Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Page 1

Vol. 8 No. 42

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

. . . putting the people first

Rajab 1, 1433 AH


Boko Haram: FG not relenting, says Tambuwal By Lawrence Olaoye


peaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has assured that the Federal government was not relenting in

its efforts to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the country. Speaking in Johannesburg yesterday at the opening of the seventh session of the Pan African Parliament, Tambuwal said that the recent security breaches in the country had brought

Nigerians together and strengthened their resolve to build a united country. He commended the efforts of sister African countries and other friends of Nigeria to help in achieving lasting peace in the country, emphasizing that

everything was being done to resolve the issues amicably. “May I use this opportunity to thank our brother African countries and other friends of Nigeria for the support being extended to our dear country in addressing the new security

challenges we are facing. “The government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan is doing everything possible to address the situation. Be rest assured that the people of Nigeria believe in the Contd on Page 2

Bomb attack foiled at Radio House Suspect found with 3 grenades – Police No, they were teargas canisters – SSS

>>> PAGE 2

Suspected terrorist, John Akpabu, who was arrested by security operatives with arms and explosive materials (grenades), at the Radio House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa & Justin Imo-owo

Boko Haram: Police 10 killed as suspected Pupils boo Benue arrest Akwa Ibom Fulani attack Tiv Speaker over man in Kano communities minimum wage >> PAGE 2

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Super Eagles stranded at airport in Spain >> PAGE 41



























Boko Haram: Police arrest Akwa Ibom man in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he Kano state police com mand said it had arrested a suspected terrorist who is behind the killing of scores of persons in Kano state recently. Augustine Effiong, otherwise known as Abubakar Garba, was arrested at Warawa council area of Kano for allegedly attempting

to kill a civilian. A statement from the state police command signed by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris said the suspect, who is an indigene of Akwa Ibom state, was arrested last Friday at Danlasan village in Warawa local government area of the state. “The 25 year old man is an indigene of Akwa Ibom state who was

born and brought up at Maiduguri. He was later converted to Islam”, the statement said. According to the statement, the suspect had during interrogation confessed to have relocated to Kano from Bulunkutu Abuja quarters in Maiduguri, Borno state in April this year. He confessed to reporters in Hausa language that he was “in-

volved in the attack at BUK.” He also confessed to being part of a “20-man killer squad” charged with targeting the security services around Kano. “I killed many people, including five soldiers at checkpoints in Kano”, he further boasted. The statement said the suspect had since been transferred to Abuja for discreet investigation.

Lamido is a respectable, decent rascal - Maitama Sule From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


lder statesman and former United Nations representative, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, has described Jigawa state governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, as “a respectable and decent rascal”. Alhaji Maitama Sule said this yesterday at a symposium on ‘Security, Governance and Leadership’ organised by the Jigawa state government to commemorate the 5th year anniversary of Sule Lamido as

governor of the state. He said Lamido may have been called all sorts of names but the application of certain aspects of rascality may have been part of the revolutionised transformation of Jigawa state for which no other governor had recorded. Maitama Sule, who had earlier said he had had disagreements with some of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s policies, however, agreed that any leader who could rule Nigeria for eight years deserves commendation.

Speaking on the topic, “governance, ethics and morality” he decried the lack of visionary leaders as bane of the country’s progress. He said the leaders of today are merchants of disunity amongst the people because of their lack of compassion for the common man unlike what obtained during the times of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe. In his speech earlier, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who lectured on security,

governance and leadership, said the security tended to be statecentric implying that its focus was to ensure the survival and sustainability of the sovereign state before anything else. Obasanjo said: “Until recently, the greatest source of anxiety in terms of personal security was violent crime. Today bombing of targets in occupied public buildings or in the open areas where people congregate has become the greatest anxiety of personal security for almost all Nigerians and non Nigerians living in Nigeria”.

Bomb attack foiled at Radio House By Lambert Tyem

Lawyer demand N50m for STF over assaults, Page 3

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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suspected terrorist was yesterday arrested by security operatives attached to the National Press Centre, venue of the ongoing Ministerial Platform when he tried to force himself into the12-storey Radio House, which also houses the Federal Ministry of Information. At the time of the arrest, the venue of the Ministerial press briefing was filled with guests attending the programme to herald the first anniversary of the Jonathan administration and the commemoration of Democracy Day. Confirming the incident to a local television station on telephone, the FPPRO said the suspect was arrested with hand grenades and 37 rounds of AK-47 ammunition. However, in a conflicting statement, the spokesperson of the State Security Service (SSS), Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, told another TV station that the suspect was arrested with teargas canisters and not hand grenades as claimed by the police. Speaking to newsmen shortly after his arrest, the suspect claimed that the grenades and ammunitions belonged to his

military elder brother named Aliyu Clement, who died away from his duty post, and that he was returning the items to the authorities so as to prove his relationship with the deceased with a view to getting his “brother’s” service benefit. “They transferred him to Bayelsa. When he died, I went to Bayelsa. He was living in Isepe in one local government in Bayelsa. My late elder brother’s name is Aliyu Clement. “He was serving in Bayelsa State. He came to see his family in Abuja but when he was returning he followed village [sic]. When he got there he fell sick and he died. “We now send signal to Bayelsa which when we reach there they couldn’t get it. The signal stopped on the way. They now gave us another paper. I went there with the wife to bring his properties. “My mission here? I’m bringing this thing here because I found it in his property. When I went to go and pack the property down to Abuja, when we reach Abuja, as we were checking the property, we now saw these grenade and the bullets. “Since I’m a man and anytime I feel like, I should take them to the police.”

“I’m bringing it here so that we can get his benefit for him. If I had taken it to the police, I might not get it. I am here because of the benefit I have not been paid”, he stated. Meanwhile, at about the same time, the Police authorities in Abuja confirmed the arrest of one Abdulsalam Salihu, wandering in front of the Force Headquarters building, otherwise known as ``Louis Edet House''. The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, however said that nothing criminating was found on the suspect to suggest that he was a suicide bomber. ``When we searched him, no explosive was found on him but there were pieces of broken bottle, bottled water, five Automated Teller Machine cards and a vehicle number plate in the bag he was carrying. “We have commenced investigations into the arrest but so far, there is nothing to suggest that he (suspect) is a suicide bomber,’’ Mba said. Mba urged Nigerians to go about their businesses without fear, assuring them that the police had enough personnel to guarantee

their security. An eye witness told this reporter that the suspect was detected by a police sensory vehicle parked at the entrance which was said to have signalled that he was bearing explosive devices. According to police sources, the vehicle operator on reading the alert immediately informed other colleagues at the gate who also detected same with their hand-held detectors as the suspect tried to force his way into the premises of the police headquarters, causing panic among the men at the gate. Scared Mobile policemen, who were at the gate, were said to have taken to their heels on hearing that a a suspected terrorist might have forced himself into the premises. The sensory vehicle operator, Sgt. Daniel Pam on seeing the danger in the suspect being left alone, rushed and wrestled him to the ground before other policemen summoned courage and joined him to disarm the man, the eyewitness, who declined identification claimed. The source further disclosed that when the suspect was searched, a small Ghana-must-go bag containing some substances, two vehicle plate numbers, among others were recovered from him.

Boko Haram: FG not relenting, says Tambuwal Contd from Page 1 continued peaceful coexistence of one individual and indissoluble Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Tambuwal added. While urging the Pan African Parliament to come up with solutions to end the myriad of problems facing the African continent, Tambuwal asked the parliamentarians to pass clear

resolutions denouncing military rule on the continent, assuring that democratic principles are upheld to protect the continent’s citizens from impunity. He said, “In order to achieve relative peace and security in Africa, Heads of Governments must endeavour to fight institutionalised corruption, create jobs to stem rising unemployment, and institute

policies on poverty eradication and food security in Africa. Moreover, we must continue to improve the security situation in Africa and enhance the ability of law-enforcement agencies at various levels to discharge their duties. “As a responsible and people-centred parliament, we must continue to abide by the Rule of Law and promote

transparency in our elections. We should note that the vision establishing the Pan-African Parliament is to provide a common platform for African people and their grass-root organisations to get more involved in discussions and the decision-making process on the problems and challenges facing the continent.”



10 killed, houses destroyed as suspected Fulani attack Benue community P From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

ersons suspected to be Fulani marauders at the weekend attacked Gwer West local government area of Benue state killing over 10 persons and destroying 46 houses. The attack is the second this year after 46 persons were murdered on March 4th. The Ter Nagi of the

community, Chief Daniel Abomtse who spoke to journalists in Makurdi yesterday, lamented the incessant attacks on his domain and decried the lip service usually paid by the state and Federal governments towards the security of the area. Chief Abomtse said he had alerted the state government as well as security agencies in a letter

dated 15th May, 2012, entitled ‘Grand Plan to Annihilate Gwer West People By Fulani Herdsmen and their Mercenaries’, and frowned at the nonchalant attitude shown by the state government and security operatives. “Information had it that the Fulani herdsmen intend to invade Gwer West crossing from the Obendo, Ijiwo axis from

Akpanaja in Nasarawa state into Tyoughatee and Gbaange/ Tongovdistrict of Gwer West LGA at a location between Mbaku communities of Makurdi and invade the whole of the district which stretches 16 km of Makurdi-Naka road and then advance to Naka town, headquarters of Gwer West LGA. They also plan to attack and burn down my palace and

residence with explosives and sophisticated fire arms”, part of letter read. He said in the wee hours of Saturday, May 19th, 2012, the marauders invaded Tyoughatee village, in an attack that lasted till dawn leaving 10 persons dead while many corpses are littered around yet to be identified and several properties including farmlands destroyed. Attempts to get the comments of the police spokesman, Ejike Alaribe failed as his cell phone was switched off.

Gunmen kill 5 in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


L-R: Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde and Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, during JAMB Admission Committee meeting, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Edo PDP elders meet Jonathan ahead of polls By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


ndications have emerged that the feuding Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in Edo state including former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, former governor, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia and Chief Gabriel Igbinedion have chosen to bury the hatchet in preparation for the forthcoming gubernatorial polls in the state.

The three men were among the party elders from the state who met behind closed doors with President Goodluck Jonathan at Presidential Villa in Abuja on Sunday night, where he had requested them to state the causes of their differences. An impeccable source close to the meeting disclosed yesterday that the three key stakeholders failed to state their cases having already decided to put their differences behind them before the

meeting. According to the source, the trio agreed among themselves to forget the past and work for PDP's victory in view of the perceived wrongdoing of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, especially his alleged lack of respect for elders. President Jonathan, who was relieved to learn that the crisis had been resolved, was said to have proceeded to voice his concern over the growing insecurity in Edo state and stressed the need to tackle the

problem. The source traced the disagreement in the party to former Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor's alleged unwillingness to work with the party men which caused them to throw their support behind Oshiomhole. According to the source, the party’s strongmen have now decided to work against Oshiomhole's second term ambition as they now see him as "a complete deceit."

nknown gunmen yesterday carried out two separate attacks in Borno state killing five persons. It was gathered that the first attack was launched in Silimanti ward of Maiduguri, the state capital at about 3.30pm, when five gunmen invaded the area, opened fire on the crowd, leaving four people dead. The gunmen also raided a police outpost in Benisheik town, headquarters of Kaga local government area where they killed one civilian. All the victims died on the spot following the injuries sustained from the gunshots, while commotion pervaded the area. The state police commissioner, who confirmed the attack on police station, however said he was not aware of the earlier incident. The commissioner said, “all I can tell you is that I did not receive any information on the Silimanti killings but, it was true that the Benisheik police station was partly destroyed after some gunmen stormed it and threw explosives.” Hassan added that the criminals also destroyed the windscreen of the armoured tank stationed at the police outpost, after throwing explosives at the vehicle. “Our personnel repelled the attacks after engaging the invaders and at the end of the confrontation, a civilian was killed by stray bullet, while the hoodlums escaped to a nearby bush. No casualty was recorded on their side and there was no arrest”, the commissioner further declared.

Bankole trial resumes June 11 Lawyer demands N50m from STF for assault By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday adjourned till June 11 and 12 for continuation of trial in the 16count charge bordering on contract fraud preferred against former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The court will also rule on objection raised by Bankole's Counsel, Samuel Ologunorisa, against some documents which the prosecution counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo sought to tender when the matter came up yesterday.

But Ologunorisa, Bankole’s lawyer urged the court to reject the minutes of meetings attached to the documents, saying that the documents sought to be tendered was to prove the competence of charges but with several paragraphs of the minutes missing, they have been rendered irrelevant. Keyamo, however, said the documents were received in that manner from the Finance Director of the National Assembly and have satisfied the conditions of admissibility, having been certified. Bankole is facing a 16-count charge of contract inflation and awards without following due process.

From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


ormer Secretary of Shendam local government area of Plateau state, Barrister Longpoe Henry, has petitioned the Commander of the Special Task Force (STF) in Jos, demanding N50million as compensation for assault on him by members of the STF. Besides, the monetary compensation, Longpoe further demanded for the soldiers to be identified and courtmarshalled so as to serve as deterrent to others. Henry, in a petition dated 17th May 2012, which was copied to the state Commissioner of Police, alleged that the soldiers descended

on him like a common criminal for refusing to drop his clothing on the ground at a checkpoint after he had been searched by the soldiers without any incriminating thing found on him. According to him, “I met a military checkpoint at Total Bridge in Shendam LGA and stopped accordingly and switched on my inner light. The soldier asked me to open the trunk of my car which I did, he asked about the travelling bag in the trunk and I told him it contained my clothing. To my surprise, he ordered that I should drop my clothing on the ground". He said: "I respectfully told him that I could not do that and he angrily retorted that I’m stubborn

and I should sit down on the road. Again I told him, I couldn’t and that if he felt that I had done something wrong, he should arrest me and take me to the appropriate place". Henry said “The soldier then beckoned on two other soldiers on duty who insisted that I must sit on the ground and when I refused, the three of them descended on me with horse whips, the butts of their guns and their fists". "After I was discharged from the hospital, I could not attend to my business thereby incurring huge financial losses. The inhuman treatment metted out to me has seriously affected me psychologically as I could hardly sleep without waking up with nightmares”.



Woman bags 5 years jail for stealing From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


n Oredo Magistrate Court in Benin City, yesterday, sentenced a middle-aged woman, Helen Odemwingie, to five years in prison on a 4-count charge including stealing and removal of bank tellers and destruction of property belonging to the business firm of Messrs J. I. Aisoweren and Sons in Benin City. The prosecuting state Counsel in the charge No. MOR/ 54c/2010, said Odemwingie admitted before the Commissioner of Police and the court that between January and August 2009, she stole the sum of N5.2million entrusted to her to pay into a commercial bank account while working as a cashier. The counsel also said that

during the same period, Odemwingie falsified the books of the firm’s accounts. She also removed the sum of N25, 000 out of N451, 930.00 entrusted to her to pay into same bank account on August 26, 2009. In addition, the counsel said, she had between January and August 2009, willfully removed and destroyed tellers she used to deposit money into the firm’s bank account knowing that they may be required as evidence. The Oredo Magistrates’ Court 2 presided over by Chief Magistrate Frank Oamen Idiake ruled that Odemwingie was guilty on all the four counts punishable under the relevant sections of the criminal code and sentenced her to a five-year jail term or in the alternative to pay a fine of N50,000. The term, he said, is to run currently.

UDUS appoints first female prof, 6 deputy registrars From Sadeeq Aliyu, Sokoto


he governing council of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, has approved the appointment of 10 professors including Professor Lydia Audu Airede of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, who became the first female to attain such academic status in the university since its establishment in 1976. A statement signed by the public relations officer of the university, Ismaila Mohammed Yauri, also said six non academic staff were promoted to the rank of deputy registrars. Those appointed to the professorial positions are Professor

H.M Bello of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Professor A.A Ibrahim (Mathematics), Professor Sanusi Mohammed (Botany), Professor Malami Buba (Modern European Languages and Linguistics) and Professor M.U Bunza (History). Others are Professor A.M Gada (Islamic Studies), Professor A.U Sanda (Economics), Professor S. Kalid (Sociology) and Professor E.U Etuk (Pharmacology). The six newly promoted deputy registrars are Malam Bello Ibrahim, Malam Nuradden Abubakar Bello, Malam Ibrahim Bawa Kaura, Hajiya Kulu Abdullahi, Umar Faruk Abubakar Yabo and Mr. Stephen Nwagwugwu.

FG, states’ out-of-court settlement over excess crude account fails …as S/Court slates Sept 25 to hear suit T By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

he proposed out-of-court settlement in the suit instituted against the Federal Government by the 36 states of the federation challenging the legality of the Excess Crude Account and the decision to transfer $1 billion from the account to the Sovereign Wealth Fund yesterday, hit a brick wall at the Supreme Court. The states accused the Federal Government of insincerity in its promise to settle the case out of court. The apex court had fixed yesterday to receive the reports of the out-of-court settlement from parties in the matter, but that was not done because the Federal Government is yet to meet with the 36 state governments. Earlier, the Federal Government had asked the court

for an adjournment to enable it settle out of court with the state governments. But when the matter came up yesterday for the parties to give report of their settlement, counsel to the 36 state governors, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, told the court that it was unfortunate that settlement could not be reached even though he observed that the AGF has been busy. He consequently asked the apex court panel headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher to go ahead and hear the preliminary objection and the substantive suit together and decide the matter. He told the court that the Federal Government had threatened to withdraw more money from the fund thereby

further depleting the bulk sum and that expeditious determination of the suit was necessary for both parties. He demanded the court to call counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Austine Alegeh enter an undertaking that his client would not withdraw more monies from the said account. Meanwhile, Alegeh on behalf of the Federal Government made a similar request asking that Awomolo should make an undertaking that state governments would not be seeking more monies from the account in dispute. Chief Awomolo said that they are still ready to settle the matter out of court with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice anytime they are approached.

SERAP wants CJN to appoint independent counsel to probe abandoned projects From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Lagos based nongovernment outfit, SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday, sent a request to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, urging him to appoint an independent counsel to investigate allegations of corruption in the abandoned road and other projects by the Federal Government. According to SERAP, the request is made pursuant to Section 52 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, the letter and spirit of the Act, and the object and purpose of the 1999 Constitution. The group in a letter signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “Between 2010 and 2012, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved about 100 projects apparently to improve the development of the country and enhance the living conditions of its citizens. “However, virtually all the projects have either been abandoned or not completed on schedule, despite the huge sums of

money allocated for the projects. “We believe your urgent intervention will contribute to improving the integrity of government and public confidence and trust in their government. “It would also serve as a vehicle to further the public’s perception of fairness and thoroughness, and to avert even the most subtle of influences that may appear in an investigation of highly-placed executive officials. “Section 52 of the ICPC Act requires the Chief Justice of Nigeria to authorise an independent counsel to investigate any allegation of corruption against high level public officials—at the federal or state level—and to report his findings to the National Assembly or appropriate House of Assembly. “We believe that the highlighted projects have sufficiently demonstrated good cause invariably justifying your intervention in the matter. “We therefore urge you to interpret this provision robustly and flexibly in the light of the unique role of the judiciary in the efforts to prevent and combat grand corruption and its destructive effects on the society…”

Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (middle), with Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (left), and Senator Nuruddeen Abatemi Usman (right), during the opening session of the 7th Ordinary Session of the Pan African Parliament, yesterday in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

FG approves N1.2bn for YEP, says minister By Albert Akota


he Minister of Youth Development, Malam Bolaji Abdulahi has said that the ministry had received N1.2 billion from the Federal Government for the Youths Employment Programme, (YEP) in order to tackle youth restiveness in the country. The minister who disclosed this yesterday during Ministerial Platform in commemoration of the national democracy day and first anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan administration in Abuja, noted that the ministry had also received N200million from Millennium Development Goal,

(MDG) to enhance youth’s capacity in agriculture. He pointed out that the ministry has engaged 36, 000 youths across the country including FCT on vocational training, business plan as well as business support fund. Abdullahi noted that the ministry is repositioning data for planning, youth development in agriculture, sports, information technology, character, competence, confidence, culture, connection and contributing to society through the multi-lingual and multiplatform project. “We have engaged over 36,000 youths in many vocational sectors because the

transformation agenda of the present administration will not be completed without proper foundation for our youths just as the president has directed my ministry to do. “We rewarded 52 outstanding youth corps member who did excellently well in carrying out their assignments and scholarship to study to PhD level. The ministry has also initiated youth’s employment programme as a short- term, quick intervention in providing skill and entrepreneurial training, job placement, business development, services and concessionary credit to our youths”, he said.



Kaduna uncovers ghost workers From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


aduna state government has uncovered an unspecified number of ghost workers in its civil service The Head of Service, Mrs. Hannatu Ugah, who disclosed this yesterday at a press briefing, explained that the discovery was made following a state-wide staff verification exercise conducted to identify authentic nominal roll of workers. According to her, “on assumption of office soon after the last general elections, the state governor, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, ordered a verification exercise of civil servants in the state. “The exercise was successful as the names of many staff who had left the service were found on the pay roll. “A committee is currently implementing the far reaching recommendations made by the staff verification committee. “There was decongestion of some 364 staff of Kaduna North and Kaduna South local governments to facilitate prompt payment of salaries to staff of the two local governments and provide manpower to areas of need.” In order to eliminate what she described as social and economic wastages, Ugah said that government had to merge some of the ministries with similar operations.

SSS chief counsels journalists on safety From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Edo state Director of the State Security Service (SSS), Alhaji Bello-Tukur Bakori, has admonished media practitioners to pay adequate attention to their safety in the discharge of their duties. The admonition is coming on the heels of recent tragedies that have happened to pressmen in the state. He said this yesterday during an interactive session with newsmen at the SSS headquarters in Benin City, urging the pressmen to avoid taking sides on political issues that concern the state.

L-R: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria and former governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, during the African Human Development Report 2012 on food security, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Pupils boo Benue Speaker over minimum wage From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he Speaker of the Benue state House of Assembly, Mr. David Iorhemba, was yesterday booed by primary school pupils over nonpayment of teachers’ minimum wage in the state. Primary schools in the state have been shut down for more

than five months following the refusal of the state government to pay the new minimum wage to teachers insisting that a verification exercise must be done before implementing the new wage. At the Governor Gabriel Suswam’s All Primary School Sport Festival in Otukpo, which was declared open by the Speaker

on behalf of the governor, pupils of St. Francis UBE Primary School, host of the event, expressed dissatisfaction at the lingering strike by their teachers and nonchalant attitude shown by the state government on the issue. A reliable source told our reporter that the Speaker reacted rashly by directly accusing the Education Secretary of the local

N47.1bn theft: Akingbola fails to open defence From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he embattled former managing director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, yesterday failed to open his defence in the case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Akingbola and associate, Mr. Bayo Dada, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited, are facing a 21-count charge of theft of N47.1 billion belonging to the bank. The prosecution, led by Mr. Ayodeji Arowolo told Justice Habeeb Abiru of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, that a letter was received from the lead defence

counsel, Chief Felix Fagboungbe asking for a vacation of the dates fixed for commencement of their defence. The letter was also said to have asked the court for an adjournment as the defence was involved in a civil suit today in another court and suggested some dates for consideration as new adjourned dates for commencement of defence in the trial. The prosecution also told the court that he has no objection to the request of the defence for an adjournment. Justice Abiru then adjourned the matter to May 28, 2012. The EFCC had preferred a 29count charge against Akingbola

and Mr. Dada but which was later amended and reduced to 21 when his wife’s name was struck out from the charge. In about 10 months that the case lasted, the EFCC called only two witnesses, the Chief Inspector of Access Bank, Mr. Abdulraheem Jimoh and one of the team of EFCC operatives who investigated the alleged fraud in the bank, Mrs. Nkechi Ibekaku. In her testimony, Ibekaku had told the court that Bayo Dada, who was charged alongside Akingbola did not produce any document to back all the transfers of money allegedly made by Akingbola, which went into Tropics Securities Limited account and some other companies in which Akingbola

Police to investigate death threat on Bauchi LGA boss From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Bauchi state police command has commenced investigation into an alleged death threat on the caretaker chairman of Dambam local government area, Ahmed Aliyu Jalam by a middle aged man. The state Commissioner of

government, one Mr. Agbo Aulegbe of inciting the students to embarrass the government and threatened to sanction him if he did not produce the pupils who made such comments. Mr. Iorhemba later appealed for calm, assuring the pupils that he would take their complaints to the necessary quarters for action.

Police, Mohammed Ladan, stated this while answering questions from newsmen in Bauchi yesterday, saying, “a middle aged man was arrested in Dagauda village in Dambam local government area for sending text messages which threaten to assassinate the chairman.” He added, “the arrested

suspect threatened the chairman that he was a member of the Boko Haram sect, and the chairman reported the matter to us, we have arrested the man, and we are investigating the matter.” Ladan said the suspect, who claimed to be a Christian, gave fake names as Jibrin Abare. According to the CP, the suspect

had sent the text message to instill fear in the chairman’s mind. “When we complete our investigation, he will be charged to court,” he said. The chairman confirmed that the suspect sent the text message twice and he reported the matter to police and the State Security Service (SSS).

and wife, Anthonia, had interest. Ibekaku, under cross examination by counsel to the defence, Mr. Deji Sasegbon told the court that as at the time the transactions were made, there was no money in the account of Dr. Akingbola. She had told the court then that their investigation revealed that three Skye Bank cheques which totaled N2.5 billion issued by Chartwell Securities Limited, was an illegal transaction, adding that the account of Chartwell was credited from the account of Intercontinental Bank with CBN and that the beneficiary was Akingbola. Ibekaku also told the court that there was no simultaneous exchange of cheques to the tune of N2.5 billion that was paid into the Access Bank account of Chartwell Securities, arguing that the difference between the total sum of $11,797,063.75 mentioned by prosecution and that of the bureau de change put at $11,840,427 which was converted to pound sterling and transferred to the London account of Furghers Solicitors was not an attempt to mislead the court on the transaction.



Undergraduate hangs self in Abakaliki


400-level Medical Laboratory student of Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Abakaliki, has been found dead, after apparently hanging himself in his room. The undergraduate, who was identified as Michel Onwe, was found dead in his room at No 16 Ibe Street, Abakaliki, on Sunday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports

that his neighbours became apprehensive of his whereabouts after they had not seen him for sometime. They subsequently alerted the police, who came and forced his room open, only to discover his body dangling from the roof. A neighbour, who spoke to NAN on the condition of anonymity, said that the late Onwe had spent over 6 years in

the university. “He was first offered admission as a medical student, but was offered an alternative course in medical laboratory in the same institution after he failed his medical examinations twice.’’ The witness described the late Onwe as a native of Umuogodoshe in Mgbo town, Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state, who had recently alleged a threat

to his life by a cult group. The Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi command, ASP John Eluu, confirmed the


encourage our people in the rural areas to be selfemployed through our effort as leaders and those elected to serve them”. The items distributed include 160 motorcycles,

136 sewing machines, 136 bicycles, 320 spaghetti machines, 75 irrigation pumps and 35 sets of jerseys. He said, “this is my own way of appreciating the

From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he tentative choice for the next Ohimege of Kotonkarfe in Kogi state by the Odaki ruling house has started brewing bad blood among other

mandate given to me as senator representing Bauchi North senatorial district by my people in one year after the legal battle, I feel I should come home and thank them for their support”.

Minister advocates dialogue with Boko Haram


he Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has called for dialogue among diverse peoples to address current security challenges confronting the country. This is coming amidst rising disinvestment caused by attacks by the Boko Haram sect spreading all over the north.

Duke said this at the 2012 World Culture Day celebration organised by the ministry in collaboration with United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) yesterday in Abuja. He said that it was only through dialogue that pains of aggrieved persons could be assuaged.

c o m m e n c e d investigation into the matter with a view to unraveling the cause of his death. (NAN)

Row over vacant traditional stool in Kogi

Senator Babayo donates N33m items to constituents From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi he Senator representing Bauchi North senatorial district Babayo Garba Gamawa has donated items worth over N33 million to people in the 118 wards of seven local government areas of Bauchi state. Senator Gamawa who rounded of presentation of some items to the councils in his senatorial district yesterday, stated that the items were meant to alleviate the suffering of people. According to him, “it’s our responsibility to

incident and said that the body has been deposited at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. “The Police has

According to him, “let those who espouse hate, promote destruction and conflicts realise that it is only through dialogue and dialogue alone that their pains and grievances can be assuaged’’. “They should therefore engage government in meaningful dialogue and rapprochement for sustainable peace in our nation,’’ Duke added. He stressed the need to promote the country’s cultural diversity, saying that it promotes interdependence and serves as a platform for tolerance and in-depth understanding of other people’s values. (NAN)

Kogi Assembly Speaker’s daughter marries From Sam Egwu, Lokoja he Kogi state governor, Captain Idris Wada has described the marriage institution as a love-based union that could only be sustained through tolerance, forgiveness and the fear of Allah The governor gave this advice over the weekend during the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, while calling on the couple to be united in all their undertakings. He advised the new couple, Miss Salamatu Bello and Mr. Abdullahi Enesi to avoid a third party in their affairs. He said it is the duty of the two people who are joined in marriage to work hard to build a relationship that could stand the test of time.


ruling houses who are poised for a showdown, if the decision is not rescinded. The Odaki ruling house of Koton-Karfe, in Kogi state had within the week nominated Alhaji Abdulrazak Isakoto to fill the vacant stool left by the death of Alhaji Mamman Lafia on March 3, 2012. Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Lokoja, spokesman of the ruling house, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohamnmed-Koto, said the choice of Isakoto was a collective decision by the majority of members from the seven out of the eight recognised compounds that make up the ruling house. He noted that the ruling houses had forwarded Abdulrazak Isakoto to the kingmakers for ratification and transmission to the Kogi

local government which would present it to the state government for formal approval. In a swift reaction, a member of the ruling house who craved anonymity, said the family decision had already sparked off a chieftaincy tussle in the ancient town as the purported nomination of Isakoto runs contrary to the traditions and customs of Koton-Karfe which has produced 22 Ohimeges, over a period of 262 years. According to him “ by tradition, Alhaji Akawu Salihu, the Galadima of Koton-Karfe who is also the second in- command in the traditional titles hierarchy, is supposed to ascend the throne as the new Ohimege and not Isakoto .”

1999 constitution not a peoples constitution, Reps affirm By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday affirmed that the 1999 constitution was not a peoples constitution because the document was midwifed by the military. Deputy Speaker of the House and chairman, House Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, made the assertion yesterday while briefing newsmen on the memoranda received by the committee so far. He said "The 1999 Constitution is a military constitution. It is not a people's constitution, so we are trying to make a people's constitution." According to him, his committee had received 75 memoranda from the civil society, academia and other segments of the society on different areas. Some of the areas that have attracted the peoples responses include the concept of federalism; Nigeria's political structure, devolution of powers, indigeneship, citizenship, justiciability of chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution, local government reforms, among other areas. On whether the House and the Senate may consider whittling the powers of state governors

by awarding State Houses of Assembly and local councils autonomy, he said that would depend on the wishes of the majority. "We don't expect or set out to whittle down the powers of the state governments. State Houses of Assembly, stakeholders and majority of Nigerians will decide on that", he said. He assured Nigerians that the committee would give them a "peoplefriendly and modern-day" compliant constitution that would address a lot of concerns holding the country down. On state creation, the Deputy Speaker said his committee was "receiving submissions in trickles". He added that the committee might list some new states in the constitution if the majority of Nigerian demanded for them. On whether the committee will consider a proposal on part-time legislation, he said that also would "depend on what the majority of Nigerians want". He however added that "the bulk of the work that the House and the Senate have done within a short time may not have been achieved with a part-time legislature". The House is to begin its retreat on the constitution on May 24, 2012 in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.



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Seller roasting corn yesterday at GSM Village, in Abuja.

Mobile Soft drinks shop at GSM Village, in Abuja. Photos: Joe Oroye


Fruits hawker waiting for customers, at the GSM Village, in Abuja.


A disabled roadside fuel hawker near NNPC Mega Station, in Abuja.











Young men milking a cow, yesterday at Njoboliyo village of Yola south local government area of Adamawa.

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Some areas washed away by flood, yesterday at Dula-Falam, Kwami lga of Gombe state. Photos: NAN

L-R: Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar, with Lagos state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, during the IGP’s visit to the governor, yesterday in Lagos.


CPL. Hudu Isah, a conscientious traffic warden at work on Olusegun Obasanjo way, zone 7, Wuse in Abuja, yesterday.




VC condoles with Wukari people over Prime Minister’s death From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Vice Chancellor of Jubilee University, Wukari, Prof. Geoffrey Okogbaa has paid a condolence visit to Aku-Uka of Wukari, Dr. Shekarau Angyu Masa-Ibi, over the death of traditional prime minister of Wukari, Manu Idi Agbu (Abo-Acio). Okogbaa, speaking on behalf of the university community, expressed his heartfelt condolences to His Majesty and the Wukari community on the demise of the prime minister, whose contributions to the university he described as significant. He therefore prayed for them to have the fortitude to bear the loss. Dr. Shekarau, while responding, thanked the vice chancellor and members of the university for their show of concern on the demise of the prime minister, late Manu Idi Agbu (Abo-Acio) who played significant roles in harmonising the culture and traditions of the people.

Bauchi polytechnic students protest shut down From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


tudents of Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, have protested the indefinite shutdown of the three campuses of the polytechnic by the Bauchi state government. The protesting students blocked the busy Bauchi-Jos road with bonfires, raining abuses on the Bauchi state governor, Malam Isa Yuguda and the state government over the decision to close the three campuses indefinitely. The Bauchi state government ordered the closure of the three campuses of the polytechnic on Sunday through the Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Ishola Michael, who said government was forced to close down the school because the students were planning to go on demonstration over relocation of the school to the main campus. Speaking to our correspondent, the President of the students union government of the school, Comrade Abubakar Sadiq Garba, said: “We have to go on protest because no notice was given to us, and some of us have started writing our exams, so sending us home until further notice is very unfair, we were only given one hour to pack our luggage and leave the campuses. The SUG president appealed to the Bauchi state government to rescind its decision and consider the plight of the students.

L-R: Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, and Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETF) Professor Mahmood Yakub, during an oversight visit by the committee to TETF office, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

ACN faults Jonathan’s delay in reinstating Justice Salami From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has said President Goodluck Jonathan was sending out wrong signals on his administration’s commitment to the rule of law and his status as the President of the country, rather than being a mere PDP apparatchik, by delaying the reinstatement of Justice Ayo Salami as President

of the Court of Appeal, as recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC). In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said every single day that the reinstatement of Justice Salami is delayed deepens the widely-held belief that President Jonathan has more than a statutory interest in the controversial suspension of Justice

Salami. ‘’The jet speed with which the President accepted the recommendation of the same NJC to suspend Justice Salami has placed a huge moral burden on him to stop pandering to the naysayers in his party and approve the NJC’s recommendation reversing its earlier decision. ‘’The courageous act of the NJC is a reflection of the determination

Aviation training centre underway, says minister By Muhammad Sada


he Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah has disclosed that plans are underway to establish an aviation training center to specifically improve capability and manpower development to ensure that customers are paid their due rights. Oduah, who was speaking at a ministerial briefing at the Press Center of the Radio House, Abuja,

to mark President Jonathan’s one year in governance, lamented how she met a very sad and deplorable aviation sector when she assumed office. She pointed out that major efforts were put in place to transform the aviation sector, as it has been effectively carried out by the stakeholders in the sector. According to her, the sector has put the interest of the citizens of the country as its

primary interest and had tried its best to ensure the protection of the rights of its customers; and in boosting the economy of the nation, to which the sector contributes only about 3%, and a lot people depended on it for their economic activities. She also assured that the issue of delays, cancellation and recurring technical problems in flights would be a thing of the past adding, “the provision of aviation fuel is in progress”.

of the judiciary to put an end to a crisis that has dented its image in the eyes of the world. Therefore, it will be most unfortunate if the executive arm of government will be the one fomenting a fresh crisis in the judiciary. This is why President Jonathan must act today, over a week after the NJC made its recommendation,’’ it said. ACN said the President must know that his delay in approving the NJC recommendation has emboldened all sorts of characters, including those without locus standi, to institute frivolous lawsuits seeking to stop the reinstatement of Justice Salami. “If this is true, it may very well signal the death knell of the judiciary, which will not augur well for the country. A country where the rule of law is tied to political expediency cannot expect to attract foreign investments or earn any respect in the comity of nations. We therefore hope President Jonathan is listening,’’ the party said.

Lagos lawmakers summon commissioner over illegal funding From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


embers of Lagos state House of Assembly have mandated the Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye, to appear before them unfailingly, in spite of his scheduled ministerial briefing for today (Tuesday). The lawmakers had at one of their plenary sessions last week, directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Segun Abiru to write

Kuye and his counterpart at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Development, Enitan Oshodi, to appear before them today in order to make some clarifications. They both were invited over issues concerning the illegal funding of the Lagos State Junior League Board. They were invited alongside the chairman of Conference 57, Akeem Sulaiman. Chairman, House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social

Development, Babatunde Ayeni had complained to his colleagues over an alleged illegal collection of money from the 57 local government councils in the state. However, at yesterday’s (Monday) plenary session, Kuye sent a letter to the lawmakers informing them that he would not be available, as he has a ministerial briefing scheduled for today. Following the directive by the state governor, Babatunde Fashola to his cabinet members

to always honour the lawmakers’ call no matter what, Kuye urged the House to choose another date for him and his colleagues to appear. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Taiwo Kolawole who presided over the day’s sitting, however expressed the belief that there was no reason to overstress the issue; adding that “The Clerk should write to them again and inform them that the House will be sitting by 10am on Tuesday and we will be expecting them”.



20 million nomads under threat of crises – NGO T

he Pastoral Resolve (PARE), a registered charity organisation, said yesterday that about 20 million nomads in the country were being threatened by frequent attacks over grazing land. Malam Umar Hassan, the Executive Director of PARE, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna that the victims were

under constant attacks by various communities because of their (nomads) search for greener pastures. “Today, there are about 20 million people who are nomads wandering around the country with their livestock. “They have no permanent homes; they are forever on the move from one place to the next in search

of grass and water for their animals”. Hassan explained that during the dry season, the nomads move generally southwards, following greener pastures and watering points. According to him, they also move northwards at the onset of the rainy season to escape the “dreaded tsetse fly” which causes Trypanosomiasis (a livestock killer disease).

“We are estimating 170 million people in Nigeria. With this large and ever increasing human population, access to land and its resources will continue to be more and more restricted”. Hassan lamented that the nomads were becoming endandered specie because of frequent attacks on them and their livestock by some hostile communities in their search for greener pastures. To stem the tide of violent attacks between farmers and pastoralists as well as growing

national insecurity, he disclosed that PARE would organise a twin national conference in Kaduna and Abuja on June 14 and July 9, respectively. PARE, a Kaduna based NGO, registered in April 1999 as a charity organisation by the Corporate Affairs Commission, is set to influence, encourage and assist in promoting the interest and welfare of all nomadic pastoralists. It also works to preserve their tradition and cultural value systems. (NAN)

Peoples Daily correspondent loses brother


eoples Daily Katsina state correspondent, Malam Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, has lost his younger brother, Malam Murtala Gambo. Malam Murtala, 29, died at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina after a brief illness. The deceased was a staff of Funtua local government, Katsina state. He left behind his father, a wife and a daughter. His was buried yesterday in Funtua in accordance with Islamic rites.

Group calls on FG not to raise electricity tariff Chairman, Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, going through an exhibition, during a ministerial platform, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Kano commissions official website From Bala Nasir, Kano


overnor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state has launched the state’s official website and social media pages, promising to take advice and constructive criticisms. The governor made this known at the Government House during the lunching of the website yesterday, which was one of the occasions lined up to mark his one year anniversary. He warned that while the

government will accept suggestions and constructive criticisms on the way to develop Kano to an enviable position, he will not condone irresponsibility. “People especially those from opposition camps should therefore mind their language as we will not allow such things to thrive in this state any longer.” On the social media pages, Kwankwaso stated that it will enable people of the state and beyond, the opportunity to follow

Tozali hosts HENNA BALL to support girl child education By Maryam Garba Hassan


ozali magazine is hosting its 2nd edition of the HENNA BALL and award night for this year to support girl child education in the country and to showcase Nigeria’s strong point as a nation, with the theme: “Celebrating the African Women”. A statement issued by the management of the magazine and the initiators of the event, said the event was organised in recognition of the challenge of deprivation of the girl child in education, identified as one of the major

setbacks for women especially in the northern part of the country. The statement further said that this year’s HENNA BALL was geared towards expanding a framework of an event which has a social undertone aimed at addressing society’s ills as it affects the most vulnerable group in the society such as women and children. The event, which is slated for 26th May, 2012, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, will also showcase glitz and glamour at its peak, runway and Nigeria’s culture and fashion among others.

events and developments in the state and to also post their comments and suggestions as well. “Our government is peopleoriented and has nothing to hide. That is why we post all our executive council extracts online to elicit ideas, opinions and advice on how to improve things.” He explained that the new website will project the state’s cultural identity, history, business, tourism and human resources potentials among other things.

The website, and its twin social networking IDs, Facebook – Kano state government, Twitter - @Kano state govt. and the YouTube channel, com/myKNSG were essentially created with a view to project the state and events as they are to all its sons and daughters in Diaspora. Meanwhile, Governor Kwankwaso also signed the state’s Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) 2012 bill which was passed by the state’s House of Assembly into law.

Ogun to distribute 500 transformers to communities From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


gun state government has concluded arrangements for the distribution of 500 transformers to 500 communities in the state, which will be the first phase of the distribution as part of the government’s resolve to put an end to the non-availability of electricity supply to the affected communities. The Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Lanre Tejuoso, made this known at the ministerial

briefing in preparation for the first year anniversary of the administration, disclosing that the distribution will take place on Friday at Arcade Ground, OkeMosan in Abeokuta. It could be recalled that Olokuta Community in Idi-Aba area of Abeokuta, has been at the forefront for agitation for the transformers, hence, government resolved to address the plight of the community and others through the acquisition of 500 transformers which is the first set of the proposed 2,000.


he Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), based in Lagos, yesterday, called upon the Federal Government not to raise electricity tariff now. The call was made by the president of the association, Mr. Segun Ajanlekoko in an appeal to the Federal Government in Lagos during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the new electricity tariff regime billed to kick off on June 1, 2012. According to him, the decision was not good enough as the citizenry do not have access to standard electricity supply for two hours at a stretch per day. “I wonder how many people in Nigeria are there that can boast of having power for two hours in a day”, he said. He also added that the Federal Government should put on hold the proposed upward review of electricity charges until when power generation and distribution in the country improves. He said Nigerians were not complaining about the charges of GSM operators because they were getting their services and that Nigerians were ready to pay for stable power supply. “Let us have stable power first, then the government can charge whatever it likes”, he said. It has been widely reported that the Federal Government has approved a hike in electricity tariff which it announced will kick off on June 1st this year.



Amosun begins town hall meetings From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


s part of activities marking the one year anniversary of his administration, Governor Ibikunle Amosun and top officials of the Ogun state government will today begin a series of town hall meetings with opinion leaders and the commissioning of projects in the state's three senatorial districts. The senatorial town hall meetings will commence in Ogun West and will hold at the Empire Hall, Ilaro. Before the town hall meeting, the governor will commission the Oju-Ore-Ilogbo Road in Ota and lay the foundation stone for one of the 26 Model Secondary Schools to be constructed by the administration. The foundation laying ceremony will hold on a site located on Ilaro-Owode Road. The Ogun Central town hall meeting scheduled to hold on Tuesday at the Abeokuta Sports Club Complex, Oke Ilewo in Abeokuta will be preceded by the laying of the foundation stone of the Model Secondary School in Onijanganjangan as well as the commissioning of the access road constructed to link the Industrial Park in the same area and the Arinlese-Saje Road in Abeokuta. On Wednesday May 23, the town hall meeting will move to Ogun East Senatorial District and will hold at the Itoro Hall, Ijebu Ode. In Ogun East, Governor Amosun and his team will commission the flood and erosion control project at Molipa Community and will turn the sod for the construction of the Model Secondary School at Yemoji in Ijebu Ode.

L-R: Commadant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Major-General Kenneth Osuji, and Director, Counter-Terrorism, CounterInsurgency Centre, Brigadier-General Tijani Golau, during the graduation ceremony of Quick Response Groups, Batch 6, on Sunday in Jaji, Kaduna state. Photo: NAN

ECOWAS sends joint AUUN delegation to Mali M

inisters of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council have sent a joint ECOWAS, African Union and UN delegation to Mali to “deliver a strong message to the junta against meddling in the country's political process”. A statement by the ECOWAS Commission on Sunday in Abuja, said that the decision was taken at a one day extraordinary session of the council attended by the region's Ministers of Foreign Affairs

and Defence. According to the statement, the decision is one of the outcomes of the meeting, convened to ensure the restoration of constitutional rule in the country threatened by the military junta. Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the junta, was advised to refrain from making public pronouncements that implied that he was still in control. The council noted that failure to comply with these decisions

Jos witnesses influx of people – Dabit


he General Manager of Plateau Radio/ Telivision Corporation, Mr. Bulus Dabit, says that the city of Jos in Plateau state is gradually witnessing a huge influx of people. Dabit attributed the development to the good prevailing weather of Jos and the improvement in the security situation in the town. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday that the state government had been executing peopleoriented projects and programmes, thereby encouraging people to return to the town. “The city of Jos in recent times has been converted into almost a huge construction site, wherever you go, you will see that government is working. “There are greater efforts towards

expanding the infrastructure within the city in anticipation of its evolution into a mega city and government is conscious about the movement of people into Jos from every part of the country. “I wish it were possible for the Federal Government to give intervention fund to the Plateau government to host this massive movement of people. “People are moving into Jos massively and the kind of resources the Plateau government gets from the federal allocation is too meager; it cannot cope with the type of expansion to accommodate the influx. “However, the government as you can see, is doing its best to expand the provision of potable water, roads, ensure stable power supply and other social infrastructure,” Dabit said. (NAN)

would result in the reinstatement of targeted sanctions against members of the junta and their associates. Accordingly, the decision also came amidst reports that the junta was threatening to disrupt the interim political arrangement expected to bring about the election of a president after a 12-month transition. The statement recalled that the Framework Agreement signed on April 6, by the junta and ECOWAS led to the handover of

power to the former Speaker of Parliament as Interim President. It also recalled that the agreement led to the appointment of a Prime Minister and a 12-month transition programme that would end with the the election of a president for the country. The sanctions were originally imposed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government at its extraordinary summit in March, in response to the coup but were lifted after the agreement. (NAN)

Man arrested for stealing iPad By Joan Okolie-Iginla


n aged man was on Saturday arrested for stealing a journalist’s iPad at a book launch held at the Yar’adua Centre, Abuja. Anyi Emmanuel, an acclaimed pastor and the coordinator of Christ Treasured Royal Orphanage Home, opposite LEA Primary School, Bako-Kwali, Abuja, presented himself as part of the organisers of the book launch and offered to render assistance to the reporter due to certain reasons not disclosed, to record the on-going book launch with the reporters’ iPad last Friday. According to the reporter, all eyes were focused on him until when he sent for me to ask if he could take the photograph of a

guest. As soon as I turned my back, he disappeared. Our reporter said although people around confirmed seeing him going out with the iPad asking for where to print, when she called the SIM number in the iPad, “Emmanuel gave a warning that I should never in my life call this line again”. On Saturday morning however, the saying ‘many days for the thief one day for the owner’ caught up with Emmanuel as he was said to have returned to the venue to look for the jacket of ‘his’ iPad which he said he forgot on Friday. Unknown to him, all securitymen at the venue were alerted on Friday. Therefore, he was arrested and taken to Wuse Zone 3 Police Station. Mr. Emmanuel is awaiting trial in Wuse Zone 6 court on charge of theft.

Four foreign students participate in junior AFCSC junior course


our international students are participating in the ongoing four months junior course of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji, near Kaduna, Rear Admiral Duke Osuafa, the Deputy Commandant of the college, has said. Osuafa made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

shortly after inspecting a five-day field exercise tagged “Exercise UBIAK-ISIN” at Afaka, near Kaduna on Sunday. He said it was the final part of the four-month training for the 69 students who are in the rank of captains. The deputy commandant said that students from Liberia,

Cameroun, Benin Republic and The Gambia as well as personnel of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Department of State Security Service (DSSS) were taking part in the programme. He said that the junior course 73 of the Land Warfare was part of the AFCSC programme meant to

expose the students on all phases of war from classroom to field work depicting a real war situation. “The field training exercise is meant to expose the students on all phases of war, which were theoretically taught in the syndicate room. “These include advance and quick attack, night attack, raids,

ambushes, patrol and withdrawals under a fictitious dispute between two countries of Delkari and Tyrania”. NAN reports that the students are undergoing training in armoured tank handling, trench tactics, emergency medical services, information services and other war theatre intrigues as in real situation. (NAN)





Needless furore over Buhari’s comment

ormer Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari [Rtd], stirred the hornet's nest last week when he declared that the coming general elections may turn bloody if the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] fails to organize free and fair polls. The Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] presidential candidate in the 2011 election specifically said: "God willing by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct free and fair elections or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 should happen again in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood". As expected, the Presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] wasted no time in descending on the three- time presidential candidate in vitriolic attacks describing him as a blood thirsty politician who has turned himself into a sectional leader. In a statement signed by Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati, said, “we find it very sad that an elder statesman who once presided over the entirety of Nigeria can reduce himself to a regional leader who speaks for only a part of Nigeria.” The PDP also put the boot in when its spokesman, Olisah Metuh, said: "It is very clear that the CPC presidential candidate in the 2011 elections is already setting the stage for another round of bloodletting akin to what happened in after the 2011 general elections. …the PDP finds it very disturbing that in spite of the serious security challenges facing the country,

Buhari, a former Head of State, is once again inciting people to take the law into their hands". In his defence however, his party, the CPC and the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], said the former General has done nothing but issue a timely warning of the consequences that await in the event that the 2015 polls are rigged. ACN said "Buhari's

President Jonathan did promise to ensure the conduct of credible elections at his inauguration but we are afraid that many Nigerians are not convinced yet that he is keen on delivering that promise statement was nothing but a warning against those who may be planning to rig the 2015 general elections, hence, it should not have rankled anyone who believes in free, fair and transparent polls". Peoples Daily concurs with the stance of the ACN on this matter. While no well meaning Nigeria will like a repeat of the sad aftermath of the 2011 elections, the federal government must

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

take note of the fact that the events were principally sparked as a result of the massive rigging that occurred never mind what so called observers said. The president after all admitted as much when he declared that the polls that ushered him into office were imperfect. The federal government must also realize that ordinary Nigerians have become more enlightened and therefore interested in the electoral process and governance to sit idly by and watch those in power do as they please with their votes.This much was evident during the fuel subsidy protests early in the year where Nigerians across the nation protested en-masse the obnoxious removal. It is this twin realization that may have informed Buhari's statement and we feel the authorities will do well to heed his warning and allow the choice of the people as expressed via the ballot box to prevail, come 2015. We are surprised that in their responses, both the Presidency and the PDP failed to address the critical strand of Buhari's comment about election rigging. Instead they dissipated so much energy on his record as a former military ruler. We are worried that such attitude may not push the government to take the right steps in ensuring the elections are indeed free and fair. President Jonathan did promise to ensure the conduct of credible elections at his inauguration but we are afraid that many Nigerians are not convinced yet that he is keen on delivering that promise.








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Okonjo-Iweala: The best President the World Bank never had (II) By Jude Egbas


er second coming as Nigeria’s finance minister with the curious (dubious) title of coordinating minister for the economy provided her wide latitude. Shorn of the dream team that gave her much support, she is the defacto prime minister and is heavily relied on by the president who is awe struck by her brilliance so much so that he was at a loss when Angola and South Africa nominated her for the world bank presidency. She has done nothing different from her debut appearance. On the contrary, while been given a blank cheque ; she is bent on implementing those same failed policies that have taken us nowhere. This was manifestly seen in the issue of fuel subsidy removal. She has insisted that the only way to rescue Nigeria was through the removal of the subsidy. As a student of the neoclassical school, her narrative has consistently been focused purely on fiscal issues to the detriment of issues pertaining to social justice. She failed woefully to convince Nigerians of the benefits of the removal of the subsidy. The ruckus from that ill-timed and poorly conceived policy reveals that she was insincere, and her

image has been badly damaged. She constantly moaned at every given time that she is here to save us; but how many Nigerians believed her? On the contrary she is here to destroy us. Implementing such an obnoxious policy without a thorough cleanup of the oil and gas sector where sweet heart deals were rampant shows that she has been compromised. She was also culpable in the deaths of protesters and the authoritarian way in which she handled the situation. The world took notice, so too did Obama. While she grumbles that the system for choosing the World Bank president is unfair, she and her principal forget that what goes around comes around; the best candidate doesn’t always win. Her economic policy suffers from three major deficits: of relevance, credibility and trust. Relevance, because her approach is too outdated to be relevant in a country where the vast majority are poor and need creative solutions to their predicaments. It suffers from relevance because there is also the emergence of an upwardly mobile class who are wielding significant economic clout and demanding reform of national institutions and sane economic policies and understand better the issues that affect their

lives. Credibility, because of her continuing reliance on Washington-consensus arguments that should have been ditched long ago because of their poor results. Most Nigerians simply do not trust her or the World Bank (or the IMF) to protect their interests – in fact; these Breton woods institutions are seen as working against such interests. Since leadership is cut off from the society, they assume that the rising number of cars, cell phones and other paraphernalia of life suggest that more people are enjoying higher living standards. What they fail to know is that Nigeria has regressed relative to its neighbors and relative to itself in the past few years as measured by vaccinations, infant mortality and access to health care. It is common knowledge that almost seventy percent of the population live on not more than two dollars per day, findings also indicate that less than thirty percent of the population improved its living standard during the last five years while the lot of the remainder has worsened. Moreover, about 40 percent of children under five remain under height or underweight for their age. The economic policies pursued

by Nigeria do not seem to have any effect in reversing the generally negative trend mentioned above. Many of Nigeria’s policy decisions seem to be modelled on other countries’ very different experiences. It was revealed that the then Central Bank Governor Charles Soludo apparently got the idea of increasing the capitalization requirement for banks to 25 billion naira (about USD 190 million) while attending a seminar in Southeast Asia on the experiences of Indonesia and Malaysia. They adopt these policies piecemeal from various countries and hail it as “best practices” with great discomfort and disaster to Nigerians. Another example of this was witnessed recently at the house of Representatives probe into the near collapse of the capital market, Ndi Okereke-Onyuike the former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange revealed that that misguided idea called Transcorp was an initiative of Obasanjo after he had read the book written by Lee Kuan Yew ’From Third world to First world: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000’. It was more or less a delusional attempt at grandeur which was bound to fall like a pack of cards. For her economic policies to be effective, she must jettison her

haughtiness. She needs to be more humble, and this humility should make her listen more and prescribe less. If she listens, she will discover that there is a large group of very poor who still need social and state protection; that market solutions can only work when the playing field becomes level for such groups, who have been left behind by the economic growth; rather than chasing the latest development fads. What is needed is the provision of a sane and plausible strategy for growing out of poverty rather than killing the patient with more destructive austerity measures. Development must therefore be conceived of as a multidimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of poverty. For any economic policy to make sense, we (Nigerians) must seize control of the disruptive politics and ruinous corruption that is set to dismember us, create and strengthen institutions, and change the mentality of the leaders and followers alike and set up genuine social services to assist the poor and the needy in the society. Concluded

Uniting to produce 2015 President: Ethical deficit of Northern Governors By Salihu Mohammed Lukman


edia reports on Friday, May 18, 2012 highlighted that the nineteen (19) Northern Governors are uniting to produce the 2015 – 2019 President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The announcement was said to be made by the then, now former, Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Governor Muazu Babagida Aliyu of Niger State after the meeting of the Governors in Kaduna on Thursday, May 17, 2012. According to the report, Governor Aliyu remarked “we must be united more than ever to go into the 2015 elections as one entity with the aim of producing the president”. He advised all the governors and politicians in the North to remain focused and pursue issues of development rather than trivial issues that have led to the retrogression of the region in recent years. Hausa people have a saying: Jumma’a mai kyau, daga Laraba ake gane ta, meaning the sign of a Good Friday is noticed on Wednesday. If our current reality in the North is anything to go by, it amounts to trivilising matters and indulging in shadow boxing for our Northern Governors to be talking of producing 2015

President. There are far more urgent priorities facing our ‘illustrious’ Governors of Northern Nigeria than the task of producing 2015 President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Just take a look at the gory statistics produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and other agencies and the challenges facing our Governors in the 19 Northern states is well defined. For instance, average unemployment rate for the 19 states of Northern Nigeria is 27.9%, which is higher than the national average of 23.9%. What this means is that about one out of every three adult employable citizen in the North is unemployed. With estimated population of 83 million, about 27 million qualified working population of the region is unemployed. The reality will be more appreciate if we take into account that the working population may not be more than 50% of the total population of the region. The working population of the region therefore would be about 40 million, out of which 27 million are unemployed. Problem of high unemployment in the region has significantly contributed to high poverty rate, which the NBS estimate at 73.8% for the three zones that comprise the 19 states

in 2011. This is higher than the national incidence of 69%, which means that more than seven out of every ten citizens in the North are poor. In other words an estimated 61 million citizens resident in the North are poor. High unemployment and poverty rates are partly a reflection of low economic activities. This, in many respects, has translated into low internally generated revenue (IGR) for all the state governments in the region, on account of which the total IGR for the 19 states for 2010, according to Central Bank of Nigeria Annual Report released in March 2011 was N92.1 billion. Compared to total personnel cost of N245.7 billion, internal revenue generation capacity for our 19 state governments can only meet 37% of personnel cost commitment. Taking into account the new minimum wage of N18,000, which came into effect in March 2011, the IGR of our 19 Northern states may not be able to meet more than 15% of the personnel cost commitment of our state governments. In addition to these problems, our 19 states are also highly indebted, which according to information from the Debt Management Office (DMO), as at December 31, 2011, was

US$834,600,888.72 or N129,363,137,751.60 at the exchange rate of N155 to US$. This represents 39.2% of the total debt of our 36 states. Our 19 states are protected from the negative impact of low IGR and high debt profile with soaring revenue from the federation account, which according to Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) stood at N1,502,551,340,400.06 for the period January 2009 – December 2011. This represents 56.53% of the total allocations to all the 36 states of the federation. The availability of high revenue from the federation account enables our 19 Northern states to meet up with personnel and recurrent commitments, which is made possible because of high oil prices in the international market that has remained at more than US$100 per barrel for almost 10 years now, if not more. With prudent management of the high revenue from the federation account, capacity of our state governments to generate employment and reduce poverty would have been enhanced. Economic activities in the region would have been stimulated through strategic investment in the productive

sectors of the economy, as a result of which the meager IGR would have been boosted and economic viability of our states guaranteed. Unfortunately, all we have in return for high revenue from the federation account is high unemployment, rising poverty, illiteracy, mortality rates, etc. This has produced high crime rates, insecurity and reign of terror with the attendant colossal loss of lives and property. As things are, we are faced with a situation of anarchy, the magnitude of which made Gen. (Rtd) T. Y. Danjuma, some few weeks back, in early May 2012, to declare that the country is on fire and queried the attitude of Northern Governors in handling the security situation, which has crippled some states in the region. Gen. Danjuma’s alarm bell may have generated political and propaganda responses. However, the reality is very clear. Just attempt to visit Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Potiskum, Damaturu, Maiduguri, to mention few. Issues of freedom, liberty, respect for law and order have been lost. Citizens’ lives in most Northern states are endangered and life has virtually returned to the Hobesian state of nature – nasty, brutish and short. Continued on page 15




An open letter to Dr. Sam Amadi, NERC Chairman

e are Solicitors to the National Conscience Party (hereinafter referred to as “our client”) on whose behalf we write this letter to the Federal Government through your Commission. Our client has instructed us to challenge the decision of the Federal Government to increase electricity tariff with effect from June 1, 2012 at a time that the Nigerian people are witnessing the near collapse of electricity supply in the country. In justifying the decision you were reported to have said that it is designed to attract investors who would not venture into the business “unless there is a profitable and sustainable tariff regime”. With respect, your reliance on the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 to justify the proposed increase is totally misleading as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission is only empowered by Section 76(2) of the Act to regulate the prices of tariff to allow “a licensee that operates efficiently to recover the full costs of its business activities, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business”. In other words, there is no provision in the law that empowers the Commission to increase electricity tariff in anticipation of investment in the electricity sector. To that extent, the proposed increase in electricity tariff is illegal in every material particular. However, in order to cushion the adverse effect of the new tariff regime on the poor segment of the population the Federal Government was reported

to have earmarked a subsidy of in the account of such payment, recover the bulk of the $16 billion N50 billion in the 2012 issue or withdrawal is money bill; alleged to have been wasted on the Appropriation Act. Although the and so also is a bill for the comatose energy sector by the Senate has expressed concern over imposition of or increase in any Federal Government under the the new tariff regime, it ought to tax, duty or fee or any reduction, Olusegun Obasanjo be pointed out that Administration. it is legally In your untenable in as book on much as no bill for Privatization the increase has & Public Good: Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text been submitted to The rule of messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written the National L a w contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 Assembly for C h a l l e n g e words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and passage into law published in a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed as stipulated by 2008 you had to: Section 59(1)(b) forcefully of the Constitution argued that The Editor, which provides “the failure of Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, that there shall be privatization a money bill “for in Nigeria in 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. the imposition of the context of Email: let or increase in any rule of law SMS: 07037756364 tax, duty or fee or relates to lack any reduction, of adequate withdrawal or cancellation withdrawal or cancellation thereof institutional preparation before thereof”. (see section 55(1)(a); and the beginning with privatization. In the case of Attorney-General revenue allocation bill is a money- Again, privatization should be of Bendel State v. Attorney- bill”.) Since Section 55(1) of the implemented in a manner that General of the Federation (1982) 1979 Constitution is in pari promotes the rights of the people 3 NCLR 1 at 64, Chukwuneike materia with Section 59(1) of the and strengthen social and Idigbe JSC of blessed memory held 1999 Constitution, you will agree economic institutions so that the inter alia: “In my view, a bill for with us that the proposed increase greatest public value can be the payment, issue or withdrawal in electricity tariff which has not produced at the least cost. from the Consolidated Revenue been passed into law by the Nigerian privatization exercise Fund or any other public fund of National Assembly is did not proceed in such orderly and right respecting manner. the federation such as the unconstitutional and illegal. Federation Account under section We are therefore compelled to This failure has produced 149 of this Constitution of any urge the Federal Government to negative result for the economy money thereon, or any alteration drop the proposed tariff increase and and the welfare and rights of the


people.” No doubt, the gross mismanagement of the economy by the neo-colonial ruling class has since aggravated poverty in the country to the extent that not less than 112 million people out of a population of 167 million people now live on less than $2 a day. In the circumstances, you will agree with us that the proposed increase in electricity tariff is going to further pauperize the masses of our people. Convinced that the Nigerian people are going to revolt against the immoral and illegal policy President Goodluck Jonathan has directed your Commission to embark on a nationwide consultation on the matter. For reasons best known to your Commission no step has been taken to carry out the presidential directive. TAKE NOTICE that if you fail to announce the cancellation of the proposed increase in electricity tariff within seven days of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings at the Federal High Court with a view to preventing your Commission from engaging in the brazen violation of the provisions of Section 59(1) of the Constitution and Section 76(2) of the Power Sector Reform Act 2005. Yours sincerely, Femi Falana.

Why should anyone trust Nigeria Police? By Emmanuel Onwubiko


major sign that Nigeria has reached virtually the borderline of a failing state is the precarious situation of the Nigeria Police Force constitutionally assigned with the duty to maintain law and order. Just few hours after the reported bus explosion in the Rivers State capital Port Harcourt on Thursday May 17th 2012, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police Mr. Mohammed Indabawa gathered journalists to refute the widespread speculation that the incident which happened at Rumuokoro Roundabout at about 11am in the morning was not after all caused by the terrorism activities of the dreaded Maiduguri, Borno statebased armed Islamic fundametalist Boko haram group but was gas explosion during the cause of a planned robbery operation by some four armed robbers. But several persons including this writer took the statement of the Police chief with a pinch of salt because of the low evel of trust for the Nigeria Police force whose operatives have on several occasions disappointed Nigerians by their spectacular failure to carry out their assigned constitutional duty of

maintaining law and order. To demonstrate how bad the image of the Nigeria police has become, Nigerians even still have some elements of trust for the political office holders who obviously has the notoriety for being responsible for the economic devastation of Nigeria much more than the police operatives who routinely demand and obtain bribes from the citizens before doing their jobs for which the tax payers’ money are used to service their salaries. Most Nigerians will rather believe the highly disreputable members of the political class than trust the Nigeria police. In most developed societies, the cordial relationship between the people and the police is responsible for the low crime rate in those civilized democracies like the United Kingdom and Norway. But in my fatherland Nigeria, soon after the Rivers state police commissioner sought to douse the tension generated by the widespread rumor that the Port Harcourt bus explosion was bomb blasts by the Boko haram Islamic terrorist, sensing that not too many Nigerians took the police version of the story of the circumstances surrounding the incident as true and credible, the State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi went on the airwaves to debunk the speculated involvement of the armed Islamic militants in

the bus explosion and offered an explanation that the explosion was caused by gas cylinders packed by some armed robbers while on their way to rob somewhere within the city and the moment this story was aired, the tension that was building all across the state significantly reduced. One thought that flashed through my mind soon after the Rivers state Governor made the clarification and the people responded positively was to ask some persons around me in Abuja whether this was not the same Governor Rotimi Amaechi that not too long ago was severely criticized for allegedly ochestrating the passage of a dubious bill in the Rivers state House of Assembly which awarded generous postretirement benefits and largese to all previous holders of the office of the state Governor and deputy governor? Besides, the most frustrating aspect of these obscene postretirement benefits is that the socalled law-makers of Rivers State never envisaged the fluid economic circumstances that Ngeria is facing and how buoyant or otherwise the purse of the Rivers State Government would look like in the coming years when they proceeded to legislate payment of these huge postretirement benefits to all previous

holders of the offices of governor and deputy governor. The total package meant to be delivered to this category of persons covered by this generous post retiremnt payments as recently passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly include but not limited to two houses in Port Harcourt and Abuja for each of the beneficiaries, chaffeur- driven special utility vehicles maintained by the Rivers state treasury and other sundry financial allowances which will cost the Rivers state people huge amount of money from their lean resources even when several thousands of Rivers State indigenes are homeless, jobless and are economically deprived because of the large scale corruption that goes on at every level of government in that state as well as other states and the federal Government. Those who heard me asked the question why the people of Rivers State as well as other Nigerians are prepared to trust information emanating from these much villified politicians than officers of the Nigeria Police, what I got as a collective response was that no Nigerian was prepared to gamble with his/her precious lives by trusting the Nigeria Police Force. One of my respondents whose father retired as a police commissioner pointedly asked me why anyone

should trust the Nigeria Police Force after most of its operatives have perpetrated series of heinous crimes against humanity inclding extra-judicial execution of suspects in the police custody, and even innocent citizens. Another person simply looked at me in shock and stated that he is prepared to trust the seemingly corrupt and inept Nigerian politicians than the grossly incompetent operatives of the Nigeria Police Force because according to him, the politician robs the citizens with biro[pen] but the operatives of the Nigeria police force kill, maim and harass innocent citizens with guns and ammunitions purchased with tax payers’ money. He further informed me as if I am unaware, that most of these indicted police operatives never get punished because of the fact that the police as an institution has rightly or wrongly assumed the duty of presuming to be the prosecutor in all cases and once a matter affects any police officer, other high profile police officers in the mood of the so-called espirit de corp will conspire to kill such cases. One is left to wonder whether Nigeria is still a constitutional democracy so much so that the officers and operatives of the Nigeria Police Force are allowed to pick and Continued on page 15



Uniting to produce 2015 President: Ethical deficit of Northern Governors Continued from page 13

Bomb attacks are almost daily occurrences, claiming the lives of innocent citizens, including pupils, students and their teachers in our educational institutions. If this is the barometer to gauge the competence of our 19 Northern Governors in terms of their leadership capabilities, apologies, resignations and impeachments may be more appropriate. Certainly not any interest, remote or immediate, directly or indirectly, about who is the 2015 President of Nigeria. Given our current realities, it will be a dereliction of responsibility and lavish for our 19 Governors, individually or collectively to at this hard time express any form of interest regarding who become the President of Nigeria in 2015. With our prevailing situation, the primary responsibility of our Northern governors should be to address problems of high rates of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, mortality, crime and insecurity in the region. So far, the only thing that stands out for our governors is the scale of mismanagement of the resources of our states. With more than N1.5 trillion coming to our 19 Northern

states and almost nothing to show for it, our 19 Governors should be individually and collectively ashamed of themselves. Regrettably, this is not the case because we live in times when it is a big achievement to squander and steal public resources. These are times when qualification for leadership is equated with public office. Performance and achievement is hardly a reference point, especially if measured based on positive impact on the living conditions of citizens. With zero or negative impact, a sitting Governor is already an automatic candidate for re-election for second four-year tenure or even emerging as presidential candidate. Serving Ministers, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, State Commissioners, etc. are potential candidates for re-appointment, reelection or becoming gubernatorial candidates, etc. This is in fact the motivating factor behind the clamour from our Northern Governors for the so-called unity to produce the 2015 President of Nigeria. It is largely driven by self-interest based on a high probability that, if united, one of them would be the

President. Given our experience in the North under their reign as Governors, it will be disastrous for the nation to have any of our current serving Governors to emerge as the 2015 President of Nigeria. Their competence or lack of it has only successfully produced social upheaval in the region. To the extent of this competence or lack of it, our Governors are therefore ethically deficient to attempt to influence the emergence of a President in

2015 that can serve the interest of the people in North. If the 2015 President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to emerge based on the influence of the 19 Northern Governors, resource mismanagement, resulting in high unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and mortality rates, low economic activities and low IGR may only be re-enforced. In the circumstance, our Governors should be more challenged to ensure that at the

If this is the barometer to gauge the competence of our 19 Northern Governors in terms of their leadership capabilities, apologies, resignations and impeachments may be more appropriate

minimum they are able to return the North to some levels of sanity between now and 2015. The task of producing 2015 President of Nigeria, who can serve the interest of the North, cannot be addressed in a situation of anarchy. It should not also be reduced to the usual conspiratorial and high-level regional political scheming, which has since 1999 undermined the growth of our democracy. Conspiratorial and high-level regional political scheming have only succeeded in installing incompetent and mediocre public officials in the country. This needs to be changed through the institution of democratic processes that would enable citizens to sort interests and aspirations based on capacity and competence to provide selfless services. Our 19 Northern Governors, with hardly any exception, have no moral basis of seeking to influence the process of determining the 2015 President of Nigeria, especially if the objective is to serve the interest of the people of the region. Like it is said in law; “He who comes to equity, must come with clean hands”. Salihu Mohammed Lukman can be reached at

Why should anyone trust Nigeria Police? Continued from page 14

chose which of the criminal cases it should diligently prosecute or not. Why is the office of the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the offices of the 36 state attorneys general and commissioners of justice not alive to their constitutional duty by making sure that operatives of the Nigerian Police are not allowed to play the role of the sole prosecutors of criminal cases as damaging and extensive as murder involving serving operatives of the Nigerian Police Force as suspects/accused persons? Why has the Federal Government and the respective state administrations in the federation and other federating units including the Federal Capital Territory looked on and allowed this regime of impunity to continue whereby the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police undermine the prosecution of police operatives or officers indicted for murder of unarmed civilians? Why does Nigeria not yet have independent institution to monitor the use to which police operatives and other armed security operatives put their weapons to and why is the socalled Police Service Commission so compromised that it has failed to discipline most of these grossly indisciplined police operatives? So I ask just like my previous respondent aforementioned, why should anyone trust the Nigeria Police? This week alone, there have been reported cases of nearly ten cases of extra-legal killings of

innocent Nigerians involving trigger happy rogue police operatives and the Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar does not seem to have any effective internal mechanism to check the nefarious activities of these bad eggs in the Nigerian Police Force who have made it their pastimes to engage in extra-judicial killings of Nigerians. These rogue police operatives and officers indicted in these killings never really get punished. Bassey Jimi, a senior Road Marshal, was full of life on Tuesday morning 15th of May 2012 when he left his family and proceeded to work at the Bayelsa State Road Safety Commission office in Yenagoa but later that day some men from the special anti-robbery squad [SARS] stormed his office and one thing led to the other before they invading police operatives beat the man to his untimely death and this incident in Bayelsa came barely a month after a policeman allegedly shot to dead a Prison Warden in the same state. The police operatives who beat the officer of the Road safety commission in Bayelsa state were said to have invaded the office to avenge what they called the malhandling of one of their officers by the officials of the Road Safety commission. In Abuja, an eight month pregant female banker was Mrs. Doris Okere was gruesomely and bruttaly murdered by a trigger happy police operative in Mpape last year but it took the vigilant

proactive activities of some good Nigerians and the National Human Rights Commssion before a case that was filed against the Nigerian Police Force for the dastardly act of one of its operative was determined whereupon the Abuja High Court ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay the immediate amily members of the late Mrs. Okere including her two year old baby boy the paltry sum of N100 million Naira damages. Sadly, the office of the Inspector General of Police said it will proceed to challenge the verdict at the Appelate Court even without telling Nigerians why the indicted police operative who carried out the criminal act of murder has not yet been charged to court for this crime against humanity. Only this week, a lady Princes Zainab Chinasa Uwakwe who was killed allegedly by the then Divisional Police officer in Aba Mr. Kabbir A. Ishaq was buried and the police officer who allegedly committed this grave offence of murder has not yet being dragged to the competent court of law to be charged for murder but what the office of the Inspector General of police did was to transfer the accused Police Officer to the Katsina Police command far away from the scene f the crime in Abia State and the family members of this young woman killed in her prime are persistently facing threats of attack by some senior police fficers at the Force Headquarters who vowed never to charge the

said police officer to court. The other police operatives who were privy to the alleged killing of Miss. Uwakwe by the Divisional Police Officer Mr. Kabir Ishaq were also mass transfered out of Aba, Abia state to muddle up any evidence that could sustain a charge of murder against this ‘sacred cow’ in the Nigerian Police Force. Just a few days back, in a night club in Lagos, three well armed police opeatives wo excorted aclub patron to a disco at the night club got soaked in heavy drinking and became drunk so much so that they released several shots of live bullets in the air which unfrtunately hit and killed two personsaround the vicinty and the Police Inspector General has not uttered a word to tell Nigerians what he intends to do to end this vicious circle of extralegal killings of Nigerians by armed police operatives and their imncompetent and grossly indisciplined senior officers. Who then can trust this Policing institution in Nigeria? This is a worrying signal of a failed state? Mohammed Abubakar or whosoever is in charge of the Nigerian Police Force should be told in black and white that it is dangerous for them to allow trust in the Nigerian Police Force to decline to zero-level because of the apocalytic consequences that this total loss of trust of the Nigerian Police Force by the Nigerian People. If this catasthropic loss of faith and trust in the operatives of the Nigerian Police Force is

sustained progressively, it will get to a time that ordinary police operatives who in any case live among the people because of dearth of barracks could become targets of popular lynch mobs as ways of avenging the high rate of extra-legal killings by the Nigerian police operatives of innocent citizens and persons in conflict with the law. For now only armed Islamic group in the far North have openly stated their intention to attack and kill any police operative as a revenge for the killing of the founder of Boko Haram in 2009 Sheik Mohammed Yusuf, by the police in Maiduguri, Borno state. If care is not taken to bring all perpetrators of extra-legal killings in the Nigerian Police Force to effective trials, then the victims’ friends could take up arms against the Nigerian Police Force as an institution because impunity breeds anarchy and anarchy in a nation- state breeds failure of state apparatus and failure of state apparatus breeds instability and distabilization of the sovereign nation- state. Nigeria as a constitutional democracy must effectively and quickly round up all known murderers in police uniform and quickly and efficiently bring them to justice in the competent courts of law to save Nigeria from imminent failure of its statehood. Emmanuel Onwubiko, Head, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, writes from



FCTA intensifies efforts to provide infrastructure in satellite towns


Where are the subsidy Buses? as the workers waiting to go back home after a working day, at the Federal Secretariat, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Hotel owners call for legislation to enhance security


otel Owners Forum (HOFA) on Sunday in Abuja called on the National Assembly to enact a law to back the “identification of guests’’ project embarked upon by the forum. Mr Onofiok Ekong, the Chairman of the Abuja chapter of HOFA, said that giving legal backing to the guest project would go a long way to reduce act of terrorism and ensure security of lives and property in the country. Ekong, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that members of the Forum had been directed to ensure that

their guests identify themselves properly before being allowed to check into their hotels. He said the project known as ‘know Your Guest’ had suffered a setback because not all hotel owners in Abuja were members of HOFA. Ekong said that members of HOFA were losing their customers because most guests were not too willing to identify themselves properly. “When we insist on proper identification such guests go away in annoyance and they are gladly accepted by hoteliers who are not members HOFA and who do not insist on proper identification.’’

Ekong said that no guests could enter any of “our hotels now without properly identifying themselves by presenting either a driver’s licence, voter’s card, international passport or any other form of identification. “You must have one of these forms of identification. This is what we call ‘know-your-guest’.’’ He said that Nigeria was the only country in the world “where guests are not properly identified before being checked into a hotel’’. “The problem is that not all the hotels are members of HOFA. Our members always insist on the identification of guests,

while non-members accept guests without proper identification.’’ “When I insist on proper identification, a prospective guest will go to another hotel; so if project ‘Know Your Guest’ is not backed by law, there is nothing much that we can do. “A project like this should be backed by legislation because we are the only country in the world that allows guests into our hotels without proper identification,’’ he stressed. Ekong said that if an enabling law was passed by the National Assembly, it would go a long way in ensuring security in the country. (NAN)

1,247 companies apply for Abuja mass housing plots By Josephine Ella


o fewer than 1,247 companies have obtained documents for the Abuja Mass Housing projects, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed disclosed at the weekend. The minister, who was examining the sector and the attempts made so far to block the gaps of housing deficits in

the territory, said all the companies’ who are prospective developers’ have been issued with mass housing guidelines and other documents on payment of the non-refundable fees. He further revealed that the companies also paid nonrefundable processing fees to ascertain their level of seriousness. He said out of these companies, 475 have submitted

their documents for evaluation, while 416 of them are new applicants. According to him, a batch of 63 companies that have submitted documents for evaluation have been forwarded to the FCT Legal Services Secretariat for due diligence at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), adding that “this brings to a total of 416 companies that are undergoing the mandatory legal search”.

The minister also revealed that the In-House Ad-Hoc Committee constituted to audit mass housing sites had completed its job and submitted its report to the FCT Administration. “Based on this report as well as previous report of the Architect Reuben Okoya’s Committee on Mass Housing Scheme, a comprehensive brief will soon be sent to the Federal Government,” Senator Mohammed added.

he FCT Administration is intensifying efforts to provide infrastructure in satellite towns to decongest the city centre, FCT Minister Bala Mohammed has said. The minister stated this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Muhammed Sule, in Abuja on Sunday. According to the statement, efforts to decongest the 250 square kilometres of the Federal Capital City are deliberate to stimulate parallel development in the city centre and the satellite towns across the 8,000 square kilometres of the FCT as conceived in the Abuja Master Plan. The statement recalled that recently, the President approved the re-establishment of the FCT satellite Towns Development Agency to spread transformation to all the nooks and crannies of the territory. It said the provision of engineering infrastructure in Kubwa satellite town districts four and five was 41 per cent completed, adding that that of Karashi satellite town district one and two was 40.3 per cent completed. The statement added that the provision of engineering infrastructure at Bwari satellite town district one and two was 53 per cent completed. According to the statement, the FCT administration has embarked on construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of township roads in Karu, Abaji, Kuje, Gwagwalada, Nyanya Bwari and Kwali. (NAN)

Man remanded in prison custody on allegation of causing hurt


n Upper Area Court in Gwagwalada in the FCT yesterday, remanded one Kabiru Ibrahim in prison for allegedly stabbing another man. The police arraigned Ibrahim, a resident of One Way Road in Gwagwalada, on May 13, on a one count charge of causing grievous hurt to Tasiyu Ali. Police prosecutor Martha Paul said Ibrahim stabled the victim with a knife on his fore head and hand, and that Ali was taken to Alheri Hospital for treatment. Paul said the case was reported at the Gwagwalada Police Station by the victim, but Ibrahim pleaded not guilty to the charge. The presiding judge, Mr Babaginda Hassan, therefore, ordered that Ibrahim be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to July 4 for hearing. (NAN)



Kwali council to assist orphans, vulnerable children By Josephine Ella


he Coordinator, HIV/AIDS Unit of Kwali Area Council, Mrs. Elizabeth Maji Gabi has disclosed that arrangement was in progress to assist children orphan by HIV/AIDS

and other vulnerable groups in the council. Gabi, who made this known during an interview with Peoples Daily, said the unit was expanding the scope of its activities from awareness creation on the HIV spread,

counselling and testing, material and financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS to include sponsorship for children whose parents are down with the infection and those who have lost their parents to the disease.

CMC awards 12 unsung heroes in Abuja By Adeola Tukuru


he Covenant Ministerial Chaplaincy, FCT at the weekend honoured twelve distinguished individuals from different walks of life, for contributing positively to the service of humanity in their various communities. The Founder of the CMC, Reverend Bob Alonge, told news men at the event that there was no better time in the history of Nigeria than these perilous times when violence and harbingers of annihilation hold sway, adding that these individuals who he called heroes have dedicated their lives to serve in their various communities. In his words: “They are our unsung heroes. We want to use this medium to celebrate them. We want to showcase their

achievements and extol their virtues”, he said. Rev Alonge explained that these people were randomly nominated and chosen from their communities, adding that these kind of meaningful contribution will awaken the consciousness of other unsung heroes in the country. He further explained that next year’s 2013 Heroes Award Project, would reach out to Muslims across the country in collaboration with the Muslim Pilgrim Welfare Board. The awardees include a Vehicle Inspector Officer (VIO), Mr. Gbenga Oladimeji, a Nigeria Police Officer , Mr. Sunday Edoh, a corps Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Kingsley Agomoh, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Miss Ime Anwana,

Chimezirin Charlse Young, Cosy Evelyn Otekpen,. Others are Dotun Oloko, Dr lami lombin,Udo Onoriobe,Owoiche Odeh Adeka , Ayuba Ogar, and Chinedu Chima. Speaking on behalf of the awardees, Miss Cosy Evelyn Otekpen, commended the Covenant Ministerial Chaplaincy for honouring them, and urged them to continue with the programme.

“Just last week we discussed on how to reach the orphans and vulnerable children, whose parents are living with the disease. We were able to get only two. Sometimes when those that are infected know what you are looking for, because of stigma they run away. They don’t want to present their children. “But what we are trying to do now, is to find out where those vulnerable children and orphans are and after we have known their numbers, then we will now table their issue to the council so that we can get assistance to see what we can do to assist them”, she said. The coordinator explained that the unit intended to explore the means of ensuring that these orphans and vulnerable children are given free education, provided all their basic need to enable them live a

useful life. Her words: “If we know their ages we can support them with milk and other complimentary food. We can give them cash and share food items to them and if we have strong financial backing which would be dependent on the response of the chairman of the area council, we plan to sponsor their education. If there is fund, the chairman is someone who is ever ready to assist these kinds of children”. She commended the effort of the council chairman, Hon. Joseph Shazhin in supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. She also expressed confidence that the proposed project would be realised as she disclosed that an organisation, Haja Foundation has promised to partner with the council towards achieving the goal.

Man remanded in police custody after he pleaded guilty to theft


n Abuja Senior Magistrates' Court on Wednesday remanded a 28-year-old man, Abu David of Kpana Village, Jabi, Abuja, in police custody, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of theft. The police prosecutor, Sgt. Philips Apolos, told the court that one David Osu of Daki Biu village, Jabi, complained at the Life Camp Police Station, Abuja on May 15, that David stole his motorcycle. Apolos said, “In Nov. 2011, the complainant and the accused met in a bar. While they were drinking, the accused pretended to go and urinate.

“In the process, he made away with the complainant’s motorcycle valued at N40,000 and sold it for N8,000 at Jabi Pantaker Village.’’ The accused pleaded guilty to the charge. Apolos, however, asked the court for a summary trial and to suspend the sentence, as the police were yet to recover the motorcycle from the accused person. Senior Magistrate Abdullahi Ilelah ordered that the accused person be remanded in police custody and adjourned the case to May 25, for sentencing. (NAN)

Man in court for causing grievous hurt


he Police yesterday, arraigned Odinaka Eze of Sauka Kauta village, Airport Road, Abuja, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court for causing grievous hurt to Mrs Nkechi Sunday. Police prosecutor Jeremiah Elijah told the court that the case was reported at the Lugbe Police Station on May 16. Elijah said the accused had a misunderstanding with the complainant which resulted in a fight. “As a result of the fight, the accused hit the complainant on the head with a plank and inflicted serious injury on her.’’ Elijah also said the complainant lost her phone

valued at N7,000 and N9,500 cash during the fight. He added that the complainant was rushed to the AMAC Hospital, Lugbe, for treatment which cost her N12,000. The prosecutor said that when the accused was questioned he was unable to give a satisfactory account of himself. The accused, however, denied the allegation, saying that there was no truth in it. Senior Magistrate Bashir Alikali granted the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties, who must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction. He adjourned the case to June 19 for hearing. (NAN)

A woman sited (left), narrowly escaped death when her corolla car with registration no. CX966RBC, surmasoulted, along shehu shagari way, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

FCTA earmarks 16 districts for mass housing projects By Josephine Ella


he Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration has pledged to support the proposed American Hospital in Abuja. The FCT Minister, Senator Mohammed, who made the commitment while receiving the board members of the proposed American Hospital and University of Medical Services in his office, however, said that the entire project needed to be reconceptualized to achieve the desired goal. He said the reconceptualization and repackaging of the whole project would ensure viability and sustainability as due diligence would have been exploited by the Abuja Infrastructure

......Pledges support for American Hospital Investment Centre (AIIC) for perfect Public-PrivatePartnership. He described the project as very important but urged the Board to open new frontiers to get the needed huge capital inflow to execute it and not rely on government funds that is not available. Earlier, the Chairman/ Promoter of the proposed American Hospital and University of Medical Sciences, Dr. Ifeanyi Obiakor revealed that the project commenced in 2005 to bring up a 5-Star Hospital in Abuja for which 102 hectares of land had been allocated by the FCT Administration as its equity

share. Dr. Obiakor said that his group initially was able to get $32 million from foreign investors to execute the project but due to the delay in its implementation, the money was diverted to Ghana for another job. In a related development, in order to reduce housing deficit in the minister said the administration has earmarked about 16 districts in the Federal Capital City for mass housing projects. He reiterated that these Mass Housing sites when developed would go a long way in providing relief for the housing needs of residents.






- Pg 20

FG to power electricity with coal

Mob: 08033644990

NCC fines MTN, others N1.17bn for bad service


igeria’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined the country’s four main mobile operators, including MTN and Bharti Airtel, a total of N1.17 billion ($7.38 million) for poorquality service. The telecoms industry is hugely profitable in Nigeria, Africa’s second-biggest economy and home to some 160 million people, but users complain that the service is poor, with frequent dropped calls and network interruptions. “The penalties are as a L-R: Akwa-Ibom state Governor, Godswill Akpabio; Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Kebbi State Governor, Usman Dakingari and Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi during the Inauguration of Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council held in Abuja recently.

Naira falls, CBN intervenes to support


he Naira weakened against the U.S dollar on the interbank market yesterday, on strong demand for the dollar by fuel importers and foreign investors selling down local debt, traders said on Monday. The Naira closed at 158.90 to the dollar on the interbank market, compared with 158.60 per dollar last Friday.

Flight schedule AIR NIGERIA (MONDAY - SUNDAY) LOS-A BJ: 07.15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.30, 17.00, 17.20, 18.30 ABJ-LOS: 07.00, 09.30, 10.30, 11.15, 16.15, 19.15, 19.35 ABJ-KANO: 18.40 KANO-ABJ: 08.35 ABJ -SOK (MON): 09.35 ABJ-SOK (FRI): 10.10 ABJ-SOK (WED/SUN): 11.20 SOK-ABJ (MON): 11.35 SOK-ABJ (FRI): 12.00 SOK-ABJ (WED/SUN): 13.20

AEROCONTRACTORS (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 06.50, 13.30, 19.45 LOS-ABJ (SUN): 12.30 LOS-ABJ (SAT): 16.45 ABU-L OS: 07.30, 13.00, 14.00, 19.00 ABU-LOS (SUN): 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 ABU-LOS (SAT): 18.30

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10

Traders said the Naira depreciated and crossed the 159 to the dollar mark in early trade — the same level it had been at on Wednesday — before the central bank intervened by selling dollars to some lenders to calm the market. The bank’s target band is between 155 and 160 Naira to the dollar. “The volatility in the market continued today due to unabated demand from importers with the

By Muhammad Sada


ajor efforts put in to ensure the transformation of the aviation sector have paid off as it has been effectively carried out by the stakeholders in the sector, the Aviation minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah has said. The minister, who was speaking yesterday at a ministerial briefing held at the Radio House in Abuja to mark President Jonathan’s transformational agenda lamented on how she met a very sad and deplorable aviation



LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

17th May, 2012 BUYING 0.2814 196.2524 245.184 41.2489 154.7

SELLING 0.3014 197.521 246.7689 41.5156 155.7


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

sector when she came in. However, the minister notified the public on how her administration strived to put things in place by making in depth and extensive consultations with experts, stakeholders as well as its customers. According to her, the sector has put the interest of the citizens of the country as one of its first-class interest and has been doing its best to ensure the protection of the rights of its customers and also aid in boosting the economy of the nation, to which she said the


he Over-The-Counter (OTC) market for FGN bonds, last week, attained a turnover of 131.543 million units worth N121.239 billion in 935 deals, compared to 144.020 million units worth N132.605 billion in 803 deals, recorded in the week ended May 11, 2012. Also within the period, the equities sector, lifted by activities in the financial sector, recorded a turnover of 1.848 billion shares, worth N13.863 billion in 20,435 deals, against

a total of 2.243 billion shares valued at N19.359 billion exchanged last week in 23,053 deals. Though there were no transactions in the Federal Government’s development stocks, state/local government bonds and corporate bonds/ debentures stocks sectors, the financial services sector of the equities market accounted for 1.113 billion shares valued at N8.868 billion traded in 11,489 deals.

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 250 40 156

SELLING 212 252 42 158

sector contributes about 3% and in which a lot depend on the sector in the economic activities of any nation. She added that plans are in the offing to establish an aviation training center sector to specifically improve the capability of manpower development so as to ensure that customers are paid their due rights and the issues of delays, cancellation and recurring technical problems in flights are eradicated and also the improvement of the provision of aviation fuel is in progress. Also, the minister noted that

the sector is making consultations with both national and international experts and stakeholders to ensure proper dispensation of its obligations and cited security as one of the focal points and also the improvement of the impact of the sector on the nation’s economy. Mrs. Stella Oduah assured Nigerians that her administration is always ready to pay full pledged commitment to the Nigerian public and also noted that the total transformation of the sector will be concluded very soon.

Management Tip of the Day


LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08

Investors stake N121.2bn on FGN bonds in five days

Transformation effective in aviation sector, says Minister

ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00

Naira falling further. But the intervention by the central bank provided some dollar liquidity in the market to reduce the loses,” one dealer said. The Naira , which had consistently stabilised around the 157 to the dollar level for more than three months this year, came under pressure two weeks ago on the back of strong dollar demand by fuel importers and investors repatriating dividends. (Reuters)

result of the contravention of the provisions of the quality of service regulations by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the operators failed to meet with the minimum standard of quality of service” during May and April, an NCC statement said. There was no immediate reaction from the operators, although MTN has complained that sabotage of its equipment and shutdowns by state agencies over tax disputes in some parts of Nigeria are impeding improvements to its service. (Reuters)

Increase profits by streamlining your company


s a business becomes more complex, it gets difficult to trace costs. If you aren’t sure where your company is making money — or losing it — follow these two steps to simplify:· Analyze profitability by offering or market. There are often large profit

disparities among lines of business, brands, products, and customers. Knowing exactly where you’re making money and how is the first step to making more of it.·M a k e sure each brand and SKU is pulling i t s w e i g h t . Most complex companies have many

brands or SKUs that contribute little to the bottom line. By targeting profitable ones and cutting the rest loose, you can free up significant capacity with negligible loss in revenue and volume. Source: Harvard Business Review




NIRSAL sets aside N75 bn to boost agric production


he Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has set aside N75 billion to boost agricultural production and processing in the country, its Head of Project Implementation, Jude Uzonwanne has said.

MAN lists woes, wants production tools duty-free

NEITI to collaborate with EFCC against corruption in oil industry


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have resolved to work together to strengthen their capacities against corrupt practices as well as to promote greater transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sectors. The resolution was reached by NEITI Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed, and EFCC Executive Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde on Friday in Abuja. Mrs. Ahmed, who spoke during her visit to EFCC, identified areas of possible collaboration between the two

organisations, pointing out that the reports of the various audits so far conducted on the extractive industries appear ineffective tools against corruption because the agency has no powers to enforce sanctions imposed on erring operators. However, Mrs. Ahmed noted that while the NEITI Act of 2007 empowers it to impose sanctions on erring entities, she lamented that NEITI does not have the capacity to investigate and prosecute offenders. Adding that, it is the reason why a stronger collaboration with anticorruption agencies like the EFCC

becomes necessary” . Mrs. Ahmed maintained that a dedicated NEITI Desk in EFCC to facilitate seamless synergy between the two agencies will serve as a good first step. “With such a desk, it would become easier for the EFCC to enforce the NEITI Act and investigate complaints arising from NEITI audit reports”, she stated. Corroborating on the issue, the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, described the visit as the beginning of a robust working relationship between the two organisations. He lamented the inability of Nigeria to determine the revenues realised from the oil and gas sector

operations, particularly the quantity of crude oil exported. “Figures being reeled out from one agency to the other are always at variance and contradictory,” he noted, adding: “There should be a way of determining how much revenue is being generated and what quantity of crude oil is being taken out to the international market. Mr. Lamorde said if the audit report generated by NEITI was religiously followed, the country would not have been where it is today, particularly as it relates to the fuel subsidy probe by the House of Representatives and the Senate.


o revamp the real sector, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for fiscal policies, which will favour the importation of industrial machinery and other equipment.

CIBN tasks MFBs on financial inclusion


o facilitate financial inclusion and alleviate poverty in the country, Nigerian financial institutions may need to review lending procedures in order to enhance sustainable development.

Stakeholders seek dialogue over CBN’s autonomy


he clamour for independence of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), took another dimension at the weekend, as the retiring directors of the apex bank canvassed dialogue over the issue with the National Assembly (NASS).

Diageo to commit N560 m into agriculture development in Africa


iageo, one of the world’s leading premium drinks company, recently announced that it has signed letters of intent to foster partnerships and projects that will aid in the agricultural development of Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Nigeria Pension Excellence Awards postponed to June 2012


he first edition of Nigeria Pension Excellence Awards has been postponed to a new date that will be announced very soon.

L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Sabre Travel Network, Mr. Gabriel Olowo, Director, Consumer Protection, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mrs Fatima Garbati, and NCAA Director of Finance and Admin, Mr. Remi Adekola, during a stakeholders' forum on Air Traveler's Rights and Privileges, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Gas to Power: FG rallies IOCs, indigenous operators Stories by Muhammad Nasir


he Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison–Madueke has pledged to intensify to facilitate the supply of gas in the country through the implementation of the 12-month gas emergency supply time line aimed at the speedy expansion of the country’s gas to power capacity. Alison-Madueke made the disclosure at the weekend when she led a team of experts and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry on a tour to Utorogu gas plant in Delta state. She also pledge the Federal Government’s commitment to

work with the International oil Companies(IOCS) to meet the nations gas to power aspirations, adding that such goal could only be attained if the oil majors work in concert with local service providers. She maintained that a reliable oil and gas sector can only be build through the effective participation of competent Nigerian service providers and operators. Adding that IOC’s and the indigenous companies and some Nigerian professionals are already keying into the deal made possible by the Nigerian Content Act. It was noted that the visit to the shell Utorogu gas plant marked the commencement of

the weeklong tour of all gas installations and projects listed for the production of additional gas under the Gas Supply Emergency Programme. Corroborating on gas supply, Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mutiu Sunmonu said that the company has taken adequate steps to improve gas supply to the nation’s power plants to boost power generation, adding that the current average production of the plant is 250 million metric standard cubic feet (mmscf), while work was on-going at the new plant designed to increase capacity to about 510mmscuf per day.

‘FG to power electricity with coal by 2015’


he minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada, has said that 30 percent of electricity will be powered by coal. He said this at the opening Zuma Coal Mines in Okobo, Kogi state. Sada said that the plan was to make sure that the country did not rely on one source to provide electricity, he said this

became necessary to prevent disappointment when shortage of gas and water occurs. The chairman of Zuma Group, Innocent Ezuma said that the company had a reserve of of about 380 million tonnes of coal. He added that in next 18 months, the company would be able to establish a reserve of two billion tonnes.

“Today, we are experiencing a lot of scarcity in water and gas. Our water levels have drastically reduced,” he said. “There are challenges with getting enough gas for the gas plants.We need to introduce coal to the energy mix so that if there is a problem with gas or hydro, the other two can work. It is a matter of energy security.”

Oil growth to be 0.9m bpd in 2012-OPEC


he Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in its latest report, forecast that the growth in world demand during 2012 will be 0.9mn barrels per day (bpd). Given a forecast of 0.6mn bpd growth in non-Opec supply, it expects the average call on OPEC crude this year to be 30mn bpd, a slight decline from 2011. However, there are signs of a potential weakening on the demand front, not only because of the turbulence in Europe but also of signs of slower growth in China, noting that Chinese exports and imports in April came in well below expectations. In a statement by the International Energy Agency on May 11, noted that despite all the supply and demand factors, it still expects prices to remain high. The futures markets see oil averaging around $113 this year, falling to $106 in 2013. It was also noted that the median of economists’ forecasts is higher, at $115 in both years. This compares to an average price of $90 since 2008.



Alison-Madueke inaugurates Africa’s largest oil vessel in Delta


he Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs.Diezani Alison-Madueke at the weekend, inaugurated the largest Africa’s oil vessel in Warri, Delta State. Alison-Madueke at the ceremony, witnessed by the Executive Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr.Andy Yakubu and his Gas Resources Counterpart, Mr.David Ige, as

well as Executive Secretary / chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr.Earnest Nwapa, assured that the federal government would continue to support and encourage indigenous companies operating in the oil with its local content policy. Alison-Madueke expressed optimism by the giant strides achieved by FENOG especially

with the company’s acquisition of the HDD Technology and the Akpevweoghene barge, assured that the local content policy was not a lip service and mere slogan. She noted that the policy would entrench indigenous operators in the nation’s oil industry. The minister, who was conducted round the unique features of the equipment by the company’s Executive Director,

Shell, Eni paid N176bn for Nigerian oil block–US court Stories by Muhammad Nasir


controversial $1.1bn (about N176 bn) oil deal involving Shell and I t a l i a n multinational oil and gas company, Eni in Nigeria has renewed concerns about transparency in the country’s lucrative energy sector and President Goodluck Jonathan government’s commitment to cleaning up the industry. The multinationals paid Nigeria’s government last April for control of a deepwater concession that could contain up to 9 billion barrels of oil. This money was later passed on to a company run by Dan Etete, a Nigerian former oil minister who was convicted of money laundering in France in 2007. Details of the deal have only just emerged. Recently published court documents show that the government agreed to transfer the exact proceeds from Shell and Eni – $1,092,040,000 – to Malabu Oil and Gas, a local company widely reported to be controlled by Dan Etete, which has claimed ownership of block OPL 245, the deepwater concession. The campaign group, Global Witness, which has investigated the transactions, does not allege illegality on the part of Shell or ENI, but said “the whole business begs billiondollar questions” about Shell and ENI’S commitment to transparency. The two companies have acknowledged buying the block, but say they dealt with the government, not

Malabu. The deal with Malabu also renews doubts over President Goodluck Jonathan’s pledge to reform the oil sector, coming so soon after a parliamentary report in April which estimated that $7bn was misappropriated from a fuel subsidy programme between 2009 and 2011. The government did not respond to requests for comment, and neither Malabu nor Mr Etete could be reached. The agreements surrounding OPL 245 came to light during a court case in New York in February, in which a Russian lawyer who claimed to have helped Malabu negotiate its deal with the Nigerian government is seeking a $66m commission. According to the contract between Malabu and Nigeria’s government, which was signed by its attorney-general and minister of petroleum resources in April last year, Malabu was first granted prospecting rights in OPL 245 in 1998. Mr. Etete, who is named in the New York case as “Malabu’s principal”, was at that time oil minister under the dictator Sani Abacha. In 2001 the government took away Malabu’s licence, and Shell successfully bid to operate the block, sparking a long dispute between the companies. Malabu was re-awarded the block in 2006, and again in 2010. The $1.1bn sum payable by the government to Malabu was in “full and final settlement” of any claims it had to the block. In their separate contract,

also signed last April, Shell and ENI agreed to pay a signature bonus of $208m on top of the $1.1bn, which was deposited in an account with JPMorgan in London. The judgment in the New York case concluded that the Nigerian government was “the proverbial ‘straw man’ holding $1.1bn for ultimate

Mr. Mathew Tonlagha; Group General Manager, Mr. Bello and General Manager, Engr. Chukwudi Uwakwe, praised FENOG’s management for its steadfastness and commitment to the growth of the local content policy. Alison-Madueke charged other operators in the oil industry to emulate FENOG Nigeria. She said: “I am extremely impressed with what

I have seen here today at FENOG Nigeria. This is 100 per cent indigenous Nigerian company that has got to the stage that it can actually procure and manage a vessel of this size that can carry over 300 people. With the kind of facilities we have seen here that can actually lay pipes offshore from 4” to 363 , I believe it is something that is most commendable.”

payment to Malabu”. ENI denied knowledge of the terms of “any possible agreements” between Malabu and the government related to OPL 245. “No agreements were entered into by ENI with any other third party entity in respect of such acquisition, including Malabu”. Shell said payments were made to the government only. “In line with Shell’s information policy, we cannot reveal commercially sensitive information, and hence cannot comment further on the papers filed in the New

York court proceedings.” But Global Witness said both companies needed to detail what they did to try ensure that the $1.1bn did not go to Malabu, and accused Shell of trying to block proposed laws to force greater openness. “Shell are lobbying hard on both sides of the Atlantic to stop the kind of project-by-project disclosure that would make these sorts of payments visible – whilst claiming to support global transparency. We find this utterly unacceptable.” (Source: Financial Times)

Grinding machines for distribution to community-based organisations, yesterday in Adamawa by African Development Bank assisted-project in Nigeria. Photo: NAN

Total plugs Nigeria gas leak, FG to set up task force on oil theft no further well needed


rench oil major, Total has plugged a gas leak in southern Nigeria’s Niger Delta region and no longer needs to drill an additional relief well to curb its flow, a spokesman revealed on Friday. It was noted that the started in March on a block that also contains crude oil in Rivers state, one of the three main states that make up the Niger Delta, a vast wetlands region in the southeast where Africa’s biggest energy industry is based.

In a statement revealed by the company, Block OML 58 also produced around 76,000 barrels per day of oil in 2004 and this increased in 2008, adding that no oil was spilling from the leak. “This operation has done the job. As a result, the relief well is no longer necessary. The gas leak has been plugged, said spokesman Fred Ohwawa by telephone. The cement seal for the well was in the process of being finalized, but the leak had stopped, he noted.


he Federal Government has approved the constitution of a task force on crude oil theft. The disclosure was revealed to newsmen by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin, on Friday in Lagos, during a stakeholders’ meeting on security in the oil and gas industry. Petinrin noted that the essence of the task force was to check-mate incessant oil theft in the country. He said that most senior army personnel and other security agencies would be included in the

team to bring sanity. ‘’I quite agree with the collective decision of the stakeholders on ways to address oil theft in the country. “All the security agencies will ensure adequate monitoring of the country’s oil thefts to logical conclusion,’’ he said. Petinrin assured that the security agencies that would be involved in the assignment of the task force would never compromise. Also speaking was the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who said that over 180 million barrels of crude

oil were lost on daily basis in the country. Allison-Madueke said that the task force would include both indigenous and international oil chiefs. She noted that in the last six months, it had been observed that the number of oil theft on Nigerian water was high. “This crude oil theft affects both our environment and economic values in Nigeria,” she said. Also in attendance were the service chiefs and managing directors of both international and indigenous oil companies.



However, some schools of thought have said the current move is predicated on a vendetta mission. They say the action is targeted at Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the CBN governor for his unrepentant scathing criticism of financial profligacy of elected Assembly members. Senate President David Mark

CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

How autonomous is Central Bank of Nigeria? Five years after CBN Act was amended to shield it from political manoeuvrings, the stage is set for another amendment, ostensibly to make it accountable to political structures. However, the current move to whittle the autonomy of CBN, which experts say may engender stakeholders’ confidence, prompted Abdulwahab Isa to ask: How autonomous is CBN?


entral Banks the world over perform similar core functions which centre on price stability, checking inflation, exchange rate stability and financial stability. In carrying out these inherent select goals of price and financial stability for nations, Central Banks enjoy maximum operational i n d e p e n d e n c e . H o w e v e r, they are not entirely immune of monopoly, as they a r e a c c o u n t a b l e to the legislative and the executive arms of government. For Nigeria’s Central Bank, (CBN), one of the provisions of the 2007 CBN Act requires the Governor to appear before the National Assembly periodically to present a report on its activities. The seeming independence enjoyed by the

CBN courtesy of 2007 amended Act was necessitated by experience of failed bank crises of early 90s. The legal framework during military era unconsciously allowed unprecedented bank failures. This was apparently due to weak internal controls and corporate governance in banks, as CBN at that time was meant to seek approval from a military president before taking any action. Financial experts have continued to refer to that era as the darkest period of CBN due to high numbers of bank failures. The CBN not only lacked independent decision needed to take pro-active measures to save the sector, individual interests at the top hierarchy of government further incapacitated it. The return to democracy in

1999 in effect set the stage for reforms and overhauling of the banking sector. The yearning for a refocused, autonomous CBN strengthened to perform its regulatory capacity for effective service delivery gained momentum. owever, five years down the lane, the 2007 CBN Act, which insulates the apex bank from political manipulations of the political office holders’ is facing a major test. A bill for an Act to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act of 2007 passed the second reading at the Senate and is likely crossing the bar to public hearing any moment soon. The bill seeks to amend the Act to compel the bank to submit its budget to the National Assembly for approval every financial year as expected by law. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ita Enang (PDP- Akwa Ibom), said that the Fiscal Responsibility Act of July 2007, mandating CBN to submit its budget to the National Assembly, superseded the CBN Act. “The Fiscal Responsibility Act is later in time and therefore supersedes any provision of the CBN Act. “But the CBN has relied on the provision in its Act to refuse to submit her budget to the National Assembly for consideration and approval, hence this bill,’’ Enang said. He said the CBN Act of May 2007 gave the CBN Board the power to consider and approve the annual budget of the bank.


He said that it was “an affront’’ for the CBN to claim that the National Assembly had donated its authorisation to the bank by virtue of the provision of the CBN Act.’’ en. Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDPAbia) said the Senate must take appropriate measures to ensure that the existing laws were obeyed by government agencies. “We have powers to make laws for the CBN. The CBN cannot on its own choose which law to obey.” Abaribe said. The National Assembly says the subsisting CBN Act allows the Board Chairman, who is the CBN Governor, unfettered powers to approve its budget without referring to the National Assembly. The legislatures are keen on removing him as chairman of the board, and in his place, bring in a politician as chairman. The inclusion of Deputy Governors of CBN as members of the board is also one provision they are out to strike out from the Act. ince the current move by the National Assembly gathered momentum, diverse opinions have been aired on the desirability or otherwise of the current effort by members of the National Assembly to whittle down what it considered a CBN that is too independent. However, some schools of thought have said the current move was predicated on a vendetta mission. They say the action is targeted at Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the CBN governor for his unrepentant scathing criticism of financial profligacy of elected Assembly members. Sanusi had repeated decried



the inefficiency in budgetary allocation with over 75 percent allocated to recurrent and the large chunk of it devoted to service National Assembly. To this school of thought, the push for CBN amendment is a sure way of cutting Sanusi to size. But Sanusi is just an era in the life of CBN. If he goes, then what happens? Financial experts, including the former CBN Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo have cautioned on the need for restraint as any action taken could jeopardize monetary policy thus affecting the nation’s financial stability. He feared that such an unfortunate development could hamper the effectiveness of monetary policy and the management of the macroeconomic framework of Nigeria, declaring that “the survival of that institution is at the heart of the survival of the Nigerian economy”. oludo, who spoke at a sentforth dinner in his honour, warned that any attempt to remove the autonomy of the apex bank could lead to “ominous” consequences. He decried a situation in which a disagreement with an individual could lead to the destruction of the entire institution. He therefore, joined in the plea to the National Assembly members to have a “constructive dialogue” over the matter “in order to avoid going to the other extreme as the institution of the CBN must be preserved no matter the level of disagreement”. Of course, the final arbiter remains the Nigerian public and a public hearing is likely to come up soon to gauge their mood.





Of flowers and thorns: Where has ‘public’ gone in public service? By the late 2000s, the bed had turned into a fully fledged forest. Not content with what were already very decent wage packages financed by the public purse, high-ranking politicians and public sector officialdom at every level were awarding themselves with super-salaries and a huge range of benefit sweeteners. Indeed, South Africa has to be one of the countries in the world where the majority of this public sector ‘cadre’ are made millionaires every year and that’s not counting what many of them make on the side, writes Dale T. McKinley.


t wasn’t that long ago, just after the 1994 elections to be precise, when it seemed almost every other South African wanted to become a public servant. For the vast majority, this was not simply because there was a job on offer but because there was a very real sense that becoming part of the newly democratic public service, in whatever capacity was the right thing to do. It was not about the selfinterested or political partycentred occupation of positions of power or about using those positions to accumulate personal and family wealth. Rather, there was the chance to replace an illegitimate and unrepresentative public sector by practically re-casting what it means to be a public servant:

to place the common good over and above private interest in both collective work and individual action; to serve with the kind of humility and purpose that comes by being entrusted with working for and/or representing the public interest; and, to imbibe, the foundational ethical principles and work values of the democratic mandate that gives the public sector its legitimacy. Cumulatively, to be one of those metaphorical flowers that would sprout up on historically stony ground and overwhelm the existing and potential thorns of selfishness, arrogance, indolence, greed and corruption. For a brief period it looked like those flowers were growing. Thousands of committed,

South African Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant

South African President, Jacob Zuma

honest and hard-working people flooded into the public sector, willingly embracing the Herculean task of revolutionising the institutional character and practical work-face of the public service. But just as had been the case with so many democratic revolutions before, there was the simultaneous growth of big and powerful thorns, whose old and new roots were quickly sunk into the body politic. Even if most of us did not recognise or simply did not want to believe it was happening, it was public servants at the highest levels that incubated and then covered over South Africa’s biggest and most expensive ‘public’ project at the time, the arms deal. As it turned out, the arms deal was a thorn lover’s paradise, characterised by an attitude and approach that militated against everything that the new public sector and its servicing of the people was supposed to be about. No matter all the post-hoc rationalisations and excuses or over wrought slaps on the wrist, a green light had been given. In direct proportion, a bed of thorns began to grow across the depth and breadth of the public sector while the flowers gradually wilted, batho pele rhetoric notwithstanding. Two ‘early’ examples are representative. In an attempt to defend rising corruption within Mpumalanga, newly appointed (in 1999) Premier of Mpumalanga, Ndaweni

Mahlangu unashamedly stated that it was okay for politicians to lie. While this set off a justified firestorm of outrage, the fact is that Mahlangu and associates got away with it precisely because, like one of those guests at a dinner party who upsets everyone by telling the host that the food is horrible, he was simply giving verbal affirmation to the reality. Similarly, in 2006 when the ANC’s Head of the Presidency Smuts Ngonyama declared, in response to rising criticism of his own enrichment from the partial (BEE) privatisation of Telkom, that “we did not struggle to be poor”, he was merely confirming that it was now acceptable for public servants (or those closely connected) to sell off public sector property for personal gain. By the late 2000s, the bed had turned into a fully fledged forest. Not content with what were already very decent wage packages financed by the public purse, high-ranking politicians and public sector officialdom at every level were awarding themselves with super-salaries and a huge range of benefit sweeteners. Indeed, South Africa has to be one of the countries in the world where the majority of this public sector ‘cadre’ are made millionaires every year and that’s not counting what many of them make on the side. Even in small towns like Knysna, the annual salary of the municipal manager now comes in at a cool R1,3 million while his

counterpart in the neighbouring Bitou municipality has to make do with a measly R1,2 million. Meanwhile, the top management of parastatals – yes, the ones that are now driving the ‘people-centred’ infrastructural programme are making in one year what it would take an ordinary public sector worker a lifetime to earn. Things are now so bad in departments like Public Works

that its Minister feels it necessary to inform the public that, “we have people looting and even saying ‘it’s our time to eat’ … they act as if they own the department”. Even in the military, as the South African Security Forces Union points out, some commanders, “spend more time running their personal businesses” than they spend on the job while “critical health services have been outsourced to private hospitals which are run by current and

Premier of Mpumalanga, David Mabuza

former Generals …” When the public asks too many questions about what their public servants are up to, the arrogance surfaces with a vengeance. We are thus told by the likes of Defence Ministerial spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabya that, “we do not have to explain to anyone the decisions which we take … we don’t owe anyone answers.” Throw in securityintelligence officials running amok behind the smokescreens of ‘national interest’ and ‘classified information’, transport authorities giving the middle finger to actual public transport or the police brass making a mockery of their own code of conduct to “act with integrity in rendering an effective service of a high standard which is accessible to everybody”, and it isn’t hard to figure out that there is precious little of the ‘public’ left in most of our public service. At the end of his recent Freedom Day address President Zuma implored South Africans to, “put the country first in everything we do …” Besides the fact that he should have said ‘the people’, who after all are the ones that make up ‘the country’, our public sector numero uno would do well to listen to his own advice. Better yet, the President and all those who are supposed to serve the public should ask themselves the questions posed in Pete Seeger’s famous 1960s antiwar song: Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing Where have all the flowers gone? Long time ago …When will we ever learn? McKinley is an independent writer, researcher and lecturer as well as political activist.


By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde


fight between the dog and the baboon must be one of those very rare encounters in the Animal Kingdom. Animals fight over territory, food, mates, and in defence of their lives, or of the young. It is very hard to foresee the two animals fighting over any of the above because on most of items, the paths of the two animals hardly cross. In Africa and particularly in Hausaland where this near impossible idea was contrived as a proverb, such a fight can only happen under the influence of man when in hunting he sets the dog to catch the baboon or its baby. In that case, that fight would surely be one to witness. The dog uses its power of speed and strong canine teeth, the baboon his powerful shoulders, limbs, claws, hands, and under extreme conditions, his teeth. And this condition is extreme - a fight for his life or that of his baby. So we better assume that the baboon will deploy his entire arsenal. The camera of kare jini biri jini Hausa proverb often pictures a very fierce and inconclusive fight between two contenders. We can picture the dog first barking incessantly, with its jaws wide open hoping to scare the baboon into submission. The well-built baboon, on the other hand, is not a coward. He would not jump up the trees to escape the attacking dog; he would not fly. He turns wild too, flexing his muscles, beating his wide chest and destroying the surrounding shrubs to intimidate the dog. He jumps at a branch, breaks it and hurls it at the dog, but the carnivore remains recalcitrant under the command of his master, barking, barking ‌ and now ready to charge. And the fight ensues and continues for several minutes and, perhaps, hours‌ As the proverb depicts, the fierce fight ends inconclusively with both parties sustaining deeps cuts and innumerable browses. Each contender was lucky to survive it and returns to its shelter licking its wounds. The dog gives up hunting for that day, returns home and is granted a sick leave by its master. The baboon keeps his life and his baby and remains in his territory or migrates to a safer one. The only conclusion reached was that the dog learned to avoid the baboon henceforth, while the baboon learned to include the dog among its dangerous enemies in the Kingdom. In the above, I have tried to capture the proper context and scenario of the proverb. It simply connotes a situation where the fight for something is fierce, where you give your challenger a good run for his money, but where despite the ferocity of the contest, its outcome was not conclusive. In short, when you tell your contender that za a yi kare jini biri jinni, it simply means the battle will be fierce. In the case of Buhari, he was promising his supporters from Niger State that 2015 elections will be fierce; or put in another way, the PDP wIll not have it easy. Simple. How this simple statement translated into a political missile


Buhari vs. PDP: The dog and the baboon parable

President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari that says Buhari is promising a bloodbath come 2015 remains one of those sad stories in our practice of journalism. Let us have a re-read of the mistranslation: "If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood." Does this reflect the proper context and meaning of the Hausa proverb kare jini biri jinni that we explained above? No. That is because, among other things, if by the time both the dog and the baboon are soaked in blood, both would have been dead, a picture which the proverb never envisaged. It would have been better for the reporter to say, "Come 2015, I promise you, the fight will be fierce." Here, I must say that the words of Buhari were misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately, to entertain the Nigerian public with a sensational story that will keep the presently near-static mill of public opinion running once more, or to invent a weapon to knock him down again in the ring of 2015 presidential contest. But, to be fair to the reporter also, it was a mistranslation that I think was informed by the history of the General's consistent call for mass action since 2003, of CPC's unguarded campaign utterances in 2011 and how they were widely believed to have inspired the post election violence that year, and of the strategy of the General's supporters of the ANPP especially in Bauchi state in 2007, a la his doctrine of protect your votes, a kasa, a tsare, a raka. These were the elements in the background that also informed the supporting and opposing comments which trailed the publication of that mistranslated proverb. Nigerians became divided overnight into three camps. The first group - Buhari's

opponents - jumped at it saying, "Aha. There we go again. This notorious and bloodthirsty coup plotter is still dreaming of a bloodbath." If Buhari, by his statement, was serving such opponents with a notice of an impending doom, they did not heed to it. They did not show any sign of repentance from the sin he is accusing them of. Instead, they continue to direct their accusing fingers at him. On the other hand, his supporters, the second group, to me, showed the most disheartening response. They did not take the pain to verify and analyse his statement. Not a single one of them came over to say that he was misrepresented. Have they done so, it would have cooled the atmosphere and reassured us. They adopted the mistranslation, in situ, as if it were right, and presented an alibi, saying, "Only election riggers are be afraid of Buhari's statement. Would there be a bloodbath in 2015 as a result of rigging, it is the PDP that should be held responsible." The third group, we the onlookers, are terrified that we will be disastrously caught in the crossfire, once more, as it happened to hundreds of Nigerians during the 2011 elections, when, especially in Southern Kaduna and Bauchi state, the lives of the innocent were lost and thousands of people displaced to date across Northern Nigeria. Here was a corper medic, for example, riding an ambulance in Toro, stopped and hacked to death by the very people he came all the way from the East to serve after his long and tedious training as a doctor, at a place where he had nobody to protect him except the mores of civilization. His sin was simply that he did not belong to the ethnic group or religion of Buhari, the opposition presidential candidate. The mob on that fateful day was found wanting in those mores, defective in conscience.

That is how many like him paid the ultimate price across the state. And there was a primary school girl in southern Kaduna, witnessing her primary school teacher hacking her father to death in Zonkwa, Southern Kaduna, for no crime but that the father belonged to the religion other than that of the incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan. She never thought that the savage gene of the teacher would overcome the etiquette of civility that her familiarity with him would engender. On that fateful day, humanity was lost, the feeling of civilization was gone, and no guarantees were kept. Months after that massacre, the girl would tell her story to the ears of a deaf and dumb nation that allows the assassin teacher to walk the streets freely, earning his salary. That is how hundreds of the like of her father died and thousands of her type continue to suffer as the politicians behind the crimes remain unscathed. To date, nobody is man enough to directly or remotely claim even a vicarious responsibility for those atrocities. The PDP that is accused of rigging the election refused to admit that it rigged it in the first place. Instead, it shifted the blame to Buhari, citing what it called his "inciting statements" at his campaign rallies. Buhari and his supporters, on the other hand, returned the blame to PDP, with three reasons: he was a victim not a partaker in the violence; the dastardly acts were carried out not by his supporters but by hoodlums who did not spare him either; and that it was in fact the ruling party that instigated the violence in the first place by rigging the elections. So did the trading in blame continued until our father, Justice Ahmed Lemu, inconclusively closed the chapter. His panel came up with an ingeniously ambivalent verdict, saying both Buhari and the PDP are right. It said it is true that

Buhari inspired the violence but it is also true that PDP's rigging machine provoked it. In effect, the report claimed, there is an egalitarian share of the blame. Case closed. Court!!! With that we return to our churches and mosques to pray that may God have mercy on those departed souls! And may he protect us, the living, the onlookers, the ordinary citizens, from the evils of power - of its keepers and seekers alike. I was caught by the same fever when I read the mistranslation in English. I wondered how Buhari could make such a statement after his widely condemned "lynch them" directive of 2011. But when I heard his actual words in Hausa two days ago, I quickly understood that he said nothing unusual, for it is proper for politicians to inject hope in their supporters. Telling a delegation of such supporters that his party will put up a fierce fight next time is just one of those confidence preserving measures. With this, I hope our journalists will in future show a better sense of responsibility in their reportage. They should use their brains not their minds. We are tired of hearing Buhari mistranslated by a section of the media. More importantly, however, our politicians on both sides of the divide, should refrain from any contemplation of violence or cheating, or asking their followers to take the law into their own hands, whatever the situation would be. If they think that winning an election is a religious duty, then they must not forget that none of our two dominant religions call to violence as a means of winning power or as a reaction to defeat. In Islamic tradition, the injustice of forty years is preferred to the fitna (unrest) of a day. The government and INEC must do their best to ensure free and fair elections in 2015. The electoral body has two years ahead to fully prepare for it and get rid of imperfections. Let there be a clean fight that ends in a clean winner and a clean loser. If the government is not ready for this, my dear friend, Professor Attahiru Jega, should throw in the towel. The defeated in this case - whether baboon or dog - must accept defeat and allow us live in peace. If our advice is not accepted, we shall then pray that may our compassionate God deliver us from the evil of that day, when the dog and the baboon fiercely slug it out in the court of Nigerian election. We pray that He restricts their evil to them. And on that day, neither the dog nor the baboon should not return home clean. We are tired. Oh Lord, answer our prayer. Let all peace-loving Nigerians say Amen. Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde is a renowned columnist based in Jos



Without trust, Facebook isn’t worth $100 billion ANALYSIS Many Facebook users are unaware of how their personal information is shared and used for


ark Zuckerberg has trust issues, big ones, and they could sink his extraordinary company. We all know his successes, including commanding an astonishing $104 billion for the company he built on the backs of an equally astonishing 900 million Facebook users. But Zuckerberg has also made several missteps that raise fundamental questions about his reliability and ultimate intent. The miscalculations are serious enough that they threaten permanent damage to Facebook's relationships with users - and, ultimately, to its advertisers, investors and brand. Once-latent concerns over privacy, power and profit have now led both domestic and international regulatory bodies to scrutinise the company more closely, while Zuckerberg argues we are living in a new era, beyond privacy. Although he once believed privacy control to be "the vector around which Facebook operates" (as he told Marshall Kirkpatrick in a March 2008 interview), Zuckerberg now says the network reflects a society moving away from its earlier emphasis on privacy and adds that, were he to create Facebook again, user information would be public by default. Could this new philosophy have been created, not because our "social norm" has shifted, but for more crass and convenient reasons: commerce and control over the future of the web? It's certainly working so far, to the tune of billions of dollars, but in the process of empire building, Zuckerberg has ignored the growing population of users who suspect Facebook simply cannot be trusted. Losing the trust of your audience is the first step in losing your audience itself - and eventually the power of your brand. Facebook executives have repeatedly made sudden, ill

Facebook's Chairman & CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceived and poorly communicated policy changes that made our once-private personal information instantly and publicly accessible. This pattern has now led both domestic and international regulatory agencies to examine the company's practices and policies more closely - and to find them wanting. A recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, for example, led to a stipulation that Facebook would stop making any further deceptive claims, obtain consumers' approval before changing the way it shares their data and undergo independent third-party auditing for decades. But shortly after the uproar subsided, renewed blunders over privacy and trust began again to shake the brand. The latest centred on Facebook's admission that it continues to track the web

pages members visit after they have logged out of the Facebook site. Executives said the privacy breach was simply a mistake, that software automatically downloaded to users' computers when they logged in to Facebook inadvertently sent tracking information back to the company. "Does the owner of the network own our data as well? If he and his investors profit mightily from selling it, shouldn't we at least be asked politely for permission first?" True, Facebook's growth has yet to be slowed by such episodes. But so far neither Zuckerberg nor the markets seem overly concerned. Considering the low number of Facebook defectors versus the onrush of new users, such confidence may not be misplaced. But the terms of the unspoken deal we make with


social media - the exchange of our personal information for free tools and platforms to share it on - have yet to be agreed upon. It's very early days. If we choose to share data on a network with our friends and followers, must we necessarily cease to control it? Does the owner of the network own our data as well? If they and their investors profit mightily from selling it, shouldn't we at least be asked politely for permission first? Maybe we would share even more if we were paid a small commission. Trust is "the new black", as Craiglist's founder Craig Newmark noted in a 2010 blog post: "By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power."

It's very early days. If we choose to share data on a network with our friends and followers, must we necessarily cease to control it? Does the owner of the network own our data as well? If they and their investors profit mightily from selling it, shouldn't we at least be asked politely for permission first? Maybe we would share even more if we were paid a small commission.

Trust is also essential for the success of any brand - in fact, it defines a brand. As our Facebook profile pages begin to morph into our overall online identities, the inherent tension between our individual desire to protect personal information and the company's need for that information to prosper will come into ever-sharper focus. We will need to trust more, not less. Despite Zuckerberg's loudly trumpeted beliefs, Facebook's tremendous success to date does not signify that the company has earned any right to own or define our very identities. And, in seizing that right, Facebook risks losing everything - its credibility, the trust of its even its most ardent users, its value to advertisers and ultimately its brand. Even as it battles for control of the web, Facebook is simultaneously set to stumble over the question of trust and reliability. Unless altered, Mark Zuckerberg's blind ambition and inability to listen to his many friends and followers may lead not to dominance, but to downfall. Culled from Aljazeera. Rory O'Connor is the author of Friends, Followers and The Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands and Killing Traditional Media.



S.Africa demand for change in import labels angers Israel

South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and South African Trade Minister Rob Davies during the ChinaSouth Africa Business Forum in Beijing, August 24, 2010.


sraeli goods produced in the occupied Palestinian territories and sold in South Africa may no longer be labelled "Made in Israel," the South African trade minister said yesterday, causing concern in Israel that other countries may follow suit. "We are, through this notice, requiring that they be correctly labelled and it will then be up to consumers in South Africa whether they want to purchase those products or not," Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told reporters. "We are not seeking to prevent the entry of such products into South Africa," he said.

South Africa's trade with Israel is modest, but there is concern in Israel about broader economic and political damage. A labelling change would bolster an international campaign by pro-Palestinian activists for a boycott of products made by Israeli factories in the West Bank, territory Israel captured in the 1967 war and which Palestinians want as part of a future state. "If this will move to other places in the world, we will be in big trouble," Israeli Industry and Trade Minister Shalom Simhon told reporters before Davies's news conference. The demand for a change in

Protesters occupy Malian presidential palace


undreds of protesters entered Mali's presidential palace unopposed yesterday and said they would remain there until interim civilian president Dioncounda Traore resigned, a Reuters witness said.

The protesters tore up images of Traore and called for him to be replaced by Captain Amadou Sanogo, the officer who led the March 22 military coup, the witness said. Soldiers positioned at the palace stood by as the civilians entered the buildings.

Mali"s interim President Dioncounda Traore during a news conference at the presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, May 16, 2012

labelling was published in the government gazette earlier this month in a statement that said traders must not "incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory" as products made in Israel. It did not say when the change must be made, but added that "the burden of proving where the products originate will lie with traders." Israel's Foreign Ministry has blasted the plan. "This is a decision that's tainted with what seems to be racist motivation," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor

told Reuters. He said the ministry intended to convey its displeasure in a "tough talk" with South Africa's ambassador. Israel was one of the few countries that maintained strong ties with South Africa's apartheid government, putting it in an awkward position when white minority rule ended in 1994 and the liberation movement, the African National Congress, became the ruling party. Under an EU-Israel Association Agreement already in force, goods made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and those from East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, areas also captured in 1967, are not entitled to preferential tariff treatment that Israeli products enjoy and are subject to the payment of duties. In 2005, the EU and Israel negotiated a "technical arrangement" under which customs authorities of member states may identify settlement exports to the EU. This is implemented homogeneously in the whole EU territory, an EU official said. In 2009, Israel criticised Britain for advising supermarkets to label produce from Jewish settlements clearly, to distinguish them from goods produced by Palestinians. About 500,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The International Court of Justice, the highest U.N. legal body for disputes, has ruled that the settlements are illegal. Israel rejects that position and cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Gaddafi ex-spy chief to face charges in Mauritania


uammar Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah alSenussi, arrested in Mauritania in March and sought by Libya, France and the International Criminal Court (ICC), is to face local charges in Mauritania, a judicial source said yesterday. "Abdullah al-Senussi has been interviewed for the first time by the state prosecutor. He should face trial soon for illegal entry into Mauritanian territory," said the source, who requested anonymity. The decision to proceed with the charges comes after the expiry of his 45-day custody period and could mean any extradition of Senussi to face justice outside Mauritania is delayed, especially if he is found guilty. Senussi was arrested as he flew in to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott from Casablanca, Morocco on a falsified Malian passport. His detention triggered a three-

way tug-of-war between the ICC, Paris and Tripoli for the right to try him. Senussi is suspected of playing a central role in the killing of more than 1,200 inmates at Tripoli's Abu Salim prison in 1996. It was the arrest of a lawyer acting for relatives of the victims that sparked Libya's revolt in February last year. France wants Senussi in connection with a 1989 airliner bombing over Niger in which 54 of its nationals died. Senussi has also been linked to the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland of a PanAm jet that killed 270 people. Diplomatic sources have said the United States was keen to question him about that attack. Mauritania revealed last month that Senussi was ill, suffering from unspecified health problems that were already present when he arrived in Noakchott.

Mbeki hopeful for re start of Sudans talks


date to re-start talks between feuding neighbours Sudan and South Sudan could be agreed this week, an African Union mediator said yesterday, but a senior South Sudanese official said he did not believe Khartoum was ready to negotiate. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is trying to bring the two Sudans back to the negotiating table at the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa to try to resolve oil, security and border disputes that triggered an outbreak of border fighting between the two countries' armies last month. South Sudan became independent in July 2011 under a 2005 peace agreement with Khartoum that ended decades of civil war. But the neighbours failed to mark their shared border and agree how much the landlocked South should pay to export its oil through Sudan. The April clashes over an border oil zone raised fears the two states might plunge back into all-out war and prompted the United Nations Security Council to warn Juba and Khartoum earlier this month to negotiate peacefully or face sanctions. Mbeki, who met Sudanese President Omar Hassan alBashir in Khartoum at the weekend, held talks on Monday in the South Sudanese capital Juba with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and with chief South Sudanese negotiator Pagan Amum. Mbeki said he was confident the two sides would heed U.N. and AU demands that they restart talks soon. "I am quite sure we can agree a date this week," he told reporters. Sudan's Bashir said at the weekend he wanted a lasting peace with his southern neighbour but insisted security issues should be resolved first, specifically that South Sudan should end support for rebels in Sudan's borderlands. El-Obeid Morawah, spokesman of the Sudanese foreign ministry, said Sudan wanted to wait for Mbeki to return to Khartoum on Tuesday for new talks with Bashir before deciding when negotiations could resume. "We told Mbeki when he met President Bashir that we are ready to sit down for talks but security is a priority. This is also a priority for the African Union," he said. "If our neighbours in South Sudan agree on this then talks will resume as soon as possible."



Al-Qaeda claims deadly Yemen suicide blast


l-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the centre of the Yemeni capital that has left nearly 100 people dead. Officials have said a bomber dressed in military uniform targeted soldiers rehearsing for a parade in Sanaa to mark Yemen's National Day. Yemen's defence minister and chief of staff were both present at the event but neither was hurt. Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson, reporting from Sanaa, said that the death toll was still climbing by late Monday afternoon. "We are hearing reports that 96 people were killed and many more injured," our correspondent said. "There have been requests for blood donations and the death toll could go even higher." The huge explosion left scenes of carnage, with bloodied victims

strewn across the 10-lane road where the rehearsal was held on Monday morning not far from the presidential palace. "We had just finished the parade. We were saluting our commander when a huge explosion went off," said soldier Amr Habib. "It was a gruesome attack. Many soldiers were killed and others had their arms and legs blown off." Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is scheduled to attend Tuesday's parade marking the 22nd anniversary of the unification of north and south Yemen. A man claiming to speak for militant group Ansar al-Sharia said in a telephone call to the Reuters news agency that it was behind the attack. An Ansar al-Sharia spokesman subsequently confirmed the claim, saying it was in response to the

"crimes" of the security forces who are fighting to dislodge militants from their strongholds in the south of the country. But one of the investigators said preliminary findings suggested the suicide bomber was a rogue soldier rather than a man in a disguise. "The suicide bomber was dressed

in a military uniform. He had a belt of explosives underneath," said a man who identified himself as Colonel Amin al-Alghabati, his hands and uniform flecked with blood. A US military instructor was shot and seriously wounded on Sunday in an attack also claimed

by Ansar al-Sharia, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Yemeni government soldiers are waging a fierce campaign in the country's south against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters who have taken advantage of political instability to gain territory.

Convicted Lockerbie bomber buried in low key funeral


he only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has been buried with little fanfare near the Libyan capital with just under 100 family members and passers-by in attendance. The quiet funeral in Tripoli on Monday stands in stark contrast to the hero's welcome Abdel Baset al-Megrahi received three years ago from his patron, dictator Muammar Gaddafi, upon his return to Libya after serving eight years of a life sentence in Scotland. Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Tripoli, said that over 100 people attended Megrahi's funeral, describing it as "low profile". "There were no government officials, there were no representatives from the National Transitional Council,"

said Saleh. "You will get the sense that the new Libyan authorities are trying to distance themselves from the whole event." Megrahi died eleven years after being convicted of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. He was found guilty of killing all 259 people on board the flight, along with 11 other victims on the ground, by a special court set up in The Netherlands in 2001. Megrahi served eight years of a 27-year-prison sentence, but was released on compassionate grounds in 2009, and allowed to return to Libya after doctors said that he had terminal cancer and only, at the time, three months left to live.

Central Security Forces, Military Police, Republican Guard soldiers, and crime scene investigators crowded around the site of Monday's suicide bomb blast in Sanaa.

Kurdish oil deal stirs Iraqi tensions


he oil minister for Iraq's Kurdish region has outlined bold plans to export oil and gas directly to Turkey, escalating tensions in a battle with Baghdad for control of the country's fuel exports. Ashti Hawrami, Kurdish oil minister, told an industry conference on Sunday that a one million barrel per day pipeline from Kurdish fields to an oil facility just a few kilometres from the Turkish border was expected to be completed by the end of next year. He said a second phase would extend that pipeline across the border to deliver crude oil to the Turkish port of Cihan. Turkey is also currently extending pipelines from the Cihan port on the Mediterranean to the border with Iraq's Kurdish region. "We envisage the building of a new pipeline taking Kurdistan's oil, particularly the heavier component part to Cihan," Hawrami said in his first public announcement of the planned project. Hawrami made the comments while speaking at a conference with Taner Yildez, Turkish energy

minister, on Turkish-Kurdish energy co-operation. Kurdish officials had been reluctant to publicly talk about the proposed pipeline until Turkey gave a clear sign that it was committed to the project. He said another pipeline being planned would carry natural gas to Cihan and then on to international markets. Yildez reiterated to journalists that any investment in the Kurdish oil industry would benefit all of Iraq. Talk of the project threatens to worsen already strained relations between Ankara and Baghdad, which has accused Turkey of interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. Baghdad's central government maintains that it has the sole right to negotiate contracts and export oil and gas. Turkish oil officials say the Kurdish region's large and virtually untapped oil and gas reserves and Turkey's huge demand for fuel, make pipelines linking the two almost inevitable. Iraq has now become Turkey's second biggest trading partner, the majority of the trade with the Kurdish region.

Megrahi died at home in Tripoli after a long battle with cancer

Erbil is Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, an autonomous region within the federal Iraqi republic



Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb dies


obin Gibb, a performer who enjoyed decades of success as part of all-brother singing trio the Bee Gees, has died aged 62 after a battle against cancer. "The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," his family said in a statement on Sunday. Gibb and his brothers, Barry and Maurice, formed one of the most successful vocal groups in rock and roll history, selling more than 200 million albums in a career which began in the 1960s but peaked with the success of a string of hits from the movie soundtrack to the era-defining "Saturday Night Fever" in the late 1970s. Their most famous songs included "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", and "Night Fever" and in 1977, the year the movie was released, they became the first and only songwriters to place five songs in the US top 10 bestselling singles at the same time. The Bee Gees, famed for their falsetto harmonies, also gained recognition for their body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) uses a security device during a visit to the Interior Ministry Academy in Moscow May 17, 2012.


Robin Gibb and his brothers Barry, centre, and Maurice, left, were part of the singing trio the Bee Gees to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still quite young and began their musical career there. After several hits in Australia, their career started to really take off when they returned to England in 1967. Robin temporarily left the group in 1969. He released some successful solo material before rejoining his brothers in 1970. The Gibbs then suffered some slack years, and were at a low point

when they went into a French studio to try to come up with some songs for the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack which, together with the power of the disco movement, changed their lives forever, giving them a string of number one hits. After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top

talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records. The band continued to perform in the 1990s, until the death of Maurice, Robin's twin, in 2003, from a cardiac arrest during surgery. Following his death, Robin and Barry decided to cease performing as the Bee Gees.

Afghan security handover ‘by mid-2013’


eaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have endorsed plans to hand Afghan forces the lead for security across their country by mid-2013 while foreign troops will gradually switch their focus from combat to support mode. In a Chicago summit declaration on Monday, US President Barack Obama and his 27 military allies confirmed plans to withdraw their combat troops by the end of 2014 and leave behind a training mission. "The irreversible transition of full security responsibility from the International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] to the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF] is on track for completion by the end of 2014," they said. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's secretary-general, said that the international allies remained

Russia’s Putin tightens grip with new government

committed to a secure and democratic Afghanistan. To that end, he said, there would be a NATO-led presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to advise, train and assist Afghan forces. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, announced last week that his forces were ready to take over security in several new provinces, putting them in charge of protecting 75 per cent of Afghanistan's population. "By mid-2013, when the fifth and final tranche of provinces starts transition, we will have reached an important milestone in our Lisbon roadmap, and the ANSF will be in the lead for security nationwide," the declaration said, referring to a 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon. "At that milestone, as ISAF shifts from focusing primarily on combat increasingly to the provision of training, advice and assistance to the

Demonstrators rallied at Grant Park in Chicago on the first day of the two-day NATO summit

ANSF, ISAF will be able to ensure that the Afghans have the support they need as they adjust to their new increased responsibility," they said. "We are gradually and responsibly drawing down our forces to complete the ISAF mission

by 31 December 2014." The 28 allies, who discussed Afghanistan over dinner at Chicago's Soldier Field late Sunday, were to meet with their 22 partners in the Afghan mission as well as Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, on Monday.

Egypt’s first free presidential vote looks wide open


fter six decades under the thumb of men from the military, Egyptians savour the novel experience this week of a presidential election whose outcome no one knows in advance. They vote on Wednesday and Thursday for a leader to replace Hosni Mubarak, who was swept away 15 months ago by a popular revolt that ushered in a turbulent military-led transition and elections for a parliament now dominated by Islamists. No real power has yet changed hands. An army council led by the man who served as Mubarak's defence minister for 20 years still holds the reins, promising to hand over by July 1 after a new president is elected, probably in a run-off vote in June. Opinion polls are untested. Previous post-Mubarak votes the parliamentary poll won by the Muslim Brotherhood trailed by its hardline Salafi rivals, and an earlier referendum that

overwhelmingly approved army-proposed interim constitutional changes opposed by liberals - may be no guide this time round. Like other Arab states where pent-up rage from political and economic frustrations erupted last year, Egypt is struggling to define its future after its dazzling moment of promise.

ussian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a government dominated by loyalists yesterday, tightening his grip on the economy and national security after protests, and limiting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's ability to pursue market reforms. Putin, 59, opted for continuity by retaining his ally Igor Shuvalov as first deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy, while Igor Sechin will remain his energy chief in a role outside the government. The former KGB spy consolidated his hold over the "power" ministries by naming Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev as interior minister, in a sign of trust in a man who has at times used heavy force against protesters demanding Putin quit. Putin also signalled continuity on foreign policy and military affairs by leaving Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in place. "Work will be difficult, given the concrete situation in the world economy," Putin told a meeting in the Kremlin, where he sat at the head of the cabinet table with Medvedev to his right. An important test of the government will be the speed at which it implements a privatisation programme and a drive to reduce the dependence of the $1.7 trillion economy on oil and gas exports. Putin has also faced the biggest protests since he was first elected president in 2000, caused initially by allegations of electoral fraud but fuelled by anger and frustration that his 12year domination of Russia has been extended by six years. The opposition, representing a civil society that is finally emerging more than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, says its views are being ignored and Putin is stifling economic and political reforms in the world's largest country.

Protesters chant pro-Egypt and anti-government slogans in Tahrir square in Cairo, July 9, 2011.



Parents ‘murdered their Westernised teenage daughter in front of her sister because they thought she was bringing shame on the family’


hafilea Ahmed's decomposed remains were found in February 2004 Her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed are accused of killing her in September 2003. Their daughter Alesha is said to have witnessed the killing and will give evidence against her parents Police placed listening device in the family's home in November 2003 and heard them telling their children 'not to say anything' at school. A teenage girl was murdered by her parents because she had become 'Westernised' and no longer obeyed their strict rules, a jury heard today. The parents of Shafilea Ahmed are accused of attacking her in a killing allegedly witnessed by their other daughter, before dumping her body by a river. The decomposed remains 17year-old Shafilea were discovered in Cumbria in February 2004. Today, as her parents Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed went on trial for murder, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told Chester Crown Court they had killed her because she refused to obey them. Opening the case against the Ahmeds, Mr Edis told the jury of seven men and five women: 'The defendants, having spent the best part of 12 months trying to really crush her, realised they were never going to be able to

'Murdered': The parents of Shafilea Ahmed, pictured, are on trial for her killing succeed and finally killed her because her conduct dishonoured the family, bringing shame on them.' Ahmed, 52, and his 49-year-

Accused of murder: Shafelia's mother Farzana Ahmed, left, and Iftikhar Ahmed, right, arriving at Chester Crown Court today

old wife, deny murdering Shafilea at their home in Warrington in September 2003. Mr Edis said: 'The prosecution alleges that she (Shafilea) was murdered by the two defendants, her parents, at the family home on the night of September 11/12, September 2003. She was 17years-old.' He said the case had taken a 'very long time' to be brought to trial because it was not until August 2010 that a witness to the crime came forward. 'This witness is Alesha Ahmed, Shafilea's younger sister.' The court heard that Alesha kept silent for seven years and only told police after she was arrested for taking part in a robbery at her parents' home in Liverpool Road, Warrington. Mr Edis said Alesha witnessed the killing of her sister by their parents 'acting together'. 'This evidence was the final piece of the puzzle which the police had been trying to solve for many years.' 'Until that moment they had no direct evidence of murder,' he added. Mr Edis said that, after witnessing the murder, Alesha lived in a family 'under great strain' and that as she grew up she suffered from 'divided loyalties'. The court heard that Shafilea had suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her parents in the 12 months leading up to her disappearance in 2003. Mr Edis said: 'The prosecution

say during that year her parents embarked upon a campaign of domestic violence and abuse designed to force her to conform so that she would behave in the way that was expected of her. 'She was a thoroughly Westernised young British girl of Pakistani origin. Her parents had standards which she was reluctant to follow.' The court heard that the defendants put their daughter under 'intense pressure' and were seeking to control her. 'She was unwilling to do this and she resisted,' Mr Edis said. The court heard that police placed a covert listening device in the home of the Ahmeds in November 2003 when Shafilea was still believed to be missing. Mr Edis said the conversations which were recorded were 'surprising' as they were discussing whether the police would have them under surveillance. He said: 'They are discussing what sort of surveillance tactics the police could be using in order to investigate them and they are talking in very cautious terms.' Mr Edis said they were 'rather odd conversations' for people to be having if they are completely innocent. In conversations with her other children, Mrs Ahmed can be heard warning them not to

'Domestic abuse': The victim suffered at the hands of her parents in the year before she died, it was claimed say anything at school. The defendants refer to one of their children as a 'good boy' but then say if he talked he could 'have us put inside'. Mrs Ahmed was also recorded saying to her son Junyade: 'If the slightest thing comes out of your mouth, we will be stuck in real trouble. Remember that.' The trial continues.

Accused: Iftikhar Ahmed, left, and Farzana Ahmed, right, are said to have killed their 17-year-old daughter because she refused to obey them



Why having an overweight mother could lead to you being obese as an adult


verweight mothers-to-be could be condemning their unborn children to decades of ill-health. Research has shown that men and women whose mothers were carrying extra pounds when pregnant are more likely to be fat and unhealthy themselves – even when in their 30s. While it is well-known that overweight mothers-to-be risk having big babies, who grow into overweight children, this study is one of the first to show that the legacy can still be felt years later. And not only does it affect weight but overall health, including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Taken together, such changes could raise the risk of a host of ills, from strokes, to diabetes and heart attacks. The findings, from a study of women who give birth in Jerusalem in the mid-1970s and their children – come amid fears that obesity among pregnant British women is reaching epidemic proportions. Almost half of women of child-bearing age are overweight or obese and more than 15 per cent of pregnant women are dangerously overweight.

The researchers weighed and measured 1,400 men and women aged 32 years and did a series of blood tests. The results were then compared with data collected about their mothers when they gave birth to them. The analysis, published in the journal Circulation, showed a clear links between the two. The adults whose mothers were the most overweight before becoming pregnant were heavier than the sons and daughters of the lightest women. Waistlines were on average more than three inches bigger, blood pressure was higher, levels of dangerous blood fats were higher and readings for ‘good’ cholesterol lower. Men and women whose mothers put on lots of weight while carrying them were also more likely to be too heavy for their height as adults. Lead researcher Dr Hagit Hochner, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: ‘We know now that events occurring early in life to foetuses have long-lasting consequences for the health of the adult.’ Study co-author, Professor Orly Manor, said: ‘In an age of an “overweight epidemic” in the world, it is important to know

Children whose mothers put on lots of weight while carrying them were likely to become overweight adults (posed picture) that factors that are involved in leading to overweight and other health risks. ‘This understanding makes it essential that we identify these early windows of opportunity in which we can

intervene in order to reduce the risks of chronic illness later in life.’ Various factors are thought to be behind the phenomenon. For instance, the mother may pass on ‘fat’ genes and unhealthy

eating habits to her child. But conditions in the womb are also thought to be important. For instance, exposure to high amounts of sugar and fat may lead to long-lasting changes in appetite control or the storage of fat. Obesity also cuts the chances of pregnancy and obese mothersto-be are more likely to need a Caesarean section and are at greater risk of losing blood while giving birth. Their children are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first weeks or months of life and to suffer other birth defects such as club foot or cleft lip. Concern about the numerous harms is so high that British doctors have started to medicate babies in the womb, in a desperate attempt to stop them from being born obese. If the NHS trial is a success, the treatment could be in widespread use in as little as five years, with tens of thousands of obese mothers-to-be drugged each year. Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said the Israeli study underlines how ‘desperately important’ it is for women to get in shape before they conceive. Source:

Simple blood test could show which women are at risk of postnatal depression


ne in seven women will experience postnatal depression after the birth of their baby - now scientists think they could spot those most at risk with a simple, accurate blood test. Researchers at Warwick Medical School found women who developed the condition were more likely to have variants of two receptor genes involved in the body’s stress response. The discovery could lead to earlier treatment for women who are likely to suffer from post natal depression. At present women are often diagnosed by chance if a midwife or relative notices the symptoms, which usually appear a fortnight after birth. However, many new mothers are unwilling to admit they are suffering in the mistaken belief the condition means they are a ‘bad mother.’ Presenting the teams research to the International Congress of Endocrinology, Professor Dimitris Grammatopoulos: ‘Current screening policies rely on the opportunistic finding of PND cases using screening tools such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Score (EPDS), but such tests cannot identify women at risk, ahead of them developing the condition.’ The scientists assessed a group of 200 pregnant women for PND using the EPDS, once during their

first visit to the ante-natal clinic, and again two to eight weeks after they had given birth. They found that the women who developed PND were more likely to have a DNA sequence variation in two receptor genes (the glucocorticoid receptor and the corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptor-1). These receptors control the activity of the hypothalamopituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which control the activity of

Post natal depression affects one in seven women and is far more severe than 'baby blues.' Mothers may struggle to bond with their babies and treatment and support are vital

hormones triggered in response to stress. The finding appears to show that postnatal depression is a specific subgroup of depression with a distinct genetic element which means that some women are genetically more reactive to the environmental factors which trigger depression. Professor Grammatopoulos said their study was the first to show a link between the functioning of the HPA axis and

post natal depression. ‘We think that we have made an important step forward in characterising the prospective risks and are therefore paving the way for timely, appropriate medical treatment for women who are likely to develop PND,’ he said. The team now intend to conduct further research on other genetic variants of the HPA axis in a larger, multi-centre study involving women from

Coventry, Birmingham, and London. PND is a serious condition and quite different from the ‘baby blues’, which is milder and shorter-lived. Symptoms include sadness, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, crying episodes, reduced libido, anxiety and irritability. Effects on children can be significant; for example, depressed mothers are less likely to be affectionate towards and to play with their children and they may use less ‘baby talk’ which is designed to engage the child’s attention. This may lead to learning and emotional difficulties for the children in later life. Although it may seem evident that PND is caused by some kind of hormonal upheaval the role of the HPA axis in this form of depression has not been proved until now. ‘We believe that we have made a discovery with important clinical and social implications. ‘If we can identify women likely to suffer from PND in advance so that they can be treated appropriately and at an early stage, we will have improved the lives not just of the parents, but also of their children,’ Professor Grammatopoulos concluded. Source:



Lagos lawmakers summon Commissioner over illegal funding From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Lagos state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye, has been summoned to appear before the House of Assembly to clear the air on the alleged illegal funding of the state Junior League Board. The Assembly had summoned Kuye and his counterpart in the Youth, Sport and Social Development ministry, Enitan Oshodi on the same matter. They were invited alongside the Chairman of Conference 57, Akeem Sulaiman. Chairman, Assembly Committee on Youth, Sport and Social Development, Babatunde Ayeni had complained to his colleagues over an alleged illegal collection of money from the 57 Local Government Councils in the state by the League Board. Ayeni complained of the non-challant attitude of the Board to his Committee's earlier invitation over the unconstitutional way by which funds were raised. Contributions from the members over this issue pointed to the fact that the collection of money from Local Government was without due process while asserting that spending of public funds coupled with the refusal of the leadership of the Junior League Board to appear before the committee was unacceptable. However, at yesterday's plenary session, Kuye sent a letter to the lawmakers informing them that he would not be available to appear before them, on the claim that he has a ministerial briefing scheduled for today. Despite the directive given by the state governor, Babatunde Fashola to his cabinet members, to always honour the lawmakers' call no matter what, Kuye also urged the House to choose another date for him and his colleagues to appear before the House.

Senior Special Adviser to Katsina state Governor on Diplomatic and Society Relations, Alhaji Sada Salisu Rumah (2nd left) registering opposition members who decamped to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently in Katsina. Witnessing are Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, and other party officials.

Don’t abandon your homes for politics Tukur counsels female Ministers, lawmakers By Lawrence Olaoye


he National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Bamanga Tukur yesterday admonished female ministers, lawmakers and presidential aides not to abandon their home-fronts while pursuing their political ambitions. Tukur while addressing the women political office holders during the inaugural meeting of

PDP National Woman Leader and the female politicians, Tukur lamented that that the role of women in building better society was not really appreciated and this is responsible for some the challenges confronting the country. "The home is the beginning to mould the character of the children. Please don't forget your homes in spite of your being ministers and lawmakers so that

we can build better society". The PDP chairman assured the female ministers, federal lawmakers and presidential advisers of the support of the national leadership of the party and encouraged them continue to meet to forge ways of ensuring women take their rightful place on the political turf. Earlier in her welcome address, the PDP national woman leader, Ambassador Kema Chikwe chided

Fair governance will stem the tide of Boko Haram, says CPC From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he growing trend of insecurity coupled with social vices that have dominated the nation's landscape in recent times is directly a response to corrupt nature of the society, the Kogi Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has said. The media consultant to CPC governorship aspirant in Kogi state, Alhaji Idris Meyanga, Mallam Abdul Mohammed noted that progressive personalities coming together to present General

Muhammadu Buhari as the Presidential candidate on the platform of CPC, in the last general election was not a fluke. Mallam Abdul further stressed that General Buhari had not lost any element of the leadership traits that could steer the nation aright, adding "we have seen other leaders, their track record, comportment, collaboration, level of sycophancy and level of corruption that brought Nigeria to where it is today". According to him Nigeria is

groaning under the weight of monumental corruption, abuse of people's right and lack of political will to match words with action, stating that "it is only Buhari, after considering all variables, that can bring the succour which the nation needed The present level of insecurity posed by a religious sect called Boko Haram, which has made life brutish and short, only CPC government with its level of network and responsibility would have been the answer.

Women Affairs Commissioner urges Nigerians to embrace maintenance culture


he Rivers Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Joeba West, has called on Nigerians to imbibe the culture of maintenance as it can prolong the lifespan of any establishment. West made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Port Harcourt while inaugurating a crèche donated to the Ministry of Commerce and industry. The creche was donated by Mrs Oke Chienye, the wife of the Commissioner for Commerce and

Industry, Mr. Chukwuma Chienye, to assist nursing mothers in the ministry to concentrate on their jobs. "One problem we have in Nigeria and with all of us, even in our houses is maintenance culture. "So, I want us to imbibe this maintenance culture; we should treat it like our own so that it will continue. "And whatever little effort, either financially or whatever you are putting in it, you know that

you are putting it to sustain that project."· West commended Chienye for the gesture and urged her to continue to initiate projects that would better the lot of women in the country. She advised working class women in the ministry to ensure they maintained the crèche, which is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. "We entered there today the place was open; we were seeing the things, they are all new, but come,

may be, in a few months' time, you will not believe that this is what we have come to commission today. "It's your own; don't let it just go down the drain because you don't expect government to do everything; you don't really rely on the government to provide all the things you need." West, however, said her ministry had set up a bigger crèche that would carry at least 100 children and cover the entire secretariat with same objective of assisting mothers.

opposition political parties for going into elections with mainly aspirants that lost out in PDP primaries. "If you go through the history of the new generation parties or what you could referred to as the fourth republic political parties, only our party, the PDP, has structured a transparent process for conventions, congresses and primaries. "As a matter of fact, other parties wait for PDP to hold primaries in order to give tickets to the vulnerable PDP casualties. They in turn amplify the propagation against PDP in the desperation for victory". Anbassador Chikwe maintained that PDP remained the best platform for women to actualized their political aspirations. "It is only the PDP platform that can bring true unity of purpose, assurances, communality of political culture, hope and vision for the actualization of the women question in Nigeria ,” she added. Some of the female politicians present at the inaugural meeting with the national leadership of PDP are the minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Environment, Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia; Minister of state for Defense, Olusola Obada; Minister of state, FCT, Jumoke Akinjide; and Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuuliri. The female senators and members of the House of Represntatives led by Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan are Senator Nenadi Usman, Senator Helen Esuene and Hon. Christina Alaaga.



Shema’s aide charges religious, ethnic groups on peaceful coexistence By Lawrence Olaoye


enior Special Assistant to the governor of Katsina state on Diplomacy and Social Relations, Alhaji Sada Salisu Rumah, has charged the Batagarawa people of the state on the need to live peacefully in spite of their ethnic and religious differences. Rumah, who visited the local government in order to enhance cordial relationship among the

people in the area said no society could develop without unity, peace and stability just as he added that in order to foster unity, Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema has accorded equal treatment to the members of the non-indegenes association and people of the state in the areas of healthcare services and education. Shema's spoke extensively on the developmental projects executed by Governor Shema especially on roads construction,

healthcare services, education and agriculture. He noted that people of Batagarawa had mutual understanding with indigenous Nigerians in the area for over the years. Batagarawa Transition Committee Chairman, Alhaji Tasi'u Dahiru Dandagoro, who noted that peaceful co-existence was vital towards achieving societal development, said the people of the area had been living together peacefully for as long period of time.

Dandagoro further added that members of the association were playing significant role in improving the economic activities of the area and the state at large. He therefore called on the people of the area to support the effort of the present state administration towards bringing peace and stability in the state. The Transition Chairman expressed gratitude to Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema for his efforts in uniting people irrespective

of religion and ethnic background. According to him, his transition committee is making effort towards executing projects that will impact positively on the lives of rural dwellers. Also speaking, a member representing Batagarawa local government in Katsina State House of Assembly, Alhaji Tukur Iliyasu Shagumba said the visit of the senior Special Assistant would foster unity among the members of the association and people of

Youths protest lopsidedness in Kwara PDP Excos From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, addressing journalists, after a meeting of stakeholders on Edo state governorship elections, recently in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

he youth wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara state has petitioned the national leadership of the party and other stakeholders over the alleged lopsidedness in the composition of PDP executives in the state. The youths in a petition signed by former PDP Youth Leader, Alhaji Mohammed Al-Hassan, which was made available to newsmen in Ibadan titled, 'Constitutional violation'', alleged lopsidedness, discrimination and unfairness in the distribution of executive positions especially as it affects the Kwara north senatorial district. He faulted present composition of PDP executives in Kwara state going by the provision of Article 7.2 of the constitution of the party as amended in 2009, promotion of mutual respect for and understanding of the religious and cultural diversities, principles of rotation and zoning. The immediate past Kwara state PDP Youth Leader maintained that as far as the PDP constitution was concerned, there are 11 principal officers of the state working

Rep. Toyo earmarks N5m annually to support indigent students


on. Nkoyo Toyo, representing Odukpani/ Calabar Federal Constituency of Cross River in the House of Representatives, has earmarked N5million annually to support indigent students in the constituency. Nkoyo made this known in Calabar on Sunday while giving account of her stewardship to the people of the constituency after one year in the house. She said that the `Students Support Scheme' was aimed at addressing financial challenge being faced by some indigent students in the constituency. “It is also aimed at at encouraging students in particular fields of study every year; the target of the scheme is 100 students annually. According to her, N50,000 will be given to each beneficiary student of tertiary institutions as against N20,000 and N10,000 to each student in secondary schools and primary school pupils respectively. Nkoyo also said that the maiden beneficiaries of 97

students had been chosen for the 2012/13 academic session after a thorough screening. A breakdown of the beneficiaries showed that Calabar Municipality had 41 students made up of 21 from tertiary institutions and 10 each from secondary and primary schools. Odukpani had 56 studentscomprising 28 students of tertiary institutions and 14 each from secondary and primary schools.

She said that an Internship and Learning Programme was also instituted to link the beneficiaries to some community services in addition to the support scheme. In a speech, the Deputy Governor of Cross River, Mr Effiok Cobham, commended the lawmaker for the students support scheme and for coming out to give account of her stewardship. Cobham, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the

Governor on Religious Affairs, Pastor Eyo Okpueme said that he was ready to partner with her in any way possible. The Chairman of the occasion, Ntufan Ekpo Okon said that the programmes initiated by the Toyo were in line with the mandate of the party to deliver dividends of democracy to the people. Toyo was elected into the House of Representative on the platform of the PDP.

committee, adding that but it was unfortunate that in Kwara state, instead of spreading and sharing these positions equitably among the 3 senatorial districts in the state, the offices were concentrated and manipulated. According to Alhaji Alhassan in the petition,3 state officers came from Ilorin West local government, namely the Youth Leader, the state Publicity Secretary and the Women leader, stressing that the Youth leader and the Women leader are even from the same Magajin Geri ward. He stressed further in the petition that out of the 7 state caucus principal officers of the state Central Working Committee, three of them are from Kwara central, [that is the Chairman, Youth leader and Women leader] thereby leaving Kwara North with only one office ,Deputy Chairman, whereas the posts are expected to be evenly distributed. He asserted that these compositions were not only a flagrant violation of the constitution of the PDP, but also it offended the spirit and letters of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ''As the ruling party, he pointed out that,'' it is incumbent on us to lead by example. This great party should not be willingly or unwillingly seen to be promoting discrimination or outright denial of the rights of any segment as glaringly reflected above. Alhaji .Alhassan charged National leadership of the party on ''observed lapses will be properly and promptly addressed by taking appropriate steps to enforce the true position of our constitution and stop this culture of impunity''

NULGE faults Plateau Govt. on audit of LG accounts


he National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Plateau says the accounts of the 17 local governments in the state are being audited on quarterly, contrary to claim by officials of the state government. Mr Samson Mafuyai, the President of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Jos that the government's claims did not agree with available evidences at the disposal of NULGE.

Mafuyai said that the state government's claim that the accounts of the 17 local governments had remained unaudited for the past 10 years was wrong and could be a deliberate falsehood. He said: "The councils have what they call the quarterly audit, the staff of the Office of the Auditor-General for Local Governments, usually visit the local governments every three months for audit purpose. “This had always been done

over the years without a break, he said. "So, if they are saying that the accounts have not been audited for the past 10 years, I don't know what they mean; I don't know until I get clarification; for now I don't know what they mean. "And I am very sure if you go to the Office of the AuditorGeneral to check your facts, you will be able to corroborate what I am saying and what they are saying."

Officials of the state government had earlier said at a news conference that the rot in its local government's administration was due to the lack of auditing in the account of the third tier of government in the past 10 years. The Head of Civil Service, Mr Moses Gwom, told journalist, after the State Executive Council meeting last week that the situation had led to an ``unimaginable level of corruption'' in the local




ACF tasks FG on sustainable growth, development


he Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Monday in Abuja called on the Federal Government(FG) to steer the nation's economy towards the path of sustainable growth and development. Mr Anthony Sani, the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He said: "there is a link between economic diversity and sustainability; economic diversification will bring about a growth of the national economy." “A strong, growing and sustainable economy is the goal of every nation across the globe. “A sustainable economy will also enhance a nation's standard of living by creating wealth, jobs and will equally encourage the development of new knowledge and technology as well as ensuring a stable political climate.'' Sani said the nation should avoid over dependence on petroleum resources, pointing out that it had become necessary to explore other natural resources outside petroleum. “We so much rely on oil at the expense of other valuable resources in agriculture and solid minerals that can help the nation's economy grow very fast.'' The publicity scribe urged the northern governors to commence the process of diversifying the economy within their domain by exploring the abundant human and natural resources in the North. Sani said that as a nation, “we should emphasise on how we can unite our differences.” Sani also said the nation should intensify the search for solution to the security challenges in the country in all its manifestations. The publicity secretary called on people of the Northern to improve on inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations.


CPC urges INEC to uphold sovereignty of Nigerians in 2015 elections


he Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) on Monday in Abuja urged INEC to put in place structures that would ensure the sovereignty of the Nigerian people was upheld in the 2015 elections. The National Chairman of the party, Prince Tony Momoh gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He also urged INEC to uphold the "one man one vote" posture as was generally agreed at a stakeholders meeting organised

by INEC on Friday. "If for instance you say "one man one vote" would not count, then you are asking for resistance; Nigerians will resist any attempt to deprive them or deny them their mandate. "If that sovereignty is denied through stealing of their mandate, then you are asking for resistance; you are asking for unrest and that is what every political leader has pointed out. "You cannot deny democracy and social justice

without crushing Nigeria, and we are saying we would not allow Nigeria to be crushed by allowing injustice instead of justice to prevail. "President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he has not asked anyone to rig elections for him. So, if anybody wants to rig elections to put the president there, that person is on his own." Momoh called on Nigerians to ensure that their votes counted in the 2015 elections, saying that the party was

L-R: Members of the Ad-hoc Committee on Constitutional Review, Hon. Kawu Sumaila, Hon. Leo Ogor, Chairman of the Committee, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and Hon. Ishaka Bawa, during a press conference on the review of the constitution, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Opposition parties task AKISIEC on free, fair council polls


pposition parties in Akwa Ibom have appealed to the State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) to act as an unbiased umpire during the forthcoming council elections scheduled for June 9. Mr Linus Udofia, the Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), made the appeal on Sunday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo.

Udofia said that opposition parties would win seats, if the electoral body provided the level playing ground for all the parties. "Very frankly, if the elections are free and fair, opposition parties will win not only one local government area, but so many local government areas of Akwa Ibom. ``The chances are there that members of other political parties are going to win in some local

government councils, if only AKISIEC will act as an unbiased umpire.'' Udofia appealed to the Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom, Mr Umar Gwadebe, to withdraw police orderlies from political office holders on the election day. He urged the commissioner to issue a directive for the withdrawal of the orderlies as they could be used to intimidate opponents.

against any attempt to manipulate the elections. He has this to say on General Muhammadu Buhari's position on electioneering in the country. "So, the area of people voting, counting votes, and ensuring that votes count has been the only area of disagreement between the party and the PDPruling Federal Government, and also between General Buhari, as a statesman, as a patriot and as a participant in the political process and the Federal Government. "So, there is nothing strange about the relationship between him and the Federal Government. He is not in opposition to the government; he is articulating his views as a political activist; as a party man; as someone who is interested in growing democracy. "He is articulating his views which everybody in the polity who means well for the polity articulates." Momoh explained that after the 2011 Presidential Election in the country, General Muhammadu Buhari's decided he would not go to court, saying the decision to go to court was the party's. "We accepted the final decision of the Supreme Court to confirm President Goodluck Jonathan as the president of Nigeria. "So, all of us are in support of a Nigeria that is anchored on justice and democracy." These services, he added, were available for the independent power producers and PEEMADI would be ready for collaborations in building and improving the Kogi State Ministry of Science and Technology through its expertise. “The Okene Institute is strategic because, there cannot be stable power in Nigeria except she meet requirements for components, spare parts and machines that are produced locally. The governor later directed the engagement of the permanent secretaries the state ministries of health, science and technology and education with NASENI to workout areas of technical cooperation between NASENI and Kogi.

Southern Kaduna PDP to set up committee to reconcile aggrieved members


he Southern Kaduna zone of the PDP is to set up a committee to address grievances arising from its local government and ward party congresses. Mr Joseph Gumbari, the Zonal Vice Chairman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Sunday that there were many complaints from many groups and individuals who believed that they were not fairly treated. “We have received many of such complaints from Kagarko,

Sanga, Kauru and Zango-Kataf Local Governments from people that claimed that they were cheated and sidelined. We will sit and iron out the differences. “The differences have even led to factions in some local governments, especially among stakeholders who believed they were schemed out in the formation of party structures. “Others allege that they were not well represented, while some also allege lopsidedness in the distribution of key party posts. We shall pay attention to such

complaints because we believe that nothing should be underrated. “The zone has produced the governor and state party chairman and we believe it is a challenge for us to keep our house in order so that we shall continue to vote together.'' “Over time, the PDP had operated as one family and what we want to do is to heal all the wounds by allowing the aggrieved parties to even parley with the supposed favoured teams to forgive and forget

every wrong so as to work together.'' On the fate of his constituency, Gumbari said: ``Most of the local governments still do not basic social amenities such as roads, water and health centres. “Some other areas still complain that they had not been given any fair share in appointments. We have tabled these issues before Gov Patrick Yakowa and we are happy that the issues are being addressed.'' To ensure that each local

government had a representative in the executive council, he said that the zonal headquarters of the party was being reconstituted. Gumbari decried what he called ``unfair distribution'' of federal appointments accruing to Kaduna State, saying that only two of the 20 appointments so far made at the federal level were from the south of the state. He, however, called on people from the area currently holding political offices to shore up the fortunes of the people.



Eagles miss flight, stranded in Madrid

Gabriel Reuben

Ekigho Ehiosun

Dan Akpeyi

ollowing Sunday’s drug incident at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, which forced the cancellation of the Iberia Airline flight that was to convey the Super Eagles to Madrid enroute Lima for tomorrow’s international friendly

against Peru, the Eagles missed the connecting flight from Madrid to Lima, when they eventually arrived in Spain. Though the team eventually departed Lagos at about 10:30 am Nigerian time after 24 hours delay and got into Madrid at 4:30 Nigerian time,

the Eagles were told by officials of Iberia Airways that their flight to Lima had left a day earlier. The team could neither left the airport nor checked into any hotel because they only have transit visas and therefore had to spend the night in the airport.


However, officials of the Iberia Airline provided the team’s meal and later in the night players and officials were moved to an arranged lounge where they put up for the night after having light refreshments. Meanwhile, the NFF President Aminu Maigari, has urged the players not to be deterred by events that almost truncated the international friendly adding that these were meant to test their resolve. Team Psychologist, Robinson Okuson, who spoke with Maigari, later relayed the message to Head Coach Stephen Keshi, that in turned informed the players and other officials. “My only worry is that the players would not have had enough rest when we get to Lima, which is over 11 hours from Madrid, but I trust my players to give it the best shot on match day”, Keshi said.

NSC can’t question NFF’s spending of FIFA grants, says Minister By Albert Akota


he supervising Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, (NSC) Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, yesterday admitted that the commission does not have the authority to question the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) over its spending of grants received from FIFA, including $8 million 2010 World Cup earnings. The minister, who disclosed this yesterday during Ministerial Platform held in commemoration of the National Democracy Day and the

By Patrick Andrew


igerians should look forward to a minimum of 10 gold medals from both London Olympic Games and the Paralympics Games that would follow few weeks late also in London. The Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Chief Patrick Ekeji, gave the assurances yesterday at the Ministerial Press briefing where he declared that Nigerian athletes have the capability to win about

first anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan administration in Abuja, said that the funds were meant for specific FIFA approved projects stressing that so long as the world football governing body was satisfied with the use of such funds, the commission would be unable to question the football federation on how the funds were expended. Abdullahi, who was responding to questions on the vexed alleged misused of such funds pointed out that the commission does not have the power to question the football house because the funds were not

demanded the NSC and its affiliates to render accounts on its used of funds released to them. He added that such defense was a pre-condition for approval for 2012 appropriation. “We don’t have power to request accountability of funds given to NFF by FIFA because is not the federal government that gave them the money. “We can only seek for account if the FIFA complain to us, we have not receive any complain from the world football governing body beside the grant was given to them to prepared our team before the World Cup in South Africa,” he said.


total of 70 athletes both males and females have so far qualified for the Olympic and Paralympics Games, according to the supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi. The minister, who gave the breakdown yesterday, said the athletes are to feature in seven sports events including athletics, canoeing, table tennis, taekwondo, wrestling, weightlifting, boxing, paraathletics, para-table tennis and powerlifting. The minister said Nigeria deliberately selected to compete in the seven sports because she commands a measure of comparative advantage over other competitors and hopes to impress in these events.

Ikhana to unveil Super Falcons for Zimbabwe

2012 Olympic: Ekeji assures Nigerians of 10 gold medals S number of gold medals. Sounding optimistic after analysing the efforts of the commission to get Team Nigeria on gear for the Games, Ekeji said going by the level of preparations and the responses of the athletes that the commission was optimistic

Drogba announces his Chelsea exit


appropriated to the NFF by the federation government, adding that it was only FIFA that could query the NFF over the use of the funds and the NSC. According to him, the commission could only request for accountability from the NFF for monies appropriated for and released to the football federation for the running of the game in Nigeria, bonuses for players and officials and other such crucial needs. He recalled that it was in this respect that both the House, Senate Committee on Sports few weeks ago conducted a public hearing which

70 athletes book Olympic tickets

vory Coast great Didier Drogba has told his Chelsea teammates he is leaving the newly-crowned Champions League winners because he doesn’t fancy spending time on the substitutes bench, France Football said Monday. The 34-year-old - who scored the late equaliser and then the decisive penalty in the shootout win over German side Bayern Munich on Saturday -is quoted by the magazine as saying he burst into tears when he told the rest of the squad during their open top bus parade with the trophy on Sunday. “We (he and his teammates) will not be together next season. As I have decided to leave, I wanted to tell them to their faces,” the magazine cited Drogba as saying. “Only that I couldn’t do it. They made me break down. Even if it has been three years that I have said I wanted to leave, I found it hard to admit that it was finished with me and the club. “Especially that I had no great desire for this end. But I don’t envisage sitting on the bench watching others play at a time when the club is looking at putting together a new team. “So there we go, I am readying myself for a great leap into the unknown. It will be another adventure,” added Drogba, who is out of contract having been at the club since 2004 after joining from Marseille. English media have linked the Ivorian target man - scorer of 55 goals in his 84 international appearances - with Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua, where his former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka is player-coach.

of a successful outing. “Our objective now is to have about 10 gold medals, and we are positive that we can get them at both games in view of our preparations in both categories of Games,” he said adding that he had before been reluctant to be specific because the coast was not quite clear on Team Nigeria’s area of comparative advantage. Nonetheless, he reiterated that the projected 10 gold medals was just a dream based on scientific calculations but was quick to add that injury or other unexpected events could alter such projections. “No country can tell you at this moment the number of medals its athletes will win in London; it is only China, perhaps, who are the defending champions. “But what we are doing is to ensure we perform better than we did at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and I am sure we are on course to do that,” he said. The former Green Eagles defender said that he would only be able to speak specifically on Nigeria’s participation at the two Games in the coming weeks. “Before we go for the Games,

it will be possible to say something about the specifics of what we can win at the Games. But right now, I can only say our preparations are on course and we are pleased with what we have presently,” Ekeji said. Nigeria have entered for seven games in the Summer Games scheduled to hold in London from July 27 to August 12, and so far no fewer than 70 athletes have met the qualifying standard for participation.

Patrick Ekeji, DG NSC

uper Falcons’ Head Coach, Mr. Kadiri Ikhana will today unveil his team for the 2012 African Women Championship qualifying fixture against Zimbabwe. The ceremony, which will hold at the FIFA Technical Centre, National Stadium, Abuja, is the first of its kind for the Super Falcons. Chairman of the Technical SubCommittee of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Chris Green explained: “As a Federation, we have taken a decision that there should no longer be any dichotomy or differentiation. The women’s teams are as important as the men’s teams. Ikhana is expected to name a 22-player list for the African Women Championship qualifier against Zimbabwe in Harare on Sunday, May 27, and the return leg in Lagos on June 16. The same team will also play a two-leg friendly against South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, with the first leg in Rustenburg on June 3. The return leg is also set for the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, June 23. The Super Falcons are expected to fly out of Abuja to Harare tomorrow.



Jigawa allay fear over relegation from top flight


truggling Nigeria Premier League (NPL) newcomers, Jigawa Golden Stars are optimistic of remaining in top flight football next season. Jigawa Stars defied all odds on Sunday by holding

Nigeria’s Caf Champions League representatives, Sunshine Stars to a 3-3 draw at the Dipo Dina Stadium. Nobel Ansor opened score on five minutes for the Golden Stars before Dele Olorundare drew level from

the spot on the stroke of half time. Experienced Bala Mohammed shot Jigawa Stars again in front via a penalty, but the impressive Olorundare again restored parity for the Akure

Ouster from Confederation Cup a temporary setback, says Fuludu


dema Fuludu, the Head Coach of Warri Wolves FC, has said that the clubs recent ouster from the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup competition as a temporary setback Fuludu, who regretted their exit, however said that the club’s main task at the moment is to plot a return to continental football next season. He stressed that the club intended to achieve its objective of playing continental football next season through an improved performance in the ongoing

Nigeria Premier League (NPL). “It is imperative that we have to work very hard to improve our position on the league table and ensure that we end up in the top three positions at the end of the season. “We will have to bank on our experience to stage a comeback next season to play continental football. We have to bounce back to continental football next season; we will turn the negative issues that befell us this season to positives,” Fuludu said. He added that since after

Azubuike Egwueke, Warri Wolves’ defender

Gombe Utd fans beg NPL to review closed-door games G

ombe United fans, who have been barred from entering the stadium in the team’s past three home matches, have appealed to the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) to reconsider the decision. The fans, who admitted that they were missing Gombe United’s games, pleaded that they would be of good behaviour if the NPL lift the ban on closed-door games imposed on them following allegation of their unruly conduct.

the ouster from the CAF competition, the players have all set their minds and efforts to the task of leading the club to success in the NPL. “The confederation cup was a distraction of sort to us; now that we are totally on ground we will do our best. We will sustain our current winning streak to propel our push to the top of the league table. “To this effect we had to sign on some new players to fortify the team, and so we are battle ready for the title,” the coach said. Fuludu, a member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 edition of the AFCON in Tunisia, also debunked rumours that Warri Wolves owed its players salary arrears. “The club’s management had ensured that players’ salaries and allowances have been paid up to date, in order to boost the morale of the players for better performance, ” Fuludu said. Warri Wolves are currently eight on the NPL table with 36 points from the 24 matches it had played; with two outstanding matches to be played. NAN reports that Fuludu, whose former portfolio was the Director of Football for the club, was elevated to the position of a head coach.

Gunners on 53 minutes. Sunshine Stars’ returnee

Gege Soriola sees red on final day


ege Soriola, one of three players Head Coach Stephen Keshi as likely cover for injured Joseph Yobo, signed off his South African league debut with a red card at the weekend. The former Heartland and JUTH FC star defender was given the marching order in the 79th minute for stamping on the knee of Mozambique international winger Elias Pelembe as his South African club Free State Stars lost the 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns. Keshi has penciled the uncompromising Soriola as a likely replacement for the injured skipper Yobo, who will miss next month’s World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers. The other possibles are Godfrey Oboabana and Papa Idris. He will stake his claim for a starting shirt in the qualifiers with a less dramatic showing in tomorrow’s friendly against Peru in Lima. Meanwhile, the number of Nigeria players in the South African PSL has swelled with the promotion of University of Pretoria FC, who have Nigerian striker Chibukor Nwogbo on their books. The former Mighty Jets of Jos star was an important part of the Tuks FC successful campaign and he is already on the radar of a Turkish club.

Gege Soriola

Gombe Utd played its third home match on Sunday against Dolphins of Port-Harcourt “behind closed doors”, and the fans and supporters were kept out of the venue. The sanction had been imposed following unpleasant incidences during the game against Sunshine Stars. One of the supporters, Munir Musa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday at the gate of the stadium that he felt bad being deprived of the opportunity to watch and cheer his club. “We spend m o n e y transporting ourselves to cheer the team in away matches. Yet I cannot do same in games being played at my backyard. It is painful”, he said. Victor Baribote Another fan,

attacking midfielder, Cletus Itodo netted the third goal, but a gaffe from keeper of the home side, Segun Oluwaniyi allowed Ado Ali’s own goal end the tie stalemate. The 3-3 away draw has boosted the morale of the Golden Stars, and the club’s technical adviser, Evans Ogenyi believes the Hadejia-based side would protect their Premier League status when this term reach a climax. “Yes I am happy we forced Sunshine Stars to a draw at

their home ground, and I have told my boys to consolidate on that for us to achieve our aim. My utmost task is to maintain our campaign in the Premier League at the end of the season and I believe we would escape relegation,” Ogenyi told Jigawa Golden Stars have taken 28 points from a possible 75 but have two outstanding games against Akwa United and Warri Wolves at home.

Gateway FC in auto crash C

oach Philip Boamah and four other officials of Gateway Football Club, sustained injuries yesterday following an auto crash while returning with the team from a national league game in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State Capital. Peoples Daily Sports learnt that the coach Philip Boamah and the others were being attained to in a teaching hospital, even as the Ogun State government was said to be making arrangement to transfer them back home for further treatment. The accident was said to have occurred when the tyre of a Mitsubushi wagon car carrying a family member burst, and the driver lost control, which led to an head on collision with the car that was conveying the club’s management staff. But the bus that was conveying the players behind the officials car, narrowly escaped the crash, even as unconfirmed report said the mother of the owner of the space wagon car died on the spot. The injured Gateway Football Club officials are: Chief Coach, Welfare Officer, Curator, Driver and one official of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta. They were rushed to Ekiti University Teaching Hospital alongside with occupants of the Mitsubushi Wagon When contacted on phone, Media Officer of Gateway Football Club, Biodun Alabi confirmed the incident, adding that the victims were receiving treatment at the Teaching Hospital, in the town as at the time of this report. ‘It was a head on collision between an official Peugeot 505 station wagon car of Gateway United and a private Mitsubushi car as we were about leaving Ado-Ekiti around 9am. One of the tyres of the Mitsubushi car burst making it swerve out its lane to face our own car’ Alabi explained. Gateway FC had on Sunday defeated Ila Football Club 10 at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium.

Murtala Aliyu, who arrived at the gate of the stadium at 2 p.m., told NAN that he and his colleagues were treated like criminals for entering the stadium ‘by chance’. “The back gate was opened for journalists and other officials, so we seized the opportunity to rush in, but were fished and sent out by gun and baton wielding policemen ‘’he complained. Aliyu state that without spectators, the league had been stripped off of its entertainment value. “You can imagine a Premier league match without drumming, whistling, dancing and occasional release of verbal missiles. It is simply just flat, as flat as tea without sugar. Even those watching it over the television will not find the empty seats pleasing to their eyes”, he analysed. Other spectators, who spoke to NAN, called on the football authorities to find other ways of punishing clubs, noting that barring spectators also affected gate-takings. In his remarks on the issue, the Assistant Secretary of Gombe FA, Musa Sule, said although they were managing the situation, Gombe Utd would have been better off with cheering supporters at the stadium. The Chief Coach of the club, Benard Ogbe, told NAN that nothing had changed from the performance of his boys. “The barring of spectators did not affect our performance because we prepare well for every game. We are managing the situation since we cannot help it”, he said. The match between Gombe Utd and visiting Dolphins FC of Port-Harcourt ended 1-0 in favour of the home team.



Transfer The season is over. Clubs are counting their blessing as well as losses and would like to make amends and even beef up their squads where noticeable lapses exist. And the transfer market is agog barely 24 hours after major European leagues dropped the curtain. And so to keep abreast with latest rumours, we begin daily doses of movements within the market both for players and coaches like.

Kieron Dyer

Dyer signs new QPR deal


ueens Park Rangers midfielder Kieron Dyer has signed a new one-year deal with the Loftus Road club despite playing just three minutes this season. Dyer, 33, broke his foot during QPR’s opening day defeat to Bolton at Loftus Road last August and did not feature again in the entire campaign. QPR boss Mark Hughes has decided to give the England international another chance, whilst Clint Hill, Akos Buzsaky and goalkeeper Radek Cerny have all been offered new deals. Amongst those released from the club are the likes of Danny Gabbidon, Danny Shittu, Fitz Hall, Gary Borrowdale, Peter Ramage, Lee Cook, Rowan Vine and Patrick Agyemang. The released players should go some way to lowering Rangers’ inflated wage-bill before the new season.

Didier close to China deal D

idier Drogba has almost certainly kicked his last ball for Chelsea, with the club expecting him to confirm his free transfer to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. Drogba’s last touch in a Chelsea shirt was to score the winning penalty in the shoot-out that defeated Bayern Munich. He will link up with former team-mate Nicolas Anelka in China in a contract worth around £250,000a-week net. Owner Abramovich addressed his European Champions by declaring that ‘this is just the beginning’ for Chelsea. The Russian oligarch has pumped a £1billion into his football club and marched into the dressing room after seeing his side clinch a dramatic Champions League final to make it clear there would be further investment. This week he will meet Di Matteo to discuss his future and Sportsmail understands there is a good chance the Italian could be offered another contract perhaps one that enables Abramovich to wait for Pep Guardiola while the former Barcelona manager takes a sabbatical.

Cole tops Allardyce list


est Ham will explore the possibility of bringing Joe Cole back to Upton Park after securing their top-flight return. Cole is not the only former Hammer who could be on his way back to east London as the club target Nigel Reo-Coker and Kieran Richardson. Manager Sam Allardyce is already turning his attention to strengthening his squad as he looks to give West Ham a fighting chance of staying up next season. The former Upton Park favourite Cole is understood to be on a list of names Allardyce and his backroom team have identified as potential targets. However, the manager’s top priority is addressing uncertainty over the club’s goalkeeping position.


Dimitar Berbatov

Berbatov want to leave Man Utd


imitar Berbatov believes he must leave Manchester United this summer to get his career back on track. Berbatov has seen his number of appearances per season decrease dramatically since joining United from Tottenham in 2008, with the 31-year-old featuring in just 21 games in all competitions last campaign. Berbatov, though, claims he is more disappointed that Sir Alex Fergusondid not make good on promises to give him more opportunities. “My time at Manchester United is running out. I no longer feel like a valuable part of this team. I think I did well in the few opportunities that I received. “I am a little frustrated by the way this happened, I do not think I deserved it. But I have dignity and I stopped going to such meetings, it is clear that I’m leaving United. It’s obvious that I have to leave. United’s rivals Liverpool are reported to be interested in Berbatov, but Serie A outfit Lazio may be favourites to snare the Bulgarian after his agent stated his desire to leave England earlier this month.

Modric set to leave Spurs


he Croatian playmaker will consider his future after the European Championships, which could lead to a second successive transfer request Luka Modric is prepared to hand in a transfer request after Spurs were denied a place in the -Champions League. Chelsea’s dramatic victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday night means they go straight into next season’s group stages and Tottenham fall into the Europa League. Real Madrid is the latest big club to show an interest in Modric, who is already in the sights of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy insisted last week that the club would fight to keep its best players this summer. He said: “I will decide about my future after the Euros. I will make the decision where to continue my career. I’m ready for the big tests.” A transfer request from the midfield star would make it the second successive summer in which has declared his intention to leave for a bigger club. Last year Levy came out on top after insisting Spurs were no longer a selling club and rejected a £40million offer from Chelsea.

Luka Modric

City offer Mancini three-year £15m contract

M Joe Cole

anchester City has formally opened talks with Roberto Mancini over a new £15million contract. Speculation has been rife for the last six months that the manager of the Barclays Premier League champions would be offered a new deal at the Etihad

Stadium this summer. City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak finally sat down with Mancini for talks in Abu Dhabi on Friday afternoon and those discussions continued throughout the weekend. City wants to reward the Italian with a new three-year

deal worth £5m a year. That represents a significant improvement on the £3.5m contract Mancini signed when he arrived at the club two-and-ahalf years ago. Mancini flew to the Middle East last Tuesday morning with his assistant David Platt and

football administrator Brian Marwood. Mancini and Platt were congratulated on winning the league title by City owner Sheik Mansour before the manager was invited to stay on for contract talks as the others flew back to Manchester last Thursday.



Wounded athletes should go for tetanus treatment, says medics S

ekinat Adenegha, an official of the Lagos State Sports Medicine Association, on Monday advised athletes with open wound to go for tetanus treatment. Adenegha, a chief matron, said at the ongoing Lagos State Sports Festival, tagged “Ibile Games”, that athletes with open wound should take to all medical advice. “Minor injuries like bruises and wounds can be dressed accordingly by medical officials. Yet, we still recommend that

Price KOs Sexton to win two titles


avid Price knocked out Sam Sexton in the fourth round to claim the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in Liverpool on Saturday night. Fighting in front of his hometown supporters, Price outclassed his opponent. He used his left jab to keep Sexton at a distance and set him up for an impressive right. The former Olympic Games bronze medallist and former and

athletes with open injuries should go for tetanus treatment because of the likelihood of contacting the tetanus infection. “Once athletes are being treated at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Yaba, they are equally advised take to medical advice to keep them physically fit,” she said. Adenegha expressed the preparedness of the medical team for emergency in any sport at the fiesta. “We are fully prepared medically. We have

well-trained personnel for the job and enough facilities like drugs, ambulances and so on,” she said. The medical offficial advised participants in the Games to promptly report cases of injuries for urgent attention. “Medically, I am giving everyone 100 per cent assurance that all athletes and officials are covered as the medical team, drugs and equipment are on ground for any case,” she said.

Commonwealth Games champion, improved his professional record to 13-0, including 11 knockouts. The 27-year-old Sexton, who had lost twice to disgraced Dereck Chisora, dropped to 15-3, with 6 knockouts. Price, who is 2.03 metres tall and 28 years old, stopped former SA heavyweight champion Osborne Machimana in the third round in Brentwood, England, in February last year. He will have to look for better opposition now, but could first face another Briton, Tyson Fury, who is unbeaten at 18-0; 13. On the same card, Kevin Satchell (8-0; 1) stopped Paul Edwards (9-2; 3) in the tenth round of a clash for the vacant Commonwealth flyweight title. Darren Hamilton (12-2; 3) caused an upset when he outpointed Ashley Theophane (31-5-1; 9) over twelve rounds to win the British light-welterweight title. The scores were 117-112, 118-113 and 115-

113. Light-welterweight Adil Anwar (16-1; 7) won by unanimous decision over ten rounds against Dave Ryan (13-5; 3).

David Price

Powell upbeat about A 100m win in London

L-R: Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt, Yohane Blake, the leading lights in 100m who Powell will be compete against at the London 2012 Games

YSFON vows to check age falsification in youth sports


he Youth Sport Federation of Nigeria (YSFON) has promised to check attempts to by athletes and officials to falsify their ages or lend support to efforts to do so during cadet competitions. YSFON’s National President Nasiru Gawuna made the pledge in Uyo over the weekend at the end of 2012 YSFON soccer tournament, which was sponsored by the Chief of Naval Staff in collaboration with the Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA). Gawuna, who said that YSFON actually started as far back as 1965, lauded the Chief of Naval Staff for supporting the tournament from 1999 to date. “YSFON will make sure that no issue of age cheating occurs in our tournament. The issue here is not who wins or loses but identifying the talents and developing them for the future of this country.” He said that the U-14 boys for the Chief of Naval Staff Cup were sourced from the grassroots and their records could easily be verified. “What matters to us is to bring out the talent and develop them for our future use.” He appealed to all tiers of governments and agencies involved in sporting activities to invest in the development talents spotted during the YSFON competitions.

safa Powell thinks he has pinpointed why he has so often failed to produce on the big occasion and believes that if he is at his best he will win the 100 metres at the London Olympics. The Jamaican former world record holder has run under 10 seconds more times than anyone else in the history of sprinting but has struggled at major championships and been eclipsed by compatriot Usain Bolt and more recently by Yohane Blake. The 29-year-old runs in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on Saturday as he continues his preparations for the Games and is convinced if he stays relaxed he can finally snare gold in the blue riband sprint after finishing fifth in 2004 and 2008. “I know for sure, if I go out there, and I do what I’m supposed to do, it will be very hard for anyone to catch me to the finish line because there’s no doubt that I’m the best starter out there,” he told reporters on Friday. “Many track and field people know that if I stay relaxed and run my race like I’m supposed to, I will be the winner at the Olympic Games. That is what I’m trying to do, and I know what I have to do.” Powell said that, unlike most sprinters, he raced best when he was “relaxed and smiling all the way” and admitted that the mere presence of Olympic champion Bolt or American Tyson Gay in a race affected his performance. “When you are out there with Usain or Tyson Gay, or any of those other guys who are running sub 9.90, you know that it’s going to be close and you know it’s not going to be an easy race and you have to pull out all your stops to win,” he said. “It takes a lot more focus, you have to remain a lot more relaxed and calm to win that race. It’s pretty much the names, when you are out there with the bigger names, you feel a lot more pressure.” In order to neutralise the pressure, Powell has been working hard this year on maintaining his composure and putting on the mental blinkers when he is on the track. “I just want to give my best in London, I want to cross that line and see a personal best on the clock then I will see what position I am in,” he said. “Not focusing on anyone else, just concentrating on what I’m doing in my lane.” Powell said his versatility led to problems when he raced the other top sprinters. “I am a bit different from the other sprinters because, I would say, I can run many different ways while the other guys they just came on and they can only run one way,” he said. “While I’m out there, I can maybe change my technique three times in one race, while they’re just running all out so they can be a lot more consistent in their races while I’m always trying something new. “I should just stay composed and run to the finish line.” Powell dismissed defeat to American Justin Gatlin in his first outing of the year in Doha last week as “getting rid of the cobwebs” and was excited to see how he would race in Shanghai after working on a few “flaws”. “It’s a process, it takes time, it takes competition to correct things,” said Powell, who won easing down in 9.95 seconds in Shanghai last year. “You know you really want to make sure everything is right going into London. You don’t want any doubts in your head. Just want to crack everything, set a good time, going to London with a 9.7 seconds in my legs is even better.” Despite turning 30 later this year, Powell said he had no plans to retire and had not ruled out racing on until the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. “I wouldn’t say this is my last Olympic Games although that is the approach I’m taking, I’m going all out as if it’s my last Olympics,” he said. “I think I have another one in me after this Games, and if the next Games comes and I’m still running 9.7s or even 9.6s then I’ll still be out there.





A. Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he is


flattered to be considered the front-runner for the vacant Aston Villa manager's job.

B. GreatCity Games organisers apologise to Jessica Ennis for a mix-up that invalidated her 100m hurdles personal best.


Luke Donald will return to the top of the world rankings if he retains the BMW PGA Championship, which starts on Thursday.

D. Richard Jolly rates the individuals in the Man United squad who came agonisingly short of title glory.

E. Ireland and Leinster full-back Rob Kearney is named as the ERC player of the year for the 2011/12 season.

F. Chelsea striker Fernando Torres wants talks with the club about his future after suffering the 'worst moments' of his career.

G. Rafael Nadal beats world number one Novak Djokovic A

in straight sets to win a record sixth Italian Open title.







Kebbi FA seeks financial support for Sakaba Links

Taekwondo official canvasses training programmes for coaches


he Kebbi State Football Association has called on the authorities to provide financial and technical support to Sakaba links FC to enable the club to perform well at zonal play off of the Federation’s Cup competition. NAN reports that the Sakaba Links won the Kebbi federation’s Cup competition. The Vice-Chairman of Kebbi FA, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Sunday that the Sakaba Local Government provided about N580, 000 to enable the team to perform well at the zonal preliminaries. “The team encouraged the FA after they defeated Jigawa Utd., 3-1 in the zonal competition. With additional support, the team will perform beyond previous teams that competed at the federation’s Cup competition.” Mohammed, the sole administrator of Sakaba council, said he had supported the team for about 10 years, stressing: “The team has the potential to compete in the professional or premier leagues with adequate funding’.” He said he would strive to encourage sporting activities in rural areas by sponsoring competitions among schools and communities. The chairman called on individuals and organisations to sponsor competitions to enable the youths to shun indolence and anti- social activities.


erguson Oluigbo, the President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Referees Association (NTRA), on Monday advised the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) to update coaches on the latest rules of the sport. Oluigbo disclosed yesterday that the NTF should send its coaches to World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)organised seminar to enhance the development of the sport. “The NTF should ensure its coaches are part of internationally-organised seminars, because they are the mechanism through which the athletes build up their talents,” he said. Oluigbo said only few coaches could afford overseas training, to equip themselves with the latest rules of the sport, thus limiting the level of awareness of the regulations to the athletes. The NTRA President condemned the idea of bringing experts from foreign countries as resource persons at national seminars in the country, even when they were on the same pedestal with the local coaches. “The fact is that some of those resource persons from foreign countries are not better than our national coaches, all they need is being part of WTF seminars.” The NTRA official also urged the National Sports Commission (NSC) to employ officials who were familiar with athletes’ conduct as national coaches, instead of contracting foreigner who knew nothing about them. Oluigbo said a foreign coach would spend a better part of his contract years studying athletes because he had no background knowledge of the athletes, and probably could not speak English. “This is unlike the local coaches who have understudied athletes from the grassroots and knows their body language at a given time, he knows the language to use,” he said. Oluigbo said such a step would encourage the local coaches to be committed, thus improving the standard of the sport in the country.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal regains edge over Federer, beats Djokovic to win T Italian Open R

Ghanaian wins Abuja International Golf Championship

afael Nadal enjoyed the perfect fillip ahead of his French Open defence with a commanding 7-5 6-3 victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the delayed Rome Masters final yesterday. And it was his second consecutive victory over his last year’s conqueror and now world number one, Djokovic that defeated him at six times in major trophy finals. Nadal had his first joy over Djokovic at the controversial Madrid’s blue clay earlier this month, when he showed his fang to claim the title then and yesterday he cli9nched the Italian Open for the sixth time. Nadal thus improve his career headto-head record over the Serb to 18-14. In doing so, he will rise back to second in the world rankings after being overtaken by Roger Federer last week. In the yesterday’s match, the duo swapped breaks midway through the first set before Nadal made the decisive breakthrough in the 11th game. Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted at match point. The Serbian had enjoyed a run of seven successive victories over Nadal prior to last month’s Monte Carlo Masters final but the Spaniard has now won their last two

Novak Djokovic

meetings. The victory is Rafael Nadal’s 21st Masters win, putting him ahead of Roger Federer who has won 20 Nadal opened strongly but wasted two break points in Djokovic’s opening service game. However, he made amends in the fifth game, punishing a poor drop shot to take the initiative but a lacklustre service game allowed the defending champion to restore parity. The turning point came in the 10th game when a Djokovic shot, that would have given him a set point, was called out by the line-judge, only for the umpire to overrule the decision. Nadal won the replayed point - and Djokovic received a warning from the umpire for smashing his racquet at the change of ends after the Spaniard broke to go 6-5 up. Nadal served out the set before breaking again in the opening game of the second set and the Spaniard then saved six break points in his next two service games. A wide backhand from Djokovic, who made 41 unforced errors, set up match point and he handed Nadal the title with a double fault.

orgah Vincent of Tema Golf Club in Ghana on Friday emerged winner of the first Abuja International Golf Championship. He went home with 13,500 dollars while the first runner up, Andrew Dotegbodo of Nigeria collected 8,100 dollars as prize money. Vincent said after the competition that he was happy to come first in the tournament and attributed his success to hard work and constant practice. “It is a great honour for me. Hard work and keeping to my game plans every week worked for me. Nigerian guys are good, so I needed to work extra hard.” The Tournament’s Director, Martins Odoh of the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria, said it was a successful event. Odoh commended the management of IBB Golf Club for putting the tournament together, saying, it was a wonderful experience. No fewer than 87 professional golfers within Africa attended the four day competition held at the IBB Golf Club.

Scribe urges parents to back children interests in sports


he Badminton Federation of Nigeria has urged parents against encouraging their children and wards from participating in any sport of their choice either as hobby or profession. The federation’s secretary, Amechi Akawo, made the plea in Lagos over the weekend stressing that sport is not just a viable profession but a veritable social weapon for corporate existence. According to him, sports is not as bad as people have made it to look as other spheres of endeavour also have their drawbacks in terms of competence. “Sport is not as bad as people are portraying it, sportsmen and women worldwide are amongst the top salary earners in the world,” he said. He noted that most sportsmen and women “are highly disciplined and intelligent and often excel in their chosen fields”. “Sportsmen and women are very disciplined and intelligent because of the various trainings they undergo. “They are also healthy; all these benefits are enough to convince parents to allow their children to participate in sporting events,” Akawo said. He advised athletes to be serious with their academic pursuits as they would be beneficial to them during and after their sporting career. “My earnest advice to any aspiring sportsman and woman is for them to take their educational pursuits seriously alongside their career in sports. “In doing so, they will turn out to be wellrounded individuals who can always fall back on their educational qualifications long after Chief Patrick Ekeji, DG, NSC they might have retired from active sports.”



. . . putting the people first

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012


Kaduna to send 300 athletes to Eko 2012 From Agaju Madugba


aduna state government says it will send about 300 of athletes to participate in 20 events at the 18th National Sports Festival tagged, “Eko 2012”, in November. Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Nazif Mohammed, who disclosed this yesterday, noted that the programme might gulp as much as N143 million. According to him, as part of efforts at improving sports development in the state, government has completed three mini stadia in Kafanchan, Zaria and Kaduna. Mohammed also spoke on the management of the multimillion Naira state-of-the art facilities used during the 16th National Sports Festival noting that the facilities are being managed by facility managers. As he put it, “Kaduna state is expected to participate in 20 events at the forthcoming National Sports Festival in Lagos.After screening of the athletes during and after closed camp, 300 highly determined athletes were picked for the games. “A budget of about N143 million has been presented to the state executive council for approval. If approved we shall spend that amount at the fiesta. The Governor also set up a high powered committee to retrieve both financial and technical reports of the 17th National Sports Festival from my predecessor. We are yet to get that report and as you know, we have to study the report to know where we are coming from and where we are going.”

Gov. Patrick Yakowa


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Politics is the ar or artt of looking ffor trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incor y, and a ppl ying the incorrrectl ectly appl pplying y — Er nest Benn wr ong rremed emed wrong emedy Ernest

Lessons Buhari needs to learn


or quite some time before the Kaduna meeting with his supporters from Niger state during which he issued his warning that crisis will follow any attempt to rig the 2015 elections, General Buhari has been dropping hints that he may be reconsidering his earlier decision not to contest elections again. His political visibility has increased many folds in recent weeks. He has visited and held talks with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the leader of the ACN, Nigeria’s leading opposition party. A committee has been working to renew the General's party - the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). And there's talk in the air about efforts to get the ACN and CPC merge into a party formidable enough to oust the PDP from power. These hints must have been unruffling feathers in many quarters. And the warning and talk of a bloody confrontation between dogs and baboons provided both the weapon and excuse for the vicious attack on the General from these quarters. There is, of course, hardly any doubt that there was, perhaps a deliberate, over-dramatisation of what the General actually said in Kaduna. He spoke in Hausa. And translation from one language to another, especially for the nonHausa speaking journalists in a hurry to meet deadlines, are sometimes fraught with problems. The sense and real import of what is said can be lost, for instance. I for one certainly did not get, from reading the English translation of what Buhari saiddone by and carried in Daily Trust (17-05-2012) - the sense of a cataclysmic confrontation in which blood will flood the streets in Nigeria. But it is hardly a surprise that the media presented it so. For one, the mainstream media here are business organisations that must make profit, or sink. And one of the ways to stay afloat and be ahead of the competition is to pay more attention and give more space and time to reckless actions and verbal mis-steps or contretemps than to thoughtful action and reasoned arguments. For another, there has never been love lost between the General and the dominant media in Nigeria. And this for reasons that are too well known to warrant mention here. For yet another, there are the usual prejudices and biases, which correspond with the fault-lines in our country, which our media are not immune from, and which often reflect in their coverage and reportage of events and personalities. Given all this, a politician must, in his own best interest, learn the capacity for manoevre in what he does, what he says and how he says

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FOR THE MASSES By Rufa’i Ibrahim what he says - in order to avoid many of the landmines that litter the political terrain. The politician must constantly keep in mind the fact that how a thing is said is just as important, sometimes even more so, than what is said. General Buhari, much more than any other leading politician in the country today, needs to acquire this capacity. The reason is obvious: the public perception of him as a stern, unbending and unbendable, bloodthirsty leader who must have his way or there will be trouble, is taking hold in the public mind, through constant repetition by his opponents and the media that is largely responsible for creating that perception in the first place.


eneral Buhari, no doubt, has cultivated, and maintains a common touch with the people, which he now and then expresses in both small and big gestures. But it can hardly be said that he has learnt the capacity for circumspection, for weighing carefully every word before uttering it. And because he is lacking in that ability, he finds himself now and then playing into the hands of both the media, which is not enamoured of him, and his many enemies, most of whom hate him with a passion. It is in fact easy to see the General wreathed in the smoky plots of his many enemies those he ousted from power, those he detained and jailed, those who are uncomfortable with his unmatched moral stature and those who fear that he could send them parking from the Villa. Some years ago, it may be recalled, the Nigerian media flashed across the globe that General Buhari, while addressing a gathering in Sokoto, had called on and urged his listeners, and through them other Northern moslems, to vote only for moslems in elections. Then too, Buhari spoke in Hausa. But what the media reported could only be blamed on mischief, not wrong translation, because there was nothing in what he said that could even remotely be related to what the media told the world he said. Nothing could be more uncharitable and unkind. But the analogy he drew in his controversial Kaduna speech, between dogs and baboons, with the

hint or intimation of a fight that will be bloody, can hardly fail to be seized upon by the media and the General's opponents. And both did, with relish. The PDP and the presidency were particularly viscious and unsparing in their attack. Both could have taken some time to ascertain whether or not Buhari actually said what was reported in the media. They did not. They saw it as a God-sent opportunity and used it maximally to demonise the General. The mere mention of crisis or blood in the speech was seized upon to make associations with past events like the postelection violence in parts of the North, the General's low-keyed campaign in the southern states in 2011. The aim, obviously, is to try to reinforce in the public's mind the PDP and Presidency's picture of the General as an irresponsible, bloodthirsty and sectional leader who shouldn’t be trusted with power. This is all part of the 2015 campaign. And it may play well in some sections of the country where there are long ingrained prejudices against the General. But, as we have seen, the General's warning or view that rigging will beget serious crisis in the country is not friendless: the ACN has been quick to jump to his defence and to issue its own stern warning; the CPC, the General's own party, has also fallen in line behind him; the chairman of the Northern State Governors' Forum, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger state, is also in a way one with the General about the dangers of rigging in any future elections. What, it is clear, the PDP and the Presidency want to do is, firstly, to exploit the fears and amorphous anxieties of Nigerians as they try to cope with a heightened sense of insecurity in the land, and, secondly, to distract the nation's attention from the government's countless failures with the horrific threat of violence, blood and attacks on sections of the country if Buhari is to have his way. The PDP and the Presidency must be hoping that, this way, public attention will be focused on Buhari, and the threat they say he poses, and not on the fact of election rigging. What in effect they are trying to do is to deny the

existence of rigging. which is a defining feature of our political process. But rigging is the defining feature of our political process.In fact, nothing shouts back to us louder from across the decades of our political history than the fact that our elections have always been rigged and stolen by the rich and powerful. And, notwithstanding all the endorsements and verdict of the foreign observers and monitors, the 2011 elections were hardly any different. They too were heavily rigged. In fact, whatever other causes or factors may be cited, the perception by millions of voters of a huge gap between the expected outcome of their voting labours and what was offered as the result, was largely the cause of the 2011 postelection violent protests in some northern states. Rigging has become a feature of our political process largely because of the subsisting socioeconomic system which renders the masses of our people too poor, too powerless and too unorganized to stop the thwarting of their wishes in elections by the rich and powerful. Poverty leads to political passivity by diverting people's energies toward mere survival. But, as we saw in 2011, even with the extreme conditions of poverty in the North, political passivity among the people, to a considerable extent, gave way to a new wave of awareness that found expression in protests. And this is a trend that is bound to continue. This is what makes Buhari's warning most appropriate and relevant, and the PDP and its government's attempt to brush it aside dangerous for all of us. We should read the signals flashed by those protests correctly. And we should face the facts of their significance and implications squarely. It is very clear from the PDP and Presidency's response that they want the 2015 contests to be run along the same lines as the 2011 contests: exploitation and manipulation of what divides us and inflamation of passions and sentiments to build coalitions What Buhari, as the leading opposition figure, should do, but hasn't been doing so far, is to drag the war to a much healthier front where ideas and visions will matter, the battles will be fought and won along ideological lines and attention will become less focussed on his person. Buhari has always been missing opportunities to do so, or even to properly articulate the opposition's vision for a new Nigeria. What is being sold to us is his integrity, the fact of his being Mr. Clean. This is not nearly enough.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 606 3308. e-mail: ISSN: 2141– 6141

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