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Vol. 12 No. 41

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Al-Muharram 23, 1435 AH




he government of the Southern African nation of Angola has taken steps towards stamping out Muslims, mosques and the Islamic religion as a whole in the country. According to numerous Angolan media outlets, the nation has EDQQHG WKH ,VODPLF UHOLJLRQ EHFRPLQJ WKH ¿UVW FRXQWU\ LQ WKH world to take such a stance against Muslims. On Sunday, Angola President JosÊ Eduardo dos Santos said that the country was working toward putting an end to Islamic LQÀXHQFH LQ $QJROD RQFH DQG IRU DOO ³7KLV LV WKH ¿QDO HQG RI ,VODPLFLQÀXHQFHLQRXUFRXQWU\´'RV6DQWRVVDLG &RQWRQSDJH




overnor Bank of Malam Sanusi has

of the Central Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido cautioned the

federal government against H[SDQVLRQDU\ ÂżVFDO VSHQGLQJ DV the nation moves into an election year. Speaking on Bloomberg TV at the weekend in Abuja, Sanusi

however commended what he described as ‘the prudent ÂżVFDO VSHQGLQJ RI WKH IHGHUDO government in 2013’. He noted that the federal government’s overall spending

LQKDVQRWEHHQVLJQLÂżFDQWO\ higher than it was in 2012 due to tight controls in spending in the second half of this year. This situation, he stressed, has aided in moderating the

UDWH RI LQĂ€DWLRQ LQ WKH FRXQWU\ EULQJLQJ LW GRZQ WR D ÂżYH\HDU low. He said with the trend, it is hoped that the stability anchored &RQWRQSDJH

$QDPEUDJXEHU7ULDORIÂśFRPSURPLVHG¡,1(&RIĂ€FLDOEHJLQV>> Pg 2 PDP crisis: Obasanjo, 22-year old Swiss Govt returned Atiku’s silence worries housewife ‘gives $700m Abacha loot to Baraje group >> Pg 3 birth to tortise’>> Pg 5 Nigeria-Envoy >> Pg 3






















Agric Feature

28-29 30


Barracks rehabilitation: Reps to probe Presidential Committee By Umar Muhammad Puma


he House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday said it would probe the activities of Presidential Committee on Barracks Rehabilitation chaired by Mrs. Binta Muazu for the last five years. To this end, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Adeola Solomon Olamilekan has set up a six man subcommittee chaired by Rep. Awual Jatau (PDP Bauchi) and representative of















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General of the Federation query that indicted the Presidential Committee on some financial infringements. According to the 2009 Auditor General of the Federation query that indicted the Presidential Committee, it was alleged that the sum of N133.8 million Value Added Tax, VAT collected from contractors was not remitted to the Federation Account. Another sum of N2.8 million was also said not to be deducted by the Presidential Committee from contractors as Valued Add-

ed Tax as expected by the law. The third query raised by the Auditor General of the Federation against the Presidential Committee had to do with the non deduction of PAYE to the tune of N4.5 million. However, based on the inability of the chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Barracks Rehabilitation, Mrs. Muazu to defend the queries raised by the Auditor General of the Federation, the House committee requested for all necessary documents pertaining to the queries.

Anambra guber: Trial of ‘compromised’ INEC official begins By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


Fight against sickle cell disease must be all inclusive - Atiku – Page 5

the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and a secretariat staff of the House committee to carry out status inquiry into the activities of the Presidential Committee. Other members of the sub Committee include: Honourable Kehinde Odeneye, Nicholas Ossai, Arua Arunsi, Umar Nafada and Honourable Titsi Ganama. The committee’s resolve to carry out status inquiry on the activities of the Presidential Committee on Barracks rehabilitation was sequel to the Auditor

Chief Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, has ordered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official for Idemili North Local Government in Anambra state, Mr. Chukwujekwu Okeke be remanded in police custody till December 2nd. INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega had admitted that Okeke was culpable in the allegation of compromising the integrity of the November 16th governorship election in Anambra state in Idemili North local government area of the state. He was alleged to have been bribed by some party men to de-

lay the distribution of electoral materials to the area in order to sway the votes in favour of his yet to be identified paymasters. After the accused was arraigned yesterday by the police on a charge of negligence of duty, the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Usman Shuaibu, ordered that he should be remanded till December 2nd to enable the police complete its investigation on the matter. Earlier, the prosecutor, DSP Stanley Nwodo, from the Force CID, said on November 16th, the accused unlawfully breached his official duties at Idemili, where he was deployed. Nwodo informed the court that the accused deliberately withheld electoral materials de-

signed for the elections, thereby breaching lectoral procedures. Nwodo said that the accused, who pleaded not guilty, was standing trial on a onecount charge of dereliction of duty contrary to Section 123 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010. Also, there were allegations from the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) claiming that the INEC official collected money from the opposition to delay the electoral material and subsequently use it in their favour. On the contrary, the major opposition parties that participated in the election claimed that the official actually worked

for the ruling APGA, with a view to disenfranchising voters in areas believed to be where the opposition have dominance and called for cancellation of the whole election, alleging massive fraud and disenfranchisement in favour of APGA. The electoral commission has said that after investigating the allegations made against the Anambra election by the opposition, it did not see any reason to cancel the whole exercise and scheduled November 30th for a supplementary election to make up for the 210 polling units across sixteen local governments in Anambra State where elections were cancelled for various offences.

2015: Sanusi warns FG against financial indiscipline cont from page 1 in key macroeconomic indicators like inflation, exchange and interest rates, will be sustained. But in anticipation of public spending ahead of the 2015 general elections in the country, the CBN governor noted that politicians the world over tend

to spend money in election years, and he did not rule out the possibility of a supplementary budget. He said though the 2014 budget as proposed to the National Assembly is prudent, a supplementary budget would portend a risk to hard-earned stability.

While expressing concern over the challenge of loss of revenue from oil exports, Sanusi advised the financial authorities to block fiscal leakages in the oil sector and increase oil revenues. The CBN boss assured that the apex bank was ready to use its monetary policy tools to respond appropriately and

ensure that the Naira remains stable, even as inflation is kept under control. It will be recalled that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN at its last meeting voted to keep MPR at 12% +/- 2%; private sector CRR at 12%; public sector CRR at 50% and Liquidity Ratio at 30%.

Angola bans Islam, Muslims, demolishes mosques cont from page 1 As part of the ban, the Angolan government which views Islam as a cult ordered the demolition of all mosques in the country. Under new laws, many religious sects have suddenly become criminal. The Angolan Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva was quoted by news agencies and Angola newspapers as saying “the process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights [and so] their mosques would be closed until further notice.” Why the religion needs to be legalized has not been definitively stated by Silva. Silva

has also said that the closing of mosques is the most recent move in Angola’s effort to put a stop to so-called illegal religious sects, noting that the Government will redouble its efforts to fight relentlessly against ‘religious cults’ like Islam. Silva’s statement was made during her appearance last week at the 6th Commission of the National Assembly where she added that the move was necessitated in order to fight the emergence of congregations whose worshipping is contradictory to the customs of Angola culture. Silva further said, “All sects on the list published by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in

the Angolan newspaper ‘Jornal de Angola’ are prohibited to conduct worship, so they should keep their doors closed,” she said. Last month, minarets in the municipality of Viana were destroyed into pieces without permission. Angolan authorities went on to destroy the mosque days later. The governor of Luanda Bento announced in a radio spot that “radical Muslims are not welcome in Angola and the Angolan government is not ready for the legalization of mosques in Angola.” The only two mosques located in Luanda have already received a warning document signed by the mayor of the municipality of

Viana José Moreno. 95% of Angola’s population is Christian. A quarter belongs to Protestant churches founded during the colonial period, including congregational evangelical church. According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2008, Islam in Angola is a minority religion with 80,000 – 90,000 adherents, composed largely of migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin. Muslims comprise between 2.5 to 3% of Angola’s overall population of 17 million people. Many other faiths which have not been legalised will also face closure of their houses of worship.




‘Unknown woman’ dies transiting from Maiduguri to Abuja By Umar Muhammad Puma


woman, simply identified as Halima Abdulrahman, who was travelling from Maiduguri to Abuja, died last week Friday at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa state, of suspected food poisoning. The woman, whose relations are still to be identified, was said to have boarded a vehicle from Maiduguri to Abuja, in which she was allegedly given poisonous food to eat by an unknown persons, which made her lost consciousness.

An account narrated by Chairman of the Shuwa Arab Residents Association in Mararaba, Nasarawa state, Malam Abdulkadir Abubakar, showed that she was handed over to a commercial motorcyclist on Monday last week, to drop her off at the Mararaba Motor Park. Malam Abdulkadir said: "Through some of our members, I was contacted and we were able to quickly raise some money for her treatment. "We quickly rushed her to the Government Hospital in Mararaba where the doctors refused

to admit her. We then took her to the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, where the doctors confirmed to us that she was poisoned", he stressed. He said for the few days she stayed at the hospital in Keffi, she was gradually regaining her consciousness, "only for her to die by Friday morning". "The woman is our tribeswoman, a Shuwa Arab from Borno state, because we were able to find in her bag, her Nigerian Temporary Voter's Card, where her name, age, and her state of origin were stated, but we don't know

her relations". "Our concern now is that her body is still at the Keffi Medical Centre's mortuary and no one recognizes her, or any of her relations, though the matter has been reported to the Social Welfare Department of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs for their intervention", he stressed. He called on family members or any close associates of the deceased who wish to take custody of the corpse for proper burial arrangement to contact him on his MTN cell phone number 08036242987".

Late Halima Abdulrahman

Plateau attack: STF arrests one

 Police say calm restored in village From Ado Abubakar Musa , Jos, with agency report

F R-L: Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Chief Richard Egbule, representative of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Mr. Ferdinand Agu, and Director, Job Development, Office of the Head of Service, Mrs. Laurch Braide, during the NSIWC national stakeholders forum on comprehensive job evaluation in public service, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

ollowing the last Saturday’s attack of Kuka village of Shendam local government are of Plateau state, one person has been reportedly apprehended in connection to the incident . Our correspondent learnt that the suspect was arrested close to Kuka village and would be transferred to STF Headquarters in Jos by today. The STF spokesperson, Captain Salisu Mustapha confirmed the arrest but did not give the name of the suspect. It would be recalled that last Saturday, gunmen numbering 100 alleged to be Tarok assailants rocked Kuka village, killing five

Swiss Govt returned $700m Abacha loot to Nigeria-Envoy By Hassan Haruna Ginsau


mbassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel declaredyesterday that his country's government has returned $700 millionallegedly stashed in Swiss banks and traced to the late military Headof State, General Sani Abacha, to the Nigerian government. The envoy stated at a press conference in Abuja ahead of a two-dayseminar on Anti-

Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism. Hodel's declaration may have followed recent allegations by Nigeria'sMinister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the Swiss government was frustratingNigeria's bid to recover the Abacha loot. Speaking yesterday, the ambassador assured that the Swiss governmentwould be ready to reopen the case if Nigeria presented fresh evidenceof any monies still being held in

any bank in the European nation. “Switzerland and Nigeria agreed to request the World Bank toparticipate in the review of the use of funds, in the framework of abudget control process of various welfare projects,” he said. He reiterated that his country had no interest in withholding illicitfunds, adding that Switzerland returned about $1.7 billion to varioussources where the money was stolen in the last 15 years.

people, injuring many and burning 200 houses and 20 mosques. Meanwhile, the Plateau Police Command yesterday in Jos said order had been restored to the Kuka village of Shendam local government area after Saturday evening’s attack by unknown gunmen. Eye witness reports had claimed that four people were killed and many houses burnt by the armed attackers who stormed the village on Saturday around 5.20 p.m. Mrs. Felicia Anselem, the command’s spokesperson, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that normalcy had been restored in the area by security agents posted there. Anselem however said three people were killed by the attackers. "Investigation to unravel the identity of the attackers, with a view to arresting them, have since commenced", she said. Capt. Salisu Mustapha, the spokesman for the special security task force in the state, also confirmed the attack. "I can only confirm two deaths. The attackers were however estimated to be about 100 in number. "They burnt some houses. But they have been repelled and calm has returned to the area", Mustapha said.

PDP crisis: Baraje worries over Obasanjo, Atiku’s silence By Lawrence Olaoye


he splinter Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),under the leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, yesterday expressed worry over the indifference of critical stakeholders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the crisis rocking the party. The group in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, appealed to the stakeholders to intervene in the crisis and save the

party from going into extinction. The group also raised the fears over the rumoured plans by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), chaired by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to engineer the expulsion of those breakaway party men currently under suspension. Those on who the expulsion sledgehammer is dangling, according to the statement are: the breakaway PDP leader, Baraje; the Appeal Court reinstated PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former National Deputy Chairman of the

party, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja and its National Vice-Chairman, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure. The group called the attention of the stakeholders to alleged impunity being perpetrated by the Tukur led NWC as it further alleged "Tukur has vowed that even the Supreme Court cannot force him to reinstate Prince Oyinlola as the National Secretary of PDP, not to talk of any member of the party including the National Leader of PDP, President Jonathan. "We ask: Why are the founding fathers of PDP keeping mum while Tukur and his misguided

collaborators are hell bent on destroying our party and making it vulnerable before the 2015 general elections? Where is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, erstwhile Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who recruited this man into the PDP through Chief Nath Yaduma? Why is he keeping quiet while the party he sacrificed all to establish is being destroyed by his kinsman? Where are the Dr. Alex Ekwuemes, Prof. Jerry Ganas, Chief Audu Ogbes, Chief Barnabas Gemades and all those who risked their lives to ensure that PDP was formed to challenge the military? Why are these greats al-

lowing a single man to ruin PDP, once touted as the poster boy of democracy in Africa? Where is General Abubakar Abdulsalami, who under his watch this great party was born? Where is Chief Tony Anenih the longest serving BOT Chairman of PDP? Where is erstwhile President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who prepared PDP to rule Nigeria for the next 100 years? Why are they maintaining grave and grievous silence and allowing this great institution to be reduced as an opposition political party in their life time?"


Page 4 Report By Evelyn Okakwu “There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, and never tolerable.” - United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. s the world marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the pains of the Nigerian woman, vis-à-vis prevailing circumstances in our society comes to light. It is a known fact that violence against women is a global pandemic, which sadly cuts across the various segments of every society. More so, in recent times in Nigeria, there have been several cases of violence against women and, most of these cases are not brought to light, despite the heinous nature of this crime. The 1993 United Nation (UN)’s Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines it as any act of genderbased violence; that is, violence directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life Issues ranging from sexual harassment, trafficking in women and girls, sex selection, early marriage, female genital mutilation, among others, are fast becoming epidemics ravaging the country, just as it is has been noticed globally. This situation is un- abating globally and has elicited public outcry. More often than not, women are exposed to violence of varying lengths from their male partners. And in these cases, their reason for bearing the inhumane treatment is not unconnected to financial dependency. According to a non-governmental organisation (NGO), “Project Alert”, Nigerian women are in general less financially independent than men and their dependency on a partner or husband deters most women from leaving an abusive relationship or from seeking a divorce”. Lillian Idogho, a banker based in Abuja, says her sister kept enduring the malicious behavior of her husband till it became too late. She would often seek excuses to keep away from the family, for fear that any move to inform her family about her plight might put her in greater risk with her husband, whom she would still end up with after everything. Unfortunately, Lillian said the family got to discover the ugly state of things at a very late time. When her sister got rushed to the hospital in the early 2000, they had all thought she would return but what they were told by the doctor was that her sister had died of womb rupture due to constant beating from the man, which had caused the death of the baby in her womb. Also, in a report conducted by Amnesty international, it was gathered that another woman: Ebun, aged about 30, said her


A victim of violence from her husband before and after the battery

A victim of violence, Mrs. Goodness Moses

Tackling violence against women in Nigeria husband had physically assaulted her during pregnancy and after the birth of their son in 2003, and had threatened to kill her and her family. A court official conducting initial divorce hearings and a welfare officer reportedly advised her not to proceed with the divorce for fear of exacerbating her husband’s mental health problems and putting her safety at risk. A handful of women, world over, are exposed to violence at different levels every day; but what makes the case with Nigeria seemingly appalling is the nature of reluctance with which security agencies tackle the situation. The failure of federal and state authorities to establish policies and programmers to address violence against women in the home is reflected in the lack of support for women in urgent need of a place of safety. The authorities provide no shelters for women forced to flee their homes. In fact, the Nigerian society practically encourages the woman to remain with her husband even in terrible circumstances. Litigation to obtain a divorce or to seek custody of the children is expensive and beyond

the means of most women. For this reason, some women have to report violence in the home to the news media or to NGOs, to highlight their plight and to obtain legal advice and assistance. The provision of short-term escape routes in the form of shelters would provide protection and accommodation to women and girls at risk from a violent relationship. Unfortunately however, the judicial and other crime regulation authorities in Nigeria are quite far from providing this haven to victims of violence in the country. Women who go to the police to report cases of violence in the family, including rape and physical assault, are often met with a patronizing and discouraging attitude. A police spokesperson in Lagos told Amnesty International that they did not take violence in the family seriously “unless it is a case of the rape of a child or the husband kills his wife”. Few rapes are reported to the police, because of the social stigma attached to the victim and the difficulty in obtaining medical evidence. Women who bring a complaint of rape cannot insist on speaking to a woman police officer since the right, and proposals

for specific women’s and human rights desks in all police stations have not yet been implemented. Thus the criminal justice system in Nigeria provides limited protection for the victim of violence against women. The police and judiciary often dismiss domestic violence as a family matter and failing to investigate or press charges. The few rape victims who take their cases to court face humiliating rules of evidence, patronizing and discriminatory attitudes from court officials, and little chance of justice. The prohibitive cost of legal action encourages families to seek financial compensation out of court. In such cases and where women subjected to violence in the family or rape cannot attain justice through criminal proceedings, the consequential effect is that the situation is allowing the perpetrators of this crime to operate with impunity. In early 2005, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child noted its deep concern about what it described as the “generally high level of acceptance of domestic violence among law enforcement officials and court personnel” in Nigeria. According to the UN, “It is these figures of authority, as

The failure of federal and state authorities to establish policies and programmers to address violence against women in the home is reflected in the lack of support for women in urgent need of a place of safety.

well as religious and traditional leaders on whose support abused women should be able to count; yet they often exhibit attitudes that discourage women from turning to them for help and contribute substantially to the normalization and persistence of violence against women in the family’. Worst still, wealthy and powerful perpetrators of violence, as well as those with those with personal connections to police officers, are often suspected to be able to buy themselves immunity from prosecution by paying officers not to record a complaint or not to pursue an investigation. As Amnesty international aptly puts it: “Failure of law enforcement officials to register adequately and investigate cases of violence in the family, and to prosecute suspected perpetrators, indicates a lack of willingness to treat violence in the family as a criminal offence and a violation of human rights.” On the May 9, 2013, it was reported that the House of Representatives, during its third reading, passed the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, a law which aims to eliminate, or reduce to a minimum, the cases of gender-based violence. Various analysts have stated that this bill is long overdue; still, more Nigerians hope that as the country joins the world in celebrating the International Day for the Violence against Women, the many issues relating to such crimes in the country will be redressed with greater vigour. Nigerian stakeholders most remember that violence against women is a social crime that has a devastating effect on all aspects, including the socio-economic status, of the society.



News 22-year old housewife ‘gives birth to a tortoise’ in Nasarawa From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


22-year old housewife, Mrs. Catherine Emmanuel Abari, has given birth to a living tortoise in her Angwan Tiv II residence of Agyaragu town, headquarters of Jenkwe Development Area of Nasarawa state. The husband to Catherine, Mr. Emmanuel Abari, 29, a farmer, told our correspondent that his wife gave birth to a “Mr. Tortoise” at about 12 to 1 am Saturday morning but the creature later

died shortly after 5am same day. According to Emmanuel, on sighting what his pregnant wife delivered that Saturday morning, “I was shocked, and then I shouted which attracted other people. It took me a while before I called my elder brother who arrived the scene later”, a stricken Emmanuel told Peoples Daily. Emmanuel recounted that his wife got pregnant sometimes in March early this year but that she started experiencing problems with it during the fourth month. “We noticed that at about

the fourth or fifth month, the pregnancy stopped growing and that was when I took her to a hospital”, he said. He said he took her thrice to a hospital in Agyaragu, the Zhe Mighili Hospital, where doctors checked his wife, confirming she was indeed pregnant. However on the third and final visit to the hospital, they were referred to another hospital in Lafia, the state capital, the Sauki Hospital, located along Abuja Street. It was there, Emmanuel narrated, that doctors having

confirmed that Catherine was still pregnant, but also through scanning, revealed to the couple that what she was carrying in her belly wasn’t human. He continued that on returning home to Agyaragu, he immediately summoned his elder brother to jointly discuss the matter following which it was decided that they consult a native doctor, an oracle of some sort. “The man checked her and promised us that he will do his best. She remained there for close to week and when I visited,

I saw some signs because she has already started bleeding”, he said. Emmanuel continued that for some days after she visited the native doctor, Catherine’s bleeding seized and the oracle had to administer further medication but that on a Thursday, nearly one week since she was taken to the native doctor, Catherine started her labour in earnest and eventually delivered around 12 to 1 am Saturday morning. He said they have however since buried the tortoise and have accepted their fate.

Workers demand pay rise From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) yesterday asked the Federal Government to revisit the issue of pay rise for its workers. The TUC National President, Bobboi Kaigama and the Secretary General, Musa Lawal in a statement urged President Goodluck Jonathan to commemorate his 56th birthday by granting Nigerians relief in some fundamental areas noting that, “Nigerian workers are not well paid’’. The statement noted that there was also the need to readdress the failure of the Federal Government and some state governments in the payment of salaries to civil servants as and when due. TUC also reiterated its call for the Federal Government to apply

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, giving medication to a sickle cell patient, Master John Moses, during the former vice-president’s visit to Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation as part of activities to mark his 67th birthday celebrations, yesterday in Abuja.

Fight against sickle cell disease must be all-inclusive - Atiku By Aminu Abbas Bamalli


ormer Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the fight against sickle cell anaemia must involve every citizen of the country if Nigeria must succeed in the battle against the dreaded disease. The former Vice President made the assertion yesterday during a visit to the Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation in Abuja, as part of activities marking his 67th birthday celebrations. “Considering the fact that sickle cell anaemia remains the number two killer of children after malaria, it is important that the whole society rises in unison to confront the danger that sickle

cell poses to our society,” Atiku said. According to him, “because these children are our future, we must not relent in our effort to ensure that every obstacle that stands in the way of their growing to adulthood is effectively removed.” The former Vice President was particularly touched by the situation of a 13 year-old, John Moses, who in spite of his age could not stand on his feet. The Turaki Adamawa after making a donation of N3 million to the Foundation, called on other well-to-do individuals in the country, government and corporate organizations to similarly identify with the

Maidunama Sickle Cell Foundation and other sickle cell combating organizations in Nigeria. The founder of the foundation, Hajjia Rabi Maidunama, thanked the former Vice President for identifying with the sickle cell children on his birthday anniversary. She noted that sufficient attention is not being accorded to the fight against sickle, noting “sickle cell has remained an abandoned disease in the country.” She, however, called on wealthy individuals in the country to also identify with the foundation in its fight to stamp out sickle cell disease in Nigeria.

measures that would immediately end the five-month old strike embarked upon by the university lecturers. “The strike has been too costly for Nigeria, especially the death of Comrade Festus Iyayi, as he journeyed to Kano for ASUU’s National Executive Council meeting that was meant to resolve the on-going crisis.’’ The congress also urged the president to promptly present the 2014 budget to the National Assembly, saying “it is unfortunate that the President is yet to present the 2014 budget less than 50 days to the end of the year.’’ “It is a globally acknowledged fact that good budgeting and early presentation of budgets is serious business that makes for better fiscal and socioeconomic planning and should not be subject to any delay,’’ the statement said.

Reps set to grill minister over alleged plan to sell Nigerian house in US By Umar Muhammad Puma


inister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuluri will today appear before the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs to answer questions over alleged plans to sell the Nigeria House in New York, an official residence of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Counsel General. Clark of the committee Haruna Zakari, who disclosed this said those expected to join the minster at the committee’s investigative hearing include the permanent secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Martins Uhomoibi; Nigerian Ambasador to the US, Washington DC, Prof Adebowale Adefuye; current Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to UN, Prof Joy Ogwu and the deputy, Ambassador Usman Sarki. The House had on Tuesday,

November 5, following adoption of a motion by Rep Yakubu Dogara (PDP, Bauchi), mandated the committee led by Rep Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje to conduct a public hearing on the matter. Dogara had expressed concern that “in a bid to sell off the property very cheaply, an estimated repair bill of N2.754 billion has been prepared so that the government would be discouraged from carrying out the needed repairs and sell off the property.” The Nigeria House was said to have been bought in 1961 by late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from the famous John Davison Rockefeller family at the sum of $1 million, sits on over 16.6 acres of land and all former Nigerian representatives to UN had lived there and is said to be located in one of the most expensive places in the world which makes it both historic and strategic.




Kaduna govt to purchase used water bags, plastic for recycling


he Kaduna state government yesterday said it would commence the purchase of used pure water bags, nylons and plastic containers from residents for its plastic recycling plant. The Director of Environment, Ministry for Environment, Alhaji Ahmed Salihu, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna. Salihu said the recycling plant, located along Kaduna-Abuja Highway, had reached 80 per cent completion as the needed machinery had been installed. He assured that the plant would soon be inaugurated. “Used plastic and nylons will be used as raw materials for the plant. This will complement government effort in ensuring free flow of water during rainy season. “This initiative will also generate revenue for the state government as recycled products will be sold to residents at a cheaper price”, he said. Salihu said the plant would also create employment for over 2,000 youths in the state. He assured that electrical works and the drilling of a bore hole would completed before the inauguration of the project. (NAN)

NSUBEB chairman wants higher salaries for teachers From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


hairman of the Nasarawa state Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), Malam Abdulkarim Muhammad Abdullahi has advocated for teachers in the country to be paid the highest salaries, if only to salvage the decaying educational sector, by attracting people with passion for the teaching profession. Malam Abdulkarim stated this yesterday in a chat with journalists shortly after delivering an address on the occasion of a third level training workshop on School Based Management Community (SBMC), organized by the board in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which held in Lafia. While lamenting the fallen standard of education in the country, the NSUBEB chairman described the situation in the North as the worst, stressing that the missing link is that parents are indifferent to the educational objectives of their children while government merely recruits job seekers who he said, come to the teaching profession by default. “Teachers should be given higher remuneration so that we will have more people that are committed to education to teach. We are recruiting teachers that are not teachers, most are artificial seekers of job who come to the profession by accident”, he stated.

L-R: Benue state Governor, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, Taraba state Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, and Kaduna state Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, jointly briefing journalists after their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Anambra: Opposition lacks evidence against poll, Jega insists By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


hairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega has said that after investigating all the accusations and allegations by the opposition parties against the Anambra governorship poll, it could not see any substantial evidence to support a cancellation of the election as being demanded by opposition parties. In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, Jega said contrary to an outright cancellation of the Anambra governorship election as being canvassed by some parties, INEC will conduct a supplementary election on Saturday in the State.

...says ‘We complied with 2010 Electoral Act’ According to him, “majority of the allegations that have been made cannot be substantiated. Therefore, we have decided that the supplementary election will hold in Anambra state on Saturday, November 2013”. Even though Jega admitted that the Anambra governorship election was not the best as the Commission wanted it to be, he emphasised that the commission substantially complied with the 2010 Electoral Act (as amendment). He dismissed the allegation that the Voter Register issued to the leadership of the political parties thirty (30) days to the election and on the 13th of November 2013 (on

the date of the Stakeholders Forum) were not the same. “We have reviewed the register and we are satisfied that the register we gave 30 days before the election and the register we gave in the stakeholders’ meeting was the same and the only difference was the age, which we explained to the stakeholders and none of the stakeholders complained about it. “They understood our explanation and they were satisfied with it, and there was no challenge to that”, he stressed. On alleged disenfranchisement of some voters, he said: “We briefed about how anybody who is not on the electronic register and who vot-

ed during the 2011 elections, with their names on the Addendum Register, should use the opportunity of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise to have their names captured and put in the electronic register”. In the case of a candidate whose name was not on the register, Jega said: “We have done some checking, and our investigation has shown that he was on the Manual Register, not on the Electronic Register. And in all likelihood, since we used Electronic Register in the election, that candidate did not utilise the Continuous Voter Register opportunity so as to be on the electronic register.”

...APC writes off INEC chairman on future polls

From James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta


s controversy continues to trail the November 16 Anambra governorship election, the All Progressives Party (APC) has again reiterated that the current leadership of the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had no moral justification to conduct any other elections in the country. The party’s acting spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohamed who spoke with newsmen in Abeokuta said with the controversies surrounding the Anambra governorship election, Professor Attahiru Jega is no longer eligible to conduct any other election.

“Nigeria has a problem because INEC as we have today has no integrity to conduct any further election in Nigeria”, saying that “since the INEC chairman can admit that somebody tried to compromise the register in Idemili North, then how are we sure any register anywhere is save?” He said “the November 16 election was tainted with irredeemable irregularities that the so-called supplementary election cannot cure”. Mohammed added that since “the INEC chairman himself admitted publicly that a senior official of the commission was induced with money to compromise the election in Idemili North local government”, they in

APC “think that was enough basis for cancellation because we do not even know how far that conspiracy has gone”. INEC maintained 4, 604 polling units in Anambra state. A few weeks to the election, INEC said they were going to create an extra 1, 903 units because many of the polling units had more than 500 registered voters which make sense”. “So all the parties including APC looked for extra 1, 903 agents. They supplied the names of about 6, 500 agents with their pictures to INEC so INEC can give them identification to act as polling agents. It was only 3pm on Friday to the election that we were given tags. The tags

we were given were only 4, 604 which meant over 1, 903 of our agents could not perform because they had no tags and this contrary to the fact that APGA got their tags, over 6, 500 three or four days before the election”. “So these are the irregularities that we believe are substantial enough to cancel the election. This is not talking about deliberate attempt everywhere to take election materials to wrong areas so that by the time you don’t find your name and you come back, the election is over. I do not see how anybody would now say this election can be cured by supplementary election”, Mohammed said.




Oil prices TMG rejects Jonathan’s choice drop of Mu’azu as PENCOM chairman sharply after Iran T nuclear deal By A’isha Biola Raji


he price of oil dropped to near $93 a barrel yesterday as a deal between Iran and six world powers on the country’s nuclear program made it more likely that sanctions choking Iranian oil exports will be lifted. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down $1.44 at $93.40 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract fell 60 cents to close at $94.84. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, was down $1.92 at $109.13 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. After marathon negotiations in Geneva, Iran on Sunday reached an agreement with the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany to limit enrichment of uranium to 5 percent, far below the level needed for nuclear weapons. Iran got limited relief from sanctions that have hobbled its economy, but an embargo on its oil exports remains in place while negotiations continue for a more enduring deal to ensure that the country only uses nuclear technology for peaceful purposes such as power generation. If Iranian oil returns to international markets, the additional supply is likely to make crude less expensive. “With new (U.S.) domestic output capacity coming on line, plus the potential reemergence of Iranian barrels coming onto the global market, the table is set for lower prices over the longer term,” energy analyst Stephen Schork said in a market commentary. For now, analysts expect Iran’s oil exports to remain at around 1 million barrels a day, with most of the flow soaked up by Asian countries like China, India and Korea. That is still far below the 2.5 million barrels a day Iran was exporting in 2011, before sanctions began. “Iran is still a long way from resuming full oil exports, but the prospect is already being priced in the market,” analysts noted in the Kilduff Report edited by Michael Fitzpatrick. The Nymex crude contract is down from about $104 in early October because of ample supplies and muted demand.

he Transition Monitoring Group (TGM) has kicked against the choice of former Bauchi state governor, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu as Chairman, Nigeria Pension Commission (PENCOM) by President Goodluck Jonathan. The group said it rejects Mu’azu because he is being investigated by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

(EFCC) for cases of corruption. The President had last week Wednesday, forwarded Mu’azu’s name for PENCOM. The group said it was surprised by this move of the president especially as Mu’azu was yet to be cleared by EFCC of allegedly embezzling Bauchi state’s N19.8 billion when he was governor of the state. It said in a statement issued yesterday, signed by Ibrahim Zikirullahi and Eddy Ezurike,

the group’s Chairman and Publicity Secretary respectively, that: “This and other similar acts of Mr. President, particularly his penchant for surrounding himself with famed corrupt individuals, makes his government’s so-called anticorruption efforts a laughing stock, for it is obvious from his antecedents that President Jonathan endorses corruption. “EFCC is investigating Mallam Mu’azu for allegedly

R-L President Goodluck Jonathan admiring locally made shoe exhibited, during the presidential launch of the 3rd edition of Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN3), yesterday at the Banquet Hall of the State House, in Abuja. With him are, Akwa Ibom state Governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of State Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama, Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. Photo: Joe Oroye

stealing billions of naira belonging to Bauchi state during his term as governor between 1999 and 2007. “Appointing Mu’azu to head the commission is in line with his practice of shielding corrupt individuals”, it stressed. TMG recalled that in the heat of the corruption charges against the same Mu’azu Adamu, President Jonathan appointed him in 2011 as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). “The Nigerian people of course will not forget in a hurry how this same President granted presidential pardon to a convicted corrupt former governor and his kinsman, DSP Alamieyeseigha, and other criminals. “Those who recently looted the Police Pensions Board, including its former Director are yet to be brought to book. The list is endless, yet Jonathan’s regime talks about fight against corruption. The attitude of Mr. President in recycling corrupt individuals in public places is worrisome and does not inspire confidence at all”, said the statement. TMG called on President Jonathan to withdraw immediately, Mu’azu’s nomination and take “creative steps” to rebuild confidence in the anti-corruption war.

We’ve created 27,000 Jobs through you Win, says Jonathan By Etuka Sunday, with agency report


resident Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday in Abuja that about 27,000 jobs have so far been created with the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) programme. The president made the disclosure in a remark at the launch of the third edition of YouWiN at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa. He explained that YouWiN aimed to create over 80,000 jobs to address the high rate of unemployment in the country. “When we came into office

in 2011, unemployment in the country stood at 35% and we considered that as unacceptable. “In response to this, we launched a number of initiatives which included the YOUWiN to provide jobs for our citizens”, he said, adding that the first phase of YouWiN created 22,000 jobs while the second phase that focused only on women has so far created 5,000 jobs. The president commended the successes recorded so far through the programme and the quality of products exhibited by the beneficiaries, which he said could compete favourably with others anywhere in the world. He disclosed that the

third phase of the project which involves 1,200 youth entrepreneurs would provide more than 3,600 direct jobs. The president appealed to multinationals and private sector operators to assist government in providing the much needed funds for enterprising youths. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala, said there were 2,400 YouWiN awardees in the first and second phases. She added that more than 6,000 applicants were trained in business plan development and small business management. She said the awardees

were given grants of between N1million and N10 million each to implement their business. The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, said with the launch by the president, the website would be made open to applicants. She said submission of application and registration were completely automated and applicants expected to submit innovative proposals, visible, practicable and with potentials for job creation. Johnson also disclosed that all previous YouWiN awardees were provided free functional website by her ministry. (NAN)

Ebonyi varsity defies ASUU, orders lecturers, students back on campus


he management of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, yesterday, ordered all the lecturers and students to return to classes immediately. In a statement issued in Abakaliki, the Registrar, Mr Sam Egwu, said academic activities would resume on all the campuses of the university today, Nov.26. The statement said: “We have waited patiently for the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve

the impasse (strike) to no avail. “The management of Ebonyi State University has, therefore, resolved to commence academic activities on Tuesday. “We, therefore, use this medium to inform all concerned that teaching and learning will begin fully on Tuesday, to enable us to cover what we have lost to the strike” , the statement said. A source told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this was

part of decisions reached at a management meeting held on Nov. 20. It said “80 per cent of the lecturers in attendance agreed that they should ignore ASUU’s nationwide strike and return to class. “The lecturers are not happy that the strike is lingering and therefore gave their full support for the resumption of school on Tuesday”, the source said.

The source, however, said that Chairman of ASUU in the university did not attend the meeting. The chairman, Prof. Ndubuisi Idenyi, in an interview with NAN, dissociated the branch of ASUU from the decision to resume studies. “The strike is still in progress until we get directives from our national leadership”, he told NAN.(NAN)


Photo Splash

Rev. Fr. Lawrence Soja Anyembugu of St. Sylvester Catholic Independent Mission, leading the parishioners’ procession to commemorate the feast of Christ, on Sunday, in New Nyanya, Nasarawa state. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo


L-R: Chairman, World Pension Summit Conference, Mr. Harry Smorenberg, Acting Director General, National Pension Commission, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, and Co-Conference Chairman, Mr. Erik Eggink, during the World Pension Summit, recently in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

L-R: Cross River state Commissioner for Education, , Prof. Offiong Offiong; Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, during a meeting with state commissioners for education, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

R-L: Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, listening to National President, Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Dr. Fred Achem, during a visit to the governor by members of SOGON, yesterday at the Lagos House, in Ikeja.

L-R: CEO Mwana Africa, RSA, Mr. Kalaa Mpinga, Honorary Speaker, Senate of the Republic of Belgium, Mrs. Anne Marie Lizin, Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, President of Crans Montana Forum, Ambassador Jean-Paul Carteron, and Emir of Minna, Dr. Umar Farouk Bahago, during the presentation of the highest Award on Good Governance to the governor by the Crans Montana Forum, recently in Brussels, Belgium.




Atiku Abubakar, GCON

We rejoice with you, dear Founder, as you add a new year. Please stay well. Best wishes, always. President Margee Ensign For: The Board, Management and Sta




Senator Barata/NDE train 360 youths in Adamawa

From Umar Dankano, Yola


enator Ahmad Hassan Barata representing Adamawa South Senatorial District in the national assembly in conjunction with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) have trained 360 youths from his consistency through his strategic empowerment scheme (project) in Adamawa state. Barata disclosed this yesterday in Yola Adamawa State capital while distributing working equipment to the

beneficiaries. He said in his quest to eradicate poverty, he has facilitated the employment of more than 35 graduates from all the nine Local Governments of his constituency just as he added that he has provided a computer center in Jada and Numan local governments respectively. However, during the disbursement of the empowerment package which includes grinding machines, sewing machines, hairdressing

equipment and local irrigation equipment for dry farming, Barata noted that poverty must be reduced to the barest minimum to allow peace thrive adding that poverty is the root cause of all evil acts in the society. Earlier, the Director General of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), who was represented by Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed said his directorate has trained over 150, 000 beneficiaries in various skills in Adamawa since inception.

He also explained that, over 100,000 were trained on skills acquisition in vocational and technical trades such as fashion designing, carpentry, tailoring,

auto mechanic, hair dressing, electrical installation etc. while over 10,000 were trained in landscaping and environmental beautification among others.

NHIS gets substantive ES


resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday approved the appointment of Mr. Martin Oluwafemi Thomas as the new Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), for a period of four years. This is contained in a statement issued by the Office of

the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and signed by Mr. Innocent Abu, the Chief Information Officer. The statement said the appointment, which took effect from November 19, is line with Section 3(1) of the National Health Insurance Scheme Act 1999. (NAN)

Minster inaugurates councils, boards of health bodies By Abbas Aminu Bamalli

T L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ambassador Sani Bala, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, President, Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in Americas, (NAPPSA), Dr. Funmi Ajayi, and founding President of NAPPSA, Mr. Nnodum Iheme, during the signing of MoU between the Federal Ministry of Health and NAPPSA, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Kwara Aviation College aircraft crashes From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

…3 escape un-hurt


11.33a.m. “The three people on board walked away without suffering any injury. They were then taken to the college clinic for proper check and were certified okay. The college established contact with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) who are the only regulatory bodies responsible to brief the press on why and how this happened.” The rector also disclosed that all the college’s aircraft were

n Aircraft of Ilorin International Aviation College with Diamond DA4000 single-engine has been involved in an accident. The Acting Rector of the Institution, AbdulKarim Nuhu who confirmed the incident yesterday at a press briefing, said the three people on board the aircraft escaped unhurt. The Rector who didn’t revealed the likely cause of the air -mishap said the aircraft- with registration number 5N-BRD involved in the incident at about

properly insured. It was gathered that the people involved in the incident, include an instructor, and two students during one of their trainings within the vicinity of the aviation college and the aircraft was “seriously damaged”. The acting rector of the aviation college said the three people on board did not suffer any injury. The Rector said that the three people have received medical checkup at the College Clinic after the incident and later certified okay before going home.

he Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has inaugurated chairmen and members of the governing councils and boards of health professional Regulatory Bodies, he urged them to discharge their duties diligently, transparently, firmness and fairness. He told the newly inaugurated members that, the ceremony marks one of the most significant steps the Goodluck Jonathan

Administration is taking to truly transform the health sector in Nigeria. “This is because the role you are being called upon to play today, revolves around setting the standards for the production, licensing, control and discipline of the most important or core element required for any transformation, namely, Human Resources for Health, otherwise also known as the Health Workforce”, he told them.

NDC prepares personnel for peace operations By Joy Baba


he Commandant of the National Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Patrick Agholor said the military and civilians need to bridge any form of gap so as to attain the goal of the African Standby Force (ASF) Agholor stated this yesterday in Abuja while declaring open, a two week Peace Operations Planning Course organized for participants drawn from ten countries in the sub-region including Nigeria in their preparation for the ASF. The Commandant said the Course is timely because Nigeria currently occupies the fifth

position in terms of ranking of military and police contributions to the UN Operations, with about 4,777 personnel in different missions. He further said a growing number of Nigerian civilians are now participating in various PSOs adding that Nigeria holds the positions of the Chair of UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (SCPOs) also known as the C34. “Therefore, our country must be seen to provide leadership in such areas as this and in enabling our peacekeepers to be knowledgeable, proficient and to process the requisite skills needed in PSOs”He also said.

Missing $5bn: Amaechi wants to engage in politicized debate- Finance Ministry By Etuka Sunday


he Ministry of Finance yesterday said that from all indications, Governor Rotimi Ameachi of Rivers State was engaging in a politicized debate over the alleged missing $5 billion from Excess Crude Account.

It would be recalled that there has been a verbal altercation between the governor and the Ministry over the $5 billion which the Ministry has long dismissed as false, saying that the money was taken from Excess Crude Account and domiciled at the Federation Account. In a statement issued by the

Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Paul C. Nwabuikwu, the Ministry said, “It is obvious that His Excellency, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State wants to engage in a politicized debate on the management of the economy. We prefer to focus on facts.”

“But we thank him most sincerely for at least admitting that he received N56.2 billion. We also commend him for accepting that there was no intention by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala not to sign the Water Resources loan from the African Development Bank.

“To put the issue in perspective, the total amount which Rivers State has received from the Federation Account between January and October 2013 is N257.6 billion which is the second highest among the states, of which the N56.2 billion from the Excess Crude Account is a part,” the statement concluded.



Money sense How to easily save money every month (even when you’re broke) W

ith such a tough economy, it’s hard to keep up with monthly expenses much less worry about trying to save money, but saving money is important to do so as to keep a cushion in case of unexpected bills. There are ways to save money, even when you think there is nothing left at the end of the month. Check out these ideas for saving money using little ideas that add up. Create monthly budget: Sit down and write up a list of your monthly expenses. Find out where your money is going and where you might be able to tighten your budget a little. Try to find places where you might be able to save N1000 here and N1500 there. These amounts really add up. Try putting your utilities on a budget or cutting out phone expenses by using just a cell phone. If your loans are too high, consider consolidation. Most banks will do this even for multiple personal and car loans. It’s amazing what you can save a month! Cut out unnecessary purchases: If you buy tea or kunu every morning before work, try to make on your own at home and take it to work in a thermos. Pack a lunch to take to work instead of buying lunch every day. Make meals at home instead of ordering take-out. Every little purchase you make that isn’t a necessity can hurt your wallet. Try cutting out these items and putting the money away. Your savings will really add up. Put even N100 away every day: Try putting N100 into a piggy bank every day; by the end of the month, you’ll have saved N3000. That’s N36000 a year!


e are all looking for ways to save money these days. Discover 9 easy ways to save money at home, without the hassle. Learning how to save money at home is not as hard as you may think. Save money when you buy groceries: Buy meat in large quantities and split up a large pack of chicken, ground beef, or turkey for several meals. Properly wrap and store in the freezer. You will discover that it really doesn’t take that much meat for a family meal. Eliminate soft drinks: Convenience stores charges upwards of N200, and larger quantities are no better. Buy a five pound bag of sugar and make tea, Kool-aid, or drink water. This can save a lot of money at home. Save electricity: Try turning off the lights in rooms

Now, think if you are able to put N1000 into that piggy bank. Do whatever you can. Every naira counts and can add up to a big savings at the end of the month. Most people can do without N100 a day and won’t even miss it. See

how much you can live without and how your savings will increase per month. Save change and only use cash for purchases: Paying for items with cash only and saving all your change will increase your

piggy bank savings. Most people will save approximately N6000 a month this way. N6000 is a lot when you need fuel for your car or milk and bread and have no available money. I had a friend once who saved all her change for

9 easy ways to save money at home that no one is in. This can save several amount of money on an electric bill. Turn off computers, televisions, and anything else using electricity, when not in use. Use what’s in the freezer: Many people store and store, yet never use. Get out the vegetables from the garden or the deer meat: Try and use something from the freezer in every meal. This way, you are not raiding the freezer, but using stored food a little along to save money at home. Cook rice or noodles often: Rice or noodles can go with or in a lot of meals:

Noodle Soup Red Beans and Rice Macaroni and Cheese Noodles and Spaghetti Sauce Wash full loads of clothes: An additional way to save money at home is when you wash clothes. Wash one large load, instead of 2 small loads. This saves on water. A lot of us are guilty of washing 3-4 items, 3-4 times a day. This wastes water and you can save money at home, by washing a larger load. Cook larger meals and use the leftovers: You can save money at home by taking last night’s supper to work

tomorrow. Also, have a meal of leftovers, instead of leaving it in the fridge to ruin. Pay bills on time: This is a great way to save money, even if only a couple of naira. Companies that have electricity, water, fuel, and phone offer one amount before a certain date (usually the beginning of the month) and another amount after a certain date. Use this to save N1500.00 - N3000.00 a month, just by paying bills on time. Stay home: If you not going, you’re not spending. At home, you’re not spending money. It’s free there.

a year and had enough to take a vacation to Obudu cattle ranch for four days. She ended up saving nearly N150,000! It’s totally worth it. Trade items with friends and family: If you don’t have enough money to make your ends meet and are looking to save some money, try trading items with others for things you need. People always have clothes they’ve outgrown, household items they don’t use anymore, or are willing to help out when times are tough just knowing you will help them when they need it. This will save you money from having to purchase everything. Think of it as trade by barter...instead of paying money for the things you need, you pay with items you have that you no longer use. Even better, you could offer services such as mowing their lawn, carrying their groceries, or cleaning their house. Keep energy bills low by cutting out on unnecessary expenses: Turn off lights when they are not in use, put off air conditioner when they are not necessary, take faster showers, and don’t run the water a lot when brushing teeth. Save money on expenses that could be put back into your pocket just by paying attention to the energy levels in your home. Conserving energy will lower your utility bills by amazing amounts. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save just by keeping electricity and cooling levels to a minimum in your home. Watch how carefully you use certain items so that you can lower your utility bills and have more money left at the end of the month.

Money Tip: Keep track of exactly how much money you have and where it is kept and also remember -Don’t keep or have the same passwords and login details for all of your accounts, don’t make it easy for people to get hold of your information.

Quote This planet has, or rather had a problem, which was this, most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy – Douglas Adams




Leave the World Bank alone; Nigerians are poor February 2011 that 112 million Nigerians are poor going by the economic situation in the country that year. While 100 million are in absolute poverty, 12.6 million are moderately poor. In February 2012 the NBS reported that poverty has risen in Nigeria, with almost 100 million people living on less We also wish to point out to than a $1 (£0.63) a day, despite Mr. President that Nigeria, economic growth. This year, the National Bureau a richly endowed country of Statistics again stated that is being impoverished by about 112 million Nigerians live pervasive corruption. Sadly, below the poverty line. And “that the President seems to be the population of Nigerians helpless in combating this in poverty has increased considerably”. major menace. We solemnly implore the President and his Chief He recalled that during a visit to Economic adviser to go and Nigeria in May 2013, World Bank’s ask Dr. Yemi Kale, Nigeria’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Statistician General who heads Diop, had declared that poverty the National Statistics Bureau in Nigeria has fallen under this which collects these data administration from 48 percent to from over 20 million Nigerian 46 percent. households, over the years. “The question that arises from This is a more honourable path this absurdity therefore is: who is to follow than engaging the right?” he asked. World Bank in a public debate. To answer the Chief Economic We also wish to point out to Adviser, we make bold to say that Mr. President that Nigeria, the World Bank did not reveal a richly endowed country any new figures. This has been the is being impoverished by recognized poverty level in Nigeria pervasive corruption. Sadly, the since 2010 at least. The National President seems to be helpless in Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in combating this major menace. Okidegbe, described the statement as “spurious and astonishing”, and a contradiction of the bank’s previous position on the level of poverty in Nigeria.

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”


fficials of the Jonathan administration frequently mesmerize us these days with statistics of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fast growth rate. They say these two factors have made Nigeria the fastest growing economy in Africa. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala and Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, have been the loudest officials dishing us these suspicious statistics. But if our GDP is so great and the rate of our growth is so high, why is poverty staring so many Nigerians in the face? Last week for instance, the World Bank’s Country Director, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, said that 100 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty. She gave the remark at the bank’s Country Programme Portfolio Review in Enugu. Ms Marie-Nelly said the number of Nigerians living in destitution makes up 8.33 per cent of the total number of people living in destitution worldwide. But in an angry reaction to the statement, the Chief Economic Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Nwanze











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Opinion Youth and challenges of development By Jaye Gaskia


return in this piece to the subject of the urgency of youth engagement, the historical urgency of the necessity for youth to engage with the polity and the political process. Kwame Nkrumah it was who said in the fifties of the twentieth century, at the height of the struggle for independence from colonial rule in Africa that; ‘Seek ye first the political kingdom, and every other thing shall be added unto you’! In paraphrasing the bible, Nkrumah was pointing out and emphasising the utmost importance of control of political power to the socio-economic transformation process. That fact is even more true today, seven decades after, in the aftermath of a failed independence project, that has seen scores of countries attain flag independence, in a manner that left the actual power relations between the erstwhile colonisers and the erstwhile colonies only peripherally modified to accommodate the emergent ruling elite of the hitherto colonised entities as junior partners in a global pillage enterprise! But this is a story for another day. Let us get back to the question of historic and urgent necessity for youth to be engaged. The struggle for independence from colonialism, even if that struggle was essentially eventually short circuited and truncated, with the co-optation, and coercion of the emergent post independence elite, and by the global architecture of dependence by the dominant centers of the global market economy; was essentially youth led! That struggle was led by the youth. The Ahmadu Bellos, The Nnamdi Azikwes, the Obafemi Awolowos, The Mokwugo Okoyes the Tafawa Balewas, The Joseph Tarkas, and Aminu Kanos, all began their political careers in their youth; they founded the organisations which negotiated with the colonial regime while they were youths, and assumed leadership of this country while still in their forties! What applied to our country

applied to other countries. Agostino Neto, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Emery Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah; the independence war and struggle, leaders of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bisau, DRC, Ghana, were all in their youth when they founded the parties that led those independence struggles. In Southern Africa, youth played decisive roles at historic turning points in the struggle against apartheid! In Apartheid South Africa, it was the youth, in their forties and below, who founded the ANC youth wing, and in 1944 essentially took over the ANC convention, and made it adopt its youth wing program as the Freedom Charter, in a Congress Of The People convened by the ANC! This became a historic turning point in the history of the anti-apartheid struggle, led to the promotion into ANC national leadership of the ANY Youth wing leaders, and set the stage for the eventual campaigns of defiance and the establishment of the armed wing; Nkomto We Sizwe - Spear of the Nation; and hence the launch of the armed struggle. And in more recent times, in post independent Africa, in the struggle against Neo-colonialism, youth have also played strategically decisive leadership roles. Thomas Sankara, was not yet 40, when he and his colleagues led the Burkinabe Revolution and captured the imagination of that generation of African Youths. Likewise, on the other side of the

globe, in Latin America; Fidel Castro and his colleagues in what became the July 26th Movement were all in their twenties when they launched the audacious attack on the Moncada baracks in 1956 in an heroic, but failed attempt to unseat the dictator Batista! That movement went on to launch an armed struggle in 1958, and overthrew the military dictatorship after defeating it militarily in Jan 1959! Of the leaders of the Revolution, Fidel was the oldest, and he was barely 32; the rest, Ernesto Che Guevara, the younger castro, Camilo Cienfuengos etc were all under 30! The late Hugo Chavez, leader of the Bolivarian revolution, was in his forties when the movement that birthed the revolution was founded, and when he first assumed office after electoral vicory. In Europe and America, we can find similar instances; Tony Blair and the Blairites were in their 30s when they took over leadership of the Labour Party in Britain, and in their early forties when they took over leadership of UK Government. Nearly two decades later, David Cameron of the Conservative party and Niel Klegg of the Liberal Democrats would repeat a similar scenario in assuming leadership of the UK government - in their forties! And both JFK and Obama assumed leadership of the US at decisive and critical historical moments while in their forties! The point being made here is that Nigerian youths of this

generation, have a decisive historical task to undertake; one that hinges around undertaking the transformation of our country, achieving our national liberation from the death grip of globalisation; and laying the foundation of the social self emancipation of our peoples! It is a task that youth is very well suited; given its energy, its flexibility, its ability to innovate, its capacity for creativity, and its tendency to accommodate change! And this is even more so, even more urgent, in our own context, where 60 to 70% of the population is 40 years and under! And even in post independence Nigeria, there were lots of quite significant historical precedents. It was youths; the Nigeria Youth and student movements who fought against the Anglo-Nigeria defence pact, and prevented the country’s emergent political elites from turning our country into a huge base for the British Military! It was Nigeria Students and youths who fought against the imposition of the Structural Adjustment Program [SAP] by the military dictatorship of IBB; it was Youth who constituted the foot soldiers and provided a significant proportion of the leadership of the Anti -military and pro-democracy movement! The first human rights, environmental rights, women’s rights, and prodemocracy organisations and coalitions - CLO, ERA, CDHR,

And in more recent times, in post independent Africa, in the struggle against Neo-colonialism, youth have also played strategically decisive leadership roles. Thomas Sankara, was not yet 40, when he and his colleagues led the Burkinabe Revolution and captured the imagination of that generation of African Youths.

CD, UAD, JACON, WIN [Women In Nigeria]; etc were all led by Nigerians in their forties; and involved in their leaderships, a very significant proportion of Nigerians in their twenties and thirties - my generation! The January Uprising, was also very significantly a youth and workers’ uprising! In its leadership Nationally and across the country was a very significant proportion, and in a majority, Nigeria citizens in their thirties and forties! Nigeria Youths of the present generation have a date with history; and as the ageing, greedy, gluttonous, light fingered, treasury looting, inept and incompetent ruling elite, continue to push our country increasingly towards the edge of the precipice; precisely at this momentous historical juncture, the nation, our country, our people, require the selfless, patriotic, committed and revolutionary service of the youth. If we fail, we may condemn our nation to bottom of the ladder of human civilisation! And for those among us who still look up to socalled persons of dubious integrity; septuagenarians and Octogenarians; let us point out to them that these elements assumed leadership of our country while in their thirties and forties, and have remained permanent fixtures of our political leadership landscape ever since they made their rude intrusion into our national life decades ago! Assuming that a few of them are upright and capable; the very fact that none of our generation, or the generation after us can be considered by them and their admirers, as worthy successors, is the most significant indication of their historic failure, and historical incompetence! Of what historical significance is leadership that is unable to replicate itself, and incapable grooming successor generations? It is our bounden historical duty to answer the call of history, take our destiny into our own hands, and Take Back Nigeria. Twitter: @jayegaskia

Why Lagos PPRO, Ngozi Braide should be removed By Sandra Duru


wish to bring to the notice of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed D. Abubakar, the kind of policing of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Lagos State command, Ms Ngozi Braide as well as the unethical conduct of some officers at the command, which in my opinion does not give the Police a good image. Ngozi, a young woman saddled with the responsibility of upholding the image of the Police institution in Lagos State is currently destroying it by the way she behaves, as seen in this

case/ ordeal of one of our friends Mr. Abragadou Aminu, a French teacher, who was arrested by the Command, for the simple act of recording an ugly incident carried out by the Police, which he saw while trekking along Ketu-Ojota road on Tuesday, 19th November, 2013,. He had seen two Police officers (a policeman and a police woman both in uniform) manhandling a commercial driver. Aminu, being a man with high level alertness, brought out his mobile handset and started recording/snapping the public show of shame. However, this landed him in the cell as a police officer, who saw Aminu when

he was recording the incident pounced on him. Aminu was mercilessly beaten. He was initially detained at the Ketu Police station. When we contacted Ngozi Braide, Lagos PPRO to intervene, she insulted us, saying that she had been looking for a scape goat amongst Nigerians that record such activities of the Nigerian Police. The next we heard was that Aminu had been taken from Ketu police station to the Lagos PPRO’s office, then to Ikeja police Area “F” command. All these happened simply because Aminu used his mobile phone to record an incident between a commercial driver and

a-team of police officers. Aminu was first arbitrarily detained at Ketu Police Station, from Ketu, he was transferred to the PPRO’s office where he was harassed for hours. From PPRO’s office, the innocent Aminu was transferred to Area F detention cell and from Area F to X-squad cell. May we bring to the IGP’s notice that the police possesses no power to keep an accused in custody for more than 48 hours at most. May we also remind you that the PPRO’s office is not meant for torturing an accused, and that the X-squad detention cell, where Aminu was detained for about 96 hours wasn’t meant

for civilians but for arrant officers. It might interest the IGP to know that while at Ngozi Braide’s mini-detention room, Aminu was compelled to re-write his statement under duress and given a letter of apology to sign which he did. His phone was seized, his clothes torned and most of the vital information relating to this case which he stored in his phone memory deleted except one photograph, all in order to cover up the unprofessional acts of your men. The PPRO also said she considers it a disservice to the Police force for civilians to record cont on page 14




If Nigerians want Nigeria to break-up, so be it (I) By Mansir Lawal Kaware


he National Conference, Sovereign National Conference, National Dialogue or National Dialogue/ Conference as the case may be, is simply talking about Nigeria as one indivisible entity, to be or not to be. It is good that President Goodluck Jonathan has given the Dialogue Committee free hand, which by extension means every Nigerian can contribute either as an individual or group, what he or she sincerely feel about the country. It has been long that Nigerians, from different parts of the country, were advancing one reason or the other, mostly advocating for the failure of the 1914 marriage of the North and South, which made-up what we today call Nigeria. The reasons are not far-fetched as they border on economy, religion, ethnicity, leadership and geographical locations. While maturity should be the watch word with this type of write-up, I will give examples, with names and period of time where necessary because it is time to call a spade-a-spade. Despite the fact that the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and individual State Governments, Katsina State inclusive have decided to prepare an articulated position paper for the north, I have chosen to contribute this piece, with the above heading. I remember that General Babangida used to say during his regime, when he takes a decision, that “It is a painful but necessary decision”. I equally re-called General Buhari saying he was not afraid of trouble, because during the 1966 Nigerian Civil War, he was one of the four soldiers referred to as regular

combatants. I chose this though our leaders Army personnel, the civil war, had voiced their against seeing divided after their lives to Notwithstanding General Gowon he was the one “Keep Nigeria One must be done”. recalled that Shagari’s regime,

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Cameroonian Gendarmes harassed Nigerians living along the Cameroon/ Nigerian border, so much so that Nigerian soldiers were posted to the borders and the Cameroonian Gendarmes killed five (5) of them. Yet the Nigerian soldiers did not retaliate the killings, but at that point President Shagari warned Cameroon, that “Nigeria’s patience is not without limit”. In the same vein I would like to say that the magnitude with which our brothers from the South insult the North over their oil is undesirable. So if they feel cheated let them go their way. There is no doubt that

Nigeria, as one country has the economic potentials and human resources that put it ahead of other countries in the African continent. This indeed, has placed Nigeria at the position of leadership compared to other countries despite the numerous challenges it faces from within and outside the country. However, when there are too many complaints even if such complaints resulted from ignorance, it is good to allow those who felt oppressed have their freedom. You never can tell, what you are running away from may be the best for you. Our leaders and those of us from the north have always

topic even and our who fought consistently opinions Nigeria they risked keep it one. the fact that is still alive, who said to is a task that I equally during Shehu the

risen against dividing the country, which our brothers from the south misconceived as being afraid of becoming poor, the reason that made them to continuously harp for the confab. Let the confab hold, and let all those who care to know, understand that with or without Nigeria as one entity, the North can stand on its feet. For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to make it unequivocally clear that Northerners are not lazy, we are peace loving people and can tolerate one another against all odds, our ethnic and religious differences are not as bad as many people think. We have common economic and

You never can tell, what you are running away from may be the best for you. Our leaders and those of us from the north have always risen against dividing the country, which our brothers from the south misconceived as being afraid of becoming poor.

cultural activities which cement our social relationships. A few voices, mostly from the middle belt often talked of religious differences, but one would realize that it usually emanates from a handful of some elites who drum it to achieve their selfish ends, but hardly does it make any impact because it doesn’t represent the views of the majority. There were skirmishes just as it occurred in the South for economic, ethnic or land dispute issues. Criminal violence is common to all parts of the country, if anything these activities of criminals had their base in the south before crossing to the north. The south-east had always wished for a country of their own, the south-south wants the total control of their oil money while the south-west are proponents of state police, the sum total of which made the South see the northerners as dependants who oppressed the south in terms of leadership and economic gains while contributing nothing to the economy. Necessity it is said, is the mother of invention, lets give the southern components their freedom so that they could have their own leaders, drink and birth with the whole of their oil and have their police not only at state but local government and ward levels if they so wish. The poor north will find a way of managing itself. When there is no body to give you food, you will certainly rise-up and look for it yourself, it will then be known whether the North is dependent on the south or not. Mansir Lawal Kaware writes from Katsina State.

Why Lagos PPRO, Ngozi Braide should be removed Cont from page 13 their activities while Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah could not be sanctioned for buying armoured cars? Ngozi maintained that the police had been looking for a ‘scape goat’, amongst Nigerians that do such recording of their activities. Shey claimed that uploading the corrupt and immoral activities of the Police on the social, print and electronic media is disservice to the nation! Dear IGP, to us, this is not true. The IGP’s men in Lagos, under the supervision of Braide, said Aminu had no constitutional right to record such incident leading to his unlawful incarceration because he is a Togolese. Sir, your officers, out of ignorance, have forgotten that Togo is a West Africa country, hence, he possesses diplomatic immunity, freedom of movement and trade as entrenched by the law of the Economic Community of West African

states (ECOWAS). In addition to that, Aminu’s ECOWAS passport is valid and yet to expire and his residential and working permits are also valid. All pleas from human rights journalists, lawyers and concerned Nigerians to have Aminu released on bail, fell on the PPRO’s deaf ears as he was sadly arraigned in court on Saturday, 23rd November, 2013. And then when our team of

lawyers secured his bail, no one was on ground to sign his bail paper. It is an incontrovertible fact that Saturday is not a working day in Nigeria. So we make bold to say that Aminu was arraigned on Saturday in order for the police to have ample time to suffer him the more in their detention cell thereby causing him more mental, psychological and emotional trauma. Then the

shocking claim, when we met with the Police Commissioner (CP) over Aminu’s ordeal, he said Aminu would not be released because we had alerted well-meaning Nigerians about his ordeal via the social media. Sir, May we ask this question Mr. IGP. When has it become an offence to run/alert/cry/ report to the public via the social media? When has it become a crime for one to exercise his/her

Mr. IGP. When has it become an offence to run/alert/cry/report to the public via the social media? When has it become a crime for one to exercise his/her rights to speech and expression?

rights to speech and expression? As we await your intervention, we demand the following, immediate removal of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Lagos State command, Ngozi Braide, withdrawal of the suit against Mr. Aminu Abragahou, as he did nothing wrong to warrant being prosecuted and persecuted other than attempting to expose unprofessional behaviour of the Police. Immediate arrest and prosecution of the police officers who arrested Aminu in Ketu. The police officers who were involved in the show of shame with the commercial driver should also be arrested and prosecuted, and having suffered enormous psychological, emotional and mental torture in the hands of the Police, Aminu should be adequately compensated. Sandra Duru, wrote in from Ikeja, Lagos state,www.



Comment Nigeria’s political gridlock: origins and outcomes Cont from Back page

Former president Saleh, whose high handed regime has only served the Americans, whose obsession with the war against al-Qaida, emboldens the regime repression to further destabilize the Yemeni society and rendered the people more desperate for change. The heightened and prolonged political standoff in Yemen in which the Yemeni traditional elite were set to loose, rattled the monarchies in the gulf states, which moved in very quickly to engineer a facesaving measure for the Saleh regime. In the desperate political situation in which a formerly strong and invisible regime was openly cracked and seemingly destined to the dustbin of history, a national conference or dialogue, was spiritedly brought to the fore. President Abdullahi Saleh was forced to abdicate power, while the remainder of his political clan was shooed in, to manage the transition to post-Saleh political process

in Yemen, without a total loss of political privilege. In this context, the national political dialogue, whose mechanism including composition, scope of issues it would cover, took a profound dimension for the reconstruction and recreation of a viable and functional Yemeni state. To under-score, the critical intervention of the national dialogue mechanism in the regeneration of the Yemeni state, the United Nation’s secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon appointed special representative to the Yemeni national dialogue. A key component of the national dialogue process is the statebuilding committee, whose key function would be to collate views on complete restructuring of the state institutions and enabling structures. The nature of Yemeni national dialogue or conference, puts it, way beyond the manipulation of the regime or the vested political interests that have traditionally rendered the state hollow and dysfunctional. All the formal institu-

tions of the state are still on display, but would undoubtedly give way to the new institutions and structures that the Yemenis are hammering out, from the national dialogue process. Nobody remotely insinuates that any such remarkable changes that might be decided by the Yemenis through the dialogue process will get approval from the discredited institutions that served well, the dictatorship of the old regime. The Nigerian dialogue process and the mechanism set in motion to realised it, pales into elaborate caricature when set a against the fundamental process of national dialogue in Yemen and what it aims to achieve. In the Nigerian case, and for the inveterate political elite wedded to obscene privileges and far from any serious threat to loose it, the national conference or dialogue could conveniently become a circus show to maintain a modicum of public activity, while entrenching deeply in the public sphere to maintain a façade and the banality of a

political order. In the specific context of the highly vulnerable president Jonathan administration, the national conference would provide alternative to a seemingly electoral vulnerability for the clannish regime to maintain itself in power. I dare predict that the president Jonathan national dialogue or conference will deal with one single issue of tenure, where the regime obsession of a six or seven year single tenure will dominate. If the commotion in the ruling PDP persist whereby, it would become impossible to win election, even by massive rigging, then framework of the national conference will be used to push for a single tenure of seven years, whereby the regime can completely avoid any elections. An unpopular national and state assemblies whose most members could win any credible elections, would quickly ratified the adoption of a single term of six or seven years by the national conference. It is important for Nigerians to understand the regime’s sudden

conversion to national conference and appreciate the regime’s insidious ploy to perpetuate itself in office, using a disfigured version of a long advocated and popular platform. For a meaningful national regeneration, Nigerians must return to the trenches to win for themselves a credible national framework to rebuild and recreate her state institutions as the Yemeni’s have done. Nigeria share in many respects the national woes of the Yemen. Heavily dependent on oil revenue that fuels corruption and repression, Yemen is the second poorest Arab state, after Mauritania. While the predatory Nigerian ruling elite may worry about 2015, Nigerians should not see their political destiny in any political calendar, drawn by a criminal cabal bent on imploding the national enterprise. The Anambra state election debacle is no eye opener to the looming disasters about over-vaunted 2015 but a confirmation of a long started political gridlock. Onunaiju is journalist based in Abuja

Nwariaku: Tribute to a prodigy gone too soon By Folu Olamiti (FNGE) ‘When beggars die, there are no comets seen, but heavens themselves blaze forth the deaths of Princes’ – Shakespeare


eath is everywhere, always on the prowl to take mortals on the journey of no return. But Williams Shakespeare makes us to believe that the death of a prince often evokes agony, sorrow and a great sense of loss. He was right because no one loves to lose his dearest and most precious man. This is to say that the value or rather the worth of a man is best measured after his death. The thought of Shakespeare comes to play in the passing on to glory of Engineer Dr. MacDonald Samuel Chikwendu Nwariaku, a role model and one of the world’s best intellectual icons. He lived an exemplary life as a puritan and commanded respect in every circle he worked and lived. These are great attributes that would have made him a celebrity even in the great beyond. Indeed, late Engineer Nwariaku in life symbolised the best essence of human dignity and good worth in character and conduct. He was a great mind the type of which was rare among his peers and acquaintances, just as he lived through life anchoring his ways on Spartan discipline and enviable devotion to spirituality and services to God. His death

was a huge loss to those who knew him well as a fountain of love, epitome of hard work and a mind with milk of human kindness. A quintessential family man and lover of peace, the late renowned engineer was a transformational agent whose public and private life was completely devoted to humanity, as he applied his God-given rich intellectual knowledge and moral virtues to change the society better than he met it. He was a man of immense stature who be strode the world’s engineering landscape like a colossus. The late Engr (Dr.) Nwariaku hailed from Umudinkwa, Avodim, Ubakala, in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State. The urbane and accomplished Engineer began to edify his sojourn in life with quest for sound education. He attended the famous Methodist College, Uzuakoli in Abia State and the

Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, Anambra State, from where he earned the Cambridge School Certificate in Grade 1, in 1948. For a stretch of 16 years, he dedicated his life to academic adventures, revolving within various world class colleges and universities, including the famous Dartmouth College, Hanover USA, the Imperial College, London and the Kings College University of Durham, NewCastle. A soil scientist and engineering expert per excellence, Dr Nwariaku obtained the prized DIC in Highways and Airports in 1959, after having obtained his B.Sc degree three years earlier and bagged the PhD in Applied Science in 1964. A patriotic Nigerian who served his fatherland with uncommon zeal and selflessness, the late Engr. (Dr.) Nwariaku worked severally

in many areas of the public service and delivered his hubristic best in key aspects of civil engineering designs and construction, including roads, bridges, dams, airports, wharfs, water supplies and nuclear energy. The late Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, FNSE, and “Distinguished Merit Award” contributed immensely to development of national infrastructure including, involvement in the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge, Damaturu-Yola-Ngure Road, Calabar-Ogoja-Maiduguri Road, Potiskum-Rigachukun Road and serving as Resident Engineer and a member of the Task Force that built the Imo International Airport. During his research days in the university, his academic pursuits were interspersed with practical trainings and researches during which he was involved in the construction

During his research days in the university, his academic pursuits were interspersed with practical trainings and researches during which he was involved in the construction of airstrips on ice, Alaska, USA; highways constructions in Copenhagen, Denmark and Saskoping, Sweden; and construction of airport on coral at Gan Island, Southern Indian Ocean, amongst others.

of airstrips on ice, Alaska, USA; highways constructions in Copenhagen, Denmark and Saskoping, Sweden; and construction of airport on coral at Gan Island, Southern Indian Ocean, amongst others. In demonstration of his intellectual creativity, late Nwariaku added his name to the Engineering discipline literary Hall of Fame with the launching of his book ‘Principles and Practice in Road Maintenance’ in year 2009. The book is described by professionals as a hallmark of intellectual fecundity that is bound to inform future thoughts on road maintenance principles and practice across all climes. In his private life, the late humanist devoted substantial time and resources to building a family that ordinarily symbolises an ideal home, a model of moral and spiritual virtues. Married to Dame Julie Onum-Nwariaku of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, (ICPC), the deceased bequeathed a worthy legacy in a son and another intellectual prodigy, Prof Fiemu Nwariaku and a grandson, Ikenna. Nwariaku’s remains will be buried on 30 November 2013 at Ubakala, Abia State after a funeral service at Saint Thomas Anglican Church, South Local Government, Abia. State. Folu Olamiti (FNGE) is a Media consultant of ICPC, Abuja.



Community head tasks council chair on social amenities By Usman Shuaibu


illage head of Kuntunku in Gwagwalada Area council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Sani Philip, has called on the chairman of the Area council, Abubakar Jibrin Giri, to provide social amenities for the residents especially the provision

of transformers, to boost constant supply electricity in the area. He also urged the chairman to drill boreholes, so as to curb the shortage of water faced by the residents in the community especially during dry season. The Monarch, who made the call in an interview with Peoples Daily in his Palace, appealed to

the chairman to also consider fixing the dilapidated roads in the community. He further urged the council chairman to upgrade the Kutunku health clinic as well provide drugs for the use of the people, adding that the clinic has no enough personnel to cater for the patients. He however assured that his

leadership would to continue to parley with the council leadership, for the overall progress of his people. The monarch therefore advised the inhabitants to shun any act capable of generating political crisis in the area, while urging them to contribute their quota to the development of the area council.

Magajin Garin Zazzau Bamalli, Alhaji Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli (left), leads other Zazzau Emirate Council members in Dubar parade, during the 2013 Abuja National Carnival, on Sunday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

‘Don’t fight, bribe our staff’, AEPB boss urges residents By Stanley Onyekwere


he Acting Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Mrs. Aishat Adebayo, has advised residents against fighting or bribing its staff, especially those on enforcement duty, warning that if they do, the board will come out after them.

Also she urged those selling on the streets, to take their trade to designated areas in the markets, the plazas and other areas that have been designated for commercial activities. Adebayo who disclosed this in an interview with Peoples Daily, said residents need to change their attitude towards environmental issues in the Federal Capital

City (FCC), by imbibing good environmental practices to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable city. According to her, in the instances where some residents refused to comply with laid down environmental rules of Abuja, the board has 24 mobile courts, which it uses to enforce compliance with AEPB Act and other relevant

environmental laws. “We also use our mobile courts to enforce payment of our service bills; but we are using the courts as a last resort, to compel people to comply with proper environmental standards in the city. “So, don’t fight our staff; don’t give them stipends; don’t sell on the streets, because if you do, we will come out after you”.

NGO to award children with special talents


he founder, African Street Writers, an Abuja-based NonGovernmental Organisation (NGO),Simeon Ebechidi, yesterday said the organisation would be awarding some talented children in different fields, in December. Ebechidi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the children would be awarded at the forthcoming Kola Awards for Children scheduled to hold in

Abuja. He said that the idea behind the award was to encourage children and to create a platform for them to excel in the various fields of human endeavour. The founder said that Nigerian children were naturally talented; “but that lack of inadequate structures had hindered them from effectively developing their talents.” He said: “Children in our

society do not see opportunities for people to explore what they have;as there are no platforms for them to explore what they have. “The idea behind Kola Awards for Children is that at this tender age when these children are finding out what they can do and what they are passionate about doing, they should be supported. He said that with such platform, children who

graduated from school would not have to look for jobs rather they would create jobs for themselves. Ebechidi said that nominations of children below the ages of 18 had been received from schools and vocational training centres in FCT and across the nation, for the award. The award is scheduled to come up on December 1, in Abuja. (NAN)

Abuja carnival: Participants extol significance of durbar celebration


articipants at the just concluded Abuja International Carnival 2013 have extoled the significance of the Durbar cultural display by troupes from northern part of Nigeria, as a veritable means of boosting the country’s unity. Some of the participants at the carnival, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, said that the Durbar cultural display would strengthen the bond among the citizens of Nigeria. The Protocol Officer to the Emir of Zauzau, Muhammed Sanni, said that the Durbar cultural display had been in existence for over 1,000 years ago. He stressed that Durbar had functioned as a tool of strengthening peace and companionship among the people of northern Nigeria. “Durbar celebration symbolises war, it relives the time when our great heroes used to fight on horses but today, it has become a way of celebrating of peace and unity. “Durbar is important because it shows that we are united in our nation and also living in peace,’’ he said. Sanni said that the Durbar celebration was also a form of entertainment for the people, adding that it had promoted unity among people from different backgrounds. A representative of Emir of Gombe, Abubakar Ismail, said that Durbar cultural display was a celebration that united people from all walks of life. “Durbar brings the people together under the umbrella of peace and unity; it also strengthens our cultural bond as Nigerians. “This is our culture and we are proud of it because it gives us a sense of belonging.’’ he said. On his part, the traditional ruler of Barwa Rabah Nupe, Malam Ndasaba Ibrahim, said that tangible efforts should be made to promote the global acceptance of the Durbar cultural display because it symbolised peace. He urged tourism investors to invest in efforts to promote the rich culture of Durbar, adding that such venture would also boost the country’s revenue base. Similarly, a representative of the Emir of Kano, MalamJarmai Ahmed, said that Durbar represented the tradition and culture of the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups. “Durbar brings about unity in diversity; it creates harmonious living among the people of the northern part of Nigeria and the country at large,’’ he added. (NAN)




Scenes from the just concluded 2013 Abuja International Carnival, yesterday.

Some local ‘magicians’ from Zazzau Emirate Council, Zaria entertaining people at the Carnival

Hawkers display their wares outside the venue of the Carnival A tourist taking photographs, during the Carnival, at the weekend in Abuja.

Some school children entertaining guests, at the Carnival

Scores of camera men on duty, at the Carnival

Photos: Justin Imo-Owo




Recharge card marketer arraigned for breach of trust T he Police yesterday arraigned a rechargecard marketer, one Mr. Fidelis Agabi, in a Kubwa Magistrates’ court, Abuja for breach of trust. The prosecutor, Sgt. Lucas Ephraim, told the court that the accusedwas standing trial for criminal breach of trust and cheating. The prosecutor said the matter

was reported at the police station by Mohammed Abudullahi of Levotel Grass Nigeria Ltd. Ephraim told the court that Abudullahi reported that he gave theaccused recharge cards of different networks worth N6.1millionsometime in May to sell. He said the accused gave him N400, 000 and refused to pay

the balance as agreed. The prosecutor said the offences contravened sections 312 and 322 ofthe Panel code respectively; but said he had no objection to bail request for theaccused. The Presiding Magistrate, Elizabeth Jonnes-Wanni, granted the accused bail in the sum of N300, 000 with two

A young man loaded his cart with used cartons, yesterday at AP Plaza, Wuze 2, Abuja.

sureties in like sum. Jonnes-Wanni said each of the sureties must have means of livelihood,and should present two utility bills, a photograph and be resident inFCT with fixed residential address. She also directed that the two sureties must fill a bond form, andadjourned the case to December 4. (NAN)

Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Driver, 35, docked over alleged forgery


he police have arraigned a driver, Ololade Olusoji, in an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ court in Karu, for alleged attempt to withdraw N92,000 with a forged signature. Olusoji, 35, of Ibadan, Oyo state, appeared before Chief Magistrate Hadiza Shagari, on one-count charge of forgery and attempt to commit an offence. The prosecutor, Sgt. Mohammed Garba, told the court that the case

was reported at Garki Police Station by Dennis Yaweh, a staff of United Bank Africa (UBA), Garki branch, Abuja. Garba said the accused entered the banking hall of UBA on November 21 and presented a cheque to withdraw N92,000 from the account of a company, Joint Konsult Ltd. He said that the cashier on duty discovered after scanning the cheque that the signature on it was

forged. The prosecutor said the accused was arrested immediately by security men and handed him over to the police for prosecution. The prosecutor further stated that the offence contravened the provision of Section 366 and is punishable under Section 367 of the Penal code respectively. If convicted, he is liable to 13 years in prison. He told the court that the cheque

was given to him by one Seyi, who is now at large, to withdraw the money for him. Shagari admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N50,000 with a reliable surety who must be a federal civil servant. She said the surety should be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. The case was adjourned to January 13, 2014, for continuation of hearing. (NAN)

Court jails 1, remanded another in prison for theft


he police have arraigned two men, Elijah Onu and Emmanuel Cosmos, in an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court, Karu, on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and theft. The accused, both of no fixed address, committed the offences on November 18 and were arraigned by the police before Senior Magistrate Sharon Ishaku. The prosecutor, Cpl. Emmanuel Nnamani, told the court that the accused broke into a shop belonging to one Nduagu Ozioma in Garki, Abuja, and stole goods

worth N550, 000. Nnamani said the items stolen included a standing fan, computer set, plasma TV, photo printer, three colour printers and one side table. He said the offences contravened section 97, 346 and 288 of the Penal Code, but the first accused denied the allegation, while the second accused pleaded guilty and begged for leniency. The second accused told the court that it was the first accused that lured him into committing the crime. “I have a wife and two kids to

cater for in Benue. We broke the same shop sometimes last month and stole some properties. “We sold the properties but the money was not enough for me to feed myself or take care of my family. “We went back this time to see if we would be lucky enough to steal bigger items to sell, and we were caught with the stolen properties while waiting to take a cab.’’ Delivering judgment, Ishaku said that the reasons given by the accused for committing the offence was not genuine enough.

“The accused left Benue to Abuja for greener pasture, a state which is known to be the food basket of the nation, for white collar job. Why not engage in farming instead. “I find the convict guilty as charged under Section 97(2) of Penal Code and I sentence you to 15 months imprisonment or pay N5,000 fine,” she ruled. For the first accused, who pleaded not guilty, the Magistrate ordered that he should be remanded in prison till January 6, 2014, to enable her rule on his bail. (NAN)

INSIDE FCT COURTS Labourer accused of stealing from church remanded in Kuje prison


Kuje Magistrates’ Court has ordered that a 29-year old labourer, Sunday Jibrin, be remanded in prison. Jibrin, who resides at Iddo Sarki, Airport Road, Abuja, is charged with theft of a generator belonging to a church. The police prosecutor, Cpl. Ochehe Samuel, told the court that Mr. Tanimu Madaki, who resides at the same address as the accused, lodged the report at the Kuje Police Station, Abuja on November 19. Samuel said that on November 19, Jibrin entered a Deeper Life Bible church and stole a generator valued at N40, 000. Samuel said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 288 and 320 the Penal code respectively. The section stipulates that “whoever commits theft in or from any building, tent or vessel used as human dwelling or used for the custody of property is guilty of theft. If convicted under these sections of the law, the accused could be imprisoned for a maximum of seven years or with fine or be punished with both. The presiding judge, Mr Azubike Okeagu, ordered that Jibrin be remanded in Kuje prison and adjourned the case to December 19. (NAN)

Police arraign civil servant for being in possession of stolen phone


he police have arraigned a civil servant, Lami Maikasuwa, 49, of Angwan Gwari, Mararaba, in a Grade 1 Area court, Aso Pada, Mararaba, on a one-count charge of being in possession of stolen property. The prosecutor, PC Friday Adaji, told the court that on Oct. 30 at about 6 p.m., one Yohanna Danboyi of same address was arrested for stealing a blackberry phone, valued at N35, 000. Adaji said that during investigation, Danboyi said that he sold the phone to the accused for N5,000. He said the phone was later recovered from the accused, and that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 317 of the Penal Code. If convicted, the accused is liable to 14 years’ imprisonment or fine or both, but the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Presiding judge, Mr. Albert Maga, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100, 000 and a surety in like. He adjourned the case to November 28 for proper hearing. (NAN)



INSIDE, 08033045613

Power rationing caused by gas pipeline vandalism – TCN - Pg 26

L-R: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Ambassador Suleiman Dahiru, and new President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Malam Murtala Aliyu, during a luncheon to celebrate Aliyu’s investiture as the new president of NIQS, on Sunday at Sheraton Hotel, in Abuja.

Insurers urged to address technology challenge in Africa By Etuka Sunday


ack of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure has been identified as major challenge holding back the African insurance market. The additional challenge of getting legacy systems to provide improved risk management and mobile services, is forcing insurers to rethink their systems strategy. The Head of African Operations for SSP, Rhys Collins, a leading provider of insurance technology to insurers across the continent, says modern technology overcomes these

challenges, and this is increasingly drawing new players into the African insurance market. Both Hollard and Sanlam, for example, have had good success in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and Nigeria and are believed to be eyeing other opportunities across the continent. Collins said, “The tighter regulatory and governance requirements are good for the industry but, the flipside for insurers is that many will need to make major changes to their administration systems.” According to him, “the growth in mobile is the other key trend

to watch in the African insurance market. Unlike other markets, the African consumer is by-passing the desktop internet connection and going directly to hand-held devices. With the likes of M-Pesa and Fundamo now household names processing billions of dollars in transactions every year, and mobile use in Africa continuing to grow at a rapid pace, insurers need to raise their game.” He believes that to deliver insurance products and services effectively on the ground, insurers and managing agents need a strong core insurance system and ICT infrastructure in place. “”There’s no

Sokoto: Customs collects N62m revenue in October as against N102m in September


he Area Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service for Sokoto, Mr Bamidele Akande, Kebbi and Zamfara states, on Sunday said that the command collected N62 million as revenue in October. Akande told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto, that the command, however, collected N102 million in September. He explained that the revenue declined in October because many traders were on pilgrimage. Akande said that the command would devise various methods to ensure that all vehicles coming into its areas paid the Customs duties.

“Already, border communities had been reached to assist officers posted to their areas with intelligence reports on the movement of smugglers. “We will continue to be proactive to ensure total prevention as well as arrest of smugglers in our area,’’ he said. Akande said that officers in the Command had also been briefed on security modalities to be adopted in confronting the smugglers. “Already, identified routes of smuggling had been blocked by competent and dedicated officers to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the offenders,’’ the comptroller said. Akande sought the support of

the border communities, urging them to come up with intelligence reports that would prevent the nefarious business of smuggling. He said that actions taken on such reports would lead to the development of the nation’s economy. Akande said that officers and men of the Command would not be intimidated by any smuggler. “We are battle-ready to discharge our primary assignments without fear or favour,’’ he said. Akande also called on the personnel to continue to put in their best, adding that the hard working ones would be rewarded, while the indolent ones would be dealt with accordingly. (NAN)

denying that Africa has entered the age of mobile. Insurers and managing agents need to consider and embrace this and use the many advantages it offers to enhance their offering, or stand the risk of being left behind. To do this they need a modern, flexible insurance solution. Obviously, this is easier for new start-ups, but for firms with existing legacy solutions, complex and risky transformation projects are not always popular in boardrooms. However, by adopting a gradual approach to legacy modernisation, such as SSP’s Enhance and Evolve approach, insurers can address their most urgent business priorities pro–actively. They can extend the life of their existing systems and only replace when the time is right, in line with their long-term strategic priorities,” concludes Collins.

Equities market: Foreign participation grows by 50.8%

- Pg 26

Exchange Rates CBN as at 22th November, 2013 Buying





250.66 252.28


209.16 210.51












Get more from Twitter with lists

witter is an important way for professionals to learn about their industries, build relationships, and extend the impact of their work. Even Twitter enthusiasts can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tweets and the velocity of conversations, but Twitter lists—groups of individual Twitter accounts—can help focus your attention. You can quickly focus in on updates from the people you really want to hear from—industry experts, well-networked colleagues, and clients—simply by looking at your two or three most crucial lists. Separate your incoming

tweet stream into lists by thinking about: Development: Who do you want to learn from? Section out the smartest people you know or want to know. Interactions: Which relationships do you want to initiate or strengthen? Engage with the people who will have the greatest impact on your effectiveness by mentioning and retweeting them. Goals: What do you want to accomplish? Tune into the people and conversations that support your aspirations. Source: Harvard Business Review









Stock Watch

Report as at Monday, November 25, 2013




Special Report

Helping the physically challenged with equal access to sanitation in disaster situations By Evelyn Okakwu with agency report


y the time the floods receded in the Gangare community of Jos, Plateau, in 2012, media reports showed that no fewer than 50 persons had perished. Reports also said that 55 others were missing as most of them were people living with one form of disability or the other. Observers have concluded that people living with disabilities often faced difficulties during disasters and emergency situations. According to them, people living with disabilities are either ignored or abandoned to cope with disaster situations as their able-bodied counterparts flee. For instance, physicallychallenged Ibrahim Yaro and his physically-challenged wife, were victims of disaster when floods swept them away in Jos. Observers have, therefore, called for public sensitisation programmes on the need for better understanding of the needs of persons living with disabilities during challenging situations. Mrs. Omotunde Thompson, National President, Centre of Advocacy for People Living with Disability, says most Nigerians are fond of looking down on people living with handicaps or disabilities. According to her, such persons face intimidation, difficulties, prejudices, discrimination and stigmatisation, on a daily basis.

Accommodating people living with disabilities at all stages of disaster management process can significantly reduce their vulnerability.

Thompson alleges that humanitarian agencies are still struggling to learn the needs of such persons with disabilities during disasters. ``Communities and governments lack information about the needs and capacities of persons with disabilities and, therefore, frequently exclude them from disaster plans,’’ she alleged.

Nafisah, 16, on her wheelchair close to the UNICEFsupported ‘VIP’ latrine adapted for children with disabilities at Bungudu Primary School in Zamfara state

She, in agreement with other observers, believes that addressing the plight of this category of people during emergency response to national and international action plans and policies is cardinal to their wellness. Mr. Duro Onota, Country

Representative of Christian Blind Mission in Nigeria, supports the opinion, noting that Nigeria has more than 22 million persons living with one form of disability or the other. Sharing the same views, UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon says that persons living

with disabilities are ``the world’s largest minority” of more than one billion people. At the UN General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on Disability and Development in September, Ban noted that people living with disabilities have no significant

Analysts say that stakeholders should make empathy, solidarity, dignity and respect for people living with disabilities during disaster situations

Some physically-challenged athletes

representation in planning processes to reduce disaster risks, prevent disasters or build resilient societies and communities. But analysts noted that a legal framework to support inclusion of persons living with disabilities is the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in December 2006. According to them, the framework marks a ``paradigm shift’’ in attitudes and approaches to people living with disabilities. Citing some portions of the documents, they note that Article 11 of the convention pays particular attention to obligations of states to undertake necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk. The risk situations include armed conflicts, humanitarian

emergencies and occurrence of natural disasters. This notwithstanding, stakeholders insist that Nigeria does not have any legislation to safeguard the rights of people with living disabilities, although it is a signatory to the convention. Onota observes that Nigeria ratified the convention in 2010, while the National Disability

Bill meant to domesticate the convention is still pending before the National Assembly. Nonetheless, he observes further that Plateau, Ekiti, Jigawa, Lagos and Bauchi are the few states known to have laws to protect the rights and dignity of people living with disabilities. Stakeholders are worried about this development and

For Nigeria to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, approximately 62 million Nigerians must be reached before 2015

called on other states to enact laws to protect the rights and dignity of this category of people. Mr. Aliyu Sambo, a senior official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), says the International Day for Disaster Reduction is commemorated every October13 to raise awareness about what can be done to reduce the risk of disasters.According to him, issues bordering on the plight of such persons during disasters should be topical while celebrating the day in Nigeria. Analysts say that accommodating people living with disabilities at all stages of disaster management process, especially during planning and preparedness can significantly reduce their vulnerability. They agree that stakeholders should make

empathy, solidarity, dignity and respect for people living with disabilities during disaster situations the hallmark of the International Day for Disaster Reduction celebration. Sixteen year old Nafisah Salisu, whose legs were deformed by polio, deftly, manoeuvres her wheelchair into the specially designed Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine for physically challenged pupils at Bungudu Primary School in Zamfara state. This is a novelty in these parts; it is the first time an equal access latrine has been constructed with physically challenged persons in mind. The UNICEF-supported structure offers a concrete wheelchair rampas well as a set of crutches and other forms of stability. In place of the traditional hole, there is an easy-to-clean seat. The door is wide enough to accommodate

a wheelchair and Nafisah was able to wash her hands without difficulty.“It is much easier now and the place is more hygienic,” said Nafisah, who plans to be a teacher in the future. As the Nigerian community mobilizes for this, the International Year of Sanitation, it is feared that persons like Nafisah could be excluded from the benefits of the campaign. Nigeria has no national policy for the disabled to have equal accessto public buildings. Even the sections of the 1999 constitution that seek to protect rights to freedom and discrimination of citizens are silent on the rights of physically challenged persons. UNICEF is working to ensure that people living with disabilities, especially those in rural areas, have access to adequate sanitation. The latrine was introduced a day after the launch of a statelevel hand-washing campaign in Bungudu, a local government area in Zamfara state. The wife of Zamfara’s Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ahmad Anka, launched the campaign on the Bungudu Primary School premises. This year, Zamfara is targeting over 972,500 people with the hand-washing campaign, which includes the expansion of sanitation and hygiene programmes and the construction of 1 million latrines. It is expected to construct nearly 130 blocks of latrines in schools, health centres and other public places. National estimates show that less than half of Nigeria’s 140 million people have access to improved sanitation facilities. For Nigeria to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, approximately 62 million Nigerians must be reached before 2015. It is estimated that about 10 per cent of Nigerians are physically challenged. Without a conscious effort to improve public sanitation, not just in Bungudu, but throughout the whole country, 14 million people will be excluded from the benefits of the International Year of Sanitation.




Power rationing caused by gas pipeline vandalism –TCN By Etuka Sunday


he Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has attributed the current power rationing in the country to the vandalisation of gas pipeline supplying gas to Okpai power plant in Delta State.

TCN said as a result, there was a reduction in electricity generation by about 450MW but expressed confidence that the problem would be resolved today Tuesday, 26th November, 2013. It said the incidence also led to the “shutdown of the Power station, and unavoidable power

rationing nationwide.” According to a statement signed by the company’s General Manager (Public Affairs), Mrs. Seun Olagunju, “TCN is reliably informed that repair work is expected be completed within three days and Okpai power plant will expectedly, resume generation on Wednesday, 27th

November, 2013. “TCN regrets inconveniences to the Federal Government and our highly esteemed electricity consumers nationwide and enjoined members of the public to work with the government in protecting installations and facilities meant for our socioeconomic development.

L-R: Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, and Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, during a visit by members of the private investors to President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

NigComsat ready for Tele-medicine services By Chris Alu


atellite has said that all is now set for the company to provide tele-medicine services for the country in order to improve healthcare delivery. The company said in its monthly bulletin that the service would make healthcare available to the citizens and timely. Tele-medicine is the use of telecommunication and information

technologies in order to provide clinical healthcare at a distance. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. Nigerians would be capable of staying in any remote part of the country where the service is offered to seek medical assistance from any medical expert located in any part of the country.

Medical assistance can be got through this means even outside the country and it will equally help medical experts to do cross consultation among themselves without having to travel out of their locations,” it said. On e-banking, the publication affirmed the confidence of the organisation that the concept was already in the country to stay. It added that the satellite would provide more robust resilient

capacity to the banking industry making it to offer more seamless services. It said that the satellite would make it easier, faster and more efficient for Nigerians to handle banking transactions. Online banking services are going to become a common place in Nigeria because the launching of the satellite will provide the much needed capacity to ensure a highly reliable online banking system.

Equities market: Foreign participation grows by 50.8% From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


oreign participation on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as at third quarter ended September 30, 2013 showed that foreign investors held 50.8 percent stakes against local equities investors which stood 49.19 per cent. Of the total N1.58 trillion worth of transactions, foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) at the equities market accounted for N801.25 billion while domestic

transactions were valued at N775.77 billion in the period under review. According to the bourse official website, FPI transactions which started at 36.9 per cent at the beginning of the year, increased to 49.9 per cent at the end of September 2013 representing an increase of 13 per cent. Analysts at the exchange attributed the growth in FPI to stability in the equities and fundamentals in some multinational stocks that most

of the domestic investors cannot avoid to trade. This, according to them is a signal that investors globally are interested in Nigerians equities market and domestic investors must utilise the opportunities created by the capital market in terms of wealth creation. Commenting on this, the Chief Executive Officer, Lambeth Trust, Mr. David Adonri said, “The increase in FPI transactions in the Nigerian Capital Market is as a result of the carry over trade fueled by US

Federal’s quantitative easing.” According to him, the discontinue quantitative easing by United States had threatened equities markets worldwide including Nigeria slowed down and such might create an instability scenarioin the Market should foreign investors pull out massively. “However, there is a shock absorber inform of Market Making in Nigeria that is on standby to intervene like was done recently,” Adonri added.

FBN Holdings, others get PEARL awards By Etuka Sunday


BN Holdings Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial services group and other organisations got 2013 PEARL awards in Lagos at the weekend. The award which is held annually is to celebrate corporate excellence and recognise quoted companies who are exceptional in terms of performance and adherence to good corporate governance. FBN Holdings in a statement said it emerged as the sectorial leader in the Other Financial Institutions category. The organisers applied indices including turnover growth, return on equity, earnings yield, share price appreciation, dividend cover, dividend yield, net asset ratio, dividend growth and profit margin ratio in determining the winners. PEARL’s president/CEO, Tayo Orekoya said the awards since inception 18 years ago, have been guided by principles of transparency and objectivity in its selection process. “Our scientific approach in determining nominee companies as well as emergent winners has positioned the awards as a unique and exceptional initiative,” he said. Speaking on the company’s award, Chief Executive Officer, FBN Holdings Plc , Bello Maccido said it reinforces the leading role of the FBN Group in the sector barely one year after it adopted the holding company structure. FBN Holdings Plc was incorporated in Nigeria on 14 October 2010, following the business reorganisation of the First Bank group into a holding company structure. The group’s subsidiaries include First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBN Capital Limited, FBN Life Assurance Limited and FBN Micro finance. Other winners include Dangote Cement Plc (highest dividend growth/highest profit margin ratio), Pharmadeko Plc, (highest earnings yield), MRS Oil (highest net asset ratio), UAC Plc (sectoral leader, conglomerates), Nigeria Breweries Plc (sectoral leader, consumer goods), UBA Plc (sectoral leader, banking), and Aiico Insurance (sectoral leader, insurance), among others. The statement said PEARL bases its rankings from data sourced from the annual reports of quoted companies duly filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Stock Exchange Daily Official list for the year under consideration.




Emergency rule: Curbing the spread of insurgency to other parts of Nigeria By Joy Baba


ecently, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) uncovered a Boko Haram cell in Kogi state, in the North-Central part of Nigeria and its discoveries shows that the cell has grown very large to a point of planning violent attacks in Igala land, as well as going for training in the headquarters of the activities in the Sambisa forest, in Borno state. The alleged leader of the cell, Muhammad Nazeef Yunus was said to have through his several preaching has been able to harness 80 adherents in Ajiolo, a community in Dekina local government area of the state and 120 students in Kogi state University, Anyigba, where he works as a lecturer. The spokesperson of DSS, Marilyn Ogar, while parading the suspects said it was also alleged that Nazeef maintained an extensive link with Boko Haram cells in Borno, where he refers some of his followers for terrorist training, adding that he had already facilitated the trips of some of his adherents to Sambisa camp in Maiduguri, where they received training in weapons handling. She further said the suspect was alleged to be discouraging youths, or his adherents, from pursuing western education and persuades them to join the Boko Haram as, according to him, that will be more rewarding to them. It has become obvious that the Joint Task Force (JTF) is seriously concentrating on activities of insurgents in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe state (north-eastern part of the country) forgetting that there is the tendency of the menace spreading to other parts of the country. According to close observers, even when security presence is strong in other states, concentration is more on the state capital or big cities where there are industries, neglecting smaller communities within the state. A former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), in a recent lecture at the National Defence College, Abuja, titled: “ A comprehensive approach to national security management in Nigeria” said the nature and pattern of outbreak of new emerging threats in Nigeria suggests that security can no longer be achieved through a sole reliance on the country’s security agencies alone. He further said threats of terrorism, which, according to him, can no longer be addressed by military alone, calls for a more robust and comprehensive

Nigerian troops patrol the streets of the remote North-east town of Baga, in Borno state approach to security management in ways that will bring all the stakeholders on board to ensure better service delivery in the form of provision of security of lives and properties in the country. As it is at the moment, a lot of other cells could be springing up in every other state, be it South, West, East while all eyes in on the northern part of the country. Concentrating on the northern part of the country alone will give the smart insurgents the opportunity to operate their cells better in the East or West, since it is assumed they operate mainly in the North. On the global stage, Nigeria is the largest African contributor to international peace-keeping operations, and the fifth largest in the world. Nigeria is also

serving a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council and is also a dominant economic force in Africa and America’s largest trading partner on the continent. It is the second largest recipient of American direct private sector investment; the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States and their largest export market with the largest economy in West Africa contributing over 50% of West Africa’s GDP. It is said in local parlance that a man whose house is on fire no matter how small will not go to help put out great fire from his neighbor’s house. If Nigeria can contribute so much to international peace keeping operations, how come we can’t

It is said in local parlance that a man whose house is on fire no matter how small will not go to help put out great fire from his neighbor’s house. If Nigeria can contribute so much to international peace keeping operations, how come we can’t attain reasonable peace situation in the country? attain reasonable peace situation in the country? The inability of the government to address the needs of the people, to grow the economy, and to create jobs, has generated a sense of hopelessness among many. It also helped fill a popular negative perception that

A Nigerian soldier, part of the “Operation Flush” patrolling in the remote North-east town of Baga, Borno state

the government simply does not care. The view of many Nigerians is that Boko Haram capitalises on the popular frustration with the nation’s leader, its poor governance, its ineffective service delivery and the dismal living condition of many northerners. A coordinated government effort in providing responsible, accountable government for Nigeria while creating opportunities for economic growth will also diminish the political space in which Boko Haram operates. While enjoining Nigerians to be vigilant and continue to cooperate with security agencies through the provision of useful information of suspicious activities within their immediate environment, the JTF and all other military personnel, who are saddled with the responsibility of national security and defending the land, people, the sovereignty of the nation as well as securing the lives and properties of Nigerians must be more vigilant in other states of the country by getting the minute details of intelligence, just like it’s being done in the core North where the insurgency thrives.



Agriculture Farmers extol latest intervention against fruit flies in Nigeria By Mohammed Kandi


very rainy season witness a huge presence of fruits in most Nigerian communities. The fruits are seasonal blessings to farmers at one end, and at the other end, for the consumers. As the rainy season starts dwindling, that is when the heat is approaching towards the end of year, comes a jamboree fruit variety seen at market places, with everyone scrambling for fruit baskets for fewer prices. There is much for virtually every household and their families to enjoy at least for the rest of the season. When heavy trailers passed carrying knapsack of fruits, they are mostly heading for the far North from the South or NorthCentral, where a large amount of the crops are grown by the farmers. Not all farmers are able to maximize the benefit of their labour as expected. The most of their produce had rotten, lost to pest and diseases— fruit flies. For the huge losses recorded every year, the produce are not able to meet up local demands or even apt for export. Maryam Talatu Muhammad, a fruit farmer based in Kaduna state, is a victim of such huge loses that occurs in her farm every year as a result of fruit fly attacks. Like every other fruit farmer, Maryam became worried and helpless until last week, when she was ensnared in a training workshop, organised by the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), an outfit she had encountered for the first time in her several farming years. The NAQS is an agency of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. “As for Fruit flies, I had a personal encounter because I supervised my own farm, and because of that I had to live whatever I was doing to go back to the farm because of the extent of loses. “My farm is about three and half years old and I have about 20 types of fruits on the farm. We realized that we have a lot of problems and they are similar. But now that we have new techniques; it would help us”, she stated. “When this fruit fly stokes, a lot of farmers do not really know what is happening on our farms. And most of workers we have, either as farm managers or laborers, are mostly illiterates who don’t really understand; they do know there is a problem with the fruit when they see one, but they can’t tell what it really is,” Maryam explained. “So I am very happy that someone out there knew about our plights and is ready to help us. I never knew anything about the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, which they said is under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, until I had to be part of this training.” The state Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Benue state, Comrade Aondona Kuhe said there were over 2,000 registered fruit farmers in the state, referring to the training as “first of its kind”. He didn’t quote any statistics on the extent of damages caused by the flies, but said “the effect of these

Fruit flies live longer and lay more eggs when they eat organic food, according to a study published by university researchers and an ambitious Texas teenager. diseases caused by the flies have hampered our chances of being exposed to the international market which we have yearned for.” “The flies have caused serious devastation to our farms and we have been helpless. Before now, we do not know where or who to go to. We were totally blind. But with this training we now know where should be our first port of call to tackle this insect when found on our farms. “As farmers, we need the government to finance us to enable us expand our farms rather than keep comparing us with farmers that are believed to be richer than us in other countries,” the AFAN boss appealed. At a training session in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, a huge population of farmers converged for a workshop, which was their first practicum to detailed

information about fruit flies. They confessed that the meeting was suiting relief and at least, a step towards lasting solution. Scientist at the event, described as one of the efficient trapping system, the male annihilation techniques—a situation whereby the male flies are trapped in a plastic cylinder with holes from which a cotton sucked in a mixed substance of attractant and insecticide. This is to magnetize mostly the male flies into the cylinder with the aim of eliminating all of the male flies that copulate with female flies to fertilise their eggs for reproduction purposes. “It is the female fly that does the damages to the fruits because they lay eggs that formed maggots in the fruits thereby destroying it.” Dr. Mike Nwanneri, the Coor-

dinating Director of NAQS, was particularly concerned with the safety of the fruits to local consumers, as well as the need for the country to begin to explore into the international market through the fruit production, which he noted every part of the nation owns. He said the training had yielded positive results, informing that a similar workshop was earlier held for the South-West farmers in Ibadan, Oyo state. Nwaneri was optimistic the NAQS would replicate same effort all over the federation. “As a nation, we must expand the marker for our fruit. And the only way we can do this is to be able reassure the international consuming community that what comes from us into the international market is safe and wholesome.

Traders and customers in full-time transaction at Zuba fruits market, Abuja

“The potential of fruit food production is not being realised due to pest and diseases, particularly the flies. Now, a lot fruit waste occurs and this is mainly due to the fact that we have not been able to take advantage of the export market for our fruit. “I don’t want to quote figures but, the loss runs into billions of Naira. Take a look at the loses from Maiduguri to Lagos, and from Sokoto down to Port-Harcourt; the quantity of fruits that are lost to fruit flies and other diseases runs into billions of billions of naira,” Nwaneri explained. He said: “NAQS concentrates its work at the entry points, the land borders, international airports, seaports, like building a barricade around those areas with potential sources of entry of exotic pest and disease, and we hope that by so doing, these pest and diseases will be kept out of Nigeria.” “We certify Nigerian agricultural products that are being exported, so we must interact with the farmers, who are potential exporters. We are now trying to refocus by paying more attention to the domestic producers, so that they know what to really do, how to do it and get the full benefit of their enterprise,” the Coordinating Director said. However, to rid Nigerian farms of pests and diseases or achieve bumper fruit harvest for the country to meet the demands of local and international markets, government effort, through the NAQS, should transcend the zonal forums. There is the need for the state governments to follow suit, by engaging different approaches to stem the effects of fruit flies on the farms. The private sector and donor agencies participation could also help in addressing the multi-facet issue of the fruit sub-sector of the economy.



Agriculture We screen Netherlands to support for disease, Kano to boost agriculture stress, climate and droughttolerant maize - IITA

By Mohammed Kandi


n view of the huge untapped agricultural potentials of Kano state, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has offered to assist the state to revamp its agricultural sector. In a statement by the Governor’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye, the Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom in Nigeria, Mr. Haus de Brabauder, made this known during a visit to the state governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, in his office in Kano. The Ambassador also explained that his country has expertise in the agricultural sector that could be extended to Kano for sustainable development. “Netherland’s prevailing natural conditions - a temperate climate with a fair rainfall distribution (total annual average 750 mm/yr), relatively fertile soils in a flat landscape- favour a varied and productive agriculture in the country. “The combination of these two factors, plus a government’s policy that strongly supports a competitive agricultural sector, good entrepreneurial skills, support from a state-of-the-art agricultural research and education system, innovative supply and processing industries among other factors, has resulted in a very viable agricultural sector in the Netherlands,” he said. Ambassador Brabauder assured that his country, which is also the second largest net exporter of farm produce in the world, is willing to share its experience and technology with Kano, which has big agricultural potential, for mu-

By Mohammed Kandi


Gov. Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano state (L) listening to the Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Nigeria, Mr. Haus de Brabauder when he paid the governor a courtesy call in Government House, Kano recently. tual benefit. The envoy, who said companies from his country will want to visit the state to discuss areas of mutual cooperation, also disclosed that that the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade is likely to visit Nigeria next year and may include Kano on the itinerary, in view of its strategic importance in Nigeria.

Responding, Governor Kwankwaso stated that Kano state is willing to collaborate with the Netherlands in the area of agriculture in light of the huge benefits that will accrue to the state. “We have a lot to learn from you in view of your expertise, infrastructure, and innovative agricultural technology”, said the governor, pointing out that a re-

lationship with the Kingdom of Netherlands will be advantageous to both entities. “Kano is an agricultural state, which is known for the production of groundnuts, vegetables and animal products. It the most irrigated state in the country, with more than 3 million hectares of cultivable land, while about 75 percent of the populations are engaged in agriculture”.

Investment in agriculture necessary to Kwara registers 250,000 farmers feed Africa, says UN Director for growth scheme – Director By Mohammed Kandi


he Africa Regional Director of the United Nations (UN) Millennium campaign, based in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Charles Abugre Akelyira, said investment in agriculture has become necessary to feed the two billion African populationsprojected to go hungry by 2050. In a statement distributed by African Press Organisation (APO) on behalf of Trust Africa, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Akelyira noted that, “Nearly 240 millionAfricans are malnourished and although only one-third of those whoface hunger are based in Africa, the percentage of people who sufferfrom hunger here is higher than in any other region of the world.” “We must invest in agriculturenot just to feed the current generation but to prepare for the twobillion more mouths we will need to feed by 2050. In particular, we have to invest in

small-scale agriculture, as part of our mixed strategy. Two-thirds of our farm outputs come from small farmers,” hesaid. Akelyira made this know in his keynote address at the recent two-day convening entitled: “A Decade of CAADP: Reflections on Key Outcomes ofAgricultural Policy Reforms in Africa”, with the purpose of raising awarenessabout the role of agriculture in development and to give voice to those most affected by agricultural development policies, particularly small-holder farmers. The statement said participants from six African countries—Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria— converged to reflect on the work theyhave done under Trust Africa’s Agricultural Reform project. It added that, “So far, Trust Africa has assisted 21organisations over the 3 years the programme has been in operation. It has donated approximately $955,629 in grants on behalf of the Gates Foundation”.


he Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources said, on Friday, that it had so far registered 250,000 farmers in Kwara under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES). The state Director of the ministry, Mr. Buhari Adebisi, disclosed this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin. The Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), according to him, is one of many critical components of the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). He said it was designed for the specific purpose of providing affordable agricultural inputs like fertiliser and hybrid seeds to farmers, in order to increase their yields per hectre and make it comparable to world standards. Adebisi said the programme had impacted positively on the lives of the farmers by boosting the yield of their crops. “A farmer who was buying two `mudus’ of fertiliser before said he now has two bags of fertiliser through the e-wallet value-chain; He said he was happy because his crops will yield more

now that he has enough fertiliser. The expectation of the government is to register 10 million farmers nationwide,” he said. “The projection is that five million farmers will be registered every year thereafter and by 2015, we hope that we will be able to reach 20 million farmers all over the country,” he added. He expressed the hope to be able to register 100,000 farmers more to receive the inputs.He said the number of farmers who had received government’s subsidised inputs through mobile phones were negligible due to ignorance. Adebisi said that the help-line workers were able to substantially bring the level of those redeemed by e-wallet to a level acceptable to the network providers. He said 100 percent of the farmers now have e-wallet even though it has to be done off-line sometimes, to bring them up to the cellular platform for the sake of transparency and accountability. The director also said that GES had impacted well on the lives of farmers in the state in terms of the accessibility to input. ``They are properly covered’’, he stated. (NAN)

maize breeder at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Sylvestro Meseka, said the institute was carrying out series of researches in various fields across the country as part of its efforts to boost food production, as well as the current Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in the country. Meseka made the disclosure recently, while fielding questions from a group of journalists under the aegis of a UK-based organization, Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA), who visited the institute’s research farm in Ikenne, Ogun state. The maize breeder, who revealed that the country needed about 60, 000 metric tonnes of hybrid seeds for its farmers, also said Nigeria’s myriad of seed companies could only provide 12, 000 metric tonnes of seeds. Meseka, however, noted that already, IITA and its international and local partners had developed and released about 370 seed varieties this year. According to the maize breeder, “Hybrid and Openpollinated”, “Pro-Vitamin A’’ are some of the maize varieties that have been identified, screened and released. He said, “This is because we found out from our survey that there is a glaring deficiency of these micro-nutrients in so many areas and it is a consequence of poverty”. He said that the new maize seeds had the capacity to resist and withstand any form of drought that could plague the country. “We are developing a maize variety that would be good for farmers in the marginal rain areas, particularly in the northern parts of Nigeria where the rain pattern is too short. So, you need to have some of these varieties there. “We should not forget the fact that due to climate change, the rainfall pattern has changed; we are looking for more varieties that are not only drought-tolerant but also tolerant to heat stress,” he said.



Feature How French hostage’s dramatic escape sent jitters in Zaria city


aria, in northern Nigeria, has not been known as an Islamist stronghold but revelations that a French engineer was kept hostage there by militants before dramatically escaping have shocked locals. Francis Collomp escaped from his abductors in Zaria, in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, and went to the nearest police station, said Kaduna state Police Commissioner, Olufemi Adenaike. The Police identified no suspects, but the Boko Haram splinter group, Ansaru had claimed responsibility for his kidnapping. Some 30 men stormed Mr. Collomp’s home on December 19, 2012 - his 63rd birthday and took him prisoner, killing a neighbour and a security guard in the attack. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of another French national, a priest who was abducted in Cameroon on Wednesday and taken to Nigeria. Francis Collomp managed to flee while his captors were praying, walking four to five kilometres before flagging-down a motorcycle taxi that took him to a nearby police station. “We find it quite frightening that a high-profile hostage like this could be brought into this area and kept for two months without anyone ever knowing,” said Saddiq Mahmud, who lives in the quiet Danmagaji neighbourhood of Zaria. Student Bello Lemu, 28, described the news as a “rude shock” and expressed concern that the historic city had apparently been infiltrated by an active cell of militants from the banned group Ansaru. A source close to the case said Mr. Collomp had escaped during a Nigerian army operation against extremist militants. The source said he fled during an exchange of fire between the army and militants after his cell door was left open. French President Francois Hollande said he was sent his foreign minister to Nigeria immediately to greet Mr. Collomp “who freed himself”. “We’re happy for Francis Collomp, but we do not forget the other hostages,” Mr. Hollande said in a news conference in Jerusalem. The president said a total of seven French citizens are being held in Nigeria, Syria and Mali. Mr. Collomp’s brother Denis said the news was “a great relief” for his family. “I heard this from the president himself, who called me from his plane as he was leaving for Israel,” Denis

This image taken from a video released by the SITE Intelligence Group shows French engineer Francis Collomp, who was held hostage by the Nigeria-based Ansar al-Muslimeen. Source: AFP

The wife of former French hostage Francis Collomp, Anne-Marie Collomp (R), smiles with one of her sisters after the announcement of the release of her husband. Collomp said. “I don’t have any other details.... I wasn’t expecting this at all, especially as Ansaru has never freed a hostage,” he said. The statement from Mr. Holland said the “president greets with joy the release of our compatriot Francis Collomp”. “France had never ceased to make every effort to achieve this happy outcome. The president expresses all of his gratitude to Nigerian authorities, with whom France worked in close cooperation, for their decisive action,” Mr. Hollande said. The statement said Mr. Hollande, who arrived in Israel on Sunday for a three-day visit, had asked Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius to make his way immediately to Nigeria to receive Mr. Collomp. News of his release came amid an emotional roller coaster in France over foreign hostages, with the release of four prominent captives late last month. The four hostages were released and flew home from Niger on October 30 after more

than three years in captivity. They had been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in northern Niger in 2010 and were released amid reports a ransom of at least 20 million euros ($28.8 million) had been paid. Two weeks later, armed men abducted 42-year-old priest Georges Vandenbeusch from his parish in northern Cameroon, with French officials saying he was “most likely” taken to Nigeria. Ansaru in late September released a video of Mr. Collomp reading a statement with an unidentified person holding a weapon in the background. Parts of his short statement were not clear, but he could be heard calling for his “safe release”. Ansaru is considered by some to be a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, Nigeria’s more prominent Islamist group which has waged a deadly insurgency since 2009. The US recently labelled Boko Haram and Ansaru as foreign terrorist organisations. Last

week, Nigerian security forces raided a Boko Haram stronghold in the state of Borno, claiming 20 militants were killed in the firefight. “I still find it hard to believe we have Islamist insurgents around us. It is worrisome,” he told AFP. Zaria, which is home to some 400,000 people and predominantly Muslim, developed as a city in the 15th century and is one of the oldest in northern Nigeria, priding itself on a reputation as a centre for Islamic and Western scholarship. In the fortified old part of the city, traditional mud houses and mazes of alleyways can still be seen, contrasting with the more modern suburbs beyond. Religious violence between Muslims and minority Christians in the city has occasionally flared but not to the same extent or intensity as elsewhere in the North, where emergency rule has been imposed in three states. In June last year, bomb blasts ripped through two churches, killing several worshippers and

We find it quite frightening that a high-profile hostage like this could be brought into this area and kept for two months without anyone ever knowing,” said Saddiq Mahmud, who lives in the quiet Danmagaji neighbourhood of Zaria

injuring many others in attacks claimed by the banned Islamist group, Boko Haram, of which Ansaru is an off-shoot. Three months later, Nigerian troops raided what they said was a Boko Haram hideout in the Gaskiya area of the city. Two militant fighters were killed in a gun battle while arms and explosives were later recovered. Danmagaji is about six kilometres from Gaskiya and on the northern fringes of the city. Collomp’s account of his escape, as revealed by police and the former hostage’s brother in France, suggests that he was held outside Zaria itself. “No-one in this area saw the Frenchman on the day he escaped. We have been asking ourselves if anyone saw him and the answer has always been, ‘No’,” said Mahmud outside his furniture shop. One reason could be that the residential neighbourhood, home to civil servants and business people, is always deserted at night and locals stay indoors, he added. Muntari Kwarbai, who also lives in the area, added: “If he (Collomp) trekked four kilometres to get a motorcycle, it means he was kept in another area and he only trekked to this neighbourhood where motorcycles are easy to find.” The Police Command in Kaduna state has said that it has begun an investigation to track down the location where Collomp was held in both Zaria and the city of Kano. “We are working on the information the French hostage could supply us to locate where he was held in both Zaria and Kano to get to his kidnappers,” Kaduna state police spokesman Aminu Lawan told AFP. But he refused to go into details, saying to do so could compromise their efforts. (AFP)




oon after the historic deal between Iran and the socalled P5+1, the White House published the fact sheet of the interim agreement, putting its own obvious spin for domestic benefits. Meanwhile the IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) published its own full version, which did not differ much with the White House’s, though it did give a fuller picture of the deal. The battle of spin has started in earnest. Above and beyond any such spin, however, are some very basic and simple features to this deal: According to a detailed analysis by The New York Times, the gist of the deal is this: “Iran retains the technology and material to produce fuel for a weapon for now, [but] the deal adds time to an Iranian nuclear “breakout”, [while] Iran will receive some financial relief, but most sanctions will remain.” Winners and losers The clear victory in this deal, however we read it, belongs to the Iranian people, for a number of quite critical reasons: The threat of military strike has been at least temporarily lifted; Warmongers ranging from Israel and Saudi Arabia, to US neo-cons and their Iranian expat employees, to the pestiferous components of the ruling regime in Iran, to those among the expat opposition who hate the Islamic Republic far more than they care for the well-being of Iranian people, are all categorically discredited; Aspects of the sanctions that were directly effecting Iranians are somewhat modified - such as provisions “to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students”, or for “Iran’s purchase of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices”; The anti-war and anti-sanction movement got a moral boast, while AIPAC and its willing or implicit supporters among the Iranian expat opposition have received a major blow; Agency and confidence for future actions are confirmed among the Iranian people whose ballot box option in June’s presidential election put into office a president and a foreign minister who are far closer to their aspirations than the previous government. The threat of military strike has been at least temporarily lifted; Warmongers ranging from Israel and Saudi Arabia, to US neo-cons and their Iranian expat employees, to the pestiferous components of the ruling regime in Iran, to those among the expat opposition who hate the Islamic Republic far more than they care for the well-being of Iranian people, are all categorically discredited; Aspects of the sanctions that were directly effecting Iranians are somewhat modified - such as provisions “to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students”, or for “Iran’s purchase of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices”; The anti-war and anti-sanction movement got a moral boast, while AIPAC and its willing or implicit supporters among the Iranian expat opposition have received a major blow; Agency and confidence for future



The big deal about the Iran nuclear deal

Kerry (L) alongside Zarif (R) and other Iranian delegates during nuclear talks in Geneva actions are confirmed among the Iranian people whose ballot box option in June’s presidential election put into office a president and a foreign minister who are far closer to their aspirations than the previous government. The ruling regime has, however, very little to celebrate, so far as its claim to protecting Iranian national interests is concerned - for in fact this text shows its almost complete capitulation to the P5+1 - for reasons such as: “Iran has committed to halt enrichment above 5 percent”, and “Iran has committed to neutralise its stockpile of near-20 percent uranium,” and “Iran has committed to halt progress on its enrichment capacity” - and in exchange, has received nothing to show for it: “In total, the approximately $7bn in relief is a fraction of the costs that Iran will continue to incur during this first phase under the sanctions that will remain in place. The vast majority of Iran’s approximately $100bn in foreign exchange holdings are inaccessible or restricted by sanctions.” In the clear words of one US official about this agreement: “Iran will actually be worse off at the end of this six month deal than it is today.” This deal is a failure, as far as the ability of the ruling regime is concerned, to protect the Iranian national interests. But as far as its own survival is concerned, this deal amounts to a grand victory for it has considerably lifted the threat of

war and to some extent neutralised domestic defiance, while it has kept its regional soft and hard power (of which I have already written in detail), intact. In reaction to these facts, the ruling regime in Iran will start selling this deal as a grand victory for Iranians, which it is not; even as the Obama administration will tell the Israelis, Saudis, and the US Congress, that it has given up nothing in exchange for everything (with perfect justification); while expat warmongers will try to convince their employers they are still useful and should be gainfully employed. Change in geopolitics Be that as it may, the clear loser in this deal is Israel. For the extraordinary commitment of Iran to transparency, which includes, but is not limited to, providing “daily access by IAEA inspectors at Natanz and Fordow” will inevitably draw attention to the only nuclear power in the region that, with astonishing colonialist arrogance of the yore, simply refuses even to admit it has nuclear warheads, let alone allow the inspections of its nuclear facilities. Aided and abetted by the US, Israel has managed to safeguard its nuclear arsenal while putting pressure on Iran not to even come close to the possibility of developing a nuclear weapon. As far as the prospect of peace in the region is concerned, the fact that Iran will be stopped from developing any

nuclear weapon is, of course, good news. But the world is now looking with even wider eyes, and even more dropped jaw, at the audacity, vulgarity, and unsurpassed white supremacist arrogance of Israel to effectively threaten the entire region with its nuclear arsenal, while remaining entirely immune to any such threat from any of its neighbours. Israel may think that this deal with Iran will ensure its continued armed robbery of Palestine. But the fact is that the tide of public opinion has so vastly turned against the Jewish apartheid state that no amount of investment by US billionaires in the propaganda machinery of Zionism will stop people from seeing the big fat elephant in the room. How can a sovereign nationstate like Iran be subject to such extraordinary control and surveillance of its nuclear programme while a European settler colony like Israel is exempt from any such scrutiny? The exceptionalism on which Zionists so adamantly insist, in fact works against them - it proves that they are no legitimate sovereign state - that they are what they are: a settler colony. The fact that US officials have reportedly been negotiating with Iran in secret for months before this deal, without even informing Israel, much to the chagrin of Israelis, is yet another indication that we are witness to the threshold of a much wider

In the clear words of one US official about this agreement: “Iran will actually be worse off at the end of this six month deal than it is today.”

implication of this deal. As Al Jazeera reported in a major feature, “Israel’s decades-long policy of deliberate ambiguity about its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program is being challenged more than ever before, by the international community and by voices within the Israeli society.” It is not accidental that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has angrily reacted to this deal and called it a “historic mistake”. Marwan Bishara, senior political analyst for Al Jazeera, has already noted how this deal “could lead to new unspoken Israeli alliance with the socalled moderate Sunni regimes, ie, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, against their common nemesis, Iran” - a development that could radically alter the geopolitics of the region, in which the transnational democratic uprisings will be sought to be derailed by regional alliances. Win for democratic aspirations But in the immediate aftermath of this historic development, Israel is as much a loser in this deal as the Iranian people are the winner in their legitimate demands for democratic change. In the next round of elections, or on any other social occasions they deem appropriate, they can begin to ask the ruling regime the wisdom of prolonging this deal until such time that they considerably forfeit Iranian national sovereignty just to protect their own regime; or by what logic they are willing to sit down and strike a deal with the “Great Satan”, and yet leave scores of peaceful Iranian dissidents in prison, or deny Iranians their right to a free press, or to peaceful assemblies, or independent labour unions, or women’s rights, or student assemblies. Without such institutional changes, the lifting of whatever limited aspects of economic sanctions will, in the short run, alleviate aspects of economic hardship on ordinary Iranians but will, in the long run, strengthen the hands of the military-securityintelligence-clerical elite ruling Iran, and thus invigorate their repressive abilities. The fact is that the fate of foundational democratic changes in Iran must be, once and for all, severed from their vicious abuse by the warmongers in and outside Iran - and a clear demarcation outlined that at one and the same time enables domestic democratic institutions and discredit those who wish to abuse these legitimate causes for their illegitimate designs. An apartheid settler colony built on the broken but defiant back of Palestinians, and a Saudi rule, light years distant from any notion of democracy, could not possibly be the source of inspiration for any democratic cause anywhere in the world. Source: Al Jazeera



International Uganda in bid to resuscitate DRC peace talks 9 killed, 51 wounded in Benghazi clashes


t least nine people were killed and 51 others wounded in the heavy clashes that erupted yesterday in the Libyan eastern city of Benghazi between the Libyan army and the Salafi militia Ansar Al Sharia, according to the latest toll of the Libyan Ministry of Health. Gunmen reportedly attacked a checkpoint of Libyan army special forces stationed near the headquarter of Ansar al-Sharia in Ras Abayda area. The clashes, which continued for hours, extended to Al-Berka and Al-Salmani neighborhoods in Benghazi. The fighting was at its most intense at 6 a.m. this morning according to a military commander. Local media reported that a number of Ansar Al Sharia militiamen fled the city as their headquarters was totally burnt following the bloody clashes. Six members of the Saiqa Brigade were seized by Ansar AlSharia, beaten and then sent back to their unit, according to the local media. Saiqa Brigade is a unit of the Libyan special forces working under the Joint Security Operation Room in Benghazi, where tens of local militias are mixed up with national security forces. On November 11, Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan went to Benghazi to discuss the new security plan in the eastern region of Cyrenaica, but he was forced to leave as a number of protesters shouted at him blaming him for the lack of security in the city for months which ended up with drastic escalation of violence. On 15 November, Tripoli witnessed bloody incidents, when hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in the capital to protest against the armed militias in the city and the rebels brigade opened fire on the mob, killing 43 people and injuring more the 460. Zeidan held a meeting on Sunday in London with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The top American and British diplomats reaffirmed their support to Libya in its harsh transitional stage towards the establishment of the democratic institutions. Source: Xinhua

Defeated M23 rebels in Uganda


ganda is making frantic efforts to resuscitate the peace negotiations between the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and the defeated M23 rebels, a senior government official said here yesterday.

Okello Oryem, minister of state for international affairs, told reporters that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his DR Congo counterpart Joseph Kabila have been in talks since the warring parties failed to sign the final peace agreement on Nov. 11.

“The government of Uganda is still determined that this process is brought to fruition that the parties sign the agreement. President Museveni has talked to Kabila several times since the 11th on this matter. Museveni is also in touch with Malawian President Joyce Banda

and South African President Jacob Zuma,” Oryem said. Banda is the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, a regional body where DR Congo is a member. Oryem said while Uganda as a mediator is interested in the signing of peace agreement, it is up to the Congolese to settle their own problems. Uganda negotiated a peace agreement between the Congolese government and the defeated M23 rebels, but the government sided failed to sign the final peace agreement arguing that they need the final text they had initialed earlier to be reviewed. Oryem said M23 rebel commanders who had fled to Uganda would only be handed over to the UN system after the peace agreement is signed. Crispus Kiyonga, the mediator of the talks and Uganda’s minister of defense, on Monday in a closed door meeting briefed diplomats about who was responsible for the failed signing of the peace agreement. The signing of the peace agreement was seen as a major factor in ending fighting in eastern DR Congo. More than 800,000 local people have been rendered homeless in the past two years because of the conflict. Source: Xinhua

Egypt’s constitutional referendum to take place in January- PM


gypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said yesterday he expects a referendum on the constitution, currently being drafted, will take place in the second half of January. “I believe that it will take place in the second half of January,” Beblawi told reporters. The referendum had been expected in mid-December. Egypt’s interim government, installed after the army ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader Mohamed Mursi on July 3, is pushing through with a roadmap that could lead to presidential and parliamentary elections next year.


DR Congo arrests senior opposition member on ICC warrant


he Democratic Republic of Congohas arrested a senior opposition politician after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant accusing him


of trying to influence the war crimes trial of former presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba. The ICC said in a statement that Fidèle Babala Wandu’s arrest

was part of a wider operation to bring other Bemba associates based in Europe into custody for allegedly influencing witnesses in his case. Bemba faces trial at the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes because of actions allegedly committed by his rebel group in neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. The ICC said that Judge CunoTarfusser had issued arrest warrants for Wandu, deputy secretary of Bemba’s opposition MLC party, two members of Bemba’s defence team – Aimé Kilolo Musamba and JeanJacques Mangenda Kabongo - and

defence witness Narcisse Arido. “The Belgian authorities arrested Aimé Kilolo Musamba, the Dutch authorities arrested Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, and NarcisseArido was arrested by the French authorities,” read the statement. Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende confirmed the arrest of Wandu. “He was arrested at 1.30 a.m. immediately following a demand from the ICC,” Mende told Reuters by telephone. “He is in the process of being transferred to The Hague.” Representatives from the MLC were not immediately answering calls for comment.




Syria peace talks set for January in Geneva- UN A n international peace conference aimed at ending Syria’s civil war will be held on January 22, the first face-to-face talks between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations said yesterday. The United Nations is hoping for a peaceful transition in Syria,

building on an agreement between world powers reached in June last year. The deal calls for the warring sides to agree to set up a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities. “We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope,” U.N. SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

The announcement came as Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met senior U.S. and Russian officials in Geneva in his latest effort to get negotiations on track to end a war, now in its third year, which has killed more than 100,000 people. Brahimi, with backing from world powers, has been trying to convene a peace conference since May and had hoped that it could

Assad (L) in a handshake with Brahimi (R)

be held in mid-December. He held a news conference yesterday to announce the invitees. The participation of Syria’s ally Iran in the peace conference has been a major stumbling block as Washington has opposed it, while Russia has backed Tehran’s attendance. It was not clear from Ban’s statement whether Iran would be invited. He said he expected “all regional and international partners to demonstrate their meaningful support for constructive negotiations”. Brahimi has previously called for Iran to be included in the conference. A U.S. official said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would attend the talks. World powers including the United States clinched a deal on curtailing Iran’s nuclear program at the weekend, in a sign of easing tensions between the longtime foes. Brahimi, after separate talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the weekend, met leaders of the Syrian opposition on Sunday.

Thai Finance Ministry occupied amid huge anti-government protests


nti-government protesters forced their way into Thailand’s Finance Ministry yesterday, laying out sleeping mats in its rooms and hallways in an escalating bid to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. They also broke into the compound of the Foreign Ministry, a Reuters witness said. The seizing of government buildings by protesters led by the opposition Democrat Party thrusts Thailand into a new chapter of political volatility three years after it was convulsed by its bloodiest political unrest in a generation. The protesters say Yingluck is a

puppet of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and convicted two years later of graft - charges that he denies. Thaksin lives in self-imposed exile but exerts enormous influence over his sister’s government. About 1,000 protesters swarmed into the Finance Ministry’s compound, filling up the first floor of the main building and occupying six others. Many gathered in hallways and meeting rooms, blowing whistles and spreading out large plastic mats for sleeping and eating. Staff left the building and

moved to a parking lot. “I invite protesters to stay here overnight at the Finance

Ministry,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told a crowd in front of the ministry.

Protesters outside the Thai Finance ministry building

Israel approves new settlements in West Bank


sraeli authorities have green-lighted the construction of 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s Defence Ministry said yesterday it had approved

An Israeli settlement in Jerusalem

a planning stage for the housing earlier this month an initial step in a protracted bureaucratic process, with construction not expected to begin for months. Settlement watchdog Peace

Now swiftly criticised the announcement. “This is yet another move that threatens to derail the peace process,” group spokesman Lior Amihai said. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, has warned that ongoing settlement-building by Israel in the Palestinian territories threatens the future of Middle East peace talks, which stand at an impasse little more than three months after they began. The Palestinians want the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, to become part of a future state. The new homes would be

built north of Jerusalem in the settlements of GivatZeev, NofeiPrat, Shilo, GivatSalit and Nokdim, Amihai said. The latest move comes two weeks after Israel announced its largest plan for settler homes ever, saying some 20,000 would be built in the West Bank. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the order after pressure from the United States, which brought the two sides to the table in July. If peace talks end with no deal, the Palestinians have vowed to pursue legal action against Israel’s illegal building through international courts.

Asia & Middle East

Tough road ahead after landmark Iran deal


resident Barack Obama has pulled off a historic deal with Iran on curbing its nuclear programme but he and other global leaders now have a difficult job ahead turning an interim accordintoacomprehensiveagreement. In a sign of how difficult the coming talks will be, some differences emerged between US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in their public presentation of a key part of the deal whether or not Iran preserved the right to enrich uranium. Obama also has to persuade its ally Israel, who’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the deal as a “historic mistake,” that the accord will reduce and not increase the threat from its arch foe Iran. And he has to sell the accord to skeptics in Congress, including some in his own Democratic Party, who have been pressing for more sanctions on Iran. SpeakingonIran’sstate-ownedPress TV on Sunday, Zarif said: “In the final step, the (uranium) enrichment process will be accepted and at the same time all the sanctions will be lifted.” However, on the ABC News programme“ThisWeek,”Kerrystressed that such a right would be limited and would come about as a result of future negotiations. He said that under the terms of the agreement, “there will be a negotiation over whether or not they could have a very limited, completely verifiable, extraordinarilyconstrainedprogramme, where they might have some medical research or other things they can do, but there is no inherent right to enrich...” Arriving in London to meet British foreign minister, William Hague, Kerry acknowledged a tough road lay ahead beforeafinalagreementcouldbereached. “Now the really hard part begins and that is the effort to get the comprehensive agreement, which will require enormous steps in terms of verification, transparency and accountability,” he said. Selling the deal Obama telephoned Netanyahu to reassure him that Washington would continue to stand by Israel and to suggest that the United States and Israel should quickly start consultations. Obama also has to sell the deal to skeptics in Congress, including some in his own Democratic Party, who have been pressing for more sanctions on Iran. “A fairer agreement would have coupled a reduction in sanctions with a proportionate reduction in Iranian nuclear capability,” said Senator Charles Schumer. Senators have for months been discussing imposing even tighter sanctions on Iran, which could anger Tehran and put the interim deal reached in Geneva in jeopardy. Pro-Israel lobbying organisations - among the most effective interest groups in Washington - have failed so far to persuade lawmakers to tighten the sanctions screw on Iran.



International Ukraine police fire teargas at pro-Europe demonstrators


krainian police fired teargas yesterday at proEurope demonstrators protesting against a policy U-turn back towards Russia after the prime minister said there could be no repetition of the Orange Revolution protests of nine years ago. A few hundred people marched in the capital for a second straight day, responding to opposition calls for street protests over a decision last Thursday by the government to walk away from a trade pact with the European Union. Though numbers were much reduced from Sunday, when tens of thousands turned out and demonstrations mainly took place peacefully, trouble briefly flared outside government headquarters in the capital Kiev. Police fired teargas after clashing with demonstrators who tried to prevent a government car leaving the premises. A Reuters photographer on the spot said two people were detained. A government spokesman said the government was working normally yesterday despite the crowd of protesters outside. Speaking on Russian First channel TV on Sunday night, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that if the demonstrators violated the law, “the government will not act as it did in 2004 when the instruments of

Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to support EU integration in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kiev.

overthrowing the lawful government were being worked out quite simply before our very eyes”. The Orange Revolution of 2004-5 against alleged sleaze and electoral fraud doomed the first attempt at the presidency by Viktor Yanukovich, the current president, after an election which the opposition said was rigged. He was later elected in 2010 after making a political comeback. The signing of a farreaching trade and cooperation agreement was to be the centre-

piece of an EU summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, next Friday and mark a historic swing westwards away from Russia, Ukraine’s old Soviet master. The Kremlin had threatened trade retaliation, arousing fears of cut-offs in strategic supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine and through it to the West. Though Ukrainian leaders say “Euro-integration” is still their strategic aim, opposition leaders

charge Yanukovich with never intending to sign in Vilnius. They say he and his government had used the negotiations with the EU to bargain hard with Russia to secure a lucrative deal that would also ensure Yanukovich’s re-election in 2015. Demonstrators, waving the flags of the opposition parties and the blueand-gold of the EU, shouted “Down with the Gang!”, “Ukraine in Europe” and called for the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

right-wing extremist has been elected regional governor of Banska Bystrica in central Slovakia. Marian Kotleba won 55.5% of the vote in the run-off against Vladimir Manka from the SmerSocial Democrat party. Mr Kotleba is a former leader of a banned far-right organisation who now leads the ultra-nationalist Our Slovakia party. He has previously organised marches against Slovakia’s Roma minority.

The now-banned neoNazi party which Mr Kotleba formerly led had expressed sympathy for the Nazi puppet state which ruled Slovakia during World War II. The former teacher has called for Slovakia to withdraw from Nato, which his party brands a “terrorist” organisation. Of Slovakia’s other seven regions, six were won by the social democrats, the party of the Prime Minister Robert Fico, according to AP.

Slovak ‘neo-Nazi’ wins election A


Fragile Italian government calls confidence vote over 2014 budget


he Italian government is to call a confidence vote on its 2014 budget that will test the strength of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s majority for the first time since Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right threatened to quit the coalition. Letta’s government is virtually certain to survive with the support of the New Center Right party, which defected away from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia earlier this month because it wanted to keep the government afloat. But the vote, announced yesterday by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dario Franceschini, could

still the occasion in which Forza Italia definitively splits with Letta’s centerleft Democratic Party and moves into opposition. Berlusconi has threatened as much ahead of a vote likely to expel him from the Senate this week. The vote is just one part of the budget’s passage through parliament, which must be completed by the end of the year. “The confidence vote is necessary not only to guarantee a quick approval (of the budget law) but also to verify... the trust between the government and its parliamentary majority,” The budget, which includes some

timid tax cuts on labor costs and deficit-cutting measures, is currently scheduled to be voted on today, but could be delayed. Berlusconi had been expected go into opposition following his


conviction for masterminding a taxavoidance scheme at his Mediaset empire. Confidence votes are often called to speed through legislation in the Italian parliament, but this one adds to rising tension ahead of the vote on Berlusconi’s expulsion, a potential watershed in the career of the man who has dominated Italian politics for two decades. Earlier yesterday Berlusconi described the expulsion vote as a “coup d’etat”. Due to take place on Wednesday, the Senate vote could be rescheduled if budget negotiations run over.

Europe and Americas 2 candidates both claim win in Honduras election


ote counting is taking place in Honduras, with both main presidential candidates claiming victory. With more than half of votes declared, the conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez leads with about 34%, while Xiomara Castro has 28%, say election officials. But Ms Castro, the wife of ousted ex-president Manuel Zelaya, told reporters that she has won. Turnout was high, with millions of Hondurans voting for a new president, members of parliament and local mayors. Around 5.4m Hondurans were registered to vote and authorities say there was a “massive turn-out”. Voting took place amid tight security, but no serious incidents were reported. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world. Mr Hernandez declared victory when 24% of votes had been announced. “Thank God and thank you to the Honduran people for this triumph,” he posted on his Twitter page. But Ms Castro also used her Twitter account to say she had won: “Based on the exit poll results that I have received from the whole country, I can tell you: I am the president of Honduras.” She is hoping to become the first female president of Honduras. “Today, we can say that we have won,” Ms Castro told reporters. David Matamoros, president of the electoral court, said final results were not expected until later on Monday. “The preliminary results we have given so far do not show any tendency or declare any winner,’’ he said. Opinions polls had pointed to a close race between Ms Castro and Mr Hernandez. Mr Hernandez, whose National Party backed the ousting of Mr Zelaya in 2009, has vowed to restore order with more soldiers and police on the streets. Ms Castro has proposed a community police force to tackle local crime, with more soldiers deployed to the borders to combat drug trafficking. Analysts say victory for Mr Hernandez would be a blow to Mr Zelaya, who has hoped to stage a comeback behind his wife. Mr Zelaya took office in 2006 but his interest in amending the constitution was interpreted by his opponents as a bid to seek a second term. The Supreme Court, backed by Congress, ordered his removal from office and the military forced him out of the country. Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa of the right-wing National Party won a November 2009 election organised by the interim authorities. Mr Lobo was sworn into office in January 2010 as Mr Zelaya went into exile.



Strange World

Woman gets platinum jewel implanted in her eye

Lucy’s eye after the implant (L)


ucy Luckayanko is perhaps the only New Yorker to have an eye-stud. She spent $3,000 on a one-minute procedure to have a heart-shaped piece of platinum inserted into the white of her right eyeball. Harvard and NYU-trained Dr. Chynn performed the procedure.

Interestingly, he has been featured here on OC before. He made news last August as a love-crazed doctor desperate to find his soul-mate. He spent thousands of dollars on high-end matchmaking services and charity donations in exchange for dates. When nothing worked out, he began to offer free cosmetic

procedures to anyone who would introduce him to the girl of his dreams. Going by this, we don’t know if Lucy has had to pay for her treatment or got it free in exchange for setting up Dr. Chynn on a date. In any case, she went ahead with it and now she looks like she has a piece of dirt stuck in her eye

ended up fascinating me,” she says. The more she stroked it, the more she liked the idea of creating something from similar material. Soon the concept was born – leather purses and bags with the toad skin intact, head included. At first, Monika had no clue where to source frog skins from. She contacted several restaurants with frog legs on the menu, but to no avail. Finally, she struck gold when she heard of the cane toads of South Sea Islands. Her website states: “This highly poisonous toad is in the process of destroying several local species. Animal defence associations have recommended its selective elimination. In this way, each toad skin is recycled, not destroyed.” With the help of an Australian taxidermist from Cairns, Monika developed the process of converting these unwanted toads into high fashion accessories. Three years later she launched the brand ‘Kobja’, with a range of accessories like belts, bags and purses made of whole skins. According to the Kobja website, it takes over 14 stages to obtain high quality leather out of

the toad skins. Once the taxidermy is complete in Australia, the skins are tanned, dried and colored in France. The leather is transported to a workshop in Paris to be cut, stitched and set with crystals or stones. The toad skin accessories are lined with lamb or goat skin for extra strength. Monika fondly remembers the initial days: “When I called Jean-Charles Duchene (who runs the tannery in Paris) for a quote, they thought it was a joke. It was a challenge because we had to adapt to the material. The toad skin is denser than lamb, the dye is fixed quicker and it needs less.” Monika has painstakingly worked on re-creating useless frog skins into something highly desirable for women around the world. Her line is now sold in luxury shops or concept stores in Asia, Europe and the US. The purses are priced between $300 and $350, and large bags can cost up to $1,600. Kobja products have developed a near-cult like following among customers. Some even write back to Monika, telling her about the names they’ve given their bags.

forever. It seems doctors have done this procedure several times in Europe and Los Angeles, but this was New York’s first. To perform it, Dr. Chynn first injected an anesthetic into Lucy’s eye. Then he made a tiny incision to “try to divide a pocket in between the sclera (the white part) and the conjunctiva (the clear part)” of her eye. Using forceps, he placed the 3.5mm platinum stud in a drop of water on Lucy’s eye membrane. Since the stud is so small, it had to be floated into position. It was all over in a matter of minutes and Lucy went home with her new bejeweled eye soon after. This bizarre cosmetic procedure was invented in 2004 by a Dutch eye surgeon. Dr. Chynn tells us it’s very safe. “It’s a very thin piece of platinum that’s designed for insertion on top of the eye, it’s not in the eye so there’s no risk of blindness or anything at all,” he said. “She could have a little bit of local bleeding. That could go away in a couple of days or couple of weeks. She could have an infection but we’ll prevent that with antibiotics.” Lucy doesn’t seem too bothered with the consequences, however.

She’s just really happy with her “really small, really tiny, really cute” eye-heart. I wonder if she knows that her cute heart isn’t even FDA approved. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is warning consumers about potential dangers. They say there isn’t “sufficient evidence to support the safety or therapeutic value of this procedure,” and that people should “avoid placing in the eye any foreign body or material that is not approved by the FDA. A few days after the procedure, Lucy said she did not have any issues or pain with her new accessory. “50 percent of my friends are like: ‘What is it? Why do you need it oh my god are you crazy?’ But 50 percent of my friends are like: ‘Oh my god, its super cool.’” She could even swap it with something else when she gets bored of the heart. Each swap costs $1,000. Lucy thinks her eye is now going to be a “conversation maker.” I find this strange; if I wanted to make conversation, I’d just stick to a comment on the weather. But obviously Lucy wants more. She wants her eye to be her “unique factor.” I just hope her eye stays safe.

Polish designer turns toads into fashion accessories


n a fairy-tale world, you could kiss a frog and turn it into Prince Charming. No such luck in the real world. If it’s any consolation though, a Polish designer is converting thousands of toads into highly desirable fashion accessories. I mean, who wants men when you can have designer purses, right? The highly poisonous cane toads live in the South Sea Islands in Australia. They are considered an invasive species, which means they are a serious threat to the native biodiversity of the continent. Introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935, their main purpose was to control the native cattle beetle. The mission failed and cane toads began to multiply at an alarming rate – there are now over 200 million of them. The Australian army was deployed to get rid of them by the thousands. Putting the two stories (of Prince Charming and the Unwanted Toads) together is Polish designer Monika Jarosz. It all started when a friend gifted Monika a stuffed frog from New Zealand. “It disgusted me, but

Some of the accessories on display




Could eating cheese give you diabetes? By Rachel Ellis


ould eating a diet rich in meat and cheese cause your body to go into acid-overload and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes? That was the suggestion last week from French researchers. They found that women who consume higher quantities of meat, cheese, eggs, fish, bread and soft drinks are around 50 per cent more likely to develop the condition, even if they also ate lots of fruit and vegetables. The researchers said the problem was that foods such as meat and cheese are acidproducing. Like all living things, our bodies have a pH (power of hydrogen) level - a number between zero and 14 which tells you how acidic or alkaline it is. Zero is completely acidic, 14 is completely alkaline. Our body pH should be neutral, at seven, in order for the cells and tissues to function properly. When foods are broken down by the body they naturally produce acids or alkalis, a process known as the acid load. But it’s not just a case that foods which seem to be ‘acidic’ add to the acidic load, says Marie Murphy, a nutrition scientist with the British Nutrition Foundation. It depends on how the body processes it. ‘For example, an orange has a low pH due to its citric acid content, yet once ingested it is thought to have an alkali effect upon the body. This is to do with the nutrients it releases in the body,’ she says. Meats, fish, seafood, cheese, eggs, bread, oats, pasta and rice, processed foods and fizzy drinks all produce acids when

broken down, while coffee, fruit and vegetables are alkaline. When you eat a balanced diet of fibre, protein, carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, the acidic and alkaline foods neutralise each other. However, the theory is a Western diet rich in foods that produce acid when broken down can lead to an acid load on the body that is not compensated for by fruit and vegetables. It is thought this may cause metabolic complications including type 2 diabetes - this occurs when the body stops producing sufficient quantities of the hormone insulin or doesn’t use it properly. Insulin helps mop up blood sugar and convert it into energy. If insulin is not doing its job properly, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high and lead to diabetes. Untreated, the condition can cause nerve damage, loss of sight and death. Diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and amputations. The new French study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes - is the first to look at the possible link between a high-acid diet and type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects at least three million people in the UK. So could reducing your intake of high-acid foods protect you against type 2 diabetes? For some years, cutting out high-acid foods has been a popular approach to weight loss. The Alkaline Diet, as it’s known, is said to have won the backing of svelte celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss.

A Western diet rich in foods that produce acid when broken down can lead to an acid load on the body that is not compensated for by fruit and vegetables

Women who consume higher quantities of meat, cheese, eggs, fish, bread and soft drinks are around 50 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes

It is based on the idea that acid-producing foods can take the body’s acid levels to dangerously high readings and this can build fat and, in the long term, lead to an increased risk of cancer and osteoporosis. Eliminating or reducing these foods - following a mainly vegetarian diet - prevents this from happening, say supporters. However, experts have robustly dismissed the diet. ‘There is no plausible mechanism that shows the acid/alkali properties of foods would influence weight loss or weight gain,’ says Marie Murphy. But does this new diabetes study suggest the alkaline dieters may be on to something after all? There is no doubt that foods have an impact on the body’s pH. But British experts say the body maintains its pH level regardless of diet, either

through the lungs expelling carbon dioxide (this is one of the body’s main ways of regulating its pH balance), or through the kidneys flushing out any excess acid or alkali through urine. ‘Nutrients within foods have the potential to influence the acid-alkali balance of the body by increasing or decreasing the pH levels,’ explains Marie Murphy. ‘However, the body has very effective mechanisms of maintaining its acid-base balance and any influences from foods that disrupt this balance are corrected by the body’s regulatory system which keeps everything stable, for example, the excretion of urinary acid through the kidneys. ‘There’s actually very little evidence that the acid-producing properties of food have any significant impact on health.’ Dr Tony Leeds, an obesity specialist at the Whittington Hospital, London, says that healthy people are able to cope with high-acid foods. ‘As long as your body has normal functioning systems, it can cope with acid products produced by metabolism and will excrete them,’ he explains. Professor Tom Sanders, head of diabetes and nutritional sciences at King’s College London, says while the study suggests a link between a highacid diet and type 2 diabetes, this is purely based on statistics - socalled epidemiological research - rather than medical evidence. It doesn’t prove that a highacid diet causes type 2 diabetes or even that there is a definite link between the two. Even if a high-acid diet did increase the chance of developing the disease, the risk would be small compared with other, more established risk factors, says Professor Sanders. While the study found that those eating a high-acid diet were 56 per cent more likely

to develop type 2 diabetes compared with those eating a low-acid diet, being overweight or obese increases the risk tenfold, or 1,000 per cent, he says. ‘There are far greater risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes than eating red meat,’ he says. ‘In Asia, where red meat consumption is traditionally very low compared with the West, diabetes rates are spiralling. ‘Diabetes levels are also high among black and Asian communities who don’t eat many dairy products. The main risk factor is weight.’ Diabetes UK says more research needs to be done before a low-acid diet is recommended as a way of preventing diabetes. Dr Richard Elliot, of the charity, says: ‘Further studies will be needed before we can be confident that there really is a link between diets high in foods that increase acids in the body and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.’ Source:

Further studies will be needed before Diabetes UK can be confident that there really is a link



NDSG unveils 1st periodic reportorial on democracy in Nigeria By Stanley Onyekwere


he National Democracy Stakeholders Group (NDSG) has officially unveiled its first reportorial periodic publication on democracy in Nigeria, covering the First Republic to the current stretch of the 4th republic. The book has esteemed contributors across board, including the Senate President, David Mark, who wrote on the role of the legislators in sustaining democracy in Nigeria. Speaking on the perspective and essence of the book, during the official public presentation of the book, in Abuja, its reviewer, Minister of Interior, Dr. Abba Moro, said it was a very interesting review of critical questions bordering on political and social economic development in Nigeria. The minister, who was represented by the Director of planning, research and statistic in the ministry, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar Nikau, said efforts made in publishing the book demonstrated NDSG’s patriotism and contribution to the democratic development in the nation. According to him, the beauty of the book lies in its lucidity and multi-dimensional perspective on which it handles its subject matter; and judging from the matured views and objectivity of their analysis, the authors of the various components of the book could neither be accused of being pro or anti-government. The

accounts given from both sides of the divide were honest, sound and convincing. “It’s a captivating material that engenders compelling interest of the reader; and a reader going through such incisive report findings would have huge essence of value for his or her money and time; I therefore recommend this book to all the institutions of higher learning, researchers, politicians and indeed the general public in the country”, the minister added. On his part, the representative

of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Major General Mobolaji Adeleke Koleoso, said the book reflected the new orientation of the Army in Nigeria towards governance, which started since 1999, when government was handed over to civilians. According to him, the nation’s democratic experience so far, has shown that democracy is the in thing, not a military government; “So we are subordinated to civil authorities and we are doing all in our part to support the democracy in place”.

Earlier, NDSG convener, Kletsaint Akor said the idea behind Democracy in Nigeria is to be able to document the essence of our national democracy annually. “The book has documented our success; our challenges and our prospects; by that it gives us an inroad into where we are coming from and where we are going to as an emerging democratic society. This will give opportunity for people that are interested about policy making process,” Akor stressed.

Chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa(2nd right ), Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Sunday Samuel Yusuf (2nd left), members of the committee, Hon. Ajibola Famunrewa (right), and Hon. Adamu Sadafi (left) during the presentation of the committee’s report to the envoy, at the weekend in Pretoria, South Africa.

2015: APC’ll win Kebbi, party chieftain boasts From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


he newly elected All Progressives Congress (APC) caretaker chairman in Kebbi state, Alhaji Abubakari Atiku Bunu, has promised to deliver the state to the party in 2015 general election. He gave this assurance at

the weekend in Birnin Kebbi while receiving a crowd from Fakai, Suru and Bagudu local government areas of the state which paid him a solidarity visit on his new appointment. According to him, arrangements have been concluded to collect power from the ruling party [PDP] in the

state and at the national level. He said ‘’we are working hard to ensure that our party, AOC, being for poor people would collect power from corrupt government; people should know that PDP has no interest in developing this country.” Speaking earlier, the APC chairman of Fakai and Suru local

government areas, Alhaji Usman Asko and Alhaji Aliyu Kuaifa, said that they were in Birnin Kebbi with their supporters to rejoice with the state caretaker chairman over his appointment just as they assured him of their support and cooperation to ensure that the party succeeds in the 2015 election general election.

2015: Women will determine winners From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Interim National Woman Leader, Sharon Ikeazor, yesterday vowed that Nigerian women would by their population, determine who wins the 2015 general elections. Ikeazor, while addressing a South West APC women meeting in Lagos, regretted that despite their population, women in Nigeria were yet to tap into their numeric strength to ascertain their relevance in politics. “This is a big problem. Women are not yet united to forge a common force and speak with one voice. This is the essence of the APC South West town hall meeting today. “Our aim is to sensitize the women on the need to become a formidable force and use their numeric strength to ensure victory for the APC in 2015” she said. She said that the APC was already preparing its female aspirants for various political positions across the country. According to her, the party has kicked off workshops across the country for its female members with ambition to contest in 2015 and beyond. The Woman Leader while speaking on violence against women, urged them to resist all forms of violence both at home, at work or their business places. “All abuses against women must be reported promptly to the appropriate quaters” she charged. On the chances of the APC in the 2015 polls, the Woman Leader said that the party will win because it is a “conglomerate”. “When you consider the individual strength of the political parties that formed the APC, you will know without doubt that the party’s chances in 2015 are very bright” she said. She said that contrary to propaganda by some political parties, APC remained a party for Nigerians and urged every Nigerian to support it.

INEC’s incompetence spells doom for 2015 elections, says Accord Party From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


pposition Accord Party has pointed out that the incompetence exhibited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the conduct of the Anambra governorship election portends danger ahead of the 2015 general

election. In a statement by the party’s scribe, Dr. Samson Isibor, at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to review the recently conducted Anambra State Governorship poll, said: ``For the fact that INEC is yet to come up with an acceptable result-one week after the exercise, showed the electoral

umpire was not prepared for the election. ``Judging by the outcome of this election in a state with just a land mass of 4,844.00 and a population that is less than 6 percent of Nigeria’s total population, Accord Party is of the view that the incompetence of INEC spells doom for 2015 general election’’.

The party called for total cancellation of whatever results that have been announced by INEC and urged the political parties that fielded candidates for the election to boycott the supplementary election. ``Besides, we boycott the purported supplementary governorship election even as we are prepared to challenge INEC

in court if it goes ahead with the election because its action is a threat to the nation’s nascent democracy,” the party stated. It lamented deliberate disenfranchisement of voters arising from alleged irregularities on the part of INEC, insisting that such was an indication that the future election in the country is not promising.





s the Chairman House Committee on Security, Intelligence and Public Safety, what is exactly have you done to have peace restored peace in Zamfara state? Well, Zamfara state was a land of peace before the year 2011 when the present administration under the leadership of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar took over power. The state is surrounded with number of economic potentials capable of playing the role of food basket to the whole nation. It is also blessed with high deposits of mineral resources in commercial quantity strongly believed to serve as substitute to crude oil. But you see, all these cannot be explored without peace, and the peace cannot prevail without conquering security challenges that have become front pages stories of noble national dailies. It was clear in the record featured by the historical background of the Zamfara state security challenges that there were two minor mistakes which the negligence of the state government had promoted to become major, now grown fully matured to back-pulled two viable activities in the state comprising farming and legal mining which collectively formed 97 percent of the state commercial productivity. What two minor mistakes are you talking about and what amount of negligence from the state government? On the one hand, some members of the vigilante groups that were not well trained embarked upon operations to flush out suspected criminals in some villages. Yes, it was a welcome idea; but it was alleged that they served contrary to the provisions of the law by taking illegal judgment on the suspects instead of making collaborations with the security agencies to allow judiciary to decide their fate. On the other hand, the state government was reluctant after having received a report on a dispute between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen over alleged illegal use of farm lands reserved for cattle rearing. You see, the state government was absolutely mute on the two burning issues. They were supposed to have a revisit on the forest demarcations mapped out by the law to ensure an amicable separation of farm lands and the cattle rearing reserves. Number two, the state government should not have relaxed on the incidences which allegedly seem to spark off the harsh decision taken by some members of the vigilante groups. The vigilante groups should have been directed to always wait for instructions from the security chiefs in the state. Now, the security situation is deteriorating in the state to the extent that some villages have been overrun by suspected

How Gov. Yari ruined Zamfara state, by Hon. Matawalle Bello Muhammed Matawalle, a member of the House of Representatives representing Bakura and Maradun federal constituency from Zamfara state and also Chairman, House Committee on Security, Intelligence and Public Safety, is vying for gubernatorial seat under the platform of PDP come 2015. In this interview with our state Correspondent, Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Matawalle x-rays the performance of the incumbent governor of the state and concludes that he’s recording failures because he came on board without any developmental blueprint. Excerpts: gunmen... Stop, I say! Who tells you people are not sleeping in their respective villages? Look, I am from Zamfara state and I am the Chairman, House Committee on security and intelligence, so also the able Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Dahiru Abubakar. Though, I cannot reveal security measures being put in place, believe you me, all people in the affected villages are now relaxed as law and order have since been restored, everybody is now back to his legitimate business. When we received reports on incessant attacks on our people, we were sleepless in holding meetings with the security agencies in the state, and it yielded positive outcome as we recorded great achievements. I am assuring you that with the introduction of new strategies projected by the IGP, Zamfara is peaceful again; it even has the lowest record of armed robbery in the country as there is no hiding place for criminals. How would you assess the state government’s efforts in making the state peaceful again? To my knowledge, the state government stands the position of just a shallow level in the commitments of making the achievements in terms of peace restoration in the state. The Governor and his aides were only busy trying to mount blame of the incidences on the federal government and the Police, while they could not play their expected roles. The state government did not, in whatever aspect, helped the matter. After series of meetings between my Committee and the national security chiefs, men were deployed to arrest the situation. But, unfortunately later, we received complaints that the state government was not willing to encourage the security personnel on the field. To cap it all, the recorded contribution given by the state government as engagement for the maintenance of the operations carried by the security agencies across the dangerous forest was not even commendable. The worst part of it all is that the governor could not spend a week in the country ever since he assumed office, therefore, he has no knowledge of the happenings in the state. But the governor repeatedly said his trips abroad were to canvass for investors from within and

Bello Muhammed Matawalle

outside the country? How? As a working journalist, have you ever been invited to cover any event pertaining to signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with any interested investing organization from 2011 till date. Tell me ‘no’. How would somebody that came into power without a blueprint bring about any progress and development towards building the state to the expected level. That is why all the attacks occurred in his absence, and you cannot tell me a moment when Governor Yari visited any of the affected villages even a day after the attack. Your posters are all over the state capital indicating that you’re preparing to contest the governorship election in 2015? It is true that I want to vie for the post of governorship under the platform of PDP come 2015. Is there anything wrong with it. Let me tell you that I cannot recline to continue watching good people of Zamfara state dying of insecurity, cholera outbreak, unemployment and in abject poverty caused by the recent unnecessary dismissal of thousands of civil servants. What informed your decision to join the race? There is no sector which is not dilapidated under the present administration; no sector that is not in urgent need of revival. This

is the main reason why Zamfara fell asleep since May 2011, and nothing is functioning. You see, the spirit of civil service is no longer alive, because over 14,000 civil servants were unnecessarily sacked, while the dormant ones that remained are suffering. Commercial activities have been sent to graveyards; educational sector as well as health have been strangled to standstill. Right now as I am talking to you, the state government could not pay for the release of WAEC results; the only state in the country with such a shame. We have as an evidence numerous reports that were never being denied by the state government indicating total collapse of educational sector in the state. Let me give you an example, we read in the national dailies that the state House f Assembly had investigated the state UBEB financial affairs just some months ago when they discovered that the sum of N1.6 billion was diverted to personal bank account. In the recommendation, the state House of Assembly had suggested that the embattled Chairman of the Board, Murtala Adamu Jangebe, should be arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the state Attorney-General. The recommendation further suggested that the Board Chairman, following the discovery of the looted 1.6 billion

naira should be banned from occupying any political office in the state henceforth. You see, the Attorney-General did not work with the recommendation made by the house of law; so also the governor himself remained mute on the money which up till now could not be accounted for. What are other things you could point out that the incumbent givernor had done wrong? Like I told you in the first instance, the government of Abulaziz Yari is full of blunders; they were only opportuned to have taken power without any blueprint. We recently read in the papers that the Zamfara state government had spent N8.6 billion just for the removal, repainting and reinstallation of the Gusau streetlights units after they probed the immediate past administration of Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi for using N2.6 billion naira for the initiation of the same project. What are the first projects you will embark upon if elected as Zamfara state governor? Youth and women empowerment indeed. Because it is the only way of improving security among the populace; if youth are employed, surely the rate of crime and other social vices will be lower. So also the empowerment of women which even now I have recorded achievements better than the state government in my constituency and some other parts of the state. The growing rate of poverty in Zamfara state no doubt needs urgent attention, which is what has really attracted me and people alike to come to contest for the position of governorship from my party. Are you satisfied with the way the state government is handling programmes on youth and women empowerment? What programme? Look just few months ago, youth staged a protest over refusal of the state government to pay their 2-year allowances under skill acquisition programme, and women from across the fourteen local government areas of the state were also lamenting Governor Yari’s failure to fulfill the promises made to empower them immediately after assumption of office. Who is being empowered then? His family and relatives or his political god-fathers?



News Extra

L - R: Vice-Chancellor, Oduduwa University, Ife, Professor J. Adeleke Ogunwale, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and her husband, Profesor Ikemba Iweala, during the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on Sanusi and Okonjo-Iweala, at the weekend in Ile-Ife, Osun state.

Group rolls out plan on waste mgt in Bauchi From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


group, Water Resources and Environmental Governance Expert has reeled out ten-point agenda on how to manage waste in Bauchi sate. The group listed some of the measures of waste management to include; provision of additional refuse bins in strategic places, additional vehicles for refuse collection, landfill

sites for refuse disposal in all urban towns, engagement of private sector in the venture of waste management and develop policies on waste management among others. The group in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Engr. Mailadi Yusuf Abba said the group was disturbed by the alarming indiscriminate dumping of refuse in Bauchi metropolis. The statement noted with dismay the way and manner refuse dumping has taken over the streets

of Bauchi metropolis saying “Conventionally, such refuse is supposed to be brought out on the streets for collection by the appropriate government agencies, and the resident”. The group called on government to empower the state environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA) and local government councils to deliver on their mandates of managing waste for the overall good of humanity and the environment.

Outsiders can’t solve Nigeria’s problems, says varsity don From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Secretary-General of the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), Prof. Michael Oladimeji Faborode, has noted that the current security and socio-economic problems facing the country could not be solved by outsiders except Nigerians themselves. Faborode who is the immediate past ViceChancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,

gave this indication while delivering a Keynote Lecture at the Second Moringa Leading Edge (MLE) Conference 2013, organised by the Moringa Plantation Management Committee of the University of Ilorin. He called for a synergy between tertiary institutions and industries to ensure that the outcome of research works in universities is beneficial to the growth and development of the nation. The university don pointed out that there was no way local problems

confronting Nigeria could be solved by outsiders unless a deliberate effort are made to create a synergy between universities and the industry through appropriate funding of research by the government in addition to creating a suitable environment for industries to thrive This, according to the Professor of Agricultural Engineering, would engender true national transformation and ensure the attainment of the Vision 202020 of the Federal Government.

Ogun warns loan beneficiaries against defaulting From James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta


eneficiaries of the N1 billion loan scheme jointly floated by the Ogun state government and Bank of Industry have been reminded that the scheme was not a national cake, but a revolving credit that must be repaid promptly to ensure continuity. Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru gave this reminder in Abeokuta

at a meeting held with some of the beneficiaries who defaulted in their repayment schedule. Ashiru, represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Tinu Sopeju said the reminder became important in order to sustain the scheme and ensure that the dreams of reducing poverty and creating wealth by beneficiaries who were small and medium scale industrialists were realised. He pointed out that

government intended to recover the loans in its entirety, to enable others benefit, explaining that the meeting was not meant to witch-hunt or embarrass anybody. The Commissioner added that government was not unmindful of likely developments which might adversely affect beneficiaries’ plans of repayment, but advised that when such unforeseen circumstances occur, they must inform the Ministry and other relevant officials promptly.



News Extra

BUK alumni to hold first national convention From Mustapha Adamu, Kano


he National Convention Committee of the Bayero University Kano Alumni Association (BUKAA) has fixed December 7, for its first national convention and election of executive officers. The chairman of the committee and a former secretary to the Katsina State Government (SSG), Dr Mustapha Inuwa disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Kano on Saturday. He said the university has found it necessary to have a conventional alumni association in order to bring development to it. “It can also play important

NSCDC arrests 3 suspected pipeline vandals in Kwara From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin with agency report


our persons suspected to have damaged NNPC pipelines in Afon, Kwara, have been arrested by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state. The commandant of the agency in the state, Mr Gana Yerima, who confirmed the arrest of thr suspects to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Ilorin, said the people were arrested on a tip-off. Yerima said the suspected vandals were about siphoning petroleum product into a waiting oil truck at about 1.30 a.m. when official of the command, who were on surveillance duty in the area, arrived at the scene. He said the suspects opened fire on the NSCDC team when they sighted them, adding, however, that they escaped with gunshot injuries after they were overpowered by the “superior firepower of my men”. Yerima said that aside from the truck, with reg. no. OYO XA 773 WEL, a18-seater bus with reg. no. XB 954 AME, and a Toyota Corolla, marked AR 351 KEY, were found at the scene. According to him, a generator, a pumping machine and three long hoses were also found at the scene. The commandant said the arrest was aided by some commercial motorcyclists, who carried them earlier as they were escaping. He said that the command had maintained a 24-hour surveillance of pipelines in the area since he assumed office in the state in 2012. The commandant warned vandals still operating in Kwara to relocate, saying the state would no longer be conducive to their activities. He urged members of the public to continue to support the command by supplying useful information that would lead to the arrest people that destroy public facilities in the state. (NAN)

role in resolving some problems in the university hence the decision to hold the first national convention and election of executive ‘’, he said. He explained that the association has been in existence since 1990 but without elected officials, adding that the elected national officers are to run the affairs of the body for the next two years. “The former governor of Zamfara, Alhaji Ahmad Sani Yarima will be the chairman of the occasion, while Niger state governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida will be the Special Guest of Honour during the occasion’’, he added.’’ He finally stated that application forms for the alumni membership are already on sale from 1st - 30th November.

L-R: Executive Director Admin, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engineer Zubairu Bayi, Managing Director, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engineer Wolfgang Goetsch, Deputy General Manager, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ola Jacob Oluwafemi, and Assistant General Manager of NSITF, Eke Anthony Iroabuchi, during the presentation of Toyota Hiace ambulance bus donated to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), at the weekend in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

2013 Hajj: 10,000 pilgrims to get compensation From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has expressed satisfaction with the transportation of the 75,000 Nigerians that performed the 2013 Hajj, even as it assured of payment of compensation to some of those who went through tour operators who experienced some delays. In its report on the exercise issued on Sunday, the NCAA

adjudged this year’s Hajj operation as one of the most successful carried out in recent years. It explained that the exercise which was largely hitch free, had the pilgrims airlifted in a total of 166 flight operations, adding that there were 135 outbound flights to Saudi Arabia and a corresponding 131 inbound flights from the holy land during the operations which commenced on September 14, and ended November 14, 2013.

General Manager, Public Affairs of NCAA, Fan Ndubuoke, told reporters “this is approximately five (5) days to the appointed time for the Saudi authorities to officially close the airport for this year’s hajj exercise. The closure was earmarked for the 19th October, 2013.” “The only grey area was the delay experienced by the 10,000 pilgrims who employed the services of the tour operators. They

were delayed for 24 hours. NCAA and the Nigerian Hajj Commission of Nigeria have intervened and adequate compensation will be paid to the passengers”, the statement said. The figures showed MAX Air did 78 of flights ferrying 40,690 passengers, Kabo Air had 31 with 15,744 passengers, Medview carried 5,440 passengers with 5 flights and Meridian Airlines took 3, 570 persons in its 7 schedules.

FG committed to tackling insecurity, says minister From David Hassan, Gombe


inister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Rtd) has reiterated government’s commitment to tackling the menace of insecurity in the country.

The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. James Obiegbu stated this yesterday in Gombe during a zonal stakeholders consultative forum on the development of a National Policy on Public Safety and Security held in

Gombe. He said the decision to embarked on this venture was based on the need to develop comprehensive policy framework to deal with insecurity across the country. Also speaking at the event, Gombe state governor, Alhaji

Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo who was also represented by his deputy, Tha’anda Jason Rabainu, said the security of lives and property of citizens should be everybody’s responsibility, adding that there would be no meaningful development without peace.

Iyayi: Rights commission, ANEEJ begin campaign to end impunity From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), have began campaign to end impunity by convoys of public office holders. They also charged the federal government to raise a panel of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), Professor Festus Iyayi. Late Iyayi and other ASUU members were involved in an auto crash with the convoy of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state on Tuesday,

November 12, 2013. The rights groups made the position known weekend at a symposium they jointly organised, in collaboration with Citizens Wealth Platform to mark the 2013

International Day to End Impunity. Edo state Coordinator of the NHRC, Barrister Sani Momodu said the commission was taking steps help to curtail cases of impunity in the country.

Executive Director of ANEEJ, Reverend David Ugolor, described the impunity which resulted in the death of Iyayi as one too many, especially among some “highly placed Nigerians and some policemen in the country”.

Customs Officer arraigned for assaulting tenant


Customs Officer, Abdulahi Mamman,44, yesterday appeared before a Surulere Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, charged with assaulting a tenant in his family house. Mamman, who resides at No. 22 Rotimi St., Surulere, where the offence was committed, is facing a count charge of assault. He pleaded not guilty.

The Prosecutor, Insp Gabriel Ekundayo, told the court that the accused on Nov. 5, injured one Husseni Ahmed in the eye when he gave him a punch. Ekundayo said that Ahmed came home to find his apartment doors, sealed. He said that when Ahmed confronted Mamman about the locked doors, an argument ensued

which led to the punch on his eye. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 171 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2011. The Magistrate, Mrs M.O. Olajuwon, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N50,000 with a surety in like sum. She adjourned the case till Jan. 16, 2014 for trial. (NAN)



Golf is not a All set for 69th NFF General Assembly bourgeoisie A game, says IBB Golf lady captain T

he Lady Captain of IBB International Golf and Country Club Dr Joyce Barber has said that the game of golf was not only for the rich but for disciplined and focused people. Barber who disclosed this at the just concluded 7th Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor’s Cup in Abuja said the game is for serious people. She called on Nigerians to change their perception that golf was for the rich, saying that it was for principled and focused people. The lady captain however advised ladies to join to take the game to those in the corporate world. “I will say women participation in golf is low and we are making efforts to see that we get more ladies, especially those in the corporate world. “Most people have a wrong perception that the game takes a lot of time to play and it is mainly for the rich, but I can tell you that it is not. “Golf is one game that you play against yourself; you make out your own time. It helps in healthy living. “The game is a game of integrity, you cannot play this game and

your character is in question, you can’t do it. “And that is why CBN, the custodian of our finances is supporting the game, since integrity remains the watch word of the apex bank. Barber said that the IBB Golf Club started the Junior Open in the country, which was ranked internationally. “Grassroots development means a lot to the ladies, because golf should really start from the grassroots. “In Nigeria, the junior open was ranked by the international scene early this year,’’ she said. Earlier, the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the bank developed interest in golf because it shared some principles with the bank. Sanusi was represented at the occasion by his Special Assistant on Payment System, Mr Walter Harry. “Central Bank sponsors a lot of sporting events because we believe in people living a healthy lifestyle. “We particularly identify with golf because we have the same kind of principles, which is focus, planning, consistency and the passion to excel,’’ he said.

David Mark

rrangements have been concluded by the Nigeria Football Federation and the Delta State Government for the 69th Annual General Assembly of Nigeria football, which takes place in Warri on Thursday. All 14 Members of the NFF Executive, NFF Management and 88 delegates, comprising chairmen and secretaries of all State Football Associations, chairmen and secretaries of the Premier League, National League, Women’s League and Nationwide League, and chairmen and secretaries of Nigeria Referees Association, Nigeria Coaches Association and Players’ Union are expected at the event. Director General of the National Sports Commission, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, chairmen of the Senate Sports Committee and the House of Reps’ Sports Committee, and former presidents and

secretaries-general of the NFF have also been invited. The Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, CON will declare the annual general assembly open while the Honourable Minister of Sports and Chairman, National

Bolaji Abdullahi

Sports Commission, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi will be special guest of honour. Thursday’s event will kick off at 10am with the opening ceremony at the Brownhill Events Centre, which will have all dignitaries in attendance, and will be followed by the general assembly itself at the same venue. Premier League champions, Kano Pillars and winners of the 2013 Federation Cup, Enyimba FC will lock horns in the annual Charity Shield match at Warri City Stadium from 4pm. The year 2013 has been a magnificent one for Nigeria football, with the Super Eagles winning the Africa Cup of Nations and then elegantly picking a 2014 FIFA World Cup ticket, the Golden Eaglets winning a recordsetting fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup title and the Eagles Team B qualifying for the first time ever to participate at the African Nations Championship.

Maigari congratulates winners, organisers of Nigeria Pitch Awards


he President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Alhaji Aminu Maigari has congratulated the winners, as well as organisers of the inaugural edition of Nigeria Pitch Awards, which took place at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel, Calabar on Saturday, 16th November. “The NFF is satisfied with the entire process leading to the Awards Ceremony and the credibility of the whole thing is not in doubt. The NFF supported the Pitch Awards because we believe it will help fire the competitive spirit of our players at home and abroad. “Awards are ample rewards for hard work, perseverance and a commitment to excellence, and they spur further hard work and drive for glory. For instance, the Referee of the Year award will encourage our referees, who have been declared to be improving by visiting FIFA delegates, to perform even better,” Maigari said. The NFF President added: “I congratulate the organisers, Matchmakers Consult International, for their foresight and doggedness. I believe next year’s event will be even better.” Meanwhile, chief executive of Matchmakers Consult International, organisers of the awards, Shina Philips, expressed gratitude to all Nigerian journalists for their support for the Nigeria Pitch Awards. “As organisers, we are overwhelmed by the support we

got from journalists who voted and who also helped publicise the awards. We are npromising a much better outing in the city of Lagos in 2014.” At the awards, Super Eagles’

midfield pearl John Mikel Obi won the King of Pitch while Perpetua Nkwocha, four-time African Woman Player of the Year, was crowned Queen of Pitch.

NFF slams 10-year ban on Adepoju


he Emergency Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation has upheld the recommendation of the investigative committee into bribery allegation against a member of the Committee, Barrister Olaleye Adepoju, placing a 10-year ban from all football-related activities on the former chairman of NFF Disciplinary Committee. Following a meeting of the investigative committee headed by Barrister Chris Green at the NFF Secretariat in Abuja on Monday, the Emergency Committee was convened to look into its recommendations with a view to treating the matter with dispatch. Apart from Barrister Adepoju, the former Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Oyo State, Mr. Dapo Lam-Adesina, also bagged a 10-year ban. It was the unanimous position of the Emergency Committee that the case against Barrister Adepoju was proved beyond reasonable doubt. In a related development, the Emergency Committee also upheld the recommendation of the investigative committee into an allegation of impersonation against the Chairman of Enugu

State Football Association, Mr. Chidi Ofo Okenwa, to the effect that Okenwa, indeed, has a case to answer. The Committee has referred the case to the Inspector General of Police for full police investigation. In the meantime, Mr. Ofo Okenwa is to step aside as Chairman of Enugu State Football Association pending the conclusion of police investigation. Present at the meeting were NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, Vice President, Chief Mike Umeh and other Members, Chief Emeka Inyama, Alhaji Muazu Suleyman, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh and Alhaji Ahmad Muazu Kawu.





Champions League

Celtic aim to sink AC Milan

AC Milan


eltic welcome Milan to Glasgow knowing that come the final whistle they could end in second place in Group H or be eliminated from the UEFA Champions League altogether. The Scotts will be looking to seize a big opportunity when the Rossoneri come to town, but are fully aware that a loss could seal their fate from the competition. Neil Lennon’s men may be sitting at the foot of the group standings but, with a mere two points separating them from the struggling Italians, a win could see them leapfrog up to second should Barcelona do the business over Ajax at the same time.

Virgil van Dijk, who recently opened his scoring account with two goals against Ross County, believes that Tuesday night’s clash is shaping up to be the most important game of the season for Celtic. The reverse leg of this fixture saw Milan score two late goals to claim a 2-0 win at the San Siro and it still remains their only victory in the tournament so far. Two more draws and a defeat to Barcelona have followed for Massimiliano Allegri’s charges and the congestion in the standings means they could end the night bottom should they fail to procure a win.

Limping Barcelona visit Ajax

Chelsea out to clinch last 16 spot C helsea travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel in the Champions League today knowing that a point will be enough to seal their place in the last 16. Last year, as reigning European champions, the Blues were eliminated in the group stage, but while they have not always convinced since the return to the dugout of Jose Mourinho, they have seized control of Group E since a shock home defeat to Basel in September. That 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge has been followed by comprehensive victories away to Steaua Bucharest and twice against Schalke, Mourinho’s men rattling in 10 goals and conceding none in those games to sit three points clear of the Germans at the top of the section. As they return to the St JakobPark, scene of a 2-1 win in the first leg of last season’s Europa League semifinal in April, Chelsea will be looking to extend a run of just one defeat in 13 matches in all competitions. They were convincing 3-0 winners away to West Ham United on Saturday, a result that left them in third place in the Premier League and eased concerns about their away form, which had previously been patchy. Veteran midfielder Frank

Samuel Etoo and Kay Voser

Lampard scored twice against his former club at the weekend and now he is looking forward to gaining revenge on Basel following that September shocker. Against West Ham, Chelsea were without left-back Ashley Cole, who has not started any of the team’s last three games, with Cesar Azpilicueta again deputising on the left of the defence. Fernando Torres has

also been on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, although Mourinho has indicated that he is “almost ready” to return. Basel are fresh from celebrating their 120th birthday with a 4-1 win against Thun at the weekend which kept them clear at the top of their domestic Super League and have been beaten just once in 19 outings since early August.

Arsenal warn of Marseille danger




arcelona will look to secure their place at the top of Group H when they visit Ajax Amsterdam tonight. The Catalans top the table with 10 points from four matches and need a point to secure top spot, while Ajax third with four points, one point behind second-placed AC Milan. Gerardo Martino’s side have won three and drawn one of their opening four matches but go into this clash without some key players who have been sidelined by injury. Barca will be missing the services of goalkeeper Victor Valdes, utility player Adriano Correia, fullback Dani Alves and star forward Lionel Messi. However, their injury problems did not affect their form in the domestic league over the weekend as they registered a comfortable 4-0 win over Granada on Saturday to remain at the top of the La Liga standings. Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas scored from the penalty spot before the break, while Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez were also on target in the second half.


rsenal’s path into the Champions League knockout rounds looks to be a safe one with a home game against rock bottom Olympique Marseille in today but taking nothing for granted. The Londoners top Group F with nine points from four matches, the same as secondplaced Napoli and three more than Borussia Dortmund. Should Arsenal beat Marseille and Dortmund fail to defeat Napoli, Arsene Wenger’s side would be guaranteed to qualify with a game to spare. Midfielder Santi Cazorla has warned against complacency especially with a trip to Naples concluding the group stages. Marseille held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw the last time they played at the Emirates two years ago but the French club have a poor record in England. Their only victory in 11 competitive visits was a 1-0 win

over Liverpool in the 2007-08 Champions League group stages and they have lost six times. With little chance of even finishing third in the group, Marseille may elect to field a weakened side at Arsenal. The 1993 European champions are also minus Ghana striker Andre Ayew due to a knee problem.

Today’s fixtures

Zenit St Petersburg v Atltico de Madrid Celtic v Milan Celtic Park Basel

v Chelsea

Borussia Dortmund v Napoli Ajax v Barcelona Arsenal v Marseille FC Porto v FK Austria Wien Steaua Bucharest v FC Schalke 04




Chelsea player lack respect, says Ancelottti


arlo Ancelotti has told The Times that there was a player he “tried to kill” during his time at Chelsea. Ancelotti, who is currently head coach at Real Madrid, spent two years in charge of Chelsea before leaving the club in 2011. The Italian led the Blues to a Premier League and FA Cup double during the 200910 season, but was sacked on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign after being unable to replicate that success.

Ancelotti left Chelsea in 2011.

Baines out for a month E

little bit elastic. Sometimes we were not elastic at Chelsea. One time [Didier] Drogba arrived 30 minutes late for a game, so he didn’t play, but the key is mutual respect. “We’ve never had any problems with the players, just one time at Chelsea. One player didn’t show respect and I tried to kill him, but it wasn’t possible. The player is the property of the club, and sometimes you cannot do what you want.”

Manchester United lose a player

Leighton Baines

verton left-back Leighton Baines is facing a month after fracturing his toe during Saturday’s Merseyside derby. Baines is set to miss key Premier League fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal as he recovers from the injury. The England international, 28, was caught by Jordan Henderson in the first half of the 3-3 Premier League draw with

Ancelotti has revealed his anger at a particular member of the squad during his Chelsea tenure although The Times states “the player cannot be identified” but “will come as little surprise given his other well-documented misdemeanours.” “The success of a manager is down to his relationship with players,” Ancelotti told The Times. “That doesn’t mean to say you always say ‘yes, yes, yes’. “There is discipline, there are rules, but you have to be a

Liverpool at Goodison Park. But he played on until the 50th minute, when he was replaced by forward Gerard Deulofeu, who is on loan from Barcelona. Baines left the ground on crutches, and a scan on Saturday night revealed the problem. He will have further tests to discover how serious it is. The left-back is looking to return within a month.

Bale tips Ronaldo to land Ballon d’Or

Bill Foulkes captained Manchester United in the aftermath of the 1958 tragedy


ormer Manchester United footballer Bill Foulkes, who survived the 1958 Munich air crash, has died aged 81. Only Sir Bobby Charlton, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have played more times than the Busby Babe, who made 688 appearances for United. Club executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said “he will never be forgotten” adding, “He was a giant character” in the club’s post-war era. St Helens-born Foulkes played for United in their 1968 European Cup win. On 6 February 1958, the plane that was carrying the Busby Babes back from Belgrade crashed in a blizzard after re-fuelling at Munich airport. Twenty-three people died - eight

young players, eight newspaper journalists and seven members of backroom staff After the Munich tragedy, Foulkes took over the captaincy and became a pillar of some of United’s most successful teams. He was a four-time league champion, FA Cup winner and European Cup winner. Mr Woodward said: “He was a very gentle man, who I was privileged to meet on several occasions, including most memorably with his team-mates at the Champions League final in Moscow, 50 years after his heroics in the Munich air crash.” Foulkes made his debut against Liverpool in December 1952 and went on to score nine goals in his career.

Tottenham criticise players over Manchester City defeat

T Gareth Bale and Ronaldo


areth Bale has said he believes Cristiano Ronaldo will win the 2013 Ballon d’Or after his hat trick in the World Cup playoff against Sweden. Ronaldo has emerged as favourite for the FIFA prize after his stunning performance in Stockholm, with his form for club and country leaving Bale to conclude that he will take the

crown. Bale, the world’s most expensive player, and Ronaldo, who later suffered an injury, were on target for Real Madrid in their 5-0 win at Almeria on Saturday. “Cristiano has been great for me since I arrived, with him being able to speak English. I know Luka Modric very well from our time together at Spurs,

and Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa both speak English from their time in the Premier League, so they are all very good to me.” Bale said his Spanish lessons were “coming along slowly” and the cultural differences he is experiencing after his 86 million pound move from Tottenham have taken time to adjust to, but he is relishing life in the Spanish top flight.

ottenham manager Andre VillasBoas said his side need to be “ashamed” after a 6-0 defeat at Manchester City. Spurs went behind after just 14 seconds and went on to suffer their heaviest league defeat since a 7-1 loss to Newcastle in December 1996. The loss also left Tottenham ninth in the Premier League table and eight points behind

leaders Arsenal. An error from keeper Hugo Lloris led to Jesus Navas’s opener within the first minute and an own goal from Sandro as well as a Sergio Aguero effort left Spurs trailing 3-0 at the break. Tottenham struggled to contain City, with Aguero, Negredo and Navas each scoring in the second half as Villas-Boas’s side let in the same amount of goals as they had done in their previous 11 league games so far this season. “The concentration was not there, but the reaction of the players was positive. Everything went wrong for us, every opportunity was a goal and we paid a heavy price, too much for what we deserved.





Jamaica anti-doping board resigns over drug-testing crisis


he Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission’s (Jadco) board has resigned in the wake of a drug-testing crisis. Jamaica’s athletes have not been tested rigorously enough led to an emergency visit from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) this month. The Caribbean island’s sports minister Natalie NeitaHeadley said the government “respected” the decision of 11 Jadco commissioners to resign. Six Jamaican athletes have tested positive for banned substances in 2013. They include former 100m world-record holder Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, an Olympic relay gold medallist at the 2004 Athens Games. The Prime Minister

respects the decision of the commissioners and has accepted their resignations.” Following the positive tests, former Jadco executive director Renee Anne Shirley revealed that the agency conducted just one out-of-competition test in the six months leading up to last year’s Olympics. She threatened to refuse to run in major events unless the authorities gave greater help to athletes. Fraser-Pryce added that she was in advanced talks to set up a union in Jamaica to give athletes a voice and to offer support and education from 2014. Her comments were backed by incoming Wada President Sir Craig Reedie, who said that

Asafa Powell

Sherone Simpson

a boycott would be “welcome” if it helped to clean up Jamaican athletics. Jamaica’s six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt has also

spoken out over the crisis, claiming it could cost him a lucrative sponsorship deal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Wada has the option to

declare Jadco “non-compliant” if it fails to resolve its problems, but Neita-Headley pointed out that such a sanction has not been taken.

Rio 2016 Olympics committee will delivery, Carlos believes

T Ronnie O’Sullivan with the trophy

Sullivan wins Champion of Champions title in Coventry


onnie O’Sullivan battled back from 5-3 down to beat Stuart Bingham 10-8 in the first Champion of Champions final. The five-time world champion took the £100,000 top prize after winning four of the last five frames at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. It was the ideal preparation for O’Sullivan, 37, before the UK Championship, which starts on Tuesday. “I didn’t believe I would win. It was a tough match but I’m pleased to come through it,” said O’Sullivan. “When you’re playing well, the game can come easily and I tried hard from the start.” This was the inaugural Champion of Champions

tournament and the six-day invitational competition featured 16 players, including every ranking-event winner from last season. World number 10 Bingham took the opening frame of the final with a break of 109, before O’Sullivan won the next two, the only time he led in the first session. Bingham’s 109 in the eighth gave him a 5-3 advantage, but his opponent immediately narrowed the gap with a break of 130 - the highest of the match. O’Sullivan went on to draw level at 6-6, before 37-year-old Bingham retook the lead, only for O’Sullivan’s late run to win the event, his first major success since winning the world title in May.

he head of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics believes “every day is a final” for Brazil’s government and Games organisers following extensive delays to key building and infrastructure projects. But Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 organising committee, is confident the city will deliver on the promises it made when winning the right to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games four years ago. Nuzman, in Athens to

deliver a progress report to the International Paralympic Committee, also responded to comments from International Olympic Committee (IOC) vicepresident John Coates that Rio needed a “concerted effort” to deliver a successful Olympics. “My message is to be confident that Rio will show how one city can be transformed” “I think it’s different from one city to another city,” said Nuzman. “We are confident, together with the governments that are responsible for the

Ohuruogu, Farah named Britain’s athletes of the year


hristine Ohuruogu and Mo Farah have been named Britain’s athletes of the year. Farah, 30, was given the

British Athletics Writers’ Associations award for the fourth year in a row after winning the 5,000m and 10,000m races at August’s

Mo Farah

Craven re-elected as IPC president in Athens


ir Philip Craven has been re-elected as International Paralympic Committee president ahead of Alan Dickson. Craven secured 127 votes compared to the 20 won by fellow Briton Dickson at the IPC General Assembly and Conference in Athens on Sunday. The 63-year-old from Bolton will now serve his fourth term of office.

construction and infrastructure that they will deliver on time.” The World Anti-Doping Authority (Wada) revoked the accreditation of Rio’s antidoping testing laboratory in September following what it called “repeated failures” at the facility. Fifa, football’s world governing body, has already said it will have to analyse blood and urine samples taken from players at next summer’s Brazil World Cup at a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Dickson, a former president of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association, had been critical of Craven’s bid. While he recognised the legitimacy of Craven’s candidacy, Dickson claimed it was against the spirit of the organisation’s rules. Craven, who was backed by the British Paralympic Association, among others, was

first elected as president of the association in 2001 but allowed to run for a final term of office because of a change in the rules in 2005 In future, the presidency term will be a maximum of three four-year terms. The 2013 Paralympic Sport Awards were also held in Athens with Great Britain’s David Weir among six award winners.

World Championships. Ohuruogu, 29, won the women’s prize for a third time after claiming the 400m title at the same event in Moscow. Hannah Cockroft and Richard Whitehead took the Paralympics honours. Cockcroft won the T34 100m by over a second and the 200m by almost two seconds in July’s IPC World Athletics Championships, with Whitehead taking gold in the T42 200m final in Lyon. Double Olympic gold medallist Farah finished ahead of sprinters Adam Gemili and James Dasaolu, while Ohuruogu edged British 400m hurdles champion Perri ShakesDrayton and 100m hurdler Tiffany Porter.

Ohuruogu wins gold in 400m thriller







1. Nigeria legend Sunday Oliseh tells FIFA about how his compatriots love their attacking football, his famous goal against Spain at France ’98 and his close bond with his former team-mates. 2. Cristiano Ronaldo could be set for three weeks on the sidelines after picking up a thigh problem


3.Real Salt Lake comfortably saw off Portland Timbers to win through to a meeting with Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Cup final. 4. The Carl Froch v George Groves fight shows boxing is at its most compelling when at its most dangerous, says Ben Dirs 5.Jason Day takes the individual honours as he helps Australia win the World Cup of Golf on home soil in Melbourne.






Nigeria is blessed with raw talents, says Oliseh F

irstly, let’s just get it out of the way, and talk about that goal. Do you still get reminded of the long-range stunner you scored in the win over Spain at the 1998 World Cup? Laughs, People don’t just ask me about the goal, or remind me about the goal, they show me the goal all the time. Just two days ago someone took me aside in Abu Dhabi (UAE) and played me the video on the internet. He asked me: ‘do you know the fellow who scored this goal?’ I just laughed. You only scored four goals for the national team, so it must be a personal highlight to get such a cracker on such a big stage. I think it was God’s way of arranging things so that people wouldn’t forget me. Every time I see it I think to myself ‘wow, I never knew I was that good’ [laughs]. Can you talk a little bit about the power of football in your native Nigeria? Nigeria has a philosophy of football. It’s a philosophy you can’t credit to anybody; it’s not down to an individual or a group. If anyone tries to take credit for it, he’s just telling lies. The philosophy is attacking football. Going forward, we’ve always been good. We’ve always played it this way. Nigeria has a philosophy of football. The philosophy is attacking football. Going forward, we’ve always been good. We’ve always played it this way. Nigerian fans seem happiest when the ball is pinging around – quick, one-touch passes. It gets to the point when you hear the fans say ey, ey, ey with each pass of the ball and ooh when the team loses it. That ey is like when it starts to touch, when it starts to happen with the ball. It’s always been there, from long before my generation and when we were playing. That ey means, ‘yeah, go ahead, play. ‘We touch it around and around and then when it gets taken away, the fans ooh as if to say: ‘give it back, give it back – it’s ours.’ As one of your country’s best-ever players, and a member of its so-called golden generation, how do you view the current state of football in Nigeria?

The moment my generation retired it was like somebody just shut the doors. Nigeria didn’t prepare for our departure. The golden generation just left and that was it. No one thought to bring some of the young ones into the team while we were still there, so they could learn from us. They should have been sitting on the bench to learn from me, and to learn from Jay-Jay Okocha and all the others. They could have asked us questions and we could have told them answers. We didn’t do that, and it was a real problem for the country’s football. Things fell off after us. We went onto a wilderness of trial and error for some years. But the Super Eagles are reigning African champions now for the first time since 1994 and they’ve qualified for next year’s FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil. The current national team coach Stephen Keshi, who was my captain at the World Cup in 1994, is a good one. Love him or loathe him, he brought back the African Cup of Nations title to the country, and the last time Nigeria did that was when we were playing. Speaking of those great

Super Eagle teams of old, can you talk about why, when everything looked to be falling into place, your teams from ’94 and ’98 stumbled at the first knockout round? In the group stages we didn’t have to travel. We stayed still and so there were no logistical issues. We just played. But once we reached the next stage, we had to start moving around and there needed to be a plan. Our knowledge of preparations at the time were not good enough to help us through. We won our groups in both tournaments, but we had problems to solve after that, and it cost us. Love him or loathe him, he brought back the African Cup of Nations title to the country, and the last time Nigeria did that was when we were playing. Do you feel a sense of having missed out on something great? With the quality we had in 1994 and 1998 we should have at least gone to the quarter-finals, or maybe the semi-finals. But it’s a learning process. On a brighter note, people still talk about the Nigerian Olympic-winning side from

Atlanta 1996.

follow their fortunes?

You were barely 22 years old, but you played a crucial part alongside the likes of Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike and Taribo West. What did it meant to win Gold?

Absolutely. I live and breathe football. My wife always says ‘If I don’t have football I get sick.’ I follow all of my former clubs, with a passion. I hope every year to have at least one finish as a champion.

It was a world title and it’s something no one can take away. You are Olympic champion for all of your life. It was the first tournament ever where we played on a different continent, and we were there in America before everyone. We were there a month before the competition. We worked our behinds off and the team was young. Most of the players had a point to make. We had so much talent and it all came together. We covered for each other and we had the kind of luck you need to go all the way.

And how are you finding their progress?

Do you often run into your old team-mates, guys like Taribo or Nwankwo Kanu? At the holiday times, when I go home to Nigeria, I always run into these guys. And when we see each other, that’s it - I drop what I’m doing, all appointments are cancelled and I go talk about the old days with Taribo [West] or whoever else. We walk around Lagos and chat for hours and hours. The family complains, but who cares? [laughs] It’s never planned, it just happens. It sounds like there’s a special bond with your team-mates. We suffered a lot and we won things a lot, so there’s a bond. It’s there forever. My parents, they understand it when I disappear for these little meetings with my mates, but my brothers and sisters, they give me a hard time about it. Y o u ’ v e p l a y e d for some top clubs, like Ajax, Juventus a n d Borussia Dortmund. Do you still

For the past three years Ajax have been winning titles, so at least one of my ex clubs is winning. And Juventus is always Juventus, so that’s good. Dortmund is back at the top in Germany, so it’s fun for me. I’ll follow them all my life. Dortmund, where you played for four years, seem to be going through an historic moment. Can you talk about it? They are trying to revolutionise German football with the way they play. In the seven years I played in the country, and long before that, the German game was based on physical dominance. I love watching this current Dortmund team play because they’re going in a different direction. But I’m not ashamed to say it: I love the way [Pep] Guardiola works with Bayern Munich. It’s a joy to watch the way Bayern is changing into a nextlevel team. The Germans call it Teamgeist, it’s like a team spirit, and they have so much of it. Everybody knows what to do and they know when to do it.



Some Interesting Facts


he original IBM-PCs, that had hard drives, referred to the hard drives as Winchester drives. This is due to the fact that the original Winchester drive had a model number of 3030. This is, of course, a Winchester firearm. • Sound travels 15 times faster through steel than through the air. • On average, half of all false teeth have some form of radioactivity. • Only one satellite has been ever been destroyed by a meteor: the European Space Agency’s Olympus in 1993. • Starch is used as a binder in the production of paper. It is the use of a starch coating that controls ink penetration when printing. Cheaper papers do not use as much starch, and this is why your elbows get black when you are leaning over your morning paper. • Sterling silver is not pure silver. Because pure silver is too soft to be used in most tableware it is mixed with copper in the proportion of 92.5 percent silver to 7.5 percent copper. • A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber. A ball of solid steel will bounce higher than one made entirely of glass. • A chip of silicon a quarter-inch square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a city block. • An ordinary TNT bomb involves atomic reaction, and could be called an atomic bomb. What we call an A-bomb involves nuclear reactions and should be called a nuclear bomb. • At a glance, the Celsius scale makes more sense than the Fahrenheit scale for temperature measuring. But its creator, Anders Celsius, was an oddball scientist. When he first developed his scale,


he made freezing 100 degrees and boiling 0 degrees, or upside down. No one dared point this out to him, so fellow scientists waited until Celsius died to change the scale. • At a jet plane’s speed of 1,000 km (620mi) per hour, the length of the plane becomes one atom shorter than its original length. • The first full moon to occur on the winter solstice, Dec. 22, commonly called the first day of winter, happened in 1999. Since a full moon on the winter solstice occurred in conjunction with a lunar perigee (point in the moon’s orbit that is closest to Earth), the moon appeared about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in it’s elliptical orbit that is farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the sun at that time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the moon was about 7% stronger making it brighter.


Also, this was the closest perigee of the Moon of the year since the moon’s orbit is constantly deforming. In places where the weather was clear and there was a snow cover, even car headlights were superfluous. • According to security equipment specialists, security systems that utilize motion detectors won’t function properly if walls and floors are too hot. When an infrared beam is used in a motion detector, it will pick up a person’s body temperature of 98.6 degrees compared to the cooler walls and floor. If the room is too hot, the motion detector won’t register a change in the radiated heat of that person’s body when it enters the room and breaks the infrared beam. Your home’s safety might be compromised if you turn your air conditioning off or set the thermostat too high while on summer vacation. • Western Electric successfully brought sound to motion pictures and introduced systems of mobile communications which culminated in the cellular telephone. • On December 23, 1947, Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., held a secret demonstration of the transistor which marked the foundation of modern electronics. • The wick of a trick candle has small amounts of magnesium in them. When you light the candle, you are also lighting the magnesium. When someone tries to blow out the flame, the magnesium inside the wick continues to burn and, in just a split second (or two or three), relights the wick. • Ostriches are often not taken seriously. They can run faster than horses, and the males can roar like lions. • Seals used for their fur get extremely sick when taken aboard ships. • Sloths take two weeks to digest their food. • Guinea pigs and rabbits can’t sweat.

Say what?


Truck overloaded with goods, recently at Mile 2, in Lagos.

Photo: NAN

. . . putting the people first



NFF orders referees to submit match reports online


he Chairman, Referees Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Muazu Suleiman has order match officials to submit report online starting from the 2013/2014 season. Suleiman who’s also a member of the NFF’s board said in Abuja that the move was to ensure the prompt submission of match reports. He noted that the committee had launched its website where the referees could fill in the match reports form and send it within 24 hours. “We have already launched our website, which will serve as the avenue where they will fill the form and send to us within 24 hours. “With this development, all our referees must be Information Communication Technology (ICT) compliant. “This is because we want more transparency in our officiating and we don’t want our reports to stay for many days before they will be submitted. “We want to get our reports as early as possible so that we will review and take actions on them if necessary, and any referee who fails to abide by this will be greatly punished,’’ Suleiman said. He also said another reason for the website launch was to make the laws of the game and its amendments available to the public. “With this website, footballloving Nigerians will have access to the laws of the game as well as the amendments in it. “This way, they will know the reason why referees take some decisions, instead of just judging them with the usual layman information,’’ Suleiman said. The committee chairman added that the website would make Nigerian referees available to the international world. “We want to be very close to the international community, so that anywhere Nigerians are, they can access us. “That will also put our referees on the guard and expose them to the international world and everybody will be able to see what is happening to us. “It is just like when showing a live match, referees will be more diligent,’’ Suleiman said.


0803 0805 0814 0805 0803

QUOTABLE QUOTE The inequity in the scheme of things among Nigerians, threatens the corporate existence of the country. When I was told that your eminence was coming with this powerful delegation, I was pleasantly surprised that in the country we still have leaders who have courage and determination to preach peace . . . – Kwankwaso to Eminent Clerics Forum of Nigeria

Nigeria’s political gridlock: origins and outcomes


ince the elections debacle in Anambra state, questions and fears have been reasonably raised in several quarters as to the prospects of organising a credible nationwide election in 2015. Most of the comments on the disastrous outing of the professor Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra state has hinged on the incompetence, technical shortcomings and the lack of sincerity on the electoral body’s personnel. However, the issue of the election debacle in Anambra would have to be situated in the wider context of the routine failure of electoral politics and the current stage of deepened electoral crises in Nigerian politics. The crisis of election is not an autonomous political stalemate, but reflects the profound malaise of the State and the consequence of mis-governance and institutional dysfunction. Given, the profound and fundamental disaggregation of the internal structure and mechanism of the State, can a competent and even more honest electoral umpire, rescue a malfunctioned state, and set its crucial agency, the government on the course of good governance and efficient service delivery. My humble answer is no. One is even very deeply, embarrassed, that Mr. Attahiru Jega, a professor of political science, seemingly believed that the credibility of electoral personnel, can turn around, a critically disorientated political process fuelled by a deconstructive state, pushed further to the Principe, by the subjective activities of an inchoate political actors taking advantage of the objective condition of a disabling state. The condition of the Nigerian chaotic politics and the

GUEST COLUMNIST Charles Onunaiju

President Jonathan

routine crises that flows from it, including the degeneration of its economy and the consequent anomie in its social landscape, cannot be fixed by the mere craft of election rectification, even though, as could be seen, that has even proved an uphill task. The fundamental disconnect, which include the disaggregated structure of the Nigerian state are not matters to be resolved in the political exigency of routine administration. The debilitating issue of state malaise and atrophy requires an unusual political intervention of fundamental magnitude either in the form of a revolutionary upheaval or a deliberate and conscious recreation of the state through the framework of a national conference, bringing under a forum, all critical stakeholders, including mostly, the

outside and marginalised political actors. To this extent, the President Jonathan conference is a comic distraction to the seriousness of and the critical desiderata for national conference or dialogue. For the avoidance of doubt, national conference or dialogue are not called or summoned at the pleasure of the ruling elite. Objectively, national conference are called when the ruling elite have exhausted the bag of political tricks and deception and are therefore mortally threatened by a complete obliteration by a contending political force. The ruling elite concedes to a national conference in a place of a disgraceful eviction from the political stage. It is usually the last desperate act of an exhausted political cabal, looking for a forum to concession its enormous priviledges without the humiliation of revolutionary extinction. Where a forum of national conference or dialogue is offered at the comfort of the regime as in Nigeria, with a regime that is well seated in the wheels of the state, but enormously rattled by the uproar in its house of commotion as in the case of the PDled federal government, the aim is not to address the disorderly and chaotic political process, but a house cleaning exercise, to restore the hegemony of the ruling cabal, without affecting the broader context of social anomie and economic degeneration. It has nothing to do with

Given, the profound and fundamental disaggregation of the internal structure and mechanism of the State, can a competent and even more honest electoral umpire, rescue a malfunctioned state, and set its crucial agency, the government on the course of good governance and efficient service delivery.

effort to re-address the fundamental lacuna of a deconstructing state. National conference as was well known was a political framework for accommodating outside political forces that has grown enormously restless and felt itself strong enough for a political showdown with the traditional political establishment. When in the French west African states, where its surge led to modest political concession by the ruling establishment or in a place, like the Arab Republic of Yemen, where the intervention of a national dialogue is set to redesign a formerly authoritarian and bankrupt state, it is forced on the regime. The story of the Arab Republic of Yemen is interesting and could provide insight to the character of Nigeria’s state sponsored national dialogue or conference. Since the unification of Yemen in 1990, after the socialist republic of Yemen, with its capital at Aden, was merged with the conservative southern Yemen, the country has been rub by the brutal and corrupt dictatorship of former president, Abdulah Saleh. Since the years of the unification, the dysfunction of the state institutions and the disaggregation of the state structure has strengthened and given tremendous leeway to the dictatorship to the Saleh regime, rendering the state both hollow and vulnerable to political shocks. Usually, such states with thoroughly internal disaggregation, could produce strongmen or vicious and predatory elites, as in Nigeria, but are thoroughly hollow, weak and usually caves in, to powerful shocks, whether internal or external. Yemen was caught in the whirlwind of the Arab spring, the political popular rebellions against Arab authoritarian regimes spawned by the singular episode of immolation orchestrated by an Arab youth of Tunisian origin. From the time, the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia fell, with the henchman taking to his heels in the reclusive Saudi Arabia, the rest of the Arab dictatorship confraternity knew that their days are numbered. Consequently, one of Arab fragile dictatorships, the Abdullah Saleh regime in Yemen was stepped into a prolonged crises.

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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: +234 814 292 9046. Cell: +234 802 443 2099; 803 7007 759. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 26, November, 2013  


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