Page 1

Vol. 10 No. 57

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Jimadal Ula 8, 1434 AH

Why Bill Gates shelves Nigeria’s visit From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos with agency reports

No link to Alameiyeseigha, says Gates

trong indications emerged yesterday suggesting that America's richest man, Bill Gates, may have cancelled his scheduled meeting with President Jonathan, state governors and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health in respect of the aggressive polio eradication campaign in the

country, following the controversial pardon granted by President Goodluck Jonathan to some ex-convicts recently. Bill Gates however denied that there was a link between his change of heart and the controversy over the recent state pardon by President Jonathan to


former Bayelsa state governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Shettima Bulama among others. Gate was scheduled to arrive Nigeria 27 March, but several diplomatic sources said the meeting has now been cancelled in protest of the controversial pardon granted by President


PD INDEX 18th March, 2013

Goodluck Jonathan. Apart from online media reports, sources said Bill Gates' office is expected to inform the Federal Government, the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors' Forum and the Federal Ministry of Health that he was no Contd on Page 2


BUYING 154.76 233.78 200.35 0.2872 41.26

SELLING 155.76 235.29 201.64 0.3072 41.53


BUYING 208 254.50 42 157

SELLING 210 257.50 43 158

PDP reconciliation suffers setback

Atiku, Nyako, Goje, others shun meeting From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


rominent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders in the north east and some of their loyalists yesterday shunned the reconciliation meeting chaired by National Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur. Those visibly absent at the meeting were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Adawamawa state Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, former Bauchi state governor Ahmadu Adamu Muazu , former Gombe state Governor Danjuma Goje , former Taraba state Governor Jolly Nyame, Senator Jibrin Aminu and the National Assembly members among others. The meeting held amidst security as the police used tear gas to disperse thugs trying to cause mayhemat the venue of the meeting. Alhaji BamangaTukur while speaking appealed to the members of the party to re-unite in the Contd on Page 2

L-R: Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, in handshake with Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, during the governor's visit to the emir in his palace, yesterday in Kano.

Boko Haram: Northern lawmakers make fresh case for amnesty >> PAGE 4

25 killed in Kano blast, 7 die in Borno attack >> PAGE 3

Not all kidnapped foreign workers dead - Jonathan >> PAGE 4



























FCT Senator faults councils' poll results, Page 3



Strange World 35 Digest










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Why Bill Gates shelves Nigeria’s visit Contd from Page 1 longer coming to Nigeria. However Media Officer for the Bill and Melinda Foundation Amy Enright in a mail to Peoples Daily last night said recent news reports about the reasons for the postponement of an upcoming trip by Bill Gates to Nigeria are false. "Changes to Bill's travel schedule sometimes happen for a variety of reasons. Bill has visited Nigeria often, closely follows Nigeria's polio eradication and routine immunization efforts and is always keen to see the work of our partners in the field. He looks forward to visiting Nigeria when his schedule will permit." According to Premium Times, authoritative diplomatic sources said the trip has been cancelled, two days after the U.S. government expressed disappointment with its Nigerian counterpart for pardoning convicted money launderers and warned it might cut aid meant for the country. "I can confirm to you that Mr. Gates won't be coming as scheduled," one the medium’s sources said yesterday. "The body language of Washington D.C. does not support his travelling to Nigeria. The thinking here is that the Nigerian government has high tolerance level for corruption and should be ostracized in all ways possible." Sources told the medium that Mr. Gates has already instructed his staff to inform the Nigerian presidency, the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors' Forum and the Federal Ministry of Health that he was no longer coming. Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, did not answer or return calls seeking comment. Contacted, the Director General of the Nigeria Governors' Forum, Asishana Okauru, said he would have to check with his staff whether any such communication had come from Mr. Gates' office. He did not answer or return subsequent calls. Mr. Gates' office is not opened as at the time of this report as calls

were unanswered. But checks indicate that the U.S. government has dissuaded Mr. Gates from coming to Nigeria, the medium said. "The State Department has advised him that Nigeria is not conducive for such visit at this time," another source said. "We hope that the Nigerian government will get the message and return to the path of sanity." The controversial pardon granted Messrs Alamieyeseigha and Bulama had on Friday sparked fierce diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United States, with the Americans threatening to punish Nigeria over Mr. Jonathan's action and Nigeria accusing the Americans of meddlesomeness. "We see this as a setback for the fight against corruption, and also for our ability to play the strong role we've played in supporting rule of law and legal institutionbuilding in Nigeria, which is very important for the future of the country obviously," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, had told reporters in Washington. "We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we've been trying to do with them." The U.S. is the world's top donor. In 2012, it spent about $226 million on health and governance programmes in Nigeria. And about $600million has been requested for 2013, according to U.S. government data. That is apart from what American private foundations such as Mr. Gates' spend on Nigeria's government and nongovernmental organisations. Mr. Gate is the biggest foreign supporter of the campaign to eradicate polio in Nigeria and has worked consistently with the Nigerian authorities since 2009 over the matter. His foundation has developed a six-year strategy through 2018 that will help combat polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and has set aside

$1billion per annum for the purpose. The bulk of that money is meant for Nigeria which currently has the highest cases of polio in the world. Mr. Gates' efforts has seen improvements which helped Pakistan reduce the number of polio cases from 198 in 2011 to 56 in 2012; and Afghanistan from 80 to 35 during the same period. The situation in Nigeria worsened during the same period, increasing from 62 in 2011 to 119 in 2012. Mr. Gates last visited Nigeria in November 2012. During that visit, his foundation entered into a four-year alliance with the Dangote Foundation which promised to provide funding, equipment and technical support to the Kano state government to strengthen polio immunisation. He had scheduled this March's visit to consolidate that alliance, meet with President Jonathan, state governors and other stakeholders with a view to generally revving up the war against the pandemic. Gates is the biggest foreign supporter of the campaign to eradicate polio in Nigeria and has worked consistently with the Nigerian authorities since 2009

over the matter. His foundation has developed a six-year strategy through 2018 that will help combat polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and has set aside $1 billion per annum for the purpose. The bulk of that money is meant for Nigeria which currently has the highest cases of polio in the world. Mr. Gates' efforts has seen improvements which helped Pakistan reduce the number of polio cases from 198 in 2011 to 56 in 2012; and Afghanistan from 80 to 35 during the same period. The situation in Nigeria worsened during the same period, increasing from 62 in 2011 to 119 in 2012. He last visited Nigeria in November 2012. During that visit, his foundation entered into a four-year alliance with the Dangote Foundation which promised to provide funding, equipment and technical support to the Kano state government to strengthen polio immunisation. He had scheduled this March visit to consolidate that alliance, meet with President Jonathan, state governors and other stakeholders with a view to generally revving up the war against the pandemic.

Alleged N290m pension fraud: Convicted pension thief gets bail By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


onvicted pension thief, John Yahaya Yusufu, who slumped in court last Monday while standing trial on an alleged false declaration of assets involving the sum of N290 million have been granted bail. The Court sitting before Justice Adamu Bello granted him bail in the sum of N10 million with one reliable surety in like sum. The court ordered that the surety must be a Director in the Federal Civil Service who must be owner of a landed property in Abuja and must submit the title

documents of the property to the court's Registrar. Yusufu was also directed to deposit his International passport with the court, was ordered not to travel outside the country without the permission of the court. The court observed that the accused, a former deputy director at the Police Pension Office was remanded in prison custody since January 30, 2013 in a bid to save him from the public anger that trailed his sentencing by another court which tried him for embezzling N29 billion from the Police pension office where he was formerly at the helm of affairs.

Atiku, Nyako, Goje, others shun meeting Contd from Page 1 interest of peace. According the chairman, his decision to embark on tour of the country was to reconcile, reform and promote the rebuilding of a great party that will meet the aspirations of all Nigerians. The chairman added that the PDP at all levels has been consolidating on democratic dividends across the country, but lamented the security challenges which have posed serious setback to economic, political and cultural development of the country. Tukur also assured Nigerians that PDP administration has achieved remarkably in the provision of meaningful social

amenities as well as meeting the yearnings of people. The leadership style of the party, he said, explains the victory it achieved in the just concluded FCT council polls. He called on Nigerians to continue to support the administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the implementation of its agenda and the party's manifesto. In their separate remarks, the Governor of Bauchi, Malam Isa Yuguda and of Gombe state, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo charged the PDP stakeholders to shun their differences and embrace one another to prepare the party ahead of 2015. According to them, the

present administration of Tukur has opened its door for people to express their views so as to carry everybody along. Other notables members of the party at the meetings include the Deputy Governor of Adamawa state , Deputy governor of Taraba state, Senator Abdul Ninigi , Senator Babayo Gamawa and party chairmen of Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi Adamawa and Borno states. Meanwhile, it was gathered that with the arrival of the Adamawa State PDP Chairman recognized by Governor Murtala Nyako, Umaru Kugama, his supporters chanted slogans from the crowd forcing the Police to

use tear gas to disperse them. Security Source in Bauchi State told newsmen that the Police were forced Police to use tear gas to maintain law and order. Earlier Some PDP supporters at the Airport who, many believed were opposed the leadership of Bamanga Tukur, carried Placards with inscriptions unfriendly to him. Speaking at the occasion, North East Zonal Chairman of PDP Senator Girgir Lawan said the visit will give the opportunity for the members to work sincerely with one another in order to solve different challenges bedeviled the party in the zone.



FG lifts DANA suspension FCT Senator faults councils' poll results By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


arely 48 hours after the federal government had suspended DANA airlines from operation, the airline is to again resume operation. This followed a meeting between the aviation minister and the management of DANA airline, yesterday in Abuja. According to a statement signed by the SA to the minister on Media, Joe Obi, the airline is "to resume normal operation

immediately. The statement reads: "At the end of the meeting, the suspension of the operations of the airline which took effect last Saturday was lifted. The airline is to resume normal operations immediately. "However, the particular aircraft which had a snag over the weekend is to remain grounded until after its air-worthiness has been recertified by Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft," the statement concluded.


enator Adamu Sidi Ali, who represented the Federal Capital Territory at the National Assembly between 2007 and 2011, has faulted the collation of results of last Saturday Area councils' election in parts of the territory. This was just as he accused the minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed of having for the first time in the history of the FCT, introduced a new concept of threats and intimidation of voters during the electioneering campaigns by

‌Says FCT minister threatened voters threatening to deal and crush those that would refuse to support the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ali however said that on the other hand, the minister of State for the FCT, Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide campaigned based on the achievements of the federal government and the Area Councils and pleaded with the people to vote the PDP. He said the election results in

L-R: Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, Bauchi state Governor, Malam Isa Yuguda, and PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, during the North-East PDP meeting, yesterday in Bauchi. Photo: NAN

Abaji Area Council in particular were collated and doctored at the residence of the out-going chairman with the active connivance of officers and men of the Nigeria police and the Department of State Security Services. According to him, "Elections results were deliberately delayed at some particular centres. The results of Agyana polling units and ward were taken to the chairman's residence and kept there till the wee hours of the morning. "The worst of it was that when the police were later escorting the doctored results, they started shooting sporadically and in the melee, one Jafaru Bichi, a fish seller was shot dead by his fish table and the police refused to attend to the corpse until the following morning when the father of the deceased, took it for burial and informed the Ona of Abaji. "Another victim, Mohammed Yakubu was equally shot and his condition is critical at present. It shows that the police carried out Senator Bala Mohammed's directive to crush anyone that stood on his way." Senator Ali therefore urged President Goodluck Jonathan to be weary of his appointees like the FCT minister that are desirous of truncating his transformation agenda through acts of "do or die politics" that would serve no one good. He said that it was expected that the FCT Councils' elections would have been used as a test case for free, fair and acceptable elections ahead of 2015 general elections.

25 killed in Kano blast, 7 die in Borno By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, Abuja, Edwin Olofu, Kano & Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri with agency reports


wenty-five persons were reportedly killed in Kano yesterday following series of explosions aboard a Lagos bound luxury bus, at the New Road Motor Park at Sabon Gari area of the city just as coordinated attacks on secondary schools in Maiduguri, Borno state resulted in the death of seven persons. Eyewitness accounts said the Kano suicide attack which occurred at about 5.5 pm blew up the 59-seater luxury bus just as it was about to depart the park. The suicide bomber was said to have positioned a Golf car, primed with explosives between Gobison Luxury bus and one other before detonating the explosives immediately the driver of the bus was about to take off . As at the time of filing this report, the scene was cordoned off by men of the military joint task force to pave way for the evacuation of both dead and injured victims who were taken to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital. Some of the injured victims had their limbs severed. About six

explosions were heard in the busy park from where travelers to the south-east board the buses. Apart from the target bus, the blast set 10 other buses ablaze. Following the explosions, there was stampede in Sabo Gari an area that is inhabited predominantly by non-natives. Business activities in the commercial city were abruptly closed with the Kano Central Market and other places shut. The JTF spokesman, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, said it would be hasty to talk about casualty figures. "We are also making efforts to prevent thieves from taking advantage of the situation to loot," he said. Chairman of the Kano chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Tobias Idika, claimed that from records available to him 60 persons died in the incident with five luxury buses burnt. Meanwhile, the AIG Zone 1, Mr David Omojola visited the scene of the attack and describing it as tragic and unfortunate. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack as one of the survivors, Ibrahim Bello, said that, "I ran for my dear life and managed to get out of the park after the second blast. Many people

are lying dead. See, my clothes are covered in blood." President Goodluck Jonathan in a statement yesterday condemned the Kano attack describing it as barbaric. He vowed that the incident would not deter what he called Federal Government's strongwilled determination to overcome those who do not mean well for the nation. The statement signed by presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that Jonathan reassured Nigerians and foreigners in the country that the government will continue to do all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property, including continued collaboration with local and international partners and stakeholders to check the menace of terrorism. But tragedy also struck the troubled city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, yesterday morning, when suspected insurgents launched coordinated attacks on three separate public schools, killing six persons, leaving several others wounded. The affected schools are Government Day Secondary School Mafoni, Ali Aliskiri Primary and Junior Secondary School as well as Government Secondary

School, Sanda Kyarami. This came less than a week after similar incident in Kano, in which gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on teachers at Danmaliki Primary School, wounding three persons. Those killed in yesterday's attacks included two male teachers, their three female colleagues, a student as well as snack hawker. Some students and pupils, who were wounded in the raid, are being treated at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH). When news of the attacks filtered in the town, academic activities were scuttled in several areas as many schools were immediately shut. Also, parents were seen evacuating their children from both public and private schools. According to witnesses, all the coordinated attacks were reportedly carried out simultaneously between 9 am and 10 am, with Government Day Secondary School Mafoni being the first target. It was gathered that the incident occurred when five men, armed with AK 47 rifles stormed the school, firing sporadic shots in different directions before heading

to the examination and records office and opened fire on the female teachers and the hawker. The victims reportedly died on the spot as the assailants have fired several shots into the air before fleeing the scene. Reports said that another group of gunmen raided Ali Aliskiri Primary and Junior School also in Maiduguri metropolis, where teachers, one Malam Iliyasu Modu as well as a student were killed. In the Sanda Kyarami Secondary School attack, another teacher, one Malam Kachalla, was equally killed. Spokesman for The JTF, Lt-Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement confirmed the attacks but said only one person was killed while three female students sustained gunshot injuries and were being treated at the UMTH. The statement also disclosed that the task force averted another attack on two secondary schools in Mafoni and Galadima areas, by Boko Haram insurgents. The Borno state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, described the incident as unfortunate noting that government under the leadership of Governor Kashim Shettima has placed much priority on the education sector.



Boko Haram: Northern lawmakers make fresh case for amnesty P

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

eoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Assembly Members from the North east have appealed to President Good Luck Jonathan to rescind his decision and grant amnesty to insurgents in the region to usher in lasting peace. The Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi who spoke on behalf of the lawmakers stated this at the North east Zonal meeting with the

National Chairman of the PDP in Bauchi . Ningi said "we want the National Chairman of PDP who is from our zone and the president Good luck Jonathan to rescind his earlier decision made in Borno and Yobe state to grant amnesty to insurgents or to protect our lives and properties, because our people are being killed every day, our economic is crippled, we want the president to make a u-turn grant them amnesty,protect our lives

and addressed the security challenges in the region" He said North east sub region is the most marginalized and back ward region in the country and appeal to the government to be fair and just to the people of the region. Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda assured the people in the North east that their worries would soon be over and appealed to the PDP Chairman to use his experience and wisdom and convince the Federal

Government to tackle the problems of insecurity, poverty and unemployment through reviving the agriculture. Yuguda said "north east region is the most impoverished region in the country and we want the Federal Government help the region to tackle the problem on our part all of us the Governors of the region would continue to support the National Chairman of the party and the Federal Government in order

Gen. Lekwot gets six months jail term over land dispute From Muhammad Adamu, Kaduna


Kaduna Chief Magistrate Court yesterday sentenced a former Military Governor of Rivers state, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd) to six months imprisonment over a land dispute. About 224 persons had dragged him before the court alleging trespass into the complainants' farm land located in Rijana village in Chikun local government of Kaduna state. He was also accused of using "Operation Yaki" policemen to intimidate and forced the complainants to vacate the farmland. After reading the judgment which lasted for over one hour, the presiding Magistrate, Mohammed Adamu Hamza, sentenced Lekwot to six months imprisonment but gave him an option of N10,000 fine. Counsel to the complainants, Abdulrauf Atiku, told the court that, "we are grateful and satisfied with the judgment." what you what to say I am helpless because my lord has made of his mind there is nothing I would say."

NNPC fails to account for N6trn IGR By Umar Muhammad Puma

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan in a handshake withvisiting Lebanese President, Mr. Michel Sleiman, during a reception for the visiting President, yesterday at the State House in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Court strikes out suit seeking Not all kidnapped foreign Salami's reinstatement workers are dead, says By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday struck out a suit filed by the Registered Trustees of Centre for the Promotion of Arbitration, seeking to compel the National Judicial Council (NJC) to reinstate suspended former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. The court sitting before Justice Adamu Bello, in his ruling held that the members of the organization lacked the requisite locus standi to institute the action. The judge stated that the subject matter of the case was the removal from office of the embattled former President of the Court of Appeal and that the

interest in the case is a private one relating to the rights of Justice Salami and that no other person or party can seek to redress the wrong in a matter that involves private interest except the person whose interest had been breached. "I am of the strong view that the subject matter of this present suit is the private rights of Justice Salami, it pertains to him and no other person can seek his reinstatement. "This suit is not about public right interest but of a private right of Justice Salami. He was not the plaintiff in this matter but was made a defendant. "It is Salami's legal right that is affected and only he can seek redress," the court stated.


By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


ontrary to the widely circulated information that all seven expatriates kidnapped by the Ansaru group have been killed, President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that security information available to him suspects that some of them may still be alive. The seven hostages, from Greece, Lebanon, Italy and Britain were captured in February on a construction site in Bauchi by the Ansaru sect. There captors however released a video online last

weekend and announced that it had killed the foreigners, a development that threatened to undermine Nigeria's position in the comity of civilized nations. Speaking while hosting the Lebanese President, Michel Sleiman on a state using at the State House, President Jonathan condemned the activities of all violent sects, adding however that the video released by the group was suspect. The President during a joint press conference after the closeddoor session said the Federal Government suspected that some of the victims may have died through one disease or the other while some of them may still be alive.


ttempts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to shield the financial records of its 16 subsidiaries from being examined by the House of Representatives Committee was thwarted by the lawmakers. Notwithstanding, none of the subsidiary company of the NNPC that appeared at the session availed the Committee with the requested financial details of their organization, claiming that the invitation got to them late. NNPC made N6 trillion between 2009 and 2012 as internally generated revenue (IGR) but refused to remit N142b to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as demanded by the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007. The Committee has however frowned at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria's (FAAN) disposition to spending all its internally generated revenues (IGR) without recourse to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, (FRA) 2007.



French Activist to meet Boko Haram, Ansaru leaders April B

FG lifts DANA suspension By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


French businessman and an Islamic activist, has offered to meet with leaders of insurgent groups, the Boko Haram and Ansaru in April. Rachid Nekazz, a flamboyant and rich French businessman is travelling down to Nigeria in April to meet with the leaders of the two groups as a means of amicably addressing their grievances. According to a report by an online news medium, Premium Times, Nekazz plans to arrive Kano on April 1 and stay till April 7 before returning to France. Nekazz is noted in the reports to be never scared to speak against the government or in favour of Muslims anywhere they are maltreated or subjected to ridicule. He spends his personal money to travel from continent to continent advocating for Muslims' religious and civil right. The 41-year old is said to be also popular for advocating women's freedom to wear the nijab in Europe. He once pledged one million euros to pay fines of French Muslim women caught wearing the full veil. The report said Nekkaz believes that Boko Haram and Ansaru are organisations that advocate for the respect and dignity of African Muslims. He likened the actions of the sects to that of the controversial American organisation, Black Panthers, during the 1960's and 70's. "With respect to the dignity of the Muslim people of Africa and of Nigeria, the actions of the Boko Haram and Ansaru

Rachid Nekazz organisations have definitely resulted in numerous repercussions in the international press since 2009," he said. He added that like "The Black Panthers of America made many key strategic errors in their time. Those errors have tainted not only their image, but that of Islam in and outside the US for the last 30 years." Nekkaz is optimistic that his trip to Nigeria next month will help leaders of the sect avoid the

errors made by the Black Panthers in the US. "By discussing and helping their mission and their strategic choices in a way that would accomplish their local mission, while improving the image of Islam across the world," he explained. He also hopes to address the French hostage situation while he is Nigeria. In 2009, Nekkaz travelled with Jean-Bruno Roumegoux China in hopes of preventing the execution of 12

young Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in China living mainly in the region Xinjuang, in western China. Nekkaz is the son of Algerian immigrants to France where he was born. He studied history of philosophy at the Sorbonne, France. He later made a fortune with an internet start-up but then diversified into real estate. With real estate came politics and in 2007 he contested the French Presidential elections but failed to secure the 500 endorsements required. In the legislative elections of the same year, he founded his own party, standing in the 7th district of Seine-Saint-Denis and receiving only 156 votes, just over 0.5 per cent of the ballot. He unsuccessfully stood in 2008 for the municipal elections, promising •300 to every voter if elected. He has had problems with the French government which includes two international tax audits and one week imprisonment for his political activism. Egypt's Cheikh Abou Ishaq, and Iran's Ayatollah Safi are some of the world's Muslim spiritual leaders that have celebrated Nekkaz for his actions and his advocacy for the rights of Muslim women in Europe. In Nigeria he will meet with a different opposition. The Islamic sects are different from what Nekkaz has always fought for but it is not impossible that he could proffer some solution and reach an agreement with the sect leaders. A respite in the North will be a welcome idea.

Minister lauds VON automobile plant in Nigeria By Joy Baba


he Minister of state for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has expressed satisfaction with the proficiency and quality of manufacturing operations at VON Automobiles Nigeria Limited, local manufacturers of buses, trucks and light commercial vehicles including brands such as Ashok Leyland. Ortom, made these remarks last week, when he and conducted a supervisory visit to the plant in Lagos. According to him, "I have inspected and seen what VON Automobile Nigeria is doing and I am quite impressed with the quality of work here as well as the capacity of the plant. "I have toured other parts of this country and I am saying that what I found here is of international standards. "We can now encourage people from other African countries to import from Nigeria as the products are of the best quality and can be used in any part of the

world." The Minister who led a high powered delegation of members of the Committee on Mass Transportation for Nigerians to VON Automobiles also applauded the vehicle assembly plant for transforming the defunct Volkswagen of Nigeria (VWoN) plant within a relatively short period of time. According to him, "I am satisfied with what I have seen and the truth is that you can supply us with the quality and quantity we need and I want to reassure you that I will take this back to the Committee and within a very short time, government should be in a position to allow you make offers to the body that requires your products. "Mr. President is quite committed and down-to-earth about it and he is not paying lip services and that is why you have seen me here today." Earlier in his address, Managing Director, VON Automobiles Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, noted that

the plant has an installed capacity of 4,000 buses per annum and will shortly take delivery of plants to produce 36,000 vehicles per year. VON, a subsidiary of Stallion Group is a 45 years old multibillion conglomerate with a presence in 18 countries, employing in excess of 10,000

staff and engaged in diversified businesses including commodities, agri-business, automobiles, industries, food, FMCG products and services. In the automobile industry, Stallion has partnered with world-class brands including Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Ashok Leyland and others.

Group queries non inclusion of Kifasi on list for HOS job


non-governmental organisation, Taraba Concerned Citizens, has faulted the non-inclusion of Mr. Danladi Irmiya Kifasi in the seniority list of permanent secretaries from the North-east. The group's Secretary, Hon Amed Saleh, said in a statement yesterday that it was disheartening and disturbing that the seniority list of permanent secretaries from the north-east, from where the next Head of Service of the Federation would emerge is skewed.

According to the statement, "the authorities concerned must put the records straight so that the appointment of the next Head of Service of the Federation is based on merit. "Mr Danladi Irmiya Kifasi is supposed to be among the three nominees earlier submitted from the north for consideration for appointment as the next Head of Service of the Federation since the position has been zoned to the north-east in the spirit of fairness and equity." the statement said.

arely 48 hours after the Federal Government suspended DANA airlines from operation, the airline has been asked to return to resume its services business. This followed a meeting between the Minister of Aviation and management of DANA airlines, yesterday in Abuja. According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister, Joe Obi, the airline is to resume normal operations immediately. The statement said, "at the end of the meeting, the suspension of the operations of the airline which took effect last Saturday was lifted. "The airline is to resume normal operations immediately. "However, the particular aircraft which had a snag over the weekend is to remain grounded until after its airworthiness has been recertified by Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft."

Money laundering: Lamido's son trial stalled again From Edwin Olofu, Kano.


he money laundering trial of the eldest son of Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa state, Aminu Sule could not hold yesterday in at a Kano High Court, due to the absence of the defence counsel, Mr. Offiong offiong (SAN), who was said to have travelled abroad. The Court however fixed April 12, 2013 for definitive hearing in the case. The EFCC lawyers did not object to the oral application for adjournment. Aminu Sule was arrested at Malam Aminu Kano Airport with $50,000 by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) last December contrary to provisions of the Money Laundering Act.

Five killed in Benue land dispute


t least five persons may have been killed while several others were injured with about 20 houses vandalized in a land dispute between Mbaugu/Mbawear kindred of Mbadede council ward of Vandeikiya local government area of Benue state. The crisis which started last weekend is a result of tussle for a parcel of FADAMA land that both clans are laying claims to. It was also gathered that the recent crisis is the second in less than a year as the two warring communities have continued to be at daggers drawn over the parcel of land. Chairman of the council, Terver Kume, confirmed the incident.



Minister wants quick review of Immigration Act By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


nterior Minister, Comrade Abba Moro, has made a passionate appeal to the National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Immigration Act of 1963 being reviewed by national law makers. The Minister said that the nonpassage and absence of the immigration law has hampered the performance of the ministry in certain areas covered by the legislation especially the activities of the Citizens and Business Department of the Ministry. Moro made the appeal in Abuja

yesterday during the commissioning of the Ministry's automation of operations and launch of the e-business web portal. According to him, the issuance of business permits and expatriate quota positions to foreigners which forms part of the activities of the Citizens and Business Department of the ministry has been affected by the absence relevant laws. He said the Ministry had restructured its monitoring and implementation framework as it affects expatriate quota and work or business permit to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the

ICT regime adding that the launch of the e-business platform meant that henceforth, quota applications must be channeled and processed electronically rather than manually. Senate President, Senator David Mark who commissioned the eautomation of the Citizenship and Business Department of the Ministry commended the timing of the project and stated that it would address the bottlenecks and other administrative problems encountered by foreigners and Nigerians seeking expatriate quota and business permits in the country.

Mark who was represented at the occasion by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the e-portal would add value to the services of the ministry and earn more revenue for the Federal Government since leakages would be plugged. He urged the ministry to ensure close follow-up monitoring of the project implementation and to ensure that proper technological transfers takes place between the private partner and the ministry to remove the likely advantage which the associates might have when allowed to exercise complete control and monopoly of the system.

L-R: Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited &Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu,VicePresident Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and Minister of Finance,Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during the Nigeria Philanthropy Summit, yesterdayat Transcorp Hilton, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

FG engages Anambra, Delta states on Second Niger Bridge By Miriam Humbe


fforts geared towards actualizing the construction of the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha are in top gear as the Federal government has started the process of fully engaging the governments of Anambra and Delta states in regular consultations and dialogue with a view to fast-tracking the project. Minister of Works, Arc Mike Onolememen, initiated this synergy recently at separate meetings with the governors of Anambra and Delta states

revealing that the Federal Ministry of Works issued a letter of intent to the preferred bidder, Messrs Julius Berger-African Infrastructure Investment Managers (JB-AIIM) Consortium, for the concessioning of the bridge on February 20, 2013. He said that in line with the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Ministry in December 2011 under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model commenced the procurement of the Second Niger Bridge linking Onitsha in Anambra

state and Asaba, the Delta State capital; that at the end of the procurement in January 2013, Messrs JB-AIIM Consortium emerged as the preferred bidder on the Concessioning of the Bridge and approach roads. Onlememen disclosed that the Federal Government intends to provide a ring-road network by-passing Asaba and Onitsha towns in phases as a permanent solution to the perennial traffic situation in the area and around the gateway to the south east and also increase the capacity of the South-East and South-West

transport corridor. The Minister explained that after the issuance of the letter of intent to Messrs JB-AIIM Consortium, the Ministry has put in place a Project Steering Committee comprising of relevant stakeholders to oversee the process of project delivery, manage, and ensure implementation of decisions and supervise the Project Development Team. He requested the cooperation and support of the governments and people of Anambra and Delta states more especially on the acquisition of right of way.

Justice Odili blames FG for state of Nigerian children By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ustice Mary Peter Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria has blamed the sorry state of the interest on the Nigerian child on the failure of the executive arms of the government to put in place the right policy and mechanism for determination of the best interest of the child. In a paper entitled, "Principles and applications of the best interest of the child under the law", delivered at the 2013 founders' day lecture organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Abuja, Justice Odili stressed the need for necessary political will to adequately redress the sorry situation and position the country in matters affecting the child within the acceptable international standards. According to her, "to properly tackle the current inadequate, uncoordinated child rights concerns, nothing short of the Head of State being the defacto Minister of Children or Young Persons Affairs and at the same level, the Governor as Commissioner would suffice." She said that by so doing, the Chief Executive of the country or the State can harness the instruments of government for the necessary intervention in all ramifications and called on the Federal Government to put in place that arrangement immediately in the interest of the Nigerian Child. According to her, "frequency of communal conflicts has occasioned the loss of parents, abandonment, disabling injuries and in many more cases, loss of lives (for many Nigerian children)." Odili noted that despite the abundance of child specific laws, the reality on the ground shows that the story of child rights protection and application of the best interest principle in terms of obligation under international and regional treaties is not a happy one. She explained that the law in the country has for a long time, recognized the welfare of the child adding that the promotion and protection of the rights of children as specifically entrenched in section 17 (3) (f) of the 1999 constitution and it provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that children, young persons and the aged are protected against any exploitation and against moral and material neglect.

NSCDC arrests 62 suspected fake corps members in Nasarawa From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he Nasarawa command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 62 suspected fake National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, allegedly camping in an illegal NYSC camp located on the outskirts of Nasarawa town, headquarters of Nasarawa local government area. Parading the suspects, NSCDC

state Commandant, Mr. Andekin Amos Musa, disclosed that the fake corps members were arrested through routine surveillance by officers of the corps, who raided and arrested the suspects while undergoing orientation near Government Secondary School Tammah, in Nasarawa local government area. Among the suspected fake corps members are 44 females, including a nursing mother and 18 males

with most of them said to have graduated from part time degree programmes at the University of Jos. The NSCDC commandant further disclosed that one Mr. Chinedu who was said to be the coordinator of the fake camp, escaped arrest when officers of the corps stormed the camp. Andekin said that the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation

was concluded. Arrested alongside the fake corps members are 2 drivers, a photographer and a bus conductor who are also suspected to be members of the syndicate running the illegal NYSC camp. One of the suspects, Keziah Danjuma, a part time graduate of Management Science from the University of Jos, in a chat with journalists, said she heard about the scheme from a friend who then

connected her with the coordinator. She said that she paid the sum of N50, 000 to be part of the programme which she described as, "a one day camping, just to take our photographs in NYSC uniform and we are on our way." Miss Keziah said she agreed to the arrangement because without an NYSC discharge certificate, it is most likely she will not get employed.


Court remands three Kano LG staff over N40m scam By Lambert Tyem


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned Mas’ud Isiyaku, Bala Mohammed Shukrah and Ashiru Shuaibu before Justice Farouq Lawan of Kano state High Court on two count charge of misappropriation of funds. The three staff who are executives of Tarauni Local Government Staff Multipurpose Cooperatives allegedly received 460 motorcycles valued at N59, 800,000 from one Murtala Auwal Tsafe for sale to their members. One of the charges read, “that you Mas’ud Isiyaku, Bala Mohammed Shukura and Ashiru Shuaibu being

executive officers of Tarauni Local Government staff Multi Purpose Co-operatives on or about 16th April, 2011 in Kano within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice Kano state collected 460 motorcycles at the cost of N59,800,000 from Murtala Auwal Tsafe, after selling same to your members, dishonestly misappropriated the balance of N40,516,667 out of proceed and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 309 of Penal Code”. They pleaded not guilty after listening to the charge. Justice Lawan adjourned the case to April 16, 2013 for hearing and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.


Al-Makura sets up panel to investigate Nasarawa varsity crisis


he Nasarawa state government has set up a five-man committee to investigate the recent students’ protest at the Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK) which led to the shooting and killing of two students of the institution allegedly by armed soldiers. Inaugurating the committee yesterday in Lafia, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-

Sokoto moves to establish cement factory

makura, said it had become necessary to investigate the crisis because as a responsible government, it owes it as a duty to the people, “not only to monitor the goings-on in the university but also ensure the protection of lives and property of members of the university community, as well as the general public.” The committee has among

its terms of reference, to determine the remote and immediate causes of the crises, ascertain the extent of loss of lives and degree of damage to property as well as appraise the role of security agencies and other institutions in aiding or abetting the crisis. The committee has three weeks within which to submit its report.

By Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto

the agreement, the Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, who was represented by the state Commissioner of Sold Mineral Resources, Alhaji Dahiru Maishanu, said if the company commences its operation, it would have the capacity of producing 300 tonnes of cement per day.


okoto state government yesterday announced signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brew-tech. Nigeria Limited to establish a joint mini cement factory in the state. Speaking after signing

Peoples Daily Sports Editor loses grandmother


L-R: Sokoto state Commissioner for Solid Mineral, Malam Dahiru Maishanu, who represented Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, in a handshake with Project Manager of Brew Tech Nig. Ltd, Mr. Michael Bjorns, after the signing of MoU with Brew Techto establish mini cement factory, yesterday in Sokoto.

adam Maria Gregory Ibit Ekpoh, who hails from Ikot Esenam Obom in Oruk-Anam local government area of Akwa Ibom state has passed on. The devout Catholic and women leader in her community aged 96 years died peacefully in her sleep last Saturday after a protracted illness. During her life time, Madam Maria, as she was fondly called by peers and younger women alike on account of her courtly manner and homour, was reputed for her religious and socio-economic commitment. A merchant of considerable repute, she traded on all sorts of kitchen wares and often travelled by the barest of means to far flung places in the then South Eastern Region to purchase her wares and on return retailed them. Albeit she never had formal education, she engaged several District

Officers in the campaign to establish schools in her community and pioneered formal education for women. Little wonder, she worked assiduously to educate her four daughters to the best of her ability. Until her death, she was the life patron of Nka Adiaha Obong- the most prominent women society in the Catholic Church- president church station, member village council and a member of several self-help community project committees. Madam Maria, whose remains will be buried on Saturday, March 23 after wake keep on Friday, is survived by several grand children among whom are Patrick Andrew, Associate Editor, Sports Peoples Daily, Iniobong Dominic, Senior Lecturer, Akwa Ibom Poly, Ubong Vitalis Unang, SSA to the Deputy Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Honourable Udo Kieran.

Commander, Col. Jimoh to ensure peace in the Council Area. Dem said, “it is unfortunate that Col. Jimoh would say women in the community attacked the military when it is not true. “They killed two children and four people are in critical condition in the hospital, we don’t know how they will end up. “Col. Jimoh could not even say something happened in the local government area but he was given false information and I want to emphasise that if we mean business about peace in Riyom, Col. Jimoh should be

replaced with somebody serious.” At the scene of the attack, an identity card belonging to Abubakar Shaibu, Rank PTE with a serial No. P/No.12NA/68/ 5077-93 serving with the Special Task Force (STF) was found in the pool of blood where the two children were killed while over 30 empty shells of ammunition were recovered. The two children have been buried while sympathizers troop the community to sympathize with the bereaved family. Plateau state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, confirmed the incident.

Survivor fingers soldier in Plateau shooting From Musa Pam, Jos


soldier said to belong to the Security Task Force in Plateau state reportedly attacked Torok- Rim village in Riyom local government area of Plateau state yesterday killing two children while four other persons were hospitalized. Eyewitness accounts said that the children aged between two and four were killed in their home when the soldier attacked the village at about 8:30 pm on Sunday. The injured are currently receiving treatment at the Vom Christian Hospital.

A survivor of the incident, Mrs. Hosarah Gok, said that STF operatives deployed to secure the villages carried out the attack. She said she would be able to identify the officer who carried out the shooting. Mrs. Gok whose son was one of those shot said the officer had appeared in their home on two occasions looking for her husband. As she put it, “we were sitting down at about 8 pm and a military man who was brought to protect us came asking for my husband and I told him that he is not at home.

“After some few minutes, I had sporadic gunshots, we started running up and down for safety and the military man was after us until he shot my son. “I know him, I can identify him, he is living in the village pretending to be guarding us but look at what they have done for us, I escaped, narrowly if not I would have gone by now.” Member House of the House of Assembly representing Riyom, Hon. Daniel Dem, who visited the scene condemned the attack and called on the STF Commander, Gen. Henry Ayoola, to redeploy the Sector







Taraba House probes Wukari crisis From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo.


he Taraba state House of Assembly has set up a five-member adhoc committee to investigate the causes of the recent crisis in Wukari town, the administrative headquarters of Wukari local government area. This followed a motion raised by the member representing Wukari , Daniel Ishaya Gani. He told the House that lives and property worth billions of naira was destroyed during the crisis. The lawmaker urged the Legislature to direct the state government to provide relief materials and assistance to those whose property were destroyed during the crisis. Gani blamed the security and government for not taking urgent measures in Wukari considering the history of the area which has witnessed a number of crisis in the past. In their various contributions, the Majority Leader, Charles Maijankai, the Deputy Speaker, Abel Peter Diah, and Mohammed Gwampo, the Chief Whip, supported the motion adding that a unit of Mobile Police be sent to Wukari to calm the situation there and to forestall the re-occurrence of the incident. The committee is headed by Joseph Alkinjo while Mohammed Gwampo, Mohammed Umar, Edward Baraya and Yahaya Abdulkarim are to serve as members.

Man gets 10 years jail term for rape From Yusha’u Alhassna Jalingo.


Jalingo High Court has sentenced a 26 years old man, Maimuri Bello Umar, from Unguwan Gadi in Jalingo local government area, to 15 years imprisonment for raping a 10 years old girl. Delivering judgment on the matter, the presiding Judge, Justice Sani Mohammed, said that the convict would be more useful to the society after the jail term. Justice Mohammed rejected the plea for leniency by the defense counsel who described the convict as a young man who could still be useful to the society. During the trial, counsel to the girl, Apwenyang Yamusa Shitta presented four witnesses against the convict.

L-R: Chief Operating Officer, Peoples Media Ltd, Malam Ali M. Ali, and Correspondent of Xinhua News Agency, Abuja Bureau, Chen Shupin, during the signing of MoU between the two media organisations, yesterday in Abuja.

Benin Oba warns politician on abuse of royal dress From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa, has warned the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chairmanship candidate in Egor local government area of Edo state, Victor Enobakhare, to stop adoring himself in royal apparel because since he is neither a recognized palace chief nor a prince. The Oba issued the admonition through Chief Sani Obamwonyi, the Esere of Benin Kingdom, when Enobakhare led

a delegation to the palace, for royal blessings ahead of the elections schedule for April 20. Obamwonyi explained that the warning was necessary to the preserve Benin heritage and image of the revered institution. Katsina Islamic Foundation appoints new Secretary-General From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina. The General Council of Katsina Islamic Foundation has approved the appointment of Alhaji Aliyu Garba Kankara, as its new Secretary-general. He replaces Wazirin Katsina who

held the office for 14 years. A statement signed by the new Secretary General noted that the decision was reached at a recent emergency meeting of the council. The statement disclosed that the meeting chaired by Alhaji Abba Jaye thanked the former Secretary-General for his many years of service The council further approved for the immediate implementation of a White Paper on the development model of the Katsina University. According to the statement,

“the general council noted that the register of the foundation has remained closed for the past 14 years contrary to Part V section 9 subsection (3) of the Foundation’s constitution and therefore resolved to open the register for continuous registration of eligible members.” It said that committee will review the current Katsina University law and registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission in fulfillment of Federal Government’s law in respect to such institutions.

NEMA says 2013 rainfall may translate to bumper harvest for farmers By Etuka Sunday


he National Emergency management Agency (NEMA) has warned again that there is possibility of excess flooding this year based on the 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction(SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET). Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, NEMA Director-General, Muhammad Sani Sidi, said that communities

...Warns communities on flood-prone areas in flood-prone areas should take precautionary measures. To avert a repeat of last year’s situation which resulted in the loss of lives, properties and the displacement of several persons. According to Sidi, NEMA spent about N1.3 billion last year on disaster management adding that that in the case of the predicted flooding in 2013, even if turns out to be of less

magnitude, might result in large scale devastation. He noted that the climate change phenomena and the resultant unpredictable weather conditions have created new challenges for emergency management stakeholders across the world, stressing that most of the emergencies confronting NEMA are humaninduced which simple

compliance to physical development regulations and the avoidance of construction on flood plains can reduce the risk of flooding. However, according to the NEMA boss, the seasonal rainfall prediction could be good news for Nigerian farmers as the rainfall pattern anticipated is expected to translate to bumper harvest for them.



Make money ‌invest in funds offering tax-free dividends A

re you still trying to find your feet in the investment community even when you have less than two months to the end of this year? Assuming you have crossed this stage, are you still in the category of people whose dividend value declines because of the attached tax. A clear one in this case is Withholding Tax (WHT) on dividend at 10 percent. Isn't that money pretty much to be ignored! The message this time is that you must do your homework carefully before sinking large amounts of money into stockmarket mutual funds in coming weeks through a taxable account. By implication, you can make more money by investing in equities or funds that have taxfree dividends. When you ignore this advice, you might wind up owing or paying taxes that could have been avoided. You may ask if there are tax-free dividends. Interestingly, most dividends are tax-free. For resident corporate entities, the following dividends are treated as tax-free. They are dividend payments by Unit Trust Schemes or Mutual Funds (for example IBTC Equity Fund and other likely funds); Dividend distribution by a pioneer

company. By pioneer companies, it means the first set of companies that start a particular business. If you also discover something new and sustain it overtime, you are given tax holiday.

Other dividends that are taxfree are dividends distributed by an oil producing company. The oil producing company dividends are tax free because about 87 percent of any oil company's net income is paid as tax. This is not inclusive

on the royalties they pay. Other tax-free dividends are dividends derived by a company from another company incorporated in Nigeria provided the equity is imported between 1987 and 1992; the corporate

Investment opportunities abound, make a wise investment

investor has a minimum participation of 10 percent equity holding in the company making the distribution. Furthermore, other dividends that are tax-free include those dividends brought into Nigeria through government approved channels, dividends received from investments in wholly export-oriented businesses, dividends received from a small company engaged in manufacturing sector in the first five years of its operation. On individual basis, dividend income received by residents is tax-free. Such dividend income are dividend paid a person by a company in Nigeria provided that the equity participation of the person in the company was made in foreign currency or by assets brought into Nigeria between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1992; individuals owned equity share of not less than 10 percent in the company. Also, dividend brought into Nigeria by a Nigerian resident provided that they are received in convertible currencies and paid into a domiciliary account in a bank approved by government. You can use domiciliary account as an escape root for taxation!

Financial meltdown may have been over, steer clear of investment panic


t the beginning of 2009, when we were still scared out of our minds about the economy, financial system and our retirement, how many of us really did what we were supposed to and stay the course (or better yet, put more into our investments)? Before you jump up and claim victory because YOU did, how old were you and how much value did your portfolio drop from the peak in 2007? Staying the course after a 50percent net worth drop when you are 55 takes a vastly different mental toughness than doing the same when you are 22. If your early retirement hopes were

destroyed and you are worried about your future, how much faith can you put into the "everything is just a cycle" theory? Ignoring the short term was hard, but it's precisely what we needed to do then. I'm not talking about those who bought Citigroup stock when it was $1, because the majority of those people just made a bet and won. I'm talking about the ones who, despite fear, trusted their experience and knowledge and just stayed heavily invested in diversified investments. The question really is, how do we get there? Truthfully, there really is no right way to go about this, but at

least I know these will help. Been through it before? The more bear markets you go through in your life, the more you understand how the whole system works. While there is no magical way of gaining experience, you can help yourself by slowly increasing your risk exposure within the same asset class as you age. This is counter intuitive, but what I mean is, start off your exposure to equity investing with index funds. Then, as you feel more comfortable with the up and downs, then move onto perhaps different types of ETFs, and finally into stocks (if you so inclined). It's much easier to feel safe in an index fund than putting your faith in one p a r t i c u l a r company, and having the needed experience may just make the difference of selling low or selling high. Have a plan. You seldom hear about people being proactive with their investments, but having a plan really helps. Investing has nothing to do with disaster recovery, but simulating a

disaster recovery plan will increase the chances that you don't panic at the worst possible moment. Don't sweat it. Chances are that you are underestimating your investment horizon. If you are retiring in 5 years time, you need to account for the fact that the majority of your funds will still be invested for the next 25 years. In the long run, stocks win. Stay the course, and you will come out okay.

Quote Mere longevity is a good thing for those who watch Life from the side lines. For those who play the game, an hour may be a year; a single day’s work an achievement for eternity. — Gabriel Heatter

Biz Tip: Use Strategic Planning to lay the Foundation for your Business Plan


ntrepreneurs and business managers are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That's why a preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity. This may not be a recipe for success, but without it a business is much more likely to fail. A strategic plan is not the same thing as an operational plan. The former should be visionary, conceptual and directional in contrast to an operational plan which is likely to be shorter term, tactical, focused, implementable and measurable. As an example, compare the process of planning a vacation (where, when, duration, budget, who goes, how travel are all strategic issues) with the final preparations (tasks, deadlines, funding, weather, packing, transport and so on are all operational matters). A strategic plan should not be confused with a business plan. The former is likely to be a (very) short document whereas a business plan is usually a much more substantial and detailed document. A strategic plan can provide the foundation and frame work for a business plan.





As a new Pope steps in

orge Mario Bergoglio, 76, emerged as leader of the Catholic Church last Wednesday. Bergoglio, who hails from Argentina, would now be known as Pope Francis 1. His election followed the resignation of his predecessor, Benedict XVI on February 28. Significantly, the new pope was not among the handful of cardinals that had been touted as Benedict's possible successors. By mounting the saddle as the 266th Pontiff in the Catholic Church's over 2,000-year history, Francis is not only the first Jesuit to occupy this exalted throne; he is the first non-European to be elected pope. Expectations had been high prior to the highly anticipated contest that the new pontiff would be relatively younger, more so that advanced age had been largely responsible for the exit of the immediate past pope. The emergence of a comparatively young man, it was felt, would help reinvigorate the papacy and also prevent possible repeat of the Benedict spectacle. No less significant is the fact that the new pontiff, though a conservative, takes office with the reputation of a reformer. Incidentally, even the name he has assumed - Francis - goes against the grain, so to say. His "namesake, " St. Francis of Assisi, who lived nearly a century ago,

had electrified his generation by spurning his father's fabulous wealth to serve the downtrodden. Given the measure of turbulence that has pervaded its rank and file in recent times, including priestly child abuse, corruption and the like, Francis' emergence is timely. This is particularly so as the avalanche of crises buffeting the

The pope's burden is made more weighty by the fact that he is not just the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, he is, by implication, more or less the moral and spiritual leader of Christians the world over church is believed to have contributed to the melodramatic exit of his predecessor. Indeed, Francis has his task cut out for him, particularly in the wake of the recent leaked documents scandal which shook the Catholic Church to its foundation. Add to that a variety of other faith-testing challenges, including abortion, homosexuality, gay/lesbianism and, of course, priestly child abuse and

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

graft. The pope's burden is made more weighty by the fact that he is not just the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, he is, by implication, more or less the moral and spiritual leader of Christians the world over. His conduct, utterances, actions and inactions would, willy-nilly, impact global affairs one way or the other. At 76, age is not on the side of Francis who, incidentally, is the first pope to come from Latin America. But it is said "it's not how long but how well." Our expectations is that the new man in the saddle would do veritably well in the years ahead, irrespective of the longevity or brevity of his tenure. His predecessor, Benedict, earned universal acclaim and adulation by bowing out gracefully, after doing his bit, when the ovation was loudest. The world now expects Pope Francis 1 to go further and help heal the schism among Catholics in particular and Christendom in general. He may be only a religious leader without the authority and arsenal at the disposal of the leader of, say, the world's super power, but - depending on how he comports himself - he could make a significant difference in a world racked by terrorism, wars, natural disasters, crime and the like.









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New PIB: Someone is directing debate in wrong direction By Ifeanyi Izeze


or a piece of legislation that is meant to addresses comprehensively the hitches that have encumbered the nation's oil and gas sector and constrained optimal operations and returns on investments, the new petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is not being discoursed the right way. It is a shame that we have been torn apart along sectional lines on trivialities. Not a single person has suggested we look at the original version of the PIB submitted to the National Assembly by late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua in 2008 to see if we are still on the right track on this oil sector reform process. The PIB is the result of the work of the Oil and Gas Sector Reform Implementation Committee inaugurated on April 24, 2000. Its main plan was to create new institutions to govern the operations of the industry; transform the existing joint ventures between the IOCs and the NNPC into Incorporated Joint Ventures (IJVs) registered as limited liability companies under the laws of Nigeria; turn the NNPC into a fully-capitalised and profitable National Oil company, etc. The IJVs are expected to free the government of joint venture cash-call obligations as they would have to generate their own funds using their assets as security (where necessary). It is said that the IJVs would be akin to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) structure. The way discussion has progressed on the document does not factor in the fact that the legislation was not just for today's lawmakers and politicians but also for the

tomorrow's peoples of Nigeria. Is it not shame that in all heated public discourse, the only high level of interest as well as sentiment openly expressed had to do with selfish and sectional interests rather than our collective aspirations? Nigeria, who has bewitched you that you now believe more of lies than truth? Has anybody bothered to pause to realise that since the Petroleum Resources Minister came up with this latest revised standard version of the PIB, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) which hitherto were in the trenches with arms, suddenly stopped their vicious attacks against the very spirit and intent of the reforms as captured in the original PIB. They fought fiercely in the media, national assembly and even at market places against it. So what happened that they stopped their vicious protests and campaigns? Is it not awkward? Truly, my people perish for lack of knowledge and

verve to understand the adversary. Royal Dutch Shell's immediate past Regional Executive Vice- President, Exploration and Production, Africa, Ann Pickard, had at the 2010 Nigerian Oil and Gas conference in Abuja on the 24th of February, reeled out the possible consequences should the PIB, which was termed a cumbersome document, be passed into law by the National Assembly of Nigeria. According to the Shell chief, "the bill as formulated was the harshest in the world and could worsen the situation of the country's already dwindling crude oil production." Also, the managing director of ExxonMobil, Mr Mark Ward, had previously maintained that "the current PIB (the original version before this Diezani's copy) before the National Assembly if signed into an act will tremendously stifle every planned investment of the IOCs." Ward who believed the PIB did


As presently packaged, can we say this legislation would guarantee transparency; profitable and reasonable returns on investments for the nation; and improved benefits to the communities that bear the direct brunt of oil and gas exploration and production? The answer is no!

not properly addressed three key areas in the gas sector- the issue of gas pricing, market and infrastructure had wondered how competitive the Nigerian gas market will be if the issue of pricing is not well taken care of. According to him, "the current PIB (the copy before the Diezani version), if it became law, would take the hand of the clock back for the IOCs." That thwarted Shell (or rather IOCs) mindset was attacked right at that same 2010 Abuja Oil and Gas conference by Pedro Van Meurs, a Dutch world- renowned Energy Consultant, who said that there was nothing in the proposed law that could scuttle future investment in Nigeria's oil and gas industry. The question now is: Has the concerns of the IOCs been addressed and in what ways- to favour them at the detriment of Nigeria and her people? They were protesting against almost all the proposed change in the existing relationships ranging from what they described as high rent and royalties, to community relationships. The proposed acreage management was not acceptable to them. They kicked against gas tax increasing from 30 per cent to 80 per cent and royalties increasing from 7 per cent to 12.5 per cent for big producers. To them, "minimal tax allowances for investment incentives on gas cannot simply work." So what has changed in those areas and who decided what should obtain- the IOCs or Nigerian people as was supposed to be represented by the gang that did the desk collation of all the pieces of documents flying around as PIB? Agreed that our leaders

should try to strike a delicate balance between overriding national interests and the need to make our oil industry attractive to foreign investors, but we need to get this thing near-right. This is because it may not be possible for us to return any time soon to begin to talk of amending this fiscal framework guiding the nation's oil sector because it will portray the country and her leaders as not only very unserious but a bunch of naĂŻve people. What is being bandied in the National Assembly as PIB is the terribly severely watered -down assemblage of scattered thoughts collated by people connected directly or by proxy to the foreign operators either as contractors/friends or ex-staff. Is it not awkward that the IOCs suddenly became deaf and dumb over the fiscal and structural framework in the Diezani's copy of the PIB? Could it be that the latest revised edition has completely "satisfied" the concerns raised by the foreign operators? The IOCs from day one had protested and even sabotaged efforts to increase the taxes payable under the country's licensing terms and existing productionsharing contracts which were criminally tilted in favour of the operators to the detriment of Nigeria and her people. As presently packaged, can we say this legislation would guarantee transparency; profitable and reasonable returns on investments for the nation; and improved benefits to the communities that bear the direct brunt of oil and gas exploration and production? The answer is no! Ifeanyi Izeze Is an Abujabased oil consultant

2015: How Jonathan can win the North over By Zayyad I. Muhammad


here are strong indications that President Goodluck Jonathon has kick-started a campaign to return him to power after his first full term ends in 2015. Just as during the 2011 presidential election, Jonathan's splitting headache would be northern Nigeria. But this time around with a major difference- the opposition parties would be more united. PDP's presidential primaries may not be tough for Jonathan, but the general elections would be. And, Jonathan has a painstaking task to change the belief by the northern Nigeria Talakawas that his Presidency is not different from that of northern political class who has failed the Talakawas. With the political activities to herald the 2015 elections gaining momentum, President Jonathan's worry would be how to gain the support of the Talakawas of the north. Before and after his election in 2011, President Jonathan has not applied strategies that can win the hearts of the people of northern Nigeria. With 2015 presidential election fast

approaching, can Jonathan still be able to win over the hearts of northern Talakawas before the elections? Does the President have enough time to show the people of the north that his presidency is different? There is no doubt President Jonathan still have a running political battle with a certain clique from the northern Nigeria political class. However, his attention appears more skewed to the 'politics' of the battle that he has forgotten himself and ways to win over the northern Talakawas-the poor who make up the majority of the northern populace and are the most important weapon for the battle. Jonathan could have taken advantage of the fact that the leadership of the north and the Talakawas are no more on the same page and thus, win the hearts of the people of the north. But Jonathan has so much relied on Governors for his political survival, now he is paying the heavy price. Though it is good for a President to have good 'political' relationship with all Governors, in Nigerian politics, you don't do such and go to sleep; believing the Governors would swim and sink with you.

For Jonathan to win the north over, he has to take careful and intelligent decisions to solve the political problem he is facing in the region. Though he has taken some steps in that direction, they are not enough. For example; the almajiri modern school programme is good, but the children in the north that go to the traditional almajiri schools do so because they don't have a choice. The agricultural transformation programme is also a welcome development, however, more efforts are needed to reach real farmers as well as make them feel involved in the programme. President Jonathan's recent visit to troubled Borno and Yobe States was a good step, but it was belated- Jonathan's failure to visit the area until the APC Governors did so, was a major political blunder. He should have done it earlier to show the people of the area he shares their moment of difficulties. President Jonathan still has more time to change northern Talakawas' impression of his government. He has to design speedy but feasible policies that will break the poverty cycle in the north through economically

empowering the poor. The government should establish a strong direct contact with the people in each state, instead of the heavy reliance on 'State Government Houses'- a Presidential liaison person or point-man wouldn't be a bad idea. Jonathan needs to free his government from the armpit of state governors. The manner with which President Jonathan showed personal interests in the Almajiri School Project should be extended to Lake Chad, Sokoto basin and Benue valley oil exploration project, as well as the Mambilla plateau hydro-electricity project. He should also launch special agricultural and poverty alleviation programmes - these are projects that would endear him to the northern Talakawas. This is because for nearly forty years of northern Nigeria political elite's gripped on political power in Nigeria, they have failed to proffer feasible policies in those areas which could have positively impacted the livelihood of the ordinary people in the north. Another way Jonathan can endear himself to both the northern political class and the Talakawas is making use of the

historic political relationship and alliance between the North and the South-South. It appears surprising that the political alliance between the North and the South-South is at its lowest ebb at a time a Niger-Deltan is occupying the presidency. Jonathan should take advantage of the invaluable friendship that some individuals from the SouthSouth have established across the Niger. People like Anthony Anenih, Peter Odili, Prince Tonye Princewill, Donald Duke, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, Oronto Douglas etc., have vast network of friends and political contacts in the north. As the politics of 2015 gains impetus, just like during the 2011 elections, gaining support from northern Nigeria is President Jonathan's major dilemma. However, it could be achieved effortlessly if the right strategies are employed. After all, the case against the president in the North is political and only requires introducing sound economic policies that impact positively on the talakawa, if it is to be cracked. Zayyad I, Muhammad is reachable on



Understanding the Anenih phenomenon By Johnson Momodu


he only song he knows is loyalty. He practices what he preaches: he is completely loyal to leadership and followership alike. Once he declares his loyalty, he never wavers. He is consistent and persistent. Welcome to the world of Chief Anthony Akhakhon Anenih who has just rebounded as Chair of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His second coming as BoT chair has created excitements in political circles within and outside the PDP and across the states of the nation. This is attested to by the volume of congratulatory messages and positive comments in the media on the heels of his coronation, through consensus, by members of the Board. He was in the saddle from 2004 to 2007 when he was ousted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had then finished his second term, in a civilian coup plot at a meeting ahead of the original meeting of the Board at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Anenih had taken the development philosophically, attending the meetings of the Board under Obasanjo's chairmanship. He had remained loyal to the PDP and the Federal Government, which was then under the presidency of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua, availing these levels of authorities with his wise counsels and solid support. President Goodluck Jonathan is also a beneficiary of Anenih's loyalty. He had consistently played the role of a father-figure in his interactions with the late Yar'Adua and now with Jonathan. This is the outlook of Anenih's By Eugene Ohu


ll the world's television stations were glued to the Vatican most of Tuesday March 12 and all of Wednesday March 13 until the white smoke started billowing from the Chimney, signaling the end of what everyone had been calling "Chimney Watch". The record 5,600 journalists who gathered in Rome for the Conclave have been all but kept on tenterhooks. They placed bets, if not with money, but surely on their reputations, making guesses as to who would be elected. When the black smokes started coming out of the Sistine chapel chimney, signaling that no one had been elected, the voice of caution began to beckon. The word on the street by Wednesday 13 March from the journalists was that if by that evening, none of the heavyweights they were putting forward made it, "all bets would be off", that is to say, they would no longer be able to predict who would be Pope. Well, the Pope did get elected by Wednesday evening but the 5,600 journalists all the same, got it wrong big time! And all bets should indeed be off, because once again it was made clear that God's ways are not man's - and the person chosen to lead the

class knew that avuncular the military politics within government the ambience of was desperate to the PDP. Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text hold on to power Persons in the and to dare the outside world of messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written military the PDP have contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 tactlessly was to also benefitted words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and commit suicide. from his a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed To stay alive eleemosynary, to: and keep the his largecountry united heartedness. became the This, perhaps, The Editor, directive explains the air Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, principle of of celebration 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Anenih's and renewed Email: political hope that has SMS: 07037756364 interactions. It pervaded the was not that he PDP. Leaders loved Abiola less and members of but that he loved Nigeria more. electoral contest, those whom he the PDP have continued to Contrary to the suggestion helped to power see his role as applaud his return in the saddle that the July 2012 governorship salutary to the democratic of the BoT. It is the celebration of election, which his party lost to process. a man who has done so much for the incumbent Governor Adams His enigma has survived humanity. Oshiomhole of the Action trenchant attacks and In his political and public Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has vicissitudes of politics and service life, he has come to cut a demystified him, Anenih's politicking. These attacks were niche for himself as the Leader, decision and instruction to the much pronounced during the which is exciting to him and his party not to challenge June 12, 1993 presidential followers. It is the sobriquet of election annulment when he was Oshiomhole's victory in court has "Mr Fix It" or 'The Enforcer" that amounted to a masterstroke that National Chairman of the he and his loyalists spurn greatly enhanced his politics of defunct Social Democratic Party because of their derogatory rationality. He discounted the (SDP) on whose platform the late nature. This is why analysts are barrage of insults that MKO Abiola contested and won correct when they contend that Oshiomhole hurled at him in the the election. From then till date, Anenih means different things to build-up to the governorship Anenih has been under different people; and while some election. Love of State was unjustified attacks for choose to like him, others hate paramount in his mind; and the him. Yet some others simply fear collaborating with his associates PDP Edo Chapter issued a in the party to allegedly him. But whether you like, hate statement explaining that it negotiate away the pan-Nigeria or fear him, he is someone that would not go to court in order to mandate of Abiola by supporting you cannot ignore in the politics allow the governor to the government of the late of Nigeria. concentrate on statecraft and General Sani Abacha. Anenih has never contested rapid development of the state. How Anenih related with the for any public office; yet, he has A leader of the ACN in Edo June 12 issue was a measure of become one of the most talked state, Prince Joe Okojie, who is his enigma-the mystery of his about politicians in the country from the same Edo Central today. He is perceived differently staying power and survival. His Senatorial District with Anenih, traducers have failed to even by political allies and foes. While had commented on the Anenih realize that the compromises some see him as a threat to the enigma shortly after the 2012 reached by the political class of country's democratic governorship election in which which Anenih was a member experiment, especially after he the PDP reportedly lost in Uromi, was a sacrifice to keep the had contributed to the defeat of Anenih's home town. Read him: country united. The political their preferred candidate in any


The man Pope Francis world's 1.2 billion Catholics was neither of Cardinals Angelo Scola of Milan, nor Marc Ouellet of Canada nor Scherer of Brazil. It was instead a humble, 76 year old South American pastor from Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires with a great reputation for personal holiness and Christian poverty. From the moment he stepped out on the Balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to give his first blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world), Pope Francis, son of an immigrant railway worker, begun already to steal hearts. There he was standing almost erect, in a clearly awed simplicity before the spectacle of the massive more than 150,000 crowd of people who defied rain and cold to come to St. Peter's square to welcome the new Bishop of Rome. And then he stole more hearts with his first words, inviting the crowd to join him in praying for his predecessor Benedict XVI, and there and then all prayed the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, asking that Jesus keep him and that his Blessed Mother guard him.

Next, he was supposed to give his Urbi et Orbi blessing but instead, he told the crowd that he wanted to beg of them a favour that they should please pray to God for him. Where the entire world had for weeks been in a near turmoil of speculations of arguments and analysis, this Pope wanted to begin his pontificate with silence. Pope Francis then invited everyone to please observe some moments of silence, and then‌ wait for it, he bent his head, asking that all should pray for him there and then, inviting God's blessings on the new Pope. Wow! St. Peter's square went dead quiet and there took place an intense silent moment of prayer by hundreds of thousands of people present for their new pastor. It was only after that he himself gave his first blessing. Prayer set the tone. Prayer changed the discourse and my guess is that it will be a major factor that will mark this Papacy, an invitation to man and woman to look inwards, to that personal examination of conscience that brings one in direct contact with his Creator every minute. All of these are

hardly surprising judging from what is known of Cardinal Bergoglio's (now Pope Francis) past. His humility and simplicity is already the stuff of stories. A case in point, he cooks his own meals and takes the public bus to work having given up his official chauffeured limousine. Pope Francis was born in 1936 to an Italian immigrant father who worked in the railways. He joined the Jesuits at the age of 22 where he would be ordained priest at the end of his training and studies, and would later serve as the head (Provincial) of the Jesuits in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He has also spent many years teaching literature, psychology and philosophy, and in 1980 became the rector of the seminary from where he graduated. Pope Francis is the first of many things. He is the first Jesuit to become Pope. He is the first Pope from Latin America, and he is the first Pope to be called Francis. Not only does he live poverty in his personal capacity but he clearly has a great love for the poor, as can be judged from

"I will not say that the Uromi people have disappointed him. Chief Anenih is our leader, our father, our elder statesman and he will continue to be, as such. He has done his bit; we cannot underestimate what Chief Anenih has accomplished in Nigeria's political history." While on tour of his campaign for the national chair of the PDP in Edo State, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur had said the State and, indeed, Nigeria, were lucky to have Anenih. He had described him as one of the best politicians in the country. After his emergence as Chairman of the PDP BoT on February 25, this year, Tukur had said that with him as Chairman, Anenih as BoT Chairman and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom State as Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, President Jonathan could now sleep well with his two eyes closed. Indeed, the circle is complete with the troika on top of the PDP game. With the feelers that Jonathan is interested in contesting the 2015 presidential election, the trio, especially Anenih, is considered the president's biggest asset. He is expected to deploy his experience in support of the re-election bid of Jonathan, consistent with his tradition of having assisted the elections of some office holders in the past, starting with Dr. Sam Ogbenudia as governor of Edo in 1983 on the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN); Chief John Odigie Oyegun as Edo governor on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993; Chief Lucky Igbinedion as Edo governor on the platform of the PDP in 1999 and 2003. Johnson Momodu is an Abuja-based political commentator this statement of his in 2007: "We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers." a characteristic that will clearly resonate to all men and women, especially those in the developing countries. The Conclave which elected him has been one of the shortest since from all indications he got the required two-third majority is less than five ballots, just like Benedict XVI before him, a clear indication of the unity, unanimity and consensus among his brother cardinals. Their choice also indicates that while the secular press may judge the papal election using terms and categories that hardly fit, there comes an occasional reminder such as this that the Church is a supernatural institution. The coming days will surely be exciting times but the tone is already set for hope, which the world of today sorely needs. Dr. Eugene Ohu wrote in from 35 Adeola Hopewell Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria


By Tayo Oke


ust when we thought we had seen the worst example of a brazen act of corruption in Nigeria, then, we are treated to an even more gargantuan act: Presidential pardon for convicted state looters. This has happened to our faces, in broad day light, and life goes on; the moon has not crashed in on Nigeria. It is, quickly, business as usual; never mind the hue and cry of a few outside the realm of Presidential powers. The happenings in our country truly defy superlatives and hyperboles; they defy logic and rational analysis at the best of times. The lugubrious medical doctor, Doyin Okupe; the bulldog on Jonathan's lawn (aka spokesperson on "public affairs")was doing the media rounds soon after the pronouncement, casting fire and brimstones on the head of those voicing reasonable concerns about the moral health of the Nigerian state at the sight of this most heartrending of occurrences involving public corruption in our country. Referring to the pardon granted the former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyseigha, Okupe decried: "He has been convicted, jailed and had his property confiscated. What else do people want of him?" Well, let me inform the Presidency of what people really want of him: They want the stench of corruption he brought on himself through his conviction and jail sentence to remain. A Presidential pardon of the kind shown by Jonathan cleanses him of this stench; it robs the whole


A nail in coffin of EFCC country of its collective decency and justice. Is anyone listening at the Presidency? Of a more immediate impact is what the Presidential pardon does for the body charged with fighting corruption in official places namely; the EFCC. When an organisation like this devotes human and material resources into tracking down corrupt officials, spend years trying to bring them to justice, and when they finally succeed, they have the rug pulled underneath them by the person at the helm of affairs at the very top. How demoralising can this be for the men and women inside the EFCC, sweating it out with corrupt leaders day-in day-out? These men and women labour under death threats most of the time while they and their families have to put up with major disruptions to their lives as a result of the unenviable task with which they have been charged. On top of all that, they go through relentless criticisms in the press for not doing a better job of catching, prosecuting and convicting enough high-powered Politian-robbers in our midst. I have to say, I am one of those critics. In one of my earlier write ups: "EFCC's growing crisis of confidence", PUNCH June 12, 2012, in which I said that the appointment of the current Chairman of the organisation, Ibrahim Lamorde, did not represent good use of his considerable talent, also that he lacked the "force of personality" to

drive things through at the organisation. Well, I am now prepared to eat the humble pie on that. No amount of 'force of personality' can override the corrupt will of the Presidency in Nigeria. EFCC lives at the behest of the Presidency and if the overwhelming forces of the state apparatus are bent on giving the likes of Alamieyseigha a clean bill of health in the face of local and international condemnation, then, there is nothing the head of the EFCC can do other than try and rebuild the shattered morale of his staff. It does, however, make their job impossible. There is no amount of ruthless efficiency on the part of EFCC that is capable of overrunning the Presidential brick wall around their political "benefactors" even when they have been convicted and jailed. For Jonathan, therefore, his will to rehabilitate one of his own; his kith and kin, from political oblivion outweighs his will to stand up and be counted as a foremost anti-corruption President. It reminds one of US President Franklin D Roosevelt (1933-1945)'s sarcastic reference to the brutal, corrupt and rightwing dictator, Nicaraguan President, Anastasio Somoza (1937-1956): "He may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". Is Alamieyseigha Jonathan's inverted son of the soil? It appears so. Perhaps what is more frustrating is the damning acquiescence of the few high-calibre ministers in

Jonathan's cabinet. Wasn't it the British philosopher, Edmund Burke who said that the only condition necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing? Granted that individual ministers could not have prevailed on the President to pull back from this ill-advised act, but doing nothing precisely makes them complicit in the wrong committed by the Presidency. We have yet to witness a public official in Nigeria willing to put their career on the line for principle. Did it not occur to any of the high-ranking ministers especially the ones holding economic briefs, including the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and foreign affairs ministry that extending a Presidential pardon to a person like Alamieyseigha is palpably wrong? Is there nothing these ministers would not swallow for the sake of hanging on to office? Can one not imagine what a resignation by, say, Jonathan's minister of finance, or foreign affairs, or even Central Bank of Nigeria governor over the pardon could have done to the administration and the cause of justice in Nigeria? Is standing up for public morality something only practiced in foreign land; in Western countries to the exclusion of Africa? Even more audacious and earth-shattering event would it have been for the Chairman of EFCC to tender his resignation on principle or, is that day-dreaming? If this is not

the moment for gallant leadership from one of these figures, then, when would there ever be one? Is there nothing that could be so wrong; so morally offensive to these men and women in high office that would ever cause them to walk? The attraction, allure and trappings of office are the ultimate aphrodisiacs for men and women in power and high office in Nigeria. They are pampered; showered with the kind of perks their counterparts in the West can only dream of. They wake up to their bowl of cereals, fresh milk and sliced bread; their retinue of maids, domestic servants and gatemen running at their beck and call, their police orderlies with their clacking walkie-talkies being seized of their boss's personal security and route planning for their convoy of vehicles, their bullet-proof SUVs in tainted glasses, the blaring of sirens clearing off nonentities off the road to ensure the boss's smooth passage to the all important ministerial briefings etc. This is peppered by sumptuous lunches, brunches, and dinners in between meetings and conferences through the rest of the day. These people are ensconced in a cocoon; a bubble that shields them from the reality of life around them. They live in a vacuum with no moral compass. After all, it is their turn to eat, why allow any pangs of guilt to interrupt that? They and the administration they serve are not only rotten from the core; they are rotten to the core! Tayo Oke can be contacted on

Alams' pardon: The privilege of indignation By Anthony A. Kila


resident Goodluck Jonathan's pardon for Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is expectedly eliciting quite a lot of surprise, indignation and condemnation. Public commentators and individual citizens have used the media to express their disappointment and anger; there is a palpable sense of rage and frustration on the Internet. On the surface and maybe to an outsider, such anger and indignation are understandable and logical because, let's not forget, the beneficiary of this controversial pardon was a former air force officer turned politician, convicted of stealing public funds in Nigeria, gained international fame for money laundering and jumping bail, thanks to his ability to cross-dress and disguise. I say this general indignation is understandable only on the surface because it is based on the assumption that Nigerians were not expecting such a move from this administration. Everybody is acting like a good innocent and hard work-driven population that has just accidentally fallen victim of some sort of unpredictable injustice. Is that really so? Can we all truly in our heart of hearts say that we knew Dr. Goodluck Jonathan well

enough to vouch for and count on his being in tune with the general feeling that corruption is at the root of all the evils befalling our country? If so where is the proof? What exactly has he done to fight corruption in the past? These same questions can be asked of all those in power, but it is the President that issued this pardon, so let us stick to him. We do not spend enough time and resources to explore and embed the rights and duties each of us has as a citizen. As a country, we spend too little time on civic education, and in that little time we do not take time to explain and understand that in democracy, indignation is a privilege not a right. For one to be able to complain about the way things are going, one needs to have done everything possible to avoid such state of things. For our indignation to be legitimate we need to have done or at least be ready to do our own bit. None of those ruling us comes from Mars. Before becoming President, Dr. Jonathan went through a series of electoral processes, including a period of electioneering. We all knew that he was deputy to Alamieyeseigha. How many of those that are so surprised and angry today took time to find out what his position was on the deeds and misdeeds of his former boss? During the 2011

electioneering period, how many people deemed it necessary to find out if this man that was to be our party's presidential flag bearer was complacent with or ignorant of the operations of his former boss? Did we ever wonder why he did not blow the whistle on him? I am sure any employer would ask this kind of questions if they knew their prospective driver or manager had close links to a fellow suspected of stealing (never mind if convicted). A lot of time we complain about the behaviour and misconduct of those in office, but what have we done as a people to stop them from behaving in such ways? If on any every issue we attack or defend a public figure not on the merit of the question,

but with reference to his ethnic group or declared religion, why should we expect such a person to act on merit? We cannot continue to pay deference to and celebrate those that become rich by looting our commonwealth or by abusing their offices and expect them to stop their plundering and mismanagement or just hope that others will not do the same once in power. Miracles might happen but it is not the norm; if we want those in charge of our affairs to be decent and respectful of our being and wishes then we have to compel them to do so. We have to realise that citizenship and the right to exercise it come with duties and even sacrifices. Just as we spend time and use our


None of those ruling us comes from Mars. Before becoming President, Dr. Jonathan went through a series of electoral processes, including a period of electioneering. We all knew that he was deputy to Alamieyeseigha. How many of those that are so surprised and angry today took time to find out what his position was on the deeds and misdeeds of his former boss?

intelligence to find the best barbers and hairdressers for our hair and best schools for our children or discover and purchase the best electronic gadgets, we need to invest time and courage for our country to prosper, gain and give dignity. Most Nigerians are not stupid, when we see people giving out money in order to get into office we cannot seriously believe that they are doing so for the interest of Nigeria. Nobody pays to serve. Politicians will not by their own freewill or out of pure generosity or patriotism encourage citizens to be rational and independent; it is not in their interest. Where possible they will rather have their citizens blindly divided along ethno-religious cleavages so they can go to the centre to negotiate crumbles for you whilst they share the pie amongst themselves and cohorts. Don't believe the hype, democracy is not an easy stroll; to make it work we all have to be vigilant and ready to do our bit. Though it was the president that granted this pardon, we as citizens must also not lose sight of those that approved it. Some opposition representatives were in that Council, some ex this, ex that were also present, let us find out what they did to stop or expose this pardon. Anthony A. Kila is on



My emergence for the second term is the hand work of God, says AMAC chair By Adeola Tukuru


he winner of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) election, Hon. Micah Y. Jiba has noted that he can only attribute his emergence for the second term as the hand

work of God. In his words:” I really appreciate God for what has happened, I have always make my people to understand that tomorrow will always be better than today. “In politics you have to put two things in mind it is either you

make or lose it just have it mind that such things are bound to occur sometime” He called on the fellow aspirants who lost at the poll to join hands with him to move the council forward and make AMAC better place for all residents. While commending the

Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), he explained the body has done credible well in conducting a free and fair election in FCT. “We thank them for a job well done and the security officials as well for their brave performance during the polls.

(L-R) Senator Mohammed Sani Saleh, Hon.Rufa'l Ahmed Chanchangi with Hon.Sani Bello Mashi, all (CPC) members monitoring FCT Council elections held last week Saturday at Gwagwalada council area of the FCT. Photo: Mahmud Isa

FCT Minister lauds residents over peaceful election exercise By Adeola Tukuru


ederal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has commended the electorate, the entire residents of FCT, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the peaceful and harmonious

conduct of the Area Council election held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 throughout the territory. Bala hailed the orderly conduct of the voters, security agents, polling officials and the entire residents of the territory. He thanked the residents for heeding his call for a peaceful election thereby taking our

democracy a notch higher. According to him, the peaceful atmosphere that pervaded the FCT during the election was a product of hard work, commitment and patriotism by all the stakeholders as well as the level playing field provided. The Minister also thanked the traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society

organizations in FCT that in one way or the other assisted in making the polling exercise hitch-free. Senator Mohammed enjoined the FCT electorate to keep on with the same high spirit during future elections and to always turn out in larger numbers to exercise their civic right

Court to deliver judgment in case by 2 farmers against village head


n Abuja Area Court, Lugbe, has fixed April 4, 2013 for judgment in a suit filed by two farmers against Chief Micah Wakili, the village head of Gosa on Airport Road. The presiding judge, Mr Haruna Masanawa, fixed the date after hearing the testimonies of the plaintiffs and the defendants. The farmers, Malam Abdulkadir Modibbo and Hajiya Rakiya Bello had sued Wakili for alleged conspiracy, trespass and fraud in a civil case, told the court that Wakili illegally took

their farmlands from them. Modibbo alleged that the village head conspired with a “mysterious” private firm to destroy their farm produce and take over their farmlands without compensation. “When I sought explanation from the defendant, he assured us that adequate compensation had been provided for us. But it turned out to be a false promise. “In December of 2012, we got wind of a plan by our village head and this company that is only known to him that caterpillars were on our

farmland. ‘We rushed to our farm and saw the village head in company of some people who told us that we were going to be paid compensation through him. “They destroyed all our crops, like cassava, maize, yams and tree crops like cashew, oranges and mangoes; in fact, everything on our farms was destroyed,’’ Modibbo said. In her testimony, Bello said after the alleged destruction of the farms, they went to the village head’s palace, to demand for the said compensation, to no

avail. “We threatened to sue him to court for conspiring with a firm, which was known only to him and no one else for trespass. “In response to our threat, the village head simply boasted that no one can take him to court in his position as their chief,’’ she said. But Wakili, led in evidence by his counsel, Mr John Agah, denied all the claims. “I do not know anything about this and no mysterious company gave me any money for them,” he said. (NAN)

Winner of FCT polls in Kwali pledges good governance By Usman Shuaibu


on. Daniel Ibrahim who emerged the winner of the just concluded FCT polls in Kwali under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that his administration would provide a purposeful leadership capable of satisfying the aspirations of the people in the area. Ibrahim, who stated this in an interview with Peoples Daily in Kwali, also said that his top priority would be construction of feeder roads in all nooks and crannies of the entire Kwali Area council. He said that the health of the people would not be compromised by his administration, pledging to build clinics and equip them with sufficient drugs to meet the needs of the masses. He further said that his administration would focus on the poverty reduction by engaging the youths in the skill acquisition programme, adding that efforts would be intensified towards the security of the people all the times. On education, Ibrahim said that primary school being a foundation for learning would receive adequate attention,adding that his administration would upgrade the traditional rulers in the area, as according to him, royal fathers are “the custodians of our culture”. Meanwhile, the Kwali chairman – elect who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) polled 12, 809 votes to defeat the incumbent chairman of the area council, Hon. Joseph K. Shazin who has 7, 538 votes. Also speaking to People’s Daily, the winner of Gwagwalada Area Council’s election, Hon. Abubakar JIbrin Giri said that his administration would take everybody along in the scheme of things. Giri said that he would complement the efforts of the present chairman of the area council, Hon. Zakari Angulu Dobi by providing dividends of democracy of the people of Gwagwalada and its environs. Giri who won under the platform of All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) polled 11, 596 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairmanship candidate, Hon. Mustapha Adamu who has 11, 502 votes.



Businessman docked for alleged criminal intimidation A

businessman, Dominic Emeka, of Wuse Market, Abuja, in an Abuja Chief Magistrates Court, has been charged with an offence criminally intimidating one Chinedu Obi. The police prosecutor, Sgt. Musa Abdullahi, told the court that Obi, of No.12 Ajose St., Wuse II, Abuja, reported the matter at the Wuse Police Station on March 10,2013.

He said the accused threatened to send people to kill the complainant if he demanded for his N500,000 from him again. Abdullahi explained that the accused collected the money as a loan and instead of paying back has threatened to kill the complainant. He said the accused was charged with criminal intimidation, which

contravened the provisions of Section 397 of the Penal Code, but the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. “I did not say I will send people to kill him; I know he lent me some money which I invested in my business. “I told him to give me time to gather the money for him but he refused and has been disturbing me and calling me names and insulting me.

A fruit seller sleeping beside his wares, yesterday at Area 1, Garki, in Abuja.

“Later in the day, he brought police to arrest me, saying that I threatened to send people to kill him. My neighbour was there,’’ Emeka said. The Chief Magistrate, Musa Jobbo, granted him bail in the sum of N500,000 with two reasonable sureties in like sum. Jobbo adjourned the case to April 16, 2013 for further hearing. (NAN)

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Police arraign cyclist 31, for alleged breach of trust


he Police have arraigned a cyclist, Terwase Mbamonge of Kpeiygyi village, Nasarawa State before a Senior Magistrates Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa State for breach of trust. The police prosecutor, Mr Samuel Okoro, said the matter

was reported at the Sani Abacha Road Police Station by Titus Hugh of the same address with the accused on March 13, 2013. The prosecutor said that Hugh had bought a Bajja motorcycle valued at N112,000 and gave it to the accused for commercial

purposes. “He was supposed to remit N7,000 weekly to the owner of the motorcycle, but converted the motorcycle to his private use, and told the owner that it had been stolen. Okoro said the offence contravened the provisions of

Section 312 of the Penal Code, but the accused pleaded not guilty. Chief Magistrate Ilia Aku granted the accused bail in the sum of N150,000 with one surety in like sum, and adjourned the case to March 25 for hearing. (NAN)

Labourer, 28, in court for alleged cheating and intimidation


28-year-old labour, Chineye Okafor, of no fixed address, was charged before a Karu Upper Area Court, Abuja, for alleged joint act, cheating and intimidation.) Police prosecutor Silas Nanpm said that one Miss Esther Gabriel of Area “C” Nyanya, Abuja, reported the case at the Nyanya Police Station on March 3,2013.) He said the accused and one other now at large, deceived Gabriel and collected N30,500 from her, under the pretext of doubling the money for her. “Okafor was arrested and taken to the Tipper Garage Police out post, where he further intimidated Esther. “He threatened to pour acid on her anytime he gets out of the police station,” Nanpm further told the court.) He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 397 of the Penal Code, but the accused denied the charges.) Section 79 stipulates that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such person is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.) Similarly, Section 397 states that whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.) The Presiding Judge, Alhaji Umar Kargako, granted the accused bail in the sum of N30,000 with two reliable sureties each in like sum. Kargako said the sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court, and adjourned the case to May 13, 2013 for hearing. (NAN))

Businessman, 34, arraigned for breach of trust, cheating


he Police have arraigned a b u s i n e s s m a n , Abdulhamid Musa, 34, of Garki, Abuja, in a Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates Court for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. Police prosecutor Abdullahi Adamu told the court that the matter was

reported at the Wuse Police Station on March 7, by Abdullahi Salisu of Wuse 2, Abuja. Adamu said that on Oct. 4, 2012, Salisu entrusted his Peugeot 307 vehicle with Reg. No. BF 700 GWA to Musa to sell for him at N800,000. “Musa sold the car and

dishonestly converted the money to his personal use,’’ Adamu said. He said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 312 and 322 of the Penal Code, but Musa pleaded not guilty to the charges. According to Section 312, “whoever commits criminal

breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.’’ Similary, Section 322 states that whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with

both.’’. Senior Magistrate Chukwuemeka Ubani granted the accused bail in the sum of N300,000 and a surety in like sum. Ubani said the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the matter to March 28,2013 for further hearing. (NAN)



Nasarawa: Achieving land reforms through recertification By Ali Abare Abubakar


nly a little over 500 certificates of occupancy (C of O) were issued by the four previous administrations in Nasarawa state, before May 29, 2011 when Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura assumed office. Of this figure, more than twothirds were issued to property owners by the first two military governments that governed between October 1, 1996 when the fifth generation state was created and May 29, 1999 when they handed over to the civilian administration of Abdullahi Adamu. But the story is different now, in what has brought respite for property owners in the state. Al-makura, who has served for less than two years in the over 16 years of the existence of Nasarawa as a state, has issued about 70 of such documents to applicants – most of whom had waited for over a decade to see their property with regular titles. Not only that, the administration which introduced reforms in the administration and management of lands in the state, has further introduced new certification which phases out the old and bogus one with provisions for multiple signatures from the governor and the Deeds Registrar. The new certificate, which is an adoption from the reforms being implemented in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is part of the execution of a project called Nasarawa Geographic Information System (NAGIS), being undertaken by a consortium of firms led by

Siraj Consulting Engineers. The project which seeks to regularise and put all of Nasarawa’s land use on the computer, is a habitat initiative which implementation has so far created a development platform, now providing the road map to rescue the state from the emergence and growth of slums. This road map, according to Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, a senior special assistant to the governor, who is also the project manager of the habitat initiative, is already leading Nasarawa a gateway state to Abuja into a new development strategy to sum up to the creation of a lively city with facilities and layouts serving as a twin city to the FCT. The habitat project, he said, will phase out the growing number of slums, particularly at the border with the FCT when roads, water supply, drainage system, health facilities, schools, shopping centers, and general development are provided. Sonny Agassi, a former commissioner in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Town Planning, the supervisors of the project, had described NAGIS as “a baby of my boss, the governor who’s vision is to take Nasarawa close to the 21 st Century; to try to turn Nasarawa into an out-of-thisworld place where the property owner has security of his plot by way of certification, and where investors are sure of a haven”. The 24-month project has three components: Digital Area Mapping (DAM), carried out by Aeroprecisa Limited; Nasarawa Geographic Information Services (GIS),

undertaken by GIS Transport; and the planning of cadastral districts, by Pragmatic Solutions Consult Nigeria, and National Environmental Design Associates, in what will give a detailed planning and development control to phase out the growth of slums in the state. All contractors are handling the various components under the N2.7 billion contract agreement signed between the state government and Siraj Engineering Consultants. GIS, the second component of the project being handled by GIS Transport is responsible for the regularisation and computerisation of the property on ground in the state, but the database created will have to be synchronised with digital images of the entire land in use, being captured with the use of light aircrafts, by Earoprecisa Limited, which is currently flying to take the photographs. It is this component that has also seen the introduction of a new C of O. According to Alhaji Jibrin, the property recertification would have commenced last year, but the process of locating exact property size since regulations including approved survey plans, were not followed in the past to issue land titles. “But we are ready now. We have taken time to go through all property records in order not to create a mix up and begin to call back title holders to make corrections. We have gone over and over what we have in our hands now, and we are sure that the recertification will not run into hurdles”, Alhaji Jibrin said.

Nasarawa Development Platform (NDP) project team workshop led by General Manager of Siraj Consultant Engineers, Engr. George Elzoghbi (extreme left), the General Manager, GIS Transport, Roland Klaus (explaining a point), and Project Manager of Nasarawa Geographic Information System (NAGIS), Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril (sitting), as well as Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of lands, Survey and Town Planning, Alhaji Jibril Giza (extreme right), during a visit to NAGIS temporal office in Abuja.

Alhaji Jibrin who was part of the project team visit to the temporary NAGIS centre in Abuja, as part of the explanation of the relevant technology involved in the project, displayed the first set of the certificates printed, and said they are ready to be issued at a ceremony to be held by the governor himself. So far, about 30 new land titles have been printed, after the GIS consultants working on the project were able to resolve the problem of poor survey coordinates. The visit was led by Roland Klaus, GIS Transport General Manager, and Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, Project Manager of NAGIS, attracted the management team of the ministry, including the Permanent Secretary, Jibril Giza, Surveyor General of Nasarawa state, Emmanuel Ibi, Acting Director of Lands, Mrs. Rhoda Vilo, Director of Town Planning, TPL Bala Tunkpa, and Director of Finance and Accounting, Solomon Katsa as well as Director of Administration and Supplies, Akayala Agya. The ministry’s management was informed that soon, the state government will commence issuance of a new C of O to property owners. The new certificate, shown to journalists recently, is a single sheet with security features, and will have the governor’s signature only once, as that of the Deeds Registrar. With the reforms, it will take applicants only between eight to 14 days to get their titles, as against the former practice where applicants waited a whole lifetime to be certified. It was printed by Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, with security features, thereby eliminating the old and bogus certification. “The new certificate will make it easy for the governor to sign hundreds in a day, without feeling it. It will also make physical records keeping neater, and easier, unlike now when we are compelled to carry bogus files because of several pages of the certificate”, Agassi, the former commissioner, had said of the initiative. The computers at the NAGIS office in Lafia, are already being programmed by the contractors to print out the new certificates, just as training of personnel to man the centre has been carried out. After several years of the ban, respite has now come for property owners. Only recently, Malam Ibrahim Safiyanu, state president of Nasarawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NASCCIMA), complained that small and medium scale businesses sub-sector of the economy is facing serious setbacks because of the ban on issuance of C of Os.

Governor of Nassarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura But Agassi said that is over now. He said in February, last year that the governor’s reform programme will go some steps further to lift the ban on the issuance of the document. “There was embargo on the issuance of the certificates. But Governor Al-makura has lifted it. That is big news for our people because for many of them, it is a source for funds. It can serve as collateral for them. Roland Klaus, General Manager of GIS Transport said the recertification which will come with the totality of the property regularisation will give security to property owners, who knowing that they are duly certified can go to bed without fear of any encroachment into their lands. But the government has gone steps further at enforcing the regulations that go with the social services; including that property owners must first show their copies of approved survey on their lands, to get the certificates. Applications for statutory titles on lands must now be accompanied by proper survey plan in the bid to fully implement government’s reforms, Agassi said. The introduction of the new system, which came into effect on January 3, 2013, is in strict compliance with relevant laws, particularly CAP 425 Laws of the Federation, as well as the regulation by Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON). The former commissioner said the ministry had, last year, sought approval to ban this practice where land titles were issued without proper survey plan, and received Governor Almakura’s approval with the State Executive Council (SEC)’s ratification to begin the enforcement of the relevant laws. The enforcement which also seeks proper layout plans for both public and private use of land in the state in accordance with the approved rules and regulations, is, according to Agassi, a step taken by the governor to provide effective and efficient land management and administration. He said this will greatly improve on the revenue generation capacity of the ministry.




Mob: 08033644990



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DPR to revoke licences of undeveloped oil marginal fields

Bank loans to grow 30 percent in 2013 - S&P Inflation rate in February S&P’s financial services ratings and foreign currency lending. By Aminu Imam with agency rises to 9.5% - NBS associate director, Samira Banks in Nigeria are due to report


surge in lending is likely to boost the earnings of Nigeria’s banks this year, though loans are eating into capital reserves and are too concentrated in the oil sector, credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) said on Friday. Nigeria’s banking sector earnings bounced back in 2012 from write downs of bad assets accumulated during a 2009 financial crisis that nearly sank nine of them. Lenders fixed their balance sheets by selling bad loans to a state-owned “bad bank”. “We forecast that bank earnings will continue to rise because of the healthy macroeconomic environment supporting bank activities,”

Mensah, told Reuters. “We have seen earnings strengthen, stemming from high levels of net interest margins and a lot of government securities providing high yields at the moment,” Mensah said. Nigerian banks are likely to see return on equity (ROE) rise to 18 percent this year from about 15 percent in 2012, buoyed by an expected 30percent rise in loan books, up from 12 percent growth last year, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) said. Tier 1 capital ratios are expected to fall to 15 percent from last year’s 20 percent, Mensah said, adding that these were still adequate but there were risks posed by loans being too concentrated in the oil sector

release their results from this month, and most analysts expect them to show significant earnings growth, further boosting their shares. The local currency this week fell to its lowest in seven months of 158.92 naira against the U.S. dollar on low interest from foreign investors in bonds because of lower yields. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened on Friday to stem the fall, but concerns over naira weakness persist. S&P has assigned a BBrating to Nigerian banks. Mensah said lenders where constrained by the level of the sovereign ratings because the bulk of their operations where done domestically with exposure to government securities.


igeria’s consumer price index measuring the monthly inflationary rate has increased by 0.5 pe cent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation. The report said the inflation rate increased from nine per cent in January as the effect of the previous year’s reduction in fuel subsidy dropped out of the calculation and food prices decreased to 9.5 per cent as price rose to 0.8 per cent in February. It said the inflation rate decreased to 9.0 per cent in January from 12.0 per cent in December of 2012 on the yearon-year basis. “The relative moderation in the headline index during the month of January of 2013 results from base effects. The reduction of the Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) subsidy in January of 2012 led to increases in transportation costs as well as secondary effects as transportation costs affected both food and non-food prices.

“Shocks to prices last year imply that the year-on-year changes exhibited this year will be muted,” the NBS said. It said that food prices were slightly lower from levels exhibited in December of 2012, as the index declined to 10.1 per cent in January from the 10.2 per cent exhibited in December. “The marginal decline in food prices is a result of the floods which occurred from July to Mid-October, as well as other demand and supply conditions. On the month-on-month basis, the composite CPI increased by 0.62 per cent in January while the food index augmented by 0.8 per cent from December 2012 to January, 2013. “The dry season led to a rise in the prices of bread, cereals, imported food, vegetables, potatoes, yams and fish”, the NBS stated. NBS said further that the core index rose by 1.4 per cent from levels recorded in December of 2012 as it resulted from increases in housing, electricity, gas and other fuels. Other products affected are liquid fuels (kerosene), actual rental and imputed rent prices, garment prices and nondurable housing goods. (NAN)

CBN expresses support to SMEs

T L-R: Oyo state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya, wife of Oyo state governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, Nestle Category Business Manager, Mr Guy Kellaway, during the Nestle Nigeria in influencer forum, on Sunday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

Royal Exchange Assurance to up-scale service delivery From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


he management of Royal Exchange Assurance Plc has reassured its customers of good product, efficient service delivery to enhance their values. The Group Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Alh. Anwalu Muktari, leading top management staff of the group, in an interactive forum with journalists in Lagos, said that in 92 years we have successfully evolved and reinvented our structures and processes such that today, we are one of the leading insurance entities in Nigeria. According to him, our strong points remain historical pedigree, experience, enviable claims profile, innovative technology and well-trained human capital. “Besides, the culture of promptness and thoroughness, the practice of customer empathy and virtuous

corporate behaviour will continue to be the main focus of our customer relationship.” He said: “We are in the forefront to deepen insurance knowledge and are implementing several initiatives to enlighten the critical mass of Nigerians about insurance, example, sponsorship of insurance-centric programmes.

Sponsorship of youth development programmes such as leadership seminar for secondary school prefects in Lagos State. Connect emotionally with our immediate community by investing in socially responsible projects such as the enhancement of Oshodi pedestrian bridge and its ancillary bus shelters.”

he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday reiterated its support to small scale businesses in the country by making investable funds easily available to entrepreneurs. The Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Awka, Mr. Azubuike Okorie said this at the graduation ceremony of Industrial Training Fund (ITF) youths training in Awka. Okorie said that what the economy required now was activities that would add value to the gross domestic product, noting that everybody could not be in the financial sector. He said the CBN was impressed by the activities of ITF in training youths on relevant skills, adding that CBN would complement the

Management Tip of the Day


3 ways to use persuasion to get what you need

n today’s organizations, persuasion trumps formal power. To get things done, you need to be able to sway the undecided and convert opponents. Here are three ways to do that: · Give what you want to receive. You can invoke reciprocity by giving exactly what you hope to get in the

future. For example, lend a colleague one of your staff members when she needs help, and she may repay you later in kind. · Make commitments public. People are more likely to follow through on commitments if they make them in front of other colleagues. Try asking people to volunteer or agree to things in

meetings rather than in a private email. · Use exclusive information. Influence key players’ attention by sharing, for example: “Just got this information today. It won’t be distributed until next week.” Source: Harvard Business Review

efforts. “This training is one of those monumental efforts of the Federal Government to spur economic viability of the people which is worthy of commendation. It is important that people acquire skill which will empower them to earn income, create jobs and lots of other opportunity, because everybody cannot be on Broad street”, he stated. “Some people have to possess skills which those on the Broad Street will demand. The mechanics, tillers and welders like we are having here today are real value creators which is most beneficial to the economy. “The CBN under the financial inclusion strategy will make investable funds available at the grass roots. “What it means is that artisans can go to the banks and obtain loans to execute their business at low interest rates”, Okorie said. The ITF Area Manager, Mrs. Lynda Egbonu said the 1,000 youths in Anambra were trained in tiling and welding within a period of three months. Egbonu urged Nigerians to patronise the trainees as a way of complementing the efforts of the fund. Representatives of the state government, Bank of Industry, SMEDAN, civil society organisations were present at the event. (NAN)




Julius Berger Nigeria Plc


ulius Berger Nigeria Plc last week handed over a multi-billion Naira “Nigeria at 50’’ pavilion to the FCT Administration as part of its corporate social responsibility to the country. The Executive Director, Administration, of the company, Mr Zubair Bayi, who performed the hand-over in Abuja, said the structure would provide numerous assistance, in terms of services and facilities to the country. Bayi said the donation was as a result of the pledge made by the company in early 2010 when Nigeria celebrated the 50th Anniversary as an independent nation.

UAC Property Dev. Coy


AC Property Development Company (UPDC) Plc, the property development subsidiary of UAC Nigeria (UACN), has veered into the retail segment of the property market. The company, which is a market leader in residential real estate development, is poised to develop Lagos third mall to be called Festival Mall.The mall is to be sited beside Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac town, Lagos. UPDC MD/CEO, Hakeem Oguniran, who disclosed this in Lagos, said that they are trying to create an integrated environment in Festac Town. Oguniran added that his company wants to create sustained entertainment nodes in the area.



okia has appointed Nick Imudia as managing director for its West and Central Africa operations. Covering a territory that includes Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Liberia, Chad, Niger, Benin and Togo, Imudia will be based in the Nokia office in Lagos. Nick Imudia joined Nokia in 1998 and has held several senior positions within the organisation over the past 15 years, including senior manager for retail IT products and systems, based out of Singapore; director of consumer and marketing solutions and head of sales and marketing solutions.

DPR to revoke licences of undeveloped oil marginal fields By Etuka Sunday


he Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has given owners of under-developed marginal fields the next one-year to put the fields into production or lose their operating licences granted by the agency. Director of DPR, Osten Olorunsola, who disclosed this at the weekend, at the official launch of a new Oil and Gas online weekly publication tagged NOGIntelligence, said that the country would hold the next oil marginal field rounds as soon as it gets approval from the Federal Government. According to the director, it is no longer going to be business as usual for marginal field operators, as the agency had concluded arrangement to ensure that the country got the best from its oil marginal fields

across the country. Olorunsola said that the next auction was likely to be for both onshore and offshore fields totaling at least two billion barrels, which would include both big and marginal fields. He stated that present marginal fields licences, which were granted in 2003, were maturing and giving good results. Olorunsola dispelled claims that 83 per cent of the oil blocks belonged to a certain ethnic group. He gave an insight into the outlook of marginal fields operations and emphasised that the department was looking to streamline the next timeline for marginal fields operations for greater efficiency just as the new design would be simpler and more transparent. “We look to avoid initiatives that backfired to litigations,

ensure reserves volumes are truly bankable, encourage frequency of programmes and hope that the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill will help as well,” Olorunsola stated. According to him, out of the 178 oil blocks awarded, the 90 oil fields given to indigenous companies were producing about six per cent of Nigeria’s crude oil, while the other 83 oil fields given to multinationals, were producing the remaining 94 per cent. He stated that challenges such as litigation, inability to access funds and the right people, environmental issues (local governments, communities, security, flaring etc, increasing costs of people, goods and services, technology limitation and non-bankability, delayed agreements were inhibiting the operation of the marginal field operators.

Power investors pay 25% of offer ahead of March 21 deadline


hree major preferred bidders who are said to have stake in over 60 percent of the distribution segment of the market have made requisite payments to Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), preparatory to acquisition of the companies. Investigations reveal that payments by all the preferred bidders are going to be made through Nigerian banks, unlike in the past privatisation exercises where payments were made through foreign banks. This, according to sources, provides comparative comfort for the bidders to meet the March 21, 2013, deadline. Already, KEPCO/NEDC and West Power and Gas Consortium have paid for the Ikeja Distribution and Eko Distribution companies, respectively, while the preferred bidder for Ibadan Distribution Zone, touted to be the largest, will make payments today. With these payments, the expected rejuvenation of the power sector is indeed underway. The payments are coming ahead the March 21 deadline set by the BPE. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) only last month approved the sale of four generating companies to their bidders. These include Geregu Power Plant, which was acquired by Amperium Consortium and for which $33 million, including local component of N519.12 million have been paid. This represents 25 percent of the $600 million offer money. Others are Egbin Power Plant in Lagos, the largest and controls 1,230 megawatts, which was sold to KEPCO at $407.3 million. The duo of Olorunsogo and the Omotosho power plants in Ogun

Sahara Energy earmarks N31.6bn for power projects


ahara Energy has earmarked $200 million (N31.6 billion) for the development of the Nigeria’s power sector. The company, which won bid for the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company recently, hinted in Lagos last week, that it would be investing heavily on new meters to ensure that consumers within the Ikeja distribution zone feel the impact of the energy company. Speaking at the Akindelano Legal Practitioners Seminar Series in Lagos, the Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi, lamented the impact of irregular power supply in the country. According to him, Nigerian’s is spending over N17.5 billion yearly on generators due to inadequate power supply and this is affecting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) negatively. “Self generation of electricity cost five to ten times more than Power Holding Company of Nigeria generated power and lead to lack of profitability of SMEs sector due to high self generational costs. He noted that only 36 per cent of the nation’s populations have access to electricity and assured that consumers would, within the Ikeja Electiricty Distribution Company begin to feel the company’s impact in electricity distribution in Lagos state. He said that funding requirement for the Nigeria power sector is high, adding that,” I am not convinced that Nigerian banks are ready to assist.

No going back on privatisation of power sector – FG

T Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo and Ondo, respectively, have been sold to the Chinese firms constructing them. West Power and Gas payment of $33.75 million for Eko Power distributing firm last week represents the mandatory 25 percent of its bid offer. The consortium had offered $135 million for the 60 percent of the Federal Government equity in the power firm. West Power and Gas paid in two tranches, and is expected to pay the remaining 75 percent within six months. The

consortium comprises Alpha Consortium Limited, Atlantic Meridean, Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 Mauritius and Siemens Limited of Germany. The Nigerian electricity industry has been unbundled into generation and distribution companies and a single transmission company with a view to encouraging private sector participation, and attracting foreign and local investment to ensure economic and reliable electricity supply.

he Federal Government on Thursday said that there was no going back on the decision to privatise the power sector. The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said this in a statement by Timothy Oyedeji, Deputy Director/Head of Press of the ministry in Abuja. It said that the minister stated this when USAID delegation paid him a courtesy visit. The statement said there was no going back on contents and details of the approved Road Map. It expressed appreciation of the work done by USAID, especially in the area of capacity building. It added that the ministry needed more help to strengthen institutions and plans implementation. It called for more investments from genuine investors to come and take advantage of the revolution that was about to happen in the sector. The statement said the minister likened the development that would happen in the sector to that of telecommunications.



Telecoms investment has hit N4 trillion, says NCC Stories by Chris Alu


nvestment in the telecommunication industry is in the region of $25billion (N4 trillion), the Nigerian Communications Commission said at the weekend. The NCC DG Dr. Eugene Juwah, who spoke during the send-off dinner for the former NCC board, said that there are over 113million telephone lines, compared with about 450,000 active lines powered by a paltry $500million investment portfolio in year 2000. Juwah added that the number portability project will take-off by the end of the month. Number portability enables telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile operator to another. “Presently, investment stands at about $25billion and active lines are well over 113 million and still counting. Now

I can happily report that the SIM Card registration is nearly completed while the muchawaited number portability project will be taking off shortly, by the end of the month,” Juwah said. He also explained that the project which has already been in operation in Europe and Asia, was delayed by some factors which have now been addressed. “There have been obstacles to successfully implementing these projects but we have fought very hard by doing a lot of fine-tuning to achieve results.” Juwah also pointed out that “the telecommunication industry is a deep and delicate one with each stakeholderconsumer, industry, government and international community maintaining very voracious appetite difficult to satisfy.” He however said that with the support of the

Communication Act, “we have always tried to strike a balance to meet everyone’s needs fairly well.” On some challenges confronting the industry, Juwah said: “You will agree with me that just as there were legacy projects, there

were also some legacy problems. The power problem still remains, multiple taxations by various government are still hydraheaded, vandalisation of infrastructure is rampant, there multiple regulations from ancillary agencies and

iPad Mini 2 release in June with friendly price tag?

Why there’s poor quality of service in all networks – MD, Internet Exchange Point


he Managing Director Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria, Mohammed Rudman has said that the reason why Nigerians will continue to experience low speed in Internet service from all network is because of the Right of Way permit, frequent fibre cuts, and dearth of last mile infrastructure in the country. According to him, bandwidth accessibility is a major ingredient for telecommunications service delivery especially for data and video which has been elusive to Nigerians due to high cost. He explained that even with the abundant capacity of bandwidth brought by Glo 1, MainOne, Sat-3 and WACS, the country is still facing difficulty in experiencing high-speed Internet service in all networks. The Managing Director stated this in a paper presented at DigitalSense forum on Internet Governance, and was made available to our correspondent in Abuja. Rudman said that the Right of Way, which is a government permit that allows operators to dig and lay fibre infrastructure on roads for transmission of bandwidth and the likes is too expensive because of the fees from government and labour cost. He explained that the current variations in the cost of bandwidth in the country as where the commodity lands at the country’s shore for $150 per megabyte base of 155 mega bytes (mbp)s, while the undersea cable operators sell to Tier-2 operators, who are telcos and ISP at $300, who in turn sell to distributors for between $1,000 and $2,000 per

megabyte. According to him, broadband price is still at rooftops because of frequent fibre cuts by saboteurs, road construction, hills and valleys. He said that the local community also exacerbate issues ranging from the demand for compensation, which make operators often times hinder access to cell sites. Also speaking, the Managing Director, Direct on PC, Anurag Garg attributed part of the challenge to access, he argued that a typical 3G base station can only deliver 7.2 Mbps and that telcos congest the few available 3G base stations with lot subscribers which reduces the speed of the internet delivered to them. He called on operators to quickly upgrade to 4G which will deliver up to 25Mbps per base station in other to give more access to data subscribers. Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (Alton), the umbrella body of operators in the telecom space, said that granting multiple operational licenses to operators to provide metro and national fibre infrastructure does not guarantee investment in that regard, but implementation of well articulated policies that will encourage operators to invest their money. He said Government must go beyond granting of licenses to eliminating those barriers such as bottlenecks in securing ‘right of way’, impediments to smooth network operations- where operators are forced to pay levies that are not legalized, and vandalisation.


umours claimed that iPad Mini 2 is speculated for release in June with almost the same price as other cheaper tablets. The successor of the popular iPad Mini is rumoured to be released after the launch of Google’s Nexus 7.7 in May. Thus, release date points to June. The iPad Mini was released at a price point to compete with the Nexus

7 and Amazon Kindle Fire range of tablets. It was slightly more expensive than both of those, with a starting price of $329 (N52, 640) for the 16GB, $429 (N68, 640) for a 32GB and $529 (N84, 640) for a 64GB. The starting price of the iPad Mini is slightly steeper than other tablets but rumours claimed that Apple is trying to change its

right of way for easy service deployment and expansion still constitutes a headache, although the ministry has nearly curtailed this problem. Juwah praised the pioneers of NCC for the great work done towards the transformation of the industry. pricing strategy in order to make its devices more competitive. However, recent reports indicate the iPad Mini 2 will be an attempt to bring the iPad Mini design up to a premium standard alongside its larger counterpart with a Retina display and a processor upgrade, so we would expect the price to be relatively high accordingly. Other reports said that iPad Mini 2 could be released at an earlier date due to the high demand on the product and expectations of the consumers. It is most likely that tech giant Apple will capitalize on the success of iPad Mini, which is built with the same internal hardware as Apple’s iPad 2. Despite being in the market for a short time, the iPad Mini sparked interest. Thus, it is most likely that we will see the iPad Mini 2 before it turns one this year with greater specs and features. This is contradicted by previous reports which claimed that the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 release dates are delayed by shortages on one of the key components of the devices. According to reports, iPad Mini 2 will feature a screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. This is almost four times the resolution of the present iPad Mini and is equal to the fourth generation iPad which was released along with the iPad Mini last year. AU Optronics has been rumoured to be making displays for the iPad Mini 2. Other specs include a more powerful dual core A7 processor and a 7.9 inch screen. It will also feature a 10-hour battery life, a FaceTime HD camera, and an iSight camera with 1080 pixels HD video recording. Apple is also trying to reduce the thickness of the iPad Mini 2 by using the Sharp’s IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology in its screens. However, Apple remained tight lipped on its plans this year and the details of its upcoming devices. (Source:

Microsoft launches ‘YouthSpark for Nigeria’ programme


n order to address the issue of unemployment in the country, Microsoft has initiated a youth focused programme tagged ‘YouthSpark for Nigeria’ as part of the parent company’s programme to help create new opportunities for 300 million youth in 100 countries over the next three years. The Company said it intends to unveil the platform

and will also announce new partnerships and initiatives towards a successful program implementation in the country. Microsoft launched YouthSpark as a concerted effort to address the emerging opportunity divide among young people: a gap between those who are prospering and others who are struggling because they lack the

education, skills and opportunities they need to succeed. YouthSpark will address these issues with three core areas of concentration, empowering youth by strengthening education; giving youth inspiration and tools to imagine new opportunities; and to help youth realize new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.



AfDB launches Open Data platforms for 20 African countries T T

World Bank disburses N330.7m for projects in Katsina

he African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched Open Data Platforms for the following 20 African countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Open Data Platform program is part of the AfDB’s recently launched “Africa Information Highway” initiative, aimed at significantly improving data management and dissemination in Africa. Work is on course to complete platforms for the rest of African countries by July 2013. The Open Data Platform is a user-friendly tool for extracting data, creating and sharing own customized reports, and

visualizing data across themes, sectors and countries in tables, charts and maps. Through the Open Data Platform, users can access a wide range of development data on African countries from multiple international and national official sources. The platform also facilitates the collection, analysis and sharing of data among countries and with international development partners. The platform offers a unique opportunity for various users, such as policymakers, analysts, researchers, business leaders and investors around the world, to gain access to reliable and timely data on Africa. Users can visualize time series development indicators over a period of time, perform comprehensive analysis at country and regional levels,

utilize presentation-ready graphics or create their own, blog, and share their views and work with others, thereby creating an informed community of users. The Open Data Platform initiative is a response by the African Development Bank Group aimed at significantly increasing access to quality data necessary for managing and monitoring development results in African countries, including the MDGs. It responds to a number of important global and regional initiatives to scale up the availability of quality data on Africa and so foster evidencebased decision-making, public accountability and good governance. Once implemented, the Open Data Platform will be used by African countries for all data submission flows to the AfDB and possibly other international

development partners, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), EU Commission, World Health Organization (WHO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Union Commission (AUC) and UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). This initiative presents a unique opportunity for African countries to take the lead in implementation and promotion of international statistical standards across all countries in the region and in enhancing the quality of the data disseminated by African countries. The initiative will also significantly revolutionize data management and dissemination in Africa, and reposition the continent for more effective participation in the global information economy. (Source: AfDB)

Staff of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with students of various secondary schools in FCT, during the 2013 walk for Global Money Week, organised by CBN, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Borno Govt. to facilitate irrigation of 2,800 hectares


he Borno state government yesterday said that it would facilitate the cultivation of 2,800-hectares under its Pivot Irrigation Scheme (PIS) in all the three Senatorial Districts of the state. The state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zannah Mustapha made the statement while inspecting the newly acquired facilities for the scheme in Alou Dam in Konduga local government area of the state. “The scheme will be sited in all the senatorial zones of the state for even spread. It is sited in Alou Dam in the central, Gora in the south and Damasak in the northern senatorial districts”, he stated. Mustapha said the scheme would provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the state as well as reduce the level of poverty among the people.

“Borno is the first to acquire the PIS equipment in Nigeria. This is because the administration attaches great premium to the issue of food

security. We believe that the state has all it takes to provide food for itself and Nigeria as a whole”, he further said. M u s t a p h a

expressed optimism that the state that in view of the state’s potential, it would, in the nearest future, begin to export food to other countries. (NAN)

Device curbs driver texting by disabling car


ost systems designed to stop texting while driving do so by blocking text message signals when the phone is in a car. However, a new product called ORIGOSafe takes a different approach: unless your phone is plugged into the device, your car will not start. In order for the car to start, drivers must insert their smartphone into the ORIGOSafe, which is installed in the vehicle’s center console. For those old enough to remember what an 8-track player looks like, the device looks very similar.

As a user drives, the device charges the phone and only allows a driver to make and

receive calls via Bluetooth. The phone can be removed while driving, but it will trigger an alarm and alert a system administrator, such as a parent or manager. Consequentially, that user will be locked out of the system and unable to start the car on a subsequent trip. Only a system administrator will be able to unlock that feature. However, if the parking brake is engaged and the vehicle is idling, the device will allow the phone to be removed. ORIGOSafe is available for preorder at $279 (N44,640) plus installation. (Source: Discovery News)

he World Bank has said it disbursed N330.7 million to 71 communities in Katsina state for the development of infrastructure under the Community and Social Development Projects (CSDP). Alh. Salisu Yar’Adua, the CSDP’s General Manager, stated this in Mashi local government area recently, while issuing cheques to four communities for the execution of development projects in the area. He said that the funds were disbursed to the beneficiaries from 2010 till date. According to him, the bank contributes 90 per cent of the total cost of each project while the community contributes the remaining 10 per cent. He said most of the projects were on water supply, drainage, electrification, education, agriculture, health and roads. Yar’Adua said the projects had contributed immensely to improving the living conditions of people by reducing their hardships in various aspects of life. In his remarks, Salisu Majigiri, the Chief of Staff, Katsina Government House, said that the state government would continue to partner with similar bodies to provide relevant infrastructure to communities. Majigiri urged the people of the state to continue to support the administration in its efforts to improving their living conditions. Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Malam Abbas Sadi, expressed delight for the support and assured that the money would be used judiciously. N4.4 million was disbursed to Sabon-Sara, Danmalka, Dangoshi and Gyarta communities of the local government. (NAN)

3G and 4G USB modems are security threat, says - IT Expert


t is said that most of 3G and 4G USB modems for Internet users which are sold by mobile operators to their customers are manufactured by a handful of companies and run insecure software, according to security researchers. According to Russian analysts Nikita Tarakanov and Oleg Kupreev, who are experts said that the security of 3G/4G USB modems is not guarantee. “Most 3G/4G modems used in and around the world are made by Chinese hardware manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, and are branded with the mobile operators’ logos and trademarks”, Tarakanov said. Because of this, even if the research was done primarily on Huawei modems from Russian operators, the results should be relevant in other parts of the world as well he sdded.


Report as at Monday, March 18, 2013





How NTIC is promoting peace in Nigeria I

nculcating love for peace in Nigerian children and encouraging them to preach it through competition among themselves where they exhibit talents and knowledge in their native languages and foreign ones through poems, songs, grammar, written and spoken essays in different languages is one way the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges is optimistic would go a long way in entrenching much needed peace in the country, especial the moment and to show case the country’s rich culture. The colorful event which is an annual one was the 10th edition in Turkey last year and the 4th in Nigeria and the first of its kind a Nigerian school is organizing, saw the students competing in the categories of singing, poem reciting, speaking, writing, grammar and reading in three of Nigeria’s major languages, namely Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo and Turkey, French, English and Arabic foreign languages. It is widely believed that Nigerians are known to be fast in learning languages; this assertion was however exhibited at the festival organised by the schools,

Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTIC) recently held its 4th annual national language festival to promote Nigeria’s native languages and promote peace in the country. It was the first of its kind in schools in the country. Maryam Garba Hassan who was there writes: where 11 year old Nigerian and JSS 2 student of the Abuja College, Lawrence Iwude, came first in Turkish songs contest and a host of others Nigerian students who also came top in the language. According to the organisers, last year’s edition of the international competition in Turkey was attended by 140 countries of the world and over 2000 students participated where the students of the colleges who represented Nigeria won gold medal for their rich cultural presentation. A parent, Mrs. Matawalli, said the competition will refresh the memory of school children of their mother tongue as according to her, today’s children often forget their native language as a result of lack of practice and the alien way of life embraced by some families. “Most often than not,

Students of the colleges displaying flags of Nigeria and turkey

school children prefer to offer their native languages as a subject and are afraid to take others unless those compulsory subjects such as Arabic and French but one surprising and interesting aspect of NTIC is that its students are enthusiastic to study foreign languages like their natives”, she said. According to Yunus Emre Dogan, Principal of the College in Lagos, the competition which started three years ago in Nigeria, was initiated to promote Nigeria’s rich culture, peace and unity, build a solid friendship among the students, and show case the various languages in the country as well as to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Turkey. He said the schools’ management also initiated the idea because it was observed that sometimes

students cannot come together because of language and religious difference which the colleges are trying to address. Speaking at the award ceremony, Head of Turkish Department at the Abuja college and Coordinator of the competition, Abdullahi Yigit, said “for years, Turkey has been organising such Olympiads where it brings different nations of the world together and decided to do same in Nigeria adding that winners of the Turkish language will represent Nigeria in Turkey at the 11th international Turkish Olympiad coming up in June, 2013, where participants from 130 countries will compete for the gold medal. “Our students will use the opportunity to introduce the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria to other countries of the world at the culture stands”.

“The Olympiads is an added advantage to the young Nigerians who aspire to be linguists in future as foreign languages are mostly one of the requirements in jobs opportunities in the world today”, he said. He said the contestants who were trained for one year for the finals in Abuja, had to pass the first stage of the competition in their classes and schools, where more than 100 competitors were selected in Yobe, Kano, Lagos, Kaduna states and the FCT at the end of the auditions. ”The contest is open to students between the ages of 12 and 17years and those who study English, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. For the category of Turkish, French and Arabic languages, it is for students who choose to study these subjects as their foreign languages. The preparations and trainings commence at the begining of first term of each academic year, he added. Yigit further expressed optimism that winner students in Turkish language competition will contribute to the advertisement of Nigeria as every year, more than 2000 competitors from 140 countries participate in International Turkish Olympiads in Turkey. He said more than 600,000 people visited Turkey for the 10 th International Turkish Olympiads Culture Festival in 2012 adding that the festival and Award Giving Ceremony were broadcasted live in more than 100 national and international TV channels. Former Speaker House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na Abba, who commended the schools’ management for the initiative, urged other schools to emulate the colleges in the interest of peace and unity, especially now that the country is facing security challenges and to show the world the rich culture of Nigerian people. “Nigeria is a good country

with a rich culture and a lot of languages. In spite of the problems we are facing currently, we should not wait for others to come and do our work for us. Through such programme we can attract investors and tourists and project the positive image of the country. “I am impressive with what I saw today and I must commend the schools for encouraging our children to learn other Nigerian local languages and the foreign ones at a young age”, he said. 11 year old Lawrence Linus Awude, who came first in Turkish language, told Peoples Daily, that he developed interest in the language because he wants to be a linguist. According to him, it took him 1 year of rigorous practice to understand the language with the help of his teachers even as he takes the language as his foreign language in class. “I feel happy that I emerged the winner in the category of Turkish songs. It was a tough competition but it is worth the time spent practicing because the language is interesting and easy to learn with constant practice. Now I can sing and compose poems in the language with little or no help from my teachers”. Out of the 1500 students that competed in the categories of their native and other languages, which are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Turkish, English, French and Arabic, 121 emerged winners and 25 out of

Gold medal winners with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Mustapha Pulat (middle) them won gold medals and N20,000 while their teachers were also given cash prizes. The event was also marked with songs by students in the languages, colorful folk dancing performances of different cultures and sketches in different languages and the competitors were exposed to a social experience in which they established an environment of love, tolerance and peace.

Our students will use the opportunity to introduce the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria to other countries of the world at the culture stands”. “The Olympiads is an added advantage to the young Nigerians who aspire to be linguists in future as foreign languages are mostly one of the requirements in jobs opportunities in the world today Nigerian students performing Turkish folk dance.



Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (m) commissioning some patrol van of counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Kotangora recently.

Army will reduce terrorism to it barest minimum – Ihejirika Stories by Joy Baba


he Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika has said the fight against terrorism has been very successful reiterating Army’s decision to reduce the menace to its barest minimum. Ihejirika stated this over the weekend in Keffi, Nasarawa State at the end of the Weapon or Range Classification Exercise held at the 177 Guards Battalion in Keffi. He said this training exercise is a routine and compulsory for every soldier and officer adding that it was designed to make young officers more confident in dealing with insurgencies or asymmetric warfare, and it is being conducted by all formations and units. “Those who fail to make the average acceptable mark would be made to repeat this same

exercise while those who have excelled would be selected to represent their units and formations of the army in future competition of range shooting. This particular year, we intend to hold the Nigeria army small arms competition (NASAC).We are yet to choose the formation to host it but it is coming up this year”. Ihejirika also said. The COAS also said that the military had recently recorded huge successes in Kaduna, Maiduguri and Sokoto leading to the recovery of many assault weapons. According to the Army Chief “I can tell you that in the last one to two weeks, the operations have been very very successful. You are probably aware of the operations conducted in Kaduna, leading to the recovery of several assault weapons.

“This was followed by the operation conducted under the joint task force in Maiduguri that also yielded so much arsenal of the enemy. The latest as at today is the one in Sokoto during which we were able to take off one of the leaders of the Boko Haram sect”. Ihejirika further said another member of the sect named Doctor who claimed to be a bomb making expert was also arrested in the raid. He also said they have been able to arrest Asalafi, their supposed minister of defence who they placed price on his head. “The recoveries made in Sokoto are as important as the ones made in Maiduguri and Kaduna. We discovered assault weapons, rocket launchers ,pistols and other bomb making materials” COAS added. Ihejirika further debunked

Army procures 35 desert terrain vehicles


igerian Army said it has recently procured 35 desert terrain vehicles for deployment to the African-led Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) operations. The Director of Army Public Relations, (DAPR) Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru made this known while addressing journalist on the recent developments in the Nigerian Army at the Army headquarters Abuja. Attahiru said the vehicles will be deployed to Mali soon after some modifications by the Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers noting that this effort is aimed at

increasing the operational efficiency of Nigerian contingent in Mali Battalion 2 is already being prepared to rotate AFISMA Battalion1 after a tour of duty of about 180 days, this he said is to ensure that troops deployed to peace support operations do not over stay. The DAPR further said it has become mandatory for all Nigerian units earnmark ed for peace support operations in various missions around the world undergo pre- induction training at Nigerian Peace keeping Centre, Jaji, which include ; Laws of Arms Conflict, Counter terrorism and Counter Insurgency in line with the best

global practice. He also said a team the Nigerian Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers recently carried out repairs on the COBRA Armored Personnel Carriers deployed to Darfur-Sudan to ensure increased combat efficiency and improved contingent owned equipments. According to the Director, Nigerian Army has also established an information Processing Centre for the public to provide to provide any useful information that will enhance its current fight against terrorism adding details of these telephones numbers to be used will be made available in due course.

claims that army inflict heavy casualties on civilian whenever they hit these insurgents citing example of the raid in Sokoto that took place in an estate that only the flat occupied by the sect was touched and that there were no civilian casualties. He said the sects bring in their

wives and children whenever they occupy an apartment to give them cover and also give a false impression that they are normal people going about their normal business. He however noted the wives of these insurgents who were also captured ion the raid are safe and sound in their custody adding that they are being fed and taken care of adequately. The Army Chief also said before an operation is carried out, they do their best to make sure that both in timing and weapons employed, casualties are reduced to the barest minimum.

Naval chief warns on illegalities on water ways

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba


he Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba has warned officers and men of the Navy that the authorities will not hesitate to flush them out if they fail to deliver on the mandate of president Goodluck Jonathan’s mandate to eradicate illegalities from the water ways. The Naval Chief gave the warning recently at the Naval Headquarters Abuja while signing performance contract with principal staff officers and commanders in the field of the Nigerian Navy. According to him, Nigerian

Navy has established zero tolerance to ineptitude and complicity and any officer found to be engaged in any acts of indiscipline in the course of discharge of his duties will be sanctioned and dealt with according to the law. ‘Anybody ready to do this job must follow laid down rules or quietly ship-out, it is a clarion call to live up to our responsibilities’ he added. The Naval chief further urged the officers to improve on their human intelligence skills to ensure moving ahead on the mandate.



STF rebuilds 21 boreholes in Riyom, says Commander


he Special Taskforce (STF) maintaining peace in Plateau, says it has rebuilt 21 out of the 28 malfunctioning boreholes in various communities in the Riyom Local Government Area of the state. The commander of the taskforce, Maj.-Gen. Henry Ayoola, made the disclosure in an interview with the News

Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday. He said the taskforce had to restore some of the boreholes to alleviate the suffering of the people in accessing potable water. “We have noticed with great concern, how the people in some communities in Riyom are finding it difficult to access potable water, so we


JTF destroys oil tanks in Bayelsa

he Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta on Thursday said it had intensified the fight against crude oil theft by attacking various levels in the illicit act in the region. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the JTF on Thursday destroyed surface tanks and hundreds of plastic drums used in the distribution of locally-refined petroleum products in Swali area of Yenagoa. Lt. -Col Onyema Nwachukwu, the JTF Media Coordinator, said it had raided the area notorious for distribution of illegally-refined petroleum products in November 2012. He said the warehouses used for the storage of the products of the numerous illegal refineries

were destroyed to curb the trend of crude oil theft and illegal refining. Nwachukwu explained that 104 surface tanks, 112 plastic drums and 40 drums with adulterated diesels were evacuated by the JTF for destruction. The seized adulterated petroleum products were loaded to a JTF vessel and taken to the Department of Petroleum Resources for disposal. Mr Zuwa Konugah, the Commissioner for State Capital Development, who spoke at the Swali waterfront site, commended JTF for its effort to combat crude oil theft.

decided to come to their aid by rehabilitating the existing malfunctioning boreholes. “This kind gesture is part of our peace mission in Plateau, because we believe poverty, hunger and absence of some essential amenities usually fuelled violence. “As we all know, water is a very essential and necessary need of man, hence when we

He said: “Bayelsa Government cannot condone the activities of crude oil thieves within the state capital.’’ He observed that the area used for the distribution of the locally-refined petroleum products was not for any form of commercial activity in the Yenagoa master plan. (NAN)Yenagoa, March 7, 2013 (NAN) The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta on Thursday said it had intensified the fight against crude oil theft by attacking various levels in the illicit act in the region. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the JTF on Thursday destroyed surface

discovered that the people we are protecting lack this essential need, we decided to assist,’’ he said. Ayoola called on residents of the state to cooperate with officers and men of the taskforce so as to achieve lasting peace in Plateau. He reiterated the commitment of the officers of

tanks and hundreds of plastic drums used in the distribution of locally-refined petroleum products in Swali area of Yenagoa. Lt. -Col Onyema Nwachukwu, the JTF Media Coordinator, said it had raided the area notorious for distribution of illegally-refined petroleum products in November 2012. He said the warehouses used for the storage of the products of the numerous illegal refineries were destroyed to curb the trend of crude oil theft and illegal refining. Nwachukwu explained that 104 surface tanks, 112 plastic drums and 40 drums with

the taskforce to performing their duties without prejudice or segregation. The commander said, however, said that the restoration of the boreholes would not stop at Riyom but that the taskforce would extend the gesture to Barkin Ladi and Jos South Local Government Areas of the state. (NAN) adulterated diesels were evacuated by the JTF for destruction. The seized adulterated petroleum products were loaded to a JTF vessel and taken to the Department of Petroleum Resources for disposal. Mr Zuwa Konugah, the Commissioner for State Capital Development, who spoke at the Swali waterfront site, commended JTF for its effort to combat crude oil theft. He said: “Bayelsa Government cannot condone the activities of crude oil thieves within the state capital.’’ He observed that the area used for the distribution of the locally-refined petroleum products was not for any form of commercial activity in the Yenagoa master plan. NAN

Task force recovers 39,880 weapons from ex-militants


he inter-agency task force on the amnesty programme has handed over 39,880 weapons recovered from ex-militants from Bayelsa and Delta States to the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army. Handing over the weapons in Enugu on Saturday, the Coordinator of the Task Force, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, said they were from the militants who were excluded from the last two phases of the amnesty programme. According to him, there were serious agitations by some ex-militants who claimed that they also surrendered their arms and ammunition to the joint task force and other security agencies but were excluded from the programme. “It was in response to these claims that President Goodluck Jonathan approved additional 3 ,642 slots for ex-militants who genuinely surrendered arms to security agencies,” he said. Mr. Gbum said the task force, among other things, was mandated to recover all retrieved arms and ammunition to the 82 Division, Enugu, for subsequent destruction in line with the UN Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration rules. The coordinator gave a breakdown of the weapons to include 482 automatic arms, 20,132 ammunition, 295 magazines and 18,971 locally made arms. Receiving the weapons, the General Officer Commanding

•The weapons will be destroyed by the Nigerian Army the 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Adebayo Olaniyi, commended President Jonathan for taking another giant stride in the amnesty programme. Mr. Olaniyi said that if the weapons were not retrieved, they would have posed a serious threat to security in

the country. He assured Nigerians that the weapons would be transparently destroyed at the appropriate time. In a message to the event, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, who was represented by the

Commissioner for Environment, John Egbo, urged the president not to relent in his effort to rid the nation of illegal weapons. Mr. Chime also commended the task force for the bold step it took in recovering the weapons, adding that such

Some of the weapons recovered by Joint TaskForce from the ex-militant

action would go a long way in reducing crime in the country. The highlights of the event were the inspection of the weapons by the governor’s representative and the handover of the documents and weapons by the coordinator to the GOC.(NAN)



Cassava bread: Bakers demand modern facilities By Mohammed Kandi


ecently, some Master Bakers in Abuja, expressed optimism that the massive production of cassava bread and other confectionaries is possible, if the Federal Government provides them with modern facilities that would facilitate the process of blending both cassava and wheat flour to achieve the desired result. This followed a training organized for the Master Bakers and Caterers Association of Nigeria late last year, by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in a few states of the federation as part of its determination to ensure that, cassava bread replaces wheat bread in the country before year 2015. While speaking separately during a National Stakeholders’ forum organised by the Nigerian

Institute for Food Science and Technology (NIFST), the bakers said that “cassava bread was possible if the requisite machines were made available.” In his own accounts, an experienced baker at the Alliance Bakery in Katsina State, Mansur Umar, who said he had made more profit producing cassava bread, also informed that many Nigerians do not discriminate against the bread. “It gives us higher yield, higher profit and at a low price; the only problem we are facing is the availability of the high quality flour. The cassava flour costs less, not more than N5,000,” Umar said. Umar, who lauded the government for training bakers and proving other support for them, also appealed for the provision of the improved cassava flour or machines for bakers to mix themselves. in his remarks, an Abuja-

based Master baker of Our Lady’s Bakery in Karu, Dominic Daniel, called on the government to at least provide more machines for the bakers, as well as ensure that the millers provide readily mixed flour with 20 per cent cassava flour content. “No baker in this country will go to the market and buy cassava different and wheat flour different and mix it; no baker will do that. The main challenge we are facing in terms of transition from wheat to cassava bread is the lack of support from the Federal Government to buy the necessary equipment,” Daniel stressed. “Also, the shelve life of the bread is low and we need government to assist us with a way to increase the shelve life of the bread,” he said. For Mr Ishaya Kamachewue, the Head of the North-Central Region of the Master Bakers, baking with even 60 per cent

Mobile phones to farmers will bridge information gap — Association


he Association of Non-bank Micro-Finance Institutions in Nigeria (ANMFIN) has said that the proposed mobile phones for farmers will bridge the communication gap between the government and farmers. Mr Edwin Uche, the Executive Secretary of the association, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja recently. Uche explained that the mobile phones would also help farmers to access some agricultural essentials that were not available to them in the rural areas. “ We know strongly that the mobile communication device will play a significant role towards supporting agriculture in diverse ways. “We know that it will provide access to information for the farmers; it will help them access input devices; help them access marketing opportunities; help them access processing opportunities. “And I think one of the problems we have had in the agricultural sector between the rural area and government is the information gap. “There is information gap between those in the rural areas who are feeding Nigerians; who are into agriculture and those in policy-making who are making policy and who are making the environment conducive for the farmers by providing the necessary policies that will aid the growth of the sector.’’ Uche also told NAN that those clamouring for government to provide the necessary infrastructure before distributing

the phones were making salient point. He said that the provision of the infrastructure was a longterm projection, adding that the mobile phones would add to the growth of agriculture in the country, anyhow. “ As much as the government is striving to provide the infrastructure, I think it is also key to support those in the rural area

towards ensuring that agriculture improves and develops. “If we wait for the government to provide the infrastructure before agriculture is developed, I strongly believe that we will go hungry in Nigeria. “So the infrastructural development is not a day’s process; it takes a long time to build the infrastructure.” (NAN)

cassava is possible. He said that the master bakers were the ones to ensure the implementation of the cassava utilisation in baking, but underscored the need for government support. “Even with 60 per cent, we can bake; baking with cassava flour is not a big deal, if Federal Government can give us full support. “The support we need from Federal Government is the modern machines; about 90 per cent of master bakers still use mud oven. “They mix manually and it cannot give you accurate result when compared to the modern machines. “Even the life span, when you mill with modern equipment it is quite different from the local ones; with the modern equipment in less than 30 minutes you start baking after mixing,” he said. Also, a baker, Mr Richard Aderemi, who had been in the business since 1973, stressed that government should not go back on its promises. He recalled that in the mid 70s, government had come up with the initiative which was quickly abandoned, throwing bakers into confusion. Aderemi, who owns Wonder Loaf Bakery in Ekiti State said that he had baked with 100 per cent cassava flour in 1976 and Nigerians loved it. “In Yakubu Gowon regime, they introduced cassava flour; it failed initially but I did it and it worked and people liked it because the bread is of high quality.

“The problem was no government to sponsor it again; but now that it has been reintroduced; what I want them to do now is not to go back until we do it successfully. “We want them to help us to the end: we don’t want them to start it and then stop it and throw bakers into indebtedness. “Let them help the bakers to own machines because we cannot use hand to mix that cassava flour to ferment like wheat flour,” he said. He called on the government to provide loan facilities for bakers to tap into. However, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, recalled that the Federal Government had put in place a number of policies to support the use of cassava flour. He said that the government also raised the tariff on the importation of wheat and wheat flour to further support cassava utilisation. Adesina, who demystified claims that cassava bread had some health hazards, stressing that the cassava bread had proved to be better than the wheat bread, added that “cassava bread is healthier than white flour wheat bread; cassava bread has a lower gycemic index than white wheat flour, thus less likely to aggravate diabetes. “Cassava bread is also lower in gluten content and NAFDAC has also fully certified cassava bread as healthy and safe for consumers and Nigerians are increasingly demanding this bread,” he explained.

Onions and tomatoes on display, recently in a market at Larabar Tambarin Kwani village in Dutse, Jigawa state.

Photo: NAN



FG to concession agro input centres –Perm. Sec By Mohammed Kandi


A cross-section of journalists and scientists at the ongoing training programme, Biosciences for Farming in Africa, yesterday in Abuja.

GMO: Scientists train journalists, urge transfer of ‘right’ knowledge By Mohammed Kandi


ollowing the controversies trailing acceptance of the Genetically Modified (GM) crops around the world, a group of scientists at the Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) have called on journalists disseminate objective and factual information to the public about the advantages of biotechnology in agriculture. They expressed optimism that for Africa to achieve food security, robust economy, as

well as recuperate and compete favourably with best farming communities around the world, it must embrace a technology driven strategies that would facilitate its agriculture. B4FA Project Leader, Prof. Brian Heap, told journalists at the ongoing Media Fellowship Training in Abuja, organised by B4FA on Plant Breeding and Genetics, that there was the need for the journalists and scientists to support and convey to farmers about new studies on agricultural extension services

and innovations in farming. According to him, agriculture creates right opportunities for socio-economic development in Africa, adding that the continent had missed out of the Green Revolution in the past, and urge stakeholders to promote the development of agricultural research and projects. Heap also stressed the need for African governments and farmers to urgently adopt GM crops as the continent perseveres through copious challenges of population growth, cli-

Only registered dealers, farmers will access N60bn loan -BOA


he Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has said that only agro-dealers and farmers duly registered under the national farmers’ database can access the N60 billion agricultural loan facility. Executive Director, Wholesale Finance of the bank, Mr Waziri Ahmadu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recently in Abuja. NAN recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had made available the money at nine per cent interest rate in line with the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

The aim is to allow small-scale input retailers to have access to finance to be able to purchase seedlings and fertilisers. “You need to be an agro-dealer and you have to be registered under the National Farmers’ Scheme with the relevant office in the Ministry of Agriculture. “And you need to go on the agriculture database as an agrodealer because you cannot be a large supplier and also be an agro-dealer; you have to be duly registered.’’ He, however, suggested that the Federal Government should review the method of registering agrodealers.

“The method of registering agrodealers should really be looked at. Until now, it is mostly the big supplier companies that are nominating agro-dealerships to register. According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture and the CBN have estimated that the N60 billion will finance five million farmers for effective production this planting season. He explained that some commercial banks and micro finance institutions would be involved in the disbursement of the loans. (NAN)

mate change, as well as the quest to attain food security. The Course Leader for B4FA, Bernie Jones, said plant breeding helps the farmer to achieve great results in high and quality yield in crops thereby bringing about bumper harvest for farmers. He recalled that plant improvement (breeding) had been on for years as farming itself but said better results could be achieved with the aid of genetic modification of crops via scientific procedures.

he Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, has said the Federal Government will concession all the 80 One-Stop agro inputs centres being constructed across the country. In a statement by Mr Ewaoche Ameh, the Senior Information Officer at the ministry in Abuja, Odusote said “the projects, after completion, are envisaged to be concessioned to the private sector through approved concession process in accordance with the Federal Government Concession Act.’’ She spoke at the inauguration of the One-Stop shop agro inputs centre in Iseyin, Oyo State, saying the concessioning would ensure that the centres remain viable. Odusote said that the Iseyin centre, like others, has the capacity to accommodate a minimum of 500 tonne storage capacity for fertiliser, seeds and agro-chemicals. She said the centres were also designated to be service delivery units for tractor hiring, primary processing and extension support services as covered by the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The permanent secretary observed that not less than 774 of such centres would have been established across the country by the end of 2015. She recalled that the first phase of 62 units of the centres was awarded in October 2010 while the second phase of 18 units was awarded in December 2011.

FCT agric. office urges farmers to register for scheme


he FCT office of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has called on farmers in the territory to register for this year’s Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The FCT Director at the ministry, Mr Charles Momo, said this in a statement in Abuja. According to him, the exercise which will enable farmers benefit from the GES which will commence on March 18, and will run for two weeks. He explained that the FCT had been divided into 62 political wards with each ward being manned by a trained

enumerator. “Farmers in the FCT are hereby encouraged to avail themselves of this opportunity and come out at the enumeration centres in their wards and get registered.’’ He also called on traditional rulers, area council authorities, religious and opinion leaders to mobilise the farmers in their localities to get registered. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that this year’s exercise is a follow-up to that of 2012 and it is mainly for those farmers that were not captured then. (NAN)



Tackling the decay in Kaduna state’s education sector By Ephraims Sheyin


takeholders in the education sector of Kaduna State held various fora last month to examine ways of addressing the rot in the state’s education system. Gov. Ramalan Yero’s declaration of education as one of his priority sectors prompted the convening of the various summits. Mr Ishaya Akau, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), stressed that the aim of the summits was to bring stakeholders together to brainstorm on how to overhaul the sector. “We felt that if we could realise that there was a problem; that will be the first step to solving it. “What we also want is to define that problem clearly and set the platform for the needed synergy to address the deficiencies in the system,’’ he said. The participants of the summits stressed that the decay indices were quite enormous, just as Prof. Idris Abubakar, a former Chairman of the National Universities Commission (NUC), noted that many secondary school graduates could neither read nor write well. Alhaji Umar Mohammed, the Chairman, Kaduna State House of Assembly Committee on Education, whose committee was mandated to inspect some selected schools in 2011, said that “about half of the teachers in the primary and secondary schools are not qualified to teach.’’ He lamented that many teachers no longer wrote lesson notes, while others did not just know how to write such notes. The decay in the quality of teaching could be illustrated via a development last year when SUBEB set a test for Primary Four teachers, in which 75 per cent of them failed. Besides, SUBEB records also indicate that over half of the 1.2 million pupils of the state’s primary schools had no classes or seats: They sit under tree shades. The summits’ participants were also informed that teachers were never trained, even when one per cent of their salaries were deducted every month for that purpose. Beyond that, Akau said that there was no professional requirement for anyone to become an Education Secretary in the local government areas.

Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna state

“The most puzzling is a situation where teachers on GL 06 are appointed headmasters to lead senior colleagues, some of them on GL14. This is not good for teachers’ morale. “We have also discovered that those who are not qualified are teaching, while those qualified are not given the job. “Again, neither teachers nor students have any textbook, while very few teachers seem to know that they should have benchmarks or syllabus,’’ he said. All the same, the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Mohammed Usman, stressed that plans to attain quality education would remain a mirage without the availability of quality teachers.

“You cannot have good education without good teachers, while a good teacher should have the passion to motivate others to learn. “That is no longer the situation. That good teacher of yore has been replaced by a ghost, absentee and unqualified teacher,’’ he said. However, Akau said that the quality of education remained low because unlike in advanced countries where students spent 900 hours in class per term, the average period spent in class in the country “is just about 400 hours’’. He stressed that the 75 per cent mandatory attendance was not being achieved in Nigeria. “There are too many

holidays. There are too many ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays, funerals, send-forth parties and many others; we always insist on attending these ceremonies and taking the children along,’’ Akau noted. Nevertheless, participants at the fora agreed that the quality of education was still relative high in the South-West geopolitical zone. They said that successive leaders in the region sustained the heavy investments made in the education sector by Chief ObafemiAwolowo, former Premier of the defunct Western Region. They argued that in contrast, successive leaders in the North failed to continue from where the late Sardauna of Sokoto, AlhajiAhmadu Bello, stopped. “That is why we are here. Education is capital intensive, so we must invest heavily in it. “Agreed that other sectors are competing for limited resources but education must be given priority because its growth has a domino effect on other sectors,’’ MalamAdamuShika, an official of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), said. Mrs Hope Gajere, the Provost, College of Education, GidanWaya, identified the seeming apathy of most students toward taking up a career in teaching as one of the factors impeding the growth of the education sector. “Students do not choose the colleges of education as their first choice; they only come if they cannot get university admission. “We give admissions but less than half of those offered admission come to register. Some start the NCE programme and leave halfway once they get university admission. “We have also observed that some people come in with fantastic WAEC and NECO results but cannot justify such grades. Such results are

We have also discovered that those who are not qualified are teaching, while those qualified are not given the job. Again, neither teachers nor students have any textbook, while very few teachers seem to know that they should have benchmarks or syllabus

apparently from ‘miracle centres’,’’ she said. All the same, AlhajiMuazu Gangara, the Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, assured the people that the legislature would make good laws which would enhance the quality of education. He said that the passage of the Education Quality Assurance Bill was aimed at boosting the quality of education in the state. Gangara urged Gov.Yero to declare an emergency in the educational sector so as to save it from total collapse. The speaker re-echoed the participants’ concern that most primary and secondary schools in the state were facing serious challenges which required special attention. Hajia Rakiya Musa, who chairs the Governing Council of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, also underscored the need to give special attention to the development of primary education and the training of teachers. “In our days, we were anxious to learn but now, we have to beg our children to go to school. We must take primary education even more seriously because that is where everything starts. Once a child misses it at that point, he or she is lost,’’ she said. The education commissioner, however, pledged the government’s determination to ensure quality education, adding that 3,800 unqualified teachers had been sacked. Usman said that those teachers who survived the purge were given a five-year deadline to obtain the minimum teaching qualifications. He stressed that the inspectorate division of the Ministry of Education would be further fortified to ensure effective monitoring of schools. “SUBEB has also developed a comprehensive lesson plan document to ease the work of teachers and set benchmarks which pupils must attain at specific levels. “We expect teachers to implement the scheme and use it to assess themselves, while parents should similarly use it to test the progress of their children or wards,’’ Usman said. All in all, experts believe that if the recommendations of the summits are faithfully implemented by the government and other stakeholders, the quality of education in Kaduna State will soon experience a remarkable improvement. Source: NAN


ANALYSIS By Janvieve Williams Comrie


his year marks the 15th anniversary of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The "Guiding Principles" are not legally binding but serve as an instrument that states, grassroots organisations and individuals use to inform the human rights that internally displaced people are entitled to, as well as the humanitarian laws that are relevant from legally binding conventions that their states have signed and ratified. Internally displaced persons are defined as "persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or humanmade disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised State border." (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, Introduction, paragraph 2). According to the latest global study done by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in 2011, there is an estimated 26.4 million people that are internally displaced. However, what this number does not reveal is the extent to which women and children are the overwhelming victims of internal displacement. Why? It is estimated that about 80 percent of displaced populations consist of women and girls. Natural disasters and armed conflict usually occur in rural, low income, institutionally abandoned and hard to reach communities. These communities very often are comprised of women that work in a local and informal economy, and are single head of households (due to several factors, including forced disappearances, homicides, and/ or male migration to other communities or countries for economic and/or safety reasons). For these and other reasons, internal displacement continues to disproportionately result in women becoming displaced, followed by genderbased violence that more than usually occurs in times of displacement. While it has been documented that anyone who is displaced can experience trafficking, kidnapping, homicides, detentions, forced recruitment and even slavery, women are subjected to massive gender-specific violations in the form of sexual violence such as rape, forced impregnation, forced abortions, trafficking and forced prostitution. The disproportionate numbers of women who are internally displaced and the lack of an institutional mechanism in place to provide protection to the special needs of women who become displaced have feminised this phenomenon in


Internal displacement: The feminisation of a world-wide crisis

The only countries with more internally displaced people than Colombia are Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and the DRC [Reuters] unique ways. This is especially true for the Americas, where displacement and its gender component intersect with race and ethnicity. Internal displacement in the context of the American continent is something that has not gotten the attention that it demands, either from the mainstream or progressive independent media at the global and regional level. But internal displacement is a crisis that impacts significant numbers of people in the Americas and disproportionately affects Afrodescendant women because of several socioeconomic and political factors, including the geographical location of where natural disasters and armed conflict occur. This results in Afro descendant women being exposed to two distinct forms of historical discrimination - race and gender - which make them doubly vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment by governmental

institutions, and armed groups in all facets of internal displacement - from evacuation, relocation and the security of their right to return. For example, when we look at internal displacement in the Americas, we include the United States, where it is estimated that the number of AfricanAmericans who were displaced by the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 are as high as 1-1.5 million. A disproportionate number of those displaced were women and children. Despite the clear applicability of the Guiding Principles to Katrina, the principles were ignored by the US government. Instead, federal legislation (Robert T Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act Stafford Act) was enacted to deal with the crisis. Yet many provisions of the Stafford Act run counter to the guiding principles. Parallel to that, the number of internally displaced people that remain


displaced over time is unknown because the US government does not track or monitor people who've been displaced longer than 18 months. As of December 2012, in Haiti alone, over 357,000 people [PDF] remain in camps or camp-like situations due to the multiple hurricane devastations in the country. With the economic, social and political crisis that Haiti has been facing since the earthquake in 2010, women and girls that have been displaced into camps have been literally left to fend for their own security, which has led to an increase of gender-based crimes that a fragmented judicial system simply does not deal with effectively. In Colombia, race, armed conflict and flawed politics has caused a mass internal displacement crisis reaching numbers higher than five million [PDF]. Colombia has the fifth largest number of internally displaced people (preceded by Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Rapporteur on the

We women have been trampled over in our territory and anywhere by the different groups, the legal and illegal armed groups, who kidnap us, kill, rape and humiliate us... leaving as a consequence of these actions the deterioration of the social fabric around us. Therefore, there is no doubt that the armed conflict has harmed black women's feelings, their ancestral legitimacy, their creativity to form and generate life, their cultural identity and their love for their territory.

rights of women from the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in a visit in 2005, cites in her country visit report testimony submitted to her: We women have been trampled over in our territory and anywhere by the different groups, the legal and illegal armed groups, who kidnap us, kill, rape and humiliate us... leaving as a consequence of these actions the deterioration of the social fabric around us. Therefore, there is no doubt that the armed conflict has harmed black women's feelings, their ancestral legitimacy, their creativity to form and generate life, their cultural identity and their love for their territory. Despite the fact that several governments have recognised the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, only 16 states in the world have created laws, policies, frameworks and protocols specifically around internal displacement into their legislation. In the Americas, only Colombia and Peru have done so, but despite that, general knowledge, implementation and monitoring of these policies are very sketchy, and do not include explicit protections for women and girls in these situations. Lack of service provision, institutional racism and acts of violence at any level that occurs at the hands of natural or humanmade disasters, are also a reflection of structural and institutional breakdowns in states governments. More than often these institutions do not prioritise nor take the well-being and the security of women seriously as they face the vulnerabilities described above. Source: Aljazeera



Deadly car bomb rocks Somali capital


t least eight people have been killed by a car bomb claimed by al-Shabab in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police have said. Monday's attack targeted Khalif Ahmed Ilig, the Mogadishu security chief, in one of the bloodiest assaults in the war-ravaged capital in recent months. "We've counted at least eight dead so far. It was a car bomb attack near the National Theatre," said police official Mohamed Duale. Al Jazeera's Peter Greste confirmed local sources had told him the target was the intelligence chief of the district controlling Mogadishu. Quoting local sources, our correspondent said "at least six or seven - possibly eight - people have died in this explosion". Hassan Salad, who witnessed the attack, said: "Many have been killed, some of them were in a minibus that was hit by the blast. This is a disaster, there is smoke and

A woman calls for help at the scene of the blast. dead bodies thrown all around." The anti-government fighters have vowed to topple President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who

took office last year after being chosen by the country's new parliament. While al-Shabab in recent

months has been on the back foot in Somalia, having lost a string of key towns to a 17,000-strong African Union force fighting alongside Somali soldiers, the group remains a potent threat. Large rural areas remain under its control and the group's fighters have carried out a series of guerrilla attacks in areas supposed to be under government control. On Sunday al-Shabab retook the southern town of Hudur - the capital of Bakool region - after Ethiopian troops pulled out of the town. The recapture of Hudur marks a sharp turnaround for al-Shabab as the first territorial victory for several months. Mogadishu has been rocked by several small attacks - including both car bombs and suicide attackers - in recent months. The last suicide attack in Mogadishu in September last year killed 18 people in a restaurant.

Kenya's Kenyatta to urge ICC to drop charges

Francis Muthaura, Kenyatta's co-accused


awyers for Uhuru Kenyatta are to push the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop charges against Kenya's presidentelect after the case against Francis

Muthaura, his co-accused, collapsed. The case against Kenyatta, charged with crimes against humanity over deadly violence in the wake of Kenya's election in 2007,

has been further complicated by his victory in a ballot which was held largely peacefully this month. A status conference, or pre-trial hearing, has been called by judges in The Hague for 14:00GMT on Friday, and will look at the consequences of the withdrawal of the charges against Muthaura for the case against Kenyatta. Kenyatta and former civil servant Francis Muthaura were among six suspects initially charged by ICC prosecutors with orchestrating violence after the 2007 election, when some 1,200 people were killed. On March 11, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the decision of a key witness to recant testimony had forced her to drop charges against Muthaura. Bensouda said the decision would have no impact on Kenyatta's case.

Kenyatta's lawyers will call on Friday for the case against him to be dropped or at least postponed, said one lawyer who was familiar with the case, but did not want to be quoted by name. "The collapse of the case against Muthaura has a profound impact on the viability of the prosecution's case against Kenyatta," the lawyer said. The prosecutions are based to a large extent on similar evidence, with both men denying any wrongdoing. Kenyatta, elected by a slim margin earlier this month, faces a big challenge in bridging Kenya's ethnic divides even without the court case. His opponent, Raila Odinga, challenged the election result in court on Saturday, alleging widespread ballot rigging.

Mugabe slips into Italy for papal inauguration


imbabwe President Robert Mugabe slipped into Italy on Monday for the inauguration of Pope Francis and officials went to some lengths to play down the technical infringement of a European Union travel ban on Africa's oldest leader. Mugabe, who has been under the ban since 2002 because of allegations of vote rigging and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, was whisked straight from his plane to Rome

airport terminal in a black van, together with his wife, Grace, and bodyguards. Although the airport is on Italian territory, the 89-year-old president was met by a priest who said: "On behalf of Pope Francis, welcome to the Vatican, welcome to the Holy See." He was then taken to a hotel on the famous Via Veneto. The Vatican says it did not issue invitations for the inauguration on Tuesday of Pope Francis - Latin America's first pontiff - who was elected by a secret conclave last Wednesday. But representatives of world governments are welcome to attend. "The Holy See informs everyone that this event is taking place. There are no invitations. There are no privileges and no Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe

one is refused. While one country may have problems with someone else, we invite no one. This must be made clear," a Vatican spokesman said. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to cram St. Peter's Square and surrounding streets for a mass on Tuesday to formally install Francis as the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion

Roman Catholics. Mugabe, a conservative Catholic, visited Italy previously for the funeral of Pope John Paul in 2005 and for ceremonies for his beatification in April 2011. In each case Mugabe was permitted to travel through Italy to the Vatican, which as a separate state is not subject to the EU ban.

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan,with visiting French Special Envoy, Mr Laurence Fabius,during a meeting, recentlyat the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Central Africa Republic rebels issue ultimatum, detain ministers


ebels in the Central African Republic have detained their five ministers in the government and threatened to break a January ceasefire unless prisoners are freed and other demands met. The insurgents came close to capturing the capital Bangui and overthrowing President Francois Bozize late last year before accepting the peace deal in January under which some of their leaders joined the central government. But increasingly bitter rhetoric from both sides is threatening to pitch the mineral-rich but impoverished, landlocked country back into conflict. In a sign of growing tension, the Seleka rebel military command detained five ministers from its side on Sunday, preventing them from returning to the capital after talks with U.N., African Union and European Union officials. The insurgents have demanded the release of political prisoners and the departure of about 400 South African troops who were sent in to prop up Bozize's army. "We are giving Bozize and those around him 72 hours to meet our principal demands, otherwise we will resume hostilities," Seleka's spokesman, Colonel Sylvain Bordas, said after a meeting with the international officials in the town of Sibut on Sunday. "In the meantime, all our ministers in the government will stay here with us. The rest of the delegation may go back to Bangui," he said. One of the ministers told French RFI radio on Monday that the military command was detaining them as a means to force Bozize to accept their demands immediately. The insurgents have also called for the incorporation of 2,000 men from their group into the national army and the recognition of their military ranks. The government of the Central African Republic was not immediately available for comment. Chad, Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of Congo and South Africa have deployed hundreds of troops to shore up Bozize's army after it suffered a string of defeats, allowing the rebels to advance to within 75 km (45 miles) of Bangui. The five ministers were being kept at a rebel camp in Sibut, about 185 km (115 miles) from the capital where they discussed with diplomats how to defuse the latest crisis.



Asia and New China leader to usher in ‘renaissance’ Middle East


hina criticizes U.S. anti-missile North Korea plan China said on Monday U.S. plans to bolster missile defences in response to provocations by North Korea would only intensify antagonism, and urged Washington to act prudently. "The anti-missile issue has a

Australia pledges $21m in aid to Myanmar


ustralia has boosted its aid and eased restrictions on defence cooperation with Myanmar as Thein Sein became the country's first head of state to visit the country since 1974. Canberra said it was increasing its support to recognise reforms made as Myanmar approaches the second anniversary of a quasi-civilian government led by former general Sein taking power. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said $20.7m would be provided over two years for "strengthening democratic institutions, promoting human rights, improving economic governance and advancing the rule of law". "As a close neighbour, Australia will benefit from a more open and prosperous Myanmar that is fully integrated into the region," she said on Monday. "Australia's commitment to expand its constructive engagement with Myanmar recognises the unprecedented process of change under way there towards political freedom and the new opportunity this brings to help promote the prosperity of Myanmar and its people. "It also recognises President Thein Sein's leadership in driving these critical reforms." "The normalising of economic relations between Australia and Myanmar is very high on the agenda. "Julia Gillard reiterated that $100 million will be spent on strenghthening trade links and economic ties between the two countries."

direct bearing on global and regional balance and stability. It also concerns mutual strategic interests between countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing. U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans on Friday to bolster U.S. missile defences in response to "irresponsible and reckless provocations" by North Korea, which

has threatened a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States. Hong said China believed efforts to increase security and resolve the problem of nuclear proliferation were best achieved through diplomatic means. "Actions such as strengthening anti-missile (defences) will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem," Hong said.

"China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently." The Pentagon said the United States had informed China, North Korea's neighbor and closest ally, of its decision to add more interceptors but declined to characterize Beijing's reaction. The remarks from China's Foreign Ministry come days before

U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visits China to discuss implementation of economic sanctions against North Korea. China has expressed unease at previous U.S. plans for missile defence systems, as well as sales of such systems to Taiwan and Japan, viewing it as part of an attempt to "encircle" and contain China despite U.S. efforts to ease Chinese fears.

Strike hits Yemen ahead of national dialogue


housands of supporters of separtists in southern Yemen have rallied to protest against a national dialogue starting on Monday, demanding that their region be allowed to secede from the north. Protesters carrying placards saying "No dialogue under occupation!, Independence is our choice!" demonstrated in the port city of Aden on Sunday evening, waving flags of the formerly independent South Yemen which was united with the north in 1990. "We are here by the thousands to reject the dialogue as it is an issue of northerners and those southerners who are involved in it do not represent the people," Khaled Junaidi, an activist, told the AFP news agency. Yemeni authorities deployed police to protect government buildings and foreign consulates in the city. Activists said protesters also gathered in Moukalla, capital of the southeast Shabwa province. The protests came after Aden was paralysed by a six-hour general strike staged by hardliners from the Southern Movement who are boycotting the UN-backed dialogue that is to begin in the capital Sanaa on Monday and will last for six months. More than 500 Yemeni delegates are expected to attend that meeting. Qassem Askar, a leader of a hardline faction in the Southern Movement said his group was mobilising the street to "express our rejection" of the talks. "Several people have not been informed that they were appointed to represent southerners in the talks and some have withdrawn. Others representing southerners are of northern origins," he told AFP.

Syria opposition meeting discusses appointing rival PM

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Some of the 60,000 police and army troopers deployed in Sanaa ahead of national dialogue.


yria's main opposition coalition is meeting in Istanbul to discuss the appointment of a rival prime minister for rebel-held parts of the country. An alternative government could then be formed to oversee the provision of services in opposition held-areas. Gen Selim Idriss, chief of staff of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), said at the meeting that he supported the move. Large swathes of the north have been seized from government control in recent months. However, reports from those areas say that basic supplies such as electricity and water are limited. Rebel-held areas are currently administered by a patchwork of local councils and armed groups who have been running some institutions, such as courts and prisons. Gen Idriss told reporters that the FSA would work "under the umbrella" of any new government. "We demand an interim government for all Syrian territory, one that would be the only legitimate government in the country," Gen Idriss told the AFP news agency. "Any institutions not following this government would be considered to be acting illegitimately and would be prosecuted."

Cross section of participants at the meeting.



Europe and Americas Argentina's Kirchner raises Falklands with Pope Francis

Cyprus postpones emergency vote on bank levy

and said discussions would resume on Tuesday. Under the bailout's terms, people with less than 100,000 euros in their accounts would have to pay a one-time tax of 6.75 percent. Those with savings higher than that amount would pay 9.9 percent. The levy has infuriated

Cypriots, triggering a run on cashpoints as nervous savers attempt to withdraw money before the tax is implemented. Peter Sharp, reporting from Nicosia, said "There is a real sense of anger, frustration here. Also, people are scared. They do not know if this is just the beginning. "Most people woke up on

Saturday morning to find that this money had already been pledged to come out of their accounts. They feel that Cyprus is a scapegoat for the rest of Europe." Russian President Vladimir Putin became the latest person to criticis the measure on Monday, saying it set a dangerous precedent. "While assessing the proposed additional levy on bank accounts in Cyprus, Putin said that such a decision, should it be made, would be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. Russian citizens account for the majority of the billions of euros held in Cypriot banks by foreign depositors, and Russia's banks are heavily exposed to the island as a favoured offshore centre for big business. Breaking with previous EU practise that depositors' savings are untouchable, Cyprus and international lenders agreed at the weekend that savers in the island's banking system would take the penalty in return for the offer of $13bn in aid. "President [Nicos Anastasiades] ... does not like the bailout, he said it is a tragic moment for Cyprus but also that they must accept it or the result will be catastrophic," Sharp said.

time to consider the proposed accord. Russia and China also asked for a delay. Kerry said in a statement on Friday that the United States looks forward to working with other countries to reach consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty "that helps address the adverse effects of the international arms trade on global peace and stability" by helping to stem the illicit flow of weapons across borders. He said the US will not support a treaty that would be inconsistent with US law and the right of Americans under the Constitution to bear firearms, or a treaty that would impose new requirements on the US domestic trade in firearms and US

exporters. "The United States could only be party to an Arms Trade Treaty that addresses international transfers of conventional arms solely," Kerry said. The draft treaty under consideration does not control the domestic use of weapons in any country, but it would require all countries to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and to regulate arms brokers. It would prohibit states that ratify the treaty from transferring conventional weapons if they would violate arms embargoes or if they would promote acts of genocide, crimes

against humanity or war crimes. In considering whether to authorise the export of arms, the draft says a country must evaluate whether the weapon would be used to violate international human rights or humanitarian laws. Many countries, including the United States, control arms exports, but there has never been an international treaty regulating the estimated $60bn global arms trade. For more than a decade, activists and some governments have been pushing for international rules to try to keep illicit weapons out of the hands of anti-state fighters and organised crime.


rgentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says she has asked for the Pope's intervention in the Falklands dispute between her country and the UK. Visiting the Vatican, Mrs Kirchner said she had asked the Pope to promote dialogue between the two sides. Argentine Pope Francis was elected last week and will be formally installed as pontiff at a Mass on Tuesday. In the past he has said the Falkland Islands, a UK overseas territory, belong to Argentina. "I asked for his intervention to avoid problems that could emerge from the militarization of Great Britain in the south Atlantic," Mrs Kirchner told reporters after having lunch with the Pope. "We want a dialogue and that's why we asked the pope to intervene so that the dialogue is successful." The BBC's Alan Johnston reports from Rome that there has been no word yet as to how the Pope responded to the appeal. In a referendum held a week ago, people in the Falkland Islands voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining a UK overseas territory. Before Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected, the 76-yearold was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. At a Mass last year, he told Argentine veterans of the Falklands War: "We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs." British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week that he "respectfully" disagreed with the view expressed in the past by Pope Francis that the Falkland Islands had been "usurped" by the UK. Mrs Kirchner is the first head of state the new pope has met. She presented him with a mate gourd and straw for drinking traditional Argentine tea.

Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez (L) with Pope Francis I.

Cypriots protest Germany's role in the EU.


yprus has postponed a vote on a planned one-off tax on depositors' savings accounts central to a eurozone bailout of the country's troubled banking system. The government held an emergency session on Monday to discuss efforts to soften the blow to smaller savers from the measure

UN to debate global arms treaty


iplomats from around the world are to gather at the United Nations for talks on an international arms trade treaty, in an effort to stop the sale of illegal conventional arms. Similar talks held last July failed, mainly due to the objections of the United States and Russia, the world's two largest arms exporters. The talks will kick off at the UN headquarters on Monday and will last two weeks. ohn Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said his country is committed to reaching an agreement during this round of talks. The last round was stalled when the US said it needed more

PKK chief Ocalan to make ‘historic’ call


he jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has promised a "historic" announcement on Thursday as peace talks continue. There is speculation he will call for a ceasefire between his PKK fighters and the Turkish state. In a message communicated by Kurdish politicians who visited him, he said he would make the announcement to coincide with Kurdish New Year celebrations. More than 40,000 people have died in nearly 30 years of fighting. Peace and Democracy Party leader Selahattin Demirtas reported Ocalan's remarks in Istanbul, after returning from a visit to his prison on the island of Imrali.

"I continue with my preparations to make a call on March 21, during the Newroz [New Year] celebrations," Ocalan was quoted as saying. "The declaration I am going to make will be historic." The PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) leader, who has been in Turkish custody since his capture in Kenya in 1999, called in February for prisoners to be released by both sides. The PKK freed eight Turkish soldiers and officials it had held captive in northern Iraq for up to two years. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Besir Atalay, welcomed their release as "a gesture of goodwill", adding that the peace process was "going just fine". The PKK launched its armed

campaign for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in south-east Turkey in 1984. It is regarded by Turkey, the

US and EU as a terrorist organisation. Last year saw some of the heaviest fighting in decades.

Turks celebrating the Kurdish New Year early in Istanbul in front of an image of Abdullah Ocalan.



Austria's healing caves offer radioactive miracle cure T

he largest pain management center in the world, and a popular health tourism destination, the Healing Caves of Gastein welcome over 75,000 people every year. They all flock to this miraculous place to undergo a controversial form of therapy with radioactive radon gas used to cure a variety of medical conditions, from arthritis to psoriasis. When the people of Gastein started exploring the nearby Radhausberg Mountain in search of gold, they had no idea they would discover something infinitely more valuable - naturally occurring low levels of radon gas. In time, they realized that the radioactive gas combined with the mountain caves' high humidity and temperatures

of up to 41.5째 Celsius helped strengthen their immune system and cured some very serious illnesses. Word about the Gastein Healing Caves spread like wild fire throughout all of Austria, Germany and other Central European countries, and today Gastein is known not only as a world-class skiing destination, but also as a miraculous place of healing with a mind-blowing success rate of 90%. Most of the people who come here for radon treatment say a few sessions in the caves keep them painfree for a whole year. Apparently, the radioactive gas is absorbed through the skin and lungs, activating the body at a cellular level and stimulating the selfhealing process. At the entrance level, the

Another section of Patients.

Gastein Healing Caves healing center looks like any other supermodern medical clinic, with doctors and staff dressed in immaculate white robes, but the real magic happens deep inside Radhausberg Mountain. After they check in, patients are directed to the changing rooms and instructed to leave their mobile phones and other high-tech gadgets in personal lockers, as they can be damaged by the caves' high humidity. Once they've slipped into their bathing suits, patients go though a short introductory speech about what awaits them in the healing caverns, after which they are invited to board a miniature yellow train that takes them two kilometers inside the mountain. The first thing you'll notice is even the train's conductor is wearing a bathing suit, but as you approach your final destination and temperatures reach close to 40째 Celsius, his attire starts to make sense. Once the train reaches the healing galleries, patients are invited to lie down on the wooden beds lining the walls of the caves and relax. Talking is discouraged and the only disturbing sounds you hear are the physicians' footsteps as they patrol through the rock tunnels, and the occasional snoring. Due to the high humidity and sauna-like temperature, the hot atmosphere in this place can be a little hard to handle for some, and if it becomes unbearable, all you have to do is push a button and a crew will come and whisk you

Patients receiving treatment. away to a special cooling room where fresh air is blasted in through a pipe. For emergency cases, there is even a spare train that can quickly take patients back outside. Although radon gas therapy is accepted in Austria and Germany, and even available on health insurance, physicians in other countries are skeptical about treating patients with radioactive gas, even in small doses. High levels of radon are believed to be toxic and can increase the risk of lung cancer, but doctors at the Gastein Healing Caves are firm believers in the principle of hormesis. They believe small doses of particular toxic substances can be beneficial to humans, even if high doses can be

dangerous or even lethal. And scientific studies conducted on patients visiting the healing caves seem to agree with them. In 2001, Maastricht University studied patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a condition characterized by severe joint pain and stiffness. One group of patients underwent radon gas therapy followed by physiotherapy, a second group had sauna treatment and physiotherapy, and a third one had only physiotherapy. The group treated with radon showed the most significant signs f improvement. Also, in 2000, Leipzig University studied a group of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. After six months of treatment at Gastein, their condition had improved greatly.

Sculptor's beautiful tree carvings reveal their inner spirits


he Tree Spirits of Saint Simmons Island are one of the most fascinating roadside attractions in North America. Carved into dozens of live oaks and hardwoods, the mysterious wise faces that seem to reveal the trees' inner spirits are the work of local sculptor Keith Jennings. Jennings started his Tree Spirits project in 1982, as a hobby. Looking for a way to kill time around the house, the artist armed himself with a few hand tools and began exercising his artistic talents on a tree in his backyard. "I had too much time and too little money," Keith remembers about the beginnings as a tree carver, but his works impressed the community to such a degree that he was later commissioned to release the inner spirits of 20 other trees around Saint Simmons Island, off the Georgia coast. Although it has long been said that the faces he sculpts into the trees are meant to represent the sailors who drowned on ships made from trees from the island, Keith Jennings dismisses the rumor. "The trees do it all," he says. "I don't have that much to do with it. The wood

Photo: Cay Ellis

Photo: Robert English speaks to you, ya know?" Each of his intriguing artworks are created entirely according to the tree they're carved into. "I like the way they age as they. The bark starts rolling over the edges and gives each one a spooky, eerie appearance," the artist says. It takes Keith between two and four days to create on of his Tree Spirits, by hand. These weathered faces can be

seen peering out from b e t w e e n t w o large branches, from large knots or from the thick stub of a long-lost branch. So if you happen to explore Saint Simmons Island and notice one of its old trees staring back at you, don't freak out, get closer and let these beautiful works of art transport you to a fantasy world. Looking at these sage-like wooden faces, I myself can't help but think of the Heart Trees from George R.R. Martin's A tale of Ice and Fire.

Photo: City-Data



f the woman in your life woke up grumpy this morning, don't be too hard on her. It is, apparently, only natural. Scientists have discovered that women need more sleep than men. And chances are, she's not getting enough. In fact the best thing a loving husband or partner can do is perhaps persuade her to get a few extra hours snuggling under the duvet. Or face the consequences. Scientists say women suffer more than men, both mentally and physically, if they are forced to skimp on their sleep. As well as a higher risk of heart disease, depression and psychological problems, sleepdeprived women have extra clotting factors in their blood, which can lead to a stroke. They also have higher inflammation markers, which indicate developing health problems. As inflammation markers are also linked to pain, sleep expert Dr Michael Breus explained that women can literally be in more pain when they wake up. That's enough to make any girl feel rather grumpy. By contrast, the state of a man's health does not appear to be closely linked to how much he sleeps. In the study, carried out by scientists at Duke University in North Carolina, men showed no increased risk of developing the ailments that affect women when they are losing sleep. 'We found that women had more depression, women had more anger, and women had more hostility early in the morning,' said Dr Breus. If this sounds like someone you know, it can probably be blamed on sleep deprivation and the fact that women are particularly


Women are grumpier than men in the mornings 'The more of your brain you use during the day, the more of it that needs to recover and, consequently, the more sleep you need. 'Women tend to multi-task they do lots at once and are flexible - and so they use more of their actual brain than men do. Because of that, their sleep need is greater. 'A man who has a complex job that involves a lot of decision-making and lateral thinking may also need more sleep than the average male though probably still not as much as a woman.' Source:

Researchers in the U.S. found that women suffer more than men, both mentally and physically, if they are forced to go without sufficient sleep susceptible to the effects. What does Dr Breus advise? If you don't manage to get enough sleep at night, try taking strategic naps. However, he warned that those naps should be either 25 minutes or 90 minutes long. Any other length will make the snoozer feel worse when they wake, he said.

This is not the first time experts have suggested that women need more sleep than men. One of Britain's leading authorities on sleep found that women actually need 20 minutes more shut-eye. This is because of the female multitasking brain. 'One of the major functions

of sleep is to allow the brain to recover and repair itself,' said Professor Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University. 'During deep sleep, the cortex - the part of the brain responsible for thought, memory, language and so on disengages from the senses and goes into recovery mode.

According to Dr Breus, sleepdeprived women are angrier, more hostile and more aggressive

Quitting smoking 'cuts heart risk despite weight gain'


topping smoking cuts the risk of heart disease even if it leads to significant weight gain, a US study says. Researchers writing in

the Journal of the American Medical Association say the prospect of weight gain makes some smokers reluctant to stop. But they say quitting has

a "positive effect on cardiovascular risk". The health gains from giving up were most marked in people who did not have diabetes, but people with the

People are sometimes reluctant to give up smoking because of fears of gaining weight, researchers say

condition were still said to have benefited. Obesity is a risk factor in heart disease, leading past research to examine whether weight gain might cancel out some of the benefits of quitting smoking. Studies suggest people wh o s t o p s m o k i n g g a i n o n average 6-13lb (2.75.9kg) over the first six months. The JAMA research looked at the smoking habits and heart health of more than 3,000 people between 1981 and 2011. Former smokers who had stayed away from tobacco for more than four years had a 54% lower risk of heart and artery disease than smokers. Recent quitters who had s t o p p e d s m o k i n g for up to four years experienced almost the same benefit with a 53% lower relative risk. This was despite recent quitters typically gaining 5-

10lb over a period of four years, and long-term quitters 1-2lb. Dr James Meigs, one of the authors of the study at Harvard Med i c a l S c h o o l , said: "We can now say without question that stopping smoking has a very positive effect on cardiovascular risk for patients with and without diabetes, even if they experience moderate weight gain." DoireannMaddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation said weight gain should not deter smokers from quitting. "If you're keen to quit smoking but worried about putting on weight, using smoking cessation aids such as inhalators, gum, or lozenges may help you resist the temptation to reach for comfort food in the place of a cigarette." Source:



Nyako commends Rep over N18m hospital donation By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he First Lady of Adamawa State Governor, Dr. Halima Murtala Nyako, has commended, a member of the House of Representatives, Hajiya Aishatu Ahmed Binani, who is representing Yola North/ Yola South/ Girei federal constituency in Adamawa state for building a hospital and donating hospital equipment worth over N28 million to her constituency. While speaking on Friday during the commissioning of the 17-beds hospital in Lulu village Girei local government, the governor's wife said that the hospital constructed by the female lawmaker will complement government's efforts to provide quality health services to the people of the state. Halima urged other lawmakers in the state to emulate Hajiya Binani by providing people-oriented

projects in their constituencies. She said the female lawmaker was the only elected lawmaker that has honoured her campaign promises to her constituency. The First Lady, who asked the electorate in Binani constituency to uplift her to a higher elected office said the female lawmaker's performance had proved that she deserved a bigger position to touch the lives of the larger communities in the state. She assured the people of Lulu village that government will take over the maintenance of the hospital to ensure that they enjoy the services of the hospital. In her speech, the only female national Assembly member from Adamawa State (Binani) said the hospital was part of her campaign promises to the electorate in her constituency. She said: "It was during our campaign tour that women of this community passionately pleaded that all they needed from me was

to get them a clinic. They cried out that their children in particular had nowhere nearby to get any needed medical attention. "Indeed they lamented that as a result of the bad road and distance, several pregnant women had miscarriages when being rushed to the nearest clinic which is about 30kilometers away", she stated. The lawmaker disclosed that she built the hospital with her personal resources in order to ensure that the people of the community get quality health services. She pointed that the hospital which was built and furnished at the cost of N18.6 million has a solar borehole and a 10KVA generator to provide electricity. Binani who also donated hospital equipment to Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola and the specialist hospital worth

over N9.8 million, said that her action was to assist government agencies to expand their operations. "We cannot fold our arms and expect that everything we need must be provided by the government alone. I call on wellmeaning individuals who have the means to undertake community oriented programme, to make life meaningful for our people", She maintained. The Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Dr. Aliyu Danburam, who commended Binani for her gesture, said that since the centre was established 13years ago, the lawmaker was the first individual to donate hospital equipment's to the centre. He appealed to other political office holders to emulate the female lawmaker in order to compliment government efforts to bring development closer to the people.

The First Lady of Adamawa State, Dr.Halimat Murtala Nyako (right) with a member of the House of Representatives, Hajiya Aishat Ahmed Binani from Yola North/Yola South/Girei Constituency (centre) and another guest at the inauguration of an N18.6m hospital built for Lulu Village in Adamawa State by Hon. Binani.

We are not aware of any boycott- Ankpa PDP From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he leadership of the peoples Democratic Party, in Ankpa Local government area, has said that it was not aware that any group boycotted the last councillorship primary election in the area as being speculated in some quarters.

A statement signed by the Chairman and made available to journalists in Lokoja, said the election was conducted peacefully, in all the wards of the LG. The statement described as unfortunate, a situation where politicians result to blackmail instead of accepting defeat, saying that politics is dynamic.

“The group in question in am aware participated fully in the election. There was no letter telling us of any boycott so we are shocked to read that some people said that they boycotted the primary that is ridiculous” the statement noted. He said though boycotting an election was the right of any

individual or group, but however stressed that boycotting an election can not stop the process. According to the statement, election materials was dispatched by the party secretariat through the returning officers, saying the issue of hijacking of materials does not arise.

Anambra 2014: We are mobilizing to ensure votes count - CPC Aspirant From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) governorship aspirant in the forthcoming election in Anambra State, Dr Ifeanyichukwu Igwebuike said that the voters will be mobilized to ensure votes counts. Speaking with newsmen yesterday in Lagos, Igwebuike said that no amount of money by any contestant will be enough to buy the votes during the poll. “Though the 2014 governorship election in Anambra will be highly monetized, the highest bidder will not win, the people are smarter now. The mantra now in Anambra is collect, chop and vote for the man with intergrity.” He lamented that despite the money in Anambra, the state remains behind in infrastructural development. “Irrespective of the huge business concerns in the state, Anambra do not have an airport or even a recreational center. Tourism which would have been a high income earner for the state is non functional. The roads in major towns like Onitsha are no go area, these are things that must be corrected if a CPC government is in place’;’ he said. He said that his mission was to give Anambra a new face and bring succor to the generality of the people of the state Speaking on why he’s contesting on the CPC platform instead of the ongoing All Progressive Congress (APC), Igwebuike said that CPC had retained its integrity and had given new life to states where they control. “I am an aspirant and I believe that having been called, will pick the party’s ticket by God’s grace, merger is not an alliance. It takes a longer time and may not be concluded before the polls, I will subscribe to it if it works out for Anambra but for now I remain a contender on the platform of the CPC’’ he said, Igwebuike has led the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese for 11 years,is a graduate of Economics from the Delta State University, Abraka. He retired from the Nigerian Army as Captain in 2008 and went into private business.



Ghosts, elders, amnesty, Jonathan and 2015 (II) Contd. from Back Page

L-R: Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and Jigawa state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, during the speaker's visit to the governor, yesterday in Dutse. Photo: NAN

Phantom APC on mischief mission – Ikimi By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ollowing the controversial unveiling of the African Peoples Congress (APC), the co-chairman of the opposition parties merger committee, Tom Ikimi, yesterday berated the move, describing it as a mission of mischief. The African Peoples Congress had earlier at its party's headquarters opposite Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, unfolded its constitution, logo, emblem and its constitution, a development that brought confusion within the ranks of the three merging political parties of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC as well as a faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.

Addressing the Journalists at the party temporary secretariat, Maitama, Abuja, he alleged that there were some unseen hands behind the purported formation of the African Peoples Congress. Ikimi said that the All Progressives Congress had taking pains to follow the constitutional process of merging to a mega party and had on February 6, 2013, in world press conference announced the intention of the merging parties changing to All Progressives Congress, which the party did after thorough investigations that there was no registered political party with either the name or the acronym, APC. "We have take the pains to furnish the foregoing facts because we will not accept any attempt by Independent National Electoral

Commission), relying on a dubious application, clearly not in compliance with the conditions set out in the Constitution or the Electoral Act, to scuttle our plans to formalize our merger under our adopted name and acronym. "We challenge the cowards behind the so called African Peoples Congress to come forth and defend their position or forever hold their peace. On our part, the three political parties, part of APGA and others seeking to merge are steadily and resolutely taking all the steps necessary for the merger as provided under the Constitution and the Electoral Act. We have elected representatives in all tiers of government. "We have written to INEC about this ugly development with the hope that INEC would

not allow its credibility to be further undermined by political hirelings and their faceless sponsors who appear determined to truncate the democratic process. It is clearly a case of 'the hands of Esau but the voice of Jacob' he said. Ikimi said that it came to them as a rude shock that INEC would announce receipt of a letter from what he described as a faceless and unknown political group allegedly driven by 'sheer mischief' purporting to request for registration with the name of African Peoples Congress. "The obvious motive of this letter is to attempt, albeit in furtility, to scuttle the registration of the All Progressives Congress which has been so widely publicized and well received to the discomfort of the establishment," the Tinubu APC alleged.

APGA to absent from INEC –Parties meeting today

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has said it will not attend a consultative meeting with political parties called by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today, (Tuesday) since it has not been invited.

Contiuned from page 37

APGA in a statement yesterday signed by its Interim National Secretary, Dr. Sagir Maidoya the party regretted its absence but accept its inevitability. “We note with satisfaction INEC obedience to a court order handed down by the Enugu High Court on 8th February 2013. We are hopeful that in

the next couple of weeks our Leadership travails will be over when a new improved APGA under a democratically elected leadership will like the proverbial Egyptian Sphinx rise from the ashes of the past order.” The party also called on its erstwhile National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh to give peace

a chance by bowing out gracefully and not pull the party asunder due to his tenacity of office. “His time is up as he cannot be a chairman in perpetuity. We believe that 10 years which in the first instance is unconstitutional is enough time for one man. The old order must change yielding place to new.”

Their overall commanders in Abuja and the top government officials they work with, enjoy the most - what with the millions being cornered from the huge security votes lining their pockets every month? And for the arms dealers, contractors and all sorts of middlemen, things can’t be better. It is a huge racket, which feeds fat on the misery and suffering of the masses of our people. In what is a self-fulfilling prophecy, the armed forces are busy fuelling the very situation of violence and instability that are the excuse for their own intervention in the first place. The situation is worsened by the fact that among the common people, fury is not only increasing but becoming focussed against the perceived perpetrators of the injustices and deprivations they (people) suffer, and the lack of institutions or authorities that can vacuum up such fury and re-direct it into either useful pursuits or blind alleys. Unless dramatic changes take place, we are likely, in the coming months, to see the emergence of more insurgent groups, and the consequent heightening of the insecurity situation in not just Borno and Yobe but other Northern states as well, This will require more soldiers in these states to contain the insurgency. With the 2015 elections approaching, this will have serious implications. More so, that it is now becoming obvious that Jonathan himself has been increasingly finding himself in a situation, most of which is his own making, that requires a heavy reliance on the use of force, if he is to realise his 2015 ambitions. The opposition parties are coming together, posing a serious challenge. His performance has, so far, earned him only very mediocre marks with the public. There is no certainty that the PDP governors will give him their full support. Many of the political notables who fixed things for him before are now either too old and tired or have burnt their bridges along the way, and, therefore, can’t now think and act with ease and informed grace across Nigeria’s many divides. A huge war chest will be most helpful, money being a great way to buy loyalty and votes. But the ethno-religious card, on which he so much relied in 2011, may prove no longer as potent a force. With all this, and with soldiers all over the place, there’s bound to be a temptation to steal the election, in the hope that the consequences will be contained. Will the temptation be resisted? Maybe. Maybe not. But time will tell.



Rep faults FG’s pardon for Alamieyeseigha By Umar Muhammad Puma


he deputy chairman of the house of representatives committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Rep. Bimbo Daramola has said that the immunity grant the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha “was not well thought out.” Daramola, who represents Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1 in Ekiti State, while speaking to reporters at the weekend said the pardon not only portrays the country as unserious in the fight against corruption, but encourages it as well. “My take is, even though I want to err on the side of caution because of the members of that particular body. The argument is out there the President did it and then tried to co-opt the Council of State into endorsing that decision. I am aware that Oladipo Diya is on that list, that Yar’Adua is on the list, then maybe one or two other guys,

then Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. “My quick reaction would be that we may not be giving a systemic solution to a systemic problem. Everybody, either within or outside Nigeria knows that corruption has become has become endemic and is also systemic. And then when you have a systemic problem, the first thing you want to do is look for an all encompassing systemic solution to it. “Why is it systemic? We have laws in place ostensibly to deal with all sorts of corrupt practices the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a body, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offenses Commission (ICPC) as a body, the Police and all of that. “I believe that at the centre of this is that fact that our values are corrupt. If we don’t have our values restored and reclaimed, its most likely that we’ll continue to mouth and pay lip service to the fight against corruption. If you

have an environment where people give their national honours to people who we know are criminals, that is an erosion of values. “And then you have people who have been proven to have stolen the people’s money, and then you find out that after servicing their jail term, under whatever arrangement, they’re granted state pardon, then you begin to wonder if this society is actually going anywhere. “In one breath honouring a man that everybody knows is a thief, and in another breath a man who has been adjudged to be a thief is granted state pardon, you will know that we are not doing ourselves a world of good. What message are you sending to the on-watchers and those coming behind us? “Because when you have a situation that people say: this one did it and got away with it, that one did it. What did you do? You will allow a reign

of recklessness to hold sway.” The lawmaker noted that with the way the Federal Government was going about pardoning “convicts” who have looted the treasury and not shown penitence, it was evident that fight for corruption has come to an end. “Look at the case of President Bill Clinton who was accused ofindecent relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he did not go ahead strutting his game all over the place. He pulled away from the public glare, to show contrition and penitence. “But when you pardon a man who has been found to have been guilty and then you pardon him without the element of penitence and contrition, you may run the risk of everybody saying that all it would cost me after doing so much of havoc would be that I have someone in government and get a state pardon and life goes to normal. And that is very risky.”

Benin monarch rebukes Edo chairmanship aspirant From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Benin monarch, Oba Erediauwa has warned Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Chairmanship Candidate in Egor local government area of Edo State, Victor Enobakhare to stop adoring himself in royal apparel because the latter is neither a recognized palace Chief nor a Prince. This came to light when the Chairmanship hopeful alongside his Vice Chairman and 10 Wards Councillorship visted the Palace for royal blessings ahead of their elections schedule for April 20th 2013. The admonition came through Chief Sani Obamwonyi, Esere of Benin kingdom, shortly after Chief David Edebiri, the Odionwere ‘Edo’hia conveyed his good wishes to the delegation on behalf of the Oba. According to Obamwonyi who spoke in Benin language, alleged that the move has become necessary to the preserve Benin heritage and image of the Revered institution. The Chairmanship Candidate, Victor Enobakhare, flanked by his admirers, thanked the Oba and the electorates whom he urged to vote ACN on April 20th this year to enable him consolidate on the dividend of democracy which Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has begun.

Senator calls for proper funding of AGF's office


L-R: Member, House Committee on Finance, Hon. YomiOgunusi, Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibril, and Clerk of the Committee, Mustapha Adetunji Sadiq, during the committee meeting with NNPC stakeholders,yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Democracy, good governance key to Nigeria's post election


he German President, Joachim Gauck, said that democracy and good governance are the only solutions to post election challenges and ethnic clashes in some AU member countries including Congo and Nigeria. Gauck stated this on Monday in Addis Ababa while addressing AU Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) as part of his two-day visit to the AU headquarters. ``Africa must master special challenges and find the African path to democracy. ``There are several hundred

Contiuned from page 37

ethnic groups in Congo and Nigeria indeed even in relatively sparsely populated Chad where more than one hundred languages are spoken,'' he said. The President said that his Country would increase its partnership with the AU member countries in the areas of security, education, health, agriculture and human development in the coming years. He, however, advised the AU to focus more on effort to ensure successful democracy among its member nations to address the growing tension between ethnic groups after elections.

``Am very impressed with the queue in which Africans stand and wait for hours and days to vote. Am also excited when I see how much democracy is growing in Africa. ``At the close of Cold War, there were three democratic states in Africa. Today there are around twenty.'' He congratulated the AU on its 50th anniversary and urged the union to put more effort in addressing current security challenges faced by member countries to fast track development. Gauck advised that

democratically elected government should be subjected to oversight by strong parliament; ``and people in every country on the continent should be able to vote their government in and out of office.'' ``I want to make it clear that those who want to reduce ethnic tensions on a durable basis must ensure that public finances in particular are dealt with transparently and in compliance with the rule of law standards. ``Germany will continue to support the AU in its efforts to anchor peace and security. (NAN)

hairman Senate Committee on Public Account, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, yesterday in Abuja called for proper funding of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (AGF) to enable it perform its functions effectively. Lawan made the call at a training workshop on Management Development Programme (MDP) for Managers in AGF's office. ``I had wished the Minister of Finance is here, because consistently and persistently since 2007 when I became the chairman of the senate committee on public account and that is when I started to know better what is happening. ``This office has been underfunded and my judgments is that it is deliberate and perhaps it's an executive way of dealing with that office and the President may not know it. ``But some elements know it and they do it on purpose and it makes sense to them that shouldn't be an AGF that is efficient and effective. ``Why should they have, when they know that at the end of the day, they will keep them on their toes but the reality is that the President I am sure holds a different opinion. '' (NAN)



Afenifere battles Ali over rude remarks against Yoruba From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


L-R: Member representing Doguwa Constituency at Kano State House of Assembly, Malam Salisu Ibrahim Mohammed Riruwai presenting keys of the two buses he donated to secondary schools to the Assistant Zonal Education Director, Tudun Wada zone, Alhaji Mohammed Karefa, at the ceremony.

Lawmaker donates buses to schools

By Abdul-Rauf Musa


he Member representing Doguwa Constituency at Kano State House of Assembly, Malam Salisu Ibrahim Mohammed Riruwai, has donated two school buses to Government Senior Secondary School Burji and Government Secondary School Maraku in Doguwa Local Government Area of Kano state. Riruwai who personally delivered the vehicles at ceremonies attended by prominent personalities, both

at Burji and Maraku, hinted that his commitment to educational development is total. He further disclosed that the two vehicles were part of his constituency projects for the year 2012 and were meant to ease mobility of the students in their pursuit of knowledge. According to him, other components of project include a Juma'at Mosque at Unguwar Natsohuwa, mosques at Shere and Saugaga as well as two blocks of classrooms at Riruwai Qur'anic Secondary School and Unguwar Bala Primary School. Other items donated by the

legislator include 42 units of generators, dispensary at Yalwa and three Tsangaya shades at Falgore, Tagwaye and Rufa'i. Other projects include 13 Hand-pumps at Lambu, Muntsira, Kakume, Shiburu among others. On his performance at the House since inauguration, Riruwai pointed out that "One motion that will forever keep me satisfied is the one I initiated and jointly presented for the establishment of a Tertiary Institution in either Doguwa or Tudun Wada Local Government," adding that this motion has yielded result as the

State Government has established School of Basic & Remedial Studies at TudunWada and work for the construction of the school is in progress. He expressed appreciation to the State Government for such gesture adding that the School will go along way in providing opportunity for our teeming youths to pursue educational excellence, stating that: "siting of the School will encourage indigenes of the areas who cannot go to Kano city as day students in pursuance of education to do so now at TudunWada".

fenifere, Yoruba sociocultural organization, yesterday took a swipe on former chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col. Ahmadu Ali (Rtd) for making uncharitable comments about the Yoruba people. Afenifere National Publicity Secretary ‘Yinka Odumakin in a statement said it the grouse of Ali against the Yoruba is that they would not worship his god (Obasanjo) and as such demonized them as “…The Yoruba people who are totally ungrateful kind of people in this country… the Yoruba are another character” The group said Ali has touched on a deep cultural value of the Yoruba people appreciation. “The Yoruba people value an appreciative spirit to the point of criminalizing an ungrateful person in the saying “eni ti a se lore ti ko dupe, bi olosa ko ni leru lo ni” (an ingrate person is not different from a thief). They also link continuous blessings to appreciation of past ones “bi omode ba dupe ore ana, a ri mi gba” (someone who appreciates past blessings would attract new ones).” Afenifere said the remark against a whole people is totally unbecoming of Ali whom we thought should be a cultured man having come from Igala kingdom that has centuries of civilization behind it. The group said it is crystal clear that Ahmadu Ali has no lesson to teach the Yoruba in the art of gratitude and his uncouth remark only portrays him as illmannered and foul-mouthed. “For Ali and those who think like him, Yoruba don’t venerate mere positions but rather leadership through service to the community. This explains why the Yoruba adore Awolowo who contested the highest office in the land three times and lost and resent Ali’s hero who occupied the same office three times!

APC registration crisis: count PDP out, says Atiku From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ormer vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has debunked insinuations making round that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is behind the registration crisis of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Abubakar who was speaking to newsmen in Kano Government House yesterday,

said the allegation that PDP is trying to halt the registration of APC in Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is unsubstantiated and baseless. The former Presidential aspirant revealed that he painstakingly conducted private investigation to ascertain the accusation and discover it to be unfounded. “I don’t think the allegation against PDP is substantiated I have conducted a very private

investigations and PDP is not behind that crisis.” Abubakar also frowned at moves by the PDP to amend its constitution, describing the proposed amendment as an exercise in futility. “It is unconstitutional as far as PDP constitution is concern, nobody should stop anybody from contesting an election and I don’t think the amendment of PDP constitution is going to succeed.”

he lambasted a statement credited to an INEC commissioner that elections may not hold in the north in 2015, because of the insecurity in the region, noting that the security problem in the north didn’t affect the entire north and as such will not affect the conduct of election in the region. “I’m confident of a successful transition in 2015 and I

disagree with INEC commissioner who said there might not be election in the north in 2015. That is a very wrong statement to make. The entire north is peaceful except in two states how can you now say there will be no election in the north in 2015, it is very inaccurate statement to make and certainly not from INEC . Whoever he may be working for we shall go for election in 2015.” He stated.



We will get result in Nigeria, Amrouche insists


Dennis Oliech

or the umpteenth times, Head Coach of the Harambee Stars of Kenya, Adel Amrouche, has boasted that the Super Eagles will receive the shock of their lives on March 23when both clashed in a 2014 World Cup qualifier at the UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar. Amrouche, who is expected to hit town today, said the Harambee Stars are no underdogs and thet they would, in clear terms, bring the Eagles to that realisation in front of their home fans. The coach admitted that the Kenyans have had difficulty in breaking down the Eagles in the past but was optimistic that times have changed and thatb they now have the calibre of players to give the East African nation the expected result: win over Nigeria. “We need to prepare our minds to give the best. We can get a result in Nigeria,” he said. The coach dismissed fears about Nigeria and her pedigree particularly after the Super Eagles ran riot over other contenders to clinch the AFCON trophy in South Africa. He maintained that facing Nigeria would be no different from playing against any other nation and added that Nigeria would in fact be under pressure to re-enact their AFCON form.

He had earlier maintained that the Eagles are beatable in spite of their seemingly superior quality and the array of stars that they parade. Speaking following the arrival to camp of French based Dennis Oliech, the only professional in the Harambee Stars’ training camp yesterday, the coach who has been working with the local players, said he expects the rest of the legion to join the camp latest today. “I am working with the players I have in the team currently. Whoever joins us along the way is welcome but I cannot certainly say when all the foreign-based players will be here,” said the former Burundi coach. The other foreign-based players expected to join the team are Celtic’s Victor Mugabe Wanyama, Racing Genk’s youngster Ayub Timbe, Brian Niang Mandela who plies his trade in South Africa, former City Stars midfielder David Gateri, Norway-based custodian Arnold Origi and Jamal Mohammed who plays for Al Nasr in the Omani League. Kenya are at the bottom of Group F with one point, three points behind leaders Nigeria.

Keshi expects full house today as Ejide, Ogude lead Eagles first training in Calabar By Patrick Andrew


uper Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, expects a full house today as the

|Fegor Ogunde

team intensifies training ahead of this weekend qualifying duel against the Harambee Stars of Kenya. Yesterday three foreign-

|Austin Ejide

based players joined their nine domestic league colleagues in training. Israeli based keeper, Austin Ejide, bulkily built Ikraine

|Gambo Mohammed

based left sided midfielder Babatunde Michael and Velaranga of Norway combative midfielder, Fegor Ogude, were the early callers

|Solomon Kwambe

at the team’s camp at Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar. Ogude flew with the team from Abuja to Calabar, while Ejide joined up about an hour after the team’s arrival. Michael was just on time to hop into the team’s bus for the day’s training session. The team trained at the Abraham Ordia Sports Complex, University of Calabar and will remain there Friday when they will have a feel of the pitch at the UJ Esuene Stadium venue of the World Cup cracker against the Harambee Stars of Kenya. “We would have a full house for Tuesday’s evening (today) training and from there we will see how ready the players are for the task at hand,” he declared. The team had a light training session with the UNICAL Football team before it went into its own session that was supervised by Keshi and his assistants. Keshi’s Nine NPL Stars: Chigozie Agbim, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwueke, Gabriel Reuben, Sunday Mba, Solomon Kwambe, Benjamin Francis, Obinna Nwachukw, Gambo Mohammed.

Obuh remains upbeat, looks beyond Mali loss


lying Eagles coach John Obuh has said his team will not dwell on Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Mali in a 2013 AYC Group B match at the Stade Ahmed Zabana in Oran, Algeria but will focus on Wednesday’s must-win clash against Gabon. “We can’t afford to dwell on the defeat by Mali. We just must be strong mentally for our next game against Gabon so that we win and stay alive in the competition,” said Obuh after Sunday’s setback.

“It was unfortunate we lost as we did not plan to do so. We knew they will come out strongly against us, but we must now look to our next game.” Obuh bemoaned his team’s poor finishing in a game they bossed from start to finish. “We had every opportunity to win this match, but we lost a lot of chances. We just needed to score one goal and we would have gone on to win this match. “We were too much in a hurry in front of goal, but I believe we

will correct this problem before Wednesday,” he said. Mali grabbed their match winner after just 13 minutes through a shot from inside the box by Adama Niane after a poor clearance from a corner by the Flying Eagles defence. Thereafter the Flying Eagles piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser. Meanwhile, players of the Flying Eagles have said they will now get their title defence back on track with victories over

Gabon tomorrow night and then at the weekend against DR Congo. “We will do a lot better in our next game against Gabon on Wednesday,” vowed skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun, who was in the team who fell 1-0 to Cameroon in a group game at the last tournament in South Africa. “The early goal Mali scored set us back and we were just too much in a hurry to equalise. We now know what we have to do on Wednesday.”

Lobi Stars midfielder Moses Orkuma said they will ensure they do not throw away begging chances again as they did against the Junior Eagles of Mali. “We have realised our mistakes and we are now condemned to win our next two matches, which should qualify us to the World Cup,” said Orkuma. “We created over 30 chances against Mali but could not put the ball in the net. They got one chance and they scored.



Conf Cup: Idoko praises Heartland, Lobi Stars


ike Idoko, a member of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Interim Board, has lauded Heartland of Owerri and Lobi Stars of Makurdi for their performances in the 2013 CAF Confederation Cup preliminary matches. Both Heartland and Lobi Stars defeated US Bitam of Gabon and Liga Muculmana of Mozambique respectively in a thrilling weekend for Nigeria continental cups campaigners. Heartland overcame their opponents 2-1, while Lobi Stars pummeled Liga Muculmana 3-1 in the first leg. Same day Rangers of Enugu were impressive as they forced hosts Vitalo to a barren draw, while Kano Pillars whacked AC Leopard 4-1 on Saturday. “Lobi Stars did well 3-1 is still a good result, just that they lost lots of scoring opportunities that would have increased the score line, but they missed several chances. “I hope that we will perform better than we did last year because the stakes are higher now.‘So we want

Cletus Itodo, Lobi Stars

Hamilton urges Keshi to remain focused


aul Hamilton, a former Super Eagles Head Coach, has urged Stephen Keshi to remain focused in his bid to qualify the Eagles for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Hamilton said yesterday in Lagos that the team must be coordinated in its approach to the March 23 showdown against the Harambee Stars of Kenya in Calabar. “I know Nigeria will qualify for the World Cup but I want the team and its technical crew to be more determined and not to relent in their efforts. “There should be more room for improvement by Keshi and he should endeavour to build on the AFCON squad that did the country proud in South Africa,’’ he said. Hamilton added that Keshi and his crew must strive to assuage the yearnings of Nigerians by qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. “When they play with determination and focus, it will be very easy for them to win all their matches convincingly, without much hassles. “All Nigerians want is for the Super Eagles to qualify and deliver, like they did at the 2013 AFCON,’’ Hamilton added. He implored the team to debunk the notion being held by some countries that the Eagles are still in a celebratory mood. “Let the players disappoint the other countries that think we are still in the celebration mood over our AFCON victory,’’ he added.

to believe that our clubs are ready to show Africa the stuff they are made of,’’ Idoko said. He charged the clubs not to rest on its oars and added that he was optimistic that the clubs would perform at the same level in the reverse fixtures. “Its not yet over until it is over, although the result is clean, the team should score at least a goal at the return leg, Heartland are better when they play away matches. On what the NPFL could do to avoid a crowded programme for the country’s representative in the Confederation Cup, he said the committee has ensured that schedules should not be clumsy. “We want them to perform well so that fatigue will not set in, that’s why matches were moved to midweek; we want them to make us proud in the continent,’’ he said. The reverse fixtures for the Confederation Cup preliminary matches will hold on April 4 in the respective venues across the continent.

Footballer remanded for alleged kidnap, murder of 7 yrs old boy


n Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Monday remanded a footballer, Patrick Onyeka, 24, in Kirikiri Prison, for alleged kidnap and murder of a sevenyear-old boy. The Magistrate, Mrs A.O. Akinde, who gave the order, said the accused should be kept behind bars, pending advice from the State

Director of Public Prosecutions. Onyeka, who resides at Plot 16, 3rd Ave. Mulmaco Estate, Okoruba, Ikotun, Lagos, is facing a twocount charge of kidnap and murder. Earlier, the Prosecutor, Inspector Uwadione Chinalu, told the court that the accused, unlawfully captured and detained one, Ayuba

Erikitola, against his will. He said that the suspect demanded N5 million from Ayuba’s parents as a ransom for his release. Chinalu said that the accused unlawfully killed Ayuba by strangulating him to death. “The accused confessed to have kidnapped the seven year-old boy and strangulating him to death.

“He went ahead to conceal his body in a sack and later dumped it inside a septic tank of an uncompleted building in the same neighbourhood. “He wrote a letter to the boy’s father demanding a ransom of N5 million before the boy will be released. ‘He also included a phone number with which he could be reached,” the prosecutor

told the court. Chinalu said that the offence was committed on Jan. 12 at 12.30 p.m at Plot 14, 3rd Ave. Mulmaco Estate, Okoruba, Ikotun, Lagos. According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened Sections 220 and 269(3), Criminal Laws of Lagos 2011. The case was adjourned till May 2.

AFCON trophy: Imoke to receive trophy tomorrow as IGP, Duke, join train for Night of Stars


he Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, now receive the AFCON trophy won by the Super Eagles tomorrow. NFF President Aminu Maigari will lead the NFF and Super Eagles’ crew to the reception, organised to appreciate the Eagles for ensuring that the support of the government and

people of Cross River State during the team’s qualification campaign was not in vain. Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar and the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke have confirmed their attendance at the Night of Stars ceremony coming up

Super Eagles celebrating with AFCON trophy

in Calabar. The ceremony will few hours after Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles and Harambee Stars at the UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar. Organizers said on Monday that the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, will also be at the event, with veteran actor Bob Manuel-Udokwu,

a special adviser to Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State also to grace the occasion. Also confirmed for the Night of Stars are the likes of Desmond Elliot, Ejike Asiegbu, Nse-Ikpe Etim, Chika Ike, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey, Francis Duru, Bimbo Akintola, Fred Amata, Bimbo Manuel and Lancelot Imasuen.

The Night of Stars, conceived to precede the Nigeria Pitch Awards is designed to celebrate local and international football and Nollywood stars annually. The serving Governor of a State, individual or corporate body is honoured with the Pitch Star Award for their support to the growth of Nigeria football.


Rangers to hook Agbim on loan


igeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Enugu Rangers, could finally land Super Eagles’ goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim this week. According to a wire service, the Flying Antelopes could end up snapping the shot-stopper from Warri Wolves only on a loan deal till the end of this season. Rangers are said to be exploring the possibility of a loan deal for the Nigerian goalkeeper as at last week but the effort fell through on the eve of their trip to Bujumbura in Burundi where they faced Vital’O in the CAF Champions League on Sunday. “Rangers were very close to finalising paperwork to get Agbim before the trip to Bujumbura last Wednesday. They listed his name among the 18 travelling players with the expectation that they would get him just before they left the country. “Unfortunately they couldn’t finish the paperwork to secure the deal. So I believe when Rangers return to the country this week, they will continue from where they stopped regarding Agbim’s transfer,” said a source from the Rangers’ camp. Before now, Warri Wolves were demanding for a transfer fee of N15 million from Rangers for the Nigerian goalkeeper. Rangers had offered N4 million, which their Professional Football League rivals baulked at until a loan deal was mooted recently owing to the fact that the Flying Antelopes had registered the goalkeeper for the Caf Champions League before they agreed on a deal with Wolves. The financial details of the loan deal are however undisclosed. Chigozie Agbim

Gambo hopes to make Eagles’ Kenya squad


fter battling his way into the domestic league squad selected for further training ahead of Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier, Kano Pillars’ forward, Gambo Mohammed, hopes to eventually grab a shirt in the main squad that will confront the Harambee Stars. The striker was delighted with himself for passing the first hurdle and is confident hard work will see through to the next stage- the main squad. “I’m very excited with this opportunity to play for my country,” began Gambo in a telephone interview with on Monday. “It’s been long coming and I intend to take this opportunity as the coach has shown belief in my ability. I hope my hard work will earn me a starting place for the match (against Kenya). “For now, I can only hope but I know there’s so much work to be done if I want to be considered for a starting place because Nigeria have got very talented and important players now. But I will continue to do my best and hope to continue to impress the coaches to win a starting place,” he said. Others named in the nine-man list from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for the Kenyan game are Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars), Benjamin Francis (Heartland), Sunday Mba (unattached), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Gabriel Reuben (Kano Pillars), Chigozie Agbim (Warri Wolves), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves) and Obinna Nwachukwu (Heartland). Gambo joined the Super Eagles’ camp in Calabar yesterday.



2013 AYC

Derbies headline Group A action


ction resumes today at the 2013 AYC in Algeria with derbies involving Ghana, Benin, hosts Algeria and Egypt. It will be a West African derby when Ghana lock horns with Benin, while a bitter North African rivalry will be reignited when Algeria tackle Egypt in the later game of the day.

Egypt, who finished third at the 2011 tournament in South Africa, lead the standings after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over three-time champions Ghana on Saturday. Algeria and Benin are on a point each after they played out a 0-0 draw in their own match. Both Ghana and Benin clashed in a friendly in

Ghana last year. The game ended in a draw with Benin outplaying their hosts to lead to the sack of coach Orlando Wellington. Sellas Tetteh has since taken charge of the Lawrence Larteyskippered Black Satellites and will want to prove that it was not a fluke when he led the same team to win an historic

FIFA U20 World Cup in 2009. Injury has ruled out Egypt striker Mahmoud Hamad, who scored his team’s opening goal against Ghana on Saturday. Algeria, on the other hand, are hard pressed to win their first game as they still nurse the dream of qualifying for a firstever World Cup.

Group A still wide open, says Satellites coach


hana coach Sellas Tetteh is optimistic his side have an equal chance of progressing from their African Youth Championship Group despite an opening day defeat. The former Rwanda national team trainer is refusing to press the panic button with odds now against them. The Black Satellites fell to a penalty late on in the match against Egypt to leave them at the foot of the

table. Ghana must now beat Benin on Tuesday to revive their chances of making it from the pool which also includes hosts Algeria. “We have equal chance. Anything at all can happen in this Group,” Tetteh declared. “It can turn around the only thing is that we brace up strongly and do what we are supposed to do and we are every capable.”

Chukwu, Ekpo, other coaches believe in Flying Eagles


espite Sunday’s opening group game loss by the Flying Eagles, some coaches are confident that the Flying Eagles will qualify for the next stage of the African Youth Championship in Algeria. Reacting to the defeat by Mali, Friday Ekpo, a former Super Eagles midfielder and Akewa United coach, said the team would show their true colour against Gabon. “The team played well and they should have converted most of their chances. So there is still good hope for them to qualify,” he said. Christian Chukwu, a former Super Eagles coach, noted that the team would have to work harder, as all eyes are on

them. “As the defending champions, we should utilise all our chances because we have a lot of determined opponents in the competition who want to snatch the title away,” he said. Teslim Fatusi, a member of the victorious gold medal squad at the Atlanta ‘96 Olympics, said the team would prevail. “As defending champions, the team should ensure that it wins its remaining matches; the players should wake up to the task,” he said. In the same vein, Festus Allen, a former coach of 3SC FC of Ibadan, believes that the team should guard against the mistakes it made against the Malians.

“They should put their acts together and put up a performance that is worthy of a defending champion,’’ he said. The Flying Eagles will lock horns with their Gabonese opponents on

John Obu

Egypt glow after Ghana scalp


or Egypt’s Under20 national team coach Rabei Yassin, beating Ghana in their African Youth Championships opener is a good indication of what to expect as the tournament progresses. A late penalty was converted by Selah Gomaa as the Young Pharaohs beat the Satellites 2-1 in Algeria.

Ebenezer Assifuah had given Ghana hope following an equalizer six minutes after Egypt went ahead. “Beating powerful Ghana is a boost to eyeing up the title,” Yassin said. Yassin’s confidence is built on the premise that a large chunk of his setup already have experience with the senior side. Indeed, Egypt’s team has

Wednesday in a make or mar clash that will determine their fate in the championship. Nigeria had previously won the AYC trophy in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005 and 2011.

several faces from the side that lost 3-0 before the recent Afcon in the UAE. “This squad includes eleven players who are in the seniors’ and this proves how strong my team is. I’ve spent more than four years preparing for this championship and I studied the African teams well. We are

capable of competing,” he went on. Ghana now have to beat fellow West Africans, Benin, before playing Algeria in the final group to have any chance of going through. Benin and Algeria have a point each in Group A after a goalless draw in the tournament opener.

TODAY’S MATCHES Ghana vs Benin Rep. Algeria vs Egypt



Stay off 10km race, Nyahora warns peers


imbabwean Rutendo Nyahora says her victory in the opening leg of the Spar Women’s Challenge 10km series will not deter her focus as she looks to step on the podium at the Two Oceans halfmarathon later this month. Nyahora crossed the line in 33 minutes, 10 seconds (33:10) in Cape Town on Sunday to finish 12 seconds clear of second-placed Mapaseka Makhanya. “It was unbelievable for me to win a big race which had top

runners there. It was my best win so far and a great start to the year, but now I have to stay focused for the Two Oceans where my aim is to be in top three. “I believe I’m ready for the race and feel that I can produce great results on the day,” Nyahora said. The next leg of the Women’s Challenge will be held in Port Elizabeth in May, and Nyahora hoped to retain top spot in the series. Before she gets the chance to stetch her lead in the standings,

however, the South African based runner said she would shift her focus to the halfmarathon distance. Last year she finished third behind Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Zyl in the Two Oceans 21km event, and she hoped for an improved performance. “I believe I’m ready for the race and feel that I can produce great results on the day. I have been training really hard for this and I feel I will do well,” Nyahora said.

Rutendo Nyahora

Nadal sacrifices Miami for French Open


ewly crowned Indian Wells champion has opted out of next week’s Sony Open In Miami, USA, to be in a better shape for the French Open a few weeks later. His absence would equally afford him ample chance to rest his troublesome left leg and be

physically fit to gear up for the French Open. The Spaniard is acting to his doctor’s script. The Spanish left-hander was sidelined for seven months last year with a left knee injury but has been in stunning form since he returned, reaching four straight finals and compiling a

17-1 record to start the year. He returned to the ATP circuit only last month and has played four tournaments in the last five weeks, winning three of them. “The doctors recommend me to be back home for a few weeks, rest a little bit and keep practising the right way,” the

world No 5 told reporters after beating Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells on Sunday. “You know, I need more power in the left leg quadriceps, so I need to keep working hard. The competition is hard for the body,

Nadal deserves Indian Wells title, Del Potro confesses J

Rafael Nadal

uan Martin Del Potro, who on was Sunday denied a first ATP Masters 1000 title in a 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat by Rafael Nadal in the BNP Paribas Open final, has confessed that the Spaniard deserves the title. Del Potro, who had been bidding to beat Nadal for only the fourth time in 11 career meetings, was a set and 2-0 up on Nadal before the Spaniard came storming back to win a pulsating match that lasted just under two-and-a-half hours and featured seven breaks of serve “Rafa deserves to win. He plays unbelievable for like an hour there. The last hour of the match he didn’t make errors. He played so solid and put me so far to the baseline and make winners from there. “Rafa played really well today in the second and third sets. He broke me early in the third and playing against him when the score is down is tougher, you know,” Del Potro told reporters. Del Potro had upset world No 3 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the last four to get to the final. Asked whether he felt fatigued in the final after winning his two previous matches at Indian Wells in three sets, world No 7 Del Potro replied: “Yeah, I played three sets against Murray then three sets Djokovic. “But the finals are finals. They

are special, and you get the energy from everywhere to play the finals. Rafa plays yesterday, also, so the conditions are the same for both players. I think my body was okay. Just he played better in the end and he deserved to win.” Despite his own disappointment in losing Sunday’s final, Del Potro was happy for Nadal, who claimed his third title in his remarkable comeback from seven months on the sidelines due to a knee injury. “Watching him in this level, he’s playing really well. He’s winning more than everyone after seven months (out),” said the 24-year-old from Tandil, who embraced Nadal at the end of the match. Asked whether he felt Nadal was close to the form that earned him 11 grand slam singles titles, Del Potro replied: “Yeah, yeah. Like always, like in the past, he’s playing so solid, so strong. “He’s very strong mentally. He has big talent, as well. He beat very good players here at Indian Wells. What I say the days before, he’s gonna be fighting for the first position (in the rankings) very soon.” Del Potro, US Open champion in 2009, knows exactly what he has to do to get back among the top four in the world. “Beat Nadal, beat (Roger) Federer. Try to beat all of them,” he said with a grin.

so after four fantastic weeks I can’t go to Miami. I need to prepare and rest for the next one.” Nadal said he would next be in action in Monte Carlo, followed by Barcelona, Madrid and Rome. “That’s my schedule, the four obligatories (including Indian Wells) and Barcelona,” the 11times grand slam singles champion said. “That’s my schedule. I go week-by-week since I came back. “For example, I cannot go to Miami. I’m very sad for that. I’m very sorry for the organisation of the tournament and I’m very sorry for the fans, but we never thought we’d be able to play all matches possible since I came back.” Earlier in the day, Sony Open tournament director Adam Barrett had announced Nadal’s withdrawal from Miami in a statement. Nadal’s withdrawal from the second ATP Masters 1000 event of the year, like Indian Wells played on a hardcourt surface, had always looked likely due to his packed tournament run over the past five weeks. He won two ATP titles on the clay of South America last month and, following his victory at Indian Wells, has improved his record this year to a careerbest 17-1. The claycourt specialist has won seven of the last eight French Opens and his focus will now be fixed on the year’s second grand slam, starting in late May, as the ATP circuit switches back to clay after Miami. “Clay, I mean this is the surface that I love to play and I had a great success in the past,” the 26-year-old said. “But every year is a different year. Every year I have to improve. “Every year I have to do different things if I want to keep winning on clay. And I try to do my best and I try to do different things and be better player every year to have the chance to make good results, no? “So I’m going to go to Monte Carlo with the same expectations than ever, than always, and I’m gonna try my best to arrive there healthy and in good shape playing well.”





P• I• C• T• O• R• I• A• L• 1] India beat Australia by six wickets in the third Test in Mohali to complete a series victory over the tourists. SIndia beat Australia by six wickets in the third Test in Mohali to complete a series victory over the tourists. In a tight finish on the final day, skipper Mahendra Dhoni smashed three consecutive fours to earn victory with 15 balls remaining. 2] Umpire Nadir Shah has been banned for 10 years by the Bangladesh Cricket Board on charges of corruption. The 49-year-old, who stood in 40 one-day internationals, was one of six Asian officials mentioned in an expose on Indian television last year. 3] Maria Sharapova’s attacking game proved too much for Caroline Wozniacki as the Russian powered to victory in the BNP Paribas Open final. Sharapova, 25, won 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 21 minutes to claim the Indian Wells title for the second time. 4] Wales’ WBO champion Nathan Cleverly expects to fight lightheavyweight rival Bernard Hopkins soon 5] German discus thrower Nadine Muller, the 2011 World Championships silver medallist, was the star of the second day of the European Cup Winter Throwing in the Spanish town of Castellon when she launched her implement out to 66.69m on Sunday.






Niger state plans School Sports Festival for August


aba Sheshi, the Director of Sports, Niger State Sports Council, has disclosed that the state has concluded plans to organise this year’s School Sports Festival to be tagged ‘TALDA’ in August. Sheshi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone that all the state-owned secondary schools would compete in 20 sports at the festival. “The state government has directed the sports council to commence preparation ahead of this year school festival. The schools will compete in 20 sports. “The festival was scheduled for August because the students will be on long vacation during the time and it will not in any way affect their academics session,’’ he said. According to him, the yearly festival was an avenue to discover and nurture budding talents from schools across the state. ‘’The yearly school sports festival is a programme that has been put together by the state government to identify talents from the schools,’’ Sheshi said. The director noted that talents discovered at the previous festival have represented the state at various national competitions. He, however, added that the state sports council would not relent in its effort to promote sports from grassroots.

Track event

Premier league slot not negotiable for FCT next season, says Talle


he Chairman, FCT Football Association, Alhaji Musa Talle, has insisted that he would ensure that at least one FCT club progresses to the premier league next season. Talle said in Abuja yesterday that the association was working hard to ensure that actions in next year’s premier league season do not elude Abuja fans. According to him, the association will assist both government and private owned clubs in the Nigeria

National League (NNL) to ensure the much needed promotion to the premiership. “Every football lover in the FCT is anxious to see that the federal capital has a club in the premier league. “Last time, we assisted FCT clubs in the NNL for them to pick a premier league slot but it was not possible. “This time around, we started with seminars for all our coaches; we also had seminars for all our

referees just to let them know the latest development in football. “All these are to bring our clubs to the level that they can get themselves prepared for the current season. Unfortunately some of the advice given are not followed to the later,’’ Talle explained. Talle, however, urged private and public organisations to collaborate with the association to ensure that football in the FCT was taken to a greater height.

NSC lauds ASFAN for developing young athletes


he National Sports Commission (NSC) has commended the All Sports Foundation Academy of Nigeria (ASFAN), Nimo, Anambra for its efforts at discovering and grooming young athletes. The commendation was contained in a letter by the NSC, South-East Zone I to ASFAN penultimate day in Nimo, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). NAN reports that ASFAN helps in the training of Anambra athletes, especially in track and field events, and the proprietor, Jonny Igboka, is the state’s athletics head coach. The letter by the Zonal Coordinator, Stanley Okebugwu, said the NSC

was impressed with the exploits of the Anambra athletics team at the recent National School Sports Festival in PortHarcourt. The Anambra team to the 5th National School Sports Festival won 36 gold, amongst other medals. “Your exploits at the Games is a clear indication of your hard work, dedication and most i m p o r t a n t l y , perseverance; we hope that you will continue to do the zone proud. “We are proud of you in providing durable, resilient and indefatigable athletes that will stand the test of time to meet Nigeria’s vision 2020,” the letter reads. It said that ASFAN was

Chief Solomon Ogba, President AFN

the type of direct private sector intervention needed at this time in the development of sports. It added that though money was important for such a development programme, but the materials which ASFAN provided were very crucial. “ASFAN is passionate about grassroots sports development. We need more of these academies in all states and Senatorial Zones, to effect the type of changes we want to see in our sports,” it said. Meanwhile, the administrator of ASFAN, Igboka, has said that he would continue to give potential athletes in Anambra the opportunity to develop themselves. He said that track and field events must be revamped for the country to regain it lost glory in athletics. Igboka, who also handles the Anambra athletics team, expressed gratitude that the NSC for recognising him. He noted that the efforts of the academy, however, needed the financial support of the commission to develop its facilities. The products of ASFAN won 10 of the 12 gold medals secured by the Anambra team in Port-Harcourt.

Ayo game in progress

Coach canvasses govt support for traditional sports


det Ibanga, the Head Coach, Lagos State Traditional Sports Association (LSTSA), has urged the three tiers of governments in the country to support the growth of traditional sports. Ibanga said in Lagos that the support would definitely engage the youths in a positive way and keep them off social vices. According to him, support from government would also encourage both corporate organisations and sports philanthropists to contribute their quota to the development of the events. The coach said that the

s p o r t s , comprising Kokawa (Traditional Wrestling), Dambe (Traditional Boxing), Langa, Ayo and Abula, can only be popular with government support. “The promotion of the events should be a collective effort from the three tiers of government. The drive should start from the grassroots to the states and then capped up with federal support,’’ he said. According to him, the support at all levels should start with the provision of facilities for training and regular competitions. “Regular sponsorship of competitions across the

country is the only way to make the sports grow and making the youth grow into stars. “Regular competitions will also assist in raising the standard of the sports from the grassroots to the states and to the national level,’’ he said adding that adequate support would also create awareness for the sports. “The awareness will go a long way in giving the youth a sense of belonging, as well as keeping them off the streets. He added that creating more awareness for the sports should be a collective effort of all stakeholders.


Say what?


Some Interesting Facts •During the twentieth century alone, the average life expectancy in the United States increased by more than 30 years. Officials attribute most of this increase to advances in public health care and information •According to a 2008 report, the average life expectancy in the world as a whole is 66.26 years •The average life expectancy ranges throughout the world from a high of 84.36 years in Macau to just 31.88 years in the African nation of Swaziland. Experts attribute the low life expectancy in many African countries to high rates of HIV/AIDS infection, d •The oldest documented person on record is Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who lived for 122 years and 164 days. The oldest person still alive today is 114-year-old Gertrude Baines of the U.S. •The greatest verified age for any living organism is from a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree in Nevada called Prometheus that was measured by a ring count to be about 4,900 years old when it was cut down in 1964.h •Scientists have yet to discover a sign of extra-terrestrials life, but the discovery of planets outside of our solar system with habitable climates is a promising indication of life outside Earth. • A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth up to 7 miles away. • Lima beans contain cyanide. • Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants. • Watermelons are a popular gift to bring to a host in China or Japan. • Draftsmen have to make 27,000 drawings for the manufacturing of a new car. • An ostrich egg would take four hours to boil. • The chemical name of caffeine is 1,3,7trimethylantihine.



Yesterday’s solution

Balancing act: Musical instrument craftsman HartmutGeilert demonstrates how to play the world's largest functional tuba at the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Germany. Source:

. . . putting the people first



Headguards removed for men's amateur boxing


he International Amateur Boxing Association has confirmed that headguards will be removed from men's amateur boxing but not for women. Headguards were first introduced into competition in 1984 but will be removed again for October's World Amateur Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan. The decision was based on two separate studies which put forward evidence that the removal will decrease concussions. Women and male boxers below senior level will continue to wear headguards. AIBA's medical commission studied more than 2,000 bouts and independent research in a recent article, which studied 30,000 contests over 59 years, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine both supported the removal. The International Olympic Committee has yet to officially confirm that headguards will be removed for the 2016 Rio Olympics but their medical commission were part of the discussion process with AIBA. May's European Amateur Boxing Championships in Belarus are expected to be the final major men's international competition to use headguards with the official date of 1 June 2013 for their removal. AIBA is also set to launch its own professional boxing body (APB) later in 2013 which will allow, like WSB, amateur boxers to earn purses for competing while maintaining their Olympic eligibility which was previously prohibited. All three forms of the sport will also be judged on the 10-point must system as the computerbased points-scoring system, which has been in place since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, is to be abandoned. May's European Amateur Boxing Championships in Belarus are expected to be the final major men's international competition to use headguards with the official date of 1 June 2013 for their removal.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE The greatest challenge to us as a committee is the NNPC. It has never remitted a dime to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation. — Abdulmumin Jibril, Chairman, House Finance Committee

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

t is most unlikely that Jonathan really pondered the many questions and issues surrounding amnesty as a concept and a policy option, and even more so that these questions and issues weighed heavily on his mind as he undertook his Borno and Yobe visits. These questions and issues, which anytime anywhere would normally be expected to form the basis of any meaningful and fruitful engagement between a visiting president and the locals in a town hall meeting at which it was certain the matter of amnesty would top the agenda, didn't feature at all in Jonathan's response to the elders' presentation. Partly, perhaps, this had to do with time pressure. Or, maybe, the man wasn't properly briefed by his handlers. But Jonathan raised no real issues, asked no serious or unsettling questions and, on his own, canvassed no superior arguments to counter those advanced by the elders. Well, except the now all- too- familiar, though hardly original, line about the Boko Haram insurgents being faceless and ghosts. Maybe we expected too much from both the man and the visits. For, who in Nigeria today doesn't know that, engaging people (whether friends or foes) on issues, in any systematic and sustained manner, isn't Jonathan's long suit? He is a man with little time and patience for the fine points of an argument. Nuance certainly isn't his natural state, and he has so far given us little to hope that he can achieve it. This you-can't-talk- withghosts argument or line that Jonathan pushes resonates with the dominant view in some quarters and among some sections of the Nigerian population. A number of weighty voices from both the South and North, and Christian notables and their organisation, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), have, for long now, been canvassing that position - a position informed, it is clear, by what many would say is a narrow perspective of the country's insecurity situation. And this is being done, not without a purpose, but as part of an agenda fashioned around that narrow perspective. Jonathan is, as usual, only trying to hide behind his little finger, and he's not doing it well or successfully. So much has already been said, and so much more written about all this that there's no point going over it here again. But the point needs be stressed here that when the president - our country's

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim political face and voice in global affairs - talks so illogically and with such unsurprising lack of originality about ghosts, and has only the ghost argument to pose against a well reasoned case for amnesty and dialogue, and wants to be taken seriously, we cannot but feel disturbed. It is not just that the matter is trivialized, debate on it is impoverished, and our attention is diverted from the real issues. It is also that it somehow diminishes us as a people and a nation. Jonathan has said, and insists that there is no deal-no dialogue, no amnesty-unless and until the insurgents show their faces. The insurgents, for whom violence - the shootings, bombings, killings and destruction -has been the main means of communicating with the rest of the world, would not show their faces in the way Jonathan wants. And, come to think of it, why should they, when the authorities have been hunting them and have a long history of not keeping their words? Why would the hunted make the hunter's work easier than it would otherwise be? Perhaps because of the different perspectives he has of the issues, Jonathan believes that the Boko Haram insurgency and that of the Niger Delta earlier are dissimilar, and any attempt to compare the two seems to instantly draw his ire. But we must ask this question: notwithstanding the claims that the Niger Delta insurgents' leaders were no ghosts and their demands were clear, were proper arrangements not made, guarantees and assurances given, and everything planned and documented before the amnesty was concretised as a policy and the insurgents agreed to come to Abuja, and, even then, only after a presidential jet was made available to them for the trip? Is it because of this perceived dissimilarity that the authorities now have different expectations and are setting different standards in the case of the Boko Haram insurgency?

Whatever it is, we now have an impasse. And the question is, who will break it and how? Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that the situation has imposed on the authorities and the security and intelligence agents a duty and a challenge to fashion the ways and means of reaching across to the insurgents and engaging them. He should know, and he has done his own part, for which he deserves our commendation. But the governor is clearly not on the same page with the president on this matter. Jonathan, who has never doubted or changed his perspective that the Boko Haram insurgency is a Northern- planned conspiracy against his person and his rule, is most unlikely to even consider, let alone take up the challenge. And as the president and Commander-in-Chief, it is his prerogative to decide what is to be done, and how. No impasse is peaceful for a people or a country. This one certainly isn't. Yes, the Boko Haram sect's military capability has been considerably undermined. But as long as the conditions which give rise to it in the first place remain unchanged, new groups, new factions and new leaderships will continue to emerge and to pose challenges to the State. The fact is, this impasse and Jonathan's attitude and personal disposition have clouded the outlook, and led to the dwindling of opportunities for a peaceful solution and an early end to our nightmares. If you are tempted by the current hull in the sect's violent outings to think that the end of the nightmare is near, consider what Jonathan said in Maiduguri, view it against the backdrop of the prevailing insecurity containment policy and politics, and then ponder its implications. Jonathan said and swore that he would not sit down as president and Commander-inChief and tolerate the killing, by anyone, of a security agent. Is the reverse,ie the killing of civilians by the security forces, then tolerable and acceptable to the Commander-

in-Chief? By implication, yes. In actual fact, yes, also. Note that his overriding concern was not that life is sacred and should not be taken unlawfully. It was, rather, that a soldier must not, for whatever reason, be killed. Who, in any case, has ever heard Jonathan raise a voice against, or ordered an investigation into the countless instances of, mass killings of civilians on mere suspicion, collective punishments and sackings of entire neighbourhoods, among others, by the soldiers in Borno-even though full details of the bestiality and brutal conduct of the Join Task Force (JTF) operatives have always been captured in reports, copies of which have always been sent to him, of investigations conducted by bodies like Amnesty International Human Rights Watch? Clearly, Jonathan rates the life of a soldier far, far above that of a civilian. Doubtless, the killing of a security operative on duty is a serious matter that shouldn't be taken lightly. But the notion of the superiority of a soldier's life over that of a civilian is freighted with very serious implications. One, it legitimates all kinds of "revenge", no matter how brutal or disproportionate, when a soldier is killed by civilians. It was largely this notion that informed the massacres in Odi and Zaki Biam, and it is now largely what is at the root of the almost daily massacre of civilians, in especially Borno, by the soldiers. And, two, the notion operates in reality as a carte blanche, a general and open licence for the soldiers to kill and destroy at will. Sometimes in 2011, there were reports that the JTF in Borno and Yobe had been given an official licence to kill. This was hardly necessary, since they have been killing, anyway. But it was nevertheless a very significant development. It is not unlikely, in fact, that the soldiers in Borno and Yobe interpreted what Jonathan said during his visit as an official endorsement of their conduct and a renewal of their licence by the Cin-C himself in person. The killings will go on, whatever the case. And so will the insurgency situation, since it is largely the impunity and brutal conduct of the security forces that have been fuelling it. The soldiers enjoy the killing, and the petty allowances they get. Their field commanders enjoy giving the orders and the good money they make from it all. Contd. on Page 38

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 805 727 9862. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 19, March, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 19, March, 2013 Edition

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