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Vol. 11 No. 95

Friday, September 20, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Thul Qadah 15, 1434 AH


Ombatse: APC wants Maku removed from Defence seat

>> Pg 9

Yobe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaida (right), his deputy, Engineer Abubakar D. Ali (2nd right), Speaker, state House of Assembly, Hon. Adamu Dala Dogo (2nd left), and other officials inspecting newly acquired mass transit buses shortly after they were commissioned by the governor, yesterday in Damaturu.

Measles claims 40 children in Kaduna From Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


xecutive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr Sufyan Babale yesterday disclosed that measles killed no fewer than 40 children in the state. According to him, this year alone the state recorded at least 1,000 cases of the disease across its 23 local government areas. Speaking to newsmen shortly after a Stakeholders’ Meeting on Non-Polio Supplemental Immunisation Activities ( NPSIAs), Babale said most of the deaths occurred in Lere local government area of the state. “So far we have recorded over 40 deaths of

children that died because of the measles. This happened in Lere local government area of Kaduna state. I visited the area personally and saw fresh graves of over 30 children that died in Lere alone. “We also have so many cases in other local government areas of the state but the situation is under control. There are states that are selected for this year’s campaign on implementation of measles (immunisation) in the country of which Kaduna state is one of them. So we are going to do that to educate our people on the disease”, he said. He used the opportunity to appeal to parents to always take their children for immunisation, Contd. on Page 2

North not afraid of national confab — Gov Aliyu >>Pg2 SSS ‘foils’ plot to 70% candidates kidnap Yar’adua’s pass NECO daughter >> Pg 3 SSCE >> Pg 6

Corporal Ekibe Malla, serving with Mopol 45, Abuja, suspected to be a member of the outlawed Ombatse, paraded by soldiers on Tuesday at the Government House, in Lafia, Nasarawa state.



News Editorial


North not afraid of national confab — Niger gov



From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna











Stockwatch S/Report

23 24-25

Islam Int’l

26 27-30

Changing Nigerians’ identity in the Diaspora, Page 4

Strange World










News Extra




Sports Columnist

41-44 48

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hairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF), Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said that the northern part of the country was not opposed to the convocation of a national conference (confab), but is against the idea of a sovereign national conference (SNC). Speaking yesterday in Minna against the backdrop of renewed calls for the convocation of an SNC by some Nigerians, Aliyu said such a demand will entail all elected office holders vacating their positions and surrendering them to a committee that would be in charge of the SNC. “Many people are trying to make it look like northern states are afraid of conference-we are not. Let us come and talk; let us come and look at our problems. If it means restructuring the country, let us come and do it; but we must not be hoodwinked. “If people want to secede let them secede and then we see under which Constitution they are seceding; let us not be intimidated. We cannot be intimidated because intimidation will not give us good policies; intimidation will not give

NGF crisis: Court strikes out suit

us a good nation; intimidation will not give us any progress”, he warned. The Niger governor spoke at the opening of a one-day workshop for Niger students organised by the state Ministry of Tertiary Education. The workshop had the theme: “A New Focus for NANISS”. Governor Aliyu declared that “those calling for a sovereign national conference must understand the implication of that. You cannot have two sovereignties in one place. “Anybody who says he is going to organise a sovereign national conference..., all of us in government must resign our jobs and then transfer the sovereignty of the country to the committee that is going to discuss the sovereignty of the country”, he said. He continued: “National conference; yes, we can organise it and then send it to the appropriate organ to deliberate upon it. I will love a national conference that will look at our Constitution and really give us justice, equity and fairness in our body polity, and in our national life”. The governor reiterated that the North was not afraid of the convocation of a national

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos and Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo



peaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Haruna Tsokwa, who on Wednesday night escaped being killed by unknown gunmen, said the attack had nothing to do with the political crisis rocking the state. Tsokwa was attacked by armed bandits on his way to Abuja at about 5pm on the Akwanga-Abuja road, near Bade, a border town between Kaduna and Nasarawa states after attending a workshop in Obodu, Cross River state. Speaking through his Press Secretary, Tanko Lodiya Kaur, in a telephone chat with our correspondent in Lagos, Tsokwa reiterated that the attack was not connected to the political crisis facing the state. “They are suspected armed robbers; it’s going to be unfair to link it with Taraba politics. Our people

are peace loving”, he said. He said several shots fired at his convoy were unsuccessful, though one of the Speaker’s aides, a police officer sustained gunshot wound. He was rushed to a hospital after the attackers were overpowered and they escaped into a nearby bush. Kaur said that the Speaker is in good condition despite the attack. “I am glad to report that he is safe and sound and expected to return to Taraba state on Friday”, the Speaker’s spokesman said. Condemning the attack, Taraba state Governor, Danbaba Suntai, expressed shock at the attack on the Speaker’s convoy. Suntai, in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Hassan Mijinyawa, called on security agencies to investigate the attack. Suntai said his state needs peace, security and greater political accommodation. Also, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji

Agric content in Christian pilgrimage By Evelyn Okakwu


xecutive Secretary of the Nigerian Christians Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), John Kennedy Opara, has said that the Commission plans to introduce visit to agricultural sites by pilgrims

Measles claims 40 children in Kaduna Contd. from Front Page disclosing that on measles, there have been no much resistance by parents because they have seen how dangerous the disease is. Dr. Babale also stated that the implementation campaign has been slated for October 5-9, 2013. In his remarks, the Kaduna Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga also appealed to parents to always take their children for immunisation so as to protect them from measles and other diseases.

Attack on me not political, says Taraba Speaker

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin n Abuja High Court yesterday struck out a suit seeking to determine the winner of the contentious election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on May 25, 2013. The order of court striking out the suit, followed an earlier application for discontinuance brought by the plaintiff, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, (SAN) of Lagos state. Fashola had, through his counsel, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (SAN), approached the court on May 31,via a writ of summons, seeking an order of court to restrain Plateau State Governor and claimant to the chairmanship of the forum Mr. Jonah Jang from parading himself as such. He had contended that the Governor of Rivers state, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, won the May 25 poll, having scored 19 votes, to beat Jang, who was said to have scored 16 votes.

conference because it believes it will move the country forward. Aliyu also berated people he described as “foot soldiers” of President Jonathan for going back on the agreement reached with the G7 governors and some major stakeholders last Sunday that all the actors should stop making comments on the crisis in the media, saying hardly had the meeting ended “before these foot soldiers went against the agreement. “We sat down in the name of PDP to resolve issues and we agreed that no more outside talks. But what happened? Before we even left the meeting place people have started sending out information to newspapers and other information outlets. “If you agree on something and you cannot keep the agreement, let people know. It is unethical when you agree on something and you go and do something different”, he said. The governor also decried the present situation where 14 states in the northern part of the country have about 80% of their children out of school, saying that children not in school cannot contribute to the development of the society. He charged leaders in the

North not to see population as a reason why they would not fund education properly. The state Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Dr Bashir Nuhu, disclosed that between 2007 and this year, the state government spent over N1.6 billion on the scholarship allowances of students of the state origin in tertiary institutions within and outside the country. Nuhu also said that the ministry has commenced the payment of scholarship through electronic means, while also issuing scratch cards to students for the payment.

during the Holy pilgrimage in Israel which begins next month. The NCPC in a statement yesterday by the Head of Media Affairs, Mr. Celestine Ogugua, said that Opara disclosed this in Jerusalem while interacting with the officials of the Israeli Agriculture

ministry in Israel. Mr Celestine stated that the purpose of the purpose of the innovation by the Commission was to tap into the rich agricultural endowments of Israel with a view to replicating the same in Nigeria.

Hamidu Mayorenewo, expressed shock at the news of the attack, but expressed joy that the Speaker and members of his entourage were safe.

EFCC arraigns man over N7m fraud By Joy Baba


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned one Mohammed Bishir Abbas before a Federal High Court sitting in Calabar on a one-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence. This was contained in a statement signed by the Ag. Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in Abuja yesterday. Uwujaren said Mohammed allegedly obtained the sum of N7,063,000,000 from one Boco Ika through a phony petroleum products supply deal. According to Boco, Mohammed was paid to supply 11 trucks of 33,000 litres of petroleum products but only supplied three trucks. The statement said Abbas pleaded not guilty to the charge.




Ombatse: Al-makura visits victims, offers relief materials

From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


R-L: Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Bauchi State Commissioner for Finance, Malam Mahamoud Maidama’a, National Coordinator NAPEP, Alhaji Mukhtar Balewa, Chairman, Senate, Committee on Finance, Senator Joshua Dariye, World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, and Oyo state Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, during the unveiling of Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operation, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

No plan to impeach Tambuwal, says House spokesman  As Baraje group warns against overheating polity By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday denied rumours that plans have been perfected by the lawmakers to sack Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. Although it was vigorously rumored that some members of the Green Chamber have been induced with $25,000 each to move against the House leadership, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep Zakari Mohammed, told newsmen yesterday that he could neither deny nor confirm the insinuation. He said, “I am not in any position to confirm or deny the allegations that money exchanged hands for the plot to change the House leadership because I did not collect any money.”

According to him, the alleged move to oust Tambuwal is not probable because the members had only on Tuesday at the plenary passed a vote of confidence in his leadership. He said the issue of impeachment or change of leadership could only be done by lawmakers and not anyone from outside the chambers. He however insisted that any external move for the removal of the House leadership would fail. Mohammed also disclosed that the House would suspend plenary to allow its committees carry out a week oversight on government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ascertain the level of 2013 budget implementation by the Presidency. Meanwhile, the splinter PDP

led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, had condemned what it described as the sinister plot to impeach both Senate President, David Mark and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal in connection with the recent visit of the progressive Governors and the National Working Committee of the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the National Assembly. The Baraje PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, stated that, “to us, this plot by the hawks in the Presidency is politics taken too far and illustrates the extent to which they are prepared to go in their determination to plunge this country into chaos. “We wish to warn those who are planning this coup to desist

PDP crisis: Where’s Doyin Okupe? By Lawrence Olaoye


ince the crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got to its peak, the nation has continued to miss the voice of the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe. So much unlike the Presidential spokesman, Okupe has kept a studied silence and refused to comment on the crisis even when issues around the eligibility of his principal for the 2015 Presidential

election are being discussed. This prompted the curiosity as to why Jonathan’s spokesperson commonly called the ‘Presidential Attack Dog’ has kept mute in the face of several verbal invectives going the way of his principal. Although efforts to get him to comment on this yielded no result as several calls put through to him were unsuccessful and text sent to his cell phone undelivered, a source within his office, who craved anonymity, clarified that his boss refused to comment

because the crisis rocking the PDP is the internal problem of the party. He said, “Okupe feels that he would be out stepping his bounds if he begins to comment on a crisis that is already being handled by his boss, Mr. President. “He would not want to be seen to be fanning the embers of discord since there are directives from the Presidency that all parties to the crisis should stop media comments as doing so would not help matters in this situation.”

forthwith as such a misadventure is capable of plunging this nation into a crisis of monumental proportions. “These undemocratic elements should stop overheating the polity just because of their selfish ambitions. “Both President David Mark and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal have brought in a unique style of leadership which has resulted to the sanity, brotherhood, unity being witnessed in the National Assembly since they came on board and any negative attempt on them will be resisted considering that we now have the majority in the Assembly. “In this regard, we wish to advise the leadership of the National Assembly not to lose sleep over this evil plot as it is destined to fail,” Eze said.

overnor Umaru Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa state yesterday visited areas affected by the recent crisis involving the outlawed Ombatse which resulted in the sacking of Assakio, Obi and other communities. Al-makura in company of members of the State Executive Council, top security officers as well as other senior government functionaries, visited Assakio, Odobu and Obi, to assess the impact of the conflict. The Governor also visited Namu in Quapan local government area of Plateau state where displaced persons have taken refuge, at the SPS primary school, as well as Keana where refugees from Obi fled to for safety. At Assakio which was completely razed down with nearly all the buildings destroyed, including the new palace of the Osakyo of Assakio, Osula Inaregu, Al-makura expressed his dismay at the level of destruction saying government will not rest on its oars until the perpetrators are brought to book. While addressing displaced persons in Namu, the Governor announced an emergency relief package for the people, urging them to be forbearing as his administration will do everything in its power to enable them go back home and to resume their normal businesses. He equally announced cash donations so as to assist the people while they are at the camp.

SSS foils plot to kidnap Yar’adua’s daughter By Joy Baba


fficials of the State Security Services (SSS) said they have cut short plans by some suspected kidnappers to abduct daughter of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in Abuja. The SSS Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Marilyn Ogar, made this known while parading the suspects in yesterday in Abuja. Ogar said the suspects, Hamza Abubakar and Lawrence Okoro Denis, planned to kidnap and detain the lady at Zuba. She declined to give the name of the target for the kidnap, saying that it would compromise the

person’s security. She also said the suspects were arrested on August 21, as they perfected plans to kidnap the target at a construction site at Kado estate, Abuja. The SSS also paraded 65 year old Elias Adams, arrested for claiming to be a retired Army General and also posed as a Special Adviser to the President on Defence Matters. According to her: “Investigation also showed that Elias impersonated a former Minister of Defence and secured five lorry loads of DPK from the Warri and Kaduna depots respectively.”

Page 4 Report


Changing Nigerians’ identity in the Diaspora


he issue of Nigerian Identity has become an international ideological battle. With the large number of Nigerians in Diaspora, most of whom are in the United States, it becomes imperative to explore how Nigerians in Diaspora can re-discover themselves, build cohesive community in the Diaspora, be good ambassadors of their country, portray a positive image of Nigeria and contribute positively to the growth of their fatherland. This is particularly relevant coming closely on the heels of the recently concluded Nigerians in DiasporaWeek, a concept to fundamentally celebrate our oneness as Nigerians, highlight our Nigerian identity, regardless of resident country, and doing this in all professional seriousness, technical richness and governmental enabling environment. Who are really the Diaspora Nigerians? There are actually three categories of Nigerians in the Diaspora. We have the Diaspora “Alumni”, who have lived abroad for several years, attained definite heights in their professional or academic pursuits and chosen to return to Nigeria. They are never fully divested of the vestiges of ‘abroad’. On the other side of the palisade are the “Substantive” Nigerians in Diaspora, the mainstream Nigerians in Diaspora who live and work abroad, speak all the refined ‘oyinbo’ phonetics, almost lost their dialectical accent, and come home for occasional funerals, marriage of some distant relations they haven’t seen for 35 years and for Christmas every other leap year! Their children hardly speak a word of their Nigerian dialect. Straddled delicately on the picket, are the “Passive” Diaspora Nigerians who have chosen to combine the better of two worlds, straddled across the aisle, and who “eat their cake and have it,” as it were. They have homes in Nigeria and abroad, live a few months in the homeland, a few in the ‘hostland’, maintain family abroad, retain business interests in Nigeria and sustain corporate and family presence across the aisle. How did we get to this point? A cursory analysis is helpful here, of the hypothesis of emigration, nicely dubbed “Brain Drain” to have a better perspective of why Nigerians “check out” like Andrew! Is it because of bad Government? Not at all. Is it because the economy is so bad? Not particularly. Is it because of family pressure? Nay. Is it because there is no job after graduation from College? Nope. These are social factors not peculiar to Nigeria. Thus, it is self-defeating to summarily blame the government, blame the economy, the healthcare system, and

Some Nigerians living abroad protesting recently in New York, on Constitution Amendments seeking to be granted the right to vote and be voted for. the educational system as the that has multiple components reasons why Nigerians sojourn such as economic status, cultural to other countries. No, we are customs, political institutions not ignoring the fact that several and religious tenets. Nigerian sectors of the economy are in National identity is not something bad shape. The fact remains that the government invents. It is this same system has produced more a feeling than an opinion the likes of Professor Ade and not a policy statement. Adefuye, Professor Aluko, Nobel Identities grow from the things Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka, people feel proud about, and if and several younger Nigerians enough Nigerians agree on them who have excelled locally and for long enough, identity is formed internationally. regardless of multiculturalism. The professional excellence External Nigerian identity is how dizzying academic heights, and Nigeria presents itself to other astounding medical feats of peoples and countries. A strong several Nigerians in Diaspora external identity helps us to have have had their birth, there a strong diplomatic presence gestation period, their incubation internationally and to advance and formative years right here national economic interests. in the same system. There has Major export-oriented industries, indeed been brain drain. such as education and tourism, However, if there is no rely for their success on a positive ‘brain’, there is nothing to ‘drain’. external image or ‘national That ‘brain’ is the product of brand’. local resource, from this same Nigerians in Diaspora economic and educational face an identity crisis. The roots where those who had ‘no next generation of Nigerianshoes’ growing up, have become Americans will know less than presidents, where former ‘street their parents know about our hawkers’ have become professors, history and founding ideals. and where mailroom boys and And fewer Nigerian Americans children of poor peasants have are aware that what unites us turned out to become formidable is more than of what divides us. corporate executives and We are in danger of becoming a renowned medical practitioners. lost nation in Diaspora. Several The concept of Nigerian Nigerians hold travel passport identity is nebulous to define. A of their country of residence and strong national identity builds would rather present these for a sense of belonging. Basically, identification purposes. They feel ‘identity’ is an individual’s or like “what is there to be proud of a group’s sense of self over about Nigeria”? Indeed there is. time. The Nigerian identity is A country like the United therefore a composite concept States of America has been

Thus, it is self-defeating to summarily blame the government, blame the economy, the healthcare system, and the educational system as the reasons why Nigerians sojourn to other countries.

Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, Chairperson House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora branded as a successful nation nation hope to sweep the decay of by the successful products several decades under a beautiful associated with it; from Microsoft carpet of logo and slogan? software and Boeing airplanes The solution to the problems to McDonald’s hamburgers of Nigeria does not lie in change and Coca Cola drinks. Japan is of leadership or laws alone; associated with quality products repositioning the Nigerian produced by global brands such Identity does not require as Sony, Toyota and Nikon. any government regulation, The strengths of these brands policy statement or systemic and the economic power they infrastructure, it simply lies in have delivered to their owners change of hearts of YOU and ME. have propelled these nations “I am Nigeria. The change starts to leadership in the global with me”, to quote the email economy. signature of Jumoke Taylor, a Our Nigerian National US-based, former activist. Identity is the essence of We should live up to the who we are as Nigerians. We sentiments in our old National need personal, corporate and Anthem “Nigeria we hail thee, institutional reformation our own dear native land, though to achieve reformational tribes and tongues may differ”, repositioning of our national though our respective places brand identity. But the question of abode may vary, though our is: how do we resuscitate the respective callings are diverse, battered image of Nigeria though we might be Diaspora particularly in the Diaspora? alumni, in-transit or substantive, Is it in the name of rebranding “in brotherhood we stand”. campaign or the processes and strategies? How do we as a (Source: Naija DailyPost)




Senate uncovers N15bn excess budget for SURE-P By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he first interaction between the Senate Committee on Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) and members of the SURE-P Board yesterday revealed that out of the N27 billion which the Federal Government allocated to the programme in the 2013 budget for

youth empowerment, only N13.2 billion could be spent on the policy. According to the Senate investigation, if the SURE-P pays N10,000 monthly, to 3000 staff in each state of the federation, it will amount to N1,110000000 per month. Also, a multiplication of N1,110000000 by the 12 months

in the 2013 budget will only give a total sum of N13,320,000,000. The committee therefore wondered what the SURE-P will do with the remaining N13,680,000,000. Responding to the complaints by the Chairman of SURE-P, Christopher Kolade, that the agency would not be able to pay

• Salaries of 110,000 employees may not be met

salaries of its workers in the states, due to the Senate decision to slash the N27 billion budget of the agency to N9 billion in 2013 budget. The committee expressed regret that the Presidency has not communicated to the agency that the Senate had restored the amount.

Meanwhile, the chairman has intimated the Senate that if the slashed funds are not restored, the salaries of its staff across the states may not be paid. According to him, the paucity of funds arising from cuts in budgeted revenues to the agency was threatening the operations of the recently introduced SURE-P.

Boko Haram attacks: NSA blames security agencies By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, has attributed the persistent insurgent attacks in parts of the country to what he described as lack of collaboration among the country’s security agencies. Dasuki gave hint yesterday in Abuja, during the interagency Peace building conference, organised by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). He said it was necessary for the various security agencies to work as one entity so as to quell the various security challenges. The NSA who was represented by Major-General Sarki Y. Bello, said, “it is pertinent to note that this lack of collaboration among our security agencies was one of the factors that permitted the growth and, until recently, the

success of Boko Haram terrorist attacks.” While declaring the program open, Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, commended the Nigerian Army for the successes recorded so far. But, according to him, it would have been more if other security agencies come together regardless of their uniforms as a team, to combat the security challenges facing the nation. According to the Minister, “the achievements of Nigeria’s military today are concomitant of the unity of training, orientation and accommodation that exist in Nigeria Military formation. In the same manner, we want all agencies in addition to securing their mandate, work and relate well with other bearing in mind the security of the country rather than shameless street fight’’

Maternal mortality: Adamawa, Kebbi access N6bn EU grant From Umar Dankano, Yola


ollowing recent reports indicating that Adamawa and Kebbi states recorded the highest maternal mortality rates, the European Union (EU) Commission has doled out 30 million Euros (about N6 billion) to the two states to combat the problem. Deputy Head of EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Kazimier Romanski, disclosed this in Yola, Adamawa state yesterday in a chart with journalists. He said that the EU had in May 2013 signed the contribution agreement with UNICEF in respect of the programme. “This event will facilitate the implementation of specific interventions in health in Adamawa,” he said. Romanski said that the grant would be used to rehabilitate health centers,

Soldiers deployed to take over security in the trouble spots of Assakio yesterday, in Nasarawa state.

provide medical equipment and train staff, as according to him, the EU-MNCH project is designed to improve the health status of women and children through an enhanced and sustainable primary health care delivery system. “The aim of the programme is to increase access to health facilities for marginalized women living in rural areas. “Health personnel will be trained and health centres will receive adequate equipment and supplies,’’ he said. He commended the two states of Adamawa and Kebbi for their “efforts in enhancing health care delivery. “These two states have demonstrated increased political and community commitment that has translated into increased fund allocation and prioritisation of primary health care services,” he said.




Nigerian emerges Miss World Muslimah


Nigerian contestant has been crowned the winner of a beauty pageant for Muslims in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola, 21, won the World Muslimah 2013 title on Wednesday. Twenty finalists showed off Islamic fashions and worked to demonstrate religious values during the contest. The pageant was held

before the upcoming Miss World competition, which has drawn protests from hardline Indonesian Muslim groups. Finalists in World Muslimah were chosen from more than 500 who took part in an online selection process. One of the rounds involved contenders comparing stories of how they came to wear the hijab (Muslim headscarf) - a requirement for all those taking

part. The finalists hailed from countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Brunei. In the run-up to the final, contestants underwent three days of “spiritual training”, waking before dawn to pray together and to study the Koran. All contestants in Muslimah World must wear the hijab Ms Ajibola, 21, cried and recited a

verse from the Koran when her name was called as the winner. She was awarded 25m rupiah ($2,200, £1,360) and trips to Mecca and India. She had said in an interview before she won that she was just trying “to show the world that Islam is beautiful”. Eka Shanti, who lost her job as a TV news presenter for refusing to remove her headscarf, started the pageant three years ago.


Kidnapped Edo monarch freed


idnapped Edo traditional ruler, Patrick Igbinudu, the Iyase of Udo community in Ovia South West local government area, has been released. He was reportedly released early yesterday at Uwelu, Egor local government area of the state. Residents in the area identified the monarch who was abducted about a week ago. A family source told Peoples Daily that the traditional ruler looked tired and haggard. It could not be confirmed whether money was paid for his release or not. The kidnappers had reportedly demanded a ransom of N100 million which was later reduced to N10million.

Erastus Akingbola From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin

T R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, in a handshake with former Secretary to the Government of Federation and Chairman, Presidential Committee of Experts on Inter Professional Relationships in the Public Health Sector, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, during the inauguration of the Committee, Wednesday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Borno killings: 87 corpses found in bush From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


fficials of the Borno state Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA), who participated in the search of the victims of Tuesday’s deadly attack, said yesterday they picked 87 corpses scattered inside the bush and roadsides. But another official claimed that the total number of dead bodies recovered in the last two days were up to 145. This followed a bloody attack

…As Shettima raises probe panel

carried out by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in Benisheikh town, headquarters of Kaga local government area, between Tuesday evening and Wednesday. The assailants said to have numbered over 300 were armed with assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Granades, (RPGs). Reports said that they were on a revenge mission and had dressed in military uniform. Speaking to newsmen shortly

after Governor Kashim Shettima visited the area, leader of the search team of BOSEPA, Malam Sa’idu Yakubu, said they later picked the corpses after extensive search in the nearby bush and farms. He said that some of the slain victims had multiple gunshots in their bodies and machete cuts. Narrating the incident to the Governor, surviving victims claimed that over 300 armed men had driven

into the town in convoy of eight Hilux vehicles, several motorcycles, while others sneaked to the area on foot. Responding, Shettima announced the setting up of a five-man committee to verify the number of the victims and ascertain the level of damaged caused by the attack. The governor who was piqued over the incident also announced a cash assistance of N250,000 to each of the household who lost their loved ones.

Patience Jonathan to address forum of first ladies at UN General Assembly


he First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, will participate at the High Level Forum for First Ladies at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, with the theme ``Building Bridges for Peace on Health Disability: Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda Initiative’’, is scheduled for Sept. 24. She is expected to deliver a speech at the opening of the workshop session, while Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation on the African First Ladies Fellowship Programme, Nicole Brzeski, will chair the workshop. The session will address various creative strategies in addressing and overcoming peace challenges on

various forms of women’s health and wellbeing. Dr. Ada Okika, the SecretaryGeneral, U.S. Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations

New York State Chapter, told NAN that the time had come for realistic understanding of the significance of a transformative agenda to build peace among nations. `` Peace is

directly related to poverty eradication, health care and improvement, good governance, leadership, social and economic emancipation and sustainability.

70% candidates pass NECO SSCE From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


he National Examinations Council (NECO) has released the 2013 Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCE) results with better performances by candidates at 69.57 per cent general credit pass performance while English Language and Mathematics, the two core subjects for both arts and science students seeking admissions into

tertiary institutions also came out with good results. Releasing the results in Minna, NECO Registrar, Prof. Promise Nwachukwu Okpala , announced that 1,052,898 candidates registered for the examination. Okpala said out of the figure, 1,034,263, candidates actually sat for the examinations. He said that. 681,507, representing

66. 63 per cent passed English Language at credit level. Mathematics also produced an heart-warming result with 668,314 candidates, representing 65. 50 per cent pass at credit level According to the Registrar, candidates, representing 69.57 per cent passed at credit level while number of candidates who made five passes and above stood at 998,624, representing 96. 55percent.

he trial of a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola and his associate, Bayo Dada, was yesterday transferred to a new judge. The Chief Judge of Lagos state, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, reassigned the case to Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo for trial. This followed the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, to the Commercial Division of the Ikeja High Court. The defendants are standing trial on a 22-count charge of conspiracy and stealing of N47.1 billion belonging to the Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank Plc). They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and the judge granted Akingbola bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum. NAN

Jonathan on constituency projects


resident Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday directed the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, to ensure prompt completion of all abandoned constituency projects across the country. Jonathan gave the directive at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting he presided over at the State House, Abuja. The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, said the council discussed the progress in the implementation of the projects. He said the President reiterated the resolve of the administration to complete the projects for the benefits of the people at the grassroots.



News Niger begins airlift of pilgrims tomorrow From Yakubu Mustapha Minna


iger state Pilgrims Welfare Commission, is to commence the airlift of intending Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia tomorrow as it makes available the basic traveling allowances of the

pilgrims in riyals and dollars The Commissioner in charge of Operations in the Commission, Alhaji SaiduJikantoro, disclosed in Minna that the commission has taken delivery of all visas for the intending pilgrims. Saidu said the inaugural

flight will commence with 500 pilgrims from Mashegu local government area, adding that the Basic traveling allowances would be a75 percent dollars and 25 percent riyals. “The 3, 249 pilgrims will be airlifted to the holy land in seven flights by Kabo Airlines

as from Saturday, September 21 and end on Friday, September 27. “We are prepared for the airlift of our pilgrims to the holy land as the necessary traveling items such as the BTA, visas and hand luggage bags are all ready”, he said.

L-R: Divisional Head, Marketing and Corporate Relations, UBA Plc, Mr. Charles Aigbe, Managing Director, UBA Foundation, Ms. Ijeoma Aso, and a Judge and Head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Professor Ralph Akinfeleye, during the press launch to announce call for entries for 2013 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for secondary schools in Nigeria, yesterday in Lagos.

Controversy over death of inmate in Benin prisons From OsaigbovoIguobaro, Benin ontroversy has trailed the death of one of the inmates in Oko Prisons in Benin. The death of ToyeseKehinde has given way to anger and frustration among senior officials of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), as well as family members of the deceased, who are spoiling for war over


alleged complicity of officials in their son’s demise. Kehinde, a musician, was sentenced to two weeks imprisonment following default in payment of N5000 option of fine slammed on him by Egor Magistrates Court 1, in Benin City, as punishment over an environmental offence. According to reports, the

inmate died in custody at the early hours of September 9, 2013, and was buried in a shallow grave by persons suspected to be prisons officials without the authorisation of family members. The family allegedly got knowledge of his incarceration through a friend who informed them of his arrest and

imprisonment. Following his failure to show up at home at the expiration of his jail term, his brother, AdewaleKehinde, in company of another friend approached the Prisons authorities to demand for the release of the inmate, only to be told that the convict had died and was buried.

2013 Budget: Senate summons Okonjo-Iweala, Ngama

•As Mark blasts colleagues for lackluster oversight By IkechukwuOkaforadi


ising from debate on the alleged 2013 budget failure as credited to the Minister of State for Finance, YerimaNgama, the Senate yesterday directed its committees on Finance and Appropriation to invite both finance ministers for a briefing on the level of implementation of the budget. According to the Senate resolution, the committee should find out from the coordinating minister for the economy, if there was any decline in revenue generation,

contrary to projections in the budget. The committee was also mandated to unravel through the ministers, the causes of revenue decline if there is any as alleged, and to report back to the house in three weeks. This resolution was passed even as the Senate President David Mark lambasted his colleagues for treating their oversight responsibility with levity, saying the statement by the minister of state for finance was an indictment on the finance committee. According to Mark, the finance committee should not

have waited to be directed by the Senate before inviting the finance ministers to explain the performance of the 2013 budget, adding that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should have brought the facts of decline in oil revenue before the matter came up. He therefore urged the relevant oversight committees to be alive to their responsibilities, adding that the motion was a wakeup call on the lawmakers to be proactive. He said there were many ministries, departments and agencies of government, which

are being oversighted by various senate committees, regretting that most of the committees have not been doing justice to this responsibility. Earlier in a motion, Senate Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi, condemned the utterances of the minister of state for finance, saying it was clearly targeted to blackmail the National Assembly. He noted that all revenue variables were within the target expectations, pointing out that such unguarded utterances were capable of sending negative signals to Nigerians and the international community.

UBEC contract scam: Court discharges, acquits suspects By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday discharged and acquitted the seven accused persons standing trial for their alleged involvement in the N787 million Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) contract scam. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed 63-count charge, which was later reduced to 41 against four directors of the commission and two companies. The court, sitting before Justice Adamu Bello, held that the members of the UBEC Board are the ones to be before the court and not the accused persons. The charge against the accused persons bordered on alleged complicity in illegal diversion of monies meant for supply of learning facilities to all secondary schools across the federation, through the UBEC scheme. The anti-graft agency alleged that they used bogus companies to defraud the government of N787 million. After the prosecution had closed its case, the accused persons brought a no case submission. Ruling on the no case submission, Justice Bello held that the evidence in chief against the accused persons have been discredited and truly they have no case to answer and also held that the evidence of the star witness, the former Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Mohammed Modibbo was oral and not documentary and it seemed to be his own opinion on the matter. It also held that the prosecution has not adduced cogent reasons to show forgery of bid documents by the accused persons. Justice Bello further held that the prosecution could not provide any evidence to prove the essential ingredients of the offence adding that at this stage, credibility of the witness does not arise. According to him,”By this ruling, I am not saying that no wrong doing was established, but it is on the side of the UBEC board, the board members should have been the ones to be charged and not the accused persons. “The wrong persons are before this court while the culprits are enjoying their freedom”, Justice Bello observed, adding that accused persons were made scape goats for suing UBEC. The four directors discharged are ,MolkatMutfwang, Michael Aule, Andrew Ekpunobi and Prof. Bridget Sokan. Others are American contractor, Alexander Cozma, and two companies allegedly used to siphon the funds, Intermakets USA LLC and Intermarkets Nigeria.



NAFDAC seeks life jail for drug dealers From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


he Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control(NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, has disclosed the intention of the agency to review laws that will take fake drug dealers to jail for life. Orhii, who stated this during a

public enlightenment summit at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, said that the current law, which stipulated a fine of N500,000 or 15-year jail term upon conviction, was inadequate. Represented by an official of NAFDAC, Mrs. Olajumoke Ojetokun, he said that the new law would also seek confiscation of assets upon conviction and

compensation for victims of counterfeit product . He noted that the counterfeit medicines are fraudulently mislabeled to disguise identity and/ or source. The NAFDAC boss who condemned most of the counterfeited medicines used for the treatment of lifethreatening conditions and had

high public health impact, said the consequences of fake drugs include denial of patients’ access to good quality medicines; increase in number of previously unknown diseases; increased and prolonged hospital admissions; increase in permanent disability and or deaths and increase in the development of new drug resistant strains of viruses, parasites and bacteria.


Corruption: Muslim, Christian clerics berate Jonathan, lawmakers From Olanrewaju Lawal,Ilorin


L-R: Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan, and Sokoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako, discussing during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Corruption: Nigerians blast Jonathan over comment From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


resident Goodluck Jonathan triggered majority of Nigerians’ emotion with a statement on Tuesday in Abuja with many taking to the social media to express their frustrations and anger. Most commentators described him as lacking the will-power to lead the country. The president on Tuesday in Abuja lamented that Nigerians encourage corruption through their action instead of standing up and demanding for accountability among office holders both in the public and private sector. Jonathan spoke while declaring open the 54th annual conference of the Nigeria Economic Society where he declined to mention names for fear of being attacked. A cross section of Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora, who commented on twitter, Facebook, instagram among others described the Nigeria leader’s comment as hypocritical and un-presidential. Most of the commentators’ citied two instances where the president did not show example by his conduct towards persons who had milked their states dry and received pardon from him. Prominent among bad example showed by the president

according to them, was the president’s state pardon to former governor Deprieye Alamieyeseigha whom he served under as Deputy Governor of his home state of Bayelsa. “You are wrong Mr. President, the buck starts with you, and you are the head of the ship called Nigeria. This is your responsibility, however you have

not prosecuted subsidy thieves and you granted state pardon to international criminal like Mr. Alams “, one writer wrote. Another adviced the Nigerian leader not to shift the blame of corruption to the people noting that leadership by example would reduce corruption in the country he presently leads. A number of other

respondents also expressed anger at the president’s visit to Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was jailed for corruption by a Lagos high court and Jonathan’s comment during a media chat where he boldly declared that he cared less if citizens complained that he did not declare his assets as president.

slamic and Christian clerics have bemoaned the level of corruption in the Presidency, National Assembly and among other politicians. The clerics who converged in Ilorin during interactive session of a Solemn Assembly of all Pastors and Imams sponsored by Pastor Sam Awede of Peoples’ Church, noted that the on-going crisis between the Presidency, politicians and lawmakers are not in the interest of masses. In his submission, the Chief Imam of Oke-Oyi, Alhaji Abdulkadir Oba Subaru lamented that the conflict between new PDP executive and lawmakers at the House of Representatives was not in the masses interest but for personal agenda. The Islamic cleric who urged both Muslims and Christians to fight for equity, said Nigerian leaders are enjoying the national wealth alone and forgetting masses who are suffering due to lack of basic needs. In his remarks, Imam Abdulkadir Solagberu charged Pastors and Imams across Nigeria to always tell Nigerian leaders the bitter truth to reduce level of poverty and injustice in Nigeria. According to him, when a nation’s President could kneel down before a Pastor in Nigeria, the pastor should have told him to treat masses well and fight corruption, adding that religious leaders should not fear politicians when they approach them for spiritual assistance.

Nasarawa violence : APC wants Maku removed from Defence seat From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded that Information Minister Labaran Maku be relieved of his new assignment as the Supervising Minister of Defence, because he is an interested party in the spiralling crisis ravaging Nasarawa, where the FG has ordered the deployment of troops to help end the violence. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the fact that Mr. Maku is of the Eggon ethnic stock, to which the Ombatse cult/militia group behind the Nasarawa crisis has been linked, has made his new role as the Supervising Minister of Defence untenable. It said even if the Minister has no sympathy for the rampaging Ombatse, whatever action he

takes in his new capacity, would be open to misinterpretation and allegation of bias, capable of aggravating the crisis. ‘’This is why we believe that the most prudent thing to do is for President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately take the Defence Ministry portfolio from Mr. Maku. This is in line with international best practice,’’ APC said. The party said the Minister did not help matters by the comments he made in an interview he granted the BBC on Thursday, saying that the State Government had not initiated dialogue with stakeholders towards ending the crisis, and downplayed the critical role played by the State Government in curtailing the activities of the Ombatse cult/ ethnic militia that has engaged in senseless killings and plundering in the state. ‘’In both instances, the Minister

has been economical with the truth. In the first instance, Minister Maku was invited to several meetings in the wake of the Ombatse attacks on Assakio and Agyaragu last year and the Alakyo massacre of security agents this year. He neither attended nor sent his apologies despite the invitations extended to him to be part of the meetings with traditional rulers, national and state legislators, as well as political and public office holders at federal and state levels, among others. ‘’At the instance of the State Government, several meetings have also been held with Eggon leaders and the Eggon Cultural and Development Association (ECDA), to no avail. It is therefore blatantly wrong for the Minister, or anyone for that matter, to say the State Government has not initiated dialogue as a means of

resolving the crisis. ‘’Also, the State Governor has been briefing the President, on a regular basis, over the crisis. He has requested for the deployment to the state of a Mobile Police Squadron as well as troops. While the requests were granted, the deployments are just about being carried out, yet Minister Maku gave an erroneous impression concerning the role of the State Government in curtailing the crisis. ‘’Thirdly, the State Government has compiled and sent to the Federal Government, the names and addresses of the suspected leaders and major players in Ombatse, the perpetrator of the violence. The State Government has also instituted a judicial commission of inquiry into the violence, while assisting the victims of the violence state-wide,’’ APC said.



News FRSC partners Bauchi Assembly to reduce road carnages From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Bauchi state Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is partnering Bauchi state House of Assembly in carrying out one of its key mandates in the state, that is reduction of road carnages. The sector commander of the corps, Mr. Henry Sunday Olatunji, disclosed this when he made a submission at an interactive session with the lawmakers at the Assembly premises. He said the partnership became imperative in view of the number of lives being lost to road accidents in the state. Olatunji disclosed that some of the constraints of the corps to include insufficient political will, rejection of accident victims by hospitals, inadequate rescue and response equipment, lack/ inadequate information channels and poor funding and investment on the safety body. He therefore appealed to the lawmakers to enact a law against rejection of accident victims by hospitals in the state, as well as to stipulate stern punishment for drivers found guilty of traffic offences. The sector commander also prayed for the enactment of a law to make it mandatory for drivers in the state as well as motorcyclists to submit themselves for drug checks by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). In his remark, the Assembly Speaker, Hon. Muhammad Yahoo Mia, expressed gratitude to the corps for deeming it fit to interact with members of the legislature, and assured that the lawmakers would consider the request of the sector command.

Some fake youth corps members paraded by State Security Service (SSS), yesterday in Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Gaidam sacks 6 commissioners for poor performance

From Uche Uche, Damaturu.


ix Yobe commissioners were yesterday relieved of their posts for what the governor described as unsatisfactory performance. The affected commissioners are Alhaji Aji Yerima Bularafa, for higher education; Fatsuma

Talba, ministry of health; Yusuf Yahaya for sports; Musa Maina Dumburi for youth affairs and social development; Wakil Sarki, ministry of environment; and Bala Haladu of the ministry of transport and energy. This was part of the outcome of the executive

council meeting held yesterday at the council’s chamber, Government House, Damaturu and chaired by Governor Ibrahim Gaidam. He said the performance of the affected commissioners were below expectation, adding however, that after consideration, some of them

may be returned to their posts or appointed to serve as special advisers or any other posts they qualify for. Our correspondent recalled that during their swearing in, the governor had warned that anyone of them found wanting in the discharge of his/her duties will be shown the way out.

Kebbi CP urges LG chairmen to Gunmen murder varsity don in Lagos From Matthew Aramunde, and his cook to lie flat on their support community policing Lagos stomach. From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ebbi state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sylvester A. Umeh, has appealed to all the 21 local government chairmen in the state to organize community police force [vigilantes] in order to curb the high rate of crimes. He made the plea yesterday while addressing newsmen at the state Police Command headquarters in Birnin Kebbi. He disclosed that with the aid of vigilantes his command was able to arrest eight hoodlums that were involved in killing of a night watchman at Shakara Shopping complex, Gwandagwaji.

Explaining the need for the community police, the CP said when he first assumed duty in the state, “I received a report from Zuru and Koko Besse local government area that armed robbers were terrorizing the area most especially the filling station”. Mr. Umeh said these incidents have effectively been checked based on his directive to the DPO to be vigilant, as well as the advice to the LG chairman and other stakeholders on the setting up of a vigilante group. He was he was glad that based on the new strategy, there was no case of armed robbery reported from any part of the state since last month.


ragedy struck at the home of a Political Science lecturer with the University of Lagos in the early hours of yesterday when he was allegedly gunned down by yet to be identified gunmen. The late Cyril Ikemefuna, said to be in his early 60s, was said to have been preparing to attend the early morning mass, a ritual, a family source said, he has not failed to carry out every morning for decades, when the gunmen stormed his No 16 Araromi Street residence in Onike, Yaba. Our sources said the gunmen on gaining entrance into the deceased’s residence, ordered his security guard

The hoodlums were alleged to have led the deceased outside the building to where he parked his jeep and shot him in the abdomen, before they dragged him into his vehicle and drove off to an unknown destination. However, hours later, the vehicle was discovered with the corpse around Ojuelegba area of Lagos, some few kilometers from the deceased’s residence As at the time of filing this report, the corpse has been deposited in an undisclosed mortuary in Lagos The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, Mr. Damasus Ozoanni said he was yet to be briefed about the incident.

Group chides FG over lingering Nasarawa crises,wants elites to intervene From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


pressure group in Nasarawa state, the Lafia Progressive Association (LPA), has lent its voice to the condemnation of the seeming levity of the federal government towards tackling the lingering Ombatse crisis in the state. In a statement issued Wednesday in Lafia by its Secretary General, Abdullahi

Usman Maikano, the group condemned the recent Ombatse mayhem unleashed on “the peaceful people of Assakio and Obi”, describing the attacks as barbaric and unacceptable. LPA attributed the widespread onslaught by the militant Eggon youth on the continued silence of the federal government, as well as the elites, particularly natives of the areas mostly affected.

“The continued spreading of the crisis is indeed the direct consequence of the federal government’s silence over the issue which has bedeviled the state”, LPA said, stressing that the seeming “inaction from the national government has left innocent people of the state at the mercy of miscreants operating under the banner of ethnic jingois”.

The group however lauded a former governor of the state now a senator, Abdullahi Adamu, who publicly condemned the manner the Ombatse “is continuously prosecuting its violent campaign unchecked”. “Ironically, even the Senator representing the crises prone Nasarawa South senatorial district, Sen. Solomon Adokwe (an Alago man whose ethnic

group fell major victim of the recent attacks) has maintained sealed lips over the issue”, the statement said. LPA wondered if the continued silence by those principal actors was another conspiracy or merely a plan to justify the call for a state of emergency as being clamoured by the opposition dominated Nasarawa State House of Assembly.



Money sense

How to make money as a college student


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Money Tip: How to make best use of credit cards 1. Ensure you can get cash out for free, either using EFTPOS or an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) within your bank’s network. Many banks allow you to withdraw from various financial institutions’ ATMs free of charge. 2 Check the interest rates you are paying on any credit cards or personal loans. Balance transfers may be a good alternative. 3 Cut up your credit card if it will stop you wasting money. 4 Look at the charges associated with paying by card. Often there are surcharges and fees for paying by credit card instead of using debit credit. 5 If you have a mortgage and money sitting in online or term deposits, look at whether you are better off putting your extra cash onto your mortgage (if you have one) to reduce the interest costs given you are paying tax on your interest savings held in other accounts.

Quote “Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.” ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Men




Kidnapping: Ozekhome’s untenable idea from his abductors. Speaking penultimate Thursday at his Idango residence in Lagos, Ozekhome saíd his kidnappers told him that they would quit their lífe of crime if they were


uman rights activíst and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome’s abductors who snatched him at a road block on Benin-Auchi road on August 24 freed him on September 12 after holding him for 20 days. His kidnappers demanded an initial N500 million ransom but then reduced it to N100 million. Ozekhome told journalists that no ransom was paid, to the best of his knowledge. We want to believe him. Our position has been that kidnappers must not be rewarded for their wicked deeds. For all we know, they are terrorists and their right place is behind bars for life. We at Peoples Daily join fellow peace-loving Nigerians in celebrating Ozekhome’s emergence out of the “shadow of death”. However, it is this same man whose freedom has united the whole nation against the heinous crime of kidnapping that has opted to deliver a kill joy message

A brilliant and experienced lawyer that he is, Ozekhome needs no telling that amnesty is a form of ransom that we have said no decent society should allow. offered amnesty. Our shock is not so much that the criminals made that demand as that Ozekhome believed them so completely that he agreed to be bearer of a wicked message. A brilliant and experienced lawyer that he is, Ozekhome needs no telling that amnesty is a form of ransom that we have said no decent society should allow. Ozekhome, lamentably, is

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

persuaded about the ‘rightness’ of his abductors’ lost cause. They reportedly told him that they were university graduates forced into crime by unemployment. If government agreed to give them jobs they would give up their evil ways, they said. But what guarantee did he get from his kidnappers whose faces he couldn’t even see? Are they the only ones who went to university without jobs today? Certainly no. We have a reason to suspect that Ozekhome had not recovered completely from his trauma as at the time he spoke to journalists, and so wasn’t thinking properly. Something wasn’t done that should have been done: he ought to have been debriefed by security authorities in the presence of a certified medical doctor before being allowed to speak to the press. That did not happen and the result was the grievous blunder Ozekhome made of becoming a kidnappers’ courier. We pray this does not repeat itself.











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Opinion Reflection on Obasanjo’s corruption concerns By Charles Onunaiju


ormer president Olusegun Obasanjo who once relished in his self-confessed contempt and snub for Nigerian newspapers claiming that he does not read them, is currently in the thick of steady newspaper headlines. It is doubtful now if he still does not read Nigerian newspapers. Obviously, he would be feeling what the Jamaican Rastafarian community call irie, a state of ecstatic happiness at the media frenzy of his deliberate and calculated high velocity tirades designed ostensibly to stay in the media spotlight. Most of former president Obasanjo stomp tirades are highly toxic and ostensibly aimed to substantially vitiate and stymie the integrity and reputation of those he clearly targeted. Most of those, Obasanjo have openly thrown mud at, are responding or have responded and one therefore, do not intend to hold brief for any them. However, former president Obasanjo seemed to be casting his heavy and deadly stones from a high moral pedestal, but examining his action and inactions in the eight years of leadership of the Nigerian state, it is clearly beyond doubt that Mr. Obasanjo does not possess the moral high ground from where

he is seemingly pontificating. His easily most pilloried person and who is obviously not in a position to offer any response or defense is the imprisoned former governor of Delta state, Mr. James Ibori. But perhaps there is no living single Nigerian that Obasanjo as president, placed with more responsibility to get his personal choice of former president Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan into the presidency than the former Delta state governor. Mr. James Ibori served his two terms at the same period he perpetrated the massive fraud for which he was convicted, along the same time of Obasanjo presidency and it sat well with him. All intelligence and security agencies are federally controlled and were therefore, then answerable to Obasanjo, and he therefore would have been well acquainted to Ibori’s infractions. Why did the former president do nothing to bring the then governor to heels? It is well known that the governors who were in his political bad book like Jousha Dariye and Dipreye Alamieyesegha of Plateau and Bayelsa states were summarily dealt with, using the same federal agencies under Mr. Obasanjo control. Raising hue about Ibori and the fact that the crimes he could not be convicted in Nigeria were the

same that he was convicted abroad speaks volume of Obasanjo’s own legacy. Therefore the James Ibori saga that Obasanjo like to mention at every public forum with sarcastic glee is actually his political albatross. Obasanjo, was at his imperial worst, when his associates masterminded the kidnap of a seating governor in Anambra state, and he notoriously quipped that the kidnapped governor failed to settle with his political benefactors, who asked for the state treasury to be turned over to them for helping the governor to win fraudulent election.For the duration of Obasanjo presidency, the felons who masterminded the kidnap remained his formidable political backbenchers and were key arrow heads in his desperate but aborted third term ambition. With the growth of the kidnap crimes and its menacing rise now, it is almost forgotten that its origin was its potency as a political weapon and the Obasanjoled federal government soft accommodation to it. Using the institution of the Nigerian presidency Obasanjo has railroaded political office holders and well known government contractors to donate generously to his private pet project of a presidential library. The alleged financial infraction for which

France former enigmatic president, Mr. Jacques Chirac was hauled to the court and convicted, which was using his earlier position as mayor of Paris to enrich his party, paled into insignificance to former president Obasanjo serial infractions, and yet not only, did he get away with all these, but looms so provocatively large on the public space with sanctimonious pretensions. Having made a dubious career of quoting the bible in his most public utterances, including the infamous denial, that had he wanted third term, God would have given him, should have known that the bible admonished that those who with heavy log in their eyes should first remove it, before asking those with mere specks to remove theirs. Before his hurried exit from the presidency following the humiliation of the aborted term elongation, Obasanjo auctioned Nigeria’s most prized national assets, the Warri and Kaduna refineries to Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola. It took the rare courage of late president Musa Yar’adua to listen to the national outrage trailing the auction and reversed it. This was following the nearly dozen licenses granted by the Obasanjo presidency to private investors to build refineries. As at the time, Obasanjo left office, not

a single site was cleared for the purpose of building a refinery. The parliamentary inquiry into privatization of public assets, which was the template of Obasanjo’s economic policy, was revealed to have been a maggot’s paradise and a haven for state-directed corruption. The former National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, which was serially unbundled and re-bundled, with several changes in nomenclature, remained the most inept and perennially dug in the mud of graft. In recent times, Obasanjo has found a ‘worthy’ political vocation of ensuring equity, whereby he insist that President Jonathan must forgo his ambition in 2015. However, the question is, has the former president succeeded in his desperate bid to abolish term limits, would he have bothered at all if the North or any other region is entitled to the top job. Obasanjo’s opportunism is cruelly offensive to common sense to any decent person, except those would not mind political power and good life even in hell. Former president Obasanjo, the author of our contemporary national travails and decline, should show respect to his badly bruised compatriots by excusing himself from the public stage. Charles Onunaiju, a journalist is based in Abuja

INEC and collateral damage of a transforming polity By Jibrin Ibrahim


he level of political tension in the country is extremely high because for the first time in the history of the Fourth Republic, there are significant events and processes that are becoming game changers in the political process. The first issue is the declining capacity of the President to impose his will on “his” governors. During the Obasanjo regime, a couple of Governors have dared him and most of them were made to pay a heavy price. President Goodluck Jonathan has however faced a major challenge from many of his PDP Governors and has been locked in combat with the Governor’s Forum where his attempt to impose a Chairman with personal loyalty to him has failed woefully. This is a serious obstacle to the President’s second term agenda as elections and the wheeling and dealing surrounding it are conducted at the state, not national level. The second issue is President’s insistence on a transformation agenda. Sometimes you get what you pray for and what is unfolding in the country is the transformation of the party system which is being remolded and indications are that we were moving towards an effective two or three-party system in which one party will not be hegemonic. The recognition of the merger of key opposition parties into the APC creates a formidable opposition platform

that could effectively contest for federal power. As if this is not enough transformation, we have also witnessed significant further development with the fractionalization of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the emergence of a new faction led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and seven governors of the ruling party. Many of these governors control strategic states – Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State and Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. The immediate result of this fractionalization is the weakening of the ruling party from within. The third issue is the

emerging noises of the possible impeachment of the President by the National Assembly. Of course it is extremely difficult to impeach a serving president but the ongoing transformation of the political system lends credibility to this outcome especially as the leadership of Parliament might not be the best friends of the President even if they are from the same party. It is in this context that a clearly destabilized President Jonathan responded last week by sacking his ministers whose loyalty to their boss might not be absolute. As the loyal information minister, my good friend Labaran Maku, explained over the weekend, absolute loyalty is a condition for being in government. As the political crisis deepens, desperate politicians are going

for a scapegoat in the person of Professor Attahiru Jega. His “crime”: INEC was bold and principled enough to register the opposition APC. Subsequently, the party of Atiku Abubakar’s political friends – the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) - was registered. Finally, the commission insists that the ruling party follow its own rules in its congresses and the conduct of party affairs. As the polity continues to heat up as we approach the 2015 elections, more missiles are likely to be thrown at Jega and INEC for the simple reason that they are doing their work well under difficult conditions. Some people in power clearly prefer an electoral commission that disregards rules and blatantly supports those in power whether

What is happening today is, therefore, normal and INEC should not be made to bear responsibility for an outcome it has not played any role in producing. As the President is clearly interested in contesting for a second term, others who want to replace him have to seek alternative platforms or try to take over the existing one and that is the nature of the political game. Our political system, and indeed, our country is fragile. Deepening democracy through the conduct of free, fair and credible elections is the most direct route to strengthening the unity and cohesion of the country.

or not they are on the right side of the law. It is precisely because this Commission has been focused on doing the right thing that attempts are being intensified to assassinate the character of its leadership. The fact of the matter is that the unfolding turmoil in the PDP is a product of the party’s own history. Since the emergence of President Obasanjo in 1999, the President of the country has always imposed himself as the leader, and indeed, the dictator of the party. This type of party culture makes splitting up the only way out for others within the party that have political ambitions. What is happening today is, therefore, normal and INEC should not be made to bear responsibility for an outcome it has not played any role in producing. As the President is clearly interested in contesting for a second term, others who want to replace him have to seek alternative platforms or try to take over the existing one and that is the nature of the political game. Our political system, and indeed, our country is fragile. Deepening democracy through the conduct of free, fair and credible elections is the most direct route to strengthening the unity and cohesion of the country. Nigerians respect Professor Attahiru Jega as someone who has both the integrity and the technical competence to take us along this path. He should be allowed to focus on his job. Jibrin Ibrahim resides in Abuja in the FCT.




2015: Why we must stop their desperation By Jaye Gaskia


s we approached the 2011 general elections, and given the circumstances under which the preparations were made, and under which the elections were eventually held; corruption, treasury looting took a steep upward spike! Of course, since crude oil is our major export and in the absence of any other viable sector, consequently our major source of revenue; the sector became the main focus for treasury looting, and the fraud and grand corruption which was needed to accumulate the wealth with which to fund the elections. Hence the ruling political elites in general, and the ruling party in particular turned their attention to the fuel subsidy regime, and the many loopholes and weaknesses in the system that could be exploited to literally steal trillions from the treasury. The resultant near bankruptcy of the economy precipitated the fuel subsidy removal debate, led directly to the January 1st 2012 announcement of the removal of subsidy; and directly triggered the January Uprising of 2012! Hence the roller-coaster of numerous probes, initiated in direct response to the uprising to calm nerves, while also intended to hoodwink and divert attention of an increasingly angry and politically aware citizenry. All the revelations from all of these probes, the recommendations of which were never seriously intended for implementation, have served to confirm this historic levels of state perpetrated fraud, state protected treasury looting, and

state condoned production public theft capacity of the and economic new oil field in gangsterism. Kazakhstan]; Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, Yet in spite of amounting to text messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written all the revelations, annual loss to in spite of all the the economy contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters facts that directly [and gain to - 150 words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your and indirectly the organised name and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be implicate serving crime addressed to: ministers, the syndicates] of presidency over $14bn. itself, the NNPC, This is by any The Editor, PPPRA, DPR, standards a Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, etc, absolutely huge war chest, no one official, not only to 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. with technical, wage a divisive Email: managerial, and bitterly SMS: 08134607052 or political contested supervisory election; responsibility has been Now this is a shift in strategy but to also enable the not so Exinvestigated, let alone indicted, and with respect to the nature of the Militant Generals, who have been prosecuted! We can only conclude grand theft, though not with threatening war and destruction from all of these is that historic respect to the source of the crime if their favourite candidate, the episode of treasury looting was – crude oil, our main export and serving president, [who is yet to sanctioned at the highest level revenue earner! Knowing full well publicly declare his intention to of government. As we approach that the level of heightened scrutiny seek re-election, and is yet to be another general elections, the now put on management of the adopted as his party’s candidate; if 2015 elections, and under even fuel subsidy regime, thanks to the he should lose the 2015 presidential more daunting circumstances January Uprising; as well as the elections], fulfill their threat of war! than those surrounding the 2011 highly sensitive nature of the issue; We are forced to reach general elections; the political would not permit a return to a rethis conclusion by the strong elites in general, and the imploding run of the 2011/2012 fuel subsidy circumstantial evidence available! ruling party in particular seem scenario; the ruling elite, and Ex-Militant Generals, and their to be leading us once again down regime seems to have thought out troops are awarded multi-million the road of another historic levels what it felt would be a safer route dollar/ multi-billion Naira pipeline of economic banditry; the record to unprecedented levels of treasury and maritime security and breaking levels of crude oil theft, looting and amassing a war chest surveillance contracts; crude oil which stood at under 200,000 for the 2015 elections and any other theft continues its astronomical barrels per day in 2011, but which eventual post 2015 scenario which upward spike under the watch of has now doubled in just over a could develop. these Ex-militant generals; the year to 400,000 barrels per day in Their answer and choice is Presidency goes to self-destructive stolen crude oil; with the attendant crude-oil theft! Thus it is that in just lengths to seize control of the ruling loss to the economy of $14bn party machinery, precipitating a one year we have witnessed a spike annually in revenues that could split of the NGF, and subsequently in crude-oil theft to unprecedented have accrued to the coffers of the of the PDP into ‘New’ and ‘Old’ levels of 400,000 barrels per state. PDP, and the PDM; while Exday [by the way this is the entire


Militant generals and so-called ‘elder Statesmen’ from the Niger Delta continue to threaten hail and brimstone, and even threaten the end of Nigeria if their candidate is not returned to office! These are just too numerous coincidences. They do represent a pattern, and a trend, one that is directly inimical to security and safety of ordinary citizens. It is up to us as ordinary impoverished citizens, who have seen our poverty levels grow steeply from 54% in 2004 to 70% in 2012; who have seen unemployment rate rise sharply from 8% in 1999 to 23.9% in 2011; and who continue to be homeless; to rise up, once again take a definitive stand, take our destiny into our own hands, Take Back Nigeria and stop this inept, greedy, and incompetent elite from destroying our lives and nation, and further ruining our future. We must not allow them to use us and play us against one another as they pursue their ultimately selfish and greedy ambitions. They do not care about this us, much less about this nation. They hold diplomatic passports and foreign passports; they have secured dual citizenship for their children; they impregnate their wives here, and fly them at public expense to give birth abroad just so their kids can have foreign citizenship; they steal and loot our treasury dry here at home, and buy their choicest properties abroad, while saving the bulk of their loot abroad, to boost the economies of other countries! They are not patriotic; they are not Nigerians! Jaiye Gaskla is on onTwitter@jayegaskia

Re: ASUU and Suswam’s committee By Simon Shango and Denis Ukume


eading through the Editorial Commentary of the Peoples Daily dated 6th September 2013 reminds us of the famous Clint Eastwood’s film, “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”. The editorial gave a barrage of charges against His Excellency, Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam, the governor of Benue State and wrote him off as a wrong choice for the Chairmanship of the Needs Implementation Committee. The Committee’s main task was to negotiate and implement issues arising from the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government. The sharp contrast is that, the main character of thefilmTuco was a mere hoodlum chasing after stolen and hidden money, while Governor Suswam is an accomplished person who rose from his Law Chambers to the Federal House of Representatives and now Governor of a State. It is instructive to note that, Governor Suswam’s State operates the best State-owned University in the country. It is therefore difficult to understand why a respected newspaper like the Peoples Daily

owned by some of the best hands in Journalism on this side of the Niger, Mallam Wada Maida and Mallam Rufai Ibrahim would go out of its way to unleash such snipe write-up on someone who should be praised for doing so much within so short a time to get the Federal Government to perform the feat it did by dolling out unbudgeted sum of One Hundred and Thirty Billion Naira (N130,000,000,000) into the decaying University Education system of the country. In our days in Journalism, we learnt that even the keenest reporter would weigh things rationally before committing them into writing especially if such write-ups would unnecessarily defame and libel innocent persons. We have no doubt that the management of the newspaper will reconsider this editorial commentary and appropriately retract and apologize to Governor Gabriel Suswam. It is curious that a committee with formidable members like, a Senator representing the Senate Committee on Education, a member of the House Committee on Education, the Ministers of Education and Labour and Productivity as well as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

(NNPC). Other members of the Committee are, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the Representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), National Universities Commission (NUC) and Representatives of ASUU, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), and Senior Staff Union of Universities (SSANU), can connive with Governor Suswam in “pinching and pilfering” money meant for ASUU when such money was distributed directly to the Universities affected. This write-up is not intended to join issues with the Peoples Daily nor ASUU because it is not our place to do so, but it is intended to show how personal and sometimes selfish interests can go a long way to destroy people who are working selflessly in the interest of this country. It is rather an uncomfortable coincidence that people from this our part of the country no matter how well they try to serve Nigeria are maligned by mud slingers who have one reason or the other to do so. This takes us back to the days of

late J.S. Tarka who did so much to save this country from breaking up during the civil war by contributing his best as well as his kinsmen’s sweat and blood to keep Nigeria one, ended up only destroyed politically by agents similar to those that are after Governor Suswam. This was done to ensure that our J.S. Tarka did not become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It later became a well-known fact that J.S. Tarka died penniless as it is today a known fact that he did not own any House in any town in this country, be it in Gboko, Makurdi, Kaduna or Lagos. The second Republic Governor of Benue State Mr. Apollos Aper Aku suffered the same fate. Within a short spell of four years, he provided most of the infrastructure that adorn Benue State today. He owned no property anywhere. The only small bungalow known to have belonged to him was almost sold out by Bank of the North, but for the intervention of then Governor of Benue State,the Revd. Fr. Moses Adasu who graciously paid back the loan to the Bank. In the end, Aper Aku was jailed for “borrowing” seventeen thousand naira from Benue Breweries, a company he set up while in Government.

This witch hunting did not end with J.S Tarka and Aper Aku. Over the years, other leaders from our part of the country such as Wantaregh Paul Unongo, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Hon. Barr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaawho was stripped of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title. We will not forget to mention the untidy retirement of our revered Chief Justice of Nigeria, a renowned Jurist, gentleman and above all a brilliant Lawyer, Hon. Justice Alloysius Katsina Alu. The unceremonious departure of Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is still fresh on our minds.It’s a pity that such “mud slingers” are never in short supply. It is our opinion that, these people must spare our Governor Rt. Hon. Gabriel Torwua Suswam for us. He is one of the best we have at the moment and we have no doubt that some people are afraid of his rising profile at this moment. For us, we would want these people to leave him alone for “he is our man”. Hon. Simon Shango and Amb. Denis Ukume can be reached on shangoungutor@



Comment Boko Haram inches away from goal? By Ola Lookman


ithout doubts, the Nigerian security apparatchik is recording tremendous success in its efforts to root out insurgency in different parts of the country, especially the north east. True to its promise, the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) has continued to launch offensives against criminal elements and terrorism in the country. Recently the Nigerian Army announced the killing of over 150 Boko Haram insurgents at Kafiya Forest of Borno State. The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru who made the disclosure added that a key commander and a high value target of the insurgents, one Abba Goroma was also killed. The Chief insurgent commander had a N10million bounty placed on his head. Within the same week members of the youth vigilante group otherwise known as civilian JTF captured over 50 suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in some parts of Borno and Adamawa States. The arrest of suspects came after days of

a massive hunt of the fleeing insurgents. A lot of strategies is seemed to be put in place in this war on terror. The Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, at the official passing out parade and commissioning of 385 new officers of the service declared that the service and other security forces were gradually wiping out the Boko Haram insurgents in the country. Ekpeyong said: “We can confidently say that we have decimated the terrorists’ top and middle level leadership, its foot soldiers, thereby dislodging its centre of gravity.” Though there were a number of casualty on the side of the Nigerian security personnel and the civilian volunteers, nevertheless the positive development reinforce our belief in the ability of the response agencies working tediously in protecting us. We were all living witnesses when the dreaded Boko Haram terror groups operated almost freely in some North-Eastern states before State of Emergency was declared in the troubled states of Adamawa, Borno and

Yobe. Their freedoms have been curtailed. Hardly a day passes that the news media is not awash with stories of the JTF clamping down on members of fleeing Boko Haram terror group. These faceless and bloodthirsty elements have long fled areas they once operated like the Lord of the Manor where they unleashed terror on helpless and innocent Nigerians. The story has since changed. It is now the other way round. These elements have since been chased away. The recent creation of an army division is another ambitious step taken towards ridding the north east of insecurity. The government should leave no stone unturned in its resolve to make Nigeria a safe and secure nation. Despite the hydra headed nature of the insecurity conundrum, the government should leave nothing to chance getting to the root of the matter. Creating a division of the Nigerian Army specifically to fight insurgency in the north eastern part of the country is a commendable initiative. It is an indication that the government

is very much attaches much premium to the safety of life and property of its citizens. While it will be considered rather too early and ill-time to sing victory song in the war against terror, it is not out of place all together to say we are close to achieving complete hundred percent successes. We are inches away from completely cleansing terror from our land. Credit must be given to our devoted and committed officers and men of the Nigerian army and other security establishments who have sacrificed their comfort, pleasure and time to guarantee peace in the land. The amount of stability we have so far witnessed in areas once branded flashpoints is an indication of the fact that the military is not relenting in its avowed determination to root out terrorism in the country. The unprecedented inroads recorded by the JTF are not without the matchless support and unwavering commitment of the Federal Government. President Goodluck Jonathan has never minced words in his avowed determination make

Mr. follow-follow syndrome By Amenaghawon Joseph Idahosa


he lyrics of late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s numerous anti-government and pro-people songs readily comes to mind when there is a public discourse about Nigeria’s unending problems, especially those orchestrated by politicians and people of influence at all levelslocal, state and federal. His song, Mr. Follow Follow, is one that could be used in an analysis of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) crisis. In the past few weeks the public has been assailed with a lot of ‘follow follow” movement exemplified by the followers of the two factions of the PDP. Unfortunately the situation does not augur well for the citizenry as there is a degree of neglect by government of the governance and service delivery issues that concern ordinary Nigerians. Since the announcement of the formation of the new PDP led by Alhaj iAbubakar Kawu Baraje we have heard all sorts of statements from the ludicrous to the most profane. Several analyses have also been put in the public domain regarding what a full blown implosion of Africa’s biggest political party will mean for democracy in the country. Extreme voices within the PDP and apologists from the ethnic nationality of the current President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, have also hinted that nothing will stop their man from retaining the Presidency at the 2015 general elections. Some have even projected scenarios of war and bloodbath for the country in the event that their kinsman does not

secure the Presidency by 2015. It is absurd that in all these, the followers on the different sides of the now divided PDP, are acting with complete disregard of the generality of Nigerians. They are speaking with such venom and hate that ordinary Nigerians shudder at the effrontery and audacity of these individuals who seem so certain that they alone matter and their desires and interests must be met at all cost. Their attitude is so aptly described in the lyrics of the song “Mr. Follow Follow”. In the song Fela had lamented that some follow to the extent that they close their eyes, ears, block out all reasoning and even close their mouths. He wasn’t necessarily against people choosing to follow whatever or whomever they believed in but he cautioned loudly: If you dey follow follow. Make you open eye, open ear, open mouth, open sense The fiercely outspoken followers of PDP act like poorly informed religious persons who carry on with blind faith and are ready to do anything to protect their spaces of interests and influence. They are completely oblivious of the interests of the larger citizenry who are also closely watching

their crazed actions, unguarded utterances and unbelievably selfdeluded dance of victory even in the face of unresolved conflicts. The 2015 elections have become a recurring subject of public discourse despite the numerous governance deficits and challenges bedeviling the country. Concerns of the ordinary citizens do not seem to count at the moment. Public Universities have been choked for air since July 1, 2013 as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government continue their bickering over the latter’s reneging on a 2009 FG-ASUU agreement. The educational development of the country’s youth population is carelessly being stagnated by the continuing face-off between ASUU and the FG, and there are little signs to suggest that the issue will be resolved soon. It is ironic that Nigeria’s youth population estimated to be about 68 million is continually being disparaged and treated with ignoble scorn by the inactions of government and its failure to follow through with its agreement with critical managers of the sectors that have direct impact on the lives

of youths. Interestingly, the 68 million –majority demographic is one that can determine the outcome of the 2015 elections if voters’ choices are swayed away from the ruling PDP and its candidates. However, the continual decimation of the youth population may be deliberate and intent on making them further vulnerable to political aggrandizements and inducements to vote in a ways that will favour particular candidates. Over the years the “poverty’ card has been effectively used against the Nigerian voting population. Followers of different parties and candidates have been willing “victims” of all manners of inducements and “promises” by desperate politicians. Will 2015 be any different? Will citizens’ choices at the ballots be premised on an objective use of their right to vote or will this be clouded by the often dominating persuasions of ethnicity, religion and party allegiance? The current crisis rocking the PDP has thrown up all sorts of analyses and scenarios of what this may portend for the country. This is perhaps the first time the so called biggest party in Africa will be rocked by this level of crisis. Its survival and

It is absurd that in all these, the followers on the different sides of the now divided PDP, are acting with complete disregard of the generality of Nigerians. They are speaking with such venom and hate that ordinary Nigerians shudder at the effrontery and audacity of these individuals who seem so certain that they alone matter and their desires and interests must be met at all cost. Their attitude is so aptly described in the lyrics of the song “Mr. Follow Follow”.

Nigeria inhabitable for trouble makers and enemies of Nigeria with provision of adequate resources to our security. The JTF, with support from their civilian counterparts is truly on top of the insecurity situation in areas once dominated by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect. While we must acknowledge and commend security and volunteers in this war against terrorism, we must rise to fight terrorism by words of encourage while we are also security conscious at all times. Aside creating the 7th Division of Nigerian Army in Borno State, the government should equally provide the army with necessary support for full take off. We cannot continue to watch almost helplessly how bloodthirsty individuals visit terror on Nigerians. It is our responsibility to make Nigeria safe for Nigerians and foreigners alike. Nigerians are peace loving people. Let us offer our individual supports to security agencies to enable them succeed. Ola Lookman via it’s strangle hold on the political landscape of the country is at stake, especially in the face of a touted alternative or the new All Progressive Congress (APC). And that perhaps explains why the followers of the faction loyal to the Presidency appears determined to use every available means to quash the new-PDP as a first step towards ensuring that it has a chance to maintain the status quo come 2015. Any chance of reconciliation seems to be dimming by the day as the new-PDP equally becomes more emboldened. Will this benefit the democratic development of the country? Perhaps, but it’s not so clear to see. There may be underlying high stake negotiations being played out by the triggers of the split-up. It is difficult to trust the intentions of politicians especially those who had hitherto pursued the same agenda under a platform that has not delivered on the promised dividends of democracy. Perhaps, the political parties, whether the now split PDP, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the numerous others, should be reminded that a growing number of Nigerians are closely understudying the unfolding events. They should also realise that there is an equally increasing momentum and desire for change. These followers are not blindly following. They are heeding Fela’s advice. They are very alert and discerning with their eyes, ears and mouths open. They are assimilating properly and the potential of using their voting power to radically effect the change they desire in 2015 is one that should not be swept aside by anyone. Amenaghawon Joseph Idahosa is an international development officer based in Abuja



Education secretary decries lack of finance in Kuje By Adeola Tukuru


L-R: The National President, Jumia Aduda Foundation, Hauwa Aduda, wife of Kuje Area Council chairman, Hanatu Shaban Tete, distributing mosquito nets to pregnant women in Dafara community in Kuje, yesterday. Photo: Justin Imo-owo

Centre to support 3,000 orphans, vulnerable children in FCT


he Women and Children Economic Development Centre in Jikwoyi, Abuja, yesterday said it planned to support 3,000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the FCT. Mr. Henry Akani, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Officer, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that most of the OVC were identified by the heads of the communities where the organisation worked.

He said most of the children were from Jikwoyi, Karu, Karshi, Kurudu and Nyanya communities in the outskirts of the FCT. ``We do not keep all the children in the home, our target for this year is to cater for 3,000 OVC in these communities. ``When the chiefs identify the families, we take care of them in their homes by paying school fees, buying books, and giving the parents some money

for the upkeep of the children. ``At present, we have only five boys in the home because we cannot find their parents or guardians, so we will take care of them until they can be on their own. ’’ Akani said the organisation visited its beneficiaries biweekly at home and in their schools, to support them with their needs. The officer said the centre was funded by the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, with

the support of good spirited individuals. He said the only challenge of the centre was funding and called on Nigerians to support them to alleviate the suffering of the OVC. NAN correspondents also visited Abuja Children’s Home in Karu where the matron declined to answer questions, citing non-permission by the board of trustees and management of the home. (NAN)

FCTA to penalise violators of pedestrian crossing By Adeola Tukuru


ederal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has said that it would not hesitate to penalise pedestrians who fail to use the pedestrian bridges provided across the FCT as a means of enforcing the usage. Minister of the FCT, senator Bala Mohammed, represented by the Secretary, FCT Transport Secretariat, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke, said yesterday that the attitude is “unfortunate” while

addressing issues raised at the visit of officials and students of Nigerian Institute of Transport technology (NIIT) on their study tour of the Federal Capital Territory. He said to discourage pedestrians from crossing the administration has commenced the erection of barricades about 500 meters around the bridges. His words: “It is very unfortunate. We are going to find ways of enforcing the usage. “Our plan is to make it difficult for pedestrians to cross

it (the bridge), so if we catch you insisting on risking your life, we will make sure that we convert it to revenue,” he said. The minister however said that there are no plans to reconsider bringing back the mini buses services to the city center but to make the feeder route services “very lucrative”, describing the thought as “negative”. One of NIIT officials, Abdulmalik Abass, said even the government does not have enough personnel or professional

background to be able to appreciate what is lacking in the system. He however advice that the administration should first ensure trained manpower in its team to ensure efficiency. “First they should have the trained manpower not just someone who read business or engineering it has to be either transportation engineering or transportation business. They should try and engage the services of experts” in its transport policy formulation.

he Education secretary in Kuje area council in the FCT, Mr Sunday Kaka has decried over lack of funding on education sector in the area. In an interview with Peoples Daily recently ,he said the Local Education Authority (LEA) constitute a larger number of staff, so a large sum of money is being spent on teachers especially for the payment of salaries and other staff benefits. Kaka further explained other challenges, which is transportation, stating that lack buses for supervisors who to go round the various interior to supervise the performance of teachers and pupils of as the education secretary. “ I equally carried out the routine check to counter supervision to make sure that proper supervision is given because government cannot just pay money without adequate supervision, whether the learning and teaching is taking place effectively in our schools”. “The issue of Teachers you know, can never be satisfied in our various schools because when others comes, some are leaving, so what happens is that we always replace those that leave neither through resignation, diseased persons or those who retried”, he said. The Secretary assured that the area council is trying its possible best to employ teachers every year so, as to fill up the vacancies positions that are created, but due to financial constraints. In his words: “We should have recruited even now. Good enough, we have indigene who read various courses so I believed that any time from now, if the council is buoyant enough, the Chairman of the council, Hon Shaban Ishaku Tete will take up the challenges to recruit and fill in the remaining gaps that are left”. He called on State and Federal government to see to the grass root development of the Local Councils because they cannot meet up the challenges financially and otherwise. “Federal government itself can not enjoy if the people at the grassroots are lacking behind because everything starts from the grass root, so the presidency, governor and ministers should do something, it is equally good for FCDA to come and assist to complete the project”. “They should also receive and listen to the advice of the local government chairmen, so that, together they can build a formidable Nigeria”, He said.




INSIDE FCT COURTS Man jailed for stealing blackberry phone


n upper Area court in Karu has sentenced Da-Silva Orok, of Nyanya, FCT, to 10 weeks in prison for stealing a blackberry phone. The Magistrate, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, sentenced Orok, after he pleaded guilty to stealing. Kagarko, however, ordered Orok to pay compensation fee of N12, 000 to Orji James, the complainant. Earlier, the police prosecutor, Insp. Silas Nanpan, told the court that on Sept. 15, the accused attacked and stole the phone from the complainant at a party. Nanpan also alleged that the accused also made away with a wallet, containing N5, 070, Staff ID Card and one Ecobank ATM Card, all belonging to Orji. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened sections 79 and 287 of the Penal Code Law. (NAN)

Court discharges man of stealing accusation


Zuba Grade 1 Area Court has discharged a motorcyclist, Yusuf Aliyu, 14, who was accused of stealing a motorcycle worth N115, 000. Aliyu was standing trial on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and cheating. The Presiding Officer, Mr Alhassan Kusherki, discharged the accused for want of diligent prosecution by the police. Kusherki said he was discharging the accused pursuant to Section 165 of Criminal Procedure Code. ``I am discharging the accused because since the police arraigned him before me on June 17, the nominal complainant has failed to appear before the court to give evidence in relation to the charges. ``Every man is entitled to his freedom except in exceptional cases where he is proved guilty and convicted for such crime. ``The court is also the last hope of every man. It is, therefore, left to the court to see that justice is done and this man is granted his freedom,’’ Kusherki said. NAN reports that the police prosecutor, Cpl. Momoh Ibrahim, had told the court that on June 14, one Thomas John of MOPOL Barracks, Dei-Dei in the FCT, had reported that the accused stole his motorcycle. (NAN)

Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide (right) bidding intending to Muslim pilgrims from the FCT farewell before their departure at the Permanent Hajj Camp near Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Adeola Tukuru

Court remands 2 Micro finance bank staff over N39m fraud


New Wuse Magistrates Court sitting in Tafa, Niger, has remanded in prison two management staff of a micro finance bank for alleged fraud totaling N39 million. The accused were Kasim Suleiman, the Managing Director of the bank and David Bako, the accountant. They were arraigned on a five-count charge of criminal

conspiracy, joint act, breach of trust, cheating and theft. The offences were punishable under sections 79, 287, 312, 309 and 322 of the Penal Code Law. The arraignment of the accused followed a petition to the police in Tafa by Mr Stephen Gimba and Alhaji Salisu Abubakar, the Chairman and the Secretary of the bank’s Board of Directors respectively.

The duo had alleged that the two accused persons used the title document of the bank to obtain a N5.5million loan and diverted the money to personal use. They were also alleged to have granted loans to unidentified customers to the tune of N33.5 million. The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to

the charges. The Prosecutor, SP Chijioke Ukezie, objected to bail for the accused, arguing that it would jeorpadise ongoing investigations by the police. Magistrate Danladi Kutigi ordered that the two accused persons be remanded in Suleja Prison and adjourned the case to Oct. 28, 2013 for mention. (NAN)

Butchers in court for stealing cow


wo butchers, Abubakar Usman and Sanusi Awalu, has appeared in an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Karu, FCT, for stealing a cow valued at N180,000. Usman, 29, and Awalu, 25, both of Karu village, FCT, were arraigned by the police on two counts of joint act and theft before Chief Magistrate Hadiza Dodo. The police prosecutor, Cpl.

Umar Mohammed, told the court that the accused persons stole a male cow valued at N180, 000 from Tete Iwo, who was their employer. Mohammed said that Iwo employed the accused persons on an agreement to pay them monthly salary of N28, 000 each to take care of his 40 cows. He alleged that the accused persons conspired, stole and sold the animal at the cost of N180,

000 to a customer at the Karu abattoir in Karu before they were arrested, alongside the buyer. The prosecutor further said that the accused persons, during interrogation, admitted committing the offence but claimed that they were not paid for five months by their employer. ``The accused persons said that in order to get money for feeding, they decided to steal the cow,” he said.

Mohammed said that the offence was punishable under sections 79 and 287 of the Penal Code. Dodo admitted them to bail in the sum of N100, 000 each with a surety in like sum who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. She adjourned the case to Oct. 21, 2013 for presentation of witnesses by the prosecution. (NAN)

Commercial motorcyclist jailed for stealing handsets


Zuba Grade 1 Area Court, FCT, has sentenced a commercial motorcyclist, Abdullahi Mohammed, 27, to 12 months in prison for theft of two handsets valued at N20,000. The presiding officer, Alhassan Kusherki, sentenced Mohammed of Zuba Garage,

after he pleaded guilty to the twocount charge of house breaking and theft. Kusherki, however, gave the convict an option to pay N50,000 in fine. The prosecutor, Cpl. Momoh Ibrahim, had earlier told the court that the convict committed

the offence on Aug. 25. He said Mohammed broke into the shop of Mrs Hafsat Nuhu of Dakwan Kasa, FCT, and assaulted Mr Dauda Ibrahim with a knife which led to him sustaining injury on his right palm. Ibrahim said the convict made

away with valuables, including two handsets, sachets of water and proceeds of the day’s sales, the value of which had yet to be determined. He said the offences contravened the provisions of sections 347 and 290 of the Penal Code. (NAN)


Gbagi old women entertaining guests, during Gbagi cultural festival, yesterday at Dafara community, in Abuja.



Young Fulani girls hawking fura da nono, yesterday along Dutse-Bwari road, in Abuja.

People taking home their chairs after a community meeting, yesterday at Durumi, in Abuja.

Members of FCT cultural troupe entertaining guests, during awareness campaign organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), recently in Abuja.

A young man hawking garden eggs, yesterday at Garki village, in Abuja Photos: Justin Imo-Owo



INSIDE, 08033045613

Hilton worldwide, Transcorp partner to develop 350 room hotel in Lagos

- Pg 22

Osun expends N200m monthly on O’YES cadets - Aregbesola - Pg 22

Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo (right), presenting Share Certificate of Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment to Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo (left), during the presentation ceremony yesterday at the State House in Abuja. With them is Chairman, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Alhaji Mahey Rasheed (middle). Photo: Joe Oroye

FG loses N2.4trn to illegal aircraft operators From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Federal Government may be losing revenue in excess of $ 15 billion (N2.4 trillion) annually to the activities of private jets owners that deliberately registered their aircrafts abroad. By choosing to register the aircraft abroad, private owners, are compelled by existing aviation regulations to pay foreign cockpit crew, charges and taxes overseas and thus also abstain from paying import duties, five percent VAT charges and other 5% to the

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Commenting on huge revenue loss such action is causing the economy, Coordinating General Manager, Corporate Communications of Aviation Agencies, YakubuDati told reporters in Lagos that such owners of private jets who use them to operate illegal charter services rip off the country of welldeserved revenue and also destroy legally registered commercial charter operators that abide by the regulations as enunciated by the

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). He said that conscious effort to stop such exploitation of the country, and grow the business of registered charter operators responsible for NCAA decision to slam $3,000 dollars on each operator of private jet owners who use their aircraft to carry out illegal services. Datti said that Captain Daniel Omale, the spokesman of the group who attacked the new policy introduced in a publication did so because his company was involved

Zamfara invests N1.5bn in Jaiz Bank By Abdulwahab Isa


amfara state is investing N1.5 billion in Nigeria’s foremost non-interest bank- Jaiz Bank Plc, as the bank made its debut by opening a branch in the state yesterday. With the opening of Zamfara branch, Jaiz bank now has eleventh branches nationwide after it commenced it operations January 2012. The state governor, Alhaji (Dr.) AbdulazeezYari, ShettimanMafara while announcing the state’s investment stake of N1.5 billion in the bank said the fund, is meant to shore up its capital base. Jaiz Bank currently has an authorized share capital of N13 billion. The governor urged citizens of the state to patronize the bank

so that they can benefit from the benefit of non-interest banking. He said funds of the local government in the state will be invested in the bank. He said the state will do all it can to help the bank grow. He said they have over N3 billion programme of empowering women in the state and will ensure that all of them open accounts in the bank to drive the process. “We are aware that most people that are patronizing the bank are non-Muslim. We are going to mobilize the people through the mass media to educate our people on the importance if the bank,” he said. Before yesterday’s commissioning of the branch in Zamfara, the bank has three branches in Abuja, and two in Kano state. The bank also has

branches in Gombe, Kastina, Kaduna, Maiduguri and a correspondent office in Lagos state. With an authorized shared capital of N13 billion, the board and management of the Bank hopes to open branches in all the state capital of Nigeria by its fifth years of operations. Chairman of the Bank, Alhaji (Dr.) UmaruMutallab, thanked the governor for his interest in the bank. He commended him for the pledge to invest N1.5 billion in the bank. He stated that the bank is for everybody irrespective of the religious and ethnic base. The Acting Managing Director of the Bank, Usman Hassan thanked the governor and the people of the state for their patronage.

in the illegal racket. “ The total amount of money that Nigeria loses to these operators is estimated to be over $15 billion annually, not including charges paid by aircraft used for charter services, which most of them illegally deploy the aircraft when in use in the country”, he said. According to him, of the 139 private jets operating in Nigeria, 87 are registered overseas while 52 are registered locally and explained that any aircraft registered overseas is assumed to be visiting Nigeria as it usually registered under a foreign operator and the implication of this is that it will not pay import duty when coming into Nigeria.

We’ll rid ports of quacks, vows forwarders council boss

- Pg 20

Exchange Rates CBN as at17th September, 2013 Buying



















MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY Identify the untouchables in your new job


ewly appointed leaders are often expected to come in and shake things up. But before you start proposing changes, be sure you know what your boss cares about most. There may be certain parts of the organization—products, facilities, people—about which your new boss is proprietary. You don’t want to find out that you’re pressing to shut down the product line your boss started up or replacing someone whom he

considers a loyal ally. Talk with your manager to understand him history at the organization. Ask others what’s most important to him. When speaking with her about revamping processes or products, pay close attention to his facial expression, tone, and body language. If you’re still uncertain, float an idea gently as a trial balloon and watch his reactions closely. Source: Harvard Business




We’ll rid ports of quacks, vows forwarders council boss Sir Mike Jukwe is the Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN). He recently embarked on a working visit to key stakeholders in the maritime and aviation sectors to notify them of the efforts of the CRFFN in enthroning professionalism in freight forwarding practice in Nigeria. In this interview with Peoples Daily Dapo Olalekan, he spoke on the enforcement drive of the council.


hat is your position on comments made by both NAGAFF and ANLCA on the need to deregister associations that did not meet up with your requirements? To register any association or any freight forwarder for that matter, there is a law to that effect and there are regulations made to that effect. Before associations are registered, they are supposed to meet some criteria and also have operating guidelines and it is the duty of the enforcement team to check them from time to time to ensure that they meet up these criteria that have been set up. So what we are doing is normal, NAGAFF and ANLCA cannot champion the course of de registering any associations so far the association has been registered. It is our duty as the council to ensure that those associations who did not meet the criteria automatically will be de-registered because the law is very clear on that. It is not anybody championing the course to register these associations or not because the laws are there to guide registration of associations. But we still have some associations that did not meet up the CRFFN pre requisite. what is your take on that? These are part of the regulations that we are embarking on and as part of our visit to their associations, we will ensure that they conform with operating guidelines and we will ensure that they have what it takes to be registered and that is why we are just following the formalities based on our work as enforcement team, and to ensure that they are complying. Once you comply, you have nothing to worry about but once you don’t comply the law is very clear because the registration is a continuous process and at any point you did not meet up; we will de-register and anytime you meet up you will be registered. We are going strictly by the law and it is not an issue of anybody championing the course of anything, the law is there and the law is very clear. It is obvious that freight forwarders operating from the airport do not know much about CRFFN I agree that they are not conversant with CRFFN, but they must have registered. Before you go into any freight forwarding business at all, you should be able to do what that business entails and before they are registered they should be

able to know what the council is all about before they come in for registration. Be that as it may, what we are doing now as part of enforcement exercise is to sensitize not only the general public but the stakeholders and the freight forwarders themselves so that they will not say that they are not aware of the fact that the council existence and the law that establishes it. So part of what we are doing is to get ourselves familiar with them and to know what we are all after, what we are supposed to do so that they will be familiar with what is the council stands for. There is yearning by stakeholders to reduce the cost of training by the accredited institutions, what is CRFFN doing in that regard? First I have to say that the laws establishing the council does not give the council the powers to train directly what we do is that we accredit institutions to train. We do not have the training facilities to train, we are not a training institution, we are a regulatory agency, and we regulate and accredit institutions that will train. What we are trying to do is that before any institutions goes into training now, they have to sit down with us and agree on what they will charge those coming for training and it is very clear because we are taking notice of all the complaints by stakeholders and we will definitely address them all. If the charges are high we will bring them down, but of course I know also that training is not all that cheap and more so, this is an industry that there has been no of training at all because to put together these trainings that are been accredited is all so expensive. we have to go get accreditation outside this country because we don’t have the benchmark and we started from nowhere because there was nothing on ground; there was no school where stakeholders can get training thus we have to go all out there to the international body and say look we want to train our people in these courses ,give us the minimum requirement and we have to meet the minimum standard before we can also be accredited and be allowed to come and introduce such courses in this country. So all these process require money. But I am assuring you that where we receive complaints we look at those areas and we address them, which is why we are here. Looking at the

Mike Jukwe

enforcement team in place, don’t you think that other port users like dockworkers and even the truck drivers might be mistaken for freight forwarders on their way into the ports by your men and this could lead to chaos? The laws do not cover dockworkers or truck drivers. Our mandate does not extend to them. Our mandate is purely to regulate freight forwarding sub sector of the maritime industry and like I have said, in time past that we have stated it clearly that the enforcement team is not a law enforcement agency of government, we are not out on our own to raid the ports and arrest quacks but we are going out in support of the Nigeria police force whose mandate is to arrest and prosecute, is not ours. Our enforcement officers are to assist the police to show that these people are registered and they are legally allowed to practice and these ones are not registered by us, thus they have no business to be in the ports and with that the police can go ahead to arrest them, that is the provision of the law . Therefore, we don’t cover dockworkers and they have nothing to worry about. Our mandate stops with the freight forwarders. What is responsible for the delay by the governing council to bring in a new chairman for CRFFN? When the governing council is not there, the law establishing it gave it a clear mandate that the governing council formulates regulations that are used in carrying out and implementing the act itself and this has been done by the governing council. So when they are not there,

the management whose duty is to implement these laws continues to do that. When the tenure of the former council lapsed, they have to leave and since there were no elections before they left, there have to be a body constituted legally under those elections and the elections will not be conducted by the management. There has to be a body which will act as an intern governing council in place ,whose responsibilities will be to conduct the elections and then hand over to a properly constituted legal governing council and as we speak the ministry of transport is doing everything possible to put in place a new governing council and I can assure you that within a short time from now, an interim governing council will be inaugurated to ensure that they carry out their elections and then a new governing council will be constituted. How soon should stakeholders expect an interim governing council? I cannot say it will be tomorrow or next but we all know that these things have various processes, those processes have to be met. Some of the processes require time and if you want to constitute an interim government council, you have to write to the bodies that will release people who will be on the interim governing council. The ministry is doing that, once they are able to get the required people that they need, they will call them together and then they will be inaugurated. How far has the council gone in sensitizing the freight forwarders nation wide? We have touched quite a

number of various organizations that made up the industry. We have been to the Nigeria police, shipper’s councils, terminal operators, Ports Consultative Council PCC, the customs. We have been to Port Harcourt, all the freight forwarding associations, shipping associations and we have almost been to everywhere and that is why we are keen to let them know about what we are coming up with very soon. For security reasons I cannot say that we are coming out tomorrow to raid the port but we have sensitize almost every stakeholders about the enforcement team . You gave Mr. Lucky Amiwero an ultimatum to register with the council and the ultimatum has elapsed .What is the next line of action? On the 1st August this year, when we signal the commencement of the enforcement unit and we made it very clear that all freight forwarders have three weeks and in fact the whole of August making it four weeks to register, to pay their annual subscriptions fees up till date and to get ready because the enforcement team can approach any freight forwarders anytime to be sure that such person is working in the port legally. Now back to Lucky Amiwero, he came out to say that clearing agents are not freight forwarders. well that is left for him because the law is there and we know what the laws states. So whether he is a freight forwarder or not, that is left for him but don’t also forget that it is the same Amiwero when the first government council was put in place he went to contest election and if he was not a freight forwarder why did he come there to contest that election. He came to contest the election and lost and when he lost, he now claimed not to be a freight forwarder rather a clearing agent. My question to him is: was he not a clearing agent before he decided to contest for the election to serve as a governing council of freight forwarders? So who is deceiving who? We will carry out our duties without fear or favour and the law is respecter of anybody and Lucky Amiwero will not be an exemption. The law will take its full course once we start our enforcement, we are giving them a grace period and it is left for them but once it expires, we are moving into action with the backing of the police to assist us in carrying out the enforcement that is it. And he can expect us anytime.



Tax alert

How about tax amnesty? By Frank Onero Obaro


nnovation is driving revenue collection globally in the face of slow growth rate in trade and investment. More and more tax administrators are coming up with diverse products to raise government revenues to meet daunting challenges. In Nigeria and much of the frontier markets voluntary tax compliance is still a mirage and special efforts needs to be employed to curb it. Whereas in developed nations taxpayers remit voluntarily, allowing the tax administrators time and space to develop new tax types such as carbon tax, green gastax amongstothers, but one innovation that stands out from this pack, even in developed countries, remains Tax Amnesty. In Nigeria, amnesty as become a cliché, so to speak in view of the conflicts in the Niger Delta and the North East. Amnesty as we know, is a legal forgiveness from certain infractions. Tax Amnesty is defined as a waiver or reduction and sometimes removal of penalties in back taxes to encourage defaulting taxpayers to pay what they owe within a specified window. Indeed like on criminal matters, majority of eligible taxpayers in Nigeria rarely remit their taxes and it is crucialwe find a common ground to achieve the objective of the government to raise funds from taxes through some ingenious means that works with our cultural and economiclandscape. The objective of tax amnesty is to forgive or negotiate the tax liabilities of individual and corporate tax payers in line with laid down statutes. An amnesty must necessarily have a legal or legislative backing for it to take effect with a cut off date. Amnesty will not completely knock off the penalties for deliberate tax infractions, but will seek a possible relaxation of some of these penalties to encourage the expansion of the tax net, albeit temporary. And one key demand will be an agreement between the taxpayer and the tax administrator to file future returns on time in the future. A major challengewhich the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and various State Boards of Internal Revenue (SBIR) contend with is the issue of mounting tax arrears. In some cases the companies have collapsed while the going concerns are not complying as and when due. While the tool of enforcement should not

be replaced with amnesty completely, it is however a tool that can be deployed to increase revenue collection. Amnesty or some of form relief will certainly encourage defaulting taxpayers to negotiate their tax debt obligations with respective collecting agencies, which will then enable them to start on a clean slate. It implies that a taxpayer who has enjoyed the magnanimity of amnesty will not be qualified more than once and stiffer penalty can then apply to such a taxpayer in the future in the event of a default. It must also be taken into account that not all defaulting taxpayers do it deliberately. This may be due to inadequate education on when and how to file tax returns, even though the FIRS as made tremendous progress in this regard. Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Russia and closer home South Africa are some countries that have designed tax amnesty programs and successfully implemented them. In 2003 via the Exchange Control Amnesty and Amendment of Taxation Laws Act, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) successfully implemented their first amnesty program. The second was the Voluntary Disclosure Programme (VDP) implemented to cover all taxes in 2011. In September 2010 the Greece parliament in compliance with the EU bailout plan,hurriedly sanctioned a tax amnesty program to raise between €2B- €3B from a backlog of unpaid taxes in the heat of the economic meltdown

Revenue House

FIRS Chairman, Alhaji Kabir Mashi

It implies that a taxpayer who has enjoyed the magnanimity of amnesty will not be qualified more than once and stiffer penalty can then apply to such a taxpayer in the future in the event of a default. It must also be taken into account that not all defaulting taxpayers do it deliberately. This may be due to inadequate education on when and how to file tax returns, even though the FIRS as made tremendous progress in this regard.

that hit them. It is vital to point out that it is not only local taxpayers that amnesty can be extended to, but it is even more important and attractive to repatriation of illegal offshore investments. On June 26, 2012, IRS Commissioner,Doug Shulman said the IRS offshore voluntary disclosure programs has so far collected more than $5 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties from 33,000 voluntary disclosures under the first two amnesty programs implemented by the IRS. It has not been all bliss for various tax amnesty programs. In December 2012, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristabol Montoro declared that only €1.2B was raised against a projection of €2.5B. Meaning that amnesty in itself is not foolproof as a wholesome solution to compliance. But it does help to close the arrears gap. Though some will argue that Amnesty effectively legitimises evasion, which might be reasonably correct on the surface of it, however in the case of Nigeria, that might not readily be so in the sense that the capacity to enforce or prosecute defaulters as contained in the 4th and 5th schedule and section 4 of the FIRS Establishment 2007 specify appropriate penalties for tax offenders. In February 2013, the Missouri State Parliament approved a tax amnesty program projected to raise as much as $75m to boost state revenue. Under the proposed law, taxpayers will get a waiver on back taxes interests and penalties if they pay past due obligations between August 1 and October 31 tied to compliance to state tax laws for another 8 years, failure of which waived interests and penalties would become debts again. And such participants would not be qualified for amnesty programs of such nature in the future. Certainly tax amnesty programs help in clawing back needed funds to fund infrastructural development but has to be carefully designed with our unique environment in mind. The impact will be far reaching if the FIRS and SBIRSs working under the auspices of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) collaborate for this purpose. However executive and legislative approval will be vital to the success of any program of this nature that improves compliances levels among defaulting taxpayers. Let’s try tax amnesty for size.




Hilton worldwide, Transcorp partner to develop 350 room hotel in Lagos By Sunday Etuka ilton Worldwide and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) have formalised agreement for construction of Transcorp Hilton 350rom on Glover road Ikoyi Lagos. The new hotel will be jointly owned by Transnational Hotels and Tourism Services Ltd, Transcorp’s hospitality arm, and Heirs Holdings. The Lagos Hilton, if becomes operational will be the Group’s second hotel


in Nigeria after Abuja Transcorp Hilton Hotel. Speaking at the official signing of the management contract between both parties, which took place at Heirs Holdings’ offices in Lagos, Tony Elumelu said, “the agreement marks another milestone in our long-standing partnership with Hilton Worldwide. The Ikoyi development, along with the extensive refurbishment and upgrade of our existing hotels in Calabar and Abuja, demonstrates

Heirs Holdings’ commitment to driving growth in real estate and hospitality, a strategic sector for Nigeria’s economic development. The new Transcorp Hilton Lagos will not only present an additional world-class venue for the increasing numbers of investors, businessmen and tourists to Nigeria, but is creating much-needed jobs for our citizens, enabling their social and economic development.” In his remarks, the Managing Director/CEO of THTSL,

Valentine Ozigbo, asserted that the Transcorp Hilton Lagos will finally grant the many Hilton Honors customers who visit the city their desire to see a worldclass establishment under their preferred brand in the Lagos. Full construction works for the new hotel will commence early next year. The hotel will boast of full conference facilities, meeting rooms, gym and spa, and a swimming pool in an iconic design that will certainly add verve to the Lagos landscape.

R-L: Chief Operating Officer for Regional Operations (Europe, the Middle & Near East and Africa), Mr. Manabu Nishimae, Managing Director, Honda Automobile Western Africa Limited (HAWA), Mr. Takayuki Yamashita, Vice-Chairman, THP & Stallion Group, Mr. Haresh Vaswani, during a media briefing to announce the establishment of Nigerian subsidiary Honda Motor Company, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Osun expends N200m monthly on O’YES cadets - Aregbesola By Abdulwahab Isa sun state government is committing a monthly wage bill of about N200 million as allowances for over 20,000 youths engaged by the states’ under its youths empowerment program- Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O’YES). Osun state governor, OgbeniRaufAregbesola) confirmed the figure and the success achieved by the scheme yesterday in Abuja and commended the Federal Government for replicating

the model at the federal level through the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO). The occasion was the formal kick-off of the YESSO launched by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance in Abuja, DrNgoziOkonjo-Iweala which had the Word Bank, states government, NAPEP and other agencies as collaborating partners. The governor described the move by the Federal Government as a worthy cause deserving all stakeholders’ support in view of

the achievements recorded by his state in its efforts to create jobs for youths. “Today’s launching of the YESSO programme is a forward leap for us as a nation in our concerted drive to surmount the scourge of youth unemployment in the country. “It is most comforting for me to note that our tiny State of Osun has been able to contribute something meaningful to our national development effort. The idea of youth employment that has now snowballed into a national programme was

conceived as a pragmatic approach to tackling the chronic and dangerous problem of unemployment among our youths in the state. Happily, O’YES became a very effective mechanism of massive public sector employment that offered some income, but great hope for the youths that are absorbed into the scheme. Through the scheme alone, N200 million is injected into the economy of Osun every month as allowances for the cadets which naturally is accompanied by its multiplier effects”, he said.

lobal Auto major Honda Motor Company has established a Nigerian subsidiary to expand the brand within the country to higher levels. In a media briefing organized for the occasion, Honda Motors announced the formation of Honda Automobile Western Africa Limited (HAWA). HAWA has an exclusive relationship

with THP Limited, a long term associate of Honda Motors, acting as their exclusive distributor for two decades. THP Limited is a part of Stallion Group, that has extensive operations in most sub Saharan African countries. THP Limited is now setting up a major Honda facility in Lekki area as part of Honda’s expansion in the country.

Mr. Manabu Nishimae, Chief Operating Officer for Regional Operations (Europe, the Middle & Near East and Africa) was highly optimistic on Honda’s prospects for the country given its huge population and growth prospects. Accordingly, HAWA is looking to achieve 10,000 units by the year 2020. Mr. Takayuki Yamashita, Managing Director, Honda

Automobile Western Africa Limited (HAWA) said they wish to “connect the market with Honda’s global resources and know-how more effectively, and eventually accelerate the expansion of our business in Nigeria”. According to him, the “Joy of Buying” for customers first, dealer’s “Joy of Selling”, and Honda’s “Joy of Creating”


Tin Can Island Customs generates N151bn revenue From Dapo Olalekan, Lagos he Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has announced revenue generation N151 billion between January and August 2013. Briefing journalists at the command in Lagos, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Mr. ZakariJibrin attributed the feat to increase compliance on the part of the operators. Giving a breakdown of the revenue, he said that the command made an all-time high revenue in August to the tune of N23, 682, 655, 278. 00 against the N18, 492, 003, 340. 00 it made in the corresponding period of last year 2012. This ‘according to him, is the highest revenue recorded in the history of the Tin Can command. In addition to this, Jibrin said that 159 seizures where recorded so far from January to August. A breakdown of the seizures showed that 92 forty foot containers, 47 twenty foot containers, 3 unpacked vehicles, and 17 other general goods were seized. The Duty Paid Value of the seizures is placed at N481, 356, 000. 00. The seizures according to the custom boss comprised of furnitures, used clothing, used tyres, generating sets, television stands, expired frozen fish, cartons of whiskey. Others are; automotive batteries, mosquito coil, vegetable oil, soaps, soft drinks, tissue paper, lace materials, glass, television sets, bags of basmati rice and used shoes. Jibrin said that eight arrests have so far been made in the period under review and that three of them have already been charged to court for prosecution. He said that most of the seized cargoes were imported from China and that they were confiscated in line with section 146 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA)


Honda boosts Nigeria plans with THP G

should follow. Together with our partner THP Limited, We will put customer’s “Joy of Buying” first, no matter what, and no matter when.” Mr. Yamashita also said that Honda’s 50 year experience all over the world selling automobiles would be utilised in getting the company expand well in Nigeria, in partnership with THP Limited.



Stock Watch

Report as at Thursday, September 19, 2013




Special Report

Addressing the collapse of Nigerian roads B

y most accounts, road transportation is the most preferred mode of transportation in Nigeria, as it accounts for 99.5 per cent of the nation’s passengers’ and freight services. However, out of the 200,000 kilometres of roads in the country, only 39,000 kilometres are paved. The roads are owned by the federal, state and local governments. Experts, however, insist that Nigeria’s road network is grossly inadequate for a country that is aspiring to become one of the 20 leading economies in the world by the year 2020. The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, who spoke at a recent workshop organised by the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), conveyed the government’s concern about the inadequate road network of the country and the bad condition of the roads. He, however, attributed the poor condition of Nigerian roads to the lack of maintenance culture. ``This is a country that boasts of the best network of roads in subSaharan Africa in the 1980s, and the huge investment was allowed to deteriorate without any visible maintenance strategy. In most cases, huge resources are spent on the construction of roads while no provision is made for their maintenance,’’ he said. ``Also, significant a lot of productive Nigerians die annually as a result of failed roads through road mishaps. In the light of this, my ministry has adopted a policy that incorporates

The condition of Nigerian roads has not dramatically changed despite government rhetoric

maintenance schedules into the design stage of all major road contracts in the country,’’ he further stated. Onolememen reiterated that the country’s inadequate road network was a serious issue which required urgent attention. ``We need to compare this figure to those of the U.S., which is 6,506,204 km; India, 4,109,593 km; China, 3,806,800 km and Brazil, 1,751,868 km. ``The road network of Turkey is 352,046 km and that of South Africa is 362,099 km. These figures provide a better appreciation of the enormity

of the challenge facing Nigeria in the road sector. ``So, for Nigeria to be among the first 20 economies

in the world by 2020, our road infrastructure needs to grow from 200,000 km to about 300,000 km in the next five

Salako, nonetheless, said that in Nigeria, the construction and maintenance of asphalt roads would be more costly because asphalt was being imported, unlike cement which was readily available in the country

years,’’ he said. The minister said that as a result of paucity of funds, the Federal Government was intensifying its policy of using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) option for road constructions. Prof. Danladi Matawal, the Director-General of NBRRI, said that road failures (total collapse of roads or appearance of defects in roads) should be checked, as part of efforts to reduce road accidents and damage of vehicles. ``The road defects include inadequate road shoulders, non-uniform lanes, uneven pavement, improper

road markings and signs, malfunctioning traffic lights in municipal settings and construction negligence,” he said. Nevertheless, Matawal, a professor of civil engineering, blamed road pavement failures in the country to faulty designs, poor construction techniques, poor foundation and use of sub-standard materials. He said that other factors included increased traffic flow, vehicles’ weight, poor drainage, use of unskilled workmen in some construction procedures and lack of maintenance. The Vice-President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Prof. Raifu Salawu nonetheless, blamed the high failure rate of Nigerian roads on overloading by heavyduty vehicles. Salawu said that each road was designed and constructed with specifications on its weight of load, adding that if a road was subjected to a load which was beyond its capacity, it might not fail immediately but it would not be durable. He advised the government to always incorporate weigh bridges in the design of major roads that would be constructed across the country, adding that the utilisation of weigh bridges would prolong the life span of the roads. ``If the bridges weigh a vehicle and discover that it is more than the axle load which the road can carry, they will not allow the vehicle ply on the road. ``That is what developed countries do that make their roads to last longer than ours,’’ Salawu said. The President of

As the situation is, only total commitment through massive investment will reverse the current decadence.

Engineering Forum of Nigerians in the UK, Dr, Sunday Popoola also advised construction firms in Nigeria to ensure that they constructed standard roads. ``They should be mindful of the fact the road is always used by all the people; if the road is not well-constructed, it could cause accidents and people’s deaths,’’ he said. Nevertheless, the Executive Secretary, Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (CMAN), Mr. James Salako advised the Federal Government to

consider using cement as an alternative to asphalt in road constructions. He noted that about 99.9 per cent of paved roads in the country were constructed with asphalt, which had a shorter life span, when compared with cement-based road pavement. Salako reiterated that the adoption of concrete roads would go a long way in reducing the rate of road failures in the country. ``Asphalt roads, I am told, could only last for 30 years if well constructed and maintained. On the other

Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen

hand, concrete roads could last for 50 years with minimal maintenance. ``In most situations, when you compare asphalt road to concrete road, what you always find that in some countries, asphalt road is cheaper but in the long run,

asphalt road is more costly,’’ he said. Salako, nonetheless, said that in Nigeria, the construction and maintenance of asphalt roads would be more costly because asphalt was being imported, unlike cement which was readily

available in the country. All the same, the consensus of opinion is that the government should strive to ensure that durable roads, which would stand the test of time, are always constructed across the country. (NAN)

While some road repairs or reconstruction might be ongoing, much of the funds for the projects are siphoned by corrupt public officials, thus turning many of them to abandoned projects.



Islam Neglecting the Holy Qur’an (i) Allah says: “And the Messenger has said: “O my lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] ignored (abandoned).” [al-Furqan: 30]


n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. Certainly, this Ummah has been particularly honoured by Allah (SWT) with immeasurable blessings and privileges. One of them and in fact is the utmost of them, is the preservation of the Qur’an till eternity after its revelation to the most honourable of all messengers of Allah. This is because, history has testified without an iota of doubt that the Qur’an is the only holy Book which its originality has been divinely safeguarded, preserved and protected from any type of corruption and alterations. If it was only this single honour done to us, we have every reason to jubilate in thankful to Allah. Thus, without doubt or hesitation, one can openly say that all the so-called holy books are corrupted due to human whimsey and impulse. This is because all of them have gone through changes in the forms of additions or subtractions or both. However, after Allah SWT has honoured this Ummah, the majority mostly ignores the Qur’an just like what the mushrikeen had done in the past. Allah says: “The deniers of the Truth say: ‘Do not give ear to the Qur’an and cause interruption when it is recited; thus perhaps you will

gain upper hand’”[al-Fusilat: 26] Thus, when the Quran was being read to them, they would deliberately make noise and futile speech so that they would not hear the Quran, nor allow others to listen to it. This is the same as going to noisy places such as markets and restaurants to start o rehearse the Qur’an with the intention of winning the attentions of the people around. Likewise, turning to something such as poetry, music, amusements, or any form forms of vain speech at the instant of Qur’anic recitation, are among the signs of neglecting of the Qur’an. So also is playing a Cd in a car or cell phone without paying the required attentiveness and respect. Today unfortunately the Qur’an is continuously suffering from insistent neglect more than ever. Its rules of halal and haram are seldom followed and in several instances are considered no longer relevant or having any pertinence in view of the present circumstances. The above verse which is the central theme of our article was a complaint uttered by the Messenger of Allah and was eventually recorded by Allah in His Book for us to learn from the mistakes

Thus, when the Quran was being read to them, they would deliberately make noise and futile speech so that they would not hear the Quran, nor allow others to listen to it. This is the same as going to noisy places such as markets and restaurants to start o rehearse the Qur’an with the intention of winning the attentions of the people around.

of the previous generations of disbelievers. And Allah being All-knowing knows that history always repeat its self; case with us today, is not only exactly, but worse! How strong would have been the antagonism from the mushrikun of makkah, compared with the present day neglect that is coming from the Muslims themselves? How would have the Prophet express his furiousness today were he alive to see the Muslims’ negative attitudes towards the Qur’an?! How would have his emotion be measured if he were alive to see how both his so-called followers and enemies become strong allied in exhibiting their unprecedented enmity, neglect, abandonment and desertion of the Qur’an and ‘ahlihi’ The Qur’an is a very special document sent by Allah to the universe as a blessing through His last and final Messenger to serve as living guidance in all that we want to do and want say in every circumstances, time and place. We should not do or say anything to indicate directly or by inference that we are living outside it. The Qur’an is meant to accompany us wherever we may be. There should not be an instance to be away from it even for short moment! We must try to be an embodiment and repositories of the Qur’an. When A’ishah (RA) was asked by a group of the Sahabas concerning the general conducts and behaviours of the Prophet, and with the intention of emulating him genuinely, she, in a very short and precise sentence, she said to them, “His conduct is (nothing but) Qur’an”! Thus, if there is anything understood from this golden statement, will not be far from the Messenger of Allah is but a living Qur’an intermingling with people, indicating that there was nothing humanly impossible about it! May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, his Household, his companions and all his followers till the end of time! I have purposely chosen this topic to discuss today for the singular reason that today Muslims have developed a trend of circumventing the Qur’an in various forms and manners, understood only by persevering intellect and mind, after long contemplation. This trend is transforming into a widespread culture. Majority of the Muslims today, view the Qur’an as a means of gaining recompense for reciting it out loud the Arabic words correctly and melodiously. Such people believe that they hold the Qur’an in high regard. If this is what they only believe, then such a position keeps them away from studying the Qur’an as they should. Today, many parents are concerned only with how their children how to pronounce the Arabic words and send their children to evening schools to recite the Qur’an correctly. Though in their right they do not deny the significance of the Qur’an, but their thought about it is extremely wrong and trivial. People with such myopic understanding of the purpose of the holy Qur’an may even only enjoy listening to the recitations of the Qur’an because of the melody of the reciter, and not because of the messages in the verses, but for relaxation and amusement purposes! When next Friday comes, in sha Allah, we will proceed ahead.


ANALYSIS By Emmanuel Yawe


t’s a great honour to stand hand in hand with you in this struggle for justice. We deeply appreciate your support and solidarity. Viva la Amustad! Viva la Paz! Venceremos!-Antonio Guerrero R. It is over ten years since I received those courageous words from Antonio Guerrero, one of the five Cuban patriots jailed in the United States. He still remains in jail even aseminent personalities from all over the world have been calling for their freedom. Such personalities include intellectuals,artists, Nobel laureates like our own Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Desmont Tutu, RigobertaMenchú, Adolfo Pérez Esquively José Saramago have all agreed the Cuban five were unjustly goaled. The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Hugo Rene Ramos Milanes, says “the five Cubans are antiterrorist fighters who have been jailed for 15 year in US prisons under severe sanctions. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage and conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.” He said the charges are so glaringly false that even prominent personalities from the US like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Alice Walker, Angela Davis etc support the cause. Others like Oscar Niemeyer, Ignacio Ramonet, Eduardo Galeano, Mario Benedetti, Thiago de Mello, FreiBetto, Gianni Mina, Miguel Bonaso, Fernando de Moais, Jorge Sanjinés, Alfonso Sastre, Gianni Vattimo, Belen Copegui, Rusell Banks, and León Rozitchnerhave also pledged their firm support for the freedom of the Cuban Five. Giving an update to journalists at a recent press conference in his office, the Ambassador traced their ordeal from over fifty years of attacks, arson, sabotage, murder, and the use of biological weapons against Cuba by anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Southern Florida. He said after repeated refusals by the United Nations and the US government to take actions to prevent such attacks, a group of unarmed volunteers from Cuba went to the United States to monitor the activities of the mercenary groups responsible for those attacks. In September, 1998 five of these men, later to become known as The Cuban Five, were arrested in Southern Florida by agents of the FBI and held in isolated cells for 17 months before their cases were brought to trial. The trial consumed over six months of court time, becoming the longest trial in the United



The Cuban five: a case for their release

Fidel Castro (L) talking with his brother Raul Castro

States at that time. Over 119 volumes of testimony and more than 20,000 pages of exhibits were compiled, including the testimony of three retired generals of the army, a retired admiral, the former adviser to President Clinton on Cuban affairs (all called by the defense) as well as high ranking Cuban officials. The jury, he said, convicted the five on all charges, having been put under intense pressure from an intrusive media whose cameras chased the jurors to their cars so their license numbers could be broadcast as well as anti-Castro protesters who demonstrated in front of the courthouse. The Five were sentenced to unprecedented long terms of imprisonment in five widely separated maximum security prisons. Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to two life terms, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino a life sentences each, Fernando Gonzalez nineteen years and Rene Gonzalez fifteen years. The three with life sentences

became the first in the history of the United States to receive life terms in cases without secret documents. Since their conviction, all attempts to secure their freedom have met a stone wall. The initial appeal took over twenty seven months to complete with a three judge appellate court panel throwing out all the convictions due to the denial of a fair trial in Miami. In an unusual move, the government petitioned the entire Court of twelve judges of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the panel’s decision in a procedure called en banc. One year later the Court, with a strong dissent by two judges, reversed the 93 page decision of the three original judges which set the Cuban five free. In the meantime, On May 27, 2005 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, after studying the arguments presented by both the families of the 5 and the United States government, determined that their detention

was arbitrary and urged the United States government to take measures required to rectify that arbitrariness. The Working Group stated that, based on the facts and circumstances under which the trial was held, the nature of the charges and the severity of the sentences, the deprivation of liberty of the 5 violated article 14 of the international convention on civil and political liberties, of which the United States is a signatory. The Ambassador further argued that freedom for the five has become imperative as the Defense, demonstrated irrefutably the improper conduct of the Government during the entire legal process. According to him, the Prosecutor invented facts that were not proven at trial, promoted a hostile environment and manipulated the evidence and the jury. “Throughout the tainted process the Government admitted that its real concern was to protect the anti-Cuban terrorist groups that operate with total impunity

The US government of the day was in such a hurry to convict the five that issues of the constitution were kept aside.

in Miami and to punish those who fight against them,” the ambassador stated. Ambassador Ranos further argued that the trial amounted to a violation of the human rights of the five because they were held without bail for 33 months and also kept incommunicado for a long time. “The U.S. Department of Justice decided to keep them in solitary confinement alleging “national security” reasons. The U.S. authorities imposed to them the so called “Special Administrative Measures” (S.A.M.), allowed under 1996 federal regulations when there is a suspicion that communications of inmates in federal prisons could endanger the national security or could lead to acts of violence or terrorism. “They were again sent to “the hole”, preventing their contact with the world. Their communications with the lawyers were cancelled. The visits were prohibited, including the consular ones; they were not allowed to receive correspondence, or to use the phone, or even to communicate with their families and lawyers. This measure was adopted by the Government of the United States in a crucial stage of the legal process, when the lawyer-client contacts are vital and the lawyers were focused their attention in the preparation of the appeal statements.” The US government of the day was in such a hurry to convict the five that issues of the constitution were kept aside. According to the ambassador, Solidarity groups in the United States were able to obtain partial evidence of payments made by the U.S. government to media and journalists in Miami to create a hostile environment to the accused presenting them as enemies of the American people, thus driving Jury’s decision. The ambassador regretted the fact that the families of the Cuban Five have been systematically denied visits as excuses are normally found and obstacles created to obtain visa to visit them in prison. The wives of Gerardo and René have never received a visa to travel to see their husbands and thereby their rights as prisoners have been violated according to U.S. law. Infact even the globally respected Amnesty International has joined the crusade to free the Cuban five. The group says it has seriousdoubts about the fairnessand impartiality with whichthe sentenceswere handed down. Amnesty also says the judgmenthas imposed anunnecessary punishmentthat goes againstthe humane treatmentof prisoners.




Egypt army storms pro Mursi town


gyptian troops and police have stormed the Kerdassah district, a pro Mursi area in the outskirts of Cairo to clear it of “terrorist elements”, security officials said, triggering clashes with armed groups based in the area. Vehicles carrying armed personnel were sent into the village yesterday while army helicopters hovered above. The clashes have so far left one policeman dead and at least 48 people were arrested, the interior ministry said, adding that another 135 people were wanted for arrest. It said police forces took control of the area and imposed a curfew. Security troops launched an operation in the area to arrest people accused of torching police stations and killing about 11 security officers in clashes that erupted following the army’s ouster of President Mohamed Mursi last July. Police forces had not been allowed in Kerdassah since then. Reports from Cairo said the operation began at about 3:00am and was still ongoing. “Security forces has gone into the area heavily armoured in order to

‘root out and arrest terrorists’, according to the army”. Kerdassah, known for producing and selling fancy fabrics is 14km from the Egyptian capital and known to be an Islamist stronghold. Residents of the area said on Wednesday they were not in control of the area but do not want police there. Mursi’s removal in a military coup on July 3 led to nation-wide protests by his

supporters. Violence between his backers and security forces included massive attacks on police stations, security officers and churches. At least 1,000 people have died in the violence with most deaths coming during the security forces’ dispersal of two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo on August 14. About 100 police officers also died in the clashes. The latest raid is part of

concerted efforts by the authorities to retake areas that have been off limit for the police since weeks. On Monday, security forces stormed the town of Delga in Minya province, about 300km south of Cairo, and arrested 56 residents. “What is happening today echoes what happened in Delga. There were similar circumstances. It was also off limits for police for weeks,” our correspondent said.


Egyptian forces storming the town

80,000 displaced in DRC conflict- UN


p to 80,000 people have been displaced in conflicts between the government forces and rebels in the eastern district of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), according to UN sources. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) fled repeated clashes between the DR Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) and the

Ituri Patriotic Resistance Front (FRPI), which broke out on Aug. 22 in the province of Orientale. The revelations were made Wednesday by SylvestreNtumbaMudingayi, the spokesman for the UN Bureau for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “A total of 120,000 people have been affected by the conflict

in the zone, especially due to the destruction of houses and the looting of property,” Mudingayi told the weekly press conference of the UN Mission for Stabilization of Congo (MONUSCO). He said the humanitarian community was very concerned by the situation of the displaced persons who are living in deplorable conditions.

Many of the IDPs are fearing about violence as rebels are still operating from bushes in inaccessible zones, he affirmed. “With the continuing influx of IDPs, the humanitarian actors foresee the possibility of the number rising to 150,000 people. And to take care of this number, 2 million U.S. dollars will be required,” he said.

Mr Mswati, a 45-year-old who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, introduced SindiswaDlamini at a Reed Dance celebration over the weekend, Mr Mtetwa told AFP. The young woman graduated from Mbabane’s St Francis High School last year and is a finalist in the Miss Cultural Heritage beauty pageant. The winner will

be announced on September 28. The king has come under fire for his household’s lavish lifestyle while the tiny mountain kingdom’s 1.2 million people struggle to make a living. Mr Mswati reportedly has a personal fortune of around $US200 million ($215.78 million) and the UN estimates that 70 per cent of his 1.2 million subjects live below the poverty line. He has steadfastly resisted reforms. The new engagement was announced at a festival which also counted regional delegates who will observe parliamentary elections on Friday. Critics have slammed the polls as a sham, partly because political parties are banned and candidates are hand-picked by traditional leaders. The weekend’s celebrations were a smaller repeat of last month’s official annual Reed

Dance, where young virgins from across the kingdom gather and dance for the king. “It just happened that the international community was there to witness the event,” said Mr Mtetwa. The wedding only takes place once the fiancee falls pregnant. Ms Dlamini will then become Mswati’s 14th wife. The monarch’s colourful private life is off-limits to local media, but has drawn a lot of international interest. Three wives left the household in recent years. The latest, Queen LaGija, fled the palace in 2012 claiming years of physical and emotional abuse. Another queen, LaDube, was reportedly abused after she was caught in bed with the justice minister, a close friend of the king. Mr Mswati had kidnapped and married the queen when she was 16 in 2005.

Swaziland King takes 14th wife


waziland’s King Mswati III has chosen an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant as his 14th wife, a palace spokesman says, days before a much-criticised parliamentary vote. “I can confirm that the king has introduced to the nation a new liphovela (royal fiancee),” said Ludzidzini palace governor Timothy Mtetwa.

Gaddafi’s son appears in Libyan court

King Mswati (L) seated with some of his wives

aif al-Islam Gaddafi, the most prominent of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, has appeared in court in Zintan, west of the capital Tripoli, on security charges and his trial was adjourned until December, a lawyer said. “Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared before the Zintan court that decided to adjourn the trial until December 12 to allow the attendance of other accused in the case,” the lawyer, who was present in court, told the AFP news agency yesterday. He was also due at a separate pre-trial hearing in the capital on Thursday on security charges related to the 2011 uprising that toppled his father, but there were doubts whether his ex-rebel captors in Zintan would allow this. Officials had earlier said that he may join 36 other former regime members in a pre-trial session in Tripoli over charges of murder and crimes allegedly committed during Libya’s 2011 uprising. Abdel-QaderRadwan, the prosecutor general, said that Saif al-Islam would be facing an “indictment chamber” on Thursday at Tripoli Criminal Court. Abdullah al-Senoussi, Gaddafi’s former spy chief, would also appear, he said. He said that the hearing would not be open to the public.”This is an investigation phase, not a court session,” he said. While the Tripoli session will not mark the beginning of the trial, it will pose a crucial test for the country’s fragile government. Since the overthrow and killing of Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of rebel forces, successive interim governments have failed to impose law and order. They instead relied on heavily armed groups, formed initially by the rebel forces, which later began challenging the central government and threatening the country’s transition to democracy.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi




Iran’s Rouhani hails ‘positive’ Obama letter H assan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, has praised Barack Obama following an exchange of letters with his US counterpart, adding that his government would never develop nuclear weapons. Rouhani said Obama had

recently written to him to congratulate him on his election victory and “some issues of his interest were raised”. “I responded to that letter, I thanked him and expressed Iran’s viewpoint on the issues raised in his letter and some other

issues,” Rouhani told NBC News in advance of a visit to the UN General Assembly in New York. “From my point of view the tone of the letter was positive and constructive.” Earlier Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said: “In his


[Obama’s] letter the president indicated that the US is ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes. “The letter also conveyed the need to act with a sense of urgency to address this issue because, as we have long said, the window of opportunity for resolving this diplomatically is open, but it will not remain open indefinitely.” The US and its allies have imposed sanctions aimed at stopping Iran from seeking a nuclear weapons capability, but Tehran has long insisted its programme is for civilian purposes. The comments from both presidents appear to signal a potential thaw between Washington and Tehran over the nuclear issue. “It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future,” according to a translation of a clip on NBC’s website.

Assad to destroy chemical weapons ‘in a year’


yrian President Bashar alAssad has pledged to destroy his stockpile of chemical arms but said it would take one year to do so and will cost about $1bn. In an interview with Fox News, the US television channel, Assad also said his country was not gripped by civil war, but had been infiltrated by tens of thousands of foreign jihadists linked to alQaeda. Assad’s latest televised appearance came as UN envoys debated a draft resolution on Wednesday that would enshrine a joint US-Russian plan to secure and neutralise his banned weapons in international law. The Syrian president denied on Wednesday that his forces

were responsible for the chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August 21, and attacked the UN report that found “clear and convincing evidence”’ of the use of sarin nerve gas. Assad said his army was advancing in the area at the time and had no need to fire rockets filled with the agent. “The whole story doesn’t even hold together. It’s not realistic. So, no, we didn’t. In one word, we didn’t use any chemical weapons in Ghouta,” Assad told Fox News. Assad told the channel that chemical disarmament would be costly and complicated. “It needs a lot of money, it needs about $1bn. It is very detrimental to the environment,” he said.

“If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?” He said his decision to destroy his stockpiles of chemical weapons was not forced upon him by the threat of a US strike, and that he was responding to the initiative by Russia and “our conviction”. “So whether they have Chapter VII or don’t have Chapter VII, this is politics between the great countries,” he said, referring to a UN rule that would have to be invoked to justify international action.” Earlier on Wednesday, Russia dismissed the UN report on the Damascus attack and said it had

Assad Syrian-supplied evidence that shows rebels were responsible. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said

ending 40 years of conflict and are trying to derail it. An army spokesperson said troops had begun to conduct clearing operations in the recovered villages in the hope of finding more trapped civilians and securing the area. About 30 to 40 rebels remained in hiding with 21 hostages in two communities, authorities said. “We have successfully contained the rebels and can only operate on a very limited area,” the Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said. “If something were to happen outside, these are the ones who were either escaping or who tried to break the area of

operations.” Early yesterday, a gunfight erupted between government forces and retreating rebels, leaving several houses burnt and two rebels killed, officials said. They said the fighters were fleeing from Zamboanga and heading to outlying islands, off the main southern island of Mindanao. Isabelle Climaco, Zamboanga city’s mayor, appealed to the remaining rebels to surrender. “Charges shall be filed and justice will be gained for those whose lives were wasted in these atrocities,” Climaco said. Roxas said 96 rebels who had

been arrested or surrendered to authorities would be charged under Philippine laws. “We will file rebellion charges during the inquest proceedings, which will include the specific acts of murder, arson, illegal possession of firearms among other acts,” he said. The fighting has displaced more than 109,000 people and hundreds of homes, and several public and commercial buildings have been destroyed. Four decades of conflict in the south have left 120,000 people dead, displaced two million and stunted growth in the poor but resource-rich area.

Philippine forces secure villages from rebels


hilippine forces have secured most of the villages earlier captured by rebels, as days of fighting eased in the southern port city of Zamboanga, government officials have said. Authorities said yesterday that troops had regained about 80 percent of the lost ground in battles with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which have left 107 people dead. As the siege in Zamboanga entered its 11th day, the military said one more soldier had been killed and 15 more MNLF fighters had surrendered. The group objects to a deal signed last October aimed at

Asia & Middle East

North Korea seeks to restart nuclear talks

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un


orth Korea’s senior nuclear strategist has called for a new round of six-nation denuclearisation talks without precondition. The remarks by Kim KyeGwan, first vice foreign minister, in Beijing came on Wednesday at a forum marking the 10th anniversary of the talks, which have been stalled since the last round in 2008 broke down over how to verify North Korea was meeting its pledges. “The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/North Korea) supports the six-party talks and any small regional talks within the framework, but we hope the talks have no preconditions, because preconditions lead to mistrust,” he told delegates. “We will make sincere efforts for denuclearisation but it is against the September 19 Joint Statement to let the DPRK take action before restarting the talks.” Kim was referring to an agreement on 19 September 2005, which in part saw the six parties agree to a principle of “action for action” and “words for words”. US officials have rejected holding new discussions before the North makes a clear commitment to carry out earlier promises to disarm, saying holding new talks that go nowhere will only undermine the six-party framework. South Korea and Japan are also suspicious of such calls. The other two parties to the talks, Russia and China, have been more supportive of getting the dialogue back on track. In his speech to the Beijing forum, Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister, said the parties should seize on a warming trend on the Korean Peninsula to take whatever actions are needed to restart talks. Since the breakdown in talks, North Korea has escalated tensions with a third nuclear test and missile launch, prompting a tightening of UN sanctions against the isolated communist regime. Recent months have seen the North take a more moderate line as it sought to restart contacts with South Korea and repair ties with China, its most important ally.




Berlusconi step closer to expulsion from Senate S upporters of Silvio Berlusconi have lost an Italian Senate committee vote, bringing his expulsion from parliament a step closer. Allies of the former prime minister and convicted fraudster had tried to block his disqualification from public office, but this was voted down. Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to stay on in Italian politics after a Senate committee dealt him a setback in his battle to keep his seat in the assembly despite his tax fraud conviction. The election-eligibility committee rejected late on Wednesday a recommendation by a senator from Berlusconi’s party that he keep his seat. The decision is only a first step in a complicated process that could stretch out for months before any final action is taken by the upper house. Berlusconi accused what he described as leftist judges of plotting against him to pervert

democracy in a pre-recorded television address on Wednesday. “I will always be with you, at your side, expelled from parliament or not. It is not the parliamentary seat that makes a leader,” the

media mogul said. “I didn’t commit any crime. I am not guilty of anything. I am innocent. I am absolutely innocent.” The former prime minister also

called on centre-right voters to rally behind his relaunchedForza Italia party, with which he first stormed into politics in 1994. The Supreme Court last month confirmed a four-year jail term,


Europe and Americas commuted to one year, against Berlusconi for a giant fraud at his Mediaset television empire. The 76-year-old is expected to go into house arrest or do community service instead of going to jail. The committee vote stems from a law parliament passed last year that bans anyone who is sentenced to more than two years in prison from holding or serving in office for six years. The pro-Berlusconi recommendation echoed the strategy by the former prime minister’s defence team that Italy’s Constitutional Court should evaluate the law, saying a six-year ban violates citizens’ rights. His lawyers have also appealed to the European human rights court in Strasbourg. Senators from Berlusconi’s party and his political allies are outnumbered on the Senate committee, so the setback for Berlusconi was widely expected. At least one more committee vote, this time on a left-wing senator’s recommendation that Berlusconi is stripped of his seat, will be held in the weeks ahead before the entire Senate has the final say on whether to defy its own law and let Berlusconi keep his seat.

Greece PM condemns ‘neo-Nazi’ killing G reek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said he will not let neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn “undermine” democracy. His remarks came after a Golden Dawn supporter allegedly admitted killing an anti-fascist activist. “This government is determined not to let the descendants of the Nazis poison our social life or commit crimes,” Mr Samaras said in a national TV address. Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of PavlosFyssas, 34 stabbed to death on Wednesday near Athens. The far-right party Golden Dawn has been blamed for a tide of attacks

on immigrants. Greece’s deputy PM said it must now be treated as a “criminal organisation”. In a graveyard in Athens cemetery, more than 2,000 mourners bid farewell to MrFyssas, an antiracism rapper who went by the stage name Killah P. “Pigs! Fascists! Murderers!” mourners chanted, the Reuters news agency reports. MrFyssas’s white coffin was carried by his relatives onto a hill near the suburb of Keratsini were he was stabbed. As others sang his songs, one man shouted: “Immortal!”

Several rallies by antiestablishment groups and unions, which turned a 48-hour anti-austerity strike into a protest over his killing, were planned for later on Thursday. The 45-year-old suspected killer, who has been pictured in Greek media with his arm around a Golden Dawn lawmaker, was due to appear before a prosecutor on Saturday. Golden Dawn, Greece’s third most popular party, condemned the killing and denied involvement in the attack. It said those who accused the party were “wretched sycophants” trying to win votes. But Evangelos Venizelos, who is the head of the Pasok socialist party,

the junior party in the coalition government, said Golden Dawn had “violence as its priority”. He and Prime Minister Samaras have agreed to use all available legal powers to crack down on the movement, Greek daily Kathimerini reports. Thousands of people rallied on Wednesday at the spot where MrFyssas was killed. Violence broke out in the evening, when youths set fire to rubbish bins, broke up paving stones and threw pieces at police, who fired volleys of tear gas. At least 23 people were arrested. There were also clashes at

demonstrations in the cities of Thessaloniki and Patras. Golden Dawn denies being a neo-Nazi movement, though its badge resembles a swastika, some senior members have praised Adolf Hitler, and its members wear black T-shirts and combat trousers at antiimmigrant demonstrations. It came from nowhere to win nearly 7% of the vote in 2012 general elections and took its place in parliament. Opinion polls suggest its support has risen still higher. A number of reports have suggested there are strong ties between Golden Dawn and elements of the Greek police.

Mc Cain

enator John McCain yesterday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of allying himself with tyrants and ruling through violence and repression, in a scathing retort to a New York Times editorial by Putin earlier this month. In an editorial published on news website, McCain criticized the Russian leader’s policies at home and in Syria, where Putin has repeatedly protected President Bashar alAssad. “(Putin) is not enhancing Russia’s global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by

nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world,” wrote the senior senator from Arizona, who is also a leading Republican voice on military affairs. considers itself a successor to the Soviet-era Communist Party newspaper but is not connected to it. Like the newspaper, which still exists, it has a limited readership. U.S.-Russia ties are at one of their lowest points since the Cold War as tensions over human rights and the fate of fugitive ex-U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, to whom Russia awarded asylum, have added to tensions over the Syrian

conflict. Putin’s op-ed article took issue with U.S. President Barack Obama’s claims of “American exceptionalism” and said a military strike against Assad could escalate the conflict that has already killed more than 100,000 people. Russia has blocked three consecutive U.N. resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to end violence and has held talks on a plan enabling the Syrian leader to give up his chemical weapons to avoid possible U.S. military strikes. McCain, who is known in Russia as one of the Kremlin’s harshest critics, warned Putin

in 2011 that “the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you” when fraud allegations triggered mass street protests after a parliamentary election. The senator has been critical of Putin’s domestic policies, including Moscow’s response to the protest movement that has all but died out after Russia’s parliament passed laws that critics say are intended to clamp down on dissent. “President Putin and his associates ... don’t respect your dignity or accept your authority over them. They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media,” McCain wrote.

US Senator McCain attacks Russia’s Putin S



Strange World

World’s most expensive coffee made from elephant dung


ou probably didn’t know this, but the world’s most expensive coffee is pretty crappy, literally. Black Ivory coffee is made from beans eaten and digested by Thai elephants, and is priced at $1,100 per kilogram. Enjoy! I knew elephants in Thailand were good at painting, but I didn’t know they also make great coffee. The rare Black Ivory blend is served at only four resorts around the world, three in the Maldives and one in Thailand. The people behind the exclusive Anantara Resorts came up with the unusual idea of making coffee from elephant-digested beans. As weird and disgusting as it sounds, their idea actually makes sense, in theory. According to research, enzymes in the elephant’s stomach break down the proteins in the coffee beans, and since proteins is one of the main factors of its bitterness, less protein means less of a bitter taste. The drink resulted from the elephant-refined beans is said to be floral and chocolaty, with the taste containing notes of ‘milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.’

World’s most expensive coffee

If you’re worried you might accidentally be drinking coffee made from elephant dung at

your local coffee shop, don’t be. The Black Ivory blend is in very short supply, with only around 50

Chinese silkie, naturally black chicken


id you know there was such a thing as black chicken? And I don’t mean as in dark feathers, but black skin, bones and even internal organs. There are actually several black chicken breeds in the world, especially in Asia, but the most popular of all has to be the Chinese Silkie. Silkies are beautiful birds, covered in fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk, but underneath all that fluff they are far less attractive. Their skin is a dark-bluish color, the flesh is dark beige and the bones and some internal organs are pitchblack. Although in the Western world silkie chickens are sold mainly for ornamental purposes, in countries like China they are considered a super food and are appreciated for their deep, gammy flavor. Called “wuguji” or “blackboned chicken”, the silkie has been prized for its medicinal value ever since the seventh or eighth century. Chinese women consume it after they have given birth to get a boost of energy, but it’s also said to have a positive effect on the yin, blood, lungs and stomach. Silkie meat is rarely roasted. To take full advantage of its curative properties, the Chinese mainly use it to make an

kilograms of the stuff available for purchase at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, in

Thai baker makes bread shaped as human body parts


The Chinese silkie chicken amber-colored broth laced with ginseng , dried wolfberries and jujubes. According to a genetic study published in 2011, the unique trait of silkie chickens, known as fibromelanosis, is caused by an unusual genetic mutation characterized as “a complex rearrangement that leads to increased expression of Endothelin 3, a gene which is known for promoting the growth of pigment cells”. The massive expansion of pigment cells not only makes the skin and bones black, but also causes dark internal organs.

ittiwat Unarrom, a talented artist from Thailand, uses his skills to create unique loafs of bread shaped like various human body parts. Kittiwat has experimented with many art forms, from painting to sculpting, but it wasn’t until he had to return home and take over the family bakerythathediscoveredhistruepassion – making grotesque-looking bread. Since he first started out, in 2006, he has made a name for himself, and his Body Bakery has become a popular tourist attraction. The gruesome bread KittiwatUnarrom makes is incredibly realistic looking, but to achieve this level the artist spent many hours studying

Another interesting thing about silkies is their high content of carnosine, a naturally occurring peptide which is sold as a dietary supplement. People take it to increase muscle mass, ward of the effects of aging and alleviate diseases like diabetes or autism. Studies have shown the black chicken is one of the richest sources of carnosine. If you’re wondering how black chicken meat tastes, most people say it’s no different than traditional chicken, but some say it’s a little sweeter. So, would you embrace the dark side and feast on the dark flesh of a silkie?

Thailand. Not to mention the crazy price of $1,100 per kilo ($50 per cup) only makes it a treat for fine coffee lovers with very deep pockets. Why so expensive, you ask? Well, there are multiple reasons for the steep price. One, raising elephants in a natural reserve isn’t cheap, and 8% of the proceeds from the sales of Black Ivory coffee go to olden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Then, while they might be good at pooping out delicious coffee, elephants aren’t very efficient. The elephants are fed only Thai Arabica coffee beans grown at an altitude of around 5,000 feet, but they need to eat more than 72 pounds of coffee cherries to produce 2.2 pounds of coffee beans. No one can confirmed it yet, but I bet those elephants get a caffeine buzz after every meal. Strangely enough, the former most expensive coffee in the world, kopi luwak, is also made from animal dropings. In Indonesia, civets – weasel-like creatures – are fed coffee cherries which are then harvested from their excrement. So when life gives you crap, make coffee!

human anatomy and visiting forensic museums. At the same time, he found it important to make his bread delicious as well, because he didn’t want his art to be just an object of art, he wanted audiences to feel involved. His first batch was pretty good, but it wasn’t delicious, so he kept improving the recipe until he got the taste just right. When he first started working at his family’s bakery, he was convinced he wasn’t going to get to practice his art anymore, but as soon as he discovered dough, he realized the possibilities are endless. Every day he works with the doughhegetsnewideasaboutnewedible art projects, and he believes art shouldn’t be limited to art galleries and museums.

Some of Unarrom’s head shaped bread loafs



Weekend Revue


0th Century Fox is denying reports that the Teutonic ex-governor will be boarding James Cameron’s sequel, Hollywood Reporter has said. A Fox spokesperson said that Schwarzenegger, who memorably starred in Cameron’s Terminator and True Lies movies, will not be in the sci-fi sequel, nor is the actor being considered for any role. Peoples Daily recalled that Latino Review early this week broke a story saying that the actor was going to play a “bad guy human general.” The website has been on a roll of breaking acting scoops of late – the short list of actors to play The Flash and Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are recent success stories -- but on this one, the site seems to be hitting the skids.

Arnold Schwarzenegger not part of ‘Avatar 2’

Indian stunner’s Miss America win sparks racist tirade


or the first time, America’s top beauty queen is a woman of Indian origin, and she is playing down racist tweets that say she looks like an



Arab terrorist. The new Miss America is Nina Davuluri, a 24-year-old from the state of New York who wants to be a doctor. She called

her crowning Sunday night at the Atlantic City pageant, in which she performed a traditional Bollywood dance, a victory for diversity in America. “It was the first time Bollywood has been performed on the Miss America stage. It’s an honor for myself and my community,” Davuluri told ABC television on Monday morning. “ Halfway through, I just started crying because you know, it was such an incredible experience being on that Miss America stage,” she said, “ It was so meaningful and powerful.” Davuluri is beaming despite a spurt of racist tweets about her. She downplayed them, however. “I have to rise above that,” she said at a news conference on Sunday night after being crowned. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.” “ I’m so proud to be the first Indian Miss America,” Davuluri told reporters shortly after defeating contestants from 49 other states, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late on Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. But racist slurs abounded on Twitter over the win of Davuluri. Many wrongly described the beauty queen, who is believed to be a practising Hindu, as an Arab who looks like a terrorist. A user with the handle @ emi_ adkins said: “ It’s called Miss America. Get outta here New York you look like a terrorist. # bye # americanforamerica.” Lue Brasili exclaimed “ 9/ 11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America”, while user Karl Sharro said “ Al- Qaeda influenced the liberal judges.”

Jackie Chan plans to build Namesake theme Park in Beijing


he Hong Kong action superstar said at an event in Beijing that he plans to build a theme park called “JC World” in the city’s Yizhuang district, the Malaysia Times reports. The kung fu star said he will build the Chinese park with a local partner, but didn’t disclose the company’s name or when he hopes to break ground.

Jackie Chan


he drop-dead beauty, Ibinabo Fiberesima, has alleged that many people in the industry were angry with her because she could not allow them siphon the association’s money, has said. Fiberesima,whoisalsothe President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), added that “All the people fighting me today are doing so because I have not allowed them to misappropriate funds. In a day, we register between 15-20 people and it’s their money. “They will pay in the bank and once you have paid, you will get an ID from the bank, it’s a visa card. If you go to an Embassy, they will first check if your name is on the data list from the bank, in that way, we’ve put up check and balances. If you come to me now for the number of our members, all I need do is to check and give you the exact figure.”

Chan said the park will be about three-quarters of a square mile in size and will feature five sections, each with a different theme, offering visitors a variety of “cultural experiences.” “I want to exhibit all my stuff. They may not all be worth a lot of money, but they may have a story behind them,” Chan told the paper. The actor didn’t elaborate as to whether the park will include rollercoasters, rides and games, as per amusement park standard around the globe, but he did say he will exhibit items from the personal collection of artifacts he has amassed over the course of his four-decade career, such as special furniture, antique houses and jewelry. “I was very poor when I was a child, so when I had money later on, I bought all sorts of things and went around the world collecting them,” he added.

People fight me because I refuse to allow them siphone AGN moneyIbinabo Fiberesma

Ibinabo Fiberesma



Weekend Revue Leonardo DiCaprio to produce, star in Woodrow Wilson Biopic

“Stop lying 2Face, you sold my song and refuse to pay me”- Blackface 2Face


he actor, who is attached to star as the 28th president, also will produce the adaptation of “Wilson” with his Appian Way partner, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Hollywood Reporter has said. It added that Warner Bros. is in early negotiations to pick up the rights to Wilson, the just-released biography of the 28th president by A. Scott Berg. The book, which hit shelves last week, has received generally positive reviews for its intimate portrait of Wilson, who was elected president in 1912 and guided the nation through World War I. Berg offers up a heroic, largerthan-life Wilson, emphasizing his progressive achievements like the creation of the Federal Reserve and his crusade in support of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations while downplaying his weak record on civil liberties and civil rights for African Americans. Wilson remains a deeply controversial figure to professional historians and a villain to many on the right (notably Glenn Beck). Berg’s Wilson offers several well-narrated dramatic moments that could serve as the basis for a film: Wilson’s 1919 barnstorming tour of America to build support for the League of Nations that led to his stroke might be the most obvious. Other contenders include his romancing of Edith Galt and their 1915 White House wedding (Wilson’s first wife died in 1914, one year into his term. He’s the last president to marry in the White.

Leonardo DiCaprio


here is a fresh wave of war between Nigeria’s hip hop king, 2Face Idibia and his one-time best friend and band mate, Blackface. A few days ago, Innocent Idibia, known as 2Face, made a stunning revelation on a TV program, Rubbin’ Minds, that he actually invited Augustine Ahmedu also known as Blackface to his wedding in Dubai in March, this year. However, Blackface had earlier


made it known that he does not attend any ceremony that he was not invited to. After 2faces interview, Blackface himself debunked the claim in another interview to an Abuja based radio station, Hot FM, stating that 2Face lied and has been avoiding him for reasons best known to him. He said he had been trying to get across to 2Face to talk about his song ‘African Queen’ that has been remixed by a Jamaican artiste in the

US without the right to do so. According to him, “if someone sings that song, it means someone gave out the right” and this could only mean 2Face. He continued: “For the wedding, he would have put the blame on his management and called me or something, but till today, since he returned from his wedding in Dubai, he hasn’t called me. My uncle whose house we stayed throughout the beginning of our musical career, passed away at

the time of his traditional marriage, then the white wedding, and he never called to even ask about my uncle or to sympathize with me. So there must be something wrong somewhere …it must be about the music money.” Blackface has persistently claimed ownership of the song African Queen that shot 2Face to the limelight while 2Face has been silent on the accusation over the years.

Iyanya and P-Square tango for 2013 Soul Train award


t is going to be a fight to finish as ‘Kukere’ crooner, Iyanya and new Calgarians, P-Square fly Nigeria’s flag at the 2013 Soul Train Awards, has said. It added that the duo were nominated for the ‘Best International Performance’ category with Iyanya’s ‘Ur Waist’ and P-Square’s ‘Personally’ albums pitched against international stars like Bunji Garlin for ‘Differentology’, Machel Montano for ‘The Fog’ and Emeli Sande for ‘Next To Me’.

P-Square and Iyanya

Katy Perry jokes about Rihanna’s ‘pot’ habit T he ‘Roar’ hitmaker has laughed at her showbiz friend’s inability to switch off and relax despite looking “so fresh” all the time. Speaking to Elle Canada magazine, she said: “I think that Rihanna always looks so fresh and I’m like, ‘How do you do that? We all know how much pot you smoke! And you don’t sleep because you’re on Instagram at four o’clock in the morning!’ “ Katy noted she has her own way to de-stress, revealing she has started to learn “Transcendental Meditation”. Click to read All Hail the queen of the jungle, Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ is here’ She added: “I make sure to give myself a break. I had to find that balance. “But I learned this thing called Transcendental Meditation, which I do as much as I possibly can. “It’s 20 minutes and you’re supposed to do it twice a day, but I only do it once every other day - but anyway, it works. People say you should work out 30 minutes a day - none of us works out 30 minutes a day!” However, Katy’s more subdued ways of living her life don’t impress everyone - singer Courtney Love has blasted her for being boring. She previously said: “I’m gonna be honest, Katy Perry bores the s**t out of me. She’s a nice girl, she just really bores me. You know, that hillbilly Miley Cyrus is sort of punk in a weird sex way.”

Katy Perry and Rihanna




Helping touchscreens stay smear-free T ouchscreen tablets and phones are popular in almost every respect but one - the smears that fingers leave on the screen. Every owner of a gadget piloted via a touchscreen has spent time rubbing it with a tissue, a cloth or a sleeve gripped round the heel of the hand to banish those unsightly marks. It’s not that human fingers are filthy. Those smears come about thanks to a mix of physiology and good grooming habits, said Steve Block, an electronics industry scientist at Dow Corning, which makes coatings that get applied to touchable screens. “There’s a whole range of things that can contaminate those surfaces. There are natural oils on the fingers as well as the lotions people put their hands. Then there is cosmetics and the times when you hold your telephone up to your ear and it’s sweaty”, he said. Small wonder then that the sight of those smears is unsettling. Viral load Thankfully, there is no reason to fret, as those smears are safe if your touchscreen gadget is kept just for you, said Prof. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona. “Touchscreens are a source of a wide range of microbes, but not much of an issue if you do not share it among other people - since, if you are the only one using it, it’s only your germs,” he told the BBC.

E. coli bugs have been found on public touchscreens

Sadly, that is not the case when those touchscreens are put to more promiscuous use, such as in a supermarket at the self-checkout, by patients in a doctor’s waiting room or in a family that passes the gadget around. Studies by Prof Gerba and colleagues have shown how important an infection vector touchscreens can be when used by lots of people. “We have traced the spread of MRSA skin infection among teenagers that shared a cell phone,” he said. “You will find MRSA on touchscreens on selfcheckout screens in grocery

Fingers produce oils and other substances that can smear screens

stores in the US.” Touchscreens can be “reservoirs of opportunistic pathogens”, said Prof Gerba in a small-scale study that uncovered MRSA, E. coli and C. difficile and many others on screens in hospitals and supermarkets. It is worth keeping those surfaces clean, said Prof. Gerba, even if the chances of getting ill are pretty low. “For viruses it can take as little one to make you ill, but this varies a lot depending on the organisms. Some bacteria take 100,000 cells to cause illness, others a few hundred,” he said. “It just depends if you come across the right organisms at the right time.” The study was carried out to test the best way of keeping those screens clean and killing off the bad bugs. The good news is that wipes impregnated with sodium hypochlorite (bleach), did a good job of disinfecting the screens. However, regularly wiping with bleach might not be a solution that domestic owners of very shiny, very expensive gadgets would favour. Thankfully, other fixes are at hand. Surface tension To begin with, said Mr. Block, screen makers are constantly refining the materials and coatings that make gadgets easy to wipe and keep clean. Those transparent coverings are glass, he said, but of a very particular type. Typically, he said, they and the coatings covering them are engineered to the most minute scale. “They are made of very

The fourth generation of Gorilla Glass, which is used on many touchscreen gadgets, will include an anti-bacterial coating that can kill those pesky bugs by themselves. That coating is likely to start being used within the next couple of years. specialised molecules that are designed for these types of applications,” said Mr. Block. The silicone coatings that are now becoming standard are far more resistant to the secretions and substances that can end up on a touchscreen. Also, said Mr. Block, they are tougher and ensure a screen will stay responsive years after it is bought. There are other innovations that might help too. Japanese materials company Toray has come up with a coating that, it claims, repels up to 50% more of the oil and other residues found on fingers. In addition, once applied, the coating dries into millions of tiny wrinkles that help hide smudges to help screens stay sharp. The fourth generation of Gorilla Glass, which is used on many touchscreen gadgets, will include an anti-bacterial coating that can kill those pesky bugs by themselves. That coating is likely to start being

used within the next couple of years. Then there is the work of scientists at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who turned to a carnivorous plant to develop their screen coating. They found that the walls of the pitcher plant are slippery because they are covered with tiny bumps that trap water. Insects that can easily walk on walls struggle to make any progress on this surface because it repels the oils on their feet. By mimicking this surface and applying an ultra-thin layer of lubricant, the researchers created a surface inimical to bodily substances. The work is still in the lab but is more evidence that those screens are only going to get harder to smear and easier to use. “Any dirt is a barrier between user experience and a display,” said Mr. Block. (Source: Reuters)



Reporter’s Diary Letter from Africa: Flying high? In our series of letter from African journalists, Londonbased Ugandan writer, Joel Kibazo considers the travails of travelling by air in Africa.


had barely woken up when the phone started ringing. Friends called to ask if I was in Nairobi and if I was OK, knowing that I am frequent traveller and often fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, either going to and from Kenya itself, or on the way to Addis Ababa, Kampala, or Lusaka. The airport is now a regional hub, and last month’s fire, which destroyed the arrival’s hall, highlighted the fact that more than 16,000 passengers go through it every single day. That figure may be puny when you compare passenger numbers at other international airports. Last year, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US had a total of 95 million passengers - making it the world’s busiest airport - while Heathrow in the UK saw 70 million people go through its terminals. Yet the figures from Kenya clearly indicate that Africans have at long last been bitten by the travel bug. Where once almost all the flights to and from the continent were linked to Europe or the United States, almost every time I stand before the flight boards I now see new routes within Africa. And where most of the travellers were once clearly from outside the continent, today it is Africans getting on flights to do business or seek new opportunities such as travel for education and increasingly for sports fixtures between national teams and those of clubs and associations too. ‘Not all doom and gloom’ But make no mistake travelling in Africa by air is still one of the hardest and most frustrating things to do. Yes there are new routes but not many that directly connect many of our cities. It is still much easier and sometimes quicker for me to fly from one part of the continent via Europe than to fly direct. The facilities at many of our airports make the hours of waiting between flights seem even longer. Finding a seat to have a rest, let alone decent toilet facilities, is often a struggle - never mind braving the frequently rude, though to be fair usually underpaid, immigration and

customs officials. Believe me, it is enough to wipe away any notions of the glamour of air travel on the continent. All of that before you even get to the issue of safety. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) admits the Africa region has the world’s worst safety record and data from the body revealed safety performance in 2012 had declined in comparison to the previous year. Apart from the need to improve safety, specialists also say the sector has to reduce its high taxes, liberalise regulations and in fact bring into reality the Yamoussoukro Declaration‚ which was adopted in 1988. It committed African governments to an open skies policy but has not been implemented as planned.Yet it is not all doom and gloom and Africa has decided to take action

The aviation industry supports some seven million people on the continent and, according to IATA, last year demand for international flights grew by more than 7% in Africa compared with 6% globally. on safety. Last year, countries adopted an African Strategic Safety Improvement Action Plan for the three-year period to 2015 and the plan was endorsed by the African Union in January. The aviation industry supports some seven million people on the continent and, according to IATA, last year

Airport travel can be stressful at some airports in Africa

demand for international flights grew by more than 7% in Africa compared with 6% globally. With African economies continuing to grow, this is an area that is set to boom... if only we can deal with the safety issues. And needs must, I shall no doubt be back in the air soon. (Source: BBC)

Major African air disasters since 2003

June 2012: A Dana Air passenger plane with about 150 people on board crashes in a densely populated area of Lagos, Nigeria. July 2011: A Hewa Bora Airways plane crash-lands in bad weather in DR Congo, killing 74 passengers. May 2010: An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus 330 crashes while trying to land near Tripoli airport in Libya, killing more than 100 people. May 2007: A Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 crashes in swampland in Cameroon, killing all 114 on board. December 2005: A Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 crashes in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, killing 103 people on board. October 2005: A Bellview airlines Boeing 737 carrying 117 people on board crashes after take-off from Lagos, Nigeria. January 2004: An Egyptian charter plane belonging to Flash Airlines crashes into the Red Sea, killing all 141 people on board. December 2003: A Boeing 727 crashes after take-off from Benin, killing at least 135 people en route to Lebanon. July 2003: A Boeing 737 crashes in Sudan after take-off, killing 115 people on board. May 2003: About 170 people are reported dead in DR Congo after the rear ramp of an old Soviet plane apparently falls off, sucking them out. March 2003: An Algerian Boeing 737 crashes after taking off from the remote Tamanrasset airport, leaving up to 102 people dead.




Could good hygiene cause Alzheimer’s?

By Nick Mcdermott


n obsession with being too clean and hygienic could lead to a higher risk of dementia, researchers have warned. Their study pinpointed a significant relationship between a nation’s cleanliness and the number of Alzheimer’s patients. Countries which can afford better sanitation have higher rates of the disease. So Britons and inhabitants of other developed nations were around ten per cent more likely to suffer dementia than those in countries like Kenya and Cambodia. The researchers suggested the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ was behind the difference. This is the theory that an excessively clean lifestyle leaves our immune systems out of balance and unable to combat many germs. It has already been linked to the rise in the number of allergies, such as asthma and eczema. One in three Britons over 65 will develop dementia. Alzheimer’s and other forms of the condition blight the lives of more than 800,000, with 500 new cases each day. Lead researcher Dr Molly Fox, from Cambridge University, said: ‘The hygiene hypothesis is well-established. We can now add Alzheimer’s to this list of diseases. ‘There are important implications, especially in developing countries as they increase in sanitation.’ The study of health data from 192 nations found those with a relatively low risk of infection had more patients with Alzheimer’s. Likewise, better sanitation and urban living were linked with a higher incidence of the disease, irrespective of life expectancy. Taken together, these factors accounted for 42.5 per cent of the variation in rates of Alzheimer’s between countries. Dr Fox said changes in diet, life expectancy and healthcare could not explain the differences. The researchers found that exposure to germs throughout an individual’s lifetime, not just early on, may affect the risk of dementia. A lack of contact upsets the development of white blood cells, particularly those called T-cells, which are a key part of the immune system. This imbalance has been linked to the types of inflammation found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s, said the report in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. Dr Fox added: ‘We need to find the right balance of

exposure.’ A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘It is an interesting theory. However, it is always difficult to pin causality to one factor.’ The best way to cut risk is to eat healthily, exercise, not smoke and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check, he added. Countries where more than three-quarters of the population are located in urban areas,

such as the UK and Australia, had 10 per cent higher rates of Alzheimer’s compared to countries, such as Bangladesh and Nepal, where less than onetenth of people inhabit urban areas. Overall, differences in levels of sanitation, infectious disease and urbanisation accounted for 33 per cent, 36 per cent and 28 per cent of the variation in Alzheimer’s rate between

countries. Previous research has shown that Alzheimer’s affects fewer people in Latin America, China and India than it does in Europe. Even within those regions, prevalence is lower in urban than in rural areas, according to the new findings. The hygiene hypothesis is based on the assumption that lack of contact with ‘dirt’ in the form of bacteria and other infectious

The study found a ‘very significant’ relationship between a nation’s wealth and hygiene and number ts of Alzheimer’s patien within a country’s population

agents upsets the development of white blood cells, key elements of the immune system. In particular, T-cells are said to be affected. T-cells have a variety of functions, including attacking and destroying foreign invaders and marshalling other parts of the immune system. Some, known as ‘regulatory’ T-cells, reign in the immune system when it starts to get out of control. Dysfunctional regulatory T-cells can lead to inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Regulatory T-cell deficiency is linked to the type of inflammation commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. ‘Exposure to microorganisms is critical for the regulation of the immune system,’ wrote the researchers. They added that, since increasing global urbanisation beginning at the turn of the 19th century, the populations of many of the world’s wealthier nations have increasingly very little exposure to the socalled ‘friendly’ microbes due to ‘diminishing contact with animals, faeces and soil.’ Source:

Clean environments in developed nations result in far less exposure to a diverse range of bacteria (pictured). This might cause the immune system to develop poorly and could expose the brain to the inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease

Toda per c y, more t Alzh ent of p han 50 e e deve imer’s li ople wit v by 2 loping w e in the h 0 that 25 it is e orld, an d this fi x to m gure pected o cent re than will rise 70 p er

How checking your pulse through your finger could detect risk of heart disease


hecking the pulse in the finger could predict risk of heart disease, according to a study. Researchers found that the finger’s pulse can measure stiffness in the aorta – a common risk factor

Magic touch: A test administered through the finger could help to detect an individual’s risk of contracting heart problems

effective in that it is easy to obtain just one pulse waveform in for heart disease. In the new procedure instrument called a the finger or the brachial artery. transducer is placed on the finger or over the Source: brachial artery, located inside the arm just beneath the elbow. The read-out, combined with a person’s age and body mass index, lets doctors know whether the aorta has stiffened. Currently, doctors have to record a pulse from the carotid artery in the neck and the femoral artery in the groin to check for a hardened aorta. The finger test is easier to record and almost as accurate, said the University of Iowa’s Gary Pierce, whose work in developing the procedure was reported in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. It also works better with obese patients, Emergency: The innovative where an accurate femoral pulse is difficult to test could reduce the record. number of heart attacks Professor Pierce said: “The technique is more



UPP bemoans irresponsible opposition politics in Nigeria By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he United Progressives Party (UPP) has condemned the poor quality of opposition politics that is being practiced in the country, saying it has smacked off mudslinging, denigration of constituted authority and use of acerbic language which tend to heat up the polity unnecessarily. In a communique read by the chairman, Chekwas Okorie, after its National Executive Meeting (NEC) yesterday in Abuja, the party urged President Goodluck Jonathan to show more leadership in the face of obvious provocation by restraining some of his overzealous aides who react

to the criticism of the opposition in a manner that suggests that Nigeria is in a state of war. The party noted that ‘two wrongs cannot make a right’, even as it pledged to carry out a very co-ordinated, credible and intensive campaign in Anambra State, which will be issue based, devoid of mudslinging, namecalling and violence, urging other political parties to do the same. The party’s executives urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to appreciate the seriousness and significance of conducting a credible and transparent election in Anambra state. It said the success or failure of INEC in the exercise will have

great impact on the much awaited 2015 general election, adding that Nigerians and the world are watching with keen interest. It also called on the National Assembly and INEC to do everything necessary to enact the enabling law and bring into practice the use of the Electronic Voting System for the 2015 general election. Meanwhile, the NEC reviewed the Party’s preparation for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra state and approved that election of Prince O.N.C. Akanegbu as the party’s gubernatorial candidate at the party’s primary election held on Sunday, 1st September, at Awka and monitored by INEC.

Akanegbu, being the sole candidate of the party polled 829 votes to emerge as the party’s candidate. The NEC also endorsed Sunny Chuba Nwachukwu to be his Running Mate as Deputy Governorship candidate. It also said that form CF001 and CF002B, containing the particulars of these candidates have been submitted to and acknowledged by INEC. Nevertheless, Prince O.N.C. Akanegbu and his running mate, Chuba Nwachukwu, have voluntarily withdrawn from the race and has been replaced by Professor Benedict Ndubuisi Akanegbu and Prince Ifeanyi Ezechukwu respectively.

L-R:Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Hon. Ali Ahmed; Chairman, House Committee on Steel Development, Hon. Sadiq Mohammed and Chairman, House Committee on Privitisation and Commercialisation, Hon. Khadija Ibrahim, during a one-day public hearing on re-concession of National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe and Delta Steel Company to Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Group condemns G7’s visit to NASS By Lawrence Olaoye


group known as PDP Technocrats Forum, yesterday condemned the party’s aggrieved governors’ visit to the National Assembly describing same as a premeditated ploy to further exacerbate the crises in the ruling party. In a statement released in Abuja, the Director General of the Forum, Mr. Sam Etiosa, questioned the need for the visit

noting that it was unheard of that a faction will attempt to drag the National Assembly into an intra party disagreement. The group said that it was clearly an attempt to provoke members sympathetic to the Bamanga Tukur led PDP. Etiosa wondered why the Abubakar Baraje led PDP went ahead with the visit after the agreement reached in the last reconciliation meeting that all parties should refrain from escalating the situation till the planned October 7 talks noting

that “this is not a sign of people who want reconciliation” “The actions of the so called New PDP is beginning to make less sense, as we had noted in the past; their demands are not representative of any constituency in this country, but their hunger for power and relevance. Of all the myriads of issues facing the country, it is sad that their grievances are a laundry list of personal demands. What will be the motive to continuously flout every agreement reached to

try bringing peace to the party?” Etiosa asked. The Director General wondered why the Baraje led ‘rebels’were granted audience by the leadership of the National Assembly as according to him, a bad precedence has been laid. “Tell me how many other factions of political parties have they given audience in the past and how can they tell any faction in future that the National Assembly is not the place for factional politics?” He queried.

Nwoye: PDP appeals court ruling

...seeks cooperation with China By Lawrence Olaoye


he leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP yesterday disclosed that it has put machinery in place to appeal a court ruling disqualifying its governorship candidate for the November 16th governorship election in Anabra state. A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harvourt and Presided over by Justice S A Aliyu had on Tuesday ruled that Comrade Nwoye was not eligible to participate in the August 24 2013 primary election where he emerged as the Candidate of the Party the proposed governorship election and as well restrained the leadership of the Party from presenting him as its candidate for the election. The court had ruled that the second runner up at the party’s primary in Awka, Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu, be made the party’s candidate instead o Nwoye. Responding to questions from newsmen yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the Party,Chief Olisa Metuh, that the party’s NWC had directed the National Legal Adviser,Barrister Victor Kwon and the Party’s legal team to challenge the Port Harcourt Federal High Court ruling on the matter while the party had also resolved not ready to substitute Comrade Nwoye with any other person. Metuh also disclosed that the party had approved Dr. Amachukwu Ezike as the running mate to Comrade Nwoye in the election and that his name had also been forwarded to the INEC as required by law, saying that there was no cause for fear as to whether or not the Commission would accept the nominees. On the decision of the Party not to visit the PDP’s caucus in the National Assembly as earlier planned on Tuesday and the visit of the rival PDP to the law makers, Chief Metuh explained that the NWC took the decision in respect to the peace moves going on within the party so as not further compound the crisis in the party. Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga has urged the People’s Republic of China to expand its areas of co- operations with Nigeria for the benefits of both Countries and the rest of the World at large.




Bauhi CNPP concedes governorship slot to central zone

Group wants Jonathan to appoint Obanikoro’s son as minister

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


ioneer Secretary of Bauchi State Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, (CNPP), Yusuf Muhammed Rakis, has appealed to registered political parties operating in the State to zone their 2015 gubernatorial slots to the State’s central zone in the interest of equity and justice. Speaking to journalists, Rakis observed that since the introduction of zonal arrangement in the State in 1979 by politicians, the central zone has not been given the opportunity to enjoy the arrangement which is against the tenets of natural justice and peaceful coexistence. According to him, in 1979, Bauchi north was the first to enjoy the arrangement then followed by Gombe in 1992 and Bauchi south from 1999. “Gombe was replaced by Bauchi central in 1996 but is yet to benefit from the arrangement and this is the most ideal time. Power has been in my zone of Bauchi south since 1999 to date; that should be shifted to central for equity and justice if the parties are sincere and interested in political stability. Parties should advise aspirants from the two other zones to exercise patience at this material time until the central zones enjoys the slot”, he said He added that if the parties are genuinely interested in achieving that goal, they should at this particular period inform their aspirants from other zones to aspire for other political offices other than that of the governor for the zoning arrangement to succeed. “As members of the opposition parties, we are working closely with other stakeholders especially in the ruling party to actualize the arrangement. We are confident of having the support of PDP leaders who are in control of power today” he said.

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


L-R: Oyo state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and widow of the former Ondo state governor, Chief Olusegun Agagu, Mrs Olufunke Agagu, during the governor’s condolence visit to Agagu’s residence, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

SWF: Stop spreading ignorance, PDP tells APC lawmakers By Lawrence Olaoye


he leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the position of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers on the management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) as an expose of crass ignorance and obvious unpreparedness of their party to manage the affairs of the nation. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement branded the APC lawmakers as frustrated political adventurers with penchance for destructive criticisms that exhibit their emptiness and poor understanding of international financial system. Contrary to insinuations that the SWF has been mortgaged to foreign interests, the PDP said the fund is managed in line with international best

practices that guarantee prudence, foreign participation and return on investment. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund is a Nigerian who was painstakingly chosen and employed through a process that accords with highest international standard. In the same vein, the Chief Investment Officer, a foreigner, is a tested fund administrator with decades of impeccable management record in countries such as Saudi Arabia. “Suffice it to mention that Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwaiti SWF (which are among the best in the world) are managed by foreigners. “The essence of involving foreign partners in the management of the SWF in a world that has become a global village is very obvious. The SWF is expected to drive the nation’s investment frontiers and the participation of

foreigners in its management does not in any way mortgage its credibility. “While it is clear that Nigeria has not closed its doors to foreign investments, the inflow of such investments does not in anyway suggest that such investors have lost confidence in the economy of their respective countries.” “Furthermore, qualified Nigerians are known to be manning sensitive positions in the economy of other nations and have not been disqualified on the grounds of nationality”, the statement said. The PDP however assured that the nation’s investment in the SWF remains safe and secured adding that it will ensure that it is properly managed for the benefit of the present and next generations of Nigerians. The party therefore advised the APC lawmakers to get their facts right and stop exposing their ignorance.

political group in the South West, Network For Justice, (NFJ), has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to consider appointing Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro as a Minister in his cabinet. NFJ in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Dr. Adebisi Akinbinu, in Lagos stated that the youthful vibrancy, resourcefulness and grassroots political clout of the younger Obanikoro stands him out, noting, however, that the realisation of the transformation agenda of the President in the zone can only come to fruition through the involvement of such young blood. The group which also pointed out that the popularity of Obanikoro’s son was evident in the fact that he defeated the National Leader of the All Progressive Party (APC) in his local government but was denied his victory through a jungle electoral system, also noted further that the President may loose election in the state if he continues to rely on the strength of old war horses in the state who are irreconciliably divided. “President Jonathan should strongly consider nominating Ibrahim Babajide Obanikoro as a minister. He is better and adequately qualified. His father, Shelle, Coker, Maina and Dosunmu are products of factions in the state but he is an independent person as evident by his political approach and dynamism.” “He holds a BSC in Criminal Justice and MSC in Public Administration from the USA. Loved by the Elites in Lagos State and the masses. “Ibrahim is extremely skilled at mobilizing youths. He comes from a very popular family known in all circles in Lagos State. He is popularly known to have defeated Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his local government in the recent Local Council Elections.

Destruction of campaign billboards: Adeyeye slams N100m suit on Ekiti govt From Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


fenifere Chieftain and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, has dragged the state government to court, demanding N100 million as damages over the destruction of his campaign billboards by suspected agents of the government. Billboards belonging to some PDP governorship aspirants were destroyed on April 22, 2013, a few days to the burial of the late

Deputy Governor of the State, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, allegedly to give the impression to visitors, particularly leaders of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who were billed to attend the funeral, that no opposition party exists in Ekiti state. In the Suit Number HAD/35/2013 filed against the Ekiti state Signage Agency and the State Attorney General on Adeyeye’s behalf by his counsel, Olalekan Olatawura, the governorship aspirant is seeking the payment of

N100 million as general damages, N2.25 million being the cost of fabricating and installing the billboards and signposts destroyed and or removed by agents of the State government, and a declaration that the removal and destruction of his campaign billboards and signs by the Signage Agency was malicious, illegal, null and void. Adeyeye also wants the court to declare among others that; “the 1st defendant (Signage Agency) has no powers to remove billboards

after approval of the site and payment of requisite fees without any justifiable reason. Furthermore, he is seeking an order of injunction restraining the State Signage Agency, its servants, agents, privies, and workmen or howsoever from interfering with his campaign billboards and signs. In his 20-paragrapgh Statement of Claim, Adeyeye stated that in compliance with the assessment and estimation done by the State Signage Agency, he paid the N300,000 to the Agency on March

14, 2013 through his campaign organisation, Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM)., and was issued Revenue Receipt Number 5102211/HALKPRFJ. He said that subsequent upon the payment and approval of sites for the billboards by the Signage Agency, “giant billboards were erected by Messrs Elowal Concepts at Ita-Awure, along Aramoko-Efon Alaaye Road, opposite the entrance of the Governor’s Office and in front of his campaign office along Ajilosun/Ikere Road, Ado-Ekiti.”



Illegal waste disposal, flooding


oordinator of the NorthWest zone of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Malam Musa Ilallah, has attributed the recent flooding witnessed across the country to illegal disposal of waste by residents. According to him, waste disposal practices have caused or worsened flooding in the country. He disclosed this while addressing participants at the 2013 workshop on Solid and Liquid Waste Management, in context of flooding held in Kaduna. He also urged all the participants to create the needed awareness in various communities for effective and efficient liquid and solid wastes disposal. From Mohammad Ibrahim, Kaduna


News Extra

Union threatens to stop investors from taking over PHCN From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), has call on all its members nationwide to resist forceful takeover of all Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) facilities across the country unless all their severance packages were settled by the Federal Government. General Secretary of the NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero gave the charge yesterday, while addressing members of the union from the North-west Zone in Kaduna. Comrade Ajaero, who was represented by the NUEE

Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Moses Ahmedu said, it has become obvious that the government was making clandestine moves to handover PHCN facilities to investors without conclusively resolving the labour related issues. “It will be suicidal on our part if we allow the investors access to any of our facilities while the issues remain inconclusively resolved by the government as they appear to be reneging. “Note that about 45 percent of the total workforce has received their gratuity while no staff has his/her pension credited to any Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of choice, among other

issues. “The action of the federal government is inimical to the ‘Agreement’ and negates the principle of collective bargaining”, he stressed, adding that “our economic well being and future would be grossly threatened should we allow the investors to come in without settling our entitlements”. He listed the outstanding benefits to include: non conclusion of payments of terminal benefits; non-payment of retirement savings fund to PFA; non remittance of 2% of the union deductions as agreed; non-payment of retirees who disengaged since 2011; non

regularization of some of the casuals already identified; 10% equity shareholding by the workers and the shortfall of terminal benefit from June 2012 till date. Comrade Ahmedu further warned the Federal Government to note that no amount of security personnel dispatched to any PHCN facility will make the union to succumb to anything but their genuine demands. According to him, NUEE is taking a cue from organizations like NITEL and Nigerian Airways, adding that the union will not want to find itself in the same condition.

l-R: Chairman of the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation (OOF), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, exchanging documents with President of IDB, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, during the signing of MoU on Promote Human Security in Africa between OOF and IDB, on Wednesday in London.

Lagos residents’ registration


agos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday, said that the residents’ registration exercise was not designed for taxation. The programme, according to the Governor, is to enable government to plan and provide adequate infrastructural facilities for residents. He spoke at the official flagoff of the residents’ registration exercise where he urged residents, especially, parents to ensure that their family members are registered. From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

Unilorin resumes for 2013/2014 session


he University of Ilorin has announced the resumption date for its fresh and returning students for the 2013/2014 academic session. The institution, in a statement signed by its Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun, said that while fresh students will resume on September 28, 2013, returning students, who have been on holidays since June ending, are expected on campus on October 5, 2013. Akogun disclosed that admission exercise for the new academic session was almost complete, and would be completed before the resumption. From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

FG to rejuvenate health sector By Abbas Aminu Bamalli


inister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu has assured of the Jonathan administration’s commitment to invigorate the health sector towards realising the strategic health development, plan to ensure a healthy citizenry. The minister said this yesterday in Abuja while inaugurating the governing boards of management of agencies and parastatals under the ministry. “You should ensure that

available resources are devoted for the good of the patient and the institution; and I am urging you not to betray the President’s confidence and trust. Your role as chairman or member of the board should be clear from the onset”, the minister told the board members. Prof. Chukwu said the boards inaugurated were expected to help in deepening the provision of primary health care in the country as it remains the bedrock of the National Health Care Delivery system. Perhaps to avoid possible

conflicts, he explained that the main function of the board is to provide oversight on the management to ensure the implementation of government policies, the effective and efficient utilization of resources, the observance of extant laws and regulations, and also ensure accountability for funds and performance. Responding on behalf of the inaugurated chairmen and their members, the Chairman, governing council of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),

Pharmacist Shem Nuhu Zagbayi expressed their appreciation and assured that they would work hard in discharging their responsibilities. The other inaugurated chairmen include, Alhaji Bashar Aminu, Iyan Zazzau for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Dr. Stella Okoli, for the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and Dr. C. I. Anigbeze, for the National Eye Centre (NEC), Kaduna.

Gaidam boosts Yobe’s public transport with 54 buses From Uche Uche, Damaturu


obe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam has commissioned 54 newly purchased buses aimed at boosting transportation both at the state capital and local government areas of the state.

The 54 vehicles worth N629 million, comprise 30-34 seater HUNDAI buses, purchased at the cost of N13.5 million each, with a total cost of N459 million, while another 16-20 seater Toyota Hiace buses, purchased at the cost of N8.5 million each, with a total cost of

N170 million. He said the 20 and 16-seater buses would be managed by the Yobe State Transport Corporation, Yobeline, while the 34-30 seater buses are to be distributed to the 17 local governments in the state with each local government getting

two buses. He said government purchased the vehicles to address the problem of inadequacy of good and reliable transport system, and also make movements within the state more convenient, and at affordable means to the people.




Some Interesting Facts


hat do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in common? Ans. - All invented by women. • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out. • A snail can sleep for three years. • All polar bears are left handed. •American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class. • Butterflies taste with their feet. • Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump. • In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated. • On average, people fear spiders more than they do death. • Shakespeare invented the word ‘assassination’ and ‘bump’. • Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand. • The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. • The electric chair was invented by a dentist. • The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet. • Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over million descendants. • Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

• The cigarette lighter was invented before the match. • Most lipstick contains fish scales. • Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different. • If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? • What is the difference between being alive and truly living? • Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? • Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? • Does love equal sex? • If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? • Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for

what you are doing? • If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? • Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? • If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? • If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? • What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back? • Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? • Has your greatest fear ever come true? • Would you rather have less

work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? • When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? • Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? • If you had all the money in the world but still had to have some kind of job, what would you choose to do? • When you’re 90 years old, d, what will matter most to yo you? u? • What do you regr egret ett mos ostt so so far in life? • If you werre att heav h aven en’ n s gate ates, s, and Go God d aske a ked dy yo ou “W “Wh Why y shou uld I let let you in in?” ? , what wou ?”, uld yo you ou say?? say

Say what?


Unnerving: If you ever do fall foul of any of these hidden perils, remember... you can always pull the ‘Emergency Door Cock’ at Taipei Airport in Taiwan


Ready for school: Children dressed in their uniform make their way across the river and wait on the banks for a lift before class, in Philippines. S ource:


Okrika set to defend Governor’s Cup Stories by Albert Akota


he Rivers h Ri State St t Governor’s G ’s k Cup will kicks off next week in Port Harcourt. n The competition, which is an annual event, involves a vibrantt o partnership among Deportivo Vandyke, SPDC and the Riverss State Government. All 23 local government areass d in Rivers State will be represented in the 2013 edition. d The competition is aimed at unearthing some of the mostt precocious and prodigiouss football talent in the state and iss part of SPDC’s corporate sociall responsibility. 3 A member of the 2013 organising committee of thee Governor’s Cup, Amadikee n Enyadike said plans have been completed to make this year’ss event one of the biggest in thee history of the tournament. “This year’s edition of thee d Governor’s Cup will be huge and the excitement will be massivee d as always. We have already fixed a press conference for Friday,, k September 20 at the Landmark Hotel in Port Harcourt to reveall more of our grand plans for thee competition,” he said. Okrika local governmentt area won the 2012 edition of thee Governor’s Cup after a 2-1 victoryy over Onelga in the show piecee game.


Keshi, Taribo lose properties to hoodlums F

E Eagles tto play iin Green Point P


he Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi and former international, T Taribo West have lost their pr properties given to them after he helping the country to qualify for th 2002 FIFA World Cup. the The duo along with other m members of the Super Eagles was re rewarded with land gifts in Port H Harcourt by former Rivers State go governor, Peter Odili in 2001. The properties have however be been taken over by “hoodlums” ac according to West, who raised th alarm during a chat with the n newsmen. “I went to my property al along Trans-Amadi area of Port H Harcourt to start developing it on to find out hoodlums and only ill illegal occupants have taken over th place,” an angry West said. the West, who earned 41 caps fo the Super Eagles between for 19 and 2002, further revealed 1994 th other members of the 2001 that N Nigeria squad also suffered a si similar fate. “I was not the only person

Taribo West t land The other that lost his land. players and even Keshi who was a member of the technical crew lost his land too. The former Inter Milan centre half said he was at the Rivers State Government House on Wednesday to begin the process of recovering his property.

“II have met with the (presentt Rivers State) governor (Chibuikee n Amaechi) and I have made an appeal to see that I get back myy property. h “I served this country with distinction so it is only right thatt the reward I got in the processs be returned to me by the illegall occupants, o occupants,” he said.

irst-time qualifiers Nigeria will play against host South Africa, Mali a and Mozambique in Group A o of the 2014 African Nations C Championship. At the Draw held in CAF’s h headquarters in Cairo, Egypt o on Wednesday, the Eagles w were also drawn to play Mali’s o other Eagles in the first match, w with the games taking place at G Green Point Stadium – one of tthe venues for the 2010 FIFA W World Cup finals. South Africa p plays Mozambique in the ttournament’s opening match, a at the same venue. Group B will see Zimbabwe, U Uganda, Burkina Faso and M Morocco do battle at the A Athlone Stadium, also in Cape T Town. Ghana play CongoB Brazzaville in the opening m match of Group C with Libya a and Ethiopia also involved. A All the matches will take place a at the Free State Stadium in B Bloemfontein. New Peter Mokaba Stadium iin Polokwane will host Group D m matches involving Democratic R Republic of Congo, Gabon, B Burundi and Mauritania.

Sanusi, i G Gaiya Gaiya, i Elegbeleye El gb b l tto llight i ht NFF N FF praises i JJonathan nath ffor retaining t i i Abdullahi A bd ll hi SSanusi


he Nigeria Football Federation has applauded President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for once more demonstrating his love for sports and by extension, the youth of this country, by retaining the visionary, hardworking and highly-focused Minister of Sports and Chairman of National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. Speaking yesterday, NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, expressed the delight of the Federation at the retention of the man who has broken new grounds in the

office, and shown uncommon commitment to plotting a positive graph of development in the Sports Commission. “There is no doubt that Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi is a blessing to Nigeria sports. He has been given the opportunity to serve at the right time by our dear President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR. Mallam Abdullahi has taken this great opportunity with both hands and is leaving his giant strides in the sands of time. “The Honourable Minister

Abdullahi handing over the AFCON trophy to Mr. President

is formulating policies and designing plans and strategies that can only take Nigeria sports k to the top. He broke a major duck by fostering peace in Nigeria football, for which we can never forget him. For all these, we are grateful to President Jonathan for giving Abdullahi the opportunity,” Maigari stated. In his 21 months in charge of the Sports Commission, Abdullahi’s strategic thinking and passion for development programmes has unfurled a brighter firmament for Nigeria sports, with the Super Eagles lifting the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years. The Super Eagles Team B earning a first-ever African Nations Championship berth and the encouragement of a transparent system that has produced arguably the youngest U-17 National Team in history. “I am very sure that the heads of other sports associations feel the same way as I do as President of NFF, that Mallam Abdullahi is a round peg in a round hole.

u up CBN Challenge Cup today


overnor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, cch chairman of the House of Reps’ Co C Committee on Sports, Hon. G Godfrey Gaiya and the Director G General of National Sports Co C Commission, Hon. Gbenga El E Elegbeleye are among dignitaries eex expected at the opening cce ceremony of the 2013 CBN Beach So S Soccer Challenge Cup in Abuja tto today. Also expected at the oc o occasion are Member of the N NFF Executive Committee, Hon. Su S Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, NFF G General Secretary, Barrister M Musa Amadu and Central Ba B Bank of Nigeria’s Director of Co C Corporate Communications, Ugo O Okoroafor. Eight teams will take part iin the second edition of a cco competition that is programmed tto kindle nationwide interest iin the game of beach soccer pr p preparatory to the launching of a National Beach Soccer League.

Mr. Taye Olajide of Sports Solutions said on Wednesday that the eight teams expected at the tournament are Fidelity Bank Strikers, Team Kaduna, Kogi Confluence Beach Boys, Aso

Gbenga Elegbeleye

Savings and Loans FC, Sterling Bank FC, Nasarawa Beach Soccer FC, Team FCT and Anambra Beach Soccer FC. On the opening day, Fidelity will clash with Kaduna; Aso Savings will lock horns with Kogi Confluence; Team FCT will tackle Anambra and; Sterling Bank will clash with Nasarawa. All matches start at 2pm.



Sports Chukwu predicts Eagles’ CHAN glory


he Former Super eaglesCoach, Christian Chukwu is upbeat Nigeria will qualify from the tough group at the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa. The Chan draw on Wednesday at the CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt pitched Nigeria, Mozambique, Mali and hosts, South Africa in Group A of the competition reserved for players plying their trade in their country’s domestic leagues. Chukwu, who admitted that the group is tough, said the domestic Super Eagles have proven themselves in many test matches to be able to secure qualification to the next stage of the competition. “Though none of the groups is easy, I think ours is the toughest but I believe we’ll qualify from the group alongside with the hosts, South Africa. “Our home-based Eagles have come to understand themselves lately despite the poor performance in the last qualifying match in Abidjan against their Ivorian counterparts, the Elephants. “I have no fear that we’ll pick qualification ticket from the group. We have abundant players in the land to successfully prosecute the championship. “Though we’ll miss the services of few good players who assisted in securing the final ticket I believe a little effort will unveil quality replacements. “Right now instead of the head coach, Stephen Keshi travelling out of the nation’s shores the football body should sponsor a meeting with the domestic league coaches to recommend their best players to him. “Keshi can’t scout the whole country for players within the time frame but if he has good rapport and communication with the coaches they’ll come in to solve the headache of how to replace the players who have gone on greener pastures,” said the former Nigerian strongman said. Nigeria missed out from the past two editions after losses to perennial arch-rivals, Ghana and minnows, Niger Republic.


Enyimba back on NPFL top table

Ethiopia will be tough, unpredictable, says Keshi


Enyimba defender Bright Esieme Stories by Albert Akota


nyimba defeated Wikki Tourists 2-0 to regain the leadership of the Nigeria Professional Football League. Enyimba, who are gunning for a league and cup double after they won the cup on Sunday, now have 52 points from 31 matches, same points as second-placed Bayelsa United, who fell 2-1 at Nasarawa

United. On-form striker Ifeanyi Ede scored the opener in the second minute, before Josiah Maduabuchi doubled the lead. Enyimba coach Imama Amapakabo said that it was a difficult match. “It was a difficult game but we did our best to see that we won because that was what mattered most,” Imama said. Sunshine Stars pipped El

Kanemi Warriors 1-0 in Akure. The only goal of the game was a penalty converted by Josiah Omeruo in the 32nd minute after Ajani ibrahim’s goal bound shot was handed by an El Kanemi player. Sharks thrashed ABS FC 4-0. Nigeria youth international Christian Pyagbara, Tayo Fabiyi, Fortune Omoniwari and Thompson Stowe were the goal scorers for the Port Harcourt outfit.

he Super Eagles coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has spoken for the first time since the draws for the final round qualifier for the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier, (Africa zone), were held last Monday in Cairo, Egypt. The draw pitched the Super Eagles against the Wylan Antelopes of Ethiopia. “I have a lot of respect for the Ethiopians and all the teams that made it to the last round of the qualifier and I am certain that it will be tough, unpredictable and exciting for both the so called big teams and the minnows”, he said. Speaking specifically on Ethiopia, Keshi who is on a brief visit to his family in the United States, said he foresees a very difficult opposition in the East Africans, assuring that the Eagles will not disappoint. “The last time we played the Ethiopians it was quite tough and I know when we meet next it’s going to be the same thing. All we need to do is to be focused, concentrate and pray for good health for our best players and the rest will be history”.

Gambo waves aside CHAN opponents


he Super Eagles, Gambo Mohammed, is brimming with confidence that their 2014 Chan group stage opponents will not stop them from reaching the quarterfinals. The Eagles were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Mozambique and Mali for next year’s African Nations Championship (Chan) on Wednesday. But Kano Pillars forward, Gambo, believes that the Super Eagles will make it into the last eight despite being their first appearance at the Chan. “Did you say South Africa, Mozambique and Mali are in our group? That’s good because we have landed in the quarterfinals,” remarked Gambo in a confident tone to newsmen after his club lost 0-1 at Nembe City in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). The Super Eagles striker quickly pointed out that “we have a good team, added that his comment is no disrespect to their group foes. “I know we have a good team and that’s why I said we will reach the quarterfinals. I’m not disrespecting South Africa, Mozambique or Mali. But I know we play with our hearts and with a do-or-die attitude,” said the striker. On the exit of Godfrey Oboabona and Gomo Onduku to European clubs which makes

them ineligible for the Chan, Gambo said Nigeria can find ready-made replacements for the duo though he acknowledged they will be missed. “Nigeria has got enough talented players in our league

to select from. I know the coach will handle that well because he has been very good and knows the players in the league. “We will miss the two of them to be honest, but I know anyone called up to take their

places can play even better because coach Stephen Keshi knows how to bring out the best in any player,” stated the former Buffalo FC man. Th e Chan will run f rom January 11 to February 1, 2014.

Gambo Mohammed




Milan World Cup 2022: UEFA members Inter fans banned Juventus back winter tournament in Qatar after clashes T N he prospect of a winter World Cup in 2022 took a step forward after European football chiefs agreed a summer event could not be played in Qatar. Former president of the Irish Football Association added that the debate was now whether the tournament would be played in January of 2022 or in November and December of that year. UEFA favours January so that it does not impact on the Champions League, but British associations want to ensure their domestic festive fixtures are protected. FIFA could agree in principle to alter the timing of the World Cup at a meeting in Zurich early next month, but the news that European football chiefs are backing a switch is significant. The agreement from Europe’s football leaders that it cannot be played in Qatar in summer will be welcomed by Fifa and almost certainly used against any Premier League objections, as momentum grows for a switch.

ine Inter Milan fans have been charged following clashes between rival fans during the Derby d’Italia last weekend. A group of Interisti managed to come into contact with Juventus fans after the Bianconeri equalised in a 1-1 draw at the San Siro and, thanks to CCTV images and eye-witness accounts, the trouble-makers were identified. They will be banned from setting foot in a stadium throughout Italy again, much to the delight of the Osservatorio Nazionale sulle Manifestazioni Sportive, the government agency which presides over sporting events. The organisation expresses particular satisfaction for the work carried out by the Milan Police authorities, which has led to the identification of nine people charged with grievous bodily harm and with climbing over barriers,” read a note from the Osservatorio. Inter were punished for racial chants at the very same game with part of the stadium closed for their upcoming Serie A game against Fiorentina.

FIFA president, Sepp Blater

Mourinho accepts Wenger heaps praise on Ramsey blame for UCL loss A rsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed Aaron Ramsey after yet another goal-scoring performance from the in-form midfielder contributed to the Gunners’ hard-fought 2-1 Champions League win at Marseille. Ramsey is doing his best to overshadow Arsenal’s £42.4 million record signing Mesut Ozil as he continues to impress in the heart of the side’s midfield, and Wenger was gushing in his praise for 22-year-old. For his part, Ramsey preferred to share the success with his team-mates, but he did say he is revelling in his starring role in an Arsenal midfield full of attack-minded players. “I’m happy with the way I’m

Jose Mourinho


helsea manager Jose Mourinho has accepted responsibility for his side’s shock 2-1 Champions League defeat against FC Basel. And the 50-year-old has challenged his players to show their ‘character’ when they return to action in the Premier League against Fulham on Saturday. Blues owner Roman Abramovich paid a visit to Mourinho’s dressing room after their 2-1 upset defeat at Stamford Bridge, greeted by a manager who was content to accept blame for the upset result. “Of course we are not happy, but to play football in good moments is good fun and is easy for everybody. In

the difficult moment is when you see the man, when you see the character, the personality. So let’s wait for Fulham and try to clean what we couldn’t do today. Mourinho insisted he did not regret the changes he made to his line-up after he handed a debut to Willian and dropped skipper John Terry to the bench, suggesting he needs to amend his line-up on a regular basis. S “We are strong at defending corners. Emotionally this is not a very mature team and when you are in a difficult situation, they reacted with some heart, but it was not enough.”

Aaron Ramsey

playing at the moment,” said Ramsey, who scored his sixth goal of the season at the Stade Velodrome. “I’m getting into positions and I’m putting them away at the moment. I have got into these positions before, but I haven’t had the composure. “This was a big victory. We have a tough group and it was important to get three points and get off to a good start tonight. We came here a couple of seasons ago and won, I got on the score sheet then as well, and I’m sure this will be vital as well. Arsenal’s latest win secured them a tenth successive victory away from home, inspiring Wenger to suggest it is his backline and not his attack who should take the credit for the run.




Heavyweight boxing legend, dies at 70


ormer US heavyweight boxing champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali, has died at the age of 70, his son says. Norton, who had been in poor health following a series of strokes, died at a care facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. He broke Ali’s jaw in their first bout in San Diego, California, in 1973, which

Norton won. In their last meeting on September 1976 at New York’s Yankee Stadium, Ali won a narrow and controversial decision to retain the heavyweight title. “I’m sure he’s in heaven now with all the great fighters,” Gene Kilroy, Ali’s former business manager, told the Associated Press news agency. “I’d like

to hear that conversation.” Norton began boxing during his time in the US Marines, and turned professional shortly after he left the military in 1967. He was named heavyweight champion in 1977 after defending champion Leon Spinks refused to fight him, but lost the following year

in a classic 15-round fight with Larry Holmes. After his boxing career ended, Norton appeared in several movies and became a fight commentator. He had five children, one of whom went on to play professional football and now coaches in the National Football League for the Seattle Seahawks.

800 set to be recruited at 2014 Commonwealth


recruitment drive is being launched to fill 800 full-time posts for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Careers advisers will be on board a “jobs bus”, parked in Buchanan Street later, to discuss opportunities. A DJ and Glasgow’s Rock Choir will perform from the open-topped bus in a bid to attract potential workers. The recruitment campaign is being led by Search Consultancy, which was Ronnie O’Sullivan

Sullivan backtracks on snooker match-fixing comments


onnie O’Sullivan has backtracked after claiming Stephen Lee is not the only player guilty of match-fixing, saying his words were “taken out of context”. The world champion, 37, tweeted the allegations after Lee was found guilty of fixing seven games in 2008 and 2009. World Snooker boss Barry Hearn called O’Sullivan’s comments “unacceptable and damaging” and asked for an explanation. 2008 Malta Cup: Conspired to lose to Ken Doherty and Marco Fu, while conspired to lose to Neil Robertson by a pre-determined score,

with the match ending 5-1 to Robertson. 2008 UK Championship: Agreed to lose the first frame in matches against Stephen Hendry and Mark King. 2009 China Open: To lose to Mark Selby by a set score, Selby winning 5-1. 2009 World Championship: That Ryan Day would win by a pre-arranged score, Day winning 10-4. O’Sullivan commended World Snooker for their action on Lee, and said he was aware of his obligation to report any knowledge of matchfixing.

Smyth doubts Gay training camp return


reland’s Paralympic double gold medallist Jason Smyth is unsure about returning to the Florida training camp he shared with Tyson Gay. Former world 100m champion Gay tested positive

Tyson Gay

for a banned steroid during United States trials in June. Smyth won 100m and 200m gold in Beijing and London , but does not know if using the same training facilities as Gay would taint him in some

people’s eyes. Gay tested positive for a banned steroid in June Smyth, who has a visual impairment, has not competed since winning double gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon in July. As well as making a decision on whether to resume training under Coach Lance Brauman this winter, the Eglinton athlete is also targeting next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow having missed Delhi 2010 with a stress fracture in his back. Smyth’s other big events in 2014 are the International Paralympic Committee European Athletics Championships in Swansea and the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

given the role of filling 1,400 vacancies for more than 450 job roles. The positions include customer services, safety officers and IT, with some contracts starting immediately and others beginning just before the opening ceremony. “This is hopefully going to be Glasgow’s friendly games, where we’ve got a real opportunity to showcase the city and the country on a global stage.

Robson, Konta lose at Guangzhou Open


aura Robson was beaten in three sets by Zheng Jie in the quarter-finals of the Guangzhou Open. Robson, last year’s runnerup, eased through the first set but lost the second on a tiebreak. China’s Zheng, 23 places below Robson in the world rankings at 58, then dominated the final set for a 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 victory. Britain’s Johanna Konta lost her last-eight tie in China to another home player, Zhang Shui, 7-5 6-3. Konta, the British number three, had defeated number four seed Shuai Peng in straight sets in the second round on Wednesday. With second-seeded French player Alize Cornet

Laura Robson

also beaten by Austria’s Yvonne Meusburger in the quarter-finals, Robson, at three, missed the chance to be the highest-ranked player in the last four. The 19-year-old, who became the first British woman to reach a WTA singles final in 24 years with her run 12 months ago, broke Zheng twice in the first set. But the British number one’s serve faltered in the second and third, the former having been surrendered after a rain delay. Home favourite Zheng, the former world number 15, went on to complete victory in two hours and 16 minutes and will meet Puerto Rico’s eighthseeded Monica Puig in the semi-finals.

. . . putting the people first


QUOTABLE QUOTE We shouldn’t talk about political issues… Let’s face facts of the economy – about roads built; jobs created; increase in production and things we are doing that you can go and check for yourself. — Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister, reacting to calls by some governors for her resignation

SPORTS Oritsejafor not synonymous with CAN LATEST

Asia police arrest 14 in match-fixing raids


olice in Singapore have arrested 14 people said to be part of a crime gang involved in global football match-fixing, including the alleged leader. Police did not confirm whether the alleged leader in custody was Singaporean businessman, Dan Tan, but local reports pointed to him. Between 2008 and 2011, officials said they had identified 680 suspicious games, 380 of them in Europe. Matches included World Cup qualifiers and the European Champions league. European officials said the matches had been targeted by a Singapore-based betting cartel whose illegal activities stretched to players, referees and officials across the world. Police did not give the nationalities of the 12 men and two women arrested. They said that five - including the suspected leader - were being held for further questioning while the rest would be released on bail. “Police confirm that the suspected leader and several other individuals who are the subject of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions for match fixing were among the persons arrested,” said a joint statement by Singapore police agencies. In Italian court papers Tan Seet Eng, as he is formally known, is called the boss and it is claimed that from Singapore he ran a network of European fixers who paid players in the lower divisions of Italian football in return for influencing the result. Despite frequent calls for his arrest from both Italy and Interpol, the Singaporean authorities have to date refused to act. With no extradition treaty in place, they said they could only make arrests when a crime was committed on Singaporean territory.


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any in Nigeria today may not remember the name of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, but if there was any opposition to the military regimes of the eighties and nineties, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) under him definitely represented a voice of resistance to those governments’ excesses. At a time when many people kept silent in the face of human rights abuses, Okogie faced down the military government and told them some home truths. It didn’t matter if the victims were Muslims or Christians; it didn’t matter whether they were from the north or south; CAN fought for all Nigerians. Okogie had the moral authority to act, and did so with dignity, to the admiration of all of us. Okogie’s bravery was not unusual for CAN leaders; if anything, in the turbulent history of this country, there is a proud tradition of leaders of CAN who spoke for and stood by the people of this country. They used their moral authority to defend the rights of all Nigerians even during the most brutal military dictatorships or corrupt and inept civilian administrations. The courage of the likes of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, the Reverend Sunday Mbang and Cardinal John Onaiyekan, for instance, are shining examples of faith in action, with compassion for the oppressed and chastisement for the tyrants. It is a mark of the sad and uncertain times our country faces that we have to be reminded that previous leaders of CAN have used that platform for nobler purposes than we currently see. In spite of the corruption that blights much discourse these days, it is evident that a clear distinction exists between CAN as a body and the individual that leads it. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor cannot be allowed to conflate himself with CAN. He bears personal accountability for the conduct and utterances that portray him as a messenger of the powerful, or as an active soldier

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CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of the ruling party. Except for the informed, the casual observer may mistake Oritsejafor for a minor protocol official of government, so pathetically has he cheapened the erstwhile integrity of the CAN presidency. Pastor Oritsejafor’s utterances and behaviour amount to repudiation of the moral authority, fair-mindedness and high standing his predecessors invested in that office. While they spoke truth to power in the exalted prophetic tradition, he cossets and pampers the government of the day. He even champions their politics of ethnic and religious division by making unfounded allegations against opposition leaders. How else can any neutral observer rationalize his two calls for General Buhari’s arrest? In contrast, Oritsejafor was dead silent when persons that are Jonathan’s sidekicks threatened

the nation with violence if he is not voted president in 2015! The dissonance between the glorious past and now is rather loud. While Pastor Oritsejafor chose to be a subaltern to power, other men of faith rose to stem division and help the country achieve peace, efforts for which Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan and the Sultan of Sokoto were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Such an esteemed global honour is a measurement of leadership quality and character; as distinct from Oritsejafor who prefers earthly gains and ostentatious lifestyle of private jets! Everyone can recall that November morning in 2012 when Oritsejafor accepted the gift of a private jet in the presence of a smiling President Jonathan. Observers of Oritsejafor’s record should pause and ponder why the Catholic leaders took the recent unprecedented decision to

Let the leaders of faith show good example when they step into the public arena. The merchants of religiosity, those who specialise in distorting the sobriety of faith into wares to be traded for political and commercial favours, should not be allowed to divide our country or to derail the diversity of our creeds and tongues into a reason for strife.

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temporarily opt out of CAN! It is not because Christians in Nigeria today are markedly different from those that lived in the days when Okogie, Akinola and Mbang led CAN honourably, it is because the Oritsejafor style has driven the organisation into the ignominious politics of hatred and division. Due to how sensitive any discourse about religion has become in Nigeria, many have refrained from pointing out the errant ways of Oritsejafor, but if we are to build the Nigeria of our dreams, we must have the courage to point out transgressions against all Nigerians by people masking themselves in religious toga to create strife in the country. The truth is that Oritsejafor is neither a personalisation of CAN, nor an example of the compassion, grace and modesty Christianity teaches. A case of the descent into toxic politics is evident from the statement purportedly issued in CAN’s name in defence of Oritsejafor. The language of the statement is very similar to the gutter language usually spewed out of the Presidential Villa whenever any citizen expresses the right to question the corruption, impunity and incompetence of the Jonathan administration. The sudden attempt to assume the role of political adviser to General Muhammadu Buhari, a person that Oritsejafor has done everything to malign and smear, amounts to everything a religious organisation should not be. When purportedly religious leaders or organisations become brazenly partisan, they should not complain directly and through surrogates when they are responded to in like manner. God’s work cannot be reduced to petty electoral calculations. Neither should those who claim to be on the Almighty’s mission indulge in base blackmail and falsehood, or encroach on God’s prerogative to bestow grace, provide final justice and avenge wrong. Let the leaders of faith show good example when they step into the public arena. The merchants of religiosity, those who specialise in distorting the sobriety of faith into wares to be traded for political and commercial favours, should not be allowed to divide our country or to derail the diversity of our creeds and tongues into a reason for strife. Above all else, we are all human, sharing the same biology and deserving to be free and secure, whatever our beliefs and ethnic origins. In the final analysis, the needs and wants of a less privileged Christian destitute in Abia is not that much different from that of a Muslim Almajiri in Zamfara!

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234 814 292 9046. Cell: +234 802 443 2099; 803 7007 759. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 20, Sept, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 20, Sept, 2013

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