Page 1

Madalla blast: Suspect accuses SSS of concocting evidence


Vol. 7 No. 80

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rabiul Thani 2, 1433 AH


DCP disagrees with IG over checkpoints By Lambert Tyem, with agency report


R-L: British Prime Minister, David Cameron welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan to No.10 Downing Street, during a bilateral talk between the two leaders, yesterday in London. Photo: NAN

deputy commissioner of police yesterday in Lagos expressed a tacit disagreement with the directive of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, that all checkpoints mounted by policemen nationwide should be dismantled. Deputy Commissioner of Police, ‘B’ Department (Operations), Mr Tunde Sobulo, told newsmen in Lagos during an interactive session, that some important checkpoints must be maintained in order to check the influx of suspected terrorists, armed robbers and dangerous weapons. The IG had exactly 10 days ago directed that the dismantling of all police

checkpoints/roadblocks across the country. Addressing assistant commissioners of police in charge of operations and criminal investigation department (CID) in all zonal and state commands of the Force on the 13th of this month in Abuja, Abubakar specifically said, among others, that “All intra-state and highway road blocks which constitute nuisance especially on the roads of Lagos, Edo and South-Eastern states should be dismantled”. But DCP Sobulo said yesterday that, “If there is Inspector-General of Police directive that we should dismantle checkpoints, we are very conscious of that, but he did not tell us to leave the road completely. Contd on Page 2

Again, Zakari Biu dismissed By Lambert Tyem


he Police Service Commission yesterday during its 26th plenary session approved the dismissal of Commissioner of Police, Hassan Zakari Biu from the service of the

As police get 7 new DIGs, 13 AIGs force. A statement signed on behalf of the Chairman of Commission and made available to newsmen

in Abuja yesterday, said: “The Police Service Commission, after due consideration of the role played by Commissioner of Police,

Hassan Zakari Biu, in the escape of the Boko Haram suspect, Kabiru Sokoto, today 22nd February, 2012 approved the dismissal of Mr.

Hassan Zakari Biu from the Nigeria Police Force with effect from February 22, 2012.” Contd on Page 2


Minister, commission differ on electricity 2 tariff

NNPC, Mobil renew joint venture lease 19 pact WWW.PEOPLESDAILY-ONLINE.COM

Econet seeks N496bn damages from Bharti 21 Airtel




Minister, Commission differ over electricity tariff


By Aminu Imam

























he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji have expressed divergent views on the proposed increase in electricity tariff this year. Whereas the NERC, through its Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, while clarifying during a media chat in Abuja yesterday said the tariff hike was actually 11%, the Minister had on Monday told the Senate Committee on Power saying that the tariff hike was around 51% while responding to the allegations surrounding the proposed hike. The NERC boss had debunked last week media reports claiming that all electricity consumers would get a tariff increase on April 1"by almost double’’ as not factual, saying it is billed to commence in May “to allow for more improvements in power supply and greater public enlightenment on the ongoing reform of the power sector”. He noted that the new tariff was originally scheduled to start on January 1 as provided in the Multi

Year Tariff Order (MYTO), which came into effect five years ago. “In fact, the urban poor and rural dwellers as well as artisans like welders who perform vital economic functions will experience no significant adjustment. He said that a substantial percentage of people living in towns and cities would not pay much higher because they are “among beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s N60 billion subsidy this year and the N50 billion subsidy next year”. The NERC chairman rejected suggestions that the planned introduction of different tariffs across the country would be abused by some wealthy people claiming to be poor so that they could pay less bills. “The tariff will be determined by the wattage consumed by each customer.” He explained that “those who consume less than 50watts a month are considered less privileged and are known as R (Residential) One customers. We have 14 classes of consumers”. He said NERC, in order to balance the competing interest

between electricity producers and consumers, addresses consumer’s complaint such as installation of the wrong kind of meter indiscriminate charges/billing, recurrent hike in electricity tariff and complains by tenants on how estate developers are charging them exorbitantly. He also shed light on issue concerning electricity distribution arrangement, rights and obligation of consumer and service providers, standard and procedures of consumer complain handling, electricity tariff design, electricity metering as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency in estate development in the country. NERC also promise to protect consumer’s right even in the case of conflict of interest whereby producers want to gain more in electricity supply and consumer wanting a reduced tariff as well as monitoring that consumers are not given inflated bill as well as ensuring that that are given their money worth in service delivery will ensure its implementation. With this initiative, he said, the power sector will move forward and

Again, Zakari Biu dismissed Contd from Page 1

Late Shehu Mustapha: Remembering a man of peace, Page 30

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It would be recalled that Biu was just recently reinstated into the force by former InspectorGeneral of Police, Hafiz Ringim following a 12-year absence occasioned by his trial for the different roles he played during the Abacha years and the phantom coup trial of former president Obasanjo. Our investigations reveal that there were no specified and documented reasons for his initial “dismissal” from the police until his case was reviewed by the former IGP Hafiz Ringim. Ringim had recalled Biu and placed him on the rank of Commissioner of Police alongside his contemporaries. However, the escape of Kabiru Sokoto, the suspected mastermind of the Christmas Day bomb blast in Madalla, Niger state, who was under the custody of the Zone 7 Police Command which Biu headed as commissioner, was the ordeal that led to his removal yesterday.

In a related development, the PSC approved the promotion of seven Deputy Inspectors General of Police. Those promoted as DIGs are Suleiman Dauda Fakai, Atiku Yusufu Kafur, Emmanuel Kachi Udeoji, Haruna John, Peter Yisa Gana, Marvel Akpoyibo and Abdurahaman O. Akano. Also the Commission

Zakari Biu

confirmed the promotion of thirteen (13) Commissioners of Police to Assistant Inspectors General. They are Solomon E. Olusegun, Michael E. Zuokumor, Orubebe Gandhi Ebikeme, Philemon I. Leha, Jonathan Johnson, Dan’azumi Job Doma, Joseph Ibi, Muktari Ibrahim, Suleiman A. Abba, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe, Saliu Argungu Hashimu, Solomon E. Arase, David O. Omojola. Furthermore, the chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim A. Lamorde has been promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police. The chairman of the commission, Mr. Parry Osayande, called on all personnel of the Nigeria Police Force to rise up to the security challenges confronting the nation as the commission would not hesitate to wield the big stick on all who would not put in their best towards the furtherance of the Nigeria Police Reform.

there will be power generation that will meet the demands of consumers in the next few years. It could be recalled that Financial Times of London last week first reported that electricity tariffs in the country will increase in April by up to 88 per cent under reforms designed to revive the power sector and attract outside investors, saying that the proposed new rates will be announced in the coming weeks, ahead of the privatisation of 18 state-run power generation, distribution and transmission companies later this year.

FG, states, LGs share N419bn By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federation Accounts Allocation Committee yesterday distributed the total sum of N419.3 billion to the three tiers of government for the month of January. The Federal Government got 173.447 billion, (52 percent); states, 87.94 billion, (26 percent); local government councils had 67.825 billion, ( 20 percent) while 13 percent of the figure which amounted to 38.940 billion went for derivation. According to the communiqué issued after the meeting, the distributable statutory revenue for the month was N368.186 billion, which shows a decrease of 85.554 billion or 18 percent when compared to that of December, 2011. The sum of N187.090 billion was proposed as augmentation as a result of shortfall in distributable revenue. The 7.617 billion refunded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) was also distributed by the committee. The total revenue distributable for the month (including VAT) therefore was N614.004 billion and this shows a decrease of N2.921 billion or 0.48 percent compared to the amount distributed in December, 2011. There was an exchange gain of 8.19 billion being the difference between the average prevailing exchange rate and the existing budgeted rate.

DCP disagrees with IG over checkpoints Contd from Page 1 “There is difference between do not put up road-block and leave the road completely. We still owe it a duty to put checkpoints in some important places. “The instruction of the IG is very clear between state boundaries. I should know who are coming in to my state and know what they are carrying”, Sobulo said. The deputy commissioner said that the Boko Haram sect,

together with some criminals, are all over the country, hence everyone has to be securityconscious. “So what you people are saying is that we should leave our borders and boundaries porous without checking what is being carried in?”, he queried. Sobulo said that armed robberies had been reduced by 80 per cent in the entire SouthWest and Edo due to checkpoints mounted in strategic places. The News Agency of Nigeria

(NAN) said its checks revealed that checkpoints have yet to be dismantled by the police in some areas, including Pedro in Somolu. Other places are Iju-Ishaga Roundabout, Oshodi, especially at Ogun-Oloko, Ladipo along Arowojobe and Alagbado Crossing at Toyin bus-Stop and at Ijegun-Ikotun link road. Others are Ponle Bus-Stop, along Egbeda-Idimu Road, IsheriIjegun, as well as Isheri-Osun/ Jakande Estate road.

NAN checks revealed that in most of the places, the checkpoints are mounted in the early morning, between 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock, or in the evening from 7 o’clock. Further investigations by our reporter showed that virtually all existing checkpoints across the country, prior to the IGP’s order have remained intact, indicating that the officers and men of the Force have defied the directive by their chief.


Sardauna Foundation inaugurates advisory council today


he Governor of Niger state and chairman, Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation (SABMF), Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu will today, inaugurate a 12member Advisory Council of the Ahmadu Bello Foundation to proffer advice on socio-economic advancement of the North. This was contained in a press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Aliyu, Malam Danladi Ndayebo and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday. According to the statement, the ultimate objective of the council is to brainstorm and come up with suggestions that would make life more meaningful for Northerners. The statement explained that the Northern Governors Forum (NGF), in its bid to make the region compete favourably with its counterparts, had launched the Sardauna Foundation to identify and strengthen the region’s capacity as a regional development driver not only in Nigeria but in Africa. “The advisory council would provide high level advice on how to revive the legacies of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello and also generate practical programmes that would improve the socio-political and economic condition of the region,” the statement said.


Madalla blast: Suspect accuses SSS of concocting evidence By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ne of the suspects in the on-going trial of the six persons alleged to be members of the Boko Haram sect, Shuaibu Abubakar, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), tortured

him into endorsing the “manufactured” statement credited to him. The trial judge, Justice Bilkisi Aliyu, had on February, 2, 2012 aaordered for a trial-within-atrial to ascertain the veracity of the allegation of the suspect that he was forced into accepting the statement credited to him by the

SSS. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Abubakar, while opening his defence on the allegation of torture made against the SSS, further reiterated that he was beaten and forced to thumb-print the statement as his own. A Senior Investigation Officer,

Soldiers subjected to security check at Army Barracks, yesterday in Jos.

Photo: NAN

Kano: JTF arrest four Boko Haram suspects after gun duel From Edwin Olofu & Bala Nasir, Kano


he Joint Military Task Force in Kano has arrested four suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect after a gun duel with the sect members in Hotoro area of the ancient city. The sect members who were heavily armed with guns and can- made explosives attacked JTF from two directions, but the attack was repelled by the superior firepower of the JTF. The source added that the gunmen fled running in

different directions, but the JTF gave them a hot chase and apprehended some of them in a residence in Kawo area. Assorted arms and ammunitions including locally made bombs were recovered by the JTF. A police officer was said to have sustained injuries during the attack and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital in the state. The spokesperson of the task force Lt. Ihedi Iweha Ikedichi confirmed the arrest of the four men suspected to be members of the sect, but declined to

comment on number of casualties recovered in the area. Residents said they heard gunshots in the wee hours of Wednesday as they were preparing to go for the early morning prayers that were followed with heavy sounds of explosion. Aminu Ibrahim, a resident of Tishama said: “We were preparing for our prayers when we started hearing gunshots; initially we thought it was the normal warning shots that security agents used to fire. But in some

few minutes we started hearing heavy sounds of explosion, I immediately asked members of my family to lie down. We remained like that for over one hour without knowing exactly what happened. It was later we discovered it was the security agents that engaged some people in a shootout.” Our correspondent gathered reliably from a top security source that members of the sect attacked the JTF at a junction in Hotoro area where they have been stationed since the deadly attack on the January 20, 2012.

Mr. James Izi who led five other investigators of the SSS, denied the suspect’s allegation that he was tortured and forced to admit the statement as his. Izi, who is the chairman of the Special Investigation Panel of the SSS on the Suleja blast, told the court that the suspect gave his statement voluntarily; but Abubakar, who was led in cross examination, said: “The prosecutor only asked me what my occupation was and I told them I blast stones and sell fish for a living”. Meanwhile, the court rejected an attempt by the prosecutor, Mr. Thompson Olatigbe to move an application for the stay of the bail granted the suspects. The judge held that the action was speculative as no surety had come forward to facilitate the release of the suspects. She further stated that the application was unnecessary as the pending appeal against the bail could go on without it. Olatigbe withdrew the application and the matter was adjourned till today on the trial within trial. It would be recalled that the suspects, Shuaibu Abubakar, Salisu Ahmed, Umar Babagana, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adam and Umar Ibrahim, were arraigned for allegedly committing acts of terrorism by causing the death of sixteen persons at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Suleja, Niger state through an improvised explosive device (IED) on March 3, 2011. The accused persons are also alleged to have on the same day committed acts of terrorism by causing the explosion at a political rally in Suleja, Niger state which resulted in the death of three persons. They are also accused of causing the explosion of an IED on 23rd May, 2011 which resulted in the death of three peace officers in Dakwa village in Bwari Area Council of Abuja.

N9bn scam: Bankole awarded contracts to fake companies, says EFCC By Lambert Tyem


Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday was told that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), could not establish the addresses of the various companies which executed the N9 billion contract awarded by the leadership of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole. While testifying before the court, the prosecution witness, Assistant Superintendent of Ibrahim Ahmed, said in the process of investigation, EFCC

attempted a physical verification of the companies that were awarded the contract, but discovered that the addresses were non-existent. Wilson Uwujaren, Ag. Head, Media and Publicity in the EFCC, said further in a statement that since physical verification was not possible, the commission resorted to writing letters inviting the directors of the companies for questioning. Ahmed said the letters were returned to the office by the courier service three weeks later because the addresses were not traceable. “Owing to the fact that we

could not trace the addresses of the companies, we decided to write the MD’s of the companies. “We wrote the letters and sent them through UPS Courier Service but the letters were returned three weeks later because UPS said they couldn’t trace the addresses” the witness said. The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo sought to tender a document obtained from the former Speaker by the EFCC to the court as evidence but the defence counsel, O. Akanni, objected on the grounds that the documents have not been certified. This prompted Keyamo to

withdraw the document while seeking for time to get all the documents certified. The trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowa adjourned the case to April 3rd, 2012, for continuation of trial. It would be recalled that Bankole was arraigned on June 8, 2011, on a 16-count charge of contract inflation and fraudulent embezzlement of public fund. He filed two separate motions on June 13 and July 26, 2011 asking the court to quash the charges against him on the ground that the proof of evidence did not disclose any shred of

criminality against him and on another ground that Mr. Keyamo, the EFCC counsel, should be disqualified from prosecuting the case as he has through his previous antecedents, shown that he was biased and impartial towards the accused person. But the court, on December 19, 2011, dismissed the two applications filed by Bankole to stop his trial with the presiding judge, Justice Okorowa, insisting that there is sufficient evidence placed before the court linking him to the alleged crime.



CJN summons High Court Judge over jailed Edo AG From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Chief Justice of the Federation and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC, Justice Dahiru Musdapher has summoned a judge of the Federal High Court, Benin City, Justice Adamu Hobon to explain the circumstances which led to the jail sentence on the Edo State Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana in January. The call was sequel to a demand for his dismissal contained in a petition by a group known as Nigerians United for Justice, NUJU. The group, a coalition of Political parties, Labour and civil society organizations in Edo State had in the petition to the Chief Justice, dated February2, 2012 and signed by Comrade B.S. Kadiri, the Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC in Edo state and 8 others, called for the dismissal of Justice Hobon.

The group said their petition against Justice Hobon, was over the “abuse of judicial powers and obvious disregard for due process and the rule of law in maliciously committing the person of Dr Osagie Obayuwana, the Honorable Attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice Edo State to prison over a state matter with personal wrongdoing traceable to him”. NUJU accused Justice Hobon of abusing the judicial powers vested in him “in deliberately violating the fundamental rights of Dr Osagie Obayuwana by maliciously committing him to prison for reason that the Edo State Government allegedly refused to obey an order of court made in 2003”. In response to the group’s letter, Justice Musdapher, said “the petition is self-explanatory”, adding that “I shall be glad to have your comments within one month from the date of receipt of this letter please”.

Katsina police arrest 11 for chopping off man’s hand From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he police in Katsina state yesterday paraded 11 street urchins, popularly known as Kauraye for allegedly amputating a 29-old-man, Malam Mustapha of his hands after inflicting serious bodily injuries on him. Parading the suspect at the Katsina Central Police Station, Kofar Soro, the state commissioner of police, Alhaji Ibrahim Muhammad, noted that the police got the information on Monday that the miscreants invaded Shararra-Pipe quarters in Katsina metropolis. According to the police commissioner,the dreaded thugs, attacked and brutalized residents of the area, resulting in injury to some

residents as theydescended on their victims with dangerous weapons. He noted that when the police got wind of the incident, it went after the miscreants who, on sighting the police, took to their heels leaving their victims in pools of their blood. Muhammad averred that, working on a tipoff, the police invaded the thug’s hide-out in the early hours of yesterday and arrested 11 thugs and recovered some dangerous weapons and items in the miscreants den. The police commissioner disclosed that some of the items recovered include, two motorcycles, one television set, two electric fans, charms, 14 swords, one stabiliser, seven sticks, two pressing Irons, two generator sets, one complete

toilet set, one wall clock and house breaking implements. Muhammad, who said the victim of the attack was in Katsina General Hospital receiving treatment, assured that on completion of investigation, the miscreants would be sent to court to face the full wrath of the law. He similarly vowed that in conformity with the resolve of the state Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema to fight the menace of these thugs, the police would not relent in their effort in getting rid of the dangerous activities of Kauraye thugs in the state. The commissioner of police who visited the victim on his sick bed at the Katsina General Hospital donated the sum of N10, 000 to assist his family in footing medical bills.

Theft: Deji Abiola wants court to quash charge against him From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


eji Abiola, son of the self acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, yesterday told Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High court sitting in Ikeja to quash the one count charge of stealing made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and discharge him. At the resumed hearing of the matter, Deji Abiola’s counsel, O.A. Fasugba told the court that he was ready to move his application. “Today was fixed by the court for hearing of our Motion on Notice dated 13 September, 2011. “The motion was brought pursuant to Section 6 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “We are praying for an order of the court to quash the one count charge against the defendant applicant, an order discharging the defendant and any other order that the court deems fit.” The fulcrum of the application was predicated on the grounds that the complainant has no prosecurial power to file charges against the defendant as the charge of stealing is a state offence that cannot be prosecuted by the commission. He added that the charge brought on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was incompetent, adding that there was no proper complainant before the court and therefore the court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute the case. Other reasons adduced in the application which is supported by a six paragraph affidavit included that the totality of evidence has not revealed any prima facie case and was therefore frivolous and an abuse of court process since

there is no complainant before the court. In his response while opposing the application, counsel to the anti graft commission, Omeiza Adebola told the court to discountenance and dismiss the application as it was premature and incompetent. According to him, the single issue that needed to be determined is whether the application is not premature. He cited Section 260 (2) (4) (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos, which states that any challenge to a proof of evidence must be after the prosecution has closed its case and any application asking for a case to be quashed, must be raised at the point of arraignment. He added that the application need not be entertained at all as they have gotten a Fiat from the Attorney General through the Lagos Director of Public Prosecution. The case was adjourned till March 12, 2012 for ruling on the application. The antigraft agency had arraigned Deji on June 30, 2011 on allegations of collecting the sum of N35.5million from Mr. Jide Jose under the pretext of helping him to import printing machines from Switzerland.

Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo (right), in a handshake with US Ambassador to Nigeria , Mr Terence Mc Culley, during the envoy's visit to the Vice-President, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

2 thieves bag 2-year jail term in Yobe From Godswill Uche, Damaturu


wo men, Stanley Amara, 32, from Abia state; and Ndubuisi Chinaka, 22 from Imo state, who specialise in snatching money from people coming out from banks, have been convicted by the Chief Magistrate

Court 1, in Damaturu, presided over by the trial Magistrate, Habu Yerima Saleh. They were charged for criminal conspiracy and belonging to a gang of thieves contrary to sections 97 and 306 of the Penal Code Law. They were arrested along

Rangers hunt two killer lions in Yobe From Godswill Uche, Damaturu


pecialist hunters recruited by the Yobe state Ministry of Environment and rangers under the Department of Forestry and Wildlife as well as forest guards have been dispatched by the ministry to search and destroy two lions that have been roaming the landscape in Yobe state, killing humans and animals.

The Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Ahmed Wakil Sarki, who disclosed this to our reporter in his office in Damaturu, assured that the hunters who know the terrain where the beasts are, would surely capture them dead or alive. He said, the Wildlife Act, which deals with the management of wildlife; disallows hunting for wildlife

without the permission of the ministry of environment and so, when the ministry heard of the rampaging lions, action was immediately taken to contain the two lions. “Initially it was only one that we came to know about, but later we realised they are two and have caused casualties, two human lives and that of about 18 animals ranging from cows to rams and others,” he said.

Gashua road by a police team attached to the SIB, Damaturu on surveillance duty on March30, 2011. One bathroom slippers and nails were recovered from them. On interrogation, they confessed to using the items for puncturing tyres of unsuspecting vehicle owners whom they suspect to carry money. The victims money are usually removed from the car when their attention are focused on changing punctured tyres, They also told the court that they were introduced to the crime by one Chogozie who is now at large. Having found the two guilty of the offences as charged, they were convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment each with no option of fine and to pay a fine of N3000 each or in default of payment serve another prison term of three months.



Bayelsa gov declares emergency on education By Lawrence Olaoye


he new Bayelsa state governor, Henry SeriakeDickson, yesterday disclosed that his government has declared a state of emergency on the education sector. Seriake-Dickson while delivering his valedictory speech after submitting his resignation letter to the leadership of the

House of Representatives also pledged to foster better relationship with members of the House of Assembly and maintain law and order in the state. He explained that the election of the principal officers in the state House of Assembly was conducted without any executive interference saying, "I'm not going to let you down as I am committed to operate a transparent government. Just

yesterday, I declared a state of emergency in the education sector and from now onward you will see a new Bayelsa state. "Our democracy generally is a work in progress, there are areas we need to work hard at and improve upon in terms of how members of the National Assembly relate better with their governors and members of National Assembly have a stake in their political parties

and in other activities. I'm in a better position than most to talk about this because I was actually a victim for most of my period of executive highhandedness and unnecessary victimizations. "I suffered that and therefore when similar situation arise, it will be my duty to broker some kind of understanding between parliamentarians and their governors. Even governors, I

think they are getting democratic understanding, all of us are learning and I think we are better students today." Dickson who expressed his readiness to serve the people of the state, noted that the five years he spent as a federal lawmaker accorded him the opportunity "to have better understanding of the problems, challenges and the potentials of our great country." On the security in the state, the Governor said "the security situation has even become better if you've been following the developments in Bayelsa state. The security situation got to the climax such that every day two to three, four people die everyday. You could hear of cult activities, violence and so on", he said.

Opposition laud Dakingari on education From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi


he gubernatorial candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Kebbi state, Alhaji Salihu Isa Nataro has commended the effort of Governor Usman Nasamu Dakingari for merging some secondary schools across the state. Speaking yesterday at Jega, his home town, he said the merger would help in promoting the education sector and reduce

corruption in the state. Nataro then urged the Kebbi state government to employ graduates as primary school teachers as some teachers of that level were not qualified. He also appealed to the Kebbi state governor to involve the opposition in the task of building the state while calling on him to approve the District Head at Emire being the largest commercial center in the state and has people holding prominent positions in government.

Deplorable abattoir: ‘Epidemic abattoir in the state capital. looms in Lokoja’ of theTheonlychairman of the Lokoja From Sam Egwu, Lokoja

U Sokoto State governor-elect, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (middle), taking oath of office before Chief Justice Aishatu Dahiru during the swearing-in ceremony, yesterday, in Sokoto.

nless urgent attention is paid to the reconstruction of an abattoir with modern facilities, residents of Lokoja the kogi state capital and its environs risks the outbreak of epidemics due to the deplorable state

IITA offers recipe for food insecurity, unemployment From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga has said tapping research outputs from agricultural research centers will help governments to tackle the twin problems of food insecurity and the rising wave of unemployment. Sanginga who stated this during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, explained that "We have the technologies and knowledge to help boost agriculture

and we are ready to share these with partners." He said investments in research and development backed with the necessary political support could reduce high food import burden and improve agriculture. Pledging to step up assistance to farmers in Ekiti State, Sanginga called for greater cooperation between IITA and the government of Ekiti. Endowed with favourable agroecological zones, Ekiti is among the states that have over the years benefited from IITA's interventions in research and development work in

cocoa, yam, cassava, banana and plantain. For instance, farmers in that state received improved cassava cuttings from the institute, while the clean seed yam technology is equally offering farmers 'seeds of hope'. According to Sanginga, partnership was important if the goal of reducing the number of poor people and guaranteeing food security was to be achieved. While urging the governor to tap the available improved planting materials at the institute to maximize yield on farmers' fields, he said, the

Lagos moves to stop spread of Lassa fever From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


agos State government has stressed the need for members of the public to ensure adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to avert the spread of Lassa fever in the state. Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Lagos advised members of the public to avoid

contact with rats, cover their food and water properly, cook all their food thoroughly, as well as block all rat hideouts and holes through which rats can enter the house. Idris similarly stressed the importance of storing grains and other dried food items in containers with covers, properly disposing of refuse, maintaining adequate sanitation, as well as keeping pets like cats in the house. Idris explained that Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused

by the Lassa virus that is associated with persistent high fever, adding that as the disease progresses into a severe form, the patient begin to develop facial swelling, fluid in the chest, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina and the gut, low blood pressure, shock, disorientation, coma and kidney and liver failure. According to him, other usual symptoms include general weakness, malaise headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. He said: "Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa

yellow cassava varieties recently developed by IITA and national partners could help the state in improving the nutrition of people suffering from vitamin A deficiency. Other areas in which the institute could support farmers in Ekiti state include deployment of improved processing technologies through the value chain approach and capacity building of agricultural actors. The director general also presented the 40 percent cassava bread to the governor and reiterated that IITA has a number of technologies in other crops that the state could tap. virus and associated with persistent high fever. It is spread by exposure to and eating of foods contaminated with rat dropping or urine. It is also spread by direct contact with the blood, urine, faces or other bodily secretions of person with Lassa fever." He pointed out that members of the public should report the case of anybody with the symptoms or persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever to the nearest health facility in the state just as he advised health workers to ensure that they take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients.

butchers association Alhaji Musa Ali Galadima who made this observation, noted that the only abattoir in the city which lacks modern facilities like slaughter slabs and cold room, was an eyesore. The chairman stated that they were forcefully relocated from the Felele area of the town by the authorities to the present site with a promise of a better and hygienic place, part of which was the assurance of befitting place at the new international market. " We were disappointed when they told us to remain where we are now till the completion of the international market. Now that the market has been put to use without our Abattoir in it,that is why we are crying to government to come to our aid." he appealed. The butchers' boss said lokoja, as the state capital deserves a better abattoir to avoid transmitting disease to the people through beef saying that the present location was nothing but an invitation to epidemic. He noted that the present ramshackle abattoir lacked electricity, good drainage system and pipe borne water, with unclean water usually scooped to clean the beef even as they have been faithful in paying taxes to the government. "We have laid our complain to the local government even to the state government. Their officials have visited here on many occasions with promises without fulfillment. The veterinary doctors and sanitary inspectors have been coming here too but they keep telling us of the conveyance of our plight to the government but we are yet to see any concrete change " he lamented.



Lagos govt alerts residents on imminent rainstorm From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


L-R: Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Lawan Ngama and Commissioner, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Huseni Gamgun, during the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

CBN staff donate medical items to St. Gerald Hospital

From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


taff of the Kaduna branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have donated medical items to the Saint Gerald Catholic Hospital, Kaduna. The, gesture they said was part of their contribution towards assisting the less-privileged in the hospital. Presenting the items, the CBN Kaduna branch controller, Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim Gusau, said that, “the CBN staff have decided

to touch the lives of the lessprivileged people and assist organizations who contribute to the lives of the most vulnerable in the society. “We started by alms collection from staff who donate voluntarily but when we saw that it was not enough to meet our desires, we decided to collectively task ourselves and contribute towards purchasing these items and we do this annually after enough has been gathered.” “The choice of Saint Gerald

Catholic Hospital is in recognition of its contributions to persons with health challenges, without any form of discrimination, particularly accident victims. Some of the items included, a unit of baby incubator, a complete set of oxygen cylinder, a unit of electric suction machine, various injections including, hydrocoton, Amino ply, frusemade, buscopan, tramadol, pentazoanic, Hydalazin, piroxican, Ergometrin, surgical and disposable gloves, crepe bandages, manitol, Nifedipine Dexcel,

Syringes among others. Reverend Sister Theresa Gung who received the items on behalf of the hospital administration thanked the CBN staff for the donation and assured that they could be used judiciously. In a similar development, the CBN staff have also completed the construction of borehole, piping to the tank, installation of submersible pump, tank stand and an overhead water tank at the Islamic Medical Foundation, Kaduna.

FG approves bitumen project development plan By Mohammed Kandi


n its effort to diversify the national economy via the solid minerals and metal sectors, the Federal government yesterday endorsed a development plan for the execution of the bitumen Project in Nigeria. Receiving the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jean Gauthier, in Abuja, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, in a statement issued by the ministry’s Deputy Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu, remarked that the move was in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration. The minister noted that “Apart from oil and gas, the nation’s minerals sector is being looked at as a viable alternative source of revenue generation. Also, the expectation is for us to play a major role in seeing that

sources of income for the country are expanded”. Arc. Sada explained that the development plans approved by President Goodluck Jonathan called for timelines for the exploitation of bitumen in the country. The minister expressed pleasure on the fact that three Canadian mining companies have already indicated interest in developing the bitumen project in

Nigeria, adding that, “the forthcoming International Mining Convention under the auspices of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto, Canada from March 4-7, 2012 would provide the opportunity to showcase the investment potentials in the Nigeria’s minerals and metal sector to attract foreign investors”. The minister also noted that the ministry through its

Sustainable Management of the Mineral Resources Project of the World Bank was working with various Canadian companies for their consultancy services. Earlier in his remarks, the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Jean Gauthier said the purpose of the visit was to foster collaboration with the Nigerian government for the development of her minerals and metal sector.

ore than a week after rainstorm wrecked havoc in Lagos and killed about 15 people, including 10 school children and destroyed properties worth millions of naira, the state government, yesterday warned residents to be more vigilant as there were indications of more strong winds would accompanying heavy rainfall this year. The state Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, made this disclosure at a town hall meeting, where Governor Babatunde Fashola, said that those who indulged in abuse of the environment were “enemy of the state” and would be treated as such. Speaking at the town hall meeting held at People’s Club of Nigeria, Surulere Local Government Area of the state, Mr Bello said the meeting was on the need to ensure effective environmental sanitation for a cleaner Lagos. According to him, the state was alerted of the impending violent storms by its in-house scientists and other weather forecasters in the state. He therefore, warned traders and other resident in the state to desist from of throwing wastes into canals and drains. He said markets which violated the environmental law of the state would be closed for three months. He however, advised the residents of Ojota and Origele to make use of life jackets at all time, saying there would be a stiffer penalty for anybody who refuses to make use of the jacket. In his remarks, the Managing Director of the Lagos State Water ways Authority, Engineer Yinka Marinho said his authority would not hesitate to arrest and prosecute anybody operating on waterways without life Jacket. Meanwhile, the Marine Police attached to the Lagos State Waterways Authority arrested a local boat sailor who carried 10 under aged school children without life jacket at Sabokoji Jetty area of Apapa.

N14.2m fraud: EFCC arraigns man From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday arraigned one Familuwa Olugbenga Peter before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on a seven-count charge of conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretences. Familuwa was said to have connived with two other people, one

already arraigned and the second at large to have collected the sum of N14.2 million naira from a man identified as Taheed Taiwo Hassan and his company, Enrich Investment Trust Limited on the pretence that they wanted to help ahim import second hand vehicles. According to the anti graft commission counsel, Atinuke Daramola, the offences were contrary to Section I (3) and 8 (A) of the Advanced Fee and Other

Fraud Related Offence Act, No 14, 2006 Familuwa and friends were said to have committed the offence between June 2007 and April 2008 within Ikeja judicial division. He pleaded not guilty to the seven counts and his counsel applied for bail as provided for under Section 35 (4) (5) of the 1999 constitution as amended and Section 18 (2) and 15 (3) of the Law of Administration of Criminal

Justice in Lagos state 2011. Justice Onigbanjo granted him bail in the sum of N250, 000 with two sureties who must have an evidence of tax payment for three years. The judge also ordered that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means while one must have a landed property within Lagos and must be ready to deposit his land papers at the court after it has been verified.



Wamakko sworn in for second term

Agric expatriate team begins work in Kwara

From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state government proposed team of experts to design the master plan on agriculture for the state has kicked off with the collaboration of three professors from the University of Corneal, New York City. They are Prof. Ronnie Coffman, Prof. Peter Gregory and Prof. Harold M. Vanes while Dr. Shomide Adegboyega, a consultant at the university serves as the Nigeria leader for the team. Others in the team include, the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah who is the leader of the local members leading other like Prof. M. A Balewu, Prof. Funsho Olulese and Dr. (Mrs) Fatimoh Adekola who were also staff of the institution. While addressing the team, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said the state government decided to assemble the experts not only to ensure that the state becomes the food baskets of the nation but also provides for the entire African continent which is in urgent need of food. He disclosed that the state has abundant fertile land with rivers, ready to be tapped for commercial farming, stressing that the government also has the political will to ensure the programme succeeds. Ahmed who insisted that Nigeria must stop importation of food said the state has already identified crops such as cassava, rice, Soya-beans and maize to be specialised upon, noting that such policy would provide jobs for 60 –70 percent of youths who constituted the population of the state. Earlier, the leader of the group, Dr. Shomide Adegboyega who admitted that the state had chosen the right experts on the plan, said they had worked in Indonesia, Kenya and many Africa countries stressing that, they have decided to assist the state.

Akwa Ibom state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio briefing journalists after meeting with Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Behind him is the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Umana Umana. Photo: Joe Oroye.

Atuche: Court refuses ex Bank PHB director’s application for Checkstay of proceedings From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, yesterday rejected an application for stay of proceedings filed by a former Director of Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Funmi Ademosun, pending the determination of his appeal. Ademosun who was answering charges of theft with the former Managing Director of the bank, Francis Atuche prayed the court to stay proceedings in his trial till the Court of Appeal determines his appeal against the earlier order made by the same court delivered on December 2, 2011 at the Court of Appeal. Ruling on the application moved by Ademosun’s counsel, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, the judge refused the application on the ground that the application was frivolous. Justice Onigbanjo

maintained that stay of proceedings could only be granted where there are special circumstances and considering the fact that the first defendant did not opposed the trial, it would amount to delaying trial unduly. Clarke had told the court that he had an application dated February 16, 2012 brought pursuant to Section 6 (C) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended praying the court to stay proceeding pending determination of appeal of the second defendant at the Court of Appeal. Clarke told the court that the right of an appeal while a matter is ongoing is guaranteed under Section 241(1) of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, adding that the refusal of the court to grant the stay would be inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution in its entirety.

Opposing the application, EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinhero argued that the application was incompetent and not supported by a valid notice of appeal. “The document presented is uncertified and this is inadmissible in court.” He argued that the approval must be in accordance to the provisions of Sections 103 and 104 of Evidence Act, 2011. “I urge your Lordship to avoid mischief tactics of the defence to truncate proceedings and you must refrain from granting the application. “Section 40 of the EFCC Act together with Section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2007 forbids your Lordship to entertain this nature of application. Justice Onigabnjoo therefore adjourned the matter till April 18 for trial.

Fire razes accounts department in Lagos Ministry By Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


he Accounts Department of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment was yesterday gutted by fire, which was allegedly sparked by electricity. The inferno which burnt everything in the department to ashes has exposed the 5th floor, where accounts is domiciled, burnt the roof, documents, computers, four

okoto state Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko and his deputy, Mukhtari Shagari were sworn- in for a second term, in a ceremony attended by a mammoth crowd in the state. Sokoto State Chief Judge, Justice Aisha Dahiru administered the oath of office to the governor at the Trade Fair Complex Sokoto, Wednesday. Speaking shortly after taking the oath of office, Wamakko promised to be fair and just to all citizens of the state irrespective of party affiliation. He noted that his administration recorded tremendous success in the area of education, health care and agriculture, in spite of distractions and litigation. The governor pledged to justify the confidence reposed in him by the people of the state. “As we open a new chapter, I shall remain focused on the programmes itemized on our blueprint and make all sacrifices needed for the development of the state,” he said.

offices and everything within reach in the department. A civil servant who did not want his name mentioned told our reporter how the fire started. “The blaze started at about 5 am on Wednesday morning in the topmost floor of the four-storey building when a switch of one of the airconditioner in Directorate of Finance and Administration (DFA) malfunctioned due to a power surge when the Power

Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN) restored power to the building,’’ he said. He added that the fire which gutted a section of the building was noticed by the security officers on duty who immediately raised alarm and quickly switched off the power supply to the ministry. Our correspondent learnt that the fire was put off by the men of the Lagos state Fire Service who arrive the scene

one hour after the fire has gutted the entire rooms in the directorate. Confirming the incident, Commissioner for Information and strategy, Mr Aderemi Ibirogba in an interview with newsmen, said that the fire torched a section of the building at the early hours of Wednesday morning. Ibirogba clarified that the inferno was not as a result of an act of sabotage but due to a faulty air-conditioner.

points cause traffic gridlock on Kogi bridge From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ravellers coursing through the ever busy AbujaLokoja-Okene highway are having hard times due to the prevailing security challenges which have warranted numerous checkpoints along the highway. Both ends of Murtala Mohammed bridge across River Niger in Koton-Karfe, Kogi state, have been barred to free flow of traffic as travellers undergo intensive searches by security operatives stationed in the area. The searches, it was gathered, are not unconnected rumours that the assailants, who carried out last week's jail break in Koton-Karfe Federal Prisons, are planning another attack. Commuters who spoke with our reporter on the bridge yesterday expressed frustration over the delay in their journeys which is caused by the snail speed movement at the checkpoints. In a related development, motorists are experiencing similar frustrations along Itobe bridge through Ajaokuta where their journeys are prolonged by road blocks mounted by soldiers and policemen.



Lagos to clampdown on tanker drivers after 72 hours ultimatum From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Lagos state government has pledged to clampdown on tanker drivers fond of parking indiscriminately on Lagos roads should they refuse to comply with the 72 hours ultimatum to vacate the roads following the accident which occurred at Mile 2 in which three people died and 36 vehicles were burnt. The Commissioner for Transport, Comrade Kayode Opeifa who said this while addressing the media after a meeting with the representatives of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petrol Tankers Drivers (PTD) Branch, Lagos Zone, said the state government was determined to ensure that tanker drivers complied with the directive in order to further ensure the protection of lives and property of Lagosians.

Physically challenged law graduate pleads to serve From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and Physically challenged 2008/2009 University of, law graduate, Bar. Ehigie Omoregbe Wisdom who is currently serving with the Edo State House of Assembly, yesterday, appealed to concerned authorities to absorb him into the state or federal government legal units as counsel. Ehigie who became visually impaired at the age of two, spoke in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Benin City, the state capital. He particularly paid tribute to the Senator representing Edo South senatorial district, Sen. Ehigie Uzamere for sponsoring him through law school and for empowering him with a laptop to assist him in doing his job; even when he was not related to him. He admitted that life has been quite challenging but he was able to make it at law school and was never discriminated against. ‘I’m still single and seriously searching…determination leads to success tomorrow, except you want to make yourself incapacitated, nobody is actually incapacitated, when you are taught you ‘ll be enabled, you will be productive and when you’re productive, you ‘ll be gainfully employed’.

According to him, “enough is enough of the menace of tanker drivers on Lagos roads and the killing of innocent people”. The commissioner said the state government had intended to clean up the entire ApapaOshodi Expressway by today immediately the ultimatum

lapses by the midnight of Wednesday, February 22, 2012, that but due to the consultation by NUPENG, Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch, Lagos Zone, the state government has decided to give the Union an additional one – day ultimatum.

Opeifa said that by tomorrow, February 23, 2012, the state government officials would visit the Apapa–Oshodi Expressway to monitor the clean up exercise expected to be done by NUPENG, PTD Branch, Lagos Zone and ensure that the tanker drivers only park on one side of

the service lane and not on the expressway. He added that if by Saturday, February 25, 2012 environmental sanitation day in the state, the Petrol Tanker Drivers Association did not obey the directive, the state government would move in to ensure compliance.

L-R: Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, Minister of State for FCT, Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, and Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa'i, during the Federal Executive Council meeting, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Community protests land grab, relocation by Benue commissioner From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


esidents of Achusa community, a village at the outskirts of Makurdi, the Benue state capital have threatened to institute legal action against the Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Mr. John Tondo over alleged attempt to take over their land illegally contrary to the provisions of the Land Use Act section 28 of 1990. The community, in a petition signed by its legal solicitors, Samuel Nguekwagh & Co, Amber Chambers, a copy which was made available to our reporter, accused the commissioner of colluding with a traditional chief in the area and non-government surveyors to deprive the people of the area of their

traditional homes which they had lived on for the past sixty years before the institution of the land use Act in 1978. According to the petition which was also copied to the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner of Police, Director State Security Service (SSS) and the traditional chiefs in the area, the residents said the land was surveyed during the regime of the first civilian governor of the state, Mr. Aper Aku and later reviewed by TPS 133 and 276 upon which developments and settlements in the area are based, with majority of inhabitants issued with certificates of occupancy and rights of occupancy based on effective planned layouts which

have not been revoked by any succeeding administrations in the state. They described the planned resurveying of the land as a broad day robbery by the Land and Survey Commissioner, maintaining that he has adamantly refused to embrace dialogue with the community through their legal representative as earlier agreed for peace and harmonious existence in the area. “It is noteworthy that during the regime of Governor George Akume, the then commissioner Hon. Titus Madugu met with Achusa community and it was mutually and amicably agreed that Achusa Land Phase 1 be surveyed and plotted out. The community considered part of their

Former minister tasks Nigerians on polio From Iliya Garba, Minna


igeria’s former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu has urged the Federal Government to exert more effort at fighting the wild polio virus to non-existence. He made this known recently at Zungeru, in Niger state during the flag off anti-polio campaign by the traditional rulers, saying that no nation could free itself completely of the polio virus because of the high fertility rate. “Remember, everyday new

babies are born and therefore the number of polio cases continue to be on the increase but if you don’t relent in the fight, you are likely to achieve result but the maximum result you can get at any given time is 80%”, Prof. Nwosu said. The former minister said the polio campaign was the fight for susceptible groups which government must consistently accord priority through the routine immunisation carried out in affected areas. He maintained that

“government at all levels have been performing effectively to make Nigeria polio free, polio is like a wound which if not properly look after, would go but will rear its head back”. Prof. Nwosu who said Nigeria ranks with Pakistan, India and Afghanistan as countries that have polio cases,commended the untiring effort of the Niger state governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu for making it duty bound to carry out house to house campaign against polio in all the 25 local government areas of the state.

land for NUJ village and Baptist High School. That government promised and mutually agreed to provide water, electricity, streets and occupiers would retain their portions of land pursuant to sections 29 and 34 of the Land Use Act”, part of the petition stated. The community is therefore demanding among other things, that if the government actually intends to acquire the land, it should first honour the agreement over Achusa Phase 1 and provide amenities/developments agreed upon as well as employ dialogue with the community in the overall interest of justice and fairness. Samuel Nguekwagh contended that though his clients were not anti-government agents and were ready to work and cooperate with government to enhance peace and development of the state as well as the community, it would however ensure that the right thing was done in the area. It was further gathered that during the alleged illegal invasion of the area, one Daniel Goja was arrested in his house and detained by the police at the state CID for more than five hours on the orders of the Land and Survey Commissioner for demanding to know their mission on the land. Efforts to get the reaction of the commissioner for Land and Survey, Mr. John Tondo at the time of filing this report failed as his cell phone was switched off.


Katsina governor assures non-indigenes on security From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina


overnor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State has assured non-indigenes residing in the state of the security of their lives and property. Barr. Shema who stated this while receiving the association of indigenous Nigerians residing in the state, urged them to continue to carry out their legitimate businesses in the state. According to him, Nigeria would emerged stronger from its current security challenged which he said would make it more united as a one solid entity. The governor assured that the government would continue to carry them along in the area of education and other vital social welfare packages of the state government. He specifically promised to ensure more quotas for nonindigenes in the state schools, adding that non-indigenes are already enjoying the government free education polity and the payment of WAEC and NECO fees. Shema also assured that the government would continue to support members of the association that are farmers with fertilizers, adding that Hajj seats would be allocated to them. Earlier, the chairman of the association, Mr. Dauda Auta Magaji called on the governor to always consider their members in its numerous welfare packages. Mr Magaji praised the governor for his leadership qualities which he said had made the state "a model of peace and security in the country", assuring the support of his members in sustaining the tempo.


Alleged N75.5bn scam: NAIRDA boss denies arraignment A By Sunday Ejike, Benjamin

multi-national company, NAIRDA Limited has said that its Deputy Managing Director, Hillel Gilboa was never arraigned before any court along with former Minister of Works, Dr. Hassan Lawal for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of over N75.5 billion. Already, the Economic and


he Kano state Commissioner for Works, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, has given reasons why it is planning to sell houses belonging to government (GPs) in the state on owner occupier basis at affordable prices. The commissioner who disclosed this yesterday in a press statement stated that government decided to sell the houses with a view to assisting occupiers of such houses to become house owners. Engineer Yusuf said the

charge against the ex- Minister without the names of NAIRDA Limited, its DMD, Hillel Gilboa and three others. In a statement in Abuja, the company said Mr. Hillel Gilboa was never arraigned or accused in the first instance in the matter, and therefore could not have been dropped. While holding that the name of NAIRDA Limited was erroneously included in the said charges, EFCC pleaded for

L-R: Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, receiving a plaque from the Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ade Abolurin, during the DG’s visit to the National Headquarters of NSCDC, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

‘Why we are selling govt houses’ From Bala Nasir, Kano

Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since withdrawn the criminal charges brought against the company's Deputy Managing Director, Hillel Gilboa and three others. Counsel to the anti- graft commission, Wahab Shittu said the company is to testify against the ex- Works Minister as a star witness. Following this development, the anti-graft agency is to file an amended

an adjournment to enable it file an amendment charges against the former Works Minster. The former Minister who is standing multiple trials was arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court for allegedly conspiring with some firms to defraud the Federal Government to of N75.5 billion and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17 [1] [a] of the Money laundering [Prohibition Act] 2004 and also punishable under section 14 [1] of the same Act. NAIRDA Limited and its DMD, Hillel Gilboa was listed alongside Dr. Adeogba Ademola, Digital Toll Coy Ltd., Okala Philip Yakubu, Thahal Paul, Swede Control Intertex Ltd., Proman Vital ventures Ltd., PEB 04 Nig. Ltd., and Lassa Ltd as co-accused. However, in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of NAIRDA Limited and dated January 19, 2012, EFCC said the name of the inclusion of the company's name in the charge sheet was an error on its part. At the last hearing of the matter, Justice Adamu Bello had ruled that the former Minister has a case to answer. However, following the withdrawal of criminal charges against th e four accused persons, EFCC counsel, Wahab Shittu informed the court of his intention to amend the charge sheet and asked for an adjournment and the matter was adjourned to March 27 for hearing.

Corruption claims exaggerated, says NNPC GMD


present administration in the state will "continue to work with all stakeholders in the Kano project so as to achieve its developmental objectives designed for the state". He disclosed that the government will continue to execute more developmental projects for with a view to remodel Kano so as to make it an enviable one among its peers. "Government would do everything possible to provide facilities and enabling environment for foreign investors to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the state", he said.

he Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Corporation (NNPC), Austin Oniwon on Monday said corruption within NNPC was overblown, casting doubt on whether the firm intends to tackle what several reports have highlighted as a major problem. Numerous reports and audits have said graft is rife within NNPC. Transparency International and Revenue Watch last year ranked it as the least transparent oil company in the world. "I think NNPC corruption is blown out of proportion. Corruption

series organized by the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Speaking, Mr Fay noted that Northern and Southern Ireland were engulfed in political and religious conflict that led to loss of many lives and wealth for about 30 years until both parties agreed to come to the discussion table with a view to putting an end to the elongated fracas. "Both sides were paranoid and felt they were under siege, we

called it 'Paranocracy', which gave rise to initiating a dialogue framework document which provides that respect for human rights, weapons decommissioning and policing and justice", the envoy noted. He also insisted that "there is no intractable situation and violence does not solve the problem; violence from both sides has never worked and different people can live together but there

in NNPC is in the imagination of some people," Oniwon said at the opening of the Abuja 2012 Oil and Gas conference. President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense pressure to clean up Nigeria's 2 million barrel per day oil sector, after a week of protests over fuel prices revealed public anger about corruption and waste of the country' oil wealth. Last month, the Federal Government ordered an audit of its entire oil and gas sector following a week of anti-government protests. The anti-corruption watchdog, EFCC also began a investigation into

the sector and the Senate opened a separate probe into fuel subsidies, all within a week. Skeptics say the Nigerian government has invited auditors into its oil and gas sector before -and failed to act on their reports. A report compiled by international accounting firm KPMG into the state oil company has been on the oil minister's desk for a year, but no action has been taken on it yet. "No one in NNPC has ever been charged," Oniwon said, suggesting that this showed corruption is not a major issue.

Boko Haram: Irish envoy calls for dialogue I From Blessing Tunoh, Yola

rish Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Fay has advised both the government and the Baoko Haram sect to embrace dialogue as the antidote to the increasing spate of violence in the country. Mr Fay gave the advice in Yola while presenting a paper titled "The Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland-Lessons for Nigeria?" at the Diplomats lecture

is a need for strong leadership to achieve serenity." "It took Ireland 30 years to realize peace is possible, a lot of risks were taken by a lot of people. If it takes Nigeria that long to attain peace it's because they chose to go through it; you must identify what the issues are then compromise, do not assume you know what they want-when you get part of what you want and I get part of what I want we can

strike a deal", Fay stated. He therefore admonished the Federal Government to learn from the experiences of other countries adding that "government at all levels have to be prepared to talk and ensure that the culture of impunity does not sneak in; yes some people may continue with the violence and splinter groups may arise, it will take some time to quell the situation but it will happen if you are committed to it."



Dialogue: Our doors are open, says Boko Haram From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


he Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, aka Boko Haram, has offered an olive branch for dialogue should the authorities meet its major demand just as it claimed responsibility for Tuesday's deadly attacks at the popular Baga market in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, "to avenge" last Thursday's arrest of its member by some traders. Speaking to newsmen in a telephone conference in Maiduguri, spokesman of the group, Abul Qaqa, said the coordinated attacks followed the "insincerity" demonstrated by the traders for conniving with security operatives to apprehend their member. According to Qaqa, the group has no regret in launching the attacks because "we succeeded in eliminating all those that contributed to the arrest of our

member and whoever plans to do same, should prepare to pay the price". He further said: "People should not accuse us of killings anyone who was involved in this incident because we have severally warned the public to desist from conspiring with security agents to thwart our course as those found wanting will be blacklisted as enemies of Islam and will definitely face the harsh treatment we have been meting out to our targets". The spokesman who denied the claim made by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) that its personnel had gunned down eight sect members in a gun duel, explained that the group has no casualty, rather "we killed several soldiers who were deployed to quell the attack". Asked on the actual number of those killed by the sect in the attack considering the massive outcry by the public, he said it was impossible to quantify. "All I can confirm to you was that

our warriors shot to death all those that conspired against us, but I cannot precisely say how many‌" Qaqa also debunked a statement credited to Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima that government was conducting secret talks with Boko Haram. According to him, "any government official who claimed to be having any talks in whatsoever form has lied, in fact had it been we are deliberating with the authorities, we wouldn't have launched fresh attacks, like the one in Suleja, Kaduna and Maiduguri", he declared, adding "so people should not be deceived as we are not in contact with anybody in the name of dialogue". The spokesman, however, admitted that the group's doors for dialogue were still open should the authorities meet its major demand, which is the unconditional release of all members arrested from 2009 to date.

The Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Gwagwalada, Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, applying ashes to the faithful to herald the penitential season of Lent, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba leaders meet, dispel rumour of attacks in Kaduna From: Agaju Madugba


ommunity leaders of the three major Nigerian tribes-Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba living in Kaduna held a parley yesterday and urged the people to ignore insinuations of secret killings in the area. Speaking at the meeting, the District Head of Doka and the Bunun Zazzau, Alhaji Bala Mohammed Tijjani, explained that the get-together was designed to correct the rumour making the rounds that the Igbo and Yoruba living in Kaduna have been targeted for elimination. He described the rumour as the handiwork of mischief makers noting that Kaduna is safe for everybody. As he put it, "it is important to hear the truth and facts from the leaders of the other tribes about the

rumour making rounds that other tribes are being threatened or killed in Kaduna state. "The false statement is being made by unpatriotic citizens of the country. We as hosts want to assure everybody that we will continue to live in peace and harmony." Also in his remarks, the Eze N'digbo, Charles Izuora Osunwa, debunked the claims, as, according to him, "there are rumours about people being killed in Kaduna but we are in Kaduna and I can say that there is no such thing. "Though the rumour is already causing commotion and rancour but it is baseless. I have been in Kaduna for the past 40 years and we do not have any problem with other tribes especially the Hausa. Our people should put their mind at rest. "There are problems everywhere in the world not only

in Nigeria or Kaduna, so, people should not start panicking or running away because of the rumour which is untrue and unfounded." In his contribution, the Oba Yoruba of Doka, Alhaji Ibrahim Ade Lawal, said, "I have been in Kaduna since 1964, there is no such problem here in Kaduna. There is no killing of the Yoruba or ethnic cleansing in Kaduna state. "So, our people should remain calm and go about their businesses peacefully. "As we live in Kaduna state here, we do not have any problems and that is why our people work and live with other tribes. "I have told people running away to desist because they are putting their lives and those of their families at risk. Nobody is being killed; nobody is being pursued or sent packing. So, people should pray for peace in the country and all over the world."




Zambia’s Nations Cup victory: A lesson in patriotism, hard work


y winning the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia has become only the second Southern African country to do so after South Africa hosted and won the 1996 fiesta. It is no mean feat performed by the Zambian senior football team, the Chipolopolo. It took them 55 years to achieve this result. Besides, the continental conquest came 19 years after the tragic loss of a generation of their finest players off the coast of Libreville, Gabon, where the plane carrying the team, bound for a World Cup qualifying match in Senegal, plunged into the sea. Incidentally, the only survivor of that generation of players, skipper Kalusha Bwalya, led a second string side to the final of the 1994 edition in Tunisia, narrowly losing 2-1 to Nigeria’s Super Eagles. Apart from their robust display characteristic of the African spirit and soccer tradition, the Chipolopolo showed a rare determination and technical depth, a result of years of focused planning and commitment. They succeeded against all odds, beating the overwhelming favourites, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, 7-6 on penalties, in a pulsating encounter the sort that was last seen at the 2002 finals between Cameroon and Senegal. Remarkably, the Zambians achieved the conquest of the continent with predominantly domestic league-based players. Just four members of the 23-man squad

ply their trade outside Africa: 2 in Europe – 20-year-old midfielder Chisamba Lungu plays for Russian first division side Ural Oblast while lively forward Emmanuel Mayuka, now being scouted by Chelsea and Liverpool, plays for Young Boys of Switzerland. The other two, mercurial captain Christopher Katongo (Henan Construction) and forward James Chamanga (Dalian Shide), are based in China.

We applaud the ongoing rebuilding process following the failure of the senior Eagles to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup and call on the authorities to lend support to the technical crew's resolve to produce a squad with domestic league players as the nucleus Zambia's victory is instructive and carries on a tradition set in the previous three editions of the biennial competition, won by teams predominantly made up of homebased players. We recall that in the 2006 edition, six-time champions, the Pharoahs of Egypt, won the tournament with only two foreignbased players. They retained the trophy two years later with only six players based outside the North

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African country, and at the penultimate tournament held in Angola, Egypt won the trophy for the seventh time using all but four players from the domestic league. Therein lies a lesson for Nigeria. If Egypt and Zambia could achieve such rare feats with domestic league players, we have no reason not to do the same. Peoples Daily urges the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to evolve a deliberate policy that emphasizes the use of domestic league players in the Super Eagles. We applaud the ongoing rebuilding process following the failure of the senior Eagles to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup and call on the authorities to lend support to the technical crew's resolve to produce a squad with domestic league players as the nucleus. However, this must be on the one condition that the organizers of the local league pay greater attention to the finest details of the league in order to make it an oasis of fresh talents to feed our national teams. Happily, the Stephen Keshi-led technical crew of the Super Eagles has started off on the right path with an invitation to just 11 foreign-based players to report in camp ahead of next week's Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda. We urge that in subsequent games and as the present team takes shape even fewer foreignbased players will be called up for national duties.








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By Zainab Usman


or a while now, I’ve had reason to believe that the people of Northern Nigeria, especially the (in)famous “dominant” group, the Hausa-Fulanis seem to be in terminal decline. Could this conviction have stemmed out of the aftermath of the 2011 Nigerian general elections and the rampage of the Northern youths against the so-called Northern leaders or the recent spate of Boko Haram attacks in the northern cities of Kano and Kaduna? Perhaps it is the intensification of the unfair media bias and the recent vitriolic, virulent and hateful diatribes against the mostly Muslim Hausa-Fulani Northerners in the mainstream and social media or the serial decline and retardation of the economy in the North and/or the region’s growing political irrelevance in the scheme of things in Nigeria. This conviction is coupled with a growing realization that little or nothing is being done by us, the victims, of our mostly self inflicted problems to salvage our future which is in dire jeopardy. The most obvious problem is the serious leadership deficit in the North which became magnified before and after the 2011 general elections. There is almost a general consensus that Northerners who were at the helms of affairs in the country for several decades did little to better the life of ordinary people in the region in terms of provision of healthcare, education and other infrastructure, direction of useful investments and creation of economic opportunities for the population. The leaders are seen to have enriched themselves and their


A people in terminal decline cronies while using an adept mixture of religion and ethnicity to keep people subjugated in the shackles of illiteracy, ignorance, poverty, and misery. Few leaders have utilized accumulated wealth towards establishing profitable enterprises that employ people, philanthropic organizations that empower others or other productive ends. Rather accumulated wealth is squandered in consumerist behaviour, in opulence in the midst of absolute and abject poverty. Interesting exposés on the leadership deficit have been written by analysts such as Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed and the columnist Adamu Adamu. While the deficit of transformational leadership is not exclusively a Northern phenomenon, it is more magnified in the North. It is these leaders who are perceived by many to have “sold out” the north during the 2011 elections hence the rampage of the youths against various emirs, a former speaker of the House of Representatives amongst others. Consequently traditional, religious and political leaders who used to command tremendous respect from people have lost their credibility, and to an extent legitimacy to speak on behalf of the people. Certain enigmatic “geniuses” have been de-robed of their toga of mystique. The people in turn are plagued by frustration, helplessness and hopelessness in the wake of un-inspiring leadership. The new breed like Nuhu Ribadu and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who are

viewed with suspicion or seem more interested in embroiling themselves in political controversy provide virtually little solace. Closely following the heels of the leadership deficit is the economic decline and retardation of the region. This economic decline has been accelerated by the Boko Haram insurgency, thanks to which the holy grail of foreign investments will now become ever so elusive. Once the basket of the nation on account of its agricultural productivity – the legendary, towering groundnut pyramids of Kano come to mind – and its budding industrial activity, the north is now plagued by rapid deindustrialization. Buildings housing hitherto bustling factories lay derelict and abandoned in ominous gloom in Kano, Kaduna and Zaria. Poor incentives to farmers, lack of storage facilities and access to credit has led to a decline in agricultural productivity as state governments are embroiled in one fertilizer corruption scandal or the other. With the exception of Kano and, to a lesser extent, Kaduna, few businesses, and enterprises especially SMEs, are owned and managed by Northerners. In many state capitals, the bulk of the labour force engaged in the formal sector is made up of civil servants. The neglect of agriculture, manufacturing and other economic activity for easy oil money coming from the federal government by the state governments has aggravated this situation as the allocation is hardly

directed towards reviving infrastructure, capital projects, empowering the populace or investment in non-oil sectors of the economy. The CBN governor recently stated that many states, especially in the North are economically unviable without such allocations. Instead, monthly allocations which run into billions of naira each month are expended towards recurrent expenditure and unproductive ventures such as subsidies on annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage trips mainly to reward cronyism. This dependence on oil revenues which has done little to benefit the ordinary Northerner has created an impression of the North as an unproductive region, a “liability” which contributes virtually nothing to the nation’s kitty but consumes so much because of its population and its size. A cursory look at history deflates this impression since the proceeds from agricultural produce of the North virtually sustained the nation before the discovery of oil. A socio-cultural aspect of our numerous problems and which lies at the heart of it is our mind set as a people, especially amongst the Hausa-Fulanis. We have developed a mind-set that paradoxically makes us feel culturally superior when in fact we are progressively retrogressing in many aspects. We look down on fellow Northerners of a different religion and ethnicity, we feel our own brand of Islam is better than the Islam practiced by a Yoruba man, an Igala or a Tiv such that you’d forgive anyone for thinking the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad

(PBUH) in Hausa language somewhere in Kano. We feel many career choices especially those which involve working our way to the top are demeaning; our educated youths have been brought up with the mind set to only aim for the ultimate “secure government job” or bust, and as a result many an enterprising and creative youth’s dreams have died at stillbirth by the patriarch’s final fiat. This paradoxical superiority complex has pitched us against other “minority” groups in the north who used to be our brothers but now regard us with contempt and derision and has been played upon by mischievous people to ferment ethno-religious tensions. Many are quick to blame Islam or the mixture of religion and politics, but a comparison of predominantly Muslim societies who are doing relatively well-off such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia and Indonesia for instance shows Islam is not the problem, rather a crude cocktail of ignorance, and the perversion of religious teachings and cultural prescriptions. While in Iran, women outnumber men in universities as many are highly educated and articulate, female literacy in Northern Nigeria by contrast remains abysmally low, one of the lowest in the world and ditto women empowerment though attitudes are positively changing at snail pace. The problem appears as a friend once stated that we haven’t found the right interface between culture Continued on page 15

Northern Nigeria: From grace to grass By Sani Sadeeq


s a result of Boko Haram’s terror activity in the North, some of my misinformed Igbo compatriots have decided to view it as a systematic way of cleansing the Igbo race out of Northern Nigeria whereas all verifiable evidence shows otherwise. They are taking advantage of the North’s current acute security challenges to once again seek the secession of the Igbo dominated South-east; they have evoked the ghost of Biafra! They view the northern part as a parasite that feeds fat on their resources without contributing anything. They see a northerner as a greedy being whose mentality is he is ‘born to rule’ and as such they claim that the present set-up called Nigeria is not fair to them; so they need their own country where they can properly nurture their dreams. Their agitation got me thinking: is Northern Nigeria really what it is projected to be? Northern Nigeria is made up of 19 states that are north of the River Niger and is a region characterized by chaos and hopelessness. This is a region that is now characterized by religious violence, abject poverty, high divorce rate, biting illiteracy and

lately terrorism. This is a region that is divided amongst itself and with no clear pragmatic plan on how to get out of this big mess that the region is in. This is the North of today. However, the precolonial Northern Nigeria was a big sprawling administrative and intellectual entity. This is a region that was sufficient in food production, had its robust economy and had diplomatic relations with other nationalities. With the coming of the colonialists, they met a very administratively functional region with an impressive taxation system that was way more advanced than the southern region. This again got me thinking: how then did the region fall into this present mess? After independence, northern Nigeria was a diverse political bloc that produced visionary political leaders and astute administrators who made the region the back bone of the country’s economy. The northern Nigeria of those years produced groundnut, cotton, beans, dairy products, hides and skin etc for export and the proceeds were used in nation building. The northern region of those years had its own Bank of the North, a very profitable textile mill- the Northern Nigeria

Textile Mill, the Northern Nigeria Printing Press, a radio corporation and the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation was to oversee the integrated development in the region and started doing a fantastic job. The region was on its way to higher glory and garnered maximum respect from other regions that make up the Nigerian entity but the division of the region into more states and the subsequent discovery of oil in the Niger Delta region brought everything to a halt. The lure of easy money made the northern leaders of that time to forget the dignity in labour, the strength in diversity, the joy in brotherhood and happiness in serving that was inculcated into them by the leaders before them and that is the beginning of the mess we presently are in. Instead of coming home to strategize for the competition ahead, they came home to squander the investments that were made, thinking that there was easy money coming, this resulted in several job losses and this brought about an era of uncertainty and stagnant growth. Bootlicking among the masses blossomed, disenchantment filled the air and a back drift movement commenced. This is what brought

the region to the present situation. And then yet again, I had a thought, is this back drift movement meant to continue? And can we be able to move forward and catch up with our contemporaries and if possible surpass them? The answers to those questions are found in the attitude of the youths for it is all about the future, and the future belongs to them. In as much as the future looks bleak, the world we are living in now is a fast world, a world of possible impossibilities that are being achieved by sheer dedication and dogged pursuit of collective goals. This is the time for the youth to shun religious violence because both Christianity and Islam preach peace, togetherness and compassion for each other and whosoever crosses these boundaries is absolutely on their own. Farming is what gave our founding fathers all the achievements they garnered and that should be our biggest rallying point in trying to resuscitate the region’s economy. The beauty about agriculture is that it is a diverse option which can take as many people as possible and with its modernization the profits can be very encouraging. Apart from

agriculture, northern Nigeria is also blessed with several mineral resources such as gold, tin, coal etc of which given the right climate big corporations will also come in to partake in the mining and this can also open up millions of jobs for the youths. With a high employment rate, wealth will be able to move round, idleness will reduce, self respect will increase and dignity will once again come back to a region it was forced to desert but all these can only be achieved when there is peace and brotherhood in the northern populace. With these and so many other factors, Northern Nigeria can regain its rightful position in the Nigerian set-up and all those who want to secede will be forced to have a re think. This is a trying time for a region that has so much potential and I believe its resuscitation can be able to serve as the catalyst that is needed to force Nigeria back into its rightful position in the comity of nations. A Nigeria where all the three regions are competitively productive will spur an unprecedented growth that we all can be proud of. Only then can we be proud to be referred to as Nigerians. Sani Abubakar Sadiq wrote in from 69 Darmanawa GRA, Kano, Kano.



G-6: Addressing the pestilence of insecurity By Mohammed Awwalu Ibro


he resuscitation of the G-6 security ingenuity from a two-year hiatus is commendable, largely in the light of the serious security challenges that have confronted the nation in recent times; this laudable initiative is meant to confront new security challenges across the states of Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Senator Bala Mohammed made this symbolic proclamation while welcoming member state governors to last week’s G-6 security summit at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. It was attended by the governors of Niger, Muazu Babangida Aliyu; Nasarawa, Alhaji Tanko Almakura; Kaduna, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa; Kogi, Capt. Idris Wada; Benue was represented by its deputy governor; FCT Minister, Senator Bala

By John Igoli One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man—Elbert Hubbard, American author (1856 - 1915)


his is not a rejoinder to the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President, Dr. Reuben Abati’s ’s clarification on the issue of stone throwing or a right of reply. I honestly believe that our President will not stoop so low or reach so high to throw a stone at any one. However, the metaphor in this instance has brought to the fore issues of service delivery and governance. A trip on the Lafia- AkwangaJos highway will reveal an

of information/ its height, the security Mohammed and the deputy exchange procedures for planned tracking partnership helped a lot to reduce governor of Plateau. The FCT minister brought to and handling of criminals and considerably the pestilence of the summit a surfeit of their sponsors with the aim of insecurity within the G-6 zone. According to achievements in him, the the fight against s u c c e s s crime in the achieved Federal Capital Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text s h o u l d Territory; this is provide an as result of his messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written incentive to will power, contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 m e m b e r ability and words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and states to work vision. The a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed harder in a minister said to: bid to that governors guaranteeing decided to jointly The Editor, security of life convene the Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, and property meeting to 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. in the G-6 synergize their Email: let zone. s e c u r i t y Expectedly, e x e r t i o n s SMS: 07037756364 a through the communique instrumentality stopping them in their tracks. was issued at the end of the of the G-6 security initiative. Consequently, it is a joint Senator Mohammed bemoaned summit: “It is inclusive of but not effort at developing an inter- that Nigeria was going through constrained to the following state partnership network for the excruciating times in terms of its resolutions: there was a and security unanimous adoption of the entry synchronization of security economic tactics, with an emphasis on the challenges. He recalled that at of Plateau state into the G-6


Hewers of stone

unnerving occupation being carried out by residents (mostly women and children)in these areas: breaking stones or rocks. The usual rock formations that dot the landscape are being denatured daily as the people bring down the rocks to be hewn into stones. There was an NTA news coverage of their activity and rather than point out the dangers of these uncontrolled quarrying to their health, the environment and ecosystem, it ended with a call to the relevant authorities to come to their aid by providing them with the equipment they need to carry on! It may be argued that this

occupation is more honourable than criminal activities but it is also arguably the lowest a Nigerian can be reduced to eking for a living. First the children amongst them are not schooling unless they go only on weekends. Secondly the dust they inhale can be quite dangerous for their lungs and thirdly their farming and other economic activities may be compromised completely. Incidentally this may not be the only location where Nigerians are breaking stones for survival. Residents along the bank of river Benue go into the water to fetch sand using head pans. Under the

sweltering Makurdi sun, you will see these people mostly women, climbing the banks of the river with their head pans heavily laden with sand. They make several trips usually to fill a tipper. On the other hand we have the Meruas or water carriers. These people (mostly men) carry water in 20 litre tins for sale. They usually straddle the tins filled with water across their shoulders and walk several kilometres to meet demands. The demand in the mornings is so high that they will ignore your call to sell to you. Sometimes we follow them to their base, where they fetch the water.

Security procedure; it was therefore resolved that the acronym would now read G-7 Security Summit. In view of the hiatus that occurred in terms of regular convening of the summit, the technical committee should holistically review all the previous findings and endorsements in reports with the aim of articulating genuine points for implementations to be presented at the next G-7 Security Summit”. The security status of Abuja may have been smeared by the emergence of terrorism, brought about by largely the Islamic sect, Boko Haram; but it is also right to say that the FCT remains the safest place in Nigeria. Information on crime obtained from the security department of the FCDA suggests a major decline in crime in the capital city. Mohammed Awwalu Ibro is reachable at Still you may not get water to buy or fetch. These are some instances where Nigerians are doing the work of machines. There are many other jobs that are still being done manually where machines exist or a simple fabrication would suffice. This is not obvious to our leaders. To them, these persons are gainfully employed! So it was not surprising when the selling of recharge cards was counted as full time employment and job creation as a result of deregulation in the communication sector. If indigenes of an oil rich country are hewing stones with hammer and bare hands, dredging rivers with head pans and pumping water with their Continued on page 15

Issues in revenue sharing By Ibrahim Mohammed


he issue of revenue sharing among the three tiers of government - federal, state and local governments – that are beneficiaries of the Federation Account has been one of the contentious issues in Nigeria’s fiscal federalism which successive administrations have had to grapple with. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has from inception been playing a stabilizing role in superintending the sharing of revenues both vertically among the three tiers of government and horizontally among state and local governments, using a just, equitable and fair revenue allocation formula. While there is little friction in the sharing perhaps because of the subsisting formula, the political economy involved in the actual disbursements is such that the federal government, being the biggest partner, wants to take

the largest chunk of federal revenues to take care of foreign affairs, defence and national security as well as natural disasters. Perhaps, this is why it also manages the Ecological Fund, Stabilization Fund, Natural Resources Fund and lately the Sovereign Wealth Fund and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Fund as special intervention funds. Its tendency to want to keep these special funds has been a source of worry to the states and local governments and the funds in question have oftentimes become a matter for litigation. While the constitutional provision guiding the sharing of revenue clearly prescribes equity, justice and fairness, state governments in the country do not follow these principles in the control and management of states and local government joint accounts as governors employ subterfuge in the disbursement of monthly allocations to the local

governments. Thus, council chairmen have become minions in the hands of their governors so much that sometimes they are forced to genuflect before a mere commissioner of local government and chieftaincy affairs who usually presides over the sharing of revenue on behalf of the governor. No wonder, the portfolio of the commissioner for local governments and chieftaincy affairs is now the juiciest and most important at the state level because the occupier is seen as the de facto governor, even more important than the deputy governor, speaker and secretary to the state government. The propensity of elected executives at all three tiers of government to control funds is not to enable them deliver democracy dividends but to be able to effectively erode the constitutional powers of recalcitrant opposition chief executives as happened to Lagos state’s Bola Tinubu under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s

rule and as most governors do nowadays to the local government council chairmen in their states. Capital projects, as small as a borehole or culvert in a rural area in some states, must receive the blessings of the state governor. In some states even payment of teachers and health workers’ salary even though they are not contractors is often highly politicized. The usual story is that the state is yet to receive its monthly allocation even though the Governor might comfortably be sitting on it and spending as he pleases while people and projects continue to suffer. It is instructive that the effective control of state funds especially during electioneering campaigns can make or mar the chances of many incumbents. For example, non release of salaries and allowances of legislators on time led to the loss of many seats in the National and state Houses of Assembly by incumbents who were denied access to campaign funds in past

elections. The continued operation of joint accounts for the states and local government councils by state governors which they often misuse should be properly looked into with a view to freeing the funds for real development in rural areas. The Exclusive and Concurrent Lists in the Constitution ought to be finetuned to provide for the principle of Collective Responsibility which will make the provision of infrastructure a shared responsibility of the three tiers of government. The provision for security votes should be abolished to stop its abuse by chief executives. Budget tracking and fiscal efficiency should be properly carried out by the regulatory and anti-corruption agencies supported by civil societies and the mass media to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability. Ibrahim Mohammed wrote in from Plot 19, Lagos Street, Garki II, Abuja



Oil: Shell’s covert hijack of new PIB By Ifeanyi Izeze


he Wikileaks saga of last year helped reveal some of the evil forces at play in frustrating genuine reform of the structure and fiscal relationships in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. The leaks revealed a confession by a top executive of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) in which he said his company dispatched some of its top staff to various Nigerian government agencies to ensure the reform in the oil and gas sector was frustrated. And from what’s on the ground already, Shell is having its way. The opposition to the original PIB by foreign oil operators was hinged on the fear that it would create a harsh environment that would radically change the economics of the existing and new operations particularly in the deepwater regions. Undoubtedly, the tax changes envisaged in the proposed legislation would instigate an increased government take from an average of 73% to a projected 82%. This calculation was derived from projections of a mid-size deepwater oil field with production of around 50 million barrels a year and the oil price of US$75bbl. Therefore, the groundswell of the opposition to the PIB is not farfetched since the existing arrangements have put the foreign oil companies in advantage positions of reaping greater share from higher production and current high oil Continued from page 13

and religion in the North. Lastly is the all-out media war and propaganda against the North. From the mainstream media to social networks, online forums to blogs, it is hunting season for anything Northern (in this context, synonymous with the Northerner of Hausa-Fulani extraction but also any of the predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the north: Kanuri, Nupe etc). At most you need an advertorial on the pages of the numerous dailies, at the very least, you need an internet connected mobile phone and you are set to begin unleashing your full arsenal against “Northerners”. The activities of Boko Haram which have claimed more Muslim lives, wreaked more havoc to Continued from page 14

shoulders, you are forced to wonder what are their leaders doing with all the wealth accruing from the export of the crude oil? We always have money to give palliatives but no money for investments and job creation. We must create jobs as a matter of urgency not just for the rich or the opportune relations of those in government but for the teeming youth population. Our leaders may not be throwing stones but they throw every other thing at us presently. They throw schools at us and require us to get educated. They throw projects at us and expect us to imagine them completed. They

prices. Nigeria’s fiscal policies are more lenient thatn what obtains in particularly countries with the same geological character. For instance, Libya has 93% government take and UAE Abu Dhabi is on an average of 94%. Recent trends in global fiscal terms especially in this era of rising oil prices have built-in mechanisms of increased government share in windfall prices through increased royalty/taxes and linkages of royalty/tax rates to prevailing prices to ensure automatic adjustment of government share to price increases. But it’s not so in the current arrangements. Now, this is the picture of the covert maneuvering against the government’s intentions as entailed in the spirit of the original PIB: There are two critical government offices whose influences and decisions would heavily or rather exclusively determine how the new draft PIB is packaged: the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Whatever goes into the new draft and comes out as the final copy to be endorsed as law depends on these two offices attached to the Presidency. Also, the single most critical anticipated outcome of the oil reform initiative is the emergence of an autonomous and powerful policing agency- the Petroleum Inspectorate - which would not only make sure things are done the

right way, but insist the interest of the nation is not short-circuited by the foreign operators and their Nigerian collaborators. Now, these two agencies (offices), DPR and Office of the Minister of Petroleum, have been hijacked by the Anglo-Dutch oil concern, Shell Petroleum Development Company. This is it: the appointment of Diezani Alison-Madueke as the Minister of Petroleum Resources was a historic event. She came into the Yar’adua government in 2007 from her position as a director at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). She is a Shell girl having grown up with her parents who were employees of Shell. Alison-Madueke studied architecture in Washington D.C. before returning to Nigeria in 1992 to work for her father’s old employer -Shell. Over the next 15 years she rose to be Shell’s first female director in Nigeria. Now this Shell woman whose first name Diezani means “look before you leap” in her local izon dialect is the alpha and omega in the new draft PIB which means to a great extent, she determines or rather influences what goes into it. She also will have to oversee its implementation when passed into law by the National Assembly at least until the end of the life of this administration. And as if this was not enough, recently also, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan approved the appointment of Mr. Osten

Oluyemisi Olorunsola as the new Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is expected to metamorphose into the policing agency- The Petroleum Inspectorate. Before the appointment, Olorunsola was the Vice-President (Gas) at Shell Upstream International. He has served as Strategic Business Adviser to the Minister of Petroleum Resources (2008-2009); Manager, Opportunity Delivery and Studies Centre, Shell; Reserves and Technology Manager (Africa), Shell (E&P) International, Netherlands; Business Interface Manager (Russia), Shell Technology (E&P) International, Netherlands; and Petroleum Engineering Manager, Shell Nigeria. He is an indigene of Kogi State where the present NNPC group managing director, Austin Oniwon also hails from. Is the picture clearer now? Shell, at the forefront of the protest and threats against the original PIB and the entire spirit of reform in the nation’s oil and gas sector is now covertly dictating what goes into the new draft. It is outright nonsense for anybody to claim that the appointment of the new DPR boss was based on merit. Agreed he is well qualified by experience and as a Nigerian also, but is it only in Shell we have well-qualified Nigerians to head the DPR and other sensitive oil and gas monitoring and regulating agencies? There are scores of

equally well-qualified Nigerians everywhere even in the DPR and NNPC systems. And then if we must poach from the IOCs, must it be Shell when we already have a Shell woman as our minister of Petroleum? Are there no Nigerians in Dubri and Consolidated Oil amongst others? Are there no Nigerians in Nigerian Agip, TotalFinaElf, and ExxonMobil, amongst others? You see the deceit? Why should a Shell director, a top management staff, who is doing very well in the organization and with very bright chances of heading Shell Nigeria and even Shell worldwide scheme to grab the office of a civil servant (the DPR director) with no special attraction minus bribe and corruption? Whosoever does not know should know now that the loyalty of any Shell staff especially those who rose to top senior positions whether retired or still active in service is first to the company before the country-Nigeria. This is an outright challenge to the civil society groups and all stakeholders particularly the media to show genuine interest in what provisions are included in this new document. We should all wake up and constructively engage (even confront if necessary) the National Assembly on this matter that borders heavily on Nigeria’s strategic economic interest. Ifyeanyi Izeze can be reached at

A people in terminal decline Northern cities than anywhere else are attributed to desperate Northern politicians who lost out in the political chess game, a view peddled around even by erstwhile respected intellectuals; sectarian crises and conflict which abound in every part of the country, but more frequently in the North are mostly attributed to the HausaFulani Muslims who are seen to be the culprits even in situations where they are victims; even the lacklustre performance of the Jonathan administration is attributed to the “evil Northerners”. The problems highlighted above: leadership, economic decline and socio-

cultural challenges have rendered us a voiceless people in this media war and propaganda, we are unable to tell our stories strongly from our own perspective while others do it for us, and they paint their version of the truth in whatever colour hue they deem fit. We are a people bedevilled by so many challenges which of course, this writer has barely scratched the surface of. The leadership deficit has aggravated our economic decline and retardation, and threatens not only our social cohesion but our very identity as a people. In times like these, a strong and transformational leadership is what is required to mobilize our

abundant human and natural resources for us to realize our full potentials, but this deficit forms the bane of our problems. Paradoxically, while we acknowledge the failure of leadership, and the incapacity or inability of the present crop of leaders to do much to salvage our pathetic situation, we are still waiting on them. Obviously our leaders cannot do much because they are constrained, because they are not interested or because it is a Frankestein’s monster has turned on Dr. Frankestein situation. While we “wait”, Boko Haram seems to be the only force filling this leadership vacuum in

Hewers of stone

throw jobs, services, hospitals, electric power, water, policies, figures, elections and anything that may be of benefit to the common man. They either thrown them away or they hit us so hard that we will be saying we no longer need them. It is time we constructively engage Nigerians: schooled or unschooled, trained or untrained, qualified or unqualified, lucky or unlucky, friend or foe, relative or non-relative, indigene or nonindigene for among them may be

that extraordinary man. People should be made to work and earn for their living. We must restore dignity of labour and parity in salaries and wages. There should be no poor man’s job and a rich man’s job neither should jobs be thrown around for the lucky ones to pick. We must bring on board technology to ease physical exertions in carrying out our duties. Jobs such as motor park loaders (or Agbero), touts at every location or offices, thugs at election venues, cement loaders, timber carriers,

children hawkers and motor way hawkers (they should be running in the athletic events at the Olympics), hawking food such as Akamu, Alele, Buns, pure water, bread, kunu etc. should be completed abolished or refined for better service delivery and human dignity. For now we may not be stone throwers but are all hewers of stone; ask the average man what it takes to survive and provide for one’s family in Nigeria. John Ogoli can be reached at

a very destructive and warped sense by co-opting the vast number of idle, unemployed and frustrated youths as willing recruits to its campaign of death and terror. Gradually, Boko Haram could become the only thing that defines us as a people, if this leadership vacuum persists and by then we WOULD BE DOOMED! To further buttress my point, when I googled “Northern Nigeria” and “Arewa Nigeria”, at least 50% of the images that came up in the search results were of Boko Haram, scenes of its attacks or images of its victims. That speaks volumes. Whatever the case, it is our generation which will suffer the most because the present leaders have little to lose; we will live with the consequences of their actions while our children’s future becomes increasingly uncertain. Perhaps the tone here is a tad too pessimistic when this writer concludes that the numerous problems we face in the North crowned no less by Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency gives a gloomy premonition of a bleak future . We are in a terminal decline, the question is: are we doing enough to address this? What can or should we do to reverse this certain reality? Zainab Usman can be reached at



Apo Residents flee homes By Josephine Ella


eries of onslaught allegedly carried out by angry Gbagyi youths have sent residents of the Apo resettlement estate phase 11 parking from their homes. The attack which eyewitnesses said lasted for one week, started Tuesday evening when angry youths besieged the newly established developing area in their hundreds attacking everyone in sight and destroying properties. Our correspondent gathered that in this frightening dimension, that the protesting youths invaded the estate demanding that their farmlands which have been encroached upon and developed into residential quarters be returned to them. “We have come to claim our lands”, an eyewitness, Chukwuma Ezeh quoted the youths to have chanted as they destroyed properties of homeowners and other individual developers whose properties were still under construction disrupting work by those on sites. Following these attacks, the affected residents under the umbrella body of Apo Resettlement Estate Association have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene by prevailing on the security agencies to put a stop to the attacks. The residents alleged that while there were threats to their lives and properties, the police stood aloof

….As angry youths attack over resettlement exercise

making no effort to stop the rampaging youths. “We write to urgently bring to your attention a looming crises of gargantuan proportion which could blossom into another Jos crises in Abuja in the next few days if your Excellency do not immediately direct an urgent Security intervention as residents may be forced to look for extra legal

means of self defense in the face of seeming inability of the police and the State Security Service to defend us from the current destruction of our properties going on in the Estate,” the letter jointly signed by the affected members read in part. The group claimed in the letter which was copied to the office of the National Security Adviser, (NSA)

Inspector General of Police amongst others and jointly signed by Hon. Okey Iloe, Victoria Namani, Barrister Bola Audu, Chidi I. Iwodi and Umar S.D that “On enquiry, the mob claimed to be Gbagyi/ Gwari people claiming that government is yet to compensate them for their farmlands which has been turned into an estate”.


he driver of a Nissan Amira car, yesterday escaped death by the whiskers, when his vehicle skidded-off the bridge at Julius Berger round about in Abuja.


This vehicle with registration number MB 70 KAG veered off from the Berger Bridge, yesterday in Wuse, Abuja. Fortunately, the driver sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for proper medical examination. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Our reporter, who visited the scene of the accident near the popular Berger junction, gathered that the young man, whose name could not be ascertained, lost control of the vehicle and the car skidded off the road landing on its rear

below the bridge. The accident which occurred at the peak of the evening rush, left onlookers wondering how the driver managed to escape death with just minor injuries. Eyewitness account has it that the driver was seen making

phone calls prior to the incident. This according to witnesses might have resulted in the accident. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, while the vehicle was towed to a nearby police station.

GSS Kwali holds inter-house competition By Adeola Tukuru


overnment Secondary School (GSS) Kwali, yesterday held its 17 th annual inter-house sports competition. Speaking at the occasion, principal of the school, Mr Ojeamiren Reuben, said the interhouse sports competition have become part of the school activity which is designed to complement the intellectual, spiritual and social values of the students.

We are ready to battle Abuja hawkers - AEPB By Adeola Tukuru

Man ‘cheats’ death on Berger bridge By Stanley Onyekwere

Dear reader, Metro welcomes human interest stories in your neighbourhood. Please call or send SMS to 08065327178 or e-mail to inform us about happenings in your area. Share your experiences or those of your friends and neighbours with fellow readers.

He noted that the school had last year decided to explore other avenues to sensitize the students’ value for culture hence the intellectual festival which was held in lieu of the usual inter-house sport competition. He stated that the school is known for its lofty achievement and have won many laurels such as the first Kenneth Imasuagbon football competition for secondary schools in the past. ‘’So far, we have discovered talents which in my humble

opinion will undoubtedly meet international standards and if given the necessary attention will end up as Olympic champions’’ he said. The school principal while expressing concern over poor performance in recent sport events called on parents and stake-holders to support the development of sport in the school in order to restore the lost glory of the school in sporting activitities. Also speaking, the chairman

of Kwali Area council, Joseph K. Shazin, represented by education secretary of the council, Mr. Danlami Kakatsu, commended the school for organising the interhouse sports competition, noting that the competition would no doubt go a long way in enhancing the talent and physical fitness of the students. Red house came tops in the competition with 280 points, Blue house came 2nd with 263 points while Green house settled for the 3rd position with 232 points.

he Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Isah Mohammed Shaibu has disclosed that the only language known to Abuja hawkers was that of physical combat and that his men were ready to take on them head long. According to him; “street hawkers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who are hell bent on harassing and molesting our workers in order to prevent them from carrying out their duties, are in for a rough ride” he said. He stated that about four of AEPB’s vehicles were last week vandalized while some officials on duty were seriously wounded and rushed to the Garki general Hospital.

Court jails man for stealing goats


Gwagwalada Upper Area Court in the FCT on Wednesday sentence one Kabiru Bala, who specialised in stealing goats to six months imprisonment. The Judge, Mr Babangida Hassan, while convicting Bala who pleaded guilty to the offence, however, gave him an option of N25,000 fine. The police prosecutor, Insp. Modupe Musa, had told the court that the convict conspired with three others, now at large to steal two she-goats and a chicken at Abaji Abattoir. The prosecutor said the convict and three others, had already slaughtered thechicken before a neighbour informed the police. Musa said that when the convict was arrested, he confessed that he specialised in stealing goats. He pleaded guilty and begged the court for leniency. (NAN)

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AEPB to expel bribe takers

Council to pay teachers’ salary arrears

By Adeola Tukuru


he Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has pledged its readiness to commence full scale investigation into the activities of some of its staff that have been accused of collecting bribe noting that those who are involved in the shameful act would be sacked from the board. The Director, Isah Mohammed Shaibu, in an interview with newsmen admitted that full scale investigation has became necessary because of allegations raised against some of his men and officers. In response to the sudden disappearance of mobile courts from major spots in the territory, he promised their re-emergence soonest. He called on members of the general public to show respect for staff.

Motorists groan as FG assures on fuel scarcity


otorists in Abuja have decried the continued fuel scarcity in spite of Federal Government’s assurances that the scarcity would soon be over. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fuel queues resurfaced in Abuja and some other parts of the country as the NNPC had promised that the products would be available for consumers. The scarcity according to reports is induced by the sharp drop in the volume of the product imported into the country as majority of the marketers had suspended imports following the uncertainties surrounding the fuel subsidy regime. NAN reports that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, had assured of a quick resolution to the scarcity while insisting that the NNPC had a strategic reserve to fill the gap. The minister, who confirmed the drop in imports by marketers, said the challenge was being addressed by the Federal Government in the provision for subsidy payment in the 2012 budget. “It is our expectation that very shortly, marketers will start importing again. However, in the interim, the NNPC is using its strategic reserve to ensure that fuel is supplied across the country to fill the gap.’’ The minister said. Mr Austen Oniwon, Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, on Monday also re-echoed the minister’s assurance, and appealed to Nigerians not to panic because the challenge was being addressed. NAN, however, reports that queues at filling stations continued in Abuja and environs as motorists called on the government to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Kamoru Ayinla, a Taxi Driver, said the scarcity has brought untold hardship, saying that he has been spending hours at filling stations to get the product.(NAN)


A long queue of motorists waiting to buy fuel at the Total Filling Station, Central Business District opposite NNPC headquarters, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

AMAC denies tussle with FCTA over Jabi Park By Adeola Tukuru


gainst the backdrop on reports of allegations by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) administration that the federal capital authority has concluded plans to take over the Jabi park, AMAC has come out to debunk the reports. The Chairman, Hon. Micah Yohanna Jiba in an interview with newsmen over the alleged crisis, said that the council was not at loggerheads with the FCT authority adding that they both remain brother and sister of one big family. According to him, the cooperation that exist between

the two administrations is intact and that it was not true to alleged that the , council was set to battle the FCTA over the issue of Jabi motor Park. “AMAC and the Minister of State for FCT are from the same family which is the Peoples Democratic Party family, so we have a better way to resolve issues. The issue of Jabi motor park is not even contentious, it is just a matter of understanding. “The FCT administration has a plan for that motor park and the AMAC administration has a design for the park too. So I think, there is no contention at all. What the FCT administration as a

senior brother is saying is that they thought they can privatize the park, while AMAC is saying that they have already engaged somebody. “So I think it is completely out of place to say that AMAC and FCT are quarrelling over Jabi motor park, we are a peace loving administration and have seen FCT as our senior brother and there is no way we can look down on them, so I want to tell the whole world that there is no discrepancies, there is no acrimony, we are all working together as one for the same administration,” he said.

Man in court over missing chicken parts


26-year-old man, Thomas Azu, is facing trial at an Abuja Upper Area Court over the alleged disappearance of 47 pieces of fried chicken parts. Azu, of Mararaba, an FCT suburb was arraigned before the court on Wednesday for misappropriation and criminal breach of trust. The Police prosecutor, Sgt. Ambi Ayuba told the court that

one Amaka Obiakpani, of Tantalizer, Garki II Abuja reported the matter to the Garki Police Station on Feb. 16. He said the accused, a former staff of Tantalizer, was entrusted with 250 pieces of fried chicken parts which he failed to fully account for. The prosecutor said when the count was taken of the chickens, 47 pieces worth N28, 000 were found missing.

He said the offence contravened Section 322 and 309 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Judge, Malam Adamu Wakili, granted him bail in the sum of N30, 000, with a surety who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. The case was adjourned till April 17, for further hearing. (NAN)

Mpape killing: Court slates April 5 for judgement By Stanley Onyekwere


ustice Ufot Inyang of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Apo has slated April 5 for judgement on the civil suit instituted against a police officer, who allegedly murdered late Mrs. Doris Okere in Mpape. Joined in the suit are the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) and the Attorney General of the Federation. The matter which came up yesterday was given accelerated hearing as both counsels for the

applicants and the three respondents were allowed to file only written addresses to issues in the substantive suit. The judge accordingly adopted the written addresses as submitted by all the counsels for proper consideration before proceeding to fix the date for judgement on the suit. Lead counsels to the applicants, Barrister Kalu Onuoha, informed of a further affidavit filed along with a written address by his team in response to the preliminary objections raised by the opposing

counsel for the 3rd respondent. However, Hon. Inyang adopted both opposing counsels’ applications accordingly but declined to give his ruling on the preliminary objections till the fixed date for judgement on the substantive suit. It would be recalled that the judge during one of the hearings on the matter, promised to give accelerated hearing. The plaintiffs had filed the N400, 184,000m suit against the three respondents on April 27, 2011.

xecutive Secretary of the Local Education Authority in Bwari, FCT, Mr. Solomon Ayuba has said that the council has concluded arrangements to pay salary arrears of 69 teachers in the area. Ayuba gave the assurance on Wednesday in Bwari, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He was reacting to the nonpayment of the salary of newly employed teachers in the area. He said the salary of the newly employed 170 teachers in the council from, June to Nov. 2011 by the Universal Basic Education Board, has been captured in the council’s budget for 2012. He further said that 101 teachers have received their salaries and urged the remaining 69 teachers to be patient with the council, as it was making efforts to pay them. The secretary commended the chairman of the council, Mr Peter Yohanna, for the effort he made to pay the outstanding salary of the affected teachers between June and Nov., 2011. He expressed satisfaction over the chairman’s commitment to education in the area. (NAN)

2 fake NYSC members in court for forgery, impersonation


wo alleged fake National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, Chinwe Madueke and Jenet Luwis, on Wednesday appeared before an Abuja Upper Area Court charged with forgery and impersonation. Police prosecutor, Sgt. Ambi Ayuba told the court that the accused persons who reside in Lugbe, FCT, Abuja, were on Jan.7, reported at the Garki Police station by Susan Dung, a staff of Hasal Microfinance Bank, on suspicion of forgery and impersonation. The accused were said to have gone to the bank in Dec.2011, where they allegedly presented forged NYSC posting letters while fully dressed in NYSC uniforms. He said the action of Madueke and Luwis contravened Sections 364 and 132 of the Penal Code. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Judge, Malam Adamu Wakili, granted them bail in the sum of N50, 000 each, with a surety each who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. The case was adjourned till April 2, for further hearing. (NAN)


PAGE 19 08033644990

FAAC allocation for the month of December 2011 shared in January, 2012 S/N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7



FG States LGCs 13% Derivation Fund Cost of collection- NCS Transfer of Excess Crude Deductions: Cost of Collections -FIRS Add transfer subsidy acct



TOTAL 303,625,692,205.23 180,994,367,291.71 137,592,748,946.07 72,561,218,196.90 2,756,014,240.21 323,183,429,445.01

Cassava flour importation banned, says CBN By Abdulwahab Isa


he importation of cassava flour is to be prohibited with effect from 31st of March, to encourage the 4,166,466,332.41 substitution of high quality 80,000,000,000.00 cassava flour for wheat flour bread- making. 1,104,879,936,657.54 The Central Bank of Nigeria

FG renews NNPC/Mobil Joint Venture oil leases By Muhammad Nasira


fter a painstaking lease renewal negotiation, the Federal Government yesterday renewed the oil and gas mining lease of 67, 68 and 70 of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Joint Venture spanning in the next 20 years. According to a press release issued by the NNPPC signed by the Group General Manager of the Group Public Affairs Division of the (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajounuma, during the lease signing ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke expressed her commitment to the

Federal Government’s growth and development of the Oil and Gas Industry. Mrs. Alison-Madueke said that the lease renewal mark another milestone in the country’s hydrocarbon industry in accordance to the criticality of the Federal Government’s statutory right in holding oil and gas assets in particular with the implication in investment decisions and on major project delivery. “I am also delighted that after a somewhat lengthy process both

INSIDE - Pg 20 Confusion as Reps order SON.....

parties that is, the government and people of Nigeria and the NNPC/MPN joint venture have arrived at what they consider a mutually fair agreement in which to work together for another 20 years,” Mrs. AlisonMadueke noted. The Minister posited that renewal of leases is in accordance with paragraph 10 and 13 of the first schedule of the Petroleum Act of 1969 cap V 10. Mrs. AlisonMadueke added that all other pending renewal leases will be expeditiously handled.

(CBN) announced these measures in a circular signed by Director of Trade and Exchange Department, Alhaji Batari Musa and communicated to operating banks and authorized dealers. In addition, the CBN said bakers that attain 40 per cent cassava blend within a period of 18 months are to enjoy tax incentive of 12 per cent. The directive, the apex bank said, was in line with the fiscal thrust of the 2012 Appropriation Bill as a way of boosting agriculture and creating employment the apex bank stated specifically that with effect from January 31, 2012, agricultural machinery and equipment shall attract zero per cent duty in order to support the development of the agricultural sector The CBN circular further stated that equipment and machinery in the power sector shall attract zero per cent duty, to create a robust power sector

and provide an enabling environment for investment. “In order to encourage the purchase and utilisation of locally produced commodities, the underlisted measures are hereby introduced with effect from 1st July, 2012: wheat flour shall attract a levy of 65 per cent and 35 per cent duty rate; wheat grain shall attract a levy of 15 per cent and 5 per cent duty; husked brown rice shall attract a levy of 25 per cent and duty rate of 5 per cent; imported polished rice shall attract a levy of 40 per cent and duty of 10 per cent”, CBN added. On concessions, the bank pointed out that in order to expand domestic production, boost exports, generate employment and create a level playing field, concessions and waivers shall be granted only on sectoral basis”, adding that all dealers should bring the attention of their customers to the measures for strict compliance.

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 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


L-R: Programme Facilitator, Mr. Nelson Ogbemudia, representative of Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Olufunmilola Adeleke, Marketing Manager, Redbricks Consultant Ltd, Ms. Dupe Tokan, and Lead Consultant, Redbricks Consultants Ltd, Mr. Niyi Afolabi, during a two-day capacity building workshop, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

15th Feb, 2012 BUYING 0.2932 204.3044 243.9935 41.4356 155.4

SELLING 0.3132 205.6191 245.5636 41.7022 156.4


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

Management Tip of the Day


• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 255 42 158

SELLING 212 257 44 160

Don’t make these mistakes at your new job


aking on a new assignment is exciting. But it’s not easy. Here are three common mistakes people make when moving to a new job and how to avoid them: Forgetting about the people. Most people start a new job with a plan for success. But you can’t forget the people.

Know who you will need to rely on to get your work done and focus on building productive relationships with them. Failing to listen. You may be eager to introduce yourself and your plan, but don’t dominate conversations. Listen to others so their input can guide you.

Relying on old power dynamics. Every organisation has a way of operating. Don’t assume what worked in your last company will work in the new one. Understand the new dynamics and how to establish your authority. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS NACCIMA women group to inaugurate council


he Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Women’s Group has concluded plans to inaugurate the Federation of Business women Entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Bell Oil to invest N30bn in drilling operations


n its efforts to take advantage of the local content programme in Nigeria, Bell Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited has concluded plans to invest about $200 million (N30 billion) in drilling operations and services within the next 18 months.

First Bank’s ‘Save & Excel’ promo produces 184 winners Strories from Samuel Ayodele, Lagos


84 winners have emerged in the maiden draw of the ‘First Bank Save & Excel Promo’ designed to enhance a savings culture in the nation and encourage the unbanked to embrace the financial services system. The draw, which is the first of twelve, was monitored by Deputy Manager, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Mr. Calix Ita and Martins Olajide from KPMG Audit firm. The breakdown of the winners include: 46 winners of N50,000 cash; 46 winners of LCD Television sets; 46 winners of Home Theatre sets; and 46 winners of chest freezers. The promo, which runs till December 2012 also has star

prizes that include brand new Peugeot 306 cars for 12 customers and all-expense paid trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games for 10 customers. These star prizes will be won during the quarterly draws of the promo. To qualify for the Olympic Draws, customers need to save N30,000 every month for 4 months consecutively or have a balance of N120,000 untouched for 4 months. Customers can also save N60,000 untouched for 90 days or N20,000 incremental savings every month for 3 months consecutively to qualify for cars. To qualify for the monthly draws, customers need to save and have a balance of N20,000 every month. N60,000 untouched for 90 days to

qualify for quarterly draws or N20,000 incremental savings every month for 3 months consecutively. Speaking at the draw in Lagos, First Bank’s Group Head, Products and Marketing Support, Mrs. Ezinne Obikile said the Save & Excel Promo was the Bank’s way of rewarding customers for their loyalty whilst encouraging them to imbibe a healthy savings culture. Obikile said the bank was also using the Promo as a platform for promoting financial inclusion in the nation by encouraging the under banked and unbanked populace to experience several products and services that have been specially designed to cater to different segments of the society.

SON seeks powers to prosecute defaulters

Nigeria’s agric sector not ‘functional’, says Japanese envoy


he Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Rynichi Shoji, has lamented that the Nigerian government is yet to fully tap into the full potential of the agricultural sector.


Minister blames power supply shortage on technical leakages


he current shortage of power supply in the country has been blamed on unanticipated technical leakages by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Council blames NASS investment setbacks


he National Assembly (NASS) may have become a major drawback to the country’s trade and investments promotion, as over 40 protocols and bilateral agreements have been lying over the years with the legislators, unattended to.

NAICOM may float $20bn oil, gas insurance pool


he National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) may float $20 billion oil and gas insurance pool to enable the insurance market build adequate capacity to participate in the energy risks.

“The First Bank ‘Save & Excel’ Promo is one of the bank’s vehicles for celebrating and rewarding our customers for their loyalty and patronage over the years. In addition, we are also driving economic development activities by encouraging our customers to save and creating opportunities for the entry of otherwise disadvantaged groups like the farmers, women, aged citizens, self-employed and SMEs into the financial system,” she said. On the star prize of an allexpense paid trip to the London 2012 Olympics for 10 customers, First Bank’s Group Head, Lagos Mainland (Retail), Mr. Soji Oyefeso explained that it was the Bank’s way of rewarding its customers with a life-long experience.

Woman hawking firewood as kerosene scarcity persists, yesterday, at Oke-Ilewo area, in Abeokuta.

he Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is heading to the National Assembly to seek power to prosecute importers and producers of substandard products in the country. SON Director-General, Dr Joseph Odumodu, in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, lamented that the agency lacks the power to prosecute importers of substandard products into the country, which is a major big challenge in eliminating substandard products because SON is only allowed to arrest suspects and handle them over the police.. He said SON lacks of prosecuting power has raised great potential risks for the country’s campaign against sub-standard products. He said once the Bill is passed to law, the agency will be able to start criminal proceedings against offenders. He said 70 per cent of goods manufactured in the country, especially items such as iron rods and cables were substandard.

Confusion as Reps order SON, NAFDAC back to ports, LCCI kicks Stories from Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


ollowing the Federal House of Representatives recent resolution that some of the agencies withdrawn from the ports by the Federal Government should return to duty post, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NACFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have continue to shun the ports. Peoples Daily checks at the port revels officials of the agencies were yet to be noticed at their initial duty post, as importers remain confused on

who’s order to obey. While the National Assembly insisted that NAFDAC, SON among others must remain at the nation’s ports and border posts, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) notes that their return will streamline the cargo clearance process at the ports, especially the Lagos ports. The House, in a resolution said the absence of those relevant agencies would expose the country to further economic, social and security risks. The National Assembly Joint Committee on Health, Commerce, Industries, Drugs/

Narcotics/Financial Crimes chaired by Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, in its report noted that the agencies played critical roles at the ports, saying that rather than withdraw them, government should introduce other measures to decongest the ports. “The Federal Government should engage stakeholders in the ports and transport sector to agree on the time frame for easy clearance of goods and containers at the ports,” the report said. It noted that in the course of investigation, the committee

discovered that Okonjo-Iweala did not seek a presidential approval for her action, a development the report said had ridiculed Nigeria. Lagos Chamber however argue that the ports witness notable improvements in the cargo clearing process since the presidential directive, “ we are aware that the current arrangement provides sufficient accommodation for SON and NAFDAC to discharge their functions as they are being invited by the customs to examine cargoes which require their attention. This, in our view, is adequate.”


Cowbell gets stakeholders endorsement


he annual Cowbell National Secondary School Mathematics Competition (NASSMAC) instituted about 12 years ago by Promasidor Nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell milk has received the nod from major stakeholders in the education sector. During a flag-off ceremony in Lagos to flag-off of the 12th edition, the competition received encomium from educationists who described it as a springboard for the identifying bright and intelligent students in Nigeria. Speaking at the occasion, Lagos state Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye commended Promasidor for the initiative and affirmed that Mathematics teachers across the country must encourage students to develop interest in the study of the subject rather than developing apathy toward it. A representative of the National Co-rdinator of the National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) Alhaji Babs Animashaun, Deacon Olusoji Adams also enjoined other companies in the country to launch similar competition in order to promote other subjects. He said the competition has rewarded many outstanding secondary school students across the country stating that the competition is open to all students between 10 – 18 years of age in JSS3 and SS2, in any government approved schools in Nigeria. “The competition is open to all students between 10 – 18 years of age in JSS3 and SSS2 attending full time secondary education in government approved schools in Nigeria.

Nestle posts 33% jump in annual profit as revenue climbs


estle Foods Nigeria Plc, the West African nation’s largest food company by market value, posted a 33 percent jump in full-year profit as revenue increased. Net income for the 12 months to Dec. 31 climbed to 16.8 billion naira from 12.6 billion naira a year earlier, the company said in a statement e-mailed by the Nigerian Stock Exchange today. Revenue advanced to 98 billion naira from 80.1 billion naira, the company said. (Bloomberg)


MTN Nigeria refutes N1bn reward scheme as promotional Stories from Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


elecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria has refuted the general belief that its recently concluded N1 billion reward scheme to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Nigeria was a promotion claiming that it scheme was primarily meant to drive SIM registration among Nigeria and reward its customers who has remained with the company in the last ten years of operation. Speaking on the issue in Lagos, General Manager- Corporate Affairs of MTN Nigeria, Funmilayo Omogbenigun said, “First, I must correct the misconception that the just-concluded MTN N1 billion Big Reward Scheme was a promo. It was not a promo. As the name

implies, it was a reward scheme.” Omogbenigun said, “The N1 Billion reward was designed to drive the SIM registration exercise by giving our customers an incentive to register their SIM cards before the deadline set by NCC and to also reward them for their loyalty over the last ten years. The impact on the brand is that it contributed to our ability to register about 34 million customers, which is the highest number of customers registered by any telecommunication company.” Even as the curtain falls on the programme, which has lasted five months, she reiterated “The reward scheme has ended, and there have been several cheque presentations since last year in different parts of the country.

The presentation which took place in Lagos on Thursday 9th February at the Civic Centre was the last of such presentations. Indeed, the cheque presentations were in precisely because we are judicious about ensuring the transparency of the process of selection. For this reward scheme, we partnered with Alexander Forbes, a credible international specialist in this field who oversaw the entire process and verified the results.” The grand finale of the MTN 1 billion Naira mega reward at the impressive Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos saw Benue State-born police officer and clergyman, James Orkuma, alongside 9 others lucky charting home N10 million each. James, who initially found it

possible to utter any word, told reporters in an emotion laden tone that his fortune was the handwork of his creator “This is unbelievable. I never expected it. I thought it was a fraud, a prank by some tricksters, but it has turned out to be real and true.” The grand finale brought together a mammoth crowd of MTN customers keen to witness the colourful event that rounded off Africa’s biggest consumer product reward scheme, during which MTN doled out N1billion naira. The exercise was the culmination of the campaign kicked off in Lagos last September and later tour major cities in Nigeria including Benin-city, Abuja, Enugu and Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano.

NAFDAC official sealing off a pharmacy on Port Harcourt refinery road, on Monday, in Okrika, Rivers state, during NAFDAC true scan drug testing exercise. Photo: NAN

Econet seeks N496bn damages from Bharti Airtel


conet Wireless is seeking at least $3.1 billion (about N496 billion) in damages from Bharti Airtel in a dispute over ownership of its subsidiary Airtel Nigeria, according to a suit filed yesterday. The move follows a Nigerian court ruling on Jan. 30 that Bharti Airtel’s ownership of its subsidiary Airtel Nigeria is “null and void” because co-founder and 5 percent shareholder Econet was not consulted on the transfer. South Africa-based Econet Wireless is disputing the Indian

company’s ownership of one of its top Africa operations. Bharti said on Feb. 8 that its stake in its Nigerian unit was “completely safe” and that the world’s fifth-biggest mobile phone carrier by subscribers had appealed against the verdict. “The claim for damages and equitable compensation against the Applicant and some of the Respondents might be in excess of $3 Billion,” the document filed to the court said. “The above estimated damages might also be in addition

to a claim for $100 Million received by the Applicant as fees for the management of VNL (Vee Networks Limited, a former name of Airtel) for a period of 6 years which sum should have accrued.” Bharti Airtel inherited the legal case as part of a $9 billion acquisition of Zain’s Africa operations in 2010, including 65 percent of Zain Nigeria. The basis of Econet’s claim is that its 5 percent stake was unfairly cancelled when Zain took control, so any decision

made since then without it, including the transfer to Bharti, is void. The Nigerian court upheld that claim. Nigeria contributes about 9.5 percent to Bharti’s consolidated operational profits, the company says. Econet disputed the buyout of Airtel’s stake from Zain Nigeria in 2010 because its right of first refusal over the stake was denied, in a dispute that had been ongoing since 2003, when the same assets were first sold to Vee Networks. (Reuters)



Chinese coy sues Apple over iPad name A

Chinese company fighting Apple Inc. over its use of the iPad trademark in China took its complaints to a Shanghai court Wednesday, though it says it is willing to talk about a settlement. Shenzhen Proview Technology claims ownership over the iPad name. Apple says it bought the rights to the name in China and other countries in 2009, but that Proview failed to transfer the rights in mainland China as agreed. Proview accuses Apple of acting dishonestly when it bought rights to the iPad name from its Taiwan affiliate and is seeking to prevent sales of the popular tablet computers in China. It has filed lawsuits in several places and has requested that commercial authorities in 40 cities block iPad

sales. Shanghai’s Pudong district court convened a hearing on the issue early Wednesday. Meanwhile, Apple has appealed an earlier ruling against it in a court in Shenzhen, a city in southern China’s Guangdong province. The Guangdong High Court is due to hear that case on Feb. 29. According to Xie Xianghui, a lawyer for Proview, late last week a lower court in Huizhou, another city in Guangdong, ruled that distributors should stop selling iPads in China. But that ruling may not have a far-reaching effect since the High Court appeal is still pending. Xie has also said that since no final decisions have been reached in various legal disputes over the issue, both sides are “still able to sit

together and reach an out-of-court settlement.” The trademark case is highlighting mixed attitudes toward Apple in China. Chinese are just as crazy about iPads and iPhones as consumers anywhere else and the devices are manufactured in China, employing hundreds of thousands of people. But public awareness has been growing of criticism over the labor and environmental practices of huge factories that assemble the devices. Major Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwan company, under intense scrutiny after a spate of worker suicides, recently raised wages by up to 25 percent in the second major salary hike in less than two years. Many in China expect the two

Firewood for sale as kerosene became very expensive, recently in Yola town.

Photo: NAN

sides to eventually reach a settlement rather than continue to battle in the courts. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, insists it holds the trademark rights to the iPad in China, having purchased them through a company set up for that purpose for 35,000 British pounds ($55,000). A court in Hong Kong, which

Foreign portfolio investment hits N478.6bn - SEC


he Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the inflow of foreign portfolio investment into the country grew by 25 per cent in 2011 to N478.6 billion. Ms Arunma Oteh, SEC Director-General, disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday while analysing the performance of the capital market in 2011. She said that the inflow of foreign portfolio investment was N382.1 billion in 2010. Oteh said that the positive fundamentals of listed companies and under-valuation of many stocks led to increase in foreign portfolio participation in the capital market. According to her, foreign interest in market grew with over 60 per cent of the investment driven by the foreign institutional investors. She said that equities market capitalisation during the period under review declined by 16 per cent to N6.5 trillion against the N7.9 trillion posted in 2010. Oteh said that the All-Share Index also dropped by 16 per cent to close at 20,730.63 against the 24,770.52 recorded in 2010. The director-general said that the total trading volume dropped to N644.2 billion or 19 per cent from N797.5 billion recorded in the previous year. She said that the value of average daily transactions declined to N2.7 billion against N3.3 billion posted in 2010. Oteh said that in spite of the decline, the capital market outperformed a number of markets around the world.

Subsidy : CPC boss bemoans unequal increase in prices By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Director- General of Consumer Protection (CPC), Mrs. Ify Umenyi has decried the post- fuel subsidy removal increase in prices of goods in the market, which she said was not commensurate with the January 2012 increase in the price of fuel. Speaking before a meeting with some market union leaders in Abuja on Tuesday, Mrs. Umenyi lamented that even when President Goodluck Jonathan reduced the pump price of fuel from N141 to N97, the prices of goods in the market, which were jerked up after the initial complete removal

of fuel subsidy, remained the same. The CPC boss told reporters that the meeting was called in order to find a way out of the exorbitant prices of goods in the market. “According to a market survey carried out by this agency, when the Federal Government increased fuel price from N65 to 141, the prices of goods skyrocketed accordingly. But after the strikes and protests and government decided to bring back the fuel price to N97, the prices have remained the same. She continued: “That is why we have invited the market union leaders to a meeting to ask them what their challenges are? Why is this so? This is because we believe

dialogue can solve all problems. Meanwhile, this meeting is also going on in Lagos and all our regional offices nationwide.” The CPC boss insisted that the market unions have to reduce their current prices to meet up with the 30 percent increase in fuel price. She however added that she was aware that fuel was only one item out of the total cost of transporting goods. She reminded the market leaders that all Nigerians are consumers and whatever exorbitant prices they charge their customers will also have a multiplier effect on them. Responding, the president of Wuse Market Women Association,

has a separate legal system from mainland China, ruled in July that Proview had acted with the intention of “injuring Apple.” Proview, a maker of LCDs, registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001 for an “Internet Personal Access Device” computer that employed touch panel technology. It contends that the 2009 sale was not legally binding. So far, iPads have been pulled from shelves in some Chinese cities but there has been no sign of action at the national level.(Associated Press)

Mrs Atobatele Emily Temilade agreed with the CPC boss, adding that some of her colleagues were of the habit of saying they don’t buy goods from the same place anytime they are approached with the idea of reducing their exorbitant prices . The secretary of Utako Market Association, Mr Igwema Alex however blamed the high prices of goods on the producers and distributors, who he said charge them very high too. He added that the general cost of living in Abuja has contributed significantly to the high prices since according to him, he and his colleagues too have to pay their respective bills.

She said that China stock market declined by 22.8 per cent, Brazil 16.3 per cent, India market dropped by 22.6 per cent, while Argentina recorded a decline of 30.3 per cent. Oteh said that the local bond market witnessed significant activities in 2011 as the Federal Government issued 28 new tranches of outstanding bonds valued at N791.3 trillion. She said that N183.8 billion worth of new fixed income securities was issued by states and corporate entities, adding that Benue, Niger, Delta and Ekiti floated bonds during the period. (NAN)

NSE loses N57bn in market capitalisation


ctivities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) ended on depressed note on yesterday as the market indicators declined by 0.87 per cent. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the All-Share Index depreciated by 178.96 points to close at 20,313.35 against the 20,492.31 recorded on Tuesday. The market capitalisation, which opened with N6.458 trillion, dropped N57 billion to close at N6.401 trillion Dangote Cement, the most highly capitalised stock on the Exchange, led the losers’ chart with a loss of N4.51 to close at N105.49 per share. Lafarge Wapco lost N1.40 to close at N42.60 per share, while Con Oil dipped by N1.33 to close at N25.27 per share. Julius Berger depreciated by N1.10 to close at N20.91 per share, while PZ Cussons shed 90k to close at N26 per share. On the other hand, NewGold ETF topped the gainers’ chart with N17 to close at N2, 693 per unit. CAP followed with a gain of 62k to close at N14.40 per share, while Unilever grew by 47k to close at N28.42 per share. Oando appreciated by 34k to close at N19.49, while Zenith rose by 17k to close at N12.50 per share. NAN reports that volume of shares traded increased in spite of the depreciation of the market indicators. (NAN)




National Emergency Summit: Yet another dialogue A National Emergency Summit held in Lagos recently. It was called by Prof Pat Utomi and involved the assemblage of very important citizens. It was meant to jaw-jaw on ways out of the country’s numerous problems. In this piece, Ayodele Samuel described it as another journey without destination.


igerians are reputed as good talkers. Since the nation returned to civilian rule in 1999 various platforms have been created to discuss issues of our national importance but many of the outcome of such dialogues have not succeeded in moving the nation forward. There was the ProNational Conference (PRONACO) conference in Lagos in 2005 chaired by late Chief Anthony Enahoro. A draft constitution which is a product of that conference drawn up by a committee headed by the late Prof. Jadesola Akande spelt out better ways to run the country. The outcome of the much publisised meeting of the eminent leaders was put together in a document which has been in circulation since 2007 but the nation has not moved an

President Goodluck Jonathan

inch close to its expected destination. Ahead of the 2011 elections, a similar move was resurrected under the umbrella of the Mega Summit Movement (MSM) which was championed by former secretary to the federal government (SFG), Chief Olu Falae to proffer lasting solutions to national issues before going into another political era. The MSM after various consultations with prominent citizens was later hijacked by political forces who viewed the platform as a political instrument to achieve their personal political goals. The movement however, was unable to address any national issue, rather it created more political issues. While reports of the National Constitutional Conference held between 1994 and 1995 during the

reign of the late military dictator, General Sani Abacha and the 2006 Political Reform Conference cooked up by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s Government are still begging for consideration from necessary authorities, another emergency roundtable discussion was called in Lagos to fashion out the way out of the mounting challenges facing the country. The national dialogue organized by the National Summit Group led by renowned economist Prof Pat Utomi was expected to x-ray government positions on burning national issues such as deregulation of the economy, the Boko Haram hostilities and National stability among others before drawing up proposals as well as modalities for a peoples’ National Conference, where the country’s crisis was expected to be resolved once

Prof. Pat Utomi, Convener of the summit Eminent Nigerians and for all. The meeting paraded a colorful list of attendee like Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Mallam Adamu Chiroma, Obong Victor Attah, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in attendance. Some of the 100 eminent political leaders invited to the emergency summit included; Alhaji Maitama Sule, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Prof Ben Nwabueze, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chief John Nwodo, Chief Olu Falae, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Prince Tony Momoh, Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana, Chief Emeka Anyaokwu, Abdulwaheed Omar, Comrade Peter Esele, Col Umar Dangiwa, Chief Victor Umeh, Chief Edwin Clark, Dr Lateef Adegbite, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Chief Bisi Akande, General Alani Akinriande, Gen IBM Haruna, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, Alhaji Lateef Jakande,Chief Richard Akinjide, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Dr MT Mbu, Rev Father Mathew Kukah, Senator David Dafinone, Mr Joseph Daudu, Prof Adebayo Adedeji, Dr Jibrin Ibrahim among others Utomi said the mission of the summit was to review the present state of the nation. He explained that the summit was a means of urgently preventing a perceived civil war, as being perceived by the

outside world.” He stressed that the subsidy controversy was only a small part, indeed a symptom, of the problems bedeviling the Nigerian State, and pointed out that with the exodus of Northerners in some parts of the country moving back to the North for fear of reprisal attacks, the country was once again going through another perilous times, comparable to the events of 1966. Utomi lamented that the country was gradually returning to the brink lamenting that “our country cannot continue in this manner. So, our coming together as eminent Nigerians is to see how we can look for a way forward. And one of the issues that on our agenda is the issue of subsidy.

“Eminent leaders in our country from across the federation, across professional lines and across generational lines, assembled to dialogue about the situation in the country – whether you talk about pricing of petroleum products, or security problems in the country, or about the Constitution of our country – the moment is now. “We owe it to our country to do something, because people are afraid that a certain prediction that the country will become a failed state by the year 2015 will be fulfilled. We have told ourselves that we cannot stand by and watch our nation degenerate. “So, we have, after very widespread consultation, decided that this moment – a very trying moment for our country - on account of what

has been happening, it is time to dialogue on how to get Nigeria working again.” Dr Tunji Braithwaite expressed optimism that the emergency National Summit helped to articulate and give direction to the aspirations

of the Nigerians in the geo political zones, Labour movement, Civil society and the Private sectors among others “as eminent leaders of thought in the nation’s building blocks were invited to the historic national summit on the state of the

We owe it to our country to do something, because people are afraid that a certain prediction that the country will become a failed state by the year 2015 will be fulfilled. We have told ourselves that we cannot stand by and watch our nation degenerate Leaders of different ethnicity at a confab

nation. PRONACO mouthpiece Olawale Okunniyi believes President Jonathan was not the problem, nor subsidy removal, “but the warped system operated in Nigeria. Nobody can do better than he is doing now, if Nigeria is not first restructured. We all are devolving our energy

and anger now more positively to demand system overhauling now through an immediate National Summit and peoples’ conference! ‘if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do.” President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima also

believed it was imperative for Nigerians to chat a way forward in order to prevent disintegration of the country General-Secretary of organizing group, Mr Tony Uranta, explained that among the critical issues discussed were the provision of basic commodity for the people of Nigeria, security and most importantly the constitution. He added that despite the crisis currently facing the nation, there was so much for Nigeria and Nigerians to live for. “For a very long time”, he said, “Nigerians lost their voice. What is happening across the nation shows that the Nigerian people have discovered their voice. Such a dialogue at this point unlike in the past has greater possibility of bearing fruit.” The organizers expressed optimism that the summit after all helped to articulate and gave direction to the aspirations of the Nigerian people. After the conference, the question on the lips of Nigerian is; to what extent did the conference go in giving hope to the common man in whose interest the conference was conveyed in the first instance. Nigerian’s are still bemoaning their fate aftermath of the hike in fuel. Things have never been this bad for the average Nigerian.




Sectarian violence: NEMA distributes relief materials to victims


ollowing the 2011 sectarian violence in Kafanchan, Kaduna state, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has provided relief support to victims of the crisis currently residing at the state’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. The Director-General, NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad SaniSidi, who commiserated with the victims, however, reiterated the agency’s readiness to continue to support disaster victims; while urging citizens to desist from any

act capable of creating catastrophe in the country. Represented by the Director, Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. Edward Maigida, the DG advised of the area to engage constant dialogue in solving issues and learn to tolerate each other instead of resorting to violence which causes destruction of lives and property. On its part, the State Emergency Management Agency, on behalf of the victims appreciated the effort of the agency in providing the relief

items, assuring of its desire to collaborating with officers of the zone in distributing the items to the victims. The relief items distributed include building materials and food stuffs, beverages, detergents, clothing, mattrasses, blankets and other household items. The relief items distributed include building materials and food stuffs, beverages, detergents, clothing, matrasses, blankets and other household items.

…Assists Sokoto flood victims


n another development, NEMA has donated relief materials worth millions of Naira to the flood victims in Sokoto State. It would be recalled that a flood disaster inflicted untold hardship to over 2, 350 Sokoto

residents in September 2011, ravaging seven local government areas. The affected areas are Rabah, Wurno, Silame, SabonBirni, Ilella, Goronyo Gwadabawa and Ilella Local Government Areas of the state.

The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako during the flag-in ceremony lauded NEMA on its preparedness for prompt response to disaster management, mitigation and prevention in the country.

Sani-Sidi counsels ex-corps members


gainst the backdrop of increasing disaster awareness especially at the grassroots, Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi, yesterday urged the outgoing members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Who just concluded their primary assignment with the agency to extend the knowledge they acquired to their various communities. Addressing the corps members in Abuja, the DG asked the corps not to relent in their quest to contributing to the national development, assuring that the agency was making efforts to stepdown disaster issues, especially at the grassroots. The DG, who thanked the outgone corps members for their services to the nation, tasked them on consciousness towards emergency management in the country.

D-G NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi in a group photograph with the outgoing corps members. Responding, one of the ex-corps members thanked the Agency for creating the desired opportunities for them to serve. He said the period of the service at the Agency has been very rewarding and assured that they will always collaborate over any issues of disaster management in their communities. Meanwhile, it was leant that in its efforts to decentralize disaster

management in Nigeria, NEMA has established seven zonal offices. It has also trained over 200,000 youths in various communities through the grassroots emergency volunteers and several thousands of corps members under the Emergency Management Vanguards (EMV) which is being implemented in collaboration with the National Youths Service Corps.

Agency convenes stakeholders meeting on disaster management By Mohammed Kandi


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), North Central Zone has organizing a one-day emergency management meeting, assembling all the relevant stakeholders in disaster management to converse on timely response to disaster management in the zone. The Assistant Zonal Coordinator, Abdulsalam Mohammed, in a statement

issued by the agency’s head of press and public relations, Yushau A. Shuaib, said the meeting became necessary to combat various security challenges in disaster management in the country. Mohammed also said that the meeting was aimed at generating measures for effective preparedness and response to disaster when it occurs. He appealed to stakeholders in Plateau State to assist the agency in its quest to achieving

functional State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in the state. “Plateau is the only state in North central that is yet to pass the enabling law for establishment of state Emergency Management Agency,” he concluded. The stakeholders in the meeting included the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSDC), Red Cross Society OF Nigeria and the Police Force.


Mitigating the effects of landslides


ver the years, landslides have remained one of the major threats to human life, property facilities, infrastructure and natural environment in most parts of Nigeria. A landslide is a phenomenon arising from the rapid movement of large amount of soil mass over an extensive area which can cause serious damage to people and the environment such as agricultural farms, houses, roads etc. It could cut off water and power, block a road, or create many unpleasant conditions. In December 2005 landslides in Umuchiani community of Anambra state led to the displacement of about 250 families; while over 20 communities in Awgu and Oji-River Local Government Areas of Enugu State were thrown into serious difficulties by landslides which cut off a portion of the AwguAchi-Oji River road in October 2011. Several causes have been attributed to landslides, among which are climate change, intensified anthropogenic activities, growing urbanization, uncontrolled land-use, land clearance for agricultural practices, mining, stone quarrying, logging, deforestation, over-loading slope or blocking drainage by artificial fills or embankments; massive excavations, among others. Meanwhile, with the amplifying level of landslides’ hazards and risks across the country coupled with the needs to manage the risks and protect the lives and property of Nigerians from the potential dangers of landslides, the National Emergency Management (NEMA) apart from its collaboration with Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), through organization of conferences, workshops, training programmes in various parts of the country on Disaster Risks Reduction (DRR) has proffered valuable recommendations to mitigate the incidence of landslides. Thus, putting in place, proper land assessment to determine areas prone to landslides and advising on how best to make the right decision prior to the erection of structures. In the analyses of geologists, the susceptibility of a given area to landslides can be determined and depicted using hazard zonation and preparation of landslide hazard map as tools to help identify land areas best suited for development by examining the potential risk of landslides. The use of geological mapping will help in detecting slope hazards and determining the likelihood of landslide occurrence. In structural erections, geoscientists can assist engineers, developers, planners and building inspectors in avoiding highrisk areas. Through this process, structures such as homes, schools, hospitals, offices, power-lines, and roads can be safely located away from potential landslide risk areas. Installation of drainage control or series of pipes that divert water away from unstable slopes is another option to mitigate occurrence of landslides. In this case, the surface drainage control works are implemented to control the movement of landslides accompanied by infiltration of rain water and spring flows. The drainage systems can be designed to channel the collected water out of the landslide zones as quickly as possible to avoid penetration of water that can cause damage to the area. NEMA through its sensitization

approaches as mentioned above has counselled slope prone communities on innovative mitigation techniques which include active slope monitoring systems, appropriate detective methods, early warning alert and innovative structures which have been found useful at some sites in various parts of the world. Such include improving surface or subsurface drainage, reducing the angle of the slope, excavating to unload the top of the slope, building protective beams to reduce erosion at the base of the slope, re-vegetation of the slope, and geotechnical nailing or artificial hard covers among others. Besides, planting enough vegetation to strengthen and bind soil together contour trees on steep slopes will help to create stiff vegetation thereby serving as a barrier against slope. It has been observed that as these trees and shrubs grow, their roots will hold soil together, and help in reducing erosion of soil which is likely to result in landslides. Before buying a home, check out for the sign of weak earth below the structure, and unstable walls. Get advice from a qualified geologist or geological engineer previous to the construction of your home; and request information and assistance from your municipal or district planner or building inspector while purchasing a land, sub-dividing, and construction applications. This helps to understand the environmental and safety regulations underneath the use of such structure or land. Individuals are advised to cultivate total discipline towards the exploitation of natural environment as keeping environment safe from accumulated debris on a steep slope. It has been argued that small accumulations of debris can become flooded and hasty a larger slide. Therefore, individuals should avoid placing cleared debris, yard waste, or fill material on a steep slope. Avoid modifications of the ground that disrupt or alter natural drainage, unless based on the recommendations of a qualified geologist or engineer. It has been reported that the effect of landslides is enhanced mostly by human activities. This for instance has been accounted in post-1840 Canada landslides which have resulted in more than 600 fatalities which include the destruction of several communities, and loss of billions of dollars. There is a need for a critical review of the 1978 Nigerian Land Use Act, as through this, such unpleasant human activities as excavation, deforestation, irrigation or stream modification, blocking drainages by artificial fills should be subjected to the permission of Municipal Authority. For instance, the British Columbia Municipal Act contains legal requirements that deal with landslides and other hazards taking into account, mandatory engineering and geo-science investigations before structure erections. Finally, the hazards presented by landslides involves not only failure of ground beneath a structure and the impact or burial of moving debris, but also such secondary effects as landslidedammed floods and landslidegenerated waves. However, landslide risk in our lives can be reduced or eliminated with proper planning and mitigation action.



Jatropha: A panacea for degraded lands and economic crunch Discovered over 200 years ago, the Jatropha plant, through its manifold possibilities, is presently being used to transform the lives of rural dwellers in Katsina state. In this interview with Mohammed Kandi, the Coordinator of a pilot project which has changed the lives of people of Bagazawa and a couple of villages in Batagarawa local government area of the state, Dr. Abdulkadir Yammama, sheds light on their milestones and successes.


hat is Jatropha all about and why is it a preferred project? The plant was brought into Nigeria over 200 years ago. They brought it for the purpose of protecting their gardens and degraded lands which they use to grow such crops like tomatoes, Irish potatoes, maize and other cash crops. The plant is medicinal, from its leaves to the root. You can use the root as anti snake and the leaf as anti malaria among other medicinal values. However, we are not looking at it from the medicinal angle only; we are looking at it as a panacea to our energy problem which will also aid the declining industrial development of our dear country. The fuel from Jatropha can be used for power generation. So you can see that it is a multipurpose plant, a tool for rural development from which the beneficiary communities can generate their own electricity, enhance their education, healthcare facilities, and above all, for agro industries. Apart from all these values, the jatropha plant has good characteristics for rejuvenating or reclaiming degraded lands. Nigeria today is made up of over four million hectares of degraded lands either due to desert encroachment, massive deforestation or due to extraction of minerals that are found in the country. How does the Jatropha plant enhance a degraded land? Jatropha plant, through the seeds, produces about five roots; four lateral roots and one tap root. That big massive tap root in the centre is the miracle worker, because it is like a borehole. It pumps water and minerals from there to the top. This makes all the soil found around the jatropha plant to be wet all the time. There is growth of micro organism and that is the reason why you see degraded lands been reclaimed if you plant jetropha on them. Also, jatropha can grow where some other plants cannot grow. In other words, whether there is rainfall or not, the plant can survive. With these very positive characteristics of jatropha, especially with what has been achieved in Katsina, do we need government to be able to alleviate poverty in Nigeria?

Of course you cannot do a project like this without government support. We need the government for tax rates, for subsidies and above all, we need the national assembly to enact enabling laws, to serve as a legal instrument. The jatropha business needs a policy and for enforcement. For example, Nigeria has a policy on jatropha but it has not been enforced. The NNPC was given a mandate to blend 10-20 percent of jatropha bio energy into their petroleum products, that is, ethanol be blended with petrol, and diesel to be blended with bio diesel, but since the rules were made, there is no enforcement of the rule. When we started in 2006, our first point of call was the presidency. We did a joint presentation, myself and the minister for environment, they directed us to stakeholders ministries so that they can look at it, we even formed inter ministerial committee on jetropha in 2007, because the project is technology driven, we set up centers of excellence, so we subdivided the project into two; like in the petroleum industry, there was downstream and upstream. The upstream in this case, we called the agronomic, which is; the clearing of the land, getting quality planting material, planting, harvesting, extracting of the oil and refining. Then the downstream; we talked about the extraction of oil and the refining. We got an MoU with the Energy Commission (of Nigeria), but the problem has always been the Nigerian factor with every stakeholder wanting to be the leader. We brought in entrepreneurs from the private sector, because we knew that this type of project should be private sector driven. So, you look at the consumers who are people that are into electricity generation, the consumers are also people into transportation. They are industries that can use this product for production in their industries. We want to use this opportunity to make sure we get the best benefit out of this product. To make sure our people are employed, not just labourers on their lands but stakeholders. Why do think that

Dr. Abdulkadir Yammama northern Nigeria, more than any region in the country, needs this kind of project? Northern Nigeria has sixty million hectares of land; we can utilize only six million hectares. We do not need the crude oil because the money that will accrue from the project is more than the money we are getting from the federation account. We are therefore asking everybody to cue-in, even if you are landless or a pensioner. Once the government has allocated the lands, we will come, and the good thing about it is that we can even come and make settlement schemes. Are you coming in as an NGO or as a private investor? We are coming in as both. We start as NGO for promotion of the idea and later as a business investor. First, you have to sell the idea; you have to show the people how you are doing that. This is not tales by moonlight; this is what is happening in reality. So with this pilot project, which is on only ten hectares of land in Batagarawa local government in Katsina state and surrounded by six communities, comprising of one thousand two hundred families, we were able to change lives. These are people living in the desert, these are people who have seen poverty, their children are not going to school, they do not get any medical care. We built schools for them. We build a feeder road for the project and we installed two boreholes for water with two generating plants. Then we planted Jatropha and when we started getting harvest, we said okay, let’s start empowering program immediately, then we imported our engine and started extracting the oil. Without formal education they can do this one. They couldn’t believe it that without any formal education they could become producers. For a woman, she produced her own light, soap for washing and bathing and

shampoo for her hair cream. This is the first stage, the second stage will be to demonstrate that with the oil, they can use it for rural electrification. We got generators; we are going to wire their villages with internally generated light. Now the last

stage is going industrial, to boost the national economy. You will be graduating some students from the institute very soon. Are you satisfied with their performances? Already some people are offering support schemes and are willing to give them money to start their businesses having seen their work (products), no pay back. By so doing, you find out that the people are gradually been empowered in their hundreds. Secondly, we want to replicate this in other states. Already, the wife of the vicepresident (Amina Sambo) has assured us of a land in Kaduna state for a similar project. The bigger project is the production of bio diesel from the jatropha plant. We want Nigeria to step up the production of bio diesel. If you remember, the U.S. President, Barack Obama told Nigeria that the U.S. is going to reduce purchase of its crude oil, saying any country that can mobilize the production of bio diesel will lead the 21 century, and that is what we intend to do.

Below are some of the products made from the jatropha seeds at the Bagazawa pilot project in Kastina state as displayed by Dr. Yammama. They include bathing soap, body cream, air freshener, candle, cooking oil, hand-washing liquid soap. The seeds also produce oil for electricity and diesel.


Women are more vulnerable to climate change - WEP


he Women Environmental Programme (WEP) has urged the Federal Government to mitigate the effects of climate as it affects women more. The Executive Director of WEP, Mrs Priscillia Achakpa, who made the call in recently Abuja, explained that women were more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men due to their biological constitution. WEP is a non-governmental organisation established to address the gender injustices on issue relating to the environment, economic and social rights of women. Achakpa said an extensive research the programme conducted in the northern part of the country revealed that “it found women are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change not because it does not affect men. It does, but because of their biological buildup, women are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change.” “For instance, if a woman is getting to menopause, the heat waves into the body, is much higher

than when she is still in her reproductive age. In terms of ageing, the women age faster than the men when you look at the issues of climate change,” she stated. She also decried a situation where women had to travel five kilometres daily to get firewood and water for household use in the rural areas. The executive director pointed out that sanitation issues such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse and open defecation, especially in the slums, posed major health hazards for women and children. According to her, such sanitation issues caused diarrhoea, cholera, water borne diseases, among others, thus threatening the lives of women and children. Achakpa said women needed to be more enlightened and educated on issues of climate change so that they could avoid being victims of flooding. She added that due to ignorance, the majority of the people who lost their lives to flooding in some parts of the country in 2011 were women and children. (NAN)

Plateau Govt directs task force to clear garbage heaps


orried by heaps of garbage in most parts of Jos and Bukuru, the Plateau Government has directed the task force on environmental sanitation to evacuate the rubbish within five days. The Deputy Governor, Mr. Ignatius Longjan, gave the directive Tuesday while inspecting the rubbish sites along Dogon Dutse, Bauchi and Ring roads. Longjan also inspected some sites along Zaria Crescent, Old Bukuru Park and the State Low Cost Housing Estate, where he saw huge heaps of refuse. “I am shocked and disappointed that the city has become this terrible; we can no more tolerate this rubbish all over the place,” he said. He wondered why the city should be so dirty in spite of the huge investments aimed toward ensuring a clean environment. “There should be proper and timely collection and disposal of refuse because that is crucial, if we want to safeguard the city against all manner of ailments,” Longjan

advised. He cautioned against the dumping of waste into ponds along Bauchi road, Naraguta students’ hostel of the University of Jos, and other sites, considering the health implications of such actions. The deputy governor described what he had seen as “an eye-sore capable of portraying the state in bad light, because of the strategic location of some of the heaps”. Longjan directed those concerned to ensure that the waste was cleared daily and warned that the government would no longer accept any form of laxity. He challenged residents to also clear the gutters in front of their residences before the rains set in, adding that, “citizens don’t have to wait on government before helping their communities. There is the need to always keep the environment clean and rid the settlements of mosquitoes.” “We must also clear our gutters so as to ease the passage of water during the rainy season. Above all, we should not wait on government for every little thing,” the Deputy Governor said. (NAN)

Kebbi promises to embark on afforestation


he Kebbi state government has promised to embark on afforestation, to meet the 20 percent UN requirement on land mass forest reserve. The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ishaku Daudu, made the promise while addressing forestry officials in Birnin-Kebbi, the Kebbi state capital recently. He said the state government had earmarked N1.9 million for enlightenment programme on Tree planting. Daudu tasked the officials to ensure that tree felling was reduced to the barest minimum,

stressing that the law that would be used in prosecuting violators of environmental protection was being reviewed. The Commissioner said that they were “expected to prohibit cutting down of trees and encourage planting more trees”. He enjoined them to encourage the formation of environment clubs in schools as well as youth organisations in their stations. NAN gathered that the state government planned to release two million seedlings to the public, as part of its efforts to protect the environment against desert encroachment. (NAN)


Ex-raying Nigerian environmental problems


hat Nigeria is plagued with a myriad of environmental problems threatening the ecosystems and indeed the people is no longer in dispute. These environmental problems called for urgent attention. These includes drought and desertification, soil erosion, flooding, accumulation of solid wastes in our urban centres, loss of biological diversity as a result of deforestation, indiscriminate bush burning, overgrazing, coastal erosion, ocean surge and illegal hunting. Other intractable environmental problems in Nigeria are air and water pollution from industrial discharge, oil spillage and gas flaring. These problems vary in their occurrences and intensities across the various ecological zones in Nigeria. That they are as deadly as weapons of mass destruction is not an over statement. They are indeed environmental weapons of mass destruction, considering the devastating negative effects they impact on the people and the environment. Given this un-cheery scenario and the cost of these various environmental problems in Nigeria which is estimated to be within the range of N500 billion per year according to the UNDP, the economic impact on the poor people that are already living below poverty line could better be imagined. Poverty is one of the most potent of these weapons. African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEN) in its mission statement says that economic and environmental policies, which do not improve the lives of the poor majority of our people, are not socially or politically sustainable. The overarching goals of alleviation of poverty in our economic development can only be met if we ensure the adequate protection and management of our natural resources. One of the factors that has brought significant demand on resources is our unplanned population growth. The hallmark of any developing nations including Nigeria is to reduce the pressure on resources for example which has persistently pushed farmers; marginal land with an attendant plethora of ecological problems. Deforestation for instance, has been linked to population growth. Studies have implicated population growth as being responsible for 79 percent of deforestation, while the remaing 21 percent has been ascribed to increases in food consumption per person. In Nigeria , the predominant subsistence farming practice rely on shifting cultivation or “slash and burn” that has become the most important of the factors of deforestation. The critical shortage of fuelwood also increases the rate of deforestation. The hike in price of kerosene, an alternative energy source for the low income and the rural poor that constitute as much as 75 percent of the populace, only worsened the problem. This group invests more in axes, machetes and other implements so that it can sustain a renewed and intensified

ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT WATCH By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only) onslaught on the forests. Of the ecological “weapons of mass destruction in Nigeria ,” population growth and poverty, which have linkages between them, is central to the sustenance of the disasters. It must be emphasized that for any meaningful prevention, reduction, amelioration, and overall management of these disasters, these fundamental causal and pervasive factors must be given adequate consideration. This is expedient if the cycles of disasters factors are to be broken in a sustainable manner. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the environment. Poverty and environmental degradation are inextricably linked; a solution to one will help to solve the other, while an increase in one aggravates the other. Human progress cannot justifiably be assured without concerted efforts to combat the twin evils of poverty and environmental degradation. There is no doubt that much effort has been made at various levels to address the numerous environmental problems as it, affects Nigeria . The reality, however, is that the way things are now, the environments, which is the means of sustenance for the people are no longer sustainable. Resources are not only being exploited faster than they can be replaced. Virtually, every process of exploitation leaves the environment in a state of comatose. The manifestation is the ecological hazards usually degenerate into full-blown ecological disasters. The factors responsible for the several environmental problems in Nigeria are: A general inability of the agencies, responsible for the environment to enforce laws aimed at regulations; particularly with respect of urban planning, and development, prospecting for minerals, adherence to industrial standards and erection of public utility in ecologically sensitive areas. Inappropriate agricultural practices, the destruction of watersheds and the opening up of watersheds, of river banks, and other critical areas leading to silting of river beds and loss of water courses. Uncontrolled logging, aggravated by lack of restocking in many parts of the country leading to loss of biodiversity. Bush burning for farming and ever-increasing depletion of young forests for fuel-wood. Gas flaring and the resultant problems of ecosystem destabilization, heat stress, acid rain and the consequent effects on

freshwater and coastal water lives. Of ecosystem destabilization, heat stress, acid rain and the consequent effects on freshwater and coastal water lives. Uncontrolled use of agrochemicals leading to soil contamination and Dumping of non-natural but trade related expired and contraband chemicals and pesticides. To date, Nigeria ‘s natural systems continue to experience considerable pressure, leading to deterioration. Over population Is also drawing down key natural resources to the point that the degradation of lands, forests and waters has become intensive, and threatening to overwhelm the integrity of key natural systems and the prospects of economic development. Government has held landmark conferences, negotiated dozens of bilateral and multilateral agreements, built-up institutions and set out a common vision, which include eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality among others. But as it is so often, there is always the risk in planning without execution. But after years of listening to debates, many of us fatigue,” frustrated that no one seems to do much to help. The key now is to put people first and the environment second, but also to remember that when you exhaust resources, you destroy people. With that in mind, policy makers wrestle with a host of difficulty issues that affect both people and the environment. The major basis of social and economic development in most countries, especially in developing countries, lie in their environmental and natural resources. The level of development in these countries is often a reflection of how the resources have been planned, allocated and managed. Those nations, who have achieved a level of sustainable development often, carried out the above activities with an understanding of the exosphere arid the appreciation and knowledge of how to prevent, mitigate and restore the stresses generated by natural and human activities. One of the legacies of our recent past is the understanding that economic growth, social stability and political security are all inherently interdependent and all require a healthy and strong natural resource base. This cardinal vision is reflected in all the relevant instruments and declarations adopted by the international community to date, but principles of sustainable development have proved elusive in practice.



President belts out a few bars as he joins B.B. King and Mick Jagger to salute Black History Month


ven the President of the United States can’t say no to the king of the blues. Barack Obama found himself belting out a few bars of Sweet Home Chicago, the blues anthem of his hometown, after being cajoled by the legendary B.B. King - part of an ensemble of musical stars who came together at the White House last night to celebrate Black History Month. The intimate gig in the East Room had almost wound down, when guitarist Buddy Guy reminded the president that he had burst into a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together at a recent rally. The musician quipped to Obama: ‘You gotta keep it up.’ With wife Michelle clapping her approval and cheers from the crowd, Obama shook his head in refusal - but then readily accepted a microphone offered by Mick Jagger before he launched into song. ‘Come on, baby don’t you want to go,’ the president sang twice, handing the microphone to B.B. King momentarily - then taking it

back to tack on ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ before making a suave exit. The President’s impromptu burst into song came as leading Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum dubbed Obama a ‘rock star’ who was acting like royalty running the country. Earlier this week, Santorum told the Maricopa County Lincoln Day lunch in Phoenix, Arizona: ‘Back in 2008, the American public at a time of crisis went for a rock star that they believed could solve their problems, someone that they believed in to make a difference in their lives. ‘This election, Americans are going to go back to what we’ve done in the past. We’re looking for leaders, not who we believe in, we’re looking for a leader who believes in you.’ At the star-studded White House event, Obama opened the celebration by telling the crowd there were ‘downsides’ to running the country - before adding that ‘things even out a little bit’ when music legends like King and Jagger, along with Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and Grammy-winner Keb Mo,

Oh, go on then: Obama didn't miss the opportunity to sing a few bars of blues classic Sweet Home Chicago with legends B.B King and Mick Jagger at the White House last night stopped by to jam. The President continued: ‘This music speaks to something universal. No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.’ B.B. King, 86, arrived in a wheelchair but stood to kick off the night with a raucous version

of Let The Good Times Roll. He followed with The Thrill Is Gone. Obama, who was joined at the concert by wife Michelle and her mother Marian Robinson, swayed in his seat and sang along to a playlist including St James Infirmary and Let Me Love You. Beck slowed things down with an instrumental Brush With the Blues, as anticipation built for the arrival of

Mick Jagger, who did not disappoint. The Rolling Stones frontman sang I Can’t Turn You Loose and then teamed up with Beck on Commit a Crime. Jagger got the Obamas out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with Miss You performed with Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi. Obama at times closed his eyes and nodded his head along to the music. Before the closing number of Sweet Home Chicago, Obama said: ‘For Michelle and me, there’s no blues like the song our artists have chosen to close with - the blues from our hometown.’ The lineup for Tuesday’s concert spanned multiple generations, from legends like King and Guy to young faces such as 26-year-old Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and Gary Clark Jr, whose style blends hip hop, contemporary soul and indie rock. Also performing were Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, with actress Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T Jones as music director and band leader. The blues concert was part of the ‘In Performance at the White House’ series that airs on PBS. It begins on Monday in celebration of Black History Month. Source:

Listen up: B.B. King was part of the ensemble cast at the White House during a blues performance to celebrate Black History Month

Ever the charmer: President Obama sings few notes with legend BB King

Sharing a tune: B.B. King (left) and the President improvised on the last song of the night Sweet Home Chicago

Smooth: First Lady Michelle looks delighted as the President improvised on a couple of bars with the ensemble blues cast




Late Shehu Mustapha: Remembering a man of peace By Yakubu Ahmed-BK


he refrain has always been that people should not speak ill of the dead. But even he was still alive no one would still have had the faintest of any inkling to speak badly of him. This is not because he was a man of no blemish at all but simply because his good deeds have outweighed his failings, that is, if his human shortcomings, as negligible as they were, will be seen in that light. The late Shehu of Borno, Alhaji (Dr) Mustapha Umar El-Kanemi, a confirmed man of absolute peace who preached it until he breathed his last died in an Egyptian Hospital on the 22 nd of February 2009 and was interred in Maiduguri the next day amidst the most gargantuan of all gatherings Borno had ever witnessed till date. Dr. Umar El-Kanemi, a first generation and first class traditional ruler of Nigeria’s oldest empire was, long before his death adjudged as the most generous, accessible, destabilised and open-minded natural ruler of his ilk. While his contemporaries and peers preferred to cocoon themselves under the shadows of their robes, the late Shehu of Borno, felt no qualms in opening up to all and sundry with arms and doors wide open to all manner of people. To begin with, he was on the throne when Maiduguri attained the height of being the fastest growing city in Africa; he also was in charge right from the native authority days up to the time of his death – a period of Borno’s economic prosperity, unprecedented peace attainment, infrastructure development and a melting pot of sort for scholarship, commerce and entrepreneurship which attracted both skilled and unskilled manpower from across the African continent. Everyone, regardless of his biases felt at home more in Borno than anywhere elsewhere. This is very instructive now that peace has become such a rare commodity. His peaceful disposition was legendary. While other peer cities would, at the slightest social or political burst off, altercate in social upheavals, the late Shehu of Borno, always at his wits end, was there like one big umbrella, capable of quickly drowning and potential dissent or reining in any manner of anti social behaviour from all quarter. He had no cane to browbeat anybody into line; in fact he never needed one anyway as he tended to possess the charisma, the personality and

the carriage to embrace everybody through which everyone else felt indebted to him and will thus not cause any problem that would snowball into the smallest of conflagration. Where one came from had never bothered him; to him the content of one’s character, or even the lack of it sometimes made him to embrace people and genuinely felt for them to warrant making sure all had been well in the whole of Borno state. If he had chosen to act like the feudal elements of our time, he will have been about the richest traditional ruler while he lived. He had all the openings to make it rich but the ever selfless and generous Mustapha Umar will rather give out to the needy than hold on to it for himself and his family. He ran the most successful people empowerment intervention programme right in his palace where Maiduguri’s poor ran to for succour in their times of difficulties due mainly to the failure of leadership which has long condemned Nigeria’s vulnerable population to the vagaries of injustice, misery, squalor and destitution. If you contrast the peace that had prevailed when he was alive and the violence that had been on almost immediately after his death, one can then bemoan the tragic and sad evolution of bloodletting that has, without let become the order of the day engulfing the whole nation in the process. It was inconceivable that Mustapha Umar El-Kanemi would have appeared helpless and askance when faced with such violent scenario. As he had proved over the years of his reign, a mere interjection will have saved the day because he was seen by all as just, reliable, fatherly and accessible. The lesson here is that respect for leaders is generally earned through selfless acts of leadership and commitment to the welfare of the people. When a leader is seen as just, his words would always resonate with the subjects and this could be the panacea for everlasting peaceful coexistence and tranquillity. When he died, some people were embarrassed that he had less than N5,000.00 in his personal bank account. He also left behind two houses that would not pass for boy’s quarters of today’s local district heads. He lived a life of caution, never given to primitive accumulation of wealth, always dashing out all he had and generally leading by example. This Spartan lifestyle, though somewhat inconveniencing and unattractive to personal

Late Shehu of Borno, Alhaji (Dr) Mustapha Umar El-Kanemi comfort could be seen as the reason people were willing to defer to him. I have personally been very close to him and many people were in the know of the father/son relationship that had developed between us such that I was always around the palace either on the late Shehu’s summoning or at my personal prompting to run some errands for him or to be sounded out on some media related issues involving the palace. I therefore see myself as a fitting example of Umar ElKanemi’s large heartedness and detribalised mien and disposition. I am from the old Sokoto state, I spoke only a corrupted Kanuri and I have no blue blood in me, yet a chance meeting with the late Shehu in 1987 in my capacity as the

Chairman of the Borno state chapter of the Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN) kick started a relationship that was more beneficial to me in all respects. Many others, regardless of where they come from who ordinarily would not have been as close to him became associates as soon as a chance meeting evolved and that way people from all over country from varied social and religious backgrounds benefitted from a relationship with a man that was an embodiment of peace and development, a man that has lived for the good of others, a man that had changed the ways traditional rulers relate with their subjects, a man that had opened his doors to all without ultimately losing

anything in terms of respect and deferment. It is regrettable that such a man with such rare qualities has been forgotten in so short a time. It also sad that no effort has been made to launch any foundation in his name or name any institution like the University of Maiduguri after him in order to showcase the potentials of a great man. He may have been forgotten by the establishment but those of us who bear witness to his invaluable humanity characteristics will always remember him and will everyday offer prayers for the repose of his soul. Ahmed-BK wrote from Maiduguri and can be reached at



How Nasser shaped the Arab Spring (I)

The revolutions in Egypt and Syria were shaped in part by Nasser-era policies and institutions [GALLO/GETTY]



imilar tactics of oppression have been used by the leadership of Egypt and Syria to weaken the will of their people. Cairo, Egypt - Today marks the 54th anniversary of the foundation of the United Arab Republic (UAR), a unity between Egypt and Syria that was the height of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's power and the pinnacle of the pan-Arab philosophy that he epitomised. At that moment in 1958, the Arab world took a decisive step towards declaring its ultimate independence from foreign influence and reclaiming a unity that both Eastern and Western powers had worked to destroy since the Middle East's golden age. Nasser emotionally described the jubilant scenes he witnessed on the day of the UAR's founding, and later called it a victory for the Arabs as a free people, despite the eventual dissolution of the Republic. A closer look at this time, one hailed as a revolutionary moment in modern Arab history, offers great insight into the region's current struggles. Nasser's philosophies resonated closely with people not only in Egypt, but throughout the Arab world and beyond, making him overwhelmingly popular. However, both the Syrian and Egyptian systems today are rooted in institutions that the Nasser regime either directly or

indirectly created. It is these institutions that have pushed the people of both countries to rise, and that have allowed the Assad regime of Syria and Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt to continue to exert control over their countries. Nasser's insistence on complete Arab sovereignty and unity, as well as a focus on the plight of the poor, made him a central figure in a region rising out of British and French imperialism. Nasser's frustration at the failure of Arab armies in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, due to foreign control and Arab disunity, would later be cited as the key impetus for his role in the 1952 military coup that rid Egypt of British rule. Nasser's humble background and disdain for the aristocratic hierarchy of the time further inspired him to champion the cause of the poor, the farmers and the workers through semisocialist policies implemented during his presidency. His steadfast beliefs and daring policies, including Egyptian-Syrian unity, the nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956, land redistribution, and free education for all, made

Nasser the most celebrated leader of modern Arab history. To this day, photos of Nasser hang throughout the region's cities and towns and his sayings are readily echoed. Among the most famous ones: "Raise your head brother, the age of imperialism is over". It was also Nasser's regime, however, that created the institutions that have left Egypt and Syria dealing with the same problems of overcentralised power and underdeveloped institutions of social justice that pushed the youth of these countries to rise in revolution. While Nasser often espoused democratic ideals, especially in his earlier writings, for him the populist ends he desired ultimately justified the undemocratic means by which he sought to obtain them. Political participation, fair electoral processes, impartial jurisprudence, independent media and civil liberties were stifled by the Nasser regime, which merged all powerful institutions into one conglomerate. Any voice that was suspected to contradict Nasserist causes and any threat to the singularity of


national authority was intolerable. Just rule of law? When Nasser became president of Egypt in 1954, it was only after a struggle with then President Mohamed Naguib, who had been advocating for a transfer of power to civilian rule and a return of the military to its proper position of protecting not leading - the country. Naguib and Nasser shared many of the same ideals, but clashed when it came to the means of implementation. Pressure from Nasser and the Free Officers, the group responsible for the 1952 coup, mounted and Naguib's role became largely ceremonial until he himself stepped down and was subsequently forced into isolation. Since the beginning of the 1952 coup, the judicial system had been used to achieve the regime's goals. The Revolutionary Command Council, the ruling body, set up courts to supersede the system and try dissidents. One vocal advocate for constitutional governance was Abdel Raziq al-Sanhouri, a legal scholar and the author of Egypt's Civil Code. In 1954, Nasser's first year of presidency, a mob violently

The Nasser regime vehemently attacked political parties on the belief that they would weaken the goals of his Revolution by giving platforms to opposing groups.

beat Sanhouri and he was forced to resign. The incident came to symbolise an end to the just rule of law in modern Egyptian history; in addition to the transcendence of the judiciary, the regime carried out purges to ensure complete loyalty within the system. To the Nasser regime, influential institutions were a tool to achieve the revolution's goals. Nasser recognised the importance of media very early in his career. In 1952, the Free Officers announced their military coup by taking over the national radio. Nasser silenced opposing media voices in his early presidency through imprisonment and torture, and in 1960 media was nationalised. Some top editors resigned in protest as they saw media become a mouthpiece for the government and journalists, unskilled government employees. The Nasser regime vehemently attacked political parties on the belief that they would weaken the goals of his Revolution by giving platforms to opposing groups. The Wafd Party, the strongest political group under the British-controlled Egyptian monarchy, was effectively destroyed by Nasser. The Muslim Brotherhood was declared illegal, and anyone suspected of belonging was detained. Plurality in political opinion was considered a threat, and civil liberties were repr e s s e d . Through the recruiting and planting of informers, particularly on college campuses, and the torture or detention of any opposition, the regime successfully created a tangible fear throughout society. Whether it needed to or not, the Nasser regime used its power to exercise electoral fraud to further guarantee absolute control. In referenda, Nasser frequently secured "99.9 per cent" affirmations, and forgery was further used in parliamentary and local elections to ensure regime loyalty on all levels. When Egypt and Syria united in 1958, it was at the invitation of Syrian President Shukri alQuwatly and the leading Baath Party. The Baath Party was based originally on the pan-Arab, socialist ideals formulated by Syrian thinker Michel Aflaq and espoused by Nasser. In 1958, Syria had been in its early years of democracy and the elected Baath Party was facing a growingly strong Communist Party with leaders in key positions, as well as internal conflicts. In a move to strengthen its position, the Baath proposed unification to Nasser, a largely popular move. Source: Aljazeera



S.Africa may pay for Gordhan’s amiability AU envoy jets in amid Senegal violence before vote


undreds of opposition supporters clashed with Senegalese security forces in the capital on Tuesday as European Union observers criticised a ban on protests and an African envoy jetted in to try and stem rising violence. A Reuters witness said police fired teargas and demonstrators hurled rocks in central Dakar, where opposition supporters have tried to protest in the main square against President Abdoulaye Wade's candidacy in an election on Sunday. Tuesday's clashes underscored mounting tensions in the West African state, which has enjoyed decades of democracy but is gripped by a row over whether Wade should be allowed to run for a third term in power. Six people have been killed in election-related violence so far. Opposition supporters have increasingly sought to defy bans on protests by the authorities, leading to cat-and-mouse street battles in the capital and other towns. The EU election observer mission expressed "its concern over the Interior Ministry's ban on demonstrations", a statement said. It added that Senegalese law allowed for such demonstrations when they involve presidential candidates. The EU mission called on all sides to refrain from violence but it also repeated an appeal for the government to provide more transparency over the distribution of election cards. Some 600,000 newly registered voters from an electorate of just over 5 million must collect their election cards and the EU mission warned last week that many had not done that yet, potentially ruling them out from voting. Wade's rivals said his candidacy is illegal because it breaches rules setting a two-term limit, and accused the octogenarian leader of backtracking on his own statements that he would not be able to stand for re-election. The president has argued that he is eligible to stand as the limits were added to the constitution after he had started his first term in 2000. The United States, a key donor of Senegal's, has warned that Wade's candidacy risked destabilising a nation long seen as a bastion of democracy in a troubled region. Former colonial power France has said it would like to see power transferred to a younger generation. Wade's camp has said it was up to the Senegalese to decide who ran the country.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's agreeable manner was just what South African President Jacob Zuma needed to keep the peace between warring factions of the ruling ANC, but his affability may ultimately cost Africa's biggest economy dear.


hen he presents the budget yesterday, Gordhan is expected to unveil a widening of the 2012

deficit, and an extended time frame for balancing South Africa's books - laxity that is unlikely to sit well with bond

markets. Having inherited a ministry in 2009 which had a fearsome reputation for resisting pressure to spend, the treasury under Gordhan has seen a steady erosion of its powers and political clout within the ruling African National Congress (ANC). "He's seen as a technocrat," said Azar Jammine, chief economist at consultancy Econometrix. "He was appointed partly because he is an ANC supporter but I don't think he's seen as a major politician - just a finance minister." When he became minister, South Africa was wallowing in its first recession in almost two decades and unions and the ANC's communist allies were pushing for an end to the

investor-friendly policies that had kept a tight lid on spending since the end of apartheid in 1994. Having proved himself during 10 years as South Africa's chief taxman, nobody queried his appointment on competence grounds, and all sides of the ANC saw something they liked. Business approved his pragmatism while leftists hoped his Communist Party roots would lead to looser purse strings. But with South Africa's debt stock creeping up, analysts say he needs to put his foot down and outline a clear plan to cut the deficit if he wants to avoid a credit downgrade. Two agencies - Moody's and Fitch - cut their ratings outlooks for South Africa in the past three months.

S.Sudan oil minister warns Trafigura over seized oil


outh Sudan will refuse do to any business in the future with oil trader Trafigura if it is proven that the firm bought oil from neighbouring Sudan in the knowledge that the cargo was seized southern crude, its oil minister told Reuters. Geneva-based Trafigura, the world's third-largest oil trader, bought oil which South Sudan claimed was seized by

Sudan in an oil row between the two African countries. "If it is confirmed, I'm not accusing them (Trafigura) because it must be confirmed by the court, (but) if they are the ones that bought the crude with the knowledge that the crude or commodity was stolen, and they went and agreed with Sudan, then it has spoiled any future relations or transactions with us," Oil

Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said late on Tuesday during a visit to Palouge oil field. Land-locked, war-ravaged South Sudan must pump oil to the Red Sea via a pipeline across its northern neighbour to Port Sudan but both countries have been unable to agree on a transit fee. Oil revenues account for 98 percent of the seven-month-old country's income.

Sudan has confiscated more than 6 million barrels of South Sudan's oil since December due to the row over oil transit fees, a South Sudanese official said last week. On Tuesday, South Sudan said it had expelled the head of Chinese-Malaysian oil firm Petrodar, the main oil firm in the African country, after accusing Chinese firms of helping Sudan seize southern oil.

Ethiopian troops take Somali town from al Shabaab


ddis Ababa sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in November as part of a wider campaign to crush al Shabaab rebels who control swathes of central and southern Somalia. Residents said Ethiopian tanks, supported by Somali government soldiers, rolled into Yurkud town after a brief gunbattle with members of al Shabaab who are fighting to topple the Western-backed government of the Horn of Africa country. Yurkud, a strategic town that links Bakool, Bay and Gedo regions of the lawless country, is about 110 km (70 km)

northwest of Baidoa, a stronghold of the rebel group. "We have captured Yurkud town, our objective is to secure Bay and Bakool regions," Abdifatah Mohamed, a commander of the Somali government forces told Reuters by phone from Yurkud. "With the help of Ethiopian troops we are determined to oust al Shabaab. They attacked us and we repulsed them. Now we have advanced from Yurkud, Baidoa is now only 85 km away." Al Shabaab confirmed the capture of Yurkud. "Ethiopian troops are now at Yurkud after fierce fighting this

morning. We burnt two of their military lorries," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al

Shabaab's military operation told Reuters from a location in southern Somalia.

Ethiopian troops backed by tanks wrested control of a town in southern Somalia on Tuesday from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, officials said.

Algeria to allow foreign NGOs to monitor vote


lection observers from U.S. non-governmental organisations the Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute will for the first time be able to monitor a parliamentary election in Algeria later this year, the interior minister said on Tuesday. Daho Ould Kablia told Reuters that the government, accused of interfering in past votes, would play only a logistical role in the May 10

election, and that for the first time the vote will be supervised by judges and political parties. Signalling a more powerful role after the election for parliament, which many government opponents see as a rubber-stamp, the minister said its mission would be to draw up a new constitution by the end of this year. Energy exporter Algeria was largely untouched by last year's "Arab Spring"

upheavals, even as revolutions overthrew long-standing rulers in its neighbours Tunisia and Libya. But it is now under pressure to get in step with the rest of the region in the wake of the uprisings elsewhere and allow elections which are free and fair and give more representation to the previously sidelined opposition. In a telephone interview, Ould Kablia said that in the election the government "will play a

purely logistical role but the supervision will be fully under the judges' and political parties' control ... Transparency is assured in a way that guarantees the neutrality of the administration." "The new thing also will be the presence of international observers from the EU, the Arab League and so on, but also international NGOs (nongovernmental organisations) such as the NDI and the Carter Foundation," he said.





‘Foreign journalists killed’ in syria shelling


wo foreign journalists have been killed in Homs, activists say, as shelling of a district of the Syrian city continued amid warnings of an escalating humanitarian crisis. Omar Shakir, an activist in the city, told Al Jazeera that the deaths of Marie Colvin, a US reporter working for the UK's Sunday Times newspaper, and French photographer Remi Ochlik occurred as a building used by activists as a media centre was shelled yesterday French government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse confirmed the names of the slain reporters. Nine people were reportedly killed in addition to the journalists. Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy was said to be seriously injured, along with two other reporters. "We can't even enter the area or the building where the media office is," Abu Jafar, an activist in the city, told Al Jazeera. "There's still heavy bombardment." Government forces bombarded the Bab Amr neighbourhood for a

20th straight day, according to activists, and fears were growing of a humanitarian crisis in the area. "Marie was an extraordinary figure in the life of The Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered," Sunday Times editor John Witherow said in a statement. "She believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice." The statement said the newspaper was doing what it could to get Conroy to safety and to recover Colvin's body. In a phone interview with British broadcaster BBC on Tuesday, Colvin described the situation in the area as "absolutely sickening". She said she had witnessed the death of a two-year-old boy after he was hit by shrapnel, and said there was a "constant stream of civilians" in the field clinic she visited. "No one here can understand how the international community can let this happen," she said.

Opposition strongholds in Homs have been under bombardment for more than two weeks [Reuters]

Rudd departure shakes Australian government


ustralia's government faces a mounting crisis after Kevin Rudd, the country's foreign minister, said he was resigning from his post over a widening rift with Julia Gillard, the prime minister. "The simple truth is that I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I don't have Prime Minister Gillard's support," Rudd told a news conference late on Tuesday in Washington, where he had earlier attended a meeting of G20 foreign ministers. Gillard said she was disappointed by Rudd's resignation and planned to hold a press conference today. "I am disappointed that the concerns Mr. Rudd has publicly expressed this evening were never personally raised with me, nor did he contact me to discuss his resignation prior to his decision," Gillard said. Speculation has been rife in Australia that Rudd is planning to

reclaim the prime ministerial post almost two years since he was replaced by Gillard in June 2010 after losing the support of Labor Party leaders. Gillard has refused to comment on those reports, saying she had already answered many questions about the leadership, while Rudd has dismissed the rumours as a "soap opera". "I can promise you this: There is no way - no way - that I will ever be party to a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people," Rudd said in his resignation speech, in a scarcely concealed dig at his successor. "We all know that what happened then was wrong and it must never happen again." Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas, reporting from Sydney, said there was "intense speculation" in Australia following Rudd's resignation.

Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, centre, replaced Rudd in a party-room vote two years ago [Reuters]

New Zealand remembers 2011 quake victims


ew Zealanders have been holding memorial services across the country to remember the 185 people who died in a powerful earthquake in Christchurch a year ago. More than 10,000 people stood in silence, at a Christchurch park yesterday, as police officers and firefighters read out the names of those who died. Two minutes of silence were observed at 12:51 local time; the exact moment the 6.3magnitude quake struck. The earthquake destroyed thousands of homes and much of downtown Christchurch, causing $25 billion in damage by the government's estimate. John Key, the country's prime minister said the

earthquake had "changed everything", but had not broken the city's spirit. Speaking in the city, Key said it had been one of New Zealand's darkest days. "People were huddled under blankets, sirens were blaring, and dust and smoke was thick in the air," he told mourners in the square, which was used as a makeshift medical centre on the day of the quake. People across the city tossed flowers into the Avon River to remember those who died, while children released 185 monarch butterflies into the park. Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, told the crowd at the park that the city would never be the same again. "This is a heavy day, heavy with emotion and loss."

Two minutes of silence were observed at 12:51 local time; the exact moment the 6.3-magnitude quake struck (Reuters)



Clashes in Afghanistan over ‘Quran burning’


undreds of protesters have clashed with police and security forces in Afghanistan in a second day of angry demonstrations over reports that copies of the Quran were burnt at an airbase used by NATO and coalition troops. An Afghan government source told Al Jazeera that seven people have been killed during

Yesterday's protests and 32 have been wounded, but no exact location was given. In Kabul, the capital, several people were reported wounded as demonstrators blocked a major highway outside Camp Phoenix, a US base in the city. Police said protesters threw stones, smashed car windows and charged at police lines.

But a police spokesman denied that police officers had shot at protesters. "People are marching towards Kabul. Police are trying to stop them. We have sent more reinforcements to the area," the spokesman said. A second protest erupted in west Kabul, involving about 100 university students, a police

spokesman said, adding that riot police were present and the demonstration was under control. According to AFP, one person was killed and 10 were wounded when shots were fired at anti-US demonstrators in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Protesters there praised the leader of the Afghan Taliban, shouting "Long live Mullah Omar!", Reuters reported. The US embassy said on Wednesday it was locked down and had suspended all travel in Afghanistan. The protests, which followed reports of the discovery by local labourers of charred copies of the

Quran as they collected rubbish at the Bagram airbase, prompted apologies from the US government and the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, issued an apology for the "inappropriate treatment" of Islam's holy book at the base and backed General John Allen's call for "swift and decisive action to investigate this matter". "These actions do not represent the views of the United States military. We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception," he said.

Officials claim high turnout for Yemen vote


Protesters in Kabul shouted 'Death to America,' as anger towards US forces grows [Reuters]

Abkhaz leader survives assassination attempt


he leader of Abkhazia, a Russia-backed breakaway region that claims independence from Georgia, has narrowly survived an assassination attempt that killed two people and badly wounded another. Alexander Ankvab, the Abkhaz president confirmed he had not been hurt despite damage to his car, which was attacked as he travelled to work in the capital, Sukhumi. Ankvab was elected president in 2011 after the death of veteran leader Sergei Bagapsh. The attack was the sixth attempt on his life in recent years. Authorities said a roadside mine exploded as Ankvab's convoy approached. Attackers then opened fire with machine guns and a grenade launcher, local media reported.

"Abkhaz President Alexander Ankvab was not wounded in the assassination attempt and is now at his desk," his head of security, Anri Bogua, was quoted as


the lone candidate in the elections as part a US-backed onecandidate election. Saleh agreed to step down after months of antigovernment protests and clashes across the violence-wracked country. More than 10 million Yemenis were eligible to vote in the referendum-like election. The poll was marred by violence with 10 people killed across the country's south, most of them in the port city of Aden. The voting percentage was low in most of the country's south with turnout running at 50 per cent in Aden and between 30 to 40 per cent across other southern regions, officials said.

saying by Russia's Interfax news agency. "One guard has been killed and one is in an extremely grave condition," said Bogua.

Alexander Ankvab, left, has forged a good relationship with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right [Reuters] court, but will remain under effective house arrest and im Dotcom, the founder of in the US on copyright piracy banned from using internet. Nevin Dawson, the judge file-sharing website charges, has been granted bail wanted and released by a New Zealand yesterday, said that bail could be awarded, given that there was no new evidence that Dotcom had undisclosed funds he could use to flee the country. He said prosecutors had been unable to find any new funds or assets that had not already been seized, and that their arguments that he was a wealthy man was not sufficient reason to hold him, pending an extradition hearing set for August 20. Prosecutors said the formal extradition application had not yet been received but was Dotcom was arrested in January by New Zealand police on expected by early March. request of US authorities [Reuters]

Megaupload founder released on bail

ote counting is under way in Yemen, a day after a presidential election that was expected to confirm AbdRabbu Mansour Hadi, the current vice-president, as the country's new leader. Electoral officials said yesterday that voter turnout reached 60 per cent nationwide, despite threats of violence and boycott calls in some parts of the Arabian peninsula nation. Votes are being counted manually and results are expected within two days, although they can take up to 10 days under Yemeni law. Hadi, the 66-year-old former deputy to Yemen's long-time leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, was

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a former Saleh ally, was the lone candidate in the elections [Reuters]

UN watchdog ‘denied access to key Iran site’


he International Atomic Energy Agency has said that its team visiting Iran was denied access to a military site where the UN watchdog suspects activities related to the country's nuclear programme could be taking place. The head of the IAEA said yesterday that Iran had not accepted a request for its inspectors to visit the Parchin facility, a weapons development complex south of Tehran. "It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings," said Yukiya Amano, the IAEA's director general. "We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached." "Intensive efforts were made to reach agreement on a document facilitating the

clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran's nuclear programme," the IAEA said in a statement. Iran's top leader resoponded to the statements, insisting the Islamic Republic is not seeking nuclear weapons, saying they are "useless, harmful and dangerous." Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke Wednesday after meetings with Iranian nuclear scientists and officials. The visit, led by Herman Nackaerts, the Vienna-based agency's chief inspector, was the second in less than a month and was aimed, the IAEA said, at clarifying all "outstanding substantive issues" surrounding Tehran's nuclear programme, in particular what it called "possible military dimensions."



The secret to long life? Starve yourself on alternate days to boost brain power and shed weight


tarving yourself on alternate days can make you live longer, according to scientists. A group of Americans have said that fasting on and off can boost brain power and help to lose weight at the same time. The National Institutes for Aging said their research was based on giving animals the bare minimum of calories required to keep them alive and results showed they lived up to twice as long. The diet has since been tested on humans and appears to protect the heart, circulatory system and brain against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.

‘Dietery energy restriction extends lifespan and protects the brain and cardiovascular system against age-related disease,’ said Mark Mattson, head of the laboratory of neurosciences at the NIA and professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. ‘We have found that dietary energy restriction, particularly when administered in intermittent bouts of major caloric restriction, such as alternative day fasting, activates cellular stress response pathways in neurones,’ he said to the Sunday Times. In one set of experiments, a group of mice were only fed on

With a sip of water: Dehydration can alter mood and ability to think

Nothing for me today: Starving yourself on alternate days can make you live longer, according to scientists alternate days while others were allowed to eat daily. Both groups were given unlimited access to food on the days they were allowed to eat and eventually consumed the same amount of calories.

Professor Mattson said he found the mice fed on alternate days were more sensitive to insulin and needed to produce less of it. High levels of the hormone, which is produced to control sugar levels after a meal or snack, are

usually associated with lower brain power and are at a higher risk of diabetes. The brains from both sets of rodents were then examined and Professor Mattson said he found the calorie restricted diets appeared to improve the function of brain synapses. These are the junctions between brain cells which promote the generation of new cells and make them more resistant to stress. Previous research has found that starving yourself for a few days can help in the fight against cancer. Scientists found that depriving healthy cells of the food they need sends them into a survival mode, making them highly resistant to stress and damage caused from chemotherapy. Experts have described the behaviour similar to animals waiting out the winter by hibernating. Source:

Even gentle exercise can help protect the brain and memory in old age


Drink up: Mild dehydration can have an adverse effect on the mood especially in women


eople who feel like losing their temper might find a glass of water calms them down, researchers claim. Mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly, according to studies at America’s University of Connecticut. ‘Even mild dehydration – 1.5 per cent loss in normal water volume in the body – that can occur in the course of our ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling, especially for women, who are more susceptible to the adverse effects of low levels of dehydration,’ said Harris Lieberman, one of the studies’ co-authors. Tests showed that it didn’t matter if a person had just walked for 40 minutes on a treadmill or was sitting at rest, the adverse effects were the same. Lawrence Armstrong, one of the studies’ lead scientists, added: ‘Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are one per cent or two per cent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.

‘Dehydration affects all people, and staying properly hydrated is just as important for those who work all day at a computer as it is for marathon runners, who can lose up to 8 percent of their body weight as water when they compete.’ Subjects were put through a series of tests measuring vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory, and reasoning. Their results were then compared against those of individuals who were not dehydrated. In young women, mild dehydration was found to cause headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Female subjects found tasks more difficult although they suffered no substantive reduction in cognitive ability. Young men experienced some difficulty with mental tasks, particularly in the areas of vigilance and working memory and also experienced fatigue, tension, and anxiety. Changes in mood and symptoms were ‘substantially greater in females than in males, both at rest and during exercise’. Experts recommend drinking two litres of water a day. Source:

s we age, we are more likely to suffer from memory problems and confusion following a physical injury or bacterial infection as our immune systems are weaker. Now scientists believe exercise could provide the key to shielding older adults from this negative side-effect. A team from the University of

Colorado looked at the effects of running on a group of elderly rats, who were recovering from an E.coli infection. Although they ran far less than younger rats, they performed far better in memory tests than other old rats only given a locked wheel to run on. The exercise seemed to protect them from memory loss and also stunted the changes in the hippocampus region of the brain, dealing with learning and memory, that normally followed such an infection. L e a d researcher Dr R u t h Barrientos, said: ‘This is the first study to show that e x e r c i s e r e d u c e s susceptibility to the cognitive impairments that follow infection in a g e i n g animals, and the changes taking place in the brain thought to underlie these impairments.’ Previous studies have s h o w n bacterial infections kick off a cascade of Keeping limber: Exercise was found to protect events that memory signal the

brain that something is wrong. Dr Barrientos and colleagues previously found that older rats experienced memory loss following E. coli infection, an outcome not seen in young adult rats. They also found the microglia - immune defense cells in the brain - of older animals became more reactive to infection, releasing more chemicals involved in inflammation in the hippocampus, in contrast with younger animals. In the current study, the researchers allowed unlimited access to a running wheel to determine if exercise could help block the events that follow E. coli infection in the ageing animals. Although the old rats only ran an average of 0.43 miles per week, 50 times less distance than the young rats, they performed better on a memory test than rats who only had access to a locked exercise wheel. Additionally, the runners performed as well on the memory test as rats that were not exposed to E. coli. The small amount of exercise performed by the aging rats also prevented the reactive response of microglia in the hippocampus. Dr Jonathan Godbout, an expert on ageing at Ohio State University, who was unaffiliated with the study, added: ‘While many of us are hopeful about developing a pharmaceutical intervention to reverse the effects of ageing, this study provides exciting evidence that a little moderate exercise is protective against age-related problems with health and immunity.’ The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Source:



We must diversify our economy –Rep Ombugadu INTERVIEW Hon. David Ombugadu (CPC) is representing Nasarawa Eggon, Akwanga and Wamba Federal Constituency of Nasawara state in the House of Representatives. He is a member of several committees including Privatisation, Water Resources, Agriculture and Information Technology. In this interview with Richard Ihediwa, he opens up on a number of top national issues including the crisis rocking the petroleum industry even as he posits that the scenario might not end until the revenue base of the country was diversified.


hat was the reason behind your decision to abandon theprivatesectorwhereyouwere doing well into politics? My participation in politics is borne out of my desire to render service to my community. I have travelled far and wide and I have seen what represents development and such is not reflected in my community. I have been trying to check what the problem is and I now believe that there is a gap. So I came to feel the gap by demonstrating exemplary leadership; by showing to my people what good governance is all about; by demonstrating the fact that accountability, transparency, equity and inclusiveness, participation should be the order of the day. My people are predominantly agrarian farmers and they need the kind of infrastructure that will boost and facilitate their agricultural operations. They need somebody that can help to attract that kind of infrastructure to them. For me, it is my hope that my people can develop their potentials to become the source of sustenance for the entire country through agriculture. The people are ready to work at any time but they don’t have the enabling environment for them to support the economic development of the country. That is why some of us are in the National Assembly to push the necessary policy that will create the environment for them to support the economy of the country. Some of us know that the main challenge now is how to give agriculture the topmost priority by the Federal Government. All we need is a conducive environment. That is why we are here to partner with other legislators to see how we can provide the suitable environment. Are you not worried that the key infrastructure like good roads and effective transportation system that should aid the practice of agriculture is virtually absent in

Nigeria? The point cannot be over stressed that the main thing that promote agriculture is transport infrastructure like good roads. You cannot succeed as a farmer without having good roads through which you convey products to the market. Once you are producing and you do not have good rural road that will link you to the market, then there is problem. It is seriously an issue of concern and my membership of the House Committee on Land Transport hopefully would be of help here. Also I have the advantage of being in the water resources committee. I try to know the direction of the Federal Ministry of water resources and how our people can be

Hon. David Ombugadu Government to ask for help because they are tired of waiting. Honestly, I do not know why the implementation of government projects in most places is selective. But we are a patient people. We are talking to the Federal Government. That is why my people mandated me to represent them in the House to keep talking and it is a continuous process. What are the key areas you have problems? The key areas where we have

I also want to initiate a tourism programme. My vision is to ensure that people will come to my constituency the way they travel to Calabar and Dubai for tourism. We have the potentials there empowered through the activities of the ministry. So part of the things that we have itemised as our priority is to see how our people can be integrated into the irrigation scheme of the Federal Government and then how we can also on our own improvise to come up with our community approach towards being self sufficient through other innovative ways. What are you doing in that direction? We are already discussing with some Canadian investors that are willing to come and partner with us; that are willing to provide all the irrigation facilities for us. Our people are not lazy. They must not necessarily come to the Federal

problems are electricity, roads and storage facilities for our farm products. In the area of Communication Technology, my mission in the National Assembly is to see how the economy of Nasarawa state will be opened to the world. We intend not only to market our products domestically but also internationally and as part of my mission to support that gesture, I have set up a committee already that is working round the clock. And we have started a pilot scheme to see how we can also go beyond Nasarawa state to invest in ginger. We would have sufficient agricultural product and we will be exporting them from the state. We have cassava, ground nuts

and a lot of other crops in abundance. We are already setting up ICT centres so that everybody including the outside world will have the photographs of all the potentials we have here and I know that many of people outside there will be interested. As a member of the Committee on ICT in the House, I want to maximise the opportunities of marketing and to have websites for intending farmers; we will have an agricultural hub where all the agricultural products as well as their prices will be communicated to the international community. I also want to initiate a tourism programme. My vision is to ensure that people will come to my constituency the way they travel to Calabar and Dubai for tourism. We have the potentials there. Our approach to this attempt is not to deceive ourselves by waiting for the Federal Government. All we want is a conducive environment. As I told you earlier, we have the potentials; we have the land; we have everything. We are looking beyond the shores of Nigeria. We want to see how we can survive on our own without necessarily waiting for the Federal Government. And that is why we are now sourcing for market beyond the shores of Nigeria. You are a member of the House Committee Appropriation. Why are we still having a delay in the passage of the 2012 budget? It takes time and process for you to get things done in the right way. Some of the things that we have identified in the process of budget implementation, budget preparations have to do with the platform. This platform that will encourage efficiency, that will encourage accountability, that will encourage responsiveness in the implementation of budget is the Fiscal

Responsibility Act that required that the budget should be laid before the National Assembly in the third quarter. And I think in the history of budget preparation and proposal, this is about one of the earliest times that budget would be laid before the National Assembly. This is because we have tried to engage relevant ministries, departments and agencies to know the importance of complying with the doctrine of Fiscal Responsibility as contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Act and I think we are making significant progress in that direction and by the time we are acquainted with the requirements of the Act, all these challenges of delay in the budget will not be there. That time we should be able to achieve significantly transparency in the budgetary process and of course, that will translate to good governance. The nation is working on a lot of reforms especially in the petroleum industry. What is your view about how government is going about this reform? What we are talking about is responsibility. Nigerians are used to a system whereby we want government to do everything and that is why today the focus is on petroleum as the main stay of our economy. Nobody is talking about diversification. Nobody is talking about how to grow the economy outside the box. The only box we have is just the oil industry. That is why the concept of deregulating the industry is causing problems. Nobody is saying that deregulation is not good. But the process should enjoy the participation of Nigerians. By the time you deregulate the industry, things will get better for the industry. So I believe that government’s move to disengage from the oil industry is a welcome development however all the necessary palliatives should be put in place first. Above all, I believe that efforts should be put in place to diversify the economy so that we would not have a monolithic economy. Opposition parties in Nigeria have been described as ineffective and many blame the problem in the system on this. How do you think this trend can be reversed? You see, everything that we do today as an opposition party is to deepen the root of democracy in the country. You can imagine governance without constructive criticism; comments from that angle are to make government to sit up; to throw a challenge to the government in power and like every other political party. We in the CPC have our manifesto; we have our agenda, we have our programmes and policies to correct the wrongs of the present government. We had democracy since 1999 with nothing to show. We believe this is a season of change



Opposition parties are not silent in Bauchi INTERVIEW


our party, CPC, is facing serious leadership and internal crises which led to the non performance of the party in the last election especially in Bauchi state; how did you intend to tackle these problems especially in Bauchi state? We are working assiduously to address all the internal problems within the CPC from national up to the state level, and in Bauchi State. Insha Allah before the end of this month the leadership crisis in Bauchi would be resolved and by the grace of God with the steps taken, CPC will come out great. You are the minority leader in the state Assembly, how will you access the performance of the administration of Governor Isa Yuguda? As You are aware we were inaugurated on 14 th June 2011 and the governor made a lot of pledges. He has admitted that in the past there were a lot of mistakes during the first tenure of the administration because of some bad people within the administration. Now he flushed them out, and he said he will no longer work with sycophants, now he made his corrections and he took bold steps to correct the past mistakes by appointing credible people into his government, and now he has presented a budget. So we are taking into account for what he has admitted; we are watching, we keep watching out for him. We will monitor his performance after the budget is approved; we will watch the way government will implement the approved budget for the well being of people of Bauchi state. As a citizen of Bauchi there are some areas where you have to give credit to the present government. In the areas of Community Radio, government has effectively performed creditably. We went there, we inspected the completed ones they have clear sounds and

Alhaji Baba Abubakar Suleiman is a member of the Bauchi House of Assembly on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) representing Azare/ Katagum constituency of the state. He is also the Minority Leader of the House. In this interview with our Bauchi Correspondent, Ahmed Kaigama, Suleiman bares his mind on the crisis rocking the CPC; assesses the performance of the Bauchi state governor, Isa Yuguda and comments on other national issues. Excerpts: they can go far away. He also did a lot in his effort to assist community through human development programme but as I told you earlier, we will not judge by his words. He accepted his mistakes and he took corrective measures; we will monitor his performance after we approve the budget he presented before us. I am a member of the budget and appropriation committee; we are studying and scrutinizing the budget the governor presented and after it is passed into law, we will monitor the way government implements the budget. General Mohammed Buhari have been contesting election all this while and has not win any, do you think he should continue in 2015 general election? Buhari is our leader. He is a very honest and courageous leader who contributed a lot to the well being of a common man, and he is a leader that has the interest of Nigeria and the common man at heart. He has so many leadership qualities that endeared him to the hearts of a common man. Everybody agrees that Buhari is an honest leader; he did a lot in combating corruption and indiscipline which are the roots of our

Alhaji Baba Abubakar Suleiman

problems and many people believe that if Buhari has a chance to rule this country, he will address our core problems like corruption, unemployment, and provide social amenities to the

Yuguda has admitted that he made a lot of mistakes in his first term in office because of some bad people within the administration

common man. I believe Buhari will do everything possible to make Nigeria a better place. In my personal opinion, I will be in the fore front to advice General Buhari to come out and contest the election in 2015 again. Some quarters have the belief that the opposition parties are silent in Bauchi state why? No. Opposition’s parties are not silent; they are active and they are performing very well. We will continue to offer constructive criticisms on all government policies and programmes for the well being of our people. As a member, elected by the electorates from your constituency, what did you

Why we postponed LG election– Oshiomhole From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


pparently depending on the blank cheque secured from the Edo State House of Assembly last year directing the State government to conduct local government election whenever fund is available last year. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday declared, he will not succumb

to the pressure mounted on him by unnamed leaders of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN to sack the 18 Caretaker Committee Chairman he appointed over a year ago stemming from allegations of divided loyalty and non-performance of few ones among them. Oshiomhole who made this known while addressing his party leaders in Benin City,

last Monday revealed that he would not tolerate any act of sabotage in his government. The governor who vowed to wade the big stick if the allegations of sleeping bankruptcy is discovered to be true, said, 'My position is that it will be unhealthy to make a sweepy generalisation by removing all of them…For a government that relies on vote…We cannot rely on the

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP tradition to take money from Local government boss and share'. The State Chief Executive, warned the Caretaker Committee Chairman to stick with his earlier directive to devote 70 percent be devoted to education in their locality and charged the leaders of the party to watch-out and report to him anyone who inflate or

do to improve their standard of living? Well, we did a lot in my own capacity to improve the well being of our people. I paid school fees for many children from primary up to their secondary education; I secured admission for some students at School of Health Technology Ningi; I also donated drugs to hospitals and trained hundreds of youths in computer education to mention just a few. The Federal Government has increased fuel price after a lot of pressure. It later reduced the pump price to N97 per liter. As a representative of people how did this increase affect the living standard of your people? The recent increase in pump prices affected the living standard of all Nigerians in many ways especially the common man who can’t afford three square meals a day. This is because the timing for the increases came at a time when Nigerians faced many challenges of their lives especially in the areas of security, poverty, lack of social amenities and infrastructures. And the government went ahead and announced the removal of the subsidy or increase in the pump price without taking adequate measures to address such problems and government did not listen to the voice and wishes of Nigerians. In my opinion, government should take the opinions of all citizens; they should have contacted all Nigerians through national and state Assemblies who are the representatives of the people. They should hold public hearings to listen to the people directly before doing anything on the price of petroleum. awards fictitious contracts or embark on a fishing expedition. He argued that while efforts are on-going to reconcile aggrieved members of the party three local government areas of the State, including Owan West and Egor local government Councils ahead of July 14th 2012 election. His words: 'Committee Chairmen has no right to support any faction…Non of you 'll say I bought bear or spend government money to support me'.


Plateau speaker debunks rumour of discrimination against PDP returnees From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he Speaker, Plateau state House of Assembly, Hon. John Clerk ,has debunked the insinuation that the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau state has foreclosed the return of those who left the party during the 2011 general elections, saying the doors of PDP in the state remain open to all and sundry. Speaking in his office when the state leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by its Chairman, Mr. Katdapba Gobum, paid him a visit, Clerk said the rumour making the round in the state that the PDP has permanently shut its doors on those who left the party earlier on, and are now making efforts to return to the party, was a malicious allegation to tarnish the image of the party and its leadership in the Plateau state. According to him, ”Right now, as I am talking to you, some members of the State House of Assembly who are members of the PDP along with state party officials of PDP are in Wase local government area of the state receiving those who want to decamp to the PDP. There is nothing like discrimination, because politics is a game of numbers.” He said the house of assembly and the state government don’t have problem with the Freedom of Information Bill, since it centers on probity, accountability and transparency, adding, the assembly is willing and ready to corporate with any group seeking information to better the lot of the society. The Speaker, who said journalism should be used to propagate peace not war, commended media practitioners in the state for the high level of responsibility exhibited during the recent crises in the state. Clerk promised that the State Assembly would assist the Plateau Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists to unravel the killing of one of its members who was recently murdered in Jos on his way home after closing from work. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Council Mr. Gobum commended the House for its open door policy especially towards the journalists in the state and implored the House to get a mini press centre for the pressmen covering its activities. Mr. Katdapba informed the speaker about the plans by the state council of NUJ to organize a workshop for both its members and government officials saddled with the responsibility of managing information and solicited for the corporation of the entire members of the House.


I will win Edo governorship election, says Osunbor By Lawrence Olaoye


ormer Governor of Edo state, Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, yesterday told his supporters that he would win both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries and the July 14 governorship polls. Osunbor, a PDP guber aspirant made this disclosure in a statement issued and signed by Head of Media of the Edo

Restoration Secretariat Campaign headquarters of the erstwhile Governor, Brian Jato said " With my track record in governance within such a period I do not expect less than winning the forthcoming election at both party level and the gubernatorial polls this year." "Edo people know a good product when they see one and I do know that I will govern them again transparently like I did in

the past by putting the people first above everything." He explained that "the most essential thing now is for the people to look beyond the primaries and focus properly on how we will form the next government in Edo state." We cannot continue to stay on the fence by remaining in a fringe party when the national government is controlled by our party."

All we need do now is to showcase to the world that PDP is actually the party to beat in Edo not any other party as we are more grounded here than most states." It would be recalled that Osunbor was elected in 2007 and ruled the state for 18 months before a questionable Appeal Court sitting in Benin nullified his election on 11 November 2008.

735 delegates to attend Benin PDP governorship primaries By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


L-R: Chairman, National Electricity Regularity Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji, and Vice-Chairman of NERC, Mohammed Lawal Bello, during an interactive meeting with Senate Committee on Power, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Ambassador Adamu Danjuma Waziri picks PDP chairmanship form National Secretariat, Wadata House, and local. He also stated that the By Lawrence Olaoye


mb. Adamu Danjuma Waziri has officially picked up the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) election form to enable him contest for the office of the National Chairman of party, which is zoned to North-East geo political zone of Nigeria. Waziri, who hails from Taraba state of the zone, was the first among the constestants, about 15 ofthem, to have picked the form, at the Party's

Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.The form which was picked on his behalf by the Director -General of his Campaign Organisation, Dr. Sidney E. Inegbedion, has, indeed, positioned Waziri as the front - runner for the PDP Chairmanship, to be contested March 24, 2012.While picking up the form, Dr. Sidney Inegbedion assured the PDP employees across the country that Amb. Idris Waziri PDP National Chairmanship would usher in improved conditions of service for PDP workers at all levels - national, state

coming Waziri's administration would go beyond the acquisition of power for governance, but shall ensure that dividends of democracy, through economic opportunities, wealth creation and employment, are made available. The director general of the organisation further said that the core values of the founding fathers of the great party shall be restored by Amb. Idris Waziri as the National Chairman of the party.

Crisis rocks Kogi transition c’ttee From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he newly inaugurated Kogi state transition committee to give direction to Captain Idris Wada administration have been hit with unimaginable crisis as stake holders from the three senatorial districts engaged the leadership of the committee in a verbal war over non inclusion of their supporters. Some of the stake holders who were not included in the five men each from the 21 local governments of the state accused the leadership of the committee whom they alleged misinformed the governor on the criteria used for the selection. The aggrieved stake holders who last Monday stormed the conference room popularly called glass house chanting war songs alleging the composition as not reflecting the

contributions of the members to the success of Wada /Awoniyi campaign Organisation. Peoples Daily learnt that it was by the intervention of security agents that save the situation from de generating into a fisticuffs as a member of the House of Assembly representing the youths and a leader from the East senatorial district allegedly attacked the secretary of the committee for his previous roles in misadvising the former governor The source told Peoples Daily that the House Member who was allegedly instrumental to the emergence of Wada as PDP gubernatorial candidate and subsequent success at the poll accused the secretary a former deputy chief of staff in the presidency Prince Olusola Akanmode of responsible for non inclusion of his supporters and

others that were not in his good book. The source said the House member told Akanmode "I know your antecedent in fanning ember of confusion in PDP. That was what you did that you defect to ACN the other time. Now that you are back you have started again "he charged. The source hinted that Akanmode had retorted." if what I have been doing to the prospect of the party is what you called bad advice so be it. But let me tell you that those actions have been beneficial to me and the party." he replied. It was further gathered that the central zone comprising five local governments have protested the domination of the slot for the zone in the committee by the members of the opposition party, the action congress of Nigeria.

total of 735 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, delegates will be at the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia stadium for the party’s governorship primaries next Saturday. The party will among other things decide the fate of five aspirants to fly the party’s flag against the governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, who is seeking re-election on July 14th 2012. The delegates are made up of 159 statutory delegates and 576 ad-hoc delegates who were elected last week Saturday at the statewide party congresses. Publicity Secretary of the Edo PDP, Mr. Mathew Urhoghide, told a newsmen yesterday in Benin city, the state capital, that “At the ward level only those three state delegates that will make the total number 576 will participate in this exercise. The ad-hoc delegates are constituted majorly of those that will constitute the Electoral College that will nominate the governorship candidate”. The party spokesman affirmed that 31 members of the state executive of the party, 18 last state executive of the party, for example those who were members of the state working committee and Chief Tony Anenih and Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia who are members of the board of trustees of PDP; including Senator Odion Ugbesia, Friday Itula and Patrick Ikhariale who are members of the House of Representatives as well as five members of the state house of assembly. He emphasized that the five governorship aspirants for the primaries, including Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), Honourable Matthew Iduoyekemwen and Kenneth Imansuangbon are assured of a free and fair event on the D-day. “We intend to be acceptable by virtue of all the procedures that we are going to put in place …” so that “those party members who are participating in them will know that indeed the state executive and the entire leadership of this party is sincere and honest in its quest to ensure that all that we do will be satisfactory to all.”



Bauchi Assembly summons security chiefs From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi state House of Assembly has summoned Security chiefs in the state to appear before its committee on security and explain rampant cases of armed robbery and house breaking in most part of Bauchi metropolis. Those to appear before the committee are the state Police Commissioner, Director of State Security, Army Commandant and other paramilitary chiefs in the state. The speaker of the House, Hon. Yahaya Muhammad Miya, who presided over yesterday’s sitting over security challenges in the state, queried the security chiefs in the state over the alarming security situation and directed that the security chiefs should appear before it and explain the high rate of robbery in the state. A member, Hon Iliyasu Zwall representing Lere/ Bula constituency moved a motion that the house should mandate its security committee to invite the security chiefs and find a lasting solution to the rampant cases of robbery in the state. The motion was seconded by a

member representing Katagum constituency Hon Dan Abba Shehu after which the house unanimously agreed and directed the security committee to summon the security chiefs and tackle the challenges facing the state. Hon Yakubu Muhammad representing Bauchi central also explained the need for the house to investigate the robbery cases bedeviling the state. He stated that many people were robbed, giving as example the recent ugly situation where a renowned businessman Alhaji Iliya Aliyu Ustaz was killed by armed robbers after robbing him of undisclosed amount of money in his shop Saturday night.

Senate rejects bill to make CBN budget public


he Senate yesterday rejected a bill seeking to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to forward its annual budget to the National Assembly for approval. The Senate had earlier threatened to stop work on the 2012 budget, if the apex bank fails to present its estimate for the fiscal year, in accordance with section 21 0f the fiscal responsibility Act. Sponsor of the bill, Senator Ita Enang, yesterday told newsmen that he was not sure if the recent donation made by the apex bank to victims of the

bomb blast in Kano and Madalla were captured in the CBN budget. He said it would be decent and in the spirit of transparency and accountability for the CBN to make its budget public. Senator Enang argued that it would be a violation of the law for the CBN to run a budget without recourse to the senate. The senate opposed the bill, saying it would amount to violation of international practice to bar people from using foreign currencies in their local transaction. However, the senate, at a

Okunniyi tackles Governor Amosun on TASUED From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


overnorship candidate of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in Ogun state in the 2011 elections, Veteran Olawale Okunniyi has cautioned the Ogun state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, not to indulge in taking precipitate actions capable of rocking the subsisting fragile peace in the state Okunniyi specifically carpeted Senator Amosun over his unilateral decision to convert the Tai Solarin University of Education, TASUED, in the state to an Institute of Education without due legal process and consultation with stakeholders in the state. According to a statement issued on Wednesday in Lagos and signed by Mr. Damilola Olayide, media assistant to the veteran political activist, Okunniyi said “Ogun state is too advanced to be run like a military barrack and Governor Amosun should immediately heed the directive of the Ogun state House of Assembly to return to status quo ante on the TASUED saga.” The Ijebu born leader of CPC in Ogun state wondered why successive governors in the state have always adopted combative approach in running the affairs of the state, foisting undue divisions and crisis on the good people of the state. He said this disposition would not be allowed to thrive any longer. “I do wish to appeal to Senator Ibikunle Amosun to focus more on constructive governance of the state and to resist the temptation of petty politics, so as not to drag the state again into the murky waters of political vendetta, from which it is just coming out.”

Bayelsa state Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake-Dickson (middle), addressing journalists shortly after he tendered his resignation letter in the House of Representatives, at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

resumed session, dropped the bill seeking to compel the CBN to forward its budget for approval. The bill was dropped to allow for further consultations. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (CBN) which hitherto started spending without recourse to senate was confirmed to have presented its estimate for the 2012 fiscal year to the senate for approval. The Senate, in a unanimous resolution, also dropped another bill seeking to outlaw the use of foreign currencies for domestic transaction in the country. The bill specifically seek to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) Act 2007 to make it an offence to denominate goods and services offered within the country in any foreign currency other than naira and gives CBN further powers to prohibit such transaction’ Sponsor of the bill senator Ita Enang told newsmen yesterday that “the unrestrained use of the dollar is assuming a frightful dimension and it might only take a definite action from the financial sector regulators to sanitize the country of this craze.” The fears being expressed in some quarters is that the contest of relevance between the naira and dollar is becoming more pronounced and there is no doubt as to which currency would win over the other at the end of the day, if the trend is allowed to continue, particularly with the naira experiencing progressive depreciation against other world currencies.

ACN accuses INEC of frustrating inspection of materials From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Kogi state chapter has accused the Independent Nation Electoral Commission (INEC) of conniving with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to frustrate it from inspecting the materials used during the December 3, 2012 gubernatorial election in the state. This was disclosed yesterday in Lokoja at a press conference held

by the state secretary of the party Barrister Isaac Ekpa who is also a member of the legal team of the party at the tribunal. The secretary alleged that all effort of the party’s counsels to make INEC comply with the tribunal directives that all inspections of the election materials should be completed before the 5th of March, the date for the sitting of the tribunal, has been manipulated to favour the PDP, adding that the counsels to PDP in agreement with INEC kept on introducing flimsy

excuses. He stated that with the delay in starting the scanning and inspection, after the arrivals of the experts, caused by the INEC, the party doubts if it will be able to achieve much before the date of resumption. Ekpa hinted that for an exercise that was supposed to cover eighteen local governments, which it used six days to complete, the delay at the remaining two local governments amounts to denying the people the right to know what happened to their

votes in the election. According to him “We have lost faith in the staff of INEC in Kogi state. The Commission and the PDP are one and the same .We want Jega to wade in to salvage their image.” he said. The secretary lamented that INÉC, which is supposed to be neutral, has tacitly joined the PDP to frustrate the counsels and the forensic experts from carrying out the assignment of scanning the material as directed by the governorship tribunal sitting in the state.

Senate kicks out NYSC amendment bill


he Senate yesterday rejected a bill intended to allow National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members reject posting to troubled states. Sponsored by Senator Adetunbi Olubunmi, the bill which seeks to amend the National Youth Service Corps Act, 2004, suffered a setback during the second reading of the amendment bill. Senator Olubunmi was forced to withdraw the bill when it became apparent that majority of senators were opposed to the

legislation. Earlier, in his lead debate, Senator Olubunmi had said recent developments in the country have made it imperative to amend the extant Act, adding that many corps members lost their lives in various locations during the outbreak of violence in some parts of the country. “In 2011 alone, over 50 corps members were killed in various civil disturbances and unrests, and many were involved in various forms of premeditated physical

violence like rape and assaults occasioning harm,” he said. The senator added that in response to these ugly developments, some aggrieved Nigerians have called for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme. He, therefore, proposed the prohibition of corps members being posted to states where conflict exists, while corps members be permitted to reject posting to such states. Senator Olubunmi also sought for an increase in the allowances

paid to corps members as well as corps members being placed under a life and health insurance scheme. However, other lawmakers argued that giving the corps members option to choose where to serve would defeat the spirit and intent of the law creating the scheme. Senate president David Mark argued that it would not be in the interest of the national unity for the NYSC to allow the intending corp members to select which states to serve in.



Eagles dazzle with new CAF balls, as Azuka sure of Rwanda fall


he Nigeria Football Federation is not letting anything to chance as the Super Eagles prepare for the 2013 Nations Cup qualifying opener against the Wasps of Rwanda on Wednesday in Kigali Similarly, defender Izu Azuka has allayed fears that the Eagles would cower under the weight of the hosts assuring

By Patrick Andrew


lackburn Rovers on song forward, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Sani kaita as well as seven other 11 foreignbased professionals have been confirmed by Head Coach Stephen Keshi to arrive in the camp of the Super Eagles on Sunday ahead of the crucial 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against the Wasps of Rwanda. The ‘Big Boss’ as Keshi is fondly called disclosed yesterday while declaring his objectives for the game, which he hopes would lay the sketch of his projected repositioned Eagles squad, all the players have given guaranteed indications of their arrival dates. “All the stars but two will come in on Sunday. Joseph Yobo, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Taye Taiwo, Osaze Odemwingie, Dickson Etuhu, Victor Moses, Joel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Sani Kaita have assured that they will arrive in the camp on Sunday. “So apart from the Vincent Enyeama and Ikechukwu Uche who are to come in on Monday morning all others will hopefully join us a day before we travel to Kigali. And we hope to assess their fitness level even before we jet out of the country,” Keshi declared. He insisted that the team

instead that they hope to repeat what they did against the Lone Stars of Liberia in front of their home fans in Monrovia. The player said this while the team was having a feel of the new CAF balls released for use at the recently concluded Equatorial Guinea/Gabon jointly hosted 2012 Nations Cup. The NFF made the balls available to the team for its training ahead of the

Kigali battle. The crisp balls, yellow in colour with a sprinkle of black are manufactured by world famous sports’ wear giants Adidas and are expected to be the ones to be used for the match proper next Wednesday. It would be recalled that the only time the players had a feel of the balls was when they played a friendly against the

Palancas Negras of Angolan last December in Abuja . The Angolans brought the balls specifically for preparation for the Nations Cup championship, which was eventually won by the Chipolopolo of Zambian. Speaking after the training, the vastly improved striker Azuka said he was sure that with the level of preparations

of the national team, victory will surely be theirs when they confront the Amavubvi in Rwanda on Wednesday, February 29. “What we need from Nigerians is support and prayers, we have trained hard enough and we are certain that victory will surely come when we take on our opponents next week.

Yobo, Aiyegbeni, Kaita hit camp on Sunday would have no other objective in Kigali order than to collect the maximum points to set the stage for the race for the 2013

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Nations Cup qualification. “No, we cannot afford to fail to play in the Nations Cup. This means we cannot take things for

Dickson Etuhu

granted but must give serious priority to every match and we intend to do just that against Rwanda whether we are playing

away or not. We must win,” he said stressing all the players have been made aware of the crucial nature of the game.

Joel Obi

Mancini says Tevez could Yuguda lauded for return in two weeks contribution to basketball T T From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi

he Bauchi state Director of Sports, Alhaji Haruna Bako has lauded Governor Isa Yuguda for his contribution to the development of sports particularly basketball. The director said the governor has been the major contributor to the success of the Bauchi Nets Basketball team in the league, adding that the team has lacked for nought since the present administration came into being. According to him, the government has provided all

the financial needs that made the team to excel in the nationwide basketball league. “We are grateful to the Isa Yuguda administration in the state because they have motivated us to reach the best four in our group for the past three sessions. Its financial support and other logistics have been of tremendous help. I’m proud to inform you that not all teams in the country get the kind of financial support that we used to get from the state government,” he said. Further, he disclosed that the sports council has concluded arrangements to facilitate the successful outing of the state

basketball team Bauchi Nets in this year’s premier League Savannah Basketball conference scheduled to commence this month. He disclosed that the council has secured the services of about 18 basketballers that are expected to wear the Bauchi Nets color in this year’s competition and expressed confidence that the team will not let the people of the down. He then called on the sports lovers in the state to always come out and cheer the Bauchi Nets to victory whenever the team is playing its home game at the multipurpose hall Bauchi.

he prospect of outcast Carlos Tevez pulling on a Manchester City shirt again moved closer yesterday when manager Roberto Mancini said he accepted the Argentine striker’s apology for his behaviour over recent months. Tevez issued an unreserved apology on Tuesday and withdrew his appeal against a gross misconduct charge handed to him by the Premier League leaders after spending most of the past three months in his homeland without permission after a seemingly terminal fallout with the coach. “I’ve accepted his apology. There’s a chance he can play for Manchester City again. I think he needs two or three weeks to

train, and some games, but if he’s ready in two or three weeks that’s normal,” Mancini said. The events of the past 24 hours represent a remarkable turnaround after the 28-yearold seemed unlikely ever to play for the club again following a bitter fall-out that began when he refused to warm up during City’s Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich in September. The player’s subsequent unauthorised absence prompted City to fine him six weeks’ wages after finding him guilty of gross misconduct for serious breaches of contract. Tevez had lodged an appeal with the Premier League over the charge but has withdrawn it.



ost Nigerians only know Sunday Mba as the player who scored two goals against Liberia last week. So, tell us a little more about yourself. I’m 23 years old and I have played for several clubs like Enyimba, Enugu Rangers, Dolphin and I’m currently with Warri Wolves. What is your preferred position? I can play either as an attacking midfielder or behind the main striker as a support striker. Coach Keshi has played me as a support striker. How have the expectations being on you since your goals in Liberia? It’s normal to see people come around you if you are doing well. But I’m not under any pressure. I knew I would score in that game and I told some of my friends as much, but after the goals I didn’t even remember to celebrate as I had promised. I believe in myself but I’m not carried away by my goals because I know I can do even more. But most certainly the goals have helped you. Yes, they have done a lot to my confidence. In that case, how confident are you that you will be among the 11 players from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) who will be picked for


Nations Cup qualifier: No fear for foreign pros, Mba declares Warri Wolves forward, who scored a brace against the Lone Stars of Liberia in the Super Eagles away victory last week, says the domestic league players will entertain no fear when their foreign-based counterparts arrived in camp to fight for first team shirts. He reveals that coach Stephen keshi has instilled so much confidence in the local players such that whatever fears had existed before have been dispelled. He does not expect any of them to be intimidated by their foreign-based counterparts ahead of a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Rwanda next Wednesday. the final squad for next week’s Nations Cup qualifier in Rwanda? It’s the coach who picks the team but I hope to be one of those selected for this game. What should Nigerians expect of the Eagles in Rwanda? They should expect a good game, which we hope to win and score more goals. Players from the domestic league have been hailed recently, but there are those who say that when the foreign-based pros arrive, these players will be intimidated and so no longer give out their best. Do you agree? No. Football is the same everywhere

and I believe we will play what we know how to do best. I believe we will be equal to the task this time because the coach has instilled so much confidence in us. You are part of the Nigeria U17 team who crashed out in the first round of the African Junior Championship in Gambia in 2005. How has it been for you with the various national teams since then? It was not a bad experience in Gambia, then I was a much younger player. But thereafter I featured in some qualifiers for the U20 national team under coach Godwin Uwa and later I was also part of a home-based Eagles led by coach Okey Emordi.

Ahmed Musa amazes Ronaldo, gets pat on the back


SKA Moscow winger Ahmed Musa was on cloud seven after receiving a rare pat on the back from sensational Cristiano Ronaldo for his delectable performance in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-finals between his club and Real Madrid. The Super Eagles, who was debuting for his first Champions League game for his new, revealed after the match that the leg-over exponent was full of praise for him and could not help but pat him on the back for his inspirational display. “Ronaldo gave me a pat on my back, he said I did well and will go places.”Musa revealed.

Though CSKA forced the visitors to a draw courtesy added on time equaliser, Musa has declared that his team could still shock out Real Madrid from the UEFA Champions League after they forced the Spanish giants to a 1-1 draw at home. Musa, who played 61 minutes of Tuesday’s Round of 16, said he was fulfilled making his UEFA Champions League debut, but hoped for a better performance and result in the second leg at the famous Bernabeu. a“I did my best in the game as a player. I was delighted to play in the Champions League for the first time in my career. It was a great game and a draw was not so bad as we can go to Spain to beat them in the return leg,,”

Real's Xabi Alonso, (l) battels for a ball with CSKA Moscow’s Ahmed Musa

Musa after the match in Moscow. Musa’s electrifying pace on the right flank caused Real some bother in the first half and the Nigeria international also had a chance to hit target. “I thought my shot was going in at a point but (Iker) Casillas denied me. I believe he won’t be that lucky in the second leg,” said Musa, who had hoped to mark his debut with a goal. The first yellow card of the game went to Xavi Alonso for a foul on the flying Nigeria winger. Musa was replaced in the 61st minute by Liberia International Sekou Oliseh, who also featured in the Nigerian league before he jetted out to Europe.

Ahmed Musa

NFF congratulates ACP Akinsola


he Nigeria Football Federation has congratulated Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gideon Olusegun Akinsola for his appointment by the Inspector General of Police as the Chairman of the Sports Committee of Nigeria Police Force. On Tuesday, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Dikko Abubakar appointed Akinsola as the head of a five-man Sports Committee to arrest the decline in sports excellence within the Nigeria Police, with mandate to carry out a number of reforms. “We are delighted by the appointment because ACP Akinsola has been around for some time now and has worked very hard each time in coordinating security arrangements for all football-related programmes in the country”, said NFF President Aminu Maigari. “As a Federation, which ACP Akinsola has served so well over the years as FIFA Security Officer in Nigeria and Chief of Security for our Senior National Team, Super Eagles, we can proclaim that he is an energetic, dutiful and responsible Officer and gentleman, and our prayer is that the Almighty God will continue to give him the energy, wisdom and capacity to justify the confidence that you have reposed in his person”, wrote Maigari. Meanwhile, speaking yesterday at the Bolton White Hotel where the Eagles are domiciled, Akinsola promised to carry out his mandate to diligence stressing he would work to rekindle the dynamic sporting spirit among the rank and files in the police. He noted that the new police, who are being built, would work in concert with the IG objectives of building a peoples’ friendly police.


How did you get into football? t started for me when I was a youngster. I started by playing football across the streets of Port Harcourt (Southern Nigeria). I never felt I would go so far with the game because to be honest it was just a hobby for me back then. Did you look up to anyone when you were growing up as a youngster? No. However, my elder brothers were playing when I was young. I used to join them when they went for trainings and I guess that rubbed off on me. You played for three professional football clubs in Nigeria, Iwuayanwu National (now Heartland), Calabar Rovers and Sharks before you jetted off to Europe. How would you compare the current standard of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) back then and the NPL today? To be honest, the standard has dropped drastically. We no longer invest in domestic football. In the past, the national team (Super eagles) was dominated by players who plied their trade in the local league. Today the story is different as the national team is dominated by players who play in Europe. If you dont build up your domestic league, you will face problems at the national team level. That is the problem Nigeria is faced with today. What is responsible for this trend? It’s quite disappointing, I think the proliferation of cable television has not helped. These days, the people are exposed to so much foreign content in the shape of the Barclays English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. And when you compare the standard of football of these foreign leagues, the Nigerian football league lags behind so the people tend to prefer watching football from foreign climes. The Nigeria Football Federation and the Nigeria Premier League must do well to improve the standard of our local league. You won 62 caps for Nigeria at international level. How did you get to earn the first of those caps? When I was playing for Sharks, players from the local teams were usually given the opportunity to play for the national teams. Impressive players from the domestic leagues were usually invited to the national camp and if they did well, they were given the opportunity to play for the full national team. I was invited to the national team when I was with Sharks and the rest as they say is history. Clemens Westerhof is widely regarded as the most successful Nigeria national football team coach. What sort of character was Westerhof? He brought discipline to the team. He was nice but tough. He knew when to joke and knew when to be serious. His style of management helped us achieve success at the Cup of Nations and World Cup. You joined Ajax Amsterdam in 1993. How were you received by the established super stars when you first joined the team? I was well received. Ajax has always been a multi-cultural football team so it was quite easy for me to succeed. The Surinamborn Dutch players actually helped me a lot especially with the language and the food and the culture so it was not too difficult for me. You were at Ajax at about the same time with another Nigerian, Kanu Nwankwo. How did you two get along? We got on very well. We lived close to each other. He was a youngster and I did all I could to help him achieve his full potentials. We were like brothers and we helped each other so much. You and Kanu were the first set of Nigerians to win the UEFA Champions League title, tell us more about that super team that included players like Marc Overmas, Danny Blind,


Clemens Westerhof Loius Van Gaal


How my Real madrid move was scuttled, by Finidi George Finidi George is a legend of Nigerian football. Born April 15, 1971, the 6ft 3in former Ajax Amsterdam midfielder was once described as the best winger in the world. recently had a sit down with Finidi to discuss his football education and his rise to one of the greatest players to ever play for the Nigeria national team.

Westerhof did a good job and I think that is the problem we are facing with the national team today. We just have to be patient and build a strong national team. The team of 1994 took about four, five years to build.

Finidi George

the de Boer brother, Jari Litmanen, Erwin Van Der Saar, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert. That was a great team and been a part of that team will never leave my heart. The Manager, Louis Van gaal was also special and we all learnt a lot playing from that dream team. As a matter of fact, the current FC Barcelona team plays exactly the way we used to play back then in 1995. You played 130 games for Real Betis and scored 38 goals for the club. Tell us about your experiences in Spain. Apart from the trophies I won at Ajax, it was at Betis that I really enjoyed football. I was a more mature player when I joined the team and I brought all my experience to bear during that period. I really enjoyed my time in Spain. You played in Spain alongside a certain Denilson at Betis. Was he a misunderstood character? Denilson was the most expensive footballer in the world at the time. The rest of the squad did not feel bad because we earned less than him because we all had contracts which we respected. For Denilson, I think he did well. He had little problems adapting to the culture in Spain. You were widely described as the best winger in the world after you won the European Cup with Ajax in 1995. Many were bewildered when you decided to join Betis after Ajax. Didnt the bigger clubs want you? After the 1996 football season, I had an interview saying I would move (from Ajax) if I got a better offer. The clubs officials were upset and told me in no unclear terms that my services (at Ajax) were no longer needed. They told me they would buy another player for my position and they did. The player they got was Tijani Babangida (he smiles for the first time since

the interview began). I decided to leave. I had a precontract with Real Madrid but they couldn’t come up with the financial valuation of Ajax and the move hit the rocks. You spent one season with Ipswich Town. (cuts in) After one successful season at Mallorca, the Manager of Ipswich decided to take me over. I have no regrets whatsoever and it is a pity the team was relegated. I was injured there and a lot of things conspired against. What went wrong with your scouting deal with Real Betis? Money problems (laughs). I was there trying to help them look for good players outside Spain but they were not able to foot the financial bills. You were among the first set of Nigerians that ensured Nigerias flag was hoisted at the FIFA World Cup in 1994. Yeah that was a great team; a world class team. There were so many great players in that team. Players like Austin Okocha, Dan Amokachi, Yekini and others. You scored the goal that sent Nigeria through to the 1994 FIFA World Cup when Nigeria drew1-1 with Algeria in Algiers to nick the sole qualifying ticket for the mundial. Football is a collective game. Someone had to score and I am happy I was the one who got the goal. It was important that we eventually got the result that we needed to qualify for the World Cup. You were a part of the team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 in Tunisia. How special was that team? That was a great team. Westerhof did a good job and I think that is the problem we are facing with the national team today. We just have to be patient and build a strong national team. The team of 1994 took about four, five years to build.



PGA Tour’s playoffs Jelimo extended for five more years selected in Kenyan team T

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Tsonga in quarterfinals in Marseille


o-Wilfried Tsonga advanced to the quarterfinals of the Open 13 by beating Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-2 yesterday. The top-seeded Frenchman did not face a break point, winning 36 of his 41 service points. Tsonga took a 3-0 lead in the first set and broke Mahut twice in the second. He will play Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who defeated Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-3, 6-0. Roger-Vasselin won the last eight games. In the first round, Alexandr Dolgopolov rallied past Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3.The sixth-seeded Ukrainian broke for a 3-1 lead in the final set. He’ll face Michael Llodra of France, who edged Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3). Llodra, a 2010 champion, had 12 aces.

he FedExCup playoffs, the PGA Tour’s lucrative four-event season finale, have been extended for a further five years, commissioner Tim Finchem said yesterday. Launched in 2007, the playoffs will continue to offer $35 million in total bonus money to players based on their finish in the points standings, including a $10 million jackpot for the overall winner. Finchem said that FedEx had extended its umbrella sponsorship until the end of the 2017 season. “We’ve seen it grow, it’s become a big part of what the PGA Tour is all about,” Finchem told reporters at Dove Mountain on the first day of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

“It has had the effect of pulling our season together. We’re going to try to make some adjustments in the next couple of years to do that with the FedExCup in an even more impactful way.” While not disclosing any financial details, Finchem said there would be further growth in the FedExCup over the next five years. “How that plays out in terms of the distribution of dollars we’re not sure, but we’re certainly going forward, not backwards during this term,” Finchem added. American Bill Haas won the 2011 FedExCup and its $10 million bonus after beating compatriot Hunter Mahan in a thrilling playoff for the seasonending Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Haye loses special guest invitation D

avid Haye is on the guest list for a heavyweight title fight in Germany this week but he is unlikely to be there. The Briton, a former WBA heavyweight champion, is expected to give the tournament in Stuttgart a miss in the wake of a police probe against him. The main fight is between Marco Huck, a German, and Alexander Povetkin of Russia. Munich prosecutors are investigating assault charges against Haye and fellow-Briton Dereck Chisora after their brawl at a press conference last Saturday night. Chisora, who had lost to Ukrainian

Vitali Klitschko, the WBC champion, was detained for several hours and questioned over the incident. Haye had already returned to Britain before the authorities launched the probe. German police intend asking Scotland Yard for help in their effort to talk to Haye. Haye is apparently in the United States. He posted a Twitter message saying he was “Jetting off to warmer climates” and British newspapers reported that he had flown to Las Vegas. Chisora and Haye have apologised for the brawl, but could face fines from German authorities and sanctions from boxing organisations.


enya’s Olympic 800 metres champion Pamela Jelimo has been named in a 10-member team to represent the east African nation at next month’s world indoor championships in Istanbul. Jelimo became Kenya’s first woman Olympic champion in Beijing four years ago before winning the $1 million Diamond League jackpot in the same year. She has struggled subseqently at major events and did not race last year. Her return to the team comes after she finished second at a meeting in France last week. Former world junior champion Winnie Chebet will also contest the two-lap race. Boaz Lalang, another 800 specialist, is the only survivor of the team who competed in Doha in 2010, collecting only two silver and two bronze medals. “We have a short time to prepare for this event. That is why we monitored their performances in indoor races in Europe and the United States to determine who makes the team,” David Okeyo, the secretary general of Athletics Kenya, told reporters on Wednesday. Kenyan team: Men- Boaz Lalang, Timothy Kitum, Silas Kiplagat, Bethwel Birgen, Edwin Cheruiyot Soi, Augustine Choge. Women - Pamela Jelimo, Winny Chebet, Hellen Onsando Obiri, Sylvia Kibet.

Robles optimistic against Liu in Stockholm duel tomorrow


Dayron Robles

uban hurdler Dayron Robles says he is not surprised he lost to Chinese rival Liu Xiang at an indoor meet last week, promises to revenge soonest. Liu won the 60-meter hurdles final Saturday in Birmingham, England, in 7.41 seconds, nearly a tenth of a second ahead the world-record holder. It was their first meeting since last year’s world championships. “I’m not surprised with his time because he prepared for that and he feels very well,” Robles said. He promised a competitive rematch in Stockholm tomorrow. “Every time I come to win. Every time,” Robles said. “Outside the track, Liu Xiang is a very good friend.” For his part, Liu said he was hoping to repeat his strong performance. “I felt that I was in a very good shape,” he said. “I hope that I can do better, or at least as good.” Also in the field at the GE Galan indoor meet is twotime Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva. She’ll face 20-year-old Holly Bleasdale of Britain. Isinbayeva returned in 2011 from a yearlong break from competition. While she doesn’t dominate the sport these days, it’s helped her enjoy the sport even more, she said. The Olympic champion, world-record holder and multiple indoor and outdoor world champion said the pressure to win became too much. “The last two years, of course, were difficult for me. I was just tired physically and mentally,” she said. “Now I can just enjoy the pole vault and do my best every time.” That doesn’t mean she’s lowered her ambitions the 29year-old Russian is aiming for a third Olympic gold in London. “I will never compete for second or third place,” she said.

Pamela Jelimo

Athens Marathon champ, Noguchi, returns


apan’s 2004 Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi will run her first marathon in more than four years in Nagoya next month in her bid to race at this year’s London Games. The 33-year-old, who blazed to the gold medal in Athens almost eight years ago, will run in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on March 11, organisers said yesterday. The race will be the last of three domestic qualifiers in what is expected to be a dogfight to make it onto Japan’s team for London. Noguchi pulled out of last month’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon with a hamstring problem. She has been plagued by injuries since her sensational dash for gold in Athens and was unable to defend her Olympic title in Beijing in 2008. Noguchi has been stepping up her preparation for London with punishing high altitude training in Colorado.





Pictorial Pix 1: Fans that missed out in last year's Olympic ballot are to be given the first chance to buy 40,000 seats for athletics when the last batch of one million tickets goes on sale in April. Pix 2: Wales coach Warren Gatland admits he does not know how to stop the exodus of Welsh stars heading to France. Pix 3: England will wait until the day of the match to decide whether Ravi Bopara is fit to play in opening twenty international against Pakistan. Pix 4: Nathan Cleverly vows to be the model professional ahead of his WBO lightheavyweight title defence to restore British boxing's reputation. Pix 5: England's Luke Donald will begin the defence of his WGC Match Play title against Ernie Els in the first round of the elite event in Arizona. Pix 6: Teenage full-back Stuart Hogg wins his first international start in the Scotland side to face France. Pix 7: Man City have taken a step to the last-16 of the Europa League as they lead FC Porto follow Sergio Aguero scored after 19 seconds.








NNL blacklists Umuahia Stadium, fines FRSC N.5m By Patrick Andrew

T Austin Okocha

he board of the Nigeria National League (NNL) has imposed an indefinite ban on the use of the Umuahia Township Stadium for its matches because of the poor state of the facility even as it FRSC for shunning Maiduguri match. The NNL said the ban on the Abia Warriors and Abia Comets would only be lifted if the Abia state government takes the appropriate measures to improve on the facilities. It has directed the two teams to look for alternative venues beginning from week 5 “We have to act on Umuahia township stadium because we have received consistent indicting reports from officials on the poor state of the stadium. So we have asked the affected clubs to choose alternative venues for their home matches before Thursday. “The decision was taken in order to protect our players in the league because allowing them to play on such turf will amount to exposing the players to injuries”, Ayo Abdulrahman, the scribe of the NNL said. Also, he confirmed gthe decision of the NNL body

to fine FRSC FC of Abuja N500, for its failure to honour the week 2 match against El- kanemi FC in Maiduguri, in spite of assurances by the Borno State Police Command of adequate security during the match. The team had opted to boycotted the game for fear of the Boko Haram threat which has made security Herculean in the state for months now. He said that the club has been given two weeks to pay the fine or face stiffer sanctions from the league organizers.

...Inyama loses brother


he chairman of Nigeria National League, NNL, Chief Emeka Inyama is bereaved following the sudden passing on of his elder brother Uchech i Inyama According to reports from the NNL chairman, Uchechi Iyama, popularly called Owokowo, was aged 57. Burial announcement from the family indicates that the late Uchechi will be buried on March 3rd at his father’s compound in Umunwanwa in Abia state.

Okocha, Siasia Indian Premier League put ... NTTF President vows to win Olympic laurels on hold


ustin Okocha and Samson Siasia would have to wait some more before debuting in the innovative India Premier League that was scheduled to next month. The organizers of India’s new six-team football league said yesterday that the inaugural tournament is being postponed as they work through tricky logistics for the first time. The first match had been scheduled for March 24, but Indian Football Association secretary Utpal Ganguli says organizers are still working to set up systems and secure the six venues in West Bengal state. He says a new start date will be announced soon, and that “one wants to be sure of all the logistics since this is the first tournament being held of this magnitude.” India is hoping the new league stacked with semiretired world pros like Robert Pires and Fabio Cannavaro will boost football’s popularity in the cricket-crazy country and attract fans who now follow European clubs.

Samson Siasia


he President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, (NTTF) Abdullahi Omotosho, has expressed confidence in the players that will represent the country at the forthcoming London 2012 0lympic Games and assured that the tennis contingent will not return without laurels. The NTTF boss said that the trio of Portugalbased Aruna Quadri, Segun Toriola and the Germany-based Funke Oshonaike are capable of doing the country proud at the global event. “The Portugal table tennis tederation, (PTTF) has ranked Aruna Quadri, who is in his first season in the country, as the best player in the Portuguese League. The player is doing very well at the moment and I have no doubt that he will do the

country proud at the Olympics. “Funke Oshonaike is another player whom we expect to make the country proud in London. The Germany-based player is at the top of her game at the moment. e know that she will perform well at the games, considering her previous experience,” said Omotosho. He assured Nigerians that the federation will do the highest to make sure that the country’s representatives at the Olympics come back home with laurels. “We are working round the clock to ensure we return from the Olympics with medals. We know that the players will not disappoint their Nigerians and they are prepared to give a good account of themselves at the games,” he noted.

Our Olympics chances are bleak, says swimming coach By Albert Akota


he Head Coach of the Nigeria Swimming Federation, (NSF) Saheed Obadina, has expressed serious doubt about Nigerian swimmers’ participation at the 2012 London Olympics swimming qualifying tournament in Manchester next month. Speaking in Abuja, Obadina said the problem of funding may militate against the country’s participation adding that Nigeria’s talented swimmers may not have the chance to excel because unavailability of funds for them to participate in international championships. “Nigeria is blessed with talented swimmers, what these swimmers need is exposure to international swimming championships. Nigeria has a chance of making it to the Olympics swimming event if we can participate at the Manchester qualifying tournament next month. “But the federation lacks

proper funding in order to participate in major swimming championships. Nigeria may not participate at the Manchester tournament, if the problem of funding is not addressed on time,” Obadina said. He was optimistic that Nigeria has a big chance of participating in the swimming event at the Olympics if the federation can get sponsorship

for two or three home-based swimmers for the Manchester tournament. “Nigeria may get representatives at the London Olympics if we can get sponsors for two or three of our home-based swimmers to the Manchester tournament, but getting sponsors for them is the problem at the moment,” he added.

Bolaji Abdullahi

Zambia call off Gabon clash


ambia striker Mayuka vs Senegal Zambia have shelved a plan to play Gabon on February 29 so as to allow the players a break. Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications officer Erick Mwanza said in Lusaka on Wednesday that the 2012 African champions will take a breather after a gruelling last two-and-a-half months of camping and competitive action. “We have camped the players for a long time, from the time we started our training camp in South Africa way back in November,” Mwanza said. “So, we feel it would be important for the players to settle down with their clubs and also have some rest because it may be difficult to get them back on Sunday ahead of the friendly match.” Mwanza added that Zambia had received an overwhelming number of requests for friendly matches but had to turn them down for the time being. Zambia had a planned friendly against Gabon scheduled for Libreville next Wednesday. Chipolopolo’s next official international engagement will be on June 1, when they face Sudan away in a Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Group D qualifier in Khartoum.

Dolphins must improve-Eguma


anager of Dolphins, Stanley Eguma says his players must improve ahead of their second leg first round Caf Champions League game against Sony Ela Nguema. Dolphins won the first leg of the contest against the Equatorial Guinea champions 3-0 in Malabo but Eguma insists ‘mistakes from the first leg’ must be eliminated ahead of the return leg in Port Harcourt. “I noticed some mistakes from the first leg. There were some lapses in the second half of the game but we will be looking to do better in the second leg,” Eguma told The Dolphins’ trainer was also quick to praise the home side for providing ‘very good facilities’ for the game. “They provided very good facilities for the match and it helped us. My boys took advantage of the good pitch in Malabo and since they played to instructions, it was easy for us,” he said. Dolphins are making their third appearance in Africa’s premier club competition. The reigning NPL champions lost out in the group stages in 1998 and failed to progress past the second round in 2005.



WBC slaps Chisora with ‘$50 000 fine’


Mikel Obi

‘Unhappy’ Mikel mulls Anzhi switch, as Keshi gives nod By Patrick Andrew with agency report


ikel Obi is unhappy at Chelsea and he could be open to a sensational move to bigspending Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, according to wire service report. The development has received the approval of Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi, who says that the player may have to move to a club where he would be guaranteed more playing time, if he wants

to re-jig his almost fading career. Close sources to the player, whose lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge since the advent of Andre Villa-Boas as manager, said the midfielder have said he has been unhappy for some time now. Yesterday, Keshi said the player would need a rethink of his present situation if he would be relevant in his plans for the new Super Eagles that he’s rebuilding. The former Togo and Mali manager believes only players who are in competitive physical and mental form would be accommodated in his squad. Already, he left out Mikel in the 11-

he World Boxing Council has fined Dereck Chisora $50 000 for slapping Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in before their fight last weekend. And David Haye, who was involved in the disgraceful brawl with Chisora after the fight, has posted a Twitter picture of himself in a first-class aeroplane seat, apparently on his way to Las Vegas. The WBC fined Chisora “a reported $50 000” on Tuesday for slapping the champion when they stood face to face at the pre-fight weigh-in last Friday. German police officers still want to interview Haye, a former WBA heavyweight champion, about his role in the fracas at a media conference after Klitschko had beaten Chisora on points. Klitschko, according to reports, feels Chisora needs more punishment; something that “really has to hurt”. That is why he has offered the Briton a rematch. The 40-year-old Ukrainian has said “this lout” should not be allowed “to drag the sport of boxing into such disrepute.” Klitschko suffered a partially torn ligament in his left shoulder during the fight, but said he would “never” have given up against Chisora. “I’d rather have died than to give him anything,” he said. Klitschko has tried to explain his feelings as Chisora nearly wrecked the image of the sport that the man foreign-based Eagles invited to Zimbabwe-born Briton professes to love. join with their domestic counterparts “Before the fight I still thought that how he was presenting himself, how he for the 2013 Nations Cup battle behaved, was a show. against the Wasps of Rwanda next “But then I realised he wasn’t acting. Wednesday. He must be crazy. When I think about “Every player that wants to be all he’s done ... then he threatens to relevant and indeed improve his shoot someone, to kill … How can you career must playing in week-in- weekbe like that as a person? Everything I had to do with him seems like a out otherwise such player stands to nightmare,” Sapa-AP reported lose form and thus out of reckoning. Klitschko as saying. “For now I am For me, such player would have no concentrating on (his brother) place in my team,” he said. Wladimir’s title defence and getting The frustration arising from lack of back to full health as quickly as playing time may have forced Mikel possible,” he said. Wladimir was declared the WBA’s “super to team up with other senior players champion” after beating Haye in in Chelsea to voice out their agitation Hamburg last July. against the manager which only led He is scheduled to defend the belt, to their being further excluded from and the IBF, WBO and IBO titles, Villa-Boas plans. against Jean-Marc Mormeck of And his escape from his misery France in Düsseldorf on March 3. could now be Anzhi, who have hired Responding to reports that he may retire soon, Vitali said he had no Mikel’s former boss at Chelsea Guus immediate such plans and still had Hiddink. dreams to realise. “I’m superstitious “Mikel has clearly made up his mind and believe that when you speak of to quit Chelsea and already there have dreams before they’re realised, they been some moves by Anzhi to have won’t come true,” he said. him,” a top source told the wire However, it is no secret he has political aspirations in Ukraine, service. where parliamentary elections will The Russian club have attracted be held in October. some big names like Samuel Eto’o, Hosts Napoli not because they Roberto carlos and only recently were better, but because they took Yuri Zhirkov left Chelsea to join them. the chances that came their way, Mikel’s Chelsea contract still has while Chelsea missed so many two more years to run, but lately this scoring chances. “It was a painful loss. We did well in the game but Napoli season it has become increasingly took their chances well. Not that we clear that he may not have a future played badly, we created a lot of there under AVB. scoring chances but we were unlucky Tuesday night he was an unused not to have scored as many as four sub as Chelsea crashed 3-1 at Napoli goals in Naples,” the Chelsea player to leave their UEFA Champions was quoted by the wire service to have said. “And I am also saying that we League hopes again hanging by the are not out of Champions League. We thread. However, his agent John Ola are motivated to win the return leg Shittu has insisted Mikel is staying put and move to the next round of the at Chelsea as “they have not said they competition. We will correct our do not want him”. mistakes from the first leg when they Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006 after come to London. I am sure we will qualify to next stage.” a transfer saga that also involved

Manchester United. He won the English Premier League championship with ‘The Blues’ in the 2009/10 season as well as three winners’ medals in the FA Cup and one such medal in the League Cup. Meanwhile, Mikel, who sat out as his club lost 3-1 at Napoli in the first leg UEFA Champions League Round of 16, has declared that Chelsea may be down but they are not out of the competition as they will turn the table against the Italian club in the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Dereck Chisora


“W em ust lear n to li ve “We must learn liv together as brothers or perish together as fools.” —Mar tin Luther King —Martin King,, Jr THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2012


Japan,Korea book Olympic spot


apan virtually made sure of their place in a fifth successive Olympics thanks to a confident 4-0 thrashing of Malaysia. Before the match, Japan was tied with Syria on nine points and on goal difference, but Syria lost ground with a 21 defeat to Bahrain. Japan now have 12 points, three ahead of Bahrain - who they face in their last game - and Syria. “If we had scored one or two more goals, it would have been better, but I guess four goals is fine,” Japan coach Takashi Sekizuka said. “I’m satisfied with the performance of the team, and they got the right result at the end. Individually they played well.” Japan showed their dominance in the early minutes of the match after Hiroki Sakai blasted the ball towards the Malaysian goal only to be saved by goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat. Sakai, however, was spot on in the 35th minute to give his side the lead. Yuya Osako made it 2-0 for Japan before half time. Genki Haraguchi made it 3-0. Korea Republic reached their seventh successive Olympic Games when they cruised past Oman 3-0 in Muscat. Midfielder Nam Tae-hee put the Koreans ahead inside the first minute with FC Seoul striker Kim Hyun-sung doubling the score in the 68th minute. Kim Min-woo added the third just four minutes later. Hong Myung-bo’s Korea Republic, who have a four-point lead over second-placed Oman, round off their qualifying campaign on 14 March when they face a Qatar side needing a win to have any hope of claiming the Group A runnersup place. The Qataris stayed in contention for second place with a 2-1 win at home to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had taken a 12th-minute lead thanks to a penalty from Ettifaq defender Ahmed Ali Walibi, but the home side was on level terms two minutes from the interval courtesy of skipper Hasan Al Haydos. Naser Nabeel grabbed the winner ten minutes from time. Champions League Result Marseille 1 Inter 0 FC Basel 1 B/Munich 0


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No murder without a body


arlier this week I asked Malam Garba Shehu if really, the powers-thatbe listen to any of the passionate commentary that Nigerian journalism has always been known for. Garba Shehu, one of this country’s most accomplished journalists, writes on the back page of the Wednesday edition of Peoples Daily every week. His commentary as well as that of a number of other deeply knowledgeable commentators e.g. Dr.Hakeem Baba-Ahmed (Peoples Daily, Monday’s ) , have become especially valuable to those of us who know that this whole Boko Horror (BH) thing is a more complex matter than the awful and standard ‘Muslimsare-slaughtering-Christians’ charge. As things seem to go from bad to outright ridiculous, one wonders if anyone ‘important’ is listening. Last week we looked at the damage to our ‘national’ credibility being done by the recurring impression that we are being lied to by those in positions of power. The view from another land nearby, South Africa’s Daily Maverick, was not flattering. This is not to say that governments and security forces the world over are always 100% transparent over every single issue. Real politick as we know from history has always involved a little smoke and mirrors. In times of war some, careful selfcensorship on the part of a country’s press has been standard procedure amongst advanced democracies to say nothing about more opaque dictatorships.

Smoke and mirrors


he difference with us is that it’s smoke and mirrors all of the time. War or no. And it is neither careful nor successful on the part of either the government and or those members of the press who think they have something to gain by not telling the facts straight. As for our current circumstances of people dying on our streets, in markets and homes, by day or night, at the hands of ‘fellow’ citizens or nationals (whether the killers are security men or thugs/ militant/terrorists) the purpose of such government propaganda is difficult to

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CAR TEL OPIA CARTEL TELOPIA By Aisha Yolah 08086296783 (text only please)

Ag. IG, M.D. Abubakar

understand. If the BH are minimising their casualties to boost their ‘terror factor’, are the security forces similarly trying to boost their PR? The question the government should ask is this: is it boosting the government’s PR? Clearly if you can hide casualties from us, bloody civilians, I do not think the same can be said about the comrades of those that have fallen. But since we are not fighting another country why would we not want to know the real figure of our sacrifices- individually and collectively? As members of the police, army and other joint task forces sustain casualties it is very likely that their ranks will know very well what is really going on. If they do not know then there is the likelihood that rumour and speculation will take hold. So this hiding of the names and numbers of those killed in the line of duty does not honour their sacrifice and furthermore allows for speculation that may be worse than the reality. Surely the ramifications on morale are unquantifiable. Typical behaviour of our security forces is an urge to hide

truth not for anything as reasonable as the need to ‘keep up morale’, but rather to hide colossal incompetence or duplicity. I stress the incompetence of the leadership, not of the lowly officer, soldier or policemen. Scores of police corporals, sergeants and members of immigration, customs and prisons services – as well as bystanders (traders, artisans, people on the streets etc) are being gunned down though they had nothing to do with the killing of Mohammed Yusuf and his men back in 2009. As someone has rightly pointed out this so-called BH insurgency is really a war in which the poor are killing the poor! The best way for government to boost its image and justify the billions being spent on security is to do the right thing. Like catering for the rank and file (mostly) of the security forces who are in the frontline - properly. The routine request for ‘pure water’ that I got even last night at one checkpoint is not only the result of years of bad training. Sometimes these poor men in uniform are really penniless, at least in this current crisis that has taken hold.

No money, no work


obile police units that were sent to Kano, from various parts of the country were despatched with no warning or preparation. Such emergency movement is in keeping with the requirements of the moment. But they were left in Kano for days on end without proper provision made for food, drink or accommodation. They slept rough for days, and may still be doing so not because their locations (city, not bush or desert) warrant it; Simply because some officer in charge of provisioning just has not done his job.

Weeks later from the persistence of stories about ‘levies’ being extracted despite the ‘revolutionary’ words of the new inspector general, my guess is they still have not been properly catered to. Why won’t they make mistakes, be even more trigger happy than we know them to be? Triggerterrified. Hungry. And demoralised. As for civilian casualties, hiding those figures surely has no justification –even in conventional war. Whose PR is at stake here? BH’s or Security’s? I wonder. The government and security services can hardly engender confidence or trust this way. I recommend the Peoples Daily editorial of last Friday on the Kano couple who were killed on the Tuesday following the Kano attacks of January 17 th 2012. Even their bodies have not been produced. Where there are no bodies then there is no crime? Preposterous. And the government has not said a peep about this tragedy. Sadly, the killings, claims and counterclaims continued this week.

State sponsored spam


dd to this the state sponsored spam (SSS) reserved for certain newspapers about what suspects arrested are spewing out: how suicide bombers and cars are selected, and more allegations against unnamed traditional r u l e r s , politicians...Northerners. None of this is ever denied, confirmed or discouraged by the secret police or the government of Goodluck. But please note: not a word on where the BH leader maybe hiding! Our suspects haven’t got round to disgorging that info yet. As a former editor and colleague Abdulazeez Abdullahi has pointed out in his column (Peoples Daily, Tuesday) this ‘government mendacity’- big big lying- will have to stop at some point, as lessons from other lands indicate. I imagine it cannot be nice to have ‘honour’ forced down your throat. On this one – security and the casualties among our families – someone should please, do the right thing, and at least honour the dead.

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday, February 23, 2012  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday, February 23, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday, February 23, 2012 Hot Edition