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Monday, April 19, 2021/ Ramadan 8, 1442 AH Vol. 36 No. 055 N200

2555 Days after Malam Wada Maida (1950-2020), founding Chairman, Board of the Peoples Media Limited



. . . putting the people first

The nation awaits rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls

Military neutralizes 5 armed bandits in Benue >>>PAGE 5

Kwankwaso, Babangida Aliyu not suspended, says PDP >>Page 5

Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya (rigth) being presented with a horse by the Emir of Gona, Alhaji Umar Abdulkadir Abdussalam (middle) after being turbaned as Madawakin Gona by the royal father at his palace in Akko Gari, Akko Local Government area, at the weekend in Gombe state.

SEC reminds Capital Market Operators of KYC Update

PG 19

Kaduna captures 2.1m PDP govs urge FG to plug Niger govt adopts poor, vulnerable in financial leakages, curb new strategy to curb social register- official wasteful spending insecurity PAGE 3



Autonomy: Kano CSOs blast govs, back judiciary staff on strike PAGE 4





Politics 15-17 Stock Watch Business

18 19-20



World New


Africa News


World News


Suspected herdsmen attack Benue Community, Kill 70-yr-old man, others From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ersons suspected to be herdsmen militia on Saturday killed a family of five, three others and injured another five persons at Mbamondo community, Modern market council ward of Makurdi Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue state. The family of five comprises a 70-year old man, his son and three of his grandchildren. Out of the five injured, three of them were critically wounded and are presently receiving

treatment at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Makurdi, the state capital. Peoples Daily correspondent learnt that the herdsmen had attacked the community at about 1am on Saturday, shot and matcheted their victims to death. A prominent indigene of the area who is also the State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Bernard Unenge noted that the attack was unprovoked. According to him, “The entire thing started at about 1am

today (Saturday) when I got a call from my village, Mbamondu community in Makurdi, modern market council ward, Makurdi, LGA, that my people were being attacked by Fulani herdsmen militia. “We had to call on the security operatives that were stationed around the Adaka community, but before they got there the people (herders) had killed my people. “We discovered seven dead bodies that we have already deposited at the Federal Medical Center, Makurdi mortuary.

“Five persons were also injured and three of them are very critical. “It is heart-rending and tragic because my people did not incite or provoke the attack. They came into my village, started shooting sporadically and when people were running out of their houses to flee for safety they shot and butchered them like animals. “In one family they killed four people, a father of about 70 years, his son and his three grand children”, the Commissioner lamented.

Gbajabiamila harps on importance of Nollywood to Nigeria’s devt Page 4



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R-L: National Commissioner Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Adekunle Ogunmola, National Commissioner in-charge of Voter Education Committee Barr. Festus Okoye and National Commissioner Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, during the opening ceremony of training for head of electoral operations departments, at the weekend in Abuja Photo: Mahmud Isa

Give support to regional security outfits in Nigeria, clergy urges FG From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ational President , Christian Association of Clergies in Nigeria, Archbishop Dr. Yimam Orkwar has stressed the need for the Federal Government to give support to the establishment of regional security outfits across the country. Archbishop Orrkwar who stated this in a communiqué issued at the end of the first quarter Synod of the All Nations Evangelical Ministries held at the Faith Cathedral Makurdi, noted that with the rising cases of insecurity in the South East and South West of Nigeria, the security outfits will complement the efforts of the Police and other security agencies.

The Synod also urged the government to heed to calls for restructuring as failure to do so may spell doom for the Nation in view of the present agitation for self determination by different nationalities across the country. Furthermore, the Synod frowned at the lopsided appointments into various Federal agencies, parastatals, boards and ministries, maintaining that it seems to favor a particular section of the country in total disregard to Federal character principle, adding “ it is not a healthy development for a nation like Nigeria. Government should check the trend and correct the imbalance”. “Synod observes government efforts at distributing Covid-19 vaccines across the country and

appeals that the administration of the vaccine to Nigerians should not be by compulsion but those who desire to take it should be vaccinated while the rights of those who have good reasons why they would not take the vaccine should also, be respected. “We consider the proposal to introduce the wearing of Hijab as part of military gear of armed forces and other public institutions as unnecessary dichotomy or distinction in the uniforms of armed forces along religious lines and a threat to national unity and cohesion. “Synod is of the view that the nation’s Constitution should address issues of provision that give religious coloration to the Constitution and expunge such provisions which promote

disunity and division. The National Assembky should look into agitation from different quarters on Constitutional issues particularly the status of the Constitution. “We regret the unfortunate incident in Konshisha local government and appeal to the Nigeria Army to exercise restraint in the handling of the issue as we call on our youths to be civil and law abiding. “Synod condemns in totality the attacks and threats on the life of Governor Samuel Ortom and calls on the Federal Government to nise up and investigate the threat against the Governor’s life and bring those behind the attack to justice in the interest of national unity and peace”, the communique read.



From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Kaduna State Government has captured 2.1 million individuals from 524,424 Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) in its Social Register. The Coordinator of the State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU), Planning and Budget Commission, Mrs Nina Dawong, made this known at a one-day Media Roundtable on the state of the State Social Register. Dawong explained that SOCU was saddled with the responsibility of generating and maintaining the Social Register of the poor and vulnerable households in the state. She explained that the data was

Redeeming your vows to God key to prosperity, cleric tells Nigerians From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Senior Pastor of the House of Purpose Ministry U/Sunday Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Apostle Yakubu Yusuf has urged Nigerians to continue to pray and fulfil their vows to God for the prosperity of the country. He made the assertion in a sermon he delivered during the Sunday worship in Kaduna yesterday. Apostle Yakubu said paying tithes and others vows to God is key to stop the poverty in the land. Apostle Yakubu who was teaching on the topic “ Connecting to God of Abundance” said where God appears there is Abundance. Reading from the Book of 2 Corinthians, 8:9, he said people need to start doing things right and be more sincere in serving God, especially fulfilling their vows, saying it is only in doing that, that things will be better and positive.. Apostle Yakubu admonished Nigerians not to lose hope, stressing that the daunting socio-economic challenges, which everybody is experiencing at the moment, is like a wind that must pass away. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of praying, paying their vows which according to him, changes situations and circumstances no matter how complex they may look. “I urge our leaders not to lose hope, but to rather take a cue from their counterparts in the developed world, by burying their political differences and tackle national issues with the urgency they deserve rather than politicize them. “Let me also use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, particularly Christians, to continually pray for our nation and all political office holders for God’s grace and wisdom to steer the ship of this nation so that we would arrive at God’s ordained destiny for us. Let us also pray that violence, kidnappings and insurgency will cease in Nigeria because no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of violence.”


Ag News Editor, Tobias Lengnam

Kaduna captures 2.1m poor, vulnerable in social register -official mined by the Federal Government in the delivery of its Cash Transfer programme and other social protection programmes. She added that the register would be made available for development partners, organisations, NonGovernmental Organisation to mine from for various social protection interventions. She said that the 524,424 PVHHs consist of 2.1 million individuals in 166 wards, from 5,504 communities across the 23 local government areas of the state. The coordinator said that populating the register commenced with 16,494 PVHHs and 71,305 individuals in 2017 and grew over the years to 524,424 PVHHs with 2,051,972 individuals as of February 2021. She said that 93.6 per cent of the 524,424 PVHHs live in rural areas while 6.4 per cent were in urban centres. She said that Kachia LGA has the highest number of PVHHs with

41,205 PVHHs captured in the register, followed by Sanga with 37,508 PVHHs and Kajuru LGA with 36,233 PVHHs. Dawong identified the local government areas with the least number of PVHHs in the register as Zangon Kataf with 9,222 households, Soba 10,388 households and Jema’a with 11,027. “Of the 2.1 million individuals, 1.1 million, representing 52.2 percent are females, 981,845, representing 47.9 percent are males and 46,836, representing 2.3 percent are people living with disability. “Also 25 per cent of the heads of the PVHH are unemployed, 45.2 percent are farmers, 0.1 per cent are pensioners and 12,.8 per cent are housewives and house help. “On education status, 63.6 per cent of the head of households had no formal education, 11.3 per cent had primary education, and 15.9 per cent had senior secondary school education. “More so, 3.8 has junior

secondary school education, 1.5 with National Diploma, while 0.5 has Higher National Diploma and bachelor’s degree respectively and 1.2 has certificate of education,” he said. The coordinator added that in age distribution, 34 per cent of individuals in the register were between the ages of 16 to 35, and 28 per cent between the ages of six to 15. She added that children from zero to five years made up 14 per cent, those between 36 to 65 years, 20 per cent, while those from 65 years and above made up four per cent. Mr Biya Dogon, Head of Operations, SOCU, explained that the register was being generated through a comprehensive process known as Community Based Targeting (CBT). Dogon explained that through the process, the community defines poverty and identifies those that should be captured in the register. He said that the CBT process began in 2017 in nine pilot Local Government Areas (LGAs), three from each Senatorial Zone, Ikara,

Kubau, Lere, Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia, Kauru and Sanga. “However, in May 2020, the process was scaled-up to the remaining fourteen LGAs, thus covering the entire state. The Permanent Secretary, PBC, Mr Mahmoud Yamusa, pointed out that the SSR would promote inclusiveness in the delivery of social protection intervention in the state. Yamusa said that Kaduna State was one of the first in the country to pursue efficient delivery of safetynets interventions to target poor and vulnerable residents in an inclusive and transparent manner. Earlier, the Executive Director, Jalad Media Concept, Mr Joshua James explained that the engagement was organised to promote interactions between SOCU and the media. According to him, media engagement is key to ensuring that citizens are well informed about government activities and intervention to enlist their support The parents of abducted school children brief press men over the release of their children in Kaduna yesterday. pic by Shehu K. Goro

Dangote sugar’s $700million investments to boost Nigeria’s sugar self-sufficiency


ith a national annual import of over $337million, the management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has declared its irrevocable commitment to the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) of the Federal Government to reverse the trend and make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production. The company which is committing over $700million to its sugar projects told visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly at the weekend that the company’s investments in sugar will revolutionize the economy of the state and lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects. The state lawmakers who were obviously excited at the sugar projects commended the Dangote Group for choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements. Nigeria is one of the sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar second only to South Africa, but the Dangote Sugar management assured the lawmakers that by the time the company fully completes its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved of more than half of the forex expended

on sugar imports annually. General Manager for the Backward Integration Project, Dangote Sugar, Mr. John Beverley said when the factory is fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons cane per day (tcd), while 90MW power will be generated for both the company’s use and host communities. He disclosed also that some 500km roads in all will be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity, even as he solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers. Beverley said the company has been carrying out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in the communities pointing out that so far the company has constructed boreholes, schools, clinics and awarded scholarships among other CSR services. In his response, Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullah, who led the team said that the $500 million so far expended on the investments by Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc in Nasarawa State is not only a blessing to Nigeria but the pride of Africa. The Speaker and his team members, who were conducted round the company’s 78,000 hectares Backward

Integration Project in Tunga Awe Local Government Area of the stated commended the Chairman of the Company. Ahaji Aliko Dangote for the gigantic project saying “seeing is believing”. The Speaker said he was taken aback by the huge nature of the investment, noting that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole. Aside the Speaker, other Principal Officers in his entourage are: House Majority Leader Hon Umar Tanko Tunga(Awe North), Deputy Majority Leader Daniel Ogah Ogazi, the Chief Whip Hon Muhammad Muluku(Nasarawa Eggon East), Hon. Suleiman Yakubu Azara(Awe South) and Hon Muhammad Alkali(Lafiya North). The Speaker said the lawmakers were ready to partner and support the company towards the realization of the sugar project through relevant legislation. According to him, the news that the project would create about 150,000 jobs is a welcome one, more so when it is no secret that the project site was once a forest harbouring criminals before its acquisition by the Dangote Sugar Refinery. Alsp shedding light on the project, the General Manager, Government

and Stakeholders Relations, Mr. Bello Dan Musa said the President of Dangote Group is passionate about lifting Nigeria’s economy through strategic investment and job creation. He added that the huge project does not only fit into the Backward Integration Policy and National Sugar Master Plan(NSMP), but the diversification agenda of the government. The Dangote Group is the biggest private sector investor in the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government. The policy seeks to gradually halt the importation of sugar into the country. It would be recalled that in 2017 the Dangote Industries Limited signed a landmark $700million Memorandum of Understanding with the Nasarawa State Government. The integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, comprises of an initial 60,000ha sugar plantation and two sugar factories with capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30% of the country’s consumption and would be the largest plant in Nigeria. When the phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it would make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.




From Mustapha Adamu, Kano


he Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF) has lambasted Nigerian governors for what it described as suppressing the Nigerian judiciary and legislature. The KSCF’s attack came in the wake of the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over failure to implement its autonomy as ordered by court. In a letter addressed to the National President of JUSUN, dated April 15 and signed jointly by

NASFAT unveils N15,000,000,00 Media Center in Kaduna From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


asrul-Lahi-Faith Society (NASFAT) Kaduna State Chapter yesterday unveiled its fifteen Millions Naira Media and Administrative center. Speaking during the unveiling, the Branch Chairman Engr Muhyideen Alimi Yusuf said the center would serve as hub for Islamic propagation, via Publicity. According to him, the Society require adequate media coverage for all its activities hence the need for the media and Administrative center. Engr Muhyideen Alimi Yusuf commended theUmmah who partake in the building of the facility and pray for Allah to reward them with Aljanah. “Apart from the ultimate reward, the building of a facility in a way affords a person to continue to earn the blessings of Allah even after death,” he said. The Chairman disclosed that the projects requires some equipments that will make the centre functional, urging members of the public to donate generously to ensure rapid completion of the center. In her remark the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission,Dr. Muheeba Farida Dankaka said an Admistrative and Media center attached to a mosque will enhance the day to day admistration of the Mosque and furthering the propagation of Islam. She added NASFAT have been at the forefront and formidable Muslim Association in the vanguard of Islamic values and propagation of the religion. “ The event is happening in the holy month of Ramadan, that provides Muslims opportunity to be near to their creator through supplications, abstinence and perseverance. “ As you honour me to commission this building,I feel highly satisfied that our modest contributions to the progress of Islam in general and NASFAT in particular is being recognized. “ Let all be assured that I will continue to serve Islam and humanity and to appreciate Allah’d favour in my life” She said

Autonomy: Kano CSOs blast govs, back judiciary staff on strike Ibrahim A. Waiya and Peter Hassan Tijani, President-General and Secretary respectively, KSCF noted that judiciary has its powers which it exclusively exercises without any obstruction from the Federal Government. According to the forum, it is unfortunate that the governors who occupy a dignified position of authority in the country would choose to uphold some provisions and disregard some provisions contained in the supreme document of the land. In the letter sent to our correspondent in Kano, the forum said “It is a public knowledge that Judiciary is one of the three arms of Government recognized by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. The Constitution has clearly defined the powers to be exercised by the Judiciary just like the other two arms of the Government which are: Executive and Legislature. “Although the issue on the financial autonomy for the

Judiciary has for long dominated national discourse, but obviously the Nigerian States Governors abhor it for reasons best known to them. However, with the trendy judgment of the Federal High Court in 2014, the matter was supposedly expected to die naturally by granting the Judiciary their financial autonomy. This is because the judgment was never seen to be challenged by any of the contending parties, but unfortunately this is yet to happen. “It is however embarrassing as the Nigerian democratic journey attained more than twenty consecutive years, the Judiciary and the Legislature yet continue to suffer suppression and unfair treatment by the Nigerian Governors, even though they have their powers which they exclusively exercise without any obstruction from the Federal Government. Upholding the practice of the separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution is one of the sure

ways to attain a fair and just society. “It is unfortunate that the Governors who occupy a dignified position of authority in the country would choose to uphold some provisions and disregard some provisions contained in the supreme document of the land. This therefore negates the tenet of democratic culture, rule of law and undermines the general interest of the Nigerian citizenry,” the letter reads in parts. “It is against the foregoing and in consideration of the long advocacy and agitations from Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders across the country which has apparently failed. “We wish to as civil society organizations align ourselves with your decision for the industrial action as the measure which practically remains the only alternative to press button to ensure quick implementation of the financial autonomy for the Judiciary and therefore strongly

register our solidarity and support to your Union on the ongoing strike,” the letter said. KSCF further stated that it had learnt that discussion is on between JUSUN nion and the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) as well as the Committee on Judiciary of the National Assembly, noting that “this is indeed a welcome development. “ We however caution that concrete agreement on the implementation strategy for the grant of the autonomy must be designed, spelling out a clear timeline, commitments of the Governors on gradual and realistic processes towards the implementation of the autonomy for the Judiciary, and to be signed and documented before the strike is called off. We also advise that an independent autonomy implementation committee should be established by each Governor to practically show their commitment and sincerity,” it said in the letter. L-R: Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule; Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and Executive Secretary of National Sugar Development Council, Mr. Zacch Adedeji, during a facility tour of Dangote Sugar Refinery and Sugarcane Farm, at the weekend in Awe, Nasarawa State

Gbajabiamila harps on importance of Nollywood to Nigeria’s devt By Christiana Ekpa


he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has emphasized the need for positive projection of Nigeria’s culture and image to the outside world by the players in the nation’s entertainment industry, even as he stressed the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socioeconomic development. The Speaker also advocated the need for the combined efforts of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country. According to Gbajabiamila, players in the nation’s entertainment industry, popularly known as Nollywood, have a critical role to play in not only shaping the society for the better but also influencing how the nation is viewed by the outside world through the content of their trade.

The Speaker made the call at a two-day Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders under the platform of Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) in Abuja at the weekend. He said, “Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity. “You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country. I do not propose to turn you into cheerleaders for a Nigeria that does not exist. But the stories of men and women thriving through adversity and innovating for prosperity needs to be told, and it falls to you to tell those stories. “I hold in my heart a fundamental belief that our highest aspirations for Nigeria can only be achieved by the combined effort of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country”.

Emphasising the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socio-economic development, the Speaker disclosed that the entertainment industry in Nigeria has grown to become a critical part of the economy. He, however, stressed that by addressing the challenges confronting the industry, much more can be achieved, saying, “With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dreams and surpass our highest ambitions. “It falls to all of us, in government, in the private sector and across society to identify the ways we can help the industry reach the heights we all know is possible”. Earlier, House Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, expressed delight at the event, noting that “The much

needed strategic multisectoral efforts to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria, though long overdue, has begun”. According to him, the country’s movie industry, more than any other social platform, remains critical in the moulding of the character of members of the society, especially the youths, women and children, as well as the outside world seeing the nation from the plots, setting and narratives of the movies. Also, the Managing Director of Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Ltd, Everest Okpara, who also partnered with the Actors Guild of Nigeria for the training, commended huge contribution to the entertainment industry within and beyond the shores of Nigeria He said “we implore and encourage everyone else who can support the Actors Guild of Nigeria to kindly indulge.


By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday clarified that former Governor of Kano State, Senator Kwankwaso is not suspended from the party. The PDP pointed out that any claim of suspension of Kwankwaso by any individual or group, purporting to be representing any of its organs at any level, is mere fabrication and should be discountenanced. The party which made the clarification in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, similarly dismissed the purported suspension of the former Niger state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu as was “mischievously published in certain quarters”. The PDP stressed that the provisions of its constitution are very clear on the suspension of a member of the National



Kwankwaso, Babangida Aliyu not suspended, says PDP Executive Committee (NEC), if and when such occasion arises. The main opposition party cautioned those behind the misleading claims to desist henceforth. The PDP strongly warned that it will not accept such reckless adventure by such misguided individuals, which its noted, was “capable of destabilizing our party and bringing it to public disrepute”. The party noted such fabrications are aimed at subverting the stability of “our party and trigger disagreements and suspicions within our ranks”.

The statement by Ologbondiyan reads, ‘The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) debunks claims in misleading documents being circulated by some mischievous individuals purporting that former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has been suspended from the party. “The PDP states clearly that Senator Kwankwaso is not suspended from the party adding that any claim of suspension by any individual or group, purporting to be representing any organ of our party at any level, is mere fabrication and should be

discountenanced. “The PDP stresses that the provisions of the constitution of the PDP are very clear on the suspension of a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), if and when such occasion arises, and cautioned those behind the misleading claims to desist henceforth. “The PDP strongly cautions that it will not accept such reckless adventure by such misguided individuals, which its notes, is capable of destabilizing our party and bringing it to public disrepute. “Similarly, the PDP states that

the former Niger state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has not been suspended by the party as mischievously published in certain quarters. “Our party frowns as such fabrications aimed at subverting the stability of our party and trigger disagreements and suspicions within our ranks. “The PDP urges our leaders and teeming members in Kano and Niger states to be at alert, resist distractions and continue to work together as Nigerians earnestly look up to the PDP for solution and direction at this critical time”, it said.

From left: Senior Special Assistant to the African Development Bank (AFDB) President on Industrialization, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka; Acting Vice President of AFDB, Atuko Toda; and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during a meeting at the Presidential Villa on Friday in Abuja

Military neutralizes 5 armed bandits in Benue From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


roops of the joint military spike Operation codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) at the weekend neutralized five armed bandits and injured some during an air raid of their hideouts on the border between Benue and Nasarawa States. The armed bandits, it was gathered, had early hours of Saturday, attacked residents of Anune community on Naka Road in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. According to sources from the area, following the armed bandits’ attack which left some persons dead and others injured, the OPWS troops swiftly went after the

attackers whom they said were retreating towards Nasarawa State. “We saw a helicopter at about 10am on Saturday flying over our community as well as some soldiers in trucks moving into the forest where the attackers had earlier retreated through. “About two hours later, we saw one of the Soldiers’ trucks conveying about five corpses of the armed bandits who had earlier attacked our community towards Makurdi. While noting that the attackers suddenly invaded their community in the middle of the night, one of our local sources who simply gave his name as Adamgbe said they didn’t have any issue at all with the armed bandits before the unprovoked

attack. “Till now, we are still shocked as to why these people would come to attack us because I cannot recollect anybody in our community having any issue with them. The attack was so sudden and unprovoked. “We kept hearing sounds of gunshots for several minutes. By the time the dust settled, we saw they had killed some persons and injured others. “I feel so sad right now that these innocent members of our community were killed by the armed bandits but I’m happy to see that the OPWS was also able to go after them and killed some of them too. “In fact, one of the soldiers told us that when the firing became intense, some of the armed bandits ran away with

gunshot wounds. He said they were able to successfully repel the armed bandits with the full support of helicopter that was deployed for the operation. When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene confirmed the attack on the village. “Today 17/4/2021 at about 4.30am information was received that gunmen invaded Anune, Naka road, Makurdi. A team of Police officers have been deployed to the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order. Further information will be communicated to you please,” she said. Efforts to get the Force Commander of OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini to comment on the matter failed as his phone lines were switched off.



NEWS By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


overnors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have advised the Federal government to plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector. The PDP governors have similarly raised the alarm at what they called ‘the partisan slant’ to a patriotic advice to the Federal Government by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on its monetary policies. The PDP Governors’ Forum, in a statement yesterday by its Director-General, Hon. CID Maduabum, pointedly declared that it is unhelpful for the Progressives Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the bona fides of Governor Obaseki who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support

PDP Governors urge FG to plug financial leakages, curb wasteful spending government’s expenditure. Governor Obaseki, according to the PDP-GF, has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible Governor who talks in a measured way . The Governors elected on the platform of the main opposition party reasoned that by plugging financial leakages in the system and curing wasteful expenditure of billions of naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector, the Federal government will save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN, which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences. Inflation in Nigeria, they noted, is currently at 18.2 %, the highest in recent years. The PDP Governors harped on the pertinent need for all to

be concerned in finding ways of stemming the tide. It stressed further that all are involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and that nobody should indeed play the ostrich. The statement by the forum, which has the Governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as Chairman, reads, “The PDP Governors Forum is alarmed at the partisan slant of patriotic advice to the Federal Government by His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki , on its monetary policies. “It is unhelpful for the Progressive Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the bona fides of Governor Obaseki who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of

uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support government’s expenditure. “Governor Obaseki has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible Governor who talks in a measured way . “His advice, which by the way has been corroborated by none other than the Governor of the CBN himself, and the international ratings agency FITCH , should be heeded rather than being crucified for sounding a note of caution. “No doubt the Federal government has been supporting the States in the area of agriculture, budget, refund of Federal Government executed projects by States and a few other areas of intervention. “Is CBN trying to be vindictive

and vengeful by recalling its loans to the States because of an informed advice by a Governor?.It is unfortunate that governance has plummeted to this level. “The Federal government should plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector and save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN, which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences. Inflation in Nigeria is currently at 18.2 %, the highest in recent years. “We should all be concerned to find ways of stemming the tide. “We are all involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and nobody should indeed play the ostrich”, it said.

Niger govt adopts new strategy to curb insecurity From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


s the New Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmed Garba Gunna 11 officially assumes his ancestral throne, the Niger state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has said that a new strategy to successfully wipe out all forms of criminal activities has been worked out. Governor Bello stated this in his speech at the palace of the new Emir of Kagara in Rafi local government of the state when the Emir took over as the third Emir of Kagara. The governor who was represented by his Chief of Staff Government House Minna Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe stressed the need for collective efforts by all and sundry to defeat insurgency. He advised those that engaged in such negative act to repent to avoid being embarrassed under the new security strategy expected to be efficient and effective and urged Kagara people to rally round the Emir to attain peace and development of the emirate, Niger state and Nigeria as a whole. In his remarks, Emir of Kagara Alhaji Ahmed Garba Gunna thanked Governor Abubakar Sani Bello for finding him worthy for the appointment after carefully

... As New Kagara Emir assumes throne studying recommendations of the Kagara king makers that was conducted transparently and devoid of interference. He however expressed delight

that all those who have contested the Emirship position along with him have registered their allegiance to him and promised to carry every person along to enhance unity and

rapid development of Rafi Local Government Council. Chairman of Rafi Local Government Council Alhaji Ismaila Musa Modibbo advised the people

of Kagara to give the new Emir all necessary support needed to succeed and would also want him to be neutral in politics as father of all.

L-R; Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, Dr Ben Nwoye; A member of the state APC Registration and Revalidation Committee, Ms Ngozichi Okorie; Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Jonathan Zwingina; and Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Ikechukwu, during a wind-down meeting of the Committee in Enugu

Kangiwa mourns FTAN President By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Director General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR),Nura Kangiwa has mourned the death of Saleh Rabo, National President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) and member Board of Directors of the Hospitality and Tourism Sector Skills Council of Nigeria

(HTSSCN). He said Rabo’s death was a great loss to the Nigerian Travel Tourism and Hospitality industry. Kangiwa in an official statement made available in Abuja at the weekend signed by Director Media &Public Relations,Ahmed Sule extolled the virtues of late Rabo Saleh as a committed and hard working professional in the industry. He said his expertise and great

contributions to the industry would be greatly missed. He said Rabo was a pillar in the industry who ensured that quality service delivery was not compromised and did all he could to take the industry to greater heights. He also prayed for the repose of the soul of the late FTAN president and prayed that Almighty Allah grants the family, the Nigerian Travel Tourism

community, friends and associates the courage and fortitude to bear the great loss. The FTAN President died at his Abuja residence in the early hours of friday and was buried according to Islamic rites where prayers were first offered for him at the National Mosque and his body moved to the Gudu Cemetery where it was interned all in Abuja same Friday that he died, 16 April, 2021.


From Umar Dankano,Yola.


he Adamawa state Police Command has arrested a gang of five (5) suspected criminals who specialises in vandalising and stealing of power safe solar Batteries. Spokesman of the Command,DSP Suleiman Nguroje disclosed the development in a press statement issued in Yola Sunday saying that operatives attached to Mubi South Divisional police headquarters made the arrest following a complaint by a resident. DSP Nguroje stated that the suspects including; Douglas Hariph



Adamawa police arrest 5 over power, water, electrical equipment vandalism 32 Yrs,Daniel Yakubu,28Yrs,Umar Muhammad 22Yrs ,Bala Nubia 26yrs and Padeo Kemuel ,24Yrs old were arrested in their various hideouts in Mubi South and Gombi local government Areas. According to the statement,(8) 12 volt power safe Batteries,Machanical tools and

other incriminating items were found in their possession and that they will charge to court for prosecution after investigation. “The Adamawa state Police Command wishes to inform members of the public that on 17/4/2021,the Command’s operatives attached to Mubi South

Division following complaint received from (Name withheld) Security Coordinator of ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Company arrests Five notorious suspects for vandalising,stealing and receiving solar power equipments,Boreholes and electrical cables. “The police Commissioner

directs discreet investigation into the matter and assured that the suspects will be prosecuted accordingly “.The statement explained .arrest 5 over power, boreholes, electrical equipment vandalism Delta shuts illegal orphanages, relocates 22 orphans

Delta shuts illegal orphanages, relocates 22 orphans By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


elta State Government has shut down an illegal orphanage located in Ashaka, Ndokwa East Local Government Area, insisting the Child Rights Bill as domesticated by law must be adopted by orphanages across the state. The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs Flora Alatan on Sunday said that the raid and closure of illegal orphanage was followed by its illegal activities in the Orphanage home called foster paradise in the area The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Oghenekevwe Agas, emphasized that orphanages must comply with the rules and regulations guiding the process of their establishment. The women affairs commissioner pointed out how the Foster Paradise Orphanage did not meet up with the requirements for approval before acquiring over 22 children under its care. Alatan, speaking with the proprietress, who was handed over to the police, said the orphanage did not follow due process, in accordance with the ministry’s guidelines, and was unable to provide any detailed registered documents accounting for the number of children in their custody, thus its closure. She said that the safety of the

children was the priority of the government, stressing that the ministry did not have the accurate data and information concerning the children.

The male children, 11 in number, were from there taken to a government approved orphanage known as Orem Orphanage in Ughelli, while the

female children also 11 in number, were taken to Ojone Orphanage in Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local government. The proprietress of the

Foster Paradise Orphanage, Mrs Antonett said she had relocated from Lagos and had begun the registration process but had not acquired the license.

Cross section of graduates, at the graduation ceremony of 22nd graduation ceremony Centre for Resource Development Iniviative in collaboration with National Open University Kaduna yesterday. pic by Shehu K. Goro

SOKAPU, Police differ on detention of Atyap leaders From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Kaduna State Police Command and Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) seem to have differed over the detention of 15 Atyap Community leaders in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the State. The police through the Public Relations Officer ASP Mohammed Jeliga said they have three persons under detention for Criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbance and abduction. The police stated that on the 21st March, 2021 Ardo Bammi, Ardo Pate Yakubu Gaje, and Ardo Anchau all of the same address went to Gora-Gan, Zangon Kataf LGA, Kaduna State to retrieve their cows that were in military custody. “After they collected the cows, they requested for military escort but the Secretary to the District Head of Gora, Atyap Chiefdom insisted that there should

be no need for military escort as he will ensure that they reach their destination safely. “However, while on their way out of Gora-Gan, unidentified hoodlums ambushed and attacked the vehicle that was used in conveying them. “ This resulted in all the occupants of the vehicle scampering in different directions into the bush for safety. Meanwhile, Ardo Anchau, Ardo Pate and Yakubu Gaje whereabouts remain unknown. ‘on receipt of the complaint, the Operatives of the Command were immediately detailed to ensure that the criminals are apprehended while the victims recued unhurt. “During the course of Investigation, three suspects were arrested in connection with the incident while effort is being intensified with a purpose of ensuring that Justice is served in the interest of peace in the area. 3.In view of the above, the Kaduna”

But in a sharp reaction the SOKAPU Spokesman Luka Binniyat in a statement made available to media in Kaduna yesterday stated that the15 Atyap Community leaders were tricked to a meeting by military officers of Operation Safe Haven on the 31st, March, 2021 at the Headquarters of Operation Safe Haven, close to Kafanchan, Jemaa LGA Kaduna state. The Statement added that after spending four agonizing days of torture in the hands of the military, they were later transferred to the Kafanchan Police Area Command. “Again they suffered brutal detention in the hands of the police between 3rd to 9th April, 2021, and were never arraigned before any court of law. “These leaders, who had come on the invitation of the soldiers so that a way forward could be found over the incessant invasions, killings and arson of Atyap Communities, where again transferred to Kaduna State police Force Headquarters,

where they are now held at the Kabala police Station, Kaduna, as tension continues to swell in Atyap land over the sufferings they are being subjected to. The Statement further stated that the detained Atyap community leaders are the following: Atyoli Ishaya Achi (Dakachin Zonzon Community); Atyoli Joseph Bitrus (Secretary to Dakachin Wawarafi); Atyoli Bitrus Adamu (Village Head of Ma’wakili); Atyoli Samaila Kazah (Village Head of Unguwan Tabo). Others are: elder Waje Laah (85 years and very ill) of Mabuhu village; Atyoli Ayuba Dodo (Dakachin Mashan 1) and Peter Katung, a youth leader. ASP Mohammed Jeliga however stated that Kaduna police Command is assuring the parties involved that justice will certainly prevail to serve as deterrence to whosoever want to truncate the relative peace currently being enjoyed in that axis of the State.




Ramadan: NGO distributes Don advocates food items to needy deployment From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs), Kadi Malami Foundation has distributed food items to internally displaced persons (IDP) and other people with disabilities in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi state capital. A statement by Yahuza Dada, the Media and publicity officer of Kadi Malami Foundation said

that the foundation is working under the instructions of its founder, Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, to target disabled, orphans, widows and the less privileged in the state in addition to other vulnerable groups. He said that during last year Ramadan, the foundation was able to target Five thousand (5000) Households but this

year the target has been doubled to Ten thousand (10000) households. He assured the target groups to remain calm, adding that the process is a continuous one until all targeted groups are reached. He said that the items were part of the Ramadan gifts to the less privileged while it will be distributed across the 21 Local Government areas of the State. Speaking to newsmen, one of the beneficiaries, Mallama

Hannatu Mohammed thanked the founder of the foundation, saying that the items will help them a lot. In a massage to the State, the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami SAN called on Muslim faithful in the state to use the blessed month of Ramadan to pray for everlasting peace and peaceful coexistence in our dear state and Nigeria at large.

of corps members to ECOWAS states By Albert Akota


R-L; The Principal,Government Science Secondary School , Tunga - Maje, Abuja, Mrs Helen Nkoli Okedo receiving best principal for the year 2020 award in FCT from the National President , Foundation for Correction of Moral decadence (FCMD), Dr. Joseph Danley , during FCMD award ceremony for oustanding Nigerian that Perform well in their carrier and promoting morals value in our society, held recently at merit house Maitama Abuja.

Ramadan: Katsina commissioner supports 3,104 constituents with N23 million From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he Katsina state Commissioner of Environment, Alhaji Hamza Sule Faskari has supported 3,104 vulnerable persons in four local government areas of the state with N23 million. The support was specifically given to the beneficiaries to ease their financial hardship during the Ramadan period. Speaking at an occasion to hand over the support to the beneficiaries, weekend in Faskari, Alhaji Hamza Sule disclosed that the beneficiaries were carefully selected from

Faskari, Sabuwa, Kankara, Dandume and some parts of Funtua local governments. He added ” we are here to compliment the efforts of our leader, Katsina state governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari in alleviating people’s suffering especially during the Holy month of Ramadan”. Faskari similarly thanked Allah and the Katsina state governor for the improvement of security in the troubled areas of the state. ”Governor Masari has been showing concerns over the insecurity in our area. His government has been doing its best to make sure normalcy is returned in the area” he said

He therefore called on residents to use the special month of Ramadan to pray for leaders, security agencies and for peace to return to the area. Faskari also thanked the wife of the state governor, Hajiya Hadiza Aminu Bello Masari who personally attended the occasion. In a remark, the vicechairman APC, Funtua zone, Alhaji Bala Abu Musawa commended the commissioner for the kind gesture. He said ” Hamza is not the only one appointed from our zone, but he has proved to be one among equals. This is the fifth time he was providing support for his constituents”.

Musawa noted that Hamza is not only commissioner for Funtua zone as according to him “his kind gesture has covered the entire Katsina of Katsina state”. Also speaking, Special adviser to the state governor on social interventions, Alhaji Abdulqadir Mammam Nasir has hailed the commissioner for intervening in supporting the vulnerable poor in the state. Nasir further disclosed that the state governor has set-up a committee to conduct a census of women and orphans affected by the security challenges in the state with a view of supporting them.

Lecturer in the University of Ibadan, Prof. Oka Obono has advised the National Youth Service Corps to utilize the provisions of the ECOWAS Free Movement for the deployment of Corps Members across Member States. In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Adenike Adeyemi Mrs, Director, Press and Public Relations, said it would reduce unemployment among the youth, and also curb the increasing rate of social vices among them. Obono stated this during his lecture titled; “Strategies for Sustaining the NYSC in a Changing World”, delivered at the 2021 NYSC Top Management Retreat held in Suleja, Niger State. He advocated that all stakeholders should embrace expansion strategies that would be of benefit to the youths. “Expand operations to the West African region thereby reducing internal graduate unemployment and reducing pressures on the Nigerian labour market”, he said. The Varsity Don, who bemoaned inter-ethnic distrust as the bane of the county’s problems commended Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim for his exemplary leadership style since assuming duty as the 18th DG of NYSC. He further advised that all stakeholders must adopt a high level of diplomacy and advocacy to positively engage the unlearned youths who are potential threats to societal peace and national development. NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim in his remarks, said that the retreat was a platform for the Scheme’s appraisal of its operations by the top management. He added that it would also help to formulate new strategies that will guide its operations in a changing world. “We will intensify more on our proactive disposition to official engagements to move the Scheme Forward”, he said.




Edo Duke seeks reform of vigilante groups, accountability from govt By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro


he Duke (Enogie) of Eyaen, His Royal Highness Osazuwa Aiwerioghene Iduriase in Uhunmwode Local Government Area has urged the State Government to properly screen persons being recruited as members of vigilante groups in the State. He also tasked the Government to fulfil her electoral promises, particularly the deplorable roads, flooding and blockage of the water channel by unauthorized land developers in the neighbouring Community as the wet season sets in. He made the remark when the leadership of Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council paid him a courtesy call at his palace

in the Local Government Area of the State. The traditional ruler said the operations of the vigilante groups as constituted is not only appalling, but falls short of public expectations arising from lack of background checks and reports of alleged extortions from property developers and other lawful residents in the State. “So, I am advising and also appealing to the state government and law enforcement agencies to watch carefully before any member can be giving the authority to go about with gun. “Not all the personnel recruited are vigilante. Recruiting members into vigilante without appropriate screening. A member of a vigilante ought to have come with a surety or be recommended by the traditional

ruler, village head, head of Community and head of street to the Divisional Police Officers or the Area Commander or Commissioner of police for appropriate documentation and recommendation”, he said. Iduriase admitted however that the vigilance groups in collaboration with security agents have helped in crime reduction, with a charge on Nigerians to support the security agencies for effective service delivery. According to him, “A group of persons who form themselves or calling themselves vigilante here in our Community, we have seen them trying to extort money from developers in the Community, harassing them with guns. They called themselves vigilante. This has already been reported to the police station. properly screen them.

“Before I could recommend a person to be recruited into vigilante I must have know about the person’s background and history. If any vigilante member happens to commit crime you will know where to trace the vigilante member to. Just bringing anybody in the name of security in the town is not safe for the people. “I want to encourage you to do more and ask our governments to do all that they promises. Let them fill all the promised made during the electioneering campaigns as the rain season is set in. “I want to an appeal that you should focus on our government. Let them know that we all know our right. Let them know that you can remember them on their promises while they were campaigning. Now rainy season is fast approaching majority of the areas that are presently

motorable within a short period from now such areas will no longer be motorable again. “You won’t be able to drive out or go into your Street because there is no erosion control. That is what some members of the Community are against what I am doing. Both the foot path and road wide enough for vehicle is the same thing during the rainy season because water must finds its way. “Without my authority some persons went to cover moat of a very long distance simply because I travelled. I was not in the Country, they take advantage of it and blocked the moat and sell it to developers. I am using this opportunity to advise the state government to look at it properly. It is an abomination. You don’t cover moat because it is easier to channel water to and let the water goes its level”, he lamented. Earlier in a remark, the Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ, Edo State Council, Comrade Nefishetu Yakubu, commended the traditional ruler for attracting development to the area and ensuing that there is peace in his domain.

Buhari Greets ExIGP Smith At 75

P From right: Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Senators Abdullahi Adamu and Adamu Aliero arrive at Dutse International Airport, Jigawa, en route to Potiskum in Yobe for the fund raising for the Central Mosque, on Saturday with other Senators on the entourage are Sani Musa, Sadiq Suleiman, Bello Mandiya and Rep. Tijjani Dan Mutum.

Tanker Explosion Kills 7 In Benue From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


t least seven persons were reportedly killed and over 50 houses burnt yesterday as a petrol tanker exploded in Oshigbudu-Obagaji road in Agatu Local Government

Area of Benue State. Eye witness account said that a fully loaded tanker carrying petrol, fell at the OshigbuduObagaji junction and the Petro which poured down from the broken tanker, flowed towards a filling station along Oweto

axis and caught fire, puting the entire Oshigbudu community in flames. The fire, according to reports, also spillled to adjoining houses and shops located close to the petrol station destroying them and several vehicles parked by

the roadside. It was gathered that efforts were made to contact the Otukpo Fire Service to come to their rescue but their fire fighting vehicle was said to have broken down, making the situation a helpless one.

resident Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, on his 75th birthday. President Buhari in a statement on Sunday described the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and ex-head of the Lagos State Security Council as an outstanding officer who had served Nigeria with great zeal. The President in the statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, noted that as the Chairman of the PSC, Smith bears the tremendous responsibility of modernizing our police force in a way that reflects the hopes and aspirations of the citizens and wishes him the very best in carrying out the task.




PDP Group lauds Gov. El-Rufai for increasing nutrition budget by N500m savours From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Sunday commended Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for approving the increase in nutrition budget line from N188 million to N688 million. The CS-SUNN’s Coordinator in the state, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, made the commendation in Kaduna yesterday. The Coordinator who was reacting to El-Rufai’s approval for the upward review of the nutrition budget line by N500 million, said the development was an indication of the ElRufai led-administration’s

responsiveness to the survival, growth and development of children in the state. She said that the additional fund was a kindle of hope for the 18,355 children, representing 1.1 per cent of the estimated 1.8 million under five years suffering from severe acute malnutrition in the state. She said that CS-SUNN, along with other development partners such as UNICEF, Save the Children International as well as Alive and Thrive (Fhi 360), have been advocating for increased funding of the nutrition sector. “I remember we raised concern during the 2021 Draft Budget Public Townhall Meeting that the N188 million budget

line provided under the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) was inadequate. “We equally observed that beside the N188 million allocated for nutrition interventions, there was no specific budget line for procurement of RUTF. “I was so excited when I heard that Gov. El-Rufai had approved the upward review of the allocation by N500 million. “This is commendable considering the high number of SAM children that may die if adequate RUTF is not provided,” she said. She, however, appealed to the state government for timely release and cash backing of the funds.

This, according to her, will ensure effective implementation of nutrition interventions that will not only treat malnourished children but prevent healthy children from becoming malnourished. The Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, Malam Salisu Lawal, had announced the approval during the First Quarter Nutrition Partners Coordination Meeting on Thursday. Lawal had explained that the amount would be used to procure Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) used in the treatment of Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) in children.

Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila (middle), Minority Leader House of Representatives Ndudi Elumelu (4th left), CEO GOTNI Leadership Centre Dr. Linus Okorie (5th right), Ejezie Emeka Rolas (5th left), Bob Manuel Udokwu (right), Kenneth Okonwo (3rd left), Kanayo O. Kanayo (2nd left) and other Nollywood actors and operators, during the opening ceremony for a 2 day leadership training, at the weekend in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

593 Edo Varsity students take Matriculation oath By Osaigbovomwan Iguobaro


93 students who were offered admission in the 2020/2021 academic session into Edo State University, Uzairue, Edo State have taken the Matriculation oaths of the institution. The 6th Matriculation Ceremony held at the main Campus of the institution, also featured the induction of the first set of Post graduate students. In a remark, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Emmanuel Aluyor, advised the students to shun

acts that are inimical to their academic pursuit. While declaring the Ceremony open, the VC, enumerated some of the achievements of the institution. He said Edo University is the first in Nigerian University to own an Anatomage table and first University in Nigeria and West Africa to acquire the CANVAS learning management system (LMS) for teaching. Anatomage table is the most advanced digital device for the training of medical students while *CANVAS, conotes a course management system that supports online learning and

teaching. It allows professors to post grades, information, and assignments online. The Vice Chancellor also commended the visitor to Edo University, Governor Godwin Obaseki for his support in making the University achieve its goals. According to him, “We as a university have made a commitment to run all our programmes within the stipulated time for the programmes. You can attest to the fact that we have kept faith with this commitment for our undergraduates; despite the COVID pandemic, we

graduated our students in 2020 as planned”. Miss Ali Sumaya from the department of medicine and surgery, described the day as awesome. A former Chief of Staff to former Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe was among the dignitaries that graced the occasion while a BritishNigerian United Kingdom based Scholar/Entrepreneur, Dr. Prisca Richards, Prof. Ben Ugheoke and Charles Aloaye Asekomhe gave goodwill messages virtually.

sweeping victory in Rivers LG polls By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said yesterday that its sweeping victory in the 23 local government areas as well as the 319 wards in Rivers state, is a further demonstration of its political supremacy and repositioning to take back its dominant position in the affairs of the nation at the center, come 2023. The party stated this in a press statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja. It asserted that the overwhelming victory in a state like Rivers, with its egalitarian population and political exposure, further confirmed that parties like the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its leaders have lost all footholds, not only in the state, but also in the South South region and the nation at large. The PDP maintained that the election has “shown that the APC only exists in the empty boasts of their few disoriented leaders, who have lost credence in the sight of the people and are only hanging around waiting for President Buhari to complete his second and final term in office”. The PDP’s wholesale electoral victory, the statement added, is a reaffirmation of the popularity and acceptance of Governor Nyesom Wike in his unprecedented development of the state in all sectors in line with the manifesto and ideology of the PDP. The PDP congratulated Governor Wike, the newly elected local government chairmen and councilors as well as the people of Rivers state for “ the triumph of democracy in the state”. The party thus urged the newly elected council officials to emulate Governor Wike and hit the ground running in the development of the state in line with the vision of the governor and the PDP.



Letter to the Editor


Return of university Appreciating Faisal’s transformational leadership visitation panels S By David Onmeje


rof. Attahiru Jega has promised level of implementation of the white to work with other chairmen paper on the last visitation reports. of newly inaugurated visitation “It will look into the leadership panels for public universities to quality of each university in terms of produce “excellent reports” to the roles of its governing council, the reposition the country’s tertiary vice chancellor and other principal institutions. Jega, a former chairman officers,” he said. “It will look into of the Independent National Electoral the financial management of each Commission (INEC) was speaking last institution including statutory Tuesday on behalf of other chairmen allocations and internally generated at the inaugural ceremony for 38 revenue over the recommendation federal universities and four inter- period. It will investigate the university centres in Abuja. He called application of funds, particularly the for consistency in the constitution of special grants and loans meant for visitation panels for federal tertiary specific projects in order to determine institutions. the status of such projects.” Jega urged the federal government Adamu, therefore, urged the panels to implement recommendations to conclude their responsibilities from the panels, while also with the best practices pledging full commitment of within the period of panel members to produce 60 days. The Executive excellent reports. “We shall Secretary, the do our best and produce National Universities excellent reports which, we It will look into Commission (NUC), the leadership Prof. hope, the government will Abubakar put to good use to reposition quality of each Rasheed said that the country’s universities. each of the 42 panels university in No doubt, a lot of challenges comprised prominent terms of the roles persons who had exist in the institutions and the President has offered of its governing served the nation in an opportunity for careful council, the vice various capacity. He review of the nature of the chancellor and tasked the chairmen of challenges on which basis other principal the panels to do their recommendations will be best to reposition the made to address them,” he officers,” he said. education system for said. the good of the nation. Earlier, the Minister of We welcome the Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, return of university visitation panels. while inaugurating the visitation panels They were very active and popular as directed by President Muhammadu when the military were in power. Their Buhari, charged them to evaluate disappearance, ironically, coincided the policies and laws of the specific with the return to civil rule. The institutions. Adamu, represented by consequence is the pervasive rot we Mr Sonny Echono, the Permanent see today in the university system. Secretary of the ministry, urged the Strikes by university lecturers have panels to adhere to their terms of been frequent. The latest was the one reference to improve efficiency and that began in February 2020 and effectiveness in the institutions. ended only last January. We trust the He said that the panels would cover new visitation panels to do a good job. a period of 10 years between 2010 With the likes of Jega heading them, and 2020 and would be expected to hopes are high. present two reports covering 2011 However, as the former university to 2015 and 2016 to 2020. According vice chancellor and chairman of to him, each panel will have people INEC said, it is one thing to produce in academia, someone who knows “excellent reports” but another thing the financial matters in the business to implement them faithfully. We hope sector, someone with the knowledge both the panels and the government of the law and other instrument”. Each will do their part to truly reposition the panel is expected to inquire into the malfunctioning university system.

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ometime in 2020, the Director- General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, wisecracked; “Without health, people have nothing; without health, we have nothing as humanity.” Unmistakably, the global health specialist, again re-echoed the indispensability of an excited and happier humanity only when it is steeped in good health. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and with a population of over 200 million people, issues of public health have always been the concern of successive Governments in the country. Public healthcare delivery is also topmost on the cards of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Firstly, Mr. President vowed to vacate Nigeria’s inglorious status as a nation still plagued by poliomyelitis (wild poliovirus) pandemic. And after a painstaking search, President Buhari appointed Mr. Faisal Shuaib, a medical doctor; homebred and later, American-trained public health specialist as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in January 2017. He parades unimpeachable records in management of public health issues globally. Dr. Shuaib spent productive time and years at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Seattle USA, as a Senior Program Officer, where he excelled. At BMGF, Nigeria’s NPHCDA boss now, mastered the rudiments of developing and implementing strategies on polio outbreak response in Africa. So, his 2017 job in Nigeria was like walking on a familiar terrain with a wave of the hand. Frankly, dealing with Nigeria’s largely rural based population and a citizenry with diverse cultures and religious beliefs were nightmares beyond the proverbial storm in a tea cup. But the leadership of NPHCDA fell on a seedy soil in Dr. Faisal Shuaib. He was extremely worried at the dearth of quality Primary Health Care (PHC) services in Nigeria generally. He voiced it at several fora that Nigeria only takes care of about 20%, instead of at least 70% of primary healthcare delivery to the people. So, he sought to change the narrative and today, most State Governments in Nigeria have prioritized PHC services as the fulcrum of Government, thus lessening the burden on secondary and tertiary health institutions. In spite of the difficulties, Dr. Faisal Shuaib braved the odds very courageously with a mind fixated on success to end the plaque of wild polio in Nigeria. Therefore, in June 2020, the Africa Regional Certification Commission, an independent body mandated by WHO to oversee and certify the African region as poliofree, declared Nigeria as absolutely exculpated from the endemic poliovirus. Nigeria was the only country on the African continent which withheld WHO’s certification of polio eradication. But Dr. Shuaib untied the knot in the collaboration with USAID by strengthening national health infrastructure systems and immunization. He faithfully and victoriously battled the scourge of poliovirus. Upon defeat of poliovirus, Dr. Shuaib heaved a sigh of relief and excitedly exclaimed; “An amazing moment in our history…The Nigeria team led by NPHCA and partners demonstrated evidence of our polio-free status.” It was a earth-shattering point in Nigeria’s public health history. But the eradication of the troublesome and somewhat, disgraceful wild poliovirus was merely Dr. Shuaib’s litmus test. No one, including soothsayers had an inkling of an impending and more dangerously explosive public health issue, which manifested with the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. When COVID-19 broke out, it shuddered the world, massively spreading and killing. For the first time in a long while, even developed economies and nations with sophistry in medical technology bowed to the might of a

deadly health scourge. Luckily, through Dr. Faisal Shuaib’s astuteness and leadership ingenuity at NPHCDA, Nigeria has gone down in world history books as a country, which effectively controlled and managed the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. It shocked other nations of the world that Nigeria had a little over 157, 000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and less than 2,000 deaths, from the pandemic; whilst other countries around the globe recorded millions of infected people and deaths. However, Dr. Shuaib proved his leadership mettle more translucently when COVID-19 vaccine was developed and certified by WHO for the immunization of people to curb the spread of coronavirus globally. In Nigeria, regressive partisanship, cultural and religious beliefs or prohibitions combined to frustrate or stifle the vaccination of Nigerians. Indeed, some skeptics and doomsayers predicted a failure of the Buhari Presidency to effectively administer the initial 3.92 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on the people. Mr. Cheta Nwanze, of the Lagosbased risk consultancy firm, SBM Intelligence, bluntly proclaimed through an email; “There are quite a number of factors that work against Dr Shuaib’s hopes. We don’t have the money, and the infrastructure to distribute this amount (sic) of vaccines.” Impressively though, the NPHCDA boss has disappointed his critics and perpetual wailers. While his adversaries mouthed all manner of insanities, it least occurred to them that a famed horse rider was on the horse in Dr. Shuaib’s personage. In 2014, Dr. Shuaib was the main pillar of Nigeria’s successful response to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), as the Head/ Coordinator of the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre (EEOC). He established comprehensive structures that provided quality diagnostic, treatment, care and monitoring of EVD patients’ contacts with friends and family members. Therefore, superintending on the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine immunization on Nigerians was another familiar turf and merely icing of his cake, unknown to his critics. When Nigeria took delivery of the initial 3.92 million doses of the COVAX facility on March 2nd 2021, trailing after Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, Dr. Shuaib knew, another national assignment has beckoned on him to save humanity. Faisal Shuaib rolled out a masterplan and procedures for the COVID-19 vaccination administration. The NPHCDA boss is steadily executing it and hopes to vaccinate 40% of Nigeria’s population of over 200 million by the end of the year 2021, and to achieve the feat of 70 % by 2022, with subsequent receipt of the doses of the COVAX facility. Storage facilities and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines throughout the federation, especially in rural communities were the haunting nightmares of Nigerians. The vaccines require a cold storage temperature of about 70 degrees Celsius in ultra-cold chain equipments, in a country still grappling with the problem of epileptic public power supply. But Dr. Shuaib perceived it as the least among the motley of problems confronting him. So, he engaged the services of the private sector for ultra-cold storage facilities for storage and distribution of the vaccines. So, no Nigerian has complained of an expired COVID-19 vaccine administered on him. Dr. Shuaib set his targets and priorities perfectly. His first obsession was vaccinating medical doctors and public health workers as well as other publicly exposed workers. So, with vociferous public campaigns, preachments and involvement of all public health stakeholders, the NPHCDA boss has crossed the benchmark of success in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the country. Onmeje is a UK based public affairs analyst. Email: daonmeje@outlook




Osun economy: Not yet Uhuru By Adebayo Adedeji


he governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, has been a cynosure of all eyes and often been singled out for commendation for the masterly way he has managed the economy of the state which was lying prostrate as at the time he took over the baton of leadership November 2018. Since assumption of office, Oyetola has shown class and provided exemplary leadership so much so that the worst of his critics are now on the same page with him. Today in Osun, the modulated salary regime, for which the state was notoriously known, is no longer in vogue. For the workers and pensioners do not only get their entitlements in full, they also get it on time — mostly before 28th day of each month. The government he superintends has also begun full implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000; and is one of the four states in the country to comply with the labour law regarding Group Life Assurance package for state

workers. As his government is busy attending to the welfare of the workers and pensioners, so it is, in equal breath, ensuring every part of the state enjoys the dividend of democracy. Many of the roads in the state are now wearing a new look. More than 480km roads have been constructed in the last two years he became the governor. Also, no fewer than 300 health centres have been built across the nooks and crannies of the state. Barely two weeks ago, he launched the Food Support Scheme for the vulnerable citizens of the state. The scheme, under the chairmanship of his special duties commissioner, Olalekan Badmus, and planned to be sustained in the life-time of his administration, is targeted at 30,000 persons per month. Further, the IGR drive of the state is daily gaining momentum. From the yearly N10.4b Governor Oyetola met it at inauguration, the state IGR, according to the 2020 IGR index released 15th April this year, by the National Bureau of Statistics, was put at N19.6b.

Although the N36b yearly target of the administration is not yet realisable ( a N36b the government forecasts is the financial buffer needed to implement its lofty promises to the people), the current feat, no doubt, is significant. And must be appraised positively by all well meaning citizens of the state. Notwithstanding all the successes of the administration — in health, education, road construction, wealth creation, poverty alleviation, etc, etc — the state is still economically in dire strait owing to heavy deductions on its monthly allocations from the federation accounts aimed at defraying financial commitments bequeathed to the current government by previous administrations. In the report of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission for 2019 but published by Punch newspaper on April 6 this year, Osun State was grouped alongside Lagos, Cross River, FCT as federating states that exceeded their debts to net revenues by more than 400 per cent. In

the FRC report entitled ‘Debt sustainability analysis of state governments,’ Osun, specifically, came second with 650.94 per cent Debt-to-Total Net Revenue. This is in clear violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, which, in Section F(C) of the 2012 Revised Guidelines, ‘states that the total amount of loans outstanding at any particular time including the proposed loan shall not exceed 50 per cent of the actual revenue of the body concerned, for the preceding 12 months.’ This sullen picture is not different from what many business analysts have, in the last 5 years, painted in their reports about Osun State. The BudgIT, a technology driven accountability organisation, in its publication of October 2017, chided the state government for obtaining loans for projects that did not add to or improve the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state for the smooth refund of the loans; and equally raised an alarm of the possibility of the state slumping into insolvency. In a similar vein, the Business

Day newspaper in August 2020 reported that for every N100 collected by the state as revenue allocation from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), N91 was spent to service accumulated debts left behind by Governor Oyetola’s predecessors. The reckless borrowing of yesteryears is what is now hunting the government of Gboyega Oyetola — a government known for financial discipline but which also came at a time the world’s businesses are impacted by dwindling revenues occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the state government’s efforts at blocking leakages — and reducing to the manageable level resources hitherto set aside for frivolous political prebandalism — are well acknowledged, the drivers of the economy must double their strengths to scale the hurdles posed against them by excessive legacy debt repayments. They must continue to improvise.

granted: their embarrassing behavior would eventually be forgotten. It might be their predilection to anyone on skirt, or it might be getting drunk and throwing up at social events, but in an analog era, even if the faux pas were documented in a photograph, the likelihood of its being reproduced and widely circulated for years was minimal. The same holds true for stupid or offensive remarks. Once secondary school education was completed, there was no reason to assume that embarrassing moments from the school years would ever resurface any longer. But alas! In this digital age, there is every reason for people to be circumspect about what they say or do in public; even right from secondary school as students. The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as what one naively did in the past is bound to resurface in future, particularly when such person occupies a higher position or aspires for a lofty position; either in politics or in the corporate world. Thanks to the internet. Unlike in the days of analogue when internet technology had not emerged, people now enter the corporate world or politics with the fear that the behavior or mannerisms they exhibited in childhood and adolescence would one day be brought to public domain for scrutiny, and thus begin to haunt them. But as past identities and mistakes become stickier, it’s not just individuals who might suffer. Something much larger would also suffer asthe potential for social change and transformation, may also be at risk. It is disappointing to note that not few people have had their careers or ambitions in politics, sports, entertainment and their likes truncated as the posts they made on social media in the past or what they said or did in the past came back in this age of internet to haunt them. There is no denying the fact that most people do not know that what happens on the internet, or finds its presence on the virtual space will always stay on the internet, particularly as they do not

think twice before making inappropriate posts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram among other platforms. While seeking wide publicity, most people even go to the extent of seeking the services of Youtubers or political opinion writers to post reportorial, editorial and pictorial materials that are informational about their activities on social media, and ensure they go viral while monitoring the number of Comments, Like and Share they attracted. Ignorantly as it seems, most people think they are just talking to accepted friends on the social media platform they are subscribed to when in reality they are talking or rather socializing with the whole world. Gone are the days when social media platforms are simply used to interact with close and distant friends. Outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are used by most people that can in this context be dubbed “Unfriendly friends”. I won’t forget days that heralded the last Gubernatorial election in Edo State as it gave me an insight to the view been expressed at this juncture. A kinsman even commented on one of the article I posted online, specifically Facebook thus: “I don’t like reading this man’s article”. His comment, to be frank, conveyed an aura of hatred, animosity and jealousy. He no doubt represents the kind of people most of us called “Friends” on Facebook. They know everything about you as you keep on posting, commenting and sharing materials that were directly or indirectly from you. They would remain as “Friends” as long as you remain active on social media platform. They will never for once like, comment or share anything that comes from you but they are ironically your friends on social media. Sometimes, when we are on social media platforms, we forget that by one click of a button, we are blasting out our thoughts to the entire world. One person that is at the moment learning the hard way is the Communications Minister, Isa Pantami who has been under fire

since the clips of some of the lectures he delivered over a decade ago resurfaced online. Some of the lectures showed he was sympathetic to extremist sects like Al-Qaeda and Taliban, and expectedly the clips quickly caught online frenzy as many Nigerians demanded that he resigns. Others tore into the minister asking him to clarify the statements or at the least renounce them if truly his opinion has evolved. However, while responding to questions during his daily Ramadan lecture at Anoor Mosque in Abuja on Saturday, the minister, an Islamic cleric, said his position on the subject has since changed, Daily Trust reported. He noted that his position on the subject was based on the information he had at the time, some of which were the consensus opinion among clerics in northern Nigeria at the dawn of the faceoff between the West and some Islamic countries in the early mid-2000s. “Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity,” Daily Trust quoted him as saying. “I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager. I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.” To my view, I think we should begin to forgive ourselves over comments we naively made years back but which in one way or the other find their presence on virtual space. Also in my personal view, “As the Internet Never Forgets, Let’s Forgive!”

Adebayo Adedeji is a Public Affairs Analyst.

Forgets, let’s forgive! By Isaac Asabor


t is not an exaggeration to say that media platforms that were at different times launched on the virtual space were fun places to share photos, jokes, frustrations, thoughts, and milestones. There was the conviction that whatever was posted on anyone’s online profile or timeline was only distributed to friends, family, and those contacts with whom such person choses to share them with. Regrettably, as social media evolves, and continue to permeate all aspects of our personal and professional lives, it has become glaring that what anyone post online can have serious and lasting consequences. For instance, in 2017, President Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie’s photos while she was protesting against fuel subsidy during former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration went viral online few days after she challenged Tuface and others that planned a peaceful protest against Buhari’s policies. In a similar vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the dawn of 2015 said former President Goodluck Jonathan bears a huge moral responsibility that will haunt him for a long time to come for deliberately allowing the Boko Haram insurgency to fester, leading to the deaths of over 15,000 Nigerians and the displacement of over 3 million others in six years. The politically inspired and partisan comment was contained in a statement issued in London by Lai Mohammed at the time, even as the party also hailed the military for the successes it recorded in the battle against Boko Haram at the time, saying the string of victories confirms the party’s stand that the Nigerian military can hold its own anywhere and anytime, if provided with the necessary equipment and if the morale of the troops is not undermined. Without resort to being biased in this context, can Lai Mohammed who was then the party’s spokesman, and now the minister of information and culture

tell Nigerians the same thing about the ongoing government and its fight against the Boko Haram in the last 6 years? The foregoing exemplifies how the internet humbles people because it never forgets. At this juncture, it is expedient to say that Nigerian actor turned politician, Desmond Elliot, will hardly forget what he passed through after a video that showed him condemning the use of social media by influencers, celebrities and the youths surfaced online. .He was accused of pushing for a bill to censor social media speech as he reportedly blamed the shooting of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate on rabble-rousing comments made by social media influencers and celebrities. There is no denying the fact that not few computer scientists will concur with this writer in his view that they might have in the past or recently being approached by politicians who are desirous of cleaning up their digital footprints. The foregoing guesstimation cannot in any way be pooh-poohed as users of the internet, including this writer, are by each passing day scratching their heads over suggestions on how to manage their ‘digital footprints’. It is expedient to say that cleaning up digital footprint is expedient because whenever visit a website, or post something on social media, or someone posts something about you, you literarily leave behind digital traces. This data, which includes your IP address, your usernames and passwords, and other identifying information, forms a digital trail, or footprint, that advertisers and cybercriminals can use to target you. To protect your private information and your online reputation, you need to learn what your digital footprint says about you and what you can do to ensure it remains an asset, not an embarrassment. To this end, it is not false to say that not cleaning up one’s digital footprint has landed most politicians, and even top businessmen into trouble. Until the end of the 20th century, most people could take one thing for

Isaac Asabor is a Public Affairs Analyst.




Scaling up dev’t could help Southern African leaders to Defeat militant attacks in the region By Kester Kenn Klomegah


eaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are now considering, without foreign interference, tackling frequent insurgency devastating regional development, causing havoc to human habitation and threatening security in southern Africa. This collective decision came out after the Extraordinary Double Troika meeting on 8th April in Maputo, Mozambique. The violence unleashed more than three years ago in Cabo Delgado province took a new escalation on March 24 when armed groups attacked the town of Palma. The attacks caused dozens of deaths and forced thousands of Palma residents to flee, worsening a humanitarian crisis that has affected some 700,000 people in the province, according several reports. Many international organizations and foreign countries have responded with humanitarian support and with financial aid aimed at alleviating situation, specifically in Mozambique and generally in southern Africa. For example, the European Union (EU) pledged to send almost €7.9 million in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by terrorism in northern Mozambique, part of a package totaling €24.5 million for the entire southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. EU humanitarian aid to Mozambique “seeks to provide a response to the

humanitarian consequences of the conflict in northern Mozambique, where €7.86 million of EU funding will be directed,” a statement from the European Commission details. Beside horrific attacks, drought is also currently affecting Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For instance, the EU will provide assistance to address a severe food and nutrition crisis in Madagascar. A further €6.00 million for helping children across the whole region gain access to education, and €8.00 million to improve the region’s disaster preparedness. Now Southern African leaders are looking at pulling their resources together to improve the deteriorating security situation, supporting vulnerable displaced and affected people with shelter, food, protection and access to healthcare, especially in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, and further widely in southern Africa. As a first step, SADC has called for cooperation in cross-border surveillance as essential to stem the flow of foreign fighters fomenting terrorism in Cabo Delgado, and further warning the spread of violence throughout southern Africa. Among other measures, SADC suggested that southern African police and judicial systems must consistently work to combat trafficking and money laundering that funds terrorism. Despite these collective measures,

there are still a few more questions as to whether SADC could, in practical terms, control frequent violent extremist attacks using available resources in the southern Africa. SADC, among others, mandates for enforcing collective security in the region. While the presidents of Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have called for “an immediate technical deployment” to Mozambique ahead of another high-level meeting at the end of April, Mozambique has so far been unreceptive, according reports. There have been various suggestions from experts. “What we have here is a human rights and humanitarian crisis that has left hundreds of thousands displaced, insecure and unable to return to their homes because of the attacks that have been ongoing,” said Dewa Mavhinga, the Southern Africa director for Human Rights Watch. “So, the lack of security then spills over to affect everything else, including in terms of stability and economic programs that might be taking place in Cabo Delgado. Historian Yussuf Adam, a retired professor at Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University, told VOA the problems dated back way beyond the start of the insurgency in 2017. He attributed to sharp disparity in development in the region. He believes that Mozambique’s government, most importantly, has to tackle systemic poverty and inequality,

Salvaging our hospitals By Adewale Kupoluyi


he precarious situation in our health institutions continues to be a source of worry to all. Before now, stakeholders in the health sectors have cried out over the deplorable conditions that have taken a heavy toll on the people seeking medical attention. It is worrisome that virtually all aspects of our national life suffer from one problem or another. If there is a sector that deserves more attention, the health sector should be topmost in such classification. For it is when the citizens are healthy that the nation can prosper. A sickening citizen cannot contribute meaningfully towards national advancement. Apart from the several bright minds that the country has lost to brain-drain, the dilapidated health infrastructure has continued to encourage medical tourism in which colossal sums of money are lost to other foreign countries, which the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) puts at about US $1 billion annually and for optimal health care delivery to take root, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a doctor-patient ratio of 1:600 for every country. Painting a gory picture, NMA warns that if Nigeria decides to graduate 3,000 doctors every year without the doctors leaving the country, it would still take another 25 years to meet the WHO estimate! What do we witness today in our health institutions? Sad experiences are reported in the media while firsthand accounts were given some friends and a colleague, who lost his wife a few days ago. While the services provided by private clinics and hospitals are fairer, those provided by government clinics, hospitals, and institutions are

generally poor. The reason for this can be attributed to the same problems that have marred the management of public facilities and infrastructure in the country. The situations in teaching hospitals tend to be more grievous because specialist hospitals are expected to be properly established, funded, equipped, and staffed with a wide range of consultants and personnel. Ordinarily, patients are referred to teaching hospitals when their health conditions are not given the required attention by smaller hospitals. Hence, patients are helpless when asked or taken to teaching hospitals where they are made to suffer untold hardship and neglect. As I mentioned above, a colleague lost his wife at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State after being admitted for childbirth. The excellence that UCH and other leading teaching hospitals across Nigeria are known for appears to be fading-off and becoming something else. In the end, the woman died but the child narrowly survived. Narrating his ordeal, the friend complained that most of the medical workers that attended to them were hostile and treated them with disdain. Not only that, when her sick wife was brought in as an emergency case on a Friday, but she was also not given appropriate attention till Sunday, and when it was time for payment, he lamented that the hospital insisted that payment must be by cash despite the government’s regulations encouraging on cashless transactions. The bereaved man recalled that after payments, people were made to go to another section whereby receipts were issued wondering why payments and issuance of receipts cannot be done simultaneously. The other harrowing

encounter by the bereaved man was that potable water was not readily available, the buildings were dilapidated, many of the wards looked unkempt, and mosquitoes had a field day biting them. As it is, people are frightened to go to hospitals for the fear of contracting new diseases. It was further learned that some sections of public hospitals are designated as special wards. Why such discrimination in a public institution? In many public hospitals, patients wait endlessly in queues to see a doctor irrespective of the nature of their illness, and bed spaces are insufficient that the sick are made to sleep on the bare floor. Another colleague painfully gave her ordeal when she lost her husband, who was on admission at UCH. Aside from the litany of tests that they were asked to do outside the hospital, the recommended drugs and consumables were just too expensive and numerous as she kept buying and buying. Nothing much was done to treat the patient and by the time she returned from where she had gone to collect test results, all the items they previously purchased had disappeared and no one could account for anything. Most of the drugs they were mandated to buy were never used before discharging the patient, who eventually died. To recoup some money, most of the unused drugs had to be resold to ease the debt burden. Why would a patient’s corpse be unduly detained under the guise of conducting another round of tests? The dire situation of our health facilities can be zeroed down to human factors such as graft, inadequate funding, poor administration, non-adherence to medical ethics, lack of enforcement of punitive measures against gross misconduct, and weak supervision

in addition to resorting to a military solution. “There is no military solution. People have to be heard, and things have to be negotiated, and also people’s right to land,” he said. “People have to benefit from whatever it is will come out, is coming out, from this mining, oil, petrol and gas operations. That’s something which has to be seen and done.” Mavhinga says, the government needs to take responsibility for its own policy failures. While militants have committed grievous acts – including rapes and beheadings – rights groups have also documented abuses by Mozambican security forces, including torture and extrajudicial killings. South African lawyer and scholar Andre Thomashausen has also indicated that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has its own internal differences. He anticipated that this SADC summit would not be able to take concrete measures, due to the division of opinions that exists within SADC, the lack of means and manpower resources could obstruct any positive results. Thomashausen, however, said that the previous meeting did not express any solidarity, intervention and appeal to the African Union, regional and international community, explained further that SADC clearly indicated it prefers to deal with the crisis at the regional and without foreign interference. Therefore, the countries of the southern region “continue to bet on their own initiative, on their own

commitment from region.” The final communiqué from the summit condemned the terrorist attacks “in the strongest terms” and declared that “such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response” but it did not suggest what such a regional response might consist of. It further expressed “SADC’s full solidarity with the government and people of Mozambique” and reaffirmed “SADC’s continued commitment to contribute towards the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development in the Republic of Mozambique.” The summit ordered “an immediate technical deployment” to Mozambique, and the convening of an Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ by 28 April 2021 that will report to the Extraordinary Organ Troika summit on 29 April 2021. SADC, an organization of 16 member states established in 1980, has as its mission to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient, productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security; so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy. Kester Kenn Klomegah is a Public Policy Analyst.

by regulatory bodies. Corruption by medical workers allows them to make fortune from the misfortune of others. The decline in statutory allocations to health has equally impaired many public hospitals from performing to expectations. Funds are not released on time and if at all, they are grossly insufficient. For instance, the total combined budgetary allocation by the Federal Government to its teaching hospitals was a meagre N475.37 billion comprising N176.45 billion in 2019, N158.24 in 2018, and N140.68 billion in 2017. Failure to adhere to professional codes such as a subscription to the Hippocratic Oath and other medical ethics would continue to embolden erring health workers to act with impunity. Appropriate disciplinary measures should be meted out to medical practitioners whose professional negligence is a source of embarrassment to the council as was done in the case of Dr. (Mrs.) FCL Olaye v Chairman Medical and Dental Practitioner Investigating Panel ORS [1992] 5 NWLR 553. The truth is that as long as we continue to admit, and enrol persons without human feeling, conscience and calling into medicine, nursing, laboratory technology, and the like, quality healthcare would remain a mirage. Failure by professional associations, regulatory agencies, and government bodies to put a tab on the administration of public hospitals has largely contributed to the problem we are battling with. To make a difference and revamp our health institutions, there is a need for professional bodies to re-orientate their members towards responsive and responsible medical practice. The

government should ensure that statutory allocations are released promptly and adequately while ministries of health at the federal and state levels should embark on regular supervision and monitoring of hospitals. Our legislature should intensify their oversight functions diligently to keep the institutions on their toes and not business as usual. No health worker should be spared for engaging in corrupt practices and misconduct. Hospital management should remove unnecessary bureaucracy that slows down access and aids the stealing of patients’ drugs and belongings. State government should improve on primary and secondary levels of healthcare delivery to reduce undue pressure on teaching hospitals, which in the 1960s and 1970s, largely catered for various categories of patients. More importantly, individuals and corporate organisations should donate and invest in upgrading our health systems. The nation should train more doctors and health professionals on current trends. For a more sustainable approach, the option of public-private partnerships should be seriously explored. As long as health institutions are in a bad shape, many people including top government functionaries and family members would continue to travel out for medical tourism; brain-drain would keep thriving while avoidable casualty would persist. That is why urgent attention is needed to bring about the desired change by salvaging our hospitals. Kupoluyi writes from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State @ AdewaleKupoluyi





Fresh crisis looms in Delta APC leadership By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


head of the 2023 general elections, the All progressive Congress (APC) in Delta State is currently locked in the web of a fresh leadership crisis following the party leaders’ alleged loggerheads. The party in the state has however been accusing its former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, of concluding plans to nominate leaders for the party in Delta State, a situation that had been described as plotting the fall of the party into another round of crisis, especially when it was clear that the party was just coming out of one crisis. In a statement signed by its publicity Secretary, Barr Sylvester Imonina, a copy made available to our correspondent said that “It should be noted that it was this same way Oyegun who as national Chairman created the numerous crises that have bedeviled the party, which resulted in tremendous losses during different elections in the state. “It is therefore quite disheartening that the said Oyegun is now at the forefront of plunging the party in the state into another round at a time when the party is just coming out of such parochial battle. It is clear that this present action of the former National Chairman will spell doom for the party and we wonder what he stands to gain from his Machiavellian tactics of tearing the party apart in Delta State. According to the statement, “The point must be emphasized that the Constitution of our great party is very clear on who is in charge of the affairs of the party in the state and that is the state Chairman, in the person of Prophet Jones Ode Erue. “As a former National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun should be aware that there is no constitutional provision which gives him the powers to nominate and/ or appoint leaders of the party, perhaps, Chief John Odigie Oyegun is still clinging to and maybe suffering from the vestiges of lost power as a former National Chairman”. The statement explained “The party in the state wants to sound loud and clear that Chief John Odigie Oyegun should leave Delta State alone and resolve the challenges that is facing his home state of Edo where he has become a persona non grata due to his penchant for creating needless problems and as the proverbial saying goes, he should remove the log in his eyes before looking at the speck in another person’s eyes.

APC Governors fault Obaseki over. CBN printing of N60bn allegation By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum has criticised the Edo state Governor , Godwin Obaseki, over his recent public comment that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) printed N60 billion to augment the shortfall in the federal Government allocation to states. In a statement issued yesterday by the chairman of the Forum, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, who is the Governor of Kebbi State, the APC Governors said the claim by Governor Obaseki does not reflect the true situation of things. The Forum, in the statement released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja, said at first, the impression it got was that it was an off the cuff remark made in a private meeting, but “we were however shocked to see yet another response from our colleague to the rebuttal by the HM Finance insisting that the March 2021 FAAC was augmented via the printing of money.

The PGF states: “Given the significance of the statement from a sitting governor and the possible negative impact it has brought to the credibility of both the federal and State government in managing government finances, the Forum is obliged to put a statement out. “To set the records clear and to the best of our knowledge, the total distributable statutory revenue for the month of March 2021 was N596.94 billion. Due to the shortfall in gross statutory revenues by N43.34 billion compared to the previous month, an augmentation was made in the sum of N8.65 billion from the Forex Equalization Fund Account, which brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion. “Federation revenues distributed monthly primarily consist of mineral revenues from the sale of oil and gas, as well as non-mineral revenues from customs and excise duties, company income tax, and value added tax.” The Progressive Governors admitted that there are periods when

the country experiences significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but said the shocks are offset by other savings serviced from the federation account, including distributions from the domestic excess crude proceeds and the foreign excess crude savings account. “These payments started since 2008 when the country first experienced fiscal shocks from the fallouts of the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009. As a trained Economist who has been a Governor since 2016, Mr. Obaseki is aware of all the support states have received from President Buhari in coping with the shocks that have resulted from the CoviD 19 pandemic and resulting economic recession. “Not only have we received budget support, bail out support to meet salary obligations and infrastructure refunds to all states, this was implemented in the overall public interest without discrimination on the basis of party affiliation. This is why it’s unfortunate and disingenuous to

allege preferential treatment of APC states when PDP governed states are even greater beneficiaries of all the support,” said the PGF. It said there was nothing exceptional in this current review of economic orthodoxy because “almost every Central Bank in the world is taking steps to support their government in coping with the effect of Covid 19 pandemic on the national economy. This has become the norm rather than the exception as all countries grapple with the deleterious effect of economic recession.” The PGF continues: “This unfortunate and inaccurate assertion by Governor Obaseki becomes even more worrisome when juxtaposed with the official statement released after the meeting of PDP Governors last week, calling for restructuring and greater devolution of powers to the States. It would appear that matters that require the collective resolve of all leaders are now being turned into purely partisan, point scoring claims. People waiting to cast their vote, during the 2021 River State Local Government election Word 9 Unit 7 at Romuperikom in Port Harcourt on Saturday

Rivers LG poll is a shame to democracy, no election took place - AAC says By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he African Action Congress (AAC) has called for the scraping of the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) across the country, saying that the election conducted at the weekend in Rivers State by the State electoral commission was a shame to democracy as no election took place in the state. In a statement issued yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Sylvester Cletus, AAC said the outcome of the Rivers local government election is a big embarrassment to Nigeria democracy. While calling for its outright cancellation and re-conduct of the exercise, the party condemned what is described as ‘brigandage’ that it

alleged took place during the polls with ballot snatching, thuggery, late arrival of electoral materials, over militarization, as part of the unendearing traits that highlighted the polls. The statement by the AAC said “Particularly, the party came hard on Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noting that with the charade that took place in Rivers, both entities have demonstrated clearly that they are against democracy in Nigeria. “The African Action Congress, AAC , calls for the immediate scrapping of Rivers State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC) and other State Electoral Commissions across the 36 States of the Country. The party maintains that if these

State Electoral Commissions are not scrapped, democracy will continue to remain elusive in the country. “The objective of such Electoral Institutions has never been to act as State apparatus of mischief in scuttling, intimidating and disfranchising eligible voters in exercising their legitimate fundamental rights as enshrined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “It is very clear that these State Electoral Commissions have outlived their usefulness and the RSIEC shoddy performance and bias clearly have shown they are not needed any more. “Its pertinent to restate categorically that RSIEC performed woefully with PDP subverting the will of the people in the Local Government

Elections in Rivers State held on 17th April, 2021. “The State Independent Electoral Commissions, SIECs, by design, is expected to work with, and regulate activities of all Political Parties ensuring no Electoral rules and regulations are violated with conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive polls but contrary to upholding this, the Electoral Commissions completely have ostracized, subdued and emasculated political parties in the States aided and sponsored by the ruling Parties in the States”. ACC therefore called on the Federal Government to scrap such State Independent Electoral Commissions as it has totally lost credibility and neutrality and have instead enthroned electoral fraud.




Gov, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi (R), with his Wife, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu at the 5th Kebbi Women Ramadan Lectures organist by office of the Governor wife, Dr Zainab Shinkafi- Bagudu on Saturday in Birnin Kebbi

Anambra guber: As 16 PDP aspirants wait for Wada’s screening committee report By Lateef Ibrahim


t is a truism that the Anambra State governorship election, which will be conducted to elect a successor to Governor Willie Obiano of the state, who has been piloting its affairs for over seven years now, will take place on November 6, this year. This is because the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has already okayed that date, barring any unforseen circumstance(s) that may necessitate a change in date. Although, the State is presently under the control of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, but the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as well as the ruling party at the centre, All Progressives Congress, APC, from all indications, are doing all thing legally possible, to win the state come Saturday, November 6. The quest to win the Anambra State governorship election is beyond just coming victorious in the state for the political parties. It will, no doubt, speak volume or serve as a pointer/ signal as to the direction things will go politically in the SouthEast geo-political come the 2023 general election. Already, both the PDP and APC have slated their governorship primaries to pick their respective candidates for the Anambra governorship election for June 26, this year. The PDP, for instance, spent Monday and Tuesday last week (April 12 and 13 respectively) in screening the sixteen aspirants who purchased the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms at its Wadata House National Secretariat in

Abuja. The aspirants screened included; Senator Uche Ekwunife, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, Hon. Chris Azubogu, Okeke Walter Ubaka, Barr. (Mrs) Chidi Onyemelukwe, Mr Tony Nwoye, Mr Winston Udeh and Dr Ifedi Okwena. Others were; Mr Godwin Maduka, Mrs Ekwochi Genevieve, Mr Ugochukwu Uba, Mr Emeka Etiaba, Hon Nzeribe Marcellinus Chukwumaeze and Chief Maduafokwa Olisakwe Johnny Eisenhower. Each of the aspirants coughed out the sum of twentyone (21) million naira to obtain the two forms. This is aside from another five (5) million naira each of them paid at the Anambra State office of the party. The responsibility/mandate of screening the aspirants was given to a former Governor of Kogi State and pilot, Captain Idris Wada and four others. Wada, at the end of the screening exercise, confidently declared that his committee had done a thorough job that is good enough for any of the candidates that emerges to scale judicial hurdles, should they arise. Captain Wada, whose committee began sitting at exactly 9am on the first and second day and sat till 7pm on each of the two days, told journalists at the end screening exercise that all the aspirants were made of quality stuffs. The former Kogi State governor said, “I am happy to state that we have completed the physical exercise of examining the aspirants who have come up

for the gubernatorial elections in Anambra state, under our great party, the PDP. There were 16 aspirants”. The committee screened ten aspirants on the first day and six on the last day. Continuing, he said, “Yesterday (Monday) we were able to interview and interact with 10 of them and today the last day), we have completed interactions with the remaining six. “All the aspirants were outstanding individuals and we believe that whoever emerges eventually as the candidate of our party, after the primaries, will be a credible, very strong candidate who will help our party to win the elections. “We will compile our report on each of the aspirants and then forward our recommendations to the National Working Committee. “I believe that with a thorough work we have done, any candidates that emerges from our party will come out strong well qualified, no misdemeanors, no issues will be raised as to his/her qualifications. “They are people of experience, and they will be able to impress the people of Anambra State to elect them as the governor for the state under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party PDP”, he said. Speaking on what the screening committee has put in place to forestall a repeat of the Bayelsa State’s experience where a governor-elect, was disqualified as a result of the certificate of his running mate, Wada said, “You must look at the dedication and passion which we have applied to this

exercise, we have been very thorough, very detailed. “We asked several questions, which were efficient, you know efficiency is a factor of time and productivity. “So we have worked very hard to examine all the documents thoroughly we are being guided by recent Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High court decisions on candidates. “We believe that the job we have done is thorough enough for any of the candidates that emerge to scale judicial hurdles, should they arise. “Nobody came to us with bogus certificates or documentations that we could not verify. We used the means available to us to ensure that documents that were examined were thoroughly examined and they were confirmed to be authentic. “We had no incidence of any false certificate or fake certificates or anything like that. And my committee members are all very experienced politicians and highly educated individuals. So we are confidence of the job we have done for our party”, he confidently declared. He explained that the mandate given to his committee by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP was to examine these sixteen (16) aspirants , “and we have done that successfully”. According to him, “Anything beyond what we have done is up for the NWC and they have people or experience and knowledge to help them in determining who is suitable to be deputy governor”. Reacting to the issue of possible consensus candidate among the aspirants, Captain

Wada said, “It did not come up directly because out mandate is to examine then (aspirants) and their documentations and see whether they are suitable. “But as leaders of our party, as committed members of the PDP, we discussed with them on possibility of working together for total support of whoever emerges after the primaries and we will convey some of our observations to the NWC for their decisions. But consensus candidacy was not part of our mandate. We did not dabble into that’. Answering a question as to which aspect(s) of the committee’s assignment needed to be improved upon, the former Governor of Kogi state said, “To be quite honest, this is the most thorough screening exercise I have seen in PDP. “The National Working Committee and the Office of the National organizing Secretary have organized screening in PDP now in a well documented way, where you are guided on things you should do to make sure that you don’t fall into some of the mistakes of the past, because this is the brief we got for the screening and we followed it to the letter. “It’s a document published by the National Organising Secretary’s office, we followed it to the letter, and it guided us properly as to how to interact with the aspirants to ensure that a thorough job was done. “In terms of improvement I don’t really have any comment at this stage, we’ll see at the end of our report if we will include any recommendations we have for improvement. “What is happening now is about the highest quality I’ve seen and I really commend the office of national Organising Secretary and the National Working Committee for taking the pains to produce a detailed guidelines for members of screening committees of our party, they’ve done a great job”. Pressed as to when the outcome or report of his committee will be made public, Wada retorted, “I think in a few weeks, like, you know, I can’t be more specific, because we have to sit down, write the report and detail all the observations we have, and then conveyed it to them”. Pressed further, he said, “I think in about two weeks, we should be able to submit a full report, I don’t want to be more specific than that”. With about a week already gone out of the two weeks promised for the report of the screening committee to be made public, the question remains, who will succeed the screening and who will not? Time, certainly, will tell.



CBN printing N60b: Join us to clear your mess - APC tells PDP By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to avoid making comments that will create problems for the Nigerian economy, but rather join hands with the ruling party to clear the mess created by the opposition party until it was ousted from power in the 2015 general election. Ina statement issued yesterday by the National Secretary of the APC, John James Akpanudoedehe, the party said before PDP left office in 2015, there was no dollar to run the system, hence the country fell into first recession in 2015. The party said the Central Banks across the world print money to support their economy in critical times, adding that the Nigerian Central Bank has shown efficiency and effectiveness in managing the Nigerian monetary system hence it should be allowed by the opposition PDP to do its job. A statement issued yesterday by APC said “Central banks all over the world print money. During the financial crisis of 2008-09, the Reserve Bank of the US printed dollars to bail out companies that were too big to fail. There is nothing wrong in printing money provided it is well managed. “There is no evidence that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is inefficient in managing the monetary aspect of the Nigerian economy. Let us not forget that the CBN is banker to government and has exercised such function effeciently and effectively. “The development function of the CBN has resulted in various intervention funds in several sectors of the economy. The All Progressives Congress (APC) inherited an economy which showed signs of a recession from 2012. The economy left by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no forex to run the system. The looting of our commonwealth was unprecedented in history. Productivity was declining.” It said the APC government implemented aggressive fiscal and monetary policies which resulted in the country’s economy exiting recession in 2016 and bringing the economy back on the path of positive growth trajectory. “Then came the global health pandemic and sharp decline in oil prices throwing the economy into another recession. The quick intervention of the APC government through the Economic Sustainability Plan fasttracked the recovery from recession to the shock and surprise of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other stakeholders. “Whether the CBN prints money or not is not an issue. The Apex Bank should be allowed to perform its mandate. The CBN has several ways of creating ‘new’ money. The evidence suggests that money supply in the economy is at the appropriate level. The PDP needs to understand how money is created as well as provide evidence showing the composition of M1, M2 and M3 in the Nigerian economy.


IPAC queries Gov Ayade over N18.4b FG refund, demands accountability By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


nter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria (IPAC) in Cross River State has queried the Cross River State Government over N18. 4billion Federal Government refund to the State. Recall that the Federal Executive Council had in June 3rd, 2020 approved the sum of one hundred and forty eight billion, one hundred and forty one million, nine hundred and eighty seven thousand, one hundred and sixty one naira and twenty five kobo only (148,141,987,161,25) for repairs of 20 federal roads and one bridge. The States that benefited were

Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States, respectively. Out of the approved sum, Cross River State received a total of eighteen billion, three hundred and ninety four million, seven hundred and thirty seven thousand, six hundred and eight Naira and eighty five kobo (18,394,737,608,85) only. IPAC in a statement titled ‘Request for details of 18.4 billion naira federal governments refunds for repairs of federal roads in Cross River State’, signed by the Chairman, Comrade Anthony Bisong Attah, lamented the inability of the state government to inform the people about the money or what it was used for.

The IPAC statement said “We write to request for details of the refunds made by Federal Government to Cross River State for repairs of 20 Federal roads and one bridge from 2005 We are worried that while other states have announced receipts of the money as well as enlisted projects for which the money will be expended, we have not heard anything from you or your media aides about this money. “Is it that our share of 18.4 billion naira has not been released? We really need answers to enable us properly enlighten the people. its also important to us as critical Stakeholders of our state because

arguably this is the biggest financial envelope in the history of our state. “We advise that you kindly tell Cross Riverians everything about that money so that the matter will be put to rest” the group stated noting that on the 13th of August, 2020, the Federal Movement forwarded a letter to the National Assembly for approval of the money and both chambers of the National Assembly approved the money on the 24th of November, 2020. “Consequently, this money was released to the affected states in January, 2021. Your response to this burning issue is highly anticipated, Sir”.

The mothers of abducted school children cry over the abduction of children, during a press briefing by the parents of abducted school children in Kaduna. pic by Shehu . K Goro

Pres Buhari not interested in 3rd term agenda, Okechukwu replies PDP By Musa Baba Adamu


he Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, has told the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to perish the thought that President Muhammadu Buhari is interested in any third term agenda. Reacting to the claim by the opposition party, the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) named the PDP as the biggest beneficiary of the President Buhari’s continuity trademark. In a statement he issued at the weekend in Abuja, the VON DG, warned the opposition party to perish such insinuations, urging them to put aside propaganda and join hands to move the country forward. “In sum, the re-energise statement by my great party the APC is genuine; PDP should therefore be rest assured that unlike former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of PDP stock, who attempted and broached third term agenda, President has not such obnoxious plan. “PDP should perish such thought

and should not insinuate; accordingly my candid appeal is let’s all put propaganda aside and join hands to support the genuine efforts of the federal and state security agencies and the local vigilantes to come over this cliff-hanger-phase,” he noted. Dismissing the criticisms against Mr President, Okechukwu said: “One is totally miffed to hear the PDP, a principal beneficiary of President Buhari’s regime continuity trademark, dismissing off-hand the continuity he promised on his return from medical check up in London. “One cannot like PDP dismiss the hunger and poverty, banditry, killings, kidnapping, and Boko Haram insurgency in the land; however one cannot either dismiss the fine points of President Buhari’s regime, which whoever takes over in 2023 must as a matter of urgent necessity continue. “For us Buharist, we must candidly agree that some unforced errors were made; however our continuity trademark in many spheres of public affairs are unbeatable. And PDP is the main beneficiary. To turn round now to clean mouth and condemn

Mr President is unconscionable and height of ingratitude. Banditry, herdsmen/farmers clashes, kidnapping and insurgency will sooner than later not only abate but also vanish,” Okechukwu assured. He further noted that among the fine points of continuity the President bequeathed the PDP as a principal beneficiary is the over 1,000 Board appointments which tenure were not concluded, arguing that; “In 1999, PDP sacked all Board members and made humongous appointments of their members. “On this issue, opinion was divided, some of us canvased that Mr President should dissolve all the Boards to make room for APC members and supporters and Buhari said emphatic no. These PDP Board appointees were not only beneficiaries, but more or less adulterated our transparency manifesto. “All the federal contracts, most remarkable is over 1,000 federal roads. In this instance once more opinion was divided some argued that the contracts should be revoked and awarded fresh as contracts, Mr

President said emphatic no. “In 1999, PDP revoked nearly all Petroleum Trust Fund ongoing contracts and made a bazaar of the exercise. One of the casualties was Enugu Urban Water Scheme; which was callously awarded to Chinese instead of Strabag of Germany which designed the project. It failed and today scarcity of water in Enugu is the outcome. “PDP became the beneficiary when Mr President started paying the contractors some of whom their monies were embezzled by the PDP in what turned out to be dubbed the locust years, when oil sold above $100 per barrel,” he insisted. Rolling out more facts in defence of his claims, Okechukwu said: “Another was the much mangled and manipulated privatisation program; where State Owned Enterprises were auctioned off. Even Ministerial and Legislative quarters were sold. “In this instance, opinion was once divided and Mr President maintained his continuity standard. The bad side of PDP privatisation program was that the accounting process was less than transparent.”



Stock Watch: Friday, April 17, 2021 Low

OPEN Volume Close High

2.80 3.15 0 1.94 3.94 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.64 0.64 0 4.60 8.60 0 37.00 68.30 0 3.79 4.21 0 9.65 10.05 0 31.50 34.00 0 1.90 1.92 0 18.45 18.45 0 1.72 1.84 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.20 0.20 0 6.10 6.10 0 1.75 1.75 0 186.00 186.00 0 6.00 6.65 0 14.60 14.55 0 1.80 2.00 0 3.37 3.37 0 4.30 4.70 0 14.00 14.00 0 7.35 7.80 0 1.62 1.65 0 1.91 1.96 0 4.95 4.95 99 0.33 0.33 0 21.85 21.85 0 29.60 30.70 0 0.20 0.20 0 12.20 13.05 0 32.60 32.95 0 72.00 72.00 0 1.18 1.18 0 1.53 1.53 0 31.50 31.50 0 0.51 0.54 0 0.20 0.20 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.44 0.44 0 0.30 0.30 0 1.36 1.36 0 0.72 0.72 0 0.52 0.49 0 1.83 1.83 0 2.45 2.45 0



5.80 6.00 ACCESS -0.35 3.94 3.94 AFRIPRUD 0.00 0.27 0.27 AGLEVENT 0.00 0.64 0.64 AIICO 0.00 8.60 8.60 BERGER 0.00 67.00 67.00 BETAGLAS -1.30 3.79 3.79 BOCGAS -0.42 9.65 10.05 CADBURY -0.40 31.50 31.50 CAP -2.50 1.90 1.90 CAVERTON -0.02 18.45 18.45 CCNN 0.00 1.72 1.72 CHAMPION -0.12 23.25 23.25 CONOIL 0.00 0.20 0.20 CORNERST 0.00 0.20 0.20 COURTVILLE 0.00 6.10 6.10 CUSTODIAN 0.00 1.75 1.75 CUTIX 0.00 186.00 186.00 DANGCEM 0.00 6.00 6.25 DANGFLOUR -0.65 14.60 14.60 DANGSUGAR 0.05 1.80 2.00 DIAMONDBNK -0.20 3.37 3.37 EKOCORP 0.00 4.30 4.30 ETERNA -0.40 14.00 14.00 ETI 0.00 7.45 7.60 FBNH -0.35 1.62 1.67 FCMB -0.03 1.92 1.98 FIDELITYBK -0.04 4.95 4.95 FIDSON 0.00 0.33 0.33 FIRSTALUM 0.00 21.85 21.85 FLOURMILL 0.00 29.60 29.60 FO -1.10 0.20 0.20 FTNCOCOA 0.00 12.20 12.20 GLAXOSMITH -0.85 33.50 33.50 GUARANTY 0.55 72.00 72.00 GUINNESS 0.00 1.18 1.18 HONYFLOUR 0.00 1.53 1.53 IKEJAHOTEL 0.00 31.50 31.50 INTBREW 0.00 0.53 0.53 JAIZBANK -0.01 0.20 0.21 JAPAULOIL 0.00 23.25 23.25 JBERGER 0.00 0.44 0.44 JOHNHOLT 0.00 0.30 0.30 LASACO 0.00 1.36 1.36 LEARNAFRCA 0.00 0.72 0.72 LINKASSURE 0.00 0.52 0.52 LIVESTOCK 0.03 1.83 1.83 MANSARD 0.00 2.45 2.45 MAYBAKER 0.00

Top Gainers Stock Close Gain UPL 1.14 0.13 LIVESTOCK 0.52 0.01 SOVRENINS 0.21 0.03 OKOMUOIL 60.00 1.80 GUARANTY 23.50 0.55

Low 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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0.11 0.21 0 0.21 0.21 MBENEFIT 0.00 0 0.43 0.43 0 0.43 0.43 MCNICHOLS 0.00 0 1.05 2.05 261 2.05 2.05 MEDVIEWAIR 0.00 0 124.80 184.80 0 184.80 184.80 MOBIL 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 970 0.20 0.20 MULTIVERSE 0.00 0 3.50 3.50 0 3.50 3.50 NAHCO 0.00 0 18.00 18.00 0 18.00 18.00 NASCON 0.00 0 78.50 78.70 0 79.50 79.50 NB 0.80 0 0.78 0.78 0 0.78 0.78 NEIMETH 0.00 0 2.60 2.60 0 2.60 2.60 NEM 0.00 0 552.20 552.20 150 552.20 552.20 NESF 0.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 NESTLE 0.00 0 1.60 1.65 0 1.60 1.60 NPFMCRFBK -0.05 0 4.60 4.80 0 4.60 4.75 OANDO -0.20 0 80.00 76.20 0 80.00 80.00 OKOMUOIL 3.80 0 64.00 64.00 0 64.00 64.00 PRESCO 0.00 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 PRESTIGE 0.00 0 12.30 12.30 0 12.30 12.30 PZ 0.00 0 4.20 4.20 0 4.20 4.20 REDSTAREX 0.00 0 0.20 0.21 0 0.20 0.21 REGALINS -0.01 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 RESORTSAL 0.00 0 0.21 0.23 0 0.21 0.22 ROYALEX -0.02 0 640.00 640.00 405 640.00 640.00 SEPLAT 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.21 0.21 SOVRENINS 0.01 0 46.50 46.00 0 46.50 46.50 STANBIC 0.50 0 102.00 102.00 122 102.00 102.00 STANBICETF30 0.00 0 1.97 1.96 0 1.97 1.97 STERLNBANK 0.01 0 203.00 203.00 0 203.00 203.00 TOTAL 0.00 0 6.10 6.10 632 6.10 6.10 TRANSCOHOT 0.00 0 1.15 1.21 0 1.16 1.18 TRANSCORP -0.05 0 9.60 9.60 0 9.60 9.60 UACN 0.00 0 1.74 1.92 0 1.74 1.74 UAC-PROP -0.18 0 7.60 7.80 0 7.90 7.95 UBA 0.10 0 6.00 6.05 0 6.00 6.05 UBN -0.05 0 2.89 2.94 0 2.89 2.91 UCAP -0.05 0 36.30 37.00 0 36.30 36.30 UNILEVER -0.70 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.27 0.27 UNIONDAC 0.00 0 1.00 0.99 0 1.00 1.00 UNITYBNK 0.01 0 2.04 1.97 0 2.14 2.14 UPL 0.17 0 0.23 0.23 0 0.23 0.23 VERITASKAP 0.00 0 4.50 4.99 0 4.50 4.50 VITAFOAM -0.49 0 11.30 11.50 0 11.30 11.65 WAPCO -0.20 0 0.40 0.40 0 0.40 0.40 WAPIC 0.00 0 0.59 0.61 0 0.59 0.61 WEMABANK -0.02 0 21.20 22.70 0 21.70 22.50 ZENITHBANK -1.00 0 Copyright © 2019 NgTradeOnline

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TCN Energises Newly Reconductored Sokoto – Birirnin Kebbi Transmission Line By Etuka Sunday


he Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, has completed the reconductoring of its new 130KM 132kV double circuit Sokoto - Birnin Kebbi Transmission Line, which was also energized at about 4.35pm on 13th April, 2021. The new high capacity 132kV Transmission line which affects/ transverses 405 towers along the Birnin Kebbi - Sokoto line route, now transmits about 170MW, which is more than double the 70MW capacity previously transmitted by the decommissioned old 132kV transmission line. The new 132kV transmission line has solved the low voltage and attendant poor power situation that used to be prevalent in the Sokoto axis, as TCN is now enabled to substantially transmit increased bulk power electricity to Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company’s distribution load centers in Sokoto State and environs. TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah in a statement said, “this also means that Kaduna DisCo would equally be able to deliver more stable and quality power to its customers in that axis.” Prior to the reconductoring of the line, the Sokoto – Birnin Kebbi 132kV transmission line, was overloaded due to increased demand, arising from massive increase in human population and attendant socio-economic activities in the area. The new line has solved the problem of overloading/ suppressed load and has ample capacity for anticipated load increase. The Project which commenced in November last year, was carried out in phases, in order to ameliorate the effect of scheduled outages on electricity consumers during the period. Some areas did not experience outage through the period as they were backfed through another line. We are sincerely grateful to the government and good people of Sokoto State and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, for their patience and cooperation during the period of the transmission line reconductoring.


SEC reminds Capital Market Operators of KYC Update By Etuka Sunday


apital Market Operators have been reminded of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s directives on update of investors’ Know Your Customer information which it said is still in effect. This was stated by the Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda at the First Post Capital Market Committee Meeting press briefing held in Abuja Weekend. According to the DG, “We have noted that the level of compliance has been low. Despite several engagements, we realized that as at April 8, 2021, there were still

4,012,311 (Four million, twelve thousand, three hundred and eleven) accounts with incomplete KYC information. “This exercise is critical to deepening the participation of retail investors and we direct all CMOs to accord it the highest level of priority”. Yuguda disclosed that a major highlight of the year 2021 is the reintroduction of periodic renewal of registration by Capital Market Operators. He said the rationale for this is to ensure that operators in the market are fit and proper at all times and to strengthen the supervision and monitoring

activities of the Commission. The renewal process is electronic and the deadline for 2021 renewal is 30th April, 2021. The SEC Boss stated that despite the turbulence experienced with the outbreak of the pandemic, the Nigerian capital market stood resilient adding that the capital market community contributed its quota to the fight against COVID-19. He said, “I am delighted at the efforts that we made and pledge that we shall not relent in our efforts. To this end, our next phase of the support in the fight against COVID-19 will be the establishment of the Strategic Health Impact

Fund for Transformation (SHIFT). This is planned to be a N100 billion fund for investment in healthcare assets in Nigeria”. Yuguda also stated that the Commission is at the mid-point of implementing its Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP) and has commenced a review to update the assumptions, and align the plan with current realities. Similarly, he said the Commission has released new rules on warehousing, collateral management, crowdfunding, fund management products and nominee companies to ensure proper regulation and development of our market.

Catholics celebrating Mother’s Day at Sacred heart Catholic Church, yestetday in Gwagwalada Abuja

Cryptocurrency Policy Brief: ACCI Calls for Presidential Commission


he Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry notes recent development in the digital and Cryptocurrency currency space within Nigeria and internationally. We are aware of the recent controversy on the subject, leading to the Central Bank directives to bank’s and financial institutions. We are also not oblivious of the policy gap that currently exists on the subject. As noted by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Cryptocurrency is a global phenomenon which nations must address rather than run away from it. The policy lacuna impresses on the administration to consider

possible options to prepare the nation to cope with the positive and negative fallouts of this new financial technology. Global trends on the subject also make its imperative for Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, to act swiftly on the policy plane. Just this week, the biggest US cryptocurrency exchange, announced its listing on the Nasdaq, marking a milestone in the economic journey of virtual currencies. The listing is the biggest yet of a cryptocurrency company, with the San Franciscobased firm saying last month that private market transactions made the company valued at around $68 billion (€57 billion) this year, versus

$5.8 billion in September. Our Policy Centre at Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry has conducted extensive review of the subject under a new Policy Brief and we have arrived at a number of policy proposals for the Nigerian Presidency and all stakeholders. In view of surging intrusion of the bitcoin into global and local financial system, we call on the Nigerian government to immediately set up a Presidential Commission on Cryptocurrency with the following terms of Reference namely: • Review Cryptocurrency policy frameworks worldwide; • Assess successful, failing and failed frameworks globally;

• Integrate and domesticate successful models for draft policy framework for Nigeria ; • Propose plan of action for phased usage of the technological currency within the Nigerian financial system. We suggest that members of the Commission should be drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Stock Exchange, banking /financial Institutions, bitcoin community, digital currency experts and relevant MDAs and OPS. It is our considered view that such a commission will have all facts on the table and will be able to chart a sustainable path forward for Nigeria.



ICT Bitcoin slumps 14% as pullback from record gathers pace


itcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, fell as much as 14% to $51,541 on Sunday, reversing most of the big gains it made over the past week. Bitcoin was last trading down 10% at $53,991 as of 1320 GMT, a whopping $12,000 below record highs set on Wednesday. Smaller rival Ether , the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, dropped 10% to $2,101. Data website CoinMarketCap cited a blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, which reportedly powers a lot of bitcoin mining, for the selloff. Luke Sully, CEO at digital asset treasury specialist Ledgermatic, said in an email that people “may have sold on the news of the power outage in China and not the impact it actually had on the network”. “The power outage does expose a fundamental weakness; that although the Bitcoin network is decentralized the mining of it is not,” Sully added. Some widely-followed blockchain analysts on Twitter pointed to a sharp drop in “hash rate” due to the outage. Hash rate refers to the volatility index that measures the processing capacity of the entire Bitcoin network, and it determines the power required by miners to produce new Bitcoins. “Typically shocks to hash rate do not cause price drops. A hash rate reduction slows transactions, which ironically makes it harder to move coins to exchanges for sale. The recent price drop is well within the bounds of typical volatility, it is noise not signal,” said Edan Yago, co-founder at Bitcoin-based decentralised finance protocol Sovryn. The retreat in Bitcoin also comes after Turkey’s central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies for purchases on Friday. Edward Moya, senior

market analyst at OANDA, said cryptocurrencies had been ripe for a pullback. “The market has become overly aggressive and bullish on everything,”

said Edward Moya. “It could have been any bearish headline that could have triggered this reaction.” Many cryptocurrency markets operate 24/7, setting the stage for

price swings at unpredictable hours. Historically, retail and day traders have driven the moves. Despite the sudden selloff, bitcoin is still up 89% so far in 2021, driven

by its mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds and other risky assets. (Reuters)

LG signs Rita Dominic as Brand Ambassador of its Home Appliances By Etuka Sunday


G Electronics has unveiled the multi award-winning Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic as brand ambassador in Nigeria for all home appliance products, due to her inspiring adventures and expeditions in the Nollywood industry. In the sign on, Rita shared with the audience her thoughts on how to lead a stylish, smart life, what motivates her to be the best in her field, and how LG HOME APPLIANCES personify her lifestyle. With an eye for detail and design, Rita is an epitome of skill, class, style, sophistication, smart, excellence and precision. Rita Dominic, an actress, producer and Co-Founder of The Audrey Silva Company got her first starring role in the Nollywood hit movie ”A time to Kill’’. She has starred in over 100 Nollywood movies. Rita is best known for her roles in the ground-breaking films “76”, “The Meeting” and “Shattered’’ for which she won several prestigious Awards. She is the only actress to have won the AMVCAs Best Actress award in both the Drama and Comedy categories. She is also the only West African actress to have won Kenya’s Kalasha Awards. Undisputedly one of Africa’s biggest movie stars, CNN describes her as a ‘Silver screen icon’, “embodying a range of colourful characters”. LG HOME APPLIANCE products such as InstaView Refrigerator, Vivace WM, Gas cooker and NeoChef

Microwave appeal to me because they are products that augment smart living, said Rita, “the brands stateof-the-art living solutions seamlessly combine the newest technologies and superior design to achieve the ultimate in performance, not willing to settle for second-best particularly at a time like this when majority of the people all over the world work from home”. Speaking at the sign-on event at the Lekki Brand Shop, Managing Director, LG West Africa, Mr. Dong Youn Kim, said Rita Dominic’s choice emerge from her popularity as viewer’s choice, her poise and brand identity. “We are very optimistic that Rita Dominic will represent our brand well because of her antecedent within her choice of career. She has lived an enviable exemplary lifestyle that makes her standout amongst the pack. She represents our brand value in terms of sophistication, flexibility, style and innovation. “LG is deeply committed to its customers’ desire for beautiful products and will continue to pursue innovative design that delivers new value and exceptional user experiences,” he said. In the same vein, Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mohamed Fouani said LG has continued to establish a strong foothold in the electronics market with impressive sales and their choice of who represents the brand across board has been in no doubt the best within the space. We are very positive that Rita will do justice to all brands to be represented because

of her proven track record in the Nollywood industry and beyond. To advance the functionality of today’s home appliances to a whole new level with unparalleled performance and convenience, LG has flooded the market with its newly designed products that will allow home appliances to better understand their users by gathering and studying customers’ lifestyle patterns over time. According to Fouani, LG’s home appliance products are manufactured with advanced resource-saving technology, superior performance,

smart thinking, eco-friendly, and aesthetics which has continuously kept the brand as market leader in all home appliances categories within the global space. LG Electronics Home Appliance is committed to making life better for consumers around the world by providing thoughtfully designed products, including refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners. Collectively, these products deliver enhanced convenience, superb performance, great savings and compelling health benefits.

L-R: Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mohamed Fouani, LG Home Appliances’ Brand Ambassador; Nollywood Actress, Ms Rita Dominic, Managing Director, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Dong Youn Kim and Head of Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Hari Elluru at the official brand ambassadorship signing ceremony held in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

NCC sensitises Telecom Consumers at 2021 Enugu International Trade Fair By Etuka Sunday


he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in line with its tradition of exploring avenues to engage with telecom consumers, has taken advantage of the opportunity of this year’s edition of the Enugu International Trade Fair to enlighten telecom consumers on their rights and privileges within the telecommunications sector. Addressing a large audience of telecom consumers during the NCC Special Day held at recently-concluded 32nd Enugu International Trade Fair organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said events of this nature provide the opportunity for NCC, as a telecom regulator,

to interact with consumers and attend to their service-related concerns. The Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde in a statement said, in attendance at the NCC Special Day were the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde; Director, Consumer Affairs, Mr. Efosa Idehen; Zonal Controller, NCC Enugu Zonal Office, Mr. Ogbonnaya Ugama, and executive members of ECCIMA. Represented by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Danbatta, who spoke around the theme of the Fair: “Promoting New Technologies, Business Ideas and Strategies for Rapid Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria,” highlighted some of the regulatory initiatives emplaced by the Commission for protecting, informing and educating the

consumers. These initiatives include the NCC Emergency Toll-free Number 112; the NCC Consumer Complaint Toll-Free Number 622; the DoNot-Disturb (DND) Short Code 2442, the Regulation on Forceful Subscription and measures put in place to check cases of preregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. Danbatta emphasised the importance of the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN)SIM data linkage exercise, in order to ensure credible citizen database for improved national security. He stressed the need for consumers to be cybersecurity-conscious while online and to always ensure efficient management of e-waste for a safer environment, noting that this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), which was observed on March 15, 2021 focused on ‘Tackling Plastic

Pollution’ in line with the e-Waste Regulation being pursued by the Commission. Danbatta praised the efforts of Chamber at sustaining the Fair over the years, pointing out that it remains the largest and most important business event SouthEast of the country. “The Fair is pivotal to bolstering the economic and industrial transformation of the region in view of its enormous business potential,” Danbatta said. In attendance during the NCC Day at the Fair were Executive members of the ECCIMA. Earlier in his welcome address, the President of the Chamber, Emeka Nwandu, who was represented by the Chamber’s Deputy President, Jasper Nduagwuike, extolled the role of the Chamber in the facilitation and promotion of robust exchange of business engagements in the South-East region of the country over the

years through various initiatives, such as the Trade Fair. During an interactive executive session with the ECCIMA executives at the Commission’s pavilion, Adinde and Idehen fielded questions ranging from consumer complaints management, the recent Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) policy, NINSIM linkage exercise and other industry-related issues. The event attracted many multinational, international and national exhibitors, who took advantage of the Fair to reach out to their customers in the SouthEast and South-South zones of the country. The NCC has, over the years, been a regular participant at international trade fairs across the country and has been consistent in its participation at the Enugu International Trade Fair.


By Stanley Onyekwere


orried by alarming rate of infractions on the corridors of the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Expressway otherwise known as Airport Road, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has given marching orders to relevant officials to activate measures to mitigate the menace, within the shortest period. In particular, Bello directed that immediate measures should be taken to ensure the environmental sanitation and cleanliness, enforcement of traffic regulations and removal of illegal structures along the entire road corridor. Making this point, while on a tour of the Expressway, the Minister stressed that the Airport is quite strategic as it is the gateway to the city and therefore akin to the front entrance to a home, which must be kept clean and aesthetically appealing at all times. He also also directed officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS) as well as other security agencies should ensure compliance of traffic regulations by road users at all times. Similarly, speaking at Lugbe Sarki, Bello directed that petty traders, artisans and all others carrying out business activities under the high tension electricity cables should immediately vacate the area for the sake of their health and conduct their business activities within the confines of the communities. Furthermore, the Minister noted with concern the penchant by some road users to drive against the traffic along the airport road, as according to him their actions put the lives of other road users at risk. He also drawed the attention the security agencies to the continued activities of



Airport Road infractions: FCT Minister insists on removal of illegal structures, others commercial tricycle (Keke) and motorcycle (okada) operators, who have been banned from operating along the expressway and directed that they should be apprehended and made to meet the prescribed penalties. However, speaking at the end of the tour, the Minister pledged to restore the beauty of the Airport Road which he said

had been degraded largely due to urbanization and the large influx of people into the FCT. On his part, the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abdullahi Adamu Candido pledged to complement the efforts of the FCTA in effecting the measures necessary for maintaining the aesthetic outlook of the road.

Not left out, the Sapeyi of Garki, Alhaji Usman Ngakupi also pledged to get the cooperation of his subjects and ensure that they comply with all the traffic and environmental regulations along the airport road. The Minister was accompanied on the tour by the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Ciroma, the Sector

Commander of the FRSC, Mr Gora Wobin, FCT Director of the DSS Mr Ado Muazu, Chief of Staff to the Commandant Guards Brigade, Lt. Col, S. Y Hassan, the Directors of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Development Control as well as the heads of other relevant departments and agencies of the FCTA.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sunny Echono (left) The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Rasheed Abubakar (2nd right) , The Visitation panel Chairman, Nigerian French Language Village (NFLV) Lagos, Comrade Peter Adeyemi (right) and others during the inauguration of visitation panels to Federal Universities and special centers, held recently in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-owo

FEMA moves to avert flood disaster in Kwali By Stanley Onyekwere


he FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has intensified efforts to prevent flood disaster in communities in Kwali Area Council affected by flood in 2020. Making this disclosure, Mrs. Florence Wenegieme, Deputy Director, Forecasting Response and Mitigation, FEMA, who led a team from various agencies to assess flood prone areas in the communities, commended the Federal Government for reconstructing bridge washed away by flood in 2020. Wenegieme said : “We are

approaching the rainy season or rather the rains has started and that is why we come here on assessment to know the condition and position of the bridge that link the various communities in Kwali Area Council. ”So that we know what we can do for members of this community when the rains become very heavy”. She therefore cautioned farmers against farming activities in flood prone areas, stressing that farmers must stop farming on the river banks and building on water ways. She also noted that it was very angerous for farmers to carry out

farming activities in flood prone areas. ” We are here in continuation of joint assessment of flood prone areas in the Federal Capital Terriory, which we started on March 31, 2021. ” Today, we are here in Kwali Area Council at Dafa and Tunga communities. In 2020, the bridge that linked the two and other communities was washed away by flood and the members of the communities were crossing the bridge with the help of our Local Diverse. ”Because the bridge completely cut off and the two communities and host of other that were using

the bridge were completely cut off and farmers couldn’t move their from products to Urban centre. ”We earlier came here for assessment and we saw what happened and compiled our reports, after that the government promised that something will be done. ”We are glad to see that something is done as we are here on assessment again and we realised that the Federal Government has intervened. You can see that the bridge is almost completed and we say kudos to the government,” Wenegieme stated. She disclosed that initially the

FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello and the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu were planning to deployed local canons in the communities when the rains becomes very heavy. ”But we thank God that the bridge is almost completed and you can see that the people of the communities have started using the bridge so there is no need of bringing any canon to this community again.” Wenegieme said that FEMA had carried out an aggressive sensitsation campaign in the area, adding that the agency covered almost 25 communities in the area council.


world news



Salisbury poisoning suspects ‘linked to Czech blast’


wo Russian men suspected of carrying out the 2018 Salisbury poisonings are being linked to an explosion at an arms depot in the Czech Republic. Evidence links the 2014 explosion, and an attempted poisoning in Bulgaria, to a unit of Russian military intelligence - the GRU - the BBC has learnt. European intelligence agencies believe the GRU’s Unit 29155 is tasked with sabotage, subversion and assassination. The Russian government said the claims were unfounded and absurd. Czech authorities say they are expelling 18 Russian diplomats believed to be intelligence operatives in retaliation for the explosion, which killed two people. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the country had to react to revelations tying the blast to the GRU. The country will inform Nato and European Union allies about its suspicions, and will discuss the matter at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday, its acting Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek said. The Russian foreign ministry said it would “take retaliatory measures that will force the authors of this provocation to fully understand their responsibility for destroying the foundation of normal ties between our countries”. A huge explosion tore apart an ammunitions storage depot in a forest in the Czech Republic on 16 October 2014. Windows in nearby buildings were blown out and local schools were evacuated as emergency vehicles rushed to the scene. The remains of two men - aged 56 and 69 - who worked at the site were found more than a month later. The blast was assumed to have been an accident. The explosion destroyed a remote ammunition storage facility situated in a Czech forest But painstaking detective work by Czech authorities has pointed the finger at Moscow - and Unit 29155 of the GRU.

In the wake of the Salisbury poisoning, European security services have been investigating a series of previously unexplained events. For Czech police, that included the October 2014 explosion. A crucial find, sources close to the investigation have told the BBC, was an email sent to Imex Group, the company which operated the depot. It claimed to come from the National Guard of Tajikistan. It asked for two men to be given access to the site for an inspection visit. Scans of their passports were attached. The men were said to be Ruslan Tabarov from Tajikistan and Nicolaj Popa, a Moldovan citizen. The pictures on the passports match those of the two men accused by Britain of the Salisbury poisoning. Salisbury link The two men travelled to the UK in March 2018 under the names Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. Both were caught on CCTV at Salisbury and identified by the Metropolitan Police as suspects in smearing Novichok nerve agent on the door handle of the house of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal. Skripal and his daughter fell ill while a local woman, Dawn Sturgess, was killed months later by Novichok from a discarded perfume bottle. The investigative site Bellingcat soon after identified Ruslan Boshirov as Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Petrov as Alexander Mishkin, both GRU officers. The pair then appeared on Russian TV denying involvement, claiming they were sports nutritionists who visited Salisbury to see the spire of the cathedral. On 11 October 2014, the men used the same cover identities they used in Salisbury - Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov - to arrive at Prague airport. They stayed in Prague for two days (Chepiga’s presence had previously been noted based on social media posts but not linked to the explosion). They then booked into accommodation

“Alexander Petrov” (left) and “Ruslan Boshirov” in Ostrava, near the ammunition depot on 13 October. They were booked to stay until the 17 October. The explosion took place on the 16th and that day the pair headed to Vienna airport to fly to Moscow. The authorities do not appear to know exactly how the depot was blown up. Another clue, the BBC has learnt, was the email used to request the men’s visit to the arms depot. It was traced to a user in Russia rather than Tajikistan and when entered in a Skype directory linked to a username “Andrey O”. The commander of Unit 29155 was first reported by the New York Times to be Andrey Averyanov and he is believed to have used Andrey Overyanov as a cover identity. Another poisoning Why would Russian intelligence blow up the arms depot? One of the people storing weapons there was a Bulgarian arms dealer called Emilian Gebrev, sources have told the BBC. That provided another link to Unit 29155. In April 2015, six months after the Czech explosion, Gebrev fell seriously ill in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. After a month in hospital, he was released but then fell sick again. Despite suspicions, Bulgarian

authorities made little progress amid talk it was simply food poisoning. It was only after events in Salisbury in 2018 that people paid more attention. The ‘third man’ A third man, using the name Sergei Fedotov had been identified as coming to the UK to oversee the Salisbury poisoning. And he was also found to have been in Bulgaria at the time of Gebrev’s poisoning. Bulgarian authorities found that Fedotov and two other men from Unit 29155 had checked into a hotel in the same complex as Gebrev’s office in April 2015 and insisted on rooms with a view of the underground car park. Surveillance of that car park released by a Bulgarian prosecutor last year shows one man approaching the cars of Gebrev, as well as his son and business partner who would also fall ill. A toxic substance is believed to have been smeared on the handles - similar to the way Novichok was placed on the handle of Sergei Skripal’s house. Although he had a return flight booked two days later, Fedotov left the country on April 28th - the day of the poisoning. Source: BBC

China’s Q1 GDP grows 18.3% y-o-y, the fastest in three decades


hina’s GDP grew 18.3 percent year-onyear in the first quarter of 2021, the fastest in three decades since the data was released, with key economic indicators all expanding at over 20 percent, setting an encouraging start for the whole year that is buoyed by a low base, soaring overseas demand and rebounding consumption at home. The stellar data offers a glimpse into the strength of China’s economic recovery , which has been retaking lost ground since the second half of 2020. The country is likely to record the highest growth rate among major economies and make the greatest contribution to the global economy in the first quarter, on top of the US, analysts noted. Looking ahead, China’s economy is forecasted to keep a stable growth, but it may enter “unchartered waters” in the second half of the year as geopolitical tensions keep developing and the marginal effect of global economic recovery has weakened. Some analysts are upbeat about China’s GDP which might gain by a double-digit growth in the second quarter. For the whole year, the growth rate could reach 9 percent,

analysts said, well above the government-set goal of above 6 percent. In the first three months, China’s GDP grew 18.3 percent to 24.9 trillion yuan($3.82 trillion), compared with a 6.8-percent contraction in the same period last year when the economy came to a standstill amid coronavirus lockdown. Social retails soared 33.9 percent, fixedasset investment jumped 25.6 percent, and industrial production gained by over 24.5 percent, data released by the National Bureau of Statistic showed on Friday. Industry observers said the data underscores a broadened recovery momentum, particularly in March which marks a watershed in consumption from “divergent recovery” to “going full swing.” “Millions of Chinese stayed at their working cities during the Spring Festival holidays, coupled with the resurgence of sporadic coronavirus cases, which curbed consumption to some extent in the first two months. With the rollout of vaccination plan across the country, there is a turnaround in March,” Lian Ping, head of the Zhixin Investment Research Institute, told the

Global Times. Analysts also highlighted the role of flooding overseas orders in shoring up China’s industrial production acceleration in the first three months. “The global economy seems to be walking out of the pandemic-induced recession, which will boost foreign demands for Chinese merchandises till at least June. This stays in contrast to last year, when the recovery of the supply side outpaced that of the demand side,” Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, told the Global Times. Building on the momentum, China will continue to make the biggest contribution to the global economy, serving as an engine of growth for the world. Its gap with the US - the world’s largest economy - is expected to further narrow, according to Tian, who expected China’s economic scale to overtake that of the US in a decade and usher in a new world economic landscape. In 2020, China’s economic volume represented about 70 percent of that of the US. But analysts noted that while China’s industrial production has been back to the

right track, the growth of fixed-investment and consumption have yet to bounce back to pre-virus level despite a dramatic improvement from last year. “With three minor vacations in the second quarter and consumers’ confidence being improved, consumption will continue to gain steam in the April-June period,” Lian added. Lian noted that as global supply ability gradually resumed this year, some Chinabound commodity orders may experience a withdrawal, or to be diverted to other emerging economies, which may impact manufacturing activity. “The growth rates of GDP may come down quarter by quarter in 2021, due to base variation and replacement effect, but it is highly likely that the annual growth rate will be over 10 percent as demands at home keep booming,” Tian said. In the fourth quarter of 2020, China’s GDP grew 6.5 percent year-on-year. For the whole of 2020, its economy expanded by 2.3 percent, the only major economy to achieve a positive growth last year. Source: Global Times



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Mosul landmark mosque to be rebuilt by Egyptian architects


group of Egyptian architects has won a competition to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, four years after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) militants. The jihadists blew up the 12-Century mosque in June 2017 as government troops moved to recapture the city. Three years earlier, the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” from the mosque. The rebuilding is part of the UN’s Revive

the Spirit of Mosul project. The eight Egyptian architects, and their Courtyards Dialogue design, were chosen from among 123 entries. The battle for Mosul lasted almost nine months, leaving most of the city ruins. Thousands of civilians were killed and more than 900,000 displaced. The reconstruction of the mosque “will be a landmark in the process of advancing the war-torn city’s reconciliation”, said Audrey Azoulay, who heads the UN’s cultural agency Unesco. The mosque is where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” While the prayer hall will look as it did before the destruction, there will be notable changes, including the use of natural light and expanded spaces for women and dignitaries, Unesco said in a statement. The Great Mosque was named after Nur al-Din Mahmoud Zangi - famous for unifying Muslim forces against Christian Crusaders - who ordered its construction in 1172.

Thousands stranded in traffic over Kenya Table Mountain fire ‘burns out of control’ in Cape Town Covid rules


housands of motorists and passengers were stuck in traffic for hours after police blocked major roads in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to enforce a Covid curfew to battle infections. Videos and pictures posted on social media showed ambulances struggling to manoeuvre through the snarl-up. Many people have criticised the authorities for imposing the measure. Last month President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced a 20:00-04:00 curfew to deal with a third Covid-19 wave. He also ordered the closure of bars, schools and restriction of movement in five counties including Nairobi. “Whereas the foregoing measures will have a negative impact on the economy, these measures are temporary... the cost of not acting now will be much greater,” Mr Kenyatta said. The doctors union said at the time that there were no free intensive-care beds because of an increase in hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Kenya has confirmed more than 151,000 cases of the virus and just over 2,400 deaths. The UK and US have issued travel bans to the country because of Covid-19 and other security concerns. Kenyans voiced their displeasure online. “Compliance with necessary public health measures is not about torture as happening on Thika road but about national dialogue and community engagement on protecting lives,” tweeted Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO of Amref Health Africa. Frustrated drivers hooted continuously while some passengers decided to complete their journeys by walking. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter The Standard news site spoke to a couple who were taking their sick baby to hospital and had been stuck in traffic for two hours. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter “Come on this is ridiculous. This curfew is being so poorly implemented. Zero empathy, zero foresight. I hope this family and the thousands of others that were stuck, are ok. COVID19 measures should not be an excuse to torture and disrupt the lives of citizens! Enough!,” Janet Mbugua tweeted. It’s unclear who gave the order but three hours after the gridlock began the police barricades were removed and traffic began flowing again. Source: BBC


wildfire is raging out of control on the slopes of Table Mountain above the city of Cape Town, South African authorities

say. The blaze has destroyed part of a cafe at the Rhodes Memorial overlooking the city’s port. Hundreds of students have been evacuated from a nearby University of Cape Town campus. The fire is moving towards the campus, the Western Cape Government said. Three helicopters are water-bombing the

Eight Egyptian architects were chosen over 123 entries

The building was famous for its leaning minaret, nicknamed “al-Hadba” or “the humpback”, and had been badly damaged

during the Battle of Mosul. The reconstruction will start later this year.

flames.\ Firefighters were first alerted at 08:45 local time (06:45 GMT). Local environment chief Anton Bredell said the situation was serious and the wind was picking up, which he said was a cause for concern. Firefighters are battling to contain the flames Residents in the area have been warned of smoke and soot in the air and told to keep windows and doors closed.

Meanwhile hikers in the Table Mountain National Park have been told to leave and drivers who have parked in the area have been told to collect their vehicles. People who were in the area and city residents have been uploading footage of the blaze. Wild fire started near Devils Peak in Cape Town. Clear the mountain. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Sindi van Zyl: The ‘people’s doctor’ who revealed her own struggles


outh Africans are mourning the woman who became known as “the people’s doctor”, after she died at the age of 45 from Covid-19-related complications. Vauldi Carelse looks at what made Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl so special. Everyone it seemed had their own Sindi story and they have been taking to Twitter this week to share them. This was the medium after all that Dr van Zyl used to reach out to her hundreds of thousands of followers. The Duchess of Healing - as she called herself on Twitter - would counsel, advise and support many who might not have had access to medical resources in South Africa and beyond. She was born in Zimbabwe but trained and practised in South Africa as an HIV public health clinician and general practitioner. A decade ago she made a decision to turn to social media to raise greater awareness about HIV/Aids and mental health issues and also to spread her own brand of kindness Dave Luis, who is based in Dubai, was helped by Dr Van Zyl and recalls that she had a remarkable ability to connect to people who needed help. He first encountered her when she was discussing the possible harmful sideeffects of the overuse of Grand-Pa headache powders and the nature of addiction. Mr Luis revealed that he was a recovering addict and started a conversation with Dr Van Zyl. She asked him if he would talk to a patient of hers about addiction.

“She made time for everyone, even weirdos like me, sitting 8,000km away in the desert,” he says of someone who ended up becoming a friend. ‘Liker of things fabulous’ From learning how to be a DJ, to hosting her weekly talk show Sidebar with Sindi on Johannesburg station Kaya FM, at the centre of Dr Van Zyl’s life was her commitment to her patients and her love for her family. “She relished all her roles - daughter, friend, researcher, sister, aunt, cousin, doctor, speaker, entrepreneur, student, social butterfly, perfumista, deejay and chief liker of things fabulous - but truly, she was in her element as a mother and wife,” Kaya FM said in its tribute to her. Dr Van Zyl’s two children, Nandi and Manie, regularly made appearances on her Twitter timeline. She was open about suffering from postnatal depression but she used that experience to help mothers who reached out to her. The death of her own mother affected her deeply and she often talked about how she got professional help. Of the thousands of stories shared in the days following her death, so many recounted how she counselled them through their depression. At an awards ceremony three years ago, Dr Van Zyl explained that her approach to medicine came from an experience that she had aged 19. She did not explain why she was being treated but said that doctors and nurses had decided “they were not going to save my

life”. “I decided then that when I become a medical doctor, I don’t want anyone to be in a situation where they are helpless and they don’t know what to do. “When you are sick, you are very vulnerable. That’s the reason why I spent hours on my phone helping strangers from all over South Africa and the world because of what I went through.” Her friend, businesswoman Farah Fortune met Dr Van Zyl at a photoshoot in 2018. She says she could never understand where the doctor found the time to interact with so many people. She had a busy life but she did not publicise all the work she did, from donating to causes to helping patients with money for a taxi, according to Ms Fortune. She explains her friend’s drive as being a result of her own mental health struggles. “She went through a period in her life where she went through depression and it took her a long time to come out of it. And when she came out of it, she wanted to do absolutely everything,” she told the BBC. Her colleague, Dr Cephas Chikanda, said he and others have learned so much from the way she practised medicine. “She wanted to hear your story and she also shared her stories. She was generous in sharing information,” he told a service in Johannesburg on Thursday. Dr Van Zyl contracted Covid-19 in February and spent several weeks in the intensive care unit. The last two months of her life were spent in a local hospital.



e w s

By Yang Junfeng, People’s Daily Overseas Edition


fter years of development, China has accumulated rich resources of intelligent property (IP), becoming a genuine patent power, and its IP work is going through a transition from the pursuit for quantity toward high-quality development. The country has ranked the first in the world for consecutive years in terms of total IP volume, such as patents and trademarks, and acquired large batches of core patents in high-speed rail, nuclear power and 5G. As of the end of October 2020, China had nearly 2.97 million valid invention patents, or 15.2 per 10,000 population. In recent years, China has made a series of decisions and deployment on intelligent property rights (IPR) protection, such as enhancing top-level design, improving relevant laws and regulations, reforming institutions and mechanisms and reinforcing judicial and administrative protection. The country released an action plan to implement national IP strategy spanning from 2014 to 2020, established the State Administration for Market Regulation, and reorganized China National Intellectual Property Administration. Besides, it set up IP courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and the Supreme People’s


r o m



China’s intellectual property protection embraces high-quality development Court also established an IPR court to hear relevant appeals. According to the 2020 edition of the Global Innovation Index issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China ranks 14th among the 131 economies involved. In 2020, China concluded 466,000 IPR cases of first instance, up 11.7 percent year on year, and the compensation for IPR-related offenses also surged 79.3 percent from a year ago, said a work report of the Supreme People’s Court. It’s noteworthy that to improve IPR mechanism has been listed as an independent chapter in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which demonstrates the country’s resolution to intensify IPR efforts. Apart from institutional guarantee, China is also enhancing the application of AI, big data and other information technologies in IP reviewing and protection by reinforcing informationized and smart infrastructure, so as to push for integrated online-offline development of IPR. Antchain, a global leader in

blockchain under China’s Alibaba Group, has made some IPR attempts based on the blockchain technology of the Alibaba DAMO Academy. On Oct. 22, 2020, the company launched a one-stop digital platform of IP services. Relying on the tamper proof character of the blockchain and private protection technology, the platform offers instant IP verification for original content providers, which largely lowers the difficulty of ownership certification, effectively prevents the incidence of infringement disputes, and makes it easier to handle such disputes. Bayuegua is a Beijing-based company in the IPR sector. It has established a platform called Innovative Brain based on AI and big data technologie. The platform offers a series of IP identification and protection services such as information analysis before, during and after R&D, IPR application and IP trade, technology translation and transfer, sci-tech consultation, technological due diligence, and technological finance. So far, the Innovative Brain has

Law enforcement officials with the administration for market regulation of Fushan District, Yantai, east China’s Shandong Province investigate into a trademark infringement case at a cosmetics shop, April 26, 2020. (Photo by Sun Wentan/People’s Daily Online) collected nearly 140 million pieces of patent data from 110 countries, organizations and regions, and is

offering technological and marketing information for enterprises with over 200 search fields.

Beijing goes all out to improve education in Xinjiang By He Yong, People’s Daily


ver the past five years, Beijing has actively supported northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region with the construction of kindergartens and primary and middle schools, in a bid to lay the foundations of and bolster areas of weakness in Xinjiang’s education. From 2016 to 2020, Beijing allocated a fund of nearly 2.1 billion ($320 million) yuan to aid Xinjiang in improving schools. The city established, renovated, and expanded a total of 193 kindergartens and primary and middle schools, which cover an area of over 2.6 million square meters, and built a batch of demonstration schools including the Moyu Beijing Senior High School and Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School in Xinjiang. Beijing has significantly scaled up the various education infrastructure in Xinjiang and helped the autonomous region resolve the shortage of education facilities overall at this stage. Meanwhile, Beijing has helped create over 150,000 places in the schools of Xinjiang, effectively guaranteeing the access to education for children who have reached school age. Raziya Abdirehim, a six-grade student at the Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School, enjoys rope skipping with friends at the tartan tracks of the schoolyard. “I really like the big playground as we can play games and do activities there,” said the student. Before it bid farewell to poverty last year, Hotan prefecture in Xinjiang, where the Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School is located, was one of the severely impoverished areas in China and was faced with a prominent lack of education resources. For a while, the schools in villages and towns of the prefecture were equipped with rough wooden tables and chairs, whose colors didn’t even match; a teacher needed to take care of an entire class of 50 to 60 children in the kindergartens, which was pretty hard

work; and in some schools, the walls fell into decay, and the ceilings of offices had cracks and started to peel. As a key project of Beijing’s assistance with the education of Xinjiang, the Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School took shape on an open space within merely over one year and officially started to enroll students in the autumn of 2018. With novel designs and complete facilities, the modern school accommodating over 2,100 students now has become a star school in the area, and serves as an epitome of the fruits Beijing has achieved in assisting

Xinjiang in the field of education. When it started to enroll students, the Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School was troubled by the lack of experience and professional skills among some local teachers though equipped with first-class hardware facilities. Liu Quanhua, a teacher from Haidian district of Beijing in the Hetian Beijing Haidian Primary School, has encouraged fellows assigned by Beijing to instruct local teachers, which pushes the rapid improvement in their quality. It is crucial to train a team of high-quality teachers for the area, and

stimulate the vitality of local teachers so that they can independently animate the class and benefit the students, according to Liu, also the first principal of the school. Liu has devoted himself to the development of the school and couldn’t help but shed tears when he attended the flag-raising ceremony at the school for one last time before leaving the school and returning to Beijing last year. Since 2016, Beijing has assigned 647 excellent teachers in four batches to help teach students in Xinjiang. The teachers from Beijing have

formed over 800 pairs in a masterapprentice relationship with local teachers in Xinjiang to improve their competences, staged demonstration courses for more than 1,500 times, and trained over 10,000 fresh hands in schools. Beijing has also creatively launched a program to encourage college students across China to teach in the schools of Xinjiang. Since 2018, Beijing has invested over 200 million yuan, and recruited over 20,000 college students to teach in Xinjiang, effectively dealing with the insufficiency of teachers in the autonomous region.

China works to fortify its biosecurity network By Du Haitao, Liu Fangjun, People’s Daily


hina will officially enact its biosecurity law on April 15. As the country steps up efforts to enhance public education on biosecurity, Chinese citizens are gaining an increasing awareness of preventing the import of harmful organisms and advancing ecological progress. Animal and plant quarantine at the customs is the first line of defense that safeguards national biosecurity. Last year, China’s customs districts seized quarantine pests in 69,500 batches from 102 countries and regions. In the first two months of this year, they seized 172 types of pests in 7,942 batches, a 40.41 percent year-on-year surge in the number of interceptions. In early January this year, Suzhou customs’ transaction organization stationed in the post office captured massive tulip seedballs when inspecting incoming parcels.

Tulip seedballs are a commodity that customers always purchase from overseas around February every year. However, these propagating materials might carry massive pests, such as Ditylenchus dipsaci, Pratylenchus penetrans and Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV), which are all high-risk pests inspected by Chinese customs in imported tulip seedballs. For instance, the ArMV is extremely contagious, which would damage multiple cash crops once imported, and seriously threaten China’s agricultural safety. On an early morning, a mail van pulled into a depot under customs supervision of the Hefei International Mail Exchange Bureau, east China’s Anhui Province, where parcels shipped from across the world gathered. Customs official Zhang Chengzhi, upon X-ray examination and out of the box audit, discovered several living insects in glass bottles. “There are more and more

such cases in recent years,” Zhang said. “The living insects didn’t go through any quarantine or approval procedure, and might carry parasites, viruses and bacteria that threaten people’s health and ecological security,” he explained, adding that these insects might pose a risk for local species. Sophisticated technologies are constantly enriching examining methods, significantly improving the capability of quarantining animals and plants. “We don’t have any examining methods or materials for most of the invasive species here in China, so we must consult massive foreign documents. Meanwhile, we are equipped with large numbers of sophisticated equipment to increase the speed and accuracy of quarantine,” said Chen Yunfang with the technology center of Suzhou customs. “Microscopes are our weapons. For instance, the scanning electron microscope can magnify the lips of nematodes,

which are normally as small as 1 millimeter, by 30,000 times. It enables us to see clearly the heads of the nematodes,” Chen said. Focusing on the identification of plant parasitic nematodes for over 20 years, Gu Jianfeng and his team from the technology center of Ningbo customs have built a smart identification system. “In the future, the time for identification will be shortened from a couple of days to minutes,” Gu said. Suzhou customs’ transaction organization stationed in the post office handles nearly one million international parcels each year. An official with the organization told People’s Daily that the customs have established a multi-dimensional prevention and control network to prevent the invasion of exotic species. Experts noted that many invasive species entered China due to the public’s lack of biosecurity knowledge, adding that non-trade channels are mostly how these species invaded.


Education Maryam Abeeb


s part of the continuing efforts and response towards COVID 19 , UNICEF has assured to boost learning in 16 states of Nigeria in order to enhance education of 12million pupils affected by the pandemic. This was made known by UNICEF Education Specialist for Continuing Learning /Alternate Home and Community-Based project , Yetunde Oluwatosin. She noted that this will be achieved via the 15Million USD response grant from the Global Partnership on Education, (GPE) for COVID-19 safe school reopening across Nigeria. According to her, the Community Based programme is a component of the GPE /Nigerian government response support agenda to COVID-19 pandemic in the Education sector. Maryam Abeeb, Abuja


ov. Atiku Bagudu says his administration has secured a 70 million dollars World Bank Grant to strengthen Adolescent GirlChild Education. Bagudu disclosed this at the 5th Kebbi State Women Ramadan Lecture Series held in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital on Saturday. Bagudu said with the grant, women in the state, especially adolescent girls would be taught more skills, coupled with both formal and non-formal education. The governor also stated that such skills would enable the girls to be more productive and self reliant, even in their matrimonial homes . Bagudu said: “The good news is that, the more we invest in women, the more prosperous our society will be. “The grant will complement the various programmes and policies aimed at making life better for the girl-child, women and other vulnerable groups in the state.” Bagudu stressed the need to legislate and appropriate more money for Girl-Child Education and other related welfare schemes . The governor noted that women must be supported to play their societal roles, just as it has been ordained by the Almighty Allah. He observed that women play key roles in the routine running of the society, apart from their respective family responsibilities. “If we religiously heed to the various Islamic injunctions as regards our entire lives and family bonds, we will live in a healthier, safe and


COVID-19: Unicef set to boost education of 12million pupils in Nigeria Oluwatosin stated that the scheme targets 500,000 learners , 1300 schools and 8500 teachers in Ebonyi, Benue and Enugu States. “The primary purpose of the 9months project is to ensure that children continue to learn through access to diverse remote learning programmes as appropriate for each context to meet the needs of each child including the most vulnerable and specifically to ensure that education system recovers from school closure as well as implement safe school operation” Also, Catherine Osho , UNICEF implementing agent and Chief Programme officer with the Excellent Community Education

Welfare Scheme, ECEWs , said the GPE project creates opportunity for children who were not reached during the lockdown period to catchup with learning. According to her, the project targets to establish community reading and numeracy hubs for 21,767 pupils in two local governments of Aninri and Isiuzo LGAs of Enugu State. Speaking on the take off of the project in Enugu State, ECEWS State Program Officer Ufiem Donatus Anya , disclosed that 20 Master trainers from Aninri and Isiuzo L.GAs , have been fully trained on the provision of Psychosocial support , and another 20

were trained on Reading Hub and facilitating RANA tools for the pupils in the two LGAs. He stated that 8,885 pupils are to be reached in Aninri LGA while 12,882 pupils will be supported under the programme . “prior to our program, SBMC in these two LGAs do not have a record ,hence documentation of events was not in place ,we have conducted a pre-test module for evaluation before the training takes place to ascertain what the members of the SBMC actually know”. “ECEWs has influenced the SBMC to increase the number of days they meet, they now write to their Local government chairmen”

“The GPE Continued learning project in Enugu is being implemented with some challenges such as the hindrance of natural terrain in areas like Eha Amufu communities in Isiuzor LGA”, he added. Ufiem revealed that ECEWs intend to create a model that the state can adopt, adding that this will facilitate expansion of the project to the remaining 15 LGAs in Enugu State. Meanwhile, the ECEWS Programme Officer added that the project intends to fully train 559 teachers to be fully equipped with functional 153 reading hubs in both Aninri and Isiuzo LGAs.

Kebbi secures World Bank grant for Girl-Child Education peaceful society. “Our various families, diligently anchored by our wives, mothers and daughters will be able to surmount all the formidable challenges and survive any economic turbulence,” he added. Bagudu commended the convener of the lectures and First Lady, Dr

Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu and the other active collaborators for making the event a huge success. On her part, Shinkafi-Bagudu said successes of the Ramadan period depend on women’s contribution not just to their homes but to the society at large.

The governor’s wife extolled the efforts of husbands, fathers, sons and brothers for supporting the family. “We must also appreciate the tireless efforts of our husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, especially during this month where we seek Allah’s blessings and reward.

“As Muslim women, we contribute a lot to not just our homes but to the society at large and a huge part of the successes of Ramadan period depends on us. “That means, we can do more to ease the month for many who may not be as blessed as some,” she said.

Maryam Abeeb

process of registration and university pressure and are vulnerable to exploitation by scammers out there,” he said.

Oloyede also advised Ministries of Education and relevant stakeholders who were saddled with the responsibility of enrollment of

students into secondary schools to always ascertain the students’ true age before admittance into secondary schools.

JAMB Registrar bans parents from UTME venues


he Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is’haq Oloyede, has ordered all CBT Centres across the country not to allow parents/ guardians into the registration hall again. A statement signed by JAMB Spokesman in Ilorin Office, Hassan Lawal, quoted Oloyede as saying that the decision was made after inspecting some of the registration centres in Kwara, which were overcrowded. ”The registrar said it has been discovered that the parents/ guardians are always a distraction to both candidates and the centres and at the same time, congesting the halls by not following the COVID – 19 protocols,” Oloyede was quoted as saying. Oloyede also advised parents/ guardians to stop pushing the education of their wards faster than necessary. “For example a 14 or 15-year-old is not matured enough to undergo the

L-R, The District of Kawo,Alhaji Jibrin Mohammed Magaji, Vice Chancellor of National Open University Kaduna, Prof. Olufemi Peter and the chairman of the occassion, Dr. Danladi Umar Abdul-hameed, at the 22nd graduation ceremony of centre for Human Resource Development Empowerment Iniviative in collaboration National Open University of Nigeria in Kaduna yesterday. pic by Shehu K. Goro

FG reconstitutes governing councils of NABTEB, NSSEC Maryam Abeeb


he Federal Government has approved the reconstitution of the Governing Council of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board. The development was disclosed in a statement by Mr Ben Goong, the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Education in Abuja. Goong said that the appointments were to provide leadership and guidance

to the examination body, reposition entrepreneurship, business and technical subjects in the educational system in response to industry needs. The council has Prof. Bem Angwe as Chairman and Mr Abbas Hassan, Mr Abdu Ajileye, Mr Umar Mustaphaa and Prof. James Okoro as members. The director said that the board had been mandated to aggressively pursue the relevance and acceptance of its examinations, improve its revenue

generation and sustain the culture of probity and good corporate governance. He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had also approved the constitution of the governing board for the National Senior Secondary Education Commission. He said the NSSEC board has Dr Nimota Akanbi as Chairman and Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, Dr Kabir Kabo, Dr Habiba Suleman, Mrs Joan Ogu, Mr Asubiojo Olaoluwa, Mr Adizuie Eluoka, Mrs Rabi Eshak and Mr Fela Bank-Olemoh Eniola as

members. He said that the mandate of the board was to set standards that would ensure effective teaching and learning at the senior secondary school level of our 6-3-34 education system. He said that the board was also to place the commission on a sound footing by facilitating supervision and guidance. He said that the board had a tenure of four years with effect from the date of its inauguration.




Mozambique Palma attack: Why IS involvement is exaggerated T

he recent insurgent raid on the Mozambican town of Palma made global headlines because foreigners were killed and because the Islamic State group said it was behind it, leading to sharp divisions as to how Mozambique’s four-year-old conflict should be interpreted, writes analyst Dr Joseph Hanlon. Palma had always been a sleepy fishing town, until last year it was transformed into a thriving hub for Mozambique’s burgeoning gas industry. The French company Total began to develop a $20bn (£14.6bn) gas liquification plant for the second largest gas reserve in Africa. Total was developing its own walled compound with airstrip and pier on the Afungi Peninsula 10km (6 miles) south of Palma. But the contractors and service industry were all based in Palma, which saw a building boom of hotels, banks and construction yards. When the insurgents entered on 24 March they were attacking a rapidly growing town with significant foreign investment and more than 1,000 foreign workers linked to the gas industry. Just two weeks before, the US had labelled the insurgents as “ISIS-Mozambique” and designated it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Four days after the attack, the Islamic State group-aligned Amaq news agency issued a statement claiming that its fighters had attacked Palma and destroyed government offices and banks. IS claim debunked With IS claiming the Palma raid it made headlines. CBS news called it an “Isis militant siege” with hundreds of foreign workers cowering in fear. The UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper called it “Isis terror” and a “jihadist massacre”. The UK’s Times newspaper had earlier headlined: Isis militants attack town housing foreign workers in Mozambique. But on the same day, before some of the newspaper headlines were published, the IS claim was debunked. Jasmine Opperman, Africa analyst at the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled), who has been following the insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province closely, showed that the videos and photos were not from Palma, but from Mocimboa da Praia, 65km to the south. One of the first things the insurgents now do in attacks is to cut all telecommunications links, mainly by using machetes to cut cables. In Palma, mobile phone connections went down just 30 minutes after the attack started. So IS and Amaq had no information on the raid. As well as false pictures, the only claims were vague ones that had already been published in international media. The claim was also the first one about Mozambique from IS or Amaq for five months. In 2019 the insurgents made links with IS, largely it appears to gain publicity, and did send mobile phone videos. They continued to stress that their target was the government, so a widely published photo shows insurgents with the black IS flag in front of a burned-out district administration building. But the insurgents continued to use the name given to them by local people, al-Shabab, which simply means “the youth” and has no connection with al-Shabab in Somalia. As Acled, the closest and most trusted monitor of the Cabo Delgado conflict, concluded in a recent report: “There is no evidence from the Palma attack that IS controls the strategic direction of the insurgency.”

Residents of Palma, northern Mozambique, are trying to get back to normality in the wake of the attack

Mozambican soldiers are on the streets of Palma, as seen in this picture taken on Monday

The conflict has forced tens of thousands from their homes, including these children who are now studying at a temporary school Who are the insurgents? The insurgents are primarily Muslims from the coastal zone of Cabo Delgado, recruited by local fundamentalist preachers with a basically socialist message - that Sharia, or Islamic law, would bring equality and everyone would share in the coming resource wealth. The first attack was in 2017 on Mocimboa da Praia, the only city and port in this northern zone. The message and the promise of jobs and money led many young men to join the insurgency, and it gained support in local communities. The war spread to six districts, and five districts capitals - all except Palma - were attacked and occupied for some time. Insurgents have controlled Mocimboa da Praia and the only paved road for a year.

A report based on interviews with women who escaped the insurgents in Palma was published on 12 April by João Feijó, technical director of the Rural Observatory of Mozambique (OMR) and one of the bestinformed Mozambican researchers. The women revealed that some leaders are Tanzanians, some of who claim to be IS, and Somalis, who firmly said they were not IS, but rather part of another unidentified group. Town looted by the army The consensus is that the insurgency started locally and that foreign and IS involvement came later. The disagreement is over how important that is. The US view is that IS has hijacked the insurgency and taken it over. The view of most Mozambican researchers is that there is foreign

and possibly IS involvement, but that al-Shabab is still locally run and retians local goals. This split leads to a huge division over the response. A message asking for help was seen on the grounds of a hotel in the town of Palma during the attack The insurgents walked and drove into Palma virtually unopposed, despite clear warnings over two months of an attack when the rains ended, and a government promise to Total to defend Palma. The army and paramilitary police are poorly trained and equipped, and unmotivated and hugely corrupt. The insurgents had largely not attacked the installations of Total contractors, and in the first week of April, after the attackers had left Palma, the army looted the city, breaking into contractor facilities. This was shown both in aerial photos and from first-hand reports from contractors, and even angry local government officials. Foreign interest in IS link There is a big push for a military response. In an 11 March press conference, John T Godfrey, US Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis, said: “We have to confront Isis in Africa.” The US wants to be involved in Cabo Delgado to confront IS “terrorist activities” there. Portugal is sending trainers and as the current head of the EU Council is pushing for EU involvement. The South African military is already patrolling Mozambique’s coast and would like boots on the ground. This is where the role of IS becomes central. No country can give the Mozambican government military support to fight its own peasants. But to fight a global enemy like IS provides the justification. In other words, IS and the US appear to have a common interest in promoting the importance of the jihadist group. For South Africa, promoters of the IS link warn that with similar levels of poverty in Cape Town, IS could use Cabo Delgado as a basis to move south, so South Africa should send troops. But if the insurgency is just a local peasant uprising, this does not hold. Mozambique’s Frelimo government is extremely anxious that outsiders, and even local media, do not look at the roots of the war and point out how a Frelimo elite has become wealthy while ordinary people in Cabo Delgado became poorer. On 7 April President Filipe Nyusi said Mozambique needs help “for the fight against terrorism”. But he added: “Those who arrive from abroad will not replace us, they will support us. It is a sense of sovereignty.” Interviews with women who escaped the insurgents in Palma offer an alternative view to the government’s. They said that the fighters have a great resentment towards the authorities, and their motivation is predominantly material - jobs and money. But many would like to leave the armed group if there was an alternative. Dr Feijó, who conducted the interviews, argues that economic development, intensive farming and fishing should be used to attract the disaffected. The government appears happier to blame IS rather than its own policy failings for the continued conflict. But increasing numbers of Mozambicans are saying that creating thousands of jobs would end the war sooner and cost much less than a huge international military involvement. Source: BBC







MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021



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NIGTEQ training: How Taraba State Teqball Chairman emerged best referee By Amaechi Agbo


s part of its drive to ensure that the beautiful game of teqball does not only gain prominence and dominance in the country, the Nigeria Teqball Federation recently conducted a four-day capacity training for selected participants from across states and the Federal Capital in the country. The capacity training which lasted from April 10th to 13th, 2021 in Abuja had 31 participants who, at the end of the training received certificates as either referees or coaches or both. Although 31 participants took part in the training, 26 passed as referees while 25 were certified coaches for the teqball. The training which was conducted by the NIGTEQ in conjunction with the International Federation of Teqball, FITEQ saw the best of hands emerge from the two exams conducted thereafter. In the referee course exam, Taraba State Teqball Association Chairman, Mahmud Sanusi Mohammed emerged the overall best referee in the course. Mr Mohammed who also doubles as the Taraba State Football Association Chairman described his record as a “shock” adding that he was surprised to get the result because he was not expecting it. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Mr Mohammed said that although he j=had been following the beautiful game of teqball including watching it on video as well as making personal research about the sport, emerging the best referee was not in his mind. He disclosed that by the virtue of his performance, the onus is on him to practice the new career adding that the basic challenge facing the game of teqball in his state of Taraba is learning the sport and its rules. Evolution of Teqball in Taraba State Teqball is a new sport not just in the state in the country but right now people are getting hungry for it because of the massive awareness and work the federation (Nigeria Teqball Federation, NIGTEQ) is doing at the federal level as well as our own effort at state level in Taraba. We are enlightening the people about the rules of the game and how to play it. It is still new and fresh. We have a lot of work to do and that is why I have to dedicate some time to sit and learn the rules and regulations of the game and how it is played internationally so that we can transmit it to the grassroots. We have a sacred responsibility to build this sport in our various homes, communities, schools and local governments across the state and we are not relenting on this. I have passion for this game and that is what is driving my board in the state.

What is your experience in the four-day training like? It is fantastic. The participants were fantastic. The coaches or instructors are wonderful. The two gentlemen from the International Federation of Teqball, FITEQ are excellent. And I am glad too that they are impressed with our performance too because a good teacher produces a good student. It was a massive experience because this is the basis we need to build on as administrators, coaches and referees in order to transmit same to the grassroots. The knowledge acquired during the training is not basically for the trainees. I call the training ‘train the trainers workshop’ because these set of coaches and referees that have been certified by FITEQ and NIGTEQ are the ones who will go into the various villages, communities, schools and local governments in the country to ensure that the beautiful game of teqball is established there. How many participants did you sponsor from your state? I sponsored a lady, unfortunately she had a little domestic issue. Her father was down and she had to look after him. Her not coming was in the dying minute and it was difficult for me to find a replacement in view of the urgent nature of the training. It came at a short notice. Because she was not able to make it, I decided to come on my own and be part of the training. So I enrolled and learnt a lot. The decision to enrol did not come instantly. It was after the first day that I gave it a thought and had to be part of the participants and joined in the lecture. It was advantageous for me because I needed to learn about the sport from the foundation. It is a new sport and need referees and coaches. We definitely need more hands to see how we can move the game forward in the country. What is your challenge with regards to developing Teqball in Taraba State? The major challenge is understanding the rules of the game. During the exams, a lot of people were confused about certain things which is expected in a new sport like this. So understanding the game is our major focus because once you understand the game, every other thing will follow. When we are pushing the sport to the grassroots level, this is what we need to know, understand and inculcate in others. What is the composition of the leadership of Teqball in Taraba State like? Just like other states, we have the three key board members who are the Chairman, Vice Chairman and the Secretary. These

Taraba State Teqball Chairman, Mahmud Sanusi Mohammed receiving gift from FITEQ instructor, Mrs Keresztury Marton during the training on Tuesday are the people on ground now and we are putting modalities in motion to execute our plans. With this training it has added more impetus to our vein to propel or drive in developing teqball in the state. We have the complete structure and clubs have registered with us. We have three clubs that have registered with us including Taraba State Teqball Club. Another club called us few days ago to request for registration. So we are moving. We also need proper awareness to let the sport go round and that is where we will be needing the media. Their media help to disseminate information faster so we will be partnering with journalists out there in this regard. No sport can make appreciable impact without the media and we are aware of this. Emerging best referee? It boils down to regular update and research because most of the times I am not engaged, I will play videos of Teqball and read about the sport too. I also took some mock exams online before the training. It boils down to preparation. I was surprised when I was called as the best referee in the exam. I was shocked. But it was a product of preparation. All the time I spent browsing the internet and looking for information about teqball paid off. I am glad over the feat. Are you going to practise as a referee? Yes. Why not. From the result as announced, I have to accept that responsibility. If I am the best graduate, then I think it is proper that I engage in the referee fully and professionally. The Future of Teqball in Taraba State in the next five year? As I told you, we have a road map and that road map started with this training. Taraba state is known for sports and teqball will not be an exception. Apart fron establishing the beautiful game of teqball to

become a household name in the state, our projection is that by next 5 years, Taraba State Teqball Association will be ranked best in the country. What is your advice to fellow coaches and referees who took the course with you? I must confess that the crop of individuals I saw there were exceptional. The four days we spent together there, there was bonding, there was love and it was as if we were from the same family. It was unique. They were intelligent set of people, humble, lively and above all very serious about what they came to do. My advice to them is simple; we have listened to the FITEQ teachers as well as NIGTEQ management. They have told us all they need from us. They told us that we are the pioneers of the Nigeria teqball as well as ambassadors of NIGTEQ. These are commendable but they come with serious responsibilities. One of them is for us to be professionals. For us to maintain uprightness and integrity particularly the referees. The referees are the mirror of the sport and they should be confident and professional, firm and fair in discharging their duties. What s your message to NIGTEQ management? I want to commend the board of Nigeria Teqball Federation, NIGTEQ pragmatically led by its president, Engr. Habu Gumel; the General Secretary, Ndudi Edede and the Vice President, Dr Ibrahim Abadul as well as the entire members for putting up this training for us. I understand that the training came at a short notice yet it was coordinated as if the preparation started last year. They have shown that the beautiful game of teball is in capable hansd in Nigeria and I promise you within months, Nigeria will start making great impacts in the game of teqball not only in Africa but globally.

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By Albert Akota


he Executive Director Commonwealth Handball Association, Jubril Saidu has emerged chairman of the Maga Veterans Handball Association of Nigeria (MVHAN) over the weekend at the Moshood Abiola stadium package B with overwhelming votes. Speaking during the inauguration, the former junior international player promised to follow the rules of the association as well support members who are not financial buoyant would be empower through scholarship programs. The Kogi state born sports administrator, promised to include all members in treading programs as well call for congress to discuss way forward and strategy new development for the association and that of the game of handball. “I want us join hands to developed the game because we are the mother and father of handball in Nigeria because we are developing players for the federation



Saidu emerges mega veterans handball association of Nigeria chairman in Abuja “Let’s put grievances we may have for each other outside because there is not time for negativity. “We will constitute committees on those areas that will help the association to grow, “I am elected to serve you, I am not your boss, we will follow the rules of the association. “I am your servant not your boss, we will carry all members along both the one here and those that are not here and focus more on unity of handball in Nigeria, he” noted Speaking earlier, the former secretary of the association, Cletus Ogbu said though, most of the positions were unopposed because their tenures have expired, added

that the election was free and fair as well meet the standard of election of handball. “As you can seen, everyone in the industry is here to witness the election, we are happy because of the credible people we elected into various positions, all we need is unity to move the association forward, “ he appealed. The new elected members are Jubril Saidu, chairman, vice chairman one, Mohammed salihu, vice chairman two, Alhaji Yuguda Ibrahim, Secretary, Alhaji Hassennic Abdukari, Assistant Secretary, Joan Iwuchukwu, Treasurer, Awal Babaji, Financial secretary, Naomi Nyiker, P.R.O. Chukwuma Innocent and Welfare secretary, Emmanuel Briggs.

Jubril Saidu

Governor Okowa promises ‘best ever’ sports festival in 2022 By Amaechi Agbo


elta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has promised that the country will witness the “best ever” national sports festival when the state hosts the biggest sporting events in Nigeria in next year. The governor disclosed this while Victorious Team Delta was given a rousing welcome in Asaba, the state capital, on Thursday, a day after topping the medals table at the 20th National Sports Festival tagged Edo 2020. Apart from emerging champions in Benin City on Wednesday, Delta State was also awarded the hosting right for the 2022 edition of the sports festival, beating five other states, Ebonyi, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, and Ogun in the bidding process. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has assured that Delta State will host the ‘best ever’ sports festival that will remain memorable for

Nigerians in many years to come. Speaking while receiving the flag of the National Sports Festival as the next host from the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Nebolisa Anako, Okowa said Nigerian youths, officials, and journalists, who will participate in the 2022 edition, will leave Asaba with great memories of the fiesta. Governor Okowa, represented by Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said the state has shown over the years that it is the hub of sports and getting the nod to host the 2022 edition was a welcome development. The victory in Benin City on Wednesday was the second triumph for Team Delta under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration after topping the medals table at Abuja 2018. On arrival in Asaba Thursday,

Team Delta athletes, coaches, and accompanying officials were given rousing cheers by the people, including school children, market women, and civil servants, who lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the contingent. Chief Solomon Ogba, who played a huge role in the victory, described Edo 2020 fiesta as wonderful. “Team Delta led the medals table from day one because we wanted to avoid the mistake of what happened in 2002. Though there were some manipulations by some states along the line, we were able to hold our own. I must commend our athletes, coaches, and other Delta officials for the wonderful job. I thank the governor for the huge support he gave to Team Delta,” Ogba stated. Chairman, Delta Sports Commission, Tony Okowa, was excited by the reception accorded his team. He described the victory at Edo 2020 as a result of hard work.

Ifeanyi Okowa and Sunday Dare, youth and sports minister

Guardiola snubbed Yaya Toure’s letter of apology at Man City


anchester City legend Yaya Toure has confirmed he wrote a letter of apology to Pep Guardiola in order to find peace. Toure, 37, is regarded as one of the club’s greatest ever players winning three Prem titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups during his eight-year stint at Man City but left almost unsung. While City built a statue of David Silva and also planning to build one for Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure feels he is not welcome back at the club. The midfielder’s exit at the Etihad in 2018 was tarnished with comments accusing Guardiola of having a problem with African players in an explosive interview with France Football. He is now trying to repair his relationship with the club but Guardiola and owner Khaldoon Al Mubarak did not

reply to his letters of apology. Reported by the Daily Mail, Toure said: “That interview was my big, huge mistake. “This one was wrong. I want to apologise for what happened, I want to apologise for doing something wrong. “We decided we would try to communicate with some important people at the club to apologise and say I’ve been indecent to the club. “Since then, it has been a very, very long while waiting for an answer, but we don’t get it. “And, of course, if he feels like that, I cannot do anything. “Of course, I’ve been in touch with some people there. But the people at the top, it’s impossible. “I want peace. We don’t want this (acrimony) all the time. “For the love of the fans, for the love

Guardiola and Toure of the club, sometimes things have to be settled the right way. I’ve been in touch with some people there.” Toure also played under Guardiola and Barcelona but lost his place in the side to Sergio Busquests. In his explosive interview, Toure said: “It feels like he was jealous of me, he saw me as a rival… as if I was taking the limelight away from him. “He was cruel with me. Do you really think he could’ve been like that with Iniesta? “It got to the point I asked myself if it

was because of my colour. “I’m not the first, other Barca players asked the question too. Maybe us Africans aren’t always treated the same by certain people. “When you see the problems he [Pep] has often had with African players, everywhere he has been, I ask myself questions. “He’s too intelligent to be caught. He’ll never admit it [not liking Africans]. “But the day he picks a team with five Africans in, I promise I will send him a cake!”




R T Ahmed Musa begins training Norwich City with Kano Pillars Today promoted to Premier League N

orwich City are back in the Premier League after one season away. They won promotion to the Premier League for a fifth time, after Brentford and Swansea’s failure to win ensured Daniel Farke’s side could not be caught in the automatic places. The Canaries make an instant return to top flight following relegation to the Championship in the 2019-20 season. Only Watford, eight points behind, can now deny them the second-tier title for a third time. It is the earliest they have secured promotion since their first in 2004. Saturday evening’s game against Bournemouth can edge them closer to securing the title with four games remaining after that. Norwich lost 13 of their last 15 Premier League games last season as they

returned to the Championship after just one season in the top flight. But while most relegated sides struggle to turn around a losing mentality in the following campaign, the Canaries stayed calm and kept faith with head coach Daniel Farke and the nucleus of the squad which took them up the previous season. They gained just four points from their opening four games but moved to the top of the table with victory at Middlesbrough in late November, 12 games in, and hardly looked back. Norwich’s previous promotion was done in swashbuckling style, scoring an incredible 31 of their 93 league goals after the 75th minute, though a defence conceding 57 goals in the Championship would prove not to be fit for purpose at the highest level.

Cameroon Knocked Out Of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Football Ticket


Ahmed Musa


uper Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, who signed a short-term contract with Kano Pillars FC will on Monday join the club’s training with the rest of the squad. The 2013 AFCON winner was unveiled by the Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Friday. Spokesman of the club, Rilwanu Idris Malikawa Garu in a statement made available said all necessary formalities by the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC) and Kano Pillars FC about the transfer of the former Leicester City man have been concluded and he will joined up with the rest of the squad for his first training session on Monday. Ahmed Musa will be presented to the technical crew and the players by the board of the club led by Alhaji Surajo Shuaibu Yahaya Jambul before the commencement of the training on

Monday. The statement further thanked Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for his untiring support to the team. He also thanked those who contributed in one way or the other for seeing the return of Ahmed Musa back to the club and appealed to those that have a wrong perception by challenging the deal or its process to always accept the will of Allah. The image maker then expressed delight on how the Government and good people of Kano state welcomed the decision of Ahmed Musa and prayed to Almighty Allah to guide him to achieve his targeted objectives. Musa joined the four-time NPFL winners six months after he terminated his contract with Saudi Arabia outfit, Al Nassr FC in October 2020.

ameroon women’s team will miss the Olympic Games for the second time in a row, after a drab 0-0 draw against Chile in the CAF–CONMEBOL intercontinental playoff second leg on Tuesday in Antalya, Turkey. The Lionesses suffered a huge setback in the first leg, after falling to La Roja 2-1 courtesy of Camila Saez and Carla Guerrero’s efforts despite Ajara Nchout’s late consolation for the Africans on Saturday. Just as expected at the Arslan Zeki Demirci Sports Complex, Nchout and Gabrielle Onguene controlled the firsthalf proceedings, with the latter firing a long shot only for Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler to make an easy save However, Yanara Aedo and Guerrero came close for the Chileans but Cameroon goalkeeper Michaelys Bihina was at her best to deny heading into half time. On resuming the contest, the Central Africans attempted to create some chances through Nchout and Onguene

in the second half but they could not find a way past the defence of Jose Letelier’s side. On the heels of their pouring attacks, Brigitte Omboudou was sent off, after receiving her second yellow card in the 64th minute, leaving her team-mates a player down to avoid conceding from Chile for the final 25 minutes. The draw saw the dream of an Olympic return for Cameroon dashed, while the South Americans finally secured their maiden qualification ticket to the Games this summer, following a 2-1 aggregate triumph. This also means Zambia will be the only African representative in the Olympic finals draw scheduled for 21 April at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. After edging Cameroon, Chile joined Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, holders the USA, Zambia and hosts Japan to complete the 12 teams at the Games.

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MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021


Onuachu scores goal no 29 in Belgium


uper Eagles forward Paul Onuachu on Saturday night finished the regular league season as Goal King of Belgium topflight with 29 goals after netting a brace for Genk in a five-goal thriller at closest rivals Royal Antwerp. The 26-year-old thus emerged the third Nigerian to top the goals chart in Belgium after Tosin Dosunmu and Joseph Akpala. This record was a remarkable improvement from the nine goals he scored last campaign. Onuachu broke the dealock after just 22 minutes in the clash between second and third-placed teams in the Belgian topflight.

Sheffield United relegated from Premier League


heffield United’s miserable season was capped after relegation was finally confirmed following a 0-1 defeat at Wolves. The rock-bottom Blades will play in the Sky Bet Championship next term after Willian Jose’s second-half winner. Under caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United are 19 points from safety with six games remaining and have won just four times all season. The Blades have lost 26 of their 32 games, having finished ninth last term, with their two-year stay in the Premier League over. Taye Taiwo and Oduamadi



Another fine Tukur is gone


came to know and work with the Tukurs closely in 1983 when the patriarch of the family got elected as Governor of Gongola State. The relationship ought to have started earlier because I was in Yola the Gongola State capital when he returned from Lagos where he had served as the Chief Executive of Nigerian Ports Authority for years to contest elections for the gubernatorial office of the state. I was then an editorial staff of News Agency of Nigeria. Soon after his return, the New Nigerian Newspapers offered me a better job. To Kaduna I went. There, I accidently met Engineer Hamman Adama Tukur, his junior brother who was the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic. I was then young, a bit careless and coming from the first and best university in Nigeria at Ibadan I think my brain was still sharp. I proceeded to interview him without a notebook or recorder. Then I rushed to the office and immediately wrote a perfect story out of the interview. It made the front page of the Sunday New Nigerian for the week as a big lead story. A few weeks after, the same Rector was looking for a reporter at the New Nigerian to interview his senior brother Bamanga Tukur who was then in the heat of campaign for the gubernatorial race. He approached Abba Dabo my Editor who assigned me for the interview. By the time we met, he was shocked but pleased that I was the one to do the story. He cracked jokes calling me “dan iska”, the rascal, who published a perfect story out of an unrecorded interview. He arranged my meeting and interviewing Bamanga in Yola.I did the Bamanga interview and it was published. Later my Editor assigned me to do a political supplement on Gongola state, sponsored by the NPN, Bamanga Tukur’s political party which I did. Then all hell was unleashed against me. Rumours, accusing me of corruption and other unprofessional conduct were circulated at the New Nigerian. I didn’t know what was going on and continued doing my job without let. But the New Nigerian management took the unsubstantiated accusations very seriously and set up a panel to probe me. It was only at this stage that a friend who knew about the whole drama and also that I was innocent broke the

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Emmanuel Yawe royawe@yahoo.com 08024565402 whole scandal to me. I was mad and confronted my Editor. The investigation was a fiasco. There was no truth in the allegations against me whatsoever. The panel did not even invite me to testify. They only invited people they expected to implicate me. Strangely, all of them testified in my favour. Hamman Tukur felt pained that I was being victimized. He later told me I was a victim of high wired politicking in the Northern circle of the ruling NPN who didn’t want Bamanga to win the gubernatorial race for their party in Gongola in 1983. Dr Raymond Dokpesi, the Director General of the Bamanga Tukur Campaign Organisation sent a message that I should leave my job at the New Nigerian and join the campaign team. I stayed on at the New Nigerian regardless. When Bamanga Tukur won the election, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi sent a ticket for me to come to Yola immediately. I met him in Yola and he sent me to meet Mr David Barau the Deputy Governor elect. Bamanga Tukur himself was out of the country. David gave me an assignment to draft a speech which he was going to deliver in a short while. I did the draft and submitted it to him within a few minutes. He couldn’t believe what I gave him. Years later, he told me my handwriting was so beautiful he wanted to “eat it”; then the contents of the draft were just super. Dr Raymond Dokpesi and David Barau insisted I was to be appointed Bamanga Tukur’s Chief Press Secretary in 1983. Engineer Hamman Tukur also took a flight from Kaduna sorely to come and insist that his senior brother Bamanga appointed me

his Chief Press Secretary. Dr Raymond Dokpesi signed my letter of appointment, a weather-beaten piece of paper which I still keep and cherish today. Hamman kept a distance from the government of Bamanga Tukur for the three months we were in office. But Mahmud came around a few times to advise and encourage us. It was a role he was eminently qualified for as a the first indigenous director of Institute of Administration in Congo Zaria, who took over from Professor S. S Richardson he is reported to have been responsible for training the fine crop of northern civil servants that inherited the colonial service. The only problem was his decision to serve as General Muhammadu Buharis Minister for Commerce and Industry when the military toppled our government in 1984. As a result of that coup, Bamanga was imprisoned at Kiriki maximum prison. Those of us who worked for Bamanga felt some unease as he served as a top flight Minister in a government that imprisoned his senior brother without cause nor charge. But the big heart in Bamanga ensured that what would have remained a permanent crack in most families was forgotten and also forgiven. A few days ago, I went to see Bamanga to commiserate with him over the death of Dr Mahmud. He was still the same good old Bamanga of our Gongola days – cheerful, friendly and full of vitality even at 85. He was only sad that the relationship between the Tiv and the Fulani has degenerated to the extent that all he hears is about the wild allegations of Governor Ortom of Benue against the Fulani. Why did he go through all the problems he did in his days

Dr Raymond Dokpesi and David Barau insisted I was to be appointed Bamanga Tukur’s Chief Press Secretary in 1983. Engineer Hamman Tukur also took a flight from Kaduna sorely to come and insist that his senior brother Bamanga appointed me his Chief Press Secretary

as governor to appoint Dr Samuel Agbide a Cabinet Commissioner, the first and only Tiv Commissioner in Gongola State and me his Chief Press Secretary if the Tiv and Fulani are implacable enemies? He kept asking. But standards have fallen between 1983 and today. Mendacious politicians like Samuel Ortom have taken the stage, keep feeding their unsuspecting followers with out and out lies to maintain their strangle hold on their followers. In Benue, they have created a security nightmare which they keep blaming on the Fulanis even when the facts on the ground say otherwise. Is it the Fulanis that created the selfconfessed outlaw, armed robber, ritualist and terrorist, gave him (a stark illiterate) a senior position in Ortoms government? But in his tirades against the Fulani Ortom will never mention the role of Gana and his henchmen who have remained a security scare to the state even after Ganas death. As we left, Bamanga Tukur, the one-time Governor of Gongola State kept staring at us with the eyes of a doting father. Since we served in his government, he has become a Minister of Industries, a promominent global industrialist, world renowned business mogul and National Chairman of the PDP. And yet this is a man who played a very immodest role in bringing th Fulani and Tiv together. Today he is ignored by a Fulani President (Buhari) and a Tiv governor (Ortom) even as the orchestrated conflict between the Fulani and Tiv threaten the security of Benue and Nigeria.


PDP govs to FG: Don’t allow Nigeria become failed state —News

Which Nigeria?

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