People's Daily Newspaper, Wednesday 27, November, 2013

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Vol. 12 No. 42

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 SXWWLQJ WKH SHRSOH ÀUVW

Al-Muharram 24, 1435 AH



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:H·UH QRW WKUHDWHQHG VD\ 3UHVLGHQF\ 3'3 >> Pg 2 Dokubo-Asari 37 killed in arrested in Benin fresh Plateau Republic >> Pg 5 attacks >> Pg 5

Senate queries FCT Minister over SURE-P funds >> Pg 5



























EFCC to probe Oronsnya over pension scam – Page 5















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2-party scenario evolves By Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja, Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse & Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


n an obvious move to ensure the establishment of virile and vibrant opposition to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Party (APC) yesterday finally succeeded in wooing the aggrieved governors on the platform of the PDP over to its side. With this development, the nation is inching towards a twoparty scenario where both the PDP and the APC would wield almost equal political influence across the country. In a communique read to newsmen after a meeting held yesterday at the Kano Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, between the leadership of the splinter PDP led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and that of the APC led by its Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, the Baraje group, consisting of the seven aggrieved PDP governors resolved to ‘merge’ with the opposition APC. The communique jointly signed by the chairmen of both groups said: “A meeting of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC and the new PDP met this morning at the residence of the Kano state governor, Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso in Abuja. “After extensive deliberations the two agreed to merge in order to rescue our fledgling democracy and the nation”, it stressed. The eventual resolution of the two groups to ‘merge’ after months of political horse-trading signals the beginning of two-party system in the country as both the

ruling party and the bolstered APC now have near equal political strengths and followership in the country. This political scenario, if sustained, brings back to memory of two-party system introduced by former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, during the botched Third Republic. Babangida’s administration had then decreed the establishment of two political parties viz: Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) where all politicians were joiners. Though there would still be other smaller parties operating in the nation’s political space, the success of the APC/nPDP merger could reenact the success recorded by the two party system experimented during the botched Third Republic. Those who participated in yesterday’s meeting which culminated in the collapse of the nPDP into the opposition include governors of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako; Rivers, Rotimi Amaechi; Kano’s Kwankwaso; Niger’s Babangida Aliyu; and Kwara’s Abdulfatah Ahmed. The governors of Sokoto state, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and Sule Lamido of Jigawa state, were represented at the meeting. Niger and Kwara state governors left the meeting before the resolution was reached. The leadership of the nPDP including its chairman, Baraje, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Dr. Sam Jaja, Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure, former Bayelsa state governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, Senator Bukola Saraki and other critical stakeholders in the

defunct breakaway PDP were also present. On the part of the APC were the interim chairman, Chief Akande, former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, among others. But, in a dramatic development, there was a crack in the ranks of the G7 governors as two of its members, Jigawa’s Sule Lamido and Niger’s Babangida Aliyu, promptly issued separate statements dissociating themselves from their colleagues’ decision to dump the ruling party by ‘merging’ with the opposition APC. Aliyu, who is also chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) and the leader of the G7 group, in a statement issued on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Danladi Ndayebo, said he still remained a member of the PDP. The statement read in part that: “Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger state has denied media reports purporting that he has dumped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC)”. Ndayebo said his principal was shocked at the announcement of the merger of New PDP and APC even before a final decision was taken on the matter. Aliyu’s media aide added that his principal was not present at the meeting where the merger deal was sealed between the

Baraje-led New PDP and APC leaders as widely reported in the media. “Governor Aliyu insisted that talks were still ongoing with the President and would await the outcome of the negotiation before taking a final decision”, Ndayebo concluded. Jigawa’s state governor, who spoke through his Director of Press, Umar Kyari Jitau, in a press statement with the caption, ‘I will speak for myself’, stated that he will not renounce the PDP despite the wave of intimidation meted on his family. The statement read in part that: “It is true that my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is currently embroiled in serious crisis especially by the Bamanga Tukur style of leadership with impunity. “That does not necessitate me renouncing myself and relinquishing my historical authority to anybody. “It is true myself and family are currently under a huge political heat-wave and campaign of misinformation and smear to the effect that my family and I, are adjudged guilty in the public court by the gullible and the ill-informed. “This will not intimidate nor harass me out of the party, and I will not give anybody the pleasure of engaging me by his terms”, Lamido added. The governor further stated further that, “for now I wish to state that I remain the living father of the PDP. As for my political persecutors, I will engage them by my terms at the appropriate time. Nobody speaks for me but myself”.

..We’re not threatened, say Presidency, PDP By Lawrence Olaoye


he Presidency and the PDP yesterday reacted to the formal pronouncement of some members of the ruling party to join the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Political Adviser to the president, Barrister Ahmed Ali Gulak, yesterday declared that the defection of the aggrieved party members and the governors did not bother them in any way and pose no threat to them ahead of the 2015 general elections. Gulak, who addressed newsmen at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said it was clear from the onset that the five governors who joined the APC were just in PDP in flesh and not in spirit. “I know as of a fact that five of them said they will now join APC, but I know two issued statements saying that they are not part of that. Governors of Niger and Jigawa states. I believe those others, for a long time I have said it that their hearts have not been in PDP but it is good that they

have told the world that they have taken a stand so that PDP will not be distracted”, he said. He stated further that: “The Presidency does not feel threatened, the PDP does not feel threatened. PDP is the party to beat, we have had it before, even people who have occupied higher offices left the party and came back. Outside there, there is nothing, it is empty. PDP is the only party”. He added that it was good that the five governors left the party, even as he noted that “PDP as a party will be focused to build our party because a lot of people are waiting for this moment. “A lot of people in the APC, ACN, ANPP have contacted me severally that they want to come back to PDP, that they were just waiting for what happened today to happen. And to us it is a good development”, he added. On whether there was any hope of reconciliation, should they come back, he said, “We are talking about peace, reconciliation is an ongoing process; if they go

outside there like those that went there before them and taste that the outside there is empty.” Equally reacting on behalf of the PDP leadership, the party’s National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo, described the defection of the new PDP members as an exercise of their democratic rights, declaring that after the 2015 electoral battle, the defectors would be welcome back into the party. Oladipo said the PDP was not worried or disturbed by the defection, explaining that those who did not deliver their states for the President at the 2011 election cannot now determine his fate and that of the party. “Multi-party democracy is now entrenched in our nation and everyone is free to take advantage of this and move to any political party where they believe their political interest would best be served. “We had always believed that there is more to this orchestrated conflict within our party than meets the eyes. As for the APC,

they are still exercising their freedom of association that the PDP government had entrenched in this country in the past 14 years. “Tolerance is the bedrock of democracy; we have allowed them freedom to operate. I hope and pray that in their respective states, when people start exercising their preferences too, that they would be given the same freedom that we as the ruling party had given to our brothers to choose their camp”, he said. Equally reacting on behalf of the ruling party, its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the party was unperturbed by the development. While commending the governors of Jigawa and Niger states for dissociating themselves from their colleagues who defected to the APC, Metuh disclosed that President Jonathan would reopen negotiation with the aggrieved governors on December 1. He said: “We wish to state cont on page 3




Defection healthy for democracy – Yakasai, Tofa, Zorro From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ormer Adviser to exPresident Shehu Shagari on Assembly Matters, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai said the defection of five of the G-7 Governors to the All Progressives Congress (APC) will bring about vibrant opposition in the polity, which is good for democracy. He said the implication is that the number of governors in the PDP is now 17, instead of 22, pointing out that APC will now

have 16 governors. He explained that by calculation, one can project that the governorship election in 2015 will be altered as the PDP may lose five states, Sokoto, Kano, Rivers, Kwara and Adamawa. Yakasai said the sudden defection of the G-7 Governors to the APC will alter the political equation of the 2015 general elections. Meanwhile, former Presidential candidate and APC chieftain, Alhaji Bashir Othman

…Reps too react By Umar Mohammed-Puma


rominent members of the House of Representatives including the Minority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC Lagos) said, “We receive them and all others, who are committed to change and who are progressive in inclination, with open arms. The change that Nigerians desire has only just started”. Rep. Aliyu Sani Madaki, (nPDP Kano) said, “It is a welcome development; we have been waiting for that to happen. All members of the PDP in Kano state would join the APC. I can vow for that, except Rep. Faruk Lawan and Rep. Muhammad Bashir Galadanchi, these are the one I’m not sure of. Apart from these two, all of us would join APC”. The House Chief Whip, Rep Isiaka Bawa, said: “As the Nigerian Constitution provides they have the right to freedom of association; they have the right to launch any political party of their choice. Nobody is in PDP by force. You can decide to leave at any time you wish to. “But what I want Nigerians to know is that PDP will continue to wax stronger despite all that is happening. This is not the first time in PDP; this is not the first time in the political development of Nigeria. I’ll like to take you back to 1983 when some progressive governors decided to leave their party; we have Nwobodo; we have Abubakar Barde, Abubakar Rimi and a host of them who left their party, but what was the result after

they left? “If that is their wish, the constitution guarantees them that freedom. In PDP, we have 1001 ways of consolidating ourselves. In 2011, there were some strong members of the PDP that left, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, but the PDP still won. “It depends on the calculation and the members that show interest. Is it all members that show interest? We’re not aware of any member that is to move with his governor. Until a letter is being sent to Mr Speaker and read on the floor of the House before we can decide to count to know the number of people who defected. PDP will never be minority in the House up to 2015; But, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Kawu Sumaila (APC Kano), expressed joy that the aggrieved PDP governors have resolved to join his party but cautioned that the merger would only work in an atmosphere of justice, equity and fairplay. “It is a welcome development that will forever shape the political history of Nigeria. With this merger, a new chapter has now been opened in our collective struggles for the emancipation of the Nigerian people from the 14 years of internal slavery, bondage and suppression under the PDP. “However, I will like to use this opportunity to re-iterate the fact that this marriage can only be sustained in an atmosphere of justice, equity, fair play and respect for the tenets of democracy”, he said.

Tofa said the long awaited news of the merger of the rebel PDP with the APC is a welcome development. “The merger is part of efforts by all those who wish to see a change in today’s Nigeria, so that tomorrow can be better for all. I have been advocating this movement for a long time, because I truly believe it is in the best interest of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, as well as the best interest of both the APC and the former members

of the new PDP”. In the same vein, the spokesperson of APC in Jigawa state, Mallam Sani Zorro said the option taken by the four governors after weighing where the country have found itself, decided to pitch their tent with the party was a welcome development. Zorro a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) described it as the most progressive political development in the history of the country in

recent times, pointing out that this is the fourth merger out of so many that have been tried but failed from 1981 to date, where so many efforts were made by the progressives to come together but this time, it has come to stay. Zorro believes that the political equation will provide the decamping governors to align with the progressives and counter the domineering PDP in its quest to wrest power from them in 2015.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), receiving letter of credence from new U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle (left), yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. With them is Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri (middle). Photo: Joe Oroye

‘. . . It’s beginning of a new beginning’ From James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta


he Ogun state chapter of the APC has described the merger of the aggrieved governors from the ruling PDP with the APC as the “beginning of a new beginning” in the major opposition party in the country. The party’s spokesman, Sola Lawal told newsmen in a telephone conversation in Abeokuta, that the party saw the decampment coming, “hence

we fixed our commencement of registering members to 30th of this month. On his part, former Senior Special Adviser on Media to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, Chief Kayode Odunaro said the decampment is justified having waited on the Presidency to iron issues out with the G7 governors to no avail, saying that “since the alternative is there, the decision to join APC is justified and acceptable in

democracy.” Odunaro, who is now a chieftain of the APC in Ogun state said, “with the shabby treatment the PDP gave to their former Chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and former governor of a state under the same platform, Prince Oyinlola and now the defection of the governors, we are sure going to have a wake keep service for a possible funeral for the purported largest party in Africa.”

..We’re not threatened, say Presidency, PDP cont from page 2 categorically that the PDP remains unperturbed as we are now rid of detractors and distractions. We urge all our members nationwide to remain focussed and close ranks, now that agents of distraction have finally left our ranks. “We wish to remind our members that from the rulings of the court there are no factions whatsoever in the PDP. In the eyes of the law, the PDP remains one

and an indivisible entity under the leadership of Alh. Bamanga Tukur, CON. We wish to commend the wise decision of some of the aggrieved governors to dissociate themselves from the action of some of their colleagues. We assure all Nigerians that the PDP will continue to grow from strength to strength and will definitely emerge stronger from this event. “We reiterate that the position of the law is very clear that there

is no faction whatsoever in the PDP. “We wish to use this opportunity to remind all PDP members that the peace process initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan is still on course and we wish to thank him for his patience, humility and spirit of accommodation. The meeting between the President and aggrieved members shall hold on Sunday, December 01, 2013. “Finally, we wish to reassure

our teeming members that our doors remain open to address all grievances. We shall however not condone any acts of internal subversion from any quarters”, he said. In the meantime, National leader of the APC, former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his comments on the development said the merger “is a good rescue mission for our fledgling democracy; it’s a must for the country; it’s very

necessary and we are happy about that. “We are happy with the development, we have commitment to rescue our country from drifting and we act as a group to promote the interest of this country. “Patriotism is defined as not being about oneself, personal goal, but that of the society, the nation or corporate entity. That is what we are putting forward”, he stressed.


Page 4 Report I

nvestors in Nigeria’s oil sector have been having a tough time of it as commercial-scale theft and sabotage have hurt operations and the country sits in regulatory limbo. Now there’s some bad news on taxation. International oil companies have been lobbying hard to have the fiscal terms proposed in the now-famous draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) diluted, but it doesn’t look like those efforts have paid off. The government hasn’t got any intention of compromising on its proposed tax regime, the minister of petroleum resources said, despite complaints that production could slump by 25 per cent if the legislation is passed in its current form. “There are no changes planned [to the fiscal regime],” the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said. “We took the industry’s concerns very seriously… [but] over the last few months I think that we have reached a sort of truce.” There’s no argument that Nigeria desperately needs to reform the outdated laws governing its notoriously opaque oil sector. But the long-awaited bill, which is now before parliament, has met with criticism from investors, who claim that the government is creating one of the world’s harshest fiscal regimes. In August, the Oil Producers Trade Section, an association of energy groups including Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Eni, Chevron and Total SA, said that the country risks losing $185bn within 10 years as higher taxes and royalties deter investment in the troubled sector. Representing the coalition, Mark Ward, Managing Director of ExxonMobil’s Nigerian arm, argued that production could slump by a quarter. “The terms proposed increase royalties, increase taxes and lower allowances or incentives all at the same time,” he said in Lagos at the time. The minister previously stated that the government’s share of oil pumped would jump to a minimum of 73 per cent, from 61 per cent when the PIB is passed, but industry members have claimed that the figure could rise as high as 96 percent. There is little further clarification from AlisonMadueke now: “Until the bill is actually passed into law nobody can (clarify) and even then it will vary according to certain indices,” she said. ExxonMobil and Shell both declined to comment further on the fiscal regime. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, but it might not wear that crown for much longer. Nigeria’s economy expanded at the fastest rate this year in the third quarter, but the country’s fiscal situation has deteriorated with the further depletion of the rainy day oil savings account. Gross domestic product growth in Africa’s second-largest economy rose to 6.8 percent on an annual basis between July and September, compared with 6.18 percent in the previous quarter. The National Bureau of Statistics attributed the increase to good performances in the agriculture, hotels, construction and telecoms sectors. Oil

Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill: Still causing consternation

A typical oil rig (INSET) Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke production, which dropped to a four-year low of 1.9million barrels per day (bpd) in June because of crude theft and maintenance issues, recovered slightly to 2m bpd in September, according to the International Energy Agency. The strong growth is in line with the 7 per cent average achieved by Nigeria for a decade and is a reminder of why the country of 170m people is seen by many investors as one of the most attractive frontier markets. Unlike some other emerging economies, the currency is stable, and inflation fell to a five-year low of 7.8 per cent in October.

At the same time, there are increasing concerns about Nigeria’s inability to save any of its oil windfall, especially with spending expected to rise ahead of the 2015 presidential election. The government’s excess crude account is meant to accumulate oil revenues above a benchmark price agreed in the budget, currently $79 a barrel. Although the average price for Nigeria’s crude has been above $100 this year, the ECA balance has fallen to $3.6bn, from $9bn in December, mainly because of the lower-than-budgeted oil production.

Further drawdowns are expected next year in the run-up to the 2015 election, where President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to face a strong challenge from a recently united opposition. Political success is usually closely correlated with patronage, and before the 2011 election the oil savings account was run down from $20bn to just $300m. “The excess crude account is likely to go to nearly zero again,” said Samir Gadio, emerging market strategist at Standard Bank. “That’s a concern because it shows that the fiscal break-even is closer to the current, high oil price and

“The excess crude account is likely to go to nearly zero again,” said Samir Gadio, emerging market strategist at Standard Bank. “That’s a concern because it shows that the fiscal break-even is closer to the current, high oil price and not the benchmark in the budget. If an oil price shock happens, Nigeria will not be able to withstand it.”

not the benchmark in the budget. If an oil price shock happens, Nigeria will not be able to withstand it.” Compared with many western countries, Nigeria’s debt-toGDP ratio is still relatively low, at around 20 per cent. But pressure to borrow more is likely to rise in the run-up to the 2015 vote – a trend that international bond holders, who have increased exposure to Nigeria is recent years, will be watching closely. Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has pledged to keep spending in check. The 2014 budget, which was expected to be presented to legislators by President Jonathan, last week, proposes spending of N4.5trillion ($28.4bn), down from N5trillion this year. That would give a modest deficit of 1.9 percent of GDP. Most of the cuts in the 2014 budget are to capital expenditure. But as occurs every year, and especially before an election, legislators will demand changes before they pass the budget. The proposed oil price benchmark of $74 a barrel is expected to rise to closer to $80, to ensure more cash is available for spending at national and state level. Bismarck Rewane, chief executive of Financial Derivatives, a Lagos-based consultancy, said that lawmakers would push for higher capital spending so they can start voter-pleasing projects in their constituencies ahead of the 2015 poll. He also expects recurrent expenditure to rise, with an increase in debt servicing costs, security spending, and “payments to ghost workers and all those sorts of things”. Nigeria relies on oil for almost all of its export earnings and about 80 percent of government revenue. But after five years in the making, uncertainty over the passage of the bill has put tens of billions of dollars of potential investment on hold. Last year, ConocoPhillips divested its Nigerian assets to a local firm, and both Chevron and a consortium led by Shell are in the process of selling onshore oil blocks. Both are moving into safer offshore waters. But by June, the added problems of militancy and organised crime in the Niger Delta had caused production to plummet to four-year lows of 1.9m barrels a day – only just ahead of Angola. Unsurprisingly, the falling output is exerting pressure on the government’s fiscal projections. The final draft legislation has raised concerns beyond the proposed tax regime. Critics say that too much power is allocated to the president and the petroleum ministry, and are worried about weak transparency and accountability provisions. But the minister is upbeat. She said that the government is “in general… quite happy with the draft legislation”, and expects that it will be passed “soon”. What that will be is another question. (Source: Financial Times)




Dokubo-Asari arrested in Benin Republic By Hassan H. Ginsau, with agency report


eader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) and former President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC,) Alhaji Mujahid DokuboAsari was yesterday arrested by security operatives in Cotonou, the capital of Benin Republic. Although details on the cause of the arrest were sketchy up to press time last night, his lawyer, Festus Keyamo, who confirmed the arrest, pleads Dokubo’s innocence. According to a statement issued by Keyamo, Dokubo was

picked up by the police between 1:00pm and 2:00pm around the Lubeleyi roundabout in the city, and taken to an unknown destination. The statement reads in part: “We want to emphasise that Alhaji Dokubo-Asari carries on legitimate business and has been living partly in Benin Republic for many years now”, Keyamo said in the statement. “In fact, he owns houses, schools and an academy in that country. All these places have been searched as at this evening and nothing incriminating was found”, the statement added.

EFCC to probe Oronsaye over pension scam By Joy Baba, with agency report


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited Nigeria’s former head of service, Steve Oronsaye, to explain a series of allegations linked to him by several Federal employees facing trial over the multi-billion naira pension fund scam. A source at the office of the Head of Service said EFCC sent a letter through the current head of service inviting the former occupant of the post to appear today at the EFCC’s headquarters in Abuja to face questioning by a team of investigators. Some documents seen revealed that , in the course of investigating one Phina Ukamaka Chidi, a former deputy director of Finance and Accounts in the office of the Head of Service (Pensions),

repeatedly mentioned that Sani Teidi Shaibu, a former director of Pension Accounts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, had stated on several occasions that Mr. Orosanye was receiving kickbacks from contractors handling several of the bogus projects used to siphon away and steal pension funds. Most of the multibillion scams occurred under Mr. Oronsaye’s watch, according to the information before EFCC investigators. Ironically Mr. Orosanye recently headed a panel to reform the Federal Civil Service. Among other recommendations, the Oronsaye panel called for the scrapping of the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), another agency charged with investigating cases of corruption and prosecuting suspects.

Discordant tunes in PDP over Anambra supplementary poll By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


head of the supplementary election scheduled for Anambra State on the 30th of November, discordant tunes have begun to emanate from the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over whether the party would participate in the rerun poll or not. While the national leadership of the party is emphasizing that the party is committed to participating in the November 30th election, its governorship candidate, Tony Nwoye and the State caucus of the party said they would boycott the supplementary election. Speaking at the PDP’s National Headquarters in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, said the party had taken a decision to contest the election despite the earlier position by the party’s

candidate, Tony Nwoye. According to him, “We believe that our candidate must have spoken too soon but the party is confident that the candidate is a loyal party member who will stand with the party. “We have stated our position, we are participating in the election and we are going ahead. We have instructed our candidate, and we have instructed our party members to prepare for the elections”, he added. Nwoye, through the directorgeneral of his campaign organisation, Mr Victor Ezenwa, however, insisted on the PDP candidate’s earlier stance in conjunction with other opposition candidates demanding that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), should cancel the whole election and conduct a free, fair and credible one.

Yobe state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Gaidam, coming down from a makeshift staircase after inspecting one of the duplex apartments under construction at the newly built 200-bed capacity hospital, yesterday in Damaturu.

37 killed in fresh Plateau attacks From Ado Abubakar Musa , Jos


nknown gunmen yesterday invaded Katu Kapang, Tul, Daron and Rawuru villages of Barkin Ladi and Mangu local government areas of Plateau state , killing 37 people and injuring five others. The Special Task Force (STF) disclosed this in a statement by its Media and Information officer, Captain Salisu Mustafa yesterday in Jos. The statement said: “This is

to inform the general public and people of Plateau state that on 26 November , 2013 , at about 2:00 am, unknown gunmen carried out a coordinated attack in Katu Kapang, Daron , Tul and Rawuru villages of Barikin Ladi and Mangu local government areas. “The attack killed about 37 people in the said villages and five others sustained various degrees of injuries”, the statement added and further said that immediately the STF got the news of the attack, security personnel were deployed

to restore peace, adding that the attackers fled when they heard the wind of the security operatives. Major General David Enetie who is the commander of the STF in Plateau state has promised to get the attackers arrested and brought to book. It would be recalled, on the 18 Novemer, 2013, an attack was launched in Kasa and Von villages of Barikin Ladi LGA where two herdsmen were killed and 130 cattle were rustled.

Senate queries FCT Minister over SURE-P funds By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Senate ad hoc committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) yesterday queried the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, over how it spent the funds it got from the SURE-P from 2012 to date. The committee also asked the Minister to provide detailed statement of account on the funds received from SURE-P. Earlier, the senators had asked the Minister to explain the N1billion it claimed to have paid to the Abuja Investment Fund, saying it is not justifying for FCT

to pay SURE-P funds to itself. In addition, they also asked the Minister to explain how and why he spent N140 million to rehabilitate the buses bought in 2012, pointing out that the buses should not have grown old for repairs one year after they were bought. Similarly, the senators disagreed with the alleged N500 million which the Minister claims to have spent in rehabilitating Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Abuja, saying there is no evidence that the scheme is lacking funds from Federal government. They also complained that there are other important areas like destitutes that need to be

attended to, yet the minister preferred to consider NYSC, which does not need dare attention. While also faulting the N500 million spent by FCT on primary healthcare Center, the committee also said the N24 million spent to capture the biometric data of 100 person is outrageous. Responding to these accusations, the minister said the NYSC orientation camp was inaccessible, hence he provided the funds as an intervention. He also said the N500 million was spent on building new hospital, other than primary healthcare centre, saying it is more expensive than primary healthcare centre.




Our equipment not outdated in fighting security challenge – COAS From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


igerian Army authority has disclosed that the equipment being used in fighting the security challenges in the country are not obsolete. The Chief of Army Staff,(C0AS), Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika disclosed this in Kaduna at the opening ceremony of the 2013 convention of the Nigerian Army Regiment Sergeant Majors (RSM) while reacting to allegations from some quarters that, the Nigerian Armed Forces were fighting Boko Haram with obsolete weapons,

Ihejirika who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Army Headquarters, Major General Mohammed D. Abubakar, said, Army’s equipment are not old model as alleged, rather, it just took delivery of new arms and ammunition to assist the force in combating the security challenges in the country. According to him, “many of our armaments are current ones and more armament is being procured. In fact, a cargo just arrived in Abuja on Friday with huge equipment for our use. “Over time, procurement of armaments was slow, but of recent, we have

embarked on a lot of procurement to enable us meet the challenges we are facing.” Addressing the RSMs drawn from all Army divisions in the country, the Army Chief said the theme of the convention, “Enhancing the Capacity of the RSM towards Effective Unit Administration in the Nigerian Army,” was timely, considering the nature of security challenges the Nigerian Army was grappling with, alongside the expectation of the citizenry. He however tasked the RSMs to participate actively and come out with

meaningful suggestions that will take the Army to greater heights. Earlier in his welcome, the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Garba A. Wahab, noted that the convention was also meant for the RSMs to brainstorm in continuation of issues related to regimentation and professionalism. He concluded that the convention has been a veritable ground for sharing knowledge and ideas, and getting to understand the seriousness of the security challenges facing the country while coming up with ideas to deal with the challenges.

L-R: Lagos Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Commissioner for Transportation, Comrade Kayode Opeifa, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, during the finals of 2013 Be-Road Friendly Competition, yesterday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Max Air promises to haul remaining pilgrims’ luggage this week - Official


ax Air yesterday promised to evacuate the remaining Muslim pilgrims’ luggage from Saudi Arabia this week. The airline is one of the official airlines selected by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to airlift this year’s pilgrims and their luggage. The Public Relations Manager of the airline, Alhaji Ibrahim Dahiru, gave the assurance in an interview

with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano. Dahiru urged pilgrims whose luggages were still in Saudi Arabia to exercise patience as the airline had concluded arrangements to bring them before the end of the week. He said the airline had concluded all necessary formalities and arrangements to transport the remaining luggage from Saudi Arabia to Kano.

According to him, the airline has secured landing permit from the Saudi authorities to evacuate the remaining luggage. The spokesman added that one of the airline’s aircraft was expected to leave Malam Aminu Kano International Airport for Jeddah on Tuesday, Nov. 26, to get the luggage. “The airline has brought 98 per cent of the pilgrims’ luggage, as only

two per cent of the luggage are now in the holy land,’’ the spokesman said. He said it was after the Hajj operation that the airline discovered that some of the luggage were taken to undesignated loading points. He gave the assurance that the luggage would be distributed to their respective states for onward delivery to the affected pilgrims as soon as they arrived in Kano. (NAN)

Angola denies ban on Islam, Muslims By Hassan H, Ginsau, with agency reports


ngola has made headlines in the past few days for being the first country to ban Islam, but an unnamed source in the Angolan Embassy in Washington D.C. has declared that the reports were false. “The Republic of Angola is a country that does not interfere in religion,” the official said on Monday afternoon via telephone to the International Business Times. “We have a lot of religions there. There is freedom of religion. We have Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people,” he added. Several African and Angola newspapers reported on the ban on Sunday. The reports quoted the nation’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and minister of culture offering statements that suggested the premise of the reports was accurate. Peoples Daily also reported Angola’s alleged ban on Islam and Muslims in yesterday’s edition, based on the overwhelming media reports suggesting the move had indeed been taken. But a second unknown official at the Angolan Embassy in the US has also stated that the diplomatic seat has not been made aware of any ban on Islam in the country. “At the moment we don’t have any information about that,” the official told the IBTimes. “The president has been out of the country for a week,” the first Angolan Embassy official added, arguing that as such he could not have made the remarks as they were reported. The first Angolan Embassy official was not able to verify comments attributed to Rosa Cruz e Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture. “I cannot confirm if the Minister of Culture said that. I cannot find that in our press,” the official said. Muslims living in Angola also corroborate that the reports are false. The Imam of Nuru’l-Islam Mosque, Seikh Osman Ibn Zaid, told Anadolu Agency, “The reports about the closure of mosques are not true, the Cultural Ministry stated that there is no such thing,” Zaid confirmed that a mosque was closed for some regulations in Huambo. He did stressed that the government was working on 200 mosques in the country and also said that the government supported plans to build new mosques.

Insecurity: NIALS D-G warns against human rights violation during conflict By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


s the Joint Task Force (JTF) is battling with the Boko Haram insurgents in some northern parts of the country, the Director General of Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN) has charged security agencies to safeguard human rights in the course of carrying out their duties in the conflict areas. Prof. Azinge gave the charge

yesterday at a one-day symposium, “On the use of the armed forces for internal security operations: Imperatives of appropriate rules of engagement”, organized by the Institute, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Office of the National Security Adviser and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja. The NIALS boss said, it is inappropriate for citizens’ rights to be violated all in an attempt to ensure that security is provided,

adding that the symposium was aimed at sensitizing the military and the people involved in internal security operations; to try to a large extent, minimize the violation of human rights. In a keynote address at the symposium, Professor Peter P.T. Akper (SAN) who was inaugurated as the Jadesola Akande distinguished Professor of Law advised the Federal Government and security agencies to exercise caution in trying to resolve conflicts in the country.

He noted that, “It should be appreciated that the use of the military often generate mixed reactions in view of allegations of use of excessive force in incidences of human rights abuse especially where field officers and their men do not comply with the rules of engagement”. He said the aim of the oneday workshop was to promote understanding of the legal underpinning that attend internal security operations and awareness

of the attendant challenges involved in the deployment of the armed forces in internal security operations. Dignitaries at the event were: the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), Maj. Gen. Sarki Yarki Bello(rtd); National Coordinator, Counter-terrorism Dept. Office of the National Security Adviser and a representative of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar among others.




27 unclaimed corpses Police man murders Inspector, shoots corporal in Edo deposited at FMC Keffi mortuary By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin

From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he management of the Federal Medical Center Keffi, Nasarawa state has cried out for the immediate evacuation of 27 unclaimed dead bodies, mostly victims of road accidents or robberies, brought by the men of the Nigeria Police and deposited at the mortuary of the hospital. Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Dr. Joshua Ndom Giyan madethe call yesterday during a press conference organized to kick start its maiden Health Week activities marking the 13th anniversary of the hospital. He explained that presently, the hospital is heavily constrained with the 27 deposited corpses overstretching facilities at the mortuary and stressed that essentially, the mortuary at the hospital have space for only nine corpses. Giyan disclosed that the FMC could not begin to bury such bodies because of legal

restrictions and called on the general public, particularly those who suddenly lost touch with their friends or relations, to come to the hospital with a view to identifying the dead bodies. The medical director said the FMC was established in 2002 with the mandate to provide tertiary health care services, train manpower as well as conduct research, adding that since then, the facility had made tremendous progress, with structures to compete with any other federal medical center. Giyan further disclosed that the FMC Keffi has come a long way and could offer state-of-the-art services as obtainable in the country and beyond, adding that so far, the hospital has a zonal centers for HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia and cancer treatment. He further said that 17,000 people living with HIV have been enrolled and are being treated.


Police man, identified as Ozeigbe Omobude has run amok, and allegedly shot and killed a Police Inspector and wounded a corporal in Benin City. The victim whose identity was yet to be ascertained was allegedly murdered on his way to official duty at United Bank of Africa (UBA) on Benin-Agbor road in Benin on

Monday night. Meanwhile, another report indicated that the gun-trotting Police officer allegedly shot another Corporal, identified as Ayinla who boarded the same vehicle with him to the same location. It was learnt that Ayinla was shot while waiting to collect his change from the conductor shortly after he alighted from the bus. The killer police man who hailed from Uokhai

community in Owan East local government area of Edo state was said to have ordered the bus driver to take-off. When contacted, the Edo state Police Command, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Moses Eguavoen said he was yet to be briefed on the incident. Meanwhile, the corpse of the late Inspector and the wounded corporal were taken to Ikpoba hill, Benin City.

How 18-year old girl escaped abduction in Kano From Mustapha Adamu, Kano.


n 18- year old girl, Rukayya Umar of Rimin Kira Quarters in Kano metropolis, escaped abduction after a man, believed to belong to a cult group abducted her to an unspecified location over the weekend. Narrating her ordeal, Umar said she went out from

their house around 7:00pm on Sunday, when a man in a car, appeared to her and asked her to follow him after he proved to her that he knows her father. She added that “When he took me to the house, it was a big house and I saw a lot of children whom he held hostage. They were all crying. When my parents called me to know my whereabouts,

he forcefully seized the phone and put it off.” Asked how she escaped from the hand of the cult, she said: “He just asked us to leave the house since we are bad girls and refused to cooperate with him. From then I didn’t know where I was going to, but I just appeared at the Ja’en area in Gwale Local Government. “


Photo Splash


National leaders of New Peoples Political Party (NPDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday announced their merger. At the event menber of the NPDP renounced their membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Our photographer Mahmud Isa was at the Kano state Governor’s Lodge, Asoskoro, in Abuja, venue of the merger.

L-R: Chairman of new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, former Lagos state Governor and Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former National Chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Rivers state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, with other party stalwarts.

L-R: Adamawa State Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, Kano state Governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Lagos state Governor and Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former National Chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Chairman of new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Rivers state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, and Interim National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, after the merger of APC and new PDP.

L-R: Former Lagos state Governor and Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former National Chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Chairman of new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Rivers state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Bukola Saraki and former Governor of Osun state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, at the event.

L-R: Kano state Governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, General Muhammadu Buhari, and former Osun state Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, at the venue of the merger.

L-R: Senator Bukola Saraki, in a handshake with Director General, Governor’s Forum, A.B. Okauru, after the end merger.





MTN donates wheel chairs to 400 disabled in Kebbi From Ahmed idris, Birnin Kebbi


s part of its on going nationwide Disability Support Project [DSP], MTN donated 400 wheelchairs, tricycles, crutches, guide canes, hearing aids braille machines to 400 disables yesterday across

Kebbi state. Addressing the beneficiaries, the state sales distribution manager of MTN Foundation, Mohammed Abubakari said the gesture is part of the MTN disability support projects adding that 12 states including Adamawa, Anambra, Benue,

Cross River, Delta, Ebony, Kebbi, Lagos, Oyo, Sokoto, Taraba and Federal Capital Territory were the states that would benefits from this programme. He said since 2009, the MTN Foundation has distributed over 15,000 mobile aids and appliance to Nigerians across the 36 states

including FCT, saying, “so far, we are pleased that our efforts have made a positive difference in the lives of over 15,000 Nigerians”. Abubakar further said that apart from Economic Empowerment, the MTN Foundation has also invested in health and education

across the country. Speaking early, the Hon. Commissioner of women Affairs, Hajiya Afsat Ahmed Gulumbe thanked the MTN Foundation for assisting the less privileged and urge the other networks to do the same.

Civil Defence arrests illegal security guards in Ogun From James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta


L-R: Acting Executive Secretary, TETFUND, Malam Aliyu Na’iya, Chairman, TETFUND, Dr. Musa Babayo, Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, Supervising Minister of Education, Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, and Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, during the opening of the 2013 TETFUND strategic planning workshop, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Shema appoints new SUBEB chairman, 4 others


overnor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina state yesterday approved the appointment of Alhaji Aminu Danbaba, as Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). This was contained in a statement issued by the

Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Alhaji Rabi’u Rumah, in Katsina. Until his appointment, Danbaba was the Executive Director of the state Pilgrims Welfare Board. He replaced Dr Suleiman Dikko who was recently appointed

by President Goodluck Jonathan as the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). According to the statement, the governor has replaced Danbaba with Alhaji Ahmed Hassan, as the executive director of the pilgrims

Kaduna Assembly screens commissioner nominees today Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


aduna State House of Assembly will today screen 24 commissioner nominees from the 23 local governments sent to it by the Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. This is coming barely three months after the Governor sacked its cabinet and six months after he did a minor cabinet reshuffle.

A letter containing names of the nominees signed by Governor Yero and submitted to the state House of Assembly called on the lawmakers to expeditiously consider confirmation of the nominees. Those who made the list of the nominees for the appointment into the state executive council include, Bashir Zubairu from Birnin Gwari Local Government area, Madami Garba Madami from Chikun,

Abdulrasheed Musa Kakangi from Giwa, Bashir Aliyu Zangon Aya from Igabi, Husaini Abdu from Ikara, Dr. Thot Joseph Dogo, Jaba, Ado Dogo Audu, Jema’a and David Audu Chatjok from Kachia. Others include Shehu Ahmed Giant, Kaduna North, Ibrahim Ali, Kaduna South, Abdulrahaman Ibrahim Jere, Kagarko, Dr. Yari Peter Everton, Kajuru, Isaac Bodam, Kaura, Umar Alhaji Sani,

board, and appointed Alhaji Nafi’u Faskari, as Special Adviser. It also announced the appointment of Alhaji Labaran Bakori, as Senior Special Assistant, Projects Monitoring, and Alhaji Kabir Ibrahim, to serve as Chairman, Land Use Allocation Committee. The statement said all the appointments were with immediate effect. (NAN) Kauru, Nasiru Aliyu Damau, Kubau, Abdullahi S. Ahmed, Kudan and Mr. Joshua Shekarau Uchissa from Lere. Others who made the list include Samaila Aliyu,from Makarfi, Kasimu Lawal Abubakar from Sabon Gari, Mrs. Comfort Amwe, Sanga, Garba Uba Shehu, Soba, Grace Nju Nyan and Ben Bako, Zango Kataf and Abdulsalam Baba Ahmed from Zaria Local Government Area respectively.

NGO distributes 1003 nets to private schools in Gombe From David Hassan, Gombe


lobal Fund Malaria Project said it has concluded arrangements to distribute 1003 long lasting insecticide treated nets to private schools children across the 11 local government area of Gombe state. The state coordinator of the project, Mr. Kabir Muhammad Algamawy who

made this known yesterday in Gombe while flagging off the distribution of the long lasting insecticide treated nets to private schools children said, the distribution of the treated nets is meant for school children in primary and nursery section in private schools in the state. He said distributing of the treated nets to school children will go a long way to prevent

them from malaria scourge. According to him, the Project had already distributed over one hundred thousand doses of ACT to private Hospitals and PPMV across the state. He called on parents to always use the long lasting insecticide nets effectively in order to prevent their children from malaria, adding that they should ensure that the treated nets are placed on shed for 24

hours before using it. He explained that the distribution of the nets is not free of charge but are subsidize rate of N100 per net, urging each child to afford one. Head Teacher of the school Mr. Gaminana Abdulkarim thanked Global Fund Malaria Project for their kind gesture in order to fight against malaria in the state and encourage children to used the nets judiciously.

fficers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ogun state command have arrested two persons suspected to be working for an unlicensed private guard company in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital. The suspects, a female, Elizabeth Babalola and a male, Biola James were arrested at their beat where they were working for “System Protection and Security Services”, a security company that has not been licensed to render such services in the state. The said private guard company according to a statement by the NSCDC Public Relations Officer, Kareem Olanrewaju, has been given enough notice/warning through letters addressed to both the illegal ecurity company and the employers of their services on three different occasions dated 13th of May 2009, 10th of June, 2009 and 1st of August 2013 respectively. He added that since System Protection and Security Services has failed to follow the requirement of the law in spite of several warnings by the Corps; a seal order has been placed on it anyone found operating illegally as against what is contained in the law. The NSCDC spokesperson said the Corps will investigate the matter thoroughly and deal with the culprit in accordance with the provisions of the law adding that, ignorance is not an excuse except it is proved by court of competent jurisdiction. Kareem added that all the parties involved will be questioned and dealt with according to the law, stressing that, both the security company and their employer (s) are liable under the law. He however warned both individuals and corporate organizations to desist from patronizing illegal private guard companies, saying that both are culpable under the law especially when they have been formally informed adding that they should always confirm the status of private guard companies whose service they wish to engage from NSCDC.




Tsav laments treacherous acts by northerners From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ormer Lagos State Police Commissioner Alhaji Abubakar Tsav has lamented that the present crop of northerners have forgotten all the benefits and privileges they earned as northerners and have continued to team up with nonnortherners to further plunge the region into more confusion and abject poverty. Alh. Tsav made this lamentation yesterday in a chat

with Journalists in Makurdi against the backdrop of comment accredited to Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State that over 400 northerners have been bribed to support President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. “I do not doubt the Governor because there are some people who through their utterances and body language can betray even their parents for money and position. Such traitors are many in the north but it would be most unfortunate if it is true. “I want to advise such

traitors to reflect on what the north is going through now in terms of total neglect bothering on joblessness, insecurity, organized murder of our people, shut down of industries among others. “Let us not forget what the north has done for Nigeria before oil discovery”, he said. Tsav also posited that the present Boko Haram insurgency which has seriously affected the north socially and economically could be a conspiracy to destroy and weaken the north.

Legislative Writers Forum condoles Emir of Keffi, others over mother’s death By Aminu Imam


he Legislative Writers Forum (LWF) has condoled the Emir of Keffi, Muhammadu Cindo Yamusa II, the Chiroman Keffi and Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, the entire Keffi Emirate traditional council, the people of Keffi Emirate and Nasarawa state on the transition to glory of his mother. According to a LWF statement,

L-R: Speaker, Kaduna state, House of Assembly, Hon. Shehu Usman Tahir, the state Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, and his Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, during the flag-off of the skill acquisition training under the 2012 SURE-P Agriculture Youth and Women Empowerment, yesterday in Kaduna. From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

Kaduna recorded 116 fire outbreaks in 2013


Makama disclosed this while addressing a two day mandatory sensitization workshop on fire prevention and health hazard held in Kaduna yesterday. Hon Makama said the available data shows that the state recorded a low percentage of fire outbreak in 2013 compared to

aduna State has recorded 116 fire outbreaks from March 2013 to October 2013, claiming 31 lives and destroying property worth N734,870,000 million. The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Emergency Agency (SEMA), Hon Ishaku Dogo

2012. He noted that in 2012 the state registered a total of 432 fire outbreak which consumed 58 lives. “In 2012, 109 persons were injured and 35 cases were rescued while the estimated loss in the economy of the state was N1, 027,576,500.00”, he said.

The SEMA Executive Secretary added that though his organization was able to save over N2 billion the loss was too much for a developing economy to cope with and added that the major causes of fire ranges from carelessness to suspected electrical fault.

2015: Interior Minister cautions youths against violence

From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


s the 2015 general elections draw near, a group under the aegis of Idoma Youth Progressive Movement (IYPM) has urged political office seekers to refrain from politics of “do or die” in the interest of the peace, security and unity of the country. National President of the IYPM, Comrade Matthew Igoche

who gave the advice in Makurdi yesterday, during the investiture of the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro as the Patron of the socio-cultural group, also urged youths in the country to, “resist any attempt by desperate politicians to use them as tool for violence and destruction in order to frustrate efforts by the federal government to instill sanity and peace in the polity”. He noted that the interior minister was picked for the

honor because he has for a long time, continued to champion the course of the ordinary Nigerian as well as tirelessly promoted peaceful coexistence amongst all Nigerians. Comrade Moro, in his speech, commended the ‘peace campaign’ of the group and cautioned Nigerian youths against embracing foreign cultures, values and practices that endangers the peace and unity of the country.

“Our country is undoubtedly faced with security challenges which before now, was completely alien to our people. “It is therefore my fervent plea that as leaders of tomorrow, our youths should pick up the initiative of ensuring that all moves by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to ensure peace in the country is achieved so as to make way for the speedy socio-economic development of our country.”

signed by its Chairman, Austin Asadu Jnr., “Mama Maikasuwa was a ‘matriarch, role model, dedicated community leader and philanthropist’, whose legacy of integrity, benevolence, compassion, tolerance, generosity, dedication and selfless service to the community has endeared her to the entire people of Keffi Emirate and has left an indelible mark in the sands of our time. “Mama Maikasuwa was an embodiment of kindness wisdom, humanity, meekness and affection to all and while she is surely ensconced in paradise under the eternal protection of the Almighty God, we fervently pray for the safe repose of her gentle soul and also beseech Him to grant her stoic and bereaved children, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Ibrahim Maikasuwa, Shamsudeen Maikasuwa, Hajiya Hauwa (Yarinya) Maikasuwa as well as numerous grand and great grandchildren the forbearance, perseverance and fortitude to bear this irreparable and irreplaceable loss”, the statement said.

President Jonathan receives new United States ambassador By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Abuja received the letters of credence of the new United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James F. Entwistle and the new Namibian High Commissioner, Dr. Peingeonjabi Shipo. A statement by the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Reuben Abati said the President, while welcoming the diplomatic representatives to Nigeria, urged them to do their best to further strengthen the existing cordial relations between Nigeria and their respective countries. The President assured the two new ambassadors of the fullest support of the Federal Government for their efforts to broaden areas of bilateral collaboration between Nigeria and their countries during their tenure. President Jonathan also received Mr. Collins Chabane, a special envoy of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. The President assured Mr. Chabane that Nigeria will continue to welcome investors from South Africa and other African countries in keeping with its commitment to the promotion of intra-African trade and economic relations.



Money Sense

How to handle five awkward money situations everyone hates


here are few emotions that elicit the same stomach-churning, cheek-burning response as embarrassment. All it takes is one awkward moment to ruin your day — and ability to look the other person straight in the face ever again. Below is a look at the most common, awkward money situations and how to handle them gracefully, so your relationship and wallet remain intact. #1. You’re asked to donate to yet another charity According to a recent survey, 34 percent of respondents said being pressured to donate to a charity on behalf of a co-worker, family member or friend is the most awkward situation. “I know it happens to my wife and me all the time,” says Certified Financial Planner, Hal Bundrick. “It can really get to be a burden, and the fact is, you just can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone and stay on budget.” Bundrick, who founded personal finance site, explains simply declining is the best approach to dealing with this awkward money situation. “Simply replying ‘Sorry, I just can’t help this time’ with a smile, but without further excuses or explanation, usually works best,” he advises. If you still feel awkward about flat-out declining, consider setting aside an annual budget toward donations. Once you’ve reached your limit, you can explain to friends and co-workers that you

are sorry, but you have already used your charity budget for the year. #2. An unreliable family member or friend asks to borrow money Lending money to family or friends is a generally sticky situation I always recommend avoiding. The problem is that lending money to a person changes your relationship from personal

to business. You are now a lender and the other person your debtor, a dynamic that can easily strain a relationship. Still, it can still be hard to say no to someone you’re close with who is reaching out for help, even if that person has demonstrated a history of poor money management. To avoid situations like this, Association of Financial Advisors Executive Director, Rob Drury,

suggests thinking of a loan between family or friends (if you choose to extend one) as a gift instead so there’s no resentment if it’s never paid back. “It is simply not worth risking a cherished relationship,” he says. “If the beneficiary chooses to consider it a loan and pay it back, so be it. If the money is paid back, there is a strengthening of trust;

she sits with her arms up, hands clasped behind her head. Every now and then, she may even sit with her feet on her desk. Maybe you found her behavior distasteful, but Sarah’s confidence was an announcement to your boss that, “Hey, I’m the woman for the job.” Your boss subconsciously absorbed that message. How were you sitting at your desk when Sarah was kicking back at hers? You probably were

rubbing your neck, trying to knead away the day’s disappointment. That hand on your neck told your boss that you’re the exact opposite of Sarah. It screamed, “Sarah knows what she’s doing… and I don’t. That’s why I’m hiding.” Pose Matters Amy Cuddy, a Harvard professor specializing in body language, reported that different poses not only affect how you’re perceived, but also how you feel.

Money Tip: Get a raise… by changing the way you sit Ways to save money Always pay yourself Financial Analysts, Erin Schuger says: “My dad always told me from Day 1 that no matter how many bills I have, every time I get paid, always put something away. Whether $20 or $100 every week, make sure you pay yourself first because you never know when you’re going to be in a predicament where you’re going to need money. I’ve always learned that no matter how much in bills I have, I put money away for myself.” Start saving ASAP Erin says: “Open up a retirement plan ASAP. As soon as I got out of high school, I opened up a Roth IRA. I think a lot of kids my age are not educated on it. They don’t realize the importance of saving now because you’re going to be working forever. Who knows when Social Security’s going to run out? You’re going to make sure to be secure when you retire. Definitely start putting away now for retirement.”

Quote “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” -John W. Gardner: Businessman


t’s been torture seeing Sarah getting the extra pay that you deserve. You can’t help but wonder — a whole lot more than you’d like — what she has that you don’t. The answer is simple, and it’s something easily attainable.Sarah has confidence. And, rather than walking around with it stuffed in her pocket, she wears it on her sleeve for everyone to see. When Sarah sits at her desk,

if not, the benefactor can have the satisfaction of helping someone important to him.” #3. Your roommates aren’t pulling their weight financially Most adults have had to live with a roommate at some point in their lives, and have likely experienced the common pains of living with a semi-stranger. And often, the biggest stress points stem from money-related issues — i.e., someone isn’t contributing their fair share. Whether they’re short on the rent each month or are eating your food without contributing to the grocery budget, you can’t afford to keep letting them get away with it. Relationship expert, author, and voice of advice forum of www. explains the solution is a house meeting. “Bring the subject out in the open,” April recommends. “If anyone laughs at you for being petty, don’t let it get to you.” Set clear rules and expectations during your meeting, making it clear that your roommate will be your ex-roommate if they don’t step up. April also recommends setting up the lease so that each person is responsible for an equal share of the rent, removing some of of that financial burden from your shoulders. #4. Someone asks an inappropriate question about your finances Some people are very open about their personal money matters, while others prefer to keep things private. Either way, most of us have some limit as to how much information we’re willing to share. But that’s the key: It’s one thing if you openly offer details to how much you spend on your new handbag or how much the boss offered to raise your salary, but some people will just ask without any regard for your willingness to answer — awkward. In this type of situation, a polite but short reply is most appropriate; “I’m not comfortable answering that question” should suffice. Don’t feel obligated to offer any other explanation. Your curt response should make it clear they overstepped a social boundary, and hopefully, will make them think twice about doing it again. #5. Everyone wants to split the check, even though you ordered way less Nothing is more annoying than splitting a dinner check when everyone enjoyed expensive appetizers and cocktails while you had a simple entree. However, no one wants to look like the cheapskate who nickles and dimes their friends on the bill. Maria Lin writes on LearnVest. com, “Keep in mind people aren’t being rude or callous when they decide to split the bill — they’re just thinking about convenience.” Generally, if you’re with a group of people you’re not very close with or work acquaintances and the difference is less than $5, it’s probably best to go ahead and split this time — and be better prepared the next time you go out with the same group. You can also bring along cash and offer the precise amount you owe (including tax and 20% tip), rather than hand over a card, or simply ask the waiter to bring you a separate check.




Iran nuclear deal: Triumph of common sense According to the preliminary deal that would give Tehran a relief from the largely Western orchestrated punitive sanctions worth over 7 billion US dollars, Iran is expected to freeze its Uranium enrichment process and provide access to inspectors to the Nantaz and Fordo nuclear sites. According to the deal, there will be no further development on the Arak


fter years of howling each other, the Islamic of Republic of Iran and the Western powers led by the United States of America, reached a historic but tentative agreement under the framework of P5+1 in Geneva some few days ago. The P5+1 consist of the five permanent members of the security council of the UN - US, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany which is not a permanent member of the P5. The West, with their key ally in the Middle Eastern region, Israel, and to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies, has maintained that Iran’s nuclear programme is ultimately aimed at getting the atomic bomb which Tehran has consistently insisted is only for peaceful purpose. The game of mutual recriminations over the Iran nuclear programme has persisted over a long time and became one of the thorniest questions on the global scene. The election, some months ago of a new Iranian President, widely considered a moderate ushered in a new season of entente, quickly seized by Iran’s traducer-in-chief, the United States of America. After the historic 30 minutes telephone conversation between US President, Barack Obama and Iran’s new leader, Hassan Rouhani, last September after the latter’s visit to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting, events moved quickly, with the resumed negotiation between Tehran and the European Union in Geneva, after which other key world nations, including the US, China, Russia entered the fray. A few days ago, a major breakthrough was reached which would have a life-span of six months to test the sincerity of all parties to the negotiation.

We salute the European Union, US, China, Russia, Germany and Iran for what we have always considered ideological obstacles to reach a common ground, and urge them to sustain the momentum for a nuclear plant, which the West alleged could produce plutonium. In return for all these, there will be no new nuclearrelated sanctions against Tehran for the next six months. According to President Obama, the deal provided “The United States, together with our allies and partners an important step towards a comprehensive solution that address our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear programme”. He added that the deal ‘included substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons’, a claim, Iran has always maintained is not the goal of its nuclear programme. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, also hailed the deal, and said that “God’s grace and the support of the Iranian nation were 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”

reasons behind the success”. We also join in hailing the breakthrough and even though we believe that it was long overdue had the Western powers not been blurred by Ideological hostility to Iran which was further accentuated by the excessive protection of their regional ally, Israel. One significant aspect of the deal against Israel’s noisy protests is that for once, the West is breaking through the Iron wall of Jewish lobby and its excessive influence on decision-making machin ery. In spite of assurances of her Western partners, Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, maintained that the deal is a bad one and does not preclude the Jewish State from act of self defence, which means a preempitive strike of the Iranian facilities. We however believe that Israel would not be tempted to such option, given a potentially devastating Iranian retaliation. In spite of Israeli hard rhetoric in which she declared that “today, the world became a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world made a significant step in obtaining the most dangerous weapon in the world”, Israel would maintain significant restraint. Israel is however, the only known but undeclared nuclear power in the region, which has never subscribed to the UN nuclear non-proliferation treaty. We demand that Israel should come clean on its nuclear status. Overall, we believe that the Geneva agreement is a triumph of common sense even though the road to reach it has been uncommon. We salute the European Union, US, China, Russia, Germany and Iran for what we have always considered ideological obstacles to reach a common ground, and urge them to sustain the momentum for a permanent solution.











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Opinion The endless election controversy in Benue By Terfa Taga


he case relating to the protracted Benue state election, may either come to an end, going by the Appeal, at the Apex Court to determine its termination or otherwise, in which case it may begin all over again as it has witnessed some of the most bizarre twists and turns in the history of electoral jurisprudence in this country. The story of this case is indeed exciting and could be a bestseller for any interested author someday. It may even come out better in form of a drama written as a satire, to capture not just the major characters but also, and perhaps more importantly, the societal inconsistencies, the systemic hiccups and the structural deficiencies that have accompanied the case so far. The 2011 Governorship election was held on the 26th, April 2011. Several of the parties, aside from the ruling People’s Democratic Party alleged that there were so many irregularities, ranging from electoral malpractices to certificate forgery and non-presentation of certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission by the PDP and Gabriel Suswam. And on the basis of these allegations, the then All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) now All Progressive Congress, (APC), brought a petition before the election tribunal on the 17th day

of May 2011 to seek redress. The journey of this case is so tortuous that any attempt to recapture the details will be Herculean; however, certain areas cannot be ignored. For one, since the case was brought before the election tribunal back in 2011, it has witnessed so many legal and extra-legal intriguing manipulations. These all began with allegations of attempted bribery by the defense to influence the venerable Justices, who made up the tribunal. Similarly, for several months the tribunal could not sit because the members were intimidated and harangued by the defense that was hell bent on interfering in the judicial process. Their desire was obviously to waste the 180 days stipulated by law for the adjudication of electoral disputes

and their ploy almost worked. The case has moved on since this initial setback because on the 14th of November 2011, the then Chief of the Supreme Court himself, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, in deciding the Appeal No. SC360/2011 brought by ACN before the Supreme Court ordered that ACN’S petition be heard De Novo on merit. It was an indication that contrary to the prevailing opinion about the judiciary, it still has credible and reliable officers. This singular pronouncement by the Venerable Justice Dahiru Musdapher, and other similar ones, which were based on the true dictates of justice and fair hearing, rather than partisan and technical conveniences had renewed the people’s hope in the

judiciary. For the benefit of public knowledge, two issues were at the heart of this matter. First was the allegation of certificate forgery and second, the non presentation of certificates to INEC by Gabriel Suswam. That this case has dragged on up until now, is a surprise to many because neither Suswam nor his counsels have ever contended that his secondary school certificates were at any point, presented to INEC. It is on record that they admitted this much on several occasions. Therefore, the question that is begging for answer is: if presentation of certificates is a constitutional prerequisite for contesting an election, then how was it possible for Suswam to circumvent this important step to contest an election and was even

It is on record that they admitted this much on several occasions. Therefore, the question that is begging for answer is: if presentation of certificates is a constitutional prerequisite for contesting an election, then how was it possible for Suswam to circumvent this important step to contest an election and was even

declared the winner? But, we have gone beyond this stage now. The APC’S appeal before the Supreme Court is to set aside its earlier judgment to allow this case to be determined as Justice Musdapher had said, “on its merits” which is very important because according to Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, JCA in Saror vs Suswam at the Court of Appeal, “the presentation of a certificate to INEC is mandatory and prima facie evidence that the candidate is qualified and has met the constitutional requirement for the office he is seeking election into”. That the Supreme Court is capable of adjudicating this case with competence and professionalism is not in doubt. However, what is worrisome is that Suswam and his cohorts are at their game again. The grapevine has it that he has allegedly moved the entire Benue state treasury to Abuja in an attempt to use high-ranking officials in the judiciary, the presidency and the party to breach the cause of justice again, but the good news is that the Judiciary is firm this time. The people are waiting for an outcome, what will perhaps be the end of a unique legal case. It is also expected that the outcome will put to rest, the question of which is more important, political expediency or fair hearing? Terfa Taga, writes from Abuja

Minanuel Estate: A vote against impunity By Rogers Edor Ochela


enultimate week, a High Court sitting in Abuja, ruled that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) acted legally in demolishing Minanuel Estate in Lugbe, Airport Road, Abuja and went further to pronounce that the subscribers built the said estate illegally, and as such would not be entitled to any compensation whatsoever. Justice Danlami Senchi, who presided over the case filed by the subscribers, challenging the demolition of the estate, said that the buildings and facilities put up in the estate were not approved by the FCTA administration. It would be recalled that the subscribers had filed a suit challenging the demolition of over 372 houses in September 2012, of the total sum of N3.6 billion by the FCDA under the leadership of the FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed. Surprisingly, since the judgment, some mischievous elements, who obviously were acting out a script intended to probably misinform the unsuspecting members of the public, have rolled out the drums in celebrating a purported, or worse still, Pyrrhic victory for the subscribers. This is rather

unfortunate, because the judge was unequivocal in his judgment and his pronouncements were crystal clear: the subscribers infringed on the law by building the estate without the necessary approval of FCDA. In refusing to buy the argument of the counsel to the owners, Chris Uche, (SAN) that the subscribers were issued statutory right of occupancy in letters signed in 2000 by the zonal land Manager for Kubwa, Mr. Lugard Idigbe, the judge agreed wholeheartedly with the counsel to the FCT, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN) that only the FCT Minister has the legal powers to allocate land in Abuja and its environs and

consequently refused awarding the subscribers the N5 billion compensation demanded as damages. The judge also pointedly declared that the subscribers violated section 30 (1) of the Nigeria Urban and Regional Planning Act, by failing to produce building permit indicating the engineering design, drawings, and environmental impact report. In the light of the foregoing, it would amount to being economical with the truth or standing honesty on its head to assert that the ruling was in favour of the subscribers. It would be recalled also that following the development,

FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, had defended the action of the administration, stressing that the structures were pulled down to protect the sanctity of the Abuja master plan. He said that out of a total of 296 houses demolished, Minanuel Estate accounted for 198, Isvin Estate (13); JoAfra, 54 and Grow-Insight (6), further stressing that “the FCT development control discovered these illegal developments at their embryo stage and they were swiftly told to stop work on August 20, 2011 with an instruction for the estate developer (Minanuel Estate) to present the title document for the plot; approved building

the FCT development control discovered these illegal developments at their embryo stage and they were swiftly told to stop work on August 20, 2011 with an instruction for the estate developer (Minanuel Estate) to present the title document for the plot

plan, as well as comprehensive development plan which the developer disregarded. From all intents and purposes, it is likely that the Minannuel estate developers were deceived into purchasing the land in question with the connivance of some dubious elements. Whatever may be the case, it is necessary that the truth be unveiled to prevent a reoccurrence. For those who have been holding tenaciously to the erroneous impression that the FCDA took a wrong decision in demolishing the estate, this Court ruling should serve as a mechanism to defog their minds and also dispel such wrong notion from their hearts. The FCDA did what any legally constituted authority would do in the face of such provocative assault on the rule of law and intransigent disregard for constituted authority perpetuated by the developers of the estate. There is no arguing the fact there is serious housing shortage in Abuja, with the cost of accommodation in the capital city almost the highest in the country, a development that informed FCDA’s allocation of 163 lands under the affordable housing scheme to private developers, cont on page 15




If Nigerians want Nigeria to break-up, so be it (II) By Mansir Lawal Kaware What is believed to be the major problem of Nigeria is leadership that can manage the country, take it or leave it; the north has the best quality of leaders that can manage the affairs of a country. I was in Lagos in 2002 – 2003, when we heard the news that President Obasanjo had ceded Bakassi to Cameroon. In his reaction, an Igbo-man who sat with us, stood-up and shouted, “Hausa man is the best person that can lead this country”, he stated further, that he remembered that Abacha refused to let-go of Bakassi despite the pressure, but then, Obasanjo gave Bakassi to them on a platter of gold. By Hausaman, the speaker was simply referring to the north because to him, Hausa is the other name for a Northerner just as Igbo refers to someone/tribe in the South east, and Yoruba, person from the south-west. Every ethnic group in the north produces good leadership because it has the support of other northerners and listens to contributions from other stake-holders. Perhaps every administration must contend with crimes and other violent happenings, but what is going-on under the present administration of Goodluck Jonathan is beyond proportion, one wonders why the administration witnesses so much loss of lives of Nigerians through the acts of insurgency, armed robbery and other crimes to the extent that Fulani herdsmen can no longer live in the forests, towns and villages because

of mass killings, and vandalisation amongst other insecurity, lack health, economic fallen standard of We view the of Goodluck on Confab, after managed meeting Afenifere as hasty. stage managed arguments for in the past were the ground that it of the National

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In my opinion, the opposition faced by the President to contest the 2015 elections from within his party the PDP and other Nigerians made him to buy the Confab idea. You will recall that the likes of Asari Dakubo were threatening bloodbath if Jonathan did not become President, while Ebenezer Babatope was asking the North to wait for 2019. Also, the Ijaw students in the nation’s institutions of higher learning under the umbrella of national union of Izon-Ebe students, held an emergency meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Friday 18th October, 2013 threatening fire and brimstone if anyone opposed Jonathan’s contest in 2015. A two page resolution signed by the union’s National President, Mr. Awipi Lawson and National Secretary, George Will, said it was time for the Ijaw people to review the terms and conditions of living together with the other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. This,

they said was because Ijaw people can no longer tolerate the overdependence on their God-given resources without equal contributions from other parts of the country. It further advocated for upward review of derivation principles of the Niger Delta region from its present 13 percent. To solve the problem, let’s divide the country so that they can make Jonathan a ‘Life President’ for the southern Nigeria or whatever name they may decide to call it, if that is their wish. Unless this is done, the exercise will not be different from the past ones, because it we go by the statement of President Jonathan, on 15/10/2013, when Vice-President Namadi Sambo led other Muslim top government officials to pay him Sallah homage, he said that the Confab result will be submitted to the National Assembly for inclusion in Constitutional Amendment. It means that the conference is not needed since the National Assembly has been on that walk for long. Nigeria has passed through similar

kidnappings of pipelines problems of of food, poor woes and education. decision Jonathan a stage of the We say it was because the confab rejected on was the work Assembly.

exercises during the Lugard constitution of 1914, Clifford 1922, Richards 1945, John Macpherson 1951, Oliver Littleton 1954, Independence 1960, Republican 1963 and the 1979 constitution. Others were the prepared but untested constitution of 1989, the 1994/95 Constitutional conference of the Abacha regime which gave birth to the present 1999 constitution. So why the waste of money and resources if the result of the National Dialogue/ Conference is to be submitted to the National Assembly? I will advice that we should just allow the NASS to continue with their work. On the other hand, if the confab considers having Nigeria remain together as one country, then the following conditions would have to be met. (a) Sharing of federal allocation and other benefits shall be based purely on population, because the nation’s wealth is for the people of the country as a family. (b) The 13% derivation shall be expunged from the

constitution, because there could be no justification in for instance, giving three people eight naira and seven people two naira to share. More so, the money given to the oil producing states is not being used for the development of the area by those in charge of the money. Let federal government take over development of the area. (c) Northerners living in the southern part of Nigeria must not be seen as sacrificial lambs in the event of any misunderstanding. (d) Senate representation shall be amended to give minimum of eight local governments per senatorial seat from a state. While America from which we adopted the constitution, gave equal seats of 3 senators per state, we have to make it tally with our own system. If they don’t accept these conditions, let them go home with their oil and let a committee to share the assets of the country be put in place before closing the conference. If we want fuel for our vehicles we will buy from them as a different country, if we want to import anything we will pay for the port charges, those northerners who chose to stay in southern Nigeria, or by whatever name they may want to call it will be subjected to the laws of that country while those southerners who decide to stay in the north will have to abide by its laws as individuals from a foreign country. Concluded Mansir Lawal Kaware writes from Katsina State

How to end violence against women By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu


he government of Lagos State deserves commendation for supporting the Mirabal Centre, a refuge for women escaping Violence against Women (VAW), at the highest levels. This is a thoughtful and timely project. This centre which opened on the 32nd anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25) began in 1981, and supported by the United Nations through UN General Assembly Resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999. This week also marks the beginning of the globally recognized 16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women. The International Day is instituted in memory of the sacrifice of the Mirabal Sisters – Patria Mercedes, Maria Argentina Minerva, and Antonia

Maria Teresa – persecuted and ultimately assassinated by suspected agents of the regime of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic on 25 November 1961. This Mirabal Centre is inspired by and named after the uncommon leadership and sacrifice of these three sisters. VAW has affected members of my family. My own kid sister is a recent and very lucky survivor. The man who claimed to be her husband presently faces charges of attempted murder before a Court in Nigeria. Many of VAW’s victims are not always as lucky as my kid sister. Crimes of spectacular mass violence such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism continue to catch the headlines around the world. In response to these, the Ad-Hoc tribunals established by the United Nations to ensure accountability for the

mass atrocities in the Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, and Sierra Leone have crystallized various forms of gender-specific mass atrocities in conflict, including mass rape, forced marriage, and forced pregnancy. These are now recognized as crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. A more pervasive but less advertised form of violence remains the experience of many women everywhere. Domestic violence affects millions of women. It probably kills thousands annually and probably maims tens of thousands. It can kill in one moment of madness. It can also kill in installments. It is profoundly personal. But VAW is also political. Unequal societies tolerate it. According to 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report “up to one third of Nigerian women report that they have been subject to some form of violence. One in five has

experience physical violence.” Domestic violence is a crime. It can include sundry forms of emotional or psychological oppression, physical battery and assault, rape or other forms of sexual violence, oppression or degradation, and homicide. Many women who suffer violence are unable to save themselves because of economic or social coercion. Often they are economically dependent on the men who violate them. In most cases, families of married daughters care more about sustaining the image of happily married daughter than about the wellbeing of the victim and are unwilling to provide the support she needs. Those who survive these attacks are often left with permanent injuries, diminished quality of life, bad memories that make normal relationships impossible. So, domestic violence is also a public health disaster

with profound and lasting effects on the health, quality of life and life expectancy of millions of women in our country and beyond. Yet, domestic violence is grossly under-reported; poorly documented; hardly investigated or prosecuted and few are ever held accountable for it. Section 17(2)(a) of our Constitution promises that “the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced.” Section 37 of the same Constitution also offers to guarantee and protect “the privacy of citizens, their homes.” This promise is made to men and women alike. Often, however, the home is the last place that the woman in Nigeria can find protection or dignity. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Cont on page 14



Comment By Tony Ishiekwene

Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan’s mum was in Germany earlier this year for a medical checkup. She died a few months later in a car accident on a bad road in Port Harcourt. Ironically, the same road that killed her was then repaired for her funeral.”****** Yemi Adamolekun The above quote was part of a write up by Ms. Yemi Adamolekun, in the Nigerian Punch newspaper of November 20, 2013, titled “A wake up call for Nigerian Elites, and I wish Nigerians of all walks of life- elites, the political leadership and the follower ship read Ms Adamolekun and wake up from their slumber, literally and metaphorically. There are great lessons to be learnt from her write-up and I hope it would be republished, so more Nigerians, particularly the gluttonous, greedy and selfish Nigerian elites would see some reason to stop the destruction of the only Country we can call our own- a very blessed country, but for its leadership and it’s over-pampered political and economic elites. If only the people would listen to the type of candid admonition offered by Yemi! Nigerians, particularly the elites don’t understand that “robbing Peter to pay

Why we must salvage Nigeria Paul” mentality amounts to a “Zero-sum game.” no winners, as a dysfunctional system is the end game, and we are all losers, ultimately. When you steal too much from the poor, the ills and consequences of poverty haunt you at the end, no matter how crafty you think you are. In more decent climes, thieves hardly get away with their crime; but the few who do, give enormously to charity; our Nigerian, and most African system the elites hardly give back to the weak and vulnerable members of their society; we dehumanise the poor with obscene celebration of ill-gotten wealth- how many big cars I have, how many imposing mansions I have at high brow areas in Nigeria and Europe and US, even “my generator is better than yours” syndrome! Achieving personal economic and financial “success” at the expense of the overall system you belong will never guarantee you peace or wellbeing, as the Nigerian rogues have found to their chagrin, as they build high “prison” walls to avoid dare devil robbers; and some die in the sky on their way to Europe and American hospitals. Only God saved my life in 1996 when I lost my best Nigerian friend and brother,

Clement Ojie in April, 1996 in a road traffic accident between Ijebu-Ode and Shagamu. I was laying on the road unconscious, with Clem’s body lying right by me in that dual carriage-way on the hot afternoon of that day, unknowing to me. No Ambulance to pick me, and thankfully Jude Ojie (now a medical Doctor in the US) was unhurt from the same car accident, and he dragged me to the road side, before a mad driver would crush me to pieces. Everyone was driving past a panting Tony by the wayside, unconcernedly, until a good guy-whom I don’t know till this day- but God will continue to bless him, wherever he may be- and driving on the opposite direction of the dual carriage way drove all the way to the next exit, reversed and came to take me to Ogun State University Teaching Hospital, Shagamu. What a good Samaritan that guy was (Super good Nigerian man), and may I also say a big thank you to Messrs Fidelis Okenmor Tilije, Alhaji Sam Oku, etal who drove down from Lagos after I regained some consciousness to take me to Igbobi Orthopaedic hospital for further treatment- not forgetting the help with mobility equipments from my good friend,

Pastor Joe Attueyi, especially en-route my flight back to a London hospital. Friends and relations sometimes ask me to return to Nigeria, because I could do better in terms of making big money; but there are certain things money can’t buy and they are too many because the place (Nigeria) is dysfunctional- A system where there are no rules, or where there are different rules for different folks breeds anarchy! And then you wonder why the people think that a 24 hour supply of electricity is “rocket science!” These are the things I am used to in the past 27 years or so; No, it doesn’t go off 24/7, 365 days a year it is constant. And they are human beings not Angels or Pastors running the show here. A friend from Nigeria came to cook in my kitchen and she was asking about the “Gas Cylinder,” or something like that; I told her I have never seen one in 27+ years, and she wondered how the gas comes 24/7 non-stop. I told her I don’t know where the gas comes from, including the one I use to heat the flat in winter; I just pay my bills to EDF and I let their MD worry about how Tony Ishiekwene gets his cooking gas. He fiddles or mucks about with my gas,

and I’d meet them in court, simple! The warehouse could be in Timbuktu, Acapulco or in the Cloud or underground bunker for all I care! Anyway let us all try and do our bits to get Nigeria backon-track. The follower ships have shown too much “mumurity” in taking all the shenanigans of our political elites. The political office holders rape and commit “murder” in the name of their people, whom they impose themselves on, but pretend to be “elected by my people.” Elections in Nigeria since 1999, have been largely farcical, to say the least. Stop aiding and abetting the rigging of elections,” so the best man/woman for the job gets it. Yaa, in halfdecent countries of the world, practicing true democracies, individual’s capacity, ability and integrity are vetted before granting political leadership role to them. That way their first-rate run their affairs, not third-rate like we have currently in Nigeria. It’s either true democracy or dictatorship, no half-way or in-between kind of democracy; I don’t buy this idea of “nascent” democracy therefore electoral fraud should be condoned. Electoral fraud and the imposition of charlatans as political leaders, is at the heart of all the problems buffeting Nigeria. Tony Ishiekwene

How to end violence against women Cont from page 14 which is domestic law in Nigeria, goes further. In Article 18(1) of the Charter, our country undertakes to protect the family and to “take care of its physical health and morals.” Article 18(3) of the Charter goes further in requiring us to “ensure the protection of the rights of the woman.” But how can we accomplish any of this when we give a free pass to those who kill our sisters and maim daughters in the home? Under Article 3(4) of the Maputo Protocol on the Human Rights of Women in Africa, we undertake to “take appropriate measures to ensure

the protection of every woman to respect for her dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence.” Yet, we have no law at the federal level against this scourge. The House of Representatives has passed the Violence against Persons Bill but the Senate has not yet concurred. This can no longer wait. At the National Human Rights Commission, whose Governing Council I currently chair, the biggest single category of complaints we receive arise from domestic violence. I’ll be honest here: Our staff often struggle with these. In the way some of them treat these complaints, you see a reflection of our country’s acceptance of VAW. We are

determined to change this. That is why in November, the Governing Council decided to explore the establishment of a Refuge and Trauma Centre for victims of VAW in the Federal Capital Territory. We are also investing in re-skilling the staff to take VAW seriously as an egregious violation of human dignity. We need all the partnerships we can muster. This event takes place in Lagos State, one of only four States in Nigeria (Ekiti, Imo and Cross River are the other three) that have adopted a law against domestic violence. These laws are still quite poorly implemented. Around our communities, we always manage

to find new ways to tolerate one of the oldest crimes and cruelties known to humanity – beating up the woman and making her insignificant. We live in a country in which impunity for violence has become accepted. From the spectacular violence of the mass murderer wielding an improvised explosive device, to the retail violence of the spurned lover spraying acid on the face of a beautiful girl who said no, violence thrives here because those who do it calculate they will get away with it. We have a duty to end this. Impunity for violence is not a fate. It is the result of choices that we as leaders make. Changing it

means working for a country of fuller equity, equality, dignity and more effective remedies for all irrespective of race, ethnicity, opinion, sex, gender or status. Such a country needs us all to call VAW by its name – a crime and a public health crisis. Achieving such a country requires us to confront together, common problems of violence as well as the pathologies of economic inequality, access to livelihood and age-long discrimination against women that underpin it. Dr. Odinkalu, is a professor of human rights law, and Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission

Minanuel Estate: A vote against impunity Cont from page 13 staff housing associations and cooperative bodies that have met the laid down requirements within the designated pioneer layouts at Wasa, in Kuje Area Council and Mamusa West, in Phase IV of the Federal Capital City. The pilot scheme of the programme entailed the provision of a total of 1,000 affordable housing units in Karshi under Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

According to FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, from 2010 to date, 136 companies and cooperative bodies have been allocated plots to embark on mass housing scheme in the FCT having complied with the requirements as spelt out in the guidelines for mass housing development in the Territory. The fact that the government is favourable disposed to having the private sector participate in providing

houses to the people does not mean that when developers breach the laws of the land with impunity, the authority should turn a blind eye to it. Now that the court has affirmed that the FCDA acted rightly in demolishing the contentious estate, even with all the anger and recriminations it has generated, it is necessary that government should fasttrack its support for the private sector to bridge the housing

deficit in the nation’s capital city. The FCDA should also be more serious about protecting Abuja lands from encroachment. As a matter of fact, it does not sound pleasant to the ears for the authority to go about demolishing houses on the excuse that the lands on which they were built were earmarked for other purposes in the Abuja master plan. Let FCDA exercise its powers to restrain encroachment on Abuja lands. Where its officials are found to

be involved in the selling of such lands with fake documents, they should be brought to justice. Government should equally show enough commitment to making land more accessible and affordable for the ordinary citizens in Abuja, because this category of Nigerians also deserves roofs over their heads. Truth be told, the ruling of the court is simply a vote against impunity. Ochela is a media consultant based in Abuja



How female police inspector misled investigators, by prosecutor

Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide (left) inspecting a parade, during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Batch C Corps members orientation course, yesterday in Abuja.


Photo: Mahmud Isa

CBN takes cashless policy campaign to traders in Wuse market By Stanley Onyekwere


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy campaign train, powered by New Wave Productions, a Charley Boy signature, yesterday stormed the Wuse modern market, as Abuja goes cashless, barely four months after the initiative was first introduced in the nation’s capital city. A mammoth crowd made of residents and traders were sensitised on the cashless policy by CBN staff and celebrities who graced the occasion in blue and white T-shirts and caps, as a new innovation in the banking sector, which began full operations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) last month. Cashless policy specifies charges for individuals and corporate organisations that want to withdraw or lodge cash above prescribed thresholds, just as it encourages the use of electronic payment channels. The CBN had deferred the new policy, which requires any bank customer who may wish to withdraw or lodge cash above the prescribed limits, to pay the associated penal fees as charges, when the policy was extended to the states in July, in

order to allow banking public adjust to the initiative. The cashless policy was first introduced in Lagos in January last year, but not until sometime in July did banks operating in FCT and the five states of Abia, Abuja, Kano, Ogun and Rivers respectively commenced the implementation of the new innovative. Under the initiative, the apex Bank pegged the cumulative cash withdrawal or deposit limit for individual accounts at N500, 000 per day and N3 million per day for corporate accounts. Speaking at the event, Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Tunde Lemo, who urged the banking public to embrace the new initiative said people should think more about how to conduct their lives without paying those charges. He said the apex bank was still engaged in educating the public on the merits of the policy, noting that the advantages to both individuals and corporate bodies were too enormous to be ignored. According to him, an individual still want to carry heavy amount of cash, the person can do so, but the individual would bear the associated

cost of carrying heavy amount of cash. The Deputy Governor, added that it would help reduce crime in the society as people would no longer have to carry about much cash, especially to finance their businesses. Also speaking, the President of Wuse Market Shop Operators and Traders Co-operative Society Abuja(WUMSOTCOSA), Prince Chinedu Agabaenwere, who described the awareness campaign in the market, as first of its kind as traders are often neglected in government projects and programmes, however said the benefits of cashless policy cannot be over emphasized. He adds: it alleviates the problems and challenges associated with carrying huge amount of cash from one point to the other; and affords one the luxury of transacting business with the aid of computer and other gadgets from the comfort of one’s home and office.” He however called on the CBN governor, to ensure that banks are up to date with modern equipment and human resources to contend with frauds and other challenges

associated with electronic banking. Many of the banking public who were interviewed described the initiative as a welcome development, even as they expressed their doubts about peoples’ awareness of the new innovation. With the majority of the banking public complaining that they have not been properly sensitized, some were concerned that the initiative might create avenues for fraudulent persons to issue dud cheques, and in the process, defraud them. Also, most traders in the market who spoke with our reporter claimed total ignorance of the policy especially as it affects their business transactions. A taxi driver, who was spotted at the scene, listening to the message the cashless campaign train had for the public, said that the policy was appropriate as it would reduce the volume of cash people carry with them. Some bankers however told PeoplesDaily that since the commencement of the policy in FCT, there hasn’t been t much hitches in its operations, as some of their customers were already cognizant of what the policy entailed.

Chieftaincy tussle: Hausa community urges minister to intervene By Usman Shuaibu


he Hausa community in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has appealed to the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, to as a matter of urgency to look into the Chieftaincy tussle in the community, since the death of their paramount Chief in the

territory. Speaking on behalf of the Hausa community, Mallam Usman Bala Sambo, told PeoplesDaily that following the demise of their chief, the people have not been speaking with one voice in the FCT. He said that the Hausa people residing across the six Area Councils are concerned

with the way the community was neglected without the paramount leader. He therefore called on the FCT Minister to deem it necessary to summon all the aspirants that were contesting for the position of the chieftaincy title, in order to resolve amicably the issues causing rancor among them. This he said, if was not

resolved by the Minister, would continue to generate tension among the people now and future generations. Similarly, the chairman of the International livestock market Dei-Dei, Alhaji Yunusa Salisu, also urged the minister to expedite action on efforts to curb the problem facing the Hausa community in Abuja.

prosecutor, Sgt. Samuel Bulus, has told an FCT Senior Magistrates’ court how a female police officer allegedly misled investigators in a criminal case involving her two younger siblings. He identified the female officer as Hauwa Suleiman, an inspector, attached to the National Assembly Police Station, Abuja. Bulus made the allegation while arraigning Nafisatu Suleiman, the second accused and one of the female inspector’s siblings, charged with criminal trespass and causing grievous hurt. The prosecutor said that Suleiman had earlier lodged a complaint against Abebi Giwa and Evelyn Adegbe, who are her neighbours, at the Garki Police Station, Abuja. He alleged that the female officer, in her report, accused Abebi and Evelyn of conspiring with an unknown gunman to invade her house, rape and rob her of her valuables. According to the Prosecutor: “The police immediately went into action and discovered that the female officer misled investigators with false information on what actually transpired. “Investigation revealed that Nafisatu and her sister, Zainab Suleiman (first accused), attacked Abebi and Evelyn with iron rods in their apartment. “The second accused and her sister succeeded in inflicting injuries on Abebi and Evelyn and also destroyed their household effects worth N400,000.’’ He said the offences are contrary to sections 97, 342, 288, 397b and 327 of the Penal code respectively, but the accused denied the charges and prayed the court to grant her bail. But the prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that Zainab, the first accused, was supposed to be in court but abused the privilege given to her by the police. “Each of the charges carries three years imprisonment, and I pray this honourable court to deny the accused bail in the interest of justice,” Bulus added. In her ruling, Senior Magistrate Anna Akobi admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200,000 with a reliable surety in like sum. Akobi ruled that the surety must be a Federal Civil Servant not belowGrade Level 10 and must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. She adjourned the case to January 30, 2014, for further hearing. (NAN)




Police women on duty yesterday around Central Area, Abuja.

Members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in a march pass, during the closing ceremony of the 2013 Batch C Orientation Course for corps members deployed to FCT, yesterday, in Abuja.

A cross section of students during the 2nd Annual Population Lecture, yesterday in Abuja.

Deputy Governor (Operations), of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo addressing traders at the Wuse Modern market, yesterday, when the CBN Cashless policy campaign train powered by New Wave Productions, a Charley Boy signature stormed the market, to sentitise the public on the policy.

Young disabled Nigerian moving his adorned green and white wheelchair, with patriotic zeal, yesterday in Area 1, Abuja. Photos: Justin Imo-Owo, Stanley Onyekwere and NAN



Man docked over trespass, theft


ne Ibrahim Iliya, is standing trial before a Gudu Upper Area court, for alleged criminal trespass and theft. The prosecutor, Sgt. Ambi Yakubu, told the court that Kelvin Ago of Durumi II, lodged a report against the accused at the Durumi Police Station on November 19. He said that Iliya criminally trespassed into the premises of the complainant’s boss, Madam Bola Joseph and stole a projector valued N80, 000 from her shop in Durumi. The prosecutor said that the offences contravened the provisions of sections 364 and 287 of the Penal code respectively. Under sections 364 and 287 of the code respectively, a convict is liable to 19 years in prison or with an option to pay a fine or with both. Iliya however pleaded not guilty to the charges. The presiding judge, Mr. Adamu Wakili, however granted bail to the accused in the sum of N50, 000 with a surety in like sum. Wakili ordered that the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and adjourned the case to February 3, 2014 for hearing. (NAN)

Court restrains tipper drivers from trespassing on land


n FCT High Court has restrained members of the Abuja Tipper Drivers Association of Nigeria from trespassing on a plot at Dawaki Layout, Abuja, pending the determination of the substantive suit. Giving the order, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf said that the interlocutory injunction would restrain the association and tits agents from trespassing or generally interfering with the land. The judge gave the order after listening to the submissions of the plaintiff’s counsel, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), and defendant’s counsel, Christiana Okaro. NAN reports that the case was instituted in 2012 by BGD Properties Limited against the registered trustees of Abuja Tipper Drivers Association, Tipper Owners and Suppliers Association, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and the FCT Minister. The plaintiff claimed that the tipper drivers were trespassing on their land situated at Dawaki Layout, Cadastral Zone 05 and 07 Abuja, with Plot number BDW/B/06. (NAN).


Woman demands custody of 2 children over denial of access A

housewife, Saidatu Tope, has prayed a Mararaba Upper Area court; to grant her custody of her two children, over her ex-husband’s denied her access to them. Tope, approached the court to claim custody of the children who, she said, had been living with

their father, Sa’id Olajide, since the couple divorced in December 2011. Saidatu, who resides in Aso ‘A’ in Karu, told the court that she wanted custody of the children because her ex-husband denied her access to them. “Since the divorce, he took the two children and left me with one.

I have not seen my other children. My former husband refused to pay for the feeding and school fees of the boy I have with me. “He has not given me a penny to take care of the boy’s school fees and maintenance,” she said. However, Olajide, a mechanic, denied the accusations and

objected to the complainant’s request, saying his ex-wife is was not telling the court the whole truth. After listening to them, the presiding judge, Mr. Vincent Gwehemba, adjourned further hearing in the case to December 6. (NAN)

Alhaji Yunusa Bello (right) is being turbaned as Wakili Odey Ani of Ebira by Etsu Karu, Hon. Luka Bulus Bayan, recently in Karu.

Man, 33, docked for buying stolen plasma TV


33-year old man, Chinweike Onah, has appeared in an FCT Senior Magistrates’ Court, Karu, charged with buying a stolen 32-inch plasma television set. Onah, of Jabi Motor Park, Abuja, was arraigned by the police on a one-count charge of receiving stolen

property before Senior Magistrate Omolola Akindele. The prosecutor, Cpl Emmanuel Nnamani, told the court that Onah bought the set from one, Elijah Onu at the cost of N7, 500. According to the prosecutor, Onah should have known that the

television was a stolen because its market price is N156, 000. The offence, he said, contravened section 317 of the Penal code. The magistrate, however, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum who he

said must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. Akindele also ruled that one of the sureties must be a federal civil servant of not below Grade Level 12. She then adjourned the case to Jan. 20 for hearing. (NAN)

Court grants bail to auditor, sibling


Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ court has admitted an auditor, Stephen Njoku and his sister, Nnenna Njoku, to bail in the sum of N50,000 each, The court had on November 18, ordered that Stephen and Nnenna be remanded in prison custody, pending further Police investigation. The Magistrate, Usman Shuiabu, admitted them to bail after

their Counsel, Agu Obasi, prayed the court to consider his application for bail. He granted them bail with a surety in like sum who must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and must be a grade level 12 officer and should provide his official and residential address to the court. Shuaibu adjourned the case to January 6, 2014.

It will be recalled that Stephen and Nnenna were charged with joint act and misappropriating N3.5 million belonging to customers. The police alleged that on Nov. 11 at about 9 a.m., Mr Adeyemi Olalode, a banker with Fortis Bank Plc, Medife House, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, lodged a report against the accused at the Wuse Zone 3 Police

Station. The police alleged that Stephen and Nnenna jointly forged various customers’ signatures by using their cheque books and fraudulently withdrew customers’ money totaling N3.5 million. He said the offence, contravened provisions of Sections 97, 364, 309 and 289 of the Penal code respectively. (NAN)

Kanu, told the court that on Nov. 25 at about 5 a.m., the Intelligence branch of the FCT Police command got information that the accused held several meetings in Abuja. She alleged that the accused had been sent by a mercenary to cause mayhem in Abuja and disrupt the existing peace. The prosecutor told the court

that the accused had agreed to assemble in Abuja, which would also serve as the take-off point and base for the attacks. She said the offences contravened the provisions of sections 97, 95, 342 and 102 of the Penal code respectively. The Presiding Magistrate, Usman Shuiabu, granted bail to

those who pleaded not guilty in the sum of N5, 000 each and a surety in like sum. Shuiabu sentenced each of the six accused that pleaded guilty to two months in prison with an option to pay N1, 000 in fine. Shuiabu adjourned the case to January 20 for further hearing (NAN)

Police arraign 19 for unlawful assembly


he Police have arraigned 19 men before a Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ Court, Abuja for alleged unlawful assembly and attempt to commit an offence. The accused were alleged to have had the intention of carrying out attacks in some parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The prosecutor, Insp. Deborah



INSIDE, 08033045613

Chief Operating Officer, Peoples Media Ltd, Malam Ali M. Ali (right), presenting some copies of Peoples Daily to former Director General, National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and Chairman, 2nd North-East Economic Summit, Malam Muhammad Kabir Ahmad (middle), during a visit by members of the economic summit to PML head office, yesterday in Abuja. With them is former Federal Permanent Secretary with the Presidency and a member, Organising Committee of the summit, Dr. Ibrahim Jalo Daudu (left). Photo: Mahmud Isa

NDIC wins efficient service delivery award

World Bank, CADP rehabilitate roads in farm locations - Pg 22

2nd North-East economic forum: Experts to unravel challenges of agriculture, infrastructure, others Daniel tasks By A’isha Biola Raji


conomic experts would be meeting at the second NorthEast Economic Summit to brainstorm on how to overcome the challenges of agriculture, infrastructure development and education as they affect the socioeconomic development of North-East part of the country. The forum which is tagged ‘Gombe 2013’ and second in the series is scheduled between December 3rd and 4th in Gombe State. It would also provide a platform for both public and private sectors to come together and identify challenges in the three identifiable areas and proffer solutions to them.

This was made known by the Chairman, Gombe 2013 organizing committee, Malam Muhammad Kabir, when he led members of his team on courtesy visit to the management of Peoples Media Limited, publishers of both Peoples Daily and Peoples Daily weekend. Speaking Kabir said, “We are here today as part of sensitisation to seek your support to ensure that Nigerians are enlightened and educated about the forthcoming Gombe 2013, which is the second North-East Economic Summit. “The first was held in Bauchi last December. It was a forum where both public and private sectors come together to examine challenges be it economy, governance issue and

identify common consensus or resolution in ensuring these issues are addressed. We have identified three tips: education, agriculture and infrastructure development and action plan will be developed on how to solve challenges identify by experts”. Giving further brief highlights on identifiable areas of the forum, the immediate PenCom boss said that “for instance on education, what can we do as a sub-region to sustain high standard of education, on agriculture, as a sub-region, what can we do as agrarian society to improve on our agricultural production and how we can tackle infrastructure challenges affecting the region”, he said. Responding, the Chief Operating

Financial expert urges retirees not to panic By Etuka Sunday …Says it’s not the end of life


financial and management services expert, Festus Dogo, has advised intending retirees and those who have retired not to panic saying that retirement is not an end to happy life. The MD/CEO of Fesido Ventures Limited, gave the advice at a retreat and seminar for National Veterinary Research Institutes Pension Board of Trustees, organised by Fesido Ventures Limited for Directors and Heads of Departments, on the theme “pre-retirement seminar.” According to him, many people are gripped with fear when they move closer to retirement or are informed of impending retirement, saying

that while for many it is an end of a happy life, for others it is an end of active service. “The announcement of retirement is greeted by many with agony and pain by the retiree, his friends, well-wishers and relative. To some, the curtain of useful life has been drawn to a close, a cloud of sorrow of meager benefits, isolation loneliness has descended,” Dogo said. The financial expert said that all these feelings are irrelevant if adequate preparation is made, adding that retiree is expected to be happy, as careful preparation is needed before and during stage of work life. Dogo who said that preparing

for retirement has many sides and can be extremely rewarding, added that the retreat/seminar would help to address the deficiencies of the past and effectively prepare members of the working class for retirement. He however said that the retreat/seminar has the potential to assist the participants on how to face the reality and inevitability of change, especially the kind of challenges that would be waiting in the wings for them. Dogo said that the seminar would also help to manage their finances effectively and show the kind of social and opportunities that they can pursue.

Officer (COO), Peoples Media Limited, Malam Ali M. Ali assured MK Ahmad and his team of adequate media coverage from the stable of Peoples media limited. The 2nd North-East economic summit has as its theme “Accelerating economic transformation of the subregion for sustainable development”. The President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will perform the opening ceremony as special guest of honour while the Senate President, Senator David Mark is the guest of honour. Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo is the Chief host to be supported by all the other five governors of the North-Eastern states. Other eminent personalities to chair various sessions include: General T.Y Danjuma (trd), CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , Access Bank CEO, Aig-Imokhuede and many others.

African insurers on new products

- Pg 21

Exchange Rates CBN as at 25th November, 2013 Buying





250.64 252.26


209.64 210.59










MANAGEMENT TIP OF THE DAY The bonus employees really want


oes giving employees extra money to spend on whatever they choose make for a happy workplace? Surprisingly, individual financial rewards can be detrimental to morale; jealousy and competition can arise, damaging team dynamics. Consider switching to a more altruistic program, in which you provide employees the same bonuses with one caveat: A portion must be spent on “prosocial” contributions that benefit others, like charities. At a company which gave employees charity vouchers, and encouraged

them to contribute to a cause of their choice, people reported being more satisfied with their jobs and happier overall. Another organization asked employees to spend on each other: Some teams indulged in chocolate or wine; one team bought a piñata, which they gladly bashed together. Prosocial bonuses resulted in gifts that increased shared experiences— and teams that received them performed better than teams that received money to spend only on themselves. Source: Harvard Business Review




NDIC wins efficient service delivery award By Aisha Biola Raji


rompt financial service delivery of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has earned the Corporation efficient service delivery award. A non- Governmental body, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group(ISDMG), which organised the award over the weekend in abuja in honour

of government institutions that performed excellently in the course of duties named NDIC as winner of the coveted award for the category. ISDMG Chairman, Mr Chima Amadi, decried high spate of poor quality of service delivery in the public sector and urged for a change. He noted that some governmental organizations have demonstrated serious

commitment towards improving the quality of their service delivery and said NDIC is trail blazer in such effort. Receiving the award on behalf of the Corporation, NDIC’s board secretary and director of Legal Services, Alheri Nyako assured bank depositors of safety of their deposits just as he reaffirmed its commitment for a sound financial system in the country. According to him, the

corporation would continue to do its very best to ensure that deposits are protected through effective collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with a view to promoting financial sector stability. However, he noted that “In the event of the failure of a bank, we ensure that we have a prompt response system that ensures that the confidence in the banking system is maintained.”

On the award, he said: “Am excited at this award as a staff of the NDIC. This has shown that role and efforts of my organization in improving service delivery is being recognized by the public. “It is encouraging, it is motivating and we have done our best to improve our service delivery,” he added. In all, 19 institutions won awards as most outstanding public Institutions in Nigeria 2012-2013. They include: Bank of Industry, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Federal Road Safety Commission, National Directorate of Employment, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), among others.

MTN, LG electronics collaborate on smart TV sales in Nigeria By Chris Alu

M L-R: Director, UK Trade Investment, Mr. Mike Purves, President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Prince Yemi Adefulu, VicePresident, Mr. Kayode Falowo and Director-General, Mrs. Fidelia Nzekwe-Chinwuko, during a news conference on the forthcoming Presidential Dinner/Award Night of the chamber, recently in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Barumark Investment commissions model estate in Abuja By Etuka Sunday


arumark Investment and Development Company yesterday commissioned 36 units of four bedroom terrace housing estate in Wuye, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Chairman of the company, Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Mutallab while commissioning the estate

said their goal was to reduce the prevailing 600, 000 housing units’ deficit by developing residential and commercial outfits in Abuja and Lagos metropolis. Mutallab said,“We are actively involved in the real estate investment and development business with a focus on providing modern luxury affordable housing

in Nigeria.” Some of the real estate projects that have been completed by Barumark include; Barumark Estate Abuja; Lakeside Estate Abuja; Barumark II Abuja; Shopping Mall Abuja; Club Road Housing Lagos; and Banana Island Lagos. Barumark Investment and Development Company was

incorporated under the Companies Act of 1968, on October 5, 1983 by the Corporate Affairs Commission, as a limited liability company. It is a leading Nigerian real estate developer, project managers, investment and Development Company as well as an integrator of competitive, innovative, resourceful-based business solutions.

BlackBerry Porsche Smartphone makes debut in Nigerian market By Chris Alu


lackBerry Porsche has made its debut in the market with sales point locations in most parts of the country. Uniquely designed and expertly crafted, the P’9982 is exquisitely fashioned from high-quality materials and features a customized version of the BlackBerry 10.2 Operating System to give the ultimate personal experience. The P’9982, which extends the Porsche Design luxury brand’s range of modern luxury

smartphones, features a satin finished frame forged from the finest quality stainless steel, complemented by a handwrapped genuine Italian leather back door. The back door of the limited edition model is hand-wrapped in genuine Crocodile leather. Distinguishable by its special series of PIN numbers, owners of the P’9982 would be instantly recognizable in the exclusive world of Porsche Design smartphone owners. “Engineered Luxury meets Powered Performance – what has been true for the first Porsche

Design smartphone is even truer for the all-touch P’9882,” said Juergen Gessler, CEO of the Porsche Design Group. “Once again the collaboration with BlackBerry has led to a device that implements our Iconic Style credo without compromises. With the P’9982 we extend our range of modern luxury smartphones and establish ourselves as a market leader in this segment.” “The new all-touch P’9982 smartphone combines a unique design from an iconic brand with the power of BlackBerry 10,” said Alistair Hamilton, Senior

Vice President of Design at BlackBerry. “Every aspect of this smartphone has been purposely designed and built for a powerful premium experience.” The new P’9982 smartphone comes with a customized version of the powerful BlackBerry 10.2 OS, with key features such as: BlackBerry Priority Hub – BlackBerry Hub is the one place to manage all your conversations and notifications. If a BBM message arrives, you can instantly reply to the message without even leaving the app you’re in.

TN Nigeria has entered into LG Electronics, to bundle MTN broadband internet service with LG Smart TVs sold across Nigeria. The collaboration is to make customers buy LG Smart TVs are given MTN HyNet, the 4G broadband internet service offered by MTN Business. “With Smart TVs increasing in popularity, the need for a high-speed internet service, like MTN HyNet, to enable customers take advantage of the Smart TV technology, cannot be overemphasized,” stated Mr. Babatunde Osho, the Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer of MTN Nigeria, adding that MTN Business would like to see more and more people enjoy the whole range of benefits, such as online movies, live streaming, etc., associated with Smart TVs and other smart devices. On his part, Mr. Steve Ryu, general manager, Home Entertainment, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, said; “This unique partnership is ultimately about meeting the needs of our customers in a bid to provide cutting edge technological products and services to them in comfort and style.” Ryu further stated that with the LG Smart TV and MTN HyNet Internet service that comes with free 8GB data for 3 months, customers are bound to experience limitless online op portunities. We are convinced that this partnership will go a long way to create the best of relaxation and fun time for our customers in this yuletide season and beyond.



Pension&Insurance Pension Daniel tasks African assets hit N3.73 trillion insurers on new products T Stories from Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos


nsurance industries across the West African subregion have been urged to develop the needed products and services as well as build underwriting capacity that would accommodate big risks, and halt the capital flight currently being experienced particularly in the oil and gas business. The Commissioner, for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr Fola Daniel made the call during the West African Insurance

Companies Association (WAICA) held in Lagos. The commissioner who was represented by the Director Inspectorate, NAICOM, Mr Barineka Thompson urged insurance operators to look beyond challenges abound in integration and harmonisation insurance industries within the region, but focus on keying into the available business opportunities therein. He highlighted the key challenges to include: inadequate and poor regional infrastructure network, weak institutions and human capacity, and insecurity

and political instability. Other challenges are diversity across the economies and divergent country attitudes towards regional integration. Daniel however assured that with the availability of abundant natural resources and a growing population of the middle and upper class of the society, offers opportunities for insurance business. The commissioner going further emphasized that achieving an integrated and harmonized insurance industry within the region will be of huge benefits both to the operators,

markets and the government. Earlier in his speech, the president, WAICA, Hon Hassan Gbessay Kanu, equally call on the insurance industries in West African to develop new products that will help to assist the growing population with region. The president who was represented by Secretary General/ CEO of the association, William Coker noted that West African sub-region has remained a centre for business attraction for both local and foreign investors as such he explained the operators needed to do a lot in developing quality products.

Dangote Cement wins overall 2013 PEARL award …records highest dividend growth in capital market


angote cement Plc has emerged as the overall winner of the prestigious Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) endorsed Pearl Award last Sunday in Lagos. Aside emerging as the “Pearl of the Nigerian Stock Exchange”, the company also won awards in there other categories, in the 2013 edition. Leading the pack of other brands, Dangote Cement was adjudged by the board of governors of the Pearl Award Nigeria as the winner in the Industrial goods Sectorial Leadership award, Building Materials category. The Dangote brand was also declared as the winner of the Highest Profit Margin Ratio Award in the Market Excellence Category for companies quoted on the Stock Market and also won the award as the company with the highest Dividend growth in the capital market. The winning streak was capped with the Overall Highest Award, having been nominated in almost all the categories and winning more than any other brand. The President of the Pearl award Board of Governors, Tayo Orekoya lauded the Management of Dangote Cement for awards won and enjoined the company to keep the company’s flag flying. He pointed out that the emergence of Dangote Cement Plc as the winner in the three categories was a great feat, and was in recognition of the company’s outstanding operational and stock market performance in the 2012 year

L-R: Managing Director/CEO, Aso Savings and Loans, Hassan Usman; Chairman, Barumark Investment and Development Company, Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru Abdul Mutallab; and Managing Director/CEO, Jaiz Bank Plc Nurul Islam at the commissioning of 36 units of four bedroom terrace housing estate in Wuye, FCT, jointly financed by Barumark Investment and Development Company and Aso Savings and Loan, yesterday.

of assessment. Chief Executive of Dangote Cement, D.V.G. Edwin, thanked the organisers of the award and assured them that the company will not rest on its oars in terms of production of quality cement for the masses to use. He also said the company’s expansion plan is in progress and that very soon, the upgrade of capacity that the company is working on will significantly increase the supply of the products into the market. He however dedicated the award to the company’s shareholders who have always stood by the company to achieve greater feat.

he National Pension Commission (PenCom) estimated the value of pension assets to grow from a deficit of N2.6tn under the old scheme to N3.73 trllion under Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) within the nine years of the existence of the scheme. The Acting Director-General (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo AnohuAmazu who made this while highlighting the successes of the Contributory Pension Scheme at the World Pension Summit in Amsterdam, Netherlands said that the CPS was sustainable, fully funded and privately managed by operators licensed by PenCom. These assets, according to her have made provision for a platform for the maintenance of infrastructure and the development of the real sector, thereby reinforcing the transformation agenda of the country. She further noted that the commission has in the years back established the legal and institutional frameworks established by the commission, adding that thus led to the registration of over 5.8 million members and the pool of pension assets generated had aided the deepening of Nigeria’s financial sector. Anohu-Amazu assured that the commission has in the recent times focused in establishing its regional offices in the six geopolitical zones of the country, to ensure easy accessibility of pension services to all. The world pension summit, an annual event which is dedicated to ongoing and advanced learning for senior pension professionals and offers comparative analysis of pension experiences in participating countries, insight into the impact of emerging trends on pension arrangements and an ample room for peer-to-peer discussions among delegate had in attendance over 350 pension professionals.

Mansard unveils health insurance subsidiary


ansard Insurance Plc, formally Guaranty Trust Assurance has unveils Mansard Health Limited. The firm, in a statement said that the company acquired a licensed health maintenance organisation, Procare Healthcare Limited, which it recapitalised and renamed Mansard Health Limited, making it the second subsidiary after its first, which is Mansard Investment Limited, an asset management company. Mansard Health Limited was now run by a new team of professionals, experienced and resourceful practitioners in HMO management, who were set to deliver managed health care

solutions and underwrite health insurance to guarantee enrollees’ wellbeing at an affordable rate. According to the Mansard Health Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Tope Adeniyi, the main objective of the company was to promote Nigerians’ wellbeing. “Our main objective as an organisation is to promote the wellbeing of Nigerians at an affordable cost. We emphasise a preventive health care model and have developed personal health care solutions that can be customised to the specific needs of our enrollees, either in the public or private sector, to individuals or groups of people,” he said. Adeniyi added that its

technology-driven operational processes would redefine the way health maintenance organisations operate in Nigeria. “We aim to become the preferred integrated provider of innovative and effective health care solutions in our markets,” he said. The Operations Manager of the HMO, Dr. Nte Uran-York, explained that the health care solutions being offered by Mansard Health include third party administration and international health plan. Others, he added, are group/ employees’ health plan and personal/ family health plans both of which have a bouquet of a fourplan option: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.




Stakeholder decries low broadband penetration in Nigeria By Chris Alu


he Managing Director of Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria, Mallam Mohammed Rudman has decried the low access to internet service as a result of poor broadband penetration in the country ,which he said has continued because of power challenges and harsh operating

environment. Rudman who lamented over the issue said that despite the undersea cable systems all with landing points on the shores of Nigeria; broadband revolution is yet to be felt. According to him, broadband is now becoming a basic need and an index of development like access to electricity and telephones.

He explained that the major obstacles to telecommunications service delivery in the country is absence of last mile infrastructure which is required to deliver services to consumers at their homes and offices. The MD wondered why Nigeria is finding it difficult to provide broadband services when larger ountries like India and China have

been able to extend reliable internet services beyond their major cities. With investments in undersea cable infrastructure in Nigeria in excess of $3 billion, most of the capacities brought into the country have remained in the Lagos region because of the challenges of distribution. Rudman also decried the harsh operating environment which has

forced operators to compromise network rollout and said that the situation has forced operators into a single cell site at a location that requires three cell sites. “Each cell site has a limited capacity of subscribers it can contain in a particular location, but in Nigeria, you need to buy land, go through legal processes for approval, and build mast with generators as well as security, just for you to run a cell site. These operators are doing business and instead of them to put three cell sites they will put one in order for them to recoup their investment.” He added.

Vodacom Nigeria to provide POS connectivity service

By Chris Alu


R-L: Outgoing Chairman, United Bank for Africa Board of Directors, Chief Israel Ogbue, congratulating the new Chairman, Ambassador Joe Keshi, during the meeting of the Board of Directors of United Bank for Africa Plc, yesterday in Lagos.

UBA appoints new Board Chairman By Etuka Sunday


nited Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, the panAfrican financial services group, has appointed Ambassador Joe Keshi as Chairman of its Board. UBA in a statement made yesterday to announce the appointment said “Ambassador Keshi was appointed to the Board of UBA in 2010 and was made Vice Chairman on January 1, 2011. He has over 35 years working experience at the highest

levels of government as a career diplomat, serving as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, The Presidency, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, The Hague, Netherlands and Consul-General of Nigeria, Atlanta, Georgia.’ The statement also said that Ambassador Keshi’s appointment follows the retirement of Chief IsraelOgbue, a member of the UBA Board since 2005 and

Chairman since January 1, 2011. “It has been a pleasure serving the Bank. I have worked with a group of men and women who have been responsible for forging an extraordinary transformation in Nigerian and African banking. Ambassador Keshi is an admirable choice to lead the Bank in its next growth phase” said Chief Ogbue. “The Board also appointed Mrs. Rose Ada Okwechime as Vice Chairman. Mrs Okwechime is the Managing Director of the Abbey Building Society Plc and has

played a leading role in financial services for over 20 years, including time spent with the Bank of England,” the statement said. Both appointments are effective November 21, 2013. Keshi while speaking on his appointment said “I am touched that my fellow board members have asked me to chair the Board. Chief Ogbue has raised the bar on governance, transparency and business growth. We will sustain the strong governance and risk management structures in place and maintain the momentum of our panAfrican growth strategy”.

odacom Nigeria has been confirmed by Nigerian InterBank Settlement Limited as a new POS connectivity service provider in Nigeria. Vodacom would provide the needed point of sale service including POSLink services that will give consumers the reliability and the encouragement to make use of POS devices as a mode of payment. The Company said the utilising multiple terrestrial networks simultaneously, single or multiple merchants can now be served from the same location with highest possible transaction success rates. Vodacom services include, high service availability, No more revenue loss from incessant link outages, quick, pro-active network management, Real time monitoring of all devices deployed, secure network, All transactions are encrypted and secured over the Vodacom Business MPLS network and affordable, Significant cost savings compared to alternative service offerings.

World Bank, CADP rehabilitate roads in farm locations


he World Bank, in collaboration with the Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP), on Tuesday said it had begun rehabilitating access roads to farms in six locations in Lagos State. The Lagos State Coordinator of the CADP, Mr Kehinde Ogunyinka, said in Lagos that

the 12km of road was being rehabilitated under the second phase of the project. Ogunyinka said that the farms were located in Epe, Ikorodu, Alimoso, Ibeju Lekki and EtiOsa. He said that two farm locations in Epe benefited from the road project. He said that the World Bank

and CADP had rehabilitated 22km of road in 10 locations under the first phase of the project. The coordinator said that the road rehabilitation would ease transportation of farm produce to markets. “The World Bank-assisted project is helping commercial farmers to remove production

constraints. “The total intervention programme of the project is worth N2 billion,” he said. Ogunyinka said that the project was aimed at boosting farmers’ income and farming as a business. “We have recorded successes in several areas by making sure that Nigerian farmers enjoy more

benefits from farming. “Income of our farmers can increase when there is high patronage on their produce,” Ogunyinka said. He said that the project had also supported 331 commodity interest groups through provision of electricity, access roads and capacity building, all to the tune of N1 billion. (NAN)



Stock Watch

Report as at Tuesday, November 26, 2013




Special Report

ASUU strike: Building a stream of entrepreneurs C

hristiana Aliyu, a Kogi state student of the University of Abuja, has this to say: “Well, this strike is quite bad. But I must tell you, as a Nigerian I know that this is the culture of mostFederal universities. The situation is discouraging, but what can we do? I am lucky to have been employed by this firm, which has helped meto save some money. I am working now with a marketing firm. According to her, “Initially,I planned to work after my exams before going for youth service, butonly for a duration of say 2-3 months before the result will be released; but with the look of things I have worked for about a yearnow and I don’t even know when the strike will end. “I am happy I havesomething doing, but the government and ASUU should understand thatthey are not helping Nigerian undergraduates. When we finish, we willstill spend another one year serving the nation. After that, they willstill tell us that we should be 22 before applying for certain jobs oreven younger. How can a poor man’s child meet up with all the demandsfor survival in this country?Whereby, you will spend some years scoutinghard, before securing admission, and still spend another long

More than five months into the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, many students have devised means to make the best of their time before the strike is called-off. Evelyn Okakwu spoke with students across different institutions and found out how they have been faring since the strike began. Excerpts: timewaiting to graduate as a result of strike. There are people who havehad to spend over ten years from their period of graduation fromsecondary school to reach the graduate level in this country. Where will they work?So the situation is just not helping the poor people at all. Remember, these people I talked about have been held back bythe society and the polity, not by any actual fault of theirs”. Also, Adamu Yusuf, another under graduate who owns a cyber café in Garki, Abuja, said, “I will not tell you that I am enjoyingany of these at all. I don’t know whether to say that the governmentalone is to blame or whether the issue has become politicised. ThePresident did make that allegations some time back; but I try tofollow news on this issue and I have not seen the President in any directmeeting yet with

ASUU, except if as I now here, he will soon hold one with them. But this has taken so long, and the problem seems like a life-time problem, because ASUU is always going on strike; I just hopetheir meeting will solve the issue once and for all, otherwise, the message these people are telling us is that we, the masses of this country, don’treally matter at all to them. All they do is to push us anyhow theylike with any kind of drama and they will succeed. But this kind ofattitude has to stop. The government should meet credible points withASUU as to the solution to the problem, and please, this time aroundthey should carry the public fully along so that we know who to blamewhen next any such strike ensues.” Also speaking on the prolonged ASUU strike, Genevieve Craig, a 200-level student of the Department of Banking and

Some students protesting in Lagos over the ASUU strike recently

Finance, University of Lagos (UNILAG), said, “The strike has lasted longer than I expected; In fact, initially, it came as a surprise to many of us and we felt it would soon be called-off, until it

finally dawned on us. But personally, I feel lucky that I have a job to fall back on. I work with an online store, so I go to the office every day and that keeps me busy. Also, I own an online electronics store and that has been a saving grace since the strike started. But for some of my friends, they are complaining of being bored and most of us have actually forgotten what it feels like to attend lectures. Another student, Gani Ibrahim, of the Department of Creative Arts, 200-level, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) echoed Genevieve’s position, saying, “I have been able to find something worthwhile doing to avoid just sitting at home and going on unprofitable errands. Since the strike started, I have been working with a graphic artist and I also attend seminars and visit art studios to improve my creativity skills. Also, Adeyemi Ajiboye, of the Department of Political Science, 400-level, University of Abuja, said, “A

larger percentage of students here in Abuja stay around trying to while away time as much as possible. Some take to the streets talking about politics and when the strike would likely come to an end. And by evening, many guys would gather around to play football or watch the premier league matches. But some others have taken to low-pay incomes just to

keep themselves busy”. Another student of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Olumide Soneye, also said, “Initially, it wasn’t easy coping, because I live in Oyo State and I didn’t want to leave school because I felt the strike would be called off in a matter of weeks and I didn’t want to risk travelling back and forth. But a month into

Also, a student of the Department of Applied Geography and Physics, 300-level, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, OresanyaAdedayoAyokunle told our reporter, “I don’t see the strike as an avenue to relax academically, I go to the cyber café to surf the internet and learn. I don’t like being idle and I use that as a medium to acquire more knowledge

the strike, I just had to come back home and since then, I’ve been learning more about event management, baking and decorations and it has really helped a lot. On her part, Amarachi Ijeoma, a student of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, 300-level, Abia State University said, “I got a job at a supermarket and that has helped me avoid just staying at home doing nothing and moreover, I also get paid. Also, I learnt how to make beads accessories and I hope to make this knowledge a source of living when I get back to school. Also, a student of the Department of Applied Geography and Physics, 300-level, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, OresanyaAdedayoAyokunle told our reporter, “I don’t see the strike as an avenue to relax academically, I go to the cyber café to surf the internet and learn. I don’t like being idle and I use that as a medium to acquire more knowledge. With all their faults and imperfections, close

observers have said that the trade unions have done morethan exceedingly well. According to some of them, they have done more for decency, education, for the developmentof student’s character and

ASUU President, Nasir Fagge

the betterment of the human racethan any other associations. In a democratic dispensation like ours, the roles of trade unionscannot be overemphasized. Apart from acting as a tool by which thelabor rights of employees are not carelessly violated at the hands oftheir employers, they have also served as a watch-dog on theactivities of government. As it is the latest information is that ASUU is planning to end the ongoing five-month strike mid-January next year, a faction of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter alleged on Monday. The faction, however, insisted that the closure of Nigerian universities by the lecturers must end this week. However, the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Boboi Kaigama and the Acting General Secretary of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. Chris Uyot, on Monday called on the Federal Government to agree to the demands of protesting lecturers by paying their salary arrears from July to October, 2013. The duo, in separate interviews said that the way forward was to attend to the lecturers’ demands. According to Kaigama, the lecturers deserve to be paid their salaries, as going on strike does not mean that they were no longer entitled to their salaries. His

argument is that the Union went on strike because of the Federal Government’s inability to implement the 2009 agreement reached with the Universities lecturers. He said, “It is okay, they are supposed to be paid their salaries; when one is on strike, it does not mean that he cannot be paid his or her salary. “They went on strike because of an agreement that was negotiated which the government has not been able to fulfill. The government should pay them their salaries. The situation would have been different if they were the ones that reneged on the agreement.” He said that the TUC and the NLC would back the Union to ensure the implementation of the last agreement as it was witnessed by him and the NLC President, Mr. Abdulwahed Omar. “The NLC President Omar, and I are living witnesses to the final agreement that was reached between them and the government; we will support them based on what we witnessed, based on what they agreed with the government and the new implementation strategy. “The TUC and the NLC will back them to ensure that the implementation strategy is followed. An aspect will be implemented this year and the first quarter of next year,” he added.




FESTAC residents battle firm over mast site From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


orried at the proposed telecommunication mast within their neighborhood, some residents of Festac Town in AmuwoOdofin local council area of Lagos state are up in arm against a Telecommunication outfit, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Limited, otherwise known as Etisalat. The residents of 1st Avenue, Close One, have taken their grouse to the court, seeking a judicial order stopping the erection of the mast on Messrs Samuel Obatola Taiwo’s landed property. Leading the court action are Chief Olufemi Aromolaran Daramola, Ichie Ike Ezeuko and Mrs. Eunice Shote.

In a suit before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, the residents are seeking court’s declaration that Taiwo, the first respondent, is not entitled to render his house to a use that would be detrimental to residents’ lives and properties. They also want a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents and/ or servants from installing the telecommunications mast at its proposed site in the residential premises of the first defendant, 1st Avenue, one Close, House 2, Festac, Lagos or at any other site, which will violate or threaten to violate their rights to lives and peaceful enjoyment of their properties and environments. The claimants, in their state-

ment of claims filed by their counsel, Clement Onwuenwunor, contended that they were neither consulted nor their opinions sought before the leasehold by the first defendant to the second defendant. But the respondents, Taiwo and Etisalat, in their joint statement of defence, filed by their counsel Bassey Ette of Udo Udoma & Bello Osagie chambers, urged the court to dismiss the suit as being “misconceived, frivolous, premature and a mere academic exercise vexatious and calculated to embarrass and annoy them”. According to them, the claims by the landlords are baseless as it was not true that the mast proposed to be constructed poses danger and health hazard or risks to them,

stating that such assertions was not supported by any scientific study in the country and was based on hearsay opinion of the claimants who are neither telecommunications not medical experts. They also stated that the installation of the mast has been dully approved by the relevant regulatory and supervisory agency, which is the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and that the installation is to be carried out in line with the relevant rules and guidelines. They further stated that the proposed installation of the telecommunications mast will be in accordance with extant and relevant regulations and laws regulating the installation of telecommunication mast in Ni-

gerian, particularly the guidelines on technical specifications for the installation of telecommunications masts and towers issued by the NCC on April 9, 2009. According to the respondents, the guidelines require that a minimum set back of five metres distance to the nearest residential building, excluding the fence, be observed in constructing a telecommunications mast in a residential area. Hearing on the matter has been fixed for December 13, 2013.

Opportunities, challenges in Nigeria’s real estate market By Stanley Onyekwere



Reiz Intercontinental hotel extension under construction at the Central Business District Area, Abuja, FCT

xperts have identified macro-economic issues including inflation, high exchange rates and high cost of living as some of the major challenges facing the Nigerian real estate sector. Founder and CEO of Nigeria’s leading online real estate marketplace,, Allie Morse, has identified the lack of a veritable and safe platform to rent or buy a house as an integral challenge facing the industry. According to Morse, the plight of prospective home buyers and tenants who are regularly ripped-off or confused by middle-men is an added factor. Nigeria, popularly referred to as the giant of Africa is one of Africa’s largest economies. According to World Bank United States Census 2012, the country has a population of over 160,000,000 people; however, similar statistics also recorded a housing deficit of 16 million units in Nigeria.

Ease of property registration: SA dwarfs Nigeria in private equity investment interests By Aminu Imam


s against 80 inter-regional private equity firms looking to invest in South Africa’s real estate market, 30 in Egypt and 40 in Kenya, only 16 of such companies are interested in Nigeria’s real estate market due, in part, to difficulty in registering property and doing business generally. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which disclosed this in the 2012 report on Nigerian economy by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), adds that there are also 10 domestic and private equity firms looking to invest in the country. Private equity investments in Africa have seen phenomenal increase from $151 in 2002 to $3 billion in 2011 and, according to Emerging Markets Private

Equity Association, South Africa accounted for the largest portion of these investments, leaving Nigeria with just 10 percent of the continent’s total. On account of demographics and strong buying power, Nigeria is seen as a green field and an investment haven, yet investors are slow in moving into the market due to unfavourable business environment. In its 2011 report on ‘Doing Business’, the World Bank ranked Nigeria 180, out of 183 countries, in terms of ease of registering property. Currently, there are 13 steps in the registration process which can take up to 82 days. Four of the steps carry their own associated costs which on average total 20.8 percent of a property’s value, according to the NESG report. In an earlier report, former

managing director of Refuge Homes Savings and Loans Limited (mortgage bankers), Olusola Olubode, has said that Nigeria lagged behind countries like Ghana, Thailand and New Zealand in ease of registering property, pointing out that in Ghana it required just five procedures, 34 days and 1.3 percent of a property value. Olubode also hinted that in New Zealand, property could be registered online in two days at a cost of 0.1 percent of the property value, stressing that Nigeria was one of the world’s most difficult places to register property, especially when, in Thailand, registering property required just one step, less than a day and 1 percent of property value. Similarly, Abdulrahman Kadiri, CEO of Lagos-based Oak Properties, stated that in Dubai, United

Arab Emirate (UAE), in less than 72 hours a buyer should have perfected his land titles, adding that “you don’t even have to pay through your nose to get building approval”. Dapo Ojo of Estate Links Limited also said that in the UK, it took 1-2 months, six procedures and 4 percent of the value of the property to register a property, while it took the same 1-2 months, six procedures and between $1,000 and $8,000 to do the same thing in the USA. Actis, easily the most bullish private equity investment firm with special focus on emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, laments that “land and capital are major challenges to investors, especially in Nigeria”. The company’s director, real estate, Chu’di Ejekam, explains that to find a well-priced land at

the right place is a big issue, adding that land price which is not supposed to be more than 10 percent of the construction cost is so high, especially in Lagos, that oftentimes it makes projects unworkable. Capital, he explains further, also poses a major obstacle because to build a world-class retail mall like The Palms or Ikeja City Mall in Lagos, for instance, requires huge capital outlay of about $100-$150 million. “To build a mall of an appreciable standard requires 50 percent equity and 50 percent debt, such that building a mall like Abuja Jabi Lake Mall, for instance, which is estimated to cost $130 million, requires an investor to bring as much as $65 million equity to the table, and not many banks are ready and able to provide the $65 million debt,” he adds.




By Stanley Onyekwere


ays of speculation over a proposal to construct 600,000 housing units for Nigerian workers, pioneered by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Kriston Lally EPC Nigeria Limited with a foreign partner, Kriston Lally Enterprises Atti-kat, are now over, as the construction of the project will take off in less than four weeks from Monday. The housing project, prompted by a need to provide affordable houses for Nigerian workers and valued at N960 billion, was said to have received the backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, who will perform the sod-turning of the scheme. Determined to ensure the com-

NLC, firms kick-start N960bn workers’ housing scheme mencement of the project, President and staffers of NLC recently visited their foreign partners and funder in Athens, Greece, where the partners concluded on the agreement, which included how the funds and technical know-how as well as materials would be moved to Nigeria for the commencement of the project. Earlier, NLC had signed a N960 billion ($6 billion) partnership with a private property developer, Kriston Lally EPC Nigeria Limited

to provide houses for its members in both public and private sectors across the country, at the interest rate of 2 per cent. The project is to provide an opportunity for any member of the NLC to own a house. The types of houses include one-bedroom which are in apartments, two bedroom detached and semi-detached, three bedroom detached and semi-detached in apartments and then four bedroom bungalows, four bedroom duplexes, detached and semi-de-

tached. Following the visit, Omar, had said that the trip was purposeful, adding: “It has a very long history, very strong ties and I think very progressive issues,” because the purpose is the Nigerian workers and how they can get houses of their own at affordable rate. To achieve this, Omar said NLC had to engage a private developer in a partnership towards providing quality and affordable housing for the Nigerian workers.

He assured those who have made down payment of 10%, that their money is intact, assuring that the money would not even be part of construction process but a security to show commitment from the subscribers. Describing the housing scheme as an unparalleled initiative, Omar pointed out that the meeting with the foreign partners and the funder during the trip was successful, adding that the Nigeria Embassy was also involved in the whole process.

UPDC beckons buyers with Abuja Metro City Estate From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


ith a package of luxury residential accommodation on going within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, a frontline developer, UACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC) is offering exquisite, but limited choice homes to those with unique taste. Known as Metro City Estate, the residential housing project, which is located in a serene residential area of Apo-Dutse Abuja, near Grand Towers and Abuja

Mall, stands on a landmass of about 11.3 hectares. Unlike some of its housing projects, UPDC is in a joint venture with African Capital Finance (ACA), to deliver a total of 225 housing units of various house types including 5-bedroom detached houses, 4-bedroom semidetached houses, 4- bedroom terrace houses, 3-bedroom bungalows, and 3-bedroom flats respectively. To the delight of buyers, the developer has complemented the estate with assorted infrastructure like internal roads measur-

ing 2.2km, while access roads still under construction measures 1.7km, as well as streetlight numbering 180. Also, total length of internal reinforced concrete drains, is approximately 4.4km, while the over-head water tanks will provide 376,000 litres, as the water treatment plants of 48,000 litres is already in place. The estate is also laced with 2 ground water tanks, to provide 432,000 litres, as 216 cubic meter sewage treatment plant’ is also in place. For recreational purposes, Metro City comes with swimming pool, fitness room, children’s

play area and pool bar. Other facilities include parking space for residents and visitors, 7 industrial boreholes, central alarm system, fire alarm system. At the moment, the total number of residential units already awarded is eighty-eight, as phase one and infrastructure within the estate are 100% completed. The project, which commenced in 2011, would be commissioned in the next few weeks. According to the Director, Technical Operations, Mr. Brian Greenaway, Metro City estate is not just a property but, a high

quality standard estate hard to come by anywhere in Abuja. Speaking last week in Abuja while inspecting the estate, Greenaway added that his company had undertaken this estate with high sense of quality. “We have built this estate with a sense of high quality comparable with international standard. When customers buy our structure, they know that they are buying structures built to last. We offer pre sale and after sale services to ensure that the premium standards are maintained for residents of the estate.”

Properties for sale in Abuja 4 Bedroom Terraced Duplex Citiview Estate, The Grenadines Homes, Lokogoma District, Abuja Property Description: Grenadines Home Lokogoma, is located in a quiet and serene community in Lokogoma District around the Games Village in Abuja, “Grenadines Home Lokogoma” sits on a five-hectare stretch of land, with about 2,000 square metres reserved for recreation facilities and open spaces. At the estate, Propertymart is building for sale homes such as the fourbedroom terrace house (with a boys’ quarter), four-bedroom semidetached duplex (also with a boys’ quarter) and five-bedroom fully detached duplex. Some of the houses display penthouses with roof-top terraces for relaxation, loft-styled finish, personal car parking, glass curtain walling, Jacuzzi and unique colour finishing. The entire estate will be equipped with facilities such as swimming pool, gym and lawn tennis court. The estate has close proximity with the popular Games Village and other adjourning estates. It is about 15 minutes’ drive to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and also 15 minutes’ drive from the Central Business District of Abuja. Located in a residential area, it is about 10 minutes from Shoprite, touted as Africa’s largest shopping mall. While a terrace home sells for N36.5 million, the semi-detached duplex goes for N45 million, and the fully detached duplex sells for N55 million. 10% Discounted promo prices and would likely rise after the close of the promo. Property Features: Type: Terraced House Bedrooms: 4 Price: 36,500,000 THE GRENADINES HOMES (LOKOGOMA, ABUJA) 3-Bedroom Luxury Flats - N17.5m

4-Bedroom Terraced Duplex - N36.5m 4-Bedroom Semi-Detached Duuplex - N45m 4-Bedroom Fully Detached Duplex - N55m PAYMENT PLANS Equal Installment: Pay 10% commitment fee and spread 90% balance for 18 months apart from Life camp where it is 40% intial deposits and spread 60% in 4 months. Build-As-You-Pay: 30% Commitment fee and get foundation after 4 weeks then spread balance over 18 months at development stages. Outright payment attracts 10% discount Other Charges: Developmental fee for Land: N2,750,000 Developmental fee for House: N1.25m Legal fee: 5% of the cost price of House/Land

Survey: N150,000 Infrastructure: Centralized security Dedicated Green areas Helipad Perimeter fencing Dedicated commercial zone Underground cabling CCTV For more information call +2348056706407, +2348025336724 Marketed By: Metal Bricks And Mortar Structures Ltd, Plot 696-8 Ubiaja, Garki Ii, Abuja, Nigeria Website: For More Inquiry Call: 08038390534 08137196385



Toyota FJ Cruiser rare among sport utility



iven Toyota’s reputation for play-it-safe vehicle designs, the funky FJ Cruiser stands out. Even in the eighth year since its introduction, it still looks whimsical and retro, a throwback to the FJ40-series Land Cruisers from decades past. Behind that iconic styling, there’s real off-road capability, so the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is rare not just among Toyotas, but also among sport-utility vehicles as a whole. It’s with a heavy heart, then, that we bid farewell to the FJ Cruiser: Toyota has announced it will discontinue this midsize SUV after the 2014 model year. With its two primary front doors and two, rear-hinged half-doors, the FJ Cruiser has always been more like a tall coupe than a traditional five-passenger SUV. This door design makes the FJ Cruiser interesting and distinctive, but it also makes getting in and out of the backseat cumbersome, especially if you have small children. Furthermore, the FJ’s bunker-like windows make seeing out of this vehicle a challenge, whether you’re on an off-road trail or just trying to negotiate your way into the Starbucks drive-through. Apart from these practicality issues, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is a pretty neat vehicle to drive. Its strong V6 engine, responsive steering and relatively comfortable ride make it a lot more viable as a daily driver than you might expect. At the same time, its spiritual home is definitely off the pavement. Even in stock form, the FJ is quite capable of scaling rocky hillsides or frolicking in the sand dunes thanks to its high ground clearance, capable suspension and generous approach and departure angles. It’s also available with serious four-wheel-drive hardware, including low-range gearing, a locking rear differential and a pretty sophisticated off-road traction control system known as A-TRAC. The Trail Teams Ultimate Edition package ups the ante with a TRD-developed suspension that includes special Bilstein shock absorbers (with remote reservoirs for the rear dampers) and new front springs that increase ride height. The departure of the Toyota FJ Cruiser will leave a bit of a void in the small population of midsize SUVs with legitimate off-road credentials. The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is the obvious alternative, as it’s virtually unstoppable off-road, available in twoor four-door body styles and easily customizable thanks to extensive aftermarket support. Yet the Wrangler isn’t as likable for commuting, given its louder cabin and bouncier ride. The Nissan Xterra, meanwhile, is a more civilized option with a more accommodating backseat, but its interior isn’t as high-quality as the Toyota’s and it’s not as capable off-road. Although not perfect, the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser represents a desirable middle ground between these two. If you want one, this is certainly the year to buy. The 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a five-passenger midsize SUV with two conventional (front-hinged) front doors and two half-sized, rearhinged doors. The FJ Cruiser is offered in only one trim level and comes standard

with 17-inch steel wheels, an electronically controlled locking rear differential (manual-transmission 4WD models only), a limited-slip rear differential (2WD models only), full power accessories, airconditioning, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat, four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tiltonly steering wheel, water-resistant cloth upholstery, heavy-duty vinyl flooring, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. Most options are bundled in packages. The Convenience package adds rear privacy glass, a rear wiper, a spare tire cover, keyless entry, cruise control, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Upgrade package adds 17inch alloy wheels, upgraded traction control on four-wheel-drive models, rear parking sensors, a leatherwrapped steering wheel, ancillary gauges and trip computer functions, and an 11-speaker JBL sound system with a six-CD changer. The Off-Road package adds Bilstein shock absorbers, the locking rear differential (for automatic-transmission models), an upgraded off-road-oriented traction

control system (known as A-TRAC) and additional instrumentation (including an inclinometer and compass). Other options include 16inch alloy wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, upgraded Bilstein shock absorbers, larger brakes and a performance exhaust kit. The Trail Teams Ultimate Edition package arrives later in the model year and will include a specially tuned TRD suspension (with remote reservoirs for the rear shock absorbers), 16-inch bead-lock wheels (better for aired-down tires during off-roading), all-terrain tires and an upgraded front skid plate that provides better protection. All Trail Teams FJ Cruisers get a Heritage Blue paint job (with a matching blue roof) and include the bulk of the content from the Convenience and Upgrade packages. The 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. Three different drivetrain configurations are available: A fivespeed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive (and a limited-slip differential) is the standard setup. You can also get one of two different four-wheel-drive systems: There’s a part-time 4WD system

mated to the five-speed automatic transmission and a full-time system fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and a rear locking differential. The locking differential is optional on automatic-equipped 4WD models. EPA-rated fuel economy for the two-wheel-drive model is 18 mpg combined (16 mpg city/20 mpg highway) -- not great, but typical for an off-road-oriented midsize SUV with a gasoline engine. With fourwheel drive, those numbers are 18 combined (17/20) with the automatic and 16 combined (15/18) with the manual. Standard safety features on the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the FJ Cruiser received the top rating of “Good” in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated “Good” for whiplash protection in rear impacts. The FJ received the second-best rating of “Acceptable” in the Institute’s roofstrength crash test. Source:



Arts & Culture

AWF hosts Byanyiko, Lawal and Oke for November event


lex Byanyiko, Deenat Lawal and Segun Oke will feature at the November 30 edition of the Guest Writer Session which has grown from simply being an event to celebrate the book, to an occasion for appreciating creativity in its various ramifications. Alex Byanyiko works with the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 5 Abuja as a producer and presenter. He hails from Karu Local Government of Nasarawa state, and schooled at Government College, Lafia. He studied Mass Communication at the Kaduna Polytechnic. Byanyiko who works at Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channel 5, Abuja as a producer and also does film editing and scriptwriting, is desirous of developing a career in filmmaking. He will be screening his maiden independent production, “The Wrong Number”, for the first time to the public. Deenat Lawal will showcase her couture skills with latest designs for her Purple Clothing label. Born in Sokoto to the family of Alhaji R.O.

Lawal, she attended Model Primary School and Federal Government College, Sokoto. Driven by a passion for designing clothes, she enrolled at the Kaduna Polytechnic for a National Diploma in Fashion Designing and Clothing Technology. She followed it up with a Higher National Diploma at the Yaba College of Technology. On graduation, she opened her fashion house in Lagos and has recently relocated to Abuja. Segun Oke will read from his debut novel, Joke. He grew up in a plural family which had its own unique challenges. His earliest memories of family life ws filled with intrigues and infighting. Reading came very early in Primary School, and it was filled with the fantasy of the ideal, and that everything will be perfect someday. Writing soon followed. In high school, Oke’s ad romantic poetry and short stories were published weekly on the schools notice board. His poem my Lover in Silhouette won the com-

monwealth Day March 13th 1990 award among students in his High School. His short story “Mama It’s A Boy” has been selected for publication by Ecobank Limited in their yearly short story series. Oke works full time as a commercial lender, in a Commercial Bank in Lagos. An exceptional manager with a proven track record of achieving results under difficult circumstances and with limited resources. Credited for turning around a branch with a modest balance sheet of less than N200million and a loss position of over N50million into a branch with a robust balance sheet of over N4 billion and appreciable profits. Received commendation for sustainable profit achievement over a period of time (April 2008). Played a critical role in formulating and deploying strategies to help establish a commercial business unit in Victoria Island, Lagos. Oke freelances for magazines, and is currently working on his second novel titled “Crossroads”.

Niger state cultural troupe displaying the state rich culture, during the Abuja Carnival, on Monday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Zimbabwe displays culture at 2013 Abuja Festival


imbabwe says it is in the Abuja Festival with 21 participants to showcase the country’s culture to the world. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Zimbabwe bands exhibited their indigenous cultural dance with a good costume and cultural display. Mrs Salome Chari, the Public Relations Officer, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, told NAN that Abuja festival, that the team would featured domestic tourism and cultural potentials to Nigerians and the world at large. According to her, the theme of Zimbabwe’s participation at the festival is “Harnessing Zimbabwe– Nigeria Tourism and Cultural Potentials”. “Our presence at the 2013 Abuja Festival is to further deepen re-

lationship already existing between Zimbabwe and Nigeria. “It will also afford us the opportunity to continue to reduce the tourism and cultural imbalance between the two countries. “Nigerians are our friends, our brothers, therefore, we are happy to be part of the festival and wish to have a good cultural and tourism relationship together,” Chari said. She said that the authority trained and advised their bands on characteristics of their indigenous dances and other ways to add value to their tourism and cultural display. According to her, the Zimbabwe dancers are professionals and are chosen on merit after undergoing series of competitions. She said that the Zimbabwe tourism investment agency was

established to assist Zimbabwe to promote the country’s culture and tourism potential to the world. Chari said that Zimbabwe was determined to partner with other countries in the sub-region to improve tourism and cultural relationship in the ECOWAS subregion. She said that Zimbabwe participants at the festival were enjoying impressive outing in terms of hospitable and friendly attitude of Nigerians and contacts with potential investors. “Our coming to the festival is not a regrettable one; we enjoy everything about Nigeria and its culture. “The festival is a colourful one, with wonderful cultural displays and above all it is well organised,’’ she said. (NAN)

FROM THE LIVE STAGE with Patrick-Jude Oteh 0803 700 0496, 0805 953 5215 (SMS only)

The citadel of King Christophe Dear Friends, In the last two months, I have had cause to be on the road again. I am looking for they say and throughout my journeys I have marvelled at the amount of infrastructures that are springing up all over the nation. However, there is still so much poverty. This week I am repeating my article on King Christophe with a warning that very soon with nothing else to eat, the poor will eat the rich.


he play, The Tragedy of King Christophe (1767 – 1820) was written by Aime Cesaire an Afro Martinican Francophone poet, author and politician in 1963 as a drama of decolonization in 19th century Haiti. Christophe was an important general of the Haitian revolutionary army under Dessalines. He aided Toussaint Louverture who liberated Haiti from the French. When Dessalines declared himself Emperor, Christophe a pure blooded Black took part in a successful plot against Dessalines and was selected President of the Republic. Christophe then proceeded to wage a savage and inconclusive struggle with Alexandre Petion, the champion of mulatto supremacy who retained control of Southern Haiti. In 1811, entrenching himself in Northern Haiti, Christophe declared and crowned himself King as Emperor Henri I. Christophe had been a slave and before his career in the army he had been a cook and a waiter in a public hotel. He was an illiterate but he learned to speak English and French fluently. As Emperor and King he built a court full of sycophants and tolerated no opposition to his dictates. He built and created an autocracy patterned after the absolute monarchies of Europe. Compulsory and free labour coupled with crippling corruption became the order of the day and he and his inner caucus were thus enriched. Eventually from being a benevolent ruler, he transformed into a tyrant ruling the people with an iron fist all of this geared towards his vision to build a capital city upon a hill which he called The Citadel. Christophe surrounded himself with lavish and sometimes ludicrous magnificence with parties and orgies becoming the norm and the fabulous Palace at Sans Souci at Cap Haitien, his capital was transformed into one huge edifice of parties and orgies which occurred at the slightest opportunity. The Citadel of La Ferriere was a formidable fortress on top of a mountain surrounded by cliffs and mountains which was built with forced free labour. Emperor King Christophe turned his people into slaves and the complaints rose from the fishermen to the sugarcane cutters. There was general despair in the land. The peasants expressed the complaints of the people saying they were tired and they had lost hope as they all felt and hoped that with the ascension of one of them to the throne they will be rewarded for their unwavering loyalty, hard work and heroic struggles. Emperor Christophe turned the people away saying that he would very much detest their victory if it allowed laxity. He reminded the people of the poverty and hunger in the land and that the only solution was to rebuild and re-cultivate the wastelands as they were once among the best cotton estates in the world. He told the people that no Haitian had the right to be lazy sending them away with spades and picks to continue the work for the Kingdom. The people at this point could not understand him for they felt that they had given up their freedom under the French for a new form of slavery. They revolted against him. His generals deserted him and at the peak of his powers he started to engage in voodoo worship alongside his professed Christianity which was the official religion of the new colony that was peopled by freed slaves from France. When the then Catholic Archbishop criticized him, Christophe had him buried alive in the Archbishop’s official residence. In his later years, he had a stroke and became partially paralysed, committing suicide when he felt that life was no longer worth living as he had been deserted in his magnificent citadel atop the hill where he was eventually buried in a standing position. Today, the once upon a time magnificent palace of Sans Souci at Cap Haitien and the formidable fortress called The Citadel are nothing but ruins sitting atop a forgotten mountain with shanties surrounding it in a Kingship that fell into ruins. When asked why he wrote such a haunting play, Aime Cesaire replied that he wanted to send a powerful message to newly independent African countries of the 1960’s to beware of vanity and the use of excessive force and power on their people.



Arts & Culture Book Review •Author: Prof. Roger Makanjuola •Title: Water Must Flow Uphill •Reviewer: Tunde Fagbenle •Publisher: Mosuro •Page: 356 pages

Water Must Flow Uphill


’ve just finished reading a book of the above title written by Prof. Roger Makanjuola, former VC of ObafemiAwolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. And after going through the book I realised that the title is in every way as curious and contrarian as the author is himself. Subtitled “Adventures in University Administration”, and published by Mosuro Publishers, Ibadan, the book was launched without much fanfare a couple of months ago at the OAU, and in a curious ironic twist of fate, on a day beset by labour strike by the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the university – a running and debilitating theme throughout Prof Makanjuola’s “adventures in administration” in OAU! Even though the book gave me laughter and relief in places (laughter at the author’s selfdeprecating humour and candid view of himself, and relief that there are folks like him in Nigeria), it filled my heart with heaviness and sorrow at the horrors, the monstrosity, of the evils within our universities and the implacable negativity of Nigeria and Nigerians. That Roger survived the “adventures” with his mind and body intact is amazing, and owe as much to serendipity as to the indestructibility of his will. Prior to becoming the VC of OAU (first in an acting capacity from July 1999 to May 2001, and substantive till May 2006) Roger Makanjuola, Professor of Psychiatry, was Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the university’s teaching hospital (OAUTH) for two terms (1989 to November 1997). The book chronicles his time in both capacities in their horrifying and “water must flow uphill” Herculean-task details. They were periods of the most labour unrest in the countries universities, and an epoch of proliferation and rampaging campus secret cults, including Black Axe, Eiye, etc. What Makanjuola brought to both jobs was what had perhaps not been seen before, and may not be seen for some time to come. Here was a CMD who physically joined hands with cleaners to clean the hospital wards – “the morale of the cleaning staff was greatly boosted – we were showing them how important their job was, and that their tasks were not menial, but work in which everyone participated” – and carried diesel to make generators work to save lives of patients, and a VC who ate beans with students, made himself easily accessible to students and all, was unfailingly at his desk by 7.30am on working days, and shorn corruption in whatever guise or disguise. Lacking interest in, and

completely abhorrent of, the intrigues and shenanigans of campus politics Roger lent himself to be buffeted by unyielding and conspiratorial colleagues and staff unions on the one hand, and damning, violently unruly student bodies on the other. He was treading, nay galloping, along ubiquitous landmines without a care (well, seemingly) about his own safety, trusting only in the purity of his mind and nobility of his mission. Of his success as CMD, he attributes this to: “a genuine commitment to the hospital and the welfare of its staff, and being able to convey this to them, so that they believed in me…I also hope that I was able to convey to them the true values that I hold dear – hard work, honesty, and honour; values that, alas, are so rare in our country today.” “I spent more time going round the wards, clinics, and service departments than I spent in the CMD’s Office or the Board Room.” Of machinations in appointments, he says: “various juju sacrifices started appearing around the campus, at crossroads and in the vicinity of the VC’s Lodge. In addition, a number of the candidates began consulting with various Pentecostal Christian churches. I recall one candidate in particular who became as thin as a rake from protracted fasting.” He wrote, “Although I wanted the job, I had not gone to see anyone to influence the decision or to seek divine intervention.” “I did not understand the politics of such appointments, but then

I have never engaged in politics over my personal fortunes. I never shall.” And did he suffer untold deprivations, humiliation and even torture on account of his uprightness and visionary stance? Striking staff unions severally hit him with ‘pasan’ (or atori), the juju shrub attributed with magical powers to inflict impotence (the author says his virility remains unimpaired in spite); student secret-cult members amidst striking student unions dragged and kicked him on the floor: “I was continually kicked and beaten. I was repeatedly floored…A student nicknamed “Old Soldier” was particularly brutal, and was observed to repeatedly kick me, even when I was on the ground.” But of his many bad encounters he says: “I also must admit that I am stubborn as well as confrontational.” By his own account, he’s “a bit of a loner”, enjoying his solitude, his walks for miles and climbing the hills of the vast, beautiful OAU campus, and “sitting on my own in the garden on an evening, drinking beer (O, yes, dear beer) and reading a book or watching the sunset”. His love for “Great Ife” is unquantifiable. There were also moments of reward in appreciation of his selfless dedication to his job and the university: “At one point, members of NASU carried me aloft along the corridors, singing my praises.” At another, students carried him aloft through the campus shouting: “Roja, Roja, Roja”. Summarising his achievement as CMD and VC, Roger re-

flects: “I was able to show that, even in Nigeria, it is possible to hold a position of responsibility without abusing it, and, in particular, without enriching yourself. I believe my position in this respect, of total integrity with the university’s finances, did influence a substantial number of the staff, and probably also the students. People respond to their leaders, and, they try to emulate them.” As my friend, Femi Olugbile (writer, former Chief Medical Doctor of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), and now Perm Sec Lagos State ministry of health) whom I lent the book to read said, there are quite a number of issues of grave importance that the book dealt with demanding our focus and each that should be treated independently as a topic! I agree with Femi, justice cannot be done to this book in one column. Amongst these issues are the virulent incidences of corruption and collusion of security agencies in thwarting efforts to curb campus evils of armed robberies, rapes, and rampage by emboldened student’s “secret cult” members; corrupt and conspiratorial court judges; interference and nepotism in appointments by the governments; debilitating strikes of various unions – academic and non-academic; integrity of the universities in the standards of faculties and students admissions, and the weight issued diplomas carry within international reckoning; restoring the relevance of universities as indispensable agents of change and national development, and so on. To confirm the great man’s ordinariness and simplicity, I recently espied his 6ft 6ins lean frame crouched at a corner in the economy class of a BA flight I was on from London to Lagos and had wondered if that wasn’t the former OAU VC. Therefore on disembarkation I hastened to catch up with him as we approached the immigration desk to know if my suspicion was right. Offish at first, he however permitted some friendliness on realising who I was. But until that fortuitous meeting a week to the launch of his book, I had never met the professor in person. However, I recall with interest that when a while ago this column sought for names of a mere handful of Nigerians on whose account God should show mercy and spare Nigeria from “imminent destruction”, he was one of the names that came up. And this is what a reader said of him (in column of 05/02/12 titled: Our Unsung Heroes): “Roger O.A. Makanjuola, Fmr VC OAU – Principled, Incorruptible. Never had an official driver while in office. Drove himself in his car. One house, completed just last year. A highly respected role model”. The book affirms no less.

POEM OF THE WEEK Meditation in the Cemetery This is A writer’s territory Everywhere Is the history Of waiting and years History repeated And slowly Everything Occupational is divorced From nature The morning after church There’s nothing Foreign about this silence It burns the air like poetry The skin of William Carlos William’s Plums – dew is bitten I find poverty and Sacred objects where I am standing A contract with God Phil Collins Is on the radio Telling me To think twice Christina’s Rossetti’s summer Has come and gone It is so cold here That it feels as if my feet Are in a cement bucket.

Nadine Gordimer I’ve lost and found her Gordimer again – What are you made of? She-Wolf golden butterfly Heroic damsel in distress The heart of love Has come undone Under the weight of your Lungs and stomach With the seasons Determined to change Nadine Gordimer Talk to me about therapy Landscapes of the moon Movie stars What bewitched you as a child? Psychoanalysis Films and literature Freud and Nabokov? Being faithful in the ordinary Attending to it extraordinarily?

Burnt Diary

You formidable unveiled on every expedition You dazzling unpredictable black and white speak Look at me let me go past is past silence is golden.

QUOTE “I believe the visionaries and true reflections of society will be rewarded after their lives. Those being rewarded now are giving the public what it needs now, usually applauding its current state and clearing consciences.” ― Hollace M. Metzger




he Afghan Loya Jirga’s endorsement of a security pact with the United States, to be signed by December 31, has brought to an end the uncertainty over the status of foreign troops, and Afghanistan’s relations with its donors, after most NATO forces are withdrawn from the country next year. However, it happened not before the whole labyrinth of Afghanistan was under the spotlight, and some lively exchanges were made between all sides. First, the New York Times reported that President Hamid Karzai had given up his opposition to Washington’s demands that US soldiers be immune from Afghan prosecution, and US special forces continue to have freedom to conduct “antiterrorism raids on private Afghan homes”. But soon after, the proceedings at the Loya Jirga had a moderating effect on that optimism. Distrustful relationship President Karzai’s remarks about there being no trust between him and the US, and yet his call on the assembly to support the security pact, spoke volumes about Afghanistan’s need for economic assistance and stability on one hand, and the war and deep divisions which continue to traumatise the country on the other. Several members of parliament and the entire opposition had announced a boycott in advance. A female delegate at the Loya Jirga shouted from the floor that: “US troops had spilt too much Afghan blood, and should be stopped”. And Shia religious leader Ayatollah Salehi said: “Judicial immunity is against our independence, national sovereignty, against the will of the Afghan people and explicitly in contravention of Islam.” In a society with deeply embedded religious and tribal customs, many people are enraged by US troops’ night raids on their homes, and their acts of violence against Afghan civilians. Divided society The Taliban, still fighting after they were removed from power following the US invasion in 2001, described the Loya Jirga as a “council of traitors”, saying that “internal mercenaries” wanted to ensure the foreign forces’ prolonged stay in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s uncompromising attitude, and the thousands of US troops staying under the security pact once it is signed, suggest that Afghanistan will remain a country in conflict. The scenario helps explain Karzai’s announcement at the opening ceremony that any agreement on the status of US forces should wait until after the presidential election in April 2014, and should be signed by his successor. The Obama administration, caught by surprise and showing urgency, insisted that the Afghans needed to approve and sign the agreement by the end of 2013. It would give Kabul little more than a month. For the US, it was neither “practical nor possible” to delay the signing. There was an implied



Obama, Karzai and the Afghan labyrinth

The Loya Jirga (above) endorsed the security pact with the US

threat that a failure would lead to the withdrawal of all troops, and no US aid to Afghanistan. Roots of discord The truth is that the US did not want a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the brinkmanship between Kabul and Washington raised intriguing questions. Why did President Karzai want to delay the signing until his successor had assumed office after the April 2014 election? And why should the US have viewed a four-month delay so calamitous for the agreement? After all, the US is a country known for drawn-out legislative processes. Karzai was the US’ preferred choice to lead Afghanistan after the Taliban regime’s overthrow in 2001, but their relations have deteriorated steadily, especially under the Obama presidency. Accusations of corruption, incompetence and nepotism against the Karzai administration abound, though these ills afflict all sides in a clearly

troubled partnership. Alongside the US narrative of problems with the Afghan president and his close circle, there is an important narrative about President Obama and his administration’s conduct that has been perceived in Kabul as having caused deliberate and repeated humiliations of Afghanistan and President Karzai. The Afghan narrative should not be ignored in any serious attempt to understand the problems. A great power demands compliance from minor entities. Karzai has often been defiant, and critical of US-led military operations resulting in civilian casualties and disrupted life for the Afghans. In this respect, Karzai is not like the other US dictator allies: A few names that come to mind are Marcos of the Philippines, Thieu of South Vietnam, Somoza of Nicaragua many a year ago, and Pervez Musharraf and Hosni Mubarak more recently. Karzai was part of the anti-

Communist Afghan opposition in the 1980s. He is well aware of the failed Soviet attempts to use loyal rulers to lead Communist regimes in Kabul. It was a somewhat risky move for the White House to publicly set a deadline barely a month away, at a time when the Loya Jirga was meeting. A swift response was issued from Kabul, that it “will not be rushed”, and that “President Karzai’s desire to sign the agreement after next year’s presidential election was the only deadline recognised by Afghanistan”. The Afghanistan Times had earlier quoted Karzai as saying that the security pact could only be signed “when our elections are conducted, correctly and with dignity”. His spokesman underlined the need to secure the Loya Jirga’s approval. Afghan constitutions have come and gone with the country’s upheavals. The customary role of tribal assemblies in approving

Karzai, whose presidential term will end after the April 2014 election, has personal as well as long-term considerations.

a constitution, resolving disputes and considering issues of national importance has remained constant. The process may not be perfect, but in the absence of the tribal jirga, legitimacy, in the eyes of many Afghans, is difficult to achieve. Divergent imperatives As Obama and Karzai both approach the end of their final term as president, they are under competing political pressures. Obama, who is due to leave the White House in January 2017, is a man in a hurry, at a time when success is by no means certain in the latest Israeli-Palestinian talks, and rapprochement with Iran has just started after more than three decades of cold war, and tedious negotiations in recent months finally resulting in a historic, but fragile, agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme. Karzai, whose presidential term will end after the April 2014 election, has personal as well as longterm considerations. In a distrustful relationship, Karzai’s interest is in securing maximum cover for himself in the eyes of his people; true national sovereignty; and freedom for the next Afghan president to act. In essence, a legacy which, Karzai can argue, was delivered at a time of extreme national emergency. Source: Al Jazeera




Minister threatens to sanction non-performing ambassadors

Egypt police clash with demonstrators protesting ban on protests


gyptian police fired a water cannon to disperse dozens of protesters near the Ministry of Interior yesterday after they defied a new law that restricts demonstrations. The protesters had gathered in front of the Press Syndicate to commemorate the death of a liberal activist killed in clashes with police two years ago, challenging the new legislation passed on Sunday that bans protests without police approval. Human rights groups have condemned the law as a major blow to freedom in Egypt, the most populous Arab state and a U.S. ally which has experienced considerable political upheaval since the overthrow of autocrat ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Under the law, protests at places of worship are banned and the Interior Ministry has the right to forbid any public meeting of more than 10 people. “(The) new protest law gives security forces free rein,” Amnesty International said in a report issued this week. A security official said yesterday’s crowd near the Interior Ministry had not obtained permission to protest and had ignored warnings to leave the area. The army-backed government has said it is not against peaceful protests but wants to restore order in the streets. It has also complained that protests often disrupt traffic. “We are implementing the new protest law that requires protesters to seek permission from the interior ministry three days before the protest.” a police official at the scene said. Egypt has stumbled in its path to democracy since the fall of Mubarak, with the army ousting the country’s first freely-elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, on July 3, after mass protests demanding early elections. Hundreds of Islamists have been killed and the Brotherhood’s leadership has been arrested in an ensuing security crackdown. Mursi’s supporters held protests in different cities in Egypt on yesterday. In Cairo, female students at Al-Azhar University for Islamic learning, which tows the government line, stormed into a dean’s office and destroyed her desk.


he acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, has threatened to sanction any Nigerian ambassador found wanting in the discharge of their duties, particularly in cases involving Nigerians. Onwuliri gave the warning at the presentation of letters of credence to ambassadordesignates to France, Austria, Romania, Venezuela and Gabon. She urged the newly appointed ambassadors not to disappoint President Goodluck Jonathan and the confidence reposed in them by all Nigerians. He said the ambassadors must be carriers of the present government’s ``Transformation Agenda’’, which she said had rapid economic growth and advancement of the country as core pillar. ``There are many pillars to the transformation agenda but if you an ambassador, you are carrying

the entire package because you will be talking about petroleum, aviation, labour, terrorism, employment and more,’’ she said. She called on the ambassadors to maintain the soaring profile of Nigeria in the comity of nation and strive ``to take it to the next level’’. ``You must work hard and read a lot, because when international journalists face you, you cannot tell them you do not know what is happening in the agricultural sector,’’ she said. Onwuliri urged the ambassadors to give priority to citizen diplomacy, adding that the ministry frowned at cases where ambassadors would deliberately shun Nigerians in their host country. ``You must put you staff on notice that they have been posted to take care of Nigerians in their host country; if Nigerians are not living there we have no business having an embassy in that country,’’ she said.

She also expressed delight that the five newly appointed ambassadors are career diplomats who had spent more than three decades in the ministry. She expressed the confidence that they would bring their long years of diplomatic experience to the new position. The ambassadors are Mr Abel Ayoko (Austria, and concurrent accreditation to Slovakia Republic), Mr Okechukwu Muoh (Romania and Bulgaria) and Mr Hakeem Suleiman (France and the Principality of Monaco). Others are Mr Rabiu Dangari (Venezuela and concurrent accreditation to Ecuador and Columbia) and Mr Bassey Archibong (Gabon), who received their Letter of Credence in absentia. Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Ayoko thanked Jonathan for the appointment and promised that they would not disappoint Nigerians.


Libya PM in Benghazi for security talks after deadly clashes


ibyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan flew to Benghazi for urgent talks with local security heads Monday evening, after clashes between the army and a Salafi militia killed nine people and injured some 50 in the eastern city. Online newspaper Libya Herald said the army has declared a state of emergency after clashing with Ansar Al-Sharia militants in the morning. Hundreds of citizens in Benghazi protested the violence, calling for a general strike “until Benghazi has been cleansed of Ansar Al-Sharia and all other


unofficial armed groups.” Many parts of Libya remain plagued by a lack of security after the 2011 civil war due to the existence of war-time local “military councils” that are not integrated into the national army and reluctant to give up weapons. On Nov. 15, a group of militants opened fire at hundreds of protesters in Tripoli who demanded the armed group from the western city of Misrata move out of the capital, killing at least 43 people and wounding about 460 others. Source: Xinhua

Central African Republic ‘descending into chaos’ – UN


he Central African Republic (CAR) is descending into “complete chaos”, the UN deputy secretary general has warned, calling for urgent action. Jan Eliasson urged the Security Council to strengthen the African Union-led force in the country, and to turn it into a UN peacekeeping operation. The CAR has been in turmoil since rebels seized power in March, with warnings of a possible genocide. France has said it would contribute about 1,000 troops to the force. Senior UN and French officials have warned that a cycle of violence between the Muslim minority, now in power, and the Christian majority could become a genocide. It is not known how many people have been killed in the conflict this year because it is too dangerous to access the rural areas where most killings occur, a UN spokeswoman told the BBC. However, she said that in the

Bossangoa area alone, one of the worst-hit areas about 300km (185 miles) north of the capital, Bangui, several hundred people had been killed in the first two weeks of September. Some 460,000 people - 10% of the population of 4.6 million - have fled their homes, while more than a million need food aid, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands have sought refuge at the Catholic mission in Bossangoa. The priest in charge, Frederic Tonfio, told the BBC: “The tension here is palpable. People are absolutely terrified.” Mr Eliasson said there had been an surge in sexual violence, torture, summary executions and sectarian violence. “The CAR is becoming a breeding ground for extremists and armed groups in a region that is already suffering from conflict and instability,” he said.

“If this situation is left to fester, it may develop into a religious and ethnic conflict with long-standing consequences, even a civil war that could spread into neighbouring countries.” Some of CAR’s neighbours such as South Sudan, the Sudanese region of Darfur, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to

emerge from years of conflict and remain extremely unstable. France, the former colonial power, currently has about 400 soldiers stationed in Bangui. Their mission is to protect French nationals. Yesterday, Defence Minister JeanYves Le Drian announced that France would send another 1,000 troops to the CAR.

France soldiers patrolling the capital, Bangui




Thai protesters step up campaign, besiege more ministries


housands of protesters surrounded Thailand’s Interior Ministry and forced the evacuation of four others on Tuesday, intensifying their campaign to bring down the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The demonstrators defied a tough security law imposed late on Monday, after they stormed two other ministries, to control rallies against Yingluck and her billionaire brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Yingluck and her ruling Puea Thai Party began a two-day confidence debate in parliament where they hold a commanding majority. The opposition has accused them of corruption and trying to pass laws to whitewash Thaksin of a graft conviction. Civil servants fled as groups of demonstrators surrounded the interior, agriculture, tourism and transport ministries in blockades that have plunged Thailand into its deepest political uncertainty since it was convulsed by the bloodiest unrest in a generation in 2010. “Getting rid of the Thaksin


Protesters urging for the government to step down

regime is not easy,” said protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister under the previous government, in an interview with Reuters. The demonstration “might be longer” than the three days originally planned, he said. Thaksin is a former telecommunications tycoon who is

hugely popular with poor urban and rural voters who have put him, or his party, into power in every election since 2001. He was ousted in a 2006 military coup that was largely welcomed by Bangkok’s middle class. He has hovered ghost-like over Thai politics since fleeing the country in 2008, accused of undermining the powerful

monarchy, breaching conflict-ofinterest laws and sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. Though Yingluck is expected to prevail in Thursday’s confidence vote, it is unlikely to defuse a crisis fuelled by anger over the electoral and legislative power the Shinawatra family has long held, and is accused of abusing.

Indian parents sentenced to life for murdering daughter


n Indian couple have been sentenced to life in prison for murdering their daughter, Aarushi Talwar, and

their Nepalese servant, Hemraj Banjade. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were found guilty on Monday of

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar being taken away by security officials

murder, destroying evidence and misleading investigators. Their 14-year-old daughter was found murdered at their home in May 2008. Suspicion initially fell on Hemraj until his bludgeoned body was found on the Talwars’ roof just one day later. The murders generated huge interest in India, with every twist and turn in the case receiving wallto-wall coverage. Prosecutors sought the death sentence arguing that this was “the rarest of rare cases” but the defence team argued that the couple were widely respected professionals. The Talwars’ lawyers have said

they will appeal against the verdict. Judge Shyam Lal based Monday’s verdict on circumstantial evidence as key forensic evidence had been lost during two flawed investigations. “Parents are the best protectors of their own children. That is the order of human nature but there have been freaks in the history of mankind where the father and mother become the killer of their own progeny,” Mr Lal said in his judgement. Aarushi was found with her throat slit and a fatal head injury in her own bedroom, next door to her parents’ room at their home in the affluent Delhi suburb of Noida.

US may pull out all troops as Afghan leader holds up deal


fghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a security deal with the United States, the White House said, opening up the prospect of a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from the strife-torn nation next year. Karzai told U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Kabul on Monday that the United States must put an immediate end to military raids on Afghan homes and demonstrate its commitment to peace talks before he would sign a bilateral security pact, Karzai’s spokesman said. The White House said Karzai had outlined new conditions in the meeting with Rice and “indicated he is not prepared to sign the

Asia & Middle East Free Syrian Army ‘to fight during Geneva peace talks’

promptly”. “Without a prompt signature, the U.S. would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no U.S. or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan,” a White House statement quoted Rice as saying. The complete withdrawal, called the “zero option”, would be similar to the pull-out of U.S. troops from Iraq two years ago. On Sunday, an assembly of Afghan elders, known as the Loya Jirga, endorsed the security pact, but Karzai suggested he might not sign it until after national elections next spring. The impasse strengthens questions about whether any

U.S. and NATO troops will remain after the end of next year in Afghanistan, which faces

a still-potent insurgency waged by Taliban militants and is still training its own military.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai leaves after the last day of the Loya Jirga in Kabul

he leader of the Westernbacked rebel Free Syrian Army has said that forces aligned to him would not join the peace conference in Geneva in January. Gen SalimIdris, head of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council, told al-Jazeera that they would continue to try to topple President Bashar al-Assad. He warned Mr Assad would use the talks to buy time and continue to wage war. Iran, which is closely allied to the Syrian government, meanwhile said it would attend if it was invited. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country would make an “important contribution to the resolution of the problem”. But Mr Zarif stressed that there could be no preconditions. The UN, US and Russia have been trying to persuade the Syrian government and opposition to attend peace talks, the first in the 32-month conflict. On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that an international conference to discuss a political solution, known as “Geneva II”, would be convened on 22 January. “The conflict in Syria has raged for too long. It would be unforgivable not to seize this opportunity to bring an end to the suffering and destruction it has caused,” he warned. But in his interview with alJazeera yesterday, Gen Idris said: “Conditions are not suitable for running the Geneva II talks at the given date and we, as a military and revolutionary force, will not participate.” “We will not stop combat at all during the Geneva conference or after it, and what concerns us is getting needed weapons for our fighters.” Gen Idris said any opposition delegation would have to include “influential and significant figures from inside Syrian territory”, and that any agreement would have to meet several conditions. The BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says assembling an opposition delegation that is credible and can deliver was one of the main obstacles holding up agreement on a date for the Geneva II talks for months. General Idris’s statement pouring cold water on the conference makes it clear there is still a long way to go, our correspondent adds. Many rebel brigades are loosely aligned to Gen Idris and the Supreme Military Council, but he is thought to have little operational control.



International EU demands protection against US data surveillance

legislative change in the U.S. sooner rather than later, and in any case before summer 2014,” she said. Reding’s message was reinforced in a draft report obtained by Reuters that called for “very close attention by the EU” in monitoring data-exchange agreements given the “large-scale collection and processing of personal information under U.S. surveillance programs”. The remarks underline a growing sense of unease in Europe at a delicate moment in transatlantic relations, when the globe’s two

biggest economies seek a trade pact to deepen ties. Just months after U.S. officials confirmed the existence of PRISM, a program to collect data from Google, Facebook and other U.S. companies, European experts vented their frustration. “EU citizens do not enjoy the same rights and procedural safeguards as Americans,” officials wrote, when exploring data transfers. In the report, they highlighted the need for improving transparency in the ‘Safe Harbour’ scheme that allows companies in Europe who gather personal information about customers, for example, to send it to the United States. But some believe that the stance of the EU’s executive, which writes laws for the 28 countries in the union, is feeble. “We are an economic giant and we behave like a political midget,” said Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. “The Commission and the member states are extremely timid and soft. They are failing their

citizens.” “It’s not a legal question,” she said. “It’s about Europe behaving like a politically self-confident entity.” In ‘t Veld is a member of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, which recently voted for a tougher data privacy regime in Europe. That vote cleared the way for negotiations with member states, with the aim of having a new code of conduct agreed by May next year, the first fundamental updating of Europe’s data protection laws since 1995. As well as stiff fines for companies that break the rules, the new regime would oblige companies to seek consent before using personal information. It would block data-sharing with non-EU countries unless approved by an EU supervisor and establish the “right to erasure” - the ability for consumers to request the deletion of their digital trace, including photographs, emails and Internet postings.

awaited document will pave the way for the end of the United Kingdom, setting forth the economic, social and democratic case for leaving Great Britain. The document sets out detailed plans for currency, taxation, childcare, welfare and other issues facing an independent Scotland. Under the plan, Scotland would keep the British pound, the queen and remain in the European Union, but have its own defence force and collect its own taxes. Salmond said there would

be no need to increase taxes if Scotland broke away, noting: “We know we have the people, the skills and resources to make Scotland a more successful country.” He said Scottish taxes would not be spent on nuclear programmes and the United Kingdom’s nuclear missiles would be removed from Scotland for good. “Independence will put the people of Scotland in charge of our own destiny,” Salmond said. Salmond, who leads the Scottish National Party, said he

wants to build a “wealthier and fairer nation,” adding he had to tackle a “legacy of debt” from union with Britain. Scotland’s rich oil and gas reserves will prop up the economy for the next 50 years, he said, but the country will need to look to renewable energy after that. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is campaigning to retain the more than 300-year-old union between England and Scotland. The referendum will be held on Sept. 18 next year.



he European Commission called yesterday for new protection for Europeans under United States’ law against misuse of personal data, in an attempt to keep in check the U.S. surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said she wanted Washington to follow through on its promise to give all EU citizens the right to sue in the United States if their data is misused. “I have ... made clear that Europe expects to see the necessary

Scottish plan for independence unveiled


cottish First Minister Alex Salmond has unveiled his government’s legal argument for independence from the United Kingdom ahead of a referendum in September 2014. “Scotland’s future is now in Scotland’s hands,” Salmond said yesterday, launching the 670-page “white paper” in Glasgow. “It won’t be decided by me, it won’t be decided by our opponents, it won’t be decided by the media. It will be decided by the people.” Salmond has said the long-

Obama defends Iran nuclear deal


resident Barack Obama has staunchly defended the newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by saying its critics’ tough talk was good for politics but not for US security. Top Republicans - as well as US ally Israel - have criticised Obama for agreeing to the deal, which the United States and its partners say may ultimately prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. Under the interim deal, Iran will accept restrictions on its nuclear programme in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions that have gradually crippled its economy and slashed its oil exports. “Huge challenges remain, but we cannot close the door on diplomacy, and we cannot rule out peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. We cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict,” Obama said to critics of

the deal. “Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it’s not the right thing for our security.” Sunday’s agreement, hammered out in marathon talks between six major powers and Iran in Geneva, aims to buy time to negotiate a comprehensive deal that the Obama administration hopes will lay to rest international concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme. Israel, however, has argued that a partial deal is a bad deal and that easing sanctions, even temporarily, decreases the leverage that the US and others have over Iran. Having lost its battle to stop the international deal reached this week on Iran’s nuclear programme, Israeli officials are already picking up the pieces and planning a fight to shape a final agreement that

Europe and Americas Hernandez lead ‘irreversible’ in Honduras


onduras’ top electoral body has said that conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez’s lead in the presidential elections was “irreversible”, according to votes counted at two-thirds of the polling stations. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal said that the vote count stood at 34.08 percent for Hernandez of the ruling rightwing National Party, compared to 28.92 percent for leftist Xiomara Castro, the wife of Manuel Zelaya, the overthrown former president. “The outcome is decisive. The figures that we have reported reflect a trend that is irreversible. The outcome is not going to change,” said David Matamoros, the head of the electoral body. Political tension gripped Honduras throughout Monday asboth candidates claimed victory and Castro rejected the results announced by the tribunal. Castro’s Libre Party also threatened to take to the streets. The impartiality of the electoral body has consistently been called into question by the Libre Party. Hundreds of Castro supporters protested in front of the tribunal on Monday amid a heavy police and military deployment across the nation. However, Hernandez said that the result was “not negotiable with anybody” and he named a transition team to succeed Porfirio Lobo, the current president, urging Castro to join him in a “great national pact” against violence and poverty. The clash between Hernandez and Castro brought new uncertainty to a country reeling from gang violence, poverty and the wounds of a 2009 coup that removed Zelaya from his seat. Hernandez’ election win ensures continuity for outgoing Lobo’s right-leaning economic policies. He saw his poll numbers surge in recent weeks by casting himself as the candidate of law and order, a top issue for most voters in a country of 8.5 million that records 20 murders a day - the highest rate in the world, according to UN figures. Honduras is the poorest country in the Americas after Haiti with the majority of the population living in poverty.


negotiators hope to reach in six months. Israeli officials have said the final deal must go beyond freezing

Iran’s programme and roll back the achievements they say has made the Islamic Republic a threshold weapons state.




Strange World

The Cotton ball diet – A dangerous weight-loss trend


thought the Tapeworm diet was as bad as weight loss fads could get, but I was mistaken. Desperate dieters keep coming up with new, innovative methods to shed pounds. The latest trend is to eat cotton balls soaked in orange juice, lemonade or smoothies. It’s all over the internet. Chat rooms, YouTube videos and blogs are describing to young women how the cotton ball diet is done. The trend is said to have caught on after model Bria Murphy (Eddie Murphy’s daughter) admitted to seeing models subjecting themselves to this diet. “I’ve heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice. They dip it in the orange juice and then they eat the cotton balls to help them feel full,” Murphy told her interviewer on Good Morning America. The idea behind the cotton ball diet is to feel full without having to gain weight. Some practitioners stick to just eating cotton all day. Others chow down on these fillers before a meal, so they can eat less. Dieters are able to swallow as many as five juice-dipped balls

in one sitting, before they feel completely full. Naturally, medical experts are expressing serious concerns over this new fad, labeling it as “very, very dangerous.” Brandi Koskie, managing director of the website Diets in Review, says that unless a person is eating an expensive,

organic brand of cotton, the diet is completely unsafe. Most cotton balls aren’t cotton at all; they are bleached, polyester fibers that contain a lot of chemicals. “Your clothing is also made of polyester, so swallowing a synthetic cotton ball is like dipping your t-shirt in orange juice and eating it,” Koskie

told ABC news. “Nothing good can come of this, nothing,” she warned. Dr. Ovidio Bermudez, chief medical officer at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, has a similar opinion. Eating cotton balls is just as bad as eating cloth, or buttons or coins, he says. Apart

A young girl swallowing a cotton ball to lose weight

from the obvious risks of choking and malnutrition, it could also lead to blockage in the intestinal tract – a trapped mass called ‘bezoar’. “The most common causes of bezoars are swallowing indigestible matter like hair or too much vegetable fiber,” said Dr. Bermudez. “Cotton balls could certainly cause similar problems.” Over time, they could build up and cause blockages or full obstruction, which are lifethreatening conditions. While models have been suspected of eating cotton balls for years, the trend has now reached teen and tween girls everywhere. There are YouTube videos made by girls in the age group of 9 to 16, showing how to eat cotton balls. According to Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association, “We certainly aren’t talking about health anymore. We’re talking about weight and size and something that is potentially very, very dangerous.” It’s sad to see how young and beautiful girls are subjecting themselves to such brutal and extreme measures. I do wish they would learn to be more sensible.

Concussion turns ordinary man into musical genius overnight


f getting hit on the head means that I’d get to be a kickass musician for the rest of my life, I think I would seriously consider it. It sounds impossible, but something of the sort happened to 41-year-old Derek Amato. He really didn’t have a choice about it, though. Derek had no idea his life was about to change forever when he dove into the shallow end of a pool to


catch a football at a party. He hit his head and had a concussion, resulting in Acquired Savant Syndrome – a rare condition where people display profound abilities (called savant skills) after suffering head trauma, abilities that they didn’t have at birth. In Derek’s case, the acquired ability is music. Derek is one of only 30 people in the world with this rare condition

and the only one to have acquired music as a savant skill. Before the fall, he just dabbled in guitar and had no idea how to read or write music. And now he can play eight different instruments with the ease of a professional musician. Watching him play on video, it’s pretty hard to believe this man has had no formal training in music at all. Derek vividly remembers the

accident that changed his life in October 2006: “I remember the panic set in that I knew I hurt myself. I knew it was something bad. As I dove into the swimming pool, I remember coming up out of the water complaining that my ears were bleeding.” “As I looked at my friends for explanation, I recall their lips moving but without sound. As I touched my ears to check for bleeding, I realized there was no blood, and I couldn’t hear anything at all.” Derek suffered a serious concussion and permanent 35 percent hearing loss. He still experiences frequent headaches and memory loss. But Derek feels that this is a small price to pay for the blessing he has received. He wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s understandable, because Derek was struggling with a string of odd-jobs and being homeless, not really knowing what he wanted to do with his life. Now, he is a full-time musician with two albums under his belt. It was at his best friend’s home, shortly after his fall, that Derek had discovered his new gift. When he looked at the keyboard, he says he was simply drawn to it and that he knew exactly what he had to do. “It was one of those moments when you just know. It was no ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, it was a fully structured piece,” he said.

Derek still cannot read music, although he hears music in his head 24 hours a day. He sees black and white squares in his mind that instruct him on exactly how his fingers need to move. “That’s my notation,” he says. “How I see music in my mind is – I’ve always kind of explained it as black and white blocks that move left to right in a wave pattern. The imagery of these blocks push me to play. It almost insists I play.” I think it’s fascinating how Derek’s brain approaches music. It’s very different from how music is traditionally taught. He just looks at the instrument and seems to intuitively know how to play it. A neurologist at the Mayo clinic who examined Derek says it’s possible he might have Synesthesia – the combining of two separate sensory processes. So people with Synesthesia will talk about tasting colors, seeing sounds, and that’s what Derek talks about. Derek can actually see music and feel it in his hands. Unfortunately, it’s possible that Derek might lose his acquired savant skill as quickly as it came. He has no control over it, and neither do doctors. Derek says he would be devastated if that happened, because he’s really enjoying his unexpected gift. I do hope he gets better and gets to keep his gift as well.




Can you separate the flu facts from fiction? By Karen Kay


n average, people have a cough or cold for the equivalent of two and a half years of their lives. And, every time you get knocked down with those all-too-familiar symptoms, it feels like it drags on for a lifetime. From the simple irritation of a runny nose and the discomfort of a sore throat to the debilitating fallout of blocked sinuses and a fever, colds are, quite simply, horrible. And it doesn’t help when wellmeaning friends and family offer their pearls of wisdom relating to how you ‘caught the cold’ or what to do to fight it, when much of their so-called knowledge is simply hearsay. So, check out our quick guide to the myths and facts on the common cold... Advice: Feed a cold and starve a fever Whether you have a straightforward common cold or something more extreme, you need to ensure you have plenty of nutrients in whatever form is manageable – chicken or vegetable soup are soothing and easily digestible.

Advice: You can catch a cold by getting wet or cold The only thing that can cause a cold or flu is a cold or flu virus - noone succumbs by being caught in a downpour or going out without a coat on a chilly day. However, if you are already carrying the virus, exposing yourself to extreme environmental conditions that challenge your body’s regulatory system may speed up the development of symptoms. Advice: You’ve Just Had A Cold, So You’re Immune For A Bit There are around two hundred known types of cold virus, so the antibodies you generate to combat one won’t be effective in the fight against another. Advice: Avoid kissing if you have a cold Common cold viruses are not spread by direct contact such as kissing, but are instead thought to move around via large particles expelled at close range by coughs and sneezes, and by contaminated fingers that pass the virus to the nose and eye.

On average, people have a cough or cold for the equivalent of two and a half years of their lives

So how can you avoid the common cold? Quite simply, you’d have to be a hermit to avoid the common cold. And for most of us, that isn’t a viable or an appealing proposition. In modern Western society, common colds are so widespread that it is a rare being that escapes their impact. In fact, it has been estimated that adults suffer two to five colds per year, and school children may suffer between seven and 10 colds each year. Small children and adults in regular contact with children are most vulnerable to infection, so homes and schools are where the spread of the virus is most likely. Occurrences are thought to be

One of the first symptoms of a common cold is often a dry, scratchy sore throat possibly due to the virus first infecting the back of the nose. This tends to be followed by sneezing and a runny nose

It is a myth that getting cold and wet can cause you to catch a cold - colds and flu are caused by viruses so to develop them you have to be exposed to the virus

that helps relieve common cold symptoms. Using menthol as part of a cold symptom treatment can help ease breathing and reduce coughing by interacting with cold receptors in the nose and throat. Unless you’re diagnosed with a bacterial infection by a qualified health practitioner, avoid asking a GP to prescribe antibiotics for cold or flu symptoms. Antibiotics are ineffective in treating viral infections such as cold and flu viruses, and overusing them can give rise to antibiotic-resistant germs. Antibiotics should be used as infrequently as possible and only as directed by your doctor. How to treat others who have a cold The incubation period for a common cold is usually around two days before the first signs of any symptoms, and sufferers are most infective when sneezing, with a runny nose and cough. At this stage, the viruses are replicating in the nose and are dispersed in droplets of mucus. If possible, avoid close contact with cold sufferers, but this isn’t always practical, especially if you are a parent or carer of small children. Give them the space to rest without being near other family members, preferably in a comfortable armchair rather a shared sofa. Ensure they spend time sitting upright to help promote positive drainage (out of the nose, instead of down the throat). At bedtime, elevate their head slightly to ease nasal congestion while they sleep. The increased angle may also help drain the sinuses and relieve sinus pressure. A decongestant nasal spray, capsules or chest rub can often provide quick relief (always read the label). It is estimated that 70 percent of people with a cold will carry cold germs on their hands, so encourage everyone in the house to wash their hands regularly, using soap to dislodge germs, and try to ensure infants don’t use clothing to wipe their noses. Disposable paper tissues should be used and thrown away immediately by the person using them.

How can you avoid the virus taking hold? Maintain good levels of personal hygiene, washing hands thoroughly and regularly. Avoid being in close proximity with those showing the early signs of a cold – especially violent sneezing – in the first three days of their illness. Avoid touching ‘contaminated’ objects, used by those with a cold. For example, shared computer keyboards, TV remotes, phone handsets, door handles, toilet flushes and taps. Where possible, give them a clean with disinfectant wipes before use. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose excessively. The cold virus can travel from fingertips via the tear duct into the nasal cavities and sinuses. Get plenty of rest and, in particular, sleep, so your body has the chance to repair cells and strengthen the immune system.

a later symptom, and is caused by inflammation and infection of the larynx, trachea and lower airways. The dry non-productive cough is related to inflammation of the upper airway and the productive chesty cough to inflammation of the lower airways. How to treat the common cold The best strategy for minimizing the misery of a cold is to start treatment as soon as you see signs it is beginning and to continue treatment on a regular basis until it appears that the cold is over (three to seven days). In the 1st century AD, Roman philosopher Pliny recommended that cold sufferers ‘kiss the hairy muzzle of a mouse’, but thankfully modern medicine offers more advanced methods of keeping symptoms at bay. There is, unfortunately, no cure for the common cold – largely because of the vast number of different strains of the virus. But there are ways you can relieve the symptoms and make yourself more comfortable. If you’re having a hard time breathing due to a stuffy nose, a decongestant nasal spray, capsules or chest rub can often provide quick relief (always read the label). Once dismissed as a ‘herbal medicine’, menthol - a natural cooling ingredient found in plants such as mint - is now recognised as an effective treatment therapy

How to spot the early signs of a cold One of the first symptoms of a common cold is often a dry, scratchy sore throat – possibly due to the virus first infecting the back of the nose. Many people in the early stages of a cold also experience frequent sneezing, nasal irritation and clear, watery nasal fluid. Headaches and muscular aches are commonly associated with influenza or bacterial infection, but can also be symptoms of a common cold, while fever (a body temperature over 38C or 100.4F) is uncommon in adults, but prevalent in infants and children with colds. In most cases, a cough is usually

It is estimated that 70 percent of people with a cold will carry cold germs on their hands, so encourage everyone in the house to wash their hands regularly, using soap to dislodge germs

more common in cold weather because we tend to spend more time indoors, in poorly ventilated rooms and in close proximity to others, which means germs spread more easily. So, the most effective way to avoid a common cold is to minimize the chance of the virus getting into your nasal cells, where they replicate and, in 75 per cent of cases, give their ‘landlord or landlady’ those annoying telltale symptoms.




Rivers govt appeals court ruling on reinstatement of Obio/Akpor LG Exco


ivers State Government has filed for a stay of execution of the judgement of the state High Court ruling which nullified the suspension of the executive council of the Obio/Akpor Local Government headed by Timothy Nsirim. The government in a statement made available to newsmen by its Information Commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, said the ruling was an abuse of court process. The Rivers state government said though as a responsible government, it would abide by the pronouncement of the court, the trial judge acted in total disregard of the Court of Appeal, which was still entertaining the case. Rivers state High Court had recently described the suspension of the Onio/Akpor Local Government Exco by the state House of Assembly as unconstitional and ordered their immediate reinstatement. Nsirim, his deputy, Solomon Eke, and 17 councillors of the council, were suspended by the House upon the recommendation of its eight-member committee on Local Government Affairs, which investigated the allegations of abuse of public funds and breach of security against the cabinet. The House also froze the account of the council and directed the state government to appoint a caretaker

committee. Following the directive, the governor, Chubuike Amaechi, appointed a caretaker committee headed by Chikordi Dike. Both the state government and the committee were joined in the suit as 5th and 11th defendants. The action of the legislature sparked off the current political

crisis in the state, which pitted the governor, Chibuike Amaechi, against the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, who himself was a two-time Chairman of the Council. Mr. Wike is believed to be sympathetic to the embattled cabinet of the council. The statement by the government on Monday said

the judge failed to adhere to the principles upon which the rule of law drew inspiration and strength. “As a responsible Government, which respects the rule of law, we have noted the ruling and in our usual manner would abide by the pronouncement,” it said.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, signing condolence register, during his visit to the family of the late Hon. Prince Raphael Oloye Nomiye, on Monday in Okitipupa, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo state.


he National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has debunked the speculation of a rift between him and the party’s governorship candidate in the Anambra state governorship election. Metuh in a statement signed by his media aide, Comrade Richard Ihediwa, said Nwoye’s aides were only trying to stoke the fire of hatred between the two party men.

Ihediwa in a statement said “We wish to state categorically that there is no problem between the National Publicity Secretary and the PDP candidate in the Anambra election, Comrade Tony Nwoye. Chief Olisa Metuh participated actively in his campaign and was physically present at Awka to coordinate the situation room on the day of the election. “From their remarks, it is clear that these loathsome characters are behaving like planted agents who are hell bent on portraying

our candidate in a bad light. “What should be more worrisome to them is that through their immature, inexperienced and irresponsible advice, they allowed our candidate to attend a joint press conference with the candidate of the APC and to make matters worse, played second fiddle to the APC candidate, who he is leading in the election so far. “This gave rise to the manipulation of the APC in leading our candidate not to actively participate in the Sunday election in Obosi, wherein the

APC candidate surreptitiously mobilized his people to vote; a situation which enabled him to bridge the gap of the total number of votes cast. It is on record that Comrade Tony Nwoye has been in constant communication with the national leadership of the party on the Anambra election. In fact, he spoke severally to the National Chairman through the National Publicity Secretary before the National Working Committee took its final position on the election last Monday.”

National conference should not be funded with state resources - Aturu


human rights campaigner and lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu, yesterday urged that the proposed national conference should not be organised with state resources. Aturu made the statement at a news conference in Lagos. He advised that groups and nationalities interested in participation should sponsor

themselves to make the conference genuine. “It is not a per diem-based conference where people jostle for allowances. “Organisations, groups and ethnic nationalities that want to participate in a genuine national conference must fund themselves,” he said. He urged that decisions taken

at the conference should not be altered or amendment. He appealed the Federal Government to accede to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end the union‘s lingering strike. Aturu said that the lecturers’ strike was a patriotic action aimed at revamping Nigeria’s public universities.

From Mike Etim, Uyo


No rift between Metuh and Nwoye, says PDP chieftain’s aide By Lawrence Olaoye

President unbiased over PDP performance at polls - Akpabio

He said:”Nigerians should thank ASUU for the strike. What it is doing is legitimate and patriotic. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUU had on July 1 embarked on strike to protest Federal Government’s non-implementation of an agreement it entered into with the union in 2009. (NAN)

kwa Ibom state governor, Chief Godswil Akpabio, has said that the country is blessed with a President who is not interested in whether his party wins or loses election, but rather in ensuring that the electoral process is free and fair. Speaking while fielding questions from journalists in Uyo, the governor remarked that one of the problems facing the country’s democracy was the disfranchisement of some voters in the past and that President Goodluck Jonathan is working to resolve the problem. Akpabio said “The PDP is saying ‘yes’ the President has done it again by ensuring a level playing field for every Nigerian to cast his vote irrespective of his political affiliation. It doesn’t matter which political party wins. Take, for instance, what happened in Edo, we hailed the election in Edo even though it was won by APC. Look at what happened in Ondo, we hailed the election in Ondo, even though it was won by Labour Party.” On the inconclusive Anambra election, Akpabio remarked “Therefore both the PDP and the candidate in Anambra are on the same page. PDP is hailing the election for the fact that Nigerian have a voice, the Anambrarians are now saying my area has not voted and people are now clamouring for votes quite unlike in the past where you used to have bandwagon effect or where people would just go and write something and call it result. So, don’t misunderstand the PDP”. Akpabio pointed out that as a ruling party, people were always expecting the party to clear the votes in all elections as was demonstrated in the past adding, “That is what is killing African democracy” The governor expressed optimism that as the country progresses in democracy, and votes are counted, the amount of elections litigation will reduce. “Go and compare the number of people who went to court in 2007 and the number of people who went to court in 2011, you will be shocked that if it was 10,000 people rushing to court because of electoral malfeasance in 2007, in 2010, you had less than 10 percent”, the Governor noted. Expressing his concern towards the 2015 gubernatorial polls in Akwa Ibom State, the governor warned Akwa Ibomites to refrain from whipping tribal sentiments and attacking his person stressing that the state was pluralistic and cannot be governed by a tribalist.




2000 APC members decamp to PDP in Nasarawa By Umar Muhammad Puma


ational chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Bamanga has Tukur recieved two thousand decampees from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Toto local government area of Nasarawa state. Tukur who was represented by Chief Yunana Iliya, the state chairman of the party, said

that the decampees would be accorded equal rights as other members of the party. Iliya said that the party has set machinery in motion to recapture the state in 2015 general elections. He explained that the present administration of APC in the state has, in the past two years, showcase insecurity as it’s major achievement. He alleged that the state

governor, Umaru Tanko Almakura, has been inciting crisis among the various ethnic groups in the state and also resort to divide and rule. Iliya said that PDP and its members are law abiding and not known for violence. The leader of the decampees, Umaru Mohammed, claimed that they left APC because the state governor has refused to fulfill most of his campaign promises.

Speaking earlier, Hon. Yahaya Usman, member representing Umaisha - Ugya in the state Assembly, said that the state governor refused to conduct elections at the local government areas for fear of defeat. He added that PDP had already started planning towards 2015 general elections while urging stakeholders to sensitize members on the need to ensure decorum.

L-R: Protem National Women Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, a chieftain of APC, Mrs. Elsie PayneHannan, and a member, Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Funmilayo Tejuosho, during a town hall meeting of South West wing of APC, on Monday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

Don cautions PDP, APC against past mistakes


lhaji Abubakar Sadique, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, has called on political parties to treat every aspirant equally and fairly, to strengthen their political bases. The don told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the PDP and APC in particular, should avoid past mistakes. According to him, the PDP in Bauchi State can face the same

mistakes it encountered in 2007 unless it removes the issue of agitation for power shift to the northern part of the state. He said the agitation could be detrimental because it had started attracting reactions from members of the party in the central zone of the state. He said the zone had never been given the opportunity to produce a governor or deputy governor. “If PDP does not handle the

issue carefully by conducting free and fair primaries, the tendency is that somebody who is not popularly accepted may emerge as its candidate. “As a result, some members from other zones may also feel aggrieved and indulge in anti-party activities that can give another party the chance to win election. “We have witnessed this in 2007 as it affected the ANPP,” he said.

On the APC, Sadique said the party was also about to repeat the mistakes of defunct CPC in 2011 when many contending aspirants fought over the party’s ticket. According to him, two groups have already emerged in the state. The PDP won in 2007 after the failure of the ANPP to present an acceptable candidate while the CPC, in 2011, had many contending aspirants.(NAN)

Oshiomhole sets up panel to probe suspended LG chairman From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


do state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has inaugurated a panel of inquiry to probe the suspended Chairman, Vice Chairman and Councillors of Orhionmwon Local Government who allegedly travelled to Italy without authorisation. Inaugurating the committee in Benin City yesterday, Oshiomhole said his action was in line with the

Local Government Act. According to him “we are founded as a government on the principle of social democracy, accountability, transparency and above all, respect for the electorates. We depend on votes, we don’t depend on any rigging machine and we know for a fact that for us to attract the votes, government must function and it functions better when at various levels of government the three tiers of government complement the

other. “And with the state government and the local government working together, we are better able to deliver services to our people. However, it is now a matter of public secret that the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Councillors of Orhionmwan Local Government left the country allegedly to Italy all at the same time without anybody’s permission. “I only got to know of it when I

was watching news on TV and saw people protesting that the entire government was out of the country. I was concerned; I made some preliminary checks and found that there was some truth in it”, he said. The governor said “in line with the Local Government Act, when a local government official has misbehaved, we are obliged in law to set up an inquiry in order to give those who are accused of wrongdoing the opportunity to explain themselves”.

Group laments underdevelopment of Benue From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


body known as League of Voters in Nigeria (LVN) has lamented the poor development of Benue state by successive administrations and urged the people to discard primordial sentiments in making their choices in 2015. State coordinator of the League, Dr. Benjamin Bem Kokoiwen, who made the lamentation at the weekend in a statement, noted that the state is in dire need of a leader that would provide facilities like electricity supply, employment for the youths, attain self sufficiency in food production as well as create a favorable climate for industrialization to meet the standard quality for which it was known for in the past. “We are out to sensitize Benue community because it is increasingly becoming very clear that party platforms alone can no longer guarantee electoral victory for candidates of political parties in elections in the country. On this premise, we charge the people of the state not to be swayed by labels and personalities of political parties but develop the courage to demand from aspirants what they intend to offer if elected into power”. Kokoieen said.

Fayemi urges youths to embrace entrepreneurship skills for selfreliance


r Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State yesterday advised the youth, especially those who were unemployed, to embrace entrepreneurial skills that would make them to become self-reliant. The governor gave the advice in Ise-Ekiti at the closing ceremony of the Batch ``C’’ NYSC Orientation Programme in the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp. Fayemi said that the youth, particularly corps members, should take advantage of available training and skills development avenues that would make them productive. ``I urge you to take advantage of the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development Programme of the NYSC and prepare for your future. ``Resolve to be self-reliant because that will make you selfactualising,’’ he said. Fayemi urged the corps members to be dedicated and hardworking in their various host-communities by contributing positively to the communities’ development and leaving landmark achievements in the neighbourhoods The governor promised to reward outstanding corps members posted to the state. (NAN)



News Extra

Baraje’s PDP suffers setback in Bauchi

Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Barrister Ali Gulak (left), briefing journalists over the merger of New Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress, yesterday after his meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja.

By Lawrence Olaoye


he Abubakar Kawu Baraje’s led faction of the PDP has suffered a major setback as its leaders and members from Bauchi State have dumped the group and switched allegiance to the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. In a letter dated 19th November 2013 and signed by Hon. Mohammed Lawal Isa (Chairman), Comrade Ishaq Umar Kafi (Secretary), Alhaji Abubakar Doma (Youth Leader) and Hajiya Khadijia Baba Fika (Woman Leader), they said, “Now we are better informed. We wish to extend our unflinching loyalty and solidarity to you (Bamanga Tukur). We know that within this short period, you have introduced programmes aimed at rejuvenating the party towards success and victory in 2015.” The former nPDP members in Bauchi state said they were not unaware of the gesture which the present administration has extended to Bauchi State through the appointment of one of her illustrious sons, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed as the FCT Minister. “The State (Bauchi) has never had a kind-hearted, generous, pragmatic and astute leader of this kind at any other time before now. He has consistently and succinctly made it clear to us that he believes in Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the ingenuity you have brought to bear since your assumption as the National Chairman of our great party. According to them, they felt the sense of responsibility to reciprocate such gesture with decorum “as exhibited by this voluntary action of all of us to return to the mainstream”. The former rebel PDP members described the FCT Minister as somebody who believes in oneness of Bauchi State, stressing that Bauchi State has no reason to join any faction of the party. They stated that the FCT Minister has continued to preach that the entire Northeast should support the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP under the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. The erstwhile aggrieved PDP members advised the state governor, Alhaji Isa Yuguda, to address matters affecting the general wellbeing of the party, such as feeling of alienation and exclusion, so that those members who are on the fence could come back and contribute in repositioning the party for the great challenge ahead of 2015.

Photo: Joe Oroye

Private jets: Senate directs NAMA to suspend new charges regime By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Senate Committee on Aviation has directed the suspension of the new charges regime of $2,500 and $3,000 respectively placed on local and foreign registered private airline operators, who embark on local and foreign non scheduled flights in Nigeria. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma gave this directive Monday after a meeting to mediate in the current disagreement

between private airline operators and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) over the new charges regime. After listening to both the private airline operators and the Managing Director of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation directed that NAMA should suspend the new charges until after a stakeholders meeting to discuss the proposal. Uzodinma also said NAMA should immediately convene

a stakeholders meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Aviation, for the purpose of consulting with the operators and to adopt a levy that would be mutually acceptable to all parties. He said both parties should choose a date for the meeting, but asked that the new charges be suspended until after proper consultations at the stakeholders meeting. Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, the Director General of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh said the agency had introduced a

new pay-as-you-go charge regime in which foreign registered airline operators were expected to pay $3, 000, while their indigenous counterparts were levied $2,500 on each flight. He said his agency had never at any time forced the operators to pay in dollars, adding that, “They are also at liberty to pay in naira. Payment in dollars is at their liberty. The provisions of section 30 were being used in the past to collect levies. The charges would make them to ensure sanity”.

NYCN calls for cancellation of Anambra election By Albert Akota


ational Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Anambra state chapter, has called for the cancellation of the inconclusive Anambra guber election. The youth body also called for immediate resignation of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,

(INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, claiming that the election was marred with massive rigging, late arrival of materials without result sheets and harassment of voters by the security agents. Addressing the press during the protest, the state acting chairman of the council, Comrade Chibuzor Ekwenye said the election was a fraud perpetrated by the electoral

body while calling for the conduct of fresh election in the State. He lamented the action of the men of the Nigeria police force, for harassing those protesting against the election. “We came out to protest peacefully to protest the police were harassing us shooting tear gas and arrest some of our comrades just like the way they did to some women last

Tuesday. “But if you are protesting in support of the election the police will allow you, one wonders if the police that are been paid with tax payers money are for everybody or for the ruling party in Anambra state. “But because we have resolved to stop at nothing until this election is cancelled and our demands are met we will continue,” he said.

FG signs MOU with NAPPSA to improve healthcare delivery sector By Abbas Aminu Bamalli


ederal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA), aimed at improving the healthcare delivery sector in the country. The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who signed the MOU on behalf of the Federal Government said, the objectives of the MOU is to educate and training

of manpower in the health which will aggregate and translate into enhanced quality healthcare services delivery in Nigeria. He said technical committees was established to derive the MOUs have been involved in various activities geared towards the actualization of the ingredients of the MOU that are very vital for the development of the nation’s health sector. “It is expected that the MOU will provide a unique opportunity for information and expertise sharing in such areas as health education,

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Education, career and professional development, development of public health regulations and other health regulatory bodies”, the minister said. In view of the importance of the scope and content of the MOU, the Minister reiterated the ministry’s commitment to the partnership and collaboration in particular, saying that necessary mechanisms will be put in place to ensure the ministry derives maximum accruable benefits for all the parties concerned. According to him, the recent

improvement witnessed in the country’s health indices are pointers to the fact that the health reforms are yielding results and in years to come, the result will become more glaring. “It is also important to inform you that the Federal Government has been providing increasingly conducive environment for the promotion of public private partnership, saying, “It is therefore my desire that Nigerians in diaspora will key into the various identified bankable projects in the health sectors.



News Extra Tukur strikes deal with China on Infotech By Lawrence Olaoye


uawei, a leading global information and communication technology company, has expressed its preparedness to partner with Nigeria to further develop Information Technology in the country. This was made known in a statement by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who is currently in the Asia country on his tour of Chinese strategic institutions. According to him, Huawei’s Vice President, James Li said as a world leading telecommunication company, the company has a fair representation in Nigeria with a leading market share and a staff strength of 1, 600. According to him, almost all the GSM providers in Nigeria subscribe to its services, stressing that Huawei could easily provide solutions to any areas of deficit on telecommunications in Nigeria. He told the PDP Chairman that Huawei telecommunications has undertaken lots of social responsibilities in Nigeria, including training of more than 5,000 Nigerians on Information Technology, while offering support to more than 1000 orphans and widows in the country. Tukur in his response said time was ripe for Nigeria to start the building of a digital society to enable it measure up excellently in e-commerce, e-transport, e-banking, e-learning and other brands of telecommunications in general. The PDP Chairman said, “Since Africa lost out in the agricultural revolution and industrial revolution, it should rather be seen to have woken up to fully take advantage of the stage of Information Technology”. He called for a strong partnership between Nigeria and China in the development of Information Technology with Huawei in the driver’s seat.

Energy commission boss urges new technologies in power supply By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Director General of the Nigerian Energy Commission, Prof. Eli Jidere Bala yesterday said Nigeria can achieve sustainable energy and power supply if it evolves new technologies and techniques in transforming, transporting and distribution of electricity in the country. In a paper titled, “making

sustainable energy for all a reality” at a round table discussion organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), in Abuja, Prof. Bala said, “these new technologies are necessary for the transformation, transportation and distribution process across the value chain of electricity supply”. Represented by Mr. Okon Ekpeyong , the Energy

Commission boss said Nigerians consume less than 30 megawatts per person with the installed capacity of the current power generation estimated at 4,000 megawatts. He said the statistics indicate the Nigerians may not be able to light the bulbs as the efforts geared towards achieving sustainable power supply, unless steps are taken to ensure that the power reform programme

NHRC disowns statement on 2014 Ekiti governorship election By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


L-R: Outgoing Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Ambassador Okordion Vincent, Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nuruddeen Mohammed, during vice-president’s arrival to Brasilia for joint Bi-National Commission meeting, on Monday at Brasilia Airbase, in Brazil.

Passenger blames Ethiopian Airlines over N5.7m missing property By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


customer of Ethiopian airline, Mrs. Okonkwo Chioma Esther, has accused the airline operators of misplacing her baggage containing goods valued at N5.7 million when she boarded one of its Aircraft to Abuja from Addis Ababa. In a petition by her lawyer, Barr. Esther Uzoma, Chioma complained that she boarded the Ethiopian airline on the 2nd of July, 2013 and returned to Nigeria on the 6th of the same month but regrettably, discovered that her

two baggage were missing which, according to her was reported to the Property irregularity report (PIR) of the company. “On July 2013, one of the baggage was found and marked collected while the hand luggage of our client containing her vital/ expensive items valued at N5.7 million, was not found and marked outstanding”, the petition said. Chioma who also accused the airline operator of, “abject neglect and failure to attend to her complain”, noted that she was advised to observe mandatory 21 days in accordance with the airline

rules, “after which noting was done to resolve the problems.” “We therefore request that your Airline as a matter of urgency looks into this matter in line with your policy and ensure that justice is done. It is our demand that your airline makes haste to return our client’s baggage with the content intact or compensate her adequately in the event of loss”, she said. When contacted, Abuja manager of the Airline, Mr. Mulu Geta, could not react to the allegation, he however confirmed that he received the petition.

SURE-P empowers youth to be trainers in Niger From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


ubsidy Reinvestment Programme in Niger state has empowered 24 youths from 24 local government areas in the state, after a two weeks extensive training at Citizen and Leadership centre in Jos. The state chairman of SURE-P, Alhaji Mamman Aliyu who

succeeds. Earlier in his address, the Director General of the Institute, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN) said, the Institute has helped in the development of expertise in many fields, adding that, “We have developed a lot of expertise in many fields, which confer on us the mantra and status of the leading law research institute in the country.”

disclosed this at Labour house, said the beneficiaries were given N150, 000 each to enable them settle for their various skills acquired during their training. Mamman said the beneficiaries were trained in various skills acquisition programme, which include block and interlock making, shoes making, photography and video

coverage and dying. He revealed that the participants that do well in their businesses would be invited for further training in the future assuring them of government’s support. The chairman urged them to utilize the funds judiciously to the benefit of humanity and properly put in to use what they learnt.

Responding on-behalf of the beneficiaries, a team leader, Ephram Isaac Chado promised not to disappoint them as the funds would be channeled accordingly and thanked the Federal government for the initiative, saying the gesture will go a long way in providing job opportunity for the teaming youths in the state.

he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday said it has received several inquiries from human rights stakeholders and partners of the Commission over a story published in some national dailies last week, warning politicians in Ekiti State against violence, ahead of the 2014 governorship elections. The story captioned “Ekiti: NHRC warns politicians against violence” was reportedly contained in a statement signed by the NHRC Deputy National Coordinator Mr. Tayo Adegbuyi and Assistant Secretary General Mrs. Moyo Arufa. A statement by the Director, Public Affairs & Communication of the coomission, Muhammad Nasir Ladan said both the signatories to the statement and their designations are not on the nominal role of the NHRC and therefore cannot speak on behalf of the commission. “Without going into the merits of the statement, NHRC wishes to state categorically that the statement on 2014 Ekiti Elections was not issued by the Commission. The Commission has a standard procedure for making public comments on human rights issues and the statement in issue has clearly not conformed to those standards”, Ladan said. According to the statement, “Investigations by the Commission at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) reveals that there is no company or NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) registered as Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC). “The NHRC therefore calls on Mr. Adegbuyi and other officials of the organization that calls itself the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) to desist forthwith from using the name and acronym of the National Human Rights Commission, which is the only National Human Rights Institution in Nigeria.

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