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Coup support protests halt ECOWAS mission to Mali

Vol. 8 No. 6

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jimadal Ula 8, 1433 AH



Free dowry: Men invade Kano Hisbah

From Bala Nasir, Kano


s Kano state government begins screening of applicants for the 1,000 widows the government plans to marry off, prospective suitors in their hundreds have besieged the premises of the state Hisbah Board for screening. Peoples Daily met the intending grooms as they patiently queued Contd on Page 2

Reps warn FG over famine By Umar Mohammed Puma


orried by the increasing number of immigrants crossing into Nigeria from Niger Republic due to the serious drought that has affected the neighbouring country last year and which caused serious Contd on Page 2

Prospective suitors seeking the hands of 1,000 widows in marriage queue for screening at the Kano State Hisbah headquarters, yesterday in Kano. Photo: Bala Nasir


FG declares April 6 & 9 public holidays >>PAGE 2

EFCC arraigns Perm Sec, others over N14bn fraud

World Bank job: Okonjo-Iweala vows to fight

>>PAGE 5

UDB remaned Infrastructure Bank

>>PAGE 7


>>PAGE 19

Sports corruption: ICPC to set up special unit >>PAGE 41



























Senate passes FCT budget of N306bn By Ali Alkali


he Senate yesterday passed the FCT 2012 budget of N306,414,159,188. The passage of the bill, tagged “2012 FCT Statutory Appropriation Bill,” authorised the issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account the total sum of N306,414,159,188. Major index in the spending plan shows that the FCT administration will spend a total of N228,235,475,048 on Capital Projects, N35,524,360,25 on Overhead Cost and N42,654,323,889 on Personnel Cost. From the breakdown of the budget, it was clear that FCT

FCT Minister Bala Mohammed

administration wants to put so much attention and money in completing on-going, abandoned, projects. Earlier, while presenting the budget to the Senate on 20th March 2012, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP Cross River), said “The

FCT requires a minimum of N195 billion to resuscitate and complete abandoned and ongoing projects within the few districts that have so far been developed or partially developed. These include the completion of roads and utility projects, like water, that have high socio-economic value to residents and visitors of the FCT; infrastructure layouts in districts, engineering and electrical projects, sewage and refuse management facilities.” The Senate and the FCT administration were worried over slow development of implementation of the Abuja master plan, as less than 20 percent implementation is achieved in 35 years; and the influx of people from all over the country into the city is over-stretching and straining existing infrastructure and amenities.

FG declares April 6 & 9 public holidays By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Federal Government has declared Friday 6 th and Monday 9 th April 2012 as public holidays, to mark this year’s Easter celebrations. The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, who made this announcement in a statement issued by a Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sheidu Ozigis, added that the holidays were in line with the Christian calendar and tradition which recognise “Good Friday and Easter Monday”. He used the medium to call on Christians to use the period to pray for the peace and unity of the country.

CBN creates new departments, appoints new officials By Julius Ogar with agency reports


he Board of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the appointment of Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor as the Director of Corporate Communication Department. Okoroafor takes over from Mohammed Abdullahi who has been redeployed.

Asiwaju: Celebrating a democratic icon at 60, Page 28

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU The Peoples Daily wants to hear from you with any news and pictures you think we should publish. You can send your news and pictures to:

Phones for News: 070-37756364 09-8734478

A statement from the apex bank yesterday also announced the appointment of Malam U. F. Shehu as the Director of Consumer and Financial Protection Department. The statement said there were other appointments which include three ladies to comply with the gender policy of the Bank as promised by the Governor,

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. It added that the appointments take effect from Monday, 2nd April 2012. Meanwhile, the erstwhile spokesman, Mr. Mohammed M. Abdullahi has been redeployed to Procurement and Support Services Department after 10 years in the Governors’ Department. The CBN statement said: “As

part of the internal reforms to reposition the CBN to meet the challenges of the on-going banking reforms, the Board of the Bank has approved the creation of two new departments. By this approval, the Bank now has 27 departments spread under 5 directorates headed by the Governor and his 4 deputies...”

We won’t beg OBJ, says Ogun PDP faction From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


ggrieved factional group of Ogun state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, declared that it would not beg the chairman, Board of Trustees of the party,

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over their (factional group) refusal not to heed to the directives from the national secretariat of the party which barred them from continuing the state congress. It would be recalled that the party’s national headquarters

had issued a directive restraining the two sides from further proceeding, with the congress in the state which the Dayo Soremi-led state executive in Ogun flouted. The state exco however, went ahead and conducted the state congress. To further

exhibit their effrontery, the faction inaugurated the new controversial executive, at the state headquarters of the party located at Presidential Boulevard, in Abeokuta, where they posited that there was no point to beg Obasanjo over their action.

Free dowry: Men invade Kano Hisbah Contd from Page 1 up at the Hisbah headquarters waiting for their turn to choose the women they want to marry. Inside the hall, where the screening took place, the intending brides and grooms were found responding to the questions put to them by Hisbah officials who were to determine their eligibility. Contd from Page 1 shortage of food and pasture for livestock, the House of Representative has urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, come to the aid of all border communities in the affected areas. The motion, which was tabled by Hon. Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, representing Illela/ Gwadabawa Federal constituency of Sokoto state, expressed concern that this situation had posed overbearing food and security challenges on Nigeria-Nigerien border communities, which are

Grand Commander of the Board, Sheikh Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa told Peoples Daily that over 1200 people picked the forms out of which about 900 have dully completed and returned their own to the Board. The Commander, who spoke through the Public Relations Officer of the Board, Musa Tanko

Muhammad, stated that the planned marriage would hold very soon, adding that already, the state government has ordered for all the required home furniture for 100 women to kick-start the programme. According to Daurawa, the marriage ceremonies would hold at the palace of the Emir

of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero or any other venue the monarch deems fit. The Emir and Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso would be fathers of the potential grooms during the first mass marriage the state government will be sponsoring, he further disclosed.

Reps warn FG over famine compelled to host these migrants. The motion therefore called for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government by way of aid to the migrants in food and other necessary relief materials to cushion the hardship being experience by the border communities. In urging the Federal Government to immediately assist the people of Niger Republic by sending aid to that country so as to improve security condition of the two countries in particular and

West Africa in general, the House noted the fact that Niger Republic, apart from being a long-time peaceful neighbour, which shares common cultural ties with Nigeria, was also a member of ECOWAS and African Union (AU). The House further expressed worry that if the issue was not properly addressed in good time, it may lead to the breakdown of law and order and breach of peace in the border areas and which, may possibly spread to other parts of the

country with the likely consequence of criminal elements seizing the opportunity to carry out criminal acts, not only in the affected communities, but elsewhere in the country thereby worsening the present security situation. The House therefore mandated the Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Foreign Affairs, Interior and the Police Affairs to investigate these issues and report back within four weeks.



SSS parades herbalist, 6 others for abducting foreigner By Lambert Tyem


he State Security Service (SSS) yesterday paraded one Nureni Lamidi, an apprentice herbalist and six other suspects over the kidnap of one Mohammed Khamis Majed Ishmael AI Ali, a national of the United Arab Emirate. The suspected kidnappers, Ojo Ajibade (29), Lamidi Akinkunmi (29), Olasunkanmi Temitope (22), Nureni Lamidi (25), Siyanbade Olalekan (29), Saka Kashim (27) and Jelili Ajagungbade (33),

according to the SSS, were arrested on March 20, 2012 in Ibadan, Oyo state. Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Service Marilyn Ogar, while parading the suspects said that they kidnapped Khamis on January 20 and released him on March 19th 2012. “On 20th of January, 2012 one Mohammed Majed Ishmael AI Ali, a United Arab Emirate national was lured to visit Nigeria for a phantom business transaction by a fake company, Finuche Investments and was

abducted by a kidnap syndicate. “Khamis was released by his abductors on 19th March, 2012 and dropped off in Ibadan”, Mrs. Ogar said. Ogar narrated that the suspects took the hostage to Aboriogun village in Ikoyi town, Isokan local government area of Osun state and held him for 60 days before releasing him. She said they confessed to participating in the kidnap of Khamis adding that they would soon be charged to court. Ogar said four people identified

to have masterminded the abduction of the foreigner were at large. She did not name them. However, the suspects, who spoke through an interpreter, said they did not participate in the abduction of Khamis but were hired by one Teslim Raji an herbalist, to guard him. They further explained that they contributed the sum of N2,000 to transport the hostage to Ibadan, using motorcycles when no money was further coming from Raji who is at large, for upkeep of the hostage.

L-R: Ojo Ibrahim, Ajibade Siyanbade, Musibau Olalekan, Saka Kashim, Jelili Ajagungbade Adeleke, Lamidi Akinkunmi, Olasunkanmi, and Temitope Nureni Lamidi, the suspects paraded by State Security Service (SSS) in connection with the kidnap of Mohammed Khamis Ishmael Ali, a United Arab Emirates national, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Why we struck Damagun — Boko Haram From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


he Jama’atu Ahlil Sunna Lida’awati Wal Jihad, popularly called Boko Haram, yesterday claimed responsibility for the Wednesday night multiple bomb blasts and gunfire in Damagun town, headquarters of Fune local government area of Yobe state. Speaking during a brief joint telephone press conference with newsmen in Maiduguri, the Borno

state capital, Spokesman for the group, Abul Qaqa, said the sect had resolved to launch what he described as “coordinated” attacks on the Divisional Police headquarters, a prison and military lodge in order to free one of its members being held there. “We are responsible for the bombing and shootings in the town as our gallant warriors were carefully selected for the operation which was organized to rescue a member being held by the security operatives. The operation was very

successful because our mission was accomplished", Qaqa claimed. The spokesman declined to comment on the identity of the affected member and when he was arrested. “We got an intelligence report that our brother who was apprehended by the security agents was being held in Damagun town, so we took long time to find out the veracity or otherwise of the report and when it was proved right, some warriors were selected for the operation and we thank

Almighty God for giving us the opportunity to succeed in the expedition”, he declared. According to him, the attackers accomplished it unchallenged as not a single security personnel dared to confront them. Qaqah also said the group was behind last Saturday night’s attack on a police formation in Tudunwada town in Kano state,but however denied that operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) had killed eight of the sect members during a gun duel.

I’ve settled Fidelity Bank, Dokpesi tells court From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


hairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, yesterday told Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, that he had settled all his indebtedness to Fidelity Bank and is now fully discharged of all liabilities to the bank. The submission was however opposed by the bank which insisted

that it was still being owed to the tune of N3.3 billion by the businessman. This disagreement arose yesterday during the proceedings in a suit filed against Daar Communications by Fidelity Bank, with the bank asking the court to wind up the company over its alleged inability to repay a loan facility estimated at about N7.524 billion. Counsel to Dokpesi, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, told the court that

its client had fully liquidated the debt it owed the bank. Ozekhome said “On February 24, 2012 when the matter last came up, My Lord adjourned it till today for report of settlement. “However the petitioner later went before your learned brother, Justice Charles Achibong and obtained a judgment on the basis of facts mutually agreed on by the parties. “Based on this judgment, our

client has paid the sum of N4.2 billion to the Petitioner. “They have also recovered another one billion naira from our assets, totaling N5.2 billion. “This is the amount agreed on and as far as we are concerned, we have fully repaid our indebtedness. “We were even thinking they would come to court today to say the matter has been settled and that they would release our assets pledged for the loan.”

NDLEA arrests 3, seizes 1,515kg of cannabis in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ogi command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has apprehended three persons and seized 1,515kg of weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa (Indian hemp). The state Commander of the agency, Alhaji Idris Bello disclosed this on Wednesday in Ajaokuta while parading the three suspects and the seizures. Bello said that the 85 big bags of the substance were concealed in an improvised compartment in a Mercedes 1117 truck with registration number XJ 552-NSH weighed 1338kg and were being shipped to Abuja from Abbe in Delta state. Driver of the truck, one Saturday Idekpi, said that the truck was specially prepared for the journey at a mechanic workshop in Benin before he was invited to drive it to Abbe where it was loaded with the weeds. Paraded with Idekpi were Stanley Bosina, a welder who said he was contracted to “Show them road to Abuja” and Emeka Emmanuel, a school leaver and an errand boy who was simply addressed as Mr. Chika. The commander said the truck was intercepted by men of the command on Okene-Auchi road on Tuesday at about 9am, adding that the command also made an abandoned seizure on March 11 with perfumed 239 compressed block wraps of cannabis.

DIG Haruna’s death, cancerous blow to police — IGP By Lambert Tyem


cting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar has described the death of Deputy Inspector General of Police, John Haruna and three other officers as a cancerous blow to the force. He said the exit of Mr. Haruna in particular has left a "cancerous wound" on the Nigerian Police. At a funeral parade for the late DIG at the Force Headquarters in Abuja yesterday, the police boss, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General in charge of Administration, Mr. Suleiman Fakai recalled that the late officer became very popular due to his exceptional brilliance in police operations. “He is one of the best. His name became synonymous with operations”, said Mr Abubakar. Haruna died along other police officers on Wednesday March 14, in a helicopter crash in Jos, 12 days after he was decorated with his new rank, by the acting InspectorGeneral (IG), Mohammed Abubakar. While saluting his gallantry and charisma, Mr. Abubakar attributed the recent doubled promotion of the late officer to his exploits in Lagos, Anambra, FCT and other states where he had served.



ECOWAS Speaker backs Mali’s suspension, hails NEPAD By Ali Alkali


eputy President of the Senate and Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has hailed the suspension of Mali from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS, saying “the decision was a crucial step taken towards arresting the affront to democracy in the West African nation.” Speaking to journalists, Ekweremadu said such drastic step coming on the heels of Mali’s suspension by the AU were necessary to prevent a relapse to dictatorship and military rule on the African continent. ”Mali’s suspension was in line with the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance”, he said, expressing hope that the military junta

Jonathan re-affirms commitment to education

would read the stern handwriting on the wall. By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem “The zero tolerance to unconstitutional government resident Goodluck Jonathan subsists both at the AU and said yesterday in Abuja that ECOWAS levels and I must add his administration was fully that the Peer Review Mechanism aware of the importance of which has already reviewed the education and is therefore doing political, economic and everything possible to ensure that corporate governance policies the nation’s youths are properly and practices of fourteen out of trained to contribute more the thirty countries that have significantly to national subscribed to it, is one development. commendable and proactive Speaking at an audience with way of checking corruption and the non-resident Ambassador of bad governance which provide Macedonia to Nigeria, Mr. Darko fertile ground for coups and instability in Africa” Ekweremadu said. He added that at 10, NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) deserved a pat on the back for the critical roles it had played in the promotion of democracy and good governance on the continent, especially through the introduction of the African Peer Review Mechanism.


Angelov, President Jonathan expressed the Federal Government’s appreciation of scholarships offered by the Macedonian government for the training of some Nigerian youths in Macedonia. The President said that he was happy to welcome Mr. Angelov who was at the Presidential Villa to present his letters of credence as Macedonia’s first-ever Ambassador to Nigeria, adding that he looked forward to the consolidation and expansion of

bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Macedonia. He also assured Mr. Angelov that the Federal Government will work with him and his government to establish a proper framework for the enhancement of bilateral trade and economic relations. Mr. Angelov told President Jonathan that his country was very keen on developing existing relations with Nigeria because of Nigeria’s importance on the African continent.

Fertiliser disbursement: Over 3m farmers captured in databank By Mohammed Kandi


he Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, yesterday declared that about 3.5 million data of farmer across the country had been captured under the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) initiative of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda programme(ATAP). This followed the introduction of a system called the Electronic Wallet, through which farmers were to receive the fertiliser directly and enjoy about 50 per cent subsidy from the GES incentive. Speaking at the Databank Center yesterday in Abuja, Dr. Adesina confirmed that the initiative had created instant employment for over 500 teeming jobless graduates, adding that, more opportunities were on the way when the programme finally takes full effect. According to the minister, “N27.50 billion syndicated with banks for the supply of fertiliser for 2012 farming season through agro-dealer network at single digit interest rate of 7 percent”.

Dr. Adesina, who described the first trial exercise held in February, 2012, as successful, noted that over 70 per cent average was recorded from the overall results retrieved from 24 states that have registered so far. He said: “81% was achieved in Taraba State, 72 % in Zamfara State, 65 % in Kogi, 60 % in Nasarawa State, 96 % in Akwa Ibom and 79 % in Delta state. Other states, the minister mentioned, include Bauchi 75 %, Niger 64 %, Ogun 61 %, Ebonyi 58 %, FCT 45 %, Anambra 27 % and Ekiti 49 %, with total average of 62 % of farmers registered. On the sustainability of the policies, the minister assured that the scheme has come to stay and the ministry was working closely with the National Assembly for legal backing for the private sector driven programme. He however noted that the ministry and stakeholders were determined to ensure transparency in the process to avoid duplication of work, even as he expressed delight that the system had eliminated middlemanship in fertiliser distribution in Nigeria.

R-L: Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Barclays F. Ayakoroma, presenting some publications of the institute to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Peoples Daily Newspapers, Malam Ali M. Ali, during the COO’s visit to the NICO headquarters, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Reps to conduct public hearing on prison congestion By Umar Mohammed Puma


oncerned by the large population of persons awaiting trial in various prisons due to gross dislocation and inefficiency in the linkages of the roles and responsibilities of the institutions administering criminal justice in Nigeria, the House of Representatives

yesterday mandated the House Committee on Interior, Justice, and Judiciary to conduct a public hearing on the large prison population awaiting trial in the country. The House noted that the inmate population in various prisons stood at 73,670 and the population of those awaiting trial is 36,217, which constitute

about 50% of the inmate population in prisons across the country. It further noted that majority of those awaiting trial are productive age groups who waste away in penal institutions locked up with high profile criminals, and most times end up joining criminal gangs while awaiting trial.

Department of the LCDA. Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the Lagos state Police Command, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeoba, said that the mangled body of the deceased was recovered from the ground floor of the building. He explained that the victim who assumed that the lift had reached its destination, stepped out, fell off and hit the ground. He added that the remains of the deceased had been deposited at the mortuary while police investigation continued into the matter. Meanwhile, WAEC has expressed sorrow at the

unfortunate incident. This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Head of National Office, Iyi Uwadiae yesterday while reacting to the incident. “The unfortunate incident involved a visitor who fell into the shaft of one of the office lifts. The victim was quickly rescued and rushed to the WAEC Staff Clinic in Yaba for initial treatment, before being transferred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, where he was again referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Continuing, “Unfortunately, these spirited efforts failed and the victim passed on while being conveyed to LUTH.

16 persons perish in Birnin- Man dies in WAEC office Gwari road accident From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


he Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Kaduna has confirmed that 16 persons lost their lives in the early hours of yesterday in a road accident at Birnin-Gwari, on the Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna road. The incident comes on the heels of an earlier road mishap on the Abuja-Kaduna road on Wednesday which reportedly claimed 14 lives. The FRSC Rescue Officer, Superintendent Mohammed Ibrahim, said the Birnin-Gwari

accident, which occurred at about 5.30 am, was caused by overloading and overspeeding by the driver of the truck with registration number Kano XC 230 GML, carrying about 119 passengers to Kaduna from Lagos. He said that 81 other passengers who sustained various degrees of injuries were being treated at a hospital at Birnin-Gwari. According to him, “we are warning drivers to avoid overspeeding and overloading because these are serious factors that often lead to road accidents.”

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


ne Fatai Olalekan Odeniyi, in his mid thirties, has died after falling off a moving lift on the 8th floor of the 12-storey building of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Yaba, Lagos Wednesday. Odeniyi who was at the WAEC office to obtain his certificate, broke his skull immediately he fell off the lift. He was quickly rushed to the staff clinic where he died. The father of three and an indigene of Osun state, until his death, worked at the Finance



EFCC arraigns Perm-Sec, 5 others over N14.5bn pension scam By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Permanent Secretary in the Federal Pension Office, Atiku Abubakar Kigo and five others were yesterday arraigned before an Abuja High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The accused persons were arraigned by the anti-graft agency for allegedly stealing N14.5 billion from the pension treasury. The Perm Sec was docked alongside Mr. Esai Dangabar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Sani Habila Zira and Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Oyegbula. They were arraigned on a 16 counts charge wherein they were alleged to have committed criminal breach of trust as public officers in respect of the sum of N 14, 518, 567, 724.36, and which is punishable under section 97 of the Penal Code Act, CAP. 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2007. The amount which allegedly formed part of the Nigeria Police Pension Fund and domiciled with the First Bank of Nigeria Plc, was said to have been diverted by the accused persons while they were supervising the funds.

Esai Dangabar, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira, allegedly helped themselves to the tune of N8.2 billion from the Police Pension Fund between January and December, 2009. Between January 2010 and February 2011, Atiku Abubakar Kigo replaced Esai Dangabar in the scam and they allegedly accessed fraudulently, another N4.740 billion from the Funds. It was also alleged that soon after this amount was hauled out of the Pension Fund, Ahmed Inuwa Wada replaced Atiku Abubakar Kigo and teamed up with Yusufu, Onyegbula and Zira, to cart away over N858 million between February 2011 and June 2011. On the 31st of January, 2011, the six accused persons gathered and allegedly helped themselves with another N656.56 million. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the 16 counts charge and applied to the court to remand them in the custody of the EFCC, but the court declined their request and ordered that they be taken to Kuje Prison pending the hearing of their bail application slated for 3rd of April. The trial Judge, Justice Talba Mohammed fixed May 28, 2012 for the trial of the accused persons.

Esai Dangabar

Atiku Abubakar Kigo

Veronica Ulonma Oyegbula

John Yakubu Yusufu

Sani Habila Zira

Ahmed Inuwa Wada

These are police pension scam suspects arraigned by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Federal High Court, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Akingbola contests sale of property in court 2 orphanage From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


roubled former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Dr. Erastus Akingbola, yesterday approached Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, to contest attempts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its agent, Chief E. L Etudo to collect rents from his real properties attached by the anti-graft agency in December 2009. This is because he wants the court to restrain the chairman of the EFCC and Chief E.L. Etudo

from demanding for rent and charges regarding his real properties attached by the EFCC pending the determination of his trial. In an originating summons brought pursuant to order 3 Rules 6&7 of the Federal High Court, Civil Procedure Rules 2009, Akingbola also wants the court to declare that by virtue of its order made on December 12, 2009 in suit N0. FHC/L/CS/1492/09 between the chairman of the EFCC, the real properties referred to in the order are not forfeited to the Federal Government. In the suit, which has Chief

Etudo as a co respondent, the former bank chief further wants the court to declare that the EFCC lacks the power and right to appoint the second defendant to manage the real properties referred to in the said order as properties forfeited to the Federal Government. The suit, supported by a 19 paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Adebisi Oyelade and filed by Chief Felix Fabgohungbe (SAN) on behalf of Akingbola, wants the court to determine among other things, whether upon a consideration of the EFCC establishment Act 2004 and the

order of the court, the real properties referred to in the said order has been forfeited to the Federal Government. But the EFCC, in its counter affidavit in opposition to the motion dated January 6, 2012 and deposed to by Ibekaku Nkechi Rita, wants the court to reject the application on the grounds of lacks of merit, frivolity, vexation and meant to distract the court. While hearing of the applications had been fixed for April 13, the judge also directed that proper service of all the processes be affected on all parties in the suit.

Police hunts killers of madman ECOWAS Court gives 95 verdicts, disposes 117 cases who murdered kids From Iliya Garba, Minna


iger state Police Command has launched a search for youths behind the killing of a madman who purportedly murdered two children in Guni Village of Shiroro local government council of Niger state. It was gathered that the mad man simply identified as Gbakoyi, was alleged to have gone wild when he attacked and killed two children aged between nine and twelve years and that threw the community into confusion as the youths of the community assembled in search of the

murderous insane man but some elders of the village took him away so that he would not be killed. The youths were later informed by one of the bereaved families that the mentally deranged man was hiding in the palace of the local village Chief, Malam Ibrahim Isah, where they stormed and lynched him, an eyewitness said. Niger State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Diseye Nsirim confirmed the incident in a telephone interview, describing it as unfortunate, adding that the command received a complaint from a source about the multiple killing at Guni and has since swung into action.

From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


conomic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court has admitted that since 2003 when the court was set up, a total of 95 verdicts and 117 petitions had been treated. Of the number, 45 of them are full-fledged judgements and 49 interim injunctions, while 39 others are pending before the court. President, Community Court of ECOWAS, Justice Awa Nana Doboya gave the indication at a press conference to mark the end of one week sensitisation at

Government House in Benin City, Edo state capital. Justice Daboya, who led a seven-country member delegation from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Cape Verde, Republic of Benin, noted that the court is spreading its tentacles on ‘violence against women’. Tony Anene-Maidoh, Chief Registrar of the court, while answering questions, said, ECOWAS ruling cannot be appealed against even by the highest competent court in member states and even when cases are referred from competent courts to ECOWAS court, they are treated as fresh cases.

homes shutdown for sharp practices

From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


do state government has temporarily closed two orphanage homes for alleged non-compliance with the standing rules and regulation governing child care institutions in line with the law. The affected orphanage homes are Compassionate Orphanage Home at No. 8, Nosakhare Street, off Upper Mission Road and Omosefe Orphanage Home at No. 4, Edo-Osagie Street, off Akpapkava Road both in Benin City, the state capital. The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Inumidun Idehen, who confirmed the temporal closure, said what informed the decision were their alleged high handedness on the Children. She said an orphan who was given a scholarship by the government was taken on illegal abduction into slave labour for financial gains without the consent of the government.



WRAPA calls for domestication of AU protocol on women’s rights By Jamila Nuhu Musa


he Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on domestication of the African Union Protocol (AU), so as not to limit the capacity of women to access or demand the rights and protection which it offers. The Secretary General, and Raising Her Voice Programme Director of WRAPA, Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, made the call at a press briefing on 4 years of the Raising Her Voice project in Nigeria, in Abuja. WRAPA, she said is demanding that the National Assembly passes the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, expedite action to pass the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, that Nigerians continue to demand for, and hold government accountable for the promotion of human rights especially the vulnerable groups, women and children and that the media as strategic allies report without bias cases of human rights violation and demand for justice for victims/survivors.

Man, 22, arraigned for sending threat SMS to US embassy, others


wo prosecution witnesses yesterday, testified against a 22-year-old cyber café attendant, Chinwendu Josiah, 29, at an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court. Josiah was arraigned for sending threat SMS to some people. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the State Security Service (SSS), arraigned the accused on March 15, on charges of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication and extortion. The prosecutor, Mr. Cliff Osagie, told the court that the accused sent threat messages via electronic mails to the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, University of Benin, University of Lagos and some government ministries, claiming to be a member of the Boko Haram sect. The first to testify was Prosecution Witness 1(PW1), James Izi, an officer with the SSS, who said that he knew the accused, following an investigation into the case of threat messages sent to the American Embassy in Abuja. Izi said that the U.S. Liaison Office wrote two letters to the SSS, requesting that they investigate the authenticity of the threat messages of which he was appointed the Chief Investigative Officer. (NAN)

L-R: Former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammed Lawal Uwais, Niger state governor, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, and former Lagos state governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during the 4th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, as part of Tinubu's 60th birthday celebrations, at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, on Wednesday in Lagos.

Rev King: Family alleges attempt to bar upturn of death sentence From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


he family and the Christian Prayer Assembly(CPA),the church of the condemned Reverend Emeka Ezeugo alias Reverend King, yesterday said there are deliberate plan to prejudice the appeal filed at the Court of Appeal to overturn the death sentence passed on him by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos. The family and the church who spoke through their counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo told journalists at a news conference in Lagos

yesterday that any time the appeal filed by Reverend King against his conviction was to come up in court, it would be preceded by negative newspaper stories. The family claimed that a publication in the March 14, 2012 edition of a Lagos based evening newspaper (name withheld) in which seven devotees of the CPA were alleged to have abused the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Pastor T.B. Joshua and some other men of God "was to further fuel the flame of animosity against him. "His appeal would be heard on

April 4, 2012, you can now appreciate the proximity of the publication to the date of appeal", Ojo added. According to him, "as far as the family and the church are concerned, the publication was sponsored by enemies of the church. "Their main agenda is to ensure everything negative and condemnable is published about him and the motive is to prejudice his right of fair hearing at the Appeal Court". He said the family and church have nothing to do with the seven suspects who are now standing

trial at a Lagos Magistrate Court, Ejigbo for insulting Pastor T.B. Joshua and others. Other church leaders who the accused persons were alleged to have denounced, abused and called unprintable names were the General Overseer of Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye and the General Overseer of Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo. The suspects were Nwachukwu Ngoma, Obuwase Wisdom, Ngozi Ikechukwu, Eze Chinyere, Peace Chinedu, Peter Emordi and Chinyere Nwoke.

UN scores NEMA high in disaster response By Mohammed Kandi


N's Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday convened stakeholders in disaster management to discuss Nigeria's capacity in emergency preparedness and response

mechanisms. The OCHA team had in the past two weeks been engaged in the assessment exercise trying to find out the strength and weaknesses of NEMA and other stakeholders in the area of general response to emergencies as well as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Discussing the findings of the assessment yesterday in Abuja, leader of team and Regional Advisor for Emergency

Response, OCHA, West and Central Africa, Laurent Dufour, scored NEMA high but noted more effort was required to guarantee a vibrant emergency agency based on assessment carried out on some selected states of Kaduna, Kano, Kastina, Enugu, Ebonyi, Oyo and Lagos states. While the OCHA's team leader identified lack of legal framework for the State

Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in most states, it however, suggested the need for the state governments to enact laws backing the agency as well as fund them. He also noted that part of the challenges were lack of common conceptual understanding of disaster management and called for well structured national disaster management departments at the SEMAs.

Mandela’s wife wants Nigeria to host summit on women empowerment, economic development By Mohammed Kandi


ife of Africa’s most c e l e b r a t e d leader, Nelson Mandela, Mrs. Grace Machel has advocated robust financial support for women who are involved in agriculture across the continent to enable them

contribute to national development in their various countries. Mrs. Machel, who made the appealed yesterday during her visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, also called on Nigerian government to host the second summit of the Pan-

African Network which comes up in July, 2012. “We want women to be given the opportunity to display their talent, creativity and skills to contribute towards national economy of their various nations. The women are doing a lot and need to be encouraged because their efforts are yet to be

measured,” she lamented. In his remarks, the Agriculture minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, stressed the need for the African governments and financial institutions to ensure that women get more access to financial aids to enable them take agriculture beyond subsistence level.





R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri (in handshake with Macedonian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Darko Angelov), during the envoy's presentation of his letter of credence to the president, at the State House yesterday, in Abuja.


Batch "Ă„" 2012 of National Youth Service Corps members demonstrating martial arts skill, at orientation camp, on Wednesday in Calabar, Cross River state.


R-L: Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and state Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) , Mr Kunle Shokefun, during a one day orientation programme for corps members on the delivery of essential services to rural communities, yesterday in Benin City.



The remains of Late DIG John Haruna, during the Police funeral parade in honour of the late police chieftain, yesterday, in Abuja.






SURPB demolishes illegal structures at Sokoto Varsity From Sadeeq Aliyu, Sokoto


okoto Urban and Regional Planning Board (SURPB), yesterday demolished all structures attached to the Sokoto State University which is due to commence academic activities soon. During the exercise supervised by officials of the board, a bulldozer was used to pull down all buildings attached to the fence of the university and structures erected along the road leading to the School of Developmental Studies of the university. Permanent Secretary of the board Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed said adequate notice has been given to the owners of the buildings to remove them but they refused. He said the board was acting on government directive after expiration of deadline given to owners of the structures. A similar exercise was also carried out at Old Market along Sultan Bello Road where traders‘ shades encroached to the main road were demolished. Mohammed said removal and demolition of illegal structures in the metropolis would be a continuous exercise and urged people to be law abiding in erecting structures.

NANS condemns police murder of BSU student From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS has condemned the murder of 2 Benue State University students, Unogwu James, a 400 level Physics student and Emmanuel Ayodele, a 100 level Biological Science student of the university by policemen on Wednesday, insisting that Nigerian students will not rest until justice is done. The body in a press statement signed by national president of NANS, Comrade Adakole Ochai, expressed disappointment with the frequent use of confrontational measures by the police in crisis resolution on campuses which it said has affected school calendars. It observed that previous crisis have seen students always at the receiving end, maintaining that they will resist any attempt to subject Nigerian students to any sort of levy or victimisation while the Nigerian Police Force should take full responsibility for the liabilities incurred by both government and private individuals. The Student body said a 5 man national and Zonal panel would be set up to look into the incidence and submit its report within 72 hours.

Minister of Agriculture, Professor Akinwumi Adesina, briefing journalists on agricultural transformation agenda and growth enhancement support of his ministry, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Okonjo-Iweala vows to fight on for World Bank job ... As Reps declare support By Lawrence Olaoye, with agency report


igeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday in Abidjan said she would fight to win the position of the World Bank President, after getting fresh endorsements from AU and ECOWAS. The AU on Monday in Addis Ababa, endorsed Okonjo-Iweala as its candidate for the top job, while ECOWAS Heads of States on Tuesday in Abidjan, also declared their support for her. The endorsements buoyed the chances of the former

Managing Director of the World Bank, who had spent over 20 years working as a staff of the Bank and rose to the position of a Vice President. Okonjo-Iweala, in an interview with the West Africa correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said she had the track record of leading the bank, “in spite of the odds of history’’. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a resolution supporting the candidature of the nation’s Coordinating Minister of

Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala for the position of the World Bank President. The lawmakers equally commended President Goodluck Jonathan, African Union (AU) and other Africa countries for supporting her candidature. The House resolution was sequel to a motion of urgent public importance moved by Rep Austin Ugbaburo who called on his colleagues to support the candidature of Okonjo-Iweala and as well appealed to the

Katsina youth still ignorant of HIV/ AIDS scourge, says gov’s wife From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


he Wife of Katsina State Governor, Hajiya Fatima Shehu Shema, has disclosed that the majority of youth in the state were still ignorant of the mode of transmission, control and treatment of HIV/AIDS

scourge. The governor’s wife made the disclosure yesterday in the state on the occasion of distribution of hospital equipments to selected hospitals in the state by a nongovernmental organisation, Family Health and Youth Empowerment Organization,

(FAHYE). According to her, “Most of the youth in the state and those who already tested positive are not taking advantage of the HIV/AIDS counseling centres to know their status, seek for advice and have access to the relevant drugs. We must do more in these areas” she added.

Nigeria still has low immunisation coverage, says NPHCDA boss By A’isha Biola Raji


igeria has been described as one of the few countries having low immunisation coverage despite the initiation of Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in 1979. The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad said this in Abuja at the Nigerian Private Sector Consultative Forum and town hall meeting on

vaccines, immunisation and primary health care in preparation for National Vaccine Summit coming up in April. Ado said despite the EPI which is aimed at putting under control, preventable child killer diseases, there was still subregional low immunisation which is a stumbling block in the intervention of diseases especially the wild polio virus. He said the areas of focus during the meeting include: improvement in vaccine

procurement and logistics, cold chain management (provision and maintenance), support in the area of actual delivery of immunisation services, building capacity of health personnel at each level and data/information management among others. He thanked all stakeholders who have shown commitment by getting ready for the summit which is geared towards promoting routine immunisation in Nigeria.

House to give her candidature parliamentary support. Contributing, Rep Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi asked by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the plenary session to add his voice as he intimated that he had started collecting signatures of members to support the minister’s quest for the World Bank’s top job. He then implored the House to commission its Committees on Inter-Parliamentary and Foreign Affairs to rally support for her.

NGE inaugurates advisory board, Centre for Leadership in Journalism By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


n its effort to improve journalism in the country, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), on March 28, 2012, inaugurated an advisory board for its Centre for Leadership in Journalism at the PAN-African University, Lagos. A statement issued yesterday by the body, indicated that members of the board included: Mohammed Haruna, Frank Aigbogun, Gbenga Adefaye (NGE president), James Tsaaior, Richard Ikiebe, Director of the centre, Prof. Emevwo Biakolo. It added that the thrust of the project is to create an environment within the academic environment for veteran and retired journalists to synergise with their counterparts in the academia so that they can marry theory and practice for the benefit of younger journalists and editors.



Health Minister urges care for people living with Autism By Etuka Sunday

T Borno state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima (left), inspecting the Infectious Disease Hospital earmarked for demolition, yesterday in Maiduguri.

Delta oil workers threaten to Nigeria can generate revenue shut production over insecurity from medicinal plants, says OBJ From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, (PENGASSAN), yesterday in Warri Delta state, threatened to down tools and withdraw their services in Delta state and its environs over increasing insecurity of members in the state. In a joint petition to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, leaders of the two unions in Delta state said they could no longer watch members being kidnapped, raped robbed and maimed by bandits. They called on Governor Uduaghan to do something urgent and said they would hold emergency meeting of the organs of the NUPENGASSAN next week to choose a definite date on when the action would begin should the government fail to address the issue. The petition by Edmond Ofude and Otite Onohwohwo, Warri zonal chairman and assistant general

secretary, NUPENG; Elvis Irefo and Olawale Ajay, warri zonal chairman and assistant general secretary, PENGASSAN, respectively, said: "With deep sense of pain and despair, we again write to inform you of the choking insecurity situation in Delta state and the trauma especially the oil and gas workers in Delta state are suffering from the hands of kidnappers and armed robbers operating freely in Delta state. Your Excellency, on October 4th, 2011, NUPENG and PENGASSAN intended to embark' on a three-day strike to protest the incessant kidnaps and killing of our members working in the oil and gas industry in Delta state, at your intervention it was suspended believing seriously all you promised to put in place would be done and our members could go about their normal duties. Sir, please be informed that the number of armed robbery, kidnaps, raping and killing of our members presented to you then has tripled…"

By A’isha Biola Raji


ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed confidence that Nigeria can generate money and improve its reserves through natural medicinal plants. Obasanjo expressed his optimism in Abuja at the launch of ‘Green Gold products’ including Artemisia Annua, Moringa Oleifera; and the presentation of the book ‘Focus on six Nigerian Medical Plants anchored by Mrs. Zainab Shariff, the Managing Director, Nigeria Medicinal Plants Development Company (NMPDC). The former President, who was represented by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, said commercializing medicinal plants, an idea he conceived six years ago, will go a long way to boost the country’s economy. “We don’t have to go to China or India for herbs when we can cultivate them in abundance and process them even

ASUU wants Edo varsity water problem solved From Osaigbovo Iguabaro, Benin embers of Academic Staff union of Universities, Ambrose Alli University chapter, Ekoma, Edo state, have bemoaned the decay in teaching and learning facilities in the ivory tower; and have advised the state government to honour two female students who died last Friday in search of water and five others who were injured at a well. In a statement jointly signed by ASUU, AAU chairman, Prof. F. Isumen and secretary, Dr S. Omoikhojie condoled with the


parents, families and friends of the dead and injured students. The statement reads in part: “ASUU, AAU, Ekpoma is shocked to note that in the 21st century of

human development, undergraduates are still made to pass through the harrowing experience of lack of water, electricity and other related facilities. In fact, it’s more

better”. He implored the private sector and other stakeholders to join hands with the company in making its dream of providing good health and generating employment for women and youths, a reality saying “this is an herbal age”. In his speech, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina said there was need for botanists in the country to rise to the challenge by initiating in collaboration with his ministry to look into how the study of plants can be commercialised. In her speech, the M.D CEO of NMPDC Hajia Zainab said the cultivation of the medicinal plants will go long way to empower women through job opportunities. She stated that, Nigeria has all it takes to promote the utilisation of medicinal plants just like China, India and South Africa. “We are looking at windows of packaging medicinal plants thereby creating jobs for our people,” she said. painful when youths – the acclaimed leaders of tomorrow – are made to loss their lives in search for water while our leaders are globe-trotting in a seeming celebration of a failed state, neglect and abandonment of the nation’s university system”.

…as Oshiomhole commiserates with NULGE


do state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole yesterday commiserated with the national president, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Ibraheem Kaleel, over the death of the Ekiti state chapter chairman and three

others in an auto crash, on Tuesday, on their way to a conference in Benin City. In a condolence letter to NULGE yesterday, Governor Oshiomhole said: “I received with great shock news of the death of Comrade Ayo Afolalu, the Ekiti state president of the Nigeria Union of Local

Government Employees (NULGE), and three other officials while on their way to the Union’s 2nd special delegates conference in Benin City. I wish to convey to the NULGE family the deepest condolence of the people and government of Edo state as well as my personal commiseration.

he Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has said that that people living with Autism in Nigeria must be catered for to give them the opportunity to contribute to national development. The minister made the declaration yesterday in a press conference organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and that of Education as part of the activities to mark the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). According to him, the theme for this year’s WAAD in Nigeria which is ‘Autism: Early intervention is key’ with the slogan: ‘Know the signs: Act now’ reflects the commitment of government to the provision of quality health care to all Nigerians as enunciated in Goal 2 of the National Strategic Health Development Plan. The minister while explaining what Autism is all about, said: “Autism is a complex developmental disorder that primarily affects the brain. It is characterised by the inability of the affected persons to develop communication skills and normal social interactions, thereby hampering learning and other behavious. Affected individuals have altered sensory perceptions and may inappropriately react to situations. For instance, they may have very high pain threshold such that they may be laughing instead of crying after a fall or obvious physical injuries.” In their separate remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, and that of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, expressed their commitment to collaborate with the health ministry in the awareness creation and tasked the media to be in the forefront in the awareness creation to ensure that people are well informed and educated about Autism.

EMBs call for voter education in school curriculum By Ali Alkali


he Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in Africa have called on African governments to introduce voter education in the school curriculum from primary to tertiary level and be involved

in election dispute resolutions in order to reduce tension and raise the level of confidence and participation in the electoral process. EMB made the call at the end of its two-day conference on Knowledge Sharing among African Election Management

Bodies, hosted by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja from 26th-27th March, 2012. The conference was attended by election management bodies, development partners, civil

society organisations and academicians from 22 countries in Africa. In a communiqué signed by the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, the conference called on governments to put mechanism in place to reduce the tendency of “do or die”

politics and intense struggle for state power, saying “There is the need for an electoral system that prevents a “winner takes all syndrome”. In this regard, proportional representation is recommended including combination of geographical and proportional representation.




Bamako, Dakar and Africa’s political mixed grill


f a week is too long in politics, as is often suggested, last week might prove the longest in Africa's recent history. Not that the two events of last week, the military coup in Mali and the defeat of a recalcitrant incumbent in Senegal in a democratic election are totally strange, but they are certainly not common in Africa’s political life at least in recent times. Curiously, the two countries' fate was intertwined at the dawn of independence from France in 1960. Mali's independence leader, the venerable and socialist-dynamo, Modibbo Keita led the country with a lot of promise for greatness but was cut short by a coup organized by Major Moussa Traore in 1968. Traore established a corrupt dictatorship until he was removed in another coup, more than two decades later. The coup leader was no other than the current ousted president of the country, Mr. Amadou Toumani Toure. But Toure earned universal respect when he organized the shortest political transition that lasted under one year, ushering in the elected government of Alpha Konare. When Konare ended his tenure in 2002, Toumani won a democratic contest and became the elected president. He was just a month to the end of his second and last term in office when the soldiers struck last week. The mainly junior and middle ranking officers who staged the coup said their major grouse was that the military has been ill-equipped to contain the

Touareg insurgency in the North, a rebellion that became more ferocious after most of the Touareg fighters who backed the late Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi returned home following the collapse of the regime. The soldiers who staged the coup said that they have suffered heavy losses from the insurgency. From this, we can deduce that if the reason given by the coupists are to be believed, it is more for negligence of the

For the uncanny desire to undermine the constitutional process, Wade seriously injured the democratic process in Senegal military that the coup was staged. In our view, while the interest of the military, as every institutional group, constitute a legitimate concern which government must attend, it is however, not enough to torpedo a popularly elected government in the interest of a mere segment of society, no matter how powerful and influential. However, we concede that a runaway insurgency like the one staged by the Touareg rebels

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”

could pose an existential threat to the stability of the country. While we identify with the widespread emotions to rein-in the coup and forestall its domino effect on other countries in the region, we vehemently oppose military intervention to reverse it. Just like the ousted leader did in his own days, the current coupists could be encouraged to organize a short transition, in which they will only feature as referees. Senegal is considered widely a success story after Abdoulaye Wade's unconstitutional third term was thwarted. But we ask, if Wade has been genuinely popular and had won the election, would he be justified to have undermined the Constitution, re-write it and submit himself for political contest? We are at a loss over the universal praise for Wade for accepting defeat in an election he was not even eligible to contest in the first place. For the uncanny desire to undermine the constitutional process, Wade seriously injured the democratic process in Senegal and more specifically, undermined his own party from presenting a candidate in the election. In our view, Wade is no hero. We admit that he did something uncommon, accepting a defeat by the opposition, something we in Nigeria have never known in our entire political history. We salute the president-elect, Macky Sall and urge him to be president of all Senegalese as he has pledged.








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Corps member donates relief materials to Kuje School for the Deaf


corps member serving with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Abuja, Mr Anthony Ugwu has donated relief materials and books to Kuje School for the Deaf. A statement signed by NEMA's Head of Public Relations, Alhaji Yusha'u Shuaib, on Wednesday

said that items donated by the corps member included mattresses, treated nets, detergents, buckets and books on disaster risk reduction. The statement quoted Ugwu as saying that the NYSC scheme had created the enabling environment for corps members to make positive impact on the lives of the people in

their host communities for national development. It further quoted Ugwu as saying that the donation was aimed at improving the standard of living of the students as well as to broaden their scope of knowledge on disaster management. The statement said that Ugwu was working on a wide range of

personal community development projects in Kuje and Bwari Area Councils of the FCT, where he was doing his primary assignment. It said that the corps member commended the Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad SaniSidi, for giving him the necessary support toward the realisation of the projects. (NAN)

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Police arraign driver for intimidation


An overloaded Okada at Karu, Abuja.

PhotosMahmud Isa

AEPB to increase waste billing for hospital industry By Adeola Tukuru


he Director, Abuja E n v i r o n m e n t a l Protection Board (AEPB), Mr. Isa Shuaibu said hotels and other hospitality industries in Abuja were grossly undercharged, disclosing that the board is set to increase their waste bill soon. He told journalists in

Abuja that these hotels were being charged according to the number of rentable rooms without proper consideration for other activities. " The billing of hotels was formerly based on the number of rentable rooms without considering the restaurants, swimming pool, bars, night clubs and other activities they carry out that generate a lot of

waste. "We will charge them for all activities they carry out including the liquid waste they generate,'' he said. Shuaibu said that the law empowered the board to charge bills in line with the facilities used by the hotels to generate waste. He said they would charge them according to the waste

they generate rather than charging them only on the rentable rooms. "If we cannot generate enough money, we will not be able to sustain our responsibility of cleaning the city,'' he said. However, he assured those concerned that the board would not increase the bills arbitrarily.

he police in Abuja on yesterday arraigned a driver, Shamsudeen Ismaila, 32, before a Magistrate's Court for intimidating and hurting one Aisha Lawal. Police Prosecutor, Mr Egwu Clement, told the court that Aisha, a resident of Jabi, had reported the accused on March 26, at the Life Camp Police Station, Abuja. He said the accused and some unknown persons went to the back of Aisha's house, and when she inquired from them why they were there, the accused fought with her. He said that during the fight, Aisha was hurt and intimidated, adding that the offence contravened Section 246 and 397 of the Penal Code. Clement told the court further that the accused threatened to kill her if she did not stay away, adding that Aisha lost N20,000 during the fight. The accused pleaded not guilty and Magistrate Sadia Mayana granted him bail in the sum of N10,000 with two sureties in like sum. She adjourned the case to April 5, 2012. (NAN)

AMAC commences construction of building material market in Jikwoyi By Adeola Tukuru


he Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, has approved the construction of an ultramodern building mater i a l m a r k e t i n G i d a Mangoro, Jikwoyi community in the Federal

Capital Territory (FCT). The Council's Supervisory Councilor on Special Duties, Barrister Alex Ebi Edim told newsmen that the market would be built in tandem with the international standard of building material markets in

developed countries. According to him, this is part of the promises made to residents of the council by the chairman, Hon. Micah Jiba, while campaigning for their votes. He said that the council had received the approval of

the Department of Development Control of the FCT administration to use the location as a permanent site for the building material market. Edim, who hinted that work had commenced on the site, advised traders to be

p r epared as they would be moving to the new building material market soon, saying that the original traders of the relocated building materials market would be given priority during allocation of new shops when they eventually move to the new market.

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Maitama - 08038485123 Central Police Station - 08033568389 Lugbe - 08077657371; 08037882321 Wuse - 08053088102 National Assembly - 08065777706; 08045317637 Asokoro - 07028134449 Nyanya - 08046115181 Utako - 07055888119; 07038621264 Karshi - 08023565354

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A motorcyclist takes a nap atop his bike yesterday in Abuja

A scavenger searching for any valuable in a dust bin This motorist wondering where he got it wrong with his vehicle in Abuja

Hawking minerals, on a wheel barrow in Abuja yesterday. A salon car carrying poles on a busy road yesterday in Abuja

Photod: Joe Oroye


ABUJA DIARY with Josephine Ella 08065327178

The menace of Abuja car racing: Possible way forward (I)


wo days from now, it would be another Sunday, when in their usual characteristics, members of the so-called Abuja car racing club are expected to display stunts in the madness called drag-racing, along the Tafawa Balewa Way at the Central Area, which they have succeeded in turning into a racetrack. This madness attracts spectators who come in their hundreds. It is even anticipated that the turnout, this time around, would be far more than last Sunday's outing, which attracted more than a hundred people from different backgrounds. This is following the shameful and ridiculous defeat of the team of armed policemen and officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) deployed to the area to enforce the ban on their activities. It would be recalled that the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed had two weeks ago, in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, placed a ban on dangerous acts such as car and motorbike racing while at the same time directing law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute those who failed to comply with the order. But no sooner than the ban was announced, the daring stunt drivers, whose ages range between 17-25 years, and who happen to be children of the high and mighty in Abuja, flouted the order with the aid of their numerous spectators. To be fair to the police

and the FRSC officials, they made some efforts quite alright, to deter the car racers, but in the end, succeeded in making a public spectacle of themselves, when they succumbed to intimidation from the spectators. In last week's episode, when security operatives attempted to stop participants of the car race competition from performing enthusiastic spectators, who had waited patiently for the sport to take off , became infuriated, chasing and pelting the officers with stones and other objects. The officers fled as a result o a safe distance, from where they powerlessly, watched the dangerous displays. Judging from that episode, the enthusiasm of spectators towards the entertainment show, as they call it, appears to be increasing by the day, so chances are that those that watched the show last week and succeeded in chasing away security operatives may invite their friends to next Sunday's display. As it stands, uncertainty looms as to what the situation would be come Sunday 1st April. Will the police and road safety officials again watch helplessly while these unruly youths continue to engage in the dangerous game of car racing, while endangering both their lives and those of other road users? The actions of these youths last Sunday made it practically impossible for other road users to access the road as the crowd took up the entire place. Vehicles coming from the direction of the


National Mosque and Central Bank had to wait for the display to end, while the crowd, totally lost in concentration, went wild with joy, clapping and mocking, depending on how they rate each driver's peculiar style. If this lawlessness and oppression that has claimed the lives of some innocent residents and left others with scars from injuries, must be brought to an end some possible options must be considered. The FCT administration must ensure that the security operatives re-strategise and most importantly, ensure that the number of officers deployed this time round, outnumbers both the car racers and their supporters. It would not also be out of place for the FCT administration to officially issue a ban restricting spectators from going to view the illegal sport competition and violators made to face the full wrath of the law. This is because, without these spectators, the fun and spark in the whole exercise will be removed and the game will die a natural death. The question ton how to differentiate spectators from innocent bystanders is easy to answer since the spectators are often the first people to arrive the scene. they are usually found loitering around the area. In this case their early arrest, as soon as they are spotted will avert a repeat of last week's incident, giving security operatives enough room to face the stunt drivers squarely

Transportation gets the biggest share in 2012 FCT statutory budget By Josephine Ella


n a bid to address the problem of transportation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the FCT administration has dedicated the sum of N53.01 billion for the transportation sector out of the total budget of N306.45 billion. This was disclosed by the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, during the 2012 budget defence before the House of Representatives at the National Assembly in Abuja. He explained that out of this amount, there was a Chinese loan of N45.4 billion for the design and construction of 60.67 standard gauge rail track with auxiliary facilities, while the sum of N2.35 billion from African Development Bank loan is set aside for the development of public transportation. Towards ensuring the development of the satellite towns, the minister said the

administration earmarked the sum of N37.50 billion for the satellite for this purpose. The minister also revealed that such areas included road infrastructural works at Kubwa, Karshi and Bwari as well as the completion of 5kilometer roads construction in the six Area Council headquarters that have reached advanced stage of completion. He disclosed that the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of the Umaru Musa Yar' Adua (Airport Road) and Murtala Muhammed (Kubwa Road) Expressways respectively has N20 billion earmarked in the 2012 appropriation. In line with the Roadmap of his administration to open up 10 new districts from now to 2015, the sum of N14.4 billion has been set aside for Jahi, Wuye, Maitama Extension and Abuja North West Districts infrastructure; adding that the sum of N4.3 has also been earmarked for Dape district infrastructure.

Senator Mohammed said that Education, Resettlement & Compensation and Health have N6.80 billion, N4.73 billion and N3.48 billion respectively, while Public Building has N2.37 billion. For water supply, he said N2.9 billion has been budgeted; Security is N2.8 billion; while the Abuja Environmental Protection Board has N2.7 billion this fiscal year. Senator Mohammed further revealed that in the 2012 budget, Personnel costs was N42,296,448,576 constituting 13.80 percent; overhead costs is N44,747,309,200 which is 14.60 percent summing up the entire recurrent expenditure at 28.40 percent; while the capital expenditure which is N219,456,138,227 is constituting 71.60 percent. He reiterated that the revenue profile for 2012 fiscal year stood at N306,504,697, 277.00 and the total expenditure is N306,499,896,003 with surplus of N4,801,275.00.

Court remands butcher for threatening to kidnap, woman, son


n Abuja Chief Magistrate's Court on yesterday remanded a butcher, Musa Yarima, 40, in prison for allegedly threatening to kidnap and kill one Hajiya Zainab Turaki and her son. Chief Magistrate Ramatu Gulma gave the order after the Police Prosecutor, Mr Phillip Appollos, objected to his bail on grounds that investigation into the

case was still on. Yarima is standing trial on a two countcharge of conspiracy and criminal intimidation, which Appollos said contravened Sections 79 and 397 of the Penal Code. Appollos told the court that Turaki, a resident of No. 8, Toifa Ogunlabi Close, Life Camp, reported the accused on March 25, 2012 to Life Camp Police Station. He said that the accused, a resident of Mpape

village, and others now at large, called the complainant's phone, threatening to kidnap her son from school. The prosecutor said that the accused also told the complainant that he had been paid to kill her and her son. Yarima pleaded not guilty to the offence. Chief Magistrate Gulma subsequently ordered his remand and adjourned the case to April 16, 2012. (NAN)

Minister inaugurates c’ttees to boost agriculture in rural areas By Josephine Ella


n a bid to address the problem of transportation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the FCT administration has dedicated the largest chunk of the 2012 FCT statutory budget, in the sum of N53.01 billion for the transportation sector out of the total budget of N306.45 billion. This was disclosed by the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, during the 2012 budget defence before the House of Representatives at the National Assembly in Abuja. He explained that out of this amount, there is a Chinese loan of N45.4 billion for the

design and construction of 60.67 standard gauge rail track with auxiliary facilities, while the sum of N2.35 billion from African Development Bank loan is set aside for the development of public transportation. Towards, ensuring the development of the satellite towns; the minister said the administration earmarked the sum of N37.50 billion for the satellite for this purpose. The minister also revealed that such areas include road infrastructural works at Kubwa, Karshi and Bwari as well as the completion of 5kilometer roads construction in the six Area Council headquarters that have reached advanced stage of

completion. He disclosed that the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of the Umaru Musa Yar' Adua (Airport Road) and Murtala Muhammed (Kubwa Road) Expressways respectively has N20 billion earmarked in the 2012 appropriation. In line with the Roadmap of his administration to open up 10 new districts from now to 2015, the sum of N14.4 billion has been set aside for Jahi, Wuye, Maitama Extension and Abuja North West Districts infrastructure; adding that the sum of N4.3 has also been earmarked for Dape district infrastructure. Senator Mohammed said that Education, Resettlement

& Compensation and Health have N6.80 billion, N4.73 billion and N3.48 billion respectively, while Public Building has N2.37 billion. For water supply, he said N2.9 billion has been budgeted; Security is N2.8 billion; while the Abuja Environmental Protection Board has N2.7 billion this fiscal year. Senator Mohammed further revealed that in the 2012 budget, Personnel costs is N42,296,448,576 constituting 13.80 percent; overhead costs is N44,747,309,200 which is 14.60 percent summing up the entire recurrent expenditure at 28.40 percent; while the capital expenditure which is N219,456,138,227 is constituting 71.60 percent.






- Pg 20

Manufacturing is key to growth, says Dangote

Mob: 08033644990

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

620.7 billion

Urban Development Bank renamed Infrastructure Bank By Muhammad Sada


he Urban Development Bank (UDB) on Wednesday unveiled its new identity, and has now been renamed Infrastructure Bank Plc. This was revealed during a gala night organised by the bank at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, chaired by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, who was represented by the state Minister of Finance, Mr. Yerima Ngama. In an address, the Trade and Investment Minister, Mr. Samuel Ortom, commended and congratulated the management and board of the bank for refocusing the organisation to meet the peculiar requirements of an economy that is rapidly transforming. According to the Minister,

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


"What we now have and are unveiling today, is an Urban Development Bank of Nigeria that is government-sponsored but private sector-led development finance institution, that has proceeded to acquire requisite domain skills for project finance and has forged strategic alliances with world class technical and financial partners across the entire value chain with a view to enhancing and completing its delivery capabilities, efficiency and effectiveness in the sphere of infrastructure financing and development".

Personal Income tax: FIRS fixes March 31st deadline for filing selfassessment return By Abdulwahab Isa


he Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has fixed March 31st 2012 as the deadline for commencement of filing self assessment return in respect of personal income taxes. The agency's Executive Chairman, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui - Okauru confirmed the date yesterday in an interview with journalists at the opening of FIRS 2012 corporate retreat and enlarged management meeting of top management officers. The FIRS boss warned that failure on the part of individual to file their self-assessment return exposes such individual to sanction by the tax authority. The new Personal Income Amendment Act makes it a requirement for every individual tax payer in every state including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to file their self assessment return.

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 0.3162 208.0861 248.0871 41.5982 156.01


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

28th Mar, 2012 BUYING 0.2962 206.7523 246.4969 41.3316 155.01

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 255 40 158

SELLING 212 257 42 159

Head, Retail Products, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Ms Olumide Osunyomi; Consolation Prize Winner of the UBA Lion King Reward Promo, Mrs Grace Akunnaya and Her daughter, Nnadi, during the Grand Draw of the UBA Lion Kings Reward Promo held at the UBA Head Office yesterday.

US, NDIC collaborate on risked-based supervision …. as CBN creates two dept. for enhance operation By Abdulwahab Isa nited States' finance experts on risked-based supervision have begun intensive training of bank examiners of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on techniques of risk based supervision. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive officer of this NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim said yesterday in Abuja. He assured that the regulatory authorities were well prepared to guard against repeat of gross insider abuse, a development he affirmed contributed majorly to the near collapse of banking sector in the past. Ibrahim made the disclosure when he received the delegation of Bank Director Association of Nigeria led by its President Dr. Sunny F. Kuku. He said the enormous challenges in the financial sector has made it imperative for the regulatory authorities to migrate from the conventional regulation to risk based supervision , a development he affirmed imposed a lot of responsibilities on Bank Directors to acquaint themselves with the current


trend. He tasked Directors of the bank to adhere to best ethical practices as, according to him, "the role of Directors in financial institution especially the banks are becoming more critical. You have responsibility imposed on you by the law. The bad experience we had in the past would have been avoided Directors were truly independent. “Although, we know in our environment, how Directors were picked", he said. The NDIC boss said he would collaborate with the leadership of Bank Directors Association of Nigeria to promote a sound, safe banking based on fair indicators of performance. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created two new departments to enhance its operations. A statement announcing the new department, issued yesterday by the apex bank's Head of Corporate Communications, Mohammed M. Abdullahi said the creation was part of the internal reforms to reposition the CBN to meet the challenges of the on-going banking reforms. By the new development the

bank now has 27 departments spread under 5 directorates headed by the Governor and his 4 deputies. "The two departments created are Corporate Communications and Consumer and Financial Protection Departments. Corporate Communications Department is to assume the mandate and functions of the erstwhile Corporate Communications Division of the Governors' Department, while the Consumer and Financial Protection Department created out of the present Financial Policy and Regulation Department is to protect the interest of consumers with a view to promoting consumer confidence in the banking industry. Its role also includes advocacy, enlightenment, education and promotion of awareness among consumers in the industry" explains the statement. Similarly, the Board of the CBN has approved the appointment of Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor as the Director of Corporate Communication Department and Malam U. F. Shehu as the Director of Consumer and Financial Protection Department.

Management Tip of the Day

Find mentors who speed up your learning


any of the jobs that Baby Boomers will vacate over the next two decades will go to young upstarts. But how do you compete for jobs formerly held by people with decades more experience? The right mentors can help speed up your learning. Consider contacting

the following types of people: A senior executive with experience in a country where your company is expandingperhaps in an emerging market, such as Brazil or Russia. Develop a more global mind-set. A high-performing peer in an adjacent industry. Gain a new,

broader perspective on the field in which your company operates. A mid-level manager in a sector your business serves. Get into your customer's shoes and see how the industry looks from another standpoint. Source: Harvard Business Review




DHL expands operations, launches swift service delivery


HL Express, the courier arm of the DHL Group and a leading international express services provider, has increased its intercontinental operational capacity, introducing a record time service delivery to Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Unilever declares N5.5 bn profit


he board of Unilever Nigeria Plc, has announced a profit after tax of N5.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared with N4.2 billion recorded in 2010.

Rivers expects N12b from returned oil wells


n estimated N12 billion is expected to be paid to Rivers State this year as part of proceeds from its returned oil wells from AkwaIbom State.

ACCA canvasses elearning for economic development


he Association of Certified Chartered Accountant (ACCA), has harped on the importance of E-learning as a veritable tool for rebuilding the Nigeria’s comatose economy.

Telecoms operators groan as multiple taxation persists


here are indications that telecommunications firms in Nigeria’s highly competitive market may soon transfer the increasing operational expenses arising from multiple taxation and other indiscriminate levies to subscribers in the form of increased tariff for services.

Vitafoam to establish $2.8 million factory in Sierra Leone


itafoam Plc, maker of block mattresses and other homemade comfort products, has revealed that it just got a $2.8 million, (N4.8 billion), soft loan for the construction of a proposed foam factory in Sierra Leone.

R-L: Zenith Bank Plc staff Mrs Fatima Ademola-Asuni, PTSA Project Management Officer Nigeria, Inter-bank Settlement System plc, Mr. Osa Odiase, and Payments Analyst, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Zayyanu Mohammed, during the presentation of electronic banking and payment systems in a cashless economy by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, on Wednesday in Lagos. Photo: NAN

FG to commence tax deduction in sports investments By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Vice-President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo has stated that it was now an established policy of the Federal Government that all funds hitherto donated or invested in sports is completely tax deductible. He made this statement while representing President Goodluck Jonathan at the Grand Patron’s Dinner of the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC), at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. The Vice President said, ‘This policy is to ensure that the corporate sector assumes its primary role as key partners in sports development in our country, as is the case in other developed nations of the world’. “The Olympic ideology, or

Olympism, is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind”, he further stated, adding: “The goal of Olympism is to place sports at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society, concerned with the preservation of human dignity’. Speaking further, Arch. Sambo said that, ‘Sports as a branch of the Olympic Movement has emerged from being a mere recreational activity to a massive and lucrative industry of its own which effectively engages the youths of the world in a positive and rewarding activity. It has become a veritable tool for spreading universal peace and friendship.’

Vice-President Sambo commended the cordial working relationship between the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the NOC saying it is very vital for our national sports development administration. He called on members of Corporate Nigeria to support the NOC to enable it contribute significantly and enjoined all Nigerians and the participants to step up their preparations to ensure that past Olympic performances are surpassed. Earlier, the President of the NOC, Engr. Sani Ndanusa pointed out that the delay experienced during arbitration was one of the challenges facing sports and that a committee has been set up to resolve all outstanding issues.

Manufacturing is key to growth, says Dangote From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta resident of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has said the manufacturing sector held the key to any meaningful economic development if Nigeria is to be ranked amongst the top 20 Economies of the World in 2020 (Vision -20:2020) as being targeted by the Federal Government. “The manufacturing sector is critical to the actualisation of this vision. It is one of the most powerful engines for economic growth as it


acts as a catalyst to transform the economic structure of a nation”, he stated while delivering a paper at the first Ogun state Investors’ Forum in Abeokuta, the state capital. Dangote, who was the keynote Speaker, on “Manufacturing: The Ogun State Experience”, noted that manufacturing has one of the highest multiplier effects on indirect employment generation and urged Ogun state government to complete on-going gas pipeline, industrial Park as well as the Olokola free trade zone, adding that these projects are key incentives to investments.

The foremost entrepreneur also disputed a sub-national report by the World Bank titled ‘Doing Business in Nigeria 2010" which reviewed the investment climate in the 36 states and the FCT and portrayed Ogun state as an unattractive place to do business. Alhaji Dangote disagreed with the report saying from his own experience as an investor in the state, Ogun state is “increasingly becoming the preferred destination for investments in the real sector and is already home to many local and international brands.”

NNPC, Nigerian Police partner to curb pipeline vandalism By Muhammad Nasir


he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigerian Police has resolved to join forces to combat pipeline vandalism and security threats to the nation’s oil and gas pipelines. In a statement, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma noted that the agreement was reached after the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engineer Austin Oniwon visited the Acting

Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar on Wednesday in Abuja. The Management of the NNPC and the leadership of the Nigeria Police also pledged to join forces in combating the menace of pipeline vandalism and security threats to key oil and gas facilities currently endangering the smooth operation of the petroleum industry. Oniwon decried the alarming rate of pipeline vandalism in the country and the growing attacks on its operational staff, adding that the menace posed a serious threat to operations in the

petroleum industry and the economy of the nation. In a related development, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma urged the Nigeria police to assist the NNPC in its efforts to eradicate the intractable incidence of encroachment of pipeline right of way which had over time assumed a frightening dimension. The statement noted that the IGP pledged readiness of offices and men of the force to work with the NNPC in achieving its mandate and to deal with any officer who failed to perform.

Shell picks buyer for its most prolific oil block in Nigeria


oyal Dutch Shell PLC’s, Nigerian unit has picked a buyer for its most prolific oil block in the nation, a source close to the deal has said. The unit Shell Petroleum Development Company has received bids for a block that is valued at around $1 billion, the source said on Tuesday. Block OML 30—partheld by Total S.A. and ENI SpA — produces 45,000 barrels a day, according to the company. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), controls 55% of the block. According to the source, three companies are bidding for the block: Conoil Producing Ltd., and Shoreline Natural Resources Ltd., both based in Lagos, Nigeria and BSG Resources Ltd., based in the British dependency of Guernsey. A report by Africa Energy Intelligence said Heritage Oil Corp., which holds 45% of Shoreline, is on the verge of closing the deal. The source wouldn’t confirm or deny that report. “Shell has gone firm with one party, but I can’t confirm who that is,” the person said. Shell spokesman, Precious Okolobo wasn’t able to confirm or deny the sale of the block, which sits in the marshland of the Niger Delta. Shell’s Nigerian venture, the country’s largest, is attempting to divest several of its onshore blocks to refocus efforts offshore, where rigs are better insulated from oil theft, militancy, and the legal constraints of operating in an area that is vulnerable both environmentally and economically. Nigerian companies have been the main buyers of Shell’s OML blocks. That mirrors a larger shift of international oil companies pushing for offshore blocks while local firms increase their control over Nigeria’s onshore drilling. If a local company won OML 30, it would leapfrog into the ranks of top Nigerian producers at a time when many analysts expect 2012 crude prices to hover above $120 a barrel, given geopolitical tensions over major producer Iran. ( S o u r c e : h t t p : / /



Proposed Lagos fourth Mainland Bridge still on course, says commissioner From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


NYSC skills acquisition scheme attracts applause By Tinuade Oredoyin


he introduction of the skills acquisition programme at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camps by the NYSC management has continued to attract applause from corps’ members particularly the 2012, Batch A set. This was disclosed by the state coordinator NYSC in Cross Rivers state while receiving the Director-General of the scheme, Brig. Gen. NT OkoreAffia who was on a visit to the NYSC camp in Calabar. According to the state coordinator, Mr. A.A. Martins, the corps’ members are happy with the skills they are being taught, they have learnt how to make detergent, soap, bread etc. He stressed that the martial art training has also prepared the corps’ members against future uncertainties. In his address, the DG encouraged the corps’ members to embrace the skill acquisition training which, according to him, will impact positively to their lives after service and protect them from job search. He also expressed delight over their display on camp. In a related development, the Director General paid a similar visit to Akwa-Ibom state where he implored corps membersto discharge their duties diligently and stay in line with the core values of the host communities. He noted that the change in the orientation course content was a deliberate attempt on the part of the NYSC scheme to educate the corps’ members on how to be self employed. The DG also called on the corps’ members to accept the new posting policy in which majority of them will be posted to schools to teach. “If you have never handled a chalk, this is the time to learn. It is the time to pay back” he remarked.

L-R: Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi in Nasarawa state, Dr. Joshua Giyan, Head of Nursing Services, Alhaji Bala Adams, and Head of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Samson Adegoke, during the medical centre’s management retreat, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Bauchi govt to sack 5,502 teachers From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi state in its effort to improve the standard of education has concluded arrangements to sack 5,502 teachers. The chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Booard (SUBEB), Abdulahi Dabo disclosed this through the permanent secretary, Alhaji Kasim Ibrahim while reacting to the ultimatum given to the state government by

workers. He explained that some of them will be re-trained and re-engaged by the board saying the decision to sack them was taken due to their incapacity. He added that the government has decided to re-engage and retrain them in order to improve their living standard. He said about 12,864 teachers were screened adding that "those affected are NCE teachers that could not defend their certificates,

those that inherited certificate as well as Diploma and Grade 2 certificate holders that are not qualified. The exercise is a continuous one because we will still screen degree holders", he said. The chairman attributed fallen standard of education to recruitment of unqualified teachers despite the huge funds invested in education sector by government. He expressed optimism that the screening exercise will sanitise the system.

he Lagos state government has assured residents that the planned development of the fourth Lagos Mainland Bridge is still very much on course and it is being complemented with the unhindered on-going development of jetties along the same axis. The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Hamzat Obafemi, made this disclosure while on inspection tour of the ministry’s projects in the Eti-Osa local council area and environs. While explaining that all the development was in tune with the intermodal transportation plan of the state government, the commissioner noted that the state would soon become a giant construction works yard. He expressed his satisfaction with the work at various sites visited, reiterating that the ongoing litigation on the Osborne Jetty site will not distract the state government from accomplishing the goals of water transportation adding that that it is in the character of the administration to obey laws. According to Hamzat, the bridge development has been concessioned, while government is also promoting water transportation with a capacity of moving over four million people monthly in a more effective and efficient manner. He stated that the completion of the development of the Ipakodo, Badore and Osborne Jetties along with the rehabilitation of the Mile 2 and Oworonshoki would ensure that perennial traffic gridlock of the east- west travel axis is a thing of the past.

74 cooperatives receive N315m in Gombe From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


he sum of N315 million has been distributed as loans to 74 cooperative societies by Gombe state in effort to eradicate poverty and improve economic development. The state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who distributed the cheques to benefiting cooperative societies through the Mai Kaltungo, Alhaji

Sale Mohammed, called on the benefiting cooperatives to make judicious use of the funds. The governor said the gesture would curtail to the barest minimum, the idleness associated with youths in this part of the country which has resulted to the incessant crises that has bedeviled the country. Five among the cooperative societies that received their cheques at the occasion include

Helping Hand Multipurpose Cooperative Society, producers of fertilizers who received N8.3 million; Dan’Isa Timber Multipurpose Cooperative Society, N4.5 million; Sagunfa Multipurpose Cooperative Society, N3.5 million; Kundiyo Groundnut Multipurpose Cooperative Society, N2.8 million while Gadam Bamudi Cooperative Society got a cheque of N1.7 million. These are the first batch of 74

cooperative societies who are successful beneficiaries of the Gombe State/Bank of Industries Entrepreneurial Development Partnership Loan scheme. Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Alhaji Adamu Garba of the Helping Hand Multipurpose Cooperative promised to make judicious use of the funds but called on the government to also patronise the cooperative societies.

NAFDAC boss to support students of alma mater By Etuka Sunday


he Director General, National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii has promised to pay the school fees of 20 brilliant students of St. Francis College Otukpo, his alma mater. He made the pledge on Wednesday when the principal of the college Rev. Fr. Emmanuel

Adai in company of some staff and students of the college paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the NAFDAC headquarters, Abuja. The DG, who described the visit as the most touching visit since he assumed office, thanked the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo and the principal of the school for the kind gesture saying it reminded him of good old days when he was putting on the

uniform. He advised the students to be serious with their studies and be good ambassadors of the school stressing that good and bad people exist everywhere. “If you see good people associate with them and when you see bad people, avoid them” he said. Earlier in his address, the principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Adai said the visit was that of love and appreciation for

the kind gestures the DG has been extending to the college over the years. “We are here as staff, parents and students (cutting across JSS I-SSII) of St. Francis’ College Otukpo (your alma mater) to show how grateful we are, for all you have been doing for us especially for the textbooks, other teaching aids and transformer you donated to us and single handedly sponsored its installation in 2009,” he said.



Katsina sets up c’ttee to probe Gov’s Office fire From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


atsina State Government has set-up a committee to investigate the recent fire incident 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 would

include, to the determine the immediate and remote causes 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.

FG to establish regional maritime transport system


he Federal Government plans to establish a regional maritime transport system to boost the distribution of made in Nigeria goods in the ECOWAS subregion. Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom announced this yesterday in Abuja at the on-going regional workshop on Export Competitiveness Strategies. Ortom, who said that the project would be sponsored by the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) noted that it would encourage deeper trade relations within the ECOWAS zone. The minister said that trade within the sub-region had depreciated and needed to be encouraged. He said that the regional maritime transport project would be done through the Sealink initiative with further support from African Development Bank. Ortom said that at the end of the three-day workshop, participants would come up with a template that should be adaptable in their respective

countries. He said time had come for African countries to redress the unfavourable production pattern, that saw the ``continent producing what she does not consume and consuming what she does not produce''. The minister said that the nonoil exports should play a very critical role in the economic transformation, development and growth of African countries. He said that striving to be competitive in the international marketplace, was a basic foundation for economic growth.

L-R: Managing Director, Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceutical West Africa, Dr. Lekan Asuni, Executive Director/Chief Executive, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad and representative of President, Paediatrics Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr. Mariya Mehta, during the town hall meeting with private sector, on Wednesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kogi demolishes illegal structures From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


o ensure healthy environment, the Kogi state government has begun the demolition of illegal buildings on right of way and those without approved building plans in the state capital. The exercise, according to the government, was aimed at beautifying the Metropolis and correcting the state’s masterplan. According to the government,

indigenes of the metropolis should key into itsprogramme of repositioning the state capital through its beautification plan so that it could compete favorably with other cities of the world. The government noted that the clean up of cities would make them attractive to investors who have shown willingness to invest. Speaking while the ad-hoc committee set up recently to clean up and beautify the capital city, inspected cleared dump sites in

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


he Gombe state government is to spend over N600 million on rural electrification projects cross the state. Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo disclosed this during the flag-off of over N37 million electrification projects 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.

Lokoja, the state Deputy governor, Ar.c Yomi Awoniyi said keeping the state capital clean and habitable remains a priority of the present administration in the state in view of its plan to make the state a tourist and investment destination. The deputy governor who doubles as committee chairman said no person, no person,no matter how highly placed, would be spared in the clean up adding that government would resuscitate abandoned markets in the metropolis to check street trading. Speaking on their assignment so far, the vice chairman of the adhoc committee, Mr.Adams Obaje said though the committee was given three weeks, the magnitude of the job given to them was enormous in view of the challenges. Places visited by Arc Awoniyi who is the chairman of the adhoc committee wasAdankolo,old market, Nataco the new trailer park ,post office junction, Angwa Rimi and the moslem burial ground area.

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 Socio-Economic 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 Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, 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 organisation’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: “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 informationrequested 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”.



We project a minimum of N1.5bn monthly from internally generated revenue- Kano state Commissioner of Finance Alhaji Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya is Kano state finance commissioner. In this interview with Aminu Imam the commissioner disclosed how the state is exploiting its internally generated revenue potential to compete with states like Lagos in the area of development. He also spoke on how the state plans to implement the 2012 budget Excerpts:


here has been recent calls that states, particularly in the North, should focus more on generating income from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) rather than depending on the monthly FAAC allocation; How is Kano state going about in this direction? Basically, if we are going to discuss issues of budget or rather annual budget of any government, we need to look at two components. We have component A, which deals with the revenue that will be used in funding the budget, and we also have expenditure which normally arises due to the needs and aspirations of the government in power. So, what we did was to ask Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to bring in their proposal, because when this government came into power, there was an existing policy document, or rather a poverty reduction strategy paper, so we realised Kano state has a number of poverty reduction papers, about three policy documents in place. We are trying to harmonise the existing policy documents so that we align our annual budget with our development plans. However, time was not on our side, so we have to suspend all issues of development plans and MDAs to bring submission openly. That is why we have an open budget where MDAs can bring whatever amount. The total size then was N301 billion and we have to sit down with all stakeholders to trim the budget from the N301bn to 280 billion naira. That is on the capital expenditure. On the recurrent expenditure that will fund this budget, basically, we inherited a situation in Kano where IGR was less than 500 million naira which was very worrisome at that time. So, when the government came in, we had to suspend the consultancy and made some certain amendments and reposition the statutory organisation that is saddled with the responsibility of handling the issues of IGR. By God’s grace, we have started gradually from less than 500 up to the point we had 1.2 billion naira as at November 11, 2011. So at that, we look at the trend and the global economic picture. What is happening to the oil market and other economic indicators. Normally, you cannot predict or make projection without looking clearly at economic indicators both globally and internally and

what will be obtained in the states. And this is the basic thing we have done in making our projections. The IGR, we take it at 1.5 billion naira minimum, and don’t want to go to that maximum when we say we are going to generate 2 billion naira because if you say that eventually you are going to run into crisis. What we are targeting is whatever we said we are going to generate, God willing, we are going to generate it and we put all mechanism in place to make sure all the agencies that are supposed to remit revenue back

to government do so in due course as and at when due. The only thing we are expecting is to have additional funding from whatever source, to use it to bridge the gap. If excess crude allocation comes, fine, if otherwise we are anticipating that within the year government will have additional funding from other windows. So, that is why we order receipts. We have loans from World Bank and other financial institutions. What are the major achievements recorded in

In Kano, you have to do a lot of things to overcome traditions and culture of the people.

Kano state governor, Musa Kwankwaso

terms of capital development programmes? In the capital development programmes we look at Kano from three dimensions. The first scenario is to allocate revenue to capital development. The revenue, the current, overheard and personnel are also the capital expenditures which have a total size of 221 billion naira. So, in terms of projects I will basically talk on capital. We looked at the situation on ground. One major fact is we want to cut the number of rural-urban migration. On daily basis, people from rural areas came to Kano in search of greener pasture. That is why all the training centres are focusing on how to reposition the local governments outside the Kano metropolis so that with the presence of institutions, people will be kept busy in the grassroots. By the time you finish what you are doing, you won’t even think of coming to Kano again. This will reduce congestion in the city. Government also plans to construct 5km dualised road with street lights, drainages, and what have you. This is to make sure people in the local governments do not bother to come to the city. There are so many villagers who come to Kano, especially now that there is light everywhere because they want to see street lights. So, in order to cut that rural-

urban migration, there are a variety of empowerment schemes that are positioned in all the 44 local government areas, through Community Reorientation Committee (CRC) saddled with the responsibility of rehabilitating primary schools across the state. School feeding programme is also handled by CRC, school uniforms and training of women in various trades are all handled by CRC. About 44,000 were selected and the first phase has been concluded. Within one and half months of signing the budget, the government has already awarded the contract. In addition to that, we want to develop a kind of Kano Geographic Information System (KAGIS), with the revenue and information components. In information component, every house in Kano will be numbered, government will know owners of buildings and people living in them similar to what is obtained in Abuja now. The second component is revenue. If lands are well captured, people will come to recertify their lands; their lands will become mobile and more useful as collaterals and so forth. In addition to that, government plans to build a new city which you have been hearing about here and there. e.g. Kwankwasiya city, Amana, Tufafi. Kwankwasiya is a load city, that is, sight and sound city. A lot of people are buying plots now. I can’t give you the total number of the plots but a lot of people are subscribing, even American embassy has indicated interest in the city. So, what you captured is construction of governor’s lodge in that place. Apart from that, the ministry of lands and housing has paid compensation to land owners. We have various works ongoing in Kano under the supervision of Kano Urban and Physical Development Authority (KUPDA). Under ministry of works, we are embarking upon massive development across the state because the jurisdiction is not limited to Kano metropolis. There will be two flyovers at Silver Jubilee and Zoo road. All the state House members will go and decide what they want to do in their constituencies and we will supervise and award the contracts, instead of the former practice where large sums of money were given to legislators to do whatever they want to do. In the course of doing all these, we are going to apply what we think is the most appropriate method. We shouldn’t say Lagos is ahead of us. Lagos has continuity and people who make sure things work in a proper way. In Kano, you have to do a lot of things to overcome traditions and culture of the people.



Global Islamic finance assets hit N208tr - Study By Aminu Imam with agency report


slamic financial assets around the world hit $1.3 trillion (about N208 trillion) in 2011, a 150 percent increase over five years as the industry expands into new country’s beyond core markets in the Middle East and Malaysia, a report yesterday estimated. According to Reuters, developed markets in Malaysia, Iran and the Gulf remain fertile ground for future growth, but

considerable potential also exists for expansion as more countries look to cultivate Islamic banking operations, including Australia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and Russia, the report by lobby group, TheCityUK’s UK Islamic Finance Secretariat (UKIFS) said. The figures were based on UKIFS growth estimates projected on end-2010 figures from a survey of the top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions conducted by The Banker publication. “Considerable potential exists

for expansion of the industry worldwide, although appropriate legal and regulatory structures are crucial for its development in individual countries,” the report noted. Morocco is also looking to launch its first fully-fledged Islamic bank in 2013, Reuters reported on Monday A lack of global standardisation among Islamic institutions has been one of the main challenges for the Islamic finance industry. While regulatory bodies such as AAOIFI

in Bahrain and IFSB in Malaysia have attempted to provide standards for sharia-compliant transactions, they are guidelines rather than enforceable rules. The long-term impact of the Arab spring uprisings as new countries open up to Islamic finance remains to be seen and any further spread of political unrest could negatively affect prospects in some Middle Eastern countries, the report said. Egypt, for instance, has raised the possibility of issuing a sovereign sukuk (Islamic bond), while Tunisia has set up a working group that will study how to develop Islamic finance in the country. Sukuk issuance globally

increased 62 percent to $84 billion in 2011, with Malaysia accounting for two thirds of that. Islamic funds under management reached a high of $58 billion in 2010, with the available pool about 10 times larger at over $500 billion, the report found. Fierce competition, though, has driven down management fees worldwide from 1.5 percent in 2006 to 1 percent in 2011. The new figures are higher than those predicted by Ernst and Young in a report in November, in which the consultancy estimated Islamic finance assets could climb 33 percent from 2010 levels to $1.1 trillion by the end of 2012.

Standard launched for Islamic profit rate swap

I An international meeting on Islamic Finance which recently held in Malta recently.

Islamic finance spreads in Nigeria


ome to some 70 million Muslims, Nigeria is stepping up efforts to capitalise on the growing popularity of the one of the world’s fastest-growing financial sectors: Islamic banking. Earlier this year the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a final set of regulations which introduced Islamic banking to the country. CNN’s Christian Purefoy discussed the sector’s potential with Hajara Adeola, managing director of Lotus Capital, one of the groups helping to pave the way for Islamic finance in Nigeria. Adeola says there is a growing appetite for this form of banking. “It is working in Nigeria and there is a lot of interest in doing Islamic banking, in West Africa in particular,” she says. Spread across the Middle East and other parts of the world, a slew of Islamic financial institutions have been offering interest-free services that advocates say can provide a more sustainable alternative to conventional banking practices. The industry, which exists in more than 50 countries, is estimated to be worth around $1 trillion and has the potential to eventually be worth $5 trillion, according to ratings agency Moody’s. Charging and paying interest is not allowed in Islamic finance because it is prohibited under Sharia law. Instead, if a bank is providing finance for an infrastructure project, for example, the bank and customer agree to share the risk of investment and divide any

earnings. “One of the most well known (principles) is the lack of interest or usury, so you can’t own a return simply for having money — which is what interest is,” Adeola says. “You would have to somehow employ that money into productive use and then you can earn a return on that money.” Islamic banks are not allowed to trade in financial risk areas or deal in mortgage-backed securities or credit-default swaps. Investing in Islamically unacceptable businesses such as alcohol and cigarette makers, casinos and adult-entertainment companies is also forbidden. In June, Jaiz Bank International became the first group to be allowed to open a Shariah-compliant bank in Nigeria after gaining an approval in principal from the country’s Central Bank. Adeola believes Nigeria has the potential to become one of the largest Islamic banking sectors in the world. “It is a huge market,” she says. “There’s about 70 million Muslims in Nigeria. Research shows approximately 30% of the Muslim population typically would be interested in Islamic finance and if you look at the projection they made for the size of the market, it is really quite tremendous — and that’s just the domestic.” But the Central Bank’s decision has met opposition from some Christian leaders in Nigeria, who argue that the move could increase religious violence in a country whose population is almost evenly divided between Muslims and

Christians. According to a VOA news report in mid-July, the Christian Association of Nigeria said the introduction of Islamic banking could stir up religious tensions at a time when security forces are fighting Islamic fundamentalists who want an independent state in northern Nigeria ruled by Islamic law. But Adeola says that Islamic finance is not a threat and can appeal to the country’s Christian community as well its Muslims. “Islamic finance is universal,” she says. “There is nothing about it that offends anyone or offends their faith or their principles. If anything, there are many Christians who like to invest with us because it’s also in line with their own ethical values.” (CNN)

Managing Director of Lotus Capital Hajara Adeola

n an effort to help Islamic financial institutions hedge risk, global standard-setting bodies have launched a standard contract template for Islamic profit rate swaps (PRS). By exchanging one cash flow for another, PRS function in a similar way to the interest rate swaps (IRS) widely used in conventional financial markets. But they do not use interest rates, which are banned under Islamic principles. The template was put together by the Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). “Due to the inter-linkages with the global financial system, the balance sheet of IFIs (Islamic financial institutions) are exposed to fluctuation in foreign currency rates and also cash flow mismatches due to fixed and floating reference rates,” IIFM chairman Khalid Hamad said in a statement. The PRS template

aims to help the institutions manage this exposure. PRS are structured as a portfolio of murabaha contracts, in which a long-term leg is paired with a series of short-term murabaha deals that are bound together with a promise, or wa’d, to maintain the series. Murabaha is a common costplus-profit arrangement in Islamic finance. Trade in PRS is over-thecounter and its expansion has been slowed by the lack of a standard reference structure, bankers say. The first PRS was developed by Malaysia’s CIMB in 2007. Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, chief executive of IIFM, told Reuters on Wednesday that one challenge in creating the template was defining a mechanism to close out transactions in cases of early termination. He predicted it could take one or two years before the PRS market became active. (Source: Reuters)

NAB eyes Islamic bond issuance down under


rowing appetite for Islamic finance is spurring both large and small Australian financials to boost their offering of Shariacompliant fixed-income assets, the head of the country’s first Islamic wealth manager said yesterday. National Australia Bank Ltd., or NAB, is considering selling up to US$500 million in Islamic bonds in what would be the first issuance of Shariacompliant debt securities in Australia, two people familiar with the deal told Dow Jones Newswires. The bonds would be structured to comply with Muslim law by paying a profit from the bond, rather than interest, which is banned in Islam. A spokeswoman for NAB declined to comment. Issuance of Sharia-compliant bonds, known as sukuk, tumbled in the wake of Dubai’s debt crisis and turmoil in global financial

markets. But sales rebounded sharply to a record $32.6 billion in 2011 and issuance so far in 2012 of $10.4 billion is already more than double the same period last year, according to data from Dealogic. Managing Director of Islamic wealth manager Crescent Wealth, Talal Yassine, said there is “enormous pent-up demand for this kind of product” in Australia in the wake of the global financial crisis, as investors are looking for less risky investments that offer a defined income stream. Mr. Yassine said he expects Crescent’s products to appeal to investors far beyond Australia’s Islamic community. Of the $3.8 billion under management by Crescent’s U.S.-based partner, Saturna Capital, he estimates $9 out of every $10 comes from outside the Muslim community, a ratio he believes can be replicated down under. (Source: Wall Street Journal)




ACF: 12 years of inaction? By Agaju Madugba


hairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Lt-Gen. JT Useni, came short of shedding tears on March 21, 2012 in Kaduna, during the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the group. Useni had reviewed recent developments in the north and lamented that things were no longer the same for a region that was known for its unity inspite of diverse ethnic and religious configuration. “Today, the airwaves are awash with reports of conflicts, strife and killings going on in the north and hardly a day passes by without reports of attacks by either some terrorist groups or by one community against the other,” Useni, a former Minister of the FCT said. His lamentation may not be unconnected with what may well be described as the current and perhaps the greatest source of insecurity especially in the north, the Boko Haram insurgency. The Boko Haram Muslim group has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb and gun attacks in several parts of the north, resulting in the death of scores of persons. With reported origin in Maiduguri, Borno state, since 2009, efforts by the authorities to curb the deadly activities of Boko Haram have not yielded significant results especially with the recent abortion of mediation moves by individuals, on behalf of the Federal Government. Established since 2000 as a socio-cultural umbrella group for the north, the ACF has remained a vocal voice on issues that concern the area and the country at large and, according to some analysts, ACF position on certain national issues have tended to influence government’s decisions. Whatever may be

Lt-Gen. JT Useni (rtd), Chairman, Board of Trustees Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF)

the situation, the ACF however appears to be a toothless bull dog, incapable of taking certain actions for the well being of the people. The group’s National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, hinted as much when he told Peoples Daily that, “ACF is not government. We give moral support. We are not in a position of authority to make things happen.” That may well be the case but the ACF has over the years continued to organize programmes

The people who make up the population of ACF were at one time or the other prominent leaders in this country and if they had followed the footsteps of the Sarduana, this poverty, unemployment and neglect which created Boko Haram would not have arisen

aimed at fostering unity of the north over a decade that peace has tended to take flight from the area. Last December, the group held a two-day Peace Conference in Kaduna where some participants had noted that it may not after all be different from several other conferences in the past, on the same issues of peace and poverty. The northern “problem” has become a subject of various analyses with reports indicating that the disparity between the north and other parts of the country, in terms of general development, is so skewed against the north, to the extent some go to the ridiculous level of saying that the area does not seem to part of Nigeria. But the point remains that several decades after the Premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria, the Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, was killed, successive northern leaders have continued to flaunt his name without commensurate efforts at building on the legacies he was said to have bequeathed the north. As Senate President, David

Mark, put it last December, the late Sarduana and others “must be weeping” in their graves, at the current situation of the north. Sir Ahmadu Bello, along with some other compatriots, fell victim of assassin’s bullets in the course of a coup d’etat which some dissident Nigerian Army officers had contrived against the then civilian administration. That incident has since been consigned to the relics of history but the memory of Sir Ahmadu Bello has continued to glow in the hearts of northerners and Nigerians in general. Although apparently handicapped to some extent, the ACF still believes it plays prominent roles in efforts to restore peace in the north. The ACF spokesman cited the case of the events leading to the botched dialogue between the Federal Government and Boko Haram as he insisted that the ACF was part of government’s panel that suggested dialogue with the Muslim group. But another prominent northerner and former National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy

(AD), Comrade Adamu, does not see the ACF achieving any meaningful results. As he puts it, “the people who make up the population of ACF were at one time or the other prominent leaders in this country and if they had followed the footsteps of the Sarduana, this poverty, unemployment and neglect which created Boko Haram would not have arisen. If they had sustained the legacies of the Sarduana, this Boko Haram would not have been in existence along with all these pockets of crises in the north. The Sarduana was a Muslim and he was a leader for all, Christians and Muslims. It is so bad that everybody is now saying that the north is the poorest section of the country. It is because of neglect of the leadership. At a period in this country, during the Sarduana days, it was the northern economy that propelled the economy before the discovery of oil.” The Sarduana is widely believed to have singlehandedly united the diverse northern provinces into a single entity, leading

to the appellation of the ”homogenous north.” This development had given rise to the popular slogan, one north, one people, and one destiny. But the Sarduana legacy appears to have collapsed as the various components of the then one north have since gone their various ways. This may not also be unconnected with a number of factors including the balkanization of the area into the current 19 states. Some other extraneous imperatives may have equally come to play culminating in the Biblical scenario of, “to your tents o! Israel.” However, more than any other thing, religion appears to have dealt the north the most crippling blow, contrary to the Sarduana vision and expectations that religious differences should not in any way engender disunity among a people. The Sarduana is quoted in a Christmas message to the region in 1959 as saying that, “here in northern Nigeria, we have people of different tribes and religions who are knit together by a common history common ideas. The things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favoring one religion at the expense of another....

It is our determination that everyone should hold his belief according to the dictates of his conscience.” But, today, the Sarduana’s one north has became a babble of voices with divergent views on issues that affect the entire northern Nigeria and with the component parts now made up of core north, noncore north, Middle Belt, along with various other appellations which have tended to bring discord among the people of the north. In fact Useni had admitted during the AGM

members have called my attention to the ever growing number of civil society groups in the north, with each and every one of them professing to bring northerners together to work on many of the problems bedeviling the region. In spite of this however, it has to be admitted that a situation in which an endless stream of civil society organizations, elders committees, regional congresses, among others are established with the intention of uniting northerners or seeking to tackle the well-known problems of insecurity and

The fact that we currently have temporary setbacks does not mean we will not get there. We are not going to carry the tag of parasites forever. A tree that refuses to dance will do so when a strong wind comes. We have to get a peaceful environment first in the north then all other things will fall into place ACF Chairman, Alhaji Mohammed Aliko

that the discordant tunes from the area would further widen the existing gulf among the people. According to him, “let me say that some of our

under-development will be taking us back to the chaotic days of the past when so many groups sought to speak for the north with little coordination and negligible

impact. It is too early to forget and we need not remind northerners particularly our respected elders, of the reasons why it became necessary, some 12

L-R Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and Major- General Lawrence Onoja (rtd), during a visit of the contact and mobilisation committee of the AREWA Consultative Forum (ACF) Conference on Peace and Unity to the former Vice-President, recently in Abuja.

years ago, to collapse all these mini-groups into one pannorthern forum which was given the name ACF.” Professor Ibrahim Malumfashi, National Coordinator of the Arewa Renaissance Initiative, says he shares in what he called the ACF agony on the proliferation of group’s in the north noting however that, the ACF is the architect of this proliferation. As Malumfashi puts it, “ideally, because it is peopled by past Heads of State, retired Jurists and former political office holders at very high levels, we had expected the forum to be the ombudsman of the north. In our view, it should have the moral authority and strength of character to call erring public officers like governors to order. “We expected it to articulate a road map, detailing the comparative advantages of each state in terms of resources, and how they can exploit them. Not that alone, ACF should be able to give state governors deadlines on human development issues like infant mortality, improved enrolment into primary schools and improvement in tertiary institutions intake.

Likewise, the forum should have had regular interactions with federal legislators of northern origin, in its bid for northernfriendly legislations. “The region, which was once the power house of Nigerian politics, is now a shadow of itself. The purposeful leadership and political ideology implanted by Sir Ahmadu Bello, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, J. S. Tarka, and others have since waned away. Majority of our current politicians lack political foresight, vision and purposeful ideology to mobilize and make any positive impact on the lives of the common northerner.” Whatever the arguments, consolation may lie in Sani’s optimism that the north will eventually overcome what he described as temporary setbacks, for as he puts it, “The fact that we currently have temporary setbacks does not mean we will not get there. We are not going to carry the tag of parasites forever. A tree that refuses to dance will do so when a strong wind comes. We have to get a peaceful environment first in the north then all other things will fall into place.”



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


n the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, is His servant, and messenger. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time. The Apostle of Allah was sitting one day with his Companions discussing their affairs, and one of the issues deliberated was about the condition of the Day of Resurrection was on seven people that Allah will shade under his Throne from the unbearable heat of the sun, as it will be brought very close to the mammoth gathering, frying them. The hadith reads: It is related from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the day when there is no shade but His shade: a just Imam, a youth who grows up worshipping Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, two men who love each other for the sake of Allah alone, meeting for that reason and parting for that reason, a man who refuses the advances of a noble and beautiful woman, saying, 'I fear Allah', a man who gives charity and conceals it so that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives, and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes overflow with tears.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] This week by the grace of Allah, we will be discussing the fourth category of the fortunate people whom Allah will shade from the tribulations and the calamities of the Day of Judgment, the; “a man whose heart is attached to the mosque.” From the description, belonging to this group seems very simple. But that is only on the surface! This is because belonging to this category is the last step to getting one's mind attached to the mosque. But there are many equally significant stages involved which unless and until they are perfected devotedly, admittance remains elusively aspired. I will try to explain them as simple as possible, so that we will see them attainable. When discussing this part you can not escape from the significance of masjid in the realm of Islam. This more so that it is the most loved place to Allah on the entire earth. The Prophet (SAW) said: “The most beloved places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and

the most despised places on Earth everywhere. Allah says: “Recite what is sent of the Book to Allah are its markets.” [alby inspiration to thee, and establish Muslim] Thus, from all the places on the regular prayer: for prayer restrains earth, Allah loves the mosques from shameful and unjust deeds; and above all else; in them most important f u n c t i o n fulfilled. They are the places where those on earth make communicate By Husain Zakariyya with their Lord, Yawale Allah. That means the +234-8052952900 (sms only) mosque is the purest and holiest location that the hearts of the worshippers remembrance of Allah is the greatest are drawn towards them. Because (thing In life) without doubt. And that is where the hearts find Allah knows the (Deeds) that ye do.” contentment, serenity, [al-Ankabut: 45] This cannot be achieved unless satisfaction, peace and fulfillment from the worries of our daily life. It one has pure heart from all its such as hatred, is where they are cleansed of the diseases animosity, vain desires, enticements and jealousness,

to retain it and stay in the state of purity as long as is possible. It is highly recommendable to be in a state of purity and ablution; it is rewardably worthy. T i m e consciousness is another lever toward attaining admission into this assemblage. That is to say a person whose heart is always mindful of the next prayers to be performed in a masjid is surely a person that is apt with time. He does not belong the socalled 'Africans' who never respect time. No! He is a time respecter to the core; he keeps time with any event! Thus, if a person attains this level of commitment and attachment to his religious obligations on their appointed

temptations that always beset them. The mosques are a place of tranquility and mercy where a soul can find a lasting reprieve from the long day's turbulences. No wonder the Apostle of Allah said as reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, thus: “He does not take a step towards the mosque except that because of it, he is raised by one rank and one sin is removed from him. Then when he prays, the Angels do not cease supplicating for him for as long as he remains at his place of Prayer [the angels sayings]: O Allah send blessings upon him, O Allah have mercy upon him.” (alBukhari) That is why there is great encouragement in the Sunnah for men to pray in the mosques and the reward associated with it is tremendous. The first step towards the masjid is the deliberate inculcation of the consciousness of Allah in our minds; that is to constantly remember Allah in all our dealings. To be conscious that he watches over us every time and

times and places, then such a person has become qualified to gain admission into that only shade of the Throne of Allah, the Majesty! The signs which qualify him will naturally replicate and reflect in his entire personality; manners, characters, behaviours, duties, inter and intra personal relationships towards his immediate family, neighbours, friends, colleagues, staff, his superiors and all subordinates. He will definitely become a lovable, trustworthy, trustful and honest person. He will be a dependable ally and a shade for the weak. He will be a point of reference amongst men of honour and respect. He will be free from all sickness, diseases and ailments as he is physically and mentally conscious of what he does, eats and drink, wears and where he will be at what time, promptly. All because he gets replenish and refresh five time times daily, by his visits to masjid! In fact, he distances himself from all mental and health hazards, as well assatanic people and places. Such persons can fit very well here:


enviousness, bitterness, excessive desire of lustful things and empty heart of the fear of Allah. The next is the outward cleanliness of both the body and the cloth. This includes the foods and the drinks you eat and drink daily. All these must be of halal sources. The cloth you wear must be Shari'ah compliant in both their sources and usages. Then you must be clean from the debris of fetus and urine in accordance with laws of cleanliness. So also you must be clean from the sexual, menstrual and post natal impurities by taking the correct ritual baths as and when due. I want sternly warn here that urine is the most notorious of impurities to be free from. Unfortunately, it is the commonness impurity that people under rate. Remember the hadith of the Prophet of a person who was being punished in his grave due to his carelessness of his urination? May Allah guide us! The next level in this category of whose hearts are cling to the mosques, is a good and proper ablution. It also includes the ability

“By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the remembrance of Allah, nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular charity: their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new).” [an-Nur: 37] Such people are never distracted from observing their five daily prayers in the masjid! It does not matter to them because they are certain that their abode here is only transitory! Power, money, poverty cannot prevent them from offering their religious obligation on time and place. Allah says: “(They are) those who, if we establish them In the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs”.[al-Hajj: 41] Indeed, Allah protects such people through their promptness in prayers and attachment to masajids. Allah reaffirms thus, “…For prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing In life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (Deeds) that ye do.” [al-Ankabut: 45]. At this juncture, I want remind my readers that the acid test which confirms to you and by yourself whether you will be amongst that assemblage, is this hadith of the Prophet of Allah that reads, thus, “Whosoever his prayers does not prevent him from committing disreputable and abominations, such prayers puts him further away from Allah, rather than bringing him closer to Him.” This goes to tell further that something is wrong somewhere in our efforts to say our prayers in the mosque. To amend the shortcomings is simply to reevaluate our steps and reexamine every aspect leading to the mosque. We do that from our inward to our outward; conviction, mentality mindset, foods, drinks, clothing and just everything! Once that has been rectified, move on and Allah is OftMerciful, Oft-Forgiving! It must be accentuatedhere however, that all the Hadithsreassuring the men to be attached to the mosques are not intended to lead one to the conclusion that Islam is a Religion that should be limited to the masjids alone. Many people wrongly think thus. The Qur'an reads: “And when the prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah. And celebrate the praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.” [alJuma'ah: 10] Nonetheless, the mosque should be at the heart of every Muslim, and a source of succour and relief. It should serve as the nerve centre of the Muslim worshipper and a bridge that will lead them into that shade, into that castle of the blissful infinity in the superior beyond. May Allah make us attain admission into that shade, on the day when there will be other shade but that shade!


Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, in this interview with our acting Bureau Chief in Kaduna, Agaju Madugba, explains the position of the forum over the state of insecurity in some parts of North.


hat is the position of the ACF on the botched dialogue between mediators and Boko Haram? You must understand how the whole thing started. The ACF position in favour of dialogue is based on experiences across the world; that it is better to engage terrorism by way of dialogue instead of force. Force has never worked anywhere in the world. We know what happened when President Bush went to Iraq to remove Saddam Hussaini. Within seven days he was announced that the mission accomplished without knowing that it was going to take him 10 years and that it was going to cost the US 4,400 soldiers and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of people. And the US went home without solving the problem. We also see what is happening in Afganistan. NATO is there and they have not been able to solve the problem. That is why the ACF suggested the dialogue option. During the time of the late President Yar’adua, he gave directive for the use of military action against Niger Delta militants but it was the same Yar’Adua who later sat down in dialogue with them and that was what produced the amnesty programme. The military has killed about 800 members of Boko Haram including their leader but that has not solved the problem. So, in a situation like this and also given that it may be difficult using force against somebody who wants to kill himself, why not engage him mentally. That was our position. As at that time, government was not clear on what to do. But happily enough, Mr. President said they were ready to discuss with Boko Haram and we advised that government should not be confrontational because that will discourage Boko Haram. That was where the ACF stopped. We were not party to the negotiation proper. And we were told that they actually started the dialogue. We later heard that the dialogue developed hiccups which are normal because you do not expect the solution to come easy. But the Federal Government should be able to revive the dialogue, along with the mediators, if they truly love this country and they want us to remain one. Certainly, there will be certain setbacks and obstacles but that


There is limit to what ACF can do, says Anthony Sani should not lead to the abortion of the process. We do not know what transpired or what they did that led to the present state of the dialogue. If they were to sit, that is something, people will shift grounds and they may end up solving the problem. All we can do is to appeal to Boko Haram, if they are Nigerians, to embrace dialogue for the sake of the country. The mediators should also have a rethink because it is not an easy thing. They need to make sacrifices. Once there is an engagement, there will be a solution. ACF came in when they appointed our Secretary General into the presidential panel and that panel recommended dialogue. ACF is not government. We give moral support. We are not in a position of authority to make things happen. The Datti Ahmed statement on the issue said there was insincerity on the part of government. What do you think about that? We do not have the facts in order to know exactly what transpired and what level they reached. The Boko Haram people used to talk to me on telephone but they stopped. So, nobody to tell me what led to calling off the dialogue. But it is our responsibility and the responsibility of all Nigerians to tell the Datti group not to give up. The situation is too important to give it up. Do you not think that the ACF may have disappointed the people over the inability to resolve the Boko Haram issue given that it is the umbrella body for the entire north? I gave you an example with Iraq. The United States is a world power but they have not been able to solve the problem in Iraq. They are in Afghanistan. Have they been able to solve the problem there? This thing is never done using might. It is a matter of talking and working with the minds of people. People think we are so powerful and all that. It is the duty of everybody, Muslims and Christians to tell Boko Haram that what they are doing is not good. That is psychological warfare. Look at the way people have introduced religious coloration into the whole thing. Then our appeal is not to make it a regional ethic or religious issue. All hands should be on deck to engage Boko Haram constructively so that we can solve this problem. The use of force cannot do it. Tell me, how do you use might on somebody who is ready to kill himself? And the moment you look at it as a religious issue, then there is tendency that a section of Muslims may begin to side with

Anthony Sani them. Muslims and Christians should engage Boko Haram in a psychological warfare and they will give up the fight. But it is a Muslim group; at least, that is what they say? It is because they need Muslims to help them fight their war. In the case of 9/11 in the United States of America when the twin towers were brought down, it was discovered that the pilot that did the bombing was from Saudi Arabia but the US did not go to war with Saudi

Arabia over the incident. That is why Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka also suggested that we should not consider Boko Haram as a religious affair because we will run into problems. But Boko Haram would want it to be considered a religious matter because they want Muslims to join them. Some people hold the view that the reported high poverty level in the north may be one of the causes of Boko Haram. Do you subscribe to that view? Western education came

All hands should be on deck to engage Boko Haram constructively so that we can solve this problem. The use of force cannot do it. Tell, me, how do you use might on somebody who is ready to kill himself? And the moment you look at it as a religious issue, then there is tendency that a section of Muslims may begin to side with them

into Nigeria from the southern part of the country and it took another one hundred years before it came to the north. So, it is not easy to catch up with a period of 100 years. Do you think that the southerners are more hardworking than northerners? No. it is just a question of the circumstances. The south got education earlier and they are around the ports. The south should stop bragging; after all they did not plant the oil there. A state in the south collects N24 billion and another state in the north collects N3 billion and they brag about that. Even before Boko Haram, we have been talking about diversifying the economy to remove emphasis from oil wealth. Where is the diversification apart from the big money the south gets from federal allocations every month? They say the oil being drilled in the Atlantic ocean belongs to them. Instead of trying to unite the country, they say north is a parasite. A tree that refuses to dance will do so when a strong wind comes. We have to get a peaceful environment first in the north then all other things will fall into place. But the north is rich in solid mineral resources which have not been exploited? Do not bother what the southerners are talking. I was already an adult when India and China were suffering. One day it will be the turn of the north. As in the Bible, if Moses does not reach the Promised Land, Joshua will reach it. The fact that we currently have temporary set back does not mean we will not get there. We are not going to carry the tag of parasites forever. Whoever thought that India would be become what it is today. Just a few years ago, we had Indian teachers who flooded Nigeria. Northerners and indeed Nigerians should not lose their heads because of this temporary set back. There have been so many acts of terrorism in different parts of the world and those people are not talking about sovereign national conference or re-negotiating terms of existence of their countries. Nigeria is not the only country that is a product of artificial creation. We should all work hard to solve our problems instead of saying that we should divide the country. If you divide the country along religious lines, what will you do with the Yoruba? Olusegun Mimiko, the Ondo state governor, is a Christian but his parents are Muslims. What do you do with that kind of situation? If you say we should go by tribe, we are over 250 ethnic nationalities in the country.


By Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele


ormer Lagos state governor and national leader of the ACN and the progressives in Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was born in Lagos to the illustrious Tinubu dynasty of Lagos State 60yrs ago. He attended St.John’s primary school, Aroloya, Lagos and the Children’s Home School, Ibadan. The young Bola left the shores of the country in search of the Golden Fleece in far away America in 1975 with a mind brimming with unrelenting vigour and determination. With a vivacious spirit and an unflinching zeal to succeed, he surmounted challenges at the Richard Daley College, Chicago, Illinois and came tops with an honours. Then he left for the Chicago state university graduating with an honours in 1979 earning himself a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting and Management). He was at the same time given a rare privilege to nurture, mentor and teach other students of his faculty remedial tutorial classes. He was convincingly recruited in some of the most lucrative jobs then at Arthur Anderson, Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and the GTE services corporation in the United States of America. He joined Mobil Oil Nigeria in 1983 when he returned to the country. A consummate politician whose political journey began in 1992 when he was elected to the Nigerian Senate representing Lagos West constituency in the short lived third republic. After the result of the 12 June, 1993 Presidential elections were annulled, Asiwaju became a founding proactive member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of the 12 June election results. When there were death threats to a lot of the active members then, Tinubu went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the demise of General Sani Abacha. In the 1999 elections, Tinubu was a protégé of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo and he convincingly won the AD primaries for Lagos state gubernatorial elections competing with late Funsho Williams and Dr. Wahab Dosunmu and by April 1999, he stood for the position of the executive governor of Lagos State on the AD ticket and was elected overwhelmingly where he served meritoriously for two terms from 1999 to May 2007 laying a solid foundation for the transformation of Lagos into a mega city and today the rest is history. During his tenure at the Lagos State Government House, he constructed housing units for the poor in Lagos State, initiated a road map where the present governor, Raji Babatunde Fashola is building on presently and made Lagos State indeed the centre of excellence and a model for others to emulate and also made large investments in


Asiwaju: Celebrating a democratic icon at 60 education, infrastructural development, and commenced new roads construction required to meet Africa’s fastest growing city. He was also involved with the creation of development areas which became a struggle with the federal government over whether Lagos state had the right to create local council development areas (LCDA’s) to meet the needs of its large growing population. The circumstance led to the seizure of funds meant for the local councils in the state and today, posterity has proven that the giant steps taken by Asiwaju were right as internally generated revenue and the development of the local councils has proven worthwhile as Lagos state has the highest IGR in the country and it is self sustaining. Asiwaju is an accountant, economist and a politician par excellence and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a major opposition party in Nigeria. His meteoric rise in public service and growing influence in the nation’s political turf has become a reference point and a case study for political scientists who are interested in the dynamics of the Nigerian political landscape. Asiwaju’s grass to grace transition is also a case study and a knowledge base for hard work, dedication and exemplary leadership style and a source of inspiration for Nigerians and future generations yet unborn. He believes in the socio-political re-engineering of the country having seen what democracy has done to other nations whereas back home it is dishonesty, political instability and lack of transparency in our electoral system coupled with a very poor human development index that has kept the country at the lowest ebb. He is also an advocate of good governance, freedom, democracy and justice for all. With the return to democratic rule, he worked with similar minds and progressives across the country to sell the idea of progressivism and fiscal federalism and it was on record that he was the only governor from the southwest geo-political zone who survived the onslaught of former president Obasanjo in 2003 as the only returning governor of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Asiwaju has paid the price for the unity, peace and stability of the country and he had at various times in our drive towards democracy sacrificed for the political expediency of the greater good of all and the country. The story of the CPC alliance is still very fresh in our memory. A firm believer in true fiscal federalism where power devolves from the centre to the various component states he also advocated the shedding of the unitary powers of the federal government for the nation’s progress. He has on several

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu occasions, called for a sovereign national conference where the issues of nationalities and the various ethnic groups will be brought to a round table and the paving of way for the greater good of the citizenry and has also lent his voice for the new revenue sharing formula that will usher in grassroot development of the local governments in the country and the overall national development of every tier of government. As a father figure of the Yoruba nation, he has rallied all Yorubas in the diaspora and within Africa for the common good of the Yoruba nation and this calling has remained very passionate to him till date. But to all intent and purposes, it holds true that Asiwaju’s place in Yoruba history is irreplaceable as he spearheaded the return of the stolen mandate of the western states to where it belongs today and ably supported by his jewel of inestimable value and an amazon of no mean repute, a woman amongst women, on whose shoulder he rests on for advice and companionship, Senator Remi Tinubu. Asiwaju is one Nigerian whose influence and affluence cuts across the geopolitical divide, a bridge builder and a political juggernaut whose political

acceptability and goodwill transcends the borders of our nation, whose political ideology is acceptable to even the opposition that sees him as not only their leader but as a mentor as well. His humility and candor was displayed when the Code of Conduct Bureau slammed some charges against him that was later quashed but on his own without the invitation of the courts was there in person to show his belief in the judiciary and rule of law. As a political giant, he has remained a pillar to the main stream opposition party in Nigeria, the Action Congress. A voice of the voiceless who is daily consolidating his hard earned goodwill and resources to make not only democracy thrive but the socioeconomic and infrastructural development of the country. In spite of all the numerous political persecution suffered by this titan, he has remained steadfast in pursuing his dreams and lofty ideas to make Nigeria a better place. The former governor of Lagos state has seemingly become an established political authority in the south west and has gradually extended his political prowess to the mainstream body politics as the only opposition voice today and as a rallying

factor for other politicians while remaining a phenomenon in political discourse. A great master strategist and an uncommon entrepreneur and a very successful businessman who have carved a niche for himself in various business endeavours. As a technocrat and an accomplished businessman, Asiwaju has greatly invested in humanity and is equally passionate in political research, sponsorship of local and foreign medical treatment of citizens with serious cases and also a sponsor of both local and overseas students for greener pastures. He has also politically mentored budding and aspiring politicians who are today heavyweights in the political terrain in the country. As a detribalized Nigerian, he equally empowers loyalists, non-supporters alike with some of them bidding farewell to poverty and has an array of associates and followership from every nook and cranny of the country. As democracy has become a major factor in Nigeria, Asiwaju has remained a major torch bearer of the new spirit who embodies the democratic aspiration of not only the south west but the entire political space in Nigeria fanning the embers of progressivism, true federalism, resource control and the equality of all men before the law. As a flagbearer of the people’s torch, he is not unmindful of the heavy burden placed on him by this responsibility and has fully remained committed to the noble ideals of fighting injustice, poverty, joblessness and hunger from the vast majority of Nigerians who are grateful to him since his foray into politics his love for the people’s empowerment knows no bounds. The Jagaban Borgu is a rare breed politician, a mobilizer of men, who has fought great battles and won many wars in all fronts and has received several countless awards from both within and outside the country, too numerous to mention and of which he is still receiving till date. He has to his name traditional titles from across Africa and a strong advocate of the traditional institution. He was recently honoured by the board of the Nigerian Royalty Awards in 2010 as the “Most Prestigious Custodian of Democracy” for his invaluable and selfless contributions to the growth of democracy in Africa. Asiwaju is no doubt, a statesman, a servant of the people, an icon, a legend and a father of modern day progressivism, a rare gift to humanity and above all, a mentor of mentors who is worthy of being celebrated anywhere as he ages on gracefully in life. Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele is of NRA, COYAC, CWN and CAPPRIN



Nepalese mother seeks treatment for rare condition that causes whiskers across family’s faces


Nepalese family with a rare condition that causes excessive facial hair growth have travelled from their remote village home in the hope of securing life-changing treatment. Devi Budhathoki, 37, and her daughters Manjura, 13, Niraj, 12, and Mandira, five, suffer from a congenital problem known as ‘werewolf syndrome’, which causes hair to sprout between their eyes and across their brows. The foursome travelled to the country’s capital, Kathmandu, in the hope that their hypertrichosis could be cured for good. Surgeon Shankar Man Rai, from Kathmandu Model Hospital, said the genetic mutation could have transferred from mother to children. He said he was confident that a course of laser therapy can remove what has felt like a curse because of constant taunts from others. Ms Budhathoki said: ‘More than myself, I’m worried about my children. They are mocked by their classmates. ‘My children have talked about the new life ever since we received the word that the hospital is going to treat us. ‘My son has told his friends that

he will be back with a new face and they can no longer tease him.’ Hypertrichosis (also called Ambras Syndrome) means an abnormal amount of hair growth on the body. There are two distinct types of the condition - generalised, which occurs over the entire body, and localised hypertrichosis, which is restricted to one area. It can be both congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life. Although there is no cure for congenital forms of hypertrichosis, it can be reduced through hair removal. Treatment may have adverse effects, however, causing scarring, dermatitis, or hypersensitivity. Several circus sideshow performers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Julia Pastrana, had hypertrichosis. Many worked as ‘freaks’, including as ‘bearded ladies’ or as characters with animal traits such as ‘Wolfman’. In 2011, Supatra Sasuphan an 11year old girl from Thailand with hypertrichosis was named the world’s hairiest girl by the Guinness Book of World Records. Source:

Desperate for help: Devi Budhathoki, 37, and her daughters Manjura, 13, Mandira, five and Niraj, 12

There are two distinct types of the condition - generalised, which occurs over the entire body, and localised hypertrichosis, which is restricted to one area

Laser therapy: The family attend a consultation at Kathmandu Model Hospital

Treated like freaks: The women have tired of being taunted for their congenital condition, hypertrichosis, which is also known as 'werewolf syndrome'

Follicle trouble: Mrs Budhathoki has taken her children to Kathmandu from their remote village home in the hope they can find assistance



Secret slaves of Mauritania: Mother and daughter beaten, raped only escaped after their children were murdered


hey perch awkwardly on an imitation rococo sofa in a nondescript room in the desert wastes of Mauritania. And though the setting is incongruous, it is not as out of place as the horrific tale that Moulkheir Mint Yarba and her daughter Selek’ha have to tell. Their story - of casual brutality, rape, slavery and the murder of their children - is one that does not belong to the 21st century. But perhaps the most shocking part of their experience, told in a new CNN investigation Slavery’s Last Stronghold – is that it is not uncommon. In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery. Owning another person did not become illegal until 2007 and there has only been one successful prosecution. The United Nations estimates that between 10 and 20 per cent of the 3.4million population are enslaved. Moulkheir, who is in her 40s, was born a slave and spent her childhood tending her master’s herds. When she reached puberty, her owner took her out into the fields and raped her for the first time. In the next few years, she was to bear him five children – all of whom were also born into slavery. Staggeringly, the tradition is so ingrained in the Mauritanian psyche that Moulkheir did not even question the way she was treated. ‘I was like an animal living with animals,’ she told CNN’s John D. Sutter when he visited the country in December as part of the network’s ongoing Freedom Project, which was set up to fight modern day slavery. The cataclysmic event which was to shatter her existence forever took place on an ordinary afternoon when she returned home from tending the goats. Lying dead in the dust outside the hut was her youngest child, a little girl who had only just started to crawl.

Face of freedom: Moulkheir's five children were also all born slaves

Moulkheir’s master – and the child’s father – had dumped the baby outside to die. He told her she would work faster without the girl tied to her back. Moulkheir asked to bury the baby. The man refused. ‘(He told me) her soul was a dog’s soul,’ she said. She was only able to lay her child to rest at the end of the day, in a shallow grave with no burial rites. ‘I only had my tears to console me,’ she told the anti-slavery activists who eventually helped free her. ‘I cried a lot for my daughter and the situation I was in. Instead of understanding, they ordered me to shut up.’ Moulkheir tried to carry on with her life. After owning another person was criminalised in 2007, an action group intervened and she briefly found herself free. But her joy was short-lived. She and her children had gone to work for a former Mauritanian army colonel. There was no job. Instead the family was enslaved once more. ‘He turned out to be worse,’ Moulkheir said. ‘He beat me and slept with my daughters. He would fire above their heads with a gun.’ Selek’ha was beaten from the age of 13 and soon the colonel began raping her. She fell pregnant when she was 15 or 16. The teenager was petrified that her master would be furious and feared for herself and her baby. Her terror was well-founded. At nine months pregnant, the colonel put her in a pickup truck and drove furiously at high speeds along a rough dirt track. ‘They put me in a car and drove it hard,’ she said. ‘And the baby came out of me dead.’ This terrible event was the turning point for Moulkheir and her family. With the help of SOS Slaves, an action group established by a former master and a slave, they all finally escaped.

Free: Moulkheir Mint Yarba (left) and her daughter Selek'ha were both raped and abused by their masters but escaped with the help of a charity in Mauritania

Medieval society: These slaves live in a village separate from their masters. They are not allowed to leave and must tend the land Moulkheir and Selek’ha now live in a very basic one-room shack in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott and attend a nearby school set up by SOS. But they are both still desperate for justice and are attempting to take their two former owners to court. ‘I demand justice – justice for my daughter that they killed, and justice for all the time they spent beating and abusing me,’ Moulkher told CNN. ‘I want justice for all the work I did for them. I hold them all responsible. I am not afraid of anyone.’ The school teaches freed slaves the essential life skills which will help them to survive and develop their own livelihood. Selek’ha, now 18, said the lessons had transformed her life. ‘I want to know how to sew, and then I want to get my own sewing machine,’ she explained. ‘Eventually, I want to open a shop.’ SOS was set up by Boubacar Messaoud, who is himself a freed slave, and Abdel Nasser Ould Ethmane, the former slave owner.

Both told the CNN team that freeing Mauritania’s thousands of slaves was infinitely more complex than cutting off a pair of shackles ‘Chains are for the slave who has just become a slave, who has… just been brought across the Atlantic,’ Boubacar said. ‘But the multigenerational slave, the slave descending from many

generations, he is a slave even in his own head. ‘And he is totally submissive. He is ready to sacrifice himself, even for his master. ‘Unfortunately, it’s this type of slavery that we have today, (the slavery) American plantation owners dreamed of.’ Source:

Poverty: Many Mauritanians struggle to survive with many surviving on less than $2 a day





ondon, United Kingdom- Historians tell us that there were two quite distinct British empires - the first an Atlantic empire built on North American colonies and Caribbean possessions and the second an Asian empire, built on control of India and coercive trade with China. These two empires were deeply criminal projects, in the specific sense that they relied heavily on profits from slavery and the sale of narcotics. Empire on the British model was a moneymaking venture, where moral considerations took second place to the lure of super profits. "Having given up the appearance of empire, the British have sought to reclaim its substance." The first British Empire came to an end when the Americans fought a revolutionary war for independence in the 1770s. The second British Empire began to fall apart with Indian independence in 1947. Arab and African nationalism progressively undermined British influence in the years that followed. At some point, perhaps with defeat in Suez in 1956, or when Britain withdrew from its last significant overseas possession, Hong Kong, in 1997, the game was finally up. Nowadays, if you believe what you're told by respectable historians and broadcasters, Britain has turned its back on its imperial past and is trying as best it can to make its way as an ordinary nation. The reality is somewhat more complicated. One day, perhaps history will describe a third British Empire, organised around the country's offshore financial infrastructure and its substantial diplomatic, intelligence and communications resources. Having given up the appearance of empire, the British have sought to reclaim its substance. Banking on billionaries Two news stories from last week help us sketch the outlines of this third, offshore empire. On Tuesday, March 20, a Russian banker was shot and seriously wounded outside his flat in Canary Wharf. On Sunday, March 25, the co-treasurer of the Conservative Party resigned after the Sunday Times claimed that he had been soliciting donations to his party from what he thought was a wealth fund based in Liechtenstein. These two apparently unrelated events together tell us quite

The third British Empire

David Cameron

a lot about contemporary Britain. The United Kingdom allows foreign residents to hold their funds offshore and only taxes them on money they bring into the country. This approach, a relic from the days of openly declared empire, makes the country a popular place of residence for billionaires from all over the world, from Africa, mainland Europe and India. Once in London, a sophisticated legal and financial apparatus arranges for foreign funds to be deposited in a network of offshore jurisdictions. In his groundbreaking book, Treasure Islands, Nicholas Shaxson describes London as the centre of a spider web that links to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the

Russian economy flocked to London. They had little in the way of a social base in their own country and their position was chronically insecure. They needed a way to channel profits overseas, and London offered them access to a world-class financial centre and favourable tax rates. The city also gave some of them a public profile outside Russia. In buying Chelsea Football Club and the Evening Standard, Roman Abramovich and Alexander Lebedev respectively have made themselves international figures. Moves against them by opponents back home are thereby made that much more difficult. The British state does more than provide a hospitable, low-tax


Much of the old bombast is gone. There are fewer flags and trumpets. But in other respects, the third empire closely resembles its predecessors. Like them, it must do all it can to prevent effective democracy from breaking out at home, as it profits from tyranny abroad. Caribbean. With impressive frugality, the British have reinvented the scattered remnants of formal empire as instruments for serving the needs of global capital. When the Soviet Union broke up, those who secured control of the privatised

jurisdiction and the means to acquire a higher profile abroad. It puts its diplomatic resources at the disposal of favoured foreign residents. For example, in July 2001, Tony Blair wrote a letter to Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase to

support Lakshmi Mittal's efforts to buy up the stateowned steel company, Sidex. Though Mittal had offices in London, the company making the bid was registered offshore, in the Dutch Antilles. But while Mittal did not employ many people in Britain, or pay much tax there, he did make a significant contribution to the Labour Party. In May 2001, two months before Blair wrote his letter, the Indian magnate had given them ÂŁ125,000 ($199,750). It is hardly surprising that Peter Cruddas was happy to talk with financiers from Liechtenstein about donations to the Conservative Party. Donations from foreigners are illegal, but it is a relatively simple matter to set up a company registered in the UK to handle the transaction. Offshore blurs the distinction between domestic and foreign. Capital of capitalism All this is part of a much larger imperial project, whose full scale and significance is difficult to appreciate. This is not an empire that advertises itself widely. Indeed, it tries to hide the very fact of its existence. But there is no doubting the ambition. For decades now, Britain's rulers have sought to make London the capital of global capitalism. "The third British empire is not an industrial or military superpower. Indeed, it is intensely vulnerable." The state has reorganised itself to this end. Privatisation was tested in the UK and then exported around the world. Deregulation brought foreign banks to London. The financial sector, the intelligence establishment and

the political parties are committed to a project that the major media can scarcely bring themselves to discuss. Elections become ever more hallucinatory exercises, in which shallow differences in tone and detail obscure a far deeper complicity. Occasionally, the dynamics of the offshore empire become visible as scandals or sensational crimes. Power struggles cause ripples that can't be missed. A foreign businessman is shot in the street. The sheer strangeness jolts us for a moment out of our obliviousness. A politician is caught soliciting donations and resigns. Rupert Murdoch, a significant figure in Britain's revived imperialism, owns the Sunday Times, the paper that broke the Peter Cruddas story. One faction in the empire is sending a message to another. For a moment what cannot be discussed is mentioned, obliquely, as is the way of empire. The third British Empire is not an industrial or military superpower. Indeed, it is intensely vulnerable. The United States and the great powers of Europe could do a great deal to hamper it, if they chose to do so. The empire is a standing temptation to betray the local or the national for the sake of membership of a far more exclusive and elusive entity an entity whose allure is intimately linked to its tact, its capacity to avoid straightforward description. Empire prospers to the extent that it can exploit, and where possible foster, corruption elsewhere. Much of the old bombast is gone. There are fewer flags and trumpets. But in other respects, the third empire closely resembles its predecessors. Like them, it must do all it can to prevent effective democracy from breaking out at home, as it profits from tyranny abroad. The dedication to the needs of global capitalism benefits only a tiny minority of the population. The rest face a future of steepening inequality and shrinking prospects. Besides, as in previous centuries the people at home must pay up when adventures abroad turn expensive. And like the first two British empires, the current one is a criminal enterprise. But having specialised in slavery and drug trafficking, perhaps the empire's current, signature crime is tax evasion. Source:



NATO condemned for Libya migrant tragedy A

report into the deaths of 63 Libyan refugees on a small boat last May said a "catalogue of errors" by coastguards and Nato meant they were never rescued. The Council of Europe inquiry says two Nato ships close by failed to respond to distress calls, and no country launched a search and rescue mission. Only nine people survived the 15-day Mediterranean voyage after the boat ran out of fuel and drifted back to Libya. Nato has said it has no record of any aircraft or ship contacting the boat. However, it says other search and rescue missions were launched around this time. The report says some 1,500 people died at sea trying to reach Europe in 2011. Many of these were trying to flee from Libya or other conflicts in North Africa. The Council of Europe launched its investigation into the incident after The Guardian newspaper spoke to survivors. They say smugglers removed their supplies in order to get more people into the boat. The nine-month inquiry concludes that there were many opportunities to rescue the migrants, who were hoping to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa: After 18 hours at sea in a crowded boat with little fuel and

water, a distress call was sent by satellite phone to an Eritrean priest living in Italy This was passed to the Italian coastguard which used the satellite call to establish the boat's position The information was passed onto other ships in the area Nato had said the area was a military zone under its control, but failed to launch a rescue operation Within a few hours the

survivors say a military helicopter hovered over them and dropped food and water, and indicated that it would return - it never did The boat made contact with two fishing vessels which refused to help On around the tenth day when half of those on board were already dead, a large military boat allegedly came alongside, but

Thousands fled the unrest in Tunisia and Libya, mostly bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa, last year

Protests halt ECOWAS’ mission to Mali


delegation of West African leaders has abandoned its trip to Mali to negotiate with the leaders of last week's coup after pro-junta demonstrators staged a sit-in on the airport tarmac in Bamako, the capital, An official at Ivory Coast's presidency yesterday said an airplane carrying President Alassane Ouattara, one of a delegation of six heads of state from the Economic Community


ali's opposition parties have said they will support a plan devised by the ECOWAS which has called on the leaders of the coup to restore power to the toppled president. The 15-nation bloc ECOWAS suspended Mali from the organisation during a meeting on Tuesday, following in the footsteps of the African Union as the international community roundly condemned the takeover. President Toure, 63, was chased out of power just five weeks before the end of his term in office ahead of elections on April 29, by soldiers angry at his handling of a twomonth old Tuareg rebellion in the north. His whereabouts have been unknown since he was overthrown. But he told AFP on Wednesday that he was safe in Bamako and was not being held by the coup leaders. "I am indeed in Bamako, and thank God my family and I are

despite obvious distress signals it also sailed away The report, called "Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?" also says Nato failed to plan adequately for the likely exodus of asylum-seekers from Libya. And it says Italian and Maltese search and rescue authorities both failed to take responsibility for launching a rescue mission.

of West African States (ECOWAS) had returned to the capital Abidjan. Two diplomatic sources said the other heads of state had also scrapped the planned meeting, designed to pressure army captain Amadou Sanogo to swiftly restore constitutional order after the toppling of President Amadou Toumani Toure. "Everyone is heading home," one of the diplomats told Reuters,

asking not to be named. There was no word on whether the visit would be rescheduled. However, sources told the AP and AFP news agencies that the regional heavyweights were due to regroup in Abidjan for an emergency meeting after the incident. Kady Traore, a spokesperson for Ouattara, told Reuters he was "on the plane with the delegation headed to Bamako and it was during the flight that

they heard about the protests, and they turned around". Shortly after Ouattara left Abidjan, scores of pro-junta supporters swarmed the runway at Bamako's airport to prevent the arrival of the team, AFP reported. Reuters reporters said rival camps of hundreds of youths, some supporting and others opposing the junta, had clashed in central Bamako yesterday morning, and a group of junta supporters briefly occupied the airport landing strip.

doing well," Toure said in a brief telephone conversation. "I am obviously following what is happening, I wish with all my heart that peace and democracy triumph in Mali. I have nothing else to say for the moment." Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra,

reporting from Bamako, said there were conflicting reports over the current location of the president. Ahelbarra said that the military leaders of ECOWAS had made it quite clear to Captain Sanogo that there was no way out of the crisis "but for him to step aside

and restore the legitimate authority of the president". "If he rejects the offer, they will push further for economic sanctions." our correspondent said. "It is an incredibly delicate moment for Captain Sanogo with the mounting international pressure."

‌Opposition backs plan

Egypt ex-housing minister gets 8 yrs jail for graft


Cairo court yesterday sentenced former Housing Minister Ibrahim Soliman to eight years in jail and fined him 2.18 billion Egyptian pounds for squandering public funds in two separate real estate deals. The court also sentenced Magdi Rasekh, father-in-law of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's eldest son Alaa, in absentia to five years in jail and fined him 2.34 billion pounds in connection with one of

deals. The cases against Soliman, minister from 1993 to 2005, and Rasekh were first referred to the public prosecutor in May, three months after Mubarak was ousted in a public uprising. They were convicted of selling state land to businessmen for less than their market value. The fines included compensation to the state as well as penalties. They will not be required to

return the land, much of which has been developed and sold on to other people. Rasekh had been board chairman at property developer SODIC, but stepped down last year, adding to a list of resignations at property firms scrambling to distance themselves from the country's deposed president. Six other businessmen and state employees were also sentenced and fined in the case.

Algeria refuses burial for French gunman’s body


lgerian authorities have refused to allow the body of an al Qaeda-inspired gunman who killed seven people in France this month to be sent there for burial, an Algerian government source and an official at a top French mosque said yesterday. Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin who was shot dead by a police sniper last week following a more than 30-hour siege at his home in the southern city of Toulouse, will instead be buried there, Abdallah Zekri told Reuters. Zekri, an adviser to the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris who was in Toulouse dealing with the funeral arrangements, said the mayor of the Algerian village of Bezzaz, where Merah's father wanted him buried, had declined the request for security reasons. "The mayor of Bezzaz gave a negative response," he said. "He should be buried within 24 hours, probably in the Toulouse region, but it will be kept strictly private." An Algerian government source confirmed that the North African government had refused to admit Merah's body for burial in his home village, as requested by the gunman's father. "Algeria has nothing to do with this case, and we do not understand why some circles in France are trying to involve us in it. This is why we took the decision to not admit the body for now in Algeria," said the source, who asked not to be named. "This is a temporary decision." On Wednesday, Mohamed Merah's father, Mohamed Benalel Merah, told Reuters that transferring the required paperwork from the consulate in Toulouse to the Algerian region of Medea, where the desolate hamlet of Bezzaz is located, meant it could take some time before the body could be flown there. Merah, 23, a self-styled Islamist radical, confessed during the police standoff to having shot dead three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children at pointblank range in a spate of attacks that shook France a month from a presidential election. His father has lashed out at French authorities for killing his son rather than arresting him and putting him on trial, and says he wants to sue the French government. Merah's body is currently at a hospital morgue in Toulouse and prosecutors are investigating his elder brother, Abdelkader, for possible complicity in the case.



BRICS condemn West over IMF reform, monetary policy


eaders of the BRICS group of emerging market nations pressed Western powers to cede more voting rights at the IMF this year and flayed the rich world's reflationary monetary policies for putting global economic stability in jeopardy. "This dynamic process of reform is necessary to ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Fund," Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said in a joint declaration after their one-day summit in New Delhi. "We stress that the ongoing effort to increase the lending capacity of the IMF will only be successful if there is confidence that the entire membership of the institution is truly committed to implement the 2010 Reform faithfully." Promised changes to voting rights at the IMF have yet to be ratified by the United States, adding to frustration over reform of the G7 and the U.N. Security Council, where India and Brazil have been angling for years for permanent seats. The BRICS leaders also accused rich countries of destabilizing the world economy five years into the global financial crisis. "It is critical for advanced economies to adopt responsible macroeconomic and financial policies, avoid creating excessive global liquidity and undertake structural reforms to lift growth that create jobs," they said in a joint

declaration. The rich world's monetary policy "brings enormous trade advantages to developed countries, and results in unfair obstacles for other countries," Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said at the summit. Security was tight in New Delhi, days after an activist set himself on fire in protest at Chinese rule in Tibet, dying from his injuries just hours before China's President Hu Jintao arrived. Police grappled with small groups of proTibet protesters. Iran's nuclear rights The declaration said the crises over Iran's nuclear programme should be resolved diplomatically and should not be allowed to escalate. It also recognised the right of Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear energy. "We agreed that lasting solution to the problems in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. The five BRICS nations, which collectively account for nearly half the world's population and a fifth of its economic output, signed an agreement to extend credit facilities in their local currencies, a step aimed at reducing the role of the dollar in trade between them. They also agreed to examine in greater detail an Indian proposal to set up a BRICS-led South-South Development Bank, funded and managed by the BRICS and other developing countries.

"We have directed the finance ministers to examine the proposal and report back at the next summit," Singh said. Other moves to bring their

economies closer together include the launch on Friday of benchmark equity index derivatives allowing investors in one BRICS country to bet on the

(From 9th L) India"s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazil"s President Dilma Rousseff, India"s President Pratibha Patil, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, South Africa"s President Jacob Zuma and India"s Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari pose with artists during a cultural programme and banquet hosted by Patil at the presidential palace in New Delhi March 28, 2012.

Spanish workers on general strike over labour


panish unions are holding a general strike to protest against labour reforms which the new government hopes will help cut unemployment. Road, rail and air transport were all affected with domestic and European flights cut to a fraction. Unions claimed strong support at car factories and other industrial sites but Mariano Rajoy's conservative government played down the action. It plans to unveil measures on Friday to save tens of billions of euros. The strike is the government's first big challenge since taking office. Scuffles broke out between protesters and police as workers from Spain's largest unions picketed at the capital's bus depot early on Thursday. A total of 58 people were detained and nine were injured, the interior ministry said. By agreement between the government and the unions, bus and rail services were kept to a minimum service while only one in 10 domestic, and one in five European, flights were able to operate. The unions see it not just as a trial of strength but as a battle over the future of the welfare state" Outside Atocha - one of Madrid's main rail stations - pickets waved red union flags and blew shrill

whistles as police looked on. One protester in Madrid, 31year-old Angel Andrino, said he had been sacked a day after the labour reforms were approved in a decree last month. Accompanied on a march by his parents and brother, he told the Associated Press news agency: "We are going through a really hard time, suffering. "The rights that our parents and grandparents fought for are being wiped away without the public being consulted." The UGT union said that participation in the strike was "massive" and that virtually all workers at Renault, Seat, Volkswagen and Ford car factories around Spain had honoured it during the shift. Regional TV stations in Andalusia in the south, Catalonia in the north-east and Madrid were also off the air because of the strike. With the EU's highest rate of unemployment, Spain is under pressure to reduce its budget deficit and bring its public finances under control. "The question here is not whether the strike is honoured by many or few, but rather whether we get out of the crisis," the country's Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said. "That is what is at stake, and the government is not going to yield."

performance of stock markets in the other four members without currency risk. The indexes will be cross-listed on their stock exchanges from Friday.

A burning rubbish bin in Barcelona during today's riots

A protester is grabbed by police after he tried to stop a bus in Madrid



Pope Benedict lashes out at US over 53year-old trade embargo on Cuba P ope Benedict XVI has ended a visit to Cuba by criticizing the 50-year-old trade embargo imposed by the US. The Pope claimed the blockade, introduced after Cuba's Communist revolution in 1959 and strengthened three years later, was an unfair burden on Cuba's people after a meeting with leader of the revolution and former president Fidel Castro. The Pontiff, who has now arrived back in Rome, made the comments at Havana airport

alongside current president, Fidel's brother Raul, after celebrating Mass in front of huge crowds in Havana. He said Cubans should be 'forging a society of wide horizons, renewed and reconciled'. He added: 'No one should feel excluded from taking up this exciting search by the limitations of their basic freedoms, or excused from this by indolence or a lack of material resources - a situation which is worsened when restrictive economic measures, imposed from outside the country,

unfairly burden its people.' Pope Benedict met with Castro for the first time after saying mass in Havana, in which he demanded greater freedom in the country and denounced Communist 'fanaticism'. The meeting comes towards the end of the Pope's three-day visit to the Communist-run island, during which the pontiff called for a bigger role for the Roman Catholic Church in Cuban society. The former Cuban leader

Historic meeting: Pope Benedict XVI meets Fidel Castro in Havana


ocket explodes as Arab League summit opens in Baghdad Iraq is hosting its first Arab League summit in 22 years, with talks expected to be dominated by the crisis in Syria. Iraq is keen to show its neighbours it can maintain security following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December, nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Nine heads of state and UN chief Ban Ki-moon were among those attending the opening of the summit in the former Republican Palace on Thursday. Despite rigorous security arrangements, a mortar round landed on the edge of the fortified Green Zone as the summit got under way. "It was a mortar round that landed near the [Iranian] embassy. There are no casualties,"


rab League foreign ministers meeting in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, have agreed on a draft resolution on Syria, which calls for action on an UN-backed peace plan formulated by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Speaking after the first day of the summit on Wednesday, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said "the Syrian crisis is not exclusively an Arab one, it affects the entire international community", and called for a "unified vision" when it came to

announced late yesterday that he would happily meet with Benedict, saying he was asking for just a 'few minutes of his very busy time' while the Pope is in Havana. After the mass, Benedict met for about half an hour with Castro, who is a Jesuit-educated altar boy-turnedrevolutionary leader. His 1998 hosting of Pope John Paul II marked a turning point in the church's relations with Cuba. Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said he was watching the two men and their conversation seemed very animated. The Pope said Castro, who was raised a Catholic, asked about the reasons for the changes in the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, about the role of the Pope and about the Pope's thinking about the larger philosophical questions weighing on the minds of people today. For the meeting, Castro brought his wife Dalia and two of his sons. The former Cuban ruler, who in 2006 handed the reigns of power to his younger brother, Raul Castro, also suggested to Benedict that two of the church's most prominent figures of the past half century - Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II - should be canonized. Father Lombardi told the Catholic News Service: 'In the

end, Commandante Fidel asked the Pope to send him a few books dealing with the questions he had.' He also revealed that Castro had told Pope Benedict he had followed his entire visit on television, and Castro had remarked they were about the same age, to which the Pope replied: 'Yes, I'm old, but I can still carry out my duties.' The Pope will celebrate his 85th birthday in April, and Castro will turn 86 in August. As they met, Cuban authorities began to release the more than 200 dissidents arrested or detained in the days leading up to and during the pope's three-day visit to the Communist island, according to the online forum,, which posts dispatches from Cuban opposition groups. The events followed an unusually politicized homily from Benedict which was a notso-subtle jab at Cuba's leadership before the vast crowd. But he also used plain language to urge an end to Cuba's isolation, a reference to the 50-year U.S. economic embargo and the inability of 11 American presidents and brothers Fidel and Raul Castro to forge peace. 'Cuba and the world need change, but this will occur only if each one is in a position to seek the truth and chooses the way of love, sowing reconciliation and fraternity,' he said.

Rocket explodes as Arab League summit opens in Baghdad though some of the windows of the embassy were broken, a police official said. The city has been effectively locked down for the occasion, with 100,000 security forces on alert. Swathes of roads, air space and mobile networks have been shut down. The talks are expected to be dominated by the crisis in Syria. Arab leaders will call for talks between the Syrian government and opposition based on a six-point peace plan proposed by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan, according to a draft copy of the Baghdad Declaration obtained by AFP. The region's leaders "denounce the violence, murder and bloodshed, and are in favour of a political solution via national dialogue," said the document, to be issued after the

summit. Arab leaders have said, however, that the summit will not call for President Bashar alAssad to quit, and will not consider arming the opposition seeking to overthrow him. Arab states have been divided in two camps in regards to Syria, with countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia advocating sending arms to the opposition and others, such as Iraq, pushing for political reconciliation. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from the summit, said Arab nations worried that Syria could devolve into civil war and that the international community would be forced to respond. "Arab states certainly don't want to get in the middle of this, with Iran on one side, and the

whole Arab world on the other," she said. The emir of Kuwait was the lone head of state to attend from the six Gulf Arab nations.

Some Arab leaders during the opeing session of the summit.

‌. League backs Annan Syria plan resolving regional issues. On Tuesday, Annan, the joint UNArab League envoy for Syria, said President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to the six-point peace proposal that urges an end to violence in that country. Annan's proposal calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centres, humanitarian assistance, the release of prisoners and free movement and

access for journalists. It also calls for a temporary ceasefire to be established every day in order to allow medical and humanitarian aid to be delivered. Arab states have backed away from their initial proposal, which demanded that Assad step down, after Russia and China vetoed two UN draft resolutions condemning him. Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr,

The UN chief said Assad must turn his acceptance of Annan's plan to divert his country from a "dangerous trajectory" with risks for the entire region.

reporting from Baghdad, said there had been no ultimatum, no threats of force and no calls on Assad to step aside. "We heard the Iraqi foreign minister saying talks were positive, there was consensus and that Arab foreign ministers reached draft resolution on Syria. "But clearly there are divisions. We heard opening statements, we heard the Libyan foreign minister

saying there should be more international pressure. And the Iraqi foreign minister said the way forward should be to find a political solution." Before the summit began, Zebari said the League would not accept foreign intervention in Syria. The Annan proposal is the latest attempt to broker an end to more than a year of violence in Syria, after Assad sent troops into cities to try to crush opposition fighters and protesters seeking to end his 12-year rule.



Young couple devastated after moving into their dream home... only for kitchen to Collapse 24 hours later Couple paid £500 for a Home Buyers report which FAILED to detect faulty floor


young couple were left utterly devastated when, just hours after moving into their dream home, the entire kitchen collapsed. Rosie Kennedy, 25, and her partner Chris Brennan, 30, were enjoying a celebratory drink when they felt a rumble beneath their feet. Before they had a chance to dash out of the room the foundations of the newly-fitted kitchen in their semi-detached home caved in leaving terrified Rosie trapped under her brand new cooker. The shaken pair, who paid £163,000 for the three-bedroom 1930s semi, were taken to hospital with minor injuries but were dealt a double blow when their insurance company Direct Line told them they would not pay for the repairs. More... Maybe someone will grass them up... Brazen thieves steal family's entire front LAWN Dr Seuss's daughter pleads for safe return of 2ft bronze Lorax statue after thieves target writer's estate The horrified couple were landed with a whopping £24,000 repair bill - the equivalent of £1,000 for every hour they lived in the house. Stunned Rosie who works as a direct ship manager, said: 'It was

our dream home but it's turned into an absolute nightmare. 'It was such a massive shock and really scary. 'It is the last thing you would expect to happen, especially after just buying the house. 'The kitchen was in perfect condition with a brilliant large range cooker - and it was one of the reasons we bought the house. 'The place didn't need much work doing to it at all. 'Like every young couple when they buy a house, we used every penny we had to buy it. 'We have no idea what to do now. We are devastated.' The day after the collapse, the couple lodged a claim with insurers Direct Line but they have refused to cover the costs of the repairs. Rosie said: 'I feel very angry that we have done everything by the book but are still being left out of pocket. 'Chris and I bought the house to be a home forever and planned

That sinking feeling: Unlucky Rosie Kennedy stands on what was once the kitchen floor of her new home after it collapsed just as she was celebrating moving in with her boyfriend to get married and have kids but that's all on hold now because we have to pay for the repairs ourselves and we don't have any money.' A spokeswoman for Direct Line said: 'Miss Kennedy has been through a distressing time with

Double whammy: The pair, who paid £163,000 for the three-bedroom 1930s semi, were dealt a second blow when their insurance company Direct Line told them they would not pay for the repairs

her home and we offer our condolences for the strain she has suffered. 'When Miss Kennedy's kitchen floor collapsed the day after she moved in, we explained that any inherent building defects were not covered by insurance.

Chasm: The horrified couple were landed with a whopping £24,000 repair bill the equivalent of £1,000 for every hour they lived in the house

Opposition politics and lessons of Senegal Contd. from Back Page We had comprehensive sessions on Town Planning, Land Use, Education, Health, Culture, Sports, Waste Disposal, Relocation of Markets and the like. With Dakar being home to well over a third of Senegal's population, Mayor Sall had a lot to. At least two things were not working for him though, the constitution vested a lot of control of the taxation, land and administration of the city in the hands of the central government, coupled with the fact that Khalifa Sall had just shockingly beat President Wade's son Karim Wade at the polls - you see why a Wade is not losing to a Sall for the first time. Sall, a member of the Socialist Party (PS) had scored 81 of the 100 votes cast by municipal councillors to emerge Mayor. The March 22nd, 2009 local elections had voters who were fed up with rising prices and fuel shortages in Senegal, overwhelmingly vote for the opposition coalition Bennoo Siggil Senegal in key locations including the capital. That was the first major blow to Wade's then nine year dominance of Senegal's politics and

a first indication of what was to come in 2012. There are lessons for Nigeria's opposition groups to learn from Senegal's very poignant recent democratic process. The era of playing the opposition for the sake of it must either come to an end soon or we leave our people at the mercy of political actors who do not see anything wrong in having produced 112 million poor people, more than the population of any other African country. If the bigger evil called the PDP must be defeated at the polls, we must do things much more different from what we used to do - the first step is realizing that PDP's current crappy governance will consume us all in the end. The second is to moving from the politics of self-enrichment and personal promotion to one that recognizes overriding public interest. Forming a broad-based political coalition that brings together disparate platforms of the good is the next step necessary to dislodge the toxic aberration running the country. Senegal's opposition saw the power of a coalition when together they handed President Wade

resounding losses in local elections 3 years ago. That was the testing ground for the realities we see in Senegal today. Even though they yet again ran on different platforms in the first round, a previous alliance made it easier for them to align for the runoff and the results are there for everyone to see. When I spoke to Sall and his group in October 2008 about the possibilities of Wade rigging the elections, they were shocked at even the idea. It was obvious the thought was alien to them and they said that much. They were not bothered about rigged elections because they knew the people of Senegal will just not accept it, be part of it, or be paid money to do it! It is never going to happen, they added. We will not have a democracy to be proud of as long as some political parties value themselves as successful when they present candidates that "then succeed" at the polls no matter how unknown or unpopular these candidates are. Democracy is about the majority and as long as we continue to have puppet-esque political parties, Lilliputian candidates and corrupt

arms of governments that simply pursue their self interest, we will continue to have policy accidents, increasing corruption, unabashed ineptitude, abuse of law and order, insecurity, injustice and the likes as it is the way and norm of the current power brokers in Nigeria's national political space. What are the lessons the Nigerian opposition are learning from Senegal? Do we now see that to beat Nigeria's biggest nemesis and evil, an early alliance starting with the local and early polls would prove very useful? Confidence must be built with opportunities such elections offer while trust is engendered through understanding as we seek to defy the 'do or die' politics of the powers that be to help provide the much needed leadership our people crave and need for meaningful growth and development. Thirteen years of democracy under this dispensation has come with much more pains, poverty and penury for our people than joy. We have moved forward at times but taken giant leaps backward. The leaps and reforms the Obasanjo years set in place in many sectors

have since been eroded by careless leadership, wanton corruption, unabashed cronyism even as our debts rise in inverse proportions to projects and infrastructural provisions on the ground. It has been a case of growing national debts with poorer outcomes and zero results. If this is allowed to continue, we would have just been mere spectators that had the opportunity to take the bull by the horn, but lacked the courage to do so. Then we would have failed to birth the desired leadership that would secure our future, that of our children and grand-children. Senegal our little brother has shown the way, and just as Khalifa Sall's team told us how they were desperate to see Nigeria play its role as a leader on the continent, it remains to be seen if those of us that chose to be in opposition will take a cue from Senegal's example and light the new order of change for Nigeria. It is the only way we will end the rule of these thieves of our future - the leaders squandering our resources today, providing little or no infrastructure and social services, thus ensuring they steal the future of our youths, children and generations unborn.



Seven vital steps to making the most of time with your doctor W

hen you go to see your GP, you have about ten minutes to tell him or her what’s wrong, for them to understand that, make a diagnosis (if one hasn’t been made) and decide on a course of action. Add to that mix first-time nerves, a doctor you may not know and that feeling of your mind going blank under pressure, and often an appointment can be wasted. Is this a huge problem? Well, we GPs are often anecdotally criticised for missing serious diseases, such as cancer, or dismissing them as something far more common. And the Department of Health estimates that 10,000 deaths a years could be avoided if cancers were diagnosed earlier. Of course, the responsibility for this lies with the doctor and we need to do better. But as a patient, there are things you can do to maximise your time with your doctor with a few simple steps. For a start, take advantage of any screening programmes available. Thousands of lives are saved annually with the free tests offered for bowel, breast and cervical cancers. Make sure you

are registered with your local GP so that the surgery can invite you to a relevant test. It is also worth knowing signs of common diseases to be concerned about. And I’ve devised a simple mnemonic to help patients. PREPARE stands for Plan, Research, Explain, Prioritise, Ask questions, Return and Explore. Follow these seven steps and you should get the maximum from your visit. PLAN AHEAD When you go to see your doctor, think about your consultation. Write down any questions you

Bowel condition may increase the risk of miscarriage


regnant women with a common bowel condition may be 20 per cent more likely to miscarry, according to new research. The study is the first to look at the links between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and miscarriage and suggests that pregnant women with the condition should receive additional antenatal care. The research examined information from the GP records of 100,000 British women who became pregnant between January 1990 and December 2008. Of those, more than 26,000 had suffered from IBS, a chronic condition causing pain and bloating. The researchers found that 6,500 – six per cent – of the women suffered a miscarriage, which is within the normal range. But when they looked at the women who also had IBS, the proportion who lost their babies rose to 7.5 per cent, which is considered significant. The risk increased further – up to 30 per cent – if the women also had pre-existing problems with depression and anxiety. IBS is linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain, and researchers said these conditions should also be studied to see if they caused miscarriage. The study was by a team from University College Cork in Ireland and the University of Manchester. One of the authors, Dr Ali Khashan, from the

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Cork, said: ‘We think this will open the eyes of clinicians and GPs to the possibility women who have IBS should be cared for in a certain way if pregnant.’ IBS is a common condition of the digestive system causing painful bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. While there is no cure, the symptoms can be relieved by altering diet and managed by medication. However, obstetrician Virginia Beckett, of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, urged caution over the findings. ‘IBS is often misdiagnosed and there can be other underlying problems which may contribute to miscarriage,’ she said. ‘Women should ensure they take folic acid throughout pregnancy as it reduces the risk of miscarriage. They should also stop smoking, lose weight and eat healthily.’ Source:

Pregnant women with a bowel condition may be 20 per cent more likely to miscarry, according to new research

Many people only have ten minutes to explain to their GP exactly what is wrong, so be sure to make the most of your time may have and jot down your key symptoms, when they occur and how long you’ve been suffering from them, as well as any medication or treatments you may be taking. RESEARCH YOUR SYMPTOMS Google isn’t a diagnostic tool but it’s a valuable source of information and I will always take on board a patient’s own theories. Your gut instinct can be a powerful indicator of what is wrong, and often people are right. But try not to come to any conclusions before seeing your doctor. Your computer is useful – but it can’t see you and it doesn’t know your medical history. Type in a list of symptoms and the worstcase scenario always comes up as cancer, which is relatively rare, and this can cause unnecessary anxiety. EXPLAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING Tell your GP your story. We call this the ‘history of the presenting complaint’. Think about when you last felt well and what has happened since then. Incredibly, about 80 per cent of diagnoses are made using this information alone. The examination by your doctor and

subsequent tests are responsible for identifying only the other 20 per cent. Help your doctor do the detective work. PRIORITISE YOUR PROBLEMS As I have said, most GP appointments last only ten minutes. No doctor should rush you along, but if there is something that really concerns you, say it first, even if it’s embarrassing. Your doctor won’t be embarrassed in the least because the chances are we’ve seen it many times before. Ideally, focus on one complaint per appointment. ASK QUESTIONS... ...and share any concerns. If a friend or family member has had similar symptoms or you’re worried about something you have read in a newspaper or seen on television, just ask. Either it will give your doctor more clues as to the problem, or they may be able to put your mind at ease. RETURN... ...if things don’t improve. If you have persisting symptoms and they don’t improve, don’t ignore them. They may evolve and a diagnosis will become clearer over time.

Don’t ever feel you are being a bother. Try to see the same doctor on a return visit for the same complaint. This helps to build up a full picture of what is happening. The GP may be able to give you a timeframe as to how long symptoms should – or shouldn’t – last. EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS If you are unhappy with any explanation, it’s fine to challenge your GP. Ask them what else it could be or to rationalise their diagnosis. If they don’t think your headaches are down to a brain tumour, then they should be able to explain exactly why. If you remain unconvinced, you can ask for a second opinion. I often suggest my patients make an appointment with another member of the practice team who may have a speciality in a certain area. And if you have lost confidence in your practice, then it is easy to change GPs. Following these simple rules means that you give yourself and your doctor the best chance of getting the diagnosis right the first time and reduce any delay in treatment. Source:



PDP: Bamanga Tukur promises reconciliation, reformation By Lawrence Olaoye


ational Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday said his administration would be preoccupied with the task of reforming the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as reconciling alienated members. In a statement released by the office of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, the newly elected PDP National Chairman made this statement yesterday in Birnin- Kebbi capital of Kebbi state during the campaign tour of the party in support of the reelection bid of Alhaji Saidu Dakingari, former governor of Kebbi state. Speaking at the state stadium, Alhaji Tukur said that his leadership will ensure that all the feuding parties in PDP are reconciled within the shortest possible time so as to move the party forward. He said “I am glad that this policy is already gaining ground in Kebbi state. The presence of the former governor Senator Adamu Aliero with all his supporters here today is an indication of greater things to come. “I have no doubt in my mind that this election is a formality as our candidate has delivered so much in the last term, enough to make his victory very possible” Tukur therefore called on the party faithful in the state to close ranks to ensure that the former governor gets re-elected at the


Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, PDP Chairman weekend and sworn in immediately to continue the good works he has been doing in the state. The former governor and the PDP flag-bearer in the Kebbi governorship re-run, congratulated the new PDP Chairman and wished that his visit, being the very first since assumption of office, will bring the luck that will bring victory to the party.

Among the dignitaries that thronged the venue of the rally include former Sports Minister Alhaji Sumaila Sambawa, Defence Minister and former acting National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed, acting governor of the state, Hon. Aminu Jega, all serving members of the National Assembly from the state as well as other top government functionaries.

•••Accuses Jega of lawlessness, partisanship


he Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has called on its supporters in Kebbi state to boycott the gubernatorial rerun scheduled for Saturday insisting that there are indications that Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Election (INEC) does not intend to conduct a free and fair election in the state. The party stated that rather than extend date of the fresh election to allow CPC elect another gubernatorial candidate for the election after the defection of the former flag bearer to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), INEC fixed the election for only 37days within the stipulated 90 days which the party said has made it difficult for it to elect new governorship candidate. Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Acting National Chairman of the party,

••• Subsidy Regime c’ttee to submit reports by April Easter holiday. By Lawrence Olaoye

CPC boycotts Kebbi re-run

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

Constitution amendment: Reps receive 50 memoranda, 9 referrals

Mustapha Saliu and the National Secretary, Buba Galadima, said that the Maurice Iwu-led INEC was better than the Jega’s Commission, pointing out that the present INEC has seriously compromised its integrity by pandering to the whims of the ruling party. According to CPC, “Considering the time constraint imposed by INEC to conduct the polls in 37 days, our party wrote to notify the Commission of the withdrawal and sought for postponement of the election to enable the party nominate and sponsor a candidate to represent us in the polls. The application was delivered and acknowledged by INEC on 22nd March, 2012. The Commission’s reply dated 22nd of March, 2012 rejected our party’s harmless request.” Meanwhile, a CPC chieftain, Rufai Hanga, has expressed regrets that CPC leader in Kebbi state, Adamu Aliero, defected to PDP with CPC governorship flag

bearer for the Kebbi election, Abubakar Gari Malam, recalling that Aliero has formally decamped from ANPP to PDP in 2007 and from PDP to CPC in 2011, and now back to PDP, describing it as strategised distraction of CPC’s pursuit. The CPC Chieftain therefore warned against displacing genuine party members who understand and believe in the ideology of CPC, and who are ready to suffer tribulation for the sake of CPC because some individuals came with money and use it to disorganize the party. “Today they are deserting the party one after the other after the damage is done and the same rejected stones are the ones salvaging what is left of the party.” Hanga stated. Meanwhile, CPC has disclosed that it will institute court case to challenge INEC’s alledged ‘deliberate, unlawful, and predetermined’ exclusion from the election.

he process for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution has kicked off with the House of Representatives Ad hoc committee on the issue receiving 50 memoranda and 9 referrals from motions related to the amendment of the constitution. Chairman of the subcommittee on Media of the Constitution Amendment Ad-hoc Committee, Rep Eziuche Ubani told newsmen yesterday that the committee had begun work on the amendment of the constitution. Ubani said that following the calls for memoranda by the committee, there have been responses from various sectors, including the judiciary, executive and even in the National Assembly. According to him, “The committee would be going for a retreat. We may receive proposal from executive and judiciary. We will have to consult special interest. We are working and engaging. We have not done the content analysis” Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc committee investigating the subsidy regime, Rep Farouk Lawal has assured that the committee would submit its report before the end of April. Lawal who sought for the leave of the House when the matter was raised, stated that the report would be submitted after April 16th, 2012 when the House would reconvene from its

The chairman explained to his colleagues that the report would have been ready next week but the Easter holiday would not allow the committee to submit it. Explaining the delay in producing the report, Lawan said that putting the report together had been a very challenging task. According to him, “We were confronted with conflicting responses from witnesses who testified during the public hearing. This is why we are taking our time to do a thorough job. So we are pleading with Nigerians to tarry a while for us to finish and do a good job. Ordinarily we would have been able to submit it in the next one week because we have a draft copy right now. But we need time to clean it up and make it ready for submission to this House. We are assuring Nigerians that we will bring a report that will meet their expectations” While ruling on the matter, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha stated “We are satisfied with the work of the committee so far and the explanation of Farouk Lawan. I want to assure you that the House leadership would not interfere in your work. So, take your time and do a good work so that when we resume, you can submit it for the consideration of the entire House.” In the same vein, the House yesterday adjourned plenary sessions to allow its committee to conclude work on many pending legislative work till Thursday next week when the Easter holiday would commence.

Our politicians lack the courage to accept defeat, says Interior Minister By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has said that the nation’s politicians lacked the maturity and courage to accept defeat saying most of them prefer to register their grievances in the Tribunal, rather than respect the verdict of the people. Moro who stated this yesterday at the headquarters of the ministry, when a group known as “League of Nigerian Voters”, conferred on him the “Award for Leadership Excellence”, added that politicians should always have the courage to listen to the voice of the people so as to develop the country’s nascent democracy. He told the group to channel their programmes towards sensitizing Nigerian voters, to keyin to the transformation agenda of the present administration, which

is aimed at conducting credible elections in the country. “I want you to carry the people along in all the programmes you are doing. Let them help in contributing towards the development of the country. The government is already working towards conducting credible elections where opponents will congratulate those who emerge as winners. “We can only be successful if private organization and groups will play their role effectively and engage the people to understand the policies of government”, he said. Earlier, the National Coordinator of the organization, Comrade Benedict Kokoiwen, said that the minister was considered worthy by the organization because of his meaningful contributions to the development of the country.



Okorie abandons APGA, unveils UPGA By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


L-R: Member National Steering Committee of Project Swift Count, Hajiya Farida Sada Yusuf, 2nd Co-Chairman, Comrade Mashood Erubami and 1st Co-Chairman Barrister Dafe Akpedeye, during a Press Conference in Abuja, on the forthcoming Governorship election in Kebbi state. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Edo guber poll: Traditional rulers reject PDP Deputy Gov T raditional rulers in Edo North Senatorial District have rejected the planned zoning of the position of Deputy Governor to the area by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The monarchs said they had given their support to the incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The position was made known by the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh while fielding questions from newsmen on Wednesday in Auchi. According to him, "Edo North

already have a performing governor in the person of Adams Oshiomhole." The traditional ruler defended his open campaign for the reelection bid of Gov. Oshiomhole, saying his was not an isolated case. Momoh said as a God-fearing leader, it was obligatory of him to be seen as speaking the truth at all times, and for the benefit of the people of the state. "Yes, I openly campaigned for Adams Oshiomhole in 2007, and joined by other traditional rulers by what Omo N'Oba (Erediauwa)

himself has said about Edo having a sitting governor that is performing wonderfully. "Even the World Bank and Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, the foremost performing governor in this state, have said positive things about him. Every part of Edo has experienced positively what he has been doing in this state, even in Edo Central; there are now boreholes, in a place where there were none in the past. "Now, he has turned parts of Edo state from glorified villages that they were, into beauties to

behold, and the aesthetics of the places bringing out the beauty of houses that did not look as beautiful before. Should we not be thankful to God for giving us such a person who has been performing? "That was why we, traditional rulers from Edo North, went to thank the Omo N'oba for his support for Governor Oshiomhole. We in Edo North, we do not want a Deputy Governor, because we have a governor already, and so will not support a party that wants to give us that."

Gov Aliyu pays tribute to Tinubu at 60 By Lawrence Olaoye


overnor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger state has paid glowing tribute to former Governor of Lagos State and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who attained 60 years of age yesterday. The governor said Tinubu had lived a life of service to Nigeria and humanity.

Governor Aliyu said Tinubu remained a reference point in good governance, statesmanship and deepening of the nation's democracy. "I have followed your contributions as a businessman, politician and administrator in the last two decades where you earned yourself respect on issues of economy, democracy and human rights," Aliyu said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi

Ndayebo. "Worthy of note are Tinubu's contributions to debates in the National Assembly as a Senator during the botched third Republic; his rapid transformation of Lagos State as Governor between 1999 and 2007 and now as the leader of the opposition," the statement added. Governor Aliyu added that Tinubu's larger than life image did not come to Nigerians as a surprise, given his high activist

bent, his rigorous pursuit of equity and fairness and deep passion for Nigeria. He pointed out that the nation was going through challenging moments when it direly needed the guidance and advice of leaders like Tinubu to steer the ship of state. Aliyu wished the ACN leader many more years of good health, courage and wisdom to continue to offer selfless service to Nigeria and humanity.

he former Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chekwas Okorie, has formally unveiled the United Peoples Grand Alliance (UPGA), in Abuja, saying that his experience in APGA has taught him how to detect political 'traitors' from a distance. Addressing journalists in Abuja shortly after unveiling the party, Okorie stated that after a crucial meeting with his political associates from the six geopolitical zones of the country, he voluntarily resolved to halt the leadership dispute with APGA and discontinue all court actions to that effect, by returning to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the original certificate with which APGA was registered. While explaining that the manifesto of UPGA was anchored on welfarism, liberalism and progressivism, Okorie further disclosed that in the next few months, the leadership of the party would embark on massive consultation and sensitization of Nigerians at home and abroad before the formal launching of the Party after it must have been formally registered by INEC. Speaking further, he disclosed that the founding members of the National Executive Committee of UPGA had applied to INEC, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act, for the registration of the political party. According to him, "Following the reply to our application by INEC, we have endeavored to fulfill the requirements of the law as set out in the INEC guidelines for Political Party registration. Form PA.1 and other support documents furnished to us by INEC in its guidelines have been completed, provided and returned to the Commission. Receipt of same has been duly acknowledged by the Commission as required by law." Meanwhile, the new UPGA has as its symbol, a rising sun with the acronym UPGA written on the bar upon which the rising sun is rested, while the motto of the party is 'Love and Unity' and the flag of the party is White and Green colours, with the party symbol displayed on the white part of the flag.

Kebbi rerun election will be duly monitored and observed, NGO assures By Muhammad Sada


he forthcoming Kebbi state re run election coming up this Saturday will be carefully monitored and observed, says the Co- chair of a N o n - G o v e r n m e n t a l Organisation (NGO), Project Swift Count (PSC), Dafe Akpedeye (SAN).

Addressing newsmen at a briefing in Abuja, the co chair said that PSC would deploy a total of 627 observers to monitor the process. Of this figure, 600 will be deployed to pre randomly selected polling units spread across the 21 local government areas of the state while the remaining will rove. Some of the measures taken

by the organization include a call to INEC to ensure that election officials and materials are deployed to the polling units so that the accreditation and voting process begins as scheduled and also that INEC should publish and display the voters register in the voting centres so that voters can easily identify where they are going to

vote. The NGO added that INEC should make regular engagements with all stakeholders and provide information as the basis for full participation. PSC also urged the security personnel to remain neutral and that priority should given to ensuring safety to voters and election materials.

Project Swift Count is a non partisan election observer group comprised of four organisations, namely the Federation of Muslin Women Associations (FOMWAN), Justice, Development, Peace/Caritas (JDPC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).



IPAC tasks new PDP chairman on relations with opposition parties T

he Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged the new PDP National Chairman Bamanga Tukur to establish cordial relationship with the opposition parties. Alhaji Mohammed Shittu, Secretary of the council, gave the advice on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Shittu stressed the need to

Convocation of sovereign national conference needs no legislation — ARP

establish a synergy between the various opposition parties, adding that it would facilitate good interparty relationship. He said the council would continue to support the emergence of party leaders through “proper democratic processes.” He described the emergence of Tukur as the best thing that had happened to the PDP, and advised the new chairman to ensure internal democracy in the party. ‘We are doing our best as interparty advisory body to promote ideology-based partisan politics in this country, and adherence to democratic tenets which will

promote internal democracy and reduce political prostitution.’’ Shittu, who is also the National Chairman of the Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN), stressed the need to build internal mechanism that would abolish political ‘gangsterism’ and usher in modern democratic principles. According to him, politics is a good game “and the whole world is being governed through political permutations and I believe that we shall get it right if we change our attitude.” NEC set to introduce Voter Education Clubs in 3,347 public colleges

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said it would introduce Voter Education Clubs in 3,347 selected public secondary schools in the country. Mr Adedeji Soyebi, National Electoral Commissioner, SouthWest Zone, disclosed this in Lagos at a seminar on voter education for public secondary schools in the South-West Zone. The one-day seminar, which held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), had as its theme: “Catching them Young for Democratic Governance” and was jointly organised by INEC and the


he African Renaissance Party (ARP) has said that Nigerians do not need any legislation by the National Assembly before convening a sovereign national conference for a new constitution. The ARP National Chairman, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos recently that convocation of the conference did not require the approval of the legislature. He was reacting to a statement by Project Nigeria that it was expecting the National Assembly to enact a law, convening a constituent assembly that would produce a new constitution. He said that sovereignty was with the citizens, and that they did not require the approval of their representatives (legislators) before deciding on a new constitution. “Since we know that the National Assembly is an agent of the people, we cannot expect it to be master of the people at the same time. “The National Assembly cannot be the servant and master at the same time; it is either it is the servant of the people or the master of the people. “Nigerians should convoke a national conference; when they finish, they can use a referendum to bring it into effect because sovereignty resides with the people and not the National Assembly,’’ he said. NAN reports that the Project Nigeria had at a meeting in Lagos on March 25 said that it wanted the National Assembly to enact a law that would enable convocation of a sovereign national conference. It also said that it had come up with a plan to tell Nigerians the reason it wanted the conference. Project Nigeria held the meeting with some other groups agitating for the convocation of the conference. The meeting was convened by Prof. Ben Nwabueze, the Leader of the Patriots – a forum for Nigerian elders – and Dr Tunji Braithwaite, the Founder of the defunct Nigeria Advanced Party.

R-L: INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, in a handshaking with Executive Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsalami Rabiu, as the INEC Chairman arrived for a meet with President Goodluck Jonathan, at the State House, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

university’s Centre for Social Research and Public Policy. He said that 633 public schools from the South-West zone, comprising Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo and Ogun, would be part of the project. “The essence of taking this voter education down to the grassroots is because 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the ages of these students fall within the eligible ages for electoral processes, as stipulated in the country’s constitution. “As a commission, we try to ensure that we consolidate on the gains of democracy, especially at the level of the electoral process,” he said. Soyebi said there was need for continuous enlightenment and education if the nation intended to succeed in its quest for sustained democracy. Earlier, Dr Ladipo Ogunmola, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State emphasised the need to encourage schools to initiate voter education activities by designating teachers as voter education coordinators. “We want to use the schools as a platform for building a good relationship with INEC and as partners in Nigeria’s democratisation process,” Ogunmola said. Prof. Kayode Oguntuashe, Director, Centre for Social Research and Public Policy, UNILAG, said that every pupil should be included in the programme. Oguntuashe observed that both civic education and voter education clubs would enhance the sustainability of democratic practices in the country.

Zamfara PDP appoints new scribe T

he Zamfara chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appointed Alhaji Ibrahim Dangaladima as its new Secretary. The Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Gusau . Dangaladima, who is the immediate-past chairman of Birnin Magaji Local Government, succeeded Alhaji Musa Zubairu who voluntarily

resigned as the Secretary of the party in June 2011. Mallaha said the appointment was ratified at the PDP stakeholders’ meeting held in Gusau on Wednesday. He said the decision was imperative to fill the vacancy and reposition the party for future challenges. He said the party could not operate without a functional secretariat which would coordinate its programmes

effectively. He noted that as a leading opposition party in the state, the PDP stood the chance of winning future elections in the area. The chairman explained that the party did not hold its congress to elect new leaders in the state because the current executive council was elected in 2009. “By 2013 when the tenure of the current executive council expires, fresh congresses would

be held to elect a new leadership for the party,“ he said. In his remarks, the new secretary commended the party’s elders and other stakeholders for the confidence reposed in him and promised to work hard for the success of the party. He called on members of the party to cooperate with him in his task of taking the party to greater heights.

Kebbi poll: DPA urges opposition parties to work for democracy


he Democratic People’s Alliance(DPA) has called on opposition parties to work together for a sustainable democracy in Kebbi. The National Secretary, Mr Sam Onimisi, made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday. He said although DPA was not participating in the election, he would advice the opposition parties to collaborate and play the game

according to the rule. “We don’t have a candidate for Kebbi election, you know we would have been campaigning, but it is not easy because we are not financially buoyant to carry out electioneering campaign. “Some of the political parties have even joined the ruling party which is not good enough for a democracy; I want to see a situation where the opposition parties stand the test of time. He noted that the opposition

parties were critical to the sustenance of democracy. Onimisi frowned at the situation where only the ruling political party emerged victorious in elections, adding that it was not good for democracy. “Winner takes all attitude will make parties so weak because one party system is the worst thing that can happen to democracy. “And my message to Nigeria is that they should rise up to the occasion and make sure that our

political system is reformed to avoid winner-takes-it-all syndrome,” he said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) gubernatorial candidate Abubakar Malam; and that of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in last April’s governorship election Kabiru Turaki (SAN), have all defected to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party PDP, (NAN)



Kogi guber tussle: Court grants Wada’s application, stays proceedings


Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (right), discussing with the celebrant and former Lagos state Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (left), during a special parliamentary session in honour of Tinubu in commemoration of his 60th birthday, at the House of Assembly Chamber, on Wednesday in Lagos. With them are: Speaker, Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji (2nd right), and Majority Leader, Hon. Dayo Adeyeye (2nd left).

Tukur will consolidate internal democracy in PDP, says Gov. Akpabio


overnor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has said the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as PDP Chairman would further consolidate internal democracy in the party. Akpabio gave this assurance while fielding questions from State House Correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday. He described Tukur as a man of integrity whose wealth of experience would benefit not only the PDP but the whole country. Akpabio also said that the new

PDP chairman would bring discipline and respect to the party. “We want internal democracy and we can only achieve that if we have men of integrity running the party. “The position required somebody who did not need a job, but somebody that a job needed. That was exactly what happened,” the governor stressed. While calling on all PDP members to rally round the new party leadership, Gov. Akpabio stressed the need for discipline

among the party members. “I think that going forward now for the PDP, we need respect for the party and once the party is respected by all political office holders, it means that there will be discipline, it means that there will be progress because people will now have to know that even the party will monitor developments in various states and local governments. “For me, it is not about election, it was about service delivery. If you don’t respect the leadership of that

Kaduna Assembly set to strengthen local councils


Bill seeking to strengthen the operations of local councils in Kaduna State has passed second reading before the state House of Assembly. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the executive bill was presented by Governor Patrick Yakowa for legislative endorsement. The bill sought to amend the state’s local government service board Law No: 15 of 2003. The Majority Leader, Mr. David Umar, informed his colleagues at plenary sitting that the proposed review of the law would empower the local councils to improve on

their service delivery. Umar (PDP-Kachia) said part of the proposed amendment of the law would be a change from the board to read Kaduna State Local Government Service Commission Law, 2012. According to him, the review will address the challenges of the unified local government service, including effective coordination of all staffing matters at all levels. He said that the law would “ensure fiscal discipline, accountability and transparency’’, as well as enforce the culture of loyalty, dedication and competence in the service.

The majority leader added that the reviewed law would enable the commission to treat petitions and complaints in respect of appointments, promotion and discipline. Besides, Umar said if the law was passed, it would empower the commission to “restructure and strengthen the local government councils’’. After listening to contributions on the bill, the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Usman Gangaran, referred it to a joint committee on Local Government Affairs and Judiciary for further scrutiny and recommendation. (NAN)

Akure-Owo road, major death trap— Council boss


he Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Owo Local Government area of Ondo state, Mr. Adetunji Ojomo, has decried the deplorable state of the Akure-Owo expressway, describing it as a major death trap. Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday in Akure, Ojomo said

that the incessant accidents on the road had led to the death of scores of people in the last one year. He explained that the road had served as the major route to the northern part of the country from the south. Ojomo said he held discussions with the state sector of the FRSC on

how to reduce the spate of accidents on the highway pending when the bad portions of the road would be repaired. “At the moment, the FRSC officials in the state have agreed to increase their patrol on the road to constantly check excessive over speeding and caution drivers on the dangerous spots.

political party, it means you may not even follow the programmes of the party in order to touch the lives of the ordinary people that voted that party into power. “Once the leadership is respected, automatically even those that are leading the people, those in governance will now have to make sure that they follow the tenets of the party and at the same time go ahead to deliver on the programmes pledged by the party before the electorate.”

he Federal High Court, Abuja has granted a stay of proceedings in the suits brought against the election and swearing-in of Alhaji Idris Wada as Governor of Kogi. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Jibrin Isah and Mr Oyebode Makinde, both of the PDP filed the suits challenging the candidacy and eventual swearingin of Wada as governor. The Presiding Judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, held that the court was compelled to grant the stay of proceedings in view of the Notice of Appeal brought by Chief Chris Uche (SAN), counsel to the governor. NAN reports that Okorowo had earlier dismissed the application brought by Wada for stay of proceedings in the suits, describing it “baseless and lacking in merit.” NAN further reports that there was a twist after the court resumed from a short recess to commence hearing on the matter. Counsel to the governor had availed the court with a Notice of Appeal from the Court of Appeal. Okorowo then said that the rules of the court barred it from continuing with proceedings when a Notice of Appeal had been served over an earlier decision of the court. Wada had informed the court of his decision to appeal the consolidation of the suits, as according to him, the plaintiffs’ suits “did not raise any uniform issues to warrant the granting of the consolidation.” The governor had on Feb. 29, filed an application for stay of execution of the consolidation of the suits and the commencement of hearing pending the determination of the appeal. The judge adjourned the case to April 25 for the parties to avail it with the progress from the Court of Appeal.

Akuja, Kwande back to election tribunal


essrs Peter Akujah (PDP) and Suleiman Kwande (DPP) have returned to the Election Petition Tribunal to begin a fresh contest for the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency seat. The rivals will slug it out before a three-man election tribunal panel set up by the Court of Appeal to hear petitions arising from last month’s rerun election held at Dogo-Agogo polling unit in Jos North Local Government. The re-run election was ordered by the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos, after Akuja disagreed with the Plateau Election Tribunal to cancel his victory during the April 19, 2011 National Assembly polls. Kwande had emerged victorious at the tribunal after his votes at DogoAgogo, which were earlier cancelled over violence during the conduct of the elections, were restored. Akujah appealed against that declaration before the Court of Appeal, which ordered for a fresh election instead of an automatic declaration that gave the seat to Suleiman. That fresh election, held on Feb. 11, 2012, was won by Kwande, who

scored 423, leaving only one vote to Akujah. In a petition number EPT/PL/ NASS/01/2012, Akujah is challenging the victory of Kwande on Feb. 11, 2012, citing anomalies during its conduct. NAN reports that the tribunal, which would soon commence sitting at the High Court 9, West of Mines, Jos, has Mrs. Esther Akhilor as its secretary. A notice signed by Akhilor shows that DPP, INEC and the Returning Officer of Jos North/Bassa Federal constituency, are 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants in the fresh petition. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the battle for the constituency began at the Justice Suleiman Ambursa led election tribunal, which wound-up last November and gave the seat to Kwande, a decision that was challenged by Akujah at the Court of Appeal in Jos. Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the lead Judge of the appellate court, overruled the decision of the tribunal and ordered for a fresh election at the disputed polling unit in the Jos North Local Government. (NAN)



Onigbinde blasts NFF over Saintfiet pick


ormer Green Eagles head coach and CAF instructor, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde has kick-started the hard knocks on the executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation for ratifying the recommendation of its technical sub-committee to appoint Belgian, Tom Saintfiet as national technical director. Onigbinde and other indigenous coaches had vowed to contest the appointment of any foreigner as the technical director of the NFF because it was an affront on them. The coaches association had taken the matter the supervising Minister of Sports, Hon. Bolaji Abdullahi where they insisted on one of

their members being considered for the job. Then, they were able to stall the appointment but following an emergency with of the board, it was resolved that since the indigenous did not apply consideration should be given to whoever had provided such applicant met the requirement. Chris Green, the chairman of the sub-committee said 95 percent of the applicants were foreigners and wondered why the indigenous coaches would want to be begged to apply for the post they feel qualified for. Green also alleged that Onigbinde who is a member of the committee did not help the indigenous coaches and such the

committee felt that it was justified in deciding to conduct interviews shortlisted candidates all of whom were foreigners. And just last Wednesday, the 39-year old former Ethiopian coach was officially handed a four-year contract on a $20,000 (N3.2 million) monthly take home by the executive board of the football house to oversee the development of Nigerian football. It would also be recalled that former Super Eagles coach Shuaibu Amodu had vowed to lead a protest to the presidency should the NFF eventually appoint Saintfiet. While Onigbinde conceded the right of choice to the NFF he said

that Saintfiet was a wrong choice for the sensitive job. “Tom Saintfiet is not the right choice. He is a wrong choice for the position of national technical director. That is my personal position on the appointment, but I wish him the best of luck. Again the path of choice lies with the NFF which is what they have exercised,” he said. The widely coached Belgian and a midfielder during his playing days is expected to resume work in April. The executive board of the NFF has asked its technical subcommittee to recommend a Nigerian coach to work with the newly appointed technical director.

ICPC to set up special unit for sports corruption Stories by Patrick Andrew


he Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC) is to set up a special unit specifically dedicated to the treatment of corrupt practices in sports by sports administrators. This was revealed yesterday by the supervising Minister of Sports, Hon. Bolaji Abddullahi who expressed disgust with the spate of corrupt practices said to be prevalent in sports administration in the country. Abdullahi, who attributed the prevalence of court cases and the sundry personality clashes and other related untoward attitude in the sports polity especially in football, to the corruption occasioned by the reign of impunity, disclosed that the National Sports Commission (NSC) has approached the ICPC to set up a special unit to handle corruption in sports. Insisting that the motley of clashes and court cases were largely for selfish reasons, ego and sometimes greed, the Chairman of the NSC claimed that very little, if any of such conflicts, arose from developmental issues. The minister said apart from the bad blood such conflicts generate in the polity, its scare away potential sponsors with the ultimate negative impact on true sports development and shrewd administration at all levels. The veteran journalist, who was speaking at an NTA forum yesterday, said the prevalence of immorality in

Bolaji Abdullahi, Supervising Minister of Sports

sports administration has equally be boosted by the presence of huge chunk of money that the government ploughs into the sports. “Conflict in football is due to the presence of big money in the system. Such conflicts are relatively fewer in other sports like hockey, handball and basketball because they don’t enjoy the kind of money that is available in football,” he said. According to the minister, he has resolved to approach the ICPC to help tame the tide by setting up a special unit where corruption cases would be treated for what they are purely criminal cases. “I have approached the ICPC to set up a special unit to treat corruption in sports in the country. There is because corruption is so common in sports in Nigeria that it seems to defy ordinary solution. I mean, why should a sponsor put in money results for the season are pre-determined. Why is there hardly an away victory, why is the home team always winning? “No, conflict in sports, particularly football, is because of the presence of big money. There are no such conflicts in other sports because they don’t enjoy huge allocation such as the N12 m you have mentioned. No, we are determined to stop the mess in sports,” he concluded.

Sani Lulu, former NFF president currently facing alleged corruption charges in court

Sam Sam Jaja, won a court case that invalidated the boards of NFF and NPL

London 2012: Don’t expect too much from Nigeria, Minister


igerians should not expect spectacular performance from Team Nigeria contingent to the London 2012 Olympic Games, according to the supervising Minister of Sports, Hon. Bolaji Abdullahi. Abdullahi said such high expectation would be futile because preparations had been ad-hoc and without the long term vision that ought to have driven such necessary training programmes years before the Summer Games. Though the minister said Team Nigeria has intensified preparations for the Olympic Games, he said it would foolhardy for anyone to categorically state assured on a certain number of medals Nigeria would likely win at the Games. “I can’t say Nigeria can do well in this or that area. However, I can guarantee that we will not be disgraced at the Games. But no one is in position to confidently say we are going to win this number of medals. “Our preparations leave much to be desired because Olympics a four yearly event and we ought to have started preparations for the 2012 Games after the last Olympics. It is not a six-month preparation. It requires long term not short term preparations. “However, there are some events like the para-sports where we have some comparative advantage and we can do well at the Games. The good news though is that we have qualified in sports so far,” he said stressing that they decided to limit participation to relative fewer number of events to enable proper funding of the preparations. He regretted that funding had been the bane of Team Nigeria’s preparations because the Games was not captured in the 2011 budget adding that this failure was some of the inadequacies he was working to correct in subsequent budget. Peoples Daily Sports recalls that Nigeria would be competing for honours in eight events namely; athletics, taekwondo, badminton, basketball, wrestling, weightlifting, boxing and parasports.





Murray, Nadal rekindle rivalry in semifinals clash, Azarenka’s unbeaten runs ends


ndy Murray will attempt to overcome world number 2 Rafael Nadal in today’s semi-finals at the Miami Masters. Murray defied stomach upset to secure a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic but it was far from easy for the Scot, while Nadal on the other hand beat France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 5-7 6-4. Murray, who beat Novak Djokovic 6-2 7-5 to win the Miami Masters title in 2009, fought the Ninth-seed Tipsarevic hard in spite his stomach complaint that needed being attended to. But in the end, the 2009 champion’s fighting instinct saw him battle back into the match and secure the win after two hours and 39 minutes. In the other quarterfinal, Nadal took almost three hours to beat Tsonga. The Spaniard served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Tsonga won three straight games to force a final set. However, Nadal broke the Frenchman in the ninth

game of the third to lead 5-4, and survived two break points in the final game. Murray feels the Miami surface gives him a better chance of success against Nadal. Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka’s 26-match unbeaten start to 2012 came to an end with a quarter-final defeat by Marion Bartoli at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. The 22-year-old’s winning streak, which included the Australian Open, was the best on the women’s tour since Martina Hingis began 1997 with a 37-0 run. Bartoli of France goes on to face Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals after she beat Venus Williams 6-4 6-1. But Azarenka’s loss to seventh seed Bartoli was the shock result. Azarenka, world number one and defending champion, fell behind early and was unable to turn the match around as she had on Monday. Down a set and behind 5-2 against 16th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, Azarenka rallied to win 1-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, but could not engineer a similar comeback against Bartoli.

Victoria Azarenka

Marion Bartoli

TSFN decries inadequate Court rules FIFA ban threat unlawful funding of sport


witzerland’s Supreme Court has dismissed F I F A ’ s “fundamentally unlawful” threat to ban Brazilian midfielder Matuzalem from any football activity if he fails to pay 11.86 million euros ($14 million) compensation owed to former club Shakhtar Donetsk. The Swiss Federal Tribunal said yesterday it upheld Matuzalem’s appeal because of a “manifest and serious attack on his rights” by FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The federal court objected to FIFA’s disciplinary panel giving Shakhtar authority to request Matuzalem’s ban if he missed payments. Matuzalem “would be delivered to the arbitrary power of his former employer, and his economic freedom would be limited to such an extent that the basis of its economic existence would be put in danger,” the

federal court said in a statement. FIFA said in a statement to the Associated Press it would not comment on the verdict. Matuzalem, who now plays for Lazio and his previous club Zaragoza are still liable for all the compensation, plus five percent annual interest. Zaragoza has entered bankruptcy protection with debts of more than 110 million euros ($147 million), and is last in the Spanish league. A CAS panel ordered the eight-figure compensation after Matuzalem broke his Shakhtar contract in July 2007 to join Zaragoza, increasing the amount previously awarded by FIFA. That CAS decision in May 2009 was hailed as a victory for clubs and contractual stability against the growing trend of player power. The ruling offered a rare victory for Matuzalem in his five-year legal case that has been processed twice by each

Francelino Matuzalem


Sepp Blatter of FIFA, CAS and Switzerland’s Supreme Court. The latest verdict focused on Article 64 of FIFA’s disciplinary code relating to “failure to respect decisions.” FIFA used that text to warn of a ban after Matuzalem and Zaragoza said in 2010 that they could not afford to pay. When the player went back to CAS last year to challenge the threat, sport’s highest court sided with FIFA because the governing body had adhered to its own judicial rules. The federal court acknowledged yesterday that it had “extremely” limited powers to intervene in CAS sentencing powers. “In exceptional cases, a sentence can be annulled for violation of the essential principles of the judicial system, named ‘the public order’,” the federal court said. In 2007, Matuzalem was captain at Shakhtar but wished to join Zaragoza despite the two clubs being unable to agree a transfer fee. Because he had served three years of his five-year contract, Matuzalem was able to force through the move by invoking the socalled “Webster Ruling” in FIFA’s transfer regulations.

he Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) has raised an alarm that lack of funds may hamper the development of the sport. FSFN secretary, Femi Ajao, who decried inadequate funding by the National Sports Commission (NSC), alleged that the Commission had not made available funds to certain sports federation in the last one year. “Last year, the NSC’s concentration was on the All Africa Games; this year, it is the Olympics, so as a result other sports that are not going for the Games have been left dry,” he said. The secretary said that in the first quarter of 2012, the federation could not organise a single event and had no hope of having one in the months ahead and berated affiliated state associations for not doing enough to

develop the sport at the grass roots. “The states are not helping matters, they always depend on us to do everything for them; they are supposed to organise grass roots event for us to supervise,” the secretary said. He said that prospective sponsors claimed they did not know what the sport was all about and declined sponsoring any of our events. “It is when you show case what you have or sell that it can gain patronage from prospective sponsors or buyers,” the TSFN scribe noted. Ajao said that old sponsors were also not willing to continue sponsorship of the federation’s programmes because of the perceived inactivity. He urged the NSC to come to the aid of sport by making available funds to facilitate its development in Nigeria.

FIFA orders Kotoko to pay excoach 99,000 Euros


sante Kotoko must cough up 99,000 Euros for former coach Hans Deiter SchmidtGhana Premier League giants Asante Kotoko will be relegated to the third-tier if they fail to pay former coach Hans Dieter Schmidt •99,000 within the next 30-days. The world’s football governing body ruled in favour of the German coach after a sevenyear legal battle. The two-time African champions incurred an 11,000 Swiss Francs cost in legal charges over the period. Dieter Schmidt was dismissed in 2005 for non-performance and was not paid his compensation.

‘’The Executive Chairman, Board members, management and the entire Kotoko body is gutted by this news,” Kotoko spokesperson Listowell Bukarson said. “Our disappointment emanates from the poor management and administration in 2005 under which this huge liability which would certainly plunge the club in further debt was incurred. “This is the time we need our beloved supporters more to help us in these trying times as we take steps to address the situation.” Kotoko are leading the Ghana Premier League with a ten-point advantage with nine matches left.

Maigari wants World Cup trophy


FF President Aminu Maigari has told Nigeria’s World Cup-bound U-17 Women’s Team, the Flamingoes he expects them to win the trophy later this year in Azerbaijan. The Flamingoes, who qualified for the World Cup after a 7-1 aggregate win over Zambia, fell to eventual champions Korea at the quarter finals last time, and Maigari is determined to see them push even farther this year “The NFF is very happy with the qualification of the U-17 Women National Team for this year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals,” he said. “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 andadequately 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 the NFF president. The Flamingoes sealed their place in the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the expense of Zambia whom they trounced 7-1 aggregate win. Ghana is the other qualifier, while a three slot will emerge this weekend.



Basketball: Hoopers coach says club aiming to retain title


go Odaudu, the Head Coach, Royal Hoopers Basketball Club of Port Harcourt, says the team’s priority is to retain the DSTV Men’s Basketball Premier League. Royal Hoopers on Tuesday beat Union Bank of Lagos 82-51 in an Atlantic conference fixture of the on-going 4th edition of the competition. Victor Anthony was the highest point’s scorer in the match with 18 points. His team mate, Adeola Ojo, a point guard, mesmerised the Union Bank team with dribble runs and passes. Odaudu said in Port Harcourt on Wednesday that though it was a good game and that his players played to

instructions and added that his team was poised to retain the title it wrestled last year from two-time champions, Kano Pillars. “The boys are capable of going all the way. It is just for us to put our acts together. There is nothing different from the team that won last year. Instead, we even strengthened the team. “So, we are going to take every game as it comes. Anyway, our first stop is to qualify for the play offs, get to the play offs and eventually retain the title which we won last year.” Union Bank head coach, Ayinla Johnson said his team lost to an experienced side, adding that they would put their acts together before the basketball league play offs. CHANGE OF NAME “So, I am hoping that when it comes to play offs, we would I, FORMERLY KNOWN AND ADDRESSED AS TITUS DANIEL, NOW WISH TO BE KNOWN AND have gotten our acts together and be able to play. But, with ADDRESSED AS YUSUF T. DANIEL. ALL FORMER DOCUMENTS REMAIN VALID. WARJI LOCAL all due respect to them, they GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY AND GENERAL PUBLIC are more experienced, they SHOULD PLEASE TAKE NOTE. have lots of national team

NAF inaugurates sport facilities


ir Marshal Mohammed Umar, the Chief of Air Staff, on Wednesday inaugurated sport facilities at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base on Airport Road, Abuja. The facilities include a volleyball court, basketball court, squash court and a tennis court. Inaugurating the facilities, Umar said since the NAF was a complex organisation that operated complex machines in a very complex environment, it needed to ensure that the officers minds were in tune with our bodies. Represented by AVM Gbolahan Adekunle, Chief of Policy and Plans NAF, Umar explained that the officers needed to be in a good working condition which the service expected of them. According to the air chief, a lot of resources had been spent into the facilities and the idea was for the personnel to engage themselves productively after work. “When you close from work, we don’t

expect to see our personnel involved in extra curriculum activities outside the base, you have more than enough to keep you engaged, especially at this time when we are facing a lot of security challenges. “Aside from that, the NAF will be expected to partake alongside other agencies of government in the African Armed Forces Games taking place next year in South Africa; as proud officers and men of the armed forces, you will be expected to fly the flag of the nation creditably,” he said. Umar explained that the facilities would offer the officers the opportunity to prepare for the games “so that when they go there, they shall not only go there as officers and men of the NAF but also as proud Nigerian Armed Forces personnel flying the flag of the nation very well.” In his address, AVM Ibrahim Kure, Chief of Administration NAF, said as military

Hoopers Basketball team players on that team, but that is not an excuse, we still managed to keep them to 10 points. “So, if we kept them to 15 points every quarter, maybe we have a chance to win the game. But, it’s a long race, it’s a men the officers were expected to keep fit by participating in sporting activities. Kure explained that by participating in sporting activities, the officers would discover new talents and they would also help the officers to be in good health. He said NAF had been able to resuscitate most of their sporting facilities to enable the officers’ train. “The Chief of Air Staff, you may be interested to know, is spending so much money to ensure that the sports facilities are okay,” he said. The inauguration also featured a volleyball match between the Chief of Air Staff team and the Air Warrant Officer squad which the former won.

marathon. So, we take this blow, blow, and we come back another day.” Johnson said his team would go back to correct their errors and work toward qualifying for the national playoffs.



WAUG 2012: Organisers say athletes, officials ready for games


rganisers of the 13th West Africa University Games (WAUG) are ready, an official of the Games which will be formally declared open today. WAUG Secretary-General/Treasurer, Camara Yussuf, said that all was set for the Games judging from the past. “Since I arrived some days ago, I have seen that a lot of the arrangements have been finalised, and I can say we are set

for the athletes and officials.” Yussuf disclosed that many of the participating universities had arrived, while many were still being expected. “Many have arrived, and we can only have an approximated figure of about 40, while only 14 of them have completed their accreditation by Wednesday noon.” The WAUG Secretary-General/

Treasurer, however, said many of the universities being expected were on their way to Ilorin. “I do know that the Senegalese delegation are on their way. We expect them to arrive in Lagos from Dakar by air today (Wednesday) and then arrive

Cameron says London will be ready for Olympics


A cross section of crowd during the NUGA Games in 2011

in Ilorin later.”aid NAN reports that more than 3,000 athletes from about 60 universities, with more than 1,000 technical and other officials, are expected at the Games being hosted by the University of Ilorin.

ritish Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday that London would be ready to host the “greatest games” in the world. Cameron made these remarks after meeting the visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge. “The Olympics and Paralympics will be the greatest show on earth. It’s an extraordinary honour for the UK and we intend to repay that faith. I believe the message is clear: London will be ready, on time and on budget,” he said. Rogge, who arrived in London late on Tuesday, was not part of the Coordination Commission for London 2012, chaired by IOC Executive Board member Denis Oswald. He paid a special visit to Cameron on the first day of the

two-day inspection. Cameron said the Games would leave a lasting legacy. He added: “The true legacy of London 2012 lies in the future. Though much has been done, I am acutely aware that the drive to embed and secure the benefits of London 2012 is still to come. “That is our biggest challenge. It’s also our greatest opportunity.” Rogge said he was impressed with what he had seen and believed London had provided a “legacy blueprint” for future Games to follow. London has raised the bar on how to deliver a lasting legacy,” he said. “We can already see tangible results in the remarkable regeneration of east London. This great historical city has created a legacy blueprint for future Games hosts.”



Too many roadmaps for football


oo many cooks spoil the broth. This is an old adage that may have lost its relevance in many climes. Not so in Nigeria for Nigerians love clichés, especially those associated with mercantile inclination. No, not as in trading, but politically-driven clichés as in terms of duplications of functions. Imagine the number of government agencies all statutorily constituted only differing in names. Sometimes same members could be found in their different boards with nothing tangentially different to distinguish one from the other except the pieces of papers on which their statutory powers and terms of references are written. That’s common in the power sector, housing and the many police reform committees. Anyway, this

is a digression, our focus is usually sports. Midweek, the executive committee of the NFF held its emergency meeting ostensibly to ratify the appointment of a Technical Director of the NFF as well as the coaches for the Super Falcons and the Flying Eagles. They did. Forget that a few coaches, true to type have already begun to raise eyebrows over the appointment of a “foreigner” to draw the roadmap for Nigeria football. Yes, a culture of some sort that is expected to re-jig a playing pattern that will be decidedly peculiar to Nigeria. Someone to design a programme that all national teams will imbibe and even the local club sides are to be encouraged to adopt and adapt to. No, that’s too delicate a job to be entrusted to a foreigner and it’s like surrendering our

Rather than be labouring itself with more academic documents, one would have thought the leadership of the NFF would invest considerable energy in devouring the many well articulated roadmaps and then act on few tenable recommendations.


wo little bundles of fury are expected to produce a classic rematch in East London on tonight. The clash between Nkosinath Joyi and Katsunari Takayama could turn out to be one of the most entertaining fights of the year in South Africa. The little men, whose combined weight will be around 95 kg, head a Branco Sports Promotions bill at the Orient Theatre. Joyi, the IBF mini-flyweight champion, defends his title against a tough-as-they-come Japanese challenger. The weight limit for the division is 47.6 kg.

sovereignty to foreign agents. That seems to be the argument of coaches. Again, this is not our concern. It’s the matter of roadmap. Yes, another elaborately thought-out committee has been constituted. You only need to look at the personality involved in this latest committee to be convinced that the football federation must have spent sleepless nights crossing the ts and dotting the is. Pray! Who would fault any committee that has Ahmed Sani Toroone time distinguished NFA Secretary General under whose era there was true professionalism in administration of the game. Sani Toro is an administrative working encyclopedia, he has the knack to achieve, organise and keep alive operational documents and always at the ready to adduce same in defense of every action. Isn’t Charles Ojugbana another guru? Yes, his ability to stream roll into action and get goals achieved aren’t debatable. He had proved that severally. What about Shehu Dikko? He did the magic when against all


By Patrick Andrew

Little men exchange punches for IBF title tonight When they met at Carnival City near Brakpan on January 29 last year, Joyi retained his belt when the fight was declared a nocontest after Takayama was cut in an accidental clash of heads. The champion has not had a fight since then and Takayama has also been largely inactive. When they get into the ring tonight, the South African will still be undefeated, with a professional record of 21-0, including the one no-contest and 15 knockouts.

Yota Sato takes over WBC belt apanese challenger,Yota Sato, won the WBC superflyweight belt when he beat Suriyan Sor Rungvisai in Tokyo on Tuesday night, using his height and reach advantages to win on points – 114-112 on two cards and 116-110. Suriyan was knocked down twice in the third round but the tough Thai, whose record dropped to 20-51, with 7 knockouts, fought back in a determined effort to hang on to his title. Sato, cheered on by the crowd in the Korakuen Hall, improved his professional record to 24-2-1; 12. In Kumming, China, junior flyweight Xiong Zhao Zhong improved to 18-3; 11 when he


expectations and stout arguments by a renowned NFA marketer when he wrung the hands of Globacom to s e c u r e sponsorship for the Nigeria fewer than two: the Dominic anyone outside the confines Premier League that ran into Oneya Football Reform of the egg-heads of the NSC the billions of Naira off from Committee created by the and the leadership of the the paltry N100m which National Sports Commission, NFF would hardly claimed experts had said would only one that Sani Toro as I recall to have had insight into their be charity to deploy in the serve in. Then, the NFF respective contains. name of sponsorship of the Whatever, not a few out congress in Kaduna last domestic league. And yet there would argue against December set up one headed these experts went to court to by Ambassador Fanny the validity of constituting demand commission they more roadmap drawers and never really earned. Who A m u n . builders while the status of Albeit, there are variations doesn’t know Mumuni Alao the game daily plummets in nomenclatures, these for his blunt yet frank into oblivion. Rather than be committees or teams or comments? He stands out labouring itself with more panels all have but one among his peers, has such academic documents, one objective: DRAW ROADMAP rare professional competence FOR NIGERIA FOOTBALL. would have thought the and integrity that today’s soleadership of the NFF would Whether one calls it called younger colleagues in invest considerable energy sustainable development, the job would think exclusive in devouring the many well reform or structure, the onus to angels. And the others are articulated roadmaps and lies in the fact the game needs equally persons of note. then act on few tenable intellectual enzyme to buoy They constitute the new recommendations. So, why up and re-jig the vision and six-man Strategic Team to another panel for roadmap? administration of the game. fashion out a ROADMAP for Just when will the road be Whereas the white paper the sustainable development drawn and constructed and of the Oneya panel is out but of Nigeria football. ready for use? It does seems yet to be implemented that But isn’t something similar okay to say too many cooks of Amun has been a closely already in existence. Well at spoiling the broth! kept secret. This means that the last count there were no

knocked out Lee Gui Hun from Korea in the fourth round. In Brescia, European welterweight champion Leonard Bundu retained his belt by defeating Antonio Moscatiello in a clash between unbeaten Italians. Bundu, who was badly cut in the third round, stopped the challenger in the fifth round to improve his record to 26-0; 2. Moscatiello suffered his first loss and dropped to 13-1. Hugo Ruiz will defend his WBA interim bantamweight title in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Saturday night. The champion, whose record stands at 29-1; 26, faces Yonfre Parejo (11-0-1; 4).

The 28-year-old Takayama, the mandatory challenger, stands at 24-4, with one no-contest and 10 short-cut wins. Joyi, also 28, has been a professional since April 2002. He won the vacant SA mini-flyweight title on April 24, 2004 when he stopped Mzikayise Foslare in the first round. He made six defences before winning the vacant IBO strawweight belt by knocking out Armando de la Cruz in the second round in November 2006. After retaining the IBO belt against Gabriel Pumar (KO 1), Sammy Gutierrez (tko 7) and Lorenzo Trejo (KO 2) he won the IBF mini-flyweight belt on March 26, 2010 when he outpointed Mexican Raul Garcia in East London. Takayama made his professional debut in October 2000. He won his first eleven fights before being stopped in the ninth round by Masto Hatakeyama in a challenge for the Japanese lightflyweight title. After four more victories he won the WBC minimumweight belt in impressive fashion when he outpointed Isaac Bustos on April 4, 2005. However, in his first defence, in August that year, he lost on points to Eagle Kyowa. He won the interim WBA minimumweight belt on a ninth-round technical decision Nkosinath Joyi against Carlos Melo in

November last year. The only other points losses on his record were against top-class fighters. Yutaka Niida (20-1-3) and Roman Gonzalez (23-0) beat him when he challenged for the WBA minimumweight belt. Takayama is on his third visit to South Africa. In September 2010 he stopped Tshepo Lefele in the sixth round of an IBF minimumweight title eliminator. Katsunari Takayama Joyi is rated No 1 minimumweight in the world in the latest issue of The Ring . Takayama’s record indicates that he could surprise the champion, despite his poor start in the first three rounds of their first fight. Larry Doggette has been appointed as the referee. The judges will be Sylvia Mokaila (SA), Shafeeq Rashada (US) and Marco McDonnell (UK). Promoter Branco Milenkovic, of Branco Sports Productions, has announced that Joyi’s purse will be doubled because he had to remain inactive for 14 months while negotiations for the rematch took place. If Joyi wins this fight, Milenkovic will try to match him in a unification match with one of the other champions in the division. Kazuto Ioka from Japan holds the WBC title, Moises Fuentes from Mexico is the WBO champion and Akira Yaegashi, also from Japan, is the WBA champion.

Tennis coaches desire more capacity development workshops


articipants in the ongoing Ace Tennis Services (ATS) workshop for coaches in Lagos have urged the National Sports Commission (NSC) to organise more of such capacity development programmes. The coaches told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that if held regularly, such a workshop would enhance their technical capacity and help the

development of tennis in the country. The five-day workshop is being organised by ATS in conjunction with the US based Professional Tennis Registry. Rose Nwaokocha, who plays for the Nigerian Immigration Service, lauded the initiative, describing the workshop as a welcomed development. “There is a need to get more coaches and players equipped

with modern technicalities of the game. I have learnt a lot in the last three days on areas of error detection. “I am happy to be participating in the workshop and can confirm that it hasn’t been a waste of time from my official duties. I hope the NSC would organise more of this type of programme as it would improve the performance of our players,” she said. Another participant, Chima

Kingsley, a coach at Ikoyi Club, Lagos, said that the workshop had given him an edge over his peers. “Indeed it’s a privilege to update your status as I am doing at the moment. I just hope that the NSC would pay more attention and come to our aid to help improve tennis by organising similar programmes. This is one good step to encourage coaches who have lost hope in the sport and players too,” Kingsley said.

Ewoma Edomaye, a coach with Shell Club, Port Harcourt, said that with more competitions and capacity development programmes being organised, the revival of tennis will begin. “We crave for more competitions, seminars and workshop to broaden our technical capacity and facilitate better performance and growth of the sport. I believe that if the government wants sports to grow, they should encourage more of the grass roots games,” he said.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE It is impossible to lay hands on that which is not predestined for us, and that which is predestined for us will reach us wherever we are — Shaykh Sa’di

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012


LA TEST LATEST FIFA reforms proposals for publication today


nti-corruption expert Mark Pieth plans to publish his FIFA reform proposals on Friday, hours after he meets with FIFA's scandalhit executive committee. The Basle Institute on Governance said in a statement yesterday to The Associated Press that it will publish the first report by Pieth's 13-member advisory panel at 4 p.m. Swiss time on its website. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is scheduled to open a news conference at least one hour later, and face questions about how far his executive committee has supported Pieth's proposals. The former United Nations investigator said in an interview that his team has been unimpressed with how FIFA pursued some corruption allegations. Pieth also expressed frustration at being denied access by FIFA to a Swiss court document detailing which officials were involved in a kickbacks scandal following the 2001 collapse of World Cup marketing agency ISL. Blatter appointed Pieth last November to lead an expert team which would advise on how to reform FIFA and world football. The panel, known as the Independent Governance Committee (IGC), includes former Watergate investigator Michael Hershman, United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati, and former British attorneygeneral Peter Goldsmith. FIFA's 208 member nations must also approve reform proposals at their annual congress on May 25 in Budapest, Hungary. Pieth's team is scheduled to oversee FIFA's transparency and governance overhaul through the 2013 Congress in Mauritius.

FIFA President, Sepp Blatter


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Opposition politics and lessons of Senegal


he West Africa has found itself in the news recently for two diametrically opposed phenomena; the coup in Mali just six weeks to national elections and the just concluded run-off elections in Senegal. The Senegalese elections are especially poignant for many reasons. A careless observer would quickly see Macky Sall’s win as a revolution that came unannounced but the signs and symbolisms were always there that even Abdoulaye Wade saw them early enough. I came in contact with the realities of Wade’s possible fall almost two and a half years ago but I will leave that bit to the latter paragraphs of this piece. Senegal’s political space has had Abdoulaye Wade’s fortunes as a central theme so it would be apt to outline his story through Senegal’s democratic history. Abdoulaye Wade has been a major player in the elections of Senegal since 1974 when he founded the Parti Democratique Senegalais (PDS) as a Labour Party until the party adopted Liberalism by default with the laws of Senegal permitting the existence of only three parties with three distinct ideologies. With two already taken by the other parties, Wade’s party opted for Liberalism. Wade ran for the presidency for the first time in February 1978 against Leopold Sedar Senghor, garnering a respectable 17.38 per cent of the votes. He lost. He contested the Presidential elections again in 1983 and 1988 after a two year stint at the National Assembly from 1978-1980. He placed second behind Senghor’s successor Abdou Diouf each time. Wade again lost the presidential elections in February 1993 having only managed 32 per cent of the votes compared to Diouf’s 58 per cent. The 2000 elections brought Wade a different kind of fortune. He received 31 per cent of the votes but the incumbent, tall and gentle Abdou Diouf failed to win a first round majority for once. Wade won a historic runoff on March 19, 2000 with 58.49 per cent of the votes having enjoyed the backing of candidates from the first round including the third placed Moustapha Niasse. Wade then took the reins on the 1st of April, 2000, putting an end to the forty year rule of the Socialist Party. He got re-elected

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Abdoulaye Wade in 2007 beating his former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, once considered his protégée. Wade has since amended Senegal’s constitution over a dozen times, as he sought to increasingly weaken the opposition even as he grew even more autocratic in style by increasing executive power through the several constitutional amendments he pushed through parliament. Abdoulaye Wade an educator, lawyer, professor of law and economics, with certificates in psychology, mathematics, sociology, physics and chemistry ought to know better but it goes

to show that the possession of a Phd. is no guarantee for results or of integrity in leadership. Wade foresaw his own possible political mortality last year. He was not unaware of his diminishing popularity in Senegal. He made moves to check the possible repercussions off that receding influence on the electorate when he tried through his party to change a part of the constitution that requires a president to be elected with an absolute majority of the votes – 50 per cent plus 1. The “Hare” as the cunning Wade is called in Senegalese politics had sought to reduce that requirement to plurality of votes cast with a minimum of just 25 per cent. Thousands of protesters marched and gathered outside Senegal’s parliament throwing stones and other objects, immobilizing the city in the process. Police dispersed them but they had done enough to themselves dispense with Wade’s penultimate quest to stay in power for a 3rd term. Wade later withdrew the draft legislation. His final push for the power to stay in office beyond 2012 did pull through as the country’s Constitutional Council on the 27th of January 2012 approved

Wade foresaw his own possible political mortality last year. He was not unaware of his diminishing popularity in Senegal. He made moves to check the possible repercussions off that receding influence on the electorate when he tried through his party to change a part of the constitution that requires a president to be elected with an absolute majority of the votes

Wade’s third term bid. He did run and acknowledged on the 27th of February, a day after the elections that he had failed to win a majority. Had Wade’s 2011 proposed 25 per cent barrier pulled through, his first round numbers of the highest votes cast but of 34.81 per cent of the total, would have been more than enough to have him win the elections. He lost the runoff to Macky Sall polling 34.20 per cent of the votes to Sall’s 65.80 per cent. Sall will be installed as the 5th President of Senegal on the 3rd of April, 2012, in sha Allah. The rest they say, is history but before these historical events, something happened in 2009 that persuaded me that the Senegalese opposition had found the secrets to defeating the incumbent. While a Mason fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, I became very good friends with two outstanding Senegalese citizens - Mrs. Naye Bathily and Fode Ndiaye. Just before our graduation, a family friend of Naye's had just defeated the son and heir-apparent of Mr. Wade to be elected the Mayor of Dakar. One thing led to another but while still in exile, I was invited to Dakar, the capital of Senegal in October 2009 by its new Mayor Khalifa Sall. I arrived in Dakar at a time President Wade came under fire from the international media for paying a departing IMF official some two hundred thousand US dollars in cash, calling it “an African parting gift”. That remains another chapter in his twelve year legacy of roller-coaster leadership in Senegal. It was more than a visit for me though; it was part of the Mayor’s quest to institutionalize reforms in the capital. My two weeks' stay saw myself and two of the secretaries who served with me as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory present our ideas and views on the city management priorities Sall’s administration had set for itself. Some of the objectives were ideas of a Town Council Team, including initiatives in Land Use/ Town Planning, Waste Management, Transparency and Accountability to the residents of Dakar. They were projecting a “New Face, New Life” idea for the city at the beginning of a 5 year term. Contd. on Page 35

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Lagos Office: No.8 Oliyide Street, off Unity Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Tel: +234-09-8734478. Cell: +234 803 606 3308. e-mail: ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday March 30, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday March 30, 2012 Hot Edition

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