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NNPC plans $100bn investment in oil, natural gas sectors


Vol. 7 No. 81

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rabiul Thani 3, 1433 AH



Pressure on Kwankwaso to ban 3 Achaba

Boko Haram: US won’t send troops to Nigeria, says Envoy 5

PAN diversifies, rolls out new brand


SNC divides Reps By Lawrence Olaoye


he simmering dispute over the desirability or otherwise of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) in Nigeria has crept into the House

of Representatives, threatening to polarise the largely united green chamber. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Caucus in the House yesterday openly disagreed with the House’s

spokesman, Rep Zakari Mohammed, who had declared that the green chamber deemed the rising agitations for the SNC as baseless. Rep Mohammed, who is Chairman of the House

Committee on Media and Public Affairs, had last week declared that there was no need for anybody to clamour for the convocation of the SNC even as he urged its proponents to channel their suggestions

through the National Assembly currently embarking on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. According to him, convening the SNC at this point of the Contd on Page 2

L-R: Former President, Court of Appeal, Justice Mamman Nasir (rtd), former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Aminu Saleh and Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, during the inauguration of the advisory council of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, yesterday at the Niger Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.

Gunmen kill IGP’s guards in Kano From Edwin Olofu, Kano


unmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram have, in a typical guerilla

style, opened fire on four policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) M.D. Abubakar’s residence, yesterday morning in Kano.

Eyewitnesses said the gunmen who were riding on four motorcycles opened fire on the mobile policemen attached to the IGP’s house along the Bayero

University Kano (BUK) road immediately after Gidan Murtala, killing two of them at the spot. The policemen were attacked


when they went to eat their breakfast at a fast food restaurant close by. The attack came barely 24 Contd on Page 2




Marketers blame NASS for fuel scarcity


By Richard Ihediwa
























International 31-34 Strange World 35 36






extend loans to the fuel importers due to uncertainty in the industry. However, the chairman of the joint committee, Senator Magnus Abe in his response, directed the Ministry of Finance to convene a meeting next Tuesday between all

the stakeholders including NNPC, PPMC, PPPRA, bankers and oil importers to find a solution to the problem. He also assured the marketers that there will be no payment problem and urged them to go ahead with their businesses.

Oil & Gas conference ends, commits to end gas flaring By Muhammad Nasir


he 2012 edition of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibitions (NOG) came to an end yesterday in Abuja with record attendance and exhibitors despite fears in many quarters that a possible breach of security could mar the gathering. The Minister of Petroleum

Resources, Diezani AlisonMadueke, in an address at the conference called on operators in the upstream sector of the industry to commit themselves to the earliest elimination of gas flaring in the course of oil production. “We must all sign up to the elimination of waste in the upstream sector, gas flaring and others”, she said. According to a Senior Associate of

the organisers of the conference, CWC Group Limited, Mr. Aliro Parra, this year’s exhibition has recorded 1,005 delegates and 170 exhibitors, with 80 percent of them being Nigerians. Parra, who also spoke at the conference, said that the NOG is now in its 12th year having begun in 2000 adding that it has become a rallying point for oil and gas operators in sub-Saharan Africa.

NNPC plans $100bn investment in 5 yrs

By Aminu Imam with agency report


he Nigerian National Pe troleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday disclosed that more than $100 billion in investments are planned during the next five years for oil and natural gas exploration off the coast of Nigeria through Joint Ventures with major energy companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. "That's our investment profile both in the production shar-

ing contracts and joint ventures from now to 2016 and beyond," Austen Oniwon, NNPC Group Managing Director told Bloomberg News yesterday. Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Alison0Madueke also said a draft petroleum law would be sent to lawmakers within six weeks. With the draft petroleum law expected by March, Oniwon said NNPC expected to invest heavily in the oil sector with its major corporate partners.

According to the GMD, "Joint Venture funds will come from both the government and the international oil companies, while the production sharing contracts will be from the contractor." Oil exploration has declined in Nigeria because producers are wary of investments without the law, Bloomberg said. Shell told Bloomberg development of Nigerian deep-water oil fields was well below expectations in part because of the lack of investment.

Sovereign National Conference divides Reps

PDP chairmanship: I remain the best candidate- Adamu Waziri, Page 37



igerians may be in for harder times as oil marketers yesterday said there might be no end in sight for the current fuel scarcity which they said has been occasioned by the on-going probe by both chambers of the National Assembly into the administration of the N1.7 trillion subsidy funds. The oil marketers who appeared before the Senate joint committee probing the handling of the subsidy fund, asserted that there has been scarcity of fuel because the probe had scared banks from extending credit facilities to fuel importers. Many of the banks are said to be unwilling to honour what the marketers called ‘sovereign debt notes’ from the importers due to uncertainties over the outcome of the probe. Some states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been hard hit by fuel scarcity. The marketers also blamed the delay in the arrival and discharge of vessels at the jetty on the activities of the Nigerian navy, saying that it takes more than three days to get clearance from the security operatives at the ports. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigerian (IPMAN) and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) in their separate submissions at

the hearing said that many of the commercial banks funding fuel importation had decided to withdraw such facility following the ongoing probe of the management of the subsidy fund. According to the two bodies, most banks are now unwilling to


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Contd from Page 1 nation’s political development would only create confusion into the polity. But, the ACN caucus in the House disowned Rep Mohammed, insisting that there was never a time the parliament took a decision on the matter whether at plenary, caucus and leadership levels. The ACN led by the Minority Leader of the House, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, told newsmen that, “At no time did the House sit together as a body either at plenary or at an executive session to take a position on this very important national conversation.” The caucus said that the issues at stake should not be confused even as it posited that the constitutional power of the National Assembly stops at the

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federalism and state autonomy. The caucus also kicked against the $7.9 billion loan application proposal made to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan for pipeline projects in the 2012 fiscal year. The opposition lawmakers equally criticized the President for forwarding a budget proposal to the National Assembly through a ‘mere’ letter. But, the House’s spokesperson disagreed with the position of the ACN caucus on the SNC, insisting that he actually stated the position of the House. He said: “It is not every issue that must be debated. The issue of SNC threatens the existence of the National Assembly as an institution. If the issue is debated, how compelling will the resolution be? Will we say

that the proponents should stop talking about the SNC? This is a democracy”. Mohammed alleged that those angling for the convocation of the SNC were politicians who failed at the polls and are scheming to get political recognition through the back door. “We need to draw a line between our personal interest; our regional interest; our party interest and the national interest,” he said. Commenting on the observation raised by the opposition party on the budget letter submitted to the National Assembly by the President, the House spokesman said such was not out of place even as he declined to comment further on the matter because it had already been referred to the Appropriation Committee for consideration.

Gunmen kill IGP’s guards in Kano Contd from Page 1

amendment of the Constitution. According to Rep Gbajabiamila, the issue of writing and producing a new Constitution goes beyond the National Assembly. He said: “If the national consensus is to write and produce a new Constitution, then such will be outside the purview and mandate of the National Assembly; but if however what we are talking about is the amendment of the Constitution, then it falls squarely within the mandate given to the National Assembly by the electorate.” While stating that the caucus would rather await the decision of the people on the matter, Gbajabiamila said the ACN caucus subscribed to the view that the Nigerian state and the nation’s Constitution needed a major structural adjustment, particularly in the areas of fiscal

hours after the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) engaged members of the suspected sect in a gun duel, in the early hours of Wednesday, arresting four members of the sect after the shootout. The Kano state command

Public Relations Officer, ASP Magaji Musa Majia confirmed the incident, but said the policemen were on foot patrol when the gunmen attacked them. He said further that only two policemen were killed while two sustained injuries and are

currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed Hospital. Majia disclosed that immediately after the attack the police reacted promptly and cordoned off the area and searched the entire area thoroughly leading to the arrest of fifteen suspects.

“At about 830hrs, along BUK road by Island after Gidan Murtala, unknown gunmen on four motorcycles attacked our policemen on foot patrol. As a result of the attack, two died on the spot while two were injured and now receiving treatment at a hospital”, he said.



Again gunmen kill 2 cops in Niger

Reps advocate improved welfare for police

From Iliya Garba, Minna


By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives has begun moves to improve the welfare of men of the Nigeria Police in view of the new challenge of terrorism currently facing the force. The House also urged its Committee on Police Affairs to commence investigations into the poor quality of police kits and general welfare with a mandate to report its findings to the House within four weeks. Rep Rasaq Bello Osagie, who moved the motion lamented over how over 350,000 policemen in the country are the least paid in the sub-region. Other areas of concerns to the House include the poor state of police accommodation across the country and poor dressing culture that often lead to compromise of service delivery and integrity of the rank and file. In a related development, the motion seeking to confer a posthumous award on Sergeant Sunday Bandang, the anti-bomb policeman who died in Kaduna last week in the course of duty, suffered a setback. This is against the backdrop of prayers by Hon. Bitrus Kaze, asking that Bandang’s immediate family should be compensated over his death on the 14th of February, 2012 while trying to detonate a bomb in Kaduna metropolis.

We are not planning to dethrone Gbong Gwom, says Sheikh Daud From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he Chief Imam of Jos, Sheikh Zakariyya Balarabe Daud has debunked rumour that the Hausa/Fulani in Plateau state are planning to dethrone the Gbong Gwom Jos and to Islamise the state. Sheikh Balarabe who led Muslim faithfuls in the state on a courtesy visit to the palace of the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang, stated that the state government has denied Muslims in the state their fundamental human rights using policies of discrimination. He reiterated the Muslims’ continuous efforts towards the restoration of permanent peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians saying: “We have culture and religion”, to preserve. However, the monarch used the occasion to preach peace regretting that ignorance and self centredness have overtaken the hearts of religious believers who now hunt one another. He expressed satisfactiontion with the relative calm and peace currently enjoyed by the residents of the state.

L-R: Acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, Chairman of the occasion and Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, during the executive session of the compliance training for public officers organised by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

en of the underworld killed two police officers of Niger state Police Command on Wednesday night at a check point close to the NNPC mega station in Minna. According to the state’s police commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim Maishanu the incident took place between 10 pm to 11pm in the night. He said that the gunmen stole one rifle from one of the officers killed as they beat a quick retreat as other security agents came to the area. Alh. Maishanu however gave the assurance that the command would definitely track them down and make them pay for the crime they committed in accordance to the rule of law. Not too long ago gunmen killed three policemen: an Inspector and a Sergeant in the state capital and a Corporal at Maje in suleja local government area of the state. He said the command had on Wednesday recovered AK47 rifle from Lapai local government area of the state, from a suspect that had escaped from Kogi jail. However the commissioner attributed the incident to the arrest fleeing jail breakers from KotonKarfe prison in Kogi: “each time we re-arrest the Kogi jail break inmates, our men are attacked”.

Pressure mounts on Kwankwaso Fire guts to ban Achaba Suswam’s residence From Edwin Olofu, Kano


here are strong indications that the Kano state government will soon ban commercial motorcycles in the state following waves of attack by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect. Motorcycles have come in handy to members of the sect in virtually all the attacks on security operatives and formations since the January 20 coordinated attacks on the city which have so far killed no

fewer than 200 people. A sequence of attacks from Mandawari to Sharada, Sheka in Shagari quarters, Kano ICPC office and yesterday’s were all facilitated by motorcycles. A top security chief in the state who declined identification told our correspondent that all the security chiefs in the state have unanimously agreed that a ban be placed on motorcycles as part of measures aimed at curbing the activities of Boko Haram. “We as security agents cannot ban the motorcycles but we have

recommended to the governor who is the chief security officer of the state to do that. Because it is common knowledge that these people have been using motorcycles to attack our men; we know the populace will suffer from that but I tell you that is the only way out”. However, our reporter gathered that the governor is reluctant in going ahead to ban motorcycles because of the hardship it will bring to the citizenry and the increase in the rate of unemployed youth in the state.

‘Over 190 kidnappers, 764 armed robbers arrested last year’ By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


s part of efforts to rid the country of the numerous security challenges it is presently facing, Nigerian security agencies last year arrested over 190 suspected kidnappers and more than 764 armed robbery suspects across the country. Also, 725 different kinds of weapons and 30, 548 live ammunition were recovered in the last one year. The Permanent Secretary, Special Services Office (SSO) in

the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Esther Gonda, who disclosed these figures at the opening ceremony of this year’s meeting of federal and state security administrators in Abuja yesterday, added that those arrested were already facing prosecution in different courts across the country. Speaking, on the general security situation in the country, the Perm Sec commiserated with the victims of recent bombings and

shootings in parts of the country and condemned terrorists’ acts while celebrating the progress made so far in the arrest of Boko Haram kingpins. Calling for support from Nigerians in the fight against terrorism, Engr. Igondo suggested a return to the past communal life whereby people report strangers to the community head for proper check to make sure that he or she does not turn out to be a security risk to the environment.

From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


overnor Gabriel Suswam’s resident located at Hudco Quarters, Makurdi yesterday was gutted by fire property worth millions of naira were damaged. The fire was said to have started at about 12 noon, consuming the boys’ quarters. When our correspondent visited the scene, flames were still leaping out of the building just as some policemen along with the Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr. John Ngbede tried to rescue some property. But Media Director to the governor, Mr. James Uloko, said security officers at the governor’s house alleged that they heard voices from behind the building but before they could go behind to check, a fire cannon was thrown into one of the blocks which resulted into a huge fire. Uloko accused the ACN as being behind the inferno, adding “It may not be unconnected with recent threat by the Action Congress of Nigerian ACN loyalists who threatened to make the state ungovernable and sensing defeat at the election tribunal have resorted to such inhuman acts”. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Mohammed, confirmed the fire incident but revealed that no arrest has been made assuring that that the police will undertake a thorough investigation to unveil those behind the inferno.



EFCC arraigns three hotel managers over scam mails By Lambert Tyem


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) yesterday, arraigned three persons before Justice J. O. Adeyeye of Ekiti State High Court, Ado Ekiti on a fivecount charge of allegedly allowing the hotel to be used by fraudsters to send scam mails/documents, and conspiracy to commit an offence contrary to Sections 8 (a) (c) and 1(1) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006. The three persons are Festus Olabode Ola, Omoebemile Olatunji Ezekiel and managers of Friendly Hotels International Limited. According to Ag Head, Media & Publicity of the Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, Counsel to EFCC, Kayode Oni told the court that he had filed information before it and asked that the charges be read to the accused persons. The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them. Thereafter, Oni asked the court to remand the accused in

prison and fix a date for trial. Counsel to the first accused person, K. Olowokere told the court that he had filed an application for bail and that the prosecution had been served. The same argument was canvassed by counsel to the 2nd accused person. However, Justice Adeyeye said the application for bail was tactically defective and therefore asked the accused counsel to return to the court registry to mend the application. Attempt by the defence counsel to withdraw the application for bail and move an oral application was vehemently opposed by the EFCC counsel, who stated that he was statutorily entitled to at least 48 hours to respond to their application. Justice Adeyeye also rejected the defence’s attempt to file an oral application for bail, noting that the accused counsel could not be blowing hot and cold at the same time. He adjourned to February 28, 2012 for hearing of the bail application while ordering that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.

Pastor, policeman, 18 others held for killing village chief From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


Lokoja Chief Magistrate’s Court has ordered the remand of nineteen persons in prison custody for allegedly killing their village chief, James Onyekwe and six of his family members. Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku gave the order yesterday in Lokoja on arraignment of the 19 accused comprising a pastor, a policeman, a carpenter, students and farmers. According to prosecution, the accused, on November 11, last year, armed with guns, cutlasses

and other dangerous weapons invaded the palace of Chief Onyekwe and demanded to see him for some “discussions” but were denied access. The prosecution said following the denial, the accused persons opened fire on everybody on sight, forced their way into his apartment and shot him and six members of his family dead as they set the compound ablaze. Five other persons in the compound, prosecution further alleged, sustained gunshot injuries from the attack and were being treated in hospitals, adding that the police later recovered six

expended cartridges from the scene. All the accused, indigenes of Omabo village in Ibaji local government of Kogi state are being charged with culpable homicide punishable with death, criminal conspiracy, mischief by fire, criminal intimidation and causing hurt contrary to various sections of the Penal Code. The prosecuting police officer, Mr. Samuel Ikusanwa urged the court to remand the accused at the Federal Prisons in Idah in view of the grievous nature of their offences to enable further investigations into the matter.

Absence of Asa stalls hearing on N700m suit From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he absence of the reigning jazz and soul musician, Bukola Elemide, popularly called Asa in court yesterday, stalled a N700million suit she instituted against publishers of a Lagos-based magazine, News of the People. Asa and her manager, Janet Nwose had in Suit No LD/208/010 filed before Justice Adenike Coker of a Lagos High Court against the publishers, prayed the court for a declaration that the statement and picture in the December 1422 edition of the magazine entitled “Lesbianism Tale trails Asa and manager” was defamatory. At the resumed hearing of the suit, Asa’s lawyer, Mr. Osunnike from the chambers of Abraham & Co, urged the court to adjourn the suit to enable her appear in court. In a letter addressed to the Registrar of the court, Asa explained that her failure to appear in court was as a result of her musical engagements outside the country. Justice Coker of a Lagos High

Court sitting in Igbosere, thereafter adjourned the suit till April 26, 2012 for Asa to appear in court for cross examination. The claimants are seeking for an order of court declaring the allegation of lesbianism against them (Asa and Janet) as false, illegal and a violation of their rights. They are also seeking for order of court restraining the defendant from further publication of what they described as malicious statements against them. Besides, the claimant accused the defendants of portraying them as loose and licentious persons with pervertive sexual orientation and therefore lacked any claim to moral rectitude. But, in a statement of defence, the defence lawyer, Mr. Yinka Muyiwa maintained that the words complained of by the claimants were not defamatory. He argued that the defendant as journalist and in pursuance of his constitutional role under Section 22 and 39 of the Constitution has a duty to inform the public on issues that are of public interest.

R-L: Vice- President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Hon. Khadija Abba Ibrahim, Hon. Kabiru Marafa Achida, and Hon. Nasiru Babale, all members of the committee, during committee's visit to the vice-president, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye.

Bank manager bags 34-year jail term over shoddy loan deals By Lambert Tyem


Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has sentenced a bank manager to 34 years imprisonment for granting loans contrary to laid down procedure. The Ag. Head, Media & Publicity to EFCC Ag Wilson Uwujaren, said the bank Manager,

Mr. Ojo Bankole Ezekiel was an Accountant and Operation Manager with Cooperative Savings and Loans Limited, a primary mortgage institution in Abuja. He was arraigned alongside a former branch manager of the bank, Mr. Adesiyan Adeniyi Adeyinka, now deceased, on a seventeen count charge of granting

Gunmen set primary school ablaze in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


nknown gunmen numbering about 10 Wednesday night, burnt down a section of Budum Primary School in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. Six classrooms, store and administrative block, were among the buildings set on fire

by the gunmen, after chasing away the security guard on duty. Residents of the area told newsmen yesterday, that the incident which took place at about 9.00pm caused pandemonium as the gunmen fired sporadically shots into the air, before setting the school ablaze. Although the motive of those behind the incident could not be ascertained as at press time,

residents have however fingered members of the Boko Haram sect for the act. This, according to them may not be unconnected with the earlier threat made by the group to attack public schools over an alleged ‘abuse’ of the Holy Qur’an by some soldiers attached to the Joint Military Task Force, (JTF). Our correspondent reports

that the attack has paralyzed academic activities in some primary schools in the city as palpable fear has engulfed pupils and teachers, prompting them to stay at home. Both the spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed and the state police commissioner, Mr. Simeon Midanda declined comment on the incident.

salary advances to staff of the bank contrary to laid down procedures. Specifically, the convict and the deceased manager were alleged to have criminally granted a loan of N20 million to themselves and two other staff of the bank though they only admitted granting a loan of N13 million. The convict pleaded not guilty to the seventeen charges brought against him and this necessitated his full trial. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) that prosecuted him called three witnesses in the course of the trial and tendered several documents. In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice M. I. Cuiaba, convicted the banker on all 17 counts and sentenced him to two years on each count, totaling 34 years imprisonment. The judgment is however, to run concurrently.



NEMA offers technical assistance to Gambia By Mohammed Kandi


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has offered to support The Gambia in the establishment of its emergency management agency, so as to strengthen endeavors at ensuring safety of lives and property in the West African Sub-region. The Director-General of

NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad SaniSidi, in a statement issued by the agency's head of press and public relations, Yushau A. Shuaib, noted that international cooperation was necessary on matters of disaster, which has no respect for nations. Receiving the High Commissioner of The Gambia to Nigeria, Ms Angela Colley Iheme in Abuja, Sani-Sidi, said following

previous agreements between the two countries, "the agency will send some of its technical officers to assist in drawing up the required structures and facilities for efficient and effective disaster management in The Gambia." Admitting that disaster management was still developing in Africa, Sani-Sidi said Nigeria has achieved a lot, particularly in the areas of the structure,

qualified personnel, equipment and experience. Despite the success, the DG said, efforts are still being made to strengthen capacity of the agency in view of the increasing occurrence of disasters. The Gambia's High Commissioner, Ms. Iheme had earlier commended the successes of NEMA in tackling disaster issues in Nigeria and requested its

support for her country. "The Gambian government requires assistance of NEMA in the establishment of similar outfit to be known as National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA)." She lauded NEMA, particularly, in the area of rapid evacuation of stranded Nigerians from abroad, responses to bomb blasts and the other disaster situations including floods.

Boko Haram: US won’t send troops to Nigeria – Envoy


he United States ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley said yesterday that the US is offering support for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram but ruled out sending troops into the country which is critical to American oil supplies. McCulley said the US encourages Nigeria to reach out to residents in its desperately poor Muslim north while using security forces to target and apprehend terrorists. He said the US is also considering opening a consulate in Kano to burnish America's own image among Nigeria’s Muslims who remain suspicious about Western influences. Ambassador McCulley was however, unequivocal when asked in an interview with The Associated Press whether US troops should be deployed in Nigeria. "That's not on the table," McCulley said. "No! Absolutely not!" Nigeria has been under increasing attack from members of the Boko Haram sect. This year, the sect is blamed for killing at least 304 people, including at least 185 people who died in Kano last month following the group's deadliest assault yet. "It's of a great concern to us," McCulley said. "We've seen an increase in sophistication, we've seen increased lethality. We saw at least a part of the group has decided it's in their interest to attack the international community." The US is working with Nigeria's police to help them learn how to carry out forensic investigations, while a bomb expert from the FBI has been working with authorities on how to detect explosives planted by the group before they detonate, McCulley said. The US also would be open to training Nigeria's military in counter-terror techniques, though the country hasn't asked for that assistance, the ambassador said. "It's not going to be solved exclusively by treating it as a security issue," McCulley said. "It needs a holistic solution. Government needs clearly to have a targeted approach on security that targets the bad guys, that targets perpetuators of these horrible attacks and doesn't injure innocent civilians or damage property."

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan, First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, and Prince Charles of Wales, during President Jonathan's visit to Clarence House, yesterday in London.

FG inaugurates Lassa fever response committee By A'isha Biola Raji


he Federal government has inaugurated Lassa Fever Rapid Response Committee to prevent and control further outbreak of the disease, which has infected 12 states and killed about 40 people. The Committee which was inaugurated yesterday February 22, 2012, by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate is to be chaired by Prof. Sunday Aremu Omilabu of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Lassa fever has affected12

states, which has resulted in morbidity and mortality. 397 cases have been recorded in Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Taraba, Plateau, Nassarawa, Ebonyi, Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Anambra and Lagos states, out of which 87 were confirmed with 40 deaths as at February17, 2012. The Minister said that the committee was intended to coordinate Federal and State governments as well as development partners' response in controlling further spread of the disease. He said that Federal

government was concerned about the danger of Lassa fever in Nigeria, pointing out that the government has set up the National Lassa fever stakeholder's forum in 2007 to advocate for action against the disease. "Government will continue to support the treatment of all reported Lassa fever cases with prompt preposition of ribaviring drugs and personal protective equipment. This year (2012)500,000 vials of the ribavirin drugs were procured and distributed to the affected States". "It is our resolve to do everything possible not only to control Lassa fever

epidemic but to put in place mechanism for it effective prevention. It is in the light of this that the National Lassa Fever Rapid Response Committee is being inaugurated", Dr Pate stated. The Minister stated that the committee will provide technical expertise towards curtailing the outbreak, come up with standard treatment protocol and guidelines for management of Lassa fever, develop Standard Operating Procedures on infection control in hospitals and mobilise resources for prevention and control of the disease.

Lagos to supply electricity through gas soon From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


agos State Government will soon supply electricity to residents in the next couple of months, through its Landfill Gas Recovery and Utilisation project. The Phase 1 of the project which comprises of pre-engineering design would start this month and would be completed within the next 18 months. The Managing Director of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr.Oladimeji Oresanya made this known yesterday at a stakeholders meeting on Landfill Gas Recovery and Utilisation Project: AbuleEgba, Solous and Olusosun Landfills(Clean Development Mechanism).

The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Environment with support from the United Environmental Programme (UNEP), African Carbon Asset Development (ACAD) and Standard Bank. Speaking at the meeting, Oresanya said "We are taking waste management to the next level, to the down stream sector. We are going to build 20 transfers loading centres across the state, which each site capable of generating 1,000 tones of waste and the gas would be used to distribute energy to the communities." He added further that "LAWMA is in the process of implementing Phase 1 of the project under Consultancy Contract. Phase 1 which comprises of a pre-engineering

design will commence in February 2012 should be completed within 1218 months." The LAWMA boss said that the state Integrated Solid Waste Management Project was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project whichthe state government would execute on a 20 year Concession Agreement with the private sector for the development of components such as closure, collection and utilization of landfill Gas (LFG) at the existing dumpsites. Others, according to Oresanya, were the establishment of an Integrated Solid Waste Management Facillity (IWMF) comprising of Material recovery Facility(MRF), recycling and composing facility as

well as a sanitary landfill for residual waste. Oresanya said the objectives of the CDM project are "capturing of Methane generated from waste, utilizing the methane for electricity among other usages; preventing the release of GHG's into the environment; reducing Lagos carbon footprint and compliance with international standards on environmental governance." He also listed the benefits to include better environmental health and living standard; job creation, investment opportunities, provision of public utility and infrastructure through government private sector partnership and creating wealth by employing market based solution for solving the social challenge of waste.



UK conference on Somalia could help tackle Boko Haram, says Tafida By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


igeria’s High Commissioner to Britain, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida yesterday said that President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to attend the ongoing UK conference on Somalia would afford the country the opportunity to get an international solution to the Boko Haram insurgency. According to Tafida, since there are suspicions that Boko Haram may have drawn inspiration and support from alShabab and similar organisations like al-Qeada, Nigerian government too need to participate in global forums aimed at finding international solutions to similar problems. “The Somalian Conference will

therefore afford Nigeria the opportunity to exchange information and strategies on ways of tackling the menace of terrorism in the country,” he stated. Speaking at press conference at the Nigeria High Commission office in London, Tafida contended that the Nigerian President had every obligation to be present at the conference, saying, “in pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy stance on peace building, peace keeping and pacific resolution of disputes, which it has continued to pursue since independence, it should not be a surprise that Nigeria was invited to this conference.” He said, “The purpose of the visit is primarily to attend an international conference on

Somalia organised by the British government. The conference is aimed at finding lasting peace and stability to the war-torn African country. Others from Africa include Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, in addition to the African Union. The United States of America and other members of the UN Security Council and the United Nations were also invited to the conference. “As a matter of fact, Nigeria’s involvement in Somalia dated back to several years. Nigeria granted asylum to Muhammed Siad Barre, former Prime Minister of Somalia on purely humanitarian grounds in 1991 where he remained till his death in 1995. Tafida also recalled that: “It also took part in the United Nation’s peace keeping force in Somalia in early 1990’s

and has supported the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). It is therefore the expectation of Nigeria that the London conference would further enhance the prospects of lasting peace and stability in Somalia”. The bilateral meeting, he explained, “afforded the opportunity to review progress on outstanding matters, including UK support for the current security challenges facing Nigeria as well as issues of common interest to the two countries such as migration. President Goodluck Jonathan will also be meeting a cross-section of the leadership of the Nigerian community, staff of the Nigerian High Commission and their spouses before his departure at the end of the twoday visit.”

AAUN passes no confidence vote on leaders From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi ggrieved members of Agriculture and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAUN) have passed a vote of no confidence on the secretariat of the body alleging impropriety. The association which passed the vote of no confidence after a meeting of the North Central states held in Makurdi, urged the Minister of Labour Mr. Emeka Worgu to immediately set up a panel to look into the activities of the Secretariat led by Alhaji Adullahi Bungudu. In a three page petition addressed to the Minister of Labour and signed by Comrade Shehu Abdul (Sokoto and Zamfara), Comrade Essien Archibong (Lagos), Comrade Chukwu Obinna (Imo) and Comrade Obieto Sule(Kogi),expressed regrets at the manner the association was led like a personal estate without transparency, wisdom and discipline. The aggrieved group accused the National Secretariat of AAUN located in Abuja of non-payment of staff salaries for several months in spite of regular remittance of check- off dues by various state councils. The AAUN stakeholders called for an immediate probe of the activities of its leaders to avoid a total break down of law as well as restore the confidence of members.


Ogun pledges free school bags to students From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta

O L-R: Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission, Mrs. Bience Gawanas, during the meeting of the AU of Ministers of Culture, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Detained Jigawa activist seeks Amnesty’s support From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he detained Jigawa state human rights activist, Comrade Muhammed Ali Ringim has called on Amnesty International and other human rights groups to intervene in his case before a Magistrate court sitting in Ringim. Ringim made the plea while speaking with journalists at the premises of the Ringim Magistrate’s Court where he was accused of defamation of the character of the Jigawa state governor’s Chief of Staff. Ali said the plea became necessary since he has lost confidence in the ability of the court to carry out justice going by the way and manner he is being detained as a result of a petition he wrote. He said, “I am calling on the

Amnesty International and other sister human rights associations to quickly intervene on my behalf because I don’t foresee myself getting a fair justice”, he alleged. Meanwhile, the chief Magistrate, Abdullahi Muhammad Aliyu who presided over yesterday’s sitting in

Ringim said the accused would be remanded in prison till 6th March. Immediately after the sitting, counsel to the accused, Barrister Ibrahim Muhammad Dabi who spoke to our correspondent on phone said he did not seek for his client’s bail because of what he called the

“social problem” of the accused. Ali was arraigned before a Ringim Magistrate court on Friday last week on three count charge of giving false information, criminal intimidation and defamation of the character of Malam Aminu Ringim, the Chief of Staff to Governor Sule Lamido.

Wamakko sacks cabinet From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


overnor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto state, yesterday, dissolved the state executive council. This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General Media, Alhaji

Hassan Muhammad Maccido,a copy of which was made available to journalists in Sokoto. The statement declared that all appointments made by the governor in accordance with the constitution have ceased. It stated that to this effect, the appointments of all

commissioners, special advisers and special assistants have been terminated. The statement thanked all appointees for the selfless service to the state and wished them all the best in future assignments. It also expressed optimism that they will make themselves available in future.

gun State Government yesterday announced new plan to distribute free school bags to the students in public schoolsin order to preserve the lifespan of textbooks it recently distributed to students. Governor Ibikunle Amosun made the announcement while hosting the third session of the Ogun state children’s parliament in his office in Abeokuta, assuring that the school bags were being produced for distribution to public school students soon. Amosun said the government placed very high premium on education and would therefore enhance quality education distributing free textbooks. He urged students to take good care of the textbooks explaining that the government expects the books to be passed from one class to the other, just as he also revealed plans to make “schools in Ogun state comparable with anyone elsewhere in the world”. The governor advised the students and youths generally to imbibe good virtues so as to become useful individuals. Earlier in her speech, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Elizabeth Sonubi, told the gathering that the child parliamentarians decided to pay the governor a courtesy call to inform him of their resolutions.



Japan partners Nigeria on improved water supply, donates 2.4bn yen By Mohammed Kandi


n its quest to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Nigeria, the Government of Japan yesterday supported the on-going water supply development projects for Kebbi, Taraba, Niger, Ondo and Enugu states, with Grant-in-Aid totaling about 2.4 billion Japanese yen. It would be recalled that preparatory survey teams drawn from the benefiting states were in 2011, tasked to carry out an analysis of the second field survey on appropriateness, social and economic efficiency of the project, leading to the approval of the funds. Receiving the Japanese envoy led by its Ambassador, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, was optimistic that the gesture will fortify the already established relationship between the two countries. The minister, who assured that the collaboration would facilitate success of the project, noted that the funds would be judiciously utilised to alleviate poverty in the benefiting states through potable drinking water supply. Mrs. Ochekpe also lauded the Japanese Government for its continuous support, especially in the area of rural development in Nigeria.

Kano govt herds hawkers off streets From Bala Nasir, Kano


s street hawkers in Kano are being evacuated from the streets, the state government has explained why they must leave the streets. The Managing Director of the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KNUPDA), Alhaji Muktar Ishaq Kura, told newsmen yesterday that government has a responsibility to keep the state clean. He said while street hawking is increasing filth in the state capital, the hawkers have become an eye sore who must relocate to markets provided for them. He said government has in the past provided alternative areas for them to relocate but instead of doing that they sold the plots allocated to them and chose to remain where they were. This must stop and the hawkers have to leave the streets because the streets are not meant for the business they are converting them into. On why they started evacuating them from the streets without prior notice, Kura said they have been aware because government had given them notice to leave.

Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji (left), and Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe (middle), displaying a cheque for 1.163 billion yen (N2.42 billion) a grant-in-aid for the rural water supply development in 5 states, yesterday in Abuja. With them is Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Godknows Igali (right). Photo: NAN

Nigerian Army Peace-Keeping Centre gets new commandant From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


he Peace-keeping Centre of Nigerian Army in Kaduna, yesterday got a new commandant, Major General John Samuel Zaruwa. General Zaruwa, who took over from Brigadier General Paul Uboro, was until his assumption of duty, the Commandant of Nigerian Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center, Oshodi Lagos.

Speaking during the handingover ceremony yesterday, General Zaruwa said he was grateful to the Chief of Defence Staff ( Air Marshal Petinrin Olusheyi) for having considered him fit for such a position, adding that he was equally happy with the achievements of his predecessor as well as the cooperation of the army. He also noted that all he met on the ground was well above average, promising to

strengthen the relationship by working harder towards improving the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Center for better service delivery. “Life is dynamic, so changes will continue to take place to improve on the achievement already made by my predecessor, and I will strive to introduce every measure capable of bringing more changes to be able to meet up with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision,”

he said. Earlier in his remark, the outgoing commandant, Brigadier General Paul Uboro called on the officers and men of the command to give the needed support to his successor to enable him perform creditably. He described the peacekeeping cmmand as a force to reckon with in ensuring global peace, hence by working together as a team they have made good name on the international scene.

NAPS calls for concrete measures by FG to curb unemployment From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he National Association of Polytechnic Students, NAPS has advised the Federal Government to put in place concrete measures that would address the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country. The association said this is the only way of resolving the spate of insecurity bedeviling the polity. In a communiqué at the end of its national executive council meeting held in Gboko, Benue state and signed by Comrade Adeyemi Hafeez, chairman of the communiqué drafting committee, the national president of the association, Comrade Ebenezer Ezeanyika, implored the Federal Government to ensure prudent utilisation of subsidy funds so as to win back the confidence of Nigerians who have hitherto doubted the intention of government.

The association also appealed to the government to provide more funds for infrastructural and human capital development for polytechnics across the country to engender quality

education in students at the termination of their studies instead of making them to drop out of school and become half baked graduates. The association also appealed to the National

assembly to speed up passage of the National Polytechnic Commission bill presently before it in order to guarantee meaningful development of technical education in the country.

DIG Akpoyibo eulogises journalists in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and a former Kogi state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo has described his brief stint in the state as eventful and laden with drastic reduction of violent crimes. The DIG stated this yesterday in his office in Lokoja when members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), paid him courtesy visit on his recent elevation to the

rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police. He stated that the command’s proactive strategy put in place has started paying off with the gunning down of three dare devil armed robbers terrorising the people of Ihima and its environs adding that most of the criminals have been smoked out of the state. Akpoyibo noted that before his resumption in the state, bank robberies and killing of policemen by hoodlums was a regular occurrence stressing that with the renewed vigour by his men the command was able to reduce to the barest

minimum the ugly trend. He stressed that his modest achievement in the state wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of the press while urging them to continue to sustain the relationship as crime control and prevention is the responsibility of the citizenry. Meanwhile he warned criminals to repent and turn a new leaf or relocate to other states as the command’s robust, thorough and proactive strategy is still in place even as his departure will not affect the command’s operational objectives.



House Committee raises alarm over NITEL’s indebtedness


ouse of Representatives’ Committee on Privatisation has expressed concern over NITEL’s N250 billion debt. The Chairman of the committee, Hajiya Khadiza AbbaIbrahim, made the position of the House known to State House Correspondents yesterday in Abuja. She frowned at the inability of the company to settle outstanding salaries and allowances of its staff. “Basically in the forefront of things we have NITEL; we are all worried about what is going to happen, it is indebted, I mean there is so much debt in NITEL, but whoever is going to buy NITEL has a lot to deal with, in the tune of about N250 billion. “I mean you are talking about a lot of money; and there is a lot of salaries and wages that haven’t been paid to staff.’’ The chairman expressed reservation over the way and manner some privatised

companies, particularly the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom, were being managed before and after their privatisation. She, therefore, charged the Federal Government and the management teams of the privatised government companies to devise means of ensuring the successful operation of the affected companies. “In privatisation it is a bit of give and take; the government has to play its own role in actually making sure that the privatisation exercise in this country works, so we are there to ensure that government plays its role in making sure that the privatisation exercise is a success. “So it is not as if the privatised companies are not doing their own part in trying to see this work. It is not an easy process, some of them have done very well, some of them haven’t done really well and some of them just need to be closed.’’ (NAN)

BSG procure N30m animal vaccines From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi state government has procured vaccines worth over N30 million for the vaccination of over four million difference species of domestic animals in the state. The State Commissioner for Animal Resources and Nomadic Resettlement, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ibrahim made the disclosure while chatting with journalists in Bauchi on the 2011 vaccination exercise still ongoing in the state. He explained that though the exercise was routine, the current exercise followed the outbreak of some animal diseases in some parts of the state. Abdulkadir noted that “animal health plays very important roles on the human health, because most of the human diseases originate from animals and are more or less curiatic diseases”,. He mentioned Ningi, Toro,

Centenarian passes on By Muhammad Sada


community leader popularly known as Mama Ahmadu Lasani Tibangs of Billiri local government of Gombe state has died at the age of 100 leaving behind many children and grand children amongst whom are the director, Finance and Accounts of the Federal Character Commission, Abuja. Mama Darasu died after a brief illness at the Gombe Medical Center. Before her death, she dedicated her time and resources to youths and community development in general as well as religious activities as the championed her church’s programme- new life for all crusaders and the emancipation and empowerment of the womenfolk.

Dass, Gamawa, Kirfi and Alkaleri as the Local government areas of Bauchi state where the contagious Bovine -Pleuro-Pneumonia (CBPP), Rinderpest, and other cattle diseases were recorded. According to him, continuous vaccination would go a long way in eradicating or reducing the diseases to the barest minimum. The Commissioner disclosed that more than half of the animals in the state have been vaccinated, adding,”We initially estimated over two million animals but I assure you that at the end of the day we will end up vaccinating over four million different species of animals as the International cattle routes transcends Taraba, Bauchi, Jigawa and even beyond”, he stated. Ibrahim who described the world as a global village added, “You see these pastoralists move in the forest with cell phones and I tell you that in Bauchi before you know, you see them trooping in with their animals”.

L-R: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal discussing with Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar during a condolence visit to the family of a former member of the House of Representatives, late Hon. Dikko Aliyu, on Wednesday in Sokoto.

Senate confirms 2 ambassadorial nominees


he Senate yesterday in Abuja confirmed the appointment of two more nominees as Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs had screened 87 ambassadorial nominees out of which 85 were confirmed by the Senate. The Senate had asked that the two nominees, Mrs Sifawu Momoh (Edo) and Mr Okafor Ojih (Ebonyi) be re-screened following their unsatisfactory performance. Presenting the report to the Senate, Chairman, Senate committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Mathew Nwagwu (PDPEbonyi), said the committee was satisfied with their

performance the second time. “The nominees submitted all required documents for the appointment. The screening has been completed with the two nominees cleared and recommended to the Senate for the confirmation of their appointment as ambassadors.’’ Sen. Bukola Saraki (PDPKwara), however, noted that the report said the nominees only apologised for their initial poor performance and promised to do better. He said that the report did not say that they proved their competence to represent the country well, adding that it would be better to look for other qualified candidates from the two states. Sen. Barnabas Gemade (PDP-Benue) also said that the two nominees should rather be

NCC re-arrests ‘King of Piracy’ in court premises From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he Nigerian Copyright Commission on Tuesday rearrested a man , Anthony Onwujekwe, popularly called, King of Piracy in the premises of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos. The accused who is standing trial on a three -count charge bordering on illegal production, possession and selling of copyright materials had just a moment earlier been released on bail by Justice Muhammed Idris. But the moment Onwujekwe stepped out of the court, the security operatives of the NCC whisked him away. In a chat with newsmen at the court premises shortly after the incidence , lawyer to the NCC, Mr. Obi Ezeilo, said the re-arrest

was not a violation of Onwujewe’s bail earlier granted by the court. Ezeilo further explained that the commission had received a fresh set of complaints against Onwujekwe which necessitated his re- arrest. He added that Onwujekwe would be released if discovered that the fresh allegations against him were not true. Meanwhile, Onwujekwe’s lawyer, Mr. Theodore Ezeobi SAN, was not in the court yesterday and so could not witness the plight of his client. It would be recalled that Justice Idris had earlier revoked Onyekwe’ bail and issued a bench warrant against him for allegedly not coming to court to face his trial after being granted bail. But at yesterday’s

proceedings, after the judge satisfied himself that Onyejekwe was in court at the two last adjourned dates, he withdrew the bench warrant and reinstated his bail. In the charge filed against him by the NCC, Onwujekwe was accused of producing, possessing and selling about 100,000 infringing copies of musical works, sound recordings and cinematographic films in CD, VCD and DVD formats of various titles and of diverse popular musicians. The musicians whose works were alleged to have been pirated by Onwujekwe without authorisation include Yinka Ayefele, Olu Maintain, 9ice, Osita Osadebe, Oliver De Coque, Kelly Hansome, Idris Abdul Kareem and P. Square.

given local appointments since it was clear that they might not be able to handle international assignments satisfactorily. On his part, Sen. Joshua Dariye (LP-Plateau), noted that since the committee had recommended that the Senate should confirm them, it must have found them worthy the second time and appealed that they should be confirmed. Another lawmaker, Sen. Olushola Adeyeye (ACN-Osun) also noted that under certain circumstances, even the most eloquent of men would be nervous. He said since the committee found their credentials satisfactory and they answered questions satisfactorily, they should be confirmed. In his ruling, the Senate President, Sen. David Mark, noted that it was the unanimous decision of the Senate to give them a second chance and since they had proved their worth, they should be confirmed. “Even in an exam, if someone fails, you give him/her an opportunity to re-sit and since they have passed now, I think we should accept the report of the committee and confirm them.’’ Mark charged the new ambassadors to live up to expectations when posted. The Senate also referred the request of President Goodluck Jonathan to confirm the appointment of the Chairman and members of the Federal Civil Service Commission to its Committee on Establishment and Public Service. The committee is to report back to the Senate within one week. (NAN)



Fashola names road after Cardinal Okogie From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


L-R: Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, chairman of the occasion, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Anambra state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, his wife, Magret Obi and former Lagos state governor, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), in a tribute to late Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

NURTW clash: Police arrest 110 miscreants in Lagos Island From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


combined team from the Police Rapid Response Squad, RRS and the Lagos state Task Force on Environment and Offences (Enforcement) Unit on Tuesday night arrested no fewer than 110 suspects who allegedly unleashed terror on Lagos Island residents on Monday. Peoples Daily leant that the team led by RRS commander, Hakeem Odumosu stormed the Island between 9.30 pm and 10

pm and whisked away the suspects in a Black Maria to the Task Office offices at Alausa, Ikeja. A police source told our correspondent that the well armed team combed the area on the day of the operation to fish out those allegedly responsible for the bloodletting on Lagos Island. When contacted, Taskforce Chairman, Bayo Sulaiman confirmed the raid on Lagos Island Tuesday night and aarrest of the suspects in connection with the mayhem at

the notorious Pelewura Market and its environs on the Island. While saying that the raids would be a continuous exercise, the taskforce boss noted that suspects would be arraigned in court soon while those convicted would be made to face the wrath of the law. It would be recalled that last week, over 100 miscreants were also arrested by the joint security team at the Island in connection with the continuous brawl engulfing the island and charged them to court. On Monday, miscreants, said

to be loyal to the factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW clashed on the Island, which resulted in the death of no fewer than four people. The recent war in the island was said to be between Isale-Eko and Onola/Agarawu/Itafaji boys over the on-going crisis involving two factions of the NURTW, while many people sustained fatal injuries, over 20 vehicles along Palm Church and Isalegangan Streets were vandalised and burnt during the mayhem.

Ajimobi threatens to demolish structures for fly-over From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Oyo state government has given a fourteen-day ultimatum to owners of structures obstructing the flyover bridge it is constructing at the Mokola-Roundabout, to remove them or have the structures demolished. This was contained in a circular issued by the Ministry of Works, sent to owners of the affected property last week and signed by its commissioner, Mr. Yunus Akintunde. It would be recalled that the state government flagged off the construction of the fly-over bridge costing the sum of N2.1 billion in December 2011. According to the circular with reference number MW/ 2069/20, dated February 17, 2012 and entitled ‘Demolition order/notice,’ the demolition would be done after fourteen days if the owners refused to remove the structures. Parts of the property to be demolished included three houses, fences, shops, building

frontages, fuel pumps, underground tanks, steps/ entrances, pavement entrances and others. The circular stated that the demolition was in fulfillment of the government’s plan to extend the area around MokolaRoundabout by building the flyover bridge. The letter stated further: “In line with the Government policy/

programme aimed at improving traffic movement around and within Mokola axis, construction of (a) fly-over has commenced and expansion of (the) road is required.” The circular stated that the demolition notice was in accordance with Section 60(1) (2) (3) of the Oyo State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development laws.

Awarded to the construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC, the fly-over bridge is expected to be completed in a record time of twelve months. A source at the construction firm said that since most part of the bridge would be prefabricated, the CCECC would constructing the bridge part and would finish the project in record time.

Boko Haram will end soon, says Ihejirika


he Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, on Wednesday gave the assurance that Nigeria’s security forces will overcome the Boko Haram sect soon. Ihejirika said in Lagos that the grouped planned to intimidate the citizenry and disorganise the country. He spoke while inaugurating the renovated 36 blocks of residential quarters known as Indian Quarters at the Ojo Military Cantonment.

The army chief urged Nigerians to refuse to be intimidated and be committed to peaceful coexistence. He reassured army officers and men that the army would provide more accommodation in the Ojo cantonment. “I assure you that this exercise is a drop of water in an ocean for officers and men in the Ojo barracks” adding that the army would assist its officers and men affected by the recent rainstorm in Lagos. Ihejirika thanked the

Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers for constructing the quarters. The Commander of the corps, Maj.- Gen. Ashimi Olaniyi, said that the quarters was built 32 years ago for Indian army officers who came to train Nigerian soldiers. “The complex was abandoned in 1979 but was taken up in Sept. 15, 2011”, he said. He said the renovation work was carried out through direct labour by the corps. (NAN)

he Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie was yesterday honoured by the Lagos state government. The access road to the Monastery of Mother of the Church in Sangotedo, in Eti-Osa East local council development authority, has been named after him. The Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola while commissioning the 2.75km road linking communities along the Sangotedo and Elemoro with Monastery of Mother of the Church and the NTDA Estates, noted the commitment demonstrated by the Cardinal to opening up the road and bringing development to the area. According to the governor, the road is the first phase of the development that would terminate at the communities along the Atlantic. He stressed that Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie Road is a standard road and has being designed to be a dual carriage way with a length of 2.75km and a width of 20m. The commissioner implored the people of the community to maintain the road and desist from dumping refuse in the drainage channels.

Robbers raid 2 banks in Ogun From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


arely 48 hours after they raided Wema Bank at Ilaro and made away with undisclosed sums of money, armed robbers on Wednesday, stormed Sapida Microfinance Bank, Ijebu Imusin in Ijebu East local government council area of Ogun state in broad daylight and carted away undisclosed amounts of money. Our investigation revealed that in the course of operation, two persons were hit by the stray bullets of the armed robbers who were shooting sporadically to scare people from attacking them. The two victims were taken to an undisclosed hospital for medical treatment. In a similar vein, another gang of the bandits invaded the WEMA Bank in Ijebu-Igbo, as an eyewitness account reported that the robbers who were four in number, came with sophisticated weapons like dynamites, AK47 rifles, pistols and axes. It was gathered that the robbers destroyed the door to the bank before gaining entrance into the banking hall. Our correspondent gathered that the robbers who were wielding weapons operated for about 35 minutes, later fled through Oke Agbo road to Atan road linking Ijebu Ode after removing undisclosed amount of money. At Ijebu- Imusin incident, a source from the bank who preferred anonitimity told our correspondent that the robbers could not gain entrance into their strong room, “the robbers came into our bank some minutes ago and we were all asked to lied down and face the ground’.



N18bn irrigation project will soon be completed, says commissioner By Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


he N18 billion Zauro Polder Project contract awarded by the F e d e r a l G o v e r n m e n t i n 2007 has almost reached 82 percent completion.

The Kebbi state Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Abdullahi Bunza, while addressing newsmen yesterday in his office, said the contract awarded during the past

administration in the state, which was was abandoned due to financial constraints, will soon be completed. Bunza further said the Kebbi government's 30 percent contribution to

completing the project has already been paid for the benefit of the people in the area, while the remaining 70 percent was the Federal G o v e r n m e n t ’ s contribution. He said that Kebbi state government

Lagos govt clears Oshodi/ Apapa Expressway

Gombe SUBEB wants parents to be stakeholders By Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


ombe State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) chairman, Prof Muhammad Gurama Dukku, has urged parents in the state and country to be part of stakeholders in the educational sector as education is the foundation of life in any society. Prof. Dukku who made this known while speaking with newsmen in Gombe, said there is need for the board to let go of its shyness and examine the conditions behind the success of educational development in the state. He said that the major priority of the board in the state is to work out a policy that will enhance the standard quality of teaching in both primary and secondary levels across the state. On the issue of the 1000 unqualified teachers in governments' payroll that was discovered recently in the state, the chairman stated that the board is working hard towards proffering a solution against the ugly situation. He also stressed the need for government to send the unqualified teachers to colleges of education in order to meet the required standard of teaching profession. The board chairman also called on the government to make necessary arrangements for those who were affected by redeploying them to other departments for effective delivery. He said his administration in the board is working effectively to ensure accountability of the educational sector in the state.

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

O Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed (middle), listening to the contractor handling the renovation of Ilorin General Hospital during an inspection tour on Wednesday. With them is the Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Kayode Issa (left). Photo: NAN

Governor gives contractors 24 weeks ultimatum to complete hospital By Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has given the contractors handling the restoration of Ilorin General Hospital 24 weeks to complete the project. He also disclosed that Share, Offa, OmuAran and Kaima hospitals should be ready within six months for the usage by the rural dwellers. Ahmed, who disclosed this on Wednesday while flagging off the restoration works of the projects at the old site of University of Ilorin

Teaching Hospital (UITH), said the state government wants to ensure that residents do not need to go more than 500 meters before they get medical services. The governor appealed to Kwarans outside the state to come home and develop the state adding that their effort would go a long way to support the state and Federal Government . The state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Abdul Kayode Issa, earlier disclosed that 20 comprehensive health centres have been approved for construction with

one general hospital in one of the three local governments that does not have any. He said the state has proposed a construction of ultra-modern eye care theatre at Specialist Hospital at Sobi and a well equipped Eye ward at the Civil Service Hospital all in the year 2012. The Commissioner disclosed that over one million long-lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINS) were distributed to households across the state in year 2011 while the 97 TB tests and treatment sites across the state is functioning.

Unemployed youths battle over empowerment programme in Lagos By Bimbo Ogunnaike,Lagos


bout 2,000 unemployed youths across the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areason Tuesday, sat for an aptitude test; a prerequisite for admission into the Lagos State Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes programme). The Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Ggbolahan Lawal, while addressing the intending beneficiaries at the venue of the aptitude test Oko-Oba, Agege, explained that the empowerment scheme aimed at teaching graduates and under graduates the modern method of farming which will in turn boost food

also provided land for the new concept of the project. He explained that the project, when completed, will improve the agricultural sector in the state, most especially irrigation farming.

production as well as make them self reliant. Mr. Kayode Ashafa, programme coordinator of the scheme, explained that educated entrepreneurial young farmers will replace ageing farmers adding that the scheme has emerged as a veritable means by which Governor Babatunde Fasholaled administration is fighting against poverty, hunger, food shortage, unemployment and providing hope for hitherto helpless graduates in the state and beyond. "The future of the state lies in the ability of successive governments to harness the agricultural potentials of Lagos, especially in the area of deployment of modern technologies to improve food and animal production", Lawal said.

Lawal added further that "AgricYES scheme was initiated as a social intervention - the twin problems of unemployment and food insecurity in the state. He explained the scheme is a three-phased programme spanning a period of five years with a target of producing 1,000 elite farmers, with phase one made up of a six-month intensive training programme. "The second phase focuses on a sixmonth internship stage, which enables those who scaled through the first phase to proceed to the commercial farm to learn best practices on running successful farms. "The third stage is the exit stage, where successful trainees are settled in farm estates fashioned after the

Israeli Kibutz/Mashev, and Lagos Micro Finance Institution, LASMI, which will provide credit facilities and settlement for them," he declared. Lawal stated that the sustenance of the initiative was in fulfillment of the present administration’s commitment towards ensuring food security for Lagos residents and eventually boosting the economic fortune of the state and beneficiaries. The programme, which kicked off in 2008, is aimed at training over 1,000 young graduates in various agricultural potentials in food and animal production within the next three years. 100 successful candidates out of the 2,000 that sat for the test would be selected for the fourth batch to be admitted in early April, 2012.

fficials of the Lagos State Task Force on E n v i r o n m e n t a l Sanitation and the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA), yesterday stormed the OshodiApapa Expressway to evacuate trucks that usually cause traffic difficulties for road users. Over 150 trucks were evacuated from Mile 2 Bus stop up to Berger along the Apapa wharf road. The Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa said truck drivers have turned the expressway into a trucks park. He described the evacuation as a warning to truck drivers, stressing that the ministry and LASTMA will not relent until sanity prevails on the road. Also speaking, chairman of the taskforce, SP Bayo Suleiman said the exercise was to clear the road of tankers that broke down and arrest those who drove against the traffic. The taskforce also cleared the road of shanties and other objects obstructing traffic. The commissioner said that the state government had intended to clean up the entire Apapa - Oshodi Expressway by yesterday, February 23, 2012, immediately the ultimatum lapses by the midnight of Wednesday, February 22, 2012; but due to consultations with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch, Lagos Zone, the state government has decided to give the union an additional oneday ultimatum.


Kogi workers need constant training, says HOS From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Head of Service in Kogi state, Dr. Moses Atakpa, has appealed to civil servants to exercise restraint over the rumour making rounds in the state, of plots to sack them just as he announced a plan for constant training of workers for maximum productivity. Atakpa who spoke with newsmen after addressing permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals and directors at the state secretariat in Lokoja, said he inherited the training programme from his predecessor and affirmed the proposal as desirable to civil servants. He said he did not commence the training programme till all the union leaders in the state confirmed its desirability for civil servants to enhance their performances and the need for them to supplement the effort of the government. Atakpa said that it would have been a heavy burden on the state government to send its entire workforce to the Administrative Staff College Badagary, pointing out that home grown training would improve the inputs of workers in all strata of the civil service.


Reps reject bill to regulate electoral litigations By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives on Wednesday, rejected the bill seeking to regulate the period of time that litigations into election matters are dispensed with by the judiciary. The Bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) (second alteration Act 2010) which sought to repeal Section 76 (2) of the constitution sponsored by the Deputy Minority Leader, Rep Suleiman Abdulraman Kawu (ANPP Kano) was rejected when put to voice vote. Leading the debate on the

general principles of the bill, Kawu said the essence of the second alteration was to ensure that the judgments of tribunals are delivered within a specific period of time. He said it would be in the interest of democracy and fair-play to conclude all election cases at the tribunals before anyone is sworn into office. Also lending support to the bill, Chairman of the House Committee on Inter/Intra Party Relations, Fort Ifeanyi Dike noted that elected officials tend to use the power of incumbency to their advantage and to the disadvantage of their opponents. He said "When somebody gets into office, he employs the

resources of that office to perpetuate himself in office and tries to even influence the judicial process." Contributing, the Minority Leader, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila explained that the amendment was necessary as it sought to give bite to the recent Supreme Court judgment which declared that election cases must be dispensed with within a period of 180 days. "If without this amendment one can stay in this House for a year and then the court now nullifies ones election, it stands to reason that bills or contributions that such person would have made here are illegal. Even the monies disbursed to you are illegal because you cannot

put something on nothing. Let us amend it to give effect to the 180 days already stated by the Supreme Court", he said. But Rep Garba Datti Mohammed however observed that there was nothing wrong with the said provision of the constitution, stating that the fundamental issue is that the country's elections are still severely flawed. According to him, the surest solution would be to revisit the Justice Mohammed Uwais' Electoral Panel Report, adding that if the amendment was allowed to scale through, it could cause some havoc to the Electoral Act.

C/River guber: PDP asks INEC to go ahead with election By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go ahead and hold the Saturday governorship election in Cross river state as earlier planned. A letter dated February 21, 2012 and addressed to the chairman of the electoral body,

Prof. Attahiru Jega by PDP's counsel, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, said the order by Justice Abdul Kafarati of a Federal High Court, Abuja cannot legally restrain the commission from conducting the election. Justice Kafarati was said to have issued an order on February20, restraining INEC from conducting the

gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on February25, 2012 following an application by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its candidate for the governorship election, Dr. Obol Okomiso. Gadzama told INEC that the order of court does not deprive it from conducting the governorship election in

Cross River state as scheduled. "This is clear from the provision of Section 87 (10) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which provides that, nothing in this section shall empower the court to stop the holding of primaries or general election under this Act pending the determination of a suit", Gadzama said.

FG may scrap National Housing Fund By Mohammed Sada


he Federal Government is considering scrapping the National Housing Fund (NHF), in line with the position of Nigerian workers who have repeatedly called on government to scrap the fund since it has failed to achieve the objective for which it was set up. The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, dropped the hint at a meeting with the executives of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), in Abuja. "Government will consider your earlier position on Staff Housing Loan Board. However, the National Housing Fund was created by an Act; and where there is an Act, you repeal, you amend, or you totally set it aside, and that is purely the duty of the National Assembly. "I will reach out to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation with your request that the National Housing Fund Act should be repealed, amended or reviewed," Wogu stated. The minister reiterated the commitment of the present administration to the welfare of Nigerian workers, stating that "enhanced welfare of the workers is a major thrust of President Goodluck Jonathan's government and the President will do everything, as he has always done, to satisfy them". Reacting to some issues raised by the council on the implementation of the new national minimum wage, the minister said: "I agree with you that the Federal Government has been able to keep its own side of the minimum wage bargain. I also agree with you that there is need for the Federal Government to advise state governments who are yet to comply with this Act to do so."

Pensioners of the Polytechnic, Ibadan, staging a peaceful protest over nonpayment of their 42 percent pension arrears, at the Oyo state governor's office, on Wednesday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

FG denies altering budget benchmark above $70 per barrel By Abdulwahab Isa


he Federal Government has restated that benchmark for the revised 2012 budget remains $70 per barrel as reflected in the revised Medium Term Fiscal Framework. The Budget Office of the

Federation made the clarification yesterday to correct impression already in the public domain that government had upped the oil benchmark in 2012 revised budget to $90. The statement signed by Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, says the

attention of his office had been drawn to a report by a newspaper (not Peoples Daily) claiming "Presidency reviews 2012 budget, sets oil benchmark at $90". Okogu said "It is necessary to clarify that, with regards to the revised 2012 budget recently

submitted to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan, some important details in the report were inaccurate" and reiterated that the figure made for partial deregulation is N888 billion and not N180 billion as claimed by the paper.




SNC: Too many unanswered questions T he campaign for a sovereign national conference (SNC) has again moved to the very top of public debate and discourse in the country. The agitation which gained prominence during the military era in the 80s and 90s somehow lost its impetus after the restoration of democracy in 1999. Regrettably, our experience with democracy has been so sad that many well meaning Nigerians are beginning to question its worth. There could be no greater evidence of this loss of faith than the renewed campaign for a sovereign conference when there is a President and a National Assembly in place, exercising full sovereign powers on behalf of the Nigerian people. The failure of both the state and federal governments to address the fundamental issues of economic development, poverty and, worse still, the failure to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians is largely what has given rise to the climbing concerns, anger and renewed calls for SNC. In the forefront of this renewed campaign is the Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka who uses every of his public appearances, and media interviews these days to argue a case for the conference. This is, of course, healthy for the growth of democracy. Every citizen should have the right to express their opinion without fear. Surprisingly, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) whose members have always argued against such a conference recently came out to say that it supported one. Expectedly, President Goodluck Jonathan, while responding to such a call from a delegation of South-South and South-west political leaders that paid a courtesy call on him recently, argued that he was not in support of an SNC because there cannot be two sovereigns in one nation. He argued that the current constitutional arrangements give enough room through the executive, legislative and judicial arms for addressing all pressing national issues -

even those of a constitutional nature. Besides, he said the presidential constitution review panel he raised recently, led by retired Chief Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, was expected to consider those matters that the SNC exponents want addressed. The President's position brings to light one of the inherent contradictions in the calls for a sovereign national conference. If we convoke such a conference and give it such powers that it becomes superior to all the structures and institutions recognized by the current Constitution, who will then be held responsible for running the machinery of government? This is the big

Is the idea simply to get Nigerians to sit down and talk and vent out their feelings? What will be the limits and powers of such a conference? question. Many who oppose the idea of such a conference are of the opinion that holding it will create a situation of anarchy that will certainly put the nation on the slippery road to disintegration. A similar conference held in neighbouring Republic of Benin led to a series of events that almost culminated in a civil war in that country. What is the guarantee that, given our volatile circumstances, a sovereign national conference will not create a worse

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

scenario here? We are particularly disturbed that the South-west, which produced the last but one President and the South-south which is holding the presidency now, all feel that the current constitutional provisions do not guarantee the right environment for the resolution of our national problems. We are equally disturbed that the President who must have received a briefing on what issues were to be discussed at his meeting with these leaders still gave them the platform to raise an issue that is bound to generate tension and national discord. We share the fears of those who argue that a sovereign national conference may lead to a break-up of this country. Our fear is based on the fact that those who are proposing this scheme do not appear to have the answers to the various legal, administrative and security problems the country will face when such a conference becomes a reality. It will be a great disservice to those who shed their blood in the past for this country to remain one if we allow some dim witted advocates lead us down the road of anarchy and war. If, on the other hand, the conference is not to be sovereign, which means its decisions are subject to endorsement by the incumbent authorities, then of what use will it be and what will those gathered at the conference be discussing that are not being discussed now at various fora and in the media? Is the idea simply to get Nigerians to sit down and talk and vent out their feelings? What will be the limits and powers of such a conference? And what will be the criteria and basis for choosing those to attend the conference: ethnicity, region, religion, state or what? These are just some of the many issues and questions that must be settled and answered before convening of any kind of conference which, as a forum that will enable Nigerians to talk openly about the concerns and fears that engender tensions in the polity, is not a bad idea.








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By Tijjani Garba


ocio-economic deprivation is a major cause of crime, notably robbery, in several societies, though a minority of people would commit one crime or another, regardless of the socioeconomic condition. This short essay seeks to situate the ‘beggar’ and the ‘robber’ phenomena in the correct socio-economic context, as a means of explaining two divergent social systems in Nigeria. A correct understanding of the socio-cultural origins of these two phenomena should stand the Nigerian authorities in good stead to design an effective social security system that can address these problems. It is glaring that beggary in the streets is a serious social problem in the Nigerian Emirates. Even in areas like Abuja and Lagos, whenever you encounter beggars, they are, more often than not, from the Emirates. The “beggary” one is referring to is not the one perpetrated by the Almajiri; rather it is the one undertaken by the disabled and the destitute. The Almajiri phenomenon will be discussed in a separate essay. This writer was at a seminar on “Security Awareness” when one of the Coordinators of the seminar, a State Security Service (SSS) official, asked if he could ask me a question without causing offence. It told him to go ahead, whereupon he said: “why do your people, that


The beggar, robber and the imperative of social security is, the ‘Hausa’ people, like to beg?” I responded in a typical Nigerian fashion by also asking him a question. I stated that I would certainly answer his own question, but he must also answer mine, viz: “why do your people, that is, the ‘Southerners’, like to engage in armed robbery?” He was obviously taken aback by my apparently unexpected response. I explained that “beggary” and “robbery” are two social evils that I do not support at all. I told him that under the Shari’ah (Islamic law), if two unavoidable evils present themselves and one is compelled to choose one by the sheer force of circumstances, one should choose the lesser of the two evils. If, for instance, one were to face starvation due to hunger, the shari’a allows one to eat carrion or even pork, which are, ordinarily, forbidden food! I also gave my SSS friend the following poser: “if you were compelled to choose between the following two scenarios, which would you choose?” The first is a case where somebody begs you for money, cloth, food or whatever, in the name of God. Here you have the option of either obliging him or

advising him to be patient. The second scenario is where a person stops you on the road or breaks into your house and demands for money, cloth or food, at gun point. Here you have the option of either parting with your possessions or your life or both! Which of the two scenarios would you prefer? These two scenarios epitomize the two social systems operating in different parts of Nigeria. As I stated at the outset, I do not support begging, neither do I encourage it. Islam preaches charity and social or communal solidarity which some lazy elements in the society exploit in order to live a life of indolence and parasitism. The very poor, the needy, the orphan, the widow, the aged and the disabled are entitled to some form of assistance from the state and from the wider society. The beggars in the Emirates beg because they know that their society is charitable, and if they seek for assistance, they will be helped. Even in the industrialized societies which practice social security, they have cases of some lazy people who exploit the system to avoid working. The difference between us and the industrialized

societies is the pervasive poverty in our own societies. When my Southern drivers complained about the menace of beggars in Kano, I reminded them of the menace of robbers in the South and asked which they would prefer. They invariably agreed that they would prefer to be “disturbed” by beggars rather than by robbers! At the risk of being accused of reductionism, I further explained that, in my opinion, the people who rob do so because they know that even if they ask for assistance they will not get it. It is not as if their societies do not believe in charity, but rather that there is a great divergence between the ‘ideal’ and the ‘practice’. The ideal is observed in the breach. Christianity teaches that you should love your neighbor as yourself in all respects, not least in rendering assistance to the needy, the disabled and the like. In other words, the Bible teaches that Christians should be their brothers’ keepers. When I was on posting as Zonal Manager of a Federal Parastatal in a Southern geo-political zone, my drivers, who are of Southern extraction, were amazed at the security situation in my native

state of Kano. They were surprised that we could be going round the city of Kano up to 12 mid-night, without the slightest fear of being attacked by armed robbers. They were obviously comparing the security situation in Kano with that of the South, my duly post at that time. There is also another incident worth recalling here. This happened during the time when there was perennial fuel crisis in the country. We visited a popular black market in Kano where one of the boys approached me and I gave him one thousand naira to purchase three tins of petrol for me. I did not know the boy from Adam. My Igbo driver was watching the scene with incredulity. The boy returned with three tins of petrol, after being away for about 15 minutes. We emptied the petrol into my vehicle and I gave the boy one hundred naira for his labour. My driver was flabbergasted! He expressed the view that if it were in the South, the boy would simply have got “free money”, since he knew that his reward would be just one hundred naira! I replied that in one out of ten cases, the boy might Continued on page 15

At last, Aliyu Wamakko is vindicated O By Mohammed s. Umar

n February 18, voters in Sokoto state went to the polls to elect a governor for it for the next four years. Among the candidates that contested the election was Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman Sokoto), whose previous tenure was ended by a recent Supreme Court judgement. We had maintained that the popularity of Sarkin Yamman Sokoto remains unassailable. The court cases were merely pursued to destabilize Alu’s focused programme for the development of Sokoto State because without any iota of doubt Wamakko’s victory in 2007 was the express wishes of the majority of Sokoto people. The results of last Saturday’s election show that Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman Sokoto) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 518,247 votes against his closest competitor from All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) of 131,048 votes. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) that came third scored little over 7,000 votes. It is no exaggeration to describe Alu’s victory as overwhelming. Sokoto people reaffirmed the same mandate they gave Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko in April 2007. Prior to the governorship election analysts from ill informed had gone berserk in the euphoria of the former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa rejoining the

All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) as impacting on the political equation of Sokoto State. We had in various platforms debunked that political rigmarole as utter miscalculation of the psyche of Sokoto people. There had been insinuations that Wamakko was a political naiveté shored up by Bafarawa, but we had consistently educated that Wamakko has remained a political strategist right from his student days in U.S.A.; a careerist that rose up to Permanent Secretary, and later local government chairman before becoming deputy governor for seven years actually contributed to the fortunes of the former administration. Wamakko through hard work has secured Sokoto State for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His popularity and development strides in all sectors of the economy ensured PDP won 100% of the Senate seats from the State, 100% seats of the House of Representatives, 100% seats of the State House of Assembly and 100% seats of the local government councils. It is a way of solidifying party structure in any political terrain. He maintained the loyalty of party man. His political astuteness, prince of peace and reconciliatory moves caused massive decamping of major interests from other political parties to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A week to the governorship election,

Alhaji Umarun Kwabo A. A. with the major remnants of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) decamped to PDP. That demonstrated that the initial plot to destabilize PDP in the State against Sarkin Yamman Sokoto as sinister as it was failed woefully. Alu who can be described as a cat with nine lives survived all traumas without bearing unnecessary animosity against anybody to focus on the interest of Sokoto people and their overall development. It is the sterling quality of a good leader who believes in good governance. Some major distinct features of Alu’s political strategies are constant consultation with stakeholders on how best to move the State forward. He is humane and compassionate. He has a great deal of respect to the traditional values of the people, and thus accords the traditional institution deserved dignity as instrument of collective governance. Sarkin Yamman Sokoto loves peaceful coexistence and does not discriminate on any ground whatsoever. Everybody is brother or sister. He remains the only chief executive in the country that pays minimum wage to every disabled person in his state as partakers of the common wealth. He introduced the integrative system of education where Islamic and western education becomes a major curriculum for the school built for that purpose to address the issue of almajirci. This school has

intake of over 500 students roundly provided by the State Government. This model is now being implemented by the federal government of Nigeria. Other states and countries come to Sokoto to study the model to enable them follow the same step to address the almajir issue. The various youth empowerment programmes have impacted tremendously that a good number of the youths are now gainfully employed and economically empowered. Education aimed at the youths has received big boost since Sarkin Yamman’s administration that enrolment of boys and girls into schools has now increased immensely. The State University which admits its first intake this academic session was conceived to absorb anticipated large turnout of secondary school leavers from the upsurge in secondary school enrolment, and the concerted efforts of the State Government to ensure qualified candidates for tertiary education. This is aggressive measure to address the manpower needs of the state and the country. These are areas that caught the appreciation of voters who are determined to enjoy more of democracy dividends. There are no mincing words that within the past four years Alu’s administration has opened up Sokoto economy beyond the imagination of sceptics. A good number of strategic rural roads, rural water supply and rural electricity have been provided; the health sector received huge

boost; civil servants have been motivated and their pride of place restored; pensioners receive their pensions on regular basis; infrastructures that would guarantee industrialization such as water, good roads, electricity through the Independent Power Project (IPP) and maintenance of law and order have been vigorously pursued. The public transport system witnessed greater attention under Alu’s administration. Sokoto State can be described as state with one of the cheapest and most efficient transport system due to the number of fleets of cars, motorcycles and buses provided by Alu’s administration. Alu Ya Gode is the refrain of the transport system in Sokoto state. The flyover at the intersection of Ahmadu Bello Way/Abdullahi Fodio/ Maiduguri and Kano roads is not only a beauty, but has now saved many lives that could have been lost on that chaotic junction. It is a project that gulped more than N1.6billion, and very justifiable in execution. The electorate of Sokoto State once again confirm the popularity of Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman Sokoto) to which we join President Goodluck Jonathan and all Nigerians to congratulate him on his resounding victory as the governor of Sokoto state. Mohammed S. Umar is reachable at


By John Campbell


he bad relations between former strongman, military general, and head of state Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) and President Goodluck Jonathan are yet another sign of the breakdown of elite bargaining, which has been the traditional way elites have ruled Nigeria. If the chief of state is by definition the head of the largest patron-client network, IBB’s would be nearly as strong. An alleged member of Boko Haram, Sheik Sani Haliru, has accused IBB of having “more than 600 men and women jihadists on his payroll.” Babangida immediately responded publicly that such accusations were not only false


Babangida and Boko Haram but were planted by the Jonathan administration. IBB is not to be trifled with. He was involved in a string of coups during Nigeria’s generation of military rule, and was military chief of state for eight years. At the time, he pursued a policy of economic and political reform that looked toward the restoration of civilian rule. Though ultimately he failed, his government was seen as competent. The level of security for ordinary Nigerians was certainly higher than it is now. His critics – and they are legion –accuse him of fostering a political culture that led to much higher levels of

WRITE TO US Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed to: The Editor, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Email: let SMS: 07037756364 corruption than in the past. IBB still has political

ambitions, and sought the presidency as a northern

candidate in 2010. He withdrew when victory was not certain. He is immensely rich, and has deep contacts with the military – if not necessarily with its politicized upper reaches. He shows himself to be a shrewd and skillful politician. He can be both charming and ruthless. But, he does not like to lose, and draws back from any situation where that might be a possibility. One might have thought that Jonathan would seek good relations with him, rather than tolerating scarcely credible charges that IBB is complicit in Islamic radical terrorism. John Campbell is a former US ambassador to Nigeria.

Arriving at Murtala Mohammed International Airport By Chika Ezeanya


he flight was quite a stressful one. I looked forward to breathing the air of my beloved country. Feeling thirsty immediately after take-off, I had called on the airhostess. “Excuse me.” The air hostess turned and seeing who it was, said “I will be with you in a minute, ma’am.” An hour passed and then two. I tried another, “Excuse me, please” “Yes ma’am, how may I help you?” His head was held stiffly up, his fingers were intertwined and held up to his chest. His eyes pretended to meet mine but did not. Eyebrows were raised and knotted at the forehead, and neck slanted unconcernedly to one side. This was no posture assumed by one eager to help. His scowl suppressed my inquiries deep down my larynx. It contrasted sharply with the solicitous carriage and graciousness that marked his countenance when he addressed the Asian to my left, and the American to my right. Drawing close to their cavities as if they smelled of mint, he smiled, laughed, joked, offered this and that; in an effort to validate the advertisement of their airline as the most friendly trans-Atlantic voyager in existence. “May I have a glass of water, please”, I said. “I beg your pardon”, he said, louder than he should have, still maintaining his aloofness. “A cup of water, please,” I repeated. Slowly, loudly, clearly, even the deaf could have lip synced my words. “If you could speak a little louder and clearly, ma’am, I would know what you want and try to get you some help.” Irritation was clearly visible beneath the pretension of his polite words. Clearly the airline’s hospitality was created for a select group of flyers. My kind does not fall within their target market. My brown hands waved him off as politely as I could. Never mind. I was not about to lose my voice begging for the second most freely available commodity on earth. “I think she may be asking for water” The American volunteered. His large, hairy, red

hands clutched a copy of the Washington Post, the pull-up desk was littered with a half empty coffee cup, two half eaten wraps of burger, a hot dog, an unopened Mars bar and a book of Sudoku. I had to be spoken for in order to get what I paid dearly for. It takes a lot of respect for the human being to not dismiss someone who does not look like you or talk exactly like you with a wave of the hand. While in Africa we have that value in abundance, it appears that arrogance has robbed some Westerners of this precious grace. The waiter returned after 20 minutes with about eight to ten tablespoonfuls of water in a tiny plastic cup. Placing it roughly on my desk, he hurried off. I clenched the cup and thought of home. In less than an hour, I will be in Naija, land of my fathers; the land where I am never judged by the color of my skin or stereotyped according to my nationality. Where my speech is understood and I am seen as the human being I am. A peaceful, anticipatory sleep overtook me as dreams of hugs, warmth, acceptance and lots of clean drinking water filled my vision. The announcement came just as I looked through the window to behold the haze and maze called Lagos. “You country butiful”, the Asian besides me said, drinking the last drop of his 10th cup of green tea. He was smiling into my eyes and pretending – or so I thought to be admiring the pandemonium that is the bird eye view of Lagos. “Thank you so much”, I gave back a faux smile of appreciation. Why risk purgatory, hellfire, bad karma or whatever he believes to please a total stranger, I was thinking. But perhaps, he meant his words. I suspect that the beauty he sees is beyond the physical. Fine boy na fine pocket. For the greater part of the flight, he had discussed with the American on the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) his company had secured from the Nigerian government. The visit was to prepare for the commencement of seismic studies on the fields. His excitement was palpable all through the conversation. My lungs took in the hot oxygen

of Lagos. It felt good to be home. We filed across to the immigration counter where we were separated into citizens and foreigners. It got to my turn and the customs officer took my passport. She seemed angry about something very deep and personal, and it reflected in her mannerism. An unusually long period of time was spent on examining my passport. “Wait by the side.” She said as she flung my passport on the desk beside her computer, and beckoned on the next in line. “Excuse me, madam. Is there something wrong with my passport?” I asked. My question was ignored. After about 15 minutes, a tall officer with well ironed uniform, who had emerged from somewhere was handed my passport “Madam come here ” he demanded, motioning for me to follow. I found myself inside a celllike office containing an unusually large desk, several old box files and about five chairs. All the chairs were occupied and two men stood facing the officer who now sat at the desk. All the occupants were male, and most wore pensive looks, as if waiting to undergo a CAT scan to determine the number of cocaine wraps in their stomach. There was no more standing space inside the room so I stood by the door and waited. “Oga mi, sir. Na student I be.” The man in his late fifties explained in a rough manner. He spoke very fast and looked everywhere apart from the eyes of the officer he was addressing. His long limbs covered the length and breadth of the room as he gesticulated widely. “What date do you want?” The officer asked as he lowered his voice and his head and hunched his shoulders, pulling at the cabinet as if searching for something. “October 15th, sir”, the ‘student’ responded with a smile. “You mean September 15?” the officer said as he began to adjust the stamp. I remembered that day to be the 3rd of September. “No sir, I means 15th of October. Next month, sir”, the student explained. “What? No! You want to sack me from my job? No way.” The custom officer was aghast.

“My brother let me explain. I am a student and there is a way it works over there with us students.” Both hands were spread in supplication and head was thrown to one side in a show of helplessness and sincerity of motives. “There is nothing to explain, please. I cannot do that.” The officer reached his right hand inside his breast pocket and retrieved 100EUR bill. “Take your money and go please, I don’t want trouble.” He said. “Oga please, understand my predicament.” The ‘student’ was insistent. “I said no, my friend. Take your money and go, abeg.” He was supposed to stretch the whole length of his arms to give back the money, but he only lifted his arm a little. His elbows were still placed on the desk. Clearly, he was not eager to let go of the bill. “No problem. If it is not convenient for you now I can come back”, the student said. He refused to accept the money and stomped out of the office in annoyance. “Madam, go back outside, this office is too crowded. When I finish attending to these people seated here, I will call you”, he said, looking in my direction. I had been standing for almost ten minutes watching the drama in front of me. Add to this, the tiredness of a long haul flight; I was almost dizzy. I wobbled out and sat just outside the office to await my turn. The tiny water I was served aboard the flight had trickled its way to my bladder. The hallowed air of my beloved country seems determined to purge the water, together with the unpleasantness associated with its entry, from my system. I searched for the rest room. An overpowering smell of antiseptic of the cheapest, and one suspects, toxic kind – led my to the right place. I opened the door and almost knocked down a dirty looking bucket filled with brown water. A dirtier looking rag soaked inside. There was no one else in the restroom. Entering the first open stall, I found no tissue paper. The noise behind indicated that someone was moving the bucket. He turned

out to be a diminutive youth with acne and acne marks covering 3/ 4 of his face. A man? I thought I was in a female restroom. Looking at the doorpost, I realized that the sex indicator sign was broken and only the head remained. There was no Shuku, Bob Marley braids, Shalamar or punk hair cut on the head to guide me in making an informed guess. I let that pass. “Excuse me ,please, do you know if I can get tissue paper anywhere?” I asked the man. “Bring money make I go buy for you.” My bladder was bursting and I was not sure how long it would take him. He seemed to be a mind reader for he added quickly, “If you add transport, I fit take Okada go come in 10 minutes.” “Don’t worry, thank you.” I said as I searched my bag thoroughly. Thankfully, I had not completely exhausted my tissue paper pack. Inside the stall the lock was broken and I had to hold the door with one hand. I noticed a large hole gaping at me where the lock of the door should have been. The cleaner was bent cleaning the area directly outside my stall and had unobstructed view of the inside. I shared my tissue paper into two equal halves and used one part to block his view. Back at the waiting place, it was now my turn to be “served.” “Madam, you have been ‘uselessing’ your passport, ehn?” “I am sorry sir, I don’t understand.” I replied, confused. “What do you mean ‘you don’t understand’? You have broken the electronic chip inserted in your passport by careless usage. The computer could not read your passport.” Wonders shall never cease. Where on earth does a citizen get this type of verdict on a legally acquired passport? “Sorry sir, I still do not understand.” I replied in a weak voice. “You don’t understand what? Am I speaking Latin? Or you think I am lying? Oya, come and see for yourself.” He led me back to the Continued on page 15



This is our story, a very sad story By Jon Chikadibie Okafo


returned to Nigeria after a stint in Europe with a strong dose of optimism; I was highly hopeful that I would clinch a good job and partake in the feast of “democracy dividends”. Well, it is gone past four months now and my optimism is being assaulted by what the legendary Fela called “government magic”-I am still job hunting. We Nigerians are really a happy lot. Despite the fact that living in this country for majority of the people is akin to the Hobbesian state of nature, many of us still find the inner strength to trudge on while praying to God and insisting that e go better. We smile a lot and strive as much as possible to find humour in every situation. Our faith in God and our apparent fake smiles stems from the fact that we all know that “suffer dey Africa kakaraakaa”. On the other side of the tragiccomedy that is the story of Nigeria, we have our rulers who exist in a world of stupendous opulence. They represent the lecherous pack of blood sucking demons that exist only to steal from all of us. They are usually the political office holders and top civil servants who have over the years, perfected the inglorious act of looting our patrimony. They are heartless.

The story of Nigeria brings tears to my eyes; this is one story that is so heart-wrenching and obnoxious at the same time. In this story, you see on a daily basis the horrifying effects of the wickedness of our leaders. It is a story where the institution of government appears to be solely for the purpose of enriching obscenely those in power while snuffing out the lives of millions they ought to be catering for. It is only in Nigeria that a police officer at an illegal check-point shoots a driver for refusing to pay a bribe or not paying the demanded sum. In this scenario as we have seen many times in the past, the killer cop runs away or is sacked, and the police authorities issue a statement to the effect that a committee has been set up to unravel the circumstances surrounding the said incident. At most, a stupid sum of money is paid to the victim’s family and the story ends. It is only in Nigeria that the sinfully named Power Holding Company of Nigeria will send agents to collect the sum N5, 000 from residents for a faulty transformer to be repaid, or a new one installed. As I write, this is the situation I find myself in here in Surelere, Lagos where the transformer that serves three streets have packed up and we

have not had power for about fifteen days now! I have been informed, sadly, that a refusal to pay will see PHCN officials being aloof to our groans and cries for succour. Only in Nigeria will the president increase the sufferings of the already beleaguered masses by jerking up the pump price of fuel while increasing his chopmoney to a little less than one billion naira! Why should we, the people be the only ones making sacrifices while those in power binge and quaff on our resources with glee? My optimism that Nigeria would re-discover itself gave way to an ulcer-inducing rage when I read that members of our scandalous National Assembly have budgeted billions of naira for the purchase of yet another set of luxury cars for their legislative pleasure. What cheek! This is the same National Assembly that has turned itself into the most outrageous pack of capricious leeches, now stepping up its game of stealing as much as possible from all of us while pretending to be representatives of the people. Since I came back to Nigeria for good, I have galloped across the width and breath of this nation and the story is the same everywhere. However, I wish to state without fear of contradiction that Abuja, the federal capital

territory takes the gold cup in this deceit that is the story of our country. Abuja eats, drinks and breaths corruption. The mindframe of Abuja dwellers is akin to a cesspit where maggots scramble for what is food to them; I didn’t come across any Abuja resident that complained about the looting going on. I was only encouraged to pray to belong. This same story is replicated across all the states of the federation; Governors and their cabal have turned corruption into a carnival while mouthing the depressing lies of “bringing the dividends of democracy” to the people. Apart from the oil marketers, government officials are the richest folks in the country and we all know whence cometh their obscene wealth. It is weird and mind-boggling how those in government are able to sleep at night despite the misery, the wickedness, the lies they churn out, the deaths they bring about by their acts of negligence and the utter betrayal of the trust of the people they claim to be working for. Are we really this callous as a people? Certainly, there is something about being in a position of power, wealth and authority in our country that seeps into those in those positions and turns them into moral wrecks. This is my take on this matter.

What exactly is the matter with the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the organised civil societies? Is it just me that fails to understand why these groups succumb to the lies and blackmails of our government instead of acting as the needed checks on government ineptitude? After the last fuel subsidy riots, I came to the sad conclusion that nobody out there is fighting for the ordinary Nigerian. I strongly suspect that the groups mentioned above are all in the game of “aluta continua” for their own selfish games, and none of that includes holding the government accountable for all its atrocities against the people of Nigeria. The story of Nigeria is really a sad one; it is a story of self-inflicted injury. A tale of a group of sadists sitting on the wealth of a nation and amassing it brazenly , watching the poor folks stumble and die, while insisting that “we will get there as a people”. There is so much wickedness in this country and our rulers are the perpetrators, they are the ones ruining this country while the ordinary folks try to imitate them-this why corruption will never stop here. Jon Chikadibie Okafo can be reached at

The beggar, robber and the imperative of social security Continued from page 13 disappear with the money, whereupon my driver averred that, in his area, it would be the reverse – nine out of ten would disappear with the money! The point being made is that while the Emirates may need to learn about industry and entrepreneurship from the Southern states, the latter may also need to learn about charity and being ones’ brother’s keeper, as enjoined by both Christianity

and Islam. If the society is selfcentred and each member is on his own, the course of action open to the poor and the needy is robbery (or some other crimes), which is a social menace the Nigerian society is grappling with, apparently without s solution in sight. One is not insinuating that there are no cases of robbery in the Emirates. Neither is one suggesting that charity, communal solidarity and compassion are completely absent in the Southern states. The

central point is that these problems (of beggary and robbery) are more pronounced in the respective sociocultural milieus described above. There is no gainsaying that each society has its own share of the good, the bad and the ugly. It is equally disheartening that political and moral corruption with the concomitant poverty which it engenders among the people has caused a decline in traditional values. The result is that selfishness, individualism, and

greed have starting taking over. One can clearly see that thuggery, robbery, crimes and sheer acts of vandalism have reared their ugly heads, even in the Emirates. The manipulation of religion by the political and economic elite to cover their corruption and exploitation of the people has become a serious problem in the Emirates, as it is in the rest of the country. The two scenarios described at the beginning of this essay

epitomize two extremes; the solution lies in a middle course – encouragement of hard-work and entrepreneurship and at the same time giving succor to those genuinely in need of social assistance. This underscores the imperative of social security for Nigeria which will address the problem of ‘beggary’ in some areas, and of ‘robbery’ in others. A tale of two cities indeed! Tijjani Garba can be reached at

Arriving at Murtala Mohammed International Airport Continued from page 14 immigration checkpoint. It was now clear of passengers. Holding up another passport to the sensor, the image and details appear on the computer. He held up my own passport but nothing showed. “You see for yourself? Only you know what you have been doing with this passport. You do not know that a passport should be treated with care and respect.” Anger simmered within me. Nigeria should not have bothered with an electronic passport system if this is the unfortunate outcome. No right thinking frequent international traveler treats his/ her passport carelessly. It is about the only assurance one has of belonging somewhere, and being able to get where s/he is going. “Sir, this is strange. I treat my passport with utmost care. I do not believe it is my fault that the sensor is not able to pick my passport

details,” I insisted in a firm but polite manner. He got angry at my comments. “OK. So it is my fault, Ehn? It is my fault that you are driving, sleeping and playing with your passport?” “Should we try another computer, please?” I could not think of anything else to say. “Try what? You think I have time or that I do not know my job?” He was walking back to the office with me following behind. “So instead of begging and asking how we can arrive at a solution, you are proving to me that you know what to do. We shall see who is right here.” He pulled a worn out box file from an open shelf across his desk. “Madam, how we do with your case is that we have to send your passport to Abuja, which is the place of issue.” He proceeded to fill an internal memo form with my passport profile page open in front of him.

“It usually takes about two weeks to process. I will give you a duplicate copy of this to go to Abuja and follow up there.” I was now shaking with anxiety. “Sir, my return date is in less than one week and I do not have any business in Abuja at this time.” “That one is your business.” He said without sympathy. “There is no way you will be allowed to leave this country without rectifying this problem.” I felt tired, defeated, worn out. He handed a duplicate copy of the memo to me and left the office to join his other colleagues gathered and chatting outside. With a heavy heart, I went to retrieve my luggage. I proceeded to the first immigration officer at the exit gate. “Welcome back. Madam. What do you have in your bag?” “Books and clothes” I responded warily, waiting to be told of a new

law against bringing in one’s books or clothes into the country.” “Please open your bags for verification.” I opened my bags and he absent mindedly felt it here and there, casually asking if I brought anything for him, without looking at me. “Next time, my brother. E get as e be today.” I responded, trying to sound as nice and simple as possible. “No problem, Madam. Welcome home and enjoy your stay.” The next officer politely asked for my passport and ticket. “Oga no passport, o! Your brothers collected it saying that it is damaged. I have to go to Abuja and retrieve it,” I said as I handed my ticket to him. “I am so sorry to hear that, madam.” He sounded genuinely sympathetic. “Please do not let that spoil

your stay. Be rest assured that if you go to Abuja and act accordingly, it will be treated with dispatch and you can have your passport back. Just be careful how you use your passport in the future. Do not worry, it is well.” He gave me an understanding pat on the back as he helped to adjust the boxes on my trolley. I was moved by his empathy and for the first time since my soles touched the sands of Murtala Mohamed Airport, I felt at home. Saying a big thank you to him from my heart, I exited to the warm and loving hugs of family and friends. Na wah o! PS: The Nigerian Government should kindly look into the issue of “damaged” passports. There are complaints from citizens about the frustration of getting their passports “repaired” (whatever that means). Chika Ezeanya blogs @



Man, 50, docked for manslaughter By Stanley Onyekwere


50-year-old man, Ibrahim Mohammed has been arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court, for allegedly causing the death of one pedestrian, Prince Okor, 27 year-old, along Nyanyakeffi expressway, Abuja.

Mohammed, of Masaka, Nassarawa state, was said to be the driver of a Volkswagen Jeta car with registration number CM 53 Ab j , w h i c h knocked down the pedestrian, thereby resulting in his death. The accused, who appeared before Magistrate Okeagu Azubuike, on charge

of causing death by dangerous driving contrary to Section 27 of Road Traffic Act, denied any wrong doing. Polic e prosecutor, Inspector Philips Akogwu, told the court that the accused person drove the said vehicle on February 15 at about 1130 hours along the stated expressway, in a manner that

was dangerous, resulting in the death of the man. The Chief Magistrate granted the accused bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties, who must be responsible persons, residing within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the case to March 20, for further hearing.

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.

3 docked for battery By Stanley Onyekwere


Gbagyi traditional dancers entertaining guests during the flag-off of FCT Community Health Insurance Scheme in Karu. Photo: Josephine Ella

Man gets two months for stealing chewing gum


n Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court on Thursday sentenced one Oriade Tosin of Zone B, National Assembly quarters, to two months imprisonment for stealing chewing gum and cereal valued at N4,270. However, Senior

Magistrate Ann Akobi gave the convict an option of N1,000 fine. Police prosecutor David Udeh told the court that on Feb. 19, Danaladi Ode of Amigo Supermarket, Wuse 2, Abuja, reported the accused to the police.

Udeh said that the complainant told the police that the accused entered the supermarket and stole two Orbit (Wrigley) chewing gum and one Sultana Bran cereal. Udeh said that during police investigation, the accused admitted to have

stolen the items. The accused, who pleaded guilty, begged the court to have mercy on him. In delivering her judgment, Akobi said that his sentence would serve as a lesson and deterrent to others. (NAN)

Generator mechanic in court for receiving stolen property


generator mechanic, Amos Abubakar of Mabushi village, Abuja, has been arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court for receiving stolen property. The Police prosecutor, Adamu Abdullahi told the court on Thursday, that the case was reported at the

Mabushi Police Out-post by one Mr Ugochukwu Okeke on Feb. 16. Abdullahi said that the complainant had reported to the police of the theft of his Tiger brand generator on Feb. 9. He said that subsequent police investigation led to the

recovery of the generator from the accused, who claimed that he was not aware that it was a stolen property. The suspect, according to the prosecution is claiming that he bought the generator from one Abubakar Sadiq. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section

317 of the Penal Code. Abubakar pleaded not guilty, and Chief Magistrate Mrs Josephine Obanor granted him bail in the sum of N100,000 and one surety in like sum. The case was adjourned till March 14, for further hearing. (NAN)

ne Shafiu Harba, Isah Mutari and Momoh Kaurtha, all of Utako Village, Abuja have been arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court for allegedly beating up and causing hurt to one Edwin Nnacho in the area. The trio who were charged with joint Act of Criminal force and causing hurt contrary to Section 246 and 247 of the Penal Code respectively, allegedly committed the offence against the victim while driving to his shop. The Police First Information Report (FIR), which was read out in the court reveals that the three accused persons on Feburary 2, formed common intention and obstructed the victim from carrying out his business and in the process beat him up and inflicted injuries on him. Acccording to the FIR, the trio stole the sum of fifty thousand naira belonging to Nnacho in the process and were caught and brought to court by the Police upon getting the report. After the FIR was read to the hearing of the accused persons, all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and subsequently applied to the court for bail. The Presiding Magistrate Aminu Eri, granted the accused persons bail in the sum of twenty thousand naira with two sureties each, who must be reasonable Nigerians resident within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the case to March 8, for continuation of hearing.

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ABUJA DIARY with Josephine Ella 08065327178

Tackling the security challenges in the G-7 zone


fter two years hiatus, the G-6 last week revitalized their Security Summit Initiative, with the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed declaring that this became necessary in view of the precarious security situation in northern parts of the country. According to him, member governors decided to jointly convene the meeting to re-vitalize the joint security efforts through the instrumentality of the G-6 Security Summit Initiative. In addition, he reiterated that the purpose for re-vitalizing the initiative was to bring together and harness the efforts of the participating states in tackling the recurrence of violence and other crimes within the contiguous region of the G-6 zone. Although observers present at the meeting held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel and other commentators, were kept in the dark as to why the forum, conceived to tackle the security challenges across the contiguous states of Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and FCT was suspended barely two years after it was inaugurated, the decision to resuscitate it is commendable. Despite the silence, it was not difficult to deduce that the two years hiatus may have resulted naturally from the common syndrome of lack of constituency and sustenance of policies or programmes by our political office holders. Perhaps, when the incumbent leaders of the member states took over the helms of affair from their predecessors, they lacked the political will to continue with the security initiative. What do you expect! It was not their original vision so it may not have interested them even if they had been hinted upon assumption of office that such an initiative had existed.

FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed Owing to the importance of security of lives and property in every society, including the member states, when the erstwhile Minister of the FCT, Aliyu Modibbo Umar introduced the security summit in 2007, it was adjudged by many to be a lofty initiative. The idea was for member states to develop an inter-state collaborating network for the harmonization and coordination of security strategies. It was also to among others assist in the exchange of information/ techniques for organized tracking and handling of criminals and their syndicates with the ultimate goal of curtailing their movement or spread within the zone. Prior to this and till date, by virtue of their proximity, it is a known fact criminals, especially armed robbers often take refuge in either of these states after a successful operation. For the two years that the G6 collaborated, it is on record that it was able to make an appreciable impact in the security sector of member states because the incidences of criminal activities within the G-6 zone including their free movements to the contiguous states were reduced to the barest. More remarkable improvement is envisaged especially with the spate of the emerging security challenges of terrorism facing the country of which the

member states have each had a ‘fair share’. Although, this presents a greater challenge which must be tackled headlong, there is no doubt that the G-6 Security initiative is poised to tackle this new security challenges across the contiguous states with the resolutions arrived in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting . Among the resolutions was the unanimous adoption by members of the entrance of Plateau State into the G-6 Security arrangement, which automatically changed the acronym to G-7 Security Summit in place of the original G-6. Members reiterated their joint and several commitments to the purposes of the G-7 initiative which is the overall provision of adequate security of lives and property of citizens within the G-7 security summit community. It was resolved that the convening of the G-7 summit should henceforth be more regular and identifiable secretariat be established for the summit to be domiciled in the Federal Capital Territory. With this, the next meeting was slated for April 19, 2012. Members were encouraged to embrace traditional rulers and community participation in security matters through such initiatives like vigilante groups. It was resolved that all the previous recommendations of the technical committee which has to do with provision of financing and other logistics should be i m m e d i a t e l y implemented by the summit. Member states agreed that there was need to consciously engender a robust synergy between the chief executives and the various security chiefs of the G-7 states, particularly with regards to the commissioner of police, armed forces and all other security agencies. The security apparatus in all G-7 States was mandated to proactively discharge all negative religious rhetorics capable of inciting violence amongst the citizenry and to consider setting up interreligious harmony committees like the one in Kaduna state. Finally, it was resolved that the chief executives of the participating states should consider some quasi insurance scheme by way of extra allowances to serve as incentives to field security apparatus.

Car washers doing their business at Lugbe.

Photo: Joe Oroye

Fire guts N53m properties as FCTA saves N.3bn others in 42 days By Josephine Ella


he Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration yesterday, disclosed that properties worth N253 million were saved from fire disasters between January 1- February 11, 2012 in Abuja. On the other hand, properties worth N53 million were lost during the period under

consideration. This was revealed by the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, after reviewing the activities of the Urban Affairs Department of the Abuja M e t r o p o l i t a n Management Council. He explained that the FCT administration received a total of 72 fire calls which were primarily dominated by bush burning and market fires that were effectively

contained. He assured that subsequent management of emergency services will be improved upon in order to drastically reduce the human and material loss. This was even as he enjoined all the Secretariats, Departments and Agencies, especially those whose services have direct bearing on the people to redouble their efforts to deliver quality services to resident.

Man, 27, bags one month for fighting By Stanley Onyekwere


n Abuja Magistrate’s Court has sentenced One Ndubuisi Nwakwa, of Kado Kuchi Village, Abuja to one month jail term for engaging in a public brawl with his neighbour, one Peter Nomi. The convict, 27, who was arraigned alongside his victim, Nomi, 28, on a two count charge of disturbance of public peace and causing grievous hurt to the latter contrary to Sections 113 and

247, pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced accordingly. Police Prosecutor, Roko Christopher, had during the trial informed the court that on Febuary 19, the duo were arrested and brought to the Utako Police station by its patrol team on duty in the area for fighting in a public place. Christopher, disclosed that both men engaged themselves with dangerous weapons publicly and in the process inflicted injuries on

themselves. Meanwhile, the coaccused person pleaded not guilty to the offence as charged and asked the court to grant him bail. The Magistrate, Aminu Eri, who delivered the judgment, granted the coaccused in the sum of two thousand naira with two sureties, who must be reasonable Nigerians residing within the jurisdiction of the court, and adjourned the case to March 8, for continuation of hearing.

Waste disposal: Offenders to pay N10, 000 By Adeola Tukuru


he Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) has called on residents to deviate from littering their environment through dumping of refuse on side walks, saying it will henceforth enforce the fine of 10,000 on offenders. The coordinator on Waste Management of AMAC, Hon. Bulus Dogo Orozo, told journalists yesterday that the council was more than determined to take the issue of waste disposal more serious than before.. Orozo noted that AMAC

has been done a lot for the resident of the council in every community by providing them with refuse disposal materials and there was no reason for them to complain. He revealed that the council has since inception conducted the monthly sanitation exercise in conjunction with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB). In his words: “We have done verification to know which communities in the council were are experiencing refuse dump challenges and after our finding in Karu, Jikwoy,

Utako and Karshi, the council intervened immediately. “the council will continue to ensure that communities in AMAC remain clean and anybody caught dumping refuse carelessly will have to pay the sum of 10,000” . He said. According to him, the council is uncomfortable with the situation where people are living like animals in their environment. “The council is lucky that we have not experienced any case of choleral out- break in this administration”.



INSIDE 08033644990

FAAC allocation for the month of January 2012 shared in February, 2012 S/N



1 2 3 4 5 6 7

FG (52.68%) States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) Augmentation for the month Refund by NNPC

38.940 51.111 187.090 7,617


Grand Total


173,447 87.974 67.825

- Pg 20

Reps urge FAAN to reduce fares ....

PAN to diversify, rolls out new brand By Abdulwahab Isa


eugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited (PAN) Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of Peugeot vehicles in Nigeria has concluded plans to diversify its brand portfolio which will see to the mass production of the ALSVIN model, a brand of the Chongqing Changan Automobile China, A statement issued by PAN’s Head Corporate

Communication, Musa Bashir Usman said the move is premised on the strength of a Technical Agreement signed between PAN and Changan Automotive Manufacturing Company, brand owners of the ALSVIN, a B and M1 segments car, which has three distinguishing attributes: European design, strong Chinese elements of production and time honoured amenability to the Nigerian terrain.

Chairman Board of Directors of PAN, Alhaji Dr Sani Dauda led top management of the company to China for the historical event in October last year. During an inspection tour of the first set of the Nigerian produced ALSVIN to ascertain the overall readiness of the company, the chairman said PAN will initially produce about 3000 units of the ALSVIN from its Kaduna plant in 2012 with production target expected to increase annually.

Nigeria calls for non-US World Bank head By Aminu Imam with agency report


hen Robert Zoellick steps down from his post as head of the World Bank on June 30, he may not be replaced by yet another American–if Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has her way. The former World Bank executive said that times have changed and that the way the institution fills its top slot should change as well. In a BBC report, OkonjoIweala praised Zoellick, but also said that the constant succession of Americans to head the World Bank and Europeans to head the

•Times have changed, says Okonjo-Iweala International Monetary Fund was outdated–and it was time to give someone from the developing world a chance. “Times have changed,” she was quoted saying, “and I think the way the positions are filled should change along with it.” She added, “You need to change the weights within the institutions to reflect the modern world.” Traditionally since their founding, by informal

agreement, the top slot at the World Bank has been allotted to an American as a European claimed the corresponding spot at the IMF. Votes at the World Bank tend to follow countries’ contributions to the body, with the U.S. providing 16% and the three largest European contributors offering nearly 14% altogether. While the World Bank’s board has said that its process for selecting its next leader will be

“merit-based and transparent,” Okonjo-Iweala believes that does not go far enough and says that there are a number of candidates from developing countries who have the qualifications and could do the job. A number of them were mentioned during the search last year for a new head for the International Monetary Fund (IMF): Trevor Manuel of South Africa, Kemal Dervis of Turkey and Agustin Carstens of Mexico

were among the names proposed. However, the U.S. plans to nominate a candidate, and it has been speculated that the candidate will be current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Europe’s incentive to support her would be fueled by its desire for a U.S. vote in support of a European candidate to succeed Christine Lagarde, current head of the IMF. That could complicate matters for any developing world candidate who might be put forth to succeed Zoellick. L-R: Director, Trade And Investments, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr. David Adejuwon, President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Dr. Theo Okonkwo, presenting documents to the Permanent Secretary, Trade and Investment, Mr Dauda Kigbu, during their visit to the ministry, on Wednesday in Abuja . Photo: NAN

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




LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

SELLING 0.3127 207.0979 247.7931 41.6211 156.1


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45

• £ RIYAL $

Management Tip of the Day

20th Feb, 2012 BUYING 0.2927 205.7712 246.2057 41.3545 155.1

BUYING 210 255 42 158

SELLING 212 257 44 160


Save the meeting that’s going nowhere

e’ve all been stuck in long meetings that bounce aimlessly from one topic to the next. Instead of rolling your eyes, take control. Be brave enough to propose a solution: Play dumb. Ask someone in the room—preferably the

strongest communicator—to help you understand what problem you’re trying to solve and what needs to happen to resolve it. Identify the decisionmaker. Sometimes meetings stall because no one knows who is responsible for the decision.

Ask who that is and inquire whether he’s ready to decide. Get the right people in the room. Are there absentees who need to be there? Suggest rescheduling for a time when all the stakeholders can be present. Source: Harvard Business Review




Market sentiments against basic fundamentals


he Nigerian Stock exchange All Share Index has been on a losing streak this month, shedding 223 basis points (vs. 70 basis points gain in January). The pricing of the equities market against basic fundamentals continues as weak sentiments amplify.

Importation costs Nigeria N1.6tr worth of export opportunities yearly


igeria loses 10 billion dollars (about N1.6 trillion) every year in export opportunities in the agriculture sector. The Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina said this at the Lake Chad Research Institute Field Day in Keronwa, Marte local government area of Borno state.

Reps urge FAAN to reduce fares charged by international airlines By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the management of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other relevant agencies to ensure the reduction of the fares charged by international airlines operating in the country. The lawmakers described the fares as arbitrary even as they further urged the FAAN to compel the international airline operators to improve on their services and ensure adherence to the Nigerian local Content Law. Consequently, the House at its plenary session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha mandated its Committee on Aviation to ensure compliance

with the resolution and report back to the Chamber within four weeks. The decision followed the adoption of a motion brought by Emmanuel Okon and 31 others, who noted that fare charges for flying from Nigeria to Europe, America and other parts of the world are the highest when compared with other countries where these airlines operate. Leading the debate on the motion, Okon had observed that Nigeria’s fuel is the cheapest in the market as against what is obtainable in countries like China, United States of America, India and Ghana, noting that each airline carries a minimum of 300 passengers daily into and outside the country making Nigeria one of the most lucrative routes in the world.

“Nigerians pay higher to travel whereas travelling from other African countries attracts cheaper fares even when the distances from these countries to Europe and America are farther than Nigeria. “With the present economic challenges in the country, Nigerians will find it difficult to afford these fares and would continue to pay through their noses to transact businesses in Europe and America,” he argued. When the Deputy Speaker put the question on the motion, its prayers were unanimously adopted by the lawmakers in a voice vote. Also in another motion brought by Ganama Titsi Kwaga, the House also frowned at what it described as “Indiscriminate location of Global Satellite for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM)

Base Stations [Antenna]” by some service providers in the telecom industry in the country. Specifically, the House mentioned MTN, GLO, Airtel, Etisalat, Visafone, Multilinks among others as the major service providers who locate their base stations within 20 meters from residential, offices, schools, business buildings, petrol stations and other public areas. In his submission on the motion, Kwaga who decried the indiscriminate location of base stations pointed out that if not checked or regulated, could lead to high frequency electromagnetic fields influence on cell transformation, promotion and communication which, he said increase carcinogenic potential within the neighbourhood of sited areas.

Meteorological data necessary for building ––NIOB


he Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB) has called the attention of all stakeholders, including the government, to the need to be proactive in the wake of the storm that swept through Lagos last week where lives were lost and many buildings damaged.

Sapphire microfinance bank empowers 6,000 with low interest facilities


apphire micro finance bank says it has so far supported over 6,000 active poor persons in the society with credit facilities as part of its poverty alleviation scheme.

Over 60% of phones in Nigeria are fake - NCC


xecutive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), Eugene Juwah, has said over 60 percent of mobile phones in Nigeria are fake, majority of which are China made.

N104 bn funding for Etisalat puts 5 Nigerian banks on Euromoney deal


ive Nigerian banks Fidelity Bank Plc; GTBank, First Bank, Access Bank, and United Bank for Africa, have won the Euromoney Project Finance Telecommunications Deal award of the Year for the $650million (about N104 billion) funding deal for Etisalat Nigeria, a member of the Mabadala Group.

L-R: General Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Public Affairs, Chief M.K Ajayi, Aspiring Secretary-General of PMAWCA, Mr Ondigui owona, Executive Director, Eng & Technical services, NPA, Engr. Sonny Nwobi representing the NPA Managing Director, Omar Suleiman,General Manager, National Ports Authority Cameroon, Mr. Younba Josue, former Secretary-General, PMAWCA, Mrs Backo Murielle and General Manager, Special Duties, NPA, Abba Rufai, in a group photograph during the visit.

NPA boss promises support for Camerounian candidate From Soji Oyinlola, Lagos


he Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Omar Suleiman has said that the NPA will support Mr. Jean Francois Odigi Owona in his bid to contest for the office of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) Secretary-General. Speaking while receiving a 3man delegation from Cameroun in his office, the Managing Director who was represented by the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Mr. S.C. Nwobi said, "Since lobbying is part of democracy, it is in order to have the delegation canvass support for their candidate". He added that NPA believes that the candidate is qualified to do the job because of his requisite experience in the Port industry that has spanned for about three decades. Earlier, the leader of the

Camerounian delegation who is also the General Manager of Cameroun's National Ports Authority, Mr. Younba Josue said that the purpose of their visit was to seek the support of Nigeria in the forth-coming elections of the Association. Mr. Josue added that the candidate, Mr. Ondigui Owona, who also is the Technical Adviser to the National Ports Authority had put in close to 30 years in the maritime industry. In his address, the aspiring Secretary-General Mr. Ondigui Owona promised to make organisational and Managerial changes his priority if elected come May 2012. Also on the entourage was Mrs. Backo Murielle, who was a former Secretary General of PMAWCA. Present to receive the delegates are the General Manager Special Duties, Alhaji Abba Rufai and the General Manager Public Affairs, Chief Michael.K. Ajayi.

GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria to boost sales with new consumer items


laxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc, a unit of the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, is targeting a 25 percent rise in revenue this year as it expands sales of its branded retail items in Africa’s most populous nation. Glaxo Consumer Nigeria is looking to increase the volume sales of Lucozade, Ribena and Horlicks drinks, Panadol pain relief pills, and Sensodyne toothpaste, Chidi Okoro, managing director in charge of consumer products, said in a phone interview yesterday from Lagos, the commercial capital. The move is part of Londonbased GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s push into consumer products in emerging markets at a time when the European debt crisis is putting pressure on prices. Marketing smaller sized packages aimed at lower income earners will also help sales of new products in the West African nation in the next two years, such as multivitamins and

Panadol for children, Okoro said. “We have a lot of offerings we sell in other markets that we haven’t brought into Nigeria,” he said. “Over the next few years we are strongly looking at driving growth, especially through volumne expansion with new products and pack offerings and sizes.” The company is aiming for revenue of 24 billion naira ($152 million) this year in the nation of over 160 million, Okoro said. Glaxo Consumer Nigeria said Oct. 28 revenue climbed to 15.84 billion naira in the nine months to Sept. 30 from 12.8 billion naira a year earlier, while net income was little changed at 1.672 billion naira from 1.668 billion naira from the same period a year before. Nigeria’s economy may grow 6.3 percent this year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said yesterday in an e-mailed report. That compares with last year’s growth of 7.7 percent, it said.



SON: Lending a helping hand to small enterprises From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


perators in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector of the Nigerian economy are used to complaining about many structural, funding and infrastructural problems confronting them. In fact, the average small business operator feels even more embittered by what is described as government indifference to their plights. But many small business operators who attended a daylong capacity building programme facilitated by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), about small business management generally and products registration particularly left the MAN House, Ikeja Lagos venue of the event with a changed mindset. The capacity building programme had the members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) as primary targets, with Dr. Joseph Odumodu, the Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) promising that similar gestures were being planned for other small business membership organisations, and in fact, other stakeholders in the country's real sector. He said the SON was expending financial and material resources in building the capacity of operators as a way of underscoring the importance which the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan attaches to issue of SMEs' development, knowing that it is key to employment generation and wealth creation. Odumodu said globalisation had also brought about the collapse of tariff walls and protectionist policies, thereby exposing local entrepreneurs to stiff competition, and making it more imperative for local entrepreneurs to improve capacity and become competitive in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things. He said if SME sector would contribute its quota to the economic development of the nation; that operators there would have to be active players in the production and distribution of goods of quality, to meet the demands of the Nigerian consumers, and also compete effectively with goods from other countries. Odumodu reiterated the point that in a society like Nigeria's, that MSMEs are strategic, in that they produce goods and services that readily

Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Joseph Odumodu, meet the peculiar needs of the people, from the remotest parts to the urban centres, and that it is for these reasons that the SON is resolved to lending support in any way possible towards the development of sector. "There are well over 10 million MSMEs in Nigeria and we have discovered that most have the genuine intention to manufacture quality products but lack the capacity to do so. SON shall identify 2,500 MSMEs and work very closely with them to certify them towards ISO 9001 (quality management systems) and ISO 22000 (food safety management system) at no cost." The SON D-G further charged the operators to see the

necessity in doing laboratory analysis for their products and to work towards better packaging, saying that these are necessary as investigation has shown that many operators currently spend double in the course of production because of the faulty process. Affirming that the dream of the organisation is to assist small business entrepreneurs to produce more, sell more, earn more and employ more, he added that the SON would soon establish an SME desk at its office which responsibility would be to liaise with Nigerian MSMEs, respond promptly to their needs and help them facilitate either registration of their products or any other analysis they


The NASME president lamented a situation whereby even Made-in-Nigerian goods carry foreign marks because of low patronage of Nigerian manufactures.

may need "The President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, is committed to reducing the rate of unemployment in the country and has been exploring all mechanism to create jobs especially for the youths of this country; we want to join hands with him in this regard, and invite operators in the sector to follow suit. For us, this is the best way to go, for the good of our country, in the interest of our people", he said". In his speech, the National President and chairman of Council of NASME, Alhaji Garba Ibrahim expressed profound gratitude for the SON management for deciding to reach to the operators, it had shown genuine commitment and concern for the growth of the Nigerian economy. He said if the country would make progress in the area of industrialisation, that it needed the kind of partnership and collaboration which Odumodu had initiated. The NASME president lamented a situation whereby even Made-in-Nigerian goods carry foreign marks because of low patronage of Nigerian manufactures. He promised that the NASME would continue to partner with the SON as a way of moving the sector forward. In his remarks, the DirectorGeneral of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Yinka Akande expressed the belief that the training would impact positively on the operations of small business,

adding that the SME sector is indeed the engine of growth of the economy, the funnel to job creation, and that SON leadership needs to be appreciated for initiating a knowledge-impacting programme given no one, sector or enterprise could grow without knowledge. Making reference to Odumodu's promise to reduce the incidence of substandard products by another 30 per cent, the described the gesture as a social contract which underscores the seriousness with which the man takes his assignment, affirming that there was need for the SON leadership to extend the training to other commercial centres around the country. D-G of SON, Dr Odumodu observed that a lot of people go into SME business once they find themselves out of jobs, advising however that any operator who seeks to create value in his area of enterprise would make a difference by following certification guidelines He reiterated the point that the SON had decided to work with SMEs which are ready and willing to do things right, adding: "We are coming to work with you and not to seal your business. We need to create a linkage between the small and big firms so that we can take the economy to the next level. Right now, the linkage is not in place", he said. Participants at the end of the training, described the forum as a worthwhile one, urging the SON to both make it regular and extend it to other parts of the country. A participant, Mrs. Titilayo Oyedejiwhile, while commending the SON leadership for its courage, urged to adequately publicize its activities and consider engaging more people if it does not have enough manpower to carry the campaign across the states of the country. Another participant, Jumoke Kassim while agreeing that more sensitisations is needed to be embarked upon by SON, equally challenged Nigerians to do the right things by producing and buying only products of quality. According to Emeka Anaroke, who described the programme as a wonderful idea, it had also shown that Nigerians need to do more. Mr. Edwin Chinaka, who represented Edtruphil Nigeria Limited at the event, also lamented the many problems facing SMEs, major of which finance. He submitted there are no banks in the land, but typically money keepers. According to him, elsewhere banks take on and bank-role viable ideas.



Turkey to overcome secular qualms with Islamic bond T

urkey’s government plans its first-ever issue of Islamic bonds this year, overcoming sensitivities about Islamic finance in the secular republic as it seeks to tap a rich pool of investors flush with oil money. A sovereign sukuk issue from an economy regarded as one of the most progressive and successful in the Muslim world would signal intent on Turkey’s part to play a bigger role in Islamic finance. The size of the global sukuk market is estimated at more than $100 billion. “It will be like ringing a bell and attracting all the

attention,” said Murat Cetinkaya, deputy chief executive for treasury at Kuveyt Turk, an Islamic bank that has been a trend-setter for corporate sukuk issues in Turkey. “Other issuances will follow the sovereign and Turkey will be on the agenda in this market a frequent issuer.” Despite espousing Islamic values, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government shied away from taking the plunge with a sukuk issue during its first decade in power, out of fear of giving ammunition to critics who accuse the ruling

AK Party of seeking to roll back state secularism by stealth. “For a few billion dollars of funding there could be negative results in domestic politics,” said a deputy chief executive at a leading Turkish bank, who declined to be named because of the political sensitivity of the subject. Because of secular sensitivities, Islamic banks are called “participation banks” in Turkey and sukuk are referred to as “participation certificates”. The country has used Islamic finance methods since the late 1980s through

private financial institutions that were recognised as participation banks in 2006. There are four participation banks now operating in Turkey: Albaraka Turk , Bank Asya, Kuveyt Turk and Turkiye Finans. Kuveyt Turk, a unit of Kuwait Finance House, issued the country’s first sukuk in 2010. Last October, following legislative changes to accommodate shariacompliant transactions, Kuveyt Turk issued another sukuk for $350 million, and the strong demand demonstrated Turkey’s potential to become a major fresh source

of Islamic bonds for investors keen to diversify their portfolios. Albaraka Turk, the Turkish unit of Bahrain’s Albaraka Banking Group, and Bank Asya have formulated plans for sukuk issues of as much as $500 million, but have so far held back because of weak market sentiment globally due to the European debt crisis. Despite that, the Turkish economy’s buoyancy, which produced growth of over 8 percent last year, and high yields compared to other emerging markets have increased investor appetite for Turkish assets, including sovereign debt issues. (Reuters)

French keen on learning from Saudi experience in Islamic banking


rench academics have shown their keenness to make use of Saudi expertise and experience in Islamic banking and finance, said Saudi Ambassador to Paris, Muhammad bin Ismail AlAsheikh. The ambassador made this comment while holding a reception in Paris on the occasion of the launch of an academic chair titled “Financial morals and principles: Islamic banking as a model.” The chair is established in Sorbonne University as a joint research project of King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah and the French university. “Saudi Arabia is a good

reference for Islamic banking and finance,” the ambassador said, expressing hope that the chair would support French economy with new researches in Islamic finance. He commended the role of Saudi businessmen in supporting such research projects in Saudi and foreign universities. The new chair is financed by Muhammad Hussein Al-Amoudi, a prominent Saudi businessman. A large number of Saudi and French academics, economists and Islamic banking experts attended the ceremony in Paris, including Osama Tayeb, president of KAU and Professor Christine Mengin, vice chancellor of Sorbonne University.

Innovation key to success of Islamic finance industry


nnovation is the key to the future success of the Islamic finance industry and to meet the challenges of contributing to economic growth and to facilitate internationalization of the industry. According to Nor Mohamed Yakcop, minister in the prime minister’s department in Malaysia, “the Islamic financial system has to continually innovate and adapt in order to be competitive. At the same time, innovation is also the driving force behind developing greater diversity of products and services. Therefore there is a need to focus on product innovation and development efforts that will provide a comprehensive array of Shariah-based products for the industry.” Yakcop was speaking recently in Kuala Lumpur. While he may have been speaking in a Malaysian context, his words apply to the Islamic banking industry in general. Yakcop is no ordinary observer of the Islamic finance industry. He,

together with others is the architect of the Malaysian Islamic financial system when he was adviser to Jafa’ar Hussein, the then governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank and effectively helped the governor to implement his dream of developing a dual banking system in the country - an Islamic banking system operating side-by-side a conventional one, cooperating but not interacting. He was also the pioneer of Malaysia’s bilateral payments arrangement of settling accounts between central banks rather than using expensive correspondent banking services in London, New York and Frankfurt; a prime mover behind the concept of an Islamic dinar to settle trading accounts between Muslim countries. However, Yakcop warned that while in Islamic finance, innovation has been significantly pervasive, the industry needs to further accelerate the innovation momentum to ensure that it achieves its objectives and

aspirations. The challenge to innovate and adapt at the same time must be based on the core principles and values as well as the ethics of Islam. “For innovation to become an important driver of growth, a critical area that needs attention is addressing the shortage of skilled and experienced professionals in the industry. We need to build a pipeline of talents who have the ability and creativity to develop new ideas and the capacity to run ideas into achievable results,” added Yakcop. The greater awareness of the inbuilt strength of Islamic finance has contributed toward the increased international participation in Islamic financial markets. Indeed Malaysia has benefited from the internationalization of Islamic finance. The minister highlighted Malaysia’s leadership in the Islamic financial industry. For instance, in the issuance of sukuk, out of the Top 10 biggest sukuk issued globally in 2010, five originated

from Malaysia. For this year to date, global sukuk issuances totaled $54.5 billion and Malaysia accounted for about 67 percent of the issuances. The country had also attracted continued presence and interest of foreign issuers and investors, which has seen several successful issuances of foreign currency and ringgit-denominated sukuk by issuers including the Islamic Development Bank ($500 million), Gulf Investment Corporation (RM600 million), Nomura and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (RM500 million). Yakcop also stressed that to facilitate greater internationalization of the Islamic capital market, the capacity to structure multi-currency and cross border transactions and to build greater scale needs to be further strengthened. This would allow intermediaries to make greater inroads into the international market. “The transition into the mainstream of the global financial system will provide opportunities

for market intermediaries to seek new frontiers and expand new markets, as well as contribute toward further widening the diversity of products and services.” In Malaysia specifically, the country’s march toward developed nation status by 2020 has required a shift toward new and competitive growth sectors characterized by higher value added and knowledge intensive activities. As identified by Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak’s Economic Transformation Program, these policy shifts also provide good opportunities for Islamic finance to also develop products which meet the needs of these growth areas. Indeed, in the 2012 budget, Najib, who is also Malaysia’s finance minister, outlined several opportunities for the Islamic finance industry including further incentives for certain types of sukuk origination, support for SMEs, for venture capital and the housing industry. (Source: Arab News)




Fuel scarcity and renewable energy option for South-South The fuel crisis in Nigeria proves the truism that no government ever voluntarily pursues the public good without some form of struggle by the governed. It ought not to be so, writes Fidelis Allen.

Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke


he Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, announced on its 7:00am network news of 14 February, 2012, perhaps, as a Valentine gift to the people of Rivers state, that the nearly four days of painful experience of staying without fuel for transportation and power generating sets in homes and businesses, now waiting for full deregulation of the power sector before seeing electricity, is the result of conflict between Eleme youths and petroleum tanker drivers. The intensity of the scarcity and the attendant pain to road users and households clearly speak volumes about the existing huge vacuum in governance, with regards to responsiveness of government to the plight of poor Nigerians, who often are the victims of the greed and evil of fossil fuel politics and conflict. It speaks volumes about how few decision makers can influence selfserving decisions that bring pain to the generality of Nigerians without themselves considering the outcome on their sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers and so on. It portrays a country without adequate

enforcement of relevant laws and rules for the good of citizens. It further exposes how enslaved Nigerians are to hydrocarbon, when alternative renewable energy sources such as solar and wind can be explored, at least to take care of household energy needs of cooking, electricity and so on. As I drove out this morning to drop my kids in school with barely four litres of fuel which I bought yesterday at N2, 200, the sight of people standing and waiting at bus stops for commercial vehicles endlessly to take them to work, market, school or so, reminded me of what I heard one of my lecturers say during my undergraduate days at university as a young political science student. ‘In the history of governance world-wide, no government has ever voluntarily pursued the public good without some form of struggle by the governed.’ On a daily basis, this seems to be playing out globally with governments as those in positions of authority have a tendency to neglect the people and their pain until they cry out. It ought not to be so. The story goes that Eleme youths have issues with the tanker drivers. Conflict is

part of human life, which requires ingenuity and wisdom to tackle. The general good should be uppermost in the minds of those in such conflicts, knowing that conflicts are capable of resulting in massive losses for the economy and Nigerians. Even more important is the question of what relevant governmental authorities do

NNPC Mega filling station

when such conflicts escalate to the point of not only threatening the peace of the nation but also become an instrument of politicking in the hands of those involved in dangerous fuel or petroleum distribution politics. Already, the crisis has hit nearly all the states in the Niger Delta, South-South of

Nigeria, where claims by the government of massive development of gas gathering projects are being utilised for provision of electricity. Ironically, many homes have remained basically without electricity, which would have lessened the effect of the current scarcity by heating water and cooking with it. Life for the average citizen in this part of the country in the last four days has been unbearable. The cost of local transportation has gone up very high beyond what even the N18,000 minimum wage offered workers in Nigeria can afford. Already, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics announced on radio today as having declared current poverty rates in Nigeria to be at 69 percent. This is likely to increase by the end of

2012. Imagine life without energy. But what type of energy? Oil, coal, natural gas are principal hydrocarbons with demonic qualities. They are responsible for the current global climate change and attendant

problems; corruption in governance and malgovernance of many oil exporting countries; are responsible for the delay in renewable energy policies that privilege alternative sources of power from solar and wind, especially at the

Already, the crisis has hit nearly all the states in the Niger Delta, South-South of Nigeria, where claims by the government of massive development of gas gathering projects are being utilised for provision of electricity

A fuel tanker

micro levels of households of the poor. Minor issues of cooking and heating of water can comfortably be handled with such alternative energy. Even the so-called natural gas, which the Nigerian government is developing, is another promoter of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, all natural gas is incidental to oil and cannot be free from flares that pollute the earth. The stories, therefore, about reduction in flares from gas gathering projects may be true only to an extent. Worse, hydrocarbons are not renewable and are depleting, even if it takes an unpredictable number of years to happen. Following the current federal government’s reforms

in the power sector, states are now to generate electricity, which the private sector can distribute. This provides ample opportunity for states like Rivers State to start using their resources to develop infrastructure for alternative energy from solar and wind. Nigeria boasts of massive availability of sun and wind yet to be explored and

exploited for the benefit of the good people of the state, especially in rural areas. It may be expensive but remains the best option to start moving away from fossil fuel addiction. The government can provide the ground for the private sector to get involved by initiating investments in manufacture of solar panels and other resources for

Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers state

engaging with those with facilities for exploring these energy sources. With many households depending on solar energy for cooking and heating of water, at least, pressure for fossil and wood fuel as well as the unruly behaviour of some actors in the petroleum sector would have been reduced. (Source: Pambazuka News)



Mass marriages: Not without problems Allah says: “And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Sâlihûn (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they be poor, Allâh will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allâh is AllSufficent for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people).”[an-Nur: 32]


n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, is His servant, and messenger. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. The institution of marriage is as old as man himself. The first couple or family was Adam and Hauwa’u, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon them. Thus, marriage is a noble and honourable institution. Allah says: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to Deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to Deal justly (with them), then only one, or (A captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.”[an-Nisa’i: 3] In the beginning of the world, the procedures of marriage were different from what obtains today. This happened because of the population was very small. However, as the human race began to increase and the women folk began to out number the males, the trend took different dimension=on so as to reduce the numerous social problems which accompanied high population of women; fornication, adultery, drugs, armed robbery and all the vices and evils that usually come with it. The number of women in the world surpasses that of men. The remaining is a outcome of men dying in wars, violent crimes, car, air and train accidents, and women surviving them. The upsurge in homosexuality especially in West and so-called developed nations further increases the problem. There are also the problems of poverty, illiteracy and the spate gender violence in many homes. Mr. Bertrand Russell a social Philosopher wrote, “And in all countries where there is an excess of women, it is an obvious injustice that those women who, by arithmetical necessity, must remain unmarried should be wholly debarred from sexual experience.” Polygamy, then, is

the only responsible solution for Unlike Nigeria where the case is young bachelors, incurring all wedding ever was organized in this predicament. the opposite; both marriage and the wedding expenses including which 1, 600 young couples tied Thus, a unified marriage divorce are not only very cheap sets of chairs, bed and beddings the knot! This time the mass ceremony is a great way-out for but also rampant. A man can and kitchen utensils. The wedding was also unprecedented poor and weak families to marry in the morning, and nikkahs were solemnized by in the history of human race;all reducing the K h a d i m - i - the grooms are orphans! laden social Haram-i-Nabawi Explaining the reason for the cum cultural M a d i n a t u l event, the organizer Abdul burdens that M u n a w a r a h Rajeh explained. “Orphans have usually make Imam bin Husain a really hard time getting n o r m a l bin Ali Zainul married as they don’t have the m a r r i a g e Abidin, who was financial support of a father or solemnization also the chief strong guardian to help them By Husain Zakariyya possible or guest at the with the dowry.”The event was Yawale t i m e l y . occasion. The organized by the Orphans Consequently, cleric at the end Charitable Organization and +234-8052952900 (sms only) the trend of also led a prayer sponsored by the Custodian of collective for the prosperity the two holy Mosques, King matrimonial is Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. of the couples. growing in countries like Yemen, cheaply What I am trying to bring to divorces in the In Pakistan the story is the India, Japan, Jordan, China, afternoon without recourse to same;several young couples light are as many tangible Iran, Palestine, South Korea, the consequence. It is as easy as were assisted to fulfill their examples of similar events Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, that here in Naija! marital obligations in a well around the world as possible, in Afghanistan and now Nigeria. Therefore, the case could be attended mass wedding. Dr order to compare and contrast, However, there are said to be completely different Shahid Mahmood,who is the so that beneficial experiences can differences between what is when compared with other chief organizer and the director serve as handy reference. obtained in the rest of the countries. Their problem is not of Minhaj Welfare Foundation, Therefore, the Kano project of countries around the world. as a result of rampant divorcees; the said that widespread poverty mass wedding with be properly While the rest of the world unify their problem is the capability and old-fashioned social analyzed in the shade of the only first timers youths because to incur wedding expenditure! traditions had made it Shari’ah to further fine tune they cannot incur all the In Afghanistan early this unbearable for the poor parents both the procedures during the expenses involved in wedding year, mass wedding was to marry off their daughters, ceremony and during the celebrations and expensively organized by an NGO by the especially as at when due. scrutiny before eligibility of the In Yemen, the largest mass couples, in sha Allah! furnished apartments which name, Madinah Foundation for usually consume huge amount of money, as well as time. So, NGOs sometimes supported by the government agencies organize to off-set the expenses of bridal ceremonials, in addition to marriage gifts, only. But in the case of the kano project, the marital couples are all widows and divorcees. One other important aspect of the operability of Islam is the making of espousing more than one wife at time as an effective antidote to further reduces societal social problems, honourably regarded an act of worship.Accordingly, Islamic polygamy addresses threateningsocial problems of prostitution and extramarital affairs very common in the Western societies. Instead of cheating or infidelity permission has been granted to for the second, the third and finally the fourth, all for the reason to reducing social menaces because adultery is one of the principal reasons for divorce in the West. Islam allows a man to marry more than one wife, with full recognition of the rights of both of them. The basic principle in Islam is that men are held responsible for their behaviour towards their wives, just as women are responsible for their behavior towards husbands. The relationship must not only be reciprocal, but affectionate. Hence, numerous families due to economic reasons, usually supported by NGOs, choose Mass weddings so that the entire cost of the celebration can be equally shared, thereby tremendously reducing the financial liability to a tolerable least. In Arab countries most especially, marriage expenditure is very exorbitant and demanding as well. Weddings are pricey and bachelors have to pay their fiancée’s family huge amount of money to marry their daughter. A Muslim couple in the Philippines wait for the start of a mass wedding




s relative peace returns to Jos, the capital of Plateau State, the residents are now feeling more relaxed under the serene atmosphere that is gradually enveloping the city. Observers note with a sigh relief that business activities in Jos have picked up considerably, while the sparkling night life – one of the outstanding features of living in Jos — has gradually returned in most areas of the city. Over the years, Jos has been a tourist attraction, as the city is endowed with a very clement weather, a captivating rocky terrain, spiced with natural falls and wild life parks, as well as a colourful night life. At weekends, the city’s amusement park, the zoological gardens and relaxation “joints’’ had always been a beehive of activities, as Nigerians and foreigners kept streaming into the city to unwind. However, those are inalienable aspects of life in Jos some years ago but the spate of violence which rocked the city in the last six years almost grinded the allure of living in Jos to a halt. Concerned observers note that as a result of the protracted violence, many people refrained from visiting Jos while many residents migrated elsewhere in search of peace. The violence and its attendant effects engendered a lull and in more concrete terms, a halt, to the city’s economy, tourism and night life, they add. For instance, the Solomon Lar Amusement Park in Tudun Wada, the Wild Life Park on Ahmadu Bello Way, the Zarmaganda Youth Centre, and many other social centres, which were usually very busy at weekends, sooner became deserted as fear-stricken residents opted to remain indoors for fear of being caught in the web of violence. The situation was even worse during festivities such as Christmas and Sallah, as residents of the city tended to avoid religious gatherings because of justifiable fears that faceless assailants could use such periods to launch attacks on unsuspecting worshippers. The Jos Terminus Market, believed to be the largest market in West Africa, was burnt down during the crisis and the development somewhat crippled sales of Irish potatoes, apples and Acha grains in the neighbourhood. Dog meat markets were also affected by the lull in transactions, as they were deserted by both sellers and buyers of the special delicacy. However, a recent visit to Terminus Market revealed a gradual and steady restoration of business activities, as some shops had been re-constructed, while trading was now back in full sway. Some shops, restaurants, bars and banks in the city, which were shut during the peak of the crisis, have been reopened and have remained steadily in business for months. Mr Ikenna Uche, a textile dealer at Terminus Market, said that he rescinded his initial decision to relocate to another


Business activities, night life return to Jos

Street traders in Jos terminus market town because he was now enjoying an increase in patronage. “I was initially contemplating moving to another town because the crisis in Jos seriously affected my business. In fact, I have relocated my family members. However, life is back to Jos and peace seems to have returned. “There used to be so many nogo areas in the city but nowadays, I can go to everywhere I want,’’ he said. Ibrahim Tanko, who sells watches and jewelries in the same market, shared similar sentiments. “More people now visit my shop and business is thriving. By God’s grace, we will soon forget about the crisis in our town,’’ he said. Tanko, however, said that he never contemplated relocating from Jos even in the heat of the crisis. “I decided to stay put in Jos because there is no place in Nigeria that has not had its share of crises. Today it is Jos, tomorrow it may be Bauchi, Kano, Onitsha or Maiduguri. So, there is no place one can consider totally crisesfree. “Nevertheless, we should all put heads together and work for a lasting peace in Jos so that business can thrive. There used to be a steady influx of people into Jos and I believe that the city will experience a meaningful growth once there is peace,’’ he said. Hotel owners in Jos are also celebrating the return of patronage after several years of dormancy. Mr Maurice Yenvel, the Vice-

Chairman of Hotel Owners Association in Jos, noted that hotels were now recording increased patronage, recalling that many hotel workers were retrenched during the crisis owing to lack of patronage. “For instance, my hotel had about 180 employees but I had to sack over half of the workers to enable me to pay salaries and settle other bills. “With the return of peace, organisations now hold seminars and workshops in hotels, a situation that was not possible before.’’ Yenvel said that hotel owners were now working toward the acquisition of new security equipment like scanners, Close Circuit Television (CCTV), among others, to safeguard hotels against attacks. He, however, urged the federal and state governments to work toward the sustenance of peace, saying that the increase in the number of guests in the city’s hotels was an indication that economic activities in Jos were picking up. The re-emergence of traffic jams on the intra-city roads is even considered to be a sign that life is fast returning to Jos. “Those who were in Jos during the protracted crises would attest to the fact that the streets then looked like football fields. However, the situation is now different, as the roads host long traffic queues in all parts of the town,’’ said Emmanuel Zira, a resident of Jenta Adamu. “Although I hated the crisis, I enjoyed driving in the town during the period because there was no gridlock,’’ he said, recalling

that traffic officers were almost jobless then, as there was no traffic for them to control. Zira, nonetheless, urged the Plateau State Government to reconstruct the city’s roads into dual carriageways, while building overhead bridges on some of the highways as to tackle the growing menace of gridlock in Jos. To Salisu Ibrahim, a commercial bus driver, the traffic jams on the city’s roads is a bittersweet situation. “I suffer the ‘go-slow’ but I equally enjoy increased patronage from commuters. I spend more than an hour at peak periods from Bukuru to Terminus, a journey that should normally take less than 30 minutes. “But I have no reason to complain because I usually pick and drop passengers at every point,’’ he added. Sharing similar sentiments, Gyang Hwere, another commercial bus driver, said that he had been making brisk business with the rising influx of people into the town. “There were times that I barely made up to N400 a day but currently, I make an average of N1,500, especially now that the restriction placed on hours of operation has been relaxed,’’ he said. Mr Dominic Nwafor, a businessman, noted that economic activities in Jos had started to experience a positive turn-around, particularly as banks now remained open for the people to transact business without any hindrance. “Banks were rendering skeletal services during the crises, some usually closed work by noon.

But they now remain open throughout the day and that’s good for business,’’ he said. A manager of one of the banks, who preferred anonymity, conceded that a major problem facing banks at the moment was how to manage the increasing number of customers trooping in for transactions. “If I tell you that we are not doing well now; I am lying,’’ he added. Expectedly, the rise in economic activities in Jos has positively impacted on the fortunes of the state’s revenue generation outfit. Dr Rauta Jat, the Chairman of Plateau State Board of Internal Revenue, said that the average monthly revenue profile of the state at the moment peaked at N300 million. “We used to generate about N100 million per month but there has been a significant improvement of more than 100 per cent. This is very encouraging.’’ She, nonetheless, attributed the feat to hard work, honesty and dedication of the staff, and above all, “the relative peace in the state’’. Mr Lawal Gusau, the Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service, Jos Zonal Area Command, also attested to the rising wave of economic activities in Jos due to the cessation of hostilities and violence. “The crises in Plateau State adversely affected the command’s revenue drive, but things are picking up if you look at the new figures we are getting,’’ Gusau told a news conference recently. Source: NAN



Budget 2012 (6) - Failing police, failing state Contd. from Page 48 officers possess adequate levels of education, training, kitting, technical competence and operational capacity to discharge their lawful functions. There is very little debate whether our police possess these. They do not, so making the ratio has little meaning. The Nigeria Police Force is operationally organized under the command of the IGP at national level, and under a Commissioner of Police (CP) of that state at state level. At the Headquarters, the IGP has six deputies - DIGs reporting to him each heading a department: A Administration, B - Operations, C - Works, D - Investigation/ Intelligence, E - Training, and F Research and Planning. There are also 12 zonal commands headed by Assistant IGs, covering the entire country, and 37 CPs for each state and FCT reporting to the zonal AIGs. Assistant CPs head 123 area commands nationwide while Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) head the 1,115 police divisions, which in turn oversee the police districts, 5,515 police stations and 5,000 police posts. There are other specialized units and branches of the Police Force including marine police (now made redundant illegally by Tompolo’s maritime security deal), Air Wing, railway, forensic, Police Mobile Force (PMF), mounted troops, dogs and veterinary services, and the Motor

Traffic Division. The current situation of the Nigeria Police in our national life is too well-known to every citizen, but needs restating. I will reproduce the exact words of the new IGP M. D. Abubakar in his maiden address to senior police officers in the country recently, which I think articulates where the Police is today so courageously and frankly. (The) police force has fallen to its lowest level…Police duties have become commercialized and provided at the whims and caprices of the highest bidder… Our police stations, state CID

teams engaging in deals for land as speculators and debt collectors. Toll stations in the name of checkpoints adorn our highways with policemen shamefully collecting money from motorists in full glare. Police connive with suspects to turn against complainants and investigations are usually not conducted unless those involved pay money to the police. Justice has been perverted, peoples’ rights denied, innocent souls committed to prison, torture and extra judicial killings perpetrated and so many people arbitrarily detained in our cells

We are all hopeful that IGP Abubakar will implement a medium term reform programme to address these operational ills. In this regard, he will have no shortage of help from committee reports and white papers to recommendations of civil society organizations like the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN). and operations offices have become business centres and collection points for rendering returns from all kinds of squads and teams set up for the benefit of superior officers. Our special anti-robbery squads (SARS) have become killer

because they cannot afford the illegal bail monies we demand. Illegalities thrive under your watchful eyes because you have compromised the very soul of our profession. Our respect is gone and the Nigerian public has lost even the slightest confidence in the

ability of the police to do any good thing. These observations by the nation’s top cop are unprecedented in the honesty and conviction with which they were expressed. We are therefore all hopeful that IGP Abubakar will implement a medium term reform programme to address these operational ills. In this regard, he will have no shortage of help from committee reports and white papers to recommendations of civil society organizations like the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN). The various committee reports include that of former IGPs chaired by MD Yusuf (1994), Vision 2010 (1996), Tamuno on National Security (2001), Danmadami (2006), MD Yusuf (2008) and the most recent one under Parry Osayande (2012). As NOPRIN observed correctly, what is needed is not another committee but the will, resources and freedom to implement what has already been studied, recommended and accepted by government. We will go into some of these recommendations in some detail next week. The total expenditure on the police sub-sector - the Ministry of Police Affairs, the Police Pension Office, the Nigeria Police Force, the Police Service Commission and the federal contribution to the Police Reform Fund will cost the Nigerian treasury some N331 billion in 2012 - about the budget of the Ministry of Defence, but

excluding military pensions, internal operations and armed forces death benefits for 76,000 personnel. While we spend an average of N1.6 million per soldier, N9.8 million per sailor and N7.1 million per airman and woman, we spend about N0.87 million per police personnel - about half of what we spend on our soldier. The running cost of each naval staff is equal to that of twelve policemen, and each airman is nine times as important as a policeman. This spending priority suggests that we are more worried about non-existent external threats than the domestic insecurity challenges we face every day - something which not many Nigerians will agree with. We will pause here to continue a more detailed analysis next week of the budget of the Police sub-sector, and the various recommendations to reform and remake this very vital national institution to perform its functions. On Boko Haram and many matters, the Police has failed the nation recently, true. But the Nigerian state has also failed the Police and the State itself is failing as a result. Is the condition of one the cause of the other? How did our once effective and proud Nigeria Police come to be viewed in 2006, as the most corrupt institution in Nigeria? What can we all do to make the police our friend again? We will look more closely at these issues and a bit more next week, by God’s Grace.



Father freed to care for five children is finally jailed A

father of five who was released from jail after arguing that a sentence for burglary breached his human rights was sent back to prison today for assault. Wayne Bishop, 34, was jailed for eight months for assaulting a man in a Spar shop in Aspley, Nottinghamshire. The assault took place less than a month after the court of appeal reduced his eight-month sentence for burglary and dangerous driving to a 24-month suspended sentence last May. Sentencing him at Nottingham Crown Court today, Judge Michael Stokes QC said: ‘I’m afraid, Mr Bishop,

you have to learn that other people have rights apart from you. ‘We all have the right not to have our homes and premises burgled. We all have the right to walk in the street without fear of being attacked. ‘The rights that are set out by the Human Rights Act in the European Convention are not to be produced like the ace of trumps to avoid a prison sentence.’ Bishop was originally jailed for eight months last April after admitting a burglary at Mansfield rugby club and an offence of dangerous driving in 2010. But he argued that the judgment was a breach of his human rights and not enough consideration was given

Back in jail: Burglar Wayne Bishop celebrating his release last year with his five children and is pictured with a 'world's best dad' mug to the plight of his five children, the youngest being seven and the oldest 13. In May, the Court Of Appeal in London ruled his prison sentence should be suspended. But just three weeks after his release from prison, Bishop assaulted David Parsons in a Spar store in Aspley, Nottinghamshire, on June 9. Following a trial at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last month, Bishop was found guilty of assault and of breaching the suspended sentence and committed to Crown Court for sentence today. Bishop was convicted after CCTV of the attack was shown in court. The judge said today was his 17th

Wayne Bishop, 34, arrives at Nottingham Crown Court, where he was jailed for eight months for assaulting a man in a Spar shop

Wayne Bishop's niece Sherrie McKinley (right) with other family members (names not given) as she made a statement outside court yesterday

appearance in court and his fourth for breaching an order. Summing up today, Judge Stokes said: ‘It is clear to me this man was a targeted victim of an attack by two, which happened in a public place.’ Bishop, wearing a black and red puffa jacket, waved to friends and family in the public gallery as he was led away. Outside court his niece Jade McKinley read out a statement on behalf of Bishop’s sister Sherrie McKinley, who has six children. ‘As a family we are not condoning the way Wayne has dealt with the situation. People don’t know the full situation. He was trying to protect his niece and has ended up back in court.

‘Perhaps if as children we’d have had the right upbringing and guidance instead of our father being in and out of jail all our childhood life, Wayne would have been able to think before his actions. ‘Instead he follows our father’s footsteps and gets with the wrong partners. ‘I truly feel it for his children and the effect people not having the facts and all the media is having on his children.’ Bishop’s brother Robert Wheelhouse was among those in the public gallery today. Wheelhouse was jailed for four months at Nottingham Crown Court last April after he was convicted of being involved in the burglary with Bishop in 2010, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman confirmed today. He appeared back alongside Bishop at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court in July last year where they both denied assaulting Mr Parsons, the spokesman added. Today, Nottingham Crown Court heard how the CCTV footage showed Wheelhouse holding Mr Parsons in a headlock while Bishop, from Clifton, Nottingham, appeared to punch his victim in the face during the attack in the Spar last June. Wheelhouse was found guilty of assault at the magistrates’ court last week and told he must comply with a number of requirements to avoid further action. He was handed a three-month curfew, which began on February 16 and is due to end on May 15. Under this he is bound to remain at the address he gave to the court between 8pm and 8am, a court clerk said. Wheelhouse will be electronically monitored through a tagging device and must also attend regular supervisionary appointments, she added. Source:



David Beckham looks chuffed as he meets ‘the great man’ Muhammad Ali at his 70th birthday party


e is one of the most famous footballers in the world, but even David Beckham is capable of getting stars truck. The 36-year-old star looked extremely honoured when he met boxing legend Muhammad Ali last weekend. The father-of-four had been invited to the star’s 70th birthday celebrations at the Power of Love Gala in Las Vegas along with a whole host of famous faces. Meeting Ali was clearly a special moment for David, so much so that he posted a photo of the unforgettable moment on his Facebook page. ‘Here is a shot of me meeting the great man, an honour,’ was the caption he wrote to accompany the shot that sees him shaking Ali’s hand as he enjoys his party at a table with his family. David had clearly made a lot of effort for the party and arrived wearing a smart dark suit, a white shirt and slicked his hair back into his usual style. The LA Galaxy player addressed the crowd when he introduced singer Stevie Wonder to the stage - who had flown straight from Whitney Houston’s funeral in New Jersey. However, Stevie wasn’t the only

Memorable moment: David Beckham posted this photo on his Facebook page of him meeting Muhammad Ali last weekend star there who treated Ali to a song as Kelly Rowland also belted out

some of her hits. The X Factor judge arrived at the event wearing a show-stopping, floor length pink gown that showed off her slender figure. Later she took to the stage again and performed in a yellow minidress and then a one-shouldered, gold gown. Other musicians in attendance included Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Neyo and Lenny Kravitz -with some of them also entertaining the 2,000 guests. Actors Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Hopkins and Tony Danza also came along and showed their support at the Gala. Ali suffers from Parkinson’ disease and the event was expected to raise millions of dollars for charity. A portion of the proceeds from the event went to Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health, which treats Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple sclerosis and

other disorders of memory, movement and mood. The gala also raised money for the Muhammad Ali Centre, a cultural and educational centre in Louisville, Kentucky. A set of gloves Ali used to defeat Floyd Patterson in 1965 in Las Vegas - the first heavyweight title fight in Sin City - sold for $1.1million. The gloves came with one of the original posters used to promote the fight, which had Ali’s chosen name as a subscript to Cassius Clay, the name he was born with. When Ali converted to Islam, many people resisted calling him by his new name. Earlier in the evening, Ali entered the room and sat at a table with his family before bidding began on the gloves. Lorenzo Fertitta, the billionaire majority owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship, won the gloves, which organisers had said earlier

they hoped would fetch $500,000. NFL great Jim Brown said Ali represents the greatest of America, because at one time people only recognized his athletic ability and didn’t like what he had to say. That changed over time, he said. ‘America started with slavery and ended up with a black president,’ Brown said. ‘Muhammad Ali was a part of that ... a big part.’ Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, told the star-studded crowd that her husband’s greatest wish has always been to inspire and help others. She said he feels that his life really began when he retired from the ring. ‘Muhammad’s gift of inspiration is timeless, and now more relevant than ever,’ she said after being introduced by music icon Quincy Jones. Lonnie Ali introduced a video montage of her husband’s life, including clips from his work with children. ‘People look for miracles, people look for wonders, people expect surprises of all kinds,’ Ali said in the video. ‘Yet the greatest wonder, the greatest miracle, the greatest surprise is to be found in one’s heart.’ Other guests arriving on the red carpet included former NFL player Franco Harris, supermodel Cindy Crawford, Ali’s children and grandchildren and Chuck Wepner, who fought Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title and lost. ‘I would go anywhere in the world for Muhammad Ali’s birthday,’ Wepner said. One of Ali’s daughters, Rasheda Ali, said the gala is a chance for friends, family and A-list celebrities who look up to her father to show their respect for his life and legacy as a humanitarian. In return, she said he’ll be honoured to see them there. ‘He has not left that need to help others,’ Rasheda said. ‘That’s one of his core values - his charity and his giving.’ The gala - with tickets starting at $1,500 per plate - was held at the MGM Grand, the site of most of boxing’s major fights the past two decades. Source:

Showing his support: Footballer David Beckham helped celebrate Ali's birthday

Honouring a legend: Kelly donned a gold dress as she performed in front of a picture of Muhammad Ali

Music men: Snoop Dogg, Neyo and Lenny Kravitz all travelled to Sin City to show their support



How Nasser shaped the Arab Spring (II)

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



s president of the UAR, Nasser placed loyal members of his regime in top posts in Syria and implemented the same policies he had in Egypt. The poor political structure set up by Nasser often left unfamiliar Egyptians running Syria, much to the chagrin of Syrian leaders, especially those of the Baath. Most significantly, Nasser outlawed all political parties, including the Baath Party, leaving it with unexpectedly little power. Growing unrest within the military finally led to a coup and Syrian secession from the UAR; for the following two years, the country was led by democratically elected representatives. When a second military coup placed the Baath in power in 1963, Syria's democratic experiments were forgotten, as well as the original ideologies of the party. Michel Aflaq and other Baath founders were exiled, and the party used divisive tactics to keep the population under control. Gamal Abdel Nasser himself criticised Hafez al-Assad, who was minister of defense before becoming president, for his use of sectarianism to divide the population and grant favours to Baath loyalists (with all of his administrative flaws, few would argue that Nasser was corrupt). The Baath was able to exert complete control on the population through the use of institutions either directly put in place by Nasser or indirectly inspired by his example.

Developments over the past several decades have rendered Nasser's pan-Arab philosophies absent on a political level, yet the institutions and mechanisms of rule that he established in Egypt and Syria remain. In some case, institutions have become less severely repressive, while in others abuse of government tools is more rampant. While many tolerated this sort of repression under Nasser for the sake of greater goals, a loss of clear ideological principles on part of the governments, aside from the retention of power, has elucidated the dangers of allowing for the excessive granting of power to a single institution. While Arab peoples have a doubtless impact on one another (the Arab Spring has proven the undeniable strength of pan-Arabism on a social level), the intertwined history of Egypt and Syria gives the relationship an added layer. Both the people and governments of these two countries have been and continue to be influenced by

one another throughout the revolutions. The influence that the Egyptian and Syrian governments have had on one another, due in part to similarly rooted institutions, is less often noticed. The strength of their militaries due to centralised power, state control over media and the systematic weakening of political parties - have allowed both the Assad regime of Syria and SCAF of Egypt to continue to exert control over their countries. Ironically, al-Assad praised the Egyptian Revolution when it started, claiming that the case of Syria was not like Egypt; First Lady Asmaa al-Assad asserted that Syria had recognised the need for reform long ago and had already begun, that Syrians were not as "desperate" as Egyptians. As horrific scenes of military brutality emerge from cities across of Syria, the Egyptian state media looks on with horror, ignoring the undeniable resemblance between the two countries,


The progress of the revolutions in both Egypt and Syria leaves much at stake. There is a burden on Egyptians to create formidable democratic institutions, not only for their own sake, but to set an example for their Arab neighbours.

just as the Assads had done months before. Unrestrained military The complete power that the Syrian and Egyptian militaries hold has allowed them to act in an unrestrained manner. The Egyptian military, unlike that of Syria, had no modern history of direct use of force against civilians until recent months. When Mubarak stepped down in February of 2011, there was no precedent for Egypt to look towards but the Tunisian Revolution and the quick exit of President Zine elAbidine Ben Ali. But since SCAF has been in power, another alternative has presented itself: the Syrian case and the Assad regime's perception that a war of attrition can be successfully waged against protesters. The Egyptian military first directly used violence against civilians in October of 2011, when tanks literally crushed protesters in front of Maspero, the state media building. Since then, the military has continued to use force against protests using a brutality that is similar (though on a much smaller scale) to that with which the Syrian military has addressed civilians since the first signs of an uprising in March. The Syrian government seems to hold a conviction that any sign of opposition can be completely wiped out, a conviction that is perhaps rooted in its successful silencing of the rebellious Muslim Brotherhood through the massacre of tens of thousands of Hama residents in 1982. SCAF has since followed in similar naivete, mimicking the Syrian regime in acts that range from painting over graffiti to using live ammunition on protesters. The recent Port Said

massacre, in which an estimated 74 soccer fans were killed in just a few hours, showed a government brutality that Egyptians had not seen under Mubarak or his predecessors. Just like the Nasser regime had, the Egyptian and Syrian governments have both recognised the value of media control. When the revolution began in Egypt, the Maspero building was one of the first to be guarded by the military. In Syria, exiles say that protesting in front of the state media building would be suicidal. Media of both countries have often echoed one another: isolating protesters by labelling them as thugs and foreign agents, blaming economic instability and deficits in security on protesters, and warning of an Islamist takeover as the only possible alternative are mechanisms that both regimes continue to use in uncanny similarity. Both governments have used thugs to wreak havoc and focussed disproportionate media attention on such cases as to give the people an ultimatum between chaos and dictatorship. While the youth of both countries' use of available tools to rally support has been remarkable, the failure of the opposition to complete their revolutions may be associated with the weakness of opposing political parties that have been banned or strictly limited since the Nasser era. The current unimpressive composition of Egypt's parliament, in terms of both diversity and quality, is a reflection of the past 60 years under military rule. It is in consideration of such circumstances that Bashar alAssad's recent announcement expediting a referendum on a constitution that would allow for a multi-party system could have been significant was it not far too late for such a concession. The UAR and its dominant political ideologies and structures have left several lessons for today's ongoing revolutions. The dangers of allowing any power to go unchecked, however lofty its goals may seem, have been made all too clear by these countries' recent history. In both Egypt and Syria, nascent democratic institutions were once destroyed in favour of popular ideologies, resulting in a long-term detriment to the people. The progress of the revolutions in both Egypt and Syria leaves much at stake. There is a burden on Egyptians to create formidable democratic institutions, not only for their own sake, but to set an example for their Arab neighbours. The burden falls on Syrians to end the bloodshed and hold those responsible accountable, again not only for the sake of all those who suffer from the Syrian military's brutality, but also to make it clear to the Egyptian government that their aggression will not go unanswered. Concluded Source: Aljazeera



Tensions build ahead of Senegal vote

Envoy explains Nigeria’s participation in London confab on Somalia


r Dalhatu Tafida, Nigeria's High Commissioner to the UK, said on Thursday that Nigeria's participation at the London International Conference on Somalia would afford it the opportunity to exchange information on tackling terrorism and piracy. The Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Goodluck Jonathan and 51 other world leaders are attending a one-day conference aimed at coming up with a coordinated response to instability in Somalia. ``The Somalian Conference will afford Nigeria the opportunity to exchange information and strategies in tackling the menace of piracy in the two regions of Africa,'' Tafida told newsmen in London. He said there were ``unconfirmed suspicions'' that members of Boko Haram drew their inspiration, if not support from al-Shabab and similar terrorists organisations including al-Qeada in the Maghreb-Sahel region. ``From a purely security point of view therefore, it is in Nigeria's national interest to participate in any political initiative aimed at restoring peace, stability and development in Somalia,'' the envoy said. He explained further that Nigeria's participation was consistent with its African policy and a reflection of the country's leadership role in the continent. ``In pursuit of Nigeria's foreign policy stance on peace building, peace keeping and resolution of disputes, which it has continued to pursue since independence, it should not be a surprise that Nigeria was invited to this conference,'' the envoy added. Tafida, who noted that Nigeria has been involved in Somalia since 1991 recalled that the it has granted asylum to Muhammed Siad Barre, the deposed President of Somalia, on purely humanitarian grounds in 1991 where he remained till his death in 1995. ``Nigeria also took part in the UN peace keeping force in Somalia in early 1990's and has supported the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),'' he added. Tafida said President Jonathan also had bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron where they discussed outstanding issues between the two countries including UK's support to Nigeria on tackling the current security challenges facing the country. Tafida said that during the talks, Cameron acknowledged the immense contributions of members of the Nigerian community to the development of the U. K.

Senegalese are expected to take to the polls at the end of the week, as tensions continue to mount [Reuters]


akar, Senegal - With just days to go before presidential and legislative elections are held in Senegal, tensions in the capital are reaching a crescendo as the country slips further into a political crisis. While it is business as usual for most in Dakar, an air of uncertainty hovers over the coastal city, the site of daily protests and demonstrations as opposition parties struggle for space to campaign for Sunday's elections. Obasanje Olusegun, the former Nigerian president, on an observer mission to the West African country, continued to meet opposition leaders on Thursday in a bid to find a solution to their resolve that Abdoulaye Wade, the incumbent president, is not legible to run for a third term. The Senegalese constitution prohibits incumbent presidents from serving more than two terms, but the country's highest court, the constitutional council, validated

Wade's candidacy on January 27, saying that his first term did not count since it came before the twoterm limit was introduced. The court's decision has outraged many Senegalese citizens, resulting in a series of demonstrations and clashes between opposition supporters and police services. The M23 movement, an umbrella grouping of activists, opposition leaders and youth called the ruling "a constitutional coup". The Ministry of Interior has banned rallies at Independence Square, and conducted a severe crackdown on opposition rallies in various parts of the city. It is a move that prompted Idrissa Seck, a leading opposition candidate, to describe Senegal to Al Jazeera, as a "dictatorship". Earlier in the week, protesters marched through Avenue William Ponty, close to Independence Square, singing and chanting: "He should go!

He must go! He has to go!" in reference to President Wade. Protesters waved Senegalese flags and held up placards reading ''Rend Toi" ("You have to surrender" in French), and "Na Deem" ("Must go" in Wolof) and "Wade D'ena" ("Wade is dead" in Wolof) and calling for a "Senegalese revolution", under the watchful eye of a thick security presence. In a crowd dominated by young males, one older protester in his 40s, told Al Jazeera that he was at the rally to support the M23 movement against "President Wade's attempt to put his son in power". Wade is widely believed to be grooming his son, Karim Wade, a powerful government minister, as his preferred successor. Another younger demonstrator screamed: "We are tired, we are tired of his policies and wastage of funds!" The crowd dispersed when riot police used grenade launchers to fire

tear gas canisters into the crowd, prompting a stand-off between rockwielding demonstrators and armed security forces. Clashes between security forces and protesters have already resulted in at least six deaths, according to an official toll, though others suggest that the number has crept up to 10 deaths, since the constitutional council validated Wade's candidacy. While the African Union delegation through the leadership of Olusegun have tried to address the crisis, analysts say it is difficult to see past the political stalemate. "It is a stalemate. On one hand, Wade is obstinate and is at least 90years-old, meaning that if he wins we would have a president that would finish his term at 97-years-old," Arame Tall, a researcher at John Hopkins University-Sais, told Al Jazeera. Wade is officially 85 years old but is rumoured to be older.

Algeria, Libya set aside row to tackle security


orth African neighbours Libya and Algeria are to exchange high-level visits in an attempt to re-launch cooperation in fighting arms trafficking and Islamist insurgents in the Sahara desert. Security ties had been effectively on hold since the revolt last year which ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule in Libya, because of disputes

between Algeria and Libya's new leadership. Cooperation between the two countries is a crucial component in trying to stop arms smugglers and insurgents, including al Qaeda, using the Sahara desert as a safe haven - a problem made worse by the instability following Gaddafi's fall. Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia told Reuters

his Libyan counterpart Fawzi Abdel A'al would soon visit Algeria. "What is important in this issue is security on our borders and stability in Libya, because instability will have repercussions for us," Kablia said in an interview late on Tuesday. "We will soon welcome the Libyan interior minister, and likewise visits are also planned by

Algerian officials to Libya," Ould Kablia said. The Libyan interior minister confirmed that a meeting was planned with his Algerian opposite number. Abdel A'al, speaking to Reuters, said there was an agreement that Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia would visit Libya. He did not say when this would happen.

US threatens sanctions on Somali peace spoilers


S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday threatened sanctions against anyone blocking reforms intended to end Somalia's "hopeless, bloody conflict" and eradicate militant and pirate groups seen as a growing menace to world security. Addressing a conference aimed at energising attempts to

end more than 20 years of anarchy, Clinton also demanded greater efforts to cut financial support for the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group fighting the country's weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Al Shabaab is the most powerful of an array of militias spawned by 20 years of conflict in Somalia, where armed groups

have a history of wrecking attempted political settlements and perpetuating war, instability and famine. "The position of the United States is straightforward: Attempts to obstruct progress and maintain the broken status quo will not be tolerated," Clinton told the one-day gathering in London of about 40 African, Arab and

Western leaders and government ministers. "We will encourage the international community to impose further sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on people inside and outside the TFG who seek to undermine Somalia's peace and security or to delay or even prevent the political transition."



Many dead in wave of Iraq attacks A

series of bomb blasts and shootings in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq have killed at least 42 people and injured moer than 200 others, sources tell Al Jazeera. Iraq's parliament speaker blamed Al Qaeda, saying the attacks were an attempt to derail an Arab League summit planned for the end of March. "The terrorist Al Qaeda organisation is trying to send messages to its supporters that it is still operating on Iraqi soil, and that it has the capability to strike in the capital and the cities and both big and small regions," said a statement on the interior ministry's website. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from the Iraqi capital on Thursday, said the attacks included car bombs, roadside bombs seemingly targeting police, and gunmen opening fire on police patrols. "The blasts seemed to happen at almost the same time, in what are being seen as co-ordinated attacks," our correspondent said. "They happened in other cities as well as Baghdad," she said. "In Tikrit, Taji, and Hilla, and the common

denominator seems to be that they're all targeting Shia areas, and security installations." Two car bombs exploded in the mostly Shia Karada district in central Baghdad, killing two people and injuring at least 17 people, according to a police source. A parked car bomb in the Kadimiyah district of northeast Baghdad, seemingly targeting a chain of restaurants where people had gathered to eat breakfast, killed six people and injured another 15. In the Dora district, in the southwest of the city, two roadside bombs killed two people and injured 10 others. A gathering of police patrols at the Sarafiyah bridge in the north of Baghdad was targeted by unknown armed men, who killed six policemen, and injured three more. Reports claimed an explosion, possibly another car bomb, in the Mansour district in west Baghdad killed two people and injured five others. Beyond the Iraqi capital, a parked car bomb in the Dujail area in south Salah al Din province killed one civilian and injured seven others.

A string of attacks and explosions have rocked Iraq, hitting Baghdad, Tikrit, Taji, and Hilla [Reuters]

Pro-Putin rally draws tens of thousands


ens of thousands of people have packed into a football stadium for a campaign rally in support of Vladimir Putin, 10 days ahead of a presidential election in which Russia's prime minister is aiming to return to the country's top job. Putin, who served two terms as president between 2000 and 2008 before being appointed prime minister during Dmitry Medvedev's presidency, is expected to win the March 4 election. But he has faced outbursts of public discontent for the first time since his emergence as the country's dominant political figure 12 years ago, with an anti-Putin protest movement drawing tens of thousands to its rallies. Putin told supporters yesterday that he would not allow foreign powers to interfere in Russia's internal affairs and predicted victory in an ongoing battle over the country's future. "We will not allow anyone interfere

in our internal affairs," said Putin. "We will not allow anyone to impose their will on us. We have our own will and this has always helped us be victorious. We are a victorious nation. This is in our genes. This is in our genetic code." In a fiery, nationalist-tinged speech that had not been announced in advance, Putin thanked voters who would support him in the elections and repeatedly invoked past battles for Russia. "We will be victorious," claimed Putin. He then turned to the crowd and asked: "And I want to ask you. Will we be victorious?" The tens of thousands in the crowd roared back "Yes!" "The battle for Russia continues. Victory will be ours," he said. Police said 130,000 gathered at the 78,000-capacity stadium prior to Putin's arrival, according to Russia's RIA Novosti new agency.

Tens of thousands of Russians turned out to support Vladimir Putin at a rally held in the capital Moscow [Reuters]

US and North Korea resume nuclear talks


nvoys from the United States and North Korea have met in Beijing for their first talks on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme since the death of Kim Jong-il, the country's long-time leader. The discussions, which started yesterday, will be closely watched for signs of a more co-operative approach from North Korea, which stands to gain food and economic aid in return for taking steps to end its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Kim's death on December 17 last year stalled talks that officials said were close to concluding a deal on the US providing food aid in return for the suspension of uranium enrichment activities. "Today is, as we say, 'game day'.

We will have an opportunity to meet with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim and his team," Glyn Davies, the US envoy, said before the start of morning talks yesterdaywith Kim Kye Gwan at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing. The two will hold a second session of meetings yesterday afternoon at the US embassy. The talks in Beijing are the third round of negotiations since July, and are aimed at restarting wider six-nation disarmament talks, which also involve China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. Those talks have been suspended since 2009, when North Korea walked away from the table, and later exploded its second nuclear device.

Envoys will be meeting at the US and North Korean embassies in Beijing for two rounds of talks on Thursday [AFP]



Taliban urges Afghans to ‘kill invaders’ A t least three US soldiers have been killed in clashes in Afghanistan after the Taliban urged Afghans to target foreign troops in retaliation over reports that copies of the Quran were burnt at a NATO airbase, as protests continued for a third day. The US soldiers died in two separate incidents yesterday, according to the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Three US soldiers were also reported wounded by Afghan sources, although ISAF has not confirmed

the casualties. In a statement regarding one of the incidents, ISAF said a US soldier was killed in Nangarghar province when a man dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops. Two Afghans were also killed in the incident, while five Afghan protesters were reported dead elsewhere in the country. Earlier, the Taliban called on the Afghan people to "target the military bases of invader forces, their military convoys and their invader bases". The statement, issued via

Deadly blast in northwest Pakistan


powerful blast at a bus stand in the n o r t h w e s t e r n Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least 12 people, hospital officials have told Al Jazeera. Dozens more are said to have been wounded in the blast, they said, with at least 10 of them in a serious condition, doctors say. Ambulances are rushing to scene, located on the outskirts of the city, from Peshawar's main Lady Reading Hospital. Initial reports indicate that more than a dozen vehicles were destroyed in the powerful explosion, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported from Islamabad. Local TV footage showed at least half a dozen minibuses damaged or completely destroyed by the blast at the bus stand, which is located on the road that leads towards the garrison city of Kohat. Officials said there were many passengers present at the terminal when the bomb went off. "It was a car bomb blast ... we are investigating whether a suicide bomber

was involved or not," senior police official Kalam Khan told the AFP news agency. Bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik said 45 kilograms of explosives and mortar shells were packed into the car to maximise destruction when the timed device detonated. Rahim Jan, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital, said that a state of emergency had been declared by medical authorities. Several of the bodies, he said, were "charred beyond recognition". The blast badly damaged many of the vehicles waiting to transport passengers to various parts of the country. Some vehicles were blackened, and others were completely destroyed. Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, is located near the border with Pakistan's federally adminstered tribal areas, the main sanctuary for members of the Tehreeke-Taliban, a Pakistan-based group that has been at war with the government for the last five years.

email by a spokesman named Zabihullah Mujahid, also called on Afghans to give NATO troops "a lesson to never dare desecrate the holy Quran again". Despite telling the public to "not stop" at protests, Mujahid said the calls against foreign military forces would not affect the group's negotiations with US officials in Doha. "We condemn the desecration of the Holy Quran in the strongest terms, but this issue will not affect this process in Qatar," he said. Protesters once again took to

the streets of the nation to express their anger, following reports earlier in the week of the discovery by local labourers of charred copies of the Quran as they collected rubbish at the USrun Bagram airforce base in Parwan province. Protests continued in the Kart-e-Naw and Bagrami districts of Kabul, with several hundred turning out with banners reading "Long live Islam, long live the Quran". In Laghman province, over 600 people marched into the provincial capital of Mihtarlam

The Taliban have called on people to avoid injury to their fellow Afghans [Reuters]

Leaders gather in London for Somalia talks


orld leaders are meeting with members of the Somali government to coordinate efforts against piracy, poverty and famine, and to discuss the country's civil war. Forty countries are represented at yesterday's conference in London, and attendees include Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

Other participants at the conference include representatives from the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League, as well as the head of the breakaway Somaliland region. Opening the meeting, David Cameron, the British prime minister, said that Somalia's problems affected the entire world. "If the rest of us just sit back and look on, we will pay a price for doing so. So as

Passengers said windows exploded as the tops of train cars separated from their floors. The trains are usually packed with people standing between the seats, and many were thrown into each other and to the floor by the force of the crash. "People started to break windows and get out however they could," one survivor said. "Then I saw the engine destroyed and the train driver trapped among the steel. There were a lot of people hurt, a lot of kids, elderly." Many people with lesser injuries were waiting for attention on the station's platforms as helicopters and more than a dozen ambulances took the most seriously injured to nearby hospitals. The driver was among those taken to hospital for treatment,

said Ruben Sobrero, union chief on the Sarmiento line, the commuter rail service in the Argentine capital. Sobrero told local media that reports speculating the crash was caused by the train's inability to stop fast enough due to brake problems could not be verified. "This machine left the shop yesterday and the brakes worked well," he said. "From what we know, it braked without problems at previous stations. At this point I don't want to speculate about the causes." The Sarmiento rail line, owned by private company TBA, links the centre of Buenos Aires to a densely populated suburb 70 kilometres to the west of the city. It uses rolling stock made in Japan and acquired in the 1960s.

Dozens killed in Argentina train crash


t least 50 people are confirmed dead and more than 700 others injured in Argentina after a busy commuter train crashed into a barrier at a Buenos Aires station. The train came in too fast and hit the barrier at the end of a platform at Once station during Wednesday morning's rush hour, smashing the front of the engine and destroying the coaches behind it. "Never in my life had I seen anything like this," Juan Schiavi, Argentina's transportation secretary, told a news conference. "Cars piled up on top of each other and one them went six metres inside another car." In a statement, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner expressed "deep regret" over what she said was a "tragic

accident", sent condolences to the families of the victims and ordered two days of national mourning. The government also suspended carnival celebrations, including a massive parade planned in Buenos Aires today. Monica Yanakiev, a journalist at the scene of the train crash, told Al Jazeera, that the accident left many people trapped for hours amid the wreckage, with ambulances filling the streets. "There are three or four hospitals that are crowded with victims," said Yanakiev. The most damage occurred in the first coach, where passengers make space for bicycles. Survivors told the TeleNoticias television channel that many people were injured by metal and glass.

chanting "Death to America". Afghan sources said the protests in Laghman had turned violent and had been growing since the early hours of the morning. A police official speaking to the AFP news agency said thousands of protesters besieged the headquarters of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in the provincial capital. "People had come from all over Laghman. They attacked the PRT, they climbed up the walls, they set fire to something there, I think a container," the police official said.

an international community, it is in all our interests to try and help the Somali people address these problems," he said. Al-Shabab, a group of fighters who are fighting the Somali government, are not represented at the conference, and Abu Omar Abudurehman, an AlShabab commander, told Al Jazeera that if the conference results in "unwanted interference in Somalia" then it will lead to "an ugly turn of events". Clinton said that Somalia was at a "critical" moment, and that international community must step in to support the establishment of a stable central government, beyond its current transitional authority. Gatherings similar to Thursday's meeting in the past 20 years have resulted in many foreign commitments of aid, but in little progress on the ground, sceptics say. Cameron referred to past engagement as "sporadic and half-hearted". Britain, the country organising the conference, says the aim of the event is to galvanise policymakers' attention and to better co-ordinate a sometimes disjointed international response to Somalia's many challenges. The conference will not be examining the clan-based politics which affect several aspects of Somali life and play a role in everything from business and piracy to the distribution of humanitarian aid. Nevertheless, some analysts say that Somalis are expecting real progress to be made during the talks in London.



Legless break dancer from India I

f you thought break dancing was hard - imagine doing it with no legs. A 22-year-old Indian man, who was born handicapped following a birth defect, has become a star with his remarkable dance moves which put fourlimbed b-boy dancers to shame. Vinod Thakur even went on India's Got Talent after learning his show-stopping hip-hop thrusts and acrobatic flips in just three months. However, he was pipped to the top spot during the 2010 series by glass-chewing Warriors of Goja, missing out on a £68,000 cash prize. Two years on Thakur is still creating a storm on the internet and across India and has become a national celebrity. Footage of him performing is all over You Tube attracting thousands of hits. Thakur, a mobile phone repairman earning £85 month, developed his skills following hours

Talent: Vindor Thakur has been taking India by storm with his remarkable dance moves which he performs despite having no legs

Addicted to heights: The daredevil who breaks into Moscow's tallest buildings and photographs himself in dangerous poses

of practice and watching other hiphop dancers on the internet. He said: 'After passing my exams my friends encouraged me to learn dancing. 'They had seen some handicapped people dancing who had benefited from doing it. They told me I could do better than them and I should start practicing. 'They told me that they would help and just asked me to work hard.' The dancer, from East Delhi, has developed incredible upper body strength in order to perform the moves. Before he started learning to dance he spent his childhood learning to walk on his hands. Kmata Chopra, his former schoolteacher, said: 'He would move up the stairs faster than his classmates. From then, I knew that, through his hard work, he will make it big someday.'

The literal laptop: New jeans have built-in keyboard, mouse and speakers

Unafraid: Max says he has never been scared of heights and plans each of his stunts meticulously before carrying them out


uspended hundreds of feet above the Moscow skyline this daredevil faces certain death in a climbing version of Russian roulette. This brave, or foolhardy, heightaddict breaks into some of Moscow's highest buildings to take part in the new Russian craze of extreme urban climbing. The 22-year-old defies Russian security forces and risks arrest and possible imprisonment for following his danger-fuelled obsession. Under an assumed name, urban climber and photographer Max Polazov, 22, has been breaking into buildings in Moscow since the age of 17. He said: 'Many think that I am a madman or I they do not realise how much experience I have. 'While I'm hanging from a building I perfectly concentrate my body and I plan carefully ahead. 'Fear isn't present when I do this, I must have complete mindfulness. 'The majority of my photos are made at height of more than 100m, so at any time death is quite possible - but nevertheless I try to avoid it.' The nature of their hobby means Mr Polazov and other enthusiasts face constant confrontations with the law. What started as his own extreme pastime has now grown to become a youth sub-culture as more and more young Russians take part.

He said: 'I would prefer not to say how we get on to roofs - each magician should keep his secrets. 'Many of the stunts people do are illegal and people get arrested if they are caught. 'I never had a fear of heights, instead there was a desire to rise above the others and to look at the world from an unusual point of view. 'In recent years the popularity of roofing as a youth movement has sharply increased in Russia.' So far his obsession has seen him scaling tall buildings in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Ufa. But he hopes to bring his hobby to the West, and tackle high buildings in Britain, France and even the U.S. Source:

Taking a break: In this image, he relaxes on top of the Crimean Bridge in Moscow - 100ft above passing traffic

New design: A pair of Dutch inventors has created a pair of jeans that integrate a fully functional keyboard, mouse and speakers


f you struggle to spend more than a few moments away from your computer then a new invention could be for you. That's because a pair of Dutch inventors have developed a set of jeans that give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'laptop'. The jeans, known as Beauty and the Geek, come with a fully functional keyboard, mouse and speakers integrated into the upper leg of the fabric and are the idea of design company Nieuwe Heren, run by Erik de Nijs and Tim Smit. The duo handmade the trousers themselves and they are designed to give a user ease of movement while still being in control of the computer. 'They're not that heavy,' de Nijs told WebProNews. 'With the flexible keyboard, small speakers, and small mouse, they are only a little bit heavier than your regular jeans.' He added: 'The idea was that you could log in to your computer and control it without sitting in a closed environment behind your desk.' The jeans are of a modern style and have a back pocket that has been

specially designed to cover the mouse, which uses an elastic wire to stay attached. They stay connected to the laptop via wireless technology in a USB device and are expected to retail at

around £250 - if they ever make it onto the market. De Nijs added: 'The whole project is too complex and we don't have enough money right now to get it ready for the market.'

In use: The jeans stay connected to the computer via wireless technology and allow the user to move around while typing. A mouse is attached to the jeans using an elastic cord



Sitting for seven hours a day ‘raises diabetes risk in women’ W

omen who sit for up to seven hours a day may be more at risk of developing type two diabetes, new research shows. It found women who spend the most time sitting down during the week are more likely to show early signs of the disease than those who are more active. Blood tests revealed they had higher levels of markers that suggest the body is well on the way to developing diabetes. But researchers said they found no such link in men who took part in the study at the University of Leicester. They said the reasons why are not clear but it could be that women are more prone to the damaging effects of sedentary behaviour. According to the charity Diabetes UK, at the current rate of increase, the numbers affected by type two diabetes in the UK will rise from around 2.5 million currently to four million by 2025 and five million by 2030. More than a million people are already affected by the condition but do not realise they have it, perhaps because they do not recognise

symptoms, such as fatigue, thirst, frequent urination , recurrent thrush and wounds that are slow to heal. And shocking recent figures suggested 24,000 deaths a year in England alone could be easily prevented if doctors carried out more basic health checks and patients stuck to a healthy diet and took their medicine properly. Left untreated, type two diabetes can raise the risk of heart attacks, blindness and amputation. Being overweight, physical inactivity and poor diet are major risk factors for the disease. A team of researchers from Leicester University recruited 505 men and women aged 59 or over and quizzed them on how much time they spent sitting down during the week. Each volunteer also underwent tests to measure levels of certain chemicals in their blood known to be linked with the onset of diabetes. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed the women sat between four and seven hours every day and the men between four and eight hours.

A study found women who spend the most time sitting down are more likely to show early signs of type two diabetes than those who are more active.

Can’t get your baby to sleep? Breastfeeding mothers may pass on caffeine in coffee through their milk M others who are struggling to get their babies to sleep should consider how much caffeine they are consuming, according to a breast feeding expert. Drinking coffee, tea and soft drinks and even eating chocolate increases the level of the stimulant in the blood. Babies can become restless, awake and irritable, when it is passed on through a mother’s milk. Dr Ruth Lawrence, editor of the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, said that babies have difficulties in breaking down and removing the drug from their bodies especially in their first two weeks of life. This can lead it to accumulate causing adverse symptoms. ‘Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake,’ she told the Journal of Caffeine Research. The professor from Rochester University in New York, added mothers should ‘try to void the excesses that might really add up to a lot of caffeine.’ But how many cups of coffee constitutes an ‘excessive

amount’? According to Dr Lawrence it depends on the individual mother. As a general practice mothers are advised not to have more than 300mg of caffeine equivalent to three cups of coffee - a day.

However, Dr Lawrence said: ‘Unfortunately a lot of things about breastfeeding are based on opinion, and I do not know that the ‘safe’ amount of caffeine for daily use has been carefully measured. ‘We had a case here in which

Coffee warning: Babies find it difficult to metabolise caffeine

a child was brought in, thought to be having seizures and was headed for the million-dollar workup, the EEG, the MRI, the works. ‘In the emergency room we drew a caffeine level. It was off the charts! Taking a history from the mother, she said “oh year, I drink coffee all the time. I have a cup ready for me all day long. Is that a problem?” Dr Lawrence said they learned about the dangers of caffeine and newborns after using it to stimulate breathing in babies in neonatal intensive care. ‘We discovered that we overdosed them very quickly. Now they are only dosed once a day in order to keep their levels under control because the metabolism is so poor.’ She said the cases she had come across could be indicative of a more widespread problem and that new mothers needed to know about the risks. She added: ‘Some individuals are more sensitive than others. It would be a good starting point if a child is very restless, that one might consider reducing the intake of caffeine.’ Source:

Those women who sat longest had higher levels of insulin, the hormone which regulates blood sugar in the body. Raised insulin levels suggests the body is becoming resistant to the hormone and diabetes is starting to develop, They also had higher readings of C-reactive protein, leptin, adinopectin and interleukin-6, all chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen and which point to dangerous inflammation. But the same results were not found in men. In a report on their findings researchers said it may be that women snack more than men during sedentary behaviour, or that men engage in more robust activity once they do get moving. ‘This study provides new evidence that higher levels of sitting time, independent of physical activity, have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic lowgrade inflammation in women but not men. ‘It suggests enabling women to spend less time sitting is an important factor in preventing chronic disease.’ The findings mirror those of a study last year which showed spending ten years or more in a sedentary job almost doubles the risk of some types of bowel cancer. According to some estimates, most adults now spend around 55 per cent of their time at work sitting down. Source:



PDP chairmanship: I remain the best candidate- Adamu Waziri INTERVIEW Ambassador Adamu Idris Waziri is one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and he is seeking to become the next chairman of the party after the national convention slated for March this year. In this interview with Emmanuel Iriogbe, he explains why he feels he is the best candidate for the top position, among other issues. Excerpts:


alking about your aspiration for the position of PDP’s National Chairman, what are you bringing to the table? Why do you want to become PDP’s National Chairman? There are lots of reasons, especially, if you recall I was a founding member of PDP in 1998, actually, the struggle for the formation of PDP did not start in 1998, it started in 1994, and then some of us were in the National Constitution Conference. You see between 1993 to 1995, Nigeria was on the brink of collapse because of the June 12 crisis, the Country was serious crisis, and because God so much loved Nigeria, he used Abacha to pouch through the Constitutional Conference, some of us were elected members of the conference, some were appointed to the Conference. When we went to the conference, our brothers and sisters from the South were agitating, because they were angry with the annulment of June 12 Presidential election, some of them were calling for SNC, and not National Constitutional Conference, and we said no, whatever is the problem in Nigeria, let’s sit down together to talk, their shouldn’t be any problem that is above solution, and even when we were at the Constitutional Conference, some of them walked out because they did not agree with the Constitutional Conference. It was under the late General Shehu Yar’Adua, the elder brother of the former president, under his leadership, that ten of us worked to ensure that we kept the conference going, we were able to bring back our Southern brothers that walked out of the Conference, eventually, sanity prevailed and we were able to sit down to write the 1999 Constitution between 1994 and 1995. That singular effort in ensuring that the Conference did not break, that the Conference succeeded kept this country together. If the Conference had failed, this country would have disintegrated, because the South was vehemently against the National Constitutional Conference, they were thinking of SNC, but it takes all Nigerians to determine

what it wanted. After the Conference those of us who worked to ensure the Constitutional Conference succeeded thereafter said that there must be democracy, we said democracy will solve this problem, the military must go and allow democracy to take root, and we called for democratic government in January 1, 1995, that struggle led to the arrest of General Shehu Yar’Adua and subsequently his death. And our dream of making sure that there was democracy in 1995 did not work and our dream of forming a political party in 1995 did not work, so we continued with the struggle and in 1998 when Abdulsalam came to power and lifted the ban on politics, again fifteen of us assembled in Ikoyi Hotel, Lagos, under the leadership of Prof Chuba Okadigbo, that was the meeting that determined the return of democracy in this country, because 15 of us argued from 8pm to 4am to look at the possibility of reaching out to other political movements of like minds so that we could come together and form a mega political party. And we agreed to reach out to people like late Abubakar Rimi, Adamu Ciroma, Bola Ige, and a group grew out that largely made up of our own members and that was how we started meetings at Bolingo Hotel, Abuja, doing all the spade work to ensure we form a mega political party. And that was the time we decided that in order to assuage the feelings of the SouthWest, the leadership must move to the South. We agreed on two things, that democracy must return to this country, and that Nigeria must remain one united, indivisible country. We agreed that leadership must return to the South to assuage our brothers in the South-West. So it worked out in 1998, after working together, PDP was born and we brought about the rotation and zoning and power was given to the South. And since 1999 PDP has been the ruling party. Two things that make me happy are that I started the struggle as a young man and I lived to see it. One, we wanted to keep Nigeria one and we worked to keep Nigeria united as one indivisible country. Two, we

Ambassador Adamu Idris Waziri wanted democracy for this country and we’ve been able to entrench democracy in this country since 1999. I think this something I can only say to God be the glory. Whatever the case, whatever our challenges, whatever the problem, today, there is a country called Nigeria, whatever are the problems, today, there is democracy in the country, and people are benefitting from the

PDP, we are the ruling party, we are the front liners, we are the fighters for democracy and therefore, we cannot allow the fortunes of our party to continue to dwindle, something must be done to arrest the situation, we need to build a very strong party,, virile party, a dynamic party, a truly democratic party as the name is called, PDP. We must not turn our party to merely a platform for only elections, where

I am here to change things for better, to be a bridge builder to all stakeholders, to help Mr. President implement his transformation agenda dividends of democracy, and people are enjoying and expressing their opinion as Nigerians, because there a country called Nigeria. I think this is a great service to Nigeria; it is a great service to humanity. With all sense of humility, am proud to be part of that struggle to see that today we can now talk as Nigerians and as democrats. And having been in power from 1999 to date, we were able to win 28 states and the Federal Government in 1999, 2003, henceforth, we’ve been witnessing the dwindling fortunes of PDP, and some of us who contributed to the best of PDP, could feel pained at what is happening to

after elections we go back to sleep, and only come back the next four years to organize another election. PDP must remain a permanent institution, PDP must be a truly peoples party from the ward level to the national level, and even beyond to the diaspora. So we must organize PDP, we must organize our people to know the value of democracy, to know democracy and to work for democracy; I feel that the state of PDP today requires a very strong leadership at the national level. It requires a leader that is committed,, a leader that is dynamic, a leader that has the ability and capacity, a leader that has the courage. A selfless

leader, a patriotic leader, a leader that has the courage to be extremely loyal to the party so that we can work together as members of the PDP. 2015 is just by the corner, if we allow things to be the way they are, we are definitely going to find a lot of problems when 2015 comes. Those of us who gave birth to PDP cannot sit down and fold our hands when we know that the House we built is trying to develop some crack, we must rise up to see that we mend it and put things in the proper condition so that democracy can survive in this country, so that Nigeria can be a great country. We must encourage discipline within the party, we must encourage intra-party democracy, we must encourage loyalty within the party, we must encourage interparty democracy, we cannot remain as a pariah state, we cannot be in isolation, the world is becoming a village and therefore we must move with the trend of the world as a political party, so it is a responsibility on us as a party not just be playing politics at elections, but to work hard to ensure that there is genuine democracy in this country, because Africa is looks up to us, and if Africa looks up to us, we must show commitment, we must give Africa a direction for us to able to move forward and make Nigeria reach that level that the world expects of us. Nigeria is a very big country, a very rich country, therefore we have no business being poor in Nigeria, to me, and Nigeria is the richest country in the world. I have travelled over 40 countries of the world and I know what God has given this nation All we need to do is get things right and once this is done Nigeria is going to become one of the first 10 countries in the world. Only the right leadership can make this happen. That is my commitment. I am here to change things for better, to be a bridge builder to all stakeholders, to help Mr. President implement his transformation agenda and also to rebuild our party on the foundation and ideals of the founding fathers. I believe as the chairman of our party, working in partnership with Mr. President and all stakeholders making it a collective vision, it is possible we can make things happen again for this great country. Do you subscribe to the clamour for a sovereign national conference and how do you hope to reconcile aggrieved party members when you come in as chairman? There is a constitution and it is supreme, whatever we do in the country today, must be guided by the provisions of the constitution. Also remember that we are in a democracy where everybody has the right to air his/her feelings so long it does not infringe on the Contiuned on page 38



Adamawa poll: Legal battle begins, as ACN goes to tribunal As expected, those who lost elections in Nigeria usually go to election tribunals, and later to courts, to contest result that was not in their favour. In Adamawa state, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) goes to tribunal to contest Nyako’s victory. Blessing Tunoh examines the campaign patterns of the major parties in the state and peoples’ expectation before the result was announced.


he major opposition party in the Adamawa state governorship election, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has headed to the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Yola,the state capital, accusing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of rigging the election to its favour. The party and a sizeable number of Adamawa people have raised eyebrows and are bewildered over the result released by INEC which showed a 61,930 differential between Nyako and Gundiri. Many are suspicious of the result that gave Nyako a lead in 14 local governments with a total votes cast of just 302,953 as against Gundiri’s 241,023 which he won in 7 council areas. The ACN’s candidate won in Numan, Lamurde, Guyuk, Ganye, Hong, Michika and Gombi while Nyako emerged victorious in Yola North, Yola South, Fufore, Girei, Song, Mubi North, Mubi South, Madagali, Maiha, Demsa, Jada, Shelleng, Mayo Belwa andToungo local government areas. With this result, observers opine that the ACN might come out with some respite if it seeks redress at the election petition tribunal. Those that took a cursory look at the conduct of the poll in the 14 council areas won by Nyako showed that there were alleged electoral irregularities in 7 local governments namely Madagali, Mayo Belwa, Yola South, Yola North, Girei, Maiha and Fufore. The thinking by some ACN chieftains is that voting in the aforementioned local governments was characterised by massive rigging and allegations of double voting. To pursue the claim to its logical conclusion, according to the ACN chieftains is to call for recounting as

well as engaging the services of forensic experts in analysing thumb prints which is probably why they have gone to the election Petition Tribunal. Those that contested the Adamawa election were the eventual winner, Governor Murtala Nyako of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Markus Natina Gundiri of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Others are Dr. Zainab Kwonchi of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Lillian Musa Kam who bore the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) flag following Umar Belel’s defection to PDP. At the end of political hostilities on Saturday February 4, 2012, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Murtala Nyako of the PDP winner of the election. At the General Murtala Mohammed College Yola, collation centre of the election, the Returning Officer, Prof. Mohammed Hamisu Mohammed of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi announced that Nyako had polled 302,953 votes

Governor Murtala Nyako out of 658,253 valid votes to clinch the first position whileACN’s Gundiri came second with a total vote of 241, 023. Marwa of the CPC secured the third position with 107,546. Candidate of the ANPP placed a distant fourth with 3,885 votes; Dr. Zainab Kwonchi of the ADC came last with 2,846 votes. Further breakdown of the result as declared by INEC showed that 26,850 were rejected votes; total number of votes cast stood at 685,103 just as a total of 1,843,619 voters was registered for the election. In spite of the vigorous campaigns by the parties that contested the election, particularly the PDP, ACN and CPC, outsiders

Many are suspicious of the result that gave Nyako a lead in 14 local governments with a total votes cast of just 302,953 as against Gundiri’s 241,023 which he won in 7 council areas

never gave Gundiri a chance; not even his party chieftains in the South West who were made to believe that a Christian cannot win governorship election in the state of Lamido Fombina. Others even observed that if posters and media propaganda are anything to go by, Marwa has no competitor in Adamawa as he was constantly given prominence in both the print and the electronic media far ahead of even the incumbent Governor Murtala Nyako. In terms of visibility, no governorship candidate could match Marwa because till date Marwa’s posters still litter public buildings and even trees as if the governorship election in Adamawa is not yet over. Nyako too enjoyed relative media publicity considering the fact that he controls the state media, not to mention his influence in the private media outfits in the state. Therefore, in terms of using media coverage as a criterion when it comes to election, the contest in the views of some analysts was between Governor Murtala Nyako of the PDP and Gen. Marwa of the CPC. Even with ACN’s control of six states in the South West, none of its Governors and national leaders

PDP chairmanship: I remain the best candidate- Adamu Waziri Contiuned from page 37 feelings of others. I believe we have a constitution and whether we like it or not, it has been guiding us since 1998, We have our elected representatives, from the local government to the federal level, so whatever agitation anybody has and we believe we are practicing democracy and guided by the constitution, these representatives are the ones to take the issues to either the state or national assemblies and

table the feelings of their people to the table for discussion. Before the national conference, these agitations were there because there was no constitution unlike now that we have a constitution. As a country we must have some guidelines, remain focused and be guided by the rules of the law. We have come a long way as a country; we cannot continue to rewind the hands of the clock. We must not allow political questions to bug us down, what is paramount in the

world today is the economic factor. People want to survive; they want peace and security etc. Remember that the country is less than 60yrs old. We are still growing and should continue to correct our mistakes, It has come to a level where Nigerians are indispensable of one another, and we must learn to live together. Our strength lies in our diversities. What I am going to do as chairman is to be a bridge builder, reach out to all stake holders, let’s

come together and see how we can make it stronger. Let us all put our cards on the table, nothing is beyond redemption, no human problem that is beyond solution and I believe that when we sit as members of one family, we can resolve all our issues. I will work round the clock to reach out to all aggrieved members of PDP to see how we can bring them together to make our party one for all. After all I knew how the house was built.

came to Yola for a solidarity visit to assist Gundiri for his campaigns, compared to CPC which brought both Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Nasarawa state Governor Almakura to Yola to assist Gen Marwa. As usual, PDP brought both the high and mighty on two occasions to help salvage the image of Governor Nyako who was obviously facing inter and intra party crisis ahead of the election. But on the home front of Adamawa state, majority of people who had followed the scheming, calculations and power politicking of the various political parties prior to the February 4, knew that the contest was actually between Nyako and Gundiri and NOT Nyako with Marwa. As the result was released, watchers of events were not abashed as their predictions proved right; that the election was between Nyako and Gundiri as Marwa melted into thin political air. The superlative performance put up by the ACN is being attributed to the credibility, popularity and experience of its candidates. Gundiri was a retired civil servant and a complete grassroots man having worked as a former Director General and Commissioner of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development from 1988 to 1991. By 1999, as a Deputy Director and later Director, he was in charge of all Federal Government dams and reservoirs while in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. In his local government of Hong, Gundiri won with 22,747 votes; followed by Nyako who got 11,562 while Marwa got 5,957. His Deputy, Alhaji Abdulrazak Namdas, former Chief Press Secretary to Boni Haruna and Publisher of the only private newspaper in Yola, THE VIEWER made the Gundiri ticket stronger. As a young politician, his people (Chamba) gave him all the support he needed even as the former VicePresident Atiku Abubakar who hails from the same area with Namdas supported Governor Nyako. The presence of former Governor Boni Haruna, who is leader of the party in Adamawa, equally increased the fortunes of ACN as it won in Michika with 13,655 votes ahead of Gen Buba Marwa who hails from the same local government. Gundiri’s exploits in the civil service is largely responsible for the perceived over 70 per cent votes he got from civil servants in the state. Governor Murtala Nyako shortly after he was declared winner of the February 4th election pleaded with the opposition not to go to court stressing that doing so will lead to waste of funds by both parties which ordinarily would have help develop the state. According to him, even the time that that will be wasted in pursuing the case in court will draw the state government backwards in its drive to accelerate development for the state.


Cross-River governorship election is illegal, says ANPP candidate By Lawrence Olaoye


he All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)’s candidate for the forthcoming Cross River governorship election scheduled to hold on Saturday, 25th February, Mr. Patrick Okomiso, has described the planned exercise as illegal. Okomiso in a press conference yesterday condemned the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go ahead with the conduct of the governorship elections in the state in spite of an outstanding court injunction restraining it as an affront to the law of the land. The ANPP candidate argued that the ploy by the INEC to go ahead with the election in spite of several protests from the candidates of other political parties, besides the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was to disqualify the opposition from contesting the polls. Okomiso who disclosed that his party had approached the court seeking the declaration of the scheduled election as illegal also stated that should the INEC disobey the outstanding court order and go ahead with the election, it would have contravened the provisions of the Electoral Act. According to him, the INEC failed to officially communicate the shift in the date of the governorship election to political parties as he claimed that the announcement of the election’s time-table was made through press release. He also argued that the revised time-table which scheduled the elections for Saturday failed to take cognizance of the provisions of the amended Electoral Act which stipulated that the minimum of 60 days should be allowed between the time of nomination and the period of elections in order to leave room for campaigns. Okomiso pointed out that the revised time-table put the last date of submission of parties’ candidates’ names to the INEC at 15th of February only to hurriedly put the election date at February, 25th, ten days after. The ANPP candidate who wondered why the electoral umpire chose to rush the conduct of the election also punctured the argument put forward by the INEC even as he insisted that there was no political vacuum in the state. He said “The argument put forward by the INEC by quoting a certain portion of Electoral Act indicated that there was a vacuum in the state. The portion only painted a scenario where the Governor and his Deputy were no more and there is no House of Assembly. But we all know that the Speaker of the Assembly is currently the Acting Governor and there is no such vacuum.” He alleged that the insistence of the Professor Attahiru Jega’s INEC on going ahead with the election was a ploy to rig-in the PDP’s candidate, Senator Liyel Imoke, by shifting the post in the middle of the game.


Remi Tinubu: Tribunal dismisses Labour Party’s petition From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he National Assembly/ legislative House Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Lagos High Court in Igbosere, yesterday dismissed the petition filed by Labour Party, against the election of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu as Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District for lack of jurisdiction. The tribunal’s decision was based on a recent Supreme Court judgment that all election petitions should be concluded within 180 days.

The tribunal had earlier fixed March 5, 2012 to deliver judgment on the petition but had to hurriedly invite parties to appear in court for the judgment in view of the decision of the Apex Court. The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A A Nwaigwe in his decision held that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to continue hearing of the petition going by the recent Supreme Court judgment that all election petitions should be concluded within 180 days. Labour Party (LP) had challenged the ruling of the National Assembly/ legislative

House Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Senator Oluremi Tinubu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the Lagos Central Senatorial District. The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to comply with paragraph 18 (1), (2) and (4) of the Electoral Act which states that application for pre-hearing notice shall be by motion and not through letter to the tribunal. But, in the appeal instituted by Chief Chukwuma SAN, counsel to Labour Party, he prayed the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the ruling on the tribunal.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos in its judgment directed that the election petition filed by Labour Party (LP) challenging the decision of the tribunal should be heard de novo (afresh) by a new Election Panel to be constituted by the President Court of Appeal. In its lead judgment delivered by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, supported by Justice R N Pemu and Justice M A Danjuma, the court held that the tribunal was wrong when it dismissed the petition file by labour party on the basis that its application for pre-hearing was made through letter to the secretary of the tribunal and not by a Motion. The court held “I must say that authorities available to this court both reported and unreported are conflicting and confusing. On one hand some authorities are of the view that pre-hearing sessions must be activated by Motion on Notice while on the other hand some are of the view that a mere letter is substantive enough. “ Justice Ogunwumiju said “I have always held a liberal view on election matters especially at this time when our democracy is still in its infancy. “It will not augur well to sacrifice the aspiration of the public on the altar of technical justice. Election petitions are emotional issues both to the candidates and the public.

Adamawa council elections hold on March 31 R-L: Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, Chairman, Committee on Sports, Hon. Godfrey Ali Gaiya, and member of the Committee, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, during a press briefing on the position of the House on the agitation for Sovereign National Conference (SNC), at the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

I will restructure Lagos and South-West PDP – Aspirant By Emmanuel Iriogbe


n aspirant gunning for the position of National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Owolabi Salis has described the internal problems bedeviling the Lagos chapter of the party as reason why the party lost the entire South West to the opposition in the 2011 elections Salis who stated this in Abuja at

an interactive session with journalists said the party had many admirers in Lagos and the entire South West but leadership rivalry has remained the bane of the party. According to him, if elected, he will put the necessary machinery in place to make sure that the party is restructured. “Lagos and the entire South West is PDP with a lot of admirers but there is the problem of managing the party. Leadership rivalry in the

party has made it impossible for the party to win elections. I can say that PDP has being defeating PDP in Lagos. We need to restructure Lagos PDP and as party national secretary, I will do that” Salis said. He said he was of the firm belief that when elected party secretary, there will be an influx of people from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the PDP since many people believe in him.

Zamfara CNPP commends senators for poverty positively change the lives of the reduction programme people, as much as we will condemn


he Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Zamfara, has said that the women and youth empowerment programme introduced by two serving senators would reduce “extreme poverty” in the state. Its Chairman, Alhaji Musa MaiMai in a statement in Gusau on Thursday, noted that Senators Ahmad Sani and Kabiru Marafa, had demonstrated

“sufficient“ commitment to address the extreme poverty endangering peace and security in the state. It stated that by donating more 1,500 cars and motorcycles, thousands of sewing machines and other tools for women and youths empowerment, “the two senators have earned commendations even from opposition parties”. “Although the CNPP is in the opposition, it is reasonable to commend programmes that could

any action or programme of the government that is inimical to public interest“, the statement added. The CNPP urged other political office holders in the state to also embark on related programmes that would have direct impact on the lives of the people. It appealed to the state government to keep the spirit of the programme alive by engaging in other sustainable poverty reduction programmes in the state. (NAN)


he Adamawa state Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) has fixed March 31, for local government elections in the state. The statement was signed by Alhaji Zailani Ahmed, the Executive Chairman, ADSIEC. The commission said it would commence screening of candidates fielded by political parties from March 7. It also said that the names of those cleared to participate in the election would be communicated to the parties between March 10, and March 11. According to the statement, March 12, and March 13, would be for entertaining complaints from any disqualified candidate. It said that the distribution of nonsensitive materials would be done from March 19, to March 20, while that of sensitive materials would be given out between March 29, and March 30. The statement said that election of new council officials would take place on March 31, while the results were expected to be announced between April 1, and April 2. The statement added that runoff would take place on April 7, in any constituency where there was no clear winner after counting of votes. There are 21 chairmanship seats and 226 councillorship positions for grabs during the council polls. (NAN)



INEC refutes ACN allegation From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


L-R: Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Bajabiamila, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, and Hon. Ayo Omidiran, during a press conference on the agitation for Sovereign National Conference (SNC) by Action Congress of Nigeria Caucus in the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

C/River guber: INEC says Court has no power to stop it from conducting election By Sunday Ejike Benjami


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday told a Federal High Court, Abuja that it has no power under the law to stop it from conducting Saturday’s governorship election in Cross River state. The counsel representing the commission, Ibrahim Bawa, made the submission at the resumed hearing of the motion exparte filed by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its governorship candidate in Cross River state, Dr. Obol Patrick Okomiso, seeking an order restraining INEC from conducting tomorrow’s governorship election. According to Bawa, in his submission, “Section 87 (11) of the Electoral Act says the court has no power to stop INEC from conducting an election. The plaintiffs are indirectly telling the court to ignore the rule by asking it to restrain INEC from going ahead with the Saturday’s election in Cross River state”, he added. Meanwhile, the court granted the application brought before it by former Governor Liyel Imoke and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking to be joined in the matter. While adjourning further hearing on the matter till March 19, 2012, the trial Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, directed that parties be put on notice and refused

plaintiffs application for statusquo to be maintained. It would be recalled that the ANPP and its governorship candidate, filed a motion exparte seeking an order stopping INEC from conducting governorship election in Cross River state on Saturday on the ground that INEC has no power to reschedule the election to less than 48 days to the initial date fixed for the said election. According to them, the election had been earlier scheduled by INEC to hold on the 14th of April, 2012 in view of the mandatory timetable set by the Electoral Act for submission of names and addresses of party candidates for that election. They argued that, “Apart from the inconvenience to the parties of suddenly shortening the period they had already taken for granted as available for their preparations for the election, the abridgment of time is ultra vires, null and void and would be a ground for nullifying the election, if conducted. “They also asked the court for an order directing INEC to maintain status quo, that is as at 15th of February, 2012, to refrain from taking further action or steps regarding the revised timetable for the conduct of the election into the office of Governor of Cross River State of Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the

motion on notice filed on February 15, 2012 in the proceedings. In an affidavit attached to the application, ANPP said that INEC’s reason that it brought the election forward because of the judgment of the Supreme Court which removed five state governors from office was not tenable in law. “That the Supreme Court judgment did not place any constraint on INEC to abridge or tamper with the timetable it had set on the 11th August 2011 for the governorship election in Cross River state nor has it created any situation which the 1999 Constitution cannot cope with, as the governor and his deputy duly vacated their position pursuant to the judgment and the Speaker of the House of Assembly has taken over as Governor pursuant to Section 191(2) of the Constitution,” the affidavit added. They further explained that the Speaker, under the Constitution could act as governor for a period of 90 days until elections were held and a new governor sworn-in and there was no need for INEC to conduct an election immediately. They said, “ the Applicants will be prejudiced if the election is brought forward to the 25th of February 2012 as INEC now proposes, because the validity of the nomination of the 2nd Plaintiff will be jeopardized by non-compliance with section 31(1) of the Electoral Act 2010”.

...PDP asks INEC to go ahead with poll By Sunday Ejike Benjami


he ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go ahead and hold the Saturday governorship election in Cross river state as earlier planned. A letter dated February 21, 2012 and addressed to the chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Attahiru Jega by PDP's counsel, Chief JoeKyari Gadzama (SAN) said the order by Justice Abdul Kafarati of a Federal High Court, Abuja cannot legally restrain the Commission from conducting the election. Justice Abdul Kafarati was said to have issued an order on 20th

February, restraining INEC from conducting the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on 25th February, 2012 following an application by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and its candidate for the governorship election, Dr. Obol Okomiso. The matter comes up today for the Court to take arguments on the motion brought before it by the Plaintiffs over the election. Gadzama told INEC that the order of court does not deprive it from conducting the governorship election in Cross River State as scheduled. "This is clear from the provision of Section 87(10) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) which provides

that, nothing in this section shall empower the Court to stop the holding of primaries or general election under this Act pending the determination of a suit", Gadzama said. He said, in the consolidated appeals in SC 141/2011, SC 266/ 2011, SC 267/2011, SC 282/2011, and SC 357/2011, Brig. Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa & Anor Vs. Admiral Murtala Nyako & others on tenure elongation, the Supreme Court, on the 27th January, 2012 ordered that the governorship elections in the five states, including Cross River State shall take place not later than 90 days after the Supreme Court judgement.

he Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Kogi state has refuted the insinuation in some national newspapers, that it is frustrating Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN). In a statement made available to journalists in Lokoja, yesterday, signed by the H O D public affairs in the commission, Ahmed Bagudu, the commission said the allegation by ACN was unfounded and baseless, noting that the petitioners have since commenced inspection and scanning of all materials used for election. He said the petitioners have been given CTC of all the sets of forms EC8 A-E as well as Forms

EC 40A and EC 25 B, adding that the petitioners have been able to inspect and scanned ballot papers for Ankpa, Ajaokuta and Bassa areas. The statement further said that order had been granted to both ACN and Capt Idris Wada with his deputy on the 8th of February and was served on the 10th of the same month, and since then has been complied with, stressing that accusation that INEC was delaying inspection was unfair. “The commission has been cooperating with the petitioners in the conduct of the inspection without any fear or favour,” pointing out that, “the commission drafted more than 15 members of its staff to assist in the smooth operation”.

Wamakko reappoints Gada as Sokoto SSG


ov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto state has reappointed Alhaji Sahabi Gada as the new Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Gada was the immediate past secretary to the state government. Wamakko, who also swore-in the new government scribe on Thursday, described Gada as ”honest and hard working.” “His office is very crucial to the daily operations of the state government and he has been discharging his duties diligently and honestly in the last five years.’’ Wamakko said that Gada was required by the new administration to further move the state forward. “I have enjoyed working with him and he is extremely reliable, God fearing and transparent. He will never fail the people of the state.” The governor said

that Gada’s re-appointment was in line with the provisions of the constitution of the nation, and promised that “other appointments will follow suit.’’ Meanwhile, Wamakko has promised that the three arms of the government in the state would continue to cooperate with each other with a view to moving the state forward. He spoke on Thursday in Sokoto when he received the members of the State House of Assembly who paid him a congratulatory visit. Wamakko said that the “rosy relationship” which he enjoys with the state lawmakers “is for the good of all the people of the state.’’ The Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Aliyu Tureta, who led the lawmakers on the visit, said he would sustain the existing cordial relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of the government. (NAN)

Supreme Court fixes March 5 for ruling on Kwara guber election From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Supreme Court yesterday fixed March 5 for judgment in the Appeal brought by Mr. Dele Belgore, SAN, of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ilorin which affirmed the earlier judgment of the Kwara state governorship election petition which dismissed Belgore’s case against Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as lacking in merit, general and generic. Describing certain parts of the Appeal court’s judgment as perverse, Dele Belgore asked the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the Appeal Court and consequently nullify the election of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed by declaring him the duly elected governor of Kwara state. Counsel to Governor Ahmed, Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN, who led other eminent lawyers including three Senior Advocates, argued that the

appellants’ appeal was against concurrent findings of two lower courts and that the appellants have been unable to show any justification to warrant interference with the concurrent findings of the two lower courts. Ali argued further that Belgore has failed to prove the myriad of criminal allegations and substantial non-compliance with the electoral acts as contained in the petition. He therefore urged the justices to affirm the judgments of the two lower courts by upholding the election and return of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and dismiss the petition in its entirety. It will be recalled that during trial at the tribunal the forensic experts substantially relied upon by Dele Belgore admitted before the courts that they were not forensic experts but Information Technologists; and the tribunal had also admitted in evidence Newspaper report where Dele Belgore was reported to have said that the election was free and fair.



Chukwu urges Keshi to start home-based Eagles against Rwanda


ormer Super Eagles’ coach, Christian Chukwu has urged Coach Stephen Keshi to stick the winning squad by starting the domestic league Eagles who have been impressive in all their friendly games so far against the Wasps of Rwanda on Wednesday. The domestic Eagles defeated the Lone Stars of Liberia 2-0 in Monrovia and had equally defeated the Palancas Negras of Angola last December before the 2012 Nations Cup finals in Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea. Chukwu told a wire service yesterday that the domestic league players have blended and would be easily prove their mettle in the game if given the huge responsibility in Kigali, Rwanda. “For the local players, this is their time, let them take the chance and prove themselves so that next time Europebased players are invited to the team they will know they are coming to fight for shirts.” Speaking on his preference for the starting 11, the former Nigerian skipper said the domestic league players who have so far shown gut and flair should start the game against Rwanda. “I won’t want to dictate for Keshi but since the Europe-based players will be coming in just a day to departure, it may not be a bad idea to start with the local players. Then bring the foreign-based players as substitutes. “The Europe-based players are established, nothing to teach them only for the coach to map out the strategy and they will fit in.”

Chukwu is positive that Super Eagles will record a win in Kigali. Stories by Patrick Andrew


uper Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has reiterated that merit will be the only yardstick for selecting the squad that will confront the Wasps of Rwanda in Wednesday’s crucial 2013 Nations Cup qualifier. Keshi, who says he has already demonstrated considerable fairness in his invitation of only 11 foreign-based players to the camp, insisted that irrespective of where a player plies his trade and his pedigree, his major consideration will be the physical and mental fitness of such player adding this alone will be the determining factor for selection. “No, even if it were my father or blood brother that I called up to the camp, should he not measure up to what is required, I will select him for the match. In fact, this principle has guided my invitation of some players to the Eagles camp,” he said noting that he intends to build a squad that will

Chigozie Agbim

Manu Garba denies Sani Sanusi Eaglets’ invitation


olden Eaglets Chief Coach Manu Garba has denied the presence of Gombe United and current Nigeria Premier League top scorer, Sani Sanusi, in the camp of the Eaglets who are being screened in Abuja. “The fact of the matter is that Sani Sanusi from Gombe United or any other Sani for that matter is not in the National Under-17 camp here in Abuja and that is the honest truth. “I’m surprised to hear that one Sani is undergoing screening to be picked as one of the Golden Eaglets but the truth is that we have no such player in the camp,” Manu said stressing that having vowed to use only the true under 17 players he would never reneged on his promise. “I’ve said from the outset that we would ensure that we pick players based on merit and the right age and we are committed to doing just so,” he added. Meanwhile, Manu has stated that the on-going screening exercise of players is well on course even as he revealed that members of the coaching crew are quite impressed with some of the players already seen in the first phase. The Golden Eaglets are billed for an African Youth Championship qualifier and began camping only last Monday.

“We pray for good result because we need to qualify for 2013 Nations Cup. I

believe with the preparations done they will win the encounter in Kigali,” he said.

Foreign or home-based Eagles: There’ll be no sentiment, Keshi declares

thrive on merit and discipline on and off the pitch. Keshi, who reacted in the same vein when questioned about the inclusion of the duo of Sani Kaita and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, disclosed that had they been out of form and without the qualities that he wants to instill in the team, he would never have invited them. “I did not invite Yakubu, Vincent Enyeama and Sani Kaita on sentiment. This is my job and I have objectives, I can’t afford to toy with this job. So, I did not call up any player based on sentiment. They merit their invitation because they are currently doing quite well in their respective clubs,” he said. Speaking specifically about Enyeama,

Godfrey Oboabana

Keshi said the former Enyimba number goalkeeper remains Nigeria’s safest hands in gloves stressing that the fact that he has had limited playing time with his new club Lille FC of France does not make him any less capable. “Vincent remains our best for now. Yes, he may not have had regular playing time in France but he’s our number one. In fact, if all goes well he will play tomorrow (yesterday). I know the players and have keenly followed their progress on weekly bases. So, I never called up anyone on sentiment and I will never let sentiment influence my selection for the Rwanda game,” he vowed.

Vincent Enyeama

ECOWAS handball tourney: Cameroon, Benin confirm participation, 2 others on standby


hana, Cameroon and Benin Republic have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming second ECOWAS Commonwealth Handball Championship scheduled for April in Abuja. This was confirmed by the secretariat of the Local Organising Committee which also revealed that two other countries; namely Togo Gambia have been placed on standby. Nigeria as the hosts have already sealed its slot. In a release signed by Ikenna Agu the media officer of the FCT Sports Council indicated that the championship has been scheduled to hold from April 4 through 8 while the closing ceremony will be graced by the Vice President Namadi Sambo. Also, speaking while receiving

members of the management of Commonwealth Handball Association led by its Chief Executive Officer Mallam Attahiru Garba, the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Honourable Micah Jiba has pledged the support of the council to the success of the fiesta. Jiba, who expressed delight with the choice of Abuja as the host of the fiesta, promised to mobilise considerable fans to turn up to cheer the teams stressing the council will pay attention to school pupils whom he said should be encouraged to take up career in sports. “We will help in mobilising school children to fill up the stadium because I strongly believe that they are the future of this country and if they are well managed and a career created for

them in the area of sports, it will help to sway their minds off social vices,” he said. Earlier, the leader of Commonwealth Handball Association delegation, Mallam Attahiru Garba, who is a Nigerian, reminded the AMAC chairman that Abuja was privileged to be named the host of the international headquarters of the Commonwealth Handball Association adding that it’s the only Commonwealth games’ office outside London. “Nigeria had been tested in the area of hosting similar championships so it was relatively easier after due consideration to award the hosting rights to Nigeria. It has been obvious that Abuja, Nigeria was the best choice,” he concluded.



Former heavyweight champ tasks NBF on talent hunt


gozika Ekwelum, a former African Heavyweight Boxing Champion, has advised the Nigerian Boxing Federation (NBBF) to organise competitions frequently to identify the abundant talents in boxing. Ekwelum, who gave the advice on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka, said the federation had not done enough in developing the game at the grassroots. He spoke against the backdrop of the country’s dwindling fortunes in sports and poor preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games, holding from July 27 to Aug. 12. “I am not impressed with the way the federation’s board is being run because they don’t care to plan how to harness the abundant talents we have in the country. “We have the South-East Zone of the National Sports Commission with headquarters in Enugu to coordinate boxing activities, but ironically nothing is being heard of what they are doing,” he said. The former champion frowned at accusations that ex-boxers were not contributing to the development of boxing, alleging that many of them were not given the opportunity to do so by the federation. “I tried to motivate boxers in Anambra to greater height as the boxing boss; I was shown the way out by my employers. Obisia Nwankpa was the National Boxing Coach till the 2011 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, where he was decamped. “He told me how a ring attendant he knew in New York was imposed on him as a technical adviser to the national camp; with such acts our boxing will suffer,” he said. Nigeria used to be in the boxing world map, when it produced the likes of Dick Tiger Iheto and Hogan Kid Bassey, who were world champions. The country had its first Olympic medal, a bronze, in the Light Middleweight (71kg), through Nojeem Maiyegun in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964, and has since then produced other notable boxers. Ekwelum advised the NBF that the only way to revive boxing in the country was to go to the grassroots to identify young talents. He also said that for the country to make any meaningful impact at the London Olympics there was a need to start preparations early. During his boxing days, Ekwelum won 17 fights (14 knockouts), nine defeats (5 ending in knockout), while he was forced to a draw in five fights. His last fight was with Albert Igwe, who, he knocked out in round two of a 12round bout in 1986 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. Cyclists blame poor preparation for Nigeria’s dismal performance at ECOWAS cycling tour.

U-17 female team, NSCDC gear up for crucial games

P Fanny Amun

Christian Chukwu

Chukwu, Amun want Keshi to blend Eagles


ormer coaches of the Super Eagles Christian Chukwu and Fanny Amun have urged the present technical crew headed by Stephen Keshi to hasten up the processes blending the domestic league based players and their foreign counterparts to achieve cohesion ahead of the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against the Amavubu of Rwanda on Feb.29 in Kigali. They also appealed to Nigerians to throw their weight behind Keshi as he seeks to rebuild the team and return the country to its pride of place in continental football. It would be recalled that Keshi had invited 11 foreign-based players to the Super Eagles camp for the prosecution of the team’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers. The 11 invited players would be complemented with some of the homebased players currently training in Abuja, to make up the final list for the Feb.29 encounter in Kigali. Christian Chukwu, a former Chief Coach of the Super Eagles and a member of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) Technical Committee told NAN that Keshi should be given maximum support on the job. The former coach said that the invitation of Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Sanni Kaita by Keshi should be respected by all.

“Keshi is in charge, he is the one wearing the shoes and knows where it pinches, so he should be allowed to do what he feels is right for the team. “He is in the right direction in building the national team and I give him my total support,” he said. Chukwu a former captain of both Rangers FC of Enugu and the then Green Eagles also called for prayers for the team as it prepares for the AFCON qualifiers against the Amavubu of Rwanda. Meanwhile a onetime Secretary of the NFA, Fanny Amun, has said that the task of building a formidable national squad rest’ squarely on Keshi’s shoulder. Amun told NAN that the chief coach has a right to invite any player he deemed fit to the national team’s camp. “They have started again; they don’t want the coach to use his discretion on his job in the choice of players he chooses to invite to the team. As far as I am concerned, Keshi calls the shot on who to invite or not; and the buck stops on his desk. “What we are all craving for at this point in time is for Keshi to come up with a formidable squad that all will be proud of,” Amun said. Amun a former coach of the victorious U-17 Golden Eaglets team that won the World Cup in Japan in 1993 added that there was no crime in the ingenuity displayed by the coach.

eter Dedevbo, coach of the national female U-17 team, Flamingoes, is optimistic the team would hit peak before their March 10 World Cup qualifier against their Zambian counterparts. The coach, who was delighted with the players’ response to call up to the camp, said all all hands would be on deck to ensure that the team did not only attain physical and mental fitness needed for the game but put in the shape to get the maximum points on the road. “We are near the final phase of our preparation toward the first leg of the qualifier against Zambia. As you can see, my team is working very hard for that match; the girls are improving every day,” he said. “The Zambians may pose a little threat but I know we will have the upper hand against them in Lusaka. There is an improvement in our team now than when we were in Division 1,” he said. Similarly, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Basketball Team is now preparing for the DSTV 2011/2012 Basketball Premier League which dunks off on Saturday. Coach Temitope Olowosulu of NSCDC, told NAN that his team was training in the Indoor Sports Hall of the stadium to master the arena, the venue of the championship. He said his side had just been elevated from Division I in the DSTV league, adding that this was the first time the team would be participating in the competition. “We are trying to tighten up ourselves for this championship. The orientation of our team is about team work, so, coming together to train here every day will give us the confidence to get victory,” he said. He commended the CommandantGeneral of the NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin, for ensuring that the team got all it needed for the campaign. The NSCDC will take on Plateau Peaks of Jos on Feb. 26 in the Savannah Conference.

Cyclists blame poor preparation for Nigeria’s pitiable outing at ECOWAS cycling tour


he six cyclists that represented the country at the 2nd ECOWAS International Cycling Tour say they did not perform to expectation because of poor preparation for the event. In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abidjan on Wednesday, the cyclists said they did not have a coordinated preparation ahead of the event. They said they camped for only a few days at the National Institute for Sports (NIS) Hostel which, they insisted, was not good enough to guarantee them restful sleep after intense daily training. They also claimed that they were poorly fed in their build up to such a major event. One of the cyclists, Ajibade Qodiri said he loved cycling as a sport but needed to be adequately prepared for the event. “I love the game well well; I love cycling but in Nigeria, we no dey too much race. We need competitions continuously. This Burkina Faso they are the leaders now because they are racing.” For Edward Osim, the federation had

not treated them well as they failed to support them through a well-coordinated camping programme. “The other countries that came down to Lagos boarded a flight down to Lagos and they lodged them in a good hotel, while we the team Nigeria, where they kept us is the NIS, they kept us at the NIS, where there is no power, no electricity, no good food. I began to wonder how they expect us to do well.” Caleb Kalazibe, a cyslist, also attributed the poor outing of the Nigerian contingent to inadequate preparation for the tour. “Our performance is not encouraging because right from our preparation it shows we cannot measure up to the top teams. Some of them are riding in the professional tour outside.” Another National cyclist, Nelson Okon, said for him, taking part in the tour had been an eye opener as he learnt a lot from the Burkinabe team. “Encouragement; how to keep going and how to race very well and to put more effort to myself that is all I learnt.” According to him, some of the tactics

used by the Burkinabes were some of the things he had observed with professional in the European tours.

Nigerian cyclist, Nelson Okon



Para-Athletics Federation begins camping for Paralympics

HFN official wants more training programmes for coaches, referees

unny Obot, Secretary, Para-Athletics Federation of Nigeria, on Wednesday said that the federation had begun a threeweek camping for its athletes at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan. Obot told newsmen at the camping venue that it was to prepare athletes for the London Paralympics qualifiers, scheduled for March 22 through March 29 in Tunisia and United Arab Emirate. The London Paralympics would hold in August. He said that Nigeria would storm the games with about 35 athletes among whom are Nigeria’s 2011 Commonwealth games bronze medalist, Ayuba Abdullahi and Patricia Nnaji, a 2008 Beijing Paralympian. The secretary said that most of the events to be featured at the qualifiers were not featured at the last All African Games in Maputo, Mozambique. Obot said that some of the events to be competed for at the qualifiers include T11, 100 metres male and female, T12 100 meters male and female. He said T46 amputee male and female, F56 shot put and T11 and T13 for the blind would also be featured. According to him, Nigeria is highly rated worldwide in some events such as T46 100 metres men, T46 200 metres, F37 and F38 shot put. He said that the Nigeria’s world ranking would be an added advantage for the country at the qualifiers.

programmes will update the knowledge of technical officials thereby enabling them to contribute to the development of the sport. “Our coaches and referees are good but they need to be in tune with the current development in handball, to improve their training skills and orientation for good quality,” Musa said. He further said that the programmes would assist in raising competent male and female teams for Nigeria. “Well-informed coaches will have good training programmes which will produce capable players that can represent the country in international handball tournaments and bring honours,” Musa said. The technical director said that the federation was making arrangements to ensure that


Kano Pillars Basketball Club signs-up 5 new players


he Kano Pillars Basketball Club has signed-up five new players in preparation for the 2011/2012 DSTV Basketball League scheduled to dunk-off on Feb. 25. Abdullahi Nasiru, the State Director of Sports, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kano that the players were recruited to strengthen the team. Nasiru said that the recruitment was one of the measures taken by the club to defend their position as leaders of the Savannah Conference and also excel in the Final Eight. NAN reports that Kano Pillars placed fifth in the Final Eight of the 2010/2011 DSTV Men’s League. The list of new players include: John Samson from Union Bank, Lagos; Abubakar Yusuf from Kada Stars, Kaduna; John Idu from Yelwa Hawks, Bauchi; and a foreign player from Togo Hawks of Republic of Togo. “All of them are training regularly with the rest of the players in camp and they are in good shape for the new season,” he said. Nasiru said that the club had dispensed with the services of Mohammed Idris and Dauda Dauda as part of the restructuring process in the team. He commended Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso for releasing funds for the club to prosecute its campaign this season and urged the players not to waiver in winning the league. NAN reports that eight teams each will feature in the Atlantic and Savannah Conferences of the DSTV Basketball League which dunks-off simultaneously on Feb. 25.

Chief Patrick Ekeji The Handball Federation of Nigeria’s (HFN) Technical Director, Hamza Musa, has called for more training programmes for coaches and referees to improve the standard of the sport. Musa suggested in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday that such programmes should be organised quarterly and handled by experts. According to him, the

handball facilities were available in the states that lacked them. Musa said that the lack of facilities and poor sponsorship were responsible for the dearth of competitions in the southern part of the country, unlike the situation in Kogi, Niger, Sokoto and Kano States. “We realised that adequate handball facilities are available in these states; besides, our sponsors come from that part also,” he said. However, the technical director said that plans were underway to rehabilitate facilities in other states. Musa urged private and public companies to support the sport through sponsorship and donation of facilities to the states which lacked them to enable them to host competitions.

Squash player decries disparity in male, female prize money


igeria’s number one female squash player, Londie Dashback, has decried the disparity in the prize money given to male and female champions in the game. Dashback argued in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that male and female players should be given equal amounts because they both experienced the same challenges during competitions. She pointed out that because of the disparity in prize money,

many female players had lost interest, but opted to shun participation in competitions. It would be recalled that the 2011 edition of the Lagos State Governor’s Cup Squash Tournament had a cash prize of N1.6 million for the male singles champion, and N450, 000 for the female singles champion. It is this disparity that did not go down well with Dashback and most of the other female players in the competition. “I will not be satisfied with it, and anybody that knows the

cash prize will not be satisfied with it, how can they give male players N 1.5 or N1.6 thereabout am not really sure and giving the female player N450, 000 as cash prize. “You multiply that about 4 or 5 times before you get that of the ladies, so how can we be satisfied and that is why even the girls now, most of them are dropping from the game because there is nothing in it.” Dashback, however, commended the organisers of the Lagos tournament for their

efforts and urged other state governors to emulate the Lagos Government. She averred that such tournaments would promote and popularise squash. “If other governors could sponsor competitions in different parts of the country like the Lagos state government, squash will surely gain acceptance. “Up and coming players don’t practice unless there is a competition in view, unlike professionals who train on a regular basis to sharpen their competitive edge.”

AFN President,Ogba, canvasses overhaul of sports administration in Nigeria


hief Solomon Ogba, President, Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has called for the overhaul of sports administration in the country. Ogba made the call while presenting a paper entitled “Sports Development: Which Way Nigeria” at a seminar and award ceremony organised by the Edo Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Wednesday in Benin City. He said: “Sports is a highly effective communication and social mobilisation tool which can be used as a low cost, high impact tool to achieve broader developmental goals. This leads to the strong view that sports can be used as a mechanism for national development.”

Solomon Ogba

The AFN president noted that sports could play a crucial role in national development as well as facilitate the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. Ogba listed clear and deliberate vision, uniformity of the process, consistency of the process over time and a dogged approach as some of the pivots upon which the transformation agenda could be attained. Others are non-profiteering, honesty and transparency in the corridors of sports administration, as well as a set target by the administrators to reach these milestones. He explained that to achieve the vision, there must be no ambiguity in the policy formulation and implementation. “The process should be consistent as any attempt to undermine it at any

point in time will likely cause a collapse of the entire system like what we are now experiencing in Nigeria,” the AFN president said. Ogba advocated for the enthronement of honesty and transparency within the sports sector, saying that “when athletes see the administrators as honest and transparent, the process will definitely succeed”. The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of award to deserving sports writers and administrators. The recipients included Ogba, a former Commissioner of Sports in Delta, Brown Ebewele, a former Commissioner for Sports in Edo and two former SWAN Chairmen in the old Bendel, Dele Ojeisehoba and Emmanuel Ehareveba.



Picture 1: Great Britain's triathlon world champion Alistair Brownlee tears his Achilles just six months before the Olympic Games. Picture 2: Victoria Azarenka strolls to the Qatar Open title with a 6-1 6-2 win over Australian Samantha Stosur. Picture 3: England striker Kelly Smith expects to end her career in England following the collapse of the US professional league. Picture 4: Keep up to date with the latest scores from the second round of the WGC Match Play at Dove Mountain in Arizona. Picture 5: Centre Manu Tuilagi returns to the England team to face Wales tomorrow as interim head coach Stuart Lancaster makes four changes. Picture 6: England's caretaker boss Stuart Pearce makes himself available to take the team to the European Championship if required. Picture 7: Rafael Benitez’s agent insists there has been no official approach from Chelsea and said that the position would only be considered "once there is an offer�.











Age cheat saga: Let’s nip it in the bud


ot for the first time that their wards earn illicit complying with the standards. And more has been the pity for has the ugly estacode. Ask John Obuh and matter of age cheat other forthright coaches and the them because they have produced allegation been associated with answer will become all too great youth players who so easily fizzled out in split seconds all too Nigeria. Few weeks ago, the obvious. Sadly, while the dust from the often not for injury but the simple Kenyans made a strong allegation against the Flamingoes Flamingoes was yet to settle, in reason that they had participated after losing in front of their home comes another potential ugly at the cadet fiesta at the peak of age-cheat allegation. A well their career and therefore had fans. That claim was debunked by known Nigeria Premier League nothing to offer while their elsewhere the Nigerian authorities. First, player was allegedly immorally contemporaries Honourable Ayo Omidiran- a celebrated with an invitation to blossomed. Ronaldinho, Iker Cassillas, member of one of FIFA’s the Golden Eaglets, who are committees promptly dismissed preparing for the CAF U-17 Donovan, Seydou Keita, and several others were youth who the allegation on the grounds African Youth Championship. That cadet championship was participated in cadet that the rules which the Kenyans had insisted upon had been created specifically by FIFA to championships and within few breached did not say specifically stimulate grassroots soccer years began to glow like rare gems that once a player has featured development as the buffer for the that they were. Not so Nigerians. One recalls that Nigeria was in the age-grade fiesta such senior teams. Whereas visionary cannot participate in same nations have taken advantage to suspended from FIFA tourney for competition provided she is still groom and grow potential greats, alleged age cheat in a tournament African countries and indeed in 1989. That was after the within the age-bracket. Secondly, Aisha Folade Nigeria have abused FIFA’s well country had a celebrated corroborated her position but documented intentions and had accomplishment by becoming the with a rather lame excuse: Only chosen to thrive on the first nation to win the Kodak U-17 by seldom Championship in China in 1985. birth certificate can be used to championship determine the age of a player Then followed by not his or her physique. the streaks of That’s true by FIFA impressive standard. But certificate, as The screening exercise being performances by is often established, can be the Flying purchased cheaply even conducted for prospective Golden Eagles, not a few from government hospitals Eaglets must be spared immoral of whom were in Nigeria. Besides, greedy alleged to be well parents are ever ready to nuances. Same for the Flamingoes. over the age compromise just to ensure limit.

By Patrick Andrew The records do not lie. Please, consider how many of the 1993 Golden Eaglets aside Nwankwo Kanu, Wilson Oruman and perhaps James Obiora, how about the 1989 squad? Yes, Pius Ikedia, Joseph Yobo? What became of the 2003 Trinidad/Tobogo silver winning team? Who recalls the exploits of the 2007 Golden Eaglets squad and their promising prospects? Certain names were touted as world best in waiting and till date they have remained in limbo essentially because as alleged they were economical with their ages. So, it beats one’s imagination why Nigerian coaches would want to trek a well beaten path: one as ignominious and disdainful as dung. And yet, that’s just what is about to happen as elements themselves not so free from the ugly trend traverse the country not to comb for real under age players but those who have

featured for the amateur and premier league for over half a dozen years. No, player in the premier league is below 19. Let’s not repeat the mistake of bringing a police inspector to play U-17 fiesta as had been the case in the past. Aminu Maigari and co must guide against pandering to immoral sentiment and the evil urgings of dastardly ambitious elements whose sole interest is to cut corners to the utter detriment of the nation. The screening exercise being conducted for prospective Golden Eaglets must be spared immoral nuances. Same for the Flamingoes. The present barrage of court cases, most of which were induced by blind ambition of some few elements, have done enough injuries to the psyche of the game and further subjection to ignominy would be sounding the death knell.

Coaches upbeat as Junior Football League promotion battle rages

Students to feature in tomorrow’s boxing show, says LSBAA official


oaches at the ongoing Lagos Junior Football League say they are confident of lifting the trophy even as the 14 teams are battling for the top honours realigned strategies to capture the prize when the championship ends in a fortnight. According to the format, the first four teams will be promoted to the Premier League, while those in the fifth to 10th positions remain in the league. Those which place 11th to 14th are to be relegated to League two. The first four teams currently on the league table are NATH Boys of Lekki, Ikorodu Boys FC, Apapa Golden Stars and Okunola Marvelous Babes. Yisa Shofoluwe, coach of NATH Boys, told NAN that although the league was tough, his boys would win their next two matches to claim the glory. Sofoluwe, a former defender with the defunct Green Eagles, said that his boys had been improving daily in the competition, giving an


ome secondary school students will feature in the newly added cadet category of the February Lagos “Saturday Boxing Show”, according to an official of the Lagos State Boxing Amateur Association. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the monthly show, now in its 28th edition, holds every last Saturday of the month at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Yaba. Adesoye Adejuwon, the secretary of the association, who spoke with NAN on Wednesday, in Lagos, said: “The addition is aimed at giving students the opportunity to showcase their talents and hence more discoveries. “The discovered ones will later be nurtured for further training to replace the ageing ones.” He also said that the additional category indicated the association’s readiness to extend its talent hunt to secondary schools in preparation for the future. Adejuwon said that the competition had thrown up many boxers at the grassroots several of whom had represented the state in local and international competitions. The secretary said that no fewer than 20 schools would watch the 10-bout show. He said that the association had compiled a database containing information on the boxers, adding that the database would also offer reference materials in future. NAN reports that the next edition of the competition, sponsored by Olawale Edun’s Lagos State Boxing Hall of Fame, is slated to hold on Feb. 25.


Basketball League

assurance they would win. “Discipline and team work of my boys will also give us the glory,” Sofoluwe said. Nathaniel Olagunju, coach of Apapa Golden Stars, said that his team would not take their last two matches for granted as it would be the decider. “ We cannot afford to lose our last two matches, most especially against another promotion contender, NATH Boys; the match is very crucial to us,” he said. According to Olagunju, the league is building up talented players for the future. Billy Thani, coach of Ikorodu West, said that their last two matches would be ‘a do-or-die affair’ for them to win the league. “My boys are ready to fight to the finish in their last two matches; they are eager for promotion,” Thani said. He said that his boys wanted to make names for themselves, noting that that this was the chance for them to go for it.

London 2012: 40,000 athletics tickets for sale April


he London 2012 organisers have confirmed to the BBC that 40, 000 tickets will be available for the most sought-after track-and-field sessions, such as the men’s 100m final. This is cheering news for fans who could not obtained needed tickets during the last exercise. The vast majority of the 40,000 athletics tickets are likely to be sold within 24 hours of the website going live because officials are considering allowing every eligible applicant the chance to buy at least two each. The 20,000 people, who were mistakenly told they had tickets, will have a 24-hour window in which to

apply for the released batch. There will then be a further fiveday window for the rest of the one million people who missed out in both rounds. Another general sale is unlikely because a million people are chasing a million tickets. The BBC also gathered that the million tickets released in April will include 50,000 tickets for basketball sessions at the Olympic Park and the North Greenwich Arena (O2). A further 30,000 tickets are to be made available for the diving at the Aquatics Centre, but the exact numbers for the opening ceremony have not been worked out but are

thought to be in the low thousands. The capacity of the main stadium will be reduced from 80,000 to 61,000 during the opening ceremony because of giant screens and extra demand for seats from VIPs and the media, making the pressure on tickets even greater. As few as 29,000 seats will go to the British public. Tickets for track cycling are likely to be even harder to come by in the April sale because the Olympic Velodrome only has a capacity of 6,000. Following last week’s hugely successful test event at the Velodrome, organisers are now

finalising how many extra seats might be available. However, there are unlikely to be very many more than 1,000 across the six days of competition. OLYMPIC TICKET FAST FACTS •There were 1.9m applicants for 6.6m public tickets in the first round, with 1.2m missing out. •More than a million requested tickets for the men’s 100m final 62 for every ticket sold. •There were more than two million ticket request for the opening ceremony in the first round of sales. •Nearly 1.5m tickets for Olympic football remain unsold.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE "T her e ar e mor e things to "Ther here are more alar m us than to har m us alarm harm us,, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality ." – Seneca eality."



Blame me not Chelsea players, says Villas-Boas


nder-fire manager Andre Villas-Boas absolved his players on Thursday of any blame for Chelsea's poor run of form, saying he alone was responsible. The London club, who lifted the Premier League crown in 2010 under Villas-Boas's predecessor Carlo Ancelotti, have slumped to fifth in the table after winning just two of their last 10 matches. Chelsea also have their work cut out to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League after losing 3-1 to Napoli in the first leg in Italy on Tuesday. "There is one ... person who takes responsibility - myself,' Villas-Boas told reporters ahead of Saturday's home league game against Bolton Wanderers. "The players don't have to take it and they shouldn't take it. "They are top players and they know what they can do for the benefit of the team but there is only one person that is responsible which is me." However, Villas-Boas said the loss of captain John Terry for the last five matches had been a big blow. The former England skipper had knee surgery on Wednesday and the manager expects his central defender to be out for another five or six weeks. "He is a player we badly miss and is of massive importance to us," said VillasBoas, who took over when Ancelotti was sacked by ruthless billionaire owner Roman Abramovich at the end of last season.

Andre Villas-Boas


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Budget 2012 (6) - Failing police, failing state


s an impressionable man growing up in Daudawa, in Katsina Province of the then Northern Region in the early 1960s, my first career choice was to be a native authority policeman or “dan doka”. Malam Ibrahim Dan Doka, our village policeman, was the face of the state - the most visible and authoritative symbol of the Northern regional government. Dressed in his bright green shirt, brown khaki shorts and red cap, he looked every inch the public face of government. All I wanted was to be like him when I grew up because that one person - working with the village head - kept law and order and ensured peace in our community. The policeman was then generally respected, revered even, for his integrity, fairness and courage. There was virtually no crime in our village in those days. I did not get to see the “dan sanda” (baton-carrying police, in Hausa) or constable of the Nigerian police (with their blue shirts, black trousers and black berets) until years later when we visited my father’s hometown of Zaria, the provincial capital. I do not know how many young people now ever consider a career in the police. Let me, therefore, put my bias for the police up-front. Warts and all, I admired the police. I think that they are the quintessential public servants who patrol the streets during the day and stay up at night so we can all sleep well. And some of the finest Nigerians I have met like M. D. Yusuf, Gambo Jimeta, Ibrahim Coomassie, and Nuhu Ribadu were policemen. And I believe strongly that we will never have a functioning country and government unless our police works as well as the days I dreamt about wearing a police uniform. What has happened to our Police Force? Why did it attract the brightest and committed people then, and why is it populated by a different set of people now? As every society needs policing, can our police enforce the law when everyone looks upon its officers and men with such disdain and contempt? We will explore these by looking at the history and evolution of the Nigeria Police Force, its current structure and situation, the challenges and its spending priorities in the 2012 Budget. We will ask whether the spending

311 689 606 327 454

7458 1765 3308 1969 0344


IG M.D. Abubakar priorities make sense, and then ask the standard quantity surveying question - is Nigeria getting value for the money spent on our police? And how do other related agencies in the security sector compare in spending with the police? The Nigeria Police Force began life in 1861 as the Hausa Constabulary, established by Lord Lugard to pacify the conquered Hausa-Fulani Empire. This then became the Native Authority Police in the Northern Protectorate. The Southern Protectorate and the Colony of Lagos had their own local versions

of the police force. A federal police force only emerged in 1930 with a national law enforcement mandate, side by side with the regional police organizations. The 1960 constitution recognized the existence of Local Government Police of the West, Sheriffs and Court Messengers in the East, and the N. A. Police in the Northern Region. The central government’s Nigeria Police Force was situated in the office of the Prime Minister under the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). This structure worked to a large extent, but allegations persisted throughout the country about the use of regional police to intimidate, arrest and torture political opponents until the military take-over in 1966. The events of 1966 and their aftermath persuaded the military government that the existence of regional police forces almost divided the country and might have led to those political crises. Thus immediately after the war, the Gowon administration dissolved all regional police forces and absorbed the officers and men into a single Nigeria Police Force. This situation was first entrenched in s.194(1) of the 1979 constitution, and maintained in s.214(1) of the 1999 constitution: There shall be a Police Force

What has happened to our Police Force? Why did it attract the brightest and committed people then, and why is it populated by a different set of people now? As every society needs policing, can our police enforce the law when everyone looks upon its officers and men with such disdain and contempt?

for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and .... no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof. The 1999 constitution went further in s.214(2)(c) to impliedly limit the power of the national assembly to create any other organization to perform police functions other than as branches of the Nigeria Police, so the Nigeria Police Force has a constitutional monopoly in the performance of all policing functions as defined in the Police Act, by whatever name called: The National Assembly may make provisions for branches of the Nigeria Police Force forming part of the armed forces of the federation or for the protection of harbours, waterways, railways and airfields. The Police Act, chapter at page 19 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria listed the six broad policing functions (1) crime prevention, (2) detection and apprehension of offenders, (3) preservation of law and order, (4) protection of life and property, (5) enforcement of all laws and regulations enacted by federal, state and local governments, and (6) performance of such military duties within or outside Nigeria, when sanctioned by law. Many lawyers believe that the interpretation of the combined provisions of s.214 of the constitution and the Police Act is that the laws creating institutions like the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Drug Law Administration and Enforcement Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission, the ICPC and EFCC are unconstitutional as they ought to be mere branches of the Nigeria Police Force, if they must exist. This will be an interesting question that only Supreme Court can rule upon when brought before it, some day. The Nigeria Police Force is the largest single public sector organization in the country. In 2008, it employed about 380,000 officers and other ranks, posted to work in every nook and cranny of our country. The UN recommends that every nation has a police officer for every 400,000 citizens. This is one of the few global standards that we have very nearly attained, but this assumes that the police Contd. on Page 28

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday, February 24, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday, February 24, 2012 Hot Edition