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Vol. 9 No. 57

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

. . . putting the people first

Zhul-Hajj 14, 1433 AH


Ribadu Report: ‘We’ll investigate cover-up allegation – Senate By Stanley Onyekwere


ollowing the shocking exposure of rot in the country’s oil sector made in the leaked report of the Petroleum

Revenue Task Force, chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, has assured Nigerians of the Senate’s readiness to investigate the

purported rot and allegation of an official cover-up immediately it reconvenes from its short break. Fielding questions on phone, yesterday during a phone-in radio programme tagged ‘ Factfile’ on

Raypower FM, Nwogu, representing Abia Central Senatorial district, described the report as quite “revealing and shocking”, and the Senate will look into it further.

According to her, the legislators are concerned that among other areas where monies have been identified as belonging to the Nigerian government, revenue Contd on Page 2

Power privatisation

NCP slams Oshiomhole, Fayemi, others As it names final bidders for 5 GENCOS, 10 DISCOS By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he National Council on Privatisation (NCP) yesterday gave final approval of bidders of Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s successor companies - five generation companies (GENCOs) and 10 distribution companies (DISCOs) - who have met the bid requirements. The Council, however, disqualified Southern Electricity Contd on Page 2


29th Oct., 2012

CBN RATES BUYING SELLING $ 154.76 155.76 £ 248.1886 249.792 EURO 202.21 203.516 CFA 0.2885 0.3085 RIYAL 41.267 41.5 PARALLEL RATES BUYING SELLING EURO 202 205 £ 243 247 RIYAL 40 42 $ 155.5 158.50

L-R Minister of Steel Development, Engr. Musa Sada, Director-General, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Bolanle Onagoruwa, a member of the National Privatisation Council, Chief Atedo Peterside, Minister of State for Power, Dr. Garius Ishaku and Special Assistant to Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo on Media, Malam Sani Umar at a joint press briefing at the State House, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

4 killed, 7 injured in latest Jos violence >> PAGE 2

Kaduna church bombing a daring act, says Yakowa >> PAGE 3

Sultan settles Izala, Darika feud in Mecca >> PAGE 6























4 killed, 7 injured in latest Jos violence From Nankpa Bwakan, Jos


our persons have been feared killed gunmen in an upsurge in violence around Jos, the Plateau state capital, even as the governor, Jonah Jang yesterday named four new senior special assistants on inter-group relations. The unidentified gunmen, Peoples Daily has gathered, late Sunday night opened fire in a local liqueur (burukutu) bar at Gindin Akwati in Gashish district of Barkin Ladi local government area, killing the four instantly and wounding seven others.. The wounded have been admitted in the Plateau Hospital in Jos where they are being treated for their injuries. . According to a source, those killed in the bar attack were friends who had gone out for a weekend relaxation. While confirming the incident, Police Public Relations Officer, Abu Emmanuel, said in the early hours

As Gov Jang names advisers on Fulani/Hausa affairs of Monday one Ali Iliya from Gashe village lodged a report at the police station at Barkin Ladi about an attack on a "drinking spot." He said the police commenced investigation immediately but before they got to the scene of the attack the assailants had escaped. Emmanuel, however, assured that the police would work tirelessly to track down and arrest the attackers. Meanwhile, as part of his peace building effort, Gov. Jang has appointed a Senior Special Assistant on Fulani affairs. A statement by Mr. James Mannok, the Director of Press Affairs, on Monday in Jos, named the new aide as Mallam Salihu Musa Umar. Alhaji Lawal Ishaq, a lawyer, was also named Senior Special Assistant on Hausa affairs, while Mr. Akazamus Anakwe is Senior Special Assistant on Igbo relations. The statement said that Mr

Austin Iyere is now Senior Special Assistant on South-south affairs, while veteran journalist, Mr. Tunde Oladapo, is Special Assistant on Yoruba affairs. “The appointments are to strengthen inter-group relations and consolidate on the peace process,'' the statement explained. It added that the new officials would broaden participation of all communities in the state's peace process and bring all interests into the decision making processes. Speaking exclusively to Peoples Daily, Lawan Ishaq promised to use his office to reconcile the Hausa/ Fulani community with the state government. He said the sour relationship between his community and the government was largely as a result of misunderstanding but assured that with his appointment the "misunderstanding and misconception" would be addressed. “My appointment as Senior

Special Adviser on Hausa matters and that of Mallam Salihu Musa Umar are indeed welcome developments; we used to complain in the past that the government didn't use to carry us alone but we have been proved wrong with these appointments.” Ishaq said the state government was misled by some people to believe that the Hausa/Fulani community did not like it. He said that the only time they had problem with Jang was during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries in Jos North Local Government Area during primary election when he imposed a candidate on them. He regretted that the aftermath of the election was bloodshed in the state and the seeds of distrust it sowed among the Hausa/Fulani and Christians in the state. “But thank God, we have decided to put that behind us and work for the common good of the state,” he said.

NCP slams Oshiomhole, Fayemi, others

No cover-up of Ribadu’s oil report, assures Presidency, Page 37

Inter’l Digest

31-34 36







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

Contd from Page 1 Distribution Company for submitting multiple bids for Benin Disco. At a meeting yesterday at the Villa, presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Council accused some state governors, led by Edo’s Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Ekiti’s Kayode Fayemi, of protesting over the outcome of some of the bids because they wanted the process to favour their selected bidders. Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Chairman of the Technical Committee on Privatization, Mr. Atedo Peterside, announced that under GENCOs, NCP approved Amperion Power Distribution Company Limited with a bid of USD$132,000,000 as the preferred bidder for the core investor sale of 51% shares of Geregu Power Plc. It also approved that Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited which offered an annual fee of USD$50,760,665.18 and a commencement fee of USD$257,000,000 is the preferred bidder for the concession of Kainji Hydro Power Plc. NCP approved that North-

South Power Ltd which offered an annual fee of USD$23,602,484.87 and a commencement fee of USD$111,654,534 is the preferred bidder for the concession of Shiroro Hydro Power Plc. The privatization body also approved that Transcorp/ Woodrock/Sumbion/Medea/PSL/ Thomassen with a bid of USD$300,000,000 is the preferred bidder for the core investor sale of 100% shares of Ughelli Power Plc. NCP also approved that Amperion Power Distribution Company Limited with a bid of USD$252,000,000 is the reserve bidder for the core investor sale of 100% shares of Ughelli Power Plc. NCP approved that CMEC/ EURAFRIC Energy JV Consortium with a bid of USD$201,000,000 is the preferred bidder for the core investor sale of 100% shares of Sapele Power Plc. NCP similarly approved that JBN-NESTOIL Power Services Ltd with a bid of USD$106,500,000 is the reserve bidder for the core investor sale of 100% shares of Sapele Power Plc; and for the DISCOs which are being privatized 60%, the NCP’s approved reserved bidders including KANN Consortium Utility Company Ltd

for Abuja Distribution Company, Vigeo Power Consortium for Benin Distribution Company, West Power & Gas for Eko Distribution Company and Interstate Electrics for Enugu Distribution Company. Others are Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Ltd for Ibadan Distribution Company, New Electricity Distribution Company (NEDC)/KEPCO for Ikeja Distribution Company, Aura Energy Ltd for Jos Distribution Company, Sahelian Power SPV Ltd for Kano Distribution Company and Port Harcourt Distribution Company and Integrated Energy Distribution & Marketing Ltd was approved as the preferred bidder for Yola Distribution Company. With the approval of the results of the financial bids, the highest ranked bidder for each GENCOs will be required to post an additional bid security (“Preferred Bidder’s Bank Guarantee”) in the form of a Letter of Credit or Bank Guarantee for fifteen percent (15%) of the transaction value within fifteen (15) business days of notification from the Bureau of Public Enterprises. According to NCP, the Preferred Bidder’s Bank Guarantee must be from a Standard & Poor (S&P) or Moody & Fitch “A” rated foreign bank with a correspondent bank in

Nigeria or a Nigerian bank rated “A” by a Rating Agency approved by SEC and be valid through 21, calendar days after the stipulated proposal validity period or any extended proposal validity period. The designated Preferred Bidder will be invited for negotiations with BPE and within 15 Business Days after signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement, the Shareholders’ Agreement or the Performance Agreement ‘whichever is earlier, or at a mutually agreed earlier time, the Bidder shall make a down payment of 25% of the share purchase price. Within six months after signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement or the Shareholders’ Agreement, whichever is earlier or mutually agreed upon time, the Bidder will be required to pay the outstanding 75% of the share purchase price to complete the transaction. Mr. Peterside said that upon receipt of payment, the Preferred Bidder’s Bank Guarantee will be returned to the bidder within a maximum of four weeks. After the completion of payment, the handover of the successor company to the Preferred Bidder will conclude the transaction.

Ribadu Report: ‘We’ll investigate cover-up allegation – Senate Contd from Page 1 received from the gas sub-sector is questionable and grossly inadequate. “Especially, we at the committee have always questioned revenue received so far from the gas sector as grossly inadequate as we believe that Nigeria deserves to receive more money than what has been shown or presented in the appropriation account”, she maintained. On the issue of a move by the Jonathan government to set up another committee to investigate

the Ribadu report now in the public domain, she said the move if true would at the end of the day, water down the import of the whole exercise, and by the time it has taken about six to nine months to re-examine the report, people tend to forget everything about it. “The concern of Nigerians on this and other things coming up on a daily basis is that nothing should be swept under the carpet , so to speak, but I’m assuring them that we at the NASS would look into the issue and come up with our report on it”, she said.

She said the National Assembly has always complained against the practice of setting up “committees upon committees” just to look into the work done by another committee, thereby defeating the intent of the whole process. Similarly, on the issue of near absence of the effects of the oil and gas exploration, the Senator expressed worry about the deplorable state of federal roads in the country especially Enugu –Port Harcourt express road in the south eastern part of the country, describing it as

the worst federal road in the country as it has become a death trap for commuters plying the route. “People are angry and worried that year in, year out, we appropriate some much money in the budget, and at the end of the day, the larger chunk is spent on recurrent costs and government’s overheads; it is painful that we still allocate about 75 percent or more of the budget to recurrent expenditure at the expense of capital expenditure,” She said.



Kaduna church bombing a daring act, says Yakowa From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


ore reactions have continued to trail Sunday’s bomb attack at on St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwar Yero in Kaduna metropolis with Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa describing the action of the suicide bomber as daring. Yakowa who briefed the press at Government House after an assessment tour of the scene and hospitals where the injured are being treated, noted that it was through God’s intervention that the perpetrators of the act did not completely achieve their goal. According to him, “the suicide bomber having realized that he could not go through the gate of the church used his vehicle and was able to scale the fence and gain entry into the church grounds. “That is why we thank God because the damage would have been much more. “The fence slowed him down otherwise he would have gone right inside and it would have been a different story because there were about 1000 worshippers in that church. “It was a daring effort comparable only to the effort by terrorists to attack the One Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, sometime ago. “These acts of terrorism are bringing us backwards but we will not allow these challenges to detract us in our quest to develop the state.” Yakowa said that government would foot the bills of the injured at the various hospitals and also assist in the rehabilitation of property destroyed at the church and the surrounding houses. In a related development, the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna Diocese, Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso, said that the devil was at large looking for people to destroy. Ndagoso spoke yesterday when officials of the Kaduna branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) paid him a sympathy visit.

According to him, “this is evidence that the devil is at work. But, you know, as the Bible tells us, the sword of the battle is in the hands of God. “The devil is running round, looking for someone to destroy but as a Christian body, we must hold unto our faith in spite of all these challenges. “It is just a reality that is staring us in the face, things that we usually look at on television like CNN, bomb blasts far away from Nigeria, but today the bomb blast is with us. We will continue to give God the glory who is always in control and He will continue to be in control. It is just unfortunate that people are being indoctrinated, and that is a problem. “If you are to meet people in both Islam and Christianity, you will know that both religions preach peace but people are being indoctrinated, and they are ready to fight the battle and we have already lost because the fighter is ready to die, but we are not ready to die. Also reacting, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) said it was saddened at the news of the church bombing. In a statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu. The JNI said that, “we condemn the act in its totality and call for calm and restrain. “It is our prayers that the perpetrators behind the act will never succeed in causing chaos in Kaduna. However, we implore the security agents to be more vigilant and intensify measures of curbing this dastardly act of bombings. “As for those affected, we pray for a better return of what they have lost and also the families of those who lost their lives, may Allah grant them fortitude to bear the loss. “Jama’atu Nasril Islam calls on the Muslim Ummah to intensify prayers to Almighty Allah to bring an end to this “kind of situation and ensure peace in our country and we pray against future occurrences.”

President Goodluck Jonathan receiving an award from his Sierra Leonean counterpart, President Bai Kroma during his official visit to the country yesterday.

Land tussle: Fresh bloodshed imminent in Niger Delta, warns Kalabari Kingdom By Lawrence Olaoye


minent personalities from Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers state yesterday gathered in Abuja and warned that fresh bloodshed is imminent in the Niger Delta over plans by President Goodluck Jonathan to annex their land and cede same to his native Bayelsa state.The group, consisting of traditional rulers, chiefs, youths and eminent politicians from the state, in a press conference warned that Jos mayhem would be a child’s play if Jonathan refuses to call on the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to halt its plans to cede their


NNPC, Mr. Fidel Pepple, said a number of other management staff were also promoted while others were redeployed. He named some of those who were promoted to include Farouk Ahmed formerly Executive Director, Commercial, PPMC, now MD NIDAS; Engr. Samuel Babatunde, formerly Executive Director Operations of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, now Project Director Olokola Liquefied Natural Gas Project; Engr. among others.

Commission (NBC) to excise the Soku community from Rivers state in favour of his native Bayelsa. He said “We are prepared to die; they should expect another Jos in the Niger Delta. If they refuse to leave us alone in Rivers state, which is our ancestral land and go ahead with their plans to take over our land for Bayelsa state, we are going to stop the flow of oil from our kingdom. “We will stop the flow of the 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil that they are getting from our land,” Siraebgbe threatened.

Alleged $15m Ibori bribe: Court throws out EFCC’s application By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday refused to grant the request brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to summon

NNPC appoints new MDs for Port Harcourt, Warri refineries he Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has approved the appointment of new managing directors for the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC). The new MDs are Engr. Ian Udoh for PHRC and Engr. Paul Obelley for WRPC. Announcing the appointments in a release, Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the

traditional domain, Soku, to Bayelsa state. Soku, the disputed land, according to the stakeholders belonged to the Kalabari kingdom in the current Rivers state and it is currently under Akoku/Toru local government of the state and any attempt to annex the oil and gas rich area to Bayelsa would be resisted with the last drop of their blood. Chief Anasibs Siraebgbe of Kula Community in Kalabari Kingdom told newsmen that they have resolved to stop the flow of oil from the community if Jonathan continues in his plots to use the National Boundary

Those redeployed include Gabidon Meheux formerly Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, now Managing Director, NNPC Services; Chris Osarrunwese formerly Group General Manager Human Resources, now GGM Downstream Business Development; and Engr. Bayo Ibirogba formerly GGM Greenfield Refineries, now GGM Engineering. The statement said all the appointments are with immediate effect.

foremost Ijaw leader and former minister of information, Chief Edwin Clarke, to explain why he was commenting on a matter before the court for adjudication. Clark had on September 25, 2012, called on President Jonathan to sack the EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, for being untruthful in the $15 million bribe offered by former Delta state governor, Chief James Ibori to Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC boss. Clarke had, during a press briefing on the raging issue of an application for forfeiture of the alleged Ibori bribe money which the anti graft agency had brought before the court, thrown his weight behind claims by Delta state government that the money belonged to the state and should be returned to it. He called for the sack of Ibrahim Lamorde over his roles in the plot to have the sum forfeited to the Federal Government. He claimed that

Lamorde had his eyes of the percentage of the sum that would come to his office if the money was forfeited to the Federal Government and accused the EFCC boss of falsifying the records for his ulterior motives. Justice Kolawole also said Clarke was neither a party nor counsel in the matter before him and warned that although it may amount to, “treating a ringworm instead of leprosy”, by allowing such application by the EFCC to divert court’s attention from the main issue, the commission is at the liberty to file formal application to summon Clarke before him. The trial judge asked EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, to file motion on notice to give Clarke ample opportunity for the right to fair hearing. Justice Kolawole adjourned till November 11, 2012 to hear all the necessary applications but asked the parties to serve all applications filed on the other parties in the matter before the next adjourned date.



f any proof is needed that ordinary Nigerians have become mare pawns on the chessboard of unscrupulous politicians, the serial suicide attacks on churches in the North is surely that proof. Before he was shown the gate as National Security Adviser, General Owoeye Azazi had, at the second South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta state, accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of complicity in the burgeoning Boko Haram insurgency in the country. But even before Azazi’s courageous bombshell, fingers had been pointed at politicians as being sponsors and protectors of the insurgents and the perpetrators of other crises in the country. In fact, the name of a former minister and ranking chieftain of the PDP has often been linked with the late leader and founder of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in the hands of security operatives in July 2009. It was alleged that the former minister had three times secured the release of the Boko Haram leader when he was arrested before his death. At the moment, while a serving Senator, Ali Ndume from Borno state, who was fingered in November 2011 by Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (alias Usman al-Zawahiri) , a suspected Boko Haram member, is standing trial over alleged link with the deadly sect, another, Senator Ahmad Zannah, also from Borno, is embroiled in a blame game with the state’s former governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, over link to the commander of the insurgent group, Shuaibu Bama, who was recently arrested by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in a house belonging to one of the two in the GRA area of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and theatre of the group’s murderous activities. Ali Sanda Umar Konduga, according to the SSS, confessed that Boko Haram was being sponsored by politicians. According to General Azazi, the bombings, suicide attacks and jail breaks that have been raging in the northern part of the country “could be traced to the politics of exclusion of the PDP in the region.” PDP, he said, “got it wrong from the beginning, from the on-set by saying Mr A can rule, Mr A cannot rule ……according to PDP’s convention, rules and regulation and not according to the constitution and that created the climate for what has manifest itself, this way.” The former NSA however, added that,“But, then I must also be quick to point out that today, even if all the leaders that we know in Boko Haram are arrested, I don’t think the problem would end, because there are tentacles. I don’t think that people would be satisfied, because the situations that created the problems are not just about the religion, poverty or the desire to rule Nigeria. I think it’s a combination of everything. Except you address all those

Again, another church suicide attack Since the 2011 Christmas day car bombing that killed at least 20 people at a Catholic Church in Madalla near Suleja, Niger state, churches have become hapless targets of suicide attacks by suspected members of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) better known as Boko Haram or those pretending to be the sect’s members. And despite the fatalities associated with these incidents, not much, if anything, is heard about the fate of those arrested in connection with the atrocities or those alleged to be their sponsors. What becomes of the case against Kabir Sokoto, the alleged brain behind the Christmas day bombing and others arrested or implicated in similar incidents since then? The foot dragging by the authorities to act appropriately may well be responsible for the oft recurrence of the attacks on churches, writes Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.

One of the churches attacked by a suicide bomber recently. things comprehensively, it would not work”. The announcement by the JTF two weeks ago of the arrest of Shuaibu Muhammed Bama, a king pin of Boko Haram set off the blame game between Senator Zannah and former governor Sheriff. In a statement signed by its spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, the JTF said that, “At about 11 am on Thursday, October 18, 2012, a high profile Boko Haram commander, one Shuaibu Muhammed Bama, who has been on the list of wanted terrorists operating between Bama and Maiduguri, was arrested by the task force troops in a serving Senator’s house along Damboa Road, GRA, Maiduguri. He is in the custody of the JTF and assisting in the investigation and has since made startling revelations.” The Senator in question is Ahmad Zannah of trhe PDP, who swiftly refuted the claim that the terrorist was arrested in his home, and insisted that the house the arrest was made belonged to former governor Sheriff, whom he defeated in the Borno Central senatorial election in 2011. He added that

the JTF was colluding with Senator Sheriff to have him removed from the Senate so that he, Sheriff of the All

Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) , could be declared winner. But Sheriff hit back urging the government to go through

National Security Adviser, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki

with its investigation against Senator Zannah, whom he alleged to be a sponsor of the Boko Haram sect. Although much has been made about the January arrest of Kabir Sokoto, the alleged master mind of the Madalla church bombing, alongside an unnamed serving military officer at the Borno State Governor’s lodge in Asokoro District, Abuja, to date not much headway has been made so far in his trial despite the sect’s unrelenting pursuit of its senseless agenda, which has made both Muslims and Christians alike, target for murder. A week after his arrest, Sokoto slipped from the hands of the Police in Abuja, before he was re-arrested by men of the State Security Service (SSS) in Taraba state while trying to cross over into the neighbouring Niger Republic. The victims of the Sunday suicide bombing at the St. Ritas Catholic Church, Unguwan Yero, Malali, Kaduna state are, in the eyes of politicians, may well be nothing but mare statistics in the Boko Haram’s murderous campaign of annihilation.



NAMA’s e-flight plan to fast-track information management By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


he managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, has described the one-day training for airline officials organised by the agency on “eFlight Planning Workshop for Airlines”, as the central focus of the transformation from Aeronautical Information Service to Aeronautical Information Management (AIM). Udoh stated this during a training programme for airlines in the country as part of the ongoing strategy in reducing flight delays at the nation’s airports. Explaining further on the mission, the MD said: “The training was meant to educate airline operators on the need to imbibe e-flight planning to reduce flight delays and improve services to their customers”. He described the exercise as timely considering the ongoing automation project of the AIS. Assistant Chief Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) Officer of the agency, Mr. S.B. Shittu who facilitated the training in conjunction with NAMA ICT and NOMAD Technologies, said the workshop was informed by the current drive by the management to prevent errors in the filing of flight plans by the airlines. Shittu however acknowledged that with the proper training of the airline officials on e-flight plan, the manual way of doing so would be easily eliminated, adding that this business innovation through automation would bring about high quality service delivery to customers. Bristow Helicopters, Aero Contractors, Pan African Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Air France-KLM, Overland Airways, Lewis Cooper International Aviation and Turkish Airlines were among the participating airlines at the workshop.

Vice President Namadi Sambo, Deputy Chief of Staff, Abubakar Kachalla and Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa during the National Council on Privatisation meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

Jonathan tasks engineers on law enforcement By Adeola Tukuru


n order to remove quacks from engineers and contractors in infrastructural development in the country, President Goodluck Jonathan has tasked the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and other professional bodies on the need for enforcement of standards. The President, who was represented by the Minister for

Works, Arch Mike Onelememen, gave this charge when the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) paid him a visit at the Ministry of Works yesterday. The President stated that poor execution of work is more damaging to the Federal Government, because it leads to excessive budget. He further appealed to the NSE expatriates to do all they can to ensure that there is law enforcement among professional

bodies and if anyone defaults, they should be brought to book. The President further assured the NSE of inclusion in the initiative to develop the National Integrated Infrastructural Master Plan by the Federal Government to drive infrastructural development in the country for the next 30 years. “I want to assure you that the NSE would be involved in this initiative, so that you will be

able to contribute your quota to the development of national integrated infrastructure in the country”, he said. Responding, the president of NSE, Engr. Mustafa Balarabe Shehu, said the NSE is in full partnership with the ministry in getting the road sector reform bill passed into law. In his words: “We are working with engineer legislators in the National Assembly to get this bill become an Act soon”.

Oyo govt to commercialise Awoniyi dismisses rumour about food shortage in Kogi wastes disposal From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), has allayed the fears of that the flooding, which ravaged many farmlands would lead to acute food shortages. The deputy governor, Arc Yomi Awoniyi, stated this yesterday while reviewing the measures put in place by government at both the federal and state levels to make up for the lost farmlands caused by the flood. He said although the flooding had destroyed many farmlands and this would affect harvests, the federal and state governments have taken proactive steps to mitigate the consequences.

According to him, the Federal Government’s allocation to agriculture in the 2013 Appropriation Bill is huge, while the state government has equally directed the Ministry of Agriculture to procure high yield variety seedlings to be distributed free to farmers across the state as well as encourage irrigation farming to boost food production and to ameliorate the effects of the loss of agricultural produce to the flood. “The food shortage envisaged”, Arc Awoniyi, stated, “will not be as serious as is being speculated, the government is putting all measures in place to see that people do not suffer unnecessarily because of the disaster “.

From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


yo state government has disclosed plans to commercialise waste disposal across the state under a private partnership participation (PPP) arrangement. The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Habitat, Alhaji Wasiu Dauda, dropped this hint during a chat with journalists on efforts by the administration on environmental matters. The commissioner declared that presently, the state government in its efforts at making the state one of the neatest in the country has mapped out plans towards disposing all the refuse in and across the state before engaging in PPP with which the people of

the state are expected to pay certain amount. He emphasised that the PPP arrangement is to take off as from November this year as the present administration in the state is having zero tolerance for indiscriminate dumping of refuse and waste. Speaking further, the commissioner disclosed that Oyo state government is leaving no stone unturned at preventing flood disaster especially in Ibadan and other major towns in the state. He also said that the state government has already dredged 43 streams across the state so far to ensure free flow of water during heavy down pour to avoid a repeat of the last year August 26 flood disaster.

2 men docked for allegedly fighting over girlfriend


he police yesterday arraigned two men, Richard Maza, 28, and Ndukwe Okezuo, 24, before an Abuja Area Court for allegedly disturbing public peace and causing grievous hurt. Maza, of Angwan Rogo Village, Abuja, and Okezuo, a labourer, of Galadimawa village, Abuja, allegedly

committed the offence on October 23, 2012. Police prosecutor Clement Egwu told the court that the accused engaged in a fight in the house of Mercy Asuo, of Angwan Rogo, Abuja. Egwu said Maza claimed that Asuo was his girlfriend and that he rented the house she was staying for her, while

Okezuo also claimed Asuo was his girlfriend. He said that on October 23, when Maza visited his girlfriend, he met Okezuo in the house and a fight broke out between the two, resulting in serious injuries to both of them. The prosecutor said that Maza hit Okezuo’s head with a plank while Okezuo used a

knife to cut off a big part of Maza’s lips. He said that Okezuo was receiving treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja, and would undergo a plastic surgery for a lip reconstruction. Egwu said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 312 and 289 of the Penal Code, but the accused

pleaded not guilty. The presiding judge, Mr. Ado Muktar, granted them bail in the sum of N50, 000 and one reasonable surety each in like sum. He said the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the case to Nov. 6, for further hearing. (NAN)



Jonathan to receive Ribadu committee report on Friday By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has directed that a comprehensive report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu should be presented to him this week. The Committee which was set up in February 2012, was required to, among other tasks, determine and verify all petroleum upstream and

downstream revenues (taxes and royalties), etc, due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria; and to take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators. A statement signed by Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, confirmed that the report presentation will be made on Friday.

Gombe to construct 300 bed snake bite hospital in Kaltungo By Sunday Etuka


R-L: The Etsu Nupe Alh. Yahaya Abubakar presenting traditional cola (Goron Sallah) to the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu during a Sallah homage on the governor by the trational council of chiefs at his residence in Minna.

Sultan settles Izala, Darika feud in Mecca From Ahmed Kaigama, Saudi Arabia


he Sultan of Sokoto and Amirul Hajj, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, has ended the long dispute between members of the Muslim organisations - Izalatil Bidi'ah Wa Ikamatis Sunnah, popularly known as Izala, and Darika. It was gathered that after days of consultations that culminated in the unification of the sects' two factions at a meeting in Mecca, the groups resolved their differences and formed a formidable movement that would bring unity and

mutual understanding among the Muslim ummah. The national chairman of the Izala group, Shiekh Abdullahi Bala Lau, who confirmed the development to newsmen in Mecca, said that the reconciliation came after meetings and consultations among the leadership of the two main factions with the Sultan. The factions' leaders were made up of the Darika group, led by Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, Sheikh Bala Kalarawi and the other group comprising of Sheikh Muhammad Sani Yahaya Jingir, and Dr. Aminudeen Abubakar of Da'awah group. "Consequent upon this

reconciliation, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi embraced us and he told us where we might have goofed and we equally told them same", Lau said. Bala agreed that the major reasons that precipitated the rift within the Islamic groups were ego and self-interest by both leaders and followers; adding that the unification of these groups was an act of Allah. He however, urged the members of the groups to forgive and forget the past. "Now it is time to work for the course of Allah; it is Allah who made it possible for us to merge. We are members of the same family', he said.

he Gombe state government plans to establish a 300-bed capacity snake bite treatment hospital in Kaltungo for the treatment of patients from seven neighbouring states. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Keneddy Ishaya made this known in Gombe while exchanging views with newsmen yeterday. Dr. Ishaya said the hospital, when completed, would attend to snake bite victims from Gombe and seven neighbouring states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Yobe, Plateau and Nasarawa who constitute 60 percent of victims that patronise the hospital. The hospital, according to

Arik Air investigates body of Nigerian stowaway found in aircraft


he Management of Arik Air, yesterday, said it was still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a young man found in the wheel-well of its Airbus A340-500 last Friday. This came as the airline said it has cancelled its international flight for Monday to New York,

Good Governance Tour: Suswam laments absence of federal projects From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


enue state governor, Gabriel Suswam, has lamented the absence of Federal Government projects in the state, maintaining that good governance in the country has been politicised. Suswam who made the lamentation during a courtesy call on him by the Minister for Information at the Government House, Makurdi at the commencement of the Good Governance Tour of the state embarked upon by the minister, regretted the deplorable state of federal roads in the Benue state. He particularly decried the bad nature of the MakurdiOtukpo-Enugu road which has become a recurring decimal in the nation's budget but remains neglected. Commending the Federal Government for the Otukpo Multi-purpose Dam, Suswam called for its completion. Responding, Maku regretted

that Nigerians have not enjoyed adequate dividends of democracy for over 13 years of democratic experience due to non-adherence to the rules of politics by politicians. Maku also identified bitter rivalries, unhealthy competition amongst the political class as factors responsible for lack of political stability, growth and development in the country. He therefore explained that the

tour was aimed at sensitising Nigerians on projects being executed by government in the last 13 years of uninterrupted democracy. "Democracy is about doing things better. A lot of infrastructural developments have taken place in the country but little is being said about that. We should engage in practices that will promote good governance in the country", he said.

He however, disclosed that the team during the three-day tour would inspect the Greater Makurdi Water Works, Transcorp/ Teragro Fruit Juice Plant, the Benue State Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, township roads among others as well as organise a town hall meeting where Benue citizens are expected to air their views on issues relating to good governance in the country.

Kogi NULGE ask Wada t sanction 'Liaison Officers' From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), has called on Kogi state governor, Idris Wada to call liaison officers in the 21 local government areas of the state to order. In an open letter to the governor signed by the NULGE president, Comrade Tom Abutu and secretary, Jackson Nanyiso, the union stated unequivocally that apart from

Lokoja and Okene local councils respectively, no staff had taken full salary. The union urged the governor to direct the officers to off-set the backlog of salary arrears/ allowances with immediate effect and commence full payment of salaries as at when due across the 21 local councils of the state. "Facilitate the immediate implementation of N18, 000 minimum wage in the councils as enjoyed by the state civil servants

Ishaya, will have five special consulting rooms comprising that of the cardiologist, the physician, the surgeon and two other rooms for research. The commissioner pointed out that there would be a museum for snakes attached to the medical director’s office to enhance research. He announced plans by the government to establish an anti snake venom manufacturing laboratory in Kaltungo for the treatment of snake bite victims. He further said plans were underway for the establishment of an ultra modern laboratory in Kaltungo General Hospital. He explained that they had however converted the abandoned mortuary as a temporary laboratory pending the construction of the new one.

and place embargo on the liaison officers from employing and recalling all those unlawfully retrenched", NULGE regretted. The letter said since the swearing-in of the liaison officers in June 2012, there was no payment of full salary and there has been "unwarranted and illegal deductions from the Federal Allocation by the Ministry and liaison officers which they purport to be done from the executive office.

following Hurricane Sandy in the United States of America. Mr. Adebanji Ola, spokesman of the airline, made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos. Ola said that the body was discovered when engineers were conducting a routine check on the aircraft. "The identity of the man is not known as there was no form of identification on him when the body was discovered. "However, we are able to establish that the body has been in the wheel-well for more than a day suggesting that the stowaway originated from Lagos", the statement said. The statement added that a bottle of medicine produced by a local pharmaceutical company was found on the body. "This lays credence to the suggestion that the stowaway may have boarded the flight from Lagos", the statement said. It added that a bible which has an American flag drawn on the back cover was also found on the body. The statement added that the body of the stowaway, which has since been deposited in the morgue, was awaiting autopsy. Speaking on phone on the international flight cancellation, Ola said that the airline had advised its passengers on international flight against the hurricane. He said the cancellation was as a result of an advice by the United States. (NAN)



Okada ban: Lagos urges residents to use bicycles From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


s controversy continues to trail the ban of motorcycle (okada) in Lagos state, the government

has said: “what is alternative to okada (motorcycle), is the bicycle”. The state’s Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, at the annual cycling

event ‘Park and Ride’ organised by Mannie of Cool FM Lagos, announced plans to introduce bicycle zones and lanes on major roads across the city. Opeifa noted that “the

Improve welfare of Nigerians – Olanipekun, others task Jonathan From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


minent lawyers in the country, yesterday, tasked President Goodluck Jonathan to be more responsible in his governance by focusing on provision of social security to improve the welfare of Nigerians. The lawyers including educationist, Prof. Adele Jinadu and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun, gave the charge at the 5th Annual Social Development Lecture which held in Lagos and organised by constitutional lawyer and rights activist, Bamidele Aturu.

At the lecture which drew different stakeholders including lawyers and civil rights crusaders, Prof. Jinadu, the guest lecturer, condemned the present socio-economic and political system of the country as corruption ridden and suppressive to the common people. He advocated a shift towards what he termed a welfare social system that is people-focused. In his lecture entitled “Social security: Taking the Lives of Nigerians Seriously”, Jinadu also chided the successive Nigerian government for hiding under the fact that the provisions of

Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution are not justiciable to neglect investing on peoples’ development. The former NBA boss, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) also queried the rationale of guaranteeing the rights to life; right to fair hearing and others right under Chapter Four of the Constitution when the socioeconomic rights of the people are still not enforceable. In his opening remark, Bamidele Aturu said: “There is an increasing tendency among the ruling elite across the country but most noticeably in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory to victimise the poor for simply being poor.

bicycle programme is on and pretty soon, you will see some roads in Lagos, marked as bike zones”. Discouraging the use of okada on walk-able distances, the commissioner stated that “anybody who wants to take okada from their houses to the bus stop should use bicycles”. “And when they (commuters in Lagos) get to the bus stop, they should tie their bikes to the poles provided at the bus stop and join the BRT buses. The poles we are providing at the bus stops are not for decoration but for people to tie their bicycles”, he added. “All over the world, from London to Stockholm to Buenos

Aires, people now ride their bikes to work because it saves the environment of the gaseous emissions that are harmful to the environment”. He also noted that cycling will enhance people’s lifestyle and thereby improve their productivity and lifespan which he claims will also have a resultant effect on the nation’s GDP. Acknowledging that the tropical weather in Lagos will make it uncomfortable for cyclers, the commissioner stated: “Yes, the weather will make people sweat but offices will be urged to provide showers”, to ameliorate the discomfort.

Lafia LG aspirant to promote mass literacy From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


n aspirant for the chairmanship position of Lafia local government area of Nasarawa state, Ahmed Suleiman Wambai, has said he will promote mass literacy and purposeful education which he said, will enable individuals develop their capacities for the purpose of serving society. Wambai stated this in a speech he made on the occasion of the official declaration of his intention to contest the chairmanship election for Lafia local government council, which held yesterday at the Savannah Guest Hotel, Lafia.

While unfolding his 8-point plan of action, the aspirant stated that he was motivated to vie for the position because of his desire to better the lot of the people, stressing that when elected, he will embark on the provision of basic social amenities, as well as rekindle the hope of the youths through empowerment, among others. In a chat with newsmen shortly after the event, Wambai, vowed to tackle the issue of youth unrest, saying that he intends to bring his past experience to bear in taking decisions that will positively impact on the lives of the people of the area.

Midwives Service Scheme bags Commonwealth award By Adeola Tukuru


L-R: Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu with Director of Productivity, Illo Clement, during a five-day workshop on National Tripartite Training on International Labour Standard (ILS) Constitutional Obligations for Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-owo.

Edo Assembly chides Oshiomhole for amending traffic law From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he Edo State House of Assembly has berated Governor Adams Oshiomhole for reportedly amending the state Traffic Control and Management Agency (EDSMA) law without the consent of the legislature. The law which was enacted in 2010 by the 5th Assembly, among other things, stipulates that anyone who commits a traffic offense would be made to pay between N1, 000 and N5, 000 to

government depending on the nature of the offence which was increased by over 300 percent to check abuses by commuters. This came to the fore when the Commissioner for Transport, Victor Enoghama, attempted to defend the governor's action yesterday while speaking on the income and expenditure of his ministry between January and September this year. He however, admitted that the law was amended by the governor upon the ministries

recommendation at the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting to check recklessness on the roads. The Speaker of the House, Uyi Igbe who frowned at the decision, ordered the governor to revert to the old order immediately, declaring: “whatever that means, revert it’’. The comissioner explained further that the state government would look into the issue, adding that a bill to that effect is currently before the House.

he Midwives Service Scheme funded by the Millennium Development Goals Office and implemented by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), has won this year’s Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) award for innovation in government services and programmes. A release signed by the deputy director, Information of the MDGs, Kene Offie, stated that the award was presented to Nigeria at CAPAM meeting held last week in New Delhi, India. According to her, Nigeria beat Australia and Canada which also qualified for the finals of the award. The scheme was launched in 2009 to help Nigeria tackle the problem of poor maternal and child health, as indicated in MDGs four and five. “Under the initiative, unemployed and retired midwives are recruited for deployment to primary health centres in rural communities. “The scheme is organised on a cluster model made up of a group of four primary health care centres and a general hospital.

“The primary health care centres provide basic obstetric care and, if necessary, refer patients to the general hospital for comprehensive emergency obstetric care”. “To date, the midwives scheme operates in over 250 clusters covering 1000 primary health care centres nationwide”. “The CAPAM International Innovations Awards are adjudicated by an international panel of public service professionals typically representing at least 10 different Commonwealth countries”, he said. She further explained that in declaring Nigeria the winner of the award, the panel noted that MSS innovation by Nigeria has changed the understanding and analysis of similar challenges in other countries. “The panel also took into consideration the duration within which the programme has been implemented to test if sufficient time has passed to demonstrate results. The panel noted that its independent assessments of MSS indicated that the innovation delivered quantifiable benefits relative to the costs of its implementation…” the statement, he said.



Doma’s son turbaned Garkuwan Doma From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


he son of the immediate past governor of Nasarawa state, Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, was at the weekend turbaned the new Garkuwan Doma by the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Aliyu Ogah. In a brief ceremony that took place shortly after the turbanning, when the celebrant in company of his well-wishers, paid Sallah homage to the residence of his father, Umaru Doma informed his father about his new status, urging the

patriarch to bless him. The senior Doma, who was also the last Garkuwan Doma, expressed gratitude that his son succeeded him as the new Garkuwa, even when he is still alive, urging the new Garkuwa to live up to expectations, while also appreciating the gesture from the Andoma, for finding his son worthy of the title. While praying for him to succeed in his new position, Doma described the position of the Garkuwa as very significant in the traditional hierarchy of the people of the area.

Plane crash: Affected farmers request govt assistance L-R: UNDP Country Representative in Nigeria, Mrs. Ade Lekoetje; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim; and Permanent Secretary, Special Services Office, Mrs. Esther Gonda, during the signing of an MoU on Junior Professional Officer's programme between the Federal Government and the UNDP, yesterday in Abuja.

FG, UNDP to train 37 Nigerians in JPO programmes By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government has concluded plans to send 37 Nigerian youths for the Junior Professional Officers Programme (JPOP), training course abroad. The government therefore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on the modalities for the programme. Speaking during the signing ceremony in Abuja yesterday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said the JPOP initiative will enhance the objective of the present administration to further empower Nigerian

youths by exposing them to critical international platforms that will showcase their talents. He recalled that President Jonathan recently approved a Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSIDO) for the purpose of sponsoring outstanding Nigerians for post graduate studies in the top 25 universities in the world. Anyim added that the JPOP programme is a continuation of the gesture as “these 37 Nigerians will be exposed to development assistance training opportunities that cover different areas of human endeavour”. The JPO programme according to the Country Representative of UNDP, Ade

Lekeotje, provides the opportunity for young professionals to gain valuable experience in the international environment. “By subscribing to the programme, Nigeria is opening an opportunity to young, talented Nigerians from across the country to pursue careers in development with hands-on experience in multi lateral technical operations. Nigeria will become the 20th donor country to the UNDP JPO programme and the first African country to join the list of donor countries. This is an affirmative step by Nigeria to take its rightful place as a leading country in Africa and on the development scene”, she said.

Stroke: Govt should provide community care centres – expert ByA’isha Biola Raji


xperts have charged government at all levels to make available in every community, a stroke care centre like it is found in developed countries like the United Kingdom. This call was made yesterday by Rita Melifonwu, a UK-trained nurse, at the Nigeria Stroke Assembly, hosted by Stroke Action Nigeria, in commemoration of the World Stroke Day. Rita, who is the founder of Stroke Action Nigeria, said the centre which started in Onitsha by her foundation since 2009, will be established in all the states of the federation in order to create awareness for the disease that have silently claimed several

lives of individuals. She said “after winning Mary Seacole Nursing Leadership Award in the UK, (nurse led evidence based interventions in stroke care), I started Stroke Action with • 2 5 , 0 0 0 called Lifeafterstroke’s centre and since then, I have not spent any money from my pocket as UK government has been responsible for every financial activities of the centre”. She said there are no dedicated stroke care units in Nigerian hospitals, no stroke care passage-way, no national strategy for stroke, no training for nurses and doctors caring for stroke patients hence no communication support and treatment. She called on government

to improve the lives of stroke patients by providing all these facilities. According to Dr. BiodunOgungbo, Director, Stroke Action Nigeria, the only cure to stroke is to avoid having a stroke hence the need for preventive advocacy. He however called on government to break its silence on the disease at it has claimed lives of many including “prominent” members of the society. Dr. Biodun however called on youths not to neglect the fact that stroke also kills young people. He advised youths to avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, in preparation for old age as it is better to prevent stroke than manage it.


r. Zira Kwoji and Madam Godiya Dauda, the two farmers whose produce were affected by last Thursday’s plane crash involving Gov. Danbaba Suntai of Taraba state, have requested for government’s assistance. Kwoji and Dauda told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Kwanan-Waya village of Yola South local government area of Adamawa state, that they were very happy that the occupants of the plane survived and wished them quick recovery. “One of the problems now is that this accident will seriously affect our crops. We are just trying to get over the destruction wreaked by flood which left us with little when this one occurred”, Kwoji said.

Kwoji said the farmland belonged to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the PDP national chairman and this was the second year they were opportune to farm there. “Last year, when I started, I got 30 bags of maize, 12 bags of beans and 10 bags of guinea corn but this year because of the flood and plane crash, things will be difficult, if government does not assist us. “Apart from the destruction by the plane, the continuous trooping of people to the site to see the wreckage is another problem affecting our produce”, said Kwoji. On her part, Dauda said just like last year, she planted maize and beans but was not expecting good harvest this year because of the flood and plane crash. (NAN)

Kogi dep gov demands sound approach to climate change From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


eputy governor of Kogi state, Arc Yomi Awoniyi, says efforts aimed at addressing the effects of climate change in Nigeria, should be done in line with contemporary global realities. He stated this while receiving relief materials donated by concerned staff of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), in Lokoja. Awoniyi, who is the chairman, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and chairman, Relief

Management Committee, commended the efforts made by government, individuals and organisations towards assisting displaced persons. He however said a more holistic approach in tackling the issues of climate change must now be adopted by the country as a matter of policy. The deputy governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Ogu Onukutu, described the flood disaster that ravaged the state as terrible and agonising, and called for a review of the climate change bill and for its quick passage by the National Assembly.

Kaduna Amirul Hajj rejects central feeding of pilgrims From Ahmed Kaigama, Saudi Arabia he Kaduna state Amirul Hajj, Alhaji Mannir Jafar, has called for total abolition of the central feeding formula by National Hajj Commission (NAHCON), for Muslims pilgrims in Saudi Arabia. Jafar who gave the advice in Muna during a visit to Kaduna tents, regretted that in most states, there was late feeding by the contracted caterer. He


scolded NAHCON for the poor and untimely feeding of pilgrims at Muna during the Hajj exercise. Jafar called on NAHCON and other stakeholders to ensure that such incidents were addressed squarely. According to him, “I still do not understand why some pilgrims do not received their food on time and why it is also grossly inadequate. We are therefore calling on the abolition of the central feeding formula.



Expert identifies outdated drugs as major hardle to TB treatment


rof. Adeyemi Adeleye of Department of Microbiology, University of Lagos has identified the use of outdated drugs as a major challenge to tuberculosis treatment in Nigeria. Adeleye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that some of the drugs were no longer effective, as they have been in existence for the past six decades. "We are not making progress in terms of TB drugs; we are not meeting the standard regiment. "Some of the drugs we are using for the treatment of tuberculosis have been in existence since the 50s; many TB patients have developed resistance to the drugs. "This is because they have used them over and over again, the drugs have become ineffective.

"New regiments are coming on board and we have to buy them and also improve on our diagnosis, if we must curtail the spread of the epidemic in the country", Adeleye said. The microbiologist said that Nigeria currently ranked fourth among the 22 countries with the highest TB burden in the world and second in Africa. He said that in 2011, Nigeria recorded 30.3 percent and 75 percent for both TB case detection and treatment. "Both were below the World Health Organisation (WHO) target of 70 percent and 85 percent for TB detection and treatment respectively", Adeleye said. He said that non-adherence of the TB patients to the prescribed drugs was another challenge to the cure of the disease.

According to him, it takes a long time to cure TB and in the process the patient may be lost to treatment and continue to spread the bacteria. Adeleye explained that about 30 percent of HIV-infected in the country were diagnosed to have TB

co-infections, "meaning that there is a serious problem on our hand". He urged the Federal Government to respond quickly by purchasing the Xpert MTB/RIF assay endorsed by WHO in 2010, for rapid detection of TB cases. The Xpert MTB/RIF assay is

recommended for screening of drug-resistant tuberculosis and for populations infected with HIV. Adeleye also urged the Federal Government to acquire Rifampicin resistance for TB patients and people living with HIV who are at risk of drug resistance. (NAN)

Kogi Assembly crisis: Ebira youth call for caution From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


s the recent impeachment of the Speaker of the Kogi state House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello continue to generate public debate, the Ebira Youth Congress (EYC), has cautioned the Assembly members to thread the part of peace and constitutionality in the interest of the nations nascent democracy. A statement issued over the weekend and signed by its president

and deputy secretary, Comrades Gomina Kadir and Azimazi Usman respectively, implored the two groups in the Assembly to consider the interest of the electorate far above any personal gains. While stating that the issue of appointment and removal of the principal officers of the Assembly was purely an internal affair of the House, EYC however stressed that due process should be followed in exercising such powers. The statement further observed

that the Kogi central where the two contending speakers hail from, has been overheated with political crisis in the recent past and enjoined the government of Capt Idris Wada to do everything within its powers to sustain the present peace in the area. The group while commending the House of Representatives for the prompt intervention in the crisis, said it has no doubt that justice would prevail at the end which would restore mutual trust among members of the Assembly. Similarly, the Ebira Ozoza Association (EOA), has said that the recent impeachment of the Speaker of the state Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello was capable of sparking another round of crisis in the area, if not properly managed. A statement issued over the weekend, signed by the patron and secretary, Engr. Abdulmalik Ateiza and Ahmed Tijani Sadiq, said the Ebira people have suffered untold hardship in the past due to what it referred to as unhealthy political manouevering and cautioned the two actors in the Assembly crisis who are from the area to exercise restraint in the interest of their people.

Minister condemns Kaduna church attack as inhuman, barbaric From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi

L-R: Director General, State Security Service, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, receiving the approved list for the distribution of free Federal Government textbooks to 36 states of the federation for security monitoring from the Minister of State for Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, during the minister's courtesy visit to SSS Headquarters, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

2012 Hajj ends in Saudi Arabia From Ahmed Kaigama, Saudi Arabia


undreds of thousands of Muslims from over 189 countries completed the Hajj rite in Mecca yesterday. The annual pilgrimage came to an end as pilgrims rushed to complete the final rituals, leaving

the devil-stoning site of Mina and returning to Mecca for the farewell circumambulation. Most pilgrims, who have been hurling rocks at three pillars representing Satan for the past three days, left the holy city of Mina before dusk on Sunday. But others stayed on in Mina until yesterday when

they performed the stoning ritual one final time. Worshippers living outside Mecca perform the farewell circumambulation around the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure in Mecca towards which Muslims worldwide pray. The Hajj officially ended

yesterday but pilgrims in a hurry to conclude their journey left on Sunday. "I hope I will be able to perform the hajj again in the future," said Um Hassan, an Iraqi pilgrim. "It was a great experience". Able-bodied Muslims must perform the hajj at least once in their lifetime.

We’ll restore peace in Okene, says council boss From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he head of the management team of Okene local government council, Alhaji Ahmed Ogembe, has promised to return the area to the part of peace and as well revive the old culture of hard work which the people are known for. Ogembe who stated this while

disbursing funds to the over 500 youths who were undergoing training under the council's skills acquisition programme, lamented that some youths in the area have become vulnerable and easy tools for violence. He said under the programme, the youths are paid N4, 000 monthly stipends which takes care of their transportation and feeding besides their learning fee and resettlement

money which he said would also be paid by the council. "Apart the youths skill acquisition programme, the administration has embarked on various infrastructural development which would impact positively on the lives of the people of the area", he added. "Since asses to good drinking water remains a major challenge to the people, the council has completed the

rehabilitation of some existing water schemes in the area, the reticulation exercise would soon be completed", Ogembe hinted. According to Ogembe, in order to restore the status of Okene as not only the center of excellence for the people of central but to the entire old Kabba province, the installation of over 400 street lights across the council has commenced.


he Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro has condemned yesterday's suicide bomb attack on worshippers at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Kaduna, describing the incident as inhuman, barbaric and unwarranted. In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. George Udoh, Comrade Moro stressed the need for those engaged in these dastardly acts to have a rethink and respect the sanctity of human life. "Life is precious and there is no justification for any individual or group to kill innocent souls as was done in Kaduna on Sunday" the minister regretted. He also called for an immediate halt to the killings of innocent Nigerians under whatever guise, advising all stakeholders in the Nigerian project to condemn the insurgence of a few individuals or groups and work collectively to bring this state of insecurity that has pervaded the Northern part of the country to an end. The Interior Minister further called on all Nigerians to regard the current security challenges facing the nation as a collective responsibility and appealed to them to always provide useful information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the wicked act and their sponsors.



Managing capital: Essential guide for fast-growing companies Compiled By Muhammad Sada Focusing on capital apital is the lifeblood of every fast-growth business. As you continue your journey to market leadership, a strong grasp of what we call the Capital Agenda should inform all of your important business decisions. Should you restructure your business? Is now the time to sell some of its assets? How can you seize the premium acquisition opportunities? Our Capital Agenda model will help you to address questions like these. You can use the model, which is based on the four key dimensions of Preserving, Optimizing, Raising and investing capital, to consider the challenges facing your business and to make better decisions about your strategic use of capital.


Preserving capital: A fast-growth company needs to preserve capital. So continuously evaluate your balance sheet, strategy and markets. Look for strengths and weaknesses. Seek opportunities, but identify risks and guard against value erosion. Your ability to access liquidity, manage and release cash, control costs and engage with key stakeholders is essential to preserving capital. Points to consider include: Keep cash flowing: Sound cash flow planning is critical to business survival while a robust short-term assessment of cash needs can help to

Quote "A good businessman must have nose for business the same way a journalists has nose for news. Once your eyes, ears, nose, heart and brain are trained on business, you sniff business opportunities everywhere. In places where people see a lot of obstacles, I see a lot of opportunities. At times, there is something instinctive in me that tell me a business opportunity exist even at a place where others see nothing. That is what makes me different, maybe unique. A good businessman sees where others don't see. What I see, you may not see. You cannot see because that is the secret of the business… the entire world is a big market waiting for anybody who knows the rules of the game." – Orji Uzor Kalu

predict impending risks? Work with your value chain partners to increase liquidity. Debt management: With difficult credit market conditions, a ground-up debt review is invaluable. Check covenants and explore the options for renegotiation. E x a m i n e alternative sources of liquidity, such as short-term credit. Cut costs. Cost control is vital in a troubled economic environment. The challenge is to make quick cuts that are consistent with business strategy, without eroding value. Optimizing capital : Capital is precious. Fastg r o w t h companies need a tight grip on the drivers of efficient capital allocation. G r e a t e r operational efficiency can release excess cash and working capital. More companies are taking an active approach to business asset management. Such rigor can uncover poor capital deployment, leading to better capital preservation and allocation.

Points to consider include: Cash first: The financial crisis is a reminder that profitability today does not guarantee sustainability tomorrow. Keep a close watch on cash flow.

Active portfolio management: Do not leave optimal capital deployment to chance. Benchmark your asset performance, both internally and against competitors. Act early. Faster acquisition integration starts with better pretransaction planning. Involve the

managers who will deliver synergies in their identification, timing and valuation. Raising capital: Fast-growth companies need to keep their capital needs under constant review. Even if y o u r balance s h e e t appears strong, external shocks c a n d e l a y y o u r journey t o market leadership. Review y o u r business through the lens of t h e investment a n d lending communities. Whether you are refinancing debt or planning for an IPO, you can reduce your cost of capital if you understand the ratios and covenants they favor. Points to consider include: Be prepared: To access capital at the lowest possible cost, you need to identify future capital needs as early

as possible. Look beyond debt and equity: Create investment opportunities that satisfy the changing demands of capital providers. Think local. Regional financial markets are maturing rapidly. Consider sourcing capital in your target geographies. Investing capital: Use your capital wisely. Potential backers expect fastgrowth companies to make investment decisions supported by in-depth and varied scenario analyses. Show them you have considered the alternative uses of your capital. Communicate a compelling value proposition and focus due diligence on the drivers that matter most. Points to consider include: Be agile: Successful investing requires rigorous due diligence and effective integration planning. But this takes time. To accelerate the process, hunt down opportunities - don't wait for them to arise. More is not better: The increasing complexity of investment options demands better due diligence, but avoid simply doing "more of the same." Focus on the areas that could erode value after the investment. Think about structure: A joint venture or partnership could deliver your investment goals without the risks associated with an acquisition.

How to become an entrepreneur • Learn how to find opportunities that others miss he first key to becoming a successful business owner is finding the right opportunity; an opportunity that others fail to see. I use the word "learn" because entrepreneurship is a learning process; you must keep learning from the day you start a business till the day you quit the game. "One of the great things about being willing to try new things and make mistakes is that making mistakes keeps you humble. People who are humble learn more than people who are arrogant." - Rich Dad "One of the most stupid things to do is to pretend you are smart. When you pretend to be smart, you are at the height of stupidity." - Rich Dad I used the word "learn" because you can never become perfect at spotting good business opportunities; you just have to keep learning and improving your business skills or vision. Becoming a successful entrepreneur or building a successful business lies in your ability to spot business opportunities that others


miss; you must be able to see opportunity in problems. "Behind every adversity is an opportunity. If you lament over the adversity, you will miss the opportunity." - Ajaero Tony Martins In an article I wrote previously; I repeatedly emphasized the point that the primary duty of an entrepreneur is to "solve critical problems" and such problems can surface in any form or situation. To become a successful entrepreneur; you must think and act like the ancient alchemists that tried to turn lead to gold. But in your case, you will have to make it a primary duty to turn problems into opportunities. If you can do turn a problem into an opportunity; even if it's just once, you've just picked the first piece of the puzzle to building a business and becoming a successful business owner. • Learn how to raise money The second key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is to learn how to raise capital by any legal means necessary. "Business? It's quite simple. It is other people's money." - Alexander

Dumas the Younger If you don't know how to raise capital; forget about becoming an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you must learn to raise capital internally; as well as externally. Cash flow is the life blood of a business and it's your job to make sure that cash continuously flow into your business. Show me a successful entrepreneur and I will show you an individual that knows the intricacies of raising capital. "There is one paradoxical characteristic every entrepreneur must possess to succeed. An entrepreneur must be able to persuade his debtors to pay their debts promptly and at the same, must tactically delay payments to his creditors." - Ajaero Tony Martins • Learnhowtoorganizesmart people "The ability to deal with people is as purchasable as a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other thing under the sun." - John D. Rockefeller The third key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is the ability

to organize smart people and put them in strategic positions within the business. Business is a team sport; a game that requires a synergy of business skills; and an entrepreneur with the best team will always win. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to find your own best team; you need to assemble a strong business team. "Successful businessmen share the ability to hire people smarter than they are." - Dillard Munford Organizing and directing smart people can only be possible if you possess good leadership skills and your ability to create a synergy between groups of smart people is what makes you a successful entrepreneur. Smart people in this case include professionals, business advisors, mentors and business coaches. "A business idea is just another idea. But an idea backed by a strong feasibility, a thorough business plan and a smart team is no longer an idea. It's now a solid business opportunity worth pursuing." Ajaero Tony Martins




Presidential sports retreat: Time to walk the talk N

o doubt, Nigeria’s pride was hurt when its contingent to the 2012 London Olympic Games failed to win any medal in spite of the huge N2.3 billion that went into the preparations. The woeful performance at the London Games awakened the nation to the stark reality of its recurrent failures at continental and global sports levels in recent years. Clearly, as President Goodluck Jonathan pointed out, this trend, unacceptable as it is, points to a systemic failure that requires a drastic, holistic review of existing sport policies and structures. We hope that the recent Presidential Sport Sector Retreat that held in Abuja was the beginning of the restructuring of the sport sector. The president pointed out while declaring the retreat open that it is the vision of the present government to tap into the vast potentials of sports as one of the major instruments for national rebirth that would see the country enter the elite league of the world’s most advanced 20 economies by 2020. However, good intentions are not good enough; the government must be seen to walk its talk. For most countries, sport is a major tool for demonstrating economic and social strength, and Nigeria should be no exception. Firstly, the government must articulate focused sport policies and re-jig organizational structures that will institutionalize transparency, accountability, and coordination in the whole gamut of sports administration.

It must redesign its structural framework in line with global best practices that encourage reasonable investment in technical programmes, personnel, and athletes. A hindrance to the nation’s progress in sports has always been inadequate funding. In Nigeria, the financing channel is sadly singular, the investment channel narrow and unsustainable, just as the president rightly observed.

Firstly, the government must articulate focused sport policies and re-jig organizational structures that will institutionalize transparency, accountability, and coordination As was suggested during the retreat, the old order of sport administration whereby the government is involved in virtually everything must give way because government can no longer alone shoulder the capital intensive responsibility of funding sports; the private sector must begin to get involved. We suggest that rather than the lame partnership arrangement whereby organizations volunteer to promote sport programmes, often after teams have

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”

qualified for championships, a compulsory one percent tax on profits declared by multi-national corporations should be levied and the funds channeled into sport development. Also, the government must set clear boundaries between using fair regional representation in the appointment of the leadership of both the National Sports Commission and the boards of the sports federations and appointment of professional managers and technical officials into the respective boards. The placement of square pegs in round holes, regrettably, has been responsible for the decline of sports. Sadly, it is the same story in the deployment of critical technical expertise. For Nigeria to become one of the best sporting nations in Africa, nay the world, the government must take steps to strengthen existing institutions, including making the National Sports Commission (NSC) a true commission in structure and personnel; it must hands off funding of sports and create the enabling environment for the private sector to assume a bigger role in the sponsorship and administration of sports. Peoples Daily fears the resolutions from the retreat may just go with the wind, like those before it, if the government lacks the political will to implement them to the letter. We painfully recall the sad fate that befell Vision 2010, the Samuel Ogbumudia and late Omeruah panels or a recent presidential committee on the revival and restructuring of sports.









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Need for silent grassroots revolution By Victor E. Dike


conomic development is the tool to mitigate the discontents and the misery in the local communities. However, to design and implement pro-people and prodevelopment policies, local government administrators must have the technical skills to analyze available local social and economic data. (Data collection and analysis is a serious problem in government agencies in Nigeria; and it is much more problematic at the local government area). One cannot over emphasize the importance of reliable data; demographic data for instance will help policymakers to identify the needs of a community and the buying power and market size of a community. All these provide local entrepreneurs and investors with the necessary information about the economic health of an area. It also will help them to determine the magnitude of risk involved in investing in a particular community. The country’s enormous human and natural resources have been mismanaged and misappropriated for decades by the political leaders to the detriment of the ordinary citizens. But the people must face the challenge and turn the nation’s economic prosperity to their favour by weeding off through silent grassroots

revolution the many ‘rotten eggs and gadflies’ in the system. Without that there will be no real social, economic and political reforms or transformational change in the local communities in particular, and the country in general. As it has been emphasized, local government politics is the bedrock of bribery and corruption that leads to the mismanagement of resources and hinders economic development at the grassroots. This leads to rising unemployment, poverty, and crime in the grassroots as people device ways and means (against the rule of law or not) to make ends meet. The government should ensure that any funds allocated for community development are properly utilized. Since the local communities are the engines of national development, they should be managed by “transforming leadership”leadership that builds on man’s need for meaning, leadership that creates institutional purpose’ and can get things done. The issues of rising insecurity, unemployment, decayed infrastructure and institutions are too important to be ignored because they have profound impact on the state of the economy and the living conditions of the citizens. Nigeria has been whirling around in a circle vicious for decades. To move forward, the

government should design and implement sound monetary and fiscal policies to resuscitate the economy that is comatose. And to progress and thrive in a complex new global economy the political leaders (and one the followers) must provide the people with the tools (the infrastructure and institutions) and technical skills to produce standard products and services and allow the market forces to work. In other words, the policymaker must design effective institutions that will allow the market to function and deal with the complexities created by the country’s social, religious, tribal/ ethnic diversity. Hopefully, with this the people in parts of the country will begin to rethink their entrenched belief of opinion that the central government is bias over one section/region and religious group over the other. And peace, unity and security and economic development may eventually blossom. Although everyone has a part to play, but the burden falls on the shoulders of the top leadership who are traditionally responsible for leading the change process. The success and failure of any organizational change depends on the capability of the leadership and support of the stakeholders participating in the process. In other words, no change intervention in any modern society or organization will be

successful without the full support of the stakeholders. Nigeria’s political leaders need a new approach to solving the country’s social and economic problems. As Van Velsor and Drath (2004) has aptly noted, leading a complex challenge requires a “new approach”. “Guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader [as]-no business survives over a long term if it can’t reinvent itself.” It is, therefore, incumbent upon the managers and leaders of nations and organizations to surround themselves with honest and committed team players to enable them “navigate their organizations successfully through a well-planned change process or transformation.” In addition, this will help them to create a sustainable competitive advantage by developing and promoting to best people to manage the affairs of their entities. It must be emphasized that the leaders will not achieve these objectives by looting the funds allocated for community development programs. They policymaker and the people should build a new mindset (or mental model) and learn harness the available resources to achieve a desired national objectives. The call for silent massive grassroots revolution will change the ways the political leaders, from the local chairman to the president conducts the affairs of the nation.

And this will pave the way for a long awaited economic development and improvement in the living conditions of the citizens. Nigerians have for long bottled-up their angers and frustration about lack of progress and innovation in the country despite the seemingly campaign and promises by successive administrations to turn the economic fortune of the country around. But the country’s corruptculture is an obstacle to innovative ideas and any transformational minister that comes on board is eventually forced by the entrenched special interest group to quit. And any innovative strategy is doomed without a culture that tolerates innovative ideas. Nigeria will remain perpetually underdeveloped politically, socially and economically without broadening the level of opportunities for the citizens. The lack of this will have wider consequences including unstable political environment with a catalogue of human misery. However, without a silent massive grassroots revolution the political leaders may not change their mental models and work harder for rural development. As it has been noted rural development is the grease that lubricates the wheel of economic development and national economic prosperity. Victor E. Dike can be reached at

What US immigrant workers remember about Nov 6 By Wumi Akintide


or me as an immigrant from Nigeria and as an accredited voter and political activist and consultant for the Democratic Party, I find it compelling to do this piece for all immigrants and naturalized immigrants including Europeans, Blacks and Hispanics who are now a force to reckon with in America because Democracy unlike Fascism, Dictatorship and Military Rule is a game of numbers based on one man one vote. In that sense Democracy trounces any other system of Government in my opinion because it levels the playing field for the rich and the poor, the old and the young and for men and women. You go into that polling booth on November 6 believing you have as much power as a Donald Trump, a Bill Gate and a Paul Getty to influence the outcome of this election by the choice you make as you pull that lever for either Obama or Romney.That kind of feeling is very empowering to me. I do know that by now that many of you might have already made up your minds on who to vote for between Obama and Romney. We thank God we all live in a country where the voters don’t just vote for a candidate because of how filthy rich they are and what political parties they belong to. Most Americans vote for a candidate who care about them and offer them a chance to share out of the American dream

of freedom and justice for all and life more abundant.That is why Americans are always talking about “their way of life”. As an immigrant from Nigeria I live and share that way of life everyday as I switch on the light and there is light and as I turn on the water in the kitchen and the bath room and there is water hot or cold. I live that way of life when I could go to the Super Market every day to get what I need or when I could go to the flea market 3 days a week to get for half the price some of the items I could not afford to buy in the Supermarket. I live that way of life when I go into any public library or even the Internet looking for books to read online. I live that life when I program the GPS on my cell phone to give me directions to anywhere I need to go from coast to coast and from sea to shining sea in America. I live that way of life when my cell phone gets me linked up to all my loved ones around the globe who are now just a phone call away from me whether they live in the urban centers or far away in the village in Africa. I live that life when with Obamacare I could still keep all of my younger children till they turn 26. I live that way of life when Insurance companies can no longer refuse to insure me or any members of my family because of a pre-existing condition. I live that life when I can call 911 and be entitled to emergency treatment to save my life regardless of whether or not I have any

Insurance or Medicaid or Medicare. Now put yourself in my shoes as an immigrant and imagine who out of Obama and Romney I am likely to vote for when I pull that lever in the polling booth on November 6. I do know that the Johnny-come-lately Mitt Romney who has now repudiated what he promised to do during the primary season would not come back hard on me and immigrants like me across the country if he is ever elected President. I can tell you what Romney and Paul Ryan are going to do if their promises made to American voters in the midterm elections in 2010 are anything to go by. If they win on November 6, they will see their victory as an iron-clad mandate as they clamp down hard on all immigrants in this country with the possible exception of Jews and white immigrants from Russia and many of their European allies across the board. Who is going to bear the brunt? It is going to be you and me. It is going to be

immigrants from Cuba, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Caribbean, Latin America but more so for immigrants from all African countries but most especially from Nigeria where no less than 5 million or more immigrants come from. The real choice in this election two weeks from today is who, out of Obama and Mitt Romney, can immigrants trust to be on their side if the push comes to shove? Most immigrants with the exception of the former Governor of California Arnold Schwachneggar (pardon my poor spelling) and a few of them in Hollywood or Silicon Valley would never qualify to be among the top 1 or 2 percent of American multimillionaires that Mitt Romney is hell-bent on protecting if he ever wins the presidency to our own peril. He has said it loud and clear at every stop in this campaign. The poor and the middle class in America world be insane to vote for Romney in this election because he and his running mate do not have our interest at heart at all.

The only thing that will make any illegal immigrants want to suddenly self-deport is if they face a far worse discrimination and hopelessness that drove them to America to begin with? Come on folks. What is America going to become if the America of Romney’s dream ever sees the light of day?

Romney says he is fighting for the yet unborn Americans just like he says he is fighting for a day old foetus because to him life begins at conception. A lot of those conceptions he is talking about today could end up in miscarriage as Romney goes ahead to cut the safety net programs like public assistance and subsidized living for the old and disabled, food stamps for the poor and Obamacare to guarantee free medical treatment to those whose lives completely depend on it. The only thing that will make any illegal immigrants want to suddenly self-deport is if they face a far worse discrimination and hopelessness that drove them to America to begin with? Come on folks. What is America going to become if the America of Romney’s dream ever sees the light of day? America would cease to be the beacon of hope or the shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan used to talk about. Only foolish immigrants or poor voters would go for that kind of America. The America of my dream is one that shows by example that she understands that we are not born equal but deserve to be treated with fairness and justice, and given a chance to be the best we can be and not a country where the winner takes all or where trickle down rationalization becomes a weapon to forever enslave a crosssection of society. Dr. Wumi Akintide is reachable on.


By Akin Adesokan


t has been said by many commentators that President Goodluck Jonathan, like his two predecessors in the Fourth Republic, is the product of a corrupt political process. This is an obvious point, a way of saying that he is the kind of president Nigeria could only produce at present time. Given the structural violence pervasive at all level of the political society, a person of outstanding moral power could not rise to be president now. The jury is still out on the president’s personal ethics (if only he would respect the Code of Conduct bureau and declare his assets), but his political behavior thus far indicates an ordinary level of responsibility, falling short of what his office demands. For one thing, with his tone and demeanor in responding to questions last June about his undeclared assets he cut the picture of a leader who either has not thought things through, or has been let down by his advisers. For another thing, when he takes decisions that border on the controversial (such as the fuel subsidy crisis, and the renaming of the University of Lagos), he only exposes the limits of his political capital as a public man. Nigerians expect a lot from


Extraordinary country, ordinary president their presidents; they expect a symptomatic. The result is a subsidy scandal has revealed a president to be powerful without mismatch between the protocols level of corruption too high for being overbearing. This is partly of presidential power, civic legal probity; the failed because the country is not Bertolt expectations, and unpredictable renaming of UNILAG leaves the Brecht’s prototypical “good events for which the president executors of the act without the country.” You didn’t need a poet’s may not be held accountable but kind of escape route soldiers used appeal to to create by s u p e r i o r simply shooting virtues if the in the air and republic was taking off in a beautiful. The cloud of dusts. Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text problem is that This leaves the messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written the president is president with a contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 an ordinary few passable words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and figure ruling a actions in this country of vein: the a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed extraordinary appointment of to: expectations. the first female What is Chief Justice of The Editor, expected is that the federation, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, he rises above and the ritual 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. the values of his handing-out of Email: let m i l i e u — national honors. SMS: 07037756364 negative for the Everyone in the most part—and presidency is become the one to cut the which he would accept as part of happy; the critical mass is expectations to size. There is a the turf if he had the right indifferent. In current political problem here. Even with the best amount of political imagination. parlance this type of gesture is intentions, the president cannot This is why the president called “kicking the bucket down fight above his weight. Add to this cannot do extraordinary things the street,” or “transacting,” the peculiar experiments of the that demonstrate political will. that is, taking decisions in a past twenty-three years (since the The two controversial decisions I manner which shows minimum military formation of two political mentioned earlier have also commitment to transforming parties), which has led to the turned out to be scandalous and the system. It is thus typical emergence of parties without could have had serious Nigerian talent for hyperbole distinguishing ideologies and of consequences for his presidency, that Jonathan’s is called the which the ruling party, the were Nigeria to be governed by “transformational presidency.” People’s Democratic Party, is transparent rules. The fuel On the face of it, there is little


to connect this picture of the president to the system of corruption that promotes “false formality.” But let’s look beneath the surface. In the president’s preference for doing the needful, hugging the outskirts of the parapet, we see only a more tolerable appeal to appearance than I noted in the parliamentary probe of the fuel subsidy scam. The president’s style betrays the commonplace option: do the needful, stretch nothing, be seen to have done what is necessary. Can one blame him for this? Yes, to the extent that he is an executive president and his office comes with a lot of discretionary powers. But he is also an ordinary person, the kind of person in whose head, as the Barbadian writer George Lamming once put it, nothing would ever go pop! He’s not the risk-taker needing courage, loyalty or wisdom to act. If he were, he could, finding himself with those powers, be a truly transformative leader. But he is not. Nigeria runs through him. This is the third of a threepart article on the theme of “false formality.” Akin Adesokan is Associate Professor of comparative literature at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Return of the Iroko and why the hullabaloo By Bayo Oluwasanmi


hanks goodness the organized madness which accompanied the Ondo State gubernatorial election ended last Saturday without any violence. We can now tuck awaysafely- the side effects of the malady until 2016. Ondo State Labor Party Governor Olusegun Mimiko aka Iroko was comfortably re-elected with 260, 199 votes. PDP’s Olusola Oke polled 155, 961 while Rotimi Akeredolu of ACN came distant third with 143, 512 votes. Of the 18 local government areas of the state, Governor Mimiko’s LP won 13, ACN 3, and PDP 2. The Action Congress of Nigeria’s (ACN) most coveted political prize was bringing back the ‘lost sheep’ as it were, into the family fold of southwest governors. Yanking Iroko from the Labor Party (LP) was not going to be easy. To cut down Iroko, many real and imagined unbelievable varieties of popular myths must be devised and applied. The ACN on behalf of its challenger, Rotimi Akeredolu, with glorious hyperbole demonized the incumbent Iroko. No one was left in doubt as to the doom prepared for him. Politics is not conducted by rational adversaries with a sense of history. For sure, there is no limit to the absurdities in politics. Since the dawn of politics, the emotional impulse to “get the better of one’s opponent” has been the name of the game. Thus, the enmity and bitterness nursed against Iroko metamorphosed

into a do or die affair. With sardonic attacks on traditional morality, Iroko was not spared by ACN. The electorate was badgered with those familiar twins – fear and hate. The pivotal base of ACN’s argument was the ‘seditious’ charge that Iroko is a “traitor” to Tinubu the southwest god father. Iroko was demonized and characterized as a prodigal son who should be denied a return ticket back home. Tinubu, as the story goes, had helped Iroko to recapture his lost mandate that was rigged by PDP. For that favor, the god father wanted Iroko to pay him back by trading LP for ACN, taking orders from Lagos, and forever remain silent. This was what the noise was all about! In superstitious moments, god father and his ACN cohorts tried very hard to persuade us that if Iroko was re-elected, greater impiety, looting of the state treasury, and backwardness would continued unchecked. More importantly, economic darkness, tragic and terrible political pestilence awaits the people of Ondo state, the godfather warned. The ACN badly needed Ondo to fall within its column and be part of the much vaunted southwest economic and political regional integration. If Ondo remained outside the ACN geo-political sphere, it would be the weakest link capable of halting or out rightly immobilizing the “progressives” southwest states from marching forward, so we’re told. A good product advertises itself. If the progress and

development of the southwest states were that stunning, there is no need for any godfather to coerce or manipulate, or even try to buy elections. Willingly, other states would join the progressive band wagon! This past Saturday, I was one of a three-member panelist on Sahara TV. The ebullient Sahara TV moderator Rudolf Okonkwo, fielded questions centered on hot button issues ranging from the US presidential election, the return of First Lady Patience Jonathan from “vacationing” abroad, to Ondo State gubernatorial election. I argued that godfather Tinubu had no business to dictate or impose who would be the next governor of Ondo. Furthermore, I said the touted developments in ACN-controlled southwest are selective as opposed to the overall development of the state. Am example is Lagos state, where island areas such as Lekki, Ikoyi and other prime sections of the city are being developed at the expense of the mainland. A case in point is the construction of Abesan Road. In July, I was in Lagos on vacation. Traveling on Abesan Road to see a friend who lives at Jakande Estate, I noticed a sign post on the road with detailed information publicizing the contract for the construction of the road. I asked my nephew who was driving to stop so I could read the info on the sign post. According to the info, the contract for the road was awarded as far back as July 2011. To my utter chagrin no trace of any construction activity ever took place after one year since the

contract was awarded. The closest thing to construction on the road was the abandoned heap of sand and stone that could be taken for desert dunes waiting to be blown away by the wind any time. Seventy per cent of the sand and stone materials had been washed away by rain making the road more hazardous for motorists and other commuters. Lest we forget, the right to vote is the most important and dramatic emblem of representative democracy. Every effort was deployed by the godfather to adulterate the electoral process and the right of Ondo State people to choose who would preside over the affairs of their state for the next four years. As part of the political war game, it was rumored that godfather spent between 13 and 33 billion Naira to unseat Iroko. The advocates of unreason from the ACN believed that there is a better chance of profitably deceiving the people of Ondo. The restraint of foresight lured the ACN to the false faith that frenzied monetary exploitation would dethrone the LP party in Ondo. Now the godfather and party stalwarts know better. The re-election of Iroko breathed the much needed air of portentous and conclusive wisdom of the triumph of democracy – the will of the people. First, in a democracy, ultimate power to change a government belongs to the people. If the people of Ondo State approved the performance or nonperformance of their governor so be it. And needless to say, they’ll

live by it for the next four years. Second, more than anything else, the woeful defeat of ACN signifies the beginning of the end of political godfathers in the southwest in particular and in Nigeria in general. Third, that the Ondo State people are smart enough to determine their own fate. For them the four years of Iroko was a record good enough to run on. They don’t need any god father to sell them oranges and call them apples. Fourth, “Ondo people will not serve a foreign god.” And so for yet another time, Iroko has weathered the storm. He’s known to have taken cliff edge political risks and survived them all. He began his political career nearly 30 years ago. In 2002 as commissioner for health in Adebayo Adefarati’s administration, Iroko resigned and decamped to PDP and teamed with Segun Agagu PDP’s flag bearer in Ondo. After helping Agagu to power, once again he resigned from the administration. On the platform of little known LP, he contested the gubernatorial election with Agagu and won. Tinubu had successfully sent three PDP governments in the southwest - Osun and Ekiti in 2010, and Oyo in 2011 - to political oblivion. But last Saturday, Iroko saved Ondo State from being overrun by stopping the ACN juggernaut. Tinubu the god father is the huge collateral damage under the victory train of Iroko. Bayo Oluwasanmi is reachable on


By Tunji Ajibade


ne is down in the battle in Kogi State. He fell in the legislative chambers; that was where his colleagues sat and pronounced him impeached. Abdullahi Bello, the impeached Speaker says he is not out though, that he is in charge. So he is throwing punches, stating his own side of the matter. On August 30, 2012, he said lately, the Kogi State Assembly unanimously resolved to proceed on working recess to allow the various Standing Committees of the House to undertake a holistic appraisal of the year 2012 budget. This is done to prepare the House ahead of the receipt of the 2013 Appropriation Bill which the Governor of Kogi State is expected to present later. The Speaker stated further that 12 out of 25 members of the House broke into the Assembly with a fake maze and made a statement that they had removed all the seven principal officers of the House. Bello said House members have the right to shorten their recess to reconvene, but only he the Speaker should have issued an official proclamation in that regard. Furthermore, he and his Deputy require two-thirds majority to be By Reuben Abati


ut the visit to the various camps was not without the touch of occasional comedy. In one of the states for example, one gentleman who felt that the spokesperson for the victims did not convey their feelings fully enough insisted on having a say in the matter. Some officials tried to prevent his intrusion. But when it was President Jonathan’s turn to speak, he collected the microphone and took it straight to the agitated fellow. Speak! It was with much ceremony that the man proceeded to narrate how people who were not affected by the floods were thronging the displaced persons’ camp to collect food meant for the victims and how this was already causing problems. He wanted the authorities to share the money that had been sent to the states by the Federal Government, directly among the victims in order to shut out nonvictims who want “to shorten their ration”. President Jonathan

The impeachment bout in Kogi removed, and he interpreted that to mean 17 out of the 25 members. But the focus in this piece is not the occurrence among lawmakers in Kogi. Lawmakers are bound to have issues, as any human setting must have issues. The focus is what the lawmakers in Abuja are doing in the unfolding drama in Lokoja. The House of Representatives had from the first day that the Kogi drama ensued commented on it, and resolved to intervene. It was not the first time they would do that, and debating the matter of intervention in a state affair has always been a reason for keen observers to wonder. Yes, the House of Reps has certain power under the constitution concerning state assemblies. The 1999 Constitution empowers the National Assembly to take over the function of any state Assembly crippled by crisis. But the circumstances in which the lawmakers had sought to exercise this over the years left reasons to ponder its implications for a democracy that ought to be allowed to grow in all its length

and breath. More so, the judiciary that should be allowed to strengthen itself by interpreting some of the provisions in the constitution, as is its responsibility. Now, when the Kogi crisis happened, lawmakers in Abuja set up a committee to visit Lokoja and mediate in the matter. It would have been good if that is all that has happened so far – mediation, and nothing beyond it. As things stand, impeached Speaker and the newly sworn in Speaker lay claim to the office. The Assembly complex has been sealed up by security operatives, and civil servants have been denied entrance. Abuja lawmakers went to Lokoja, sat in the House of Assembly, saying what it came to do was ensure that the constitution of the country was not breached. When they left, they said all the activities of the Assembly have been suspended pending the determination of the facts of the matter. These men have a mandate to mediate, but they are suspending elected officials, elected as they too were.

With this decision on the part of the Reps, the fire in this battle has been removed from the arena itself, and that shouldn’t have happened. The principal actors the impeached group - have not helped matters. Take the impeached Speaker, for instance. Abdullahi Bello. His first reaction was to petition the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation. Maybe he should. But is that the first place to go to have a matter such as this resolved? Has the minister, though he can give ice advice on such issues, become the judiciary? What does he expect from a minister of justice who is from Kogi state, who is effectively a member of the ruling party? There are questions for Reps who have taken on a matter that is not theirs. Representatives in the past had been found not to be independent as arbiters in cases when State House of Assemblies had the issues in the past. There had been situations in the past when Reps almost engaged in physical confrontation on the floor of the House over attempts to do

exactly what they are now doing in Kogi. The swiftness with which they stepped into Lokoja gives reason for concern. It is not as if there is no governance going on in the state, the state governor is on his seat, like a former Ogun State governor was on his seat when his lawmakers had crisis, yet Reps have taken a step that is almost tantamount to declaring a state of emergency in Kogi. For the reasons on ground, and the logical steps the current matter should have followed, it is obvious that Reps have enlarged a matter that is not as bad as their actions portray it to be. What has happened in Kogi is a process, a phase, a test in democratic governance that should be allowed to play itself out to its logical end in a law court, while security forces carry out their duty of ensuring that there is no breakdown of law and order. That is one. The fact also remains that, in the end, no matter how the Reps rule, either side in this Kogi issue may still choose to go to court, the place Bello should have gone in the first place. Tunji Ajibade is reachable on

deplored the cruel activities of those seeking to profit from other people’s misfortune, but patiently, he told the man that he had not come to discuss food, because all the state governments according to reports were doing a lot to assist the victims, and nobody would die anyway in any of the camps because of food. While government is providing necessary short term relief, the Administration is more concerned about how the people will manage their lives after the flood, how to prevent the outbreak of any kind of epidemic, how to rehabilitate the affected persons and how to prevent a similar tragedy in the future. Indeed, there has been so much pre-occupation with the “sharing” of either food or money, and journalistic nitpicking over the ecological fund, whereas the Jonathan administration’s response to the crisis is much broader and comprehensive

comprising short, medium and long-term measures. From the outset, the President had ordered an informed, multi-perspective analysis of the incident and its aftermath to guide interventions. A mapping of the affected areas has been done, the nature and extent of the damage has been properly studied; engineers have been dispatched to the states to assess the infrastructural impact of the floods. On all his visits to the states, President Jonathan was accompanied by the House Committee Chairman on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Clever Ikisikpo. He was also joined by the Director of Army Engineering, whose department had gone round to assess the damage and was providing the President with preliminary engineering analysis. Bridges linking communities collapsed, roads were washed away. Public infrastructures in the affected communities need to be fixed, and the military was also called in to help. In the wake of the floods, fears were expressed about the possibility of drought in the coming year. President Jonathan promptly directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to intervene, and a National Flood Recovery Production Plan was immediately launched. Under this plan, the Federal Government is providing high-yielding, floodresistant seedlings and fertilisers for farmers, technical assistance and other incentives to boost the national yield, as well as releases from the national strategic grains reserves. The Ministry of Agriculture has since allayed fears of a food crisis, noting that the bulk of the country’s farmlands remain unaffected.

Similarly, the Federal Ministries of Works, Water Resources, Health and the Environment have been directed to design other relief plans. In all of these, the Federal Government is collaborating with the state governments. The Ministers travelled to each state ahead of the President with their teams, and they were on the ground to provide necessary information. In the few states where there is no State Emergency Management Agency, President Jonathan has asked NEMA to work with the state governments to set up such agencies to further strengthen the country’s preparedness to tackle emergencies. When the floods occurred, there were also reports of a certain Cameroonian connection to wit that due to excess volume of water caused by excess rainfall, the Cameroonian authorities had released water from Lagdo dam; some other dams in Nigeria also had to be emptied raising the hydrological level in many places. Fact: the floods were predicted as far back as March by the relevant agencies. But we all took the predictions for granted. We are all such lucky people we often imagine that the worst cannot happen here. Even when government advises the people accordingly about likely dangers, the natural response is to resist official wisdom and insist that in a democracy, the people have a right to everything including self-immolation. To prevent artificial contributions to the effect of climate change, nonetheless, the administration has taken the additional step of reviewing available infrastructure that can serve the purpose. To this end, President Jonathan has directed that the dredging of Rivers Niger and Benue be expedited. He has also visited the Kashimbila Dam

in Takum LGA, Taraba State, which is under construction. The buffer dam is designed to provide power and irrigation services, but more importantly to hold water released from Lake Nyos in Cameroon with a holding capacity of 18 million cubic litres. There are plans also, as part of long term intervention measures to build dams on the River Benue as well as dykes in identified vulnerable plains. President Jonathan has brought to the delivery of all these measures, passion, action and commitment. He asked the engineers in charge of the Kashimbila Dam when they think they are likely to complete the dam. “2013 sir!” He told them he hopes the promise will be kept because the nation cannot wait. The promptitude with which he has personally attended to the flood crisis has been commended by many an observer; the actual truth is that this is the nature and character of the man that Nigerians chose as their President in April 2011. He is one of the people, so he understands their feelings, and he speaks their language. He is informal, peoplecommitted and devoted to the assignment that Nigerians have given him. He does not see the Presidency as a privilege-posting; he is committed to serving the people and making a difference, and he has removed “do-or-die” inclinations from the country’s electoral process. Nigerians, this includes those with politically determined ocularity, should see that whenever they are looking for someone to stand by them, Goodluck Jonathan is the leader that they can count upon. Concluded Dr. Reuben Abati is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan

President Jonathan and the floods (II)

How Gowon re-integrated Igbos Contd. from back page With the benefit of hindsight, it became evident that the Biafran leadership was the very architect of Biafra’s destruction; it set out to mislead innocent Igbo men and women into unnecessary rebellion in gratification of their selfish motive of personal aggrandizement. Let me confine my historical evidence to support this claim by quoting the Biafran elites themselves: • “How is it possible for one young man (Ojukwu) - a young and largely inexperienced soldier at that - to impose his will for so long on some fourteen million people among who is to be found one of the highest concentrations of the intelligent and educated elite of black Africa?” – Raph


Uwechue; • “Those elements of the old government regime who have made negotiations and reconciliation impossible have voluntarily removed themselves from our midst” - Phillip Effiong; • “Emeka (Ojukwu) craved for a heroic act that would make him greater than his father... Emeka was born out of wedlock. Emeka craved for an achievement that would force his admirers to forget his (illegitimate) birth...what turned Emeka into a bedroom Napoleon...was a complex of inadequacy” – Nelson Ottah; I rest my case. Haruna Poloma is of the School of Post-Graduate Studies, University of Limerick, Ireland.



Court grants man bail for cheating


A roast meat seller popularly called (mai-suya) doing his business at One Man village along Abuja/Keffi road. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Man, 21, arraigned for assaulting a police woman T

he police yesterday arraigned a 21-year-old man, Abdullahi Kabiru, a resident of karmajiji village, Abuja, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court for allegedly assaulting a police woman. Police prosecutor Abdullahi Adamu told the court that, the case was reported to the Wuse

Police Station, Abuja, by Cpl. Philomina Gboji, on Oct. 27. He said that Gboji, who is attached to the station at Zone 3, was carrying out her duty on Oct. 27, manning the entrance to the Wuse Market, Abuja, when the incident happened. Adamu said that Gboji was trying to clear-up obstructing

vehicles at the entrance to the market when Kabiru slapped her. The prosecutor said that Kabiru’s offence contravened the provisions of Section 267 of the Penal Code. Kabiru, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his counsel, Mr Emeka Okoli, urged

the court to grant him bail on liberal terms. Senior Magistrate Aliu Shafa granted Kabiru bail in the sum of N30,000 with a surety in like sum. He said the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the case to Dec.19, for further hearing. (NAN)

Woman, 28, docked for duping driver


he police yesterday arraigned a 28-year-old woman, Ifeoma Oliver, of Lokogoma village, Abuja, before an Abuja Magistrates Court for duping a driver. Oliver, who claimed to be an auction agent attached to the Nigeria Customs Service, is standing trial on a two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and cheating, which contravene Sections 312 and 322 of the Penal Code. Police prosecutor Abdullahi

Adamu told the court that the case was reported to the Lugbe Police Station by Dennis Oriefi of Damakasa village in Abuja, on Oct. 23. Adamu said the accused, sometime in August, allegedly deceived the complainant and collected the sum of N210,000 on the pretence that, she would buy a Volkswagen Golf 3 model for him. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and her counsel, Mr Godwin Adole, said

granting his client bail was at the discretion of the court. He, however, asked the court to apply the provisions of Section 341 Sub-section (2) A and C as well as Section 86 Sub-section (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, to grant the accused bail. Adole said the accused would not jump bail if granted, adding that she had been in police custody since she was arrested on Oct. 23, 2012. The prosecutor, however, objected to the oral application for

bail entered by the defence counsel, saying that granting the accused bail would hinder the prosecution of the case. He added that the complainant had already assembled his witnesses in court. In his ruling, Presiding Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna granted the accused bail in the sum of N200,000, with a reliable surety, who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court. Iyanna adjourned the case to Nov. 20, 2012 for hearing. (NAN)

Man charged for criminal breach of trust, cheating


ne Dike Frinbras of no fixed address was last week arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrates Court for alleged criminal breach of trust and cheating. The prosecutor, Mr Philip Apollus, told the court that on Oct. 16, 2012 one Friday Igwe of Kado village, Abuja, reported the case to the Life Camp police station.

Apollus said that in June 2011, the complainant entrusted N658,000 and two international passports to the accused for the processing of Indian visa but that he absconded to an unknown destination. He said that the accused was arrested at Kado village, FCT, on Oct. 16, 2012. Apollus said that when

interrogated, the accused said that one Kingsley Ibeh had disappeared with the money and the passports. He said that during police investigation, the two passports and a sum of N300,000 were recovered from the accused. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of Section 311 and 320 of the Penal Code.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Azubike Okeagwu, granted the accused bail in the sum of N300,000 and two sureties in like sum. Okeagwu said that the sureties must be civil servants of not less than Grade Level 13 and must be resident at a fixed address within the jurisdiction of the court. He adjourned the case to Nov. 20, 2012 for hearing. (NAN)

n Abuja Magistrates Court last week granted bail to one Romeo Ikyonike of Kurduma 2, Asokoro, and Abuja, charged with criminal breach of trust and cheating. The prosecutor, Philips Akogwu, told the court that on Oct. 20,2012 one Nkiruka Edeh of the same address reported the case to the Asokoro police station. Akogwu said that on the same date, the complainant gave N15, 600 to the accused for the supply of 100 litres of petrol. The prosecutor said that the accused failed to supply the petrol claiming that the commodity got burnt with his vehicle when it was being conveyed. Akogwu said that the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 311 and 320 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The presiding magistrate, Mr Musa Jobbo, granted the accused bail in the sum of N50, 000 and one surety in like sum. Jobbo said that the surety must be resident at a fixed and reliable address within the jurisdiction of the Court, and adjourned the case to Oct. 29,2012 for hearing. (NAN)

Farmers of Dafa, Kudu villages demand for land compensation from FCT Minister By Usman Shuaibu


he Farmers at Dafa and Kudu villages in Kwali Area Council, FCT have appealed to the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to pay the compensation of their 10 hectres of farmlands being seized by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). The village head of Dafa/ Kudu in the area , Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed who spoke on behalf of the farmers said that the farmlands were acquired through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) alongside the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). He explained that since the secretary of the FCT Agriculture Secretariat, Mrs. Olvadi Bema Madayi is appointed as the chairman ministerial Committee on payment compensation, she had failed to pay some farmers their compensation up till now. The village head pleaded with the FCT Administration to expedite action to pay the farmers their compensation as quickly as possible. Mohammed alleged that the 10 hectres of farmlands were allocated to some government functionaries to build their residential houses, said that the work had already begun at the site by the Preme Soil Nigeria Limited Company.



2 businessmen arraigned for constituting public nuisance T

he police yesterday arraigned two businessmen, Paul Nnaji, 29, and Gabriel Ude, 35, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates Court, for allegedly inciting disturbance, constituting a public nuisance and criminal intimidation. Police prosecutor Abdullahi Adamu told the court that on Oct. 20, the police arrested Nnanji of Block A20, Shop 220, Wuse Market, Abuja and Ude of Okirika Street, Phase 4, Kubwa, Abuja. Adamu said the police

arrested the businessmen in connection with a case reported by Nnanji, one of them, at the Wuse Market Police Outstation. He said investigation revealed that the accused had engaged in a fight that constituted a public nuisance and causing annoyance to members of the public in the market. He added that in the course of the fight, the accused threatened to kill each other should any of them dared to go near shop 220. Adamu further informed the court that the said shop was said

to have been the cause of the fight. He told the court that inciting disturbance, constituting a public nuisance and criminal intimidation were contrary to the provisions of Sections 114, 183 and 379 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Esther Uzoma and Jacob Jai, the counsels to Nnaji and Ude, appealed to the court to grant their clients bail in view of their plea. Adamu, however, objected to

A young man getting a manicure in Garki, Abuja.

the bail, saying that with the threat by the accused to kill each other, ``if they are granted bail, they might cause more havoc''. Senior Magistrate Aliyu Shafa granted the accused bail in the sum of N200,000 each and a surety each in like sum. Shafa said the sureties must be civil servants of not less than Grade Level 09. He ordered both parties to stay away from Shop 220 since it was the bone of contention, in the interest of justice, adjourned the case to Dec. 12 for hearing. (NAN)

Photo: Justin Imo-owo

Police arraign 3 men for joint act, theft


he police yesterd a y arraigned three men, Christian Okechukwu, 21; Lawal Olatunji and Ahmed Racheed, 21, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates Court for joint act and theft. Police prosecutor Paul Anigbo told the court that the case was reported at the Lugbe Police Station on Oct. 26 by

Solomon Duroto of Dada House, Jabi, Abuja. He said that on Oct. 26, the accused, who reside in Lugbe, Abuja, and others, now at large, conspired and robbed Duroto at the Lugbe bus stop. ``Duroto was at the Lugbe bus stop waiting for a vehicle to convey him to Gwagwalada when the

accused stole his wallet containing N16,900. `` A company's Identification card, an ATM card and a cell phone valued at N12,000 were also stolen from Duroto,'' Anigbo said. The prosecutor said the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 79 and 287 of the Penal Code, but the

accused pleaded not guilty. Senior Magistrate Tony Ubani granted bail to each of the accused in the sum of N30, 000 and a surety each in like sum. He said the sureties must reside within the court's jurisdiction, and adjourned the case to Nov. 15,2012 for further hearing. (NAN)

NGO receives traditional title for empowering community in FCT By Adeola Tukuru


non-governmental organization (NGO), known as Life International Foundation Incorporated was given a traditional title "Sarduniya of Muko village" last weekend by Muko community in Dutse, Federal Capital Territory(FCT) for empowering different the residents through different skill acquisitions training . A traditional Head of the community, Chief Ibrahim Jahjia Dangana who commended the Foundation for what they have accomplished in his community during a one-week intensive training to the residents. The traditional leader of the community while presenting the title to the President of the Foundation, Dr. Olu Usim Wilson explained that the tittle "Sarduniya of Muko Village" will makes it possible for the recipient to take part in all the decisions of his community . He further explained that the recipient will be seen by all in his community and beyond as a brave developer of peoples and a defender ,the same way Late Queen Amina was viewed by Nigerians in Zaria and Nigeria as a whole. The traditional ruler commended the trainees for their zeal through which they received in the training , adding that such ambition as displayed by his subjects could invite other meaning NGO and government at the center to come into his community in order to empower them more. The President of the NGO, Dr. Olu Usim -Wilson commended the traditional ruler for the good gesture and advised graduate to extend a hand of fellowship to all they could for the betterment of their immediate community and Nigeria as a whole.

Man, 39, bags 1 week imprisonment for mischief


n Abuja Senior Magistrates Court has sentenced one Abdulrasheed Sani, 39 of Efab Estate to one week imprisonment for mischief. Senior Magistrate Aliu Shafa, who handed down the judgment, however, gave the convict an option of N1,000 fine. He ordered the convict to

pay a compensation of N12, 000 to the complainant and to also enter into a bond regarding the payment. Prosecutor Monday Akor had earlier told the court that the case was reported at Lugbe Police Station on Oct. 16,2012 by Olusegun Amule of Mpape, Abuja. He said that Amule and Sanni where both at Gana

Street, Maitama, Abuja, on Oct. 15 when Sani broke the front wind screen of Amule's vehicle. Akor said that the wind screen of Amule's vehicle, a Saloon Mazda with registration number XE 106 GWA was valued at N12, 000. The prosecutor said that Sani's offence contravened Section 327 of the Penal Code.

Sani, however, pleaded guilty to the charge and begged for mercy. "The wind screen was broken by mistake when I was trying to separate a fight between two brothers. "I have a wife and two children who depend on me for their source of livelihood. I am begging the court to please have mercy on me,'' Sani said.

Akor applied for a compensation of N12, 000 to be paid by Sani to the complainant to replace the damaged wind screen. The magistrate said Sani deserved the sympathy of the court based on his explanations and ordered the payment of N12, 000 compensation to Amule on or before Oct. 30,2012 (NAN)




2 3 4 1. Kotso drummers out for alms at a public function, yesterday in Abuja.

2. A middle aged man, pricing meat during the Sallah holiday in Karmo market, Abuja.

3. A woman cooking during the Sallah period, in Garki, Abuja.

4. A teenage girl hawking groundnut yesterday in Nyanya, Abuja.


5. Elderly women waiting for Sallah gifts after the Eid-el-Kabir prayer on Friday, at Kuzape, Abuja. Photos: Justin Imo-owo






- Pg 20

NUPENG threatens strike over sack of members in Shell

Mob: 08033644990

S/Africa Dangote cement secures N34.85bn debt funding for project By Mohammad Nasir


subsidiary of Dangote Cement- Sephaku Cement, sited in South Africa, has secured a ten year tenured debt funding of N34.85 billion from two major South African banks, Standard Bank and Ned Bank. The financing agreement signed this week in Johannesburg, marks a critical juncture for the company in its go-to-market preparations and signals a strong vote of confidence from the local market. Sephaku Cement was established in 2006 and is the first clinker producer in South Africa since 1934. Sephaku Cement, an associate company of JSE-listed Sephaku Holdings Limited, is a 64 percent-owned subsidiary of Dangote Cement Plc. Dangote has invested more than N19.66 billion in the venture, representing the largest investment in a South African enterprise by an African company.

The closure of the debt and commencement of the drawdown of its loans is a major milestone for the Dangote Cement subsidiary and associate of JSE-listed Sephaku Holdings. The agreement effectively closes the gap in terms of the required capital for Sephaku Cement to be fully prepared for market entry and a significant competitor in wholesale and retail cement trade. Sephaku Cement Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Fouri

said the significance of this deal, “goes beyond cement. It indicates a strong, new commitment to industrial development in South Africa. Through new infrastructure establishment in Mpumalanga and the North West Province and the resulting local job creation, the investment benefit will extend to provincial and community development.” Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC in Nigeria noted that “as a result of the transaction, we

will see Sephaku become a leading cement producer in the region, enabling significant job creation with wider economic benefits.” In addressing infrastructure deficit and housing unmet needs, the cement industry is a building block of socio-economic development. Of the total capital raised by Sephaku Cement, just over 50 percent of total procurement spend will be invested locally. In addition, the combined

Australian firm in race to prospect coal in Kogi From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


n Australian firm- ASTRA Resources limited has indicated interest in partnering with Kogi state government to mine the coal discovered at Okobo in Ankpa local government area. The firm’s delegation led by its Manager, Mr. Mola Mahgot Stefani paid a courtesy visit to Kogi government and declared the company’s intention. Mahgot said his company had seen prospect in the coal mining which informed the decision to partner with Kogi state government in the exploration. He said Kogi state is endowed with rich mineral resources which placed the state as a site for World’s rich mineral resources but added that, for this to come to fruition, a holistic approach must be applied. In his response, Kogi state Governor, Capt Idris Wada described the partnership canvassed by the firm as good omen both for the state and the company. “Kogi state is ready to avail itself to proper investors that would key into the state government agenda of exploring avenues to tap the abundant mineral resources abound in the state”, said the Governor.

L-R: General Manager, Finance and Accounts, PHCN, Hajiya Aisha Ahmadu; Secretary-General, West African Power Pool (WAPP), Mr. Amadou Diallo; and Chief Executive, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Akinniranye, at the 7th General Assembly of WAPP, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

plants will create direct employment opportunity for around 400 local people and up to 3,000 jobs indirectly. Greg Webber, Head of Mining Finance, South Africa at Nedbank Capital says: “We are proud of the role we have played in financing the development and construction of efficient new cement capacity by Sephaku Cement and of our association with the largest investment by an African company into South Africa. This signifies a strong endorsement of South Africa’s economy and more particularly the need to meet our growing housing and infrastructure requirements.” David-Borha adds “the Standard Bank team in Lagos and Johannesburg is delighted to have been able to help put together and invest in this landmark deal, which sees the leading Nigerian firm Dangote making the largest ever foreign direct investment by an African company into South Africa. “This transaction goes to the heart of Standard Bank’s core strategy of encouraging investment in infrastructure development in our home market, Africa,” she says. Sephaku Cement is focused on the goal which Chairman, Aliko Dangote describes as being to create modern cement plants in strategic locations in Africa. “It is all systems go for us. Our success is being backed 100% by our 100% African partners. We hold ourselves accountable to live up to the confidence placed in us by them,” concludes Fourie.

Power privatisation: FG retains ownership of TCN By Muhammad Nasir


s privatisation of power sector gets to conclusive stage, the transmission aspect will remain the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson exclusive right of the Federal Government, the Managing Director Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Olusola Akinniranye affirmed yesterday

in Abuja. He said the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) a process that began in 2005 paving the way for creation of 18 semi-autonomous successor companies (6 generation and 11 distribution companies) would be rounded up this year. He spoke at the 7th Session of the General Assembly of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) which held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

“In order to sustain the tempo of operations in the new paradigm of the NESI, Government in August, 2012 appointed Manitoba Hydro International of Canada (MHI) as Management Contractor for TCN, thereby creating the post of CEO (MHI) among others. MHI will bring a culture change at TCN from government Parastatals/agency mode of operation to that of a free standing, self-sustaining going

Management Tip of the Day

Make progress on that long-term project


ig projects with far-off (or non-existent) deadlines can often be the most nerveracking: You might put them off until the last minute, or let them sit on your to-do list mentally torturing you for months. Here's how to keep moving forward: Make it a priority. If you

have too many important goals, you'll never get to the big ones. Slash your list until you're left with only five, the long-term assignment being one of them. Round up what you need. It's hard to get started without the necessary tools, information, skills, and support.

Break it into smaller pieces. Group the work into manageable chunks and make sure you know how to do the first thing. Set a deadline for that first task and put it in your calendar. Source: Harvard Business Review

concern” he said. He said Nigeria will continue to be at the vanguard of all activities of the Economic of West African State (ECOWAS) including the integration of the electricity networks of West Africa. Fielding questions from correspondents on the challenges facing the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Akinniranye said the West African Power Pool(WAPP) has not experienced fund draught as donor agencies like the world Bank, the French agencies have provided the needed fund for the current projects. He denied funding as major setback to the ongoing projects adding that “funding has not been a very big problem, but we will continue to look for more”. According to him, issue of giving power to West African sub-region is part of integration as market, he said had not grown to a mature stage.




Jonathan to receive 3 reports on petroleum industry

Nigeria spent N1.2trn on imports in Q2-CBN

By Muhammad Nasir, with agency reports

igeria spent a total of N1.2 trillion($7.74 billion)on imports in the second quarter of 2012,an analysis of foreign exchange utulisation by various sectors of the economy released by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) shows. A breakdown of the spending shows that N3060 billion, reprersenting 30 percent, went into the importation of oil. Industrial items gulped 25 percent, which is about N300 bilion.Food took N252 bilion, representing 21 percent and N180 billion was spent on manufactured products. About 245 percent of the total amount spent was for visible imports.

resident Goodluck Jonathan is set to receive reports on petroleum industry on Friday by the two committees set up by the Federal Government earlier this year on different aspects of the country’s petroleum industry. This is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati. One of the committees, according to Abati, is that led by Mr. Dotun Sulaiman, charged with designing a new corporate governance code for ensuring full transparency, good governance and global best


NUPENG threatens strike over sack of members in Shell



perators of micro, small and medium-sized businesses have said that high lending rates by Deposit Money Banks in the country are denying them access to credit facilities, thereby leading to the collapse of many small businesses. Our correspondent gathered that some DMBs charged as high as 19 per cent to 25 per cent interest rates on loans given to MSMEs, a development, which operators described as “destructive” to indigenous businesses. Speaking on the negative impact of this development on micro-businesses, the President, Association of Microentrepreneurs of Nigeria, Mr. Saviour Iche, noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s benchmark lending rate had been “highly unfavourable.”


By Muhammad Nasir


igeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) condemned the alleged victimisation and severance of its union officials in the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). It stressed that Nigerians should hold the oil company’s management responsible for the industrial action that would follow if SPDC failed to reinstate the union officials. The union, in a statement recently signed by its Deputy President, Comrade John Eddy Ossai and acting General Secretary, Comrade Isaac Aberare, reiterated that the NUPENG/SPDC caretaker committee chairman, Comrade Enomate Kingsley and 16 other union members affected by the severance should immediately

practices in the NNPC and other oil industry Parastatals agencies. He said the other headed by Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu was charged with conducting a high-level assessment of the nation’s refineries and recommending ways of improving their efficiency and commercial viability. Abati had said in a statement issued earlier that Jonathan had directed that a comprehensive report of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force chaired by Malam Nuhu Ribadu should be presented to him on Friday. He said the directive was in furtherance of the administration’s commitment to transparency, probity, and accountability in the petroleum

be reinstated in the interest of industrial peace. According to the union, the decision to dissolve the executive committee of Shell branch of NUPENG for anti-union activities and set up a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the union in the interim was taken in line with its constitution. “The refusal by the management of SPDC to recognise the caretaker committee and the planned action to outsource the fire department where the majority of the workers were based, notwithstanding the union’s vehement opposition to the plan, would be resisted,” the union said. To actualise its plan, the SPDC management transferred the former chairman, Comrade Fidelis Okandeji, expelled by the union for anti-union activities and his loyalists, out of the

sector. The Ribadu-let Committee was set up in February to, among other tasks, determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes and royalties, etc,) due and payable to the Federal Government. It was also charged with taking all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owed, and to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators. Abati said the president would receive the reports of the Suleiman, and Kalu-led committees at the Presidential Villa immediately after the presentation of the report of the Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force.

NUPENG President Igwe Achese department, leaving members of the caretaker committee vulnerable while hiding under the guise of divestment and management business decision to severe the union officials,” NUPENG added.

Nigerians top list of private jet owners in Africa, spend N1.3 trillion on Chevron empowers physically-challenged in Delta wonders on wings


ith Nigeria holding the record of a country with the highest private jet ownership in Africa, the aviation sector has brought into sharp relief the paradox of a nation that is endowed with huge oil resources but where only a few are wealthy. In a country where the average Nigerian lives on less than $1 a day, there is a super rich class of business moguls, bankers, preachers, politicians and oil magnates whose private ownership of jets is more than that of any other country. While the rich can afford such luxuries, the economic crisis in the nation is seen in a situation where the aviation sector needs financial succour from the Federal Government.

By Muhammad Nasir, with agency reports


s part of its corporate social responsibility to its host communities, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) at the weekend in Warri, donated 20 motorised wheelchair and clutches to the physicallychallenged persons in Delta State The American oil giant also donated N20 million to the Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, Delta State chapter, to assist it in the training programmes for its members. Presenting the items and cheque at the Chevron Dockyard premises in Warri, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affair (PGPA), Mr. Deji Haastrup, said the items would go a long way in assisting the physically challenged in

their daily lives. Represented by Manager, West, PGPA, Mr. Tunji Idowu, he charged them to make judicious use of the donated items, promising to always support them whenever the need arose. He disclosed that the gesture was part of Chevron’s CSR plans and charged them to maintain same. Haastrup, who also signed a renewal of commitment on the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with the leadership of the Ilaje communities, said it is aimed at building partnership for sustainable development and improve the livelihoods of people living in the host community. He said the NNPC/Chevron joint venture has supported the Ilaje communities with about N700 million on developmental projects ranging from the construction of blocks of

classrooms, building of town hall and blocks of flats as well as building of walkways, implementation of water programmes and human capital development, and economic empowerment schemes President of the association, Mr. Eyefiujirin Ishmael, while receiving the items on behalf of the physically-challenged, commended Chevron for the gesture and tasked other oil multinationals to emulate the firm. He appealed to Chevron and indeed, all employers of labour to always set aside at least five per cent of job slots for the physically-challenged, noting that it was most disheartening that companies deliberately discriminated against them during recruitment, even where they were better qualified.

South Africa’s Sasol/Total Natref refinery to close temporarily By Muhammad Nasir, with agency reports


asol and Total joint-owned South African Natref oil refinery will be closed for scheduled maintenance until the end of November, a spokesman reveals. The 108,500 barrels per day (bpd) refinery will be closed between October 6th and November 21st for routine maintenance procedures. South Africa has a total oil refining capacity of approximately 708,000 bpd; as such the closure of the Natref plant will be felt in output terms. However, the company insists it has put measures in place to minimise the impact of the maintenance period for the South African economy, with the spokesman saying: “Sasol Oil has put contingencies in place to manage product flow, including the increase of our product stockpile prior to the shutdown, to maintain market supply for the duration of the maintenance”. The Natref refinery recently underwent an upgrade project which increased production capacity by 25 percent to the current 108,500 bpd figure at a cost of 750 million rand ($86.3 million). The refinery plays a unique role in the South African market given its unusual inland location, being found at Sasolburg on the borders of the Free State to the south of Johannesburg, near to the main industrial spaces. Equipped with state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate production at its inland location, the refinery produces 70 percent more white products than coastal operations – but also requires frequent upkeep and maintenance of the equipment. South Africa is usually able to meet its own oil needs through its six domestic refineries, however, following the labour instabilities of recent months and the slowing economy, the oil output of the country has been affected, with International Enterprise compiling data suggesting that as much as 208,000 tonnes of oil products were directly imported from Singapore by South Africa. Imported products included gasoline and diesel. With South Africa already being unable to deal with market pressures at the moment and unable to meet domestic demand, the stoppage of output at the Natref refinery comes at an unfortunate time.



Airtel crosses 60 million active customer mark in Africa B

harti Airtel , a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today celebrated its 60 millionth customer in Africa. Airtel, which recently moved up one notch in global rankings to become the fourth largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscribers, added 10 million customers across its operations in 17 African countries in less than 12 months of having crossed 50 million subscribers. “Since launching the Airtel

brand in Africa in 2010, Airtel has been on a steady growth path,” explains Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa. “The ability to communicate with each other is no longer a privilege on this continent, but a necessity. Airtel remains committed to ensuring that it continues to provide innovative and relevant communications solutions to all, which positively impacts as many lives as possible”, said Beyers. Airtel has remained steadfastly committed to

providing customers with telecommunication services that make lives easier. Since celebrating its 50 millionth customer, the company has embarked on a journey to build the largest 3G network across the continent. To date, the company has rolled out its 3.75G network to 14 countries. Reaching speeds of up to 21 mbps, Airtel’s 3.75G network is one of the fastest available globally and will be immensely beneficial to large Corporates, Small and Medium Businesses and the Youth. “Access to

telecommunications plays a crucial role in driving economies within Africa,” explains Mr. Beyers. “This includes access to both voice and data services. The biggest transformation on the continent is in bridging the digital divide and connecting the continent to the rest of the world; this remains Airtel’s commitment to the communities that we serve.” With the recent launch in Madagascar and Burkina Faso, Airtel Money, Airtel’s mobile money platform, Airtel Money, is now live in 14

countries across Africa. The service, allows communities to take maximum advantage of the mobile commerce reality sweeping through the industry by enabling them to conduct a range of financial transactions quickly, securely and easily.

Nigeria may lose cyber war, warns ICT expert By Chris Alu


(L-R)Airtel Nigeria's Director of Corporate Communications and CSR, Emeka Oparah, Chief Marketing Officer, Olu Akanmu, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Deepak Srivastava, Principal Character in the newly unveiled TV Commercial, Half Dollar, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa, Andre Beyers and Chief Sales Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Inusa Bello at the media launch of the company's new Thematic Campaign at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers recently.

frica Regional Director for Symantec, a global leader in security, backup and availability solutions, Mr. Gordon Love has predicted that Nigeria may lose out of the cyber war if proper structure is not put in place. He said government has not shown serious commitment towards containing or legislating cyber attacks. As a leading producer of oil and gas, and one of the leading ICT markets in Africa , he said there was need for government to view data protection as critical element in its development programmers . “Cyber security is 24/7 and must be acknowledged as critical life support for any system. A single attack can take out an entire national economic infrastructure data base; posing real danger to its stability. The long term effect of such attacks could be very devastating and this is real danger”, he affirmed. He noted an increase in the rate of cyber attacks, which has increased 81 per cent over the last 12 months just as there were 8 new Zero-Day responses which do not give any advance warning of attacks.

Floods slow MTN’s projects, says Goodluck By Chris Alu


TN Nigeria said its n e t w o r k modernization being implemented as part of $1.3 billion capital expenditure budget is being challenged by the flood disaster due to the increasing wave of insecurity in some parts of the country. The operator has appealed for understanding from its customers and other key stakeholders as it continues to

network upgrade in some part of the disaster areas Wale Goodluck, the company’s corporate services executive, said the pace of work has been considerably challenged by the spate of insecurity coupled with the unprecedented flooding being experienced in many parts of the country. The network optimization exercise has affected over 4,000 base stations out of over 10,000 across the country. In

at least 13 states, flooding has created additional logistic impediments such that the pace of the ongoing network modernization efforts has slowed down. The upgrade which began mid year is expected to cover the entire country and is originally spanning a period of one year Its will create capacity enhancement on the MTN network and improve service quality.

Under the project, which is being implemented by a combined team of MTN engineers and technical partners that include Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, key network components is also being swapped with the latest upgrades in the industry. Apart from that additional current power systems are being replaced with hybrid power systems of the environment.

Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson



Akwa Ibom gives conditions for accessing soft loan


pecial Adviser to Akwa Ibom Governor on Investment and Industrialisation, Dr Senas Ukpanah, has said that the state government will observe necessary procedures in disbursing loans to interested investors. Ukpanah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo that most of the investors lacked basic requirements that would enable them access the soft loans. NAN reports that the loans were provided by the state government and the Bank of Industry (BOI). “You know in a political system, people may think that they could just get the money and run away. It has happened elsewhere, but here, we insist on a procedure to be followed. “If you have a project, you do a feasibility study and a business plan that will help you to understand and appreciate what you intend to produce, ’’ Ukpanah said. Ukpanah, who is also the Chairman of Akwa Ibom

Investment and Industrial Promotion Council (AKIIPOC), said that it was the duty of his office to put the investors through the necessary guidelines. According to him, many of them have not been able to produce bankable documents. “So, it is our obligation to

point out these deficiencies and when they bring these documents, we refer them to the committee on investment appraisal. “They go through the above processes and guidelines, where we are satisfied, we recommend, where we are not, we ask them to go back and do

some further job,’’ he explained. He commended Gov. Godswill Akpabio for fulfilling the promise made during his assumption of office in 2011. He added that about 15 out of a 100 cases would be recommended to the bank to access the soft loan.

He said that funds made available for the entrepreneurs would assist them with take-off capital for the procurement of equipment. Ukpanah reiterated the state government’s commitment toward achieving the industrialisation policy of the state. (NAN)

Naira hits 3-week high on offshore dollar sales


he local currency- naira hit a three week high against the U.S. dollar on the interbank market on Monday, supported by low demand for hard currency and dollar inflows from foreign banks. The naira closed at 157.05 to the dollar on the interbank, firmer than the 157.30, it closed at on the last trading day on Wednesday. The last time it was higher than Monday's level, it closed at 156.45 to the dollar on Oct. 4.. "The market was very liquid from dollar sales by some foreign banks and offshore investors buying local debt and this boosted support for the naira," one dealer said. Traders said weak demand for dollars at the official window also helped to strengthen the naira, as most banks were selling down their positions. The central bank had initially offered to sell $100 million at the bi-weekly auction, but ended up selling $43.5 million at 155.76 to the dollar, compared with $142.96 million sold at 155.76 to the dollar at the last auction on Wednesday. Traders said the naira could strengthen further in the near term if the state-owned energy firm NNPC and other oil multinational companies sell dollars this week, as expected. NNPC supplies the bulk of foreign exchange sold on the interbank market. (Reuters )

Bauchi state students waiting to collect their quarterly allowances at Zenith Bank yesterday in Bauchi.

FADAMA 111 disburses N521m to 85 communities in C/River


he Cross River Coordinating Office of FADAMA III says it has disbursed N521.158 million to 85 communities through the Fadama Community Associations (FCAs) in the state. The State Coordinator, Mr Bassey Elemi, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar recently said that 1,103 Fdama User Groups (FUGs) also benefited from the funds. Elemi said that the office had also carried out capacity

building of 92 communities on project implementation procedure processes. “We have also disbursed 85 small-owned rural infrastructure including feeder roads, cold rooms, mini bridges and culverts and feedmills. “We also disbursed 330 crops cultivation groups and out of these groups, 95 were in fisheries and artisanal fisheries while 286 were in food processing and another 34 were into agro-forestry and land management,’’ he said. Elemi said that the various

groups had so far saved N2.8 million owing to the intervention of FADAMA III. He said that the farmers had registered a statewide federation for FADAMA farmers and oil palm and fish farmers. According to him, about 98 communities have also benefited from advisory services, and 215 FUGs from input support. Elemi said that FADAMA III was actively participating in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Federal Government.

AfDB hosts workshop to boost local currency bond market in Africa


he African Financial Markets Initiative (AFMI), managed by the African Development Bank hosted a PanAfrican Stakeholder Workshop from October 22 to 24, 2012, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Tunis. The workshop offered a unique opportunity for policymakers and market participants to share experiences and contribute to discussions on critical issues facing the development of local currency bond markets in Africa.

In contrast to other regions in the world, few African countries can effectively access capital in their domestic markets. This is because African capital markets are for the most part at an early stage of development and therefore are generally small, illiquid and lacking a full range of financial and investment products. However, financial sector development, including matured local currency bond markets, is paramount to successful and

sustainable economic growth in Africa. Through exchange and discussion during the Pan-African Stakeholder Workshop, participants from 50 African countries, including sovereign issuers, institutional investors, representatives from finance ministries, central banks, credit rating agencies, stock exchanges and development finance institutions, covered areas such as the development of primary and secondary markets, the

“We are also collaborating with the state government and the private sector on various initiatives,’’ he said. Elemi said that there was need for all stakeholders to adhere to the implementation procedures to ensure the success of the project in the state. “The state Fadama coordination office appeals to all stakeholders, notably the beneficiaries, service providers, and FADAMA communities and facilitators to comply with project procedures. (NAN) expansion and diversification of the investor base, and strengthening of domestic bond market infrastructure. Charles Boamah, AfDB Vice President for Finance, said: “The forum offered a great opportunity for stakeholders to identify and prioritize the challenges and impediments to bond market development on the continent. We look forward to the outcomes from this event that not only allow us to agree with our development partners and stakeholders on the work that lies ahead, but also to come up with a concrete action plan to be shared with Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors for support in implementation.”




y all accounts, Katsina state, carved out from old Kaduna state in 1987, has recorded great strides in terms of socioeconomic and physical development. Observers say that the state has undergone a remarkable transformation with good road networks, modern schools and hospitals, as well as steady water supply in urban and rural centres. Most of the observers, however, believe that the state’s transformation reached a crescendo in the last five years of Gov. Ibrahim Shema’s administration. They believe that the Shema-administration has succeeded in repositioning the state and its people for sustainable and pragmatic development. Perceptive observers have been commending the state government for its vision, demonstrated specially in the establishment of a stateowned university - Umaru Musa Yar’adua University. Shema’s determination to boost the state’s infrastructure via the construction of a N12.5 billion 35km six-lane ring road in Katsina, the state capital, has also been widely commended by the citizens, who believe that the project will aptly place the state on a sound economic footing. The people, perhaps, have justifiable reasons to shower encomiums on the governor,

Governor Ibrahim Shema


How Katsina state is doing so much with so little It is not magic; it is our ability to ensure judicious utilisation of scarce resources. Our budgets are usually based on 70 per cent capital expenditure and 30 per cent recurrent expenditure. This explains why we have been able to provide more infrastructure,’’ says Governor Ibrahim Shema. as many observers say that the state is fast becoming a model for other states in the North-west geopolitical zone of the country. Available records indicate that the administration has so far constructed more than 832 kilometres of roads, in addition to over 1,000 feeder roads to open urban and rural communities to increased

economic activities. Rationalising the government’s huge investment in infrastructure development, Shema explains that the Katsina ring road project specifically aims at laying a solid foundation for the economic advancement of the state. The governor, who reiterates his administration’s

commitment to building a solid infrastructure in the state to facilitate the people’s economic empowerment, stresses that road constructions are part of the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ’ s urbanisation programme. He said recently: “So we look at the opportunities it would bring for job creation; we also look at its potential in

facilitating Katsina city’s expansion. We don’t just construct roads without examining their usefulness. “We are constructing a six-lane ring road in Katsina. Besides, we will provide electricity for the whole area. We will also provide boreholes along the way for water supply on both sides of the road. “By now I am sure we have built 832 kilometres of roads across the state. This is in addition to over 1,000 kilometres of rural feeder roads that have been constructed.’’ Beyond that, Shema says that with the exception of Funtua, all the major roads in the seven original local government areas of the state have been dualized, in the context of the government’s urban renewal agenda. Shedding more light on the ring road project, Mr. Mustapha Kankia, the Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport, says that the project is being executed in 10 phases, the first seven phases having already been completed. On the health sector, the governor says that his administration is assiduously working toward the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly those relating to the reduction of child and maternal mortality, by 2015. Shema says that several intervention programmes have been initiated by government to ensure the delivery of quality primary health care services to the people. The health facilities which the state government constructed include the Turai Yar’adua Maternity

and Children Hospital, 58 clinics and a 250-bed orthopaedic hospital, which is about 80-per-cent completed. Other intervention programmes include the quarterly allocation of N100 million for the purchase of drugs to service the state’s Free Drugs Revolving Scheme and the continuous training of medical personnel. Shema particularly underscores the government’s determination to eradicate polio and other child killer diseases in the state. But here there is a problem, which the governor himself acknowledges. “There are challenges facing the vaccination, especially as it relates to polio. Recently, I authorised the release of more than N200 million to support the fight against polio. “We are working very hard with international donor agencies, the Federal Government and our state Primary Health Care Development Agency to eliminate polio and other child killer diseases. “We expend over N100 million per quarter to buy drugs and we still reduce about 25 per cent of the cost of the purchase to sell the drugs at subsidised rates to the people who need them. “But essentially government has always paid very serious attention to the development and improvement of the health sector on a continuous basis,’’ he says. Dr. Muhammd Qabasiyu, the Permanent Secretary in the sMinistry of Health, acknowledges the progress in the health sector. He says that the administration has completed a 250-bed state-of-the-art orthopedic hospital in Katsina, noting that the hospital is the

first of its kind in the entire northern region of the country. Qabasiyu says that the administration has also established 58 health centres, while providing free health care services for pregnant women and children under the age of five. Acknowledging these achievements, the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Faruk Umar, insists that the state has never had it so good since its creation in 1987. The emir, who is the Deputy Chairman of Katsina State Traditional Council, particularly lauds the efforts of the Shemaadministration for providing skills acquisition training for youths in the state. Umar notes that the training has discouraged the beneficiaries from engaging in any form of anti-social activities. He commends the administration for fulfilling its campaign promises in the last five years, noting that available records indicate that the governor has redeemed over 98 per cent of the promises he made when he assumed office in

2007. Besides, the emir particularly commends Shema for ensuring the security of lives and property in the state. Umar claims that the prevailing peace in the state has somewhat enabled the state government to execute people-oriented development programmes. He pledges the sustained determination of traditional rulers to support the state government’s visionary programmes aimed at moving the state forward. Analysts, nonetheless, commends the governor for his judicious utilisation of the state’s resources to foster the state’s development without recourse to internal or external borrowing. Corroborating such views, Shema says that his administration has never borrowed money in the last five years to finance its projects. “It is not magic; it is our ability to ensure judicious utilisation of scarce resources. “Our budgets are usually based on 70 per cent capital expenditure and 30 per cent recurrent expenditure. This explains why we have been able to provide more

We are working very hard with international donor agencies, the Federal Government and our state Primary Health Care Development Agency to eliminate polio and other child killer diseases

Emir of Daura, Umar Farouk Uma infrastructure for our people,’’ he says. On water supply, the state government has particularly achieved some shining achievements in the last five years, according to observers. Alhaji Jamilu Danmusa, the Commissioner for Water Resources, corroborates such claims, saying that the government has so far completed 39 semi-urban

water schemes. He says that the schemes are in addition to 15 windpowered boreholes constructed in each of the three senatorial districts of the state, adding that 1,600 motorised boreholes were also constructed across the state by the state government and the MDGs Office. Danmusa expatiates that the state government is

spending an average of N4.2 billion on water supply projects each year, noting that the government has achieved 60 per cent implementation of its budget on water supply this year. All the same, observers urge the government to involve the private sector in all its development programmes. (NANFeatures)



Badeh emerges as NAFOWA’s 18th president Stories by Joy Baba


equel to her husband’s appointment as the 18th Chief of Air Staff, (CAS) Mrs Mary Iyah Badeh, was also made the president of the Nigerian Air Force Officer’s Wives Association (NAFOWA) as is the custom in Nigerian Air Force that the wife of CAS be the president of the association. At the handing over ceremony, the immediate past president of the association, Hajia Aisha Uwani Umar congratulated Mrs. Badeh for a well deserved appointment and stated that the feat attained by NAFOWA under her leadership

was possible because of the good working relationship she had with the executives of the association. Hajia Aisha further charged members of the executives and other members of the association to extend the same level cooperation she enjoyed to the new president stating that she is confident that Mrs. Badeh can take the association to the next level. She added that during her tenure, she and members of her team of lieutenants strived towards improving the lots of the less privileged, visiting and donating items, to orphanage homes. Speaking on standard of the

Army introduces new rank badge for officers

R-L: Hajia Aisha Uwani Umar handing over leadership of NAFOWA to Mrs Mary Badeh in Abuja, recently NAFOWA schools, Mrs Umar said in order to meet international standard, the association installed some learning equipments to facilitate pupils learning ability and introduced a customised standard uniform in all its schools. Responding, Mrs Badeh commended the outgoing president for her selfless service

which she said was the reason the association was able to achieve a lot under her leadership. She pledged to consolidate on plans earmarked for the association and appealed to members of the association to accord her same co-operation accorded to the outgoing president, saying she would always tap from

the wealth of experience of her predecessor. Mrs Badeh, the 18th president of the of NAFOWA, prior to her recent appointment was the chairperson of the association in charge of Training Command Nigerian Air Force Kaduna and one time national vice president of the association.

Defence ministry raises panel on 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Chief of Army Staff LT-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika with the new rank badge on his camouflage


he Nigerian Army recently introduced a new rank badge to be worn on camouflage uniforms by its officers as part of the transformation process going on in the service. At the presentation of the rank badges, the director, purchasing and clothing in the department of logistics, Brig Gen Augustine Okoh, stated that change was a constant phenomenon in the life of individuals and organisations adding that transformation connotes positivity. Okoh further said that the Nigerian Army transformation process was constantly seeking for better ways of doing things in order to get better results. He also stated that it would be fool-hardy to continuously do

things the same way and expect different results, stressing that through invention, procedures and practices the world best practices could be enthroned. According to the director, military uniforms are standardised and distinctive dresses used for the identification of an organised military force, emphasising that military as an honourable profession, has its uniform perceived as a badge of honour and morale booster to those who wear them. Officers now wear their rank at the centre of the chest just below the ‘V’ shape of the jacket neck. In addition, Generals would exhibit their stars on the collar as collar badges while name tag and national army are placed on the right and left top of the chest pockets respectively.

Army to phase out road blocks soon


he Nigerian Army has evolved an alternative approach for detecting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other dangerous weapons largely used by the Boko Haram insurgents and other criminals. The device which is referred to as the Nigerian Army Low Altitude Platform Station has the capacity of trapping information from scores of kilometers radius and sending such information to a base station which is constantly monitored, while offensive is launched as is deemed necessary.

Sources at the Army Headquarters Abuja, hinted that the new device which is configured in a balloon is part of the initiatives aimed at tackling the security challenges the country is facing at the moment. The new device is aimed at putting an end to the constant mounting of check points which is known to have caused a level of inconvenience to road users and the military community as well. The technology is said to have been developed locally by a department of the Nigerian Army.

Members of the national planning committee for the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day


n preparation for the 2013 annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, ministry of defence has inaugurated a national planning committee that will ensure proper planning, conduct and implementation of events for celebration which will take place January 15th, 2013. While inaugurating the committee, permanent secretary of the ministry, Professor Nicholas Damachi urged members of the committee to put in all their best to ensure that all the events lined up for the

celebration are properly in place. Damachi further said that all efforts should be exerted to accomplish a ceremony befitting for the nation’s fallen heroes noting that the armed forces has contributed in no small measure to the growth and stability of democracy in Nigeria. Some of the sub committees inaugurated include; ceremonial and security sub committee, emblem appeal launching, emblem production, protocol, publicity, reception and transport, religious service, monitoring and finance sub committee among others.

Chairman of the national planning committee who is also the director, joint service department, Alhaji Abdulrazak Salau assured the general public that all the committees will not fail in their duties promising that every member of each committee will work hard to ensure that the 2013 celebration will surpass previous ones. Members of the national subcommittee are drawn from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police Force, ministry of defence representing civilians and the media.



CDS assures Nigerians of overcoming security challenges soon By Joy Baba


he Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, has assured Nigerians that the security challenges facing the nation would soon become a thing of the past. Admiral Ibrahim stated this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital after a special prayer organised for him by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari over the weekend. He urged Nigerians to give President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian armed forces maximum support to tackle the security challenges confronting the country. According to him, “a nation could achieve development and growth only in an

atmosphere of peace. With peace in the country, the armed forces would devote their energies and expertise to other professional challenges”. The Nigerian armed force Ola said is blessed with experts and professionals, who have served in various capacities and contributed immensely to ensure peace in the West Africa sub-region. He thanked the president for the confidence reposed in him and other service chiefs by appointing them into office and also appreciated the emir and entire Kwarans for the prayer and honour they accorded him. During the prayer session, Alhaji Sulu Gambari urged the chief of defence staff to be on the alert in entrenching peace in the country.

Suspected kidnappers killed in Delta By Joy Baba with Agency report


oldiers of the Nigerian Army, 3 Battalion, Effurun Barracks, near Warri, Delta State, have shot down two suspected hired assassins and kidnappers in broad daylight at Ekpan, in Uvwie Local Government Area. Speaking to newsmen, Lt. Col Ifeanyi Otu, Commander, 3 Battalion confirmed the killing saying soldiers gunned the suspects down while they were escaping with a bag stuffed with papers, which they thought was the N10 million ransom they had demanded from a victim, Chief Jonathan Governor. Niger Delta People Salvation Front/Niger Delta People Volunteer Force, NDPSF/NDPVF, led by activist, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, however at the weekend, alleged that the Joint Task Force murdered a top

member of the group and renowned musician, Mr. Tony Omoro. Lt Col Otu explained that the suspects, Fidelis Amani and Tony Omoro, called and sent threat messages with an Airtel number to Chief Governor, telling him that a woman paid them N1 million to kill him if he failed to pay a ransom of N10 million. The victim, alarmed by the threat, contacted senior officers of the battalion, who contrived a plan for him to play along with them, unknown to the criminals. “On October 23, at about 0910hours, a report of the activities of hired assassins was lodged at our office by Chief Jonathan Governor of Ekpan. “He said that two persons called him and sent threat messages with an Airtel number that a woman paid them N1 million to kill Governor if he did not pay a ransom of N10 million,” Otu said.

Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim

Flag of the Commandant of National Defence College Deinyefa Bozegha being decorated as a full Lieutanant by the Commandant of the college, Read Admiral Thomas J. Lokoson and his wife in Abuja recently.

Army to close in on sponsors of terrorists By Joy Baba with Agency report


he General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, MajGen. Garba Wahab, over the weekend said the military was closing in on politicians, who have been alleged to be sponsors of terrorism in the country. Wahab stated this when he received the executive members of the correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna led by its chairman, Mr. Luka Binniyat, at the 1 Div

Headquarters Kaduna. He said the Army would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Nigerians live in peace and are well secured He further said that the Police alone cannot handle the security challenges facing the country. According to Wahab “If we are told by the political leadership of Nigeria to leave the streets today, it will take me just a few minutes to order my soldiers back to the barracks but the police cannot handle the situation alone; that is why we were called in

the first place”. “My fear” he continued is that if we dismantled the roadblocks and leave the scenes, the situation might take a turn for the worst. We are enjoying peace and safety in Kaduna State because of the coordinated effort of Intelligence and the Nigeria Army,” he said. “Terrorism is based on fear; the Army would do whatever it takes to make Nigerians sleep with their two eyes closed. The Army has a mandate to do whatever is within the ambit of the law to

provide security for the people and ensure that the country remains united,” he added Wahab explained that every operation, which had been carried out by the Army was based on information provided by the State Security Services (SSS). In his words “We are dealing with terrorists, who operate a complex command chain and understand their turf very well. Some of them who we have arrested are just the foot-soldiers, who do not even know one another, we believe that they have

spiritual and political leaders and we have started getting them”. These people he said, have well -stocked arms but then, army does not want to create panic in the public with revelation of arms that it has recovered from them. In Zaria alone, a pile –up of explosives, about a tonne were discovered in the house of an influential man. We had to engage these terrorists in several hours of gun battle to subdue them and finally evacuate the entire area before removing the explosives.


Fish farmers to benefit from N200m facility in Edo


Baker says cassava bread tastes better


he Director, Dawn ‘N’ Joy Bakeries, Mrs Bisi Opeodu, has said that cassava bread tastes better than the bread

baked from 100 per cent wheat flour. Opeodu, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

on in Lagos, said that the difference between cassava bread and pure wheat flour bread could not be easily noticed.


ollowing the payment of its counterpart N100 million counterpart fund by the State Government, fish farmers in Edo are to benefit from a N200m loan provided by the ECOWAS Fish Development Fund. The Director of Fishery in the State’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Joseph Ogiagbe, made the disclosure on Wednesday at Agenebode in the Etsako East Local Government Area of the state. He said that previous administrations in the state had for the last six years undermined the scheme by failing to meet the counterpart fund obligation. It was for this reason, according to him, that fish farmers in the state have been unable to access any fund for the ECOWAS project in the past six years. Ogiagbe said that with the payment of the N100 million counterpart fund, covering the past three years by the present administration in the state, the N200 million fund was now ready to be accessed by farmers. He noted that the ECOWAS Fish Project had been expanded to include fish pond owners unlike the previous arrangement where only fishermen had access to the loan. Ogiagbe disclosed that the Fish Department in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture had already received over 800 applications for the loan from fish farmers across the state. The director regretted, however, that ability of the farmers to access the fund hinged on the repayment of previous loans obtained by fish farmers in the state under the scheme. According to him, a total of 111 farmers out of the 214 who benefited from the scheme between 1993 and 2006 have defaulted in repaying their loans. He noted that the total mony being owned by the farmers was more than N11 million. “All we need is for the defaulters to pay up to 85 per cent of what they are owing for us to commence disbursement of the N200 million fund to the over 800 applications we have received. “Because we do not want to use force on the defaulters, we have decided to employ a means of getting them to defray their loans. “We are doing this though the traditional rulers. It is for this reason we are in Agenebode today and we will be heading to other traditional rulers within Etsako Council Areas today,” he stated. Meanwhile, the Okuomagbe of Weppa Wanno, Dr George Egabor, has promised to ensure that his subjects who received loans under the scheme fulfilled their loan obligation. He noted that their paying back would not only afford others the opportunity of benefiting from the project but would also boost fish production in the state. He, however, urged the ministry and the bank to put in place an effective monitoring mechanism to guide against future occurrence. The monarch called on banks to always involve traditional rulers when giving loans to people. (NAN)

President Goodluck Jonathan (R), giving a piece of cassava bread to Vice-President Namadi Sambo during the launch of the bread at the FEC meeting recently in Abuja.

“The bread we produce has 10 per cent cassava content, and you cannot tell the difference from a whole-wheat bread. “We also hope to increase the content soon. The most interesting thing is that it tasted better when we enhance it with softeners,’’ Opeodu said. She said that since her venture into cassava bread production, she has made more profit, adding: “the good thing is that you spend less on cost of production to gain more. “We also produce cakes, sausages and other confectionery and the outcome has been wonderful.’’ Opeodu also told NAN that cassava bread was more affordable compared to the one baked from whole wheat. “Cassava bread is more affordable; a loaf that sells for N200 cost N250 if it is wheat bread. A loaf of N60 cassava bread cost N100 if it is wheat bread.’’ She advised other bakers to embrace the use of cassava, adding that her company was looking forward to expand to other states. (NAN)

We must treat agric as business to unlock its potentials, says Adesina By Mohammed Kandi


inister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has emphasised that to unlock the potentials of the sector, it must be treated as a business. Addressing the press in Abuja recently, the minister informed that the Ministry had taken Agriculture as business to unblock the agricultural potentials, adding that "the Ministry would make available technologies for farmers, and provide high quality seeds and fertilizers." The Minister revealed that the Ministry had engaged activities to subsidize farm inputs to farmers through the Electronic Wallet,

according to him, 900,000 farmers had been captured in 120 days. He also revealed that the Ministry aimed at capturing 1.5million farmers before the end of the year. Adesina further hinted that Ministry had also involved Dominion Farms in rice production. He stated that Dominion Farms would start operating on a 30, 000 hectares of land, he added that the rice mill would be in operation by december this year. On cassava, the Minister said that "the Federal Government has created value chain for cassava, which has allowed the private bakers to use 20 per cent cassava flour on bread baking."

He added that the training of master bakers had started and was funded through the Cassava Bread Development Fund. According to him, the Ministry had been able to add 8.1 MT of food to Nigerian food production, which is 41 per cent of the total target which is 20,000 MT. In relation to the recent flood havoc, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has assured Nigerian Nigerians that the nation would not experience food crisis or famine. Adesina said that the Federal Government had put measures in place to ensure that the nation does not experience food crisis as the flood ravage the farm lands.

He added that the Ministry has engaged on doubling food production, in order to tackle the menace of flood on food production. He also added that high quality seed and fertilizers had provided to the areas in the country that is free from flood effect, he explained that the exercise would allow the flood free areas to provide food for the flood affected areas. Adesina also pointed out that Federal Government was embarking on measures on flood insurance programme in order to protect farmers. He also said that the Federal Government had put in place strategic grain reserve to reserve grains provided by farmers during the flood.

Group to use Internet Speech to improve Nigeria’s agriculture


r Emdad Khan, the Founder, Internet Speech Inc, on Wednesday promised to work with the Federal Government to use Internet Speech to improve Nigeria’s agriculture. Khan made the promise at a news conference on Internet Speech held in collaboration with Adamu Consult in Abuja. According to him, Internet Speech is a technology that provides voice Internet technology and solution, while voice Internet is a way to access Internet using any phone and user voice without a computer. Khan said that Internet Speech would assist rural dwellers to access the Internet to improve on their farming processes. “A few years ago Nigeria used to export food but now the country is importing. “We will like to work together with the government to improve the

farming process to make Nigeria export food to improve its economic condition. “Internet Speech will allow business and government to voice enable Website and applications that will have multiple savings on development and maintenance cost,’’ Khan said. He said that Internet Speech would effectively bridge the digital and language divide, allowing easy access to the Internet and enabling features using any phone and the user’s voice. Khan mentioned the U.S., Canada, Thailand, India and Zambia as countries that had been benefiting from Internet speech. Prof. Victor Mbarika, the President Information and Communication Technology, U.S., said anyone who needed access to the Internet needed no data access or smart phone to connect but any

phone. Mbarika said that Internet Speech would focus on the rural dwellers and people with disabilities such as the blind who could not access the Internet. He also said that Internet Speech was not limited to the poor but for everyone who could not afford a computer or Internet access. The Chairman, Adamu Consulting, Dr Haroun Adamu, said that Internet Speech would bridge the boundary of communication levels in the country. “Before the end of 2013, 10 Nigeria languages will be recommended in the Internet Speech. “This is so that rural dwellers and illiterates will not be left out in getting information about what is going on in the country. “Internet Speech will work closely with all stakeholders to help global

development through education, innovation and entrepreneurship. “It will also help create an enormous resource base to ensure economic, social, cultural and other developments including increased world peace,’’ Adamu said. He said that Internet access worked via any phone to get information on any Website whether the site was voice enable or not. According to him, it also provides all features of Internet including surfing, audio browsing, searching, sending and receiving emails, doing e-health, e-learning, ecommerce and e-agricuture capabilities. Adamu said the application would be useful in disseminating health information to the grassroots, assist illiterate farmers in accessing markets across the world and provide new techniques in farming. (NAN)



FG distributes free cocoa pods to farmers By Mohammed Kandi


he Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, has again reeled-out a strategic initiative that would propel transformation of the Cocoa sector in Nigeria. The system involving the distribution of improved genetic stocks (newly released CRINc1 – 8, WACRI 11 Hybrids & F3-Amazon) and phased replacement of old unproductive stocks with new high yielding stocks. This development received a major boost last Tuesday at Owena, near Akure in Ondo State, during the official flag-off of the free distribution of improved hybrid varieties of cocoa pods to farmers in the south west for planting, as well as to increase their farm sizes. In other to halt further use of poor yielding and ultimately discard the old varieties for a systematic replacement of the tree stocks in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, in a speech delivered by Dr. Julius Odeyemi, the south west regional director in the ministry, “we have engaged specialised seed production units at Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Tree Crops Units of Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States to produce 3.6 million hybrid pods that will be given to cocoa farmers. “This has the potentials of raising the current production on farms from 350 kg/ha to 1,000 kg/ ha and also reducing time to maturity from five years to 24 – 30 months of field establishment,” Adesina stated. The minister expressed the hope that, “as we flag off free distribution of these selected hybrid pods today, these will be useful to re-position cocoa as a veritable and substantial foreign exchange earning commodity, creating jobs, wealth and prosperity for our farmers, traders, warehouse merchants, processors and exporters, state governments and the nation as a whole.” Cocoa agribusiness, he pointed out, “must be attractive to the youths in both operation and wealth creation. We must harness our resources to play significantly in the global market. First we are focusing on maximizing yield per unit land area on the current 650,000 ha of active plantation through efficient use of critical inputs like agrochemicals, fertiliser and good agricultural practices.” The customized Cocoa-Growth Enhancement Support Program (Cocoa – GES) is being implemented in partnership with the private sector, he added, saying the government is supporting the most vulnerable cocoa farmers’ access to critical yield-enhancing inputs. “Our goal is to leverage Cocoa GES to lift these farmers out of the trap of poverty and set them on the path to become sustainable commercial farmers. The targeted support provided through the Cocoa – GES program includes a discount of 50 % off the cost of

Dr. Julius Odeyemi, representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, applauds as the Ondo State's Commissioner of Agriculture, Engr. Ademola Olorunfemi, hands over free cocoa pods to Pharm. Dayo Omoniyi of Temade Farms, a beneficiary, at the flag-off ceremony of federal government's free cocoa pods recently at Owena, Akure in Ondo state. these critical inputs (1) 200 sachets of approved fungicides, (2) five 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 fertilizer with 5 kg Agrolyser and (3) 50 sachets of insecticides. This translates into N43,000.00 in support to the most vulnerable cocoa farmers,” the minister stressed. He underscored the response of the government thus: “One main goal for the Nigerian Cocoa industry is simple: Double production to 500,000 MT by 2015. To accomplish this, the Cocoa Transformation Team has developed a three-prong M.R.E Strategy: Maximise, Rehabilitate and Expand. I am happy to note that the Cocoa Strategy was developed in partnership and with inputs from all relevant stakeholders, simple and sophisticated, traditional and modern, small scale farmers and big traders and processors, all along the whole value chain.” “Our cocoa transformation programme,” he added, noting that “strategically addresses these constraints as we adopt the whole value chain approach from input supply to support on-farm production to value addition, local consumption and export of produce and products. Our goal is to eventually account for at least 25 % of the world market with an output of 500,000 MT by 2015, as aim at the 1.0 million MT mark.” The minister noted that the “agro-processors who create markets for millions of Nigerian farmers must also be supported adequately. It is also very critical to have a strong and virile

commodity association protecting the interest of all players along the value chain. “It is most critical that we have a strong and solid institutional framework guarding and guiding the whole cocoa sector and playing on the global scene for the benefit of the Nigerian cocoa economy. We therefore must address the challenges facing our farmers, traders, processors, transporters, shippers and everyone along the value chain with the precision of a

surgeon: we must change.” Furthermore, Ondo State’s commissioner for Agriculture, Engineer Ademola Olorunfemi, commended the federal government for the intervention. The commissioner encouraged farmers “to make the best use of the cocoa pods,” adding that the “governor has asked all commodity associations to put forward requests on the kind of intervention and support they require from the government.”

Agric Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

He also urged that, “those who have old farmers and family farms” to come forward for seedlings to support the federal government’s agricultural transformation agenda. Reassuring the beneficiary farmers gathered to receive the free pods, Dr. Peter Aikpokpodion, cocoa transformation team leader, said the demand for varieties of cocoa from Nigeria was made last week at the international cocoa conference. He encouraged the “agropreneurs from Nigeria to take advantage of this, stating that was why the minister of agriculture was giving the pods free for the benefit of everybody. Aikpokpodion informed farmers who are interested in benefiting from Growth Enhancement Support in cocoa to register with the tree crops units located in various parts of the country. Among the beneficiaries of the free cocoa pod distribution are Segun Adewumi, an office manager at the headquarters office of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Akure who said he was collecting the cocoa pods in trust for farmers who would come to the secretariat for inquiries, Pharmacist Dayo Omoniyi, Owner of TEMADE Farms, Ondo State and Multritrex representative, among others. On its part, Multitrex official collected a total of 2,000 pods on behalf of his organisation as all its members expressed gratitude at the federal government’s gestures.




resident Barack Obama is poised to eke out a victory in the race for the 270 electoral votes needed to win reelection, having beaten back Republican Mitt Romney’s attempts to convert momentum from the debates into support in all-important Ohio, according to an Associated Press analysis a week before Election Day. While the Democratic incumbent has the upper hand in the electoral vote hunt, Romney has pulled even, or is slightly ahead, in polling in a few pivotal states, including Florida and Virginia. The Republican challenger also appears to have the advantage in North Carolina, the most conservative of the hotly contested nine states that will determine the winner. While in a tight race with Obama for the popular vote, Romney continues to have fewer state-by-state paths than Obama to reach 270. Without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, Romney would need last-minute victories in nearly all the remaining up-forgrabs states and manage to pick off key states now leaning Obama’s way, such as Iowa or Wisconsin. To be sure, anything can happen in the coming days to influence the Nov. 6 election. The AP analysis isn’t intended to predict the outcome. Rather, it’s meant to provide a snapshot of a race that has been stubbornly close in the small number of competitive states all year. The analysis is based on public polls and internal campaign surveys as well as spending on television advertising, candidate visits, getout-the-vote organizations and interviews with dozens of Republican and Democratic strategists in Washington and in the most contested states. The analysis shows that Obama probably would win with at least 271 electoral votes from 21 states, including Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, and the District of Columbia. Romney seems on track for 206 from 23 states, including North Carolina. Obama won that state in 2008 and campaigned aggressively there this year. But Obama’s team acknowledges it is the most difficult state for him to win, and he’s paid less attention to it recently. Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia, with a combined 61 votes at stake, could go either way. “I’m counting on Iowa! Iowa may be the place that decides who the next president is!” Romney said on one of two visits to the state last week. In Ohio last week, a hoarse Obama reminded a Cleveland audience near the end of a six-state marathon: “I need you, Ohio. America needs you, Ohio.” Romney is banking on what his supporters say is late momentum. Obama is betting that his aggressive effort to register and lock in early voters, mainly Democratic-leaning younger and minority voters, will give him an insurmountable advantage heading into Election Day, when more Republicans typically vote than Democrats. About 35 percent of voters are expected to cast their ballots before Nov. 6, either in person or

Advantage Obama in hunt for 270 electoral votes

President Barack Obama walks to St. John's Episcopal Church from the White House with his daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, in Washington, on Sunday (AP Photo/Jacquelyn) by mail. More than 5 million people already have voted. No votes will be counted until Nov 6, but some states report the party affiliation of people who have voted. Democrats have the edge in Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina, according to state figures and data collected by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. Republicans have the early edge in Colorado. Obama, who won in 2008 in places where Democrats had not for a generation, continues to have several routes to electoral victory. His easiest: win Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, which are leaning his way. He could keep the White House with victories in Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada. If he loses Ohio, he could prevail by sweeping New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado. Romney has fewer options. He must carry Florida and Virginia, where Republicans are feeling good about his standing, as well as wrest control of Ohio, and then also win Nevada, Colorado or New Hampshire. If he loses Ohio, Romney must make up for the state’s 18 electoral votes by cutting his way through Obamaleaning territory. At the top of that target list are Wisconsin, carried by Democrats in six straight presidential elections and where Obama has the edge, and Iowa, a perennial swing-voting state. Romney’s campaign began airing advertisements last week in Minnesota, arguing he was staking a claim in likely Obama territory. But even GOP strategists acknowledged the move was aimed at hitting voters in western Wisconsin and pressuring Obama to follow suit.

By Friday, Obama’s campaign had done just that, although the president has a healthy lead in both polling and organization in Minnesota. “We have to keep working those other states, in case Ohio doesn’t come through,” said veteran GOP presidential

strategist Charlie Black, who is advising Romney’s campaign. Ohio is a lynchpin for both candidates. Obama was in strong standing in the state before the three presidential debates. But Romney’s strong performance in the debates helped him gain

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney

ground. But Republicans and Democrats alike now say that any momentum Romney had in Ohio from those debates has run its course, and the state gain is leaning toward Obama. New public polls show a tight race. Operatives in both parties point to the last debate six days ago, and Obama’s criticism of Romney’s opposition to the automotive industry bailout. They say the criticism was effective in branding Romney as out of touch with working-class voters in a state whose manufacturing economy relies heavily on the car and auto parts industries. The president started running a new TV ad in the state assailing Romney’s position on the aid. Obama’s internal polling in Ohio has shown a slight increase in support from white, working-class voters, an important part of Ohio’s largely blue-collar electorate. “That is a killer,’” Tad Devine, a top aide to 2004 and 2000 Democratic nominees, said of the heat Romney is taking for his bailout position. “And it’s going to have the biggest impact in the decisive state in the outcome of the election.” Out of necessity, Romney is refusing to cede ground in Ohio, where no Republican has lost and then gone on to win the presidency. He hunkered down in the state for two days last week, and running mate Paul Ryan headlined eight events in the state over the weekend. The impending storm that’s set to hit the East Coast led Romney to cancel Virginia campaigning on Sunday and join Ryan in Ohio. In Ohio alone, Romney and allied groups were spending nearly $9 million on television ads, compared with Obama and his allies’ $6 million, and showed no signs of letting up in the final week. Elsewhere, Obama is looking to stunt any Romney inroad with suburban women, a pivotal constituency, in Colorado and Virginia, by casting the Republican as an extremist on abortion and hammering him on his opposition to federal money for Planned Parenthood. In Nevada, Romney is banking on the support of fellow Mormons, and noting the high unemployment and foreclosure rates, to overtake Obama. But the president’s team is appearing ever more confident of winning the state, partly because of the backing of a booming Hispanic population. Florida, the biggest battleground prize with 29 electoral votes, is viewed by both sides as a tight. Democrats acknowledge that Romney’s standing has improved because of his debate performances and could move out of reach for Obama in the coming days. Associated Press writer Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report. Source: AP



The way the wind blows: The effects of Hurricane Sandy on the US elections

A 2007 study found that poor weather is associated with better performance by Republican candidates [AP]



he research cited in this article was highlighted in a post on The Monkey Cage by Professor John Sides of George Washington University and in a comment responding to that post by Professor Neil Malhotra of Stanford University. While I am grateful to both of them for citing this work, they bear no responsibility for the opinions offered below, which are mine alone.] As Hurricane Sandy barrels towards the east coast of the United States, our first thoughts are of course with all of the people who are already dealing with the storm and those who will be forced to deal with its aftermath. However, with the presidential election in the United States little more than a week away, legitimate questions are beginning to be asked about the potential effect of the hurricane on the election. While there are a myriad of ways to think about how the storm could affect the election, it is probably best to think about this in two different ways. First, there could be direct effects from the storm on people's ability to vote. Alternatively, there could be indirect effects from the storm in terms of changing how voters evaluate the candidates. Let us consider each of these in turn. Direct effects For the storm to have direct effects on the election, we will have to assume that it has enough of a long lasting effect to actually make it more difficult for some voters to cast their vote in the election. With that in mind, three factors seem particularly important. First, the storm is primarily located in a portion of the

country that - in general - is more supportive of Democratic candidates than Republican candidates for national office. Thus the net effect of a decrease in turnout in the northeast part of the United States should be to decrease the total vote for Barack Obama more than the total vote for Mitt Romney. However, in the United States the president is not elected on the basis of total votes across the country; instead the candidate that wins a majority of votes in the Electoral College becomes president. Electors for the Electoral College are determined on a state-by-state basis, so as long as the storm uniformly depresses turnout among supporters of Obama and Romney in any state where its effects are felt, it should not necessarily impact who wins more electoral votes. This could, however, increase the likelihood of an election result where one candidate (Romney) receives a plurality of the popular vote nationwide, but the other candidate (Obama) receives a majority of electoral votes and wins the election. The second point is whether we think the above assumption that a hurricane would uniformly depress turnout among Democrats and Republicans - is warranted, and

there are important reasons to think this might not be the case. On the one hand, we know that turnout in elections can be a function of resources (eg, higher income, more education), and that Democrats in the United States draw more electoral support from lower resource individuals than Republicans do. If the storm were to make it harder for lower income Americans to participate in the election than middle and upper income Americans (eg, by knocking out public transportation), then we would expect this to hurt the vote for Obama. And indeed, in a paper published in The Journal of Politics in 2007 that relies on data from 14 US presidential elections, political scientists Brad T Gomez, Thomas G Hansford and George A Krause find that poor weather is associated with better performance by the Republican candidate. Is there reason, though, to think that Hurricane Sandy might be different from a typical rainstorm? Jonathan Baron, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, offered an interesting argument in a comment on a post on this topic at The Monkey Cage. He suggested that if the hurricane leads to widespread power outages and road closings, this


might have a disproportionate effect on voters outside of cities, who will have a harder time getting to the polls. Since Obama and the Democrats poll better in cities relative to the suburbs and, especially, rural areas, this could have a net effect of helping the Obama vote. Additionally, according to Gallup, Romney has a non-trivial lead among voters 65 and older. If Hurricane Sandy should make it disproportionately more difficult for older voters to participate in the election, then this might depress the Romney vote more than the Obama vote. The final factor to consider in terms of a direct effect on the election outcome is the extent to which the storm will effect early voting, which is possible in many US states. Two stories are possible. First, if voting on Election Day is suppressed, then early voting may be disproportionately influential in this election relative to what it would have been had everyone who wanted to vote on election day been able to do so. This might seem to help Obama, who by most accounts is doing better among early voters than Romney. This, however, is a doubleedged sword, because if the storm suppresses early voting but not voting on Election Day, then the same logic would suggest an advantage to Romney. Research

The final factor to consider in terms of a direct effect on the election outcome is the extent to which the storm will effect early voting, which is possible in many US states.

by MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky, however, suggests that people who participate in early voting actually tend to be highly motivated voters, not casual voters, and thus are precisely the type of people who will make the effort to vote on Election Day. This would suggest that fewer opportunities for early voting alone - independent of serious barriers to voting on election day - might not have much of an effect on total vote figures. Indirect effects Of course, it is also possible that an event such as a massive storm, the likes of which Hurricane Sandy is projected to be, could change voters' opinions of the candidates. For Romney, the stakes and opportunities are both low; as long as he is not perceived to be attempting to benefit politically from the suffering of US citizens dealing with the storm, his image is probably unlikely to change much. For Obama, however, the stakes are higher. He has both the opportunity to appear presidential in helping lead the response to the storm, but also the potential of being blamed (eg, seen as incompetent, a poor leader) should things go badly. There is actually quite a bit of political science research on the topic of how natural disasters affect support for sitting presidents, and there is evidence both of natural disasters hurting incumbents (see here and here) and disaster relief efforts helping incumbents (see here and here). Although this is only speculation on my part, I would guess that given the fact that there is only a week before the election, the potential downside for Obama is greater in this regard than the opportunity; there may unfortunately be plenty of opportunities for images of suffering and problems associated with the storm in the coming week, but less so for the effects of relief efforts. One final point, however, is worth noting. A great deal of the ideological conflict between the two candidates in this election has been about whether government is part of the problem (Romney) or part of the solution (Obama) for America's future. Natural disasters of the type that Hurricane Sandy is possibly shaping up to be are the types of events to which governments - as opposed to any individual private actor - are uniquely positioned to respond. It is possible that the events of the next few days may reinforce the message that government is indeed necessary to solve some problems facing US citizens; this may not be the last thing about which the Romney teams wants voters to be thinking before they enter the polling booths. Joshua A Tucker is a professor of Politics at New York University, a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and a co-author of the awardwinning politics and policy blog The Monkey Cage. Source: Al Jazeera



Kenya: Kisumu anger after politician Kwega was killed Egypt's Copts vote for successor to Pope Shenouda III


council of Coptic Christians in Egypt is set to vote for a successor to Pope Shenouda III, who died in March. Two bishops and three monks are short-listed to become the 118th head of the region's largest Christian minority. The council will pick three, writing their names on separate pieces of paper that will be placed in a box on the altar of St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo. A blindfolded child will be asked to draw out one of the names on 4 November, thereby picking the new Pope. The individual chosen will become the new Coptic Pope who will be enthroned in a ceremony on 18 November. The five candidates are: Fr Pachomios al-Syriani - a monk from the Paromeos Monastery in Wadi al-Natrun; currently lives in Italy; aged around 49 Bishop Raphael an auxiliary bishop in Cairo; a former aide to the late Pope; a member of the Church's Holy Synod, the Coptic Church's highest authority; aged around 58 Fr Raphael Ava Mina: A monk at St Mina Monastery near Alexandria; aged around 60 Fr Seraphim al-Syriani: A monk from the Paromeos Monastery; currently lives in the US; aged around 53 Bishop Tawadros - an auxiliary bishop to acting head of the Coptic Church, Bishop Pachomios; member of the Holy Synod; aged around 60 The Coptic Church has about 16 million members worldwide, and Copts make up 10% of Egypt's population of 80 million. Pope Shenouda III died at the age of 88 on 17 March, reportedly after suffering cancer. He had urged officials to do more to address Coptic concerns after numerous attacks on churches in recent years.

Pope Shenouda III led Egypt's Coptic Christian Church for four decades


enyan politician Shem Kwega has been killed and his wife wounded in a drive-by shooting in the western city of Kisumu. Mr Kwega was a close ally of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is running for the presidency, reports the BBC's Karen Allen from the capital, Nairobi. Police later fired teargas to disperse protesters who claimed he had been assassinated, our reporter says. Tension has been mounting in Kenya ahead of elections due in March. More than 1,000 people were killed in violence that hit Kenya after the 2007 disputed presidential election. Last week, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bansouda expressed concern about a culture of violence in Kenya during a visit to the country. The ICC has indicted several Kenyan politicians - including Deputy Prime Minister and presidential aspirant Uhuru Kenyatta - for allegedly fuelling ethnic conflict after the 2007 election.

Kisumu was badly hit by violence after the last election in December 2007 Mr Kwega and his wife were shot by assailants on a motorbike, our reporter says. Mr Kwega was a prominent businessman who was running for the Kisumu Central parliamentary seat under the banner of Mr Odinga's Orange

Democratic Movement (ODM). "His killing by unknown assailants this morning outside Mamba Hotel in Kisumu town is a big blow to the party," the ODM said in a statement. Although robbery has not been ruled out, his supporters

believe he was assassinated, our correspondent says. Police in Kisumu fired teargas to disperse them as they demonstrated against his killing. One person was reportedly shot during the protest, our reporter says.

Somalia's General Farah killed in al-Shabab ambush


top Somali military commander has been killed in an ambush - the first general to be killed by the

Islamists. Mohamed Ibrahim Farah, nicknamed "Gordon", was killed near Merca, a strategic town

Al-Shabab has been under pressure from African Union and government troops

captured from the al-Shabab militants in August. The Somali government army and African Union troops have been battling the al-Qaeda-aligned group for several years. Al-Shabab has withdrawn from several key towns in recent months, but still controls much of the countryside. The governor of the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia said General Farah was killed along with four other soldiers in an ambush on Sunday. Al-Shabab still manages to stage attacks in areas it has left, including in the capital, Mogadishu. The hotel of the new UN-

backed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was targeted by suicide bombers, killing eight people, the day after his election by MPs last month. Meanwhile, a journalist who was attacked by gunmen last weekend has died of his wounds bringing the number of reporters assassinated this year across Somalia to 17. Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, who worked for the private radio station Shabelle, was shot as he walked home on Saturday 20 October. Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for killing more than 10 journalists this year. One of them was beheaded in Mogadishu.

which has its roots in Algeria and is active across the Sahel region, have since fallen out with the Tuareg groups. A US diplomat travelling with Mrs

Clinton said the Malian conflict would be high on the agenda of talks between Ms Clinton and Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. "There is a strong recognition that Algeria has to be a central part of the solution," a US diplomat travelling with Ms Clinton said, AFP reports. Algeria had initially expressed strong reservations about plans by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to send a 3,000-strong force to northern Mali, fearing it could cause more instability in the region. But Algeria - which has the biggest army in the Sahel region - has since been "warming to the idea" of intervention, another US State Department official is quoted by AFP as saying.

Mali crisis focus of Clinton’s Algeria visit


S Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is visiting Algeria to discuss the growing threat posed by militant Islamists in neighbouring Mali, US officials say. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution paving the way for an African force to end Islamist control in northern Mali. Algeria is an important military power in the Sahel region and its backing is seen as crucial in any intervention. Algerian Islamists are reported to have joined the Malian rebellion. The trouble began last January after fighters loyal to killed Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi flooded into northern Mali. Angered by the government's approach to the rebellion, the army led a coup in March - and in the ensuing

chaos Islamists and their Tuareg rebel allies took control of the whole of the north. The Islamists, who are allied to alQaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim)

There are plans to send 3,000 foreign troops to fight the Islamists


Asia and Middle East


car bomb in the Syrian capital has killed 10 people, including women and children, and wounded 41 more, according to a state news agency and government officials. Monday's deadly bombing near a bakery in Jaramana, a southeastern district of Damascus controlled by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, brought a bloody end to a failed


Children among dead in Damascus car bomb attempt at a three-day ceasefire which was marked more by air strikes and firefights. Lakhdar Brahimi, appointed by the Arab League and United Nations as envoy to Syria, had sought to get both the rebels and Assad troops to halt their

fighting over the Muslim Eid alAdha holiday. Instead, government jets and artillery bombarded opposition neighbourhoods and rebels launched attacks on military checkpoints. Speaking in Moscow alongside

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Brahimi said he was "terribly sorry" that the ceasefire had failed and that the conflict was getting even worse. He said the UN "is not considering" sending an armed peacekeeping force to Syria,

Taiwan arrests suspected military spies for China

Not guilty plea filed for Philippines' Arroyo


Philippine court has entered a not-guilty plea for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the former president, on charges she misused $8.8m in state lottery funds in the third corruption case against her. Arroyo, seated in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace at the court in Manila on Monday, refused to enter a plea and prompted the judge to record a not guilty on her behalf. Nine other people, mostly former officials of the state lottery agency, are also charged in the case. They allegedly conspired with Arroyo during her last years in office to divert public funds for her personal gain. Arroyo is suffering from a neck ailment, and police brought her to the anti-corruption court from a military hospital. She was admitted days before the court served the arrest warrant against her on plunder charges early this month and ordered her confined under guard.

Iran naval task force 'docks in Sudan'


n Iranian naval task force has docked in Sudan, carrying with it a "message of peace and security to neighbouring countries", Iranian state media report. The vessels, which include a corvette and freighter, set sail from Iran last month, the Irna news agency said. Their arrival comes six days after explosions destroyed an arms factory in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Sudan has complained to the UN that Israel bombed the factory, which is believed to have been operated by Iran. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the incident. According to Iranian state media, the naval task force which docked in Sudan on Monday morning includes the Shahid Naqdi, a corvette-class vessel, and the Kharg, a supply vessel that can carry three helicopters. The visit by the Iranian warships to Sudan underscores the defence and security ties between the two countries.

though relevant officials were conducting contingency planning in case the UN Security Council ordered such a mission. That is highly unlikely, with Russia and China - two Council members - opposing any kind of international intervention.

After the failed Eid alAdha holiday ceasefire, envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will return to the UN in November [AFP]

If found guilty, Arroyo and her co-accused could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment [EPA]

Questions have been raised about Taiwanese military officials visiting China after retirement


aiwan has arrested three retired military officers suspected of spying for China, officials say. One of the officers, identified by local media as Chang Chihhsin, was the former political warfare head of the meteorology and oceanography office. The Defence Ministry has said that Mr Chang did not leak sensitive material. But local media warn his department handled highly classified data, including maps for submarines, hidden ambush zones and coastal defence areas. "Chang, who initiated contacts with Chinese mainland officials while still serving in the navy, was suspected of luring his former colleagues and making illegal gains," the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The ministry had been investigating Mr Chang even before he retired in May and visited China in August, reports say.

UN calls for action to end Myanmar violence


he UN has called for "urgent action" to prevent the spread of intercommunal violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, after recent clashes killed dozens of people and left thousands homeless. The organisation said a team lead by Ashok Nigam, its Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator, had visited the state and seen "large scale destruction of houses". The government estimates that more than 22,500 people have been displaced from their homes in the last week and more than 4,600 houses have been burnt. The latest violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims began on October 21 and has left at least 84 people dead and 129 injured, according to the government. Human rights groups believe the true toll could be far higher. Security forces have been deployed to areas where clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya erupted on October 21.


Europe and Americas US East Coast prepares for Hurricane Sandy


urricane Sandy is continuing to head towards the US East Coast as residents make last-minute preparations. Sandy could be the biggest storm to hit the US mainland when it comes ashore on Monday night, bringing strong winds and dangerous flooding to the East Coast, from the mid-Atlantic states to New England, forecasters said on Sunday. The storm could have a brutal impact on major cities in the target zone such as Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, in one of the most densely populated regions of the country. New York City's subway, bus and train services were suspended on Sunday evening, bringing the country's financial centre to a virtual standstill. Michael Bloomberg, New York mayor, also ordered public schools to close on Monday and said that areas of the city from City Island to Coney Island to Battery Park City were under mandatory evacuation. "We are ordering the evacuation for the safety of the approximately 375,000 people who live in these areas," he said. The hurricane has also reportedly forced the evacuation of tall ship HMS Bounty, a replica of the ship famed for the 1789 mutiny. US Coast Guard officers told reporters the 17-member crew of the training ship, used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, managed to get on board two life-rafts. The Coast Guard has dispatched aircraft to bring the crew to safety. The crew had reportedly decided to abandon ship, approximately 145km off the North Carolina coast, after taking on water and losing communications and propulsion. The vessel was about 250km west of the eye of the hurricane. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey, reporting from New York, said the entire East Coast was preparing for the hurricane. "New York is expected to catch the brunt of the flooding ... the National Hurricane Centre has said that the storm surge flooding could be life-threatening." Trading on the floor of major Wall Street exchanges will be suspended on Monday, but online operations will continue, allowing business to continue almost as usual. The US government has estimated the storm could affect 50 million people, and the storm has already been disrupting transportation systems.


France arrests ‘top ETA leader’ F

rench police have arrested a top leader of the Basque separatist group ETA in eastern France, the Spanish interior ministry says. Izaskun Lesaka, the "most experienced of the three main leaders" of the banned organisation, was arrested during a raid by an elite French police unit at a hotel in the town of Macon, near the city of Lyon, a ministry statement said on Sunday. She was arrested with a man, also described as an ETA member, who the statement and a French source identified as Joseba Iturbide. Both of them were allegedly in possession of weapons. Lesaka had been on the run since 2005 and was sentenced in absentia to seven years in France in January over her involvement in ETA. According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Lesaka was running the group's military arm. Searches at the hotel in Macon continued on Sunday afternoon, as the roads leading to it were blocked off by unmarked police cars. The arrests were a new blow to the Basque separatist organisation, which announced a year ago that it had abandoned violence in its 40year fight for an independent state in northern Spain and southwestern France. ETA is considered a terrorist organisation by Spain, the US and the European Union. It is blamed for the killings of more than 825 people

in a campaign of bombings and shootings. While vowing to abandon violence, ETA has refused to disband and disarm, though it has only dozens of active members left. Nationalist gains Earlier this month, Basque nationalist parties won regional elections, a result expected to fuel calls for independence. One of the groups that did well, the Euskal Herria Bildu coalition,

represents the political ambitions of those who in the past supported ETA. Radical pro-independence Basque groups condemned the arrests, which take to 24 the number of ETA members arrested, 16 in France alone. "It is totally incomprehensible that a year after [ETA's announcement that it was abandoning armed struggle] they continue to make political arrests," said a statement by the Basque group Left Abertzale.

France will continue to hunt down ETA members as long as the group refuses to disarm, the French interior minister said following the arrest. "ETA cannot expect any change, we will remain engaged in the fight against terrorism," Manuel Valls said in an interview published in the Spanish daily El Pais. "As long as the ETA does not decide to disarm we will continue to fight [it] with uttermost determination," he said.

Lesaka's arrest is a blow to the separatist organisation that announced a ceasefire in 2011 [AFP]

Centre-right evicted in Lithuania elections


ithuania's left-wing and populist opposition are planning to form a coalition government after the austerity-

weary Baltic state became the latest European nation to evict the centreright at the ballot box. But in a move apparently blocking

Butkevicius cast his vote in Lithuania's capital Vilnius, in a poll which may herald change across Europe [Reuters]


kraine's ruling party has claimed victory in parliamentary elections international monitors said was reversing earlier democratic gains the country has made. Mykola Azarov, the current prime minister, said President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions would win the majority of seats after Sunday's vote. "It is clear the Party of the Regions has won," Azarov said on Monday. "These elections signal confidence in the president's policies." The poll was seen as a test for Ukraine's democracy amid the criticism of the imprisonment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on corruption charges. The Party of the Regions had 35.03 per cent of the vote against 21.98 per cent for Tymoshenko's

the three-party coalition plans, President Dalia Grybauskaite said on Monday she did not want the Labour Party to be in the new government after allegations of vote buying and tax evasion. Grybauskaite, who has the job of formally choosing a new prime minister, said that the party - the third biggest in parliament after the ballot - was not a suitable coalition candidate due to the allegations, which emerged after two rounds of voting. "A party that during an election is suspected of being at the root of the largest number of cases of electoral fraud, which is suspected of tax fraud and the leaders of which have been charged in a criminal investigation cannot be involved in forming a government," Grybauskaite said. "I will only back a political grouping

that can form a majority government without Labour, which is in the dock." Labour Party leader Viktor Uspaskich is on trial for alleged tax fraud by his party in 2004-2006, which he denies The tree parties won a combined 79 seats in the country's 141member parliament in Sunday's vote. Algirdas Butkevicius, leader of Labour's allies the Social Democrats and the man widely tipped to become prime minister, said he was surprised by Grybauskaite's announcement. "We'll be looking for the best outcome for Lithuania," he added. Leaders of the Social Democrats, the left-wing Labour party and rightwing Order and Justice movement begun informal coalition talks already after the left topped a first round of polling on October 14.

Ukraine's ruling party claims poll victory opposition party, the central election commission said with half the precincts reporting in the proportional system that will determine half the seats in the new parliament. The pro-business ruling party was also on course to win at least 114 seats out of the 225 that are being determined by first-past-the-post single mandate constituencies, an early analysis of the results showed. The Communists were polling strongly in third place with 14.9 per cent, followed by boxing champion Vitali Klitschko's new UDAR (Punch) party on 12.8 per cent. The ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party was also due to break the five per cent threshold needed to make parliament, according to the

partial results. The election to the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada is seen both as a warm-up for the 2015 presidential

ballot and a chance for voters to pass judgement on the jailing of Tymoshenko, which has isolated Ukraine from European Union states.

More than 3,700 foreign observers were in Ukraine to monitor the vote [Reuters]



Pictured: The astonishing moment an owl snatched up a full-grown cat for a ‘light’ meal

Make believe: Seated in a row boat, poem The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear contrast a friendly pair of newly weds basking in the light of the moon By Daily Mail Reporter


n the famous poem by Edward Lear the owl and the pussy cat marry and dance by the light of the moon.

But as this amazing photo shows, the love and affection expressed by the pair in their beautiful pea green boat does not extend to the battle of survival in the wilds of Minnesota.

Big appetite: Swooping in, an owl is caught wide-eyed clutching a domestic cat in its talons as seen in this photo taken in Minnesota

This brazen barred owl is pictured grabbing the hapless domestic cat after swooping out of the darkness in a surprise attack. According to nature experts in the U.S., the owl - which is easily identified by its evening call that sounds like 'Who cooks for you! Who cooks for you!' repeatedly drops its oversized prey from high up in attempt to stun it into submission. It then devours its meal - with not one of Lear's famous 'runcible' spoon's in sight. The owl is known by other names, including Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, and Striped Owl. But it is probably best known as the Hoot Owl based on its distinctive, culinary call which is repeated eight times in sequence. Up to 25 inches in height and with a maximum wingspan of 50 inches, the owl possesses amazing strength for its modest size, and is able to tackle victims weighting far more than its svelte 2.3 lbs. Cats are something of a special treat for the opportunistic predator, which has a varied menu, preying on mice, shrews, rats, squirrels, rabbits, mink and weasels - as well as birds including woodpeckers, grouse and even fish, turtles, lizards and scorpions. It is attracted by campfires and street lamps, and recent studies show the woodland creature is increasingly thriving in America's northwest suburban neighbourhoods.

Moth larvae's bony face makes it look fierce (but it's just skullduggery to deter predators)


f prizes for Halloween costumes were handed out in the world of nature, this scary skull-faced creepycrawly would surely win. The extraordinary specimen is the larvae of the pink underwing moth, an endangered species fighting for its life in the Australian rainforest. Luckily, photograper Lui Weber managed to snap the rare caterpillar, which is characterised by a set of teethlike markings set between spots that look like eyes with large pupils and scare away predators. The Pink Underwing Moth has a brown and black body and brown legs. The forewings are about 60mm in length, grey-brown in colour and have white markings. The hindwings are dark grey with a small pink patch and seven white spots along the trailing edge. When at rest the moth resembles a dead leaf. Found below the altitude of 600m in undisturbed, subtropical rainforest, the species survives on the vine Carronia multisepalea, a collapsed shrub that provides the food and habitat the moth requires in order to breed. Lui said: 'Sadly this moth is very rare I only know of a single adult seen last year so I do not have photographs of the adult yet. 'This southern subspecies is listed as nationally

Very creepy-crawly: The pink underwing moth is an endangered species only found in the Australian rainforest

Skeleton key... to survival: The moth's larvae has a natural defence to put off predators endangered in Australia.' All but one of the habitat locations of the moth are in south-eastern Queensland, distributed from Nambour to the Queensland-NSW border, but Lui says more discoveries are being made. 'I was only known to breed in a single location in upland rainforest however this year I have discovered another three locations and a colleague has located one additional site making five locations in total.' The New South Wales government has placed the caterpillar on its endangered list. 'Potential breeding habitat is restricted to areas where the caterpillar's food plant, a native rainforest vine, Carronia multisepalea, occurs in subtropical rainforest,' it said. 'Adult Pink Underwing Moths require the darkness supplied by the vine and other rainforest vegetation in order to breed.' The government is now investigating a breeding programme to increase numbers. Halloween mask: The rare caterpillar is characterised by a set of teeth-like m a r kings set between spots that look like eyes with large pupils

It's not much, but it's all vine: The species survives on the Carronia multisepalea vine



Colour-coded blood test that turns blue if you have HIV is 10 times more sensitive than current methods


test for HIV that is 10 times more sensitive and a fraction of the cost of current methods, has been developed by British scientists. It uses nanotechnology to give a result that can be seen with the naked eye by turning a sample red or blue. Developed by scientists at Imperial College in London, the

those cases where previous methods, such as the saliva test, were rendering a ‘false negative’ because the viral load was too low to be detected,’ Stevens said, after the research was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The test could also be reconfigured to detect other diseases, such as sepsis, Leishmaniasis, Tuberculosis and

technique offers the promise of better diagnosis and treatment in the developing world. Research leader Molly Stevens, said: ‘Our approach affords for i m p r o v e d sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper.’ Simple and quick HIV tests that analyze saliva already exist but they can only pick up the virus when it r e a c h e s relatively high concentrations in the body. ‘We would be Research leader: Molly Stevens said she is able to detect planning to work with not-for-profit global health infection even in organisations to distribute the new sensor

If an HIV biomarker is present in minute concentrations, it causes tiny gold nanoparticles to clump together in an irregular pattern that turns the solution blue. malaria, Stevens said. Testing is not only crucial in picking up the virus that causes Aids early but also for monitoring the effectiveness of treatments. ‘Unfortunately, the existing gold standard detection methods can be too expensive to be implemented in parts of the

world where resources are scarce,’ Stevens said. According to 2010 data from the World Health Organisation, about 23 million people living with HIV are in Sub-Saharan Africa out of a worldwide total of 34 million. The virus is also spreading

faster and killing more people in this part of the world. SubSaharan Arica accounted for 1.9 million new cases out of a global total of 2.7 million in the same year, and 1.2 million out of the 1.8 million deaths. The new sensor works by testing serum, a clear watery fluid derived from blood samples, in a disposable container for the presence of an HIV biomarker called p24. If p24 is present, even in minute concentrations, it causes the tiny gold nanoparticles to clump together in an irregular pattern that turns the solution blue. A negative result separates them into ball shapes that generate a red color. The researchers also used the test to pick up the biomarker for Prostate Cancer called Prostate Specific Antigen, which was the target of previous work that Stevens did with collaborators at University of Vigo in Spain. That sensor used tiny gold stars laden with antibodies that latched onto the marker in a sample and produced a silver coating that could be detected with microscopes. Stevens and her collaborator on the new test, Roberto de la Rica, said they plan to approach notfor-profit global health organizations to help them manufacture and distribute the new sensor in low-income countries. Source:

How eye drops could stop you going bald A drug that helps to stop blindness could soon be used to combat baldness. Lumigan eye-drops are an established treatment for glaucoma, a condition caused

by excess fluid in the eye. But it has a side-effect that has excited scientists – it can stimulate the growth of eyelashes. N o w r e s e a r c h suggests the a c t i v e ingredient in Lumigan, called bimatoprost, could have the same effect on the scalp. Preliminary trials are underway to see w h e t h e r bimatoprost can reverse hair loss in both men and women. If successful, the drug could get a new lease of life as a b a l d n e s s treatment. Lead

scientist Professor Valerie Randall, from the University of Bradford, said: ‘Bimatoprost is known to stimulate eyelash growth and is already used clinically for this purpose.

Lumigan has been found to stimulate eyelash growth

Male pattern baldness affects around 6.5 million men in the UK. ‘We wanted to see whether it would have the same effect on scalp hair, as the two types of follicle are very different. ‘Our findings show that bimatoprost does stimulate growth in human scalp hair follicles and therefore could offer a new approach for treating hair loss disorders.’ Findings from the laboratory research appear in The FASEB Journal, published by the Federation of American

Societies for Experimental Biology. The drug was tested on living scalp tissue obtained from volunteer donors undergoing cosmetic surgery. Follicles treated with bimatoprost grew a third more hair than untreated samples in just nine days. Scalp follicles were found to contain exactly the same molecular receptors responsive to bimatoprost as eyelash follicles.

‘This means that – so long as the drug can be applied in such a way that it can reach the follicle – it should stimulate hair growth in patients,’ said Professor Randall. Results from the next phase of the clinical trials currently taking place in the United States and Germany should be available before the end of the year. They involve 220 men with male pattern baldness and 172 women with female pattern baldness. Participants are undergoing six months of treatment with either a solution of bimatoprost, applied to the scalp, or an inactive placebo (dummy treatment). A comparison with the wellknown baldness treatment minoxidil is also being assessed. Professor Randall acts as a consultant to Allergan Inc which manufactures Lumigan. The well-known effect of Lumigan on eyelashes also comes with its own side-effect, it causes darkening of eye colour and eyelid skin, which may not be reversible. It is not known if this sideeffect will occur on the scalp. Source:



No cover-up of Ribadu’s oil report, assures Presidency By Lawrence Olaoye


ollowing stringent criticisms of the seeming silence from President Goodluck Jonathan over the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports of the investigation of the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu’s investigations into the nation’s oil revenues indicting major stakeholders in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the opposition parties in the country, the Presidency yesterday assured that there would be no cover up. This assurance was contained in a press release signed by Jonathan’s Senior Special

Assistance on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday. Okupe stated that ”The President is committed to the fight against corruption and has assured that there will not be any cover up in the findings of the Ribadu Report when the report is finally submitted. “It is with respect to this that the President has directed that the report be submitted to him on Friday November 2nd, 2012. “For the avoidance of doubt, the president has neither seen nor received any copy of the Ribadu Committee Report. Essentially, what appears to have been irregularly released

prematurely to the Media is a draft copy which still requires full accent of all members of the Committee and clarifications and due process from the originating Ministry before the official handing over to the Presidency. “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should be commended for his personal resolve to fight institutionalized corruption in Nigeria. President Jonathan ordered the probe of the Oil Industry for the period of ten years (2002 - 2011) which also covers the tenure of his administration. No president in our history has gone this far and this explains why the rots in our system has persisted for so long.

“President Jonathan approved the appointment of a well – known Corruption Crusader, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,who ran against him at the Presidential Poll on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN. It is also noteworthy that the Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Supo Sasore, was a former Attorney General of Lagos State under an ACN Government. “President Jonathan’s unwavering and commendable determination to fight corruption is clearly demonstrated by his approval of the appointment of credible Nigerians, anti Corruption Crusaders and members of the opposition party

in the committee. He added “The efforts of President Jonathan have also helped in exposing the fraud in the Petroleum Subsidy regime dug up by Aig Imokhuede’s Committee. The indicted persons are currently being tried in various courts. “For the purpose of clarity, President Jonathan’s resolve to fight against corruption and dig out all the rots in the system should not be misconstrued or politicized by the opposition as if it is his administration that is guilty of corruption, rather, he should be commended for taken the bold step that will ultimately sanitize the policy and the system,” he stated.

Oyo begins public hearing on Constitution review From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Oyo State Government will today begin a two-day public hearing on the review of the 1999 Constitution. A statement issued in Ibadan on yesterday by the state’s AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adebayo Ojo, said that the public hearing, which would end tomorrow, October 31, 2012, would hold at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan. He said that the public hearing, being handled by a committee constituted by the state government, was aimed at aggregating the views of the people of the state on the areas of the constitution marked out for amendment. According to the committee, individuals, civil society

organizations, professional bodies and the general public are expected to appear at the public hearing. Ojo listed the areas marked out for amendment to include devolution of powers, creation of more states, recognition of the six geo-political zones in the constitution, role of traditional rulers, local government, fiscal federalism, amendment of provisions relating to amendment of the constitution, state creation and boundary adjustment to remove ambiguities as well as immunity clause. Others areas are the removal of Land Use Act, NYSC and Code of Conduct from the constitution, Nigerian Police, Judiciary, Executive, rotation of executive office, gender and special group, Mayoral Status for the Federal Capital Territory Administration and residency and indigeneship provisions.

L-R: Chairman, Ibadan South-west LGA, Mr Bolaji Adeleke, Governor, Association of Nigeria Theatre Practitioners, Oyo state Chapter, Mr. Ayo Olabiyi; President, Ijewuru Widows Foundation, Mrs. Funmilayo Ogunsola, Managing Director, Fashad Nigeria Ltd., Mrs Sade Akinlabi, at the inauguration of Ijewuru Widow's Foundation, yesterday in Ibadan. Photo: NAN

INEC introduces voter education clubs in public schools ANPP calls for restructuring of petroleum industry


he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has introduced voter education clubs in secondary schools in Enugu State, an official said. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr Lawrence Azubuike, said the essence was to inculcate in school children the concept of voting. Azubuike said that the commission met with 142 principals of public schools on the issue and that the principals were enthusiastic about the concept. “The purpose, as I said, was to solicit their effort and to get their assistance in establishing voter education clubs because the focus now is to the children even when

they are not of voting age, if they imbibe the culture and the ideals of democracy and the electoral process, it will stand them a very good stead when they become adults and when they attend the voting age; so the effort is to catch them young. “But as I said, it was well attended, well received and the process is still on. Some principals have started; they have started the process of establishing those clubs in their schools." Azubuike said that the commission would not fund the clubs but would assist and facilitate them. He said that some INEC staff would visit the schools from time to time to encourage the children. (NAN)


he All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has emphasised the need for the Federal Government to restructure the nation's petroleum industry for better service delivery. This is contained in a statement signed by the Secretary of the party, Mr Emma Eneukwu, and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday. `` ANPP received with deep concern the widely reported news about a leaked report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenues Task Force, which says Nigeria lost about N4.64 trillion to corrupt officials `` The task force which is to

determine and verify petroleum revenues, find out that NNPC gets an allocation of 445,000bpd of crude oil to refine locally but it has not been utilised," it said, It regretted that the Presidency had not done enough over these revelations. `` We wish to ask whether the Leadership newspaper report of a forged Export Clearance Permit of more than one and a half billion dollar is also suspicious. ``Or the letter written by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga to President Good luck Jonathan, promising to investigate the source of the discovered fake document in his Ministry," it said. The statement said that

Nigerians were apprehensive if 24 million barrels of crude oil could afford to leave the shores of this nation under suspicious circumstances. The party, however, urged the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibilities instead of allowing this glaring disclosure to be`` swept under the carpet". It urged the National Assembly to look into this report in order to ascertain the true situation of things. It also called on the Federal Government to ensure that the committee set up to look into the Ribadu committee's report did not cover up vital facts which would assist to tackle corruption. (NAN)



Nyako resterates commitment to youth empowerment


R-L: Founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Sir Emeka Offor, Miss Ebere Anaegbuonu (First Class Honour Degree) who won a new Toyota Car a Scholars Package for Excellence , former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani and Director General of Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Center, Mrs. Jacqueline Farris, during the 2nd Annual Books and other Educational Materials Distribution Ceremony of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation/Books for Africa held at Oraifite of Anambra State, at the weekend.

S/Court affirms Dickson's election as PDP hails judgement By Lawrence Olaoye and Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Supreme Court yesterday put paid to the legal tussle seeking to upturn the election victory of Governor Seriake Dickson. The apex court had, in a unanimous judgment affirmed the victory of Governor Dickson in the governorship election held on February 11, 2012 in the state. The judgment read by Justice Walter Onnonghen, who led four other justices of the court dismissed the appeal filed by the Change Advocacy Party (CAP) against the governor. In the petition earlier filed by the party which was dismissed by the Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, the party said Dickson was not qualified to contest the election which he won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party

(PDP). The election was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 11, 2012. "The governor was not qualified to contest the election because his name was not published by INEC as one of the candidates for the election", CAP said in the petition. But the court in its decision said that the publication of the list of candidate and the sponsorship of the candidate are not the same. "There is a difference between publication of the list of candidates and sponsorship of candidates for election. The 1st respondent (Dickson) was validly sponsored by the 3rd respondent (PDP) and the fact that his name was initially removed and restored did not affect the validity of his sponsorship by his party", the court held. CAP filed a petition challenging the emergence of Dickson, who won the February

11 governorship election, insisting that he was not a candidate of PDP for the election. The party lost its case at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Bayelsa and the Court of Appeal which dismissed it for lacking in merit. Dissatisfied with the decisions of the Tribunal and the Appeal Court, CAP and its governorship candidate in the state, Imoro Kabi, approached the apex court, asking it to rule in their favour. Meanwhile the PDP has congrgratulated the Bayelsa state governor for his victory. The party in a statement in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said the Supreme Court judgment was not only a victory for the people of Bayelsa who gave their mandate to him but an endorsement of the inviolability of a just and properly constituted internal democratic process of the party.

"Our great Party is ever mindful of the noble responsibility which our leadership position confers on us. Our determination on the entrenchment of internal democracy as a fundamental to every party process is clear. This firm resolve shall not waver. This judgment of the Supreme Court is therefore an incentive on our resolve to build a better party." The Party further commended Governor Dickson on his development strides and urged him to remain focused. "The PDP rejoices with Governor Dickson and the entire people of Bayelsa on this well deserved victory. It is our expectation that with this distraction off the way, the Governor who hit the ground running, will only increase the tempo of massive infrastructural development that has literally turned Beyelsa into a huge construction yard," the PDP statement concluded.

Suswam tasks `Good Governance Initiative' on attitudinal change


ov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue yesterday advised the Good Governance Initiative on evaluation of government projects, to emphasise on attitude change, to enable people to appreciate government. Suswam gave the advice while receiving the GGI delegation led by the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, yesterday in Makurdi. The team is in the state to

assess the Federal Government projects. Suswam said the tour would further reveal that ``some of the worst federal roads are in Benue, and the team will travel on some of them.'' The governor urged the media to project the country positively by reporting the development programmes of the Federal Government. He said that most of the projects that would be inspected

by the team were executed by the state government. Earlier, Maku had said that the GGI was designed to correct people's perception of development strides of government. He said that all the projects earmarked for inspection would be given live coverage in the broadcast media, for the people to assess. The minister said the team would also evaluate projects

undertaken by the state and the local governments. He observed that political quarrels were given prominence in the media at the detriment of real development issues. Maku blamed the trend on politicians for turning the media into a platform for casting aspersions on their opponents who occupy political offices. The minister said the tour was intended to correct that trend. (NAN)

ov Murtala Nyako of Adamawa has reiterated his administration's commitment to youth empowerment. Nyako made the reaffirmation on Sunday during an interaction with newsmen in Yola. He described growing unemployment and unskilled youths as "enemy armies facing the nation". He said the growing threat from the two made his administration to set up empowerment programmes, such as commercial farming, technical skills acquisition centres and local apprenticeship schemes for youths. " We want to give our people the necessary skills before providing them job or assisting them secure loans to set up businesses," Nyako said. The governor also spoke on the effects of hard drugs on youths and how it affected nation building. He said his administration would continue to support the fight against hard drugs and encourage youths to stay away from hard drugs and other social vices. Nyako reiterated his administration's commitment to an independent energy source for the state to promote industrialisation. He said that the plan by the administration to covert Kiri Dam in the state to a hydropower dam was very much on course. He called for support and cooperation of the people to enable the government to transform the state. ((NAN)

Tambuwal condemns Kaduna bomb attack By Lawrence Olaoye


peaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has strongly condemned what he termed the outrageous and senseless attack on St. Rita's Catholic Church, Kaduna which took place on Sunday. In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal added that the attack on the innocent worshippers and other bystanders is both callous and senseless. He urged Nigerians to remain resolute and not to despair, saying it is gladdening that security agents have made commendable strides in efforts to handle the menace of terrorism in the country in recent months. He however urged them to do more to destroy the ability of the terrorists to unleash mayhem on innocent, peaceful and law-abiding Nigerians. While condoling with the families of the victims of the attack, the Speaker said the House of Representatives will continue to support all efforts aimed at securing lives and property f all persons in all parts of the country.


Unemployment: NGO advises states, LGs to replicate You WiN


he Executive Director, Society for Youth Research in Nigeria, an NGO, Mr Olawale Rasheed, has advised states and local governments to replicate You WiN programme to address unemployment. You WiN is a Federal Government initiative in which financial support is given to young entrepreneurs to enable them to create jobs. Rasheed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that if the You WiN programme was replicated by states and local governments, it would help to reduce unemployment in rural areas. He said although the Federal Government established the programme to reduce unemployment, it could not do it alone. He said more should be and as such states and local governments should replicate the programme at their own levels. "We have 36 state governments; we have 774 local governments, if the Federal Government is to take care of the rural woman, what will now be the function of state and local government? "State governments and even local governments should replicate You WiN; we should stop this idea of everybody looking up to the Federal Government. "While the Federal Government is doing its own, the state and other levels should also take action because government alone cannot solve unemployment crisis. ``It has to be a collective national effort. The Federal Government is already doing it. ``If I am a state governor, I will introduce the programme in my state, then I will not target 10, 000 I will target 20, 000. "I can't give them N10 million, I will give them five million and I will target 20, 000,'' he said. He said the calculation was that a state could support 20, 000,youths in one year and 80,000 in four years. Rasheed said although the Federal Government focused the second edition of the programme on women, it should find ways of engaging the rural woman. He said in formulating policies, government should strive to cover the interests of all groups in society. ``In empowering young people, you must segment them based on sex, urban and rural population, to achieve even spread of development,'' he said. (NAN)


FG’s anti-terrorism strategy weak, says ACN From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged the Federal Government to review its tactics in fighting terrorism in the country insisting that the deadly bombing of a church in Kaduna on Sunday has shown the limitation of the government’s current tactics. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the senseless suicide bombing that led to the death of 8 persons and left 145 others injured showed that those perpetrating acts of terror in the country have yet to be curtailed, despite the chest beating by the authorities over their supposed progress in the fight against terror.

While describing as ungodly and cruel the attack that affected mostly children and women in Kaduna, it said the government must urgently evolve a measure that will protect innocent citizens, from the terrorists and the security agencies, and curtail the ability of the insurgents to strike at a time and place of their own choice. ACN said even before Sunday’s attacks against innocent worshippers in Kaduna, the rate at which innocent people were being killed in attacks and reprisals between the security forces and the insurgents is so alarming that it cannot justify whatever modest success the government may claim to have achieved in the battle against the attackers. The party said the worst hit areas in recent times include

Potiskum, where an ongoing cordon-and-search operation by the security forces has apparently attracted a backlash from the insurgents, who have consequently been accused of killing innocent civilians in the most gory of ways. ‘’Within the space of a few days in Potiskum last week, many innocent citizens were slaughtered like animals. The victims, according to published reports, included a retired customs officer and his doctor son; a retired police officer, his wife and three children, as well as a tractor driver and six of his children. Nothing in the world can justify these mindless killings!’’ the opposition party observed. ACN also said the accusations and counter-accusations by the security forces and the sect in

Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta (l) accompanied by home video actors, popularly known as Aki and Paw-paw, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, with of the flood-displaced persons in the ice camp in Asaba yesterday. Photo: NAN

Maiduguri, where many innocent citizens have been killed and property worth millions destroyed in attacks and counter-attacks, make it extremely urgent for the government to review its tactics and see if they are worth the innocent lives being lost. ‘’Add this to the incessant and shocking bombing of churches and academic institutions, the inexplicable attack on the UN office in Abuja and the senseless destruction of telecommunications masts, just to mention a few, and it is clear that the nation cannot afford to allow this crisis to linger, even when it must also avoid a scorched-earth response that can only hurt innocent citizens who are themselves victims of the insurgency and should be protected,’’ the party said. ACN recalls a recent report by a rights group, Human Rights Watch, that both the security forces and the sect may have been guilty of crimes against humanity. The report stated in part “The unlawful killing by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces only grows worse; both sides need to halt this downward spiral...Nigerian government should swiftly bring to justice the Boko Haram members and security agents who have committed these serious crimes.” ‘’We at the ACN agree with this report and urge the government to explore other means, including dialogue which we have consistently advocated, to end the slow-motion insurgency that has claimed hundreds of lives since 2009 when it started. ‘’Every human life that is lost to this senseless crisis is one precious life too many, and these gory killings demean our humanity and call to question our claim to civilization. That is why the government must leave no stone unturned to end the insurgency, within the realms of international human rights law,’’ the party said.

Sango-Ota residents commend council boss on development


cross-section of residents in Sango-Ota, in Ado-Odo Local Government Area of Ogun, have commended the aggressive developmental drive of the council chairman, Mr. Rotimi Rahmon. The urged Rahmon to sustain the tempo while pledging their loyalty to him. In separate interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ota, the people said that infrastructure such as road network was key to the economic sustainability of a society. They also commended the vision of Rahmon to tackle youth restiveness in the area through sporting activities. Mr Adebayo Olawole, a technician, said that the adjoining roads in Adalemo which provided alternative access for Ijoko residents

should be given consideration. He said that the rehabilitation of the road would reduce the difficulty being faced by people living in the neighborhood. ``Ado-Odo is the commercial nerve centre of Ogun state, but the infrastructures in the area are fast decaying due to prolong neglect by the various political office holders. ``The incumbent chairman should do more on road network which is the most challenging factor at the moment," Olawole said. Another resident, Mr Ojo Steven, said it was only good governance that could guarantee the return of any political office holder. Steven urged the council boss to beware of detractors and focus on the provision of dividends of democracy to the electorate.

``We have problem of bad roads in Sango-Ota, the chairman can embark on rehabilitation of some of these roads within the limit of his capacity. ``I commend the chairman for the developmental steps taken in fixing bad spots in Ota and I expect him to extend that gesture to other parts of the Area. ``Because once there is good road network, commercial activities will pick up," Stephen said. Mrs Adeola Olagoke, a tailor, said that apart from road network, provision of portable water would also help to alleviate the suffering of the people. ``Apart from road, the chairman can also sink boreholes in strategic places for people to get access to clean water," she said. In his remarks, Mr Emeka

Ogochukwu, a trader said that poor infrastructure in Sango had greatly affected commercial activities in the neighborhood. Ogochuckwu said that the victory of the chairman was a ``dream come true'' for the people of Ado-Odo. He urged Rahmon to justify the peoples' confidence by ensuring that he fulfilled his electoral promises to the people of the area. Mr Adefemi Oloruntobi, a Civil Servant, said that development of infrastructure should be the priority of any good leader. Oloruntobi said that infrastructure was central to the economic transformation of a society, hence the need for the chairman to be responsive through the provision of adequate and functional infrastructure. (NAN)



CNPP says Nigeria can’t develop if politicians continue to breach constitution By Lawrence Olaoye with agency reports


he National Publicity, Secretary, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, says Nigeria cannot develop if political leaders continue their bids to breach the constitution. Okechukwu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday. He said, “We cannot develop under the system in which the ruling party is running the

country because the economic policy of the party is not in tandem with the 1999 constitution." ``The economic policy of the ruling party is in conflict with the fundamental objectives and directive principle of state policy, which is the social contract between the leaders and the led.'' Okechukwu explained that section 16(2) of the 1999 Nigeria constitution provides that the economic system should not be operated in such a way to concentrate wealth in the hands

of few individuals. `` The primary responsibility of any government is to provide security for the people and ensure their welfare. ``However, the PDP led government has abandoned these primary responsibilities of security and welfare of the Nigerian people,'' he said. Okechukwu said that Nigeria could not achieve meaningful development, if the welfare of the people were not guaranteed. ``How can the country develop when in the 2013 budget,

the agriculture sector is to receive only N81 billion and this sector employs over 70 percent of the people," he said. According to him, most Nigerians are living on deficit while a lot of people are hungry. ``these were some of the reasons why there were crises in the country,'' the CNPP's spokesman said. Okechukwu, however, said that Nigeria could advance, ``if the leaders abide by the dictates of the constitution which is a compendium of social contract''. (NAN)

L-R Kano state Governor Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his Kaduna state counterparts Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa discussing during their meeting at the State House Abuja recently. Photo: Joe Oroye

Edo Assembly sacks transition committees’ chairmen


he Edo House of Assembly has ordered the dissolution of transition committee executives in the 18 local government councils of the state. The order was sequel to a matter of urgent public importance moved by Mr. Paul Ohonbamu, representing Egor constituency of the state. Moving the motion, Ohonbamu noted that the continued stay of the caretaker committees was inimical to the growth of democracy in the state. He said that the existence of

the committees was an aberration, adding that their continued stay in power portrayed Edo in bad light. The motion for the dissolution of the committees was unanimously endorsed by the House. In his remarks, the Speaker, Mr. Uyigue Igbe, said: ``this is the longest serving caretaker committee; a committee was supposed to serve for three months but they have served for two years. “Therefore, all transition

committees stand dissolved and I hereby order the chairmen and councilors to return all properties in their possession to the Heads of Service at the various councils before the end of the day.'' Igbe noted that the transition committee members had been in office for two years and said that the dissolution was timely and long overdue. The speaker also declared all offices of the councilors, special assistants and all bodies set up by the executive dissolved. Mr. Emmanuel Okoduwa,

representing Esan North East, stated that Edo was counted among the states in the federation that operated transition committees in their councils. He described the situation as a slap on the faces of the people, saying that the entrenchment of true democracy in the councils would sustain the political image of the state. It would be recalled that the transitional committee executives were constituted by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole in October 2010. (NAN)

Falana urges NASS to grant total autonomy to anti-corruption agencies


human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Monday called on the National Assembly to urgently enact a legislation granting total autonomy to anti-corruption agencies in the country. Falana made the call in Lagos while speaking at a media-round table on "Promoting Ethics and Integrity within the Courts System The Role of Lawyers". The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum was organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in collaboration with The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Abuja. He said the independence of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), would help in tackling corruption in Nigeria. Falana said:"There are enough laws in our country to fight corruption. "There are enough statutory bodies established by the law to prosecute corruption cases. "The national assembly should urgently enact a law to make the anti-corruption agencies totally autonomous. "They should not be subjected to reporting to the executive because this exposes their activities to interference". He decried the slow pace of prosecution of high profile corruption cases in Nigerian courts, noting that it had made a mockery of the justice system. Falana accused lawyers, especially those in the inner bar, of manipulating the criminal justice system to protect their high profile clients from conviction. "All those cases that have brought the judiciary to shame were handled by Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), the supposed leaders of the legal profession. "Legal practitioners must rise up to challenge their actions because they are ruining the legal system. They are exposing Nigeria to ridicule", he said. In his address, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, SERAP, noted that the round-table was convened to x-ray the roles of lawyers in curbing corruption within the court's system. Mumuni said it was aimed at reducing corruption in the country and create an easy access to justice for the generality of Nigerians. (NAN)

Lawmaker urges residents to support Lagos Park, Garden Law


member of the Lagos state House of Assembly, on Sunday appealed to the residents to support the Park and Garden Law. Mr. Abiodun Tobun, (ACN-Epe I), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the law, enacted in June, was for the healthy living of the people. Tobun appealed to the residents to comply with the law by

planting trees and flowers in their premises. He said that planting a tree within the periphery of a compound facilitates would ensure healthy gaseous exchange between the plant and human beings. ``There is a symbiotic relationship between plants and human beings because the human breathes in oxygen and throws out carbon dioxide.

``The carbon dioxide is what the plant takes in and brings out oxygen the human breathes in. ``So if those plants are not there to collect the carbon dioxide we breathe out, it would pollute the air and turn to carbon monoxide, which is dangerous to human health,'' he said. The lawmaker said that the state harbours many industries, which emit various gasses into the

air injurious to man. Tobun, the House Committee Chairman on Environment, added that polluted environment was responsible for the poor life expectancy in Nigeria. He said that incessant burning of tyres, trees and refuse cause damage to the human health. The lawmaker urged the people to emulate advanced countries, which encourage ideal

environment. ``People in the advanced world plant trees and flowers within their surroundings. That is why they grow healthier, stronger and older. ``The government is not interested in what is in your compound. ``But what will make the people to live longer and healthier so that government would spend less on health facilities,'' he said. (NAN)



Say what?

Source: Reader's Digest


Quick CrossWord (58)

* The remains of 125 people will be launched into space where they will orbit the Earth for centuries. * The leading cause of on-the-job deaths in workplaces in America is homicide. * So far, Congress has authorized $152,600,000,000 for the Iraq war. This is enough to build over 17,500 elementary schools. * Americans take an average of just ten days per year vacation. In France, the law guarantees everyone five weeks of vacation, and most full-time workers get two full months vacation.


* The IRS admits that one in five people who call their help line get the wrong answer to their question.

DOWN 2 Materialised (7) 3 Perry __, fictional lawyer (5) 4 Expose (6) 5 Genuine (7) 6 Zany (5) 7 As many as (2,5,4) 8 Actually (5,2,4) 14 Hostile expedition (7) 16 __ attention, command to a soldier (5,2) 17 Cough syrup base (6) 19 Human trunk (5) 21 More mature, more mellow (5)

* 20% of Americans think that the sun orbits around the Earth. * Harry S Truman's middle name was S. Just S, without the period. (thanks to Eric Snyder) * Van Halen singer David Lee Roth trained to be an EMT in New York City, and planned to be certified by November 2004.

Yesterday’s answer

* The thong accounts for 25% of the United States women's underwear market. * On average, 40% of all hotel rooms in the United States remain empty every night. * When you hear a bullwhip snap, it's because the tip is travelling faster than the speed of sound.

Source: Weird facts

ACROSS 1 Paying back (11) 9 Stoves, cookers (5) 10 Cathedral (7) 11 Train-pulling vehicles (7) 12 Country of north-east Africa (5) 13 Bestows (6) 15 Student accomodation (6) 18 Coach (5) 20 Side by side (7) 22 Antennae (7) 23 Foot-operated lever (5) 24 Chiled __, feeling extremely cold (2,3,6)

Rickshaw worker, Bablu Jatav in India forced to take one-monthold baby to work after wife dies after giving birth. Source:

. . . putting the people first


QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE This is my call to Christians and Catholic youths, never should they retaliate. I urge them not to retaliate because two wrongs can never make a right. – Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, Matthew Man'oso Ndagoso, on Sunday's suicide bombing of St. Rita's Catholic Church in Kaduna

SPORTS How Gowon re-integrated Igbos LA TEST LATEST

Uruguayan ref issues 17 red cards


3-3 draw between Wanderers and Juventud in the Uruguayan first division ended in chaos as the referee, who had already sent off one player, brandished 16 more red cards when fighting broke out after the final whistle. Tempers became frayed when Wanderers believed they should have been awarded a penalty for a foul on midfielder Gaston Rodriguez near the end of Sunday's encounter in Montevideo, according to media reports. Punching and kicking ensued among the two teams after the final whistle and the referee, Leodan Gonzalez, red carded eight players from each team. As violence broke out on the pitch, the trouble spread to the stands at Parque Viera where a fan suffered a cut to the head after being hit by a stone. The total sent off was 17 after Wanderers had midfielder Diego de Souza dismissed at the end of the first half. During play, a team can have no more than four players sent off before the match is abandoned. Juventud president Yamandu Costa said the club's board were looking at sanctioning the team's players who took part in the fighting, Uruguayan daily El Pais reported on Monday. "Two very different things happened," Costa was quoted as saying in El Pais. "One is how the match developed which, from a sporting point of view was very good with three goals for each side, and another, after the match was over, when an argument among players finished in a general free-for-all." Wanderers vice-president Gaston Inda said: "Something got out of hand because during the match nothing had happened, but these are situations we can't allow and we're sorry for what happened." Midfielder Maximiliano Rodriguez scored twice for home side Wanderers including a late equaliser. Wanderers have 12 points from nine matches and Juventud 10. Penarol lead the Apertura championship with 20 points.


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HE ghost of the Biafran rebellion of 1966 - 1970 (note 1966, not 1967) was recently resurrected by Chinua Achebe in a war memoir provocatively titled There Was A Country. Whether that controversial title is an attempt to ascribe post-mortem “state-status” to the failed dream of a sovereign Biafra, or a present-day denial of the collapse - 42 years ago - of that misadventure by a present-day octogenarian, or simply a continuation of the revisionism by pro-Biafra sympathizers keen on rewriting the war history favourable to their dream is open to debate. I happen to belong to a generation that was born around the war period, which places me in my mid-forties today. Now in a country with a life expectancy of 45 years, one should feel lucky to still be alive to witness elders, at least twice one’s age, commenting on events that as old as I am. But that sense of gratitude is violently affronted when the comments of one such elder and a venerated scholar, Chinua Achebe, distort historical facts. His reckless allegation of “genocide” against General Yakubu Gowon, who governed Nigeria in the war period, is not only a gross fabrication but tantamount to biting the very fingers that fed the Igbos at a trying moment of brutal conflict, when a less sympathetic and more vengeful character would have acted with severe ruthlessness. As soon as Achebe’s account went viral on the social media, I was tempted to revisit the catalogue of the false assertions in the book that I deem untrue, and to bring historical evidence to bear in their refutation. But for reasons of time and space, I have chosen simply to enumerate some of the policies implemented by General Gowon, both in the course of the Biafran rebellion and its aftermath in order to facilitate the re-integration and rehabilitation of our Igbo brothers and sisters into a federal Nigeria, rather than pursue a pointless contestation with Achebe. I consider such approach more beneficial to our younger generation to whom the Biafran rebellion is only a distant history, just as World War 11 appears to my own generation. First, Gowon refused to see the Biafran rebellion as a war with a foreign foe. Accordingly, he declared a “police action” rather than war against the secessionists. And this came only after seven failed attempts by the OAU at peaceful resolution of the conflict, in addition to the “Aburi” meeting and subsequent fateful declaration of secession by Ojukwu. Moreover, in the course of the armed confrontation itself, General Gowon

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Gen. Yakubu Gowon directed the issuance of a code of conduct for all federal troops, which required the rebel forces to be treated “fairly and decently” as well as the strict observance of the Geneva Convention. Specifically, the code of conduct required that under no circumstances should pregnant women be ill-treated or killed; children must not be molested or killed, but be protected and cared for. Hospitals, their staff and patients should not be molested. Biafran soldiers who surrendered would not be killed, but disarmed and treated as prisoners of war and were entitled in all circumstances to humane treatment and respect for their person and honour. No property, building, etc was to be destroyed maliciously and no looting of any kind was permitted. Women were to be protected against attack on their person and honour, and in particular against rape or indecent assault. Wounded soldiers and civilians were to be protected and given medical care, etc. Gowon also agreed with his field commanders that no medals would be given to any soldier on the federal side after the war, as the conflict was an internal affair between brothers. Note that no similar code was issued or observed on the side of Biafra. After the cessation of hostilities, General Gowon declared a general amnesty for all Biafran troops, which exonerated them from prosecution for treason and other war crimes and offences (‘no victor, no vanquished’). Many soldiers who fought on the Biafran side were reabsorbed into the federal armed forces after the war. An opportunistic review of the career

progression of few of the reabsorbed officers, which remains a matter of public record today, indicates that Navy Lt. O.E. Ukiwe rose through the officer corps of the Nigerian Navy to the rank of a Commodore, with which he retired in 1987. He also served as a member of the highest ruling organ, the Supreme Military Council (1975-1977), military governor of Niger state (1977), military governor Lagos state (1978), Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command (1984-85), Director, Naval Faculty of the Command and Staff College in Jaji (1981-84) and finally, Chief of General Staff, the de facto the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (198587). Navy Lt. Ndubuisi G. Kanu also rose to the rank of a Rear Admiral in the Navy in addition to being the military governor of Imo and Lagos states between 1977 and 1978. Air Force Lt. Samson Emeka Omeruah progressed through the Nigerian Air Force to attain the rank of Air Commodore, in addition to holding political appointments that included military governor of Anambra state, unprecedented three time appointments as minister of sports and chairman of the Nigerian Football Association; he died in December 2006. General Gowon’s compassion was not limited to fighting soldiers alone. He undertook the resettlement of displaced persons and rebuilding physical facilities in the east. Ex-Biafran civil servants who were in the public service at the regional level were permitted to report to their new states for reabsorption, while those at the federal level were also eligible for reabsorption into the federal service if they so desired. Each returning civil servant in the east received salary advance as “mercy pay” along with three weeks leave to enable them settle down after the war. Gowon also appointed for the first time and without precedent two Igbo civilians, Ukpabi Asika and J.O.J. Okezie, to represent the East Central State in the Supreme Military Council, which was the highest policy organ in the country. Gowon also established a National Rehabilitation Commission under Mr. Timothy Omo-Bare and saddled it with the task of collection and distribution of drugs and other humanitarian

gifts from foreign governments and international NGOs, a responsibility later transferred to the Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Reconstruction to expedite the flow of relief materials to war affected areas. Moreover, Gowon ensured that Ships carrying relief materials were granted advance clearance at Nigerian ports and accorded dutyfree entry by Customs. Foreign relief workers were automatically granted visas at Nigerian Embassies abroad upon clearance with the Director of Relief Operations. As part of the reconstruction and rehabilitation in the war affected areas, Gowon restored telephone link between Lagos and the East Central state within three months after the surrender of Biafra. The Onitsha Bridge which was the major link between the east and the west was reconstructed also within three months of the cessation of hostilities. Within a single year of ending the war, most manufacturing industries were reactivated in the east, and the cement factories in Calabar and Nkalagu were re-commissioned into production. To revamp agricultural production in the war affected areas in the East, Gowon set up the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to support agriculture and provide loans to farmers although many of the loan recipients “diverted them to other areas of business instead of agriculture”. The list of other policies of the Gowon regime aimed at enhancing the re-integration of the Igbos after the war is legion, yet 42 years after the war, revisionists afflicted with the peculiar Nigerian ailment of selective amnesia, are now rebranding the same architect of our modern Nigeria, Gowon, as a genocidal tyrant. But what did neutral foreign observers have to say on Gowon’s reconciliation effort? Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister then, characterized it as “magnanimity in victory”. The Danish ambassador to Nigeria, Trocis Munk, commented that “where yesterday we saw recriminations, distrust and destructions, we find today reconciliation, compassion and reconstruction”. Woodrow Wyatt stated that “there can be no instance in history, certainly not in this...century, where the victors have moved so quickly to succour the defeated and to heal the wounds of war”. M. J. Dent commented that “it was unequalled for its generosity in the annals of civil conflict and a real contribution in the making of peace”.

Contd. on page 15

Published by Peoples Media Limited, 35, Ajose Adeogun Street, 1st Floor Peace Park Plaza, Utako, Abuja. Kano office: Plot 3, Zaria Road, Opposite Kano State House of Assembly. 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, Tuesday 30, October, 2012  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Tuesday 30, October, 2012 Edition

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