Page 1

US labelling of BH, Ansaru

The fire this time (COVER)

>> Pages 7,8,9

Who blinks first between Dankwambo, Goje ...As feud gets messier

>> Pages 2,3

>>Page 6

. . . Putti ng the p e o p l e fi rs t

Bandits burn down police station, cars Vol. 3 No. 65


MUHARRAM 13 - 14, 1435 AH

...To recover 20 cows in Zamfara


>>Page 10

How family, associates paid N50m to free kidnapped Dankure >> Pages 4,5

Muslim faithful listening to sermon, during the Jumu’at Prayer, at the National Mosque in Abuja on Friday. Photo: Mahmud Isa


Terror: ThisDay bomber gets life imprisonment >> Pg 6


Why we arrested Lamido’s sons —EFCC >> Page 13

Famous lawyer, Yahaya Mahmud dies of stroke, to be buried today >>Pg 11



News Focus

2015: Dankwambo Vs Goje, who blinks first?

Gov. Hassan Dankwambo By Abubakar Ibrahim, Abuja & David Hassan, Gombe


t has always been the political style especially since the return to civil rule in 1999 for chief executives or rather presidents or governors to choose their successors. Most of the purposes are to achieve some measure of control on the annointed otherwise known as godfatherism, or assumably to cover the “stench” in the backyard. Sometimes, the godfathers are “lucky” or regretful depending on the circumstance. In politics, such decisions are inescapable gambles. You ask former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu for more details. And so, it was not surprising in

Sen. Mohammad Danjuma Goje Gombe State when the apple-cart was turned against former deputy speaker, Usman Bayero Nafada who was a front-runner for the Gombe gubernatorial slot when former Governor Mohammad Danjuma Goje, “the Stormy Norman” of Gombe politics, was winding up his tenure. Up

came, the erstwhile AccountantGeneral of Federation, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo suddenly and the rest is history. ut has the “good” relationship ended? Watchers of Gombe politics are beginning to see events unfold as the 2015 general


elections draw nearer. Opposition parties in Gombe state have already started shopping for who would become the next governor of the state with the intent of replacing the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.

Opposition parties in Gombe state have already started shopping for who would become the next governor of the state with the intent of replacing the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.

To achieve this, they are strategizing on how to merge into a formidable force, prominent among whom is the former Gombe state governor and now Sen. Mohammed Danjuma Goje who is spearheading the renegade faction of the party- the new PDP in the state. The lingering crisis between Governor Dankwambo and his predecessor Sen Goje has kept people in the dark on who controls the state. While Goje strutted the state king-like recently with reported thug activity on his trail, the governor is banking on the goodwill he has garnered from massive infrastructure projects and what watchers describe as Contd on Page 3



News Focus 2015: Dankwambo Vs Goje, who blinks first? Contd from Page 2

prudent economic management with less politicking. This rivalry can be deduced from the travails of Goje in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over financial deals during his tenure as governor. here is certainly no loss of love between the duo, according to observers, with reports last week that Goje may soon be invited by incumbent Governor Dankwambo, to explain how his administration spent N29.8 billion belonging to tax payers. Acting on a report of the committee that authenticated pension and gratuity liabilities for the state and local government retirees, Dankwambo pledged “to vigorously investigate the fraud”. He said the misappropriated N29.8 billion has allegedly worsened the financial position of the government. Dankwambo disclosed that the state government, during the period under review, received N5.7 billion refund for road, airport and other projects but “we cannot trace the record of government”. “These moneys have gone into various accounts and have gone into third-party accounts and diverted from the account of the state”, he said. He continued: “As accountant-general of the federation then, I have records myself that I have reimbursed Gombe State government in the excess of N10 billion but N5.7 billion has been diverted from the accounts of the government. We will probe them; EFCC started probing some of them, and we are still awaiting the report, because the probe has to continue”. “We can’t continue like this because of the ineptitude of certain past leaders who ruled us. We don’t want a situation where we may end up not being able to service government or end up under another state after striving for the creation of our state,” Dankwambo said. Goje is now not lying low either by using the chasm at the national body of the ruling PDP where they all belong with the incumbent governor, to fight back. The unity in Gombe state chapter of the party has cracked with members of the New PDP calling on faithfuls to join the Kawu Baraje group. A party bigwig, Hon Mohammed Umar Shabuki made a press conference in Gombe recently urging members


administration to succeed, citizens must be government priority with sense of responsibility. His declaration to fight the incumbent governor might have jolted the old members of the party who are currently working hard to unseat him. They are aggrieved that they are not seen as relevant to PDP, necessitating a challenge, apparently to restore their hope. According to political observers in the state, the battle to wrest power through the primary elections has long been nursed by its founding members including Sen. Goje who is believed to be more aggrieved because initial agreements, could not be fulfilled by the incumbent governor. But Dankwambo appears unperturbed by the declarations of the Goje camp but as the political horizon and more events unfold, his situation may however be dicey as his erstwhile political associates who worked for his success are no longer supporting him. ources however said that the old PDP leadership in the state believes that Governor Dankwambo would beat all the other parties in the elections. A governor’s aide who pleaded anonymity said there is no better candidate than the present governor given the number of projects executed so far and that is a clear testimony that he deserved another term. The political structure of the present administration, according to pundits, could be difficult to break with the recent declaration and approval of Dankwambo candidature by members of the state House of Assembly and the 11 local government chairmen in the state. They all adopted him to complete his second tenure. Nevertheless, even though signs of success may be discernible on the surface, the complex political turf occasioned by irreverent behaviours and the fate of the PDP itself before the general elections given its current schism, is likely to influence the political choices in Gombe State. Who blinks first between Dankwambo and Goje will certainly manifest in the scrambles for the souls of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Movement(PDM) linked to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the scattered remnant of the PDP if it fails to rebuild.

S of the New PDP “to express our solidarity with Senator Danjuma Goje. “This same movement birthed the PDP in Gombe through Sen. Goje. He knows why he is going with the New PDP and we are gong with him because he is our father politically.” “Goje is our father, and Abubakar Atiku is our grand father, even in the old PDP. So, I call on everyone seeking the right path to follow the father and grandfather for proper guidance,” he said . But according to sources, 2015 general elections in Gombe state may not constitute a headache for the incumbent governor who has

all the traditional government machinery at his disposal. This has created apprehension in the opposition parties, thereby forcing them into an alliance. Nevertheless, the opposition is still battling with some differences in political ideologies that are not yet resolved till date. his time around, the contest may not likely revolve around the opposition and the ruling party, but within the PDP itself, with Sen. Goje, “the father of PDP in Gombe state” possibly unveiling his candidate for 2015.Other PDP stalwarts in the state have also vowed to contest the party ticket to unseat the incumbent


governor. “I fought gallantly to ensure that I took the mantle of leadership from the ANPP Government to PDP in the state… the youths in the state have been compromised and we cannot fold our hands and see the ugly trend going on in the present administration”, Goje said. He expressed optimism in unseating Dankwambo, while lamenting what he called the leadership failure which has impacted negatively on the political and socio-economic life of the state, adding that his quest to develop the grassroots underlines his pursuit of change. Goje asserted that for any

As accountant-general of the federation then, I have records myself that I have reimbursed Gombe State government in the excess of N10 billion but N5.7 billion has been diverted from the accounts of the government. We will probe them; EFCC started probing some of them, and we are still awaiting the report, because the probe has to continue.



Special Report

How family, associates paid N50m to free Dankure From Mahmoud Muhammad, Sokoto


ot a few people were shocked in Sokoto State by news of the abduction of Alhaji Abu Dankure a businessman and millionaire in Sokoto State on Wednesday last week because the crime is a rarity in that part of the country and Seat of the caliphate for that matter. The city was also more devastated, given the high number of traditional rulers from all the 36 states of the federation who had converged on Sokoto to brainstorm problems bedeviling the country. Beside the event, the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue was in the state. Stories of activities of kidnappers make the rounds mostly in the South-south and Southeast zones of the country, where prominent personalities are abducted regularly in exchange for ransom. The abduction of Alhaji

Dankure began on Wednesday at Dundaye village, few Kilometers from the state capital, Sokoto. According to a reliable source who preferred anonymity, his car was found at Dubawa village, a fifteen minutes drive from Sokoto. The source added that the 68 year old Dankure who grew up with the governor, was nabbed by “people who came from somewhere looking for money”. Alhaji Dankure, the Sarkin Fadan Sarkin Musulmi was kidnapped and driven away in his car after his abductors fired several gunshots into the air, the source told our reporter. However, the saga is now over with his release on Monday but at the time of his travail, our correspondent gathered from an unconfirmed source that family members were in touch with the kidnappers who demanded undisclosed amount of ransom. Though Dankure regained his freedom in the evening of Alhaji Abu Dankure

Monday, November 11, 2013, clad in a hat, shirt and jeans trousers unusual of him, no word was uttered on the payment of ransom by his family. Meanwhile, Al-Mustapha Sani, DSP, the Sokoto state police command spokesman told our correspondent in Sokoto that no arrest was made in connection with the incident, but added that Dankure’s car was recovered in Gagi area of Kware Local Government, a few hours after the incident. s usual, it is the tradition of authorities to ever deny ransom payments to avoid psychological


“ Sokoto businessman, Alhaji Abu Dankure (left), who was kidnapped by some unknown gunmen with friends and relations that visited to sympathise with him in Sokoto, after he regained his freedom Monday night. Photo: NAN

profit for the criminals. However, Peoples Daily Weekend gathered from a family source that the sum of N50 million was paid for his freedom. The family, according to the source was able to raise the sum of N30 million, while the associates paid the balance N20 million. On how the ransom was paid, the family source disclosed that the money was paid in dollars in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, through the agent of the kidnappers. It is not clear however, whether the money was electronically remitted to Dubai or paid in

cash to the agent. overnor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State had paid a visit to the family of the 70 years-old business mogul on November 11, 2013 and assured them that his friend, Dankure was in good health condition and would soon be reunited with them. Dankure who is a political associate of Governor Wamakko, enjoys patronage from the Sokoto state government by mostly receiving juicy contracts that runs into hundreds


Contd on Page 5

The family, according to the source, was able to raise the sum of N30 million, while the associates paid the balance N20 million.


Special Report

How family, associates paid N50m to free Dankure Contd from Page 4

of millions of naira. Peoples Daily Weekend recalls that, last year, kidnappers took an Italian and a British man in May from Birnin Kebbi and killed their captives at a suburb area of Mabera in Sokoto metropolis during a joint raid by UK and Nigerian security personnel in an operation to free them. The gunmen reportedly abducted the two engineers from their lodgings in the Kebbi State capital on May 12, 2011. Soldiers and State Security Service men, supported by the British, stormed a hideout at Mabera area of Sokoto to free the two men, Franco Lamolinara and Christopher McManus. Peoples Daily Weekend learnt that information on location of the captors was received through people arrested in a raid on a Boko Haram hideout in Zaria a night before the raid. senior security official said in the Zaria raid, a top Boko Haram factional leader named Abu Muhammad was captured along with some of his followers. It was from those arrested in the raid that the security agencies extracted information about the location of the kidnapped expatriates. It was revealed that security men cordoned off the Mabera area near the eastern bypass in Sokoto, where the expatriates were being held, and soon shootings began, lasting for up to five hours. When People’s Daily Weekend visited the home of the elder man for a brief interviewed “ was told that part of the conditions given for his released was not to speak to the press or give account of details of the operation that transferred during the abduction. But, some of his wishers and associate where been trooping to his resident to


pay solidarity and sympathy to the family. Kidnapping has been recorded twice in Sokoto as at the time of filling this reports. Yet, there is no confidence in the public that it will not happen again. Neither is there guarantee for the protection of life and property of the citizenry. lso, when People Daily Weekend samples People’s view on the situation, the common position was that Nigeria government is not ready to battle the two ugly acts. They contend that there are several ways to address the issues genuinely. A trader, Adamu Sale, said Nigeria should borrow a leaf from Niger Republic where non-indigenes must pay their revenue promptly, and must be renewed appropriately or risk court action. While Garba, Natiti, in his opinion said that government should ban the shops in residential areas to reduce threats of insecurity.

Hideout where the expariate were kept


Hideout where the expariate were kept Two Europeans killed in sokoto

Picture of the kidnappers of two Europeans killed in sokoto





Anambra poll: PDP, APC trade accusations over ‘thugs’ By Abubakar Ibrahim & Lawrence Olaoye, Abuja


L-R: Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Sheikh Musa Mohammed, new convert to Islam, Chief Suleiman Nwachukwu (aka Chief Israel Nwachukwu) and Secretary, Justice Mamman Nasir Islamic Centre for Peace and Research, Alhaji Ibrahim Biobo, during the the conversion to Islam of some Igbos on Friday, at the National Mosque in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Army kills 9 insurgents in Borno From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


ine suspected Boko Haram militants were yesterday killed by the troops of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Damboa local government area of Borno state. The Division said its troop launched a

midnight assault on the training camp of the insurgents in Rimanti Alagarno village of Damboa local council, killing nine gunmen while several others escaped with gunshot wounds, ‘’on Thursday 14th November 2013”,]a statement signed by its spokesman, Lt. Col. Muhammad Dole revealed. According to the statement, during the

encounter large arms and ammunitions were and two pick up vehicles are destroyed, while a pick up vehicle, three motorcycles were recovered. It added that a soldier was wounded during the operation and is currently responding to treatement at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).

Boko Haram: ThisDay bomber gets life imprisonment By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday sentenced Mustapha Umar to life imprisonment in connection with the April 26, 2012 bombing of SOJ Plaza in Kaduna state occupied by ThisDay, The Moment and The Sun Newspapers. The trial Judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi found Umar guilty of the one count charge of terrorism and

sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labour. The convicted bomber was alleged to have driven a white Honda Academy car with registration number AL 306 MKA with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) into the premises of SOJ plaza with the intention to detonate the devices within the premises. The incident claimed the lives of three persons and caused several

degrees of injuries on others. The convict had pleaded not guilty during his trial but the court placed heavy reliance on the recorded interview he granted to investigators during interrogation where he claimed to be a member of the deadly Islamist fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, as well as the testimonies of ten witnesses comprising of police officers who participated in the investigation.

The prosecution drew the court’s attention to section 4 (2) of the Terrorism Act and asked the court to consider the deaths recorded at the incident and to pronounce a death sentence on the accused but the court declined that invitation and pointed out that the convict was charged against section One of the Terrorism Prevention Act which provides for a life sentence upon conviction.

G-7 governors will conclude talks in Sokoto, says Nyako From Umar Dankano, Yola


he lingering intra party squabble rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the G7 governors may have come to an end as the governors and their major supporters are today in Sokoto to conclude final stand about their fate in the party. Gov Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State disclosed the development in Yola yesterday during an interactive section with women of Adamawa State organized by his wife, Hajiya Zainab Murtala Nyako stressing that the

G-7 Governors were committed to justice and fairness in their crusade. “” I am going to Sokoto. In Sokoto we shall conclude the talk. You know there are seven of us but I can assure you that we are more than that, there are others who are also fed up with the way things are being done in the party”, Nyako said. Nyako who re-iterated his commitment to fight for justice against impunity said the authorities who are desperate to get at him had been going round looking for excuses to frame him and his associates but added that the truth would never be defeated by falsehood.“ They went

to the Navy where I once served and were disappointed when they realized I left a clean record”, Nyako said The governor also accused those he called Abuja politicians of planning to impose their candidates in the state, adding that they have already invited a consultant from abroad to come to the state with a sole aim of strategizing to achieve their goal “which I believe would be an exercise in futility”. He thanked the women for their sustained support for his administration assuring them that he would not disappoint them and urged them pray for the peaceful co-

existence of the citizens in the state and the country at large. The Governor also urged the women to continue to use their numerical during election to ensure that “Abuja Politicians” did not impose mediocres on them. In their various speeches, leaders of women groups including FOMWAN, CAN, NCWS and Market Women, assured the governor of their support at all time stressing that Adamawa as a state has been neglected by previous regimes and Almighty God in His wisdom sent Governor Nyako to serve as a turning point in rebuilding the state.

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have accused each other of plans to cause breakdown of law and order during the Anambra governorship election today. The PDP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh yesterday, said the arrest of 181 heavily armed political thugs from APC controlled Imo state ready to be deployed to Anambra, has clinically exposed APC’s plot to cause mayhem and unleash violence during the election. The ruling party said the plot is part of the grand design by APC leaders to disrupt and discredit the election since they discovered that Anambra people have rejected their party. “The entire nation received with shock the news of arrest by the police of 181 heavily armed thugs, sponsored by the APC and ready to be deployed from APC controlled Imo state to Anambra where they have been instructed the unleash mayhem and terror on the people and disrupt the election”, the PDP said. In a swift reaction, APC accused the police of acting out the script of the PDP for today’s governorship election in Anambra State by arresting election monitors from Osun State and labelling them as thugs. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the report that a ‘crack team’ of the police in Imo State had arrested 180 ‘armed hoodlums carrying fake voters cards, official identity cards of INEC and independent Observer identity cards’ was tales by the moonlight. ‘’Those who were arrested by the increasingly partisan police are election monitors from Osun, who are members of the Justice and Equality Organization, an INEC-accredited election monitoring NGO. With INEC having trained key officials of the accredited election monitoring NGOs, those trained are now training their membersin readiness for the election. Those trained by INEC are in Owerri. ‘’Those whom the police have labelled as thugs are members of the Justice and Equality Organization. They are in Owerri for training ahead of the election. They chose Owerri because of its proximity to Anambra and its affordable hotel costs. None of them is a member of the APC, despite the insinuation by the police, and none is armed, because you don’t need guns to monitor elections. Any weapon exhibited by the police must have been procured by them to justify their gaffe. ‘’The only offence that the arrested election monitors have committed, in the eyes of the police, is that they are from a staunchly APC state with zero tolerance forthedo-nothing,bumblingPDP,’’itsaid. Meanwhile, APC has called for extra vigilance from all Nigerians in general and the party’s members and supporters in particular, in order to thwart any attempt by the police and their collaborators to ruin today’s election. The party said the need for vigilance has been heightened by the fact that key institutions of state that should ensure a level playing ground for all parties in the election appear to have been compromised, going by the blatant partisanship of the police and the seeming inability of INEC to prosecute electoral offenders, including Willie Obiano of APGA, who has been proven to have registered multiple times.




US labelling of Boko Haram, Ansaru:

The fire this time

By Hassan Haruna Ginsau


ince 2009 when the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Liddaawati Waljihad otherwise known as the Boko Haram sect commenced attacks on the Nigerian State, it did not really get world attention until the United Nations building in Abuja was bombed in August 2011 killing scores of people including foreigners. Their leader, Mohammed Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009 in the aftermath of one of Boko Haram’s deadly confrontations with Nigerian security forces, and the sect has vowed revenge for his death. The attack on a principal international organisation shortly after the June 16 twin

bombing of the Nigeria Police headquarters in Abuja, marked a major departure from the group’s previous targets which have tended to be local, such as army, police and paramilitary units, churches, banks and bars, as well as assassinations against Muslim clerics who criticised them. Ansaru had conducted several kidnappings of foreigners living or working in Nigeria, most notably the kidnapping and execution of seven foreign workers in Bauchi in Marchand, and the raid on the Special Armed Robbery Squad(SARS) unit of the police in Abuja. This new direction of attacks was akin to methods of the more established groups such as Al-

Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which also attacked UN offices in Algeria in 2007. equel to that, the late National Security Officer (NSA) General Owoye Andrew Azazi, wrote an opinion


published by The Washington Times on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, shortly after the bombing of the Catholic Church, Suleja near Abuja, to buttress this point. Part of the article titled

Historically, Boko Haram has been focused on Nigerian government targets. Until recently, Western intelligence services did not widely view Boko Haram as a potential threat,” said Rep. Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania

“Combating A Common Terrorist Threat: Time For A Strategic Security Relationship Between The US And Nigeria” read: “Terrorists from Nigeria have again turned the joyful celebrations of Christmas into a D-Day for premeditated mass murder. This year, extremists slaughtered worshippers in a church during Christmas services near the Nigerian capital and elsewhere in the country. “America is at risk for this type of violence. Two Christmases ago, a militant from my country - the infamous Underwear Bomber - tried to blow up an American jetliner over Detroit. “Nigeria welcomes the Contd on Page 8




The fire this time

US President Barack Obama Contd from Page 7 White House’s rapid Christmas Day declaration of support against the perpetrators of that day’s attacks, but we must stress that the threat emerging in our country is far larger and may be headed America’s way. “It’s time for a strategic security relationship between Nigeria and the United States. igeria is Africa’s most populous nation. We are blessed with more people than Russia or Japan and are America’s fourthlargest foreign supplier of oil. “In the past two years, a group called Boko Haram, has wounded and murdered hundreds of innocent Nigerians. Many observers in the United States and Nigeria dismissed Boko Haram as a tiny, weak, even incompetent terrorist group that, at best, was aimed only at destabilizing our democratically elected president. “They were mistaken. In August, Boko Haram escalated its attacks by sending a suicide bomber to blow up the United Nations building in Abuja. The terrorist group issued a statement to taunt, not the president of Nigeria, but the president of the United States. We can destroy Boko Haram in its early stages, before it goes truly international. We don’t want or need American troops. But we would benefit greatly from American knowhow and other forms of


President Goodluck Jonathan, support as we develop our new counterterrorism strategy. We have much to offer through our own expertise, human resources and experience.” Well before the Christmas day bombings, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, held a hearing on Boko Haram and issued a landmark report that contained some excellent proposals. “Historically, Boko Haram has been focused on Nigerian government targets. Until recently, Western intelligence services did not widely view Boko Haram as a potential threat,” said Rep. Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on counterintelligence and terrorism, and Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, in an unusual joint statement at the Nov. 30, hearing. The lawmakers made a bipartisan call for the State Department and intelligence community to take greater note of Nigeria, and to work with us against terrorism and ideological extremism. The subcommittee report is a fine first step. It observes that small extremist groups can quickly endanger the American homeland before Washington even recognizes the threat”. Leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor also sought the classification of the sect as a terrorist organisation by the US congress in order to spur international intervention.

What followed was the US government’s application of “foreign terrorist” label in June 2012 on Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar, and Khalid al Barnawi, who are leading figures of the militant group. t was among the first such action the US government had taken against Boko Haram, falling short of demands from some US lawmakers and the Justice Department to designate the entire group as FTO. However, there had been calls in the past from the Nigerian government not to designate the group as a ForeignTerrorist Organisation(FTO) when the then National Security adviser General Owoye Andrew Azazi and Nigerian ambassador to the United States Prof. Ade Adefuye formally requested the US not to include Boko Haram in its terror list, in fears that it would make it more difficult


for Nigerian citizens to travel to the US and further affect bilateral trade between the two countries. Also, a group of academic experts on Africa sent a letter to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her not to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group, arguing that the move could backfire by enhancing the group’s reputation among potential recruits and other militant groups. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, the US finally designated Boko Haram and its splinter group Ansaru as foreign terrorist organisations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. fficially that means US regulatory agencies are instructed to block business and financial


transactions with Boko Haram. The action froze any assets they had in the United States, and barred US citizens from any transactions with them. In other words, it is also now a crime under US law to provide material support to the group. What are the implications for Nigeria? Meanwhile, the two groups do not currently pose direct threat to the US. This is stated in Section 219 1(C) of the US’ Immigration and Nationality Act which says that; “In general.-The Secretary is authorized to designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if the Secretary finds that the activities of the organisation threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.” However, Republican Contd on Page 9

Officially that means US regulatory agencies are instructed to block business and financial transactions with Boko Haram. The action froze any assets they had in the United States, and barred US citizens from any transactions with them. In other words, it is also now a crime under US law to provide material support to the group.




The fire this time Contd from Page 8 Representative Patrick Meehan, who chairs a Homeland Security subcommittee in the US congress, recently introduced an amendment that would force the Obama administration to add Boko Haram to the terrorism list or explain why it was not doing so. f past examples of countries that have Islamist terror cells are anything to go by, things may not seem too rosy. Countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and more recently Somalia, all of whom have Islamist terrorist organisations, have come under US drone attacks. On November 1st, Hakimullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban was killed in a US drone strike. Leaders of Al- Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) were killed in Somalia and Yemen respectively, all in US drone strikes. US drone strikes have revealed alarming civilian casualties, especially in Pakistan where an estimated 286 to 890 civilians been killed, including 168 to 197 children. This has generated outcries and reassessment of the use of pilotless killers. Under UN’s Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or


US Drone

arbitrary executions which states; “There is a notable lack of consensus on how to apply the rules of international law that regulate the use of force to drones”, such lax legal binding means the US could use drones on Nigerian soil. UN secretary general Ban KI Moon recently said: “The use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing international law, including international humanitarian law.” For now, in terms of the trade impact only the group’s assets will be affected. The US treasury under ‘Executive Order 13224’ will “block the assets of individuals and entities that provide support, services, or assistance to, or otherwise associate with, terrorists and terrorist organizations designated under the Order. ut, the U.S. Department of the Treasury still holds the right to administer and enforce economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries involved with the FTO’s. The Nigerian government themselves only declared Boko Haram and Ansaru as terrorist organisations in June. Barring any complications, the US may of course delist groups from


Boko Haram leader, Shekau

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, CAN President

Countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and more recently Somalia, all of whom have Islamist terrorist organisations, have come under US drone attacks.... US drone strikes have revealed alarming civilian casualties, especially in Pakistan where an estimated 286 to 890 civilians been killed, including 168 to 197 children.

FTO if circumstances change, or if “the national security of the United States warrants a revocation”, as in the cases of organisations such as the Khmer rouge of Cambodia, the Armed Islamic group of Algeria, or

the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. For the foreseeable , Boko Haram and Ansaru will remain “designated” and probably offer reasons for the US drone base in

neighbouring Niger to carry out attacks on the troubled Northeast states of Nigeria reminiscent of Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other unannounced parts of the world.




Strike: ASUU holds NEC meeting as FG pledges to implement decisions reached From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos with agency report


evelopments yesterday indicated that the fivemonth old strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU may be called off this weekend, as the union holds its National Executive Committee, NEC meeting Saturday in Kano state. The meeting is expected to consider the position of the congresses of the over 60 public universities on the offer by the federal government to revamp the institutions. An anonymous source in the union said the NEC meeting, which was suspended indefinitely because of the death of Late Professor Festus Iyayi, a former president of the Union, maybe be reconvened on Saturday. “There is strong indication that the NEC meeting will be reconvened on Saturday,” he said. Asked if the strike will actually be suspended, he said: “Judging by reports from the Monday congresses we held simultaneously, the union may suspend the strike on Saturday or Sun-

day.” About 20 University chapters of the Union, has voted in favour of the Suspension in various congress held during the week, while eight others disagreed. Meanwhile, the federal government on Friday said it will implement the decisions reached in the course of negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the letter. Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike disclosed this in Benin when he visited the residence of the late ASUU leader, Prof. Festus Iyayi to condole with the family. In a statement issued by the Special Assistant, Media to the minister, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike led the Federal Government delegation including the National Universities Commission, NUC. The statement quoted the minister to have assured the family that the ideals that the late scholar fought and died for ``will never be forgotten’’. ``The Federal Government will diligently implement the decisions reached in the course of negotiations with ASUU.

Come out for on-going immunization; FCTA tells residents By Miriam Humbe


he Executive Secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, PBHCD, Dr Rilwan Mohammed has called on Abuja residents to come out en-mass to be immunized in the on-going vaccine campaign programme which is free and aimed to protect expectant mothers, children and youth under the ages of 1-29 years from the deadly polio and meningitis diseases. According to him, the immunization campaign which started on November 9 will end on November 18, 2013. He said the population of people living in the FCT is about 1.8million and campaign officers need to reach out to the Universities, hospitals, markets, police stations and banks, so as to give them the vaccines. He added that the PHCDB received 2million vaccines and 2million syringes, adding that the Federal Government has

seen that so many people die of Meningitis particularly in the Northern part of the country especially the youth. “We are ensuring that we target the children especially the youths and because this is the season when the diseases kill people,” he said. Rilwan said they have set aside five hospitals as referral centres in F.C.T for people who react to these vaccines. These centres include Nyanya General Hospital, Gwarimpa General Hospital, Maitama General Hospital, Kwali General Hospital and Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital. A resident, Ajoke Ajala lauded the initiative, stating that her children have been given the free Polio\Meningitis vaccine. “We are so happy with this because if we go to some private hospitals to get these vaccines, it’s either not available or very expensive to come by,” she said.

L-R: Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, Minister of State Finance, Dr.Yarima Ngama and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad Uwais, during the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) ‘s Dinner, Lecture and awards night held at the Transcorps Hotel Abuja on Thursday night, Photo Joe Oroye.

Bandits burn police station … to recover 20 cows


nknown persons invaded and burnt a police station in Dansadau town in Zamfara state on Thursday, the Chairman of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara, Alhaji Lawali Dangulbi, has said. At a news conference in Gusau on Friday, Dangulbi told journalists that some cars and

motorcycles were also burnt along with the station. ``The persons who attacked the area did so in an attempt to recover 20 cows in custody of the police who accused them of destroying farm lands with the animals,’’ he said. The chairman however assured that adequate steps had been taken by the State Govern-

ment to restore peace and order to the affected area. One of the residents, Malam Muhammadu Dansadau, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that the people in the area were now living in fear. Dansadau said this was in spite the presence of armed mobile police men in the area.

$250m bribe: Presidency challenges Lamido to name minister


he Presidency on Friday refuted the claim by Gov. Sule Lamido of Jigawa that President Goodluck Jonathan ignored information that a minister collected 250 million dollars (about N37 billion) bribe from an oil company. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said in a statement in Abuja that the allegation is “regrettable, grossly irresponsible, falsehood and mischievous”. He challenged the governor to name the Minister involved in the purported bribery allegation with evidence or be prepared to apologise to the president and Nigerians.

``The allegation and the claim by Lamido that he informed President Jonathan of the acceptance of the huge bribe by an unnamed minister is absolutely without any foundation in fact or reality. No such communication has ever taken place between them. ``The Presidency views the patently bogus allegation reportedly made by the governor in a radio interview yesterday as an unacceptable and callous attempt to unjustly impugn the integrity of the President. ``If, as he claims, Alhaji Lamido has credible information about a minister receiving the said amount as bribe, he should publicly name the minister in-

volved without delay and provide evidence to support his allegation. ``In the event that he is unable to do so, he should be prepared to offer an unreserved apology to the President and Nigerians for his unwarranted and unjust effort to denigrate, disparage and malign the President and the Federal Government,” Abati said. He said that the Jonathan Administration would continue to make corrupt public officials answerable for their actions. Abati added that the administration would also not succumb to harassment and blackmail by self-seeking politicians jostling for personal advantage.


Oyinlola reports PDP to Jonathan, vows to fight on By Patrick Andrew


uspended National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has described the position of the party’s National Working Committee on his suspension as denigrating of the judiciary and the rule of law. Oyinlola, who described the NEC’s response to the questions he had earlier raised, as “excessively long on posturing, but short on reasonable arguments” said he has formally reported the apparent lack of accountability and integrity exhibited by the NEC to President Good-

luck Jonathan, the national leader of the party. “Thursday’s PDP press conference, could only suggest that regrettably, some people thrive on the basest and lowest forms of sentiments, giving cause for concern about their true commitment to democracy,” he said. According to him, rather than exonerate the PDP from accusation of circumvention of court orders, the NEC’s statement did damage to the cause of the party and confirmed the committee’s disdain for the judiciary, the rule of law and statutory regulations. In a statement tag “let

them use power, we shall use courage” the former governor of Osun state claimed that he is being persecuted because chose not to compromise on illegalities and destructive tendencies exhibited by sertain persons especially the chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. “That was the advent of the culture of impunity, tyranny, oppression, dictatorship and refusal to abide by the resolutions of majority of PDP NWC members, who were all elected by the party’s national convention’’. He enjoined members of the NEC to be forthright by

resisting the pressure to act at variance with the law stressing such position will neither deepen democracy nor strengthen the party and thus guarantee good governance. ‘’If they fail in their duties, they cannot reasonably present an alibi of ignorance of this constitutional provision of the in-built checks and balances. Failure to act suggests compromising on illegalities, and undermining the constitution of the PDP, which itself is an enough reason to also press for disciplinary actions against them, having failed woefully by supporting absurd transgressions,” he said.

Agric college project: Sokoto govt issues contractor ultimatum


he Sokoto State Government yesterday issued a two-month ultimatum to the firm handling the N1.3 billion first phase of the College of Agriculture, Wurno, to complete the project. Alhaji Abdullahi Wali, the Chairman of the sevenman committee set up by the state government on the take-off of the College, issued the ultimatum while inspecting the project at Munki, Wurno Local Government

Area. Wali, who also directed the firm, COPS Nig. Ltd, to move back to site, expressed dismay that the contract, awarded in April 2010, with a completion period of 17 months, had yet to be completed. ``The state government is not happy with the snail speed of the project. You should, therefore, mobilise enough men and resources to the site latest by Monday.

``This is to ensure speedy completion of the project, which is just at about 45 per cent completion stage,” Wali said. He said the committee would work round the clock to ensure the take off of the school as soon as possible. “We will do everything possible in line with our mandate to ensure its take off soon.” Also commenting on the project, the Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Alhaji

NAICOM will reject non-compliant financial statments - Daniel


he National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) yesterday said the commission would not approve financial reports of insurance companies that failed to meet the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS). Mr Fola Daniel, the Commissioner for Insurance, said this at the 2013 NAICOM seminar for insurance correspondents in Ilorin. ``IFRS presents proper way of presenting financial accounts, as such, the commission will

rather delay clearance of financial accounts submitted by some insurance companies than approving deceitful statements. It will be bad if the commission allows non-worthy account to be put in the public domain,” he said. Daniel said the commission had a Help Desk to assist insurance companies to ensure that they presented proper financial statements for approval. Mr Nicholas Opara, NAICOM Director of Supervision, said that most of the reports submitted by insurance compa-

nies did not meet the IFRS. Opara said this while delivering a paper titled ``IFRS Implementation: Observed Issues and Challenges with 2012 Statutory Report.” He said that some of the auditors involved in compiling such accounts had been reported to the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN). He said that NAICOM would continue to supervise financial statements and approved them when the required standard was met.

Yahaya Mahmud dies of stroke, to be buried today From Mohammmad Ibrahim, Kaduna


aduna based famous lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Malam Yahaya Mahmud is dead. He reportedly suffered partial stroke and died subsequently in his office. According to one of his staff, who pleaded anonymity, Malam Yahaya, passed on in his office along Bank Road, Kaduna yesterday following a partial stroke. The source said he gave up the ghost before any medical attention could be given to him. “He came to the office to work but later suffered a par-

tial stroke while seated on his chair and died instantly ,” he said adding that the Malam had been battling an undisclosed illness recently. Malam Yahaya Mahmud hailed from Zaria local government of Kaduna State. He is survived by a wife and five children including four boys and a girl. He is expected to be buried today Saturday in Kaduna at about 9 a.m. according to Islamic rites. Born on 18th March 1952, in Kachia area of Kaduna State, Mahmud died after he had two major surgeries recently. It would be recalled that late legal luminary had two major

operations in his neck and his tummy late last month in the United Arab Emirate.

The Late Yahaya Mahmud

Arzika Tureta, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto that the college would provide the needed middlelevel manpower for the state. The first phase comprises administrative block, 20 classrooms, three hostels, four staff quarters, perimeter fencing, workshops and laboratories, among others.

News PAGE 11

Power reform to ensure credibility in sector, says NERC By Etuka Sunday


igerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday said that the power reform initiative of the Federal Government was meant to ensure credibility in the sector and restore people’s confidence in government. The Chairman, CEO (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, attributed the drive towards the privatization of the power sector in Nigeria to the need to enshrine credibility and restore people’s confidence in government. In a statement issued by the NERC’s Assistant General Manager, Media, Maryam Yaya Abubakar, Amadi said efficiency and prudence are now the watchword in the industry. If the people have confidence in transformed electricity industry, the government would have achieved a fundamental goal in its transformation agenda. Amadi made this assertion when a delegation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) led by the Director, Human Resource, Elizabeth Kolwhetter paid him a courtesy call.

Amadi who commended USAID for its helpful support to the Commission informed the visitors that privatization of the power sector has set in a new dawn of absolute transparency and the demand for good service delivery by Nigerians on the new owners. He said that electricity consumers are expecting the new owners to meet up with the demands of stable electricity supply as such, it behooves on the regulator to put the operators through the essentials of regulation. ‘’We are poised to do an interim rule that would help resolve the uncertainty in the market, such as crafting interim rule that will allow for loss settlement’’ Amadi said. Amadi explained that the action calls for expertise including the need for consultants. ‘’ We have developed strong in-house capability but still need professional capability’’. Speaking on behalf of the team, the Director, Human Resources, Elizabeth Kolwhetter, who is on her first visit to Nigeria, revealed that USAID would like to continue to assist the Commission.


Photo Splash

L-R: Representative of the Coordinator, National Human Right Commission (NHRC) Plauteau State Office, Mr Taddy Chollom, Deputy Director, office of the Executive Secretary NHRC, Mr. Harry Ogwuche Obe and Nasarawa State coordinator of the Organization, Mr Chia Shaku Nor, during the media briefing on NHRC visitation to police stations in Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo


Vice Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties, Rep. Zephania Jisalo; Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki; Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Bello Kaoje; Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Philip Aduda and Minister of State for FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, during the monitoring and evaluation of the 2013 zonal intervention/constituency projects at Kubwa in Abuja on Friday

L-R: Unit Manager, Road Sector Development Team, Fedral Ministry of Works, Mr. Ishaq Mohammed; Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly, Mr Adamu Usman; Snaba of Nupe, Alhaji Abdumalik Ndayako and Representative of the Minister of Works, Dr. Abubakar Mohammad, at the launch of the rehabilitation of Mokwa-Bida road project in Bida on Thursday

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Abdullahi Mustapha, Former Minister of FCT, Senator Adamu Alero, Corps Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Zaki Shehu Alkali and Corps Commander of FRSC, Shehu Mohammed, during Jumu’at Prayer to Mark the world day for remembrance of road traffic crash victims, at the National Mosque on Friday in Abuja

Blindfolded policemen dismantling and coupling guns at the passing out ceremony of combatant operations course in Uyo on Thursday Photo: Mahmud Isa




DPR irked by non-compliance with safety measures

Transcorp group receives commendations on food safety

From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he Kano Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has frowned at the nonchalant attitude of petroleum marketers in the state over their failure to adopt safety measures in their operations, resulting in the death of one person. DPR Operations Controller, Alhaji Sayyadi Suleiman Abubakar, who disclosed this yesterday during the 2013 Annual Petroleum Products Marketers Meeting in Kano, said that the company’s compromising safety measure is now a disturbing phenomenon in the state, whereby employees were allowed to discharge products from the chamber with recklessness over its failure to securely lock the chambers. As a result of the clear contravention of safety measures on the part of the company, Abubakar stressed that DPR had no option than to declare the company unsafe for operations by suspending them and subsequently sealed and withdrew their respective licenses. According to him, any company in the state, which fails to comply with safety measures, would have its license withdrawn, pointing out that such carelessness on the part of major and Independent marketers could cost operational hazards by endangering lives and property. He noted that the department is disturbed over the conduct of owners on proposed sites who purchase parcel of land for petrol stations without applying for site assessment to ascertain its suitability would no longer be tolerated. The Department also observed that most companies allow unrestricted number of persons to gain access to their premises, which in the process turn out to be crowded with all manners of persons. This is a gross violation of safety regulations, which must be stopped. He also warned that the department would not renew the licences of substandard filling stations and those guilty of contravening petroleum regulations, as renewal of licences inspection would be conducted on retail outlets before such applications are processed. The Department also warned marketers to desist from selling kerosene (DPK) above the regulated price of N50 per litre, adding that DPR would intensify operations to identify defaulters and subsequently sanction any retail outlet selling above the approved price. Already, Aabubakar noted that the department has started receiving applications for renewal of storage/sales licences for this year, pointing out that any submission of applications would facilitate early processing of renewals, while late submissions would attract sanctions.


Chief Imam of Abuja, National Mosque, Sheikh Musa Mohammed, Newly convert to Islam, Chief Suleiman Nwachukwu (Known as Chief Israel Nwachukwu) and Secretary, Justice Mamman Nasir Islamic Centre for Peace and Research, Alhaji Ibrahim Biobo, on Friday, at the National Mosque in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Alleged N10bn money laundering

Why we arrested Lamido’s sons -EFCC From Edwin Olofu, Kano with agency report


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested two sons of the governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido for alleged money laundering which is to the tune of about N10 billion. The two sons of governor Lamido, Aminu and Mustapha Sule Lamido were apprehended by the EFCC yesterday night in Kano and whisked away to Abuja. Aminu Lamido, is a 2010 graduate of Mass Communications from the Bayero University, Kano while Mustapha Lamido, a Political Science graduate of University of Abuja is also village head of Bamaina in Jigawa state. The arrest, our correspondent gathered, might not be unconnected with investigations into the account and finances of the 27 local government councils of the state. The spokesman of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren confirmed that two suspects were arrested in Kano in connection with money laundering, but declined to reveal the identities of the persons in their custody. It would be recalled that Aminu was on the 11th December, 2012 arrested by the EFCC at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, for money laundering to the tune of $50,000. Aminu was tried by a Federal High Court in Kano on the 12th July, 2013. Repeated calls to the Chief Press Secretary to Lamido, Umar Kirari, for a response were unanswered. The G7 governors, including Lamido, who are opposed to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had repeatedly said they were being hunted down by

agents of government with threats of probe. Lamido, for instance, had said he would not retreat on his opposition against the PDP despite efforts to put him to shame. “I have passed the fear of investigation since even my son was arrested on charges of stealing. Everything that can be done to me to be scared has already been done,” Lamido said in an interview aired on an Abuja –based Vision FM (92.1) However, the arrest of the governor’s sons, according to sources, might not be unconnected to investigation started in December 2012 when Aminu Sule Lamido was arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport en route Cairo, Egypt for failure to declare the $50,000 he had on him. Investigation as to how he came by the money was traced to the Jigawa state government accounts with links to companies run by the suspects. Over N10billion is said to have been transferred from Jigawa state government accounts into the accounts traced to the suspects. Unconfirmed reports said the Commission has traced these transfers to 10 companies where Lamido and sons are allegedly directors and signatories to the account. The companies include Bamaina Alluminium Limited, Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited, Rawda Integrated Services Limited, Speeds International Limited and Saby Integrated Nigeria Limited. The account of these companies received huge cash inflow between 2007 and 2013, a period that coincide with the tenure of Sule Lamido as governor of Jigawa state. For instance in Bamaina Aluminium where Sule Lamido and his two

sons are claimed to be directors, the company’s account controlled by Mustapha as signatory allegedly received total credit of N1.52billion between January 2010 and August 2013. It recorded a total debit of the same amount, with Mustapha and other companies in which Lamido and his sons are directors, being the beneficiaries. In the same vein, Bamaina Holdings Limited’s account also allegedly with the governor as sole signatory received a total of N1.19billion between February 2007 and July 2013. About N1billion was paid from this account into accounts of companies controlled by the governor and his sons. Massive lodgements were also claimed to have been discovered in the account of Bamaina Company Nigeria limited controlled by Mustapha as sole signatory from Bamaina Alluminium. Between January 2010 and July 2013, the account received over N500million. From the account of Rawda Integrated Services Limited controlled by Mustapha, there have also been accusations of massive movement of funds to another company run by Sule Lamido, Speeds International Limited. Speeds’ account recorded a turnover ofN2.2billion between January 2007 and February 2010. In the account of Rawda with a new generation bank investigators discovered the movement of N2.6billion to an unknown signatory. That account recorded over one hundred withdrawals running to over N600milion in cash between November 2007 and April 2008 Saby Integrated Services Nigeria Limited, another company owned by Lamido received over N730million from several Jigawa State government agencies between June 2010 and August 2010.

eragro Commodities Limited, the Agribusiness subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, Transcorp, has received a commendation on its fruit drink plant. Teragro got the commendation via its operation in fruit drink plant whichstands out as firstof-its-kind fruit juice concentrate plant in Nigeria. According to a statement by Dupe Olusola Director, Resources at the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, the commendation was via the ISO:9001:2008 (Quality Management System – QMS), FSSC 22000:2005 and FSSC 22000(Food Safety Management System – FSMS), ISO 22000: 2005 and TS/ISO 22002-1 2009 certifications for its world-class fruit juice concentrates and purees from National Quality Assurance (NQA), UK. “These certifications, recognized by Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) indicate that Teragro products are produced to international standards,” the statement said. It said: “ISO:9001:2008 is a quality management system that demonstrates an organization’s ability to consistently provide products that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. “FSSC 22000:2005 is an International Standard developed for the certification of Food Safety Management Systems for food manufacturers. “The Global Food Safety Initiative is a businessdriven initiative for the continuous improvement of food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide. “Teargro produces orange juice concentrates, pineapple juice concentrates and mango purees. Teragro’s plant in Makurdi, Benue State has the capacity to process 26,000 metric tonnes of fresh fruits per annum,” the statement said.



Crime Cycle 08138559513 (SMS only)

Yuletide: Police vow to dislodge criminal hideouts in Benue


he police in Benue state have vowed to dislodge criminal hideouts in the State to ensure the security of lives and property of the people. The command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Daniel Ezeala, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi on Wednesday that the police had concluded plans to crack down on the hideouts. He said that police personnel had been deployed to keep surveillance on banks, hotels and other busy places to curtail acts of criminality, assuring that the surveillance would continue in order to ensure hitch free Christmas and New Year celebrations in the state.

Court orders Man in court for police to pay damages bathing ex-lover with N1m to lawyer hot water A A

28-year old man, Adenuga Adesanmi, is standing trial before a Chief Magistrates’ Court, in Badagry, Lagos, for allegedly pouring hot water on his ex-lover, one Miss Uzoamaka Nwogbo. The accused, who resides at No. 15, Zoglo Way, Badagry, is facing a one-count charge of assault. The prosecutor, Insp. Innocent Uko, told the court that the accused committed the offence at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 26, at No. 7, Debo Close, Ilogbo, Badagry.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report disclosed that the accused, who worked as a cleaner in the area and his ex-lover were arguing over a certain matter when he allegedly went to the kitchen, got a pot of hot water and poured it on her. However,Though the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, the prosecutor said that the offences contravened the Criminal code. Counsel to the accused, Folabi Dosu, therefore pleaded with the court to grant bail to his cli-

ent to allow ongoing police investigation in the matter to be concluded. Dosu gave assurance that his client would not jump bail, adding that they would cooperate with all the parties involved in the case. The Chief Magistrate, Mr AbiodunEtti, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100, 000 with one surety in like sum. He ordered that the surety must present an evidence of tax payment and adjourned the case to November 25.

How 4 prostitutes sentenced to 200hrs of community service in Lagos


IGP Mohammed Abubakar

Tricycle operator remanded over alleged possession of pistol


n Asaba Chief Magistrates’ Court, in Delta state has remanded a 29-year old tricycle operator, Patrick Adinomie, in prison custody, for alleged possession of live ammunition. The accused is standing trial on a one-count-charge of unlawful possession of live ammunition, contrary to the Robbery and Firearms (Special provision) Act of 2004. However, the Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Augustina Monye, who did not take the plea of the accused, said that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. Monye ordered that duplicate copies of the accused case file should be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for advice, before adjourning the case to Nov. 29 for mention. (NAN) The prosecutor, Mr. Faith Esenwa, had told the court that the accused, who resided in Cable Point, Asaba, on Sept. 13, unlawfully had a pistol in his possession.

or practising prostitution, one Blessing Esu, 28, Nancy Brownson, 35, Patricia Timba, 34, and Josephine Idoga, 21, were sentenced by a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court, in Lagos, to 200 hours of community service. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. A.O. Awogboro, passed the sen-

…as NSCDC registers 36 private security guard outfits in Zamfara

tence after the convicts pleaded guilty to the offence. According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the police prosecutor, Insp. Chidi Okoye, told the court that the convicts committed the crime on November 11, at 2:25 a.m. on various streets in Victoria Island, Lagos.


he Zamfara State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has said it had registered 36 private security guard companies across the state for training. The Head of the command's Department of Private Guard

Okoye said the convicts were found loitering around the streets, for the purpose of prostitution and were arrested by the police. He said that the offence contravened Sections 166 (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. Companies Training, Mr. Aroworo Michael, disclosed this during a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gusau, however disclosed that two of the 36 registered outfits are indigenous while the remaining 34 have their headquarters outside the state.

N10.9b theft: Court dismisses ex-Finbank’s directors applications


ustice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court on Thursday dismissed applications for stay of proceedings filed separately by three former directors of Finbank Plc. The former directors-- Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike-- are being prosecuted alongside a former Managing Director of Finbank, Okey Nwosu. They were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion belonging to Finbank (now FCMB). Delivering her ruling, Okunnu held that Section 277 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State 2011 forbids her to entertain such applications. ``Section 277 of the ACJL states that an appeal for stay of proceedings ‘shall’ not be enter-

tained until judgment is delivered in a criminal matter.” The judge said Section 277 was not contrary to the provisions of Section 13(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ‘but rather complements it’. Okunnu said the purpose of the section was to ensure that criminal matters were determined and disposed off in a timely manner. ``I cannot find merit in these respective applications. Without any further ado, I hereby strike out each of the applications,” the judge said. Earlier, counsel to the defendants, Mr Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), Mr Victor Ukutt and Mrs M. Abena, had asked the court to stay further proceedings of the matter. They wanted the stay, pending the determination of their

appeal filed against the court’s ruling on Oct. 8. which dismissed their no-case submission for lacking in merit. The EFCC counsel, Mr Tayo Olukotun, while opposing the applications, said Section 273 of the ACJL prohibited the court from entertaining it. He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss them in the interest of justice.

Ibrahim Lamorde, EFCC Chairman

Federal High Court in Makurdi on Thursday ordered the Benue Command of the Nigeria Police to pay N 1m to one Mr Apaa Ayie as damages for violating his fundamental human right. Ayie, who is the Legal Officer of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), filed the suit against Insp. Kartyor Terwase, Mr Theophilus Ajila and the Commissioner of Police, Benue Command, for infringement on his fundamental rights. The plaintiff, in his testimony before the court, said that he was arrested, tortured and detained on Feb. 5 by the defendants in the course of his duty at Lessel in Ushongo Local Government Area of Benue. He said that he went to Lessel Police Station to secure the bail of some members of staff of BSIEC who were detained there but all the efforts failed. Ayie further said that he promised to take legal action against the police, and the second defendant, who is the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), ordered him out of the police station. He said he was already leaving the station when the first defendant ordered him back and slapped him while other officers joined and they collectively beat him up and detained him. In his argument, counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Patrick Adi, said that his client’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution had been breached by his arrest, torture and detention. Adi told the court that the plaintiff’s statement of taking legal action against the police did not warrant the ill-treatment meted out to him. Counsel, therefore, prayed the court to order the police to pay N70 million damages. He, further urged the court to order the defendants to publish an apology to his client in three daily newspapers. Delivering judgment, Justice Binta Nyako said that the police had not justified why they infracted on the fundamental rights of the plaintiff. Nyako said that no prima facie case of any alleged commission of any offence had been established against the plaintiff. The judge therefore awarded the sum of N1 million to the plaintiff as damages instead of the sum of N70 million sought in his relief. She also ordered that the police should write an apology to the plaintiff, warning that they should desist from harassing the plaintiff.(NAN)



News Extra

Convoys: Of reckless driving and abuse of siren By Patrick Andrew


ne sore thumb of the civilian administration since 1999 has been abuse of siren. Though in other countries siren is essentially used by fire service operators, ambulances and perhaps the president of such enclave, in Nigeria it is one of the cultures of self delusion where certain individuals see its use as a status symbol. Those who belong to this group of self mystified class see siren as a way of showing affluence and social status or that they are more important than others. To these self-imposed leaders, the siren has assumed a cruel instrument to chase away from the road those they supposedly are to protect and assured of security and the abuse have been wanton and decidedly fatal. Whereas abuse of siren is tolerable, the spate of reckless driving by convoys of state governors with the resultant high turnover of road accidents is definitely not. Often, innocent lives are abruptly terminated with impunity. Records shows that in seven years2005 – 2012 no fewer than 202 such accidents involving the convoys of highly placed government officials had occurred in Nigeria. Accidents involving governors’ conveys are recorded in almost every two- or three-month interval in the last five years. Those reported and that have managed to sustain reasonable media interest have involved high profile deaths. The latest involved the Kogi state governor's convoy crash that claimed the life of Prof. Festus Iyayi on 12 November 2013. The scholar, humanist was a former ASUU president, who incidentally was heading to Kano for the National Executive Committee meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) scheduled for the following day to resolve the 4-month old ASUU strike. Kogi state commander of the FRSC, Olakunle Motajo, says preliminary report by his commission suggested that the accident was caused by a Toyota Hilux bus in Governor Idris Wada’s convoy. The vehicle, he asserted had made “wrongful overtaking”, and rammed into another Toyota Hiace bus belonging to the UNIBEN ASUU chapter in which Iyayi and two others were travelling in the opposite direction. Also, some residents of Banda community, who witnessed the accident, said the two vehicles collided and the ASUU bus somersaulted three times before hitting a big tree in the bush. The professor died instantly while two other lecturers sustained serious injuries. The driver of the bus escaped unhurt. Seven policemen in the vehicle in the motorcade also sustained

Gov. Idris Wada injuries and are receiving treatment at the Government House Clinic in Lokoja. This unfortunate yet avoidable incident has led to indefinite suspension of ASUU NEC meeting to consider the federal government’s offer as precondition to call off the strike. And so the expected end of the almost five-month strike is now a mirage. It was not the first but the third time the convoy of Governor Wada would be involved in ghastly accident. On December 28, 2012 his convoy was involved in a fatal accident, but he was fortunate to escape with a fracture. The crash occurred along the Lokoja – Ajaokuta road. Nevertheless, he spent several months undergoing treatment at the National Hospital Abuja. Not so his Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Idris Mohammed, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), who died on the spot. Investigations showed that the accident was as a result of the recklessness of governors’ convoys. While the state was still in confusion, the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Momoh Lawal, just four days later was involved in another ghastly accident which claimed the life of a police corporal, Lamidi Akeem, attached to his convoy. Similar reckless driving this time involving the convoys of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and the Niger State

Adams Oshiomole deputy governor, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, respectively also occurred. Dankwambo’s convoy crash happened along the Gombe-Yola road. It was said that a pickup van lost control and rammed into a police vehicle in the motorcade at a sharp bend. The later were returning from a constituency tour in Shongom Local Government Area. One life was lost while six others sustained serious injuries. The deputy governor's convoy succeeded in killing two motorcyclists who were coming from the opposite direction. Again, recklessness was at work. Few days after the Lokoja incident, it was the turn of Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and that of Senator Chris Anyanwu, when their convoys rammed into each other. Though no life was lost this time, overzealous security officials of the governor manhandled the senator’s driver and assistants. Soon after this, there was public outcry against the disdain for traffic rules and other road users by governors' convoys across Nigeria. Chairman of the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chucks Ehirim, lamenting the death of the Nigerian Pilot reporter overran by Mrs Alison-Madueke’s convoys, said: “The tragic death of Momoh brings to the fore the recklessness of government convoys and their

Since every user of our roads has witnessed or been a victim of the thuggish attitude of drivers in the convoy of government officials, one feels it’s high time that government got serious and enforces a rule on reckless driving irrespective of the offender.

absolute disregard for traffic rules and other road users.” Did that stopped halt the menace? Far be it. Instead, it soars and ordinary Nigerians remain victims. The deaths, of ordinary citizens from the murderous driving of governors’ convoys, are hardly reported. Now, let's concentrate on the last seven years alone. No fewer than 202 crashed involving governors' convoy had occurred. This includes crashes in 2012, involving those of Governors Adams Oshiomole (Edo); Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa); Abdul Aziz Yari (Zamfara) and late Patrick Yakowa (Kaduna) like the recent ones, and also claimed lives. Oshiomhole's convoy clash ended the lives of three journalists – Olatunji Jacobs, George Okosun both of Independent Television (ITV) Benin City and Fidelis Ohani of African Independent Television (AIT) as well as a driver. It was actually the governor’s back-up vehicle, conveying security personnel and the Government House Press bus that collided with a tipper lorry on the Afuze- Auchi Road of the state. In the case of Yari; his convoy collided head on with a camel at Talata Mafara, after a road inspection visit to Gummi area of the state. The accident claimed the life of the head of his Special Protection Unit, Ado Yahaya, while five other policemen sustained injuries. Yakowa, who died in helicopter crash last year had a vehicle in his convoy kill a road-side orange seller due to excessive speeding last November. Recall that in December 2011, the convoy of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State got involved in an accident on the Asaba – Ughelli Expressway. The carelessness of drivers of the governor’s convoys, who practically blocked other vehicles from using the road, was responsible. Sadly,

an oncoming commercial vehicle, which attempted to negotiate a sharp curve in Ibusa, lost control, vied off course and ended in the bush. Same year, five persons, including the ADC to Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, Aminu Ibrahim, an Assistant Superintendent of Police died in a road accident involving the governor’s convoy. Shema's convoy had recklessly overtaken other vehicles causing panic in the process and eventually smashed a commercial bus. About two days later, two persons died, while six others were wounded when their vehicle had an accident while travelling in the convoy of the Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu to Lapai area of the state for a campaign rally. Six vehicles in the convoy of the Abia State governor, Theodore Orji, added to the growing infamous list at Igbagu Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on the Ogoja– Abakaliki Expressway when it crashed leading to some of his aides sustaining injuries. This reporter missed death by the whiskers when Oshiomhole’s convoy along the Airport Road not only practically chased everyone off the road but smashed the windscreens of commuter vehicles and cars and then physically assaulted several persons. Ironically, the road was under construction and all the cars had been compelled to use one lane thus making it impossible for the kind of latitude that the reckless drivers crave. And Governor Oshiomole was right there when was this ugly assaulted was perpetrated. Though their aides are often the victims, the former deputy governor of Gombe State, David Albashi, could not escape unhurt. He died of the injuries sustained in a convoys’ crash in a German hospital. Back track to year 2005, 2007 and tales of avoidable accidents involving government officials' convoy. Take for instance, the then governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel (2005) convoys crash led to the dead of five journalists, then Niger State governor, Abdulkadir Kure (2007) in which six of his aides lost their lives and then Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye (2007) that claimed nine lives including those of eight journalists. Also in 2007, 12 persons died when the convoy of the former governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor was involved in a multiple crash along the Lokoja-Abuja highway. Three aides of Al-Makura – a personal assistant, police officer and a driver were equally killed in a similar crash, while several others, including his son, Karu, sus Continued in page 48




“FMC Keffi is still the model for servicecom pact in Nigeria”, says CMD Dr Joshua Giyan is the Chief Medical Director (CMD) at the Y Federal Medical Center, Keffi, Nasarawa state. In this interview ou will soon be four years in office we cannot say for sure what you actually met on ground at the FMC. How far have you been able to achieve your dream to turnaround the hospital against what you met on ground? When I came in about four years ago, that is in 2010, I knew that the former medical director had a very rough time to keep pace with development because of so many setbacks, distractions and things like that. I will say every aspect of the hospital needed a beefing up, be it infrastructure, equipment, manpower development, be it interaction with the patients or even the public, that is service delivery and so many other aspects of the hospital needed retouch. And having worked with him for some time, I was able to understand the real problem on ground. He helped me to understand the problem on ground and when I picked up, I started as an insider who knew the problem. I came to FMC actually in 2001 and worked as head of department, family medicine. Then I became the head of department, clinical services. When the former MD was leaving, I stepped in his shoes as acting MD. So you can see that I had good grips of the problems. The infrastructure was very poor like Accident/Emergency was just seven couches in a single room. And you know that in this axis, there are a lot of accidents, this is like a funnel for the north- east, some parts of the middle belt and some parts of the eastern part of the country and with just seven couches, and it was just difficult. We had built a new Accident/Emergency ward that would contain 30 beds but we could not move into it because the project was not completed. We have to complete that during my tenure and we have since moved there. It contains the state-ofthe-art theatre, we can do full operation there and can house thirty patients. It is almost a whole hospital of its own. The wards were not well positioned for the present services we are rendering so we had to renovate all the wards, tile them, change the roof, repaint and change the windows. The family medicine, which is the outpatient, as a matter of fact, that is where the pilot project on servicom for all Nigerians was perfected and now FMC Keffi is a model for all tertiary health institutions in the country. That was a department I was heading and I was the chairman of the pilot project, we had some funds, by reasons of goodwill, we were able to renovate that department, built offices, seminal room, improved on the waiting area. All these were done during my tenure. In 2009, the administrative block was burnt down together with all the records kept by the hospital. So when I took over, we are still patching somewhere, making administration difficult. But now if you go to FMC Keffi, you will see a two-storey building ongoing in place of the former block and we hope to complete it this year or next. That is another achievement, building that kind of gigantic structure. We also expanded our obstetrics and gynecology department initially donated by the state government reaching lintel level and we completed it through our budgetary provisions. We have since moved into it. We have even built a family planning unit, in fact, we have also built a National Health Insurance Scheme Complex, and we have also put in place

with some journalists, the CMD opened up on his stewardship and how the center is being repositioned as one of the best in the country. Ali Abare Abubakar was there.

a central information technology unit, a one-storey building to be equipped to help the hospital communicate with the outside world. To enable us conduct telemedicine, teleconferencing and even communicate with our out stations. Presently, we are working with the Nasarawa state government to have three outstations, in Wamba, Toto and Doma, so that our doctors can go out and see people in the communities. We have all the teleconferencing equipment on ground ready to be installed. Our store, which was small and when we started buying lots of equipment, we had to expand it like so many other things on ground. We now have a fuel dump; I had to create a workshop to repair our vehicles within and so on and so forth. There are so many other developments that came in terms of infrastructure. If you look around FMC Keffi, you will see the place has been landscaped, with car parks. That golden hand, a fountain, was put in place to show that with our hands, we are going to do excellent things as well as a sign of life. You will also see that the road which have been tarred again and again, with yet several potholes, we changed everything and interlocked the road. Of course, we have also extended our radiology department to house our new equipment. You have so far emphasized on infrastructure, how has it been in terms of human resources development? divided my talk into sections; we now go into equipment before the human resources development. For lack of space, I will only give a list of what equipment we now have on ground at the FMC Keffi. We have a C-T scan machine, previously only found in the University of Jos and Gwagwalada, a device that gets section from the body. If you want to scan the brain, even if there is bleeding somewhere, it will be able to show, giving you a three dimensional view of the brain. It is a costly machine, over a hundred million Naira, we had to go into a formal partnership with the supplier. It is the only place where we have the equipment in Nasarawa state. We also have a digital x-ray machine. Hitherto, you take the x-ray then you give the patient a packet but this one is not like that. After taking the shot of the x-ray, you can send it even abroad by email, because it is digital. Even the doctor can just look on it and report on it. If you want to print it you can save it on a disc, flash or any saving device. This equipment cannot be found in the surrounding states, only here in Nasarawa. We have state-of-the-art equipment in the ophthalmology department comparable only to the National Eye Center in Kaduna. We have similar equipment in our physiotherapy department, in our laboratory, in our accident/emergency department, with defibrillators, to revive the heart beat of dying patients.We have equipment capable of monitoring the body system of patients. We have cardiothopographic machines that can monitor babies in the womb. We have


Dr Joshua Giyan so many equipment that you can even scan the anus, the private part of women, puncture and see the inside of the abdomen through the mouth, we have all those scopes. A patient does not need to go far; we have all these equipment here. We hope to commission our teleconferencing equipment soon which would enable us join hands with doctors internationally to treat our patients. Talk of equipment at the intensive care unit where critically sick people can be attended to. What type of ambulances do you have on your facility? We were informed that unless a vehicle carries an inbuilt intensive care unit, such cannot pass for an ambulance. Do you have ambulances at the Keffi Medical Centre? When I came, I met two so-called ambulances but we concluded they are only carriers, the vehicles only carry dead bodies. So we had to buy two more ambulances with equipment to revive patients. So I can say we have two ambulances and two carriers. We still need more state-of-the-art ambulances. One of the ambulances had a problem sometime back but we restored the problem. Ambulances are for carrying live patients to another centre and while on transit you are able to provide necessary

care for the survival of the patient. We are poised to handle life to the best of our abilities. In fact, to be able to compete favorably with the best not only within the state but also surrounding states. Lets us go back to manpower development, how has it been so far at the FMC Keffi? hen I took over, there was only internship in laboratory and pharmacy departments. We now have more number of graduands in laboratory science and pharmacy coming to do internship before they go for their NYSC. As soon as I came in, just within a month, I ensured the immediate take-off of the housemanship for doctors, which was before then non- existent. For now, we also have residency programme where doctors are being trained to become consultants. We have accreditation from colleges, national college and West Africa postgraduate medical colleges. We have accreditation to train doctors at consultant level in family medicine, obstetrics and genecology and are about to receive accreditation visit from the national college in pediatrics. By the end of the year we hope to have residencies in these three areas. We are making frantic effort to also start in surgery, internal medicine and radiology. So by this, FMC Keffi is a teaching hospital. Though we don’t


We also have a digital x-ray machine. Hitherto, you take the x-ray then you give the patient a packet but this one is not like that. After taking the shot of the x-ray, you can send it even abroad by email, because it is digital. Even the doctor can just look on it and report on it.

train undergraduates. But then for postgraduates, we are making effort to see that all those areas have been taken care of, even ophthalmology will have residency. So that doctors would not need to just come in and go. The trend was doctors come in and go because they are not being trained, with a very high turnover but with this development we now have doctors that would stay and work up to the time they become consultants. We have also done a lot of in-house training for others. We have sent many nurses to one-year course, and we have sent others for workshops and course. In fact, the number of staff we have trained has never been reached before. The staff are happy because of the level of manpower development, if not for budgetary limitations we would continue to train and retrain our staff for maximum utilization. Up till now, we are still the model for servicecom pact in Nigeria and we are training a lot of people to maintain the standard on how to attend to patients and satisfy them. Because patients are not satisfied if they are not seen in time, if they are not given information concerning what is happening to them. They are not satisfied if they don’t get the services they came for, they are not satisfied if the attitude of workers is bad, if they are not able to access qualified doctors. We have to train our people on these five aspects of quality assurance to satisfy our patients. What has been the relationship between the facility and the host community? e have fared very well; you will see people like the Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Chindo Yamusa, has been playing a fatherly role in the affairs of the center. He always encouraged us since inception. Many other politicians and elders committee have also continued to encourage us. In fact, people like Hon. Aliyu Wadada have been in the fore front of donating even buildings to us. He donated a public toilet, a patients’ relations block, and some seats and presently he is digging a bore hole for us. So you see without a cordial relationship you will not see such collaboration. Senator Abdullahi Adamu also promised us a ward, an electrocardiographic (ECG) machine. He came and saw what we are doing and was amazed, and he wants to be our partner. You also recall that the obstetrics and genecology block was started by the state government while the federal government completed it. But within the community you will not lack people who rise up against us, just because of some dissatisfaction, most of such bordering on maybe wanting employment and if they don’t get it, or maybe wanting some funds or contracts and when they don’t get such they shout or write petitions like that. Those things are there. It is not everybody that can be employed, not everybody that can have a contract, even the health care, you may come and find the beds are full you have to go somewhere else. If you look at it that way then somehow you will find some dissatisfaction in some quarters. But what we have done was to form an FMC Keffi/Community interactive forum where we can come and discuss issues affecting both the community and the center. We have been doing well. I always tell people that personal interest should not override institutional interest. We should not think about what FMC Keffi can do for us because it belongs to all of us. Some people ask too much not believing that they should be the ones giving to the hospital so that it can grow.




News Extra

Jerusalem: Of absconding pilgrims and sundry matters By Evelyn Okakwu


or every individual, there is always a yearning to fill certain spiritual vacuum, either for positive or negative force. Naturally, every human action is meant to satisfy a given thirst. This is why motivational theorists see motivation as that inner drive that stimulates an action. In Nigeria, the people have a culture of taking the veneration of God as wholly duty; a call to spiritual action to satisfy the soul and ultimately to serve God, which is the basis for creation. Part of this is exemplified in the way Nigerians both Muslims and Christians regard the Holy Pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem, respectively. Pilgrimage, which is an essential part of life, especially for the faithful, is also a journey to the holy land to render sacred service to almighty God. The act of Pilgrimage is symbolic in that it represents the journey of believers to where their God manifestly attested to His creatorship through pious acts at definite locations. For Christians, this holy obligation is most paramount in that the life of a Christian is that of a journey which is meant to lead the Christian back to God at the end of time. In the very distant past, Pilgrimages were herculean but important sacred journeys embarked upon by devout persons. Some even died in the process. Travellers go in groups and would often stay in the monasteries and hostels on the way. Today, however, the Nigerian Pilgrim would subsequently have the privilege of traveling to straight Israel for less than ten hours as a result of the technology which ushered the use of Aeroplanes. With the signing of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement BASA, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Mr John Kennedy Opara, said that the pilgrims will, beginning from next pilgrimage, fly for a little over five hours. In his words: “A Journey of about nine and a half hour will be no more than 5 hours”. During the flag off ceremony for this years’ October Christian Pilgrimage to Israel, the President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Senate President, David mark, sadly noticed that the exercise has lost its meaning because most people now conceive of it as an economic venture rather than a holy journey meant for spiritual edification of souls and sacred obligation. “Those who think that pilgrimage is an opportunity to go to Israel and make money through any form of trade are at the wrong place at the wrong time," he added aptly. How true! Reports of pilgrims disappearing into thin air in Israel, for whatever reason, has not been far from the front burner of the media. Responding to a media publication early this month after it was reported by one newspaper that some pilgrims disappeared during the this pilgrimage exercise, Mr John Kennedy had this to say: “The issue of absconding cannot be easily determined because with the level with which the institute has reached with Israel, there is no way a pilgrim can disappear because there are no hiding place. Please, note that when the pilgrims depart Nigeria to Israel there are Israelis grand handlers, who see to the welfare of the pilgrims. "So when they are ready also to live, the same grand handlers will also see to the fact that these people go in good order. Part of that is the case where the grand handlers ensure that the pilgrims are as accurate in number as they ought to be.” But despite that, there have indeed been cases of pilgrims absconding which stoutly

President of CAN, Oritsejafor brings to the fore the need to understand the true meaning of the holy pilgrimage. If certain people will hide under the guise of going to serve the lord in the Holy Land to achieve unholy objective, then the pilgrimage has indeed lost its true meaning. Pilgrimage is a religious Journey embarked upon by the religious in order to venerate their God in a special way and at special places. It is an act of faith and devotion aimed at acquiring religious benefits or for the atonement of sins. In the words of the Executive secretary: “The Holy Pilgrimage is important because as it is written in the Bible in the Book of Zachariah chapter 8: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain…I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west; I will bring them to Jerusalem. And every nation (including Nigeria) shall come to Jerusalem and be blessed”. However, the desire to legally embark on gainful employment with the use of the exercise is not altogether a bad Idea; especially when such exercise is done legally. By the virtue of the Bilateral Air service Agreement for example, it has been noted that Nigerians will benefit from the Pilgrimage exercise economically. While explaining the impacts of the agreement to Newsmen the Executive secretary said the BASA would help to boost the country’s economy. “With the signing of this agreement we have as part of the pilgrimage, a plan for the

John Kennedy, Executive Secretary, NCPC food that the Pilgrims will eat while in Israel. "Before now, what was applicable was a case where everything, even the feeding was coordinated by the host community. But now we will be able to make sure that caterers from Nigeria join in the exercise to feed the Nigerian Pilgrims; Also Nigeria Air operators will now be able to have offices in Israel to partner with their Israeli counterparts. The Grand Handlers will now also include Nigeria, so the benefits are quite enormous, it will serve as an avenue for employment for Nigerians”. Indeed, the Holy Pilgrimage is a call to worship which deserves the utmost regard and can be a source of great blessings to all, if the exercise is greatly respected. Little wonder Nigerians, who took part in the Christian pilgrimage to Israel this year, took out time to pray for the country in what was tarred; “A day with Jesus for Nigeria in Israel”. There is no doubt that the country of ours needs to have such a moment with its maker to table the many problems of the country before Him. It is necessary to show true and sincere faith in God with an equal sense of contrition for one’s sinful state when one embarks on pilgrimage. Rather than mundane ambition, strong spirituality and true devotion should be the central and indeed sole focus of any pilgrim not seeking an escape route from the socioeconomic malaise bedeviling by running elsewhere. This is why the Christians in Israel were reported in the social media to have expressed

disapproval for the prayers of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN Pastor Oritsejafor for the Aviation Minister at the Holy Ground. Report say the CAN president attempted to serve both the interest of God and man at the same time but was somewhat pricked by his conscience. According to the Sahara Reporters, though the CAN president fervently besought for the embattled Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah of the controversial N255m two armoured cars saga, but the embarrassment of the pastor, the people unanimously refused to say Amen to his prayers. This some have said was a step too far by Nigerians who themselves are sinners before God. Others have argued that out of reverence for God and respect and appreciation of the law of Caesar, the minister should have waited for the storms to calm before embarking on any such intercession for the embattled minister. The action, they added, seemed prompted more by hypocrisy than call to devotion. However, the Executive Secretary NCPC aptly says: “Blessed is he whose eyes is on Pilgrimage”. So as more Nigerians imbibe the good in the holy exercise to fill a Natural need to serve their creator through the holy pilgrimage, it is hoped that the exercise will indeed bring spiritual succour rather than be abused by certain elements whose interest is anything but spiritual. It should be used to pray for the much desired transformation of Nigeria.

But despite that, there have indeed been cases of pilgrims absconding which stoutly brings to the fore the need to understand the true meaning of the holy pilgrimage. If certain people will hide under the guise of going to serve the lord in the Holy Land to achieve unholy objective, then the pilgrimage has indeed lost its true meaning. Stella Oduah, Minister of Aviation




Interesting facts about landmarks in France


rance is a nation full of rich culture and history, much of which is on display in the various landmarks and monuments in the country -- many of them located conveniently close together in the capital, Paris, and its nearby suburbs. From architectural marvels to solemn beaches that mark a sad day in world history, France has much to see and do. Eiffel Tower One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889 as a centerpiece for the World’s Fair. This structure was derided by many Parisians at the time due in part to its size: 1,063 feet in height. Lights on the tower illuminate it at night, and a light show takes place on the structure during the first 10 minutes of each hour. The first two levels, which contain restaurants, can be accessed by stairs or an elevator. Visitors wishing to ascend to the top must ride an elevator. Arc de Triomphe After Napoleon vowed to his sol-

diers that they would return home under “triumphal arches” following their 1805 victory in the Battle of Austerlitz, he began building the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This monument was not finished until 1836, 15 years after his death. The Arc de Triomphe, which is one of many such structures built across France, is the focal point of most state funerals, and the coffins of the dead pass under it. Jean Chalgrin designed the arch, which features many sculptures, shields and reliefs. The names of 588 French generals line the inside of the walls, as do a list of battles during the Napoleonic wars. Palace of Versailles What began as a hunting lodge for Louis XIII in 1624 transformed into a massive palace over decades. When Louis XIV took over, Versailles, which is about 10 miles southwest of Paris, became the focal point of political power in France and continued as such for more than a century. During the latter’s reign, architects Louis Le Vau and Andre Le

Notre helped complete a massive renovation and expansion of the lodge into a palace beginning in 1661. The palace was ransacked during the French Revolution and most of its furnishings were destroyed. Under the rule of Louis-Philipe, the palace was turned into a museum to glorify France. Later, John D. Rockefeller contributed money toward restoring the palace, with work ongoing today. Beaches of D-Day On June 6, 1944, American, British, French and Canadian troops landed on multiple beaches in the Normandy region of France in an effort to surprise German forces. Thousands of men on both sides died, but the Allies were able to gain a foothold largely due to the Germans lack of air support. It’s free for visitors to wander the well-marked beaches and visit the cemeteries where the dead were buried. Some museums highlighting the battles also are located here, but many close in winter. Sourced from Demand Media

Eiffel Tower

Arc de Triomphe

Palace of Versailles

Omaha beach in Normandy d day battle


Amazing wonders of Chad Basin National Park


had Basin National Park is situated within the ancient Kanem-Borno Empire in present day Borno and Yobe States. The Empire was established prior to 10th Century A.D. It was one of the famous and politically well organized Empires comparable to its contemporaries of Songhai and Mali Empires in Africa. The then Borno Empire developed mainly within the Conventional Basin of the Lake Chad which Chad Basin National Park is now located. The Empire played a prominent role in the growth and expansion of the Trans-Saharan Trade, Arabic and Islamic Learning, Scholarship and diplomatic ties with Countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Morocco and Spain. As a result of the Continental Trade, Islam was first introduced to what is today Nigeria around the 11th century A.D through Borno Empire. One of the noticeable relics of the culture of the ancient Borno Empire which is still outstanding is the Rabeh’s Fort at Dikwa. The Fort thereafter served as a Military Operational Base for the French, German and British Colonial Troops during the colonization of West Africa at various times in the early 1900s.The Fort was eventually declared a National Monument on April 23, 1959. The culture of the local communities surrounding the Park is fundamentally ArabicIslamic in nature due to the long interactions between the Arabs, the Kanuri’s and the Shuwa-Arabs during the Trans-Saharan Trade, amongst others. The infiltration of the European colonizers into the then Empire has to a certain extent influenced the local peoples’ way of life at various socio-economic, political and religious levels. Borno Empire was very famous for their renown Durbar; a grandiose royal festival of horses, camels, Procession of Princes and Princesses in regal attire, assorted war weapons, leadership and military hierarchy and martial music, with likely origin from North Africa, or even as far as India. Location and Size: Chad Basin National Park falls between the two states of Borno and Yobe, covering a total land area of 2,258km2. The Park is composed of basically three sectors which are spatially remote from one another i.e. one sector: Chingurmi-Duguma in Borno; and two Sectors; Wetlands and Bulatura Oases in Yobe. Chingurmi Duguma: The is the largest with an area of 1,228km2 and it’s located in Borno State. It’s an extension of Waza National Park in Cameroon. This sector which was first established as a forest or game reserve in 1975

under Borno Province is dominated by Acacia-Balanites woodland complex interspaced with a dense stand of elephant grasses in definitely stratified formation to add to the natural beauty of the ecosystem. A large part of the park was sometimes flooded by water from the Dorma River during the rainy season, creating floodplain wetlands which attract water birds and other wildlife. The sector has recorded 66 species of birds which include guinea fowl, black-crowned crane, demoiselle crane, Arabian bustard, Aviles bustard, African-collared dove, yellow-breasted barbet, blackscrub robin, chestnut-bellied starling, Sudan-golden sparrow, white stork, grey-breasted helmet guinea fowl etc. Bula Tura Oasis Sector: his sector is located in Yobe State and covers an area of 92km. It is made up of a series of fertile dune depressions (swampy valleys) referred to as Oases and also includes highly scenic sand dunes that hold great potential for ecological and adventure tourism. The park contains some rare desert wildlife like giraffe, ostrich, red fronted gazelle, jackals, mongoose, giant tortoise, panda monkeys, porcupine, ratel, spotted hyena, common duiker, warthog, dorcas gazelle, sitatunga, varieties of waders, glossy ibis, pelicans, secretary bird, knob billed goose, pintail, bustards etc. Also found close to the park is the famous Lake Chad which is paramount interest to tourists for boating, bird watching, visit to numerous fishing villages in the area and watching some aquatic animals which include hippopotamus, crocodile, clawless otter etc. The park is the only stronghold of giraffes and ostriches in Nigeria.

Tourists having a feel of nature


Bade Nguru Wetlands : This sector is part of the internationally renowned Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands and it covers an area of 938KM2. Situated southwest of Bade and Jakusko Local Government Areas of Yobe State, the focal point of the sector is the Dagona Waterfowl Sanctuary that is internationally significant as a host to migrant birds. This is one of West Africa’s most important stop-over points for birds migrating from Europe. It has been listed as an IBA (Important Birds Areas) supported by Birdlife International. During the dry season, this is the place where many thousands of European birds seeking sanctuary in Africa migrate to in order to escape the harsh European winter. The park hosted prince Philip in 1989 when he was the president of WWF and parts of the park were also visited by Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1990.

Springs of water

Wetlands A bird watcher’s paradise

Tourism PAGE 19




Where to stash dish towels in the kitchen S

olve the dish towel dilemma with simple ways to keep them handy and dry. Dish towels tend to be an afterthought when it comes to kitchen accessories. We use them every day, but where to put them seems to be a constant question. They’re either too wet, in the way, collecting in dirty and damp piles, or somehow never where you need them. This can particularly become a problem if you have a lot of dish towels, or a large kitchen. However, solving the dish towel problem doesn’t take much as can be seen by these effective examples.

A double-duty towel bar on this island keeps towels hidden from guests in the living room, and is closer to the sink in case the one hanging near there isn’t enough for a sudden spill.

Hanging additional dish towels from the oven works well, not just because the towel is always at hand, but also because the oven’s warmth helps dry the towels much faster.

This one is right above the stove to mop up splashes and spills

Storing your dish towels near the sink is a natural choice. They’re always right there for drying needs. If you don’t have a towel bar, or are a renter who doesn’t feel like installing one, draping a cute dish towel over your sink works just as well. Just be careful not to let it hang into the water.

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Bizarre Lady Gaga plans to sing in space >>P27

Lady of songs, Christy Essien Igbokwe ‘resurrects’ Sun day >>P37

Why I rap hip hop in Hausa -­ Nomiis Gee >>P36


The secret of our marriage, by Omotola’s hubby, Ekeinde

Accessory PAGE 22


Trendy smart phones of the time N

ow that most smart phones have large screens, fast 4G data connections, and apps for almost every need, one of the latest trends is simplifying routine tasks. For example, many of the cameras on new smart phones have tools for fixing problems before or after you press the shutter. Wireless technologies such as near-field communication (NFC) make it easy to beam photos, music, or videos to speakers, TVs, and other devices. Some new, tough models can survive a tumble on a trail or a dunk in a pool. F o r the shutterbug who can’t r e s i s t shooting everything that passes before her eyes, the Nokia Lumia 1020 Casio -303 8 (AT&T) is the next best thing to a dedicated camera. In fact, it is essentially a high-resolution camera fused to a very capable smart phone with a dazzling 4.5-inch display. The 38.2-megapixel camera of this Windows-based phone takes the sharpest still photos of any smart-phone camera.


The camera is also loaded with advanced features, including a half-dozen controls for manipulating exposure levels and other adjustments. This smart phone packs an excellent-quality 5.5-inch, high-definition (1080p) touchscreen display and a bevy of compelling capabilities. These include an infrared blaster and a QuickRemote app that, like a universal remote, can be used to control compatible TVs, settop boxes, Blu-ray players, and more. Its QSlide feature lets

you watch video or another app in a resizable window on the phone’s display so that you can perform other tasks. Know someone who’s dying to have every cool feature available on a phone? The Android-based Samsung Galaxy S 4 (multiple carriers) won’t disappoint. In fact, your friend will be able to perform a lot of common tasks on the Galaxy S 4 without even touching its gorgeous 5-inch, high-definition (1080p) touch-screen display. With this, you can preview e-mail, calendar appointments, videos, and more by hovering her finger above them. Then can accept a phone call or skip to the next song on her playlist just by waving her hand in front of the screen. The front-facing camera will monitor her eyes while she’s reading to prevent the screen from timing out. The Galaxy S 4’s 12.8- megapixel camera can fix photos marred by bad poses, bad timing, and even bad luck. For example, Erase Shot lets you delete a person or any other undesirable object that may end up in your otherwise per-

fect photo. And a multi-window feature lets you run two apps simultaneously in a splitscreen view. For instance, you can watch a video while viewing e-mail, or use Google Maps and messaging side by side. You know that person. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can keep him from the swift completion of his appointments, texts, and e-mail. With its rugged, weather-resistant case, the Androidbased Casio G’zOne Commando 4G LTE (Verizon) should be just the thing. And this phone is brimming with features you can use in the wild, including a c o m pass, thermome t e r , pedome t e r , and other apps. W e put this m o d e l through its paces, submerging it in about 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. The Commando continued to work, and we saw no visible signs of water intrusion or damage. It can fend off mechanical shocks if dropped on hard surface without showing signs of damage. An Apple iPhone is the hands-down winner for anyone who must have every hot game, song, or TV show on their phone. Whether you give the new iPhone 5s or one

Lumia 1020


of the previous iPhone models that Apple still offers at a lower price, the recipient is sure to be pleased. The selection of music, video, games, and apps from iTunes and the App Store is simply unrivaled for sheer volume and diversity. The range of applications has been expanded to include

networked, player-to-player gaming via its Game Center. iPhone owners also have accessories galore—cases, compatible devices, and more— from which to choose. Sourced from the December 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine




Hon. Binta Maigari Bello: Inspiring women towards political achievements By Miriam Humbe


on. (Mrs.) Binta Maigari Bello is a member of the 7th assembly of the Federal House of Representatives where she represents Kaltungo/ Shongom constituency of Gombe State under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. A former classroom teacher in the 1980s, she is today, one of the influential women in the National Assembly. Hon. Binta Maigari Bello currently chairs the House Committee on Women in ParliamentWIP. A rare politician who has successfully combined politics with gentility in a particularly aggressive political sphere such as Nigeria’s, Binta’s passion for community service dates back to her days as a child when she dreamed of alleviating the sufferings of her people each time she visited the village with her parents. A one-time Commissioner for Women Affairs and former Acting Commissioner for Ministry of Youth Development in Gombe State, her last assignment before joining the National Assembly in 2011 was as Deputy Chairman, Shomgom Local Government of the state. She was also at one time, an Administrative Officer and acting commissioner, Ministry of Youth Development. As chairman of Women in Parliament committee, Hon. Binta worries herself over the low representation of women in elective political positions. “The agenda in 2011 was to achieve at least 20%, but we couldn’t. Currently, we have below 10%, and that’s very devastating. So, we’re trying to see how we could organise ourselves and galvanise towards 2015 so we could raise the representation above 15% if not above 20%”, she said. Her committee is engaging in advocacy, mentoring and empowerment because she understands that younger women need to be taught to believe in themselves above all. Back home in her constituency, she is busy trying to see how she can impact women with good education. “Presently, I have a yearly scholarship programme in place for 300 university students. I’ve also set up a free ICT centre which I affiliated to the Gombe Federal College of Education, to enhance the certificate. Now, graduates of the ICT centre get their certificates from the Gombe FCE and this strengthens their chances of securing employment wherever they go to seek for work”, she stated. Already, the ICT centre recently graduated the third set of students in July. Cumulatively, over 240 students have graduated from the ICT centre so far. Hon. Binta started her childhood in Ibusa in Delta State.

Hon. Binta Maigari Bello When her family later moved to Ondo state, she later attended Costain Primary School from 1978 to1983. Her father was in the military so that meant that the family was often on transfer. She began her secondary school education in Kaduna State but completed it in Gombe State in 1988 at the W.T.C Bajoga. She was among the last set of Grade II teachers. She obtained a Diploma in Public Administration in 1995 from the University of Jos and later moved on to do a

degree in Public Administration at the University of Maiduguri. As part of her constituency projects, she constructed blocks of classrooms in some schools. She also distributed over a hundred beds with mattresses and other accessories to hospitals. In addition, she has launched other women empowerment programmes to support the eradication of poverty among rural women by putting in place, four skills acquisition centres in different locations, making it easier

for women and youths to acquire vocational skills. Having worked so hard to attain this level of success in life, Hon. Binta is of the opinion that every woman should be determined and focused on their set goals. “Money is not everything; goodwill is the best tool and recipe for a woman to stand and succeed in politics”, she advised. While recounting her experiences during the elections, she had this to say, “If I say I was not well treated by my people, I’m

Her committee is engaging in advocacy, mentoring and empowerment because she understands that younger women need to be taught to believe in themselves above all.

not grateful to them and to God. If religion could stop someone from getting a seat, I wouldn’t have been able to represent my constituency because I’m a Moslem while 90 percent of my constituency are Christians. After the post-election violence in 2011 and three cancelation of election, I still found myself where my people wanted me to be. That’s why I always say goodwill is the best tool for politics. When your people know you have their interest at heart, they will always stand by you”. For those who may be anxious to know her next mode of action, Hon. Binta has this to say, “I’m still very much in politics. Only the future can determine what new line to toe just like how I came into politics; I never planned to join politics. My people actually urged me into it”. When she came into the murky waters of politics, she naturally encountered lots of obstacles. In order to score cheap political points, some opponents accused her of marrying from Yobe State. She however made them understand that her marrying from another tribe wouldn’t stop her from giving them their democratic benefits. “I’m happy every challenge eventually turned into a blessing”, she said. While growing up as a child, her dream was to become a philanthropist. She recounts thus: “I had passion for people and each time we went to the village, I told my father that if I had the opportunity, I would want to do something to touch the lives of my people. When I eventually became a Grade II teacher, the first time I had about N250,000, I went to one of the secondary schools in which I had been seeing people suffer during the rainy season and I told them I wanted to renovate their classrooms”. “Somebody however advised me to start a structure for the school instead, and that wherever I stopped, somebody else would continue. I started the building eventually, and was gradually able to complete it after a while. It was however hectic. After I had furnished and commissioned the building, people went about sabotaging and reporting me to the then governor that I was trying to outshine him. At the end of the day, the governor invited me over and after speaking with me; he was able to understand where I was coming from and what I wanted for the poor. Everything eventually became a blessing for me, and that incidence triggered my invitation into politics”, she added. Awards and honours bestowed on Hon. Binta includes; honorary Doctorate Degree by Atlantic International University Okija campus and Best Commissioner of Women Affairs.


Kiddies World

With Nami Hassan Kadir 08130693795.




mildest climate in the world, after Hawaii, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The Route is sandwiched between the aforementioned mountains and the Indian Ocean. Ten nature reserves embrace the varied ecosystems of the area as well as unique marine reserves, home to soft coral reefs, dolphins, seals and a host of other marine life. The Garden Route is home to golf courses, forests, shopping malls, retirement homes, craft villages and the worlds highest bridge bungy jump. Come and see the beauty of Africa...



The Garden Route of South Africa

he Garden Route (Afrikaans: Tuinroete) is a popular stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous lagoons and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre. It has an oceanic climate, with mild to warm summers, and mild to cool winters. It has the mildest climate in South Africa and the second



Kiddies World


With Nami Hassan Kadir 08130693795.




Why dead people are buried


n the beginning of the world when the Creator had made men and women and the animals, they all lived together in the creation land. The Creator was a big chief, past all men, and being very kind-hearted, was very sorry whenever any one died. So one day he sent for the dog, who was his head messenger, and told him to go out into the world and give his word to all people that for the future whenever any one died the body was to be placed in the compound, and wood ashes were to be thrown over it; that the dead body was to be left on the ground, and in twenty-four hours it would become alive again. When the dog had travelled for half a day he began to get tired; so as he was near an old woman’s house he looked in, and seeing a bone with some meat on it he made a meal off it, and then went to sleep, entirely forgetting the message which had been given him to deliver. After a time, when the dog did not return, the Creator called for a sheep, and sent him out with the same message. But the sheep was a very foolish one, and being hungry, began eating

the sweet grasses by the wayside. After a time, however, he remembered that he had a message to deliver, but forgot what it was exactly; so as he went about among the people he told them that the message the Creator had given him to tell the people, was that whenever any one died they should be buried underneath the ground. A little time afterwards the dog remembered his message, so he ran into the town and told the people that they were to place wood ashes on the dead bodies and leave them in the compound, and that they would come to life again after twenty-four hours. But the people would not believe him, and said, “We have already received the word from the Creator by the sheep, that all dead bodies should be buried.” In consequence of this the dead bodies are now always buried, and the dog is much disliked and not trusted as a messenger, as if he had not found the bone in the old woman’s house and forgotten his message, the dead people might still be alive.


Adanna Amagwula, celebrates her birthday recently


Using the right colours, shade the image below. Describe the action and show your work to your teacher for correction. Cheers!

How to make cute critter clutches


ids can create their own style with these ideas for easy handmade fashions. What you’ll need: -Scissors -Felt -Tacky glue -Markers -Stiff felt How to make it: 1. Cut two 5 1/2-inch circles from the felt. 2. Decorate one circle with glued-on felt facial features (eyes, ears, mouth) and marker details. If desired, add a tail, feet, or

other features to the second circle. 3. From the stiff felt, cut 2 partial circles as shown below, then cut a hole in each to form handles. Glue the bottom of each handle to the inside of one of the felt circles. 4. Apply a line of glue along the inside edge of one circle, excluding the part with the handle. Press the circles together, aligning the handles, and let the purse dry overnight. 5. For the Kitty Clutch template




5 things you should know before dating a journalist By Tom Chambers


o, you’ve been eyeing that smart, attractive journalist you’re lucky enough to know personally. You’re intrigued. Your journalist is smart, funny, confident. Visions of Clark Kent taking off the glasses and ripping off his clothes to reveal a perfectly toned body in blue spandex coming to save you run through your head. Who can blame you? Journalism is a sexy occupation. But journalists aren’t like the bimbos you usually pick up at the bar. Nor are they the assholes you ladies continually fall for. No, journalists are different beings (which is why you’re attracted to them in the first place), and you should realize — before jumping in — that this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill, boring, lame relationship you’re used to. Here’s what you need to know: 1 We can figure things out. Understand, we’re paid to dig deep, find the secrets and wade through bullshit. We can pick up on subtleties, so what you think you are hiding from us won’t be hidden for long. Sure, we’ll act surprised when you eventually tell us you starred in German porn as a freshman in college — but we already knew. We don’t take shit from anyone, so don’t lie to us or give a load of bullshit. We spend all day separating fact from fiction, listening to PR cronies and dealing with slimy politicians. If you make us do the same with you, you’re just gonna piss us off. And don’t think we’ll be quiet about it. We’ll respond with the vengeance of an Op-Ed page railing against society’s injustices — and we’ll enjoy doing it. Just tell us the truth. We can handle it. 2 At some point, you will be a topic. Either through a feature story or an opinion column, something you do or say will be a subject. Get over it. Consider it a compliment, even if we’re arguing against you in print. Think about it: we live our lives writing about life. If you’re

You won’t be disappointed. Journalists are intense, driven, passionate folk. We carry those same attributes into our relationships, making it an extremely fun ride well worth the price of admission. Our lives are never boring and each day is different.

a part of our life, we’re going to write about you, your thoughts or a subject springing from one of the two. Don’t be upset when an argument against your adoration of Hillary Clinton turns up on page A4. We’re not directing the writing at you, personally — your ignorance was just our inspiration (there, doesn’t that make you feel better?). 3 Yes, we think we’re smarter than you. In fact, we know it. Does that smack of ego? Absolutely — but that confidence is what makes your heart go pitterpatter. We have a strong, working knowledge of how the world works. That makes us great in conversation. We can delve into the intricacies of zoning laws, local and national politics, where to

find the good restaurants, what’s happening with pop culture, where the good bands are playing and more. But there are pitfalls. uaranteed, when you say “towards,” we will automatically say “toward” — “towards” is not a word. We’re not trying to call you dumb (even though you don’t understand the English language), it’s habit. The same will happen when you say “anxious” when you mean “eager” and when you answer “good” when someone asks how you are doing. We carry ourselves with a certain arrogant air. Embrace it (that’s what attracted you to us in the first place, after all). Don’t be surprised if we’re not impressed when you say, “I’m a writer, too.”


No, you are not. The fact that you sit in a coffee shop wearing black while scribbling in your journal does not make you a writer. Nor does the fact that you “wrote some poems in high school” or that one day you want to pen “the great American novel.” Look, we’re paid to write. Every day. What’s more, our writing matters. It changes opinions, affects decisions and connects people with the world around them. We’re not spewing our angst or trying to fabricate an aura of creativity. We write about the real world — with real consequences. Our words go through three or four cranky editors who make us rewrite before it’s printed a few hundred thousand times and distributed all over town. You don’t do that unless you’re confident,

even egotistical. You may have some great journal entries, poems and rudimentary short stories — good for you. Just don’t assume we’ll accept that as on par with what we do (unless you’re really hot, then hell, you’re a better writer than I). 4 You’re not less important than the job — the job is just more important than anything else. One doesn’t become a journalist to sit in an office from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. We do take our work home. If news is happening, we’ll drop whatever we’re doing — even if it’s with you — to cover it. We’re always looking for stories, so yes, we’ll stop on the street to write something down, interview a passer-by or gather information for a lead. On that same note, don’t get upset if you call us on deadline suggesting some afternoon nookie and we say, “I’ve got to put the paper to bed first.” That could mean hours from now, but we’ll have plenty of time to put you in bed later. 5 You won’t be disappointed. Journalists are intense, driven, passionate folk. We carry those same attributes into our relationships, making it an extremely fun ride well worth the price of admission. Our lives are never boring and each day is different. If the pitfalls are scaring you away, consider this: he fact that we’re inquisitive means we’ll listen to you. Even if it does seem like an interview, we’re paying attention to what you have to say (see rule No. 1). We’ll write about you or your thoughts because you’re an important part of our life and we care about you (see rule No. 2). Our brains are a great resource. Ever go on a date with an attractive person and wind up wishing you hadn’t because everything they say is just, well, stupid? That’s not going to happen here (see rule No. 3). Yes, it may seem that we put the job ahead of you, but we’re driven. You’re not with that loser whose life is going nowhere and who’s completely content being mediocre (see rule No. 4). There you go, five things you should know before dating



Lady Gaga to perform in outer space in 2015


-2-1-blast off! Lady Gaga will make history as the first ever performer to sing in outer space in 2015, pictured last week She has pushed the boundaries with her wacky outfits and bizarre behaviour. And now Lady Gaga will be charting new territory of an entirely different kind. The 27-year-old will make history in 2015 as the first singer to perform in outer space. The Applause hitmaker will embark on a space mission with Virgin Galactic flights and is reportedly planning to have vocal training to ensure she can still hit the correct notes in a gravity-free environment. A source told Us Weekly magazine: ‘She has to do a month of vocal training because of the atmosphere. ‘[This will be] like nothing the world has seen before.’ The star will perform on the third day of the Zero G Colony festival which takes place at Spaceport America in New Mexico approximately six months after the first Virgin Galactic commercial flight, and has taken the

necessary precautions to ensure she is protected against the worst possible outcome. ‘Gaga has taken out a ridiculous life insurance policy,’ said the source. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic programme launches next year and a list of stars including Ashton Kutcher and his girlfriend Mila Kunis, Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio have confirmed they have bought seats to fly to space for $250,000 each. Many passengers have also visited Richard’s Necker Island to complete G-force training. The craft they will fly in, SpaceShipTwo, was unveiled in the Mojave Desert in California in 2009. The first ever two-hour flight in the planet’s orbit will be boarded by Richard and his family. Passengers on the crafts will travel 62 miles in altitude - the internationally recognised boundary of outer space - and experience weightlessness and an incredible view of the curve of the Earth.

... says she used to smoke 20 marijuana cigarettes a day


day after Miley Cyrus smoked a joint on stage at the European Music Awards, Lady Gaga is opening up about what she believes is a dangerously addictive quality of marijuana. “You actually can become addicted to it,” the 27-year-old singer told Elvis Duran on New York’s Z100 Monday. “I have been addicted to it. ... I was smoking up to 15, 20 marijuana cigarettes a day with no tobacco. I was living on a totally other psychedelic plane, numbing myself completely. ... I had to stop.” But marijuana apparently wasn’t her only vice. “I’ve been addicted to various things since I was young, most heavily over the past seven years,” she said during the radio interview. “A friend gave me this term, I ‘lily pad’ from substance to substance because I get to a point where I can’t go any further with one substance so I move to another.”



Kuti, 2Face to headline Music Meets Runway


rammy Award nominee and Afro-beat icon, Femi Kuti will be headlining this year’s edition of Music Meets Runway alongside multiple award winning Afro-pop star 2face Idibia. The other eight acts will be announced at a later date. Fans of both music giants will be awed as both icons will be performing alongside other top acts at this year’s ‘iconic’ edition of the show. Kuti, the son of the legendary king of Afro-beat- late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who has successfully swelled the fan base of one of Africa’s most popular genres, still remains one of the biggest acts Nigeria can boast of. Joining the unconventional Saxophonist to thrill fans of music and fashion is 2Face Idibia who will be making his debut on the stage of Music Meets Runway as one of the iconic acts. The event, which is being put together by Le Reve has featured impressive collection of artistes including D’banj, Naeto C, Davido, Wizkid, Kswitch, Duncan Mighty, Dprince and many others. Music Meets Runway which is

in top gear to give attendees a time of their life, has unveiled 6 iconic designers namely Mai Atafo, Okunoren twins, Ituen Basi, Lisa by Jewel, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi and Deola Sag. These iconic designers are some of the established home designers who are trailblazers and internationally recognized with several awards, reputable brand partnerships and participation in fashions shows both local and international to their credit. Music Meets Runway in the last two years has created a niche and brand in promoting talents in the music and fashion industries by fusing musical with runway. Speaking on the upcoming event and the artistes, Jennifer Olize, CEO of Le Reve event said, “This year’s edition will go beyond expectation because of the iconic touches that will be added to it. “As we all know, 2face and Femi Kuti will be performing on that day, and we all know that they are one of the selected few who have proven to all and sundry that talent and right positioning are keys to recording enduring successes in the music business.”

Femi Kuti

2face Idibia

Gaga said her drug use spiraled out of control around the same time that a hip injury forced her to scrap most of the dates on her Born This Way Ball tour. “I was just in a lot of pain and really depressed all the time and not really sure why,” she told Duran. “I was not very good at breaking. ... I was in a wheelchair for six months. I did a lot of drugs and took a lot of pills.” With her new record, ARTPOP, out now, she insists those days are behind her. “I have to be high to be creative,” she tells Duran. “Can I be brilliant without it? I know that I can be and I have to be because I want to live, and I want my fans to want to live.” Gaga played a secret show in Brooklyn Sunday night to celebrate the release of ARTPOP on Monday, according to The Associated Press. There, she unveiled what she calls “the world’s first flying dress,” a battery-powered metal gown she calls Volantis.



s p i T y t u a Be

Compiled by Nami Hassan

Makeup that gives you the edge G

oing for a first date? Well, you need to look your best. Being in your best gets you a second date without hassles. However, that means you must consider what to wear and your makeup in particular without unnecessarily being routine. Plus, in today’s age of online dating, there’s a whole new layer of nerves that comes into play, mostly regarding whether your date will actually look like the profile picture online. In short, you’ve got concerns. Fortunately, makeup is one area where you don’t need to be worried. All you need to do just wear it in the best way that suits your complexion. Especially is this necessary if it’s a first makeup, to make that first but durable impression, less makeup is more. Here is the recipe. Black Eyeliner: Gently line your upper lash line with black eyeliner (or, for a softer look, go with brown eyeliner) and for an extra confidence boost, flick out the edge of the liner for a tiny, subtle cat eye. This will help open up your eyes, making them appear a bit wider and more awake. Highlighter: Nothing gives you a gorgeous glow like some well placed highlighter! Using a highlighter stick, apply a line directly down the bridge of your nose, the center of the apples of your cheeks, and a diagonal line between the tops of your cheekbones and the bottom of your eyes. Blend well so that the highlighter looks natural, and voilà! Blush: Giving yourself a flush of color is always a good idea, especially in the winter when we tend to get a bit more pale. Depending on your skin tone, go for a bronze-pink or a cranberry color for some natural looking life into your cheeks. Rosy Lip Gloss: We don’t necessarily recommend lipstick on the first date is not what you should be doing when you’re chatting up a potential significant other, but we do believe in a little bit of lip color to finish off your look. Go for a rose or pink shade that’s sheer and about two or three shades darker than your natural lip color for just a hint of confidence without looking like you piled on makeup.

Black Eyeliner

Glossy lip

Miss World 2013

With golden makeup wearing a-hooded-dress

Sharpie gel highlighter

Compiled by MIRIAM HUMBE



Rock your world in stunning lace dress


he lace trend never dies and there are more ways than ever to wear your lace dress. Whether your style is demure and ladylike or edgy rock chic, there are many different styles of lace dresses available. Lace dresses range from casual shifts to glamorous gowns. Here are a few tips on how to turn out your best in lace dresses. Colored Lace Stray from black and white lace dresses and head for bright reds and pinks. As colored lace makes quite a statement, team these dresses with neutral accessories. A red lace dress would make an excellent party dress any day. Casual wear When thinking about how to wear lace dresses, look to the quality of the fabric. Lower quality lace is better for carrying off casual, day-to-day looks. Heavier lace fabrics are also better for creating that casual appearance. Choose a shorter length lace dress in neutral colors. Top it off with tan leather accessories for a fun, casual look. Evening wear Better quality lace is more suited for evening wear and special


occasions. Longer length dresses and gowns are quite elegant. Black lace is quite dramatic, but be bold enough to try white or cream lace. If you are worried about white lace being a bit too bridal, team it with colorful accessories or add some colorful trims. Heavy lace These types of lace are better for keeping structure and creating a defined silhouette. Think shift dresses and full-skirted tea dresses as they are much easier to style when it comes to how to wear lace dresses. Sturdier lace fabrics with wider nets and more unique patterns are what you should be looking out for this season. Metallic lace Vintage-type lace is all well and good, but if you want something a little more contemporary you can’t go past metallic lace. The metallic lace dress is perfect for a party occasion. For a fun evening look, team a metallic lace dress in a flirty shift style with some patent accessories and metallic jewelry. Hopefully these tips on how to wear lace dresses will avail you some confidence about the fabric. Whether it is a staple part of your wardrobe or for special occasions only, lace is an elegant and on-trend choice of fabric.

Pots & Pans PAGE 30

Otong soup with Tuwon shinkafa Otong soup


his is a delicious cuisine that marks a celebration of the cultural diversities of Nigeria.

Ingredients: 2 cups chopped pumpkin [ugu] leaves (substitute spinach) 2 cups chopped okra 2 cubes maggi ¼ cup palm oil ¼ cup uziza leaves (optional) Dried blended crayfish (1/4 cup) Salt to taste ½ teaspoon dried chilli Meat (cow skin, intestine, and beef) (pre-cooked) You can add turkey and shrimps. Preparation: In a medium pot, add three cups of water. Set the water on medium heat Pound half of the chopped okra (you can optionally use a blender) Once the water starts to boil, add in the crayfish, maggi, pepper and salt. Simmer for three minutes Add the precooked meat Add the okra (pounded and chopped),

stir. Add ugu, (spinach) and the uziza Simmer for 10mins. Add palm oil, simmer for another 10 minutes. Savour.

Tuwon shinkafa Ingredients 1 cup dried rice A pinch of salt Preparation In a blender or dry mill, blend the rice until fine Place a pot on low heat, add in 2 cups of water, and add the grounded rice. Turn the rice consistently until it starts to thicken Continue to turn the rice until it becomes solid Add three teaspoons water and the salt Cover and cook on low heat for six minutes Stir one more time Serve with your choice of soup. Tuwon shinkafa can also be made directly from cooking rice; the process takes about 50minutes.


With Hajiya Ramatu Usman Dorayi

Kunun aya (tiger nuts milk) Ingredients: 250g tiger nuts 1litre of water 100g sugar (or up to 150g) (Optional: a small piece of lemon rind) (Optional: a small piece of cinnamon bark) Extra water to hydrate the tiger nuts Preparation: Ideally hydrate the tiger nuts overnight or up to two days, by covering them generously in cold water and keeping them in the fridge (otherwise they may ferment). If they are really dry and they need two days, change the water each day. Place the tiger nuts with the sugar, the lemon & cinnamon if you choose to use them, and with about half the water and blend into a smooth liquid paste. Add the rest of the water gradually. It’s best to blend the tiger nuts with half of the water, strain and place the left-over pulp into the blender again with the rest of the water to extract as much as possible. You can press easily to extract all the milk and just leave behind the flavourless powdered nuts. You can just pour it all in, and just press out all the juice. Leave in the fridge to cool, or even freeze slightly and use a blender to smooth it up.





Treacherous: Answers from next door neighbours Continued from last edition


week passed smoothly in the Woodson house and I kept doing my detective work side by side. Just when I was starting to lose my interest in unravelling the mystery of Woodson house thinking that there’s nothing wrong with the house and it’s just me who is over scrutinizing everything, life gave me another blow! My mom and dad were out of the house for some reason and Annabell was at her friend’s place. There were two houses next to ours but what was I supposed to do? I just cannot knock on their doors and say ‘Hey! I’m Felicia, the recently adopted child of the Woodsons!’ So I decided to just take a walk around the neighborhood, when suddenly I saw a girl sitting on the bench. She looked to be about the same age as mine, with long black hair and amber eyes. She was sitting very quietly on the bench reading a book. She looked up and as soon as she saw me, she smiled and then started walking towards me. “Hey!” She said. “Hello.” I replied smiling at her. “So you’re new here?” “Well yes, just been a week and a few days.” “Um... by the way where’s your house?” “There.” I said pointing towards our house. “You mean the Woodson house?” She smirked strangely. “Yes... anything wrong?” “No... but the Woodsons still live here, I saw them this morning.” She said sounding confused. “Oh! You’re getting me wrong I live with the Woodsons, I haven’t purchased this house from them.” “Oh... but how?” “How should I tell her?” I wondered. “Actually the Woodsons...” “What are you doing here?” Said Mrs. Rose who appeared from nowhere and cut me off. “Actually I was just...” I tried to explain, but she wasn’t ready to listen to me. “C’mon let’s get back.” Said Mrs. Rose and dragged me back towards our house. But wasn’t it too rude of her? Rather it was very weird and yes, just when I was thinking that everything is fine, my world again turned upside down. During dinner the whole house was in silence and all that was audible was the cracking noise of the forks and knives. I finally broke the ice, “I have a question.” And then three pairs of eyes started gazing at me as if I’ve declared myself a terrorist. “Well, go on.” Finally Mr. Woodson said. “What is going on? Why do you treat me like a pet? Why, all you guys ever want is to keep me confined in these four walls? Why are you suffocating me like this?” I asked all these

questions in just one breath. “Enough!” Shouted Mrs. Rose. “What do you think of yourself? We gave you a new life. You should feel obliged poor creature.” Mrs. Rose said these words with her eyes full of cruelty. Poor creature! Is this lady crazy? How dare she call me that? “Rose!” Mr. Woodson began, who suddenly acted like my knight in shining armor. “This is not the way to talk to your daughter!” “You’re forgetting something.” Said Mrs. Rose while staring deeply in Mr. Woodson’s eyes. This statement suddenly changed the entire equation. Mr. Woodson suddenly stopped arguing as if Mrs. Rose had him on gunpoint. Suddenly I felt so lonely... as if Mrs. Rose has just made me realise that I’m nothing but an orphan, a thing with a price tag which has been bought by her! I couldn’t sleep the entire night... the event on the dinner table completely shook me. I couldn’t help but let my tears just slowly roll down my cheeks. I woke up the next morning on a wet pillow reminding me that I had been crying all night. I sat on my bed and looked around the room. I felt so unsure of what to do next. I just felt like running away from here. Suddenly I heard a knock on the door, and believe me it wasn’t needed as the person opened the door without my approval. rs. Rose was standing right in front of my bed waiting for me to look at her but I didn’t... I was hurt! “Felicia I am....” She began. “There’s no need to apologise or tell me you didn’t mean it or I should forget it.” I cut her off and said it all in one breath. “But give me a chance.” She said while sitting next to me on the bed and taking my hand. “Listen! I know you are very disturbed but believe me there’s nothing wrong with us... we’re not against you. I just feel like whenever we try to talk to you, there’s always this... this wall you’re holding up against us and that’s what frustrated me, and that’s it!” She said all of this in a very calm tone. I didn’t know what to say but I had to do, so I began, “You mean I can live in this house without any tension?” “Of course you can.” “But what about my freedom?” “Look! The people around here aren’t trustworthy and that’s why I suggest you to stay at home.” “Fine! I’ll do what you say.” I smiled at her Now, I just know what to do... no more interrogations with the Woodsons but getting answers from other people and I know exactly who that person is! My lip curled up to a side with an amazing idea in my mind... 1, 2, 3 and action! I stepped out of the house with an amazing idea in my head. I started looking around for the girl I met the other day. I stopped right in front of her house but just couldn’t knock. I saw a car stopping right in front of


the house and the girl stepped out of it. Obviously, she was surprised to see me. “Hey, how are you?” She said while coming towards me. She was holding her pet in her hands. “Fine. Just came to tell you that I’m sorry for my mother’s behaviour.” I began. “Ah! No problem, but Mrs. Rose isn’t your mother right? She can’t be.” “Well... that’s what I wanted to tell you that day.” “Ok then come in we’ll have a nice chat.” She smiled and welcomed me inside the house. “Have a seat.” She pointed to the big sofa which was as soft as feather. I settled myself in and our conversation began. “By the way I’m Alice.” Said the girl. “Nice name. Well, I’m Felicia.” I said while extending my hand towards her. “So we were talking about Mrs. Rose being your mother?” “Yes, actually I belonged to an orphanage in New York and the Woodsons adopted me... that’s it.”

“Oh... I’m sorry... I... I didn’t know.” “It’s alright.” “Hmmm... so how is it going with the Woodsons?” “Well... I don’t know yet. I’m just a little confused.” “Confused? About what?” “Well, Alice to be frank I came here to talk to you about the Woodsons. I mean you may find it funny, but I think there’s something wrong with them and I don’t know why I should trust you? I mean you’re a stranger to me but I still do.” “Well, yes I’m a stranger to you but not to the Woodsons. No matter how much Mrs. Rose tries to ignore and pretend that they don’t know me or my family, they cannot hide the fact that once we were just like a family.” “You mean you and the Woodsons were like family?.” “Yes, we were.” “But why was Mrs. Rose so annoyed when she saw me with you?” I asked. “Well... I think it’s natural for her to behave like that. Maybe I’m just a constant reminder of their...” Alice

Well... girl it looks like you are wanting to know a bit too much a bit too early. Right now, all I can tell you that the reason why we adopted you is not harmful for you...

stopped speaking and looked down and quietly glanced at the marble flooring. “Of what?” I asked. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you.” Alice’s eyes were filled with tears... “I think we’re done for today. If there’s any way I can help you, please let me know.” Said Alice while getting up from the sofa. “But we need to talk.” I insisted. “I don’t think I can help you with it.” “Fine... great! You’re all so selfish.” I said it all in her face and then stomped out of the house. I didn’t eat anything after that incident and went straight to sleep in my bedroom. The next morning I woke up early and went downstairs. The whole house was very quiet and everyone was asleep. I went out into the backyard and gazed at the sky and took a deep breath. Then I sat down on the bench and looked at Alice’s house and regretted my meeting with her. “Hey.” I looked around to see a lady just about the age of Mrs. Rose standing near the fence. I smiled at her and then stood up. “Hey... morning.” I said while walking towards her. “By the way I’m Felicia and you are?” “I’m Katherine... Alice’s mother. I just wanted to talk to you.” She said. “It’s alright. I am not upset with your daughter.” “Hmm... Do you mind coming out?” She said. I realized that we both were still standing across the fence. I stepped out and then we walked down the streets. I wasn’t worried about Mrs. Rose because I knew she would be asleep for another hour or so.



Jilted by two suitors


ridget was a graduate of Sociology from one of the first generation universities in the south-western part of Nigeria. She is stunningly beautiful, and of average height. Her sojourning in a Yoruba speaking region of Nigeria was due to the fact that her parents were staff of the university where she graduated. Very fair complexioned, she was always bombarded with score of admirers; the genuine and the “touch and go” whose main motive was to have a taste of her beauty. Bridget could speak English, Yoruba and Isan (her native language) fluently. Although her parents were not to be counted among the super-rich, you could hardly tell because everything was smooth for her. Bridget’s problem started sometime in 2003 when her relationship with Bayo was shattered. Bridget met Bayo in their sophomore while in the university. Bayo is a Yoruba man and his parents’ house was just a stone throw from Bridget’s. Also the two of them were in the same faculty but studying different courses. “I have known Bayo for a few years before we started dating. We lived in the same neighbourhood and I have always known him to be gentle. Of course we were not friends but we see almost every day. I did not take his love advances serious at first particularly that we were living very close. I was afraid of my parents”. Bridget confirmed when asked how her relationship with Bayo started. The relationship between the two lovers blossomed into a serious one. The parents of the two lovers got wind of their children’s affairs. Initially, they neither approved nor disapproved. As far as they were concerned, it was an affair between two teenagers. Besides, they met mostly in school since the two of them lived in the campus hostel and stayed apart as much as possible whenever they come home during weekends. “As our relationship grew, our parents seemed to be getting attuned to realities of life. I was no longer afraid of visiting him in his house and he too was free to come to our house. Before long, an unstated mutual understanding developed between our parents. We were happy that our parents supported our relationship”. Bridget stated. Amid tears, Bridget related how the relationship took a dive. “Sometime in 2003 my mother asked me come to her office in the campus. On getting there she handed me a brand new Nokia phone and a line. When I asked her who was the owner of the new phone and line she said that she bought it for me. I was so happy because mobile phone was an exclusive preserve of nouveau riches as at that time. Few students that had mobile phones then were respected and they would do anything to harass and intimidate others even when lectures were on-going. But if I had known that that phone would be the genesis of my predicament I would have rejected it”. Unknown to Bridget, the phone

was actually a gift from Mr. Lawson, a non-academic staff in Bridget’s department. Mr. Lawson is also an Edo man. His home-town is just some few kilometers from Bridget’s. Bridget knew Mr. Lawson intimately. Apart from being a staff in her department, he is also the secretary of Edo people in the university. Prior to this time, Bridget’s mother had always asked her to borrow any textbooks she needed from Mr. Lawson on the pretext that he was like an uncle to Bridget. Probably due to connivance between Bridget’s mother and Mr. Lawson, the latter never requested for the return of all books borrowed by Bridget. According to Bridget, Mr. Lawson was very nice to her. Not long afterwards, the bubble burst. Bridget told of how the whole problem started. “On that fateful Friday, my mother called me on phone that I should come home for the weekend because there was an important issue to be discussed. I did not want to wait. I immediately went to her office to have an inkling of what she wanted to tell me. I was actually thinking that the discussion might be about my dad. My dad had been bedridden for almost three years and had to apply for early retirement from the university authority because of his failing health. On getting to her office, she said that my father was okay and that the discussion was about me. When I pestered her further my mum insisted that the discussion was too important to be tabled in the office. Naturally I was apprehensive” “My mum kept me in suspense till Saturday. Around 11a.m, my mum asked my siblings to vacate the sitting room but my dad was there. Then she started, telling me how she loved me, how she had been planning my future, how she did not want me to marry a man outside my tribe because of the heartaches my elder sister was suffering from her Yoruba husband. Of course I knew where she was going but not in the least had Mr. Lawson in mind. And I did not utter anything to betray my inner turbulence”. “She closed her statement by telling me how she had sealed my fate, how she had accepted Mr. Lawson’s request to have my hand in marriage; that my mobile phone and line and various gifts were courtesy of Mr. Lawson and that a date had been picked for my engagement ceremony”. “To say that I was angry would be an understatement, I was burning inside. I thought of my mother’s betrayal of Bayo; his respect for my family, his love for me and his numerous sacrifices for my younger brothers to ensure that they secure admission to university were just few of his caring nature. And true to nature my father did not utter a word; he sat motionless as if already dead. I knew his presence at that meeting was at my mother’s insistence”. “I could not recall saying anything meaningful; my ontology was a massive turbulence, and my pro-

Soon afterward, Mayowa graduated and went for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. After a session, Bridget also graduated and went to Ibadan to learn computer. Though the two lovers were separated, there was constancy in their relationship. But as a prodigal son that will lose track, Bridget started another relationship with a new guy, Tunde in Ibadan.

test was vehemently rebuffed by my mum. According to her, a date had been picked and nothing would change it. I had my plans too”. “On the engagement day, I acted usual. Around 10a.m on the engagement day, I watched would be in-laws and groom arriving. Then I did the unthinkable. I left the house through the rear exit and went to my hostel room in campus and left my phone at home”. That action was considered an affront and my mother practically cut me off from the family: no feeding allowance, no books, and no tuition fees; even my elder sisters would have nothing to do with me. It was a living hell”. Not long after, succour appeared in the horizon for Bridget. Mayowa was a Yoruba boy who also lived in the same neighbourhood and was a year ahead of Bridget in the same university. He was quiet, brilliant, a semi-introvert and a man any lady would want as husband. Mayowa and Bridget met at the height of her crisis. Because her mum had driven Bayo away, it was

not long before she accepted Mayowa’s entreaties. Their relationship blossomed and Mayowa took over Bridget’s finances. Soon afterward, Mayowa graduated and went for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. After a session, Bridget also graduated and went to Ibadan to learn computer. Though the two lovers were separated, there was constancy in their relationship. But as a prodigal son that will lose track, Bridget started another relationship with a new guy, Tunde in Ibadan. According to her, the relationship was a sham. Tunde left her in Ibadan without informing her and another lady ejected Bridget from the apartment she was living because the house belonged to Tunde. The lady claimed to be Tunde’s fiancé. Prior to this unfortunate turn of event, Bridget had informed Mayowa that a man of God told her that she was not destined to marry Mayowa and that the relationship would end in disaster if they did not heed the warning. Mayowa pleaded with Bridget not to end the relationship but she was adamant, claiming

it was God’s will. After months of fruitless persuasion, Mayowa accepted his fate and started a new relationship. Fortunately for him, he secured a good job and got married. After being jilted by Tunde, Bridget tried fruitlessly to return to Mayowa. But all her entreaties amounted to nothing. While narrating her ordeal, Bridget has this to say: “I was the architect of my doom. Mayowa loved me. He cared for me. He was there in my moments of need; when my family neglected me he was there always. I lied to him about the man of God because I thought Tunde actually loved me. I was afraid of the distance between me and Mayowa but I achieved nothing afterward. I was 37 this October, yet nobody has proposed to me. My only solace is my job but it was not enough. I have forgiven my mum for my separation with Bayo. But who do I blame for cheating myself out of Mayowa’s committed and true love? I learnt a bitter lesson”.



Entertainment Xtra Idris Elba to star in terrorist thriller ‘Bastille day’


dris Elba, who is generating awards buzz with his starring turn in Mandela: Long walk to freedom, is set to star in ‘Bastille day’, Vendome and Anonymous Content’s terrorist thriller, THR has confirmed. Written by Andrew Baldwin, Bastille tells of a young American artist living in Paris and a washed-up CIA agent who are thrown together and tasked with diverting an imminent attack on the city. Vendome CEO Philippe Rousselet will produce the project with Anonymous’ Steve Golin, Bard Dorrosand David Kanter. Vendome will fully finance the production. The project is not Elba’s next movie as it was still in development. Bastille currently has no director, although Pierre Morel andBaranboOdar were previously attached. Elba, who just received the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Humanitarian Award this past weekend, recently wrapped The Gunman, the Sean Penn action vehicle being produced by Silver Pictures.

Disney teams with William Goldman on stage version of 'Princess bride'


isney Theatrical Productions has announced plans to collaborate with William Goldman on a stage work based on his 1973 fairy tale, ‘The Princess Bride’, and on his screenplay for the beloved 1987 Rob Reiner film that became a cult classic. The deal was shepherded by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who was involved with the screen version during his tenure at Castle Rock. No timeline or creative team for the show has been announced. Nor has it been decided if the project will be a musical or a play, though given the Disney stage arm's predominant history with musicals that seems a good bet. “My involvement in The Princess Bride goes back to 1987 and it has always been close to my heart," said Horn. "For all those years and a few more, I have been friends with the brilliant Bill Goldman, and to now have a stage production of this film in development at Disney is honestly a dream come true. It couldn’t be in better hands than those of the experienced Disney Theatrical team led by Tom Schumacher." Framed as a story told by a kindly old man to his ailing grandson, it spins a comic tale of love and adventure about Buttercup, a young beauty reluctantly engaged to the kingdom of Florin's evil prince but kidnapped on the eve of their wedding. She is ultimately rescued by her farm boy sweetheart Wesley, aided by a giant and a Spanish master swordsman. Reiner's movie starred Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest and Peter Falk. It was produced by Andrew Scheinman and Reiner, and executive produced by Norman Lear. The Disney agreement will be welcome news for fans of the book and movie who got their hopes up when a stage musical based on the property was announced several years ago. Goldman collaborated on that project with Adam Guettel, the Tony-winning composer of The Light in the Piazza. But while much of the score was completed, development was halted

Why Imran Khan in no hurry to become a dad


hen Imran Khan's wife Avantika Malik ventured out for Aamir Khan and the Amitabh Bachchan's Diwali bash donning a sari speculation was rife if she was pregnant. More so because he had draped her sari in way that suggested that she was trying to conceal a baby bump. Imran Khan had immediately pooh poohed the unfounded rumours and for good reason. The actor has always maintained that he is no hurry to go the family way. Imran has maintained that parenthood is something that the couple talk about. They have been together for eleven years now and married for two years. Says Imran, "Avantika and I both agree that it is the kind of thing we want to enjoy and be involved in together. See, I've had a very close relationship with all my cousins, and with Aamir and Mansoor's (Khan) kids. I would not like to miss out on that with my own kids." Imran wants to be a hands-on father whenever the stork comes visiting his home. It's something that he would want to be involved with fully. He adds, "As I see it, I would take time off, I would be around and be a part of it, experience fatherhood firsthand rather than be running off to a film set

and leaving the kid at home. That is the way I want to do it. "Films will come and go, your child, your son or daughter's childhood... that is going to happen only once. At that time screw the film man! Take six months off. Picture agley saalbanatehai. What is the rush?"

in 2007 over a financial dispute. Meanwhile, the powerhouse theatrical division's long-running behemoth, The Lion King, recently passed the $1 billion box-office threshold on Broadway, marking a historic first. Disney will open its latest stage musical, Aladdin, on Broadway early next year, following the current Toronto tryout. Previews start Feb. 26 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, with opening night set for March 20.

I did not make any sex tape; I am still a virgin – ChidinmaEkile cries


ith tears in her eyes, ChidinmaEkile,the ‘Kedike’ and ‘EmiNiBaller’ crooner has cried out, denying in very strong terms ever making a sex tape that has gone viral on the Internet. In the sex tape, there was a lady who had a striking resemblance to the 2010ProjectFame Season 3 winner, but for those who have seen Chidinma, she is definitely not the lady in the tape. To further support her claims, Chidinma had come out to say she could not have been involved in such sex scandal since she is still a virgin. “I didn’t make any sex tape o, I have no idea where that tape is from and I am still a virgin,” she said. She also promised to sue those behind the dastardly act.




12 Funny Observations in Nollywood films N N

Madras Cafe not an honest film: Sri Lankan filmmaker has revealed some of the subtle and funny “things” about Nigerian Nollywood movies. 1.Isn’t funny that a Ghost picks up a call in Nollywood, how is this possible? 2. Why would a Ghost have to look “left and right” before crossing the road? 3.Isn’t it funny for two Ghost to fall in love? 4. Why is it that Nollywood characters die or run mad immediately after their confessions? 5. How come a legendary Village Movie, set in the 70′s, still find Brazilian hair on Mercy Johnson? 6. Must all hired assassins be found in uncompleted or abandoned buildings? 7. Will a Yoruba movie ever be complete without a visit to the ‘Baba’? 8. Observe, nine out of ten times, Olu Jacobs dies of heart attack in Nollywood movies, why? 9. “15 years ago” ,Ini Edo calls her boyfriend with a Blackberry Bold 5. How possible? 10. When poor people come to Lagos to struggle, they always make it. How true is this? 11. Isn’t it funny for SegunArinze to act as Ramsey Noah’s dad? 12. Isn’t it interesting for a blind woman to say “I’m happy to see you, my son”?

Hubby breaks silence: Why Omotola can't cheat on me..."I can't forget the first day we made love


he’s an actress and he’s a pilot, cute couple Omotola and Matthew Ekeinde hardly stay at home due to the nature of their work yet their love still waxing strong after 17 years of marriage.

In this interview with Entertainment Express, Captain Ekeinde talked about the secret behind their successful marriage and the first day he made love to his wife. Excerpt: What is the secret of your 17 years old marriage to Omotola? I won’t say we have been good because I am a fine boy (laughs), but it is just the grace of God. I am so lucky and also blessed by God to have married my God given partner. That is a very important thing about marriage, you have to find and marry your God given partner. That is why a lot marriages breakup. Some men marry women because of their hips, their boobs, legs and some other side attractions. But after seeing her so many times, what happens next? Does she have a good attitude, character or good human relationship with others? I am not say-

ing we are perfect couple, we have our own differences but we are compatible. We have been married for over 17 years with four beautiful kids. One thing that has been working for us as a couple is that I always encourage her to be who she wants to be. I give her full support always. Lots of married women that are caught cheating on their husbands could be traced to the fact that some of their husbands don’t allow them explore their talents. I encourage my wife and kids to be what they want to be. Most of the influential men and women we have in this world didn’t even go to school. So it is all about exploiting your talents. Some women love acting but their husbands won’t let them believing that other men would touch or exploit them sexually. It is all about discipline. Those that want to cheat will cheat; it is all about self control. For the 17 years that you have been married, what are those special moments you can’t forget in a hurry? Hmmm! Truly and honestly, I can’t forget the very first day I made love to my wife.

oting that his country's films are taking a hit from the more popular Bollywood productions, Sri Lankan filmmaker,PrasannaVithanagetold India Today that "Madras Cafe" was not an "honest" movie. He also lamented the dearth of market for Sri Lankan films in India. "The problem is ('Madras Cafe') doesn't touch the characters. It has caricatures. Those are not people. To me it's not an honest film. You cannot make a film when it doesn't come from the heart," Vithanage told reporters at the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival that “I know the government was very happy." "Madras Cafe" is a political thriller set in India and Sri Lanka against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. Directed by ShoojitSircar, it stars John Abraham and NargisFakhri in lead roles. On the popularity of Bollywood films in his country, Vithanage conceded that Sri Lankan films "can't compete" with Hindi cinema. "We can't compete with Bollywood. Sri Lankan films are taking a beating from Bollywood," he said. Citing an example, he said the HrithikRoshanstarrer "Krrish 3" was now running in several cinemas in Sri Lanka. "The big budget Bollywood films and blockbusters are really popular in Sri Lanka." Comparing the young actors of the two countries, he said Indians were more professional and versatile in terms of learning different languages. Vithanage, who uses the digital technology available in India for his films, lauded the Indian film industry's technological advancements. "In Sri Lanka, even simple technologies are not available. Directors like me use the digital technology available in India for our films. We can send our films to international film fests (only) because of the standards you have here." Despite the efforts, because of the ethnically polarised situation in his nation, it has become "difficult to cultivate Tamil cinema" in Sri Lanka where around 74 percent of the population speak Sinhalese. "Because majority is Sinhalese, its Sinhalese cinema. It is very difficult to cultivate Tamil cinema."




Why I rap hip hop in Hausa - says Nomiis Gee


minu Abba Umar, popularly known as Nomiis Gee, is a popular Hausa musician based in Kano. The 29- year old Hausa hip hop maestro, who holds a degree in Mass Communication, has over 35 songs to his credit. Nomiis Gee is also a presenter of Hausa Hip Hop zone programme on DSTV Africa Magic Hausa. He is a nominee for the upcoming Arewa Music and Movie (AMMA) award, 2013 billed to be held in Kano State. In this interview with Mustapha Adamu, Nomiis Gee talks about his journey to stardom and many more. Excerpts: Tell us a little about yourself? My name is Aminu Abba Umar, aka Nomiis Gee, aka the Hausa rapper, aka the Hausa Hip Hop Ambassador. I was born in Kano, studied in Kano and have a degree in Mass Communication from the Bayero University, Kano. How old are you? I am now 29 years old. How did you come by the name Nomiis Gee? I got the name Nomiss Gee in my secondary school days. My playmates used to call me that especially during football game in Rano Local Government, Kano State. I think I had amazing soccer skill. I could play football very well that my coach was amazed by my display of skill and accurate passes and dribbling runs that he once said to me “ Wai kai Aminu baka miss ne?”, meaning “ can’t you miss the ball, Aminu?” From that moment onward, my colleague began to call me “No miss” Though I was not quite comfortable with it and repeatedly dissuaded them from calling me that nickname, but it only encouraged them to continue calling me the name. Later on, I decided to stop showing my hatred for the nick name so that they would stop calling me. I then added ‘G’ to the name to make it “No miss G”. What took you into music? I had a strong passion for music since my childhood and God has given me the talent for making songs. However, as I grew up, I realised that music is a medium to pass a message to the public and that message is nothing but enlightenment. This made me vowed to contribute my quota towards enlightenment of the society through hip hop music. So why did you opt to rap in Hausa while most others rappers in Nigeria do so in English and Pidgin English. Is it because you are comfortable in Hausa language than in English language? No, it is not because I am

Hausa by tribe. I used to make songs in English before. But I later realised that most of the musicians in Nigeria combine their native languages, English as well as pidgins languages in rapping. On my own, I decided to come up with a unique version of rapping, which is Hausa Hip Hop and I also vowed in my mind to excel in it. Indeed, I became determined to become the number one Hausa Hip Hop rapper in the world. What are those songs that you sang in English language before you took rapping in Hausa language? They are “ Party”, “BUK Town (Bayero University Kano)”, “ Khadija”, “Kpimkpon” featuring Rita D” etc. How long have you been in the music? I have been in music for about 15 years or so. How many albums do you have to your credit so far? I have sung more than 35 songs. The songs I performed initially were demon, but the real songs I have made and preparing to take to the market are just 5 and they are all singles. They are “ Ghetto super star”, “ Basu feelings”, “ Hadiza”, “ Ancikule”, “ Duniya ina za muje”. But I hope by May, 2014, my new album, the number one Hausa Hip Hop album will be released by God’s grace. Do you write and produce the songs yourself? No, I am just a song writer. In terms of producing songs, I am working with some engineers here in the North to achieve just that. Our intention is to work together to contribute to the development of Hausa Hip Hop in the world. Those that I am working with to achieve this purpose are Lieutenant John and Pastor Dan. They are owners of Standard Solute Records and I am the C.E.O. Your flows sound like that of American rappers, what is the secret? This is the modernity. I always want to come up with innovations in music. I always want to create my own swagger as those American hip hop artists do, they are all rappers and rap in English but each of them came with a unique swagger that identifies them. That is why I have come up with my own style to attract the attention

of the audience in Hausa Hip Hop that a listener may would easily and readily identify and associate with foreign rappers though the lyrics are rendered in Hausa language. Which is your favourite song among your songs? My favourite’s song is “Ghetto superstar” but my fans’ favourites are “Basu feelings” and “ Hadiza”. Why did you choose “Ghetto Superstar” as your favourite track? Because it is the real Hip Hop.

It symbolises the real hip hop. So do you prepare to make other songs of its kind? Yes, there are many of its kind but they are yet- to be released. Video of “Ghetto superstar” is made and will be released soon. Who is your director? I have two directors so farthere is Bobby High, a Lagos based director and one of the best directors in Africa and Dumeji, a Kano based director.

I decided to come up with a unique version of rapping, which is Hausa Hip Hop and I also vowed in my mind to excel in it. Indeed, I became determined to become the number one Hausa Hip Hop rapper in the world.

How many awards have you grabbed? I won the best rapper and best video with “BUK town” awards, presented by chairman of Nigerian Musicians Association in Kano, 2006. I also won an award by Student Union Government (SUG), Bayero University Kano in 2007. I am now a nominee in the upcoming AMMA awards, 2013 as the best Hip Hop Hausa rapper in Northern Nigeria. Beyond Nigeria, have you received outside recognition? Yes, apart from local recognition, I have begun to earn a worldwide recognition as I have fans in London who follow and download my music. I got 6000 downloads in London when I released my single “ Duniya ina zamu je”. What projects are you working on now? It is just the album I told you earlier that will be released in May, next year. I am also working on some videos to be released before the month of May. Do you present TV programmes as other musicians do? Yes, I am now presenting a programme titled Hausa Hip Hop Zone, the first of its kind in the Northern region on DSTV Africa Magic Hausa on Saturday and Sunday at 5:00pm-6:00pm and 6:00pm-7:00pm respectively. Do you get your songs uploaded on internet? Yes, my tracks are on many websites. If you also search in google, you will get many websites to download my tracks. Do you collaborate with other artists from Lagos? Yes, I have featured some of them in this yet-to-be released album. Do you organise musical shows? Yes, I had shows in Ghana, Benin republic, Niger Republic, Togo and other places. How do you think you can collaborate with Kannywood to make music for their movies? I would welcome their offer because that is what they suppose to do. Instead of them to use our Hausa Hip Hop songs as soundtracks in their movies, they usually end up using American and Lagos songs in their movies. I call on Kannywood to come and liaise with us for the development of their industry and ours too.



Entertainment Flakes


Chika Ike marks birthday with less privileged kids in Asaba


ollywood sexy actress, Chika Ike, penultimate Friday added a year to her age. And in her usual manner, she didn’t allow the day to pass by without celebrating it. Ike was said to have put together a resounding party tagged ‘Party With Street Kids’ at a Primary school in Asaba, the Delta state capital. The party was well attended by the street kids of the community. While foods and choice drinks flowed freely, there was also giveaway prizes for all the kids in attendance.

Is Tiwa Savage pregnant?


he rumour is hot and it concerns sexy singer Tiwa Savage. The singer is rumoured to be pregnant. The Pepsi Ambassador, who is set to perform her traditional wedding in couple of weeks’ time, is said to be expecting her first child. The wife to be of Tee Billiz, who double as her manager, was at the baby shower, a party organized for Annie Macauley, 2face Idibia’s wife. Savage was spotted having what seems to be a growing baby bomp in her stomach. If this is true, Savage will join the growing list of celebrities that were pregnant before formally tying the nuptial knot.

Psquare’s Peter Okoye weds Sunday


his Sunday, Lagos will stand still as Peter Okoye of PSquare fame will hold his traditional wedding. Okoye will be getting married to his long time lover and baby mama, Lola Omotayo. From all indications, the wedding will be one of the fairy tale weddings in Nigeria. Already, invited guests have received the wedding invitation cards and have also be given an access card, which looks like an ATM card. As we learnt, the security card will allow access into the secured wedding venue located somewhere on the island, Lagos state. Otunba Mike Adenuga, the CEO of Globacom Nigeria plc, is expected to chair the occasion while other top dignitaries are also warming up to grace the wedding ceremony.

Annie Macauley off to US to deliver 2face’s 7th baby


he Nollywood actress wife of Twoface Idibia, Annie Macauley, has left for the United States of America to deliver her second child. Our checks revealed that Annie left on Sunday, November 10, to Obama country to deliver Twoface 7th child. We were told that the actress will spend few months in the US, to have her baby delivered in a private hospital in America.

Kenny Ogungbe loses mother


enny Ogungbe, the Managing Director of radio service, Daar Communications and owner of Kennis Music label, last Tuesday became motherless after his aged mother, Otunba Lettica Omojoke Ogungbe passed on at 80. The old woman died in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, in the arms of her children. The madam late Ogungbe,a devout christain and a staunch member of the Methodist Church, is survived by children, grand children and great grand children. Her first child, is the retired banker and entrepreneur, Chief (Mrs) Moji Dokpesi, the wife of the High Chief, Aleogho Raymond Dokpesi, the chairman and founder of Daar Communications Plc. Some famous children include Kenny Ogungbe, the Kennis music boss, Idowu Ogungbe, Taiwo Ogungbe and the popular female gospel singer, Kenny Saint Brown.

Don Moen, others storm Lagos for ‘The Experience’


he 8th edition of the yearly interdenominational gospel concert, The Experience, hosted by Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock Church, returns with international gospel singers as headliners for this year’s concert. The 2013 edition of the Experience will be held on December 6 at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. Popular international gospel singers, Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Tye Tribbett, Deitrick Haddon, Isreal Houghton, Cece Winians, and Micah Stampley are expected at the event. The Soweto Spiritual Singers from South Africa will also join Nigerian acts like Eben, Frank Edwards, Midnite Crew, Freke Umo, Mike Aremu, and Sammie Okposo at this year’s edition themed ‘Heaven on Earth’.

Nigeria’s Lady of Song, Christy Essien Igbokwe ‘resurrects’ Sunday By Patrick Andrew


wo years and about five months after her sudden demise, Nigeria’s Lady of Song Christy Essien Igbokwe will resurrect on Sunday at the International Hotel, Lagos. The Lady of Songs, who had dozens of songs captured in 10 albums and was the pioneer president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, died in November 2011 but will be resurrected in a spectacular fashion through the release of one of her final works. The work, a new album ‘ALL OF A SUDDEN’ will be launched along with her GREATEST HITS as well as a re-launch of the Christy Essien Igbokwe Memorial Foundation. Kaka Igbokwe, the son of the late singer, confirmed midweek that the family has resolved to cement her names and works on the sand of times by “launching the album at a world class event where tribute will be paid to her. “We would like to celebrate her art, her style and her heart – and we are excited to welcome distinguished Nigerians from all across the globe who have accepted to be there,” Kaka disclosed stressing that her foundation will be re-launched as “Essential Childcare Foundation” to preserve her legacy. Late Christy Essien burst into the music scene with “seun Rere” a song that put Nigeria’s name on the world music map. Though, she had other songs of note, but “Seun Rere”, has remained evergreen and in fact her most popular lyrics. The singer and actress, who was an Ibibio by tribe she was not only married

to an Igbo, was the chairman and managing director of Soul Train Entertainment Limited. Though A ployglot of some sort for though not Yoruba, most of her hits were sung in the western Nigerian language, and drew heavily on the culture and tradition. Her expressive competence in Yoruba, English, Igbo and her native Ibibio earned her an appeal which cut across tribal lines. Little wonder, her admirers will join the family at a gathering where she would be fondly remembered and celebrated. Members of the trustees of her rebranded foundation hope to raise funds to commit into her other project: HALF WAY HOME project which is a home for the disadvantaged children and less privilege in our society. The foundation has named on its board of trustees, names of successful industrialist and professionals like Senator Dr. Ben Obi, Prof Dora Akinyuli, Prince Tonye Princewill, John Momoh, Gen. Sunday Chikwe (rtd), Alhaji Abba Dabo, Dr. Austin Izagbo, Patrick Hernandez, Chief Edwin Igbokwe and Chinwuba Kaka Ig-

bokwe. Meanwhile, an essay competition tagged “How well do you know the Lady of Songs?” was equally coordinated nationally in commemoration of the Christy Essien Igbokwe Memorial Foundation official launch. Participants were directed to submit an essay not more than 250 words detailing their knowledge of the Lady of Songs. The entry closed on November 13, while winners won tickets to the official launch of the foundation, copies the greatest hits album and other prizes.



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Demolition of illegal structures in Kubwa and need for enlightenment By Bem Ayua


n the past few weeks, owners of illegal shops and their tenants in Kubwa, a settlement in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have been having sleepless nights over what could become of them and their livelihoods. The reason is not farfetched. The demolition of structures by staff of Satellite Towns Development Agency, STDA, obviously took some owners of businesses along major roads in the area by surprise and has been ongoing. Residents of Kubwa are however not alien to such demolition exercises. In 2005, the most devastating form of demolition took place in the Hamza Farms area popularly known as NEPA Road with estates and mansions being felled by the FCTA’s bulldozers. Some home owners affected claimed they had lost all their life savings owing to the exercise. Prior to the recent exercise, the STDA staff were seen evacuating debris in the gutters along the roads. This point to their desire to restructure the area and make it fit for habitation. Having concluded that, the demolition exercise took off in full swing. The exercise was greeted with mixed feelings as


Peoples Daily Weekend welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed to: The Editor, Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Email: residents of the area especially those who have been directly or indirectly affected have their various stories to tell. While some lamenting that they were not given notice long enough to enable them move out of the shops before demolition, others feel that they had no business occupying makeshift shops in the first place. One man lamented that he had paid a two year rent for a shop and barely spent two weeks there before demolition caught up with him. He was at a loss as to what to do next. But another man who is also a shop owner questioned the rationale behind traders’ insistence on placing their wares along the roads instead of moving into available shopping malls.

Though not affected by the demolition, he feels that the exercise has made the streets wider and more spacious thereby giving Kubwa the kind of decent outlook it truly deserves, in comparison to an another residential area like Gwarimpa. Some residents commend the STDA for suddenly waking up to its responsibility from its otherwise unwarranted slumber. While the authorities deserve commendation for giving the exercise a human face, as those places designated as shops have not been demolished with the exercise affecting only the illegal structures attached to fences and containers placed at street corners, it is important to state the need to provide the relevant

infrastructure before sending people packing from their livelihoods. For instance, the newly constructed market located at Phase 2 Site 1, a project newly completed by the Bwari Area Council, although a laudable idea does not have shops space enough to accommodate all the traders who may need to occupy them. Obviously, if the streets could be rid of activities of illicit trading, it will go a long way to making the environment cleaner and safer for all. While going about its rightful duty of making the environment clean and habitable for all, the FCT administration will do well to endeavor to put in place the necessary infrastructure for the convenience of the populace before sacking affected persons from the places where they earn a living. When this is done, it will be clearly seen by all as justice being manifestly done for public good. On the other hand, it is expected that such an exercise will be a continuous one in order to rid our streets of dirt. Public awareness must also be intensified so as to keep all residents informed of their rights, limitations and obligations. Above all, after all this is done, let offenders be made to face the full wrath of the law. Ayua wrote from Kubwa, Abuja



O pi ni o n

An encounter with Governor Kwankwaso By Yushau A. Shuaib


t an informal gathering a few months ago, discussants attempted a comparison between President Goodluck Jonathan and some of the governors in the break-away new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP). While some argued that the President and the governors are birds of the same feather as typical of Nigerian politicians, others insisted that there is obvious uniqueness that defines their individualities. Rather than debating developmental issues, the argument dwelt largely on the characters of the individual political officers. Coincidentally, the debate came at a period when I had just published an article on an encounter I had with one of the gladiators of the nPDP, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State after honouring an invitation extended to me by his hardworking and talented media aides, Baba Dantiye and Jafar Jafar. Therefore, when my friends requested my opinion about the issues being debated, I felt hesitant because of the unfortunate way a powerful lady had engineered my retirement from the federal civil service 20 years after I joined. The summation of my contribution is this: Many may have reservations about President Goodluck Jonathan, but I will not join the bandwagon of bashers any government in power for attempting to be different. As a

person, President Jonathan looks cool; his face reflects innocence, while his soft voice depicts harmlessness. His occasional promises are reassuring while his smile is infectious. Though I hardly swagger like the big-guy, his simple gait portrays his humility. Jonathan could be credited for some successes in the political and economic front, especially the inter-party tranquillity. The only snag is the intra-party rivalry within the ruling PDP. If Federal Capital Territory should be used to assess his presidency, then good roads network, sprawling housing estates, stable fuel supply, apparent opulence with state of the art automobiles cruising on the roads and ongoing railway projects should be considered as a plus. Nevertheless, it is just unfathomable that his seeming charismatic demeanour and accomplishments are being rubbished by confrontational stances, inactions and misdemeanour of some of the major players in his admiration. On the other hand, because of the close encounter I just had with Kwankwaso, I told my friends that the governor is a down-to-earth personality and sincere in his frankness. Beneath the humour of his occasional jokes are loaded messages and lessons to be learnt. He leaves you with an impression that: you may enjoy the laughter but get the message. Having worked as an engineer for about two decades before becoming the governor of the state, Kwankwaso understands major

developmental challenges in Kano which he frontally confronts in his second tenure. The hallmarks of his administration are developmental initiatives in the provisions of houses, scholarships, development of entrepreneurship skills among the youths, massive road projects and improvement of electricity supply for the benefit of the people. Unlike Abuja where the Ministry of Finance struggle to accommodate capital projects, Kwankwanso makes sure that capital expenditure in Kano takes the largest chunk of the budget. In 2012 for instance, 63 percent of the state budget was dedicated to capital, while only 37 percent was tied to recurrent. So far this year, 75 percent of the budget has been devoted for capital and the remaining 25 percent allocated to recurrent expenditure. His administration avoids frivolous expenditures by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). At the inception of his administration, Kwankwaso eliminated the allocation of security-vote to his office to block leakages. He also improved internally generated revenue from a paltry N400 million to N1.8 billion monthly. In addition to this, he reduced recurrent expenditures (from Government House, Deputy Governor’s office and all other MDA’s), thus saving up to N500 million monthly. To ensure transparency and accountability in governance, his administration now publishes weekly resolutions of the State Executive Council for wide dis-

semination to the populace. As a former legislator who was elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, one may understand why Kwankwaso believes in the rule of law and allows due process as the guiding principle of his administration. While attempting to ban street begging and motorcycles as means of commercial transportation in the state, the Governor followed all legal and due processes and the state is now enjoying the dividends of the actions. Not a person to be fooled by political scheming, the leader of popular Kwankwasiya political movement has a perfect understanding of Nigeria’s political dynamism having been a delegate to the 1994 Constitutional Conference. His involvement in the activities of progressive governors under the banner of nPDP is seen by his admirers as his quest to ensure equity and justice in the democratic process. The former Minister of Defence certainly has a mind of his own and so, it is understandable that he has refused to be an errand boy or a copy-cat. It is also possible that his prudence and determination to conserve funds for serious projects that will benefit the greatest majority of the state indigenes is a reason why his faithful wife remains out of public glare without maintaining the prevalent but illegal Office of the First Lady even though theirs is a monogamous family. While some states are still facing enormous security challenges

and political tension, Kwankwaso was able to curtail the excesses of religious fanatics and sectional politicians in the state due to some strategies he deployed as Chief Security Officer of his state. Some attribute his ingenuity to the experiences he garnered while serving as Defence Minister, Presidential Adviser on Dafur and Somalia and his membership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) at various times. A few weeks after the debate, while attending a programme in the United States of America, I received a call from one of the friends present at the forum. He told me Governor Kwankwaso wanted to see me immediately. On my return, I proceeded to Kano where I met the Governor one-on-one for more than one hour discussing developmental issues and how his administration has so far impacted on the people. We chatted about related political and social stability in Kano and the various programmes being undertaken in other parts of the country. A surprising take-home for me from the discussion was the kind words the Governor had for President Jonathan despite the heated disputation among them. At a point, he described Jonathan as “a president who means well for the nation but I always wonder what other people do in his name.” Yushau A. Shuaib Finance Estate

Forget it, you can’t change Nigeria! By Gimba Kakanda


oo many beautiful ideas, too many dreams, too much passion, but the road to implementations remains rough and uncertain. This is the atmosphere of Nigeria’s revolutionary minds. Here is a country where patriots who had advocated the praxis of good leadership, and had even adopted models whose achievements they aspired or expected incumbent governments to match, ended up as a bunch of our problems when given an opportunity to serve. And we ask ourselves: where did we go wrong? Last Friday I listened in on interesting rhetoric of Nigerian youth at a discussion circle, and their theatrics actually got me worried and thinking even though it was not the first of such experiences of anger over a dysfunctional government. The consensus of the majority was that mere individual declarations to stand out, easy imitations of America’s Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” gimmicks, are enough motivations for rebuilding Nigeria. Sorry, I find that proposal for rescuing Nigeria from this gang of under-performing leaders who were once like us, ambitious and honest, rather impracticable. Obviously, we have followed the happenings in the West for too

long, we have lost tracks of our realities. Ours is a diseased system deserving a streak of surgeries, and in which an individual contribution is just like a placebo. Calling for surgical operations on Nigeria is asking for adoption of strict measures to deal with whoever tampers with national resources. Unless our legal system can resist bribes and issue a writ of execution for the hanging of, say, corrupt public servants, the temptations to misappropriate public funds may possess us all. There is another delusion that suggests that Nigeria needs qualified leaders, and by these they mean intellectually sound politicians, to oversee the affairs of government. Proponents of this idea are the intellectual elite still confused by years of theorising the tragedies of Third World countries; their intellectual delusion is as a result of attempts to copy the ways of their hosts, American and European governments whose policies are not models for a people in need of Bread and Fanta to stay alive. To be very frank, Africa doesn’t need more education – outside the technical, that is! – nor leadership training to build viable nations. There is a PhD-holder almost perfamily across Nigeria, especially. We have everything: Harvardtrained, renegade, elitist, visionary

and whatnot intellectuals, trained overseas, all strutting to become change agents. But what’s missing is a system wherein to exist, a law to check them, to stop them from becoming corporate rogues, an institution to inspire and breed them. I always assure myself that everybody is indiscipline in the absence of rigid laws, everybody is potentially corrupt where penalties for misappropriations of public funds or compliances therein are not stiff or impunity is a sure gain. We have the political think-tanks, everything necessary to build a nation of functional institutions but our system is built on the foundation of steal-and-let-steal philosophy. This philosophy has accomplices not because Nigerians are genetically criminal,

but because…”Why suffer when nobody appreciates?” Calling for a political reform based on a delusion that African leaders have insufficient leadership training is an error. Bring Barack Obama to Nigeria, and he will turn into Goodluck Jonathan II in less than a year. I give you my words. Our institutional collapse and indiscipline is that infectious. We underestimated the statistics of our influential human capitals. Perhaps, we may return to the records of Petroleum Technology Development Trust Fund (PTDF) to get an estimate of our citizens on its oversea scholarship scheme, and ask the Nigerian “big men” and politicians to send us the CV of their many children to appreciate the vastness of our human resources.

Calling for a political reform based on a delusion that African leaders have insufficient leadership training is an error. Bring Barack Obama to Nigeria, and he will turn into Goodluck Jonathan II in less than a year.

See, I patronise this hangout where some children of the “financial elite” ally to pass the time, and one idle day I awakened to a certain realisation – that I was actually seated among people who ought to have been celebrated on the basis of their academic credentials or should have been engaged in a functional institution here, for among them were graduates of Yale, MIT, Princeton, name it, and the least educated actually has an M.A. I can count many Nigerians from our infamous politicians to those unknown patriots of that hangout who had had training in Leadership at Harvard, and like-minded Ivy League and Red Brick institutions. But how has their training affected the fortune and political realities of this structurally diseased nation? My governor, for instance, was trained at Pittsburg. He holds a doctorate in Public Policy and Strategy Studies! But, well, you may need to compare him to his contemporaries to understand the analogy I don’t want to draw in this brief piece. Why couldn’t these leaders abide by the lessons of their trainings? Because they exist in a system where they get away with their frauds, where their private interests are more important than public trust. May God save us from us! Culled from premium time

Comm en t s PAGE 40


That Boko Haram victims support programme

By Ola Lookman


fter more than three months of extensive deliberations, consultations and dialogue on ways of unraveling the root causes of insurgency in northern Nigeria and how to achieve lasting peace within the region, the Tanimu Turaki led Peace and Dialogue Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan finally submitted its report. Expectedly, some aspects of the report, especially the portion that ruled out compensation for victims of Boko Haram attacks across the country, generated pockets of reactions from members of the public. The decision not to openly hand out money or other relief materials to innocent and helpless Nigerians who became refugees in their own land didn’t go down with most Nigerians, arguing that successive governments have always compensated victims of crises as a way of helping them to overcome their pains and loses. Meanwhile some weeks after, President Goodluck Jonathan during a function at the Word of Life International Gospel Centre, in Warri, Delta State, assured victims of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram, that a committee will soon be put in place to work on how they will be compensated. The committee is to be mandated to fashion out Boko Haram Victims’ Support Programme. This is indeed cheering news

for victims of crises in the country. A number of reasons must have compelled President’s decision to have a more organized and coordinated means of meeting the needs and aspirations of victims of violence or ethnic disturbances in different parts of the country. We are not unaware of reports of alleged diversion and looting of funds meant for flood victims by some Taraba state government officials. A few of other examples of how people take advantage of such windows to become instant millionaires are not far-fetched. While speaking at the event, President Jonathan, said although the Federal Government would not want to create a wrong impression, a committee would be set up to provide a blueprint on how victims of Boko Haram could be compensated, saying there was no way government could actually cushion the plights of the victims. Offering further insight as to how his government intends to introduce a wholesome compensatory package that would be accepted by all said, the President said, “The word compensation was too vague; that’s why I was ambiguous about my statement. I don’t want to send wrong signals to the world; that is why I oppose the word compensation.” “We may not be able to compensate them adequately but we are going to assist them in ensuring that they pick the bits and pieces of their lives again”. We cannot but rule out

the obvious fact that President Goodluck Jonathan remains committed to meeting the yearnings and aspirations of all Nigerians through well-defined and structurally organized procedures. The era of doling out monies to government officials to distribute to victims of either natural or man-made disasters is over. In place of such unorganized procedure, this administration has deemed it necessary to set up a committee comprising of well-meaning Nigerians and god-fearing individuals to map out plans on how best to address the plights of victims of violence across the country. Those who genuinely have the interest of victims of Boko Haram at heart have realized that the idea of doling out money to their representatives isn’t the best option. Some of such worthy moves have been abused in the past by those saddled with such responsibilities.

Those whose past time is to shine at the expense of suffering and grieving Nigerians and those who have become sudden millionaires by simply diverting funds meant for the people. Enough is enough. This is a clear demonstration that government is out to block holes through which highly placed government officials and their accomplices in states and local government levels shortchange Nigeria and Nigerians. Well, some might have some misgivings about this change in the manner of alleviating the sufferings of victims of Boko Haram insurgency, giving the fact that millions are daily released to ex militants as allowances for their oversea trainings, it is however instructive that for us to get things done rightly, we must alter existing modus operandi. This move I believe isn’t geared towards denying these Nigerians what is rightfully theirs, but a deliberate effort

Those who genuinely have the interest of victims of Boko Haram at heart have realized that the idea of doling out money to their representatives isn’t the best option. Some of such worthy moves have been abused in the past by those saddled with such responsibilities.

to ensure that victims of crises are not only assisted, but given a meaningful lift above their circumstances. Of course, the victim support programme is not entirely a thinking or conclusion of Mr President. It is solely part of the recommendations of the Tanimu Turaki led Committee. Undoubtedly, Mr President’s resolve to work with the recommendations of the committee give credence to the fact that government he is very much interested in the efforts put in by members of the committee. This is no doubt a right step in the right direction. As commendable and laudable as this initiative might appear, it is instructive that government matches its words with actions by ensuring that the programme achieves its desired goals and objectives. It should ensure that self-seeking and greedy government officials do not hijack the entire process. Victims of Boko Haram attacks are our brothers and sisters. We feel their pains. Even though government cannot in sincere terms offer adequate compensation for the loses they suffered, it is instructive that we do our best to provide reprieve for them. There are in situations that they never bargained for. It could be anyone. All they require from us are reasons for them to look beyond their miseries, pains and anguish. Ola Lookman

PDP Crisis: There are more pressing issues By Moshood Isah


hen a man has many children, numerous grandchildren and a lot of descendants but just seven out of those children are erring, I don’t really think it’s something to lose sleep over. In a similar vein, if a child needs something from his parents, and such demand cannot be immediately met, that should not be a reason for the child to denounce or ostracize his parents. There is no better way to describe the continuous hassles between the Baraje-led faction of the People’s Democratic Party, best known as the new PDP and the mainstream PDP. It is no more news that during the August 2013 special convention of the PDP in Abuja some party stalwarts including seven governors currently elected under the party’s platform staged a walk out. They complained about lack of internal democracy and other perceived personal ambition. According to leaders of the new PDP and the G-7 mainly drawn from Adamawa, Kano, Kwara, Rivers, Niger, Sokoto and Jigawa states, “not only has the Constitution of the party been serially violated

by its Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and his co-travellers, but all the organs of the party have been rendered virtually ineffectual by a few people who act as though they are above the law. Unfortunately, it is obvious that that they get encouragement from the Presidency whose calculations are geared towards shutting out any real or imagined opposition ahead of the party’s presidential primaries for the 2015 elections.” It is so amazing that members of the ruling party who have reaped from election rigging and other unconstitutional actions perpetrated by the same party are the ones now openly preaching against impunity violation of constitutions. The ruling party, which all these governors have been part of, for more than a decade has been found culpable times without number when it comes to lack of internal democracy. I really don’t know why the sudden agitation to stop the President from exercising his constitutional right of contesting any office of his choice, come 2015. I am not in any way against the G-7 and its agenda but it is more of a trivial than salient issue. Why not create your own party with a new constitution

instead of engaging in legal struggles over the use of the same party slogan and logos. Why not move on with your own manifesto instead of trying to “save” the party you have already denounced from being hijacked. The government of the day on the other hand, should focus on vital national issues other than attacking the G-7 governors from all angles. Instead of throwing banters and tantrums here and there in a bid to disrupt activities of the opposition, why not focus on improving lives of the masses that gave you their mandate? Perhaps government is so scared of the breakaway faction that it

had to do everything possible to see dissident members either return or dispatch. There were noticeable uncomfortable developments from the imbroglio including the disturbing trends at Airport during solidarity rallies. In fact there are various accusations of flagrant violations of human right from all the factions in the crisis. In a nutshell, I think the PDP splinter group should simply channel and settle their grievances internally, as no organisation exist without misunderstanding. Better still, since the differences seem to be non-negotiable as the President would surely contest in the next election and Bamanga

It is so amazing that members of the ruling party who have reaped from election rigging and other unconstitutional actions perpetrated by the same party are the ones now openly preaching against impunity violation of constitutions.

Tukur is not willing to resign, the splinter should create register its own party with a new name, policy and precepts. More so, there is no crime deflecting to the opposition if their notions are in tandem with each other. As for the Presidency, there is still about fifteen months or so before the next election and who says that isn’t enough time to win back hearts of the masses previously let down by your inactions? University and polytechnic students are still at home, remember! Bad roads are still a common sight around the country, have you forgotten? The country is still vulnerable in terms of security. The poor masses are practically scrounging to survive. Isn’t that more important than in-fighting in the ruling parties? I wish to therefore call on all those involved in the unfortunate PDP crisis to either sheathe their swords or concentrate on providing good leadership to the electorates or on the alternative let them leave the scene for others that do not share in the idea of politics of bitterness and rancour. Moshood Isah Sapele Street, Garki II, Abuja


Gov Wada’s convoy kills ex ASUU President

Thomas Ayan. says: Dr. Iyayi, may your soul rest in peace. This incident confirms the brevity and the futility of all human vainglorious endeavours on this earth.

Chief Solomon Daushep Lar (1933-2013)

GIDEON KARNAP says: His uniqueness can’t be found in a century, but we pray to God almighty to provide Lar’s substitute who will model purposeful and sustainable development of Nigeria. Lar worked for the survival to Nigeria, sees all as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers.

Tears of Buhari: He is no longer alone

Wilson says: Please, be balanced in your reportage, don’t be sentimental. Those rots you identified, who is responsible for their existences in the first place? Jonathan’s government? That Buhari “wept” for Nigeria even before Jonathan became president meant these ‘issues’ or rot had been in existence years back. Wasn’t Buhari Head of State in this country? What tangible development projects did he execute? Didn’t Jonathan take the bold step to stop paying petroleum subsidy? When he did what was the reaction of some elements in the guise of Occupy Nigeria? Didn’t Jonathan privatize the PHCN? Are there no trains running fine in Nigeria now? Are there no ongoing rail construction projects? Don’t we see federal government mass transit buses? Indeed, should we blame Jonathan for the endemic corruption endemic in replete in every facets of the nation? Is he the one directing university lecturers to impose handouts on students, award illicit marks and demand bribe for admission? I ask you, shouldnt we blame our past leaders for causing the rot and corruption that have now grown in proportion? No, the tears were such fake “tears” that cannot get my sympathy, I tell you! Truth Power says: I think you are a dishonest writer “The sad thing is that we talk and write about the many failures every day. Is it about the basic infrastructure? Is it about security of lives and


Online Comments

property? Is it about health sector, education sector, and roads?” It’s interesting to note that it’s only when a leader allows people the freedom to speak that past and present evils are exposed. Did Gen. Buhari allow Nigerians that freedom during his era? He only cried a bit last time, he will cry more when he fails again to realise his parochial ambition. Remember “for whatever a man sows, that shall he reap”. Think My People says: Truth is bitter. It is correct that majority of Nigerians are crying. It is correct that the present government has not improved the lots of the people. I also shed tears for Nigeria regularly. I particularly pity some Nigerians who seem to think in the past. They believe in everything goes Nigeria. Often, serious issues are reduced to ethnicity; some think more of North, West or South instead of thinking about Nigeria. People should rise above ethnic sentiments: Jonathan and Buhari, North and South, power shift or our turn politics. This is a country where we celebrate irrational acts. Wilson was talking about rail, PHCN reforms. Did someone say bold steps taken to stamp out corruption? That’s simply day dreaming. The Nigerian situation is a sad commentary that easily makes people bleed from the heart. Today, it is Niger-Delta Jonathan, tomorrow it might be the turn of Okonkwo of the South East, or Akin of South West, or Aminu of the North, and yet many turn blind eyes to truth. Nigerians don’t care about what tribe rules what they want of a responsible leadership. Period!

Enrolee satisfaction survey, key to quality healthcare delivery –NHIS Morooph Babaranti says: Will the result of the survey be published for people to learn from, and for other decision-making purposes?

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Really? For Buhari, your coup that toppled the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, was it in good faith and respect for democracy? Good faith indeed! I guess it was! Now, for Tinubu, imposition of your family members on Lagosians is it “internal democracy? Go tell that to the dogs! You can only deceive unwary persons who are desperate for a change, will only get tyrannical rule.

Is it really true that skipping breakfast will make you ill?

We would ensure Jonathan never returns as President, says Nigerian Fani-Kayode investors’ll BROWNE says: Don’t bore your readers by pub- receive all of lishing whatever Femi Fani Kayode says. His comments or opinions are their money often clearly unpalatable and there- back, plus 15 fore out of place. Publishing his comments would just amount to a percent interest waste of precious space. – CEO British film financing coy Strike: FG’s offer John Bishop says: splits ASUU Sadly, this is a scam. The film

Uguma says: Breakfast in the morning is the best thing that can happen to anybody. For you to be alert and productive in whatever you do, you need to eat breakfast.

Confab not in good faith, says Buhari Thinking says: Governments are not unseated by vows but by hard work. Admitting the so-called new PDP to the APC is tantamount to APC becoming adulterated PDP. The elements that constitute the so-called nPDP are no different in comportment, conduct and ambition from the other members of the PDP. They are complaining because they have been outsmarted and, of course, need relevance after their tenures expire. Sodiq says: Really! Buhari and Tinubu talking about “internal democracy”! What manner of democrats are they?

1. V says: Please get your facts right. Obafemi Awolowo University voted for the suspension of the strike, but with certain conditions. They only insisted on two conditions which were clearly spelt out. PST M.A. says: I think it is good to end the four months strike in the interest of our youths. Government should try to keep to this later agreement to forestall further strike.

FCTA registers 114,337 farmers in 2 years

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APC woos Gov Aliyu

Bashir A.T.K says: May God Almighty help you APC. Gen. Buhari I wish you long life and the mental strength to continue to offer your services to your father land. Please cooperate with the G7, work to instill internal democracy in the APC. May god give us a good leader in 2015.




Poverty and the role of MDG’s in North West

By Mohammed Kandi


n September, 2005, Nigeria successfully negotiated a Debt Relief Deal with the Paris Club of Creditors, and the result led to the savings of about USD1 billion known as debt relief gains (DRGs) yearly. Subsequently, the DRGs have been channeled in rural development projects that could impact positively on the lives of the rural dwellers. The introduction and implementation of array pro-poor projects and programmes in every nooks and crannies of the country via the MGDs’ Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS), has indeed turned around the lives of citizens: gives them ray of hope where hitherto there seem to be none. Many have thus heaved a sigh of relief, and anticipated freedom from the shackles of protracted poverty, illiteracy and a host of life-threatening diseases, occasioned by poverty. Since 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit, when 189 world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration and agreed to collective commitments to overcome poverty through a set of eight mutually reinforcing interrelated time-bound goals (MDGs) with related targets, efforts have been made by signatories to actualise the programme to the benefits of its rural poor. The Eight Goals are: (1) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, (2) Achieve universal primary education, (3) Promote gender equality and empower women, (4) Reduce child mortality, and (5) Improve maternal health. Other are; Combat HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases, Ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development. The MDGs are at the forefront of the global development agenda and represents the international community’s commitment to eradicate poverty by 2015. View from the perspective of the beneficiary/ implementor point of

views and the reality on ground in the North-west of Nigeria, the programmes have been a huge success. It is a marked difference from the typical government programmes as well as approaches in handling such projects. The MDGs projects across the North west have enhanced the quality of lives for the people as particularly evident in the pool of functional health, water, and education and skill acquisition programmes. The ordinary citizens in the remotest villages in the region for whom these projects were meant demonstrated their appreciations in emotion laden ways that even officials who recently visited to assess the projects were almost moved to tears of joy. Yes, joy that seemingly simply things often taken for granted by urban dwellers are treasured by the rural poor. And yet these projects are sited hard-toreach locations his writer was one of the journalists that participated in a recent tour of seven states namely: Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano Jigawa and Kaduna states respectively for the assessment of the programmes. The visit was tagged: “The quantitative Review of Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) Projects in States for the Production of a CGS Photobook and Success Story Documentaries”, organised by office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs (OSSAP-MDGs), to assess the level of implementation of the projects in the benefiting states, as well as inquire whether the funds are really impacting on the target persons. For states and local governments to benefit from the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS), all the need to do is apply competitively for grants which will be invested in some developmental projects depending on specific needs of their communities. The grants are therefore tie to specific projects under the guideline provided by OSSAP-MDGs. Of course, essentially it is meant to ensure that whatever projects embarked upon meets the peoples’ expectations and


Students of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Birnin-Kudu, carrying out practical tasks on one of the medical equipment supplied to the school under the 2011 MDGs-CGS scheme needs: fulfillment of peoples’ basic needs of health, water, education and skill acquisition programmes. Meanwhile, the supervision and monitoring (communication) component of the scheme is aimed at ensuring high standards and rapid implementation of the projects and it remains a step for ensuring transparency, accountability and viability by the implementers of the programmes. owever, from available records, the MDGs-CGS has so far installed 4,478 clean water sources- in form of small town water schemes; motorized boreholes, solar-powered boreholes and hand-pump boreholes, which are now providing water to 5.9 million people in Nigeria. Also, there are constructions and renovation of 2, 366 primary and maternity health care centres for about 21 million people, and under the scheme, about 35, 700 health workers have received series of trainings so as to improve service delivery. Interestingly, aside from deliv-


A 300 capacity auditorium constructed at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Gusau, Zamfara State.

ering to the people the basic social needs, the various states had introduced unique programmes, according to the demands of their people. Accordingly, some states have taken advantage and have performed far beyond expectation. In all assessment they have fast-tracked national effort towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Sokoto State s part of quest to achieving swiftly and under the specified periods, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme was introduced as a stand-alone scheme to accelerate the achievements of MDGs. Available records shows that the CCT has reached out to over 60, 000 Nigerian households. In Sokoto state however, hundreds of poverty striking old men and women, as well as the youth, are being lifted out of such terrifying conditions through the CCT programme on daily bases. The office of the Sokoto state MDGs said it is winning the fight against extreme poverty by implementing the MDGsCGS through CCT. The state’s MDGs-CGS focal person, Buhari Umar noted that the initiative was aimed at alleviating poverty in the state, and to increase children enrolment in schools. He said under the CCT project, the beneficiaries, who are carefully selected from amongst the rural poor and trained in poultry business in their various communities, are assisted with 15 chicks and N5, 000 each, at the end of every month. Umar was optimistic that more people would be librated and given the chance to contribute their quarter to state and national economic developments, as well as drastically reduced the number of poor people in the country. A group of beneficiaries, who spoke separately in Bunkari village, in Binji LGA, said the scheme was the best ‘thing’ that happened in their lives and pleaded for the involvement of more people from the area.


Jummai Ahamadu, who is one of the beneficiaries of the scheme in the community, said, “Honesty, I am so happy because I have at least made a remarkable progress since I started benefiting from this scheme. I bought goats, guinea fowl and a calf all from the profit I made.” “I get as much as two crates of eggs a week. God’s willing I intend to buy more chicks to expand my business,” she informed. Umar Diwu said, “I will say commend the MDGs that has brought elevated my status amongst my peers and gave me 100% fulfillment. Before now, there was no money or capital to start up any business but with this grant, I have able to roof my building from profit I have generated.” Kebbi State he rural communities in Kebbi State received timely intervention just as the programme implementers were competent in the careful selection of the benefiting communities. They were on ‘point’ and resourceful in their operations. Bilkisu Nuhu Kobo, the state’s focal person of MDGs described how the entire projects have suddenly transformed and betters the lives rural dwellers in the state as great blessings, saying “I am also confident that the implementation of MDGs projects in Kebbi state in particular is gradually uplifting the living standard of the generality of our people.” Gwadan-Gwaji is a suburb in Birnin Kebbi Local Government in the state. The community was in dire need of a functional health center before the construction of a modern hospital under the MDGsCGS intervention in the area. After the completion of the hospital, life became smoother for residents and they never hide their excitements over the new development. The district head of GwadanGwaji, Alhaji Umar Ahmed said the


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Poverty and the role of MDG’s in North West Contd from Page 42 new development has been a great relief for his people in particular, and the entire country. “Prior to the opening of the MDGs hospital here, we don’t have any room for hospitalising any patient over night. So you can see that for us in Gwadan-Gwaji, it’s a big boost,” the district head stated. On the great impacts of the project in the community, one of the beneficiaries, Abdullahi Maidajin Busawa said, “Though we are grateful, we are appealing for more beds, even if they are up to 100, there is nothing wrong with that,” adding that “The hospital has eased our suffering as our women and children do not have to walk long distance to get better medical attention, or go to Birnin Kebbi town.” Zamfara State n Zamfara State, the construction of a 300 capacity auditorium, a 90-bed hostel and huge solar-powered borehole presented the students of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Gusau, clearer chances to excel more, and puts the school authority on a comfortable level of meeting up with all the accreditation requirements. Garba Bello Zermi, the Executive Director of the school, said “Happily and hopefully with these projects by the MDGs, I believe that we have enough facilities that would guarantee the accreditation of more courses, which previously eluded the institution due to inadequate materials suitable for assessment.” The student’s views was not any different as Lawal Bashirat, a student of general nursing department said, “When you are in the former hall, you will not be able to have a proper view of the podium, especially when a programme is being held and there considerable crowd. I must say MDGs have really done well for our school.” Similarly, Adeola Abedulahi, who expressed optimism that the development would boost the students’ grades, however said, “Unlike now when we suffer to get water,


the school is now offers favourable learning atmosphere. I appeal to MDGs to assist the school with a standard laboratory that would further aid our learning process.” Jigawa State n a similar manner, the Jigawa State office of the MDGs took the bull by the horns when it constructed a well-equipped modern library and provides learning materials to the School of Health Technology, Jahun, and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, BirninKudu. Both projects, including construction and supplies, Aminu Adamu Regime, Director, state ministry of budget and implementation and MDGs focal person, said, gulped over 200 million Naira. He said, “The funds were generated from MDGs-CGS savings of 2011 projects in the state.” While speaking on the diverse impacts of the MDGs projects in his school, Tijani Usman, Director, School of Health Technology, Jahun, ascribed the institution’s dramatic successes to MDGs myriad of supports for the school, saying “At the national certificate levels, we came 3rd, 2nd and 1st positions. Last year, we were among the first five schools rated high nationwide on the health information management programme also running. “In the last five years, we have been among the best three schools. The MDGs project in our school is what we considered fulfillment of the accreditation of the entire programme we run here.” Similarly, Aisha Mohammed Kazure, Director of Midwifery at School of Nursing and Midwifery, Birnin-Kudu, said “As part of our training, we need to use these facilities and without them the student’s training will be half baked. Before the MDGs assisted with these equipments, there are some of the procedures that we‘ve not been doing until these material were provided.”


Kano State n spite of Kano’s huge and diverse population, members of some benefiting communities


Residents of Tankarau village in Gabasawa Local Government areamaking use of a hand pump borehole installed within the premises of one of the newly constructed Primary Health Care Centers in the area.

A newly constructed health care center at Gwadan-Gwaji village, in Birnin-Kebbi Local Government Area, under the 2011 MDGs-CGS scheme have expressed satisfactions with any of the projects sited in their domain. In fact, they said some of the hand pump boreholes are being over-stretched by the huge masses that throng the areas. A community member and beneficiary of a hand pump borehole in Tankarau village in Gabasawa Local Government area, Hassan Hussain said it was “terrifying” living in the community before the MDGs assisted the community with a borehole. Also speaking, Mohammed Yaro, the MDGs-CGS focal person in the state said “In 2011, there was also the state intervention. At that time, the intervention was multiple. The target was primary health care centers. There was construction of additional blocks especially

Caption:The 8-bed Primary Healthcare Centre constructed in Gora Community, Jaba LGA.

concerning pediatric and maternity. Then, that is this supply of medical equipments such as drugs; ambulances to the general hospitals are the key position of the state government that serves as referral centers, to the primary health care centers.” Kaduna State n Kaduna state, one could see the level of excitement and appreciation in the faces of those beneficiaries. They prepared to meet and warmly receive their supposed helper. Residents of Gora, a secluded community in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, extolled the construction of a new 8-bed space health care center in the area. The marmot crowd was amazing as they danced following the rhythm


of the drums, chanting appreciative songs in their local dialect. Harana Bako, a community head of Gora said “Honestly, my joy knows no bound. The completion of this health center in my domain and within a very short period beat our imagination. I still can’t believe it’s a reality until we all saw the end of the project, as well as the provision of health equipments to the clinic. I am completely puzzled.” Similarly, Christiana Jeb, a community health worker at Gora PHC said, “The face of this community has changed and as health personnel, this new structure is enough to heal a patient. We’ve also been given a power generator, as well as medical equipments that would ease our job. We now feel like those living in a big city.”

Caption: A cross-section of beneficiaries of the MDGS-CCT programme in Bunkari village, Binji LG in Sokoto State.



The Durbar Festival in Northern Nigeria


he modern state of Nigeria is something of an African powerhouse that has come a long way since the end of colonial rule from the British in the 1960s. Much of its current culture comes from the outside, as it were- like its two main religions Christianity and Islam and much of its politics. However, the pre-colonial Nigeria of traditions and cultures is still very much alive- and one good example of this in action are the Durbar Festivals of Northern Nigeria. Begun in a time when what is now Nigeria was a series of states ruled over by an Emir, the importance of a strong standing army to solidify rule was very much of importance. Noble families, districts and towns were expected to contribute a fighting force and an annual Durbar Festival was begun- where a procession, parade and demonstration of the fighting skills of each regiment was shown. These have carried on in modern Nigeria, and the festival coincides with the end of the Islamic festivals of Eid alFitr and Eid al-Adha. The festivals are often begun with prayers around each

town and begin with a dazzling and colourful procession of the Emir and his retenue to his palace in town. It is basically a spectacular show of horsemanship and regional traditionthe main aspect of which is the horse charge in front of the Emir outside his palace. Each horse rider, bedecked in wonderful, traditional costume and brandishing a sword gallops full tilt towards the Emir stopping just in time to show his subordination to the ruler. This happens over each regiment and is a wonderful show. Naturally, this is the key highlight of the day, but following this, local music with the resounding sounds of drumming bands, great food and dancing commence. Some of the most popular Durbar Festivals are held in Katsina, Kano and Bida, all in northern Nigeria. With so many cultures and tribes in the green and white nation of Nigeria, there is never a shortage of cultural festivals and traditional celebrations. These myriad events give the people something to dance to and celebrate all year round. On any given day, in major cities,


towns, or villages, there are events with traditional songs and dance, as well as the rich display of masquerades. There’s never a dull moment! The Durbar Festival is one such celebratory festival. Originally arising from the use of horses during combat hundreds of years ago, the festival was intended to be a military parade of soldiers riding in defense of their Emir. The emir, who served as the military general and prince, had an entourage comprising of regiments from the different emirates of the north. The Festival typically begins with prayer outside the town, and then a procession of horsemen into the town with the last horseman to arrive being the emir adorned in all his majesty. There is also a horse race at full gallop across the square. The glistening of swords, drumming, dancing and singing, with a band of performers, intensifies the fanfare. It is quite a sight to behold! The Durbar Festival is a wonderful event to attend. It is a rich display of culture and a fun lesson in northern Nigerian history.




Mallam Aminu Kano (1920—April 17, 1983)


minu Kano (1920—April 17, 1983) was a Muslim politician from Nigeria. In the 1940s he led an Islamic movement in the north of the country in opposition to British rule. The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, both in Kano, Kano State, are named after him. Life and early career Aminu Kano was born to the family of an Islamic scholar, Mallam Yusuf of the scholarly Gyanawa fulani clan, who was a mufti at the Alkali court in Kano. He attended Katsina College and later went to the University of London’s Institute of Education, alongside Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He earned his teaching certificate after completing his studies at Katsina College and subsequently became a teacher; he started teaching at the Bauchi training College. While in Bauchi, he spoke freely on political issues and extended his educational horizon by engaging in some various political and educational activities beyond his formal teaching duties. He wrote a pamphlet, ‘Kano, Under the Hammer of the Native Administration’, and along with Balewa, was a member of the Bauchi General Improvement Union. He was also a secretary of the Bauchi Discussion Circle, a group whose activities were later constricted as a result of an attack on indirect rule by Aminu Kano. In 1948, he became the head of the Teacher Training Center in Maru, Sokoto and was also the secretary of the Northern Teachers Association. During this period, he established an organization to improve the quality of Qur’anic schools in the north. Pre-Independence and first republic While in Sokoto, he became a member of Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa, a Northern Nigeria cultural association that later evolved into a political party and became the dominant party in Northern Nigeria during the Nigerian First Republic. However, in 1950, he led a splinter group of young radicals from Jam’iyyar Mutanen Arewa, and formed the

Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU). Notably, a few years earlier, an Igbira man and trader, Habib Raji Abdallah had founded an organization called the Northern Elements Progressive Association in Kano. The organization was founded along the nationalistic political thoughts of Nnamdi Azikiwe. In 1949, a few of Azikiwe’s supporters were jailed including Abdallah, leading to the breakup of the organization Nevertheless, a new progressive union led by Aminu Kano and composed of progressive leaning teachers and some radical [intellectuals] such as Magaji Dambatta, Abba Maikwaru and Bello Ijumu emerged to fill any vacuum in political radicalism in the region. The members were largely connected together in their opposition to the management style of the native administration in Northern Nigeria. In 1951, the party contested for seats in the Kano primary elections and was fairly successful. However, with the formation of the Northern People’s Congress, Mallam Aminu began to face formidable challenges especially in two federal elections. In 1954, Aminu lost a federal House of Representative seat to Maitama Sule and in 1956, he failed to clinch enough votes to win a seat on the Northern Regional Assembly. It wasn’t until the 1959 parliamentary election that he succeeded in gaining a major regional seat. He won the Kano East federal seat as a candidate of NEPU, which was already in alliance with the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons. While in the Federal House of Representative, he was a deputy Chief Whip. After the first republic was cut short by a military coup. Aminu Kano later served in the military government of General Yakubu Gowon as a federal commissioner for health. Second republic After 12 years, the military government in September 1978, lifted its proscription of political parties. In the following months, five newly formed parties began to emerge: the Nigerian People’s Party, the Unity Party of Nigeria and three others. Among them was the People’s Redemption Party, led by Aminu Kano, Sam Ikoku, and Edward Ikem Okeke. The party leaned towards a

populist framework and enjoyed the support of prominent labor leaders such as Michael Imoudu. In 1979, the party presented Aminu Kano as its presidential candidate but he could not muster enough votes to win. Nevertheless, the party won two gubernatorial seats. Reformist ideas Aminu Kano co-founded the Northern Elements Progressive Union as a political platform to challenge what he felt was the autocratic and feudalistic actions of the Native Northern Government. He geared his attack on the ruling elite including the emirs, who were mostly Fulanis. The potency of his platform was strengthened partly because of his background. His father was an acting Alkali in Kano who came from a lineage of Islamic clerics, Aminu Kano also brought up Islamic ideas on equity in his campaign trails during the first republic. Many talakawas (commoners) in Kano lined up behind his message and his political stature grew from the support of the Kano commoners and migratory petty traders in the north. Many of the

tradesmen later manned the offices of NEPU. He also sought to use politics to create an egalitarian Northern Nigerian society. Another major idea of his in the prelude to the first republic was the breakup of ethnically based parties. The idea was well received by his emerging support base of petty traders and craftsmen in towns along the rail track. The men and women were mostly migratory individuals searching for trade opportunities and had little ethnic similarities with their host communities. He also proposed a fiscal system that favors heavy taxation of the rich in the region and was notably one of the few leading Nigerian politicians that supported equal rights for women. Mallam Aminu Kano is highly respected politician in Northern Nigeria. He symbolized democratization, women’s empowerment and freedom of speech. A college in Kano and a major street are also named after him in Kano. His house where he lived and died and buried has been converted to Centre for Democratic Research and Training under the Bayero University Kano.

Political quotes “1. That the shocking state of social order as at present existing in Northern Nigeria is due to nothing but the Family Compact rule of the socalled Native Administrations in their present autocratic form. ‘2. That owing to this unscrupulous and vicious system of Administration by the Family Compact rulers, there is today in our Society an antagonism of interests manifesting itself as a class struggle, between the members of the vicious circle of the Native Administration on the one hand and the ordinary “talakawa” on the other. ‘3. That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the “talakawa” from the domination of these conduits, by the reform of the present autocratic political Institutions into Democratic Institutions and placing their democratic control in the hands of the “Talakawa” for whom alone they exist. ‘4. All parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the talakawa (commoners) is diametrically opposed to the interest of all sections of the master class, a party seeking the emancipation of the talakawa must naturally be hostile to the party of the oppressors.”



Int e rnati onal B Can Iraq be saved? y passing a new law on the allocation of seats in parliament, on November 4, the Iraqi parliament ended a lingering dispute among the country’s feuding ethno-sectarian factions, and cleared the way for polls to be held next year. The breakthrough, however, could be just another half-step that creates only hot air in the rivals’ endless bargaining for consensus, instead of real problem-solving progress. Iraq’s disruption since the US invasion in 2003 is a national, if not an existential, quandary of great proportion that cannot be assessed by a vote on new election laws, or even by the election of a new parliament. It is the predicament of the massive failure to rebuild the Iraqi state and society after they were ruined by more than a decade of occupation, civil strife and mismanagement. In a rare analytical and courageous testimony on post-US occupation era, Kurdish politician and one of the architects of the transition, BarhamSalih, described Iraq as being “in a very worrisome situation”. “Iraq is moving from a perilous situation to another which is more perilous. From bad to worse,” Salih told the London-based Asharq al-Awssat in an interview on November 9. Other Iraqi leaders can hardly pretend otherwise. Today Iraq stands on the brink of being a failed state, and its fall into the abyss has so far been averted due to a wide-range geopolitical and geostrategic factors that depend on Iraq’s stagnancy rather than watching it be torn to pieces with spillovers into all its neighbours, and probably beyond. Is this downward slide irreversible and can Iraq be saved from this disaster? Iraq’s problem is that of transition. The scale and scope of the transformation that the country embarked on after the demise of Saddam Hussein’s autocratic regime by the US, is unprecedented. Iraq has had to wrestle with political, social and economic transformations to clear the legacy of both Saddam’s era and the US occupation. Analysis of the transitional process, however, shows that the outcome has been abysmal, underscoring a gap between aspirations and achievements. The clearest manifestation of this problem is the failure of nation-building following Saddam’s ouster. This factor contributed to the disastrous ethno-sectarian conflicts and their violent ramifications. While the US’ failures in nation building are well documented, there is much evidence that the new rulers in post-Saddam Iraq are also to blame. Their biggest problem remains to be incompetence, mismanagement, corruption, and indulgence in self-interests. Their lust for power, sectarianism and lack of leadership skills are largely responsible for Iraq’s poor governance and the failure of the transitional period. Iraq’s main ethnic and sectarian groups - Kurds, Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims- each

Iraqi women walk past a tomb damaged by a bomb with its own militias, have to share power. Iraq cannot be ruled by one side, nor divided among all. It was in dire need of visionary, credible and strategic leadership to unite people and lead the transition to democracy. That collective effort was, and still is, absent, creating competitive and even violent approaches to power. One of the enduring sources of instability in Iraq is the policies and tactics of the political class to either maximise gains, or stop the other side from doing so, all at the expense of the common good. Many of Iraq’s problems stem from its political leaders who are exploiting the ethno-sectarian divisions in their favour to grab more power. Their failure to craft an inclusive democracy has deepened rivalries and given rise to sectarianism, ethnic chauvinism and authoritarianism. Even the constitution which has established a term of reference to solve the power-sharing problems, has been breached time and again. Among key violations are the absence of a functioning Constitutional Court and a Supreme Federal Council, which would ensure that constitutionally established rules are applied and that the government functions according to the law of the land which stipulates separation of powers. Perhaps the most immediate effect of the lack of these two institutions in a federal system such as Iraq’s, is the absence of basic democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between communities. This situation allows authoritarianism to permeate all levels of government. Moreover, the parliament has failed to pass legislation regarding political parties, a prerequisite for a sound multi-party and democratic system. In the absence of such a

law no one is sure how current political blocs function, what the source of their financing is, and what boundaries separate them from the government apparatus which they control. There have been more constitutional missteps along the way which make a travesty of the much talked about constitutional democracy. Though the jurisdiction of the parliament includes checks on the government, lawmakers have not been able to question Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or any of his ministers on essential matters, such as security, corruption and lack of basic services. Their initiatives for legislation have often been challenged by the government or its supporters in the judiciary. The extent of these autocratic practices has turned democracy into a farce. The result is that Iraq’s legislative and executive branches of government which have been designed to work on consensus have been dysfunctional and gridlocked in ethno-sectarian struggles. The Iraqi national state has been reduced to fiefdoms run by entrenched political groups. A decade-long failure in good governance and the long standing confessional conflicts have mutilated into an existential crisis.

A natural outcome of this simmering crisis is destabilisation. Iraq is already gripped in its worst sectarian violence since 2008, a surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 6,000 people this year. The Sunni insurgency, against what they see as marginalisation by the Shia-led government, has shown no signs of abating, despite a deployment of nearly one million-strong security men using hard-line tactics towards so-called “terrorist incubator” areas. Also, there is a great sense of frustration by Kurds, which often translates into tensions and standoffs. Unless Iraq’s community leaders rise above partisanship and engage in a fair and equal partnership, the violence will continue in order to influence decisions over their lives and the future of their country. Unfortunately, there are no signs that these leaders are acting wisely to formulate a comprehensive strategy to address the underlined problems. Plenty of Iraqis, mostly disgruntled Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims, have lost their faith in Iraq’s democracy and say they may boycott next year’s election because they think it will produce the same irresponsible oligarchy which has dominated the Iraqi political arena for the last

Many of Iraq’s problems stem from its political leaders who are exploiting the ethno-sectarian divisions in their favour to grab more power. Their failure to craft an inclusive democracy has deepened rivalries and given rise to sectarianism, ethnic chauvinism and authoritarianism.

decade. On November 9, the Friday prayer imams in several Sunnidominated cities, warned their congregations against re-electing the same politicians who “betrayed” them, while Shia imams warned against boycotting the elections. A large scale boycott may erode legitimacy of the political process and a delay or cancelation, as some have threatened - by submitting a court appeal against the new law could result in far more bloodshed. While this crisis continues, the lager problem of Iraq’s survival as a state remains in question. If there is anything that keeps Iraq together, it is oil. In the interview with Asharq al-Awssat, Salih acknowledged that, “Without the high prices of oil, the Iraqi state would have already collapsed.” Iraq is the second largest exporter in OPEC with an average state export of 2.4 million barrels per day this year. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of barrels are believed to be smuggled daily through traffickers operated by non-state actors. Oil money pours in abundance to both the government budgetary allocations and the coffers of the feuding factions. The money allows the parties to guarantee funds to buy off opponents, and it helps maintain prosperity and supports a massive internal security apparatus. Iraq is experiencing what is called “conflict resources”, a complex phenomenon which argues that while revenues from resources extracted in conflict zones may delay or stop the collapse of the state, it perpetuates the fighting. In other words, Iraq might be able to survive the chaos as long as oil prices remain high. Yet, there is no guarantee that different dynamics would not leave it in a freefall. Source: Al Jazeera




News Extra


...Of reckless driving and abuse of siren Continued from page 15

tained injuries. Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State had a similar experience in 2010 while ascending the mountainous Obudu Ranch Resort. His driver lost control of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), causing it to skid off the snaky road and crashed. Although the driver and the governor’s Chief Security Officer did not sustain serious injuries, the vehicle was mangled. In December 2012, the convoy of Senator Danjuma Goje of Gombe State, ran over one Haruna Maigari and injured two others in a village in the state. His convoy had a similar accident resulting in the death of three persons in 2008 when he was the governor of the state. Another lawmaker, Senator Ajayi Boroffice of Ondo State was, likewise involved in an accident in which a 58-year-old woman, Mrs Florence Olusori reportedly died. The Minister of Petroleum Rersources, Mrs Diezani AlisonMadueke is also on the growing list. Her convoy was responsible for the death of Mr. James Momoh, a journalist with Pilot Newspapers on his way from work at Nicon Junction, Maitama, Abuja, also last year. The same goes for the Senate President, David Mark, who had a driver attached to his office killed in a convoy accident in Otukpo town of Benue State in 2011. Mark was not travelling in the convoy at the time of the accident then, but two of security aides – Corporal James Ogwuche and Constable Rasheed Quadiri, got injured. Peoples Daily Weekend investigation further revealed that government officials in Nigeria especially the governors have as much as 20 to 25 cars in their convoy in addition to other officials who play the sycophant by accompanying the governor to functions that they are not really needed. The result is chaotic traffic situation mostly because the convoy neither respect traffic rules nor give consideration to other road users. Bashir Dogo, a civil servant says though the large number in the convoy is often irritating and tolerable, but what is not is “their excessive, unchecked behaviours and reckless driving that threatens the lives of other road users. Gerald Anyanwu is pissed off by the insensitivity of the officials who are supposed to be role models but every so often displayed attitudes that can conveniently be associated with thugs. “They blare off their sirens and speed away as if they are on a mad chase, particularly state governors. And because no governor has died from the reckless driving of his convoy no serious attention

Ibrahim Shema is paid to this excessive abuse of traffic rules and disdain for ordinary citizens on the road.” Traffic rules abuses are mostly peculiar to Nigeria and other places where dictatorial tendencies are yet to wear off. Recent reports indicate that even some of our West African neighbours have sufficiently shrugged off these tendencies. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali before the outbreak of insurgency, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Tunisia, and Kenya are places where the rule of law governed all aspects of their lives. In the United Kingdom for example, the convoy of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth 11 consists of an out-rider, a Rover car with four detectives from Scotland Yard and the royal car. The same goes for the country’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, which consists of a car of detectives and a numbered Rover official car. True, the British society is an ideal one where the rule of law is held paramount in every conduct. However, observers say even if some abuses are tolerated given the prevalence of security challenges, the crass indifference to the safety of road users makes the offence unpardonable in Nigeria. This is even more annoying when one considers that wives of elected officers and their political aides have joined in this flagrant abuse of traffic rules as their drivers are also not left out in this utter contempt for fellow road users. So, First Ladies, traditional rulers, even some clergy men, chief executives of corporate bodies and those who have newly acquired wealth have enlisted in this ignoble club. Hassan Musa believes “there is certain level of insanity among drivers of government officials because of their reckless driving and the overzealous attitude of security personnel, who are often in the war mood against hapless citizens.” His reason is simple: “Several hours before a top government of-

Former Deputy Gov. David Albashi, who died in a car crash

Senator Danjuma Goje ficial is chauffeured through, roads are closed to traffic. This do caused unnecessary confusion, loss of man hour due to traffic logjam, as motorists and passers-by struggled to escape the pandemonium.” In spite of laying claim to being a democratic state, there is obvious military mentality which has led to the violation of the rule on the use of siren and the recklessness that heralds the presence of or passing of a governor and other appointees of state. Take for instance, the attitude of the sycophantic aides to these VIPs who engage in reckless harassment of other road users. Not long ago, a lady working with a bank along Maraba Road was so intimidated that she became frightened and crashed her car into a pavement, and yet the socalled VIP’s aides were not content as they physically manhandled her. That was not the first time. Recall the humiliation of a Lagos resident, Mrs. Elizabeth Udoudo, by the convoy of the immediate past governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim? How about the bride and groom who were crushed to death by a serving a minister and nothing happened? When some time ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a training policy for the convoy drivers of governors, ministers, heads of agencies and permanent secretaries, one had thought that the menace will be curbed. It appears neither the training (if it was conducted) nor did the outcry of Nigerians have had any effect. That not much had been accomplished can be established by the letter on the issue written by the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Osita Chidoka, the Presidency and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the need to caution their drivers. He had particularly indicted drivers in the convoy of the Kogi State government for the accident involving Governor Wada. That

was last year. Till date, it seems only Governor Babatunde Fashola’s convoy is yet to enlist in the crash class. And to be proactive on the matter, the Corps Marshal requested that its officers be posted to be part of the convoys. Unfortunately, only Governors Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso of Kano, Rochas Okorochas of Imo and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi States, while the majority shunned the request. Now, with this latest development, the corps have insisted on being part of the pilot team. Nothing has been heard in response and nothing perhaps will come out of it even if some governors eventually

accept the offer. Since every user of our roads has witnessed or been a victim of the thuggish attitude of drivers in the convoy of government officials, one feels it’s high time that government got serious and enforces a rule on reckless driving irrespective of the offender. That the tragic accident has claimed Iyayi –a direct victim of the recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity that characterize abuse of power at every level of our government- means it could be any governor’s turn. After all what goes round comes round.

When some time ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a training policy for the convoy drivers of governors, ministers, heads of agencies and permanent secretaries, one had thought that the menace will be curbed. It appears neither the training (if it was conducted) nor did the outcry of Nigerians have had any effect.

Prof. Festus Iyayi


Interview PAGE 49

How we fought corruption in government, says Ekwueme


id you have any form of relationship with Alhaji Shehu Shagari before your nomination as his running mate? Well, it was when he was commissioner for finance and a mutual friend of ours who has passed on now, took me to him because the military were acquiring my properties in Port Harcourt and had defaulted. They have not paid their rent up to date so he told me that Alhaji Shagari would be able to help me. So I saw him and he called Alhaji Shehu Musa, the late Makama Nupe who was a deputy Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence, and told him that he was sending me to him and that he should solve the problem. So when I got to Alhaji Shehu Musa office, he invited one Shittu, one of his Assistants who took the matter and they sorted it out and paid all the arrears they were oweing. That was my closest contact with him prior to NPN convention. What was the nature of your working relationship with the President? We had a very close working relationship. He is a person who is forthright and principled. I tell you one thing — The first cabinet council meeting we had and paper had been circulated earlier on but throughout the meeting, I didn’t say anything because usually memoranda were signed by the president and of course he didn’t draft them. It was drafted by civil servants but declared under his name. So as soon as the meeting ended he invited me to his office. It wasn’t a very expansive office. And he asked me why I didn’t make any contribution to the discussion that went on at the council. I told him that the memoranda came under his signature and I found a lot of things I was not happy with and I didn’t think it would be tidy for me to come and start pointing out those issues because it would seem as if we were working at cross purposes. So I said that there are two ways of handling these issues. Either I see these memos and add my input before they come which would preserve the integrity of the presidency. He said that I should go ahead and add my views. He said he didn’t know that this problem were sometimes created by civil servants and sometimes they come so late, a day or two before council meeting and there won’t be time to go through it. That I should be free to express my views on any of the items so I thought it was very unusual because most people would be sensitive about seeing a paper they signed being criticised by their deputy. So we worked together amicably. Even at that time there were cases of physical fighting between governors and their deputies. We had problems in Rivers

An abridged version of the interview former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme granted Premium Times Dr. Ekwueme

between Melford Okilo and Frank Eke. We had problem in Kwara between Adamu Attah and Shittu and few other places but we never had a cause to quarrel. I want you to give us an insight on how you and President Shagari dealt with that issue of corruption? The problem of corruption was magnified beyond proportion because the media was in total control of UPN which was in opposition to us. Well as you can when the military came in and they set up military Tribunals, the first people to be jailed for corruption were those taking kickbacks from the Great Nigeria Insurance which went up in flames a few days ago. It wasn’t NPN government, it was UPN people government. And the people who had longer sentence for abuse of office was not NPN governors, it was NPP governors. So the thing was magnified out of proportion. When contracts were awarded it was out of competitive tendering process. Directors had power up to N250, 000, Perm Secs up to so much and ministerial tenders board had so much and beyond that it has to come to Federal Tenders Board. Now admittedly, we had a few ministers whose conduct fell below the norm and it’s a difficult thing to police because it was not something that was easily proven so that you say this is the proof. Once you heard that sort of thing and you confront the minister or the person concerned and he deny totally that there was no such misconduct. But what happened then was that during the second term, of

course we knew that this problem was there So, we required all those who were appointed ministers to sign undated letters of resignation so as not to cause us any embarrassment so that when we have this sort of story about a minister collecting money, we would just say that he has tendered his letter of resignation on personal grounds. My friend Ibrahim Tahir said I am not going to sign this thing because it’s unconscionable to ask someone to sign a letter of resignation in advance and I said but it was better. Two of us were taking…just two of us…and I said ‘do you want to be a minister?’ He said yes I want to be a minister and I said that I am afraid that if you don’t sign this, you will not be a minister. May his soul rest in peace! He was a good man. So we had taken adequate steps to prevent any misconduct by our ministers during the second term but of course we didn’t have the time to practice it. And you see the calibre of people we got in during the second term like Emeka Anyaoku, Aliyu Dantero and of course a few fresh people. Shortly after the 1983 coup, there was a coup. The principal officers were arrested and detained by the military. Can you tell us about what happened? As you know I was first the person to be arrested. They came to my house at about 1 AM and then it my friend’s son who came to arrest me…you know the Emir of Gwandu. Each time we went to Sokoto, the Sultan Abubakar III was getting on with age so he al-

ways delegated the Emir of Gwandu to stand in for him so we developed personal relationship. So it was Major Jokolo who came to arrest me. After I was arrested, we went to the House of the Speaker where they arrested Benjamine Chaha from Benue. In the first term we had NPN/ NPP Accord so the Speaker came from NPP and that was how Ume Ezeoke became Speaker otherwise Benjamine Chaha would have been Speaker. Because of that he was made a minister. That position was zoned to North Central. So Benjamine Chaha was coming to the House for the first time. He was a school teacher and my house is very close to his place and apparently the driver forgot the way to his house and he went round and round looking for it. So when we got there anyway, he was very frightened. When he came to the car and saw me, he calmed down. He said if I was there and was not panicking, why should he be panicking. Well in plain language, it would be called treason to dismiss an elected government and assume power by force of arms. What were you doing during Babangida and Buhari period? First, in the Buhari period which lasted for 20 months, I was in detention. I went from Bonny Camp first to a House in Temple Road and from there to Kirikiri then from Kirikiri to Ikoyi Prison. It was there in Ikoyi prison in August that Buhari was shunted aside by Babangida. It was Babangida that got us out of Ikoyi prison and back to house arrest where we started. House arrest

first at Hawksworth then from Hawsworth to Roxton then from Roxton to Milverton. That went on like that for a space of about 10 months. From there I was taken to my home at Oko and placed under restriction. I could not go out of my Local Government. I was not allowed to make any statements so naturally I had to comply because I signed that I would comply with and I did comply. After the restriction within my local government, they expanded it and said I should not move out of my state. From my state I was kept within Nigeria until 1989. Six years after that I was allowed to travel out of the country. That was why you didn’t hear much from me. Then Babangida came and promised to hand over after a period of time. He set up institutions, Centre for Democratic Studies, so many institutions, and created parties. Well what I decided was that I would not participate in any political activity. I wouldn’t be a member of any of the parties and institutions. Then when Abacha came, what really triggered me was his modus operandi. He came and it was clear that he didn’t have any regards for the civilian population. He thought everything was to be accomplished by force of arms. We organized first as civil society, nine of us to try and really appreciate that if we don’t extricate ourselves from the military, we will remain slaves to them forever. Then from the Institute for Civil Society, we decided to hold a summit which was held at Eko Hotel. While that was holding, he sent thugs to disperse us. After that we heard that he was planning to transit from a military to civilian Head of state and we found that that was unconscionable. If he wanted to run as a civilian, he should retire from the army and come into one of the parties and contest for nomination not to use his position to manipulate political parties into nominating him as a sole candidate. That in short he would be returned unopposed. I guess all the decrees he passed said that no public servant should take part in partisan politics. So after the summit, all of us in civil society met again and recognised the Summit and felt it was widely assumed that they were all supporting Abacha because he was a Northerner so we agreed that they would make the first move, telling Abacha that what he was doing was not acceptable. So we met at Kaduna and drafted a memorandum which Solomon Lar delivered to him by a group of 18. Then after that I called a full meeting at Glover Hotel in Yaba where 34 of us met and I prepared a memorandum which we gave to him which was G34 Memorandum.




Fifth FIFA World Cup beckons on Super Eagles

Jubilant Super eagles after winning the Nations Cup in South Africa. Today, they are poise to add the 2014 World Cup finals ticket . By Patrick Andrew


frican champions, the Super Eagles are 90 minutes away from reaching their fifth senior FIFA World Cup finals scheduled for Brazil, next year. The Eagles, who host the Walya of Ethiopia at their favourites fertile hunting ground, the UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar, play the final qualifying match with their nose in front having beaten the Ethiopians in Addis Ababa, last October. The champions, who have yet to lose a 2014 World Cup game, post an intimidating FIFA World Cup preliminary record. Since 1981 when they were beaten 2-0 by Algeria in Lagos, the team, even in the epileptic years, have been somewhat invincible at home. The delectable form of the current Eagles, therefore, makes turning the applecart, which is the desire of the Ethiopians, a herculean task. The Ethiopians would have every reason to harbour such ambition. Unlike the Eagles, they have never been to a FIFA World Cup finals. The squad is replete with ambitious crop of growing players, who have shown some

quality. They have raw talents, had not only taken on some good teams at the 2013 Nations Cup and the preliminary rounds of the World Cup finals but had given good account of themselves. But they are confronting Nigeria. Ever ambitious and a traditional home of talents, the Eagles are more than determined to seal a place in Brazil. Certain players in spite of their fame in developed leagues have never played in the finals and may never have the opportunity after 2014. Mikel Obi in particular. Nigeria failed to make the finals in Germany in 2006. Four years later blighted by injury Mikel missed out of the tea party in that jinxed team and going by his age may be too old to feature in 2018 in Russia. It is clear, therefore, that the Eagles will be in no mood to be complacent as to allow the Walya to ruffle their feathers as they did against hitherto favourites of Group A South Africa and then Botswana and Central African Republic to finish top of that group, despite being ducked three points and goals for fielding an ineligible player against Bostwana in Lobatse in June.

Keshi should play Mikel Obi In Calabar, the thinking is that the Ethiopians have come up field to allow him free role to a cul de sac. Physical and pacy and the ample chance of posting and upfield passing as the Walyas those daring and often devastating passes for the pair are, the Eagles have enough in of Emmanuel the arsenal to confront Emenike and and overwhelm them. Brown IdTrue, in the first eye to kill leg they grappled off. with altitude, in Calabar, the fleet-footed Stephen Keshi-tutored side should return to their more suitable characteristic play: champagne soccer Gacombined with briel Reuindividual brilben and liance. Expect the Eagles Ogenyi Onazi to play a relax football: no have shown to need to chase victory. That's Getaneh Kebede be good pairs sitting what the Ethiopians will do in front of the defence meaning that the Eagles can which of course is presit back and launch counters. A dictable. Brown and Emenike's goal under the quarter hour will have obvious chemistry and blend all but end the Walya's campaign well that means they remain while for 2014. They will have to score Musa Ahmed can run the right three goals to edge Nigeria. Of flank. Victor Moses lacks the pace course that's impossible. and energy to start unless Keshi

has something off his sleeve the Liverpool’s man starts from the bench. With the return of Kenneth Omeruo, Keshi has options. Kenneth understands Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose owns the right back while Elderson as usual cover from the left of Vincent Enyeama. The Ethiopians have Bidvest Wits striker, Getaneh Kebede back in their fold. The player, who was very instrumental in their 2014 World Cup qualification, missed the first leg due to knee injury. In Calabar, he must be kept at bay. Coach Sewnet Bishaw's most influential player remains Said that has scored four goals in the qualifiers against Botswana and South Africa is Eagles' biggest threat in the Walya squad. HEAD-TO-HEAD

1982 AFCON: Nigeria 3-0 Ethiopia 1983 Friendly: Ethiopia 0-0 Nigeria 1994 AFCONQ:Ethiopia1-0 Nigeria 1994AFCONQ:Nigeria 6-0 Ethiopia 2012AFCONQ:Ethiopia 2-2 Nigeria 2012AFCONQ:Nigeria 4-0 Ethiopia 2013 AFCON:Nigeria 2-0 Ethiopia 2014 WCQ: Ethiopia 1-2 Nigeria

The Super Eagles have made four previous appearances at the Mundial in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.




90 minutes to Brazil 2014

Cameroon, Tunisia battle for W/Cup spot C

ameroon and Tunisia will be hoping to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup when they clash at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde tomorrow. The indomitable Lions head into the encounter with a slight advantage having held the Eagles of Carthage to a goalless draw in the first leg in Rades last month. The 0-0 result was largely due to the heroics of Charles Itandje who made several sparkling saves to frustrate the Tunisians. Cameroon coach Volker Finke who will be aiming to guide Cameroon to their second successive World Cup finals has a full strength squad to choose from with a number of players returning from injury. Skipper Samuel Eto’o who briefly retired from national football will lead the line for the hosts. His return to form at club side Chelsea will come as a huge relief to Finke who will be counting on the experience marksman to lead the Lions to Brazil. Queens Park Rangers left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Lyon fullback Henri Bedimo and Sevilla midfielder Stephane Mbia have notably returned to the Lions setup. Mbia didn’t feature in the first leg after picking up an injury while playing for Spanish club side Sevilla. Cedric Raoul, Landry Nguemo and striker Vincent Aboubakar have also returned to face the North African side. Meanwhile, Tunisia coach Ruud Krol has not included veteran forward Issam Jemaa in the 26-man squad. Jemaa has been replaced by Esperance forward Ahmed Akaich while former captain Karim Haggui who wasn’t in the initial squad

Samuel Eto’o

has replaced the injured Alaeddine Yahia. The former Orlando Pirates coach will have to do without Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour who picked up an injury while star midfielders Youssef Msakni and Oussama Darragi still don’t fit into his plans. The duo of Houcine Nater and Fabien Camus are still waiting on clearance and it is still uncertain whether Krol will be able to pick the pair. Nater and Camus have seen their application for Tunisian citizenship rejected by the Ministry of Justice as they are not residence in Tunisia. Rennes and Indomitable Lions midfielder Jean II Makoun expressed that his side will give everything to conquer Tunisia and subsequently book their place in next year’s World Cup. “We will give our 100% to make sure that the team which will take on Tunisia has everything it takes to win. If we are here it is to go to the World Cup. We do not aim at anything else but the qualification,” Jean II Makoun told Krol who will be aiming to guide the Eagles of Carthage to their first World Cup since 2006 lamented his side’s missed opportunities in Rades before adding that he feels they have what it takes to score in Yaounde. “It is a pity to have missed so many opportunities [in Rades]. We were in control for most of the game, with some shaky phases from time to time,” said the Dutch coach. “We must not forget who were in front of us. Now we will do everything to score a goal in Yaounde. We have what it takes to achieve it.”

… As Stallions dare Desert Eagles for ticket


ast time around, Algeria were the only African country that qualified via a play-off after finishing equal on all levels with Egypt, whom they edged out with a 1-0 victory. They are looking to emulate that success against Burkina Faso, who travels to North Africa with a 3-2 advantage from the home leg. The Stallions, one of the surprise teams at the 2013 Nations Cups finals, who shocked many by getting to the final only to fall to almighty Super Eagles, are determined to carve a niche for themselves. The Stallions, who are looking for a first-ever appearance at the World Cup finals, will be able to call on the previously injured Aristide Bance, who scored the decisive third goal from the spot in the first leg after having earlier missed a penalty. Bance is strong and physical and always difficult to dislodge by defenders. Having missed the first leg, Bance would want to justify his presence by giving their hosts serious trouble. With the World Cup ticket before them, he along with his crop of ambitious bunch are likely to do whatever may be needed to berth in Brazil. Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic has called up a string of Europeanbased players, including the Inter Milan duo of Saphir Taider and Ishak Belfodil and will be confident in overturning the first-leg deficit with two away goals.

Lions, Elephants in final showdown


Papiss Cisse

lso Senegal face Côte d’Ivoire in neutral Morocco as the Lions of Teranga are still barred from playing at home. The Lions need nothing but 2-0 win to upstage the Elephants who have the advantage courtesy the first 3-1 lead. One recalls that the two no nations are no strangers to each other. Senegal was barred from last World Cup because of crowd conflict in a game involving their neighbours. However, the first leg produced no ugly incident yet they remain banned from using their grounds. This put the Algerians on equal footing since the game will be played on a neutral ground. Senegalese coach Alain Giresse

has once again omitted explosive striker Demba Ba because he has failed to find regular playing time with Chelsea this season. It is a controversial decision since Giresse’s team is down 3-1 from the first-leg and in need of goals. He has, though, changed things up by bringing in three new players: defender Zarco Toure, midfielder Pape Diop as well as former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf. As one of the continent’s most experienced sides, and with players like Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba available, the Ivorians are favoured to protect their advantage and reach their third finals on the trot.

Aristide Bance

Matches Today Nigeria vs Ethiopia Senegal vs Cote d’ Ivoire Algeria vs Burkina Faso Didier Drogba

Sunday Camerooun vs Tunisia




I will fight for a place in Chelsea, says Omeruo


enneth Omeruo returned to the Super Eagles team for the first time since leaving with a shoulder injury in June. He tells about his time out, the difficulty of getting back into the Super Eagles first team, his expectations at Chelsea. How hard was it to be out for so long? It was a difficult few months, but everything was perfect – the surgery, and the rehabilitation and I did it at one of the best places in the world. So I'm very happy I took the decision to do it. I got some encouragement from Austin Ejide because he has some experience with this injury so he said it's better to do it now than do it close to the World Cup and that was important. Now, I'm happy I took his advice and I'm feeling much better. You saw that game against Ethiopia, how concerned were you watching it? The first half was scary. But I was happy we came back in the second half to win that game because it was an important game for us to win and the players really gave everything to make sure we won. Now that you’re back, how difficult do you think it will be to get your place back in the team? Yeah, there's always competition. It feels good that there will always be someone to replace anyone in the team either through injury or suspension. I have to respect every other player in the team because they have done well. I can't just come back and expect to walk into the team, but I will just play my game. I don't have to play like I'm fighting with someone for the position. I will just play my game and the rest is up to the coach to pick who he wants. You played your first game with the Chelsea

Kenneth Omeruo under-21 side just last week. How important was that for you? It felt good to play again after a while out. Although we play games during training, this was a match situation so it was important and I had to get used to a match situation once again and that game helped me with that. So I was happy I played that game and it really felt good to be back. You were listed in Chelsea’s last Champions

League squad. Does it make you feel good to know that you are considered for the main squad? Yeah, it does. Because I missed the chance to go for pre-season with the squad and it's difficult to get into the team if you miss preseason and coming back from injury, I just have to keep working hard and fight to be in the team. Has the manager spoken whether you will

Emenike, Mikel, Musa, 2 other Eagles made CAF best player shortlist By Patrick Andrew


Vincent Enyeama

ive Super Eagles players were shortlisted for this year's African Footballer of the Year award which includes the trio of John Obi Mikel, Sunday Mba and Emmanuel Emenike. CAF released the list yesterday and the duo of CSKA Moscow attacking winger, Ahmed Musa and Lille goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, complete the list of Nigerians on the shortlist. However, Mba has also been nominated in the African Footballer of the Year award for players based in Africa. It would be recalled that Mba scored the winner for Nigeria against Burkina Faso in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in February. But the Nigerian players will face huge challenge from 20 other African stars for the 2013 African Footballer of the Year. Top among other nominees are the reigning African Player of the Year, Yaya Toure, Didi Drogba, Asamoah Gyan, Mohamed Aboutrika, Jonathan Pitroipa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ahmed Musa Seydou Keita, Victor Wanyama and Gervinho. Two players each from Ghana, Egypt, Cape Verde and Algeria also made the African Player of the Year category. There was one nominee each from Senegal, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ehiopia, Guinea, Cameroon, Morocco and Gabon. The list of nominees for CAF’s African Player of the Year, based in Africa, included the reigning Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt, and only Nigeria’s Sunday Mba made the list. Four players from Tunisia’s local league made the second list; while Cameroon, Egypt and South-Africa have three nominees each. Ehiopia has two, while Cote D’Ivoire, Tanzania, Zambia, DR Congo, Nigeria and Mali have a nominee each. The eventual winners for both categories will be announced at the Glo-CAF Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 in Lagos

stay or go out on loan again? Right now nothing has been said. I just have to keep training and working hard. But definitely if I don't get an opportunity to play, I will have to go somewhere where I will play. So at least I'm playing and I can keep my place in the national team and also to be fit for the World Cup. Because I have to keep my match fitness so I don't lose my place in the national team. That's important for me. Has Mikel given you any tips on how to succeed in the Premier League? Yeah. He's always talking to me, always advising me like a big brother. He's someone I respect a lot. He has played a lot of years in the Premier League. I think the most important thing he always tells me is 'you have to wait for your chance and when you get it, just take it and give everything' and that is what I plan to do. How difficult do you expect this Ethiopia team to be on Saturday? After the Nations Cup, I said in an interview that my toughest game was the Ethiopia game. They have good players and they have the fitness to run. But we are better and we have to put it at the back of our minds that we are better and go out there and give our best and show it on the field that we are better. How important will it be for you to qualify for the World Cup? The World Cup is something I've been looking forward to for a long time and now we have the opportunity to be there and by God's grace we are going to take it. What do you make of the Italy friendly? Is it a must-win game for you guys? Actually it’s not a must-win game. There's nothing at stake. It's just a friendly. We just have to go there, test ourselves against one of the best teams in the world.

Six bidders make list for 2022 Winter Games


ix cities, including former Summer Games hosts Beijing and Stockholm have launched bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday. Norway capital Oslo, which hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, is also among those in the running, along with Krakow in Poland, Kazakhstan's Almaty and Ukraine's Lviv. Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics and Stockholm staged the Games in 1912. The deadline for submissions passed on Thursday. The bids are submitted by one city but several of the potential hosts will stage some events in other areas to accommodate the wide range of sports and disciplines. While it remains too early to pin-point any front-runners, the fact is that Asia is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea's Pyeongchang and then the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. By virtue of this daunting scenario Beijing faces an uphill battle to stand a chance of winning the bid. With Munich's decision last week not to bid, Stockholm and Oslo represent traditional European winter nations, while Krakow, Lviv and Almaty, are bidding to put their name on the global winter sports map. The IOC will make a short list in July before electing the winning bid in 2015.



Weekend Digest

World’s most travelled man, 44, who holds title of ‘first ever tourist in war-torn Mogadishu’ finally unpacks his rucksack after 23 years By Tara Brady


lobetrotting Mike Spencer Bown is finally heading home after 23 years of traveling the world and visiting 195 countries. Mr Spencer Bown, 44, could be the most traveled man in history after a marathon odyssey which has taken him from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and every nation in between. He was the first ever tourist in wartorn Mogadishu, hitchhiked through Saddam Hussein’s home town during the U.S. invasion of Iraq and lived with pygmies in the Congo. Mr Spencer Bown has lost count of the times he has been arrested but despite visiting some of the most dangerous places on Earth he has escaped serious harm or illness, other than two brief bouts of malaria. He hitchhiked for most of his journeys and says that unlike most world travelers he stayed and immersed himself in the countries he visited. And he has done it all with the same trusty rucksack he had when he first left his native Canada in 1990. Mr Spencer Bown said: ‘Every day of my adult life has been an adventure. ‘I was 21 when I got thinking about my future and wondered if anyone had ever set out to see the whole world. ‘I thought if not, then why not give it a go - and I took off.’ He added: ‘There are more than 300 people who have been to all the other countries, but they are not what I consider real travelers. ‘They are like passengers, and theirs is a transportation feat rather than a traveling feat.’ Over the years Mike has visited Indonesia 20 times, Egypt twice, India six times, Cameroon five times, Peru twice, China three times, Africa a dozen times and Thailand nearly 50 times He has funded his budget travels with a variety of businesses including silver dealing in Bali, exporting furniture from Java and gemstones from Africa. He said: ‘I’ve never had a problem with money. I take calculated risks. I camp, stay in cheap hotels, live with the locals and do what they do. ‘It’s easy to make money in the third world if you know how - if you’ve stayed there long enough. He went on a reindeer sleigh with drunk locals from the Yakuti tribe in Russia, stayed with witch doctors in Mali and canoed past sleeping tigers in Bangladesh. He says his most memorable moment was when he visited the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2010. Mr Spencer Bown went there in search of the fabled beaches once described as the most beautiful in the world only to encounter hostility. Somali immigration officials regarded him as a spy before he finally managed to convince them he was only a tourist. Somalia was the last and most dangerous country on my list and once I was in Mogadishu I felt I had made it,’ he said. Mr Spencer Bown had already traveled in Afghanistan on the back of a motorbike - sipping wine during a Taliban gunfight - and through Iraq during the second Gulf War.

Adventurous: Mike Spencer Bown sits with a gun in Mogadhishu, Somlia, during his trip round the world

Globetrotter: Mike with Huli Wigmen in Tari Highlands, in Papua New Guinea

New climates: Mike and Molly Macindoe and the Yakuti tribesman in the Russian arctic of Yakusk He was detained by the CIA in Pakistan, contracted a mystery strain of herpes in South Asia and mingled with penguins in Antarctica. Other adventures have seen him living with a Bambuti pygmy tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hunting antelope and evading genocidal Hutu rebels. But despite some close shaves he says he never set out looking for danger.

Mike in the Congo with a Bambuti Pygmy pictured in a rare clearing in the forest

Mike Spencer Bown (second left) with traveling friends near a monastery in Reting in Lh¸nzhub County in the Lhasa Prefecture of central Tibet

New experiences: Mike Spencer Bown pictured with local guides grilling a whole sheep in Nepal

He said: ‘The most dangerous situations are not countries, but rather groups of people in areas say on the outskirts of a city who are not formed as part of a community - beware such areas. ‘Many of the most interesting places are wild indeed and they are the most likely to get you killed.’ Mr Spencer Bown, who has filled over a dozen passports, ended his travels in Ire-

land last month where he spent a couple of weeks before heading to his mother’s home in Calgary, Canada. After years being alone he has finally met a woman on Facebook who is meeting him in Canada. But when asked if he is ready to settle down and end his traveling he says: ‘I’m done now - for a while at least.’ Source:




Healthy Living

With Isaac Yakubu Akogu

Diabetes education- world diabetes day, 08176179496,


elcome to a special edition of Wellness column this weekend on the occasion of World Diabetes day which took place on the 14th of Nov. 2013. Thank you for your calls and comments via the regular channels of communications displayed above. Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by persistent high blood glucose and other hormonal abnormalities. It cut across all ages, gender affecting the rich and the poor. It is a disorder of the very engine of life and untreated diabetes results in multiple complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blood vessel disease, nerve damage, impotence, infertility, amputations, blindness amongst others. Worldwide, over 371 million persons are living currently with Diabetes and an estimated 5 million persons in Nigeria and each year, the number increases by at least 7 million globally. More than a million children under the age of 15 years have type1 diabetes and more than half of these live in low and middle income countries like Nigeria. Diabetes was first described more than 3,500 years ago in ancient Egypt and since then much has happened in the field of diabetes. Later research in Toronto, Canada by Banting, Best, Macleod and Collip successfully treated diabetic dogs with pancreatic extracts and this give rise to the first human Leonard Thompson to be treated with pancreatic extract in 1922. The product obtained from the extract called insulin has been a life saver for people living especially with type 1 diabetes and for management of people with type2 diabetes. Insulin was designed to improve blood sugar control, appropriate for daily treatment, with few adverse effects. The initial insulins were first produced from cows or pigs, the next advance was the transformation of animal insulin into

“human” Insulin by substituting one amino acid . From 1979, genetic engineering became the preferred route for making insulin rather than using animal extract; using bacteria and later yeast. A third advance was to modify the activity profile of human insulin, to enable either more rapid uptake, or slow uptake over 24 hours, these are they insulin analogs. As a result of these advances, people with diabetes in the developed parts of the world or developed countries no longer die because of unavailability of insulin, but in certain regions of the world like Nigeria, it is still a real problem. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization(WHO) in response to growing concerns about the increasing threat that diabetes poses to

serve as advocacy and awareness day to be celebrated officially on November 14th yearly. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of the United Nations Resolution 61/225. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount

importance to people living with Diabetes and creates global awareness to put diabetes in public spotlight. The World Diabetes Day celebration for November 14, 2013 i.e this year marks the 5th and final year of the 2009 to 2013 campaign on “Diabetes Education and Prevention”, November 14th also marks the birthday of Fredrick Banting who pioneered Insulin discovery. In the light of the United Nations summit on Diabetes and other non communicable diseases (NCDs) in 2011, it dawn on all countries to make concerted effort urgently to create awareness of the factors responsible for the global Diabetes epidemic and highlight solutions that are required to prevent them. Challenges confronting persons living with Diabetes and health care providers in Nigeria. Inadequate and reduced support to people living with Diabetes. Frustration and helplessness among the less privileged persons and families of people living with diabetes. Challenges of misinformation about diabetes care especially from alternative healthcare providers and even some main stream healthcare providers who are not abreast with current dynamics in Diabetes management. Increase in complications and deaths linked with dia-

betes as a result of poverty, fake and substandard drugs and lack of diabetes education for people living with diabetes. Poor funding or lack of finances for diabetes awareness and advocacy groups, hence decreasing their overall performance. Hence in the fight against diabetes, it is urgent that: Donors, financiers and international organizations recognize diabetes as a Public health problem in Africa and allocate appropriate resources. African governments should adopt specific policies of prevention and care for diabetes and introduce measures to reduce its financial burden. The Private sector should take into account the problems of the cost of insulin, syringes, and kits for screening and monitoring for the poorest people. Here in Nigeria, so many groups are working towards creating this awareness; however, synergy in efforts is advocated to enable tangible impact on the lives of people living with Diabetes. I like to also use this medium to commend the publisher of this Newspaper for championing Diabetes Education on a weekly basis for a long time now, until I come your way next weekend, let’s unite to Act on Diabetes Now. Stay Blessed. Courtesy American Diabetes Association

So many groups are working towards creating this awareness; however, synergy in efforts is advocated to enable tangible impact on the lives of people living with Diabetes.



Never Quit Because of the Giants (III)


raise the Lord! I welcome you to the third part of this series. God wants you to confront and defeat whatever represents giants in your life. God doesn’t want you to quit on your journey of destiny because of some giants. As I promised in my conclusion last week, I want to share with you practical things you need to do not to quit but rather defeat your giants, and fulfil your destiny. What to do not to quit If you won’t quit because of the giants, the following will help you: Preserve your faith in God – Don’t let the devil destroy or steal your faith in God. Hab 2:4 says the righteous will live by their faith. Gal 3:11 echoes the same truth. You must protect your faith if you will not quit because of the giants. And faith is usually in two places – your heart and your mouth. (Rom 10:7-10). Therefore feeding yourself on the undiluted Word of God is the way to ensure that your faith is protected. Rom 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (NKJV) Believe in His plan and purpose for your life. The children of Israel failed in this regard. If they had believed God’s plan for them which necessitated His delivering them from the 430 years of slavery, they wouldn’t have been scared by the opposition that the giants posed to them. No matter the giants standing in your way, never forget that God has a good plan for your life and He will fulfil it if you trust Him. “‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jer 29:11 NLT) Don’t take counsel with your fear. Don’t let fear make you doubt God or what He has told you. That you heard from God does not mean

that there will not be problems. The appearance of giants in your journey may surprise you but it doesn’t surprise God. Giants cannot stop what God wants to do in your life. Don’t let the giants make you doubt God. Like V. Raymond Edman has rightly counseled: “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” Name your fear and take it to God in prayer. Don’t let it immobilize you. 2 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV) Keep praying. Be a man of prayer. Praying shows your trust in God. Those who are self-sufficient don’t pray. 1 Thes 5:17 says pray without cessing. Pray continually. Never stop praying. In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable to illustrate that men ought always to pray and not to give up. So never give up praying. Pray consistently. You cannot defeat the giant in your strength alone. “No one will succeed by strength alone.” (1 Sam 2:9 NLT) Keep moving – Get busy; don’t be idle ­­– even if you don’t seem to see much reason for it. Use what you have got. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take away your crown. (Rev 3:11) Don’t be idle; occupy till Jesus comes. (Luke 19:13) Operate with what God has given you; don’t bury your talent. 1 Cor 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (NKJV) Be careful who and what you listen to. Wrong words, wrong counsel can lead to discouragement and eventual quitting. The children of Israel listened to the negative report of the ten spies and decided to quit going to possess the Promised Land. Suppose they had

listened to the report of Caleb and Joshua. The outcome would have been favourable to them. They would have made it. But they chose to believe the evil report of the majority of the spies. They erroneously believed that majority was right. Luke 8:18 says take heed how you hear. Mark 4:24 says take heed what you hear. Pro 12:25 says a good word makes the heart glad. Don’t listen to just anything. Select who you listen to. Engage in selective exposure of yourself to what people say. Your life cannot be right if you are hearing wrong things. And one way to ensure this is to ensure that you avoid hanging out with the wrong people and going out to the wrong places. Ø Avoid negative speaking; avoid backward talking. Speak positively. Take heed what you say. Matt 12:37 says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (NKJV) Prov 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (NKJV) You must control your tongue lest it should put you in trouble. The children of Israel didn’t tame their tongues. They complained and grumbled against Moses, Aaron and, in fact, God. You may be facing a giant but never say anything unhelpful. Speak only words that agree with what God has promised you. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless

From the Pulpit GREEN PASTURES By Pastor T. O. Banso GSM: 08033113523 our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” (James 3:6-12 NKJV) Remain focussed and steadfast. Luke 9:51 says Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem to die. That talks of his steadfastness. Jesus says in Luke 9:62: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (NKJV) Take note, that Scripture does not say “on the plow” but “to the plough” That’s the difference between a man set to work and a man just posing with an implement. Here is how The Message translation renders Luke 9:62: “Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’” I’m sorry I cannot conclude this message today. I believe you’ve learnt something from today’s message. Next week, I will end this series by showing you more practical things you need to do not to quit because of the giants. You’re blessed in Jesus’ name. TAKE ACTION! If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus.

I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bibleteaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God. Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God” I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you.

Every believer reaching every creature for Christ Acts 8:1-4


his chapter is such a special chapter, a transitional chapter, a gateway to the next phase of Christ’s plan for the Church, that we cannot hurriedly read through. From man’s perspective, it begins with the death of Stephen, in God’s plan, it reveals the dispersion of the saints. Men raised persecution against the Church but God turned it to proclamation of the gospel to save multitudes of sinners. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee” (Psalm 76:10). The outbreak of persecution which would have destroyed the Church actually produced positive results, moving the Church forward to further fulfill the Great Commission. From this chapter, the

Church took a giant step towards fulfilling Christ’s plan of preaching the Gospel to every creature. The Church had remained in Jerusalem until this time. Through the persecution, gospel-preaching extended to Judaea and Samaria, following the pattern of expansion previously outlined by Christ, the Lord and Head of the Church (Acts 1:8). Though many Christians were scattered, they became preachers, witnesses and soulwinners for Christ everywhere they went. Many people repented, believed and turned wholeheartedly to the Lord. 1. GREAT PROGRESS DESPITE GREAT PERSECUTION Acts 8:1-3; 9:13,14; 26:9-11; 9:26-28; 11:22,27-30; 12:24,25; 15:1-6; 16:4,5; 21:17-22; Romans

By Pastor W.F Kumuyi

15:19,25-33. “At that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.” From the earlier chapters, there had been great persecution against the Apostles, the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem. They were threatened, beaten and imprisoned (Acts 4:3,21; 5:17-21,40-42), yet

thousands believed, the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly and they filled Jerusalem with Christ’s doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. With this renewed wave of persecution, the believers “were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the Apostles.” The persecution was so

intense that only the Apostles remained in Jerusalem. These Apostles, the pastors, who had already suffered much persecution, were not intimidated or frightened to flee Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Church was drastically reduced in number but the Apostles kept on preaching and ministering. The Great Commission was worth living and dying for. Saul, the great persecutor, went “into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” That did not weaken or stop the Apostles’ resolve to “preach the gospel to every creature.” Why should messengers of Satan be more zealous than the ministers of Christ? Soon, there were thousands of true believers won to Christ in Jerusalem.

BIG PUNCH Do you know that recently a top minister received a $250 million (about 42.25 billlion naira) bribe for himself ...he (the minister) is in the cabinet; he is in this current regime; he knows and I know and I told the President. —Jigawa state Gov, Alh. Sule Lamido


The fall of Jerusalem


imitless in His glory is He who transported His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah] to the Aqşā Mosque [in Jerusalem] — the environs of which We have blessed — so that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He alone is the One who hears all and sees all.’ So states the opening passage of the the seventeenth chapter of the Quran, in reference to the journey of Prophet Muhammad, in the company of Angel Gabriel, first from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to the sublime presence of the Almighty God, in a realm most transcendental. The experience, as Asad suggests, presupposes, on the part of the Prophet, a personality of tremendous perfection, while expressing in a figurative manner the doctrine that Islam, as preached by Prophet Muhammad, is the fulfillment and perfection of Mankind’s religious development, and that Muhammad was the last and the greatest of God’s message bearers. As the embarkation point for this journey of Prophet Muhammad to the High Heaven, Jerusalem thus became even more established as a Holy City. And it is here that we begin our current discourse, in this season of Pilgrimage. The Hajj – a unique journey which transcends pilgrimage howsoever defined, applied or practiced – has just recently ended. Others have also gone on their own pilgrimage, in grand style, in search of spiritual fulfillment. Yet something is missing. Where is the Muslim pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Islam’s other Holy City, after Mecca and Medina? It is almost forgotten that Jerusalem is a destination of pilgrimage for Muslims as Prophet Muhammad has authorized, and that not too long ago Sir Ahmad Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, had done the Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem most emphatically established the fact that the two cities are organic to each other as sources of light from God— only that Mecca culminates and perfects. The historical, spiritual and civilizational journey of Islam to Jerusalem, however, began in earnest after the death of Prophet Muhammad, when the nascent faith was being dragged into wars of survival by the two Great Powers of the time, Byzantium and Persia, each for its own reasons determined to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth. Islam’s resistance soon developed into a movement for the liberation of Mankind. ‘The empires of Persia and Byzantium, successor to Rome, were deadlocked after years of exhausting struggle to control what is

now the Middle East,’ William Tracy [Aramco World 1974], observes. ‘And although Muhammad had died, the faith of his followers was such that they had routed the Byzantine forces from every major city between the Tigris and the Mediterranean except Jerusalem. Now, in 637, they approached the city, pitched their tents on the Mount of Olives and prepared to take it.’ Let us pause at this juncture to look back at the recent history of Jerusalem, just over twenty years earlier when it was invaded by Persia, in 614. According to Karen Armstrong, the Holy City fell amid scenes of horrific slaughter. The Persians rushed into the city like wild boars, roaring, hissing, and killing everyone in sight: not even women and babies were spared. Over 60,000 Christians died, and the city was vandalized, its churches, including the Martyrium, set aflame. Survivors were rounded up, and those who were skilled, learned or of high rank were taken into exile, including the Patriarch of Jerusalem. ‘With the exiles,’ Armstrong says further, ‘went the relic of the True Cross together with other implements of the Passion of Christ that had been kept in the Martyrium: the spear that had pierced his side, the sponge and the onyx cup that he was supposed to have used at the Last Supper. They passed into the possession of Queen Meryam of Persia...’ The Christian Empire, had, in effect, not only lost its body but also, most painfully, its very soul, for the utter destruction of Jerusalem was only the climax of what was indeed a profound decimation and pulverization of the Roman Empire by the Persian Empire. he Quran intervened immediately on the unfolding tragedy of seismic proportion. ‘DEFEATED have been the Byzantines in the lands close-by; yet it is they who, notwithstanding this their defeat, shall be victorious within a few years: [for with God rests all power of decision, first and last. And on that day will the believers [too, have cause to] rejoice in God’s succor: [for] He gives succor to whomever He wills, since He alone is almighty, a dispenser of grace,’ it says in the chapter titled Ar-Rum, or the Romans. ‘This is God’s promise. Never does God fail to fulfil His promise...’ At the time of the revelation, that is, 615 or 616, as Asad observes, the total destruction of the Byzantine Empire seemed imminent. The few Muslims around the Prophet, who were themselves facing imminent extinction at the hands of the Arab Aristocracy, the Quraysh, were despondent on hearing the news


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Ibraheem Sulaiman

City. By its status in Islam absolute sanctity of life must upheld in it, and the city itself may not be subjected to violence, destruction or despoliation. The Holy City deserves peace and only peace. n this momentous occasion, Umar, by now the most powerful ruler in the world, was determined to follow faithfully in the footstep of Prophet Muhammad, whose trusted disciple and most


Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem of the utter discomfiture of the Byzantines, who were Christians and, as such, believed in the One God, and to whom, therefore, they shared a common bond of faith. The pagan Quraysh, on the other hand, sympathized with Persians who, they thought, would vindicate their own opposition to the idea of One God. When Muhammad enunciated the above Qur’an-verses, Asad writes further, predicting a Byzantine victory “within a few years”, that is, in the Quranic terminology, between three and ten years, the prophecy was received with derision by the Quraysh. In fact historians reckon that the scale of Byzantine defeat was such that its survival was itself in absolute doubt, let alone a victory over Persia. But as it happened, in 622 - i.e., six or seven years after the Qur’anic prediction - the tide turned in favor of the Byzantines. In that year, Emperor Heraclius succeeded in defeating the Persians at Issus, south of the Taurus Mountains, and subsequently drove them out of Asia Minor. By 624, he carried the war into Persian territory and thus put the enemy on the defensive; and in the beginning of December, 626, the Persian armies were completely

routed by the Byzantines. The progress of Byzantium in its struggle against the fire worshipping Persia was, as scholars have observed, running pari passu with the progress of Muslims in their struggle against the idol worshipping Arab Aristocracy. The successes of Muslim on the one hand, and of the Romans, on the other, continued until the Quraish were utterly crushed by the conquest of Makkah in 630, while in the words of Britannica ‘the Persian Empire, from the apparent greatness which it had reached ten years ago, sank into hopeless anarchy.’ Byzantium recovered the True Cross from Persia, together with its soul, its body and its dignity. Now Jerusalem faces a new challenge from a new power, Islam, bent on the remaking of humanity in accordance with guidance of God. The Holy City, then called by its Roman name, Aelia Capitolina, instead of the name given to it by its Arab founders, Dar as Salaam, the City of God, under the leadership of its Patriarch, Sophronius, decided to surrender – but only to the Caliph, in person. So Umar, may God be pleased with him, was received at the gate by the Patriarch who handed over to him the keys of the Sacred

worthy successor he has proved to be. Umar was with the Prophet during the conquest of Mecca, as were the core leadership of the army before which Jerusalem had just surrendered. The conquest of Mecca was unique — peaceful, bloodless, graceful, merciful. This was the standard set by the Prophet. Umar’s entry into Jerusalem was not only reminiscent of Prophet Muhammad, but as Karen Armstrong aptly observes, but also reminiscent of King David as well. ‘Umar also expressed the monotheistic ideal of compassion more than any previous conqueror of Jerusalem, with the possible exception of King David,’ Karren Armstrong writes in Jerusalem: One City Three Faiths. ‘He presided over the most peaceful and bloodless conquest that the city had yet seen in its long and often tragic history. Once the Christians had surrendered, there was no killing, no destruction of property, no burning of rival religious symbols, no expulsions or expropriations, and no attempt to force the inhabitants to embrace Islam.’ If a respect for the previous occupants of the city is a sign of the integrity of a monotheistic power, Karen Armstrong emphasizes, Islam began its long tenure in Jerusalem very well indeed.

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Saturday 16th November, 2013  
Saturday 16th November, 2013  

Saturday 16th November, 2013 Weekend Edition