene hope of degree awarding status From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he hope and aspirations of students of the Federal College of Education, Okene in Kogi state for the college to join other degree awarding educational institutions in country has crashed as the University of Ibadan institute of Education which is supposed to be the parent body refused to give approval after several years of foot-dragging on the issue. According to a source in the college, the situation has forced some of the students who graduated from the school with the National Certificate of Education and who were given assurances by the management of the school of automatic admission to continue in their studies, to seek alternatives. However, a clear picture emerged last week at the matriculation ceremony of the college when the provost, Prof. Iyela Ajayi stated that the institution may no longer offer degree programmes due to the refusal of the University of Ibadan to grant approval. The provost tried to pacify the angry crowd which comprised of the students, parents and visitors and explained that the school will not be deterred in its effort to begin degree programmes adding that the management was looking for another university that may accept to affiliate.

L-R: Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Jimada Mohammed, Executive Chairman, Kebbi state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Abubakar Koko, and representative of Rotary International, Dr. Michael Ayivor, during a meeting to review February 2012 National IPDS and Final PEI Emergency Plan, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa By A’isha Biola Raji


he Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad has said Nigeria is bent on eradicating wild polio virus saying it cannot continue to be embarrassed. Dr. Muhammad said this yesterday in Abuja at a review meeting of February 2012 Immunisation Plus Days (IPDs) and the final plan on Polio Emergency Immunisation (PEI).

45,000 Jigawa orphans get N5,000 each as leverage From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


igawa state project coordinator of the Health Education Initiative for Women, Hajiya Hadiza Sanusi has presented cash assistance of N5,000 each to 45,000 orphans in Buji, Birnin Kudu and Kiyawa local government areas. Speaking at the ceremony held in Dutse, Hajiya Sanusi said the programme was undertaken to care and support vulnerable

children in 30 communities in the local governments. She explained that books and school materials were also given to the vulnerable children. One of the beneficiaries, Malama Hafsatu Abdullahi said her husband died from a car accident leaving her with seven children to cater for. She said the intervention came at a time she was finding it difficult to cope with especially feeding three of her little ones.

Polio: Nigeria cannot continue to be embarrassed, says primary health care boss The objective of the meeting according to him is to look into issues both positive and negative that occurred in the last IPDs. “The meeting is to take stock of all of issues especially those left unattended thereby tackling them head-on,” he said. India he said has challenged us by having zero case despite lots of constraints which necessitate that, Nigeria with simpler challenges compared to India has no excuse

not to do so. He warned that special task force inaugurated a week ago by President Goodluck Jonathan under the minister of state Mohammed Ali Pate will take the responsibility of meeting up with the 2012 mandate. “We will start rolling out our plans in the next two days and will share action or inaction of any IPDs’ official with Nigerians and the rest of the world,” he warned.

He further stressed that cases of non compliance and missed children recorded in the February IPDs was as a result of inadequate supervision from local government chairmen. He assured that March to April IPDs will ensure complete coverage by making use of new innovations that are going to be generated from the meeting of March 30 - April 3 IPDs which will make sure each child is reached for vaccination.

Nigerien woman beggar bears twins in Osogbo


Nigerien national, Senab Ibrahim, begging for alms at Orita-Olaiya, in Osogbo, the Osun state capital has given birth to a set of twins. Senab was delivered of twin boys at Olarewaju hospital, Ilorin, Kwara state. Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday at Osogbo, she described her birth as a miracle.

Senab said she did not dream of giving birth to twins at one go. “There was no record of twins’ delivery in our families and no complication or any sickness during the ante-natal period that gave signs for twins. “You can see that majority of beggars do not come here again because the state taskforce has driven us out of the streets, so our

business is affected." According to Senab, her husband, Mohammed Ibrahim is a petty trader whose income barely takes care of the existing three members of the family. Senab, however, appealed to well meaning Nigerians to assist the family. NAN reports that the babies’ named Hassan and Husseini are in good health condition. (NAN)




Unnecessary big brothers’ fuss


t is heartwarming that common sense has prevailed in the thorny diplomatic row that brewed last week between Nigeria and South Africa, the continent’s two leading nations, which threatened to wreck the long standing relations between them. We are glad that the South African government has deemed it proper to apologize for the unwarranted deportation of Nigerians which sparked the row and happy also that Nigeria has played the big brother by accepting the apology in the spirit of African brotherhood. It will be recalled that 125 Nigerians were deported from the Oliver Thambo International Airport in Johannesbourg on arrival for allegedly having fake yellow fever vaccination cards. In a quick response, Nigeria also deported 84 South African nationals who it said did not possess valid travel documents. Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, told the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs at an interactive session that Nigeria would take tough action against any country that takes delight in ill-treating Nigerians. He told the senators that Nigeria took the decision to deport the South Africans in the spirit of reciprocity in international diplomacy, saying however that “Nigeria would react in a mature and calculated way to this assault on our people”. The minister also disclosed that the federal government would take a closer look at the activities of South African companies operating in the country

with a view to addressing their abuse of the expatriate quota. Sensing a backlash with the potential to do serious damage to its economic interests in Nigeria, the South African government beat a hasty retreat by issuing an apology to Nigeria. The nation’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Ebrahim Ismail, said the thorny issues had been resolved by both countries with a pledge to ensure a nonoccurrence. South Africa’s action has left many

South Africa’s action has left many wondering whether there is not more to its action than just the yellow fever card issue. After all, Nigeria, according to the Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has been certified yellow fever free by the World Health Organization wondering whether there is not more to its action than just the yellow fever card issue. After all, Nigeria, according to the Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, has been certified yellow fever free by the World Health Organization. We hope it is not a carry-over of the strained relations between the two countries which manifested during the last African Union summit over the tussle for the chair of the AU Commission. The opposing positions the two countries

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took over the Nato-led war in Libya last year that saw to the killing of Muammar Ghaddafi also frosted relations between the two nations that together have continued to be the financial backbone of the African Union. While we are still miffed as to why South Africa chose to act the way it did in dealing with the yellow fever card issue, we are delighted with the measures it has taken in handling the issue in future. Like other countries do – which was what it should have done in the first place – the South African government has decided to henceforth quarantine at the airport Nigerians who are not in possession of the card and ensure that they are inoculated before leaving the airport. We urge the two nations to, as a matter of necessity, maintain cordial and useful relations not only in their own interests but also the interest of the African continent. With a weakened Libya and Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are the two remaining power houses that can provide the needed leadership for Africa on the international stage. The two nations have come a long way in their relations which were solidified with Nigeria’s unflinching support for the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and culminated in the existing strong economic ties which they both enjoy. We commend the two nations for burying the hatchet and pledging to work toward better relations. Strained relations between two of Africa’s giants would not do any party any good.








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Exchange of ‘friendly’ fires between two big brothers By Paul Adepoju


n the spring of 2010, while researching the human angle for a tourism article on the 2010 World Cup – South Africa 2010 for FAB Magazine, I interviewed some Nigerian citizens who were residing in various South African cities. None of them disputed the fact that the country is a beautiful and historic nation but about 80% of my respondents mentioned the tension that still exists between Nigerians and South Africans which in the past had put lives at risk and several people had died in the process. According to a Johannesburgbased Nigerian recording artiste and music producer, “it looks like people here feel threatened by us. Anytime I’m in the studio, they often keep to themselves, literally ostracizing me. I think they are jealous of our gifts and quality of our songs that make Kwaito music legends sound like eight-year old boys singing Fuji. But it’s all good; I just wanna make my money. That’s what’s up.” This was also corroborated by a Nigerian businesswoman residing in Cape Town. She said: “Here in Cape Town, if you are a Nigerian, you can’t sleep with your two eyes tightly closed at night. I know it sounds odd, but that’s the truth. There are so many people who hate Nigerians here. They see us as dubious dishonest people that should be sent away without causing much scene that could attract global attention. If the somuch-loved Lucky Dube could be killed, imagine what could happen to us. That’s how we live our daily lives here. You can say we live on the edge.” Although both nations are thousands of miles apart, these frictions are more closely felt than the crisis.that divided North and South Korea in Asia. It could also be described as Africa’s version of Israel–Pakistan long history of

discord. In times past, things used to be different. Eighteen years ago, during the apartheid regime and at the heart of South Africa’s quest for independence, Nigeria was at the forefront playing formiddable brotherly roles. But just like forgetful Nigerian governments, current South African authorities and citizens seem to have totally or partially forgotten Nigeria’s roles in the nation’s history, or are now choosing to ignore such. Apart from the past, current South Africa’s economy, entertainment and sports have Nigeria written all over them. Or how will Channel O, MTV Base, MTN, Orlando Pirates, GAME, SHOPRITE and several other South African companies post multimillion dollar profits without significant inputs from their Nigerian outlets? The turn of things is therefore highly regrettable. While Nigerians and South Africans have a lot in common – at least they love same type of music, both governments are notorious for being at loggerheads, flexing muscles at every given opportunity and trying to prove who is stronger on the continent. Nigeria rules the dance floor and soccer pitch, while South Africa is stronger economically and in tourism. But the spate of deportation is taking its toll on helpless citizens who rarely get palliative care from the government using them as a bait and wager. So far, more than 125 Nigerians have been deported from South Africa. In return, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, told senators that the Nigerian government was ready to reciprocate this inhuman treatment to South African nationals. He further said “South African companies are here in Nigeria, making so much money, bringing in half baked graduates as

expatriates to manage these companies.” Although mixed feelings had greeted Nigerian government’s sudden quest for retribution, the face-off has given Nigerians an opportunity to get the true picture that foreigners and foreign governments have of Nigeria. If 125 people could be deported because they lack yellow fever vaccination card despite the fact that the last reported case of yellow fever in Nigeria was in 1995, it clearly shows that Nigeria’s health indices are not trusted outside the shores of Nigeria. A pertinent question that the Nigerian government is also shying away from is the trueness or falseness of the allegation. They ought to really know whether the deported Nigerians actually flew without their yellow vaccination cards instead of threatening South Africa with perdition, fire and brimstones. Furthermore, the honorable minister agreed that the government is aware that individuals heading South African companies operating in Nigeria are under qualified, yet the government has not said anything about it so far despite the fact that many qualified Nigerians are unemployed or are underemployed. Underqualified personnel cannot be expected to give high quality services and products. Why didn’t the various professional councils, products standard regulatory and monitoring agencies seal the offices or issue public notices? The current fiasco also brings to the limelight the nation’s immigration policies and the Nigerian government’s knowledge repository on foreigners within Nigeria. It is easy to compile the names of expatriates but the major challenge is how to account for artisans and other categories of foreigners who are currently

struggling, or more appropriately, “hustling”. There are so many beggars from neighboring countries like Niger republic, Chad and distant ones like Egypt and Algeria. Considering their long stay in Nigeria, the validity of their immigration papers is doubtful. This is an area where South Africa is winning. They know how and where to locate Nigerians, load them on a plane, and send them back to Lagos. No wonder they still have higher figures. The complacence of NigeriaSouth Africa Bi-National Commission is also of great concern. The commission headed by the vice presidents of both countries ought to have swung into action several years back and could have had the situation under firm control. But instead of taking meaningful steps, the commission has been hibernating although salaries, allowances and wages might be associated with the commission in Nigeria’s 2012 fiscal budget. The pathophysiology of the current breakdown in diplomacy between both countries is a subject of concern. Because few months ago, former vice president Atiku Abubakar’s university awarded president Jacob Zuma an honorary doctor of letters award at an elaborate ceremony. The South African president also spoke at several occasions while in Nigeria with President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance. Even in the heat of #OccupyNigeria, the press suggested the president sneaked to South Africa to participate in ANC’s centenary celebrations. The speedy rate of deterioration in diplomatic ties is therefore a subject of concern. With or without proper verification of documentation, Nigeria is deporting South Africans and South Africa is also returning the favor. Furthermore, none of them (until few hours ago) was ready to apologize and the blame

trade game could paralyze mutually benefitial businesses. Nigeria’s ego has already been bruised by a daring nation. But affirmative actions in this case will mean perdition. The inability of current administration to address the issue before it degenerated to its current ridiculous status is yet another trademark ill. Unlike the professional international team that gave Nigeria a good face in the comity of nations during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure, this administration has reduced the pivotal foreign relations sector to a childish retribution game with serious consequences. It’s clear that this is nothing but an ego battle hence the sensible thing to do is to call on the various internationally respected iconic figures to intervene. Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalam Abubakar and Prof Wole Soyinka should be called on to save the day. The president needs to call “his boys” to order. The Nigerian side needs to be patient and assess the potential effects of their current wave of actions. They are making decisions in Abuja that are frustrating the lives, businesses and future of Nigerians that the incumbent administration cannot satisfactorily take care of. Hence it would be a wicked act for them to be dragged into this childish penis swinging competition. There are smarter ways of solving this debaccle, but being stubborn, heady, recalcitrant and unyielding will only make things tougher. Nigerians in South Africa shouldn’t be made to suffer for the collapse of incumbent administration’s diplomatic tactics and its numerous mistakes. They’ve paid expensive [ticket and visa] fees to seek greener pastures in South Africa. The least we can do is to leave them out of the woes back home. Paul Adepoju is reachable at

Zamfara: Fighting twin evil of poverty, illiteracy By Yusuf Hamadani


he official flagging off contract award ceremony for the construction of 313 blocks of primary school classrooms was a clear turning point in the development of primary education in the state. And in other aspects of the economy, the award of the contracts would also serve as an important factor to address the issue of poverty amongst the people of the state. For a government that says it is responsible it must demonstrate some level of commitment to the fight against poverty. Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari’s administration has resolved to run a purely people’s government in terms of its policies and programmes as well as their implementation. Apart from designing people-oriented projects, it has pledged to involve people of the state in project conception and implementation. This new approach to governance is in line with the wind of change that put the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) in government in Zamfara state. It was total rebellion against the selfcentered PDP administration under Mamuda Shinkafi. Prior to the defection of Shinkafi to the PDP in 2008, the administration under the watchful eyes of the ANPP leaders in the state, Sen. Ahmed Sani, Yariman Bakura, started off very well, to the extent that it earned the epitaph of Mu gani a kasa”. Unfortunately, as soon as

Shinkafi pulled out of the ANPP and joined the mighty PDP, the laudable policies and programmes of government crumbled. The developmental projects started by the administration were abandoned. Besides, the government showed no commitment to human development; poverty was high amongst the people as state resources were cornered by few individuals. As the saying goes “a hungry man is an angry man”. The people of Zamfara at the lowest level associated themselves with Yarima’s ANPP. Despite repeated blackmail, intimidation, harassment and detention of opponents, the people of Zamfara determined to replace the unpopular PDP administration of Shinkafi with the ANPP gubernatorial candidate in person of Abdul-Aziz Yari, who had promised to address the problem of poverty and deliver other dividends of democracy to them. It was a fierce battle between the bourgeoisie and the peasantry. At the end the table was turned against the bourgeoisie. With victory in the kitty, Abdul-Aziz Yari promised to revamp the education sector, which is generally regarded as the backbone of development in any society. To demonstrate his sincerity, Yari quickly announced the appointment of a new chairman for Zamfara State Universal Basic Education Board (ZUBEC) in the person of Murtala Adamu Jangebe.

He also ordered an audit of both teaching and non-teaching staff so as to check corrupt practices and ghost workers. In the course of the exercise, over 500 ghost workers were detected, in addition to salary inflation by various degrees. Governor Yari’s efforts did end there. He invited academicians who have their roots in the state origin in various tertiary of learning and education administrators, resource persons and other stakeholders to come to the aid of the state. Professor Tukur Adamu of Usman Dan Fodio University led the committee of academics tasked with the responsibility of carrying out the staff audit in primary schools. The exercise was aimed at establishing the actual staff strength in at the primary school level and determining other requirements such as physical infrastructure. The work done by the team members and field operators demonstrated the commitment of all stakeholders to jointly accept the challenge of improving the standard of education in the state. Apart from sleeping in the most remote of areas, some travelled on foot so as to reach many of the state’s mostly unreachable primary schools. They sacrificed their time and personal luxuries in order to ensure the success of Gov Yari’s plan to deliver qualitative education to the average primary school pupil. Considering the importance of primary education in the ladder of

the western educational system, any responsible leader would not mind investing heavily in the sector. The decision to construct 313 blocks of classrooms, rehabilitate structures in 50 selected dilapidated primary schools in the local government headquarters, 41 computer centers and one in-service teacher’s training centre was a welcome development. This would no doubt create an enabling environment for learning at the primary level. Also to be provided in the schools were 14,000 chairs, boreholes and toilets. In fulfillment of his campaign promise to empower people, Yari decided to publicly launch the award of contracts for the implementation of poverty reduction projects. Some 500 people were beneficiaries and they were all ANPP loyalists. The idea of allocating the contracts to ANPP supporters was clearly to empower them economically. According to the governor, the contracts cost N4.7 million but considering the economic downturn in the state the government awarded each at the cost of seven million naira. While stressing the need for fairness and honesty in the implementation of the contracts, Yari explained that the government was highly concerned about the plight of the people and was ever ready to support them economically.It is expected that after the completion of the projects, the beneficiaries will have reaped sufficient capital to set up more businesses in order to cater for

their families. The concept of the ANPP leadership, Yari explained, was clearly to improve the welfare of the people and, therefore, those yet to be picked should wait patiently for another opportunity. “The thing will go round, all those who suffered humiliation for supporting the ANPP will now smile”, he assured. As a demonstration of the government’s resolve to make governance transparent, it has engaged the services of three consulting firms for effective supervision and monitoring of the projects, namely: Akhafiyi Nigeria Ltd., ZAM Builders Nigeria Ltd., and Buildright Global Services Nigeria Ltd. The consultants would effectively monitor progress of work and ensure that bills of quantity were strictly adhered to by the contractors.The consultants will be feeding the board with weekly progress reports up to the completion stage. For the overall success of the entire scheme, traditional and religious leaders have been brought on board to supervise the enrolment of children and the conduct of the teachers. Hitherto, traditional rulers were known for effective supervision of teachers posted to the domains, but, unfortunately, in recent time, that had been abandoned as government commitment to the sector waned. Comrade Yusuf Hamadani wrote in from 43 Zamfara Plaza, Gusau, Zamfara state.



The chicken has come home to roost By Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice


hen Nasir el-Rufai, then a powerful Minister and strong man of Obasanjo’s cabinet, was scandalizing Turai, the wife of late President Umaru Yar’adua as a head of the so-called cabal in that regime, I did see the sense in President Goodluck Jonathan’s “like” comment on elRufai ‘s vitriolic vituperations on the Yar’aduas. Today as they say, the chicken has come home to roost! Jonathan is now under the barrage of el-Rufia‘s fire. El-Rufai is what the Americans call a filibusterous fellow- a fellow who uses dilatory or obstructive tactics to curry favour. He is gifted with the power of verbosity and can even hypnotize his opponent into clapping in fascination with his theatrical use of language. Very few people in Nigeria possess this trait. Major Hamza AlMustapha, erstwhile Chief Security Officer to late General Sani Abacha displayed similar spellbinding linguistic dexterity when he turned the audience at the Oputa Panel into fans who continuously and boisterously hailed every statement he made! El-Rufai, after his stint as the Minister of the FCT, came under the hammers of some Nigerians who felt he was too daring and arrogant because of his principled

stand on the restructuring of the darling of newspapers as they soldiers who rushed to react to badly battered Abuja Master plan. waited in bated breath to whatever submissions he made. The bashing came from left, right syndicate his insights as he reeled Gradually, el-Rufai strolled back and centre and his popularity them out in abundance. His into the consciousness of Nigerians. drastically nose-dived to the famous outburst was his Facebook Unlike other politicians who lowest ebb to the extent that release of he and others plotted the recruit people to manage their Nigeria became non habitable for emergence of late Yar’adua as Facebook pages, el-rufai handles him, hence his self imposed exile president as against the popular his page himself. It was this in the United Kingdom. candidates at the time, Abubakar strategy perhaps that got him the However, an opportunity Atiku and Peter Odili. Credit invitation of Thisday newspaper came for el-Rufai when the Senate perhaps should go to el-Rufia for as a columnist where the set up a government of committee to Nigeria has a pawn look into his in the hands of this actions as the acerbic writer. minister of Though not a Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text FCT and it trained journalist, messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written was vintage el-Rufia has beaten contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 el-Rufai who some journalists on words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and not only their own turf a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed caged the through his into: committee depth insight into led by issues of The Editor, S e n a t o r governance in Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, Abubakar Nigeria. His Sodangi but writings are 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. got the c r i t i c a l Email: let f u r t h e r investigative SMS: 07037756364 appreciation journalism efforts. of Nigerians. How he manages His response to the allegation that popularizing Facebook journalism to get the very cabalistic secret he gave out lands to his family among politicians as against the documents in government leaves submission of one in utter shock and wonder. members and friends stirred a erroneous phenomenal controversy that will Information Minister, Labaran The State Security Service (SSS) rage for a long time. “If I don’t give Maku that Goodluck Jonathan celebrated el-Rufai’s heroism lands to my friends, should I have brought Facebook to Nigeria! when they hurriedly arrested He wittily used this social him for an alleged offensive given them to my enemies?” This rhetorical question left everyone media platform to his great publication against the agency! advantage, building a team of It was maradonic Nasir at his best in awe. Instantly, el-Rufai became the admirers, well wishers and foot as he reeled out facts and figures


which predicated his writing and the SSS couldn’t help but succumb to the intellectual bravery of this Zaria-born technocrat turned politician. President Jonathan eventually oiled the drum that propped up el-Rufai’s heroism among Nigerians when he chose January 1, 2012, the very beginning of a new year to announce the removal of subsidy on motor premium spirit popularly called petrol. At a time Nigerians needed direction and a shoulder to lean on, el-Rufai provided them the succour and like the biblical Noah’s Ark, the people sailed with him. This man has continued to write voluminously to the vexation of President Jonathan. El-Rufai has become an untouchable opposition figure in Nigeria today. Much as Naisr is said to be riding on the successes of of his oppositional stance, same cannot be said of other opportunists like Dino Melaye and Femi FaniKayode whose shenanigans while in offices were nothing to write home about. Much as they try to be on the side of the people the more they fadein relevance in the eyes of right thinking members of the public. Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice is the publisher of World Entourage.

Dismantling of road blocks: A trillion thanks By Joe Igbokwe


efore my father died on July 24 2004, he gave specific instructions that his body should be buried the day he passes on. He had warned us not to take his body to the mortuary even for a day. He threatened that he will get up to deal with all of us if we venture to flout his standing order. It was his last wish and we made up our minds to keep it to the letter. So when the news got to us by 3am on July 24, 2004 that our father had passed on, we left Lagos by 5.30am to get home before the body is committed to mother earth. The first son lives in Ikotun area in Lagos and I and my other brother live in Surulere. We left Lagos almost the same time and got home by that day. We did not see our father’s body before burial. They waited for us till about 4pm before the elders in the family decided to go on with the burial. Police check points from Lagos to Nnewi in Anambra denied us the opportunity to seeing the remains of our great father before burial. We would have made it but the police at Bridge Head Onitsha finally nailed that opportunity. It must be on record that Bridge Head Onitsha hosted one of the most notorious criminals the Nigerian Police produced and it endured until the decision of the IG to dismantle the check points on Nigerian roads recently. The first son of our father was held by the Police somewhere

along Benin-Onitsha expressway until we met him. We pleaded and pleaded but they will not listen until we parted with some money. But the police at Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge took us to their station right inside the heart of Onitsha. Reason: Letter J was mistakenly missed in the chasis Nnumber of my brother’s Mercedes Benz car. After wasting our time, they still collected money from my brother before allowing us to go. That is their modus operandi and it may surprise the IGP that those gangs at Onitsha extort monies running as high as N50, 000 to N100,000 from hapless travelers and this is no exaggeration. The Nigerian Police denied us the opportunity of witnessing the burial of our father. Since then I have been fighting a one man battle to get the police to dismantle the checkpoints on our roads. I have traveled extensively to other parts of Nigeria but what I saw on Lagos-Benin-Onitsha corridor before IGP Mohammed Dikko Abubakar decided to put a stop to the monumental fraud was something else. Police check points on Lagos-Benin-Onitsha Roads became a multi million naira business on a daily basis. On a certain day I and my friend Mr. Peter Claver Oparah, on a journey from Lagos to Nnewi, tried to count the road blocks and got 355 from Lagos to Onitsha. It was like a war situation as intimidation, humiliation and attacks on commuters were left unchecked for many years.

The extortion and criminality were unexplainable. The ever busy roads became huge markets for the police and others. Local government officials also joined in the brigandage to rob innocent Nigerians of their hard-earned money. They carted more than 5 million naira everyday from commuters. We have lived with the fraud for years before IGP Abubakar took the centre stage. The police check points from Agbor to Asaba were as numerous as they were scandalous. The length and breadth of the road from Agbor to Onitsha was completely seized by marauding extortionists who mount road blocks within every thirty meters and most times, these road blocks cause traffic hold ups that stretch from one illegal check point to the other. Tree boulders, empty drums, wreckages and all manners of bulwarks were massed up to ensure that Nigerian roads are impassable. The man hours these road blocks add to the normal travel time between Lagos and Onitsha is between six and seven hours and when you add the usual five hours, one ends up spending eleven to twelve hours on a journey between Lagos and Onitsha. But Nigerians must know that this is not the first time the road blocks have been dismantled in Nigeria. Some Inspector Generals of Police had banned roadblocks in the past but they had no courage and the political will to sustain it. It was

all noise and no substance. It was all tall orders without anybody obeying it. Sometimes the order will be obeyed for just few days and then they return to business as usual. Sometimes they resort to blackmail by staging armed robbery operations that will result in many deaths just to get the IGP to rescind the order. A luxurious bus can be attacked to score the point. The thing is that once such deadly robberies are carried out with great casualties Nigerians will call for the police to return. This has been the drama until IGP Abubakar was appointed. I traveled last week and discovered that commuters now make it to Onitsha from Lagos in less than five hours. It was a revolution and I hope the IGP will stick to his gun on the matter no matter whose ox is gored. I say so because it is an organized crime and thousands of officers are involved in the scan. Police can still be on LagosOnitsha roads and other major roads in Nigeria to checkmate crimes but not to extort money. As we see in advanced countries the police should use Patrol Vans and Power Bikes to patrol the entire stretch of the major roads in Nigeria without resorting to extortion. There is no need to block free passage of passengers and goods on Nigerian road again and one believes it demands the IGP to be vigilant and set up Special Enforcement Task Forces in all states of the country. Such task force should have the will and capacity to enforce compliance

with this order and ensure quick and adequate punishment against non compliance. I must say that there are still deft efforts by the police to come back. The other day, I saw the police in Berger, still mounting roadblock and frisking vehicle particulars. The IGP should move in quickly and ensure that his latest order on roadblocks is not sabotaged for I believe that solving the big question of police corruption will start with the dismantling of these notorious points of extortion. I know young business people that have sold their vehicles because of harassment and intimidation at the police road blocks. On my own part, I have been lucky because I have been driving with green number since I joined the Lagos State Government in 2006. I have had cause to stop to plead with families held hostage by the police. I have fought the hoodlums from fictitious local governments who use opportunities provided by our bad roads to extort money from commuters for the so called radio/television licenses, fictitious tickets and emblems, and so on. IGP Abubakar has done a great job unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. We need to support and encourage him to sustain this ban. He has by this singular action solved a big problem for Nigerians. The road blocks must never return! Joe Igbokwe resides in Lagos



ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo celebrated his 75th birthday last week and as has become customary in this country, the occasion was marked very well in the media with numerous congratulatory advertisements and press statements from the movers and shakers across business and political spectrums extolling his “virtues” and underlining his credentials as a true elder statesman. The Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] under which the man ruled for eight years, said in a statement: “For a man whom destiny has twice enthroned to lead the nation at challenging times and twice, left no guesses as to his commitment and competence, leaving legacies that will outlive him”. It went on: “The nation owes a lot to his conscience, foresight and undiluted belief in the unity and oneness of our dear nation. From every stretch of the imagination, Chief Obasanjo is a great Nigerian, African statesman and a world citizen whose immense global contributions will be indelibly etched in history”. The Northern Governors Forum, on its part, said Obasanjo’s imprints in the areas of nation building, reconciliation, national security and his contributions to deepening our fledgling democracy were legacies that are sure to outlive him”. The celebrant himself, in his characteristic jocular manner declared that he had his adversaries to thank for his successes. At a party to mark the occasion at the Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, he said: “I want to thank my adversaries for


The other Obasanjo contributing to my growth and Abubakar, from contesting the I want to tell you that if one presidential election in 2007, he doesn’t have adversaries, one did all in his power, including cannot succeed”. violating the Constitution, to It is not in doubt that stop him. Neither would we Obasanjo’s shadow will be cast forget also how this same man over Nigeria, for a long time, tried to subvert the because of the roles he has played Constitution, including in its evolution. But hearing all allegedly offering bribes to the apotheoses of the two-time lawmakers, to pave way for his leaders last week, anyone just attempt at a third term in office. landing in Nigeria from outer space would be excused if he thought the man was the best thing with that has happened to this country. Personally, I was left wondering if all 0805 100 0558 these friends and well wishers were talking about the same man that It beats the imagination how this other Nigerians know. I kept same individual suddenly asking myself if it was possible qualifies as the saviour of our they were referring to a different democracy. Olusegun Obasanjo. Not long ago, Nigerians were I could not help but wonder treated to a horrific drama of how how someone can look Nigerians the privatization exercise that with a straight face and say Obasanjo introduced turned out Obasanjo contributed to to be a complete fiasco, thus deepening our fledgling becoming a drainpipe for the democracy. Such a statement nation’s resources. At the Senate surely cannot be referring to a public hearing on the man under whose eight- year privatization exercise, rule the principle of rule of law Nigerians were told how the was only observed in the breach. Bureau of Public Enterprises Nigerians cannot forget in a messed up the exercise by selling hurry that government agencies off the nation’s assets at giveespecially the Economic and away prices and often times Financial Crimes Commission without proper adherence to due willfully chose which court process. All the past Directors ruling to obey – that which General of the bureau including suited its agenda – and ignored its poster boy, Nasir el-Rufai, those it felt were not in its favour. were indicted for wrong doings The nation has not also forgotten particularly in the sale of NITEL. that in his determination to stop At the hearings, Obasanjo was his then vice-president, Atiku indicted for bending the rules to


Abdulazeez Abdullahi

favour his cronies in spite of his double-faced fight against corruption. For reasons that are not hard to fathom, the Senate, to the disgust of Nigerians, refused to invite him to explain the sham that was the privatization exercise. In case his friends have forgotten, they need to be told that the monumental waste of billions of dollars that were sunk in power projects is still fresh in the memories of Nigerians. Despite these wasted funds the O b a s a n j o administration was unable to generate the promised 4,000 megawatts of electricity. The huge sums also guzzled by Tony Anenih while he was Works Minister under Obasanjo have still not be accounted for .How then can this same man be credited for contributions to the national economy? How can Obasanjo be described as a nation builder when his abiding governance tactic was divide and rule? Nigerians cannot forget how he personally hounded the leadership of the PDP to the extent that none of its chairmen under Obasanjo’s regime was able to complete his term in office. It is an open secret also that he was the architect of the fall of former Senate presidents who were not ready to do his bidding. I could not help but chuckle when I read Obasanjo saying he

owed his success to his adversaries. If indeed he has adversaries, perhaps he needs to be reminded that he created them himself with his vengeful, know-it-all kind of politics. He single-handedly hounded many founding members of the PDP out of their party. The late Sunday Awoniyi, Chief Audu Ogbe, late Abubakar Rimi and others who formed the party and handed the presidency to Obasanjo on a platter became victims of his machinations which led them to exit the party. Surely this does not cast Obasanjo in the mould of elder statesmen as his admirers want us to believe. As has come to light, his so called anticorruption crusade was nothing but an act of vendetta against perceived enemies. Senior members, including ministers of his cabinet and personal aides, were indicted in the Siemens and Halliburton corruption cases. If Nigeria is serious about fighting corruption, then Obasanjo owes it a duty to Nigerians to explain what he knows about these cases and especially what transpired with the privatization exercise. Ours must be such that presidents can be called to account for their stewardship even after leaving office. Numerous precedents have been set elsewhere and it will do us some good to do the same. The former president of Iceland has just been docked for his role in the economic crisis that rocked not only his nation but the globe, just as Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali of Egypt and Tunisia respectively are struggling to clear their names of wrong doings in court. I hope Obasanjo’s day will come to do the same.

Imo: Why Okorocha may stumble By Charles Onunaiju


here are really very few places where the ‘fresh air’ slogan popularized by the Jonathan presidential campaign genuinely applies. Imo state under former Governor Ohakim was rotten. Apart from the endemic sleaze and waste that characterized the administration, it was patently blank and blurred on almost all policy issues. While the Ohakim administration had no agenda for rural development, it disingenuously carved up peaceful villages into unviable autonomous communities, and imposed his evidently political soldiers as chiefs. Most of the chiefs of the politically motivated autonomous communities were dubious characters, enjoying very little or no regard at all in their communities. Given the perennial darkness that encircled Imo state while Ohakim and his henchmen reigned, the election of Rochas Okorocha was something of twilight. In truth, Governor Rochas Okorocha has traceable pedigree unlike Ohakim who emerged literally from the blues,

courtesy of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s disdain for due process and order. Having been handicapped by Obasanjo, Ohakim ruled to the pleasure of Abuja and in absolute contempt for the people of Imo state. In cohort with Abuja, Ohakim wanted to re-enact the magic of his election victory last year, without popular mandate and met his match in the determined will of the people of the state. Having failed to secure a federal job after openly begging for one, he went to court to challenge Rochas’ election after he had vowed not to do so do in order not to distract the new man at the helm of affairs. But Governor Okorocha is in clear danger of expending his political capital so quickly for misguided and ill-thought populism. Most of his actions and pronouncements are kneejerk, informed largely by the spur of the moment more than any profound and policy debate. Okorocha is an accomplished philanthropist but it is not goodwill and charity alone that redirect a profoundly distorted, disaggregated and disarticulated society. A proper policy framework provides a more

enduring road map to sustainable recovery and improvement. Strong men and good men come and go with variations of impact on society, but proper and well-grounded policy framework endures the test of time and could hardly be erased even when the authors are long gone. That’s why most of Asia, including China, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and others are enjoying sustainable development today. Long after the demise of China’s transformational patriarch, Deng Xiaoping, who authored the Chinese reforms 30 years ago, the country maintains the momentum of the fastest growing economy in the world, with the singular distinction of having more people pulled out of poverty in the shortest time in all human history. Governor Okorocha’s passionate concern for education is the greatest armor in his white revolution. But that also is in danger of being over-reached. Relieving parents of the burden of school fees and even study materials as he has done is in the right direction, but attempting to micro-manage schools is a sure path to disaster. Dissolving PTAs

and asking teachers to wear uniforms is detrimental to bold policy reforms in education management. However, while education remains a critical priority, rural development would trigger the local economy more. Already, Okorocha’s focus on this has been to churn out his own village political foot soldiers. There is a clear distinction between traditional rulers and institutions. The age grade groups, women married in the communities and daughters married elsewhere (umuadas) are a veritable institution for community work and organizations. They are more viable and democratic enough than one-man traditional rulers who are easily susceptible to corruption and other vices. Proliferation of autonomous communities and local chiefs as overlords weigh down heavily on the democratic content of community organization. Governor Okorocha can tap generously into the ethical and democratic content of the traditional institutions for rural development and administration. Imo has great potentials but

has been serially blighted by inept, rudderless and corrupt leadership. However, Okorocha could still make his tenure of four or even eight years eventful in the life of the state, but the number of years he will be there will be marginal and if his impact is only for the period of tenure, that would not be the leadership that the state deserves. But to make an impact far beyond his tenure, he must change tack from kneejerk responses to challenges to delivering a more arduous policy design that has less headline attraction. Like the former US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, wrote in her newly released memoirs, “Today’s headlines and history’s judgement are rarely the same; if you are too attentive to the former you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter.” Soap box populist rhetoric can grab today’s headlines but only hard-nosed policy design and rigorous implementation can earn one a place in the pantheon of history. Charles Onunaiju, Abujabased journalist, can be reached at



Kwali: Court rejects FCT minister’s application By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday struck out an application filed by the FCT minister seeking to stop the execution of the judgement of the court which ordered the immediate reinstatement of the suspended Vice Chairman of the Kwali Area Council, Alhaji Saidu Adamu Ashara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to complete his tenure. The court, sitting before Justice Abdu Kafarati had on November 22, 2011 ordered that Ashara should be reinstated to the office as the Vice Chairman of Kwali Area Council from June 23, 2008 that he was removed to complete his term. Dissatisfied with the judgement, the minister and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA),

who are 1st and 2nd defendants/ applicants in the suit, filed a notice of appeal on 30th November last year before the Abuja Division of the court of Appeal. According to the notice of appeal filed on behalf of the FCT minister and the FCTA by their counsel, R. O Agama, the decision of the federal high court, Abuja was unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported having regard to the weight of evidence placed before the court. The applicants want the appellate court to set aside the decision of the trial court. An affidavit in support of the motion averred that in April, 2010, during the pendency of the homicide trial against Ashara, his statutory tenure as the council's vice chairman lapsed and a fresh election was held

where candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) emerged winners and were subsequently sworn in as new chairman and vice chairman of the Kwali Area Council in May 2010 with a fresh statutory three-year tenure. "That as the time the court delivered its judgement; the subject matter had been overtaken by the event of the election in 2010. That in the event that the application is not granted, the respondent (Ashara) will seek to enforce the court order which may likely occasion public confession and likely breach of the peace", the affidavit stated. It would be recalled that Justice Kafarati, in his judgement in November last year, held that Ashara's suspension via a directive by the FCTA on July 26, 2008 was illegal and unlawful; noting that he

was entitled to complete his tenure as the Vice Chairman of the council. Alhaji Ashara was suspended indefinitely when he was undergoing trial over an allegation that he was involved in the murder of the late chairman of the council, Mr. Samuel Gwamna, but an Abuja High Court discharged and acquitted him of the allegation. Kafarati, in his judgment stated; "The Plaintiff is to complete his tenure as Vice Chairman and as such, should be reinstated from the date he was unlawfully suspended to complete his tenure as Vice Chairman. "Whoever is in occupation of the office of Vice Chairman of Kwali Area Council should vacate the seat immediately". Ashara had approached the Federal High Court after he was discharged and acquitted by an Abuja High Court of the charge of masterminding the murder of the late Council Chairman with a suit challenging his indefinite suspension as the Kwali Area Council Vice Chairman in 2008

20-year-old lady bags 2 months for stealing By Stanley Onyekwere


n Abuja Upper Area Court in Karu has sentenced a 20-year-old woman, Sera Onoja, of Ado, New Karu, Nasarawa state, to two months imprisonment for criminal breach of trust and theft. Police prosecutor, Inspector Philips Akogwu, told the court that one Mr Musa Yakubu of Asokoro, Abuja, reported the matter to the Police on March 6. Akogwu said that on that date, the convict boarded the victim's car for a drop from Asokoro to Wuse 2, and while on transit, she borrowed the sum of N6, 340.00 from Yakubu, to pay him immediately she alights from the car, which she failed to do, but instead ran away with the money with his handset. "On reaching Wuse 2, you requested for the said sum, to enable you buy something for your boyfriend, promising to pay back, which he gave to you, and you used it in buying a substance suspected to be cocaine on the way, thereafter refusing to refund back as both agreed", he said. He added that during investigation into the case by the Police, it was revealed that the convict did commit the crime and ran away till she was seen and arrested on March 7. According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened Sections 312 and 287 of the Penal Code.

Two passengers hanging precarionsly at the tale of a pick-up along Galadimawa Road, yesterday in Abuja, while the driver is oblivions of their action Photo: Joe Oroye By Josephine Ella


he Kubwa General Hospital has converted a former male ward to an eye theatre. Secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting of FCT Eye Care Project. The Health Secretary, had last year, signed an agreement with n o n - g o v e r n m e n t a l organisations(NGOs), International Centre for Eye Education (ICEE) and Sight Savers to implement the FCT eye care

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FCTA moves to establish skills centre for artisans By Josephine Ella


killed and unskilled labourers loitering major junctions and streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), will soon be provided with a waiting centre. The FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed directed yesterday, during the monthly FCT Operations Briefing Session at Gwarimpa I District that the waiting centre be constructed to serve as training, retraining and registration centre for artisans. He instructed that the centre should build a formidable data for references which can readily assist those patronizing them and the security agents when in need. In view of this, Senator Mohammed directed the FCT Department of Urban and Regional Planning to within two weeks provide an appropriate plot of land for that purpose in the Abuja Master Plan The minister further instructed the FCT Education Secretariat to provide the necessary curriculum by liaising with technical departments, saying the skilled labourers must be well organized.

Kubwa General Hospital gets eye theatre plans with funding from Standard Chartered Bank and other partners. Dr. Onakomaiya said that the Kubwa hospital has already received equipment for the eye clinic, ready to be installed, while more equipment are being expected. He said the stakeholders meeting was necessitated by the need to combat blindness, which is a major cause of unnecessary human suffering, often leading to poverty, social exclusions and

death. According to him, "in accordance with vision 2020 structure, FCT eye care has three main components: disease control/ human resources development, infrastructure and technology, based on resources mobilization and community participation. "This process integrates eye care team approach, wide consultations, intensive dissemination of information backed with advocacy to relevant stakeholders towards implementation of plans".

He said that the outlined activities in the past one year have been achieved in all three components. In terms of human capacity development, the Health Secretary said two optometrist and two ophthalmic nurses were trained in low vision care, 50 experts trained in community eye health to detect early blinding eye conditions in the communities and 10 personnel to supervise, coordinate service delivery and sustain the training.

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Maitama - 08038485123 Central Police Station - 08033568389 Lugbe - 08077657371; 08037882321 Wuse - 08053088102 National Assembly - 08065777706; 08045317637 Asokoro - 07028134449 Nyanya - 08046115181 Utako - 07055888119; 07038621264

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Scholarship scheme is not part of our political strategy, says AMAC The Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) recently gave out scholarship to over one thousand students which included Secondary and Tertiary Institutions within the Municipality. In an interview with Adeola Tukuru, the Supervisory councillor for Education and Social Development in the council, Hon. Jar'Farou Gwagwa explained the rationale behind the gesture. Excerpts:


ould you tell us some of the criteria for giving out the scholarships to students within AMAC? First and foremost let me thank the chairman of the council, Hon Micha Y. Jiba for the opportunity he has afforded us to work together as well as to take education to the next level in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).We have to appreciate him because he was the one that approved all that we did and it is the first in the history of AMAC. The event was the disbursement of the second batch of scholarships to deserving students in our council, AMAC. After the screening process that was based strictly on merit, we had some categories that we offered the scholarships to, we have the higher institution category and the secondary school category while that of the primary education is being worked out. Our criteria was that you must be a student already in school, with a genuine admission letter as well as evidence of payment in that school. Remember too that having the admission letter alone does not qualify you to be a student in a school because some can get the admission letter but refused to resume. AMAC has twelve wards, were all the wards represented in this scholarships and what measure did you employ to ensure that every ward were equally represented? Definitely, we made it a point of duty to ensuring that all the twelve wards that made up the AMAC benefited from the scheme, we did not want to favor any ward over

Supervisory councillor for Education and Social Development in AMAC, Hon. Jar'Farou Gwagwa

the other, remember too that the whole exercise was based strictly on merit and not on manipulation as some may claim. Besides, we also ensured that beneficiaries were not only the indigenes but also some non indigenes because it was not only the indigenes that voted for the chairman and some of us here during our campaign period. We are of the opinion that everybody should be made to reap the dividend of democracy in AMAC, that was why we involved everybody, even those in the opposition parties, their sons and daughters that met the criteria were also given the scholarship. The percentage of non indigenes in the last batch can be put at about seventy five, because that is


No, we cannot do that, the scholarship arrangements put in place by our chairman is not part of any political strategy, remember that some students that benefited from it are not in our party. Children whose parents are not in our party also benefited from the award.

where we have less privileged apart from being in the interior parts ot he council. Is it right to state that the scholarship scheme initiated by your council is another political strategy to remain in power? No, we cannot do that, the scholarship arrangements put in place by our chairman is not part of any political strategy, remember that some students that benefited from it are not in our party. Children whose parents are not in our party also benefited from the award. All what we did was to find out if all the criteria I told you earlier were met by each aspiring student who applied for the scholarships. What is the total cost implication of the scholarships to the council, and was captured in the budget? Actually the cost implication of the total scholarships we awarded to student was captured in the budget because you can't do anything outside what is provided for in the budget. On commencement of our government, there was a budgetary provision for scholarships which was a

paltry N5million. After thorough deliberations we all agreed that the budget provision for scholarships was too small and we had to increase it, what we had last year was too small, considering the importance of education to us and our teaming population of students in schools. Remember too, that education is one of our major areas of priority hence we had no alternative than to increase the budgetary provision from N5million to N15million which we had so far disbursed during the first and second batches. What happens to those at the primary school level, were they also included? No, let me inform you that even the secondary School students we have been able to capture this year in our scheme were not there initially, but because of my singular effort they were able to benefit from the gesture. As I said earlier, our priority is to empower people and you would agree with me that most of those that benefitted from our scholarship are those from the grass root and the less privileged in our society that lives in the rural areas.

In specific terms, how many students benefited from the scholarship in your council? For those in higher institutions of learning, which include colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities, we have not less than Six hundred students, while those in secondary school are over one hundred. In all we have not less than eight hundred students who benefitted from this scholarship in AMAC. There are some students that may take undue advantage of this gesture from your council, what is your advice to them? You know some students could be very unpredictable, we all know it, it is from that stage that we became whatever we are today, therefore my advice to them is that the money is meant for their education and nothing else, the money is meant to assist them, though their education which is the bed rock of every development and progress. No matter the amount involved, study hard and we in the council shall continue to assist you in your academic endeavour. What happens to vocational training, is AMAC thinking of doing something in that direction? Yes, although this question ough to have been directed to the supervisory Councillor for special Duties, nevertheless only recently, some NGO's came here with the lists of students at different vocational centers within AMAC. We went with them visited them at their respective centers and offered them financial assistance to enable them conclude their different vocational training. We also visited some at Utako where they are currently undergoing training. What are the incentives to teachers in AMAC? In AMAC we have welfare packages for our teachers, these include early payment of salaries and allowances to enable them perform optimally. We are also liaising with the Local Education Authority (LEA) Chairman in AMAC to ensure that teachers that are due for promotion are promoted. On our part we promised to assist all in the education sector, be you a teacher, Headmaster as well as students, we want to take education to the next level here




On the trail of Boko Haram By Andrew Stroehlein “You could say Boko Haram is everywhere, or you could say it’s nowhere: both would be correct.” his apparently confusing observation about the Nigerian militant Islamist group from one local expert is actually more helpful than it seems. Responsible for a string of violent attacks in Nigeria that have killed some one thousand people over the last two years, Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden”, has been bewildering and surprising to security specialists here. Ask some, and you will hear that the organisation is a threat to the very unity of Nigeria. Ask others, and you will hear that it is not an organisation at all. And, yes, they are both right. Unspinning the complex and contradictory web of Boko Haram reveals four key threads. First, taking in the historical perspective, it is a fundamentalist revival in northern Nigeria. Like other such movements, it rejects modern narratives and seeks to apply what it sees as traditional religious answers to all social questions. The term “Boko Haram” does not adequately capture their thoughts on Western education: they are not against Western technology and technical learning, but they lament the perceived deterioration of morals unleashed by Western influence. In other words, it is fine to use a laptop to access the internet as long as you are reading what they see as acceptably wholesome things.



econd, it is a political movement, which is really called Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad), not Boko Haram. This political side, apparently split into at least three factions, is not afraid to use violence to achieve its aims. Those goals are both long-term, like instituting their version of strict sharia law in Nigeria, and also more immediate, like pushing for the release of their members in prison. Their grievances against the police are particularly deepseated. Not only are many of their followers locked up, their leader, Mohammad Yusuf, was killed in police custody in 2009, and that, perhaps more than any other single event, drives the group — sometimes also known as the “Yusufiyah” — in its violent campaign, with

police stations a frequent target. Fears of connections to outside terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Shabab, should not be overblown. Islamic militancy and extremism in northern Nigeria have always had external connections and linkages, but this is predominantly a Nigerian phenomenon. A few members may have received training abroad, butit probably contains few if any foreign fighters. This sect has a welldeveloped domestic bomb-making capability now, as the frequency of deadly explosions and the discovery of bomb factories demonstrate. And despite allegations of arms streaming south from post-Qaddafi Libya, adherents are able to source small arms from corrupt security services with relative ease.


hird, “Boko Haram” is an ideology providing inspiration to some Nigerians living in grinding poverty under a set of rulers who concern themselves not with running the country but with simply stealing the country’s oil wealth. It passes no Nigerian’s notice that decades of official plunder have left what should be a thriving — or at least developing — nation in a pitiful state of neglect. Illiteracy stands at 40 per cent, and poverty is rising, with 100 million people, or 61 per cent of the population, now living in absolute poverty on less than $1 a day. Despite petroleum’s billions, citizens have to cover all their basic services themselves: health, education and security. Like other political and armed movements that have sprung up in this country, including the recent fuel subsidy protests that brought the country to a standstill, Boko Haram is just a symptom of the crumbling Nigerian state. Of course, despite their daily trials, the vast majority of Nigerians do not turn to armed militancy, of the Islamist variety or any other, but the fact that a small and very deadly portion do is a clear sign of the country’s basic underlying dysfunction.


inally, “Boko Haram” is also a cover for criminal activity and political thuggery of all sorts. Anything that turns violent can be blamed on the Islamist movement, whether it has a link to it or not. It is a perfect alibi, one that prevents further questioning. Bank robbery? Boko Haram. Attack on political opponents? Boko Haram. As such, the name is ceasing to have any meaning at all: Boko Haram is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The hype in much of the Nigerian media also contributes to the problem, as many media outlets chasing sales seem all too willing to fall for unsubstantiated

rumour and outright lies proffered by political troublemakers — or by nobody at all. Of course, some international media reporting has also been more scare-mongering than substance, presenting this as a new terrorist threat to the West, when it is fundamentally a Nigerian issue. The Boko Haram phenomenon, in all its threads, has captured the imagination of the entire nation, filling newspaper pages and air time with fear and misinformation that reaffirms everyone’s core understanding of their deeply dysfunctional state: Nigeria is broken and headed toward the brink. It is hard to imagine a state that is so much a part of the problem effectively dealing with it. Still, the dozens of security experts, academics and journalists I met with all agreed on the basic elements to address the four interlocking parts of the Boko Haram phenomenon.

Govenor Kashim Shettima of Borno state

Late Mohammed Yusuf

Air Chief Marshall, Oluseyi Petinrin

IGP M.D. Abubakar

Abubakar Shekau

General Owoye Azazi


he criminal side of everything claiming to be, or claimed to be, Boko Haram needs to be handled as criminal cases. This requires a non-rapacious police force and independent judiciary. Every aspect of the police needs reforming: recruitment, training and management. With the reputation of the police at rock bottom, even practical intelligence gathering within the community is extremely difficult in the absence of trust. Other internal intelligence agencies have competent hands, apparently doing their job professionally, but they are routinely undermined by undue political interference and rampant politicisation of their data. Added to that, information sharing between security agencies seems to be limited at best, and many suspect that intelligence is often withheld or fabricated to boost agencies’ claims for greater slice of the budgetary pie. All that would be a huge set of tasks for Nigeria to overcome in its current condition. It may seem unlikely enough, but sadly, it is hardly all that is required. To counter the recruiting potential of violent movements in Nigeria, not only Boko Haram, the country has got to address rampant corruption and pour the oil wealth into government services rather than officials’ overseas bank accounts. Otherwise, the very word “state” will have no meaning at all, and people will continue to seek other solutions to help organise their society and support their lives, with some using violence to achieve those aims. The idea that Nigeria, failing its people on so many fronts and with

too many looters posing as leaders, could achieve all this seems almost fanciful. The far more likely scenario is continued deterioration on all fronts and a disastrous military-first approach to the insurgency that only drives more young men to grab a gun or build a bomb. Still, as impossible to achieve as a comprehensive good governance solution may seem, it is also by common consent here the only thing likely to work. If there is any optimism in this generally dismal

picture, it is exactly this: a clearly growing consciousness that the current situation is not sustainable and that Nigeria needs some stiff medicine to address not only the symptoms of the disease like Boko Haram, but the disease of state failure itself. Andrew Stroehlein is Communications Director of the International Crisis G r o u p , Source: The Independent






- Pg 20

Kaduna Refinery resumes production

Mob: 08033644990

FAAC allocation for the month of February 2012 shared in March, 2012 S/N



FG (52.68%) 727 billion States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) Transfer from excess crude A/c 187 billion Other disbursement 182.7 billion Refund by NNPC 7.6 billion Grand Total 921.6 billion

2 3


42 marketers to import 4.8bn litres of fuel


he Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) yesterday said it has issued gasoline import contracts for the second quarter, the first tender result since a public outcry forced the government to back down on plans to scrap consumer petrol subsidies in January. Permits to import a total of 4.8 billion litres of fuel in the second quarter of this year were issued to 42 marketers, the PPPRA said in a statement. Local units of oil majors Exxon Mobil and Total , stateowned energy firm NNPC and

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


Oando Nigeria Plc were among those approved to import gasoline. The fuel import market has been awaiting clarity from the regulatory authorities exporter on how the new import regime will work since the government attempted to remove petrol import subsidies on Jan. 1, but was forced to partly reinstate them. The federal Government pays importers to bring in refined fuel and then sells it to the public at knocked down prices, a huge drain on the treasury. Efforts to reform or scrap the system have repeatedly been scuppered by public opposition. At the end of a week of mass protests against a near doubling in fuel costs, the government also ordered several probes into graft in the subsidy scheme and other areas of the oil industry, a key focus of public anger. Nigeria’s fuel import business is one of the key areas within Africa’s largest energy industry that has been riddled with corruption, according to government officials and oil sector audits. The National Assembly is investigating a $4 billion discrepancy between the amount paid in gasoline subsidies last year and the amount of fuel actually brought into the country. The head of the House of Representative’s committee probing the subsidy, Farouk Lawan, told Reuters last month that Nigeria’s daily consumption of petrol is 35 million litres, yet importers were being paid for 59 million litres a day. (Reuters) EXCHANGE RATES


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

• £ RIYAL $

Aganga heads FG committees on foreign investment By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim yesterday inaugurated two committees, ‘Doing Business and Competitiveness’ and the ‘Investment- Care’ Committees, with Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga as chairman of both committees. The committees, according to the SGF ,were inaugurated to take care of the administrative challenges being faced by investors and restore their confidence in the Nigerian investment climate, enhance national competitiveness, build synergy among Federal Government agencies, as part of efforts to realise the country’s Vision 20: 2020 agenda. “The need for the inauguration of the committees became more glaring after due consideration of recently released 2011 Global Competitive Index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which ranked Nigeria as the

SELLING 0.3185 207.8147 248.7073 41.5667 155.9

BUYING 210 255 40 158

SELLING 212 257 42 159

127th country out of 139 countries. It was also noted that Nigeria ranked poorly in all the 12 indicators known as pillars of competitiveness except in respect to its market and business sophistication.” The SGF continued: “Nigeria was also ranked 137th out of the 183 countries that were ranked in the Doing Business Report of the world. In its 2010 World Investment Report (WIR), the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also ranked Nigeria as 93rd out of 241 countries in inward FDI performance which is evident in the downward trend in inward FDI inflow from $6,814 million in 2008 to $5,851 million in 2009.” “The mandates of the committees as contained in their terms of reference are amongst others to monitor, review and recommend improvement on existing policies and legislation governing the act of doing business in Nigeria.

“The committee on Investor Care is, among others, to receive and appraise complaints on business/investment environment from investors,” the SGF said. The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Engr Mustapha Bello is to serve as the secretary of the committees while representatives of the ministries of finance, labour and interior are also represented in the Doing Business Competitiveness Committee. Representatives of Nigerian Custom Service, ministries of Labour and Finance are also to serve in the InvestmentCare Committee. The Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji is a member of the two committees. Responding, Aganga said the move by the Federal Government was a pointer to the fact that the Federal Government was interested in boosting to make the investment climate friendly and make Nigeria the preferred destination of all foreign investors.

Management Tip of the Day

1st Mar, 2012 BUYING 0.2985 206.4817 247.112 41.3001 154.9


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45

L-R: Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, and Director-General, Due Process, Chief Emeka Eze, during a meeting on the state of economy with Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, at the State House, recently in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye


Measure the money you’re making

o understand your company’s financials, start with these three measures of how money is coming in: Growth. Growth in sales is usually—but not always—a positive sign. Look for year over year growth but remember that it has to be profitable and

sustainable. Cash generation. Cash allows companies to stay in business. Cash generation is the difference between all the cash that flows into the business and all the cash that flows out. Investigate where the cash is generated, how it’s used, and whether enough is coming in.

Return on assets. A company’s return on assets is its net profit divided by the average value of its assets during a given period of time. This measure shows you how well your company is using its assets to make money. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS Shell supports Caverton with $85m to upgrade helicopter fleet


hell companies in Nigeria have supported an indigenous company, Caverton Helicopters, to upgrade its fleet with more advanced aircraft, the AW 139. By providing a loan of $85 million, Shell Nigeria empowered Caverton to place orders for six AW 139s, making it the largest operator of the aircraft in SubSaharan Africa.

CBN intervention policy and economic development


he recent global financial crisis brought to fore the inevitability of Central Banks across the world, particularly in developing countries, the need to play development roles in their respective economies.

Kaduna Refinery resumes production Stories by Muhammad Nasir with agency report he Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) is now fully back on stream as the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit of Kaduna (FCCU), a major component of the refinery that determines its production capacity has been fully revitalised. A top official of the refinery who preferred anonymity told journalists who were at the refinery recently that the revitalisation of the unit has raised the 110,000 barrel per day (bpd) production capacity of the refinery by over 70 per cent production capacity. According to him, the FCC Unit that forms part of 23 other units will improve on the


production and supply of basic refined products such as Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), and Wax that are expected to service and increase the supply rate to consumers, as well as reduce the lingering shortage of the commodity in country. “The FCC Unit has been in operation for the past three months or so and has stabilised. This has brought tremendous progress in our operational activities and has also improved to a large extent, the production capacity of most products that are scarce in the country,” the official said. While calling for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law, he noted that the bill, if assented to, would enable refineries obtain autonomy which would help to increase their

production capacities and funds needed for the smooth operation and maintenance of the industry. It could be recalled that the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon, while declaring open the 2012 Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) conference and exhibition in Abuja recently, informed that the Kaduna refinery was back on stream. The NNPC boss told journalists that petroleum product was already being sent from Kaduna refinery to Suleja farm tank, even as he added that once the Suleja tank was full, the product would then be channelled to Kano. “Kaduna refinery is back on stream we actually sent product from Kaduna refinery to Suleja farm tank last week, as soon as the

Paga receives $2m grant from EFInA


aga, a financial services platform, has said it aimed at bringing financial services to over 40 million Nigerians by 2015, even as it received a $2 million grant from EFInA to develop and deliver low cost financial products through Paga’s nationwide agent network. Jay Alabraba, Paga cofounder and director of Sales & Business Development, disclosed this at the weekend.



Advertising agency boss laments dearth of skilled hands


marketing communications practitioner and Chief Executive Officer of Verdant Zeal, Mr Tunji Olugbodi, has lamented the paucity of quality practitioners in the nation’s marketing communications industry, identifying this as a major factor hindering the growth of the advertising profession in the country.


here has been a drop of up to 20 per cent in petrol demand in Nigeria since the controversial fuel subsidy was reduced by half in January,leading economist Bismarck Rewane has said. Speaking at the Lagos Business School CEO breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Rewane said he expects a good measure of stability in the second quarter of this year, forecasting a growth in export revenues to about $112 billion and a possible rise in foreign reserves to about $40 billion by year end. Traffic on the roads has also fallen and it would seem the drop in petrol demand is coming both from higher efficiency and a cut in the volume smuggled across the border to neighbouring countries. Correspondingly, foreign exchange sale has also fallen by about 12 per cent, to $1.697 billion so far this year, but the period has also seen a build up in factory inventory and drop in sales by manufacturers of fast moving consumer goods, as Nigerians struggle to adjust their spending in the face of rising costs.

Need for unconventional approach in new technologies – AAPG president

Wal-Mart wins final go-ahead for Massmart deal he long fought battle to overturn a 51 percent acquisition stake in South Africa’s retail giant, Massmart by American multinational retailer Wal-Mart hit a final brickwall when a south African court on Friday largely dismissed an appeal from government and unions to roll back approval for Wal-Mart’s $2.4 billion acquisition of retailer Massmart, ending months of uncertainty about the status of the deal.

Petrol demand falls 20% on partial subsidy removal

A typical oil refinery

Africa offers fertile ground for miners


s executives networked and sought out potential deals at Africa’s largest mining conference which held in South Africa recently, much of the talk focused on the opportunities being offered for junior and major mining houses in new areas of exploration. In spite of global economic concerns and scarce debt financing, there was cautious optimism at last week’s Mining Indaba in Cape Town that commodity prices, which have enjoyed an almost decade-long boom, would remain at relatively high levels. And Africa, which is endowed with an abundant pool of resources from potash to iron ore and yet is one of the least explored regions of the world, has been attracting mounting interest.

”This is Africa’s generation when it comes to mining. You have the relative underdevelopment of the asset base ... and also the perception that you could probably acquire assets here in sub-Saharan Africa, acre for acre, dollar for dollar, for less than what would pay in Canada, Australia or Chile,” said Rajat Kohli, global head of mining and metals at Standard Bank. The relatively buoyant outlook seemed to be supported by the record attendance of more than 7,000 delegates at the Indaba. The proposed merger of Xstrata and Glencore to create a $90bn mining and trading powerhouse – announced the day the conference formally opened – provided further food for thought. “I think the Glencore/Xstrata announcement will get a lot of

people thinking and will cascade down through the entire industry and affect even those companies that are far too small for the interest of the very big players,” says Philip Baum, chairman of Nord Gold, which has operations in Burkina Faso and Guinea, as well as Kazakhstan and Russia. “It’s an indication that people who are considered to have always had a very good insight through their trading activities as to the state of the market are confident and believe in commodities.” Aside from potential deals, another theme that loomed large was the trend towards resource nationalism in Africa and beyond – an issue that has been fuelled by Australia’s proposed supertax on miners’ profits. (Source: Financial Times)

o make huge progress in the oil and gas sector, there is need for unconventional approach in new technologies. This was made known by the President, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), and Dr. Paul Weimer during the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists in Lagos recently. He said, to make huge progress in the sector there was the need for unconventional approach to doing things maintaining that most countries in America and Europe had leveraged on those unconventional methods, and were currently reaping the rewards. According to him, the benefits of the new technologies are enormous, and any country that really wants to enjoy the business of oil and gas exploration and production, must begin to consider new technologies to invest in. Weimer said there was also the need to rejuvenate old oil fields with contemporary technologies. He called on experts in the industry to continue to sustain their membership in NAPE and AAPG, stressing that such membership status would continue to get them informed of happenings in the global arena.



Shareholders applaud Zenith Bank 95k proposed dividend S

ome shareholders yesterday commended the board and management of Zenith Bank Plc for what they described as committed efforts to console Nigerian investors. The shareholders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that the bank’s dividend policy was a proactive mechanism to rekindle investors’ interest and boost market liquidity. Mr Boniface Okezie, President of Progressive Shareholders

Association of Nigeria, said that Zenith Bank’s result was a reflection of the bank’s management and business thrust. “It takes hard work and good management to make profit in Nigeria considering the harsh operating environment. “At the market price of about N13 per share and a proposed dividend of 95k under a depressed atmosphere, it is a better way of rewarding shareholders,” Okezie said. Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, the

General Secretary of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), described the result as heartwarming. “We are not expecting 95k dividend because of the banking sector problem of three years ago. “The result in the face of the reforms will now be the bench mark for other banks. It will stimulate a kind of pressure for other banks to perform,” Adeleke said. Gbadebo Olatokunbo, former

Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, said that the result of the bank was the fallout of the ongoing banking reforms. He described the bank’s dividend payout as a welcome development and a better way to compensate shareholders. NAN recalls that Zenith Bank had only on March 9, declared a dividend of 95k per share for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2011 as against 85k dividend paid in 2010.


L-R: Minister of Agriculture, Professor Akinwumi Adesina, and CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, during the Economic Management Team meeting, at the State House, recently in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

The bank in an audited result issued by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said that the dividend would be paid on April 3. The bank also announced gross earnings of N244.1 billion compared to the N192.5 billion it recorded in 2010. Profit after tax stood at N44.2 billion compared with N37.4 billion in 2010, while its Net Asset Value rose by 4.6 per cent to N380.3 billion as against N363.6 billion posted in 2010. (NAN)

Citibank plans to tap into Nigeria

itibank is working on plans to develop cons umer banking services in Nigeria as it looks to tap into the fast growth of the Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation. Chief executive of the US bank’s Africa division, Naveed Riaz told the Financial Times that Citi was interested in consumer banking in several African nations, including Morocco and Algeria. He said Citi was “working on plans” in Nigeria, which was top of the list of the African countries it was looking at. “In Nigeria, and some of the other markets, the [consumer banking] space is not yet developed, is not yet at a point where you cannot go in, and we believe you can succeed with a greenfield strategy …because it’s under-serviced in that particular segment of products,” said Mr

Riaz. “It’s 165m people, and whichever way you cut it, it’s a very interesting market and you just can’t ignore it. And it’s an early stage market – the barriers, or the cost of entry, are not very high.” He said the group had no schedule yet on when it could begin offering retail services in Africa as it considers regulatory and market factors. At present Citi only provides consumer banking in Africa in Egypt, which it classifies as being part of the Middle East. Mr Riaz said the bank is unlikely to look at acquisitions, describing its strategy in Africa as “aggressive organic growth”. Citi has four branches in Lagos, the main commercial hub, and 12 branches in total in Nigeria, all offering corporate banking. It has a presence in 15 African countries. (Source: Financial Times)

Nigeria agric-business investment forum holds in Washington


igeria’s agriculture transformation agenda will be the focus of an investment forum and exhibition scheduled for April 10th in Washington, DC in the United States. The North America Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Embassy in Washington and Corporate Council on Africa are co-hosting the forum titled “Nigeria: Transforming Agribusiness through investment. The Embassy in an announcement on its Website said the forum would reveal opportunities in the agriculture sector. It said participants would include a large Nigerian delegation of senior government officials, state governors and numerous Nigerian companies seeking to partner with and buy from American companies. It added that the forum would also highlight opportunities with experts from Nigeria and the U. S along with extensive networking opportunities.

According to the Embassy, a trade exhibition will run concurrently with the forum, while the second day will feature site visits to Washington area agribusiness facilities. It noted that agriculture represents 40 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and is the country’s leading employer. “The government is

prioritising agricultural development with an infusion of three billion dollars in funding and the creation of incentivised staple crop processing zones. “Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, boasting an estimated 10 million people in its rapidly growing middle class. ’’ it said. It stated that Nigeria was a

il prices slipped yesterday, snapping four days of gains as worries over supplies from the Middle East eased and investors focused on the health of the global economy and fuel demand. Tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear programme has raised fears this year of a disruption to oil supplies from the Mideast Gulf, but talks on the dispute are due to start soon, calming fears of an immediate crisis. European economies are

either contracting or stalled and there are increasing doubts whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain its loose monetary policy, which has been a major support for growth. Brent crude oil futures for April fell more than $1 per barrel to a low of 124.76 dollars, down 1.22 dollars, before recovering a little trade around 124.98 dollars. U.S. crude dropped to an intra-day low of 106.38 dollars, down 1.02 dollars. (Reuters/ NAN)

major consumer of a range of agricultural products and sought to dramatically increase domestic production and processing of such items through technology, capacity building and value-chain enhancement. NAN learnt that the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga

and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru are expected to make presentations at the forum. The Nigerian Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda was an all-encompassing initiative seeking to create real, national growth for more than 20 million farmers by 2020. (NAN)

Oil slips under $125 on NSE to co-host pregrowth concerns 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa O


he Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in conjunction with one of the country’s leading financial institutions, First Bank Plc, will host the Brainstorming Dinner designed to articulate Nigeria’s position ahead of the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa. The dinner would provide a platform for leading Nigerian Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from various sectors of the economy to

meet with global business leaders to adopt strategic expectations for Nigeria and the entire continent. The 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa is due to hold 9-11 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agenda. (Source: PANA)



LG, Microsoft unveil PC that can serve 20 monitors


n a move that is set to be welcome news to the region’s learning institutions, small and medium enterprises, especially cyber cafe operators, Korea-based electronics maker LG has partnered with Microsoft to launch a new computer which can be connected to over 20 monitors. The project, called Africa Digital Schools Project or “Badiliko”, (Swahili for ‘change’), will enable the selected participants to be trained in leadership skills, ICT innovation and integration in teaching and learning. The launch of the PC - called U-series and billed as the world’s first built-in multi-computing desktop monitor featuring Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 - is expected to enhance access to computers in learning institutions and further bolster efforts by governments in Africa

to entrench use of computers and ICTs in the learning process. According to LG, by connecting the U-Series network monitor system to a single PC, the host’s processing power is virtualized on each monitor, creating an efficient networking solution with less hardware and lower maintenance costs. The U-Series is based on the principle that at any one time, no one person can utilise the full capacity of one computer, therefore, multiple users can tap into the same computer as long as they have a separate monitor and keyboard. “This technology is suitable for schools that want to establish computer laboratories to teach students computing and introduction to the Internet. Small and medium scale (SME’s) businesses such as cybercafés can also benefit as

Ceragon Networks wins N960m Globacom contract for wireless deployment in Nigeria


eragon Networks Ltd. , the No. 1 wireless backhaul specialist, yesterday announced a new $6 million (about N960 million) contract with Globacom Nigeria (Glo) for Ceragon’s high-capacity wireless backhaul solutions and professional services in Nigeria. Ceragon will manage the endto-end deployment of its fieldproven FibeAir IP-10 and Evolution IP Long-Haul systems throughout Nigeria, expanding upon the original network Ceragon developed for Glo in 2010. Glo is the second largest mobile operator in Nigeria serving approximately 25 million subscribers, and is Africa’s f a s t e s t - g r o w i n g telecommunications company. As part of the Glo deployment, Ceragon will provide backhaul for Glo’s 2G/3G infrastructure network in Lagos. The network modernization will expand the

traffic capacity of Glo’s 3G network, while providing legacy 2G TDM support. Subscribers that have had limited or no mobile access will now be able to connect to the expanded network through the Ceragon wireless backhaul deployment. “Our experience and expertise as the #1 wireless specialist teaches us that it’s not just about the radios and antennas but also about lowering our customer’s total cost of ownership (TCO) and facilitating a faster time to new revenue (TTR),” said the President and CEO of Ceragon, Ira Palti. “With this approach, Ceragon is able to offer operators more capacity under any given network scenario for any network budget. We’re honored to partner with a leading telecom provider like Globacom to serve the connectivity needs of the Nigerian market.” (Culled from

multiple users can share one PC”, said George Mudhune, LG Electronics marketing and corporate communications head for East and Central Africa, adding that basic applications like internet surfing or word processing do not require the full power of a single, dedicated PC. The U-series PCs – which retails for $ 663 (N106,080) per each complete set and to be distributed in the region by LG’s IT distributor Mustek East Africa - come with ‘Blackboard’ classroom management software for schools which can be used in teaching programs such as setting and marking exams, thereby making virtual classroom control possible. To use the PCs, the host PC is connected to the U-Series monitors via USB cables, which combined with software, allows for redistributed computing capabilities across all connected monitors as individual U-series monitors do not need any additional software installation. Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is expected to help educational institutions provide more workstations to

students and teachers with individualized Windows experiences at a lower total cost of ownership while the U-Series solution is designed to be simple enough for people with limited technical skills to set-up and manage a multiple monitor environment. The U-Series comes with 19inch class LED widescreen monitors (18.5 inches measured diagonally), which provide a bright and clear viewing experience and are ideal for multimedia applications. Each monitor is also capable of independent optimization in different languages. “Windows Multipoint Server 2011 provides more access with lower initial set up cost and is simple to set up and manage. Its other benefits include the reduction in heat and noise in the classroom, lab or library, and an increase in space for students at their workspace, all of which helps improve the learning environment for teachers and students,” said Matunga. The launch of the new computing solution comes at time when most of Africa’s

schools are facing computer access challenges, with statistics in Kenya for instance indicating that access to computer-based learning is still a major challenge with a current ratio of 1 computer for 150 students compared to the 1 to 15 ratio for developed countries’ schools. Coming at a time when the government and most organisations are adopting computer based-operations, the introduction of the U-series will be a reprieve especially to the education sector that is currently in the process of enhancing e-learning while government agencies will also find the technology convenient as multiple work stations can be set-up on a single PC. The launch of the LG Useries follows the announcement of a 2-year $ 2 million initiative by Microsoft and British Council that would enable selected teachers and students, drawn from three East African Community (EAC) member states – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – as well Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria, to benefit from ICT training initiative.

LG in partnership with Microsoft has unveiled a computer that can run 20 monitors

Expanded Access Bank concludes IT systems integration in 38 hours By Mohammed Sada


he 5.7 million customers of the integrated Access Bank and former Intercontinental Bank were cut off electronic transactions for a brief 38 hours last week for an Information Technology (IT) systems integration on account of the acquisition (75 percent) of the latter bank by the former. For days past, customers of the former Intercontinental B ank have been accessing their accounts and conducting

transactions in Access Bank halls. Access Bank put out notices last week, stating that account holders of both establishments would be unable to conduct transactions on electronic platforms including Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Point of Sale Terminals (PoS) electronic banking and debit cards, from 12pm last Friday, March 2, to 2pm on Sunday March 4. On Sunday afternoon, Access Bank sent out text messages to its customers, (which now include

customers of the former Intercontinental Bank) saying the integration had been concluded and transaction on the listed platforms had resumed. Late last year, Access Bank had announced the completion of its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank Plc as the two financial institutions merged into a single entity. Managing Director, Access Bank, Aigboje AigImoukhuede had said in the statement: “The conclusion of this transaction is a significant step forward for the Nigerian

banking sector ; it has preserved thousands of Nigerian jobs and protected the savings of millions of Nigerian citizens. “It brings together the proven prudential management of Access Bank and the extensive geographical footprint of Intercontinental Bank, with one of the largest networks of branches and Automated Teller Machines.” He said the bank had worked hard to deliver this successful integration and the speed and efficiency with which it had been

accomplished was testament to the quality of the management team. Aig-Imoukhuede stated that the 5.7 million customers of the combined bank would benefit from a product range which blended the very best of both Access and Intercontinental Banks’ products. It was reported later that the new establishment had shut down some branches and shed some staff, a development which industry watchers said was inevitable.




Radio Nigeria Kaduna at 50 By Umaru A. Pate


his month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), popularly known as Radio Nigeria, Kaduna. In the beginning, on March 15, 1962, it started as Radio Television, Kaduna (RTK), operated by the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), which was a partnership between the Northern Regional Government and a foreign media firm in the United Kingdom. Mr. Leslie Diamond was the pioneer Managing Director. During its fifty years of broadcasting, the station has transformed into one of the most significant knowledge based institutions outside the conventional school system in the northern part and indeed the whole country. From the onset, it was clear that the RTK was set up by the Northern Regional Government just like what the other governments in the Western and Eastern Regions and the Centre had done to serve the interest of the Region now divided into nineteen states. It was set up to promote, project and protect the individual and collective interests of the people as well as facilitate the development process of the Region while consciously safeguarding their freedoms and identity in the context of the Nigerian nation. That spirit remained with the station until 1975 when in its effort to strengthen the nation’s unity, the Federal Military Government took over all the state owned television and the regionally based broadcast houses in Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan, to form the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). At the same time, the Government took over the Northern based New Nigerian newspapers and acquired 60% shares of the Lagos based Daily Times. The government said that its determination to

Radio television Kaduna

control the national media institutions should be “seen as a means of ensuring national cohesion in the process of nation building”, articularly after the civil war that ended in 1970. The takeover saw to the separation of the television from the radio administratively even though they remained on the same premises and shared facilities. In its lifespan, the RTK has, to a large extent, been able to succeed amidst hardships and miraculous vicissitudes of survival and turbulent existence variously caused by a gross misunderstanding of its historical circumstances and the desire by some forces that are determined to cut its perceived influence on the minds of its audiences. However, it is heartwarming that the station is still on air; in fact, the only

As an institution, Radio Nigeria Kaduna appropriately tells the story of the North; its successes and the challenges as well as its fears and aspirations

one that has been able to maintain its aged shortwave transmitters when those of its contemporaries have long packed up. Thus, irrespective of the political, social and economic transformations in the land, RTK has remained among the few credible institutional memory banks of the North and in a way, Nigeria. As an institution, Radio Nigeria Kaduna appropriately tells the story of the North; its successes and the challenges as well as its fears and aspirations. In the olden days, millions of people in the North would feel that their day was incomplete without listening to the RTK. The station through the magic box became a companion and a key informant in most households in rural and urban Northern Nigeria. Its radio signals were picked up in different parts of the West African sub-region extending to places like Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Chad, Niger, the Cameroons and Gabon in Central Africa. It is important to emphasize that the people of the North are ardent radio listeners, partly because of the oral nature of most of the cultures in the environment and factors like low income level and a low reading culture. In that respect, the radio has for obvious reasons of cost, access and relevance remained the most popular source of public information

for the people. In fact, there is hardly any household in the Region that does not possess at least a radio set. However, despite the huge love for the broadcast media by the people, the sector appears to be experiencing debilitating challenges as personified in the fortunes of the RTK. The majority of the radio stations in the states of the North like many other institutions are challenged with programmes that many a times reflect poverty of content and penury in quality. Thus, unable to fully trust the local broadcast media stations in their states which, in any case, are severely limited in their coverage, the people naturally resort to Hausa services of external broadcast stations like the BBC, VOA, DW and RFI, among others, for their information needs, even on basic issues about Nigeria. In the past, Radio Nigeria Kaduna used to fill in the gap but nowadays with the epileptic performance of the SW transmitters of the station and its reduced editorial independence, the people have been left with no other option than to seek for credible news from foreign sources. For a very long time now, the station has been struggling with failing equipment, dwindling resources and changing operational policies. That could explain the general concern about the station in

the North. Personally, I have always believed in the Kaduna station. Perhaps, that is why I have been complaining and advocating at various platforms on the declining fortunes of the RTK and the need to re-activate its services so that it does not go the way of the New Nigerian and many of the state owned broadcast stations that are barely existing. In fact, it is quite disconcerting that while broadcasting all over the world is fast digitizing and becoming editorially freer, many of our public stations in Nigeria are still struggling with antiquated equipment, declining resource levels and increased editorial censorship with all the attendant consequences. At the zenith of its existence, RTK boasted some of the finest, fairly minded and fiercely independent broadcasters that were comparable to any in the world. One can easily recall names of such great managers of the station like Sani Kontagora, Adamu Gumel, Abba Zoru, Dahiru Modibbo, Mohammad Ibrahim, Mohammed Ardo, Halilu Getso and many others including Yusuf Nuhu (current DG of FRCN) and Ladan Salihu who is the incumbent Executive Director. It was blessed with talented producers and presenters as well as highly rated reporters and editors that were nationally

respected and globally acknowledged for their professional competences, fair mindedness and enriched broadcast content packaging. Can any listener forget the names of excellent producers like Yusuf Ladan, Khalifa Baba Ahmed, Halilu Ahmed Getso, Yahya Abubakar, Abdulkarim Albashir, Ladan Kontagora, Lamido Bajoga, Abdulrahman Pate, Nyaka Mindapa, Isa Edime, Saulawa, Bako, Allen Agbo, Harira Kachia, Aza Gwarzo, Usman Baba Pategi and many others? The efforts of the producers whether in Programmes or News and Current Affairs reached the public through multi talented and richly endowed presenters like Mallam Lawal Abubakar, Garba ABCD, Bashir Ismaila Ahmed, Mairo Adamu, Ahmed Aminu, Mairiga Aliyu, Ladan Kontagora, Musa Waziri, Ado Charanchi, Umaru Kontagora, Hajara Ibrahim, Buhari Auwalu, Abubakar Cigari, Ahmed Gabdo, Usman Mohammed, Timmy Nebuwa, etc. One cannot also forget the voices of fiery reporters like Mahmoon Baba Ahmed, Umaru Yahya, Mohammed Yelwa Gavi, Suleiman Mohammed, Rabiu Bako, Musa Aliyu Keffi, John Aduku, Denis Yukeng, etc. Certainly, there are many more names that made Radio Kaduna tick which we could not mention here but we consider equally important. Sometimes, I try to imagine how the development process in the North would have been without the RTK in the late 60s through the early 90s. Anyway, though I have not yet come across a comprehensive study on the contributions of the station in the North and the country, I have however seen some episodic and isolated research works at different levels done to assess the role of the station especially in aspects like agriculture, education, participatory democracy, health, national integration, women empowerment and public enlightenment. From most of the findings, it has been clearly established that the RTK had impacted significantly on the general development of the Region and its people. It was able to win the confidence of its audiences through authoritative, diverse and educative broadcasting content that was reflective and representative of its environment. Interestingly, at a time the station ran three major SW channels broadcasting exclusively in Hausa, English and the Languages (Fulfulde, Kanuri and Nupe). But today things have changed. The SW transmissions have reduced,

automatically affecting the channels and restricting the capacity of the station to the MW and FM frequencies, meaning that a large portion of the area of coverage is cut off. The success of the RTK in the last fifty years can be linked to some inextricably linked factors. First, one must commend the vision of the Northern Regional Government which established the station with a huge capacity to be able to cover the entire region in all its diversities and beyond. It started on a very solid foundation as a partially commercialized station in a beautifully designed and

Perhaps, most important of all was the ability of the station to maintain a very close and credible relationship with its audiences. Until recently, Radio Kaduna was the only station to have always maintained offices and one or more permanent correspondents in all the states of the country. No any other station was able to replicate that except now that the FRCN headquarters have mainstreamed the system. Perhaps, it was because of the relevance of the station to the people of the North that when the Federal Government in the mid 70s toyed with the idea of cutting

The Federal Government, its owner since 1975 deserves our praises for being able to maintain the station irrespective of the satanic advices from some of its officials to whittle it down built complex modelled on the BBC format. Secondly, the station was lucky to be headed by some professionally minded leaders who sacrificed personal interest to defend and uphold the credibility of the station at great personal costs. Thirdly, the station has been able to develop an admirable staff development and progression system. In the earlier days, many of the staff, upon engagement, might not have had high academic qualifications but were highly talented fellows who were then tutored on the job and sent on attachments abroad and further trainings on inservice. That system ensured smooth career progression for everyone and also sustained the unique RTK tradition of creative broadcasting in the industry. It developed the tradition of quality and ethical programming and self-governing editorial pattern similar to the BBC, thereby making it a radio of first choice in those days in the country. Little wonder that it became the major supplier of broadcasting personnel to international radio stations like the BBC, VOA and DW as well as state radio stations wherever they sprang up in the North.

Radio television Kaduna

down the strength of the station, it was stoutly opposed in the North and was eventually forced to retreat. At the time, the people rose to collectively and selflessly defend the station because they felt it was serving them unlike what is the case in the country today. By its nature, performance and spread, Radio Kaduna has played significant roles in the country. Quite often, particularly at critical moments in the history of the nation, its roles tended to be controversially assessed. But its contribution in the prosecution of the civil war, successes or failures in military coups, enlightenment programmes, mobilisation towards civil rule and even keeping the people interested in politics are definitely critical. For instance, the behaviour of the station during the June 12, 1993 Presidential election annulment irked some Nigerians. The station was accused of playing dangerous divisive broadcasting which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in 1994, described as “diabolical and destabilising”. He observed that some broadcasts that emanated from the station were inimical to national

unity at that critical moment of Nigeria’s history. Similar broadcasts, he noted, came from the southern based media which heated up the polity and were capable of subverting the corporate existence of Nigeria. However, one needs to advise that such statements on the position of the station need to be historically and contextually understood. On this special occasion in the history of the great house, one may wish to pay tribute to its founding fathers, commend the doggedness of its leaders and appreciate the efforts of its staff and numerous artists and associates that gave it a unique identity and spirit of courage. The audiences too, must be acknowledged for keeping faith with the station. The Federal Government, its owner since 1975 deserves our praises for being able to maintain the station irrespective of the satanic advices from some of its officials to whittle it down. One would only plead with the Government to continue in its effort and invest more in the station and indeed the broadcast sector to restore the full glory of the shortwave stations in Lagos, Ibadan and Enugu. A large number of people

in the North and possibly the country still rely on the shortwave radio either because their state radio stations cannot reach them or because the big stations give them diverse, credible and better produced content. The alternative is to allow the stations to die and risk the minds of our people being colonized by external radio houses. I believe that there are many pressing problems beating down the nation, namely, corruption, abysmal poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, population explosion, ethnic and religious conflicts, poor healthcare facilities and absence of basic civic services, among others, that the SW stations can, as they have done in the past, help to creatively and effectively address. I passionately plead with the Federal Government to please respond to the challenges and give Radio Kaduna and indeed all the zonal FRCN stations a new lease of life. Let them experience a renewal as part of the transformation agenda. Professor Umaru A. Pate is Head, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri, Borno state.



Nigeria’s battle for stability (III) By John Campbell


oko Haram is often translated from Hausa, a major West African language, to mean "Western education is evil." Originally, the name referred to followers of Mohammed Yusuf, a charismatic Islamic preacher who was murdered by police during a 2009 uprising. (The group generally referred to itself as The Movement for Sunna and Jihad.) Now, the term "Boko Haram" is used mostly by the media and security services to label loosely organized groups in northern Nigeria waging war against the federal government. What appears to hold these groups together is support for sharia and, for some, a millenarian version of Islam. However, the label implies more coherence in this grassroots movement than probably exists. Daily attacks on politicians, soldiers, police, bars and churches, particularly since Jonathan's inauguration in May 2011, have led British prime minister David Cameron and AFRICOM commanding general Carter Hamm to suggest counterterrorism assistance. They are concerned that Boko Haram may establish links with alQaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Shabab in Somalia. Suicide is cultural anathema in West Africa. Hence, to many, a suicide bombing indicated influences from outside the region. There is also concern about Boko Haram's apparently new access to sophisticated weapons and bomb-making technology. Waves of radical, eschatological and millenarian Islamic revival occur intermittently in northern Nigeria, especially during periods of alienation and hardship such as now. Until recently, this anger normally has been directed against the indigenous, corrupt political and religious establishment that exploits the poor and is perceived as un-Islamic. Some militants seek to establish the kingdom of God on Earth and justice as defined by sharia law. In their efforts to achieve such an outcome, uprisings can be quite bloody. The Maitatsine uprising centered in Kano during the early 1980s, which claimed five thousand lives, superficially resembles aspects of Boko Haram. This tradition animates Boko Haram, its founder Mohammed Yusuf and his followers. Yusuf, a young, charismatic Islamic preacher based at the Railroad Mosque in Maiduguri, initially led a somewhat pacifist community of thousands of university graduates, high-school dropouts and political figures, as well as the impoverished and uneducated. Like many, he and his followers welcomed the imposition of sharia law in 1999 in twelve Nigerian states. But they were disappointed and disillusioned by its lackadaisical enforcement by secular authorities. In 2009, Yusuf launched an insurrection against the secular state, ostensibly prompted by the killing of some of his followers in a dispute with police. Hundreds, if not thousands,

President Goodluck Jonathan were killed on both sides before the army suppressed the insurrection. The army captured Yusuf and turned him over to the police. The police then murdered him and his father-in-law while they were in custody. Yusuf's surviving followers went underground and turned to field preaching. Probably small in number, these groups appear to have won much wider public support. When they can, they murder government officials and members of those parts of the Islamic establishment that they see as allied with Abuja. They attack venues of un-Islamic behavior, especially bars and brothels, and rob banks to distribute the proceeds to the poor (doubtless keeping some for themselves). Yusuf's disciples have repudiated the sultan of Sokoto and the emirs of Kano and Zaria because of their support for Jonathan in the 2011 elections. They have also claimed

responsibility for the murder of the brother of the shehu of Borno, the second-ranking Islamic traditional ruler. In addition to the UN bombing, people claiming to be Boko Haram spokesmen also took credit for a June 2011 bomb attack on the Abuja headquarters of the national police. They have never attacked schools, despite their hostility toward Western education. In the past, they attacked churches and murdered clergy, but most of their violence has been perpetrated against other Muslims. However, attacks on Christian churches appear to be escalating; a few months ago a church in an Abuja suburb was bombed on Christmas Day and similar attacks occurred elsewhere during the Christmas-New Year holiday. Since Mohammed Yusuf's death, his followers have had no charismatic leader. They appear to be part of a wider, highly diffuse structure composed of religious

DG State Security Service, Ekpenyong Ita

fanatics, criminals and political thugs with no politburo or other governing body. Their stated goals include punishment of Yusuf's murderers, recompense for property destroyed by the security services and establishment of Islamic law throughout Nigeria. In the aftermath of the April 2011 elections, some may have links with parts of the traditional establishment and possibly some mid-level political figures that fear marginalization. The security services' heavy-handed response to unrest in Maiduguri and elsewhere, resulting as it did in many deaths, doubtless swelled the ranks of Boko Haram groups. Indeed, violence and unrest have become widespread enough in the North to look like something of a popular insurrection, but it does not seem to be centrally organized or tied to international terrorism. Yusuf's disciples and other radical millenarian Islamic groups in northern Nigeria are inward looking. Their concerns are local, and their hostility is toward state governments, Jonathan's secular federal government and brutish police behavior. They feed off bad government and the collapsing economy. With its oil, ongoing peacekeeping efforts and robust population growth, Nigeria continues to be an important international player despite dangerous North-South polarization, sectarian conflict and simmering insurrections. Given this reality, the Obama administration should continue, and perhaps even enhance, its normal diplomatic dialogue with Abuja. But the administration must recognize the reality that Nigeria is a weak state with a largely unresponsive government that faces significant domestic opposition. The result is that it has only a very limited ability to serve as a diplomatic partner. That is why the United States must maintain good diplomatic relations with a predominately southern, Christian administration without appearing to favor one religious, regional or sectarian group over another. In Nigeria, there is the presumption that Jonathan was Washington's candidate, which he fostered with his electoral base. He displayed a campaign billboard showing him standing next to President Obama with the slogan, "Yes We Can, Sir!" The United States should work to dispel this presumption and cease seeming to court Jonathan, who has been received twice by President Obama since becoming acting president. The White House should also drop its rhetoric about the virtues of the 2011 elections, which are often overstated. They grate on Nigerians who know better and alienate many in the North. In addition, the Obama administration should engage in targeted outreach to Nigerian Muslims. To begin, it should treat Muhammadu Buhari, the most credible opposition leader in Nigeria, as it does the leaders of the opposition in other friendly states. He should be publicly received in

Washington at an appropriately high level. Despite the costs and risks, the United States should proceed to establish a consulate in Kano, the metropolis and cultural center of the Islamic North, where it can build a stronger relationship with a region that has received too little Western attention in the past. Affiliation with Nigerian security agencies should be treated extremely carefully. Just as alQaeda has fed off the resentment of many Saudis over the U.S. military presence in their country, Nigerian radicals in the North likely would do the same. The administration also should be outspoken about security-service abuses against civilians and publicly raise questions about official investigations of postelectoral violence-especially if there are signs of a cover-up. Nevertheless, support for training of the army and the police, especially improving their ability to conduct investigations and interact with the communities in which they work, could, over the long term, reduce animosity between security services and Nigerian civilians. Nigerians often identify corruption as their nation's greatest challenge. Many of the most notoriously corrupt have residences and other assets in the United States, and they value their ability to visit, often for long periods. The Obama administration should make greater use of the visa-sanction tool against those who use their official position for personal gain. Such an approach would be highly popular with Nigerians, most of whom are struggling to feed their families rather than shopping on Rodeo Drive. For the first time since the 1967-70 civil war, Nigerians in all parts of the country-not only in the North-are questioning whether their country can hold together. It is very much in the U.S. interest that it does. A fragmentation of Nigeria would likely lead to ethnic and religious clashes and shifts in population that would constitute a humanitarian disaster, perhaps recalling the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan or the more recent breakup of Yugoslavia. It would be inherently destabilizing for Nigeria's small and weak neighbors. It would certainly provide a new scope for the operations of international terrorism. In the words of the supporters of the federal government during the Nigerian civil war: "It is a task that needs to be done, to keep Nigeria one." True, given commitments elsewhere, a weak economy and a divided government, the United States faces limits in its ability to influence events in Nigeria. But U.S. policy makers should look at the long term and cultivate close relations with those working to keep Nigeria together and on a path to democracy. Concluded. John Campbell is the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as U.S. ambassador to Nigeria from 2004 to 2007.



Gaddafi £10m mansion has to be handed over to new Libyan government T

he playboy son of Colonel Gaddafi was yesterday ordered to hand over his £10m British mansion to the new Libyan government. Former professional footballer Saadi Gaddafi bought the neoGeorgian, eight bedroom home, complete with indoor swimming pool and private cinema, shortly before the start of the Arab Spring uprising in which his dictator father was eventually lynched. But the High Court was told that the despot’s son paid for the property - which also includes a jacuzzi, hot tub, sauna, designer furniture and wide-screen television screens in every room by plundering Libyan state oil funds. Mr Justice Popplewell ordered that the house in Hampstead, North West London, should be handed to the new Libyan government within two weeks after being ‘wrongfully and unlawfully’ purchased. Anti-corruption campaigners welcomed the decision but also warned how was a ‘glaring example’ of how easily foreign tyrants and their families were able to launder cash stolen from their countries in Britain. Robert Palmer, an anticorruption campaigner at Global

Witness, said: ‘It is remarkable that despots can squirrel away their illgotten loot here with so few, if any, questions being asked. ‘A bank, an estate agent and a lawyer all helped complete this transaction on behalf of Saadi Gaddafi. ‘Did any of them consider whether there was a risk of money laundering or corrupt funding, as they are supposed to do? ‘The financial authorities have pledged to take a tougher line on this, but it does need a long hard look at the system to stop it happening. ‘This is the first asset recovery case related to the Arab spring in London and we hope there could be many more to come.’ Saadi, who fled Libya to the neighbouring Niger during last year’s revolt against his father’s rule, bought the Hampstead property for £10million in May 2009, through his company Capitana Seas Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, the court heard. Gregory Mitchell QC, for the Libyan government, told the hearing that it was widely known that the Gaddafi family used Libyan oil money as ‘their own personal funds.’ He said Saadi could not have raised the money to buy the property himself, and that it must have come

Saadi purchased the £10m mansion shortly before the Arab Spring uprising that eventually saw his father killed from ‘Libyan state funds.’ A few weeks after the start of the rebellion in Libya early last year, squatters calling themselves the

Topple the Tyrants protest group took over the mansion for several weeks. Saadi was believed to be the

The luxury mansion comes complete with an indoor swimming pool and a cinema room, seen here, with eight bedrooms in total

Saadi Gaddafi is being forced to hand over the keys to his London mansion

black sheep of Gaddafi’s family, according to US diplomatic cable in 2009. The 39-year-old, who had a short lived footballing career with Italian team Perugia, was said to be infamous for his ‘abuse of drugs and alcohol, excessive partying’ and ‘profligate affairs with men and women.’ Saadi’s legal representative, Nick Kaufman, a lawyer based in Jerusalem, had earlier been quoted as describing the claim by the Libyan government to repatriate the house as ‘meritless’. But no one representing Saadi or from Capitana attended yesterday’s hearing to defend the application for repatriation. Mr Justice Popplewell also ordered Capitana to pay £120,000 in costs for the hearing. Source:

Libyan exiles recently moved into the home after it was initially overtaken by squatters




Protectors becoming oppressors?

Nigerian citizens confronting soldiers on the street


he Nigerian military has remained one institution that I hold in high esteem because of its watch-word; discipline. I know many Nigerians share this view especially when taken from the perspective that they are always there for them when the police fail especially in crises situations. However, the conduct of these uniformed men lately, is beginning to cast them in negative light before the average Nigerian. The Boko Haram insurgency has left many in the land with little or no option than to welcome soldiers into their midst, having come out of the barracks to fish out sect members and put a stop to the spate of bomb explosions in the country. What the civil populace cannot condone from these soldiers is the brutality being visited on them daily. Agreed, soldiers have always been noted for their brutality to Nigerians but that was in the past as the advent of democratic governance in 1999 saw a new orientation sweeping through our military. Cases of brutality against civilians by soldiers cut across all the flash points that the military have been stationed to stem insecurity. In the country. From Madalla and Suleja in Niger state to Maiduguri in Borno state and lately, Kano city in Kano state, there has been rage from the citizenry over the conduct of soldiers deployed to safeguard lives and properties. Complaints abound of how these soldiers that should be looked up to as protectors have become tormentors in chief to the people. They allegedly horse-whip innocent citizens, make others to frog-jump while unlucky ones are brutalised to points of submission. Recent news reports have it that the revered Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero has added his voice to those

calling on the military on the need to show some respect to civilians. The monarch made the appeal when the new Brigade Commander of the 3 Motorised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Kano, Brigadier-General Iiliyasu Isa Abba visited him in his palace. According to him, his palace has been inundated with complaints from his subjects about arbitrary violation of human rights by military personnel in the state. It would be recalled that the Minister of Defence, Dr. Mohammed Haliru-Bello had warned soldiers against maltreatment of civilians in Maiduguri. He promised on that occasion to look into the matter and bring culprits to book. As at today, nothing has been heard concerning that issue. The citizens, it must be noted, are already having enough problems to contend with. Times are tough as the partial removal of fuel subsidy has removed food from their table, insecurity abound everywhere, lives and properties and no longer safe and so many other challenges that has removed smiles from the faces of a people once referred to as the happiest set of humans on earth. Questions are being asked; must the innocent suffer for the sins of a few disgruntled elements who by the way are a creation of the rot in the system occasioned by bad and insensitive governance? The military can still carry out their assigned roles of preventing reoccurrences of bomb blasts and other security challenges without necessarily taking their frustrations out on innocent citizens. Nothing short of an apology from the top hierarchy of the army and a change of attitude by soldiers drafted to flash points will assuage the battered feelings of innocent Nigerians. Doing this will certainly bring back the confidence the ordinary man on the street has for uniformed men.

On the marble

When you garrison an army in a walled city, the officers get stale and the soldiers get lazy. —Master Sun, The Art of War

Meet AWO Barau, Army marksman


ocused, determined and hard working are three character traits that best describe Army Warrant Officer (AWO) Barau Waziri, a non commissioned officer of the Nigerian Army. Born on the 1s’ of March 1960 into the family of Mallam and Mallama Mohammed Waziri of Wailo Village, Ganjuwua Local Government Area of Bauchi State. Growing up in his village back in the sixties, the young Waziri was full of optimism about life and wished to become successful in whatever endevour fate chose for him. This drive for success accounted for his decision to embrace early education in contrast to some of his age mates and play mates in the village. He completed his primary school between 1972 and 1978 in flying colours; his outstandingperformance in his first leaving certificate examination earned him an employment as a primary school teacher the following year (1979). After two eventful years as a class teacher, the ambitious and energetic young man decided to call it quits and follow desire: soldiering. He promptly enlisted into the Nigerian army as a member of the 6 th Regular Recruit intake and trained at the depot, Nigerian army, Zaria in 1980. On completion of his training, he was posted to then 1 Mechanised Division Nigerian Army Kaduna where he cut his teeth as a marksman. Having carved a niche for himself as one of Nigeria’s best shot AWO Barau Waziri has travelled far and wide and participated in several local and international shooting competitions, carting home in the process many laurels and accolades. At the Nigerian Armed Force^

AWO Barau displays his various trophies and awards Games tagged ‘Abeokuta 98’, he won I Gold and 2 Bronze medals. He was at the 3' All African Games in Bloefontein, South Africa and won a Silver and a Bronze medal. He won medals at the African Shooting Game- participant and National Coach Over all, AWO Barau has - his kitty a total of 1 0 Gold. 1 5 Silver and 5 Bronze medals, several trophies from different local and international

competitions. AWO Barau has held several positions in the army over the years. He has participated in several Peace Support Operations including Operation Liberty (ECOMOG) in Liberia between 1993 – 1995 as Section Commander, Operation Harmony IV (Bakassi) as Coy Quartermaster and United Nations Mission in Liberia as Regimental Sergeant Major.


N200bn agric loan: Farmers lament stringent accessibility By Mohammed Kandi


armers across the country have decried the cumbersome process of accessing the N200 billion agricultural credit facility provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The farmers who spoke different stakeholder forums lamented that despite intervention efforts being made globally; voting huge resources for the revival of farming and inexorable attempts to rid developing societies of hunger through agricultural schemes, farmers go through rigorous processes to benefit from the bounties. It is a matter of fact that Nigeria agriculture has received huge amount of money in recent times from within and outside the country, but had also faced a couple of human induced challenges such as lack of proper planning and absence of political will by government officials to deliver to the country’s teeming farming population, economically friendly agricultural sector for reasons relating to diversion of funds and inaccessibility of such finances by the target groups. The Central Bank of Nigeria, through its involvement in the process of revitalizing the agricultural sector, had provided about N200 billion agricultural loans to all the commercial banks in the country. The aimed and major purpose for the intervention was to assist local farmers step up their faming activities, which would in turn boost food production. While some states have been able to access their N1 billion share of the funds, depending on the allocation slated for such state, some other segments of the sector had also received huge sums of money to enhance their production, just as many farmer groups lacks the knowledge about the scheme. Farmers, though described the extension of the disbursement of the loan to banks as a welcomed development, they were however quick to say the requirement for accessing the loan remains unfavourable, especially to small scale farmers in the rural areas. Initially, the folowing banks were the ones authorised to disburse these funds to farmers; the Nigerian Banks that got offers for the distribution included the Bank PHB, Fidelity Bank Plc, Finbank Plc, First Bank, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Sterling Bank, Union Bank plc, Unity Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc. Meanwhile, a large-scale farmer and former Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Kebbi State, Alhaji Muhammadu Jiga, recently attributed failure of farmers to access the N1 billion agriculture loans to the stringent conditionality attached to the facility, saying “the conditionality had prevented several farmers from accessing to the loan.” According to him, “Currently, I am the only farmer and member of AFAN in Kebbi state that has secured the loan”, adding that, the bank that disbursed the loan in the state had approved N100 million for his 10,000-hectare Daula Farms located in Tsamiya in Bagudo local government area.

The chairman particularly expressed dissatisfaction on the Federal Government’s encouragement on the production of large-scale cassava without making concrete arrangement to market the commodity even as he appealed to the Federal Government and various banks disbursing the loan to “soften the stringent” conditionality to enable farmers benefit from the facility. He also pleaded with government to provide market facilities for cassava farmers to prevent glut of the product, noting that, “Last year, I produced 100 trucks of cassava but due to lack of market, my animals consumed the whole cassava.” Similarly, poultry farmers in Abia State reacted to the “riot act” on how the farmers could access the N1 billion agricultural loans in the state, when the head of agriculture desk in one of the banks, Mr. Silas Akanjiemeli, said the loans would be given as inputs and not cash, adding that “they will attract single-digit interest payable upfront. But, poultry farmers in the state had rejected the conditions attached to the loans, describing the stipulation by the banks as “stringent” which would be difficult for the farmers to meet. Mr. Uzomba Ekwuruibe, the Umuahia branch Chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PFAAN) while expressing discontent with the modality, noted that the system was rather worked out in the interest of the financial institutions and to the detriment of the farmers, saying “we have expressed our doubts because loans are given in cash and in tranches instead of disbursement in a single swoop.” “The danger is that, if the inputs have defect, the farmers will not be able to repay loans ant the banks will come after them,” he stated, arguing that, it would be better, if the farmers received cash in tranches. Meanwhile, it is prominent upon government and its functionaries to ensure proper supervision and monitoring of all the funds provided for agriculture to ensure that the target group (farmers) get the benefit of the finances.


AFAN registers 30,000 farmers in Enugu N o fewer than 30,000 farmers in Enugu State have been registered in the on-going national census of Nigerian farmers, the state chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria has said. The Chairman of AFAN in the state, Chief Alfred Eneh, told the journalists recently in Enugu, the Enugu State capital that the extension of the registration from December 2011 to February 2012 enabled more farmers to be


by the government. “For us in the South East, if fertilisers and other farm inputs are not distributed to farmers before the end of March, it will affect our yield during harvest,” he said. The chairman expressed the hope that with the amount of rain so far recorded in the state this year, there was hope for a bumper harvest if farm inputs were distributed on time to farmers. (NAN)

A contemporary milling machine.

River Basin Projects to benefit from subsidy funds, says minister


n its effort to boost Nigeria’s agricultural production, the Federal government has said part of the subsidy re-investment fund will be channelled to the river

Ghana gets $2.473m new perishable cargo centre new Perishable Cargo Centre (PCC) has officially been commissioned in Accra, the capital city if Ghana, the Ghanaian government has announced. Representatives of the Ministries of Trade & Industry and Food & Agriculture were present as were the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, local Ghanaian organizations and the Dutch Ambassador Mr. Gerard Duijfjes. The PCC is part of the postharvest interventions provided under the Ghana Compact, even as the facility will provide handling and temporary storage of perishable produce,

registered. Eneh, who said farmers in the state had cleared their farms in preparation for this year’s planting season, however, expressed concern that with just one month to the end of the planting season, farmers in the state were yet to receive inputs like fertilisers promised by the government. He said the farmers had also not been able to access the N450 billion agricultural loan promised

such as fruits and vegetables. Parallel to the Perishable Cargo Centre several Field Pack Houses are under construction, in which sorting, packing and cooling will take place. The project cost is US$2.473 million and will be owned by the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL). The facility’s area itself is about 1200 m2 with a storage and cold room of each 200 m2. The facility has a shaded packing area of 350 m2 and work room of 600 m2. The throughput is approx. 20,000 metric tons annually. It is the intention to increase the throughput by 5% annually. Source: The New Times

basin development projects across the country. The Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yarima Lawan, gave this indication recently in an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. “We have identified lack of funds as one of the major problems facing agriculture. That is why government has pencilled down river basin projects among those key areas to benefit from the subsidy reinvestment fund,” he noted, adding that, the dam projects across the country would also benefit from the funds. “All dam projects, as well as about 12 river basin projects will benefit. The projects are located in Borno, Yobe and about seven other states,” he said. He also said that a team of state Directors of Finance would visit Indonesia this month on tour of agriculture projects. Lawan said that the tour was packaged by the Islamic Development Bank to show-case the various projects that had succeeded in changing people’s

lives in that country, adding that, “We are trying to see how we can replicate those projects in Nigeria.” He added that a team of experts from the bank would also visit Nigeria on March 16, to explore the possibility of assisting farmers. The minister said that Nigerian farmers and other interested stakeholders had been invited to come and see how they could benefit from numerous packages offered by the bank. He said that officials of River Basin Development Authorities would also attend the meetings to see how they could access additional funds for their projects. According to the minister, the Arab world is looking for places with favourable climate such as Nigeria, to grow wheat. “They have already started this kind of project in countries like Senegal and Sudan. I believe Nigeria needs this kind of investment because it will generate employment opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths,” the minister assured. (NAN)



CBN approves take off of N75bn grant to boost agriculture business – official T

he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved a takeoff grant of about N75 billion to boost agriculture business across the country, an official has said. CBN’s Head, Project Implementation of Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr Jude Uzonwanne, disclosed this recently in an interview with journalists in Abuja. Uzonwanne said the grant was

approved by CBN to assist farmers to de-risk agricultural business and damages arising from climate change. He said that NIRSAL was a public/private initiative designed by the apex bank and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in 2011 to disburse such grants to financial institutions for easy access by farmers nationwide. “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture is also helping drive the re-construction of value change and where we can, we

Lagos begins full scale rice production By Mohammed Kandi


agos state Government has gone into full scale production of long grain rice, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, has said. This followed the stakeholder meeting recently organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development involving all the state commissioners of agriculture in Abuja. The commissioner also said the plan was to meet the high demand for rice by the teeming Nigerian population. Lawal said: “It is aimed at attaining food security, improve the conditions of local rice farmers and provide employment opportunities for our youths who roam the urban areas seeking for non-existence white collar jobs.” The commissioner said the mill, if completed, was expected to produce about three tonnes

capacity of rice per hour, saying the government had already established a rice mill at Imota to assist rice growers. Lawal also declared that the government was making arrangement to acquire over 600 hectares of irrigated land owned by the Federal Government in Itokin, before the end of the year to boost rice production. “Lagos State Government is discussing with the Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development and Water Resources on the possibility of acquiring the irrigated land at Itokin,” Lawal stated. He also noted that the government would provide farmers with improved rice seeds, fertilisers, agro-chemicals and herbicides, so as to enhance the yield of rice farmers in the state. He further said that the government was also discussing with foreign experts to train rice farmers on modern techniques of rice production.

support that because our role is more all less to act as the lender to lenders,” he said. “In order for us to do that comfortably, we have provide technical assistance to ensure that people can get the goods to markets, that buyers of goods are organised, so we don’t want farmers producing 6 million tonnes of tomatoes and there is no buyer for it,” Uzonwanne added. “If we can work with tomatoes processors to create paste factories or with rice millers to create rice mills, that become part of our responsibility in joint partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture,” he declared. “We are trying to move away from an era in which people saw government assistance to agriculture as their piece of the national cake and they didn’t pay

back loans, we know people who still owe Federal Government money, we want to move away from that,” he stated. According to him, CBN will release the fund to financial institutions for onward disbursement as loans to farmers’ cooperatives, at low interest rate. He said that N45 billion had been earmarked from the N75 billion as loans to the farmers, while the balance would be used to train the farmers and insure them. “The N45 billion becomes critical to the lenders, the remaining of the N75 billion will now be spent on technical training of the farmers to know when to plant, type of fertiliser to use, because not all fertilisers are perfect for all crops and soil types,” Uzonwanne stated. “There is an allocation from the fund to support insurance

companies to produce products to address the needs of farmers, and we are also trying to work with other partners to get more capital to support the growth of farmers,” he said. Uzonwanne said the fundamental goal of the initiative was to create millions of jobs with wealth out of agriculture in the next 10 years, which at the end would create societal stability. He said that inadequate extension workers and private agro dealers in the country was a challenge, as such services were not appropriately deployed. “We have spoken with some state governments to help improve the extension workers as well as to bring in more private agro dealers and to ensure that when farmers need fertilisers they don’t have to travel more than two kilometres.” (NAN)

Developing countries urged to invest in food security


he role of small scale farmers in ensuring food security has been highlighted as one of strategies that developing countries need to prevent famines and prevent food crises. In a statement issued by the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition, David Nabarro, governments, particularly in Africa have been asked to prioritise food security strategies and invest in their agricultural sectors to reduce poverty. He said one of the main challenges the world faces today is ensuring that it can meet the demand for food for nine billion people by 2050. To tackle this challenge, he said, countries should focus on making sure that they have the necessary measures in place to be able to provide food for their population. However, this has become more complex in recent years due to volatile food prices. During 2007 and 2008, rises in food prices triggered a crisis which saw riots in more than 35 countries as prices soared by as much as 30

to 50 per cent and 700 million people suffered from hunger. Mr. Nabarro, who coordinates the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis, said one of the UN’s priorities was to continue to sustain efforts in the 22 countries that experience recurring food crises, such as Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and parts of Uganda and northern Tanzania. He also stated that one the main lessons learned by the international community in the past years was that repeated bursts of humanitarian aid were not the answer to help these countries in the long term. Instead, funding for programmes that increase their resilience and investing in small farmers, who produce most of the food in Africa, proved to be a better strategy. Long-term investment in Ethiopia meant it had been successful in providing a safety net to its citizens, while in Kenya poor infrastructure had hindered the ability to move food from plentiful to drought-hit areas, he noted. Source: The New Times

A palm oil plantation in malaysia.

1,700 hectares under cultivation at Jibia irrigation site – Official


ore than 1, 700 hectares are being cultivated by farmers at the Jibia Irrigation facility in Katsina state, the Project Manager, Alhaji Wada Yakubu, has said. Yakubu told journalists in Jibia that efforts were on to cover all the 3, 500 hectares at the site by October, when work on the installation of new facilities was completed. He, however, said that the installation work had cut down the number of farmers engaged at the site from 7, 200 farmers during the last irrigation season to less than 2,000 farmers in the current season. The manager also attributed the

reduction in the number of participating farmers to epileptic power supply and high cost of diesel, which limited the capacity to pump needed water to all the canals. He said that the project, established 20 years ago, had created job opportunities, reduced the rate of poverty among the rural dwellers and prevented rural-urban drift. On portable water supply, the manager disclosed that the dam had more than 266 million cubic liters of water that could provide drinking water to Jibia and neighbouring communities. Yakubu commended the Federal, State and Local Governments for their support to the

project and urged them not to relent, so as to boost food production. Some of the farmers spoken to commended the efforts of the federal and state governments in maintaining the site, but sought for extension services and supply of improved seeds, chemicals and fertiliser. They also urged the government to open up markets for their products to minimise post harvest loses and to gain maximally from their efforts. One of the farmers, Samaila Umar, called for the education of farmers on new farming methods and other related issues to enable them match in step with modern methods and standards. (NAN)



We’ve seen the threats against Iran before (II) ANALYSIS


he calamity underway in Syria is also directly linked to the Iran crisis. There are two struggles going on in Syria - and unfortunately one may destroy the potential of the other. First was Syria's home-grown popular uprising against a brutal government, inspired by and organically tied to the other risings of the Arab Spring, and like them calling first for massive reform and soon for the overthrow of the regime. Syria is a relatively wealthy and diverse country, in which a large middle class, especially in Damascus and Aleppo, had prospered under the regime, despite its political repression. As a result, unlike some other regional uprisings, Syria's opposition was challenging a regime which still held some public support and legitimacy. The regime's drastic military assault on largely non-violent protests led some sectors of the opposition to take up arms, in tandem with growing numbers of military defectors, which of course meant waging their democratic struggle in the terrain in which the regime remains strongest: military force. The government's security forces killed thousands, injuring and arresting thousands more, and in recent weeks even the longstanding support for Assad in Damascus and Aleppo began to waver. Simultaneously, attacks against government forces increased, and the internal struggle has taken on more and more the character of a civil war. The further complication in Syria, and its link to Iran, is that it has simultaneously become a regional and global struggle. Syria is Iran's most significant partner in the Middle East, so key countries that support Israel's anti-Iran mobilisation have turned against Syria, looking to weaken Iran by undermining its closest ally. (Perhaps because the Assad regimes have kept the occupied Golan Heights and the Israeli-Syrian border relatively quiet, Israel itself has not been the major public face in the regionalisation of the Syrian crisis.) But clearly Saudi Arabia is fighting with Iran in

Syria for influence in the region. The Arab League, whose Syria decision-making remains dominated by the Saudis and their allied Gulf petro-states (such as Qatar and the UAE), is using the Syria crisis to challenge Iran's rising influence in Arab countries from Iraq to Lebanon. And of course the US, France and other Western powers have jumped on the very real human rights crisis in Syria to try to further weaken the regime there - in the interest again of undermining Iran's key ally far more than out of concern for the Syrian people. (Anyone uncertain about the hypocrisy of Washington's claimed human rights concerns, as well as its willingness to embrace the Assad regime in the wake of 9/ 11, need only look to the case of Maher Arar. A Canadian engineer arrested at JFK airport, Arar was accused of "links to terrorism" and subjected to extraordinary rendition by US security

central. The nature of that military engagement is changing - away from largescale deployments of ground troops in favour of rapidly expanding fleets of armed drones, Special Forces, and growing reliance on naval forces, navy bases and seabased weapons. Thus the US backs Saudi intervention in Bahrain to insure the US Fifth Fleet maintains its Bahraini base; Washington's escalating sanctions give the West greater leverage in control of oil markets; the Iranian rhetorical threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (only in desperation since it would prevent Iran from exporting its own oil) is used to justify expansion of the US naval presence in the region. Along with the possibility of losing Syria as a major military purchaser and regional ally, concerns about those US strategic moves played a large part of Russia's veto of the UN resolution on Syria. In Iran, the pressure is high


The government's security forces killed thousands, injuring and arresting thousands more, and in recent weeks even the longstanding support for Assad in Damascus and Aleppo began to waver. Simultaneously, attacks against government forces increased, and the internal struggle has taken on more and more the character of a civil war agencies that sent him to Syria for almost a full year of interrogation and torture. A two-year Canadian investigation found him innocent of any terror links, and paid him $10 million in compensation for Canada's role; but for the US, Arar remains a suspect prohibited from entering the country.) Facing economic crisis, military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the loss or weakening of key client states in the Arab world, the US is weaker and less influential in the Middle East. But maintaining control of oil markets and US strategic capacity are still key regional goals for the US, which means that military power remains

and the sanctions are really starting to bite, with much greater impact felt by the Iranian population, rather than the regime in Tehran. The assassination of Iranian nuclear experts, particularly the most recent murder of a young scientist which was greeted by Israeli officials with undisguised glee and barelydisguised triumph, are more likely aimed at provoking an Iranian response than actually undermining Iran's nuclear capacity. So far, Iran has resisted the bait. But if Israel makes good on its threat of a military strike - despite the virtually unanimous opposition of its own military and intelligence leadership there is little reason to imagine

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

that Iran would respond only with words. The US and Israel are not the only countries whose national leaders face looming contests; Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and its president face huge political challenges as well. The consequences of a strike against Iran would be grave from attacks on Israeli and/or US military targets, to going after US forces in Iran's neighbours Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, to attacks on the Pentagon's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, to mining the Strait of Hormuz ... and beyond. An attack by the US, a nuclear weapons state, on a non-nuclear weapons state such as Iran, would be a direct violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran might kick out the UN nuclear inspectors. The hardest of Iran's hard-line leaders would almost certainly consolidate ever greater power - both at home and in the Arab countries, and the calls to move towards greater nuclearisation, perhaps even to build a nuclear weapon, would rise inside Iran. Indeed, the Arab Spring's secular, citizenship-based mobilisations would likely lose further influence to Iran threatening to turn that movement into something closer to an "Islamic Spring". At the end of the day the crisis can only be solved through negotiations, not threats and force. Immediately, that means demanding that the White House engage in serious, not deliberately time-constrained

negotiations to end the current crisis - perhaps based on the successful Turkish-Brazilian initiative that the US scuttled last year. That means that Congress must reverse its current position to allow the White House to use diplomacy rather than continuing to pass laws that strip the executive branch of its ability to put the carrot of ending sanctions on the table in any negotiations. And it means an Iran policy based on the real conclusions of US intelligence and military officials that Iran does not have and is not building a nuclear weapon, rather than relying on lies about non-existent nuclear weapons, like the WMD lies that drove the US to war in Iraq. In the medium and longer term, we must put the urgent need for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East back on the table and on top of our agenda. Such a multi-country move would insure Iran would never build a nuclear weapon, that Israel would give up its existing 200 to 300 highdensity nuclear bombs and the submarine-based nuclear weapons in its arsenal, and that the US would keep its nuclear weapons out of its Middle East bases and off its ships in the region's seas. Otherwise, we face the possibility of the current predicament repeating itself in an endless loop of Groundhog Day-style nuclear crises - each one more threatening than the last. Source: Concluded



Sudan sees no quick end to oil row with South


senior Sudanese official dashed hopes of a quick end to a row with South Sudan over oil export fees, blaming Juba for blocking chances of a deal that would relieve both countries' beleaguered economies. State Oil Minister Ishaq Adam Gamaa insisted Sudan was under no pressure to rush any deal because its economy could still survive without oil, a veiled warning to Juba, which depends on oil revenues for 98 percent of its income. The U.N. Security Council and the European Union last week urged both countries to end their oil row which some Western diplomats fear could lead to war as oil is the lifeline of both economies. South Sudan split from Sudan in July under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war, but both states are still wrangling over how much the landlocked new nation should pay to export oil through northern pipelines. In January, Juba shut down its entire output of about 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) after Khartoum started taking some oil to compensate for what it called unpaid transit fees. The African Union is trying in a new round of talks in Addis Ababa to broker a deal, but Gamaa accused Juba of blocking a compromise. "They have insisted not even to talk about proposals by (the African Union)," he told Reuters in an interview in the oil ministry on

Sunday, adding it was up to Juba to choose whether it wanted a deal or not. "The decision is theirs," he said. Gamaa said Khartoum was in a better position than Juba to weather the oil shutdown because its larger economy had diversified revenue sources such as gold and livestock exports "We came into the oil business only 10 years ago, so we have our system of taxing. We have our system of agricultural products. We have our system of livestock," he said. In contrast, South Sudan looks

vulnerable. Southern officials have said the new nation has foreign exchange reserves to manage for up to a year, but analysts have said the country may struggle after just a few months. Gamaa countered southern statements that oil exports could resume quickly after a deal, saying it would take at least one month to restart the pipeline, which was now fully flushed with water to avoid gelling. "If you want to start it, you have to fill it with 3 to 4 million barrels," he said in his office on the banks of the Nile.

Gamaa said Sudan was willing to look with "flexibility" at a compromise over pipeline fees but that Juba's proposal to pay less than $1 a barrel would lead to no compromise. Khartoum has said it wants fees totalling about $36 a barrel, plus $1 billion in arrears from July. Gamaa declined to give specific charges, but said a pipeline fee should not be based on international norms such as mileage, as Juba had demanded, and should take into account that Sudan owns the pipeline. "Sudan owns the pipeline... It's not (a) typical (case)," he said.


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (R) listens as his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir speaks during a joint news conference, before Kiir;s departure at Khartoum Airport. (Reuters)

Threats as journalists report genital mutilation in Liberia By Etuka Sunday


he Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Liberian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists who have been repeatedly threatened for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in the country. According to the report submitted to African Press Organization (APO), a reporter for the daily FrontPage Africa

and the news website New Narratives, Mae Azango had gone into hiding after receiving several threats for an article she published about Liberian tribes practicing female genital mutilation. Mae Azango, made it known to CPJ that her life was in danger following the threat. "They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that it will make me shut up, I have not been sleeping in my house," Azango said.

The editor of FrontPage Africa, Wade Williams, confirmed that several people around town had confronted her over the article, which was widely discussed on radio programs. Williams also said that the newspaper and its personnel were receiving threatening phone calls. "They said that for us putting our mouth into their business, we are to blame for whatever happens to us," she said. Meanwhile, Liberia's deputy police director, Al Karley, assured

CPJ of the police investigation into the matter. "Liberian police must immediately investigate these threats and ensure the safety of Mae Azango and other FrontPage Africa staff," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "The people behind these threats seem to be secure that they can act with impunity. Authorities must send a clear message that threats of violence are crimes, and that they will uphold the law."

S/Africa’s Malema pleads to stay in ANC ‘family’


outh Africa's ANC youth rebel Julius Malema pleaded on Sunday for the ruling party not to expel him and made a rare public apology to the

Angola antigovernment protest triggered clash: Police

movement's senior leadership which he has frequently criticised as too moderate in their policies. Malema, 31, confirmed he would appeal against the African National

Embattled African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, near Pretpria, South Africa, during his first public appearance since an appeals ruling to dismiss him from the ruling party was upheld. Malema said he is preparing for life outside the ANC and that his address Friday, may be a farewell speech, to his supporters. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Congress (ANC) decision last month to expel him on charges of sowing divisions within its ranks, which he denies. Striking an unusually contrite figure in an interview broadcast on state TV, the suspended ANC Youth League leader insisted he had done nothing wrong by calling for nationalisation of mines and the seizure of white-owned land in South Africa, the world's biggest producer of platinum. One of the ANC's most dramatic orators, his calls for a radical transformation of Africa's biggest economy had resonated with poor blacks. He frequently mocked President Jacob Zuma. But in an interview on the State of Our Nation programme shown live by state broadcaster SABC, he asked to be allowed to stay on in the ANC, saying membership was "my life" and that he had joined the anti-apartheid

movement at the age of nine. "Please leave me with a card because the imagination of being outside the ANC is too scary. I love the ANC, I don't have anything except the ANC," he said. "I want to apologise to the leadership of the ANC for anything they think I've done wrong ... I did not do it deliberately," said Malema, wearing his traditional black beret and a yellow T-shirt bearing the portrait of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. He strongly rejected persistent media allegations that he had engaged in corruption by using his political position to influence the awarding of government tenders to his business cronies. "There is no court of law that has found me corrupt. I have never had power to channel tenders," Malema said, adding the media in South Africa should be regulated "because this media will destroy this democracy."

ngolan police are investigating a weekend clash in the capital Luanda between young anti-government protesters calling for the resignation of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and progovernment supporters who confronted them. Witnesses said at least three protesters were injured when individuals dressed in plain clothes, some armed with sticks, moved in to disperse the small demonstration on Saturday by about 30 young people in the poor suburb of Cazenga. The demonstrators called for Dos Santos to quit. They also called for the removal of Susana Ingles, whose re-appointment as the head of Angola's national elections committee in January has raised political tensions ahead of an election later this year in subSaharan Africa's second biggest oil producer. "The National Police received complaints that two different groups were confronting each other in Cazenga and it is presumed the groups had different philosophies," a police spokesman said, quoted by the Portuguese news agency Lusa late on Sunday. "Some support the democratically-elected state institutions and others contest the authorities," he added, saying that the police, who arrived at the scene after the clash ended, would continue investigating the incident. Several protests were attempted last year by a budding anti-government youth movement in Angola, presenting a rare challenge to the 32-year rule of Dos Santos. Most of the protests were blocked by police and one resulted in several arrests and injuries to protesters, journalists and police officers. Opponents of the government say national elections committee chief Ingles is linked to Dos Santos' ruling MPLA party and so cannot guarantee a free and fair vote in parliamentary elections to be held in the third quarter of this year. The parliamentary election will be only the second in Angola since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002, and will elect the country's president as well as lawmakers. The MPLA has defended Ingles' re-appointment saying it was an impartial decision by the Magistrates Superior Council and that opposition parties' criticism has been aimed at causing instability in the run up to the election.



More deaths reported in Gaza air raids


sraeli air attacks in the Gaza Strip have killed five more people, bringing the number of dead up to 23 since hostilities erupted in the Palestinian territory on Friday, according to Palestinian medical sources. The Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad said two of the dead were members of its military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, and Israel has said it is hitting back at scores of rocket attacks. In a strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, a 65-year-old man and his daughter were killed. Medics also reported at six air raids in the early hours of yesterday that injured 35 people, and another two raids around the city of Khan Younis, which left two dead and two others wounded.

Medics said another strike killed a 15-year-old boy and injured six other students near a school in northern Gaza. Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from Gaza City yesterday, said there were rumours of a truce on Sunday night, "but that simply didn't come to pass and the air strikes are continuing". He quoted Islamic Jihad sources who said that the Egyptians, at the behest of Hamas - the Palestinian faction that governs the Gaza Strip - were trying to establish an informal truce between Israel and Palestinian groups. However, our correspondent said, "Islamic Jihad is very reluctant to abide by that at the moment ... They are extremely

unhappy that the Israelis are pursuing what they call an 'assassination policy'." He said the group would likely reject any deal "unless they can get a guarantee from Israel that those assassination attacks will stop, and frankly I don't think that guarantee is going to come."

Eighteen of the Palestinians killed since fighting flared on Friday were identified by medical officials as fighters and five as civilians. At least 74 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and three Israelis have been wounded in the past four days. "Sometimes there is collateral

damage, and of course Israel is sorry about that," Efraim Inbar, a defence analyst, said. "Over the years we have perfected techniques, but it's a war. And if we are hit then we have to hit back ... No country in the world would accept missiles being shot at its citizens."

Right-wing party leads in Salvadoran polls


right-wing opposition party is leading by a slim margin in El Salvador's general election, in which the leftist government of President Mauricio Funes is facing a key test of its popularity and support. With 50 per cent of precincts reporting yesterday, the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal said the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) was ahead with slightly more than 40 per cent of the vote. It was closely followed by the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) with 36.8 per cent. A conservative coalition named GANA led by ex-president Elias Antonio Saca, a congressional ally of the FMLN, was a distant third with just 9.4 per cent of the ballot. Six smaller parties also fielded candidates. About 4.5 million Salvadorans voted on Sunday to choose 84 members of the unicameral legislature and mayors of 262 towns and cities. ARENA, which ruled El Salvador for two decades following the country's civil war, campaigned on a tough anti-crime platform that resonated with many voters tired of rampant

crime. Around 14 people are murdered every day in El Salvador, with a population of six million, according to government figures. While unemployment and underemployment dropped from 40 to 36 per cent during the Funes administration, young people continue to emigrate to the US. About one in three Salvadorans now lives in the US, providing remittances of more than $3.6bn in 2011, around onesixth of gross domestic product. Funes, a political moderate with high approval ratings, has two more years as president in this tiny, densely populated Central American nation. But his popularity does not necessarily transfer into votes for his party, the FMLN. In an improvised press conference as he voted on Sunday, Funes urged voters to help him "guarantee that the changes that are taking place are strengthened, and not turned back". The FMLN has campaigned promising social programmes and job creation in a nation with unemployment among one third of the population.

In mourning: Palestinian women react during the funeral of 12-year-old Ayoub Assalya, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike at the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. Picture: AP

About 4.4 million people voted across El Salvador in Sunday's legislative and mayoral elections (AFP)

Workers killed in Istanbul blaze


t least 11 workers have died after a fire broke out among tents at a construction site in the Turkish city of Istanbul. The workers were living in a giant tent on the site of a shopping mall under construction, where the fire broke out late on Sunday, Necmi Kadioglu, the mayor of Istanbul's Esenyurt district, said. "Between 11 and 14 workers are believed to have died in the fire," Kadioglu told the Turkish state-run TRT television from the site of the blaze. "This is the site of a shopping mall. It appears the fire has something to do with the heating problem as it is freezing here and right now it is minus one degree." Authorities suspect that the fire might have originated from an electrical heater, Kadioglu said.

While the cause of the blaze has not yet been established, media reports suggested it may have been caused by a short circuit. Firefighters put out the flames as ambulances attended the scene, the private NTV television reported. Working under floodlights despite the snow, the firefighters managed to recover the bodies of the workers from the mangled ruins of the tent. An adjacent tent was also burned but it was not clear if any of the workers were sleeping there. Istanbul, Turkey's commercial hub, is home to more than 13 million people and a site for many massive construction projects. About 200 people are working at the construction site where the fire broke out.

Firefighters managed to recover the bodies of the workers from the mangled ruins of the tent (EPA)



vangelos Venizelos, the Greek finance minister, will run unopposed for the leadership of the country's Socialist party, officials have confirmed. Venizelos, 55, has won the backing of the PASOK party's leaders and appears to be a certainty to lead the party after a poll, open to both members of the party and the public, on March 18. First on his agenda will be a parliamentary election, to be held in late April or early May. PASOK has been trailing the conservative New Democracy party in opinion polls in the run-up to that election. "Our country is at a crucial juncture and as a result a very large number of PASOK officials have supported my candidacy," Venizelos told a party conference at which his only potential rival, former minister and EU commissioner, Christos Papoutsis, dropped out after failing to secure sufficient backing. Also on Venizelos's agenda, as finance minister, will be managing the country's debt crisis response through a bond swap deal secured last week. A pensioner on crutches hurled yoghurt at the minister during Sunday's PASOK press conference, a reminder of the deep unpopularity of the austerity measures he has overseen during his nine months in office. Greece averted an uncontrolled


Venizelos to lead Greek Socialist party default on Thursday when it struck a debt exchange deal with private creditors that would allow a $171bn [131bn euro] bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund to go forward later this month. Venizelos, a constitutional expert

turned politician, was the principal negotiator during those talks. Greece's second EU/IMF-led bailout in two years will bring to an end the term of the country's current technocratic coalition government, led by Lucas

With a second bailout deal approved, current PM Papademos's government is set to leave office (Reuters)

Papademos, the prime minister. The government was formed in November with the mandate of concluding bailout talks and holding elections, replacing a government led by George Papandreou, the current PASOK leader. Both PASOK and the New Democracy back Papademos and the austerity measures he took to obtain the bailout. That has cost them dearly in the run-up to the election, which is unlikely to produce an outright winner as small, left-wing, anti-austerity parties gain at their expense. Antonis Samaras, Conservative leader, reiterated on Sunday his party's intention to seek an absolute majority in the Greek parliament. "The country can't be governed without one," he told party members. "I wouldn't have negotiating power abroad". While most polls show that New Democracy is firmly in the lead, it is well short of the support required to rule on its own. Analysts expect it to form a coalition with PASOK.

Freed Al Jazeera journalist returns to Doha


l Jazeera journalist Tayseer Allouni is now a free man after spending years in detention for a charge he says was political. Allouni, the Syrian-born Spanish citizen, returned to the Qatari capital Doha on Sunday after a seven year imprisonment in Spain. Spanish authorities said the journalist had collaborated with the al-Qaeda network. They accused him of being a financial courier for the group and charged him with "cooperating with a terrorist organisation". Allouni denied the charges, saying he was arrested only because he had interviewed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader accused of being one of the main architects of the 9/11 attacks on the US. A month after the 9/11 attacks, Allouni secured the exclusive interview with bin Laden. He was later arrested and in 2005 sentenced to seven years in jail in Spain. Allouni was later allowed to leave

his cell for medical reasons but remained under a house arrest for the duration of his detention. On Sunday on his return to Doha, where Al Jazeera is headquartered, Allouni said that his case was political. "The Spanish media stood against me and they have their stance and view against Al Jazeera ... not necessarily against me. They envy Al Jazeera and they fear it at the same," he said. "My case was political and it was clear to me. As for the politicians, we knew their motives and some of the judges that took my case served the interests of the politicians." As a journalist for Al Jazeera, Allouni found himself on the frontlines of the organisation's coverage. He was the bureau chief in Kabul during the war on Afghanistan, where he presided over the channel's office when US forces bombed it. In 2003 he escaped a second attack, this time on the channel's Baghdad bureau, where he was stationed to cover the war in Iraq.

Allouni has always denied the charges against him. The European Court of Human Rights decided on January 17, 2012, that the sentence of seven-year jail term handed down by the Spanish court against Allouni, over

charges of collusion with a terror organisation, was not legal. The European court considered only one out of seven counts presented by the defence team and decided it was enough to rule out the Spanish court's verdict.

Allouni was accused of co-operating with a terrorist organisation (Al Jazeera)

Afghan civilian massacre sparks public fury


he massacre of 16 villagers by a rogue United States soldier has triggered angry calls for an immediate American exit from Afghanistan as Washington tries to negotiate a long-term presence to keep the country from sliding into chaos again. Afghanistan's parliament condemned the killing said the Afghan people had run out of patience with their lack of oversight of foreign soldiers in the country. "The Wolesi Jirga (parliament) announces that once again Afghans have run out of patience

with the arbitrary actions of foreign forces," the parliament said in a statement. The Taliban vowed revenge against the US in a statement posted on their website yesterday that said "American savages'' committed the "blood-soaked and inhumane crime'' in Panjwai district. Just days before Sunday's attack, Kabul and Washington had made significant progress in negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement that would allow American advisers and special forces to stay in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014.

But securing a full deal may be far more difficult now after the shooting spree in villages in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban heartland, which killed mostly women and children. "This could delay the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement," an Afghan government official told the Reuters news agency. The attack, the latest American public relations disaster in Afghanistan, may be a turning point for the United States in a costly and unpopular war now in its eleventh year.

Popular fury over the killing spree, which brought demands that the United States withdraw earlier than scheduled, could be exploited by the Taliban to gain new recruits. "We have benefited little from the foreign troops here but lost everything - our lives, dignity and our country to them,"said Haji Najiq, a Kandahar shop owner. "The explanation or apologies will not bring back the dead. It is better for them to leave us alone and let us live in peace." Anti-Americanism, which boiled over after copies of the Muslim

Scores reported killed in two Syrian cities


ozens of people have been killed in two flashpoint cities in Syria, opposition activists say, hours after the UN special envoy to Syria met the country's president in an effort to reach a diplomatic solution to end the violence. The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), a network of opposition activists, said at least 45 women and children were killed yesterday morning in the Karm alZaytoun neighbourhood of Homs. "[They] have been slaughtered in a massacre by the regime's Shabiha [armed men]," the group said in a statement, adding that 25 other people were killed in other parts of the city. Syria's state news agency said "terrorist gangs" were responsible for killings in Karm al-Zaytoun, and that the bodies of those killed belonged to residents kidnapped by those armed groups. Separately, in the northwestern province of Idlib, Syrian government troops shelled several areas as part of a campaign to crush the opposition in its stronghold along the border with Turkey. Opposition activists said on Monday that 25 people were killed in Idlib. In a phone interview with Al Jazeera, Abu Hani, a city resident, described the conditions in local hospitals as shocking. "After shelling the city, security forces began a house-to-house search for activists and protesters," he said. "And soldiers have been granted complete freedom to loot everything from homes and shops." A Turkish government official said that at least 189 Syrians had crossed into Turkey since Saturday, fleeing the assault on Idlib. The official in Ankara, the Turkish capital, told the AFP news agency that more were likely to continue to cross over. In other parts of the country, the LCC said on Monday that five people were killed in Damascus suburbs, five in Aleppo, one in Damascus city, one in Latakia and one in Deraa. The ongoing violence comes after two days of talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Kofi Annan, the joint envoy of the Arab League and UN to Syria. Annan left Damascus on Sunday with no deal to stop the bloodshed. "It's going to be tough. It's going to be difficult but we have to have hope," he said in Damascus on Sunday. Citing a general desire for peace in Syria, Annan said: "I am optimistic for several reasons." Annan said he had left "concrete proposals" with Assad, and called for an immediate halt to the killings in Syria, where the UN says Assad's forces have killed 7,500 people in a year-long crackdown on protests. "I have urged the president to heed the African proverb which says you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail," Annan said. Syria needed to embrace change and reform, he said.



I can’t have kids... so I got 97 plastic babies


girl who can’t have kids has spent £20,000 on a hoard of 97 plastic babies. Vikki Andrews, 19, began buying them three years ago after doctors diagnosed her

with polycystic ovary syndrome. Now her bedroom is filled with “reborn dolls” — made with hand-moulded plastic and human hair.

Vikki — a student and parttime barmaid — said: “My first, Charlotte, cost £200. I used money I had been saving since I was 14. “Within a week I had

bought her a brother. It was then I realised I wanted lots of them.” Her fiance Warren Bone, 19, is not keen on them. And her parents have

banned them from their living room in Newbury, Berks. Vikki added: "If I take them outside I get funny looks. But I sometimes take them to work for bonding time."

Fiance ... Vikki Andrews with Warren Bone

Eerie... the lifelike dolls fill Vikki Andrews' walls

Retired bookie who went missing eleven years ago ‘was killed by wife and daughter so they could claim his pension pot’


retired bookmaker who went missing 11 years ago was killed by his wife and daughter so they could take his share of the family home and claim his pension pot, a court heard today. Don Banfield, 63, 'signed his own death warrant' when he announced in May 2001 that he was selling the property he owned with his wife Shirley to start a new life on his own, it was said. His body has never been found. Mr Banfield had complained to police that Shirley and her daughter Lynette were trying to kill him, but asked officers to take no further action just two days before he disappeared, the Old Bailey was told. Shirley, now 64, and Lynette, 40, are on trial accused of his murder. They have already admitted fraudulently claiming Mr Banfield's two pensions, pocketing more than £60,000 in the eight years after he vanished. They also managed to get their hands on his £60,000 share from the proceeds of the family home in Wealdstone, north west London, jurors

were told. Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said Mr Banfield, the former manager at the Hampstead branch of William Hill, had decided to set up a new life for himself away from his family at the time he disappeared. The father-of-four, who came to the UK from his native Trinidad in 1960, was planning to use the money from the house sale and his pensions to strike out on his own. 'Shirley, on the other hand, was facing a rather bleaker future,' said Mr Aylett. 'You may have some sympathy for her. 'She was then aged 54 and on the verge of being abandoned without enough money to rehouse both herself and Lynette. 'Further, without Don's pension, or only a share of it, they would have less money to live on than before. 'This, the prosecution suggest, must have caused tension in the household, such as to make Don Banfield fear for his own safety 'Sadly, his fears were well-founded and on May 11, when he signed the contract for the sale of 146 Locket

Shirley (right) and Lynette Banfield, on trial in London accused of killing Shirley's husband, 63-year-old retired bookmaker Don Banfield

Road he was unwittingly signing his own death warrant.' Shirley and Lynette are said to have murdered their father some time that night or during the weekend that followed. Both claim they last saw him two days later, on May 13. 'Within two days of the date on which they claim to have seen or heard from him from the last time, the defendants had begun helping themselves to Don Banfield's pension,' said Mr Aylett. 'Within a few weeks they had got their hands on Don's half-share of the profit from the sale of 146 Locket Road. 'They can only have done so, you may think, in the certain knowledge that he would not be coming back to expose them.' Neither Shirley nor Lynette reported him missing and it was not until May 19 that his friend Rod McIntosh went to the police. 'In the days leading up to his disappearance Don Banfield had complained to the police, to his doctor and also to an old friend that his wife and daughter had been trying to kill him,' said Mr Aylett. 'He had however asked police not to do anything about this. He was biding him time. Once the house was sold he was planning on making a new life for himself on his own and with the £60,000 he was expecting from the sale of the house.' He asked officers to take no further action just two days before he was seen for the last time, he added. In the days after he vanished, Shirley and Lynette first helped themselves to Mr Banfield's William Hill pension by forging a letter to the company instructing them to switch payments to a joint account he held with his wife. A handwriting expert has since determined the note was a forgery,

Suspected murder victim Don Banfield, who disappeared without trace more than a decade ago which allowed the two to claim £29,000 up until November 2008. A similar application was made to the Department of Work and Pensions in January 2003 in respect of Mr Banfield's state pension, although the claim form has since been lost. This fraud netted £34,000 for the pair up to May 2009. Shirley also made a claim for Disability Living Allowance, with entries on the form purporting to have been made by her husband. In the years following his death, Shirley and Lynette bought a house in Whitby, Yorkshire, which they sold before going to stay with family in Stanmore, Middlesex. 'You may think this move has the hallmarks of an attempt to distance themselves from anyone asking too many questions about what had happened to Don,' said Mr Aylett. They later bought a property in York, before selling that and eventually settling in Canterbury,

Kent. When police reopened the investigation into Mr Banfield's disappearance in 2009, they told officers he had visited them there at Christmas 2008 - though they now admit this was a lie. 'Shirley Banfield told the police had turned up asking if he could use her house as a postal address,' said Mr Aylett. 'Mrs Banfield said Don had not looked well and had been coughing up blood. She said she believed he had gone back to Trinidad.' But she later admitted her deception to her son Kevin, now 43, he added. 'Kevin Banfield told the police his mother had admitted to him that Don was dead and she had lied about having seen him,' he told jurors. 'Kevin said Shirley had told him that she had lied in an attempt to conceal the fraud on William Hill and the DWP. She insisted she had not killed him.'



Cleaning the house can kill off your sense of smell (and so can ignoring toothache!)


ur ability to smell vastly improves our enjoyment of life — indeed, it’s thought that 90 per cent of our sense of taste is actually down to smell. Smell is also vital in alerting us to potential danger — such as smoke, for instance, a gas leak or spoiled food. Our sense of smell is triggered when microscopic particles released by substances such as perfume in the air or freshly ground coffee are breathed up through the nostrils, explains Henry Sharp, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at East Kent Hospitals. ‘The cells send an electric signal to an area at the bottom of the brain specifically concerned with smell, known as the olfactory bulb,’ he says. ‘Smell can also be triggered as we chew food, through the channel that connects the roof of the mouth to the nose.’ Sense of smell is often affected temporarily by a cold because the nasal passages become blocked with excess mucus, and the tissue that lines the nostrils becomes inflamed and swollen. However, in some cases a loss of smell can persist. Experts stress that most problems can be tackled if caught early. ‘If you experience problems for more than six weeks after a cold or flu, or suddenly become aware of problems, it’s important to see your GP,’ says George Murty, a consultant ear, nose and throat specialist at the University Hospitals of Leicester. ‘They will take a history, check for any obvious blockages and, if necessary, refer you on to a specialist.’ Here, our experts detail some of the possible causes of both a temporary and permanent loss of smell: HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS ‘Using strong household cleaners, such as bleach, a few times a week in unventilated areas such as a small bathroom can cause the toxic smell to

affect the delicate lining and sensory cells in the nose,’ says Mr Murty. ‘This applies to the serial cleaners among us at home, but is also particularly relevant to those who work in industries that use chemicals such as chlorine, acids or solvents — or are even surrounded by metal dusts — on a day-to-day basis.’ Whether the sense of smell returns depends on how long there’s been a problem and how badly the cells have been affected: it can be permanent. DIABETES Nerve damage — or neuropathy, the long-term complication of diabetes — is most commonly associated with pain and numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet. But this damage can also extend in some cases to the sensory nerves in the nose controlling smell. In a recent study at University Hospital Henri Mondor in France, all 68 diabetic patients scored significantly lower in recognising smells than the 30 healthy participants. PREGNANCY ‘Affecting up to 30 per cent of women during pregnancy, smell loss — usually reduced rather than total — tends to occur during the second and third trimester,’ says Mr Murty. ‘This occurs because the higher amounts of oestrogen during this time lead to increased blood flow in the body (to accommodate for the growing foetus). ‘This then causes the tiny blood vessels in the nose lining to swell up, blocking the pathway of any particles going up the nose.’ BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION Your heart function may improve with high-blood pressure medication but your sense of smell might not. Although rare, it is a documented side-effect for certain heart medications — including Enalapril — although

Your sense of smell could be affected by too much cleaning.

Vital: Our sense of smell is important in alerting us to potential dangers it’s not clear why. Fortunately, arranging a change of medication with your GP will usually remedy problems rapidly. TOOTH INFECTION Ignore a sore tooth at your peril; as well as being painful, it could affect your sense of smell. ‘Infection occurs when bacteria spreads inside the teeth or gums, causing a chronic dental infection or, in some cases, a dental abscess,’ says Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, from the Royal College of General Practitioners. Bacteria can spread into maxillary sinuses, the small, air-filled spaces behind your cheekbones — and can cause inflammation, soreness, fever and a loss of smell. AGEING Up to 25 per cent of those over 60 may suffer from this — and this figure may increase to 62.5 per cent in those aged 80 to 97, according to a study carried out at San Diego State University and the University of California. ‘As we age, the number of fibres in the olfactory bulb starts to decrease, hence there’s less sensitivity to smells,’ says Jamie M. Boyce of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, who has written a paper on the effects of ageing on smell and taste. VITAMIN DEFICIENCY The production of red blood cells is probably vitamin B12’s most important role, but it plays a key role in our ability to smell, too.

‘A deficiency occurs when the vitamin, which is found in foodstuffs such as dairy products, meat and eggs, fails to be absorbed through your small intestine,’ says Dr Anton Emmanuel, gastroenterologist at University College Hospital, London. The usual triggers are age and acid reflux medication. NERVE DISORDERS Scientists have long been looking for ways to identify Parkinson’s at the earliest stages of the disease — the earlier it is treated, the better. Now studies are showing that a loss of smell can predate the onset of clinical symptoms by several years. In one study carried out in Honolulu, researchers found

that men with the lowest smell recognition scores were more than five times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared with those with the highest scores. A loss of smell is caused by the same disease process that leads to problems with movement, a better known symptom of Parkinson’s. Essentially, the disease leads to a reduction in the number of brain cells that produce dopamine, the chemical that controls communication between nerve cells. ‘Alzheimer’s is another degenerative neurological condition for which a loss of a sense of smell and ability to distinguish between smells is among the earliest symptoms — sometimes years earlier,’ says Dr Cockerell. NASAL POLYPS Sinusitis causes inflammation, which leads to a headache, temperature and a loss of smell, which is more significant than that experienced in a common cold. ‘If the inflammation of the sinus lining is long-standing and unchecked, nasal polyps may form, which look a bit like grapes hanging down from the sinuses inside the nose,’ says Mr Sharp. As these are thought to be caused by this chronic inflammation, treatment usually involves steroids or surgery. Generally, the patient’s sense of smell can be improved. HEAD INJURIES It’s also more likely to happen if the injury occurs to the front of the brain, which responds to smell messages. ‘It occurs because the force of impact shifts the brain within the skull, tearing the delicate nerve fibres that connect your nose to the brain,’ says Dr Oliver Cockerell, a neurologist at Barts and the London NHS Trust and the London Clinic. Unfortunately in these cases, there is no specific treatment, but in up to 39 per cent of patients the nerves can re-grow, and this can occur up to three years after the injury, Source:

It is believed that 90 per cent of our sense of taste is actually down to what we smell



Katsina LG caretaker: How Mangal, Inde, Barkiya, others lost out

Business tycoon, Dahiru Barau Mangal

ANALYSIS From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina


t was the intricacies inherent in politics that made experts to define politics as the "theatre of lies and deception". The recent political climate in Katsina has provided an interesting scenario in a power game within a democratic process. The state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema has after one year of the dissolution of the former elected councils appointed caretaker committees to run the 34 local governments of the state. The appointment of the caretaker committees followed weeks of agitation by persons within and outside the governor's party. The most vocal agitation on the need to have local government elections came from an 'unlikely' quarter, which was the state House of Assembly. The most vocal voices in the House came from the following members: Alhaji Danlami Kurfi, Dr. Lawal Aliyu Musawa, Alhaji Bala Sani Yaya. The argument of these lawmakers was that were local government elections in the state was long overdue and that the move to form caretaker committees was illegal. As if they came from the opposition, the three PDP lawmakers went a step further by condemning the withholding of local government funds by the state government. However as the pressure mount, Governor Shema two weeks ago appointed a 30member caretaker committee for each of the 34 local governments of the state. The caretaker committees have the following composition: a chairman, vicechairman, secretary, ward

Customs boss, Abdullahi Dikko Inde

councilors, supervisory councilors and special advisers. Soon after the composition of the caretaker committees, complaints and rejection trail the exercise with some interest within the PDP feeling shortchanged. Specifically, in Kurfi local government, a committee of elders and 12 special advisers appointed for the council rejected their appointments, alleging that an old political war horse in the state, Alhaji Ahmadi Kurfi had cornered all the lucrative posts in the council. Similar complaints trailed the composition of caretaker committees in other local governments. Similar, complaints trail the composition of caretaker committees of Batsari and Jibia local governments. However, Peoples Daily gathered that the big losers in the political game of caretaker composition in Katsina state, include, a business mogul, Alhaji

Gov. Ibrahim Shema of Katsina state

Dahiru Mangal, the ComptrollerGeneral of the Nigeria Customs, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi Inde, Engineer Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, Engineer Muttaqa Rabe Darma, among others. In the case of Mangal, his inlaw who was the forme chairman of Safana local Government, Alhaji Abdulkadir Zakka was not returned to his seat so also in Katsina local government, most of his boys were not returned into the caretaker council. In the case of the Customs boss, his junior brother, Alhaji Sada Inde who was desperately agitating for the job was also not given. Engineer Barkiya, who was among the major PDP financiers in the state was similarly edged out as his junior, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi lost the Kurfi seat. Feelers from Zangon Daura revealed that a political heavyweight from the area, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura was


The most vocal voices in the House came from the following members: Alhaji Danlami Kurfi, Dr. Lawal Aliyu Musawa, Alhaji Bala Sani Yaya. The argument of these lawmakers was that were local government elections in the state was long overdue and that the move to form caretaker committees was illegal. As if they came from the opposition, the three PDP lawmakers went a step further by condemning the withholding of local government funds by the state government.

also leaking his wounds as his interest was not protected in the composition of Zangon-Daura local government caretaker committee. The incumbent Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Engineer Muttaqa Rabe Darma's boy's could not even make it to the caretaker committee. To keen observers of political developments in Katsina for the past 12 years, the recent caretaker committee politics is not a new thing. The powers that be in the state have since the time of Late Umaru Musa 'Yar'adua understood that local governments hold the key to the success of any political enterprise in the state. In 1999 when late 'Yar'adua was scheming to be elected the governor of the state, he by-passed the party elders by forming a coalition of youth called 'K-34". It was through this coalition that he subdued the elders of the party that were supporting a different candidate at that time. When 'Yar'adua won the election he dumped the 'K-34" and held on to the elders for strategic reasons. After winning his hotly contested second term, late 'Yar'adua slowly begun a policy of systematically making the party elders irrelevant in the scheme of things. Interestingly, 'Yar'adua used the local government chairmen to clip the political wings of these party elders and other stakeholders with divergent views in the party. It was the same structure used by the late 'Yar'adua to bring the incumbent governor of the state, Shema to power in 2007. Therefore pundits in the state have it that Governor Shema, having realized the futility of depending on someone's political

structure for political success is now set to form one of his own. It is a well known political fact in Katsina state that the 'Yar'adua boys’ and the local government chairmen installed by him almost rendered the governor useless politically. Similarly, all eyes are now on the 2015 elections and by the nature of Nigerian politics each executive office holder wants to have a hand on who will succeed him. There were at present in Katsina array of interested parties that want to succeed the governor. Speculations are ripe that those who want to succeed the governor include among others yet to make their interests public, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Tsauri (TATA), Senator Ibrahim Ida, Inde, Senetor Yakubu Lado Danmarke, Engineer Muttaqa Rabe Darma, Alhaji Musa Sada, incumbent Minister of Steel Development. Apparently, of all these line off of candidates waiting to take over from Shema in the PDP the closest to him is Sada. Sada is a personal friend to the governor, he was also his commissioner of works, housing and transport and he was nominated for the ministerial appointment by the governor. Therefore it was only natural that the governor has confidence in him and wants him to succeed him. So with these factors the governor would surely strategize to make sure his man clinch the job in 2015. Paradoxically, the governor may face stiff opposition before the 2015 election. First, those he was trying to sideline in the party have the political and resource capacity to match him. Secondly, most of them seeking to succeed him are also better connected in the party and the presidency. Political pundits in the state are of the opinion that the governor must be careful in his current political steps as it may portend doom for him and the party in the run-off to the 2015 elections.Only last weekend a political heavyweight in the party in Sabuwa local government, Alhaji Muhammad Sagir Machika left the party over the manner the party conducted its congresses and the composition of the local government caretaker committees in his constituency. Political pundits in Katsina state are also of the view that no matter what happened the political landscape of the state would change by 2015. It is apparently clear that the PDP in Katsina is facing new challenges. The state House of Assembly that was in part viewed with alleged docility has now woken-up and provides the required challenges and is asking the most vital questions.



Boko Haram: Jonathan does not fund military operations, says Borno commissioner INTERVIEW In this interaction with newsmen last week in Kaduna, the Borno state Commissioner for Information, Inuwa Bwala, said the presence of the Joint (military) Task Force (JTF) cannot stop activities of Boko Haram in the area. Our Kaduna Bureau Chief, Agaju Madugba was there. Excerpts:


everal months after the intervention of the FederalGovernment,through the Joint Task Force (JTF), the security situation in Borno state appearstoremainintractable.Why is this so? Yes, that tells you that the intervention was not the solution. We have always said it that war ends on a round table. In this case, these people have adopted guerrilla tactics in trying to fight their perceived enemies and you know that the best army never succeeds with guerrilla fighters. The Federal Government declared a state of emergency and took over the security management of that area and the situation persists, that tells you that the decision was not popular. In any case, even when the Federal Government declared the state of emergency, we still foot the bill. Till today, the Federal Government has not given us a dime in the name of assisting us to fund the logistics of maintaining law and order in Maiduguri. As I speak with you, nobody has visited to know and appreciate the problems we find ourselves in. at a point, you begin to feel frustrated to the effect that perhaps, the federal government regard us as renegades in Borno state. If not, why won't somebody even come and know what is on ground? Why won't the Federal Government extend a hand of partnership to us through financial assistance? It is true that the situation may not seem to be abating now, but it is not peculiar to Borno as it is because it is everywhere right now. So, if we approach it from a holistic viewpoint and as a national problem, it will be better for us as a country. But as long as some people feel that it is the problem of a particular enclave or that it is the problem of Borno state, so shall the solution to this problem continue to defy us and find manifestation in different degrees in different places. So, I think that we still need to sit down and discuss the best modalities for pursuing this matter. The Boko Haram issue is not just a Borno problem. It is a Nigerian problem; it is a sub-regional problem. You have had a dose of it here in Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, and Gombe and even in Abuja. So, I do not know why people are so special about Borno and creating unnecessary mountain out of a mole hill. The situation in Borno is not different from the situation in any of the states affected by this crisis. So, we are very hopeful that we will rise from the debris of this crisis and shine as a state known for peace and tourism. There is also this postulation that the Boko Haram was the creation of politicians who used themaspoliticalthugs.Howtrueis

thisinsinuation? The truth of the matter is that Boko Haram may have started as an ideological struggle. So, our politicians do not have the capacity to have started it. It may have had its roots in religion, until it was hijacked by other people. So, if you say politicians hijacked the modus oparandi of Boko Haram and use it to unleash terror on opponents, it is in order. If you say armed robbers hijacked the operational modalities of Boko Haram, use it to unleash terror and hide under the alibi, I will agree with you. But to say a particular politician or group of politicians started Boko Haram does not logically tally. The truth is that Boko Haram is far beyond the conception of Nigerian politicians who may not be so sophisticated because they are beyond what you are thinking. They are spread all over West Africa and all over Nigeria. If anybody claims to fund Boko Haram or that a particular individual funds Boko Haram, he does not understand the orientation of the group.Reply to: People thought that after payingcompensationtothefamily of the late Boko Haram leader, the problem would have subsided? You see, people have misinterpreted the issue of the payment of that compensation to that family. First, it was not the family of the leader of the Boko Haram leader that was paid compensation. It was the family of his father-in-law who was killed either in error or deliberately and for whatever reason, the court in Maiduguri felt he was not killed through the constitutional means and so, granted damages against the government. Borno state government was to pay N40 million while the Federal Government was to pay N60 million. Now, as the government worst hit by this crisis, we felt that there was no need for us to appeal against that judgment or to engage in unnecessary legal tango with our own citizens. That was what informed the payment of the compensation to the family of the inlaw of the late Boko Haram leader

who was also killed. In any case, we wanted to show to the world that we obey lawful instructions which wass the order of the court. Secondly, we felt that we do not have to prolong the sadness of that family by dragging on the issue. The situation in the state must have impacted so much on the day to day running of the government and its finances. May we know what the government is committing to financing security in the state at the moment? I may not be able to tell you exactly what we spend. Even for those of you outside Borno, looking at the quantum of personnel and logistics required which we have to fund, you will know that we are spending a lot. Like I told you, we have not received any financial assistance from the Federal Government. The entire operation is funded by the Borno state government. We pay their allowances, provide the vehicles and fund the logistics. So, naturally, it takes its toll on our finances. But we thank God that the immediate past administration left something substantial for us which we have fallen back to. In any case, funding of security issues is not something you discuss on the pages of newspapers. What effort has the government made to initiate dialogue with the group? We have ab-initio said that as a government, we do not have the instrument to do any other thing than dialogue. As a government, we believe that even war end on a round table and so, we are insisting that dialogue is the best way out. On our part, we have tried to contact with some religious leaders who may be in a position to reach these people and explain to them that we are honest with this offer of dialogue. Unfortunately, the Federal Government, in her wisdom decided to employ what we call carrot and stick. We do not know what level of success they have achieved with that carrot and stick approach because I am not in a position to comment on what they are doing. But as a state government, we are insisting that any Nigerian who has an idea on how we can engage these people in dialogue or has contact with these people and can tell them that we are committed and honest about this offer of dialogue, such a person or persons should come forward so that we partner and see how we can reach out to these people. Of course we are very passionate to meet and discuss with them so that we know what actually their problem is and what government can do to solve the problem. In spite of these challenges, what have been some of the development efforts of the state government? Against these security challenges,


Borno state Information Commissioner, Inuwa Bwala the government has not been slowed down for one day. As you know, it is not only the security challenges that we have to face. We went through a prolonged legal war with our opponent and as you also know, so many people used the name of Boko Haram to perpetuate other crimes. Politicians were using Boko Haram to settle political scores; armed robbers were using Boko Haram to attack banks and attack markets; mischief makers who did not wish the government well and wants to slow her down do so many things and hide under the cover of Boko Haram to the extent that Boko Haram became a perfect alibi for any criminal. But we thank God that in the face of this, we have been able to do some things which we can beat our chest about. For example, we promised during our campaign that we are going to provide five hospitals and as I speak with you, four of them have been commissioned. The remaining one would have been commissioned by now, but the delay is caused by the busy schedule of the governor. But that hospital itself is ready and will soon be commissioned. We have procured four drilling rings for the provision of water especially in the northern part of the state where the water level is very deep. These four rings will be saving the government about N100 million every month in terms of the provision of water. We have closed down nine secondary schools for complete overhaul and renovation. They will be furnished with stat of the earth facilities obtainable in some of the private secondary schools we all send our children to. By the time we finish with that, we would have started a revolution in the education sector in the state. We have also started what is the first of its kind in this country, trying to marry western education with Islamic education. We have commissioned one of such schools in the state and you need to come and see the enthusiasm with which our citizens embraced that initiative. There is plan

Like I told you, we have not received any financial assistance from the Federal Government. The entire operation is funded by the Borno state government. We pay their allowances, provide the vehicles and fund the logistics. So, naturally, it takes its toll on our finances.

at the moment to commission six more of such schools across the state. we initially built these schools as boarding primary schools. We are not converting them to this Tsangayya model schools where they have the opportunity to study western education without having to deviate from studying Quaranic education. We have commissioned a skill acquisition centre because in our own understanding, the genesis of the whole problem is the pervasive poverty in the land and the joblessness of the youths. So, we plan to take the youths off the streets and engage them in agro based business. We are putting into use the vast arable land along the Lake Chad shore and by next year, we intend to cultivate not less than 20,000 hectares of that land for rice and millet and we will employ our youth to work on that project. We also intend to cultivate about 10 hectares of land along Dadi Kowa on the border between Borno and Gombe state. By the time we commission these two projects, we hope to take off the streets, about 27,000 youths who are hitherto unemployed and when you take 27,000 jobless youths off the street, I think you would have reduced the problem by half. We have initiated so many programmes and very soon, we intend to call an all Borno summit where we will call all stakeholders irrespective of their political leaning what has become of the Borno state we know; what can we do about it; what inputs can they give so that the government can work well and build the Borno of our dream? We want people to come and give us their honest input on how we can develop Borno state. We have initiated several other projects which time will not permit me to enumerate here; but I can assure you that Borno state will soon rise again and when it rises, it will certainly not sink. We do not want to allow the crisis we are facing to slow us down in any way, neither do we want the challenges being posed by our unrepentant opponents to slow down our pace of development. in any case, they are fighting a futile battle because even if our elections had been nullified and we return to the polls 100 times, we will defeat them 100 times because they have so far not offered any alternative to the development of Borno state. These are idlers who stay in Abuja and seldom go home and have no constituency. Even as a Commissioner, lowly placed as I may be, I can floor them.





n an effort to make pupils active participants in the electoral process, INEC said on Monday in Abuja that it would ensure that voter education became part of the secondary school curriculum. Prof. Lai Olurode, Chairman of the Board of Electoral Institute, INEC, said this at a roundtable of experts on voter education for principals and students of secondary schools. The meeting had the theme: ``Catching Them Young''. Olurode said teenagers constituted a large percent of the entire population of the country and as such, the move would mean a more suitable approach


INEC to introduce voter education into secondary school curriculum for spreading voter education messages among the students. ``So that we can reach as many Nigerians as possible with regards to voter education messages especially to make sure that they are active participants in the democratic train. ``They register when they come of age; when it is time for election they go out to vote; and in terms of the entire election

process they have a role to play at every critical moment of the election process." Olurode said the role of voter education did not lie with INEC alone, but with all other stakeholders in the electoral process. He explained that the move, intended to educate pupils on how to thumbprint on the ballot papers and how important voting was, would also address voter

apathy and checkmate invalid votes. ``The mistakes that the older generations of voters are making, we wouldn't want the younger generations to fall inside the same pit fall. ``You spend your time to queue; you get registered, after you have been registered on the election day, you get accredited. ``You spend the whole day getting accreditation you spend

the whole day exercising your franchise; at the end of the day for your ballot to be declared invalid because it is void; because you have wrongly thumbprinted; that is why we are addressing this issue.'' He said that the meeting would be extended to zonal and state levels to include the contributions of Resident Electoral Commissioners, school principals and other key players in the electoral process. (NAN)

PDP in Kebbi elects national delegates


L-R: Former Oyo state Governor, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, Osun state Governor, Chief Rauf Aregbesola, Alhaja Mutiyat Ladoja, and Comrade Rotimi Obadofin, during the governor's visit to the former governor's residence, on Sunday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

PDP needs credible chairman, Saraki insists From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


ormer Kwara state governor and Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) neededed a credible National Chairman and National Working Committee (NWC) members that should be ready to serve and resolve challenges facing the party and its state governments. Saraki who stated this while briefing journalists in Ilorin on the state of the party noted that the PDP was almost concluded on the zoning formula that would ensure that other candidates step down for a few that are

competent. "All we know is that as a party we need to get a good candidate who can unite the party; a candidate that is well respected, that can move the party forward. A lot of challenges face the party presently; a lot of challenges face the government that the party needs to support. But you know our Convention is still about three weeks away and you know in this kind of thing a lot of things are still going on behind the scene. But by and large, I think we are getting close in concluding some of the different areas and I am confident by the time we get to the date, like PDP we used to do it, we would have resolved." "You know party conventions are family affairs and are not

meant to be a do or die affair. Even in other countries like the USA they are already telling the other candidate to step down and let Romney go ahead because it.... I think by and large we will reach some kind o f agreement. We are already seeing that, we have almost concluded the issue of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary to different zones; we are still looking at that and all the other NWC positions," Saraki submitted. While commenting on the Nigerians and South-African diplomatic row, Saraki said the action of the former shown that Nigerians are contributing a lot to their nation's economy and they could not avoid to take the risk.

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kebbi has elected state delegates in 21 Local Government Areas, preparatory to the national convention of the party. Alhaji Muhammadu Bako, an official from the PDP national secretariat, who supervised the election, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Monday that the election, which had been hitch free, showed "that was a sign of unity." He urged delegates to work for the success of the party during the forthcoming national delegates conference and the governorship rerun election. Alhaji Umaru Iliya, the NorthWest Zonal PDP official, said the

delegates satisfied conditions to contest while the followers had displayed resolve to work for the victory of the party at local, state and national levels. Alhaji Tijjani Zauro, the PDP chairman of the Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area, said that most of the delegates were returned unopposed was an indication of unity within the ruling party. He maintained that the development also showed that there was internal democracy in the party. "The internal democratic principle of the PDP had ensured good governance in the state," he said. (NAN)

Kwara guber: Belgore faults INEC the Supreme Court on performance From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


he Kwara state gubernatorial candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the April 2011 general election, Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), has said that despite over N84 billion budgeted for Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to prepare for the polls by Federal Government, the Commission has performed below the expectation of many people. Belgore who stated this recently while addressing journalists in Ilorin at the party Secretariat alongside the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that though

had dismissed the case he filed against Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, yet he would continue to fight for the cause of voiceless people in the state. He disclosed that INEC did not improve on the 2003 electoral lapses despite the people's expectation stressing that the Commission needed to do a lot in the on conduct of the election subsequently. Commenting on the judgment, Belgore said" the Supreme Court decision was not that there was no irregularity. It was that in its own view that the irregularities were not substantive enough to affect the outcome of the election. Supreme Court is the highest Court in the land, it has spoken and we cannot question it.

Wait for party’s directive, PDP tells states with inconclusive congresses By Lawrence Olaoye, with agency report


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday warned states where its council congress were inconclusive to wait for directives from the party`s headquarters on possible new dates. A source at the party`s national headquarters, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on

grounds of anonymity, said that the party`s leadership was doing everything possible to solve the problem. Meanwhile, a statement by Prof. Rufai Alkali, the party`s National Publicity Secretary and made available to NAN, had noted that some states were flouting the party`s principle. The statement, which in particular referred to Ogun, warned that the state should be guided by the party`s principles. ``The attention of the

National Working Committee (NWC) has been drawn to plans by some groups in Ogun to conduct congresses contrary to directives. ``The NWC wishes to reiterate that Congresses at all levels in Ogun state have been suspended until all issues relating to disputes in the state are resolved, '' it said. It warned the state PDP to stop such moves, asserting that any congress purportedly conducted in any state without

the party`s approval would be regarded as null and void; `` and of no effect whatsoever.'' It further warned that any persons or group of persons that flouted the party`s directive would face appropriate disciplinary action. It advised party stakeholders in Ogun to await directives on congresses and `` to ignore anybody claiming to be conducting congresses in the state.'' NAN reports that the PDP congresses, which commenced on

March 3 with Ward Congress, would peak with the national congress on March 24. The National Executive Council (NEC) of the party at its 59th meeting, following a constitution review, agreed on the proposal to adopt a zoning policy to elect party officials at all levels in the country. This, according to the party`s NEC, would consolidate its broadbased national support as well as carry each constituent part of the nation along. (NAN)



NASCOM lauds Dame Patience over trophy gesture By Albert Akota


he Chairman of the Nigeria Academicals Committee, (NASCOM) who doubles as coordinator of the Nigeria Academicals Swimming SubCommittee, Godwin Nbiene, has commended the founder of Women for Change Initiative, First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan for donating a Swimming Peace Trophy to the body. Speaking in Abuja while applauding the gesture, the Chairman lamented the slow development of swimming in the country adding that with the gesture shown by the First Lady he hopes for a bright future for the game. He said that NASCOM has conceptualized the development of swimming in Nigeria from grassroots. “ We have thrown away the era of youth competitions and discarding the talent identified, but we have made good plans to train this future stars that will be discovered in the Peace Trophy competition in the best training centre in the world and under best coaches. “We thank the First lady Dame patience Jonathan for giving us trophy through her Women for change initiative for the forthcoming peace trophy competition that the date is still tentative. “There are thousands of swimmers worldwide that are making their living from the sport that Nigeria would not be an exception if prepare attention is given to the game from grassroots.” he said. Nbiene further said that swimming should not be made regional affairs, as good swimmers can come out of places like Sokoto, Zamfara, Borno and Kebbi States. H e appealed to all sports l o v i n g Nigerians to emulate the Women for C h a n g e Initiatives in sponsoring v a r i o u s swimming events in NASCOM program. Dame Patience Jonathan

NSC DG, Chief Patrick Ekeji

Victor Baribote

Aminu Maigari

NPL scribe faces sack over breaches By Patrick Andrew


he days of Tunji Babalola as the acting Executive Secretary General of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) are numbered going by the intense moves by the leadership of the league board to get him removed from the saddle. Impeccable sources hinted yesterday that the Chairman of the NPL, Chief Victor Baribote, has formally intimated his colleagues on the board on the need to ease out Babalola soonest on alleged administrative and statutory breaches. Peoples Daily Sports learnt that Baribote has equally drawn the attention of the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation to these breaches among which are Babalola’s recent directive to clubs to hold a meeting in response to an ultimatum issued by some persons in the name of clubs owners, and lackadaisical attitude toward work. According to our source, who confirmed that a club from his zone had been informed of a propose meeting, Babalola had called some clubs for a meeting at some hotel in Abuja without formally clearing with the board. “Of course, quite rightly any sound mind would read meaning to this. It clearly shows that Babalola is not in the know of the rules. Besides, he is obviously fighting against the leadership of the board.” the source said noting that the NPL Congress held last December in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State had abolished the Clubs Owners Association since it lacks statutory recognition.

“You know the Statute of the NPL does not recognise Clubs Owners. Tunji should know this as the secretary of the league board. Besides, had he being alert to his functions the N12 million that was allegedly misappropriated by his subordinate may not have occurred. “Again, if you note carefully events at the secretariat, Tunji has failed to demonstrate shrewdness in handling affairs. How on earth could he allow the secretariat, which is the image of the league board and indeed the premiership in Nigeria, to be muddled up over rent,” the source said stressing that if Baribote decides to incite the board against him, he may be right. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that nine persons had last Thursday issued one week ultimatum to the NPL Secretariat to call a congress to deliberate on salient matters. The signatories, who included former board members of the NFF, NPL and founding member of the professional league body, had in consonance with the statutes that requires one third of the delegates to call for congress if need be, requested the secretariat to do so. Our source further clarified that had the ruling of Justice Donatus Okorowo which sacked both the NFF and NPL boards not been appealed it would have meant only 20 clubs would constitute the delegates and only about seven clubs could force a congress. “No, the board remains, hence anything done without the consent of the board amounts to an affront and a breach of known statutory rules,” the source asserted noting that even the NSC would not tolerate such breach.

NPL takes over security at match venues F

ollowing the recent spate of crowd restiveness at league venues, the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) has decided to take over security arrangements from state football associations. Alhaji Owolabi Agbaji-Wopa, an NPL member representing North-Central, stated this in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Ilorin. The NPL member decried the frequent encroachment of fans into the field of play during league matches and described the development as an embarrassment and

a bad advertisement for football. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NPL’s 2011/2012 matches had been fraught with crowd restiveness, which is gradually becoming the hallmark of the league’s games. The latest of such disorderly conduct was the Week 13 encounter between Heartland FC of Owerri and Enyimba FC in which heartland lost 3-2 to their “oriental rivals”. The result did not go down well with Heartland’s supporters who vented their anger on the referee.

Wopa-Agbaji warned that any club that flouts the rules and regulations of the NPL would be sanctioned by the regulatory body and urged clubs to call their fans to order. “It is the poor security situation in most of the league venues that is affecting television coverage of the league matches. “We need teams to prevail on their supporters on the need to be well behaved at all times, especially during league matches,” said the NPL member. Speaking on the ill-fated Week 12 Kwara United and Sunshine Stars FC

encounter in which the match was abandoned, the NPL member said that the body would act decisively on the issue. Agbaji-Wopa also announced that two refrees, Sanni Mohammed from Kaduna and Billy Aminu from Sokoto, have been banned for the rest of the season because of their alleged complicity in the matches they officiated. He added that a committee had been set up to assess matches to ensure fair play. The NPL official urged football fans to remain steadfast and to continue to watch league matches.



AFN technical crew capable of repositioning track, field, says Amike


enry Amike, a quarter miler at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, says the technical crew recently constituted by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has the capability to reposition track and field. Amike told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos that the appointment of Innocent Egbunike as Head Coach had further boosted Nigeria’s chances at the Olympics. The Olympian said that he was confident that the recently appointed coaches would restore Nigeria’s glory in athletics. “I believe that the technical knowhow of the team is getting better because we are having

some crop of new coaches coming on board and that is going to help the athletes at that level. “Because there is one thing to train a grassroots athlete and there is another thing to take over from there, to give them what they need; the finesse that they can do well at major championships and that is what we are working towards.” Amike said that he was satisfied with the assistance being provided by the National Sports Commission (NSC) and AFN towards the London 2012 Olympics. “With the crop of athletes that we are having now and their determination and the kind of assistance they are getting from the AFN and NSC, I think they

are good to go. Inadequate competitions have been one of our challenges. “And this year we should be having like seven competitions and maybe some international ones to compliment the national events which will aid in training athletes towards the Games.” However, he asserted that at the Olympics nobody has the assurance of winning a medal in spite of one’s preparations. “At the Games, nobody can be sure of winning a medal in spite of his/her preparations but I believe that some of our athletes will get to the finals of their events. And we know anything can happen in the finals, if they stay injury free.”

Seun Adigun, AFN's medal prospect at the London 2012 Games

Akinbobola optimistic Sunshine, Rising Stars will improve


kin Akinbobola, the Special Adviser to the Ondo State Government on Sports has assured that Sunshine Stars and Rising Stars FC will improve on their performances in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL). Akinbobola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos that it was too early in the day to the prospect

on the chances of the two Ondo State teams. NAN reports that Sunshine Stars currently occupies the 10th position with 16 points, while Rising Stars occupies the 11 th position with 15 points. “The boys (players) will definitely bounce back and return to their winning ways; who knows, they can still top the league table! Football is full of

surprises, “ he said. When asked on how the state has been able to manage two football teams in the NPL, Akinbobola told NAN that there was machinery in place to ensure the seamless operation of the clubs. He said that the Gov. Olusegun Mimiko administration was doing everything possible to support the two clubs with all the necessary logistics needed to

succeed in their endeavours. “The Ondo State Football Agency (OSTA) is saddled with the responsibility of catering to the needs of the two teams, plus other teams in the state. “The state government funds the two clubs and some clubs owned by individuals, for instance, Moyero Babes and another one in Okitipupa. The agency is to ensure the growth of

football in the state,“ he said. Akinbobola urged fans of the two clubs not to relent in their support for the clubs, notingthat they still have a lot to offer in terms of good football. “Our victory against Kaduna United has shown that our pattern of play has improved tremendously and we intend to sustain the momentum,” the special adviser said.

Unruly Heartland fan arrested, faces court March 27 O

ne of the alleged hoodlums that was said to have attacked the centre referee in the Heartland versus Enyimba match on Sunday has been arrested and would appear at the Enugu High Court on March 27 to answer charges. The arrested fan identified simply as Ifeanyi, whose surname could not be ascertained, was arrested by the policemen on duty at the

venue, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu after the match. Acting Executive Secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola confirmed the arrest but could not give further details on the development. “It is true that a fan of Heartland was arrested yesterday (on Sunday) but I don’t have the details now until the match commissioner submits his report,” Babalola

said. The match commissioner, Ben Agarry also confirmed the arrest and referred our correspondent to the Enugu State FA, which played host to the southeast derby between Heartland and Enyimba. “The Enugu State FA will be in a better position to give information on the matter, as I’m aware of the arrest,” Agarry said. Secretary of the Enugu State FA, Ugwu Francis disclosed to a wire service that the fan has been charged for breach of

public peace and would be paraded at the Enugu High Court. He further revealed that the court case will come up on March 27 as the accused awaits trial. “Yes a fan of Heartland was arrested and has been charged to court. The fan is one Ifeanyi as I can’t recall his surname now and he’s now awaiting trial at the Enugu High Court, which will come up on March 27. “Enugu has been a peaceful venue in the league. Rangers lost to Kano Pillars here last

season and this season drew with Heartland and even Warri Wolves and nobody was attacked. So we have a name to protect,” said Francis. Crowd violence broke out after the Heartland versus Enyimba game on Sunday after the former lost 2-3 to their rivals. Fans of Heartland allegedly attacked the centre referee, Gabriel Adigwe after the match before the timely intervention of policemen attached to the stadium saved the official from the irate fans.

... As referee admits being attacked but not brutalised


(R-L) Emmanuel Olowo & Chinedu Sunday (Heartland vs Enugu Rangers) in league action

entre referee of the high tension oriental derby between hosts, Heartland and Enyimba, Gabriel Adigwe has admitted that he along with other officials were attack after the match at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. Adigwe told a wire service that he was attacked by suspected Heartland supporters but not brutalised as reported in some media. “I and my colleagues were attacked immediately the whistle ended the game by fans

who were clearly supporters of Heartland. Stones and similar objects were freely thrown at us including punches but there is no mark or injury on my body. “I wasn’t brutalised or beaten to pulp as being reported. For a moment I thought I was in Kano, I was really scared, I ran to nowhere in particular, hidden by good Samaritans who ferried me to safety,” he said. On what would have caused the crowd violence, Adigwe

said he could not fathom reasons as he gave the game the best officiating. “The five goals scored in the encounter were good goals and applauded by both fans. Besides, the game was on television, so I think we did our best. “May be the rivalry between supporters of both clubs may have triggered the violence but as for officiating it was clearly the best you can get in any match,” Adigwe, who is from Lagos said.



sees Eaglets’ trainer, Amadi, Ugbade prospects in budding Eaglets laments dearth of N goalkeepers in Nigeria

Vincent Enyeama


olden Eaglets goalkeepers’ coach, Emeka Amadi has decried the poor form of goalkeepers that turned up for the team’s screening exercise. The former Nigerian junior goalkeeper told the media officer of the team Morakinyo Abodurin that only careful training can boost the production of a new generation of goalkeepers. “At the moment, I’m not yet satisfied with the standard exhibited by some of the goalkeepers we have seen at this screening exercise. “It’s not as if they were totally bad but they would need serious coaching to be able to reach the standard that will give the rest of the

Chigozie Agbim players the desired confidence. “The problem has to do with the fact that there are few goalkeepers’ trainers at the grassroots and in almost all the academies in the country. “Some of the goalkeepers we have seen so far lacked the basics. They can’t control their defence, can’t organise the wall and some can’t even handle the ball very well. That is not good enough,” Amadi said. He said that there must be a careful approach to deal with this problem which he showed by conducting a clinic on the margins of the screening exercise to the delight of all.

“We used to have quality goalkeepers all over the country in the past and some of us were lucky to have learned from some of these experienced hands. “When I was 16, I had the legendary Emmanuel Okala as my trainer and you can imagine the type of training I was exposed to as a teenager. “Such is no longer the case but we are going to train those eventually picked and push them to the level we want. “We are going to correct all the flaws we have noticed after all that are the reasons I’m employed,” assured the former goalkeepers’ trainer at German side, SV Nienhagen.

duka Ugbade is full of hope that the prospective members of the Golden Eaglets who are undergoing screening would form a formidable squad. Ugbade, an assistant coach of the team and skipper the of the 1985 Eaglets that won the FIFA Under-16 World Cup, said the technical crew has discovered someinteresting talents with prospects of blossoming into big stars in future. Ugbade believes that Nigeria would reclaim her cadet championship glory after evaluating the quality of players that the technical crew has discovered at the ongoing screening exercise. “The whole essence of sport is to compete with the best available and in the process, you would be determined to win,” Ugbade explained. “Though winning is not our consuming passion with the Golden Eaglets, we would prepare these boys to be able to compete favourably against their contemporaries. I have seen great potentialities in some of these players, they are hungry for success and this gives us hope.” The screening exercise of players to form the nucleus of the 2013 class of the Golden Eaglets has tasked the coaching crew with about 2000 players seen so far and Ugbade is of the view that the future of Nigerian football is indeed very bright. “We have seen some good players and we are happy with what we have seen so far,” said Ugbade, a member of the Flying Eagles that shocked the world at the 1989 FIFAUnder-20 World Cup when Nigeria came from a 4-0 defeat to level up at 4-4 before dispatching the former Soviet Union via penalty shootout. “We are going to polish these rough diamonds by the time they come back for the proper camping. What we are looking for is to see if these players can play football and we are happy to have made some discoveries.” The screening exercise would expectedly wind up this week with players selected to be invited later ahead of their First Round qualifiers against Niger in September in the race for a ticket to the 2013 African Under-17 Youth Championship in Morocco.

FIFA U-17 Women World Cup: Hamilton, Amoo caution Flamingoes


ormer national teams coaches, Paul Hamilton and Fatai Amoo, yesterday in Lagos advised the Flamingoes against complacency when

they tackle Zambia’s She-Polopolo in the return leg of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifier. Rather than allowing their away

World ice hockey body wins $1.3M compensation case


he International Ice Hockey Federation has won its case against Swiss club Bern that sought milliondollar damages after a European competition was canceled in 2009. Switzerland’s supreme court upheld the IIHF’s appeal that the Court of Arbitration for Sport should not rule on Bern’s compensation claim, the governing said yesterday. “We have full respect for CAS as a court to solve legal issues in the world of sport, but we felt that in this particular case CAS was not the adequate authority,” IIHF President Rene Fasel said in a statement. Bern qualified for the 2009-10 Champions Hockey League, which a Europe-wide competition that debuted the previous season. Inaugural winner Zurich Lions was rewarded with playing visiting National

Hockey League side Chicago Blackhawks in the Victoria Cup challenge match. The CHL folded after main sponsor Gazprom withdrew, and Bern wanted 1.2 million Swiss francs ($1.3 million, ?1 million) to cover lost earnings. “We never wanted this to end up in any court,” Fasel said. “We are obviously satisfied, but by no means in any triumphal way.” The IIHF’s offer to revive the CHL and pay some compensation to clubs that qualified for the 2009-10 edition was rejected by European leagues last year. Fasel said the governing body still hoped for “reconciliation.” “We are inviting all stakeholders to a Hockey Forum in June to find a way going forward together with our member associations, the major European leagues and the clubs,” he said.

victory to get into their They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the team should focus on the match in Abeokuta, to enhance Nigeria’s chances of playing at the finals in September in Azerbaijan. The Flamingoes defeated She-Polopolo 2-1 in the first leg of the qualifier on Saturday in Lusaka, a result that Hamilton expressed satisfaction with. The former Super Falcons’ coach attributed the Flamingoes victory in Lusaka to their superb style of play. Hamilton said the Flamingoes’ victory in Zambia had given hopes to football enthusiasts in the country, and urged them to sustain the trend till the World Cup ticket was won. He advised the team not to underrate the Zambians in Abeokuta, adding that football was unpredictable. “The Flamingoes should beware of complacency because the Zambians are still in the euphoria of the Africa Cup of Nations Cup victory. “This might spur the She-Polopolo to shortchange Nigerian’s victory,” Hamilton said. Amoo, also a former Super Eagles assistant coach, commended the

consistency of the Flamingoes throughout the match in Lusaka. The former coach of the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan urged the team to replicate the performance that gave them victory in Lusaka, in the second leg in Abeokuta. “The Flamingoes have made Nigerians proud, but t h e y should go all out as if they have not played before, to e n s u r e victory in the return leg,” he said. T h e decisive second leg encounter would hold at the MKO A b i o l a Musa Amadu, Stadium, NFF scribe Abeokuta.



World Indoor Championships

American new stars on the block post Olympics warning signals By Patrick Andrew with agency report


eam USA put up the most spectacular performance at the the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul over the weekend as they clinched 10 gold medals two less than they won last year. The performance left none in doubt about their mental and physical readiness for the summer Olympics which comes up in London some four months hence. Rather than rely on the old stars to twinkle, the USA, as usual, threw up quite a few world beaters who clearly demonstrated the resolve of the athletics super powers to sustain their dominance of the track and field events. Of course with the performances of the likes of Will Claye, AShton Eaton among others, the US can hope to give the Jamaicans a run for the medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Men’s team coach John Moon was in buoyant mood as the athletes, fresh from their record success, now turn their attention to the year’s main event, the Olympics. “Going into the championships I gave the team a challenge of 17 medals,” Moon told Reuters. “Some people might have thought that was foolish with such a young team. But we came here and got 18 medals. We sent a message that we are ready for London. I’m proud of this team and it was a team effort. “Of all of the big stars here, to come out with that many medals is great. They came to the challenge. A lot of these kids will be in London,” he added. One of the younger team members was 24-year-old Ashton Eaton, who was a class apart in the heptathlon and is seemingly able to break the world record at will after setting his third for the event in two years with 6 645 points. The US also have the Olympic gold medallist Bryan Clay and world champion Trey Hardee in their ranks. “If all of us are 100 per cent healthy, and even 80 per cent in shape, realistically we could sweep (the Olympic medals),” Eaton said. A revitalised Justin Gatlin showed he was heading back to his best after returning from a four-year doping ban by winning the men’s 60 metres from Jamaican Nesta Carter. It is likely, however, that he will face a much tougher test in London against the likes of compatriot Tyson Gay andJamaica’s world record holder Usain Bolt. The US also showed strength in depth in the jumps with onetwo’s for Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach in the long jump and Will Claye and Christian Taylor in the triple. “Seeing everyone else do well was great,” said Claye. “The jumps in the US are coming back. Plenty of guys are jumping far. They are good guys in college and (world champion) Dwight (Phillips) hasn’t even jumped yet this year.” There were some timely reminders from Olympic champions Yelena Isinbayeva, Pamela Jelimo and Nataliya Dobrynska at the Atakoy Athletics Arena. Both pole vaulter Isinbayeva and 800 metres runner Pamela Jelimo suffered from injury and loss of form following their triumphs in Beijing but after taking breaks from the sport, the pair comfortably won their respective events. Russian world record holder Isinbayeva needed just two jumps to earn a fourth world indoor title while Jelimo sped away on the final lap to win the 800. Ukraine’s Dobrynska won the Olympic heptathlon title but has been overshadowed by Britain’s Jessica Ennis and Tatyana Chernova of Russia since. However, she stepped out of the shadows in Istanbul to break the pentathlon world record with a score of 5 013 and propel herself into the favourite’s position for London. All eyes were on Ennis and world 5 000 metres champion Mo Farah for the Olympic hosts and although neither won their events in Turkey, Britain finished second in the medals table with their best haul of nine medals, including two golds thanks to surprise victories for 39-year-old Yamile Aldama in the women’s triple jump and the women’s 4x400 relay team. Well, Africa can take solace in the performance of Ethiopia and Kenya who edged out Russia to clinch the second place in the log and in fact the third position even as Morocco claimed the 10th position thus ensuring that the continent hopes for some reckoning at the London Games in August. However, Nigeria’s performance again left much to be desired. Not that a lot was expected considering the training environment the athletes were exposed to. True, they may not be based in Nigeria but the support extended to them cannot be compared

with what their contemporaries elsewhere get by way of grants. Anyway, Peter Emelieze, Tosin Oke and Gloria Asunmu

should be commended for put up a gallant displays and one hopes that they will continue to improve as none can really tell what the atmosphere at the

Will Claye

Ashton Eaton

Trey Hardee

Jelimo announces comeback with solid win


Games in London would look like. A performing star could sustain injury, slip on the track and hit a bod day thus opening the vista for others to excel.

biri’s triumph in the Women’s 3000m came about 25 minutes after her countrywoman Pamela Jelimo landed victory in the Women’s 800m final Kenya’s firsts ever women’s World Indoor Championship gold medallist. The Olympic champion has struggled to find her best form since setting winning in Beijing but swept to a comfortable win in a world leading time of 1:58.83. Nataliya Lupu of Ukraine clinched silver in 1:59.67 with the early leader Erica Moore of the USA in bronze 1:59.97. The Russian pair of Elena Kofanova and Yuliya Rusanova disappointed in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Tosin Oke


Country Gold 1 UNITED STATES 2 GREAT BRITAIN 3 ETHIOPIA 4 KENYA 5 RUSSIA 6 UKRAINE 7 FRANCE 8 AUSTRALIA 8 JAMAICA 8 MOROCCO MEDALS TABLE 2011 Country Gold United States 12 Russia 9 Kenya 7 Jamaica 4 Germany 3 United Kingdom 2 China 1 Australia 1 Canada 1 Japan 1 Ethiopia 1

Silver Bronze 10 3 2 3 2 1 2 1 1 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Silver Bronze 8 5 4 6 6 4 4 1 3 1 4 1 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 4

Total 5 4 2 1 5 0 1 0 0 0

Total 25 19 17 9 7 7 4 3 2 2 5

18 9 5 4 9 3 3 2 2 2





Another CAF C’ttee member, others lose corruption appeals


ormer FIFA executive committee member, Amadou Diakite, and Ahongalu Fusimalohi lost their appeals yesterday against two-year bans for corrupt behaviour during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. DR. Amos Adamu had earlier lost his appeal at CAS last month against a three-year ban from football for actively seeking bribes of $800 000 from the undercover reporters. The CAS panel of three arbitrators judging Adamu’s case said the Nigerian’s ban “was even relatively mild given the seriousness of the offense.” Adamu was excluded from the World Cup balloting and lost his seat representing Africa on the FIFA executive committee. Also yesterday, FIFA said it was “satisfied” by the Court of Arbitration for Sport verdicts, which upheld rulings by its appeals committee. The two officials were

among six sanctioned by FIFA in the bribery scandal. “The confirmation of these FIFA decisions by CAS underlines once more Fifa’s zero tolerance and clear stance against any breach of the Fifa Code of Ethics,” football’s world governing body said in a statement. The Lausanne-based court confirmed the verdicts to The Associated Press, and said it would likely publish more details on the cases this week. Diakite and Fusimalohi were suspended by FIFA from all football duty through October 2012 based on evidence provided by British newspaper The Sunday Times. Fifa also ordered them to pay fines of 7 500 Swiss francs ($8 160). They advised undercover reporters posing as lobbyists how to bribe Fifa officials with $1 million. At the time they were no longer members of Fifa’s ruling executive committee that chose World Cup host nations.

The newspaper’s reports published in October 2010 threw bidding for the 2018 and 2022 hosting contests into turmoil weeks before the vote. Diakite, from Mali, was removed from FIFA’s referees committee and Fusimalohi lost his job as chief executive of Tonga’s football association. Fusimalohi then worked as an adviser to Tonga Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano. Tunisian lawyer Slim Aloulou also offered advice to the reporters. He served a one-year ban and lost his position chairing Fifa’s disputes resolution panel. Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana got a four-year ban, four years after he was removed from the executive committee for scalping tickets at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The Sunday Times probe also resulted in then-FIFA vice president Reynald Temarii of Tahiti serving a one-year ban for breaking confidentiality rules.

2014 World Cup:Romario calls Teixeira ‘cancer’ as former legend bows out of Brazil CBF


ne of the celebrated names in Brazil’s football history, Romario, has described Ricardo Teixeira, the controversial head of the Brazilian Football Confederation, as ‘cancer’ following his resignation yesterday. Teixeira, the man charged with organising the 2014 World Cup, quit the job yesterday following a string of corruption scandals and Romario now a congressman called for national celebration. “Today we can celebrate,” said Romario, the former striker and World Cup winner who is now a federal congressman. “We have exterminated a cancer from Brazilian football.” The 64-year-old soccer boss tendered his resignation in a letter that was read out to reporters at the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of the Brazilian Football

Confederation, or CBF. “I leave the presidency of the CBF definitively with the feeling of having done my duty,” Teixeira said in the letter. He said he was standing down for health reasons, just days after he requested a temporary medical leave of absence to treat diverticulitis, a painful bowel condition. Teixeira will be succeeded in both posts by Jose Maria Marin, a 79-year-old former politician who is little known outside the closed world of the CBF. Marin could run the CBF until early 2015, when Teixeira’s term was set to end. Marin made headlines in January while presenting the winners of a junior football tournament with their medals. Cameras caught him slipping one of the medals into his pocket, prompting accusations of theft.

The new head of the CBF paid tribute to his former boss, saying: “He was the main person responsible for bringing the World Cup to Brazil. If he doesn’t get our gratitude then he at least deserves our respect.” Teixeira has long been a polarising figure in Brazil, revered by some for helping lead the country to two World Cup titles and despised by others for running the sport like a personal fiefdom. His departure is likely to be welcomed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who has had chilly relations with Teixeira since she took office in January 2011. Rousseff was upset that Teixeira did not invite Brazilian soccer great Pele to help organise the World Cup. In a public rebuff, Rousseff named Pele, who has been critical of Teixeira, as Brazil’s ambassador for the Cup.

UEFA Champions League

Germany, England fight for survival E

ngland and Germany will be left without any teams in the Champions League quarterfinals unless Chelsea and Bayern Munich can overturn first-leg deficits in this week’s ties. By contrast, Italy’s Serie A, often criticised for its crumbling stadiums, falling attendances and written off as a league in perpetual decline, could end up with all three of its teams in the last eight. Chelsea have a 3-1 deficit going into the second leg of their round-of-16 tie at home to a buoyant Napoli team who have won their last five league games, hammering Cagliari 6-3 last Friday. Bayern find themselves 1-0 down to FC Basle, the surprise package along with APOEL Nicosia, and must end the Swiss champions’ unbeaten away record in this season’s competition if they are to progress. Failure to do so would be unthinkable for the Bavarians who are desperate to reach the final which will take place at their own Allianz Arena. In the week’s other ties, Claudio Ranieri’s ageing Inter Milan, the 2010 champions, trail 1-0 to Olympique Marseille before hosting the French side, while Real Madrid should see off CSKA Moscow after a 1-1 draw in freezing conditions in Russia. The eventual winners will join titleholders Barcelona, seven-time champions AC Milan, twice former winners Benfica and underdogs APOEL in Friday’s draw for the quarterfinals. Chelsea’s elimination would leave the English Premier League without a quarterfinalist for the first time since the 1995/96 season. Arsenal went out last week, their 3-0 win over Milan not enough after they were trounced 4-0 in the first leg, while Manchester United and Manchester City fell in the group stage. German champions Borussia Dortmund also went out in the group stage while Bayer Leverkusen sank without trace against Barcelona, losing 7-1 at the Nou Camp last week for a 10-2 aggregate defeat.

That leaves Bayern Munich flying the flag for the Bundesliga, which next season will win a third direct place in the group stage at the expense of Serie A. Napoli, the only one of this season’s five debutants still standing, twice took part in the old European Cup during Diego Maradona’s days but never progressed beyond the second round. Their three-pronged strikeforce of Edinson Cavani, who has five goals, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik is one of the most dangerous in the competition. Chelsea have undergone a managerial change since the first leg with Roberto Di Matteo being appointed replacing the sacked Andre Villas-Boas. Basle are attempting to become the first Swiss side to reach the last eight since Grasshoppers in 1978/79 during the days of the old European Cup. The Swiss champions are often regarded as a model club, shunning expensive transfers and relying on a mix of home-grown youngsters and experienced players such as strikers Marco Streller and Alexander Frei, who have returned home for a swansong.

Bayern have won 11 of their last 12 European home games, although went out at the same stage last year when they lost 3-2 to Inter Milan at the Allianz Arena. Ranieri has narrowly escaped suffering the same fate as Villas-Boas since Olympique’s 1-0 first leg win and the Champions League remains Inter’s chance to save their season after dropping to seventh in Serie A. Inter’s team in the first leg had an average age of 31 years 331 days, breaking their own Champions League record of 31 years 317 days set earlier this season against Marseille’s compatriots Lille. Real’s form this season suggests they should have little trouble in disposing of CSKA in Madrid, where conditions will be balmy compared to the sub-zero temperatures for the first leg in Moscow. Jose Mourinho’s team completed the group stage with a 100 percent record, although they need to be wary of CSKA’s Ivory Coast forward Seydou Doumbia who has scored five goals in six Champions League games this season and 12 goals in 13 European matches in the last two years.

Andre Ayew of Marseille

Arjen Robin BayernMunich

Fixtures Bayern Munich vs Basle Inter Milan vs marseille



Combat sports can earn Nigeria honours, income, says Kickboxing official


ickboxing and other combat sports have the potential to fetch Nigeria medals and international honours even generate income for the country, an official of the World Kickboxing and Karate Association (WKA) has said. Mykel Eneduwa, WKA International’s World VicePresident Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja that “it should not be just about football in Nigeria”. He said there were many advantages that Nigeria and Nigerians could derive from taking active part in combat sports. “It is important for Nigerians to know that there are lots of gains in

combat sports, especially kickboxing. We can use kickboxing as a way of building role models, apart from many other advantages,” Eneduwa said. He said the Nigerian sports authorities needed to fully understand the implications of investing in and encouraging participation in kickboxing. “We shouldn’t just be thinking about football. In Thailand, combat sports provides an avenue for a great source of employment and income. The same thing happens in the U.S and many parts of Europe. “So, our government must know that combat sports, and kickboxing especially, can help the country move forward.

“This is not only in economic terms but also in the aspect of keeping its citizens fit and busy being a discipline sport,” Eneduwa said. The WKA International’s World Vice-President Africa allayed fears that many combat sports are dangerous, saying other sports are more dangerous than kickboxing. “My experience with many combat sports has shown that people are just harbouring nonexistent fears. In fact, kickboxing which I am very much involved in is well protected. “Our sport is governed by well-established rules. In fact, in kickboxing, we use protective guards which make it safe for the fighters. That

is why we have a next-to-nil injury record. “Moreover, I can say basketball, from studies conducted, is the most dangerous sport in the world. If a player attempting to dunk fails in his attempt and falls down, he is likely to die. Therefore, kickboxing or any other combat sport is still better,” he claimed. Eneduwa, whose organisation, under the auspices of Combat Sports Promotion, had on Friday in Abuja held the “Fight Night” at the Mediterranean Park. The event had witnessed one world title bout involving Nigeria’s Helen Joseph and Ukraine’s Valentyna Gupalo, two African title bouts and one national title bout.

Speaking on the event, Eneduwa said the Joseph/Gupalo fight was the first-ever pro-am world title bout to take place in Africa. “The idea behind this is to promote combat sports in Nigeria and also avail our fighters the opportunity of competing with others from outside Nigeria. “It also gave us the chance to bring in fighters from outside Nigeria. That is why we had some fighters from Cameroon for the event. “Many of those from outside Africa had never been to Africa before now, not to talk of even coming to fight in a bout. So, it was a great chance for us to really showcase the sport,” he said.

Lagos clubs maintain victory as Lagos International Polo tourney ends I

t was all smiles for Lagosbased polo clubs as most of them sustained their winning streaks at the end of the two-week MTN-Sponsored Lagos Polo International tournaments in Lagos. The first stage held two weeks ago at the Lagos Polo Club, Ikoyi, had the Lagos Low Cup and Dansa Cup categories, while the second stage had the Lagos Open Cup and the Majekodunmi Cup. In the first of the two series, the Ironclad-Mandarins and Decline and Fall Club, both of Lagos, won the Low Cup and the DANSA Cups respectively, while last Sunday, the defending champion of the Lagos Open Cup, Tavia Trojan, successfully defended its trophy by beating Kadunabased YY Ibako 7–6. In the Majekodunmi Cup, defending champion, Linetrale Delaney also successfully defended its trophy by beating 5th Chukka of Kaduna 15-13. The captain of the victorious Linetrale Delaney, Mustapha Fashiro, in a post match interview expressed delight over the the successful defence of the Majekodunmi Cup. Fashiro, who also doubles as the captain of the Lagos Polo Club, attributed his team’s victory to determination and compliance with planned strategies. “I am delighted because all our strategies worked out for us and I think luck was also on our side as luck is essential in games generally,” he said. In his remark, Yerima Yusuf, Captain of 5 th Chukka of Kaduna, said he had no regret that his team lost the final match because “the players put in their best to ensure victory”. “Luck was not on our side; our hard fighting opponent won by sheer luck. Although the Lagos teams took all the trophies this year, next year will be different as teams from the northern part of the country will come with full

force.” Among the dignitaries that witnessed the well attended

closing ceremony were Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who

was accompanied by some of his white cap chiefs, including Molade Okoya-Thomas.

The 108 years old tournament is one of the oldest polo fiestas in the country.

Pls use pixs of El Amin Polo players in action (lead)

…Polo club plans academy for young players


ustapha Fashiro, Captain, Lagos Polo Club, says plans are underway to establish an academy in order to sustain the growth of the sport in the country. Fashiro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos that the club was putting up a young polo academy in order to sustain the growth of the sport.

“Lagos is a role model club; we have a young academy coming through. So we have young people in two groups under sevens and over sevens, learning to ride, getting ready for polo. So, the future and the culture of polo is here.” Fashiro also explained that some members of the club were doing all humanly possible to develop the sport as well as maintain the culture behind to

ensure the continued existence of the club. “What we are trying to do at Lagos Polo Club is to encourage the sport and develop the sport, there is a culture behind this entire sport and we just need to improve it.” According to him, members of the club will do everything within its reach to sustain the laid down culture of the club. “There is lots of organisation off the field that needs to

continue to be encouraged. For us at polo club is about exposing whatever we learn outside to the club, we are promoting the sport there is an organization and culture behind the sport that we can use to promote it.” Fashiro doubles as the captain of the Lagos Linetrale Decline Polo club, winner of the Majekodunmi Cup of the justconcluded 2012 MTN-Sponsored International Tournament.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE A woman can forgive a man for m he does her ... b ut she harm her... but the har can never forgive him for the sacrif ices he mak es on her sacrifices makes account — W. Somer set Maugham Somerset



Champions League: Kaka dreams big for Real Madrid


eal Madrid playmaker Kaka is hopeful that his side will go far in this edition of the Champions League. The Spanish capital club reached the knockout stages in the competition after winning all six games during the group phase, becoming only the fifth team to secure a perfect record in the opening stage in the history of the tournament. Madrid are favoured to progress in the Champions League after a 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie, and Kaka believes his side can make their mark in the competition. "We have seen that some big teams are already through," Kaka told AS. "I think that AC Milan and Barcelona have great chances of reaching the final. "But I think that Madrid have a good chance of doing something big in the Champions League. "We are confident we can reach the last eight, always respecting CSKA and knowing that they can create us a lot of trouble." Kaka has formed a solid midfield partnership with Mesut Ozil this season, and he was full of praise for the Germany international. "It is a pleasure for me to play with Ozil because he is a great player," he explained. "I think it is very easy to play alongside him because he is very smart.



0803 0805 0803 0805 0803

A botched rescue mission, a bumbling President


f things had gone the way President Goodluck Jonathan and British Prime Minister David Cameron had hoped, there would have been happy news from Nigeria. Nigerians and the rest of the world would have heard how a rescue operation, jointly planned by Nigeria and Britain, had successfully freed two kidnapped Europeans - a Briton and an Italian - who had been held in captivity by their abductors since May last year. The news, once flashed across the globe, would have boosted the image of the two leaders. In the case of President Jonathan in particular, the image of a Nigerian leader who is hard on crime and terror and who cooperates and collaborates with the West in the war on terror, would have played very well in Western capitals and power circles. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Things went awry. The two hostages, Chris McManus, the British, and Franco Lamolinara, the Italian, were killed, not freed. And Nigerians and the rest of the world were hit not with the news of a happy ending to a ten-month ordeal but with a story of shootings, killings and blood. If ours were a well established democracy with well rooted institutions by means of which the people can hold their leaders to accountability, President Jonathan will most probably by now be praying only to be able to hang onto power up to 2015, not beyond. The failure of the rescue operation would most probably have served as an effective veto on his second term dream. We must, of course, grant that it is never easy for leaders when confronted with the decision whether or not to order a rescue mission. In such a situation, a leader agonises and faces dilemmas; and no dilemma is peaceful. The leader cannot see to the end, or be certain about the outcome of an operation. A human error, a mechanical failure or even some unforeseen natural occurrence like a foul weather can make even the most carefully planned operation go awry. As the crack team, trained and briefed to kill Osama bin Laden reached Pakistan and headed for the latter's compound in Abbottabad in the north-west of the country, President Barack Obama and those he invited to be with him in the Situation Room

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim

President Goodluck Jonathan in the White House, were all tensed up as they sat watching and waiting, hopeful and confident, yet unsure how things would go. Theirs was confidence borne of months and months of intelligence gathering, surveillance and careful planning. And they had time on their side. And this opens the door upon the most fundamental question in the case of the botched Sokoto rescue mission planned and ordered by Jonathan and Cameron: did the operation meet the requirements of good and reliable intelligence gathering, good surveillance, careful planning and surgical execution? We've been told by both Cameron and Nigerian authorities that "credible information" was obtained as to the location of the hostages from Boko Haram suspects arrested earlier in Zaria. We've also been told by the authorities that there were reasons to believe that the hostages' lives "were under imminent and growing danger," by which the authorities meant the situation was urgent and they needed to act fast. But even if we make allowance for the urgency of the situation, it can hardly be said that the Sokoto operation was well planned. As we've now learnt

from reports carried by Daily Trust (issue of Monday, March 12, 2012), it was after the raid last Tuesday on a house in Zaria by SSS men, with the support of soldiers, that suspects were arrested who gave the "credible information" about the location of the kidnapped Europeans in Sokoto, that the Sokoto rescue operation was launched the very next day, Wednesday. This means that our forces had only one day to plan and execute such a delicate mission that involved saving lives and had an international dimension, with serious implications for our leaders and country's image. Even if our armed forces were peopled by supermen, what could they possibly have done in just one day, in a situation such as the one that confronted them? As it turned out, and as clear evidence of the lack of planning that went into it, the rescue team comprised 100 armed men and a helicopter. And at the first sign that the suspected abductors would not surrender, the team started shooting, and a threehour gun battle ensued between the soldiers and the suspects during which the abductees got killed. What in effect the rescue team did was to declare and wage a war on the compound and all its inhabitants. Theirs was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a rescue mission. Only by a miracle could the two hostages have survived such an invasion and a three-hour gun battle involving heartless kidnappers who had kept the hostages hoping to get millions and now suddenly realizing that they were faced with only death or arrest. The whole episode speaks volumes about our country, our leaders and those paid to protect us. And it raises questions that need answers. Already, the Italian authorities who for inexplicable reasons were not informed of, or involved in, the rescue

preparation, are kicking and demanding explanations. From the reports in the media, before last Wednesday's botched rescue mission, there had been months of negotiations and goingsand-comings over ransom payments - part of which was even made - and details about how the hostages were to be freed. How come that in all these months Nigerian authorities never got intelligence reports about all this and the whereabouts of the hostages and who their abductors were? President Jonathan was, as usual, quick to blame the sad event on Boko Haram. Well, as we all now know, Boko Haram has become a franchise, and everybody's favourite whipping boy on whom everything is blamed. But the sect has denied any involvement. And we all know that kidnapping and keeping hostages is not one of the sect's ways of operation. We all know too that kidnapping and demanding for ransom is the standard method of Niger Delta terrorists, who have now almost perfected it into an act. The Nigerian public may be short-memoried. But Nigerians can't forget so soon that in 2010, Jonathan was bent on blaming the October 1 Independence Day bomb blast that killed many on northerners, even when MEND, from his own region, claimed responsibility for it and had, in fact, issued a prior warning. Are we now seeing a replay of the desperate attempt to blame his failings and his people's crimes on northerners? We all know that in the eyes of Jonathan and his close associates, Boko Haram is a northern conspiracy against him personally and his administration. Whatever the case, the botched mission, which seemed programmed from the beginning to fail, did not portray the President in a good light. It raises questions and doubts about his competence as leader and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. And to many across the country and the rest of the world, this incident has made him come across as a bumbling and never well meaning leader. Other questions that demand answers: who is the owner of the compound that was rented and used by the kidnappers? Who rented it from him or her? What are the identities and background of the five or so suspects arrested?

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday March 13, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday March 13, 2012 Hot Edition