Page 1

Vol. 10 No. 60

Friday, March 22, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Excess Crude Account: FG, states share $2bn >> PAGE 2

Oteh must go, Reps insist >> PAGE 3

Jimadal Ula 11, 1434 AH


I can't audit some public offices, says Auditor general >> PAGE 10

Civil war goal of Kano bombing – Emir …It’s time for decisive action, says ACN From Edwin Olofu, Kano & Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, has reviewed the recent bombing of a bus park in Kano concluding that the perpetrators have the intention of sparking off a civil war in the country. The Emirs proclamation comes on the heels of warning from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the attack signifies an impending doom which may overwhelm the entire nation. Although the police claimed that only 22 persons were killed when suicide bombers hit the Luxurious Bus motor park located at Sabon Gari in the Kano metropolis, independent reports indicated that no fewer than 70 persons lost their lives during the incident. Speaking in his palace yesterday when he received a delegation from the Federal Government on condolence visit over the attack, Bayero noted further that the motive behind Contd on Page 2

L-R: Special Adviser to CBN Governor on Sustainable Banking, Dr. Aisha Usman Mahmood,CBN Deputy Governor of Operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo, and Acting Director, Consumer Protection Department of CBN, Mrs. Umma A. Dutse, during the Business Plan Contest and Exhibition organised by CBN and Sage Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Unemployment: Nigeria’ll explode soon, says Obasanjo From Olarewaju Lawal, Ilorin


ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the country would soon be engulfed in violent upheavals due to what he described as the high level of unemployment. Obasanjo spoke yesterday in Ilorin where he delivered the

16th Annual Lecture of the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute in Ilorin, Kwara state. He attributed the prevailing violent and political instability as part factors which account for stagnation and slow growth of agriculture in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Obasanjo noted that the number of universities in Nigeria has risen to about 150, describing it as a huge problem because the students graduate without prospects of jobs. “This means we are sitting on a keg of gun powder because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop and a hopeless idle hand is

tinder’s box,” Obasanjo warned. According to him, “”the implications of this dilemma are huge, with roughly 60 per cent region’s labour and 90 per cent of the region’s poor currently working directly in agriculture, it is difficult to imagine how significant poverty reduction in Africa can occur without

increased productivity in agriculture. “Other factors like weak financial markets and rural finance institutions also contribute to poor agriculture growth. “Post-harvest grain losses in sub-Sahara Africa alone are Contd on Page 2























Alamieyeseigha could be refunded billions by of stolen funds, lawyers say, Page 4



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Excess Crude Account: FG, states share $2 billion By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he three tiers of government will in the next fortnight share a total of $2 billion from the excess crude account to finance development projects in their domains. This was part of the decisions taken during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo at the Council Chambers of the State House yesterday. The Council had shared $1 billion from the same account in January. During the meeting, an update on the status of the Excess Crude Account was presented by the Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama, who said that $7.82 billion was left in the account after the sharing of $1billion by the three tiers of government earlier in the year and payment of fuel subsidy commitments. According to Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom

state, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina state and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state who briefed State House Correspondents after the meeting, the Council also gave its blessing to the recommendations of the Dankwambo-led, subcommittee which reviewed a recent presentation by the Minister of Information Technology, Mrs. Mobolaji Johnson, on a proposed, broadband roadmap for the country, to the effect that telecoms service providers should partner with the federal and state governments to ensure proper harmonisation and integration of development projects with ICT infrastructure. They described multiple levies, charges, illegal taxes as impediments to accelerated growth and development of ICT infrastructure. The Council also recommended that a proper template for the implementation of the recommendations be designed by the National Planning

Commission in collaboration with the relevant agencies. The Council also considered a report presented by the Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, Chairman of a Technical Committee on review of multiple taxation across the federation at various levels and its effects on the Nigerian economy, which recommended a phased implementation programme with short, medium and long term timelines. The Dankwambo committee recommended a review and amendment of taxes and levies, outlawed the use of unorthodox means to collect taxes and levies and the automation of tax operations by relevant tax authorities, to eliminate leakages and ensure ease of collection. The committee also recommended that tax authorities should respect the provisions of the law on the use of consultants for tax assessment and collection, among others. The Council adopted the

recommendations and mandated the National Planning Commission to work with the proposed committee to work out a blueprint for implementation. The Council also took presentations on the progress of work on the on-going power projects. The Council endorsed the recommendation for more investment in the sector to address the issue of transmission capacity needed for effective evacuation of generated power as well as harness the 20,000MW hydropower capacity which remains largely untapped. The Council also set up a committee with Liyel Imoke, Governor Cross River state as chairman, to come up with final recommendations to be presented at the next NEC meeting. Other members of the committee are the governors of Kogi, Katsina, Kaduna, Ekiti, Benue and Anambra states as well as the ministers of Finance, Power, Water Resources and National Planning.

Civil war: Goal of Kano bombing – Emir Contd from Page 1

the attack was to cause chaos. He said that he was always saddened anytime he receives news of violent attacks even as he described the latest incident in his domain as barbaric. According to the Emir, “I tried to always figure out what is happening, who is behind this. The Federal Government should do more to fish out the perpetrators of these acts, in Nigeria and indeed our state cannot continue to be in this mess. “Something is missing in the whole of this barbaric act, certainly government must do more to fish out the real people behind what is happening, Nigerians were living harmoniously in Kano and I believe all over the federation

regardless of tribe and religious difference but all of a sudden we find ourselves in this mess, government should wake up. “I must confess that Nigeria is passing through trying times, the killings everyday of citizens will certainly not auger well for the nation and that is why I believe strongly that somebody is behind this but the government must fish out whoever is behind it now.” Responding, the leader of the delegation who is also Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, explained that they were in Kano to commiserate with the people over the unfortunate incident. He said that government was working assiduously to avoid reoccurrence of the incident. Moro was accompanied by the Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb

Olubolade, Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-Gen. Azubuike Ihejerika, and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar. But the ACN said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that unless all stakeholders join hands to address the precarious security situation, “Nigeria is headed for catastrophe arguing that the latest killings in parts of the country confirm Federal Government’s incompetence in piloting the affairs of the country. According to the statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “there are two kinds of war that a nation can hardly survive: religious and ethnic war and a combination of both can only spell doom for any nation,

Boko Haram: Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon in joint border patrol From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he Federal Government in collaboration with the Republic of Niger and the Republic and Cameroon has commenced a joint border patrol aimed at protecting the borders of the three countries. The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, who spoke with reporters in Kano yesterday, noted that the Federal

Government is highly concern over the spread of violence which has virtually engulfed the entire northern region. He said government had taken a number of measures to address the situation saying that the joint border patrol, mounting of highly sophisticated gadgets at the nation’s borders as well identifying all other routes that are not manned by security personnel.

Moro further explained that government was doing everything possible to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians through tightening the nation’s security system at the borders while disagreeing with the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria Bola Tinubu that a number of ministries including the Ministry of police Affairs and the Ministry of Interior be scrapped.

hence we must move today to prevent our nation from being plunged into religious and ethnic war which seems to be the intention of the anarchists behind the worsening orgy of killings in our country. “We also call on our leaders at all levels to exercise caution in their statements, so as not to incite one group against the other. This is because we have heard the drums of war being beaten by some easily excitable leaders, at a time that requires utmost restraint. “The recent escalation in the senseless attacks in the north follows the shameful display by President Goodluck Jonathan when he paid a belated visit to the states that have now become the epicentre of the Boko Haram crisis.”

Unemployment: Nigeria will explode soon, says Obasanjo Contd from Page 1

estimated at about four billion US dollars a year, about three times the size of Nigeria’s 2013 agriculture budget and more than the combined agricultures of many West African countries.”



Oteh must go, Reps insist By Umar Muhammad Puma


he House Representatives yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to implement an earlier resolution by the legislators of which removed Ms. Arumah Oteh from office on grounds of non possession of the minimum professional qualification prescribed in the

Securities and Exchange Commission Act for appointment to the office of Director-General. In a motion titled blatant disregard of the resolution of the House of Representatives, read by Garba Datti ( CPC Kaduna state), said most of the resolutions, hinged on fundamental public duty placed on public officers by the Constitution under the

Fundamental Objectives and Directive principles of State Policy. He noted that the motion urging the removal of Oteh, for instance, was based on the fact that her appointment as Director General of the Securities Exchange Commission was a gross violation of the Commission Act as she does not possess the minimum professional qualification

prescribed for appointment to that position. According to him, the Executive has adopted the dangerous and vexatious approach of picking and choosing the implementation of resolutions of the Senate on the dismissed of Abdulrasheed Maina which was passed much later in time while still disregarding the long pending

Jonathan appoints new Head of Service

Scores killed as soldiers, gunmen clash in Borno

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


everal persons were feared killed yesterday evening when soldiers engaged unknown gunmen in a shoot-out, after the hoodlums attacked a distribution depot belonging to the giant soft drinks firm, CocaCola, in Biu town, the administrative headquarters of Biu local government area of Borno state. Eyewitnesses said those killed comprised of a soldier, two of the attackers and an unspecified number civilians who were caught in the crossfire. Many passers-by and shop owners equally reportedly sustained gunshot injuries, while others were wounded in the ensuing stampede. Biu is about 185 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital and had witnessed series of attacks and killings in the recent past. The latest incident in the series of violence rocking the state occurred at about 5pm when unknown gunmen stormed the town and headed to the Coca-Cola depot located at the popular Abba Liman shopping complex. The attackers were said to have fired sporadic shots in different directions and held the workers at gun point before carting away unspecified amount of money. The state Police Command and the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF) declined to comment on the attack. However witnesses said over 20 men, armed with assault rifles and explosives had stormed the shopping complex and forcefully collected huge sums of money from members of staff of the soft drinks company. It was further gathered that the invaders who drove to the area in three Hilux vehicles, divided themselves into two with one group entering into the premises of the depot while the other took strategic locations and fired sporadic shots into the air, apparently to scare away the public.

motion on the removal of the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He warned that resolutions bordering on the breach of extant legislations should not be treated with levity. Also contributing to the debate, Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN Lagos state) said the resolutions of the House must be obeyed.

L-R: Commander, 1 Brigade, Brigadier-General Mohammed Tasi’u, presenting a plaque to Kebbi state Governor, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari, during his visit to the governor, yesterday in Birnin Kebbi. Photo: NAN

resident Goodluck Jonathan has appointed Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji the new Head of the Civil Service (HOS) of the Federation. Alhaji Goni, who was until his appointment, Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office, Office of the HOS takes over from Alhaji Isa Bello Sali who will attain the mandatory retirement age of 60 on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Goni hails from Yobe state and was born on January 13, 1959. He attended Government College, Maiduguri, Borno College of Basic Studies, Maiduguri and graduated from the University of Maiduguri in 1984. A career civil servant, Goni has held several key positions at the state and federal levels including Chief Administrative Officer, Governor’s Office, Maiduguri (1989-1991), Principal Secretary to the Military Administrator of Yobe state (1991-1992), Principal Secretary to the First Civilian Governor of Yobe state (19921993) and Principal Secretary to the 2nd Military Administrator of Yobe state (1993-1995).

Rival APC unveils online membership registration By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ne of the rival political associations with the controversial acronym APC” yesterday launched its website for online registration of intending members. Speaking at the post-launch press briefing in Abuja, acting National Chairman of the African People’s Congress, Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, asked intending members who may not have access to internet registration to visit any of its offices spread across the country. However, according to him, the party’s in the online registration drive is to have over one million followership in its online membership register and social media network by the end of April this year. Ikeagwuonu, who explained that the rationale behind the creation of the website is based on the belief of the party leadership that one of the

…Says there’s black market INEC registration cardinal principles of intraparty democracy is the ability of having an institutionalised platform for free and unrestricted membership. He said, “by this milestone, APC has shown that its doors are wide open as it remains the core advocate of an all inclusive and participatory democracy in Nigeria and this will run alongside the manual registration which can be done at the ward level.” Ikeagwuonu announced the setting up of four ad-hoc committees, preparatory to the issuance of certificate of registration to the party by INEC. He said that the committees would oversee the proposed launching ceremony of the party. According to him, the committees, Publicity

Committee, headed by Acting National Secretary, Steve Uzoechi, Contact, Mobilisation and Membership committee, headed by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Joseph Jaro, Pre-launch Central Organising Committee, headed by the National Secretary, Sa’id Balogun, and Legal Committee, headed by the National Legal Adviser, N. Kingsley. The acting Chairman of the party regretted what he described as “gathering of the dark forces” which he alleged are working hard through their cronies in the INEC to foil their legitimate process of registering the party. According to him, “a black market transaction going on in INEC which if not checked immediately may murder the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria.”

While disclosing that it has uncovered the manipulative, tinkering and leakage of official documents in INEC concerning the ongoing registration of APC, the Acting Chairman bemoaned the alleged activities going on in the legal department of the commission where some top officials are hell bent on using false documents to deny APC registration. He therefore threatened that APC will not sit back and watch these “dark forces” in INEC, acting under the influence of the Lagos Mafia, deny APC its constitutional right to registration. He urged the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, to rise and defend constitutionalism and due process, insisting that APC has complied with all the requirements of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.


Alamieyeseigha could be refunded billions of stolen funds, lawyers say F

ormer Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, may be paid billions of naira, the value of the assets seized from him after his conviction for money laundering. President Goodluck Jonathan had granted Mr. Alamieyeseigha a presidential pardon, rendering the former Bayelsa State governor a freeman. While Mr. Alamieyeseigha was convicted, properties he acquired from his money laundering regime were seized, and most of them sold by the federal government. After his pardon, since his rights and privileges will be restored according to Nigerian law, it is uncertain if he will retrieve the items or the value of the items he corruptly acquired from the Nigerian government. Some lawyers say the presidential pardon bestowed on Mr. Alamieyeseigha grants him fresh rights to the items he acquired with wealth he stole. All, however, condemned the pardon granted the fugitive, who is still wanted in the U.K. for jumping bail after he was arrested for money laundering. Though both the Federal Government and Mr. Alamieyeseigha are yet to speak on the forfeited property, lawyers said the former Bayelsa Governor has a case to demand the return of his forfeited property and may infact go to court for same. Should he achieve success in court, and since the property have largely been disposed off, the federal government may pay billions of naira in lieu of the property. He should get the property Activist lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, said the precedence of an Appeal Court ruling on what pardon means, implies Mr. Alamieyeseigha can ask for his asset to be returned and actually get them. "This is the implication of a full pardon," he said. Mr. Falana cited the case of Olu Falae versus Obasanjo, where Mr. Falae challenged the eligibility of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to contest for presidential election in 1999 saying the former military head of state was not granted full pardon by the then military junta. "According to the Court of Appeal in the case of Falae V Obj, it means that a man who has been pardoned is a new man (homo novus) in the eye of the law. The conviction and sentence are wiped out and he is entitled to the full restoration of his rights and privileges as well as the return of his seized assets," Mr. Falana said. While challenging the result of the presidential 1999 election, Mr. Falae had argued that Mr. Obasanjo did not get "full pardon" from Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar after his conviction

for involvement in the 1995 coup plot and therefore is not qualified to contest the election. But the Court of Appeal while dismissing Mr. Falae's argument had ruled that: "The word used under Section 161 (1) and Exhibit 11 is "pardon", and in this context, pardon may be with or without any conditions. It is clear from Exhibit 11 that the pardon granted to the 1st Respondent was not made subject to any conditions. In my view, under

argument Some other lawyers, however, disagree with this interpretation. "The forfeitures were made before the pardon was granted, so what happens if the properties forfeited to the Federal government have been sold to a third party," asked activist lawyer, Bamidele Aturu. "When you forfeit something, it is what you forfeit that you will get back. Those goods have been forfeited to the Federal Government there is no way this

Alamieyeseigha the Nigerian law, a "pardon" and "full pardon" have no distinction. A pardon is an act of grace by the appropriate authority which mitigates or obliterates the punishment the law demands for the offence, and restores the rights and the privileges forfeited on account of the offence. The effect of a pardon is to make the offender, a new man (novus homo), to acquit him of all corporal penalties and forfeiture annexed to the offence pardoned. I am of the view, that by virtue of the pardon contained in Exhibit 11, the disqualification of the 1st Respondent was to suffer because of his conviction, has been wiped out." Lagos lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, also argued in his article that based on the Appeal Court's ruling, which was not upturned by any superior court, Mr. Alamieyeseigha can demand the return of his asset. He said the ruling of the court suggests that Mr. Alamieyeseigha is free to make a claim for the property or their value. The other side of the

act of pardon can release that. So I don't know by what legal abragadabra that anybody will say that the forfeited goods should be handed over to him unless they want to perpetrate serious fraud on Nigerian people. Those properties have been forfeited and forfeited for life," he added. Another lawyer, Charles Musa, said forfeited asset cannot be returned to their former owners irrespective of a presidential pardon. But he said Mr. Alamieyeseigha can contest this in court. "If you have suffered any punishment, the punishment remains," Mr. Musa said. "It's left for his lawyers to argue that. He can go to court but I doubt if he will succeed. What of those who served time, can they get the time back?" he questioned. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which successfully prosecuted Mr. Alamieyeseigha would not comment on its possible response should the ex-governor demand his seized The commission's spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren,

did not respond to calls or text messages sent to him on the subject. The presidency has aggressively defended President Goodluck Jonathan's decision to pardon Mr. Alamieyeseigha, while Nigerians and the international community have condemned the pardon granted the former governor. The National Council of States headed by Mr. Jonathan, had last week Tuesday, pardoned Mr. Alamieyeseigha and seven others. Below are the asset seized from Mr. Alamieyeseigha and which he could claim back. Assets fraudulently acquired by Alamieyeseigha forfeited to the state a. Account number 10659347 with Barclays Bank Plc, United Kingdom with a balance of GBP203, 753.34 as at 15th February 2005; b. Account number 3239940 with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5HB with a balance of $2.5 million as at September 2005; account number 338931 in the name of FALCON INC. with UBS Warburg AG, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5HB; c. Account number 7341553/7341596 FOR us dollars with Barclays Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akritas Avenue 1644, Nicosla, Cyprus; account number 7341588 for GB pounds Sterling with Barclays Bank Plc at International Banking Unit, 88 Dighemis Akrltas Avenue 1644, Nicosia, Cyprus ; d. Bank account number 5005220454-7 in Denmark with JYSKE Bank at Bseterbrogate, 9, DK-1780, Copeenhagen V with a balance of at $2.5 million; e. Bank account number 005482562491 with Bank of America United States of America in the name of Peter Aklamleyeseigh with a balance of $160,000.00 a. Property known as Water Gardens, London W2 2DG which I bought at GBP1.75 million in the name of my company known as Solomon & Peters Ltd; b. Property at 14 Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB which you bought at GBP1.4 million; c. Property at 14 Jubilee Heights, School Uphill, London, NW2 2UQ, which you bought at GBP241,000; d. Property at No. 68-70, Regent's Road, London, N3 bought at 3 million Pounds Sterling. Chelsea Hotel Abuja worth of N2 Billion for which N1.5 Billion was paid; Two block of luxury flats at Plot 26 Bashir Dalhatu Close, Abacha Estate, Ikoyi worth of N45; c. Acquired a property at John Kadiya Street, off Jose Marti Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja worth N350 million; An Estate of six luxury duplexes at No. 1 Community, Road, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja,

Lagos worth N200 million One Billion Naira worth of Shares acquired in defunct Bond bank o Plot 916 & 917, Wuse II District, Abuja o Plot 7, Cadastral Zone A6, Maitama Abuja o Plot1267, Amazon Road, Abuja o Plot 3375, cadastral Zone A6, Abuja o Plot 1372-1374, Cadastral Zone A7, Wuse II, Abuja o Plot 1281, cadastral Zone A4, Asokoro, Abuja a. A personal bank account with Barclays Bank Plc which was opened on 5 January 2004 and the balance stood at £203,753.34 as at 15th February 2005. b. A personal bank account with HSBC, London, but the account was closed sometimes in March 2003 while all the money in the account was transferred to Santolina Investment Corporation's account with National Westminster Bank, London. c. Personal account with Bond Bank in Lagos which was opened sometimes in January 2004 and the balance stood at N105-14.942.61 as at 16th September 2005 and another personal account in Oceanic Bank Plc (The Salo Trust) in the names of Enitonbrapa Alamieyeseigha, Embelakpo Alamieyeseigha, Ebipadei Alamieyeseigha, Oyamuyefa Alamieyeseigha, Saleaka Alamieyeseigha and Margaret Alamieyeseigha. d. Account with Bank of America in the name of Peter Alamieyeseigha with account number 0054 8256 2491 which balance stood at $1, 600,000.00 as at August 2003. o 247, Water Gardens, London, W2 2DG, which is the registered address of Solomon & Peters Ltd. This property was purchased for £1.75 million on 20/8/2003 o 14, Mapesbury Road, London, NW2 4JB. This property was purchased for £1.4 million on 6/7/2001. o Flat 202, Jubilee Heights, Shoot uphill, London, NW2 3LJQ, purchased for the sum of £241,000.00 on 28/10/99. o 68-70, Regent's Park Road, London, N3 which was purchased in July 2002 for the sum of £3 million. All the properties listed above have a combined value in excess of £S 381million o A property at V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa worth over £1 million. o Royal Albatross Properties 67 a company registered in September 2005 in Cape Town, South Africa. o A property in 504, Pleasant Drive, King Farm Estate, Maryland USA, and another one in 15859, Aurora Crest Drive, Whither, California, USA, 906 (Premium Times)



Author of the book, Mr. Afam Belolisa (middle), and chairman of the occasion, Dr. Mike Ogbalu (5thleft), with other dignitaries, presenting the book titled "Torn Asunder", yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Cacol warns Jonathan against fuel price Hike From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has warned President Goodluck Jonathan against increasing the price of petroleum products in the country. Reacting to President Jonathan's statement that petrol price would go up, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Debo Adeniran, warned that the federal government should be wary of heating up the polity with any careless move, because the nation is sitting on the keg of gunpowder. "President Goodluck Jonathan should desist from increasing the tempo of the polity unnecessarily. We all saw what the nation witnessed in January 2012 when the FG first took this step. The loss of lives and properties is enough to teach any reasonable government morals that Nigerians would resist any hike in the price of petrol vehemently. The masses are groaning under the economic hardship created by the hike in the price of the product from N65 to N97 early this year. The imminent crisis that will greet another hike is better imagined, "Comrade Adeniran said. The anti-corruption crusader urged President Goodluck to bother more with ridding the oil sector of corrupt practices by recovering our common patrimony from those who shortchanged the nation to the tune of trillions of naira. "The President should first map out ways to frontally combat the staggering corruption that is pervasive in our oil industry.

Insecurity: Police to clamp down on tinted, unregistered vehicles By Lambert Tyem


olice Authorities yesterday in Abuja said it has observed with concern, the abuse and unlawful use of tinted glasses by vehicles plying on the nations' highways as well as huge numbers of unregistered/ unlicensed vehicles despite repeated warnings by the police. According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, "this unbecoming attitude has the capacity, not only to heighten

criminal activities, but to place unnecessary pressure on security agencies and law abiding citizens". A statement signed by the police spokesman Frank Mba said: "In view of the potential danger posed by the indiscriminate use of tinted glasses and unregistered/ unlicensed vehicles, corroborated by recent security reports that criminal elements, including suspected terrorists, now hide under the cover of the use of the aforementioned types of vehicles, tricycles and motorcycles to execute their nefarious trade.

"The IGP wishes to remind Nigerians from all walks of life, including politicians, military and security personnel,that the ban on unlawful and indiscriminate use of tinted glasses and legislations forbidding the plying of unregistered vehicles on our highways, are still very much in force. "The IGP, in the light of several negative security implications associated with this unrestrained infringement on relevant laws on the use of tinted glasses and unregistered/unlicensed

Immigration top shots in war over succession By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ollowing the vacuum created by the retirement of erstwhile boss of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Rose Uzoma, several top officers of the service are currently throwing caution to the winds in a war of word to fill the vacuum. Uzoma was sacked in the midst of job racketeering that rocked the NIS. A senior staff of the service who was not happy at the process reliably told reporters on investigation that the battle over who steps in as Controller General have reached feverish height with Immigration top brass pitched in a divisive succession tussle. According to him, contenders who have gone 'diabolical' in their quest, may have taken on a 'most unhealthy ethnic' dimension, resulting in indiscriminate posting of officers despite proven competences. The pressure at the top, it was reliably gathered, has not been helped by reports that the supervisory Minister of Interior, comrade Abba Patrick Moro,

recently forwarded three names, including that of Acting Comptroller General, DCI Rilwanu Bala Musa, to President Goodluck Jonathan, from which a substantive CGI may be named. The other two names listed by the minister include Assistant Controller General of Immigration ACG from Jigawa, Mohammed Babandede and Ogun State -born ACG Ayo Tunde Oredipe. The source, (name withheld) alleged further that "Granted that these are accomplished officers in their own right, the majority opinion here is that they are not the best that we need to really impact on policy direction of the immigration service of today. "The Acting CG has less than one year to retire, and so hasn't got the time to really impact on the policy direction of the service. Aside that, he was part of the immediate past management, and has been around for quite a while at the top level of the Nigeria Immigration Service, and cannot claim that he was not part of the failings of that administration", the source added.

The academic qualification of some of the shortlisted officers was also called to question, with officers claiming that they are not relevant to the service of today. The source therefore submitted that "the Service at the moment needs a dynamic, detribalized leader who he said must be willing to boldly steer the NIS over present crossroad that is enmeshed in bigotry and distrust", adding that some of those shortlisted may not enjoy the loyalty of female members of the service as a result of past mistreatment. When contacted, the special Assistant to the Minister on media, Mr. George Udoh, debunked the allegation in entirety, noting that there was no official statement from the ministry that some names has been forwarded for consideration. His words: "There is an acting CG, the Minister is a father of all in the ministry beside there is no official statement from the ministry, so there is nothing like that and you known comrade Abba Moro can not be selective", he stated

vehicles, has directed all Zonal AIGs and State Command Commissioners of Police to arrest and bring to book, in line with extant laws, all defaulters. He wishes to clearly state that the Nigeria Police Force will no longer tolerate the habit of few misguided Nigerians who wantonly abuse the use of tinted glasses and unregistered/unlicensed vehicles, thereby complicating the challenge of effectively policing the country and equally endangering the lives and property of law abiding citizens. "It is the strong advice of the IGP that all persons having vehicles still unlawfully fitted with tinted glasses, to remove them immediately. "Similarly, owners of unregistered/unlicensed vehicles are advised to immediately register them and obtain appropriate licenses or withdraw them forthwith from public roads; as police Officers nationwide have been directed to commence a massive operation aimed at enforcing all existing laws bordering on tinted glasses and the use of unregistered/unlicensed vehicles. "The IGP wishes to reassure the public that the Nigeria Police is committed to its constitutional and lawful responsibilities of providing security for the citizenry. Citizens are however, reminded of their civic obligation of obeying all laws of the State. They are further advised to act and conduct themselves within the ambit of the law and to continue to support and assist the Police and other security agencies in their efforts to safeguard the country".



Minister of State for Education,Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (3rd left), with members of Niger Delta Young Professionals, during the group's visit to the minister, yesterday in Abuja.

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs Fatima Bamidele, Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, and Liberian Deputy Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Bernice Dahn, during the visit of the Liberian deputy minister to health minister, yesterday in Abuja

Shade of a filling station pulled down by rainstorm, on Wednesday at Omu-Aran, in Kwara state.

Chairman, Management Committee, Riyom LGA of Plateau, Mr Sam Audu (right), briefing newsmen over the attacks in his local government area, yesterday in Jos

President Goodluck Jonathan (2ndright), Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Joy Emordi (2ndleft), with members of the House of Representatives, after breaking of fast, on Wednesday at the State House, in Abuja. Photos: Joe Oroye, Justin Imo-Owo & NAN



Wamakko Kogi primary: 11 remanded in prison custody over thuggery in Kogi pledges He further told the court the bail application on the Audu,Mark Sunday, Monday From Sam Egwu, Lokoja that three single barrel gun, ground that investigation Adejoh, Christopher Otuwe, N18,000 wage 1 persons were yesterday Femi Adebisi and Ojonugwa one short double barrel gun, continues on the offences of the three live cartridges, one accused persons which attracts remanded in prison Daniel. to LG workers The prosecutor, Samuel screw driver and a sword were 20 years imprisonment if found custody by a Kogi state By Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


okoto State Governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko on Tuesday in Sokoto reiterated his commitment to pay the N18,000 minimum wages proposed for the staff and teachers in all the 23 local government areas. He made this known yesterday, when he met with all relevant stakeholders at Sokoto Government House Chamber. He promised to commence the payment of N18,000 minimum wage as from this Month, although the governor is still waiting for the reports of the verification committee before the implementation of the minimum wages. The meeting which was held with the Commissioner for Local Government , Alhaji Farouk Malami Yabo, all the 23 local government councils Chairmen, Labour leaders, NULGE officials to among others.


Magistrate Court for alleged criminal conspiracy and thuggery contrary to section 97 and 217 of the penal code and section 11 sub (c) of the Kogi state act of kidnapping, thuggery and other related offences prohibition law of 2010. The accused persons were, Shaibu Abubakar, Bala Yusuf, Leke Alhaji Shehu, Salihu Ibrahim, Onuche Onoja, Musa

Ikutanwa, told the court that on March 20, 2013 the accused persons were arrested by the police following a tip off that some members of the Peoples Democratic Party who were dissatisfied with the party chairmanshp primary election at Olamaboro local government stormed Lokoja with dangerous weapon to cause disorder.

recovered from the accused persons. The accused persons pleaded not guilty when the content of the FIR was read to them while their counsel Barrister Samuel Momoh urged the court to grant them bail as an accused person is presumed innocent until proved otherwise. The prosecutor objected to

guilty. He urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody as they could interfere with investigation and cause more crisis as the chairmanship election was around the corner. The presiding Magistrate, Suleman Abdullahi remanded the accused persons in prison custody and adjourned the case to April 18, for hearing.

NAFDAC pledges support to NOA ‘do the right thing campaign’ By A’isha Biola Raji


he Director General of NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control), Dr. Paul Orhii has pledged the agency’s support in the ‘do the right thing’ campaign being spearheaded by National Orientation Agency (NOA). Dr. Orhii made this pledge yesterday in Abuja in his response during a courtesy visit by the leadership of NOA. He said the success of the campaign would translate positively to success in the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs. He said Nigeria is a country blessed with human and mineral resources and with a push for the right action at the right time, as well as stand to benefit from its mass of fortune. According to the Orhii, NAFDAC is ready to use its entire medium, acquired through partnering with other sister agencies, to back NOA in its efforts to make Nigerians do the right thing especially concerning fake drugs. In his remark, the Director general of NOA, Dr. Mike Omeri urged Nigerians to do the right thing by reporting fake drugs to the appropriate authorities. He said, “Nigerians have a role to play in fighting fake and counterfeit drugs, this they can do through the use of text messages as directed by NAFDAC.” Dr. Omeri however called on NAFDAC to make use of NOA large staff strength to penetrate the masses at the grassroots. He called attention of the NAFDAC D.G to the proliferation of drugs through the borders and the need to work with immigration officials.

L-R: Chairman, Daar Communication Plc., Chief Raymond Dokpesi , Company Secretary, MrAnopuoDonatus, Group Managing Director, Mr Tony Akiotu and Director, Alhaji Gambo Lawan, during the 4th Annual General Meeting of Daar Communication, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Bayero urges Nigerians to pray for peace


he Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, has urged Nigerians irrespective of faith to continue to pray for the sustenance of peace in the country. Bayero made the call when the Northern Elders Forum, led by Mr Paul Unongo, paid him a courtesy call at his palace in Kano yesterday. He stressed the need for Muslims and Christians as well as those who did not believe in any religion to continue to pray to bring an end to the lingering insecurity in the country. ''Hardly a day will pass by without getting a story that somebody is

killed. This is a very disturbing situation,'' the emir said. He urged the forum to come up with possible solutions to end the incessant killing of innocent citizens in the North. "We are not unaware of the efforts you are making in order to find a lasting solution to the socio-economic and security challenges facing the region. ''We urge you to continue in that direction so as to get permanent solution to the problem,'' Bayero said. Earlier, Unongo, a former Minister of Mines and Steel, said the delegation was in Kano to

commiserate with the emirate on the recent bomb attack at Sabon Gari motor-park. He said the forum would continue to do its best in order to ensure unity and peace in the region as well as to restore its lost glory. ''We want to assure you that the forum will continue to give useful suggestions and advice to the government on how to move the North and the entire country forward. The delegation included Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule, and former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha

Akanbi. Others were Sheik Ahmed Lemu, Alhaji and Yahaya Kwande as well as a former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sani ZangonDaura, a former governor of Borno, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, and a former Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof Ango Abdullahi. The rest were former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Abdurrahman Dambazau, former Chief of Air Staff, AVM Al-Amin Daggash and a former Federal Permanent Secretary, Hajiya Safiya Mohammed. (NAN)

Christian pilgrimage: Gombe officials, pilgrims disagree over success


fficials of the Gombe State Christian pilgrims Welfare Board and pilgrims who arrived Gombe yesterday have disagreed over the successful conduct of the exercise. While most of the pilgrims who spoke to Journalists at the Gombe Airport expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner the exercise was conducted, most of the officials of the Board and leader of the Gombe delegation described the exercise as a huge success despite performing the pilgrimage four months after

the scheduled date. Pilgrims who would not want their names mentioned said that this year’s exercise was below standard due to the lateness in performing the exercise and the reduction of their pilgrimage days from ten to nine days. Another disappointment they encountered during the exercise according to the pilgrims, was the high hopes most of them had when officials told them that the exercise would include visiting some sites in Greece but which was later

cancelled. However, Chairman of the Gombe State Christian pilgrims Welfare Board, Reverend Tulfukut M Kardi and some leaders in the Gombe delegation expressed satisfaction with the exercise . According to him, despite the logistic problems that prevented the pilgrimage from being held late last year, all pilgrims performed the exercise peacefully with the state government sponsoring ninety per cent of the pilgrims who returned safely.

He said a report that was carried by a section of the media that Gombe State was among the ten states that could not perform the 2012 Christian Pilgrimage, was wrong. The State CAN Chairman, Reverend Abare Kalla, said he had not reported to any authority or the national body of CAN about non performance of the 2012 Christian Pilgrimage by Gombe State saying, “Pilgrimage 2012 was observed in Gombe State irrespective of the delay, it doesn’t mean it was not observed”.



'I can't audit some public offices'-Auditor general By Stanley Onyekwere


uditor General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura has said that the law guiding his office obstructs him from auditing certain public offices in Nigeria just as he described corruption as the biggest problem facing the country which should be effectively tackled if the

country can experience speedy development. Lamenting what he described as "constitutional limitation of his office to investigate and audit the account of certain public offices", he said such limitation has given room for impunity in such public offices. Ukura who made this assertion in Abuja when the

National Coalition of Civil Organization Against Corruption (NCCOAC) paid him a courtesy visit, noted that Nigeria has great potentials to be amongst the greatest nations. He however called on youths to imbibe the virtue of work hard, so as to become better citizens and contribute to the development of the

country. Speaking earlier, the executive convener of NCCOAC, Comrade Jacob Osaji, condemned the wastage of public resources by public office holders, urging the National Assembly to immediately look into the laws establishing the office of the auditor general and amend them to grant necessary

powers to the office. According to him, God has blessed the nation with abundant human and natural resources to be used for the good of humanity but a cabal has continued to rob the people for their selfish interest thereby enthroning bitterness, acrimony and hatred amongst the people. "Systematic corruption has continued to remain very endemic in both public and private sectors of our economy which is prompting a people's revolution across Africa", he said.

NSCIA official slams NAHCON over seats allocation By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


L-R: Chairman, Fellowship of Partners for the Protection of Ethics and Values, Dr. Paddy Njoku, and Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values, Mrs. Sarah Jibril, during the Presidential Summit on Ethics and Values, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

ITF graduates 1000 youths in Bauchi From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Industrial Training Fund (ITF) graduated 1000 youths in Bauchi state within three months of industrial training. The Director-general of the Fund, Prof. Longmas Sambo Wapmuk who said this at the graduation ceremony in Bauchi however expressed dismay that 38% of those less than age 15 and between 15 - 20 have neither formal education nor skills with 64% of them in North-east and North-west. He said the programme conceived by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment in collaboration with the fund, SMEDAN, and BOI was aimed at actualizing the transformation agenda of the federal government. Wapmuk revealed that about 3.5 million jobs in various areas, business development services, and business finance are to be created in the country between 2013 and 2015. He said despite an over 70% GDP growth rate in the Nigerian economy in the last

couple of years, 23% of the population is unemployed and the rate is growing by the day. According to him, 60% of the unemployed are youth between the ages of 15 - 35 who constitute 32% of the population 0r 60% of the workforce, noting that 45% of the unemployed youth are in 12 - 25 years bracket, the so-called "Youth Bulge". .Prof. Wapmuk explained that the first phase of the

National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) commenced on December 3, 2012 with a total of 10, 000 youth drawn from the nine states of Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Kano, Lagos Oyo, Plateau and FCT Abuja. He gave the skills trained on as tiling, autotronics, POP making, welding and fabrication, garment making, group talent arts, fish farming, yam, cassava

and rice processing, ICT, generator and cellphone repairs and plumbing. Wapmuk also unveiled plan by the fund to establish 37 Industrial Skills Training Centers, one in each state of the federation including Abuja in addition to the establishment of 6 Advanced Centers of Skills Acquisition for Development, one in each of the geo-political zone in the next few years.

NMA wants speedy passage of national health bill From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he Nigerian Medical Association(NMA), has called for the speedy passage of the National Health Bill and assent by President Goodluck Jonathan so as to tackle the unsatisfactory health situation in the country. NMA president, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, stated this in a speech he delivered yesterday in Lafia, on the occasion of the 2013 World Oral health day celebration, which held in Lafia, Nasarawa state.

He said that the association would continue to contribute its quota towards lifting the health of the people, while urging governments to constitutionally provide accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare for all Nigerians. Dr. Enabulele noted that the World Oral Health Day celebration is an occasion that would constantly remind the populace "that healthy teeth, gums and mouth play crucial role in the ability to work or study without constant nagging and painful

toothache, for self confidence and the overall health of the body, thus the theme for this year's celebration, "healthy teeth for a healthy life." The event was marked by oral health talks, demonstration of correct tooth brushing technique, free dental consultation and distribution of free toothpastes/toothbrushes, with further arrangement to offer free treatment to those with obvious dental problems at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia and the Federal Medical Centre Keffi.

irector of Administration of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Ustaz Amin Igwe-egbe has slammed the National Hajj Commission and other service providers over the annual allocation of seats to the stakeholders, describing it as a form of indiscipline. The Director made the criticism during the launching of a book titled "Pilgrims' Companion: A Guide to Successful Hajj &Umrah", authored by Abdulkarim Abdulmalik yesterday at the National Mosque, Abuja. He described acts, like hiding of defects, inappropriate behaviour by pilgrims as well as preferential treatment from service providers as contradictory to the teachings of Islam. Igwe-egbe, who delivered a lecture on Hajj and Indiscipline at the event,expressed dismay over the frequent acts of indiscipline among pilgrims during hajj, in contravention of its principles. He observed that such acts "dismiss the notion that it is only the people in position of authority that can be undisciplined". "There is a rich tradition in Islamic heritage of high moral standards, ethics, values and norms of behaviour, which govern a Muslim's personal, professional and business life", he said. Book reviewer, Imam Fuad Adeyemi described the book as a companion to both first timers and regular attendants to Hajj and advised that the book be merged, as against its current form of three separate books, with four parts. In his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Ambassador S. A Lawal commended the author of the book, and advised for the translation of the book into other Nigerian languages.



How to Build Wealth in a Depressed Economy


he current economic environment has led many investors to become pessimistic about the Nigeria's economy. Consumer confidence is low and unemployment is running high. But as Warren Buffett has often noted, economic recessions are when investors can find some of the absolute best opportunities. Let's take a look at a few ways to build wealth during the economic downturn. Invest in areas where no one else is One of the easiest ways to lose your hard-earned monies is by following the crowd. Fear is causing many investors to rush to the safety of Treasury bonds and gold. These assets do have some value, but they are not the best opportunities right now. The time to rush into gold was when no one was buying it at N3, 000 or N4, 000 per ounce. Gold now trades at nearly N14, 000 an ounce. You never want to chase an investment when it is trading close to its all-time high valuation. Investors looking for a nice return should turn their attention to the assets that investors are avoiding. Stocks and exchangetraded funds (ETFs) in the financial sector have been underwater for years now. Many technology stocks are still trading at prices below their true value. The steel and industrial production sector contains some great values as well. These investments are long-term holds that could reap serious rewards for risk-taking investors. Build another income stream Unemployment may be running high, but that shouldn't deter you from starting your own

Biz Tip: Update your Website


he Web is one of the least expensive and most effective places to market your business. But with all the competition out there, you can't just throw up a basic Website and expect it to do much for you. Your site needs to be planned out and built to be an effective salesperson that connects with your ideal client - not just an online brochure that's all about you and what you do.

Quote "Once poverty is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society - how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair." — Muhammad Yunus

company. A bad economy is the perfect impetus for starting an online business. There are needs for temporary agencies, consultants, and webpreneurs. All of these businesses require very little overhead and can be started from the comfort of your own home. Most just require paying a few bucks for a domain name to get started.

A part-time job can also add a little income. You can do freelance writing or design work for other companies and bring in an extra couple hundred dollars a month. You can start you own catering business or run errands for people in your neighborhood. If you love pets, then start a pet-sitting business. Your entrepreneurial

venture could end up turning into a full-time job. Buy residential real estate The real estate market looks like a saturated business nowadays. Foreclosures are peaking and home prices continue to be depressed. But while the market may be tough now, there are signs that the sector

may finally be reaching bottom. Mortgage rates are the lowest that they have been in decades. This could help entice some homebuyers and real estate investors back into the market. Remember back in 2009 when everyone was so pessimistic about the stock market? The market reached its low early in 2009 and has bounced back nicely. Many investors missed the rebound waiting for another market drop. The same thing could be setting up right now in the real estate market. Everyone is waiting for commercial and residential real estate to hit bottom. The truth is that no one can tell when a market is at its lowest point. Investors with the capital should consider getting in these markets now, as they are much cheaper than they were just a few years ago. Remember that during a bad economy can be the best time to implement your wealth-building strategy. Just because the economy is in a downswing doesn't mean that you cannot emerge from these difficult times in better financial shape than you entered them.

Taking your personal financial development more seriously


ow much of your finances are within your control? Would you say you're doing pretty well, you've just about got it together or it is definitely out of your control? No matter your financial position, one thing I've discovered throughout my years of teaching and researching the subject of money is that learning never ends. It has become obvious that those who embark upon selfdevelopment tend to have better outcomes in life to those who just go with the flow of what the world has to offer. This is why there is a lot of talk about Personal Development and it has proceeded to become a billion dollar industry. My write up today, I believe will affect everyone no matter where

they stand financially. One thing I count as truly important for us to grasp is that personal development is a lifelong journey. No matter your age you cannot afford to stop learning. This is the reason why you see people continually seeking ways to improve and do better with their lives. Now there are many parts to personal development. And today, we are going to look into one of these parts. So our focus here is on Personal Financial Development. People are used to hearing about personal development, yet not enough is said about personal financial development. You see we currently live in a world where unfortunately, money rules. Yes money has become an intricate

part of mankind and there is hardly anything you do these days that does not involve money somehow. So if money has become a significant part of our day to day lives. Has it not now become a requirement to develop money skills that would enable us use money to its upmost advantage? We cannot afford any longer to be ignorant of the way money works generally, and the way it works in our country of residence. You see, the way money works in the UK is different from the way money works in Nigeria. Yes, generally, money does do the same thing, as it is a medium of exchange but how they function as a medium of exchange differs from one country to another. This has a lot to do with policies, culture and people's interactions. Our financial lives are so important if we want to overcome hardship, struggles and uncertainties. So what is Personal Financial Development? It is you embarking on a journey of financial discovery. It starts with you understanding your relationship with money. How it has impacted your life to date and what areas need improvement. Let's take a look at two basic questions before going further with this topic. What is your financial status? Are you in a job, work for yourself, job seeker or generally unemployed (there's a difference between the unemployed and job seeker. The job seeker is actively looking for work all the time. The unemployed is not.) How would you describe your financial life? Is your income stable or unstable? Do you live by a budget? Are you currently planning your future? Do your financial priorities dictate your life? Do you know where your money goes or does it free-flow through your life? I would like you to ponder on these questions as we take a look at how you can embark upon your

personal financial development. How to embark on your personal financial development? This is what I would say to anyone as they embark on their Personal Financial Development. Before you go out and start spending lots of money on seminars and courses. Do some research and read about money. Get to understand financial terms; there are loads of materials now, many you do not have to pay for with the invention of the internet. What you are doing here is building up your knowledge base. You are incorporating yourself into the world of money and finance. Now you might be saying, is there a difference between money and finance? And my answer is yes. Money can be termed as the exchange item used for commerce. Money is embodied in finance. Finance on the other hand is way bigger than money as it includes all aspects of money and more. When you think of finance you think of economics, investing, funding and the likes. Once you have done your own research and are beginning to get comfortable with financial terms then revisit areas that caught your interest and begin to research those areas further. For some people, investing was their attraction. To narrow it down, probably they were drawn towards investing in properties, others investing in shares seemed attractive. There are so many aspects to investing. But I think you get the point I'm making. When you have built financial confidence in these areas, you can then begin to look for courses and training programs that would help you master your chosen field. It has taken some people a number of years to develop their financial skills but it is a journey well worth it and it does bring tremendous advantage to your life in the long run. So start your personal financial journey today and in years to come you will be grateful that you did.



Police arrest 15 in FCT raid


ifteen persons were arrested during a raid by the police in an uncompleted building opposite the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Headquarters, Abuja. An eye witness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that about 50 armed policemen stormed the building which serves as business centre for the CAC customers in the early hours of Wednesday in search of hoodlums. They were said to have arrived in about four vehicles and stormed the building arresting anyone who could not identify themselves. It was gathered that the action caused pandemonium around the commission as people ran helterskelter to escape possible arrest in error and not certain what the mission of the police officers was. The officers were said to have come in a commando style, stationing themselves in strategic locations at the entrances and exits of the streets leading to the building. Mr Soji Olawuni, a lawyer, who registers businesses with CAC on behalf of applicants, said that the police had invaded the place earlier but no arrest was made. A staff of the commission, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that some criminals use the building as a hide out to perpetrate crime. The official said that some ``fake lawyers'' carried out illegal businesses in the uncompleted building and defraud unsuspecting customers. One of the hawkers in the vicinity, who identified herself as Mary also corroborated the claim of the CAC staff stressing that some of the people arrested slept in the building. One Mrs Afeez, a food vendor in the place said that the police came and picked some boys who constituted themselves into nuisances in the area. When contacted, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Altine Daniel said that she was not aware of the raid. NAN however learnt that the Metro Area Command of the Police carried out the raid and made the arrests. When NAN visited the command at Maitama, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Sunday Odukoya, who is charge of the command was said to have gone out on official assignment. A senior Police officer at the command, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the story, saying that it was part of crime preventing measures in the territory. The officer said that the raid followed a tip-off that some fraudsters gathered in the building to perpetuate criminal activities. On the number of suspects arrested, he declined to give a figure but added that the suspects arrested had been screened and those found wanting had been charged to court. (NAN)

Children hawking sachet water yesterday in Bwari, Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-owo

Hot weather: FCT pure water vendors record boom in sales By Adeola Tukru


ollowing the intense heat of weather in the area, there is a noticeable increase in the sales of sachet water, popularly known as “Pure water” hawkers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as the demand for cold water increases. The hawkers, mainly women, children including men are seen moving everywhere from street to street in the suburbs and also in the city centre of Abuja. Peoples Daily observe that the hawkers and dealers in the commodity are enjoying much patronage. Madam Joy Ikenna who resides in Kubwa and hawks the commodity around Kubwa, recounts that she is making increase in sales.

According to her, she makes an average of N3, 000 daily, adding that she sales at list 5 bags per day, compared to before when she hardly sells 2 bags in a day. “When there is rain, we don’t make such amount, compared to now that the weather is hot. I just look for block as early as 5.00a.m everyday and put them in my pure for sell every day, In fact we have not been lacking to eat this heat period” In her words: “The business is profitable and this has helped me in paying my children’s school fees for this term,’’ she said, adding that her husband and children usually joined her in the business after they close from work and school. Pa Anayo Anyagwu, a 60 year old man also sells pure along the Dutse market in FCT,also said the sales of the sachet water is making him earn a living.

“I retired a long time ago and I use this business to sustain myself before my children sends me money for feeding, I am enjoying the sales in business my pure water business of lately”, he said. He advised unemployed people to earn a living through petty trade, other than sitting idle and waiting for a white collar job. One of them, Ngozi Maxwell said “The ‘pure water’ business is a very lucrative business and has assisted me in domestic matters. I am a widow; the business has done well for me and my children.” Some residents said the heat and the accompanying high-level of dehydration had made the demand for cold ‘pure water’ high. A Pastor Joel Musa said the weather condition had made the development worrisome. He said, “I buy not less than

10 bags of ‘pure water’ every week. I have come to realise that buying in single sachet is not economically viable”. Another resident in Gwarimpa ,Mrs Grace Adoba, a mother of three said she now buys 3bags of water per day in her fridge as a result of the hot weather. “The weather is so hot and I buy three bags per day, because we all drink a lot of water at home in addition to the one I buy in the office” A dealer, Nathaniel in Kubwa confirmed that there is high demand for pure water now compared to before. Again, sachets of ‘pure water’ which used to be a nuisance have become a source of wealth for small-scale entrepreneurs. To many vendors, you can start raking in good cash from this on a daily basis.

NSCDC, FCT warns public against fake online vacancies By Adeola Tukru


he Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) has dissociated itself from the various online sites designed with its logo by criminal elements, with the aim and objective of defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians seeking for job in the Service. During an interview with newsmen, the Federal Capital

Territory (FCT) Commandant, Aminu Abdullahi said his organization does not use online advertisement agencies or sales of forms or scratch cards for its recruitment, adding that hence the need to disregard request by fake syndicates that usually lured applicants to apply in order to make money. He reiterated his command readiness to flush out all suspected scrupulous elements

who are ever who continue to exploit people resources under the guise of recruitment in the service, re-emphasizing that the Corps will stop at nothing to unravel those bent on denting its image. Our source further maintained that though he would not reveal his security operation due to obvious security reasons, some of these syndicates have their hideout

in some commercial business centres where they used to carry out their illegitimate deals. According to NSCDC boss, his command had earlier carried out an intelligence research which showed that those arrested by his Antifraud unit where deeply involved in such unhealthy businesses before they were arrested.


Man, 26, in court for allegedly assaulting another By Zainab Ahmed Maska


he Police have arraigned one Hassan Mohammed of Mpape village, Abuja, for alleged assault. Police prosecutor, Mr. Ogunyandu Rasheed, told the court that the matter was reported at the Wuse Divisional Headquarter Zone 3, Abuja, by Adebiji Majekodunmi of Blantyre street, Wuse 2. Rasheed said that on March 7 th , 2013, Adebiji asked the accused to clean his generator, which Hassan refused to do. The accused then intentionally hit the complaint eye after he tried to caution him. The Prosecutor said that the act contravenes section 265 of the Penal Code Law, but Hassan pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Magistrate, Mrs Vera Tom Tukura, granted the accused bail in the sum of 200,000 with one surety in like sum. The surety must be a civil servant and must also reside within the court’s jurisdiction. She adjourned the case to April, 9 th, 2013.


Teacher bags 6 months in jail for stealing mobile phone A

Christian Religious Studies teacher of Covenant Nursery and Primary School located in Kpeyegyi Community in the FCT, Mr. Honest Alam, was yesterday sentenced to six months imprisonment by a Karu Senior Magistrates Court for stealing a Techno handset worth N5,000. The court gave Alam, 29, an option of N25, 000 fine. The Senior Magistrate, Mr Oyeyipo Ademuyiwa, pronounced the sentenced after finding the accused guilty of the one-count charge of theft under

Section 287 of the Penal Code. Ademuyiwa based his decision on the testimony of the complainant, Mr Endurance Abode, who said the accused admitted stealing the phone during the trial. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alam was arraigned on Jan. 17, by the police in Jikwoyi, a Satellite town in the FCT. He had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, but later changed his mind during crossexamination by the police prosecutor, Cpl Pascal Njoku. In the police First Information

Report filed before the court, the prosecutor accused Alam of stealing the handset on Dec. 24, 2012 at Karu Village in Abuja. According to the report, the complainant, who distributes beer, was supplying one of his customers at Karu when the accused stole the handset from his delivery van. When the case first came up in court, the accused had pleaded not guilty. The senior magistrate subsequently granted him bail in the sum of N100,000 and a surety in like sum. Ademuyiwa had ruled that

the surety must show a two-year tax clearance certified issued by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIR). But the accused could not meet the bail conditions and had since been in prison custody. During the trial, which was adjourned thrice, the accused later pleaded guilty and sought leniency. He told the court that the complainant was his friend and that he collected the handset under the influence of alcohol with no intention of stealing it. (NAN)

Man bags 12 months imprisonment for cheating


buja Grade 2 Area Court at Kado on Wednesday sentenced one Timothy Okeanu, 30, of Jabi Upstairs, Abuja, to 12 months imprisonment for cheating. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Friday Idi, told the court that on March 13, 2013 one Mrs. Edidiong Akan of No. 13 Auhum Str., Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, reported the case at the Gwarinpa Police Station. He said that the accused conspired with two others now at large and collected N250, 000, pledging to process the complainant’s late husband’s pension benefits. Idi said that the accused and his two accomplices falsely presented themselves to be members of staff of IBTC Pension Administrators. He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 322 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded guilty to the offence. The Presiding Judge, Ahmed Ado, sentenced the accused to five months imprisonment for the first count charge or to pay three thousand naira fine. On the second charge, he sentenced Okeanu to seven months imprisonment or payment of five thousand naira fine. The convict is also to pay N34, 670 to as compensation to the complainant. (NAN)

Large crowd of women with umbrellers waiting in the sun during the FCT election, recently in Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Man, 25, arraigned for alleged joint act, theft


25-year-old receptionist, Ade Oguneye, of Wuse Zone 5 on Wednesday appeared before an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court charged with joint act and theft. The Police Prosecutor, Sgt. Musa Abdullahi, told the court that one Felix Daniel of Jabi reported the matter at the Wuse Police Station on March


“The complainant was passing through the Wuse Bus Stop at about 7 p.m. when the accused touched his back and alleged that he stepped on him. “The complainant turned back to apologise to the accused but the accused and two others now at large attacked the complainant. “The accused took N12,000

from the compainant’s pocket,,’’ Musa stated. The prosecutor said that the accused was charged with joint act and theft in line with Sections 79 and 288 of the Penal Code. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. He insisted that the complainant stepped on him. “I only touched him to let him know.

“I did not pick anything from him. I don’t even know the people that attacked him, let alone collecting money from him.’’ Chief Magistrate Musa Jobbo granted Ogunleye bail in the sum of N50,000 with a surety, who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. Jobbo adjourned the case to April16 for further hearing. (NAN)

Police arraign motorist for alleged criminal breach of trust


business woman, Lydia Alfa, 55, of No. 36, Sun City Estate, Abuja on Wednesday appeared before a Karu Upper Area Court, Abuja for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Abiola Oyewusi, told the court that one Pius Odogun of Bungalow 14, Figbale Estate, Effurun in Warri, Delta and one Mr Yunusa Audu of Lusalie Street, Wuse Zone 6 ,reported the case at the Utako

Police Station on Dec.19. Oyewusi said that Alfa approached the complainants with a contract award paper of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) worth N223 million and deceitfully claimed to be the owner of the paper on Aug.3, 2011. “Alfa agreed to sell the contract to the complainants for N30 million and collected initial payment of N8.5 million without delivering the contract,’’ Oyewusi said.

Alfa, however, denied committing the offences. Oyewusi opposed bail for the accused, saying that the charges against the accused contravened sections 312 and 322 of the Penal Code. Section 312 of the Penal Code stipulates that: whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend to seven years or be fined or both. Section 322 states that whoever

cheats shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or be fined or both. The Presiding Judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, granted the accused bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. Kagarko also ordered that one of the sureties must be a civil servant on Grade Level 14. He adjourned the case to April 10, 2013 for hearing. (NAN)



Gwagwalada gateway: From nightmares to seamless traffic flow By Chijioke Okoronkwo


he reconstruction of the Gwagwalada section of the Abuja-Lokoja highway into a dual carriage way has brought great relief to road users, who previously had unsavoury experience on the road due to incessant traffic jam. Prior to the road’s reconstruction, commuters and motorists had harrowing experience on the road, as they were often held up for hours as a result of heavy traffic on the road’s single lane. The situation was particularly worse during festive periods, as the congestion usually stretched up to Giri at the Airport Road Junction. Stakeholders say the reconstruction of the road has not only facilitated a seamless flow of traffic but it has also reduced accidents and street trading on the road. MrKayodeFanola, the FRSC Sector Commander in the FCT, said that the nascent orderliness in that section of the road had reduced the rate of accidents. “We are no longer having the problem of recurring head-on collision, especially at night, because every vehicle now maintains its lane. “Road users should, however, know that a dual carriage way is not a licence for over-speeding. “The Gwagwalada section of that highway is always a busy area and common sense should tell everyone that moderate speed and carefulness is needed along that axis,’’ Fanola said. A Gwagwalada-based driver, AbdullahiHaruna, said that the dualism of the road had impacted positively on his business. “I now make more money because I experience little or no delays in getting to my destinations unlike before. “More so, my vehicle hardly develops faults these days; I commend the authorities for the road’s reconstruction,’’ he said. Mr Joseph Olurunmaiye, the Secretary of the Gwagwalada chapter of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), said that the road’s reconstruction had brought a great relief to road users. “It used to be terrible; staying in the hold up for hours affects

Traffic gridlock in Abuja drivers, passengers, engine, clutches, brake pads and other vehicle components. “Most times, these components are changed every two months because of the attendant wear and tear,’’ he said. All the same, Olurunmaiye appealed to the construction firms and the relevant authorities to expedite work on the road project and complete it. He, nonetheless, said the Dabi section of the highway was still experiencing heavy traffic congestion as it had yet to be dualised. MalamShehu Manga, the Secretary of the Gwagwalada Chapter of Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), recalled that motorists used to have horrible experiences on the road before its reconstruction. Manga, however, noted that the rate of accidents on the road had reduced appreciably since the vehicles started using double lanes. “We have suffered a lot before now; we have had a lot of minor and fatal accidents.

“We are happy with the road’s reconstruction; that is how our highways should be,’’ he added. The NURTW scribe, nonetheless, underscored the need to construct more flyovers and Uturns on the highway to further ease the flow of traffic. Mr Maximus Nnadi, the Public Relations Officer of Peace Mass Transit, said that he was happy about the current free movement and reduction of accidents on the Gwagwalada section of the AbujaLokoja highway. He said that the current situation had impacted positively on the operations of the company vis-a-vis the buses’ arrival time at destinations. “We no longer experience long delays and that means our buses get to their various destinations on scheduled time,’’ he said. While appreciating the work done so far, Nnadi, however, frowned at the general slow pace of work on the reconstruction of the Abuja-Lokoja highway and appealed to the relevant authorities to expedite action on the project. “There is need to work faster

and finish up the reconstruction of the Kwali-Abaji axis of the road, which is also an accident-prone area. ‘The work at Gwagwalada is commendable; but we should not forget that work on that highway has been going on for many years now and it ought to have been completed by now,’’ he stated. Nevertheless, itinerant and roadside traders have been complaining that the road’s reconstruction has impacted negatively on their business. Mr Suleiman Angwa, who sells onions by the roadside, said that sales were very high during the period of traffic hold up. “ I now depend on passengers whose drivers decide to stopover at Gwagwalada, either by agreement with the passengers or to fix something in the bus,’’ he said. Mr Lucky Emahia, a bread seller, however, said that the good condition of the road and reduction in the rate of accidents were more important to him than making huge sales. “I appreciate the road project and I thank the government for

it, even though it has affected my business. “I could not have preferred the untold hardship that travellers undergo here to making good sales because big sales come from God,’’ he noted. Meanwhile, the Minster of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, has given the assurance that the dual carriageway project, which started in 2007, would be completed in 2014. According to him, Section Four of the road consists of 181 km, while work has been completed on 125km stretch of the road. “By the end of the first quarter of 2014, this road project will be completed. “We have certainly attained over 50 per cent of work on the road and having achieved this, I am sure the ministry will surely deliver as assured,’’ Onolememen said. In spite of all the assurances, stakeholders want the Federal Government to promptly and regularly release funds for the road project so as to enable the ministry meet the new deadline. (NAN)

Lawmaker provides 65 boreholes in Karu, others By Stanley Onyekwere


o fewer than 65 boreholes were constructed by Member, House of Representatives, representing Keffi, Kokona, Karu constituency, Hon. Ishaq Ahmed Kana in Karu, FCT

Kokona and others for the provision of portable water for the people. The lawmaker who disclosed this while speaking on the activities of his constituency, Kana said the construction of the boreholes was aimed at complimenting the Government's effort in the

provision of portable water to the masses. In addition, Kana also added that he purchased 11 electric transformers and distributed to various communities within his constituency to boost the ongoing electrification project of Gora-Roguwa-Saka in the

area. "As people's representative, I will do more for the development of his people and the constituency", the lawmaker assured. Other projects embarked by the lawmaker include: ongoing construction of two primary Health centres in Kana and

Panda, free medical assistance was being rendered through his Foundation in collaboration with the Federal Medical Centre Keffi, Imani Hospital Keffi, Amosun Hospital Keffi, Mak-lin Hospital Garaku, Dr. Suleiman Toni Karshi, Taimako Hospital Garaku among others.




Mob: 08033644990



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DStv to launch new Fox channel in April

L-r: Executive Director, Rural Electrification Agency, Mr. Kenneth Achugbu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, and Director, Electrical Inspectorate Services, Mr. Abayomi Adebisi,during the launching of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme, recently in Abuja. Photo: NAN

PHCN: FG nets N75bn from preferred bidders By Abdulwahab Isa


head of the March 21, 2013 deadline for preferred bidders for PHCN successor companies to make the mandatory 25 percent payment of the offer value of their bids, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has received $469,031,940.46 from 11 bidders for 12 successor companies. The bidders that paid today, March 20, 2013, are Vigeo Consortium, the preferred bidder for Benin Distribution Company, which paid USD $32.25million, being the mandatory 25 percent of the bid value of the Benin Disco; Transcorp/Woodrock Consortium that paid $75 million being 25 % of the bid value for Ughelli Power Plc while CMEC/EUAFRIC Energy JV paid $50,249,965 for Sapele Power Plc. Others include Kann Consortium, which paid $41 million being 25 % of the bid value for Abuja Distribution Company; Aura Energy paid $20,464,968.15 for Jos Distribution Company; Mainstream Energy Ltd paid $59,467,500 for Kainji Power Plc and Sahelian Power SPV, which paid $34.25million for Kano Distribution Company. Other bidders that had earlier paid the mandatory 25 percent of the bid value of the PHCN Successor Company they intend to buy are Amperion Power Company Limited, the preferred bidder for Geregu Power Plc which paid USD$33 million; Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Company, the preferred bidder for Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies which paid USD$42.25 million and

USD$14.75 million for Ibadan and Yola Discos respectively; NEDC/KEPCO, the preferred bidder for Ikeja Distribution Company, which paid USD$ 32.75 million; and West Power & Gas, the preferred bidder for Eko Distribution Company which paid USD$33.75 million. The Bureau is expecting payment from 4Power Consortium (Port-Harcourt Disco); Interstate Electrics Limited (Enugu Disco); and By Aminu Imam


he Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended Ecobank from acting as a receiving banker and from all capital market activities. In a circular issued to the SEC, the commission said the suspension was as a result of the role played by the bank in a complaint by Avil Services Limited relating to a margin loan transaction with Arian Capital Management Limited. The suspension was imposed on Ecobank Nigeria on February 5, 2013 for its alleged connivance with Arian Capital Management Limited to convert the 555, 555

North-South Power Company (Shiroro Power Plc). It could be recalled that the final approval of the preferred bidders by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and its announcement for the successor companies was done on October 23, 2012. The Nigerian electricity industry has been unbundled into generation and distribution companies and a single transmission company with a

view to encouraging private sector participation and attracting foreign and local

Kaduna Govt. spends N1b (SURE-P) across the state. on SURE-P The state SURE-P Chairman,


he Kaduna State Government yesterday said that it spent N1 billion in its first phase of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme

SEC suspends Ecobank from all capital market activities units of First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares belonging to Avil Services Limited. According to the SEC: "Under the said transaction, Arian Capital Management Limited (a fund manager) advanced margin loan to Avil Services Limited which was secured by 555, 555 units of First Bank of Nigeria plc shares belonging to Avil Services Limited. At the termination of the margin facility, Avil Services Limited demanded for the lifting of the lien placed on the shares but was informed by Arian Capital Management Limited that the said shares were used as

collateral for a 'Global Margin Facility' that was granted to it (Arian Capital Management Limited ) by Ecobank Nigeria plc in a tripartite arrangement." "Dissatisfied by the explanation offered by Arian Capital Management Limited, the SEC in May 2012 suspended Arian Capital Management Limited from all capital market activities for withholding the said shares and accruals thereon. In July 2012, the SEC pursuant to Section 13 (r) and (t) of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 requested

Management Tip of the Day Welcome edits on your writing


good writer welcomes good edits. A bad writer resents them, seeing them only as personal attacks. Share your material while it's still rough - the feedback will help you improve it much faster than if you were toiling in isolation.

Routinely ask your colleagues, including those you supervise, to read your drafts and suggest changes. Have them mark up the document and submit their revisions in writing, rather than in person where you might react defensively.

investment into the Nigerian power sector to ensure economic and reliable electricity supply.

Always thank them for their help. Encourage others on your team to seek out edits and offer them. Having room to improve should be the norm, not a sign of weakness. Source: Harvard Business review

Mr Timothy Gandu made this known when he addressed newsmen at the commencement of the screening exercise of the programme in Zaria. Gandu, who is also the Commissioner for Economic Planning, explained that the amount covered purchase of buses, taxis and tricycles which were meant for onward distribution to beneficiaries. ``The total cost of the project so far is something in the neighbourhood of a billion naira plus from all the items, administrative cost and everything. ``It is much of the first segment of that of 2012 that we are now utilising, but we want to do it in such a way that a large segment of our population will benefit. ``For example, if we give you tricycle, we don't expect you to charge the same amount with somebody having his personal tricycle. ``Ordinary person on the street would have enjoyed the rebate that government wanted,'' he said. On cost of the items, Gandu noted that about 50 per cent of the cost would be written-off, while the remaining 50 per cent must be paid back to pave way for revolving the items. He said the repayment period was between 12 and 24 months. Gandu said Gov. Muhktar Yero, would distribute the loan to successful beneficiaries on March 26. (NAN)



BUSINESS NEWS COMPANY NEWS Mutual Benefits Assurance


he Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Assurance, Mr Akin Ogunbiy has said the company had written over 65, 000 individual policies as at March 18 through the sale of micro insurance products. Ogunbiyi disclosed this to newsmen at the presentation of Mutual Retail Insurance Distribution and Differentiation Strategy in Lagos. According to him, by writing the individual policies, the company has been able to create value and empower the informal sector. He said that the micro insurance products were taken by books/ jotters, tomatoes and pure water sellers, transporters and car-hire operators. The Managing Director said that the company procured buses for operators in the transport sector, adding that the transporters in turn provided jobs for more drivers and conductors.

Standard Chartered Bank


tandard Chartered Bank said that Nigeria would only succeed in leading the change that is coming the way of the continent, if it braces up to the challenge of its import dependence status. It also said that the population of the country is its competitive advantage, especially as the continent turns the next great frontier in the world economy with enormous potentials. The Chief Executive Officer for Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Diana Layfield, made the disclosure on the sidelines of the Nigeria Economist Summit 2013, tagged: "Enabling and Implementing Change." She said that Nigeria would be the power-house economy for the region in future in order to reinforce the scale of the African growth story, but noted that the country would also need to increase its perception to the world on the progress it has made.

Grand Cereals Ltd


rand Cereals Ltd, a Josbased feed Mill Company, on Thursday said it has introduced an insurance policy for Plateau poultry and fish farmers, as a cover for their investment against any disaster. Mr George Idiaghe, the Supply Chain Manager of the company, who made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos yesterday, said the policy was to secure farmers' investment. Idiaghe explained that the policy would check the prevalence of birds and fingerlings' mortality seriously affecting the farmers, to enable them recuperate and salvage their investment.

LFTZ: Lagos assures investors of safety of investments By Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


agos State government has assured investors at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) of safety and security of their investments, noting also that the issue of compensation on the vast expanse of land acquired from the host communities is being handled in phases and will be completed as work progresses on the development of the trade zone. Investors in the zone have recently complained of unfriendly disposition by the hosts, leading to all stakeholders' meeting in which the representatives of the communities and some

investors were invited. The meeting held last week at the instance of the government was to discuss the way forward, following fresh agitations by the host communities for full

compensation for their land. At the meeting presided over by Governor BabatundeFashola and coordinator, OlusolaOworu, commissioner for Commerce and Industry, it

was gathered that the state persuaded the hosts to give peace a chance, and cooperate with the government and the investors, assuring that all compensations as agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with communities would be paid.

Economic analyst advocates special tribunal for corruption cases


n economic analyst, Mr Henry Boyo yesterday called on the Federal Government to establish a special tribunal to try corruption cases. Boyo, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Abelsell Nigeria Ltd., Lagos stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. ``There is urgent need for the Federal Government to establish a special tribunal to handle corruption cases in the country. "It will help in fastening the legal processes, strengthen the anti-corruption agencies and bring sanity to the society," he said. Boyo observed that the nation's foreign direct investments would increase rapidly, when the Federal Government was seen fighting the corruption scourge. He identified corruption as the bane of the country's social and economic development. (NAN)

L-R: Vice-President, Public Affairs, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry,Mines and Agriculture, Lady Claire Asogwa, President, Dr Theo Okonkwo, Industrial and General Insurance Plc, SouthEast Zonal Head, Mr Tony Okeume, during Igi Day at the Ongoing 24th Enugu International Trade Fair, on Wednesday in Enugu. Photo: NAN

CBN disbursed N1.2bn loans to Katsina farmers in 2012 – Controller


total of 6,590 loans worth N1.2 billion were disbursed to farmers in Katsina in 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said yesterday. The Katsina Branch Controller, Alh. Adamu Hassan, said this yesterday in Katsina at a Bankers and Customers Forum. He said the loans were

disbursed through Deposit Money Banks (DMB) and Microfinance Banks under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) of the apex bank. He said that CBN recovered N821 million during the period under review and that the state was rated the highest performer in loans guarantee and

Financial literacy panacea for economic of Nigeria rest on the youth, growth – Sanusi adding that there was the


he Central Bank G o v e r n o r , SanusiLamidoSanusi, said financial literacy was a sure way to economic growth and development in the Country. Sanusi made his views known at the grand finale of the Child and Youth Finance week yesterday in Abuja. ``It is only when the majority of Nigerian population, including children and youth, are financially literate that they can understand, make informed choices and better utilise financial products and services. By so doing, they are able to contribute to financial stability, economic growth and development,'' he said. Represented by the

Deputy Governor Operations, Mr TundeLemo, he said that the apex bank had developed a financial literacy frame work, which articulated a strategic direction for the delivery of financial education in Nigeria. Sanusi said that the framework encompassed a multi-stakeholders approach to the delivery of financial literacy programme across various target groups of the population. He said that child and youth financial week was celebrated worldwide to propagate financial literacy to enable youth and children have access to safe and trustworthy financial services. The CBN governor said that growth and development

need to invest in them to prepare them for the future challenges. Also speaking, the Director, Consumer Protection Department, HajiaUmmaDutse, said the CBN through the Consumer Protection Department had embarked on ensuring a safe, suitable and sound financial system in Nigeria. She said that the mission of the global child and youth finance movement was to ensure that 100 million children and youths in 100 countries had access to suitable financial products and education by 2015. The event witnessed presentations to winners of the Business Plan contest from junior secondary schools in the FCT. (NAN)

recoveries. Hassan also said the state government was participating in the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) programme and the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. He said that through the programmes, the bank would support cotton production, being one of the major crops produced in the states. According to him, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) has approved N1 billion loan to cotton farmers in the state. Hassan said that the Funtua-based West African Cotton (WACOT ) company had already identified 4,000 farmers, while 21,450 hectares would be cultivated. The controller further said the CBN had established an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in the state as part of its Youth Empowerment Programme with a view to developing a new breed of future entrepreneurs. The initiative, he said, would assist to create employment for the youths in the state, adding that the centre had so far trained 592 entrepreneurs. He, therefore, called for more support from the state government and other stakeholders. (NAN)



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 gas tax amongst others, 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 crucial we 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 economic landscape. 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 challenge which 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 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

Ag. Executive Chairman FIRS, Alh. Kabiru Mashi

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.




Stress: Psychiatrist advises Nigerians to laugh away their sorrow


Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Rotimi Coker yesterday urged Nigerians to develop skills of management of stress by laughing away their sorrow. Coker, of the Department of Behavioural Medicine, Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said that the more people were able to cope with the strategies of stress management, the more they would cope with their mental health issues. Coker said that the ability of an individual to cope with the daily factors of stress would also determine their quality of life. ``People become depressed when they encounter stress, frustration, sorrow and woes, and when they cannot fulfill their expectations or achieve their aims and objectives in life. ``So, the ability of individual to cope or his or her coping strategies before the occurrence of the stressors really matters. We advise people that they should learn stress management coping

strategies. "The easiest one is the ability to laugh away your sorrows, go back to your hobbies when you are stressed up, and learn relaxation techniques, some people relax when watching TV or gardening. ``We tell Nigerians, learn a lot of stress management techniques. Because when the problem comes and the individual cannot cope with

the problems, then, you will now have signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression or stress related disorders. `` Coker, quoting a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said that by 2020, depression would be the illness with the most burdens and second to HIV/ AIDS. He said that many adults in the country did not recognise that they were depressed, adding that this was why depression was difficult to manage.

The psychiatrist said that the symptoms of depression could not be easily recognised because such symptoms could occur in other physical ailments. ``In our environment, the reasons why most people do not recognise the signs and symptoms are because they do not come in the classical forms anymore; It could come in form of irritability, inability to sleep, low moods, and losing interest in what used to give pleasure. There is fatigue ability, that is, the person gets tired easily. There may be loss

DStv to launch new Fox channel in April By Suleiman Idris, Lagos


Stv has announced the launch of a new channel in April. The Fox will hit the airwave from 9th April, as a new addition to the DStv Premium bouquet and will be available in both HD and SD as simulcast on channel 125. The company said the 24 hour channel will introduce viewers to an offering of the best international fiction

series of the moment, including drama and comedy. Series expected to debut on the new channel include Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, The Transporter, The Simpsons, House of Payne and Cougar Town. A statement from the company disclosed that a new reality series, Being Mandela, which follows ZaziweDlamini-Manaway and Swati Dlamini,

L-R: Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri with NAFDAC Director- General, Dr Paul Orhii, during the NOA DG's visit to the NAFDAC office, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

granddaughters of world renowned icon and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela will take viewers on a journey into their busy lives and most importantly viewers will get to see the highs and lows of being a Mandela. A n o t h e r g r i p p i ng show not to be missed is JO, a onehour crime series about Joachim "Jo" Saint-Clair,a veteran detective in Paris' elite Criminal Brigade tackling the city's most challenging murder cases. Besides cracking interesting cases, JOalso takes audiences behind the scenes of the most iconic locations in Paris such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Catacombs in his relentless pursuit of justice. Additionally, Fox will unleash the much anticipated historical series, Da Vinci's Demons in May. The series follows the 'untold' story of the world's greatest genius during his turbulent youth. Viewers will see how the talented artist, Leonardo Da Vinci, struggles to live within the confines of his own reality. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it. MultiChoice Nigeria's Managing Director, Mr. John Ugbe says ,"We are pleased to be launching Fox on the DStv bouquet. We hope that DStv viewers will enjoy the quality of programming offered on the new channel. The launch of this channel is just another way that we ensure our subscribers receive expanded viewing options and also bring them a greater variety of entertainment".

of appetite and since the person does not eat well, it can lead to loss of weight", he stated. The psychiatrist said that when people did not get any intervention in terms of treatment, it could lead to severe form of depression. ``Even, when they recognise that this person is severely depressed, the pathway to the professional care is usually not the hospital. The first point of call is usually the church or mosque, because of the belief that mental health conditions are caused by supernatural attacks. ``So, that is the reason why they go to the spiritualists and some grassroots people will go to the traditional healers and you see again, prolonging the time of reach to a professional care." "Perception of mental disorders in the communityknowledge is poor: 80 per cent of Nigerians erroneously believe mental illness is due to supernatural causes. Also, 80 per cent wrongly believe in religious or magical cure rather than medical cure", he further said. Coker said that mental illness could be well treated to restore the sick person to a state of optimal functioning and re-integration back to the society. "In spite of the fact that mental disorder could be cured, 90 per cent of people with the disease do not have access to treatment." According to him, a Nigerian study shows that proportions of persons with mental illness received no treatment in the previous 12 months. Coker said: "There is so much unmet need for mental health service in Nigeria because of the official neglect by all tiers of government. "Community ignorance, social stigma, general decay of our health system, access to service is limited, very few mental health personnel, specialist facilities are located in a few cities." He, however, called on all tiers of government to integrate mental health into the primary healthcare to improve mental health service to Nigerians. Coker urged governments to ensure availability of essential drugs in the primary healthcare clinics. (NAN)

Nigeria-German support programme to provide renewable energy efficiency in Nigeria By Etuka Sunday


he Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo on Wednesday in Abuja stated that the NigerianGerman Technical Cooperation Support Programme would provide a strong platform for efficient and effective take-off of

renewable energy/ energy efficiency programmes in Nigeria, adding that the foundation of the cooperation would in the future encourage private sector investments in renewable energy. The Minister who was represented at the inception workshop for Nigeria-

German Energy Support Programme by the Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Igali expressed confidence that the joint venture would build a vibrant renewable energy/energy efficiency subsector of the power sector that would meet the projections of President

Goodluck Jonathan's Roadmap for Power Sector Reform launched in August 2010. Nebo said that the Ministry was mandated to develop and facilitate the implementation of policies for the provision of adequate and reliable power supply to drive the socio-economic

development of the nation therefore it was in the Ministry's interest to achieve that by implementing generation, transmission and distribution projects in the sector which would encourage investors and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperations and relationships in the industry.


Report as at Thursday, March 21, 2013





Should peaceful protests lead to death? Asks Folasade Folarin


eaceful protest is universally believed to be an acceptable means of advocating for change. In Nigeria, freedom of assembly is also endorsed by the 1999 Constitution. Peaceful protest is adjudged an effective weapon in efforts to press for social change and policy reversal. Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the citizens have always used

AIG, Mohammed Abubakar

peaceful protests to agitate for various demands such as reversal of certain government policies, among others. In more specific terms, Nigerian students have also used peaceful protests to compel the authorities to reduce school fees and provide infrastructure on their campuses. Students of Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) used this legitimate approach on Feb. 25 to draw

public attention to the lack of water in their various hostels. During the peaceful protest in Keffi, two students were shot dead, while many others were injured. It has yet to be ascertained whether the students were killed by soldiers or policemen deployed to the scene. However, the death of the two students and the highhandedness of the security agencies tend to raise certain questions as to whether protests can be carried out in

the country without any loss of lives. Mr Eze Onyekpere, the Director of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a nongovernmental organisation, stresses that “ if the right measures are taken, protests can and will be conducted without the fear of losing lives.’’ He defines protest as “an exercise in furtherance of the constitutional rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of movement and to hold opinions. It is, therefore, an exercise recognised by the law.’’ DSP Hyelhira Daniel, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the FCT, says that although peaceful protest is legitimate, the police ought to be duly informed of plans to stage a protest. “The planners are supposed to inform the police and informing the police is not because we want to stop them; it is for us to be able to put in place enough security measures to protect the protesters. “So, we always ask for 72 hours notice to work out security for the protesters and in their letter, they are to indicate the routes they will follow. “This is because hoodlums are always ready to hijack such protests to create chaos,’’ she says. A lawyer, Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, however, insists that it is not obligatory for anyone to obtain permission from the police before embarking on demonstrations.

Thousands of protesters at the protest match on fuel subsidy in Abuja. He says that the protesters can only inform the police to provide security. “The Public Order Act, which makes it obligatory for people to inform the police before they could embark on a protest, has been set aside by the Federal High Court, Abuja; so, you don’t need a police permit to stage a peaceful protest,’’ he says All the same, Agbonlahor insists that a protest should not impede on other people’s rights such as freedom of movement. “I do not sanction a protest in which students will go out to the roads and block the highways to extort money from motorists because that is sheer robbery,’’ he adds The lawyer emphasises

that protests should not be quelled if the protesters are not destroying property or using force. Agbonlahor argues that even if a protest has to be suppressed, tangible

measures should be put in place to avoid injuries and deaths. “Nigeria still believes so much in the use of brute force at all times because we don’t believe in dialogue.

Using lethal instruments like live bullets to quell a riot should be a last resort if there is a breakdown of law and order, provoking danger for the people’s lives and properties

“In advanced countries, the police have water cannons, which they use during protests of higher dimension, and they have shields that they use in preventing people from passing but in Nigeria, we don’t have such gadgets,’’ he says. Mr Olugbenga Oyewole, who is also a lawyer, argues that dialogue could be used to contain any unpalatable situation depending on the manner of approach. “Even when a protest may lead to violence, the police have the responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t get out of hands; they should find a means to dialogue with the protesters and disperse them peacefully,’’ he says.

Nevertheless, Onyekpere insists that the presence of law enforcement agents during protests should solely be for the protection of lives and property and not to molest the protesters. “In civilised climes, law enforcement agents accompany protesters and give them a cover to make their protests free from any form of molestation. “If the protests get out of hand and become violent, there are various instruments and mechanisms available to the law enforcement agents to disperse the protesters. “These include the use of tear gas, water cannons, barricades, rubber bullets and other non-fatal instruments which would

ensure the dispersal of the protesters. “And such activities should be carried out by the regular police and not soldiers. Soldiers are trained to shoot, not just to maim but to also cause death,’’ he says. Onyekpere argues that live bullets should only be used in exceptional cases when all the “non-deadly measures’’ have been exhausted. “Using lethal instruments like live bullets to quell a riot should be a last resort if there is a breakdown of law and order, provoking danger for the people’s lives and properties. Such instruments could be used when the other lessfatal means, which were tried, have all failed.

“It should be a situation where there is no other reasonable way of stopping destruction of lives and property,’’ he adds. All in all, Onyekpere says that those organising a protest should always strive to educate those taking part in it to peaceful and properly conduct themselves so as to avoid running afoul of the law. Concerned observers claim that even though peaceful protest is legitimate; everything possible should be done to avoid loss of lives during protests. Specially trained security operatives should also be deployed to handle protests, they add. Source: NAN



Briefing on Mali with U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali, Mary Beth Leonard and U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley. (I) ANALYSIS By Abdulkadir Isa


mbassador Leonard: Thank you, thank you very much. Let me begin by saying that since January, I think we have seen some dramatic improvements in Mali, both in terms of security and political unity. The international military intervention had helped restore Mali's territorial integrity and undermined the capacity of terrorist and extremist groups to operate freely in the North of Mali. Meanwhile, back in Bamako, we have seen greater unity among the public and political classes, accompanied by a clear willingness and intention to make progress on the critical issues of elections and national reconciliation. But clearly challenges remain. Fighting continues in the North where we have also seen a rise in asymmetrical attacks in the area of Gao. Malian and AFISMA forces are conducting joint operations to respond to these threats. So we applaud their courage and their tenacity in working to ensure the safety of people in the region. Ethnic tensions remain high in certain areas of the country, exacerbated by reports of alleged human rights abuses by certain members of the Malian armed forces and by continued inter-ethnic fighting in some areas. We are grateful to see the numbers of civil society and community leaders who are working every day, each day, to calm these tensions and encourage people to dialogue. We encourage all sides to find a way to begin the reconciliation efforts that are critical to the future stability and peace of this country. In this regard we welcome last week's approval of the National Committee for Dialogue and Reconciliation and encourage interim President Traore to nominate the 33 members as quickly as possible so that committee can get to work. They will have their work ahead of them to help rebuild the trust and confidence needed to that all Malian communities can work together for the progress and development of the country. In regards to elections, we continue to urge Mali to hold free and fair elections in July 13, or as soon as technically feasible. We believe that a critical next step is the publication of a clear cronogram that sets out a detailed timeline for political parties and the Malian public, on how the elections will proceed. The 2012 coup reflected a broader political crisis in Mali, one that can only begin to be addressed by the Malian public in the choice of a new government. This choice is vital and must be made a quickly as possible. It is that elected government that is best empowered to craft the longer term solutions to the crisis facing this country. This is also a critical step to ensuring clear command and

control over the military and an unquestioned return to civilian control over the military. Our ability to provide direct support to the Malian military or government is constrained by U.S. law until after the election. The U.S. continues to remain at Mali's side as the country deals with these multiple and intertwined challenges. The U.S. has already committed $6.5 million in election support, with the bulk of that money going towards support for political parties and voter education and these efforts are in line with our priority of ensuring maximum participation in what will be one of Mali's most critical elections. We are also providing significant support to the military effort in Mali. U.S. material and intelligence support to French and international forces have played an important role in the success of the intervention to date. As of March 14, the United States had conducted 91 air refuelling missions which have provided more than 4.1 million pounds of jet-fuel to French aircraft. During a total of 47 airlift support missions, the U.S. transported approximately 1,200 tons of equipment and supplies and 975 passengers to Bamako and Niamey to support the Mali intervention. We have been and will continue to provide critical support to the French force to enable them to fully assume responsibility for the continuing security mission. We have already committed to provide up to $96 million to support [unclear] for six months for the remainder of our fiscal year, which ends in September. This support will be used primarily to provide equipment, training, logistics and advisory support to AFISMA. Some $8 million of that is already being spent on basic logistical support to initial ECOWAS troop contingence and the immediate transport of ECOWAS troops and equipment to Bamako. This funding also covers some immediate supply and equipment needs for troops already in Mali, such as food rations, water and things like helmets. However, the AFISMA mission still has resource needs and we continue to urge international donors to quickly fulfill their support pledges. As we look forward to the resource demands that supporting ongoing operations in Mali, we have to look at sustainable options for meeting those needs in order to make that intervention most effective. In the meantime we are working closely

with the UN, the members of the Security Council and the international community to support the transition of AFISMA to the UN mandate. Such a transition, condition on Mali consent, brings potential important advantages in supporting and sustaining what would be critical for the provision of funding and operational support for this long term effort. Before I hand the floor to Ambassador McCulley, I would just like to rapidly express my deep concern and that of the U.S. government over the continued detention of Malian editor Boukary Daou. As Mali faces a complex set of challenges, there is a vital role for media and we urge the utmost protection in free expression and rights under the law. And with that I thank you. Moderator: Thank you Ambassador. Now we will turn it over to Ambassador Terence McCulley for his remarks. Ambassador McCulley: Thank you very much and good afternoon everybody and good afternoon to my friend and colleague Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard. I am speaking also in my capacity as the United States permanent representative to the Economic Community of West African States. ECOWAS has a long and proud tradition of engagement in matters of peace and security in the West African region, going back to the crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone and more recently the crisis in Guinea Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire. Since the beginning of the crisis in Mali last year, ECOWAS once again has shown great leadership and I would like to use this occasion to commend the leadership of the sitting President of ECOWAS, the Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, as well as the President of the ECOWAS commission, Ambassador OuĂŠdraogo. Both of them have shown great engagement in bringing together ECOWAS for a quick consensus in condemning the coup, calling for the restoration of legitimate rule and calling for the deployment of force to ensure the territorial integrity of Mali. Throughout this process the United States has been a strong supporter of ECOWAS and of the efforts of President Ouattara and President OuĂŠdraogo and their fellow heads of states throughout the


U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley. West Africa region. We will continue to provide support to ECOWAS. My colleague Ambassador Leonard has outlined the material support that the United States is providing to AFISMA to the end of the fiscal year. I expect that that support will continue going forward. We look forward to working closely with ECOWAS, with the African Union, to restore peace in Mali, to bring about restoration of the country's territorial integrity and to ensuring that countries of the ECOWAS zone have what they need to get the job done, and beyond that, other countries that have been associated with this mission, notably Chad, beyond the ECOWAS zone. Let me stop there so that we can have time for questions, but again I would like to thank you all for coming. And over to journalists for questions. (Question) My nameis David Barau from Aso Radio. My question is, with the war still going on, how feasible is it for Mali to be able to conduct elections in June? (Ambassador McCulley) So the question is for Ambassador Leonard, given the situation, how easy is it going to be for Mali to conduct elections in July. (Ambassador


Meanwhile, I think it is vitally important for the government of Mali to continue its preparation for those elections with all deliberate speed.

Thank you for that question. Indeed there are ongoing activities in the north of Mali. I think that the immediate task is still ongoing but I think already great strides have been brought to creating the conditions where Mali can begin to aspire to re-establish its administration in some of the key northern towns in the north of Mali. I think that is a question and an answer that will be resolved over time in the next months as the military efforts continue. Meanwhile, I think it is vitally important for the government of Mali to continue its preparation for those elections with all deliberate speed. There was a publication in the last couple of days, some more details about both reconciliation and electoral preparation for election. I have looked at it briefly and I wouldn't say that it yet advices to a precise chronogram for the activities that are required before that time. I think that with deliberate and attention to speed, that an election in that near timeframe is executable, but we also realize that the unfolding of events may reveal other obstacles and we all want this to be an election of which Malians can be proud. The ultimate outcome is to provide the Malian people with a government that they have elected and who can address the longer term issues of reconciliation, and a conversation about the evolution of Mali's democracy and how these people interact with their government. So I think that the military operation and of the international community's support to that will continue. I think it is moving in a very positive direction and that preparation for elections must continue with all deliberate and careful speed.



Sudan offers talks with Southern rebels


udan's defence minister has extended an offer to hold direct talks with Southern rebels, paving the way for dialogue between the two groups for the first time. Abdel Raheem Mohammed Hussein made the offer on Wednesday, saying that Khartoum would be willing to have discussions with the rebel group Southern People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N), provided the dialogue was based on protocols set out in a 2005 peace agreement with South Sudan. "We are ready to meet with the northern sector (of the SPLM), on the condition that the dialogue and discussion is based on the Comprehensive peace Agreement and the protocol for the two areas as a reference," said Hussein. The rebels, who operate in Sudan's Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, said that the offer extended was "progress". "For Khartoum to directly negotiate with the SPLM-N is progress but the difficulties will come in the details of the talks," said Neroun Phillip, a member of the SPLM-N negotiations

team. "It's too early to talk about peace until the parties sit and agree on some issues." The Defence Minister also said that first observers are preparing to monitor a demilitarised buffer zone between Sudan and South Sudan, in a move to curb crossborder rebel support.

Sudan has previously refused to meet the SPLM-N and has accused South Sudan of backing them, whose rebellion to overthrow Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, began shortly after the secession in 2011. SPLM's turbulent interaction with Khartoum resulted in the 2005 peace deal and later, the

secession of South Sudan. The two countries agreed on a timeframe to withdraw troops from their disputed border earlier this month, after being delayed since September. The war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has forced more than 200,000 people to become refugees in South Sudan and Ethiopia.


Sudan's defence ministerAbdel Raheem Mohammed Hussein(C) at the press briefing.

Mali soldier killed in Timbuktu suicide bomb attack


suicide attack has killed a Malian soldier in the historic city of Timbuktu, the army says. The attacker set off an explosive vest inside a car which had been stopped at a checkpoint near the airport, a military source said. This is the first suicide attack in Timbuktu since French-led forces ousted Islamist militants from the city in January. The French army says it also killed at least 10 militants in a later attack. The French government says it is still trying to verify claims by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that it had executed French hostage Philippe Verdon on 10 March, in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali. France sent troops in January to regain the north from a loose coalition of militant

Islamist groups, saying they threatened to turn the whole of Mali into a "terrorist state". "A booby-trapped car exploded during the night [Wednesday] near the Timbuktu airport," a military source told the AFP news agency. "The jihadist who set off his belt was killed instantly and one of the soldiers injured in the explosion died in hospital." The BBC's Alex Duval Smith in Mali's capital, Bamako, says the attack is a setback to French claims that it is winning the war against jihadist forces in Mali. On Wednesday President Francois Hollande said the military operation was in its last phase and that Mali was ''days away'' from regaining its territorial integrity. However, thousands of ordinary Malians have

remained sceptical about assurances that the north of the country is safe, our correspondent says. The Timbuktu car bombing is likely to vindicate their view and further delay the return of civil servants who are needed if schools, town halls and clinics are to reopen, she says. Malian army spokesman Capt Samba Coulibaly said the suicide bombing took place at a road block manned by Malian soldiers, just before a French checkpoint, Reuters news agency reports. "We are mopping up to see if there are any other attackers in the area," he is quoted as saying. French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said French and Malian forces had repelled an attempt by militants to infiltrate Timbuktu's airport on Thursday morning, Reuters reports.

There were no French casualties, he added. France currently has 4,000 troops in Mali, backed by thousands of Malian, Chadian and other African forces. Their military campaign has focused in recent weeks on the remote Ifoghasmountains near the Algeria border, where the militants are believed to have fled after losing control of the main cities. However, there were two suicide bombings in the city of Gao last month. On Tuesday the French army said 15 Islamist fighters had been killed in recent days in Gao, and a large cache of weapons seized. At least 26 Chadian and five French soldiers had died in combat in Mali since their deployment, AFP reports. France hopes to begin withdrawing its forces from Mali at the end of April.

Chad foreign minister warns against early Mali exit


Moussa Faki Mahamat

Central African Republic rebels reject president's concessions

had warned France and its African allies on Thursday against crying victory too soon in the fight against Islamist rebels in northern Mali, saying only 70 percent of the battle was won in the country's desolate far north. Chad's Foreign Minister MoussaFakiMahamat urged African nations to send troops to the frontline in the rugged Adrar des Ifoghasmountains where 2,400 Chadian soldiers are battling pockets of die-hard Islamists, together with French forces. A nine-week French-led campaign expelled militants from north Mali's main towns,

leaving pockets of resistance in the desert and rock-strewn mountains by the Algerian border. French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday almost all Mali's sovereignty would be restored in a few days. France aims to begin withdrawing its 4,000 troops from late April. Asked about that plan, Faki said: "More than 70 percent of the job has been done but we shouldn't celebrate victory too soon because we have an unusual enemy in an unusual terrain." "We need to be careful. Look at what happened in Timbuktu today," he said in an interview

in the Chadian embassy in Paris. An Islamist suicide bomber killed a Malian soldier and wounded six others in a raid on Timbuktu's airport overnight, the first attack in the desert trading city since Islamists there fled a French offensive nearly two months ago. France said 10 militants were killed in the raid, which raised doubts over how well France and its allies controlled the territory behind the frontline. Most fighting in recent weeks has been around the town of Gao or in the Adrar des Ifoghas, with some suicide attacks in the far northern town of Kidal.

entral African Republic's SELEKA rebel group rejected concessionary decrees from President Francois Bozize as "too little, too late" and demanded on Thursday that he resign. SELEKA spokesman Colonel Sylvain Bordas responded to state TV broadcasts on Wednesday announcing presidential decrees freeing political prisoners, lifting curfews and banning roadblocks manned by pro-Bozize militia. "All we ask is for him to now leave power," Bordas told Reuters. "If he does not do so, we will force him out." There were no immediate reports of clashes but tensions ran high in Bangui over a possible return to fighting which saw the rebels march to the gates of the capital in December. Mineral-rich CAR's current uprising is the latest in a long line of rebellions that have crippled the country since its independence from France in 1960 and the U.N. Security Council has voiced strong concern over the current situation. As well as freeing political prisoners and removing checkpoints, the insurgents have demanded the departure of foreign troops, including some 400 South Africans. They also sought government posts for their civilian and military leaders as part of a power-sharing deal. The United Nations has condemned rebel attacks in a resurgence of violence in recent weeks and called on all sides to abide by the terms of the peace deal. Regional nations dispatched troops to try and stabilize the country and helped facilitate peace talks. In response to the rebel demands, ClaysonMonyela, a spokesman for South Africa's foreign ministry, said: "The troops are staying. They aren't going anywhere." Central African Republic has rich deposits of gold, diamonds and uranium but it remains among the least developed countries in the world. Conflicts in neighboring Chad, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo have also undermined efforts to stabilize the country.


Asia and Middle East


outh Korea says an initial investigation shows a Chinese internet address was the source of a cyber attack on one of the companies shut down by computer crashes. South Korea's telecom regulator said on Thursday that a Chinese address created the malicious code in the server of one of the banks, Nonghyup, that crashed on Wednesday. Experts say hackers often


South Korea says Chinese IP behind cyber attack launch attacks via computers in other countries in an attempt to keep their identities from being exposed. Such addresses can easily be manipulated and disguised. Regulators have distributed vaccine software to government offices, banks, hospitals and other institutions to prevent more

outages. The source of the attack is not yet clear. But suspicion has quickly fallen on North Korea. Pyongyang has threatened Seoul with attack in recent days. South Korea's army raised its alert level after the cyber attack was suspected, said Al Jazeera's Harry

Fawcett, reporting from Seoul. The hacking paralysed computer networks of three major television stations and two banks on Wednesday, prompting the South Korean police to launch a major investigation. Our correspondent said that

South Korea appeared to have fallen victim to a highly planned attack. Before the investigation began, Fawcett said: "Whatever its source, it will raise keen questions about South Korea's cyber security." A spokesman at LG Uplus said the company believes its network was attacked.

China "extremely concerned" about U.S.-Japan island talk


apan and the United States have started talks on operational plans in the case of armed conflict over a group of East China Sea islets claimed by Tokyo and Beijing, Japanese media said on Thursday, prompting China to complain of "outside pressure". The dispute in recent months had escalated to the point where both sides scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other, raising fears that an unintended collision or other incident could lead to a broader clash. The United States, which has announced a security "pivot" towards Asia, has said repeatedly it takes no position on the sovereignty dispute, but believes it is important for China and Japan to work out their differences peacefully. Shigeru Iwasaki, head of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces' joint staff, and Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S.

forces in the Asia-Pacific, are expected to agree that the allies will accelerate the drafting of the plans when they meet in Hawaii on Thursday and Friday, Kyodo news agency said. They will likely review several scenarios including one under which Japanese and U.S. armed forces conduct joint operations in case Chinainvades the islands, Kyodo said. The Nikkei business daily carried a similar report on Wednesday. "China is extremely concerned by these reports ... The Chinese government has the determination and ability to maintain the nation's territorial sovereignty," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. "No outside pressure will affect the resolve and determination of the Chinese government and people to maintain territorial sovereignty." The rocky, uninhabited islets, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China,

U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear (C), Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, is accompanied by Shigeru Iwasaki (R), Chief of Japan's Self-Defence Forces Joint Staff. are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge oil and gas reserves.

Obama backs talks for Middle East peace


S President Barack Obama has called for direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians for lasting peace in the region and said that Jewish settlements were an obstacle to achieving that. He was speaking in Ramallah after meeting Palestinian officials on the second day of his Mideast tour to emphasise the importance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Obama headed to the West Bank on Thursday to tell the Palestinians that the creation of a Palestinian state remains a priority for his administration. Obama said Palestinians

deserved an independent and sovereign state and an end to occupation by Israel. The US president said that Palestinians should not have to confront the daily indignities that come with occupation. The US president did not bring a new plan to relaunch peace talks, but said both sides should end unilateral actions that halt moves to resolve the conflict. Those troublesome actions include continued construction of Jewish housing settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians and repeated Palestinian efforts to achieve recognition at the United Nations in the absence of a peace agreement.

President Mahmoud Abbas(R) with BarackObama in Ramallah.

Yasser Abed-Rabbo, an aide of Abbas, said before the meeting that the Palestinians will tell Obama they won't return to negotiations with Israel without a settlement freeze. "There can be no real (peace) process with the continuation of settlement activities on our lands,'' he said, adding that the issue of settlements is central to the ObamaAbbas meeting. Palestinians argue that they cannot negotiate a border between Israel and a future Palestine while Israel unilaterally shapes that line through accelerated settlement building. The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem territories Israel captured in the 1967 war - but are ready for minor adjustments to accommodate some settlements closest to Israel. Since 1967, Israel has built dozens of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that are now home to 560,000 Israelis - an increase of 60,000 since Obama became president four years ago. Palestinians argue that only strong U.S. pressure can get Israel to change course and halt its settlement enterprise, but doubt Obama is willing to do so. Obama's wooing of Israeli public opinion during his current trip has further enforced such perceptions.

Senior U.S. officials including State Secretary John Kerry have said in recent

months that the islands are covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

North Korea issues fresh threat to U.S.


orth Korea said it would attack U.S. military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea. The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and U.S. forces.North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls "hostile" drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh U.N. sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test. Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address inChina, raising suspicions the intrusion came from North Korea. "The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson Air Force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa," the North's supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency.

Japan and U.S. Pacific bases are in range of Pyongyang's mediumrange missiles. It is not known if North Korea possesses drones, although a report on South Korea's Yonhap news agency last year said it had obtained 1970sera U.S. target drones from Syria to develop into attack drones. "The (drone) planes were assigned the flight route and time with the targets in South Korea in mind, Kim Jong-un said, adding with great satisfaction that they were proved to be able to mount (a) super-precision attack on any enemy targets," KCNA reported. It is extremely rare for KCNA to specify the day on which Kim attended a drill. It also said a rocket defense unit had successfully shot down a target that mimicked an "enemy" Tomahawk cruise missile. North Korea has said it has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened a nuclear attack on the United States. Although North Korea lacks the technology to carry out such an attack, Washington said it would deploy more anti-missile batteries in Alaska to counter any threat. The hacking attack brought down the servers of South Korean broadcasters YTN, MBC and KBS as well as two major commercial banks, Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank.



Europe and Americas Europe sets deadline to cut off Cyprus aid


he European Central Bank (ECB) has warned it will cut off emergency aid to Cyprus if a bailout plan is not in place by March 25. In a statement issued on Thursday, the bank said Europe's assistance is contingent on the approval of a new package in the Cypriot parliament. At a meeting in Nicosia, the capital, politicians again ruled out an unpopular tax on bank deposits and agreed to set up an investment fund as part of a "Plan B", after an earlier rescue deal was voted down. "Following a proposal by [President NicosAnastasiades], there was a consensus reached and a unanimous decision was taken for the setting up of an Investment Solidarity Fund," government spokesman Christos Stylianides said in a statement. The ECB is keeping the Cypriot banks alive by allowing them to draw on emergency support through the local central bank. Al Jazeera's Peter Sharp, reporting from Nicosia, said the statement reflects the frustration of the ECB. "The central bank has just had enough," he said. "As far as they are concerned, this has been dragging on now and it's doing the eurozone no good at all." Stylianides said the proposal for the proposed new fund was being processed by government lawyers, while AverofNeophytou, acting leader of the ruling Disy party, said that if it is ready, "certainly it will be before [parliament] this afternoon". "I want to believe we will find a solution to avoid bankruptcy of this country and we will manage this," Neophytou said. No details were released of how the fund would be constituted, but media had earlier reported it would comprise proceeds from the nationalisation of state and private provident funds and from bonds issued against future natural gas revenues. The Phileleftheros newspaper said this would raise around $4.5bn of the $7.5bn that Cyprus is required to amass to secure a $13bn eurozone bailout. It was not immediately clear how the remaining funds would be raised. Cyprus is seeking ways to secure funding for its banks after politicians on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted against a highly unpopular measure that would have slapped a one-time levy of up to 9.9 percent on bank deposits as a condition the EU-led loan. With that now in doubt, Cyprus must find other ways to raise cash to repay its debts. Thursday's revised plan was hastily drawn up after Finance Minister Michalis Sarris failed to make progress at talks in Moscow to secure aid, as a tough-bargaining Russia sought lucrative assets in exchange for more help.

Turkey : PKK chief calls for ceasefire


he jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has called for a truce after years of war. Ocalan also urged his fighters to withdraw from Turkey, in a message read out to cheers during Kurdish New Year celebrations in the city of Diyarbakir. Hundreds of thousands were there to hear the call, which follows months of talks between the PKK and Turkey. More than 40,000 people have died in the 30-year fight for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in Turkey's south-east. Several previous ceasefire attempts have failed. But the BBC's James Reynolds in Istanbul points out that this time Ocalan and Prime Minister RecepTayyipErdogan the two key figures involved - are talking via intermediaries. Our correspondent says Ocalan is still the final decisionmaker among the Kurds, despite

the 14 years he has spent in jail. He is serving a life sentence for treason. The announcement was read out in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in Kurdish and in Turkish. "We have reached the point where weapons should be silent and ideas and politics should speak. A new phase in our struggle is beginning," Ocalan's message said. "Now a door is opening to a phase where we are moving from armed resistance to an era of democratic political struggle. "Now it is time for our armed units to move across the border [to northern Iraq]. This is not an end but a new beginning. This is not abandoning the struggle, but a start to a different struggle." Our correspondent says it is not immediately clear when this withdrawal will take place - or whether the PKK will ultimately choose to disarm. Ocalan had told Kurdish

politicians who visited him earlier this week at his prison on the island of Imrali that his declaration would be "historic". In February the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) leader, who has been in Turkish custody since his capture in Kenya in 1999, called for prisoners to be released by both sides. The PKK freed eight Turkish soldiers and officials it had held captive in northern Iraq for up to two years. The PKK launched its armed campaign in 1984 and is regarded by Turkey, the US and EU as a terrorist organisation. Last year saw some of the heaviest fighting in decades. The organisation rolled back on its demands for an independent Kurdish state in the 1990s, calling instead for more autonomy. Reports say the PKK wish list now includes greater constitutional and linguistic rights for Kurds, as well as an

easing of pressure on Kurdish activists. The government has also not dismissed speculation that Ocalan could be moved to house arrest. On the eve of the truce call, Mr Erdogan condemned a number of blasts in the capital blamed on a left-wing group which opposes the talks with the PKK. He promised to push ahead with "extremely critical and sensitive" peace efforts, which have been going on since October. Abdullah Demirbas, a district mayor in Diyarbakir, told Reuters news agency there would be more attempts to sabotage talks, but this was a last chance for peace. "The PKK, Ocalan and the government must be brave... There is massive social support for this process." In Diyarbakir members of the crowd spoke of their hopes for an end to conflict. "We are waiting for peace, for better days. We don't want clashes any more," a woman told Reuters.

Thousands match to the streets in jubilation after hearing the speech.

US General Kelly plays down Guantanamo hunger strike


senior United States military commander has played down reports that a group of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates are on hunger strike. Gen John Kelly, the head of US Southern Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that some prisoners "were eating a bit, but not a lot". Reports say the protest against alleged mishandling of the Koran began in February. Gen Kelly denied such abuse. More than 20 inmates are now thought to be on hunger strike, the jail says. Prison spokesman Navy Capt Robert Durand said the number had risen from 14 on Friday. Eight of them had lost so much weight that they were being fed through tubes and two were being treated for dehydration, he added. Gen Kelly said it was difficult to confirm how many of the inmates

were on hunger strike, because the prisoners eat communally. That makes it difficult to know whether they have skipped nine consecutive meals, which is the definition of hunger strike in the detention centre, he said. "Generally speaking, we think about 24 of them are on, say,

Gen John Kelly

hunger strike light, where they're eating a bit but not a lot, but they've declared that they're not eating," Gen Kelly told reporters at the Pentagon. Last week, a group of 50 lawyers representing Guantanamo prisoners sent a letter to US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.

They urged him to take measures to end the hunger strike, which they said began on 6 February, after photographs and correspondence were allegedly seized and copies of the Koran mishandled during searches of prisoner's cells. Gen. Kelly called the accusations "nonsense" and put the hunger strike down to "frustration". "No way has the Koran in any way, shape or form been in any way abused or mistreated," he told reporters. He said that of the Guantanamo staff, only translators, who were themselves Muslims, were allowed to touch the Koran. Hunger strikes have happened frequently in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, but this is reportedly one of the longest and more widespread protests.



A Huge Cross to Bear - man spends 26 years traveling the world with a giant crucifix on his shoulder it all is amazing, people will just stop and ask you questions, offer you food and sometimes a place to stay." Thousands of curious people have come up to him to ask about the cross, and he has shaken hands and prayed with them. He has even been invited to brothels to minister to prostitutes more than once, and spent several nights in bus shelters or basic accommodation with just a sleeping bag and a hole in the ground for a toilet. Hamon has been mobbed by locals in foreign countries wanting to hear him speak, even if they didn't understand English, but language has never been a barrier. "Often I will pray in English" he says. "Sometimes you get people who translate for you, I had one young boy who came out of nowhere when I was talking to around 20 or 30 people and he just translated everything. When it was done he just disappeared, I never knew who he was or where he came from, it's amazing."Currently, Hamon is traveling with his cross in his home country England, and will soon be going home to see his wife and dog, before moving on to his next destination - Latvia. The countries that Hamon has been to so far are: Belarus, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Belgium, Germany, France, Holland, Ireland, India, Hungary, Nepal, New Zealand, Italy, Russia, Romania, Poland, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, and the UK.

By Sumitra


think it's amazing how dedicated some people can be towards a cause they believe in. Like 60-year-old Lindsay Hamon, who has spent the past 26 years of his life hauling a giant crucifix all around the world, talking about Jesus to anyone who will listen. He literally carried his faith on his shoulders, trekking across 19 countries including New Zealand, Romania, India and Sri Lanka. During the course of his amazing journey he has had some truly spectacular moments as well as some pretty rough ones. In spite of being attacked and shot at in Bangladesh and thrown out of St Peter's Square in Rome, Hamon has no plans to stop his work any time soon. Hamon took up the mission of carrying the huge cross around the world in 1987, and he has rarely put it down ever since . The cross itself is made of cedar wood and measures 12 ft. by 6ft tall. It has a wheel at its base to make it easier to drag around, and he actually carries it over his shoulder for up to 12 hours a day, without having the faintest idea of where he will spend the night. The father-of-two and parttime care worker receives donations from supporters that help him stay committed to his role as a Christian Evangelist. But he does need to stop at his home town in Cornwall every once in a while to work and pay his family's bills. "I tried giving up my work and doing this full time instead, but I didn't get


dolfo Huerta Aleman, known to his parishioners as Father Gofo, is not your usual priest. He looks and dresses like a rocker, likes going to bars, loves pictures of naked women,smokes, swears, and tells jokes during his sermons. He's probably not the only Catholic priest with odd hobbies, but unlike most, he's open about them. At one point in his life, Gofo wanted to enroll in the military. Then he thought about becoming a policeman, a firefighter or a teacher, but he ended up as a priest in the Mexican city of Satillo. He says his ultimate career choice was probably influenced by the values passed on to him by his religious family. But for him, entering the Church didn't mean leaving everything he loved up to that point at the door. That

Photo: Lindsay Hamon enough money to make ends meet," he says. At times, Hamon has even put his life at risk. "There is fear there sometimes because I have a wife and kids and you don't want to put yourself in danger. It is really trusting in God, knowing he will protect you." Despite the few troubles he's had during his long pilgrimage, 60-year-old Hamon loves what he does and has no regrets. Different people react in different ways when they see him, and he seems to be perfectly okay with that. "I find people often want to talk, but if people don't want to know I walk on. The love you get from

Photo: Lindsay Hamon

Controversial priest wears rocker clothes, rides a chopper and references rock songs during sermons

included his love for rock culture, his passion for motorcycles or any of his vices. On the contrary, he decided to let his unique personality play a big role in his profession, as a way to reach those for whom conventional religion held no appeal. He continued dyeing the end of his black locks red, wore skull rings and bracelets in church, rode his chopper around town, and even referenced rock songs during Mass. Obviously, all that didn't sit well with many of his conservative parishioners, but it got him closer to members of the community that would otherwise be inaccessible to the Catholic Church. When he first came to the parish of Our Lady of Atocha, in Satillo, Photo: Adolfo Huerta Father Adolfo Aleman/Facebook Huerta Aleman attracted a lot of attention with his unusual look and attire. After attending some of his sermons, many of the parishioners threatened to

leave his church if he didn't change his ways. They were used to pious religious figures dressed in white, and associated his rock music, the skulls and inverted crosses on his black tshirts and his musical references with satanism. It was a rough start, but he didn't give in to pressure, and in time managed to convince them that despite his unconventional look and habits, he was a good person. He earned the trust and respect of both his parish and the regional bishop, Raul Vera Lopez, who shared Gofo's commitment to human rights. There are those who still don't approve of him wearing his church clothes over black t-shirts with skulls or naked women on them, or cracking jokes and referencing rock music during Mass, but Adolfo knows by now that he can't please everyone. He's just being himself and doesn't think it creates any kind of conflict with his profession. His room also reflects his personality; it's decorated with posters of Che Guevara, Batman and even naked women showing their best assets, which he admits sometime bother his female friends. He is quick to clarify that

Photo: Luis Salcedo/VANGUARDIA he's just an admirer of the beautiful female body, and that there are no filthy or profane thoughts associated with that. He also thinks Playboy is a "good read". The Rock'n'Roll Priest, as Adolfo has come to be known is often sent to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods around Satillo, places where no one else dares enter. His laid-back attitude, the fact that he's able to relate to the common folk

precisely through the things that others believe render him incompatible with his holy profession, make him the perfect man for the job. He likes to blend in and believes it's much easier to connect with people at barbecues, parties or bars, than it is in church, where people hardly look at each other and only hold hands when they're asked to. Love him or hate him, Father Gofo's got a point there.


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2013 With Tobias Lengnan Dapam 07036990957

‘The Expendables 2’: What makes it different T

HR's Justin Lowe praised the Sylvester Stallone toplined action flick for giving the film's "major players and cameo actors their own often quite -humorous character traits and dialogue." Expendables 2 is being billed as the perfect blend of big muscles and bigger explosions. With a solid A- CinemaScore, moviegoers seem to think it delivers on that promise. The followup to Sylvester Stallone's 2010 testosterone-filled blockbuster sees action icons Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, and Randy Couture team up to stop Jean-Claude Van Damme's villain from acquiring nuclear material. Also featuring Bruce Willis, Liam Hemsworth and Chuck

Norris, the Lionsgate film is on its way to a No. 1 opening weekend, with a projected $27 million to $28 million haul. Despite the achievement of the movie and its 66 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (the original scored 41 percent), most critics agree the sequel is an improvement. The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe praised Stallone and his co-screenwriter Richard Wenk for wrangling the expansive cast: "[The screenwriters] have generously given both major players and cameo actors their own often quite -humorous character traits and dialogue. When Schwarzenegger is onscreen, much of the banter is at the former, California governor's expense -though, much as ever, he gets some memorable lines himself

Lowe wrote that director Simon West, who took over helming duties from Stallone, deftly managed "the complexity of stunts, aircraft and vehicle pileups and frequent shootouts." New York Times critic Neil had little good to say about the film, save for the cameo by Norris. "Mr. Norris arrives just as the blood baths and leaden dialogue are beginning to grow tedious, and his deadpan self-parody is pretty darn funny." Genzlinger wrote. "More important, it gives you permission to laugh at the rest of this mindless movie, which is the only way to choke it down." L.A. Times critic Betsy Sharkey wrote that "somehow all that testosterone-infused blow-'-em-up craziness turns out to be kind of a

kick." She added "what gives 'Expendables 2' its charm is the film's unabashed nostalgia for the genre's best B-movie moments. As Statham's character puts it so well while slipping on a pair of brass knuckles, never count out the classics." However, USA based writer, Claudia Puig, mused the sequel succeeded in playing off the audience's fond memories of movies past. "These movies are not meant to be anything more than silly fun, with an all-star cast of mature hunks engaging in shameless action flick clichés and capitalizing on audience

nostalgia," she wrote. New York Post critic Lou Lumenick praised the film's wonderfully cheesy action oneliners. "It's hard not to like a movie in which Bruce Willis' toupee-less CIA agent accuses Stallone's ragtag band of mercenaries of engaging in "male pattern badness," he wrote. "Willis actually picks up a weapon or two this time around, and hilariously shares a tiny mini-car with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who fires off a nonstop series of 'Terminator'-themed quips when he isn't plowing tractors through mountainsides."


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013 With Tobias Lengnan Dapam 07036990957

Film review: Trance D

anny Boyle has great and plainly evident fun adding twists and curves and tunnels and endless style to his modern London noir Trance, but he makes so many left turns that the film turns in on itself rather than going anywhere. The trickiness of this tale of a big-time art heist and its aftermath generates intrigue; the visual and aural flash is seductive; and then there is Rosario Dawson, who has never been as dazzling or dominant onscreen as she is in this central performance. But in the end this head trip about thieves, treachery and memory recovery seems more ornamental than substantial, a sleight-of-hand piece that leaves you with that empty feeling. Commercial prospects internationally seem good with edge- and hip-seeking young audiences, not so hot with the rest. At the crux of the knotty screenplay by Joe Ahearne (who wrote and directed the little-seen 2001 British TV movie of the same name) and John Hodge (who scripted Boyle's first four films, beginning with Shallow Grave and Trainspotting) is the inability of one robber to remember where he might have left a Goya painting after the gang successfully lifts it from a tightly secured auction where "Witches in the Air" had just sold for ÂŁ27.5 million (in real life, the painting resides in the Prado in Madrid). And why can't Simon (James McAvoy) recall where he hid the painting? Because his cohort Francis (Vincent

Cassel), suspecting betrayal, cracked him on the cranium during the job. For a film built on the premise of continual revelations of new levels of awareness, complicity, intentions and motivations, it's not too much to disclose that the heist is an inside job perpetrated by Francis and three thugs in cahoots with auction house employee Simon, who firmly believes in his compan y ' s m o t t o , " N o piece of art is worth a human life." Enduring torture before convincing Francis that he truly doesn't know the

whereabouts of the 1797 painting, which depicts a gang of evil-doers in the act of a snatching, Simon agrees to undergo hypnosis therapy in the hope of disinterring the crucial bit of memory. This takes on a comical dimension when the distractingly beautiful American therapist Dr. Elizabeth Lamb (Dawson), upon discovering that Simon's crew is listening in, insists that they join in for group sessions. Once she realizes what the stakes are, she wants an equal piece of the action. And so it goes from there, as the film sails off in a swirl of one-upmanship, mutual suspicions, sexual competitiveness and evermorphing personal geometry that depends most of all upon

Asian film summit returns to Toronto International Film Fest


he Toronto International Film Festival is bringing the Asian Film Summit back for a second edition in September,m Hollywood reporter has said. It added that no headlining guests or programming was announced Tuesday for the September 10, 2013, gathering. The inaugural Asian and western film industry networking event last year featured Hong Kong star Jackie Chan, MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd and filmmakers Chen Kaige, Mira Nair and Eli Roth. The return of the Asian Film Summit to the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto was announced by festival artistic director Cameron Bailey.

who's thinking more moves ahead in the game than anyone. At first, Elizabeth appears to be firmly in the driver's seat, as she alone seems to hold the key that will unlock Simon's mind. This impression is enormously boosted by Dawson's powerful presence; Elizabeth's mental capacity registers as all the more formidable thanks to the personal confidence Dawson conveys, which in turn is multiplied by the palpable erotic allure she exudes at every moment to those around her. How the sexual equation plays out is integral to the final stretch of a film that's paced like a DJ gradually increasing the throbbing beat and tempo of tracks before reaching a heart-

pounding climax. From the point of view of visual and aural sensation, Trance goes a fair way toward living up to its name. Thanks to Boyle's aggressive direction and Anthony Dod Mantle's vibrantly colored cinematography, which combine for a more deliberately consistent and glowing look than they did in Slumdog Millionaire, the film possesses a robust physicality that constantly engages, whether it's patently artificial, as in the look of a club where some of the interrogations take place, or emphatically natural, as when Dawson strides toward the camera in a spectacularly surprising nude scene. McAvoy and Cassel also are shot in a way that makes them pop, and both actors are completely alive to every moment of their scenes. Beat up, bloodied and beleaguered through much of the story, McAvoy's sweaty Simon holds assorted secrets until very close to the end, while Cassel's Francis provokes fascination as a tough guy who eventually shows other colors, particularly vulnerability. On this point, Boyle scores good laughs by subjecting Francis' three thugs (Danny Sapani, Matt Cross and Wahab Sheikh) to therapy, in which innermost fears are revealed in quick flashback. Trance is not precisely a case of all style and no substance, as Boyle and his writers are, in fact, trying to deepen and, in certain ways, humanize hardboiled crime drama by introducing multiple layers of meaning, emotion and insight; enough pieces of the puzzle fit that the story, if one straightens the sequencing and psychology out in one's mind, seems to make sense.

Disney, Imax to CoProduce 3D Space Film


ollywood reporter has revealed that Imax is going back in to space, this time with Walt Disney Studios. Launching its first joint production with Imax, Disney is backing the latest 3D space film by veteran filmmaker Toni Myers (Space Station 3D, Hubble 3D), which is still untitled. The Disney-Imax project will use high-resolution photography and video graphy to offer a bird's eye view of a fastchanging Earth from space, ahead of a planned 2015 release. NASA will once again partner on the Imax space film production. Disney's co-producer agreement with Imax follows the release of studio titles on the giant

screen platform like Fantasia 2000 and more recently Oz The Great and Powerful. "Disney has always been a leader in creating immersive fantasy worlds for audiences, but we know there's no more immersive world than the real one," said Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement Wednesday. "Toni Myers and her team have given us films that have been educating, delighting and astonishing Imax audiences for many years, and we look forward to continuing the journey with this latest spectacle," Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Entertainment, said in his own statement.



Jesse Jagz dumps MI, Ice Prince's Choc City label J

esse Jagz, who is the younger brother of talented rapper, MI, has dumped his record label, Chocolate City also known as Choc City, has said. Jesse, who is also a rapper, announced in a statement yesterday that he is moving on to continuing his music life with a new team. From the look of things, the rapper may have floated his own record label, Jesse Jagz

Nation. His full statement reads; "I, Jesse Garba Abaga (also known as "Jesse Jagz") an artist formerly signed to Chocolate City Music label hereby wishes to notify my fans and the general public about my voluntary exit from the label. "After my initial two year contractual agreement with Chocolate City, I do not wish to renew my contract with them and as such have proceeded to continue my music career with

my new team at Jesse Jagz Nation. "I still maintain a cordial relationship with the management of Chocolate City and my former label mates and I wish them the best in all their future endeavours. "Any further information will be passed across through my publicist but until then, have a good day. Look out for my sophomore album JagZNation Vol. 1 coming out in July 2013", the statement said.

reporter has said. Hamilton's TV directing rĂŠsumĂŠ includes such live events as Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show performances in 2012 and the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony,

the 82nd Academy Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards. He will receive his honor during this year's Craft Awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony hosted by actor Stephen Mangan on April 28 in the British capital. The honorary nod recognizes Hamilton's ability "to showcase unique live spectacles through multi camerabased television directing, with millions watching his work," according to BAFTA. On his part, Hamilton said: "I am totally thrilled, rather surprised and a little emotional to be receiving this special award. It is great to be recognized for work that surrounds me with so many talented friends." BAFTA television committee chairman Andrew Newman, who congratulated Hamilton said, "I'm delighted that Hamish Hamilton is receiving the Special Award this year, not only because his work is watched globally by a huge audience, but because the level of true talent and quality in what he does brings largescale events to life onscreen. His skill as a director allows people to share in the experience and feel the excitement of being part of a huge event while watching at home." Hamilton began his career at the BBC directing television for various types of programs, including quiz shows, children shows and morning breakfast shows. Hamilton has gone on to direct some of the world's greatest live events using advanced multicamera techniques for TV.

Beyonce's Super Bowl Halftime Show director to receive BAFTA honor


eyonce's 2013 Super Bowl halftime show TV director, Hamish Hamilton will be presented with a special award at the upcoming British Academy Television Craft Awards, Hollywood

Beyonce at Super Bowl performance

Jesse Jagz

Kristen Wiig to reteam with will ferrell on Indie 'Welcome to Me'


he actress, who is shooting the McKayhelmed Anchorman: "The Legend Continues opposite Ferrell", is eyeing the lead in the film that will be directed by McKay's wife Shira Piven. Eliot Laurence, a former staff writer on Oxygen's "The

Kristen Wiig

Big Gay Sketch Show", wrote the screenplay about a woman with dissociative personality disorder who wins the lottery and decides to spend her winnings on a cable access talk show about her life. Recent films like Silver Linings Playbook have proved that comedy and mental illness could coexist and connect with theatergoers. Since her tour de force in the hit Bridesmaids, Wiig has become one of Hollywood's most in-demand actresses. She has five films in the can: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Despicable Me 2, Girl Most Likely, The Skeleton, Twins and Hateship, Loveship. Ferrell, McKay and Jessica Elbaum are producing Welcome to Me through their Gary Sanchez Productions. UTA, which reps Wiig and Laurence, is rapping the film for sale and is in the process of securing financing.

Nigerian student eyes top model of the world pageant in Egypt


igeria's Olajumoke Cynthia Sapara, who was one of the runners up at the Miss Global Nigeria (MGN) beauty pageant held in Lagos on 3rd June, 2012, has flown to Egypt with her crew to represent the country at the 'Top Model Of The World' beauty pageant holding in that country, has said. it added that the event, which started on Sunday, March 17, 2013, is holding in the ancient town of El Gouna in Hurghada, Egypt. The leggy and beautiful Cynthia Sapara is eyeing the crown just as her fellow contestant at the MGN 2012, Gbemi Shotade, made Nigeria

proud in Jamaica in December 2012 when she won the Miss United Nations Miss Tourism crown. Cynthia Sapara is an undergraduate of Chemistry at the Alberta University, Canada. She combines beauty with brain, two ingredients the organisers of MGN emphasise on.

Top Model of The World pageant is reputed as one of the best and most coveted modelling contests in the world as its promotersPanama, South America based World Beauty Organisation (WBO) are also behind the prestigious Miss Intercontinental pageant which is the only beauty

pageant aired live on 3D TV in the world. As Cynthia goes in battle with other beautiful models across the world in Egypt, she believes her training with MGN will work for her in bringing the crown home thereby putting Nigeria on the world map again just like Gbemi.



Sustaining healthy vision via awareness campaign against glaucoma By Olayemi Okeniyi


ye specialists from ophthalmological societies in Abuja recently took to the streets in a procession from Berger Junction to Wuse Market so as to raise the people's awareness on the danger of glaucoma. At the tail end of the procession, a bus with a loudspeaker dished out local music. Many passersby paused to listen to the tunes; while others danced, as the bus wove its way through the traffic. While the music was decidedly upbeat, the underlining factor that took these people out of their homes and places of work was, however, not something to dance about. Some of them handed out fliers; others carried handmade placards that warned about the dangers of glaucoma -- an eye disease in which the optic nerve is damaged in a characteristic pattern. ``Vision loss, due to glaucoma, cannot be recovered,'' read one woman's poster and beside her, a man carried another sign with a screaming warning: ``Half of the people with glaucoma don't know they have it''. Ahead of them, one of the more sombre-looking specialists held a sign with an inscription: ``Glaucoma is the silent thief of vision''. These are some features of the public awareness procession staged by eye doctors; the first in a series of events lined up to raise awareness on glaucoma as part of the World Glaucoma Week (March 10 to March 16). Another spectacular feature of the Week is the free glaucoma screening being held in designated hospitals across Abuja and Keffi in Nasarawa State, organised by the Abuja chapter of the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria during the weeklong event. Dr Abdulkabir Ayanniyi, the Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Week, explained that the screening was an integral part of the public awareness campaign against glaucoma. He said that not less than 4.5 million people globally had become blind because of glaucoma, making glaucoma the leading cause of irreversible blindness. ``Worldwide, more than 60.5 million people have glaucoma; in Nigeria, the

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu

prevalence is above average, affecting 6.5 per cent of people above age 40. ``There are no less than 190,000 new cases of glaucoma among Nigerians per year and presently, more than 80 per cent of Nigerians with glaucoma remain unaware and undiagnosed,'' he said. Ayanniyi expatiated that glaucoma-induced blindness could have serious implications on a person's quality of life and could contribute significantly to morbidity. Regrettably, he added, there had been no cure for glaucoma but early detection and appropriate intervention could prevent significant glaucoma damage.

``There is no cure for glaucoma yet and vision loss is irreversible; however, medication as well as traditional or laser surgery can halt any further vision loss,'' he said. For this reason, Dr Regina Morgan, the Head of Ophthalmology, National Hospital, Abuja, warned that people should stop taking their sight for granted. Morgan advised that people should arm themselves against the disease via increased awareness of the risk factors of glaucoma. ``According to the Department of Public Health, FCTA, the people who are at risk of glaucoma are people


with a family history of glaucoma, people with increased eye pressure and everyone above age 40. ``Others at risk include diabetics, people who have used steroids for a long time, shortsighted people, black people and people with physical eye injuries,'' she said. However, Morgan urged the people to undergo yearly eye checkups, while asking their doctors to check for glaucoma through tests. Re-echoing Ayanniyi's sentiment that the loss of sight could have destructive effects on a person's quality of life, Morgan said: ``Imagine the burden of blindness, the physiological trauma which

Imagine the burden of blindness, the physiological trauma which people who lost their sight go through; the burden is quite enormous.'' This is because glaucoma does not have any sign or symptoms that will warn you or alert you that you have a disease that can take your sight

people who lost their sight go through; the burden is quite enormous.'' All the same, Dr Magdalene Ajani, an ophthalmologist, said that developing nations, Nigeria inclusive, did not have organised health systems, particularly structured eye care plans ``The great majority of Nigerians do not have a good eye care plan; sadly, by the time most people walk into the clinic, they are already blind in one eye from glaucoma. ``This is because glaucoma does not have any sign or symptoms that will warn you or alert you that you have a disease that can take your sight. ``The truth is that we don't have a proper health care system that makes people to realise that they need to routinely undergo annual check-ups. ``I think we need to get our health system right in this country; it's not only about glaucoma but our health as a whole,'' Ajani said. She, however, stressed that if a proper health care system was put in place, Nigerians would be eager to go for routine medical check-up. Ajani, nonetheless, noted that the ongoing public awareness campaign would strengthen calls for the development of a purposeful health system, which laid considerable emphasis on disease prevention in the country, ``If glaucoma is detected early, there are treatment, drugs and surgeries available that can be administered to preserve the person's vision and prevent blindness,'' she said. In the event of total blindness, Ajani said: ``Something can still be done; the fact that someone is blind doesn't mean it is the end of the world. ``We can help the patients to recuperate, adjust their lifestyles in rehabilitation centres located across the county. ``We can also assist them to change their vocation and teach them how to use Braille, walking stick, guide dogs and all that,'' she added. Since scientists have yet to discover ways of preventing glaucoma, health experts recommend that healthy lifestyles, including regular physical exercises and nutritious diets, will aid efforts to improve the people's physical and mental wellbeing. Source: NAN



Refuse taking over a major road, recently at Garki, in Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Removing trash and stinks from Abuja By Folasade Folarin


s a `created' town, everybody expected Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory to be a model city. Initially it was. The serenity, aesthetics and cleanliness of the city was indeed tangible and the delight of many visitors who thronged the capital city to conduct transactions.. However, this has changed: streets are now dirty with heaps of refuse due to inadequate attention and open defecation due to lack of public toilets. Many areas ooze unbearably pungent odour. People now trek on the walkways with a foreboding that they may step on or sight something unpleasant. The satellite towns are worse for it, as residents freely dump refuse on waterways, thereby blocking the drainage. Heaps grow on the median of major roads instead of flourishing flowering plants. Mr Joe Ukairo, Head, Information and Outreach Programme of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), expresses worry over the development. He says that the board is doing everything possible to ensure cleanliness, but alludes to the attitude of

residents. ``In the city centre, there are 20 contractors that the FCT Administration has engaged to ensure that the waste from business premises and residences is properly collected and evacuated and they have been doing that in a sustainable manner, but our challenge has been people's attitude. ``People don't care much about the environment, that is why you can see someone throw a banana peel from a posh car which he cannot throw in his own house,'' he notes. Mr Toke Oriola, a resident of Kubwa, a suburb of the FCT, says although it is improper for people to indiscriminately dispose of refuse, they will continue to do so if refuse bins are not provided. ``Our trash is kept outside for a long time while we await the trucks to come and evacuate them. ``If they don't come, we have to pay the `Babanbola' (cart pushers) to come and take them away and you can imagine where they will dispose of the trash. ``Many people don't want to pay `Babanbola,' so they just dump their trash on the roads on their way to work or inside the gutters, where there are gutters,'' he says.

Ukairo also attributes the uncleanness to the dense population of FCT especially in satellite towns, due to daily influx of people. ``We discover that the population that the el-Rufai tenure served is not the same population we have now; in a one-bedroom apartment meant for three persons; 15 persons may be living there. ``An internal research carried out by the Economic Department of FCTA, shows that about 100,000 visitors come into the FCT daily and of the 100,000 visitors, 10,000 stay back whether they have somewhere to stay or not and these 10,000 visitors are stretching the existing infrastructure,'' Ukairo says. Mr Alex Ekaette, a businessman whose shop is located in the Central Area, says that high population should not be detrimental to waste management as it has its own advantages when thrash is turned into treasure. ``In many countries of the world, waste is money, so the more waste you have, the more money you can convert it into and it could be used to generate electricity. ``But is not the case here, everything goes into the trash and then becomes heaps of dirt in Gosa.''

Gosa is the approved government dumpsite in the FCT. Mr Augustine Ebisike, Registrar, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORCON), however, says that dumpsites are not even encouraged in environmental health because of their future consequences. `` When all these things end up in a dumpsite, they degrade the soil and become water and this water contains as many chemicals as constitutes what you disposed of. ``Some of them would have reacted against each other to form other chemicals, and all these things find their way into our general environment and bore-holes, where people drink from; so it is a challenge that is going to be a problem in the future,'' Ebisike remarks. Ukairo, however, says that the Goza dumpsite will not remain for long, because efforts are being made to develop it into an integrated landfill site for waste management. ``The first step towards that is the construction of three transfer stations and it is ongoing now; one is at Mpape, the other in Kubwa and another is at Gudu. ``These transfer stations

functions include: shortening of the turnaround timing. With these transfer stations strategically located within the city, they can go up to four or five times in a day and when the turn-around timing is shorter, the city is cleaner because they will be able to cover so much in a day. ``Not just that, in the mini plants, the waste will be sorted from plastics to paper to glass and at the end of the day, if it is a 40kgwaste that came into the transfer station, it may be just 5kg of food remnants and garbage that will be taken to Goza and there, they can be used for compost, gas and so on.'' Mr Babatunde Babalobi, a water and sanitation expert, observes that the absence of public toilets in the FCT encourages open defecation. ``It is a tragedy that in Abuja, despite its beauty, there are no public toilets at bus stops and motor parks.'' Babalobi says. Experts and stakeholders want the government to sustain policies designed to make Abuja one of the world's most preferred tourists' city, but at it stands now, they say a `surgical operation' is needed. Source: NAN



Don’t start drinking for your health: Experts By Kathryn Doyle


oderate drinking has been linked to several benefits, but it's too soon to pour a glass in pursuit of physical wellness. That was the response of several doctors and alcohol researchers to an editorial based on a critical analysis of recent studies in the journal Addiction. "People have several motives for drinking alcohol, but most evidence today indicates that health is not a valid argument," author Hans Olav Fekjaer, a psychiatrist in Oslo, Norway, told Reuters Health by email. Many studies have found that people who have one or two drinks per day also have a lowered risk for more than 20 health problems, he wrote, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and the common cold. But that's not enough to recommend using alcohol to stave off those conditions, Fekjaer told Reuters Health. For one thing, most of the evidence for benefits comes from observational studies, which find associations between lifestyle choices and health outcomes but don't prove that one causes the other, according to Dr. Richard Saitz, professor at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and editor of the journal EvidenceBased Medicine. People who drink moderately might live healthier lives in general, Saitz told Reuters Health. "People who drink low risk amounts are much more likely to get mammograms and have their teeth checked by a dentist, to go see a physician for a physical, to exercise," Saitz said. "We don't think that low amounts of alcohol cause people to go to the dentist," Saitz said. "That's just an association." The existing evidence might reassure those who already drink moderately that they may be getting some benefit and may

not be doing much harm, Saitz said. But those who do not drink shouldn't pick up a bottle in pursuit of health. Some people have already started, according to Dr. Sharonne Hayes of the Women's Heart Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "It tends to be little old ladies who have a heart attack and they read somewhere that alcohol is good and they start having a nightcap," Hayes told Reuters Health. "They hold their nose and

drink it, an ounce of brandy before bedtime, they don't even like it." "It's with great relief that I tell them they don't need to do that anymore," Hayes said. While none advocated the medicinal use of alcohol, some experts believed Fekjaer was too selective in the examples he used. "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," said Dr. Barbara Turner of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and author of a review on the association between alcohol

By Leon Watson

an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University in the United States, said: 'Much of the past work has looked at this in nonexperimental designs. 'Researchers have asked people to report their tendency to ruminate, and then looked to see if it connected to physiological issues. It's been correlational for the most part.' The research team recruited 34 healthy young women to participate in the project. Each woman was asked to give a speech about her candidacy for a job to two interviewers in white laboratory coats, who listened with 'stone-faced' expressions. Half of the group was asked to

and cardiovascular health. "Honestly right now I wouldn't run out and say that (drinking) is the same as taking Lipitor," a cholesterol drug prescribed to people at risk for stroke or heart attack, but further study could solidify a causal relationship with heart d i s e a s e a n d p e r h a p s other conditions, Turner said. "This is such a contentious issue, we do need to push for rigorous controlled trials," she said.

There are some risks from light drinking, like an increased risk of some cancers, but that is also small, according to Fekjaer. "As I indicate in Addiction, I would not expect any health benefits from light or m oderate drinking," Fekjaer said. "So weighing the risks of light drinking against benefits, I would say it is like weighing almost zero against zero!" Source:

Stressful events can weaken your immune system and make you ill


orrying too much about stressful events can trigger inflammation, according to a new study. Researchers found dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body. They discovered that when study participants were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of tissue inflammation, rose. The study is the first time to directly measure this effect in the body. Study lead author Peggy Zoccola,

Worrying too much? Researchers found dwelling on negative events can increase levels of inflammation in the body

The study found that when study participants were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of tissue inflammation, rose contemplate their performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or grocery store trips. The researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein were significantly higher in the subjects who were asked to dwell on the speech. For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for at least one hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus

on other thoughts. The C-reactive protein is primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system's initial inflammatory response. It rises in response to traumas, injuries or infections in the body. C-reactive protein is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection, but also if he or she may be at risk for disease later in life. Doctor Zoccola said: 'More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions. Source:

Nigeria’s budget and dance of the masquerade Contd. from Back Page Education is generously allocated some N427.5bn. Problem is, like health, the major chunk of its allocations are misdirected; N60.1bn (14%) is allocated to capital expenditure. At N367bn (85.8%), recurrent expenditure is about 6 times the size of capital provisions in a country where about 1.5m (8.7% of 6-14year olds) children of primary school age are not in school, and only about 57.9% of the adult population is literate in English and even school teachers cannot pass basic primary school tests. The allocation is hardly adequate to cater for qualified teacher recruitment, school construction and raising the literacy rate among Nigerians.

Sadly, a large slice of the federal education budget and administrative energy go to secondary schools that ought to be the business of state governments, while tertiary education - the proper purview of the federal government, suffers. While this column feels that 'stricto sensu', agriculture ought to be the business of states and local government, the federal intervention in the sector has been confused, with mixed results at best. Agriculture is apportioned some N81bn in 2013 showing an increase of about 3.4% over 2012 allocations of N78.98bn. N32bn (39%) is allocated to recurrent expenditure and a slightly higher N48bn (59.2%) to capital expenditure. This capital allocation also is not adequate for

targeted intervention in a sector that once provided employment to about 70% of rural Nigerians but currently employs barely 35%. The decision to procure cellphones for un-named farmers instead of spending the amount on improved seedlings, agro-chemicals, fertilizers, extension services and farm-to-market infrastructure, is indicative of the "spend-withoutresults"symptomatic of virtually all Jonathanian programmes since 2010. Ironically, if you look at the Presidency's budget of about N35.5bn you would see that all talk about an anti-corruption fight is just that, talk. There is N14.4bn (40.5%) provision for 'State House Headquarters' while only N9bn (25%) is allocated to the Economic and Financial Crimes

Commission. Worse still, there is a paltry allocation of about N1.3bn (3.6%) to the National Emergency Management Agency; it is not therefore surprising that the agency is incapable of responding timely to emergency situations, and when they do so, often too little, too late. Incidentally, even as you read this, the Presidency has sent the 2013 Appropriation Act Amendment proposal back to the National Assembly for approval and has requested for the review of some clauses in the budget which, according to him, can be detrimental to the work of the executive arm of government. Even by the warped processes that characterize the method of budget making and non-implementation, this must be a new record: budget

review after two weeks of passage and presidential assent. Next week, this column would further analyze budgetary provisions for some federal ministries. It is hoped that somewhere in the continued budget disagreements between the National Assembly and the Presidency, the budget structure would be changed into a functional document that is guaranteed to bring about some sort of change. In its current form, the 2013 budget is nothing more than the dance of the masquerade: forward, backwards, up, down, raise dust, while our nation generally records increasing levels of poverty, deteriorating human development indicators, infrastructure deficiencies and youth unemployment!



Group blasts Amaechi over abandoned project By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


L-R: Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, Rivers state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and Akwa Ibom state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, discussing before their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Confusion as APC unveils membership registration website By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he controversy and confusion trailing the adoption of APC as an acronym for a political party has deepened, as one of the groups in the contest, African Peoples Congress (APC), yesterday launched an online registration website for intending members across the nation. Disclosing the website as “ and”, the Acting National Chairman of the party, Onyinye Ikeagwuonu, also called on the intending members of the party in the states, who cannot apply through online, to visit any of the parties offices across the country for registration. He said that the target of the party in this new online registration drive is to have over one million memberships in its membership register, online

register, and social media network by the end of April this year. Ikeagwuonu, who explained that the rationale behind the creation of this website is based on the believe of the party leadership that one of the cardinal principles of intra-party democracy is the ability to have an institutionalised platform for free and unrestricted membership. “By this milestone, APC has shown that its doors are wide opened as it remains the core advocate of an all inclusive and participatory democracy in Nigeria, this will run alongside the manual registration which can be done at the ward level,” he said. At this juncture, he announced the setting up of four ad-hoc committees, preparatory to the issuance of certificate of registration to the party by INEC, that will oversee the proposed launching ceremony of the party to Nigerian voters.

According to him, the groups are: Publicity Committee, headed by Acting National Secretary, Steve Uzoechi, Contact, Mobilisation and Membership committee, headed by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Joseph Jaro. Others he said are: Pre-launch Central Organising Committee, headed by the National Secretary, Sa’id Balogun, and Legal Committee, headed by the National Legal Adviser, N. Kingsley. Earlier in his speech, the Acting Chairman of the party regretted what he described as ‘gathering of the dark forces’, which he alleged are working hard through their cronies in the INEC, to foil their legitimate process of registering the party. According to him, “a black market transaction going on in INEC which, if not checked immediately may murder the

rule of law and democracy in Nigeria.” While disclosing that it has uncovered the manipulative, tinkering and leakage of official documents in INEC concerning the ongoing registration of APC, the Acting Chairman bemoaned the alleged activities going on in the legal department of the commission where some top officials are hell bent on using false documents to deny APC registration. He therefore threatened that APC will not seat back and watch these ‘dark forces’ in INEC, acting under the influence of the Lagos Mafia, deny APC its constitutional right to registration. He urged the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, to rise up and defend constitutionalism and due process, insisting that APC has complied with all the requirements of the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act.

NGF rates Ondo best in immunization campaign By Lawrence Olaoye


he Nigeria Governors Forum yesterday rated Ondo state as the best performing state in the campaign for eradication of Polio in the country. The governors at the end of its fourth meeting of the year at Rivers state Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja also announced

best performing states in each six geo-political zones in the country, Contrary to expectations, the simmering leadership crisis within the Forum did not come up for discussion and many governors shied from commenting on the issue but there was cordiality among all the present governors. Chairman of the Forum, Rotimi Amaechi, governor of Rivers state listed Cross River as

best performing state from SouthSouth; Kogi, North Central; Anambra, South East; Borno, North East and Zamfara, North West. The NGF Chairman in a communique he read at the end of the all night meeting said Niger state was considered as the most improved state in the campaign to eradicate Polio in the country. The Forum had earlier received the Peer Review reports

of Anambra and Ekiti states following the report presented by Uwais steering committee during which many key findings and commendable practices were highlighted. Amaechi said members renewed their commitment to the State Peer Review Mechanism process and directed the secretariat to make the full reports of the states available to the public.

political organization, Citizens Watch Nigeria (CWN), has criticized thhe Rivers state governor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, for abandoning the projects he inherited from his predecessor, Peter Odili, accusing him of embarking on white elephant projects. In a communiqué issued by the media adviser to the group, Dennis Esumobi, CWN argued that most of the projects being executed by the governor will not see the light of the day, regretting that most of the laudable projects embarked upon by his predecessor have been left dormant since he was elected as the governor of Rivers. In addition, CWN argued that a vote of confidence can only be passed on a sitting governor when he must have delivered good democracy dividends to the state which surpassed the mandate given to him. On this basis, the group faulted the recent vote of confidence passed on the governor by majority of the state House of Assembly, saying such endorsement indicates how shallow minded those Assembly members are with their induced endorsement. “The honourable members have been compromised on this issue for allowing their good sense of judgment to be clouded by their personal greed and quest for the bounty of life. It goes to show the mediocrity and sycophancy of the highest order in the state since Governor Amaechi took over,” the statement read. It said that this has not only endeared his cabinet members to the region, but has equally brought development to the South- South region and the country as a whole. According to the group, the efforts of the President has helped to ensure that peace and tranquility returns to the once volatile states of Niger Delta, through his numerous projects that includes the granting of amnesty to militants for peace to reign and the creation of the NigerDelta ministry for the development of the region. “CWN is of the belief that for the greater good of the state and country and for the common good, that the few honourables who didn’t sign the communiqué are in order and we therefore, warn with caution, that the governor and honourable members of the House should sheath their sword for the development of Rivers State and Nigeria and that the issue should not be a point to ponder about as every member is entitled to his or her opinion on how the affairs of the state is run for the good of the people,” the communiqué read in part.



North 'II Overcome unemployment If--- Aliero From Abubakar Abba, Kaduna


L-R: Former Presidential candidate of ACN, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, National Chairman of ACN, Chief Bisi Akande, and Former Lagos state Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during their sympathy visit over the recent attack on the Emir, on Wednesday in Kano. Photo: Mahmud Isa

120 Igbomina families fled Ganmo during crisis, says National Association From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he National President of Omo-Ibile Igbomina, a socio-political group of Igbomina speaking of Kwara state, Dr Samuel Atolagbe has confirmed that 120 families of the tribe were chased from their homes by suspected hoodlums from Afonja dynasty of Idi-Ape, who were settlers in Ganmo, a town in Ifelodun local government area of the state. Atolagbe, along other officials of the Association, during a press conference in Ilorin disclosed that 30 houses built by people of the Igbominas were built down by the aggrieved Idi-Ape people while many were machetes in their homes. It would be recalled that the crisis in

Ganmo, started on 17th of March, 2013 between Igbomina and Idi-Ape people over traditional stool upgraded by Kwara state government. Atolagbe said, " our on the spot assessment of damages to lives and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed including the almost completed Palace of the Oluganna, shops, houses as well as the Multi-Purpose hall built by the community. "Several vehicles were destroyed and lives were lost. As at the time of this address, not less than two people were confirmed dead and many reportedly on danger list. Right now virtually over 30 houses have been burnt down and over 120 families, Igbominas have fled Ganmo their home town to take refuge else where.

"Even if these people are to return to Ganmo today to continue their lawful business, where would they stay? The National President of the Association disclosed that the plan of the perpetrators of the attacks was to eliminate the Igbominas of Ganmo completely and reduce them to "inconsequential minority in their community". Atolagbe also accused Policemen drafted to the scene of being "mere spectators as they failed to protect lives and properties of innocent people attacked at Ganmo. "We hereby call on our dear Executive Governor of Kwara State,Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed to, as a matter of urgency wade into this ugly incidence that has now become a common occurrence in Ganmo".

Why Oyo LG poll is yet to hold – Commissioner


he Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adebayo Ojo, says legal, rather than political consideration, is responsible for the delay in conducting local government elections in the state. He made this known yesterday while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan, Oyo State. The commissioner said some legal constraints were hindering the constitution of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC). ``In 2007, former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala unconstitutionally sacked members and Chairman of OYSIEC appointed by his former boss, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja and replaced them with his own appointees. ``Chief Oyemomilara Okunola and othrs appointed by Senator Ladoja and who were sent packing by Otunba Akala thus filed an action at the High Court, Ibadan. ``This was to challenge their unlawful

removal from office because the constitution guaranteed them a fixed term of five years from 2003 to 2008. "Oyo State High Court per Hon. Justice P.O.Ige (as he then was) andnow of the Court of Appeal gave judgment in favour of Senator Ladoja's appointees and held that they were illegally and unconstitutionally sacked by Gov. Akala. ``The court declared their sack as null and void and ordered that all their entitlements up to 2008 be paid," Adebayo explained. He said the Chairman and members of OYSIEC appointed by the Alao-Akala administration in 2007 also went to court in 2011 to challenge their removal by the Abiola Ajimobi administration. Ojo said the Oyo State High Court through Hon. Justice M.O. Bolaji-Yussuff also awarded judgment in their favour and ordered the state to pay them their entitlements.

`` It is obvious that the state government is confronted with two sets of judgments from the High Court of the state. `` Each of the judgments is validating the appointment of the claimants before each of the court and also there is the earlier judgment declaring as nullity the appointment of the latter OYSIEC men of Otunba Alao-Akala," he said. Ojo said it would amount to contempt of court for the state government to urge the state House of Assembly to proceed with the screening and clearance of the Chairman and members of OYSIEC. He said the state government chose the path of constitutionalism by subjecting the latter judgment to the Court of Appeal in Ibadan for determination. The commissioner, however, said the case was yet to be heard by the Court of Appeal where it was lodged. He also said government settled all the entitlements of the OYSIEC men who held office between 2003 and 2008. (NAN)

ormer Kebbi state Governor Adamu Aliero has observed that the best way for the North to overcome the unemployment situation is to concentrate on agriculture. Aliero a one time Minister of FCT made this observation in an while answering reporters questions in Kaduna. "The 19 Northern governors should give due attention to agriculture; let them provide agricultural inputs to our farmers, provide them with incentives and minimum prices for their commodities after harvest", Aliero advised. He further advised that the farmers should be provided with modern mechanize facilities in order to minimize first harvest cost and they should be provided with effective transportation so as to ensure their products would be transported to centers of consumption in order to get the real value for their products. On rate of street begging, Aliero expressed dismay, saying, "you would see very fragile children roaming streets of Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Sokoto, Yola begging in the name of seeking Islam and unfortunately, Islam does not support this kind of thing." Aliero, pointed out that Islam does not support begging pointing out that stating the truth would attract misunderstanding especially among the ignorant. He said "To me personally, I think it's ignorance that is causing our young and fragile children to be roaming the streets begging for food, alms with tattered clothes, no shoes no nothing."

Sali advises civil servants to see opportunity to serve as privilege


lhaji Isa Sali, the outgoing Head of Civil Service of the Federation, has advised civil servants to see the opportunity given to them to serve the country as a privilege. This advice is contained in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by Mr Tope Ajakaiye, the Director of Press and Public Relations, in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF). The statement said Sali gave the advice when the Management and Staff of his office held a valedictory session in his honour. ``He urged the officers to always remember the oath they took on assumption of office, which should guide them to serve truthfully and diligently. ``He also urged Nigerians to imbibe a positive attitude as the country will surely overcome its challenges and make the desired progress,'' it said. The statement said permanent secretaries, directors and members of staff eulogised Sali for the manner he conducted the affairs of the office during his tenure. It said that all those who spoke were unanimous about the fact that the outgoing head of service was leaving the Federal Civil Service better than he met it. (NAN)


Miscreants invade PDP secretariat, cart away election materials in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


Reps appoint new Education C'ttee Chairman By Umar Muhammad Puma


he House of Representatives yesterday at the plenary appointed Rep. Aminu Sulaiman ( PDP Kano state), as

the new chairman of the House Committee on Education. Sulaiman is to replace Rep. Faruk Lawan, also from Kano who was last year suspended for allegedly receiving bribe on the

ad-hoc committee on subsidy regime. Rep. Sulaiman until this appointment was the Vice Chairman House committee on labour and productivity.

Announcing the changes, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said the appointment is with immediate effect.


ver 300 thugs yesterday invaded PDP secretariat, Lokoja with guns and dangerous weapons carting away the voting materials meant for the councillorship primaries in Ijumu local government area of Kogi state. Ijumu local government could not hold its party primaries for chairmanship and councillorship which held on March 14th and 19th respectively due to court litigation. A faction of the party had dragged the other faction to the court on alleged irregularities in the delegates election. The court however ordered that the party primaries of both the councillorship and chairmanship be held yesterday and today in the council. But, it was gathered that when both factions gathered at the PDP secretariat yesterday morning to collect materials for the councillorship primaries, thugs loyal to one of the chairmanship aspirant, Funsho Olumoko, invaded the party secretariat with guns and dangerous weapons and seized the election materials and fled. Members of the other faction who were taken by surprise were later seen at the police headquarters where they had gone to report the matter to the police commissioner. Confirming the incident, a top source close to PDP headquarter said the party leadership in the state was shocked over the development. He said however that another voting material have been issued out to enable all the contestants participate in the primaries. A source close to the police said that over 1,500 police were already in Ijumu for the primary while about 15 armed anti riot police were detailed to escort the new voting materials to Ijumu party secretariat. When contacted on phone, One of the chairmanship aspirants, Funsho Olumoko denied the allegation saying that he never hired any thugs to hijack the voting materials. He said they were at the party secretariat when one of their opponents came in with two armed police men in mufti with an unmarked vehicle to convey the voting materials. Olumoko said the opponents who were in accompany with one of the party executives said his supporters had no alternative than to vehemently put up a resistance. When contacted, Police spokesman, DSP A Nwaneri, said that police was yet to get details of the matter.

L-R: Deputy Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Ogor, in a handshake with Acting Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Rose Okoh, during the stakeholders' public hearing on education sector, yesterday at the National Assembly in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Gombe Polls: CPC Chairmanship candidate wants election cancelled From David Hassan, Gombe


ongress for Progressive Change (CPC) chairmanship candidate for Kwami LGA in the recently conducted Local Government election in Gombe State, Alhji Abubakar Mohammed Danburam, has called for the outright cancellation of the election due to what he described as large scale malpractice. According to him, the cancellation will restore credibility in Nigeria’s electoral system and rekindle hope and aspiration of the people who are desirous of their votes to count during any election. The CPC Chairmanship candidate who accused the state government of using security agents to achieve election victory also called for the disengagement of the army and police from election exercise in the country He argued that the presence of large number of armed soldiers and police at polling units during election usually scare away voters stressing that this has always impacted negatively in Nigeria’s democracy and discredits the electoral process. He alleged that the purported winner of the election in Kwami council LGA, Alhaji Ali Jijji

Gadam, was not registered in Kwami and holds no voter’s card from the LGC that he contested for its chairmanship seat. He also alleged that agents of the CPC were arrested and detained and this was a ploy to curtail power of the CPC which has upper-hand of the LGA. The former CPC gubernatorial candidate further alleged that an Armored Car was positioned at his doorstep in Kwami town and this scared people and stopped them from coming out to vote adding that it was an election in which no ballot box was seen which denied the people opportunity to cast their votes. He was also of a strong view that LGC election should be transferred to INEC stressing that this would stop the rape on democracy that is always witnessed during council election at state level. “Election Petition Tribunals have never served good purpose for aggrieved parties, candidates and voters in terms of upholding particular choice of the people” he complained bitterly. Pilgrimage: Gombe officials, Christians disagree over success of exercise Officials of the Gombe State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board and pilgrims that arrived Gombe

yesterday have disagreed over the success of the exercise. While most of the pilgrims who spoke to newsmen at the Gombe Airport expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner the exercise was conducted, most of the officials of the Board and leader of the Gombe delegation described the exercise as a huge success despite performing the pilgrimage four months after the scheduled date. Pilgrims who would not want their names mentioned said reasons why this year’s exercise was bellow the normal standard was the lateness in performing the exercise which was supposed to be conducted about four months earlier and the reduction of their pilgrimage days from ten to nine days. Another disappointment they encountered during the exercise, according to the Pilgrims, was the high hopes most of them had when officials told them that the exercise woud include visiting some sites in Greece but which was late cancelled. However, Chairman of the Gombe State Christian pilgrims Welfare Board, Revernd Tulfukut M Kardi and some leaders in the Gombe delegation expressed satisfaction with the exercise despite performing the

pilgrimage four months later.e. According to him, despite the logistic problems that prevented the pilgrimage from being held late last year, all pilgrims performed the exercise peacefully with the state Government sponsoring ninety per cent of the pilgrims who all returned safely. He said it was a mistake, a report that was carried by a section of the media (not Peoples Daily) that Gombe State was among the ten states that could not perform the 2012 Christian Pilgrimage. The State CAN Chairman, Reverend Abare Kalla, said he had not reported to any authority or the national body of CAN about non performance of the 2012 Christian Pilgrimage by Gombe State saying, “Pilgrimage 2012 was observed in Gombe State irrespective of the delayance, it doesn’t mean it was not observed”. Leader of the Gombe delegation, who is also the Chief of Cham (Nidu Grah Cham), Mr. James Chachis, said every aspect of the pilgrimage was well prepared as they encountered little or no problems during the exercise. He said he personally visited all contingents from Gombe and no bad report reached him.



“I became a teacher to help in producing successful leaders” Fatima Abubakar Idris is a writer and teacher. The mother of five and graduate of Biochemistry has published a novel on the plight of orphans and a number of Islamic and education articles in some Nigeria’s dailies.In this interview with Maryam Garba Hassan, she opens up on a number of issues including why she left a career in Biochemistry for the teaching profession, fallen standard of education in the country, some of Universal Basic Education Commission’s policies and her plans among others. Can you give us a brief history of your life? y name is Fatima AbubakarIdris, I am an indigene of Kogi state. I was born in Gusau, Sokotostate 41 years ago into a family of 12 and I am the second born. I started my primary education in St. Catherine primary school, Makurdi, Benue stateand later proceededto Government Girls Secondary School, Sokoto, after I completed my secondary education in 1988, I gained admission into Kaduna Polytechnic for my Higher National Diploma(HND) in Biochemistry in 1993, initially I had wanted to read medicine or become a teacher because I have flair for the teaching profession but due to some reasons beyond my control I had to go for Biochemistry. After my National Youth Service with Kogi state Hospital Management Board, I was employed by the ministry of education as a principal officer. I got married while I was in school and the marriage is blessed with five children, 4 boys and a girl. I am also into writing books; my first novel called “Glimpse of goodness” was published and launched by Senator ZaynabKure, in Minna, Niger state in 2005 and since then I have not had time to publish the few manuscripts I have. How was growing up like? It was full of fun, reading and domestic work because then there were no domestic helps so, we helped our mothers in doing the house chores when we return from school and during the weekends.Part of our everyday life was going to school in the morning and Arabicschool in the evening; therefore we only play in the night under the moon light. My childhood dream was to study medicine and become a doctor. How did you combine your studies with child bearing? I had my first child while I was in school and surprisingly, I had no


Fatima Abubakar Idris

problem which ordinarily I should have as a student and a young mother, may be because I was young and strong then but when the rest of the children started coming my mother and some of my relatives were always there to help me in taking care of them. So, I can say I am very lucky on that. Can you shed more light on your book “Glimpse of goodness? The book is on the plight of orphans, especially the girl child whose relatives abandon to their fate after the death of their parents or bread winners and the kind of trauma they are subjected to which often expose them to danger in life. If you look at it, the girl child is prone to abuses such as sexual, domestic and physical ones than the boys. Although the book is fiction but it was able to show the world what this group of children go through and the problem such

treatment can create for the society. Some Nigerians regardteaching as the last resort and profession for failures. Why did you opt for that after studying Biochemistry? Like I have said in my

introduction that I have flair for the profession and I believe that this is one way through which I can contribute in my own quota to the development of the sector in the country. Teaching is interesting and quite rewarding, rewarding in the sense that when those students are given a qualitative education and they become successful in life, they will remember you where ever they are and may even pray for you because the primary school is the foundation and once it is not solid, it will be difficult for the child to pick up academically. To me, that is quite fulfilling as a teacher. By my level I am supposed to be at the inspectorate but because I love teaching I am still a classroom teacher. What are the kinds of challenges you face as a teacher in a government owned school? The challenges are numerous although government is trying but still there are a lot of challenges here. Here you have pupils who cannot read and write yet they are promoted to the next class because the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) system stated that no child should be deprived but of the right to proceed to the next class and parents also come here to insist that we promote their children and wards even when they are not qualified to be promoted. The thing is that the primary

Education is the most potent instrument for achieving a rapid socio-economic transformation for any country and an instrument for empowering men and women to reach their full potential in society. Therefore, if anything should go wrong everything is wrong. With sound education we will be able to develop and sustain high quality human capital in the country

school is the foundation and once you get it right, the child can go anywhere. Secondly, sometime the government employs halfbaked teachers who don’t have the qualification to teach those children. One major challenge we are facing is that not all teachers can teach those core subjects such as mathematics, English and science subjects, therefore, government need to employ teachers who specialize in those subjects for the children to get the best. What are your future plans? On retirement I am planning to build an Islamic oriented school by the grace of God Almighty and also work with the youths and adolescents to address issues bordering the tow groups. What is your assessment of the fallen standard of education in the country? It is unfortunate that our standard of education has fallen but with the effort the present administration is making and if it redoubles its efforts we will one day record a success story. The primary school education should be giving more attention because that is the foundation of every one. Education is the most potent instrument for achieving a rapid socioeconomic transformation for any country and an instrument to empowering men and women to reach their full potential in society. Therefore, if anything should go wrong everything is wrong. With sound education we will be able to develop and sustain high quality human capital in the country. In today’s knowledge– based society, education and skilled human resources are the key to sustainable development. We are in a highly competitive, qualityfocused global economy where only those who are prepared to meet the challenges posed by the ever rapidly changing work-place will survive.



2014 World Cup qualifier

Angry Harambee Stars arrive in Calabar for showdown

T Sunday Mba

Onazi Ogenyi

Oboabana, Mba, Enyeama spit fire against Harambee Stars By Patrick Andrew


he trio of Godfrey Oboabana, Sunday Mba, and deputy skipper Vincent Enyeama have vowed to wreck the Harambee Stars of Kenya in tomorrow’s 2014 World Cup qualifier even as war of words heats up. First Enyeama believes that

the Kenyans must respect the fact that they have never beaten Nigeria nor will they do so this Saturday when the Eagles, fresh from their AFCON conquest- play for the first time since the victory in front of their teeming fans. Similarly, Sunshine Stars defender, one of the revelations of the AFCON fiesta, Godfrey Oboabana believes the Kenyans

Vincent Enyeama,

rather too ambitious to hope to even secure a draw against the Eagles. “We are no mate, neither yesterday nor today. No, they are too ambitious, but they can;t achieve anything against Nigeria. We are way higher on the ladder and they will need a lot to inch closer, but not now,” Oboabana said. Also, rave of the moment, Sunday Mba has revealed that the Eagles would be for the Harambee Stars to handle on Saturday when both teams clash in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar. “We are all serious about this World Cup qualifier because it is the first match we would play after the Afcon success and there is an urgent need for us to prove an immediate point to Nigerians. “We shall beat the Harambee Stars and thereafter qualify for the World Cup in style. We are confident of our performance and we are quite sure the Kenyans would not stop our aspirations to qualify for the World Cup,” Mba boasted. He noted that all the players in the camp are raring to go and have vowed to defeat the Harambee Stars to show Nigerians that their feat in South Africa last month was no fluke.

he Harambee Stars were visibly angry when they arrived in Calabar ahead of tomorrow’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Nigeria’s Super Eagles. The East African team had touched down in Nigeria at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos Wednesday expecting to be conveyed to Calabar yesterday afternoon aboard Arikline. On arrival, players trudged on to a waiting vehicles provided by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) straight to the Channel View Hotel where they are being accommodated. Striker of the Harambee Stars, Victor Wanyama summed up the mood amongst the Kenyan contingent. “We should have been here earlier but we all saw what happened. However, we move on and prepare for the game on Saturday,” Wanyama said at the Magaret Ekpo international airport. Officials of the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) refused to confirm the team’s training schedule. However, they are surely to feel the venue of the game by training there today. Meanwhile, Coach Adel Amrouche has thumbed up for Keshi’s feat at the AFCON and described it as a statement to back African managers. Amrouche also made it clear that Kenya are in Nigeria for football reasons. “We came here to play football. Keshi’s achievement is a statement. There are many

ghost coaches coming to Africa but I think Keshi has sent out the right message by winning the Africa Cup of Nations,” said Amrouche. Kenya’s contingent arrived in Lagos on Wednesday but could not connect a flight to Calabar and had to check into Silver Grand Hotel in Ajao Estate in Nigeria’s former capital. Amrouche later led his team to a run-out at the dusty playground of the Ajao Estate Primary School on Wednesday evening as they are expected to leave Lagos for Calabar on Thursday. The Harambee Stars are bottom of Group F of the World Cup qualification.

Adel Amrouche, Harambee Stars coach

Mikel declared fit for Kenya


ead coach of the Nigeria national team, Stephen Keshi has allayed fears over the health of midfielder, John Mikel Obi. The stars missed dinner on Wednesday leading to speculations that he is unwell and may miss Saturday’s 2014 FIFA world cup qualifier against Kenya. However, Keshi has now moved to clarify the situation about the player’s health assuring that he is fit as fiddle. “He is not down with fever as is rumoured in some quarters. He is fit and raring to go,” Keshi assured. Mikel, who made his international debut in 2005 and has since racked up 33 appearances netting 3 goals in the process, trained with the Nigeria squad yesterday and completed the session.

Adamu calls for restructuring of sports sector


r Amos Adamu, the former Director General (DG) of the National Sports Commission (NSC), has called for the restructuring of the sector to boost the country’s chances of excelling in competitions. Adamu made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on

Thursday in Lagos. The former DG observed that aging elite athletes have continued to dominate the scene, because of the near absence of budding talents from the grassroots. Adamu stressed that there ought to be a seamless succession plan in place, where budding talents eventually ease out their older colleagues from their

pedestal. “We lack credible replacement for our elite athletes which is not good enough for us; we must have contingency measures in place to replace ageing athletes when they can no longer perform. “The NSC must be up and doing, they need to do more than what they are currently doing; they should not relax on their

oars, attention should be on the development aspect of sports. “Athletes should be adequately taken care of; their wellbeing would spur them to give their all to the country, which will to our glory at the end of the day.’’ Adamu stressed that a viable athletes’ succession blueprint must be put in place to ensure continuity in the various

disciplines in the sports sector. “We neglect the upcoming athletes at their developmental stages, only to fall back on them and expect them to perform magic when the ageing elite have faded from the scene. We must institute a viable grassroots programme to address this critical aspect of our sports development.”



Gebrselassie to chase sixth Manchester victory


Imane Merga

Philemon Rono

Merga leads rich field to Bydgoszcz 2013 W

hen Imane Merga, the 10,000m bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Championships won at the high-quality IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting in Atapuerca, in Spain last November and then took the honours at the famous Boclassic road race in Bolzano, Italy, on New Year’s Eve, he made it impossible to be ignored. Although he dropped out of the Ethiopian trials last month, Merga believes his fine vein of form is a result of hard work and rigorous training regime. “I have been having some excellent training sessions, I’ve been going very well, so I will go to Poland feeling very confident of what I can do there,” he added. Back in 2011 he was hardly considered a top favourite. Not anymore. True, Merga’s best cross country results have come on dry courses and often in relatively hot weather. His two previous World Cross Country Championships outings he was also seventh as a junior at the 2007 event in Mombasa were in exactly those sort of conditions. On Sunday though, he would be considered a top favourite. Already, Ethiopia have named a strong squad that also includes the top class marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, who showed that he is in shape to contest shorter distances with aplomb when he won the Ethiopian trials race last month. Kenya its major rivals have chosen a team which will certainly be competitive but has little experience at the very highest level. Only two of their six-man team has competed in the championships before. Hosea Macharinyang has competed in seven of the last eight championships and surely desires podium honours after six top-10

finishes with no individual medal. Meanwhile Japheth Korir raced twice in the championships as a junior in 2009 and 2010, finishing fifth and third respectively. But most eyes would be on the surprise Kenyan trials winner Philemon Rono, who will be debuting in the international scene. Uganda and Eritrea have had men among the medals in recent editions of the championships and have some familiar names in their teams again. Moses Kipsiro remembers Bydgoszcz well after winning a bronze medal when the city last staged the championships three years ago. He also won a silver medal in 2009 and could challenge again after looking in fine form when winning at the Ugandan trials last month. Teklemariam Medhin, the silver medallist in 2010, is the main name in the Eritrean team. Still just 23, Medhin finished seventh in the 10,000m at the London 2012 Olympic Games last summer and, more recently, won the famous and consistently classy January cross-country race in the Spanish city of San Sebastian. In addition to Merga and Macharinyang, one other top-10 finisher from 2011 returns to the fray in Poland Bahrain’s Hasan Mahboob Ali, who finished ninth in Punta Umbria. It seems highly likely that Kenya and Ethiopia will contest the men’s gold and silver team medals. Kenya’s senior men have won the team title every year since 1986 apart from a two-year hiatus in 2004 and 2005 when Ethiopia took the honours. Three years ago in Bydgoszcz, Eritrea usurped Ethiopia to take the team silver medals for just the second time and they will be bidding to reach that rung on the podium again, although they are more likely to be battling for the bronze medals with Uganda.

Moses Kipsiro

Teklemariam Medhin

egendary Haile Gebrselassie is set to return to Manchester to chase a fifth successive and sixth in total title on May 26 at the Bupa Great Manchester Run. Though he admitted age is catching up on him as he turns 40 years next month, he remains adamant that he has the ability to sustain his ambition at the highest level. The IAAF Gold Label Road Race is just of the big events he intends to continue in efforts to increase silver wares collections in what is indubitably an unmatchable career. In the last two decades Gebrselassie has been crowned two-time Olympic 10,000m champion and winner of the World Championships title at that distance on four occasions. Gebrselassie, with 27 global records under his belt, has also broken the World Marathon record on three occasions, although after recent disappointing performances is not considering one in the immediate future. The ‘Emperor’, as he is nicknamed, said: “I love running; it is part of my life and part of my daily routine. As long as I enjoy it so much I will keep running and I don’t know how and when this will finish. And how could I resist the opportunity to return to Manchester?” Gebrselassie scored his first victory at the Bupa Great Manchester Run in 2005 and since returning has, on a further four consecutive outings, blown away the challenges of his international opponents. In 2012 he posted a then world-leading mark for the year of 27:39, trouncing an elite field. He added: “I like to run a 10km in May, it fits well in my schedule. Manchester is always a good race, I always feel very welcome. “Yes I was a little bit surprised,” he added of his dominant performance last year, in a line-up that included Marathon World record-holder Patrick Makau and Stephen Kiprotich, who later in the summer went on to capture the Olympic Marathon title. “I knew I was in good shape,” said Gebrselassie, who will compete in Vienna and Bern before defending his Manchester title. “As I am not getting younger, it is always a challenge to run a fast 10km.”

Haile Gebrselassie


From Albert Akota in Algeria


s Flying Eagles of Nigeria gun for the semifinals ticket at the ongoing Africa Youth Championship (AYC) in Algeria, team captain and Dolphins’ midfielder, Abduljeleel Ajagun has said that the players wouldn’t underestimate DR Congo in


We won’t underrate DR Congo, says Ajagun tomorrow’s game at the Stade Ahmed Zabana, Oran. Ajagun, who scored the only goal of the game against Gabon 1-0 Wednesday night to keep Nigeria’s hope of a semifinal place at the AYC alive, said that the players know what is at stake and would not

failed to qualify. DR Congo draw with Gabon 0-0 in their opening match, lost to Mali 2-1while Nigeria lost to Mali 1-0 and defeated Gabon 1-0, according to Ajagun, the Congolese would fight like a wounded lions to beat Nigeria and qualify. “We will not underrate

them because they will surely come out to fight like a wounded lion because beating Nigeria is they last hope since that case, we will never underrate them. “We thank God for the victory against Gabon but we missed chances, our problem of scoring goals has been strengthened by the

technical crew by God on our side we will not disappoint Nigerians. “The players know what is at stake should we (flying Eagles) fail to qualify, by God grace we will qualify, I want Nigeria to pray fervently for us because we are eager to put smile in their faces, the technical

crew have given us the tactics on how to play a team like DR Congo, “he said. The Flying Eagles are now second in Group B of the AYC on three points and confront DR Congo tomorrow in a bid to secure a spot in the last four and qualify for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

AYC: Kayode suspended for DRC game


lying Eagles’ striker, Olarenwaju Kayode is now expected to miss tomorrow’s African Youth Championship (AYC) Group B clash against DR Congo after receiving a second booking of the championship. The forward was booked by the Tunisian referee, Youssef Essreyaryi in Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Gabon on Wednesday for ignoring his whistle by putting the ball into the net after he was blown offside. The striker had earlier been booked in the Flying Eagles 0-1 shocking opening game loss to Mali last Sunday. The Ansfed was booked by referee Bamlack for simulation against Mali. Although he is yet to score in the 2013 AYC, Kayode has been the live wire of the Flying Eagles striking force with his persistence and speed. Alhaji Gero and Umar Aminu are now in line to start against DR Congo in the absence of Kayode. Nigeria, who are the defending champions need only a draw against DR Congo on Saturday in Oran to reach the semifinals of the tournament and qualify for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in June.

The Harambee Stars stretching inside the Ajao Estate Primary School

FIFA’s Organising C’ttee to decide time for Qatar 2022

Kenya protest over NFF’s F alleged abandonment K

enya Football Federation has written a formal letter of complaint to the Nigeria Football Federation alleging neglect and abandonment since they arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport,

Ikeja, Lagos, Wednesday afternoon. The delegation had expected that on arrival in Lagos, they would be provided a chartered flight straight to Calabar. But that was not the case, instead they were lodged at the Silver Grandeur

Hotel in Isolo for the night. This did not going down well with the Kenyan officials who thereafter protested alleged neglect and abandonment. According to the Kenyan head of delegation, Hussein Terry, the hotel is “a two star

NFF dismisses Kenyan delegation’s fairy tales By Patrick Andrew


he Nigeria Football Federation has dismissed complaints of the delegation of Kenyan Football Federation that the Harambee Stars were not received on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday. Describing the complaint as “pure fiction”, the NFF said, “We really didn’t want to be seen to exchange words with the Kenyans on nonexistent issues. Nigeria is known to be good hosts at any time and we have not done less for the Kenyan

delegation. “Our protocol officials were at the Lagos airport to receive them, and took them to the Silver Grandeur Hotel, which is not a substandard hotel as being claimed.” According to its Spokesman, Demola Olajire, the Kenyans have been economical with the truth about their itinery. “For more than one week, we sent several mails to the Football Kenya Federation but they refused to respond to any. The NFF was forced to be relating with them through the Kenyan High Commission in Nigeria. “Strangely, they

arrived with attitude and they have carried on that way. On Thursday, we flew them to Calabar and they were received like royalty, with a performance by a cultural troupe thrown in. Yet, they carried on with complaints about almost everything, including questioning why the NFF took the match to Calabar. “We played Namibia in Calabar in an earlier match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification series, and also played against Rwanda and Liberia there. None of these teams had anything to complain about.”

hotel” and it contravened the CAF/FIFA statutes that say any visiting international team must be accommodated in at least a four star hotel. Terry also protested the mode of transportation from the airport to the hotel and lack of security for them. “A separate saloon car should have been provided, instead we were crammed into a Coaster bus,” he said. To aclimatise, the team were taken to the Ajao Estate Primary School in Oshodi, where they trained under the watchful eyes of Coach Adel Amrouche. They did light jogging and stretching exercises on the grounds of the primary school. Amrouche later boasted that he wasn’t fazed by the poor reception that his team had been given. “T.I.A,” . This is Africa,” he explained before walking into the team bus,” he said. “We will spoil your party,” one official said. “That you’re the African champions makes us more motivated to defeat you,” Skipper Dennis Oliech said.

IFA has declared the final decision on when the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar will be held lies with its own Organising Committee. Concerns have been raised due to the excessive heat and humidity in Qatar in June and July, and although there has been no official request from the Middle East state to switch the dates there is a growing belief that is cannot take place in the summer. Moving the World Cup finals will have serious implications for almost all European leagues which would have to shift their calendars to accommodate a winter competition. And the impact would be felt across at least three seasons rather than one due to the knock-on effect on the start and end dates of domestic campaigns. FIFA president Sepp Blatter was asked about the situation after speculation that moving the dates of World Cup would invalidate the original vote, which Qatar won by a landslide from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan “For there to be a change to winter it is necessary that Qatar ask for it. They have not done so yet,” Blatter was quoted as saying. “And they know if they do they risk another of the 2022 candidates bringing a challenge before FIFA, and the vote would have to be repeated.” The bid registration tender documents sent out by FIFA stated that the 2022 World Cup finals would take place in “June and/or July of 2022”, leading to the suggestion of a possible legal challenge. “FIFA would like to remind as communicated previously that in fact the bidding agreement clearly stipulates that the final decision on the format and dates for both competitions (FIFA Confederations Cup 2021 and FIFA World Cup 2022) is vested with the FIFA Organising Committee which may hear recommendations from the LOC (Local Organising Committee). “Therefore, nothing has changed to what we have said previously. As it stands today, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is planned to be staged in Qatar in June/ July 2022. “Any potential change would have to be first requested by the competition organisers, ie. Qatar, and then presented to the FIFA Executive Committee for analysis,” a FIFA statement reads.

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 22, March, 2013  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 22, March, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 22, March, 2013 Edition