Page 1

Vol. 9 No. 97

. . . putting the people first

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Safar 11, 1434 AH



Jonathan fails to end fuel scarcity . . . Despite N161bn NASS approval

By Richard Ihediwa, Aminu Imam, Muhammad Nasir & Ibrahim Kabiru Sule

Kano state Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (right) presenting the 2013 budget to the Speaker, Kano state House of Assembly, Hon Gambo Sallau (left) at the Assembly’s complex, yesterday.


he acute fuel scarcity crippling economic activities in most cities in the country has persisted despite the approval of N161.617 billion by the National Assembly for President Goodluck Jonathan to specifically ensure the availability of the product during the yuletide and end of year festivities. As at yesterday, many petrol stations in Abuja and other cities across the country had no fuel while thousands of Nigerians intending to travel for Christmas and end-of-year festivities were seen on long queues at the few petrol stations that had the product. The situation has also left many travellers and commuters in Abuja stranded as most motorists stayed Contd on Page 2


24th Dec., 2012


BUYING 154.76 249.02 201.11 0.2894 41.24

SELLING 155.76 250.63 202.41 0.3094 41.53


BUYING 207 255 42 157

SELLING 209 256 44 158

Kwankwaso presents N235. 3bn 2013 budget From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ano state governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso yesterday presented his administration’s 2013 Appropriation bill of N235, 304,929,000 to the State House

of Assembly. Tagged “Budget of Economic Consolidation and Fiscal Discipline”, it is made up of capital expenditure of N175, 510, 102, 000, representing 75 percent and a recurrent expenditure of N59, 794, 827, 000, representing 25 percent.

Dep Gov: Southern Kaduna youth threaten strike as Yero nominates Bajoga >> PAGE 2

Governor Kwankwaso explained that “the recurrent expenditure proposal consists of N2.2billion for consolidate Revenue Fund Charges (CRF), N35.839 billion for Personnel Costs, and N21.706 billion for Overhead Costs while the Capital

New sect claims abduction of Frenchman >> PAGE 3

expenditure programme of N175.427 billion will be funded from an expected surplus over recurrent receipts of N89.071 billion and an expected capital receipt of N67.139 billion”. The governor described it as Contd on Page 2

Al-Mizan Editor, reporter abducted in Kaduna >> PAGE 5

























Dep Gov: Southern Kaduna youth threaten hunger strike as Yero nominates Bajoga From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


he contentious issue of who becomes the deputy governor of Kaduna state may have been laid to rest as the government yesterday confirmed the nomination of the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Ambassador Nuhu Audu Bajoga, for the position. The situation appears to have gone messier with a section of Bajoga’s kinsmen from southern Kaduna threatening to embark on an indefinite hunger strike over the matter. “Yes, His Excellency, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, has nominated Nuhu Bajoga but we are











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Secretary, Nasiru Jagaba, “we will continue to fight the cause of what we believe in and we wish to tell the whole world that Bajoga’s nomination is a grand design to factionalize the state. “Governor Muktar Ramalan Yero should reverse the nomination because the entire people of southern Kaduna state are aggrieved.” And, for the Concerned Southern Kaduna Professionals, the decision of Bajoga to accept his nomination has revealed him as a betrayer of the people. “He will eventually realize that he has begun a journey into the wilderness of slavery, oppression, domination and political

emasculation,” a press statement from the group said. According to the statement signed by Dr. John Danfulani and Pendo K. Yates, “we do not hesitate to remind Bajoga that as young men and women, if our late Governor Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa is watching and reminiscing in the grave, then Bajoga has certainly betrayed him in death.” Born in Kwoi 1949, Bajoga was Nigeria’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Poland and Concurrently Accredited to the Czech Republic between 2004 and 2007. He was elected Kaduna state PDP Chairman in March 2012.

Jonathan fails to end fuel scarcity Contd from Page 1

Niger state: Where billboards supplant dividends of democracy, Page 4

waiting for the House of Assembly to screen him before we take further action,” the Commissioner for Information, Saidu Adamu, said yesterday. Protesting the development, leader of a youth group from Saminaka, Maigari Abuja, said that: “we are going on a hunger strike in order to register our protest over the imposition of Ambassador Bajoga on us as deputy governor.” On its part, the youth wing of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) at a press conference yesterday, described Bajoga as an unpopular candidate for the position noting that the group will not work with him. According to the group’s

off the road following their inability to get fuel. Already transport fares have increased drastically as motorists are now left at the mercy of black marketers who sell fuel as high as N200 per litre in Abuja and other cities. In some cities outside state capitals, fuel now sells as high as N150 in filling stations as against the N97 per litre official pump price. Jonathan had on December 11, requested for the approval of additional N161.617 billion to pay for fuel subsidy to ensure availability of fuel during the period, a request which was speedily granted by the two chambers of the National Assembly in the public interest. Jonathan had, in the request letter to the National Assembly, told lawmakers that the provision for fuel subsidy in the 2012 was underestimated adding that in

addition to the N880.264 billion already spent; he would need addition N161.617 billion to add the remaining N7.735 billion to “maintain a steady flow of petroleum products, especially in the run-up to the festive season”. However, since the approval which came within the same week the request was made, the scarcity of the product has persisted with Nigerians suffering untold hardship following high prices of fuel resulting in rising transport fares and high costs of consumer goods and services. Our reporters who went round the FCT met many empty petrol filling stations, while those selling product had very long queues of vehicles waiting for hours on end for fuel. In some filing stations, operators were seen collecting bribes from motorists before serving them. Many motorists were seen patronising black marketers who sell at exorbitant prices.

The acute fuel scarcity which Jonathan had promised to end especially to enable Nigerians enjoy their end of year festivities started a few months ago in Abuja but has spread to other parts of the country with spiral negative effect on the economy. Efforts by Peoples Daily to get reactions from the Presidency did not yield result as relevant officials, including the Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati could not be reached on phone yesterday. Also efforts to get the officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Finance to comment on the matter failed as the Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Minister of Finance, Paul Nwabiukwu and NNPC spokesman, Dr. Omar Farouk did not pick their calls and did not reply to text messages on the matter as at press time last night. However, a top official in one of

the filling stations visited in Abuja city centre said his station has not been encountering any problem with the marketers, adding that he receives petroleum products every day. According to him, “It’s just panic-buying by motorists. We are expecting one more trucks today, about 33,000 litres”. A fuel attendant at an Oando filling station, Hauwa Uthman, said many Nigerians are panicking that petrol price would be increased to N150 per litre by January, 2013 saying that could be responsible for the current experience. However, a civil servant, Aminu Ibn Isa, who was seen at the petrol station, said the major problem with the country is that of leadership failure stressing that “with or without subsidy, fuel queues will never disappear”. He said “the major problem we are facing in Nigeria is lack of leadership; without leadership, we will continue to suffer”.

Kwankwaso presents N235. 3bn 2013 budget Contd from Page 1 a balanced budget with expenditure matching Revenue of the same size, adding that it is higher than that of the Amended 2012 estimates by N13, 685,597,405, representing 6 percent increase. Gov. Kwankwaso remarked with pleasure that the government is transiting into 2013 with a healthy opening balance of about N20 billion. Infrastructure got the lion share of the budget, receiving N62. 4 billion, while Works and Housing was allocated N41. 8 billion. Projects to be executed under these sectors include urban road constructions and dualizations, completion of some inherited projects, construction of two flyovers, construction and Channelization of Kwarin Gogau to Jakara Road as well as take-off of Independent Power Plants project at Tiga and Challawa Goje Dams. According to Governor Kwankwaso, Education followed

on the priority list with an allocation of N24. 17 billion, highlighting that out of this amount, N16 billion was set aside for basic and secondary education while N8.1 billion goes to commitments under higher education. Governor Kwankwaso asserted that N9. 68 billion was earmarked for undertakings under the agriculture sector as part of the administration’s resolve to make mass food production the cornerstone of its intervention in the real sector of the economy. Priority projects to be undertaken under this sector include production, provision and distribution of fertilizer and grains, construction of a new Zoo at Bagauda and construction of new Kano Abattoir. Under the health sector, the government, he said, planned to spend N8.04 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, explaining that the money will be used in upgrading, expanding and rehabilitation of hospitals and procurement of specialized equipment for them,

as well as the construction of two schools of Nursing at Gaya and Madobi, and a School of Post Basic Midwifery at Gezawa, among other projects. He stated that N7.445 billion was set aside for projects under the Water Resources sector, N3.355 billion, Housing, N1.5 billion for Information and Communication Strategy, N1.2 billion for Environment, and N1.005 billion, Commerce and Industry. Other sectoral allocations are: Rural and Community Development, N605 million, Science and Technology, N615 million; N1.189 billion for Security and Justice while Women Affairs is expected to get N345. 8 million. “The 2013 budget will not only consolidate our development efforts but will ensure frugal and efficiency in our expenditure programmes. We intend to use the limited resources at our disposal to achieve maximum impact”, Governor Kwankwaso

maintained. The governor charged Ministries and government agencies to ensure effective performance, transparency and accountability in the discharge of their functions, adding that more attention will be paid to project monitoring and audit of financial transactions to achieve the set goals of the Kwankwasiyya government. He then solicited continued cooperation of the people of the state to forge ahead and thanked the State Assembly, development partners and philanthropists such as Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, Aliko Dangote, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the federal government’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) for matching grants and for their proactive support to the government’s development objectives.



Chopper crash: Jonathan visits Azazi's Lagos home By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, in Lagos


resident Goodluck Jonathan was in Ikoyi, Lagos home of former National Security Adviser, Gen Andrew Owoeye Azazi to commiserate with his family members for the loss of their patriarch in the ill-fated naval chopper which crashed in the creeks of Bayelsa on the 15th of December, 2012. General Azazi had served the military as Directorate of Military

Intelligence (DMI) boss, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Defence Staff in a glittering career where he also served President Jonathan as National Security Adviser (NSA). Late Azazi's wife, children, grandchildren and other relatives were at hand to receive the President who came in at exactly 10:20 am. Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadome who spoke on his behalf expressed the condolences of Mr. President to the family, hailing the departed general as a

patriot and diligent officer. "Azazi was indeed a great man, a diligent officer and patriot. The President had already organised a special Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in his honour and various council members had the opportunity to speak glowingly about him. “They all had good words for him because he gave his best for the country. He rose by merit to become a four-star general. Because the President had confidence in him, he was made the NSA.

“He was a good community man. He chaired the flood committee of his home state, the most affected state. “He has played his role in his family, community and country even internationally. We should take solace in the fact that he lived a good life. He has laid a good foundation for the family… Ogiahdome continued: "The President has asked me to express his deepest sympathy to your family." On the Presidential train were ministers of Aviation, Princess

Stella Oduah; Defence, Olusola Obada and Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison- Madueke as well as other presidential aides. Former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke also attended the condolence visit. It would be recalled that Azazi, former Kaduna governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and their respective aides as well as two crew members had died on the spot after a helicopter crash having attended the burial of Oronto Douglas' father in Bayelsa state.

EFCC arrests Babalakin From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arrested businessman, Wale Babalakin shortly after he left the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where he had sought refuge on the pretext of illness. Babalakin is currently detained at the Ikoyi offices of the agency where sources said he might be granted another "administrative bail" pending his arraignment before a Lagos judge on January 17, 2013. The EFCC alleges that Babalakin and his cohorts transferred various sums of money on behalf of jailed former governor of Delta state, Chief James Ibori, through third parties to some

foreign accounts under the guise of purchasing a Bombardier Challenger jet from Canada. As at time of this report Babalakin is still a guest at the EFCC office. A Federal High Court judge on Friday tossed the application filed by embattled Babalakin, seeking to restrain EFCC from arresting and prosecuting him for money laundering. Justice Ibrahim Buba said his court could not stop the EFCC from arresting Babalakin to face crimes of money laundering. In his ruling yesterday, Justice Buba stated: “Nobody is above the law, no matter the person’s position or status”. The judge subsequently dismissed the application for lacking merit.

Sambo exonerates self from new residence controversy By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem

V Family going for Christmas celebration yesterday at Mararaba, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

ice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo yesterday described the controversy surrounding the proposed new vice presidential residence as unnecessary.

engineer Francis Colump...63, working for the French company Vergnet." Colump was kidnapped last Thursday when gunmen stormed a residence in the village of Rimi in Katsina state. A security guard and one other person were killed in a spate shootings and detonation of explosives. The attackers had also bombed a nearby police post.

continue launching attacks on the French government and French long as it does not change its stance on these two issues," the statement continued. Not much is known about Ansaru, which could be yet another off-shoot of Boko Haram, a militant group which has been responsible for series of deadly attacks in Nigeria.

New sect claims abduction of Frenchman in Katsina By Julius Ogar, with agencies


radical Muslim sect simply known as Ansaru, has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of a Frenchman in Katsina last week. In a statement emailed to journalists, Ansaru "announces to the world, especially the French government, that it was responsible for the abduction of

Seven soldiers, three others killed in multiple crash


even soldiers died while three other persons were critically injured around 1:30 pm in an accident involving three vehicles at Awawa on the Abaji-Abuja highway according to Nigerian Road Safety officials. The soldiers died as a truck conveying them collided head-on with another truck coming from

the opposite direction. Another Toyota 18-seater Hiace bus was also involved in the accident. Another accident also occurred on the Lokoja-Abuja highway, this time killing three passengers and injuring three. Road safety officials said they recovered N50,460 and a live goat from the crash scene.

Ansaru says the kidnapping was in response to France's role in pushing for an intervention force to drive out Islamists who have taken over northern Mali. It also blamed "the stance of the French government and the French people on Islam and Muslims," in particular a law banning the use of headscarfs. "We inform the French government that this group will From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


overnor Kashim Shettima of Borno state yesterday charged Christian faithful to use the Christmas spiritual period to offer extensive prayers for the restoration of peace in the state and the country at large. Governor Shettina made the plea in a Christmas message issued by his special adviser on communications, Isa Umar Gusau.

The VP argued that the project had nothing to do with him, adding that the FCT administration was only carrying out its statutory mandate by constructing a new permanent residence to serve any occupier of his present office. A statement signed by the Vice President's spokesman, Umar Sani, said: "Our attention has been drawn to unnecessary controversies the building of the permanent residence of the Vice-President is generating in the media. “Having taken stock of issues raised overtime, we find it necessary to clarify and lay them to rest. Aguda House, the current temporary residence of the Vice President was designated in the Abuja Master Plan as a Presidential Guest House and the Federal Capital Territory Administration which is saddled with the responsibility of providing accommodation to deserving government officials, decided to ensure that it implements its master plan by locating the permanent residence of the Vice President to its present position and building a befitting accommodation for any Nigerian Vice President”.

Christmas: Shettima charges Christians to pray for peace The governor noted that restoration of peace is of great benefit to the citizens and that everyone should regard it as an obligation to offer meaningful contributions in that direction. The statement also quoted Shettima as re-iterating government determination to assiduously adopt concrete strategies to bring a lasting

solution to the security challenges facing the state to make it regain its former status as the home of peace. Government, the statement added, has evolved solid measures to tackle abject poverty and unemployment among youths, which are the underlying factors responsible for the current insecurity confronting the state.


Niger state: Where billboards supplant dividends of democracy T

rue leaders only smile when majority of their electorates, particularly at the grassroots, smile. To get this smile, the people must be the raison d’être for and the cause of any policies and projects, not the ego of those who hold the reigns of leadership in the society. Ideally, a leader’s emergence, success and credence should not be tied to their verbal gymnastics or financial cavern, though they could facilitate to some extent, but come rudely short when actions fail to match words. And here lays the beauty of democracy and the curse of the inactive leaders. In democracies like ours where votes don’t count, leaders just dance to the tune of their rigging machines and in deception, implement programmes only in the media to give the impression of a working administration. This perhaps explains why elected leaders echo and re-echo their so-called achievements to permeate the nook and crannies under their jurisdiction, thereby bringing in the cranes of the mass media in the melee. Good education may be a good ingredient for leadership, but it does not necessarily make for a better leader, and Niger state provides an excellent case study. If good education were the entire requirement to produce a good leader, the “the power state” should be rubbing shoulders with the most advanced in terms of economic growth in the country. An academic doctor and veteran civil servant to boot, the incumbent governor of Niger state or Chief Servant, as he prefers to be referred, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu (Talban Minna) ought to be the pride of Nigerlites. Sadly, anyone who journeys within the power state, the state of the roads will only convince them that the only servants in the state are the poorly served citizens of the state. The situation of Niger state under Babangida Aliyu explains why senior colleague Hannatu Musawa, described him as a man “suffering from diarrhoea of the mouth”. Niger state stands as one of the best natural investorfriendly states – with boundless potentials for agriculture, industries and tourism, among other economic activities. It has abundant fertile soil, with the evergreen River Niger to change the face of irrigation farming for good, and the Babana Seaport to facilitate foreign trade. The state also has the largest concentration of Shea butter trees, Moringa plant and thousands of acres of swampy areas suitable for for rice and sugarcane cultivation as well as fish farming. In tourism, there is the

While citizens in other states count their dividend of democracy in improved infrastructure, in Niger state they count their own in physical structures of a different kind; billboards, writes Abdulkadir Isa.

One of the numerous billboards that litter Niger state. Gurara waterfalls, the Kainji wild life park and the rich sociocultural heritage of the Nupe and Gbagi people to make Niger Nigeria’s centre for tourism. Governor Babangida Aliyu needs to use his billboards, numbering in the hundreds to tell the world how he has maximised the National Cereal Research Institute in his state to fix agriculture, he also needs to explain his alleged opting for N519 million as rent as against residing in the Government House in Minna. Unmatched is this administration’s use of the media to announce projects, most of which start and end just there; in the media. It is amazing that the Chief Servant, who regularly uses the Minna-Suleja road to and fro Abuja to mop the monthly federal allocation, never seem embarrassed by the grave-sized potholes that ‘decorate’ the length of the road. The MinnaSuleja road is just one of the many infrastructures crying for the Chief Servant to redefine his idea of development. He should build a synergy between the Research Institute in Badeggi, Federal University of Technology Minna and the local

farmers for improved seedlings and modern farming techniques and revive the sugarcane plantations to feed the Bachita Sugar Company. There is also the need for him to urgently draft and implement a robust irrigation programme for communities along the River Niger and other waterways within the state. Niger state produces a chunk of the electricity needed for the whole country, Mr Governor should look at the OMPADEC document as a whole and pursue a better policy on derivation formula not in finance-wise but the product. Niger state is strategically located to enjoy

electricity more than any other state, this will invite heavy investors. Investors are finance conscious human beings who work with facts on ground not assumptions and media talks. These are some of the facts Talba must come to terms with. As a concept, the “Talba Youth Programme” in the state is wonderful, but after five years of implementation its success leaves much to be desired. Times without number, the governor has been on the media on selfappraisal for the numerous packages his administration has brought to the state. This is all “French politics”. Words are like

As a concept, the “Talba Youth Programme” in the state is wonderful, but after five years of implementation its success leaves much to be desired. Times without number, the governor has been on the media on self-appraisal for the numerous packages his administration has brought to the state. This is all “French politics”

drugs, its either they are used or expire on the shelves. Talba’s alleged dream for a future national assignment isn’t going to be merry-go-round as usual. The paradigm has changed and Nigerians (Nigerlites inclusive) have gone beyond mere onlookers. The country is embattled of qualitative leadership, and the doggedness of Nigerians to change this is no news. To be sure, sooner than expected the time is coming when crooked leaders are jailed; crooks dangling on hooks because the books are fully booked. Mr Chief Servant should know that development comes through the roads, therefore they must be built, the people must have access to portable water and the youths should be on board to help drive the economy forward. For now, Niger state isn’t green, so we just have to leave for pasture. No thanks to the Chief Servant’s media-driven administration. But know that when your immunity is gone, you’ll be so porous with no iota of defence and oration, media might or billboards won’t be there to embellish you.



Miyetti Allah calls for livestock ministry From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


stablishing a livestock ministry at the federal level would stop the incessant Fulani and farmers clashes happening across the country, according to the Jigawa state chairman of Miyetti Allah Farmers Association. The chairman, Alhaji Ya'u Abdullahi Haruna, who stated this yesterday at the flag-off campaign

for cattle immunization, said it would give adequate timing and planning against the perennial occurrences of feuds that are avoidable. Alhaji Ya'u Haruna noted that in many countries, such a ministry has been in existence and doing very well. "We are also in need of such here in Nigeria because responsibilities are too much in the Ministry of Agriculture in which livestock

have not been getting the deserved attention from government despite its importance". Meanwhile, the Jigawa state government has expended N847.9 million on livestock development in line with government’s effort at achieving food security for the nation. This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Rabi'u Isah while delivering his address

at the flag-off of the annual animal immunisation in Kiyawa local government area in the state. Alhaji Isah explained that the Lamido-led administration has spent over N539 million on construction of 50 wind power pumps at 50 secluded grazing reserves across the state. The commissioner explained that the government has also committed N68.9 million on the provision of three veterinary

clinics, and about N60 million on annual vaccination from 2007 to date and N87 million on survey and demarcation of 50 grazing reserves at the sum of N36 million on six wet salting shades. According to him "government is making all necessary efforts to establish a solid and excellent enabling environment for this occupation (livestock) to grow and prosper steadily and sustainably".

FCT police arrest 11 robbers, 12 car snatchers ...recover 38 stolen vehicles By Lambert Tyem


R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, wife of the late former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi, Mrs Alero Azazi, and the children, during the president's condolence visit to Azazi's family residence, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: Joe Oroye

Three shot, five Jonathan, wife felicitate with Nigerians at Christmas “The virtues and ideals of with the regrettable distractions injured in Bauchi By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem peace, tolerance, faithfulness, posed by threats to peace and s Nigerians celebrate honesty, justice, fairness, true security in parts of the country, village attack Christmas today, wisdom, knowledge and the Federal Government remains From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


gunman attacked Bigi village, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, in Bauchi local government area and shot three persons while five others sustained injuries in the process. Bauchi state police command’s Police Public relations Officer DSP Abbas Abdullahi confirmed the incident. He said: “Yes it happened, but all the people shot did not die; they are in the hospital; I don’t know the number but I saw the signal” Narrating the incident, a source said the gunman entered a joint where people eat and drink; he sat there and ate something before bringing out his gun and shooting three persons. Other customers at the joint attempted to overpower and arrest him; but he hit two persons with the gun who also sustained injuries before he fled. Meanwhile the injured victims have been taken to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital for medical treatment. In a similar development, the police and army formations in Bauchi metropolis have been barricaded.


President Goodluck Jonathan has charged the citizenry to continue to believe in the Transformation Agenda of his administration which he said will begin to yield results in the new year. This is just as the President’s wife, Mrs. Patience Jonathan has urged Nigerians, particularly Christians, to pray for peace and development of the country. In a Christmas message signed by his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President urged Nigerians to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ and live a life of honesty and sacrifice.

understanding which He taught and exemplified also remain very relevant to us in Nigeria as we continue to grapple with the challenges of development and nation-building. “My administration continues to do its best to give our beloved country effective leadership towards rapidly overcoming present challenges... The message continued: “No one should doubt that we have the political will and determination to deliver on our promise of positive changes in the living conditions of our people in the shortest possible time. “While we continue to deal

very focused on the primary objective of achieving significant improvements in priority areas such as public infrastructure, power supply, transportation, roads, health, education, job creation, agriculture and industrialization as quickly as possible. It is my hope and expectation that more of the efforts, actions and measures we are already undertaking in these areas will successfully come to fruition next year and make the results of the diligent project planning and execution being done under this administration more apparent to all Nigerians”.

Insecurity: Borno CAN calls for prayers From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


ollowing the security challenges bedeviling Borno state, the state’s chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday enjoined Christians to dedicate themselves to extensive prayers during the Christmas festivity. According to CAN, Christians

should use the period as an avenue for seeking divine intervention for the restoration of peace to the troubled state. State chairman of the association, Rev. Titus Pona who made this call in a Christmas message issued to newsmen, tasked residents to dedicate themselves to the Word so that peace can be restored. "My consolation to you as our

generation faces difficult times due to prevalent security challenges, is to call your attention to the Word of God”, he said. The cleric also advocated prayers for the protection of spiritual and political leaders. The CAN chairman noted that Governor Kashim Shettima deserved prayers from the entire people of the state to enable him succeed in his efforts to restore peace.

ederal Capital Territory (FCT)) Commissioner of Police Mr. Adenrele Shinaba, yesterday, disclosed that the command has from September to December 2012, arrested 11 armed robbery suspects, 12 car snatching suspects as well as recovered 38 vehicles of different kinds. Addressing journalists on the performance of the command in the past three months, the CP noted that they also recovered 18 arms, 24 cartridges and 155 live ammunition during the period. Also, the police said about three handsets and laptop computers were found in the possession of some suspects which did not belong to them. “The command in its effort at enhancing religious tolerance within the FCT, has established an inter religious forum comprising of Muslim and Christian religious leaders who meet every month to review, the security situation in the FCT as regards the security of places of worship”. He said the command gives them security tips and encouraging them to continue maintaining the peace in FCT.

Taraba to spend N73bn in 2013 From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


he acting governor of Taraba state, Garba Umar, has presented a budget of over N73 billion to the state’s House of Assembly for the 2013 fiscal year. Of the amount, over N30 billion is for recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure is allocated over N34 billion. Umar said the agricultural sector will receive the lion share of over N1billion followed by the health sector under social services with over N400 million. He informed the members that over N8billion was expected from locally generated revenue; N42 billion from federal allocation; N7 billion from value added tax and N12 billion from capital receipts. According to him, N2 billion is expected to come from other sources.



Bauchi gov's wife distributes food items for Christmas

Niger state Governor, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu (left), signing into law the 2013 Appropriation Bill, yesterday at Government House, in Minna. With him are Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adamu Usman (middle), and the state Chief Judge, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo (right).

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


ife of the governor of Bauchi state, Hajia Aisha Isa Yuguda, has distributed food items worth N46 million to women for Christmas in the 20 local government areas of Bauchi state. Mrs. Yuguda who was represented by the commissioner, Ministry for Women Affairs, Hajia Talatu Barwa, disclosed this to newsmen in Bauchi while giving out the food items to women leaders from various churches. According to her, about 150 churches are to benefit from the gesture. She said the decision was in line with the Yuguda administration's desire to consolidate on the gains of democracy toward helping the needy and eradicating poverty.

Mangal, Izala save 1,020 persons from blindness From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina


renowned business tycoon, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and an Islamic group, Jama'atu Izalatul Bid'a Wa'iqamatus Sunna, have begun the treatment of 1,020 persons suffering from eye-related problems. Addressing newsmen yesterday at the General Hospital, Katsina, centre of the treatment, the chairman of Izalatul Bid'a Eye Foundation, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Bawa Faskari noted that Mangal had contributed N3.5 million for the exercise. Faskari added that the treatment comprises 340 persons who would undergo eye operations, 340 would receive reading glasses while another set of 340 persons would receive sun glasses. The chairman stated that the treatment taking place in Katsina General Hospital has attracted persons with eye problems from across the 34 local governments of the state, adding that a total number of 10 persons were selected in each of the local governments. According to him, the exercise started in 1998 where a Saudi Arabian Al-basar Foundation visited Katsina and performed different forms of corrective treatment for various categories of persons in the state.


he Technical Committee inspecting private health centres in Plateau state has shut 50 private health facilities because of poor standards, according to chairman of the committee, Dr. Silas Bot. Bot told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos, yesterday, that most of the facilities were closed "due to gross anomalies and failure to adhere to standards as required by government.

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


agos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in its Business Environment Report 2012, disagrees with the Federal Government's claims of significant growth of the nation's economy. The chamber said "the business and economic environment was typically characterised by upsides and downsides, but the latter seem to have outweighed the former. The economy (as always) offered tremendous opportunities during the year, but the capacity of investors to harness the opportunities was constrained by the prevailing challenges of the operating environment. The limitations were even more profound for indigenous entrepreneurs". The report signed by LCCI director general, Muda Yusuf, is an evidencebased assessment of the business environment in 2012 with inputs from its members and stakeholders

LCCI report scores Nigerian economy low in the Nigerian economy. The report says the operating environment was generally adjudged to be unsatisfactory by many investors, insisting that the downside was more overwhelming for investors. "This had profound impact on returns on investment and profit margins. The broad issues and challenges included weak consumer demand, cost and access to credit, cargo clearing processes, transportation costs, especially the collapse of the rail system; institutional problems, corruption, especially in relation to public sector transactions. Other concerns were

Bauchi Magistrate orders arrest of MP

the uncertainty and inconsistency in the policy environment, growing insecurity, manpower issues and the relevance of educational curriculum to the needs of the economy; high level of receivables across sectors, power supply challenges, poor sectoral linkages and weak commitment to the development of indigenous enterprise". The security challenges in the report says the economies of the affected states suffered setbacks following the closure of companies and relocation to other states. The impact on job losses was profound as a result

Marketer attributes queues at filling stations to panic buying

Chief Magistrate Court in Darazo, Bauchi state has ordered the arrest of Ishaq Kana representing Keffi, Karu Kokona federal constituency of Nasarawa state in the House of Representatives. The presiding Magistrate, Isa Mohammed ordered the arrest of the lawmaker when he failed to appear before the court over criminal allegations filed against him and one other person by the plaintiffs Abubakar Usman and Alhassan Adamu-through their counsel, Barrister Usman Baffah Darazo. The complainants alleged that the

lawmaker purchased bags of maize worth N9.5 million out of which he paid N530, 000, pledging to pay the balance of N8.9m within two weeks since August 2011. Barrister Darazo alleged that the lawmaker together with one Abubakar Bello, distributed the grains among his supporters and made promises to settle the said indebtedness but instead they kept deceiving the complainants. The plaintiffs' counsel alleged that the accused person has no intention of paying the complainants thereby grounding their business contrary to section 96 and 320 of the penal code and punishable under section 97 and 322 of the Penal Code and urged the court to punish the accused persons and order the payment of compensation.

r. Adewunmi Ilori, the Managing Director of Metib Oil and Gas, yesterday attributed the long queues at filling stations to panic buying. Ilori told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that some motorists were apprehensive that there might be scarcity of the product during the festive period. He said that there was no cause to fear in view of the current supply situation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Apapa, Ejigbo and Mosinmi depots, there was no cause to panic. "When there is panic buying, some motorists may decide to buy the product

"We closed the institutions with gross anomalies and gave directives for the improvement of others because most institutions had equipment and facilities that required corrections and improvement. "We also discovered new private health facilities that were functioning without the

necessary due process and permission and we stopped them from operating�, Most of the institutions closed were manned by all kinds of people, including untrained people, in some cases, those not trained for clinical work were seen in the laboratory, some laboratory staff were seen performing duties

of medical doctors". The committee chairman called on the state government to direct the ministries of Health and Local Government to set up inspection teams to carry out routine inspection exercises to ensure that sealed hospitals remained shut. "Such teams must also ensure

From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


"Many firms lost a sizeable portion of their sales as they could no longer access most part of the northern market; manufacturing firms sourcing raw materials from the north faced new challenges; projects funded by banks in the affected states are at risk and many bank branches have been closed, while the working hours for others have been drastically reduced". The report also identified that funding was a major problem for investors in 2012 and blamed government for the high cost of borrowing at between 14-16% (which is one of the highest globally) as a major source of credit problems in 2012.


and keep it at home. "Some motorists want to buy more and keep because they think government may increase the price at the beginning of the 2013", he said. Ilori said that some marketers were also hoarding the product in anticipation of an increase pump price by the Federal Government. He urged the Department of Petroleum Resources to send its officials to filling stations to sanction those hoarding the product. "With the repair of damaged pipeline at Arepo in Ogun and the pumping of petrol to Ejigbo and Mosinmi, the queues at the filling stations are uncalled for", he said. (NAN)

Plateau shuts 50 private health centres that new and old hospitals adhere to the required professional standards", he said. Mr. Shedrack Best, Secretary to the State Government, who spoke on the development, said government had received the report of the committee and would implement its recommendations.



Vigilante group arrests 6 robbers of Globacom mast From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


private security outfit, Danga Professional Vigilante, based in Toro LGA of Bauchi state has successfully arrested about six

suspected armed robbers in two separate operations along JosBauchi road. This followed several hours of gun battles between the suspected robbers and the vigilante group who, on tip-off,

barricaded the ever-busy Jos road with a view to arrest the criminals at Magama Gumau junction. Chairman of the vigilante group, Alhaji Shehu Musa told newsmen in Magama while

parading the suspects that they were informed at that robbers have invaded a GLOBACOM mast and carted away generator sets for power supply to communication antenna and forced the guard to lie face down while others operated. Shehu added that the suspects used two vehicles during the operation: one for conveying arms which later ran out, and a second Peugeot J5 van with plate number Plateau XA 160 KWK used for carrying the Globacom generator sets. Unknown to them, one of the guards managed to contact Danga vigilante group through his cell phone. Residents later came to their rescue while four other suspected robbers were arrested in the same area following reported cases of cow theft. Speaking to newsmen, two of the generator suspects revealed their names as Obina Ezugwu, 26, and Uche Okor, 30, both from Anambra state living in

Jos, Plateau state. They confessed to have stolen the generator in Kastinawa village near Tashin Durumi with and intends to sell it in Jos through their accomplices. They also accepted responsibility of stealing several generators belonging to GSM companies even in Kaduna, Plateau and Bauchi states. Mallam Wakala from Zamfara state who is the leader of cow thieves confessed to terrorizing settlements along the JosBauchi road for three years. Wakala confessed to have doled out about N105, 000 to both the police and Shariah Judges in Toro LGA to aid his release from detention arrested for several cow theft alongside his cohorts. According to him, he had trained several youths in armed robbery in the area only to enjoy the proceeds, adding that one Mallam Modu who lives in Rauta village supplies them with guns and ammunitions to carry out their dastardly acts but is at large.

Pay us promptly, Kogi pensioners plead From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


A commercial bus overloaded with passengers and goods sets-off for Christmas trip, yesterday in Nyanya, Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Christmas: Ekweremadu urges love, unity By Richard Ihediwa


eputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has called on Nigerians to see the Christmas season as a time for sober reflections and return to the path of love and forgiveness laid by Christ. Ekweremadu stated this in a Christmas message to Nigerians. In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu said the underdevelopment and spate of insecurity in the land were clear manifestations of a

regrettable departure from the life of love, forgiveness, and selfsacrifice exemplified by Christ. He decried such as not only a mockery of the whole essence of the nation’s religious faiths and the coming of Christ, but also a disservice to the labours of the country’s founding fathers. Ekweremadu observed that the nation’s diversities were no excuses for the wanton destruction of human lives and property, violent crime, and corruption in the country. He said: “We should never lose sight of the fact that our founding

fathers considered our diversities, but nevertheless saw in them strength and opportunity to build a virile, stable, and prosperous nation when they insisted that though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand. “We therefore owe it to this season of Christmas and the memories of our fathers to retrace our steps and rebuild the bulwarks of love, patriotism, and integrity preached by our religious faiths and espoused in both word and action by our founding fathers”.

Borno spends N1.8bn on water projects From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


n its determination to provide potable drinking water for the citizens, Borno state government has expended over N1.8 billion for the execution of various water related projects across the 27 local government areas. The state Commissioner for Water Resources, Ahmed Mai Sheriff, disclosed this yesterday, while briefing newsmen on the achievements of the ministry in the past 17 months. Sheriff explained that some of the projects were already completed, while others are on

various stages of completion. He stated that government resolved to adopt aggressive approach in tackling the persistent water scarcity, especially in the northern senatorial district, through investing heavily in the sector. According to him, due to the importance of water for both human and animal consumption, Governor Kashim Shettima has tasked the ministry to do everything within its power to see to the end of the lingering water-related problems in all parts of the state. The commissioner added that in a bid to meet the set target, the

ministry has awarded contracts for the execution of various projects and for the maintenance of existing ones. Sheriff noted that a N500 million contract was awarded for the construction of Bulabulin Ngarnam and Dala Alajeri water treatment plants He added that N80 million was also spent for the construction of Uba and Lasa water scheme projects. Others are: construction of 150 boreholes in the rural areas at the cost of N500 million, while the sum of N70 million was expended for the renovation of boreholes across the state.

ension Managers in Kogi State have called for the sustenance of the prompt payment of pension and gratuity. The plea was made when some retires received payment of the one-year arrears and gratuity owed them under the Bureau of Local Government Pensions. Acting Chairman of the Bureau of Local Government, Musa Yahaya Omoyi, made the appeal when handing over cheques to some pensioners under the Bureau. The money paid the pensioners include a year’s

arrears of their gratuity, November and December monthly pension for this year. It all came as a surprise to the pensioners who lauded the passion displayed by the State Governor in offsetting the backlog. Similarly, the Director, Administration and Finance, Mrs. Hannah Ujah said the present administration made the welfare of the pensioners a priority and listened to their pleas for payment of outstanding gratuity arrears. She solicited for more patience as efforts is currently underway to defray whatever is due to those yet unpaid.

Imbibe Christ’s virtues, Ajimobi charges Christians From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has charged the people of the state, particularly Christians, to imbibe the spirit of love, humility, peace and selfless service which the birth of Jesus Christ has brought to the world. He gave the charge while speaking at the 2012 Christmas Carol Service and Nine Lessons held on Sunday at the Remembrance Arcade, Government House, Ibadan. The governor also stressed the need for Christians to be benevolent by giving to those in need and by forgiving those who offended them in any way. “Let us try and forgive those who offended us ; for those of you who I might have offended knowingly or unknowingly, particularly those of you who have had your kiosks on the streets where you are not supposed to trade removed, I pray for forgiveness,’’ he said.

The governor called on leaders to always seek wisdom and courage to do what is right for the progress, unity and development of the country. He commended the spiritual leaders in the state for their continued prayers which he said, had contributed to the success of his administration so far. Governor Ajimobi noted that the state had been enjoying relative peace since the inception of his administration, adding that despite the fact that there were three political parties in government, there had been peaceful co-existence between the executive and the legislature. In his sermon, the Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese of Anglican Communion, Rev. Segun Okubadejo, called on leaders and political office holders to seek the wisdom of God in directing the affairs of the people.



Gov Ahmed urges Christians to preach national rebirth, peace From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

L-R: Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, receiving a memo from the representative of the people of Malleri ward, Alhaji Yaya Baka, during the governor's recent constituency visit to Malleri ward, in Gombe state.


NIWA flags off ferry services from Lokoja-Onitsha N

ational Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Sunday in Lokoja, flagged off its maiden passenger ferry services from Lokoja to Onitsha. Speaking at the ceremony, the Managing Director of NIWA, Alhaji Ahmed Aminu Yar’adua, said the flag-off was in line with the organisation’s earlier promise to introduce passenger ferry

service on the dredged channel of River Niger. Yar’adua, who was addressing passengers and other stakeholders at the flag-off ceremony, said that the 42-passenger ferry was procured at cost of N45 million. He said that the ferry service was introduced at this period to reduce traffic congestion on LokojaEnugu-Onitsha road. While urging Nigerians to

cultivate the habit of water transportation, the NIWA boss said that the mode of transportation was safer and cheaper when compared to land, train and the road. He said NIWA was planning to collaborate with the private sector to revive the nation’s inland waterways through the provision of additional goods and passenger ferries in some parts of the country in 2013.

Gov Aregbesola urges unity at Iwude festival From Bolaji Olasunkanmi, Osogbo


t was fanfare at the weekend in Osun state at the just concluded annual Iwude Day Festival which brought indigenes from all walks of life together to create a platform for the socioeconomic development of Ijeshaland. Cashing on the event, the Governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola thanked the paramount ruler of Ijeshaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran for his encouragement and support and also admonished the gathering that they must live as one, “talk more on things that unite us not

the things that divided us. “One can only live in an environment where there is peace for the fact that we are happy in our region, we must not forget the region that lack peace and always remember to pray for them”, he said. Aregbesola appealed to the citizens of the state to take agriculture very seriously and thanked the organizers for a well packaged event. Earlier, Aromolaran extolled the virtues Governor Aregbesola whose tenure “is peaceful” and urged him to dualise the road from Ilesa roundabout to the International breweries. He also

told the governor that the town deserves pipe borne water. “It is not good that Ilesha would be as big as this yet the people would be drinking well water”, Aromolarin said. He counseled the illustrious son’s and daughter’s from Ijeshaland to always remember their home and support activities that would make Ijesha and Osun state great. Some of the dignitaries at the occsion include the Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs Olaoye Tomori; Speaker Osun State House of Assembly Hon. Najeem Salam, serving federal and state lawmakers.

“We will put one in Lagos, two in Yenogoa-Brass, one in Port Harcourt, one in Calabar-Oron, we also hope to put one in Onitsha down to South-South to Bomadi and also we want to put another one from Lokoja to Makurdi,” he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who witnessed the inaugural sailing of the ferry from Lokoja-Onitsha at about 8:30 am quoted Yar’adua as saying that the journey would last five hours as against six and half hours it would take by road. (NAN)

wara state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged Christians in the country to use the periods of Christmas and the New Year to preach national rebirth and transformation and pray for the peace and unity of the country. In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Oba Abdulwahab, he said the period should also be seen as a season for showing love, especially to the needy in the country. Governor Ahmed said Nigerians must always project the virtues of humility, self denial and brotherhood, which are the hallmarks of the teachings of Christianity and other religions. “I do believe that at this period, more than any other time in our national history, Nigeria needs God’s favour which we can get through fervent prayers, show of compassion for others and unity against hatred and avarice. These are the lessons we should take away from this festive season”. The governor commended Christian religious leaders in the state for promoting harmony through their preaching and urged them not to relent even after the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ now and beyond. He assured the people of Kwara state that his administration would continue to be fair and just to all religious adherents and also committed to the realisation of the objectives of the Shared Prosperity Programme designed to transform the State into the most industrial and economically virile state in the country.

Minister advocates mentoring youths on ecological safety By Albert Akota


inister of Youth Development, Inuwa AbdulKadir has advocated for the mentoring of youths in Nigeria and Africa on ecological safety in order to secure future generations and for sustainable development. He said this in Bali, Indonesia, at the World Ecological SafetyAssembly organized by International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization. Kadir stated that the need to involve youths in tackling future ecological challenges has become

imperative because of the astronomical increase in the population of youths as well as the necessity to groom the youths for future challenges. He emphasized the great role of the youths in world affairs particularly in present and future initiatives which border on ecologically safe environment for sustainable socio-economic growth while tracing the drawbacks of ecological disasters such as flood disaster, desertification, gully erosion, drought and deforestation on the socio-economic and political environment.

Kogi community appeals to FG over abandoned bridge project From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


fe Development Association (IDA) in Omala local government area of the Kogi state has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene over an abandoned bridge project linking the state through Guto town in Nasarawa state. Construction of the bridge was flagged-off by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 12, 2007 under a pilot Public Private

Partnership (PPP) project. Addressing a press conference in Kaduna at the weekend, the IDA president, Gabriel Ibrahim, noted that the Federal Government had already committed billions of naira to the project with additional counterpart funding from the Kogi state government. According to him, the bridge was conceived not only as an alternative route to and from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but also the shortest and most

viable route to the eastern and southern parts of the country. Ibrahim said: “The need to complete the abandoned BaganaGuto bridge has become a focal point of north and south-east travelers as the most expedient remedial alternative. “The Ife Development Association (IDA), a socio-cultural and development focused organisation has been following President Goodluck Jonathan’s development programmes as

encapsulated in the National Transformation Agenda and has all reasons to believe that the administration will not indulge in waste and abandonment of projects of huge economic value to the nation. “This is why we consider it imperative to draw the gracious attention of Mr. President on this advocacy for the completion of Bagana-Guto bridge. “The Federal Government has already committed billions of naira

to the project and Kogi and Nasarawa state governments have also committed billions of naira to the project. “The project commenced and a good number of pillars are already raised and at this stage, it is economically unwise and inappropriate to abandon it. “Kogi state government has built new roads to Bagana, to facilitate smooth movement across the bridge when completed” IDA stated.



Scammers are getting smarter, guard your ATM cards A G s the awareness on cashless policy is on going across the country, it is also important to equip yourself with the knowledge on how to protect your financial information while using ATM, Credit and Debit cards. In recent times, the rate of the crime called skimming has been on the increase. As the use of debit cards has risen, the number of scam and fraud artists targeting consumers' hard-earned cash has also risen. This is as a result of the large return that the scam artist can receive with little effort. Experts advised that to protect your financial information when you shop on-line, you must be careful of the information you give out. Their advice is against the backdrop that Scammers can steal your ATM or credit card information without your even noticing, and the technology behind their tricks is getting more and more advanced. According to David Dow, an expert, skimmers are a serious security threat. Credit card skimmers are essentially devices that thieves place over the actual card readers on an ATM or credit card terminal to collect your financial in-formation for fraudulent use. As your card passes through it, that skimmer reads your card's magnetic strip, thereby collecting your card's information. Beyond that, though a surprising amount of variation exists in the hardware and exact methodology behind these scams. The hardware itself can range from small, cheap skimmers that can be spotted fairly easily to

elaborate 3D-printed rigs that are almost indistinguishable from an actual ATM. Skimmers also vary wildly in exactly how they collect your information. Just collecting your card number is not enough, so most skimmers also include some way to capture and store your PIN and your card's security code (typically a three-digit code that is found on the back of your card). Some skimmers include a false keypad that is placed atop the actual keypad that collects your PIN, but newer devices utilize harder-todetect pinhole cameras mounted

above the keypad--cameras that collect images of you entering your personal information. The skimming devices can store the information locally and be physically picked up by criminals, but more and more of these devices transmit information to their owners. Some skimmers simply connect to a phone line, but skimmers that send information wirelessly are becoming more common. Some will even transmit data information to the scammer's cell phone via Bluetooth. Dow said with all these tools at

criminals' disposal, it may seem impossible to protect yourself from a skimming operation. Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to avoid falling prey to skimmer scams. The first and most ob-vious is to take a careful look at an ATM before you use it. It takes an expert to spot the most sophisticated skimmers, but those are the exception and not the rule. Be suspicious if something looks like it's sticking out too far or if it doesn't match with the rest of the machine's design. Many skimmers are fairly shoddy pieces of equipment that are weakly tacked onto to the card reader. The conventional courts and other established organs do not possess absolute rights to deal with cases of loan defaults. Besides, the conventional courts are overcongested and by the time judgments are passed, the loans would have gone bad. According to the regulatory guideline for microfinance banks by the CBN; A microfinance loan is a facility granted to an individual or a group of borrowers whose principal source of income is derived from business activities involving the production or sale of goods and services. The maximum principal amount shall not exceed N500, 000 or and as may be reviewed from time to time by the CBN. Generally, a microfinance loan is granted to the operators of microenterprises, such as peasant farmers, artisans, fishermen, women, senior citizens and nonsalaried workers in the formal and informal sectors. The said loans are usually unsecured, but typically granted on the basis of the applicant's character and the combined cash flow of the business and household.

Pay up your debts to access fresh facility


ebt is a burden, and its repayment must be given a lot of priority if you want to move on in life. The biggest mistake you can make in your way to success is allowing your creditors to lose confidence in you because you do not pay debt. Once somebody's reputation is in question, then the person's downfall has begun, because you must depend on others to move forward. One factor which has made people lose access to credit is being unable to pay debts after due date, creating doubt about their credibility. It's only those who pay debts that can be able to get fresh facility no matter the circumstance, having proved that

Quote The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. — Bill Gates

he or she can be relied upon when it comes to keeping promise. Investment experts say the surest way to survive in business is making sure those you meet along your business chain have positive experience about you, because through them you can get to your desired destination. For these experts nothing can create negative experience in business partnership than default in redemption of debt. Unfortunately, it is in the habit of some persons to owe debt even when they can afford to pay it. These people according to analysts think only the short term, forgetting they may need to fall back on others to get up again. Uchenna was doing well in his business and started importation of Children Toys from China, which made him popular among his colleagues. With his poor attitude to payment of debt despite his cash flow, his friends and colleagues dealt with him with a lot of caution. Unfortunately for him, his last trip in September 2009 was disastrous as his Container of goods where laden with contraband goods and it was ceased at the boarder. All efforts to get the goods out failed after a lot of money were

spent, leaving Uchenna with no money to continue his business. Ordinarily, Uchenna could have fallen back on his goodwill to climb back again if he had any, but having been known by his friends and associates as a bad debtor, it was not possible for him to get assistance. For Uchenna, good reputation is better than riches because you can fall back on your network when the chips are down. He noted that, had he known he would have built good relationship with friends. Sabina Alabadan, manager, HomeFinanace Consult said ordinarily no one would want to pay debt particularly when there is no pressure from the creditor, but must have to be paid because it is burden on any one that has it. Alabadan said a debtor cannot have freedom or concentrate on his business when his creditors will not allow him or her rest. Lucy Lazarony, a finance expert with Bank rate said the best way to get rid of debt, is to attack the balance with the highest annual percentage rate first and when that one is paid off, move onto the debt with the next-highest interest rate. She said the amount you owe doesn't really matter when you're

paying an enormous amount of interest, but try to pay the highest interest rate ones first. Muster all the funds available and get the debt out of your life. Again experts say if knocking off some low-balance bills first and eliminating a bill or two from that thick monthly pile will give you the boost you need to stick with a pay-down plan, go ahead. Others advice that you should break the habit of paying only the minimum required each month. Paying the minimum, usually 2 percent to 3 percent of the outstanding balance only prolongs the agony and that's precisely what the banks want you to do because the longer you take to repay the charges, the more interest they make, and the less cash you have in your pocket. Don't play their selfish game, experts say.

Helping children to be financially independent ood financial habits are not automatic but must be instilled. The greatest gift you can give your children is to teach them to be financially independent. In this regard, experts say there is need for you as parents to share stories with your children about your own financial mistakes, so they do not make the same in their time. They say part of our job, as parents, is to teach your children fiscal responsibility. You have to teach them the basics of finance. Adewale Adeleke, managing partner, WA Professionals, Lagos, says it is wise to teach children about money at early age, as early as when they can count. The children at that stage learn fast by observation therefore conscious effort must be made to teach them the right attitude early. He says children can be introduced to money through the following means: communicate with children as they grow about your value concerning money, introduce children to value of saving versus spending, when children are giving an allowance, give them the money in denomination that encourage saving, take children to bank to open their own savings accounts, keep good records of money saved, invested or spent is another important skill young people must learn, use regular shopping trips as opportunities to teach children the value of money, allow young people to make spending decisions, and alert children to dangers of borrowing and paying interest. Experts suggest that once your children have figured out budgeting, assuming they have finished college and are living on their own, you slowly wean them off your expense account. A number of parents stop paying for their children's expenses once they have finished college, especially since many parents struggle with their own expenses and retirement prospects. But if parents can afford to help their children financially at the start, they say, it will be better in the long run. You also need to get your children into the habit of saving money. Encourage them to save 20 percent of their paycheck each month. Financial planners suggest that parents take one to two years to get their children on their own two feet financially, starting by removing support for smaller expenses first. For instance, you could tell them that for the first six months, you will pay for their cell phone plan, but after that, it is up to them to continue. You can do the same for their car insurance, allowing them 12 months before they take over payments. Furthermore, you may want to tackle the largest financial strain for your children, which will likely be student loans. They suggest that you help them pay the loans for the first 18 months.





This Christmas can be merrier, alas!

o wish a fellow Nigerian a Merry Christmas now is, no doubt, the hardest thing to do. Precisely because 2012 has left him economically weakened and physically insecure. It may be just as difficult to wish your next door neighbour a Prosperous New Year given the foreboding of the outgoing year. Yet, this is exactly what Christmas, being celebrated today, December 25, in all Christendom to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian faith, calls for. As the Holy Scripture says, just when the Earth seemed headed for destruction because of Man's rebelliousness, God, his Creator, showed him immeasurable love by coming down to earth in a human form (Jesus Christ) to save him. Christ would go on to show that it was possible for man to live a godly life; more importantly, he would demonstrate the greatest act of love by giving his life to save Man from death-the price he would have had to pay for his sins. The message of Christmas, therefore, is that people of the faith, particularly Christians in this context, must never give in to despair, no matter how precarious their situation.

However, this is not a call to sit back and do nothing because God has supplied salvation. Christians, at this time, should be contented with just drinking to their fill from the cup of grace offered by the divine birth of Jesus Christ but be challenged by his exemplary life on earth,

Regrettably, Nigerian leaders have not acquitted themselves, individually or collectively, well before God and fellow Nigerians. There is nauseating corruption in high places and immorality is eating up the land marked by holiness, humility, and more significantly, love which led him to take the place of the sinner on the Cross at Golgotha. We at Peoples Daily share the joy of our Christian brethren as they celebrate Christmas, but we beg to advise against boisterous festivities that would dull our senses against the critical political and socio-economic challenges

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”

that assail our nation today, and even as we move into the New year. We should spare a thought for lives already lost in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency and other violent crimes; let us be vigilant and give what assistance we can offer to the authorities. Above all, our faith in God must not waver, for, with God on our side who can be against us? However, God will not come down from his place on high to fight our earthly battles. This is why He has given us leaders as his eyes and ears. They are therefore expected to be godfearing, caring and strong. Regrettably, Nigerian leaders have not acquitted themselves, individually or collectively, well before God and fellow Nigerians. There is nauseating corruption in high places and immorality is eating up the land. To paraphrase the Holy Scripture, Nigerians today are like sheep without a shepherd; ours is a nation adrift. This occasion of Christmas, therefore, offers an opportunity to all Nigerians to renew our faith in our God and, in particular, our leaders to recommit to the service of the motherland as never before. This is Christmas; let's make merry, but be also watchful.









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Decapitated Academia, Diminished Nigeria By Adagbo Onoja


s long as the world order rests on a system of nations, some nations will aggregate and project more powers than some others. What explains this hierarchy of ordination and subordination? Answers used to include population, geography, military capability, natural resources profile and land mass. Today, that is ancient International Relations. Military capability is still the fulcrum and ultimate guarantor of state power but it is not superior to leadership, knowledge power and a manufacturing or a productive economy in that order. That’s the new International Relations. Let’s take an example. In spite of her current socio-economic turbulence, the United States of America is still the greatest military power around. But its leadership of the post Cold War did not roar on the wings of its military capability but on its knowledge power. Nothing can subtract from Francis Fukuyama’s brilliance but nobody can also deny that there is element of empire intellectualism in his ‘End of History’ as the paradigmatic edifice upon which George Bush’s “New World Order” was erected. And when it was discovered that something was missing from the Fukuyama edifice, Samuel Huntington entered the story. He took on Fukuyama in an essay titled, “The Errors of Endism”. Subsequently, By Dele Akinola


n the late 80s, Nigerian football authorities mounted pressure on a Nigerian-born English Premier League player, John Fashanu, to play for the country. The lanky striker was then plying his professional trade with Wimbledon FC, a London suburb club with which he won the English FA Cup in 1988. As with other footballers in similar circumstances, he also reserved the eligibility and opportunity to play for England. Media reports at a time when the pressure was intense, quoted Fashanu as saying that he would rather play for the Three Lions because that would serve his “business interests” better. Curiously, this did not stop the authorities from organizing a redcarpet reception for him right from the airport when he came to the country on a private visit. As apparent to discerning minds, the Nigerian, who was later to betroth himself to the country after his soccer career, ultimately played for England. Meanwhile, fatherlandconscious players, risking their limbs voluntarily for the country, like current and immediate past Super Eagles chief coaches, Stephen Keshi and Samson Siasia, were being subjected to some treatment that was less than flattering. Many wondered then why the one who had his heart elsewhere and had yet to kick a ball for his fatherland deserved such honour and glory of royalty while Earnest Okonkwo’s “elastic” Henry Nwosu and “gangling”

there was a paradigm shift from endism to the “Clash of Civilisations”. The point here is that, with these two gentlemen, the US won the paradigmatic warfare as all subsequent framing of the post Cold War were either agreements or disagreements with theirs. That is how a super power settled the paradigm tussle by deploying the intellectual authority of two of their best minds who though retained the scholar’s autonomy even while serving the system, consciously or otherwise. This US example was how we also started here in Nigeria. Remember the great methodological and theoretical revolt at Ibadan against European ethnocentrism, culminating in the Ibadan School of History, to mention an example. Then bring in the ABU, Zaria School of History which added value to Ibadan’s in the radical, if not revolutionary, direction. The leaders of the Ibadan revolt and most of the big names in that generation in the Humanities complex were, with few exceptions like Eskor Toyo and, later, Mahmud Moddibo Tukur, Festus Iyayi, etc, those referred to as bourgeois scholars. But even then, they all located their scholarship in the mission of the Nigerian State, deploying the academic’s toolkit to very patriotic ends. By age and knowledge, I stand nowhere to produce any credible or exhaustive list of that generation from the late 1970s to early 1990s

but their first sub-set would include, among others, S.G Ikoku, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Ade Ajayi, Takena Tamuno, Bolanle Awe, Saburi Biobaku, Emmanuel Ayandele, Adiele Afigbo, Ojetunji Aboyade, Pius Okigbo, Sam Aluko, Chukwuka Okonjo, Eskor Toyo, Billy Dudley, Eyo Ndom, Nkenna Nzimiro, Anthony Asiwaju, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe (and the whole lot from the arts), Mahdi Adamu, Akin Mabogunje, Obaro Ikime, Saad Abubakar, Okon Uya, Mahmud Tukur and Eme Awa whom I understand to be the grandfather of Nigerian Political Science. Then the second sub-set would include the Peter Ekehs, Omafume Onoges, Claude Akes, Justin Tseayos, Fred Omus, Isawa Elaigwus, Bolaji Akinyemis, Ibrahim Tahirs, Ibrahim Gambaris, Ahmadu Jalingos, Kyari Tijanis, Bayo Adekanyes, Alex Gboyegas, Mahmud Moddibo Tukurs, Bala Usmans, Okwudiba Nnolis, Oye Oyedirans, Adiele Junaidus, Alaba Ogunsanwo, Aaron Gana, Sam Oyovbaire,

Okello Oculi, Alfred Opubor, Biodun Jeyifos, Jerry Ganas, Omo Omoruyis, Humphrey Nwosus, Nur Alkalis, Asisi Asobies, Munzali Jubrils. I take liberty to include on this list the following names even though they were not formally academics/did not remain in academia. They are Liman Ciroma, Adebayo Adedeji, Alison Ayida, Patrick Dele Cole and Tunji Olagunju. Then, suddenly, we started vandalizing ourselves, humiliating our own world class academics, making the disgraceful statement that they were teaching what they were not paid to teach. Imagine a military commander entering a campus in the Western world to suggest that there were certain things academics there must teach and others they must not? You can say that for a military academy or a seminary because they have been set up for specific purposes but not a university even as the universe of knowledge is not a license for madness. At the end of the day, very many of our best and

Suddenly, we started vandalizing ourselves, humiliating our own world class academics, making the disgraceful statement that they were teaching what they were not paid to teach

brightest sought ‘greener’ pastures outside our own shores. Of course, there are still many scholars with international competitiveness in the system, from the Tanimu Abubakars, Abubakar Siddiques, Paul Izas and Toure Kazah Toures in ABU, Zaria to Okey Ibeanus at UNN, Iyayis at UNIBEN, Alemikas, W. O Allis, Sam Egwus and Pam Shas at UNIJOS, Mohammed Barkindos at UNIABUJA, Sunday Ochoches at the Nigerian Defence Academy to the Sola Olorunyomis, Oka Obonos, Adigun Agbajes and Eghosa Osaghaes at the University of Ibadan, the Ayo Olukotuns and Ralph Akinfeles at Lead City University, Ibadan and then the Abubakar Momoh and Odion Akhaines at LASU, Ochinya Ojijis at Nassarawa State University, Sule Kanos and T. M Babas at UDU, Sokoto, Umar Pates and Abubakar Muazus at UNIMAID, Yakubu Ochefus at Kwararafa University and the Ibrahim Bello-Kanos, Ibrahim Muazams and Muazu Yusifs at BUK. I take liberty to include Eddy Madunagu, Mathew Hassan Kukah and the late Stanley Macebuh on this list. Needless to say my listing is not exhaustive. Not only is it restricted to the humanities complex, it is also mainly those I can recall immediately as I write. There are many more brilliant minds out there even as hopeless and depressing as the overall university situation is. Onoja is a public affairs analyst

How Nigeria undermines patriotism Rashidi Yekini, the epitome of humility and patriotism, were taken for granted and treated as such. Issues such as these more often than not got “Big Boss” Keshi fuming. One Nigerian professional who, during his brief spell with the national team, genuinely deserved royal treatment was Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji. He imported into the country the gracious spirit of steaming patriotism which he, like Yekini, unambiguously caused his foreign clubs to appreciate and accommodate. A qualified lawyer and holder of a master’s degree in International Law from the University of Rome, Okwaraji would arrive for national assignments well ahead of schedule. Sochukwuma, unfortunately taken for granted and in an instance, actually subjected to an inordinate infliction of official scorn, would make his own travel arrangements and pay his bills without formally asking for refunds. On the pitch, despite being deployed most often, in roles at conflict with anything close to his best, Sam would discharge his duties, without complaints, with the spirit of the German Machine that he was accustomed to. The Stuttgart and Ulm FC powerhouse died on active service at the National Stadium, Lagos on August 12, 1989, perhaps to register the cruel fact that his country was not ready for men of

his level of zealotry in patriotism. Only a few months ago, the country’s 1994 Africa Nations Cup-winning goal-keeper, Peter Rufai, at a sports/media forum, lamented the non-fulfillment, up till date, of the official promise of goodies, including housing units, made by government to that great team which also did the country proud at USA ’94. A patriotic member of the team who ultimately did not make it to that year’s continental and global shows, Rueben Agboola, paid a heavy price for donning what, in our clime, would pass for an oversized garment of patriotic zeal. The fair-skinned intelligent cool operator lost his limbs, flair and place in his club, Swansea City, and by implication his means of livelihood, on account of his unalloyed commitment to Nigeria. Keshi, over a long time, shouted himself hoarse on Agboola’s predicament to no avail. Sunday Oliseh, another former captain of the Super Eagles, under twice-humiliated world record holder of sort, Shuaibu Amodu, led the team to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in dramatic fashion. What a raw deal he got for his unrepentant insistence on coming clean on patriotism! Osaze Peter Odemwingie (I wrote a tribute of that title to him in January 2010), over the past one decade, laboured to give commitment and dedication refreshing definition and reassuring meaning, asking not what his country could do for him but what he could do for his

country. Unfortunately for him, his country has, in her character, a legendary penchant for stage-managing the rubbishing of her most committed patriots! As a diversionary tactic however, as exemplified in the Fashanu drama, patriotisminspiring official obligations, too often, are shoved aside for comic jamborees, hip-hop theatricals and owambe showmanship in high places. Some members of the House of Reps, before their last recess, were reported to have amused themselves with the “dance, dance, dance and forget your sorrow” idea of hosting Mikel Obi to a reception for his “excellence” in winning the European Champions League with Chelsea FC of England. One would naturally expect that such a revered national institution would busy itself with feats of excellence that bring direct honour and glory to the Nigerian flag. The green-white-green symbol of Nigeria was not hoisted when Mikel got his medal for his “excellence” with his foreign club. The consequence has been the progressive growth, in the psyche of the people, of an imagery depicting theirs as a country not worth dying for. The fearsome monster generates massive psychological disillusionment in virtually all national institutions and sectors, including sports and football in particular. But hear the verdict of the

“Chief Justice” of Nigerian football, Adokiye Amiesimaka: “Don’t be fooled! Patriotism isn’t synonymous with stupidity. Knowing that your country truly cares is what facilitates patriotism.” Little wonder the Super Eagles, nation’s pride that should have been, are still fumbling and wobbling, especially when it matters most, even after decades of treating an ailment with the wrong medication. As I submitted in my Super Eagles and spirit of a failed state of June, 2010 and Super Eagles: The fallacy of ‘New Team’ of March, 2011, the core problem is dearth of commitment. Fortunately, coach Keshi as well realized this and has made much fuss about it in recent times. But who and who are inspiringly enthusiastic about boarding the ‘total commitment and loyalty’ train? The German Machine describes an assembly of suicide players who would rather blow themselves up than watch the German flag humbled. Let’s activate our search engine for that citizen who would beat his chest and claim, with the minutest iota of sincerity, that he encourages his footballer son, nephew, brother or friend to go forth and burn himself out for Nigeria. I will trek from Lagos to Maiduguri with Zuma Rock on my head if the search returns as many as one such Nigerian in a million. I am waiting. Dele Akinola can be followed on www.


By Kabir Tsakuwa


hat Igbos are part and parcel of the Kano community is never in doubt. And that their unquantifiable contributions in various spheres of the economy of Kano, which has made it what it is today, simply restates the obvious. In fact only God knows what Kano in particular and Northern Nigeria in general would have been by now, had the adventurous Igbos remained rooted in their ancestral abode. This write-up stems out of the strong desire to acknowledge the hard sacrifices and positive roles being played by the Kano-Igbo vis-a-vis the unfortunate insecurity of lives and properties which ravages part of the north, and their resolve to continue to live and contribute to the economic development of the region against all odd and despite relentless calls and negative propaganda to do the contrary. Definitely, it takes strongwill, courage, determination and ability to survive a very harsh and hostile environment, to be able to stay in Kano, despite many reasons that are so glaring and unpalatable; especially the period which immediately followed the unfortunate Boko Haram attack way back in February 2012. It is no gainsaying that the Kano-Igbo, like their Hausa/ Fulani host, recorded massive and unprecedented loss both human and material. They suffered psychological trauma and trepidations which cause incalculable damages to their economic and social well-being. Many have lost their life savings By Umar Maiwada


he advent of the current democratic dispensation which started in 1999 has produced many leaders of different character, attitude, and devotion towards serving their representatives. There were some among the past political leaders that left positive footprints in their local government areas and states, so much so that their people still remember them in view of the good legacies bequeathed to them. This brings us to the issue of one state in the North-West of Nigeria, one considered by many as rural in setting and in outlook. That is Jigawa State, created during the military junta of President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who at then deployed retired Colonel Abubakar Zakariya Maimalari as its pioneer military administrator. Since then the state witnessed as leaders such as the likes of Rashidi Shekoni, Ali Sa’ad Birnin Kudu, Alhaji Saminu Turaki among others who attempted to lay the foundation for the development of this young state that has produced so many distinguished personalities who excelled in various fields of human endeavours in their chosen carrier. However, on May 29, 2007, Jigawa State saw the emergence of the kind leader it never had since its creation in 1991, a man


Boko-Haram: Salute to Kano Igbos! and love ones and were left with continue existence of Nigeria as many have become landlord in virtually nothing other than their one unified and indissoluble entity! their own right courtesy of their wretched and traumatized lives. In addition, despite the ongoing huge investment in property I’m sure at that instance, ‘silent killing’ and destruction of business as well as many other enlighten option was to leave the Igbo properties in many part of the viable economic ventures. A visit to Sabon-Gari, nocommercial city all together by north under the guise of Bokoanyone desirous of peace and haram, which was nothing other man’s-land and Fanisau will bear tranquility. Because the urge for than another subtle way designed witness to the new rising tide in r a d i c a l self-preservation transformation was all the more of those areas tempting; but alas, lately. So they chose to Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text therefore, remain. Bravo! those that In spite of the messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written wish to see relentless media contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 Igbos out of misinformation words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and Kano should and the sensational a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed know that the headlines that are to: Igbos of Kano nothing but tissues and northern of lies against The Editor, N i g e r i a northern Nigeria, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, having seen in addition to the 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. the writings cacophony of calls Email: let of the enemies by the likes of of Nigeria ‘Movement for the SMS: 07037756364 c l e a r l y Emancipations of written on the Biafra’ (MOSSOB), and other like- minded devilish to intimidate them by other means wall, have collectively resolved and secessionist tendencies calling to leave the north; the Igbos have to stay put, till ‘kingdom come!’ It is on this note that mention for the Igbos to relocate to their remain adamant. But these ancestral homes; it takes a heart diabolical scheming, and others, must be made of the visit by the made of stone, imbued with like the ongoing media indefatigable Owelle Rochas adventurous spirit to disobey that misinformation, and sustain Okorocha-the current action call! online campaign of hatred by those governor of Imo State to Kano Indeed, given the precarious that have never set their foot on some time ago, where he went security situation of Kano at that Northern soil too, shall fail insha round the ancient commercial city and commiserate with the material time, and the palpable Allah. fear and terror which engulf Today, instead of relocating highly revered Emir, Alhaji Ado everybody, and the wishes of many from the commercial hub, the Bayero and assured his Igbo that wanted to see Kano gone kano-Igbos are investing and kinsmen at home and in the forever, it remains a miracle why reinvesting massively in many diaspora that what was reported the kano-Igbo chose to stay against part of Kano. And instead of renting in the media with regard to the all odds! These exceptional and houses at exorbitant prices to live, security situation and purported selfless sacrifices are worth the business-like people have massacre of Kano-based Igbos and acknowledging by all patriotic metamorphosed into outright confiscation of their properties Nigerians desirous of progress and owners of landed properties. Now was all figment of the


imaginations of some divisive and devilish junk journalists and their faceless sponsors! I think rare dexterity such as this and the never-say-die-spirit of the Kano-Igbos was partly responsible for the conclusion drawn by one of our most respected senior columnist-Dr. Tilde, where he stated in one of his write-up that “Kano has Bounced Back”. And truly, Kano has indeed bounced back partly due to the Igbos who refused to leave the ancient commercial nerve center for other climes to the chagrin of its traducers, and partly due to the contribution of kano stakeholders which comprises of the Emirate council, the Ulamas, the business communities and the indefatigable action governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who seem to be determine more than ever before, to join the league of Kano state Governors that have left indelible mark and lasting legacies in the history of positive governance of the state! It’s also gratifying that the tension and palpable fear which had hitherto engulfed Kano at the onset of that unfortunate attack have all mercifully gone for good; prompting many of those that have earlier relocated to change their mind and begin to come back in drove, into the warm embrace of their highly accommodating host community. For these and many other reasons, I salute the Kano-Igbos and wish them many more happy returns Kabiru is reachable on

‘Remaking’ of Jigawa by Lamido with little resources the state is receiving tried to lay a concrete and solid foundation of the development of the state. That man is no other than Alhaji Sule Lamido, one person from day one believed in serving people, improving their economic status ensured enhanced security and expansion of infrastructure in all spheres. As a matter of fact any visit to Jigawa State especially one who spent more than five years away from the state would certainly observe that governor Lamido is surely remaking and recreating the state for so many reasons. Indeed, like it or not the Bamaina and BOBA trained politician had curved a niche for himself in various ways. Similarly, construction of the official residences of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly in Dutse commissioned by Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole the former Speaker House of Representatives, construction of the office and official residence of the Deputy Governor, that of the Chief Judge and Grand Khadis were commissioned by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo. In the education too, the administration of Governor Sule Lamido has got serious boost as a number of primary schools were renovated and upgraded as well as

the establishment of special school for the gifted and talented at Bamaina, the third in the country and the first by any state government in Nigeria. The construction of new Dutse Model International Secondary School at Fatara, Dutse commissioned by former President Ibrahim Babangida during the 21st Anniversary of creation of the state in August, 2012 is worthy of mention. Similarly, government enacted and implemented policy on free education for female and the physically challenged at all levels, Progressive increase in the budgetary allocation to education from 7% in 2007 to almost 30% in 2012 thereby exceeding the minimum benchmark of 26% recommenced by UNESCO. Another area that got the attention of Governor Lamido is the training and re-training of teachers and the introduction of welfare packages such as housing loans, vehicle loans and scholarship schemes for teachers among others. Improved funding, renovation and equipping of the five tertiary institutions in the state and provision of free text books for primary and secondary school students in the state. Equally, there were the introduction of foreign scholarship scheme for the best one hundred students of Jigawa origin in the

Senior School Certificate Examination for their tertiary education, enactment of a policy on information and communication technology in education, the first of its kind in Nigeria and formation of a ten year education plan for the state. Interestingly too, construction of new permanent site for the College of Agriculture, Hadejia and Establishment of State College of Remedial and Advanced Studies at Kafin Hausa and rehabilitation of damaged school building including classrooms and Hostels, in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions were accorded priority. In the same vein, construction of 1,426 new classrooms in all institutions of learning in the state, provided 84,821 sets of furniture to schools at all level, provided 3,933 sets of Laboratory equipment to senior secondary schools and provided 744,383 instructional materials for primary and secondary education. In the area of health care, the sector received a great upliftment as there were renovations, modernization and equipping of Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital in Dutse which was commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan in March, 2011 is one of the giant strides of Governor Sule Lamido’s administration in terms of

providing health care services to the people of Jigawa State. The hospital was abandoned for many years before it was completed by the present administration. The state Ministry of Health in collaboration with vision 2020 support programme and Albasir International Foundation have provided free cataract surgery to about 45,000 people in the last five years in the state. Also the administration pursued the construction of 75 new Basic Health Clinics and new School of Nursing and Midwifery at Birnin Kudu and the establishment of Gunduma health system board for effective health care delivery across the state. In the same vein, free health care for students in boarding schools at all levels and for prison inmates were introduced in the state. Similarly, other health institutions like the School of Health Technology, Jahun Comprehensive health Centres and General Hospitals at Dutse, Hadejia, Ringim and Jahun were renovated, new buildings constructed and equipped with facilities in terms of Human Resources, Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Pharmacists were recruited and train within and outside the country in order to improve Health care services in the state. Umar Maiwada writes from Katsina



hese who claim that governance has gone AWOL (Away Without Official Leave) in Benue State, should hide their heads in shame. Reason? The “food basket of the nation” has never had it so good in terms of progressive, dynamic and visionary rulership. Check this out. The other day, His Excellency, Governor Gabriel Suswam, gallivanted to the United States. His mission: “to inspect medical equipment worth millions of naira being donated by Atlanta – based NGO, Medhsare International”. A photograph on page 49 of LEADERSHIP newspaper of 17/12/12 shows the Lt. Governor of Georgia, U S A, Casey Cagle, receiving her August visitor from Benue. Millions of long – suffering Benue citizens must be beaming with smiles over this unprecedented feat. A less proactive state governor would obviously not have made such a selfless, life – changing trip. Not Suswam. Ever faithful to his “policy” of flying abroad every other day in the interest of Benue State, His Excellency promptly hit USA reportedly with a retinue of his aides and hangers–on. For the avoidance of doubt, it must be noted that the said medical equipment donated by an Atlanta – based NGO is worth “millions of naira”. Hence uncountable millions of naira must be squeezed from Benue’s seemingly bottomless treasury in order to go and “inspect” the medical stuff. A lawyer by training, Suswam’s adventure in politics is believed to have equipped him to the extent that he is capable

By Sa’ad Abubakar Zongre “The responsibility of ABU has been changing. From producing trained manpower for government, universities are now required to produce learned and skilful people for the open market and selfemployment” - Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at its Golden Jubilee convocation on 24 November, 2012


he above quotation basically highlighted the shift in academic orientation and focus that one of Africa’s most famous, successful and largest universities Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has undergone, or is undergoing, in the last few years. This is aimed at keeping the academic programmes and graduates both dynamic and in tune with all development trends in today’s fast-changing world while not completely deviating from its original mission of 50 years ago. At inception in 1962, ABU was essentially meant to serve as a feeder institution to the Northern Nigeria region’s civil service by running degree, diploma and certificate courses germane to the needs of the North as envisaged by the founding fathers of the university, particularly the premier of the region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, the first and only prime minister of Nigeria,


Suswam goes to Atlanta … again! of inspecting medical equipment even better than his Commissioner for Health (some say much better than the finest physicians in ‘God’s own country’). Is frequent foreign trip Suswan’s only obsession? By no means! Take his sweetheart contract proclivity. Not a few multi – billion naira contracts are awarded every now and then - and paid for – by the Emperor of Benue. Then the story ends. The contractors would simply pocket their mobilisation fees and, as Fela would put it, “chop and clean mouth”. Witness, for example, the gigantic contract forked out by Suswan to a certain Dr Doyin Okupe’s company. What of the elephant – size contract for the reconstruction of the football pitch of Aper Aku stadium? Typically, the contract has been abandoned for about two years now. Consequently, the state - owned football club, Lobi Stars, have had to be playing their home matches in neigbouring states since last year, with football – crazy Benue citizens denied the pleasure of watching their beloved team in action. From the foregoing, it is evident that truly, Benue State has, for the first time since its creation, been blessed with the most proactive, progressive and purposeful Governor in its history. Mind you,

by MTN’s poor services. Yet all the authorities concerned are snoring. Aso Rock, the NCC and governors of the Northern states are blissfully unaware of the nightmare MTN has been subjecting millions of us to. Our federal and state legislators are also carrying on as if nothing is amiss. The difference is clear. In South Africa, Ghana, and elsewhere, the authorities concerned would not hesitate to take decisive actions against the sort 0803-2159-249 (SMS only, pls) of corporate waywardness MTN indulges in here. But here in CAN MTN TRY Nigeria, conspiratorial silence even executive connivance THIS IN S/AFRICA? and hold sway. Little wonder, MTN is The answer, fellow long – all too happy to treat us with the suffering users of MTN’s lousy kind of unbridled contempt on nnetwork, is a capital NO. MTN parade. cannot dream of, let alone As for me, like many other attempt, to indulge in the sort of MTN subscribers who I know, the criminally inefficient services imminent arrival of number which its subscribers in Nigeria portability is a welcome have been enduring over the development. No sooner will the years, in its home country. The programme commence than I South African authorities would would have ditched MTN for a simply axe the company. more responsible network. Not even “small” African countries such as Togo, Ghana and Liberia would tolerate the sort NOW THAT of corporate arrogance and ineptitude which hallmark MTN TUKUR MAMU IS services here. Interestingly, Northern states ‘ARMED’… He who laughs last, they say, in general and the FCT in particular are the worst affected laughs best. Ask Mallam Tukur this “award” is not based on Governor Suswam’s obsession with foreign trips and sweetheart contracts alone, as shall be evident in the next part of this article. • To be continued next week.


Mamu. Barely had he started publishing his firebrand weekly paper, D/HERALD, about eight years ago than his traducers went haywire. Among other things, they accused the Yobe State-born accountant – turned – publisher of not possessing the “relevant qualification”. Mamu, according to his traducers, had no university degree nor any previous experience in journalism and should, therefore, not venture near the media terrain. Derision, taunts, and mockery were hauled at him like confetti. Now see who is laughing. Rather than buckle under the weight of his critics’ arrows, Mamu opted to further his education. The fruit of his academic endeavour manifested a few weeks ago. Before our very eyes the much – maligned Mamu bagged a Masters degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the prestigious Ahmad Bello University, Zaria. No less impressive is the fact that the DESERT HERALD publisher conjured this feat while juggling his demanding job with his academic commitments, shuttling between Kaduna and Zaria every week. “It wasn’t easy o, my brother, but I thank Allah for making the whole thing possible for me,” he told this writer in Kaduna the other day. Congratulations, Mallam Tukur Mamu.

A brief evaluation of ABU @ 50 Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the then governor of the region, Sir Kashim Ibrahim, and as academically designed by the pioneering management under the guidance of the first vicechancellor, Dr Norman S. Alexander and faithfully implemented in the lecture halls and tutorial classes by the first set of lecturers. Highly educated and well-trained personnel of Northern Nigerian extraction were in short supply and desperately needed at that crucial time when the realities of independence and associated necessities have begun to stare the region in the face vis-a-vis its comparative disadvantage in this regard to the two other regions (Western and Eastern Nigeria) that already had the University College, Ibadan and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, respectively. In a way, the establishment of ABU was the region’s answer to the development trends of those peculiar years just as its purported shift in academic orientation and focus is the answer of the university’s present management team to development trends of today and any evaluation of ABU’s achievements or failures in the last 50 years must be done within these two contexts. Considering the gaping hole or public offices that were suddenly rendered vacant or occupied by unqualified

personnel in Northern Nigeria following the exodus of mainly British expatriate officers that trailed the attainment of independence in 1960, ABU had performed exceptionally well in providing the much required highly educated and well-trained personnel who, overtime, made it possible for the top echelon of the region’s civil service to be run by skilful, competent and effective manpower that laid the foundation for the accelerated development of the region, especially in the first decade of independence. Sardauna’s or Gamji’s (in reference to Ahmadu Bello’s laudable legacy) model of administration is today acclaimed worldwide as one of the most successful and resultoriented in post-colonial Africa and part of the credit of Sardauna’s unparalleled achievements should go to those administrative officers Provincial Secretaries (PSs), Divisional Officers (DOs) Directors and their subordinating staff who diligently, intelligently, correctly, tirelessly and patriotically provided the Sardauna administration with the pre-requisite technical knowhow and general operational guidance which led to its overwhelming success. A significant number of these indigenous administrative officers were ABU products even

though most of them were not degree holders. Aside from the civil service, ABU also contributed excellently to the rapid educational development and expansion of the North through the secondment of its relevant academic staff to set up or oversee the take-off and subsequent operation of several tertiary institutions in the region most of which have since been upgraded to full-fledged universities such as Bayero University, Kano (BUK), University of Maiduguri (UniMaid), Abubakar Tatari Ali University (ATAU), Bauchi, etc. The ABU intellectual machinery also saw to the production of scholars, politicians, administrators, diplomats and professionals of international repute who went on to cast their indelible mark in the footprints of history such as the legendary and eloquent historian, the late Dr Yusuf Bala Usman, the great sociologist/ orator, the late Dr Ibrahim Tahir (Talban Bauchi), the distinguished historian/ diplomat, Prof. (Amb.) Sa’ad Abubakar, OFR (Ubandoman Muri), the political scientist/ skilled diplomat, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the fiery politician/ geographer, Prof. Jerry Gana and the current Director of Arewa House, Dr Kabiru Tsafe. This revered list also includes immediate past and first

graduate president of Nigeria, the late Alh. Umaru Musa Yar’adua, GCFR (Matawallen Katsina), the former Vice-President, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, GCON (Turakin Adamawa), the present VicePresident, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo (GCON), the former Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the late Chief Sunday Owoniyi, the current governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alh. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CON (Dan Majen Kano), and former Chief Justices of the Federation, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi. Others are Dahiru Mustapher, current Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Seretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Alh. Rilwanu Lukman, the fearless politician/social critic and first female president of ABU Students’ Union Government (SUG), Haj. Naja’atu Bala Muhammad, in addition to many former and serving members of the National Assembly, ministers and governors. Zongre, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Yerima Bappa Sanda Road, Turaki ‘A’ Ward, Jalingo, 08067771017



Helpline Foundation treat 150 widows, orphans to Xmas party By Josephine Ella


non-governmental organisation (NGO), Helpline Foundation for the Needy has staged a Christmas party for widows and children orphan by HIV/AIDS in the Federal Capital City, Abuja. For the less privileged, it was celebrations galore as the foundation handed food and clothing items to the more than 150 beneficiaries widows and

children orphaned by HIV/AIDS as part of its activities to climax 2012 end of year reach out to vulnerable in the society. Speaking at the party the, President, Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu said the 2012 Christmas reach out to vulnerable widows and orphans is the seventh in the series of activities the Foundation was organizing as a demonstration of love to the less privileged in the society. She disclosed that the

organization was currently responsible for the education of over 150 children both in primary and secondary school levels. The president charged the beneficiaries to utilize the items and see them not as a means to an end, but a resonance that God remains the God of love, even as she thanked the media for what she described as "continued projection of all activities" with the aim of creating the needed awareness of the foundation.

In a remark earlier, Secretary of Social Development Secretariat of FCT administration, Mrs. Blessing Onuh assured that the secretariat would partner with the foundation to achieve its objectives. Onuh, who was represented by the Director of Finance and Administration, Mallam Salisu Kalamu, commended the foundation for assisting the government to address some challenges in the society.

A child being administered oral polio vaccine

Security: FCT police community pledges to partner with Abaji By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman, Federal Capital Territory(FCT) Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC), Professor Nick C. Ezeh has pledged to partner with some communities in Abaji Area council towards ensuring safety of lives and property. Ezeh gave this assurance during a familiarization tour to the Executive Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Yahaya Musa Muhammad.

He assured that there were lined up programs and activities towards ensuring efficient, safe and secure Federal Capital City for all, in collaboration with other agencies like area council. "It is for this reason that we find it expedient to meet with the Hon. Chairman and the officials of your council, firstly for familiarization purposes and secondly for partnership in provision of security for our communities," he said, commending the chairman for his commitment toward good governance and securing citizen

and visitors under peaceful environment and for the continuous dividends of democracy. Responding, the Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon Yahaya Musa Muhammad lauded the team and assured them of support the FCT executive members of PCRC. He said the good relationship of Abaji council with the PCRC has being in existence for long, and would continue for betterment and development in FCT. Muhammad said the council has donated two Jetta cars to the Abaji police command and presently

embarking on the refurbishing of police Toyota Hilux for smooth running of their day to day activities. "My administration is also committed to engage youths and women in skill acquisition program, so that the insecurity level will be reduced to zero level. We shall continue to demonstrate good leadership, infrastructure development for peace to reign," he added. He assured the team of his total support and promised to address some of their requests as soon as the resources are available.

Organisation partners FCTA to train youths in basket ball By Josephine Ella Ejeh


he initiator of Odumu Basket Ball Programme, Ogbo Odumu is partnering with the Federal Capital Territory Administration in a bid take talented kids off the streets of Abuja and engage them in meaningful ventures like basket ball. Odumu, who spoke with journalists said the organisation would expand opportunities for young Nigerian basketball talents through

partnership with relevant local authorities to enable Nigerian kids access the $50bn college basket ball system. According to him, kids to be entered for the programme must have demonstrable skill in the game as well have maintained a high grade in their academics such that the game does not undermine their scholarly intelligence. "College basketball is worth over $50 billion annually in the United State, these schools offer scholarship

to students, you go to theses school free of charge if you have talent and brain. Take don't just take slashes you must be good," he stressed. He said that the worst thing any society could do, would be to waste the human mind as is replete across the country given the development challenges that faces the country but noted that the Odumu Basket ball programme would give some of the children a profitable outlet. He said that 12 kids have already been accepted into the programme and

another two are undergoing screening for admittance, adding that the measure was his way of giving back to the society in which he was trained before he went to the United States to get further training academically and built his basket ball talent. "I started the Odumu basket ball programme three years ago, by providing the kids between the age 14 and 18 to offer them career opportunity in college Basket ball system in the United States Of America," he added.

Board calls for law against immunisation defaulters .....As another new suspected polio case emerges By Josephine Ella


arely two weeks after a new case of Type-One polio virus infection and a suspected case was discovered in Jahi 1 village, Abuja Municipal Area Council, exactly two years after the last case was recorded, a suspected case has been discovered in Gida Fadama, Gaube ward in Kuje Area Council. The Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Rilwan Mohammed disclosed while monitoring a 5-day mop up immunisation campaign in Abuja. He said the parents of the male child with the suspected case, Francis Ananayas, aged one year and 11 months claimed that the child has had four doses of oral polio vaccine but they could not present an immunisation card to prove this. Dr. Mohammed, who disclosed that 117 new cases of polio have been recorded presently across the country, pointed out that the fight against the virus should be all inclusive. Hence, he appealed to the Sa'Peyi of Garki, to whom's palace he led a delegate on a courtesy visit during the exercise, to partner with the board in the fight. "We have to move fast to interrupt transmission into the FCT and other states. We want the community to take owner of this immunisation to tell their people to take immunisation serious. Talk to your Muslim communities to know that immunisation is very important. We will want you to also talk to religious leaders to inform them to talk to their followers about immunisation," he said. Lamenting that 24 people in Gwarimpa ward rejected the immunisation during the last exercise, he appealed to the Federal Government(FG) to come up with a law such that any parent who refuses to present their children for polio immunisation would be punished. In his remark, the Sa'Peyi of Garki, Dr. Usman Nga Kupi commended the board for the visit. The monarch promised to play his part to make sure the message on the importance of immunisation is passed across his domain. "We have been telling our people to disabuse their minds that immunisation is targeted towards controlling child birth to reduce the population. We have been telling them that government is out to ensure that all is well with the citizen," he said. He harped on the need for the FG to organise workshops and seminars to sensitise religious leaders on the need to encourage their followers on the need to present their wards for immunisation.



Young boys hawking chicken for Christmas, yesterday in Area 1, Abuja. Photo: Justin Imoowo

INSIDE FCT COURTS Motorcyclist remanded for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating


Chief Magistrates Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa has ordered that a 26-yearold motorcyclist, Friday Yunusa, be remanded in prison for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Jacob John, told the court that Silas Idokwoji of Kabayi, Mararaba, reported the matter at the ‘A’ Division Police Station on December 14, 2012. “In October, Idokwoji entrusted his motorcycle, valued at N108,000, to the accused person”, he said, adding that the accused, of the same address with the complainant, was to use the motorcycle for commercial purpose. According to him, “this was done under the hire-purchase agreement. The accused agreed to be remitting an agreed sum weekly, but failed to do so even for one week’’. The prosecutor added that the accused packed out of his house and relocated to an unknown address. He said that when the accused was found, he had already sold the said motorcycle and converted the money to his personal use. When the charge was read to him in English, the accused could not respond in English. In the absence of an interpreter, Chief Magistrate H. A. Abundaga, ordered the accused to be remanded in prison, and adjourned the case to January 31, 2013 for further hearing. (NAN)

Mobile court convicts 93 traffic offenders in Gwagwalada


he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has disclosed its mobile court has convicted 93 traffic offenders in two days in Gwagwalada. Mr Austin Aipoh, the Zonal Commanding Officer In-charge of RS7 consisting of Federal Capital Territory(FCT) and Niger state told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gwagwalada in an interview that the mobile court was constituted, especially to try traffic offenders during the Christmas period. “The mobile court is not new in FCT but what we did this time

is to move it to Gwagwalada axis because of the heavy traffic often experienced during yuletide season. As a matter of fact, the court started sitting last Wednesday in Gwagwalada and on that same day, 45 offenders were apprehended and prosecuted for 48 offences. On Thursday, 48 offenders were apprehended and prosecuted for 54 offences and as I speak to you the court has been move to Zuba axis,” he told NAN. He said that the 93 offenders, who pleaded guilty to the charges brought against

them were given options of fines ranging from N2, 000 to N20, 000 depending on the offence. Aipoh said that the offenders were convicted for offences of over speeding, dangerous overtaking, non-functional rear and head lights. The zonal commander said that the movement of the court to different points on the AbujaLokoja road was to ensure that vehicular movement was not obstructed He attributed the current free flow of traffic in Gwagwalada to the opening of the newly constructed second lane.

He commended the Federal Government for making funds available for the road project. “Because of the busy nature of this road, heavy traffic is always envisaged during festive season like this so, what we did was to work closely with the Federal Ministry of Works. During Christmas period last year, the ministry constituted a committee based on our request and the committee was very successful. So, this year, we decided to develop on the achievements of the committee and that is why you can see that the road is very free,’’ he said. (NAN)

Court releases suspect from prison 25-year-old in prison over theft of for lack of diligent prosecution dollars, pounds, N10m jewelry


n Upper Area Court in Kubwa, Abuja has discharged an accused person, Mustapha Abdullahi, for lack of diligent prosecution. The presiding Judge, Malam Munir Lawal, said the prosecutor was not ready for the case, hence there was no need to continue to keep the accused in custody. The Police Prosecutor, Corporal Igonor Ocholi, had applied for an indefinite adjournment to enable him to conclude investigation into the matter. “The matter is slated for hearing but our witnesses are not in court. Since August when the mater first came up, the nominal complainant has refused to show up in court. Even the investigating police officer has been posted to Sudan for peace-keeping. We apply that this matter be adjourned sine die to enable us to put our house in order,’’ he said.

The Defence Counsel, Mr Azubike Moneke, said that people should not be made to suffer when prosecutors were not ready. “The nominal complainant’s refusal to appear in court is an indication that he has no case against the accused,’’ he said. The Judge ruled that the court was not ready to grant further adjournment. “It is clear that the prosecutor is not ready to prosecute this matter. I hereby strike out this case and discharge the accused for lack of diligent prosecution’’. The accused, a security guard, had been arraigned on Aug. 14 on a two-count charge of joint act and theft. He was accused of stealing an unregistered Bajaj Boxer motorcycle, belonging to one Sahabi Abdullahi of Arab Road, Kubwa. He had been in prison since then. (NAN)


25-year-old man, Vincent Legar, 25, of Utoriko, Wamikade, North Ukelle, Cross River is presently cooling off his heels in prison for over the theft of 2,000 Pounds Sterling, 10,000 dollars, N3,000 and a set of jewelry valued as N10 million. The Police had arraigned Legar, before a Karu Upper Area Court, Abuja, for alleged criminal conspiracy and theft. Police prosecutor Sanni Yakubu told the court that Mrs Ladipo Oyeyemi, wife of Brig.Gen. Ladipo of the National Defence College, Abuja, reported the case to the Commissioner of Police in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) on October 19, 2012. He said that the complainant left her niece, Omotayo Akabo, in her house with the accused on October 18 only for her to later

received a distress call from the house, and when she got home, “Legar had tied Omotayo and forcefully collected the keys to the complainant’s room’’. “The accused stole 2,000 Pounds Sterling, 10,000 dollars, N3,000, a set of jewelry valued as N10 million and many wrist watches’’. Yakubu also told the court that Legar escaped to an unknown destination and was eventually arrested at Oju in Benue, while two other accomplices are now at large. He said the offence contravenes the provisions of Sections 97 and 289 of the Penal Code, but the accused pleaded not guilty. The presiding Judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody, and adjourned the case to March 6, 2013 for hearing, and to enable the accused to get legal representation. (NAN)



Christmas: Church doles out foodstuff to over 130 families in Gwarimpa By Stanley Onyekwere


o fewer than one hundred and thirty families, yesterday in Gwarimpa estate benefited from the Harvest House International Church’s Mercy Project Foodstuffs for families at Christmas. The project, which was put together by members of the church for the less privilege ones including non-Christians in the community, saw the beneficiaries go home with foodstuffs like Vegetable oil, Rice, tomatoes, beef salt, spices, beef, and chicken to make the Christmas worthwhile for them. At least, foodstuffs that will take care of family minimum four persons throughout the Christmas and New Year festivities period were distributed to over three hundred and thirty families, who trouped into the church premises at 7th Avenue, Gwarimpa, in a hitch –free manner. Speaking at event, the Senior Pastor of the church, Sam Oye, said the gesture, which is part of the annual reach out programme of the church at Christmas, to feed less privilege families in the community, was conceived two months ago, in demonstration of God’s love for humanity irrespective of their denomination, religion or tribe. “As a church, we are a

community church, driven by our passion to from time to time reach out and identify with the host community especially at this time of the year; to put smiles on peoples face and demonstrate that we care with the little things we have to offer”, he said. On what to expect next year, the cleric said: “Already we have decided to reach out to not less than 500 families in two batches by April and December next

year”. Distributing the items, the Coordinating Pastor, Emmanuel Isaiah, stressed the need for the rich in the society, to always love and remember the poor with a portion of their wealth as the greatest gift that the birth of Jesus brought to humanity is Love. One of the beneficiaries, Esther Njoku, resident at Kuje, who was full of smiles said the foodstuff she got exceeded her

expectation when she got the invitation for the event; thanked the organizers for the kind gesture. A total of fifty bags of rice, fifteen cartons of Vegetable oil, five bags of salt, five cartons of Maggi cubes, Curry thyme, tin tomatoes, Frozen Chicken, hundred cartons of Indomie noodles and one cow, including two cartons of bathing and washing soap were distributed to the beneficiaries.

Traditiona rulers of Garki, Jiwa, Karu and Karshi community inspecting the cars given to them by the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon. Micah Y. Jiba, yesterday. Photo: Adeola Tukuru

Kuje chair cautions residents against strangers By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman of Kuje Area council, Hon Danladi Etsu Zhin has advised residents of the council to be vigilant and cautious of any suspicious person within their various community or

neighbourhood during the festive season. Zhin gave the warning during a chat with newsmen in the council, adding that any suspicious movement of persons should be immediately reported to any security agency in the council. The Chairman urged the

people of Kuje Area Council to be law abiding as they celebrate Christmas . In his words: “We shouldn’t be found wanting, we shouldn’t be doing what Christians are not suppose to do”. He said in Kuje area council both the Christian and Muslim all do the festive celebration

together as a sign of unity, saying ”it’s a matter of choice that if you have decided to be Christian and others are Muslim, we should be tolerant with one another”. He further tasked the residents on peaceful coexistence as he wishes them a peaceful celebration.

FCT minister urges Christians to pray for Nigeria By Josephine Ella Ejeh


he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory( FCT) , Senator Bala Mohammed has congratulated Christian faithful across the country on the occasion Christmas/New Year festivity and admonished them to pray for peace and continued unity of Nigeria. This was contained in a press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary tothe minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule. Senator Mohammed, who made this admonition in his Christmas/New Year Message urged Christians to use the occasion to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ and imbibe his teachings, which are primarily

premised on selflessness, sacrifice, patience, modesty and spirituality. He said the two festivals call for sober reflection and spiritual rejuvenation as Jesus Christ lived

his life for the entire mankind. The Minister urged Christians to imbibe the spirit of Christmas especially the lessons from the life and times of Jesus Christ and thus, be reflected in our daily lives

in order to move the country to the next level. He further enjoined residents to be their brothers’ keeper in conformity with the African tradition of brotherliness.

AMAC chair gives out cars to two traditional rulers By Adeola Tukuru


he Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon Micah Jiba yesterday gave out two Toyota Camry cars to grade Chief of Jiwa community, Alhaji Suleiman Idris and Garki community, Alhaji Usman Ngakupi for their commitment and responsibilities towards their various communities and subjects. Jiba said the grade Chiefs of these communities have been very committed in the affairs of their subjects and they deserve to be awarded because they stand as “our loyal fathers who should be honoured”. He further assured that other grade Chiefs of Karu and Kashi community will be duly awarded very soon. ”We are starting from somewhere, we will make two cars available for the other grade Chiefs”, Jiba said. The grade Chief of Garki community, Alhaji Usman Nga Kupi lauded the Chairman for the good gesture and also for the work he has been doing in the council. He assured the council of their support towards ensuring that AMAC remains a better place.

Reflect on virtues of love, peace, tolerance, says Akinjide tells By Josephine Ella Ejeh


s Christians celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ today, the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, has called on Nigerians to remain steadfast in their prayers for peace and unity in the country. Akinjide, in her yuletide message signed by her Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said the country could only realise its full potentials in an ambiance of peace and unity. She enjoined the citizens to reflect the virtues of love, peace and tolerance as exemplified by Jesus Christ in order to build a new Nigeria.

Hair stylists record high patronage


air dressers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have expressed satisfaction with the high level of patronage during this yuletide season. A cross-section of hair dressers, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the Christmas period was a time when their business experienced a boom. This is, however, not without the

numerous complain of the lack of money by the customers. The owner of ‘Amazing Grace Beauty Saloon‘ in Zone 6, Abuja, Miss Dupe Akintola, said that since the beginning of December, the least money she recorded daily was N12,000. Akintola said that the inflow of customers had seriously increased, adding that she had to employ more hands to keep up with the challenge.

According to her, the cost of hair dressing materials like hair wig, attachments, relaxer and so on, have increased and customers still buy a lot in spite of their complain about the lack of money. “I always use my generator to work, which reduces my profit and slows down work as some of my equipment cannot be powered by my generator,’’ Akintola said. A street hair dresser Madam Grace

Oliver, also attested to having high patronage this Christmas period, adding that she did braids for 10 to 12 persons daily. Chris Idowu, a Manicurist and Pedicurist said that the cost of artificial nails had increased and his customers always complained about high costs. “The acrylic and gel nails that sold for N2,000 are now going for N2,500, so, it is hard for me to add too much gain to my services,’’ he said. (NAN)






Total Upstream denies contracting Egina project

Mob: 08033644990

NBC threatens to sanction home video producers over indecent language By Chris Alu he National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) yesterday threatened to sanction Nigerian home video producers over any indecent language in their movies. This was contained in a statement


made available to our correspondent. According to the statement, the Commission called on broadcast station who feature such movies to stop henceforth or face the consequences. The commission also said that sub-titling in a movie or

programme should be accurate and that any indecent language, inciting, discriminatory and offensive words should not be broadcast. It also said that the translation of the content broadcast should be a true reflection of the language spoken and encompass the full message

- Pg 20

or idea expressed in the drama. The NBC also stated that programmes which encourage or promote ethnicity, tribalism, sectionalism and other divisive tendencies should not be broadcast. ”Any station which breaches the provision of paragraph 3

above shall be liable to Class B sanction of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and any station which breaches the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above shall be liable to Class C sanction of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. The terms and expressions used in these regulations which are defined in the National Broadcasting Commission Act and Nigeria Broadcasting Code shall have the same meaning as in the Act and the Code unless the content otherwise requires”, the NBC stated.

FG spends N24.3bn on rehabilitation of Lagos- Kano railway track, says MD


he Federal Government has spent more than N24.3 billion on the rehabilitation of railway track from Lagos to Kano. The Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Adeseyi Sijuwade made this known in Kano at the weekend. He said that 488 km LagosKano was rehabilitated at N12.1billion, while the 638 km Jebba-Kano cost N12.2 billion. He said that the projects were completed within the 2012 budget and commended President Goodluck Jonathan, for approving the request of the corporation. Sijuwade told newsmen that the corporation was planning to introduce air-conditioned train system in 2013. “By 2013 plan, there will be modern air-conditioned coaches

on the track. “There will be no cause for alarm security wise because the corporation will ensure the safety of lives and property of the passengers. “We have just completed 30hours journey from Lagos by rail down to Kano, passing all the major cities and state capitals between Lagos and Kano,’’ he said. He called on Nigerians to patronise the rail system to move their goods from Apapa to others parts of the country. NAN recalled that on Dec 21, the NRC commenced the intercity train service from LagosKano. The train service, which started on weekly basis, from Lagos to Kano, would depart Iddo Terminal from 9 am every Friday, and Kano station from 9 am every Monday. (NAN)

Kano airport to serve as export cargo terminal By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule s part of the present aviation master plan of the aviation minister, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (MAKIA) has been designated to serve as a major cargo terminal in the country. The master plan is fashioned to achieve an “upgrade and development of dilapidated infrastructures, reformation of institutions, as well as the transformation of key airports into a network of domestic and international hubs,” as contained in a statement by the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Yakubu Dati. According to him, “the designation of MAKIA into a cargo airport would help raise the bar, by developing it into a major cargo export hub, it would also help the growth of the nation’s cargo export potentials, since a lot of perishable agricultural products emanate from the


Women buying vegetables, yesterday at the Abubakar Gumi Central Market, in Kaduna.

Ashaka Cement to increase capacity to 3m tonnes

Kano axis.” The move would also help to diversify Nigeria’s economic drive to a multi-pronged one, as against an oil and gas driven as MAKIA has been one of 11 newly remodeled terminals under the transformation agenda of the FG, Dati added. Aviation ministry, he disclosed, was working with other agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Export and Import Bank to ensure the workability of the cargo export development project.

By Ibrahim Kabir Sule shaka Cement Plc, a subsidiary of Lafarge Group, has approved a development programme for the coming years that would take its production capacity from existing 900,000 to 3 million tonnes. The country chief executive officer, Lafarge Nigeria and Benin Republic, JeanChristophe Barbant said the approval came at the company’s board meeting held recently in Abuja. Barbant said the technical studies on raw material reserves, power and


infrastructure undertaken by the company were progressing well, particularly with regard to additional limestone and coal reserves. The board noted the importance of financial and operational reviews of the project to enable the company benefit from Lafarge’s technical, operational and financial resources to ensure the success of this unprecedented development. Lafarge, as a majority shareholder of Ashaka, accords great importance to Nigeria in its emerging markets portfolio and is committed to strengthening its existing

Management Tip of the Day Start persuading your audience before the presentation


Photo: NAN

our presentation doesn’t start when you enter the room; it starts the moment you’ve committed to speak. If you take advantage of opportunities to reinforce your message before you take the stage, you’re much more likely to change people’s thinking and behavior.

Explain to your audience ahead of time how they will benefit from your talk. If you’re presenting to colleagues, you might e-mail them a summary of your message and a rough list of points you plan to cover, for example, or send a meeting request with a detailed agenda.

If you’re going to speak to people from outside your organization — conference attendees, for instance—post your biography and talking points online and provide links to any pre-reading material. Source: Harvard Business Review

businesses and developing new activities in this country, the CEO said. He further said the board recognised the contributions of Lafarge towards enhancing Ashaka Cement performance and current production capacity, in particular the company’s initiatives in the usage of coal from Gombe State to substitute expensive imported fuel oil and the increase of clinker and cement production. “AshakaCem’s vision is to remain the most preferred supplier to its customers and its willingness to make additional efforts to create more local business opportunities, in partnership with its surrounding communities,” he said. He said the board of directors was confident to accelerate Ashaka Cement development plans and assured that there had been significant progress on implementing phase one of the expansions. Such a plan is founded on the strong support that the company has received from neighbouring communities and from the government of Gombe State, the board also mentioned.



COMPANY NEWS National Automotive Council


he Director-General, National Automotive Council, Aminu Jalal, has said that policy inconsistency, lack of adequate engineering infrastructure, among other challenges have put the country auto industry in a parlous state. The Nigerian auto industry performed well with increasing local content up to 1985 but declined from 1986 due to these challenges.

Airtel Nigeria


irtel Nigeria has announced the rollout of High Definition (HD) Voice Service, a network innovation that allows customers to experience exceptional voice quality across 3.75G locations in the country. With the deployment, Airtel becomes the first mobile operator in Nigeria to launch HD Voice service in the country. The HD voice service will complement the operator’s HD data service, enabling telecoms consumers to enjoy a rich telephony experience. HD Voice enables mobile operators to clearly differentiate their service offering with high quality voice calls on mobile networks. With HD, customers can talk normally and be heard clearly, without having to raise their voice, even in noisy environments.



fire on Friday evening destroyed counterfeit products in the warehouse of National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Lagos. Abubakar Jimoh, the Deputy Director, Public Relations, confirmed the incident. He said that the fire started around 7p.m. at the warehouse where fake and counterfeit products are kept. “It happened in the warehouse where we keep fake and counterfeit products,’’ Jimoh said. He said the fire might have been caused by an electrical fault as was the case in an earlier incident. “As I speak with you we are trying to overhaul the entire electrical system in the office,’’ Jimoh further said.

Oando Energy to acquire ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian unit for N284.6bn Stories by Muhammad Nasir with agency report


ando Energy Resources (OER) has entered into an agreement with ConocoPhillips to acquire its Nigerian businesses for about $1.79bn (N284.6 billion). As per the agreement, OER will acquire ConocoPhillips’ Phillips Oil Company Nigeria (POCNL), which holds 20% non-operating interest in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 60, 61, 62, and 63. In addition, the company will also buy out all the related infrastructure and facilities in the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Joint Venture (NAOC JV). The 20% interest in NAOC JV will include 40 discovered oil and gas fields, 40 identified prospects, 12 production stations, about 950km crude oil, and natural gas liquids and gas pipelines. It also covers two gas processing facilities, Brass River Oil Terminal, Kwale-Okpai 480MW combined cycle gas-fired power plant and associated infrastructure. Under the agreement, ConocoPhillips will also sell its Phillips Brass (PBL) to

Total Upstream denies contracting Egina project


otal Upstream Nigeria Limited has denied media reports that it has contracted the Egina project, saying “we do not comment on contracting processes in the pages of newspapers.” According to Charles Ebereonwu, manager, external communications of Total, “our attention has been drawn to recent publications in the press attributing certain statements to Total Upstream Nigeria Limited in respect of the contracting processes on the Egina Project. “Total Upstream Nigeria Limited would like to state for the record that, as a responsible operator, we do not comment on contracting processes in the pages of newspapers. We therefore completely dissociate ourselves from the publications.”

OER. PBL owns 17% interest in Brass LNG company, which is developing a greenfield project called the Brass LNG project, to set up a liquefied natural gas facility in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The offshore business of ConocoPhillips includes Conoco Exploration and

Production Nigeria (CEPN) with 95% interest in OML 131, and the company’s Phillips Deepwater Exploration Nigeria (PDENL) with 20% nonoperating interest in oil prospecting licenses (OPL) 214. As per the agreement, Oando will purchase all the issued share capital of

POCNL, PBL, CEPN, and PDENL. Oando Energy Resources CEO Pade Durotoye said, “This potential transaction represents a transformational step forward for our Company and is in keeping with our overall strategy to grow our portfolio of Nigerian-

based assets by focusing on those opportunities that deliver high quality growth in reserves and production.” In connection with the proposed acquisition, OER has retained the Petroleum and Renewable Energy Company (Petrenel), the company’s independent reserves evaluator, so as to prepare a report on the reserves and resources of the OMLs 60, 61, 62, 63, 131 and OPL 214. (Source: Energy Business Review)

A typical oil rig


even firms including Oando , Total, Sahara Energy and A-Z Oil have lined up to subscribe to the services of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on the Lagos – Kano corridor, commissioned at the weekend. Other firms angling for the services of the NRC on the route are Flour Mills, Lafarge Wapco Cement , Dangote Cement and Inland Container Limited. Over the years, road haulage tankers bearing petroleum products have caused avoidable

Total, Oando, Sahara Energy line up for new rail services accidents and contributed in no small measure to the destruction of highways across the country. The formal flag-off of the Lagos-Kano Inter City passenger train and haulage of petroleum products services took place in Lagos on Friday. Flagging-off of the service was conducted by transport minister, Idris Umar, who stated that

the move was in fulfillment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration’s desire to bring back the train service to its strategic importance of providing cheap and efficient service to the citizenry. It is also expected to take pressure of overstressed roads, thereby reducing the frequency of road accidents. It will likewise

Power sector is expected to be more private-sector driven in 2013, says Minster


inister of State for Power, Zanaib Kuchi, has assured that the power sector is expected to be more privatesector driven in 2013. Kuchi made this known at the 4th Quarterly Power Summit in Lagos themed “Strategies Towards Consolidating Sustainable Power Supply in a Privatised Industry’’. She said that the sector is also going to witness more commissioning of Independent Power Projects (NIPP).

The minister said another sector that is going to witness restructuring in 2013 is the Federal Ministry of Power to deal with new and inevitable challenges in a manner that will place the ministry on a better focused and better defined direction. “In this regards, I will continue to seek the cooperation of our development partners, weather international or local, in ensuring sustainability of supply along the electricity value chain. “We should be seen as

working together harmoniously in order to attain a common goal of making electricity available to the Nigerian consumers on sustainable basis,’’ she said. The minister said that the summit is aimed at accelerating service delivery in the power sector by bringing together both internal and other relevant stakeholders within the value chain to brainstorm on how to effectively ensure sustainable power supply to the consumers.

strengthen social integration and intercultural ties, as well as stimulate inflow of foreign investment into Nigeria in the transport sector. Regarding passenger services, the NRC has restored the much awaited Lagos-Kano intercity trains, to complement the current Lagos to Ilorin, and Minna to Kaduna intercity trains, and in no time, the frequency, carriage capacity and speed, as well as services would be stepped up. Apart from the commencement of the haulage of petroleum products by rail, starting with the movement of 450,000 liters of AGO from Lagos to Offa, it is hoped that the return of freight services on the route will give ample opportunity to numerous companies such as Flour Mills, Lafarage Wapco Cement, Dangote Cement, Oando, Total, Sahara Energy, A-Z Oil and Inland Container Limited and others, to move their goods efficiently, safely and at affordable cost.



ICT in 2012: Stakeholders blame govt on service quality By Chris Alu


s the year 2012 fizzles out, stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have unanimously agreed that not much have been recorded in terms of growth and performance in the industry. According to some of them the sector did not achieved its desire objectives even with the creation of the Ministry, as they said neither the regulatory body nor operators and subscribers got satisfaction in the quality of service throughout year 2012. Speaking at a round table conference on Monday in Abuja, Mr. Michael Adewale of New Age Technology told Peoples Daily that the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), which is the regulatory body tried to improved quality of service from the telecom operators by way of imposing huge fines on them, confiscating unregistered SIM cards and as well counterfeit phones in the market, yet the country continues to experience poor service, break in calls, traffic jam on network, disruption and high call costs day in-day out. He lamented over the continued sales of unregistered SIM cards in public places and phones that are not registered by the commission. According to him, unregistered phones are being sold in the market every day without proper check; He explained that he has not seen or heard of anybody being prosecuted for any of these offences by the NCC. Peoples Daily also gathered that none of the telecom operators have been sentenced or charged to court or even had their licenses revoked for some of these offences, which he said has casted doubts on the mind of consumers as to whether things will still go on well in this direction. Operators on their part have failed to collaborate with the relevant bodies in order to provide enough bandwidth to improve on their quality of service; they even lock up broadband service for small players in the market that are struggling to provide internet access to users thereby creating a huge communication gap. Subscribers has continued to suffer lost in one way or the other as a result of poor servicers and shabby customer care treatment. This took the centre stage at the First National Telecoms Subscribers Summit organised by the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) recently in Lagos where subscribers who attended the summit had all the opportunity to question telecoms operators, the regulator and government agencies responsible for the protection of consumer rights in

‌. count end of year gain and loss

President Goodluck Jonathan

Minister of Communications, Mrs Mobolaji Johnson the country, on issues bothering on poor service quality, shabby treatments received while engaging customer care lines, and indiscriminate tariff charges across networks. They frowned on the services of network service providers in several areas of their operations. And they also blamed government for not prosecuting the operators for poor service quality, which they said, was already affecting business in the country. They called on operators to come up with lasting solution to the continuous drop in service quality across networks. Responding to consumers'

reactions, Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo said he was pleased with the various reactions that emanated from the summit, explaining the planned take-off of number portability by December this year, will address over 70 per cent of subscribers' challenges. Ojobo, who represented the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the commission had concluded plans to launch number portability by December this year. He explained that it would afford consumers the choice of migrating from one network to another if dissatisfied with the

service of one operator. He added that number portability would bring about healthy competition in the system and address several challenges currently being faced by consumers. The Director-General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), who was represented by Mr. Abiodun Obimuyiwa, assured consumers of adequate protection of their interests in matters relating to consumers. The National President of NATCOMS, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo said the essence of the summit was to bring together consumers, operators and the regulatory body to address various challenges affecting the rights of consumers in the telecoms industry. Responding to consumers' complaints, General Manager, Regulatory Affairs for MTN, Mrs. Oyeronke Oyetunde said MTN has invested heavily in network expansion and that the company was still investing, in order to provide best service quality to consumers. She explained that MTN had reduced tariffs through its various value-added services that are on-going. Explaining some of the challenges of MTN, Oyetunde said MTN suffers over 70 fibre cuts every month with some of their base stations destroyed in some northern parts of the country, which she said, affects smooth network operations. Representative of Airtel, Mr. Ademola Folarin, said the operator spends over N400 million on its customer care monthly, and promised that it would continue to invest in customer care in order to provide the best of service. Globacom and Etisalat also pledged to improve on their service offerings to customers. Some GSM subscribers enjoined the NCC to sanction mobile network operators who fail to improve on their services and lower their tariffs on weekly basis. Also, in a telephone survey of 758 phones users aged between 18 and above conducted by NOI/Gallup Poll, subscribers said NCC should mandate network operators to improve on their service or else sanction them. The summit was purely based on Perception of Quality of Service (QoS)and what measures to be taken to deter mobile network operators from rendering poor quality service, revealed that 45 percent of respondents are using dual lines, while another 19 percent use three lines in order to circumvent the network failure that usually cripples Nigeria's networks. They further revealed that mobile network operators make concerted efforts to improve their service quality than the promo offers they make to their subscribers. Mr. Amstrong Tekena, a

stakeholder in the industry told Peoples Daily that, "TheICT sector needs to be enabled to make the contribution it should be making to the economic growth, job creation and deepening of democracy". "For too long the sector has been stifled by policy that has resulted in poor access to the full range of services and information required for effective participation by all in the economy and polity and suboptimal use of them as a result of high prices and poor quality, where there is access to them", he stated. On the gains, the Executive vice-chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah had earlier noted that from a private sector investment of about US$50 million , the telecommunications industry, attracted more than US$18 billion in private sector investments, including Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). He also revealed that more than N300 billion was contributed to the coffers of the Federal Government through frequency spectrum sales, enabling government to plough back revenues earned from the sector for provision of development infrastructure at the various levels of government. Despite the pains highlighted above, the impact of ICT on the economic growth has become impressive. Telecommunications sector now contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was hitherto dominated by the oil sector. According to Juwah, the percentage share of GDP from the sector rose from 0.06 percent in 1999 to 2.39 percent by 2007. However, it moved up to 2.90 percent in 2008, and 3.66 in 2009. By 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, ICT had contributed 8.2 percent to the nation's GDP. Growth in the ICT sector has had significant impact in the other sectors of the economy. The financial sector is perhaps, the one which activities of ICT have impacted positively much more than any other sector in recent times. In commercial banking services, the quantum of transactions is catalysed by ICT, mainly through telecommunications services. It is doubtful if any bank in Nigeria is not a major beneficiary of the telecommunications revolution. In facilitating banking transactional services, the telecommunications industry has provided the bedrock for the Nigerian finance industry. Electronic banking facilities such as ATM services, online financial transactions, international credit and debit card facilities, airline ticketing and reservations, are some of the numerous ways that the industry has aided the growth.



Report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, Nov 2012 (XV) 4.12.2. Findings Incomplete records of volumes of Gas Flared The volumes of gas flared were obtained from both the Revenue and Production Units of the DPR. The situation in respect of gas flare penalties is similar to that of gas production mentioned previously. The DPR is currently unable to independently track and measure gas volumes produced and flared. It depends largely on the information provided by the operators. There were no available records or information in respect of gas flare volumes for the years 2005 and 2011. This implies that the current records as they exist are incomplete. Inconsistencies noted in gas flared information Differences were noted between the gas flared data provided by DPR’s two units. These differences are yet to be resolved as at the time of reporting. Delayed gas flare volume reconciliations The DPR carries out periodic reconciliation meetings with the operators. It was noted that of the 36 operators in their listing, reconciliations have been completed for only 6 of them. This implies that the Nation may have made losses due to the delay in confirming the amounts due and enforcing payments in line with the laid down statutes. Outstanding Gas Flare penalties due to the government CBN statements and reports of inflows were also obtained in order to corroborate the payment information received. Per the information obtained from DPR, total revenue from gas flaring during the review period was $175million. The balance outstanding as unpaid was approximately $58million. This indicates that $115million had been received in respect of gas flare penalty by the DPR. The Task Force however reviewed CBN statements and noted that $137million was received between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2011. The DPR was not able to reconcile the $115 million to the $137million. Non – compliance with the new gas flare penalty regime The Minister issued a directive which was signed on

NNPC Towels, Abuja 15 August 2011 increasing the gas penalty fee from N10.00 to $3.50. However, the oil companies have failed to comply with the directive and have continued to flare gas without compliance with the new rate as communicated in the Minister’s directive. Using the DPR gas flare information (irrespective of the inherent errors arising per the factors earlier stated) to compute the potential revenues for the relevant years at the rate of $3.50 per scf is $4.1billion versus the $177million computed by the DPR using the N10 per scf. The records at the DPR reveal that none of the companies have paid any gas penalty fee in 2012. T h e detrimental effect of gas flaring Although there has been a steady decline in the amounts of gas flared, the numerous deadlines to implement the Zero gas flaring policies and fine for oil companies have been repeatedly postponed, with the most recent deadline, being December 2012. In 2009, the government developed a Gas Master Plan that should promote new gas-fired power plants to help reduce gas flaring and provide a source for the much- needed electricity generation. However, progress is slow largely due to the lack of infrastructure to produce and market gas. Gas flaring has both environmental and economic impacts. The value of gas flared over the 10 year period is estimated at about US$44 billion. Environmental

Committee member, Steve Oronsaye impacts resulting from gas flaring include: • Environmental pollution • Adverse climate changes • Food insecurity • Diseases • Unemployment • Deforestation 4.13. Miscellaneous Oil Revenues 4.13.1. Overview Miscellaneous Oil Revenues are all other revenues due to Nigeria through the DPR which do not fall into any of the other major types of revenue classes documented above. Examples include

drilling permits/licenses, fuel station permits, renewal of licenses etc. 4.13.2. Findings N o c o m p r e h e n s i v e miscellaneous oil revenue schedule The Task Force was unable to obtain a comprehensive miscellaneous oil revenue schedule from the officials of DPR. Our reference point for the purpose of determining the amounts earned in respect of miscellaneous oil revenues was the schedule of revenues presented by the DPR to the members of the Special Task

Force on 13 April 2012. The presentation indicated total miscellaneous oil revenues for the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2011 to be approximately N102.5billion. Receipts issued for the various licences and permits were initially provided by the DPR as a basis for determining the total revenues received and only N640million worth of receipts were made available. Subsequently, CBN statements (Miscellaneous Oil Revenue Account statements) for the period were provided N102.3billion was traceable. Upon conclusion of the review there was an unexplained reconciliation difference of N151million. Lack of transparency of license-level earnings and costs inhibits oversight and enables manipulation. The record keeping of the DPR calls to question the completeness and accuracy of reports generated as there was no way to determine if there were miscellaneous oil revenues due to the Federation which were yet to be collected. Also, the DPR has not provided an analysis of the miscellaneous revenues by type and amounts due. Outdated oil licensing fee regimes The amounts due in respect of the various fees relating to the miscellaneous oil revenues are not reflective of the current economic realities. For example, the fee to apply for the operation of a petrol station ranges from N5,000 to N250,000 and the license to operate a drilling rig costs between N20,000 to N100,000.




For singles in the FCT, succour amidst odds A

rendezvous of sorts held sway at the T w i n p a l m Rendezvous in Garki, Abuja on October 5, 2008. In attendance were groups of young men and women from different background. They all had one thing in common: they were single and searching for their “missing ribs.” ‘’I was curious when I first heard of the programme,’’ said Yemisi Oluwole, referring to the event organised by an interdenominational

Adrift like sheep without shepherd, life could be daunting for the typical single men and women. The intervention of some NGOs, civil society, and religious groups in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is however making significant differences in the lives of this otherwise vulnerable group. Sonde Abbah reports... Ministry called SinglesConnect. ‘’A programme for single guys and gals? I thought,

and said to myself: ‘Waao, I have got to be there and see what the fuss was all about,’ and so I went

Pastor Faithful and Mrs. Ehi Ohiani: One of the couples who pioneered the “revolution” in FCT

there.’’ The fuss that day at Twinpalm Rendezvous was inspired by Pastor

Faithful Ohiani, a native of Okehi LGA of Kogi S t a t e . “Th i s m i n i s t r y i s devoted to all single men

and women,’’ he announced to the handful of youths present. ‘’Our primary purpose is to prepare singles for marriage; to counsel singles; to pray for them and offer them guidance in their respective careers and, above all to provide them succour vis-à-vis the challenges of life.’’ Some four year s ago when that ‘’rendezvous’’ was held in the capital city, this humanitarian endeavour was at its infancy, at least here in the Federal Capital Territory. But not anymore. Over the years, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), religious outfits and civil society organisations alike have keyed into this venture with gusto. So much so, in fact, that over the years some members of the outfits devoted to the interest of youths in general and singles in particular, have mushroomed across the land. Their mission, in a nutshell, is ‘’to give the youth and young -at-heart alike a helping hand; to serve as a veritable mentor to them,’’ to quote Mrs. Glory Anebi, founder of Youth Alive Foundation, Abuja. Giving an insight into how they operate, Pastor Ohiani said: ‘’It’s all about the interests of the youths, particularly the singles. We started this ministry (SinglesConnect) way back in 2008 and since then we have impacted a lot of singles in the area of career and marriage both here in Abuja and Nigeria in

general and far beyond. ‘’ For instance, many singles with little or no knowledge about marriage have been trained to make better spouses in marriage. Lots of singles have gotten married under this ministry. This year alone, we have recorded lots of weddings. So many other single men and women that came here confused, dejected and feeling that time is passing them by, are now engaged on their way to the altar.’’ Truly so. Our correspondent who was at the Centre for Arts and Culture(opposite UTC) in Garki, Abuja where Singles Connect holds its weekly programmes, was informed by not a few youths that their lives had never been the same since they enrolled at the ministry . ‘’The sort of

mentoring I have been receiving from Pastor Faithful and Mrs. Ehi Ohiani in the past few months have impacted on my life beyond words,’’ testified one of them who gave her name simply as Angelina. Godswill Enejo, a civil servant, said: “Though I have not met my dream bride yet, I must say that what I have witnessed here at SinglesConnect in recent times is lifechanging. The way the programme is held, the spirit of oneness and the free counseling available for all and sundry, make the whole thing interesting.’’ Another attractive feature of this ministry is that the singles are not charged for any of the array of services they enjoy at SinglesConnect. Explaining the reasons for this, Pastor Ohiani said:

Singles out there should come and be adequately trained on how to love responsibly. And we will prayerfully connect you to a spouse of your dream. No matter who you are, where you are, we sincerely believe that there is hope for you in terms of career and relationship

Prophetess (Mrs.) Nweru: Organised a “Married and Singles” show recently.

‘’This ministry is a divine mandate, so it is free for everybody. We don’t charge anything. We only have financial partners both within and outside the ministry. They help settle our bills with their v o l u n t a r y contributions.’’ Interestingly, the light-skinned man of God and his wife had also met at a similar programme, some years ago. Hear him: ‘’I met my wife at another singles ministry, which I was a member of, some years back (before the commencement of SinglesConnect). And because we had both been trained on how to make better spouses, we are now having the best of marriage on earth.’’ Using their own experiences as an example, Ohiani added: “I

want to advice singles out there to come and be adequately trained on how to love responsibly. And we will prayerfully connect you to a spouse of your dream. No matter who you are, where you are, we sincerely believe that there is hope for you in terms of career and relationship.’’ One person who may not hesitate to agree with that vision is Prophetess (Mrs.) Nweru who, along with her husband, Prophet Nweru, holds sway at Christ Revival Ministry. Recently at Grand Ibro Hotel, Wuse, the miracleworking woman of God held a well-attended ‘’ Revival For Married And Singles.’’ Among those who thronged the programme was Dr. Gidano M o h a m m e d .

Accompanied by his wife and their teenage daughter, Raliat, he said: ‘’What I have seen here is encouraging. Our youth in particular, they need guidance and counseling but not just any guidance nor counseling - and that’s why one appreciates this sort of programme by the Nweru’s . We need more of such programmes in the interest of our younger generation.’’ Christopher Akowa, a youth corper who said he met his future wife recently at such a singles’ event at Karu, probably spoke the minds of hundreds of other intending couples when she stated that “the services being rendered to people like me by these h u m a n i t a r i a n organisations are truly unquantifiable.’’



Jonathan launches 2013 Armed Forces emblem, charges them on unity P Stories by Joy Baba

resident Goodluck Jonathan has charged men of the Armed Force to champion the cause of unity of the nation and national cohesion noting that despite the challenges facing the nation, Nigeria is more important and our national values should be what bind us together. Jonathan stated this at the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem appeal launch at Aso Villa, Abuja. The president said the strongest message to be preached at this moment is unity since the fallen heroes being remembered today stood for unity, were drawn

into national service from all parts of Nigeria and they served gallantly regardless of differences of religion and ethnicity. According to him “they were united by the same purpose, to keep Nigeria secured. Their oneness of purpose and spirit reminds us of the significance of national cohesion, together we can achieve a lot. “Whatever may be our differences; religious, ethnic or personal, Nigeria is more important. We must be united in rising above our differences and promoting values that binds us together. “We must refuse to be divided by those who impose ethnic and religious meaning on every

Why the officers had to go


he Nigerian Army has said it retired 48 of its officers because they have already attained the approved retirement age. It also dispelled reports that the exercise was to victimize certain officers to pave way for some political speculations ahead of the 2015 general elections. The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR) Brigadier General Mobalaji Koleoso who spoke to Peoples Daily yesterday said some of those effected in the retirement exercise already know they were on their way out as they know they rules. The Army recently retired 11 Major Generals, 25 Brigadier Generals and 12 Colonels, a development that

sparked off speculations of moves to reposition to forces ahead of 2015. This is especially against the backdrop of criticisms from interest groups that the exercise was lopsided and favoured some geo-political zone at the expense of others. However debunking the speculations, Koleoso said many of the retired officers had even exceeded the terms and conditions of service approved age ceiling on various ranks. According to him, “every officers being retired knows why they are going home, while some have attained their retirement age others have exhausted their chances of promotion to the next level”.

national issue” President Jonathan noted that Armed Forces Remembrance Day affords the nation opportunity to celebrate the gallantry of men of the armed

2013, Armed Forces emblem

forces both living and those who had paid the supreme sacrifice during the second world war, civil war and various peace keeping missions. The president reiterated

Federal Government commitment to addressing the challenges of these senior citizens particularly issues associated with their pension and gratuity further calling on all State Governors, being the Patrons of the Legion in their respective States, to continue to provide adequate support, concessions and facilities for the benefit of the veterans. He further called on Nigerians to reciprocate the efforts and sacrifice made by the fallen heroes by donating generously to the cause. I call on our countrymen, wherever they may be, never to forget our heroes. “I urge all citizens to reciprocate the sacrifices made by our veterans and heroes to donate generously to the Nigerian Legion. We remember the sacrifices that they have made and are still making, and to all families that have had to make a sacrifice so that this country can be where it is today”, he said.

Mrs Modupe Ibrahim, President Defence & Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) presenting food items to wives and family member of junior officers

Nigeria troops vital in Africa peace keeping


he Commandant of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Carter Ham has said Nigeria is needed to continue to lead in the support for peace keeping within African region. Ham stated this recently while delivering lecture on ‘curtailing insurgency in Nigeria’to participant of Course 21 at the National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria. According to him, Nigeria is a regional power whose track has consequences for Africa, the United States and the entire international community. Ham’s visit is sequel to that of the Commandant of NDC Rear Admiral Thomas Lokoson to headquarter of AFRICOM at Kelly Barracks, Stuttgart,

Germany to discuss issues of mutual benefit to both NDC and AFRICOM. Other critical issues of national importance discussed during Lokoson’s visit include; countering improvised explosive devices, border security and counter insurgency seminar as both parties agreed that “terrorism is a network and it takes a stronger network to defeat it”. Security forces according to Ham have prominent role in addressing insurgency in Nigeria, an effective lasting solution he said requires a broad –based strategy that will address underlying social, economic issues and the use of judicial tools to prosecute perpetrators of violence.

Deputy Commandant, National Defence College, Nigeria, Maj. Gen. Muhammed Idris, presenting gift to the Commandant of United State Africa Command, Gen. Carter Ham



Curbing oil theft: The journey so far By Joy Baba


he military Joint Task Force (JTF) previously known as Operation Restore Hope transmuted to Operation Pulo Shield on January 9, 2012 with a mandate to curb illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, pipe line vandalism and other acts of criminality that debilitate socio-economic life in the Niger Delta area. The transmutation occasioned the expansion of the area of responsibility to cover the nine oil producing states as well as the inclusion of other paramilitary security and civil agencies. The outfit was also reconfigured to encompass five sectors. The transmutation and reconceptualisation was informed by the realisation of the multidisciplinary and multi-faceted nature of the campaign against illegal oil bunkering and the need for synergy of efforts among stakeholders at all levels. Despite few step-backs, this has so far been reasonably achieved as operations are jointly carried out by these agencies and major successes have been recorded. Twelve months into the transmutation, The Commander JTF Operation, Pulo Shield, Maj. Gen. Jao Ochoga, in a media brief said the Task Force has recorded impressive achievements in the area of securing land environment and water ways, eradicating illegal oil bunkering, protecting oil and gas facilities as well as lives and property of the populace in the Niger Delta. Some of the major activities carried out, according to Ochoga, include protection of oil and gas infrastructures, antiillegal oil bunkering patrols, destruction of militant camps, as well as recovery of arms and ammunition in wrong hands. He further said that though the number of illegal refineries destroyed within the period under review may seem alarming, the fact remains that crudeness, simplicity of the design and cheapness of construction apparatus of these illegal refineries account for its proliferation. According to the Commander, "In our strive to actualize our mandate, we carefully studied the situation in the Niger Delta and found that one of the critical challenges that undermine efforts at eradicating oil theft in the Niger Delta is the use of unregistered vessels, barges and powered boats to perpetrate illegal oil bunkering. This is because it undermines diligent prosecution of those behind the illicit business by concealing their identities. "Towards addressing this challenge and as part of the overall efforts of the

government to tackle oil theft and other acts of economic sabotage; the JTF carried out security documentation and registration of vessels, barges and motorised boats operating in the Niger Delta area from June 26 . A total of 85 vessels, 64 barges and 217 powered boats were duly registered. This has largely facilitated our operation and our ability to track down the illegal oil bunkerers by tracing arrested vessels to their owners". In the area of protecting Oil and Gas facilities, Ochoga said the JTF conducted reconnaissance of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and NNPC pipeline networks while air and ground patrols were regularly carried out to deter vandals from sabotaging the pipelines. This, he also said facilitated the regular pumping of products by the NNPC from Port Harcourt in Rivers state to Aba depot in Abia state. The commander further said that troops were deployed 24 hours daily on most critical oil platforms to enhance their protection and have partnered with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to checkmate oil related crimes. Though this effort is yielding result, he encouraged oil firms to adopt international best practices by installing ICT based sensors within their pipe lines to provide early warning of acts of sabotage. Destruction of Militant Camps. Ochoga said the task force maintained zero tolerance for the existence of militant camps in the Niger Delta all through 2012. Since the transmutation, the force was able to identify and clamp down occupied militant camps in Oron, Akwa Ibom state and Ikang in Cross River state, as well as abandoned militant camps at Foropa in Bayelsa State, Ojoma Creek and Ferupakama Community in Rivers state he said. In the afore mentioned cases, the commander noted that suspects were arrested while assorted arms and ammunition, including RPG 9 bombs, RPG 7 bombs and 40 mm grenade were recovered. Also on April 25, 2012 a suspected militant camps was raided and closed at Amamba, around Duteb Island near Okrika in Rivers state. The most recent being camps operated by Bakassi Freedom Movement (BFM) led by one Lapto Igbo. The camps which are located at Edik Idim, near Ikang and Esighe Creek both in Cross River state and served as logistics and operational bases respectively were clamped down after all efforts to convince the group to surrender their arms voluntarily were rebuffed. During the operation, 28 oil workers held hostage by the group were rescued while

Chief of Naval, Dele Ezeoba

Lt General Ihejirika Azubuike assorted arms and ammunition were equally recovered. All these achievements was not without it challenges as the Force is regularly confronted by daring illegal oil bunkerers and pirates who, most times, engage the troops in armed combat. These encounters, in some instances have resulted in loss of lives of some of personnel as was the case on 1 March 2012 when five JTF personnel were killed in the water ways of Brass by vandals. According to the commander, "on 14th May, 2012, a soldier was also shot dead when armed bandits opened fire at our operatives while on patrol at Chioba in Rivers state. Three other JTF operatives were also killed and

three wounded on 30 May 2012, while escorting an oilservicing company's vessel along Santa Barbara River in Bayelsa. Ochoga also said the Force has not allowed these unfortunate incidents dampen its morale and resolve to pursue their mandate to a logical conclusion. Aside the afore-mentioned, the JTF OPPS was also faced with a handful of challenges militating against its efforts to combat oil theft in the Niger Delta, Ochoga further noted. One of the major challenges in this aspect was that most communities in the area backed oil bunkering. In the course of the efforts to eradicate oil theft in the region, it was

discovered that several individuals in the communities were either actively involved in the illegal business or are collaborators with oil thieves. This discovery prompted the outfit to organise advocacy program in which involved sensitization visits to several communities. Another challenge Ochoga enumerated was foreign involvement in the illegal business. The arrest of 21 Ghanaians and their five Nigerian collaborators as well as the destruction of two vessels containing 1300 tons of crude as earlier mentioned were indicators in this direction. Another instance, he said, was the recent arrest of 10 suspects of Indian nationality and four Nigerians on board MT ASHKAY. This has brought to the fore the need to monitor foreigners more closely in the region which is a primary responsibility of the Nigerian Immigration Service and further underscores the importance of the multi agency nature of the JTF. Ineptitude of oil companies' surveillance contractors is another challenge the JTF is facing. According to him, most oil companies have surveillance contractors responsible for monitoring their network of pipelines in the Niger Delta. It is therefore of major concern that illegal oil bunkering has continued despite the deployment of these surveillance contractors. One reason for their apparent ineptitude is the manner of employment by the oil companies who out-source the employment of surveillance teams to contractors. Some contractors are not dedicated. Recently, some surveillance contractors were arrested trying to vandalize a pipeline at Kporgho in Gokana area. It is therefore necessary for oil companies to overhaul the employment pattern of their surveillance contractors and their manner of deployment. Prosecution and quick dispensation of justice also militates against the complete victory over the menace of oil theft. By law the JTF has no legal powers to prosecute suspects. Therefore, all suspects arrested are handed over to the police or the Civil Defence Corps. These cases, when carried to the courts follow the normal court bureaucracy of granting bails and several adjournments. This seriously delays the quick dispensation of justice. To overcome this challenge, it has been suggested severally by the JTF that a special court for the prosecution of oil thieves be instituted. On the final note, Ochoga said actualising the mandate of the JTF will require the cooperation of all stake holders, opinion and community leaders and all law-abiding Nigerians.



Agric Research: ABU releases 37 varieties of improved maize, other crops T By Mohammed Kandi

he expedition of the Nigerian government and farmers towards achieving self sufficiency in food production, as well as food security in the country has received a major boost as researchers at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Amadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state have developed and released copious improved crop varieties. This followed the global prominence which is currently directed to the genetically modified crops that are bred from some highly sophisticated laboratory procedures, making them high disease resistant, high yield potential with the quality to mature early. Some of the important varieties that have been developed and released to farmers, according to the institute’s Deputy Director, Prof. Ezra Amans stated, include “9 varieties of cowpea for different ecologies, 13 cotton varieties, 23 varieties of groundnut, 14 maize varieties and 45 sorghum varieties suitable for Sahel, Sudan and Guinea ecologies.” Amans therefore informed a group of journalist who visited the institute that, IAR had an aged-long reputation of partnering other research organization in the development of a few crops in the past. He said: “IAR has developed some crops in collaboration with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)’ seven varieties including millet, eight varieties of wheat in collaboration with the International Centre for Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT), tomato (7 fresh market, nine processing and four heat tolerant varieties), onions, pepper, grape vine and kenaf varieties.” Similarly, information obtained from the institute’s brochure states that, “Nine varieties of cowpea for different ecologies have been developed and released for production. The most popular are SAMPEA 6 and SAMPEA 7 with yield potential of 2.5t per hectare and resistant to many stress factors.” “SAMPEA 6 is one of the parents of the American black eye beans. SAMPEA 8 is extra-early in maturity while SAMPEA 9 is dual purpose (high grain and fodder yield). Many of the cowpea in most Nigerian households is our products. SAMPEA 8 and SAMPEA 9 have been developed in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA. “The institute had released about 14 varieties of maize to farmers in different ecological zones across the country. Of the newly released varieties, SAMMAZ 11 is Striga hermonthica resistant, while SAMMAZ 12 and SAMMAZ 13 are extra-early white and yellow grains respectively. SAMMAZ 14 is equally protein maize, which has higher levels of lysine and tryptophan, the two limiting essential amino acids in maize. A lot of the maize consumed in every house in Nigeria in one form

One of the participants at the recent media tour organised by Bio Sciences for Farming in Africa to the Institute for Agricultural Research, at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria or the other is a product of IAR in collaboration with IITA and other national research institutes,” it said. On sorghum, the report said, researchers at the institute, in collaboration with ICRISAT, have developed at least 45 sorghum varieties, which are suitable for Sahel, Sudan and Guinea savanna ecologies. The crops have also been released to farmers across the country. “Among the most prominent ones are SAMSORG 17 and

SAMSORG 40 which are suitable for malt production. Nigerian Breweries have since been using these varieties as substitute to barley from which the bulk of foreign exchange needed to import barley is conserved. On the release of cotton varieties, the report states: “Thirteen cotton varieties have been developed and released to cotton farmers in Nigeria. SAMCOT 11, SAMCOTT 12, and SAMCOTT 13 are the latest varieties released. They are long staple and resistant to alternaria leaf spots and

bacterial blight. “Our cotton varieties supply raw materials to the numerous textile industries and oil mills across the country. The new long staple varieties can be used as substitute to imported long staple fibres thereby conserving our foreign exchange,” it explained. In the latest study on groundnut, according to the catalog, twentythree varieties have been developed in collaboration with the ICRISAT and released to farmers in different

A laboratory at the Institute for Agricultural Research, at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria

ecologies. The most popular ones are the rosette and drought resistant varieties. The latest released are the extra-early and the dual purpose type. “Our groundnut supply most of the cooking oil used in Nigerian households and most of the cake to livestock feed industries,” the report stressed. Apparently, this outstanding effort by the various research institutes in the country became a reality with the support of some international research organizations that have found the need for Nigeria in particular and Africa at large to key-in and contribute towards the attainment of global food security highly important. A plant breeder at the institute, Usman Alhassan, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to scale up its budgetary allocation the agriculture sector in line with the Maputo declaration on agriculture and food security, which advocates at least 10 percent national budget allocation to agriculture development. The plant breeder said until governments stop playing politics with agriculture by financing the sector properly, Nigeria and Africa might miss out of the gigantic effort directed at achieving global food security as in the green revolution. Alhassan also informed that Nigerian farmers have since adopted the use of the genetic modified (GM) crops hence, urging the government to ensure the speedy passage into law the bill that would facilitate the process of agricultural transformation in Nigeria.


Nutritionist seeks ban on importation of frozen poultry products


resident, Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), Dr Ignatius Onimawo, has called for the establishment of a National Nutrition Council to check the importation of frozen poultry products into the country. Onimawo, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos yesterday, said that the council, when established, would help to coordinate, analyse, assess and approve such imports where necessary. According to him, it is high time we stop the dumping of some harmful foods in Nigeria to protect the health of the citizens. He warned that ‘’eating such products can be harmful to human health”. Onimawo said that most of the imported frozen poultry products had been defrosted and re-frozen and in the process thawing they could be re-frozen along with some bacteria such as “Salmonella”. “The only thing we can do to protect Nigerians is to have a central coordinating unit for nutrition in the country. The National Nutrition Council will help to streamline so many things; it will even help to regulate the profession,” he said. “From there, we can have an institute; that institute will be a research centre where anything about nutrition will be analysed and assessed. “When people want us to endorse their products, we take this product outside Nigeria, we pay heavily to get them analysed and all that. That is not helpful to Nigeria. The time we need a national nutrition coordinating council is now.” Onimawo said that it was not advisable for Nigerians to consume any frozen poultry product because of its health hazard since such product was prone to bacterial infection. “It depends on the method in which they were processed and how long they were frozen. The problem with frozen chicken, if they were defrosted and re-frozen, in the process of thawing, because of the high nutritional value of chicken, bacteria such as “Salmonella” and other types of bacteria that are pathogenic are likely to be part of it. “They will be frozen along with it and when you now bring them down here, you are likely to have a problem. “Generally, it is not advisable to buy frozen chicken, nobody knows how long, whether they were frozen for the past one year up to two-years. “We don’t even know where they are coming from, how long they were processed, whether they were defrosted before they were re-frozen. “All these will affect the meat quality of the food and nutrition is health. There is a lot of noncommunicable diseases now in Nigeria, because there is no coordination. “Economically, it is not advisable for a nation to be importing frozen chicken just to come and destroy the local market,” he warned.


Minister advocates multi-faceted approach to agric financing By Mohammed Kandi


inister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has advocated for a multi-faceted approach to unlock financing towards the growth agricultural sector in the country. The minister stated this at the Capital Markets’ Workshop, organised by his ministry in collaboration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently. “The government must create an enabling environment by working

with the private sector to develop programs and services that reduce the perceived and real risk associated with agricultural lending in order to encourage the financial sector to lend,” he said. “The financial sector needs to be more innovative and proactive. Banks and other private lending institutions have a responsibility to develop credit instruments and services that are tailored to the risks and cash flow patterns in the agricultural sector,” Adesina said. “We must draw lessons from our experiences to date, and progress in Nigeria’s agricultural

Transformation, to drive greater performance of the finance industry and capital markets in expanding access to finance for the agricultural sector,” the minister advised. Adesina recalled that Nigeria’s agricultural sector was a big investment opportunity for investors to delve into saying “the Nigerian population is approximately 167 million, and the agricultural sector contributes over 40% of GDP.” He said: “This large market represents a high and fast growing demand for agricultural goods and services. Although not fully harnessed, Nigeria also has the

capacity to meet, and potentially exceed, this domestic demand.” “Our nation is abundant with the labor and natural resources necessary to improve productivity. Arable land, perhaps the most critical natural resource, is abundant in Nigeria; we have a total of 84million hectares of arable land of which only 40% is under cultivation,” Adesina stressed. Adesina therefore assure that there was huge potential for agricultural lending in Nigeria following the pledge made by banks to increase their lending to commercial farmers by about Three Trillion Naira.

Politicians assist irrigation farmers in Katsina


Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (centre), chatting with Chairman, Famag Jal Farms, Jikwoyi, Abuja, Tafida Mafindi; during the minister's visit recently to the farm. With them is the ministry's Director of Federal Livestock Department, Dr. Joseph Nyager.

GES records 97 percent success in Nigeria – Ministry By Mohammed Kandi


ollowing the regular assessment of the Gross Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) across the country, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the programme has achieved about 97 per cent success in implementation and 100 per cent participation rate by states that have adopted the scheme. A document issued by one of the aides of the Minister of Agriculture in Abuja, Dr. Oyeleye Olukayode, said: “35 states and FCT are implementing GES. Adamawa State was the last state to sign up to GES and implementation has not started. This is an implementation rate at state level of 97% and a participation rate at state level of 100%”

On the participating of Local Government Area (LGA) in the GES across the country, the document revealed, “754 LGAs are implementing GES; this is an implementation rate of 97% at LGA level.” “One of the major fulcrums of the GES scheme is to use Agrodealers to directly deliver inputs to farmers. A lot of success was recorded in this regard as 1081 Agro-dealers are participating in GES; this is an agro-dealer to LGA ratio of 1.4:1 or 14 agro-dealers for every 10 LGAs,” it said. “Over 783 agro-dealers have so far participated actively in the program so far out of the 1083 registered agro-dealers, thereby giving us an absolute participation rate of 72%,” it explained. It stated on famer’s participation: “Approximately

1,585,980 million farmers showed up at operational redemption sites in the 35 States and FCT that are implementing GES. Approximately 1,113,685 million farmers have received their farm input so far.” “As a proportion of the 3.9million registered farmers in the participating locations which exclude Adamawa state that did not participate and most of Zamfara State, where the actual figures were not available; this is a turnout rate of 41% and a redemption rate of 70%,” it sated. On the inputs distributed to farmer so far, “As at October 30th, 2012, a total of 138,898MT of Fertilizer; 4216MT of maize seeds and 6816MT of rice seeds have been redeemed so far. This is a supply effectiveness rate of 27% for fertilizer and 130% for seeds companies.”

hree indigenes of Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina state have assisted irrigation farmers with equipment worth more than N1 million to boost irrigation farming in the Safana-Danmusa-Batsari Federal constituency of the state. They are the former Speaker of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Mamman Danmusa, Alhaji Gambo Musa, representing the constituency in the House of Representatives, and Alhaji Jamilu Mamam, the state’s Commissioner for Water Resources. The equipment donated to the farmers include 16 water pumps, 471 hoses, 580 pipes, 29 sprayers and chemicals, among others. The former speaker, who distributed the equipment on behalf of other donors in Danmusa town on Monday, said the assistance was aimed at empowering dry season farmers to enable them to become selfreliant. ‘’It is also an effort that will prevent them from migrating to urban centres after the rainy season,’’ he said. According to him, 11 irrigation farmers’ associations from each of the three local government areas covering the constituency were beneficiaries of the gesture. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the trio had drilled 150 tube wells for the farmers to facilitate their agricultural activities. Danmusa, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to ensure effective utilisation of the equipment to enhance irrigation farming in the areas. Responding on behalf of the farmers, Malam Haruna Na’aya, thanked the donors for their support and assured them that every farmer who benefitted from the gesture would make the best use of the facilities. ‘’This is not the first time you are assisting us and we have been making use of what you provided to us to improve our dry season farming; we are greatful, ‘’ he said. (NAN)



By Solomon Asowata & Aderogba George


conomists rate corruption as one of the factors that impede the accelerated socio-economic transformation of developing countries such as Nigeria. The government’s perception that the country’s wealth has withered with little to show in living conditions of the average human being, has informed its determination to fight corruption through various weapons. According to observers, the slow pace of court process in the attainment of judgment is giving the accused the opportunity to view offences bordering on corrupt practices as insignificant. The observers say that even with good instruments for fighting the vice, there are various impediments to total elimination of corruption in the country. On April 17, 2012, a Crown Court in London sentenced a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to 13 years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to corruption and money laundering. However, the same Ibori had on Dec. 18, 2009, been discharged of a 170-count charge by Justice Marcel Awokulehin of a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba. The former governor was convicted by the UK court on the strength of the same criminal charges which were dismissed by the Nigerian court. Thus, Ibori’s conviction and subsequent sentencing by the London court was an indictment on Nigeria’s judiciary. As the third tier of government and often referred to as the last hope of the common man, the judiciary is supposed to guarantee equal access to justice and equity for all citizens. It should ensure that the rights of citizens are adequately accommodated, and judgments handed down without fear or favour, but in accordance with the law. The global corruption watchdog, Transparency International, in its 2012 corruption perception index, ranked Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world. Analysts believe that this is the time for the judiciary to rise to tackle corruption headlong through adequate interpretation of the law. They are of the opinion that the rule of law must be upheld strongly and the judiciary impartial, before Nigeria will win the fight against corruption. According to the immediatepast Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, when the rule of law is weak, corruption will remain a nagging problem. “Corruption in the justice sector is a keystone to corruption throughout society. “Without an honest criminal justice system, the wealthy, especially the corrupt, can escape the consequences of their crimes. “Such impunity reduces the perceived cost of corruption. “The gains from corruption are, therefore, not discounted and there is, thus, little reason beyond personal integrity not to engage in

Combating Corruption: Challenge Before Nigerians

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde corrupt acts, the chief justice says. He believes that independence of the judiciary is a sine qua non to achieving an effective justice system. Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) also believes the judiciary must purge itself of all forms of corruption and discharge its duties without fear or favour. He says: “The court which is a final arbiter in our criminal justice system, must be well-positioned and prepared both intellectually and otherwise to handle the great challenge posed by the everchanging dynamics in the face of corruption’’. A professor of Law, Itse Sagay (SAN), blames thriving corruption in Nigeria on lack of political will to prosecute high-profile corruption cases. He is convinced that corruption has permeated every sector of the Nigerian economy. He expresses regrets that even arraigned suspected corrupt persons file frivolous applications to delay their trials. “The problems associated with interlocutory applications have become a major source of concern in this country. “Indeed, we are currently faced with a grave crisis in our justice delivery system because of this cheap vehicle for adjourning justice permanently,” he says. Commenting, a human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, says lawyers, especially those in the inner bar, have a share of blame for the thriving corruption. He alleges that these

ICPC Chairman, Ekpo Nta

lawyers manipulate the criminal justice system to protect their high-profile clients from conviction. “All those cases that have brought the judiciary to shame have been handled by Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), the supposed leaders of the legal profession. “Legal practitioners must rise up to challenge their actions because they are ruining the legal system. They are exposing Nigeria to ridicule,’’ he remarks. Mr Akpan Udofia, an Abujabased human rights layer, claims the war against corruption is ineffective because the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have not done enough in the areas of investigating financial crimes and prosecution of offenders. According to him, for effective fight against corruption, political offices holders at all levels, especially the governors, must be held accountable for all allocations

collected for their respective states. Mr Kuyik Usoro, a lawyer, says ethnicity and tribal sentiments are some of the impediments to fighting corruption. “This is evident in a situation where people from the same ethnicity find it difficult to prosecute his fellow man in the law court,’’ he notes. According to him, another concern is in the area where the judiciary gets direct funds from the executive, noting that such may affect the independence of the judiciary. Mr Dambisa Moyo, an economist, calls for proactive measures at checking the excesses of some public officials who have the penchant to compromise. It is in the light of this that Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, the Chairman of EFCC, highlights the commission’s constraints to score high at prosecuting high-profile cases, noting that the ‘plea bargain’ is a setback for the commission. He blames the overwhelming wealth of suspects as well as the alleged compromise of the

All those cases that have brought the judiciary to shame have been handled by Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), the supposed leaders of the legal profession. Legal practitioners must rise up to challenge their actions because they are ruining the legal system. They are exposing Nigeria to ridicule

judiciary for the commission’s failure in securing convictions in high-profile cases. “The commission has been able to establish a very strong assets forfeiture unit to recover and confiscate the assets of individuals that were involved in corruption. “It is only when you deprive them of their resources that you will be able to force them to stand trial,’’ Lamorde says. Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), urges the judiciary to use the opportunity of the ongoing trials of some high profile individuals for alleged complicity in fuel subsidy fraud to redeem its image. “It is not enough to bring these people to court. The EFCC must ensure that these cases are prosecuted and concluded in a timely manner,” he advises. In evolving a virile process of eliminating corrupt practices in the country, analysts believe that the anti-graft agencies should be autonomous in their functions. They also suggest the establishment of independent special courts which will be free from interference of other arms of government. Analysts are also convinced that a bold, courageous, impartial and independent judiciary will help Nigeria to win the battle against corruption and put the country on the path of greatness. Most of all, every Nigerian must be involved in the fight, they add. Source: NAN



ANALYSIS By Goutham Bhadri


ntrepreneurship has become one of the most recognisable words in the world over the last ten to twenty years, and with good reason. It has become a symbol for the premier achievement in our capitalist society; that of owning, creating and running your own business. Almost everybody would like to do it, yet it still remains an elusive goal for the vast majority of the world's population. When you hear the real life stories of people like Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, you realise entrepreneurship is not just something you can claim on a resume to describe the time you sold T-shirts on your college campus. True entrepreneurs would never think of putting the E word on a resume, because it would be anathema to the very idea of entrepreneurship in the first place. True entrepreneurs would never think of using the title as a status symbol, because they don't have to. So what does an entrepreneur do that sets them apart from a baker, mechanic or graphic designer? Entrepreneurship, in its purest sense, is perhaps the unwavering commitment to live or die by your own persistence and abilities. It is the fire to wake up every morning and be excited about doing what you truly want to create; it is the ability to bypass drama and wasted energy, and instead focus all of your intention on your true purpose and career goals. It is the fearlessness to trust in your own ability, your own creativity, and your own resourcefulness when others would ask a superior for help, or consult the closest manual for direction. It is the entrepreneurs who are not afraid to write their own manuals, and who are not worried about whether or not it will be accepted by the majority of the population. Magazine publisher Jim Warren was the pioneering entrepreneur behind legendary publications like Famous Movie Monsters of Hollywood andVampirella. In his heyday, Warren was able to take an unpopular product - horror comics - and transform them into something marketable and lucrative through a simple repackaging effort. Warren's strategy involved selling comics in magazine form and selling his own stock of novelty items through ads in the back of the book as opposed to pursuing advertisers reluctant to jump into bed with a horror publisher. He hired the best artists and writers he could afford and, along with editor Forrest J Ackerman, ushered in a new era of fandom that made it okay to call yourself a geek. In his office you'd find a framed plaque reading "Somebody has to make it happen". At an entrepreneur's core, that's what they do: They make it happen. Bakers might become entrepreneurs if nobody's hiring, but only to serve their passion for baking. In some cases the entrepreneur will hire the baker, rent out the storefront and buy the ovens. In other cases the entrepreneur might never even see the bakery in person. They might simply put together the funding and hire a good business manager. What an entrepreneur also shines in is ideas. Every business they launch might not be based on an idea of their

Entrepreneurship is perhaps the unwavering commitment to live or die by your own persistence and abilities

Can we (please) spread entrepreneurship? own and they might not be just an idea-man working behind the scenes. There are entrepreneurs who put someone else's idea into practice before putting more sweat into the business than any of the people they hire, but at the core of the entrepreneurial spirit is the drive to take a good idea and bring it to life. When we think of entrepreneurship in this way, then it becomes clear that the unmistakable ethos of entrepreneurship usually becomes visible at an early age. We can all imagine mid-level managers in a company, who, although they may be good at their jobs, lack something that can sometimes be visible in children as young as 13 or 14. Yet that spark, that spirit that drives you to start your first lemonade stand, is in all of us. The problem is we're taught to do what's safe, what's guaranteed to work, rather than risk our time, effort and money on ideas that might fail. So often entrepreneurship can be the difference between one person who follows the rules, goes to school, gets good grades, gets a good job, and gets a decent salary, and the person who shuns school altogether, listens to no one and

ends up creating a brand new product that goes on to change the world. Public schools, colleges and your first job teaches you to keep your head down and do your work. Much of our society is built around an outdated industrial model where anyone can be taught to do your job, where you essentially serve as a cog in a machine, and where showing up on time is more important than any of the insights or creativity that you can bring to the table. The difference today is that unlike generations past where you could get by quite well just by doing what you were told, the world's top companies are constantly looking for people that do just the opposite; they break the rules and innovate beyond conventional training. So can we teach entrepreneurship? And more importantly, how? In an interview with a documentary maker, Sir Richard Branson's mother reveals that Branson was actually incredibly shy in his early childhood. In an effort to push him to be more outgoing, she came up with an entrepreneurial idea of her own: Dropping her son off three


miles from home and telling him that he would have to talk to people and ask directions to find his way back. Extreme? Sure, but this sink or swim approach to child rearing turned a shy child who literally hid behind his mother's skirt into one of the most daring entrepreneurs of our time. The habits of a successful entrepreneur are also being taught in MBA programmes across the country. As Dean Hubbard of Columbia Business School puts forth in his speech about the 21st century MBA, "the goal is not to have a data dump of functional skills, but to create a process that teaches people how to recognise opportunity - and capture it" (full disclosure: Columbia Business School is my alma mater). Unquestionably there seems to be an un-teachable element in the spirit of entrepreneurship that has driven many great success stories. Some may argue that schooling can, at best, only be described as prepping the canvas for the painter. You can tell the artist where to buy the paints, give them some tips on fundamental art principles, and then provide examples of what people have done in the past. But the actual act of launching the initiative and coming

Unquestionably there seems to be an unteachable element in the spirit of entrepreneurship that has driven many great success stories. Some may argue that schooling can, at best, only be described as prepping the canvas for the painter.

up with the idea that will live on beyond even the creators life itself, is something that just cannot be taught by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps you can call it creativity, imagination, or pure passion, but the fact remains that, although you can have the largest canvas and paint collection on earth, it still takes an artist to create something beautiful. Those exceptions aside, many people are left with no choice but to learn how to be entrepreneurial. The pace at which the number of doors are opening, and that are continuing to open throughout the world, is staggering. As the economy and the idea of a career evolve over the next decade or two, "entrepreneur" may be the only job title left. As pointed out by entrepreneur Scott Gerber, according to a 2011 survey, some 23 percent of young people who have started a business have done so simply because of difficulty in finding a job. We're already in a sink or swim scenario with youth employment at a sixty year low. Parents may get the ball rolling; high school may get the aspiring entrepreneurs feet wet; universities may lay golden fields of opportunity, connections, and resources at ones fingertips; but the most important part of the journey will always remain with the entrepreneur. We may build the bridges, pave the roads, and open the doors for you, but it is you, the entrepreneur, that will always have to be the one to walk through. Post-war education was designed to place people in large companies where they would find a secure salary. Sadly, that's still what school is largely for, even as these companies downsize, collapse and disappear from the economic landscape, causing layoffs to be at record highs. Not only can we teach people to think entrepreneurially, we need to. Source: Al Jazeera



Swaziland: Police in miniskirt arrest threat Egypt awaits constitutional referendum result


gypt is awaiting the official results of a referendum on a controversial draft constitution. Early unofficial results suggested more than 60% of voters said "yes" to the document, which is endorsed by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. But the electoral commission must first investigate opposition allegations of voting fraud. Egypt has seen large and occasionally violent demonstrations by the opposing sides in the past few weeks. If the constitution passes, elections must take place within two months and the deep polarisation in the country is likely to continue, the BBC's Bethany Bell in Cairo reports. In the meantime, legislative powers will pass to parliament's upper chamber, the Islamistcontrolled Shura Council. State media reports of the results following Saturday's second and final round of the referendum suggested that some 63% of voters had backed the charter. Turnout was low, estimated at 30%. The electoral commission said it was compiling results from both rounds and that no time had been set for a confirmation of the outcome. One member of the commission, Mohamed el-Tanobly, told Agence France-Presse it was examining all the allegations of irregularities so that the referendum "really reflects the will of the Egyptian people". The opposition National Salvation Front said on Sunday the vote had been marred by "fraud and violations". It said these included polling stations opening late, Islamists seeking to influence voters and a lack of judges to supervise. Spokesman Amr Hamzawy told a news conference the National Salvation Front had urged the commission to investigate the irregularities but he also appeared to anticipate a "yes" vote. He said: "We do not consider this constitution legitimate. We will continue to attempt to bring down the constitution peacefully and democratically." The opposition says the draft constitution fails to protect the freedoms and human rights that were sought in the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's rule last year. It accuses the president of pushing through a text that favours Islamists and does not sufficiently protect the rights of women or Christians.

Traditional mini-skirt dancers in Manzini.


omen in Swaziland risk arrest if they wear mini-skirts or tops which expose part of their stomach, a police spokeswoman has said. Wendy Hleta said police would enforce an 1889 law which bans "immoral" dressing if they receive a

complaint. She also said women in the deeply conservative kingdom make it easier for rapists by wearing miniskirts. Last month, police reportedly blocked women in mini-skirts marching against rape in the second

city, Manzini. However, the colonial-era law does not apply to traditional costumes worn by women during ceremonies like the annual reed dance, where the monarch may choose a new wife. In 2000, the government introduced a law requiring school

girls aged 10 years old and above to wear knee-length skirts to curb promiscuity as part of attempts to halt the spread of Aids. The country has a population of more than 1.2 million and one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world. Ms Hleta said the 1889 law had not been enforced recently, but police wanted to alert women about its existence after receiving complaints from some men in Manzini about women wearing mini-skirts. Anyone arrested and guilty of "immorality" under the Crimes Act of 1889 could receive a fine of up to $10 (ÂŁ6) or a jail-term of up to six months if they failed to pay the fine, she said. Women should be careful about wearing revealing clothes, the police spokeswoman said. "We do not encourage that women should be harmed, but at the same time people should note acceptable conduct of behaviour," Ms Hleta is quoted by the privately owned Times of Swaziland newspaper as saying. "The act of the rapist is made easy because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women," she said. Women who wear "skimpy clothes" also draw unnecessary attention to themselves, Ms Hleta said.

Faced with brutal elephant poachers, Cameroon calls in the army


he welcome committee for Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park, a former safari tourism destination, would not look out of place on a battlefield. Faced with the threat of horse-mounted Sudanese elephant poachers armed with machine guns, the central African nation has deployed military helicopters and 600 soldiers to try to protect the park and its animals. Its decision to call in the army follows a bloody incursion into the park last winter during which poachers from Sudan killed some 300 elephants, or 80 percent of the park's elephant population, within a few weeks. Armed only with World War One-era rifles, the park's ecoguards were defenceless in the

face of the Sudanese 'jandjaweed' poachers who had travelled thousands of miles on horseback to seize the tusks. The raid left hundreds of elephant corpses in its wake. Many of the animals' faces had been hacked off and the bodies lay decomposing in a park that used to attract safari tourists in large numbers. Cameroon says it is determined to make sure such a scene is never repeated. "With the kind of deployment we have in the park here today, the message is very clear," Brigadier General Martin Tumenta told Reuters during a visit to the park. "Any poacher who finds himself here will simply be destroyed." Equipped with helicopters, night vision gear, and scores of

jeeps, Cameroon's military has set up two garrisons in the park and several camps along

Cameroon's border with Chad and the Central African Republic, Tumenta said.

The carcasses of some of the 22 elephant slaughtered in a helicopter-bourne attack lie on the ground in Garamba National Park.

Nelson Mandela to spend Christmas in S/Africa hospital


outh Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas in hospital, a government statement has said.


Mr Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital two weeks ago and has been treated for a lung infection and gallstones. There is growing concern in

South Africa about his health. Mr Mandela was jailed for 27 years for leading the struggle against whiteminority rule. He is regarded by most South Africans as the father of the nation, having inspired them to fight for democracy. "Former President Nelson Mandela will spend Christmas Day in hospital, his doctors have confirmed," a government statement said. Karen Allen in Johannesburg reports that with every passing day there is growing public anxiety about Mr Mandela's health. There was hope that he would be allowed to spend Christmas at home, but his doctors are still not

comfortable about discharging him, she says. Although President Jacob Zuma has described Mr Mandela's condition as "serious", he has tempered this by saying that he has been "responding" to treatment, our correspondent adds. The government says he is being treated for a recurring lung infection at a hospital in the capital, Pretoria. He has also had an operation to remove gallstones. Mr Mandela first contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while detained on windswept Robben Island prison. He has been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the past two years.


Asia and Middle East


he head of the Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem has voiced his support for a Palestinian state during a procession to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal said this Christmas would be a celebration of "the birth of Christ our lord and the birth of the state of Palestine".


Jerusalem Catholic backs Palestinian state

In November the United Nations upgraded the status of the Palestinians to that of a "non-member observer state". Patriarch Twal is due to lead midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity.

The church is seen by Christians as the traditional birthplace of Jesus, and is in an area of the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority. In June the church was formally named a Unesco World Heritage Site -

the first to be nominated by the Palestinians, who were made full members of Unesco earlier this year. The Patriarch, who was born in Jordan, led a symbolic procession from Jerusalem's Old City to

Bethlehem, passing through the separation barrier and checkpoint built by the Israelis. He was met at the church in Manger Square by thousands of tourists, pilgrims and clergy.

Protest: India's PM calls for calm as police kill journalist


Patriach Fouad Twal is due to lead midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity.

anmohan Singh, India's Prime Minister, has vowed to protect women in the wake of violent demonstrations against the "national epidemic" of sex crimes. He spoke after police clashed with hundreds of protesters a day earlier in the Indian capital New Delhi over the gang rape of a medical student in the capital last weekend. "There is genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident," Singh said in a televised statement on Monday, appealing for "peace and calm" as officials shut down roads in the centre of New Delhi - a city home to nearly 14 million people - in a bid to prevent further protests. "I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women in this country," said Singh.

Syrian peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in talks with Assad

I Journalists gathered to condemn the killing of Thangjam Dijamani.

Lakhdar Brahimi (L) walks with Syrian deputy foreign minister.

nternational peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has held talks with President Bashar alAssad in Damascus, in a fresh bid to end the conflict. Mr Brahimi said they discussed "many steps to be taken in the future", but he did not elaborate. On Sunday, opposition activists said dozens of people had been killed in a government air strike in the rebel-held town of Halfaya in Hama province. Syrian state media blamed a "terrorist group" for the attack. Mr Brahimi drove into Syria from Beirut on Sunday, after fighting closed Damascus airport. "I had the honour to meet the president and as usual we exchanged views on the many steps to be taken in the future," he said after meeting President Bashar alAssad on Monday. "We hope that all the parties will go toward the solution that the Syrian people are hoping for," he added. It is the third visit to Damascus by Mr Brahimi since he was appointed joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria in August. However, he has made little progress on a peace process so far and it is unclear what new ideas he may be bringing. Rebels have been fighting Mr Assad's government for 21 months. Opposition groups say more than 44,000 people have been killed.

Police on Sunday had shot tear gas and water cannon, and used batons to disperse demonstrators, as the crowd at Delhi's landmark India Gate monument defied orders banning the protests and swelled into the thousands. Scuffles occurred between protesters and police near government buildings, with demonstrators shouting slogans against the authorities and throwing stones and bottles at their barricades. Angry protesters later overturned a vehicle and seized police vans. At least 30 people, including several policemen, have been treated for injuries at a nearby hospital, officials said. "Security has been tightened in the heart of New Delhi, with police in riot gear in every area of possible demonstration. Section 144, a criminal code that prohibits assembly of more than five people, has been imposed," reported Al Jazeera's Subina Shrestha in New Delhi. A delegation of protesters met Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the ruling Congress party, to convey their demands.

Taiwan condemned over executions


aiwan has executed six death row inmates, the first use of the death penalty this year. The deputy justice minister said the brutality of the men's crimes meant there was no reason to show mercy. Campaigning human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the move as "cold-blooded killing". The executions - by shooting "made a mockery of the authorities' stated commitment to abolish the death penalty", Amnesty said in a statement. "It is abhorrent to justify taking someone's life because prisons are overcrowded or the public's alleged support for the death penalty," the statement said. The executions were carried out in three separate prisons in different parts of the country - two in the capital, Taipei, two in the central city of Taichung and two in the south of the island. All six of the men had been convicted of murder. The BBC's Cindy Sui, in Taipei, says the executions come at a time of inflamed public debate about the death penalty following the death of a boy in a video arcade.



Europe and Americas Mexico clashes leave seven police officers dead


unmen have ambushed and shot dead seven policemen in two separate clashes in western Mexico, officials have said. Attackers opened fire as police responded to reports of a traffic accident in a rural area of Michoacan state, killing four officers. Three officers and a civilian were killed in another attack in the neighbouring state of Jalisco. It was not clear who was behind the killings but the region has been plagued by drug-related violence. The Knights Templar and New Generation drug cartels vie for control of the illegal drugs trade in Michoacan. The first attack happened in Brisenas, a small town on the border with Jalisco, where earlier this month the police chief and three other officials were kidnapped by unidentified attackers and are still missing. According to officials, gunmen ambushed officers on Sunday as they drove to a reported road accident. Four officers were killed and five others injured. A short while later, attackers opened fire on police in Ayotlan in Jalisco state, killing three officers and a civilian. Some 60,000 people have died across Mexico since 2006 when the previous government under Felipe Calderon deployed the military against the drugs gangs. Earlier this month, President Enrique Pena Nieto announced the creation of a new national force as part of continuing efforts to tackle crime and violence. Mr Pena Nieto, who took office on 1 December, said the new militarised force would initially be 10,000 strong.

US gun lobby stands firm against regulation T

he most powerful pro-gun lobby group in the United States has ruled out any support for greater regulation of firearms or ammunition magazines in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 people dead - including 20 children. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), said on Monday that planned legislation to outlaw military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines was "phony" and would not work. Barack Obama, the US president, has said he would support a new bill to ban assault rifles and put VicePresident Joe Biden in charge of a panel looking at a wide range of other measures, from school security to mental health. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein has pledged to table a bill on January 3 that would ban at least 100 types of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, and would curb the transfer, import and possession of such arms. "I think that is a phony piece of legislation, and I do not believe it will pass for this reason," LaPierre told

Wayne LaPierre, the executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association. NBC's "Meet the Press" programme. "It is all built on lies that have been found out .... We don't think it works and we're not going to support it," he said. "A gun is a tool, the problem is the criminal."

He repeated the NRA's call to place an armed guard in every school and argued that prosecuting criminals and fixing the mental health system, rather than gun control, were the solutions to America's mass shooting epidemic.

India, Russia sign new defence deals


ussia and India have signed new defence deals worth $2.9bn (ÂŁ1.8bn) during President Vladimir Putin's

day-long trip to India. Under the accords, India will buy 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 71 Mil Mi-17 helicopters.

Mr Putin (L) with Indian PM Manmohan Singh

Mr Putin held talks with Indian PM Manmohan Singh during his visit. Moscow has long been Delhi's main weapons supplier but has lost out on several major deals to Western companies in recent years. Trade between Russia and India is currently worth about $10bn (ÂŁ6bn) a year, but has been growing more slowly recently. Ahead of the visit, Mr Putin said that he wanted to increase bilateral trade to $20bn by 2015. Monday's talks between Mr Putin and Mr Singh also included the security situation

Fear, finger-pointing mount over "fiscal cliff"


ome lawmakers voiced concern on Sunday that the country would go over "the fiscal cliff" in nine days, triggering harsh spending cuts and tax hikes, and some Republicans charged that was President Barack Obama's goal. "It's the first time that I feel it's more likely that we will go over the cliff than not," Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, said on CNN's "State of the Union." "If we allow that to happen it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history." "It looks like to me that obviously this is going to drag on into next year, which is going

The NRA points to the fact that the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, when 12 kids and a teacher were gunned down by two senior students, occurred despite similar legislation being in force at the time.

to hurt our economy," Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on CBS "Capitol Gains." The Democratic president and Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the two key negotiators, are not talking and are out of town for the Christmas holidays. Congress is in recess, and will have only a few days next week to act before January 1. On the Sunday TV talk shows, no one signaled a change of position that could form the basis for a short-term fix, despite a suggestion from Obama on Friday that he would favor one. The focus was shifting instead to the days following January 1 when the lowered tax rates

dating back to President George W. Bush's administration will have expired, presenting Congress with a redefined and more welcome task that involves only cutting taxes, not raising them. "I believe we are," going over the cliff, Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming said on Fox News Sunday. "I think the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. I think he sees a political victory at the bottom of the cliff." Some Republicans have said Obama would welcome the fiscal cliff's tax increases and defense cuts, as well as the chance to blame Republicans for rejecting deal. Obama has rejected that assertion. Democrats have charged

that Boehner has his own selfinterested reasons for avoiding a deal before January 3, when the House elected on November 6, is sworn in and casts votes for a new speaker.

US House speaker John Boehner

in the region, including Afghanistan. "India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism," Mr Singh was quoted as telling Reuters news agency after the talks. In an article in India's Hindu newspaper, Mr Putin described as a "historic step" the declaration of strategic partnership between the two counties signed in 2000. The Russian leader also said that the military cooperation between the two nations has reached an "unprecedented level". Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Boehner has been reluctant to reach across the political aisle for fear it could cost him the speakership when he runs for reelection. "I know he's worried," said Schumer.



Texas scientists in bird count T

‘Kitten Juggler’ caught on Cam he Philadelphia man caught on surveillance camera juggling kittens inside a Logan Chinese restaurant pleaded guilty to cruelty to four counts of animal cruelty. YuZhen Chen, 26, received two years of probation, according to court records. Chen was arrested in July after Philadelphia Police saw video that showed him throwing kittens in the air, rolling them on the ground, and swinging them in circles. Police investigating a shooting at the Red Star Chinese

take-out restaurant say they found video of Chen, who owned the restaurant at the time, abusing the cats. Cops then contacted the SPCA. "This is not neglect. It's malicious and he was intending on purposely hurting and torturing these kittens it's very disturbing," said Richard Loos, PSPCA. Investigators say they were only able to rescue the mother cat and two of her kittens. Besides probation, Chen must also pay about $44 a month in penalties, according to court records.

Bird counters ride through wetlands during an annual 24-hour Christmastime ritual to count birds along the Texas Gulf Coast in Mad Island, Texas.


rmed with flashlights, recordings of bird calls, a small notebook and a stash of candy bars, scientist Rich Kostecke embarked on an annual 24-hour Christmastime count of birds along the Texas Gulf Coast. Yellow rail. Barn owl. Bittern. Crested Cara-Cara. Kostecke rattled off the names and scribbled them in his notebook. His data, along with that from more than 50 other volunteers spread out into six groups across the 7,000acre Mad Island preserve, will be analyzed regionally and then added to a database with the results of more than 2,200 other bird counts going on from mid-December to Jan. 5 across the Western Hemisphere. The count began in 1900 as a National Audubon Society protest of holiday hunts that left piles of bird and animal carcasses littered across the country. It now helps scientists understand how birds react to shortterm weather events and may provide clues as to how they will adapt

as temperatures rise and climate changes. "Learning the changes of habit in drought could help us know what will happen as it gets warmer and drier," said Kostecke, a bird expert and associate director of conservation, research and planning at the Nature Conservancy in Texas. Scientists saw birds change their habits during last year's historic drought that parched most of Texas. Some birds that normally winter on the coast - such as endangered whooping cranes - arrived and immediately turned back when they couldn't find enough food. Other birds didn't even bother flying to the coast. Snowy owls, who sometimes migrate from the Arctic to Montana, suddenly showed up as far south as Texas. There has been some rain this year, but Texas still hasn't fully recovered from the drought and many areas remain unusually dry. Wetlands, a crucial bird habitat,

have been damaged. Trees and brush are dead or brown. There are fewer flooded rice fields, prime foraging grounds for birds. And sandhill cranes, for the second winter in a row, are staying in Nebraska. An initial report on the 24-hour count that began midnight Monday and ended midnight Tuesday included 233 different species - a drop of 11 from last year when 244 were counted on Mad Island. While the area likely still has one of the United States' most diverse bird populations, the species that were missing raise questions. Where are the wild turkeys? Why were no black rails found? What about fox sparrows and the 13 other species that are commonly counted on the preserve? Where have they gone? "There are several possibilities," Kostecke surmised. "Conditions may be better in the east, like Louisiana. Some may still be north, because it's been mild, and they tend to follow the freeze line."

Woman wants to marry man convicted of murdering her twin sister


woman in Argentina wants to marry the man who was convicted of murdering her twin sister. Edith Casas, 22, believes that her fiance, Victor Cingolani, "would not

hurt a fly" and is innocent in her sister's death, the BBC reported. Cingolani is currently serving a 13-year sentence for the murder of Johana Casas, a model whose body was found in a field with two bullet

Edith Casas, 22, wants to marry Victor Cingolani, who was convicted of murdering her twin sister, Johana.

wounds in 2010. Cingolani had dated Johana, but the two were not in a relationship when she was killed. "[Edith Casas] isn't jealous," Cingolani told Argentine newspaper Clarin, according to the BBC. "We always talk about Johana, about how she was." The convict also noted that while his relationship with Johana Casas was "casual," he is "in love" with Edith. The wedding was supposed to take place Saturday, El Patagonico reported. However, a civil judge has postponed the event after Casas' mother, Marcelina del Carmen Orellana, submitted a request for a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of her daughter. Orellana, believes the would-be bride is clearly "psychologically ill." Casas' family has stated they feel she is guilty of "a terrible betrayal." Cingolani's attorney, Lucas Chacon says that while he can sympathize with the family's concerns, "Edith is not marrying a killer."

Chen was caught on surveillance video abusing the animals.

Weirdest Juggling triathlon in 13-hour freestyle rap


oe Salter, a 31-year-old public school counselor from Pensacola, Fla., pulled off the incredible achievement on April 21 when he swam a quartermile while juggling three balls, then biked 16.2 miles while juggling two balls in one hand and ran four miles, also juggling. Even more amazing: He did this all in 1 hour and 57 minutes, according to The Huffington Post. The ballsy record earned Salter a certain amount of fame and now the honor of being the person who set the weirdest world record of 2012, according to, an adjudicating agency that has found a niche in the competitive world record recording business by allowing people to submit their own wacky world records for consideration. Salter's amazing stunt is still garnering praise and admiration around the world, but especially from fellow "jogglers" like Perry Romanowski, who, a website dedicated to the sport. "Before him, no one was able to figure out the swimming part of the triathlon," Romanowski told The Huffington Post. "He was the first one. He's like Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile. Now that he's done it, other people will do it too." However, it wasn't easy picking the weirdest record of the year, according to cofounder Dan Rollman. "Selecting the Record of the Year was an extremely difficult decision," he told The Huffington Post by email. "There was heated debate in our office about which feat deserved the recognition. That said, a juggling triathlon is a landmark human achievement, right up there with putting a man on the moon. We were proud to bestow it with the top spot honor." Salter's achievement was worth celebrating, but his record was just one of many weird ones, Rollman said.

An athlete made history with his balls this year by setting one of the strangest world records imaginable: Completing a triathlon while juggling the whole time.



Parents should leave squabbling teens to it to avoid further damage S

ibling rivalries lead to anxiety, depression and low-self esteem later in life but parents should let children fight it out to avoid causing further psychological damage. Tired parents may welcome this warning ahead of Christmas Day, when rows over presents and the remote control can heap more stress on those finding the extra washing up and difficult in-laws too much to bear. A new study has claimed intervention by mothers and fathers can cause long-term emotional damage and found the best thing they can do is set clear household ground rules for their youngsters. Nicole Campione-Barr, assistant professor of psychological science, at the University of Missouri, said: ‘Although parents may be inclined to step in as arbiters, previous research has found that parents’ interventions into adolescent sibling conflict can be detrimental. ‘In concert with those prior findings, we believe our research suggests that setting household rules such as ‘knock before entering a sibling’s room’, can be the best means for parents to resolve disputes and avoid appearing to play favourites. ‘A calendar of chores and defined time limits for turns with a video game can help reduce conflicts. However, if a parent notes that one child consistently gets the short end of the stick, action should be taken to ensure one child isn’t being too subordinate.’ A team at the U.S. university studied 145 pairs of European and American, middle-class siblings in their early teens over a year. The participants were asked about the frequency and intensity of their disputes. They found quarrels could be

grouped into two categories equality and fairness, such as whose turn it is to do the washing up, or invasion of personal space, borrowing clothes without asking being a prime example. The psychologists, whose findings are published in the Child Development journal, then looked at correlations between the teens’ reported feelings of depression, anxiety and low self esteem a year later. Ms Campione-Barr said: ‘Our results show that conflicts about violations of personal space and property are associated with greater anxiety and lower selfesteem one year later. ‘Conflicts over issues of equality and fairness are correlated to greater depression one year later.’ The results related to anxiety and self-esteem appeared to be more detrimental for some

Rivalry: A study has found sibling squabbles can cause long-term damage siblings than others. Younger brothers with older brothers, and girls with brothers had more anxiety, while teens in mixed-gender sibling pairs had lower self-esteem. The study also warns parents to respect teenagers’ need for privacy. Ms Ciamone-Barr said: ‘Although adolescents in some households may not have their own rooms, they still need some degree of respect for personal space from both parents and siblings. ‘For example, parents and siblings should respect the private nature of children’s diaries.’ But the psychologist added that sometimes it is necessary for parents to step in, and said: ‘If most sibling interactions become intense conflicts, a family should seek professional help, especially if violence is involved.’ Source: Conflict: The remote control is often the spark for a row among siblings

Family meals ‘boost child fruit and vegetable intake’


ating meals as a family improves children’s eating habits - even if it only happens once or twice a week, UK researchers suggest. It is recommended children eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day - about 400g. The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health study found those who always ate together achieved this - but those who only did sometimes came close. Watching parents and siblings eat teaches good habits, experts said. Parental example This study looked at just under 2,400 children at 52 primary schools in south London. Parents and fieldworkers compiled food diaries at school and at home, ticking off all the foods and drinks a child had in one 24-hour period. Parents were also asked questions about their attitudes to fruit and vegetables, such as “On average, how many nights a week

does your family eat at a table?” and “Do you cut up fruit and vegetables for your child to eat?” The study found 656 families said they always ate meals together at a table, 768 sometimes did, while 92 families never did so. Children in the “always” group ate five portions of fruit and vegetables, compared with 4.6 in the “sometimes” group and 3.3 in the “never”. That equates to the always group eating 125g more fruit and veg, and the sometimes group eating 95g more a day than the never group. Seeing parents eat fruit and vegetables - and cutting up portions for children both boosted their intake. ‘Future habits’ The researchers say that, while this study gives a picture of eating habits on one day, it was able to investigate the diets of a large, diverse population. Meaghan Christian, who

conducted the study as part of her PhD, said: “Modern life often prevents the whole family from sitting round the dinner table, but this research shows that even just Sunday lunch round the table can help improve the diets of our families.” She added: “We spend a lot of time looking at interventions at school. But this is showing how important parents are in terms of

fruit and vegetable consumption.” And Prof Janet Cade, of the University of Leeds’ school of food science and nutrition, who supervised the study, said: “Watching the way their parents or siblings eat and the different types of food they eat is pivotal in creating children’s own food habits and preferences.” She added: “Since dietary habits are established in childhood, the

Children learn eating habits from family meals, say researchers

importance of promoting the family meal needs to be more prominent in public health campaigns.” Azmina Govindji, of the British Dietetic Association, said: “Eating habits developed in childhood die hard, and eating at a table with the family instead of in front of the TV helps reduce chances of mindless eating, which can increase the likelihood of obesity. “This study reinforces the view that children learn more from what we do than what we say, so it’s the role modelling that helps shape their future habits.” Ms Govindji, a practising dietitian, added: “If children are eating better in childhood, they are more likely to make healthier choices in adult life - and since food directly impacts risks of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, eating together as a family seems like a small price to pay.” Source:



CNPP kicks against Anenih’s appointment as NPA Chairman From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) at the weekend condemned the appointment of former Work sMinister, Tony Anenih, as the chairman of the board of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA). The conference in a statement signed by its spokesman, Osita Okechukwu, stated that Anenih’s appointment was “an insult to Nigerians and endorsement of corruption.” The statement also said “whereas, President Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, has the powers by the virtue of the powers conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to delegate or appointment anybody to office; however we view the appointment of Chief Anthony Anenih to chair the Board of Directors of the Nigeria Ports Authority {NPA} as an insult to Nigerians and utter endorsement of corruption.” The CNPP said the Ports Authority had been infested in “endemic corruption,” since the days of two PDP leaders- Bamaga Tukur and Bode George- as its head. “Recently the House of Representatives accused the NPA of diverting N160 billion of revenue supposed to be remitted to the Federation Account, in accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution,” the CNPP said. “For the endemic corruption in NPA, we are alarmed that President Jonathan instead of nominating a credible, transparent and maritime professional to clean the Augean Stable in the rotten Nigeria Port Authority; has wittingly insulted the intelligence of Nigerians by appointing Chief Anenih whose notoriety in public office is legendary,” Mr Okechukwu said. The CNPP said Mr Anenih

…says its Jonathan endorsement of corruption failed woefully as Minister of Works. “We are yet to locate any of the federal roads awarded with billions by Chief Anenih as Minister of Works from 1999 which was completed in the more than three years he held sway in the ministry. “In fact, Agege-OtaAbeokuta, Owerri-Onitsha, Ilorin-Ibadan, GombeMaiduguri, Kano-Maiduguri,

Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Benin etc, are still uncompleted, despite the unprecedented oil revenue which governed the budget process, an unfortunate foundation laid by the Chief,” the group stated. The groups cast aspersions on President Jonathan’s credibility saying, “We had thought that President Jonathan will be making strenuous efforts to erase the epitaph of graduating into

the most corrupt regime in the annals of Nigerian history by distancing himself from less than transparent characters like Chief Anenih”. “In sum, it is our candid view that a true Transformation Agenda must be anchored on the beacon of transparency, accountability and public good; not on self – preservation and endorsement of corruption,” Mr Okechukwu said

L-R: Kaduna state ACN governorship candidate in the 2011 elections, Alhaji Sani Mohammed Shaaban, in a handshake with Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, during the former condolence visit to the latter over the death of former state Governor, Sir Patrick Yakowa, recently in Kaduna.

Group endorses AMAC Chairman for 2013 polls By Etuka Sunday


solidarity group known as Babushakka 2013 yesterday endorsed the candidature of the Executive Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Micah .Y Jiba to re-run for the next year chairmanship election. The group at the weekend spoke through its Chairman, Alh. Musa Mohammed Dala at the Forum organized in honour of the Executive Chairman of AMACto declare openly its plans

to vote him come 2013 to finish the good work he has started. Musa said that the House Committee on Area Councils scored him 80% when it last visited but that the group scored him 100% because no successive chairman was able to perform the way he did, adding that the record was there for everybody to see. He said that the decision taken by the group to endorse him was not based on propaganda but on the reality on ground therefore called on

well meaning Nigerians, particularly those residing in AMAC to come out and vote for him so that he can continue the good work. Also speaking, the PDP Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Mamud thanked the group for supporting the PDP because the chairman was elected on the platform of the PDP and urged him to do more if he is given the opportunity to continue. Meanwhile in his response, the Executive Chairman

AMAC, Jiba said that the move by the people to persuade him to contest again was a demonstration that he had gotten pass mark in his first administration. He therefore thanked them for their confidence. According to him, there is no community in Abuja Municipal Area Council that his administration has not instituted a project. He therefore accepted the offer to contest at the 2013 polls, promising not to disappoint the people if given the opportunity through their votes.

ACN guber candidate counsels new Kaduna gov. on fairness By Mohammed Umar-Puma


he Kaduna state Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the 2011 elections, Alhaji Sani Mohammed Shaaban has counseled Governor Muktar Ramalan Yero to emulate the peaceful dispositions of his late predecessor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in the course of governing the state. Speaking with newsmen at the weekend, when he commiserated with the governor, family and people of the state over the sudden death of Yakowa, Shaaban described late governor as humble and peaceful man, whose actions and dispositions endeared him to the people of Kaduna state irrespective of political or religious affiliations. He described the death of Yakowa as a great tragedy and monumental loss to the people of Kaduna state and the country at large, adding that Yakowa was a detribalized politician who used his position as the state governor to bring about peace and even development to the state. He added that: “Yakowa had great respect for people, irrespective of the ethnoreligious difference; I implored Gov. Yero to be focused and continue with the work started by his predecessor, especially in the area of sustenance of the security, peace and harmony that Yakowa initiated.” Shaaban who described Kaduna state as a complex one said that Yakowa was able to manage the state in spite of its heterogeneous nature and religious diversity. He said that the late governor took the whole state as his constituency and did the best he could for the entire state not minding sectional interest. The former ACN governorship candidate pleaded with the diverse people of Kaduna state to inculcate the spirit of harmonious peaceful coexistence for the state to develop, stating that “no society progresses under violence and mutual distrust; we must instill a peaceful nature in relating with one another, because, it is God wishes by creating us in various race and creed, and He implored us to be just and fair in all our dealings.”



2015: Oyo ACN endorses Ajimobi as party standard bearer From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


ction Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo State yesterday endorsed the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi as the standard bearer for 2015 general election. The State Deputy Chairman of the party, Alhaji Isiaka Alimi, stated this while

reading a communiqué at the end of the meetings of 11 local governments in Ibadanland, held at the South-West office of the party, Alakia, Ibadan. Alimi said that members of the party in the 11 local government in Ibadanland ,after series of meeting, passed vote of confidence on governor Abiola Ajimobi

following his good performance in the last one and half year. He further explained that the party decided to give the governor opportunity for continuity. The party also endorsed Ajimobi as the leader of the party after the demise of late former governor, Alhaji Lam

Adesina just as it maintained that there was no other person that could replace his position therefore members of the party decided to endorse the governor. Speaking on behalf of 11 local government caretaker chairmen in Ibadanland, Alhaji Abass Najimdeen from Ibadan South East local

government said the party decision was approved by all council chairmen and party members. He debunked the notion that such decision would raise tension within the party saying the earlier the better for the party to adopt its candidate for 2015 general election.

PDP sues for love and peace at Xmas By Lawrence Olaoye


Participants at the INEC stakeholder validation of the Commission's Strategic Plan, recently in Abuja.

Photo: NAN

Sokoto denies harassing, intimidating Bafarawa By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Sokoto State Government has denied media report that it is using the machinery of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to harass and intimidate former Governor of the State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa. Bafarawa is currently standing trial before a High Court of Sokoto State on a 144count charge bordering on m i s a p p r o p r i a t i o n , embezzlement and stealing of several millions of naira belonging to Sokoto State government while he was the State Governor. The Prosecuting counsel in

the on-going of the former Governor, Chief J. E. Ochidi in a letter dated December 17, 2012 and addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption said, what Bafarawa stated in his petition to the Committee that was published on December 14, 2012 was not true. “Ordinarily, we would not like to respond or join issues with the former Governor as this matter is before the court, but seeing the manner, the former Governor leaked his petition to the press, we believe that there is a clear intention to bring politics into what is purely a legal matter in order to win cheap public sympathy and

mislead your committee”, Ochidi stated. According to him, it was Bafarawa that wrote to EFCC to investigate his activities when he was Governor of Sokoto State from 1999 to 200, pointing out that the anti-graft agency, in the course of its investigation discovered several acts of corrupt practices and embezzlement of public funds by Bafarawa and 18 other persons. He said: “In the course of the trial, Bafarawa and the 18 others have urged the trial court to quash the charge against them, an application the court refused holding that there is a prima facie case against them and they appealed to the Court of Appeal; which is

still pending. “That the trial of the case has now commenced in earnest, as the first prosecution witness, the Auditor General of Sokoto State has testified as the last hearing of the case on 26th November, 2012 and many documents have been tendered through him”, he added. Ochidi said it is a known established practice that the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly does not delve into issue that is a subject matter of litigation before the court of law and urged the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption not to depart from the practice in the instant case

Xmas: Pray for peaceful coexistence, Tambuwal urges Xtians By Lawrence Olaoye


peaker of the House of Representatves, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has enjoined Nigerians to renew their faith in their country and work towards building a nation of their dreams. In a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs,

Malam Imam Imam, to commemorate this year’s Christmas celebration, Tambuwal said with renewed faith, commitment and hardwork, the country will soon realise its full potentials. He said the Christmas period is a time for deep reflection to the teachings of Christianity and what Jesus Christ stands for, and urged

Nigerians, especially Christians, to pray for the peaceful coexistence and unity of the nation. Tambuwal urged leaders at all levels of governance to make the interest of the people their priority at all times, adding that despite the challenges of development confronting the country, progress is being made in some critical sectors. He said the House of

Representatives would continue to play its role in efforts to provide quality representation to the people of Nigeria. “I therefore congratulate Nigerian Christians who joined their colleagues the world over in celebrating this important occasion. May the blessing of the season shower on our homes and our nation,” the Speaker added.

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged the people to celebrate this year’s Christmas with love and peaceful coexistence while equally urging Christians worldwide to pray for the country. The party in a goodwill message signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, also enjoined its members in various positions of authority to emulate the humble life of Christ. The party stated “It is our fervent prayer that Christians, indeed, all Nigerians learn from the abundant and perfect examples of Christ in love, kindness and peaceful coexistence. It is our wish that beyond the jingle bells and festivities, that moments of sober reflection be spared to illuminate and re-kindle national fervour against corruption, religious intolerance, ethnic suspicion and other ills that have kept the nation down for decades. “The Peoples Democratic Party is irrevocably committed to this cause as we make steady progress in actualising our vision for a country where things work better than they do at present. The lessons of Christmas, of Christ, though the Messiah but was born humble and humbly served and saved mankind will guide and further fire our zeal to place the people first. We shall commit more effort s in ensuring that all our members, elected and appointed into positions of authority shall like Christ, be servants and not masters. We must warn however that he that decides otherwise shall be forced by this new resolve, intended as no respecter of persons, to ship out. The statement further said that the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Bamanga Tukur on behalf of the National Working Committee of the Party wished that “ as the birth of Christ brought joy to the Shepherds of Bethlehem, it shall bring warm spirit to our country men and women .”



2015: Aliero denies plot to stop Jonathan By Lawrence Olaoye


ormer Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero, yesterday denied the reports that a group of former cabinet members under the late President Umaru Yar'Adua had regrouped to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the Presidency in 2015. Aliero in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja stated " Our attention has been drawn to a report alleging that some cabinet members and associates of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua have regrouped to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from securing a second term ticket or winning the presidency back for the North in 2015. "There was no any iota of truth in the story, it must have been a mere imagination of the reporter in question. All those mentioned in the report were shocked by the extent to which their integrity was impugned. The story was grossly

deficient, unfounded, and in bad faith. "In the last three years, those of us referred to in the story have not held any meeting over any national issue not to talk of 2015. Instead, we have been going about our activities quietly with utmost decorum. We did not meet in Abuja , Katsina or Kaduna as insinuated in the report. We have no reason to conspire or plot against President Goodluck Jonathan who was Vice-President to the late President Yar'Adua. Since Yar'Adua's death, we have done our best to support the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and our party, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) which went ahead to win a re-run poll in Kebbi State. "None of us has lived in trenches, we have no basis to go back to political trenches. We are not guerilla or subterranean politicians. We are not involved in political conspiracy or insurgency. To confer this derogatory status on us is to assume that we are at war with the state or President Goodluck Jonathan. We have no cause to engage in any

political conspiracy. "As for 2015, we remain committed to PDP and we will support whoever emerges as the Presidential candidate of the party. If the PDP gives President Jonathan or any party member its mandate in 2015, we will work for the success of the party. We do not have any agenda outside that of the PDP. We have not held any secret meeting with the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), ex-Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari

on 2015. "Again, why is it difficult for the reporter to hear from either the CPC or Gen. Buhari on the said secret meeting? The CPC has not hidden from the public those it is involved with in merger or realignment talks. The allusion to driving Northern agenda in 2015 by Yar'Adua Group was merely designed to whip up sentiments and create a crisis of confidence between some of us and the President," he added. Aliero continued, "We are not

being pressurized, as alleged, by eminent Northern leaders, to group together for any political cause. The entire story was a fabrication concocted by our adversaries aimed at causing disaffection. We advise members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm to avoid being gullible to the antics of spin doctors, who sell "dummy" to them in order to use them to cause disaffection. We are in a technological age where clarifying any issue could be done without much sweat.

Dedicate yourselves to God, Oni urges Nigerians at Xmas From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


eoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Vice Chairman (South-West), Chief Segun Oni has urged Nigerians, especially members and supporters of the PDP in the South-West to use the Christmas period to rededicate themselves afresh to the service of the Almighty God. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Lere Olayinka, the PDP National Vice-Chairman, in his goodwill message on the occasion of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ said "More than merrymaking, Nigerians should reflect deeper on the humility that characterised the birth of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of God's promises concerning His birth."

The former Ekiti governor said "As the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ also symbolises love and fulfilment of God's promises, it has become more than ever necessary that, not minding what anyone must have done to us, we must not stop being kind and dedicated to God." He congratulated Nigerians, especially members and supporters of the PDP for witnessing another Christmas. Speaking further, Oni said; "I want to use the occasion of this Christmas to urge all Nigerians irrespective of their to rededicate themselves afresh to the service of the Almighty God. "Let us continue to show love to people around us bearing in mind that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first."

…as Uduaghan urges peace and tolerance enjoined Christians in Delta to


overnor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state has charged Nigerians to embrace peace, love and tolerance of one another as Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas. The Governor, who gave the charge in his goodwill message to mark this year's Christmas celebrations, said that was the only way the country and indeed the world can be a better place to live. "I, therefore, call on Christians in the country to emulate Jesus Christ in words and deeds by imbibing the core lessons of love, tolerance, sacrifice, generosity and peaceful co-existence which Christ stood for", he stated. In particular, Uduaghan

remember the whole essence of the birth of Jesus Christ noting that despite the fact that Jesus was the son of God, he remains the classical example of humility and self denial. "Let us promote peace, love and unity, while exhibiting the spirit of tolerance in the accomplishment of our vision of building a new Delta State", he added. The Governor assured Deltans that he was committed to the pursuit of policies and programmes that have direct bearing on their lives saying that the coming year would usher in more progress, prosperity and fulfillment for all Deltans. He urged the Christian community in the State not to relent in their prayers for the State and country.

L-R: Former member of House of Representatives, Hon. George Ozodinobi, National President, Igbo Women Assembly, Mrs Marie Okwo, National Chairman, United Progressive Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, and the Party's National Treasurer, Mr Ogochukwu Akaniegbu, during the Igbo political forum, recently in Enugu. Photo: NAN

Police arrest one over threat to kill Sen. Gamawa, daughter From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


ecurity operatives have arrested one Jibrin Magaji in Gamawa Local Government area of Bauchi State over threat to kill Babayo Garba Gamawa and his daughter if they did not give him money on facebook The 20 year old boy who is from the same town with the Senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District sent a friend request to the Senator on his facebook page after his acceptance, he alleged to requested for money failure which he threatened to kill Gamawa and his daughter through the same medium.

Confirming the incident, Departmanet of state security SSS personnel in Bauchi, said "the suspect was arrested over weekend after we received the report that the man sent a friend request to Senator Gamawa who was a one time Bauchi state Deputy Governor, and Gamawa accepted his friend request and the boy also procured a sim card he used the sim card to send threat message to the daughter of Senator Babayo Gamawa threatening to kill her if she did not give him money. According to him, Senator Gamawa reported the matter to SSS who investigated it and arrested the suspect inside a toilet

in Gamawa. The suspect, according to the security agency, had confessed that it was poverty that led him into that, and that he had been handed over to the police for further investigation. He advised people to stop accepting friend request from the people they don't know on the pages of face book and other social pages. All efforts to get Senator Gamawa to respond on the incident failed because he had travelled out of the country. A close friend and associate of the Senator who did not want his name on print confirmed the incident saying "since we handed the matter to security we don't want to comment on that."

Kukah tasks Nigerians on peaceful co-existence


ishop Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, yesterday tasked Nigerians to work towards building a united nation devoid of religious, ethnic and political sentiments. He made the appeal in his Christmas and New Year message, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto yesterday. He said that Nigeria would continue to remain one entity, and stressed the need for all and sundry

to work towards the promotion of peace and unity. Bishop Kukah commended the Federal Government for resuscitating the rail haulage from Lagos to Kano, adding that the gesture would fast-track the socioeconomic and political growth of the country. He commended the National Assembly for early passage of the 2013 budget, adding that ''it is a good omen for the nation's nascent democracy". The bishop, however, called on

President Goodluck Jonathan, Governors and local government chairmen to "rethink the issues of the massive and unacceptable hemorrhage of the state funds to service lifestyles. "This has become clearly unacceptable and untenable with the principles of good governance in the country," the clergy stressed. He also called on the Federal Government to evolve concrete measures at addressing the insecurity situation in the country. (NAN)



Eagles will miss Martins, says Babangida Stories by Albert Akota


ormer Nigeria World Cup star Tijjani Babangida has stated the country will miss the goals and experience of Obafemi Martins at the AFCON. Martins, Osaze Odemwingie and Taye Taiwo were the notable names not on the Eagles preliminary 32-man squad for a training camp in Portugal ahead of next month’s Nations Cup. The Atlanta 1996 Olympic

gold medallist said that even though Stephen Keshi is in charge of the team and has the final say on his team, he still believes Levante striker Martins should have been considered for the Nations Cup. “Obafemi Martins should have been included in the team because he has been scoring goals in Spain almost every weekend,” Babangida argued. “Though Keshi should be allowed to pick his team, Martins’ experience and goals would have

helped the team in South Africa. “At the 1998 World Cup in France, the late Rashidi Yekini was included in the team because of his wealth of experience if things didn’t go well with Victor (Ikpeba) and the others.” Babangida also made a case for the inclusion of Sivasspor of Turkey striker Michael Eneramo on the provisional squad. “I was equally surprised Eneramo was not considered at all since Keshi took over despite his exploits in Turkey,” he said.


Tijjani Babangida

Okonkwo joins Eagles in Portugal


Stephen Keshi

Keshi not ‘bothered’ by Odemwingie outburst


he Super Eagles chief coach Stephen Keshi says there is “nothing personal” about his decision to leave Peter Odemwingie from his Africa Cup of Nations squad. The West Brom striker reacted angrily to being omitted from the provisional 32-man squad announced on Saturday. Odemwingie last played for the Super Eagles in February’s goalless draw with Rwanda in a Cup of Nations qualifier. In angry outburst on Twitter, the 31-year-old claimed he was dropped because he often speaks his mind. But Keshi said yesterday that he is not bothered by Odemwingie’s reaction. “I don’t even have a Facebook or Twitter account so it doesn’t bother me at all, said the former Nigeria international. ”Nigeria is blessed with a lot of good players and we cannot invite every player” Stephen Keshi Nigeria coach “There’s nothing personal about this stuff. Odemwingie is a very good player but right now I don’t need him. “He’s a professional and he should be able to accept that. “Nigeria is blessed with a lot of good players and we cannot invite every player. “We’re not in a war with anybody; we’re

just trying to do our job.” Odemwingie, who played at the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 Nations Cups, had accused Keshi of disrespect by not informing him personally of his decision. “Every manager has got his own plans and tactics if I don’t figure in your plans, please be honest to tell me directly. “For 10 years I gave my all to the country as a player on the pitch, played for the nation and fans, not individuals. Odemwingie, who was born in Uzbekistan where his Nigerian father was based, said that he was a marked man in Keshi and the federation’s eyes because he was too blunt in what he said about the state of Nigerian football. “Because I speak out when things are not right, I guess some people are not just comfortable with that openness. But he added that he will not completely shut the door on his international career. “If the chance to play for my country presents itself, then I will speak to my dad and those close to me - then we’ll see. The Super Eagles begin their Cup of Nations campaign against Burkina Faso on 21 January and before facing Zambia and Ethiopia in Group C.

eartland fullback Chibuzor Okonkwo will join the Eagles in Portugal next month as coach Stephen Keshi wants to look at him again. Okonkwo was a surprise late invitee to the Eagles training camp in Abuja but was not picked on the 32-man provisional list for Faro. Report had it that the right back will join the squad in the New Year for Keshi to again run the rule on him. “Chibuzor will join the team in Portugal next month as Keshi wants to see more of him as he has impressed so far in training for the team,” an official revealed. The Eagles right back position has proved to be a problematic one since Godfrey Oboabona failed to cope there in

Tanko bemoans NPL kicks-off date

September. Nigeria U20 Kenneth Omeruo, rookie Solomon Kwambe as well as versatile Fegor Ogude and Efe Ambrose are now being considered for that position.

Chibuzor Okonkwo

aduna United coach, Saleh Tanko-Lato is an unhappy man over the uncertainty surrounding the start of the 2012/ 2013 Nigeria Premier League (NPL) season. The NFF at its Annual General Assembly in Port Harcourt added a new twist to the confused state by posting an indefinite January kickoff date. Tanko-Lato said the fluidity of the league take off date has made nonsense of their well tailored preseason programmes. “Psychologically, it has impacted negatively on us. We thought the league will start in December as a result of which we drew a compact pre-season programmes that will culminate in the start of the league. “Now the league is yet to start and more confusing is no definite date in sight at the moment. “The whole scenario has left us in a confused state and is taking a huge toll on us. It’s giving us a deep cause for concern. “The gains of our pre-season activities including the elaborate eight-team invitational tournament which we won are being wasted. “However, we’ve refused to be distracted but keep focus believing one day the new league season will start. “I’m sure we’re on course towards experiencing our best season in the history of the side,” he said to The Kaduna-based side embarked on break on Friday to mark the Yuletide and is expected to resume on January 2.

Nwosu cautions Odemwingie over omission


ormer Golden Eaglets’ coach, Henry Nwosu has advised Super Eagles’ forward, Osaze Odemwingie to keep his cool over his omission from the 32-man provisional Afcon 2013 list. Outraged at his exclusion from the Afcon provisional squad made public last Friday by manager Stephen Keshi the West Bromwich Albion striker has taken to the social network, Twitter to castigate the coach and the NFF. Nwosu said as much as he is not comfortable with Osaze’s exclusion the player should follow the path of maturity and professionalism in expressing his views. “I’m not happy with Osaze’s Twitter comments on his exclusion from the Afcon list especially on the person of the coach, Stephen Keshi. “It’s the least conduct expected from a player of his calibre, he has every right to feel bad at his exclusion but decorum should be the appropriate channel to get himself heard. “I don’t know what transpired between him and Keshi prior to the release of the list, I personally felt that Osaze should be on the list but

I’m not the coach and the coach has spoken. “And that’s why I feel Osaze should retrace his step, shut up his mouth and live on his life. “There is always another day; if he is not called today he could be invited tomorrow. It’s not the best for a player to dress down his coach on certain decision the way he’s doing. He should be a role model to the younger players, it’s bad and

Osaze Odemwingie

shouldn’t be encouraged,” said the former Nigerian captain to Although Nwosu said he is yet to fully study the Afcon list he said the names listed are good except Osaze’s omission. “I’ve not sat down to analyse the list but feelers I got so far I think I’m impressed with the list except of course I felt Osaze should have been on the list,” he said.



Pardew blocks Amoeobi’s AFCON quest


he Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew has ruled out striker, Shola Ameobi from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Pardew claims that the head coach of the Nigerian national team, Stephen Keshi knows the reasons he has asked the player to stay away from the competition. Ameobi has been in impressive form for Newcastle this season and scored the winner as Newcastle beat Queens Parks Rangers 1-0 in the Barclays English Premier League at the weekend. The forward was included in Nigeria’s provisional 32-man squad for the 2013 Afcon by

Keshi on December 21. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reacted to the development stating that Newcastle cannot hold on to the player if he is eventually listed in the final 23-man squad of Nigeria for the Nations Cup. “Keshi never told us that Ameobi will not be available for the Cup of Nations when he was included in the 32-man provisional list. The Cup of Nations is a competition sanctioned by Fifa and I am sure Newcastle knows that. We will do all within our power to secure the release of all our players for the competition,” Olajire said.

You cannot achieve anything without commitment,’ says NFF

Shola Ameobi

AFN denies neglecting field events


he Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has denied focusing on the development of track events to the detriment of field events. The Technical Director of the AFN Neisiama Omatseye, made the denial in an interview with newsmen in Lagos. He was reacting to claims by some field athletes who accused the federation of focusing on track events more than the field events. Omatseye said that what was really affecting the growth of field events in the country was lack of equipment. “It is not true that the federation is focusing on the development of track events more than field events. “In most of our national tournaments, field events are included, for we know that athletic is both track and field. “What is really affecting field event is lack of facilities,” Omatseye said. He then promised that the federation would focus on equipment upgrade next year for athletes to perform better. The director, however, pointed out that what was required of athletes was for them to be the best in their various events. “We know that the availability of standard equipment goes a long way in assisting athlete performance better than with inferior gadgets. “However, we expect athletes in whatever event to ensure they are the best in spite of inadequate facilities. It is only the way they can excel in competitions.’’ He said the federation was aware of the problems confronting the athletes and was ready to solve them based on available resources.

Blessing Okagbare

Ayew shoots Marseille to the top


hana winger Andre Ayew kept Marseille in step with Paris Saint Germain and Lyon atop the French Ligue 1 table as the two-week winter break kicks in. The 23-year-old grabbed his fifth goal of the season when he headed home in first half stoppage time to give Marseille a 1:0 win over visitors Saint Etienne on Sunday night.

The win sees all three sides tied on 38 points with PSG ahead on goal difference. Andre was one of six Africans on target in France this weekend, including three Malians. Experienced defender Fousseni Diawara, 32, netted a consolation goal for Ajaccio who lost 4-2 at home to Rennes on Saturday. Younger fellow Malian, Cheick Diarra, 20, scored the third of Rennes’ four goals.

Also Saturday, Mali midfielder Sambou Yattabare scored for Bastia as they spanked visitors Nancy 42. Cameroonian striker Benjamin Bile scored one of Nancy’s two consolation goals. There was yet another consolation goal from Tunisia striker Saber Khelifa who scored for Evian TG in a 2-1 loss to hosts Valenciennes on Sunday.

Mikel relishes Boxing Day return


Mikel Obi

Andre Ayew

ikel Obi has said he cannot wait to return for Chelsea against Norwich City on Boxing Day tomorrow after a three-match ban. The Nigeria midfielder was handed a three-match ban and a fine of £60,000 after a race row involving him and referee Mark Clattenburg in October. Mikel has missed two league games including Sunday’s 8-0 mauling of Aston villa as well as the Capital One quarterfinal at Leeds United. “I am happy that the ban is over. It is my past now, so I have to look ahead. I am ready for the game against Norwich City on December 26,” Mikel said. “I missed football while I was banned because I always want to be part of the action. “We are on the high now and I can’t wait to return and be part of the action as it was before my ban.” Mikel is also expected to be involved in the EPL fixture on Sunday at Everton and the London derby against QPR on January 2 before he joins up with the Nigeria training camp in Portugal for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.


he President, Nigeria Football Fedration (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari, said that the fedration could not have achieved the much it did without the commitment of its personnel and stakeholders. The NFF boss, who disclosed this in Abuja, said that the dedication and commitment of its staff fostered a cordial relationship. Maigari stressed that the patience and understanding exuded by the game’s stakeholders had impacted the system with viable tips to move the sport forward. “What you are witnessing is a symbiotic relationship that is built on patience, commitment and dedication. “The staff of the secretariat and the stakeholders is all bent on the meaningful growth of football in the country. “So you cannot achieve this without having this kind of people around you; you can hardly achieve what you want to achieve without having committed people around,’’ he said. The president added that the country’s qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa was achieved through painstaking preparations. Maigari further said that adequate measures were being put in place to ensure a good outing for the team at the Jan.19 to Feb. 10 AFCON. ‘This will enable them to work as a team and give them the opportunity to know themselves better. It will also help them posses and have the required training technically and otherwise. ‘This is also done so that they can become friendly with each other; we are putting everything in place to ensure success, to ensure we achieve what we want to achieve,’’the president said. Maigari also spoke glowingly about the body’s overall plans for 2013 and disclosed that plans were afoot to ensure a methodical approach to its proposed programmes. ‘We will be doing a lot in 2013 and I believe it’s going to be a good year; already the things to be done in 2013 are around the corner. “There are areas of interest like the U-17 team, which we believe are one team to watch and you can see the future in the team,’’ he added.

Alhaji Aminu Maigari



India drops Zaheer against Pakistan

Injury setback Sayers’s return


hree-time Olympic javelin thrower Goldie Sayers has said she does not want an elbow injury to put an end to her career and will be pursuing a place at Rio 2016. Sayers, 30, from Cambridge, competed at London 2012 with a torn elbow ligament. The summer was a mixed one for Sayers, who finished fourth in the European Championships before breaking her own British record with a throw of 66.17m at the London Diamond League Meeting in July, a month before the Olympics. But she ruptured an elbow ligament at the event and, despite being cleared to compete at the Games, exacerbated the

Goldie Sayers

injury and failed to qualify for the final. Sayers has since had surgery and will use the 2013 season to reacquaint herself with competitive action. Newmarket-born Sayers has competed at the last three Olympic Games, with her best performance a fourth-place finish at Beijing 2008.


Zaheer Khan

ndia has left veteran left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan out of their forthcoming twenty20 and one-day international series against Pakistan. Sachin Tendulkar has retired from the 50-over format, but fellow batsman Virender

Sehwag retains his ODI place. The Twenty20 squad is largely unchanged from the recent series against England. The first bilateral series between the two countries since 2007, comprising two T20 matches and three ODIs, begins with a

Charteris injury worry Wales, says Jones


x-international Dafydd Jones says the loss of Luke Charteris is a further blow to Wales ahead of the Six Nations. Lock Charteris will miss the Six Nations after he ruptured medial knee ligaments during Perpignan’s clash against Montpellier. With doubts over fellow locks Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones, Jones says Wales face a selection headache. Alun Wyn Jones is currently sidelined with shoulder trouble while Ospreys team-mate Ian Evans has a knee injury. Interim coach Rob Howley will also be without fly-half Rhys Priestland and prop Aaron





Jarvis for Wales’ Six Nations defence which starts Ireland in Cardiff on 2 February. Injuries hampered Wales during the recent autumn series and prop Adam Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate were ruled out of games against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia. Jones has recently started his comeback with the Ospreys but Cardiff

Luke Charteris

Sunday Times sues cyclist for £1m


he Sunday Times is suing Lance Armstrong for up to £1m after he was given a life ban and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping. Armstrong, 41, was paid £300,000 to settle a libel case in 2004 after the newspaper alleged he had cheated. The US Anti-Doping Agency found he had led the ”most sophisticated” drug-taking programme in sport. The newspaper is demanding the return of the £300,000 settlement payment along with interest and legal costs. Its letter to Armstrong’s lawyers read: “It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance-

enhancing drugs were deliberately false.” David Walsh, the chief sports writer of the Sunday Times, first raised questions about Armstrong in 1999, when he won the Tour de France for the first time. In 2004, the newspaper published an article saying it was right for questions about Armstrong’s performance to be both “posed an answered”. The American cyclist’s lawyers issued a writ and it was later ruled that the meaning of the article was that Armstrong was “a fraud, a cheat and a liar”. The American has always denied taking performanceenhancing drugs but chose not to fight Usada’s charges against him.

Sale sack club official for Facebook comments


ale Sharks have sacked their social media executive for posting derogatory comments about the club’s supporters on her Facebook page. Holleh Nowrouz was dismissed by Sale’s chief executive Steve Diamond following a “stringent disciplinary review”. Sale lost 25-18 to Wasps on Sunday and is bottom of the Premiership table with

one victory from 11 matches. Sale has only won one Premiership game all season - beating London Irish 21-9 in November She wrote: “Oh, the joys of managing a sport club’s social media when we’ve lost the last seven Premiership home games. “To the Sale Sharks fans who comment about the club needing to spend less

time blogging and tweeting and more time coaching, the staff who create content for the website and social media platforms are not the same members of staff who coach the team. Sale, who plays at the Salford City Stadium in Barton, issued a statement last Friday which said that internal disciplinary action had been taken and that Nowrouz.

Holleh Nowrouz

Welsh National meeting at Chepstow postponed



Blues backs Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny are both currently out. There are also fitness doubts over hooker Ken Owens, flanker Aaron Shingler and props Craig Mitchell and Rhodri Jones. Ex-Scarlets back-row Dafydd Jones says Wales will have a point to prove following a disappointing autumn series which saw them lose all four Test matches.

T20 game on Christmas Day, Zaheer was dropped midway through the recent Test series against England, while destructive opener Sehwag’s place had also been under threat after he only averaged 23.66 from nine ODIs in 2012. A l l - r o u n d e r Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is in both squads, seamer Shami Ahmed, who is in the 50-over party, and batsman Ambati Rayudu who is in the T20 squad, are uncapped in any international format. Pakistan named their squads a fortnight ago, with former captains Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik left out of the ODI squad, though they remain in the Twenty20 party, and there were recalls for pace bowlers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan.

Keith Ottesen

he Welsh National meeting at Chepstow on 27 December has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track. Clerk of the course Keith Ottesen called for inspection on Christmas Eve following recent heavy rain. And with further rain forecast he was left with little option but to call off the meeting. The card, which was due to feature the Welsh National, will now be run on Saturday 5 January.

“We needed some periods of dry weather between the rains. It didn’t rain yesterday, but we still wouldn’t have been fit to race,” Ottesen said. “The Welsh National is one of the most testing races of the year and we have to make sure it is fair and safe to the horses, which it wouldn’t have been.” “We have rescheduled for January 5 and the Finale Hurdle will now be worth an extra £5,500 as the value was due to move

up from 2012 to 2013. “All the details about entries for the Welsh National will be available as soon as possible. It is not the first time the weather has affected the Welsh National meeting. In 2010 the Welsh National was postponed by snow and was eventually run 12 days later and in 1994 the race was moved to Newbury on New Year’s Day. Last year’s race went off without a hitch, with 10-1 shot Le Beau Bai winning by seven lengths.



2013 Nations Cup finals

Chukwu, Nwosu, Akanni speak on Keshi’s AFCON preparation


West gives Eagles little chance at AFCON


ormer Nigerian international, Taribo West has voiced out his sentiments that the Super Eagles of Nigeria would not emerge Champions at the 2013 Nations cup in South Africa. Taribo who was part of the Nigerian Olympic football team that won gold at the Atlanta 1996 disclosed that a lot of rationale would prevent Keshi and his men from lifting the championship next Year. The Clergyman had earlier revealed on December 16 while celebrating with the Nigeria’s Super Sand Eagles on their 8-7 victory over Portugal at the second edition of the Copa Lagos Beach Soccer championship, and the big defender has now reiterated his opinion. “I am saying this because the Super Eagles would need another two years to become a better team as they are at present under rerebuilding process which will be difficult for them to win any major trophy. “I have watched them at close quarters and noticed that they are a bunch that wants to succeed at all times, but sincerely speaking, I don’t see them as champions at the 2013 Africa cup of Nations. “They will do their best in the tournament and they will create enough upsets, but they will not win the Trophy. “Not because they are not good, but it will take them another two years of consistent hard work and I am looking forward to see the super Eagles getting their hands on the trophy in the next edition of the tournament,” West explained. The Super Eagles are in group C and they will face title holders, Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.

Taribo West

ome notable football stakeholders in the country yesterday stressed the need for Super Eagles handlers to present a formidable team at the forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa. Christian Chukwu, a former Super Eagles Head Coach, stressed that Stephen Keshi should be given a free hand to pick a team of his choice to represent the country at the tournament. He added that the country abounds with talented players and as such, could not be held to ransom by anyone for not being selected to represent the country at the continental championship. The former coach also commended the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for its proactive stance in the arrangements of logistics for the

team. “Keshi knows these players better than anyone else and he knows their abilities, so it will be wrong for anybody to impose any player on him, irrespective of the name. “The only thing I know is that Nigeria can do with or without any player. He believes in the ones he has called up because he believes they can give him results. “The federation has done well by sticking to Keshi’s proposals for AFCON and they have done everything possible to ensure that they do not derail,’’ he said. In the same vein, Wahid Akanni, a former Green Eagles midfielder, hailed the NFA for the pivotal role it had played in getting the team qualified for the continent’s foremost football tournament. “The NFF is acting in the way that it should act and the result

is there for all to see. “I think Keshi is doing very well by bringing together homebased and foreign-based players to build a formidable team. “Early preparation is the key to achieving our goals and the Faro camp is the ideal place to prepare our team for a big tournament like the Nations Cup,’’ Akanni said. Meanwhile, Henry Nwosu, a member of the victorious Green Eagles squad that won the AFCON in Lagos in 1980, harped on a painstaking preparation for the tournament. “With early preparation, I believe Keshi will have more time on his hands to properly assess the performance of his players. “That way, he can properly address all the problem areas in the team before the kick-off of the tournament in January,’’ Nwosu said.

The Super Eagles are in Group C, alongside the defending champions, the Chipolopolo of Zambia, Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia and the Stallions of Burkina Faso. The Group C matches would be played at Mbombela in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.

Christian Chukwu

Keshi opts out of AFCON bonus talk


he Chief Coach of the Super Eagles Stephen Keshi has said he would wish to stay out of a proposed meeting to finalize the win bonus of his team at the AFCON. Keshi told the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that he would rather the players represent the team at such a meeting. This meeting is expected to take place when the team gets together in Faro, Portugal, by early January to finalize their build-up to the AFCON.

The NFF have drawn out a bonus scheme for the team at the Nations Cup and would now wish the Eagles buy into it. The scheme will see a player earn $10,000 for a win in the first round and as much as $30,000 for victory in the tournament final on February 10. The NFF have been assured that the 1.4 billion Naira (about $9 million) budgets, which have been approved by the government, will soon be released.

Mulenga named for Zambia’s AFCON squad

S Jacob Mulenga


ost of the major leagues in Europe are on break, but some of the players on the Eagles preliminary squad for AFCON were in action at the weekend and rates them. 7 Shola Ameobi: He was on song for Newcastle United in the 81st minute to give them 1-0 win over QPR. His manager describes him as the man for the big occasion and that means he should also shine at the AFCON. 7 Danny Shittu: Millwall central defender was on parade for the entire duration as they lost 2-1 at home to Barnsley. But the question now is will he accept or reject his surprise recall by Keshi. 8 Efe Ambrose: He was ever present in the defence of Celtic as they beat Ross County 4-0. He has booked his place on the final squad even though he will arrive the training camp in Portugal less than four days to the deadline for the submission of the final squad list to CAF. 8 Joseph Yobo: Eagles captain was on from start to finish for Fenerbahce as they lost 3-1 at

triker Jacob Mulenga has been named in Zambia’s preliminary squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals. Injury forced him to Miss Chipolopolo’s epic win at this year’s tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The 28 year-old, currently top scorer for Utrecht in the Dutch top flight, is part of a 26-man party announced by Coach Herve Renard yesterday.

Israel-based midfielder William Njobvu, who also missed out on the 2012 finals because of injury, has been called up. Winger Clifford Mulenga and defender Nyambe Mulenga are the only players missing from the team that beat Ivory Coast to win Zambia’s first ever Nations Cup title. Exciting midfielder Mukuka Mulenga, recently crowned Zambian Footballer of the Year, is the most high-profile home-based

player. Renard will drop three players at the end of the team’s preparations for the tournament which kicks off in Johannesburg on 19 January. The reigning African champions have lined up three warm-up matches against Morocco, Norway and Namibia before starting the defence of their trophy. Zambia is in Group C along with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

home to Karabukspor. The good thing is that he is playing regularly for his club. 7 Raheem Lawal: The midfielder returned to full-game action for Adana Demirspor as they drew 00 at home to Samsunspor. He was booked in the 77th minute. 6 Juwon Oshaniwa: Former Sharks left back played full game for Ashdod when they lost 2-1 to Bnei Sakhnin. He now has to prove himself at the training camp in Faro. 8 Victor Moses: He was again outstanding as Chelsea drubbed Aston Villa 8-0. He played the full game. He is already regarded as one of the top stars for the AFCON. 4 Nosa Igiebor: He was not listed by Real Betis as they lost 2-1 at home to Mallorca. His patchy club form must be a cause for concern leading up to the Nations Cup. 4 Ogenyi Onazi: The Lazio youngster was missing as his club won 1-0 at Sampdoria. He would certainly need to do more to be in South Africa.

3 Rabiu Ibrahim: This surprise inclusion on AFCON provisional squad was again not picked by Celtic as they won 4-0 against Ross County. It will be a bigger shock if

he makes the final cut to South Africa. 3 Mikel Obi: Stays banned and so missed out on the goals’ feast against Aston Villa.

Super Eagles AFCON Watch

Shola Ameobi



Football is becoming more global, says Uruguay coach There is no doubt that Uruguay boss Oscar Washington Tabarez has played a major role in the revival of his country’s footballing fortunes. The results he has achieved attest to that, even taking into account La Celeste’srecent setbacks in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The man known as El Maestro has also won innumerable awards over his career the latest handed to him by the Uruguayan Football Coaches Association (AUDEF) in December. Having also held the reins at clubs of the calibre of Penarol, Boca Juniors and AC Milan, the respected coach is now preparing for a new challenge: Uruguay’s first ever FIFA Confederations Cup campaign. In the first part of an exclusive interview with, Tabarez discussed the task ahead at the 2013 showpiece, changing trends in modern football and Uruguay’s longstanding footballing rivalry with Brazil.


IFA, Oscar, can you tell us your expectations ahead of Uruguay’s first ever appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup? Our objective, first and foremost, is to enjoy it. Every time an international competition featuring such important teams comes around, you hold out hopes of going as far as possible. A continental or global tournament, like the Confederations Cup, certainly falls into that category. It also shows how far we’ve come when you look back at what we went through when we first started this project (at theUruguay helm). It was so difficult for us to arrange an international game against top-class teams! It was a very long time, 17 years, since we’d last won the Copa America (Editors’ note: it was a 16-year gap between La Celeste’s victories atUruguay 1995 and Argentina 2011). That’s why, now we’ve earned the right to take part in this Cup, the first thing we need to say is how pleased we are to be involved. After that, with professionalism and a sense of responsibility, we’ll prepare to do as well as we possibly can. You’ve been drawn in Group B alongside Spain, Tahiti and the yet-to-becrowned 2013 African champions. What’s your verdict on this section? We’re well aware that we’re going to face some great teams. Spain is currently setting the standard: they’re winning the biggest tournaments of them all; the way they play is the envy of everyone else and they’re having a big influence on the game at the moment. Whichever African team makes it will be a powerful side. And Tahiti deserve plenty of respect and will provoke a lot of curiosity too let’s see what role they’ll play. It’ll come down to being well-prepared, but of course we’ll only know how well we’ve done after each match is over. And we’ve got a bit of experience of working like that: we mustn’t either get too carried away or be too negative before the competition has even started. I know that and so do this group of players. Footballing issues aside, how else could this competition proves useful? We’ll be going into a tournament with tradition that, even above its own importance, is also a precursor to the World Cup. And it’s not just about being able to see some of the teams that might be at [Brazil] 2014, but also getting an idea of the infrastructure in place for the World Cup. This is about logistics: We’ve already collected info about the work that’s being done, the training pitches and the various stadiums. We’ve already got a Uruguay boss Oscar certain idea [of how Washington Tabarez things will be], but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We’re hoping to reach the World Cup but it’s not certain yet. The qualifying phase

is very tough and, after a good start, our recent bad results have made things even trickier. If our chances of qualifying are looking clearer by then (at the Confederations Cup), then yes, it will be the time to think about where we’re going to stay and train come the following year. You can’t win all the time, what’s more Brazil have won more global competitions than anyone else! Being drawn in a different group to A Seleção should at least delay media questions about El Maracanazo, when Uruguay clinched the 1950 FIFA World Cup by beating Brazil in the Maracana. Does the constant talk of repeating that feat bother you? It doesn’t bother me, but I’m well aware how much football has evolved since then. There are things that happened at certain moments because, particularly during that era, the teams were on a par, strength-wise. What makes the Uruguay side of 1950 so special are the circumstances they won in, not because they weren’t as good a football team as Brazil. It’s not like that anymore, things have changed. Could you explain a bit further? Uruguay always seems to up their game against Brazil, don’t they? Brazil is a superpower in terms of player numbers, infrastructure and sporting organisation. We don’t have the same quantity of elite footballers, though we do have some, and that means we’re always that much more up for it when we play against Brazil. It doesn’t mean we’re any more certain of getting a result, but our motivation levels are always high against such powerful opponents. And that’ll keep being the case. But we’ve also proven and shown at both the (2010) World Cup and the (2011) Copa America that, with the qualities we have, we can give any opponent a tough time providing we’re well-organised and well-prepared. Prior to the draw, we saw you enjoying a very friendly chat with newly appointed Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. What do you think his return can bring to A Seleção? Essentially, he brings the coaching ability he’s already proven on many occasions. And what’s more, he offers both wide-ranging experience and specific knowledge of the national team, which is a very unusual environment. It’s a difficult enough job as it is, but Brazil is where I think it’s hardest. I’ll give you an example: in the press conference, the local journalists were asking me questions about how “Brazilian football was going nowhere”. And inside I was shocked, though out of respect I didn’t show it, but I thought “no, your expectations are just too high”. You can’t win all the time, what’s more Brazil have won more global competitions than anyone else! Of course that level of supremacy can’t be maintained indefinitely, but that’s not the same as going nowhere. Turning to the prevailing trends in the modern game, what do they depend on? Football is becoming more global all the time, which is why other influences emerge that are linked to organisational factors. These could be economic reasons, youth-development systems or lengthy projects whose roots go back many years. Barcelona is a clear example of that. We’re all spellbound by how expressive their football is, which the best I’ve ever seen is. But it didn’t come about in two or three years, did it? Playing football like Barcelona isn’t as simple as seeing a suit you like in a shop window, going inside and buying it. Football’s not like that. In football you have to find the right material, the buttons and the right tailor, then you have the suit made and it still might not look the same (as in the shop window). That process takes a lot of time, knowledge and preparation. I don’t know what Scolari is going to do, but I think he’ll try and get the team playing in a way that stays true to the historical roots of Brazilian football. Do you think it’s possible to get a national team playing the same way as Barça? Every coach has his own style and every federation their own strategy, which all stem from their own views on the game. I even think its good we don’t all try and copy Barcelona because, if it could be done, it’d make football boring. The fact there are different ways of playing and different schools of thought is a good thing, so we can take advantage of major tournaments like this to pit them against each other in the sporting arena and see what happens. It’s not about establishing who’s the best in the world or the best of all time, which is more of a media obsession than real life. It’s about having great footballing fiestas once in a while, such as the Confederations Cup and, it goes without saying, the World Cup.

. . . putting the people first



Chelsea can win EPL title, says Benitez


afa Benitez says he is hopeful that Chelsea will be back in the race for the Premier League at the turn of the year. The Blues are currently 11 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, although they have a game in hand due to their recent trip to Japan for the FIFA World Club Cup. After Sunday's 8-0 mauling of Aston Villa, Chelsea will play Norwich, Everton and Queens Park Rangers between now and January 2, by which time Benitez hopes his team will be closer to the Manchester clubs at the top of the table. Benitez's appointment as interim manager in the wake of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking in November was met with opposition by many of the club's fans, but Benitez has praised the efforts of the players since his arrival. Chelsea's defeat to Corinthians in the Club World Cup final has not helped Benitez win over his detractors, but one positive in his short tenure thus far appears to be the redeployment of central defender David Luiz in midfield. The Brazilian scored a fine free-kick in the win over Villa which capped off an eyecatching display, and Benitez has not ruled out the prospect of the 25-year-old playing further up the field on a more regular basis. Chelsea defender Gary Cahill also believes Benitez is starting to 'win people over' after the Villa performance, which added to their five-goal haul in the Capital One Cup against Leeds a few days before. It added up to the perfect response from the muchmaligned Benitez, with Cahill claiming the influence of the new Chelsea manager is starting to reap rewards.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Let me assure all of you and indeed all Nigerians that 2013 will be better for us than 2012 in all aspects of the nation’s history. The new year shall be better for us in terms of job creation, wealth creation and improved security... — President Goodluck Jonathan

Lagos and its emperor-governor S

ince the aim of democracy is the installation of good governance, what then do we mean by good government? According to Thomas Jefferson, in his address eons ago to Maryland Republicans in the United States, he emphasized that good government was the one that most effectively secures the rights of the people and rewards of their labour. He argued that a good government promotes the people's happiness and also does their will; these are the legitimate objectives of a good government. Other theorists went further to describe the attributes of a good government as possessing eight major characteristics participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. A good government ensures that the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. This is not a thesis on power but a comment on the antics of the Lagos state government in its unyielding disdain for the people's agitation. While power supposedly flows from the people in a democratic setting, yet in Lagos state, there is a conflicting dichotomy. We have the people and the government. In a battle of two opposing forces, where one has the arsenal of power and yet remains inflexible, the weaker opponent has no choice in its ultimate subjugation and humiliation. Such is the on-going battle over the continuous toiling plan for roads in the state. The battle over tolling on the Lekki-Epe Expressway started way back in 2011. It was exactly on the 17th December 2011 when the peaceful protest by affected Lekki residents under the auspices of Lekki-Etiosa-Epe Estates Indigenes turned awry at the first toll collection point known as the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza. The infamous role of the Lagos state government in sponsoring thugs to attack peaceful protesters is well documented in public eye. These thugs were ably assisted by the national disgrace known as Nigerian Police Force. Many residents were brutalized and injured and unconfirmed reports even relate to possible loss of life. This is in a democratic dispensation. Twenty-four hours after this show of shame, the ever recalcitrant and inflexible Lagos state government commenced its planned toll collection. We are all living witnesses to this sad fact today. In its legendary insensitivity to the people's plight, the all-powerful Lagos government actually planned to commence operation of the second toll point (labelled Conservation

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GUEST COLUMNIST Dr. Olusegun Fakoya

Gov. Raji Fashola Plaza) on the 16th December 2012.This second toll point is located about 10km away from the first (Admiralty Plaza) on a stretch of road measuring just 49.36 km. Of course, there would still be a third plaza, probably a year after the second! That the Conservation Plaza has not come to life is due to the continued agitation and peaceful protest staged by aggrieved residents. Even then, the unruffled government has only postponed its launch date, apparently to gear up its unlimited armoury in taming the aggrieved. It would be nothing unusual or surprising if this current struggle leads the agile governor again to army formations in requesting military assistance in taming the "demons". The Guardian on Sunday (of 16th December 2012) reported as follows: "Despite promises made by Lagos State government and the construction firm in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme to provide a coastal route as an alternative to the toll-point at Admiralty Circle Plaza for road users, as contained in the contract documents for the project, it still remains an intention on paper. Instead, the goalpost is being shifted in the middle of the game with the creation of a single-lane route along Oniru Estate" The salient issues that beg for answers remain same ever since the idea of this obnoxious partnership between Lagos state and the ubiquitous Lekki Concession Company (LCC) came to light. The issues include the relevance of charging money for the addition of a single lane to an existing road, a road built years ago by another civilian government. The other question is the

proprietary or otherwise of mortgaging residents and other road users to a ludicrous agreement of 30 years of toll collection in the suspicious contract between LCC and Lagos state government. Finally, the dogged pursuit of this unpopular programme by the Raji Fashola's government brings to light an aspect of government irresponsibility endemic in our country today. An aspect of the agreement between LCC and Lagos state government is the creation of alternate axes to ease the burden on residents who cannot afford to submit to the exploitative regime. To date, if a corridor has been completed, it is probably one and even then, the government is in haste to continue its unpopular policy. It baffles one that it takes a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for a government to be responsive to its primary commitment of building and maintaining roads in the onerous task of developing the state. While the stupendous hold of LCC on Lagos State government has set tongues wagging, to date the government has refused to accept the bait to quench the unpalatable rumour, if indeed it was unfounded. A recent example in memory is the effort of Dr Ademola Dominic to compel Governor Raji Fashola to render public accounts of its finances to the citizens. Using the instrument of the Freedom of Information Act that was lawfully passed by the National Assembly and ably signed to law by President Jonathan, Dr Dominic, on the 24th October 2012, petitioned the Lagos State government to disclose public accounts as relate to monthly tax revenue consultancy earned by a private company known as Alpha Beta Consulting Limited (ABC). However, in a disgraceful reply that smirks of public disdain and utter arrogance, Lagos State government in a statement signed by one Olanrewaju Akinsola (a Special Senior Assistant on Justice Sector Reforms in the Office of the Attorney-General), the government maintained that it would never release the state expenditure to public domain. Thus an obligatory responsibility of government was spectacularly rejected by nervous government with loads of skeleton in its cupboard. For curious Lagosians, ABC may well be a brother or sister of LCC as Bola Tinubu has been fingered in the formation of

both. Thus the alternative road axis created by the government is seen as a pacifier to stop the ever indebted government from being distracted in its dogged pursuit of gratification for its benefactor. It was not a road created out of altruistic necessity. It is indeed a wonder how one man can exert so much control over a state, nay a geographical region. And it is equally painful, how as a people we have used our votes to subjugate our future, created hardship for ourselves and enthrone mediocrity in governance. This is perhaps a lesson for future elections. The democratic credentials of this government beg for analysis. Here is a government that has brought so much hardship to the citizens in its obsession with a megacity status. Here is a government that finds it convenient to rollick and frolic with a segment of the citizenry, only to turn around at a convenient time to seek for the annihilation of same. Here is a government that will use one side of its mouth to condemn a military suppression of the legitimate protest of the people, only to turn around at a convenient time and use another side of same mouth to invite the military to brutally suppress citizens that dare to challenge its over-lordship and supreme authority. Inadvertently, Lagosians have entrenched an EmperorGovernor; one who knows so much about the laws yet takes extreme pleasure in breaking same with impunity; An Emperor-Governor who is steadfastly insensitive to the people's suffering, yearnings and desires. A mistake was indeed made in Lagos. Before Joe Igbokwe shouts himself hoarse, may I declare that I belong to no political persuasion. If anything, I treat the poison called politics in Lagos, and in Nigeria as a whole, with nothing but a very long stick. My sanity is too precious for the conundrum of disconsolate noises and shenanigans called politics in Nigeria. It may be right to describe me as a child of anger (many thanks to opportunistic Reuben Abati). Yes, I am a pestlewelding critic and an unrelenting, self-appointed activist. But unlike the misguided Abati stated, I am not idling and neither am I twittering for fun. I have vowed to use my talent in the extremely difficult task of sanitizing the malodorous Nigerian environment. An environment polluted by the stinks from the likes of Reuben and all those who are hell bent on making us a joke in the eyes of the world. Herein lays my anger, especially at the questionable policies and projects in Lagos state. Yes, Lagos is my state and I have a stake in its wellbeing and progress.

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos. Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 805 727 9862. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 25, December, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 25, December, 2012 Editon

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 25, December, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 25, December, 2012 Editon