Page 1

Vol. 10 No. 24

Thursday, January 31, 2013

. . . putting the people first

Bandits have taken PDP NWC denies over Birnin Gwari, rift with Bamanga Emir cries out Tukur >> PAGE 3

>> PAGE 2

Rabiul Awwal 19, 1434 AH


Offa/Erin-Ile clash: Kwara govt declares curfew

How Israeli swindled Navy over dockyard >> PAGE 5

By Abdulwahab Isa & Joy Baba


here are indications that some staff at the Federal Ministry of Defence may have aided an Israeli firm, TP Marine Global Services, owned by one Mr. Amit Lichtenfeld, in swindling the Navy in the execution of the commercialization/ concession joint venture project of the Naval Dockyard in Lagos. Documents obtained by Peoples Daily show glaring breaches in the execution of the contractual agreement stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the part of TP Marine, headed by the Israeli. Initially conceived for building and repairing of ships after its rehabilitation, the Federal Government was expected to earn about $500,000,000 per annum from the dockyard project. But experts in Marine affairs describe the deal which was sealed through an MoU in April 2011 as a monumental fraud. “Participation by the parties will be in the ratio of 30:70 between the Nigerian Navy and TP Marine Global Services Limited,” according to the MOU. “The concession is a grievous fraud that has cost Nigeria fortunes,” Rabiu Hassan, a security consultant said, explaining that “the TP BV of Holland whose name was used to incorporate the Nigeria TP Marine Global was to be a technical partner because of its Contd on Page 2

Former Director of Police Pension Board, Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu (middle), was re-arraigned by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday at Federal High Court, Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

N289m pension theft: Court detains convict in prison By Sunday Ejike Benjamin & Umar Muhammad Puma


he Federal High Court yesterday ordered that the former Director of the Police Pension Board, Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu, who was convicted Monday by an Abuja High Court for stealing N23.3 billion be remanded at the Kuje Prison in Abuja. Yusufu was arraigned yesterday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

...As protesters storm Supreme Court

(EFCC) for allegedly stealing the sum of N289 million belonging to the police Pension fund. This amount allegedly stolen by the former Director is different from the N23.3 billion for which he was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment or pay a fine of N750, 000 by Justice Mohammed Talba of Abuja High Court. Yusufu pleaded not guilty to

the fresh four count charges slammed against him by the antigraft agency. His counsel, Mayaki Theodor, made an oral application for his bail which was vehemently opposed by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), and the trial Judge, Justice Adamu Bello then told the defence counsel to formally file the bail application and ordered the remand of the

accused person at the Kuje Prison till March 1 when the matter will come up for hearing. It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency which was miffed with the two-year jail term or an option of N750,000 fine handed over to the convict who pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him, slammed a fresh four count charge against Contd on Page 2


28th Jan., 2013


BUYING 154.74 244.10 209.59 0.2981 41.25

SELLING 155.74 245.68 210.95 0.3181 41.52


BUYING 208 254.50 42 157

SELLING 210 257.50 43 158























Nigeria cannot break up, says Sultan

Urges FG to embrace Boko Haram dialogue initiatives From Nasiru Mu'azu Isa, Kaduna


he Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has urged the Federal Government to embrace dialogue initiatives reportedly being proposed by the Boko Haram Muslim sect. Speaking yesterday when he received the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in his palace in Sokoto, the Sultan noted that the development will ensure return of peace and security in the country. He made the plea on

Wednesday when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika at his palace in Sokoto. Moreover, according to him, “the dialogue will serve as a means of getting across to the other splinter groups within the sect. “That is why when few days ago we heard a purported ceasefire by a faction within the Boko Haram sect, we welcomed it and I believe it is an issue we have to open up to.” The Sultan dismissed as

unrealistic insinuations that the country may break up, arguing that God has reasons for bringing Nigerians together as Muslims and Christians. “Nigeria will remain one entity and those clamouring for the division of the country are just making noise in order to seek for relevance. “God cannot be wrong by bringing us together because He has a reason why he brought us together as Muslims and Christians. “There are many issues that bind us

together and there are many reasons why we should remain together as brothers and sisters in this country,” the Sultan said. Earlier, the COAS who described the unity of Nigeria as non-negotiable had explained that he was in Sokoto to commission some rehabilitation projects by the Nigerian Army at the barracks of 1 Brigade. According to Ihejirika, “the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable and that is what we are all trained to preserve.

PDP NWC members deny rift with Tukur By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday reiterated that there is no division in its leadership even as members of the National Working Committee (NWC) have stressed that they are solidly behind the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. This is coming as the leadership of the party stressed that it totally supports the transformation agenda of President Goodluck

Jonathan adding that it has no problem at all with PDP State Governors contrary to speculations in some national dailies. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday refuted the insinuation of a divided Executive Council just as hje insisted that the NWC is united under Tukur’s leadership and has been working in one accord to ensure good governance in the country. “There is no division in the

leadership of our party. We are solidly behind our National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and we are focused on ensuring good governance in the country. Some people are not just happy that we are working together, so they come out with all sorts of speculations to see that they cause disaffection in our party but I want to assure that we will not be distracted in our focus to ensure that we continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people,” Metuh said.

He said the party leadership is working together with President Jonathan to ensure the delivery of his transformation agenda which is aimed at ensuring rapid development in all sectors of the economy for the benefit of all. “The leadership of the party is solidly behind President Goodluck Jonathan in his transformation agenda. We have one focus and that is to ensure massive development of the country in line with the manifesto of our party”, he said.

How Israeli swindled Navy over dockyard Yero will follow Yakowa’s footsteps, says aide, Page 37

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Contd from Page 1 rich background in the construction of specialized military ships. “There was no specific equity holding specified for TP Marine BV in the MoU. Mr. Amit of Dolyatec was to be a financial partner in the project. “This was the original agreement but once Amit secured the MoU from Navy and signed it on behalf of TP Marine Global Services, the music changed. “The fact is that TP Marine incorporated in Nigeria is owned 80 per cent by Amit while 20 per cent is owned by one Mr. Bakare Akande Lateef, Amit’s employee and office Accountant.”

Investigations show that after the concession, TP Marine Global Service has remained the exclusive private property of Mr. Amit of Dolyatec as the 30 per cent Nigerian Navy equity share was not reflected in the certified true copy of the document. It was further learnt that having successfully used the profile of TP Marine BV of Holland as his technical partner to help secure the Navy deal, Amit has been using TP Marine BV’s flags and colors at the site of Naval Dockyard as a sign of physical possession but he has completely, dumped TP Marine BV from the deal. Part of the commitments of the

Navy as stipulated in the contract agreement include, provision of land space measuring approximately 10,218 square meters, allow TP Marine Nigeria Limited or its agents unrestricted access and use of the premises and its facilities for the purpose of carrying out any legal jobs subject to security clearance by the Nigerian Navy; and allow TP Marine to bring in other jobs to the facility and independently source and execute other jobs but for the benefit of the parties. Some of the responsibilities of TP Marine Global Services as enshrined in MoU include, installation of construction bay, workshop and support services facilities,

provision of all logistics needed in designing, construction and operation of the facility including purchase of machinery, equipment and materials; and assisting the Nigerian Navy in technical training required for maintenance of Nigeria Navy vessels and machinery. The Deputy Director (information) Navy Commander Suleiman Dahun who spoke with our correspondent said he could not lay his hand on the Navy’s copy of the contract agreement and requested Peoples Daily to avail him with a copy of the MOU between Navy and TP Marine to enable him cross check with engineering department.

N289m pension theft: Court detains convict in prison Contd from Page 1 Yusufu. In the fresh charge No: FHC/ ABJ/CR/14/2013, Yusufu was accused of failing to make full disclosure of his assets and liability in the SY-A Global Services Limited, a company owned solely by him and immediate members of his family, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 27(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, CAP E1 2004. In a related development, the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Association of Unemployed Youths of Nigeria (AUYN) yesterday protested the judgement of Justice Abubakar Talba against Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf over stolen pension funds. The protesters in hundreds, dressed in black t-shirts and carrying placards and banners of various inscriptions had converged on the Ministry of Justice building,

moving to Supreme Court and National Assembly asking for a retrial of the case and sanctioning Justice Talba among others. Some of the inscriptions on the banners and placards read: “Judiciary is the hope of the highest bidders”, “Egunje spoilt Judges”, “Same Justice Talba did Kenny Martins fine”; “The blood of dead pensioners will hunt commercial judges” and “Talbanism: N32 billion = N75,000!!! Bad Maths,” among others. Executive Secretary of ACN and former House of Representatives member, Dino Melaye, while speaking at the Ministry of Justice, said President Goodluck Jonathan, members of the National Assembly, leadership of security agencies and others in the leadership position in the country must listen and take it that Nigerians are tired of corruption and that enough is enough. “We are collaborating now

with Nigerian students and others interested in fighting corruption and part of our strategy is to ensure that we shout ‘barawo’ in the North; ‘ole’ in the South-West and ‘onyeoshi’ in the East of this country among others on corrupt people. While NANS was led by its Senate President Comrade Kolade Olaolu, AUYN members were led by its national coordinator, Comrade Damesi Momoh. The petition submitted to the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, and copied to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, read in parts, “Nigerians are not so forgetful to recall that this same Justice Abubakar Talba presided over the Kenny Martins police equipment case until the case was dead and buried. He is also currently being tipped to become the Chief Judge of Adamawa state. “How else can we describe a

situation where Mr. John Yusuf, a man involved in over N27 billion pension scam was let off the hook with paltry N750, 000 only as fine option of two years jails term? We recall that a Magistrate Court recently sentenced a man to two years jail term without option of fine for stealing a goat worth N5, 000. You will also agree with us that China is the largest economy today, yet it punishes cases of corruption to serve as deterrent with capital punishment (death). “We call for thorough investigation of Justice Abubakar Talba and others like him and that appropriate punishments be serve them. We once again call for eradication of plea bargain. It is evil, nonsensical, archaic and detrimental to our avowed fight against corruption. We advocate for the China option of capital punishment for corruption, in which the family of the convicted and executed persons pay the bill for execution.



Bandits have taken over Birnin Gwari, Emir cries out From Mohammed Adamu, Kaduna


andits have continued to rob, maim, rape and kill at Dogon Dawa and other villages of Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna state, in spite of the promise by the state government to get rid of the security lacuna in the area. This was disclosed by the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Jibril ll, when he led a delegation of the leaders of the area to Sir

Kashim Ibrahim House on a courtesy call to the state governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. The emir explained that the armed bandits had taken full control of the surrounding villages in Birnin Gwari local government area. "We are worried and disturbed and we don't know what to do. In fact, as I am talking to you now, I am not in charge and you are not in charge also in some of the villages in Birnin Gwari that are

under the bandits. These bandits are in charge. The armed bandits have taken over our land. "They move around with their weapons in day light even in the market with nobody to challenge them. The kill, maim, rob and rape wives of their victims at will. The only town they have not entered is Birnin Gwari town. So we hope the governor will come to our rescue," he pleaded. The emir said about seven villages that have been taken over by the bandits include Dogon

Dawa, Kuyallo, Damari, Kazaga, Tsamari among others. "The bandits have stolen about Seven thousand cattle belonging to the villagers and nothing has been done about it. Our people are worried and government promised to help us but we are still waiting for government to help us," he said. In his remarks, Governor Yero said the responsibility of the security lies on the governments of Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states.

Sultan wants preachers licensed By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Sultan of Sokoto and chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar yesterday suggested the licensing of religious preachers in the country. In a message to the opening ceremony of a two-day peace and security summit organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, the Sultan pointed out that licensing of preachers has become necessary in view of the recent happenings in the country. According to the Islamic leader, people are indoctrinated in the process of preaching by religious clergies and noted that: “Licensing of preachers in the country will help in ensuring regulation”. He warned the youths against taking arms against themselves in the name of religion or for whatever reason, just as he noted that an act of violence will not do any good to the country. The Sultan promised the commitment of traditional rulers in stemming the tide of communal clashes in the country and called for support in addressing security challenges facing the country. In her speech, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar blamed the rising spate of ethno-religious crisis in the country on ethnicity and religious intolerance.

Farmer records landslide victory over Shell Members of Anti-Corruption Network protesting yesterday at the Ministry of Justice in Abuja, over the lenient judgement handed down to the former Director of Police Pension Board, Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu, by Justice Mohammed Talba of FCT High Court. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Police get new policy on in-custody deaths By Lambert Tyem


he Police Service Commission (PSC), yesterday, roled out a policy that would ensure that all deaths in police custody are thoroughly investigated and the report submitted to relevant authorities. The policy mandates the police to probe deaths resulting from contacts with policemen including fatal shootings involving police officers. Commissioner in charge of Media and Publicity at the PSC Ms. Comfort Obi who presented the new policy in company of another Commissioner, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, explained that the commission also introduced a policy on domestic violence and gender policy for officers and men of the force. Obi stated that the in-custody death policy would end the era of cover-ups when people die in police custody and in other extra-judicial killings without being investigated.

Mark decries quality of graduates By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


enate President, David Mark, has decried the quality of graduates being churned out by Nigerian universities, calling for the recruitment of dedicated and qualified teachers in the education sector as a solution to the problem. Mark made this assertion while ruling on the bill seeking to establish the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) College of Education, which was brought to the floor by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba. He also condemned poor remuneration of teachers, saying they are more often taken for granted rather than being

As Senate kills equipment leasing bill encouraged. He said the time has come for dedicated teachers to take up the job at all levels, arguing that if the foundation for university students is faulty, it will invariably impact negatively on the quality of graduates being produced yearly. In his lead debate, the sponsor, Ndoma Egba, explained that the FCT College of Education is already in existence, saying the bill only seeks to provide a regulatory framework for the college in Zuba. Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday terminated the bill seeking to establish a government agency that will guide the business

of equipment leasing, saying it is purely a private sector affair that requires no government intervention. Leading debate on the bill, the sponsors, Itah Enang, explained that the bill will create financing alternative that meets equipment needs of the country. He listed agriculture, transportation, telecommunication, construction sectors as some the areas in need of the bill, adding that if passed, the bill will create fairness in the business, other than the current practice which leaves the leasee at the mercy of the leasor.

By Etuka Sunday with agency report


Dutch court ruled yesterday that Royal Dutch Shell can be held partially responsible for pollution in the Niger Delta, saying the company should have prevented sabotage at one of its facilities. The district court in The Hague ordered Shell to pay unspecified damages to one farmer, but dismissed four other claims filed against the Dutch parent company. Four Nigerians and interest group Friends of the Earth filed the suit in 2008 in the Netherlands, where Shell has its global headquarters, seeking reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the Niger Delta region. The court backed Shell’s argument that the spills were caused by sabotage and not poor maintenance of its facilities, as had been argued by the Nigerians “Shell Nigeria should and could have prevented this sabotage in an easy way,” the ruling said.

Pastor arrested for attempting to kill accountant From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


pastor of Living Faith aka Winners Chapel, Collins Obuh, was yesterday arrested by the Benue State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Katsina-Ala local government area of the state for

attempting to shoot an accountant of the church Mr. Philip Toryila over a major disagreement. Sources said the pastor had severally demanded for an undisclosed amount of money from the accountant to embark on a private project, but met the

adamant refusal of Mr. Toryila who insisted that the church is unaware of such project. The matter reportedly resulted in a quarrel wherein Pastor Collins’s attempted to shoot Toryila with a gun. Head of SARS in the area, Inspector Godwin Utenge, said

the pastor inflicted bodily injuries on the accountant and he shouted for help which attracted a church official who in turn alerted the police. The accountant is said to have been admitted at a private hospital where he is responding to treatment.



Accountant sacked over fraud at Taraba quarry From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


ccountant of the Taraba State Quarry located after Sibre village along JalingoWukari road, has sacked over the misappropriation of millions of naira. Investigation by our reporter shows that since the commencement of operations at the company, monies realised as revenue are not properly accounted for by the authorities. The sharp practices at the quarry leading to the diversion of

government revenue running into millions of naira led to the removal of the Accountant, Mohammed Madu popularly called Ohbo. The accountant was accused of conniving with the chief executive officer, Lee Andrew to siphon government revenue for their personal use. The deal was uncovered by Myles Beham and Warren Proudman who scrutinized the accounting books when Lee Andrew went on leave overseas between June and September, 2012. It was discovered that the

Accountant did not maintain proper accounting records as many cash receipts regarding purchases worth millions of naira were not accounted for. In addition, the accountant was discovered to have maintained two separate staff salaries and wages bills to perpetuate his nefarious activities at the expense of the company. When our reporter visited the quarry, he was reliably informed that Andrew has again proceeded for his 2012/2013 annual leave but his Assistant Warren Proudman confirmed that the former accountant fronted in

carting away millions of naira meant for government revenue during his tenure. Reacting to the issue when our reporter called on him, the State Accountant General, AG Joel Lenbang admitted that his office received a written request from the management of the quarry to post a new Accountant to the company which was promptly done. The AG however said he was not aware of further developments at the quarry including how much was misappropriated at the company during the tenure of the former Accountant.

Pandemonium as fuel tanker explodes in Jalingo From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


petrol tanker burst into flames at AA Rano Filling Station Jalingo on Monday evening causing pandemonium. The tanker had just finished offloading diesel at the station when the inferno started. An eye witness, John Paul, a student of the Taraba state University told our reporter that the fire was ignited when a careless person drove into the station with a burning cigarette. Paul commended the Taraba State fire service for its prompt response which kept the fire from spreading to the Unity Bank building and other houses. Paul called on the urban planning authority not to approve the construction of filling station in residential areas . The station manager was not available for comment when our reporter called at the station. The blast shattered all the windows and doors of the upper floor of the station.

Bauchi is potential food basket of North, says US envoy From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


L-R: Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ali Pate, and FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, discussing during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

FG achieves N8.5trn foreign Jega faces arrest for investment commitments shunning Reps summons . . . Jonathan flags off centenary

celebration on Monday By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government yesterday announced that it had achieved investment commitments from reputable global companies to the tune of N8.5 trillion. Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga who briefed State House correspondents alongside his Environment counterpart, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia as well as Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati after yesterday's Federal Executive Council (FEC), said government's aggressive

investment drive abroad is yielding huge dividends. According to Abati who moderated the briefing, the Council meeting focused on the achievements and challenges of the ministries of Trade and Investment and Environment in the last one year in line with the performance contracts signed between President Goodluck Jonathan and the ministers last year. He also announced that the President will flag off the national centenary celebration on Monday with the focus on the unity, strengths and the achievements of the country in the last century.

By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday perfected plans to order the arrest of the chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega today, for shunning invitations of the parliament to defend queries raised on the audited account of the commission as raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF). Similarly, the same fate is to befall the chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC). The AuGF queries were raised on the expenditures of INEC from the audited accounts of INEC for year 2003 up to 2011 while that of NPC was

from 2003 to 2009. The power to issue the warrant on the two chairmen was passed onto the chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Public Account (PAC) Solomon Olamilekan Adeola by the committee members when they were briefed on the refusal of the heads of the institutions to heed the calls of the committee. Olamilekan had told the Committee members that the heads of INEC and NPC have spurned the invitations of the committee five times and therefore sought the permission of his members to issue a warrant on the affected officials for their recalcitrance.The committee in a voice vote granted him permission to do so.

merican Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terrence McCulley has described Bauchi state as the potential food basket of Northern Nigeria considering the vast and arable land that God endowed the area with. A press statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to Bauchi State Governor, Ishola Michael Adeyemi stated yesterday that at a dinner welcoming the Nigerian delegation to the 2013 AG Connect Agric Expo going on at the International Trade Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, the envoy said, his last visit to Bauchi State was a real eye-opener to the fact that the area is blessed with natural resources that need to be harnessed and developed. He declared that having the largest number of delegates to the Expo have confirmed the seriousness of the Isa Yuguda led administration to the development of the agriculture sector assuring that he would assist in ensuring investment in the state and others interested in the boosting the sector. McCulley lamented that agriculture was neglected in the past but expressed confidence that with the seriousness and commitment shown by the present administration in revamping the sector, it was only a matter of time before the country becomes the largest exporter of farm produce in the world. (NAN)


Reps to probe Ezekwesili’s $67 billion mismanagement allegation By Umar Muhammad Puma


gainst the backdrop of alleged mismanagement of huge sums of money from the foreign reserve and the excess crude oil accounts by former Minister of Education Mrs. Ezekwesili, the House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Finance and Appropriation to conduct an investigative hearing on the matter and report back to the house within six weeks. A motion read by Rep. Umar Bature (PDP Sokoto state) noted that the former minister had alleged that $45 billion in the Foreign Reserve Account and $22 billion in the Excess Crude Account being direct earnings from oil is said to have disappeared. The Federal Government responded to the allegation by accusing the former minister of misappropriating N458 billion between 2006 and 2007. Recall that in a convocation lecture last week, Mrs. Ezekwesili had accused the regimes of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan of squandering $67 billion from the country’s foreign reserves. The former minister had asked the regimes to tell Nigerians what they did to the huge sum she said former President Olusegun Obasanjo left in the national purse when he left office in May 2007.

FAAN takes delivery of six fire fighting machines From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


fforts to boost safety across airports in Nigeria received a boost yesterday when the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) commissioned six fire fighting machines that were refitted with advanced technology in Holland. The machines, the agency’s Director of Airport Operations, Capt. Henry Omeogu told reporters, form part of the requirements for airport certification that the Federal Government is striving to attain in line with the Transformation Agenda. Omeogu reiterated that FAAN had engage the Dutch company, Kronehburg having reached a deal that ensures collaboration in manpower development that will lead to a transfer of technology. He said the deal “makes it possible for us to maintain these machines locally, so you find out that the cost of maintenance has reduced, we are going to store up spare parts too, which is a great departure from what we used to have”.


Offa/Erin-Ile clash: Kwara govt imposes curfew From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


ollowing tension and escalation of violence between Offa and Erin-Ile communities, the Kwara state government yesterday imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the two communities. The state government in statement broadcast in the state owned radio issued by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, said the curfew would last until peace returns to the two communities. Following the crisis, gunmen suspected to be from Erin-Ile, a

…as gunmen burn Federal Poly, kill, mutilate body of former NASFAT chair town in Oyun local government area of Kwara state yesterday reportedly burnt part of the Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara state while students and other residents fled for their lives. The gunmen, it was learnt invaded Offa during the night, burnt down Offa Descendants Union (ODU) secretariat, and killed the former chairman of NASFAT Offa branch, Alhaji Musbau Mohammed Awwal while his body

was cut to pieces. It was gathered that hired gunmen teamed up into a warring party, invading Offa town and exchanging gunshots with mobile policemen. Our correspondent who contacted few residents of the warring communities on phone learnt that some unknown gunmen led by small kids were heading towards the palace of Olofa of Offa with dangerous weapons.

It could be recalled that an accident involving Offa and ErinIle motorists in front of the Federal Polytechnic Offa on Monday sparked the long-standing cold war between the communities. Our correspondent also gathered that mobile policemen drafted to the communities could not contain the violence as gunmen brazenly invaded the town and set fire on some buildings at the polytechnic.

Bridegroom beheaded by rival From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


Director, Airport Operations, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Captain Henry Omeogu, addressing journalists after an inspection of fire tenders rebuilt by Kroneburg in Netherland, on Tuesday at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos. Photo: Suleiman ldris

bridegroom was beheaded during his wedding reception in Gembu the headquarters of Sardauna local government area of Taraba sate by a man suspected to be a rival to him. Investigation by our reporter revealed that the suspect who was a boyfriend to the bride, stormed the venue of the reception, switched off the generator and pounced on the deceased while dancing with his mother-in-law and beheaded him. When contacted, the police public relations officer, DSP Amos Olawoyi confirmed the incident. Olawoyi said the suspect was at large, adding that a special squad of the police has been dispatched to Gembu to hunt him down. The PPRO refused to disclose any name connected to the incident.

27-year-old varsity worker to die for murder From Adesoji Oyinlola, Lagos


High Court sitting at Orerokpe, headquarters of Okpe local government area of Delta state have sentenced a 27 years old university worker, David Wonder Erhirhie to death for committing murder. The court condemned Erhirhie having found him guilty of the murder of Princess Chinoso Ijezie, an admission seeker in 2009 at Abraka, an offence that is punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Law Cap C. 21 Laws of Delta state, 2006. While delivering the judgement the court said prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubts ingredients of the offence of murder and sentenced him in accordance to the law. “The punishment for a crime of this magnitude is death penalty. This accused person does not deserve court jails two kidnappers 113 years less. I hereby sentence you to death by hanging at the neck until you be dead...”, the judge ruled. It would be recalled that Erhirhie who until the incident was a clerical staff in the Provost Office, Delta State University Abraka was involved in a failed admission racket after collecting the sum of N155, 000 from the deceased to assist her to secure admission into the university. The convict however could not secure the admission for the deceased but in a bid to cover up the fraud, lured the late Princess Chinoso Ijezie to his house under the pretence that he wanted to refund the said amount; but instead, he murdered and secretly buried her in a shallow grave close to his house before nemesis caught up with him. In another development, an

Asaba High Court on Tuesday sentenced two kidnappers, one David Erutere and Sunday Omamuzo Ukailkwo to a total of 113 years imprisonment with hard labour for the offences of kidnapping and armed robbery. The court sentenced the duo having found them guilty of the five-count charge of conspiracy to commit a felony to wit, kidnap, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit a felony to wit, armed robbery contrary to section 6 (b) and punishable under section 1 (2) a of the robbery and fire arms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R II Volume 14 Laws of the Federation, 2004. Prosecution had told the court that David Erutere and Sunday Omamuzo had conspired, kidnapped and robbed Irikefe Edafe and Egwu Johnbull of their

valuables including a Pathfinder Jeep, GSM phones, laptop, wedding rings and cash on two different dates in June 2011 at Delta Palace Road, Warri and Ubiaruku respectively and demanded for a ransom of N50 million from their families before they could be released. The court in its judgement sentenced the first accused person, David Erutere, age 31 and a native of Ekrakra Village of Ethiope East local government of Delta state to 45 years in jail for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery while they both got seven years imprisonment each for conspiracy to commit kidnapping, three years imprisonment each for demanding property with menace and another 10 years each for the offence of kidnapping.



Reps to investigate activities of vehicle parking coys in FCT By Umar Muhammad Puma


oncerned by the identity of the companies or agents overseeing vehicle parking in the FCT, the House of Representatives yesterday mandated it's committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

to investigate the alleged unsavoury activities of companies commissioned by Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to enforce parking regulations and parking fees collection in Abuja and report back to the House within four weeks.

The motion was raised by Rep. Odebunmi Olusegun (PDP Oyo state). Olusegun noted that the agent commissioned by the FCTA to ensure discipline, sanity and orderliness in the Abuja transport system are causing problems for vehicle owners,

thereby making it difficult for motorist to identify the particular company or agent. He noted that the reason for introducing parking control system is to make the capital city to be managed in such a way that it will become a source of pride for every Nigerian.

IDSL backs education policy in Edo From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he management of Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has commended the policy of the Edo state on education. The managing director of the company, Dr. Joseph Dawha, represented by Manager Public Affairs, Yemi Dare, dropped the hint yesterday in Benin after donating furniture and science laboratory equipment to Oba Ewuare Grammar School in the state capital. Dawha said the gesture of IDSL to continue to support the school as part of its corporate social responsibility which cuts across all strata of human development within the limit of the company's capacity and commended the effort of staff of the school whom he urged to make judicious use of the equipment. Corporate Relations Committee Chairman of the host community, Chief Vincent Oriakhi, and the principal of Oba Ewuare Grammar School, Mrs. Dorothy Ikheloa described the donation as timely; just as they promised not to depose the

Oki Orogbangba-Amero road in Egbeda LGA of Oyo state gradually being washed away by gully erosion yesterday. Photo: NAN


From Mustapha Adamu, Kano


ano state government says it has saved about N2 billion by stopping the sponsorship of individuals to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. The state's deputy governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, stated this while receiving the 2012 Hajj report at the Government House on Tuesday. The deputy governor said the state government deemed it necessary to stop the past practice where hundreds of Hajj seats were allocated free of charge to individuals in the name of government sponsored pilgrims. Ganduje also attributed the success recorded in the last year's Hajj operations to stringent measures taken by the government to sanitise the conduct of pilgrims, including setting up of a tribunal and enlightening pilgrims on performing the Hajj rites accordingly. Earlier, the executive secretary of the state's Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Laminu Rabiu, disclosed that 7,059 pilgrims performed the Hajj successfully last year; adding that four of the pilgrims died in the course of the Hajj.

Insecurity: Nasarawa youth council sues for peace From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


gainst the backdrop of rising communal clashes, youths in Nasarawa state, under the auspices of the National Youth Council (NYC), has vowed to take up the gauntlet in a bid to ensure that lasting peace prevail in the state.

State president of the NYC, Bala Abubakar Daddere, made the resolve of the youths known, yesterday, when the executives of the body paid a familiarisation visit to the chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Malam Abdulkarim Abdullahi in his office. Describing the administration of

Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura as the government that has come to bring change to the people through the initiation of people oriented programmes, Abubakar Daddere, however lamented that recent trends regarding insecurity in the state are threatening the achievements of the CPC administration.

LASG warns FERMA to hands off Ikorodu road

he Lagos state government yesterday advised the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to remove Ikorodu road from its planned rehabilitation of federal roads in the state. A statement by Mr. Biola Fagunwa, spokesman, Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, said the planned rehabilitation could be construed as a duplication of effort and a waste of resources. The statement said that the state government had already commenced the reconstruction and maintenance of the road. "The state government applied for and had taken over the maintenance and rehabilitation of Ikorodu road, not only to ensure its improvement but to also upgrade its facilities in the light of the realities of the policies that the state government had given priority attention," it said. The statement further noted that the inauguration of the BRT LITE scheme along the corridor from Mile 12 to Jibowu had seen the state

Kano saves N2bn on canceling Hajj seats sponsorship

government taking over the responsibilities of reconstruction and maintenance along the road. It listed other efforts of the state government on the road to include construction of dedicated BRT lanes from Jibowu to Mile 12; rehabilitation of both sides of the service lane; and the gully grating and replacement of 89 manhole covers. These projects, according to the statement, were undertaken

by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA). The statement also referred to the various improvements on the quality of road by the state government as construction of pedestrian bridges, lane markings and bus shelters. "Over the period of the last three years, the state government-- through the Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) - had also undertaken the manhole replacement

From Lawal Sa'idu Funtua, Katsina

Suspended LG workers send SOS to Shema


he over 3, 000 suspended workers on the payroll of Katsina local governments have pleaded with the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema to consider their plight. Addressing newsmen yesterday in Katsina, the spokesman of the aggrieved workers, Malam Mustapha Pam Aliyu, noted that their suspension

has put them and their families under hardship. He noted that those affected by the suspension that cuts across the 34 local governments of the state were over 3, 000 with no means of livelihood for the past 10 months. "Since the time we were suspended from work 10 months ago, we have been facing difficulties in feeding our families. Most of our

using the composite resin fibre (which has no secondary commercial value thereby making it unattractive to vandals) and extensive rehabilitation of the asphalt surface. "To date, about 20 manhole covers have been replaced on the road by Lagos State Public Works Corporation... It urged FERMA to concentrate on areas like the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Lagos-Sagamu road, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, among others. (NAN)

"That is why we deemed it necessary to also take up the challenge aimed at bringing the society to order", he stated. The youth president observed that as a vanguard for development, though non partisan, the council worried by the spate of communal skirmishes, is set to mobilise and sensitise youths across the state on the need for peace, which is essential for development. He however solicited the assistance of the board to enable the council, which has just came on board, to start its programmes. Responding, Malam Abdulkarim, thanked the youth leaders for identifying the laudable programmes of the Al-makura-led CPC administration, urging the youths to be wary of leaders who he said had misused the opportunities earlier given them but who now instigate the youths against each other.

members have died while others that could not cope had divorced their wives", he added. Aliyu noted that since their suspension, no tangible reasons were given by the government for taking such step, adding that "we have our qualifications, we were duly issued with appointment letters, so what is our offence?" The spokesman stated that

they have visited the emir of Katsina, Emir of Daura, Speaker of the state House of Assembly all with the hope of intervening to save them from further hardship. Aliyu, similarly, advised the state government to set-up a committee to verify their claims, stressing that anyone of them found not worthy of being employed can be dropped.



Jonathan to address grievances over appointments By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to address complaints coming from different geo-political zones in the area of Federal Government appointments. President Jonathan who lamented that all the geo-political zones in the country have complained severally of marginalisation in the area of appointments, said he had instructed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim to ensure that the outstanding vacancies are spread equally among the zones. Speaking at the swearing in of members of the Federal Character Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission and two permanent secretaries in the State House yesterday, the President urged the appointees to be up and doing and see the entire

country as their immediate constituencies. “You must learn how to relate with your colleagues because one of the greatest problems we have in the service is that people fight over nothing, the relationship between one officer and the other. You must see this country as one, you must treat everybody the same way. The Federal Character Commission is very critical. We are in an era where every geopolitical zone complain about marginalisation. Initially, I

thought that only some parts of the country are marginalised, but when I got here, all the geopolitical zones complain that they are marginalised. All the geo-political zones are complaining that they are not given appointments. In fact, we have some pending appointments because of that, I have told the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to do proper analysis and probably to wait and accumulate the number, probably if we accumulate them up to 12, when we want to make

the appointments, we will make sure that all the geo-political zones get two each. In that case, your conscience will be clear. That is why some appointments are pending which I hope we will deal with this week. I think they are about 12 or so. We will make sure that all the geo-political zones are accommodated. So for those of you who are coming in, especially as members of the Federal Character Commission, we have to challenge you that since the

commission is not just for passing files, you must comply with the law. Also the Civil Service Commission should be fair to all Nigerians. In employing Nigerians, you must ensure that all the states have what is due to them. So when you are balancing equality of states, you must also be mindful of the population of each state. You must do your work in a way that you satisfy your conscience, you satisfy God and of course you satisfy Nigerians”.

Nigeria-UK trafficking report launched By Jamila Nuhu Musa


report on trafficking in persons from Nigeria to the United Kingdom has been launched in Abuja, with suggestions for the United Kingdom development agencies to conduct an audit of development work on human trafficking in Nigeria with a view to tackling the menace more efficiently. The suggestions were contained in a report of the new findings on trafficking, presented to newsmen at a dissemination workshop in the FCT, in Abuja. The report urged the UK to re establish the domestic worker visa route that allows people to change their employers and extend their visas, and indicated that trafficking to the UK is diverse, with the trafficked persons being children and adults. Conducted by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR, UK,) and anchored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC), Kano, in collaboration with a network of national NGOs, the report said local authorities should also establish community liaison officers for particular nationalities including Nigeria in partnership with established NGOs. The findings and recommendations in the report, tagged Beyond Borders: Human Trafficking from Nigeria to Europe, presented by Myriam Cherti, Jenny Pennington and Peter Grant, who are researchers, said Nigerian government agencies including NAPTIP should reinvigorate their collaborative efforts in addressing the root causes of trafficking.

L-R: Engineer Uche Diogu, Alhaji Ado Ahmed, Hon. Magret Ichen, Mr Clement Andie, Alhaji Aliyu Yarima Giade, Dr. Salihu Bello, and Barrister Mamman Allakayi, all newly appointed members of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) taking oath of office before President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye.

Ghost workers: C’ttee to submit report Friday- Kebbi HoS From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ebbi State Head of the Service and the chairman, staff verification committee, Alhaji Buhari Halidu has said that the committee set up to conduct staff audit of Kebbi state civil servants have concluded the exercise and are set to hand-

over the report to Governor Saidu Dakingari for further action. Addressing newsmen yesterday in his office, Chairman of the committee said, “so many issues identified by the committee includes those that are due for retirement, some who have gone for study without approval

and of course some ghost workers and a lot other issues which will be brought forward to government to look into and then to take decision.” Peoples Daily could recall that Governor Dakingari setup the verification committee three months ago in order to checkmate the irregularities marring the payment of the

civil servant salaries in order to implement the N18,000 minimum wage for workers. “All the committees submitted their reports and all along we have been trying to go over the committee report and we are trying to put finishing touches and by the Grace of God, we shall submit the report to the government this Friday.

Zamafara varsity c’ttee set up to expedite take-off By Miriam Humbe


high-powered committee has been set up to adequately advice Zamfara state government on its roles and expectations in

ensuring the smooth and speedy take-off of the federal government approved university for Gusau, the state capital. At a dinner by stakeholders of the university comprising

top academicians and technocrats at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, Minister of State for Works, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda said this was in fulfillment of President Jonathan’s promise to

Farmer bags 12 months jail for theft, conspiracy


30-year-old farmer, Muhammadu Umaru of Barko village in Geidam local government area of Yobe state has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on three count charges of conspiracy, criminal intimidation and extortion, and theft by the Chief Magistrate court 1, sitting in Damaturu, the capital city of Yobe state. The Prosecutor, Ayuba Dasugum told the court that on November 28, 2012, at about 0001 hours, the accused person

together with one Mohammadu Buyu, now at large, conspired and went to the house of one Adam Mohammadu of Juli village in Geidam local government area and threatened his life to provide them with the sum of N200,000. He also told the court that when the victim could not produce the said amount, they warned him to source it in two days time, and carted away the last N9000 in the victim’s possession.

The offenses, the prosecutor said is punishable under sections 97, 397 and 287 of the penal code law. The accused person pleaded guilty to the charges and asked the court for leniency. The trial judge, Gambo Hussaini Jumbam, convicted the accused and sentenced him to three months imprisonment on the charge of conspiracy, another three months for criminal intimidation and extortion, and six months for theft, to run concurrently.

Zamfara state when he was there. “We discussed about the take-off, the temporary site and the possible permanent site of the university. We also discussed the committee set up to advice Zamfara state adequately on the roles and expectations of the state in terms of the take-off and the provision for the permanent site. “The idea for the university was started by the former governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi. There was a team from the federal ministry of education who visited the state and went round and he gave the commitment of the Zamfara state government and we are happy today that the government of the day has continued in the same direction.


From Nasiru Mu'azu Isa, Kaduna


former contestant for the Kaduna State House of Assembly’s seat under the Congress for Progressive Change, Mal. Farouk Adam Dutsenwai has faulted the ban on Okada riders in Kano state. Mal. Farouk who made this observation to Peoples Daily in an interview in Kaduna, said it is unfortunate that there was an attack on the Emir of Kano but the reaction of the state government was too harsh. He said due to the insurgency in the north, the economy is being gradually killed making the Okada business, one of the biggest employers of youths in the region presently. Explaining that the biggest attacks in the north were executed using vehicles, he asked, " will you ban people from using cars?" The CPC stalwart said, banning of Okada riders was not the solution to insurgency in the nation, but a holistic approach to solving the issues of unemployment and poverty wrecking the nation. Mal. Faruk said, the Kano state government’s action would create a negative backlash and serve as a fertile ground for unemployed and angry youths to engage in criminal acts. "Of 10 Okada riders that will be unemployed by this ban, at least 4 will turn to criminal acts as a source of income", he observed. On the MEND threat, Mal. Faruk said, if carried out, would only do more harm to their cause than help it. Kano to seal over 2,000 illegal private schools From Edwin Olofu, Kano Kano Task force on private schools has announced plan to seal no fewer than 2,000 illegal private schools and colleges operating across the state. Chairman of the Taskforce, Alhaji Baba Umar who spoke to reporters in Kano said the steps became imperative following the failure of proprietors to regularize and conform with laid down rules


Kano’s Okada ban will create more criminals’ guiding their operations in the state. Alhaji Umar disclosed that a “a vast majority of the 3,500 private schools and colleges operating across the state are operating illegally, no formal registration with Government

and over 2,000 of the affected school operate below the benchmark set by Government”. Baba Umar stated that the worrisome development was coming on the heel of substantial investment made by Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on the

education sector which he said, was unacceptable, adding that “ we are left with no option than to adopt measures to correct the anomaly”. Within the last 24 months, we have struggle to set a standard for our schools, and we have equally


he President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Okechukwu Wali yesterday cautioned lawyers against the indiscriminate manner with which they castigate Judges just as he blamed shoddy investigations for the type of judgments delivered by


L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs, Alhaji Aliyu Nu,man, and Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, during their visit to President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday at the State House, in Abuja. Photo: Joe Oroye

Judges in the country. The NBA boss cautioned branches of the NBA against making statements on national issues stating that the NBA national leadership remains the mouth piece of the Association. Speaking in Abuja at the Swearing-in of the new executives of the Abuja branch of the association by the Chief Judge of the

Federal Capital Territory, Justice Lawal Hassan Gumi, NBA President commended Judges, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other senior lawyers for their roles in stabilizing the Bar. He added that: "I also want to caution against the branch speaking on National Issues, you should confine yourself to what happens in your branch as it does

not make for orderliness as most times you don't have all the facts, the nation's judiciary has come under fire most times due to shoddy investigations and the Judge can only give judgments based on what is placed before them, yes we have problems in the judiciary and we will tackle them, that is why we are against branch officers speaking on behalf of the NBA" .

Borno inaugurates technical committee on FADAMA III From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


n a bid to tackle poverty and unemployment, the Borno state government Tuesday, inaugurated a technical committee for the implementation of Fadama III project. Governor Kashim Shettima,

Reps in dilemma over women’s right bill By Umar Muhammad Puma

NBA warns lawyers against castigating judges By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

boosted the existing infrastructure in our existing school to guarantee a conducive learning environment in public school for those in the private sector to copy”, Baba Umar stressed.

who inaugurated members of the committee at the Government House, in Maiduguri said the programme would to among other things, create jobs, reduce poverty, improve food security and enhance the socioeconomic status of farmers in the state. The committee tagged

‘Borno State Fadama Technical Committee’, (BSFTC), is headed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Usman Zanna as well as representatives of ministries of environment and water resources, private sectors, civil society and women organizations, as well as farmers’ associations.

Speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of Agriculture Alhaji Usman Zannah who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Umara Ngurno, urged the committee members to meet regularly to evaluate its progress of implementation, review and approve work plan and budgets.

he House of Representatives yesterday found itself in a dilemma over a Bill seeking to liberate women from discrimination and grant them the right to claim either their state of origin or marriage in case of political appointment or elective positions in Nigeria. The bill entitled, A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc) Act, Cap F7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for other Matters Connected Thereto (HB. 404) No resolution was made on the Bill because the various issues raised by the lawmakers became contentious, resulting in the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal deferring ruling on it. Sponsor of the Bill, Rep. Bassey Ewa, (PDP Cross River State), while leading debate on the Bill, explained that the legislation was designed to remove the discrimination faced by Nigerian women in politics on the basis of their state of origin or marriage. He stressed that there were occasions when women were denied certain benefits because they were married to men from states other than their own, pointing out that such treatment was contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

Gombe MDGs pledges to eradicate poverty


enior adviser to Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo on Millenium Development Goals, MDGs, Alhaji Audi Adamu has said that with the creation of the outfit in the country , the Gombe state government has vowed to eradicate poverty to its minimum level Alhaji Adamu who spoke to our correspondent in his office also said that the aim of eradicating poverty was to make every citizen live comfortably. He said that the Dankwambo administration was capable of fulfilling the campaign promises made to the electorate in 2011. While commending the effort of the federal government, Alhaji Adamu said President Goodluck Jonathan took a wise decision in promoting the programme by ensuring its sustainability.



Who needs a card you can't use? T

here is word in London about the tears shed by desperate Nigerian visitors carrying debit cards issued by the large, conservative Nigerian bank which prides itself as the countries most efficient. The card in question carries the label of one of the two global card issuers operating in Nigeria. Day after day, shop after shop and ATM after ATM, customers of this Nigerian bank walk the streets of London hoping for luck. Not this time. At every point, the customers are prompted to key in their PIN, leaving you with some hope. But once the four digits PIN is keyed in, the POS terminal goes

to sleep for more than a minute only to wake up with the same frustrating response, "transaction not authorised." It is like going to your bank, writing a cheque and walking out without your cash because the bank has become your Master. So be careful which debit card you carry when you are leaving Nigeria. If you put all your cash into your Naira account and hope to draw cash or pay for purchases on your travel, make sure you are carrying a card that won't be your Master on the road. If you are not so sure, forget this cashless talk. There is

nowhere in the world that operates a cashless system. So when you travel, keep some of your funds in cash, this way, you are able to pay for your road or train trip from the airport on arrival. And if you have to load your money in a card, make sure you are true to yourself. Frequent travellers say this particular bank card has failed in the past. So you should know. Otherwise, talk to friends and be well guided. Home can be quite far away when you are out and it is worse when you arrive into a miserable weather without access to your cash.

Shopping for a bank? Things you must not ignore


anks do not create any money; rather they borrow and lend to their customers. Many people disdain banks, opting to keep their personal savings hidden within the home. These people even cite that saving under a mattress is no different from having a bank account since interests on their accounts are so terribly low when

they keep their money in the banks. For people who like keeping their valuable with the banks, before opening a bank account, they may want to 'shop around' and find a bank that is not only convenient to them, but also offers them the best deal. There are important questions you must ask when opening an

account with a bank because investigation has shown that every bank has a slew of fees associated with opening and maintaining accounts, and these fees are on the rise. You may not bother asking who insures the bank because in Nigeria, all banks are insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). But always check whether the bank is convenient to you (near your work place or home or easy to get to). Also, find out if it does have convenient hours, for instance, does it open on weekends. When you are okay with that, for current account, find out whether you will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for the account. If yes, what? Find out whether the account requires a minimum balance? If yes, what? (And what happens if you go below the minimum balance?). There is need for you to also know if you will earn any interest off the account. Also, know

whether you will have to pay for your cheques. Ask further questions like whether you will be fined if you bounce a cheque (write a cheque for more money than you have in your account)? If so, what is the fine? In Nigeria, it is a regulatory offence. Know whether you would be sent a monthly statement that includes either originals or copies of cheques you have written, and if yes, know whether you will pay for such services. For saving account, find out if you would have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for the account. If so, what? Also, try to know if the account requires a minimum balance. If so, what? (And what happens if you go below the minimum balance?). Other interesting questions that need to be asked include: What amount of interest do you earn off the account? Does the bank limit the number of transactions (either deposits or withdrawals) that you

can make into or from the account? Will you be sent a monthly or quarterly statement? Who pays for such services? Do you have to pay for the bank's Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) card? Do you have to pay to use the ATM at your own bank (existing one)? Does the bank have a number of ATMs in your town? Does the bank charge you to use the ATM at other banks? With all these questions answered, you will be privileged to have your account opened in a bank offering improved services. "Many banks reduce or even eliminate monthly maintenance and other fees if you keep a certain amount of money in your account at all times. This fee break can often outweigh any interest you receive in a savings account. It's often worthwhile to keep the minimum in your checking account to bring the fees down," said Angie Mohr, a financial expert.

Try high - intensity exercise to lower your health care costs


eing healthy isn't only about food; it's also about using food as fuel. We sit more than ever, and this constant sentience is slowly killing us. Exercising is one way to combat our sedentary lives and stay healthy, which will also help us reduce the cost of health care. Exercising Once upon a time, cavemen had to hunt and gather their food. Exercise was a part of their lives, and food was scarce. Now, we must hunt and gather our exercise, since food is plentiful and fitness scarce. Sitting all day at our desks rots our muscles. These muscles are what help us burn the fat and calories we take in throughout the day, so we must find ways to move each day and rebuild those

Quote People are definitely a company's greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps - Mary Kay Ash

atrophied tissues. Unfortunately, for many of you, exercise is a harsh word, and "working out" makes you want to cry. Think of exercise as proactive living. Investing in your proactive lifestyle is going to save you loads when it comes to medical bills later in life. The more you move, the healthier you will be. Find movements you love and do them with maximum effort for at least 15 minutes every day. Doing Zumba for 15 minutes a day could burn more than 150 extra calories, so the more you push yourself to really move, the more you'll burn. Add some weight training to your workout, and you'll significantly boost your burn factors. You can also increase the time you exercise. If you love dancing, won't you want to do it longer? Dancing all out for an hour will earn you a whopping 500 calorie torch. Dancing, obviously, isn't the only way to burn calories. Get in the habit of moving

more and moving well. You can focus on the numbers once you've grown accustomed to the routine. Treadmills are great if the weather isn't. But, if the weather permits, skip the machine and take a walk around the block. Fresh air helps your lungs, and the change of scenery will serve as a terrific mental boost. Again, you can turn up the caloric heat by alternating jogging or running with your walking. Optimum fitness and health is about truly learning to love a new lifestyle. It's about becoming comfortable with getting and staying healthy. It's about surrendering your chair in exchange for a better mood, a happier outlook on life, and ultimately, a lower health insurance bill! Maximum Effort If you love a challenge, there are workouts that can help you reach your goals faster. This type of exercise is called High Intensity Interval Training. While the name might sound scary, it's something you can do without any experience.

The only requirement in HIITs is to push to your maximum effort for a short period of time, then rest for an even shorter one. If you want to make the absolute most of your 15 minute investment, this is a great way to make sure you'll push hard and sweat. But, you don't have to be Schwarzenegger to do it. A few ideas: HIITs can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Starting out, you'll be more likely to stick to it if you make it a mountain, easily conquered. As long as you perform the exercises back-to-back with a short rest in between "rounds," you can turn any set of exercises into HIITs that will be torch sessions for your calories. The more calories you burn, the better you can manage your weight. The better you can manage your weight, the more you strengthen your heart, stay healthier, and earn the better health insurance rates that you deserve. Try combining these classics for maximum

burning effect: 15 push ups 15 triangle push ups 15 body weight squats 15 dead lifts 15 leg lifts Do the reps quickly, but with the proper form. The faster you can do them correctly, the bigger your burn. Since these are bodyweight exercises, you won't bulk up or pack on lots of muscles, but you'll trim down and tone up. If you don't like traditional pushups, modify them by doing them on your knees until you get used to them. As long as you stick to the format, you can turn any combination of exercises into a HIIT. Just do your exercises hard and fast for a 20 second to 3 minute duration, with a 10 second to 1 minute break in between for a total of 15 minutes each day. You'll build your strength, stamina, health, and wealth with a small daily investment of time and energy. Once you're ready to shop for the lower health care coverage you have earned with your new healthy eating and exercise routine.(Source:





Closure of Kano's Sabon Gari drugs market

pen drug sales and abuse are commonplace in many Nigerian cities, but the case of Kano, the capital city of a state with the same name, is something else. It is not so ordinary. That is why the state government is worried. The locus is the (in)famous Sabon Gari market right in the heart of the city. The unrestrained sale and circulation of pharmaceuticals and illicit psychotropic substances in this market has earned Kano the unenviable record of being the state with the highest incidence of peddling, sale and consumption of both regulated and unregulated drugs in the country. It is here you see boys with baskets or trolleys piled high with pharmaceuticals, walking from street to street, house to house, at motor parks, markets, and work places. As it is, there appears to be no shortage of clientele. It was against this background that the state government made a move in November 2012. It gave an ultimatum to all drug dealers, both authorized and unauthorized, to move out of the market. The deadline expired on December 31. To signify it meant business, the government confiscated illegal drugs worth about N300 million and followed up with the closure of the Sabon-Gari drugs market. The action, the government explained, was to prevent the concentration of drug outlets in one area and "neutralize the breeding of fake drugs and addicts". Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was quoted as saying, "We want to control the drug business in Kano. That is why we've decided to shut down Sabon-Gari drugs market; it's

unhealthy to allow people to trade in medicines like any other common commodity." The government's clampdown affects some 5, 000 medicine dealers who are members of the Association of Patent and Proprietary of Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED). Expectedly, they have been crying blue murder. The patron of the group, Alhaji Dahiru Matazu, said the blanket ban was wrong, denying that

We at Peoples Daily commend the boldness of the Kano state government in this regard NAPPMED members sold fake drugs. According to him, NAPPMED members are being punished for the offence of others and that their businesses would suffer greatly as a result. He has appealed to the government to give them an alternative outlet rather than leaving them in the limbo as it is. However, it will be difficult for them to get the government's sympathetic ear, seeing that, in this crusade, it is backed by the Kano state branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). In the wake of the close shop order, it assured the city's residents that there would be sufficient drugs in registered pharmaceutical shops and public hospitals, the closure of the

OUR MISSION “To be the market place of ideas and the leading player in the industry by putting the people first, upholding the truth, maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards while delivering value to our stakeholders”

Sabon Gari market notwithstanding. Branch chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Gana Mohammed, said the closure of the market was in the best interest of the teeming masses of the state. "People in the state can get prescribed drugs in government hospitals, registered pharmaceutical premises and patent medicine shops," he assured. On its part, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has declared it also supports the Kano state government's action. Director Paul Orhii said recently that the agency backed the closure of all open drug markets, not just Sabon Gari, and other efforts by the Kano state government at fighting the spread of counterfeit drugs and other harmful pharmaceuticals. The agency said it was already working with the state government, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and other stakeholders to ensure quality medicines are sold only in approved outlets in an "appropriate environment". It called on other state governors to follow in the footsteps of Kano in order to defend and promote the health of the people. We at Peoples Daily commend the boldness of the Kano state government in this regard. Of course, there will be dire socio-economic consequences for genuine drug businesses caught up in the clampdown. But their number is small compared to the larger society that needs to be protected from the peddlers of illicit drugs. However, we plead that government consider their prayer for an alternative place for them to continue in business.









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Asibitin Aisami road project By Sulaiman Muhammad Ayagi


t is an open secret in Mandawari, 'Yar Mai Shinkafi, and Asibitin Aisami axis of metropolitan Kano that the political differences between the supreme leader of Kwankwasiyya, Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso and the Hon. Minister of Economic Planning, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman remains an impediment to completion of the abandoned Mandawari/Asibitin Aisami road project initiated by the Administration of the former State Chief Executive, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. Calls for the construction of this historic gateway to the ancient city predate a number of successive administrations in the state. Historically, Asibitin Aisami road served as the sole access to the emirate and connect Kano with the sultanate as well as facilitate transSaharan trade. Whereas political differences in any clime becomes a feature of the game, however the deep-rooted and yet-to-reconcile ideologies amongst the 2 leading gladiators has negatively affects the welfare, progress and development of certain areas in the state, in particular, the aforementioned road project which would have been commissioned not but for the power-play. Nevertheless, the struggle for supremacy being played has caused an untold hardship and political misdirection on how best to reap or attract the much-touted dividend of democracy which is in its 14th year of enthronment. In as much as a segment of the By Ose Oyamendan


ne of the worst parts of the Nigerian life is that everyone is in a haste to condemn our leaders. It's like everyone skipped that part of the holy books where the leaders are supposed to be supreme. Worse, no one sees any good in anything. Manna could be falling from heaven and people will scoop away a month's worth of supply then complain why champagne didn't accompany it. But, thank God for people with four sights like me. And, I mean four sights literarily eyes and glasses. We tend to see before others. You see, the last time I was caught in a terrible traffic in Lagos, it was because the president decided to come to town to seek the blessings of a preacher. So, when I was caught in traffic on the upper week on account of another presidential visit, I didn't fuss like the cab driving dragging me around in a car whose air conditioner, "broke down as I was coming to pick you up, sir". Nor, did I curse like the commuters all around me. I knew there must be a divine reason for a president to hold up traffic in the name of a preacher every time I'm in Nigeria. I just wished the man would ask his preacher to set up shop somewhere on the massive Aso Villa grounds. They've got plenty of space there. They could actually fit the

political pundits acknowledge the independence of Governor Kwankwaso to promote his Kwankwasiyya mission (out of the mainstream PDP), at the same time Dr. Shamsuddeen's stance, as understood for "PDP Jam'iyya" or previously "PDP Garkuwa faction" shares similar right and privileges. These political differences may not be unconnected with the Kwankwasiyya elements' insistence in Kano State for supremacy against other faction(s) of the party whose argument remains that party success at all levels demands that every Dick and Harry be in the train irrespective of his political leaning. However, Kano's PDP practices "winners (factions) carry all syndromes." Let's leave further comment on this subject to politicians and political science students. The politicization of this road project is not a good omen for the affected communities or the state in general. Economically, the abandoned Mandawari-Asibitin Aisami road project would have, by now, opened up the area and complement the state government clamour for championing youth empowerment and self-reliance as a number of businesses will, of course, spring up in competition with what is obtainable along Mandawari/Sabon Titi road, Kano's Dubai evening market (located within the precinct of Jakara/Tudun Nufawa quarters) or any other commerciallydesignated highway in the city. Its neglect has a repercussion to the State's internally-generated

revenue drive. Unfortunately, the governed in spite of been the electorate(s) of the present leadership of the state irrespective of the outcome of the election results in the area are neglected to suffer unjustifiably but for the political sin of (sic) their son! Interestingly, the MandawariAsibitin Aisami road project was initiated in the twilight of the former State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau’s tenure. While certain progress for the project has been recorded especially in the areas of compensation for owners of marked structures, demolishing of such structures to pave way for the road project, refilling of dug excavation; work stopped abruptly when the baton of leadership in the state changed! Since then, almost 2 years the project is characterized with political differences, accusation and counter-accusation leveraging mercilessly on poor execution of the project against the initial scope and/or design for a standard dual carriage way (as initially conceived) to overinflation and/or (sic) undervaluation of the project - leaving the direct beneficiaries gasping in commotion and endless expectation. It is imperative that the state leadership remember, that the abandoned Asibitin Aisami road project, in spite of the fact that it passes through 'Yar Mai Shinkafi quarters, does not provide exclusive right for the Minister or members of his immediate family neither is he the sole beneficiary of the project. In addition, it will

interest Governor Kwankwaso to know that he has a number of supporters who voted for him and still support his leadership. It will be a political suicide on his (Kwankwaso's) part to neglect or fail to complete this road project due to so-called political differences between him and the Hon. Minister of Economic Planning. Our community will neither disown Dr. Shamsuddeen nor prefer Governor Kwankwaso as both are expected to champion our welfare as citizens of the State, while on the part of the Hon. Minister notwithstanding his non-occupation of any executive office in the state people acknowledge too, his enormous contributions in the education sector, a niche achieved without unnecessary publicity on his part! Against all what was said and recommended, one appeals to Kano


It is imperative that the state leadership remember, that the abandoned Asibitin Aisami road project, in spite of the fact that it passes through 'Yar Mai Shinkafi quarters, does not provide exclusive right for the Minister or members of his immediate family neither is he the sole beneficiary of the project

The President fights back

Catholics on one side, Ayo Oritsejafor and his CAN on another side and there will still be plenty of room to spare for other religions. That way, the president doesn't have to run to Lagos every time he needs a shower of prayers. And, given the way Nigerians sometimes think and talk about him, you know the man needs either a helmet or umbrella to ward off all those ill thoughts. Since he wears a bowler hat, a helmet is a nonstarter and an umbrella is very un- commander-in-chief. So,

it's gotta be prayers. It turned out the president was visiting the Police College in Ikeja to check on the health of the future gatekeepers of Nigerian law. As he discovered, the police college ain't what a college should look like. It looked more like a home for prisoners than future police officers. I spent part of my growing up years up the street from that police college. Back then, it was a cool place to go and watch the cadets march past, walk around in the white vests and shorts and


Bravo to the president. He went, he saw and he got angry. I think it's the first time in recent memory that the president had been recorded to be angry publicly. More often, we see a worried president, a sad president or a cheerful president. Anger, we thought, was not part of this president's DNA. But, trust the police, they always brings the worst part out of you. I just used to think they only did that at traffic check points

State Government to reconsider the correspondence of Ayagi Forum submitted to the Ministries of Works & Transport and Lands, Survey & Town Planning on the need to review the adjoining portion of the road at Mandawari Junction. Against the present scope work, the Mandawari junction of the road project should be have a twin-entrance (to 'Yar Mai Shinkafi/Asibitin Aisami) where one will burst in between Mandawari Police Station and the District Head's official residence while the other adjoining junction should be maintained to serve motorists heading to Kurmi Market conveniently. In spite of its poor state of execution or abandonment, this road project is becoming receptive to traffic chaos along Mandawari/Sabon Titi road while at the same time bringing unquantifiable succor for people to reach other parts of GwauronDutse, Gwammaja, Kofar Kansakali. Sulaiman Muhammad Ayaygi wrote in from Kano.

sometimes kick our butts in a game of soccer. But, the last time I drove past it, someone had to remind me it was still the police college. I thought they privatized it, the new owners ran out of money and homeless moved in. It looked like what the white man had in mind when he put the word "eyesore" in the dictionary. Bravo to the president. He went, he saw and he got angry. I think it's the first time in recent memory that the president had been recorded to be angry publicly. More often, we see a worried president, a sad president or a cheerful president. Anger, we thought, was not part of this president's DNA. But, trust the police, they always brings the worst part out of you. I just used to think they only did that at traffic check points. I, for one, was impressed by the president's visit. I think he may have been watching James Bond's latest flick and he got the inspiration to go on the field and turn the tables on his lean Inspector General of police and his pot-bellied assistants. Whatever his motivation was, this was a president in action. He said 2013 was the year Nigeria will learn to appreciate him. And, boy did the police top brass get a shocker of their

lives? Imagine the president asking a commissioner of police if he knew how bad the state of the college was. The man must have done a double take. Why would a police commissioner care about a police college? It's not like it's a police checkpoint in a rich neighbourhood. These are cadets, for heavens' sake, the commissioner must have thought. I'm still not sure why the president was really angry after that. Is it that he was disgusted about the college or he just realized that given the rounded mid section of the police officers, he suddenly realized why they police are slow in apprehending criminals. I think this is the president everyone has been waiting for. In one visit and in his demeanour, he has shown that business would not be as usual before the next elections. You can say he has his eyes on 2015 but who doesn't? Even my cab driver does too. During elections he doesn't drive low tippers like me. He moves ballot boxes for men hungry for power. Time will tell if this is a new president or if the presidential jet just needed refuelling and the president decided to stretch his legs. A nation's health and security is tied to its police Force. When it falters, the nation is lost. Ose Oyamendan is a Nigerian filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California, USA.



Open letter to Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service By Paul Omoruyi


ver the years, Nigerians in the Diaspora who travelled home through Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) have been extorted by the Nigerian Custom officials at the airport through intimidations; false accusation of carrying prohibited food items and outright aggressive solicitation for bribes. In the last couple of years, we have had several cases of Nigerians missing their flights because they were intentionally delayed by Customs officials for not giving them bribes. We think this is unacceptable and therefore needs to be stopped. There are hundreds of known Nigerians in the Diaspora who now prefer to go through the inconvenience of travelling in and out of other airports in the region just to avoid the embarrassing bribe request "show-down" with Customs officials at MMIA. This is bad for the economy of Nigeria.

M o r e importantly, the image of Nigeria is Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text increasingly messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written being tarnished contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 when foreigners words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and see these abuses a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed meted out to to: Nigerians by Custom official. The Editor, A foreigner Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, once asked a 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Nigerian at MMIA "why do Email: N i g e r i a SMS: 07037756364 Customs and Immigration officers treat their citizens like animals?" Since Airport experience is the first impression people get about a country, the activities of Custom officers at MMIA is not the image Nigeria need to project. Please sir, we are calling on you to use the power of your good office and the confidence reposed on you as a patriotic Nigerian to help stop the menace of MMIA Custom officers soliciting bribes from Nigeria Diasporas by


intimidation. As a result of this petition, Nigerians in the Diaspora have resolved that starting this year: 1. They will ensure that no prohibited food item is in their luggage 2. They will not give any bribe to Custom officials at MMIA as a

In the last couple of years, we have had several cases of Nigerians missing their flights because they were intentionally delayed by Customs officials for not giving them bribes. We think this is unacceptable and therefore needs to be stopped

How can Nigeria get out of this rot?

By Omorodion S Uwaifo


et me quote Pius Adesanmi's praise for Excuse Me!, by Victor Ehikhamenor: "It is tough to gather Nigeria's sorrows, ugliness, warts as well as beauty and mould them into prose that makes one laugh and learn at the same time." Adesanmi has achieved the same in his article "Still onSpectocracy." Yes, my ribs ached. I took Panadol to relieve them. Then what? Has he told me why the Nigerian problem is so intractable? No; and like Victor Ehikhamenor, he has made me laugh only to cry after the migraine called Nigeria knocked to remind me that I live in her geographic space. How quickly she does that through PHCN or other, as close and as common as the air around us! I respect these wonderful people and their gifts of the pen. However, at my age I have heard and read more than enough. Someone has to start telling me, the world and its cyberspace, what Nigeria needs to do to come out of the morass dangerously close to her lower lip. The space now called Nigeria has many ethnic nations. Many of them have lived where they are today for thousands of years before the British came to these shores. They ruled themselves and survived. How did they do it? Some of them interacted with Europeans and benefited by it. A peep into their histories will show that they evolved at their own pace. The British came, subjugated them and changed their lives to suit British life. The British fought a war in Edo land and the defeated people had no

way to participate in the "Corruption-free Nigeria" transformational agenda. They will give good-will appreciation tips to custom officials when they deem it necessary. 3. They will get Custom officials soliciting bribes on record by using hidden cameras and recording device. These secret recordings will be published on YouTube and other worldwide social media tools if nothing is done to stop this menace. Paul Omoruyi blogs at http:/ / and can be reached also on

choice, but to do the will of the conqueror. Britain wanted out, but did not go to the people of Edo land to grant them their freedom. As it happened with the Edo, so it was with other ethnic nations. Rather, the British granted the "nation" she created in 1914, independence. However, the new nation has within her the many ethnic nations the British colonised at different times during her exploits here. Ignoring individual ethnic groups to grant independence to the whole was discourteous to the individual ethnics, but it was not necessarily a tragedy until our leaders, at independence, rubbed in the rudeness. It was a bad thing. Given the history of the parts, was Nigeria right to have adopted democracy the way Whitehall or White House practise it? Should she have swept under the carpet indigenous systems the peoples understood and which ruled them before the British came? Henry A Kissinger said in his

foreword to Lee Kuan Yew's book From Third World to First: "It is often overlooked that the institutions of the West did not spring full-blown from the brow of contemporaries but evolved over centuries which shaped frontiers and defined legitimacy, constitutional provisions, and basic values." I want to quote more of what he said: "The institutions of the West developed gradually while those of most new states were put into place in elaborated form immediately. In the West, a civil society evolved side-by-side with the maturation of the modern State. This made possible the growth of representative institutions, which confined state's power to those matters which society could not deal with by its own arrangements. Political conflicts were moderated by overriding purposes." White House and Whitehall rely on enlightened societies for the model of democracy they practise. Those societies ensure changes based on understanding

of issues. In Nigeria, force, oiled by money and ethnicity, has replaced enlightenment since independence and we will have to wait centuries if we are to have their type of societies. The question is, will this country survive till that time? I think Boko Haram would say NO! What do we do? Let us listen to the father of the Singapore nation, Lee Kuan Yew. He thought Korea adopted a political system unsuited to its history and the culture of her people. Kim Dae Jung, an advocate of the US and leader of the Korean opposition, disagreed in an article in Foreign Affairs. Farida Zakaria, the editor, asked Lee to reply and he said: "The difference in our views cannot be resolved by argument. It will be settled by history by the way events will develop in the next fifty years. It takes more than one generation for political, economic, social and cultural implications of policies to work themselves out. It is a process of attrition, of social Darwinism."

Every Nigerian ethnic nationality I know rates the family above the individual, although each respects the individual achiever. Whitehall and White House believe in the individual, not in the family. Their political systems draw their strengths from the individuals of their societies. There is a cultural chasm that makes it impossible for that to work here. The way Edo system worked hundreds of years ago is probably what experts call monarchy. However, it was one where the Oba and his ekhaemwen watched the people and the people watched the Oba and the rulers. Might there be a hybrid of systems used here that can solve our problems? Or can we have a confederation?

We have been independent for fifty-two years. We have perfected everything Adesanmi sharply defined in his article. If we believe Lee Kuan Yew, we should know we have failed. It is not just about the waywardness and the chicanery of a few people. Every Nigerian ethnic nationality I know rates the family above the individual, although each respects the individual achiever. Whitehall and White House believe in the individual, not in the family. Their political systems draw their strengths from the individuals of their societies. There is a cultural chasm that makes it impossible for that to work here. The way Edo system worked hundreds of years ago is probably what experts call monarchy. However, it was one where the Oba and his ekhaemwen watched the people and the people watched the Oba and the rulers. Might there be a hybrid of systems used here that can solve our problems? Or can we have a confederation? I am sure of one thing. If the pre-British Edo had to choose someone to represent her anywhere, many of those who now represent her in Abuja from some parts of that land, stand no chance. Edo was a great nation steeped in honour and cultural values. How much has these times eroded the carnelian walls, which define those values? We will never know until we try. And try we must, if Nigeria must grow to be a nation instead of a treasure-house for vandals. Omorodion S. Uwaifo, 80, is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, and winner, 2002 Presidential Merit Award. He was also winner of the NLNG Prize for literature in 2004.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi


ast night I had a dream that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan easily won reelection for second term. I saw newspapers with screaming banner headlines: "160 million dumb Nigerians return GEJ to Power," Four More Years of Government in Motion," "People Deceiving People Back to Power," Four More Years of Looting," "GEJ Is Crowned For Four More Years!" A friend of mine who has been tipped as the senior adviser for media, publicity and propaganda gave me advance copy of the president's inaugural speech. The speech, like an old car that won't stop even when the key has been turned off veers into different directions. Because of my close connection with Aso Rock, I was lucky to get the abbreviated version of the president's speech. It is the perfect capper of his administration. One of the world's best presidential speech historians who served as my consultantevaluator on the speech said the speech could be termed the analysis of paralysis. Here it is: My Fellow Nigerians: Each time we gather to inaugurate a Nigerian President; we bear witness to the enduring weakness of our constitution. We affirm the failure of our democracy. We recall that what separates this nation is the difference in tribe, tongue, religion, and the origins of our names. We're not a country but a mere geographical expression. What


We, the people - the PDP makes us exceptional, what makes Nigeria is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than half a century ago. We hold these truths to be self evident that all Nigerians are not equal. That they are not endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, we continue a never unending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that these truths have always been adhered to in our national life. Freedom is a gift from God. However, it must be denied for majority of Nigerians the historically under privileged class. This was amply demonstrated during my first term. The patriots of our independence in 1960 fought to replace the tyranny of a colonial master with the privileged of a few - the ruling class. The PDP gave us a government of, by, and for People Deceiving People. We believe Nigeria's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of elite few members of the PDP and those in the ruling class. We know that Nigeria thrives when few people can find independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest labor will push poor families to the brink of extinction. We are true to PDP's creed that a little boy born into the bleakest poverty knows that he doesn't have the same

chance to succeed as the few children of PDP members, the robber barons, and the oil magnates. We understand that outworn programs that we pursued in the past four years are adequate to the needs of our time. We have resolved to maintain recycled failed policies of the past. It's going to be business as usual. So we must harness old ideas, blind ideas, and primitive technology to remake our country, reinstate the tired and trite policies and programs to reforming our schools, healthcare sector, and infrastructures. We will vigorously pursue the same policies and programs that disempowered our citizens with the skills they need to work hard or learn more, reach higher. I will continue to surround myself with sinful influences and corrupting pressures. I promise you that the

judiciary will guarantee equality under the law in form of denials and delays with sickening regularity. We are a nation that does not reward the effort and determination of every single Nigerian. PDP's ideology stoutly and proudly supports such. And we intend to remain so. That's the objective of my government. That's what will give real meaning to our creed. We're on the right course. Join hands with me in this revolutionary enterprise. We the people - the PDP - People Deceiving People - will make sure that every citizen does not deserve a basic measure of security and dignity. This is what you elected me to do. We must make hard choices: increase price of fuel, food, rent, pay law makers jumbo salaries and unexplainable allowances for the risks of their job,


The oath I take today is continuity from the past four years. It's a new road map on how best to make corruption, stealing, and fraud more attractive, more scientific, and more sophisticated as our guiding principle in all arms of government

triple the number of ministers and advisers to ensure smooth, efficient, and effective government. But we reject the belief that Nigeria must choose between corruption and caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. Corruption must be assured and protected by any means necessary in all areas of our lives. Leadership is by example. In this regard, I intend to lead the way! My fellow Nigerians, the oath I have sworn to before you today like the one recited by other PDP presidents who served in Aso Rock was an oath to party not to God or country. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. The oath I take today is continuity from the past four years. It's a new road map on how best to make corruption, stealing, and fraud more attractive, more scientific, and more sophisticated as our guiding principle in all arms of government. Let each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome joy, the hopes and aspirations of my second term built around corruption, poverty, misery, insecurity, fear, hate, and lawlessness. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and march into an uncertain future toward our ultimate destination - a failed state! Thank you and God bless Nigeria! Bayo Oluwasanmi is online newspaper columnist

Attack on Kano Emir bad omen for Northern rulers By Ross Alabo-George


he abhorrent and bloodcurdling assailment on the highly respected Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ado Bayero - 13th Fulani emir since the Fulani War of Usman dan Fodio, and the longestserving emir in the emirate's history - perhaps signal of an emerging blitz on the emirates, partly because of their disinclination to the heightened threat of Boko Haram. It also exposes the undeniable truth - a deep chasm in socio-political dynamics on the Fulani dominated Northern Nigeria. Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano, sits on the throne of the wealthiest emirate in Northern Nigeria, and is by all standards the wealthiest Emir of his generation; ironically, his emirate when compared with others, also has the highest population of poor people. As far back as 1850, a German scholar, Heinrich Barth, who lived in Kano for several years, described the city as a remarkable centre of trade in Africa. The city had some of Nigeria's earliest millionaires. By 1922, groundnut trader Alhassan Dantata had become the richest businessman in Kano, surpassing fellow merchants Umaru Sharubutu Koki and Maikano Agogo. However, this history of commerce and trade has only left behind artifacts for the local museum in the city centre. Kano state, by 2006 census figures, is the most populous state in Nigeria.

By virtue of its given population and the state's 44 local government areas, the state receives the highest federal allocation from the Federal Government of Nigeria, more than Lagos and any other state of the oil producing Niger Delta Region. The Kano Emirate is a key beneficiary of this huge population incentive that accrues to the state. It is no secret that the Emir of Kano receives as some kind of royalty (homage). In March 1995, the Late military administrator of Kano state, Col Abdullahi Wase, himself the son of a first class Emir in Plateau state ordered the federal pay officer in Kano to deduct 3% directly from the statutory allocations of all the local governments in Kano state for the upkeep of the Kano Emirate Council, since then the cash flow from the councils have remained that way. The new Kano is ruled and governed by seasoned capitalists, who have shown little or no empathy to the squalid and grimy living conditions of majority of its people. The new Kano has a total of about six million Almajaris (2006 census figures) roaming the street. The new Kano has one of the highest absolute poverty levels in the country. In the last decade no one would have thought that such a high profile attack on one of the best preserved and established royal dynasties of the North was even nearly possible. The Kano emirate has always enjoyed the love and honour of all its subjects, at least, so they thought until that

utterly horrendous attack. In the past, such a grotesque attack on the highly revered Emir would have attracted the spontaneous ire of the people of Kano, and an immediate eruption of violence from all corners of the emirate. The uncontrollable rage of the subjects would have actually made Kano state 'ungovernable'. It has happened before, in 1981, when Governor Abubakar Rimi launched a political attack on the emir of Kano, the people resisted fiercely. Despite Rimi being seen as a political maverick and having mass following, riots broke out in Kano. The mayhem consumed his political Adviser Dr. Bala Muhammed. Rimi, after the incident, showed his maverick side once again: he retreated. And it came to pass that the Emir had his peace. This time it was not so. The city was calm. The time has come for the emirates stop to ruling their people: it is time to lead. The attack signals a need for change, from the ancient Fulani manual of dominating a conquered territory, to an all inclusive service driven leadership. The emirates must champion the education of their children, a role they have failed to play for almost a century. Their attempt to shield the children of their poor subjects from Western education by creating a bespoke system of education called the Almajiri system, has been severely abused and has today spiraled into what we all know as Boko Haram. The attack on the emir is quite

unfortunate, but the attack that happens to the North everyday is the millions of Northern children living in poverty and illiteracy. In this generation driven by information and information technology, only education and proper mentorship can build children with smart minds, minds that can reason. In this generation, where primary schools in south of the country are installing computer laboratories, Northern governors and the emirates are throwing grand events for projects such as the renovation six classroom blocks . In Kano state, apart from the Federal Government Colleges, no other secondary school has a good library. This generation does not forgive poverty, and technology does not too. Northern children will pay severely in coming decade if the emirates and governments do not rally to declare a state of emergency in their education sector. The next generation would not be about government and politics; it would be about industry and technology. Northern children must be prepared. Sir Ahmadu Bello understood what preparation meant. He prepared the North radically for politics and power. Now, this generation must prepare the next for technology and industry. The Sardauna prepared and nurtured wise men in the days when Western education was not popular in the North, he sent his power trainees to London, and they were bred thoroughly. Nigerians who have watched

Alhaji Tafawa Balewa's speech to the US Congress would testify of an orator who's every gesticulation and word had a pleasant sweetness. Till this moment, I have not seen such a moving presentation from a Nigerian leader. Balewa was nurtured. This moment also should serve as a period of sober reflection for the Polo-loving children of HRH Alhaji Ado Bayero, who would rather spend millions of Naira on breeding and nurturing their Arabian and Appaloosa hybrid horses, than sending a few more of the destitute to school. What I still don't understand is how they transport these horses in chartered cargo planes to polo tournaments, while thousand of their subjects loiter around the palace begging for food. The governor of Kano state recently arranged for the marriage of hundreds of widows, I would not criticize that now, but what the governor also did, but didn't say, is that he sent and sentenced those women to become baby factories to unready men, who couldn't sponsor a small marriage. Who will take care of the children from these arranged marriages? Kano is Northern Nigeria's main commercial nerve centre and whatever cripples Kano will definitely affect the already fragile economy of the country. The city has become home to many Nigerian businessmen, especially traders; it is our gold souk. Ross Alabo-George wrote in from Port Harcourt, Rivers state



Dentist advises parents to use cotton wool and salt to clean children’s teeth


he Director of Graceland Oral Health and Medical Care in Abuja, Dr Machu Abraham, has advised parents to use cotton wool and salt, with warm water, to clean the teeth of babies from six months, instead of tooth brush. The dentist advised that children should get to 12 months before toothbrushes could be introduced, to avoid intake of the paste. In his words: “If you are the type that starts with toothpaste, don’t use too much, so that the child will not ingest the paste. Gradually introduce the use of toothpaste when the child is

about 12 months old and start using toothbrush. “Make sure the child brushes every morning and night, just before bedtime because that will reduce the incidence of tooth decay,’’ he said. The doctor said that tooth decay was modern age related, because in the Stone Age it was none existent, adding that it was also based on ones diet. “It is what we eat and what we do that brings about tooth decay,’’ he said. He explained that tooth decay was in three stages, the first stage is the hole in the tooth, and it might not cause problem

or pain. He said that the second stage was when food entered the hole, adding that one felt pains when food entered the hole while the pain disappeared when the tooth was removed. “The third stage is when one cannot bear the pain, you see the person rolling on the ground or holding the cheeks and having sleepless nights’’ Abraham said. He advised that once holes were noticed in the teeth, it was best to visit the hospital. “When there are holes in the tooth, it is best to visit the hospital and the dentist is the next person to see.

A middle age man hawking local mart in Kubwa, Abuja.

“If your child has a hole in the tooth, take the child to a dentist,’’ Abraham said. He said that in any sweet thing one took the person should ensure the mouth was rinsed very well, because that would reduce the incidence of tooth decay. He advised that to prevent bacteria from harbouring in the teeth, one should learn to clean the teeth well. “But when you are careless with your teeth, the dentist has to take over. That is why we say, visit a dentist twice every year, to check your oral hygiene,’’ he said. (NAN)

Photo: Justin Imo-owo

Gwagwalada chair pledges to repair deplorable roads in Zuba By Usman Shuaibu


he Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hon. Zakari Angulu Dobi, has pledged to repair some dilapidated roads in Zuba. He also promised to repair the

Mosque close to the Palace of the third class Chief of Zuba (Agora of Zuba) in order to avoid collapsing in the nearby future. Dobi, who made this pledge while presenting Gwagwalada ANPP Chairman Candidate to the Agora of Zuba in his place, said that the leadership of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) would increase the

number of village heads as well as district heads if ANPP was voted into power this year. The Chairman solicited the support of the people of Zuba to cast their votes for the ANPP flag bearer in the forthcoming area council’s election and advised the party’s supporters to be peaceful during the election.

Responding, the Agora of Zuba, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, appealed to politicians to shun politics of bitterness irrespective of their political affiliations. On his part, the Palace Chief applauded the Gwagwalada Chairman for his Developmental Strides in Zuba and prayed for the success of ANPP at the polls

Corps member donates directory board to UATH By Adeola Tukuru


member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Miss Chineze Diogu has donated an illuminated directory board to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH). The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr Peter Alabi said the project would no doubt contribute to patients' care in the hospital. "Coming into environment that is as large as the hospital, a proper directional sign will limit time wastage particularly for visitors and patients who have no good orientation of the hospital. "With the directory board, I am sure that the stress of locating places within the hospital is eased and life is now made more comfortable for our patients and visitors," he said. Alabi said the project was in line with the commitment of the hospital servicom to ensure efficient service delivery in the hospital. "In my opinion I think the corps member who executed the project deserves a national award but for employment, that will have to take its normal course, If we have an opportunity, these are the kinds of people we give priority," he added. He therefore called for dedication and commitment among corps members particularly in embarking on project they could be remembered for even after their service year. In her remark, Diogu said the project was born out of the need to address difficulties in locating places in the hospital particularly among visitors. Diogu, a dental therapist serving in the hospital said the fund for the execution of the project was sourced from individuals within and outside the hospital. She said the project was executed with a total sum of N219, 000 adding that the project would no doubt add to the beauty of the hospital. "I saw the need to have a direction in the hospital because most of the time you see patients roaming around in the hospital before getting to the particular department they are visiting," she said.

Community seeks establishment of hospital to boost health care delivery


he Etsu of Gbaupe Community, a suburb located in Kuje area council, FCT, Mr. Danjuma Gajere has appealed to the Federal Government to establish a hospital in the community to boost health care delivery. Gajere told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that lack of basic health care facility in the community affected the wellbeing of the people.

The Etsu said lack of adequate health care facility was affecting the community negatively, with no access to the treatment of sicknesses and diseases. According to him, the only available health care centre in the community has just two rooms and three community health workers, established in the third republic. He, therefore, called on government to intervene by providing a hospital, to enable the

community to access health, especially ante-natal services and others. “The only health centre we have ais the one provided by the administration of the third republic, the more reason we call on government to build a hospital for us. “Whenever we are faced with health challenges, we often go to private hospitals in Lugbe, which most times are difficult for us, due to the high cost of transportation.

“Women go to private hospitals in Gwagwalada for ante-natal, because there are no adequate workers to cater for residents of the community, sometimes they are not available.” He decried lack of ante-natal services, access roads, potable water and electricity in the community, saying it disconnected the people from the rest of the world. He said lack of such facilities hindered the residents from being part of government programmes aimed at

improving their lives and engendering good health care practice. He said although the residents of the community always complied with the immunisation plus days, more was needed to be done to eradicate polio and address the malaria scourge. He, however, commended efforts being made by the community to sensitize one another in Gbagyi dialect on health practices. (NAN)



FCT residents express concern over prevailing harsh weather By Amaike Beauty with agency news


he Federal Capital Territory residents on Friday expressed concern over the prevailing harsh and hot weather in the territory. Some of residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that the weather was becoming unbearable for them. Dr Babalola Adu, a medical practitioner said that the climatic change and global warming was responsible for the harsh weather. He said that negative inputs of human beings also contributed to the change. “In 1998, when my family relocated to Abuja, it was so cold, especially in between December and April, you will be shivering but what we have now is harsh and hot weather. “The weather is so hot and harsh, like I said earlier the negative inputs of human beings add to the climate change. “We have emission coming from industries, from generators and effluent discharge into the drainage. “Also burning of bush after harvest or for killing animals, cutting down of trees, even the indiscriminate use of fertiliser by farmers contribute to the change,’’ he said. He said that the developed countries considered the effects of these on the environment and made appropriate provisions to mitigate these effects, but the reverse was the case in Nigeria. An Abuja resident, Mr Henry Ofili, explained that dust from demolished buildings, emission from vehicles, construction of roads and the drilling of boreholes contributed to the weather change. Mrs Asabe Abdullahi, another resident, said that the environment was becoming hotter and dusty than it used to be. “I have observed that the present hot weather has affected people with sicknesses such as cough and catarrh,’’ she said. Mrs Abiodun Omoleye, a resident of AMAC/ACO Estate, said that epileptic power supply had added to the heat, especially at night that one needed to rest after the day’s work. “Sleeping at night had become difficult due to the epileptic power supply by the PHCN. “I have to put on my generator every night in order to sleep well; though it’s noisy but I have no choice because of the hot weather. “I am appealing to the Federal Government to increase the 4,000 megawatts to 80,000 megawatts. “If South Africa can get 44,000 megawatts why should we have less in Nigeria?’’ she said. According to Mr Eniola Jacobs, a Journalist, “harmattan is associated with dust due to change in weather but the problem is that our environment is not well sanitised.’’

Private school proprietors task FCT minister to proffer solutions to problems facing its members


he National Association of Private Proprietors of Schools (NAPPS) has called on FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to proffer solutions to the numerous challenges facing it members. The President of the FCT chapter of the Association, Dr Bulola Dosunmu made the called in Abuja at the 4th Ministerial Town Hall Meeting with proprietors of private schools in Abuja. Dosunmu said the proprietors were faced with the problem of securing land, certificate of occupancy, funding, manpower,

multiple taxation and parking fees. “Land has been a recurring challenge for many of us. School plots have been converted to other uses in line with the Land Use Act. We have resorted to borrowing from banks at very high interest rates to buy plots. “Even in the new districts, plots meant for schools face the threat of being hijacked by land cartels,’’ she said. Dosunmu expressed regret that no financial institution has come to support education with at least a single digit interest loan. “We borrow, beg and even sell

Young women hawking yam in Utako District of Abuja.

our properties to run our schools, while less critical sectors get intervention funds. We are the most taxed sector by almost every tier of government. “Education is the most financially burdened sector of the economy and, when effectively funded, it produces immediate visible positive multiplier effect on the pupils. “That is why these scarce resources need to be preserved for this purpose and not on avoidable taxes,’’ she said. Dosunmu listed some of the taxes and levies enforced on private schools

Justin Imo-owo

in 2011 to include tenement rate, ground rent based on land size, business premises levy, annual dues, and accreditation fees, which range from 250,000 and N2 million. She said that the burdens were pushed to parents and reflected on the fees charged. “These fees are now being taxed. Additional taxes will be transferred to parents, who are groaning under supposedly high fees,’’ the president said. She, however, called for the review of the accreditation fees and annual dues. FCT Minister Bala Mohammed, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Anthony Ozodinobi, tasked the proprietors to continue to be in the forefront of improving education sector in the FCT. Mohammed said his administration planned to make FCT a model for educational excellence, adding that the attainment of the status would require collective effort and hard work. “As schools proprietors, you have a responsibility to ensure that the prescribed regulations and approved school curriculum are adhered to in order to achieve educational excellence in the FCT.” The minister said the administration was aware of the challenges facing private school proprietors, especially in the areas of land, infrastructure and social amenities. “We are committed to resolving these issues within the available means and in a manner that will be fair, just and equitable. “The accelerated land title issuance is actually very much on course; we have taken steps to consolidate the process,’’ he said. Mohammed explained that the recently revised charges payable by proprietors of private schools were necessitated by dwindling revenue profile and global economic recession. (NAN)

Islamic school in Gwagwalada solicits for financial assistance By Usman Shuaibu


he Proprietress of M a d a r a s a t u Hiszburrahim in Gwagwalada Area Council ,FCT, Mrs. Hurraih Musa Umaru, has appealed to highly placed individuals, as well as Islamic scholars to assist the authority of the school financially in order to build its permanent site in the area. Mrs. Umaru made the appeal

in an interview with Peoples Daily Quaranic during the 5th graduation ceremony in Gwagwalada, called on Islamic scholars to join hand with the leadership of the school to curb the problems affecting the institution. According to her, Madarasatu Hizburrahim started operation in 1994 in a family house with the enrollment of 15 students, but, today the school is witnessing a great improvement.

She explained that the school operates two sections which include morning and evening sections for both married and young girls, saying the leadership of the school would continue to impart knowledge on the students all the times. She disclosed that about 19 students graduated this year, while advising the grandaunts to be good diplomats of the school by memorizing their Quranic books

wherever they found themselves. Earlier, the second class chief of Gwagwalada (Aguma of Gwagwalada), Alhaji Muhammadu Magaji commended the management of the school for their commitment towards the studies of the students. Aguma urged the graduating students to make use of the knowledge they have acquired for the benefit of humanity.

Zuba community in horror scare as petrol tanker explodes


uba community in the FCT on Friday went through horror scare as a Total Diesel Tanker exploded along Zuba express way, burning shops and road side markets. Eyewitness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the tanker driver was coming from Kaduna and heading to the Federal capital when it had a brake failure and the driver

lost control of the vehicle. Mr Festus Ajan, whose shop was burnt in the explosion and who is also an eye witness told NAN, that the driver lost control while trying to maneuver the vehicle from hitting other road users. “In the process the tanker fell, trapping a small Nissan car which was suspected to be carrying four passengers and exploded

immediately,’’ the eyewitness said. Mr Reuben Omorodion, also a resident of Zuba-Abuja, told NAN that the tanker’s brake might have failed. “one of the passengers came out and was alerting other road users, urging them to give way to avoid being crushed by the tanker.” Omorodion said the driver of the tanker had a second degree burn,

but was lucky to have escaped. The Officer in Charge of Intelligence Department, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), Mrs Bridget Ijoma, also commented. She said that immediately the explosion occurred, they called the Fire Service in Gwagwalada, which responded promptly to the distress call. (NAN)



INSIDE FCT COURTS Alleged fake SSS official in court for impersonation By Beauty Amaike


ne Eze Monday 48, a resident of Mabuchi, Abuja has appeared before an Upper Area Court for impersonation. Police Prosecutor, Silas Nanpang explained in court that on January, 26, 2012, one Ibrahim Mohammed of Nyanya Market came to the police station and reported that the accused has been coming to his shop at Nyanya Abuja parading himself as an officer of the State Security Service (SSS) but when he was asked to present his Identity Card, he could not. He further said that during investigation he was found with a security belt. Nanpang said that the offence contravenes the provision of Section 132 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Presiding Judge Alhaji Umar Kagarko granted him bail in the sum of N50, 000 and a surety in like sum , adding that the surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. He adjourned the case to April, 10, 2013 for hearing.

Business woman in court for causing hurt


he Police on Tuesday arraigned one Mariam Kingsley, a business woman, before an Abuja Senior Magistrates Court for allegedly causing hurt to Mrs Ogbenna Chiweogo. Police Prosecutor Francis Tanko told the court that the accused of No. 5 Lagos Street, Wuse Zone 1, Abuja, who lives in the same address as the complainant, was reported at the Wuse Zone 3 Police Station by one Chiweogo on Jan. 6, 2013. According to Tanko, the incident happened on Jan. 6, 2013 when the complainant went behind her house to check the problem with her tap. Tanko added that the accused attacked and used a bottle to hit the complainant on her head resulting in injuries. He said that during investigation, the accused confessed to the crime, “which contravenes the provisions of Section 242 of the Penal Code’’. The accused, however, denied the allegation. Senior Magistrate Mimi Alu granted the accused bail in the sum of N50, 000 with two sureties in like sum. He said the sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court, and adjourned the case to Feb. 5, 2013 for further hearing. (NAN)

The little girl (R) is in obvious pain as she helps her mother to hawk banana in Kubwa, Abuja.

Photo: Justin Imo-owo

Security man bags 4 years in prison for raping 7-year - old minor


n Upper Area Court in Mararaba, Nasarawa State has sentenced a 23-year-old man, Hassan Garba, a resident of Tundun Wada, Masaka , Mararaba to four years in prison for raping a seven-year-old girl. The Judge, Mr Vincent

Gwahemba, who did not give the convict an option of fine, however, ordered him to pay a fine N2,000 after the jail term or stay in prison for an additional six months. The Police Prosecutor, Mr Steven Kwaza, had told the court that the crime was

committed Jan. 23,2012 and reported to the police by an elder brother of the victim. Kwaza said that on the said day, at Angwan-Soya, Masaka, the convict of Tundun Wada Masaka in Mararaba took the little girl

to his room and deceitfully had sex with her. He said that the offence contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code. The convict had pleaded guilty to the charge and appealed to the court for leniency. (NAN)

Butcher jailed for unlawful escape in police custody By Beauty Amaike


ne Aminu Soje of Abattoir Karu has been sentenced before an Upper Area Court in Karu for unlawful escape in police custody. The Presiding Judge Alhaji

Umar Kagarko, however gave him an option to pay N7, 000 fine or one month imprisonment. Police Prosecutor, Stephen Emoga told the court on January, 28, 2013, one inspector Onuh Mathias who is attached to old Chief palace

police post, Karu divisional headquarters Abuja reported that the accused on January 26, 2013 was detained on court order in a case of criminal intimidation. Emoga said that while the accused was on detention on the same date, he escape and

started running until he was caught at City of education in Mararaba junction where he was re-arrest. He said that the offence is punishable under Section 172 of the Penal Code. However the accused pleaded guilty to the offence.

Two security guards remanded for joint act, criminal breach of trust and theft By Beauty Amaike


wo security guards of Castle and Towers Guard, Monday Odah 27 and Atiku John 26 of no fix address have been remanded before an Upper Area Court in Karu for joint act, criminal breach of trust and theft. Police Prosecutor, Silas Nanpang told the court that

on January, 21, 2013, one Mr. Onogu Adejo of Castle and Towers Guard in Abuja came and reported at the police station. Akugbo said that on December, 12 2012 that the two accused criminally breached the trust vested on them by stealing his items which include ; some pieces of air conditions, mattresses, doors, and bags of cement

which value are yet unknown. According to him, during police investigation it was discovered that the two accused admitted committing the offence. Adding that Monday, the first accused confessed that the items were entrusted on him as a security guard. He further noted that the offence contravenes the

provisions of Sections 79,314 and 298 of the Penal Code. Meanwhile the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Presiding Judge Alhaji Umar Kagarko remanded them in prison custody till January, 30 2013 for their bail to be considered. He adjourned the case to February, 27, 2013 for hearing.






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How textile industries collapsed – Aganga

Mob: 08033644990

Apple releases new iPad with 128gb of storage By Chris Alu with agency report


pple added a new member to its iPad line on T u e s d a y , offering a 9.7-inch Retina iPad with 128 gigabytes of storage — doubling the tablet’s previous max capacity.Everything else about Apple’s tablet is the same, including the dual-core A6X

processor, 2 gigabtyes of RAM, and 10 hours of battery life. To account for the added storage space, the 128 GB Wi-Fi model will now cost $799, while the LTE model will cost $929 (N148640). To offer some differentiation from its other iPads — which start at $329 (N52,640) for the iPad mini — Apple is targeting the new model primarily at

professional users, including those in the architectural and medical fields who handle large files. Gamers, movie fans and avid magazine readers are also likely to appreciate the extra storage space. The abrupt release marks a shift in how Apple is updating the iPad. Instead of rolling out new iPads once a year or so, as it does with iPhones and iPods,

Apple is now treating the iPad more like its Mac line, releasing incremental updates to existing models. In late 2012, Apple released a fourth-gen iPad with new processor a mere six months after the release of the thirdgeneration Retina iPad. Much like in this most recent update, all other specs remained the same.Apple has not explicitly

announced this strategy shift, so it’s an open question whether or not we’ll see a more significant iPad update this year. The 128 GB iPad will be available starting on Tuesday, February 5. BlackBerry launches its new BB 10 operating system


L-R: Minister of State for Agriculture, Malam Bukar Tijani, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, during a visit by the executive members of Nigerian Union of Artisanal and Seafood Dealers, on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: NAN

Oil rises to 4-month high


il in New York rose to a four-month high after home prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed by the most in more than six years, signalling that the country’s economic rebound is accelerating. Crude oil for March delivery rose $1.13 to $97.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Sept. 14. Trading at 4:38 p.m. was 28 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.Prices were little changed after the American Petroleum Institute reported oil inventories increased 4.16 million barrels last week to 368.2 million. Oil was up 96 cents, or 1 percent, at $97.40 at 4:31 p.m. in electronic trading. The contract traded at $97.45 before the report was released.Brent oil for March settlement increased 88 cents, or 0.8 percent, to end the session at $114.36 a barrel on the Londonbased ICE Futures Europe exchange. Trading was 8.5 percent above the 100-day average.The European benchmark oil grade was at a premium of $16.79 to West Texas Intermediate oil traded in New York, down from $17.04 n Tuesday. Oil also gained on reports showing global economic optimism. German consumer confidence will rise next month, the Nuremberg-

based market research company Gfk SE (GFK) said. South Korean manufacturers’ confidence increased this month, the Bank of Korea said. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.5 percent.A report from the EIA expected today will probably show that U.S. crude inventories climbed 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the median of nine estimates from analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Refineries probably operated at 83.25 percent of capacity last week, the lowest rate since March, the survey showed. Units are often idled for maintenance in the second half of January as attention shifts to gasoline and away from heating oil.(Source: Bloomberg)

Nigeria’s forex reserve hits $45.43 billion By Aminu Imam


igeria’s external reserve stood at $45.43 billion as at January 23, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed in its latest data provided on its website on Tuesday. According to the apex bank, the figure represents an increase of 2.87 per cent over the preceding figure of $45.35 billion on January. 22. The bank also revealed that the external reserves had grown by 34.76 per cent in 2012 to over $44 billion. External reserves continued its upward trend in 2013 as oil prices rise at the international

market.However, the external reserves according to the CBN could not meet up with the $50 billion target set by the federal government by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, the Naira has firmed to N157.15 against the Dollar as sales by a unit of Addax Petroleum and some offshore investors buying local debt strengthened the Naira at the interbank.Dealers said Addax, sold about $11.5million to some lenders, while flows from offshore investors buying treasury bills improved dollar liquidity. The Naira closed at N157:15 kobo to the Dollar, yesterday, firmer than Friday’s figure of N157:30 kobo.

Management Tip of the Day Before you write anything, know your readers


ommunication is a two-way exercise. Without knowing something about your readers, you’ll rarely get your ideas across. Consider their goals and priorities and what motivates them. Depending on what your recipients value, your tone will change and so will your content. Highlight the things they care

about most. If you’re writing a memo to colleagues, for example, consider how they’ll interpret what you’re saying based on their levels in the organization. Or if you’re responding to a client’s request for proposal, address every need outlined in the RFP — but also think about the client’s industry, company size, and culture.

To make this easier, consider choosing an intelligent, nonspecialist member of the audience — or invent one — and focus on writing for that person. Your message will be more accessible and persuasive to all your readers as a result. Source: Harvard Business Review

lackBerry maker, Research In Motion (RIM), is set to launch its new BB 10 operating system almost a decade after taking the world of smartphones by storm in 2003. The Canada-based company will unveil its ‘BlackBerry 10’ operating system and handsets powered by the new platform as it tries to protect ground in a market now led by Apple’s iPhone and phones based on Google’s Android operating system. As users moved away from handsets with keypads to touchscreen phones, BlackBerry found itself on the back foot. Its attempts to lure the touchscreen users with the BlackBerry Storm and Torch models didn’t succeed while Apple’s iPhone and devices powered by Google’s Android system started dominating the smartphone market. The BB 10 operating system has been open to developers for a while now. “The platform is very similar to the Android, which is good,” says a developer who does not want to be named as he develops applications for multiple platforms and has started working on the BB 10 as well. He says that, in order to lure developers, the company is providing devices and assuring a certain amount to them to put paid apps on the BlackBerry market. It will take a lot more than attracting app developers for RIM to stop its slide. The company will have to lure phone buyers at a time when about three-fourths of the smartphone market is taken by Android, with Apple holding most of the rest. According to Gartner, RIM’s market share in the third quarter of 2012 dropped to 5.3 per cent from 11 per cent a year earlier.The year to come will perhaps be the biggest transition period for RIM as it fights to survive. The saving grace is that BlackBerry is still deeply entrenched in the enterprise segment, and might just be able to pull up. The Playbook, BlackBerry’s tablet, wasn’t able to do that. The next few hours and days could determine if the new operating system is able to revive the company’s fortunes.



COMPANY NEWS Nigeria Flour Mills


lour Mills of Nigeria Plc has donated N200 million to the Flood Relief Committee of the federal government to support efforts in alleviating the condition of people affected by the recent flood disaster in some parts of the country. In addition to this gesture, truck loads of food items produced by Flour Mills to the tune of N72 million have been dispatched to 14 states of the federation.The trucks loaded with bags of Rice, Semovita, Goldenvita, Spaghetti and Noodles are currently being presented to government officials in state capitals.

Civil Awareness & Economic Empowerment Initiatives


n NGO, called Civil Awareness and Economic Empowerment Initiatives (CAEI), is to partner banks over empowerment of 6,000 youth and women in Bauchi state. The state coordinator of the organisation, Alhaji Sale Husseini disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Bauchi on the organization’s plan, saying that all plans has been concluded with Zenith Bank, GTbank and other commercial banks to empower 6,000 youths and women. According to him, the first phase of the training will gulf over six million naira, adding that beneficiaries will be loan equipments of their business choice to be repaid gradually from N50 to N100 depending on the worth of the equipment one gets.

US Economy


he United States economy contracted unexpectedly in the final quarter of 2012, hurt by weaker exports, a drop in military spending and a slower buildup in inventories. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that economic output in the quarter fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent, compared with growth at a 3.1 percent pace in the third quarter. It marked the economy’s worst performance since the second quarter of 2009.

NACCIMA calls for Credit Regulation Agency Stories by Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called for the urgent establishment of a Credit Regulation Institution (CRI), to regulate loans issued by banks in order to curtail excesses and the existence of non-performing loans. NACCIMA National President, Dr. Herbert Ademola Ajayi, in a paper titled: ‘Gains And Pains Of The Banking Reforms’ said the agency would ensure that before loans are issued to business men, the individual/business in question must have cleared his/ its debt to a reasonable extent. Ajayi said there is need to have an investment-friendly environment through the simplification of the approval process for new business development, capacity building in various areas of the economy; provision of adequate security for lives and property and tackling the issue of corruption. He stated that “political will must be demonstrated to ensure that the Nigerian financial market would emerge as one of the next investment destination centres with activities that would position the local economy for growth and help draw direct

National President, NACCIMA, Dr. Herbert Ademola Ajayi foreign investment (FDI) into the country. “It has become expedient for CBN and other financial intermediaries and regulators in the country to ensure the acceleration of credit market reforms such as dispute resolution mechanism, credit bureau regulation and leasing laws, etc to foster credit delivery in the economy. “To ensure for fast recovery process as desired, there is urgent need to inject fresh funds into the banks affected by regulatory actions, ring-fencing/removal of toxic assets, etc.”, he said.

He added that the gains of the current banking reforms would only be appreciated if Nigerians could recall the abyss into which some bank owners and their managers have plunged the banks. SON give May deadline for E-product registration The Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON) has given May 2013 deadline for electronic product registration to check influx of sub-standard products by the agency. SON Director General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu said any product that does not carry its electronic code by the date will be

removed from the market and destroyed.” Every product in Nigeria market is expected to be documented. We must know who the manufacturers are, who imported the products and the relationship between the importer and the manufacturer.” Odumodu noted that technology is a powerful force that drives the whole world to commonality in product and because of the impact of technology all over the world, “today we have what is known as Global Market and customers are the same all over the world with people demanding the same quality in terms of services and at the end of the day it is that concept of commonality in standardize product all over the world that drives over the policy of National Quality Policy.” A quality policy has a number of rationales for it. The first is that government has the responsibility to efficiently and effectively manage all kind of regulations. Those managed regulations are for the achievement of protecting the citizens; of course more recently we talked about protecting the citizens.” The second rationale is that the players in the system are expected to be transparent and present themselves to the regulatory environment that government has provided.” The third rationale is that government needs to give industry or enterprise, supportive standards, metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment services that are accepted globally.”

How Nigerian textile industries collapsed – Aganga


he Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, last week give an insight on how Nigeria’s once flourished textile industries drafted into a lamentable state. The Minister said some of the factors that led to the decline in the sector to include massive influx of textiles and apparels from Asia, particularly after the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) expired in 2005, inadequate and epileptic energy supply and heavy reliance on selfgeneration of power, leading to high and un-competitive production costs. Others, he added, were global economic challenges, massive smuggling of cheaper textiles of lower quality, changing consumer tastes and habits, huge debt burden on producers in the value chain among others.He recalled that the cotton textile and garment sector was leading in the economy from the 1960s through to the 1970s and in the early 1980s when the industry had about 175 textile mills and employed over 600,000 workers, making it the second largest employer of labour next to government. “Unfortunately, however, by 2008, the textile factories still in operation had reduced to 24 textile mills and 10 ginneries, employing less than 25,000

people and with exports less than US$50million,” Aganga lamented. “The Federal Government introduced a N100 billion Cotton Textile and Garment (CTG) Revival Scheme, managed by BOI to reverse the ugly trend and ensure a rapid resuscitation and upgrading of the entire CTG value-chain. “Two years down the line, we are pleased to inform you that substantial portion of the fund has been successfully disbursed to beneficiaries and the impact is very encouraging. Recent figures from the Manufacturer’s Association of Nigeria (MAN) reveal that the capacity utilisation in this sector has increased tremendously from 29.14per cent in 2010 to 49.70 per cent as at 2011. In addition, a number of hitherto moribund textile mills have been reopened and about 8,070 jobs have been saved while over 5,000 new jobs have been created”, he stated. “The evaluation of the socioeconomic impact of the fund to the beneficiaries and the national economy at large could therefore, not have come at a better time. Although, it is evident that the CTG Revival Fund Scheme has provided the industry players with a unique source of incentive-based long term fund for the financing and refinancing of capital

Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga investments and revolving working capital.” “We are working through the SON to reduce the dumping of substandard goods into the country. Some of these goods include textiles and apparels. We are also exploring diplomatic channels through our Trade Ambassador at the World Trade Organisation to ensure increase in power supply. We are working with the Ministry of Power to ensure that 10 industrial cities in the country have at least 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply by first quarter of this year. “Our aspiration for the textile and apparel industry is to

increase its domestic market share from its present position of 12 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020. We also expect this sector to create over 60,000 direct jobs within this period. “To achieve this, the strategic thrust requires reviving the entire value chain. This includes strengthening the base by boosting cotton production for use in the domestic sector and potential exports, supporting existing players to expand their current operations and attracting strong brands to set up local manufacturing operation in the country,” Aganga added.



Cross-border trade: Senegalese designer shares his experience of doing business in Nigeria By Hauwa Anaja


f you think Nigeria is not a place for effective investments, then you must think again. Senegalese attires have become a signature wear for Nigerians. You find people donning them at parties and other functions, and for most Nigerians, especially those from the North, Senegalese attires have become an official wear for office use. This is because they are made by incorporating design patterns on brocade fabrics, using woolen thread. This trend has earned Senegalese cloth designers a thriving market in Nigeria, and of course, other parts of Africa. Welcome to the World of Mukhtar Bamba, a thirty five year-old Senegalese cloth designer based in Garki Abuja. For Bamba, sewing and cloth design comes as an inspiration, which makes his work stand out. "Sometimes, I get inspiration on how to design a particular attire at night, I am perfect in designing but I also have experience in sewing," he says. Bamba could have remained in Senegal to make and export Senegalese wears to Nigeria, but he chose to establish a tailoring outlet in Nigeria and has lived in Nigeria for more than five years. He tells me why. "I saw many Nigerians coming to Senegal to do business. Some come to take tailors to Nigeria, and others come to sew and design clothes to take back to Nigeria, so I thought, why not go over to Nigeria and establish an outlet there. "So, some of my customers who knew me in Senegal do not have to travel all the way to Senegal to buy Senegalese

Mukhtar Bamba at work

Some of Mukhtar’s finished products on display anymore. They now meet me here with their demands, and I supply them," Bamba explains. As easy as it sounds, Bamba says establishing an outlet was not easy, as he had to start from scratch again. "It was very hard starting, he says. When I came, I didn't have anything to start with other than a few materials I brought along, and I began to walk round town, especially in markets, asking people if they have anything to sew or design, I often carried samples of my work around as well. "After a while, I was able to

buy a designing machine and kept it in a friend's shop, and I continued designing there. Afterwards, I began having more customers to the extent that I was able to save money to rent my own shop," he narrates, nostalgia written all over his face. However, over time, Mukhtar Bamba has not only established a designing outlet in Abuja, he has been able to teach any Nigerian willing to learn the handwork, while empowering youths through textile designing and tailoring. 'For now, I have two girls

learning from me, one started last year, and the other started this year," he said. "In addition to that, I employ five people. This is because when demand is high, you can't meet deadline. So, instead of disappointing my clients, I hire extra hands. Asked how long it takes to learn textile designing and tailoring, he says "it depends on your intelligence and diligence, because some people tend to learn fast, while others do not. But, if you are sharp and dedicated, you can perfect your skill in one year." What is the key ingredient to owning a successful textile designing business? Bamba tells me a major secret. "The first thing you need is to have the knowledge and experience first. I have observed that many people, women especially who establish a tailoring outlet end up closing down. This is because they don't have the idea and experience. Some of them, because they have the capital to establish a tailoring outlet, they feel that's all they need. "However, it's not always like that. You have to at least understand the basics of sewing and designing, you should be able to understand how long it takes for a cloth to get finished, for instance, and you don't just rush to stuff your shop with equipments, it should be done gradually. "For instance, buy your machines gradually, and take your time to do thorough recruitment of tailors and designers, because, there are those people who would manipulate your ignorance and cheat you in order to run your business down. Some may even

use your equipments to do personal jobs, without remitting money back to you," he explains. Bamba also speaks of the challenges in the business. "The major challenge is time, sometimes you just have to work round the clock to meet deadline. And sometimes, when demand increases, there's need for expansion of space, so, you may have to find a bigger shop, and sometimes electricity is a challenge, so you have to get a generator." No doubt, Bamba's handwork has contributed to his growth and development. He explains the benefit of his handwork. "I have every reason to thank God, because the time I was much younger, I had to drop out of school because of my parents' inability to sponsor my education. So, I went to learn this handwork, and I thank God, I can now support my family financially. "You see, education is good but handwork is also very good because everybody want to make it big. But the reality is that, not everybody can be up there, some people have to be at the bottom, so, we can't all just keep chasing education, we can find a handwork to do in order to be useful to ourselves and the society in a certain area. He adds, "The beauty of handwork is that, anywhere you go, you go with your handwork. Look at me for instance, anywhere I want to go in the world, I can just go without anything, because women and men who wear clothes are everywhere in the world, there are machines and scissors everywhere so, all I need to do is settle down and make my money, Bamba concludes enthusiastically.



Vistajet to venture into Nigeria’s aviation with N24bn By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule


private airline, Vistajet has indicated interest to invest about 150 million dollars (N24 billion) into the nation’s aviation sector. The investment, according to the Chairman of the firm, Thomas Flohr, will involve the use of newly manufactured airlines which will travel directly from the country to any destination in the world. Flohr expressed this hope while paying a working visit to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja, saying the private charter airline operation will boost the nation’s aviation sector and grow the economy. He said: “No Vistajet aircraft will fly without manufacturer warranty and that is the financial commitment which is very significant to global challenge out there and

approximately 150 million dollars investment we dedicate to this country. ”The world today wants to connect point-to-point and certainly, Nigeria is the strongest market especially in Africa. Vistajet has been here for more than three years and we see this as next expansion step to bring 60 million dollar global express to the country and fly the executive and captains of

industries on the best aircraft which exist today, to anywhere in the world non- stop. ”We had more than 900 takeoffs out of Nigeria in 2012 alone, with three flights on average per day,” he added. Asked if there are plans to setup aircraft maintenance facility in the country, Flohr said the firm is in collaboration with local partners, especially in Lagos

and Abuja, whose infrastructures are used for their aircraft servicing. Vistajet Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Kola Aluko disclosed that the firm had made investment worth 250 million dollars in the last three years. “We have three aircrafts here in Nigeria and I will say our commitment to Nigeria is about 250 million dollars in aircraft,”

he said. However, Aluko called for more support from the government, stressing that the success recorded so far had been more of private sector-driven. He added that, apart from international operations, there are dedicated flights that flies thrice daily between Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano.

Saudi-based Al Qahtani Group to invest in Jaiz Bank By Abdulwahab Isa


igeria’s foremost noninterest bank, the Jaiz Bank Plc has attracted a key investor - Al Qahtani Group of Saudi Arabia - who has indicated interest to invest in Jaiz Bank Plc.According to a press statement issued by Jaiz bank, signed by is Head, Corporate Communications, Malam Idris Salihu, the Chief Financial Officer of the Saudibased organisation, Sheik Tarik Mumtaz, revealed his organisation interest recently when he led a delegation of the company to Jaiz Bank. Al Qahtani Group is one of the largest and most reputable privately owned companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with excellent relationship in both government and commercial sector . Al Qahtani Group was established in 1940 and has a lot of subsidiaries covering key sectors including, Oil & Gas, Agro-Allied, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Finance amongst others. Reacting to the development, a Director in Jaiz, Alhaji Muhammed Indimi, who is also the Chairman, Oriental Energy Resources Limited and business partner of Al-Qahtani, described the move “ a welcome development, as it will broaden the bank’s capital base and expand its operational capacity.’’Jaiz Bank Plc obtained its regional banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on 11 November, 2011 and commenced operation on 6th January, 2012 with branches in Abuja, Kano and Kaduna. The Bank’s capital base is currently over N11billion and it plans to upgrade its license before the end of 2013 to allow it to operate in all the states in Nigeria.

L-R: MD/ CEO Bank of Industry, Ms. Evlyn Oputu, Executive Director Business Development, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, African Development Bank Resident Representative, Dr. Ousmane Dore, and Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, Dr. Robert Orya, during the signing of agreement to provide two sovereign-guaranteed multi-tranche lines of credit of respectively USD500millon to Bank of Industry and of USD 200million to Export Import bank (NEXIM), yesterday in Abuja.

FDI: Bauchi state delegates five men to USA From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


five-man delegation from Bauchi state left to the United State of America (USA) to join others from across the world to participate in the 2013 AG Connect Expo, tagged: ‘Doing Business Across Borders’, aimed at opening up investment opportunities, particularly for the growing economies of the world including Nigeria A press release issued and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Bauchi state Governor, Ishola Michael Adeyemi said the delegation were conducted round the facilities of

manufacturing of heavy farming equipments at the AGCO Industries, which is one of the leading manufacturers of different machines for improved agriculture produce including balers, planters, harvesters as well as the spare parts and training for the operators Briefing the participants about the operations of the company, AGCO West African representative, Rabe Sani assured that the products are of world-class standard, because according to him, they are in high demand across the world pointing out that attention has now been fixed on Africa

particularly Nigeria which has a concentration of farmers of different categories He added that already the company is breaking into the market in Ghana with the hope that t will catch the Nigerian market and indeed that of West Africa very soon because according to him, “ the fact remains that when properly harnessed, Africa has the potential to be the food basket of the world. We have the potentials to do that, all we need to do is put our acts together and pay more attention to the development of agriculture. He concluded that, “This is the

chance for exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business across borders to connect directly at the show during the Country Roundtables. The roundtables will feature a market overview presentation, question and answer period, followed by a networking session. Leader of the Bauchi delegation, Kabiru Barwa expressed confidence that the state stands to gain a lot from the Expo considering the attention paid to the agriculture sector by the Isa Yuguda-led administration, particularly in the area of provision of needed farming implements

Analysts predict bumper returns for Dangote cement shareholders By Aminu Imam


nalysts at one of the leading investment banks in Nigeria, FutureView Financial Services Limited, have projected that the share price of Dangote Cement Plc will soon hit a high of N237. They have, therefore, recommended the shares to investors for purchase, saying it has significant upside potential considering its current market value. The shares of the cement manufacturing giant closed at N140.20 per share on the Nigerian bourse on Monday. And given the price projection of FutureView analysts, investors

buying now stand the chance of reaping capital gain of about 69 per cent at the end of the year. According to the analysts, they arrived at the N237 price using Dividend Discount Model (DDM) valuation metric. Making an investment case for Dangote Cement shares, they said “With the high level of expansion and increasing capacity, Dangote Cement is poised to be the largest cement producer in Africa. Moreover, the use of gas to power most of its plants will yield economies of scale in terms of reduced operating costs and increased profitability.” Analysing the operations of the company, they said Dangote Cement shipped about 2.4 metric

tonnes (mt) of cement in Q3’12, which is an increase of 7.7 per cent compared with 2.3mt shipped in Q3’11. “The production level represents utilisation rate of 51 per cent based on the current capacity of 19mtpa. Obajana Cement factory is Dangote’s largest cement plant with production capacity of 10.25mt. The cement industry was affected by the flooding mid-year though the effect of the disaster is now abated,” they said. The company had recorded a turnover of N208.2 billion in Q3 of 2012, up by 19.8 per cent from N173.8 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2011. Profit before tax rose from

N106.517 billion to N130.634 billion while profit after tax grew by 15 per cent from N92.187 billion to N106.438 billion in 2012. Dangote Cement is Nigeria’s leading cement producer with three plants in Nigeria and plans to expand in 13 other African countries. The Group is a fully integrated quarry-to-depot producer with installed production capacity of 19mtpa (metric tonnes per annum) in Nigeria by the end of 2012, to be increased to as much as 35.25mtpa in 2015. The group plans to build a further 19mtpa of production and import capacity across Africa by 2015.




Nigeria: What it means to refuse polio vaccine This article is written to a man who has never met me. I saw him on the news swearing he would never let his children be vaccinated against polio. He swore that the polio vaccine is against Islam and it is intended to kill or make sterile the Muslim children in his country — Nigeria — and other countries, writes Ben Barber, a journalist, photographer and consultant for U.S.-based Huffpost World


his misinformed man is one of millions of people misled by zealots and fanatics who either believe this nonscientific myth or else use it to gain power within their communities. The tragic consequence is that hundreds of thousands of children are now exposed to polio, which was nearly eradicated from the planet a few years ago. The recent movie Hyde Park reminds us that U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was a victim of polio and was confined to a wheel chair while he fought the ravages of the depression in the 30s and the brutal realties of World War II. One has only to visit Nigeria or India or Pakistan for a few hours to catch a glimpse of beggars who creep along the dirt roads

of villages or the filthy asphalt streets of the cities, crawling on their elbows and dragging legs paralyzed due to polio. I remember in the 1950s when I was a kid and we were not allowed to go to the park to play and were forbidden to swim in New York’s public pools — some of which even shut down in summer when the polio seemed most contagious. All that changed in 1952. I see this scene over and over in my mind whenever the question of polio comes up. One day my mother came home from the clinic where she worked as a pediatrician. She began crying as she saw on the evening news that a researcher named Jonas Salk had created a polio vaccine. U.S. polio cases fell from 42,000 in 1949 to

Bill Gates, co-founder of Bill and Milinda Gates foundation

zero by 1999 thanks to serious, widespread and scientific use of vaccine on every American child, according to Post-Polio Health International. In 1988, when the World Health Organization began an effort to eliminate all cases of polio worldwide by 2000, there were 350,000 polio cases. By 2006, only 2,000 cases were reported in the world, and only three countries still harbored the polio virus: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. My Nigerian brother, your children are my children and my children are yours. We do not want our children to become paralyzed and we do not want the children of our neighbours and friends to become sick with polio. Whether we live in the biggest city or the smallest village the same truths are true. Water flows down hill, fire consumes fuel wood and the sky gives us sunshine and rain. If we cut ourselves while working or preparing food, our blood is the same colour. Red. At the end of our days on earth we all pass on. The truth about polio, my brother, is also true in all countries and homes. It is a disease caused by a virus that is spread from person to person. It is a very tricky disease because only one child in 10 who catches the disease will become sick. The other nine children can carry the disease and pass it on to his or her friends without ever knowing he or she is infected. That is why immunization — giving the vaccine to every single child in every single village or city in every country on earth — is the only way to end polio forever. If you or I say you we not believe in the vaccine and won’t vaccinate our children, we put at risk all

Minister for Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu

Nigerian children paralysed by polio

the children in our village and city. Immunization has been known for at least three centuries since Englishman Edward Jenner discovered that he could defeat smallpox in 1796 by giving a patient a small dose of cowpox. Smallpox has now been so completely eradicated worldwide that our children no longer need immunization. The virus is gone except for a few samples in medical research labs. To reach the distant corners of the world where polio still lurks, Bill Gates’

foundation has pledged $1 billion. Rotary International has given $500 million. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the world Health Organization are offering free vaccinations worldwide. My Nigerian brother, you know that when you lift up a hot pot you use a cloth so you are not burned. When you have headache or other pain, aspirin can help. When the kids are sick, penicillin from the pharmacy or the clinic can make them healthy. Even

your cow and your chickens can be treated with medicine for worms and

other parasites. Modern life does not necessarily pit our traditions and

The truth about polio, my brother, is also true in all countries and homes. It is a disease caused by a virus that is spread from person to person. It is a very tricky disease because only one child in 10 who catches the disease will become sick. The other nine children can carry the disease and pass it on to his or her friends without ever knowing he or she is infected

religious beliefs against the advances of science and education. Any father or mother, any mullah or priest would want to prevent children from becoming paralyzed. For some unknown reason, however, some Muslim preachers have taught that polio vaccines are anti-Islamic and the vaccines are part of a conspiracy intended to sterilize Muslim girls. This is not true. And to answer any concerns that vaccines may be made with non-Halal ingredients that are

forbidden to Muslims, polio vaccines are now being produced in Muslim Indonesia under strict halal supervision. My Nigerian friend, even if you are willing to risk the health of your own children by refusing the polio vaccine, you have not the right to put at risk the health of all your neighbours’ children. After Northern Nigerian religious leaders advised people to refuse the vaccine, polio quickly spread and was passed on by pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca to Muslims from Indonesia and other countries. Now some mullahs and anti-Western Islamist militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan have advised people not to accept the vaccine. They have even slaughtered young local women working on the vaccine program — women who risked and lost their lives trying to protect all of our children. The militants say the vaccine program was used as a cover to locate Osama bin Laden who was killed by US special forces in Pakistan. Some health experts criticized the use of vaccine programs to collect intelligence for military

activities. Health workers should always be seen as neutral humanitarian helpers who can go on all sides of conflict to offer medical care and vaccination.

Melinda Gates

My brother, do not allow the mistakes of the past — and the mistaken ideas of illinformed people — to let polio emerge back into the world to cripple our sons and daughters.




Participants at the recently concluded workshop on “building community resilience " for north east zone organised by NEMA and zarmat Global resource consultants in Gombe state.

NEMA cautions against pipeline vandalism, effects on environment By Mohammed Kandi


ollowing the recurring issues of pipeline vandalism and its flagrant effect on the environment in the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has cautioned on the environmental and health implications associated with vandalism. NEMA’s Information Officer in Lagos, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye in a statement said the warning became necessary as a result of distress calls from the residents of Oluwole Bisiriyu Street, Ilorin Coker Cresent, Kayode Williams Estate and Akute-Odo area in

Iju, Ishaga, Lagos state. Farinloye said: “Those affected by the spilling of PMS should be cautious against in hailing the products as a result of indiscriminate activities of vandals. These vandals vandalised the pipelines and leave the product to spill all around the areas.” According to him, the residents were complaining of fresh air pollution as a result of pipeline vandalism over night by vandals. He noted that the residents complained of serious stomach upsets, nausea and coughing, saying that NEMA had already mobilised the safety personnel of NNPC on the development, and they had almost concluded

fixing the ruptured pipeline. The Information Officer, who said the affected pipeline, was located under the Ogun River and the residents were strongly enjoined to avoid consumption and usage of the river water, however, advised

the residents to seek medical test, advice, and treatment as negligence could lead to complications. He said that the Federal Government had pleaded with communities and residents of disaster risk areas to join hands with

government agencies in disaster risk reduction management. “This had become necessary because the immediate and long time effects of disaster had negative impacts on the poor and the less privileged ones in the society,” he said.

...To install ADBS in Niger Delta


he Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) plans to install the Automatic Dependent Broadcast System (ADBS) in the oceanic areas, particularly the Niger Delta region, for helicopter operations. The Managing Director of NAMA, Mr. Nnamdi Udoh, told newsmen in Lagos on Sunday that helicopters needed the ADBS to monitor low flying level.

He also said that the agency would start a 24-hour service in three airports from March after due consultations with appropriate authorities in the aviation sector. Udoh said that the agency open its runway for 24-hour flight operations in Yola, Owerri and Enugu airports after full installation of air field lightings.

Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Barr. Bala Ngalari, receiving Dignity Kits donated to the state by UNPFA through NEMA.




NEMA, victims, commends Fashola on Oko-Baba fire disaster Victims of the Oko-Baba fire disaster and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have commended the Lagos State Government for establishing relief camps for them. The victims told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews at the Agbowa Camp site in Ikorodu that the state government had been providing them with food and other basic items to enable them to live normal life. They hailed Governor

Babatunde Fashola for showing personal sympathy and directing relevant agencies to provide immediate succour for the victims of the fire disaster. Yemi Bakare, one of the victims and a divorcee, said that she was in the camp with her four children and that they were being fed well and taken care of. "We are given three meals, drinks and fruits daily, we are really praying for the governor because he is very caring. "I have a shop at Idumota, every day a bus takes us from the

camp to Mile 2 and then picks us back to the camp in the evening. So, many of us have settled down to normal life," she said. Another victim, Temitope Ajimuda, a 26-year-old pregnant woman corroborated the views of Bakare, saying that she was very comfortable in the camp. "The governor promised to help us after three months; we are enjoying the accommodation. We pray that the government keeps its promise, so that we can have something to fall back on after camp," Temitope said.

NEMA D-G, Muhammad Sani-Sidi and other participants at a one-day stakeholder’s workshop on the review of Draft NEMA (Amendment) Bill, 2013, held recently in Abuja.

A cross section of participants at the evant


Mitigating the impacts of desertification and drought (1)


ver the years, desertification and drought are two related disasters which have largely contributed to high rate of famine, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. In the analysis of the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), desertification was described as a process involving land degradation in a dryland area resulting to environmental crises, such as loss of biodiversity and global warming. Similarly, drought is a condition of unusually dry weather in a geographic area, where rainfall is normally present; resulting to water shortage that seriously interferes with human activities such as water-supply reservoir emptiness, wells dry up, crop damage and other consequences which trigger ‘desertification’. Unarguably, desertification and drought have continued to sabotage the nation’s socioeconomic sectors-- food security and employment opportunities. For instance, about 35 million people in northern part of the country are reportedly suffering from the dangers of desertification, while not less than 50, 000 farmers in about 100 villages in Yobe state have been affected by sand dunes. Also, it was estimated that over 55 million people have been seriously affected in Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states; and approximately 350,999 hectares of land is lost to desertification annually. It is notable to recall that phenomena of drought has triggered the recent crisis which erupted between Gbagyi farmers and Fulani herdsmen as a result of encroachment of herds of cattle into farmlands in Gwako community in Gwagwalada Local Government Area of the FC T. Consequent upon the crisis, the Youths Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) observed that during the dry season, low feedstuff and low water in rivers would trigger an early movement of herds in search of pasture and water as early as December/January, thereby increasing the risk of conflicts between herdsmen and farmers. Overgrazing and overcrowding settlements could further intensify conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the affected areas. In its surveillance, YADI revealed that communal clash has remained a persistent phenomenon between farmers and herdsmen across the country, especially during the dry season starting from November/ December every year. Also, as struggles persist against low feed

purchasing power and the general fall in prices of animals as a result of deterioration in animal body conditions in dry season, the country is expected to witness further Farmers-Herdsmen conflicts across the country. Furthermore, a study carried out by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) under the leadership of leadership of the Director-General, Alhaji Muhammed Sani-Sidi in collaboration with United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) showed that both natural and human activities have contributed to the menace of desertification and drought. Such activities include inadequate rain fall, harsh climate condition, overcultivation which exhausts soil, overgrazing involving removal of vegetation that prevents and poorly drained irrigation. In the analysis of Justin Uwazuruonye (2010), it was reported that excessive heat and dust could further result in the upsurge of diseases such as meningitis and asthma. He said millet which is the main crop in the north would experience crop failure and losses culminating into localised production shortages. The situation, according to him, could result in low food supply at market and household levels, unusually high food prices at harvest, reducing food access for the most affected population. While low water levels in rivers and pounds will lead to low production of dry season farming and fishing, resulting in poor income. Low hydro power generation could hamper economic activities due to decline in electricity production earlier than usual. In a bid to minimize the impact of this hazard on households in the vulnerable areas, NEMA’s D-G, SaniSidi, had entered into partnership with National Space Research and Development Agency (NSRDA) and United Nations Space Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UNI-SPIDER) seeking for technical expertise. This led to the adoption of space-based technology to assist in obtaining instant information that could enhance disasters prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The space technology often display spatial location of the drought vulnerable communities as well as visualise the potential risk points of interest. Most times, it highlights the possible save areas for the evacuation purpose in case of emergency, and take inventory of critical facilities available. Following this, earlier warning alert is issued to the population at risk.



Refusal to replant amenity roadside trees on Kubwa and Lugbe/Airport roads


he environmental benefits of planting trees cannot be overemphasized. Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, and can also reduce air pollution. Through respiration and by removing pollutants, trees reduce air pollution. Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. This is especially important for people who live near highways like the Kubwa and Lugbe/Airport Roads. In some cases, a well planted group of trees can reduce noise pollution. Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. The ugly development of the clear felling and wanton destruction of the existing amenity road-side trees, along Kubwa and the Lugbe/Airport Roads, which were planted for environmental aesthetics and for general environmental protection by construction companies on the road expansion contracts, and their refusal to replant them should be considered

as a rape on our environment. These trees were planted not only to give aesthetic scenic view to our visitors and tourists to Abuja, but also for general environmental protection against flooding and erosion, that also serve as windbreaks to motorists, shade for pedestrians, microenvironment to animals and edible fruits for travellers. It is actually absurd, if not unbelievable, that agencies of government responsible for our environmental protection and sustainability, have allowed these construction firms to destroy our biological diversity, at a time when the scare of climate change is globally obvious, without a hoot. The clear felling and deliberate refusal to replant these trees is a rape on our environmental heritage and an outright abuse to the residents of Abuja in particular, and all Nigerians in general. The deliberate assault of our environment can not be tolerated in developed countries that are environmental conscious; even this cannot happen in our

neighbouring West African countries. However, it on record, that before the 2011 elections, Senator (Mrs) Grace Bent the then Lady Chairman Senate Committee on Environment in response to a petition on the issue, all the construction companies in question were summoned to the National Assembly for a meeting, with officials of NESREA, Parks and Gardens Department of the FCDA in attendance. At that meeting the contractors agreed to embark on the tree planting by the last year’s raining season to replace the ones destroyed during the roads construction work. The exit of Senator Grace Bent and the former Minister of Environment, Chief John Odeh was seen as an excuse to sweep the matter under the carpet and permanently bury the issue. The Senate Committee on Environment has not done anything about it, neither their counterpart in the House Committee on Environment and Ecology on the matter.

Katsina moves to check flooding, desertification via tree planting

ENVIR ONMENT ENVIRONMENT WATCH By Ambrose Inusa Sule, mnes 0703-441-4410 (sms only) It is disturbing that NESREA, the most vibrant and active agency of the federal ministry of environment is also completely silent on the issue. What went wrong? The offending construction companies should be directed in plain language to operate within the limit of the law for the sustainability of the Nigerian Environment in consonance with global standards. The act of decimating our natural ecological heritage is a threat to the biodiversity and the stability of our endowed environment. It should be noted that trees help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas and also help to prevent global warming by reducing levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and the levels of water evaporating into the atmosphere, which increases cloudiness. And that Clouds will reflect solar radiation so there will be less heat. The social and economic benefits of planting trees are many, which especially in urban areas have numerous social benefits. For example, trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks and roots. They also absorb chemicals like carbon monoxide and filter and catch pollutants like smoke, dust and ash. Trees absorb water which helps to prevent flooding and helps to distribute rain more evenly. Trees reduce the amount of topsoil that runs off into sewers and streams by retaining water. Tree leaves on the ground trap chemicals, keeping them out of lakes and rivers, and retain moisture close to the ground. This helps other plants to grow. Those are some ways trees help to control

and prevent soil erosion. Trees can act as windbreaks for your home and will help you save on heating costs. Trees shade buildings, streets, and homes. If enough trees are planted in cities, the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced. It is instructive to note that people in many countries round the world today, are on edge over the prevalence of environmental disasters that have become incessant topical issues of global dimensions. These challenges are viewed by environmentalists and all stakeholders as disasters that are not avoidable, but also not for share environmental bad governance and corruption by implementing agencies of government. We must realize that people are becoming increasingly worried about myriads of environmental problems that affect their lives and livelihood, problems that would be carried forward to future generations if discredited habit of apathy continues on matters relating to environmental sustainability and protection. The environment (the Air, the Land and Water bodies) is the framework upon which our very existence lies, be it in health, social and economic development. Irrespective of the above, it is on record that environmental issues in Nigeria are still treated with disdain in this 21st century by our government. The federal ministry of environment, which is the apex institution who superintend over environmental matters in the country, should quickly wade into this matter for the interest of our country. Nigeria is our home and the environment must be sustained.

Ministry presents road map on solid mineral and metal development today By Mohammed Kandi


s part of the Transformation Agenda of the present administration towards repositioning the Nigeria Minerals and Metals sector, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, has announced that the ministry would tomorrow present the developed- Road Map that will chart the path for the resolution of copious challenges facing the sector. “The development of the road map for the solid minerals

and metals sector is to take full advantage of the rising international and local commodity prices and the global resurgence of exploitation and exploitation activities with attendant huge investment in the sector,” Sada disclosed in a statement issued the ministry’s Deputy Director (Press), Marshall H. Gundu. He said: “The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) recognizes the need for a roadmap that will chart the way for the country to attain its economic, social and environmental objectives through sustainable

exploration and exploitation of the nation’s vast mineral endowment.” According to him, “the exploration and exploitation of Nigeria’s available solid minerals resources is an important component of a diversified economy, a desired outcome of Nigeria’s economic transformation, strategy and one of the policy priorities of the Federal government.” Sada further stated that factors being introduced to stimulate the sector’s rapid development include improved geological information on the diverse metallic and

nonmetallic mineral potentials; favorable policy framework for international and local investors and the new national solid minerals policy that offers a competitive environment for solid minerals development. “The Ministry’s departments and agencies will be responsible for implementing the Road Map which was aimed at addressing the nation’s minerals and metals sector in a holistic manner using the value chain approach,” he informed. The minister further road

map focuses on the exploration, development, exploitation (mining and processing) and marketing of the mineral resources/minerals commodities of the country. “The roadmap shall be in tandem with the prevailing Government Policy which makes the private sector the owner and operator of solid minerals and metals projects with government facilitating and providing necessary enabling environment for the development of the solid minerals and metals sector,” he said.



Water utilities: World Bank prescribes good governance, institutional reforms By Mohammed Kandi


he Word Bank has indicated as part of best ingredients for improved water utilities’ performance in Nigeria good governance and institutional reforms saying achieving those would create room for good services to clients and the conditions to mobilise additional sources of funding. Speaking at a capacity building workshop on “Championing Water Utility Reform in Nigeria” recently in Abuja, Marie Francoise, Director of World Bank in Nigeria said “Water utilities currently face tremendous challenges, including financial instability, population growth, urbanisation, industrial and agricultural growth and climate change.” According to Francoise, “Governance and institutional reforms are really the key ingredients that will unleash the full potential of performance for water utilities.” The country director, who informed that access rate to water in Nigeria was 58 per cent which constituted the lowest on the continent, however, advised that Nigeria, being a strategic country on the continent and the world, the World Bank Group was committed to supporting it in the area of capacity building. “We will accompany the states as fast as they want to go in the reform process and provide support and training to those that may be lagging behind. International Finance Corporation (IFC) can mobilise funding for private operators,” she assured.

"Also the bank can mobilise International Development Association funding as bridge financing; it will be based on performances,” Francoise said. Similarly, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, said the current low

performance of the sector called for concerted efforts that would ensure the necessary changes. “There is apparent need for water utility reform champions or drivers in the sector. When the reform know-how is built across board with the accompanying

political-will, our collaboration with government and the private sector will be enhanced to harness available resources for the sector development,” Ochekpe explained. Meanwhile, the workshop was initiated by the ministry of water

resources to expose the 36 state commissioners to the reform agenda which would focus on 12 states, mainly Kano, Edo, Gombe and Anambra, Plateau, Benue, Rivers, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Jigawa, Abia and Bauchi states.

Gurara water falls, Niger state

Hydrological Agency ready to forestal likely floods, dam releases, says DG


he Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency has said it is fully prepared to take preemptive measures to forestall the devastation that could occur due to the release of dams from nearby countries. Director-Generaln of the agency, Mr. John Shamonda, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja. NAN recalls that in 2012, releases from Lagdo Dam situated along the border between Cameroon and Nigeria had caused major flooding in some states in the country. The National Emergency Management Agency confirmed the registration of over 88,000 internally displaced persons in Adamawa, Benue and Taraba States where floods were triggered by the release of water from the Ladgo Dam. In Adamawa State, which was the worst hit, emergency workers recorded over 46,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in seven affected local

government areas. In Benue State, over 19,000 people were affected while Taraba recorded over 23,000 displaced persons. The IDPs were registered by emergency and rescue workers after the floods that consumed their houses and washed away several farmlands. Also, in August before other major floodings in the country caused by heavy rainfall and climate change, the hydrological agency had through its data collection platform (DCP) provided information on high rising velocity of water flow and waves into Nigerian rivers. The unusual rainfall had aggregated flood waves of the Rivers Benue and Niger which led to the total submerge of Lokoja town, the suburbs and the River Niger downstream of the Confluence into the lower Niger Delta catchment. By its mandate, the agency is responsible for prediction and forecasting of hydrological hazards (flood and drought) in the country.

The data and information produced was used by the National Emergency Management Agency and other emergency management bodies at both state and local government levels, to alert on the hazards of the upcoming flood waves from major rivers. Shamonda noted that with many experts’ input on how to forestall a repeat of last year’s floods, the agency would stand a better chance at forestalling and managing such situations should they occur. ``We are now fully prepared we cannot be taken by surprise this year, we were taken by surprise with releases from Lagdo Dam Cameroon last year. ``We are now trying to form collaboration and bi-lateral cooperation with Cameroon so that we will be part of the management of that Lagdo Dam so that nobody is going to be taken by surprise. ``Then we have also advised the government to build a dam close to the border to take all the water coming from Lagdo Dam

from Cameroon so that that flood which we see as a disaster can always be used as a benefit. ``When you build a barrier and you curtail the water, then when there is no flood again, it is that water that you will now use by all the downstream users most especially the people who are farmers, the agriculturist. ``They need water all the year round to produce. Now everything is normal there is no flood but within the next two three months now, there may not be water in the river and they will still need that water. ``When we were thinking the flood will be there all the year round, it has gone but that flood when we now preserve it, build the dam, preserve it, then we will now be releasing it as at when it is needed.” The director called for adequate funding of the water sector to drive initiatives and plan for the country’s water resources, mostly trans-boundary. ``On the River Niger, because 70 per cent of water resource potentials of Nigeria are trans-

boundary, coming from all the neighbouring countries, most of the rivers within the country are seasonal. But the international waters are perennial; they run all the year round. ``So these are the waters we need to plan for, it is the agency that will now provide the data and information to be able to use the water resources maximally and for sustainable development within the country.” NAN, however, recalls that N603 million had been approved for the agency by the Presidency in 2012 for immediate replacement, rehabilitation of hydrological equipment and upgrade of data acquisition systems across the country. The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency is responsible for providing data and information for assessment of water resources including its location in time and space, extent, dependability and possibilities, utilisation and control on a sustainable basis. (NAN)



I wasn’t looking for a religion ... I just fell in love with Islam • Meet four of the 5,000 Brits who become Muslims each year Every year, more than 5,000 Brits convert to Islam. More than half of those who make the switch are white - and 75 per cent are women. But what would make someone want to change their lifestyle so dramatically? Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp left her Catholic roots behind after "falling in love" with Islam while helping victims of so-called honour violence. Here Emily Foster, Jenna Sloan and Emily Fairbairn speak to Jayne and three other women about why they decided to become Muslim.

Preaching to the converted ... Alana, right, and pictured wih her husband Abdul

Devout ... PCSO Jayne Kemp PCSO Jayne, 28


ayne Kemp patrols her beat wearing a traditional hijab headscarf and even works extra time after shifts so she can attend Friday prayers at her mosque. Devout Jayne converted to Islam last April and even plans to change her name to Aminah. The single mum, who patrols Eccles, Gtr Manchester, as a Police Community Support Officer, says: "I thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the

kitchen - but I found out it was about being generous with your time, and patient and respectful of others. "As I looked into it, I saw similarities with Catholicism and noticed values such as looking after your neighbours and cherishing the elderly, which is something older people say younger people don't do any more. "I wasn't looking for any religion at the time but for every question I had answered about Islam, I had five more. I think I fell in love with it."

Student Alana, 21


lana Blockley, a media student who lives in Glasgow, converted to Islam after meeting her husband Abdul on holiday in June 2010. She says: My family are all travellers and we live on a caravan site. I was baptised as a Christian but church and religion were never a big part of my life. I was 18 when I decided I wanted to go out to the Canaries. I wanted to work as a club rep and

have the experiences people say you should when you're young. I arrived in Fuerteventura and after a couple of days, a hotel maintenance man offered to take me out for a coffee. He was Abdul, a Muslim from Morocco. When I got home he asked me to come back and visit him - and after three visits we knew we wanted to be together. I started to research Islam because I wanted to know more about his life. I decided I wanted to convert. I was worried about telling my

parents and burst into tears. Mum thought I was pregnant and my dad thought I'd crashed my car. I started to wear the hijab last summer. We got married in a Muslim ceremony earlier this month in Fuerteventura. I miss eating Parma ham but I don't miss alcohol. I celebrate Eid now, but I compromised with my parents and we all had a halal Christmas dinner. I hope I'm going to heaven now and I like the rules of Islam.

Model Ayesha, 24

A Heartbreak ... Claire converted to Islam after breaking up with a Muslim man Jobseeker Claire, 24 wear a hijab, which was a big laire Evans converted to decision. My dad doesn't like it, Islam last July after though, and I don't wear the hijab researching it following a when I'm with him. break-up. Claire, from Bridgend, At first I got some stares and South Wales, says: nasty comments but in the past After my heart was broken by six months I've grown in a Muslim man, I wanted nothing confidence. Now I go to the more to do with the religion - I mosque once a week and I pray thought it was cruel and unkind. every day. But my mum started looking I also took a Muslim name, up more about Islam and pointed Safir, but I still use my old name out the way this man had of Claire too. I have a new partner behaved was contrary to the too, who is a Muslim, but we're faith's teachings. not settling down just yet. I read up on it and discovered Islam has made me calmer that Islam actually promotes and, for the first time in my life, tranquillity and peace. I feel accepted. I wasn't religious before I There's not much I miss about converted. I didn't really believe my old life, except the odd in God. I now cover my hair and sausage roll - I can't eat pork now.


yesha Olumide, from Edinburgh, is a model who works under her original name of Eunice. She converted to Islam in 2009 while at university. She says: Before converting to Islam I was a Christian - but where my family is from in West Africa, Islam and Christianity are both practised. But it wasn't until I started studying philosophy at university that I began to learn more about Islam. At first I was worried it would be too extreme but when I studied the Koran it blew my mind. The theories about nature and science appealed and I felt enlightened. You can't always explain everything in a scientific way and Islam helps me with that. I was first scouted as a model while a 15-year-old tomboy. I was into football and athletics but a career in fashion is all about looks. Converting to Islam made me realise how much we value people if society thinks they're beautiful.

Model behaviour ... at first Ayesha found it hard to 'square being a Muslim with being a model' At the mosque, women cover their head and dress modestly, so no one is judging you on what you look like. At first I found it hard to square being a Muslim with being a model. But I spoke to a Muslim sister and she said Islam is not an extreme religion, so if it felt too extreme to me it probably wasn't right. Now I cover my hair for 99

per cent of the time but if I don't want to when I wake up one day, I don't. And I don't do any bikini or underwear shoots. I don't have set days at the mosque but I do go often and I pray every day. I would like to start a family in the future but don't think I'd marry a nonMuslim. Source:



Africa: report calls on aid agencies to listen to, work with, beneficiaries. ANALYSIS


or aid workers struggling to deliver assistance promptly and effectively, time to think, time to talk and time to listen are rare luxuries. But a new report from the USbased CDA Collaborative Learning Projects argues that making this time will be absolutely necessary to improving the quality and sustainability of international aid efforts. "Not until I spent three weeks staying in a village did I feel like I was getting truthful information about what the community really needed and wanted," one worker in Lebanon told the researchers. The project's research team itself took a lot of time to engage with aid recipients, accompanied aid agency and NGO representatives in 20 different countries; the views of more than 6,000 people have been distilled into the new publication, 'Time to Listen'. Dayna Brown, who worked on the report, says she was most surprised by how consistent the responses were. "People described very similar experiences of the processes of international aid efforts," she said. "And they explained how these processes often undermined the goals of assistance, in places that were as different as Zimbabwe to Burma, Angola, and East Timor. "Overall, we found that international aid is a good thing, and it is appreciated, but that assistance as it is now provided is not achieving its intent - but that the changes needed are both possible and doable." "With all the international aid that came," said a health worker in the Philippines, "we were really thankful, because even though we are here, far from them, we appreciate that they think of us." This feeling about international aid is common, especially when help first arrives, the report says. But it also causes frustration when recipients find they have little opportunity to build any kind of mutual relationship with their benefactors. The aid often passes through a long chain - from donors, to international aid agencies, local NGOs and c o m m u n i t y - b a s e d organizations - before it reaches its destination. The organizations' needs assessments, project appraisal visits and even community participation meetings seldom allow enough time and space for true dialogue. Brown and her colleagues found that individual projects

Aid workers offload supplies for people in Harare Photograph. were usually seen as beneficial, but when people - particularly those who have experienced many projects by different agencies or who have received international aid over many years - were given the chance to reflect on their overall experiences, they were much more critical. "Too often, people describe how, cumulatively, over time, with project after project, the way aid is provided fuels dependency. In a collaborative

A young man in Kosovo told the team, "The donor agency never asked us what we actually needed or wanted, and the community didn't want to refuse a generous offer even if we could not use it now. We hoped that one day there would be a doctor and then the new health centre could open." The general message was that if beneficiaries had been included in discussions, they could have helped make the aid much better - better


He said his own organization had worked to persuade donors to provide non-earmarked funding. "By having this pot of money," he said, "we were able to save more lives." aid system, people say that they would be seen as colleagues and drivers of their own development, they wouldn't just be seen as recipients and beneficiaries." Aid programmes typically identify needs and then deliver goods or services to fill the gaps, rather than looking for and supporting existing strengths, the report says. The researchers also found that beneficiaries were usually pragmatic, accepting what was offered even if it was not something they would have chosen as a priority.

targeted, less wasteful and more transparently delivered. If aid agencies and NGOs were more open about their budgets, recipients would be less suspicious that funds were being misappropriated. And if they knew when a project was likely to end, they could plan for the future and not feel abandoned. Brown and her colleagues found few people demanded more aid, and many asked for less. Recipients also wanted aid staff to return to see the longer-term effects of their

work, both good and bad. Too often, projects are seen as finished once the last of the money is spent, and they are considered a success if they are completed on time and on budget, regardless of whether they lead to genuine development. The report dryly notes, "Just because something is measurable doesn't mean that it is what should be assessed." Donors can exert a strong influence on the focuses and processes of aid agencies. Projects with government donors, for example, often place great importance on the need to be accountable and produce value-for-money, Brown said. Such aid work may be constrained by funding rounds, disbursement tranches, and the constant demand for project proposals and regular reports. Brown told IRIN that she had seen major differences within the same organization, depending on whether it was spending government money. She said such organizations could take more time and be more flexible when spending money they had raised themselves. Sean Lowrie, who leads the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies, argues that aid workers' own mindsets are also to blame. "There's a mental model for emergency response. We feel that we must be rushing around to save lives, and it's quite convenient because it gives us permission to operate

without getting into the messiness and inconvenience of beneficiary opinion," he said. "Also, donors have bought into this myth that they need to be focused to be effective, and this translates into conditionalities and earmarking, and these cascade from donor to UN to NGO to local NGO, and by the time the money gets to the front line, it's very difficult to respond to local priorities," Lowrie continued. He said his own organization had worked to persuade donors to provide nonearmarked funding. "By having this pot of money," he said, "we were able to save more lives." Wendy Fenton, coordinator of the Humanitarian Policy Network, who has spent 25 years working in international humanitarian and development aid, says the ideas in 'Time to Listen' are important and timely. "I think we should take it seriously," she told IRIN. "It comes from the same group, led by Mary Anderson, which originated the 'Do No Harm' concept in international assistance, and that is still there and it did have impact. I am optimistic that this will have that same kind of impact, because the problems of not listening have been talked about a lot in over the last five years or so. 'Time to Listen' will resonate with people because these issues are already being widely discussed in the humanitarian community." Source:



Zimbabwe says public account stood at $217 last week Z

imbabwe's Finance Minister TendaiBiti has said that the country only had $217 (£138) left in its public account last week after paying civil servants. However, he said that the following day some $30m of revenue had been paid in. Mr Bitisaid he made the revelation in order to emphasise that the government was unable to finance elections, not that it was insolvent. Polls are due this year, with President Robert Mugabe's ZanuPF fighting Mr Biti's Movement for Democratic Change. Mr Biti has previously complained that diamond mining companies have not been paying revenues to the government. The power-sharing government set up in 2009 ended years of hyperinflation by using the US dollar, but the economy remains fragile. Mr Bitisaid that his statement had been deliberately taken out of context. "You journalists are mischievous and malicious - the point I was making was that the Zimbabwean government doesn't

have the funds to finance the election, to finance the referendum," he said. "To dramatise the point, I simply made a passing reference metaphorically that when we paid civil servants last week on Thursday we were left with $217... but even the following day we had $30m in our

account." Zimbabwe needs nearly $200m (£127m) to pay for a referendum on a new constitution, as well as the election. The government-run Herald newspaper says Mr Biti and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa have been given the

task of sourcing this money from donors. Analysts say the power-sharing government has achieved some economic stability. However, high levels of unemployment mean the country's tax and revenue base remains extremely low. "We're in a challenging position, we're a small economy and we've got huge things to be done but… the minster for finance of Greece has an even worse story," Mr Bitisaid.



French troops enter last rebel stronghold


rench troops have taken control of the airport in the northern Malian town of Kidal, the last rebel stronghold in the north, according to the French army and a local official.

Thierry Burkhard, the French armed forces spokesman, confirmed on Wednesday that French troops were in Kidal and had taken control of the airport. "The operation is ongoing," he

French helicopter arrive in Kidal.


mining conglomerate, African Rainbow Minerals, which has interests in platinum, gold, coal and other minerals. He made most of his mining fortune through the government's black economic empowerment policy, which mandates that mining companies be at least 26% blackowned, says the BBC's PumzaFihlani in Johannesburg. The businessman also owns Pretoria-based football club MamelodiSundowns. Mr Motsepe made the announcement at an event in

human rights group has urged Somali authorities to drop charges against a woman who accused security forces of raping her. The woman, who has not been named, could face between three and six years in prison for insulting a government body and making a false accusation. Four others, including her husband and a journalist, have also been charged. US-based Human Rights Watch said the charges "made a mockery of the new Somali government's priorities". Last September, a new president was elected by MPs in a process backed by the UN. The new government is trying to rebuild Somalia after more than 20 years of conflict which saw clan-based warlords, rival politicians and Islamist militants battle for control of the country. Attorney General Abdulkadir Mohamed Muse brought charges against the five of insulting a government body and persuading someone to give false evidence or giving false evidence, among other accusations, in a court in the capital, Mogadishu, on Tuesday. The charged journalist, AbdiazizAbdinur Ibrahim, has been in detention since 10 January. Two days earlier he had interviewed the woman about the rape allegations, but did not report the story. The police allege he collected material for a news report by al-Jazeera about rape in camps for displaced people in Mogadishu. The Qatar-based news network has said Mr Ibrahim was not involved in its story. According to Human Rights Watch, the woman retracted her allegations after two days of police interrogation without a lawyer present.

said, declining to give further details. S e p a r a t e l y , HaminyBelcoMaiga, president of the regional assembly of Kidal, speaking to Reuters news agency, said: "They arrived late last night and they deployed in four planes and some helicopters." He said there were no immediate reports of resistance. Kidal would be the last of northern Mali's major towns to be retaken by French forces after they reached Gao and Timbuktu earlier this week in a campaign to drive alQaeda-linked fighters from Mali's north. France said the area had become a safe haven for fighters. Kidal is the capital of a desert region with the same name that the fighters are believed to have retreated to during nearly three weeks of French air attacks and an

advance by hundreds of ground troops. HaminyMaiga, the interim president of the Kidal regional assembly, said French forces met no resistance when they arrived late Tuesday. "The French arrived at 9:30 pm aboard four planes, which landed one after another. Afterwards they took the airport and then entered the town, and there was no combat," said Maiga, who had been in touch with people in the town by satellite phone as all the normal phone networks were down. "The French are patrolling the town and two helicopters are patrolling overhead," he added. On Tuesday, a secular Tuareg rebel group had asserted that they were in control of Kidal and other small towns in northern Mali. Maiga said those fighters had left Kidal and were at the entry posts on the roads from Gao and Tessalit.

Johannesburg, where on a live video link Microsoft founder Mr Gates praised his decision. He said he was also going to join the The Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Mr Gates and investor Mr Buffet in 2010. So far more than 70 billionaires have signed up to it. "I decided quite some time ago to give at least half of the funds generated by our family assets to uplift poor and other disadvantaged and marginalised South Africans but was also duty-bound and committed to ensuring that it would be done in a way that protects the interests and retains the confidence of our shareholders and investors," Mr Motsepesaid in a statement.

South Africa's richest black man, Patrice Motsepe, has announced he is giving away half his wealth to improve the lives of the poor.

Richest black South African donates half his wealth he mining magnate said the money would be handled by the Motsepe Foundation to address education and health issues. He said he was inspired by the word's two wealthiest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are encouraging billionaires to donate to charity. Mr Motsepe has a net worth of $2.65bn (£1.67bn), Forbes' rich list estimates. Born in the Soweto township, he is a lawyer by training and South Africa's first and only black billionaire. He founded the publicly traded

Somalia: Anger over woman charged after alleging rape


Asia and Middle East


ustralian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that elections will be held on September 14, announcing the date early to give "shape and order" to the year.Australians usually know only weeks before when an election


Australia PM announces September elections

will be held, but the Labour leader, whose minority government holds power by only a narrow margin, surprised pundits on Wednesday by giving close to nine months' notice.

"I do so not to start the nation's longest election campaign, quite the opposite," Gillard told the National Press Club in Canberra during a speech setting out the priorities for Labour in

the year ahead. "It should be clear to all which are the days of governing, and which are the days of campaigning." Gillard, who is tipped to lose the

Israel condemns Argentina-Iran probe


srael has strongly criticised Argentina for its decision to work with Iran to investigate a 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires. The "truth commission" will be made up of five independent judges, none of whom will be from the two countries. But an Israeli spokesman said the move was tantamount to "inviting a murderer to investigate his own killings". The Argentine ambassador, Atilio Norberto Molteni, was also summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry. Argentine courts have blamed Iran for the bombing of the cultural centre run by the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association (Amia), which killed 85 people. Tehran has always denied any involvement. If followed an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier. Argentine prosecutors say the

Amia attack was planned and financed by Iran, and carried out by the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement, Hezbollah. In 2006, they sought the extradition of eight Iranians believed to have been involved, including Iran's current Defence Minister, Gen Ahmed Vahidi. On Monday, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called the agreement to set up a judicial commission "historic", saying it guaranteed "the right to due process of law, a fundamental principle of international criminal law". However, the BBC's Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says that decision has both exasperated and angered the Israeli government and Jewish groups in Argentina. He says the Argentine ambassador in Tel Aviv was summoned on Tuesday for what was described as a "clarification talk".

election to conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott, said announcing the date of the polls would give individuals, businesses and investors the ability to plan ahead. "It gives shape and order to the year, and enables it to be one not of fevered campaigning, but of cool and reasoned deliberation," she said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Donors pledge $1.1bn for UN Syria aid operation


ore than $1.1bn (ÂŁ700m) has been pledged to help civilians affected by the conflict in Syria at a conference of international donors, the UN says. Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah opened the meeting with a donation of $300m, which was matched by the UAE and, reportedly, Saudi Arabia. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meanwhile appealed to all sides to stop fighting "in the name of humanity". As he spoke, Syrian state media blamed a rebel group for a massacre in Aleppo. The bodies of more than 70 men and teenaged boys were found on Tuesday on the banks of the River Quwaiq in the second city's rebel-held western district of Bustan al-Qasr. Most of the dead had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshots wounds to their heads, suggesting they were executed summarily. On Wednesday, the state news agency Sana reported that the families of the victims had "identified a number of the killed, stressing that the alNusra Front abducted them because of their refusal to co-operate".

Family members raise photographs of the victims demanding justice.

South Korea launches space rocket carrying satellite


outh Korea says its third attempt at launching a rocket to put a satellite in space has been a success. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) blasted off from the Naro Space Center at 16:00 (07:00 GMT). Science Minister Lee Ju-ho said the satellite, which will collect climate data, was in its correct orbit. The launch comes weeks after North Korea used its own Russia designed the first stage of the rocket. three-stage rocket to

place a satellite into orbit, sparking international criticism. South Korea's 140-tonne rocket, known as Naro, was built in partnership with Russia, which had agreed to work with Seoul for three launch attempts. Previous launches in 2009 and 2010 failed, and this attempt had been postponed twice for technical reasons. But officials said Wednesday's launch from the site 480km (298 miles) south of Seoul had gone as planned and that the rocket had reached its target altitude and deployed its satellite. "After analysing various data, the Naro rocket successfully put the science satellite into designated orbit," Mr Lee told reporters. He said

the satellite had detached 540 seconds after launch. "We now have leapt up a step to become a space-power nation," he said, adding that South Korea would use this "overwhelming moment as a strong, dynamic force" to help drive an independent space programme. The satellite, called Science and Technology Satellite-2C, is designed to collect climate data. The Yonhap news said it was expected to make contact with its ground station at 05:00 on Thursday, at which point its operators will be able to make the final judgement on whether the launch achieved its goals. South Korea does already have satellites in space, but they were launched from other countries.

On its first attempt to carry out a launch on its own soil, in 2009, the satellite failed to detach from the rocket in orbit. In 2010, the rocket exploded seconds after takeoff. Pressure for success has increased since North Korea launched a rocket that placed a satellite in orbit on 12 December. It followed the launch by announcing plans for a "high-level nuclear test" and more long-range rocket launches. The UN said the North Korean launch constituted a banned test of missile technology and voted to extend sanctions against Pyongyang. There have been international calls for Pyongyang not to carry out the nuclear test.



Europe and Americas David Cameron to visit Algeria for talks

Brazilian cities crack down on nightclubs after deadly fire


avid Cameron is to visit Algeria later in the wake of the hostage crisis that left up to six Britons dead. The UK prime minister will hold talks with his counterpart and the president. Mr Cameron will stress the strategic importance of Algeria in what he has called "the generational struggle" against alQaeda in North Africa. The UK is to send 330 military personnel to Algeria's neighbour Mali and West Africa to support French forces battling Islamist militants. The deployment will include as many as 40 military advisers in Mali and 200 British soldiers in neighbouring African countries, to help train the Malian army. French-led forces are continuing their offensive against militants who seized northern Mali last year. Mr Cameron will be the first UK prime minister to visit Algeria since its independence in 1962. He will also be attending an international development conference in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. He is expected to hold talks with Algerian Prime Minister AbdelmalekSellal and President AbdelazizBouteflika, with discussions likely to focus on the hostage crisis and the military campaign in Mali. BBC political editor Nick Robinson says Mr Cameron's aides are stressing that the troops being sent to the region are to be used for training, logistics and intelligence, and not combat. They talk of a temporary operation. But this trip is bound to heighten the demands on the prime minister to say not simply what he is not planning in North Africa, but to explain more about what exactly he is, our correspondent adds. Some 37 foreigners and at least 10 Algerians died after militants seized workers at Algeria's In Amenas gas plant earlier this month. The Foreign Office has confirmed that four Britons and one UK resident died, while a further two British nationals are feared dead. The Algerian government took the controversial decision to storm the site in the Sahara desert, which is jointly operated by BP. Algerian officials said the hostage-takers had been from six different nationalities and belonged to a new Islamist group that recently broke away from alQaeda. During the siege, one statement purporting to be from the captors called for an end to the French military intervention in Mali.

Mauro Hoffman (R) owner of the Boate Kiss nightclub turns himself in to police in Santa Maria.


ities across Brazil are cracking down on nightclubs to ensure that they comply with fire regulations after a weekend blaze destroyed a club in the southern university town of Santa Maria, killing 235 people. The fire was Brazil's deadliest in

half a century and the tragedy resonated across the country, with many people demanding those responsible be prosecuted and that the government tighten up on safety. Police said a flare that ignited the fire and was used by the band for visual effects was meant for outdoor

use, the club's emergency exit signs were not working and the only available exit was too small. Outraged Brazilians blame what they see as lax regulation and corrupt officials for the tragedy. There are fears that similar fires could break out at other clubs and public venues,

especially as the country gears up to host the soccer World Cup next year and the Olympic Games in 2016. Sensitivity is also growing in the run-up to next month's Carnival celebrations, which feature throngs of unruly revelers in parades and street parties in cities across the country. As funerals and an official investigation proceeded, government officials and lawmakers pressed for tougher laws. President DilmaRousseff, who visited Santa Maria over the weekend, urged local officials on Monday for more rigor in enforcing safety regulations. Cities across the country quickly responded. "We were all evidently shocked by the Santa Maria tragedy," BoscoSaraiva, the acting mayor of Manaus, a city of 2 million people in the Amazon region, told Reuters. "Yesterday we started a total cleanup." The campaign featured club inspections and city authorities closed 17 because of fire hazards and expired permits. Americana, a city in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo, issued a blanket order for all nightclubs to shut down temporarily while new safety standards are discussed.

France to deport 'foreign imams'


rench Interior Minister Manuel Valls has said that Paris is set to deport a string of religious imams as part of a fight against "global jihadism". "Several radical foreign preachers will be expelled in the coming days," Valls told a Brussels conference called to tackle extremism in Europe on Tuesday, without identifying any of the individuals concerned. "I don't confuse this Islam with the Islam of France but there is a religious environment, there are Salafist groupings, who are involved in a political process, whose aim is to monopolise

cultural associations, the schooling system," he added. "We will expel all these imams, all these foreign preachers who denigrate women, who hold views that run counter to our values and who say there is a need to combat France. "We have to be extremely firm and that I will be," he said. The move is part of a programme that France has carried for years against those who preach violence or considered to bet a threat to public order and French values. In last October, France expelled a Tunisian imam accused of calling his followers to "violent jihad" and

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls

Russia scraps law enforcement deal with U.S. in new blow to ties


ussia scrapped a law enforcement agreement with the United States on Wednesday, further turning back the clock on a "reset" in relations since President Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin last year.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

An order to end the deal, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, was posted on the government's website. It said the agreement, under which Washington provides financial assistance for law enforcement and drugs control programs, "does not

address current realities and has exhausted its potential". Lawmaker Alexei Pushkov, a Putin ally who heads the parliamentary committee on international affairs, welcomed the move. "Russia is reformatting its relationship with the USA: this is already the third agreement cancelled in the last half-year. We are saying farewell to our dependence on 'Power No. 1'," he said on Twitter. Since Putin's return to the Kremlin in May, his foreign policy rhetoric has become increasingly focused on external threats, including from the United States which Russia has accused of trying to meddle in Russian politics. Moscow was infuriated by a U.S. human rights bill that barred Russians accused of human rights abuses from entering the United States and freezed any assets they have there. It responded with a bill in December imposing similar measures and banned the adoption of Russian children by American families, clouding what

was left of the "reset" in ties hailed by U.S. President Barack Obamaat the start of his first term. Moscow also outlawed U.S.-funded "non-profit organizations that engage in political activity" and last October ordered the U.S. Agency for International Development to cease operations in Russia, saying Washington was using the mission to interfere in politics. The government statement on Wednesday said Russia's Foreign Ministry had been told to inform U.S. authorities about the withdrawal from the 11-year-old law enforcement agreement. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow declined immediate comment. Russia announced last October that it was withdrawing from a decades-old agreement under which Washington helped it dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons. Russia argued it now had the power and finances to carry out disarmament itself.



First capsule hotel with fifty windowless pods opens in Moscow I

t's not exactly a room with a view - but this hotel in Russia could be many travellers' answer to a good night's sleep. Located in the centre of Moscow, the Sleepbox Hotel is the first capsule hotel to open in the city.

Manallegedly commits robbery to pay for girlfriend's probation


hat a catch.Marquis Baldwin, 22, of Pensacola, Fla., allegedly robbed four businesses between Nov. 20 and Jan. 9 in an attempt to get enough money to pay off his girlfriend's probation fees, according to the Press-Register. Three of those robberies involved Waffle House restaurants, according to WKRG. Baldwin also allegedly robbed a Kangaroo gas station. Police say surveillance footage ultimately led them to Baldwin, and that after his arrest, he told them he committed the crimes so he could pay for costs related to his girlfriend's probation. According to, all of the woman's probation fees were paid off by the time of the final robbery. He has been charged with four counts of armed robbery and six counts of aggravated assault, and is being held on $80,0000 in the Escambia County Jail.

It features fifty cramped, windowless pods, some of which which can sleep up to three people, and which can be booked for the night, or for a matter of hours. A night's accommodation is reported to cost around ÂŁ32 ($50). Each modular capsule is kitted out with a bed, shelf, lamp, small wardrobe and table, while shared bathrooms are fitted with a shower. Already a hit in Japan, the capsule hotel features a number of identikit rooms measuring around 10 square metres intended to provide cheap and basic overnight

and female sleeping quarters. In the UK, YO! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe came up with the idea for the YO! hotel chain after seeing the capsule concept in Japan. The first Yotel opened at Gatwick South Terminal in 2007, offering travellers a pay-as-you-go base. Staffing is kept to a minimum: guests check themselves in, while the purple-coloured pod rooms cover essential needs. Mr Woodroffe boasted of the high quality of the rooms describing them as 'luxury liner meets The

Fifth Element'. He added that they included flat screen TVs, rotating beds and broadband internet access. Yotel managing director Gerard Greene said: 'The rooms are very comfortable, highly fitted, with things like the leather you would get in an Aston Martin 'It is the look of a four or five-star hotel.' Further Yotels have since opened at Heathrow Terminal 4 and Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, and near Times Square in New York.

'Tampon Girl' marries guy for eatinghuman poop

Giovanna Plowman


Marquis Baldwin

accommodation for guests not requiring the services offered by more conventional hotels. Space-saving hotels in Japan are often located near railway stations and cater for business people or commuters who have missed the last train home. The absence of windows ensures the hotels can be erected in such unlikely sites as underground stations. One capsule hotel in central Tokyo boasts more than 600 pods. Many are used primarily by men and some have separate male

at your heart out, Will and Kate.A woman who apparently put a used, bloody tampon in her mouth and a man who posted a video of himself eating ice cream laced with human feces have wed in holy Facebook matrimony. The Daily Dot reports that 'Tampon Girl,' as the Internet has dubbed 15-year-old Buffalo resident Giovanna Plowman,

recently changed her Facebook relationship status to married to Dino Bruscia, another New York teen who gained online infamy for poop eating. The news comes shortly after Plowman's tampon video went viral, earning her instant Internet fame and a slew of hate-filled tweets. The graphic tampon video is below. Plowman's sudden stardom seemed to initially irk Bruscia,

who sent out the tweet: "Still trying to overcome the fact a b---h who sends all her nude parts eats a tampon with blood out famed me in 1 day." But it looks like the two have decided to join forces in an effort to siphon off each other's Twitter and Facebook followers. Both have sent out tweets asking their fans to follow them both. For whatever it's worth,

Plowman has much more social cache, boasting 229,000 Facebook followers and 27,000 Twitter followers to Bruscia's 23,000 and 2,000, respectively. Gawker reports that the two, who are probably not actually married, may have set their sights on the girl who released a video of herself apparently having sex with a dog.

Two men stole $65,000 In Chicken Wings Amid Shortage- Cops


Dewayne Patterson with Renaldo Jackson

he War of the Wings has begun.Two storage workers in Georgia are accused of stealing $65,000 worth of frozen chicken wings amid a high nationwide demand for the delicious Super Bowl snack. Dewayne Patterson, 35 and Renaldo Jackson, 26, allegedly used a rental truck on Jan. 12 to steal 10 warehouse pallets of frozen wings from Nordic Cold Storage in Lawrenceville, WSB-TV reported today. The two allegedly pulled the heist in the middle of the day.

Jackson reportedly used a forklift to load the wings while Patterson acted as a lookout. They were arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of felony theft, AJC reports. They were later released on $2,950 bond. The wings, however, were never found. It's a theft most fowl because wings are expected to reach record prices during the Super Bowl this year. Chicken farmers argue that feed prices are growing following a higher demand for wings in restaurants, leaving football fans bracing for a shortage.



People waiting to buy kerosene, yesterday at NNPC retail station, in Dutse, Jigawa state.

Photo: NAN

FG to complete Kano bridge in 18 months By Miriam Humbe


he Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen has assured that work on the Kwandila bridge in Kano state embarked upon by the federal government along KanoKaduna highway will be completed within 18 months. While receiving the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Bashir Mohammed who led a delegation comprising of other senators and his constituents from Kano on a solidarity visit to President Jonathan and the minister Tuesday, Onolememem said when completed, the project would ease traffic congestion and reduce accidents in the state.

“The projects we have in Kano have been well selected to foster the President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda”, he said, adding that the dual carriageway projects in Lagos will also be replicated in Kano. The minister appealed to stakeholders from Kano to see the federal government projects in their state as their own and also protect the infrastructure in order to ensure they are not abused. “You must be on guard so that when the project is completed, it will not be vandalised”, he said. While speaking with newsmen, the minister said, “This one is connected to KanoMaiduguri dualisation. The

state of work on the KanoMaiduguri road dualisation as we speak, has reached well over 45 percent completion. All the challenges we were having on that project that tended to slow down the work on that project have been unbundled. “Thanks to President


he current onslaught against Islamic rebels in Mali has prompted the federal government to heighten security measures around airports in Nigeria to forestall any retaliatory action by the rebel perceived to have links with the dreaded Boko Haram fighters in northern Nigeria. Parts of the security measures, it was gathered in Lagos, include a review of the Mali unrest led by By Adeola Tukuru


he President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Mustafa Balarabe Shehu Tuesday revealed that it has been proven that Nigeria loses billions of dollars every year to rapid encroachment of desert into arable farmlands. Engr. Mustafa stated this Tuesday during the inauguration of the Nigerian society of Engineers Taming African Deserts (NSETAD) Governing council/Boards. He explained that the aim of the inauguration was the involvement of the NSE in the

French forces against the rebels and how to avoid any attack on any of the nations’ airport facilities. A meeting presided over by the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Dr. Harold Demuren with security operatives at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos was said to have taken stock of the situation. Those present at the meeting include representatives of the

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, yesterday disclosed that about N150 billion is needed to resettle the indigenes of Abuja. The FCT minister disclosed this in a brief to members of the

Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Airforce, airport police command, immigrations, customs, external affairs, Federal Road Safety Corps, the State Security Service, FAAN Director of Security, aviation security team from the NCAA and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). Our reporter gathered that security has also been beefed up at other airports across the country, especially the international class.

Nigeria loses billions yearly to desert encroachment - NSE fight against desertification and to actualize the primary vision of FADE Africa using NSE –TAD as the special purpose vehicle. He added that the NSE, in recognition of the global impact and magnitude of the project, elicited the support of the West African Federation of Engineering Organizations (WAFEO), the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) towards its

Committee on Works, Senator Bashir Mohammed while speaking, expressed appreciation to the Senate President who according to him, gave him the portfolio under which he was able to influence the project to his state.

Resettlement of FCT indigenes to gulp N150bn

Mali crisis: FG beefs up security around airports From Suleiman Idris, Lagos

Jonathan, the work is still ongoing and as we speak, the tempo of activities on that road has increased. I can say there are better days ahead as far as KanoMaiduguri road and indeed, all major roads in the country are concerned”, the minister said. Vice Chairman, Senate

realization. In his words : “Researchers have measured the degradation of the planet’s soil using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA),a scientific methodology that analyses the environmental impact of human activities and which now for the first time included indicators on desertification. The results show that 38% of the world is made up of arid regions at risk of desertification”.

Senate and House of Representatives Committee on FCT, during a joint public hearing by the committee on the Bill seeking to set up an FCT Board of Internal Revenue and establish property tax in FCT. He stated that efforts are being made to ensure that the rights and privileges of FCT indigenes are respected, adding that there are still some gaps that needs to be filled. In addition, he expressed joy that the bill had taken care of the welfare of the indigenes, promising that the funds generated by the FCT Board of IGR would be properly utilized

for the provision of infrastructure for the citizens. Responding, the lead chairman, who is also the chairman of the senate committee on FCT, Smart Adeyemi, said that the intention of the committee was to pass the bill before the first quarter of 2013 ends. He explained that no group has opposed the bill, but only raised issues that would be factored into the bill, adding that the most important aspect of the bill seeks to develop FCT’s remote towns to reduce concentration in areas like Wuse, Maitama, among others.

Boko Haram cease fire: NBA, lawyers urge caution


he Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), has urged the Federal Government to be wary of the conditions given by the Boko Haram sect for a ceasefire. Chairman, Ikeja branch of the NBA, Mr. Oyekachi Ubani made this known yesterday in Ikeja in reaction to the declaration of a ceasefire by the sect on Monday. He urged the Federal Government to take the conditions given with “a pinch of salt’’. The sect had spelt out several conditions for the ceasefire, which includes the release of its detained members, as well as rebuilding a burnt mosque belonging to its late leader. “Such proposal by these fundamentalists should only be

taken with a pinch of salt as this was not the first time such promises were made…and they ended up breaching it”, Ubani said. He added:“I do not think the person making the proposal was doing so on behalf of several other sects that have emerged from Northern Nigeria.’’ Ubani urged government to adopt a critical approach to the situation, adding that if their initial demands were not met, they may open fire even after their present demands were fulfilled. A Lagos based lawyer, Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson in his reaction, said it was not advisable for the government to accept such conditions from an external “antagonistic power’’. (NAN)



Yero will follow Yakowa’s footsteps, says aide INTERVIEW


hat is your opinion on recent developments in Kaduna state following the demise of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa? I wish to first of all condole with the entire people of Kaduna state over the death of our amiable governor, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. It was indeed a tragedy and a loss that is irreparable because of the tremendous experience he had in the Public Service. And for the new governor, you will agree with me that Muktar Ramalan Yero has started very well. So far, he has distributed 40 vans to the Operation Yaki security outfit within such a short period of time and in the area of portable water supply, he has also consolidated on the efforts of his predecessor by giving various water resources equipment to the Kaduna state Water Board. And he has also succeeded in giving out the assistance which was initiated by the late Yakowa, to the victims of the 2011 post-presidential election violence. Churches, mosques and house owners were given assistance. Each of the affected house owner was given N150,000. Mosques and churches were given N100,000 each. So, in a nutshell, the governor has started on a good note and Insha Allah, he is going to succeed because in leadership, if one wants to succeed, one has to be humble, God-fearing, transparent sincere and just. Allah has bestowed all these qualities on Muktar Ramalan Yero and he had a very good upbringing, his father being a great disciplinarian. And, when he was Deputy Governor, there was never a time he had a quarrel with his boss because of the fantastic upbringing he has. His boss, the late governor was a complete gentleman and that was why the relationship succeeded and now as the governor, he has started exhibiting the excellent qualities in him. So, with prayers and cooperation from the good people of Kaduna state, he will succeed. But some of his critics hold the view that Yero is rather too young to be governor. What do you think? It is not true. He is not too young to be governor. If you look at the history of Kaduna state, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa became governor in 1979 at the age of 43 years and he did very well as governor. During his time, Kaduna and Katsina states were together. That means that Balarabe Musa at 43 was governor of a state that if it were today would have had 57 local government areas because presently Katsina has 34 local councils and Kaduna has 23. And, as at that time too, Balarabe Musa did not have a majority at the House of Assembly. He was from the PRP while the

Following the sudden demise of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna state, his erstwhile deputy, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, was sworn-in as the substantive governor, at the age of 44. Above all other considerations, his critics have consistently described Yero as too young to handle a complex state as Kaduna, known for its intermittent violent ethno-religious eruptions. But in this interview with Agaju Madugba, the Governor’s Special Adviser on Religious Affairs (Islamic matters), Sheikh Haliru Maraya, delves into history to prove that apart from the former the former governor who is now Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Yero is indeed the oldest to hold that position, among successive governors of Kaduna state, beginning from Alhaji Balarabe Musa.

Sheikh Haliru Maraya Legislature then was dominated by the NPN and that was why after sometime, they succeeded in impeaching him. This clearly shows that age is not a barrier to good governance. The same age factor also came to play during the Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi’s administration which started in 1999. Makarfi was born in 1956, and also became governor on May 29, 1999. That means he became our governor at the age of 42 years and nine months. Despite his age, he succeeded in bringing good governance to Kaduna state. This clearly shows that age is not a barrier to good governance. Now, coming to Muktar Ramalan Yero, he was born on May 21, 1968 and he was sworn in as Kaduna state Governor on December 16, 2012. That means he became a governor at the age of 44 years, seven months and 15 days. That also means that on the day he became governor, he was older than Balarabe Musa and Makarfi when they became governors of Kaduna state. And, if you look at Nigeria as a whole, Gen. Yakubu Gowon was born in 1934 and he became the country’s Head of State in 1966, at the age of 32 and took charge of the affairs of this country for nine years, 12 years younger than the age of Alhaji Ramalan Yero. Also, from the Islamic point of view, as far as age is concerned and as it

affects leadership, I want people to understand that once you attain the age of 15, you are considered matured in Islam. That was why, in the eighth year of Hijira, which was in 630 A.D. Gregorian calendar, Prophet Mohammed together with his companions conquered the city of Mecca. After the conquest, he appointed Atap Ibn Assid to be the first governor of the city of Mecca and Atap was only 18 years old. In this case, Ramalan Yero is not 18, he is not 30, he is not 40 but he is 44 years old and he is qualified to be a leader in all ramifications of leadership. So, people should stop saying that Yero became governor at a very tender age and that because of that, he may not succeed. That is incorrect. What we need now is for the good people of Kaduna state, regardless of religion, political affiliations and ethnic origins, to continue to pray for the success of our humble governor. Sections of the southern Kaduna people feel aggrieved arguing that the governorship seat has returned to the northern part of the state Majority of the good people of southern Kaduna state practice Christianity and the doctrine is based on the Holy Bible which says that power belongs to God and He gives it to whoever He wishes. Ramalan Yero did not seek to be

governor of Kaduna state. Unknowingly, Allah had decreed that he was to be sworn-in as the governor . He did not campaign to be a governor because he knew that it was not his time but Allah had decreed that Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa’s lifespan would end on December 15, 2012. Constitutionally, whenever a governor dies, his deputy is automatically sworn-in as the governor and that was what happened. Yero did not usurp power and nobody expected that he would be governor, only Allah knew that he would be governor from that fateful day. In the Holy Koran too, Allah says that power belongs to Him and He gives it whoever He wishes. So, it is better we stop saying that power belongs to one particular zone or another. Power belongs to the Almighty Allah. When Allah decreed that Yakowa was going to be governor, he became governor in spite of all the odds against him then because that was the wish of Allah. What we all require now is to cooperate with the new governor and his government so that our state can move forward. The Governor has also received knocks over his recent appointments. What is your view on these appointments? People should pray that Allah helps the new governor to succeed because if he succeeds, it is to the credit of the entire people of Kaduna state. Everybody knows that Yakowa treated all and sundry with utmost justice, equity and fair play and I want to reaffirm that Yero does not harbour religious sentiments just like his predecessor. As we all know, whenever a new person becomes governor, it is traditions for him to look at some critical offices and appoint people he thinks are the best to help him, according to his perception. Yakowa appointed a Muslim as his Special Adviser (Political) which clearly signifies that he had no religious sentiments and in the same vein, when Yero became governor, he appointed a Christian to that position in the person of Hon. Madani Garba Madani. In making the recent appointments, Yero considered merit and he emulated his predecessor. When Yakowa became governor of the state, he appointed Chief Abokie Galadima as his Chief of Staff. He was appointed based on merit, without consideration for religion. He (Yakowa) appointed Hon Yohanna Allah Magani as his Principal

Private Secretary and he appointed Reuben Buhari as his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity. In the same vein, when Allah transferred power to Ramalan Yero as the governor, he appointed Alhaji Yahaya Aminu as his Chief of Staff and according to the governor’s perception, he is the best person for that position and he appointed Ahmed Mayaki as his Director-General, Media and Publicity and that too was based on merit and he appointed Ismaila Aliyu as his Principal Private Secretary. If you say these appointments have religious undertones because he is a Muslim, which means indirectly you are saying that Yakowa too had religious bias because these positions were also occupied by Christians before his death. But that opinion is not correct. What steps do you think the governor should take towards handling Kaduna which has been described as a complex state, given its multiplicity of ethnic and religious composition? Nothing is beyond the power of Allah who made Yero the governor of Kaduna state. My prayer is that Allah will assist him exhibit good leadership qualities as governor and as I said earlier, he is humble, God-fearing, sincere and just to everyone regardless of religion or ethnic background. He is governor for all and he has said that on several occasions. He is not governor for a particular senatorial zone as his constituency is the entire Kaduna state. He should also make concerted efforts not to listen to gossips because one of the fundamental qualities of a leader is to keep himself away from people who gossip and when a case is brought before him he should not pass judgment based on one side of the story. With the settlement of the victims of the 2011 riots, does it mean that the displaced persons have vacated the various camps? The governor had on that day pleaded with the internally displaced persons across the state to leave their camps because government has given them what they were waiting for. I know that the people involved are Godfearing and they promised that as soon as they collect the welfare package, they would leave the camps and I call on them to reciprocate the governor’s gesture by vacating the camps.



CPC reverses Gamawa’s dismissal, investigates Bauchi caretaker c’ttee By Umar Muhammad Puma


he National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has upturned the purported expulsion of Senator Suleiman Nazeef Gamawa, who represented Bauchi North Senatorial District from the in Gamawa Local Government of Bauchi State. National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Buba Galadima, said yesterday in Abuja that the NEC, during its management meeting, reversed the action of the state chapter of the party who had accused the Senator of refusing to recognise the caretaker committee. Galadima also said the National Chairman of the party, Prince Tony Momoh, has been asked to investigate the matter between Tuesday’s and next NEC meeting of the party. “There were two resolutions concerning the entire problems surrounding the Senator Suleiman Nazeef Gamawa’s position in the party, one is that the suspension, expulsion or whatever you may call it has been quashed by the NEC of the party and it is also resolved that the National Chairman will investigate the matter between our meeting yesterday (Tuesday) and our next meeting to find out who are responsible for such decision from the ward level to the local government and state level with a view to discipline anybody that is found culpable. “The entire issue, as the NEC observes, is that of interest of

certain people to cause disharmony and further fractionalise the party in the state, therefore we are taking severe disciplinary measure against anyone who might have hand in this crisis to serve as a deterrent to those who might want to polarise the party; the party cannot tolerate this kind of indiscipline and open selfishness by officials or whoever,” Galadima said.

When asked what actions would be taken against the ward caretaker committee, he said since the National Chairman of the party would be investigating the issue and those found wanting would be accordingly dealt with, the outcome of the investigation would determine the actions that would be taken. He added that when the issue was first brought to the party

last week during their management meeting, the Bauchi Caretaker Committee as the complainant were asked to stay action on their threat until proper investigation is carried out by the national executive of the party and that taking a unilateral action without waiting for the outcome of the party officials looking into the matter should not be allowed to stay.

L - R Minister of State for works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Minister of Works, Arch. Mike Onolomemen and Senator Bashir Garba Lado, Representing Kano Central Senatorial District, when the senator lead a delegation from kano to pay courtesy visit to works Ministry on the Construction of Kundila flyover in Kano, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Minister urges political understanding among tiers of government


nformation Minister Labaran Maku yesterday urged the three tiers of government to align their political differences and work for the progress of the country. Maku made the call in Abakaliki during the good governance tour of the state. “There is need for a synergy between the three tiers government to work toward the progress of the nation’s democracy,” he said. Maku, who is leading the team, said the tour was all about the people and not the government, noting that development and progress was not about age but leadership. “Progress is not about age but leadership issue and proper management of available resources. “The good governance tour of states is a constructive engagement where progress, problems and prospects of the tiers in a particular state are x-rayed,” he explained. The minister said the tour was also designed to address the challenges of the country’s democracy in the past 14 years.

“Our culture of democracy is still problematic. We often criticise and condemn what is on ground. “This tour will expose the silent transformations going on in various states of the federation and at the same time prove critics right or wrong in their assessments,” he said. The minister advised politicians to see themselves as arrow heads projected by God to lead. He added that the team’s findings at each state would be

beamed to the rest of the world via the social and conventional media. Responding, Gov. Martin Elechi described the tour as healthy for the country and its democracy”. “The tour will help Nigeria to advance in all facets of the economy as the team should be able to tell the world the truth about each state’s development strides,” he said. Elechi said the state government was anchored on three policies of civil service

reform, attitudinal change and infrastructure development. He said the success and advancement of any society depended on the three areas. The News of Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team later inspected some federal and state projects in the state. The projects included the dualisation of a portion of the Abakaliki-Enugu expressway, the new central bank building, the new secretariat at Ochudo City and the international market. (NAN)

Commissioner rates Anambra high in projects execution


he Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Anambra, Prof. Stella Okunna, has said that the state has executed at least 180 projects. Assessing the visit of the national good governance team to the state last week, Okunna told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka yesterday that the team visited only 15 projects because of time constraints.

She listed some of the projects visited by the team to include the state university teaching hospital in Awka, the water scheme, the Kenneth Dike Library, schools and some roads. The commis s i o n e r , w h o also chaired the Anambra good governance team, rated the state high in the execution of projects, noting that its activities were in line with the UNDP

and the MDGs programmes. Okunna recalled that the state was the first to canvass for good governance with the establishment of a monitoring team on its activities. She commended the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, and the team for pointing out the weaknesses and strengths of the state. (NAN)

Tinubu, Fagbenle others condole with Ositelu’s family


he former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has condoled with the family of the late veteran sports analyst, Deacon Ayo Ositelu, describing his demise as a blow to the sports industry. Tinubu, in a condolence message to the family yesterday in Lagos, also urged the sporting press to bear the irreparable loss. “Ositelu was well-known for his stewardship in sports development for decades; he was a general in this area and comported himself well. He will be sorely missed,’’ he said. Also paying tribute to the late Ositelu who was popularly known as the “Arena,’’ the publisher of Complete Sports, Sunny Ojeagbase, said he lived a good life. “Baba Hellennsky, you lived a great life and touched countless souls, may the family you left behind find the favour of man and God,’’ the publisher said. In his tribute, veteran newspaper columnist, Bisi Lawrence, said that “if encomiums could bring Arena back, he would resurrect’’. He also described the late sports analyst as a complete gentleman, adding that Ositelu dabbled into politics to develop the youths. “Some men are gentle by nature, some others are gentlemen, in stature, Ositelu was a gentle gentleman. “His venture into politics was occasioned by the opportunities he saw to offer sound community development to the youth,’’ he said. Another veteran newspaper columnist, Tunde Fagbenle, described Ositelu as a sports writer par excellence, adding that budding journalists should emulate his work ethics. “No writer, not even Esbee of the old Daily Times, captures the sports mood and captivates the readers with sports writing as Ositelu, especially in tennis, where Ayo writes beautifully,’’ Fagbenle said. The Chairman of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Tunde Savage, said Ositelu would be fondly remembered for his fatherliness in the newsroom. “Deacon will be fondly remembered for his good heart, fatherliness and love for us, his professional children in the newsroom, rest in peace,’’ Savage said. Ositelu, who died in his Lagos home on Jan. 9 while watching the friendly match between Nigeria and the Cape Verde Islands, will be buried in his home town, Ogere in Ogun on Feb. 2. (NAN)



Nigerian Bar Association says prison sentence for ex-pension director is ridiculous


he Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ibadan branch, says the two years prison sentence handed to former Director of the Police Pension Board, John Yusufu, by an Abuja High Court is ridiculous. The Chairman of the association, Mr Oluseun Abimbola, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan yesterday. Abimbola said that the sentence was not in any way commensurate with the crime, adding that it would be difficult to say that justice was truly delivered. “To say that it borders on the ridiculous is an understatement. If someone steals billions and you are asking him to pay a fine of a few thousands and he forfeits assets of a few millions, which he disclosed to you, there is probably a lot more than that undisclosed to you that he gets to keep and you call that justice?” Responding to the plea bargaining legal tool purported to have been considered in determining the said judgment, Abimbola called for caution in the manner it should be applied. “Some people who have supported the plea bargaining structure without a proper knowledge of how it functions in other jurisdictions would be defending that? “In other jurisdictions where you have plea bargaining, it’s not meant to be a slap on the wrist. It is not meant to be a push behind the head and told to go and sin no more. It is meant to deter. “If your crime is such that entitles a court to sentence you to a maximum term of whether life or 25 years, what happens in other jurisdictions, particularly cases that ordinarily would have entitled you to 25 years, you will do 10; you will do 7 years not months.” He argued that if care was not taken, the plea bargaining structure would become part of the corruption the nation would have to deal with, especially on the part of the prosecution. Abimbola also called for a review of some of the nation’s laws prescribing the different sentences and terms of imprisonment, describing them as deficient. NAN reports that Yusufu confessed to embezzling N23.3 billion and was sentenced on Monday to two years imprisonment by an Abuja High Court. He was, however, given an option of N750,000 fine on the three-count charge he pleaded guilty to, while he forfeited his property valued at N325 million. (NAN)

State Coordinator, Conference of Imo Youths, Mr Kennedy Ibe, speaking to journalists, during their solidarity march in support of Governor Rochas Okorocha, yesterday in Owerri. Photo: NAN

Reps release Public Session's results today By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives Ad hoc committee on constitution amendment will today release the result of its Public Session conducted across the nation's 360 federal constituencies on the review of the 1999 constitution to the public. The collated results, according to the Clerk of the committee, Chinedu Akubueze, will be presented at the event to be held at the House of Representatives during which

the voting pattern on all the issues itemised in the template for voting during the sessions will be unveiled as decided by Nigerians at each federal constituency. According to the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee on Constitution Review, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the public unveiling today is in keeping faith with the commitment made by the House of Representatives to make the process of the peoples public sessions and indeed, the entire constitution amendment

exercise transparent and accountable to the Nigerian people. Representatives of labour, trade unions, students, women, professional groups and other stakeholders have been invited to the programme. They are the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and National Council for

Women Societies (NCWS), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), National Youth Council, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and representatives of civil society organizations. Also invited to the ceremony which will be presided over by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, are chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum, and Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures.

Enugu residents laud good governance tour


cross section of Enugu residents have lauded the good governance tour led by Information Minister Labaran Maku. Some of them, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday, said the tour afforded them the opportunity to be aware of government policies and programmes. The Chairman of Nkanu East Local Government Area, Mr Sam Iyiogwe, said the tour exposed him to several socio-

economic issues at all levels of government. “The visit is an eye opener to many of us in leadership positions. It made me revisit some of my programmes for the council,’’ he said. Iyiogwe commended the minister for initiating the tour, saying that it would address some of the problems facing the nation. A member of a civil society organisation in the state, Mrs Florence Aneke, urged other tiers of government to emulate the initiative, to bring the people

closer to government. “If state governments and local government councils organise such tours, it will reduce suspicion, gossip and rumours being peddled in the state. “Officials of state and local governments do not appreciate the need for town hall meetings. They prefer praise singing,’’ she said. Aneke said the tour afforded the people the opportunity to discuss issues concerning their welfare.

The traditional Ruler of Udi kingdom, Igwe Chris Ogakwu, said the tour came at the right time when the state was facing challenges, especially with the absence of the governor. He commended the Acting Governor, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi, for living up to expectation and holding forth for Gov Sullivan Chime. NAN reports that the good governance team left Enugu state for Ebonyi in continuation of the tour of the South East Zone. (NAN)



Governance in Nigeria complex, says Wada From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


apt Idris Wada, the Kogi State Governor has described governance in Nigeria as complex and one that demands so much pressure from those in authority. He called for continuous prayers from the people to enable his administration succeed. The governor made the appeal for prayers for leaders in position of authorities when he received National Women Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, led by Dr Mrs Kema Chikwe, and the leadership of the Kogi State Christian Community led by Most Rev Bishop Emmanuel Egbunu. Wada described traveling by air as the safest means of transportation saying having flown 15,000 nautical miles in his thirty five year career as a Pilot, he wondered how he would have been involved in a ghastly motor accident with the two tyres of his car removed in a one hour thirty minute drive on a smooth road from Ayingba to Lokoja. He noted that since the business of governance requires leaders to be mobile, that he pointed out, adds extra pressure on those who govern. Wada thanked the PDP Women leaders for their concern and the Christian community for their prayers after the auto crash even as he described his survival as an act of God. The governor commended the state Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, for being able to steer the ship of state in his absence

stressing that he had been able to establish a government that will run without any one present. He called for peaceful coexistence in the state just as he commended the inter religious harmony that was displayed by people of different religions during his trying moments declaring that such should be emulated in the country. Wada noted that one lesson the

auto crash has taught him was to re dedicate himself to service even as he assured that in spite of the challenges the state is currently passing through, it will witness the desired transformation and sustainable development under his administration. In their separate speeches, Chikwe thanked God for the governor’s survival and added that the governor’s positive

disposition to women in governance made the women to show their concern during the crash. Also speaking, Rev. Egbunu commended the governor’s positive disposition to religious harmony just as he described him as an example and one who has made a positive statement by his believe in the Nigerian health care delivery system.

L -R: Acting Director Genaral of NTA, Engineer Musa Maiyeki, Senate President David Mark, and Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola, during the DG's visit to the National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kuku cautions ex-militant leaders against unguarded comments


he Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Kingsley Kuku, has appealed to leaders of former militants to eschew unguarded comments capable of heating up the nation’s polity. This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by Mr Daniel Alabrah, the Head of Media and Communications of the office. Kuku said the appeal became necessary in the light of recent development involving some of the top leaders of the former

agitators in the Niger Delta. “The Amnesty Office views with serious concern, comments credited to some of them as reported in the media in recent weeks. “My appeal to the leaders of the former agitators is to be circumspect in their comments. “They need to be cautious about what they say as it could convey a different meaning to different people and unnecessarily heat up the Niger Delta and the country at large.’’ The Presidential aide, who

said that unguarded comments had the potential to inflame passion, urged the embattle leaders to close ranks and not be seen to be fighting themselves. He advised them continue to utilise all the available channels of communicating their grievances to the government, particularly through the amnesty office. Kuku assured them that his office “is always open to them.” The aide, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP),

said approved stipends were paid into agitators’ bank accounts at the end of every month and not through any of their former leaders. “Let me emphasise that we do not pay the monthly stipend of these former agitators through their former leaders. “Rather, we do so through the individual bank account details they gave to my office. “This is an incontrovertible fact that can be verified from any of the banks we use.’’ (NAN)

Governors Dankwabo, Orji, 5 others bag awards By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


overnors Theodore Orji of Abia state and Ibrahim Dankwanbo of Gombe state have been votedVerbatim magazine persons of the year for 2012 for outstanding performances by the editorial board and management of the Abuja based media outfit. Five other prominent Nigerians, including Dr. Obinna Uzoh, chairman of Gocuz Group of Companies; Professor Dibu Ojerinde, registrar of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB); Dr. Paul Orhii, DirectorGeneral of the National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Abubakar Muhammed, Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and Dr. Uche Ejiogu, Executive Chairman of the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board, are also billed to receive awards in various categories. A press release issued by the management of Verbatim News Network Limited, publishers of the magazine explained that the winners of the 2012 edition of Verbatim Persons of the Year will be formally honoured at an investiture ceremony scheduled for February 7, 2013, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The release signed by Tobs Agbaegbu, the magazine’s editorin-chief, said that “Verbatim Person of the Year is a concept designed to select and honour men, women or institution(s) adjudged by Verbatim Editorial Board, with inputs from a cross section of Nigerians, to have most positively provided excellent service in categories ranging from good governance, legislation, exemplary service (public and private) and philanthropy in Nigeria, in a particular year. He disclosed that the February 7 event will be chaired by Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Deputy Senate President while a lecture on: “The role of the Nigeria media in national transformation” will be delivered by Professor Tijjani Obande, Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS. Verbatim magazine is an investigative magazine published by former editors of Newswatch magazine.

Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly calls for new state for South East


he Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly has called on the Federal Government to create one additional state in the South East for equity, justice and fairness. The call is contained in a communiqué released in Enugu yesterday following its one-day meeting on Tuesday. The assembly also said the

process of producing a constitution that truly reflected the aspirations of Nigerians could not be the sole responsibility of members of the National Assembly. It called for legitimacy in the process of defining a constitution for Nigeria, to lay the basis for the resolution of most of the challenges that threatened the unity of the country.

The assembly stressed the need for the convocation of a national conference that would afford Nigerians a genuine platform to dialogue and permit the emergence of a truly peoples constitution. It added that such a conference would correct the structural imbalance in the country. It said the current zonal arrangement was fundamental to the

sustenance of the corporate existence and survival of the country. The assembly resolved that local government councils should be autonomous in terms of management, funding and governance. It called on the government to muster the courage and will to decisively fight the scourge of corruption in the country.

The assembly also called for the removal of the National Youth Service Corps Act from the constitution to pave the way for its review from time to time as circumstances warranted. It expressed appreciation to the Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, Mr Peter Obi of Anambra, the government and people of Anambra and Enugu states for their hospitality. (NAN)



Amadu laments Nigeria’s lost glory in football


he General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Musa Amadu has lamented the country’s steady decline in football, but added that efforts are being made said on Wednesday that the country must work to reclaim its lost glory in football. Amadu was reacting to the Super Eagles’ lacklustre performances in recent times, especially at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. He said though the team had qualified for the quarterfinals of AFCON, its poor form in recent times was responsible for its wobbly start in the competition. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Eagles’ had struggled to survive its first two matches against the Stallions of Burkina Faso and the Chipolopolo of Zambia. A scrappy 2-0 win over Ethiopia in their last game on Tuesday guaranteed the team’s passage to the quarter-finals of the continent’s flagship football tournament. However, Amadu,said that the days when the

Eagles used to hug the headlines of newspapers across Africa were now a thing of the past. “Before now, all the


Eagles will be in killer mood against Elephants, says Inyama

he Super Eagles can only be written off by Cote d’ Ivoire to their peril, according to the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the NFF, Chief Emeka Inyama. Speaking yesterday in Johannesburg, Inyama dismissed the seeming lack of cohesion and menatl drive from Eagles stressing that they will be completely different against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in Sunday’s mouth-watering Cup of Nations quarter final clash in Rustenburg. He was convinced that the Eagles will exhibit the desired technical depth to deliver the sucker punch to the Elephants. “The


countries especially want to Eagles but that they

in the world, the top ten, will play the Super nowadays, you see are talking about

Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana. “I want us to be the talk of the town once again, the way people speak about Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana in

football circles. It is important that people speak about our prowess in the present tense and not in the past,” Amadu said.

It’s Togo vs Burkina Faso


he Hawks of Togo y e s t e r d a y qualified for the quarterfinals of the Nations Cup for the first time by playing 1-1 with Tunisia and thus booked clash knockout stage against the Stallions of Burkina Faso. Togo dominated and deserved to have won but were content with the draw same as Cote d’ Ivoire who had to force a 2-2 draw top the group with seven points,Togo had four points. Centre referee Daniel Bennet was controversial as he denied Togo two clear penalty calls but awarded Tunisia a controversial one that they could not convert.

Floyd Ayite of Togo battles with Khaled Mouelhi of Tunisia during the Orange Africa Cup of Nations between Togo and Tunisia yesterday at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit

Super Eagles are in upbeat mood, following Tuesday’s win over Ethiopia, and when a team is that way, it is very difficult to stop. “Of course, on paper the Elephants have greater pedigree and rating than our players. But Sunday is the crunch and the Nigeria team knows how to rise to the occasion. I see the Eagles coming out victorious.” The Chairman of the Nigerian National League, lauded Stephen Keshi for re-jigging the team in short a time adding that he started the tournament with a central defence pair of skipper Joseph Yobo and Godfrey Oboabona but brought in Kenneth Omeruo for Yobo against Zambia, with Ogenyi Onazi filling in at right back for the suspended Efe Ambrose. Ambrose reclaimed the right back slot against Ethiopia with Sunday Mba starting in place of Nosa Igiebor. Ikechukwu Uche

also started against Ethiopia before giving way for Ahmed Musa. “There’s been a lot of tinkering and the Coach

now knows his team better. Apart from that, this is a big game whichever way you look at it, and every player loves

a big game. The Eagles will give their all against the Ivorians and I tip them to reach the semi finals,” Inyama concluded.

Mikel, Emenike talk tough


uper Eagles duo of Mikel Obi and Emmanuel Emenike have no dread of their Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire counterparts and have said they will defy the odds and oust the favourites on Sunday. The Super Eagles laboured to beat Ethiopia on Tuesday to set up a highprofile West African clash against the rampant Elephants, who stopped Nigeria at the 2006 and 2008 AFCONS. “We hope to go past Cote d’Ivoire and make it to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations,” declared mikel, who will reunite with his former Chelsea teammates Didier Drogba and Salomon

Kalou. The coach demands 110% for us at all times and on Sunday against Cote d’Ivoire, we will give 110%.” Spartak Moscow striker Emenike added: “We are not afraid of them. We respect them but why should we be afraid of them? ”This is football and no team is too big and we are very positive we will win on Sunday.” Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi also said his team are looking forward to Sunday’s AFCON quarterfinal against star-studded Cote d’Ivoire. Both West African giants clash on Sunday night at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg for a place in the semi-finals. “We’re looking forward to this game, it’s a game of 90

minutes and there will be no second chance for both teams,” said Keshi after his team left it late before they defeated Ethiopia 2-0 in a final Group B match. “This will be a different ball game with a different mentality. It’s won’t be same like the match against Ethiopia for instance.” The Eagles coach said he is relieved to have made Nigerians happy with a qualification to the last eight of the tournament. “This is victory for Nigeria. I have waited for this for so long to make Nigerians happy and I have done so now. It was a difficult game because Ethiopia surprised me as they played differently against us,” he said.

Akpoborie says Eagles need a miracle to beat Elephants


ormer Super Eagles, Jonathan Akpoborie, believes Eagles will need a miracle to beat Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday’s quarterfinals in Rustenburg. Though he said he would

wish the Eagles are crowned African champions in South Africa, but regretted that the team’s group stage performance left much to be desired and may only help the Eagles’ exit at the knockout stages.

“The Eagles performance against Ethiopia was nothing to write home about. The only good thing about the game for us is that we won. How we scored against the lowest rated team at the competition

was not the best,” said the former Wolfsburg striker. “On paper Cote d’Ivoire are favourites to win the competition and on the field, they have been acting like that too. But in football anything could happen.

“Chances of Nigeria winning this one, only Jesus can save. We need a miracle to beat them especially we play this match the way we played our last three matches.”

Mikel Obi will not miss Ivorian clash


ontrary to speculations, the engine room of Nigeria’s midfield, Mikel Obi, will not miss the potentially difficult quarterfinal match against Cote d’Ivoire, after he was given a yellow card in the match against Ethiopia. PANA gathered authoritatively that Mikel is free to play the quarter-final match on Sunday, because he was not given any caution in Nigeria’s opening game against Burkina Faso last week. A call to the office of the Africa Football Confederation (CAF) in Johannesburg also confirmed that Mikel was not cautioned in the game with either Burkina Faso or Zambia. However, Fegor Ogude will miss the quarter-finals as Ambrose Efe, who has served his two matchsuspension, returns. Fegor got his yellow card in the 24th minute of the game with Burkina Faso, after he tripped Jonathan Pitroipa. He got another yellow card in the match against Ethiopia in the 63rd minute, barely a minute after Sunday Mba was also cautioned. According to the rules, any player with two yellow cards in the group games will miss the next match, hence Ogude will not play on Sunday. Meanwhile, all the other Nigerian players who got just a yellow card in the first round Godfrey Oboabona, Nosa Igiebor, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba - will have the cautions wiped out in the second phase of the competition.


Commission shuts down its investigation on Armstrong


he independent commission set up by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to investigate the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has been disbanded. World (Wada) and US antidoping (Usada) agencies refused to co-operate with it. The inquiry will now be replaced by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But Usada chief executive Travis Tygart said: “We support a well-structured truth and reconciliation process but the UCI cannot be allowed to script its own self-interested outcome.” He added: “The UCI blindfolded and handcuffed its independent commission and now hopes the world will look the other way while the UCI attempts to insert itself into the investigation into the role it played in allowing the doping culture to flourish.” UCI president Pat McQuaid described the change as “the best way to examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past and to clear the air so that cycling can move forward”. McQuaid added that the commission was being disbanded following talks with Wada president John Fahey. “On the day a much-delayed court case into a huge doping conspiracy in Spain finally started, and a separate investigation continued in Belgium, news that cycling’s official response to the Lance Armstrong scandal is over before it has even started, really could not be much more embarrassing.”


Garcia, Judah junior welter weight title defence postponed A

Danny Garcia


rthur Abraham will defend his WBO supermiddleweight title against Robert Stieglitz on March 23. The two Germans will meet in a rematch in Magdeburg. Abraham, 32, beat Stieglitz by unanimous decision in Berlin last August. Now he has offered Stieglitz a rematch in his home city. “For me it is a question of honour”, said Abraham, who lives in Berlin. Robert was brave enough to face me in my backyard. Now I am travelling to Magdeburg to face him in his.” Stieglitz earned a rematch with a third-round knock-out

Basketball season may commence in a fortnight says Gbiri


rancis Gbiri, the Secretary-General, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) said the new season would begin as soon as stakeholders say they were satisfied with a new draft proposal for the league. Gbiri said in a telephone interview that there were possibilities that the league would commence soon after the stakeholders would have endorsed some changes contained the proposal. “We had a board meeting recently and all we resolved were contained in the draft proposal for the stakeholders to consider. The stake holders include club owners, coaches and our major sponsors, Multichoice Nigeria and the Zenith International Bank. “They will look into the draft and outline their own

rib injury has forced Danny Garcia to postpone his title defence against Zab Judah. The WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion was injured during training, promoters announced in New York. The fight was scheduled for February 9 but the undefeated champion will now meet Judah in Brooklyn on April 27. Garcia, who has not lost in 25 professional bouts and has knocked out 16 or his opponents, will defend both titles against the 35-year-old former champion. Judah, who has compiled a record of 42-7, with 29 knockouts, will be fighting in his hometown. Garcia beat Mexico’s Erik Morales on points over 12 rounds to win the WBC title in March last year. In July he stopped England’s Amir Khan in the fourth round to take the WBA title. In November, Garcia knocked out Morales in the fourth round of a rematch in the first boxing card at the new Brooklyn arena to keep both his titles and set up the bout against Judah.

contributions, then get back to us on areas that require amendments,’’ Gbiri said. According to him, the league has been facing challenges in areas, such as good officiating, expanding the scope of the competition to include more clubs as this can lead to increase in number of games. Seun Akinwole captain of Lagos Island Basketball Club and Akeem Akinsanya team captain of Chariots Basketball Club told NAN that ‘the league would be more attractive if more games were played’. The DSTV Basketball League and the Zenith Women basketball league ended in July 2012 with Royale Hoppers defeating Kano Pillars to become the men’s champion while champions of Zenith Women Basketball League were First Deep Water.

Zab Judah

German foes in WBO March rematch of Poland’s Michal Nieroda in Barcelona on Saturday and is now focused on winning back his title.

“Somehow I wasn’t able to fight to my full potential during my first fight against Arthur,” said the 31-year-old.

“I suffered some cuts and I couldn’t get back into it. It just was not my day. But that will not happen again.”

Djokovic sets sights on career Grand Slam


ovak Djokovic set his sights on completing the elusive career Grand Slam at this year’s French Open after confirming his mastery of men’s tennis at the Australian Open. With six Grand Slam titles at the age of 25, the Serbian world No 1 could be forgiven for taking it easy but immediately after clinching his fourth Melbourne win, his mind was on Roland Garros in May. Djokovic has gone from the Paris quarterfinals to the semifinals and the title match in successive seasons, falling to seven-time winner Rafael Nadal last year, and now he wants to take the last step. “I want to go all the way in the French Open. I went to the finals last year and had a great match

Novak Djokovic

against Rafa, but he’s always the favourite on that surface and he’s the ultimate player to beat on clay,” Djokovic said. “But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance.” It all seemed routine for Djokovic as he beat Andy Murray in four sets, picked up the trophy and US$2.5 million winner’s cheque, and then headed straight to the airport, eschewing parties and the usual day-after media commitments. Djokovic was anxious to hurry home in good time for this week’s Davis Cup tie with Belgium. The surface? Clay. “It’s going to be a lot of fun next weekend to see how I can adjust to a clay court in indoor conditions,

playing away Davis Cup, which is always tricky,” he said. “But, look, right now my thoughts are on this trophy, enjoying it as much as I can. Hopefully I’m going to have time to recover and get ready for that tie.” Australian Open victories in 2011 and 2012 proved a springboard for Djokovic, who put together 145 wins against just 18 losses over the two seasons and finished both years as the world No 1. With Nadal’s physical state unknown, following his long break with knee problems, victory in Paris does not look a long shot for Djokovic, who would surely then target the hallowed calendar-year Grand Slam. Djokovic received the trophy from Andre Agassi, another fourtime Australian winner who managed to lift all four Grand Slam titles during his career. Last week, Agassi said Djokovic had lifted the sport to new heights. But asked whether he was now taking tennis into a new era, the Serb parried. “I leave you guys to judge about changing the game or not. I’m just trying to play this game with 100 percent of devotion, love, passion, and fun also,” he said. “I mean, 25 years old and I’ve won six Grand Slams and have a lot of trophies. It’s amazing. You know, I’m just trying to embrace this moment and enjoy it as much as I can and see where tomorrow brings me.”



Fenerbahce in talks over re-signing Emre


urkey midfielder E m r e Belozoglu appears close to a return to Fenerbahce after spending six unsuccessful months in La Liga with Atletico Madrid. S p a n i s h daily AS reported on Wednesday that

Fenerbahce had already announced their former captain was returning on a free transfer, but Atletico denied an agreement had yet been reached. According to reports from Turkish news agency Dogan, Fenerbahce expect to re-sign Emre, 32, on a two-and-a-half-year

contract and, although he reportedly quit the club last summer after falling out with manager Aykut Kocaman, that issue appears to have passed. The former Newcastle and Inter Milan player joined Atletico for free last summer on a two-year contract.

Zubar joins Ajaccio as Medjani heads to Monaco

A Emre Belozoglu

Stuttgart reward Labbadia with new deal


fB Stuttgart manager Bruno Labbadia has extended his stay at the club for a further two years. After lengthy negotiations, Stuttgart announced yesterday that Labbadia, who took over the job in December 2010, will remain at the club until 2015, along with his assistant Eddy Sozer. The former Bayern Munich striker has been rewarded for guiding the side to the latter stages of both the Europa League and DFB Pokal this season.

Labbadia considered quitting the Stuttgart job earlier this season, but is now sure he made the correct decision to remain at the club. “I am delighted about the contract extension, he said. “Since joining we have trodden the path without compromise. “This path is nowhere near an end. Just like during the second half of last season, we want to excite our fans with our team. I am ready for this and I look forward to the future.

Shenhua challenge Drogba transfer


idier Drogba’s move to Galatasaray has been thrown into doubt with Shanghai Shenhua insisting the striker is still contracted to them. Galatasaray announced the signing of Drogba on Monday in a •6 million deal on a contract until the summer of 2014. But now

the Chinese club look set to challenge the transfer. A statement released on Shenhua’s official website read: “The club is deeply shocked. Drogba is still a Shanghai Shenhua Football Club member as the contract between the two parties is still within its period of validity.

QPR sign Yun


Didier Drogba

toke City manager Tony Pulis has revealed the club is close to securing the signature of USA international Brek Shea. Shea’s proposed January move from FC Dallas to Stoke looked to be off after Pulis recently said he had drawn a line under it. However, the midfielder was in attendance to watch the Potters’ 2-2 draw with Wigan on Tuesday, and looks set to join the club, subject to him passing a medical and obtaining a work permit. “I think it is close now, and we are hoping that we can get that deal done in the next day or so,” Pulis said on the club’s website. “Brek is a very, very exciting player, and one who we believe could go on to become a very good player for the football club.

orwich City will sign striker Kei Kamara from Sporting Kansas City, subject to the Sierra Leone international gaining a work permit. Canaries’ manager Chris Hughton has been keen to add attacking options this month and has failed with two bids for Celtic’s Gary Hooper. Kamara, 28, scored 11

in 33 games for the MLS side last season. He moved to the USA as a youngster and started his professional career with Columbus Crew. Hughton has insisted he is not worried about bringing in a player with no experience of English football and told BBC Radio Norfolk: “I don’t think it’s about the league they play in.

Manchester City chase Villa for Balotelli replacement


anchester City have finally offloaded maverick striker Mario Balotelli - and set their sights on David Villa to replace him. Balotelli will undergo a medical at AC Milan yesterday after City agreed to sell him for £17million, with the fee potentially rising to £19.5m depending on add-ons. And City are set to make a last-ditch attempt to sign Barcelona’s £15m-rated forward Villa, after Arsenal

Birmingham goalkeeper rejects Chelsea talks ack Butland has turned down the chance to discuss personal terms with Chelsea after Birmingham City accepted a bid of £3.5m for the England goalkeeper. City admitted last week that they were open to offers for any first-team players because of financial problems. Butland made his England debut three days before he made his first appearance for



Brek Shea

“The central defender, 27, spent the last three and a half years in England with Wolverhampton. He played more than 50 games in the Premier League.” Zubar earned 15 caps for France Under-21s between 2004 and 2007 - a period that coincided with Medjani captaining the side. Medjani, who joined Ajaccio from Lorient in 2008 after beginning his professional career with Liverpool, drops down a division to join Monaco but will hope for a swift return to the top flight with the principality club level with Nantes at the top of the Ligue 2 standings.

Norwich set to sign Sporting Kansas striker

Shea set to seal Stoke switch


un Suk-young yesterday became Harry Redknapp’s third signing as QPR manager after joining from Chunnam Dragons on a three-and-ahalf-year deal, the London club announced. The 22-year-old was a key member of the Korea Republic Olympic squad that took bronze at London 2012, before then going on to make his full international debut in October. Yun has been linked to a number of clubs in recent times, including west London rivals Fulham, but has joined QPR on for an undisclosed fee from KLeague side Chunnam Dragons. The left-back has been granted a work permit and will be eligible to play for the Rs once he obtains a visa. Yun joins fellow January acquisitions Loic Remy and Tal Ben Haim at Loftus Road, where he links up with countryman Park Ji-sung.

Drogba joined the club following Chelsea’s Champions League success last season but his reported wage of £200,000-a-week was said to have been causing Shenhua financial problems. Nicolas Anelka also left the club last week, joining Serie A side Juventus on loan.

C Ajaccio have announced the signing of defender Ronald Zubar from Wolves but confirmed longserving Algeria international Carl Medjani has left for Monaco. Ajaccio will hope that Zubar, who has played more than 100 games in Ligue 1 with Caen and Marseille, can prove an adequate replacement for Medjani as they continue to hover just above the relegation zone in 15th place, just two points clear. “It is now official that Ronald Zubar will join ACA tomorrow” a statement said on the club’s website.

Birmingham in the Championship Butland, 19, rejected the opportunity to hold talks over a move to Stamford Bridge as he wants to play regularly. Butland, who made his international debut in England’s 2-1 win over Italy in August, wants to spend the rest of the season on loan at St Andrew’s should Birmingham decide to sell before Thursday evening’s transfer deadline.

were forced to give up their pursuit of him. The Mirror has learned that City have already made an enquiry about Villa, with a view to rushing through a deal before

David Villa

Thursday night’s transfer deadline. City boss Roberto Mancini wants to bring his quota of senior strikers back to four after finally getting rid of Balotelli and sees Villa as the ideal recruit. Although Barca does not want to sell Villa, Eastlands bosses are hoping an offer of £15m could tempt them to part with the 31-year-old, who has a poor injury record. City may also explore the possibility of taking Villa on loan for the rest of the season, before moving for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain - their top transfer target - next summer.

Granada swoops for Alcaraz


ranada has sacked coach Juan Antonio Anquela, with Lucas Alcaraz set to be appointed as the La Liga strugglers’ fourth boss in just over a year. The news, which did not come as a surprise with Granada sitting 17th in the table, was announced via the club’s official website on Wednesday

morning. Alcaraz, who had been in charge at Aris Salonica in Greece and reportedly had a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for a La Liga club, has a mixed record during previous coaching spells in the Spanish top flight with Recreativo de Huelva, Racing Santander and Murcia.

Kei Kamara





Cape Verde out to promote Portuguese


ape Verde’s soccer team say they are doing their bit to promote the Portuguese language by refusing to give interviews in any other tongue at the African Nations Cup. “One of the reasons why Portuguese is not well projected internationally is that we enjoy being polite to foreigners and speak to them in their languages,” team spokesman Gerson de Matos told Portuguese daily a Bola yesterday. The order to stick to Portuguese

at the tournament in South Africa came from Cape Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca. “We are over 200 million Portuguese speakers in the world; if we made the point of speaking Portuguese maybe people would take our language more seriously,”

Matos said. Debutants Cape Verde have been the surprise package at the Nations Cup, reaching the last eight after two draws and a nerve-racking 2-1 win over fellow Portuguesespeakers Angola. “Cape Verde may not have the

international weight of Brazil, Angola and Portugal but at least it is doing its bit,” Matos said. Cape Verde, the smallest country ever to compete in the cup finals, gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and joined FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, in 1986.

Green says nothing to fear about Cote d’ Ivoire


hairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Christopher Green has enjoined Nigerians to have faith in the Super Eagles as the two-time African champions get set to face the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire- the tournament favourites in the quarter finals of the Africa Cup of Nations. “The NFF technical committee and the Super Eagles’ technical crew are working in harmony at this tournament, and as we speak, I can assure you that we have a formula to deal with the match against the Ivorians. “We urge Nigerians to continue to support the team. At the level of the NFF, we have provided all that the team needs and we are still doing more to motivate them.” It would be recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, had earlier encouraged the team with the sum of $100,000 when he visited their Ingwenyama Conference and Sport Resort in Nelspruit last Friday. The governor also said that Nigerian billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, will reward the players for a quarter final ticket.

Chisamba laments Zambia exit


hisamba Lungu feels he has failed to accomplish the mission that he along with other members of the Chipolopolo had set for themselves- defence of the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The Russia- based midfielder said he was in a state of shock after the final whistle on Tuesday night at Mbombela Stadium following the scoreless draw against Burkina Faso that confirmed Zambia’s elimination from the 2013 Africa Cup. “The first thing that came into my mind after the final whistle was that I had failed to accomplish my mission to defend the title,” Chisamba said after the match. Chisamba was making his second successive Africa Cup outing following his championship winning tournament debut in the 2012. “But Gods plan is not my plan. We have to be too strong and fight for one another,” Chisamba said. Chisamba, who was also one of a couple of Zambia’s consistent players at the Africa cup, said this years tournament was a learning experience for him. “I have to learned one or two things. We need to improve on our scoring; personally too I have to improve on that also,” Chisamba said.


Ethiopia leave South Africa full of hope


hough they could not going the group of the 29th AFCON after 31 years of absence, Ethiopia are delighted that their team-the Walyas Antelopes did not disappoint instead showed so much promise. True, they did not manage to secure a win in a difficult group, drawing with holders Zambia and losing aagainst Burkina Faso and Nigeria, they have provided hope to the future football prospects of their country. “As a beginner in this tournament, I think we can give hope, a bright future for our guys, hope for the country. Anything is possible and we can (bring) the coming generation (with us) by giving them hope,” said Captain Debebe Degy after their 2-0 loss to Nigeria in Rustenburg. “We have seen through this game how much we can work and do something and now that

Win over Ethiopia thrills two-goal hero Moses


wo-goal Nigeria hero Victor Moses has described as amazing the team’s qualification to the AFCON quarterfinal. The Chelsea winger’s 10-minute magic on Tuesday night gave Nigeria the needed three points to book a place in the 2013 AFCON quarterfinal against Ethiopia. He said he is happy that he scored a brace that lifted the Eagles to the next stage of the competition. “So proud to go through to the Q/F, great win for our country and amazing feeling to score two goals #Nigeria,” Victor Moses tweeted. He was brought down roughly twice in Ethiopia’s vital area and he stood up to score on both occasions. Moses, who made his international debut last February against Rwanda, has now scored four goals for the Eagles. Eagles now face Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday in the final quarterfinal in Rustenburg.

Said Saladin

you have seen the game, we tried to dominate the game,” he continued. “We worked hard and we knew these guys are professionals and have a lot of experience compared to us because they play abroad in big tournament.” Degy said that while Ethiopia had not met their objectives, South Africa 2012 will be seen as a learning experience by the Walya Antelopes. “We will learn a lot from this one. It’s a learning time for us because our objective was at least to be in the quarterfinal as much as possible but we knew what we had before us,” he said. Degy believed that Ivory Coast looked the most capable side of winning the tournament from this point onwards. Thousands of Ethiopians traveled to South Africa to support their team, the largest contingent by far of any of the competing nations in this year’s

tournament. Even though they did misbehave, throwing bottles onto the pitch during their match against Zambia, which coach Sewnet Bishaw acknowledged, the reason had to do with their dedication to their country and competitive nature as football fans. “Our supporters are our strength. Wherever we go, we have many supporters and we are always trying to make them happy. And actually they are away from their country and it the first time to see their team coming here to participate in a big tournament,” the 60-yearold said. “They were very happy they don’t want to be beaten. They don’t want to see their national team beaten, so sometimes they were creating some things but that is the nature of football.” “But now they are all happy because they have seen their national team can play better football. The only problem we have is experience and we will (work) on this over the coming years and our supporters will be the best supporters,” Bishaw added. Ethiopia’s plans for their final group match against the Super Eagles had to be changed following injuries to their best two players, Asrat Megersa and Adane Girma. Even though they pushed the Super Eagles, their absence played a role in the way the game turned out at the Royal Bafokeng stadium. “The only problem we had in the first half we couldn’t put on players who could defend and attack. We were not in a position to push according to our plan. We could not score goals also, we have to learn. They will never give you a chance to play in the penalty box,” Bishaw said. Ethiopia may not be taking part in the first phase of the knock-outs as hoped, but their appearance has added vital colour and enthusiasm to the tournament, and thrown down the gauntlet to the other travelling fans in South Africa.









6 1] Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes tells FIFA about the Blue Sharks' stunning run to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations last eight, becoming friends with Jose Mourinho and returning to his job as an air traffic controller. 2] Didier Drogba's move to Galatasaray has been thrown into doubt with Shanghai Shenhua insisting the striker is still contracted to them. 3] Top international cricketers have signed up for the Pakistan Super League despite security concerns, says Haroon Lorgat. 4] Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has indicated he is keen to reward Captain Steven Gerrard with a new contract. The midfielder's current terms expire at the end of next season. 5] PGA Tour officials will investigate claims that former world number one Vijay Singh used a banned supplement. 6] Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland has rejected the opportunity to move to Chelsea, citing a desire to play first-team.



NYSC DG says festival to prepare corpers for career in sports


he annual NYSC Sports Festival presents corps members the opportunity to develop a vocation in sports as well as keep them pre-occupied, according to Brig-Gen. Okorie Affiah, the NYSC DirectorGeneral. Affiah made the remark on Tuesday, while briefing newsmen on the 2013 NYSC Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Abuja from Feb. 4 to Feb. 7. “We are doing a lot of things, such as this sports event, not to just occupy the corps members’ time but to present them with an opportunity to develop a vocation in sports. “Particularly, it will present them with a chance to have another line of profession to go into, and we all know that so many opportunities abound in

sports,’’ he said. Affiah, who was represented at the occasion by Alhaji Abdulwahab Obomeile, the NYSC’s Director of CDS and Sports, said the Festival was also designed to further enhance the noble objectives of the NYSC Scheme. “This was why the scheme’s leadership at the1986 Annual Management Conference in Benin City resolved to introduce an annual male football competition. “The competition, then known as the Director’s Cup and later as the DirectorGeneral’s Cup was to serve as a platform for corps members drawn from different states to interact. “Not only that, they are to use it to share ideas and further expand the frontiers of friendship and unity among themselves, as well as provide an avenue for the discovery of talents to represent the

country,’’ he said. The NYSC Director-General noted that the sports festival had grown tremendously since then, through an expansion and with the introduction of other sports and female events. While praising Fidelity Bank Plc for agreeing to partner with the NYSC in sponsoring the event, he called on other corporate bodies and individuals to join hands with the NYSC. “This way we can all help in developing our youths for the future of our nation,’’ Affiah said. The festival, which is part of the annual NYSC Cultural and Sports Festival, will hold at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja. Eight zonal champions will take part in the festival with athletes for competition in football, volleyball and athletics events.

W’lifting coach wants local govt support for sports development


hristopher Nwadei, the Kogi W e i g h t l i f t i n g Association (KSWA) Coach, has called on the country’s Local G o v e r n m e n t administrations to do more in fostering grassroots sports development in their domains. The coach stressed that if local governments should adopts his call, it would propel sports development across the country in the right direction. “The local government should give adequate attention to the development of sports in their areas, by supporting school sporting activities and contributing equipment for training programmes,’’ he said. Nwadei said that the equipment would provide a platform for schools to incorporate weightlifting in their sporting activities, adding that some schools were deterred by lack of equipment. According to him, weightlifting required a training gymnasium equipped with gym flooring, weight bars/ collars, weight plates, weight belts/straps and gloves. “The availability of these equipment will make schools to develop interest in sports such as weightlifting, as well as getting instructors to train interested pupils,’’ he added.

Nwadei said that such a scheme would help to identify budding talents that could be groomed to

stardom to represent their schools in zonal competitions and other local events.

“Talents are waiting to be discovered, and it is high time we face reality and put these suggestions

to practice to realise the goal of dedicated sports development,’’ he added. He also urged philanthropist to also support the sport d e v e l o p m e n t programmes of the LGA’s they hail from: “they can even award scholarships to outstanding ones’’.


NISports lecturer urges volleyball re-activated


Mariam Usman of Nigeria competes during the Women’s 75kg Weightlifting at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Peters begs coys to sponsor table tennis tourneys ohn Peters, Chairman, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Umpire Association, has appealed to corporate organisations to assist the federation in organising local championships to assess players and umpires development. Peters disclosed in Lagos that different rules introduced by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) had to be practiced by players and umpires at competitions.

Engr. Habu Gumel, was president of NVF for 12 years

The association held a refresher course for table tennis umpires from Nov. 12 to Nov. 16 last year at the Knock-up Hall of the National Stadium. “The ITTF has introduced new rules that should be practiced by local umpires because most of them have not been certified to officiate in international tournaments. “The only way to improve their standard is to officiate in regular championships, they will learn the rules and they

can never forget by continuous practice,’’ he said. He said that racket inspection which was formerly done on the match table was now checked at the call area. “Before Sept. 1, 2012, the inspection of rackets by umpires was done on the match table but now, it is done at the call area prior to the match,’’ Peters said. He added that the umpires had been taught some of the new rules and that racket control was

now mandatory for any umpire because some rackets were not standard. The umpires’ boss said players had the advantage of having one racket checked twice or two rackets checked once. “The voluntary inspection of rackets is to ascertain that the players are using the standard ones and without continuous championships such would not be possible,’’ he said. He said it was now an offence for players not to

bring their rackets for inspection since it was to prevent the use of some substances which enhanced players’ performance. Peters said that the ball must be spherical with a diameter of 40mm and that at least 85 per cent of the racket blade shall be of natural wood. He said that when seminars were organised for the umpires, there should be competitions to test their knowledge and ascertain their strength and weakness.

r John Daddy, a lecturer in at the National Institute for Sports (NISports) said that volleyball might regain its momentum, if its National governing body could rally round the sport. This, Daddy noted could happen, it the authorities could begin the revival effort from the grassroots. “There will also be the need to stage the state and national championships regularly,’’ Daddy said in Lagos yesterday and added that the sport has suffered in recent times with its fortune declining drastically. “Volleyball in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. There are no local championships like a league competition. The stakeholders in the sport only wait for National Sports Festival and other international events to invite players and thereafter abandon the sport again. “It has been a pathetic case because there seems to be no organised federation to rally corporate sponsors to bankroll championships,’’ Daddy said. He adds: “All you see at the beginning of every year is drawn programme by the federation that hardly achieved its aims because they always claim they did not have sponsors. “I find this hard to believe because those sponsors are always there to push for competitions in order develop the sport. “We enjoyed a lot of sponsorship during my playing days. It is sad that this no longer case. It is now a case of waiting festival before staging championships,’’ Daddy said.

. . . putting the people first



2014 World Cup qualifier: Senegal to play Angola in Guinea


enegal's next home World Cup qualifier against Angola will be held in Guinea with the country currently banned from playing matches in their national stadium. Senegal fans rioted towards the end of an African Nations Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast in Dakar last October with players and away fans seeking refuge in the centre circle as Senegal supporters started fires in the stands and threw missiles. The Confederation of African Football imposed a oneyear suspension and fined the Senegal Football Association $50,000, with a further $50 000 suspended for two years. That means Senegal must play all of their remaining World Cup qualifiers away from their homeland, starting with their match against Angola which will be played in Conakry's Stade du 28 Septembre on March 23. Senegal currently top Group J with four points from two games having won at home to Liberia and drawn in Uganda. The return against Uganda will also have to be played on neutral soil. The group winners then go through to a two-legged playoff for a place at Brazil 2014, and again there would be no home advantage for Senegal.

Liverpool confirm Coutinho capture


iverpool has completed the signing of Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan in a deal thought to be worth £8.5 million. The Brazil midfielder expressed his delight after putting pen to paper on the deal, telling Liverpool's official website: “I'm feeling very happy, it's a very important step in my career and I'm expecting to come here and play good football to give my contribution on the pitch. Coutinho will become the fifth Brazilian to represent Liverpool after Fabio Aurelio, Diego Cavalieri, Doni and Lucas Leiva.


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QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE Let’s have a long period of about a month when no bomb explodes, nobody is shot, nobody is beheaded, no church is bombed, no moosque is threatened, just one month gurantee, then we can begin to talk. — Admiral Ola Ibrahim, Chief of Defence Statff, on Boko Haram’s ceasefire offer

A heritage of scholarship under threat (1) "Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, and silver from the country of the white men, but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom are only to be found in Timbuktu." Sudanese proverb


ll through the past ten months of first coup, then 'invasion' and now French 'intervention', in once stable Mali, the news coverage has been dominated not by African media but by the West. Even now the most memorable footage of current events is of a battalion of the 2,500 French troops landing in Bamako early this month. For me, only one local image even begins to compete with that jaw-dropping spectacle of muscular Jean-Claude-VanDamme-clones brusquely making light of 2 tonne back-packs. It is a beautiful Daily Trust cover picture. It was taken at Kaduna airport, at an unusually long, camera angle. Three soldiers in the foreground are busy getting their kit ready. They are overshadowed by a huge, almost ghostly transport plane which though standing, waiting for them seems to loom above them like a menacing spaceship about to carry them off to an unknown fate. It's a great photo. The most puzzling television reportage were the brief glimpses late last year of tall, turbanned Tuaregs meeting with President Blaise Compraore of Burkina Faso late last year. Is it any wonder that nothing came of all the to-ings and fro-ings? Apparently Compraore had been given the position of chief mediator by the West African body ECOWAS. The same Compraore who allegedly had his 'best friend' Thomas Sankara murdered in 1987, took over and has been in power ever since; The same Comprarore who is a close friend of our own amiable Ibrahim Babangida... I remember thinking, how can this man, this same Compraore have a solution for Mali? The anger and bewilderment of the local residents who experienced the 'rule' of these militants was palpable in brilliant Al Jazeera documentaries. It is Al Jazeera that dug up some of the murky details of the growth of the so-called Al'Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the West

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CAR TEL OPIA CARTEL TELOPIA With Aisha Yolah 08086296783 (text only please) turning a blind eye to their presence, feeding their coffers through ransom payments over a whole period of 10 years... Indeed we do not know the half of what was really going on. But, I did notice one repeated line of commentary and reporting in Western media that disturbed me from the moment the militants started destroying the tombs of Sufi saints, the Hubare's and mausoleums. I noticed repeated suggestions entirely removed from fact that along with the destruction of tombs of saints, the 'famous' manuscripts had also been destroyed. This was from June and July last year. It worried me no end. Thorough reading/listening always revealed however, no such thing had happened. It was always just a deliberate but false suggestion literally 'planted' into the real and no less horrifying stories of the destruction of 700 year old tombs! For example pictures of Mali's ancient transcripts and wooden tablets (similar to the ones still used by our own Al Majiri students) were used to illustrate news stories of the tomb destruction. One recent New York Times oped comment ended by saying these

extremists had 'probably' destroyed Timbuktu's famous library too. Yes, PROBABLY was the word used. This was long before this Monday's news! On Monday morning as the militants 'melted' away into the desert we are told they chose to burn centuries old manuscripts of Timbuktu's fabled heritage as Africa's ancient centre of world Islamic scholarship. It was a terrible surprise. Why would they commit such an act so diametrically opposed to their professed Islamic creed? A Guardian (UK) piece actually details some of the historical treasures that made Timbuktu's manuscripts famous. (Timbuktu mayor: Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts, 28/01/ 13). As is common in today's internet driven world, the same details have appeared in story after story, along with the interview of Timbuktu's mayor on the news wires. Hardly any mention of the Islamic ethos that nurtured this famous culture of learning. To quote from the Guardian report: 'The vast majority of the texts were written in Arabic. A few were in African languages, such as Songhai, Tamashek and Bambara.

Today's destruction in Mali against another ancient centre of Muslim culture and heritage is and would be similarly criminal. But I hold onto the hope that the reports may just be more suggestive news reporting rather than actual fact, that maybe Timbuktu's heritage of scholarship has not been burnt.

There was even one in Hebrew. They covered a diverse range of topics including astronomy, poetry, music, medicine and women's rights. The oldest dated from 1204.... A large number dated from Timbuktu's intellectual heyday in the 14th and 15th centuries...attracting scholars and curious travellers from across the Middle East. Some brought books to sell.' The word Islam finally appears only when the so called 'Islamist fighters' are cited! Yet this 'possible' book burning would not be the first in recent memory. The 1992 burning of yet another example of the Muslim heritage of learning and scholarship - the ancient Sarajevo Library comes to mind. It was a crime committed not by 'jihadists' but by (Christian) Bosnian Serbs - ordered by Serb General and war criminal Radko Mladic. It has been called 'the Biggest Book Burning in History' (BBC) and it was clearly aimed at destroying the Bosnian Muslim people's identity and rich heritage. Today's destruction in Mali against another ancient centre of Muslim culture and heritage is and would be similarly criminal. But I hold onto the hope that the reports may just be more suggestive news reporting rather than actual fact, that maybe Timbuktu's heritage of scholarship has not been burnt. I hold on to this hope because of the following facts: 1. Timbuktu Mayor Hallé Ousmani Cissé spoke with the press from Bamako and not Timbuktu. His source was an aide who had just left Timbuktu. In reply to whether any of the manuscripts might have survived, Cissé replied: "I don't know." according to the above quoted Guardian report. 2. News today (Wednesday) about the looting of Lebanese and Tuareg shops as Mali army soldiers stood by - made no mention of the libraries and document centres that were supposedly burnt. 3. The same news reports indicate as the Guardian's does - in the 'fine print' far below - that the 'precise fate of the manuscripts was difficult to verify. All phone communication with Timbuktu was cut off.' So obviously, there is hope.

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: +234 805 727 9862. e-mail:; ISSN: 2141– 6141

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 31, January, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday 31, January, 2013 Edition

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