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Vol. 8 No. 68

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

. . . putting the people first

Shaaban 7, 1433 AH


Shettima to Mark: Nigeria won’t break up By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


orno state Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said Nigeria will never break up along religious lines, in

spite of the incessant bombings by the Boko Haram sect. Shettima, in a veiled response to the remarks by Senate President David Mark on Monday that Nigeria may break

up if Boko Haram is not checked, also called on Nigerians to learn to live together in peace. Speaking yesterday at the on-going Senate retreat in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom state capital,

Shettima, who chaired one of the technical sessions on “National Assembly and Contemporary Security Challenges,” held behind closed doors, also called on states to collaborate with one

another in the fight against terrorism. According to him, “my appeal to Nigerians is that we must learn to live together. God Contd on Page 2

Jonathan fires NNPC top shots Oniwon taken unawares Yakubu is new GMD By Aminu Imam & Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sacked the top management of the


Andrew Yakubu

Gunshots rock Kano, Damaturu >> PAGE 2

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in a move that is expected to overhaul the nation’s oil and gas sector. Similarly, the President yesterday appointed a new

OUT Austen Oniwon

Managing Director (MD) for the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) after elevating the immediate past MD to the position of Group Executive Directive in the NNPC, all of which were in line with the planned transformation of the sector. A statement signed by President Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said the immediate past Group Executive Director (GED), Exploration and Production of the Corporation, Engineer Andrew Yakubu has been appointed to replace Engineer Austen Oniwon as the new Group Managing Director of the NNPC. The new NNPC boss graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in 1979 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He joined the NNPC in 1980. The positions he held in the Corporation include Managing Director of the Warri Contd on Page 2

The new National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki after his first official meeting with Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Asset declaration: CSO threatens to sue Jonathan

Saraki is not dead, say associates

>> PAGE 4

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20 jostle for Unilorin VC slot >> PAGE 7




Gunmen attack Kano, Damaturu


Stories from Edwin Olofu, Kano























nknown gunmen yes terday evening at tacked police formations in Kano metropolis causing pandemonium in the city. Our correspondent gathered that at about 6.30pm, gunmen arrived the Dala Police Station and opened fire on the policemen on guard while hurling

explosive at them at the same time. The situation caused panic among residents of the area as they scampered for safety. Unconfirmed report has it that the gunmen attacked the police outpost in Goron Dutse as well as a station in Panshekara area. Residents who spoke on condition of anonymity said they

saw the death bodies of some policemen as well as civilians during the attack. The incident left many residents scared and many remained indoors as all the major streets were deserted. When contacted, the Kano state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Rilwanu Mohammed Dutse said he heard the story but was trying to get to the DPO of

Dala Division and calls were not going through, adding however, that the situation was under control. Unconfirmed reports also indicated last night that gunshots were heard in some parts of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital. Some residents contacted said they heard the gunshots but could not confirm the exact position under attack.

I masterminded DIG’s death in Kano, says suspect


man known as Salihu Goni, said to be a family associate to late Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sale Abubakar Ningi, has owned up to masterminding the gruesome murder of the retired senior officer alongside two others in Kano few weeks ago. Goni alias Kaka told a team of crack detectives during interrogation that he shared close relationship with the late former police boss, stressing that the closeness put him at a vantage position to hatch and successfully execute the

assasination plot. Goni, 34, was picked up by the police at Hotoro Haye in Kano metropolis and also confessed that he monitored the late officer’s movements and alerted one Gana Bukar also in police net to lay ambush with one other person now at large. “The late DIG has been my benefactor; he had helped me with money, food items during salah celebrations and other festivities, and had been a constant visitor to the house and severally dined with the family”, Goni confessed.

Ningi, a retired DIG was assassinated along with a friend and his driver while returning from his factory at Dakata Sauna Kawaji Industrial Layout outskirts of Kano metropolis on June 5 by unknown gunmen on a motorcycle. The Kano Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris revealed that further investigation has led to the arrest of several other suspects in connection with the murder of the late police officer. Idris disclosed that one Muhammed Tahir, 22, was

arrested at Dandinshe Kurnar Asabe quarters, adding that three cans of improvised explosive devices were recovered from his tailoring shop. He said the suspect also confessed during interrogation to have conspired with several others to launch attacks at Bayero University Kano (BUK) worship centres on April 29, adding that the he also confessed to killing a Customs chief superintendent and staff of Directorate of State Security in Kano penultimate week.

Jonathan fires NNPC top shots

CBN to raise N134.6bn in treasury bills, Page 19

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Contd from Page 1 Refining and Petrochemicals Company. Engr. Yakubu is an indigene of Kaduna state and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. Other appointments approved by the President in the NNPC include those of Mr. Bernard O.N. Otti as GED, Finance and Accounts; Engineer Abiye Membere, who was MD of NPDC as GED, Exploration and Production; Dr. Peter S. Nmadu, GED, Corporate Services; as well as Engineer Anthony Ogbuigwe as GED, Refineries and Petrochemicals. Also appointed as GEDs by the President yesterday were Dr. Attahir B. Yusuf for the Commercial and Investments Directorate, and Dr. David Ige for Gas and Power. Engineer Victor Briggs is the man appointed yesterday to take charge at the NPDC in place of the new GED, Exploration and Production, Engineer Membere. According to presidential

spokesman, the decisions were taken “to further strengthen the ongoing reforms and transformation of Nigeria’s Petroleum sector, and in furtherance of efforts to achieve greater transparency and accountability in government.” However, a close confidant of the immediate past NNPC boss told one of our reporters last night that the sack notice came as a surprise to Oniwon as it had not been communicated to him by the President until he heard it through a third party. Oniwon, according to our source, was taken unawares by his sack which, according to the source, “he learnt through an unofficial source”. Engr. Oniwon, former GED, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Michael Arokodare, his counterparts in the Refineries & Petrochemicals and Engineering & Technology, directorates of the Corporation, Mr. Philip Chukwu and Engr. Billy Agha, respectively, “are to proceed on retirement”, said the Presidency

statement issued yesterday. President Jonathan, according to the statement, commended the former directors for their service to the nation and urged the new management team to be fully committed to rapidly implementing the critical interventions needed to positively transform the nation’s petroleum industry. Prior to this development, there have been insinuations in industry circles that parastatals under the supervision of the NNPC were carrying out certain illegal operations, with many critics accusing Oniwon of gross incompetence. It would be recalled that the House of Representatives ad hoc committee which probed the fuel subsidy regime came out with startling revelations of large-scale fraud of more than N1 trillion between 2009 and December last year. The report laid much of the blame for the irregularities in the subsidy regime on the NNPC, whose

board is chaired by Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. The Farouk Lawan led ad hoc committee recommended complete overhaul of the board and managements of the NNPC, among other recommendations. Yesterday’s shake up at the NNPC came against the background of discrepancies uncovered in the amount of subsidy claims made by some of oil marketers and the volume of products they imported during the period under investigation, by a verification committee set up by the Federal Ministry of Finance to verify arrears of claims on petrol subsidy for 2011. The committee, headed by the MD/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, which submitted its report to the Coordinati9ng Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday, uncovered overpayments amounting to N430 billion to private oil marketers and importers.

Shettima to Mark: Nigeria won’t break up Contd from Page 1 who created us did not make mistake. If He had wanted, He would have made it in such a way that we all practice one religion. “Our leaders at the various levels of government must also be reminded of the fact that it is not that easy to dismember Nigeria along religious lines. As we speak, of the six States in the South-West, four of the governors are Muslims, and in these states, we have

substantial number of Muslims, tell me, are we going to throw them in the lagoon? Speaking further, he said, “In the north too, we have substantial number of indigenous Christians; are we going to kill all of them? Nigeria is too big for any group of persons to take it to ransom. However, as leaders, we must have the sincerity of purpose, commitment and political will to tackle these problems.”

On his participation at the retreat, the governor said, “Well, the mere fact we were invited to share our experiences is an indication that the Senate appreciates the challenges of insecurity in the state. We briefed them and they have shown willingness to partner with us, to ensure that we find a lasting peace to the security situation confronting the North”. He advocated collaboration

among states in the fight against terrorism, saying that the Federal Government also, must collaborate with states in this direction. “A situation where a crisis broke out in a State, and you treat the State as if it is not part and parcel of the federation called Nigeria, in no distant future, the crisis in one State, could spread to other States, and by which time it becomes difficult to control immediately”, he stated.



Subsidy: Senate summons Okonjo-Iweala, NNPC boss, others By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Senate has issued a fresh summons to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as top oil marketers in respect of its investigation of the fuel subsidy regime.

A statement from the Senator Magnus Abe-led Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance yesterday, said all the invited stakeholders should appear before the committee between Monday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 3, after the Senate retreat currently going on in Uyo, AkwaIbom state. According to the statement,

others invited are the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Reginald Stanley, Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and at least three former PPPRA Executive Secretaries. Also invited are the Chief Executive Officers of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Oando Nigeria Plc, Mr. Wale

Tinubu and Folawiyo Energy. Included on the list of invitees are Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association (DAPPMA). It would be recalled that the Senate probe emanated from a resolution in November last year based on a motion by Senator Bukola Saraki, who raised the alarm on government's extrabudgetary spending on fuel subsidy in 2011.

Kano: Gunmen on motor bikes kill 45 civilians in 3 months From Bala Nasir, Kano


t least 45 people are confirmed by the Kano state police command to have been killed by gunmen riding on motor bicycles in the state capital. The Police Commissioner in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, made this known yesterday during a press briefing at the command’s headquarters in Bompai. He stated that 90 percent of all the victims of this mode of killing were civilians while the rest were security personnel. The commissioner who did not disclose those carrying out the attacks however, explained that the attacks are carried out mostly in sub-urban areas of the state capital.

Obada takes over mantle in Defence ministry By Joy Baba


R-L: Outgoing Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, handing over to Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

he former Minister of Defence Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed has formerly handed over the mantle of leadership to the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada yesterday in Abuja. At a brief handing over ceremony that took place in the Ministry of Defence in Abuja, Dr. Mohammed said he knew there was a lot to be done in the ministry when he took over as minister. He urged the new minister and her team to do their utmost to assist the president in achieving his transformation agenda.

C’ttee warns police against torture Jonathan to deliver keynote address Olugbenga Ashiru, the is not admissible in a court of law. at WCO summit Ambassador of suspects Ameh said most of the complaints of Coordinating Minister for the Economy and By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Chairman of the National Committee against Torture, Dr. Samson Sani Ameh, yesterday warned the Nigeria Police and other security agencies against the use of torture in obtaining information from suspects. Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday to mark the United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the senior advocate said any information obtained under torture

torture received by the committee are against the police and called for appropriate punishment for anybody convicted of torture. He disclosed that the recent insurgency by the Boko Haram sect, which led to the setting up of the Joint Task Force (JTF) constitute a serious challenge to the national committee against torture which was set up in 2009 to eradicate or reduce the incidents of torture to the barest minimum.

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja for Brussels after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) today on a one-day official visit to Belgium. President Jonathan is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Summit of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels tomorrow. The President, who will be accompanied by his wife, the Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Senator Dahiru Kuta and Honourable Chinda Ogundu will also meet with the Nigerian Community in Belgium. He will return to Abuja tomorrow evening. Meanwhile, President Jonathan has congratulated Dr. Mohamed Morsi on his emergence as Egypt’s President-elect following the country’s recent run-off presidential election.

N715m: Herbalist bags 7 years jail for ‘419’ By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday sentenced a 34-year old herbalist, Mathew Sonoma to seven years imprisonment with hard labour for defrauding Ambassador Sam Edem of N715 million. The Warri based herbalist, who will serve the jail term at the Kuje Prisons in Abuja, was convicted for contravening section 7 (2) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act 2006, otherwise known as 419. The herbalist popularly known

as, “Dr. Perebokowe Ogah” was found guilty of duping Edem of N715 million and concealing the amount in a secret account he opened with false name of Tunwere Mathew Ejoor at Oceanic Bank Plc (defunct), Warri branch in Delta state. He was put on trial by the Inspector General of Police on the strength of a petition by Ambassador Edem who was former chairman, Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Giving judgment in the 15count-charge against the convict,

the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole dismissed the claim of the herbalist that the N715 million was a payment for undisclosed services he rendered to his victim. The Judge held that while the complainant paid the amount into the herbalist account in the same Oceanic Bank with his real name of Mathew Sonoma, the convict upon a petition to the police, hurriedly opened a secret account with a false name, Tunwere Ejoor and transferred the money to conceal the source and location of the money.

Justice Kolawole said that from the overwhelming bank documents and evidence of the bank manager, the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the convict had fraudulent intention in transferring the said money to another account under false name during the pendency of police investigation. The court agreed with the prosecution counsel, Mr. Simon Lough that the jailed herbalist got the money from his victim with fraudulent intention since he failed to disclosed the services he rendered to the diplomat that

warranted the payment of the huge sum. Embattled Ambassador Edem had petitioned the Inspector General of Police claiming that he paid the N715 million to the Oceanic Bank account of the convict at Ugheli branch as a loan to the herbalist to enable him execute a business deal. Justice Kolawole however refused to order forfeiture and restitution of the money and other exhibits seized by police from the convict because of the failure of the prosecution to put appropriate evidence before the court.



Insecurity: Yakasai urges Mark to resign over comment From Edwin Olofu, Kano


pecial Assistant to former President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has described the statement attributed to Senate President David Mark as reckless and illconceived, calling on him to resign from his position immediately. Yakasai who was speaking to newsmen in Kano yesterday, said the statement credited to the Senate President means he doesn’t believe in the future of the country and demonstrates that he is not qualified for his current position. The Senate President had in his remarks at the opening of a threeday retreat for Senators in Uyo , Akwa Ibom state, warned that Nigeria may break up if the wanton killings and destruction perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect is not checked. “The Boko Haram insurgency is only affecting 18 local governments in Nigeria out of over 700 local governments I can say 700 are free from this disturbances. Therefore the statement credited to Mark is a betrayal of his lack of grasp of the actual situation in the country. Majority of Nigerians are going about their usual businesses without any hindrance.” Yakasai argued. “For a man who is occupying the number three position in Nigeria, this is a reckless statement ill-conceived, childish and immature…”, Yakasai Argued.

Gaidam commissions mass transit, utility vehicles for schools


obe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam has commissioned a 2-storey building that will accommodate the Secretary to the state Government, the Head of Service and 12 permanent secretaries in the state. The edifice will also accommodate several directors and other supporting staff working under the secretary to the state Government and the Head of service. Also the governor launched 85 mass transit busses procured at the cost of N495 million as well as 58 utility vehicles for secondary schools in the state at the cost of N495 million. Launching the vehicles, Governor Gaidam said the vehicles will assist students participate in other extracurricular activities such as games debates, quiz among other inter-school competitions. On the mass transits, governor Ibrahim Gaidam says will address the difficulties being encounter by commuters by providing mobility support for the road networks his administration is constructing across the state and to serve as source of revenue to the local governments.

By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he head of Investigation and Fraud Management Unit of United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Kayode Agada yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the bank did not know the sources and origin of over N42 million lodged in the bank account of the former Minister of Works, Dr. Hassan Lawal. Testifying as prosecution witness, in the six-count-charge brought against Hassan Lawal and one Adewole Adesanya by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for allegedly laundering N42.5 million found in Lawal’s account, Ajayi told the court that they have no information about the transaction between Lawal and Ambassador Bage who made some of the drafts lodgment. The witness said that the former minister’s bank account that has been in red and arrears in payments of loan advanced to him, suddenly received series of lodgments from 2008 and 2010 when the minister was in office. He said that between October and November 14th, 2008 two lodgments of N3million and N4million cash were made by the accused person. After these two payments, there was another lodgment of N12.5million via a Zenith Bank draft. The witness said that the payment was made by Aisha Okwuboye, a staff of the bank who claimed that the draft was paid by Ambassador Bage. The witness said that he had no idea why Ambassador Bage

Bank denies knowledge of sources of money lodged in Lawal’s account

raised the draft, adding also that Bage also on October 9th, 2009 paid in another draft worth N15 million into Lawal’s account with the UBA through Zenith Bank. Ajayi further told the court that there was no any written authority or oral instruction the UBA gave to the second accused person, Adewale Adesanya who is a former staff of the bank to recover loan from Lawal.

Under cross examination by the Lawal’s counsel, Ibrahim Ishaku (SAN), the witness said it is strange that the 2nd accused person who left the bank 11 months after the alleged fraud took place was asked to recover the loan. He said that he was certain that the bank manager Nkechi Nzeduba did not ask the accused to recover the loan.

DSP Chike Nwibe, an investigator attached to the EFCC, had earlier told the court that while investigating the contract of the Guto-Bagana bridge awarded by Nasarawa state, during Lawal’s tenure as works minister, it was discovered that several entries were made into Lawal’s bank account and it fell short of the requirements of the Money Laundering Act.

R-L: Vice- President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Anambra state governor, Mr. Peter Obi, and Niger state deputy governor, Hon. Musa Ibeto, during the meeting of committee on mass transit, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Asset declaration: CSO threatens legal action against Jonathan

…President not committed to anti-graft war – ACN From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos & Tobias Lengnan Dapam, Abuja


ocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday charged President Goodluck Jonathan to provide information on his assets declaration details between May 2007 and May 2012 and publish same widely on a dedicated website within 7 days. The group threatened legal action against the President should he fail to comply with the request within the stipulated seven-day period. This is coming as the President in a recent Presidential Media Chat broadcast nationally declared that he would not declare his assets publicly as he maintained that he was not under any obligation to do so. According to him, insisting on public declaration of assets may scare some people, especially women, away from taking public offices as they may have to compel their husbands to equally declare their assets. He added “I could be investigated when I leave office; if I must declare my assets publicly, then every public office holders must do same and I don’t think that’s right.”

But, SERAP and many other Nigerians felt otherwise as it maintained in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, that “The disclosure of the information requested will give SERAP and the general public a true picture of the assets of the President from May 2007 to May 2012, and will demonstrate the President’s oftexpressed commitment to transparency and accountability and show that your signing of the FOI was not just a public relation exercise but a public duty done in good faith”. It said Jonathan’s recent statement that he would not publicly declare his asset was a clear violation of the Nigerian Constitution and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a signatory. SERAP said such statement breached the provisions of chapter two of the 1999 Constitution dealing with Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, which requires the government to take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and the abuse of power. “We are also concerned that your statement shows your government’s lack of political will

to lead by example, and to combat the endemic grand corruption which has continued to have corrosive effects on the human rights, in particular economic and social rights of millions of Nigerians. The group insisted that the disclosure of assets was crucial for ensuring that public officials’ personal interests, including that of the President as the leader of the nation, do not conflict with their duties and responsibilities. Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said President Jonathan’s comments on key national issues during his media chat programme last Sunday has exposed his administration’s lack of commitment to fight corruption and end the Boko Haram crisis in the country. “If that programme had been designed to showcase the President’s ability to grapple with key national issues, it only succeeded in achieving the exact opposite, and the programme’s architects must now seriously have a rethink on whether they want to continue to feature their principal on that platform,’’ the party said in a statement yesterday.

The statement which was issued in Lagos by the party’s national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described as unfortunate and poorlythought-through the President’s exhibition of nonchalance when he said he would not publicly declare his assets, adding that with that statement, he has undermined his own administration’s fight against corruption and almost wiped off whatever gains have been made by the country in its continuous battle against the vice. “The President, by refusing to publicly declare his assets, and by doing so with a choice of words that portray arrogance and nonchalance (I don’t give a damn about that), has given the green light to his cabinet members and other government officials to downplay the fight against corruption and to eschew transparency. “Yes, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not mandate public officials to make their assets declaration public. But in a country hobbled by corruption and lack of transparency in governance, public declaration of assets is more an issue of morality and leadership than constitutionality or legality.


Police raid Yola shopping complex, arrest suspects From Blessing Tunoh, Yola


batch of mobile policemen yesterday swooped in on Jimeta Shopping Complex in Yola, the Adamawa state capital and sealed it off barring entrance or exit as they carried out a raid in the complex arresting many in the process. Police sources said the exercise followed a tip off that arm-carrying characters have infiltrated the popular market located at the heart of the state capital, which in recent times has become notorious for broad day light robbery and gun shots. Peoples Daily learnt police ransacked shops in the market and made mass arrests; those arrested were as at press time being screened at the Criminal Investigation Department of the police headquarters with a view to releasing the innocent ones, however, no arms were recovered.

Jonathan to impose legislation on birth control By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has said Nigerians should expect legislation on birth control soon. The President who spoke at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed chairman and 22 commissioners of the National Population Commission (NPC) at the State House, yesterday, however, warned against the use of religion to frustrate the legislation. The NPC is now chaired by the former Managing Director of Nigeria Brewery Plc, Chief Festus Odumegwu. Though Jonathan acknowledged that the issue of birth control is sensitive, he insisted that government will not allow further population explosion in the country as Nigeria’s population now stands at 167 million. “For us to plan properly, we must manage our population, but it is extremely sensitive since we are a religious people... While assuring the NPC members of support, he charged them to immediately commence advocacy programme to sensitize the people on the coming legislation and more importantly, why they should control birth.


Okonjo-Iweala takes custody of oil subsidy verification report make pronouncement soon M

By Abdulwahab Isa

inister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has taken custody of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede committee report on verification of oil subsidy arrears for 2011. Consequently, the minster has begun painstaking study of the report after which she will make pronouncement, her Senior Special Assistant on Media, Paul Nwabiuku confirmed yesterday to our reporter. Nwabiuku confirmed the delivery of report to the ministry

yesterday to our correspondent and said he was not privy to its contents and therefore, could not comment on it. He assured, however, that the minister would make public pronouncements at a yet to be confirmed date. The committee headed by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede was set up by the Federal Ministry of

Finance to verify arrears of claims on petrol subsidy for 2011. The setting up of the committee stemmed from huge claims of request submitted by fuel importers and oil marketers. It would be recalled that the sum of N888 billion was earmarked in 2012 budget for oil subsidy payment, of which N232 billion was to settle arrears arising from 2011 oil imports. The ministry in a recent

Reps task FG on infrastructure By Umar Mohammed Puma


he House of Representatives yesterday urged the Federal Government to as a matter of necessity, make available the needed infrastructure like rail lines, road, power and water, to critical mine sites across the country, and to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Company and Itapke Iron Ore before privatisation, to make vision 20-20-20 realisable. In a motion, Hon. Sadiq Asema Mohammed (PDP Kogi), expressed worry over the increase decay of infrastructure and the neglect of development of agriculture, iron, and steel development, as no serious action on them has been taken since the exit of President Shehu Shagari, in 1983.

Customers queue at First Bank on Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna, when the 24 hour curfew was relaxed yesterday. Photo: NAN

Reps lament loss of billion of dollars to oil bunkering By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday lamented the loss of several billion of dollars annually to the nefarious activities of the oil thieves in the country. The lawmakers also berated the nation’s security agencies for their inability to bring to a halt the business of oil bunkering in the country. Shell Petroleum, one of the oil companies operating in the country, during the investigative public hearing held by the House of Representatives had raised alarm over loss of revenue worth $5 billion yearly and 150,000 barrel per day to oil bunkering by the company. Two days ago, a French ship, MT

Vannassa containing 8.5 million barrels of stolen crude oil was impounded by Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with a private security firm, Global West Vessel Limited anchored in Bonny, Port Harcourt Anchorage, while Nigeria loses about 500,000 barrels per day out of the 2 million bpd approved OPEC quota to oil theft. On its part, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) arrested 30 ships following alert from the Governor of Cross Rivers state and prosecuted 300 Nigerians and 15 Ghanaians, as well as 150 pipelines vandals handed over to the Corps by the Nigerian Army. While declaring the three-day public hearing open, Speaker Aminu

Tambuwal said the unprecedented upsurge in illegal bunkering activities in nation’s coastal region remains one intractable problem facing the country where billions of naira were lost with the security of the country imperiled. The Speaker who was represented by Ahmed Muktar, Deputy Minority Whip, noted that beyond the effects of bunkering on the nation’s petroleum sector, which remains the mainstay of the country’s economy, the activities of illegal bunkering also have far reaching security as well as environmental implications on the nation’s national life. He said “illegal bunkering is one intractable problem facing us. Several billions of naira as well as

10 feared dead in renewed Benue, Ebonyi crisis From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ver 10 persons are reported killed in renewed fighting between the bordering communities of Agila in Ado local government area of Benue state and Ngbo in Ebonyi state. The fighting broke out early hours of yesterday with the Ngbo community allegedly deploying mercenaries into Agila territory and threatening to march into Agila main town.

announcement said it had spent N451billion of the N888 billion on the payment of arrears for 2011. However, while announcing release of capital allocation for second quarter recently, the minister disclosed that additional N17 billion had been released in respect of subsidy payment and disbursement would commence after the submission of AigImoukhuede committee report.

An eye witness who lives at the border said the renewed fighting has forced inhabitants of Ai-Nedu clan in Agila to relocate from the crisis zone into Apa Agila for safety. He narrated how the crisis started stating that some farmers of Ai-Nedu community had gone to carry out their routine farming activities yesterday morning when they were ambushed by over 100 men disguised in military uniform and armed with sophisticated weapons who marched through Ogilolo community.

“The farmers flee on sighting the men but the mercenaries caught up with one Oche Adayi, a father of four and beheaded him. From that point they moved in further, shooting sporadically and killing any living thing within the area; as I speak with you, no one can ascertain the number of dead people because many people are still missing while some are believed to be trapped in the farms”. As at the time of filing this report, the Benue State Security

Council, chaired by the deputy governor, Chief Steven Lawani had convened an emergency meeting to deliberate over the matter. When contacted, the state Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ejike Alaribe, who said that only one death was recorded by the police in the fighting, added that the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Christopher Katso has directed the Area Commander in charge of Otukpo to move to the troubled community to ensure that peace was restored.

security personnel have been lost to the threat, it affects our oil which is the mainstay of the economy and the earlier we got rid of it the better." In his presentation, Mutiu Sunmonu, Shell managing director, described illegal oil bunkering as 'highly syndicate operations' that can not be totally eradicated. He said "it is a highly syndicated operations in which some unscrupulous elements leak information on the companies operation", adding that there was dire need for the intervention of the Joint Task Force to beef up security within the oil producing region. Sunmonu also emphasized the need for government to tackle poverty in the Delta, in the bid to tackle the problem of criminality across the country, just as he stressed the need to "cut off the export market" with the view to reduce illegal oil bunkering. He disclosed that most of the people who engage in illegal oil bunkering are paid in dollars in order to make it attractive, adding that the oil thieves do not load at the two legitimate ports but vandalise oil pipelines. On his part, Olu Abolurin, NSCDC Commandant General called for the intervention of the House in ensuring that adequate sanctions are meted out to offenders arrested and arraigned at the law court.


Katsina NULGE to support govt on revenue generation From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina


he Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE), Katsina state chapter, has pledged to support the government on revenue generation to complement its sources of funds for the payment of the new minimum wage and execution of development projects. The state president of the union, Comrade Aliyu Haruna who made the pledge in an interview with newsmen in Katsina, noted that the union was ready to make its members available for the revenue drive. He added, "our members are ready to support the government in finding ways of increasing its revenue sources. There are a lot of ways that the government can utilise in opening new areas of revenue sources". According to him, the government can similarly improved the already existing sources of revenue which include motor park and market levies, motorcycle and bicycle loans, adding that all leakages of revenue loss should also be blocked. On the fate of the 3,591 dropped staff, the president disclosed that a committee set-up by the government to look into the issue was working round the clock to address their concerns and the possible regularisation of their appointments. He equally clarified that out of some 3000 workers that were recently classified as redundant none of them according to him was sacked as a committee set-up by the government had screened them and reaffirmed their genuineness.


Akingbola’s property: Court condemns EFCC over management From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, yesterday, condemned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the way it has been handling the management of the assets and properties of the former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Dr. Erastus Akingbola, that were attached by the court in December 2009. The embattled bank chief had dragged the commission's chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, to court over moves by the antigraft agency to continue to deny him access to some of his properties.

In her ruling on whether or not the EFCC has power to appoint a manager for the properties, Justice Nyako held that even though the properties have been forfeited to the Federal Government in the interim, the commission cannot unilaterally appoint someone to manage the properties. "Once tied to any specific trial of the applicant, an interim order of forfeiture, the EFCC Acts says they remain in the custody of the commission by virtue of Section 26(3) of the Act. "However, what the law says about forfeited properties is that it should be placed under seal and if for any reason, it is not expedient to do so, the commission should go back to the court for direction as in this case and not to act

unilaterally," the court added. Justice Nyako, while setting aside the management appointed by the EFCC to manage the properties held that the commission is only empowered by the act to put the properties under seal unless otherwise ordered by the court. The judge also barred the applicant, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, from dealing with the properties in any manner whatsoever in pursuance of the order of Justice Abubakar. In an originating summons brought pursuant to order 3 rules 6 and 7 of the court, Akingbola is contending that the attached properties have not been forfeited to the Federal Government. He is equally challenging the

Shrine discovered by police, yesterday at a border town, Iganke, in Ogun state.

Photo: NAN

Police uncover ritualists’ shrine in Ogun


he Ogun state police command said yesterday in Abeokuta that it has uncovered a shrine belonging to ritualists and fraudsters in Iganke, a boundary town with Lagos state. A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who accompanied the police on the raid, reports that the shrine, located deep in a forest was filled with charms and other scary objects.

The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, who supervised the operation, told newsmen later that his men had been on the lookout for shrines and other places where evils are perpetrated. He said the arrest of two members of the group in Abeokuta led to the discovery of the shrine, and attributed the breakthrough to the cooperation and collaboration with various communities in the area.

Okoye said, "One of them tried to dupe someone of huge amount of money, but through intelligent gathering we got to hear about it. "We immediately swung into action and arrested two members of the syndicate, who brought us to this place where they do all kind of things, including rituals and fraud. "Our investigation department is working tirelessly to get to know more about the activities of these people,

and take necessary actions.'' The commissioner further said that the two suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigation into the matter was concluded. NAN recalls that the discovery was the second in three months after a similar shrine was discovered in April at Mosinimi in the Shagamu local government area of the state. (NAN)

propriety of the EFCC in appointing one, E.L. Etudo, as an agent to manage and collect rents, charges or information in respect of the said properties. Akingbola is consequently seeking for a court's declaration that the properties are not forfeited to the Federal Government.

NYSC Foundation to dole out N9.6m to ex-corps members By Albert Akota


he chairman, Board of Trustees of the National Youth Service Corps, (NYSC), Mr. Romi Olowude has said the board has approved N9.6 million for 24 ex-corps who have successfully completed the Skill Acquisition Programme (SAP). The chairman who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a workshop for the Desk Officers of the NYSC Foundation, advocated data bank that is error free and reliable to the minutest detail in connection with the desk officers to ensure information is properly listed. Olowude noted that the desk officer's role will henceforth include full involvement in helping the body in monitoring loan beneficiaries in addition to ensuring that those who default in paying back as at when due are constantly under close observation. "It is necessary for the foundation to have a databank of subscribed members to know who has duly registered as well as paying back what is expected of them to the members. "I am happy to say that just last week the board approved four N400, 000 each to 24 ex-corps member who meritoriously completed the programme", he said. Speaking earlier, Director General of the NYSC, Brig Gen Nnamdi Okore-Affia promised to assist the foundation in order to realise its objectives by ensuring that all corps members subscribe to the membership of the foundation at the end of their service year.

Court orders police to pay N1m as damages to suspect


State High Court in Jos, yesterday, ordered the Nigeria Police to pay N1 million as damages to a suspect, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, the secretary, Kanam Traditional Council. The court also ordered the police to refund N700, 000 said to have been extorted from Abdullahi, who was unlawfully detained and prosecuted for a crime he was not guilty of. Justice Yargata Nimpa of High

Court 4, while delivering judgment on the case of conspiracy, breach of trust and criminal offence, said that the police over-stepped its bounds by extorting N700, 000 from Abdullahi. The court had heard that Abdullahi was arrested in Kanam local government area and taken to the state Criminal Investigation Department where he was forced to "cough out N700, 000 said to be part of N8 million given to one Nafiu Abubakar.

The court further heard that one Mohammed Kabir, proprietor of Al-yusura Primary and Secondary School, Konar Shagari, Jos, was alleged to have given Abubakar, a cousin to the Emir of Kanam, the said money to organise a launching for his school. "But on collecting the money, Abubakar disappeared, thereby, compelling Kabir to alert the police, who went after him. "When he was arrested, Abubakar allegedly mentioned

names of some individuals he claimed he kept part of the money with, including Abdullahi. When the police arrested Abdullahi, he was compelled to return the N700, 000 as part payment of the said N8 million. He was also said to have been under detention and trial for five years until Wednesday's judgment that set him free and awarded the N1million damage to him over "breach of his fundamental human right and extortion".

Angered by the detention, Abdullahi then sued the police through his counsel, Mr. Simon Tsok. In his judgment, Nimpa declared that the police had no constitutional powers to collect debt for people or to extort money from individuals. "I hereby award N1million as damage in favour of the applicant against the respondent, who must also refund the N700, 000 collected from him (applicant) within 14 days from today", Nimpa declared. (NAN)



20 jostle for Unilorin VC slot From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


head of October 16, 2012 when the outgoing ViceChancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Ish’aq Oloyede would step down from office, about 20 candidates have joined the race to succeed him. It was gathered that most of the candidates rushed to submit their letters of intent to beat yesterday’s deadline stipulated in the advertisement published on May 14, 2012 for the position. Sources told our reporter that 20 professors within the

university had submitted their letters to the office of the Registrar and signed the special register opened for the exercise as at noon on Monday. Those that beat Monday deadline of submission of their letters of intent according to our findings include Professors Timothy Opoola from the Faculty of Science and three of his colleagues from the same faculty, professors Albert Olayemi and Musbau Akanji and Joshua Obalaye. Also Professor Hassan Salihu from the Faculty of Business and

Social Sciences (BSS) beat the deadline just like Professor R.A Akamidu from the Faculty of Arts and Professor Luke Ayorinde from the Faculty of Agriculture and Professors J.A Olorunmaiye and B.F. Sule from the Faculty of Engineering. There was also Professor AbdulGaniyu Ambali from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The only external candidate mentioned in discussions during the investigation was Professor Ignatus Madu from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. By law the university’s

Governing Council is now expected to shortlist the names of three candidates to the university’s Visitor, President Goodluck Jonathan from which he is expected to make his choice of who will lead the university till October 16, 2019. Most of the candidates have either been or are currently deans of the respective faculties. Apart from this, Akanji has been Dean, Students Affairs (DSA), VC Al’Hikma University, Ilorin while Olayemi recently completed tenure as Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC).

Gender mainstreaming promotes good governance, says minister By Maryam Garba Hassan


he Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has said that gender mainstreaming strengthens, promotes good governance and gender equality which includes full utilisation of material and human resources as well as gaining better understanding and addressing the needs and interests of different groups of people in the society. The minister made the assertion yesterday in Abuja at a one-day capacity building and interactive forum with women focused non- governmental organisations (NGOs), organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, with the theme: “The Role of NGOs in Promoting a Gender Equitable Society”. According to her, gender mainstreaming is a human rights issue and adopting it means accepting that there are gender biases in policies and institutions resulting in gender inequality adding that gender issues are not exclusively women issues but developmental issues which affects both men and women.

Saraki is not dead, say associates L-R: Representative of Minister of Justice, Mr. Pius Oteh, representative of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Ferdinand Agu, and Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, during the 2012 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, Yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Parties sue INEC over deregistration By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has been sued before a federal high court in Abuja by Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) and 51 other political parties for threatening to deregister them. The political parties also joined the Attorney-General of the Federation and the National Assembly as the 1st and 2nd

defendants respectively. The suit filed by Mr. Kan O. Osieke, counsel representing the plaintiffs is seeking, “A declaration that Section 78 (7) (ii) of the electoral Act 2011 as amended is unconstitutional and in effect null and void. “A declaration that Section 78 (7) (ii) of the electoral Act 2011 as amended is a calculated attempt to suffocate life from young enterprising and growing political parties from growing

and an attempt to stop them from participating in Nigerian politics”, the plaintiffs prayed. Other reliefs sought are, “A declaration that the said Section 78 (7) (ii) of the electoral Act 2011 as amended be expunged as same offends Section 40 of the 2011 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which is a light to other laws, Acts, Rules and Regulations. On the contrary, the National Assembly, 2nd defendant/

applicant in the case filed its notice of preliminary objection saying that the plaintiff/ respondents lack the requisite locus standi to file the case. It stated that the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the case. In addition, it noted that there was no existing law known as Electoral Act, 2011 upon which the suit was premised and urged the court to strike out or dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

FG will strengthen mechanics of air safety – Sambo From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Nigerian government is strengthening the mechanics of air safety regulation and inspection systems to mitigate incidences of air disaster in the country, Vice President Namadi Sambo has said. The Vice President who spoke in Ilorin yesterday at the opening ceremony of 47th annual general meeting (AGM) and conference of the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), entitled “Surveying, Disaster Management and Global Warming”, said that government was positioning its surveying department to ensure

proper and comprehensive mapping of Nigeria’s geographical space. He challenged Nigerian surveyors to “consistently propose plans of effectively doing this through appropriate channels.”

We pledge to do everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and properties of all Nigerians. “We all realise that ensuring safety and being able to be properly positioned to manage disasters is predicated on having real-time information on

locations and time. This essentially is what maps and its attribute products enable us to do. The government of Nigeria will do everything possible to ensure that our geographical space is properly and comprehensively mapped.

Bagudo LG has highest cases of trypanosomiasis From Ahmed Idris, Brinin Kebbi


he Zonal Director of North West of Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (sleeping sickness), Dr. Abdulkadir Abubakar, has called on the Kebbi state government to find lasting solution for curbing the high cases of the trypanosomiasis

and river blindness cases in Bargu area of Bagudo local government area of the state. He gave this advice while addressing Fulani and community leaders on the danger of the disease at Birnin Kebbi local government area of the state, adding that they have decided to embark on awareness campaign against the

dangers of the tryponasomiasis otherwise called sleeping sickness to Fulani herdsmen and community leaders across the state. “We are in Birnin Kebbi with my team to interact with the Fulani and community leaders of the local government on advocacy towards the campaign against tryponasomiasis disease”, he said.

From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, debunked the rumour that the Second Republic Senate Leader, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki wass dead, describing such information as untrue and mischievous. Saraki who has not been seen in the state in recent times, was said to be receiving medical treatment in London over his ill health after the 2011 general elections. While debunking the rumour, PDP’s publicity secretary, Alh. Mas’ud Adebimpe in a statement sent to journalists in Ilorin, stated that “The attention of the leadership of our great party … has been drawn to the mischievous rumour making the round that His Eminence, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki was dead. “The rumour was not only mischievous and un-founded but outright falsehood designed to mislead the public... “The general public should therefore disregard the unfounded rumour in its entirety and go about their normal businesses as His Eminence will soon be in our midst.” Also, a statement issued yesterday by his personal assistant, Barr. Lateef Okandeji, said Saraki is currently on a visit to the United States where he spoke with Kwara PDP leaders on the forthcoming State House of Assembly election re-run in Oloje and Alanamu wards of Ilorin North-West constituency.



NDLEA arrests 76 suspects in Kwara From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Kwara state yesterday, disclosed that it was able to arrest 76 drug offenders with over 1,464.329 kilogrammes of assorted dangerous drugs while 17 of the suspects were sentenced to

two months and 15 years respectively. The Agency Commander in the state, Omotunde Koleoso who confirmed this during the 2012 United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, noted that the consequences of taking hard drug were series of money laundering,

corruption, terrorism, human trafficking and health problems. Koleoso said: "the NDLEA, particularly Kwara state command is on top of the situation. The command in the last one year has arrested 76 drug offenders of which 17 have been sentences to various terms of imprisonment ranging from two months to 15 years.

“A total of over 1,464.329 kilogrammes of various dangerous drugs have been successfully withdrawn from circulation and consumption, thereby eliminating their attendant health, psychological and social implications in our environment. “Over three farms of cannabis sativa measuring over 16 hectares

of land have been discovered and destroyed in Kaima and Chikanda, Baruteen local government.” Koleoso, however, appealed to state government to assist the agency in setting up a rehabilitation, skill acquisition and vocational centre for NDLEA to ensure those arrested are fully rehabilitated and reintroduced to the society.

…Nabs 78, seizes 341.945kgs of cannabis in Adamawa From Blessing Tunoh, Yola


he Adamawa state command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says it has seized at least 341.945kgs of hard drugs and psychotropic substances this year alone. State commander of the agency, Alhaji Hassan Zungeru disclosed this yesterday as part of the post United Nation's anti-drug day awareness workshop slated for next week, adding that 78 persons have also been arrested in connection with drug peddling. Records of arrests and seizure of the banned drugs and substances between January to June this year showed that cannabis sativa accounted for 143.542kgs, Tramadol capsules 179.032kgs, Diazepam tablets 18.951kgs, Exol 5 tablets 121grams and Amphos tablets 300grams. Out of the 78 suspected drug peddlers, 60 persons have been

convicted with a minimum conviction of nine months and maximum of eight years by the Federal High Court, Yola. Analysis of the statistics by national accord indicates that youths between the age of 18 and 35 years were the most affected while only one woman was nabbed within the period. In the first quarter of 2012, 31 convictions were effected while 29 others were sentenced in the second quarter of the current year. Commenting on the drug war in Adamawa state, Alhaji Zungeru stated: "However, on the whole, I wish to observe that in spite of all the efforts of the NDLEA, the abuse of hard drugs is still on the increase." Zungeru blamed the increase in drug abuse to paucity of funds, inadequate manpower, lack of facilities, and shortage of logistics support such as vehicles and other operational materials, lack of information from the public and so on.

…Apprehends 143 drug suspects in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


he Borno state commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has arrested 143 suspects for various drug related offences, while 13 of them were prosecuted from January 2011 to date. The state commander Barrister Ona Ogilegwu, made the disclosure yesterday at an event to mark the 2012 United Nations Day Against Drug Abuse and

Trafficking. Barrister Ojilegwu also said the agency has impounded 1,027.77kg of hard drugs and cannabis, while some properties of various convicts were forfeited to the Federal Government in line with stipulated anti-drug law. The NDLEA commander added that 64 suspects were counseled and re-integrated into their various communities and expressed concern that despite the agency's efforts to tackle drugrelated offences in the state, the problem defied solutions.

Rounds up 112, seizes 341.2kgs of cannabis in Bauchi From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) Bauchi state command has nabbed 112 suspected drugs related offenders and seized 341.2kgs of drugs this fiscal year. The state commander of NDLEA, Parah Julius Bawa disclosed this while marking the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking held at DEC Chambers, Bauchi, yesterday. He added that the command also seized 4 vehicles during the period saying the vehicles are 2 J5

buses, 1 Nissan Altima and 1 Honda Civic car that were being used in conveying drugs. “In terms of prosecution, the command successfully secured the convictions of 18 suspects during the period under review. We had filed a total of 86 charges in the court implying that we are looking forward to having more convictions in the months ahead. The Federal High Court Bauchi of recent sentenced these drug dealers to deserving jail terms of between 10 and 15 years imprisonment.” This we believe is punitive enough and will serve as a deterrent to others intending to ventures into drug trafficking.”

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan congratulating the new Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Festus Odimegwu, after his swearing-in, yesterday at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Edo psychiatric hospital admits 1,100 cannabis abusers From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


eventy percent of over 1,100 patients needing treatment at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Uselu, Benin City, Edo state yearly are victims of cannabis sativa. The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Sunday Osasu Olotu, disclosed this yesterday while delivering a lecture titled: 'Drug Abuse and Psychosis: Myth or Reality' in Benin City to mark

the 2012 whose theme is 'Global Action for Healthy Communities Without Drugs'. Dr. Olotu, represented by consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Bayo James, said between 1999 and 2002, out of 6,556 patients admitted at the male ward of the hospital, 849 cases were drug related. He said out of the number, 621 of them were primarily cannabis abusers and recommended that the fight against drug abuse can be

reduced through collaborative effort. Edo State Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Sani Ibrahim Sani said 90 percent of cannabis sativa popularly called Indian hemp farmers are not from the state. Mr. Sani said the fertility of Edo soil for growers of cannabis has remained an attraction for cultivators have relocated from neighbouring states of Ondo, Delta, Ekiti and Oyo states.

Banker wife killer: Police testifies against suspect From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


prosecution witness in the on-going trial of Akolade Arowolo, who allegedly killed his wife, Titilayo Omozoje Arowolo (a banker), in June last year, Inspector Benson Ajie, yesterday, told Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, that the defendant while being interrogated told him that he and his late wife struggled with a knife and this was responsible for the wounds he had at the time. Inspector Ajie while being led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Olabisi

Ogungbesan before the judge at the resumed hearing of the matter, added that Akolade also told him that he jumped from the balcony of their house down to the floor on the day of the incident and this is responsible for why he was limping. Akolade, 31, who is said to be a youth pastor is facing trial on a onecount charge of allegedly stabbing Titilayo to death at their residence located at 8, Akindeinde Street, Isolo, Lagos. Further in his testimony, Inspector Ajie stated that because Akolade had some deep open wounds on his palm and navel area, he had to take him to two hospitals - the police clinic at Panti

and the Falomo Police Hospital for treatment. He concluded his testimony by adding that he also took Akolade to the Chief Pathologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. Obafunwa for tests before he was arraigned at the Ikeja Magistrate Court on July 8, 2011. While being cross examined by Akolade's counsel, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, Inspector Ajei stated that he is not in the position to determine whether Akolade's pictures and that of his wounds should be taken during investigations. The case continues tomorrow (Thursday) for further hearing.



Rivers warns health workers on absenteeism


he Rivers State Government has warned that it would arrest and prosecute health workers, who are found of absenting themselves from duty. The Commissioners for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, issued the warning in Port Harcourt on Monday at the inauguration of activities marking the state’s maternal and child-health week. He said absence from duty by health workers would “amount to aiding murder’’ of patients they were expected to attended to. He said that the state government had provided its doctors with vehicles to facilitate their movement and stressed that the government had spent heavily on healthcare to ensure effective service delivery. He warned women against going to churches and the homes of traditional birth attendants for deliveries, saying such practice was unsafe because “there is nothing the attendants could do if complications occur.’’ He urged traditional rulers to undertake health awareness campaigns in their domains on the danger of not using healthcare services close to them. On his part, Gov. Chibuike Amaechi said the state had done much to offer free medical healthcare programmes but expressed regrets that the people were not availing themselves of the opportunity. (NAN)

Alleged N12bn pension scam: Accused absence stalls proceedings By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he trial of Dr. Sani Teidi Shuaibu, a former Director, Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), and other accused persons standing trial for allegedly defrauding the pension office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria of about N12 billion was yesterday stalled because of the absence of one of the accused persons. The Assistant Cash Pay Officer, Pension Department at the OHCSF, Abdul Mohammed who is the owner of Salimpa Ventures, Omaumali Ventures and Sa’azab Global Limited was said to be sick and as such could not make it to the court for the trial. His counsel presented a

medical report which had doctor’s recommendation that the accused person was not fit to stand trial. Mohammed, who was discharged from the hospital bed on June 22, 2012, was placed on a week bed rest. Consequently, the trial Judge, Justice Adamu Bello adjourned the trial till July 2, 2012. Teidi was the former director, pension administration in the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, while Mrs. Phina Ukamaka Chidi was the deputy director (Finance and Accounts), in the pension office. Aliyu Bello was a personal assistant to Dr. Shuaibu. Other accused persons are Garba Abdullahi Tahir, Mohammed Katun Ahmed, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Abdullahi Omeiza, Computer

Plaza, Essential Gadget Ventures, Mobis Point Investment Ltd, Obista Enterprises, Shallow Well Ventures, Mof Investment Ltd, Zumba Resources, Pam Investment and Properties Ltd, Moshfad Enterprises, Newgate Projects Ltd, RedWings Energy Ltd, RedWing Procurement Services Ltd, Woodland Industries Nig Ltd. Others are Nwab Tessy O Enterprises nig, Chris J. Junior Ventures, Uthaka Nigeria Ltd, Bashinta Nigeria Ltd, Haleath Enterprises, Gozinda Enterprises, Omozua Ventures, S.S Badejo Entreprises, Lopee Ventures, Fafama Oil and Gas Ltd, Fafama Estate Developer Ltd and Riba-Ile Petroleum Ltd. EFCC investigation showed that the accused persons used ghost pensioners to pay N2 million and N3million into their

accounts monthly, and later diverted the money through fictitious award of contracts to the companies which they had interest. In the suit filed by the EFCC on March 21, 2011, the accused were alleged to have used various fictitious companies to divert N12 billion into private use. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them and were admitted to bail in the sum of N10 million and a surety in like sum. The surety must be resident in Abuja and must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court; the land title must be verified by the deputy chief registrar of the court. Their international passports and that of the sureties are also to be deposited in court. The court held that the bail of the accused persons continues.

Agency finds illegal jetty in Lagos


he Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Lagos on Monday said it discovered another illegal jetty in Kirikiri, where petroleum products are discharged illegally at Kirikiri area of Apapa, Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that four barges filled with AGO, also known as diesel, were discovered during the visit of the DPR’s monitoring team to DICON Salt Jetty, Lagos. The four barges are MV Priye, MV Kome, MV Soa, Fuadl, all containing diesel. The team arrested two of the suspected operators, who claimed they were working for the owner of the barges. They were immediately handed over to the Police Headquarters, Zone 2, Lagos, for investigation. Mr. Wasiu Sayebo, the Manager of the Downstream Operation, who led the team, told newsmen that action would be taken against the culprits. He said the agency would continue to monitor suspected areas where petroleum products were being discharged illegally in the country. (NAN)

R-L: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, and Director, Africa Affairs in the Ministry, Mr. Olabode Adekeye, during the ministers' meeting with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Cabotage law to check revenue leakages, says Tambuwal By Lawrence Olaoye


peaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal on Monday disclosed that the amendment of the nation’s Cabotage laws would help check revenue leakages in the marine sector. The Speaker who was represented by the Chief Whip, Rep Isiaka Bawa at the public hearing organised for the proposed amendment of the Cabotage Act, 2003 by the House joint Committee on Marine and Justice chaired by Rep Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

said that the amendment of the law would enhance maritime security and create employment opportunities for Nigerians. “By capturing these operations, we will not only expand the employment opportunities for our people, enhance maritime security, but also capture a lot of national leakages, “he said. According to the Speaker, the maritime sector is one mostly used to perpetrate fraudulent activities in the country. Transport Minister, Alhaji Idris Umar, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Nebolisa

Emodi, expressed optimism that the amendment would impact positively on the revenue accruable into the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF). He said that the amendment was intended to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity to Nigerian operators in the domestic coastal shipping. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Akpobolokemi said that key provision of the Act should be reviewed for easy

implementation. He pointed out that if the sector was well organised, it would create employment opportunity for the youths and urged the House to effect the necessary changes required to enhance the operations of the sector. Isaac Jolapomo, President, Indigenous Ship Owners Association (ISA), said that the Act had been ineffective due to poor implementation. He called for stiffer penalties of N200 million and forfeiture of ship, five year- jail term instead of the current N10 million for offenders.



Jonathan has not done enough to stop Boko Haram, says ACN chieftain From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


resident Goodluck Jonathan has been asked to intensify efforts toward eradicating the deadly activities of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram that threatens to make the month of June the most horrible for

Nigerians with its multiple bombings across the North. A chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Adesola Taiwo who made the assertion also charge the President to employ a more sophisticate method in handling the sect in order to bring their

reign to an end. The medical doctor turned politician told journalists in Lagos that the President has not done enough to tackle the menace of the sect. Dr. Taiwo, who wondered why it is taking the government much time to halt the activities

of the sect said, “I am sure many people in this government are entrenched in Boko Haram. So many people at the top are interested and they are parts and parcel of them. It is very difficult that is why the Boko Haram issue cannot be curbed. “People said he is a weak leader,

yes he is .He is a very week leader. I cannot imagine myself being the leader of this country and some people will rear their heads destroying other people, making an area ungovernable especially Kaduna. Look at Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Gombe and other states,” he said.

Boost agric as alternative to oil, APGA chieftain charges North


L-R: Director, Finance and Accountis, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Osuagwu Innocent, Women Affairs Minister, Hajiya Zainab Maina, and acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Esther Adeyemi, during a one-day capacity building and interactive forum for women focused nongovernmental organisations, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Nigeria has no virile fire service, says c’ttee By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he committee set up by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, to resuscitate the Fire Service in the country, yesterday submitted its report, revealing that the country does not have a virile fire service to effectively contain cases of fire disaster. This revelation was made known yesterday in Abuja by the chairman of the committee, Prof. Femi Odekunle. He said that the fire sector in the country uses obsolete equipment and is underfunded, contrary to what is obtainable in

countries like, Israel, Unite Kingdom, New York and Ghana, where the committee visited. The committee chairman said those societies have organised fire service in both the federal t and states level, while calling for a total over haul of the fire sector, in line with the committee’s recommendations so as to involve all stakeholders in fighting fire disaster. He also stressed on the need to encourage and engage the staff in workshops, improve their technical know-how and give them hazard allowance in executing the job. “The job is risky. The countries we visited pay them even higher

than other security agencies. The government should encourage them and provide them with equipments and water reservoirs in densely populated areas to ease their work”, he said. Responding, the minister noted that there was need for all the federal and state governments to team up with other well meaning Nigerians in the fight against fire disaster. He assured that the committee’s report will be implemented, and that the fire service in the country will witness tremendous transformation in line with the transformation programme of the present administration.

NOA takes campaign to UniJos From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he National Orientation Agency (NOA) has taken its campaign for the realisation of a better Nigeria tagged, “Do the Right Thing” to the University of Jos, the Plateau state capital. While presenting the “Do the Right Thing” chart to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Hayward Mafuyai, the Director General of NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri, urged Nigerians to lend support to the laudable programmes of the present administration geared towards

total transformation of the country. According to him, Nigerians should recognize that they must make sacrifices for the realisation of a new and better Nigeria. He explained that the current ‘Do the Right Thing’ is one of the transformation of Nigeria project being pursued by the agency, which seeks to charge all Nigerians to patriotically rise to the occasion by conducting themselves in the manner that is universally commendable and appropriate for the positive transformation

of our dear country and the enhancement of its image”. Omeri appealed to all Nigerians to go back to the agelong and time tested values, advising Nigerians to desist from all forms of violence; intolerance and hatred that seems to enslave the psyche of Nigerians if the country must move forward. The VC, who was represented by Dean Students’ Affairs, Prof. Rotgak Gofwen commended NOA for taking the initiative aimed at sensitising Nigerians to do the right thing.

he Deputy National Youth Leader of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Alhaji Ibrahim Garba, yesterday urged governors of the northern states to boost agriculture as an alternative to oil. Garba, who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, said that the agriculture sector would provide a ``better and more sustainable source of revenue’’ for the region than the current overreliance on oil and gas. “I want to advise the 19 northern state governors to give agriculture priority attention more than their present dependence on the oil sector as a reliable source of revenue.” According to him, UNICEF has reported that over 82 percent of northerners depend largely on farming activities. The youth leader emphasised the need to give serious attention to agriculture to ensure rapid economic growth and development in the region. Garba urged the governors to provide inputs and other incentives to farmers to attract

people to agriculture. “This year’s cropping season has commenced but states are yet to supply tractors, fertiliser, seedlings, pesticides and other inputs to farmers.” He said that agriculture would provide employment opportunities to millions of the citizens, curb youth restiveness, increase economic fortunes and revenue base of the region. Garba, who is also a farmer, also urged the governors to respect the sector and gave assurance that APGA would accord priority to agriculture, if given the mandate in 2015. He urged Nigerians to elect APGA candidates at all levels in future general elections to enjoy democracy dividends. On the crisis rocking the party at the national level, the youth leader said that efforts were being made by the Chief Victor Umeh-led executive to resolve it and integrate aggrieved members. Garba enjoined party members to remain steadfast, loyal, law abiding and work for the success of the party. (NAN)

NDLEA nabs 200 suspects, seizes 1.7 tonnes drugs in 6 months From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


lateau state Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday said it has arrested 200 suspects and seized a total of 1.7 tonnes of drugs in the last six months. The state commander of the Agency, Barrister Ralph Igwenagu made the disclosure at the commemoration of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking observd in Jos. He tasked parents and guardians to complement the Agency’s efforts by checking and advising their children and wards against consequences of intake of illicit drugs. He said drug problems in the State revolved around abuse of cannabis sativa, amphetamine based products, benzodiazepines and codeine containing formulations, petroleum products, locally made gin (goskolo, suku daya), lizard excreta, fumes from toilets and sewages as well as rubber solution. Igwenagu, who was represented by Mr. Gaura Shadow, also warned that illicit drug intake lead to mental impairment and damage of essential body organs

like kidney, liver and lungs, as well as increase in violent crimes rate, school drop-out and unproductivity. The commander however, called on parents and guardians including children and wards who are victims of drug abuse to avail them for care, treatment and rehabilitation as the agency is poised to ensure that Nigeria youths desist from taking drugs. The state Governor, Jonah Jang who was represented by the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hon. Comfort Piwuna called for global action against illicit drugs if the country must have healthy and productive youths. According to him, “we will not relent in creating the enabling environment as well as supporting your activities alongside other stakeholders, to rid the State of illicit drugs as this is a serious problem that must be addressed in the interest of our nation and humanity. “The battle should not be left to the NDLEA to grapple with alone; we must all be involved to rid our communities, State and the nation of these debilitating drugs before they destroy the productive capacities and potentials of our youths”.





Needed: A judicial commission of enquiry (I)

he House of Representatives subsidy probe bribery scandal affair is still unfolding. In time, we may have to get a full and believable account of what really happened, who did what and why they did it. But what has come out so far shows the extent to which Nigeria is being daily ravaged and plundered by officials in collusion with businessmen, both driven by greed, ambition and desperation. The House must be commended for its prompt response to public concern and outcry over the blatant theft of the nation’s resources in the name of fuel subsidy, setting up of an ad-hoc committee to probe into the matter and its adopting and making public the report of the committee. Now, thanks to the House and its probe, Nigerians know how a whopping N2.6 trillion of their money - an amount that, if judiciously used, could transform the whole of Africa-has been fraudulently paid out by corrupt officials to oil marketers who imported no kerosene or petrol. Now, too, Nigerians know, by name, the affected oil marketing companies, how these companies are organically linked with the powers- that-be in government and the oil industry. And Nigerians are, therefore, now the wiser about why

the amount of subsidy paid by government jumped from less than N300 billion in 2010 to N2.7 trillion in 2011, an election year. It was clear from the beginning, especially from the presentations, that the revelations that would come out of the probe and their

Nigerians know how a whopping N2.6 trillion of their money - an amount that, if judiciously used, could transform the whole of Africa-has been fraudulently paid out by corrupt officials to oil marketers who imported no kerosene or petrol implications would be far reaching, that many white suites would be soiled and reputations hurt. And it was even clearer that there would be a backlash with those in government and the oil marketing business, whose collusion and theft would be exposed, fighting back in whatever way they could, in order both to rob the committee’s report of credibility and to provide the

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”

government with a good excuse not to implement the committee’s recommendations. Even before news of the alleged sting operation in which Hon. Farouk Lawan was said to have been captured on video receiving money in dollars from Mr. Femi Otedola broke, it had been obvious that the Jonathan administration wasn’t favourably disposed to implementing the recommendations of the committee’s report. That had always been clear from the public comments of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, who, from the very beginning had dismissed the committee’s report as wishy-washy and incomplete. Perhaps he knew back then what the rest of us did not, and was preparing our minds for what was to come and how government would respond to it. In any case, given the report’s findings, which feature serious indictments of the top officials in charge of the oil industry, and the oil marketing outfits, and an exposé of how shady deals and collusions between public officials and private venal interest have literally almost bled the county dry financially, it was only too obvious that the President’s hands were tied. No government moves against itself.










“To be a reputable, profitable, innovative and technologically reliant media company offering world class services and products”


By Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u


ata from Worldatlas suggests that Sierra Leone has a population of 5-6 million, Somalia 10 million, and Liberia 3.5 million. Why are these countries important? Sierra Leone and Liberia are located in the West African sub-region, the same region as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Somalia although far away from Nigeria is suffering from a conflict that was caused by elite failure and government ineptness in dealing with internal crises despite the homogenous nature of the country. Liberia is still recovering from civil war that started more than twenty years ago; Sierra Leone is similarly trying to stand on its feet after the civil war that erupted in the 1990s. But before making comparison with the current state of insecurity in Nigeria, look at the population of these three countries once again. Somalia which suffers from one of the most devastating civil wars for about 20 years has a population just the size of Kano or Lagos states going by the 2006 census. Yet today large parts of the population of these people have no country to call their own. You only need to look at the growing population of refugees and those on asylum in the United Kingdom or visit Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United States and Canada to see what bad governance has done to Somalia. Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are equally suffering the impact of this conflict. Liberia’s population is just comparable to Osun State, while Sierra Leone’s population can be equated with


2015: Let’s have referendum not elections that of Kaduna state. The state of insecurity in Nigeria gives too much sleepless nights to anybody who cares about its future. Nigeria has had so many lucks in the last fifty years of political independence, surviving a bloody civil war, military leadership, societal injustice and ethno-religious conflicts etc. Despite the current unfortunate state of bloodshed that consumed the lives of innocent people in many parts of the country, just pause for a while and think of the future of Nigeria if the country goes into the 2015 general elections amidst the current state of lawlessness. A culture had already been established called rotational presidency even if it is now being followed at the convenience of the incumbents. Those who lost out in the power games from whichever part of the country they are will invoke the same rotational argument to pursue their political aims. The post election violence that followed the unthinkable rigging of the 2011 elections, could as well happened if Goodluck Jonathan was not declared the winner by INEC, because the people of Niger Delta would have claimed that the election was rigged to deny Goodluck Jonathan the chance to rule the country. With the polity sharply divided

the current state of insecurity, God forbid. Nigeria is not Somalia, it is not Liberia, neither is it Sierra Leone, Nigeria is simply Nigeria, and only Nigerians can come together and solve its problems. In order to avoid further bloodshed and bail out this great

to do so before it becomes too late. The National Assembly, civil society organisations and opinion leaders should lead us in this debate. As a contribution to this debate, I will suggest that the current leadership of the country complete

check whatever the President says ever since he said he was not aware of Article 7(C) in his party constitution until his opponents brought out his signature at the meeting where the provision was approved. I must say though that I was still ready to grant him the indulgence that he could have suffered some amnesia given that the meeting took place about 6 years earlier. But my bag of indulgence for him became empty when I heard Dr Jonathan say “Nigerians should not forget that long before the House of Representatives set up its probe I have set up the Ribadu Committee to look into the problems in the oil sector. If I have anything to hide would I go for Ribadu who is accepted as an anticorruption giant by Nigerians?” I could not believe my ears that the President of Nigeria would manipulate events that occurred early this year to torture our memory and still keep a straight face. Even a toddler would recall that the House of Representatives convened a special session on Sunday, 6th January, 2012; to deliberate on the fuel subsidy crisis during which it set up the Lawan Farouk Committee to probe the subsidy regime. It took exactly a moment after, with all the mind boggling revelations from the House probe for the Petroleum Minister to announce the Nuhu Ribadu Task Force on the

petroleum industry. And shortly after this blatant untruth,one of the panelists asked the president if Nigerians should still trust him in spite of all that have happened in the last one year and he still answered in the affirmative! Now the big question is how anybody would believe the President when he denied being the director of the Otedola-Farouk opera after telling us that February comes before January and the gap between is “long”?. I almost passed out when the President admitted that Otedola, Dangote and co have always been around every PDP president from Obasanjo through Yar’adua and to him “but they are not patrons of the ruling party since they are not on our Board of Trustees”. And the big one played out in the course of the interview when two numbers were displayed for people to call in and ask the president questions. I felt a practical joke was on for a president who struggles with written speeches to now face live questions. Even the questions from the panel which must have been given to him ahead presented their challenges. Where the president was expected to enunciate concrete policy directives,he kept on saying “did you not listen to the minister when he talked on that”, “I don’t want to

contradict the minister”, ”I don’t want to have the figures of our debts” and “I’m not the one managing the economy but Ngozi Iweala who has reputation”. As if he was saying he lacks what NOI has! My apprehension that the call-in gesture was a gimmick was confirmed as I called the two numbers and none was active. I have since called a lot of respected Nigerians who told me they had a similar experience. Among those who also tried but in vain like me are Prof. Niyi Osundare and Pastor Tunde Bakare. One of the other people I called cracked my ribs when he said “the few calls that made it in could be from Reuben Abati’s office”. By and large, it was a punishing task listening to Mr. President for two hours Sunday night as he stumbled from one comedy of error to another. Like him saying that he has not declared his asset as a matter of “principle” and that when he did so as Vice-President it was at the insistence of Yar’adua whom he told they were creating an “anomalous” situation. He went on the arrogant lane by saying that he would not give a damn if the media talked about his nondeclaration of assets till kingdom come. And his parting shot was “is it my declaration of assets that would stop Boko Haram?” But I didn’t hear in two hours talking

along ethnic, religious and regional divides, and the likelihood of Goodluck Jonathan once again becoming the candidate of his party increasing by the day; and assuming that INEC could change its colours and conduct free and fair elections, how acceptable will the outcome of the election be to the section of the country that lost out? Particularly if the country goes into the election period under

nation from collapsing and putting neighbouring countries into turmoil, I will suggest to all Nigerians, and in the interest of each and everyone that we do not have an election in 2015, but a referendum that will give options to every citizen to chose on what will be the future of Nigeria. It may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is better to embark on this difficult journey when we have the chance

Despite the current unfortunate state of bloodshed that consumed the lives of innocent people in many parts of the country, just pause for a while and think of the future of Nigeria if the country goes into the 2015 general elections amidst the current state of lawlessness

their tenure till May 29th 2015, but should not lead the country into an election, rather they should hand over to the Chief Justice of the Federation to lead a Government of National Unity that will organise the referendum within their first year in office, and a general election 6 months later or a year afterwards based on the outcome of the referendum. The GNU should not stay longer than two years in office. Of course this will require a constitutional amendment, but it is not impossible for the National Assembly to embark on that process. As for options for the referendum, it is my humble opinion that three options should be given. The first option is to maintain the existing presidential structure but with a modification to the tenure of executives from two terms of four years to a single term of 5 years. If we take Nigerian universities as a microcosm of the entire country, we can say this structure is workable, as reducing the tenure of vice chancellors has contributed a lot in reducing the tension of succession and bringing stability. Under this option also, the national assembly should be merged into one with a reduced number of representatives. The second option is to Continued on page 15

Not the truth, Mr. President By Yinka Odumakin


have not set my eyes on Prof. Funso Aiyejina for about 23 years now but every now and then the sheer musicality of his voice resonates in my ears anytime I flash back to his poetry class. Aiyejina was one of the crop of bright intellectuals at the Literature Depatment of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife under whose feet I learned several years back.The great teachers included: Profs Biodun Jeyifo, Ropo Sekoni, Oyin Ogunba, G.G Darah, Adebayo Williams and a host of others. Aiyejina’s poetry class was an exciting one for me as I looked forward each moment to listen to him sing poetry into our ears.Two poems he sang that would never leave my consciousness are “Letter To Lynda” written by him and Odia Ofeimum’s “ The Poet Lied”. It was the latter that rushed to my memory as I listened to President Goodluck Jonathan address a media chat on national television on Sunday night. Under normal circumstance, the word of a president should flow with so much integrity that people would not ordinarily be tempted to crosscheck as any holder of such office would not be expected to speak untruth to his countrymen and women. However, I’ve learnt to double

about what he is doing to stop Boko Haram even as his June deadline to exterminate the group remains a few days to end! If anything all I heard him do was setting agenda for Boko Haram when he said “...the same Boko Haram will start attacking mosques to instigate Muslim youths to attack Christians”. The most pathetic noncoordination of thought of the night came with the president defending his Brazil trip when Kaduna and Yobe were burning thus: “The day the international community gets to know that the President of Nigeria could not travel because of Boko Haram,we are finished”. But the President within the same interview explained that the reason he had yet to visit Damaturu and Maiduguri, two hottest flash-points of Boko Haram was because the airport is illequipped for his plane to land; and that he could not travel by helicopter for security reasons. Now that the international community know that our president who junkets around the world but cannot maintain airports at home is scared of flying helicopter in his country for the fear of Boko Haram, what is left of us? Truth is that our rulers, which include President Jonathan- finished us before Boko Haram !



No Maku, you got it wrong here By Rev. Fr. Gerald Azike


hen I read the statement of the Information Minister, Labaran Maku over the scandalous absence of Nigeria’s president in this trying moment of our country’s fledgling democracy with all the present challenges, being dumbfounded will be an understatement to describe my feelings. His statement immediately triggered off the inglorious statement of our former Attorney General, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa and the script that he played out during the late Yar’ Adua’s health saga. But reflecting on the minister’s statement a little deeper made my thoughts gasp for breath on the absurd scenes playing out in the Nigeria’s Democracy film. In my confusion, I had to put a question to myself on why we as a country should always be in the news for all the wrong reasons on earth. The question that kept on nagging my mind is: what is wrong with Nigeria’s ruling “elite” that they seem not to be in touch with the people they are leading? By sheer coincidence, it happens that presently I am

By Nick Clegg article


ne month to go, and London is calling... As the first city to host the Olympics three times, we’re looking forward to welcoming the world to London in the days and weeks ahead. Every Games – from Sydney to Barcelona to Beijing – says something unique and distinctive about the country that hosts them. London will be no different. From the Olympic Torch Relay, where British people from all walks of life touch a little bit of Olympic history, to the opening ceremonies (which remain top secret as I write this) to the Paralympics, which first began in a British town called Stoke Mandeville in 1948. This will be a very British affair on a very global stage. So what will London 2012

doing a program in Germany and priority in environmental Mr Jonathan found enough one of the courses I attended this protection is human welfare, grounds to jet out to attend the week is what the Germans call because when human beings are Earth Summit in Rio. One can Umweltschutz, which simply well taken care of, they will in then appreciate my shame translates into Environmental turn be duty-bound to taking among my colleagues since Protection. When my course care of their own environment. every gory detail about Nigeria colleagues knew that my So, human welfare is paramount are there in the world Press. president is attending the Rio’s for sustainable environmental One of the students teased me meeting which coincidentally is protection. Most streets in by saying that he had hoped the environmental on the same theme we dealt with, Northern Nigeria are presently that their question was, what is your littered with corpses; the air filled protection that will lead to sustainable president development, as doing in Brazil the present at this time meeting is when your i n t e n d e d , country is in Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text should have flames? They messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written started from asked the contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 home. q u e s t i o n Still sulking because of words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and from this nevertheir concern a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed ending shame for our to: which every situation since Nigerian out they are all The Editor, here is suffering; priests and Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, my adrenalin have been 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. was pumped to k e e n l y Email: let its highest level following the SMS: 07037756364 when I read the situation in N i g e r i a ’ s Nigeria with Information its religious undertone. The question was with fumes from gun and bomb Minister’s statement to the press, particularly pertinent to them explosions, the whole particularly his “lecture” about judging from the said lectures on environment is daily being the President having the environment here in Germany. polluted in any way thinkable. capacity to rule from anywhere all modern For the Germans and the rest Rescue workers cannot even since of the civilized world the first move in to clean the stink; yet communication equipment is


now part of his Presidential staff. This daft statement reminded me of the experience I had during last year’s Christmas at Rimini in Italy where, after I had finished celebrating Christmas Mass in the morning, the Italian parishioners besieged me in the Sacristy crying for Nigeria because of the carnage that just took place. The parishioners were wondering how on earth someone can commit such a mindless killing on Christmas Day in a Church. The Parish Priest was so touched that they had to say some community prayers for Nigeria’s situation. But turning to Nigeria, it was so discomforting to learn that while people more than 3,800 miles away without any relation to Nigeria were crying and praying for the people wickedly massacred, the Nigerian government till then had not made any official statement about the tragedy. This callousness is again replayed in the Minister’s statement. To begin with, the statement that the President can rule from anywhere which is always evoked whenever the thoughtlessness of our leaders is brought to the fore smacks of Continued from page 14

London’s Games will be “a very British affair, on a very global stage” say about the UK in 2012? First, it will show that Britain delivers. Our construction industry has pulled out all the stops to create an amazing Olympic Park, including a new Olympic Village just minutes away from the main sporting venues. It was all built on time, within budget and to awardwinning standards, including groundbreaking commitments to sustainability and green technology which have raised the bar for major construction projects in the UK and beyond. Second, for those who haven’t been to the UK, I hope these Games will shine a light on Britain as an incredible place to visit. The Olympic Torch,

currently on its 8,000 mile journey across the UK, is showing off our attractions like never before: the amazing coastlines in the South West and the East of England, beautiful landscapes in Wales and Scotland, and a depth of history and heritage stretching from Stonehenge in the South to Hadrian’s Wall in the North. We’ve also got the buzzing, metropolitan hotspots like Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool. Indeed, from the Beatles to Shakespeare, the UK has a cultural heritage like no other. For many people, though, London is still the big draw. As one of the world’s great cities, it encapsulates everything we

cherish in Britain: our multiculturalism and openness, our respect for our past, and our ambition for the future. In London, you find a city of 200 different languages. You can eat cuisine from every Olympic nation. You see the pomp of the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace sitting alongside the buzz of Soho and the bright lights of the West End. This blend of old and new, the traditional and the cutting edge, will shine through our Games. Alongside the new Olympic Park, events will be staged in some of the most historic and iconic sporting venues in the country: Lords, the home of world cricket;

Wimbledon, famed for its tennis; Greenwich, synonymous with maritime history. London is, in every sense, a world within a city. It will be busy, yes, but also full of energy, excitement and potential: the perfect backdrop for the best in global sport and culture. For any country, hosting a third Olympics is a huge honour. London has waited a long time for this moment and the whole world will be watching. In one month’s time, we hope to live up to those expectations – by putting on an amazing show and offering a glimpse of Britain at its best. Nick Clegg article is the UK Deputy Prime Minister.

manage its own resources. At the federal level, there should be a president who should also serve as Commander-in-Chief; defence and foreign policy should be under his watch, while a Prime Minister should be appointed from an elected parliament. To avoid the headache experienced during the death of late ‘Yaraduwa, in case of power Vacuum, the premier from the region of the president should step in and complete his tenure. Under this arrangement let the Niger-Delta region have 100 control of their oil. Let there be an atmosphere of competition among

the regions, let each region generate its own revenue and contribute a portion to the federal government. Other regions should never fear from lack of resources from oil revenue. Let everyone do his homework as Lagos State is doing at the moment. Singapore was not made great by oil money; Japan did not become an economic power by receiving handouts from oil proceeds nor is China an economic horse because of petrodollars. This is particularly important to northern Nigeria, and as I said in one of my earlier writings, let the region exploit the

richness of its land, the potential of its population and ensure religious harmony. And finally, the third option, which is the most difficult, if the people feel that all this could not work, then let there be a peaceful divorce. Although very few divorces are peaceful, but in many occasions divorce is the right solution to a chaotic marriage. Many countries especially those in the former Soviet Union have tested this bitter pill, but at the end they are experiencing a gradual cure to their predicament. And it is

better for Nigerians to do it themselves, before some imperial powers exploit the weakness of our union and intervene to brutally tear us apart. It will be sad to lose Nigeria, because despite the internal problems, its potential for being a great country is in its diversity, population and land mass. Just look at the United States, India, China, Russia and Brazil. I rest my case. Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u wrote from Newcastle upon Tyne and is reachable at

2015: Let’s have referendum not elections Continued from page 13

restructure the country completely into autonomous units nearly similar but not the same as the old regional structure. Each of the six geopolitical zones can become a unit within the federation with a premier for each zone, but instead of the States all major cities should be managed by a mayor while local governments should remain. The idea of a mayor for major cities will reduce power of state governors but at the same time remain influential. Each zone should



y face is bereft of that trademark cultural sc a rificat ion , diagonally etched on the cheek of the offspring of the butcher clan of the Hausa society. But today, I am holding brief for the suya sellers who are into business just to keep the wolf from the door. But certain Christian cleric is crying wolf – where apparently there’s none. I had been praying that my lachrymal gland wouldn’t betray me. But it did, slightly, the other day. It wasn’t really a bawler, but I managed to suppress a surfeit of tears struggling to gush out of my eyes. The bickering between Muslims and Christians in the social media shortly after the recent attacks in Kaduna State caused the sorrow. Apart from the bombing of the hapless worshippers, reprisal and counter-reprisal attacks in the state, another issue that took a huge toll on my heart was the way the matter sows the seeds of enmity in the social media. Of late, I have also been in a mournful state over the death of common sense and apparent lack of logic and reasoning in the social media. Expectedly, the coordinated attacks by the dreaded Islamists, Boko Haram, in the cities of Kaduna and Zaria, have sparked reactions from various quarters. Thanks to the social media for breaking the story, but no thanks to social media for over-blowing the story to create hatred among


In defence of suya Nigerians. A day or two after the Kaduna carnage, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the South East came out spitting fire and brimstone. He did not slam a p r o d u c t recall on suya perhaps because of its perishable nature. The man of God rather issued a warning a g a i n s t eating suya, a popular grilled meat known as balangu in its originating region. In a vile sermon to his congregation, the Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma said “Boko Haram and its sponsors had concluded plans to declare a Jihad against the Southern part of the country with the deployment of over 6,000 fundamentalists to the South to prosecute the war.” Here, the Bishop’s claim may be justified as anyone of Boko Haram’s numerous Abus can even lay weightier claims. My cross with the cleric is preaching against suya.

While cautioning on Christians in the South to be circumspect of suya, Bishop Chukwuma claimed that part of the plot of the mass killing of Christians in the South was the alleged importation of a

poisonous powder which Hausa suya sellers would use to poison the meat they sell. Such words from a man of bishop standing aggravated my worries. With this weird alarm, don’t you think he would render immense contributions as NAFDAC chaplain than being head of a parochial diocese. But I can’t be a lone ranger in suya defense as I believe many Southerners will join this fight since balangu accounted for many of my Southerner friends’ bulging tummy. My childhood friend Dr Theophilus Obinwanne, a staunch fan of

suya, seems ready to roll up his sleeves in defense of suya. Who wouldn’t, bearing in mind the appetizing power of wajiya? Although amala doesn’t look as appetizing as suya, but no Imam can put amala and my stomach asunder. It’s a marriage of love – come woe come weal. On the other hand, as someone who relishes traditional cuisine, I don’t see myself eating shashshaka or dan malele without palm oil – and w i t h o u t grimacing! Or, think of a life without the great edikang ikong soup of the Efik, that elitist soup my wife (a thoroughbred Hausa) prepared for me when I bought her a new phone. Who told her I don’t want edikang ikong everyday? Dunno. So you see clearly reasons the cleric’s war against suya wouldn’t go beyond the portico of the church. Bishop Chukwuma should note that Boko Haram members do not mount podium to preach their ideology. And so no one knows them, let alone gives them support. Most of us living in the North are bearing the major brunt of Boko Haram

their President how they want him to rule them and can never be otherwise. To stand for election in any democracy is to surrender your will to the sovereignty of the electorate. Therefore the people´s welfare is the sovereign of any elected leader. The President cannot in all circumstances ´rule´ from everywhere if we understand what democracy really means. In the first place, the fact that the people of Nigeria have provided for their president a house called Aso Rock presupposes that the law expects that the President should have abode in Nigeria where the seat of power should be. Even though, he can sometimes be out of it due to the nature of his job but those are exceptions rather than the rule. If it is the seat of power, the convenience of New Airbus or seven star hotels of New York and Berlin can never be a replacement for it. Again, if the president is the property of the people, this then brings us to the crux of this argument that if Jonathan is the democratically elected president of Nigeria and the people are expressing their disaffection over his inconsiderate jetting out to Brazil while his people are sitting on a keg of gun powder and the minister dismisses it with the argument that he can rule from anywhere, then that smacks of arrogance and lack of tact. In fact, the Minister should

rather go for some refresher courses on the act of public diplomacy if he ever had one before. Again the minister’s “lecture” on the use of modern technology as an aid to the president’s “omnipresence” is not only an insult to the collective psyche of Nigerians but also bespeaks the level of people holding our public offices. A simple philosophical principle should have made the minister to know that “physical presence” cannot be mimicked by any means even with the most advanced technology. The physical-presence of a president in his country can never be replaced by any other means otherwise the tax payers money should not be used to furnish his abode, which in the case of Nigeria runs in billions. For the information of the minister in

case he does not know, in the western world where the information technological development is cruising at a supersonic speed, their presidents do not trade their “physical presence” in their countries because they have modern means of communication. How much more Nigeria that is still at her infancy in terms of communication technology. The Prime Minister of England, David Cameron, had to abandon his visit to US last year to return to London because of the London riots. And if that of the Prime Minister of England is a far example, the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, had to abandon his attendance of the Meeting of G8 at Camp David and NATO meeting in the US last month to rush down to Italy

crisis far more than the Southerners. We lose friends and relatives in a pocket of attacks carried out on daily basis in the North. They kill Imams, policy makers, politicians, government officials, etc in the North almost on daily basis. Living in the crisis-plagued cities is like living in the western Syrian city of Homs, where innocent people are caught daily in the crossfire. As Bishop Chukwuma preached against suya, I keep wondering what would happen to the shacks of ‘mama fut’ joints that dotted the North should the gullible heed to a similar call from a vile Muslim preacher. Think of the fate of those smoked fish or garri sellers who occupy the larger part of ’Yankura Market. On the internet, you hear all manner of ranting and warped viewpoints of tea joint calibre. As a journalist, I wouldn’t consider the bishop’s call worthy of reporting since he cannot support it with fact or, as academics are wont to say, empirical evidence that the suya spices are laced with poison. Power of gate-keeping begins at the point of newsgathering. For social media warlords, this is so extant a credo. Even before a nuance of evidence is established, some social media bigots have, in a virtual sense, gone berserk. I just hope such vile preaching can not grow wings and perch onto the editorial pages of the mainstream newspapers.

No Maku, you got it wrong here Continued from page 14

irresponsibility on the part of the minister. This is because of the fact that the power which the president has, which he can apply from anywhere, is only true as a general principle, but in a detailed application cannot be absolute. The President’s power to rule must be interpreted in its right understanding. And the correct interpretation of that simply means that as an elected president, he cannot revert to the status of a private citizen till the end of his tenure. That also entails that so long as he is the president of the country, wherever he is, his actions or inactions are always that of a president. In other words, he can act from anywhere in his presidential duties. However, the other side of the argument brings to the fore the fact that the ´how´ of exercising this presidential power cannot be absolute without recourse even from the perspective of place. It is a maxim of democracy that even the manner of exercising presidential powers resides with the people. This is the reason why it is called democracy. The word simply comes from two Greek words: - Demos people and kratos - rule or strength. Democracy simply means government of the people by the people for the people. The foregoing presents us with one conclusion which is obvious, that it is the people that will tell

The President’s power to rule must be interpreted in its right understanding. And the correct interpretation of that simply means that as an elected president, he cannot revert to the status of a private citizen till the end of his tenure

because of a little girl of 16 years, Melissa Bassi, who was killed by an improvised Gas Cylinder bomb planted in front of her School in a little town of Brindisi on 19th of May. Not only that the Prime Minister came back, he was also present at the burial of the poor little chap. This is not withstanding the importance of G8 and NATO meetings. If the prime of Minister of Italy could leave such a meeting as important as G8 and NATO to go back to Italy, how can we equate the fact that the President of Nigeria left so many people being massacred in Nigeria by Boko Haram to attend a meeting on the Earth Summit. The logic is simple: the President has an obligation of solidarity with the people that put him in charge of their affairs. No one is doubting the importance of the Earth Summit or the freedom of the President to attend it, but if the truth must be told, is it only funny that the President will leave his people to go for a meeting of United Nation’s Conference on Environment and Development in Rio where the discussion is still about the sustenance of the people through environmental protection while the very people he is representing are not being protected from the immediate danger of annihilation by Boko Suicide bombers. Hmm! Rev. Fr. Gerald Azike wrote in from Rome.



Allegations of extortion dog prepaid metre installation in Kubwa

The World Bank prepaid metre. By Adeola Tukuru


ome officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have been accused ofinvolvement in extortion of thousands of naira from unsuspecting residents of Kubwa, a town in Bwari Area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Investigations by our reporter revealed that the illegal deal, involving the installation of prepaid metres, was uncovered after the accused officials had successfully ripped many residents of their hard earned money. It would be recalled that the PHCN recently commenced the installation of free prepaid metres in various parts of the FCT, under the World Bank-assisted free prepaid metre initiative. However, rather than deploying this free-of-charge to residents, some greedy

Photo: By Adeola Tukuru officials have allegedly seized this opportunity to feed fat from the pockets of innocent residents. Smarting from the gullibility of the victims, some residents have raised an alarm over the extortion, PHCN, saying the PHCN officails have made it a habit to collect substantial amount of money from residents before giving

them prepaid metres. According to residents, some of the officials of the PHCN extort the sum of N20, 000N30, 000 from each household, depending on the types of flats involved. This is as they allegedly threaten the residents that if the money was not released to them, they would remain in darkness.

Initially me and other tenants confronted them that the project is free from World Bank so why should they demand that kind of amount from us, but the PHCN officials insisted that if we don’t pay the said amount, we will be disconnected from the old light and we will remain in darkness until we are ready to pay. We begged them but they refused claiming that it is the order from the above

Some of the victims speak on their experiences with the said officials. Mr. James Obinwon told Peoples Daily that the PHCN officials asked him to pay the sum of N20, 000 before a metre could be deployed to his house, located at Shelter Farm in Kubwa. He said that the officials claimed that the cable wires needed for the installation were not enough, so he was required to pay the sum of N20, 000 before he could be connected. “Some of these officials claimed that they have to travel as far as other states before they can have access to the prepaid metres, because the ones available are not enough in the FCT,” Obinwon said. “Initially me and other tenants confronted them that the project is free from World Bank so why should they demand that kind of amount from us, but the PHCN officials insisted that if we don’t pay the

said amount, we will be disconnected from the old light and we will remain in darkness until we are ready to pay. We begged them but they refused claiming that it is the order from the above”, he added. Another resident, Mrs Ayotoke Akinwale said when officials of the PHCN installed the device in her house she was not asked to pay a dime. She speaks: “They had already liaised with my landlady, so they didn’t ask me for any money but when they installed the meter, they told me that it was only 15 units that were initially in the meter and after it was exhausted, I will have to go the office to get it activated”. But the beginning of her ordeal was a few days later when the units in the metre were exhausted. Akinwale narrated: “Four days after the credit units in the prepaid metre was Continued on page 18


Continued from page 16 exhausted I went and met my landlady to help me contact the PHCN officials who fixed the prepaid metre. She gave me one Kingsley’s number. I kept calling him to help me on how I could be activated but he said that I should pay him first before he can help me get the card. I kept calling him for almost two weeks and he refused to come except I pay him, so I decided to go directly to the PHCN office, before they attended to me”. For Mr. Yekini Kowope, the prepaid metre project is a flop. This, according to him, was because the aim of the initiative which was also to assist the poor masses, has been defeated in the area as officials extorted money from them as a precondition for installation. Kowope said that even when the prepaid metres were installed, it took about two to three weeks before they were activated and when they were finally activated, it took another extra one week before they were able to have access to buy the units. “It is so unfortunate that the prepaid metres provided is adding sorrow to us instead of making us happy, compared to the old metre which is easily accessible. This really makes us go through hell. “We have to queue for several hours because most of the PHCN outlets in Kubwa are not activating the prepaid and it’s not all these outlets that have access to sale these cards. It took me almost two weeks before I could get my prepaid metre installed after we gave officials of the PHCN money,” he said.


Allegations of extortion dog prepaid metre installation in Kubwa

Many houses in Kubwa, such as these are yet to have prepaid metres Confirming the extortion being perpetrated by some of the PHCN ad hoc staff in charge of installation, an official, who pleaded anonymity told Peoples Daily in a telephone

interview that most of the PHCN officials are contract staff from the World Bank. He substantiated the claims by residents, observing that some officials are using

The owner of this house had to ‘settle’ officials before this metre was installed.

the prepaid metre installation to do business by extorting money from residents. “I am aware that some of these boys are extorting money from people before they install

Photos: By Adeola Tukuru

a prepaid metre for them, which is very wrong because both the metre and the cables are made available free to residents from the World Bank. I don’t want to be a party to these and that is why I have decided to wash my hands off the issue”, he said. Also, the head, Business Unit of the PHCN), Mr. Aminu Bello explained that the installation of the prepaid metres is being supervised by a special unit in PHCN, Project Monitoring Unit (PMU). He denied that the installation was being done by officials of the PHCN, saying the people installing the prepaid metres are contractors and not PHCN staff. Bello encouraged consumers not to anxious about getting the metres because anxiety could result to people offering money to contractors out of desperation to obtain the metre. He said that information made available to the unit from PMU showed that more metres were still expected in the unit. Bello also cautioned PHCN staff especially marketers against any form of connivance with contractors to extort money or intimidate consumers. Residents however inisited that whether the extortionists are officials of the PHCN or not, the relevant authorities are expected to investigate this fraud and bring perpetrators to book accordingly.



A truck loaded with firewood for sale as an alternative to kerosene, yesterday in Garki, Abuja.

A middle aged woman engaged by Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), cleaning a street yesterday in Area 3, Abuja. A man who specialises in Keke NAPEP repairs, doing what he knows best, yesterday in Garki, Abuja.

An engineer trying to fix a CCTV camera, yesterday in Area 11, Abuja.

A Keke NAPEP driver taking a nap inside his tricycle, opposite Garki market, yesterday in Abuja. Photos: Justin Imo-Owo






- Pg 20

Air crashes, Regional manager wants fire stations in Iju areas

Mob: 08033644990

NNCP Headquarters in Abuja, FCT

NNPC, Shell target 250,000bpd production by 2015 By Muhammad Nasir


he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have concluded plans to boost the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company’s (NPDC) oil production target to 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) by 2015. The plan is in tandem with joint venture operations programme, to reposition business in the upstream sector.

Speaking after a tour of Shell Training Technology Centre at The Hague, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Austen Oniwon expressed the readiness of the corporation and SPDC to grow the NPDC, the upstream flagship company of the NNPC, to an enviable height in the global hydrocarbon industry. According to him, ”we believe that in less than 50 years from now, NPDC will become a world class exploration and production company by producing 250,000 bpd in

2015,” the GMD said. The Director Upstream International of SPDC, Andy Brown, stressed that Shell is committed to the partnership with the NNPC and revealed that going forward the joint venture partners will explore ways to develop domestic gas for the Nigerian and global market. “We have been partners in progress for the past 50 years in the oil and gas industry and we are delighted that the NNPC was able to visit our facility at The Hague.” In their separate

contributions, the Group Executive Director Exploration and Production of the NNPC, Messrs Andy Yakubu, and the Managing Director of SPDC Nigeria, Mutiu Sumonu, described the partnership of the two companies as a success story. On his part, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Osten Olorunsola said that as a watchdog of the industry, the DPR was glad to witness a partnership that would transform the landscape of the

Nigerian oil and gas industry. It would be recalled that oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta after half a century of exploration. The discovery was made by Shell-BP which was at that time the sole concessionaire. Nigeria joined the ranks of oil producers in 1958 when its first oil field came on stream producing 5,100 bpd. After 1960, exploration rights in onshore and offshore areas adjoining the Niger Delta were extended to other foreign companies.

Compumetrics Solutions launches ‘Digital Africa’ CBN to By Abdulwahab Isa


n Abuja-based ICT consulting company, Compumetrics Solutions Limited has formally announced a new initiative tagged: “Digital Africa”, an annual conference and exhibition, aimed at further accelerating the growth of the ICT sector across the African continent.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the “Digital Africa” corporate identity which held in Abuja yesterday , the Managing Director of Compumetrics Solutions, Dr. Evans Woherem said, “When it comes to the ICT sector, Africa represents very good news. We therefore plan to use this annual industry gathering to forge strategic business partnerships of all kinds among Africa’s major,


18th June, 2012 BUYING 0.2784 195.4993 242.3875 41.3001 154.9

SELLING 0.2984 196.7614 243.9523 41.5667 155.9


BUYING 210 250 40 156

SELLING 212 252 42 158

Growth in Asia and Latin America is quite modest. As at today, the most exciting ICT business opportunities lie in Africa and the Middle East”. Dr. Woherem noted that, “Though Africa has traditionally lagged behind in certain critical economic sectors, however ICT is clearly a bright spot for the continent today, and we Africans must seize this opportunity and move ahead confidently”.

Management Tip of the Day



medium and niche ICT players, as well as to promote the continent as a profitable investment destination to the global ICT community”. Dr. Woherem explained that, “Africa is the last frontier for most global technology brands that are seeking fresh and virgin markets. North America and Europe have almost reached a market saturation point for many ICT products and services.


Communicate your charisma

harisma is not innate. True, no amount of practice will turn you into Winston Churchill or Martin Luther King Jr., but you can still win over your followers by changing how you communicate.

Whenever possible, express your conviction to a project or idea. This will reveal the quality of your character, which establishes your credibility with listeners so they identify and align themselves with you. Demonstrate authority by

setting high goals and conveying confidence that your team can achieve them. A leader will inspire his followers when he truly believes that they can reach their goal. Source: Harvard Business Review

raise N134.6bn in treasury bills


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it plans to raise N134.56 billion ($827.27 million) in treasury bills ranging from 3month to 1-year maturities at its regular bi-monthly debt auction tomorrow. The apex bank said it will issue N21.84 billion in 91-day paper, N52.73 billion in 182day bills and 60 billion in 364day bills next week on June 28. Dealers said the release of May budget allocations to government agencies would spur demand for the paper, but yields are expected to be mixed. (Reuters)



Crashed DANA aircraft insurance cover worth $354m - Management

COMPANY NEWS Associated Aviation to buy 4 new aircrafts for $30m


ssociated Aviation has revealed that it would be acquiring four new 60seater Embraer 145 aircraft from the United Kingdom, worth over $30 million, just as it has started a phasing out process of the old aircraft in its fleet.

Chellarams re-iterate commitment to support children programmes


s a manufacturer and marketer of products targeted at children and a firm believer in children’s developmental initiatives, Chellarams Plc, through its fast moving consumer goods and consumer durable departments, supported several ‘Children’s Day’ programmes organised in Lagos recently.

STI’s aggressive penetration of target market yields dividend


nderwriting firm, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc has attributed its strong performance in the 2011 financial year to the successful execution of its growth strategy, which rides on improved efficiency and productivity.

FG, UNIDO partner to boost renewable energy


he Federal Government is to partner the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in the exploitation of the abundant potentials in renewable energy.

ABUCCIMA attracts Wal-Mart to Abuja


he Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ABUCCIMA) says it will work with international developers to build a world-class shopping mall in FCT.

Mainstreet Bank adopts new growth strategy


n response to the dynamics of the global financial markets, the Board and Management of Mainstreet Bank Limited have adopted a positional strategy that will place the bank in good stead to meet the needs of its growing customers.

By Muhammad Nasir


An Arik aircraft in mid flight

IATA gives Nigeria’s aviation sector pass mark Stories from Suleiman Idris, Lagos


espite the June 3 crash of an MD 83 aircraft belonging to DANA Air in Iju/Ishaga area of Lagos, which killed over 160 on board and on ground, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the airlines’ global clearing house, has given the Nigeria’s aviation industry pass mark. According to IATA, Nigeria’s safety record was virtually unblemished between 2007 and 2011, when there was only one accident recorded and it did not result in a hull loss. The international aviation body also noted improvement in safety performance in Africa, with accident rates falling 61%. Latest safety status from IATA Safety Report 2011 showed a dramatic improvement in safety performance in Africa, with accident rates falling 61% to 6.17 accidents per million departures, sharply down from the 15.68 per million in 2010.

According to IATA’s Senior vice-president for Safety, Operations and Infrastructure, Gunther Matschnigg, Africa’s air safety record, which has been described as the world’s worst, has been under scrutiny again after two accidents in Nigeria this month, which has made IATA to conclude plans to meet with African heads of states in Abuja next month to adopt the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan. Speaking in an interview in Beijing, China, Matschnigg insisted that even with the most recent accident in Nigeria with Dana Air, in which more than 153 people were killed, the overall safety performance of the sector is higher than last year. “There is growing recognition among African states that without a reliable and safe airline industry, the development of their economies will not be as robust as it could be as people and companies will be less inclined to travel or contract the services of companies that are unsafe.

“There is momentum on the issue now and we have to act; these are not the first actions we are taking in Africa, there have been improvements already,” he said. “In Nigeria, at least 12 airlines have been shut down because of their poor safety records and this type of action was a credit to the political will that is being demonstrated to improve the image and the performance of the sector on the continent”, Matschnigg said. At the next month’s meeting, this five step programme, which will be implemented between now and 2015, will be presented to the African heads of states and their ministers of transport for political support in Abuja. “We had a really good meeting in Johannesburg with many people from the industry, government people and industry institutions and they recognise the problems with safety and are very eager to do something to improve the industry; they want things to be better and safer,” Matschnigg said.

. . . set to grant Arik Air full membership


he International Air Transport Association (IATA) will soon grant its membership to Arik Air when the world aviation body finally concludes the inspection of the airline facility in Lagos. During a facility tour of the airline headquarters in Lagos, Arik Air Senior vice-president in charge of operations, Mr. Rob Thomas disclosed that the safety audit arm of IATA, IOSA had certified the airlineunder the second IOSA programme during a visit to the company three weeks ago. Thomas told journalists that aircraft it the airline’s fleet are now equipped with the Global Positioning System (GPS) making it possible for any of them to land at zero visibility at any airport in Nigeria.

IOSA certification is the approve benchmark for global safety management in airlines and all IATA members are registered and must remain registered in order to maintain IATA membership. He noted at the airline Operational Control Centre (OCC), where all it flights are tracked, that “equipment that makes the aircraft to land with recourse to instrument landing system at airports.” “OCC in Arik Air could be comparable to the one in Emirates, with this equipment, it easier to track the airline’s aircraft, those delayed, gives the airline current global weather report, indicate when anaircraft is due for maintenance, where it will be maintained among

others”, he said. Also, he affirmed that the GPS in Arik Air airplanes are integrated into Auto Pilot System (APS) and Flight Management System (FMS), which differentiate the new generation aircraft and older ones. According to him, the airline carries out its maintenance checks, such as A and B at its hangar in Lagos by Lufthansa Tecniks, while the major aspect such as the C and D are carried out overseas. While only two domestic airlines; Arik Air and Air Nigeria are the only airlines on IOSA register from Nigeria, the approved minimum visibility by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is 1,200.

fforts to put to rest the veracity of the true state of the insurance cover for the DANA plane that crashed landed in Lagos earlier this month was finally put to rest as the management of the airline has disclosed that the actual insurance premium for the aircraft stood at $354.5 million. The company spokesperson, Mr. Tony Usidamen said that the speculations making the rounds that the company did not have requisite insurance or that it has not paid its premium up to date was untrue. Usidamen told reporters that DANA Air has all the required insurance cover and was fully up to date with policy payments affirming that the airline’s insurers include Prestige Assurance Plc as (LeadUnderwriter) while the foreign insurer is the United Kingdom based Lloyds of London. He explained that the two levels of insurance cover are US$4.5 million for the value of the plane (Hull) and US$350 million for third party liabilities. DANA, he said has made direct contact with 103 of the 112 families who lost loved ones in the accident and have also made contact with the 6 embassies managing communications with the families of those victims from other countries.

Air crashes: Regional manager wants fire stations in Iju area


ollowing recent air craft crashes that appears to occur usually at Iju, an axis of Agege in Lagos, the South-West airports Regional Manager of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Edward Olarerin has called on the Lagos state government to build fire service stations along the metropolis, which is the main route for aircraft approaching the Lagos airport. Mr. Olarerin also stressed the need for collaborative efforts among the local government, the traditional institutions and the various agencies directly responsible for emergency rescue operations. Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum on airport emergency plan in Lagos, he said the need to establish fire service stations along the area became imperative following difficulties rescue operators encountered during the June 3rd crash of a Dana aircraft in the area.



Transforming Dala Hill into a tourist destination

Daha Hill in Kano By Emmanuel Yashim


ala Hill — a hill in Kano — is about 534 meters (1,753 feet) high; some feet higher than Goron Dutse hill; another hill in the ancient city, which is about 1,697 feet high. A substantial part of Kano city could be viewed from Dala Hill; whose spectacular features include the 999-step staircase engraved to its crest. Its location represents the site of an early settlement that was known for iron works which, according to historians, attracted merchants to the city in the ancient days. The historians note that in the 7 th Century, Dala Hill attracted immigrants from faraway places in West and North Africa, as well as the Middle East, who then settled at the base of the hill and founded the first Dala community. The settlers were attracted to the hill by the iron ore deposits there as the metal enabled them to be engaged in iron works for the production of farming, hunting and war implements, among others. Oral traditions have it that the Dala community was where the Emirs of Kano, prior to the reign of the famous Mohammadu Rumfa, lived. Observers note that the hill, therefore, represents a significant aspect in the political and socio-economic history of Kano people, apart from serving as a sustainable source of iron ore for the neighbourhood’s blacksmiths. The hill is also a reliable source of first-grade clay soil which many residents of the area use for building houses. Kabiru Abubakar, a tourist guide at Dala Hill, claims that the quality of the clay soil from

the hill is very unique, adding that the houses built with the clay look exceptional and more colourful than those built with ordinary soil. He says that the clay is largely used in constructing structures with traditional architectural patterns across the city. Dala Hill even has some spiritual significance. “In the past, Dala Hill used to be the abode of a deity, Tsumburbura, who reportedly lived in the community in the ancient times,’’ says Aisha Ahmed, a historian. She says that Barbushe, the chief priest of Tsumburbura, acted as the liaison between the Kano people and the deity, adding that Barbushe usually ascended the hill to consult with the deity before coming down to deliver messages to the people. “Some oral traditions say that Tsumburbura once prophesied the coming of Muhammadu Rumfa, the advent of Islam in Kano and the changes which Rumfa would bring to the community,’’ she says. Dr Muhammadu Adamu, a researcher who has carried out some studies on Dala Hill, says that the earliest chief priest of Tsumburbura had a room for his idol at the base of the hill which nobody could enter except him. He says that the priest used to organise a yearly religious congregation, which the followers of Tsumburbura used to attend, adding that the ritual was sustained long after his death. He notes that in the ancient days, Dala Hill was on the outskirts of Kano city, adding, however, that the growing urbanisation of the area made the hill to now be in the city

centre. Adamu says that Rumfa, nonetheless, moved the seat of the Kano monarchy from the Dala community to Gidan Makama, an area in Kano now recognised as a heritage site by the National Council for Museums and Monuments. He expatiates that Gidan Makama served as a temporary abode for Rumfa when he migrated downhill, stressing that the action also marked a change in Kano’s political leadership. Malam Aliyu Abdu, the Curator, Gidan Makama Museum, says: “Gidan Makama was built as a temporary abode for Rumfa when he migrated from Dala Hill but the hill was the earliest Kano settlement before the coming of Islam.’’ Aliyu Ibrahim, a resident of the Dala neighbourhood, says that children usually climb to the top of Dala Hill to relax, play games or view the surroundings. “I go there sometimes to play hide-and-seek game with my friends. Crevices have been created in the hill because people dig into the hill to excavate clay soil for building works. It is in those crevices that we used to hide,’’ he says. Abubakar recalls that a German family once climbed the hill and expressed delight about their “thrilling experience on the way to the hilltop’’. He says that the hill is gradually becoming a preferred location for several Nigerian film producers, while children usually climb the hill during Sallah celebrations. Sharing similar sentiments, Malam Aminu Mohammed, a producer of Hausa movies, says that Dala Hill is a good location

for making historical films or musical videos. “A lot of Hausa film producers in Kano have, at one time or the other, gone uphill to shoot films or musical videos. This is because the hill occupies a significant position in the history of Kano. “It is, however, distressing to note that despite the importance of Dala Hill in Kano history, the hill, like many other tourism sites, has been neglected as no effort has been made to develop its vast tourism potential,’’ he says. Mohammed emphasises that Dala hill is one of the historical monuments in Kano which have a lot of significance in the development of the area’s industry, commerce and politics. He believes that the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda should also encompass a pragmatic tourism development agenda which would cater for the development of potential tourist sites such as Dala Hill. “This is what the government can do to develop the latent tourism resources across the country. “This will make Nigerians to refrain from visiting tourist sites in overseas countries, as some of them are not even as solid and valuable as the ones we have here in Nigeria. “Nigeria ought to realise that the tourism sector is the biggest employer of labour worldwide, although it is an almost ‘invisible’ industry that provides jobs to more than 250 million people. “This is because the tourism sector is multifaceted, cutting across many sub-sectors such as transport, housing, food, sports, religion and culture, among

others,’’ he says. Mohammed says that the importance of tourism made the World Tourism Organisation to evolve strategies to assist governments in quantifying the impact of tourism on their national economies via the “Tourism Satellite Account’’. Alhaji Munzalli Dantata, the Director-General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, underscores the need for governments to make pragmatic efforts to attract foreign tourists to their countries. He says that governments should not worry unduly about how much they spend on tourism development projects, stressing the need for them to recognise the essence of tourism and its vital position in national development planning processes. Dantata insists that tourism is about generating income from visitors, stressing: “Tourism is not primarily about leisure; it is about defining your product and selling it. “It could, nonetheless, be anchored on leisure or business activities, people will still buy it. “For instance, India is promoting medical tourism; Dubai encourages shopping tourism; while Saudi Arabia and Israel are promoting religious tourism. “There is even marriage tourism in the Caribbean where many Americans go and get potential spouses to marry,’’ he says. Dantata says that the statistics of the World Travel and Tourism Council reveal that tourism contributed about N1.2 billion to the Nigerian economy in 2011, adding that the figure represented 3.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP). He urges the Federal Government to take a cue from the Cuban experience, saying that Cuban government recognized the great economic potential of Cuba’s diverse cultures and religion and developed a strategy that enables it to generate massive income from tourism. He, nonetheless, says that inadequate funding has been identified as the major factor limiting the growth of Nigeria’s tourism industry. Going from the general to the specifics, Dantata recalls that that several prospective investors have shown considerable interest in developing the tourism potential of Dala Hill. He says that some of the investors want to acquire the hill and its environs, so as to develop it into an attractive tourist centre after paying compensation to the area’s residents for their relocation. Dantata, therefore, calls on the Federal Government and the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to acquire veritable heritage sites and cultural monuments across the country, while developing them into excellent tourist destinations. Source: NAN



NDIC holds seminar for judges today By Abdulwahab Isa


he Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) will hold a oneday sensitisation seminar for judges and other key stakeholders.

The seminar, with the theme: “The Challenges to Deposit Insurance Law and Practice in Nigeria”, which holds today at the NJI main auditorium, Abuja will be declared open by the Special Guest of Honour, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Dahiru Musdapher.

One of the primary objectives of the sensitisation seminar is t brainstorm on the ways to improve the administration of justice towards effective implementation of deposit insurance system (DIS) inNigeria. Eminent jurists and legal

luminaries from the bar and the bench, th banking sector and the academia have been invited to the seminar as chairmen, discussants and paper presenters on legal and technical issues on bank liquidation. The dignitaries include Hon. Justice Aloma M. Mukhtar of the Supreme

Court, Hon. Justice G. O. Oguntade, retired Supreme Court Justice, Dr. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), Ricky Tarfa (SAN), Dikko Mahmoud SAN), Director-General of Nigerian Law school, Dr. Mamman Tahir and MD/CEO, Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. J. K. Olusegun Agbaje. A statement issued by NDIC Head, Communications & Public Affairs, Hadi Birchi says the seminar is expected to draw participants from the NDIC Board and Management, judges from the Federal, State High Courts and Appellate Courts, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and National Judicial Institute. Other participants that are scheduled to attend the seminar are representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as Federal Ministries of Justice and Finance.

NCC dashes operators’ plan on telecoms infrastructure By Muhammad Sada

T L-R: The Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mazi Nnamdi Udo and the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi at the handover ceremony of the Airfield Lighting and Wildlife Hazard Management functions to NAMA at the corporate headquarters of FAAN in Lagos.

Cement: Dangote offers opportunities for Nigerian distributors By Aminu Imam


n order for its customers to benefit maximally from its current expansion drive, the management of Dangote Cement Plc has liberalised its distribution channels by widening its sales point network. The leading cement manufacturers had embarked on an expansion drive which seen it adding more lines to its existing cement plants across the federation with the

attendant expectation that it would lead to reduction in the price of the commodity. However, the management of Dangote Cement said it was reviewing its distribution network to ensure the availability of the product by creating wider access for its customers. This, it believes will also ensure not only the stability of price, but also guaranteeing availability at the most reasonable price.

Group Managing Director of Dangote Cement, Devakumar Edwin said in Lagos at the weekend, that company at the height of skyrocketing price of cement, had acquired 5000 trucks to boost its logistics and pave the way for even distribution of the product across the nation. According to him, having solved the problem of logistics, the next phase is to ensure a wider distribution depot and register more dealers and bring the

product closer to the customers. He explained that “with Obajana’s 10. 25mtpa, and its fourth line under construction, the company’s production capacity will be far above the nation’s demand. It would be recalled that the company’s Benue plant of 3.5mtpa is producing to capacity. When added to the 6 mtpa Ibese plant production, the company will have a total production capacity of 19.75mtpa.

the construction of a 100, 000 barrel per day refinery, petrochemical cogeneration plants and associated industries at Oporoma, Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa state.” The managing director, who disclosed that the project would be done in conjunction with the company’s technical partners, Sino Asia Energy Group Company Ltd, assured that the new company would not only create jobs, but also

eradicate poverty among Nigerians and Africans in general. “It has a capacity to create over 100, 000 jobs, over 180 petrol stations across the nation, electricity generation of over 500 mega watts and their multiplier effects on the economy." Wenke assured that activities would be stepped up towards ensuring that the project is commissioned within

24 months. Also speaking, the Minister of state for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom commended the group for the new project, investment in refinery and petrochemicals is key to the industrial revolution plan of the present administration which is to develop industries in areas which the country has comparative and competitive advantage.

FG, Epic industries sign $7.5bn oil project agreement By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government and Epic Refinery & Petrochemical Industries Ltd yesterday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a $7.5billion oil company in Nigeria. According to the Managing Director of the company., Hon. Barango Mattew Wenke jrn ,“the project intends to achieve

h e N i g e r i a n Communications Commission (NCC) has quashed the plan by telecommunications operators in the country to a have single or unified payment structure for getting approval for building telecoms infrastructures across the country. This was made known by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, while speaking during a telecommunication forum organised by the Nigerian Bar Association in Lagos the said since telecoms focus more on physical infrastructure which could encroach on the responsibility of other government agencies and government at all levels, the idea may be difficult to create. Juwah’s position followed a proposal by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), which sought a single-place approach for getting all the necessary permits for installation of telecoms towers and other infrastructures to avoid duplication of charges coming from government agencies. The telecom operators have, through their umbrella body, lobbied the regulator to allow a single permit to cover all telecom infrastructure deployment and management, in order to reduce fees and avoid multiple regulations from other agencies of government. The NCC boss was represented by the Assistant Director, Legal and Regulatory department of the Commission, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye.



Gran Coupe boasts BMW’s dizzying array of technology S

trims are offered: 640i Gran Coupe, 650i Gran Coupe and 650i xDrive Gran Coupe. The latter two will be introduced later in the year. tandard on the 640i Gran Coupe are 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglamps, automatic wipers, parking sensors, power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustments and memory functions), leather upholstery, a power tilt-andtelescoping steering wheel, autodimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control and a rearview camera. Electronic features include Bluetooth, a navigation system, voice controls, the iDrive electronics interface and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. The 650i differs with a V8 engine, while the 650i xDrive also has all-wheel drive.


here's a relatively new segment in the premium luxury car world, an automotive oxymoron known as the four-door coupe. Essentially a fourdoor sedan with a lower, sleeker roof line, this odd breed offers sexier styling with the practicality of four doors. For 2013, BMW has jumped in with the 6 Series Gran Coupe. Although BMW refers to it as a 6 Series (to further drive home the "coupe" association), it's essentially a 5 Series sedan wearing a sharper suit. That said, being 4.4 inches longer than a 6 Series coupe, the Gran Coupe provides easier access to its roomier rear quarters. The 640i Gran Coupe sports a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 while the 650i Gran Coupe packs a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. Either way performance is strong and, in the case of the 640i Gran Coupe, so is fuel efficiency ? BMW estimates it will achieve 24 mpg in combined driving. As expected, the Gran Coupe also boasts BMW's dizzying array of technology and safety features and is well-equipped to do battle with its few competitors. Among its rivals, there are the similarly sleek Audi A7, MercedesBenz CLS-Class and Porsche Panamera. Any of them will provide a spirited drive along with plenty of comfort for road trips. However, the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is the priciest of the lot -- even the "entry-level" 640i can top $100,000 when one goes crazy with the expensive options packages. Much like the rest of this bunch, the BMW is more of a "grand tourer" than a sport sedan/coupe. Of course, with a name like Gran Coupe, that shouldn't come as a surprise. But it's worth noting that car enthusiasts expecting BMW's traditionally engaging handling

dynamics will likely be disappointed ? at least near the performance limits. Overall, the Gran Coupe hasn't really raised the bar in the coupestyled luxury sedan segment. But there's no doubt it's still a desirable car. For this grouping, a purchase decision will likely come down to which one's overall design, driving position and luxury features best suit your preferences.


he 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe is a four-door sedan with coupelike styling. Three

A variety of packages are available. The Driver Assistance package features side/top-view cameras, blind spot detection, a head-up display, lane departure warning and automated parallel parking assist. The Luxury Seating package adds a power rear sunshade, four-zone climate control and ventilated 14-way power front seats with a massage feature. The Cold Weather package provides heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a trunk pass-through ski bag. The Premium Sound package features a 12-speaker surroundsound audio system and satellite radio. Should that not be enough for the audiophile, there's also the available 16-speaker Bang &

Olufsen surround-sound audio system. For a sportier look and feel there are a few other packages. The M Sport package includes 19- or 20inch double-spoke wheels, lowerbody aero styling, a unique threespoke steering wheel, a faux-suede headliner and a higher (155 mph) top speed limiter. The artfully named Individual Composition package includes 19- or 20-inch Vspoke wheels, LED headlamps, black-out window trim, upgraded leather upholstery, the faux-suede headliner, unique cabin accents (piano black, Sycamore wood or White Ash wood) and the availability of unique, extra-cost exterior paint colors. Individual options include adaptive

suspension stabilizers, active steering, a night-vision camera, adaptive cruise control, extended leather upholstery and ceramic material controls.


any of the package features are available as individual options as well. Powering the 2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe is a turbocharged 3.0liter inline-6 that makes 315 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds testing, we recorded a 5.7-second 0-60-mph sprint time, which is average for this class of car. Unofficial fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg for combined driving. Source:



FMBN consolidates mortgage development with e-Collection platform

Exterior and interior views of Hawthorn Suites, Abuja, the luxury hotel that offers daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet for guests.



FMBN consolidates mortgage development with e-Collection platform Storins by Udenna Orji Mortgage


he gale of change blowing through Nigeria's growing mortgage sub-sector heightened at the weekend when Nigeria's sole secondary mortgage banker, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) launched an electronic collection platform to drive its National Housing Fund (NHF) collection from contributors and NHF designated banks. Tagged "NHF e-Collection Platform", the product is designed to among other things check sharp practices within the mortgage industry and enhance fund mobilization under the NHF scheme. This is coming soon after the recent increase in the capital base of mortgage banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The nation's apex bank increased the capital base of mortgage banks from 100 million Naira to 2.5 billion Naira for mortgage banks that want to operate within a state and 5 billion Naira for those that want to operate nationwide. The increase has

Tata to build India's cheapest housing units

Gimba Kumo, MD, FMBN started a flurry of activities and unease in the industry as some weak mortgage banks are now in search of funds to recapitalize or partners to merge with. Market watchers say more innovations and changes are expected in the industry as the Federal Government prepares to execute the new Housing and Urban Development Policy approved last week by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) The Managing Director of the FMBN, Mr. Gimba Ya'u Kumo while commenting on the new product said "the e-collection platform will address a number of problems facing the NHF scheme such as refusal of some employers to deduct their

employees' NHF contributions, failure of some employers to remit NHF contributions after deducting such contributions from their employees and failure of some employers to provide remittance schedules to FMBN. All these sharp practices enable some unscrupulous employers of labour to misappropriate NHF monies or even embezzle such funds" How does the new FMBN ecollection platform work? As soon as an employer instructs a designated NHF collection bank to pay the monthly salaries of its workers into the workers' individual bank accounts and the bank makes the payments, the NHF e-collection platform will automatically deduct 2.5 % of the basic salary of each worker (being the NHF component of the salary). The deducted component (i.e. the 2.5% NHF contribution from each worker) is also automatically and instantly channeled into a dedicated NHF collection account generated by the ecollection platform. Equally generated are details of each worker's contribution history, including the worker's identity and amount contributed so far. FMBN instantly credits each contributor's NHF account with the amount remitted for the month. Explaining further, Mr. Kumo said "the platform, for example, will make it easy for NHF contributors to check their NHF contributions using the NHF e-cards on any ATM

machines nationwide, the amount of money they have contributed to the NHF scheme and thus be in a position to know if their employers are making the appropriate NHF remittances as and when due". A top executive at mortgage bankers, Resort Savings & Loans Plc, Mr. Aliu Oshoke told Peoples Daily that "What FMBN has done is to turn the usual pass book into an electronic card. Though you cannot withdraw with this card, with it you will know details of your contributions unlike before when you did not have any details. With this new card, you can go to any ATM or computer with internet access, log onto the FMBN portal and see details of all your contributions". He added that the e-collection platform would help in mobilizing more funds under the NHF scheme as it would check sharp practices by some stakeholders. Mr. Geofrey Ozoani, Group General Manager of mass housing developer, El-Salem Nigeria Limited while hailing the new NHF e-collection Platform said "it will create more awareness of mortgages among Nigerians. There is a burning need to create awareness to Nigerians about mortgages and Nigerian mortgage institutions. Even contributors to the National Housing Fund do not know what they are contributing for". The NHF Act No.3 of 1992 which set up the National Housing Fund scheme stipulates that a Nigerian worker earning

the minimum national wage and above per annum in either the public or private sectors of the economy shall contribute 2.5% of his/her basic monthly salary to the Fund. The Fund provides long-term loans to mortgage institutions for onlending to contributors to the Fund for the purpose of building, purchasing and improvement of residential houses.

Itex Furniture and The Chair Centre have won international awards on quality. Another brand, Abuja-based "Regalio Range" has continued to penetrate the market with its masterpieces now highly sought after by upscale hotels, property developers, ministries, government agencies, interior decorators and other organizations and private

individuals who have come to rely on the famous Nigerian brand for its exquisite designs, beauty, sturdiness and durability. General Manager of Regalio Range, Mr.Mike Iwerima attributes the company's success to "our state-of-the-art-furniture equipment and painstakingly selected furniture craftsmen from different parts of the

country, coupled with the fact that we do not compromise on quality of materials used. We can also design exclusively to your taste and needs. Our strategy is high quality at a low price". If advances made in Nigerian furniture production are anything to go by, Vision 2020 will be a dream realized. Now it pays to buy Nigerian.

Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ms Ama Pepple

Regalio Range joins the Big League

Foreign Markets


ata, the Indian company that made worldwide headlines with its $2,000 (about N300,000) Nano car plans to build 1,000 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that will sell for $7,800 to $13,400 each. The company plans to roll out low-cost projects outside other major cities. Tata's housing division is targeting a segment of the market that was largely overlooked during the housing boom. India's builders were concentrating on building shiny new high rises after profits, but they were also trying to justify their fastaccelerating land costs, especially in and around Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and other major cities. But some business consultants (most prominently renowned management expert, C. K. Prahalad) were arguing that companies would profit handsomely if they target the "bottom of the pyramid" where the bulk of consumers are. It looks like Tata is taking that advice.



he ban placed on importation of foreign furniture has yielded unimaginable dividends as most Nigerian furniture brands are now successfully matching world renowned brands in sturdiness, durability, exquisite designs and colour choices. Indigenous furniture makers,


Non-fiction war novel Khatyn by Belorussian author Ales Adamovich is now, for the first time, available in an uncensored English edition


he first edition of Khatyn was censored and the reader outside USSR never saw the original. Forty years later Glagoslav Publications releases the unaltered version of the novel as was the author’s intent. Based on previously sealed war archives and rare witness records of the survivors, Khatyn is a heart wrenching story of the people who fought for their lives under the Nazi occupation during World War II. Through the prism of the retrospect perception as narrated by the novel’s main character Flyora – a boy who matures during the war – author Ales Adamovich beholds genocide and horrific crimes against humanity. The former teen partisan goes back in time and remembers atrocities of 1943. The novel’s pages become the stage where

The book cover


Khatyn: A review perished people come to life for one last time, get to say their last word, all at the backdrop of blood chilling cries of women and children being burned alive by a Nazi death squad that, accompanied by the Vlasov’s unit, surges a Belorussian village. Today the book is part of Belorussian cultural heritage and its actuality is even more so apparent - having marked the zones of fire on the world map, the ongoing blood baths have scarred the surface of our planet, begging mankind to “never again’’. The story of Khatyn was made into a war drama film Come and See (1985). About Ales Adamovich Known for his straight forward character, Ales Adamovich (1927-1994), an award winning Belorussian author, screenwriter and literary critic, was an active public figure and teacher in the former Soviet Union where he wrote his most influential war novel Khatyn. During WWII he fought as a partisan; this experience became the basis for Khatyn. After WWII he went on to receive his PhD in philology from Belorussian State University and also took graduate courses in directing and screenwriting at the

prestigious Moscow film school VKSR. Ales Adamovich’s works are still read widely and his legacy continues to be an

important milestone in Belorussian history. His fiction and non-fiction titles make a profound case against the

necessity of war, and are a testament to the kind of knowledge and wisdom being vastly sought after today.

Reading Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country


he defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967–1970. The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders. By then, Chinua Achebe was already a worldrenowned novelist, with a young family to protect. He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror. Immediately after, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry. Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature. Achebe masterfully relates his experience, both as he lived it and how he has come to understand it. He begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer so that we might come to understand the country’s promise, which turned to horror when the hot winds of hatred began to stir. To read There Was a Country is to be powerfully reminded that artists have a particular obligation, especially during a time of war. All writers, Achebe argues, should be committed writers—they should speak for their history, their beliefs, and their people. Marrying history and memoir, poetry and prose, There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid firsthand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Wise, humane, and authoritative, it will stand as definitive and reinforce Achebe’s place as one of the most vital literary and moral voices of our age Source: Nigerian Village Square


By Aliyu Musa “Journalism without check is like a human body without an immune system. If the primary purpose of journalism is to tell the truth, then it follows that the primary function of journalists must be to check and to reject whatever is not true”, Nick Davies.


Journalism profession and its flipside

Title: There is a war By Khalthum Umaru There is a war being fought in a far off land


nce upon a time journalism was considered a thankless profession due to reasons like poor journalist remuneration, exposure to hazards (including threat to life) and not having the right equipment to work. The newsroom situation was always very complex – stories went through several tunnels, manually, before finally being certified fit for audience consumption. In place of the user-friendly desktops, laptops and ipads now commonly used were click-click typewriters. And unlike now that a reporter could easily research a story by the click of a mouse, then it often took extra efforts to tear through the archive or to explore other means. A reporter could today get a piece of writing/report across to a reviewing editor by either saving on shared network or emailing directly almost effortlessly. An editor could double check a report in various ways including using the internet or making phone calls that come with much less labour too. And if happy with it he could forward it to the production staff without moving a step from his seat. It’s a world of technology and things are very simplified. But like everything that has its pluses technology has also immensely played a role in rendering the profession highly vulnerable. It has made it easier for anyone anywhere to claim to be and act as a journalist. It provides a platform for falsehood to be mischievously peddled with grave consequences. Much worse, it allows for untruth to be circulated around the globe at supersonic speeds, leaving little chance to check and reject it. Journalism today, as Davies has suggested, lacks an immune system and is therefore at the mercy of imposters and rumour mongers. One strand that appears guilty is citizen journalism. It is roughly defined as when an amateur journalist publishes news reports/stories on a blog or community website. But I add here that it is a situation in which someone devoid of even the basic knowledge of journalism takes advantage of the handiness of new technology – internet, mobile phone – to circulate rumours, falsehood and complete crap in the name of news as we see in many though not all cases. The trouble with this form of journalism is that it clearly misinforms, misleads and has the potential to ignite or amplify crisis. But a far bigger danger is that Citizen Journalism enunciates immersion in the


I know because the earth told me so A hush, she spilled and spun her secret tale and Now I know because she told me so A war of freedom, I reply to her expectant pause I am corrected, the earth refutes this claim Then a war for rights, I’m insistent on this cause The soil tremors, retorting at this counterclaim I question, then why shall brothers shed the blood of others A blaze burns, glowing throughout nights and days I try, it has to be incited from beyond those shores Late Enenche Akogwu, a Channels TV reporter who was killed while on duty in Kano story, which might explain why some mainstream media do not have any problem with being one-sided or nakedly biased. This might also explain why some media organisations are proudly flaunting their links to a side as opposed to the other and see no fault in that, in spite of professional ethics. This largely determines the future of journalism as objectivity is increasingly giving way to partiality. Ray Jaysen aptly describes objectivity as: “…the value of fairness, which is extremely important. It’s the ethic of restraining your own biases, which is also important…It’s the idea that journalism can’t be the voice of any particular party or sect.” When journalists openly display loyalty to one side it means one of the last bastions of the ordinary people, the downtrodden is lost. Tales of horrific events in which the media actively fanned the embers of hate or turned a blind eye in the face of injustice against a side considered an adversary abound in our recent history. The case of Rwanda where a newspaper, Kangura, was used to fuel the genocide against the Tutsi minority by continuously referring to them as Nyenzi (Cockroaches) is one such. In Nigeria a similar trend is the recent allegation by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-East chapter that there’s a plan to poison the Suya (grilled steak meat) sold to people in the South of the

country. Right Reverend Dr Emmanuel Chukwuma who spoke on behalf of the South-East CAN claimed the group Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunnah Lidda’awati wal-Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram plans to “sprinkle powdered substances on Suya meat before selling it to unsuspecting consumers who would subsequently die of liver related ailment”. The bombings going on in some parts of the North are totally senseless. Attacks on Churches each Sunday are completely despicable. But to condescend to this campaign of hate against certain people is, to say the least, antithetical to Right Reverend Chukwuma’s calling. Just like the Tutsi’s were demonised as Nyenzi this claim stereotypically presents the innocent Northerners going about their lawful businesses in the South-East as potential killers and, therefore, deserving of pre-emptive attacks. The claim justifies potential attacks on Suya sellers who are normally Northerners and anyone that is linked to the North. The logic in this call for blood might be better understood if recent reprisal killings in Jos and Kaduna are used as valid references. However, what is most disgusting is the willingness of some media to consent to being used as a podium for unsubstantiated claims of this nature to be displayed and sold to hapless audience. For instance, while the web went nuts over the allegation as soon as it was made, it was the

Tribune of 19 June 2012 that totally took one aback. A serious reporter should be able to ask salient questions like, if the usual Boko Haram strategy is the use of direct violence why would they resort to a less effective use of poisonous powdery substances? If their targets are Christians and Southerners, how would they easily differentiate a Northern Muslim that has lived his entire life in the South, speaks with a Southern accent and dresses like a Southerner from the actual Southerner? If, indeed, they plan to eliminate only Christians and Southerners as claimed by the Reverend Gentleman and reported by Tribune and others how do they intend preparing and selling the poisoned Suya that is meant for their potential victims and the safe one for the ‘favoured ones’ without being found out? And a credible editor should be able to find answers to these and others questions before going ahead to approve the report for publication. But the media that published the allegation without verification or balance were reckless enough to throw Jaysen’s wise counsel to the wind and act as the “voice of a particular party or sect”. This is the sort of journalism that compounds the problem and must be rejected by all. Aliyu Musa, PhD is of the Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, Liverpool, L16 9JD, UK. Tel:+44(0)7727268793

A smouldering remnant hides shadows of liberators kept at bay I hold my breath, is it true? A stark realisation dawns A whisper through the streets, gales of passions overflowing I ask, did they get wind? Or did the domination strike with awe Of a tempestuous zephyr, a vine of doubt that kept growing I gush, is this far off war a circle of doom? The delicate surge, now a cataract. A crushing rebuttal I think torrents of thoughts. It seems the floods ended the bloom And sluiced the early springs of peace for all I am shamed, all pride in my black skin is lost. A vehemence unforeseen has raged through, repeating for millennia I am melancholy, solicitude. All hope is lost? A grieving heart, echoing the death knell of nostalgia

QUO TE UOTE Let us all pledge to protect this opportunity in order to see that the wish of peace becomes a true and daily fact in this region. –– Mahmoud Abbas



Mohamed Morsi's supporters celebrated his presidential victory in Tahrir Square, the nucleus of the revolution [EPA]



t hasn't been pretty. In fact, the past eight months have been as ugly as politics get without descending into all-out conflict: elections alternating with massacres, punctuated by judicial rulings that inevitably weakened pro-democracy forces while strengthening the military's hand. And now, finally, Mohammed Morsi has been declared the official winner of the presidential election. With a dissolved parliament, an office with little executive power, and a once-lauded Supreme Constitutional Court acting as the legal henchman for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, it's no wonder commentators around the globe, along with millions of Egyptians, have concluded the entire electoral process was a "crushing blow" to the revolution. What's more, the semi-open negotiations between the senior leaders of the military and the Muslim Brotherhood in the past two weeks give a strong impression of an electoral outcome that was negotiated between the country's two most powerful forces, rather than won outright at the ballot box. Neither development augurs well for the future of democracy in Egypt. But a very different interpretation is also plausible. The issues surrounding the election might be temporarily resolved, but both SCAF and the Brotherhood have lost much (in the army's case, most) of their legitimacy, disappointing an Egyptian people desperate for meaningful progress toward democracy and economic development. If conditions don't get better quickly, blame will rest squarely with the military and the Brotherhood, the two groups most associated with the postMubarak (dis)order. This is the best outcome Egypt's revolutionary forces could have hoped for from an electoral process that was never going to produce a real transition to democracy or, as important, a real transformation in Egypt's broader political economy. For the military, it's quite a fall from grace. It's hard to describe Egyptian protesters' feelings of solidarity and unity with the army during the 18 days that forced Hosni Mubarak from power. Soldiers literally slept with protesters in Tahrir Square, while military leaders issued adamant messages of support for the people and pledged to give them "everything they wanted". In the 18 months since February 11, 2011, the military has squandered almost all of the goodwill that remained with the Egyptian people. True, some still support the military, either because they're part of the economic elite, the bloated security system, or are tied to both through patronage networks. The plight of Coptic Christians, who fear Islamist power even more than a government that has massacred them with impunity, is even more tragic. But for most Egyptians, the constitutional coup d'etat that dissolved parliament and curtailed the incoming president's power was a coup de grace that ended any pretence of military support for the people. No Egyptian with a political pulse today believes the army is interested in anything more than preserving its economic and political dominance in the new era. For its part, the Muslim Brotherhood played a minimal role in the revolutionary protests that

Morsi’s win is a victory for the revolution brought down Mubarak. But it dominated the transitional period, winning the largest share of seats in the now disbanded parliament and today the presidency. Despite the electoral victories, the Brotherhood has manoeuvred itself into a position as untenable long term as the military's. Months of barely clandestine negotiations between the Brotherhood and SCAF over how to divide postrevolutionary power (which continued even as SCAF eviscerated the constitution), coupled with the leadership's lack of serious criticism for mass arrests, military trials and violence against protesters, cast a long shadow over its integrity and commitment to democracy. Now a wide swathe of the Egyptian public - not just revolutionary activists, but also the Brotherhood's conservative base believes it sold out a revolution in which it was never vested for a greater share of power. This helps account for the surprisingly strong showing of Salafi candidates in the elections, as well the sometimes dramatic exit of younger

Brotherhood activists from the movement since February 2011. Mohammed Morsi now will assume a Presidency with limited powers while being viewed with great suspicion by much of the Egyptian populace. The only way for SCAF or the Brotherhood to reestablish credibility is to markedly improve the lives of the tens of millions of Egyptians who live in grinding poverty, scraping by on $2 a day or less. Yet there is almost no possibility of effecting such a radical economic transformation. The military's enormous economic power is directly tied to the existing system, while the Brotherhood leadership is ideologically committed to neoliberal policies that perpetuate inequality. Even if its leadership wanted to challenge the gross imbalances that define Egyptian society, the military and economic elite more broadly will fight tooth and nail to preserve their dominance. Ultimately, there is little chance that whoever governs Egypt in the


coming years will significantly improve Egyptians' lives. The existing power structure is too entrenched, the global economy too weak, and Egypt's relative economic and strategic position too unfavourable to enable anything close to a "Turkish miracle" that everyone hopes for, and which is the only chance either political force has to regain its squandered legitimacy. More likely is continued stagnation, government mismanagement of reforms, and ongoing state oppression and brutality that will serve as a constant reminder to Egyptians that both SCAF and the Brotherhood are unwilling and incapable of working for the interests for society as a whole. In the meantime, experienced activists at the centre of the revolution's first phase have not invested all their chips in the current political process. Taking a page from the Brotherhood's playbook, they've gone out to poor and conservative working-class communities across Egypt and begun the arduous but all-important task of building relations and trust. Had the transition process been seemingly cleaner, and revolutionary forces achieved a share of power, it would have been very difficult to avoid becoming a fig leaf for the consolidation of a system that would remain rigged against them on every major political, social and (especially) economic issue facing Egypt.

Mohammed Morsi now will assume a Presidency with limited powers while being viewed with great suspicion by much of the Egyptian populace.

Excluding them from the emerging political system (which was helped by several freshman mistakes by the revolutionaries, such as trusting the military during the crucial first post-Mubarak months or fielding multiple presidential candidates who drained votes from each other), was F and the Brotherhood could have given the revolution. Now the country's progressive forces can spend their time building an opposition that is rooted in society and can effectively challenge the political lies and illusionary narratives that will be liberally dispensed by the old/new system to pacify the masses. Equally important, they can develop a narrative for the future that the majority of Egyptians can believe has a chance of being realised, rather than leading to the chaos and instability that the military has constantly warned them would come with any attempt to radically change the structures and relations of power governing Egyptian society. Of course, this grassroots strategy will take years to take hold, and will come up against the interests of the patronage and power networks of the Brotherhood and the military. And before anything can happen, the thousands of progressive activists who've fallen into a funk in the past few months need to "get off the couch, stop complaining" and get back to work, as one young activist leader wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. But if the incompetent performance of SCAF, the Brotherhood and the rest of Egypt's power elite is any indication, there will be plenty of opportunities for Egypt's revolutionary forces to lay the foundation for a powerful opposition movement that will have a fighting chance to win real power the next time Egyptians head to the polls. This is the best any revolutionary movement can hope for less than two years into a struggle which, if history is any guide, will take decades to decide. Mark Levine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, and distinguished visiting professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden



S Africa weighs nationalization


outh Africa's ruling party is meeting this week to decide whether the country's mines, banks and land should be nationalised. The governing African National Congress accepts that the current policy has failed: With 80 per cent of land still in the hands of whites, the rate of change is just too slow for some who want land, mines and the reserve bank nationalised.

Sudan says no retreat on cuts despite protest


udan's finance minister has said the government will stick to its decision to cut fuel subsidies, despite more than a week of anti-austerity protests in Khartoum and elsewhere. "We will not retreat from our policy to remove the subsidy, whatever happens," Ali Mahmud al-Rasul told a news conference. "If the price of oil goes higher in the international market, we will increase it in Sudan." Demonstrations have spread since June 18, when President Omar al-Bashir announced austerity measures which included tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel. He also sacked all nine of his presidential advisers, the official Sudan News Agency reported, a group which includes members of the ruling party and other political factions. Meanwhile, demonstrations against high prices and Bashir's 23-year rule continued for an 11th day on Tuesday, witnesses said. The protests began with student-led demonstrations outside the University of Khartoum on June 16. But they later broadened to include a wider range of Sudanese in locations throughout the capital, as well as in several other parts of the country.

The protests over rising prices continued in Khartoum and elsewhere for an 11th day, witnesses said [AP]

Morsi to pick Christian woman as Egypt’s vice-president M ohammed Morsi's first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman told newsmen. Sameh el-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalised, they would be his two vicepresidents. Essawy also said that Morsi has no objection to swearing the presidential oath in front of the supreme constitutional court (SCC), widely seen as a controversial move after the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-majority parliament by that very court a day before the run-off elections earlier this month. But he added that "that does not mean he [Morsi] acknowledges the dissolution of parliament," said Essawy, a member of Morsi's former party, the Freedom and Justice party (FJP). Morsi's decisions come on a day that saw a flurry of court decisions and delays regarding several contentious issues, including the status of the parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood's FJP has a 45% majority in the dissolved parliament and is furiously contesting the SCC decision, taking the matter to the supreme administrative court. On Tuesday that court delayed its ruling on the dissolution of parliament until 7 July. The court also delayed another decision, filed by the former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, against the recent

Mohammed Morsi makes his first televised speech to the Egyptian people, at a studio in Cairo. constitutional declaration issued by Scaf, the ruling military junta, which limits presidential authorities in a number of matters pertaining to national security. The court delayed its ruling on this case to 10 July. The constitutional declaration had stated that in the absence of parliament, the president would swear the oath in front of the SCC. The vicepresident of the SCC, Tahani el-Gibali told the Guardian that the constitutional declaration was "the highest law in the land" though the court "had not yet been notified of any confirmation that this would take place".

There was an important ruling handed down on Tuesday, an administrative court overturning a ministry of justice decree two weeks ago that permitted military authorities to arrest and detain civilians. Human rights groups had been furious about the decree, calling it a gross transgression of authority, and immediately filed a complaint to the Cairo administrative court. To add to the court-case frenzy, the administrative court also delayed a ruling regarding the constitutionality of the constituent assembly - tasked with drafting Egypt's future

and permanent constitution to 1 September. This particular case rests on the fact that the assembly was elected by parliament, which is now dissolved, therefore the assembly could have the same fate. Morsi filled his second day as president-elect with meeting a number of state officials, including the current interior minister in an attempt to build bridges with a police force that was the initial spark of the 25 January 2011 revolt that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Morsi also met with the Sheikh of alAzhar, Egypt's highest religious institution.

Uganda landslides leave scores dead


andslides induced by torrential rain have destroyed three villages in the mountainous district of Bududa in eastern Uganda, killing scores of people but possibly hundreds, officials say. The disaster preparedness minister, Stephen Mallinga, said it was still too early to say how many had been killed in Monday afternoon's landslides, but officials from Bududa said

the final death toll would probably be in the hundreds. "We are sending a rescue team down there," Mallinga said. "It's very difficult to estimate how many have been killed, but two villages are affected, and maybe more." Witnesses said the landslides were unexpected, happening several hours after a torrential overnight downpour that at first seemed

Ugandan soldiers and relatives search for victims of a landslide in Bududa in 2010. Photograph: Peter Busomoke/AFP/Getty Images

to have done little damage. David Wakikona, a lawmaker from the region, said most people were likely to have been indoors when huge blocks of mud and rocks started to roll down hills, toppling homes, killing livestock and burying people alive. "We don't yet understand how this all happened, but it's terrible," Wakikona said. "Three villages have been buried." According to Wakikona, at least 300 people lived in the affected villages. Officials said rescue teams from the Ugandan army would play a lead role in moving the soil as the search for survivors began. The Uganda Red Cross said two villages had been destroyed and at least 15 houses had been buried in the landslides. Landslides are a common occurrence in the hilly parts of eastern Uganda, and they have been especially lethal over the years in those villages where the land is denuded of vegetation cover. In 2010, massive landslides in Bududa

killed about 100 people, destroying buildings including the village market and a church. The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, who visited the scene, said at the time that the landslides were divine retribution for the people's failure to give to the land what they take from it. The villages are usually heavily populated, and often situated on land bare of trees. There has been fierce resistance to a government effort to relocate the most vulnerable people in Bududa and neighbouring districts, with activists saying it would be even more disastrous for villagers to abandon their ancestral homes. Even those who were relocated to a camp for refugees after the 2010 landslides secretly returned to Bududa, said Mallinga, the disaster preparedness minister. "There's a degree of unwillingness to leave," he said.



hree police officers have died in a gun battle with two other officers suspected of drug trafficking at Mexico City's airport as travellers scrambled for cover. Three federal officers had approached the two suspects in the airport's terminal two, which handles international and domestic flights. Two agents were killed at the terminal and another later died of his injuries in hospital. More than a dozen shots were heard, Milenio Television reported. Television footage

Jury returns open verdict on prisoner hanged in cell


n inquest jury has returned an open verdict on the death of a prisoner found hanged alone in his locked cell. Its decision came after a high court judge made an unusual intervention by forbidding the coroner from inviting the jury to consider verdicts of murder or manslaughter. The panel also found prison officers had turned a blind eye to the bullying of the inmate by other prisoners. Following a six-week inquest, at Wakefield coroner's court the jury returned an open verdict on Kassa Osebu, who was found hanged in his cell at Leeds prison in September 2007. The door was locked but the jury decided not to return a suicide verdict. Osebu, a 30-year-old Ethiopian, was on remand, charged with murdering his wife. The inquest began in December 2010, but was adjourned to enable West Yorkshire police to carry out an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Prisoners who gave evidence at the hearing alleged Osebu had been bullied by other prisoners and that officers had ignored the abuse. One prisoner, who had been in the next cell to Osebu, on the jail's C wing, said he had heard a commotion coming from his cell during the early hours of 28 September 2007. Osebu was found hanged at 5am. A Home Office pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd, told the jury the ligature mark on the dead man's neck was much smaller in dimension than the folded bed sheet from which Osebu was found suspended and had features that pointed to it not having been caused by the sheet. He also referred to a fracture to Osebu's larynx as consistent with "significant force" being applied to that area. He said two abrasions on Osebu's neck were not consistent with the application of the bed sheet and one was unlikely to have been self-inflicted. The West Yorkshire deputy coroner, Melanie Williamson, informed counsel for all parties she intended to invite the jury to consider verdicts of murder and manslaughter, as well as suicide, accidental death and open verdicts. In a highly unusual move, counsel for the prison service sought a judicial review of her decision. Last week, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave made an order quashing that decision. The order was embargoed until after the inquest and jurors were not aware of the intervention from the high court.


3 police officers killed in shootout at Mexico City airport showed a body lying on the floor of the terminal in what appeared to be a publicly accessible area. The suspects, who remain at large, are believed to be part of a larger group of officials involved in a cocaine ring, Mexico's security ministry said in a

statement. An airport spokesman, Jorge G贸mez, said that aircraft departures and arrivals continued normally after the incident. Mexico City has seen relatively low murder rates

compared with the rest of the country, where drug violence has killed around 55,000 people in the past five and a half years. But attacks have been rising in the capital and its surrounding neighbourhoods, with more than 300 gangland killings recorded

last year. Mexico's airports and ports are busy areas for drug smugglers. So far this year federal police have seized more than 200kg (440lb) of cocaine at the capital's airport, double the amount taken there last year.

Obama offers storm assistance to Florida governor


resident Barack Obama has assured Florida Gov. Rick Scott that his state will have "no unmet needs" as it responds to extreme weather and flooding from Tropical Storm Debby. White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama expressed his condolences for the loss of life, as well as the extensive storm damage. Carney says Obama told Scott the federal government would be in close contact with the state and stood ready to provide additional assistance if necessary. Debby has socked Florida with high winds and heavy rain that has already led to flooding, with officials warning of more to come. Obama called Scott from Air Force One as he flew to Atlanta for a campaign event. The president will be in Miami later Tuesday to attend two campaign fundraisers.

Yulia Tymoshenko hearings adjourned until after Euro 2012 final

Police guard the bodies of officers shot dead at Mexico City airport. Photo: Reuters

The jury's open verdict on Kassa Osebu's death came after the judge had forbidden verdicts of murder or manslaughter.


Ukrainian court has adjourned hearings into former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal against the verdict and sevenyear prison sentence handed down to her last October on abuse-of-office charges until after the European football championship. Judge Stanislav Mishchenko granted state prosecutors' motion requesting a medical examination of Tymoshenko to determine if she is fit to attend the hearings, which will now take place on 12 July. Tymoshenko, who has been moved from prison to a hospital to receive treatment for back trouble, chose not to attend yesterday's hearings. Outside the building, thousands of supporters and opponents of Tymoshenko held rival demonstrations.

Supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko outside Ukraine's high court.


Briton sentenced to death in UAE drug case


Briton has been sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates, the British Embassy confirmed Tuesday, after he and another man were convicted on drug-related charges. The unnamed British man and a Syrian citizen were found guilty of trying to sell 20 grams (about 3/4 of an ounce) of marijuana to an undercover officer, local newspapers reported. "We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in the United Arab Emirates," a British Embassy spokeswoman said. "We will remain in close contact with him and continue to provide the appropriate consular assistance." She declined to identify the man or comment on details of the case. She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with embassy policy. Emirati court and Justice Ministry officials gave no details about the case by phone Tuesday. A spokesman at the Syrian embassy could not be reached for comment. Websites of the National and 7 Days newspapers reported that the two men were found guilty by an Abu Dhabi criminal court. They were identified as a 21year-old Briton and a 19-yearold Syrian. Initial court verdicts are typically subject to appeal in the Emirates, a seven-state federation that includes the cosmopolitan commercial hub of Dubai and the more conservative oil-rich capital, Abu Dhabi. It is not unusual for the emirates' rulers to pardon convicted criminals or lighten their sentences. Although the country is known for soaring skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls, its legal system is based heavily on traditional values that frown upon drug use and indecent behavior. Besides drug convictions, foreigners in recent years have been jailed or deported for kissing in public, sending racy text messages and giving a fellow driver a raised middle finger. In 2008, two Britons accused of having sex on the beach were sentenced to three months in jail, though their sentences were later suspended. Executions are relatively rare in the UAE but do occasionally take place. In February 2011, a man convicted of raping and killing a 4-year-old boy in a mosque bathroom was executed by firing squad in Dubai. It was the first time in three years the UAE had put a prisoner to death.


Turkey threatens Syria with military retaliation over downed jet


urkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, has threatened Syria with retaliation for the shooting down of a military jet, and warned that Turkish armed forces would respond to any Syrian encroachment on the border. Erdo?an described the downing of the reconnaissance plane on Friday as a deliberate and hostile act that would not go

unanswered. He said the rules of engagement for Turkish forces along the Syrian border had been changed so they would respond more forcefully to threats coming from Syria. "Any military element that approaches the Turkish border from Syria by posing a security risk and danger will be regarded as a threat and treated as a military target," Erdo?an said.

Ankara has accused Syrian gunners of targeting a Turkish search-and-rescue plane looking for survivors from the downed jet, and yesterday, the prime minister claimed Syrian helicopters had violated Turkish airspace five times recently without a Turkish response. Erdo?an suggested any further violation would be met with force, adding that any

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an

Syrian military element seen approaching the Turkish border would be regarded as a threat. However, the Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, made it clear that the alliance was not considering a collective armed response. Following an emergency meeting in Brussels called by Turkey to discuss the downing of the Phantom F-4 aircraft, Rasmussen said the allies "expressed strong condemnation of this completely unacceptable act" but said the possibility of invoking article five of the North Atlantic Treaty, under which all allies intervene to defend against any attack on any member state, had not been discussed. "We stand together with Turkey in spirit of solidarity," Rasmussen said. But when asked how Nato would respond if there was another such incident, the Nato secretary-general said only that the allies would once again "consult", while remaining "seized of the situation". He said he did not think there would be a repeat of the incident. Turkey said its jet had unintentionally strayed into Syrian airspace while on patrol but had been shot down over international waters. Turkey is already reported to be participating in the arming of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Taliban leader bans polio vaccinations in protest at drone strikes


senior Taliban commander has effectively banned polio eradication in one of the most troubled areas of the Pakistan frontier in an effort to force the US to end drone strikes. Leaflets distributed in South Waziristan on behalf of Mullah Nazir, the leader of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (Fata) accused health workers who administer anti-polio drops of being US spies. "In the garb of these vaccination campaigns, the US and its allies are running their spying networks in Fata which has brought death and destruction on them in the form of drone strikes," the leaflet said. It also questioned the sincerity of international efforts to tackle the highly infectious disease. "On the one hand, they are

killing innocent children in drone strikes, while on the other hand they are saving their lives by vaccinating them," the printed note said. The ban is yet another setback for the polio eradication campaign in Pakistan, which is one of just three countries in the world where children are still struck down by the disease. It is the third time a Taliban leader has banned polio vaccinations in areas they control. Earlier this month, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the leader of the Taliban in North Waziristan, made similar claims about polio vaccinations being used for spying and banned any further work until drone attacks end. In 2007, Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Taliban in Swat, deterred people from having

A Pakistani soldier in South Waziristan near the frontier with Afghanistan.

most of them Iraqi, represented a crackdown on a free press. No media outlets were known to have been shut down. The order was issued last month but made public only this week. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory welcomed the reprieve on Tuesday, but director Ziyad al-Aajely said media licensing is still too difficult and fees are too high. "The CMC's task and duty is to support media development, not to put hurdles on the way of the

journalists," al-Aajely said Earlier, the group accused the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of trying to silence critics. The dispute called into question the future of Iraq's fledgling democracy, nine years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein and six months after the last of the U.S. troops who overthrew him withdrew. Nasir said yesterday that five organizations, including the BBC and U.S.-funded Radio Sawa, are

their children vaccinated, saying it was a plot by foreign powers to sterilise Muslims. Drone strikes have intensified in recent months, particularly following the Nato conference in

Chicago in May when the Pakistani government failed to deliver on promises to open its borders to supply convoys carrying goods to Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Iraq backs off on forcing 44 media outlets closed


raq has suspended orders to close 44 media operations in the country, including the BBC and Voice of America, after an outcry by press freedom advocates, an official said yesterday. The Communications and Media Commission that regulates the news media in Iraq will give the targeted organizations more time to pay outstanding fees and renew lapsed licenses, deputy director Ali Nasir said. The commission denied that its previous order to close the agencies,

working with the media commission to settle licensing problems and pay fees, which he said amount to about $20,000 a year for radio stations. Most of the other organizations on the list are Iraqi, including prominent broadcasters that criticized al-Maliki, but also Shiite religious programming that had no apparent political stance. Some of the broadcasters targeted for closure are using frequencies that are either licensed to other stations or used by security forces, Nasir said.



Grandmother ‘cuts off’ her 8monthold granddaughter’s hands A n eight-month-old baby is recovering in hospital after having both her hands chopped off by her grandmother. The incident took place when the grandmother was caring for the little girl while her parents were at work in the Shandong Province of China. The grandmother's motives are not yet known as she remains in a coma since the incident, after she attempted to kill herself. A neighbour, who saw the aftermath of the incident and accompanied the mother and child to hospital, said: 'I saw the woman came back home after work in the early afternoon but only 10 minutes later she dashed down holding her baby, who was covered with blood. 'The baby's hands were gone. 'The mother called her husband, asking him to go back home to pick up the chopped hands. 'She said the baby's hands were chopped off by her mother, who also chopped herself, trying to commit suicide.' It is not yet known whether the girl's hands can be saved after doctors carried out a 12 hour operation to attempt to re-attach them. If the operation is successful, it is likely the eight-month-old will need further procedures to restore full function.


12-year-old girl who was reported missing has been found unharmed in the car of a 31-year-old man she met online. Megan Williams was found in Dana Broberg's car in Walton County in north Florida nearly 600 miles from her home in Margate, Florida. Officials believe the man was taking the girl back to his home in San Antonio, Texas. Megan's parents raised the alarm on Sunday morning after they returned home Saturday night and found the girl missing from the house.

The little girl, pictured in hospital, after surgery to reattach her hands following the horrific incident

Parents’ worst nightmare as missing girl, 12, found in car of man she met online It came after her mother, who checks her daughter's phone and email with her daily, came across messages from a number she did not recognize. Melissa Ford told NBC Miami: 'Clearly he was intending on meeting her and tried as hard as possible to find out her address and phone number. He pressured her a lot

daughter's recovery.' Megan has yet to return home from Walton County but her mother assured her in the interview that she was not in trouble. Broberg is being held by police and is expected to face kidnapping and interfering with custody charges. Police believe he may have driven all the way from Texas to collect the girl but the incident is still under investigation. Escape: Megan was found in Broberg's car in Walton County, Florida, 600 miles from her Margate home. Police believe they were driving to San Antonio

Caught: Megan Williams (left), 12, was found unharmed in the car of 31-year-old Dana Broberg (right) 600 miles from her home after they met online

and gave her a lot of attention.' After her family reported her missing, an Amber Alert was issued for the girl. Authorities in Walton County tracked the car using phone signals and stopped Broberg as he entered the county on Interstate 10. Megan's mother added: 'I'm just so relieved and so grateful to everyone for bringing her home.' She said she believed the man pretended he was a teenager when he was speaking to her daughter online.

After discussing the emails with Megan, the concerned mother printed them out. She warned other parents: 'If you see any unusual phone numbers or emails, one thing I would do, and what saved my daughter's life, print out the emails. Get those phone numbers. Don't disregard it.'Margate Police agreed Ford's actions were crucial to helping track down Broberg and her 12year-old daughter. 'She did all the right things,' spokesman Efrain Suarez told NBC. 'It ultimately led to her

Fears: Megan's mother, Melissa Ford, went through her daughter's phone and email with her daily and discovered the messages, so proved vital to police



ight exercise - such as taking a stroll through the park - could reduce the risk of breast cancer, researchers say. Studies have shown that physical activity can lower the risk, but the latest research suggests that even mild exercise can reduce the chances of cancer. But as weight is also a factor women are warned to keep an eye on the scales if they are not


Even a brisk daily walk can cut the risk of breast cancer exercising regularly. Dr Lauren McCullough, of the University of North Carolina, looked for a link between

recreational physical activity, done at different time points in life, and the risk of developing breast cancer. She studied 1,504 women with breast cancer and 1,555 women without breast cancer, aged between 20 to 98. Women who exercised either during their reproductive or postmenopausal years had a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, her team found in a study published in the journal Cancer. Women who exercised 10 to 19 hours per week (90 minutes to 2 1/2hours a day) experienced the greatest benefit with an approximate 30 per cent reduced

risk. But risk reductions were observed at all levels of intensity, and exercise seemed to preferentially reduce the risk of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Dr McCullough said: ‘The observation of a reduced risk of breast cancer for women who engaged in exercise after menopause is particularly encouraging given the late age of onset for breast cancer.’ Around 48,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and of these 80 per cent are over 50. All women aged 50 to 70 in

the UK are invited for breast cancer screening every three years. Those with a family history of breast cancer, are overweight and binge drink are at greater risk of developing the disease. When the researchers looked at the effects of physical activity, weight gain, and body size, they found that even active women who gained a significant amount of weight - particularly after menopause - had an increased risk of developing breast cancer, indicating that weight gain can eliminate the beneficial effects of exercise on breast cancer risk. Source:

Women’s eyesight could be suffering because they hold books too closely


f you’re a woman who always has her nose in a book don’t hold it so close – it could weaken your eyesight. Women tend to hold reading material closer to their eyes than men and this may be why they need reading glasses earlier, a study has suggested. The researchers found no difference in the ability of men and women to focus on objects at near distance. This suggests that the reason women need bifocals earlier may be down to other factors, including having shorter arms, which means they hold things

closer, raising their odds of things appearing blurred as they age. Writing in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, scientists from the University of California said women’s need for reading glasses earlier was ‘likely due to differences ian preferred reading distances or arm length as women tend to hold reading materials closer than men do.’ The researchers were studying presbyopia – the loss of near vision that occurs with age. The deterioration results from the stiffening of the eyeball’s lens, which makes zooming in on close

objects more difficult, leading to blurred vision and the need for reading glasses. The researchers added: ‘These findings could impact global vision care in multiple ways. ‘The findings reinforce the need for presbyopia correction programmes for women – a group that often has greater unmet vision needs in developing countries. ‘It also points out that presbyopia is a multi-faceted problem and requires solutions that are tailored to each individual.’ Source:

Women saw a reduction in their breast cancer risk no matter how intense the exercise. Those who were active at least 90 minutes a day saw the most benefit.

Smoking fathers pass on damaged DNA to their children raising the risk of cancer


athers who smoke pass on damaged DNA to their children – raising the risk of cancer, research shows. A study found that smoking harms the father’s DNA, and these damaged genes can be inherited by his children. This raises the risk of youngsters developing childhood cancers, particularly leukaemia, warn researchers at the University of Bradford. Because a fertile sperm cell takes three months to fully develop, fathers should kick the habit 12 weeks before conceiving to avoid the risk, Dr Diana Anderson said. She added: ‘Smoking by fathers at the time around conception can lead to genetic changes in their children. These

changes may raise the risk of developing cancer.’ Meanwhile scientists at the University of Glasgow have also found that men who drink lots of tea are far more likely to develop prostate cancer. They found that those who drank seven or more cups a day had a 50 per cent higher risk of contracting the disease than men who had three or fewer. The warning comes after researchers tracked the health of more than 6,000 men for four decades. Their findings run counter to previous research, which had suggested that tea-drinking lowers the risk of cancer, as well as heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Source:

Deteriorating: Women's eyesight could be suffering because they hold reading material too close to their face



Asset declaration clause alien to our manifesto, says PDP T T

PDP raises alarm over frivolous court injunctions

By Lawrence Olaoye

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said the alleged clause on asset declaration was alien to the party's manifesto and as such President Goodluck Jonathan has not breached any law in the party by refusing to make public his assets. The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the document quoted by some national dailies was not an official document of the PDP and as such could not be cited to compel the President to publicly declare his

assets. The statement reads "The reference to the PDP manifesto is baseless, as provisions compelling elected officials to publicly declare their assets are nonexistent in our approved manifesto or in any of the official documents of the Party. "For the avoidance of doubt, the said document which formed the basis of the report is not an official document of the PDP and cannot therefore be used to mischievously tarnish the well earned reputation of the President of Nigeria. "In order to set the records straight, we wish to state that President Goodluck Ebele

Jonathan has duly declared his asset in compliance with the provisions of section 140(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has completed the relevant documentations and submitted same to the Code of Conduct Bureau. It is important to note that there is no further legal requirement in this regard as it concerns the declaration of assets. "In other words, publishing the declaration of assets is not a requirement of law or the constitution .Any decision to make public such a declaration is at the discretion of the individual concerned and should therefore

not be used as a reason to distract the government from performing more critical constitutional duties. "The PDP can attest to the high degree of integrity and transparency of President Jonathan. We urge him to remain focused on the great task of revamping the economy and delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. The task of transforming Nigeria into one of the most vibrant economies in the world requires the cooperation of all Nigerians. The President must therefore not be distracted by issues that have no bearing on the fundamental needs of the nation."

L-R: Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, Clerk of the Committee, Mr. David Eze, and a member of the Committee, Hon. Mohammed Kalgo, during the committee's meeting with NESREA and NCC executives, on Monday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Rep spends N4m on eye treatment for 1000 people From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


member of the House of Representatives, Aliyu Ibrahim Gebi, has spent over four million naira to give free eye treatments to 1000 people in Bauchi state. The member representing Bauchi Federal Constituency

organized a free eye treatment to the people in his constituency. Gebi said the aim of the exercise was to assist less privilege who have eye problems in all nooks and crannies of Bauchi. The lawmaker who was represented by his Personal Assistant, Salisu Sabo, said they have met with the electorates and

analyzed their problems and many of the electorates said their problems was lack of adequate water supply and that many have eye problems. According to him, after assessing the problem, he had built boreholes one in all the 20 wards in Bauchi local government areas and organized a free eye

treatment after consulting all the relevant health care stakeholders holders and agencies in the area before embarking on the project. He said the first phase of the free eye treatment gulped over four million naira and after completion of the first phase, the second and third phase of the programme will continue.

Ogun election umpire okays Obasanjo PDP faction for LG polls From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


gun State Independent E l e c t o r a l Commission{OGSIEC} yesterday gave final approval for candidates loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the July local government elections. The Commission's Chairman of Screening, Barrister Mutiu Agboke,

who made the declaration yesterday explained that the Commission had contacted the national body of the party and had been directed to recognize a faction led by one Ireti Oliyide. The factions had earlier presented different candidates' list to the Commission and were subsequently screened by the umpire while litigations continues. A faction led by Oliyide is believed to be working under the directive of Chief Obasanjo while the Bayo Dayo led group is

being financed by Buruji Kashamu. IIt would be recalled that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has challenged the authenticity of Bayo Dayo-led state executive arguing that the congress which ushered in the committees acted against the directive of the national body of the party. The Commission declared that with the party national body position on the crisis said it will go ahead with the election adding

that with this, all controversies, anxieties and misconceptions will be put to rest adding that the commission was ready to give a play level field to all the parties who has shown interest in the election. "The commission has sought clearance from the national headquarters as a result of series of issues that have arisen over time and by virtue of that, the commission for the purpose of that election is going to recognize the faction led by Mr. Ireti Oliyide.

From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the SouthWest has raised an alarm over the way and manner restraining orders are granted by the courts on cases that should ordinarily be internal affairs of political parties saying that such was capable of destroying democracy in the country. The party in a release issued by its Zonal Secretary, Hon. Kayode Babade, called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to save the nation's democracy from imminent collapse. The party alleged that over 15 restraining orders had been granted by a particular judge of the Federal Court, Lagos against the party, Babade expressed the fear that "If this trend is allowed to continue, one day, a judge in this country will grant an order retraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting elections, and that will mark the end of democracy in Nigeria." "In a single court and by a single judge, over 15 restraining orders had been granted against our party. Most of these orders were granted without recourse to the due process of law. And we begin to wonder whether restraining orders has become so cheap that they are granted even without affected parties being put on notice." "Even yesterday, while the Court of Appeal was staying execution of the judgements and orders of Justice C.E Archibong of the Federal High Court in Suit Number FHC/L/CS/1248/11 delivered on 27th January, 2012 or any contempt proceeding or action arising from the judgement judge against the PDP, the same judge was granting another order, restraining the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) from conducted the State Local Government elections." The implication of this is that, if a court can restrain a State Electoral Commission from performing its duties, one day, INEC too will be restrained from conducting Presidential and National Assembly elections, and that will be the end of democracy in Nigeria! The party however hailed the decision of the Appeal Court in Lagos to stay execution or further execution of the judgments and orders of Hon Justice C.E Archibong of the Federal High Court in Suit Number FHC/L/CS/ 1248/11 delivered on 27th January, 2012 or any contempt proceeding or action arising from the judgment pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.


Idachaba, others lead group to promote Igala unity From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Igala traditional horizon appears set for a radical awakening as a group known as Ukomu Igala has put machinery in motion for a frontal attack on the vices that have divided the Igala people and denied them their full potential in the comity of the Nigerian state The group with its inaugural outing scheduled for June 30, 2012 at Idah, Kogi state with a power-packed prayer session, said it has a firm belief that the previous problems of the Igala people must become a thing of the past. Mike Idachaba in association with others who made this disclosure to journalists in Lokoja yesterday noted that the greatest weapon Igalas at home and in diaspora should have and pursue is togetherness and unity of purpose. He said that Igala nation with proud pedigree of culture and tradition must reject being merely tolerated in the Nigerian scheme of things, urging all Igalas to sink all their differences and work for the common goal of the people. "Please let us at this opportune moment remove our individualistic tendencies, veil of pride and humble ourselves before God for obvious reasons that time has come for the Igalas to assume her rightful position in the Nigerian context.


Gov. Amaechi calls for synergy among three tiers of govt


ov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers yesterday urged the three tiers of government to forge a healthy synergy to ensure good governance. He gave the advice yesterday in Asaba in a paper he presented at a public lecture entitled: ``The Legislative and Executive Relationship: Practical Experience". Represented by his deputy, Mr Telly Ikuru, the governor said that for democracy to be sustained in the country, there must be a cordial relationship between the legislature

and the executive. He called for continuous collaboration between the two arms of government, saying that both were important in achieving good governance. Amaechi stressed the need to bring both the legislature and the executive together for increased efficiency for people to reap the dividends of democracy. The Delta Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, in his speech, said that no meaningful development could take place in a state or country

without developing the legislative arm of government. Uduaghan assured the state legislature that the executive would not hesitate to add its input for the development of the legislature. He commended the state assembly for its cordial relationship with the executive, saying that that no arm of government was more important than the other. Uduaghan also noted that both arms had ensured that every decision taken were in the interest of the people of the state.

Ex-LG boss harps on security, freedom of movement


he former Chairman, Kware Local Government Council in Sokoto state, Alhaji Mannir Mohammad, has called on the Federal Government to evolve more stringent security measures to ensure free movement of the people. Mohammad made the call on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto. He said the measures were necessary because Nigerians must be interacting with one another, irrespective of religion, tribal, ethnic and political differences, for the development of the country.

Mohammed argued that such interaction would only be possible through effective security measures that would guarantee the lives and property of Nigerians. He said that time had come for the government to be proactive in handling the security situation by giving the necessary support to the security agencies. He said that such morale and financial boost would enable them to meet the expectation of the people in terms of security and ensure peace and development. "Mr President should ensure

adequate provision of funds for the purchase of modern equipment and upto-date training for nation's security officers to acquire more knowledge for effective tackling of insecurity." Mohammed expressed the belief that a well trained security force would be able to map out formidable security strategies to deal with the present predicament the nation found its self. He called on Nigerians to volunteer to assist the security agencies with report of suspected characters to enable them fashion out security measures to confront crime and criminality in the country.



Group cautions politicians against overheating the polity From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


eoples Democratic Party (DPD) National Youth Vanguard (PDPNYV), Bauchi state chapter, has cautioned politicians in the country against overheating the polity. In a press statement signed by the Chairman of PDP Youth Vanguard, Bala Rambo and Organizing Secretary, Sadat Saleh and made available to newsmen in Bauchi yesterday, the group said the caution was necessary because some politicians defame their colleagues in the name of politics. The statement cited the FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed as a victim of such attack where some mischievous politicians were calling for his removal. It stated that recent call for the sack of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Muhammad, by a chieftain of the PDP in Bauchi over alleged poor performance has continued to elicit series of reactions from the minister’s supporters and associates who described the statement as a plot to smear his reputation. The PDP National youth Vanguard berated the politicians for rushing to the media to make such allegation against Muhammed warning against heating up the polity at this critical period when the country was trying to achieve

peace. According to the statement, the minster has since his inception been executing good projects in both the FCT and his home state Bauchi disclosing that his ongoing N300 Million naira

mosque construction is one of the philanthropic gesture he has carried out in the state. “Finally, we are calling on the general public to dismiss this baseless and fictitious allegation against the FCT minister as it holds no ground.

The PDP youth Vanguards on our part, we will not sit by and watch some assailants to deliberately sow the seed of discord in the politics of the state in order to get through it what they cannot obtain in a leveled political ground”.

R-L: Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nnenna Ijeoma Ukeje, with a member of the Committee, Hon. David Sokonte, during the committee's meeting with ministers of Foreign Affairs, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Delta assembly passes 6 bills, 86 resolutions in 1 year


he Delta House of Assembly has passed six bills and 86 resolutions since its inauguration in June 7, 2011, the Speaker, Mr Victor Ochei, said. Ochei said at a news conference to mark the first anniversary of the fifth Assembly in Asaba on Monday that the House received 19 bills within the period, out of which nine were pending, three at committee stage and one withdrawn. He also said that the House received 96 motions out of which

86 were adopted by the House, while seven were negative and later withdrawn. The speaker said three of the motions were still pending before the House. Ochei said , “the House has 20 standing committees which undertake periodic visits to project sites in order to ascertain the level of budget implementation by the government. “Beyond the frontiers of legislation and oversight function, the fifth Assembly has embarked

on some initiatives which have positive impact on the well-being of the people of the state.’’ Ochei commended the cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive arm of government. According to him, some of the achievements of the House could not have been possible if the House did not get adequate support from the executive arm and the people of the state. He explained that the progress of the House was essentially

inspired by the cooperative spirit existing between the various arms of government. The speaker commended the church for its prayers which had enhanced peace and unity among members of the House in spite of their ethnic and political differences. Ochei, however, called on the people of the state to partner with the House by submitting private bills that could enhance development and the welfare of the people.

Zamfara LG Chairman promises to deliver democratic dividends From Salisu Zakari Maradun, Gusau


he newly elected local government chairmanelect of Baura local government of the state, Alhaji Bello Dankande Gamji, has promised to continue to initiate and implement programmes that will improve the living condition of the people of the area. He also pledged that the security of the people would be the

priority of his administration. Dankande made the disclosure at his residence few days after the election and subsequent announcement in which he was declared the winner of the election by SIEC. According to him, no responsible leader would want to see his people in a bad condition, explaining that he will try his best as much as he can. He stated that handling the

affairs of a local government is not an easy task and thus sought the support and cooperation of the people so that collectively they could succeed. The chairman further revealed that he believed, with the support and cooperation of people, there is nothing difficult to get, "therefore I will leave no stone unturned toward ensuring that the demands of my people are met".

Commenting further, Dankende explained that as long as he remains the chairman of the local government, he will fight tirelessly for the right of the people, especially right to education. "I am assuring the entire people of Bakura that I will not fail them, what I want more is the cooperation and support with which I can be energized to work," Dankede said.

Jang counsels PDP against absorbing political harbits By Lawrence Olaoye


lateau state Governor, Jonah Jang yesterday counseled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against its resolve to reabsorb those members that defected to another parties. The governor who paid a courtesy call on the members of the parry's National Working Committee (NWC) of the party said only those who have genuine grievances and left the party should be reabsorbed back into the party's fold. Speaking at the party's National Secretariat yesterday the Plateau governor cautioned the party to refrain from seeking reconciliation with those who left the party to seek tickets for elections in other political parties. "Before I end these short remarks, I wish to raise some issues of interest to the party. Party membership: our party's constitution has very elaborate provisions for membership recruitment, registration and documentation; and of course for the responsibility of members. "Even former members who defected from the party know the provisions for rejoining the party interestingly, all of these steps start at the ward level. "We are however persuaded that just as Mr. President had reasons to counsel those who think parties are mere platforms for seeking for elections into public offices, and often jump from one party to another, those that left the PDP to contest elections against the party should remain in those parties and provide constructive opposition and multi-party platforms. "This is more beneficial for our type of liberal democracy. This they should do that rather than put pressure at the top of our party to have them return to the party. Relating to the issue of membership, it's a commendable effort of the national chairman towards reconciliation and for harmony in the party. But Mr. Chairman would know that only members of the party, who still identify with the party and who are aggrieved because of some actions or in actions of the leadership, can seek to be reconciled. It may not be appropriate to discuss reconciliation with people who are jumping from one party to another seeking only for election platforms. Responding, the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, thanked the party faithful from Plateau state, for their loyalty to the party. He added "What you have said, every line is noted. I like to thank all of you, most sincerely for supporting PDP. The NWC is the first family of PDP. I have listened to what you are doing in Plateau and it is commendable. A party is a family affair, it should be based on equity, to treat people fairly and give to them what belongs to them.''



INEC to re-evaluate Edo governorship poll, says Commissioner T

he National C o m m i s s i o n e r , Information and Publicity for INEC, Chief Solomon Soyebi, said on in Abuja on Monday that the commission was reassessing its operational strategy to ensure a hitch-free governorship election on July 14 in Edo. Soyebi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the

commission would enforce a high standard of integrity and transparency to make the outcome of the election acceptable to all the stakeholders. The commissioner said INEC had worked out logistics to ensure that electoral materials got to various locations early as scheduled. Soyebi said INEC would

create a level playing ground and secure the polling arena for the safety of all. He said that other measures would be adopted to forestall violence during the election. Soyebi said the safety of corps members and all other officials participating in the July 14, elections would not be compromised. The commissioner said that

every vote would count and that “it would be one man one vote and the actual election results would be declared.” ”The integrity we are going to bring to bear on the Edo election would not be different from what we have done in 2011. “INEC will spare no efforts to ensure peaceful conduct of the poll; we are going to create a free and fair election.

“We will be totally impartial and unbiased,” he said. The commissioner said to ensure total transparency, the election would be witnessed by the highest number of electoral commissioners, journalists both local as well as foreign observers. He said to ensure secured election environment, INEC was improving on its working relationship with the InterAgency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

Tukur says Nigeria will remain an indivisible nation


L-R: Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Hon. Aminu Koko, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Hon. Muraina Ajibola, and representative of the Speaker, Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Ahmed Muktar Muhammed, during the opening of a three- day public hearing on the unprecedented upsurge of illegal oil bunkering activities in Nigeria's coastal region, yesterday at the National Assembly, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Ekiti PDP rates Fayemi’s govt. low


he Chairman of PDP in Ekiti, Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe on Monday described the 20 months of Gov. Kayode Fayemi’s administration as a failure and maladministration. Ogundipe made this known in Ado-Ekiti while addressing newsmen. “It is now clear that Gov. Fayemi is rated above his intellectualism.’’ The PDP chairman emphasised that ACN had performed woefully in the last 20 months as it was not prepared for governance in the state. He alleged that Fayemi had

squandered about N200 billion he had so far received from the federation account and from the internally generated revenue without doing any tangible project in the state. Ogundipe stressed that Fayemi had thrown the state into debt that could not be paid back in the next 15 years. “This is a governor who promised Ekiti people of butter and bread but what we have now on the table of an average Ekiti man has been sand and gravel. “I wish to state here that Gov. Fayemi has bastardised all the sectors in Ekiti, especially education which is the only

industry we have. Ogundipe called on Ekiti people to eject Fayemi and his party, ACN from government house because “they are mere tenants there’’. The PDP chairman promised the people of better days ahead when PDP would take over the leadership of the state in 2014. Ogundipe said, “Ekiti roads are in bad shape, no pipe borne water in houses, lack of drugs and equipment in our hospitals, victimisation of teachers and lack of tolerance to the oppositions.’’ Reacting to these allegations, the Commissioner for

Information, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, said that the PDP had no legacy in Ekiti other than maiming and killing of innocent citizens. He said that the hobbies of PDP were reckless spending and misapplication of public funds, it lacked moral justification to condemn a performing government under the ACN. Afuye said that Fayemi had successfully empowered and palliated the sufferings of the youths and the elderly through the introduction of the youth volunteer corps, Ekiti Traffic Management Agency and Social Security Scheme.

Adamawa Assembly to probe contractors


damawa State House of Assembly has resolved to probe the activities of contractors handling rural electrification projects in the state. The House resolution followed the report on the investigation of all the on-going and abandoned rural electrification projects in the state.

The report was submitted by the House Standing Committee on Rural Infrastructure and Community Development at the plenary in Yola on Monday. The committee visited electrification projects in nine local government areas of Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Hong, Girei,

Fufore, Ganye Jada and Guyuk. Alhaji AhmaduFintiri, the Speaker of the House, mandated the committee to summon all the contractors for a public hearing on the contracts. The committee was given three weeks to conduct the hearing, during which the contractors briefed the

House on monies collected and the level of work done so far on the projects. Following the investigations, the House said some contractors had questions to answer and might be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to refund money they collected for jobs not done.

he National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has said that despite the security challenges facing the country, Nigeria would remain an indivisible political entity. Tukur made the disclosure in his goodwill message at the 2012 7th Senate retreat with the theme: “The National Assembly and National Security: Securing the Future for development”, holding in Uyo. He said: “the retreat came at the most serious time of the country, when it is affected by evil forces whose aims we do not know. “Issues of security are everybody’s business. Life is sacrosanct. We must rise against any act that wants to divide this country. “I have no doubt that the PDP will provide the dividends of democracy to the citizenry. The PDP has the determination to move this country forward. “No amount of bombing or blackmail will rock our boat,” he said. Tukur appealed to all Nigerians to be resolute in facing these challenges with a view to enthroning an era of peace and tranquility. He called on members of the National Assembly to listen to the calls of Nigerians in the diaspora and make laws that would enable them to vote in future elections. In his speech, the Speaker of the House of Representative, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, remarked that the insecurity had badly affected the nation’s economy, most especially in the North. “As the representatives of the people, the NASS cannot afford to watch while there is wanton destruction in the country. “‘We have to look out for the loopholes in our constituencies so as to tackle the insurgencies,” he said. The retreat, which would to end on Thursday, was expected to improve the knowledge of the senators so as to build their technical capacity to participate effectively in governance. Gov. Serike Dickson (Bayelsa), Gov. Kashim Shettima (Borno), the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, Second republic Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Mathew Kukah attended the retreat.


Handball federation restates commitment to youth development


he Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) yesterday restated its commitment to youth development programmes as a way of reviving the sport. HFN President Yusuf Dauda said that the developmental programmes were to identify talents that would regain the county’s lost glory in handball. “We have realised that we have to go back to the grassroots and discover talents for us to restore the lost glory of handball in Nigeria,’’ Dauda said. He said the federation had been working hard to ensure that its U-12, U-15, U-18 and U21 championships that started in 2011 produced quality players. Dauda said that a good number of players from the the youth programmes formed the national junior teams that represented the country at the Challenge Trophy Competition in Ghana this month. The HFN boss said the players proved their competence by winning their matches at the tournament from the preliminaries to the final. “Majority of them are products of our grassroots programmes, they were selected, based on their abilities and follow-up programmes and these brought out the best in them,’’ he added. Dauda said the HFN now had a formidable national junior team that could represent the country proudly in championships. He said the federation was integrating the young talents with exceptional abilities into the senior national teams. The president called for collaboration between the National Sports Commission and philanthropists in supporting the revival of handball.

Suspended NPL resumes July 4


igeria Premier League, which was suspended to enable teams participate in the Federation Cup matches, will resume on Wednesday, July 4, according to the NPL executive secretary, Tunji Babalola. “The Federation Cup forced us to suspend NPL games, but the league will resume on Wednesday, July 4 with Week 33 round of matches,” Babalola said. Top of the draw in Week 33,

will be ‘The Oriental Derby’ between hosts Enyimba and Heartland as well as champions Dolphin taking on Warri Wolves in Port Harcourt. It is, however, not clear whether Sunshine Stars will go ahead with their game at Kaduna United as they host Esperance in the CAF Champions League group phase that weekend. Enugu Rangers are top of the league on 52 points with six rounds of matches to be played.

ombe United successfully halted Enyimba’s quest to challenge Rangers for the top spot in the NPL chart. In a rescheduled game decided yesterday, Sanusi Sani did not only put an ended to his goals drought in style, but helped Gombe United beat Enyimba 3-1 in the exciting match. It was rescheduled week 28 game and Sani, who has not find the back of the net for over

a month now, scored in both halves to put his team 2-0 up. Austin Efoma scored the third goal for coach Bernard Ogbetutored side. Speaking after the game, Sani said he was elated he is back scoring goals and he hopes to sustain such form till the end of the season. “I was sad that my goals have not been coming, but I kept working hard and I am happy God crowned my efforts with

two goals against Enyimba. I am sure I am back to my form and the goals won’t cease again,” he said. The former Zamfara United star has now netted 10 goals. Tuesday’s result has further slowed down Enyimba’s quest for a seventh league championship. They remain in fourth place on 49 points from 32 matches, while Gombe climbed to 10th on the table with 45 points.

By Patrick Andrew

bundled out of the continental fiesta early in the day and their chances in the elite league are

also nothing to place a bet on. Another shock result saw El Kanemi Warriors, recently promoted to the top flight, send packing NPL side Rising Stars 54 via penalties after the regulation time ended 2-2. In Minna, Kogi United beat FC Abuja 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after regulation time. Kano Pillars defeated Nembe City 2-1 in Lokoja. Rabiu Ali and Gambo Mohammed scored for the NPL title chasers in either half of a keenly contested encounter. Ali put Kano Pillars front in the 15th minute, before Nembe City equalised in the 83rd minute. Striker Gambo Mohammed sealed victory for his team with a header in the 88th minute. Nasarawa United recorded the biggest win when they whitewashed non-league side Ajax 4-0 in Minna. Ibrahim Shaibu, Dauda Shehu, Bidemi Wahab and Ade Fagbemi were the goal scorers for the Lafia team. Niger Tornadoes main team also moved into the next round of the cup competition at the expense of Makwada, who failed to turn up.


WEEK 33 3SC vs Akwa United Dolphin vs Warri Wolves Kwara vs Sharks Wikki vs Jigawa Rising Stars vs Lobi Pillars vs ABS Enyimba vs Heartland Rangers vs Tornadoes Kaduna United vs Sunshine Gombe vs Ocean Boys

Olympiacos ... Sani’s brace help Gombe Utd sink Enyimba join Echiejile chase Victor Baribote, chairman NPL


Fed Cup: Plateau Utd eliminate league champions, Dolphins


ower division league club, Plateau United yesterday kept to the tradition of the Federation Cup when they eliminated league champions Dolphin from this year’s Federation Cup with a lone goal victory. Penultimate day, two top division clubs 3SC and Wikki Tourists were ousted from annual fiesta by clubs hitherto thought capable of matching their more illustrious opponents in the regular league. And yesterday, the Jos side proved a hard nut to crack for Dolphin and a rookie Mer Bulus, who was drafted into the main team from feeder team, made the difference between the two teams in this cup tie when he struck in the 48th minute. The result meant it has been losses galore for the Port Harcourt side having been

Sports Festival: Team Rivers begin camping soon he Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Mr Fred Igwe yesterday said Team Rivers would commence closed camping from June 29 to prepare for the 18 th National Sports Festival in Lagos. Igwe, who disclosed this on Tuesday after inspecting facilities at the athletes’ camp within the premises of the State Sports Council in Port Harcourt, said that Rivers would strive to maintain its title. He, however, did not disclose the duration of the camping for the festival, tagged: “Eko 2012’’


to be staged from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9. It will be recalled that Team Rivers won the 17 th edition hosted by the state in July last year with 135 gold, 79 silver and 85 bronze medals. Delta came second with 82 gold, 89 silver and 81 bronze medals, while Edo finished third with 46 gold 41 silver and 43 bronze medals. Gombe and Sokoto states finished without any medal. The commissioner said that some of the sports associations had remained focused by

Aminu Maigari, President of the NFF training ahead of the Games and added that some of them had represented the country in different international tournament this year and won laurels. Igwe said that others won medals in national competitions held in different parts of the country. “This tells you we are organised and focused. When we arrive in Lagos we will be ready for the best only,’’ he said. He said that government had made arrangements to ensure that the closed camp commenced immediately even as he urged all athletes and associations to be focused and ready to be counted worthy to represent the state at the festival.

RESULTS Plateau 1 Dolphin 0 El Kanemi 2 Rising Stars 2 (5-4 pens) Kogi Utd 1 FC Abuja 1 (4-3 pens) Kano Pillars 2 Nembe City 1 Nasarawa Utd 4 Ajax 0 Flamingo 1 Lobi Stars 4 Makwada 0 Tornadoes 3 (Walkover) Samba 1 Sakaba Links 0 Abia Warriors 2 Police Machine 0

Super Eagles defender Elderson Echiejile is wanted in Greece and Spain. The defender, who made an impressive return to the Eagles squad two weeks ago currently plies his trade with Sporting Braga. However, Greek champions Olympiacos have joined Spanish club Real Mallorca in the chase for the left back defender. A top source informed a wire service that Olympiacos are the latest suitors for the Nigeria left back after Spanish La Liga side Mallorca also signified interest on the player. Should Echiejile take up the Greek offer, he would reunite with his coach at Sporting Braga, Leonardo Jardim. “Olympiacos are serious about signing Elderson. His coach at Sporting Braga, Jardim, has already joined the Greek club and he has asked for the player to join him there,” the source disclosed. The Portuguese coach spent a season at Braga and this month he agreed a two-year contract with the Greek giants who will feature in next season’s UEFA Champions League. The late Rashidi Yekini as well as Haruna Babangida have featured for Olympiacos. Mallorca are equally considering the Nigeria star alongside Antonio Luna of Sevilla. Last season, Echiejile, who has represented Nigeria at U17, U20 and full international levels, made 26 appearances in the Portuguese Liga, scoring four goals from his defensive position. He also scored two goals in nine games in the UEFA Europa League.He has won 16 caps for Nigeria since his debut in 2009. The attacking left back joined Braga in the summer of 2010 from French club Rennes.

Elderson Echiejile in Eagles colours


Emenike thrilled by Spartak new deal


mmanuel Emenike has said he hopes to lead Russia’s Spartak Moscow to greatness after he extended his contract till 2016. Former FC Cape Town of South Africa front man signed a new four-year deal which keeps him at Spartak Moscow until 2016. The ex-Karabukspor of Turkey forward, who scored 13 goals in 22 appearances for the Moscow club last season, was lately linked to a summer move to various clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Lazio. The Nigeria international said he is delighted his contract extension will now douse speculations about his future. “I can now rest from all the rumours that I am leaving Spartak this summer, all that has gone to bed now. I remain focussed to achieving greatness here,” he told a wire service. “I have been enjoying myself since I joined Spartak, everything about the team is fantastic, the fans are great, my teammates have been wonderful, the manager is a brother and friend, and the officials are friendly as well.” He added: “I am therefore happy to extend my contract here and I hope to win trophies with them. We have all it takes to be successful and be a very big team respected around the world. “We can have Champions League action ahead of us and I am looking forward to doing well as a player and team in the competition.”


Boxers hail “Saturday Boxing Show”, yearn for more


ome Lagos State boxers yesterday expressed their satisfaction with the consistency of the monthly “Saturday Boxing Show’’, praising Olawale Edun for promoting the show. The boxers said in separate interviews in Lagos that the show, scheduled to be held on June 30 at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Yaba, would provide budding boxing talents the opportunities of displaying their potentials. The boxers, who were speaking ahead of the forthcoming 32nd edition of the competition, canvassed the extension of the show to other parts of the country, stressing that it would facilitates the discovery of more talents. Joseph Otto, a 60 kg boxer with Paramount Boxing Club, Yaba, said he was impressed with the sustenance of the monthly event. He said also that the competition had provided a platform on which he could demonstrate his skills to be in competition shape. “Most of the annual competitions crumble but this is the first-ever monthly programme which had run for more than 30 months without seizing, I commend Edun for the sustenance,” he said. A 56 kg boxer, Eniola Korede of the Progressive Club, Mushin, said the competition had given him opportunity to challenge some boxers whom he was

Ex-player wants Nigerians to invest in basketball

afraid of in the past. Korede applauded the value which the monthly competition, sponsored by the former Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, had given to boxing. He urged other enthusiasts to emulate Edun’s gesture by sponsoring competitions in other sports, to ensure their development. Ayisat Oriyomi, a 54 kg boxer of Blessed Club, AbuleEgba, commended the donation of equipment and kits to boxers featuring in the show, describing the gesture as ‘good motivation’. She said the show was a good avenue to discover female boxers, to be groomed into future champions. “The competition has given female boxers the opportunity to fight and develop their talents. Also, boxers who participate in the competition are given kits, gloves, food and transport fare, every month,” Oriyomi said. Makinwa Folorunso, a 45 kg boxer of the Sky Power Club, Epe, said he was discovered in the competition, and that since then, he had fallen in love with the sport. Folorunso advised that the show be extended to boxers in distant areas like Epe, Ikorodu, Igbogbo-Bayeku, Badagry and environs, for more talents to be discovered. The “Saturday Boxing Show,’’ initiated in July 2010, was organised by the Lagos State Amateur Boxing Association, and promoted by Edun’s Lagos State Boxing Hall of Fame.


Emmanuel Emenike

n ex-basketball player, Mustapha Suleiman, has appealed to Nigerians to invest in the development of the sport to empower the youth. Suleiman, a member of the board of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos while sharing his experiences on the recent clinic he organised for youths. Suleiman, who played in the U.S.and recently organised an eight-day clinic for U-16 boys in Kano, was of the view that could contribute to the development of the game in his or her zone and beyond, the society would be better for it. The NBBF official said that regular clinics and competitions for young basketball talents would expose them to the fundamentals of the game adding that while the clinic was running in Kano, the number of participants doubled. “It was a clear indication that talents abound at the grassroots and are eagerly waiting to have the opportunity to develop their skills. We should all join hands by giving them that opportunity in any small measure we can. “Providing them with a platform to interaction with professional players, coaches and scouts during training sessions and competitions will help them to hone their skills,’’ he said. Suleiman, who represents the North-West Zone on the NBBF board, noted that when sports were taken to the grassroots they would help to curb idleness and vices. He appealed to Nigerians to develop the sport in their geo-political zones and Local Government Areas. According to him, youths are the leaders of tomorrow and as such need good foundation through sports and education.

D’ Tiger player Edet Udoh in action for the team during an Olympics qualifying game

that two warm-up games will be played by the Eagles before the AFCON qualifier, which is to be played between September and October. “We surely have plans for friendly games for the Eagles. We are planning on having two games. We are already getting offers, but I would not disclose what countries yet,” Green said but was quick to say that the specific opponents are yet to be confirmed. he regretted Brazil’s decision to opt out of the August Friendly duel but said efforts are still being made to line up quality oppositions for the Eagles. It would be recalled that Gabon had insisted on playing the Eagles few days from the series of three matches the team played in the 2014 and 2013 World and Nations Cups qualifiers.

Green though insisted that the likely Super Eagles opponents in the final AFCON playoff would determine the kind of teams the Eagles would play against in these friendlies. “What I would want to say right now is for us to first know our next round opponents (in the AFCON) as this would determine the kind of country we will play in the warm-up matches,” he said. One of the friendlies will be played on August 15, which is a FIFA free window. The two-time African champions sensationally missed out on this year’s tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The draw for the final round of AFCON qualifiers will be staged on July 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nations Cup: Eagles may play two warm-ups matches


he Super Eagles are likely to play two international friendly games before the next round of matches in the final phase of the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier in September. Though the countries were not confirmed, but an official said that the likely opponents may be from West Africa and another from South America. Those being considered are Ivory Coast or Gabon and Brazil, which only a fortnight ago cancelled its planned game in Nigeria because of the insecurity problem in the northern part of Nigeria and spade of kidnapping in some states in the south. Chairman of the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chris Green, has disclosed


City chase Newcastle, Liverpool defender to replace Lescott


The season is over. Clubs are counting their blessing as well as losses and would like to make amends and even beef up their squads where noticeable lapses exist. And the transfer market is agog barely 24 hours after major European leagues dropped the curtain. And so to keep abreast with latest rumours, we begin daily doses of movements within the market both for players and coaches like.

Lazio close on West Ham, Tottenham target


azio are closing in on the signing of West Ham and Tottenham target Burak Yilmaz, according to reports in Italy. The Turkey international, which is contracted to Trabzonspor, notched 33 goals in 34 outings last season and caught the eye of several European clubs. talkSPORT revealed last week that Lazio had tabled an offer for the 26-year-old, and it is now believed that the Serie A side have agreed terms with the forward. However, according to a report in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lazio and Trabzonspor have yet to agree a deal, with the Turkish side hesitant about accepting Lazio president Claudio Lotito’s offer to pay the mooted £5.2m fee in installments.

Fiorentina frees Liverpool, Aston Villa


iorentina are unlikely to sell Liverpool and Aston Villa target Juan Manuel Vargas this summer after both clubs failed to reach the Italian club’s £12m asking price. The Premier League duo, along with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich, are thought to have registered their interest in the Peru international, who has been at Fiorentina since 2008. Vargas, who operates at leftback and left-midfield, has been linked with a switch to Liverpool since impressing against the Reds during two Champions League clashes in the 2009/10 season. The Anfield side had been given encouragement to bid for the Peruvian’s services this summer, but it appears that no offer has been made. And now Italian newspaper La Nazionale claims that Fiorentina will look to keep hold of Vargas and utilise his services next season.

Juan Manuel


M Fabricio Coloccini

anchester City are t a r g e t i n g Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini and Liverpool’s Daniel Agger as possible replacements for Joleon Lescott. The Blues are looking to bolster their defensive options this summer, leaving a question mark over the future of the England defender. With Roberto Mancini keen on the pair, along with Athletic

Bilbao defender Javi Martinez, the 29-year-old England stopper could be the odd man out at Eastlands. Lescott, who had the best season of his career when he helped Manchester City to the Premier League title and starred for England during Euro 2012, has just two-years left on his current deal. Talks on a possible extension were always planned to take

place after this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine, along with the likes of Gareth Barry and James Milner, but now his future in the North West is uncertain. Manchester City’s spending won’t end with a defender though with the champions also keen onArsenal skipper Robin Van Persie and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani.

Chelsea turns to Schurrle as Moses talks hit fail


helsea has turned their attention to Bayer Leverkusen winger Andre Schurrle, after Wigan broke off talks over selling Victor Moses. The Blues are keen on adding at least one more winger to their squad this summer, despite the addition of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin for a combined £38 million, and manager Roberto Di Matteo has drawn up a list of

four targets. Wigan flyer Victor Moses is the priority, but Chelsea were warned off the player last week by Latics chairman Dave Whelan, who has already snubbed Di Matteo’s £4 million offer. Finnigan adamantly rejects the claim, and told the Northern Echo: ‘All I will say on this matter is that how did

Victor Moses end up at Wigan, when he could have gone to Manchester City? Who took him to Wigan?’ Schurrle is currently away with the Germany squad at Euro 2012, where he is being monitored by Chelsea scouts, who are considering testing the water with an £7 million bid. Leverkusen are certain to want more - closer to the £15

million bracket - but the Blues have only been following the player closely for a few months, and are unlikely to want to pay anything near that figure. A fast, agile and technical winger, Schurrle was subject of tentative Chelsea interest last summer, but his stock has risen since, and AC Milan are now rumoured to be keeping tabs on the 21-year-old.

rsenal have finalised the signing of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier for a reported £12m. The France international, 25, completed a medical and paperwork with the club on Monday evening. Gunner’s manager Arsene Wenger intends to utilise Giroud in a front three alongside fellow new signing Lukas Podolski and Robin van Persie. Giroud was playing in France’s second tier as recently as 2010 and only made his

international debut in November 2011 at the age of 2 5 “He has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic,” said Wenger. “We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season. “He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and

country, and we saw what a big influence he was in Montpellier’s championshipwinning side last season.” Giroud scored 21 goals in Montpellier’s Ligue 1 title success and made four substitute appearances for France at Euro 2012. “I was attracted by the philosophy of football and Arsene Wenger’s ‘touch’ at this club,” Giroud told the official Arsenal website. ”I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here.”

Flamini signs one year contract

he Italians have approached the midfielder’s agent about the possibility of him changing clubs for the third summer running Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles is an £8million target for Serie A side Napoli. The Italian club are keen to strengthen their engine room and have plenty of cash after selling their prize asset, striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, to Paris SaintGermain. Meireles, who joined Chelsea on deadline day last summer after a single season at Liverpool, played in ‘the Blues’ victorious Champions League campaign last season and clearly caught the eye of Napoli, who they beat en route to lifting the trophy. He has backed that up with some good performances at Euro 2012 as Portugal has progressed

Arsenal signs Giroud for £12m


Olivier Giroud


athieu Flamini has performed a dramatic U-turn and signed a new one-year contract with AC Milan. Flamini’s San Siro stay looked over after he failed to meet a deadline to agree fresh terms set by Vice-president Adriano Galliani. But following negotiations between him and the club’s hierarchy, the Frenchman has now decided to accept a massive 60 per cent pay cut around £28,000 per week to remain in Milan until next summer. Flamini has played 100 games for Milan since joining on a free transfer from the Gunners in 2008 and has helped them to the Serie A title as well as an Italian Supercup.

But the 28-year-old missed most of the last campaign after getting injured in a pre-season friendly and undergoing knee surgery.

Mathieu Flamini

Napoli target Chelsea star


Raul Meireles to the semi-finals, where they play holders Spain on Wednesday night. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has made enquiries to Meireles’ agents and is keen to try and make the move happen. The 29-year-old said: “I am focused on the Euros and cannot think about my future now.”

Dzeko’s move to Bayern in doubt as Germans turn to Euro star Mandzukic


din Dzeko has priced himself out of a move to Bayern Munich after they ditched their interest in him and opted for a cheaper option instead. Bayern want another striker to provide competition for Mario Gomez and installed Manchester City’s former Wolfsburg marksman Dzeko as their top choice, as revealed in Sportsmail at the end of last season. But the 26-year-old’s wage demands of around £125,000 a week have proved too rich for

the Champions League finalists and forced them to switch their sights to Croatia frontrunner Mario Mandzukic. A three-goal tally for Croatia at the European Championships convinced Bayern bosses of Mandzukic’s ability to put pressure on Gomez next season, while negotiations over personal terms have been far more in line with their pay policy. The Wolfsburg striker has agreed a deal worth £60,000 a week half the amount Dzeko was seeking and an £8million move to the Allianz Arena is expected

to be completed in the next few days. It leaves Dzeko in limbo after Sportsmail revealed months ago that he was surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium and would be made available. With Bayern looking elsewhere, and Juventus now considering the claims of Mattia Destro co-owned by Siena and Genoa as well as Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez, his prospects of a fresh start before next season are beginning to diminish.

Edin Dzeko



he Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), yesterday said that its maiden Eko Football Festival is open to all secondary schools in the state and will begin in September 2012. Dotun Coker, a member of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that boys would feature in the U-17 event of the festival as against U-13 for girls. Coker said that all secondary schools in the state were expected to take part in the competition scheduled for between Sept. 1 and Sept 30.


LSFA debuts with Eko Football Festival in Sept He said that the month-long festival would start from the zonal levels with winners and runners-up at the zones converging at the Teslim Balogun Stadium for the finals. The member who declined comment on prizes said that attractive prizes await winners at the festival. “The festival is aimed to develop grassroots football and to re-awaken the consciousness of grassroots stakeholders in the state,” he said.

He said that meanwhile, the association has set completed plans to set up a main organising committee to ensure a huge success of the festival. According to him, the committee would ensure that logistics meant for the success of the festival were on ground before its take off. He added that the main organising committee would also see to the setting up of other committees like the technical, medical, marketing and

security. “The marketing committee for instance will help the organisers to get sponsors and stakeholders in the state to contribute to the success of the competition. “There will also be lots of side attraction at the fiesta. Celebrities will also play with other football teams that will participate at the festival. “Gov. Babatunde Fashola will captain the celebrity team. Some popular musician will also thrill the fans at the event,’’ he added.

Festival: Champions to form nucleus of Ebonyi taekwondo team E

bonyi government says its representatives at the justconcluded Agoma National Taekwando Championship in Makurdi will form the nucleus of its team to the 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 15-man contingent were crowned overall

champions of the competition with a total of five gold, five silver and one bronze medal. Dr Emmanuel Utobo, the Director of Sports, said in Abakaliki while speaking on last Saturday’s Olympic Day Run in the state and ways to improve on sports development. Utobo said that the team’s report at the championship

would be submitted to the government on Monday where necessary recommendations would be made. “The team would be camped for intensive training when we commence our preparations for the National Sports Festival. “We will ensure that most of the athletes will be selected for the festival due to their

Lagos Hockey players displaying the use of modern Hockey sticks at the just concluded Inter Club 6 aside grassroots Hockey Tourney held recently at the Sports complex Surulere, Lagos

technical abilities and exposure to several national competitions,” he said. According to him, their excellent performance justified the state government’s policy of aggressive sports development through harnessing of youthful talents. “Most of the youngsters were drawn from the Mother and Child Care Initiative (MCCI) of Mrs Josephine Elechi, wife of the state governor. “The initiative provides opportunities for youths, especially the less privileged to develop their talents in various aspects of human endeavour. “We will also ensure that the athletes are adequately rewarded to motivate them for future competitions,” he said. He said that the Olympic Day Run afforded people the opportunity of using sports as a veritable tool to attain good health and promote unity. Chief Boniface Ezeagu, State Chairman, Sports for All Commission of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), said that the occasion rekindled the Olympic spirit in individuals. “The Olympic Games affords people from all parts of the world opportunities of interaction, sharing of common values and enhancement of peaceful coexistence. The NOC will continue to promote the Olympic movement in the country as

18th NSF: Chiejine optimistic Lagos female will excell


nn Chiejine, the Head Coach, Lagos State Female Football team yesterday expressed confidence that the team would excel at the forthcoming 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos in November. Chiejine, the ex-international revealed that that the team at present was undergoing a comprehensive training at the Astro-Turf of the National

Stadium, Lagos. “Our plan is to ensure a good outing at the festival. Being the host, we are striving to excel at the festival tagged “Eko2012” . The constant training which began since March, has offered us adequate time to have a good training programme. “At present, 34 players are in camp and are doing well as each player is putting up a good

performance to meet up the final 18 man squad for the competition. “We are not going to be sentimental about the final selection; it would be based on individual merit and performance because we cannot gamble with our chances,’’ she said. The former assistant national goalkeeper also added that she

was impressed with the response of the players to the training programme. “I am proud of their level of skills and their determination to meet the final selection,’’ she said. Chiejine added that the team had been enjoying tremendous support from the state government, which according to her has been a source of encouragement to the team.

Gov. Babatunde Fashola sports have continued to provide employment and enhancement of people’s economic wellbeing,’ he said. He called on private individuals and organisations to support government’s efforts to enhance sports to achieve rapid development of the country. The Run featured jogging through major streets of Abakaliki by stakeholders and top government officials in the state and physical fitness exercises at the Abakaliki Township stadium.

Coach bemoans lack of tourneys for judokas


morodion Edokpolor, the Head Coach, Lagos State Judo Association, has blamed the dearth of activities in the sport on lack of sponsorship and neglect by the public. Edokpolor said that the situation had left the state’s judokasto seek greener pastures in states where the sport was being promoted. According to her, the judokas have exhibited commitment to the development of the sport but their dedications have not been appreciated even by the sports ministry. “The judokas have passion to develop themselves and represent the state at national competitions. I must say that the neglect they are being subjected to is rather frustrating,’’ she said. Edopolornoted that there had not been any form of training as judokas were no more together after the state’s sports festival, tagged “IbileGames’’. She said that lack of activities and training was not giving any hope that the sport would grow at the grassroots. “If the judokas do not follow their programme of activities and they do not even come around for training sessions, it is very certain that the sports will not grow,’’ she said. She called on corporate organisations and individuals to sponsor competitions for talent identification.






a. b. c. d.

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher's podium finish at the European Grand Prix puts his team in a difficult position. Bath sign former Leicester winger Horacio Agulla, but he will miss the start of the season because of international commitments. Laura Robson loses in three sets on day two at Wimbledon with Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha. Spain's Gerard Pique is aware of the challenge posed by Portugal and has highlighted the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo as an area that needs special attention. e. Ryan Lochte gets the better of rival Michael Phelps in the 400m individual medley on day one of the US Olympic trials in Omaha. f. Scotland's Ricky Burns and England's Kevin Mitchell are to fight for Burns' WBO lightweight title in Glasgow. g. Britain slip to their third successive defeat as they are soundly beaten 87-51 by a full-strength Russia team in San Antonio.







By Patrick Andrew


evenge, pride, history, and a berth in the final of the UERO 2012 are all for grab. In 37 meetings of these Iberian rivalry Portugal have had the bragging rights just nine times, but none at competitive level and serious enough to dent Spain’s pride. But many would object largely because Portugal, like their vivacious neighbours, the Netherlands, are perpetual team of promise. However, the Dutch broke the jinx two years ago by reaching the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa losing narrowly to another ‘team of promise’ tag bearing side, Spain. Both sides are gunning for history. Whereas Spain are seeking to become the first European team to win three consecutive major i n t e r n a t i o n a l

tournaments: UERO 2010, FIFA senior World Cup and another UERO 2012 consecutively, Portugal are aiming to reach a maiden final since their heartbreaking loss to Greece as hosts of Euro 2004. And there are still contrasts: Spain have never lost at this stage of an international competition, unlike Portugal which have won only once in five attempts, the most painful of such loses being the semi-finals defeat to England in the 1966 World Cup when they lost 2-1. But Portugal have delt Spain a serious dent, albeit in a friendly encounter. They claimed emphatic 40 drubbing of their Iberian rivals in Lisbon, a win that went into the record books as the heaviest the fivemonth old world champions suffered and the second of worst in 47 years. The heaviest defeat was the 6-2 loss to Scotland in 1963. Cristiano Ronaldo almost scored a glorious solo goal in the first half, drifting past Gerard Pique and deftly lobbing over goalkeeper Iker Casillas, only for his goal-bound effort to be headed in by Nani, who was penalised for being offside. It mattered not. Spain had been dented while still basking in their audacious glory. Interestingly, the defeat came barely five months after the Portuguese were bundled out of the last 16 by Spain

UERO 2012 semi-finals

Who blinks first: Spain or Portugal? en route to their maiden triumph at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Portugal had similar scoreline against their opponents in 2004. However, except for Spain’s narrow wins prior to the 1984 European Championship when Portugal was appearing for the very first time and had not met Spain in a competitive fixture since a 2-2 draw between the sides in a World Cup qualifier in April 1950, the ‘tiki, taka’ playing side

have almost always defeated Portugal handsomely. That though was under different settings. Now, a certain Ronaldo wants to break that jinx. And the game should throw up an interesting clash of styles, indeed intriguing depending on one’s aptitude for jealousy. Spain’s reputation for dominating possession is legendary and in this tournament only Germany have done something closer but not




Casillas eyes 100th win in Portugal semi


pain captain, Iker Casillas, can become the first player to notch up 100 victories in international football, if his team beat Portugal in Wednesday’s Euro 2012 semi-final. To do so, on his 136th appearance for his country, the Real Madrid goalkeeper will have to thwart his club team mate and Portugal captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has three goals at the tournament and has been in scintillating form. Eliminating the Portuguese, who have only beaten their Iberian neighbours once in seven competitive games, would give Spain a chance to become the first nation to win back-to-back continental titles; with a World Cup in between. Casillas believes former World Player of the Year Ronaldo, has still not quite reproduced the form that helped Real win the La Liga for the first time in four years last season. “His season at Madrid was incredible in terms of the way he played, the goals and the records,” the 31-yearold, known in Spain as “Saint Iker” thanks to his miraculous saves was quoted as saying in Monday’s Marca sports daily. “I don’t think that right now he is at his best level,” he added. A fired-up Ronaldo has been peppering opposition goals with shots in Portugal’s four Euro 2012 outings, and Casillas said he will have to be wary of any deviation in the air, due to the peculiar way Ronaldo strikes the ball. “The ball does something strange,” he told Marca, adding that those being used at Euro 2012 did not bend and swerve as much as the “Jabulani” used at the World Cup two years ago.

on even keel, while Portugal await opportunities to spring forward on the counterattack. In this, they rely on the sprightly form of pacy Ronaldo whose mercurial deft touches equally count for much in such moments. Spain have lost only three times in 47 competitive matches since their ascendancy and are closing in on an unprecedented treble of major honours. That’s the aim anyway. And they have the depth, vision and audacity to do so provided they are able to keep the Portuguese in check which will be no easy task considering the grit so far shown by them. Portugal coach Paulo Bento may have to change his starting line-up because of the thigh injury sustained by striker Helder Postiga in Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic. Besiktas’ Hugo Almeida is set to deputise, although 20-year-old Benfica striker Nelson Oliveira is also in contention, while defenders Pepe and Fabio Coentrao are both fit after sitting out training on Saturday to rest injuries. Spain’s boss Vincente Del Bosque have enough in the

arsenal to confront any side with and had shown thus far the depth of his rich bench by playing without a recognisable point-man in the attack. No, forget the criticism that Spain are bereft of delectable character and offensive discipline. But they have always been mean with goals while entertaining with such flair that many don’t bother with the goal margin. So it will be an interesting duel between the two countries and a mini-Clasico derby will take place with many Real Madrid and Barcelona teammates set to face each other. While the Portuguese may be on a confidence high following their matchwinning performances against the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Spain’s ability to keep them in check will be pivotal. Both teams are yet to be defeated in the competition, and concede more than one goal, the match-up between the two footballing powerhouses will undoubtedly be a feisty affair. One must watch the final from the spectators’ stance. It’s a game in which there will little or no room for error.

–Ronaldo on Spain “These games are part of my life. I have ten years playing them in clubs and for the national side so I have to be used to them. Responsibility yes, pressure no,” he said. “It’s nice that Portugal have a chance to reach another final after eight years (Euro 2004 final loss to Greece when Portugal hosted the championship). It will be difficult but we are only one step away. “We have done a great job, not only in the finals of the Euros, but also in the qualifying round. And now we are reaping the fruit.” –Vincente del Bosque “We have been lucky to have such a marvellous generation of players, players who are genuinely good but also nice people, humble and selfless,” he said last year, making sure that the men on the pitch take all the credit. We will be taking special care of Cristiano Ronaldo.”

. . . putting the people first



Tunisia denies Syrian team entry


yrian press agency SANA announced yesterday that the country’s U17 team has been denied entry visas to Tunisia to participate in the Arab Nations Cup set for next week. The report said the Syrian Football Association had applied five times for the visas without success, while all other Arab nations qualified for the tournament had been granted visas by the different Tunisian embassies. The competition will hold between July 4 and 18, and SANA says if the status quo remains unchanged the Syrian players will have to stay back without taking part in the tournament. It is yet unclear why the Tunisian authorities do not want the Syrian athletes travel to the country this time, but local observers in Tunis say it could be connected with the current political situation in Syria and the British government’s decision not to grant the Syrian Olympic Committee president Gen. Mowaffak Joumaa visa to attend the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Nadal survives scare, Murray cruises


ormer champion Rafael Nadal survived an early scare to kick off his bid for a third Wimbledon title with a 7-6 (7/0), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in the first round yesterday. Nadal, the winner in 2008 and 2010, appeared to allow number 80 Bellucci to race into a 4-0 lead in the first set on Centre Court. But the Spaniard, who lost in the final to Novak Djokovic last year, took the opening set in a tie-break. Andy Murray silenced Nikolay Davydenko's taunts with a straight sets win beating him 6-1, 6-1 6-4 on Centre Court. Former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, reduced to being a wildcard at the tournament he won 10 years ago, could never match the firepower of number five seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who eased to a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory in the first round yesterday.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE We need to re-examine our laws again, to see if there are loopholes we can plug — Senate President David Mark on how to end Boko Haram insurgency

Dasuki as NSA: Issues below the surface I

n the euphoria that normally accompanies public appointments, people tend to lose their heads and consequently overlook other factors below the surface. No doubt, the appointment of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired) is bound to create excitement among the North-west politicians and disappointment among the Niger Delta people who may feel that one of their own has been humiliated out of office. Officially, President Goodluck Jonathan explained on his media chat on the NTA network that General Andrew Owoeye Azazi, the National Security Adviser and Defence Minister, Dr. Bello Halliru Mohammed were fired because they kept using the same strategies (that didn't work) at a time the tactics of Boko Haram militants were changing. That presupposes that they lost grip with the challenges of security and they had to go. In fact, they were blamed for giving the President an overoptimistic assessment of the security situation, which led the Commander-in-Chief's declaration that Boko Haram attacks would end in June (this month). On the contrary, we have witnessed a dangerous escalation with attacks on churches for two weeks running, leading to fears of a religious war. There is a school of thought that holds that the appointment of Col. Dasuki was essentially an appeasement gesture towards the North because Boko Haram is largely a northern security challenge. Another school of thought even questions the wisdom of appointing an army officer who is not remarkably steeped in core intelligence activities in his military career to be a National Security Adviser. Dasuki has had a distinguished career in the army artillery corps. By the time he was removed last week, it was clear to many that the former NSA had found the shoes too big for his foot. He was apparently overwhelmed by his predecessor, General Gusau's larger than life image not only in Nigeria but in global security circles. Going by the type of ethnical, religious and media battles he fought, it was thought by many that Azazi had become obsessed with the office of the NSA and was apparently doing more to protect himself in office than the job for which he was hired. The direct consequence of this is that from a gang engaged in street fights with security operatives in Maiduguri

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Garba Shehu

NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) township, the Ahlis-Sunnah group (Boko Haram) has, under Bello's and Azazi's watch grown to become as potent and formidable as AlShabab in North Africa and the AlQaeda in some of its formations. Let us examine the strengths and weaknesses of Dasuki's appointment as NSA. If indeed the appointment of Dasuki is an appeasement policy towards the North, then it may produce the direct opposite result. The Boko Haram terror movement is dominated by Kanuri boys, despite the recruitment of volunteers from areas outside Borno and Yobe states. The appointment ignored the

historical rivalries between the Kanuris and the North-west or more directly, the Fulani hegemony. The old Borno Empire, now made up largely of Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria and parts of Niger, Cameroon and Chad Republics were never really conquered by the Fulani jihadist movement. These areas, not only take pride in this, but also the fact that they contacted Islam much earlier than what is today's NorthWest geo-political region of Nigeria. Can a scion of the Fulani royalty, even though a Northerner cultivate the trust and confidence of the Kanuri boys against the background of these historical rivalries? Can a Fulani Northern National Security Adviser conduct negotiations for disarmament with Boko Haram in the face of these historical rivalries? This may be Sambo Dasuki’s biggest challenge. His perception as Generals Babangida and Gusau’s protégé also creates the feeling that President Jonathan is reaching out to Northern politicians as a pacification gesture through Col. Dasuki’s appointment as National Security Adviser. It is argued that the Jonathan administration is lopsided with his

His success may play into the hands of those who believe that Northern leaders have blackmailed Jonathan into submission and that, with security situation returning to normal, these Northern leaders must have real connection to the terror groups. Col. Dasuki cannot run away from this scenario if it does happen in the end. It is a real catch-22 situation for the former ADC to General Babangida

Ijaw kinsmen dominating key appointments, including the office of the National Security Adviser. With Dasuki’s appointment as Azazi’s successor, how far can the President fight off that perception effectively? Whatever theories may have developed around Sambo’s appointment, the Kanuri factor in the appeasement policy should not be ignored. No confidence building strategy can succeed which ignores the undercurrents of historical rivalries between the Kanuris and the Hausa/Fulani of the North. It is doubtful if the North-East or Borno state in particular, lacks credible retired army officers who can do the job. Former GOC Third Armoured Corps in Jos, Retired Major General Maina and the former Commander of the Brigade of Guards, Brigadier Monguno are among the officers the government could have appointment for the office of the National Security Adviser. Now that this position has gone to Col. Dasuki, government can still remedy itself by naming a new defence minister from the North-East or specifically the Kanuri. General Monguno in particular has had a career that was unblemished by scandal, controversy or partisan affiliations. He commanded the Guards Brigade and headed the most sensitive of this country's defence and intelligence departments. In these men, the President has a good pick for defence minister. Lest one is misunderstood, there is no begrudging Col. Dasuki with his new position. We should not however, ignore complex issues below the surface. Psychologically, even in the United Nations code of humanitarian negotiations, terror groups tend to deal with persons or parties they can trust. Another worry is that Dasuki’s appointment may produce a sting in its tail. If his tenure produces de-escalation in terrorist violence or attacks, it may produce new theories about why the security situation is improving. His success may play into the hands of those who believe that Northern leaders have blackmailed Jonathan into submission and that, with security situation returning to normal, these Northern leaders must have real connection to the terror groups. Col. Dasuki cannot run away from this scenario if it does happen in the end. It is a real catch-22 situation for the former ADC to General Babangida.

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, June 27, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednesday, June 27, 2012 Edition