Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday, April 27, 2012

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Hundreds of Arik Air passengers stranded at J.F. Kennedy Airport, New York


Vol. 8 No. 26

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jimadal Akhir 6, 1433 AH



Sack Azazi now, lawyers Edo police deploy dogs Charles Taylor tell Jonathan against kidnappers, robbers convicted, to appeal >> PAGE 3

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DMO sells N90 billion in bonds >> PAGE 19

Why we struck ThisDay – Boko Haram This is an attack on free speech – Newspaper Jonathan, Mark, Tambuwal, Atiku, others react >>>> Page 2 Another explosion rocks Kaduna suburb WWW.PEOPLESDAILY-ONLINE.COM




Why we struck ThisDay – Boko Haram


he Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, has said it attacked ThisDay yesterday to send a strong message to the media that it would no longer condone reports misrepresenting it in the press, or blaming it for acts it knows nothing about. Abul Qaqa, spokesperson for the sect told Premium Times, in an exclusive interview, that his organisation was fed up with the deliberate misinformation being peddled about it in the Nigerian and foreign media. “We have repeatedly cautioned reporters and media houses to be professional and objective in their reports. This is a war between us and the Government of Nigeria; unfortunately the media have not been objective and fair in their report of the ongoing war, they chose to take sides,” Mr. Qaqa said. He identified three instances where he claimed his group was deliberately misrepresented by the media. The first, according to him, was the rumour of his capture by the Nigerian intelligence agencies. “Some reporters are aware that

























I am Abul Qaqa, they know my voice through our long interactions and they also know the role of Abu Darda who heads the enlightenment committee and sometimes facilitates interviews; yet they (media) go by the unsubstantiated view of government that Abul Qaqa is in custody and I am the new spokesman or number two,” he said. Premium Times had continuously reported that Abul Qaqa was not arrested contrary to reports and that it was Abu Darda, another member that was arrested. The second misrepresentation, according to Mr. Qaqa, was the reporting on the kidnappings of foreigners in the Northern part of Nigeria. “Another issue was the recent kidnappings in the North; we were clear with our position as a group during a teleconference with reporters but we were shocked the next day when newspaper headlines added a lot of things which I never said during that interview. “The third example, Mr. Abul Qaqa said, is the mistranslation of the video the group posted

recently. “Another example is the recent video posted on YouTube by our Imam; I challenge every Nigerian to watch that video again. There is no place our imam either said he will crush President Jonathan or issued an ultimatum to the government in Nigeria; but nearly all papers carried very wrong and mischievous headlines.” When asked why ThisDay appeared specifically chosen for the attack, Mr. Qaqa said ThisDay’s “sins” are more grievous. “It is not only ThisDay that has been engaged in negative media campaign, fictional stories and constantly promoting fake stories by the JTF to give an impression that they are making headway against us yet there is no time the media investigated further as an objective and responsible bystander in this war. “But the sins of ThisDay are more,” he said. “They once insulted the Prophet Muhammad in 2001 and we have not forgotten. They recently said our Imam executed me which is false. Here I am speaking to you, I am alive and

healthy.” Expect more media attacks. The group’s spokesman further warned of more attacks on the media. “We have just started this new campaign against the media and we will not stop here, we will hit the media hard since they have refused to listen to our plea for them to be fair in their reportage,” he said. Mr. Abul Qaqa also said his group would give further information on biases by the media. In the coming days we will give details and instances where the media have not been fair to us and why we are going to attack them as well. Media should be neutral. The media in Nigeria are not a problem to us if they will do their job professionally without taking sides,” Mr. Abul Qaqa said.”But each time we say something, it is either changed or downplayed. But when our enemy says something even without logical proof, it is blown out of proportion. “We have repeated asked some reporters to retract some stories or even give us the right of reply but none of these requests were given to us,” he said.

Scores feared dead in ThisDay bombings in Abuja, Kaduna By Josephine Ella, Muhammad Nasir, Muhammad Sada, Sunday Etuka, Abuja & Agaju Madugba, Kaduna

NLC prepares for May Day, to mark centenary this year, Page 6

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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everal persons were feared dead yesterday, in the suicide bomb attack at the Abuja office of ThisDay newspaper, located near the ever busy Jabi Motor Park while scores of others were badly injured. This attack, being the first on a media house since the series of coordinated onslaught by the Boko Haram sect across states in northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), came barely three months after, an alleged threat contained in a text message which was forwarded to the media company by the sect. The explosion, which occurred at about 11am, caused pandemonium in many parts of Abuja, especially around Jabi, Utako and Wuse districts as commuters, traders and other residents scampered for safety. Economic activities were also grounded at the Jabi Motor Park, plazas, petrol stations and banks situated in the area, some of which were affected by the impact of the blast. Our reporters, who were at the scene of the blast, observed that a combined rescue team, comprising of officials of the Federal Fire Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Red Cross, army, police, the State Security Service (SSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) among others arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the explosion and cordoned off the area, while rescue operations went on. According to witnesses, victims of the explosion were mostly petty traders and artisans carrying out their trades near the area.

The bomber, who was said to have drove in an Isuzu SUV jeep managed to beat the security at the back gate of the bureau and rammed the vehicle into the building. Another eyewitness, who declined identification citing security reasons, told our reporters that he had parked his car in front of the building before the blast. “Immediately the man was allowed in, I heard a sound like a ticking watch then the next thing was explosion. You can see that my car was damaged. I was thrown to the ground by the bomb but thank God I am alive to tell the story. “See how human bodies were flying in the air even my fariend who equally parked his car and was sleeping inside was thrown to the ground by the impact of the explosion. It was terrible,” he said. Another eyewitness, who gave her name as Patience Simon, said she was lifted up and landed on the ground at the blast and sustained a minor injury on her hand. Simon who spoke in tears said her brother who is a guard in one of the affected plazas close to the ThisDay building was nowhere to be found.A Circulation Assistant at the ThisDay office, who survived the blast, Samson Oliver, told journalists that he was asleep when the blast occurred. “I was just sleeping at about 11am so I was awakened by a deafening sound accompanied by a thick dark smoke. Everywhere was dark. I was confused initially, it was later that I realised that it was a bomb explosion”, Oliver told journalists. The Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, speaking on the incident, said only two staff of the company died while five others sustained injuries. While giving an account of the

incident, Adeniyi said: “The front gate of the building was locked; the gate at the back was also locked and the security men were there. The suicide bomber came in a jeep. They opened for him but we can’t find out why they opened the gate for them because the security men are dead. The bomber now drove the vehicle down and it exploded”. He denied knowledge of the company receiving any threat from the sect, saying “I don’t know about any threat to this newspaper but, we all know that there have been general security threats to the media. But the security men will get to the root of the matter”. The relevant government officials at the scene of the blast including the Comptroller-General of the Federal Fire Service, Engineer Olusegun Okebiorun, Commissioner of Police, FCT Police Command, Mr. Adeyemi Shinaba could not confirm the death toll and casualty figure to journalists. The National President, Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), Garba Mohammed who also visited the blast scene to sympathise with the victims, said the occurrence has further confirmed that journalists and media houses are not safe. Also, an un identified man yesterday rammed an explosivesladen ash coloured Honda Academy car with Kaduna registration number, AL 306 MKA, into the SOJ Plaza on Kontangora road, by the popular Ahmadu Bello Way, killing three persons, according to eyewitness accounts. Apart from several other office accommodations, ThisDay, The Sun and The Moment also have their offices located within the building complex. Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Jinjiri, who described the devastation from the blast as moderate, confirmed the

death of only one person, noting that several others were injured. Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred at about 11.20 am when a man drove the car “dangerously” into the premises of the building, disembarked and started chanting “lailahailala” and telling everyone around that a bomb will soon explode from his car. But contrary to widespread rumours that the suspect arrested in connection with the attack on the media houses in Kaduna yesterday is a man of South-East extraction, spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar declared one Umar Umar Mustapha of Maiduguri, Borno state as the key suspect. The North-West Bureau Chief of the Sun, Ismail Omipidan, who was on his way to the office at the time also narrated his ordeal saying that, “I was about travelling but decided to pick something from the office before proceeding on my journey. “When I reached the gate of my office, I saw a man being beaten by an angry mob and when I inquired, I was told that the man drove with a car laden with explosives inside our office. Reacting in a press statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Reuben Buhari, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the incident. According to the statement, “the governor is also saddened by the bombing of the Abuja office of THISDAY newspaper. He is worried and saddened that media houses who are partners in progress in the development of any society have become targets of attack. See additional reports and pictures on Pages 3, 4 & 8



ATT ACK ON THISD AY TTA THISDA Another explosion injures four in Kaduna surburb From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


Umaru Umaru Mustapha, suspected bomber that carried out the attack on three storey building housing ThisDay, The Sun and The Moment Newspapers, yesterday in Kaduna.

uspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted along the road at the trailer park area of Unguwan Muazu, a suburb along the Nnamdi Azikiwe bypass, Kaduna, exploded late afternoon yesterday. There were no reports of casualties but at least four persons were said to have received various degrees of injury. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) at the Kaduna Police Command, DSP Aminu Lawal, confirmed the incident but declined to give details. He said men from the Command had been dispatched to the area. Meanwhile, Kaduna state Commissioner of Police Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar, confirmed that three persons were killed during the car bomb explosion at the SOJ Plaza in Kaduna yesterday. Abubakar who addressed press conference last night said that 25

Sack Gen. Azazi now, lawyers’ league tells Jonathan P

ublic Interest Lawyers’ League, (PILL), an Abujabased organisation, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack General Andrew Owoye Azazi, the National Security Adviser. PILL made this appeal yesterday in its statement condemning the bomb blasts that hit ThisDay offices in Kaduna and the FCT.

A statement issued to the press by Abdul Mahmud, the league’s president said: “Once again, we call on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack without delay his National Security Adviser, General Azazi. Clearly, with one bomb attack too many, he has failed in his (advisorial) remit.” The league condemned the bomb explosion at Thisday

newspapers. “..May we use this medium to deplore the attacks on the offices of ThisDay Newspapers in Utako/Jabi area of Abuja. “No matter the fundamental disagreements individuals or groups may have against the newspaper, the newspaper and other newspapers and their owners and staff have the right to

practice their trade. The press as the fourth estate of the realm must be allowed to discharge the role given to it by our constitution. We call on the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the attacks on ThisDay to book and with the urgency that it deserves as well. “Though details are still sketchy; but we solidarise and empathise with the publishers of ThisDay and commiserate with those who may have been injured or killed in the attacks.

Jonathan, Tambuwal, Atiku mourn with ThisDay By Lawrence Olaoye & Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the bomb blasts which occurred yesterday at newspaper houses in Abuja and Kaduna. The President who received the news in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire where he is attending an ExtraOrdinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the situation in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, described the

attack as “ignoble, misguided, horrendous and wicked.” According to a statement signed by his spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, "President Jonathan reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government (FG) to continue to uphold the constitutional right to freedom of expression in general and of press freedom in particular, pledging that criminal elements bent on instilling fear in the minds of Nigerians and foreigners will not succeed." Also yesterday, Speaker of

the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, commiserated with the managements of ThisDay and The Sun Newspapers over the bomb attacks on their premises. The Speaker in a release signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, said he received with shock the news of the bomb blasts that rocked the Abuja and Kaduna offices of the newspapers. Atiku condoles media Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar has also expressed his

condolences to the management and staff of Leaders and Company Limited, publishers of ThisDay newspaper over bomb explosions which rocked its Abuja and Kaduna offices and led to the loss of lives. Atiku in a statement issued by his media office which building was also slightly damaged from the impact of the explosion warned that "the attacks on media houses are a dangerous dimension to the insurgency in the country and government needs to be more creative in tackling the menace."

Attack is assault on freedom, democracy – NGE By Maryam Garba Hassan


he Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), yesterday described the bomb attacks on ThisDay Newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna state which also affected the Moment and the Sun newspapers respectively, as “unfortunate and reprehensible capable of driving fears down the

spines of the media and close space for dialogue”. A statement issued by the president of the association, Gbenga Adefaye, said the association received with horror, the report of the violent attacks on ThisDay newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna with loss of lives. “When you attack the media the way ThisDay attacks were

done, freedom of speech, expression and thought come under assault and democracy is threatened, the statement said. The statement further said that it hoped the perpetrators of the unfortunate acts of violence against the media will realise the gravity of their action and know also that their case will ultimately be resolved through debate in the

public space as promoted by the mass media. The association however, commiserated with ThisDay newspapers and the families of those who lost their lives in the attacks and called on the media to be vigilant and not to be intimidated. “Our press is our strength and no one should destroy it through violence, the statement added.

other persons were injured and receiving treatment at various hospitals in Kaduna and Zaria. He described the arrested suspect as huge, black, strong and powerful but that he was in coma following head and hand injuries he had sustained from the mob attack on him at the scene of the incident. According to Abubakar, the suspect may be moved out of Kaduna if his condition deteriorates.

Bombings an attack on truth — ThisDay publisher By Lawrence Olaoye


he Chairman and Founder of the ThisDay Newspapers that was attacked by bombers in Abuja and Kaduna yesterday, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, has said the act represents an attack on journalism. He made the assertion yesterday at the ongoing Southsouth Summit held in Delta State after the attacks on his Abuja and Kaduna offices that left about five people dead with others severely injured. Obaigbena said: “Today Nigerian journalism was attacked, but the truth will not be cowered”. A statement issued by the Managing Director of ThisDay, Mr. Eniola Bello, confirmed five deaths including a security guard, three passersby and the bomber, describing it as an attack on journalism and the truth.

Another explosion hits Gombe From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


n explosion yesterday hit the senate building of Gombe State University. The incident which occurred as information of bomb attacks in Kaduna and Abuja filtered into the town, caused panic among residents. However, no information was available with respect to casualties or the identity of the attackers. Moreso, intermittent gunshots rocked the town causing many residents to stay indoors in fright. At the time of filing this report, the police and other security agencies were yet to issue any official statements on the incident. On Wednesday there were reports of attacks by some gunmen in Bajoga town of Gombe state. The attackers had killed two policemen but were busted by a team of security agents who arrested six suspects in connection with the incident.




It’s becoming absurd – Ajimobi From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has condemned the bomb attacks on the offices of some national newspapers yesterday, stating that it were an attempt at suppressing rising national anger against terror which the bombers have stereotyped the country. He made this known in a release by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo. According to Governor Ajimobi, the fact that the bombers, whose periodic attacks were against innocent people, decided to carry the attack to newspaper houses, showed that they are irritated at the anger against their nefarious activities which is daily reported by the media.

The governor said that valiant people confront issues rather than making issues out of matters that could be settled through dialogue. Governor Ajimobi commiserated with the management of the Thisday and other newspapers whose premises were attacked, stating, it was a prize they have to pay for sticking to their time-worn professional responsibility of dissemination of truth. While urging security forces to expedite action in curtailing the activities of Boko Haram and “their allied partners on this journey of destruction,” Governor Ajimobi expressed optimism that very soon, Nigeria would be rid of its “enemies within” who believe that taking up arms against their fellow man was a way to ventilate their grouse against the system.

South-south governors condemn attack G From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

overnors of the South-south states of the country have condemned the twin bomb attacks on Thisday Newspaper Offices in Abuja and Kaduna. In a joint statement issued on the sidelines of the 2nd SouthSouth Economic Summit in Asaba, the Delta state capital, the governors described the attacks as barbaric and cowardly. While wondering the motive of the attacks, which coincided with its ongoing regional summit where the newspaper’s publisher, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena is playing a pivotal role, the governors urged

the security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks are apprehended and made to answer for their heinous crime. “We totally condemn the bomb attacks on the premises of the ThisDay newspaper in Abuja and Kaduna state. It’s barbaric, cowardly and condemnable. “We call on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring the full weight of the law to bear on them,” they stated. The Governors sympathized with the staff and management of the Newspaper, urging them not to be deterred by the incident. They expressed regret that the

attacks came at a time President Goodluck Jonathan is doing a lot to restore confidence in the Nigerian state through purposeful leadership. They used the opportunity to reiterate their support to the President in his determination to tackle acts of terror and other forms of insecurity in the country. The statement was signed by governors Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state; Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State; Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state; Liyel Imoke of Cross River state; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state, and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state.

It’s wicked, dastardly, cowardly, says Olubolade By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


inister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade has described yesterday’s bomb attack at the offices of Thisday Newspapers in Abuja and some media houses in Kaduna as not only wicked, dastardly and cowardly, but calculated attempt to muzzle public condemnation of the activities of terrorist groups in the country through the media. According to Olubolade, for the enemies of the society who have not been able to advance the cause of their violent acts to now resort to attacking the media, only goes to show their desire to cause confusion in the polity and make the country ungovernable. The statement issued

yesterday by the Assistant Director, Communications in the ministry, James Odaudu, also assured that government will not fold its arms and watch the desecration of people’s right to freely express themselves as exemplified by the attack on the media houses which he referred to, as the voice of the people and conscience of the society. It commiserated with the management, staff, victims and their families and prayed for the repose of the souls of the dead, charging the affected media houses and others not to be deterred by the ugly incidence in rendering their valuable services to the nation. The minister further advised Nigerians to be more security conscious and to provide information to security agencies.

It’s beyond comprehension – Gov Aliyu From Ialiya Garba, Minna


he governor of Niger state, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has expressed shock and sadness at the death of staff of ThisDay and Sun newspapers and other innocent citizens who in an orchestrated multiple bomb attacks targeting media houses in Abuja and Kaduna yesterday. In a condolence message to the families and employers of those killed in the attacks, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Aliyu, Danladi Ndayebo said the sudden death of those killed in the blasts in one fell swoop was beyond human comprehension. Governor Aliyu urged the perpetrators of the dastardly act to respect the sanctity of human life while expressing their grievances, saying no meaningful development could

be achieved in an atmosphere of violence. “In a country like Nigeria where the contributions of all able-bodied men are required to achieve rapid growth and development in all facets of life, attack on media houses is a big blow,” the statement said. Aliyu recalled that only a few months ago, the journalism profession lost Mr. Enenche Akogwu, a reporter working for Channels TV who was killed in a bomb incident in Kano. He said while the untimely deaths of those killed in the explosions have undoubtedly created a vacuum in their places of work, their media organizations must endeavor to keep the flag flying. The statement prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest and the members of their families the fortitude to bear the losses.

Former Minister of FCT, Malam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai (left), during his condolence visit to the premises of ThisDay Newspapers after the bomb attack, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

It’s assault on press freedom – Mark By Richard Ihediwa


resident of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has described yesterday’s multiple blasts at THISDAY and Daily Sun offices in Abuja and Kaduna as an assault on the freedom of the press. Senator Mark, who received the news of the multiple bomb attacks with shock, charged the perpetrators to fear God. He said the Federal Government’s doors are open at resolving any grievances assuring

that the present administration would not rest in ensuring safety of lives and property of every Nigerian. The Senate President called on media practitioners across the country not to be deterred by the blast saying, “We are touched by the news of the bomb attack on your outfits by faceless individuals. “It is unjust, savage, dastard and evil. As a people, we must all join hands to contain these ugly acts in our midst. We must rise to the challenge of these devious attacks. This is basically an assault on the

freedom of the press which every journalist in our nation laboured to achieve.” Senator Mark however urged media practitioners to see the assault as a challenge on their part and not to relent in the discharge of their duties as the watchdog of the society. He consoled the management of the newspapers hit by the assailants in Abuja and Kaduna while praying that God will grant the soul of victims that died in the attack eternal rest as well as quick recovery for those that sustained various degrees of injury.

A grave danger for Nigeria – IPC From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he International Press Centre, IPC, strongly condemns the bombing of the ThisDay newspaper offices in Abuja as well as Kaduna, which also houses The Sun newspaper. In a statement issued by the Director of International Press Centre, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the organisation said the continuous bombings constitute grave danger for Nigeria and Nigerians, with the

media now added as target. According to him, individual or collective acts of terrorism like this could not help to address whatever grievances the perpetrators may have. “The media is key and central to resolving conflicts as they report all side of the issues, but when media organisations now come under attack, it furthers hamper and handicap the process of resolving conflict in the country and this sets a very dangerous precedent”, Mr.

Arogundade said. Mr. Arogundade however said that the incident, though unwarranted and unnecessary should make the media to be more proactive to see reasons with and give greater attention to the demands for a democratic discussion and negotiation by Nigerians on the basis of the country’s existence and unity as well as the nature and character of the political system we want to practice for the benefit of the people.



Charles Tailor convicted for war crimes A

United Nations-backed court convicted former Liberian president, Charles Taylor of war crimes yesterday, the first time an African head of state has been found guilty by an international tribunal. Taylor, 64, was charged with

11 counts of murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, during which more than 50,000 people were killed. The took more than two hours to read out the charges, evidence

and its final ruling. "The accused is criminally responsible ... for aiding and abetting in the crimes in counts one to eleven," Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said as he read out the court's decision, although he said Taylor was not guilty of senior criminal responsibility.

Taylor, wearing a dark blue suit and maroon tie, looked calm and subdued as he stood up before the court to hear the verdict. The first African leader to stand trial for war crimes, Taylor was accused of directing Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in a

campaign of terror to plunder Sierra Leone's diamond mines for profit and weapons trading. Taylor denied the charges, insisting he tried to bring peace to the region and arguing his trial was a politically motivated conspiracy by Western nations.

Atuche: Judge to wait for Appeal Court’s decision on application From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, yesterday said the court would await the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Appeal challenging its refusal to quash the alleged corruption charge preferred against former Managing Director of BankPHB, Francis Atuche. The EFCC also joined the former Director of the bank, Charles Ojo in the corruption case. The duo are facing trial over an alleged N80 billion fraud and granting of credit facility of N45 billion without collateral. They were also accused of granting loans above approval limit as laid down by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and not taking steps to ensure that the monthly bank returns to CBN was correct. The accused persons, who were first arraigned on Oct. 28, 2010 on a 45-count charge before Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye (now retired), had overruled the defendants’ objection to be arraigned on a 45count amended charge. Dissatisfied with the ruling the accused persons appeal the decision of the Court. At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday before Justice Nyako, Counsel to Atuche, Mr Deji Sasegbon (SAN) urged the court to adjourn the matter pending the hearing and determination of their appeal. “The Appeal has been entered, but unfortunately, at the last hearing the court did not sit due to a conference that was going on,” he said. He also told the court that they had filed application to quash the charge but it would not be neater and necessary to await the decision of the appellate court. But the Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Kemi Phineiro (SAN) however opposed the application for an adjournment and urged the court to arraign the accused persons since the matter was starting afresh before her. “For the court to assume jurisdiction over this matter the accused persons must first be arraigned and their plea or objection to the charge taken,” he said. He also contended that it was an abuse of court process for the accused persons to file an application to quash the charge since it was the same charge they were appealing against.

L-R: Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafiya, Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, and Minister of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijjani, during the ministerial press conference on one year of President Goodluck Jonathan in office, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Police, soldiers repel attack by unknown gunmen in Gombe From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


olice and soldiers in Bajoga town in Gombe state have repelled an attack by unknown gunmen who attacked Finbank, Police Area Command and Divisional Police station on Wednesday around 9:30pm.

Confirming the incident while speaking with newsmen in Bajoga, the state police commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdu said six (6) suspects were arrested by the police in connection with the attack and two police officers lost their lives. Alhaji Abdu said that the two Police officers, a constable and a

corporal were killed during the attack in the area commands and divisional police offices in Bajoga, adding that another civilian was shot on the leg. Our correspondent gathered that the gunmen attacked the town at around 9:30pm and attempted to break into a FinBank branch which was not successful because

of the effort of the police who engaged them in an exchange of fire. Our correspondent who visited the area reports that the door of the bank was destroyed by the gunmen but that they could not enter even as they left some unexplored bombs at the area command’s office.

‘Culprits must be disciplined, punished on the oil subsidy scam’ By Muhammad Nasir


ublic Interest Lawyers League (PILL) have called for the discipline and punishment of those who are named in the Farouk Lawan-led Ad-hoc committee’s report in the House of Representatives on the oil subsidy probe. In a statement signed yesterday by the President of PILL, Abdul Mahmud, said that individuals, legal personalities and regulators have had their time in the shadowy labyrinth and cesspits of corruption and the time to have their day in the open and hallowed chambers of their Court of law and justice is now. He noted that the law must not only be applied, but that justice must also be seen to be administered without favour, adding that the PILL demands that Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Olusegun Aganga, Ahmadu Ali must without delay be relinquished of their positions as Ministers and be tried for their roles in the fuel

subsidy scam, adding that all serving and former public officers, individual and companies named in the report must without delay be charged to court for economic crimes. They also maintained that immediate investigation must without delay be commenced by the law enforcement agencies to ascertain the complicity of regulatory agencies like the Petroleum Products Pricing and

Regulatory Agencies (PPRA) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). They also noted that the fuel subsidy report has finally affirmed the suspicion that Nigerians have had over the poor accounting and auditing systems of the Nigerian oil industry, that the systems that have allowed individuals, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the industry to steal, to illegally enrich themselves and

invariably create poverty out of people, who ordinarily should enjoy the benefits of a natural resource their country has been endowed by nature. They commend the Farouk Lawal Ad-hoc committee and his colleagues in their noble efforts and that they deserve a place in the annals of history as well as the leadership and members of the House of Representatives for treading the path of truth.

Edo police deploy dogs against kidnappers, robbers From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he days of arm robbers appears to be numbered in Edo state, as the state Police Command on Thursday announced the release of undisclosed specially trained dogs to sniff-out hoodlums from hideout in the state. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olayinka Balogun dropped the hint yesterday with newsmen while parading two species of dogs (sniffer and

ascension). The police boss disclosed that apart from assisting Police in crime prevention, some of the dogs will be deployed to black spots and some troubled banks in the North and Central part of the state which are of great concern to the force. Mr. Olayinka, who did not disclose the number of dogs and the cost of feeding the dogs, however said the strategy was a directive from Police headquarters in Abuja. He explained that the sniffers have the capacity to detect bombs,

cocaine, weeds, arms and ammunition. While, the ascension breed will be assigned to crowed control. “If somebody is killed and buried somewhere, we have the dogs that will go to the area and will sniff-out the spot… We have enough to ensure that crime is prevented’. The dogs are well fed, their medication is also well taken care of, enough to ensure that crime is prevented. The dogs are well fed, their medication is also well taken care of.”



Guests at exhibition fair declare Nigeria safe By Miriam Humbe


uests at this year's edition of Abuja Bantaba travel exhibition fair held at the Sheraton Hotels and Suites in Abuja yesterday unanimously declared that Nigeria was safe for business and tourism operations. This was just as the DirectorGeneral of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe lauded participants and exhibitors at this year's event for defying the odds to participate at the travel exhibition. In his address, Otunba Runsewe noted that the NTDC has been revolutionary and practical in its approach to tourism development

in Nigeria eulogizing participants for taking part in the Fair while promising a plaque and certificate for all exhibitors along with a Startimes digital decoder with 6 months free subscription. Several notable individuals including the organizer, Mr. Ikechi Uko, a veteran in the travel industry were unequivocal in their claim that despite the challenges of national security, Nigeria remains safe with a thriving tourism industry. Mr. Uko maintained that the challenges faced by Nigeria were by no means peculiar to the country asserting that the tourism community is strong, resilient and that despite major security concerns,

the successful hosting of this year's Bantaba has proved that tourism always recovers from momentary setbacks. To buttress his point, Uko cited countries like Kenya and Egypt that have staged phenomenal comebacks in tourism development and promotion regardless of some major crises at one point or the other in their history. Complementing Mr. Uko's assertion, the Chairman of Hotel Owners Forum Association (HOFA), Engineer Onofiok Ekong called for unity amongst practitioners in the industry saying his Association is poised to work with other stakeholders in moving the hospitality industry forward

notwithstanding the challenges besetting it. Re-echoing the position of other speakers at the event, former member, House of Representatives and Chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Hon. KGB Oguakwa commended all attendees who insisted in participating despite the alarm raised by the international media that Nigeria is unsafe. In his remarks, former Minister of State, Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong also agreed that crises do not necessarily impede the advancement of tourism. Rather, he said, provision must be made to operate amidst the setback.

NLC prepares for May Day, to mark centenary this year By Muhammad Sada


orkers and Nigerian people were yesterday i n f o r m e d aboutpreparations of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TLC) to mark the Workers Day on May 1, 2012. This was noted at a press conference held by the unions yesterdayat the Labour House Abuja. According to the chairperson of the NLC May Daycommittee, Comrade Emma Ajoku "Workers all over the world will be marking the May Day. Nigerian workers under the umbrella of NLC and TUC will alsocommemorate this day in all the states of the country. At the different statecouncils of the NLC and TUC workers will on that day hold rallies, and theywill be joined by allies of labour in the civil society. "At the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, the day will be marked at the Eagle Square from 9.00am on Tuesday 1st of May 2012.The occasion will be addressed by the presidents of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and the TUC, Comrade Peter Esele. The traditional May Day procession and speeches from the Labour Movement and government functionaries as well asfraternal mass organisations will be part of the occasion", he stated.

Niger state to build 8000 housing units From Iliya Garba, Minna


L-R: Benin Republic President, Boni Yayi , President Goodluck Jonathan, President of African Union Commission, Jean Ping, and Cape Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca during the extraordinary session of the authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments on Guinea Bissau and Mali, yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

Community relations c’ttee seeks protection from crude policemen From Bala Nasir, Kano


embers of the Police Community Relations Committee (CPRC) in Kano state have called on the state's commissioner of police, Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu to end the molestation of the public by some security operatives at checkpoints in the state capital.

The appeal was made yesterday during a PCRC meeting which held at the Police Officers Mess in the state's capital at the instance of the police commissioner. Most of the speakers at the meeting complained of the high handedness with which some security operatives at checkpoints treat members of the

public. One of the speakers who want anonymity, stated that while the presence of security operatives has helped in the gradual return of peace in Kano, people do not want to be molested unnecessarily. He said that armed security personnel at the checkpoints should be given the right

orientation in the art of relationship with members of the community as many have no military training. In his response, the Commissioner told the gathering that the essence of the meeting was to revive the existing relationship with the community especially at this trying moment of insecurity.

Hundreds of Arik Air passengers stranded at JFK airport, New York By Aminu Imam with agency report undreds of Arik Air passengers were stranded at the JFK International Airport in New York, United States yesterday, following the inability of the airline to transport them back home. The North America correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the situation resulted to


disorder at the boarding gate of the airline as the passengers became restless, having spent hours waiting for final boarding announcement. They were billed to be flown out by 11p.m (New York time) on Wednesday but by 5a.m yesterday, the passengers remained stranded at the airport. Among the stranded passengers were sick old people on wheelchairs, children and pregnant women. Some of the passengers said that they were

checked in for boarding between 8p.m and 9p.m and after which the airline officials did not let them know what the problem was with its aircraft. According to the passengers, they were left at the boarding gate unattended to until about 5a.m when they were told to pick-up their luggage and wait for further information on the situation. They expressed disgust at the failure of the airline to fly them to Nigeria, saying that the

situation had affected their business appointments. Some also claimed they were travelling to attend burial ceremonies and could no longer continue with the journey. The visibly angry passengers demanded immediate refund of their airfare and compensation for the inconvenience caused them. They also threatened to sue the airline for making them go through 'hell', adding that the airline had exposed its inefficiency.

he Former Commissioner for Lands and Housing in Niger State, Alhaji Nuhu Musa said yesterday that civil servants in the state will now benefit from the additional 8000 housing units to be constructed in Minna and Suleja towns. He said the government in the last four years, was able to start and complete 2000 housing units in several parts of Minna in order to make housing easy and affordable for the average civil servants in the state. The new housing projects is fashioned from the Public Private Partnership policy which is to among other things, ensure that the agreement reached between the Niger State government and the property developers was not breached by both parties. Alhaji Musa said the developers were carefully chosen owing to their previous experience and determination to see that they deliver to the Niger State government the 8000 housing units within the stipulated time. "A conservative estimate of the cost of the project in 2, 3 and 4 bedroom flats will be N30 billion adding that the cost of compensation for land acquired for the projects has been included in the contract sum which the government will not inject any kobo into".



‘Tourism capable of employing 70% Nigerians’

Residents decry illegal mast within buildings in Apo

By A’isha Biola Raji


By Mohammed Kandi


ome residents of Apo resettlement area have decried attempt by a telecom service provider, Etisalat, to illegally build a mast few meters in-between their living rooms due to health hazards said to be associated with the act. Investigation by our reporter revealed that workers of theTelecom Company were said to have intruded the domain Monday, and started digging foundation for the construction of the mast without any prior consultation with the residents. This, according to some of the residents who declined identification, generated little squabble between the workers and the residents who later gathered that the company acted on the permission of their landlord who sold that portion of land to the company at the rate of N5 million. Infuriated residents headed for the nearest office of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) within the community, asking for intervention having considered the negative health implication within their premises. Despite efforts by the FCDA officials and the aggrieved residents to stop the construction, the company allegedly refused to halt construction, claiming it had the necessary document from the appropriate authorities backing its actions. Given that the mast had been raised to a substantial level, the residents expressed optimism that the company might succeed due to nonchalance shown by regulatory bodies that should enforce environmental legislations against defaulters. But, the Chief press secretary (CPS) of National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Mr. Sule Oyofor, said the agency would not compromise its statutory role of enforcing environmental safety in the country, adding that “we are already on top of the situation and I assure you that we will see to its logical conclusion.” He said the leadership of the agency had been informed about the Apo incident where a mast is allegedly being erected by Etisalat, before it could take necessary action. Recall that the two major regulatory agencies on environment, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and NESREA were engaged in crisis bordering on distrust over the sealing of a telecommunications base station by the latter. Meanwhile, the telecom company, Elisalat had earlier denied having any conflict with Apo residents, claimed to maintain cordial relations with its host communities.

L-R: Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, President, TOL Consult of USA, Professor Chidiebere Onyia, and President, African Federation of Science Journalists, Mr. Diran Onifade, during the opening ceremony of the second science communication conference, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

FG fails to link me with terrorism, Ndume tells court

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin enator Mohammed Ali Ndume, standing trial o v e r his alleged romance with the Jamaatu Ahlil Sunna Lidawati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram sect yesterday asked a federal High Court in Abuja to quash the 4count charge preferred against him by the federal government. The Senator representing Borno South Senatorial District told the court that the proof of evidence filed by the prosecution does not link him with the alleged criminal charges, adding also that the charge is devoid of essential ingredients to suggest the commission of the offences for which he stands charged. The embattled Senator, in the motion filed on his behalf of by his counsel, Ricky Tarfa (SAN) also asked the court to discharge him of the said charges. Ndume said the court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the charges slammed against him by the federal government, and that the entire action constitutes an abuse of court process. While faulting the manner of prosecution, he said as at the time he was arraigned before the Federal High Court, there was a similar case pending before another court with similar charges. The senator further submitted that the role played by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of


Justice, who is the Chief Law officer, by signing the charges against him makes the entire action an abuse of court process. Tarfa, representing Ndume told the court that the charge against the accused person centered around his alleged relationship with the spokesperson of the Boko Haram sect, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (alias Usman AI- Zawahiri), which he said he had always communicated to Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who has not deposed to any affidavit countering it. The embattled lawmaker who said the first telephone exchange between him and the sect was on October 4, 2011, insisted that it resulted in his capacity as a member of the Presidential Committee that was inaugurated on August 2, 2011, with a view to addressing the security challenges in the North East. He said prior to his appointment on the committee, he had no contact or relationship with the spokesperson or any other member of the sect, saying that the prosecution had placed nothing to form the basis for him to stand trial. The prosecuting counsel, Mrs. Olufumilayo Fatunde who is a Deputy Director in federal Ministry of Justice, in a counter affidavit argued that since Section 33(2) of the Federal High Court Act still subsists and binding as a statute and the defence counsel has not controverted it in their application, the court should

hold that the trial of the accused person must proceed summarily. He said “The language I heard him used was that the link was not sufficient and I submit that it is enough, if there is a link”. Mrs. Fatunde further argued that the AGF is not a judge, but a prosecutor who brought the case before the Judge in belief that the law has been violated and signed the charge. On jurisdiction, she said there is no condition precedent which the prosecution is required to comply with before filing charges and added that the prosecution properly brought the charge competently. Ndume is standing trial for allegedly hoarding information on planned terror attacks and providing logistics to the convicted spokesman of the Boko Haram sect. He is also accused of providing telephone numbers of certain public officers, including the AGF, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), on or about October 4, to Konduga for the purpose of communicating terrorist messages to the said persons. He is also alleged to have been in possession of Konduga’s mobile phone number but failed to disclose it to a law officer as soon as reasonably practicable, knowing that it would be of material assistance in arresting Konduga, contrary to Section 7(1) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011. The trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till June 15, 2012 to rule on Ndume’s application.

private organization has called on government and other private sectors to look into ways of enhancing abundant wealth that is embedded in tourism as it can gainfully employ over seventy percent of the country’s total population. The Managing Director of Romaox Resources Limited and Chief Executive Officer also a former Miss Nigeria (1985) Mrs. Rosemary Okeke made this known yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing in anticipation of Photo competition put together in collaboration with ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. She said it is essential for the country to shift from total dependence on petroleum and tap into massive wealth that could be generated from tourism. According to her, the competition with N50 million worth of cash prize and 13 fully equipped photo studios, laptops, ipads and blackberry phone to be won, is geared towards empowerment of private sectors and individuals, calling their attention to several monetary advantages of identifying and appreciating their environment thereby reviving tourism sector.

40m hectares of land not utilised for farming, says Minister By Mohammed Kandi


he Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Ayodeji Adesina, yesterday expressed regrets that only 40 million hectares out of the 84 million fertile agricultural lands had been fully exploited for farming in Nigeria. Speaking at the ongoing Ministerial Platform yesterday in Abuja, Dr. Adesina, also noted that the sector accounts for over 75 per cent of the non oil earnings in the country, but vowed to halt massive food importation in the country. Addressing participants on his scorecard in the last one year, Dr. Adesina said it became necessary to change the mindset of the Nigerian farmers into treating agriculture as “business” rather than development programme, adding that such practice was obtainable in the industrialised world. He said his ministry had launched an aggressive change as part of the ongoing Agricultural Transformation Agenda Programme (ATAP) of this regime, especially, concerning value chains in some crops such as rice, cassava, cocoa, sorghum, as well as deregulation of fertilizer procurement and distribution.




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The front view of ThisDay almost reduced to rubble by suicide bomb blast, yesterday at Jabi, in Abuja.

Security operatives at the bombed ThisDay Newspaper office, in Abuja.


The three storey building housing ThisDay, The Sun and The Moment Newspapers where bomb exploded, inside is the burning suicide bomber’s vehicle, yesterday in Kaduna.


The carcass of the ThisDay printing machine due to the impact of the explosion.


Sympathisers at the scene of the bomb blast at ThisDay, Abuja. Photos: Mahmud Isa








Adamawa: 420 receive Drugs: Nigeria to get training on TB control WHO nod in less than two years, says Chukwu A From Blessing Tunoh, Yola

By A’isha Biola Raji


he Minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has expressed confidence in the capacity of pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria to get certified before the stipulated time of two years predicted by World Health Organisation (WHO). He said this yesterday in Abuja during the presentation of Report of GMP Audit of some selected pharmaceutical companies in the country by WHO pre-qualification team in collaboration with National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). According to him, other

pharmaceutical products from other companies would meet WHO certification as government looks towards expanding funding to boost the companies’ activities thereby promoting quality products. He said, “the ministry will encourage local manufacturers to grow by connecting them to financial institutions.” He however tasked pharmaceutical companies and the general public to join hands with NAFDAC in the fight against counterfeit drugs. “We should all play by rules and work with NAFDAC and WHO to secure products,” he advised. In his presentation, the Director General of NAFDAC Dr Paul Orhii gave a tip that pre

qualified companies have already met with WHO standard. He stressed that, it was embarrassing for Nigeria not to have been qualified by WHO before countries like Uganda, Morocco and other African countries that have passed the qualification process. Meeting with WHO standard, according to him, would curb drug counterfeiting and also qualify Nigeria to benefit from certain grants. He said, “$4.7 billion was spent on countries that have WHO drug qualification but not a single cent came to Nigeria because we did not have WHO international drug standard qualification.”

s part of effort to cure and control the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy in Adamawa state, 420 persons have so far been trained to enhance community involvement in the fight against the scourge. State co-ordinator and programme manager of TB and Leprosy control in the state, Dr. Stephen John who stated this in an interview also expressed delight with the slow but steady drop in prevalence records in the state. The programme manager also disclosed that the Health Alive foundation with support from global fund was also training community volunteers for ten local government areas and 150 people would benefit from the scheme. “The aim of the training is to improve community

involvement in TB control in Adamawa state in order to sustain the programme; the role of community volunteers is to refer TB suspects to health facilities for free treatment as there is adequate provision of drugs and human resources”, he stated. John disclosed that the Adamawa is one of the nine states that recently acquired a genexpert diagnosis machine equipped with a laptop and refrigerator that would preserve samples as well as a solar energy panel that supplies electricity 24 hours. “As at 2011, the state has 122 clinics and forty laboratories and we diagnose TB free of charge”, he disclosed.

Robbers kill security man in Ilorin From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


L-R:First Lady, Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Health, Proessor Onyebuchi Chukwu, and Director-General of NACA, Professor John Idoko, during the commissioning of HIV and AIDS National Call Centre, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

CORET appeals to Cross River not to repatriate its members By Joy Baba


he Confederation of Traditional Herders Organisation in Africa (CORET), has made an appeal to the Cross River state government to shelve its plan to repatriate their members who are not indigenes resident in the state. CORET is the umbrella organisation of pastoralist in Nigeria, Niger Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Cameroun. In a statement by the Ag. Secretary General of the association in Nigeria, Mohammed Bello Tukur Esq, “the attention of the organisation has been drawn to the endemic conflicts between traditional livestock breeders and crop producers in Nigeria particularly Nassarawa, Benue,

Taraba and recently, Cross River state. Many lives have been lost by both pastoralist and crop producers. We wish to note that the conflicts between these two resource users do not benefit either the pastoralist or crop producers. He noted that the most recent of these conflicts occurred in March/April 2012 in Cross River state leading to the state government’s decision to repatriate the displaced nonindigene pastoralist from the state to their state of origin. This action, according to the organisation, was illogical and contrary to the provision of the 1999 constitution, the ECOWAS Transhuman protocol on the transhumance of livestock and the African charter on Human and People’s Right. This according to the organisation,

would not foster peace, understanding, tolerance and development in Nigeria, the ECOWAS region and indeed Africa. The organisation is

appealing to the Nigerian government to look into some human activities like population growth and construction that has posed problems to these pastoralists.

middle aged security guard, Jelili Awayejaye, who was working within Temidire, Osere Community area in Ilorin, the Kwara state has been killed by escaping armed robbers who overpowered him when he denied them access to the community on Friday morning. Our Correspondent gathered that the deceased, who hailed from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital was with his son, Abdul Awayewajaye who escaped the wrath of the robbers when they descended on his helpless father with dangerous weapons. An eye witness who narrated the incident to our correspondent, said that the robbers had raided residents at the nearby community and were passing through the street before the late security guard prevented them at about 3am. The source further disclosed that the deceased was matcheted and despite his shout for help from the community, nobody dared to come out at the time to rescue him before he was killed by the robbers. Efforts to get confirmation from the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) ASP Dabo Ezekiel of the Kwara state police command, proved abortive as all the messages sent to his mobile were not replied at the time of filing this story.

CP urged to revive police community relations From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


he Taraba State Commissioner of police, Mamman Sule has been called upon to revive the police Community Relations committee (PCRC) for effective security. The State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abdullahi Gambo made the call when he led other officials of the Union on a courtesy call on the police Commissioner in Jalingo.

He said the committee has a great role to play in assisting the police with vital information to enable them carry out their duties effectively. Gambo also called on the Commissioner to intensify surveillance on security flashpoints in some areas in the state. He mentioned the areas to include Takum-Wukari road, Rafinkada- Donga, DongaMararraba, Mararraba- Baisa and Bli-Gashaka.

The Chairman called for collaborative effort between police and journalists to combat crime in the state. Responding, the State Commissioner OF Police, Mamman Sule thanked the NUJ for the visit and assured that the command would work closely with the press for effective policing. Adding that hehad directed all the DPOs in the state to revive the Committees in their areas for effective service delivery.



Members of Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes, Forestry Research of Nigeria (FRIN) branch, protesting over extention of the appointment of the executive director, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

NOA to wage war on human trafficking By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


irector-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri has directed all state directors of the agency to immediately commence total war on trafficking of persons, warning that Nigeria must not go back to slavery.

Omeri gave the marching order when the Executive Secretary of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs. Beatrice Jeddy-Agba, paid him a work visit to fine tune areas of collaboration towards winning the war against trafficking of persons. While instructing the State

Directors to launch full scale sensitization campaign against human trafficking offences in every state and local government of the federation, the NOA boss added that the agency was in a hurry to implement programs and policies that will present Nigeria as the very best country in the world. A statement issued by its Chief

Yuguda grants amnesty to 44 inmates From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


overnor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state has bailed 44 inmates who are serving different sentences in the state main prison in his effort to support the Federal Government agenda of decongesting prisons in the country, The Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Al-Mustapha Suleiman, disclosed this while performing the bailing ceremony at the Bauchi prison, saying that the 44 inmates were selected by a committee set up to

review all their cases aimed at assisting them to regain their freedom. Al-Mustapha, who is the chairman, State Prerogative Mercy Committee, explained that the inmates were fined by different court of law after committing different crimes and they were given an option of fine or remain in jail but could not get money to pay such fines. Yuguda has given approval for the payment of all their fines totaling about N100,000, saying that all those released after paying their respective charges are those

that have committed minor offences. “All the 44 inmates are those that committed minor offences that were sentenced as they were not able to pay the charges meted against them and those with harden criminal records were not part of those granted such pardon. I want to assure you that this will be the beginning as we intend to ensure the release of more inmates with minor offences”, he said He urged the released inmates to be of good behavior and should desist from committing any offence that may bring them back to prison.

Press Secretary Paul Odenyi, NOA frowned at the level at which young and vulnerable Nigerians who represent the nation’s pride, strength and future leadership are trafficked and vowed to use all the platforms available to fight the menace to a halt in close partnership with NAPTIP. Meanwhile, NAPTIP Executive

Kebbi records 687 cases of measles From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi


rom January till date, Kebbi state has recorded 687 cases of children affected with measles while Brinin Kebbi local government council alone recorded 165 cases. Speaking to newsmen yesterday in his office, the Kebbi state Head Epidemiological Control Unity, Shehu Galadima Zuru, said Kebbi state government has purchased drugs worth over N5 million for the management and control of epidemics in the state adding that the state has also

Institute set to organise conflict resolution workshop in Abuja By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


hartered Institute of Human Capital Development of Nigeria (CIHCDN) is partnering some major organisations in Abuja to organise the first “National Workshop on Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Skills”. The collaborating organisation

include; Bobkaz Associates, SOE Consulting, Ethos Consulting, and Les Grand Consulting Limited, Jos. A statement issued yesterday by its media relations executive, Jonah Audu, revealed that the programme is themed: Promoting a Culture of Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Negotiation as a Tool for Sustainable Peace and

Peaceful Co-existence in Conflict Situations: The Role of Identified Stakeholders in the Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Process”. It was said that the workshop which will hold at the conference hall, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Secretariat, Abuja, from 16th -18th May, 2012, and will feature stakeholders and seasoned

experts in the field of conflict resolution, to help find lasting solutions to the current state of events and insecurity across the country. Jonah further said that resource persons will be drawn from religious bodies, seasoned diplomats, top government functionaries, youth organizations and civil society groups.

NGO launches anti-terror sensitisation programme By Augustine Aminu


non-governmental organisation, Together Against Terror (TAT), has unfolded plans to support the

Federal Government’s efforts to eradicate terrorism by taking sensitisation programmes to the doorstep of residents in most northern states. Te programme is to start from

Kaduna state through Kano, Kastina, Plateau, Gombe, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kebbi, Niger and Yobe states. A press statement released in Abuja and jointly signed by the

Secretary, in her address, lamented the devastating impact that trafficking of persons has on Nigeria human capital index. She said the agency was therefore embarking on a series of massive public enlightenment initiatives down to the grassroots level to raise the consciousness of Nigerians on identifying signs of trafficking.

National Coordinator Engr. Abubakar Garba, and Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Babangida Okuboye, said the organisation will partner with traditional rulers and religious leaders.

established emergency preparedness and response teams at local government and ward levels to combat with the cases. Zuru further explained that all the affected children were treated and discharged except four who eventually died. He expressed happiness over the state that is now polio-free adding that since the beginning of the year; no case was detected up to the end of April.

Kogi govt slashes shop rates From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


n a bid to encourage peoples’ interest and boost commercial activities in the state, Kogi state government has slashed by 50% the cost of rent rates at the International Market, Lokoja, built at estimated cost of N5.5 billion. This was consequent on the determination of the present administration to discourage street trading in the metropolis, by allowing hawkers to have access into the market at subsidised rate. The press statement issued by Abu Michael, Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor made available to journalists said the government would no longer tolerate street trading and other unauthorised places.



Katsina ex-govs, deputies receive pension package From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


hree former governors and three former deputy governors of Katsina state, yesterday received multi-million pension package from the Katsina state government as provided by the state pension law as amended

and passed by the state House of Assembly. Two of the beneficiaries of the pension package include former governors in defunct Kaduna state, Alhaji Lawal Kaita and Alhaji Abba Musa Rimi and the first civilian governor of Katsina state, Alhaji Sa’idu Barda while the three deputy governors that

served in Katsina state, Ambassador Abdullahi Garba Aminchi, Alhaji Tukur Ahmad Jikamshi and Barrister Sirajo Umar Damari also collected their package. In a brief handing over ceremony of the pension packages to the beneficiaries, the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu

Shema noted that the government effected the payment of the packages to the former governors and deputies in compliance with the provision of state pension law. Shema stated that the former leaders had contributed positively to the development of the state, adding “you have contributed to the development of the state and

we are still benefitting from your advice in moving the state forward”. Earlier in his remark, former governor Alhaji Lawal Kaita thanked the state governor for implementing the pension package, hoping the governor would achieve success in his task of building the state.

Oyo govt. pledges assistance to victims of burnt Gbagi Market From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, yesterday, paid a sympathy visit to the Bola Ige International Market, Ibadan which was gutted by fire on Wednesday, pledging that his administration would upgrade the market and bring it back to its international standard. It would be recalled that the market went up in flames on Wednesday, destroying properties worth several millions of naira. The governor expressed dissatisfaction with the present situation of the business complex, the biggest in the city of Ibadan and which was named after the former governor of the state, the late Chief Bola Ige.

He said that the upgrade would involve sinking of boreholes before the end of May to make water available to traders in the market. Gov. Ajimobi also promised to rehabilitate the fire station within the market premises and connect it with the boreholes to be sunk, when completed. The governor also promised to offset the huge electricity bill incurred by the traders which had left the market without electricity for some time now, warning, however, that the traders should constantly pay their electricity bills to avoid future disconnections. While sympathising with the victims of the inferno, the governor promised that government would assist them financially to mitigate their losses.

Niger govt to boost security with N414m From Iliya Garba, Minna


he Niger state Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Bawa Muazu, has said the plans to spend N414million this year in an effort to make all security agencies in the state more proactive in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities. Bawa, who said this after the state executive council on Wednesday, said the money will go a long way to effectively position the security agencies as part of the money would be for the purchase of 58 pick-

up vans which is to be distributed among the Nigeria Police, State Security Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. Other incentives include the purchase of 50 pieces of bullet proof jackets at the cost of N8.5million while helmets of international standard are also to be purchased. “Government will purchase 50 pieces of helmets at N3.5m and install communication gadgets that will monitor the movement of the vehicles at N25m, all the equipments are expected to arrive the state within four weeks”.

Kwara govt to set up security state and therefore appealed to trust fund government at all level to be fully From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has advised the three tiers of government to consider establishing security trust funds to ensure that sufficient resources are available to fund security needs. Govenor Ahmed who gave the advice yesterday while declaring open the meeting of the federal and states security administrators holding in Ilorin, the state capital, said the fund would assist security agencies to combat crimes. The governor who was represented by his deputy, Elder Peter Kisira, said all stakeholders should be made to contribute funds for efficient and transparent management. He said peace and security should be recognised as necessary ingredients for rapid socio-economic development of any country or

involved and adopt strategies that would nip in the bud any untoward security challenges.

L-R: Coordinator, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYF), Dr. Sadiq Umar Abubakar, and AYF Chairman, Alhaji Shetima Yerima, during a press conference after a rally by a coalition of northern youth groups, at Arewa House on Wednesday in Kaduna. Photo: Agaju Madugba

Group moves to end breast cancer by 2020 From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


group known as Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) has undertaken an expansive effort to change conversation around the breast cancer to a dialogue about ending the disease by 2020. The founder of the nongovernmental organisation, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu disclosed this at press conference on Breast Cancer Deadline 2020

held at BRECAN centre, Ibadan. Mrs. Akeredolu explained that, BRECAN and National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), an American based grassroots cancer organisation, have decided to fight the disease through the power of action and massive advocacy. "We have determined to eliminate this common life threatening disease among women called breast cancer in Nigeria through public education, patient support, advocacy and

research by 2020", she said. She noted that, BRECAN has concluded plans of action to teach women on the science of breast cancer and method of effective advocacy enjoined religious body and societal organization to key into this vision. She condemned gross inadequate breast cancer diagnostic and treatment infrastructure, death of cancer professionals and lack of safety net for needy patients in the country.

Fashola urges local investors to boost economy From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


agos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has urged local investors to sustain investment to bolster the needed economic growth in the state. Fashola gave the charge at the closing ceremony of the Lagos state Economic Summit, Ehingbeti 2012 on Wednesday in Lagos. He said that the state government has identified all the necessary policy and enabling friendly environment that could enable investments to thrive. According to him, the

summit has become an agenda setting point adding that over 80 percent of the previous resolution from the summit have been executed while some have left the drawing board. Fashola said that the participation of the local investors means that the people are beginning to take part in wealth creation and empowering themselves through investment in the state. “I am excited that the attraction to Lagos is no longer restricted to Europeans, and the fact that local investors are now part of our march.

“We do not intend to go alone. We love our state but we love Nigeria even more, we have the representation of the Nigerian nation in our very small landmass. “In 2008 when we held the 4th summit, there was no Lekki-Epe expressway, no Eko-Atlantic, there was only one mall in Lagos, the light rail project was still a dream, and no banquet hall that could accommodate huge crowd like this kind where we are gathered today,” he said. The deputy governor of Lagos state, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said the recommendations made

at the just concluded economic summit was a joint one between the citizens, investors and the state adding that it was bound to be fruitful. He urged the Lagos state government to also help to develop rail lines that could link up with the neighboring states, so that people can live in other neigbouring state and work in Lagos. Oyo state Governor Abiola Ajimobi in his remarks said that Lagos has developed into an orderly pace setting state in Nigeria, with Lagos now the reference point for other states in the country.




The Oronsaye Committee report M onday last week, the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Agencies, Commissions and Parastatals, chaired by Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, former Head of Service of the Federation, handed in its report to the President who set it up. By all measures, the committee’s work was thorough, its recommendations farreaching. Understandably, therefore, the Nigerian public’s response to the committee’s report has been mixed – much welcomed in many quarters but received with fear and apprehension in other quarters. The committee’s recommendations, which have already excited debate, speak of the need felt by most Nigerians for a trimmer, more efficient, more productive, less corrupt and less wasteful federal civil service that delivers without taking much, much more than its own proportionate share of the nation’s resources, one that significantly reduces the cost of governance. Nigeria, the committee disclosed, obviously to the surprise of many, has a whopping 541 federal agencies, out of which 263 are statutory. The committee recommended, most sensibly in our view, a reduction of the 263 statutory agencies to 161, the outright scrapping of 38 nonstatutory agencies, the merger of 52 agencies and the reversion of 14 agencies to departments under existing ministries. The committee’s bold recommendations were informed by, and based on its findings after a study and review of the legal status, functions, performance, impact of, and the institutional relationships between these hundreds of federal bodies, the very existence of which most Nigerians know only very little, if anything, about. The committee’s findings contain revelations about which most Nigerians have some vague ideas, but which are nevertheless shocking. Among others, it found that there are overlaps and duplication of functions between many of these agencies, wasteful institutional rivalries between them, and high levels of corruption in nearly all of them. All this, the committee’s report said, has

led to avoidable confusion in the conduct of government affairs, impaired the efficiency and effectiveness of the agencies, fostered corruption, unnecessarily increased the cost of service delivery and of governance itself and precipitated crises and even systemic conflicts and, sometimes, collapse. At the root of the proliferation of agencies in the country is what social scientists call agencification – the practice by governments to create an agency to address every new problem that crops up, or to respond to seeming failure or poor performance of existing institutions, or even just in order to find jobs for the boys. Both military and civilian regimes are guilty of this practice, the cost of which to the nation is

The question, or problem, though, is whether President Jonathan will summon the political will and courage to do that which is necessary. And since the changes and restructuring will necessarily involve repealing of law, there is also the question of whether the National Assembly itself will be on the same page with the President in order to hasten matters incalculable. Today, we have, in many sectors, multiple agencies addressing the same problem, often in rivalry with each other: the EFCC and ICPC addressing corruption, even though traditionally the police has a department doing the same thing; NASRDA and NigComSat performing virtually the same space research functions; UBEC, NEC and NCMLA tending to the same problems in the education sector; and multiple agencies in both the environmental and education sectors competing with each other to do the same things. As a result of the huge cost of public sector governance that this multiplicity of agencies has occasioned, Nigeria has now

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”

become a nation where overheads gulp 70% of the federal budget. In effect, 70% of our resources are consumed by a mere 1% of the population who man and manage a bloated federal bureaucracy and its countless agencies that are neither productive nor efficient. This is not right. It is unjust, to fund and run this kind of public sector structure that is so heavily weighted against the vast majority of the people. There must be reforms, restructuring and rationalisation of the kind recommended by the Oronsaye committee and others before it. The question, or problem, though, is whether President Jonathan will summon the political will and courage to do that which is necessary. And since the changes and restructuring will necessarily involve repealing of law, there is also the question of whether the National Assembly itself will be on the same page with the President in order to hasten matters. It is important for especially the President to summon courage and stand firm. The committee’s recommendations have kindled fears in many quarters. Change will always be resisted by those who perceive that they stand to lose something. Already, labour is kicking and warning against retrenchments, which will be the inevitable consequences of any serious and far reaching restructuring. But the government should allay labour’s fears by proceeding in a way that ensures that the more competent and productive staff are re-absorbed into the mainstream civil service or the rationalised agencies. Besides labour, there are many entrenched forces who make their living off these agencies, and cosseted individuals within the agencies, who will fight, and fight dirty too, against any changes. This should neither frighten nor stay the hands of the authorities. The Oronsaye committee has suggested that its recommendations should not be implemented until the government has first decided on which agencies are to be scrapped, or restructured or merged. This is very important. And the committee that has been set up to write a white paper on the Oronsaye’s report should note this.








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By Abubakar Salisu


on’t count your chicks before they are hatched” is a common adage usually used to admonish individuals, groups and in this case even ethnic groups or class of politicians when they tend to act and carry on their business of politicking as if they know what tomorrow will bring. Each time, I observe the folly of men and women in power, what comes to mind is what I refer to as the “only wise” statement, which I associate with Sani Abacha while he reigned as a maximum ruler in Nigeria in early 1998. In the only and last interview he granted to the media (Radio France International), Abacha was asked whether he was going to transmute into a civilian President in 1998. His response was “Power and authority belong to God, and only Him, can determine the future with certainty.” Abacha died few months later, but this statement remains alive till today. It is alive for other men and women of authority and power today in Nigeria to learn; that is if they will learn that power and authority belong to God and only Him can determine the future with certainty, particularly what will happen in 2015. Since the last PDP convention,


2015: Atiku’s year of glory which produced Bamanga Tukur as the current Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the media have been awash with all kinds of desperate analyses and permutations on the implications of the outcome of the Convention on Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition. Some of these political fortune-tellers have in a desperate attempt to keep their man, meaning, President Goodluck Jonathan in power beyond 2015 have foreclosed Atiku’s bid for the presidency. They think Atiku’s bid can no longer see the light of the day. They are wrong, dead wrong! For Atiku Abubakar, whose political qualities and skills are not hidden to Nigerians, the 2015 presidential race has not become his pre-occupation considering the fact that President Jonathan has not even completed one year into the tenure and that is why Atiku has not even made any policy statement on this administration. There is no doubt, that Atiku is the issue in Nigerian Politics today! We do not know of tomorrow. However, it is embarrassing and a violation of all rules of decency expected of men in public political office, the manner and desperation with which the

President’s strategists have been driving a wedge between Atiku and his Adamawa kinsman, Bamanga Tukur and in the process carrying out all forms of blackmail to tarnish Atiku’s image, all in the name of 2015. What these sycophants forget is that on man is the master of his own destiny. Since May 29 2007, when Atiku left office as a VicePresident, the Senate and the House of Representatives have been carrying out probes in different sectors of the economy the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Power sector, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, to Petroleum Subsidy and Capital Markets and now pensions. Where and when in all these has Atiku’s name or those of his family or close associates bee mentioned or indicted? If the intentions of these ghost political jobbers are to make way for President Jonathan to violate his promise of not contesting for the Presidency in 2015 and therefore remain in office beyond that year, these agents of political power mongering do not need Atiku’s name to achieve all that. Atiku stood and fought for zoning in 2011 to ensure equity and maintain the constitution of the

party. He was there at the 19941995 Constitutional Conference where the six geo-political zones were created and zoning made part of the constitution of Nigeria to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the country; particularly the minority ethnic groups, which President Jonathan is part of. It was unfortunate that General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s military government removed the zoning clause from the constitution. From here, the PDP picked up the battle and made it its own. The party inserted zoning in its constitution and this accounts for why its fortunes soared. President Jonathan and his political supporters ensured that zoning in the PDP constitution was destroyed in 2011. Let me remind the reader of a prophetic assertion made on television by a progressive politician, Chief Dubem Onyia, that the day is not far when Dr. Jonathan’s child will say, “I want to be President and the rest of the country will tell him sorry, but it is your father who destroyed zoning.” From my understanding of him, Atiku is not expecting that zoning would be restored in 2015 to enable him contest for the

Presidency. That is the level of ignorance with which those who are talking about Bamanga Tukur and Atiku coming from the same state or geo-political zone do not know. In this post-zoning era, President Jonathan is free to contest, his younger brothers or anyone from Otuoke village are free to contest, while Atiku Abubakar is also very eminently qualified to aspire to become the President of Nigeria in 2015. President Jonathan can aspire to contest for presidency as many times as he wants with Bamanga Tukur as the PDP chairman. But, these must not stop Atiku from raising his hands for Presidency. Those who are engaged in political blackmail should desist and look up to God who is the author and finisher of the many desires of a man’s heart. He is also the Supreme Being, the only one who can determine the future with certainty, including what happens in 2015. It is also instructive as Chinua Achebe advised that those whose palmkernel has been cracked by benevolent spirits should not forget to be humble. Abubakar Salisu wrote in from 61 Ebitu Ukiwe Street, Jabi, Abuja.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Rejected abroad, resented at home By Abdulhamid Babatunde


preferred to wait patiently for the outcome of the now gone but not forgotten Breton Woods 2012 head hunt where our Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala assumed the role of Nigeria’s hot shot. For old school observers of the camouflaged “international development institutions” like me it was certain that she would never make it. Just as the discerning few African Americans know too well, it’s a white man’s world we are living in and living with, never mind all the hyped hoopla about an international community. The Obama phenomenon is now but a flash in the pan of racial equality which the US powers that be almost hoodwinked the world with by enabling the emergence of the unlikeliest American President ever. The unchanging reality of the white man’s world is that the blacks will remain Man (and Woman) Fridays, if only for the proverbial struggle to continue till the end of time. From the way Madam Fixit of the Nigerian economy fame made a show of actually contesting for the World Bank top job, it was so easy to see her in the true colours of an imperialist maiden, equally adept in political solicitation as she is in economic sadism. It was enough

to hear her crooning about the need for a “nimbler” World Bank, a rather rash remark for someone who was literally dyed-in-thewool of the World Bank’s inhumanly austere maladjustments of economies. That was an outrageous outburst indeed and it could only have signaled an impending parting of ways between master and maiden but certainly not the words of a prospective Woman Friday on the eve of promotion. The prompt approvals of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s infamous homegoing leaves of absence by the caucus of the World Bank were definitely not indicative of her strategic relevance in the corridors of economic imperialism. Even her “impressive career” in the World Bank was after all a mere token of “equal opportunity”, not to be mistaken for acculturation, please! So internationally and specifically within the covert chambers of the World Bank, it was a no-contest confirmed by “tradition” of selective favoritism enthroned by almighty America as overlord of the white man’s world. And America is more comfortable with diminutive “carry-go” Asians for such top jobs as in Ban ki Moon (UN) and now Jim Yong Kim (WB), than with a bland African woman sporting a precariously balanced head gear.

All of this was known before Breton Woods 2012, so the wonder is that she was ever described as a leading contender. In fact, contrary to what many home-based spinners trumpeted, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala could not have gained any mileage for her wildgoose chase from her supposedly successful career as Madam Fixit of the Nigerian economy for the obvious reason of progressive collapse of the very economy she was specially invited to salvage. There should be no contention about Ngozi OkonjoIweala’s unflinching loyalty to the dictates of the World Bank’s aforementioned sadistic treatment of ailing economies of the developing world. She has totally obliterated the appalling records left by her kinsmenpredecessors –Chu Okongwu and Kalu Idika Kalu-in implementing the deadly prescriptions of the World Bank/ IMF voodoo-nomics, particularly in ensuring that the treatment is deadlier than the ailment. Even though SAP was a kiss of death our economy may yet resurrect from, Madam Fixit’s post-traumatic therapy unleashed first in the guise of a debt-destroying diet and now as a subsidy-subduing syrup, have proved terminally effective indeed. So much so that even die-hard Kalu Idika Kalu

himself was in the forefront of “Occupy Nigeria” denunciators of Ngozimycin. One only need to recall that President Goodluck Jonathan specially hauled in Mrs Iweala to fix the Nigerian economy with her famed but misleading combination of international expertise and local savvy in managing economies. If we recall further however we find that President Obasanjo, from whom GEJ was taking a cue, eventually side-kicked her to the foreign affairs ministry to ease her return to sender, seeing how much damage she had managed into the economy with calamitous political consequences even for dictatorturned-despot. Now on her second coming, Madam Fixit studiously presides over the transformation of the besieged economy into a debt-ridden, subsidy-guzzling, punisher of pensioners. All this without even adjusting her tottering head-tie! In the particular case of the subsidy-scam, Ngozi OkonjoIweala’s “expertise” was more concerned with taxing impoverished citizens by jerking petrol pump price to shore up a serially-looted and “near broke” government treasury than in establishing the facts of the matter as have now been astonishingly uncovered by Farouk Lawan’s House probe. It

is unbelievable that a worldrenown economist, brandishing credentials and careers in economic management can be so callously careless about evident corruption and economic sabotage on a such a scale as to question, nay debunk, her claim to scholarship, professionalism and moral rectitude. That’s how she also glossed over the KPMG report submitted to her which documented the pension scam until the House of Representatives opened the can of worms. Yet she has no qualms prancing about the national stage as an outstanding technocrat worthy of honour and applause. On second thoughts, the only people who will applaud her appalling performance are those who have always placed priority in destabilizing promising developing countries with their notorious economic reforms which deform and derail them while debasing and denying the citizenry of the abundant endowments of their fatherland. It’s a pity that Woman Friday’s worst performance against her people could not earn her the top job in the engine-room of economic imperialim. Abdulhamid Babatunde is a former editor of The Democrat newspaper in Kaduna



Nnaji and the power sector: An open letter to Kenneth Olisaeloka By Ikeogu Oke


ear Compatriot: I read with interest your recent articles on the Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, published on the internet (by Sahara Reporters) and in the Nigerian print media. You wrote under the titles: “Professor Bartholomew Nnaji: Has This Man Failed?” and “Still on Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji and the National Darkness.” Incidentally, the latter was your response to a rejoinder to your original article by Ogbuagu Anikwe, a media aide to the Minister. I can sense from the tone of both articles that you are a feisty writer, and a very articulate mind for good measure. I nonetheless believe we can have a sober and reasoned dialogue over the issues you have raised, the salient ones in particular. I address this letter to you to inaugurate such dialogue in the interest of truth and fairness. For instance, you allege that all Prof. Nnaji’s aides are indigenes of his native Enugu State “whose appointment was solely based on primordial sentiments rather than their specific qualifications and competences.” You call this a

“weighty charge.” I agree with fair. abroad.” you. But here are the facts: Again, the facts: Nnaji Then, you complement the Stephen Ogaji, Thelma Osuhor above charge with a directly sourced the said and Obinna Ihedioha, all aides comparison - unfavourable to Stephen Ogaji, and some of his of Prof. Nnaji who have worked Nnaji - with Mallam Nasir El- other aides, from the Diaspora. with him since his appointment Rufai, former Minister of the Interestingly, Mr. Ogaji holds as Minister of a Doctorate in Power, are not Mechanical from Enugu Engineering State. Mr. from the Ogaji and Ms. prestigious Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text Osuhor are Cranfield messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written from Delta University in contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 State. Mr. the United words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and Ihedioha is Kingdom. a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed from Imo Before joining to: State. These the Minister’s three bright, team, he was The Editor, y o u n g C o u r s e Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, individuals Director and h a v e Lecturer at 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. qualifications Cranfield Email: let earned from University. SMS: 07037756364 universities in He had also our country lectured in and overseas, including Federal Capital Territory. Here engineering at the Rivers State University of Manchester, are your exact words: “When University of Science and University of Warwick, and Mallam Nasiru El Rufai.was Technology and worked as a Harvard. And they are not the confronted Engineer in with such Field only aides of the Minister who challenge, he did not spare Schlumberger. Does this type hail from states different from anything to get his task done, of pedigree not contradict the his. Now, since you must be including engaging some lack of “specific qualifications conversant with the basic rules Diaspora Nigerians, without and competences” you ascribe of logic as they appertain to minding which part of the to all of Nnaji’s aides? Applying predicates and propositions, the country they come from. It is the same basic rule of logic above facts should suffice to yet not known that Prof. Nnaji which I invoked earlier, this disprove that “weighty has engaged anybody purely singular evidence should suffice charge” of yours and justify my on his competence, not even to also prove that ascription as declaring it as neither true nor one Nigerian home and neither true nor fair. Shouldn’t



However, it would not have called for censure even if Nnaji had chosen not to engage any of his aides from the Diaspora, since the important thing should be the competence of such aides. Residing outside one’s country would not necessarily turn an incompetent into a model of efficiency. Then, that you blame Nnaji for the recent drop in power generation, regardless of whether it is as a result of low water level at our hydro stations or unreliable gas supply to our thermal stations, is equally unfair, since he is not in control of these factors, one of which can be likened to force majeure. It is as unfair as insisting that a man be punished for a crime even in the face of evidence that exculpates him. Furthermore, you accuse the Minister of having “gone out of his way and without decency to publish the names of disengaged workers in several pages of almost all Nigeria’s national newspapers.” There is some negative exaggeration to this charge because the publication Continued on page 15

Can Jonathan run, will he run? By Simon Danladi


he newspapers, magazines, radio and television have been awash with the speculation about President Jonathan’s state of mind with regard to whether or not he is again running in 2015. That’s three years away, but near enough for Nigerians to read his lips and hear all the body language. That is as near, or as far, as we will get to a categorical statement by President Jonathan on the matter. His favorite way of announcing his candidature is to pretend not to be interested in running and therefore not to talk about it.Meantime he spends tones of money (whether it is taken from the national treasury or not) to create “pressure groups” for them to “convince” or “beg” him to run. The last time in April 2011 there were 1400 of those pressure groups. For all that, it took Jonathan six months to announce that indeed, he was running for the presidency. The media claim that there is a “plot” by Jonathan to elongate his stay beyond 2015, and there is a “counter-plot” by no less a person than Atiku Abubakar to stop him. Action attracts equal and opposite reaction.

Who would be more qualified than Atiku to do it? I suppose that after what he did to Obasanjo and his third term project, Atiku has acquired some sort of reputation as an expert in stopping tenure elongation by would be dictators. If he were to write a book on the subject it would be a best seller. It would probably qualify for the Nobel Prize in democratic activism. The world, particularly third world countries, would need such a book to deal with their hordes of potential sit-tight political leaders. Abuja has no factories, but the capital city is home to the largest industry in Nigeria: its political establishment. Nowhere else in Africa is politics played as they do it in this town. From the look of things and from what we hear in the grapevine, no one is planning to sit tighter than President Jonathan. Atiku may well be the anti-dote to that particular virus. Atiku is also the man who came close to stopping Jonathan in 2011, the power of incumbency notwithstanding. Therefore, those Jonathan advisers believe that Atiku is a dangerous customer, and they are planning to stop him before he stops them.

Garba Shehu, Atiku’s media adviser, who runs the only political media office in Abuja said the existence of an Atiku “counter-plot” is “news to us.” We can’t really believe that, can we? His outfit has a well regarded reputation for not missing anything, especially something as important to their principal as presidential politics. They know what’s going on in the Jonathan camp, and are ready to match force with force: Garba concedes as much. So the battle for the 2015 PDP presidential primaries may already have been joined. The race is now spiced with some noises from the East, where Dr. Ezeife is claiming that the Igbos should be the rightful claimants of the Presidency in 2015. That remains to be seen. The mystery is why Jonathan is stepping out so early. Perhaps this time around the strategy is to run from the front, like a Kenyan long distance athlete, to set a pace so hot that the chasing pack will be decimated and dusted long before the tape. It is a strategy dreamed up by the minders. Whether it will work against a fighter like Atiku Abubakar is a different matter. An attempt to burn him off may backfire as Atiku has

shown that he is as good a durable long distance runner as any. It will always be a close race. The Score Card: There is overwhelming evidence gathered from his associates and friends, body language, insiders, party chieftains, etc, to show that Jonathan is indeed running in 2015. The law says he can’t run, but his advisers think the law can be manipulated. Since he is making his run three years ahead of time, we are entitled to ask why Jonathan thinks he is that indispensable; and we are so gullible and vulnerable. What is new that he is bringing to the table; his score card? Everywhere else in the democratic world, presidents want to be re-elected based on their record of performance. But in the peculiar circumstances of Nigeria, performance is the last thing on the agenda of elected officials like the President. More important to them are the issues of geography, ethnicity, religion, spoils of office, showmanship and grandstanding, etc… What has President Jonathan got to show for his years in office from the Yar’Adua era till now? Precious nothing! It’s a no-show. He has

shown no talent for performance. He can’t even take a decision. It took him three months to compose his cabinet. The nation needs a President who can take a decision yesterday! Not a footdragging person who takes forever. All we have seen so far is crass incompetence in the handling of all the issues that have troubled this God-blessed, oil-rich country: economic mismanagement; wasteful spending; lack of forward planning; stomach biting poverty (Nigerians live on less than a dollar a day); collapse of education; rising crime; time bomb unemployment; the lack of patriotic zeal among Nigerians; loss of national morale; a state of fear and insecurity, especially in the wake of Boko Haram’s terrorist activities, and the confusion in government about dealing with that and other security challenges. Not to forget, of course, that hydra-headed beast called corruption. Rampant corruption is the thing for which Nigeria is best known around the world. President Jonathan is always preaching about fighting corruption. But he has Continued on page 15



Can Jonathan run, will he run? Continued from page 14

summoned neither the will and courage nor the way and means, to implement the war against the cankerworm. The government live in, and practice corruption, and claim to be fighting it. How can they? His own Minister of Justice and Attorney-General is busy doing “plea bargaining” deals with criminals who ought to be put away for life. These criminals, some of them former governors, can keep most of what they have stolen as long as they agree to return some of it. That is the deal. They are let off with a slap on the wrist. The crooks have compromised the legal and justice system. Corruption cases in all the courts are going nowhere. Transformation: The President says that the answer to Nigeria’s problems is to be found in his “transformation agenda.” The problem with the agenda is that no one, not even the President himself, knows what the agenda is all about. What is the transformation agenda? There isn’t even a document that explains it. We have not seen any details, in terms of the stated objectives, time table and time lines, the cost implications, etc, of the agenda. We are left with no other opinion than that the transformation agenda is nothing but a meaningless slogan, like to say the 7-point agenda before it. Empty sloganeering is not going to produce the fundamental and far-reaching, top down changes and reconstruction that this country urgently needs. There is no grand vision for Nigeria; no ideological or visionary, platform or programme, upon which to Continued from page 14

in question was a list of redeployed staff, and the difference between “disengaged” and “redeployed” is huge. That said, let me add that, having worked as a journalist, I recognise that the choice of material to put up for publication is largely governed by discretion, and there are known ways for those who feel violated by the exercise of such discretion to seek redress. I would understand if this loud cry against that publication came from the “bereaved”. You also allege, concerning the Minister, that “after nearly 10 years of efforts,” “his” “Geometrics Company” “at Ala Oji” (the company is located at Osisioma, near Aba, not “Ala Oji”) “could not generate even a single kilowatt of electricity..” But I can’t see how this can translate into an incontrovertible proof of Nnaji’s ineffectiveness in managing the power business as you seem to intend, since Nnaji had earlier founded and

build a future great Nigeria. We have the material and human resources needed to do it. China, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, South Africa, etc, could think and plan for 50 years ahead. No one here is thinking beyond four years, beyond the next election, beyond loading their pockets with ill-gotten money. The President has failed to give effective leadership. Somebody ought to be setting a concrete, measurable agenda for Nigeria’s economic and technological breakthrough. But no one is. We elected Jonathan to handle that. Not to keep playing the power politics of self succession for its own sake. The Good Book says “where there is no vision (inspired and patriotic leadership), the people perish, or suffer”. Nothing can be more true. Nevertheless, here we are, asking: Will Jonathan run in 2015? The straight answer is: yes, he is. He hasn’t said he is not. But all the signs and body language that say he is are there; clearly visible and audible. Body Language One: Barely six months after his swearing in President Jonathan surprised Nigerians by floating the idea (through an aide) of a constitutional amendment to provide for a single 7-year presidential term starting, obviously, from the year 2015. There was a cloud of smoke. Nigerians reacted negatively after the smoke cleared. They were quick to see “third term”. But the President said there was no hidden agenda. He was only trying to save Nigerians the headache re-election expenses. Nigerians did not believe him. The proposal died a naturall death,

but the body has not been buried. Indeed there was a hidden agenda. Had the amendment passed, it might have been possible for President Jonathan to say in 2015, “look, this is a new constitutional provision; and it cannot be applied retroactively. Therefore I am eligible to contest.” It was that kind of thing that President Abdullahi Wade tried to do in Senegal. Body Language Two: The Governors and politicians of the South – South have been speaking in support of Jonathan’s continuation beyond 2015. They didn’t just wake up in the morning to speak. People like Atedo Peterside and others spoke even before the governors. Was it smoke without fire? Hardly. The South-South are living their dream in Goodluck Jonathan, and it is a dream they do not want to end any time soon, certainly not by 2015. Body Language Three: President Jonathan’s complete takeover of the party at the convention at the Eagle Square in a kangaroo election where candidates were forced to withdraw for his handpicked candidates, was an indication that the party is being positioned to support Jonathan’s controversial bid in 2015. Body Language Four: The PDP is now fully domiciled in President Jonathan’s bedroom. Therefore nothing can be said on this and other important issues unless with the concurrence of the “leader” of the party. Mr. Olisah Metu, the new National Publicity Secretary, was asked whether President Jonathan would be a candidate

in 2015. He said it was “too early” to talk about it. But if he decided to run, Jonathan was eligible. “He is entitled to a second term”. If Mr. Metu’s comments reflected the position of the party, then it could mean that the matter had already been discussed and agreed at the highest level of the party. These were not coincidental sets of circumstances; they had the unmistakable ring of a carefully coordinated agenda. In the aftermath of Eagles Square, dissenting voices have begun to emerge as to the intentions of the President in 2015. Therefore, he has been quick to call for calm in the party and in the general polity. There was no need, he said, for “unnecessary controversy” over the matter. But if the President were that concerned and worried about the negative effects of the campaign that his employees had started, he is in the best position to put an end to it. He should make a clear, unequivocal statement that he has no intention of running in 2015. That would put the matter to rest. But I do not think he will make that statement. Atiku Abubakar may be the most formidable opponent President Jonathan could face in 2015 should he persist in this present course. But he won’t be the only one to challenge the President. Vice President Namadi Sambo has an interest in moving up. But if the boss in staying put, he can’t. It is more or less a settled matter that the PDP presidential candidate in 2015 will be a Northerner. The party will have reinstated the zonal policy they untidily discarded last April.

Jonathan Can’t Run The truth of the matter, however, is that Jonathan cannot even run in 2015, no matter how he tries. He is clearly not eligible. Mr. Metu is misinformed. President Jonathan knows it, but he has been persuaded by the manipulators in theparty that they have the strategy to fix it. Nothing is beyond the witch doctors and spin doctors. After all, the law is made to be broken. But the law and the facts are compelling. It does not take a genius to know that President Jonathan is already in his second and final term as President. He can’t take an oath to be President three times. Surely we remember that a presidential team, according to the constitution, is four years. The term is run by the President and Vice President elected on the same, inseparable ticket. Therefore when President Yar’Adua died the then Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was sworn to an oath of allegiance and oath of office as President for the four-year term to run its full course. That term expired in April 2011, and President was reelected and sworn in as President in May 2011 for the second term. He is in the 11th month of his second and final term. Therefore, Jonathan cannot run in 2015. It is as simple as that. The President should concentrate on doing the best he can to deliver some relieffor the multiple pains Nigerians are suffering under an economy that is not working for them. Any dream of a third term is a bad dream! Simon Danladi, wrote in from No. 109, Lamido Road, Nassarawa G.R.A, Kano.

Nnaji and the power sector: An open letter to Kenneth Olisaeloka operated successfully the 22megawatt Abuja Emergency Power Plant commissioned in 2001, which for over two years supplied uninterrupted electricity to key institutions and places in Abuja, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the International Conference Centre, the State House, and the Central Business District. The Geometric plant is work in progress and should generate electricity at the appropriate time. All over the world investors take bank loans to finance such capital intensive projects, and I can see no justification for your criticising those behind the plant for allegedly being indebted to banks, which is not a crime. Those celebrating Nnaji’s

failure as Minister of Power are “plucking the unripe fruits of laughter,” to quote Pindar, the legendary Greek poet of antiquity. For, to adapt that inimitable phrase by our own Chinua Achebe, it is morning yet on the creation day of the new Nigeria that the Power Sector Reform which Nnaji has been charged to implement is meant to inaugurate, a Nigeria primed to achieve its fullest potential because its citizens can take the availability of electricity for granted. The problems Nnaji has been appointed to help solve in our power sector took several decades to create, during which some of his detractors tolerated disinvestment and decay in the sector. The only thing comparable to the situation in the history of our country is the near-total erosion of our

democratic values occasioned by decades of military rule, leading to serious setbacks in our growth as a civilised nation. And while we still struggle to fully democratise our nation more than a decade after its “return to democracy” in 1999, I am surprised that you would deem it fair to declare Nnaji a failure for having not fully reversed the problems with our power sector in less than one year in office as Minister of Power. El-Rufai has also had his share of criticism, and has even faced prosecution, in spite of the good deeds you have rightly ascribed to him. In effect, there seem to be “critics” ever willing to turn our country into a graveyard for good reputations, whether of the likes of Nnaji or El Rufai.

Such “critics” are vectors of the virus of the Pull Him Down Syndrome and have obviously not spared Nnaji from their malignant designs and those of their sponsors. Beware, lest you become infected with this dangerous virus and the attendant sickness whose symptoms are rabid hate and censoriousness. A cure is still being sought for the virus which also foists on its carriers a debilitating disorder of the mind. Ikeogu Oke, a former staff member of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) which metamorphosed into the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), and a public policy analyst, wrote from Abuja. Tel: +234-(0)803-453-1501]


Woman to spend one-month in jail for causing grievous hurt


24, of Tundun-Wada village, Lugbe, FCT, Amaka Monye, was yesterday, sentenced to onemonth imprisonment by an Abuja Magistrates’ Court for causing grievous hurt to a family. The Senior Magistrate, Njideka Duru, however, gave the convict an option of N3, 000 fine. The Police Prosecutor, Jeremiah Elijah, told the court that one Nelson Godfrey of the same village in Lugbe, FCT, reported the case to the police on April 23. He said Godfrey reported that the convict poured hot oil on him and his wife on April 22. The prosecutor added that the convict intentionally poured the oil on Godfrey’s face and on the right hand of his wife, Patience. He said that when the convict was questioned, she could not give a satisfactory account of what happened. Elijah said that the offence was contrary to Section 287 of the Penal Code. The convict pleaded guilty to the charge. (NAN)


Occupants of Abuja @30 accuse FCT of negligence By Josephine Ella


ccupants of Abuja @30 Villages in Kpeyegi, have bemoan the illtreatment meted to them by the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), accusing it of negligence. According to them, the housing project of the FCT administration which consists of 1,000 housing units, only have 530 units completed, out of which about 53 are presently occupied by beneficiaries drawn from low income earners in Abuja, victims of demolition exercise, widows, HIV/AIDS patients and other vulnerable groups. During a visit of the Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye

Olajumoke Akinjide to the village, the residents lamented that they have been facing untold hardship since November last year when they relocated to the area, saying that the basic social amenities in the village are not functioning. It was gathered from interaction with some of the occupants that although, some of the facilities such as borehole, clinic, electricity, market, police station, bank among other, have been provided, they are not functioning. A retired nurse, Naomi Tukura, while enumerating these challenges, urged the minister to, as a matter of urgency direct her staff to open up the facilities in the area. Tukuru further lamented the

absence of market in the village as she said that they have to spend between N400-N450 for transportation on motorcycle to Kuje market to buy food and other items. ”I want to on behalf of the women here thank you for giving us this affordable homes, but we do not have water and light no light. The worst of it is that we do not have market to transact business. We are grateful but please direct the officers of the FCT to open up the market so that we can do business and live a better life here”, she pleaded with the minister. Another resident, Chinyere Nwogu, who moved in November, said getting water for domestic use has been very difficult.

According to her, they have had to trek long distance to fetch water from a pond which is not even hygienic for domestic use. Responding to their plea, the minister assured them that the administration would ensure that the community becomes vibrant and self sustaining by activating the facilities that they have identified to be dormant. Olajumoke, explained that all the facilities have been put in place, but due to lack of security and personnel to man them, they were shut down to ensure that they are safe. She however assured them that now that they have occupied their allocations, a committee has been set up to look into the village to make it become a vibrant community.

Man, 22, arraigned for alleged assault


22-year-old man, Titus Gabriel of Kugbo Village in the FCT was on Thursday arraigned before an Abuja Magistrates’ Court at Karu, charged with criminal assault and causing hurt. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Francis Udofia, told the court that one David Mark of the same address with the accused reported the case to the police on April 24. Udofia said that the accused used cutlass and knife to give the complainant deep injuries on the hand and face, adding that the complainant lost his Nokia mobile phone valued at N7,500 and a wallet containing N15,000. The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 265 and 246 of the Penal Code. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and Senior Magistrate Asmau Akanbi granted him bail in the sum of N50, 000 with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case till May 28. (NAN)

Suya roaster at Basa village behing Airport, Abuja.

Photo: Joe Oroye

Disregard report about recruitment into fire Service - FFS


he Federal Fire Service yesterday advised Nigerians to be wary of fraudsters claiming to be recruiting personnel for the Para-military organisation. This is contained in a statement signed by the spokesman of the Fire Service, Mr Elechi Collins, an

Asssistant Controller, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. The statement said the warning became necessary in view of the persistent “false story making the rounds that there is an ongoing recruitment exercise in the organisation’’.

It said the falsehood was being peddled by fraudsters with the intention to dupe unsuspecting members of the public. “Members of the public are advised not to deal with such elements in the society, who are out to dupe,’’ the statement said. It said that the recruitment of

personnel into the service was always open with adequate publicity and advertorials to sensitise Nigerians. “The fire service recruitment is statutorily supervised by the board of all paramilitary organisations under the Ministry of Interior,’’ the statement added. (NAN)

Police arraign man, 38, for alleged misappropriation of blocks worth N210,000


38-year-old man, Okechukwu Odoh, was yesterday, arraigned before an Upper Area Court in Gwagwalada for allegedly misappropriating N210,000 worth of blocks. The accused, a resident of Kuje,

Abuja, was arraigned on a two-count charge of misappropriation and breach of trust contrary to Sections 311 and 308 of the Penal Code. The Police Prosecutor, Modupe Musa, told the court that on April 4, one John Nwobodo travelled and left his block making business in the

care of the accused. Musa said the accused sold the blocks valued at N210, 000 and allegedly converted the money to his personal use. The prosecutor also said that the accused claimed that the money disappeared mysteriously.

The accused, however, denied the charges against him. The Judge of the Court, Mr Babaginda Hassan, therefore, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody. Hassan adjourned the case to June 6 for hearing. (NAN)



Emir calls on FCT to provide more health centres


he Emir of Bwari in the FCT, Alhaji Musa Ijakoro, yesterday, called on the FCT administration to provide more health centres, in the domain to encourage women’s access to health care. Ijakoro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bwari that the lack of functional health centers’ in the area was discouraging women, especially expectant mothers, from accessing health care. “When you have well equipped medical centres, public health would be guaranteed, but anything less than that will be problem for the people. ’’ He said enough centers and well equipped hospitals, qualified medical personnel and support staff were needed to achieve health for all. According to him, an appeal had earlier been made to the FCT Administration to build primary health centers’ in some designated areas especially at Kawu, which comprises many villages without medical facilities. “It was believed that more centers’ would reduce the hardship encountered by the people when trying to come to Bwari for medical care. “In the centre here, like Unguwar Pawa, Gaba, Koro, we also need one centre at Dutsen Alhaji to cover those places like Sagbayi, Dutse Payi, Dawaki, Galadimawa, along the high way.” “There is also the need to have one at Kubwa which will cover Biazhin and another at Jigo which will cover Pasafe and Jan Bisa. If we have such centers’ at these areas, we can say that we have almost covered health wise.’’ Ijakoro said there were clinics constructed during the former Bwari Area Council’s Chairman, Mr. Isa Dara, but were not inaugurated. “With the huge population that is growing everyday in Bwari, I do not think the general hospital will be able to contain the need of the people. On child and maternal mortality, Ijakoro said even though it was not his profession, the report he received based on enlightenment of pregnant women, showed that death rate had reduced drastically. “The medical personnel are trying their best and with the help of modern equipment, patients would be better treated.’’ The Emir also said there was no arrangement within the area for transport system to convey sick or pregnant women to hospital. “Those who have cars, motor cycles or bicycles either public or private, assist in conveying sick persons to the health centres.’’ He further said the few pregnant women who delivered at home, were being attended to by the Traditional Birth Attendants. “In case of any problem which they could not handle, they were told to rush the women or child immediately to the Health Centre close to them for proper attention. “They are told that when they are due to deliver, they move to the hospital and that explains the reason we have few cases of problems as only few women deliver at home.’ ’(NAN)

Manual way of Loading a Tipper Motor at Sabon Lugbe in Abuja.

Photo: Joe Oroye

FCTA allocates 50 hectares farmland to Lagos state – Commissioner


he Federal Capital T e r r i t o r y Administration (FCTA) has allocated 50 hectares of farmland to Lagos state Government in Kuje, to support food production in the country. The Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, disclosed this on yesterday at a news conference organised to mark the first anniversary of Gov. Babatunde Fashola`s second term in office. ``The Federal Government has allocated some land to us and we will soon begin the cultivation of crops on the land to boost food supply to the state and tackle the problem of overwhelming demand.'' He said that the Federal Government had also supported the state in the areas of rice

processing and fish production under its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). ``The Federal Government, under ATA, also supported us in the establishment of an ultramodern agro-processing centre at Noforija, Epe which has just been completed. ``Also, the construction of a Farmers` Wholesale Market with 100 shops, cold storage facility, mini-abattoir and ample space for parking has commenced in Poka, under the Federal Government programme. ``The state is ready to collaborate with the Federal Government on all programmes that would provide food to its citizens at affordable prices.'' The commissioner further disclosed that the state had acquired some agricultural land

in Osun State for the cultivation of economic crops as a strategy to enhance food supply in the state. He said the state decided to acquire the land because of the shortage of arable land in Lagos, adding the suitability of Osun for the cultivation of certain types of crops also informed the acquisition. ``In due course, we will be acquiring land in other states to expand our access to farm land and significanatly increase food supply.'' Lawal said that the government had completed a modern abattoir in Achakpo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun area of the state to enhance meat storage and processing. The commissioner said that work was ongoing to improve the condition of facilities at Agege abattoir. (NAN)

Under-development and poverty, bane of poor construction project management — Minister


inister of Lands, Housing n d Urban Development, Amal Pepple, has said that underdevelopment and poverty are responsible for the “poor construction project management in Nigeria’’. Pepple said this yesterday in Abuja at a two-day workshop organised by the Nigerian Institution of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), which has the theme: “Essential Competencies for Construction Project Management’’. The minister said the workshop was aimed at examining and proffering solutions to the challenges facing the building industry. She stated that poor project management skills could lead to cost over-runs, project delivery delays and abandoned projects. a

“The cases of failed development and poverty in Nigeria are linked to poor construction project management,’’ Pepple said. According to her, infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports, power plants, housing estates and hospitals, among others, are critical to Nigeria’s economic development, including its social aspects. She stated that these infrastructures were also essential determinants of productivity. The minister said the more advanced the country’s construction project management competencies were, the more efficient Nigerian businesses would be. “Thereby, we will be creating more employment opportunities,’’ she said.

Pepple reiterated the readiness of the ministry to cut down on its operations in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda. She commended the Institution for organising the workshop and called for a synergy between the public and private sectors to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country. In his welcome remarks, Agele Alufohai, the NIQS President, had said the organisation would collaborate with the ministry to ensure that Nigerians got value for money through competence. Agele said the NIQS would continue to support federal government’s programmes and policies, especially on infrastructure enhancement. (NAN)

Man bags one month imprisonment for inflicting injury on another person


n Upper Area Court in Gwagwalada, FCT, yesterday, sentenced one Abdul Ibrahim to one month imprisonment for inflicting injury on Musa Datawi. The police had earlier arraigned Ibrahim on April 17 on a one-count charge of causing hurt to Datawi, contrary to Sections 244 of the Penal Code. Police prosecutor Usman Umar told the court yesterday that Ibrahim used a knife to inflict injury on Datawi and that the victim spent N10,000 to treat himself in the hospital. Ibrahim pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Presiding Judge, Mr Babaginda Hassan, sentenced him to one month imprisonment with an option to pay N15,000 fine. Hassan also ordered the convict to refund the N10,000 Datawi spent on treatment in the hospital to him. Meanwhile, the police on Thursday arraigned Amodu Daniel, a resident of Gwadara Village in Abaji before the court for alleged mischief and intimidation. Police prosecutor Modupe Musa told the court that the accused maliciously went into a sugar cane farm belonging to Ishaya Ayuba of Mada Village in Kwali, FCT, and destroyed it. Musa said the sugar cane was valued at N800,000. The prosecutor said the accused also threatened to kill Ayuba with a machete, but the accused denied the charge. The Presiding Judge, Mr Babaginda Hassan, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to June 6 for further hearing. (NAN)




FAAC allocation for the month of March 2012 S/N




FG (52.68%) States (26.72%) L/govt Councils (20.72%) Derivation (13% of Mineral revenue-oil/gas) Value Added Tax (VAT) & Transfers

613.7 billion



Banks should relax collateral conditions – NACCIMA

Mob: 08033644990

DMO sells N90bn in bonds


igeria sold 90 billion naira ($572.70 million) worth of debt paper maturing in 2014, 2017 and 2022 at its regular auction on Wednesday, with mixed returns on the bonds, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said yesterday. The DMO said it sold 20

- Pg 22

billion naira in the bond due to mature in March 2014, and 35 billion naira each in paper due to mature in April 2017 and 2022 respectively. The 2017 bond, which was a fresh issue, has a coupon of 15.10 percent, while the 2017 and 2022 paper pay a rate of

14.94 and 15.47 percent respectively. Two of the instruments are reopening of previous issues, while the 2017 bond was a fresh offer. The 2014 note had attracted a coupon of 15.50 percent at the last time it was issued in October 2011, the 2022 one attracted 15.41 percent at the previous auction. (Reuters)

N22.4 bn unpaid bills hampers power privatisation, says Minister By Muhammad Sada with agency report igerian government agencies owe the state power firm $140 million in unpaid electricity bills, the power minister said yesterday, hampering privatisation plans seen as vital for overhauling the country’s dilapidated power sector. “We cannot continue to operate a system where government agencies become dead beats. They have to pay. Every government agency has a budget for this, they simply don’t pay,” Power Minister Bart Nnaji told Reuters. However Nnaji said by October the ministry would


have completed the sale of 11 state-owned distribution firms and six generation companies, handing them over to private buyers who can invest to boost supply. Through privatisation, the ministry is aiming to increase electricity supply from below 4,000 megawatts currently to 6,000 megawatts by year end. He hopes this will rise to 10,000 megawatts by end-

2013 and 40,000 by 2020. Privatisation was supposed to be completed last year and industry experts say the delays mean government power supply projections are too optimistic. President Goodluck Jonathan laid out plans in 2010 to break up inefficient Power Holding Co of Nigeria (PHCN) and sell off generation and distribution units. But powerful vested interests, such

as diesel generator and fuel importers, unions and power contractors, have delayed the sale. PHCN has never been able to efficiently collect money for the electricity it provides and it is owed 110 billion naira ($700 million), of which 20 percent is government debts. The scale of the arrears among government agencies is yet another example of the

mismanagement plaguing Nigeria’s government. Parliament sent Jonathan a report this week recommending top officials be prosecuted for their part in fuel subsidy graft costing $6.8 billion. PHCN owes around $500 million to gas suppliers, including Shell and Eni, and because it can’t pay its bills, power output is dropping and debts are rising. (Reuters)

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

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

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


Some participants at a workshop on development of public water utilities for economic transformation, on Wednesday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN


kye Bank said yesterday it will boost return on equity (ROE) to around 15 percent by the year-end from 4.7 percent in 2011 and grow its loan book by 30 percent. It achieved a 22 percent growth in loans in 2011 to 519.7 billion naira ($3.31 EXCHANGE RATES


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

BUYING 0.2908 203.7593 249.9058 41.2623 154.75

SELLING 0.3108 205.076 251.5207 41.5289 155.75

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 254 40 157

SELLING 212 256 42 158

2011. Skye did not provide an explanation for the fall in the presentation. The mid-tier lender has 249 offices in Nigeria and three bank subsidiaries in West Africa - Gambia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. It said its 3-5 year plan

was to grow loans by around 40 percent with ROE reaching 20 percent. Syke’s rivals - First Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) — have also announced loan growth of around 10 percent or more for 2012. (Reuters)

Management Tip of the Day

24th Apr, 2012


ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45

Skye Bank to boost return on equity to 15 % in 2012 billion) by targeting oil and gas, construction, public sector and general commerce, the bank said in an investor briefing on its 2011 full year results. But its pre-tax profit fell 45.5 percent to 6.51 billion naira in

3 ways to handle a colleague you dislike


orking with a difficult person can be distracting and draining. Next time a colleague irritates you to no end, try these three things: Manage your reaction. If someone annoys you, don’t focus on his behavior. Focus on how

you react, which is usually the only thing you can control. Keep it to yourself. Emotions are contagious, so complaining about a co-worker can bring everyone down. And it can reflect negatively on you. If you must vent, do it outside the office.

Work together. It’s counterintuitive, but by spending more time together you may develop empathy for your colleague. You might discover reasons for his behavior: stress at home, pressure from his boss, etc. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS Nestle declares final dividend of N11.05


estle Nigeria has declared a final dividend of N11.05 per share of 50 kobo in addition to the interim dividend of N1.50 kobo. This brings the total to N12.55 kobo per share from the results for 2011 to its shareholders.

Nigeria to export 1m tonnes of cassava chips in 2012


igeria would export one million tonnes of cassava chips in 2012, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina said this yesterday in Abuja. Adesina was speaking at the Ministerial Platform in commemoration of the 2012 Democracy Day celebration on May 29, and the first anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

CBN’s bid to rejuvenate real sector yielding dividends


he reforms embarked upon by the regulatory body of the banking sector, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has no doubt been yielding dividends in both the banking and real sectors, seen globally as the engine room of every economy.

Lovonus Microfinance Bank woos small businesses


ovonus Microfinance Bank Ltd., is promising exceptional banking experience to small businesses in Nigeria through an array of products and services carefully tailored to migrate such businesses to medium and large scale concerns earlier than projected by the owners.

GTB asset management upgrades its online access facilities


TB Asset Management Limited (GTBAM) said in a statement released yesterday that it had upgraded its online access features which will provide customers the necessary platform to make payment via Interswitch enabled ATM to ensure that customers derive greater satisfaction from using its facilities.

Banks should relax collateral conditions – NACCIMA By Abdulwahab Isa


he Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called on commercial banks in the country to relax their stringent conditions for collaterals from private sector applicants for their facilities to enhance the growth of businesses. National President of NACCIMA, Dr. Ademola Ajayi, made the call during an interactive forum organised by NACCIMA with Nigerian ExportImport Bank( NEXIM) and Ecobank on financing Export and Import and Regional Solution for customers trading in West Africa. He enjoined Ecobank and other commercial banks to relax their stringent demands for collaterals from private sector. The NACCIMA helmsman also called on NEXIM to double its efforts in the provision of services on funds in the Export and Import promotion, to reposition the non-oil export sector of the economy. Ajayi said the forum was held to demonstrate the commitment of the private sector to ensure that they have necessary ingredients required to make businesses thrive better in Nigeria.

Naira firms vs dollar on interbank, forex auction


he Naira firmed against the U.S dollar on both the interbank market and official window on Wednesday, after a unit of France Total sold about $120 million to some lenders, boosting dollar liquidity. Traders said the naira closed at 157.20 to the dollar at the interbank market, its highest level in a week and firmer than the 157.35 per dollar it had closed at on Tuesday. “The sales of $120 million by Total Oil raised dollar liquidity level in the market and provided support for the naira,” one dealer said. Nigeria’s currency has hovered around 157.10-157.90 in the past four weeks on large inflows of dollars from stateowned energy company NNPC and other units of multinational oil firms. “Though we are within the month-end cycle, the market seems comfortable at the present level and we expect the naira to be more stable in the coming days,” another dealer said. Traders said dollar inflows from offshore investors in treasury bills and bonds this week could boost support for the local currency, pushing it to within the 157 band. At the CBN’s bi-weekly auction, the apex bank sold $110.50 million at 155.65 naira to the dollar, compared with $120 million sold at 155.75 naira to the dollar on Monday. (Reuters)

Ifeanyi Nwade, Asst General Manager/ Head, Project Finance NEXIM, disclosed that the bank had disbursed a total of N28.84 billion to finance non-oil exports in the last seven years between 2005 and 2011. “Annual statistical data of NEXIM bank’s intervention funds in the export sector for the period covering January 1, 2010 to October 31, 2011, showed it disbursed N28.84 billion during the stated period,” he said. In a paper presented titled: ‘The Role of NEXIM Bank in

(non-oil) export Development in Nigeria’, Nwade, noted that N1.79 billion was disbursed in 2005, N5.66 billion in 2006; N6.20 billion in 2007 and N2.90 billion in 2008 in that order. He maintained that the bank further gave out N2.27 billion (2009), N3.67billion (2010) and N6.35 billion in 2011. He also noted that the bank understands that trade facilitation is actualised through simplification and harmonisation, as well as time and cost reduction of transactions.

Similarly, Ecobank Head of Regional Business, Nigeria, Mr. Daromosu Ganiyu; who spoke on ‘The Challenges of Doing Business in West Africa:- Ecobank Solution’, said: “ to us the major challenges are : Payment and collection, regulatory framework, protocol and policies including documentation requirement; artificial barriers in terms of cost of doing business -check points and taxes ; logistic and infrastructural challenges, credit facilities as well as market accessibility.”

L-R: Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Alhaji Muttaqha Rabe Darma, President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Malam Mustapha Shehu, and NSE Vice President, Corporate Resources and Media, Malam Ali Rabiu, during a visit by the PTDF management to the National Engineering Centre, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

AMCON not funded with treasury money-Chairman


he Chairman of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Alhaji Aliyu Belgore said on Wednesday that the entity was not being funded from the Federal government treasury. Belgore said this at an interactive session with journalists at a two-day AMCON “Non-Deal ‘’road show in London. “We did not use treasury money to fund AMCON; by now AMCON will have been dead if we were using such money,’’ the Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes

Belgore as saying. “AMCON has succeeded in funding its transactions with the sale of its’s bonds, Belgore said adding,”all AMCON bonds are zero coupon with N1, 000 face value per unit.” He added that the uniqueness of AMCON when compared with similar bodies across the globe was its source of funding which included its verse assets. He said the purpose of the London show was not to refinance and repackage the bond and to create awareness about the AMCON bond

Belgore ,who expressed optimism that the corporation can repay its bond in three years, however, said that it was considering the option of five years to enable interested investors key into it. He assured investors that the AMCON bond was guaranteed by the federal government. Belgore also gave a breakdown of AMCON’s assets to include non performing loans backed by collaterals; shares in banks that have gone into merger and shares in banks that have been breached by the NDIC. (NAN)

EU Ambassador visits NPA Managing Director From Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


he Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Omar Suleiman has advised the Nigeria Customs Service to review the processes of its policy of hundred percent (100%) physical examination of cargoes at the nation’s seaports. The Managing Director made this assertion in his office recently while receiving the European Union ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador David Macrae who paid him a courtesy visit. He urged the Nigeria Customs Service to acquire hiteck equipment that will examine

cargoes in a way that will fastrack delivery of cargo to consignees. He also urged the Customs Service to improve on its information tracking system whereby containerized cargoes can be known without subjecting them to 100% physical examination. The Managing Director told his guest of his efforts at developing a Deep Seaport at Ibaka, Akwa Ibom state, and that the state Governor Chief Godswill Akpabio has put in place plans to link Ibaka with rail tracks so that cargoes brought through the Port could be moved

to different locations in the country. He pointed out that the Ibaka project is a product of collaborative efforts of the Akwa-Ibom State Government and the Management of NPA and that the state government has put necessary infrastructure in place to fastrack the take off of the Port. In his speech, Ambassador Macrae commended the Managing Director for improving the infrastructure in Tin Can and Apapa Ports and pledged European Union’s support to promote Maritime business in Nigeria.



Islamic banking grows 10 to 15% annually, says Islamic Foundation chairman


slamic banking and finance, with total assets of $1.4 trillion and more than 1,000 institutions operating in many countries worldwide is all set for a big take off, says Professor Khurshid Ahmad, chairman of the Islamic Foundation UK and the Institute of Policy Studies in Pakistan and author of several books on the topic. Speaking to Arab News after giving a lecture on "Global economic crisis and the role of Islamic Economics" at the Islamic Development Bank (IfDB) headquarters here, Ahmad said Islamic banking and finance makes an annual growth of 10 to 15 percent when conventional banks make less than one percent. "According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) study, the institutions that were least affected by the global financial crisis were Islamic banks because they engage mainly in asset-based financing," said Ahmad, who is a

Professor Khurshid Ahmad with senior IfDB and IRTI officials at the bank's headquarters in Jeddah after giving the lecture. (Arab News photo) winner of King Faisal International Prize and IfDB Prize. Speaking about challenges, he emphasised the importance of Islamic banks to be shifted from a

Shariah-compliant position to a Shariah-based position in order to move from a debt-based economy to a risk-sharing and e q u i t y - b a s e d participatory economy.

Ahmad also urged Muslim countries to reduce their dependence on foreign financial institutions like World Bank and International Monetary Fund. "I do not know of a single country in the world that has made progress after receiving loans from these institutions," he said, adding that a number of economists have reached the same opinion after conducting studies on 40 to 48 cases. He said Muslim countries should make use of their natural resources for the development of the Ummah, and establish good governance with accountability and fair participation of people. "This is the only way to achieve success... and we should learn from the experiences of China, Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam, which are making fast growth using their own resources." Transparency is

another key element Islamic banks have to focus on, Ahmad said, adding that they should be more open and their accounts should be Shariah-audited to win public confidence. "If there are any failures they should not hide them and make every effort to correct them in order to build trust. By openness they will not be revealing any secrets but they will increase their credibility while their market will be expanding," he added. The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), an affiliate of IDB group invited Prof. Ahmad to deliver this year's IDB Prize Lecture commemorating the 2011 Award of the IsDB Prize to the Islamic Foundation for its significant "Contribution to Islamic Economics." Prof. Ahmad said many individuals within the Western academic community, who are deeply disturbed over the

fatal flaws of capitalism, are searching for new approaches and alternatives in their quest for a just world order. "Islamic Economics represents a new approach to economics and the problems of human society. It is based on a distinct worldview and a vision of man, society and history," he explained. He continued: "It is not possible to juxtapose the Islamic economic approach with any other "isms". It is, however, possible for various "isms" and Islam to co-exist, compete, cooperate and as such contribute toward the betterment of human race. That is the path toward which deeper reflection on the contemporary economic crisis and an honest and objective evaluation of the alternatives available may help mankind to move forward in the right direction."(Source: Arab News)

Hong Kong and Malaysia to start cross-border bond trading system


he Hong Kong Monetary Authority will start a pilot platform with Bank Negara Malaysia and Euroclear Bank SA to spur trading of sukuk and Dim Sum bonds as the city aims to become China's hub for Islamic finance and offshore yuan transactions. The platform, which started on March 30, will allow investors in Malaysia to buy yuandenominated bonds in Hong Kong, Esmond Lee,

executive director for financial infrastructure of the city's de-facto central bank, told reporters. Hong Kong investors would gain access to sukuks, or bonds that comply with Islam's ban on paying interest, Lee said. The pilot platform will also allow financial institutions to get secured borrowing in Hong Kong dollars or yuan by pledging securities they hold with Euroclear Bank, Peter Pang, deputy chief

executive of the HKMA, said at the same press conference. "The global financial crisis has reminded us of the destructive powers of a liquidity crunch and the need for quick access to local currency liquidity in times of stress," Pang said. "The cross-border and cross-currency collateral management service provided by the pilot platform is a timely solution to meet this market need."




2011 FIRS performance trends By Muhammad Nasir


ince the transformation and automation of processes and procedures, the services has witnessed an unprecedented improvement in collection performance on a yearly basis. The sum total of N4.628 trillion was collected from January to December, 2011 surpassing both the Federal Government and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) target of N3.550 trillion and N4.378 trillion respectively for the corresponding period. The figures which were contained in the FIRS statistical reports obtained from the Tax Revenue and Accounting Department and the Planning, Reporting a n d Statistics Department, represent a positive variance of N1.077 trillion. In what has become a recurrent feat for the service, the amount collected for the year under review represented a remarkable improvement when

compared as against N2.507 trillion set target for the ended, 2010. Petroleum profit tax, which represents the oil and gas collection accounted for N3.07 trillion for the year, 2011. A quarter analysis of the collection performance shows that t o t a l collection peaked in the 3 r d quarter w i t h t h e sum of N1.416 trillion. This

Ag FIRS Chairman, Alhaji Kabiru Mashi is closely followed by the 4th quarter, which recorded a total collection of N1.271 trillion. In the 2nd quarter period,

from April to June, the collection figure stood at N985.31 billion while in the 1st quarter January to March, the lowest collection figure of N995.19 billion was recorded. Holistically, on a monthly basis, the month of August recorded the highest collection of N501.35 billion, followed closely by July with N491.40 billion. December and June came in 3rd and 4th place with N468.35 and N439.17 billion respectively. The lowest collection was recorded in May, with a figure of N256.05 billion. The month of November which had the highest collection figure in 2010 was in the 7th position with 390.56 billion. January, April and March were in the 9th, 10th and 11th positions, r e c o r d i n g collection amount of N336.79, N290.09 and N275.97 billion respectively. It is worth mentioning that FIRS has maintained a trend of surpassing the Federal Government revenue collection target for the past five years. It is therefore highly anticipated that this trend will continue in 2012.

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Graph showing collection performance across tax types, olive green lines depicts FG target while orange line depicts collection by FIRS (Source: Gauge)




‘The issue of state of origin in the Constitution should be totally removed’ Dr Omano Edigheji is founder and CEO of Institute for Africa’s Progress and Prosperity, (IAPP), Pretoria, South Africa. He holds a PhD in Political Science with a specialisation in the political economy of development and is one of Africa’s leading experts on the developmental states with more than a decade of research and policy analysis experience in institutions of higher learning, statutory research bodies and policy Think-Tanks. In this interview with Richard Ihediwa, Aminu Imam and Abdulwahab Isa, he gives his insights into South Africa and Nigeria’s developmental strides in governance in this era of globalisation vis-à-vis long-term development planning and institutional design. Excerpts:


ow can you describe the c u r r e n t relationship between Nigeria and South Africa in light of recent happenings, particularly the recent diplomatic face-off between the two countries? We have to take a historical perspective in terms of the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa. During the apartheid period, obviously, Nigeria had no diplomatic relationship with South Africa. If you recall, Nigeria was at the fore front in the fight against apartheid, though it was not located in the South African region but was regarded as the front line state because the role Nigeria was playing in the continent and the international arena. Nigeria played a critical role in calling for sanction against the apartheid regime. By 1994, when the democratic non-racial government led by the ANC overpowers, the major tragedy we had was the military dictatorship in Nigeria in the form of the Abacha administration and the Nigerian people led by the human right and people d e m o c r a c y movement, pressured the ANC led government not to establish a diplomatic relationship with South Africa but with the advent of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the civilian government in Nigeria and the democratic government in South Africa naturally established a relationship. This relationship has grown as you see a lot of citizens of both countries moving to one country to the other and also in terms of businesses. You also have number of Nigerian professionals living in South Africa. The most significant

part was the articulation or a framework for African development in the form of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) which was championed by Nigeria and South Africa. Thabo Mbeki and Obasanjo worked tirelessly to articulate that agenda and I think it was an agenda that could have given impetus for African renaissance as Thabo Mbeki would put it. The second significance is that it enables the continent to position itself to be regarded as equal partner with the developed world and even with other global countries. I think for some years, the continent really spoke with one voice on critical issues and Nigeria and South Africa were at the fore front of that articulation but there had been some issues between the both despite the diplomatic relationship and as a political economist, my role is to analyze why that had been the case. The crisis manifested itself in various ways; the visa dispensation. Initially, it takes about two days for South Africans to get a Nigerian visa but the same was not the case for Nigerians and I think the conditions Nigerians were getting visa were dehumanizing. I have friends and family members; I also read the Nigerian newspapers when people have to queue for hours to get a visa and this is really dehumanizing and unacceptable but at the same time. The corruption of the society and the decay of the Nigerian state pose a problem, I can say some of these things because I experienced them. People always go to the embassy to apply for new passport; I have been in that country for many years but I have not lost my passport any day but they always lose their

passport because they have double identity and they involve in shady deals. This makes it difficult for the South African government to accept some of this conduct because they are intelligent. Coupled with this xenophobic attitude, it is evident that South Africans are xenophobic, which manifested in the 2008 xenophobia riot where other black Africans were killed and some properties destroyed. In spite of what was happening at the governmental level, on ground was the tension of the issue of mistrust but also recall that the question of xenophobia in South Africa is not peculiar to South Africans. if you look at any society, taking Russia as an example, after been in an enclosure for number of years, once you open up, you fear the others and in the context of high poverty, the foreigners that are coming in that looks like you with more skills, you think they are coming to take your job. All of these helped to create a quite unfavourable environment. There is also the bigger case of the permanent seat of the UN; if Africa has to get a permanent position, which country should have it? Naturally, South Africa is the biggest economy in the continent; therefore, it is worth to have it right? Nigeria has the highest population in the continent and in the next few years, it is going to biggest economy of the continent, so it has also aspired to have it. So some of these things will result to some tension but coupled with some of the things I said earlier on, then we have change of government in both countries from the Thabo Mbeki administration to Jacob Zuma administration in South Africa and from Obasanjo’s to Yar’Adua/Jonathan’s administration in Nigeria and

I think when you look at the relationship between both countries, they were more collaborative during the Obasanjo/ Thabo Mbeki era compared to the Jonathan/ Jacob Zuma era. Look, I think that if you look at Obasanjo’s work, he understands the continent, I think he is a nationalist and pan Africanist to the core. You can say the same to Thabo Mbeki; he has more exposure and engagement with the continent. I think these two leaders have a better understanding of the continent and they recognized the need for them to work collaboratively for the benefit of the continent the two countries rather than in competition. The point is that the leadership orientation has changed. The crisis showed lack of leadership, they are unable to show leadership that they have to work together and even to represent the continent in international arena and as a result of that, we had the yellow fever crisis that resulted to the deportation of the 125 Nigerians. First, one of the things not coming up in the discourse so far, the corruption in Nigerian society is unacceptable. If you acquire your yellow fever illegally, its short and one the things the Nigerian state

government, should have done was to investigate if the people acquire their yellow fever illegally should be prosecuted. The way the deportation happened was mismanaged by South Africa but from an outsider, you will think it was a coherent response by the South African government to Nigeria but it was not. The Nigerian equivalent of department of foreign affairs was unaware and any such deportation; the department should have been aware and would have contacted the Nigerian mission in South Africa. The department of health closed the health center at the airport where you could be vaccinated without the knowledge of the department of foreign affairs; the people responsible for the deportation in the department of home affairs should be responsible because they man the borders so they deported. When the South African government came out with a statement, both the department of health and home affairs were been blamed and that tells that it was not a coherent response by the South African government towards Nigeria and once this came to light, the South African government apologized to Nigeria. One of the lessons of this is that both countries have to seat

Our politics should be issuedriven rather than been based on personality, money, primordial sentiment, religion and ethnicity.

Dr. Omano Edigheji together to review and manage their relationship in a mutually beneficial way. Rivalry, is unlikely to benefit both countries individually and collectively and the continent because it will undermine the continent agenda for revival. It is the continent that suffers because of the inability of Nigeria and South Africa to be able to have a common approach to issues including the crisis in Liberia and Cote D’voire. Many Nigerians are of the opinion that South Africa apologised to Nigeria because of its business interests in Nigeria, we recall the Nigerian parliament had started calling for the closure of South African businesses like MTN, Stanbic etc… (cuts in) reading of the situation was that Nigeria reciprocated the gesture by South Africa and the exact reason I read Nigerian newspapers was to follow what was going. They said their papers were not correct, they did not point to yellow fever. If you acquire you yellow fever

card illegally, you will be prosecuted and I doubt that that was what happened in the South African case but the Nigerians, when they reciprocated, did not say the exact. In terms of your substantive question, there is always self interest in global relation. There is no doubt that South Africa has a substantial economic interest in Nigeria and that could be a possible reason why South Africa apologised but another was that it was not a cohesive South African response to deport Nigerians. Some people could also hypothesise that what happened was because Nigeria was opposed to the South Africa candidate for the AU chairperson position could be a reason. Every country has to protect its economic and political interest, so, if South Africa is protecting its business interest in Nigeria, there is nothing wrong with that. The question I think is more relevant is what Nigeria is doing to have a cohesive policy position on foreign

investment in Nigeria, which is not peculiar to South Africa where you have a policy on foreign direct investment; In our country, do we have any? If you have industrial policy, where you decide which sector to target, their contribution to GDP, how many jobs it will create, how it will contribute to infrastructural development, how it will contribute to human capacity development, it will enable you to be strategically engaged with foreign direct investment, like MTN in the country, but there is no such policy in Nigeria. Looking at the petroleum industry, it can’t be resolved and it happens to be the most important sector for today that earns the country its highest foreign exchange reserve, it contributes to a substantial part of the country’s GDP. It is lingering if Nigerian government have a sense of urgency and have any purpose for the country’s development, that bill should have been finalised within six months but it seems the leadership, not just talking about the current government

but the successive government, hate the country and Nigerians, they put their private interest above every other interest; if not, it should have been resolved quickly. We need to have an industrial policy; we import junk; Nigeria will require a democratic developmental state which put development first in its agenda, and by development I mean trying to expand the industrial capacity of the country and other productive sectors including enhancing the human capabilities. The Nigerian state needs to be transformed that is, it needs to be restructured. The present global economic depression has highlighted the challenges of regional integration, like in the European Union, where some countries were demanding to pull out from the union. What lessons are there for African, particularly the African Union? When you take migration as a starting point, Africa is not integrated. Trade among African countries is less than 20% and there are number of reasons for these; there are no complementarities among African economies, they sell the same thing or basically produce things that they don’t need and the consume things that they don’t produce. Integration is a necessary condition for Africa; if you integrate more in the financial sector and you don’t more in the real economy, then there is a challenge. I want to stress this that every part of the Nigerian society and state is parasitic; the value addition is next to zero. Government officials tend to point to the role of telecommunication with its contribution to GDP more recently that it is growing but it is not a product of any systematic policy in place, it happened by default. Power is part of the economic infrastructure that you need, so if you don’t have that basic ingredient, it makes it problematic. How can set up a manufacturing company in a place without power? There will be a need for power sector reform but to quote Barrack Obama ‘it must be done with a sense of the fearful urgency of man’. If you are a developing country, you must see yourself in an emergency room. We need to tighten up our judicial system to ensure that if you

commit a crime and prosecuted with a criminal record, you can’t get a public position. In this country, the abnormalities have become the norms. Another challenge of integration is insecurity and in Nigeria the Boko Haram insurgency seems insurmountable to government. How, in your opinion should the FG tackle this current threat? I don’t work on the security sector but there is a high correlation everywhere in the world where two things lead to socio-political instability; high poverty and high inequality. We also have a context whereby 70% of our people live before the poverty line of about a dollar a day; those are very rare conditions to foster sociopolitical crisis that is manifesting in various form of militancy across the country. We have the Boko Haram, Niger Delta and some forms also in the south west because I don’t think militancy is limited to any particular part of the country. So to address that, we have to address the source; in the context of high rate of unemployment what do you think? So, you have to do something that will enable them engage in production income generating activities. That is one area that government needs to address. You can have the best intelligent military intervention in the world, if you don’t address that context, there will continue to be sociopolitical crisis in one form or the other. The fundamental problem should have been tackled which is the underdevelopment of the Niger delta region rather than giving cash for engaging in actions that are mounted to criminality. an important lesson even in resolving the Boko Haram problem; even if they were going to be given amnesty, it should be they that they confess what they have done and to commit not to repeat the same and the state will have find a way to integrate them into the society. One thing that cannot be part of the equation is giving people cash; you can set up businesses where they can be employed but cash component is an eccentric to encourage criminality. There is no scientific approach to development, if you do that, it’s like following

the World Bank approach where they think what applies to you will apply to me. We have to know the context and in defining the context, we have to ask ourselves the implication of the continuation of the subsidy for the Nigerian economy. If the subsidy is removed, how can it contribute to improve the lively hood of Nigerians? How can it contribute to enhance the productive component of the Nigerian Economy? Following the debate of what happen, the issue per say was not subsidy but the corruption of the subsidy process and that was what should have been addressed. You don’t punish everyone because of the activities of the few people; they should have been prosecuted rather than removing the subsidy. Nigeria is being touted as the fastest growing economy in the world but which is doubtful when viewed from the prism of actual development of the Nigerian people. Do you think this growth is actually real? Growth is a component of development; Development is about human freedom. It is a condition where citizens are able to enjoy economic, political and social freedom and being able to live in a nonhazard environmental condition. Our politics should be issue-driven rather than been based on personality, money, primordial sentiment, religion and ethnicity. We should know if the political parties have programs. The issue of state of origin in the Constitution should be totally removed; if I am born in Sokoto, I should be allowed to contest for an election in Sokoto without caring about where my parents are from; what is at stake is the contribution I can make to that state; if I can be able to aggregate the interest of that community, then I should be allowed to contest. I don’t think any political party in Nigeria has a political conference that is dedicated purely to policy issues. If any party says it has, I need to see that policy. That is one thing Nigeria needs to develop. In terms of economic development, without an industrial policy, it will be difficult for Nigeria to develop because we are in a competitive world and we cannot longer depend on oil.



The seven most prosperous people on the resurrection day (VII) Allah says: “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, to Him will we give a new life, a life that is good and pure and we will bestow on their reward according to the best of their actions.” [an-Nahl: 97]


n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, is His servant, and messenger. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. The Apostle of Allah was sitting one day with his Companions discussing their affairs, and one of the issues deliberated was about the condition of the Day of Resurrection was on seven people that Allah will shade under his Throne from the unbearable heat of the sun, as it will be brought very close to the mammoth gathering, frying them. The hadith reads: It is related from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the day when there is no shade but His shade: a just Imam, a youth who grows up worshipping Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, two men who love each other for the sake of Allah alone, meeting for that reason and parting for that reason, a man who refuses the advances of a noble and beautiful woman, saying ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives charity and conceals it so that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives, and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes overflow with tears.” [Sahih alBukhari and Sahih Muslim] Alhamdulillahi! For the last six Fridays we have engaged in detailed exegesis of this hadith, in order that we acquaint ourselves on how we can belong to any of the categories by our deeds, as the time is not late. So, the next and final category of the most fortunate people whom Allah will shade on the Day of resurrection when the sun will be brought very close to the human skulls and stir fry them into black colour completely, is “a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes overflow with tears.” Shedding tears is a natural expression of some feelings which cannot be properly expressed by words. Sometimes the purposes of shedding tears are known, while some other times they are not known by onlookers. However, there are many reasons of crying, weeping, howling, sobbing, wailing, whimpering, bawling, snivelling, blubbering or sobbing. The commonest causes of tearing are traumatic events, protracted stress, severe grief, loneliness, death, acute bodily pain, sudden joy often without merit; cutting onion

or simple allergies, may cause the gracious were rehearsed to them, eyes to overflow with tears. People They would fall down In prostrate weep for many factors including adoration and In tears. But after gender, age, perceptions of events, them there followed a posterity who societal attitudes, health, missed prayers and followed after personality characteristics, and so on. H o w e v e r , religious and scientific evidences provide strong and consistent By Husain Zakariyya evidences that Yawale crying has considerable +234-8052952900 (sms only) health and s p i r i t u a l benefits. Scientifically weeping with lusts soon, then, will They face tears helps in releasing depressing Destruction.” [Maryam: 58-59] Thus, sobbing is the tradition of energy, which is a natural way the body deals with unwanted feelings all the Messengers and prophets of such as stress or anxiety. other Allah at various instances of their reasons are lubricating and lives. Weeping depict sense of fear of protecting the eye's delicate, Allah most especially when it is as a transparent, adaptive lenses, so result of listening to the absolute that we can see properly. This is truth of the words of Allah. The Jews


because it moisten and prevent the drying of the mucous and nictitating membranes of the eye. Whatever is the cause or reason for weeping, in islam it is highly recommended to perform it deliberately or unintentionally at certain instances or due to some occurrences. But the intention must be for humility in seeking the mercy of Allah. The Prophet of Islam has on several occasion shed tears publically and secretly. He was numerously reported to cry over the death of his companions, and during the rehearsing of the Qur'an in both prayers and at sessions. He would weep passionately with tears completely wetting his beard and chest. Abubakar and Umar also used to weep inconsolably severally and for a long time, making many others around them sob. In Islam, there are large literatures concerning crying for the sake of Allah in Islam. Allah, the Exalted has praised shedding tears in glorification of his might. He says: “Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah did bestow His Grace,- of the posterity of Adam, and of those who we carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Abraham and Israel of those whom we guided and chose. whenever the Signs of ((Allah)) Most

and Christians wept furiously when they listen to the Qur'an from the lips of the Apostle of Allah. the Qur'an says: “They fall down on their faces In tears, and it increases their (earnest) humility.” [al-Israa': 109] Laughter, especially boisterous one on the hand is completely abhorred in Islam; smile is most recommended. Allah warned sternly, He says: “Let them laugh a little: much will They weep: a recompense for the (evil) that They do.” [at-Taubah: 82] Since weeping or shedding can be as a result of excessive joy, fear or apprehension of the what is ahead, it can be rewarding if they are wisely administered. So, crying, if it is for happiness as a result of expected achievement or favours from Allah or in appreciation for thus, then such is rewardable, and a vehicle to achieving nearness to Allah for the righteous act. Also if the weeping was a prelude to repentance or aftermath from misdeeds, in firm belief that the final abode for sinners is eternal doom, or as a result of misfortunes befalling on a loved one, and in response for lack of appropriate words to express the quantum of the sorrow due to the loss, such expression is also remunerated by Allah. Indeed, if we carefully appraise

our conditions today, we will discover that we are really drowning in oceans of sins, desires and delusions with no intention to repent soonest. Our energies are all directed in the realization of worldly pleasures and happiness. We seldom have time to ponder on what we read, see, hear or do in preparation to the judgment day; an inevitable date indeed! We are at peace and harmony with our conditions here, as if we assured of irrevocable assurance from Allah of His eternal mercy in the Hereafter, notwithstanding our atrocities. The eyes that weep especially due to deep thinking and pondering of any of the favours and bounties of Allah in the past, present or future, will be amongst the faces that will be forgiven on the day of resurrection. Similarly, the tears that gushed out in apprehension of what is in the waiting for the sinning souls, shall be forgiven and appropriately recompensed. Many hadiths were reported in praised for tears that run as a result of Allah's sake, in appreciation or apprehension. let us take few to help us weep away our sins and shortcoming: On the authority of Abu Hurairah (RD) who heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "The fire will not touch a man who weeps out of fear of Allah until the milk returns to the breast. Also the dust produced in jihad and the smoke of hell will never co-exist." [alMishkaat (3828) and at-Targheeb wal Tarheeb]. On the authority of Ibn Abbas (RD) who heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “There are two eyes which will not be touched by the fire: an eye which weeps out of the fear of Allah and an eye which stays vigil throughout the night guarding for the sake of Allah.” [at-Tirmidhee] On the authority of Abu Hurairah (RD) that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "Two eyes have been forbidden from being overcome by the fire; an eye which wept out of the fear of Allah and an eye which stays vigil throughout the night guarding Islam and family from kufr."[ al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak and others] On the authority of Abu Umamah (RD) that the Prophet (SAW) said: "There is nothing more beloved to Allah than two drops and two marks; a teardrop shed out of fear of Allah and a drop of blood spilled for the sake of Allah. As for the two marks, one which is sustained for the sake of Allah and one which is received in the course of carrying out an obligation commanded by Allah." [atTirmidhee, al-Mishkaat and Saheeh at-Targheeb]. On the authority of Uthman (RD) who said that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Rpentance is for anyone who controls his tongue, whose house is sufficient for him (i.e., he is contented with it) and who wept over his errors.” [atTabaraanee in al-Awsat as-Sagheer

and at-Targheeb wat Tarheeb]. On the authority of Uqbah ibn Aamir (RD) who asked: “I said, O Messenger of Allah! What is salvation? He replied: ‘To have control over your tongue, to be contented with your house and to weep over your errors.’” The Qur'an enquires those who have submerged in worldly matter without recourse to what may become of them in the Hereafter. Allah says: “Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts In all humility should engage In the remembrance of Allah and of the truth which has been revealed (to them), and that They should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? for many among them are rebellious transgressors.” [al-Hadid: 16] Thus, tears which poured out as a result of fear of Allah is an expression highly commended because it is a sign of an unequivocal and explicit capitulation, trust and hope in Allah. The hadith in discussion is talking about a person who secretly, may be in the darkness of the night, wept for fear of Allah, has certainly attained a high disposition to be humble and modestly before His Lord. His only witness was His Lord, hence its devoid of an iota of show-off. Fearing Allah is not like fearing deadly animals, serpents or armed robbers who inflict only bodily injuries; it is a combination of accepting the supremacy of Allah, loving Him, obeying Him, observing His laws and above all hoping for His favours and mercy in both worlds. It is about feeling His presence in all that we intend, muttered, say, do or abort, in private or public. Fear of Allah is doing all His bidding regardless of the consequences at all times. A person who has this type belief in Allah, will not in anyway deceive himself by shedding crocodile tears in public simply to draw the attention, sympathy or praise of people around, for personal benefits. The fact remains that none one can deceive Allah, let alone cheat Him! Allah says: Of the people there are some who say: “We believe In Allah and the Last Day;" but They do not (really) believe. Fain would They deceive Allah and those who believe, but They only deceive themselves, and realize (it) not! In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: and grievous is the penalty They (incur), because They are false (to themselves).” [al-Baqarah: 8-10] So, hypocritical weeping, although people would not be able to differentiate, especially during prayers, Qur'anic recitation or even at instances of showing sympathy, is self destructive in the sight of Allah, rather than scoring any benefit. But if it out unreserved submission, absolute fear, limitless love, expanded hope and unshaken trust, then such emotional expression is rewarded with admittance into the shade of the Throne of Allah on the Day when there will be no other shade except His! May Allah have mercy on us and accept our righteous deeds regardless of our shortcoming! Amin.


By Chijioke Okoronkwo


y all means, the advent of automobiles has revolutionised man’s means of transportation, as vehicles remain one of the distinctive features of the 20 th Century civilization. Historical accounts indicate that automobiles appeared on Nigerian roads in the 1920s and the country has since remained a veritable market for all kinds of automobiles, ranging from cars to vans and trucks. Six vehicle assembly plants were established in Nigeria between 1970 and 1980 but most of the plants became moribund due to heavy reliance on foreign input and collapsed local markets, among other factors In spite of this development, economic experts insist that the automotive sector accounts for five per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment to about 10 per cent of the country’s workforce. To showcase the potential of the automotive industry and reverse its dwindling fortunes, the National Automotive Council (NAC) recently launched its 58 th Investment Profile on Automotive Components. The event was specifically designed to highlight the investment opportunities existing in Nigeria’s auto industry and the extant raw materials. Speaking at the launch, Mr Samuel Ortom, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, stressed that the importance of the automotive industry to the national economy could never be over-emphasised. “It is a vital industry in a developing economy like Nigeria. The industry provides an opportunity to diversify into sophisticated, technically demanding activities that support higher rates of economic growth,’’ he noted. Ortom emphasised that the industry ought to be viewed as the nucleus for building a selfsustaining economy, job creation and upgrading the standard of living of Nigerians. He, however, lamented that Nigeria’s automotive industry, even after five decades of existence, had not been receiving enough support from local manufacturers. The Director-General of NAC, Malam Aminu Jalal, recalled that since the 1930s, Nigeria has remained a veritable market for all kinds of imported vehicles. He recalled that the Federal Government established some vehicle assembly plants, with a view to creating opportunities within the country’s automotive industry. Jalal said that the vehicle assembly plants included Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Ltd. (PAN), Leyland Nigeria Ltd., Volkswagen of Nigeria (VON), Anambra Motor Manufacturing Company (ANAMCO) and Steyr Nigeria Ltd. “Sadly, all these plants still assemble vehicles with old mechanical and carburetor


Resuscitating the automotive industry in Nigeria

NNPC GMD, Engr. Austen Oniwon

system. “Modern vehicles, including trucks, are built with a new technology; they also require specially trained experts and tools for their handling. “The problem is how can government and its agencies, especially NAC, address the multi-faceted problems facing the automotive industry and accelerate the technological development of Nigeria using local human and material recourses?’’ he asked. Jalal said that the council was poised to enhance the contribution of the automotive industry to the national economy, especially in skills’ acquisition and provision of local content. However, Prof. Peter Onwualu, the Director-General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), bemoaned the poor performance of the country’s automotive industry. He particularly noted that the overall capacity utilisation of the automotive industry had dropped to about 10 per cent for vehicle assembly and 30 per cent for vehicle components’ manufacture. “Government established the plants with the hope that they would reduce foreign exchange expenditure on vehicles; create many

downstream industries and acquire technology. This is beside the anticipated creation of employment for skilled and unskilled workers,’’ he said. Onwualu underscored the need to address the problem of local content development in the manufacturing of vehicles, adding that basic industries that would expedite local content development included plastic and rubber transformation, casting and heat-treatment industries, among others. The RMRDC boss, nonetheless, stressed the need for Nigeria to emulate countries like Japan, India and Brazil, which backed up their technological breakthroughs with strong political will. All the same, Dr Mohammed Haruna, the Director-General, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), emphasised the need for adequate manpower training in the automotive sector. He stressed that increased manpower development efforts would aid the development of “indigenous human resources to produce more local content of international standards in auto manufacturing sector and attract direct foreign investments’’. Haruna also disclosed that NASENI had developed a

“Reverse Engineering of Mark 1, Four Stroke and Cylinder Engine components for made-in-Nigeria motorcycles“. Mr David Oyetunji, an Assistant Director (Finance and Accounts) in NAC, who examined the challenges facing the country’s automotive industry, particularly bemoaned the decline in the people’s patronage of locally assembled vehicles. Urging Nigerians to patronise locally assembled vehicles, Oyetunji noted: “Most Chinese auto components imported into the country are below the European standards; yet our people spend their time, money and energy to bring them in because most of us believe that they are better. “Go to Nnewi, you will see the cluster of automotive industries producing various vehicle components and they suffer lack of patronage because of our people’s mentality.’’ Citing the India as an illustration, Oyetunji stressed that if India had been thinking the same way as Nigeria, the Asian country would still be solely dependent on the so-called advanced countries for its vehicle imports. He said the rapid growth of TATA Motors in India was primarily due to the support given to the vehicle

manufacturing company by the government and people of India. “Today, TATA produces all categories of vehicles, ranging from small cars to heavy-duty vehicles,’’ he added. From all indications, Nigeria is set to toe the line of India and other developing countries, going by the assurances given by Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga. Aganga said recently that a mechanism had been put in place to evolve a new policy that would give priority to the patronage of vehicles that were assembled in Nigeria. He said the policy was part of the Integrated Mass Transit Policy of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. The minister said that the policy was particularly aimed at providing efficient and affordable transportation for all Nigerians. Analysts believe that the policy, when fully implemented, would fast-track the growth of Nigeria’s automotive industry, while creating jobs and generating wealth for the country. They, nonetheless, stress the need for the government and people of Nigeria to make concerted efforts to save the country’s automotive industry from collapse. Source: NAN



Boosting Nigerian Army’s amphibious defence capabilities By Dianabasi Effiong


he capability of the Nigerian Army to engage in amphibious warfare was significantly enhanced when the Minister of State for Defence, Chief Olusola Obada, recently inaugurated eight K-38 Twin Hull gunboats and eight refurbished warships of the Fast Assault Craft (FAC) category in Calabar. The minister, who also inaugurated an ambulance and laid the foundation of a 140-man accommodation block at the Amphibious Training School (ATS), Calabar, pledged the Federal Government’s readiness to adopt a multi-dimensional approach to overcome the rising wave of terrorism in the country. Each of the K-38 Twin Hull gunboats is equipped with two 350 horsepower engines and is capable of cruising at 55 knots with a cruising range of 110 nautical miles. Similarly, each of the refurbished FAC vessels, equipped with 200/175 horsepower engines, could cruise at 55 knots with a cruising range of 180 km. Shortly before the event, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, said that the inauguration of the newly acquired K-38 gunboats and the refurbished FAC vessels clearly demonstrated the emphasis which the Army authorities placed training and equipment, while institutionalising best practices. “Indeed, it underscores the emphasis which we place on training, provision of infrastructure and enhanced capability, in line with my vision to transform the Nigerian Army into a force that is capable of meeting contemporary challenges,’’ said Ihejirika, who succinctly underscored the need to upgrade the nation’s military facilities, The army chief noted that in the last decade, the activities of criminals and some misguided elements had posed serious security challenges to the country, particularly threatening oil exploration and economic activities in the Niger Delta area. He, nonetheless, commended the efforts of the Federal Government to curtail militancy in the troubled areas, noting, however, that criminal tendencies such as kidnapping, sabotage of oil facilities, as well as illegal bunkering and oil refining activities were still prevalent across the Niger Delta area. Ihejirika, who canvassed “a robust military presence’’ in the area, underscored the need for increased efforts to protect the oil facilities and the lives of the people in the area. He, however, stressed that the success of military operations in the area largely depended on the training of the soldiers and their ability to give good service

Nigerian Army amphibious troops advance with a Panhard VBL recce vehicle in tow delivery. “These factors underscore the need to improve and upgrade the Nigerian Army’s facilities. In that regard, there is a considerable focus on the Amphibious Training School, the only institution in the army that trains personnel in riverine and amphibious operations,’’ he said. The army chief also disclosed that through the Army’s inwardlooking strategies, the refurbished gunboats were made “operationally ready via the efforts of local contractors, at a cost less than 30 per cent of the cost proposed by foreign contractors”. “The eight units of Fast Assaults Craft, which had been unserviceable over the years, were recently refurbished by the ATS Engineers Boat Repair personnel. “All the boats are capable of penetrating deep into the creeks, and based on our critical assessment of the security situation, the vessels would form the nucleus of the units that are to be established in the Niger Delta, in line with the approved NA ORBAT (Order of Battle) 2010,” he said. Ihejirika noted that the gunboats were equipped with modern weapons, communications and surveillance equipment, adding that they also had the capacity to communicate with the Army Headquarters in Abuja and Nigerian Air Force helicopters. He particularly commended the Federal Government and the National Assembly for providing the Army with the requisite funds to enable it to meet its operational requirements. He also lauded the Cross River State Government for its support to the Army and its Amphibious Training School.

Ihejirika pledged the Army’s readiness to reciprocate the gesture via sustained commitment to protecting the country’s democracy, while maintaining high professional standards. In her speech, the defence minister, who lauded the Army’s role in tackling the security challenges facing the country, noted that the rising wave of attacks by the Boko Haram sect and the activities of the Niger Delta militants necessitated a multidimensional security approach. Obada particularly commended the Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Ihejirika, for its efforts to tackle the security challenges facing the country. “The government appreciates this and so, it is leaving no stone unturned in providing the necessary resources for the Nigerian Army to achieve its operational objectives. “The inauguration of these gunboats demonstrates the resolve of the Federal Government to continuously enhance the Army’s capacity, in line with global best practices. “It also places the Nigerian Army in a good stead to confront

the myriad security challenges confronting the country, especially in the Niger Delta area,’’ she said. Besides, Obada applauded the army chief’s “direct labour initiative’’, describing it as a costreduction strategy which would certainly enhance the soldiers’ skills, while repositioning the ATS to function optimally. She noted that the gunboats would go a long way in aiding the Nigerian Army’s efforts to curb criminal activities in the Niger Delta area. The minister pledged the Federal Government’s readiness to reposition the Army for effective service delivery through the provision of funds and requisite facilities. Brig.-Gen Mohammed Ibrahim, the Commandant of the Amphibious Training School, said that the school was established in 1984 to provide high-quality training for soldiers in amphibious operations, while enhancing the Army’s technical competence in handling of war vessels in its inventory. “In doing this, the school conducts courses in seven key areas, including amphibious

These factors underscore the need to improve and upgrade the Nigerian Army’s facilities. In that regard, there is a considerable focus on the Amphibious Training School, the only institution in the army that trains personnel in riverine and amphibious operations

operations, small boat operations, small boat engineering, amphibious reconnaissance, search-and-rescue operations,” he said. Ibrahim, who noted that the boats were well-equipped with “high-calibre weapons”, recalled that the school had not witnessed any significant infrastructural development until Ihejirika’s visit to the institution about six months ago. Rep. Muktar Betara Aliyu, the Chairman, House Committee (Army), told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the event that the Nigerian Army was being under-funded. “The Army is under-funded; the Chief of Staff used part of the Army’s overhead costs to acquire most of the equipment you are seeing here today. “The Army’s capital vote in the budget is too low; very, very low. In the 2012 budget, there is no provision for the amphibious corps and the armoured corps, for instance,’’ he said. Aliyu, who blamed the funding problem on the Budget Office, stressed: “Increment in budgetary allocations is purely in the interest of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). When we look at the budget and it is not enough; we will have to review it. “Have you visited the army barracks? If you visit most of the army barracks you will cry. I have visited nearly 50 barracks and I am going to present my report, it is too bad. “In the 2012 budget, they have only provided N1.8 billion for over 125 army barracks; the budgetary allocation is not realistic. “The chairmen of the National Assembly’s committees on Army, Air Force, Navy and Police are planning to seek an audience with President Goodluck Jonathan in respect of the budget for the armed forces. “We want to look at the budget and give the armed forces a certain percentage of our oil resources because Nigeria cannot survive without its armed forces,’’ Aliyu said. Highlights of the occasion included amphibious demonstrations: high-speed casting by the elite Recce forces at the ATS waterfront to illustrate patrolling/intelligence gathering; and firepower demonstrations, involving two gunboat platoons. Obada, who participated in some of the exercises, later told NAN that she enjoyed the cruise on the gunboat and the practical shooting demonstration. “Actually, I enjoyed the shooting experience; it was so hot. I enjoyed the cruising and the firepower display. However, I am not sure if I ever hit any of my targets but at least, I made some noise!’’ the visibly excited minister said. Source: NAN



Meet the tallest six-year-old in Britain: Sophie is as tall as children twice her age due to rare syndrome


eet Sophie Hollins, who at 4ft 10ins is the tallest six-year-old in Britain. Sophie, from Southampton, wears an adult size three shoe, jeans for 11-year-olds and is the average height of a 12-year-old twice her age. Despite all this, she still has her baby teeth. As a baby she was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a rare condition which causes elongation of the arms, legs, fingers and toes. Now age six, Sophie is head and shoulders above her classmates and sleeps in an adultsized bed. Her mother Lorraine says Sophie has always been a foot taller than the children in her class. The dental nurse, who is 5ft 3, said: ‘Sophie’s catching up to me in height. I’m only a size four shoe, so soon she could be wearing mine. ‘She weighed 10lbs at birth and was very long. None of the clothes I had bought for her fit.

‘Sophie was straight into clothes for three month olds when she was born. I had to get handme-downs from friends. ‘When she was two she was wearing clothes for four-year-olds.’ Marfans Syndrome causes expansion of the soft connective tissues in the body, which results in long limbs and can cause other health problems. From the age of two Sophie’s retinas began to detach and she underwent corrective surgery, for which she wears special glasses. The soft tissue around her heart is also at risk of expanding so Sophie is on medication to control this. Lorraine, who is separated from Sophie’s dad, Ian, 45, also has a four-year-old son, Ryan, who does not have Marfans. Lorraine, 38, said: ‘Because Sophie’s arms and legs are too long, she is quite clumsy and not very good at sports. ‘At the moment, like any six year old, she’s waiting for her adult teeth to come through.

Marfan Syndrome: the condition means Sophie has elongated limbs and fingers ‘Her baby teeth have fallen out so she looks quite strange being so tall.’ Lorraine added: ‘I’m very protective of her, though. ‘Some people don’t realise she’s so young and they treat her like an older child, which can be scary for her. ‘I have to take her birth certificate to places like theme parks to prove she’s under 11 and eligible for the child rate.’ Coincidently, Sophie was in the same pre-school class at the former tallest five-year-old in the UK, Liana Lisle. Lorraine said: ‘Sophie and Liana were friends at school. ‘Me and Liana’s mum, Donna, had an awful lot in common because our daughters were very tall.’ Lorraine added: ‘I even gave Liana’s mum some of Sophie’s old clothes because Sophie had grown out of them.’ The condition often leads to aortic root dilation - a lifethreatening complication. If it is undiagnosed, the aorta can tear, which will often lead to the death of the victim almost immediately. Source:

'I'm very protective of her': Sophie with her mother Lorraine and brother Aaron

Girl who was wed aged one gets marriage annulled


Growing up: Sophie, aged just six, already towers over her friend Daisy due to Marfan Syndrome.

woman has decided to annul her “marriage” after tying the knot — aged ONE. Laxmi Sargara had her arranged child marriage quashed in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in India. The 18-year-old wed exhusband Rakesh, 20, when he was just three in the northern state of Rajasthan. She only found out about the marriage this month when her inlaws showed up to take her away. She grew up with her family but was oblivious to the arrangement. Child marriages are illegal in India but still common in rural areas. Laxmi said: “I was unhappy about the marriage. I told my parents who did not agree with me, then I sought help.

Child marriage ... Laxmi Sargara holds her certificate of the annulment

“Now I am mentally relaxed and my family members are also with me.” She went for help to the Sarathi Trust in Jodhpur which campaigns against enforced child marriages. Bos Kriti Bharti said: “She did not like the boy and was not ready to go ahead with her parents’ decision so she decided to refuse this marriage. “It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled, and we hope that others take inspiration from it.” Rakesh, who only has a first name, initially wanted to stay married but after counselling, relented. Both signed an affidavit declaring it null and void. Source:



Meet the afronauts: Hilarious pictures of infamous Zambian space programme


hese cheeky pictures were produced to celebrate the infamous Zambian space programme of the 1960s, which never quite took off. In 1964, at the very height of the Space Race, Zambian grade-school science teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso announced he was creating a national space programme. He claimed he would beat both the Soviets and the United States by launching a rocket that would send twelve astronauts and ten cats to Mars. Nkoloso set up a training facility seven miles away from the capital Lusaka, where the volunteers dressed in overalls and British army helmets, took turns climbing into a 44 gallon oil drum and being rolled down a hill bouncing over rough ground. Another part of the training involved clipping their rope-swings at the height of their arc to simulate weightlessness. According to Nkoloso, these exercises would train the men in the

feeling of weightlessness in both space travel and re-entry. He wrote an editorial for a newspaper din which he revealed how he had asked Unesco for a £7,000,000 grant for his space program, and how he had instructed the missionaries not to force Christianity onto the native Martian inhabitants if they didn’t want it. Unfortunately the funds from Unesco were not forthcoming and to make matters worse, one of the astronauts, a 17-year-old dubbed ‘spacegirl’ got pregnant and was taken away by her parents. Spanish photographer Cristina De Middel’s project, Afronauts, creates a fictional documentation of his efforts. The result is a fact-bending, visually striking fantasy that includes elephant-hugging astronauts, patterned space junk, weightless cats and an engineer day-dreaming at a rusted control panel. Source:

All smiles: Bashar and Asma Assad were shown packing up food boxes in a Damascus stadium.

Boldy going: An 'afronaut' models his helmet in one of shots to celebrate the ill-fated Zambian space programme of 1964

Mission control: Nkoloso asked Unesco for a £7,000,000 grant and instructed missionaries to not force Christianity onto the native Martian inhabitants if they didn't want it

Destination Mars: The brains behind the programme grade-school Edward Makuka Nkoloso pledged to launch a rocket that would send twelve astronauts and ten cats to Mars.

Target: Nkoloso claimed his country would not only beat both the Americans and Russians to the moon, but do it within a year.



The inequality that ate American democracy ANALYSIS By Danny Schechter n July of 1936, Langston Hughes, the great black American poet first published in Esquire some lines that have never been forgotten. Among them was this: "Let America Be America Again", a salute to the American dream that had, until then, left poorer Americans and minorities behind. So memorable was his phrasing that, in 2004, John Kerry adopted it as a campaign slogan in his failed bid for the presidency, Not to be outdone, none other than Rick Santorum used a variant on his website - "Fighting to make America America again". Sadly, the reality of the disappearing dream Hughes was challenging at the height of the depression is still relevant in this age of the Great Recession. According to two French economists, Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Pikettyn, who study inequality worldwide, America is back at Depression levels. Reports the New York Times, "their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression." Financial journalist Max Keiser, a former stockbroker, who now does hard-hitting financial shows on TV says deep inequality has been building for many years but has not been acted on: ...the inequalities in the US have been building up for decades, just recently they've reached really outrageous proportions - but you have to understand also that there's the inequality between the 1 per cent and the 99 per cent, but within the 1 per cent there's an inequality between the top 1 per cent of the 1 per cent and the bottom 99 per cent of the top 1 per cent and they're also at each other's throats trying to change laws and pass legislation to make it easier for them to make more money. So it's not really the 1 per cent, it's not there are a millions of people in the 1 per cent - you only need an income of something like $500,000 or $600,000 or $800,000 dollars a year to be in the 1 per cent. Former Wall Street executive, and, briefly, President Obama's "Car Czar", Steven Rattner, goes even further, writing "New statistics show an ever more startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else, and the desperate need to address this problem." "Desperate" is not a term that pops up in most writing about the economy. "Still more astonishing," he adds,


US President Barack Obama "was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich... The bottom 99 per cent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010 after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 per cent whose average income is $1,018,089 has an 11.6 per cent increase in income." It is a deplorable situation, agrees Shamus Rahman Khan of Columbia University who says, "We're at levels of inequality that we haven't seen since the end of the gilded age. We're about as unequal as we have ever been." Ironically, this inequality gap is becoming deeply institutionalised at a time when America has its most nominally progressive president in decades. Barack Obama has spoken out against economic inequality but appears to lack the commitment or political means to

reverse it. The folks at Occupy Wall Street are no doubt saying, "I told you so", but even they may not appreciate how intractable the inequality is, and how it is fundamentally changing our society. First, it is impacting on our politics where the super rich are controlling SuperPACs that, in turn, are dominating elections through extensive and expensive media buys. Secondly, it is distorting the structure of the economy where a new form of serfdom is trapping millions in debts they will never crawl out of. Third, it is changing the contours of the dominant consumer society. Economists used to brag about all the choices it offered, but today it is bifurcating into a world of pricey upscale shops versus the


It is a deplorable situation, agrees Shamus Rahman Khan of Columbia University who says, "We're at levels of inequality that we haven't seen since the end of the gilded age. We're about as unequal as we have ever been."

99 cent stores. That's the real 1 per cent - 99 per cent divide that sustains the inequality. Ad agencies and corporations increasingly recommend marketing to the super affluent because they will pay more for luxury items, thus, allowing manufacturers to retain more in profits. Marketers used to talk about a category called "mass affluents". Now they talk about "class affluents", urging companies to upscale products and advertising. A recent report in Ad Age, "The New Wave of Affluence", reveals that the wealthiest Americans now drive nearly 50 per cent of all spending. No wonder they are catered to, while the majority gets poorer and marginalised. Karl Marx and his followers would be shocked to learn how class analysis has caught on more among the rich than workers Report editor David Hirschman sums up, "Simply put as the discrepancy between rich and poor becomes starker, and a small plutocracy of wealthy elites derives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending." The marketers see this as calling for a "massive reset" in thinking, recommending a disproportionate focus on luxury brands. A study by Digitas concludes that the threshold for being considered affluent is now $200,000 a year. So, even as many rail at the

way big money is taking over politics, it seems to be a logical outgrowth of structural shifts that have been years in the making and reflect a "new America" where the rich rule. In that sense, Mitt Romney is a perfect representative of a rising oligarchy that puts Russia to shame. The haves want to keep their economic and political power, whatever rhetoric they may use to disguise their interests; the have-nots are ignored. Moreover, in age of globalisation, as Chrystia Freeland explains in the Atlantic, a new super elite of "hard working, highly educated, jet setting, meritocrats have more in common with one another than their countryman back home". So say goodbye to democracy, as an ideal, political process and culture. This avaricious and self-absorbed elite has little use for it. In this world, acquisitions matter more than issues. It sad to think that whoever "wins" our next elections, we can all expect to lose because economics (and inequality) guides and trumps politics. If you can afford it, keep those acquisitions high. If you can't, keep your expectations low. While you shop, they will drop. Culled from Aljazeera.



Taylor’s victims, critics soothed by court conviction F

ighters in Sierra Leone raped and killed Halimatu Jalloh's sister during the country's civil war, but yesterday the 27-year-old student felt the pain of her loss ease with the conviction of Charles Taylor, the Liberian leader who backed the rebels. Standing outside the local seat of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, Jalloh's hand-painted sign said it all: "Orphans, widows, widowers, rape victims, amputees, and all the war affected, wipe your tears as the dawn of justice has come." A United Nations-backed court in The Hague on Thursday convicted Taylor, Liberia's former president, of war crimes, marking the first time a head of state has been found guilty by an international tribunal since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg. Taylor, 64, was charged with 11 counts of murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, during which tens of thousands of people were killed. For many victims of the fighting, the verdict soothed yearsold pains and offered some hope that similar atrocities around the world could be avoided in the future. "It's good, this one is good, it's a signal to other people that they should not completely use their money on war, ammunition, to destroy lives," Jalloh said. But for others in Sierra Leone and neighbouring Liberia, among the world's poorest nations with crumbling capitals lacking power,

Kenyans target MPs with emerging political graffiti


The former Liberian president was convicted of aiding and abetting 11 war crimes in Sierra Leone and Liberia water and paved roads, the trial was of strong support. Taylor - accused of leading the group at best a distraction from a difficult "The international community from his base across the border in existence. should let him free and for him to Liberia - will pay for the crime. "A lot of people, instead of return to Liberia, that would make Such amputations were concentrating on the verdict, they us very happy," said Prince K. common during Sierra Leone's 11are struggling to find money for food," Forkpa, 29, a money change, at the year conflict, which by 2002 left said Allieu Komba, a 35-year-old ministry of education building in more than 50,000 dead. theology student in Freetown. downtown Monrovia. "His assets should be sold and that "During the war, everyone was Alhadji Jusu Jarka had both money should be given to the victims engaged in it, but it is over now." hands hacked off by fighters from of the war," the unemployed 46In Liberia, ethnic and regional the Sierra Leone RUF rebel group year-old said. "My hopes are it will be allegiances also means former during a January 6, 1999 assault in the range of 100 or more years (of president Taylor maintains pockets on Freetown, and he now hopes jail) given to Taylor."

Sudan soldier says beaten in detention; Juba denies


Sudanese soldier released by South Sudan said yesterday he and 12 other comrades had been beaten and insulted during their detention in the South, in the latest sign of tensions between the neighbours. South Sudan strongly denied any mistreatment of 13 Sudanese soldiers it had released on Wednesday after capturing them during fighting at the disputed Heglig oilfield two weeks ago. "This is not true. They were not beaten. The government told them to say they were beaten," South Sudan's Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said, adding that Sudan was still holding at least seven South Sudanese prisoners. South Sudan had handed over the prisoners to Egyptian officials who flew them to Cairo and from there to Khartoum where they arrived early on Thursday. Diplomats had hoped the release would defuse tensions between the African neighbours whose armies have been embroiled in three weeks of border fighting, and bring both sides back to the negotiating table. "We were subject to all kinds of insults and beatings during our stay there," Lieutenant

Khalid Hassan Ahmed, a doctor in the Sudanese army, told reporters at Khartoum airport. He said South Sudanese soldiers and Darfur rebels fighting at their side had captured them at Heglig hospital two weeks ago and then brought them via another place to Bentiu, a southern oil town, some 80 km (50 miles) from the disputed border. The prisoners were put in a stuffy and cramped container and given only one meal a deal and little water, said Khalid who said he also spoke on behalf of the other released soldiers. "We moved from there to Juba by air. We were tied inside the airplane. When we arrived at Juba airport one of the SPLA

(South Sudanese army) members untied the ropes so that when we appeared before the media, it would like we had been treated well and according to international conventions regarding the treatment of the POWs," he said. "This is just untrue," he said. Khalid showed no visible signs of mistreatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had provided the Sudanese during their detention with shoes, mats, soap and mosquito nets and conveyed messages to their families. Khalid said fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfur rebel group which Sudan accuses of fighting with the SPLA, had been

responsible for most of the beatings and insults the prisoners were subjected to immediately after their detention. Juba denies it supports JEM or other rebels groups which plan to overthrow the Khartoum government. Egypt's ambassador to Sudan, Abdul Ghafar Aldeeb, said Khartoum should now free all its South Sudanese prisoners. "I urge the release," he said. Army spokesman alSawarmi Khalid said Sudan held a number of southern prisoners whose treatment was in accord with international law. He did not say how many were held and whether or when they would be released.

Niger uranium workers threaten to expand strike


iger's uranium workers union yesterday threatened to shut down all of the West African state's uranium production if a labour dispute at French nuclear power giant Areva's Imouraren mining project was not solved soon. Niger is the top supplier of uranium to France's nuclear power industry. Workers constructing Areva's new Imouraren mine began a weeklong strike on Wednesday due to a disagreement with management over days off.

"If the strike continues at Imouraren, we will have to mobilise all workers of the mining companies. We'll stop working until there is a solution for the Imouraren workers," said Inoua Neino, Secretary General of the Syntramines union. Niger produces about 4,000 tonnes of uranium per year from mines operated by Areva. China National Nuclear Corporation also has a uranium mining project in the country with output of 700 tonnes per

year. Areva's Imouraren mine is expected to more than double current production when it comes online in 2014 with expected output of 5,000 tonnes per year. An Areva spokesman in Niger declined comment, but a source at the company said the workers were aware of the project's vacation policy before they were hired. "Areva offers two weeks of rest following two weeks of work. We include annual leave in these periods of rest," he said.

oniface Mwangi points to a mural on a wall depicting a black-suited Kenyan legislator with a vulture's head, a caricature he says represents the kind of greedy and corrupt lawmaker who taints Kenya's political class. The lawmaker is shown sitting on a chair, known to be worth $2,400, in the chamber of parliament, a fact that sparked controversy in the east African nation where nearly half of the capital's population lives in slums and squatter settlements. "That is the vulture who represents a member of parliament. They are scavengers," said Mwangi, a photographer turned political activist. Listing political scandals from the last 50 years, ranging from assassinations to grand corruption, Mwangi says the mural is a call to action for Kenyans to get rid of a ruling class, critics say is too selfinterested. Urban graffiti art has emerged as an unusual outlet for citizens angry about the hefty salaries, perks and tax exemptions for members of parliament and their frequent links to scandals. Mwangi began his journey of political expression when he documented the violence which rocked Kenya after a disputed presidential election in December 2007, which turned once-peaceful neighbours from different tribes against one another. His camera captured the horrors of the fighting such as a man's arm severed at the wrist to residents fleeing from the fighting, which also forced him to temporarily abandon his home near one of the epicentres of violence. His experience inspired him to look for other situations where he could use art as an outlet to express anger. He found one in the country's house of parliament where at 1 million shillings monthly tax-free salary and allowances, MPs' pay is worlds' away from the minimum wage of under $100, causing widespread anger. Mwangi turned to graffiti art to try and inspire citizens to call for change. A group of artists painted the first mural on a wall in the centre of Nairobi last month. The next day, a large crowd of onlookers paused to digest the picture. The next project was more ambitious, inviting Kenyans on Twitter to describe their MPs in one word, with the results of the survey painted on a public lavatory including words such as "Ineffective" and "Dishonest" alongside images of vultures in suits.



Chavez returns to Venezuela after treatment


ugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has returned to Caracas after 11 days of cancer treatment in Cuba, state television and officials say. Chavez was seen chatting with his vice-president and other aides after arriving in the Venezuelan capital early yesterday. The popular president, who seeks to run for re-election for a six-year presidential term in October, has been undergoing radiation treatments in

Cuba since late March. He was operated on in February to remove a second tumour from his pelvic region. The first tumour was taken out in June last year, and he then underwent chemotherapy. Chavez has kept secret some details of his illness, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumours. On Tuesday, he appeared on Venezuelan state television for the first time in 10 days - since his latest round

of cancer treatment began - depicting relative good health and indicating that he remains vigorous despite his cancer treatment in Cuba. "I feel very, very happy within this treatment process," Chavez said. "We continue in the treatment, facing the difficulties, governing, making decisions on policies." Chavez held up a crucifix and kissed it, saying he has faith in God that his cancer treatments will be successful.

During the preceding week, he had communicated only through messages on Twitter and other written statements. He urged supporters not to pay attention to rumours about his health, saying: "To foolish words, deaf ears." In typical Chavez rhetoric, he chided the US government and, also praised Venezuela's voting system. Critical of US President Barack Obama's recent comment that the US

Chile students rally for free education


President Chavez has kept details of the type of cancer he is afflicted with secret

wants to see free and fair elections in Venezuela, Chavez said, "How is ... Obama going to say he hopes there are transparent elections? We hope there are transparent elections in the United States." He also echoed remarks a day earlier by Tibisay Lucena, president of Venezuela's National Electoral Council, who said she believes Venezuela's automated voting system is more thoroughly audited than elections in the US.

housands of students are marching in Chile again demanding free and better education. The government said about 30,000 students joined Wednesday's march in Santiago. Student leaders estimate more than 50,000 took part. A small group of protesters set a guard booth on fire, tried to vandalise a traffic light and threw rocks at police, who responded with water cannons. Sebastian Pinera, Chile's president, is offering his own solution to the country's education woes, a tax bill he plans to present to congress on Thursday that should raise $700m to make the Chile's largely private system more accessible. "This is a very profound change. It seeks quality and equal education. It establishes a system of credit that favours 90 per cent of the students, and the state will provide the resources," he said in national television broadcast. "Businesses will have to pay more taxes." Harald Bayer, education minister, says the march was not justified, noting that on Monday the government announced the creation of a state agency to replace

private lenders and reduce the interest rate on student loans from six per cent to two per cent. However, Gabriel Boric, student leader, said the government still treats education as a consumer product, rather than a universal right. Students want to return the government to the center of Chile's largely privatised education system, while Pinera's government has instead sought to lower lending costs and otherwise make private educations more accessible to working classes. Pinera said the effect of his tax plan would be "huge," providing not only for loans but for scholarships for the neediest students. He planned to meet with leaders of his center-right governing coalition to discuss more details before unveiling the plan. Pinera's tax bill faces opposition from both the left and right in the senate. Socialist politicians want more profound changes to the tax system, so the burden falls far more heavily on corporations that have reaped the benefits of a commodities boom in Chile, the world's top copper producer. Pinera's right-wing allies want the government to reduce taxes on fuels that they say feed inflation.

Argentine Senate approves oil nationalisation


Murdoch denies using power to sway politics

Murdoch discusses phone-hacking ‘cover-up’


upert Murdoch has made startling comments while appearing for a second day before an inquiry investigating the power he wields over politicians and police. Murdoch. 81, told the Leveson Inquiry yesterday that there was a "cover-up" over phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid but that it was kept hidden from him and senior executives in his media company. "There's no question in my mind that, maybe even the editor, but beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret that," Murdoch, the News Corp head, told a press ethics inquiry in Britain. Murdoch also told the inquiry he

had "failed" by not pressing for further internal investigation into the paper, which he closed down in July last year amid outrage over the hacking of a murdered girl's phone. "I think the senior execs were all ... misinformed and all shielded from anything that was going on there and I do blame one or two people for that whom I shouldn't name because for all I know they may be arrested yet," he said. The paper's royal editor and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for phone hacking but the full scale of the practice at the paper did not emerge until a new police investigation launched in January 2011.

Pressed by the senior judge leading the inquiry, Brian Leveson, about why he did not take further action over allegations against one of his biggest-selling newspapers, Murdoch said: "I also have to say that I failed." Murdoch electrified the judicial inquiry on Wednesday, robustly rejecting accusations that he had used his media empire to play puppet master to a succession of British prime ministers. The appearance at the inquiry of a man who has courted prime ministers and presidents for the last 40 years is a defining moment in a scandal that has laid bare collusion between British politicians, police and Murdoch's News Corp.

rgentina's senate has approved the forced takeover of the country's biggest oil company, underscoring broad domestic support that has caused outrage among foreign investors. he expropriation bill passed easily in the elected body after midnight on Thursday morning, with 63 senators voting in favour of the expropriation, only three voting against the bill and four abstentions. The early morning vote was held after a marathon debate that started around midday on Wednesday. The bill now has a clear path for likely approval by the country's lower house sometime next week. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is allied with both houses of congress, unveiled plans last week to seize a 51 per cent stake of YPF from Spain's Repsol. Kirchner accused Repsol of draining YPF since gaining control in the 1990s, under-investing in its oil and gas fields and failing to keep pace with the needs of Argentina's

growing economy even as it paid huge dividends to shareholders. Repsol blames Argentina's everchanging mix of subsidies, price caps and export taxes for depressing production as the country's demand for energy soared since 2003, when her husband, President Nestor Kirchner, came to power. Only two months ago, Repsol YPF upped its estimate for the shale oil and gas it found in Argentina to nearly 23 billion barrels, enough to double the country's output in a decade. But the Spanish company said it would cost $25bn a year to develop, and warned that Argentina would need to overhaul its energy policy to attract the necessary investment. Taking back Argentina's largest company from Spain's biggest company has proven hugely popular in the South American country, despite threats of retaliation from the Europe Union and fears of unintended consequences in the years ahead.


Syria blames “terrorist� bomb factory for Hama blast


yria blamed "terrorist" bombmakers yesterday for an explosion that ripped through a building and killed 16 people in the restive city of Hama, where hostility to President Bashar alAssad runs deep. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based anti-Assad organisation tracking the 13-month-old conflict in which at least 9,000 people have died, gave the same death toll but said the cause of Wednesday afternoon's blast was not clear. The Local Coordination Committees, a grassroots opposition group, had said earlier that an army rocket had inflicted the carnage and put the death toll at more than 50. Whatever its origins, the explosion deals another blow to a two-week-old U.N.-backed truce that has failed to halt violence, although somewhat reducing its intensity from previous levels. United Nations monitors are trickling into Syria to check the ceasefire engineered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.


Pakistan PM convicted of contempt, receives no jail time P akistan's Supreme Court yesterday found Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, but gave him only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes' detention in the courtroom. It was unclear if the token sentence would defuse political uncertainty in Pakistan, where the president and prime minister have jousted with the military and judiciary. Despite the light sentence, Gilani could still come under pressure to quit. "For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for wilfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court," said Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk. Gilani is the first serving prime minister in Pakistan's history to be convicted by a court, but his sentence - detention lasting just a few minutes until the session was adjourned - was symbolic. He could have faced up to six months in jail and the loss of office. "I think what they've done is taken it from the legal arena and chucked it into the political arena," said Cyril Almeida, a prominent columnist for the Dawn daily newspaper.

He said opposition members of parliament now might move to expel Gilani from office. "There will be massive pressure from the opposition, the media, from civil society, saying 'He's been convicted for flouting the letter of the law and he should go home,'" Almeida said. "There will be a lot of pressure for him to resign." A throng of supporters surrounded Gilani as he walked into the court in Islamabad, showering him with rose petals. Security was tight, with about 1,000 police officers standing by in riot gear and helicopters

circling the Supreme Court building. Gilani's lawyers had said before the verdict that he would not automatically be disqualified from office if convicted, and at any rate he would be able to appeal against the verdict. The case stems from what many observers say is a political battle between the government and the military, which has held the whip hand in Pakistan's political arena for most of the country's 64 years of independence. Many say the army is using the court to keep the government on the back foot.

Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military president Pervez Musharraf, which paved the way for a return to civilian rule. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal and ordered cases involving Swiss banks against President Asif Ali Zardari re-opened. Gilani and his government have refused to obey the court's order to write to Swiss authorities asking them to re-open money laundering cases against Zardari. The government argues that Zardari has immunity as the head of state.

Suu Kyi hopes for Myanmar crisis resolution


ung San Suu Kyi has reaffirmed her support for Myanmar's reformist president and says that she hopes for a swift resolution to a dispute that has delayed her debut in the country's parliament. The opposition leader and other newly elected members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party cancelled plans to attend a new session of the legislature over a dispute regarding the oath of office. NLD politicians refused to swear to "safeguard" the constitution, which was was created by the army and which the party has opposed. "We hope the present problem will be smoothed over without too much difficulty before too long," Suu Kyi said at a press conference with Giulio Terzi, Italian foreign minister, in Yangon on Thursday. She pledged to continue to try and work "in collaboration with the government particularly because we believe that President U Thein

Sein is sincere in his reform efforts". U is a term of respect in Myanmar. Thein Sein, a former army general, has implemented an array of changes since coming to power last year, including allowing the NLD to operate more freely, and the freeing of political prisoners. In her remarks, Aung San Suu Kyi also expressed hope that her party would be able to serve Myanmar "not just outside the parliament as we have been doing for the last 20-odd years, but also from within the national assembly". "With regard to the obstacles in the way of our taking our places in the national assembly, we would like to think that these are purely technical ones," she said. "We would not like to expand them to the point that they become a political issue." The NLD's decision not to attend the parliamentary session on Monday was seen as a sign of friction with the government.

Suu Kyi, right, met Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi in Yangon yesterday

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

Mubarak’s PM is back in Egypt election race


he last prime minister of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak has squeezed back into Egypt's presidential race after an 11th-hour reprieve by the state election committee, the latest twist in a turbulent build-up to next month's vote. Ahmed Shafiq's reinstatement comes just two days after he was excluded under a law passed by the Islamist-led parliament stripping political rights from top Mubarakera figures. Shafiq appealed and the committee reversed itself late on Wednesday, drawing a rebuke from the Muslim Brotherhood which dominates parliament and championed the law. The committee was to announce the

final candidate list later on Thursday. Chronic confusion over who can run for president underlines the fragility of a democratic transition in the Arab world's most populous country and raises questions over the military's willingness to give up power after the formal handover in July. The change of mind came so late on Wednesday that Shafiq was not on a list of 12 approved candidates that appeared in state newspapers on Thursday, compounding uncertainty in a race punctuated by high-profile disqualifications. "The committee has accepted his appeal and will add his name to the list based on its decison yesterday (Wednesday)," Shafiq's lawyer,

Ahmed Shafiq was the last PM under president Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a popular uprising last year.

Shawqi Sayyid, told Reuters. Egypt's state news agency said on Wednesday Shafiq was back in the race, citing an election committee official. Shafiq is a strong contender because of his links to the ruling generals and could appeal to some Egyptians who see a man with military experience as their best hope for an end to the political turmoil since Mubarak's overthrow. His re-entry could split the antiIslamist vote, making it a tougher race for Amr Moussa, a liberal who was head of the Arab League, as well as a former foreign minister under Mubarak. Ministers were not among those targeted under the new law. It will also anger Islamists and prodemocracy groups who fear Shafiq's candidacy is a ploy by old regime figures who want to restore the tightlycontrolled politics of the Mubarak era. Islamists and other groups have called for a demonstration on Friday called "Saving the Revolution", which is expected to focus anger at the army and those like Shafiq viewed as trying revive the political fortunes of Mubarak's allies. The electoral committee decided to refer the law that was used to disqualify Shafiq to the Supreme Constitutional Court to review its constitutionality. Mahmoud Ghozlan, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said the committee must simply apply the law and its decision to bring back Shafiq had dealt a blow to its credibility.



Outrage as Egypt plans ‘farewell intercourse law’ so husbands can have sex with dead wives up to six hours after their death


gyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death. The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamistdominated parliament. It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women's rights of getting education and employment. Egypt's National Council for Women is campaigning against the changes, saying that 'marginalising and undermining the status of women would negatively affect the country's human development'.

Dr Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, wrote to the Egyptian People's Assembly Speaker Dr Saad al-Katatni addressing her concerns. Egyptian journalist Amro Abdul Samea reported in the alAhram newspaper that Talawi complained about the legislations which are being introduced under 'alleged religious interpretations'. The subject of a husband having sex with his dead wife arose in May 2011 when Moroccan cleric Zamzami Abdul Bari said marriage remains valid even after death. He also said that women have the right to have sex with her dead husband, reported.

It seems the topic, which has sparked outrage, has now been picked up on by Egypt's politicians. TV anchor Jaber alQarmouty slammed the notion of letting a husband have sex with his wife after her death under the so-called 'Farewell Intercourse' draft law. He said: 'This is very serious. Could the panel that will draft the Egyptian constitution possibly discuss such issues? Did Abdul Samea see by his own eyes the text of the message sent by Talawi to Katatni? 'This is unbelievable. It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?'

Benue’s opaque budget Contd. from Back Page wonder why the state isn’t exploring its hydro tourism/hydro electric potentials; starting up cruises or exploiting its reputation as a major Nigerian river towards developing water transport or building a whole sporting industry, water games and all. Looking at the figure of N10,192,000,000 (9.1%) allocated to Water Resources, the first question that should come to mind is, how much of the N13 billion bond was specifically spent on water projects?. How much of these funds are directed into the areas listed? As a state with abundant agricultural potentials - land that is very fertile and about 80% of the state’s population is involved directly or indirectly in sustenance farming, wholistic focus on agricultural production is the key to the state's future. Sadly, Benue has a reputation for wasteful agriculture as the state lacks basic storage infrastructure. Agriculture is not yet mechanized beyond sustenance such that it will amount significantly upon the states IGR. A careful state endowment and value chain study, with investments in key areas will enable Benue feed most of Nigeria's population. That is one area for the attention of the authorities. On the bright side, doing business in Benue is relatively easy. Amongst the 36 states and the FCT, Benue was ranked 10 in the ease of doing business, with 8 procedures that will span a minimum of 36 days, 6 places behind its Plateau counterpart. Plateau State's doing business ranking is number 4, with 8 procedures over a 31 day period. This relatively easy business climate is doing well for Benue, considering that in 2010 the state’s combined IGR was N6.8 billion, in 2011 it increased to N11 billion, and in 2012, there is an IGR projection of N15.2 billion. The state deserves some credit on its attractiveness to investors, in 2010, the Benue Cement Company merged into the

Dangote Group, thereby increasing its capacity in cement production, in 2011, the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (TRANSCORP) subsidiary, Terago Limited, leased, renovated and recommissioned the Benue Pioneer Fruit Juice Concentrates Company for 10 years at the cost of N1 billion. Also in 2011, an MoU for the revitalization and management of the near moribund Taraku Oil Mills was signed. Interestingly all these industries were established during the life of the earlier administration of Governor Aper Aku. Educationally, Benue is a disadvantaged state. In the 2008 academic year, 41,410 Benue students sat for WAEC, and only 1,879 or 4.5% scored 5 credits including Maths and English. In the same year, only 389 students from Benue state were admitted to Nigerian universities, compared with 3,569 and 4,030 for Edo and Enugu states - the leading performers. This trend should be of concern, especially in a time such as this, when a core focus of government should be to reduce its unemployed population so they do not constitute a threat to society. Another worrisome aspect of the budget is the allocation to health: an allocation of 4% or N4.5 billion of the entire budget sum when health should be a priority sector for the state. The special adviser to the Benue state governor on HIV/ AIDS and other communicable diseases said that there are no fewer than 400,000 persons in the state who are carriers of the disease, out of three million infected Nigerians. Considering this situation, does Benue aim to safeguard the health of its citizens with this level of spending? Maybe, laudable is the fact that the government renovated all general hospitals in the state, has partnered with Essential Pharma to curb the menace of fake drugs within the state, and is one of the few states to upgrade its Action Committee on Aids to an Aids Control Agency. There is need to do more in both preventive and curative healthcare provisions. Benue's recurrent budget is

more than three times its IGR. It is therefore incapable of standing on it own and is one of the "parastatal states" that rely on monthly FAAC hand-outs to exist. Interestingly, in spite of this, there is a strong movement for the creation of another state out of Benue for the benefit of the political elite Idoma ethnic group! The government is doing much better on the IGR front than most states in the country, but must scale down the size and cost of its administration. It is investing aggressively in transport infrastructure and that is commendable but more investments are needed in education, healthcare and agriculture. Tourism, mining and hydroelectricity are all areas that Benue can focus to deepen its comparative advantages within the Nigerian nation. Until these are addressed and urgently too, the people of Benue should be looking at voting differently in the next election. Two sad events This week started with a depressing note for me, and got worse yesterday with the bombing of ThisDay’s offices in Abuja and Kaduna. On Monday, the sensibilities of Nigerians were challenged by a motley crowd of hired thugs protesting AGAINST the excellent report of the Farouk Lawan Committee on Fuel Subsidy. I was depressed. Have we become this bad that people can shamelessly support what is wrong? Do these protesters have parents? Have we lost all our values to illicit money and now ruled completely by corruption? As I was struggling with these, learning that Boko Haram has targeted the offices of ThisDay worsened my state of mind. How can those that report news be the problem or the target of anyone? How can anyone justify the killing of another? Where is our sense of community? The attacks must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. We call on the authorities to rise up beyond the usual platitudes and speeches and protect the lives and property of our citizens. May the souls of the departed rest in peace. Amen.

Controversial: The 'farewell intercourse' law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament

It must Bee love: Brave couple show their unity and love for insects by covering themselves in nearly 1m bees


his brave couple prove that love can sometimes hurt, after covering themselves in nearly 1million bees in a bizarre show of unity. Bee farmer Zhang Wei managed to persuade his faithful wife Zhang Yongli to cover herself with insects from head to toe as the couple showed their unity in Changsha, in China's Hunan province. The amazing spectacle saw the couple covered in a total of around 96.5kgs of bees, or around 970,000 of the stinging insects. And Zhang Wei went one step further in showing his harmonious relationship with the bees by completing the stunt wearing only his underpants.

He said: 'I am very familiar with bees. Once got stung by more than 400 bees in an activity and I was okay. If this happened to others they would die.' In contrast, his trusting wife Yongli, who had never been covered in bees before, covered up in trousers, a long sleeve top and netted hat. During the stunt the couple held hands as the bees were released and swarmed over their bodies until they were covered from head-to-toe. According to one witnessing judge the key to getting the most bees on your body is to have more queen bees, as well as having 'a peaceful mind and courage.'

A bug's life: Zhang Wei (right) and his wife endure the bizarre bee spectacle as they allow themselves to be covered in 970,000 insects



Soya milk ‘protects the liver’ from dangerous build-up of fat


oya milk is not just good for those who are lactose intolerant - researchers have found it’s good for the liver as well. A team from the University of Illinois found soy protein, which is also found in tofu, may reduce the build-up of harmful fat in the liver. Scientists in the US compared the livers of lean and obese rats fed a diet containing either milk or soy protein. No differences were seen in lean animals. But obese rats fed soy showed a 20 per cent reduction in overall levels of fat accumulation in the liver. Triglycerides, a type of fat known to be harmful to the heart, were reduced by the same level. This means soya could protect against ‘fatty liver disease’, a condition linked to obesity that can lead to liver failure. Study leader Dr Hong Chen, from the University of Illinois, said: ‘Almost a third of American adults have fatty liver disease, many of them without symptoms. Obesity is a key risk factor for this condition, which can lead to liver failure. ‘When fat accumulates in an organ that’s not supposed to store fat, like the liver, that organ’s vital function can be dangerously compromised.’

The findings are being presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego, California. Soy protein appears to help repair a key signalling pathway in the liver involved in fat metabolism, said the scientists. This made it harder for the liver to become a ‘dumping ground’ for excess fat. ‘In many obese persons there’s a sort of traffic problem, and when more fat can make its way out of the liver, there’s less pressure on the organ,’ said Dr Chen. It follows a recent study from Delaware University that found drinking two glasses of soya milk a day eased hot flushes in menopausal women. Hot flushes occur suddenly, lasting about four minutes on average, and produce an uncomfortable feeling of intense heat. Sufferers may break out in sweats during the day, while frequent hot flushes at night can severely disrupt sleep. Professor Melissa Melby found the ingredient reduced the frequency of this uncomfortable symptom by 20 per cent and severity by 26 per cent, following a comprehensive review. Source:

Soy protein appears to help repair a pathway in the liver involved in breaking down fat

Anti-depressants ‘may do more harm than good’


ommon anti-depressants could be doing patients more harm than good, according to researchers examined the impact of the medications on the whole body. A team from McMaster University examined previous patient studies into the effects of anti-depressants and determined that the benefits of most antidepressants compare poorly to the risks, which include premature death in elderly patients. ‘We need to be much more cautious about the widespread use of these drugs,’ said study leader and evolutionary biologist Paul Andrews. ‘It’s important because millions of people are prescribed anti-depressants each year, and the conventional wisdom about these drugs is that they’re safe and effective.’ Anti-depressants are designed to relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, where it regulates mood. The vast majority of serotonin that the body produces, though, is used for other purposes, including digestion, forming blood clots at wound sites, reproduction and development. The researchers, whose study was published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that antidepressants had negative health effects on all processes normally regulated by serotonin. This included a higher risk of developmental problems in infants, problems with sexual function, digestive problems and abnormal bleeding and stroke in the elderly. The authors reviewed three recent studies showing that elderly anti-depressant users are more likely to die than non-users, even after taking other important variables into account. The higher death rates indicate that the overall effect of these drugs on the body is more harmful than beneficial. ‘Serotonin is an ancient chemical. It’s intimately regulating many different processes, and when you interfere with these things you can expect, from an evolutionary perspective, that it’s going to cause some harm,’ Andrews said. Millions of people are prescribed anti-depressants every year, and while the conclusions may seem surprising, Andrews says much of the evidence has long been apparent and available. ‘The thing that’s been missing in the debates about anti-depressants is an overall

Anti-depressants are designed to relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, where it regulates mood assessment of all these negative effects relative to their potential beneficial effects,’ he says. ‘Most of this evidence has been out there for years and nobody has been looking at this basic issue.’ In previous research, Andrews and his colleagues had questioned the effectiveness of antidepressants even for relieving depression. They found patients were more likely to suffer relapse after going off their medications as their brains worked to re-establish equilibrium. Andrews says it is important to look critically at their continuing use. ‘It could change the way we think about such major pharmaceutical drugs,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a minimal benefit, a laundry list of negative effects – some small, some rare and some not so rare. The issue is: does the list of negative effects outweigh the minimal benefit?’ Rethink Mental Illness CEO Paul Jenkins told Mail Online:

‘There is a place for medication, and for some people affected by mental illness it can be life-saving or can help them maintain a good quality of life. ‘However, it can also impact on people’s physical health, so it is crucial that health professionals explain the potential side-effects so people can make an informed choice. It’s also vital that GPs take extra care in monitoring the physical health of people taking such medication. ‘Too often, people with depression are fobbed off with medication alone. ‘People with mild to moderate depression should always be offered talking therapies before medication and people with severe depression should always be offered talking therapies along with medication. ‘Sadly, access to psychological therapies, although improving, is still nowhere near good enough, and people are waiting months or even years to get access to the treatment they need.’ Source:



Reps pledge to make Nigeria global Application to quash leader in rail transportation suit: Ikuforiji faults T preliminary objection From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


peaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, yesterday picked holes in the preliminary objection initiated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against his motion to quash the criminal charge made against him before Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos. Ikuforiji in his reply on points of law to the EFCC’s objection, is insisting that the argument adduced by the anti-graft agency in support of its objection, was not only misconceived, but also not supported by law. The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Alade Atoyebi before the court Justice on a twenty-count charge that borders on money laundering offences. Ikuforiji and Atoyebi had filed two separate motions seeking to quash the charges against them. But the EFCC had in its preliminary objection to the motion to quash the charges, argued that under Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), such an objection to the charges ought to have been raised immediately after the charges were read to the accused persons. However, the speaker in a reply filed by his lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), is contending that Section 167 of the CPA relied upon by the EFCC only deals with formal defects on the face of the charge. Oyetibo (SAN), pointed out that the motion to quash the charge was majorly based on a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to adjudicate on the case against the accused persons under Section 1(a)

Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011. Oyetibo further argued that the EFCC was only able to answer the issues raised by the accused persons in their motion to quash the charge, and urged the court to grant the prayers contained therein. The Speaker and Atoyebi had in a motion on notice brought pursuant to Sections 2, 3, 4, 92, 251 and 252 of the Constitution, urged the court to either quash the charges as presently framed or strike it out for lacking in concrete evidence. The duo argued that the EFCC failed to establish prema facie evidence against them, which automatically robbed the court of jurisdiction to try them. The Speaker argued that the acts of the House of Assembly, being

an arm of the Lagos state Government, could not be subjected to the criminal jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. Ikuforiji further contended that in so far as the charges alleged that he and his aide accepted cash payments from the House, the Constitutional immunity enjoyed by the House on such transactions makes the case ineffective. When the case came up yesterday, EFCC’s lawyer, Godwin Obla requested for time to react to the reply on points of law filed by the accused persons, saying the process was just served on him in court. The application for adjournment was not opposed by Oyetibo, while Justice Okeke fixed May 3 for adoption of arguments on the motion to quash the charges.

PDP faction blames Oyinlola over party harmonization From Inumidun Ojelade, Ado-Ekiti


faction of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti state has accused the South West leadership of the party of frustrating the harmonization of the state executive of the party. The crisis rocking the state chapter of the party assumed fresh dimension as the faction alleged the PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and other PDP Chieftains from the state of allegedly backing the faction led by the former governor of the state Mr Ayodele Fayose with the non implementation of the Appeal panel report till date. The faction of the party hinted that the three man Appeal panel dated March 21,2002 signed by its three members of Mrs Romoke Edu Odulana[Chairman ] Festus Agbo

[member] and Humpreh Ohagwa[member/Secretary] in its recommendation suggested that all factions of the party ‘’must be brought together’’ for the party to move forward in the state. Stressing that the Appeal panel in the recommendation emphasized that should the March 18 PDP state congress in Ekiti state be allowed to stay such development willnot augur well for the party,saying,’’obviously,there were two major factions’’ in the state chapter of the party. .’’ A cursory study of the foregoing will make any lover of PDP in Ekiti state to suggest that for this party to move cohesive and win election,all factions must be brought together .Should this election stay. It will be a house divided against itself which our opponents will always capitalize on.

In the light of this it is the opinion of this Appeal committee that the party set up a true harmonization drawn from members of the incoming National Working Committee to share the position among the two factions in order to have a solid,compact and formidable PDP to beat in Ekiti state instead of subjecting them to another open contest’’.it added. It was learnt that the committee in its report maintained that the Ekiti state PDP election of March 18 ‘’was to the best of our knowledge and understanding not the true reflection of the mandate of the entire people of Ekiti state PDP’’..’’For only one faction to occupy the entire executive position,with the other abandoned implies that the other faction is not wanted in PDP and therefore it can never be a successful election’’the Panel noted.

he House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport has expressed its determination to make Nigeria a global leader in rail transportation. Hon. Musa Sarkin - Adar, the committee's Chairman, made the pledge in Ibadan on Wednesday after members arrived by rail from Lagos through one of the shuttle services of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC). The lawmaker said improved rail transport would develop the economy of the country greatly. "We are hoping in the very near future, Nigeria will join those nations that have available rail services that can take you from one end of the country to another end within one day," Sarkin - Adar said. He said it was painful seeing Nigerians suffering while going by buses on trips that would take them days. Sarkin - Adar said as much as the committee sympathised with ordinary Nigerians, it was also aware of the numerous challenges being faced by the NRC. "We are doing our best to make sure that NRC is now made

Jigawa Govt to promote dialogue between Fulani, farmers


he Jigawa Government would encourage dialogue between Fulani cattle rearers and farmers to avoid clashes, the Commissioner for agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Rabiu Taura, said on Thursday. Taura said this when he received members of the `Myetti Allah' Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in his office in Dutse. He said that the government would also encourage dialogue among different groups in the state with a view to achieving lasting peace and unity, stressing:"In any society where there is no peace, there will be no progress." The commissioner said that government had set up cattle reserves and boreholes for the Fulanis to graze their animals to avoid conflict. Earlier in his speech, the spokesman for the delegation, Alhaji Maikudi Zanga, thanked the state government for the provision of hand pumps and grazing reserves across the state. Zanga pledged that MACBAN would continue to live peacefully with people in the state, irrespective of differences.

to be among the first three organisations that are best operated in this country, " he said. The committee chairman also expressed the hope of the committee that NRC would intensify effort to fast track the completion of the Jebba - Kano rail track. He said they embarked on the Lagos - Ibadan rail trip in order to see for themselves the challenges facing rail transport and the progress made by the NRC in the South. Sarkin - Adar said that his committee would support NRC with all the legal framework needed to develop the rail transportation sector. Answering questions from reporters later, the Railway District Manager, Western District, Ibadan, Mr Folorunso Gbadamosi, assured Nigerians that Lagos - Kano direct rail services would commence between May and June. He also said that the frequency of rail traffic had been increased on the Lagos Ilorin route. "We now run passenger train four trips weekly from Iddo in Lagos to Ilorin and back to Iddo. “On Tuesdays, we have the journey from Iddo to Ilorin and on Wednesdays, the journey back from Ilorin to Iddo. Yesterday, we have Iddo to Ilorin and on Sunday, the train moves back to Iddo," Gbadamosi explained. The Managing Director of the NRC, Mr Seyi Sijuwade, also accompanied the legislators on the trip.

Sokoto PDP chairman is dead From Sadeeq Aliyu, Sokoto


he death has occurred of Sokoto state PDP chairman Alhaji Tukur Wazirin Bodinga. Aged 65, the PDP chairman popularly known as Wazirin Bodinga died last Wednesday evening after a brief illness at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital Sokoto. He was buried yesterday at his home town, Bodinga local government and survived by three wives, three children and 26 grand children. Hundreds of people including politicians, civil servants and members of the business community attended his funeral. The state governor Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko was at Saudi Arabia performing lesser hajj when the party chairman died.


PDP set to restore hope, says Bamanga By Lawrence Olaoye


he National Chairman of the Peolples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday disclosed that his leadership of the party would restore hope in the leadership of the country. The Chairman at a reception organized for the new National Organising Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, called on all Nigerians to keep hope alive insisting that the country has no business with failure considering its abundant human and natural resources. "Nigeria is very lucky as a country to have it all. A nation's journey to greatness starts with its people. We must therefore brace up and keep hope alive. Nobody can do it for us. We can be greatest nation globally. We shall lead our continent. The Azikiwes, the Sardaunas, the Awolowos and the Nkrumahs did it. Yet we talk about them in nostalgia. I believe we can do better than they have done. The future is bright. I see hope. Our platform as a party is to restore hope, unlock the innate potentials of our people for their economic prosperity and to do better than those we took over from", he said. Also speaking, the Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said the Federal Government was determined to lead in identifying and mobilizing every available talent and resource in seeking enduring solutions to current national challenges to secure the future of the country where peace, unity and progress are guaranteed. According to him, the newly elected National Working Committee of the party which he said has eminent men and women of proven accomplishments was an indication of the overwhelming endorsement by stakeholders in the party that time had come to seek competent and resourceful administrators to advance the frontiers of the party in all ramifications. He said: "I'm confident that we have great men and women who are highly capable, competent and confident about what to do. Our national chairman, the national secretary and other members of the NWC now at the helm of affairs of our party are sufficiently accomplished to know where we are headed. The man we are celebrating tonight served as Head of Service when I was Kaduna State governor. He is excellent, patriotic, loyal and very reliable and has maintained a lofty benchmark of performance. He is bringing into his new job a formidable resource of experience and great talent". Sambo who was represented by his Political Adviser, Mallam Abba Dabo, described the PDP as a stabilizing factor in the country, noting that the party has in the last 12 years, successfully mid-wifed a military-to-civilian political transition, civilian-to-civilian transition in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 without any hitch whatsoever. He praised Nigerians for giving the PDP their mandate and promised that the party will continue to live up to the billing.


Election tribunal commences sitting over Oyo federal constituency suit


he Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ibadan on the Irepo/ Oorelope/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency suit on Thursday held its inaugural hearing. The tribunal, which had Justice Baaki Augustine as Chairman, also had Justices Kwame Okpu and Benson Ogbu as members. The ACN, in the suit before the tribunal, is challenging the victory of PDP's Jimoh Adelowo in the re-run and run off elections held on Jan 28 and Feb 11 respectively.

Kazeem Gbadamosi, counsel to the ACN, named Adelowo, PDP and INEC as respondents. Gbadamosi also presented an application seeking for orders to allow forensic experts, party agents and appointed solicitors to participate in the inspection of all electoral documents and machines used during the elections. He also sought the order of the tribunal to grant permission to make copies of such documents for the purpose of the trial. Similarly, Adebowale Olajide,

the counsel to Adelowo and PDP, requested the granting of similar prayers. INEC's counsel, Kunle Faokunla, admitted to being served the two applications and said he was not opposing either of them. However, the prayer by the ACN and PDP counsel to permit the forensic and handwriting experts to tender their reports when completed was withdrawn. The withdrawal by the counsel followed an observation

raised by Ogbu that it would be speculative of the tribunal to grant the prayer. Ogbu said sufficient materials should first be brought before the tribunal before granting the order. With both counsel consenting to withdraw the said prayer, Ogbu granted other motions raised. Olajide also requested for three weeks to enable the parties inspect the electoral documents with INEC in the three local governments concerned.

L-R: Publisher of Accolade magazine, Ambassador Ginika Joy , Presenting an Award of Excellence to Engineer Kamal Adeyemi, while others were watching during the presentation of the Award, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kogi Assembly laws to be codified From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ogi House of Assembly has called on the government to codify and gazette all laws made by the House since inception in 1992 to guarantee their enforcement. The call was contained in a resolution of the House issued at plenary on recently following the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Speaker, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello and three others. Minority Leader of the house, Engr Afolabi Solomon Afolabi who read the motion on behalf of other co-sponsors said it was a hard fact, embarrassing and worrisome

that laws made by the house since inception were not codified. He said: "From February 17, 1992 when the first session of the first Assembly was inaugurated to date (19 years), bills processed and passed into law by this Honourable House are yet to be gazetted and codified." Afolabi observed that without codification, the House stood the risk of possible circulation of fake laws as emanating from the house and double legislation on same and similar issues legislated upon by previous sessions among other demerits. He therefore, called on the state government to adopt as a standing

policy to always gazette and codify laws passed by the house and make copies available for sale to the general public from this year. Seconding the motion, Chief Henry Ojuola representing Yagba East constituency said laws not gazetted and codified were more or less illegal documents and would have no relevance to the courts as they remained mere flying papers. Ojuola pointed out that laws made during the colonial administration up to Independence of the country in 1960 were gazetted and those from independence to 2004 were also gazetted and efforts were on

to gazette laws made from 2004 to date. Majority Leader of House, Alhaji Yakubu Yunusa, also one of the sponsors of the motion said the issue of codification had come up on the floor of the house severally and therefore called on the state government to resuscitate its printing press to ease the job. Adopting the motion which also had the Deputy Speaker Mr Emmanuel Omebije as co-sponsor, Speaker, Abdullahi Bello, mandated the house committee on Judiciary to visit Governor Idris Wada to emphasize the seriousness the assembly attached to the resolution

We won’t sue Omisore over comments, says ACN


CN political office holders from Ife axis of Osun yesterday said they would not sue Sen. Iyiola Omisore, a PDP chieftain, for allegedly disparaging Gov. Rauf Aregbesola. The group's spokesman, Sen. Babajide Omoworare, told newsmen in Osogbo that the matter would be referred to the court of public opinion. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Omisore had on

April 21 in Ile-Ife expressed reservations on the use of private guards by Gov. Rauf Aregbesola. But the legislators, who are members of the ACN, dissociated themselves from Omisore's remarks and expressed confidence in Aregbesola. Omoworare, however, called on the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and other prominent Nigerians to intervene in the matter for peace to reign in the state.

"What we want in the state is peace and we hope that the intervention of well meaning Nigerians would pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the matter," he said. He dismissed the retraction made in some newspapers by Omisore as deficient, saying the PDP chieftain only said he was misquoted. The lawmaker called on the security agencies to properly

investigate the matter for record purpose as well as to nip the crisis in the bud. NAN,however, recalls that Omisore had retracted the story in some national dailies, saying that he did not say he would stop and search the governor's convoy as reported. The group also had Rep. Rotimi Makinde, Ife Federal Constituency and Mr Sikiru Adetona, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism as members.



Absence of lead prosecution counsel stalls Akala, 2 others fraud case T

From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

he absence of the lead Prosecution Counsel ,Chief Godwin Obla yesterday stalled the N11.5billion trial of the immediate past governor of the Oyo state ,Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and two other accused persons ,Senator Hosea Agboola ,and a Business man ,Femi Babalola before Justice Akintunde Boade of an Ibadan High Court. It will be recalled that AlaoAkala had been docked along

with the Deputy Senate Whip, Senator Hosea Agboola and the proprietor of an Ibadan base event center operator, Femi Babalola on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, illegal award of contracts, obtaining by false presence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act and concealing the ownership of such property by the Economic and financial Crime Commission ,EFCC. Senator Agboola was the Commissioner for Local government and Chieftain Affairs during Alao-Akala’s

tenure until April when he won election into the Senate. Babalola who is the Chairman of Foremost Events Center in the capital city, Jogor and Pentagon Engineering Services was the contractor in charge of all local government related projects awarded by the immediate past administration. At the commencement of the case yesterday, Otunba Olayinka Bolanle announced his appearance for the prosecution ,and told the court that Chief Godwin Obla, a lead counsel in the case could not appear

because he is appearing before a Lagos High court on another criminal matter ,and apologised on his behalf . The Lead Counsel to the three accused persons, Chief Mohammad Osman SAN objected to his appearance ,declaring that Bolanle lacked judicial power to appear as a prosecutor in the case. Chief Osman who led other three SAN’s like Chief Bolaji Ayorinde , Chief N.O.O Oke, and Joseph Obije and about 15 other lawyers for the three accused submitted that the Attorney General of the Federation only gave Chief Obla the fiat to prosecute the accused personally and it cannot be extended to another person. Osman submitted that since the prosecutor ,recognized by law was not in court he urged the trial judge to discontinuance the present of Bolanle and deny him audience Otunba Bolanle in his

submission told the court that Osman objection to his appearance for the prosecution was misconceived declaring that he had been appearing with Chief Obla in the case since beginning. He further submitted that the fiat which accused persons counsel claimed that it was solely given to Chief Obla to prosecute the case was not before the court ,declaring that “it is only when such fiat is before the court that the doctrine of exclusivity can be pronounced’’. Bolanle who supported the argument with the case of Otuko vs Gov of the Gongola state ,part 117 of the Nigerian Weekly law report of 1987 further submitted that it was only the Federal Antony General that reserved the right to complain about his appearance in the case. The Trial Judge, Justice Akintunde Boade therefore adjourned the case to May 4, 2012 fro ruling.

Kebbi is ready for local government election – says PDP boss From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi


L-R: Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Victor Ogene, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, and a member of the Committee, Hon.Lanre Odubote, during a press briefing on the adoption of the Subsidy Report, at the National Assembly, on Wednesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

he newly elected Kebbi state People Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Alhaji Mansiru Shehu has appeal to the people of Kebbi state especially the politician to remain calm and be patient that very soon Local Government election will be conducted in the state. He made the appeal yesterday in Brinin Kebbi while Fielding question with newsmen in his resident adding that Governor Dakingari his ready to conduct local government election and promise to make it to be free and fair.'' I'm assuring you that very soon local government election will be conducted'' he said. Peoples Daily re-called that the sole administrators in the state have spend over two years

in the office while constitutional they are to spend three to six month following the State House of Assembly approval. Mansiru who was re-elected back to the office as the state PDP chairman promise that his administration will carry ever body alone both the new and old elected executive of the party adding that the party who as the simple constitution '' I will not victimized anybody both the decampees and old once of the party'' he said. He then commended the governor Dakingari for giving position to the decampees '' the two opposition parties has candidate and Dakingari has promised and assuring them for given them position in his government, is going to be unity government and very soon the list will be out'' he said.

Absence of presiding judge frustrates CPC suit against Jang Ajimobi condemns bomb From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


bsence of the Judge presiding over the suit filed by the Plateau state Chapter of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) challenging the constitution of management committees chairmen of the 17 local government of the state yesterday stalled the court proceedings. Peoples Daily gathered that Justice Roselyn Sha of the state who is handling the case was attending a meeting though the case was thereafter fixed for June 7. It was further gathered that April 26th, was earlier scheduled for the commencement of hearing

when the case was first mentioned. CPC in suit No. PLA/J36/12,is challenging the Plateau state government, governor Jonah Jang, the state Attorney General as 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively for constituting management committees to run the affairs of the 17 councils in the state without election. The state CPC chairman, Alhaji Mubasshiru Aliyu through the party’s counsel, Barrister Yusuf G. Hawaja is seeking relief for a declaration on the lawful act or otherwise of appointing, selecting, choosing, constituting or nominating a caretaker, management committees to run the affairs of the 17 Local

Government Councils in the state, without conducting elections. The plaintiff is also seeking for an order by the court, to dissolve all the 17 LGC’s management committees appointed by the State Government, and an order restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants from “retaining, re-appointing, appointing and or constituting caretaker Interim or Transitional Advisory Management Committees.” CPC, it was also gathered asking the court to order the 4th defendant in the suit (Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission) to conduct elections forthwith into the offices 12 LGC’s whose tenures have elapsed.

attacks on newspapers


overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state has condemned the bomb attacks on the offices of some national newspapers on Thursday, stating that they were aimed at suppressing the rising anger against the bombers. The governor, in a release by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo, said that it was extreme cowardice for the bombers to resort to killing people and destroying properties. Valiant people, he said, confront issues rather than making issues out of matters that could be settled through dialogue. Ajimobi said that the bombers, whose periodic attacks

were against innocent people and churches, decided to carry the attacks to newspaper houses, showed that they were incensed at the reportage of their nefarious activities. He commiserated with the management of Thisday and other newspapers whose premises were attacked, stating that it was a prize they had to pay for dissemination of the truth. While urging security agencies to expedite action about curtailing the activities of the Boko Haram and “their allied partners on this journey of destruction.” Ajimobi expressed optimism that the country would soon be rid of its “enemies within.”



Katsina Minority Leader ‘cheats death’ From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he Minority Leader of Katsina State House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Mahuta, yesterday escaped death when suspected thugs ambushed his car while on his way to the his office for the day’s sitting. Mahuta who confirmed the incident to newsmen noted that the thugs waylaid his car on the Kaita road along the State House of Assembly demanding to know why he was running a

programme titled ‘Ni Ma Na Yarda’ a programme seeking to promote the sending of children of leaders to public schools. According to him, the thugs demanded to know if he had consulted with the executive before running the programme, adding “when I told them that the SSG was aware of the programme the thugs insisted. That I have to consult a certain Commissioner over it”. He added that the thugs who became agitated as their discussion lasted warned him to

stop the programme, threatening that if not that the day was his lucky day they would have destroyed his car over the issue. The Minority Leader stated that four out of the seven thugs that waylaid him were known to him while the remaining three that were not well known to him were more aggressive to him as his ordeal in the hands of the dare devil looking thugs lasted. Similarly, he said on reaching the assembly the

speaker of the assembly, Alhaji Ya’u Umar Gwajo-Gwajo whose convey passed him during the ordeal enquired on what happened and according to him after narrating the incident to him the speaker became bitter and vowed to take action over the matter. Our correspondent could recall that the state government had recently vowed to go after street urchins popularly called ‘Kauraye’ who formed the breeding ground for the political thugs in the state.

ACN aspirant says choice of flagbearer will strengthen party


governorship aspirant on the ACN platform in Ondo state, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, says an eventual emergence of the party’s governorship candidate will not brew bad blood amongst its members. Akinterinwa made the statement on Thursday in Igbotu community of Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state. According to him, the choice of the party’ flag-bearer in the Oct. 20 governorship election will strengthen the unity of the party. “We are all united and anyone of us that emerges as the Ondo governorship candidate will have our full support. “The success of the party comes first and we will ensure that ACN remains the only option among the existing parties that can transform Ondo State.” Akinterinwa expressed optimism of winning the election if given the opportunity. “The South Senatorial District deserves another chance; we only had a shot at the seat through Dr. Olusegun Agagu, it is our turn once more.”

Court fixes further hearing in criminal case against Lagos Assembly Speaker for May 3 L-R: Speaker, House of Repesentatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, exchanging pleasantries with Senate President David Mark, when the latter arrived, on Wednesday at Nnamidi Azikwe Internartional Airport, Abuja after a medical treatment in Tel Aviv, Isreal. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Lawyers re-state need for judiciary to protect intellectual properties of citizens


s Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking this year’s World Intellectual Property Day, some lawyers yesterday called for full enforcement of copyright laws in the country. Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the lawyers said that laws protecting people’s creative works were ineffective in Nigeria. Mr. Adebamigbe Omole, chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, told NAN that many people used creative works of authors without getting proper authorisation from the copyright owners.

“We know that it is an infringement on their rights, but how easy is it for them to get justice when they seek redress?” he said. Omole said that the slow pace of Nigeria’s judicial process made it difficult for the victims of stolen intellectual properties to get justice. ”The Judiciary is not helping matters because a lot of noise has been made about copyright and plagiarism but we have not seen people being prosecuted; people are no longer encouraged to seek redress,” said the NBA chairman. Mr. Onyekachi Ubani, a

Human Rights activist, told NAN that the security agencies should assist in enforcing laws on copyright. “It is not fair for people to reproduce other people’s intellectual works, so people who have been accused of intellectual theft should be properly investigated. “‘Issues of plagiarism and copyrights are very serious crimes in civilised countries but in Nigeria, people quote other people’s work without acknowledging them,” said the Human Rights lawyer. Ubani noted that music

composed by musicians were being played on radio and in clubs without any royalty given to the musicians. “Movies and other internet information are not left out. They are intellectual properties of people and they should be given credit for them,” he said. Ubani said that the allegation of plagiarism against the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, was a serious one which should not be treated with levity. “Anyone accused of plagiarism should be prosecuted without any form of favouritism,” Ubani said.

Riyom: Plateau Assembly member calls for community policing


member of Plateau House of Assembly, Mr. Daniel Dem, has called for the immediate introduction of community policing to stem further violence and bloodshed in the state. Dem, who represent Riyom State Constituency made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria

(NAN) in Jos yesterday. He said that the measure had become necessary because the Special Task Force (STF) had not been able to effectively protect the affected communities. He said after condoling with families of victims of Tuesday’s attack in Riyom that the people must be fully involved in the efforts to safeguard their

communities. “Obviously the STF has not helped much and we must look for other devices toward peace,’’ he said. The lawmaker expressed regrets that so many attacks were being carried out in spite of the emergency rule in the local government. Dem urged the Federal

government to immediately introduce community policing as members of affected communities were conversant with their terrains. NAN reports that Mr Emmanuel Ayeni, the Plateau Commissioner of Police, confirmed that five persons were killed and many others injured during the Tuesday attack on Riyom village.


Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned till May 3, further hearing in the criminal case against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji. Ikuforiji and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an amended 20-count charge bordering on fraud and abuse of office. They were alleged to have between April 2010 and July 2011 committed an illegal act by accepting various cash payments amounting to about N503 million from the House, without going through a financial institution. At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Mr Godwin Obla, urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable him file his reply on point of law to the accused persons’ applications to quash the charge. “I have just been served with the accused persons’ reply to our objection and I will need time to file my reply on point of law,’’ he said. The defence counsel, Mr TayoOyetibo (SAN), did not object to the plea for adjournment. “I have no objection to an adjournment. It is only fair he gets his time to file his reply on point of law,’’ he said. Justice Okechukwu Okeke, however, ordered both parties to file all necessary processes. The judge has fixed May 3, for the adoption of their written addresses.



Joseph Yobo

Tornadoes play down crisis reports


ornadoes skipper Ndala Ibrahim has poured cold water over media reports that the club was in disarray following the dissolution of the Suleman David-led management board. It had been suggested that the coaching crew headed by Justin Tenger may be sacked and that there would be a mass exodus of players, but Ibrahim told a wire service yesterday that no such move had been contemplated. “The dissolution of the Management was purely administrative, and we (the players) can only carry on with our own job,” he said. “As you can see, our coaches are still with us and there is no unrest among the players.“Sibi Gwar wants to move, but that is personal and it’s not a collective thing. “The rest of us are focused on meeting the objectives of the club this term,” he said. The former youth international told that he is satisfied with their form and that they would not relent in their efforts to move out from the basement zone of the Premiership. “Tornadoes have played well from the start, but we have experienced some poor officiating along the way, even in some home matches and this has affected us. “We know there are a lot of expectations from those teams with big budgets, but on a level playing field there is little or no difference between us and we approach every game knowing we have the capacity to beat our opponents,” he said.

Eagles resume camping May 6 for Rwanda, Namibia


Chigozie Agbim

Stephen Keshi

he Super Eagles will reconvene in Abuja on May 6, to resume preparations for the Nations and World Cup qualifiers plus the international friendly against Peru in Lima, May 23. Though the Eagles will not be playing the Azingo Nationals of Gabon as earlier planned, they will however be involved in three crucial qualifiers against Namibia, Rwanda and Malawi in June. National Team Scribe, Dayo Enebi Achor, said the friendly has been put on hold until both FAs agree on a suitable date. It would be recalled that Gabon had wanted the match before Nigeria confront Peru, the NFF objected because of earlier commitment. Meanwhile, Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, is expected in the country on Sunday, April 29, from the United States, where he has been on holidays. Keshi will hit the camp same day the players are expected to arrive at the Bolton White lodge. List of players for camping is expected to be released in the coming days, though as the Big Boss Keshi has said himself, there are not expected to be much changes in the team, as his building process is nearing a crucial stage where he has to have a standing team for the qualifiers.

FIFA Futsal World Cup: Oyekale invites 26 to Lagos camp


ead Coach of the Five-ASide National Football Team, Oladunni Oyekale has invited 26 players for screening ahead of the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying match against Gabon in Lagos on Sunday, May 6. The players are drawn from the four teams that made it to the semi finals of last year’s Ultimate Five-A-side National Football Championship. The four teams are: Sholly Babes FC of Lagos, which emerged champions of the

competition; MacJeff FC of Port Harcourt that finished runnersup; Inter FC of Enugu that won the bronze medal and; Pensioners FC of Enugu that finished in fourth place. Players called, who are expected to resume training at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos on Saturday are: Onyekaozulu Okolo, Onwukanjo Chijioke, Onuoha Joseph, Okafor Ebuka, Chisom Akunebu, Chukwudi Nwokeye, Kingsley Sokre, Ginodon Julex, Okoh.

Tochukwu, Chukwudi Orlando, and Pascal Chukwudi. Others are Victor Ajuluchukwu, Chidindu Madu, Israel Banigo, Junior Ukwenga, Emmanuel Madu, Prince Napoleon, Oluwaseun Taro, Taye Oche, Olaniyi Jejelola, Feinard Ahmed Abokede, N. Obomate, Michael Joel Okoro, Kabiru Nosiru Olumide, Ishola Kehinde and Jones Adefolahan Adepoju. Oyekale said yesterrday that the players will train three times daily in order to catch up

on lost time and due to the peculiar nature of five-a-side football, which is highly technical and also feeds on endurance level. The winner of the fixture between Nigeria and Gabon will proceed to the final stage of the qualifiers, to play the winner of the fixture between Tunisia and Egypt, no doubt the best two futsal playing nations in Africa. This year’s FIFA Futsal World Cup will hold in Thailand between 2nd – 18th November.

Principal Cup: LUBCON rewards winners with N1m, computers From Olanrewaju Lawal, Iloin


UBCON has rewaded the winner of the 2012 LUBCOM Principals Cup Football Competition and other participants with N1miilion, set of computer system, generator set while 14 school principals and games masters involved in the competition were each given N300,000 among other gifts. Ansarul Islam Secondary School,Moloko in Ifelodun Local governmnet defeated Barakat Community Secondary,Ilorin with 5-2 to emerge champions. The third place went to Community Secondary School,Oke-Oyi in Ilorin East local government after beaten Christ Comprehensive High School,Erin-Ile with panalty shoot after the game ended in 2-2. It would be recalled that secondary schools from seven zones which make up the the 16 local government areas in Kwara state participated in the competition. Other items distributed to the participants include free Tshirt, face caps, 20 pieces each for players, one set of jesey for the eight schools and 1000 exercise books fo each school. While speaking with Peoples Daily Sports, the Group Managing Director of the company, Mr. Simieo Owojaiye described the competition as way of engaging Nigeria youths in creative ventures as well as boost grassroots talent discovery. He noted that the company was majorly concern about the development of the youth through education and sport stressing that it would continue to render its service to humanity. The Kwara state Commissioner for Sport, Barrister Kayode Towoju lauded the company for resurrecting the competition which he said more than 250 secondary schools participated.



NTF hopeful referee will officiate in int’l tourneys Ikhana welcomes


he Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) says the participation of some Nigerian referees at the recent international referees’ course will facilitate their officiating in major competition. Jonathan Nnaji, the NTF President, said on Wednesday in Lagos that successful referees who passed the test, would be certified to officiate in international competitions. It would be recalled that no fewer than 30 Nigerian Taekwondo referees participated in the international course organised by the World Taekwondo Federation held in Abuja from April 17 to April 20. “This is the opportunity we have been

waiting for, and I know that at the end of the day, our referees will be certified as international referees and can now officiate in international competitions,” he said. Nnaji said that the objective of the course was to update the knowledge of the referees on the latest rules and those successful in the exams conducted would be certified as international referees. “I am certain that a large number of our referees will be successful, because they were really committed in the practical and theory classes before the exam proper,” he added. According to him, the presence of Nigerian referees in international

competitions will encourage athlete’s performance and also protect their interest if officiating is influenced. Nnaji said that the programme had WTF referees and officials from Egypt and South Korea as the resources persons and had 105 participants from different countries. He expressed satisfaction with the turnout of Nigerian referees and noted that their success would create an opportunity for them to be included in the WTF referees committee. The president said that the course had also enriched the Nigerian referees in the use of modern equipment, as well as updated their knowledge on current rules of the WTF.

Ndubuoke urges NPL not to neglect welfare of teams


gain, no Nigerian was included in the list of referees and assistants that FIFA released to officiate at the 2012 London Olympics men’s and women’s football tournaments. Nine Africans figure on the list of the 84 officials from 36 countries, who will take charge of the events beinh held between July 27 and August 12. Six African officials will preside in the men’s football tournament. They are: referees: Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Slim Jedidi (Tunisia); linesmen: Jason Joseph Damdoo (Seychelles), Angesom Ogbamariam (Eritrea), Béchir Hassani (Egypt), Sherif Hassan (Egypt). The three others will officiate in the women’s football tournament: referees: Therese Raissa Neguel (Cameroon); linesmen: Tempa Ndha (Benin), Lidwine Pelagie Rakotozafinoro (Madagascar). Gabon, Morocco, Egypt and Senegal will represent Africa in the men’s tournament while Cameroon and South Africa are the only two representatives for Africa in the women’s tournament.

matches, usually affects the output of the visiting teams because of fatigue. “A club playing in Maiduguri has to travel by road for two days, no domestic flight arrangement for teams to travel across the country for their matches. “In other countries, you see teams flying to league venues but here it is a different story,”the Heartland of Owerri General Manager said. Ndubuoke disclosed that Heartland players were seriously preparing for their continental engagement against Leopold FC of Congo, scheduled for the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, on Sunday.


uper Falcons’ Chief Coach, Kadiri Ikhana, says that the appointment of Samson Unuanel as his assistant would help to strengthen the team in achieving its aims. Unuanel, who currently the Ocean Boys Manager and is expected to combine the two assignments as approved by the NFF, was appointed on April 18 Ikhana said that working with Unuanel would help the team to achieve the desired success. “I am delighted to start working with him (Unuanel) and I appreciate the NFF for granting my request of appointing him as assistant coach. We hope to achieve and also surpass the targets together and we are going to utilise this combination to the fullest.’’ According to Ikhana, the NFF’s target is for him to win the gold at the 2012 and subsequent two editions of the African Women’s championships in Equatorial Guinea. “The NFF also expected us to win the gold at the 2015 All Africa Games in CongoBrazzaville and reach the semifinals at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.” He added that the NFF, among others, also mandated the team to qualify Nigeria for the female football event of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

NVBF, FIVB plan talent hunt programme London 2012: Athletics... he Nigeria Volleyball Federation their position.


(NVBF) said it had reached agreement with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to organise a talent hunt programme to discover young players. Patrick Abobi, the Secretary of NVBF, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme was also in collaboration with the Confederation of Africa Volleyball (CAVB). Abobi said the federation was committed to discovering younger players who could represent the country at competitions. He said the FIVB and CAVB had given the federation some equipment which would be distributed to 20 secondary schools, adding that schools from the 36 states would be invited for the programme. “We are going to use this platform to identify talents and nurture them because when the older players can no longer play, these young ones would have graduated to

“It is also part of our developmental programme that we concentrate on the sport at the grassroots, especially for students in secondary schools,” Abobi said. He said a date for the “Catch them Young” programme would be fixed after schools had resumed properly, noting that only a few of them had resumed for the third term. Abobi said games masters and mistresses would also be involved in the programme which would have Russians as Resource persons. They will teach them about the changing trends in the sport. “The programme will not focus on the students alone but on games masters and mistresses to ensure they know the changing trends in the sport and how to handle young volleyball players,” he said. Abobi disclosed that the federation would also plan competitions among the schools that would participate in the programme.

No Nigerian as nine African refs listed for London Olympics Aminu Maigari, NFF president

Fabrice Muamba, had sudden cardiac arrest while playing an FA Cup match

because we lacked the requisite health support services at our league venues to handle such emergencies. “In this country, we don’t take such things as health seriously, we hope the authorities will take things more seriously. If you have a league that has no sponsors, no kobo comes into the league,”he said. Ndubuoke decried the hardship NPL clubs had had to endure, in the course of travelling across the length and breadth of the country to honour their league engagements. He said that the rigours of embarking on excruciating road trips to honour league

Ahmed Maude, Nigerian referee


an Ndubuoke, the General Manager of Heartland FC of Owerri, has urged the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), to pay close attention to the welfare of clubs and players. Ndubuoke said that the Fabrice Muamba saga in England should serve as a note of warning to the NPL. He stated that if the authorities in the English Premier League (EPL) had not put the necessary machinery in place, Muamba would have died from the cardiac arrest attack he suffered. The general manager blamed the perceived distortions in the operations of the NPL on the absence of a title sponsor which had made it very difficult for most clubs to meet up their obligations to clubs. “I don’t think Muamba would have survived his ordeal if it were to be in Nigeria,

Unuanel’s appointment

Continued from page 47 who were on their pre-selection list was also omitted. They also left out this year’s Boston Marathon winners, Wesley Korir and Daegu bronze medallist, Sharon Cherop who was among the dozen pre-selected. “It wasn’t an easy task picking the team since the expectation of Kenyans was for instance Marathon record holder Makau, New York champion Mutai to feature but with time the two could not make it,” Kiplagat expressed. In the men’s race, Kenya who are out to defend the title won in Beijing by the late Olympic record holder Samuel Wanjiru will see Kirui, who has bagged the last two world titles make his Olympics debut alongside Kipsang who has exploded onto the scene since last fall. He laid the marker by falling four seconds short of Makau’s 2:03:38 world record at last year’s Frankfurt Marathon and last Sunday, he was shy by a similar margin in London as Mutai’s 2:04:40 survived his spirited assault. In the women’s event, the country will hope that Keitany, who charged to her second successive London Marathon crown in a national record of 2:18:37 will team up with her bridesmaid Kiplagat and third finisher, Jeptoo to land a maiden Olympics marathon gold. Twice silver medallist, Catherine Ndereba, still holds the standard at the event but after wresting back the world title in Daegu last year, selectors are optimistic the London trio can replicate the performance when they return to the city in the summer. Besides Cherop, Berlin Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat and Lydia Cheromei, who placed fifth at this year’s Dubai race in January, will miss the London party. However, there is a slim window of hope for those who missed out before the team leaves for the Olympics in July. “We can still pick one more athlete before the June 23 deadline as part of the reserve just in case any of the six dropped out due to injury as we await a full report on (G) Mutai and Patrick Makau,” Kiplagat said.


You dropped off the radar somewhat after retiring from the professional game, so can you tell how us you ended up on the River Plate coaching staff? It was unexpected. Matias (Almeyda) rang me at half past one in the morning, on the weekend that River’s relegation was confirmed, and offered me a place on his coaching staff. It was fantastic! I got on very well with him (when we were part of the Argentina squad) at the 1998 World Cup and, though we weren’t close friends, we’d always have a chat whenever we saw each other. I’ve been very happy ever since this opportunity came about and every day I’m discovering more and more about el mundo River (River Plate’s world), which is really impressive. What’s it like coaching young goalkeepers? I learn from them too. You have to adapt to their freshness, their spontaneity and the lively exchange of ideas. They ask me things about my past but I never use myself as an example. With this generation, the worst thing you can do is go around boasting about what you’ve done over your career. These lads have more talent than me, as I was a keeper with very limited ability. I was a late developer, which is why I didn’t get a move to Europe until I was 28. These guys, if they’re committed enough, can go much further.


You must be mentally tough to be a goal-keeper, says World Cup winning Roa

Do you think young players today are different to in your day? Possibly. In today’s chaotic world, some of them think that they have to get everything right now: play in the top flight, have the right car and make a name for themselves. And they want it all without making sacrifices. My generation had to really struggle to make it, which is something I value and a message I try to get across. You’ve got to be prepared to make small sacrifices to achieve big things. Things like having a quiet weekend, eating right and getting enough rest. There are a lot of temptations out there but fortunately the lads in my group are very focused. In terms of the goalkeeper’s role itself, do you think personality or technical ability is more important? I don’t know who invented this saying, but it’s very simple: ‘When the ball’s going wide, don’t knock it in, and when it’s going in, keep it out.’ There’s no more to it than that. You might have a keeper who’s spectacular but if he’s going to let in ones that he should be keeping out then that’s no use at all. I like keepers who are solid, serious and with a strong personality. Your fellow ex-Argentina keeper, German Burgos, once said you have to be a bit crazy to be a good goalkeeper. Would you agree? You have to have a certain personality, definitely (laughs). More than anything, you need to be the kind of guy who can bounce back from adversity. It’s a really thankless position and you’ve got 40,000 people ready to insult you if you make a mistake. And you’ve got the fans a couple of metres away, not like outfield players who are moving around all the time and can quickly make up for their mistakes. Keepers have to wait for another attack before they can redeem themselves, so the most important thing is to be mentally strong. In your opinion, who are the best keepers around at the moment? It’s hard to choose, but I’ve always admired Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes over in Spain. Even back when I was still keeping goal for Mallorca (Editor’s note: Roa left the club after the 2001/02 campaign) they already looked like quality goalkeepers. It’s no mean feat spending so many years as No1s at those clubs and winning every trophy around: they’re examples to follow. Here in Argentina, the keepers currently in the national squad are great players too. Sticking with the national squad and we cannot fail to mention your most memorable match with La Albiceleste: the Round of 16 clash with England at France 1998. It felt like that game went on for two days! It started in the evening and pretty much went on until the next day. It was a pulsating match and had absolutely everything. It’s always special taking on England, who are historical rivals of ours. And even though people say some things don’t matter, everything plays a part. My family called me after that game and told me how on edge everyone was before the decisive penalty and the explosion of joy when I saved it. I’d have liked to have been at home at the same time to witness all that. Did you have a feeling you’d save one? After the final of the Copa del Rey (in 1998) against Barcelona (Editor’s note: Roa made three saves in Mallorca’s 5-4 penalty shootout defeat), I was tagged as a penalty specialist but I wasn’t. I remember [then Argentina coach] Daniel Passarella came up to me at the end of the game [against England], patted me on the back and said that ‘we have to win on penalties, right?’ He put a 5,000kg weight on my shoulders! I remember going to my goal thinking ‘Oh no, what if we lose on penalties. The guy’s just told me I have to save them, but what if I don’t? It felt like the night was going to swallow me up!’ Thank God everything turned out ok. That game was a huge boost for my career. However, when you were later offered the chance to join Manchester United, you turned them down and subsequently retired for religious reasons. Looking back, is that something you regret? It was a very difficult decision for me to take when I was at the peak of my career, though I was convinced that I was doing the right thing for me and my family. If you look at it in footballing terms it wasn’t a good move: coming back later on wasn’t easy at all. Even now I get people stopping me in the street and telling me I let them down, that I made them cry, which is harsh. When you’re in the public eye you’re under close scrutiny. But I wouldn’t say that it was a bad decision in every way. After that happened, it

Carlos Roa

really opened my eyes to some things in my life. Such as being surrounded by hangers-on? Yes, that happened to me. That’s why I say that it was helpful, as it gave me the chance to change certain things surrounding me, issues that wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise. It’s disappointing when you see how close friends or relatives who were once at your side are no longer there – it’s not what you expect. But it also makes you realise you can’t trust everyone and you need to think carefully before every step you take. What was that like? I was at Albacete then, I felt perfectly fine and there was even talk about breaking back into the national team. But that relapse was incredibly difficult to take. What’s the toughest part of going through something like that? The fact that you know it’s out of your hands. When you’re told you’ve got cancer, it’s very tough. Mine was testicular and it was made clear to me that it was treatable and I was going to be fine. I was given a 95 per cent chance [of overcoming it], but you can’t help but go over the other five per cent chance in your mind. It’s an awful disease, it eats you alive. It wasn’t easy for my family to see me losing weight and my hair. It transforms your body completely. But anyway, being a believer and having faith in God really helped me. Is there anything you can take from such a terrible experience? Sometimes as people we go through situations that make us reexamine a lot of things in our lives. It calmed me down a lot. I used to be hyperactive, a perfectionist, and what for? I’m not saying that being that way didn’t have its rewards, but your life on Earth is over in an instant and you have to enjoy it. Now I’m less full-on, calmer and I try and put others first.

To say Carlos Roa has faced obstacles over the course of his life and professional career would be a huge understatement, with the former Argentina No1, whose star shone brightest for Mallorca and La Albiceleste in the late 1990s, alternating sporting success with immense personal setbacks. Now 42, the Santa Fe-born ex-shotstopper overcame such varied and testing challenges as malaria, testicular cancer and even a brief retirement from the game for religious reasons. Currently working as goalkeeping coach at Buenos Aires giants River Plate, Roa touched on all of these lifechanging events and more in an exclusive interview with

You have to have a certain personality…you need to be the kind of guy who can bounce back from adversity….Keepers have to wait for another attack before they can redeem themselves, so the most important thing is to be mentally strong.



Super Eagles: Home and foreign-based controversy play that it was a regrettable endeavour ferrying them home at an outrageous cost to the nation. And yet, not a few also adduced the often nonsensical display from the home-based players during the few instances that they were given opportunities to justify reliance of their services for international campaigns. However, this later point of argument has been moderated lately by the scintillating performance of a set of homed-based Eagles. The home-based here defines as players drawn exclusively from the domestic league. Against the eventual winners of the 2012 Nations Cup, a couple of them put on trial justified their inclusion and when the entire bunch became the focus of the critical klieg light against Angola they radiate a certain winsome aura but were

even to shine like a million stars when they twinkled and awed the Lone Stars of Liberia. And neither the confidence nor dexterity with which they attended to their business showed any sign of depression when against o v e r w h e l m i n g expectation only a handful were handed shirts to file out against the Amavubi of Rwanda. So heartwarming a performance they put up that many lashed out at Head Coach Stephen Keshi for giving greater consideration to their foreign-based colleagues who, as their custom is, were non-committal and therefore were devoid of creativity and brilliance. Since then, the call for the coaches to out rightly dispense with the foreignbased has reverberated with recurrent resonance, indeed as had been the disputation over the foolery of adopting such

So blend is inevitable. What is important is the character and vision of the man driving the rebuilding processes. Keshi must dream, aspire, project and craft a squad that reflects and indeed imbibe his vision in order to buy into the greater national aspirations and targets.

Catherine Ndereba, leads the women pack Wilson Kiplagat

By Patrick Andrew

London 2012: Athletics Kenya omits London, Boston marathon champions from Games champion Mary Keitany, world champion Edna Kiplagat and world silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo were each selected for the Games. Geoffrey Mutai, winner of the New York and Boston marathons last year and Emmamuel Mutai, who won in London last year but finished seventh on Sunday, were excluded from the men’s team although they had been included on a provisional list released this year. Samuel Wanjiru, who plunged to his death from the first floor balcony of his home last year after his wife found him in bed with another woman,

won Kenya’s first men’s marathon gold in Beijing four years ago. Athletics Kenya will name the men’s 10 000 team for the Games on June 2 at the Prefontaine Diamond LeagueMeeting in Oregon while the remainder of the team will be named on June 23 after the final trials. “We have selected the athletes based on their individual performances after the major Marathon races they had participated in this season with a lot of emphasis on experience,” AK President Isaiah Kiplagat told a packed media conference.

Patrick Makau, out


orld marathon record holder Patrick Makau was left out of the Kenyan men’s team named yesterday for the London Olympics after he failed to finish last Sunday’s London Marathon. Not so the winers of Sunday’s race, Wilson Kiplagat and twice world champion Abel Kirui, who finished sixth, but the federation selected him ahead of Makau to represent Kenya in London along with Moses Mosop who finished third in the Rotterdam Marathon this month. Kipsang set the second fastest time ever when he clocked two hours three minutes 42 seconds in Frankfurt last October. Makau set his world record of 2:03:38 in Berlin in the previous month. The first three woman home in Sunday’s race; defending


The selection of Mosop, who finished third at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:05:02, was perhaps the surprise inclusion in a squad that was whittled down from 12 probables named by the federation in January. “If you look at the time posted by Mosop, although he was third in Rotterdam he has done much better than most athletes as well as Kipsang who was four seconds shy of the record in London hence we believe this is the best team to represent us in London,” Kiplagat noted of last year’s Boston runner-up who breezed to 2:03:06. London will add to his

Moses in


t’s not exactly the chicken and the egg controversy, which has defies definitive answer, humans not being God and therefore lacking divine wisdom. But controversy it is. Lately, controversy has raged over who, between the foreign and homed-based players, should be relied upon by the technical crew of the Super Eagles to prosecute the World and Nations Cup qualifiers. No, it’s not just mere enthusiasts and therefore pedestrian followers of the game that have lent their voices to the debate; coaches, exi n t e r n a t i o n a l s , a d m i n i s t r a t o r s , politicians and sports journalists, have taken turns to pontificate on the subject depending on each person’s aptitude for jealousy in regard to the Eagles. And their views are not straight jacketed kind of positions for some are laced with seemly appropriate technical logic, while others merely but passionately draw conclusions from their past painful experiences where the foreign-based had shown so much complacency and been lackadaisical in their

h a r s h measure. One is attempted, on the basis of p r e v i o u s heartaches engendered by the flawed performances of the foreignbased players, to lend support to this later position. You know the game generates no little expression that reminds something barely a passion and anything that that they are with us here, handful in the possession intentionally or not abroad. of their domestic league inadvertently hurt one’s These are regulars, even colleagues. passion is hardly treated super regulars, and given So blend is inevitable. with kid gloves. the facilities and What is important is the This is no different. Their exposures that their oyibo character and vision of arrogance, disdain for the land-based colleagues the man driving the public feeling whenever have would compete rebuilding processes. they erred and often their favourably if not more Keshi must dream, aspire, insistence on being paid with them. After all these project and craft a squad princely bonuses even so-called foreign-based that reflects and indeed when they failed to meet heroes were largely imbibe his vision in order minimum expectation products from the same to buy into the greater sears the already bleeding local scene with all national aspirations and heart. Naturally, one noticeable frailties. targets. wants to knap them off like The point though is That should be the aim, chip flake. Not in this that we are rebuilding a not what league the instance. team from the wreckages player plies his trade in Granted, only less than of the 2011 Nations Cup because some of the half a dozen from the legion squad, which was almost greatest aces have been of Nigerian foreign-based absolutely exogenous drawn from the local players are known to play squad. To rebuild, we scenes and as well quite a week-in-week-out for their need all whether foreign number of household respective clubs. Yes, may or domesticbased soccer stars are products be Yakubu Aiyegbeni, players. Yes, experience of the advanced leagues. Peter Odemwingie, Victor is vital so is youthful The latter mostly lure Moses, John Micheal e x u b e r a n c e , hitherto relatively Obinna, Kalu Uche, commitment, dedication, unknown precocious Nnamdi Oduamadi, while and hunger for success. from the ashes of the rest are on the fringes The foreign-based in the obscurity to polish and of the reserved bench. past may have lacked a transform often not the Not so the local boys. good chunk of these traits, skill but the person. That Please pardon my exhibited disdain for is simply repackaging the deployment of local, it’s patriotic fervour, but they person to better display not meant to be have international and sell his talents, derogatory but merely exposure, experience period!

Heartland appeal FA decision


ederation Cup champions, Heartland have appealed against the decision of the Organising and Disciplinary Committee of the Imo State FA which on Monday imposed fines and also ordered a replay of the FA Cup match against the Police Machine. learnt that Heartland established five grounds to fault the committee’s decision which prompted the immediate appeal against the ruling. Heartland claimed there were proven evidences before the committee that the encroachment of the Police Machine coach, Patrick Awaja and other officials onto the pitch while Heartland were about to take a penalty forced disruption and abandonment of the game.

The Premier League club alleged that the instigation of the Police Machine officials on their players to leave the pitch was against the rules of football. The Naze Millionaires held that the presence of armed policemen who came with the Police Machine team within the perimeter fence incensed the atmosphere and intimidated Heartland. Heartland maintained that the records at Imo State FA provided clear proof that the goalkeeper of the Police Machine, Franklin Moghalu had not been cleared from his last club, Owerri United by the time he played against the Owerri landlords. Heartland queried the imbalance on the fines slammed on both teams when it was

established by the committee that the opponents, the Police Machine were the ones who first encroached on the pitch and disrupted the game. Heartland expressed dismay that the committee went beyond the case tabled before it by deliberating on their Head of Protocol, Tonnex Chukwu when nobody fingered him as having encroached on the pitch. The quarterfinals tie at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri was 1-0 in favour of Police Machine before the 82nd minute penalty awarded to Heartland which led to the disruption and eventual abandonment. Heartland are therefore asking that the Imo State FA award the game against the Police Machine to them.

extended run on the national team that started at the 2002 World Cross in Dublin where he finished tenth in the junior race as well as mark his second Olympics appearance following a seventh finish over 10,000m in Athens eight years ago. The runner known as ‘Engine Kubwa’ (Big Engine) has won his country bronze (10,000m) at the Helsinki Worlds in 2005 as well as senior race silver at the Mombasa 2007 World Cross. AK overlooked World record holder Patrick Makau who registered a DNF in London, the New York champion and 2010 Boston winner Geoffrey Mutai who also did not cut the tape in Boston, and London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai

Continued on page 42

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE The ffir ir st vir tue is to rrestr estr ain irst virtue estrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right — Cato the Elder

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012


LA TEST LATEST UEFA pardon Terry to lift CL trophy


he Union of European Football Associations, (UEFA) has confirmed that Chelsea captain John Terry will be able to lift the Champions League trophy and collect his medal should the Blues beat Bayern Munich. Terry is suspended for the final at the Allianz Arena on May 19 following his red card against Barcelona in Tuesday's semi-final second leg at the Camp Nou. However, despite having to watch the match from the stands, UEFA has confirmed Terry would be able to join in with any post-match celebrations. A statement read: "If Chelsea wins the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, John Terry will be allowed to lift the trophy and collect the medal." Terry was shown a straight red card during the first half of the semi-final against Barcelona when he kneed Alexis Sanchez in the back. Despite the setback, tenman Chelsea went on to record a 2-2 draw to book their place in the final, but Terry apologised to the fans for his actions. "It does look bad on the replay," he said. "I raised my knee but hopefully the people out there who know me, know I'm not that kind of player. "At the time I was bewildered, but looking at the replay it looks a red card. On a personal note, of course (it hurts I miss the final), but we deserve to be in the Champions League final. I really hope that doesn't take away from this win." European football's governing body has the power to extend the punishment, which would apply to next season's European Super Cup and possibly early Champions League or Europa League matches.

UEFA President Michel Platini


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Benue’s opaque budget


e continue our analysis of the budgets of the state governments with the North-Central state of Benue. Bordered by Nasarawa state to the north, Taraba state to the east, Ebonyi and Cross River states to the south, and Kogi state to the west, Benue state was created on the 13th February, 1976, when Benue-Plateau state was separated into Benue and Plateau states by the Murtala-Obasanjo administration. Benue state is acclaimed to be the nation’s food basket because of its rich and diverse agricultural endowments which include yam, rice, beans, cassava, potatoes, soybeans, sorghum, millet and coco yam. The state produces over 70% of Nigeria's Soya-beans and is home to one of the longest river systems in the country - River Benue, which has the potential for viable fishing and tourism industries complete with festivals similar to the one in Argungu. The river has the potential to generate electricity, to support dry season farming through irrigation and improved transportation through inland waterways. There are also proven reserves of solid minerals like Limestone, Gypsum, Anhydride, Kaolin, Salt, Lead and Zinc, Clay, Coal, Calcite, Gemstones and Magnetite. The Benue Basin has proven quantities of natural gas and there is the likelihood of crude oil as well. The state has many tourism assets like Ushongo Hills, Ikwe Holiday Resort, Enemabia Warm Springs, Dajo Pottery, Tiv Anger Weavers and many traditional festivals. The traditional music and dances of the state attract thousands of Nigerians and foreigners, with potentials for significant development. With a land mass of 34,059 sq km, Benue state had a population of 4,223,641 in 2006 - now estimated at nearly five million a little above the population of Congo and more than twice the population of Botswana. Abdullahi Shelleng was the first military governor of the state (March1976-July 1978). Aper Aku was the first democratically elected governor under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and served from October 1979 to December 1983. More recent governors are George Akume (May 1999- May 2007) and Gabriel Suswam. Suswam holds an LL.B from the university of Lagos, a Masters degrees in Law from the University of Jos, and in Public Administration from the University of Abuja. He was a twotime member of the House of

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Benue Gov. Gabriel Suswam Representatives, and began his first term as governor in May 2007. According to the NBS poverty profile 2012 based on data up to 2010, of the population of the North Central zone, 61.9% is relatively poor, 57.4% is absolutely poor, 38.6% is food poor - an irony indeed for a zone with such generous agricultural endowments. Benue’s poverty incidence is high at 36%, which means that more than one out of every three persons is poor: as opposed to one in seven for Lagos, and more than half - 58% in Yobe state. Benue’s unemployed population is a whopping 25.4% or more than one in every four working age person is unemployed, as opposed to neighboring Plateau’s 14% and FCT’s 13%, and above the national

average of 21.1%. Benue state has one of the highest incidences of HIV infections in the country, accounting for about one out of every eight infections nationally. So what should Benue state be doing in the face of these endowments and challenges? Education is one of the key indices to measure state government effectiveness. It should be investing a large percentage of its budget on improving public education. The government must deliver affordable and quality healthcare. It should also invest in key infrastructure to attract investors to its agricultural, fishing, tourism and mining sectors. It should address the needs of its farmers for title to land, rural roads, storage facilities and Argo-processing capacity. Are the authorities doing that? We were unable to obtain the detailed budget of Benue state anywhere. Even members of state assembly contacted were reluctant to provide more than sectoral summaries. Gabriel Suswam had on the 22nd December, 2011 presented a budget of N105.5 billion to the state House of Assembly for the 2012 fiscal year. The budget would be financed with N59.9 billion from FAAC, N15.2 billion as IGR and N30.3 billion from other sources - meaning loans and grants-in-aid. Typically Benue received about N40 billion every

Of the total budget sum, N58 billion amounting to 52% is earmarked for recurrent expenditure, and N54 billion, about 48% is set aside for capital expenditure. This means that this rural state is spending much more on running the government than securing the future of its citizens

year from FAAC, so the amount expected this year is a bit optimistic. However, after review by the House of Assembly, the budget figure was scaled up by N7 billion, bringing the total figure to N112 billion. In terms of federal allocations between 1999 and 2008, of the total N3.7 trillion allocation that has been distributed amongst the 19 Northern states, Benue received N203.4 billion, making it the 6th largest beneficiary. Of the total budget sum, N58 billion amounting to 52% is earmarked for recurrent expenditure, and N54 billion, about 48% is set aside for capital expenditure. This means that this rural state is spending much more on running the government than securing the future of its citizens. It should scale capital investment to closer to 70%, and reduce recurrent spending accordingly. The sectoral breakdown of the budget shows the following structure; N34,406,400,000 (30.72%) for the Works and Transport sector, N14,336,000,000 (12.8 %) for the Finance ministry pay loans and set up effective revenue generation mechanisms; 4.82% or N5,376,000,000 for Agriculture, Water Resources got 9.1% or N10,192,000,000. The Rural Development ministry was allocated N11,670,400,000 or 10.42%, and the Health sector was allocated N4,592,000,000 or 4.01%. Judging from the distribution of the budget, these figures alone, one is inclined to question the spending priorities of the Suswam administration. The largest allocation of N34,406,400,000 or 30.72% of the budget is set aside for works and transport sector. In addition, the state House of Assembly approved a Fixed Rate Development Bond Issue 2011/ 2016 of N13 billion for the state. Listed in March 2011, the fiveyear, 14% coupon rate bond proceeds are for the completion of roads and other projects like water supply in Makurdi, Otobi and Katsina-Ala. Questions remain though - how much of the N34.4 billion is from the proceeds of the N13 billion bond that will need to be paid back over a five-year period? How much of the N13 billion bond has been spent so far, and what was it spent on? Benue citizens probably know these answers. It is indeed a paradox that while Benue state is endowed with one of Nigeria’s biggest rivers with very good water traffic, the citizens live in perpetual water shortage. Regarding River Benue, one would Contd. on Page 35

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