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Retreat: Sule Lamido locks out commissioners, others for lateness

Vol. 8 No. 5

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jimadal Ula 7, 1433 AH




14 perish in auto crash on KadunaAbuja highway >>PAGE 2

Water scarcity Ilorin varsity lecturer’s husband hits Jos, environs commits suicide >>PAGE 4

Truck kills varsity student, police shoot another

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N10bn sports devt fund stucked in lottery

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Again, NECO records mass failure in SSCE From Iliya Garba, Minna


or the second time running under a year, candidates who sat for the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by the National

Examinations Council (NECO) have recorded mass failure. In September last year, NECO announced that less than 25% of the 1,160,561 candidates that sat for the June/July SSCE passed at credit level.

Releasing the results of the SSCE conducted by NECO in November/December 2011 yesterday in Minna, Niger state, Registrar/Chief Executive of the Council, Professor Promise Okpala said a breakdown of the result

showed that 110,724 candidates registered for English Language while 104,187 eventually sat for it. Out of the number, he said 15,669 or 14.15 per cent recorded pass while 75,355 or 68.06 per cent failed.

According to Professor Okpala, in Mathematics, of the 110,590 that registered, 101,792 sat for the paper with 45,547 or 41.19 per cent having credit and above while 10,328 or 9.34 per cent Contd on Page 2

Jonathan illegally spent N114bnin eight months, say Reps By Lawrence Olaoye

P L-R: Wife of Nelson Mandela and founder of New Faces New Voices Foundation, Dr. Graca Machel, World Bank Director in Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie Nelly, and Country Representative of United Nations Women, Dr. Grace Ongile, during the meeting on partnership between New Faces New Voices and the United Nations Women, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa


resident Goodluck Jonathan was yesterday accused of illegally spending N114 billion from the federation’s stabilization fund. This allegation made at the House of Representatives came barely 24 hours after the House threatened to act against the President’s penchant for obtaining foreign loans which has lately hiked the nation’s debt profile. Presenting a motion on the floor of the green chamber Contd on Page 2

























Forgery allegation: Resign now, ACN tells Suswam, Page 39

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Dankwambo loses 4-year-old daughter

Chief Imam, Gombe Central Mosque, Khadi Abdullahi Maikano, leading the funeral prayer for late Hajara Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the daughter of Gombe state governor. Third from left is Governor Dankwambo, and other prominent personalities at the funeral prayer which took place at the emir’s palace, yesterday in Gombe.

From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


ombe state Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, yesterday loss his fouryear-old daughter Hajara who died after a brief innless. A statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Press Affairs in the Gombe Government House, Alhaji Adamu Musa Kumo, said Hajara Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo died in the morning hours of 28 March, 2012 after a brief illness. She was thereafter buried according to Islamic rites after a funeral prayer that was held at the palace of the Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar Usman led by the Gombe Central Mosque, Chief Imam, Khadi Abdullahi Maikano.

Explosions rock Damagum town in Yobe

How I withdrew N282m for L ex-gov Nyame - Witness By Lambert Tyem


n accountant with the Rural Electrification Board, Jalingo, Taraba state, Mr. Abdulrahman Mohammed, who is a key witness in the prosecution of the former governor of Taraba state, Rev. Jolly Nyame, yesterday told Justice Adebunkola Banjoko of Abuja High Court of how 20 Zenith Bank Plc cheques valued over N282 million were issued and the money withdrawn and given to

the ex-governor in Abuja. The ex-governor who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is facing a 41-count charge of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and gratification, totaling N1, 360,000,000. At the resumed hearing of the case, Mr. Mohammed, while testifying, said between 2003 and 2007, he was the accountant, Taraba State Liaison Office, Abuja, where he was in charge of the accounts department.

According to Wilson Uwujaren Ag. Head, Media & Publicity of EFCC, "Led in examination by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob, Mohammed said any time the exgovernor is in Abuja, the permanent secretary, Government House, Jalingo will call the permanent secretary, Liaison Office, Abuja, Mr. Japheth Wubon and instruct him to go to the bank and withdraw money for the governor. "Mohammed said that Mr. Wubon would in turn call on him to prepare a Zenith Bank cheque

which he would later cash and take the money to the former governor at the lodge at T Y Danjuma Street, Abuja. "He said he is always accompanied on the assignment with at least two police escorts and a driver to the bank and to the lodge. He further told the court that the money which is either received by the governor or a steward is always never receipted neither is any voucher signed by the governor each time he receives money from him”.

Senate queries police over vehicle registration By Richard Ihediwa


he Senate yesterday declared as illegal, the production and sale of Enhanced Central Motor Registration (ECMR) by the Nigeria Police saying the police erred by not carrying other stakeholders including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) along. Members of the Senator Awaisu Kuta led Senate Committee on Federal Character, at a hearing yesterday frowned at the fresh plan by the police to embark on another registration

which they said will be at another expense to Nigerians. The Police and the FRSC had earlier in the hearing, disagreed over which agency was statutorily empowered to handle the registration with the FRSC presenting documents to show that the exercise by the police had since been faulted and declared illegal by the Joint Task force that met on the matter. The atmosphere became charged when the representative of the Inspector General of Police, a Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of ICT, Mr. Abdul-Rahan

Akano averred that the FRSC has no powers to register vehicles adding that the National Road Traffic Regulations, NRTR 2004 empowered the Motor Licensing Authority, MLA to do so. But in a quick reaction, FRSC Corps Marshall, Osita Chidoka told the committee that ECMR programme of the police had been faulted and certified illegal by the Joint Task force that met separately at Kano and Nasarawa states. Chidoka, who read the communiqué of the JTF to the senators, said the Act establishing the FRSC is very clear on the issue

of the production of number plates and the compilation of data for it by the commission. "At the 104th meeting of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) in 2003 in Nasarawa state, we resolved there that road taxes are the responsibility of the states and also highlight that the ECMR are unreceipted by the Police. "The meeting agreed that the function of keeping motor vehicle records is kept statutorily by the FRSC, therefore, the ECMR, as currently being handled is illegal and unconstitutional, the JTB also resolved”, he said.

FG approves N27bn for fertiliser procurement By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a growth enhancement support of N27 billion for agriculture which will be used to procure fertilisers for Nigerian farmers. The council decided that Federal Government and states

would contribute half of the amount each. Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said government was ready to reform the fertiliser distribution process in such a way that the materials down to the real farmers in the rural areas rather than 'political farmers' who hijack

them and sell to poor farmers. “Agriculture employs 70 percent of population most of whom are really poor. Subsidy is supposed to be for the poor not for the rich. In this year, the FG growth enhancement support will be N13.5 billion for fertilizer and the states will be N13.5 billion. So, we are talking about N27 billion. Government will continue to

subsidise but for the poor," the minister said. The council also approved what is called electronic wallet. An electronic wallet which is part of the growth enhancement support system, is one where the farmers will get allocation for seeds and fertilisers by their mobile phones without any intermediary within them.

oud explosions were heard yesterday in Damagum township in Funne local government area of Yobe state at about 7pm. The situation created fear and confusion in the area. A security source in Damaturu, capital of Yobe state told newsmen that the heard loud explosions as if bombs were going off. “We have just received a report from the area that explosions were heard, and we are working to cross check and verify the report,” said the source. As at the time of filing this report there was no formal clarification from the Yobe state Police Command or the state government.

I’ve come to teach politics, Bamanga declares By Lawrence Olaoye


he newly elected national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday declared that his mission in the party was to teach some politicians the real essence of politics and give direction to the ruling party. Tukur, who after undertaking a facility tour of PDP subsidiaries including the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI); Legacy House and the party’s headquarters’ site, told newsmen that most politicians do not really appreciate the essence of the game by limiting political parties only to a pedestal to win elections and negotiate appointments. He said: “Political party is not only a platform to negotiate appointments; the main essence of politics is for the welfare of the people. It is a platform to create and distribute wealth; to create employment and make life better for the people.”



Varsity lecturer’s hubby Boko Haram: Borno police announce commits suicide in Ilorin N1m reward for informants … as gunmen kill cop From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


r. Olubunmi Olademo, husband to one Prof. Oyeronke Olademo of Department of Religious Studies, University of Ilorin, hanged himself on Tuesday night. Sources at the University of Ilorin who spoke to journalists under anonymity disclosed that Mr. Olademo, who was a businessman, had requested for some money from his wife but that his wife refused to give him the money. It disclosed further that, the deceased also wrote a suicide letter to his wife, which was seen by one of his children and later seen by his wife on Tuesday that he would commit suicide if the money was not released. Our correspondent gathered

that on Tuesday night, the deceased’s wife went to the Tanke Police Station, F’ Division to complain that her husband was missing and all efforts to reach him were abortive until one of his children informed her that he had gone to their uncompleted house. It was further learnt that at about 7:30 am yesterday, the lifeless body of the deceased was found dangling on a tree beside their uncompleted house from where the security officers removed him and deposited his corpse at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH). A reliable source at the State Security Service (SSS), disclosed to journalists that the deceased wife had been arrested as the prime suspect and latter released on bail.

NEC approves 57 irrigation sites, to train 1000 graduate farmers By Jamila Nuhu Musa


inister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe disclosed yesterday that the National Economic Council, (NEC), has approved the development of 57 irrigation sites across the country, while about 82,000 hectares of land will be used for the cultivation of rice, sugarcane, vegetables and other cereal crops. She said through the project, Nigeria expects a tonnage of 3m per annum with the creation of about 2million jobs across the country, adding that the aim is to address youth unemployment and develop human capacity. She further disclosed, the Ministry of Water Resources would train 1000 youths in the pilot scheme for young farmers with a view to closing the gap from ageing farmers in the country. According to her, a Gurara project site of about 6000 hectares

of land has therefore been earmarked for irrigation purposes, of which 700 hectares have been developed for the purpose of training the young farmers. Ochekpe said a visit is being planned by the ministry’s department of irrigation and drainage to Gurara within the week together with the FCT Administration which is also engaged in the back- to- farm project. The minister stated however, that the Gurara project is not just for food production but the training of youths in fish farming and livestock production. She added, “Other areas that we intend to introduce the graduate farmer’s scheme are the Bakolori dam in Zamfara state, Oyo state and the lower Anambra irrigation in Anambra state. We hope that through this programme, thousands of youths and other young persons would be trained in modern agricultural practices”.

Senate approves 3 new RMAFC commissioners By Ali Alkali


he Senate has approved recommendations for the appointments of three new commissioners of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) after considering the report of the Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation on the screening of the three nominees, yesterday. They are Rev. Ajibola E. Fagboyegun (Ondo state), Dr. Rafiq Olayiwola Ogunbambi (Lagos state) and Alhaji Bello Usman Maitambari (Kebbi state). Rev. Fagboyegun was confirmed for reappointment while Dr. Ogunbambi and Alhaji Maitambari were for fresh appointments. The report of the committee

was earlier presented to the Senate on Wednesday, March 14 , 2012. Moving for the adoption of the report, Chairman, Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Senator Barnabas Gemade (PDP Benue), said the committee screened the three nominees according to legislative practice, adding that their resumes showed that they are right for the job. “They have all met the requirement of the Code of Conduct Bureau and were all cleared by the Nigerian police and department of States Security Service. And there was neither petition from the public nor any adverse comment from any of the nine distinguished senators representing their states in the Senate,” said Gemade.

From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


n what appears to be its desperate effort to quell the rising spate of the violence by the Boko Haram sect, the Borno state Police Command yesterday announced a handsome reward of N1 million to any individual who offers useful information that can lead to arrests or recovery of arms and ammunition. Spokesman of the command Mr. Samuel Tizhe in a statement highlighted the categories of the rewards which comprised of N500, 000 only for useful information that will lead to the arrest of the hoodlums, with another N500, 000 for information on where arms and ammunition could be recovered. It added that all information given to the police would be treated with utmost confidentiality, noting that ensuring peace and

tranquility in the state was the responsibility for all and sundry, regardless of ethnic, religious or geographical affiliations. According to the statement, anyone willing to offer the information should report directly to the commissioner of police or call mobile phone number 07033101616. Meanwhile, a market in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, was shut down yesterday after three gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect gunned down a police inspector. Witnesses told newsmen that the late inspector, whose identity could not be ascertained as at press time was killed at the Gamboru market, where he went for shopping around 4.00pm. The deceased, who was attached to the “C” OPS

department of the state police command, was said to be in mufti when he was shot to death. It was gathered that the assailants trailed the policeman as they walked into the market disguised as buyers and subsequently blocked him when trying to enter a shop. He died on the spot, while the attackers fired shots into the air thereby causing pandemonium in the market as traders abandoned their shops and deserted the area. Operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF), who arrived the spot after the assailants fled, took away the corpse of the policeman. Police spokesman, Mr. Samuel Tizhe confirmed the incident, saying nobody was arrested yet in connection with the killing.

L-R: Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina, and Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafiya, discussing during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Water scarcity hits Jos, environs From Bayo Alabira, Jos


ater scarcity has hit Jos, the Plateau state capital and its environs, as residents have to struggle hard to get it for domestic use. Our correspondent who went round some areas within the metropolis, saw residents struggling to grab water vendors right at the boreholes to buy a cartful of ten Jerry cans or risk not getting the commodity at all.

Our correspondent discovered that ten cans of water sold at N600 to N700 respectively, instead of N200 before the scarcity. According to findings, a can which sold at N20 now sells between N60 and N70. Some residents told our correspondent that for two days they had not seen a drop of water to buy, and as a result, could not flush toilets or wash pots and other utensils as well as take baths. Our correspondent gathered

that there was a breakdown of equipment at Lamingo Dam, thereby cutting off water from areas like Bauchi Road, Angwan Roggo, Angwan Rimi, Rikkos, Nassarawa, Tinna Junction and Tudun Wada respectively. All efforts to reach the Commissioner for Water Resources failed, but reliable sources from the Ministry told our correspondent that maintenance work was taking place at the site to ensure that the present water scarcity was over.

Retreat: Lamido locks out commissioners, SAs, permsecs for lateness From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


o fewer than 160 top government functionaries, including 11 commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Permanent Secretaries and directors were locked out from a retreat by the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido. The Governor had vowed to attend the 3-day long capacity building retreat organized by the

office of the Secretary to the State Government, which was in its second day. Trouble started when the Governor arrived the venue at 9 am only to find 40 out of over 200 participants present at the venue. Out of anger, he ordered that no other person would be admitted into the hall. Peoples Daily observed that only the Commissioners of Rural Infrastructure, Alhaji Jinjiri Dutse, commissioner for Works and

Transport, Alhaji Baba Aliyu Santali, commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Hadiza Abdulwahab, Commissioner for Agric, Alhaji Rabiu Isa and commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Nasuru Umar Roni were among the early arrivals before the governor’s axe. Lamido told journalists that he ordered the lockout because the top government officers demonstrated a sheer lack of concern for effort of the government to empower them.



Katsina police arrest suspected cop killers From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


atsina Police Command has disclosed that a nineman armed robbery gang which confessed to the killing of a police inspector, Muhammad Inuwa in Faskari local government area of Katsina state has been arrested. The command’s spokesman,

ASP Muhammad Shehu Koko who made the disclosure to newsmen yesterday in Katsina, noted that the robbery gang was arrested by the police in Faskari area during a successful operation. He added that the gang that have been terrorizing the residents of Faskari local government and neighbouring Zamfara state,had confessed to committing the crime

and responsibility for terrorizing the area. Koko said items recovered from the dare-devil robbers included dane guns, knives, sticks and charms, adding that the culprits were transferred to the state CID for further interrogation after which they would be prosecuted in a court of law. Peoples Daily recall that the late Inspector Inuwa was

killedabout two months ago by suspected armed robbers who also cut parts of his body including his left leg. Similarly, the police spokesman disclosed that some suspected armedrobbers, Monday killed a forestry officer working with Faskari localgovernment area, Alhaji Abdulkadir Sani. He said investigation on the killing has commenced.

L-R: Chairman, Expert Review Committee (ERC) on Polio, Prof. Oyewade Tomori, Executive Director/Chief Executive, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, and Emir of Argungu/Vice Chairman, National Technology Leadership Coalition (NTLC), Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed Mera, during the 23rd ERC meeting on polio, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Polio: FG declares emergency By A’isha Biola Raji, Abuja & Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he wild polio virus has reached the stage of emergency as Nigeria and Pakistan are yet to exit the menace of the virus thereby posing as global threat. The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad, declared this yesterday in Abuja at the 23rd Expert Review Committee (ERC)

meeting which is aimed at taking stock of polio immunisation activities. He stated that, there was need to move from the emergency phase to a polio free nation as a matter of urgency. Dr. Ado said, “the core agenda of this ERC is to formally brief members on the revised emergency plan and seek it ratification by the ERC.” He said, in the bid to eradicate polio, the Federal Government has inaugurated a task force, increased domestic funding from $13million

to $30million for year 2012 and 2013 and has also drafted Nigeria’s Revised Polio Emergency Plan (rNPEP) aimed at providing innovations. According to him, rNPEP is to focus on the improvement of campaign management and accountability. “There is need for a change which must be independent and the only change that will be appreciated is when there is no polio virus in Nigeria,” Ado maintained. In a related development, at least 12 LGAs in Benue state are

believed to stand risk of wild polio outbreak. The local government areas include: Ado, Vandeikya, GwerEast, Makurdi, Ukum, Logo, Guma, Kwande, Buruku, Oju, Ohimini and Katsina-Ala. Chairman, Benue State Immunisation Team, Dr. Joseph Kumba who raised this fear during a courtesy call on the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Elizabeth Allagh, lamented that high number of children in the aforementioned LGAs were not immunised during the recently concluded house to house immunisation exercise due to ignorance on the part of their parents.

Chaos in Benue as truck kills BSU CBN corrects Foreign police shoot another Reserves figure to $35.2bn student, student who spoke to our reporter From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi By Aminu Imam, with agency report


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has corrected its figure for Nigeria's total foreign exchange reserves released yesterday, to $35.233 billion from an earlier estimate of $37.534 billion published on March 22. It also corrected its figure for March 19 to $35.076 billion,

from an earlier estimate of $34.957 billion, effectively erasing the apparent 7 percent jump seen between the two days. The figure was still up from the $34.827 billion registered a year earlier, the data showed. Despite record high oil prices, Nigeria has failed to build up foreign exchange reserves in recent years as government spending has been high.


iot broke out yesterday in Makurdi, Benue state capital as students of the Benue State University held motorists hostage for more than 4 hours blocking the Makurdi-Gboko highway as a result of the death of one of them reportedly killed by a truck. As at the time of filing this report, the university authorities were still making frantic efforts to ascertain the identity of the university but a Attah Ede, a

said the deceased was a final year student of Economics. Ede also said the student in an attempt to cross road from the second campus axis of the university was knocked down by the truck which was on speed. The driver was said to have quickly taken refuge in an undisclosed destination. Meanwhile, in protest, the students set bonfires preventing vehicular movement, insisting that the driver must be given to them.

Kwara Assembly okays N335m bank loan for official cars From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state House of Assembly has granted the request of the state government to seek N335 million loan from Guaranty Trust bank(GTB) and Fidelity Bank to purchase more monetized vehicles for political office holders in the state. The approval was sequel to a request letter sent to the House of Assembly by the state governor, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed. In the breakdown of the loan, Ahmed stated that N200 million would be secured from the Fidelity Bank while the remaining N135 million would be obtained from the Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). The governor’s latest request to source for more loan prompted the House to invite the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ademola Banu for further clarification. While responding to questions, the Commissioner explained that the loan has been captured in the year 2012 budget arguing that there were other appointed political office holders who needed to be allocated vehicles for the effective running of their offices. The majority leader of the House, Dr. Abraham Ashaolu moved the motion for the approval, seconded by Hon. Raliat Aremu Adifa.

Nigeria loses N3.7bn to foreign airlines’ sharp practices - Senate By Ali Alkali


he Senate yesterday, blamed aviation regulatory agencies for not doing enough to check the exploitative and fraudulent activities of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria. It mandated the Senate Committee on Aviation to “investigate all issue relating to compliance or non-compliance with relevant aviation laws and all unwholesome activities by foreign airline and the regulatory agency which undermine the growth of the aviation industry in Nigeria.” The Senate is worried that foreign airlines charge arbitrary fees on Nigerian travelers over and above rates charged by them on routes of same or equal distance from other distances outside Nigeria to different parts of the world. Debating a motion on “Violation of Aviation Laws and Practice by Foreign Airlines in Nigeria” sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma (PDP Imo West) and 23 others; the legislators narrated their bad experiences with foreign airlines, especially British Airways. The Senate is also worried that Nigeria is losing the chance of becoming “the regional business hub” because most passengers now travel to London through Accra, Ghana, due to the exploitative practices of the foreign airlines flying Nigerian route.



Onabanjo Varsity certificates for cash, allege alumni From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


he National Alumni Association of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state yesterday alleged that Masters and other degree certificates of the institution are now available to individuals at a price. The old students of the

university made the allegation at the end of the 27th Executive Council meeting in Abeokuta, through a communiqué issued alleging that the certificates are now for sale at N500,000 and N100,000 respectively. Signed by the association's president, Moruf Oladejo and Secretary, Femi Joseph, the communique however called on the state government as a matter of

urgency, to release the white paper on report of the 2011 visitation panel The communiqué reads, "That MBA and degree certificates are sold for N500,000 and N100,000, you don't need to be a student to benefit", adding that selective promotion of staff has become order of the day in the university. The Alumnus equally called on the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to immediately

constitute a befitting governing council of people of proven integrity that would enjoy the respect and confidence of staff, students and other stakeholders in the university community. Other positions in the communiqué include: "that government should provide adequate funds for the university and create an enabling environment for the redress of injustices in the system".

Wamakko presents 21 commissioner nominees to Assembly From Sadeeq Aliyu, Sokoto


overnor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto state has presented the list of 21 commissioners to the state Assembly for confirmation. All the 17 former commissioners made the list with four additional ones including the former Director General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Malam Nasiru Danladi Bako. In the letter signed by the governor, he said the nominees were for consideration and subsequent confirmation to serve as members of the state executive council in line with section 192 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended. He said the nomination was necessitated by the need to galvanize the executive into fast execution of laudable policies and

R-L: Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, with Central Bank Deputy Governor, Mr. Tunde Lemo, during Kehinde Sofola’s 5th Year Memorial Luncheon on Tuesday in Lagos.

Soyinka: Too many schools destroy education From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


he Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has identified proliferation of tertiary schools in the country as the cause of poor academic standards. Soyinka, who spoke as a discussant at the Ogun state Investment Forum held in

Abeokuta, the state capital, therefore called on government and other stakeholders in the education sector to come up with genuine intention of developing the sector by downplaying profit. He also identified true federalism as well as resource control by states as a major panacea for economic development, maintaining that

unless there was true federalism, there could never be even development in the country. Soyinka who commended the vision of the Ogun state government in organising the forum, stated that such initiative could not be sustained with the present system of government where the Federal Government continues to usurp the power of the states.

UK provides N61bn support for Nigeria’s devt agenda By Muhammad Sada


inister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman and the United Kingdom's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Stephen O'Brien, have announced the approval of six new UK government funded development programmes for Nigeria worth £246m (approximately N61.5bn). The announcement followed a meeting between the two ministers in Abuja during which they discussed the partnership between the two countries in

tackling poverty, enhancing social stability as well as supporting Nigeria's development agenda. Announcing UK’s support for the new programmes, Mr. O’Brien said, “I’m delighted to announce these six new programmes which will make a difference to some of Nigeria's poorest people. The UK government remains fully committed to supporting development in Nigeria and these new programmes contributes to our on-going scale up of UK development assistance here. We will continue to work closely with

the Nigerian government and other partners to ensure that British support contributes to Nigeria achieving the Millennium Development Goals". Expressing his delight on behalf of Nigerian government over the new investments, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, who signed the agreements for the Nigerian government, said"the six new programmes will provide significant support in the areas of girl child education, infrastructure, peace building, agriculture, women's empowerment and increased support to the Nigerian government's 'Transformation Agenda' and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals".

Further speaking, he said there was need to decentralise Nigeria's administration by allowing states to control their own resources for development. Soyinka, said he has been personally providing basic amenities like water, light among others to communities and must be emulated by state governments in the country.

UniAbuja’s Imam criticises Nigeria’s democracy From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Chief Imam of the University of Abuja, Dr. Taofiq Adesina AbdulAzeez, has noted that the problem of Nigeria's democracy has to do with the teleguided wishes of acclaimed majority without positive results. Dr. AbdulAzeez who made this submission while speaking at the second quarterly lecture of the University of Ilorin Community, entiled "Does Democracy have any Place in Islam?", noted that a system that relies solely on the views of an ignorant or manipulated majority cannot be said to be ideal. He explained that a perfect model of governance was that of a system which considers man as the vicegerent of God who was bound to live by His teachings adding that Islam does not wish that wrong views should prevail even if it is held by the majority but rather accommodates the view of the minority when it is right on the basis of superior arguments and not popular opinion. "Our research in any discipline is now limited to a fraction of the knowledge we are studying and the more you advance, the more you are restricted to a tiny aspect of a broader aspect of knowledge. Nowadays, our research is carried out in order to know more and more about less and less until we know nothing about anything and everything”. The important thing for now, he noted, was not for people to be seeking positions of authority or political appointments but for them to appreciate such privileges in whatever capacity they are as a trust which we shall all be questioned on the Day of Judgment". He, however charged Muslims to lean towards unity through intellectual appreciation of "our" differences for us to be able to combat what he termed "ideological discursive formations" where the ruling class dictates and defines the agenda of discourse.

New Police uniform for special assignments, says Edo CP From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Edo state Police Commissioner, Mr. Olayinka Babtunde Balogun, yesterday told senior officers in the command not to lose sight over the new police uniform adding that the uniform will be worn by officers on special assignments to complement existing uniforms currently in use. Balogun, who assumed duty few days ago, dropped the hint during his maiden interactive session with the press at police officers mess, foreclosed any attempt by the police hierarchy to face-out any other

police uniforms or dress codes. “It’s an addition to what we have. It’s not every policeman that will wear it. It’s for special kits and it’s for special assignments. Soon a decision will be taken on it,” he said. He equally appealed to members to persevere with the police because the ruthless measures that he has adopted in fighting crimes may not be palatable with popular expectation. He said, within the next three days, three hotlines would be made available to the various police divisions and stations which members of the public can access and use promptly for better service.





Court okays SERAP demand for fuel subsidy payment documents From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Federal High court sitting in Ikeja, presided over by Justice Steven Adah, yesterday granted SocioEconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), approval to compel the federal government to disclose information and documents on the spending on fuel subsidy for 2011. The order which was granted by the judge on Thursday March 22, 2012, followed the hearing of argument from SERAP’s Staff Attorney, Ms Oyindamola Musa on the application for leave for an order of mandamus against the governor of the CentralBank of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi Lamido, and the Attorney-General of the Federation,Mohammed Adoke. Justice Adah also granted SERAP the leave to serve processes on the two respondents,and adjourned the case to April 4, 2012 for hearing of argument on why the respondents should not be compelled to disclose details and documents relating to the spending on fuel subsidy for 2011. The respondents are expected to have filed and served their replies and served same on the

applicant before the date. The suit number FHC/IK/CS/ 23//2012 filed at the Federal High Court Ikeja followed a Freedom of Information request by SERAP to Mr. Sanusi dated January 15, 2012. The motion exparte was brought pursuant to section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, and Order 34 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, and signed by the organization’s Staff Attorney Chinyere Nwafor. The plaintiff is arguing that under the FOI Act, it has the right to request for or gain access to information which is in the

custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution. The information being sought relates to the spending on fuel ‘subsidy’ in 2011 and in particular the authorization of the sum of N1.26 trillion paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The groups said that, “Since the 1st Defendant has failed to provide the information requested by the Plaintiffs, within the time limit stipulated by the FOI Act, it is therefore submitted that he has, by that very fact, refused to give the Plaintiffs access to the information requested for. “Furthermore, the power or discretion to refuse to give access

to information requested for cannot be exercised in vacuo. Such a power or discretion must be provided for by the FOI Act itself.” SERAP therefore is seeking for, “Declaration that the issuance and release of the sum of N1.26 trillion above the initial sum of N250 billion allocated for fuel subsidy for 2011 without authorization by an Act of the National Assembly to wit; a Supplementary Appropriation Act, is a breach of section 80(2), (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as such is unlawful and unconstitutional”.

Katsina sets up committee to probe gov’s office fire From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


atsina State Government has set-up a committee to investigate a recent fire incidence that razed the entire office of the State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema where books and vital documents were burnt to ashes. Inaugurating the committee, yesterday in Katsina, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Muntari Ibrahim noted that the governor’s office was a public property and as such, citizens of

the state deserve to know the circumstance surrounding the fire outbreak. He stated that the terms of reference of the committee include,to the determine the immediate and remote cause of the fire incident, to compile a comprehensive list of losses and retrievals from the inferno. The committee which has two weeks to submit its report to government, was also given the task of proffering solutions against future occurrence there as well as all other government offices across

the state. The committee has the state solicitor-general and permanent secretary of justice ministry, Alhaji Hamza Yusuf as chairman. Other members of the committee include representatives of the office of the state head of service, state police commissioner and Director of the State Security Service. Other members of the committee are the director of the state fire service while a director in the governor’s office, Alhaji Falalu Bawale would serve as secretary of the committee.

Gombe to spend N600m on rural electricity From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


he Gombe state government is to spend over N600 million on the rural electrification projects cross the state. Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo disclosed this during the flag-off of over N37 million electrification project at Barunde east in Akko local government area of the state. He said, power supply was key to socio-economic development of any society, hence his administration’s priority to the electrification of rural areas, adding that the administration purchased 50 transformers at the cost of over N154 million Naira and distributed them to rural areas in the state. Dankwambo added that government had concluded agreement to spend over N153 million for the electrification of 55 communities which required urgent government intervention. The Governor also said that over N152 million would be spent on the provision of electricity to the new Military cantonment, Desheru, Bakwana, Jarori, Feshingo, Shuwari, Sabon Gari Zambuk and Dunbe.



Fake drug import lands businessman in prison From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ustice Okechukwu Okeke of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, yesterday ordered a businessman, Nnamdi Ogunna to be remanded in prison custody for allegedly importing fake Carveta 100 tablets into Nigeria from China. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), had arraigned the businessman before Justice Okeke on a twocount charge. The accused (Ogunna), whose address was given as No 5, Falolu Street, Aguda, Surulere, was alleged to have committed the offence on December 15, 2010. He was arrested on the same day at the Murtala Mohammed L-R: Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, presenting national distinction/merit award to Miss Nwigbo Kanayo Uduani, during the 60th annual West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) meeting, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Court orders Dokpesi to pay Fidelity Bank N7.5 billion

From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Fedeal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, on Tuesday entered a N7.5 billion judgment against Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the owner of Daar Communications Limited, operators of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM over a N7.5billion debt. The judge in his judgement, held that the bank is entitled to judgment against the defendant.

Justice Idris said the claims by the plaintiff relate principally to a simple uncontested, liquidated monetary claim and the claim for interest based on the former agreement by the parties. He said the matter appears uncontentious and suitable for judgment under the procedure and entered judgment in favour of Fidelity Bank against chief Dokpesi in terms of the writs of summon filed by the bank. Fidelity Bank had through its counsel, Joseph Nwobike, filed a bankruptcy suit against Dokpesi

for his alleged inability to pay the N7.524billion loan availed to Daar Communications in 2009 to part finance its daily operations and to enable it broadcast the FIFA Under-17 World Cup hosted by the country. Fidelity bank also in a bankruptcy suit, prayed the court to among other things declare the businessman bankrupt over his alleged inability to repay some facilities, estimated at about N7.5 billion it offered Daar Communications in 2009 to part-finance its daily operations.

Family at war over cash donations for ‘The Boy’ burial From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he family of the late 72year-old Pa Emmanuel Olawale Olaseinde, who was crushed to death by a truck at Apata-Ganga area of Ibadan, have been at war as cash donations received as compensation and gifts for his burial have led to a major faceoff. It will be recalled that Pa Olaseinde, who was employed to assist students of IMG Primary School and Queens’ School, Apata, to cross the ever-busy BCGA axis of the Ibadan-Abeokuta road, was crushed by a DAF truck with registration number Osun XB 963 WWD while trying to rescue a female pupil from being crushed by the truck. It was gathered that the company that owned the truck reportedly gave the sum of N100, 000 for the burial arrangement of the old man, while teachers at both the IMG and Queens’ School also contributed undisclosed amounts of money to assist the deceased’s family. A source revealed that the

cash gifts were allegedly collected on behalf of the deceased’s family by a distant relative (name withheld), who acted as the Chief Mourner for the burial arrangement with the expectation that the money would be used to organise a befitting burial for Pa Olaseinde. But the Chief Mourner, it was further learnt, who also resides in the Apata-Ganga community, did not disclose to any member of the Olaseinde’s family, including the deceased’s wife and children, that any money was collected for the burial arrangement. However, few days after the burial ceremony, which took place at the St. Michael African Church Dogo, Apata, last week Tuesday, the cat was let out of the bag as other family members were shocked to know about the donations. It was further revealed that when they confronted the Chief Mourner and asked him to produced the cash donations, he first denied ever collecting any money on behalf of the family, but when overwhelming evidences

were produced to support the claim, he later admitted collecting the money, but added that he had misplaced it. This led to a serious face-off among the family members and it took the intervention of the priest in charge of the St. Michael African Church before the crisis could be resolved last Sunday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of the family stated that the Chief Mourner had been mandated to produce the cash donations he received within the next three days.

Wives of traditional rulers in Nasarawa to fight forceful marriage From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


ives of traditional rulers in Nasarawa state, have vowed to fight against forceful marriages in the society, among other ills, while also stating their resolve to help their husbands in running the affairs of their communities. Hajiya Maryam Isa, wife of the emir of Lafia, Alhaji Isa Mustapha Agwai I, who was represented by Hajiya Hauwa Aliyu Ogah, wife of the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Ahmadu Aliyu Ogah, made this known in an address delivered when members of the forum paid a courtesy visit on Hajiya Salamatu Al-makura, wife of governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura and Nasarawa state first lady. Hajiya Maryam stated that though their task will not be easy, they are however determined to


he Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and his wife, Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, have appealed to all Nigerians not to truncate the nation’s democracy with series of violence emanating from religious and ethnic differences. Ahmed who addressed stakeholders at the Kwara Peace Summit, in Ilorin, noted that human beings could not fight for Almighty God but rather, they should accept and tolerate each

ensure that young girls are not withdrawn from school to be married, adding that they are willing to engage their spouses on how to discourage early and forceful marriages. She said the wives of the traditional rulers in the state have come together in a forum to aid their spouses in the administration of their local communities, stressing that the visit was to acquaint the first lady on the objectives of the forum, which they claimed was in line with her pet project. In her response, Hajiya Salamatu, described the visit as unprecedented, expressing her joy that the objectives of the forum tallies with that of her pet project, adding that the association of the traditional rulers wives is worthy of emulation.

Deputy Senate President lauds Senegalese over presidential poll By Ali Alkali


eputy Senate President and Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has commended the people of Senegal over the successful conclusion of last Sunday’s presidential run-off polls. “Coming on the heels of the

Kwara gov sues for peace From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

International Airport. NAFDAC’s lawyer, Oche Mathias Abutu, had in the charge, alleged that the accused, by the act, had committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (a) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Process Foods. After the charges were read to the accused, he pleaded not guilty, while his lawyer, Bernard Udemba moved an oral application for bail on behalf of his client. however, Justice Okeke directed Udemba to file formal application for bail, ordering that Ogunna be kept in prison custody pending the hearing and determination of the bail application. Meanwhile, April 30 has been fixed for trial.

other irrespective of their religion. The governor who expressed his displeasure over incessant killing in some parts of the country, said without peace, it would be difficult to achieve development. In her remarks, the first lady, Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed who charged Nigerians to always maintain peace in their domains, also noted that the nation’s democracy should not be allowed to be destroyed by violence.

temporary setback to democracy in Mali, this is not only good news for the people of Senegal, but for the entire West African sub-region as it reaffirms our resolve as a people to live under constitutional, democratic and stable order”, Ekweremadu stated. In a statement signed by Uche Anichukwu, his Special Adviser (Media) the Deputy Senate President congratulated the President-elect, Mark Sall, for “winning in a free, fair, and credible manner,” and urged him “to be magnanimous in victory, by ensuring that all traces of genuine political grievances were assuaged and the nation welded even more closely by the democratic feat that the presidential election represents.” Ekweremadu also commended the incumbent President, Abdoulaye Wade, for conceding defeat, describing his action as an invaluable asset to Senegal’s democracy and unity.



Expect 263 days of heavy rain in Lagos, says Commissioner From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


L-R: Executive Director for Africa, World Bank, Dr. Mansur Murhtar, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, and Director of International Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Finance, Malam Haruna Mohammed, during a press briefing by the minister on her endorsement by African Union Commission for the position of World Bank President, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

REA alleged scam: Court frees Elumelu By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


ormer chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power during the fifth National Assembly, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday, secured a reprieve as a Federal High Court in Abuja acquitted him of the charge preferred against him and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the N5.2 billion Rural Electrification scam. The trial judge, Justice Garba Umar, while delivering his ruling on an application

filed on behalf of Elumelu, who was listed as the 8th accused person in the matter, held that the embattled legislator had not been shown to have been connected in any way to the commission of the alleged crimes going by the proof filed by the anti graft agency. The court further held that subjecting Elumelu to the rigors of trial will amount to an abuse of court process even as his presence in the matter was already an abuse of court process. Justice Umar went on to strike out the counts in the charge affecting and relating

to Ndudi Elumelu and subsequently discharged him . However, the court held that others standing trial with Elumelu have cases to answer on the strength of the proof before the court and adjourned the matter till May for their trial. Elumelu had been standing trial over the alleged fraud in the allocation of contracts by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), alongside Senator Nicholas Ugbane, his counterpart at the then Senate Committee on Power and Hon Jibo Mohammed.

MDG5: Africa to tackle maternal reproductive health head-on By A’isha Biola Raji


frica has resolved to deal with the issue of reducing maternal mortality by ensuring universal access to reproductive health in order to meet up with 2015 Millennium Developmental Goal 5 (MDG5). In a statement signed by Jessica Freifeld Global Health Strategies, leaders from 27 African countries are to gather at ‘African Regional Consultation Meeting to proffer ways of setting women and girls’ health as “regional priority,” reads the statement. In this respect, policymakers, advocates and researchers from across subSaharan Africa are gathering in Kampala, Uganda this week to reaffirm national and regional commitments to the

goal. Speakers at the meeting will include government representatives from across Africa, such as Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni; Ugandan Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Christine Ondoa; Ghanaian Member of Parliament Health Committee Hon. Dr. Richard W. Anane and Nigerian Parliamentary Advocates for Population and Development CEO Hon. Saudatu Sani. Nearly 30 African parliamentarians will be in attendance. The statement however confirmed how “in recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has made progress toward improving maternal, sexual and reproductive health.” It says though, there are still challenges; “since 1990,

maternal mortality has decreased by 26% across the region, but 39% of pregnancies are still unintended, and only 17% of married women of reproductive age use modern contraception. “On average, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 31 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, and 570 women die each day of pregnancyrelated causes.” According to Dr. Jonathan Musinguzi, Africa Regional Director of Partners in Population and Development, “On this continent and around the world, girls and women play a critical role in their families, communities and nations, and we owe it to them to do all we can to protect their health and well being”.

he Lagos state government has warned that the state will experience a rainy season of about 236 days with intermittent break between March and November. The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello disclosed this at the state secretariat, Alausa, during the presentation of year 2012 seasonal rainfall prediction by the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET), and its socioeconomic implication for Lagos state in particular and Nigeria in general. While urging residents not to panic at any flash-flood whenever it rains, Bello added that this year’s rains would be accompanied with storms, likely leading to falling of trees, street lights, poles and communication masts. Describing the magnitude of the rains this year, he said “ Lagos will experience heavy rain fall with serious intensity

just like last year” and “is expected to record 1279 mm with marginal error of 50 mm”. According to him, “a total length of rainy season for 2012 is approximately put at 236 days with a marginal error of 2 days. The implication is that Lagos shall experience a rainy season of about 234-238, with intermittent stoppage between March and August 2012.” Bello added: “A break is expected in between, while the rains will start again in late August or early September, before the rainy season finally ends in November 2012. So, the end of rainfall is November 12, with marginal error of 2 days between November 10 and 14. “The global climatic occurrence point to one undisputable fact which is climate has changed and we are all living witnesses to the disasters that occurred through flooding, tsunamis, cyclone and windstorms among others”.

Taraba NUJ gets IIJ campus From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


he Taraba state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has received a working document for the establishment of a satellite campus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) in Jalingo. Unveiling the document to the state working committee of the NUJ, the state chairman, Abdullahi Gambo expressed delight that the struggle for the establishment of the IIJ in Taraba has materialised. He said the IIJ in Jalingo would be supervised by the NUJ,

adding that the institution is affiliated to the University of Maiduguri. The chairman said the institute would help journalists in the North-east zone to acquire professional qualifications like OND, HND and PGD. Gambo stated that the state NUJ had met most of the requirements for the institute and called journalists in the state to avail themselves of the opportunity. He thanked the national secretariat of the NUJ for the gesture and said the present executive of the NUJ would continue to carry members along.

NOA wants Nigeria’s history, flag corner restored in schools By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


s part of the National Orientation Agency’s (NOA) campaign for improved patriotism and national loyalty amongst Nigerians, the Agency has appealed to the Federal Ministry of Education to restore the teaching of Nigerian history in primary and secondary schools as well as the Nigerian flag corner in schools and classrooms across the country. A statement issued yesterday by the Assistant Director, Press in the Agency, Fidel Agu, added that the Director-General of the agency, Mr. Mike Omeri made this call in an interview with news men in Lafia, Nasarawa state, stressing that “any society that toys with or hides its history is undoing itself because time will come when its history will wonder away”. It observed that the absence of a Nigerian history

curriculum and the flag corner in school classrooms account largely for the decline in the level of loyalty to the fatherland among Nigerians, contrary to the reverse which was the case when Nigerian History and Flag Corner were part of the day-to-day classroom experience of Nigerian students. Omeri said the enforcement of these policies by the Education Ministry in both public and private schools would foster understanding of our collective heritage as a people and consequently, love and respect for one another and for national symbols. He said that the time for bickering over little things is over, saying it is time for Nigerians to put their differences behind and work together towards the development of the country, and called for recognition of those who have served the country.



Global Ocean advocates health awareness among Nigerian workers From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


n oil and gas servicing company in Nigeria, Global Ocean Engineering, has said cooperate organisations in the country must see their health as very important and ensure they undergo medical checkups regularly in order to stay healthy. The firm noted that issues relating to the health and environment of workers were imperative for workers optimal performances in work places and

warned that the inability of employees to look after their health result to breakdown in health as a result of stress. Speaking at an awareness campaign on glaucoma in Lagos, Managing Director of Global Ocean, Mr. Seun Falayi, said the firm decided to organise the 10km walk along the Lekki Expressway in Lagos as part of the company’s activities to mark its Health Safety and Environment week. Mr. Falayi said “This initiative is aimed at making sure that

employees of various organisations take their health seriously. Global Ocean believes that promoting healthy behaviours, a healthy workplace and a healthy workforce would result to the maximum productivity for an organisation.” He affirms that “We also realise that placing more attention on keeping employees health is generally cheaper and more effective in keeping productivity high. Everybody is at risk of glaucoma. Global Ocean is partnering with the World

Glaucoma Association to raise awareness on glaucoma and eye checkups because diagnosis is the first step to preserving vision.” Guest Speaker at the occasion and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Mr. Ernest Nwapa reiterated the need for adequate campaign awareness of good health at work places by both employers and their employees. Noting that many companies have began incorporating the HSE in their work culture, he disclosed that poor HSE was mainly responsible for employees being disqualified from participating in industries few years back in Nigeria.

Bauchi NUJ urges members to register for life insurance scheme

Senator donates 20 wheel chairs to disabled in Kebbi From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


he Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), has charged its members to register for the life insurance scheme introduced by the union across the country. The chairman Bauchi state council of the union, Comrade Dahiru Garba Muhammad, gave this charge while speaking to newsmen in Bauchi yesterday, saying that the scheme was introduced in view of the risks and hazards journalists tend to encounter in the course of their professional duties. Comrade Garba explained that the insurance scheme is of two types which covers both life and accidents insurance where a journalist will pay only the sum of N6750 premium for each type of the insurance per annum. He said the beneficiary will be given a compensation of N1.5 million in the event of either death or accident. The NUJ council chairman assured that the sum will be paid to the insured or his family within the week of the occurrence of the incident however; the insurance scheme does not cover suicide or unnatural deaths. He stressed that anyone who gets permanent injury or disability as a result of any form of accident will be compensated under the accident insurance scheme. Mohammed charged all working journalists in the state to register with the scheme immediately considering the current insecurity bedeviling the country and the hazardous nature of their profession needs insurance cover.

Taraba state NYSC Coordinator, Hajiya Zainab Isa (left), with the state Deputy Governor, Sani Abubakar Danladi (top right), during the passing out parade of Batch ‘A’ 2012 Corps members, on Tuesday in Jalingo. Photo: Ayodele Samuel From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), has honoured Katsina state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema with an award for his performance in primary health care delivery and the enhancement of the welfare of health workers in the state. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Katsina to kick start the health week of the union, Katsina state branch chairman of the union, Comrade Hussaini Hamisu, noted that the award


he wife of the former governor of Kebbi state and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship aspirant in the state, Hajiya Zainab Saidu Dakingari, has called on individuals, corporate bodies and

non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to compliment the state government’s effort by assisting orphans to be useful members of the society. She made this call yesterday when she visited an orphanage and donated some items there, adding that assisting the less

enator Muhammadu Magoro has donated 20 wheel chairs to the physically challenged in Zuru Emirate while urging them to acquire Western and Islamic education or learn a trade instead of street begging. The senator representing Kebbi south senatorial district during the presentation of sets of laptops to Islamic scholars and wheel chairs to physically challenged persons, mentioned that the gesture was based on the earlier promise to promote knowledge and research through the use of information technology. He said that a lot could be achieved through the use of computers in the propagation of Islam and enjoined the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the computers. He commended youths in the area for their commitment to learning a trade from the skill acquisition centers available in Zuru and Yauri emirates and pledged his continued support and assistance to making the youths self reliant and productive members of the society.

Katsina gov gets MHWUN award given to the state governor by the mother body of the union was in recognition of the governors’ numerous achievements in the health sector. He noted that in selecting the governor for the award the field assessment team has acknowledged Governor Shema’s efforts in improving health care facilities at the grassroots through the building of new health care clinics and the rehabilitation of old

ones. Similarly, the chairman said the governor stands out as a pace setter in providing free medical care to pregnant women, children and accident victims which he noted had assisted greatly in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate in the state. Apart from the building of a 250-bed space orthopedic hospital, Comrade Hamisu said that the government of Katsina state has

Dakingari’s wife wants NGOs to assist orphans’ home From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi

“So for a company like Global Ocean to close down for one day and do this to create awareness; that tells you how far we have gone. We are also calling on all other Nigerian companies to pick one aspect of health, safety and environment and make it something they do periodically. “By doing so, their staff will become more knowledgeable and it will percolate down the system, because as we walk on this Lekki road now, a lot of people will want to know why this is happening. And then they will begin to know and read more about glaucoma and how to stay healthy at work.” Nwapa said.

privileged is a charity (sadakatul Jariya). She commended the effort of the ministry for handling the babies [orphans] also advising the children at the home to be good ambassadors after their service. Speaking earlier, was the

permanent secretary, the ministry of women affairs Alhaji Lawal Zaki Gwandu, he thanked the wife of the gubernatorial candidate for her visit and assured her that the ministry will not relent in its efforts to ensure the welfare of the orphans.

provided modern ambulances to hospitals in all the 34 local governments of the state, while the new water and sanitation departments of all the local governments in the state were provided with water tankers and refuse disposal vans. Comrade Hamisu also stated that the state workers were enjoying 100 percent of CONHESS and CONMESS allowances which he said was made possible by the governor’s determination to assist health workers in the state to carry out their duties comfortably. On the health week activities, the chairman disclosed that press conferences, lectures and visits to destitute homes were part of the activities lined up for the week, stressing the commitment of health workers to partner with the government in achieving success in the health care sector.




General Henry Adefope (1926-2012) M ajor-General Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope (rtd) has joined the league of high profile sports personalities that have passed on in the last 12 months. Before him, former Super Eagles players Uche Okafor, Olubayo Adefemi and renowned quarter miler Sunday Bada had taken their talents and wealth of experience to the great beyond. General Adefope, who served as an International Olympics Committee (IOC) member from 1985 to 2006 and then an honorary member, passed on March 11. He read medicine at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, United Kingdom, graduating in 1953. After 10 years of practice, he opted to enlist in the then fledgling Nigerian Army in 1963, that at a time when a career in the military hardly appealed to young professionals of his era. Deployed to the army's medical corps as a pioneer officer, he rose to the position of the army Director of Medical Services. In between, he was Federal Commissioner for Labour (1975-1978) and Federal Commissioner for External Affairs (1978-1979). He retired from the army along with General Olusegun Obasanjo who, as Head of Sate, handed power over to elected President Shehu Shagari in 1979. As the man responsible for the implementation of Nigeria's activist foreign policy, Adefope was in the thick of the struggle to dismantle the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Nigeria's role in the liberation struggle in Southern Africa generally was so critical that it was appropriately described as a “frontline state.” Adefope had an even more glorious sojourn in sports where he served as the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee from 1967 to 1976. In that position, he chaired the organizing

Unlike his latter day successors, Adefope's unalloyed patriotism demonstrated by consistent selfless service saw him draw a fine line between self aggrandizement and public service. He was an officer gentleman, shaped by the culture of discipline, dedication and loyalty only known in the military committee for the second All Africa Games in Lagos in 1973, the first of the two rare occasions Nigeria hosted the continental fiesta. Later, he was elected as the vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, a position he held from 1974 to 1982. In an apparent appreciation of his tremendous contribution to the development of the Commonwealth Games, Adefope was elected into 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”

executive committee of the IOC in 1985, becoming only the second Nigerian to hold that position after late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola. As IOC member, Adefope was on the commission that picked host cities for the 2000 and 2004 summer Olympic Games as well as the 2002 winter games. The 2002 games ran into some hiccups bordering on allegation of compromise, for which the General and his colleagues were investigated and but eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Besides, Adefope who played football, tennis, cricket, several sports, served in different capacities on the IOC commissions: Tripartite, Apartheid and Olympism, Medical, and Study for preparations for the 1996 Olympic Games, and Sport and Environment. Adefope belongs to that era of transparency in sports administration as he presided over a frictionless NOC executive and even extended that competence to the international bodies where he ably represented Nigeria, nay the African continent. Unlike his latter day successors, Adefope's unalloyed patriotism demonstrated by consistent selfless service saw him draw a fine line between self aggrandizement and public service. He was an officer gentleman, shaped by the culture of discipline, dedication and loyalty only known in the military, one whose word was his bond, a sports administrator par excellence. Adieu, Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope.








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


By Chike Orjiako


ou know this popular joke about a Nigerian, an American and a Briton in a dialogue with the gods! The American and the Briton accused the gods of partiality especially with the excellent weather and all the natural resources he so wonderfully endowed Nigeria with. The gods looked at them, smiled wryly and then asked if they would want to switch places with Nigeria? They answered “not until you tell us why this apparent partiality”. Then the gods said, “Wait until you see the type of leaders I will give them”. Even though this is a joke, one can’t but wonder if there is a conspiracy by the gods to perpetually keep Nigeria as a potentially great nation. What with the vast cultural diversity, huge population, massive land mass and some of the rarest natural resources on earth, yet the country keeps wobbling like a spoilt child. A country in a hurry to move to the next level will quickly embrace food security, excellent railroad and energy infrastructure as well as educate their youthful population. Nigeria prides itself as a very important nation in the world yet it can’t feed herself. Nigeria is the most populated black nation on earth yet she has no rail infrastructure to move her people and goods around in a cheaper manner. The money successive governments have squandered to bring back the relics of the out-dated single track railway system left behind by our


The resource curse colonial masters will surely build ten new ones in India and China yet we neither have a working single track nor a modern rail system. While our leaders are chasing rat, we have in our hands, a human catastrophe of a monumental proportion about to happen. Just imagine for one moment the devastating effect of the uneducated, the half educated and the ill-educated millions of youths we keep churning out yearin year-out? Add that to the army of unemployed, partly employed and under employed youths that make up well over 60% of our adult population and the waste we have turned them into, you begin to appreciate the danger that lurks ahead. The youths’ are demanding and justifiably too; answers from those managing the affairs of the nation at every level, why they‘ve chosen to mortgage their lives and future. They ask these questions daily through the social media, unprovoked violence and other deviant behaviours. Take, for instance, this application letter for employment written by some desperate applicant to a particular company: “Dear Sir, I refer to the recent death of the technician at your company and hereby apply for the replacement of the dead man. Each time I apply for employment, I get a reply that there is no vacancy but in this case, I have caught you red handed and

you have no excuse because I attended the funeral to be sure that he was truly dead before applying. Attached to my letter is a copy of my CV and his obituary. Thank you”. The leaders instead of creating the environment that will guarantee jobs and reduce this type of social tension; continuously unleash the military on the youths to temporarily quell what is otherwise a legitimate social demand. They are busy with a different struggle. The struggle of who steals more from the common till for the benefit of their own children who they have foolishly outsourced to foreign lands for basic training and education. However, I‘ve got news for them; very unpalatable news at that. I need them to take a look at many of such kids so outsourced. Most ended up acquiring foreign cultures and values and in most instances ended up hating their parents whose burials they don’t even bother to attend any longer except to come see what they left in their wills for them. The properties they spent all their lives and energy accumulating are being auctioned through the internet by some of the kids that use the proceeds to fund their very expensive and damaging drug habits. The leaders are hard at understanding; “that if democracy is really a game of numbers,” how then could a handful of rich kids sent to ivy-

league schools around the world come back and rule millions of those they regard as hardened criminals, rapist, cultists, kidnappers and serial fraudsters being churned out from the local schools they deliberately rendered obsolete. How wrong could they be? Didn’t they hear birds of the same feather flock together? I have since come to the inescapable conclusion that we have in our midst some of the worst backward looking elites in the world. How else could one describe a bunch of fellows that go abroad to treat malaria, an ailment that is purely tropical in nature that needs one to be quarantined the moment it’s diagnosed abroad. It won’t be charitable to mention the names of so many former Ministers that have lost their lives trying to be evacuated abroad for minor road accidents on the roads they refused to build and hospitals they failed to equip. That brings me to the major focus of this intervention: resource curse! Just a few days ago the revenue sharing formula became a hot item once more when the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who seems to be combining well as CBN Governor and the authentic official spokesperson for Boko Haram, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu and the Northern Governors, that denounced what they called unfair revenue sharing by the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee

{FAAC}. The summary of their statement is that the North has remained under-developed because of this ensuing injustice. They concluded that Boko Haram arose as a result of this imbalance. It is not difficult to fault this position but first, why do we have FAAC? Is there a direct correlation between a malfunctioning Nigerian state and this nebulous FAAC? If Mrs Clinton {a United States Foreign Secretary} for instance were to read this in Washington DC, wouldn’t she infer that the South is rich and the North poor because of this so called sharing formula? Truth be told, is there any part of Nigeria that qualifies to be termed comfortable not to talk of rich? Palpable poverty borne more out of laziness and total absence of strategic thinking because of oil and corruption have been with us for long. To be sure, some states are obviously poorer than others but comparative poverty analysis to me, is an exercise in futility. A poor Northerner accusing a fellow poor Southerner of being rich is totally absurd. However, don’t be deceived by the ranting of this privileged class from the North. They are smarter than they appear. The truth is that the chickens are finally coming home to roost. The Northern youths are tired of the listless life their leaders condemned them into. They are asking uncomfortable questions in Continued on page 14

NASS versus FRSC: Matters arising T By James Mike Tyodoo

his week Nigerians may again witness rowdy sessions at both chambers of the National Assembly. Except better judgement prevails, that is. The matter at stake is the controversial issue of the design, production and marketing of vehicle number plates, by the Federal Road Safety Commission [FRSC]. And predictably, the public hearings on the matter promise to be combustive. Not long ago, both chambers in the federal legislature had kicked off this brewing controversy, when they barred the leadership of the FRSC from further production of the said vehicle number plates. Harping on cheap sentiment and populist appeal, the lawmakers said their action was informed by the economic hardship the new price regime of the vehicle number plates had imposed on the ordinary Nigerian. I n fairness to them, the price had actually had a quantum jump, from something less than N10,000, to as much as N45,000 for some category of vehicles in some states of the Federation. The decision by the law makers to stop further production, and the media bliss that followed it, had delighted, not a few Nigerians. Long before the action of the legislature, there had been an orchestrated media attacks on the leadership of the FRSC, either by editorial commentaries or opinion

articles. In some of these media works, the Nigerian reading public was deliberately misinformed about the statutory roles of the Commission. While some had, ignorantly, argued that it is not the function of the FRSC to go into the business of producing Vehicle number plates, others postulated that by so doing, the commission had snatched the revenue yielding ventures of some other government agencies. Yet others, in an effort to maximize mischief making, claimed that the commission had abandoned its primary assignment of keeping accidents off our roads, to becoming a revenue generating organization. It will therefore, not be an over statement to posit here that some of these misinformed opinions canvassed in the media recently, may have been the tonic needed by the National Assembly members to bring down the sledge hammer on the FRSC,-a decision some have equally argued, is both illegal and irrational. To put this claim to test, it is necessary to take a look at the Act that spells out the functions of the Commission, a law made by the same National Assembly. That piece of legislation, made in 2007, is known as Federal Road Safety Commission [Establishment] ACT. 2007. Part 11, Section 10 of it talks about the establishment, functions and ranks of officers of the road safety corps. Part 3[d]of this section

says that the commission has the responsibility for “designing and producing the driver’s license to be used by various categories of vehicle operators”. The next, part 3[e], emphatically says that the FRSC is also charged with the responsibility for “determining, from time to time, the requirements to be satisfied by an applicant for a driver’s license”; [f] says that the commission has the responsibility for “designing and producing vehicle number plates”. There are other powers that the ACT confers on the FRSC, about 22 of them in all, including that which has to do with “making regulations in pursuance of any of the functions assigned to the corps by or under this ACT”. What this means is that the Federal Road Safety Commission is the only body legally authorized to design and produce vehicle number plates in Nigeria. And this did not start today. It was gathered that even before it came into being as a properly constituted government agency and before the current technological advancement that the World, including Nigeria, has witnessed, Vehicle number plates were produced through the issuance of numbers to individuals who went to sign writers nearest to them to get such allocated numbers embossed on plates. In the past, there was no uniformity. Neither could

anybody trace any other person possessing any vehicle number plates. The danger then was that it was possible for two or more persons to be driving vehicles bearing the same number plates. The next argument happens to be the cost of these vehicle number plates produced by the Road Safety. In a motion he moved on Wednesday, February 29, titled “Hardship occasioned by the new number plates and driver’s license scheme of the Federal Road Safety Commission”, Senator Dahiru Awaisu [Niger-East], posited that “Senate observes also that the new driver’s license which the Commission launched in 2011, is now issued for six thousand Naira, from the former three thousand Naira while the new number plates has suddenly jumped from its original five thousand Naira, to an astronomical fifteen thousand Naira, with those of trucks and other categories of vehicles put at between twenty and forty thousand Naira, and that the commission will ultimately be generating a whooping two billion Naira annually, as its own share of the new scheme”. The Senator alleged also, that the Senate was worried that “the exorbitant cost of the driver’s licenses and vehicle number plates, have incurred outrage and rejection by the majority of Nigerians because they are financially impoverished and therefore find the amount

exploitative, prohibitive and insensitive, for a population that is already facing the challenges of hash economic condition”. He added also that the Senate, ”worried also that the August 31, 2012 dateline issued by the commission, for the enforcement of the new scheme, is not feasible because the current demand for vehicle license, surpasses supply and there subjecting applicants to wait for as long as three months after payment, before receiving number plates”. Based on those points he raised, Senator Awaisu urged his fellow senators to ”condemn”, what he called the “price regime of the new scheme of drivers’ license and vehicle number plates , by the Federal Road Safety Commission [FRSC] in 2011”. He also urged his colleague s to prevail on the commission “to suspend forthwith the implementation of the new drivers’ license and vehicle number plates”. It was a motion that spurred the Senators into taking the decision that has so far stalled the production of the new vehicle number plates. In as much as one agrees with the fact that the Senators have the constitutional protection to engage in this type of oversight function, Nigerians who have knowledge of what is going on, have not failed to blame them for acting in manner that appear Continued on page 14



Are Nigerians bad imitators of democracy? By Emmanuel Onwubiko


aturday March 24 started on a very sublime note with fresh breeze all around Abuja the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory in the wee hours of the morning and the usual blazing hot sun in mid-noon. This hot sun has unfortunately turned Abuja into the notorious hot zone of central Nigeria next in line to places such as Maiduguri and Damaturu in Borno and Yobe states that are traditionally known as the hottest parts of modern day Nigeria as a result of the fast growing trends of desertification. What however made this particular Saturday remarkable in the lives of those residing in this extremely expensive city of Abuja, is the fact that the entire roads leading to the central business district inhabiting the prestigious Eagle square were cordoned off and occupied by fierce looking armed soldiers and mobile police operatives who mounted their armoured vehicles in strategic locations to prevent and deny ‘bloody civilians’ [as most members of the civil society were known in the days of military dictatorship] access to the vicinity of the Eagle square where some few hundreds of handpicked members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] were meeting for their special convention to elect the Continued from page 13

a very unusual style. Armed with Ak.47 in one hand and a bomb in another, they are demanding accounts of what their leaders did with all the powers they invested on themselves all these years. The flip side is the collateral damage inherent therein. The leaders fearing class suicide are trying to shift attention as usual by erecting the imaginary North and South dichotomy. It’s an old trick. It had worked in the past but no one is sure it would work in this age of twitter and Facebook which the leaders are totally oblivious of. Am still trying to locate the time Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and El-Rufai; both arch conservative capitalist converted to “Talakawa”? I suspect for Sanusi, the conversion period

officials that will administer their semblance of a democratic process Democratic Party with the ongoing political platform for the next four which may attempt to satisfy the party primaries of the United States years. The intense security and constitutional requirement that Republican Party whereby Mitt R o m n e y , surveillance S e n a t o r activities of these Santorum and armed soldiers and Newt Gingrich mobile police are slugging it operatives was said Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text out among to be necessitated messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written themselves for by the ongoing contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 the sole party regime of targeted words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and ticket to bomb attacks by a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed compete with the armed Islamic the sitting extremists who are to: American waging war of President Mr. attrition against The Editor, B a r r a c k government Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, Obama [ a facilities and some 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Democrat], one civilians of Email: let would be left to different belief SMS: 07037756364 conclude that system. Nigerian For novices in the political game in Nigeria who political parties must periodically politicians of all strata and thought that the conveners of this meet to elect from among their ranks, classification are mere fake imitators national convention of the Peoples those officials who would pilot the of democracy and must not be taken serious for as long as they continue Democratic Party truly meant to affairs of the political party. While the political shenanigan in the ongoing game of political organize a transparent, free and fair competitive national convention called national convention lasted, deceits and self glorification. Ever since last year, when most which is the irreducible minimum the few Nigerians who endured the required in a democracy, were intellectual insults of watching this of the ramshackle political parties mistaken. Those who summoned show of shame on the different staged so-called primaries during stations were which time candidates were selected these few hundreds of hurriedly television assembled motley of crowd in the comprehensively treated to one of to vie for elective positions in the last name of a political party national the worst episodes of bad imitation of April general what we saw as party convention knew exactly that what democracy especially if an observer primaries were mere coronations of they want to achieve is mere compares and contrasts what played certain favoured candidates of political subterfuge carefully crafted itself out at Eagle square in the name political god -fathers and even wives, to have a physical and evidential of national convention of the Peoples children of these party owners/

benefactors who installed their surrogates so as to protect their selfish interest. Little wonder then that soon after the April 2011 general elections, so many of these so-called political parties that are domiciled in the different brief -cases of their owners simply disappeared into oblivion even as their owners who work in cohort with some dubious electoral officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] simply continued with their other businesses as contractors and participants at the different meetings of the severely weak Independent National Electoral Commission which are sparsely held. The only difference between what the other smaller political contraptions called parties are doing with the perfidy that played itself out on Saturday 24th March 2012 at the Eagle square by the Peoples Democratic party is that the participants and conveners including President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan, a University Doctorate Degree holder, elevated political subterfuge to a new all time height and far exceeded the limits of absurdities with the so-called consensus arrangement which ensured that only the handpicked candidates of the Presidency and the powerful Nigerian Governors

could possibly not stretch beyond the recent fuel crises when some Northern youths went to burn his house in Kano. For El-Rufai, instead of a juicy appointment after a vigorous campaign from abroad to install Jonathan as acting President during Yar’Adua’s Saudi drama got thrown into detention to give account of his stewardship as minister of Abuja. This may have triggered his conversion. Smart guy, in other not to be left out totally in political relevance, took over the intellectual arm of “Talakawaism” and to his credit, has done well in articulating and dishing out warped data that

skulls of humans and not the bowels of the earth? Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States are some of the oil states. Are they rich? A visit to Abia, an oil producing state that collects 13% oil revenue will convince you that the difference between Theodore Oji and Babangida Aliyu is perhaps their names. While at it, please visit Aba, a promising industrial zone and see what clueless leadership has turned it into? The North given her massive agrarian land mass and population remains the richest in the country if only their leaders could work hard to translate the massive investment in dams, irrigations and silos into concrete investment vehicles. The respective states need to invest the necessary capital to turn the huge population into human capitals instead human chattels. It is really unfortunate that our greatest asset {youthful population} has turned out our worst burden. My fear for the country is not the often touted disintegration that’s neither here nor there but the danger posed by our own children that we have collectively ignored and eaten their tomorrow’s lunch. Finally, we should dismantle the all-powerful but ineffective centre and devolve power to the states to enable them grow at their pace and practice their religion and culture as they wish. This will forestall further sectarian crises and guarantee a more robust communal living. Chike Orjiako is reachable at


The resource curse sometimes, only he understands. Second and most importantly, the shout for resource enhancement by Northern governors is purely a pre-emptive measure to counter the tension of resource control being championed by the Niger-Delta leaders. It is a psychological warfare meant to draw parallels between the Northern poor and a purported unfair southern rich asking for more. For them, it is expedient to drown the call by southern radicals for Sovereign National Conference. They fear that the orchestrated crises of Boko Haram may persist and force the Presidency to

succumb for the kind of Obasanjo’s 2005 National Conference; that granted 25% to oil producing states before they ignorantly walked away in protest without alternative plan, thereby enhancing the Northern leaders position that the statuesque of 13% should subsist. Who on earth doesn’t know that the greatest asset of a nation are her human capital? It is fraudulent to resort to cheap blackmail of oil revenue when confronted with our parlous state of affairs as excuse for our poor showing. It is important to drum it into the heads of these raiders that the best wealth is buried in the

NASS versus FRSC: Matters arising Continued from page 13

to be based on falsehood. The basic argument of some of those who volunteered to speak on this issue of price regime is that the Senators shot wide off mark and had succeeded to misinform Nigerians. According to a top civil servant in Abuja, who spoke with this reporter on the burning issue, the FRSC in not the to blame for the hardship visited on Nigerians as a result of the hike in the price of the vehicle number plates. Emmanuel Edirin pointed out that the Commission, in agreement with the decision of the Joint Tax Board[JTB], issues out the number plats at N15,000, to those states that apply for them. In turn, the states, through their boards of internal revenue, fix the prices at which the number plates could be obtained .He said that

Continued on page 15

rather than make a scapegoat of the management of FRSC, the law makers ought to hold the states responsible for the hike in price. Speaking on the same issue in a radio programme last Friday in Abuja, Paul Momoh, a legal practitioner, said the research he carried out on the matter, showed that it is the state governments who actions cause the price hike. He stated that his findings were that FRSC supplies the vehicle number plates to the states at the officially approved price of N15,000 but the states push up the price to as much as N45,000. Momoh also slammed the law makers for ordering the stoppage of production of the number plates, adding that the decision was not taken in public interest. He however blamed the commission, for not making

information available to the general public, on the processes that are undertaken before the product gets to the end user. The FRSC Corps Marshall, Chief Osita Chidoka, was not available for comments last Friday when this reporter called at his office and staffers of the commission, hiding under the civil service rule, refused to talk. However, a few days back, Chido who was interviewed a television channel had blamed touts in some states for the hike in the price of vehicle number plates. As both the Senate and House of Representative committees commence their public hearing on this matter this week, not a few Nigerians hope that the real issues will be addressed rather than what usually appear as muscle-flexing on the part of the legislatures. It is

expected that they will also tell the Nigerian public the truth about the constitutional rights of the FRSC, with regards to its functions and duties instead making the public go with the wrong impression that the commission engages in the usurpation of duties of other institutions of government, as some media commentaries had tried to paint it in recent times. The law makers will also be doing those who sent them to the National Assembly some good, if they could probe why in some states, the statutory body, such as the Board of Internal Revenue, which function it to organize the sale of vehicle number plates or driver’s license are not allowed to do so. James Mike Tyodoo wrote in from FHA Estate, 49 Road, Lugbe, Abuja.



Unjust government sinking Nigeria By Isa Ali Pantami


f you ask me to summarise in a single “word” the reason for Nigeria’s drowning in the river of chaos and pandemonium as demonstrated in the prophetic framework of our previous discussion, then I will instantly say “Injustice”. Usman Bn Fodio (RH) said, an ungodly nation can be sustained and promoted with justice, while a religious nation cannot be sustained and promoted with injustice. Because, in sustaining a nation with peace, tranquillity and progress, attaining justice as a result of spiritual restraint is better than religion with physical actions of going to the Masjid (popularly known as mosque) and Church without spiritual restraints. Our Lord has reminded us that, He will never change our living condition unjustly until we change it within ourselves.” ...Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves...” (Qur’an13:11). This is very applicable to our situation in our darling Nigeria; we had been living in tranquillity, contentment, peace, law and order when we had relatively sincere and just leaders in the past decades. Justice is generally divided into two: these are retributive justice includes equality of fair hearing and equality before the law, and distributive justice- includes equal

distribution of wealth to the leaders and the led. All these forms of justice are absent in our darling Nigeria. Consequently therefore, injustice brings all kinds of social vices to society including what I entitled as “artificial abject poverty”, “artificial unemployment”, “irreligious religious conflicts” and ignorance. Believe me; any society that mischievously and unjustly creates artificial poverty and unemployment will hardly avoid chaos and pandemonium. The most recent Human Development Report launched by the UNDP in November 2011, placed Nigeria in the 142nd position out of 169 least prosperous countries in the world. In addition to that, the country was listed 15 among 42 countries belonging to the “least human development” category. The report categorised countries into groups of Very High Human Development, High Human Development, Medium Human Development, and Low Human Development with Nigeria painfully falling into the last category. It is indeed painful and disastrous that the so-called Giant of Africa is no longer progressing; the giant is diminishing on a daily basis. Nigeria being the second largest economy in Africa has a per capital income of a mere US$1,224 compared to the largest economy, South Africa, with national income per head of about US$9,812. Nigeria

was equally placed shamefully behind Kenya and Cameroun in terms of income per head. It is also behind Ghana, Benin Republic, Cameroon and Uganda on life expectancy. History and experience give witness to the fact that poverty and unemployment as a result of injustice, brings all kinds of evil to society. This is why Ali Bn Abi Daalib (RA) used to lament whenever he addresses his lieutenants and followers, expressing his desire to eliminate poverty: “If poverty were a living being, I would have had it executed”. He is also been reported to have said, emphasizing the evil consequences of poverty: “It is almost as if poverty will become disbelief”. This serious anathema is brought about as a result of injustice. As we know that, Nigeria is a nation which has been blessed with abundant natural resources, in addition to abundant human and capital resources, that have the potentials to elevate, integrate, advance and catapult Nigeria and Nigerians from a struggling economy to the position of an industrialised and developed nation in the world. Currently, our country can still boast of proven oil reserves estimated at about 36 billion barrels, while natural gas reserves estimated to be over 100 trillion cubic feet. Recently, National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that, over 67% of Nigeria’s population, which is around 112million people are living

terribly below poverty level, but in this context is it artificial poverty. This destructive anathema is brought about as a result of injustice. The Minister of Youth and Social development of Nigeria recently said, twenty million Nigerian youths are unemployed and they are a security threat. He said the unemployment figure estimated at 41.6%, is almost about the highest in the world presently. Unfortunately, government is doing nothing sincerely and genuinely to reduce this anathema. While discussing about wanton corruption of government, Dr. Salman Al’audah opined that, “It is foolish for governments to ignore these negative developments of injustice, poverty and unemployment. It is selfdestructive for regimes to persist in the old ways. At worst, it could lead to civil war.” At the same time, technological advancement in information and telecommunication technology (ICT) has brought about fundamental changes to society, in which people are being linked together, share their views and voice out their opinions. For example, facebook has over 811 million subscribers; most of them are educated and unemployed energetic young people. If that number were the population of a country, it would be the third-largest country of the world, after China and India. This population chats,

posts and comments and shares views about injustice being perpetrated by government in power. Our Lords says: And when We decide to destroy a nation, We first send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them who are given the good things (i.e leadership and wealth) of this life. Then, they transgress (by injustice and immorality) therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against them. Then We destroy them with complete destruction (Q17:16) The upside-down punishment explained in this quotation is very similar to our darling Nigeria. Crimes committed by those in the corridors of power are more deadly and destructive than the ones committed by the led, though both are detestable. Because the one committed by leaders invites wrath and curse of our Lord. Finally, it is the duty of those who are in contact with leaders to remind them about their injustice in order to save our sinking Nigeria from drowning ultimately. If they admonish them, Lord knows and they will definitely be rewarded, otherwise they will perish together in the river of chaos. May our Lord save our Nigeria from drowning. Isa Pantami, an Islamic cleric, is a lecturer at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and can be reached at

Are Nigerians bad imitators of democracy? Continued from page 14

Forum emerged as the newly crowned national leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party. What a way to show bad example to upcoming youth? The recently ended national coronation event in Abuja of the self acclaimed largest political party in Africa [PDP] has indeed set a new World record as the single most notorious evidence of the claim that Nigerian politicians are masters of double speak who would say one thing in the morning and do the exact opposite in the night. Take for instance the speech that was made by President Jonathan in his capacity as a respected leader of the Economic Community of West African States[ECOWAS] which thoroughly condemned the recent military coup which swept away the democratically elected regime in Mali and also the speech by the Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States and the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria Mr. Ikechukwu Ekweremadu which outrightly condemned the coup ‘d tat in Mali by the renegade soldiers of Mali but these two persons masquerading as democrats also took part in the rape of democracy that was the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party. What happened was a rape of democratic tenets of free choice because a national convention of a political party devoid of the simple elements and ingredients of democracy, free choice and competitive election is nothing but

a bad imitation of democracy. Democracy abhors forceful imposition of selected candidates of the powers-that-be to the consternation of a lot of the voiceless majority members of the political party. All those who bought nomination forms to stand for the different national offices but who never enjoyed the support of either the Presidency or Nigerian Governors Forum were cajoled, blackmailed, intimidated and harassed into stepping down for the already ordained and anointed candidates of these two notorious power blocs in Nigeria. Any doubting Thomas of what I have affirmed above that what took place at the Eagle Square which was called national convention of the ruling political party in Nigeria was nothing but a criminal bad imitation of democracy should have watched the way one of the candidates for the position of National Secretary Mr. Ebenezar Babatope forced to withdraw for a selected candidate of the Governors forum former soldier and military administrator Olagunsoye Oyinlola would be convinced beyond all shadow of doubt that what took place is a bad caricature of democratic national convention the type that usually take place in developed climes like the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Germany. Reading the body language of Ebenezar Babatope who told a bewildered nation that he was not stepping down for anybody but that the party hierarchy compelled him to so do one would be left with

no option but to conclude that a fatal wound has been inflicted in the hearts and minds of true lovers of democracy who are pained at the infinite capacity of the majority of politicians in Peoples Democratic Party to carry out mischief and perfidy. A respected Ancient Philosopher by name Plato wrote in his answer to the interrogation of what are the forms stated rightly that; “a beautiful person is a copy of beauty. We can say of a person that she is beautiful because we know the idea of beauty and recognize that a person shares more or less in this idea....” In the same vein we can look at the ways and manners that other civilized democracies are practicing their forms of democracy whereby the free choices of their people are held sacrosanct and draw a conclusion that in Nigeria the type of Democracy we practice is simply the bad imitation of democracy and unfortunately the legal institutions that are set up to monitor the political parties and ensure compliance such as the Independent National Electoral Commission and other antigraft bodies that ought to check the financial excesses of candidates for elective positions have comfortably gone to sleep and have allowed illintentioned political merchants to hijack the process and are thereby running it in their own ways which are basically meant to service their pecuniary interest and advance their selfish economic dominance in the polity thereby marginalizing and pushing the greatest majority of Nigerians to the precipice of

economic doom. This bad imitation of democracy is the reason why a majority of Nigerians are so poor that they can not afford the basic requirements of a decent life such that many die from avoidable sicknesses like malaria, diarrhea and other water borne diseases. The compromised political process of selecting and/or imposing certain preferred individuals to preside over the affairs of the majority of Nigerians is the reason for the complete collapse of the social economic infrastructure like electricity, and roads and even the very serious and important educational and health sectors have been systematically left to die slow but painful death such that every year hundreds of thousands of half baked university graduates are churned out without adequate entrepreneurial trainings thereby making them to roam the streets in search of the elusive white collar jobs that have unfortunately dried up. The bad imitation of democracy will invariably result in the subversion of the electoral process because those handpicked party officials are already primed and positioned to do only the bidding of those who installed them into offices and this malpractice already institutionalized in the Peoples Democratic party as well as other smaller political parties will suffocate the democratic space and make it impossible for good, quality and skilled professionals with absolutely no link to any political god father to win nomination to stand for elective positions in all elections.

The end result is that the handpicked contestants would automatically be rigged into offices by the extremely weak electoral body and these persons who already have preconceived idea of politics as money making machine will milk Nigeria dry in their bid to satisfy their political god- fathers and retain some levels of political power and privileges. After suffering the indignity of watching the political comedy that took place in the name of the national convention of the ruling party in Nigeria I wept for Nigeria because if Nigeria will continue to be ruled by mere imitators of democracy when in actual fact they can collectively rise up and reclaim Nigeria and popularly put the right kinds of persons into political offices to do only those things and carry out only those government and economic policies that can advance the happiness of the greatest number of the citizenry, move people to their better selves and institutionalize real democracy composed of respect for the fundamental freedoms which are inherent rights of every human persons, then sooner or later Nigeria will implode for the worst. Those who subvert the political process to supplant their surrogates should bear in mind that you can deceive some of the people some of the time but you cannot deceive all of the people all of the time. The time for Nigeria to practice real democracy is now so as to avoid a return to anomie and/or anarchy. Emmanuel Onwubiko blog at



Abuja councilors harp on synergy for devt of rural communities By Josephine Ella


ouncillors representing the 62 wards of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the umbrella of Abuja Councilors Forum, have emphasised the need for the FCT administration to synergise with area councils for rapid development of rural communities which they represent. The Vice Chairman of the forum, Hon. Musa Thomas, laid emphasis on this yesterday, when the chairman of the forum,

Hon. Abdulkadir Yahaya led the councilors on a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for the FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide. This, he said was “to address certain issues bordering on development, security, health and environmental degradation which are serious constraints that poses hazard to the communities we represent”. Thomas, the councilor representing all the wards in Gwagwalada Area Council noted that for any meaningful development to take place in the FCT, it must begin from the grass root.

Mats sellers in Abuja yesterday.

“For this reason, we request that the FCTA make adequate funds available to the area councils to execute projects especially those that have direct bearing on the people,” he added. In a remark, the Minister of State, who pledged the commitment of the administration towards the development of satellite towns and rural communities, assured that she the re-instated Satellite Town Development Agency kicks off its operations immediately the FCTA 2012 budget is passed. “I believe that whatever step

Photo: Joe Oroye

we take without involving the people cannot succeed so we need you to tell us this is where the shoe pinches,” she said, urging the councilors to monitor the staff in the project implementation unit in their councils to make sure they carry out their assigned roles.

Man, 55, arraigned for alleged impersonation, giving false information


he Police on Wednesday arraigned a 55-year-old man, Maurice Ette, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates' Court charged with impersonation and giving false information. The Police prosecutor, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, said that the accused committed the offence on March 29, 2011, June 30, 2011 and Feb. 6. He said that the accused of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism presented fake identity cards of the National Bureau of Statistics and the Federal Ministry of Communications to the Chief Magistrates' Court. Adamu said that the accused presented the identity cards to the court when he stood as a surety for Victor Felix, Olajide Aluko and Ate Terves. He told the court that on March 14, the accused was arrested at the Chief Magistrates' Court Wuse Zone 2, Abuja and taken to Wuse Police Station. Adamu said that during investigation, it was discovered that the accused was no longer a staff of the Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Communications at the time he presented the identity cards to the court.

Conductor, woman in fisticuff over N50 By Adeola Tukuru


mild drama played out yesterday in Kubwa market, a suburb along the Suleja express way in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), when a middle aged woman and a bus conductor engaged themselves in a fisticuff over the sum of N50 balance. The drama started when the middle aged woman, who gave

her name has Mummy Mercy boarded a bus from Berger junction going to Kubwa village and gave the sum of N200 to the conductor to balance her N50, as the fare was N150. Peoples Daily witnessed when the woman asked the conductor for her N50 balance, the conductor pretended not to hear her. This angered the woman resulting in her calling the

conductor names. In her words: “Please conductor let me have my balance, you have given others there change, let me have mine or else hell will let loose in this bus today” “You want to steal my money abi, I will deal with you today”, she said. The conductor who remained silent all through the journey, screamed back at her, “Woman I don’t have your

balance here, I will give you when we get to Kubwa Village and don’t ever threaten me again”. He warned her. On getting to Kubwa village market, the woman alighted from bus, the pulled the conductor’s shirt and they engaged themselves in a physical fight, which attracted onlookers and passengers. The bus driver quickly intervened in the matter and gave the woman her balance.

Man, 32, sentenced to 2 months jail for assaulting woman


Senior Magistrates' Court on Wednesday in Abuja sentenced a 32-year-old man, Kelvin Ehis, to two months imprisonment for criminal force and assault. Senior Magistrate Ann Akobi, however, gave the convict an option of N2, 000 as fine. Police prosecutor Odeh

David, told the court that on March 27, one Miss Favour Chidi of Café the Rock Garden, Wuse Zone 6, reported at the Wuse Police Station that the accused beat her up. David said that the accused went to Chidi's outlet, located at Golden Gate Hotel, Wuse Zone 5 and ate one meat pie and drank a bottle of soft drink

worth N250 and refused to pay. He said that when Chidi requested for the money, the accused beat her up. The prosecutor said that the offence was contrary to section 265 of the Penal Code. The accused, who pleaded guilty, begged the court for leniency.

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The prosecutor prayed the court for the sum of N18, 000 to be paid as compensation to the complainant. He said that Chidi lost N15, 000 at the scene of the incident and incurred N3, 000 for her medical bills. Akobi ordered the convict to pay N18, 000 as compensation to the complainant. (NAN)

The prosecutor said that the offence was contrary to Sections 132 and 140 of the Penal Code. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and the prosecutor asked for a date for hearing of the case in view of his plea. Counsel to the accused, Mr E.0. Ameh, applied for his bail, saying that he would not jump bail. The Senior Magistrate, Aliyu Shafa, granted the accused bail in the sum of N250, 000 and one surety, who must be a civil servant not below GL 04. He adjourned the case to April 17 for hearing. (NAN)

AEPB assures on mobile courts By Adeola Tukuru


he Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has assured that there will be a r-eemergence of mobile courts in some strategic positions in major spots in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Director Isah Mohammed Shaibu in an interview, admitted on the sudden disappearance of the mobile courts from major spot in the territory and promised their reemergence soon. He further said that they intended to concentrate this time on safety guaranteed areas in view of recent events where some court officials were molested in the territory by tugs. The Director explained that the men of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) were recruited not through normal process but by a letter of recommendation from their respective traditional leaders in the territory maintaining that they were all paid standardized salary as approved by the government minimum wage scheme. Shuiab therefore called on members of the public to show respect to staff of the board since they were not working for their individual interest but for the FCT and the country in general.





N68bn required to implement health projects in FCT – Health Secretary INTERVIEW


ir, you have been at the helm of affairs of the health secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for some months now, how has the experience being? Well, the responsibility you know is very enormous, very tasking, demanding and very challenging but with God on our side, and with the necessary support from the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed the experience has been worthwhile. The truth is, I might be getting all the commendations for what I have been doing but everything is from him because if he is not giving me the political support, if he is not giving me the fatherly support, if he has not been there telling me you can do it, we would not be achieving what we have done. So far, what efforts has your secretariat made towards improving the FCT health sector? Basically, I am an apostle of investigative journalism, but for record purpose and with all clarity and humility we have tried as much as we can within this period. The list is endless but if you go to the FCT hospitals, you will see that they have been upgraded. Also, we have provided about twenty extra beds from the original arrangements. Recently, we upgraded the equipment in our hospitals. We have fully automated the laboratory services in our hospitals and FCT is the only place in the northern zone that has recorded this feat. Go to Nyanya General Hospital, you will never believe it is the hospital you used to know because we have expanded the structures in the hospital, bed spaces and upgraded the equipment. We have also completed and equipped the Zuba General Hospital. It is just awaiting commissioning. Also, equipment wise, go to Asokoro General Hospital, we have now installed a city scan, we have a digital x-ray, we have a mammogram, we have an echocardiogram there which no state in the north even the National Hospital in Abuja have. Also, Gwagwalada cortege hospital is about 60 per cent completed. Utako Hospital project is about 30 per cent done and with the allocation for the hospital in the FCTA 2012 budget, I can assure you that the project will soon be completed. Again in the area of capacity

Due to the growing health demands of the teeming population in the federal capital territory, the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the Territory (FCT) has come under intense pressure on health care delivery services. Dr. Demola Onakomaiya is presently at the helm of affairs at the secretariat, having succeeded Dr. Precious Gbeneol, seven months ago. He addresses some critical health questions in the FCT in this interview with correspondent, Josephine Ella Excerpts: building, we have been having series of training for all our staff. So, you can see that we have been working tirelessly but notwithstanding all that have been mentioned, we still need to improve. Would you please throw more light on the recent automation process in FCT hospitals which you earlier mentioned? We have successfully automated laboratories in all the secondary health facilities in the FCT with hematology analyzers and chemistry analyzers. Be it in Maitama, Robochi, Kuje, Kwali, these equipment were put on ground last month so that people there do not have to come to the city for automation. The essence of automating the laboratory units is firstly; it brings about quality, efficiency, reduces error margin in the test conducted, unlike the conventional testing carried out manually and more work can be achieved with these machines. Health workers in the laboratory are also happy, bringing about a condusive atmosphere for people to work. In this latest technology we have a soft ware in place that does the work, without you putting in human efforts, the stress of your calculation. These machines are useful when you go for your full blood count, pregnancy, HIV test, kidney, liver, heart function test and every other test. There have been accusations against the Primus Speciality Hospital in Karu which you are already aware of. How far has the secretariat gone in investigating some of these

Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya

alleged medical misconducts and what measures are you putting in place to ensure that such things do not occur again? We have a team that is going about called Private Health Establishment Regulatory Committee. The team visits all the FCT hospitals and in going about this, they bring about international best practices to set the standard. Anywhere we find something wanting, we close the facility but before closing them, we give them ample time to do what is needful. On the other issue you specifically mentioned about the woman that claimed to

We have successfully automated laboratories in all the secondary health facilities in the FCT with hematology analyzers and chemistry analyzers

have be diagnosed of fibroid, opened up and then was not operated but told by doctors that they had operated of the fibroid which she claimed she paid for, the issue is already in court and we should all respect the rules and regulations of Nigeria. You don’t disclose anything court cases outside. The issue of overcrowding and lack of bed space have always been a challenge in most FCT hospitals, what have been your efforts towards reversing the situation? You know at the point Abuja was created, it was created for less than one million people but today being the Federal Capital of Nigeria, people from Katsina, people from Ogbomosho people from Anambra and so on are in Abuja. Today, the population of Abuja is about four million. And look at the scenario, where you have facilities for six hundred thousand people and for those facilities, there is no proportional infrastructural development and those facilities are now serving four million people. It is expected

for you to have overcrowding. So, the high level of migration into the Federal Capital Territory is the reason we are having overcrowding. On our part we are providing the doctors, we are providing the equipments needed, we are expanding our hospitals like I mentioned earlier and the hospitals are functioning well. Medical centres operating beyond the licenses given to them are on the increase in the FCT. What are you doing to check this? When I came on board, I personally chaired and led a team that embarked on closure of such diagnostic centres you are referring to because the license they have is for diagnosis, and diagnostic is for investigation and they were having a hospital setting in them. The reason for the closure is not witch-hunting, it’s about standardizing the process, it’s about bringing in quality, it’s about doing what is giving to you as in, if this certificate is given to you, you should live on that certificate given to you that is the essence. Rather than carrying out other illegalities, health services that you have not been licensed to carry out. The exercise is a continuous one so our officials embark on the raid of illegal health centres from time to time. What major challenge is hampering the progress of the health secretariat? The major challenge is limited resources. That is the problem we have. If we have the resources, we would do wonders. But worldwide, human wants especially health needs are very much limited. It is a dynamic industry. Although I know it is not only health you think about, there is education, the security, there is agriculture. So, how much do you think is required to finance the secretariat? From the FCT strategic health plan, about N68 billion is needed for us to carry out the need of the health secretariat which you know is a difficult thing but God helping us, we would get there.




FAAC allocation for the month of March 2012 S/N




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

Power generation: FG promotes use of coal by mining operators By Mohammed Kandi


he Federal Government has advocated the use of coal as an alternative source of power generation by mining operators in the country. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, made the call during his inspection visit to Lafarge Cement, WAMPCO plant in Ogun state as part of his working tour of South-West zone of the mines field, a statement issued by the ministry's Deputy Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu said. The minister said, "We are taking serious the situation of power in the country; we felt we have to do whatever we can do to promote this type of bio- fuel for the purpose of power generation. What we try to do is to see how we can partner with them so that

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

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


they can mine their own coal in the country and make it effective and cheap for them to be able to integrate into their system". Arc. Sada commended the initiative of Lafarge Cement, WAMPCO, who had already started the use of coal for power generation in their mining operations in the country. He said, "To prove to Nigerians that mining is actually happening in the country, people should not rely on how much gemstone, and gemstones are not considered as important as industrial minerals such as coal". The minister also commended Lafarge Cement for the amount of employment, the company had generated so far in the country. Arc. Sada assured stakeholders and development partners of the government's support in area of community relations in mining operations by ensuring that some of the problems associated with mining activities are eliminated. The minister pledged the ministry's readiness to render necessary support to Lafarge Cement, WAMPCO towards the growth of the nation's minerals and metal sectors. He noted that the infrastructure was one of the major problems militating against the movement of solid minerals resources from the mines to the end users. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Cement, WAMPCO, Joe Hudson, said Lafarge which is a major cement manufacturer in Nigeria has been in operation since 1960.

Ecobank net profit climbs 57 pct in 2011


an-African Ecobank Transnational yesterday said its 2011 net profits hit $206.8 million, up 57 percent from $131.8 million in 2010.(Reuters)

LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40



ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08



SELLING 0.314 208.1528 249.0249 41.6116 156.06


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45 ABJ-LOS: 11.30, 3.45, 4.45 LOS-KANO: 6.15 LOS-KANO (SAT/SUN): 16.30 KANO-LOS: 07.30 KANO-LOS (SUN/SUN): 10.30

27th Mar, 2012 BUYING 0.294 206.819 247.4292 41.3449 155.06

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 255 40 158

SELLING 212 257 42 159


- Pg 20

New Trade Policy: Committee submit report to FG

Mob: 08033644990

Naira falls vs dollar on surge in forex demand

T 620.7 billion


he Naira weakened against the U.S dollar on the interbank market yesterday, as strong demand by fuel importers outweighed dollar inflows from energy companies, traders said. The local currency traded at 157.90 to the dollar on the interbank market, weaker than the 157.70 to the dollar on Tuesday. The Naira however, managed a slight gain at the bi-weekly foreign exchange auction, closing at 156.01 to the dollar from 156.06 at the previous auction on Monday. Traders said greenback flows

from units of Royal Dutch Shell , France Total and Agip of about $196 million to the market in the week was not enough to counter demand. "The level of dollar inflows into the market from oil companies this week were not enough to match strong demand from fuel importers, and this caused the naira to depreciate," one dealer said. Traders said the Naira is seen trading flat or strengthening a little in the coming days because of expectations that flows from offshore investors participating in

the bond and treasury bill auctions could provide some support for the local currency. "We don't see the Naira depreciating to the 158 level in the near term because of offshore inflows and expected dollar sales by the NNPC next week," another dealer said. At the bi-weekly official forex window, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold $150 million at 156.01 to the dollar, compared with the $128 million sold at 156.06 to the dollar at Monday's auction. (Reuters)

Commonwealth Trade Advisor, Mr. Isaac Ngoroge, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and ED/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), David Adulugba , during the opening ceremony of the regional export competitiveness strategy workshop, recently in Abuja.

NNPC vows to ensure adequate power supply By Muhammad Nasir


he Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has vowed to ensure adequate power supply to the power plants in every nook and cranny of the country, as a part of efforts to ensure the success of the Federal Government's aspiration on steady electric power supply across the country. This was made known by the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Engineer Austin Oniwon when the Governor of Bayelsa state, Mr. Timipre Sylva paid him a courtesy call at the NNPC Towers, Abuja at the weekend.

He maintained that is determined and committed to the Federal Government's Gas to Power initiative and as the Corporation is saddled with the responsibility of managing the Country's hydrocarbon resources, it has been resolved to ensure that the abundant gas resources in the country is channeled into the power plants . He also added that NNPC was undergoing rapid transformation in consonance with the dynamic nature of the Oil and Gas Industry noting that with the imminent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly, the Corporation was fully prepared to adjust to the new dispensation

which would transform the Corporation to a commercially driven National Oil company. According to him, "We cannot continue business as usual, hence the need to transform in preparation for the passage of the PIB. The industry is changing and NNPC is preparing to fit in as a 21st century company. We are committed and determined to overcome all the challenges that will come with the passage of the PIB". He said that the corporation is commitment to the completion of the Bayelsa Greenfield Refinery and assured that already the NNPC was negotiating with a world class company to establish

Management Tip of the Day


Craft an attention-grabbing message

ith so much information out there, getting your audience's attention is tough. But it is also essential. Consider these three things next time you craft a message that needs to be heard: Make a comparison. Whether you are selling a

product or making a point, remember that people like to draw connections. Help your audience understand by comparing your message to something else. Piggyback on the familiar. Take something most people know and make it your

own. Spinoffs of the "Got Milk?" slogan have done this successfully. Be specific. Use simple, specific details to solidify your point. These give your audience something to remember when you're no longer in front of them. Source: Harvard Business Review




New Trade Policy: Committee submits report to FG

World Bank, NASENI announce technology intervention for manufacturing sector



he World Bank and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) have announced a major technology intervention to boost on-going efforts to revive the nation’s industrial sector.

Licenced CITs take over cash evacuation by June


he Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Niyi Ajao, has said that licenced Cash In Transit (CIT) companies will take over cash management services in the country from June this year.

NACCIMA tasks govt on Foreign Direct Investment


he Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called on the Federal Government to provide necessary infrastructure that would attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Ogun unfolds new incentives for investors


gun state government has unfolded new incentives for prospective investors in the state, under its economic revival agenda.

US natural gas prices at 10year low


S natural gas prices fell to a fresh 10-year low on Tuesday as supply growth continues, adding to pressure on drillers to curb production to avoid further falls as temperatures rise.

Smart cities: IBM takes Lagos as pilot


ith Lagos population growing in leaps and bounds, International Business Machine, (IBM) has pledged to use its software solutions to build smarter cities for the state.

L-R: Representative of Enugu state government and Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Vivienne Eze, Minister of Labour, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, ECCIMA President, Dr. Theo Okonkwo, and Director General, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Malam Abubakar Mohammed, at the NDE day during the ongoing 23rd Enugu International Trade Fair, yesterday in Enugu. Photo: NAN

FG seeks UK help to improve business environment


orried by the worsening business environment in the country, the Federal Government has sought for the support of the United Kingdom on how to improve business environment in order to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) coming into the country. The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Chief Samuel Ortom, while seeking the support however reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to improve business environment for both local and foreign investors in the country. He stated this during the visit of United Kingdom Under-Secretary

of State for International Development Mr. Stephen O’ Brian who paid a visit to the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja. He said that the Ministry in collaboration with relevant agencies and stakeholders has set in motion the process to fast-track the development of entrepreneurs for creation of opportunities and employment for the youths in the country . “We have keyed into ensuring that we fight poverty. Poverty has been a major problem in this country. We want to get it right make sure that people get out of

poverty”. He commended the UK government for the support given the Ministry through Department for International Development (DFID) for the development of Transnational Border Market Pilot Project in the South-West, the Technical Committee on Review of Nigeria Trade Policy as well as Taskforce on Trade Facilitation in Nigeria. In his contribution, Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr. David Adejuwon sought for the support of DFID for capacity building for staff and final execution of the existing project s on transnational border market.

NSITF urges employers to comply with rules


he Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), has called on employers in the country to comply with the provisions of the Employees’ Compensation Act, ECA, saying it will not hesitate to apply the necessary sanctions as provided by the Act on any recalcitrant employer. The statement read: “The fund wishes to draw the attention of employers to the commencement of the implementation of Employees, Compensation Scheme, ECS, a product of ECA and the payment of contributions as provided by the ECA 2010. According to NSITF, “The scheme provides guaranteed and adequate compensation for all employees or their dependants for any death, injury, disease or disability arising out of or in the course of employment. The schemes also offer rehabilitation and vocational training services to employees with work related disability with a view to bringing such employees back to work. In specific terms, the following compensations are payable under the Act: Compensation for death – payable to dependants of the deceased employee child/

children, widow/widower etc., Compensation for injury – temporary/permanent, partial or total disability, Compensation for mental stress, Compensation for hearing impairment, Compensation for occupational diseases (list of diseases up-dated from time to time). Also, Health care benefit, i.e medical expenses are also paid for under the scheme and Compensation is also payable for injuries sustained by employees outside the normal working place where the business of the employer extends beyond the usual work place or the nature of employment is such that the employee is required to work both in and out of the usual work place.” “For the avoidance of doubt, we hereby reiterate that the Employees, Compensation Act (ECA 2010) repealed the work men’s Compensation Act 2004. The Act came in to effect on 17th December, 2010 and from that date, the Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCA) ceased to be the applicable law on the subject of employees compensation for work injury or Occupational diseases. It is also pertinent to note that

the scheme is mandatory for all employers of labour in both the public and private sectors, not withstanding any other additional in house scheme or policy an employer has been providing or may wish to provide for its employees. In this regard, payment purportedly made to any other organization and by whatever name called, would not substitute for payment required to be made to Nigeria social insurance Trust Fund as provided under section 33 (1) of the Act. “The statement added that “NSITF as the institution empowered by the Act to implement the scheme hereby urges all covered employers to remit the requisite contributions to the Fund’s Bank Accounts which had been widely circulated. While the Fund expects every covered employer to take the necessary steps to comply with the provisions of the Act, in view of the obvious benefits to both the employees and the employer, it would on the other hand not hesitate to apply the necessary sanctions as provided by the Act on any employer that persists in non- compliance.

he Committee on the Review of Nigeria’s Trade Policy has submitted its report to the Federal Government through the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja. The report is waiting for input from stakeholders in the sector, will lead to the birth of a workable and result-oriented trade and investment policy in the next few weeks. It will be recalled that Nigeria last reviewed its Trade Policy 10 years ago. While receiving the committee’s report, Aganaga said that the new trade policy would provide a comprehensive Road Map for boosting Nigeria’s domestic, regional and international trade, as well as facilitate the inflow of investments into the country. He said that his ministry’s strategy to make Nigeria the hub of trade and investment in Africa and globally, would focus on areas where the country currently had comparative and competitive advantage. He said, “The Committee has done a good job and I am actually excited about it. The last time we did something like this was 10 years ago. So, for the first time in 10 years, we are going to have a policy that looks modern, comprehensive and cuts across all the sectors of the economy, including services. “In most countries of the world, the services sector actually contributes the largest part of their Gross Domestic Product (GP). If we focus on services alone, it is a sector that can create a lot of employment for our people apart from the positive impact it will have on our economy.” He added, “Also, the trade policy will focus on value-addition. The idea is that, rather than exporting iron ore, we want to export steel; instead of exporting limestone, we want to export cement. So, focusing on valueaddition will enable us to create jobs, generate wealth and transform our economy. “Overall, we want to have a policy that will not only look at the sectors that we have neglected for so long, but that will also help us leverage those areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage.” He said that the work done by the committee and the recommendations made were evidence-based and backed with studies, adding, “I want to look at the policy documents that have been submitted by the Committee Chairman as quickly as possible in the right way and also ensure that we carry out proper consultations. However, I want to see a new Trade and Investment Policy out within the next few weeks”.



Transcorp Hilton emerges top 15 in Hilton worldwide assessment By Abdulwahab Isa and Tinu Adedoyin


igeria’s Transcorp Hilton hotel has emerged top 15 in performing hotels among the ranks of over 300 worldwide Hilton’s performance assessment, Area President (Middle East and Africa) of Hilton worldwide, Mr. Rudi Jagersbacher has revealed. The assessment, he affirmed in a chat with media representatives in Abuja, covers Europe and the Middle East. He said the management is on the

verge of expanding the presence of Hilton to other parts of Nigeria. “We have been here for a considerable period of time for lots of different reasons. Obviously, we have not developed more opportunities, but about a year ago, we signed up Hilton at the Lagos airport, which we are waiting to be completed and it will be the first in Lagos and yesterday, our owners have agreed to be in partnership to develop more properties within Nigeria”. Jagersbacher, accompanied by other senior officers of Hilton said the prevailing security

challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria and it had in no way affected the business of the hotel. However, he noted said the management has put in place the necessary security measures to deal with any untoward development. He said: “We are responsible for the Middle-East, Africa, and Indian Ocean, and you know what happened in the Middle -East last year; in Tunisia, to Egypt and of course some other places including here. I’ll say this kind of interferences is fairly common and we always ensure, through a

very thorough training, that we provide for our hotels adequate security. We have a point of duty to issue security advise for safety and security; we have emergency procedures to ensure that, should there be any kind of problem we have pro-active measures to deal with the matter”. He said the management of Hilton worldwide had laid out a careful expansion plan for Nigeria that will see the country having within the next five to seven years, the presence of 5 to 8 of Hilton hotels in different locations of the country.

Coca-Cola begins 2012 Eva campaign From Soji Oyinlola, Lagos


oca-Cola Nigeria has announced the flag off of its “Be Eva Active” campaign, designed to promote the vision of wellness and healthy living, with the Eva Fun Walk, a communitybased exercise and fitness programme, in Lagos. The event, which will feature thousands of Nigerians, according to organisers, will be the focal point for committed exercise enthusiasts and novices alike. This year’s programme will see four city-wide walks supported by numerous community-based walks facilitated by gyms and community partners. The total programme encourages Nigerians to stay healthy and in shape by walking, taking the first step towards developing an active, healthy lifestyle. The Marketing Director, CocaCola Nigeria Limited, Austin Ufomba, believes this year’s edition of the Eva Fun Walk will redefine exercise and encourage more Nigerians to be part of the movement.

AMAA, Nigeria’s best export to the world— Expert From Soji Oyinlola, Lagos


L-R: Managing Director, Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company Plc (NIPCO), Mr. Venkataraman Venkatapathy, Chairman, Chief. Bestman Anekwe and Company Secretary, Mr. Paul Obi, at the 8th Annual General Meeting of NIPCO Plc, yesterday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kwara showcases potential through marketing communications platform From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


n the business of marketing communications, experts have rightly argued that the success or otherwise of a product depends largely on its ability to create a niche for itself. The niche, which makes it stand out from competition, enhances its marketability, by creating some form of characteristics and mannerisms, (brand identity), the product can usually be associated with. Not a few therefore believe that, besides laying bare the economic and social potential of the state, the recent decision of the Kwara state government to hinge its Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS), which contains the key policies, strategies and action plans for each of the ministries, departments and agencies in the state, on the marketing communication

platform of ‘Shared Prosperity’, is no doubt an attempt by the state government to make it stand out from the pack. The state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed had, last January, approved a programme of Shared Prosperity, as a marketing platform, to ensure that all key stakeholders within and outside the state understand and internalise the key policies contained in the MTSS. The programme breaks down the MTSS into easy- to- understand and direct core policies that can be easily marketed to the people. While explaining the essence of the campaign, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Tunji Moronfoye, argued that since everybody desired prosperity, the objective was to create a platform for all stakeholders to partake in the state’s economic and social prosperity.

Therefore, economic prosperity for the state, he added, would translate into the people’s well-being, increased revenue for development projects, profits for private entrepreneurs and investors, employment generation and enhanced infrastructure. Explaining the thrust of the campaign, the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Communications), to the governor, Dr. Muyideen ‘Femi Akorede, noted that the campaign fine tuned the key policy thrusts, strategies and indices for the then new administration. He also stated that the rebranding campaign was designed to position Kwara as a conducive environment to foreign and local direct investments. Earlier, Governor Ahmed had explained that it was motivated by the need to leverage Kwara’s

huge natural resources, peaceful atmosphere and strides in commercial agriculture, education and commerce for enhanced local and foreign private investment. “Our intention is to sell Kwara through a composite approach that re-ignites our people’s sense of pride in their state while at the same time emphasising our key strengths in terms of our innovative trade, industrial, solid minerals, and tourism and investment policies,’’ he stated. He also stated that while the foreign and national phases of the campaign were important, it was vital that the Kwarans had a buy-in into the branding campaign as major stakeholders and primary audience for the campaign hence the decision to blend the state’s cultural identity with its unique trade and investment strengths in the entire project.

op marketing c o m m u n i c a t i o n practitioner and Chief Executive Officer of Hot Shot, a data based marketing communication, Mr Dayo Adefila, has described the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) platform as one of the country’s best exports to the rest of the world. Stating this on, where the article to announce the 2012 edition of the awards was published, the former management staff of Insight Grey Communication, described the awards as an initiative that had proved that something noble could be initiated and sustained by committed and visionary people, while stressing the need for AMAA to act like a true modern brand. “If AMAA defines its core target audience as corporate Nigeria, then it needs to understand that corporate Nigeria follows consumer excitement and commitment. It needs to create a three-month engagement and co-creation driven activities for the avid movie watcher in Lagos, Kaduna, Conakry, Accra, Kenya, and Jo’burg. This is when brands will see more reason to spread their marketing communication budgets to AMAA, get a big idea and integrate all media touch points including digital media in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and other African countries.”



Insecurity: PENGASSAN urges review of immigration policy By Muhammad Nasir


he President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN), Comrade Babatunde Ogun has called on the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s immigration policy in order to check the influx of illegal immigrants into the country, adding that the review of the immigration policy would stimulate in reducing the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria.

Ogun, in a statement, noted that many people from neighboring countries come into the Nigeria without proper papers or document and without any purpose. This, he attributed to the porosity of the nation’s borders and lack of commitment on the part of the officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service. He maintained that there have been several reports of cases of attacks on Nigerians in the northern part of the country by herdsmen from some

neighboring countries. More worrisome is the Al- Quada dimension to the insecurity in the country. “I think the review of the immigration policy needs to involve re-orientation, training and retraining of the officers and men of the Nigerian Immigration on protecting our borders.” He noted that the laxity of the policy also allows foreigners to take jobs that are meant for Nigerians, all in the name of expatriates, stating that whereas “some of the foreigners who

parade as expatriates have no specialisation that can qualify them for being in the country”. He urged the government to urgently review the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) policy which allows for free movement of goods and persons within the subregion as a way of curbing criminal activities in the country and the issuance of National Identification Card to citizens of the country, saying that this would be the first step towards enhancing security in Nigeria. L-R: Training Manager, Feeback Instrument Limited, UK, Mr. Richard Hurnall, Minister State for Trade and Investment, Chief Samuel Ortom, and Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Lomgmas Sambo Wapmuk, during the official commissioning of ITF’s Mobile Laboratory Workshop, on Monday, in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

NNPC seeks NOA support on PIB By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has solicited the support of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) towards mobilising support for the passage into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Group Managing Director of NNPC, Engineer Austin Oniwon, who made this call when the NOA Director-General, Mr. Mike Omeri paid him a courtesy visit at the headquarters of the NNPC in Abuja, added that, ”With the persuasive capacity of the NOA, it is the right partner to help mobilise public goodwill towards the PIB, which is in the best interest of Nigeria and its economy”. A statement issued by the Assistant Director, Press in the Agency, Fidel Agu, indicated that the NNPC boss urged NOA to make the National Assembly see the inherent benefits in the bill for the nation and grant it expedited passage, adding that the agency should mobilise inputs and opinions to enrich the PIB while it is being repackaged by the Presidency. It condemned the post amnesty dimension of oil crimes in the Niger Delta region, saying that the amnesty programme of the Federal Government had successfully addressed the problem of militancy in the region. “What is now being witnessed is pure criminal activity in the form of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism which have grave consequences both on the nation’s economy and on the Niger Delta environment.NOA should intensify its campaign against these vices and several others which have given the nation a negative image before the international community”, it said.

Afren’s profit triples, shifts focus to Kurdistan Exxon signs Nigeria oil renewals, dispute ends By Muhammad Nasir, with agency report


il company, Afren’s profit has tripled fully in the year, benefiting from a key oil field in Nigeria, and all eyes are now on the British oil firm’s field in Kurdistan that is expected to start production in August. In a statement by the chief Executive of Barda Rash field in Kurdistan in Iraq, Osman Shahenshah noted that Afren has acquired a 60 percent interest last year and are expected to produce 10,000 to 15,000 barrels per day (bpd)by the end of the year. He maintained that the company is producing assets is in Nigeria, expanded in the Middle East last year when it bought stakes in two Kurdistan operations for $588 million. “We have only 19 percent of our resources either in production or under development so there’s major upside and also the company targets 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2017,”he added.

He reiterated that acquisitions are much less important than they have been in the past and that the company was on track for producing 42,000 to 46,000 bpd in 2012. Also that the Afren’s 2011 exit rate was about 50,000 bpd, Ebok oil field in Nigeria produced 8,023 bpd and Afren’s pre-tax profit in 2011 rose to $221 million from $79 million a year earlier. Also speaking, the boss of singer capital markets, Simon Hawkins

noted that with a number of key catalysts likely to unlock significant upside from a multiwell drilling programme spanning Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kurdistan, there is potential for momentum to start building again. He added that the company’s shares which have gained about 45 percent since the beginning of this year were up 3 percent at 135 pence at 0952 GMT on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange.

Union Bank posts N62.47bn loss The bank’s results also showed after tax for 3Q aduring loss before tax of N85.75 billion the period compared to the


nion Bank of Nigeria Plc posted a loss after tax of N62.47 billion for its third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2011, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. The result, which was published by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday, showed that the loss was in contrast to the profit after tax of N6.81 billion recorded in corresponding period in 2010.

profit before tax of N7.68 billion in the same period in 2010. The bank’s gross earnings also dropped from N85.57 billion in the third quarter of 2010 to N78.45 billion in the same period in 2011. Its fixed assets declined to N55.52 billion against N58.75 billion in recorded in the third quarter of 2010, a decrease of 5.5 per cent. (NAN)

By Muhammad Nasir


he United States energy giant, Exxon Mobil has on Wednesday signed a 20 year oil license renewals on Nigerian assets producing around 550,000 barrels per day. It was noted that Nigeria has not renewed several drilling licenses that expired as far back as 2008 with foreign oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron despite the wide ranging energy reforms that has been delayed by political wrangling. The Federal Government has been reluctant to sign new deals or renew old ones until the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which is likely to increase royalties and taxes, becomes law. It was also noted that the bill has been stuck in the Assembly for years and has been subject to numerous delays and amendments, with no sign it

could be passed soon, leaving major regulatory uncertainties. The latest resolution with Exxon shows oil licenses can be rolled over even while those uncertainties are unresolved. Exxon’s head of Nigerian operations said they are pleased with the outcome because it has been a long journey while some would say it’s a difficult journey to accomplished. However, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke maintained that the leases were renewed on mutually fair basis for which to work together for the next 20 years and that all other pending renewals will be expeditiously processed. Meanwhile there are outstanding licenses to be renewed that Exxon blocks, namely OML 67, 68 and 70 located in the shallow water in the Niger Delta and are some of the biggest oil producing assets in Africa’s largest energy industry.




As National Qur’anic recitation competition holds in Katsina T

omorrow, Friday, 30th March, 2012, the ancient city of Katsina would be host to not less than 300 Qur’anic competitors from 27 states of the federation and the FCT. They would be competing in various categories of Qur’an memorization and Tajweed. The competition which is the 26th edition and enunciated by the Centre for Islamic Studies, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto is being sponsored by the Katsina state Government. The weeklong event would also attract guests especially Ulama’s and students from across the country and beyond. The choice of Katsina for the 26th edition of the competition has some historical significance. Katsina since the pre-colonial era has remained a centre for Islamic scholarship and learning. Katsina was the first city in pre-colonial time to establish a university like the centre for Islamic learning that attracts students and Ulamas from across Sudan-al Bilad and the Maghriban states. Among prominent Islamic scholars of Katsina extract are Wali Dan Marna and Wali Dan Masani. It is also a historical fact that the leader of the 1804 Jihad, Usmanu Bn Fodio had some of his teachers in Katsina. A prominent North African

This year’s National Qur’anic recitation competition which would commence tomorrow is to be hosted by the Katsina state government. It is in the light of this that our Katsina correspondent, Lawal Sa’idu Funtua takes a look at the competition and its lessons for the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. scholar, Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Maghili visited Katsina in search of learning and scholarship. In contemporary Nigeria, Katsina is the only city in the country hosting the first and only community based Islamic University. Therefore, it is not by coincidence that Katsina is hosting this event since it has become home to Qur’an, its teaching, learning and interpretation. The Holy Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had in several verses of the hadith encouraged the Muslim Ummah to go in search of knowledge. The religion of Islam is built on the foundation of search for knowledge and its usage for the salvation of man in this world and in the hereafter. The first message sent to the Holy Prophet Muhammad by God through

Angel Jibril was simply commanding him to read. It is only through the search for knowledge that one would know about his God and how to worship. It was reported in the holy Qur’an through his prophet that Allah admonished; “know me before you worship me”. Similarly the Prophet had also encouraged the Muslim Ummah to learn how to read the Holy Qur’an with the correct Tajweed. Therefore it is worthy of commendation the resolve of Katsina state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema for accepting to host the 26 th edition of the national Qur’anic recitation competition. Recitation of the Holy Qur’an, its teaching and learning is both Rahma and protection to the Muslim Ummah. With the vigour and commitment with which Muslim Ummah strive to

Vice- President Muhammad Namadi Sambo and Gov. Sule Lamido at the 2011 National Quránic recitation, in Jigawa

Tahir Mustapha Tahir Saleh being turbanned as male winner of last year’s Qur’ánic recitation

memorize the Qur’an shows that the Book is both the etiquette and compendium of their entire life in this world and the hereafter. It is only during the Qur’anic recitation competition that every competitor is a winner. It is in the light of this that throughout the weeklong event, young competitors through their melodious voices would light the ancient city with the reading of the Qur’an that brings messages of hope and salvation. The gathering which would attract the Muslim political and religious leaders would also provide a platform for the entire Ummah to embark on a journey of self reflection and soul searching. The religion of Islam is a complete religion that makes clear statements on the conduct of a leader and his followers. The Holy Prophet of Islam, Prophet

Muhammad (S.A.W) provided us with practical ways on which to conduct ourselves as servants of God, leaders and followers. There is nothing left out in the Holy Qur’an concerning our conducts be it the way we eat, sleep, walk, talk etc. The four rightly guided Khalifa’s of the Holy Prophet, Abubakar, Umar, Usman and Aliyu have all provided us with the examples of how to live a pious life of service to God and humanity. The Tabi’un that followed them also serves as a reference point of how an ideal Muslim faithful can conduct himself as a leader or as a follower. In Nigeria the Muslim community has a great lesson to learn from the leader of the 1804 Jihad, Sheikh Usmanu Bn Fodio and his students. Usmanu Bn Fodio promoted scholarship and learning among different sexes without

discrimination. His daughter Nana Asma’u was a classical example of the way the Shiekh promoted learning and scholarship among women. Nana Asma’u was an authority in the Qur’an, Hadith, jurisprudence and other branches of Islamic knowledge. She was equally a poet who composed a lot of poetry in support of the Jihad and encouraged Muslim women to go out in search of

knowledge. With the experience of Nana Asma’u during the Jihad, one is tempted to ask; where did the contemporary Muslim society get the idea of denying women access to education? Muslim women in today’s society are relegated to the role of house helps and sex objects. We forget that they are also servants of God that have equal rights as men. We should know that irrespective of sex, we would all account for our deeds in the hereafter. Allowing women to acquire knowledge would make men especially husbands have spiritual partners that would guide them when they stray. It is therefore our sincere hope that the event would draw the attention of the Muslim Ummah of the right of women to education. The Holy Qur’an that would be a source for the 300 competitors to compete for honours has in several Surah’s decried corruption; be it spiritual, moral or material. It was corruption that made man to worship other gods aside the One true God. The people of Makkah rejected the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W) Islam because of corruption. They wanted to

It is a clear fact that Nigeria is on the edge due to corruption in all sphere Muslims that were taught by the Qur’an to run away from corruption are neck deep in it. They gather worldly fortunes corruptly as if there is no day of judgement

Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III (right) and royal fathers at the 2011 competition

continue with their old ways of pre-Islamic era; cheating people through their corrupt gods, Lat, Uzza and Manatta. Corruption destroys a religion and a society. It is a clear fact that Nigeria is on the edge due to corruption in all sphere Muslims that were taught by the Qur’an to run away from corruption are neck deep in it. They gather worldly fortunes corruptly as if there is no day of judgement. Our Ulama’s and religious leaders no longer detest corruption instead they justify it through corrupt interpretations of the Qur’an and the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. Moral corruption has taken over the Muslim Ummah threatening the very fabric of its existence. The corrupt urge to satisfy sexual pleasure has pushed wicked men to turn to young girls and engage them as sex slaves while daily reports of rape on minor’s have taken over our society. Homosexuality is now a fashion in our society which involves the mighty and the low. The competitors and participants at the weeklong event should also reflect on the pervasive poverty, hunger and unemployment threatening the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. Going by the provision of the Holy Qur’an, Muslims need not to be hungry, poor or unemployed as the religion

has provided a social system to take care of the weak called ZAKKAT. Zakkat which is one of the pillars of Islam is being treated with contempt by the rich in the society. They do not respect its provision and even if they manage to give out a fraction, it is often abused. There is no concern for the welfare of the week and the destitutes in our society. Orphans left in our midst are always left to their fate, and some end up as street urchins or hardened

criminals. We have severed family ties, our existence is now based on concerns for self and our immediate family. The extended family system that ensured the support of the weak and the disadvantaged in the society has broken down. The reciters , Ulamas and muslim leaders at the event should take time to reflect on the leadership we now have in the muslim society. The Holy Prophet and His Companions have provided us

with examples of how to be good leader and good followers. The Holy Prophet and His Companions while in position of leadership never went to sleep when their followers are hungry or under threat. They never c o n t e m p l a t e d misappropriating public funds for personal aggrandizement or to enrich family, friends or business associates. The Holy Prophet and His companions never departed this filthy world living behind fat foreign accounts or properties in choice cities of the world. The torch bearers of Islam were always happy that they guided humanity to the right path and established a society based on the commandment of God. They always live with people who would tell them the truth not praise singers and bootlickers who guide our present leaders away from truth and path of driving Allah’s pleasure. It is with this that I pray that Allah in His infinite Mercies to guide us on the right path. We similarly pray that the melodious voices of these youngsters reciting the Holy Qur’an would make those that attend the event to reflect on the need to live a pious life. We equally pray for the peace, stability and prosperity for our nation, Nigeria, Ameen.

Khadijah Yunus being congratulated as female winner of the 2011 Qur’ánic recitation by Hajiya Maryam Sule Lamido


NEMA trains students in disaster risk reduction


he National Emergency Management Agency NEMA has taken its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) campaigns a notch higher with the formal launching of the Secondary School Disaster Risk Reduction Club in the South-South zoneof the country. Speaking at the launching of the club for schools in Akwa Ibom State, the Director General NEMA Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, said the event was a product of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. Represented by the South-South zonal Coordinator, NEMA, Mr. Emenike Umesi, the DG said the Framework mainstreams Disaster Risk Reduction into: “Promoting the inclusion of disaster risk reduction knowledge in relevant sections of school curricula at all levels and the use of other formal and informal channels to reach youths and children with information; promote the integration of disaster risk reduction as an intrinsic element of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2015)”. According to him, “the impact of a Disaster can be substantially reduced if people are well informed and motivated towards a culture of disaster prevention and resilience, which in turn requires the collection, compilation and dissemination of relevant knowledge and information on hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities”. He further challenged the students not to betray the confidence reposed on them in their selection by taking the training seriously and further passing on the knowledge they will acquire to other pupils in school and the larger society in the long run. Earlier in his remarks, the representative of the Deputy Governor Obong Nsima Ekere, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Effiong Peters, noted that disaster reduction has been a common feature of Governor God’swill Akpabio transformation agenda for the state. He commended NEMA for visionary foresight of training the future leaders in Disaster management. The Permanent Secretary who officially declared the training session expressed the State Government’s desire to partner with NEMA in making sure that the training is taken to all Secondary Schools in the state. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr. Christiantus Asu, who represented the Commissioner of Education Mr. Nseabasi Akpan, while performing the official presentation of the First Aid Boxes to the Schools counseled the Staff and Students to put the knowledge and skills they will acquire to good use. The stakeholders who attended the occasion include representatives from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Rescue and Safety Volunteer Organization of Nigeria (RASVON).


EMERGENCY UPDATE Stakeholders decry paucity of security personnel in disaster mgt By Mohammed Kandi


fter a two-day regional forum on peace-building and conflict management for sustainable development held last weekend in Lafia, Nasarawa State, stakeholders at the event have decried the paucity of security personnel in the face of the growing population rate and its attendant security challenges in Nigeria. The situation, according to a statement issued by NEMA’s head of press and public realties, Yushau A. Shuaib, was further compounded by vague rules of engagement, interagency rivalry, corruption, lack of capacity, manipulation by elites and religious, ideological and ethnic bias. It also emphasized the need for building the capacity of Nigerians in ICT and in the application of social media networking in conflict and disaster early warning response, and in confronting misinformation that exacerbates conflicts and insecurity. The workshop which was organized by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), also called on security operatives to abide by the rule of engagements and professions in conflicts situations. In a communique signed by the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi and his counterpart in IPCR, Dr Dr. Joseph H.P. Golwa recommend that the fight against corruption should be intensified in order to combat the endemic institutional corruption in the country. They observed that “Some of the causes of conflict that have plagued the country since the return to democracy in 1999 are pluralism, youth restiveness, discrimination, injustice, impunity, and elites being facilitators of violent conflicts” They said that Nigerian youths since then “are susceptible to violent conflicts and insecurity because of idleness, illiteracy, inadequate employment opportunities and underemployment.” They therefore recommended the engagement of youth through skill and technical capacity building programmes to prepare and diversify their skills for employment; They also recommended that a broad based and people driven approach to security is critical and should be adopted in addressing the challenges of insecurity than a militarized and narrow approach to security; and that traditional and community institutions should be involved in conflict, disaster and security management initiatives at all levels. Critical stakeholders at the workshop included members of the national and state legislature, traditional and

community leaders, women and youth leaders, religious leaders, market women association, Okada riders, and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). Other include academia, civil society organizations (CSOs), public and civil servants, development partners, Federal Fire Service (FFS), Office of the National Security Adviser, Department of State Security, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Nigerian Police Force, Armed

Forces, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), union leaders and the media. The participants identified the current state of conflicts and insecurity in the country as having roots in Nigeria’s history, social exclusion, diversity, growing poverty rate, developmental and governance challenges. “Though the inevitability of conflict and disaster was stated, the workshop sensitized participants to be committed to conflict and disaster management as peace is possible

and conflict and disaster are preventable and manageable. Stakeholders expressed their willingness and commitment to collaborate and synergize for conflict, disaster and security management,” they said. According to them, “All stakeholders have the responsibility to make peace a reality and be conflict managers and not conflict generators. Nigerians should be aware of their environment to effectively prevent, respond to, and mitigate the effects of disasters and conflicts.”

Below are pictures of participants at the recently held peace forum organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in conjunction with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in Lafia, Nasarawa state.




Peace-Building towards conflict resolutions


Thousands had been rendered homeless as a result of the massive flood which wreaked havoc in most parts of the country.

Corps member donates books, beddings to physically challenged


corps member serving with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Abuja, Mr. Ugwu Ndubuisi Anthony has donated bedding and literatures to school for the Deaf in Kuje Area Council, to improve their living standards as well as broaden their scope of knowledge on disaster management. Other items donated by the corps member, a statement issued by NEMA’s head of Press and Public Relations, Yushau A. Shuib said, include mattresses, treated nets, cartons of detergents, plastic buckets and books on disaster risk reduction.

According to the statement, the corps member was working on a wide range of personal community development (CD) projects in Kuje and Bwari Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory. Meanwhile, Mr. Anthony pledged to impact positively in the lives of people of theire host communities for national development haven provided enabling environment by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. The corps member, who had commissioned other projects including sensitization campaigns on roll-back malaria

and provision of insecticide treated mosquito nets to Iguand Usafa communities in Bwari Area council, lauded the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi for giving him the necessary supports towards the success of the projects. Also speaking at the occasion, the Head of Public Relations Division of NEMA, YushauShuaib said the agency would continue to provide supports for programmes and projects that could aid campaigns on disaster risk reduction and effective volunteerism during emergency situations especially among Nigerian youth.

Another cross section of participants at the recently held peace forum organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) inconjunction with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in Lafia, Nasarawa state.

s a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with great interest in the Disaster Risks Reduction (DRR) campaigns, I received an invitation to attend a 2-Day Seminar organized by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) which was held in Lafia, Nasarawa State. The workshop was on Peace Building and Conflict Management for sustainable development in Nigeria, with a theme “Response to Violence Conflict and Disasters”. At the event which had in attendance major stakeholders in disaster management, many factors were suggested to have resulted to crises in Nigeria over the years. For instance, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi attributed insecurity and violent conflicts confronting the nation to socioeconomic struggles, drought and desertification, massive urbanization, landslides, weak traditional and socio-political institutions. He also blamed ignorance, intolerance among various groups and communities, unequal distribution of resources among others. From the outset, participants at the workshop which included traditional rulers, youths, labour groups, community leaders and members of security forces, realised that conflicts and disasters share common links because disasters cause conditions which weaken states and lead to conflicts. They identified the current state of conflicts and insecurity as having roots in Nigeria’s history, social exclusion, diversity, growing poverty rate, developmental and governance challenges. Meanwhile as some of the participants noted, the inevitability of conflict and disaster, the resource persons sensitized participants to be committed to conflict and disaster management as peace is possible and conflict and disaster are preventable and manageable. Interestingly, stakeholders especially those from Plateau and Nasarawa and others that have witnessed intense communal clashes expressed willingness and commitment to collaborate and synergize for conflict, disaster and security management. Nigeria is presently confronted with cases of insecurity and violent conflicts that continue to challenge the country’s democracy, stunting economic growth and development. These deadly conflicts have decreased the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), affected social cohesion, the standard of education, increased religious intolerance, weakened traditional and religious values, and are serious threats to the national quest for stable democracy. This situation is not unconnected with the disintegration of our value system, especially among the youth who are always manipulated by elites

for selfish interests. The proliferation of small arms and light weapons; the transnationalization of terrorism; globalization; unequal distribution of resources are issues that have been traditionally identified with conflicts. However, the rise in natural and man-induced disasters have further exacerbated the state of insecurity and violent conflicts in Nigeria. Towards the end of the workshop, participant agreed on the need for a broad based and people driven approach to security management as well as involving traditional and community institutions in conflict and disaster management initiatives at all levels. Issues bordering on unemployment in the country were also discussed extensively as Nigerian youths are known to be susceptible to violent conflicts and insecurity because of idleness, illiteracy and joblessness. In this case, the participants recommended knowledge, skills transfer, and local technical support to promote self-help skills as essential principles toward peace building. The engagement of youth through skill and technical capacity building programmes were advocated to prepare and diversify their skills for employment. The fight against corruption is also recommended to be intensified in order to combat the endemic institutional corruption in the country while calling on security operatives to abide by the rule of engagements and professions in conflicts situations. It was unanimously agreed that there is the need to improve collaboration among all stakeholders to build trust, synergy and confidence in disaster management in Nigeria, while the Nigerian business sector must put in resources to peace making, peace building programs in collaboration with the government. In an effort to reduce rumour mongering and reckless speculations that were noted as causes of some crises, the stakeholders at the forum called on the relevant authorities to build the capacity of Nigerians in ICT and in the application of social media networking in conflict and disaster, early warning response, and in confronting misinformation that exacerbates conflicts and insecurity. As Nigerians, we are all stakeholders in disaster management and peace-building efforts. Therefore we have the responsibility to make peace a reality and be conflict managers and not conflict generators. The workshop was able to achieve its aims and objectives of reviewing strategies for violent conflict and disaster responsiveness in Nigeria; it is only hoped that the organisers NEMA and IPCR would replicate the same in other geopolitical zones, not only as talk shop but to follow-up on recommendations proffered at the workshop.


Deaths from drought are down, data reveals


ortalities from severe droughts in Sub-Saharan Africa have gone down over the last decade but the level of preparedness in most countries remains low, a conference has heard. Although there have been many criticisms of preparedness and speed of response to famines such as that in Horn of Africa in 2011, disaster data from 1960 to 2009 have revealed that "the number of people dying form drought in the region continues to drop", said Guenene Mulugeta, a researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden. Mulugeta was speaking at Planet Under Pressure conference in London yesterday (26 March),at a session on global environmental change and sustainable development in least developed countries, most of which are in SubSaharan Africa. His team found that natural disasters during that period have affected 406 million and killed one million people in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. This article is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage which takes place 26-29 March 2012. To read insights from our conference team please visit our blog. SciDev.Net (London)

Extreme weather linked to global warming – Study


cientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes unprecedented weather the past decade is not merely accidental, saying it was responsible to global warming. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with humancaused global warming is clear; the scientists show in a new analysis of scientific evidence in the journal Nature Climate Change, less clear is the link between warming and storms, despite the observed increase in the intensity of hurricanes. In 2011 alone, the US was hit by 14 extreme weather events which caused damages exceeding one billion dollars each in several states the months of January to October were the wettest ever recorded. Japan also registered record rainfalls, while the Yangtze river basin in China suffered a record drought. Similar record-breaking events occurred also in previous years. In 2010, Western Russia experienced the hottest summer in centuries, while in Pakistan and Australia record-breaking amounts of rain fell. Meanwhile, 2003 saw Europe´s hottest summer in at least half a millennium. And in 2002, the weather station of ZinnwaldGeorgenfeld measured more rain in one day than ever before recorded anywhere in Germany — what followed was the worst flooding of the Elbe river for centuries. Source: ScienceDaily


NIMET forecasts normal temperature pattern, rains in April By Mohammed Kandi


n its mandates of providing critical information on weather, climate and water for sustainable development and safety, Nigerian Meteorological

Agency (NIMET) has projected normal rainfall and temperature pattern in some parts of the country in the month of April, 2012. The prediction was contained a document tagged “Public

Consultant warns urban residents on noise pollution


n Environmental Pollution Consultant, Mr Abiodun Lawrence, has said that urban noise pollution had made urban centres unhealthy for living. Lawrence, who made the disclosure in Lagos, said urban residents could develop serious health implications after a prolonged exposure to urban noise pollution. According to him, urban noise pollution caused the urban centres not to be conducive for living and also caused the environment to be unhealthy. Lawrence said: “In spite of the extensive generation of noise in the urban areas of Nigeria, surprisingly, little research or documentation exists on the nature and extent of noise pollution activities. There is no research or documentation available on their accompanying impacts and the implications for urban communities and their residents.” The consultant, however, noted that urban noise was getting increasingly louder and more pervasive, prompting public comments and a few noise abatement regulations. “It has been observed, however, that these regulations have failed to curb noise pollution, due to the lack of enforcement,” he said. Lawrence listed the various sources of noise pollution in the Lagos area as road traffic, industrial activities, entertainment activities, religious activities, riots and advertisements, all which had

effects on the residents. “Disturbance of sleep and interference with communication and productivity are just some of the minor effects noise pollution has on urban residents,” he stated. Lawrence said noise pollution had also been associated with serious health complications such as hearing loss, cardiovascular problems and some gastric upsets. He, however, called on relevant authorities to do more to enforce noise abatement regulations, in order to save urban residents from unnecessary health complications. (NAN)

Presentation of the 2012 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction and SocioEconomic implications for Nigeria”. According to the paper, normal rains and temperature does not connote a disaster-free environment where early rains are often accompanied by destructive storms and winds, adding “but onset identification based on a daily analysis of the soil water balance shows remnants of weak La Nina expected to account for early rains in some places.” On temperature relating to the air transportation, it predicted moderate harmattan season for this year, and however noted, possibility of severe thunderstorms occur during onset periods of rainy season. “In 2012, pockets of severe weather activities are predicted during the critical periods of onset and cessation of rainfall. Aviation operators and the flying public are advised to always avail themselves of weather advisories from NIMET prior to travels,” it

stated. Similarly, the document disclosed that the 2012 prediction favours the likelihood of sufficient fish production in the coastal areas, saying however that, “rainstorms accompanied by strong winds may aggravate intensity of associated coastal flooding and erosion, resulting in landslide and loss of lives and properties.” On hydrology and water resources, the paper said, “The expected normal rainfall portends good prospects for the various hydrological areas of the country. Dam managers should always be on the alert as the rainfall may appear excessive in some areas due to other reasons, and the aftermath may be devastating.” It also urged on proper preparation against the flood disaster in the northern part of the country, adding that, “flash flooding particularly in the northern states may result in property damage and loss of lives.”

A “Matrix II” wireless weather station

Nigeria targets three million tonnes annual production of liquid steel by 2015 By Mohammed Kandi


n its determination to develop the minerals and metal sector of Nigeria to contribute meaningfully to the economy, the Federal government has said Nigeria would produce about three million tons per annum of liquid steel by the year 2015. The minister of mines and steel development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, according to a statement issued by Deputy Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu, disclosed that the African Foundries Limited billet mill plant was capable of producing 500,000 tonnes per annum of billet in Ogijo,Ogun state. Sada, who noted that the sector was one of the most valuable sectors of an industrialized economy, however said, IT was yet to reach its full potential. “in the development and

consumption of key metallic products such as iron, steel and aluminum, the sector is faced with several challenges such as nonavailability of requisite legal and regulatory frame work, noncompletion of required infrastructure, roads, rails, waterways, mines, limited raw material sources, in -adequate power supply among others,” he said. The minister reaffirmed the present administration’s quest for Nigeria to become one of the twenty most industrialized nations by the year 2020. He said Federal government would continue to partner with development partners in the sector for a viable option to move the minerals and metal sector forward. He urged the development partners in the nation’s minerals and metal sector to take advantage and invest in the

recently discovered iron ore deposits around the country to enable them integrate their facilities for more sustainable operations. The minister commended the African Foundries Limited for the huge investment in the minerals and metal sector of the country, adding that, it was a clear demonstration of their faith and support for policies and programmes of the present administration. While fielding questions from newsmen , the minister disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the establishment of board for the solid minerals development fund, he explained that the legal and regulatory frameworks in the nation’s minerals and metal sector has provisions for the establishment of the solid minerals development fund.

He added that international donors like the World Bank were also ready to give financial support to solve some of the militating problems facing the sector. Arc. Sada said such funds would be useful in the provision of infrastructures such as roads, rails, water ways for easy movement of raw materials from mines sites to the end users and vice versa. He also disclosed that many investors were indicating interests to invest in Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, noting that “the Russians that built it are interested in coming back but they cannot come and do anything now because of the court issue”. The minister expressed hope that before the end of the year 2012, the legal crisis with Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited would be resolved.



Climate change and global warming controversy


magine how millions of people harm their minds and bodies by using recreational drugs, abusing alcohol, and smoking tobacco. To them, life is anything. Regrettably, a similar unhealthy attitude towards the Earth has contributed to its woes. Lekki Segun, an 80-yearold who lives in Lagos does not need scientific reports to tell him that the Atlantic Ocean is rising. The beaches of his childhood are vanishing. Where the beaches are on Victoria Island in Lagos today tells the story. For the people who live in Lagos and across the Niger Delta areas, Global Warming is not abstract science, but a daily reality. And also for the people who live in the northern part of the country that has been suffering from the worst flood disasters in decades. There are other areas that are even worst off from various ecological problems. These are evidence of global warming. Many believe that human activities are a major cause of global warming which has had catastrophic consequences for the climate and the environment. For example, scientists claim that large-scale melting of land-based ice and the expansion of the oceans as water warms causes sea levels to rise drastically, the type that has consumed the areas that were known as Lagos and Victoria beaches in Lagos. Scientists claim that lowing islands such as Lagos could disappear, as could large parts of the riverside areas in the Niger Delta. Millions of people could be displaced from such places. At the same time, rising

temperatures could intensify storms, and droughts. Also at risk are thousands of species of animals. Indeed, reports already indicate that many are disappearing and some are even starving. Researchers say that rising temperatures are fostering the spread of disease by enabling mosquitoes, ticks and other disease-carrying organisms, including fungi to spread further. According to climatologists, “the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed nuclear weapons. The effects may be less dramatic in the short term….. .but over the next three to four decades climate change could cause irremediable harm to the habitats upon which human societies depend for survival.” Even more ominous note is that some scientists believe that changes attributed to global warming are occurring faster than they had expected. Skeptics of global warming say that such dire prediction are groundless. Others are not sure. So, what do we make out of this? Skeptics of human-induced warming, point out that earth’s temperature has undergone substantial fluctuations in the past. They point to the so-called ice ages, when the earth was supposedly much cooler than it is now; and in support of natural warming, they cite evidence that cold regions, such as Greenland at one time supported vegetation that prefers warm areas. Of course, scientists concede that the further back they go, the more their certainty about climate diminishes. True, many agree that the earth is warming, but they are

uncertain of both causes and the consequences. Human activities may be a factor they say, but not necessary the primary one. According to a report of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is “Unequivocal” or a fact; and “Very Likely” mankind is largely to blame. Some who differ with this

ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT WATCH By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only) conclusion, especially in regard to human factor, concede that cities may be heating up because they are growing in size. Moreover, concrete and steel readily absorb the sun’s

heat and tend to cool down slowly at night. But urban readings, skeptics say, do not reflect the trend in rural areas and can distort global statistics. END.

A former fresh water pond in Kiribati that now is flooded with sea water, killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet

NIMET warns Nigerians on heat wave NEWS


he Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has warned Nigerians against strenuous activities under the current heat wave because of its health

implications. The South-East Zonal Manager of the agency, Mr Ignatius Nwoko, told journalists recently at the 23rd Enugu International Trade Fair that working under the hot weather could result to stress and other ailments.

“People are advised to stay away from the hot sun and should not engage in strenuous activities. Humans do not function well when the weather is very hot. They should carry their umbrellas and work less when the weather is hot,” he said. Nwoko also warned livestock

farmers against exposing their animals to the hot weather as there were tendencies that many of them, especially poultry and pigs would die. The zonal manager, who attributed the hot weather to transition from the dry season to the rainy season saying it might

be worse in April, however, predicted a bumper harvest this year as it would witness normal rainfall. He added that NIMET was at the fair to provide weather information for different purposes, including aviation and agriculture. (NAN)

Environmental issues: Association calls for review of immigration policy By Mohammed Kandi


he Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called for the review of the immigration policy as part of efforts to reduce crime in the country. PENGASSAN President, Mr Babatunde Ogun, made the call recently in an interview with journalists in Lagos.

Ogun said in the statement that the Federal Government should review the immigration policy to check the influx of illegal immigrants into the country. The statement explained that many people from neighbouring countries entered into Nigeria without legal documents. It attributed the problem to the nation’s porous borders and urged the Immigration Service to be more committed.

“There have been several reports of cases of attacks on Nigerians in the Northern part of the country by herdsmen from some neighbouring countries. “More worrisome is the AlQaeda dimension to the insecurity in the country. The review of the immigration policy needs to involve reorientation, training and retraining of immigration officers on protecting our borders,” he said.

The statement noted that the laxity of the policy also allowed foreigners to take jobs meant for Nigerians in the name of expatriates. It said that some of the foreigners who paraded as expatriates had no specialisation that could qualify them for being in the country. “With this, they take our jobs and increase unemployment in the country and violate the Nigerian law on expatriate

quota,” he said. The statement advised the government to review the ECOWAS policy which allowed for free movement of goods and persons within the sub region as a way of curbing criminal activities in the country. It also urged the government to hasten the issuance of National Identification Card to citizens to enhance security in Nigeria. (NAN)



Fisherman, 18, survives 26 days adrift in Pacific on raw fish and rainwater A

n 18-year-old fisherman survived in the Pacific for 26 days on nothing but raw fish and rainwater - but he was forced to watch his two friends die from dehydration. Adrian Vasquez was found drifting alone in a 10-foot fishing boat near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where the trio had set out. The teenage hotel worker, from Panama in Central America, had

joined his friends on the fishing trip to earn some extra cash. But the motor of the boat, Fifty Cents, failed at 6pm on February 24, when they were in sight of land and attempting to return. Captain Hugo Espinosa’s boat picked up Vasquez early this Sunday from commercial fishermen who had stumbled across the Panamanian drifting in the Pacific on Friday. The captain said Vasquez recounted his story as he started to

recover from malnutrition and severe dehydration. For a few days after the friends were cast adrift - as Panama’s coastguard began to search for them they grilled the fish they had caught on the trip. They also had a large jug of water - but when their ice melted and the fish rotted, they had to toss them overboard and live off what they could catch with their net. ‘The spirits of the survivors began to wane with the passing of days,’ said the captain. Oropeces Betancourt, the oldest at 24, stopped eating and drinking after two weeks and died on March 10. Three days later, his body began to decompose and Vasquez threw it over the side. The youngest of the three, 16-yearold Fernando Osorio, died on March 15, also apparently of dehydration, sunburn and heat stroke. After three days, Vasquez pushed his second friend’s body into the ocean. Vasquez then ran out of water, and he too came close to death as the sun blazed down on the tiny boat. But his life was saved by a sudden rainstorm on March 19. ‘Vasquez was able to fill up with four gallons of water,’ said Captain Espinosa. After weakly picking at raw fish for

another five days, the teenager was spotted by fishermen working on a skiff from a mother ship, the Duarte V. Once aboard, Vasquez asked if he could make two telephone calls. The first was to his mother and the second to the manager of the Decameron Hotel in his hometown of Rio Hato, to explain why he had missed so many days of work. The Ecuadorean coastguard, the Isla Espaniola, met the fishing vessel around 2am on Sunday and took

Vasquez on board. ‘He didn’t know what was happening. He was quiet, looking lost,’ said the captain. After oral and intravenous hydration and several hours of sleep, Vasquez woke up, starving and thirsty, the captain recalled. ‘Little by little he began to react,’ Espinosa said. ‘But the subject of his dead friends made him stay silent and lower his gaze. It cost him a lot to discuss the matter.’ Source:

Doomed journey: The teenager, left, went missing on February 24 after the motor on the group's boat failed

Terrible ordeal: Adrian Vasquez, left, is treated for malnutrition and severe dehydration on an Ecuadorean ship off the Galapagos Islands Incredible strength: Hotel worker Vasquez, bottom left, receives medical attention on a commercial fishing boat after his life was saved by a sudden rainstorm

Saved by a rainstorm: Vasquez was found near the Galapagos Islands, after floating more than 600 miles from his home in Panama

Gradual recovery: The teenager poses with Ecuadorean sailors after coming close to perishing on the ocean and having to push his dead friends overboard



Does the ICC have an Africa problem? ANALYSIS


hen the Lubanga verdict was handed down at the International Criminal Court, rather than a chorus of celebration, there was qualified applause from pundits and publicists. Almost all the opinion pieces that examined the potential impact of the Lubanga verdict highlighted the oft-cited fact that all of the 28 people that have so far been indicted by the court have been Africans. Does the ICC have an Africa problem? If it does, it is perhaps not the problem that analysts seem to be focusing on. Although the numbers on the surface imply that the ICC is going after African warlords disproportionately, it is important to recall that the African continent has also subscribed to the Court's Rome Statute "disproportionately". There are 120 countries currently party to the Rome Statute and 33 African states comprise nearly 30 per cent of the court's membership, or over 60 per cent of the continent's states. By the numbers alone, assuming that conflicts occur with similar frequency in each inhabited continent, a national of a member state found to be in violation of the provisions of the statute is statistically more likely to be from Africa than from any other continent. Inside Story - Can the ICC deter other despots? More importantly, consider the reasons for which warrants have been issued thus far. These are not newly emerging crises that have just been brought to the world's attention. Rather, with the notable exception of Kenya, these are intractable crises that the international community has struggled to resolve in a just and timely manner. ICC warrants in these cases can be conceptualised as the next phase of international engagement and perhaps, no more invasive than the Security Council continuing to renew peace-keeping missions in the Congo, or the World Bank attaching democracy-based conditions to financial assistance. In the Kenyan case, it is arguable that the ICC is to some extent playing into local politics in its decisions to charge certain individuals and not others. But no one who has ever studied the law will argue that it is anything but political. The question for both domestic and international law is whether process sanitises the

AU Chairman Benin President Boni Yayi

political to the point where it is predictable or internally consistent. The aspiration is to build a transparent procedural base, which contemplates human dignity and equitable access and treatment before the system, and is therefore just, if not always fair. For Kenya, that means a system through which those who have been implicated in the darkest events of the 2007/ 8 post-election violence are asked to account for their actions in a space that is necessarily divorced from the inevitable heat of the upcoming election.

An equitable court? Which recalls another point and it is that no informed person believes that the majority of the 28 indicted individuals are not at least presumptively blameworthy. Joseph Kony in Uganda hardly deserves the kind of protection that some African leaders are hoping to provide by shielding Africans from prosecution at the ICC. In fact, he is emblematic of what was hoped to be a dying breed - the unrepentant mercenary who periodically pillages remote villages in central Africa and recruits


Using the judiciaries of smaller states in Africa that have succeeded in earning the confidence of their people provides an alternative that takes alleged offenders out of the immediate context of the crimes but still respects the idea of “African solutions for African problems�.

children to his ranks using the most brutal methods available. Judicial processes are affording the likes of Kony far more dignity and procedural protection than he has offered any of his victims or hostagesoldiers, which is reflective of the aforementioned aspiration to a just, if not absolutely fair, system. All of which is not to deny that the ICC may have an Africa problem, but the problem is that its largest constituency seems to have little or no confidence in the ability of the court to deliver the kind of protections it was designed to deliver, in an equitable way. I would posit that the efficacy of a judicial system lies in the confidence that those potentially judged by it have in the system's ability to mete out justice. In the US, despite an extensive history of judicial decisions that have upheld racial or sexual inequalities (for example, the Dred Scott decision) or seemingly endorsed campaign financing corruption (Citizens United), people continue to believe that the judiciary works and continue to bring their disputes before the system for arbitration.

"The answer may lie in investing universal jurisdiction in various African supreme or high courts." The ICC may never have had the total confidence of its members, primarily because every nation-state at the Rome Conference had a wildly different image of whom the court would go after and for what. This lack of confidence or concordance plays out in the way that Western nations balk at the prospect of holding US citizens accountable at the court while African nations cheer, or when the West overtly uses the ICC to advance its goals in Sudan through the Bashir indictment, which Africa vehemently rejects. The ICC may therefore never be able to solve its Africa problem. It is nearly impossible to build consensus on the nature of the court's jurisdiction so far, after leaders of various regional groups seem to have concretised their positions. An alternative forum may be the best way out of this problem - but given the rate at which people continue to die in central Africa and Sudan, not to mention the delicate balances in Cote d'Ivoire and Kenya, there isn't time to wait for the formation of an African Criminal Court. The answer may lie in investing universal jurisdiction in various African supreme or high courts, simply by passing statutes that give these courts authority to try cases related to the most egregious violations of human rights on the continent. Using the judiciaries of smaller states in Africa that have succeeded in earning the confidence of their people provides an alternative that takes alleged offenders out of the immediate context of the crimes but still respects the idea of "African solutions for African problems". Mauritius, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana - these are all nations with the capacity (albeit with significant assistance) to set up special chambers akin to those in Cambodia to try such cases. Would it be a diplomatic, logistical and pragmatic nightmare? Absolutely. But no more painful to witness than hearing people criticise a court that holds a man accountable for incorporating children into a brutal conflict - rather than celebrate that something is finally happening to help end one of Africa's most brutal conflicts. Culled from Al Jazeera. Nanjala Nyabola, a writer and political analyst, is currently a graduate student at Harvard Law School.



Thousands rally for Mali junta, against intervention Ethiopia to host AU-mediated Sudan talks


fficials from Sudan and South Sudan are set to meet in the Ethiopian capital on Thursday in a bid by the African Union (AU) to end ongoing clashes and prevent an all-out war between the two neighbours. The pan-African body on Wednesday said it was deeply concerned by an "escalating security situation" on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, and called for troops to pull back 10km on either side of the border. Ties between the two neighbours had been tense ever since South Sudan was carved out of Sudan as an independent country last year. The current dispute is centred around the sharing of oil wealth, and both countries blame each other for the recent clashes around the town of Heglig. Following AU's intervention, however, both sides said they were ready to engage in talks. Rahamatalla Mohamed Osman, Sudan's under-secretary of foreign affairs, said he was in Addis Ababa "to represent my country in the negotiations... with regards to security along the border". Osman said Khartoum did not want a war with the South, but warned "if they want to accelerate, we will defend ourselves." South Sudan's top negotiator Pagan Amum also voiced optimism over the talks. "What we expect to achieve is the cessation of hostilities," Amum said to the AFP news agency in a telephone interview from the South Sudanese capital, Juba. "We will stop the fighting that is there, and ensure that this does not erupt into war between the two countries."

Malians, in support of the military coup d'etat, demonstrate in the capital Bamako, March 28, 2012.


housands of demonstrators chanted pro-junta slogans in Mali's capital on Wednesday, protesting against foreign powers' threats to use sanctions to force the leaders of last week's coup to step down. The coup, seen as a setback to fragile democratic gains in Africa, was triggered by army anger at President Amadou Toumani Toure's handling of a northern Tuareg rebellion that in recent weeks has gained ground and inflicted losses on the army.

Regional neighbours said they were prepared to use sanctions and possible military force to dislodge Mali's new army leaders, urging them to hand back power to civilians, while former colonial power France has suspended aid. "I want the international community to shut up. This is our revolution," said youth leader Oumar Diara at the rally - the largest in Malian capital Bamako since Toure was ousted. "We, the youth, can live without the international

community. We have been living with our eyes closed but now we are waking up," he said. Protesters chanted "Victory" and "Down with Sarkozy, down with the Westerners" while a senior member of the junta, Oumar Mariko, called those pressing for sanctions on Mali "traitors". Banners read "Long live the army!" and "Dignity refound!". Soldiers say they do not have the weapons or resources to halt Tuareg-led northern rebels. "They (the coup leaders)

should stay to resolve the problems in the north, corruption and education. That is more important than elections," said one protester, Khalifa Sogo, of the dissatisfaction felt by many Malians with Toure's rule. On Tuesday leaders of the regional ECOWAS bloc said they would send a delegation of six heads of state to confront the coup leaders this week and call for a return to constitutional order. They are expected in Bamako on Friday. As well as Ivorian President and ECOWAS leader Alassane Ouattara, the delegation includes Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan, Burkina Faso's Blaise Compaore, Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou and Benin's Yayi Boni. The whereabouts of Toure remain unknown but Ouattara said he had spoken to him by phone on Tuesday and that he was safe. Toure is believed to be with a pocket of loyalist soldiers somewhere in Mali. In a final communique, ECOWAS leaders on Tuesday "instructed the ECOWAS Commission to put the ECOWAS Standby Force in a state of readiness for all eventualities". However the statement did not any include specifics of possible army action. ECOWAS, which has no standing army of its own, would have to go through potentially lengthy processes to raise sufficient troops from member states.

‌Coup leaders announce new constitution


ali's coup leaders have announced a new constitution and pledged to hold elections even as the West African nation's neighbours sent a high-level delegation to lobby for the restoration of democracy. The charter, which did not specify when the elections would be held, came hours after the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, threatened sanctions and the use of military force to reverse last week's coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. A statement read out on behalf of the coup leaders on state television said none of them would stand in the upcoming elections. It added that civilians would be offered 15 out of 41 posts in a new transitional authority intended to prepare the path for elections. Captain Amadou Sanogo, a US-trained soldier who led the coup, will appoint an

interim prime minister and government. The new constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate or go on strike. It also granted immunity to the leaders of the coup, that left three people dead. The coup, triggered by army anger at the government's handling of a northern rebellion, has been condemned by the United Nations, Mali's neighbours and powers including France and the United States. But several thousand Malians protested yesterday against international interference - in the largest show of backing for the new leadership, insisting the soldiers be left to run the state while tackling the rebellion. "They should stay to resolve the problems in the north, corruption and education. That is more important than elections," said one protester, Khalifa Sogo,

of the dissatisfaction felt by many Malians with Toure's rule. "It's the first show of public support," Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from capital Bamako, said, adding that some people claimed it was choreographed by coup leader Sanogo. "He has to show the world that he's popular, that people love him, that people are taking to the streets to defend his policies." The show of support came as the coup leaders faced growing international pressure and isolation. ECOWAS has suspended Mali's membership and sent five presidents to Mali to try to "restore constitutional order". The bloc is also putting a peacekeeping force on standby. Alassane Ouattara, the president of Ivory Coast who holds the rotating chair of ECOWAS, told reporters after an emergency

meeting in the capital of his nation - that itself was shot up and bloodied in a political crisis last year - that Mali's democracy cannot be abandoned. "We cannot allow this country endowed with such precious democratic instruments, dating back at least two decades, to leave history by regressing. It's why Mali needs to immediately return its democratic institutions to normal,'' said Ouattara. "This position is nonnegotiable." In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Sanogo defended the coup he led, saying the president he deposed had failed the country. Sanogo also blamed the toppled government for not doing enough to deal with Tuareg fighters in the north. "What drove us to end the rule of President Amadou Toure is the long-standing crisis in the north; the armed gangs are killing people

‌Ousted leader says unharmed and in Mali after coup The European Union and United Nations Security Council have joined the AU in calling for an end to the clashes

Mali's toppled president Amadou Toumani Toure is free and unharmed somewhere

"I am free in my country," he inside the West African country, he told French broadcaster RFI said in his first public comments in an interview aired yesterday. since soldiers ousted him last

week. "I think the most important thing today. is to find a way out of the crisis."



Iran to restart nuclear talks on April 13 Iran expects to reopen talks with world powers that could defuse mounting tensions over its disputed nuclear programme on April 13, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday. Turkey has offered to host the talks and the location will be decided in the next few days, Salehi said, after greeting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on his arrival in Tehran. The major nations are keen to get Iran to enter talks on curbing its uranium enrichment programme, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran says is peaceful. Western officials in particular are hoping the increasingly harsh sanctions they have imposed on the major oil producer in the last few months will make it more willing to compromise in the longrunning nuclear row and help avert the threat of war in the Middle East. Iran has so far shown no sign of backing down over nuclear development, which it sees as its inalienable right. But it now seems ready to hold talks with the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and China - a group known as the P5+1 as it comprises all five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. Brussels- and Vienna-based diplomats also said April 13 was the likely date for a meeting, but the location remains unclear. "Talks regarding the venue are under way," Salehi was quoted as saying by the Iranian

Iran"s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi attends a meeting in Ankara January 18, 2012. Students' News Agency. "Turkey has announced its willingness to host the talks between Iran and major powers, and it seems that P5+1 has welcomed it. This suggestion has also been given to Iran and we are considering it." The last meeting between Iran and the representatives of the U.N. Security Council nations and Germany, held in Istanbul in

January 2011, failed to even agree on an agenda. Erdogan, who held talks on Iran with U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday in South Korea, was quoted by the official Iranian news agency IRNA as saying Turkey had proposed hosting talks in Istanbul. "I had consultations in South Korea with Iran's counterpart in the talks," Erdogan said,

Saudi deputy consul abducted in Yemen


unmen have abducted Saudi Arabia's deputy consul from outside his residence in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, a Yemeni security official has said. Police in the city's Mansoura district said on Wednesday that armed men abducted Abdallah al-Khalidi as he was about to get into his car, and sped off with him in another vehicle. "Abdullah al-Khalidi was kidnapped while leaving his home in the Mansoura neighbourhood of Aden," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said police had launched an investigation into the kidnapping. "He was taken to an unknown location and we are searching from him," he said. Saudi officials have confirmed the attack. "It happened this morning. The embassy already contacted the highest security authority in Yemen. They are investigating and trying to find out the reason," a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters news agency, also requesting anonymity. Another Yemeni police official told AFP news agency that Khalidi's abduction was not politically motivated.

"He has some personal conflicts with people in Aden," the official said, adding that in recent months, the deputy consul had been threatened and unknown assailants had even "thrown a grenade at his home in Aden". The official did not give further details. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mohammed Al Qadhi, a journalist at Yemen's national newspaper, The National, said, "We are told that this is not the first time that Khalidi was harassed. About three or four months ago he was harassed by some gunmen who snatched his car and also his belongings while he was driving in the city of Aden." Khalidi was unharmed in the incident. He is the third Saudi national to be kidnapped in Yemen in as many years. In April 2011, tribesmen kidnapped a Saudi diplomat in the capital Sanaa in an apparent bid to settle a trade dispute involving a Saudi businessman. Saeed al-Maliki, a second secretary at the Saudi embassy, was released nine days later. In November 2010, gunmen kidnapped a Saudi doctor in north Yemen and demanded the release of nine jailed members of alQaeda. Dhafer al-Shihri, the 48-year-

old acting head of Al-Salam Hospital in Saada city was released the same day after tribal mediation. Saudi Arabia has played a crucial role in the powertransition deal that forced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power after a yearlong uprising against his rule. The kingdom is also a key donor to the impoverished country. Aden borders Yemen's southern Abyan province, where fighters reported to be linked to al-Qaeda have exploited the position of the weakening central government in Sanaa to strengthen their presence in the country. A string of security officials have been killed in recent months in southern Yemen, where an Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda has seized territory and claimed responsibility for attacks on Yemeni troops and a US security team last month. The US says the Yemenbased al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the most active and deadly branch of the global network. Since last May, the group has increased its control over several towns and villages in the south, including Abyan's capital Zinjibar.

according to IRNA. "And we are awaiting results of these consultations and their views. Our intention is to help the process of these talks." Since January last year Washington and the European Union have imposed new punitive measures on Iran. Relations with the EU hit new lows when it announced an embargo on Iranian oil and

Britain closed its Tehran embassy after it was ransacked by protesters. Western diplomats said it is hard to be optimistic given Iran's track record, but analysts say the negotiations could provide a breathing space for all sides over the possibility of an immediate Israeli attack on Iran. "It will be difficult for the Israelis to attack Iran while there are

UK riot report reveals ‘forgotten families’


oor parenting and a lack of support for disenfranchised young people played a major role in sparking last year's British riots, an independent panel reported. The report by Riots Communities and Victims Panel, leaked ahead of its presentation to Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, said schools that fail to teach children to read and write should face fines to improve an inadequate education system. The panel identified a series of problems facing inner cities, ranging from poor parenting and education to high joblessness that left many people with no stake in society and nothing to lose if they joined the riots. It urged the government to develop a strategy for helping half a million "forgotten families" who "bump along the bottom" of society. "When people don't feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating - as we saw last August," panel chair Darra Singh said. The panel, set up by the government last year but working independently of it, spoke to riot victims and communities across the country to see what people affected by the riots believed led to

them. It said that up to 15,000 people took part in the riots, which broke out in north London but spread to other major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, leaving a trail of torched buildings and looted shops in their wake. Five people died in England's worst disturbances for decades which cost an estimated $800 million the panel said. More than 3,800 people have been arrested in London alone in connection with the riots and cases are still being heard by the courts. The security situation in London will be under international scrutiny in July and August this year when tourists and sports fans flood to the British capital for the Olympics. Many young people the panel met expressed a "sense of hopelessness" and saw no clear path to work in an era of record youth unemployment. Noting that a fifth of school leavers can only read at the level expected of an 11-year-old, the panel said schools that fail to teach children to read and write should face fines that would be used to pay for another school to bring them up to the required standard. The government should



From eyelash mites to friendly viruses: The ‘aliens’ inside us all I

t may look like an extraterrestrial Moon landing or something from a science-fiction film, but in fact the image below shows viruses called phages attacking bacteria – something that happens regularly inside all of our bodies, aiding our immune system. These are just some of the 100 trillion or so nonhuman organisms living on or in the human body that do us no harm and even help us stay alive. So just what are these alien invaders and how do they benefit our health? THE FOOD-BUSTERS Bacteria are responsible for unpleasant diseases, from tetanus to tuberculosis. But the bacteria that reside in the human stomach and intestines help us to digest difficult-tohandle foods such as carbohydrates by breaking them down into smaller molecules. They also keep out dangerous bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (C.diff) by covering the gut surfaces the unwanted bacteria might otherwise breed on. The appendix, often mistakenly thought of as a useless appendage, acts as a kind of bacterial reservoir where they can rest and recuperate.

Your body even produces special antibodies, defensive chemicals that usually have the role of attacking invading microbes, to help the bacteria. The antibody IgA (immunoglobulin A) forms a supporting structure to anchor the helpful bacteria in your stomach and prevent them being washed away. ALIEN POWER CELLS Most cells in the body contain mitochondria. These minuscule pods, about a 50th of the width of a human hair, are sometimes called the cell’s power plants, as their job is to store the energy we get from what we eat. They combine oxygen with the glucose and other substances your digestive system derives from food to produce a chemical called ATP. The energy that will then be used to power your body – whether it’s to make your heart beat or your muscles flex – comes from this compound. The molecule has bonds between atoms that are easily broken to give off energy, the chemical equivalent of releasing a coiled spring. The most remarkable thing about mitochondria is that they appear to have once been bacteria that became part of the cell in a mutually beneficial relationship. They a r e structurally very similar to bacteria and have their own DNA. There is even a c o m m o n bacterium c a l l e d SAR11 that is so genetically similar that it is thought to share an ancestor w i t h mitochondria. Though mitochondria were once a separate species, they are now an essential part of your body. FRIENDLY VIRUSES Viruses c a u s e everything from the c o m m o n cold to HIV a n d smallpox. About half the population have tiny transparent However, creatures about a third of a millimetre long called s o m e eyelash mites

It may look like an alien invasion but this is something that happens regularly inside all of our bodies, aiding our immune system viruses that may infect our guts or wounds are natural medics – these are bacteriophages, or phages for short. Where the viruses we dislike destroy human cells, phages, which look like miniature Moon landers, attack bacteria. They inject their own DNA into the bacterium, using it as a host to produce more of the virus, and destroying the bacterium in the process. Phages enter the body from the air or by contact, like any other virus. We catch them all the time, and they don’t last long in your system as our own immune cells recognise and eliminate them. By that time they have reproduced and been passed on, and so the cycle continues. They can also be artificially cultured in a lab and introduced into the body as a vaccine. Infections such as MRSA are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics; one hope in the war against these diseases is to use phages. EYELASH INVADERS Put an eyelash or eyebrow hair under a microscope and you may get a surprise. About

half the population have tiny transparent creatures about a third of a millimetre long called eyelash mites living on old skin cells and sebum (skin oil) at the base of these hairs. But unlike lice or fleas, they do little harm. Though they cause an allergic reaction in a few people, most of us will never know they are there, scavenging dead skin and excess oil like the pilot fish that swarm around sharks to pick off their parasites. We pick up eyelash mites by direct facial contact with other people – and they seem to prefer older hosts because they tend to have more oily skin. WANTED WORMS The mere thought of worms makes most people shudder. Yet for the majority of our existence, all humans have had worms, and our bodies have developed defences to minimise their impact. Science is at an early stage but there is strong evidence that conditions that increased hugely in frequency during the 20th Century – specifically autoimmune

diseases such as Crohn’s and some allergies – may be an over-reaction from our bodies because our immune system expects to have to fight against worms that are no longer present. Research at University College London suggests that appropriate use of worms can produce a more controlled immune response that is less likely to damage the host human. One of the most recent trials of therapeutic worms (known as helminthic therapy) is being run by the University of Nottingham to monitor any reductions in multiple sclerosis symptoms after infection with a type of hookworm. Many worms are destructive, but it may be that those suffering from these conditions will benefit from the reintroduction of specially selected worms that their bodies treat as natural partners. lThe Universe Inside You, by Brian Clegg, will be published by Icon Books later this spring. Source:



Challenges as Tukur takes over PDP’s leadership ANALYSIS By Lawrence Olaoye


he well orchestrated National Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come and gone though leaving some political bruises waiting to be healed with some politicians who had their ambitions aborted. That Alhaji Bamanga Tukur fought and won the race and eventually emerged the PDP National Chairman, though aided immensely by the consensus arrangement midwifed by the party stakeholders with the Presidency playing a dominant role, is no longer news. There are, however, indications that Tukur may have won the race with great pains unaided as his zonal governors had earlier rejected his candidature preferring instead the former National Secretary of the party, Dr. Musa Babayo. But, last minute political horse-trading with alleged insistence by President Goodluck Jonathan to have Tukur installed saved the day for the obviously rattled politician. The new Chairman however deserved to have the position because he showed the required seriousness and zeal for the job with his extensive campaigns across the country. Tukur went round the country, wooing stakeholders across board of his suitability for the job. The old man proved bookmakers wrong by defiling the limitation posed by his age to launch an extensive and expensive campaign comparable only to that embarked upon by President Goodluck Jonathan in chartered flights. Campaign over, the newly inaugurated National Working Committee (NWC) would now be faced with the reality on ground as the members would have to first learn how to manage success. Beyond the surface camaraderie exhibited by other contestants for the party’s slots that were obviously forced to step down for the favoured candidates who eventually emerged, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur would have the challenge of true reconciliation. Although Dr. Shettima Mustapha while announcing that others have stepped down to pave the way for Bamanga to emerge as the consensus candidate for the position of the National Chairman, same cannot be said of Chief Ebenezer Babatope who betrayed emotions indicating that he was forced to step down for the former Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who eventually emerged as the party’s National Secretary from the South West zone. The bitterness that would

naturally follow the forced exit of most of the candidates who have expended enormous manpower and resources to prosecute their ambitions could not just be wished away ‘in the interest of the party’. Serious ameliorating palliatives must be offered to those who are actually yearning for the growth of the party so as to sustain the zeal even when they are not members of the newly inaugurated NWC. Again, the Tukur led NWC would further be confronted with the challenge of internal democracy. Although the outgoing NWC led by Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje attempted to entrench the principle of internal democracy, most political watchers point at some instances where the much touted slogan was observed in the breach. They noted that though the new PDP Chairman emerged through affirmation after having been adopted as a consensus candidate, critics, including opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) have carpeted the ruling party for elevating political shenanigans above merit. They argued that the process that propped Tukur up to emerge the party helmsman was indicative of what the nation would witness in the 2015 general elections. Commenting on the outcome of the PDP congress, the CNPP stated “The world mirrors Nigeria from the actions and inactions of the PDP, the party has defined the bad image of the country for the worst; having been in control of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the past 13 years and in government in 23 out of 36 states of our dear country without commensurate results.” It said that under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, it had expected fresh air and that the era of “do or die garrison politics” was over, only to witness the retention of rigging at the convention in the form of a guided election. “For the avoidance of doubt can any reasonable person expect the PDP which rigged and bastardized internal democracy, grossly

Alhaji Bamanga Tukur manipulated its intra-party elections from ward congress, intimidated, coerced and arm twisted aspirants; stop vote rigging, all manner of manipulation and intimidation of the opposition during the general elections?” the statement asked. CNPP alluded to three different incidences that pointed to the fact that those who stepped down for the new PDP Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and other national officers were pressurized to do so. According to the Conference, Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako’s comments to teheffect that he was in the Aso Villa to take directives from President Jonathan pointed to the fact that the [people were never allowed free choice. It equally cited the statement from Dr Shettima Mustapha on behalf of other chairmanship aspirants when he said, “Having discussed the issues and having been invited by the leadership of

We have come to ensure that both the executive and the legislature are on the same page – which is, to make Nigeria great economically, socially and politically. We have come to help the President focus more on the economy than on partisan politics. My support staff and my team will never use this office as a platform for launching political careers

the party, we were requested to cooperate. On behalf of the aspirants, we concede, I am mandated to concede this office to the candidate Chosen for the position.” The last of the statements suggesting that all was not well at the congress, the Conference stated, was the angry statement by Ebenezer Babatope, former spokesman of the former Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) who asserted about his withdrawal from the chairmanship race, “I am withdrawing not for any person, but for the party, the PDP and honour for Mr. President.” Similarly, the ACN while commenting on the outcome of the PDP congress said President Jonathan must by now be regretting the day he took a swipe at other political parties for lacking in internal democracy, when his party cannot even spell the word ‘democracy’, not to talk of possessing it. The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said ‘’Only a few weeks ago, President Jonathan said the PDP is the only truly democratic party in the country, while all others are mere one-man shows. In making the statement, the aphorism that ‘he who lives in a glass house does not throw stones’ was lost on the President. “Today, the joke is on the same President, who cajoled and armtwisted others to step down for his anointed candidate as Chair of the PDP during a mock convention. It is now obvious that President Jonathan either does not

understand what internal democracy means, or he is being deliberately cheeky in castigating other political parties for lacking in internal democracy” the ACN scribe said. The party said with the PDP convention debacle, coming shortly after he single-handedly installed the governor of his state against all democratic tenets President Jonathan has finally jettisoned all pretense to being a democrat, and has transformed from a closet dictator to an emperor and a maximum ruler of the PDP kingdom. “Interestingly, the President, in a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the socalled convention, described the PDP as the ‘strongest party in the history of the country’. What he does not realize is that resorting to brute force and arm-twisting to achieve a pre-determined goal do not constitute strength in politics. Rather, they are the early signs of megalomania and the onset of fullblown dictatorship,’’ the party said. ACN that the situation was further compounded by the fact that the PDP is the ruling party, adding: ‘’If there is any truth in the saying that no one can give what he does not have, then the PDP as a ruling party is incapable of sustaining or deepening democracy in the country, hence should be voted out of power by the good people of Nigeria at the next general election.’’ Although the party had maintained that the new members of its NWC emerged through free and fair contests, the reality is that much needed to be done to ensure that preferred candidates of certain political class are not always imposed on the generality of the people. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur perhaps realized the enormity of the challenges facing him when in a short address he delivered as he was taking over the mantle of leadership he asserted “We have come to transform and build a great Party, not to play politics. We have come to help politicians play a decent politics, politics based on fairness and level playing field. We have come to be those neutral referees the PDP needs right now. “We have come to ensure that both the executive and the legislature are on the same page – which is, to make Nigeria great economically, socially and politically. We have come to help the President focus more on the economy than on partisan politics. My support staff and my team will never use this office as a platform for launching political careers. They are here to work! Work! And work! in turning PDP into a great Party and helping government turn the economy around.”



PDP asks Tinubu to refocus at 60 From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Southwest zone has called on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leader, Senator Bola Tinubu to take the opportunity offered by his “60th” birthday to take stock of his life, refocus and embrace the path of transparency and truthfulness. In a message of congratulations on his 60th Birthday, on behalf of the party the new National Vice Chairman and former Governor of Ekiti state, Chief Segun Oni, the PDP said; “turning to the mature age of 60 provides an opportunity offered by God for Tinubu to come clean of his past strewn with shadowy and confusing background, shady and, inconsistent record of educational attainments and birth and other activities that has made him (Tinubu) a negative influence on politics in the Southwest region.” In the message signed by the Zonal Publicity Secretary, Hon. Kayode Babade, the PDP

ACN Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu

said it was common knowledge that Yoruba concept of “Omoluabi” (well bred personality) has become bastardized by the ACN leadership into “agabagebe”(hypocrisy and deceitful behavior ) whereby the treasury and the wealth of the CAN governed states have become the personal treasury and wealth of the leader. “Despite mouthing progressive ideals, the Tinubu leadership of ACN has been defined by despotic tendencies, lack of freedom of members to determine the political direction of the party, thuggery and political violence, unbriddled corruption and imposition of family members on the political positions of the party. “It is also now clear as crystal that Tinubu’s political cankerworm has eaten deep into the judicial firmament of Nigeria, and the civil society groups who now pander to the wishes of the ACN leader to the detriment of the rule of law and democracy. “Does it not worry pro-

Kogi NULGE election: Aspirant denies stepping down From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


s the election into the offices of the National Union of Local Government Employees NULGE Kogi state chapter draws near, intrigues and blackmail has taken the center stage as Comrade Onuh Friday Danjuma has described his purported stepping down story as false and unfounded.

In a release signed by Danjuma, a chairmanship aspirant, a copy of which was made available to newsmen in Lokoja yesterday noted that he has never told anybody that he was stepping down saying that alleged insinuation was a machinations of those who want to hang on to office at all cost. Danjuma alleged that the outgoing President of the

association, comrade Tom Abutu, was behind the purported withdrawal stressing that he was still in the race. He stated that the Union’s mode of election was through local government delegates rather than zonal delegates urging his supporters not to regard the statement from Abutu as he was out to mislead the people. According to him the purported

endorsement of Abutu by zonal delegation was a figment of his imagination saying that whatever supports he may have harvested was a fraud, null and void. Meanwhile Danjuma maintained that he may institute legal action against the outgoing president who has whipped up lies against him advising his supporters to go about their lawful duties and to wait for his next line of action.

Ownership: ACN lauds Supreme Court decision on LAUTECH


he Osun chapter of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), in Osogbo on Wednesday lauded the Supreme Court judgment which affirmed the joint ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso. The Supreme Court, led by Justice Dahiru Musdapher the Chief Justice of Nigeria, on Monday affirmed that the university was jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states. The university which was established by the old Oyo state Government in 1990, has been a subject of dispute between the two states. Mr Kunle Oyatomi, ACN Director of Information and Strategy, in a statement in Osogbo described the judgment as laudable. Oyatomi said the judgment would restore sanity in the institution and create an avenue for the owner states to work together for its progress. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls the Osun attorney-

general and commissioner for justice instituted the case against Oyo State during the administration of former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala. The Oyo state Government had called for asset sharing between the two states in respect of the university. The Osun Government contested the unilateral decisions of Oyo state over the university under Section 2 and Section 15 of LAUTECH Law, 1990 (as amended). The plaintiff (Osun) sought an order setting aside and declaring null and void all steps, actions, directions, orders and commands unilaterally taken by its Oyo State counterpart on the university. The decisions related the appointment of principal officers, personnel, finances, fixed and floating assets of the university, which normally should be endorsed by the two state governments. Alhaji Yusuf Ali (SAN), Counsel to the Osun Government had argued

that the two states from the outset agreed to jointly own and manage the university in line with the dream of the founding fathers. Also, Mr Adebayo Ojo, Oyo state

Justice Dahiru Musdapher

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, had also confirmed that the joint ownership agreement was endorsed by both state governments.

democracy groups how the ACN leader has been championing the brazen misconduct and unethical activities of a judge who was is adjudged by the highest judicial body of lying on oath, and which our law enforcement agencies are shying away from prosecuting? “Nonetheless, despite our disagreement on matters of principle and on issues of establishing a credible platform of assuming governance through democratic means as against crooked and underhand methods, we as fellow Yoruba offer our hearty congratulations to the Asiwaju of Lagos on the occasion of his 60th birthday, praying that Almighty Allah will open his inner mind to reflect on his past, for a new beginning that will be a rewarding legacy for the future. “It is also our prayer that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will use his attainment of 60 years to make peace with his origin, which he has consistently denied just to protect the fake identity that he built for himself in the past.”

FCT Minister tasks new FCT PDP exco on discipline


he FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, on Tuesday in Abuja advised the newly-elected members of the FCT PDP Executive committee to ensure party discipline in the discharge of their duties. Mohammed gave the advise while the inaugurating the executive committee members. He urged them to ensure full implementation of the party's constitution and adhere strictly to party discipline. According to him, "we will not tolerate any act of indiscipline. You should follow the constitution and mandate of the party for better implementation of the party policies." The Minister tasked them to be good ambassadors of the party and to discharge their duties with all sense of humility, bearing in mind the interest of the party and the nation. Bala pledged to support the new officials to move the party forward and to achieve the mandate and transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. Sen. Philip Aduda, representing the FCT, asked the executive committee members to regard themselves as agents of change and work for the good of the party. Responding, the new FCT Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, pledged to bring the desired change in the party and to work with the outgoing officials in the interest of the party.



Taraba CPC conducts LGs primaries From Yusahau Alhassan, Jalingo


araba state Chairman of Congress for progressive Change (CPC) Uba Ahmed has said that primaries for Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates of the party for Local Governments’ election have been conducted successfully in the State. Ahmed stated this yesterday while speaking with our reporter in Jalingo. The CPC boss said chairmanship candidates in the sixteen Local Government areas of the state have emerged. He said most of the chairmanship and councillorship candidates were elected by consensus. Uba Ahmed however said that the primaries in Turaki “A” and Barade wards in Jalingo Local Government were not conducted due to crisis. The CPC Chairman stated that the party would set up a committee to look into the problems in the affected wards with a view to solving them. According to him, the party in the State would submit the names of its candidates to the Taraba state Independent Electoral Commission TSIEC before the dateline given by the Commission. He appealed to the members of the party in the state to shun violence and come out en-mass to vote for the candidates of the party. However, the Public Relations

Officer PRO of the CPC in Jalingo Local Government Aminu Maigari said the Chairmanship primaries have been cancelled in the area. Aminu Mairiga said the decision to cancel the primaries followed complaints of irregularities during the

primaries in the local government. The PRO said the primaries were conducted in only three out of the ten wards of the Local Government adding that the primaries in the remaining seven wards were marred with violence.

He said the party released specific number of voters in each of the wards but wondered why some wards recorded over voting. The PRO said the party was studying the situation with a view to taking acceptable decision to CPC members in Jalingo Local Government.

L-R: President, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), Corps Legal Adviser, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Chidi Nwachukwu, and Deputy Corps Marshal, Operations of FRSC, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, during the public hearing on the new number plate and driver's licence organised by the Senate Committee on Federal Character, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Forgery allegation: Resign now, ACN tells Suswam From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he Action Congress of Nigeria, Benue state chapter has called on Governor Gabriel Suswam to honorably resign as governor of the state following declaration by West African Examination Council WAEC that they do not have knowledge of his certificate. Chairman of the party Comrade Abba Yaro who made the call in a telephone chat with Journalists in Makurdi recently maintained that they are vindicated in their claims that the

governor was parading forged certificate and therefore not fit to hold the office. Comrade Yaro urged Suswam to hand over to his deputy Chief Steven Lawani. The ACN chair’s call is coming on the heel of a publication in a national daily (not Peoples Daily) wherein the Head of Legal Department of WAEC Mr. K.U. Anyim addressed a letter to Police Special Investigation Unit Force Headquarters, alleging that certificate number NGSC 854210 allegedly belonging to Suswam was not in his records.

The letter was tendered before a Magistrate Court Wuse 2 Abuja and marked as exhibit D in a libelous suit instituted by Governor Suswam against one Chidozie Okpabi, Dan Ekah and others. WAEC also presented a broadsheet which they claimed contained Suswam’s results as follows: English Language P7, Lit. in English A2, Bible Knowledge P7, History C6, Geography A3, Economics C5, Maths F9 and Health Science C5. It was alleged too that Suswam as member of the House of Representative used letter head of

House Committee on Appropriation and addressed a letter dated March 16th 2005 to Sonnie (Chidozie) which read: “Sonnie ensure that English and Maths have at least credit each and also ensure that the number is maintained.” “We are vindicated by our stand that the man does not possess any certificate. He should just honorably resign”, Yaro said. Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Public Affairs Dr. Cletus Akwaya declined comments on the issue. “No comment”, Akwaya said.

Edo PDP guber candidate vows to tackle unemployment From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Edo state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer for the July 14th 2012 governorship election, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (Rted), has vowed to tackle unemployment in the State by adopting a holistic approach in crime prevention if given the mandate. Arhiavbere who gave this indication yesterday when he played host to 6 groups who endorsed his candidacy for the elections noted that, for citizens to live in harmony; however pledged responsive

governments by striving hard to protect the lives and property of all its citizens irrespective of age, faith, sex or vocation. The governorship hopeful said his interest in politics was to salvage the people of Edo from poverty and unemployment inflicted on them by the policies of the ACN government including over-taxation of the unemployed. He promised to make the state a convenient home for both indigenes and non-indigenes against the backdrop of the recent protest in the state where some non-indigenes were evicted from their houses.

“I joined politics because we were not safe in our houses; people no longer sleep with their eyes closed as there are a lot of abnormalities in the system”. Earlier, the supporters including Igun Youths; Sincere Change Initiative (SCI); Arewa Group in Edo state, AGIE, Edo True Professionals (ETP), Edo Progressive Movement, Patriots for Good Governance, Benin Youths for True Development and the Benin League of Professionals said the purpose of the visit was to endorsed his candidacy. Airhiavbere’s endorsement came barely 24 hours after the Hausa

Community endorsed the gubernatorial candidate at the state party secretariat in Benin City. They said their support became necessary following the hardship they face daily from the government of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria which they voted for in 2007. Alhaji Sani Mohammed, a spokesman for the Hausa community said they have suffered utter humiliation from the ruling government and therefore wanted a change of baton in the governance of Edo state having observed with keen interest that Airhiavbere would be a better governor in Edo state.

Tambuwal expresses concern over climate change


he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has expressed concern over the growing threat of climate change to human existence. Tambuwal made the observation yesterday in Abuja while opening the review hearing on the outcome of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the hearing was organised by the House Committee on Climate Change. Represented by Rep. Rep. Garba Datti (CPC-Kaduna), the Deputy Minority Whip of the House, Tambuwal said that extreme weather conditions were being experienced in Nigeria now, noting that this was, "leading to demographic displacements across the country. " He said that climate change had been a glaring danger to humans, stressing the need for the country to strategise for future negotiations. The UNFCC negotiation conference was held in Durban, South Africa between Nov. 28 and Dec. 11, 2011 but no agreement was reached. The speaker expressed regrets that the Durban Summit failed to achieve an agreement that would have replaced the existing Kyoto Protocol. He, however, cautioned that although the industrialised countries of the world were reportedly responsible for greenhouse emissions, this would not be enough reason for the developing countries not to act. ``We have to bear the hard road to cutting down the effects of climate change by playing our own roles,'' he said. Rep. Eziuche Ubani (PDPAbia), the chairman of the committee, explained that the hearing was necessitated by concerns that "politics, rather than a shared responsibility to safeguard our planet has taken over the negotiation process. " According to him, pure market considerations appear to override the need for every nation to hold hands and roll back this clear and present danger. He stressed that while the Federal Ministry of Environment might understand the issues, its efforts were handicapped by minimum political power and budgetary constraints. The lawmaker, who said there was need to develop a strategy with which to negotiate in future summits, hoped that the committee would lead the way to developing Nigeria's first climate change policy.



Kebbi re-run: ANPP guber candidate promises dividends of democracy From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


he All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) gubernatorial candidate and a former Deputy Governor in Kebbi state, Alhaji Suleman Mohammad Argungu, has assured the people that he would ensure the delivery of democratic dividends should he be elected as the governopr of the state. While calling on the people of Kebbi state to come out en-mass and vote for his party at this weekend re-run gubernatorial election, Argungu assured the people of the state that if elected into the office education, health and infrastructure development would be his cardinal focus. He then urged the electorate to check their voters’ card for the election, stressing that ANPP has its manifestos programmes and politics aimed at improving the lives of the generality of the public.

PDP Chair: Youth group condemns northern govs for Tukur’s emergence From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


youth group, Arewa Youths Forum (AYF) has condemned the northern governors for allowing the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). AYF’s National President, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, described the election of Turkur as a shame to the PDP Northern Governors for mortgaging the future of the North by allowing themselves to be dragged into an undemocratic means which imposed a septuagenarian leader on their party. The AYF President in a statement made available to Peoples Daily in Kaduna said, “It is clearly antics and conspiracy against the region by President Goodluck Jonathan and this is a setback that will produce a long term consequence most grievous to our region”. Gujungu called on all other youths in the North to shelve sentiment and condemn in strong terms the sham achievement, and distance themselves from anything related to the robots created by President Goodluck Jonathan under the tutelage of former President Olusegun Obasanjo adding it was a shame and denigration of Northern Youths in general. He challenged elite from the region to prove their worth and value by accelerating corrective measures for ameliorating the mess their actions and inactions caused the North. According to him “The Northern economy and political savvy is fast fading, and so this is time for action and not feeding fat on the miseries of the region; since it has become a market for sales and profits”.

R-L: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) new National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metu, PDP chieftain, Chief Femi Sanni, and new National Woman Leader, Dr. Kema Chikwe, during the handling over to the new National Working Committee, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

PDP convention the best ever, says Yuguda’s aide From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


n aide to Isa Yuguda, the Bauchi state governor, Alhaji Mouktar Abdu Magas has said the recently concluded National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the best of its kind ever in the political history of the country since independence. A press release made available to journalists in Bauchi which was signed by Magas, Yuguda’s DirectorGeneral (Public Enlightenment), stated that though there were several

aspirants for the various political offices slated for contest at the convention, the consensus posture adopted by the party was the best arrangement in line with the democratic ideals of the party. He stated “PDP has today transformed itself from a mere political party to a political institution that should be emulated by other prospective democrats in the continent of Africa. The party leadership put-in-place at the convention deserves the support of all stakeholders and other democrats to succeed.” According to him, the new

National chairman of the party, Dr Bamanga Tukur, as a tested democrat who labored along with several other democrats to nurse the party to maturity, should be supported to be able to carry the party to the next level of development, He added “Bamanga as an elder statesman and a leader should strive to carry along every stakeholder in the struggle to overcome the challenges before the party and the PDP led federal government. The aspiration of other contestants should not be seen as a threat to the corporate existence of the party but as an

offer from fellow democrats to serve the party and the country through the mandate of other party stakeholders. As he correctly said, there was neither a victor nor a vanquished in the contest but equal losers and winners since it was purely a family affair” The Director-General, on behalf of the state government, congratulated the newly elected members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and advised them to work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in them as representatives of the party stakeholders.

Benue Speaker tasks FG to end Tiv/ Fulani feud From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


peaker of the Benue state House of Assembly, Hon. David Iorhemba has tasked the Federal Government to take proactive step to end the recurring Fulani/Tiv conflicts.

Hon. Iorhemba who made the plea yesterday in Makurdi, raised the alarm that the Tiv nation may be heading for extinction if urgent measures and steps are not taken to end the feuding crisis. He intimated that the

Assembly will make a legislation to create grazing areas for the Fulani herdsmen to graze their cattle, maintaining that this is the only way to ensure lasting peace between the two tribes. On the Agbougboul crisis, the Speaker urged security agencies

to identify land speculators who are the arrow heads of the crisis and prosecute them, adding that the Assembly has invited the Commissioner for Lands/ Survey Mr. John Tondo to appear before it today and explain his role in the crisis.

Kogi LG chairmanship aspirant promises to impact on the people From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


chairmanship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for Ankpa local government, Kogi state in the forthcoming Locla Government election, Mr Barry Idakwo has pledged to embark on

profitable ventures to impact on the people, if given the mandate. Hon. Barry disclosed this yesterday in Lokoja while presenting his agenda for the local government, if given the mandate, noting that Ankpa LG has suffered several years of neglect in the hands of previous chairmen.

While urging the electorates to vote the right candidate in the forthcoming election scheduled for May 26, 2012, Barry stated that Ankpa which was voted in the past as one of the most viable in economic terms has lost everything to people who have no interest of the place at heart.

He enjoined journalists to assist in sanitising the society through the constitutional powers vested on them so the future "we are working towards might not be in vain", pointing out that Ankpa local government has no reason to lag behind as economic potentials abound in the area.



NFF confirms Saintfiet, re-appoints Obuh, Ikhana for Flying Eagles, Falcons Stories By Patrick Andrew


fter months of dilly dallying about the apppointment of the Technical Director, the NFF executive committee finally ratified the recommendation of its technical sub-committee and confirmed as expected Tom Saintfiet for the job. Again, the board also reappointed the technical crew of the Flying Eagles headed by

Tom Saintfiet, NFF technical director

John Obuh and assisted by Abimbola Samuel, Yakubu Maidagu and Suleiman Shuaibu-the goalkeeper trainer and tasked them with the responsibility of producing a new crop of junior Eagles. Similarly, the football federation returned coach Kadiri Ikhana to the helms of Super Falcons technical crew thus dropping Eucharia Uche and her crew who failed to qualify the country for the

John Obuh,returns as Flying Eagles Chief Coach

Africa Games and the Olympics. Ikhana is to be assisted by Justin Madugu, ex-Super Falcons Rita Nwadike, Charity Enwerem, and Bala Mohhamed who will be the goalkeeper trainer. The committee set up a sixman strategic team to fashion out a roadmap for sustainable development of Nigeria football to be headed by former NFF scribe Hon. Ahmed Sani

Kadiri Ikhana, back at the Head of Super Falcons technical crew

London Games: FG pledges assistance to NOC


he Federal Government has promised to assist the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) towards a successful outing at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, made the pledge in Abuja during the investiture of President Goodluck Jonathan as the grand patron of the NOC. “We will give all necessary assistance to support the NOC to do the nation proud,” the Minister said. He said that the country qualified for five sports, namely athletics, canoeing,

wrestling, table tennis and taekwondo and could still qualify for badminton, boxing and para-athletics. The NOC President, Sani Ndanusa, said the committee was determined to use the London Olympics to showcase Nigeria’s sporting prowess to the outside world. According to him, the NOC has been working with the National Sports Commission (NSC) to position the country as a formidable player in world sports. “Today is the happiest day for the Olympic family and we thank the president for his sustained interest in sports

development. This event is a unique opportunity to decorate the President as the grand patron of the NOC. “There was need to promote sports marketing and the development of Nigeria economy through the use of Olympics as a platform to add value to the system.” He, however, assured Nigerians that the committee would do its best to have a memorable outing for the country. The investiture marked the beginning of a massive marketing drive by the NOC towards Team Nigeria’s outing at the Olympics.

Toro, with Shehu Dikko, Mumuni Alao, Onochie Anibeze, Simeon Ikya and

Charles Ojugbana, who would serve as secretary. In another development, committee mandated the technical sub-committee to constitute a technical crew for the five-A-side national team ahead of the African qualifiers for the 2012 FIFA FUTSAL World Cup in Thailand.

N10bn sports development fund stucked in Trust Fund T

en billion Naira sports lottery fund instituted to facilitate sports development has been trapped in the National Sports Trust Fund, since 1999 according to former Sports Minister, Damishi Sango. The former disclosed at the public hearing on the downward trends in Nigeria sports organised by the Senate Committee on Sports that he had initiated and effected the sports lottery programme solely to generate needed funds to engineer sports development. However, he regretted that though as much as N10 bn has accumulated neither the National Sports Commission (NSC) nor its affiliates have been able to access the funds for the purposes it was meant. “Where is the lottery money for sports. During my tenure, I instituted the lottery even though some people kicked against it. The arrangement was that certain percentage should go to sports.Today nobody has said anything about the money from the sports lottery,” he lamented and wondered why the leadership of the NSC has failed to press for it.

‘’We know there is the commission from the sports lottery, but the snag is that one clause in the enabling law only permits the President of the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan to determine which cause it will be used for in sports,...since the clause states that a ‘good cause ‘’ for its use must be ascertained first,” he quoted. Sango believed that had the authority been up and doing the hedge over the clause would have been overcome and the funds accessed for sports development. His position was corroborated by another former Sports Minister, Hon. AbdulRahman Hassan Gimba even as the Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Sports Hon Godfrey Gaya attempted to explain the problem. Further, Gaiya said that the major snag was in the clause in the enabling law adding efforts were being made by the committee to assist the commission to access the fund. He said until that clause was expunged the fund would remained trapped in the coffers of the National Sports Fund.

Eagles list out tomorrow


he Super Eagles’ list of invitees ahead of the tough months of May and June dates will be released tomorrow. The Eagles are scheduled to play some international friendly matches against Egypt, Iran among several others before the 2014 World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers. Though Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has jetted out to the USA

to see his family, the team will resume training immediately under the charge of coaches Dan Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpala, Ike Shorunmu and Hyndounou Valere. According to the team’s Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, Keshi was allowed to visit his family and join the team in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on April 9, on time for the duel that will be played April 12 at

the same venue. Already, Keshi had dropped his list of players for the encounter with the Technical Committee of the NFF, and the list which was earlier scheduled to be released yesterday, but would now be pushed out on Friday, while the team resumes camp on Monday, April 2, 2012. Camp venue remains Bolton White Hotel and Apartments.

Bolaji Abdullahi, Supervising Minister of Sports



Team Nigeria athletics captain promises Jonathan medals in track and field By Albert Akota


eam Nigeria track and field Captain, Saul Weigopwa, has assured President Goodluck Jonathan that they deliver medals in individual and relay events at the London Olympic Games, in spite of all odds. The athletes who along with some of his colleagues are currently training in Atlanta, United States, said they were working assiduously to ensure that the country’s confidence in and investment on them ahead of the Summer Games were not in vain. The Olympics bronze medallist, revealed that the coaching tutorials they were subjected by the new national athletics coach, Innocent Egbunike, were designed to shape and tune them up so that they would be compete favourably with their peers. “The training is tough, but we all love it, if we had been training like this in the last few years, I would personally

achieve more on the track, and I could have won an individual level medal at the global level long before now” he said. Weigopwa further said that Egbunike’s training is like a marriage of sports science and inspirational speeches. “Everything is scientific, you are to follow a laid down plan which could not be altered. Daily, there are inspirational speeches from motivational speakers, pastors and Egbunike himself. Then we are all on the same level, the coach and the athletes, we all do the same thing on and off the track, “he revealed. Further, he said the only they hope to repay Nigeria for the huge financial investments in the team and confidence reposed in the athletes would be to win medals in London. “With the way we are training now, I can assure you that all the relay teams will win medals in London. We just need to perfect the technical aspect as a team, but we will all be running well with the training we are doing now, once the

Saul Weigopwa technical aspect is perfect, we could win four relay medals. “I will not only run a new personal best this year, I will make the finals of the Olympics in the men’s 400m, and once am in the finals, anything is possible, I could win a medal. This is our toughest training ever; all the athletes are focused and ready for London” he said. Weigopwa on behalf of his colleagues thanked the supervising Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and the NSC for making it possible for them to camp and train in Atlanta.

N1.3bn NFF scam: Lulu, 3 others get court’s stay of proceeding, head to Court of Appeal By Patrick Andrew


he Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday granted the prayers of former officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for a stay of proceedings to allow them to appeal the court’s decision on the no-case-submission filed by the accused persons over a N1.3 billion scam. The quartet: former president, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, his first vice, Amanze Uchegbulam, the general secretary, Bolaji Ojo-Oba and the chairman of chairmen, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, are standing trials for allegedly embezzling the amount being part of the funds released by the Federal Government for the prosecution of the 2010 World Cup Finals. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged the four ex-egg heads of the football federation and dragged them before the Federal High Court where they are contesting the 27 charges against them. Yesterday, Justice Donatus Okorowo, who ruled on the application filed by the accused persons, said the application had merit and granted a stay of proceedings until their appeal to the superior court of justice had been entertained. “The trial court is always obligated to stay proceedings on a matter when a notice of appeal is served over a particular action it took in the course of the trial. The accused had gone to appeal a decision the court took on Feb. 9 that they must face trial because the charges had linked them to the crime. “The legal system is a process and therefore the court is now obliged to stay the proceeding pending the determination of the appeal, the matter is however adjourned to April 25 for the court to obtain a progress report,” Justice Okorowo said. Okorowo, who had ruled that the accused persons being public officers were liable to be prosecuted under the

Nigerian Law, argued that the NFF was a public entity and individuals entrusted with responsibility to oversee the establishment were liable to be accountable to the Nigerian State. Further, he judge had insisted that the accused persons were rightly charged based on the country’s penal code. The accused persons, who were arraigned on Sept. 7, 2010, had pleaded not guilty to all the charges on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charges brought against them by an anti-graft body not known to the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). According to them, football matters were best handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and that since the NFF was an autonomous body affiliated to FIFA whose statutes Nigeria willingly subscribed to, it and its officials could not be subjected to answer charges framed by an agency of the Federal Government.

Taiwo Ogunjobi

World Corporate Cup soccer holds in Liverpool May 11


he Fifth World Corporate Cup Soccer tournament will be hosted by Liverpool FC at Anfield Stadium from May 11 through May 13, this year. Accordingly, the World Corporate Cup Community with headquarters in Peterborough, United Kingdom, through its West Africa office has accordingly invited corporate organizations, institutions, NGOs and others within the West African sub-region to register their teams for the tournament. The fiesta, which has been tagged the “World Cup of Corporate Organizations”, and is regarded as the “ultimate combination of soccer, business and tourism,” would bring together top corporate organisations across the world showcase the soccer potentials of their teams. It equally offers the participating organisations ample opportunities for business, investment and tourism extravaganzas. Also, corporate organisations could showcase their potentials to overseas companies and would have exhibition platforms to put their wares on display. A release by the British High Commission in Abuja indicated that its UK Trade & Investment department in conjunction with Corporate Games West Africa will host a presentation seminar.

Senegalese FA Chair bags Court of Arbitration for Sport job


Sani Lulu

Bolaji OjoOba

he president of the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF), Mr Augustin Senghor, has been appointed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), according to a statement issued by the federation. Senghor, a lawyer, is the third Senegalese to be appointed to the world body, after former Sports Minister Youssoupha Ndiaye and President of the Rugby federation Guédel Ndiaye, the statement said. The CAS is an independent institution that settles legal disputes related to sport. CAS was established in 1984 and placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). CAS has nearly 300 arbitrators from over 80 countries. All the arbitrators were chosen for their expertise in arbitration and sports law.



NNPC/Shell Maigari charges Falconets, assures World Cup gets Cup-bound Flamingoes of support Ashworth nod By Patrick Andrew Flamingoes routed their “We believe in the technical


echnical Director of Kwara Football Academy, Paul Ashworth, has described the NNPC/Shell Cup for All Nigeria Secondary Schools as a good competition to boost the development of youngsters in the country. The KFA Secondary School, Ilorin, is debuting in the competition this year and the school has qualified for the finals after beating Govenment Arabic College, Gwale, Kano 5-3 in the second semi-finals. “This is a credit to Nigerian football.” Ashworth said to Ashworth who entered the history books as the first Englishman to coach in Russia said the KFA Secondary School will continue to participate in subsequent editions. “It’s good for our students because this is the first time the KFA Secondary School will compete in the Shell Cup. We intend to make this an annual event for the students to contribute to their development. “The long term goal is to make them develop into professional footballers,” Ashworth said. He applauded the performance of students from other schools that reached the last four. Sunday’s final will be against National Foundation Academy, Ughelli, Delta State.


resident of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari has charged the U-20 women national team, the Falconets to take no prisoners but demolish their Zimbabwean opponents in Saturday’s FIFA U-20 World Cup qualifier in Abeokuta. Also, Maigari has assured the Flamingoes who have secured the FIFA U-17 World Cup ticket at the expense of Zambia of unalloyed support and promised to avail the team adequate training opportunities before the Azerbaijan tournament in September. “The NFF is very happy with the qualification of the U-17 Women National Team for this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup finals. That is the beginning of good things to come for Nigeria football this year and in the coming years. “Now, it is our prerogative to ensure that the team is fully and adequately prepared for the tournament in Azerbaijan. At the last tournament in Trinidad and Tobago, our girls got to the quarter finals, and only lost to eventual champions Korea Republic after extra time. This year, we must go farther, and perhaps win the trophy”, said Maigari. Last Saturday, the

counterparts from Zambia 5-0 for a 7-1 aggregate win, to qualify as one of Africa’s three representatives at the World Cup in Azerbaijan. The NFF President also called on the U-20 Women’s Team, Falconets, who host Zimbabwe’s U-20 side in a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 qualifier in Abeokuta on Saturday to go all out for a comfortable win. “Come Saturday, the Falconets are also in action against their counterparts from Zimbabwe. It is important that they get a huge win since it is the first leg; that will reduce the pressure going into the second leg in Harare.

crew and what they have been doing, and we know the players will do Nigeria proud”. Saturday’s match will also take place at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta.

Musa Amadu, NFF Scribe

Tunisia refs for Falconets, Zimbabwe


unisian Referee Lilia Abdeljaoued will be at the centre when the Nigeria’s U-20 Women’s Team, Falconets take on their counterparts from Zimbabwe in Abeokuta on Saturday. She will be assisted by compatriots Rahma Alouini (1st Assistant Referee), Hanene Ayari (2nd Assistant Referee) and Safia

Ayouni (4th Official). The Match Commissioner is Therese Pauline Manguelle from Cameroon. The winner of the fixture between Nigeria and Zimbabwe will play the winner of the fixture between Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo for a place at this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals in Japan later this year.

Coach Emodi assures Rangers’ fans of better outing


key Emodi, the Technical Adviser of Rangers International FC of Enugu, has assured fans that the club will improve its performance in future matches. Emodi gave the assurance after Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Akwa Utd of Uyo in a Week 16 encounter played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. He said that Rangers would work hard to top the league this season.

The win sees Rangers top the league with 29 points, having won eight matches, drawn four and lost three. The technical adviser commended the two teams for their play, saying that the victory of the home team was a mark of great improvement. “It is an improvement, we are coming, nobody expected us to come so far, but so far we have come, we must try to improve and gradually we come to the promised land.” The coach described the

winning goal by Haliru Umar as wonderful and promised better results in their future matches. Samuel Chukwudi of Akwa Utd scored first in the 13th minute from the left flank, but Chikeluba Ofoedu of Rangers equalised for the home side in the 27th minute from outside right position. Umar’s winning goal for Rangers was registered through a header in the five minutes of regular time remaining.

Federal character is killing sports, Senate President laments By Ali Alkali


Joseph Yobo

enate President David Mark has kicked against the resort to Federal Character in the selection of athletes to represent Nigeria at international for a and even the appointment of technical personnel stressing that it was partly responsible for the downward trend of Nigeria in sports. Speaking during the public hearing on the downward trends in Nigerian sports organized by the Senate Committee on Sports, the sponsor of Apa United and amateur club side, said the principle has boomerang because merit and competence have been compromised. “it must stop now,” he said noting that, “Interference and nepotism in the selection process is not helping matters at all. There can be no federal character in the selection of sports men and women. “This is a total mockery of federal character. It is not a state representation. It’s not a local government representation. The selection of sports men and women must be done purely on merit,” Mark stressed. Lamenting over the incessant interference in the process of selection of sports men and women to represent

Nigeria in sports events, the Senate President said, “All those responsible for selection of our sports men and women should hide their heads in shame.” Mark said it was hard to explain why a nation that was advancing and making tremendous impact on the global scene suddenly began to plummet when ideally it ought to have advanced to greater height. He also blamed incessant bickering among sports administrators stressing had merit and competence been the yardstick for the appointment and selection of officials and athletes there would have been

little room for the sort of things that Nigerians were daily being assailed with by the sports managers. “We can’t tolerate it. It’s unacceptable to us as a nation because Nigerians are the losers. Individuals responsible for these unhealthy developments should stop in the interest of Nigeria,” he said. Mark also emphasised the need for massive talent hunt at the grass roots, provision of adequate funding and sports infrastructure to discover budding talents and advised that sportsmen and women must be adequately motivated to enable them give out their best at all times.

David Mark

Bolaji Abdullahi



London 2012: Amazing things will happen at Games, says Eaton By Patrick Andrew with agency report


eptathlion champion, Ashton Eaton, says that the Summer Olympic Games in London will be unique by the number of great performances by sundry athletes and looks forward to an exciting contest in the combined events. At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul earlier this month, Natalya Dobrynska who set World record in Pentathlon, against popular expectation defeated favourites Jessica Ennis and Tatyana Chernova, Eaton’s record was not a surprise as it was the third World Record of his young career. Eaton equally set world record and believes the performance was just a taste of the iceberg. “I think they are going to be the best Olympics yet. It seems like common knowledge that London is like a planet-wide epicentre for amazing things. I mean, when you walk into a bank, London is one of headings for the world clocks. People just know about it. According to him, if “the forgotten woman” Dobrynska emerged from the shadows to beat the rich field that competed against her, then the Olympics will be something to look forward to.

Ashton Eaton

“When they think of London, they don’t necessarily think of what it is or has, but its potential. London has the potential to be great. It’s primed for greatness. If everything is done right, all the athletes have to do is perform and amazing things will happen,” he said of athletes who are looking forward to an exciting time in London. On his performance in Istanbul, Eaton said it was nothing spectacular. “Honestly for me it wasn’t very special breaking the World record. Istanbul is a great city, the IAAF put on a fantastic meet but it’s my third time doing it now so I am a little desensitized. “Getting the world title was more fun and meant more. It’s better to measure yourself up against your opponents rather than yourself,” noting that it London Games promises to be one of the greatest names to follow during the upcoming outdoor season which leads to the Olympic Games in London. The re-match between Hardee and Eaton will be one of the highlights of the Olympic Games in London. In Istanbul’s Atakoy Arena the Oregon-based Eaton scored 6645 points to beat Ukraine’s Oleksiy Kasyanov by a massive 574 points and broke his previous standard by 77 points, a World record for the third consecutive indoor season.

Djokovic, Nadal punch quarter-finals tickets


that I had more the control of the game.” Nadal will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarter-finals, after he defeated Florian Meyer of Germany 6-3 6-2. Andy Murray beat Gilles Simon 6-3 6-4 to set up a quarter-finals matchup with Janko Tipsarevic, who earlier beat unseeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 6-2. In other fourth round action, American Mardy Fish fought past Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-7 6-3 and will face Argentine Juan Monaco. Monaco beat Andy Roddick 7-5 6-0, the American failing to build on his surprise victory over world number three Roger Federer on Monday.

orld number one, Novak Djokovic, and second ranked, Rafael Nadal, moved into the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open with straight set victories yesterday. Djokovic, a 7-5 6-3 winner against Richard Gasquet, had a game on his hands in the opening set when he was broken in the fourth game by a fine backhand winner from the Frenchman. The Serb, the defending champion, broke back in the sixth only to face break point in the ninth game, but three times

he held firm and was able to emerge with the set. The Frenchman’s determination faded in the second set as Djokovic broke in the fourth and sixth games to run out winner in one hour 40 minutes. Djokovic will play Spain’s David Ferrer who beat Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3 6-3. Nadal, a three-time finalist at the Miami Masters series event, beat 16th seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4 6-4. The Spaniard made a sluggish start but Nishikori missed out on six of seven break point chances in the opening three games.

London 2012: Pistorius allays fear over nonqualification

Bekele sets most consecutive World records days


ouble amputee Oscar Pistorius says he is confident of qualifying to run the 400 metres at the London Olympic Games. “I’ve never been much of an optimist; I’m a realist and I’m realistic in knowing what I have to do and I’m confident in knowing that I can achieve that,” the South African told reporters on Tuesday. “In athletics it is not about working hard and achieving a goal, it’s about working hard every single day and we’ve still got 122 days until the Games and every day has been planned and calculated.” Pistorius, who uses carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, ran a 45.20-second 400 metre race on March 17 in South Africa to dip under the qualification time of 45.30. However, he still needs to run the qualifying time in an international meeting before he will be considered for South Africa’s Olympic team. Last year, Pistorius became the first amputee to compete at the athletics world championships when he ran in Daegu, South Korea, though he failed to qualify for the 400 final. If he qualifies for London, he would be the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympics. “It’s nice being able to run the times, or close to the times, that you need for the 400m now but there is a long season ahead of us still,” he said. “Hopefully I will start the European season off with the same confidence that I have now, and between now and then get some proper training done.”


thiopian long distance runner, Kenenisa Bekele, became the man with the most consecutive numbers of days that he has remained as a World Record holder. Yesterday, the Ethiopian, who won both the 10,000m and 5,000m at the Beijing Games to clinch the gold medals, completed 2850 days on the “throne”. The 29-year-old superstar set a 10,000 World record of 26:20.31 on June 8, 2004 to go along with his 5000 World record of 12:37.35 recorded eight days earlier, on May 31. He thus surpassed another all-time legend, IAAF Hall of Fame member Paavo Nurmi, who added a 10,000m World record of 30:06.1 on August 31, 1924 to his 5000m World record of 14:28.2 from NAME, START DATE, END DATE, DAYS BETWEEN Kenenisa Bekele - 06/08/04 - 03/28/12* - 2850 Paavo Nurmi - 08/31/24 - 06/19/32 - 2849 Ron Clarke - 07/05/66 - 09/03/72 - 2252 Haile Gebrselassie - 06/13/98 - 05/31/04 - 2179 Henry Rono - 06/11/78 - 07/07/82 - 1487 Taisto Mäki - 06/16/39 - 09/20/42 - 1192 Vladimir Kuts - 10/13/57 - 10/15/60 - 1098 Paavo Nurmi - 09/12/22 - 03/25/24 - 560 Haile Gebrselassie - 08/16/95 - 08/23/96 - 373 Ron Clarke - 01/16/65 - 11/30/65 - 318 Emil Zatopek - 05/30/54 - 08/29/54 - 91 Haile Gebrselassie - 07/04/97 - 08/22/97 - 49 Lasse Viren - 09/14/72 - 09/20/72 - 6 Haile Gebrselassie - 06/05/95 - 06/08/95 - 3

A forehand smash allowed Nadal to break and wrap up the first set and then it was easier going in the second set for Nadal despite a late push by Nishikori. “The beginning was very tough for me. I think I started playing more aggressively, I started playing shorter and so I suffered a lot with my serves the beginning of the match,” said Nadal. “But later, at the end of the first set, I felt that I was starting to win my serves more easily than him. So the last couple of games of the end of the first set, I believe

June 19 of that same year. It wasn’t until June 19, 1932 that Nurmi’s double supremacy of 2849 days ended when another Finn Lauri Lehtinen ran 14:16.9 for 5000m. Bekele will still be chasing another Nurmi record since The Flying Finn had a second double streak of 560 days from September 12, 1922 to March 25, 1924. That combined total of 3409 days won’t be surpassed until October 9, 2013. Then again it does not look like there are any challengers on the horizon who could take away either of Bekele’s World records. The fastest nonBekele time in t h e 10,000m since his current WR of 26:17.53 set in August 2005 is just 26:35.63 by Micah Kogo and that was six years ago. The non-Bekele world leader for 2011 was 26:43.98. In the 5000m the best non-Bekele time (12:46.53, Eliud Kipchoge) was a distant eight years ago; last year’s fastest 12:53.11. Only nine men have

simultaneously held both IAAF 5 0 0 0 m a n d 10,000m World

Kenenisa Bekele

records. H a i l e Gebrselassie holds the distinction of having both the most reigns (four) and t h e shortest r e i g n ( t h r e e days).





Can Nigerian wrestlers excel at London Olympics? F

our Nigerian wrestlers will be in contention for medals at the Summer Olympic Games in London which has been scheduled to begin on July 27. Initially, there was a lone hope of Boltic Sinivie, (96kg), but three others have qualified from the series of qualifying tournaments and have now joined the list. Sinivie, a freestyle wrestler, qualified for the Games in Sept., last year in Istanbul, Turkey, during the Senior World Wrestling Championships. Soon after that lone qualification, Austin Edeze, the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), vowed that the federation would do all within its powers to ensure that it secured more slots for the Games. “The Games take place every four years. There is the need to ensure adequate representation of the country at the event,” he had said. How true he has proved to be! The qualification of three more wrestlers have since given credence to Edeze’s pledge and attention has been turned to adequate preparations ahead of the global showpiece in London. The latest qualifiers are Adebo Dicks, 84 kg; Blessing Oborodudu, 63kg and Amarachi Obiajunwa, 72 kg, all of whom fight in the free style zone the country’s current area of specialty. The trio emerged from the Africa/Oceania Olympic Qualification Championship, which held in Marrakech, Morocco from March 13 to 20. For Obiajunwa, it will be her second time to the Olympic Games as she had made the Team Nigeria list to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. As a first timer then, she made impressive showing, especially at the early stages, before crashing out at the quarter finals to the American, Ali Bernard. Preparatory to the Marrakech qualifier, the federation had assembled 41 wrestlers in Yenagoa, the home state of the Technical Adviser to the NWF, Daniel Igali, who is also a legislator in the Bayelsa House of Assembly. Officials recall that the choice of Yenagoa was with the intent to effectively monitor the progress of the wrestlers in camp. With benefit of hindsight, Segun Akinlatan, a former SecretaryGeneral of the NWF, noted that the camping, which lasted for over four months, helped the wrestlers to secure the slots. “That camping had a positive impact on the outing of the team at the Marrakesh Olympic qualification tournament,” he said, while applauding the National Sports Commission (NSC) for bankrolling the camping. Akinlatan said that there was a very high optimism that something positive will come out of the wrestlers’ participation at the World’s greatest elite sporting spectacle. “Their qualification will no doubt provide opportunities for the country to have good representation,” he added. Against the backdrop that the country was represented by just two wrestlers during the Beijing Olympics, the recent qualification by the four wrestlers are quite salutary, sports enthusiasts say. The London Games will, no doubt, be significant for a number of reasons, one being that the city had hosted the games twice in 1908 and 1948, two crucial periods of the world’s political history. The 1948 London Games was historic as it came just three years after a bitter World War 11. Though Germany was banned from that game, it, however, served the purpose of fence-mending among nations. Ironically, too, the 1908 Games was the last before the outbreak of World War 1. As had always been, the games have helped to foster universal peace via sports, while enhancing mutual cooperation between nations in several other spheres. By the pronouncements of the Local Organising Committee of the London Olympics, it will promote the best values that the Olympic Games can offer the world. The choice of the city of London for the games was not by accident as it is one the world’s major commercial capitals that can be accessed through various sea, undersea and air links. There are three major airports Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead as well as viable sea ports. To many Nigerian athletes, as it is with those from other Commonwealth nations, the London Games is a long-cherished dream.

Chief Ajibade Fashina-Thomas, a veteran sports administrator, said that going to the London Games could be a dream of a life time. For Igali, the dream is beyond mere qualification for the Games but to wrestle for medals. Himself an Olympic medalist, Igali believes beyond qualification and participation, that much are needed to be done if the nation hoped to win medals, pointing out that current preparations were far from being enough. “The training and preparation for the Games are inadequate for them to win medals. Their current state of preparations is not adequate to make them medal-hopefuls.” Igali, however, was optimistic that more could still be done within the next four months to make a remarkable difference. “A lot can happen in four months if we intensify our preparations. If we can prepare well, if we can expose these athletes to more tournaments before the Olympics, anything can happen for good”. The technical adviser bemoaned the dearth of competitions for wrestlers before high profile events such as the Olympics. “Right now, we have a dearth of competitions for the boys who have qualified. But I believe that we should not waste any time in getting them back to camp. Nevertheless, Edeze said he planned to send three more wrestlers to two other qualifying championships in China and Finland, planned for between April 23 and May 2. He, however, lamented the poor funding faced by the federation, which he said, limited its objectives. “We hope that with the spotlight on us now, corporate bodies can show some interest in us and assist to sponsor some of our programmes” He added that on a long-term basis, his federation would strive to harness talents from among the youth. He also urged Nigerians to pray for the athletes that have qualified to go to the Olympics. Sports analysts, however, are of the view that if promises made by

Bolaji Abdulahi, the Minister of Sports, are anything to go by, the wrestling team will have less to worry about, ahead of the London Games. They are optimistic that the minister will match words with action to ensure adequate preparation for the games. No doubt, a medals’ haul by the qualifiers will be a pride to the nation as well as a personal honour to Igali, who had himself won gold medals at the 2000Sydney Games and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. (NANFeatures). By Tony Nezianya, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Jenna Rose of the USA in 60 kg contest against Nigeria's Christiana Victor during the Beijing Games.

Basketball: Our victories warning to our rivals, says Hoopers Manager

M Boltic Sinivie, 96kg

Danile Igali, National team coach

r Ifie Ozaka, the team manager, Royal Hoopers Basketball Club of Port Harcourt, has said that their recent winning runs are a warning to others in the league of their readiness to retain the title. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Port Harcourt that the victories in the ongoing 4th DSTV Men’s Basketball Premier League was an indication of the good things to come. NAN reports that Royal Hoopers have won five of the six

matches they have played so far in the competition. The manager said the match against Union bank of Lagos yesterday which they won 8551 was competitive as the two sides showed great skills, adding that the team was hoping for a better season because funds had been approved for the team. “It’s a better season so far. I think the Hon. Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Fred Igwe has done his very best. It’s a far cry from what we had last season. A lot of things are being put in place and as I speak to you, the funding that

was being withheld, has been released by the state government.” Ozaka said Royal Hoopers were targeting to retain the basketball premier league title but wanted to get to the playoffs first. “From our outings so far, we want to send out signals to other teams about our intention to retain the premier league title we won last year,” he said. He said the players and officials were still working hard to perfect strategies for their remaining matches in the Atlantic conference.



BUK supports its WAUG contingent with N8.6m


he Bayero University, Kano has released N8.6 million to facilitate the participation of its athletes in the 13th West African Universities Games which has begun at the University of Ilorin in Kwara. The university’s Director of Sports, Prof. Musa Yakasai, said in Kano that 70 athletes would represent the institution in the Games.

He said the university would participate in male and female basketball, badminton, judo, table tennis and athletics, while only its male team would feature in the football fixture. Yakasai added that the vice chancellor had promised to waive one year tuition fee for any athlete that won a gold medal during the Games, in addition to a gift of N25, 000.

... As Eniola dismisses fears over mercenaries at Games


resident of the West African University Games (WAUG), Prof Lasun Eniola, yesterday in Ilorin allayed fears over use of mercenaries by the various schools at the 13th WAUG Games. The Games, which began on Tuesday at the University of Ilorin and will end on April 6, has over a dozen universities in attendance. Speaking yesterday, Eniola assured that officials were determined to keep mercenary atthletes away from the Games and added that necessary structure to effect that have been put in place. “In spite of the cross-border aspect of the events, keeping out the mercenaries is not as difficult as it looks. Rather, things have been made easier for us by certain things,’’ Emiola said. The former Director of the National Institute for Sports (NISports) in Lagos said that online accreditation had helped a lot in curbing the use of mercenaries from WAUG events. “The introduction of online

Prof. I’shaq Oloyede VC Unilorin

HFN to feature home-based players at Cup Winners tourney

registration in many universities means that we can go to the concerned university’s website to cross-check the information presented to us by an athlete,’’ he said. Emiola, the 13th WAUG Director-General, however, acknowledged that cross-checking the information provided by participating Francophone countries’ universities presented a challenge. “It does appear that most of them have not caught up with the online registration and that means we have to do their registration manually. “We will then scrutinise all the facts supplied with the eye of what we know is obtainable everywhere. However, we don’t anticipate much problem from their end because we do know from experience that they are not that into the use of mercenaries in sports,’’ he said. The WAUG president also said he was not expecting any problems about the use of mercenaries at the Games. “From my experience at many sporting events of this nature, we used to have problems when the host institutions insist on hosting to win. But over here, it is different. “The Unilorin ViceChancellor has told us many times that he is not interested in ‘hosting to win’ as is always the craze. He said: “hosting very well’ is his focus, and I have seen that spirit all over here,’’ Emiola said.


Dodan Warriors basketball team in action

Dodan Warriors maintain unbeaten run in DSTV Basketball League


odan Warriors Basketball Club of Lagos on Wednesday maintained its winning streak at the ongoing 4th DSTV Men’s Basketball League, beating city rivals, Chariots Basketball Club 90-57. They won the match that had earlier to hold on Sunday but was postponed, and it means they recorded their fifth consecutive victory and now top the league table with 10 points. They had earlier defeated Lagos-based teams Customs 7465, Union Bank 82-61and Police Baton 88-45 in the Atlantic Conference. Dodan Warriors also had a fortnight ago in a week four fixture, defeated the defending champions, Royal Hoopers Basketball Club of Port-Harcourt 75-63. DodanWarriors, the 2010/2011 second runners-up, dominated all the quarters of the game winning 23-17, 22-14, 2212 and 23-14. Coach Adeka Daudu of Dodan Warriors attributed the team’s

victory to determination, adding that they were prepared to emerge champions. “I want to say that to whom much is given much is expected, we don’t intend to betray the trust of our sponsors in us by losing any match,’’ he said. The Assistant Coach of Chariots, Charles Ibeziako, blamed their loss on his players not playing to instruction. “Our players refused to listen to instructions when they are committing so many technical fouls, that was why the winning margin was so wide,’’ he said. Chariots, who joined the league last year, have won only one of their five matches. The second match played at the Civic Sports Centre PortHarcourt saw hosts Royal Hoopers beating visiting Union Bank Basketball Club of Lagos 82-51. It will be recalled that Kano Pillars had won the DSTV league twice before they were dethroned last year by Royal Hoopers of Port Harcourt.

he Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) says it has concluded plans to use the 28 th African Cup Winners Cup tournament to expose homebased players. The competition is to be staged in Tunisia between May 13 and May 19. Dauda Yusuf, President of HFN, said yesterday that the choice of home-based players was to provide them with the opportunity to be exposed to big time tournaments. “The federation is passionate about exposing our local players because we need to test their ability against quality opposition for them to develop their skills and improve on their performances’’. The president said that Borno Spiders women team was already in camp in Minna and would represent the country at the competition. He also disclosed that the Borno State Government would sponsor the team to the event and commended them for their support to the federation. “The support of Borno State Government has made it possible for the country to be represented at the Africa Cup Winners Cup. I commend their contribution toward the development of Handball in the country,’’ he said. Yusuf noted that the development of the sport was a collective responsibility of all sectors, stressing that it should not be left to the National Sports Commission (NSC) alone. HFN secretary Olusola Luke told NAN that the Nigerian team would play in Group ‘C’ alongside Egypt, Morocco, Madagascar and Libya. He said the HFN did not participate in the competition in 2011 because of logistics reasons.

IOC gives women’s beach volleyballers clothing options


emale beach volleyball players have been given the option of wearing longsleeved tops and shorts instead of bikinis at the London Olympics. “Some countries for religious and cultural reasons required

more flexibility,” International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) spokesman Richard Baker said yesterday. “This has now been implemented for all FIVB tournaments... the decision just gives them (the athletes) that

greater choice.” Headgear is also allowed to cover a player’s hair. The news may come as a shock to those in the crowd for whom the main attraction of the highenergy sport lies in watching bikini-clad athletes strut their stuff in the sandpit to thumping

WAUG 2012: Insecurity Regional insecurity forces Senegal, CIV, out as organisers fret


here are fears that the political situations in some West African countries might prevent some institutions from participating in the 2012 West African University Games (WAUG). A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondent covering the Games gathered yesterday in Ilorin that some of the universities in Mali, Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire were not expected again. As at yesterday afternoon,

games officials said 45 universities had arrived but added that they were not expecting more than 50 universities at the games, though 100 had initially been expected. Mali had a military coup late last week, while elections were concluded in Senegal the past week, and many Ivorien universities were shut down. President of WAUG, Prof. Lasun Emiola, said that the officials had made extensive effort to get almost all the universities in West

Africa to attend the competition. “We made contacts with every country through channels. We also went through the Forum of West African Universities Vice Chancellors, as well as the sports platform. “However, we must realise that some of these countries and their universities are not as buoyant as we think to participate at the games. More important is the political situation in countries like Mali, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal.

rock music. The cover-up is unlikely to be widely adopted, however, unless there are major surprises in qualifying or London’s summer weather turns unusually chilly. Women players already had the option of wearing full body suits on the world tour and many did so at an event in The Hague last year. Most of the qualifying slots for London have still to be filled but countries in with a chance and where cultural and religious beliefs are likely to weigh on clothing choices include Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. Baker said the initial request for shorts and long-sleeved shirts had come from the African federation. The beach volleyball at the London Games will be held at Horseguards Parade, near Buckingham Palace and the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street, in July and August.

Women beach volleyball

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by these things tunities things,, the oppor opportunities are just as great today as they er e — Da vid R oc kef eller ever w ock efeller wer ere David Roc



Milan frustrate Barcelona in Champions League


C Milan frustrated Barcelona in its attempt to grab a valuable away goal in the Champions League yesterday, holding the defending champions to a 0-0 draw while Bayern Munich won 2-0 at Marseille to stay on course for the semifinals. Barcelona had 62 percent of possession but failed to score in a Champions League match for the first time in 2 1/2 years. When the Spanish side did create chances at San Siro, it was thwarted by Milan’s experienced defense, goalkeeper Christian Abiatti and some lenient refereeing from Jonas Eriksson. The closest Lionel Messi came to scoring was when he had a first-half goal ruled out for a clear offside. Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben scored in the first leg of Bayern’s quarterfinal in France.

Wikki Tourists hold Eyimba in premier league match


n impressive crowd watched the home team, Wikki Tourists play a 1-1 draw with visiting Eyimba FC in a Premier League match at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, yesterday. Eyimba opened scoring in the 63rd minute through Obinna Eleje while Wikki equalised in the 68th minute through Musa Baita. A cross section of the fans, although disappointed at the result, said they turned up at the stadium because the two teams had faced each other at least 14 times from 2010 to date. A fan, Sani Malami, said he had been keeping the records of the teams' encounters, adding that from 2010, Eyimba had managed to beat Wikki five times while Wikki won four times. “I have been keeping the records and from 2010, the teams have met 14 times, with Eyimba winning five games and Wikki winning four while the rest ended in draws.” Results W/Tourists 1 Enyimba 1 R/Stars FC 0 Dolphins FC 1 S/Stars 1 Kwara United 0 Ocean Boys 1 ABS FC 1


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Sanusi: A class warrior?


few months ago, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi could do no wrong. In the eyes of the international commentariat, he was a no holds barred Central Bank governor with a snappy dress sense. He had whipped the Nigerian banking system into shape by shaming wrong-doers and forcing the banks to pay for their own bail-out. He won plaudits from Nigerians from all walks of life for his honesty and competence. He seemed to personify what Nigeria’s rapidly growing civil society and youth movements are demanding: good governance. But January was an unpopular month for Sanusi, with protestors threatening to burn down his house after the fuel subsidy removal. In a recent talk at the London School of Economics (LSE), Sanusi affably acknowledged his new-found unpopularity by asking the mainly Nigerian audience to give him a warning before they threw shoes at him. How did Sanusi go from a loved to a hated figure? Some have sought explanation by calling him a betrayer of the masses while others have blamed populists for whipping up the masses’ financial and political illiteracy. Neither is true. Sanusi remains consistent in his politicaleconomic project. And it is a class project. Nigeria’s economic problems are well-known: it exports raw materials and imports finished products; there is a heavy reliance on oil, crowding out investment in other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and retail; the long-term investment that does take place in these sectors is poorly coordinated with other necessary infrastructure investments; and corruption abounds in both the public and private sectors. All this has led to what Sanusi calls deindustrialisation. Others might call it chronic under-development in the midst of riches. In his LSE talk, Sanusi referred to this form of economic activity as a “perpetual stage of primitive accumulation”. In other words, Nigeria’s economy is structurally deformed not just because of bad policies which can be corrected, neither is it solely because of external actors – slave traders, colonialists, international capital, or the Bretton Woods institutions. Whilst both analyses have some truth to them, the first explanation creates a false neutrality around Nigerian

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GUEST COLUMNIST By James Schneider

CBN Gov., Lamido Sanusi governance, and the latter removes the agency of much of Nigeria’s domestic elite. Sanusi argues that Nigeria’s ailments can be fixed with improved policy and presents the banking industry as a living proof. However, this call for better policy mystifies the real target of Sanusi’s ire and analysis: rentseekers (namely, those who manipulate the social or political environment to get a larger share of fixed wealth rather than creating new wealth). Nigeria’s economy is deformed because it is actively deformed by a group of people who benefit from its deformation. One could extend Sanusi’s phrase “banks don’t fail; they are killed” to the entire economy: “Nigeria’s economy

didn’t fail; it was killed”. Free market economists would have no trouble calling out many of these public sector killers – governors, senators, ministers, senior civil servants – but Sanusi goes beyond this failed and simplistic ‘public-bad, privategood’ dichotomy by calling “70% of so-called entrepreneurs rentseeking parasites”. Whether by accident or design, Sanusi is a crisis manager. He became governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2009 when the Nigerian Stock Exchange was the worst performer in the world, oil was at only $40 per barrel, and the Nigerian banking system was about to implode under its own weight of bad debts, mismanagement and fraud. Sanusi found that there was a “complete disconnect between bank balance sheets and the real economy”, that money was chasing rent not profit. To turn Nigeria around, the government and CBN needed an “overarching vision to reverse deindustrialisation” to turn a rentbased economy into a capitalist one, and to reward long-term productive investment that would increase productivity and the means of production rather than short-term rent-seeking. Reforming the banking sector and credit system – what David Harvey has called the “central

How did Sanusi go from a loved to a hated figure? Some have sought explanation by calling him a betrayer of the masses while others have blamed populists for whipping up the masses’ financial and political illiteracy. Neither is true. Sanusi remains consistent in his political-economic project. And it is a class project

nervous system” of capitalism – was the place to start. And Sanusi’s success in increasing accountability and incentives for responsible practice has been impressive. Moving commercial banks out of the short term investment areas, for example, has opened the space for private equity, venture capitalists, pension and mutual funds to enter it, shifting lending patterns away from high leverage “deposit-equity swaps” and asset price chasing, towards long term productive investments. Sanusi sees this process as investing in sustainability, the real sector and women, three things he sees as the “future of the continent”. And it is working. By bringing down bank overheads through the sharing of services, costs should drop by 30% by 2014, which should lead to lower interest rates. Firm handling of banks’ lending policies allows the CBN to target the sectors it wants to promote. Lending to agriculture, which accounts for 42% of GDP, was less than 1% in 2009, now it should reach the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) target of 7%. In 2009, he subsidised lending to small businesses with a 200 billion naira ($1.27 billion) fund and a maximum interest rate of 7%. 12,000 jobs were saved and production in those firms went up 12-15%. He made banks sign up to minimum environmental standards for their borrowers, recognising that the “oil industry has done a lot of environmental damage”. He has set up a further fund for companies owned and managed by women so that they can borrow at single digit interest rates, and a programme is being brought forward to increase women’s representation in the board room and senior management. Sanusi’s opposition to the fuel subsidy fits perfectly into this overarching schema. Removing the fuel subsidy is not an IMF plot. Sanusi has frequently clashed with the fund over devaluation of the Naira, calling those in favour of devaluation “agents of international capital in its rampage against all barriers set up by sovereign states to protect the integrity of the domestic economy”. Nor is it neoliberalism being forced onto Nigerians by an uncaring banker. Sanusi’s analysis of the subsidy is sound, even if the government’s actual handling of its removal was woeful. Contd. on Page 35

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Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 29, 2012  
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 29, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday March 29, 2012 Hot Edition