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Unmask Bok o Har am, ACF tells J ona than, Boko Haram, Jona onathan, bac ks So ver eign Na tional Conf er ence backs Sov ereign National Confer erence


Vol. 7 No. 65

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rabiul Awwal 10, 1433 AH


I N S I D E Cop arraigned for raping cripple, daughter A randy police corporal was yesterday arraigned before a Senior Magistrate’s Court in Katsina over alleged rape of a crippled mother and her daughter– Page 2

‘Jang is threat to peace in Plateau’ The three aggrieved local government chairmen whose tenure was truncated by Governor Jang petitioned the NSA over what they termed as threats to peace and security by the governor – Page 3

Lagos shuts down popular Mile 12 market The Lagos state government yesterday wielded the big hammer by sealing the ever busy Mile-12 Market, in Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, LCDA over various environmental offences – Page 19

How SSS nabbed Boko Haram spokesman From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


n a major breakthrough in its hunt for members of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Liddawati wal Jihad, popularly

known as Boko Haram, the Borno state command of the State Security Service (SSS) said yesterday that its operatives have apprehended the spokesman of the sect, Abul

Qaqa. Qaqa who had been speaking on behalf of Boko Haram for the past six months, had been issuing statements, claiming responsibility for various bomb

and gun attacks. Speaking to newsmen yesterday, the state Director of SSS, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi said Qaqa was picked from his hideout in Maiduguri, the state

capital through the global positioning tracking system (GPS) Although Mr. Abdullahi declined comment on the Contd on Page 2

Why we suspended strike, by ASUU President By Abdullahi Yunusa

P L-R: Former Governor of Katsina state, Alhaji Saidu Barda, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) National Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, ACF National Vice-Chairman, Senator Joseph Waku, during a press conference after the Forum’s emergency meeting on the State of Nation, in Kaduna, yesterday. Photo: Agaju Madugba



resident of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, said the need to revitalize all government universities, improve quality of teaching and thorough research necessitated the union’s suspension of its two months old strike. Speaking yesterday at a press conference at the end of Contd on Page 2























Cop arraigned for raping cripple, daughter From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina


randy police corporal, Mr. Abutu Garba was yesterday arraigned before a Senior Magistrate Court 3 in Katsina over alleged rape of a disabled crippled mother and her daughter. According to the prosecuting police officer, Mr. Okoli Usman, the cop committed the alleged crime on the 16th of December, 2011 at the central market out post police station. He noted that the alleged rapists lured the mother and her daughter who stay out late night by threatening them that if they continue their trek home that night

they may be harmed on the way therefore as a caring cop he offered them accommodation at the station. However, the cop who was alleged to be nursing a hidden agenda against his victim waited till late night before taking turns to repeatedly rape the disable cripple mother and her innocent daughter. Luck ran out of him when in the morning he was caught red handed by his superiors. The prosecutor therefore noted that the suspect was arraigned before the court over alleged rape and gross indecency which he said contravenes section 283 and

285 of the Penal Code laws of Katsina state. The presiding magistrate, Nurudden Abdulmumini Jikamshi, ordered for the accused to be remanded in prison custody till the 28th of December 2012. Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be armed robbers on Monday, killed a police inspector, Muhammad Inuwa Batagarawa in Faskari local government area of Katsina state. Our reporter gathered from sources in the area that the police officer was killed in a farm owned by a prominent politician in the area, Alhaji Shehu Inuwa Imam who had earlier lodged a complaint with the police over

serial thefts in his farm. Sequel to the complaints, police in the Faskari division mobilised their men and moved to the farm in search of the hoodlums. Unknown to them, gunmen lurking in the farm opened fire as a result of which the deceased cop was severally shot on his stomach. Our correspondent learnt that the hoodlums allegedly cut the inspector’s ears, private part and disappeared with his legs before abandoning his corpse in the bush. When contacted the Katsina police spokesman, ASP Abubakar Muhammad, told newsmen that he would be living to the area today to get details of the incident.

How SSS nabbed Boko Haram spokesman

Why police cannot check mate Boko Haram, by security expert, Page 40

International 33-34 Strange World 44 Digest








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Contd on Page 2 precise area where the Boko Haram spokesman was nabbed, he however explained that a team of experts from the service had been on the trail of the suspect through GPS, saying “we have finally got him and is currently in our custody”. The director who refused to entertain questions from newsmen or make further clarifications on the issue, simply said: “I can confirm to you that the spokesman of the sect is in our custody and so you can just report this development”. It was gathered that Qaqa, identified as an indigene of Kogi state from the Igala ethnic group, was arrested after consistent monitoring of his phone calls by SSS, despite the fact that he used numerous numbers and always replaced them with new ones.

Shortly after the announcement of the capture of the spokesman, an unidentified member of the sect spoke to reporters through phone to confirm the capture of the man. “Yes, I can confirm to you that our spokesman has been arrested in his residence in Maiduguri. “In fact, he was just arrested without any confrontation as he was taken unawares because our warriors who normally guard him were absent when the security agents raided his hideout,” the sect member said. According to him, the arrest of Qaqa would not deter the sect from its violent campaign against security agents, stating that “our struggle is not for worldly gain but rather to be close to Almighty God by

establishing Islamic system of governance, so why should we be discouraged just because one of us was nabbed”. The man , however, said the group would make a formal reaction over the issue, noting that “we are ready to sacrifice our lives for this cause as the arrest of one of our top leaders will further motivate us”. This is coming after more than 250 people were estimated to have been killed by Boko Haram militants last month from series of coordinated explosions which ripped apart police buildings, passport offices and immigration centres in Kano. It was one of the bloodiest attacks by the group so far in its vengeance against security agents over the extra-judicial killing of its members and leader,

Muhammad Yusuf and the quest to install an Islamic Sharia state. Ironically, the SSS headquarters in Abuja feigned ignorance of the arrest of the spokesperson of the Boko Haram sect. The agency’s spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, told Premium Times yesterday night she was not aware of any such arrest. “I don’t know where they got the information that the guy was arrested,” Ms Ogar said. “The truth is we don’t have him. I don’t have any such information that he was arrested.” Qaqa, whose true identity is unknown, regularly circulates statements to journalists via emails. He also grants telephone interviews to journalists, but has remained very elusive, just like other members of his sect.

Why we suspended strike, by ASUU President Contd on Page 2 its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja, Prof Awuzie said the decision to suspend the strike action was taken after “collating the advice from members our union across the country, and having deliberated extensively, we resolved to suspend the strike with effect from Thursday, 2nd February, 2012”. He said, having engaged government in a series of negotiations in the last two months on ways of resolving their differences, government has as a “result of this

communicated to our union its position via a letter dated 24th January 2012”. According to the ASUU boss, germane issues which government has promised to address between now and June, 2012 include, funding requirements for revitalizing the nation’s universities, Federal Government’s assistance to state universities, progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to education to 26% between 2009 and 2020, enhancement of earned academic allowances and amendment of the pension/retirement age of

academics on the professorial cadre from 65 to 70 years. Others are the establishment of a pension fund administrator, reinstatement of the university governing councils, transfer of landed properties to the universities, setting up of research and development units by companies operating in Nigeria, budget monitoring committee and finally the expansion of the implementation monitoring committee. Prof. Awuzie said to ensure the effective implementation of the above agreement between it and ASUU, the government has

agreed to meet with the expanded committee on the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) on a quarterly basis to assess progress made. Asked what ASUU will do in the event government fails to implement the agreements entered into with the union, he said, “We will give government benefits of the doubt and wait to see if they will disappoint us this time around. We shouldn’t be pessimistic about the issue. We are hopeful that the government will not fail to faithfully address the issues raised”.



Subsidy Probe: Reps query non-payment of tax on petroleum products

Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (middle), presenting a certificate of commendation on community protection to Sarkin Sudan Kontagora, Alhaji Sa’idu Namaska (right), during the launching of the state Community Guards, at the Government House in Minna, yesterday. With them is the Deputy Governor, Hon. Ahmed Musa Ibeto (left).

By Lawrence Olaoye


Unmask Boko Haram now, ACF charges Jonathan From Agaju Madugba & Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna

zSupports Sovereign National Conference

he Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to muster enough courage and unmask those behind the seemingly elusive Boko Haram sect and their equally mysterious sponsors. According to the ACF, only Jonathan holds the key to solving the mystery behind the group and its activities explaining that, “we hold the President responsible and he should give us more information on Boko Haram because he has told everybody that members of Boko Haram have infiltrated all levels of his

administration.” Addressing a press conference yesterday in Kaduna after a meeting held on January 26th in the city, the ACF described the activities of Boko Haram as condemnable but noted that government needed to uphold the UN Resolution 1963 which urges governments around the world to address underlying causes of civil unrest and social conflicts rather than resort to hard military power which rarely solves them. “The federal and state governments should be seen to demonstrate fairness and justice in dealing with all issues of insecurity


and infringement of the laws.” Chairman of the ACF National Executive Council, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, who read the communiqué, explained that the meeting was convened following what he called the horrific and horrendous bomb attacks on Kano, by Boko Haram, on January 20, during which about 200 people lost their lives. He said the ACF was not in a position to make any pronouncements regarding the recent death sentence on Major Hamza Al-mustapha arguing that, “Al-Mustapha has already appealed, so, I think it will be wrong

for us to make any comments on the issue because it is a judicial matter now.” Commenting on recurrent calls for a Sovereign National Conference, for the purpose of redefining the terms of the union of the different constituents of Nigeria, the ACF said “For the avoidance of doubt, it should be made clear that the North remains open to, and will be keen to discuss any ideas that may place Nigeria in a better position to meet the challenges of nation building and secure a better future for this and succeeding generations of Nigerians.”

Anguish, tears as Madalla blast victims are buried By Abdulwahab Isa


ith deep emotion and uncontrolled grief, 18 of the dead victims of the 2011 Christmas day bombing at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger state were yesterday committed to mother earth within the church premises amidst tight security. As early as, Madalla road was cordoned off by the joint security team comprising the military, police, and officers of the civil defence corps. Relations of the deceased, church members, including journalists were thoroughly screened before entrance to the church premises by security officers. At exactly 9.47 am, a Toyota Hiace Ambulance bus with inscription (Talban Metro) painted blue with registration Niger 35 A30 and another pick-up Peugeot with a registration number Abuja KJ 530 RBC conveyed nine corpses

from Suleja General Hospital to church premises and they were promptly offload by the church undertakers. On inquiry, a church worker Mr. Leonard Eshika told Peoples Daily that a total of 20 graves were dug within the church premises to inter the dead but said two families opted to bury their victims at home. By 10.55 am another batch of corpses, nine in all arrived

from University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, and the National Hospital. The funeral mass held inside the church premises and the remains of the dead were lowered to the grave after farewell songs at about 2pm. Amongst dignitaries in attendance included Senator Ayogu Eze who represented Senate President, Senator David Mark, deputy Chaplain in Aso Rock,

Reverend Abba Mshelia, former information minster Prof. Jerry Gana, and Emir of Suleja, Alhaji Auwal Ibrahim. Speaking with journalists, Aso Rock deputy Chaplin, Reverend Mshelia described the Madalla Christmas day bombing as tragic experience. He expressed hope that government was working on every options available to get over the current security challenges.

he House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee probing the management of petroleum subsidy yesterday queried the non-payment of tax by operators. The lawmakers demanded explanation for the perceived lapse from the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko OmoguiOkauru. Responding, Mrs. OmoguiOkauru said the government, over ten years ago, gave an order to exempt operators in the sector from paying the Value Added Tax (VAT) in a bid not to transfer the heavy burden on the end users of the petroleum products. She said government has been sympathetic to the plight of the generality of the people as tax matters could be very emotional during implementation and recovery. According to her, the order paper that gave the instruction that such exemption be made has not seen by anybody though there had been communication to that effect but a copy of the order had not been seen since it was given. She pleaded with the committee to give her some time to carry out consultations and get all the necessary documentations required by the lawmakers so that she could make a fresh presentation by next week. The FIRS boss however explained that the taxation of petroleum products would have been a major revenue earner for the government “but due to government’s compassionate feeling towards the end users of the products, it has to be shelved.” Asked why there was no taxation on diesel despite the fact that it has been deregulated, Mrs. Omogui-Okauro said “Tax was not imposed because the Federal Government wanted the sector to be fully deregulated. It is when the downstream sector has been deregulated that all the products could be appropriately taxed and there is a bill already sent to you on account of this.”

‘Jang is threat to peace in Plateau’ From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


he three aggrieved local government chairmen whose tenure was truncated late last month by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state yesterday, petitioned the National Security Adviser over what they tagged as threats to peace and security by the governor. The three affected chairmen

Iliya Amagon of Bokkos, Hitler Fankun Dadi of Langtang South, and Bintin Brian Dadi of Langtang North in a petition which was also copied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chief of Defense Staff, Inspector General of Police, Commander of the Special Task Force, drafted to restored peace and order in the state in the wake of the persistence crises that rocked the state, said: “We write to draw your

attention to the activities of Governor Jonah David Jang which are capable of setting the state aflame”. The petition further reads: “The Plateau State Local Government law provides for three-year tenure, commencing from the date of swearing in”, and appealed to the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan to use their office and call

Governor Jang to order. According to them, the duration of their tenure was further emphasized by a High Court judgment in Suit No. PLD/ J31/2010, given on the 5th of July, 2010, where it was stated, among others, that the tenure is for 3 years, and the three years start to count on the date of taking of oaths of allegiance and office.



PDP postpones NEC, congresses By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday announced the indefinite postponement of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled to hold today as well as all its congresses from the ward to national levels. The party, in a statement released by its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali, explained that the postponement became imperative because governorship elections are scheduled to hold in four states in the month of February. The states affected include Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers and Sokoto. Alkali stated that, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, in its meeting held on Wednesday 1st February 2012, approved the postponement of ward, local government, states and zonal congresses as well as the National Convention earlier scheduled to hold this month. “This postponement has become necessary because of the INEC timetable for gubernatorial elections scheduled to hold in four states of the federation, which spread across the entire month of February. “The postponement also has become even more compelling in order to avoid double-dating and to enable our party members to concentrate on campaign mobilisation and elections in their various states. “Similarly, the meetings of the Board of Trustees (BOT) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) earlier scheduled for February 1st and 2nd respectively have also been postponed. New dates shall be announced in due course. “The NWC regrets all inconveniences arising from this action and calls on party members to come out en masse to ensure the success of the party in the forthcoming elections,” he stressed.

Jonathan meets with PDP govs By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan and state governors elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met in the State House yesterday following the cancellation of the meetings of the party's Board of Trustees (BoT) and National Executive Committee (NEC) scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday respectively. The agenda of meeting, which started at about 5.30pm at the First Lady's Wing of the Presidential Villa, was not made public but was expected to review the implication of the Supreme Court judgement on the future programmes of the PDP including its now postponed congresses and national convention. After the two-hour meeting ended by 7:15 pm, the governors declined to speak with State House correspondents who requested to know the essence and outcome of the gathering.

R-L: President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, observing the National Anthem during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

NNPC wades into NUPENG/Shell impasse, as strike is called-off By Muhammad Nasir, Abuja & Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

zFuel queues resurface in Abuja, Lagos

he prompt intervention by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may have led to the suspension of strike embarked by members of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) Peoples Daily learnt yesterday. The strike, which was caused as a result of a dispute between

NUPENG branch in Shell Petroleum and the management of the firm was already taking a gradual toll as evidence of queues at filling stations were apparent in the Fedderal Capital Teritorry as at yesterday afternoon before it was called off. Some fuel attendants in Abuja who spoke to Peoples Daily however


claimed ignorance of the strike. An attendant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “I got to know about the strike yesterday morning; to me, there was no strike at all because we have enough products and we are selling.” A motorist in the same filling station, Malam Aminu lamented the presence of long queues since

the commencement of the strike, saying “I have been in the queue for thirty minutes while I am supposed to be on my way to Kaduna”. He enjoined the parties in the dispute to resolve their difference after the week-long labour strike, as according to him, it would bring relief to Nigerians.

Subsidy palliatives: Workers accuse Jonathan of insincerity By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


leven days after the January 20th date, when President Goodluck Jonathan pledged to pay January salaries of federal civil servants, workers are still not sure when the promise would be fulfilled.

Investigations by Peoples Daily showed that Federal Government workers in most of the federal ministries in Abuja disclosed that they were yet to receive their salaries, as pay cheques were yet to get to them. They raised alarm over how to cope with the situation in the days ahead, pointing out that it was

uncertain when the Federal Government would eventually pay its workers. It will be recalled that the January 20th pledge was part of the palliatives the Federal Government rolled out to douse tension at the hey days of the controversial removal of subsidy on petrol announced on New Year

day. Reacting to this development, NLC spokesperson, Chris Uyot, said non-payment of workers at the time the President promised, is part of the desperation by government to frustrate the protest it called in collaboration with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates.

…As OAGF assures salary payment February 20th


he Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), has assured that civil servants in the country would, from February, receive their salaries on the 20th as directed by the President. President Goodluck Jonathan, at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting on Jan. 4 ordered

that civil servants should be paid their salaries on the 20th of every month. The OAGF said in a memo issued to various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Abuja that the strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress over the removal of fuel subsidy had delayed the

process of payment of January salary. It, however, stated that in subsequent months, salaries would be paid at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting (FAAC). “Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), has complied by

completing the process of payment. Responding to complaints on irregularities on payment, the OAGF stated that the IPPIS paid the December salary based on old salary structure, hinting that the January salary would be paid, based on the new salary structure of the minimum wage.

Jonathan stops MDAs from lobbying NASS over budget By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday stopped Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from lobbying members of the National Assembly for the review of their budget estimates. The President insisted that

such attitude was one of the reasons why budget implementation in the country had been controversial. He gave the charge at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in the State House, where he similarly directed the ministers to ensure the quick implementation of the 2012

budget as its life span would not be extended beyond December 31, 2012. According to the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, FEC resolved that if there is any MDA or parastatal that has any urgent need to review the estimates that

Mr. President has placed before the National Assembly, they must follow the normal process of going back to the Federal Ministry of Finance for approval. The minister revealed plans for the centenary celebration of the country in 2014 as the Council considered the report of a committee set up for the purpose.


Al-Mustapha's lawyers to file stay of execution today From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ajor Hamza Al-Mustapha, Convicted Chief Security Officer to late military ruler, General Sani Abacha and Protocol Officer in the MKO Abiola campaign organisation tagged "Hope 93", Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, would today file stay of the execution of their sentence at the Lagos High Court pending the determination of their appeal. Both men were on Monday found guilty by Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court for conspiring to murder and the actual murder of Kudirat Abiola. The court sentenced the men to death by hanging until they are confirmed dead. But Olalekan Ojo, counsel the convicts who had already filed a notice of appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, revealed to journalists that he would today file the stay of execution of the order for his clients to be hanged until the appeal is determined. Ojo said he would be doing this out of the abundance of caution. Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan had argued in their notices of appeal filed on their behalf by their lawyer that Justice Dada erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they killed Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996. While Al-Mustapha's appeal was anchored on four grounds, that of his co-convict (Shofolahan) was hinged on five grounds.a In ground one, Al-Mustapha submitted that the lower court erred in law by holding that the contradictions in the evidence of Banabas Jabila (a.k.a Sgt Rogers) and Mohammed Abdul (a.k.a Katako) were immaterial, when the same judge had earlier held that both Sgt Rogers and Katako recanted their evidence in chief under crossexamination, and also when the prosecution had conceded in its final address that the two key witnesses were not credible having repudiated their earlier evidence. The appellants (Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan) stated that the mere fact that Katako who earlier said that he drove the car that was used to trail Alhaja Kudirat on June 4, 1996, but later repudiated by saying that he was not in Lagos on that day of her. murder as he was in his village in Azare, Bauchi State for the marriage of his first wife, and was there for another three weeks, was enough ground for the court not to rely on the earlier evidence. The appellants argued that Sgt Rogers admitted under crossexamination and his extra-judicial statement dated May 27, 1999 that he was in Abuja and not in Lagos when Alhaja Kudirat was killed, was also another ground for the court not to rely on the earlier statement where he confessed that he was used by AlMustapha to kill Alhaja Kudirat. They further argued that the trial court erred in law by relying on the evidence of Dr. Ore Falomo, the first prosecution witness, that the bullet extracted from Kudirat's head was a special bullet not commonly seen, and that it was a fifth columnist in the government that carried out the killing following the look of the bullet.


My visit to SSS was a mutual one, says Shekarau From Edwin Olofu, Kano


ormer governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau yesterday in Kano said he was on a “mutual visit” to the State Security Services (SSS), debunking reports that he was arrested. Shekarau who spoke to reporters in his residence said his trip to Abuja last Monday was personal, adding that he attended a meeting that lasted until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, pointing out that the report of his arrest was baffling and embarrassing. “Two days ago, precisely on Monday, I departed Kano in the afternoon for Abuja to attend a

meeting in the evening which lasted until 2 a.m. Tuesday. My schedule the following morning (Tuesday) was to pay a condolence visit to the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar. An officer called me and said they have seen the advertorial putting the record straight over the allegation that I was paying allowances to Boko Haram during my administration as governor of Kano state. “Like I always do, I visit security agencies like the Police and SSS to share information. Immediately I finished my condolence visit to the Inspector General of Police, I drove straight to the SSS office to honour an informal invitation by an officer

that called me on the issue. I even called and asked them to ease the road blocks so that I can finish the discussions on time and catch an IRS flight made to take off by 4 p.m. “I joined the officer and we had very friendly discussion. I was seen off and I drove straight to the airport. It was at the presidential lounge at about 3 p.m. while I was enjoying my small cup of tea when my aide called me and said he read an AIT footnote that I was arrested. I was seriously baffled and embarrassed. Immediately, I called the SSS officer and asked if there was a game. How can a friendly visit based on mutual understanding would have turned into international news,” Shekarau

L-R: Secretary to the Sokoto state Government, Alhaji Sahabi Isa Gada, former Governor of the state, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, and the state acting Governor, Alhaji Lawali Zayyana, after the former governor officially handed over to the acting governor, in Sokoto, yesterday.

stated. The former governor who was also the presidential candidate of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, in last the April poll said ordinarily, he would not have bordered to comment on any issue at a time when Kano is in a mourning mood. He recalled that on January 24, a newspaper listed the names of some northern governors as sponsors of Boko Haram, “and my humble self was included,” stating that the allegation was first carried on a website and a “mushroom” newspaper, “and it was unanimous. Ordinarily, one would not have bothered to react to the unanimous publication; but it was circulating like bushfire and was creating bad impression”. He told reporters that he never in any way paid any money to the Boko Haram sect, “how can I have been committing the sum of N10 million to a small organization like the Hisbah Board for eight years made as payment to that group (Boko Haram). Shekarau however, challenged the Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso administration to come forward with any document indicating that his administration paid N10 million monthly allowance to Boko Haram, “I think the person to have been invited to explain all this is the present governor who has all the documents.” The former governor also claimed that most of the properties listed as his own by the petitioners to the Code of Conduct Bureau, “was never mine. I don’t even know them and I want to challenge the petitioners to publish a list of all those properties.”

EFCC appeals Bankole, Nafada acquittal By Sunday Ejike Benjamin.


he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday filed a notice of appeal before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal against the ruling of an Abuja High Court that acquitted and discharged former Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole and his erstwhile deputy, Usman

Nafada. The trial Judge, Justice Suleiman Belgore held in a judgement he delivered Tuesday that Banakole and Nafada have no case to answer over charge of illegal procurement and misappropriation of N38 billion loans brought against them by the anti-graft agency. The court held that the commission failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.

In a notice of appeal filed by the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Festus Queen, the antigraft agency has asked the appeal court to remit the case to the lower court for retrial before another judge. The commission averred that, “even though the accused person was not a signatory to the House of Representatives’ Account, so long as he took part in taking decisions that affected the operations of those accounts the way they were operated,

then he was definitely entrusted with the accounts". It went further to state that evidence clearly shows that the accused persons were present at meetings where it was collectively “resolved” to obtain loans and increase “running costs”. Without those resolutions, the accounts would not have been operated/accessed in the manner they were operated/ accessed".

Contempt: Edo govt challenges Attorney-General’s detention From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


he hope of the Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana hope of getting out of prison seems to have been dashed just as the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN, has resolved not to obey the Court order mandating it to hand over the management of Bendel breweries to Churchgate Industries Limited, an Indian company. The State government has equally moved to get the committal order of the trial Judge, Justice Adamu Hobon vacated at Supreme Court soon.

State Commissioner of Information, Louis Odion who made this known at a press briefing in Benin City, yesterday, described Bendel Brewery as a collective patrimony of Edo People and the government was unwilling to trade it for N212.75 million saying “ the government fully intends to pursue this position to the highest Court in the land”. Odion wondered why the Court acted in error without the mandatory personal service of the required forms 48 and 49 as provided by the Sheriffs and Civil processes Act wherein the federal high Court issued a Bench Warrant against the person of the Attorney

General of the State who was remanded for contempt of Court last Monday. Recalling an agreement dated November25,1992, the Commissioner said, the Edo State government under its privatization programme agreed to transfer 51 percent of shares of Bendel Breweries which was independently valued at that time to be N212 million by “ some yet to be explained processes”. He attributed the setback to 2003 when the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led government of Lucky Igbinedion was dissatisfied with the manner of the sale of the brewery and

fundamental breaches of the 1992 agreement and reasserted direct control over the management of the Company. He pointed out that the action of the State government prompted litigation by Churchgate before the federal High Court which, in one of its interlocutory orders, handed over the brewery to Churchgate. Meanwhile, the State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih yesterday called for the resignation of the State Commissioner of Justice, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, describing his fate as undesirable and his committal to custody for 30 days, making him unfit for the exalted office.



Subsidy protests: NBA wants police to investigate alleged killings From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


ollowing the alleged cases of killings and maiming of some Nigerians in Edo State during the nationwide anti subsidy removal protests by Organised Labour and Civil Society groups, the state chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), yesterday called on the state Police Command to open

investigation without delay on the cases before it, in the interest of justice. The NBA which claimed that 2 persons were killed on the first and second day of the protest, contradicted the earlier statement made by the State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, that “no one was killed in Edo in the wake of the standoff”. The NBA in a petition dated

January 19, 2012, asked the state police commissioner to investigate the death of two persons namely Evans Osobor and Osamuyi Omoruyi, who were certified dead after an autopsy by the authorities of the state-owned Central Hospital in Benin City on the 9th and 11th of January, 2012, while the strike lasted. The lawyers said that they

were concerned that up till date investigations into the murder cases have not been carried out by the police at Esigie Station where the incidents were reported by the deceased’s relatives. The lawyers argued that the late Osamuyi Omoruyi, was a victim of the shooting by armed security men during the first day of the protest at 184 Nomayo

Street, Off Sokponba Road, Benin City, adding that the second deceased, Evans Osobor, a motor mechanic, was reportedly shot and killed by armed soldiers on 10th January, 2012, along 1st East Circular Road, Benin City while on an errand for his father, Mr Saturday Osobor, who immediately reported the incident to the Divisional Police Office at Esigie, in Benin City.

Universities should design programmes to solve Nigeria’s problems, says Fashola From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar (right), in a handshake with one of his brothers in-law, Engr. Garba Mubi (left), while Muhammed Baba (middle) watches, during the former Vice-President's condolence visit to the family of his mother in-law, Hajiya Mayam, who died recently, in Gwarimpa, Abuja, yesterday.

We’ll reduce unemployment to zero level — Ajimobi From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state has promised to tackle the problem of youth unemployment bedeviling the state. The governor made the promise while declaring open a two-week induction programme for the first batch of the 20,000 youths recently employed under

the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo state (YES-O) at the NYSC Orientation Camp, Iseyin. He stressed the need for government to engage the unemployed youth to stop them from engaging in violence as a result of being idle adding that his administration was bothered about the unemployment figure in the state. The governor said that his

Ogun provides boreholes for 20 communities From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


wenty communities across the three senatorial district of Ogun State have been provided with boreholes, to relieve them of the problems of unavailability of water in their communities. The Director of Water Supply in the Bureau of Water Resources and Rural Development, Engineer Muritala Adekunle, explained that, the boreholes which would be powered by generating sets are already operating in their various communities.

Adekunle assured that more of such boreholes would still be provided stressing that, the provision of rural water “is still ongoing. We are still working on some other communities. As at now, we have completed 20 communities”. He added that the communities that benefited from the gesture cut across the three senatorial districts of the state which include, Mechanic villages in Lagos road, Ajebo Road and Kobape, Itoko, Arepo, MolokoAsipa, Siun, Isiwo, Ayepe, Our Lady of Apostle school, Irewon and Eja Osan, Ijebu-Ode among others.

administration was committed to the YES-O scheme to engage the youth in productive ventures that would take them away from crime and other destructive ventures adding that youths account for 60 per cent of the Nigerian population which is one-third of the nation’s workforce. He said that “it is unacceptable to us that year-in-year-out, our children are churned out of higher institutions but end up becoming social liabilities to us and our society.” According to him, the training exercise was geared towards imparting into the youth the tenets of leadership and service, urging the participants to comport themselves in the course of the training. “The cadets that will emerge from this training will not only be ambassadors of this administration, they will be our own Marines. Like the Marines in America, the YES-O cadets will embody and typify the vision of this administration. We expect that, as our exports to the rest of the world, you will be apostles and change agents. It would be recalled that the

overnor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state has charged Nigerian universities to design a functional education system tailored towards solving the various challenges facing the country. According to him, the sum of N1 billion was earmarked for research in the 2012 budget of the state and that the state would employ over 700 teachers for primary and secondary schools in the state. The governor who made the call while delivering a lecture at the 8th Annual Lecture of the University of Lagos’ School of Postgraduate Studies, on the topic “Education Research and National Development: Bridging the Gap between Town and Gown,” urged universities in the country to generate research based ideas for the promotion of Nigeria`s development. He stated that there was a disconnection between the education offered by the universities and the demands of the society, saying the situation had greatly affected the country’s quest for development. Fashola lamented that rather than

running programmes like Transport Management, Cinematography and others that address the nation`s challenges and promote her potentials, the universities offered mostly, courses that had little relevance to the country`s development. The governor therefore called for the proper funding and repositioning of the nation`s universities to make them the engine room of development like it was the case in developed countries and challenged university administrators to connect more with the outside of their respective campuses and evolve courses that would bring up experts to handle the nation`s specific needs. He however decried the poor funding of research in institutions of higher learning in the country, saying the situation had hampered the capacity of the universities to turn out innovative ideas for development. He noted that developed countries devote huge amount of funds to research to stay scientifically and technologically competent and advocated for increased funding of research in universities to kick start the process of development.

Gov. Aliyu counsels FG on education From Iliya Garba, Minna


n an effort to curb the excessive wastages commonly associated with education sector in the country, Niger state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has advised the Federal Government to create a proper template that will bring out quality assurance in the areas of research development, statistic analysis and academic excellence. He made this known yesterday in Minna, while inaugurating the governing council of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai. He maintained that genuine approach to governance is a key element to the growth of education adding that no administration succeeds where there is no commitment to the upliftment of education. The governor presented a

Certificate of Occupancy of the abandoned field base in Suleja, Niger State, which was part of the assets shared between the Niger state government and the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). He told members of the governing council to see the C of O as a valuable instrument that can draw investors into transforming tahe field base to a centre of academic excellence. He also clarified that the IBBU should search avenue in which it can come up with leadership programmes that would assist both government and business executives in the society as it is done in some climes outside the shore of Nigeria saying that, the business school in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna should serve as a role model for the governing council if they are to replicate such institutions in Niger State.



Labour blames govt for insecurity From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Organised Labour under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), and International Confederation of Trade Union Congress (ITUC), has blamed government at all levels over the failure to combat the country’s socio-economic deficiencies which led to unemployment, collapse in the education system, industries, infrastructure and insecurity in the country. The labour groups while reacting to the security challenges in the country

following armed militia attacks on residents of several parts of the North and the recent attacks in Kano where about 250 people were reported to have died, called on the three tiers of government to end the cycle of violence and the growing state of insecurity in country. ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, who recalled how government responded to the anti subsidy removal protest with brutal repression, said “it is time for the Nigerian authorities to take all necessary measures to stop the violence and to address democratically the socio economic challenges in the

country.” President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said: “The nation’s leaders need to refocus their attention to the high rate of insecurity in the country. We are worried that government has by acts of omission and commission, become part of the country’s insecurity challenges through poverty-inducing programmes and policies that can make citizens react”. The President of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, on his part called on the Federal Government to urgently overhaul the country’s security and intelligence community and

provide contemporary equipments and manpower that will enable the various agencies improve their competence in handling security challenges. “We have noticed that on all occasions when bombs were detonated, all we hear from security agencies are lamentations about their state of helplessness and unfulfilled promises of improvement. “We see in all these attacks a total failure of our security system that has consistently displayed incompetence in securing lives and properties of everyone living in Nigeria”, he added.

Royal FM Ilorin kicks off with 2000 staff From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Royal Fm and Time Newspaper, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, has disclosed that the organisation has employed over 2000 staff to work in the station and publication of the newspaper which kicked off officially in Ilorin yesterday. Briefing journalists yesterday in Ilorin, Adebayo, said the purpose of the project was to develop human capacity and create more jobs for the unemployed youths in the state. He explained that 600 agents have been employed to work inside the call centre situated in the station and will be working on shift basis. He added that foreign investors declined to come to Nigerian due to problem of power, security and operation licenses. Adebayo however appealed to government at all levels to support private investors with good policies that would guaranty economic stability and conducive environment.

600m jobs must be created to avert global crisis, says ILO From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


L-R: Director, Primary Health Care System Development, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed, Assistant Director, Hajiya Binta Ismail, and Director, Administration, Hajiya Lami Abubakar, during the orientation and documentation for members of the midwives service scheme, in Kaduna, yesterday. Photo: NAN

Christian-Muslim forum worried over CAN president comments From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Patriotic Nigeria Christian/Muslim Peace Forum, has expressed worried over the recent comments made by the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, on the appointment of Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, as acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), which he described as not the right candidate and bias against Christians. The president of the forum, Munir Babangida Sule Manchok, disclosed this to newsmen in Bauchi, saying that Oritsejafor’s comments are a clear indication of his weak leadership qualities and capable of throwing the country into crisis. Munir said that people in that capacity should use their

quantum of experience, religion, culture and political influence to preach peace and wondered why Oritsejafor made such comments. The forum charged the CAN

leader to emulate renowned leaders like Arch. Bishop John Onayekan, Bishop Mathew Kukah, among others who are making efforts to unite the nation. He stressed that the IG’s appointment was based on merit,

credibility and good track records apart from his wealth of experience on security measures having served successful as police commissioner in various states and Bauchi as AIG until his recent appointment.

Gunmen attack police station, cart away arms From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


unmen suspected to be armed robbers attacked a police station at Ogori, headquarters of Ogori Magongo local government area with devices suspected to be bombs, killing a police corporal while carting away arms and ammunitions from the armoury. The incident happened on Tuesday night when some hoodlums stormed the town firing sporadically into the air to scare away residents before invading a police station. The eyewitness said the

robbers on getting to the divisional police station in the area, bombed the armoury before carting away all the arms and ammunitions in the station. He added that an unidentified officer on duty tried to put up a resistance by engaging them in a gun duel but was overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the attackers and was killed in the process. Confirming the story ,the spokesman of the state police command, ASP Ajayi Okasanmi admitted the incident but said he is yet to get detailed information and warned that whoever is

treating wounds should call the police to seek clearance as some robbers have escaped with bullet wounds. In another development, the special squad attached to Kogi State Police Command, shot dead two armed robbers and recovered arms and ammunition at Banda along Abuja-Lokoja road, on Tuesday night. It would be recalled that some gunmen had last year invaded and bombed Kabba and Aiyetoro police stations in Kabba/Bunu local government area of the state carting away arms and ammunition.

he International Labour Organisation (ILO), has warned world leaders that the world faces the urgent challenge of creating 600 million productive jobs over the next decade to generate sustainable growth and maintain social cohesion in 2012. The ILO in its annual report titled ‘Global Employment Trends Report (GETR) Preventing Deeper Crisis,’ also warned that the world would face the additional challenge of creating decent jobs for the estimated 900 million workers living below the US$ 2 a day, mostly in developing countries. Director-General of the ILO, Juan Samovia, claimed that “the GETR 2012 says 74.8 million youth aged 15-24 were unemployed in 2011, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. According to the report, young people continue to be among the hardest hit by the jobs crisis. Judging by the present course, the report says, there is little hope for a substantial improvement in their near-term employment prospects. He said: “After three years of continuous crisis conditions in global labour markets and against the prospect of a further deterioration of economic activity, there is a backlog of global unemployment of 200 million”. He emphasised that the report says the recovery that started in 2009 has been short-lived and that there are still 27 million more unemployed workers than at the start of the crisis.



Commute Al-Mustapha’s sentence, northern elder tells Jonathan From Agaju Madugba, Kaduna


prominent northern elder and foundation member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, has warned

President Jonathan that in order not to play into the hands of some people he called ‘mischief makers’, the President should consider commuting the death sentence passed on Major Almustapha to life imprisonment,

using his prerogative of mercy. Abdulrahman who was a member of the ACF Politics Committee, described Monday’s death sentence on Major Hamza Al-mustapha as another plot and source of distraction designed to

Cleric advises Christians against retaliation


rch-Bishop Peter Akinola, a retired primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), has urged Christians to remain peaceful and shun retaliatory

Nasarawa recorded 137 road accidents, 84 deaths in 2011 From Ali Abare Abubakar, Lafia


asarawa state recorded a total of 137 accidents in 2011, in which 84 persons died while 81 others sustained various degrees of injury, with the figure slightly below the 156 recorded in 2010. Malam Adamu Yusuf, chief Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO) in the state, made the revelation in a chat with newsmen in Lafia, stressing that most of the accidents were as a result of non-compliance of motorists to rules and regulations guiding road usage. Yusuf stated that as part of the plans for 2012, his organisation has resolved to deal with traffic offenders, particularly motorists who fail to comply with road signs, warning that defaulters will be asked to pay fines through banks instead of the usual direct cash payment which according to him is subject to abuse, with defaulters able to compromise inspection officers. The VIO boss also revealed that the new number plates will soon be launched in the state, calling on motorists to comply with the new order. He called on the state government to look into the problem of insufficient manpower bedeviling the organisation, as according to him, activities of his organisation is being hampered by the lack of sufficient manpower.

attacks against their Muslims brothers. Akinola made the plea at a thanksgiving service to mark the 80th birthday of Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte at St Cyprian Anglican Church, yesterday, in Port Harcourt. According to Akinola, life on earth is temporary and valuable and people should not hide under religion to commit murder. He said that Boko Haram was not a new phenomenon, adding that the sect would soon phase out. Meanwhile, Muslims living in Rivers state have been advised to remain peaceful and support

government in its bid to fight terrorism. Mr. Timothy Nsirim, the Chairman of Obio/Akpor local government council, made the call during a meeting with Hausa Traders Association at the council’s headquarters in Rumuodomaya. Nsirim said the Muslim community should join forces with the government to ensure that the peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims was not compromised by hoodlums. He urged them to fish out the bad eggs among them and those who would want to cause panic in the state. (NAN)

destabilise the Jonathan government. Citing the cases of Boko Haram and the recent nationwide fuel subsidy protests as well as the insecurity in the country, Abdulrahman said: “The President has to be very careful because his government has been programmed to fail and I believe that there is an orchestrated plot to create more confusion for Nigeria and for Jonathan”. Abdulrahman who spoke with our correspondent in Kaduna, said: “Al-mustapha has been in prison custody for over 13 years and his case was not determined especially when two northerners, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, were at the helm of affairs. “When Abdulsalami left, Obasanjo came in and for the eight years he was in office, he did not deal with the Almustapha’s case. They started tying it to a court case in Lagos.

The issue of Al-mustapha is much more than a court case. “It is unfair to put such challenges before Jonathan. If it has taken over 13 years, why must we have a solution to it now? Why has not the court given judgment before now? “All these things are distractions and more distractions are coming. The President should not tolerate further distractions. He should not allow Al-mustapha to die in his government. “The country has been programmed to catch fire and Jonathan’s government programmed not to succeed, by some of his aides and advisers… ”Jonathan needs to clean up Aso Rock. It is time to audit the personnel at the Presidential Villa because a lot of them have polluted the place. We will have more serious problems in April and other ones in 2013 and the country may not be able to survive them…” he said.


L-R: Gombe state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, with acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, during the governor's condolence visit to the IGP over the death of his wife, Hajiya Maryam Abubakar, in Abuja, on Tuesday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Kebbi set to facilitate take-off MSH distributes items to women in Gombe of NOUN - Commissioner


he Kebbi state government will provide facilities for the take-off of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), programmes in the state to enhance development in education. The Commissioner for Science and Technical Education, Alhaji Muhammad Ruwa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi yesterday, that Governor Saidu Dakingari had approved the take-off of the

From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe

initiative. He said the establishment of the NOUN would ensure rapid development of education in the state as many people would enroll for various courses and at the same time work as civil servants or do their private businesses. “The NOUN will also assist in decongesting the tertiary institutions and offer opportunity to qualified candidates to obtain degrees”. (NAN)


n an effort to empower women, the Management Science for Health (MSH), an NGO, has distributed items worth N600, 000 to 36 women in Kaltugo local government area of Gombe state. Speaking during the presentation in Kaltungo town, Dr. Liman Audu, of the community based support for OVC (orphan and vulnerable children), said the aim of the support was to empower women economically, who are cheerful

givers to orphan and vulnerable children. The items distributed included: sewing machines, bags of locust beans, bags of millet, gallons of groundnut and palm oil, cartons of detergents, and a van filled with fire wood. Dr. Liman also said training would be given to the women on how to manage their businesses. He said MSH is a nongovernmental organisation funded by United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2008. He said the

agency started work in Gombe in 2009 and it is working in 11 states including Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Gombe, Taraba, Enugu, Ekiti, Cross River, Delta, Sokoto, Kebbi and Ekiti. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mrs. Sintiki Rubainu, wife of Gombe state deputy governor, urged the beneficiaries to use the items judiciously. On behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Hajara Sulaiman, thanked MSH for the gesture, adding that it will go a long way in assisting them to meet the needs of the OVC.



Reps set to reduce MDAs overhead by 30% By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives has resolved to reduce the overhead budget of Ministries, Departments and Agencies by 30 percent in order to check the perceived lopsidedness observed in the appropriation estimates currently before it for consideration. This, according to the House leadership, is in line with its agenda to reduce cost of governance in the 2012 fiscal year. The House committees have been empowered to reduce all MDAs overhead budgets and increase their capital

L-R: Prof. Emmanuel Uko of Haematology & Blood Transfusion Specialty, National President Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Dr. Godswill Okara, and the elearning coordinator, Centre for Communication Knowledge for Health (K4 Health), Lisa Basalla Mwaikambo, during the press briefing on the online continuing professional development project of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria in Abuja, on Tuesday. Photo: Joe Oroye

Kebbi will not borrow to finance projects — Dakingari From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi


ebbi state Governor, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari on Tuesday, declared in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, that since he assumed office five years ago his administration has not borrowed a penny from anywhere to finance various projects being executed across the state. He made this declaration at the annual professional training workshop organised by the Kebbi state branch of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools [ANCOP] for

North-West geo-political zone. According to him, the state government has built 200 junior and senior secondary school across the state to improve learning; and that the government is doing the very best it could to develop the people of the state through various infrastructural developments. He therefore, warned principals of schools who want to be contractors in the course of their duties to desist from such practices, noting that any of them who wants to become contractor over night is free to do so, but not while in office

as a principal. Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Science and Technical Education, Alhaji Mohammed Ruwa Dakingari, in a speech, said that the challenge facing education in the state are multi-faceted and need to be seriously addressed for any meaningful results. He therefore urged particitpants at the workshop to give serious attention to science and technical education, saying that it is the only gateway to positive development of any state or country.

votes with a view to ensuring rapid development in the country. Confirming the directive from the House leadership, the House committee on Science and Technology chaired by Rep Abiodun Akinlade told the Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Bassey Ewa that it would have to reduce the ministry’s overhead. Akinlade wondered why the ministry that proposed N1.6 billion appropriation estimate would have more than N1.2 billion allocated for Personnel and Overhead leaving only about N400 million for capital budget.

Dankwambo urges contractor to complete project on time From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


overnor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has urged the contractors and the Ministry of Water Resource to ensure that the N4.1 billion rehabilitation, reticulation and extension of the Gombe water supply is completed on schedule. The governor, who made the call while signing the contract agreement at Government House Gombe, said the project was awarded by the Habu Hashidu administration in 1999 and completed by the immediate pass government of Goje’s in an effort for the people of the state to have clean drinking water. He said “in an effort to address the general inadequacy of urban, semi urban and rural water supply facilities across the state, we noted

that a lot of the rapidly growing suburban areas of Gombe metropolis and Kwami, Gadam and Bojude were not benefiting from the regional water supply scheme and even the existing network in Gombe town consists of obsolete and leaking asbestos pipes that have even been declared harmful by the World Health Orgaanisation as being cancerinducing”. The governor added that Gombe being the commercial centre of the North East zone, needs to connect or re-connect these areas with water supply from the regional water supply scheme. He said that the reticulation Gombe water pipelines network and extension to Kwami, Gadam and Bojude when completed would cover a distance of about one hundred and fifty kilometers.

Palliatives: Katsina govt releases 3,000 tonnes of grains

15 suspects in EFCC net over alleged oil bunkering

From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina

zDocks 8 persons over illegal petroleum deals


overnor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina state has directed the release of 3,000 tonnes of grain for sale to the public at a subsidised rate. Launching the programme in Katsina, the governor noted that the grains consisting of sorghum, maize and millet would be sold to the public at a 50 percent discount. He said the grains would be sold to the public based on polling units, stressing that women would also be given more consideration during the sales. Shema similarly advised those to share the commodities to be fare, and just, promising to continue initiating ways to alleviate the suffering of the people. In his remarks, the chairman of the distribution committee and deputy governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Faskari, vowed to share the grains justly. He also reiterated the call on other members of the committee at all levels to show high sense of commitment while sharing the commodity.

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


ifteen suspects were on Tuesday arrested and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by men of the Nigerian Army and Navy, for alleged conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products. It was gathered that six of the suspects were handed over to the EFCC by the Commanding Officer, NNS Pathfinder, Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, while the other nine were handed over by men of the Nigerian Army in Benin-City, Edo state. The names of the six suspects were given as: Elu’u Lawrence, Daniel Luke, Emmanuel Etim Akpan, Endurance Eleyi, Gift Sunday Udo and Raphael Godspower. They were arrested along Cawthorne Channel, Rivers state on board the Tug Boat “MV CHIJIOKE” by men of the

Nigerian Navy. One of the suspects, Raphael Godspower was alleged to have bunkered 30,000 litres of petroleum products without any documentation at the time of arrest. The other nine suspects who were arrested at Upper Sakponba Road by Ekpe River, Rivers state are: Sunday Emmanuel; Mike Joseph, Titus Okoebor, John Osagie, Iluobe Uzama, Destiny Ailaumah, Peter Adogun, Monday Ojemokhai and Nelson Airhuboyi. Although, five tankers filled with products suspected to be petroleum products were confiscated from the suspects. Investigations showed that the tug boat which some of the suspects used for the operation was rented out to them by Winsco Services Limited. Both the Director of the company, Mr. Kingsley Chinedu Ozigbo and the Manager, Mr. Ozigbo Uzoamaka are at the time of filing this report undergoing

interrogation by EFCC operatives. In a similar development, the EFCC on Tuesday arraigned eight persons on a two count charge bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products at a Federal High Court 1 sitting in Calabar, Cross River state. The eight accused persons were arrested with illegally bunkered Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) along Calabar River, Cross River state. They are: Uwem Ante, Happier Ita-Esin, Edet Okon Usukunya, Imeh Effiong, Happy Idaoko, Paul Etim, Okon Edet Okon and Uduak Okon. Ante is the leader of the syndicate. While taking their pleas, the first and second accused persons, Ante and Ita-Esin pleaded guilty to count one of the charges, a move that made the defence counsel, Ebet Frank, to request to file an objection to the charge. According to him, the charges

are not accurate thus rendering the guilty plea taken by the first and second accused persons invalid. The presiding judge, Justice A. F. A. Ademola, commented on the defence counsel’s objection to the charges saying that the objection was belated and that there was nothing wrong with the charges. The prosecuting counsel, Sa’ad Hanafi Sa’ad also challenged the defence counsel’s application, saying that he should have filed his objection much earlier if he thought the charges were not accurate. However, the court ordered the defence counsel to file the charges within 48 hours and serve the prosecution accordingly. The court also declined the bail application by the defence counsel. The case was adjourned to January 31st, 2012, while the accused persons are remanded in prison custody.



RTEAN members at logger-heads over subsidy palliatives By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he members of Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), are sharply divided over who takes ownership of some transport ‘palliatives’ offered by government following the partial removal of subsidy on petrol. Our reporter confirmed that

RTEAN presently has two factions: one headed by Femi Ajewole, in the western zone; while the other is led by Abubakar O. Sadiq, in Abuja. To resolve the squabble between the two factions, the one led by Sadiq has appealed to the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, to quell the crisis going on in the two factions to ensure peace in the transport sector.

Sadiq, who led the delegation to the headquarters of the ministry on Tuesday, told the minister that the caucus led by Ajewole is the cause of the intra-union crisis which is currently a subject of litigation, claiming that efforts by Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, to resolve the crisis proved abortive as Ajewole did not honour any

invitation sent to him. He said the crisis was partly responsible for their inability to access the allocation of the mass transit vehicles during the launch by President Goodluck Jonathan. “We urge you to constitute a management committee for the urban mass transit vehicles with two representatives from each faction and one from the ministries

of transport and labour respectively. “We appeal to you to make good use of your office to assist us to access our association’s allocation from the Federal Government for the benefit of our members and the Nigerian public”, he appealed. Responding on behalf of the minister, the Director Maritime Services, in the Ministry of Transport, Mohammed Nagogo, assured them that their complaint would be tabled before the minister for due consideration.

Kwara seeks US assistance on power, agric From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin


he Kwara state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, and the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari have appealed to the United States to assist Nigeria in the area of power generation, education and agriculture for the betterment of the unemployed. The governor, while hosting the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley who was on a courtesy visit to the state, noted that the state needs America’s help to reposition the agriculture sector to a commercial status. He said the state wants to create an agriculture city to consolidate the Shonga Farm located at Edu local government area, adding that his administration would not neglect good governance and efficient policies that would make live meaningful for the people. Also, while hosting the American ambassador at his palace, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Ganmbari said if the US could help Israel to provide pastures in their desert areas, it would not be too difficult to also assist Nigeria which has fertile land across it states.

Plateau residents express reservations about subsidy reinvestment From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


cross section of Plateau state people at the youth advocacy on deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, have expressed doubt about the sincerity of Federal Government to reinvest the proceeds from the removal of subsidy with the corrupt tendencies in government. The representatives of Miyetti Allah, youths, women, students and a Christian nongovernmental organisation at town hall meeting, said governors and other government officials would enrich themselves with the proceeds from the removal of the subsidy while the poor masses would be at their mercy.

R-L: FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, UN Resident Coordinator, Daouda Toure, and Chairman, United Nations Board of Inquiry, Yohanan Mengeslia during a visit by the UN Special Mission of Inquiry in respect of the October 26, 2011 bombing of the UN House in Abuja, on Tuesday. Photo: MAHMUD ISA

Sokoto has N16bn in various accounts, says Wamakko From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


ormer Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, has said the state has N16 billion unspent monies in its accounts in various banks in the state. He made this disclosure yesterday while handing over the affairs of the state to the acting

governor, Alhaji Lawali Zayyana at Government House, Sokoto. He disclosed that as at January 30, 2012 the state has a cash balance of N16 billion with no single deficit and was certified by all the managers of the banks in which the state government has account. Wamako stressed that the salary of January, pensions and other necessary expenses were all

paid before arriving at the cash balance. According to him, he had accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court that sacked him from office in good faith. “I have accepted the judgment as the will of God. This is why immediately after the judgment, I called the Secretary to the State Government for the immediate swearing in of the speaker, as

instructed by the Attorney General of the Federation”, he said. He advised the acting governor to be cautious in governing the affairs of the state, saying, there would be so many interests seeking for his attention. In a remark, the acting governor described the verdict as the will of God and pledged to do his best to meet the yearnings of the people.

FG to partner civil society to revamp education By Abdullahi Yunusa


he Federal Government has disclosed its determination to go into a working partnership with education-based civil society organisations in the country in other to rescue the nation’s education sector from further rot. Speaking yesterday at the annual National Forum for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from across the country in Abuja, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, said such partnership would help fast-track

the attainment of the Ministry’s 4-Year Strategic Plan for the development of the education sector, between 2011-2015. She said the strategy “identifies key activities that in the next few years, would make the greatest impact and lead to the transformation of the sector and thereby move Nigeria towards being more competitive in different areas of human endeavour”. She said the strategic plan includes “Access and Equity; Standard & Quality Assurance; Teacher Education and

Development; Technical and Vocational Education & Training; and Funding, Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation”. The minister who said civil society organisations are recognised worldwide as important agents of change, for transformation and for getting services closer to the community, expressed her ministry’s readiness to “interact, share ideas and have an important opportunity to get a feedback from the wider spectrum of society”. According to Prof. Rufai, inputs gathered in the past from CSOs

have greatly helped in enhancing policy implementation, adding that “in recognition of key roles of these organisations, they are always invited to the activities and programmes of the ministry”. Speaking at the event, the Director, Policy, Planning, Management and Research Department in the ministry, Mrs. Karamatu Lawal, represented by Mrs. Lami Ahmodu, applauded the invaluable contributions of civil society organisations across the world towards the development of education in the years gone by.





Let’s all unite against this Boko Haram scourge

t is not in dispute that the nation is passing through a very difficult time in its history what with the increasing spate of violence perpetrated by groups that are bent on destabilising the harmonious coexistence of the diverse socioethnic groups that make up the country. One can safely say the Northern region is the worst hit by these tragic events especially with members of the Boko Haram sect seemingly operating at free will and leaving in their wake deaths and destruction. The group has said in many statements issued in the past that it is on a violent mission to entrench Islamic rule in some parts of the country and has asked non-Muslims to relocate elsewhere. It has also identified security agents, especially the police whom it accuse of indiscriminately arresting its members, as targets. It is perhaps against these incessant killings that some groups from other parts of the country that feel their people are at risk in the North have been making pronouncements that, sadly, do not help to further the cause of a united Nigeria. Last week, leaders of the SouthEast held a series of meetings in Anambra state at the end of which they called for the immediate return home of their indigenes who have been living in various parts of the North. After a meeting of the governors with politicians, traditional

rulers and leaders of interest groups in the region which understandably condemned the violence in the North, the leader of the outlawed Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, also chaired another meeting of Igbo elders at the end of which they made a rather unfortunate declaration that can only help to fan the embers of hatred amongst Nigerians.

for Igbo leaders to single out their own as the only ones targeted exaggerates the extent of the problem and inadvertently suggests to the Boko Haram sect that they are succeeding in their senseless mission Uwazuruike said at a press conference that: “The current situation in the North and the rampant killing of our Nd'igbo mothers and sisters in these areas bring to mind a sequence of events and pogrom that culminated in the tragic events of the Nigerian civil war...We are calling for the immediate return of Igbo wives and children so that their safety can be assured here in the East”.

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

We at Peoples Daily find the relentless mayhem perpetrated by Boko Haram unacceptable and reprehensible, just as we regard the statements by leaders of the SouthEast as very disturbing. As has become evident, victims of the violence are not restricted to people from any particular region and for Igbo leaders to single out their own as the only ones targeted exaggerates the extent of the problem and inadvertently suggests to the Boko Haram sect that they are succeeding in their senseless mission. We strongly believe that at times like these, Nigerians should be united and resolute in order to defeat the insignificant minority in our midst that are determined to continue to wreak havoc to achieve an objective that is clearly misguided. Nigerians should draw a lesson from the recent fuel subsidy protests whereby they came together, regardless of their different ethnic and religious affinities, to put up a united front against a tyrannical policy. We believe non-Muslims and our brothers and sisters from other parts of the country residing in the North can help security forces in fighting the scourge of insecurity that has afflicted us. We should bear in mind that insecurity in any part of the country will not guarantee peace in other parts. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to call such groups whose actions do not help the national cause to order, and it should begin to be seen to live up to it.








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


By Nwoke Cosmos Damian


he sack of five governors — Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ibrahim Idris of Kogi and Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers state by the Supreme Court last Friday — has put an end to the issue of the tenure of state governors, especially as it concerns post election matters. In reaching their decision, the Supreme Court justices said it was based on the Constitution which does not envisage a governor spending more than eight years in office. Technically and in law, the tenure of the affected governors was deemed to have ended May 28, 2011, the court ruled. It also said allowing them stay more than 8 years in office would be a violation of Section 182 (2). The decision of the apex court is final. While the Supreme Court judgment is expected to set a precedent to election matters, it will also on the other hand, create power tussle in Adamawa State, actuate anticipated fierce legal battles in Kogi and Bayelsa States. Cross River and Sokoto States will not experience difficulties in

By Disu Kamor


ince the criminal attacks of the dreaded cultist group (Boko Haram) on the nation started, certain salesmen of hate have been hawking their credo: Islam is violent; religion in general produces extremists; religion is dangerous, and so on, to the public. One of such persons is Leo Igwe, an ardent Islamophobe whose schizophrenic ranting was published in the Guardian newspaper of 29 January, 2012 under the title “Boko Haram and the Threat of Political Islam”. Leo Igwe stated in his letter to the editor that “Nigerians must begin to acknowledge the jihadist agenda of Boko Haram and try to find out how the teachings of Islam particularly as contained in the Koran or the Hadith were propagated or twisted to breed this terrible monster.” He further states that “Boko Haram is the Nigerian version of al Qaeda. The militants are not bombing police stations, UN building and churches for the sake of it. They are not agitating for sharia law for the fun of it. The Boko Haram militants are fighting a holy war. They are prosecuting a jihad for which they expect to be rewarded abundantly in the hereafter with some virgins. That is why the group has not run out of suicide bombers. That is why they have their operational base in the Muslim majority states.” This is obviously a clever ploy to inject the poisonous myth of a blood-thirsty Islam that inspires its adherent to commit indiscriminate acts of violence into the hearts and minds of the reading public. Yet the author failed miserably to provide a single reference from the Quran or the Hadiths to support his absurd position. For clarity sake, God forbids the killing of ANY


The Supreme Court decision on tenure implementing the Court’s decision. In Adamawa, elections are due to hold in a few days time, precisely on the 4th of February, 2012 according the time table released by INEC, but whether the elections will be halted or not cannot be determine except INEC makes a public statement halting the exercise, otherwise it is assumed the elections will hold as planned, after all the Supreme Court did not make any consequential order asking INEC to halt planned elections in the State. However, more problematic at this time is section 178(2) which provides that elections must be held on a date not earlier than 60days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of the last office holder. Perhaps there will be need for further clarifications by the Apex Courts since the tenure of the Governors ended on

May 28, 2011 , not a year later. To add salt to injury, for almost two months now, the Adamawa House of Assembly is under locks and keys and without a recognized or substantive Speaker who naturally should have been sworn in as acting Governor the moment the Supreme Court’s judgment is announced in compliance to Section 191 (2). However, notwithstanding the absent of a speaker, assuming the House is in session, the highest ranking member in the House at this material time i.e. the Deputy Speaker would have been sworn in immediately as the Acting Governor to fill the vacuum since Government is a continuum and cannot afford vacuity. In Kogi state, I envisage trouble. According to the ruling of the Apex Court, the governors’ tenures ended on May 29, 2011.

Capt. Idris Wada and Arc. Yomi Awoniyi who won the election that was conducted before the incumbent’s tenure elongation on the plat form of PDP were immediately sworn in as ‘substantive’ Governor and Deputy Governor respectfully, almost immediately after the Supreme Court gave its judgement. The hurry was suspicious! To confirm my suspicion, it was reported that the Chief Judge of Kogi state refused to swear in Wada and his Deputy. Instead the President of the Customary Court of Appeal was pressurized into swearing them in. It was the late Lord Denning who said “you can’t place something on nothing and expect it to stand”. The election that gave Wada the power to be sworn into office as Governor was based on the premise that Alhaji Ibrahim Idris’ tenure was to end

on May 28, 2012. Now that the Supreme Court has pronounced Idris’ continued stay in office null, illegal, invalid and declared that he ought to have vacated office since May 28, 2011, the election of Wada may as well be a nullity. Since nothing can stand on nothing, the exercise that brought them this far WOULD have to be considered illogical, illegal, invalid and of no effect in law. In Bayelsa, it was reported that Governor Timipre Sylva celebrated the outcome of an appeal ironically instituted by Buba Marwa (CPC Gubernatorial Candidate, Adamawa state) and INEC against him and his colleagues. Sylva’s delighted mood should be expected. PDP refused to play him as their Flag bearer in the recently concluded Party primaries, instead a certain Hon. Seriake Dickson who Continued on page 15

Boko Haram and Islam (I) innocent person in the Qur’an, and to violently damage any building is wrong. That respected places of worship, faith and spirituality were attacked by Boko Haram during a time of religious festivity makes the crime even more heinous. Also Islam commands Muslims to revere Jesus Christ and his mother (AS). We believe in his miraculous birth; his miracles and the stories of and about Jesus Christ (AS) in the Islamic tradition are probably much larger than the entire New Testament. Also, an entire Quranic chapter is named after Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (AS), as God proclaims her to be the best woman amongst all humanity, whom He chose above all other women due to her piety and devotion (Qur’an 3:4243), and an example to follow (Qur’an 66:12). For the Muslims therefore, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are but three forms of one religion, which, in its original purity, was the religion of Abraham (AS). It is simply easy to see that the author wrote in a bad taste not to expose our common threat, but to mischaracterize Islam in a way that de-humanizes Muslims. I readily accept that there are bad eggs within the Islamic community. In fact, it is possible to find them in almost all walks of life. Sadly, people who commit evil in the name of Islam, or as Muslims, engage in unethical and immoral actions, may be our neighbours or co-workers; but so are evil, unethical and immoral people present in every religion, nationality, race or ideology. Such people are on every street and all professions. It is therefore a human, rather than a religious thing. Anyone who disputes this

has simply failed to take important lessons from history. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, who collectively killed well over fifty million people, and the movements they led were all atheists like Leo Igwe himself. Similarly, the intellectual foundations of fascist thought have very little to do with traditional religion, while owing much to secular or outright atheist philosophers. The sickening claim of the lure of an abundant reward of some virgins in the hereafter as the motivating factor, or one of the factors, of terrorist attacks runs in direct opposition to what the author himself states in the opening statement of his second paragraph. If the group’s spokesperson made such an unequivocal declaration of their motive, and unless the author knows more about the group than he admits, he should simply allow the group to speak for itself. When we look at the highest authority in Islam, the Quran, we find nothing in it endorsing rewards for indiscriminate killing or killing of innocent people. Instead we find the strongest condemnation with severe punishments for those who engage in such actions. When we look at Hadith, which after the Quran is second in authority in Islam, we find nothing endorsing terrorism either. Instead we find strong condemnation for it. About the “72 virgins”, searching what Muslims refer to as Gharib Hadith (weak or strange Hadiths) we do find something about 72 wives but not virgins. Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2562 says: The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: “The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode

where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana’a [Yemen]” According to the opinion of Muslim experts on the science of Hadith, this is a weak Hadith that has no line or sequence of narration. Although listed in an authoritative collection, this particular Hadith has technical weaknesses in its chain of transmitters and is therefore not considered impeccable. There are many Hadiths so declared and by the collective opinion of our jurists, such Hadiths must not be used to formulate binding legal judgments. As a result, Muslims are not required to believe in it. Even if the Hadith was true, there is nothing about it that says if someone commits acts of violence or terrorism “they expect to be rewarded abundantly in the hereafter with some virgins” when clearly the Qur’an and hadiths condemn such sinful actions. Muslims know that the description of paradise or heaven in Hadiths and Quran is allegorical. If not, then Allah would have allowed us to take our bodies with us when we die. But the vehicle by which we could enjoy the physical things (especially 72 virgins) mentioned as being in heaven, is left behind here in this world to rot and decay away. So we know for a fact that for heavenly rewards, physical things of this world are used to describe things totally non-physical. The Quran and authentic Hadiths let us know that anyone that makes it to paradise will be given palaces to live in, and clothing fit for

royalty, with luxurious couches, thrones for everyone amongst other grandiose things. There will be rivers of the purest water, milk, wine, and honey, all of which are better than any you will find on earth. However, those who get to the highest part of Paradise, Jannah al-Firdaus, will also be able to see Allah with their own eyes. This greatest reward, rather than the promise of a sensual pleasure in the hereafterto be in the presence of our Lord and to see His Face is the prayer of all Muslims. Islam is more than 1400 years old and historians, Muslims and others have recorded the great achievements of Muslims over the centuries and the hope that Islam eternally represents for humanity. The murder of an innocent human being anywhere is condemnable and inexcusable, regardless of that individual’s race, religion, national origin, gender or social class. This is not a lesson that must be reiterated only by the Imams but also by the Church, the secularists, the atheists, everyone. The starting point for this is to accept that the evils of the Boko Haram group affect all Nigerians equally and particularly as Muslims, we feel ashamed of their actions. Muslims are horrified at the image of a group from amongst them, organized as the wolfpack, inflamed by the spirit of anarchy and destruction, killing, maiming the innocent and forcing ordinary Nigerians to live in fear. Disu Kamor is the Director of Media and Communications, Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), Nigeria.



Sanusi Lamido: Mind your utterances By Charles Ebun-Amu


n a recent interview given to the Financial Times, the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the growing restlessness among Northern youth which makes them embrace a life of crime could be traced to their disillusionment with the system. He said, ‘When we look at the figures and look at the size of the population in the North, you can see that there is a structural imbalance of enormous proportions. Those states simply do not have enough money to meet basic needs while some states have too much money. The imbalance is so stack because the states still depend on oil for more than 80% of the revenues’. Needless to say this is cock and bull, coming from someone in such an exalted position. Permit me to say this is thorough bollocks, and a big BS. And please forgive my ‘French’. Is poverty now an excuse for crime? I have a few questions for Lamido. Which ‘system’ are you talking about? Are you not part of that ‘system’? Talking about ‘disillusionment’, I suggest you take a poll among highly educated

By C. C. Ekeke


xcept you are as less sanguine as I am about anything handled by the Nigerian government, chances are that you will have started rejoicing already over the sordid details of the rot in the petroleum sector being unearthed by the House of Representatives, as a fallout of the blanket increment in the pump price of fuel by President Goodluck Jonathan and his team. It does seem there is much to cheer about. The Nigerian populace who thronged into the streets to resist that onslaught on them by an insensitive government are feeling justified. In other words, those who refused to buy the lame subsidy removal logic may be telling the few who supported it blindly, “But we told you!” Who would not be shocked by the audacity of Nigeria’s petrol racketeers who, in connivance with NNPC, PPPRA and others, defrauded the country of a whopping N667 billion just in one year? We saw how we persistently paid subsidies on 24million litres of fuel which no Nigerian used. Oh, even Mr. Sanusi’s CBN agrees that the subsidy they paid wasn’t N1.3 trillion as we were told. That figure they peddled before Nigerians was even a barefaced lie. The true amount – for now – is N1.7 trillion. It could still be more. After all, nothing is cast in stones in Nigeria. Now, that should give any true Nigerian – except, perhaps, those in government and their fictitious fuelimporting friends and fronts - a major cause for concern. The anger in the land has forced the lower legislative

out there about the advantages Southerners and see for yourself propaganda. Please, spare me all that of western education…of which the meaning of disillusionment. You talk of a large population in poverty garbage!. We all know he is an ardent/surviving the North. What do you expect there is more to this imbroglio beneficiary. As an economist, he an all-comer state like Lagos to than meets the eye. People like should be showing the so-called say? Are you telling us that there Lamido are expected to openly disadvantaged Northern States is no poverty in the South? Do all come out and castigate violence how to turn their ‘God-given’ the southern states produce oil? couched in religious ideology, natural resources (if any) into good use for Are you telling us themselves, that there is a instead of disproportionate waiting on and discriminatory Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text eternal sharing of largesse government messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written from oil allocations between contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 producing North and South? words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and States. For Are there no a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed instance, Northern states to: let them that receive know that heavier allocations The Editor, States like than Southern Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, O g u n , states? Don’t we all 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. Ondo, Ekiti, know that Email: let Edo and government m a n y allocation is a freeSMS: 07037756364 others do for-all affair in most not produce Northern states? Have the poor Southern states instead of pussy-footing and oil, and yet do not go burning gone on mindless spilling of playing on our intelligence. And down and blowing up the innocent blood because of by the way, the least he can do is country they call their own. If you ask me, bottom line is poverty? When did you become show his loyalty to the a politician? I suggest you stick to government of the day instead that people like Lamido are banking. Not that I so much of sitting on the fence. Rather basically overfed toffee-nosed admire your economic policies than whingeing about poverty, bourgeois who fail to recognize anyway…especially in view of or oil allocations, I expect Lamido the plain fact that the present your recent Central Bank ‘Sharia’ to educate those disgruntled lots hotchpotch is the fallout of the


selfish attitudes of their own past leaders, plus their traditionally entrenched class system (rankadedeism). After ruling Nigeria for over 30yr, what excuse does the North have for being in squalour? Did the South inflict this penury upon them? A vile system that failed to educate the children of the poor, but endorsed the ‘almagiri’ phenomenon? Can Lamido say, in all honesty, that he is not a beneficiary of that system? Did he not attend Kings College, one of the best colleges in Nigeria? Did he not read a university degree in economics? Don’t we also know that he has another degree in Sharia, from a university inSudan? How many Southerners of your age have ever been (can ever be) Central Bank governor in this present structure called Nigeria? Have you ever known poverty? Why must you expect the Jonathan administration to entirely take responsibility for the short-sightedness/ recklessness of past governments? Do me a favour, Lamido. What’s on your mind, and whose side are you on? Charles Ebun-Amu is a UKbased security consultant

Governance by phone calls house into action. And those who mistake this government for a responsible one are already rejoicing at the admittance - by the same people who lied to Nigerians about how broke their country is, and for which they must accept further hardship –that there truly were manipulations in the subsidy regime. People are at liberty to excite themselves with the anticipation of penalties for our economic saboteurs. I don’t belong to that school of thought. And I’ll tell you why. Telephone calls in Nigeria are weighty. And apart from our culture of daily visiting government officials – a sign of massive joblessness in itself – Nigeria is ruled largely from outside the various government houses with telephone calls. While the probe you see in the House of Representatives goes on during the day. You don’t know what goes on at night. The members of the House of Representatives Committee handling this very serious assignment will never be allowed to take the right decision in this matter. No highprofile corruption case in Nigeria has ever been successfully concluded. The reason is simple: phone calls. In an earlier essay, I had outlined the various groups of people who collectively reduced Nigerian to an organized scam. They range from the elected and appointed political office holders, religious heads, traditional rulers and members of the mainstream media. These groups are the ultimate beneficiaries of this decayed

system, and desperately make efforts to sustain it with their phone calls. Whenever someone – one of their benefactors in government - is in trouble, their phones get no rest. “Hello…is that the ABLE P.A himself? Hahaha. Oh yes. That’s me, the Emir of… The Oba of… The Eze of.., The Obi of… ,The Bishop of…, The Imam of… The General Overseer of… The Editor of…, The Publisher of…The Former Minister of… The former governor of… The CEO of…” And the introduction continues. The ultimate reason for such calls is to get across to the President or those to whom he listens; and then beg him to give high profile criminals “soft landing”. It is clear that the only phrases those in government quarters are much familiar with are those that pervert justice or make a mockery of democracy. It’s either “soft landing”, “plea bargain” or “dividends of democracy”. As those against the absurdity of Diezani AlisonMadueke being a judge in her own case swell in ranks, I can only imagine the number of calls the President would have received by now. Niger-Delta elders and Northern Emirs would have called. Pastors and Imams would have called. Governors would have called. All would plead with the president or advisers to not always yield to such public demands because, in our parlance here; “anything you do, dem must talk”. So the irritation that the knowledge of the sleaze in the oil ministry stirred could have as well passed

for one of those “dem must talk” scenarios.They would also cite some petty reasons like “stability of the country”. Once a certain person is fired, the country suddenly stops being stable – all in the imaginations of the beneficiaries of this failed system. And in the culture of the Nigerian government, those whose responsibility it should be to ensure offenders are brought to book will choose to listento their callers, and then do the exact opposite of the dictates of common sense. The feeling amongst Nigeria’s unrepentantly corrupt tribe of rulers is; “Tomorrow, it could be me. And then I may need the intervention of these same people”. Remember the Ndudi Elumelu probe Committee of Bankole’s House of Representatives? What became of it? We cheered. We clapped. And we expected the day Olusegun Obasanjo, the man in the centre of the scam, was going to be charged and arraigned. We’ve long stopped waiting. Phone calls made that happen, or not happen, whichever you choose. In the face of increased bombings and mass murder of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram, calls for the sack of the National Security Adviser have increased. A consensus has long coalesced on his incompetence. Everybody agrees there’s no sign of intelligence among the country’s intelligence unit. Why is he still on seat? Phone calls kept him there. Listening to selfish phone conversations from those who

thrive on Nigeria’s failure is the forte of this present administration. The reason is that the president, himself a beneficiary of phone call endorsements, had no dreams of leading Nigeria at any time. He never imagined how to get Nigeria back to the path of sanity, growth and development. He is the conventional PDP member who only sought power for the sake of being powerful. The only requirement for pulling Nigeria out of the present state of inertia, being unconventional, is lacking in the president. This is why he pays attention to these phone calls. I like to think it is more of a PDP lifestyle than a Jonathan one. The party, notorious for being an assemblage of a huge percentage of those who wrecked Nigeria, thrives on settlement and protectionism of evil doers. The phone calls are on. We have seen people who deserve an immediate sack in this administration, but will not be fired because phone calls have been made. And the receivers of those calls took the callers seriously. The fuel subsidy scam has stirred up deep hatred for the government, and the superrich, in Nigeria. And the highhandedness with which the president and his team suppressed the protests, using labour’s insincerity and lack of foresight, didn’t help matters. The suppression will give birth to undesirable outcomes in the near future. Nigerians are Continued on page 15



House subsidy probe and all the president’s (wo)men By Ifeanyi Izeze


isten to the leaders speak, and you may conclude that the root of the problem is the moral failing of Nigeria’s so called ruling class. These people accuse each other of letting corruption thrive because they are incompetent or simply unable to stand up to vested interests. Was it not shocking that officials of all government agencies involved in the fuel subsidy scam gave Farouk Lawan and his House Committee different figures as the nation’s daily fuel consumption? Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said Nigerians consumed 52 million litres daily; the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austin Oniwon, gave 35million litres. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said it was 43million litres per day; the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Review Agency (PPPRA) claimed it was 24million litres; while the Finance Minister, Ngozi OkonjoIweala said it was 40 million litres. Nigeria, we hail thee! The intriguing thing about the show of shame put up by the government officials at the

parliamentary probe is that almost all of them report directly to the Presidency. Does it mean that there is no synergy at all? If for nothing, at least, to harmonise and tell the lies intelligently. If we do not know for sure the volume we consume, how do we know what the nation actually paid out as subsidy? This is very really disturbing. Different figures were presented as subsidy for last year by different officials that were supposed to have been working together. While Diezani said it was N1.4 trillion, Okonjo-Iweala gave her own figure as N1.3 trillion, very different from the CBN’s N1.7trillion. It is shocking that people charged with managing the nation’s oil sector could not agree on the current capacity utilization of our refineries. The NNPC said the refineries ran at 60 percent installed capacity while the petroleum minister and the DPR gave their own figures of 30 percent and 15 percent respectively. Of course, the PPPRA said the plants operated at 20 percent installed capacity. What a shame? Does Nigeria pay subsidy on locally refined products? The Petroleum Minister said it depended on several things; the NNPC Group Managing Director

said “the layman cannot understand how it’ is done. While the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA answered yes to the same question, the DPR gave an emphatic “no.” The status of the subsidy account was another area where we were treated to uncoordinated lies. Diezani said the account was a virtual one; NNPC said there was no account in existence, while the PPPRA claimed “the account is a technical one.” And contrary to the CBN position that “there is no account with us for subsidy,” the Finance Minister posited that “the account exists but not with a bank.” How long can we afford to continue like this as a country? The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) that is supposed to be the watch dog to on government agencies involved in all kinds of payments in this subsidy scam, on its part, only displayed complete aloofness on the questions of irreconcilable subsidy payments. When the House Committee asked NEITI’s officials “what did NEITI see of the activities in the nation’s upstream and downstream sectors so far?”, their answer was that the findings of the body showed that “recordings of the concerned

government agencies are paperbased, contrary to best global practice, and as such are subject to errors. They most probably meant manipulations because the petroleum minister had said there was no doubt there have been manipulations of numbers and figures in the administration of fuel subsidy. My questions for them are these: On what moral platform is NEITI standing to condemn the scam in the subsidy scheme? Where was the organization when all the anomalies in the subsidy payments over the years were happening? Why is it that good concepts that work very well elsewhere in the world always produce aberrations in Nigeria? When the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) was established about five years ago by an Act -NEITI Act 2007, it was supposed to be the Nigerian subset of a global initiative aimed at following due process and achieving transparency in financial transactions between extractive industry companies (including downstream operators in the oil and gas sector) and federal government and governmentlinked entities. However, how this

agency of the government has carried out watchdog responsibility is, at best, blurred and, at worst, conspiratorial. From obvious indications, NEITI merely parades a very clear vision to see fraud and corruption but it is very blind or rather disabled in ensuring that exposed genuine cases are pushed beyond the pages of newspapers. Is it not surprising that NEITI looked the other way and waited to be begged to pick up issues in the established lapses in the payments in the nation’s fuel subsidy scheme? is institution was deliberately structured to be impotent or rather to only bark without the teeth to bite. Of course how can it bite when everything about the conscription was comfortably embedded into the day to day bureaucracy and funding largess of the Presidency where the demons causing the problems of the NNPC , PPPRA, PEF among other fraud-coloured conscription are domiciled since the days of Obasanjo- Ezekwesili transparency campaign. The organisation cannot deliver on this because, as it is now structured, it dines and wines with the culprit - the Presidency. Ifeanyi Izeze can be reached at

The Supreme Court decision on tenure Continued from page 13

is widely believed to have the full support of Jonathan/PDP NEC was adopted. Sylva went to court, asking it to compel INEC not to recognize Dickson and instead the court should validate the first Party Primaries which was conducted last February where he emerge the ‘authentic’ PDP candidate. His prayers did not succeed, but with the happening now his augment seem to have been reinforced with the Supreme Court ruling. Governor Timipre Sylva, like Jibrin Isa Echocho who won the first PDP party primaries conducted last year in Kogi State,

also refused to cross to another party, both hoping for a miracle! And it did happen! It happened today with the Supreme Court Judgment sacking the 5 Governors and contending their tenures indeed ended on May 28, 2011. Ordinarily, Jibrin Isa Echocho should not be able to turn back the hands of time but technically, there are possibilities; that is why Wada and Awoniyi were quickly sworn in, hoping to reduce those possibilities which, by the way, will be presented through the PDP leadership, INEC or the courts. I pity Sylva and Echocho

because there is no guarantee that INEC will agree to the first primaries held last year and which favours both men if PDP provide “cogent and verifiable reasons” for substitution of candidates. The option left for them is the courts. More pathetic however, is the case of Sylva who is believed not to be in tune with the powers that be, out of power, he MAY not be able to show himself publicly or MAY be arrested and under prosecution as it is already anticipated in some quarters. So how can he fight from hiding or behind the bars? Sokoto and Cross River states

Governance by phone calls Continued from page 14

watching how militants became millionaires by taking up arms against the state. They are also observing the willingness of this government – as expressed by no less a person than the president himself - to sit on a negotiation table with Boko Haram bombers. They’ll certainly compare these responses with the one they got for protesting peacefully. It isn’t difficult to predict the next move of many young people. It is easier to

choose which pathway to take. This is why the House of Representatives may want to advise themselves against just playing to the gallery. This is equally why the president must have to reject phone calls this time around. Those who fleeced the impoverished Nigerians of their billions must not be allowed to walk free. Immediate and speedy prosecution of these criminals should not be a matter for phone calls and visitations. But this is if we are interested in steering

this country off the path of destruction in which it’s fast headed. Yet we have another choice: to aggravate the nation’s anger by answering the phone calls of the beneficiaries of the deep rot, and letting the economic saboteurs off the hook. When the bitter outcome of this choice comes staring us in the face, I wonder how many of the calls can quell the uprising. And, by the way, the calls may be coming from abroad then. C.C. Ekeke can be reached on

will have their boats rocked, but with minimal effects. As it is customary, Cross River will enjoy a relatively peaceful transition. Governor Liyel Imoke won the last and the first PDP primaries held in the State, whichever way; he’s expected to still fly the party’s flag when elections are called for. It is expected that the Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly will assume the position of an acting Governor and with no known crisis in the state chapter of the PDP, will help Governor Liyel Imoke gainer victory at the general polls especially with no strong opposition party. The situation in Sokoto is a bit similar to that of Cross River, but also a bit twisted. Governor Aliyu Wamakko won the last PDP primaries. He also won the first one conducted in February, 2012. It is expected that the Speaker of Sokoto House of Assembly will assume the position of Acting Governor immediately. The party will also expect the Speaker to help Wamakko win at the general pool. Though, some party followers who believed that Jonathan/PDP should punish Wamakko because of his alleged roles during the PDP Presidential Primaries last year, where disappointed when Wamakko against all odds won the just

concluded PDP primaries in the state in December. These diehards believe they have another opportunity now to deny Wamakko the PDP ticket. I think it is unlikely unless, of course, onathan inherited Obasanjo’s unforgiving heart when it comes to dealing with perceived political foes. A worse case scenario: PDP may lose Sokoto if it insists on replacing Wamakko. On the other hand, Wamakko should expect fierce opposition from its main opponent, the ANPP, which recently stepped up its game with the adoption of a young former banker Alhaji Yusha’u Ahmed as its flag bearer and the re-absorption of the former Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa to lead the gubernatorial campaign. Finally, while the Supreme Court’s judgement is believed to have buried the uncertainty surrounding the tenure of elected public officials, the same judgement has raised new questions: Since most parties conducted two primaries between February 2011 and now, which will INEC accept? Whether the INEC will recognize new candidates from parties? Will INEC go ahead with the elections as already planned? Nwoke Cosmos Damian is reachable at



Taxi driver sentenced for attempting to kill policeman A Senior Magistrate’s Court, presided by Aminu Abdullahi, yesterday, sentenced a taxi driver, Dayo Olowe, to five weeks imprisonment for attempting to kill a police officer. The police said Olowe, of Gosa village, Abuja, made the attempt on the police officer, Corporal Solomon Douda, on

December 21, 2011. The Prosecutor, ASP Patrick Obetta, told the court that the DPO of Utako Police Station had on the said date reported the matter at the ‘D’ Department of the CID FCT. He said the accused attempted to kill the policeman, attached to Utako Police Station, while performing his lawful duty at Arab Junction, Utako.

Obetta said Olowe intentionally drove his car to hit the complainant, who had to jump on the bonnet of the car to save his life. The court heard that, the convict refused to stop and drove the car on top speed from Arab junction to Area 1 part of the city, with the officer hanging for his life on the bonnet of the car. The prosecution said the

convict had to be pursued by a police patrol team, and as a result Douda fell off from the car, thereby sustaining severe injuries on his body and in the process lost some valuable items. The prosecutor said the offence was contrary to Sections 247 and 95 of the Penal Code. The convict, who had pleaded guilty, begged the court for mercy, saying he had not meant to kill the police officer. Olowe added that his mother and child were sick in the village, and no one knew of his whereabouts since his arrest in last December. A lawyer, Kevin Okoro, also pleaded with the court to be lenient with the convict, who had been in custody of the police and had no one to bail him.

AMMC cautions residents against illegal purchase of lands By Josephine Ella The driver of this car and his passengers narrowly escaped death during an accident along Airport road, Abuja last Sunday. Photo: Joe Oroye

Ex-FCT minister calls for periodic review of Abuja Master Plan


hairman, Federal Project Assessment Committee, Architect Ibrahim Bunu has called for periodic review of the Abuja Master Plan to achieve meaningful development in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Bunu, who was minister of the FCT between 1999 and 2001, made the call while fielding questions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum. According to him, although Abuja is conceived as an administrative centre, the implementation of its master plan has not been effectively implemented, hence the need for a review of the plan to achieve growth and development of the

city. “Government wanted an administrative centre with only government functionaries, civil servants, some commercial and domestic industries. These were all they were anticipating and this is not what is happening so, there is need to review the master plan to respond to new needs,” he said. The former capital city minister, who is aspiring for the national chairman of PDP, said that Abuja Master Plan concept was designed to set out residential districts, commercial districts and industrial areas. The plan, according to him, also categorised the city into

lower, medium and high density areas. He said that the Abuja master plan was designed to ease access to the centre, commercial area, offices, banks and central business district. He, however, noted that the upsurge in population of the city was a major hindrance to effective implementation of the master plan and advised that the plan should be revised to proffer solution. “There is need to revise and improve and give more areas for higher density, the cost of infrastructure is so expensive that government cannot meet the demand by people for areas of development,” he said. (NAN)


he Director, Abuja M e t r o p o l i t a n Management Council (AMMC), Architect Reuben Okoya has cautioned Abuja residents against purchasing plots of land illegally in any part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Speaking during a chat with journalists, the director lamented that about 3 million people are estimated to be living in the FCT, while the infrastructure available is only sufficient to cater for the needs of less than a million. Okoya, who attributed the alarming influx of people to Abuja, to failure of states in the federation said: “Abuja is not built for everybody but of course everybody can live there, so I want to advise people buying land illegally to buy land legally”. He emphasised that “anybody who build an illegal structure, it must go down. If anybody wants to build house in Abuja, he must acquire a genuine one if not it will be pulled down”.

The magistrate said the convict would serve one month for causing grievous hurt, and one week for attempting to commit culpable homicide. Abdullahi, ordered that the sentence would run concurrently, but gave the accused an option of N6, 000 fine. He warned him to be of good behaviour, saying the court would not be lenient with him again. (NAN)

Man beats up female police inspector


he police yesterday arraigned a 30 year-oldman, Richard Okon, before an Abuja Senior Magistrate’s Court for allegedly beating a police inspector. The Police Prosecutor, Corporal Glory Iheanacho told the court that the accused, a resident of Kurudu in Abuja on January 28, 2012 came to the Kurudu Police Station to lodge a complaint on an unspecified issue. Iheanacho said that Inspector Merab Oerien, the Criminal Room Officer (CRO) who was on duty, politely told him to calm down, but the accused felt that he was not properly attended to. She added that the accused picked up a quarrel with Oerien and started beating her. The prosecutor said that the offence of criminal force and assault contravenes Sections 263 and 264 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty and was granted bail by Senior Magistrate Asmau Akanbi in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties in like sum, who must reside within the court’s jurisdiction. Akanbi adjourned the case to February 23, 2012 for hearing. (NAN)

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Embezzlement scandal dogs AEPB enforcement office •As mobile court magistrates suspend sitting over allowances

By Josephine Ella


inancial embezzlement and all manner of illegalities have allegedly been uncovered in the enforcement office of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) at Area 3 in Garki, Abuja. Investigations by our correspondent revealed that these have taken the centre stage in the operations of officials in-charge at the Board as they have deviated from the laid down procedures guiding their operations. This is happening as all magistrates presiding over the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Mobile Courts, which were set up to try suspects of sundry environmental offences in various parts of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) suspended sitting in protests over non- payment of their allowances by the board. To confirm this, our correspondent, who went round some spots where the AEPB mobile court had hitherto sat, such as the Wuse bus stop, Airport junction, Julius Berger junction, observed that for some weeks now there had not been any trace of court sittings. While the enforcement squad(task force team) of the AEPB have continued to carryout daily arrests of suspected environmental violators such as commercial sex workers, street hawkers and street traders etc from various spots, investigations revealed that in the last one month, the courts have not been sitting. Invariably, suspects picked up, according to sources, are denied of their rights to fair hearing and compelled to pay fines ranging from N5, 000N10, 000 for alleged environmental offences they have not been found guilty of committing by the court. A source at the enforcement office, who pleaded anonymity, said that, a security personnel, one Isa attached to the Director of the AEPB, and other officials of the board, have taken it upon themselves to collect fines directly from suspects arrested. This act violates the rule of the board, which had indicated that fines be paid to bank officials who deposit same in

AEPB Director, Isa Shuiabu

FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed

the board's account in order to avoid misappropriation To substantiate this, a visit to the enforcement office of the AEPB at Area 3, by our correspondent revealed the shocking situation whereby officials in company of armed policemen, were seen collecting money from suspects without the usual trial they were meant to undergo, upon conviction of which they are fine respectively. As the case was hitherto, convicts were required to pay the fine, which were collected by some bank officials on standby at the court premises for onward deposition in the AEPB account. The bankers issue receipt to the suspects after the fines have been paid. However, the reverse is presently the case; a development which Peoples Daily

gathered has allegedly, given some officials of the board the leverage to feed fat on innocent residents. Commenting on the present state of affairs at the enforcement office, an official who was visibly sad over the development said that the new Head of Enforcement of the AEPB, Mr. Uche Agbanusi has "succeeded in destroying this place". "What is happening here is very bad. You will cry if you see what is happening here now. It is not like before again, they are collecting money anyhow. Just pretend and go to the court room and see how they are doing it," the official said. The source disclosed that officials have made a long list of offenses and specified


Speaking further, the official described the new development as "not legal because anything can happen at any time with the money".

monetary charges against each, on the basis of which they are collecting money from suspects without giving proper account of the money. "When they arrest you, you pay whatever they tell you to pay, ranging from N5000N10000 and you are allowed to go," he said. Another official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that: "Bankers normally come down to the court then after the trial, they will issue receipt to the suspects if found guilty and then go with the money directly to the bank. That was the practice before". Speaking further, the official described the new development as "not legal because anything can happen at any time with the money". The official who accused the new head of enforcement of introducing this illegality described him as "very radical. He is a very terrible man; he doesn't even want any record at all particularly monetary aspect". Surprisingly, during the visit, to confirm this, our correspondent observed officials collecting fines from suspects in the courtroom without passing them through trial. When she attempted to get the reaction of the Head of Enforcement, Mr Uche Agbanusi on the happenings,

he humiliated her before asking her to leave his office. "Why do you want to interview me? Have you heard that I am a robber or that I have stolen something," he snapped at her, questioning her on who authorised her to come to him. Pressed further for his comments, as our correspondent tried to explain to him that she had been with the Head of Information and Outreach Programme at the AEPB headquarter, Mr Joe Ukairo, who directed her to the respective departments involved, to get clarifications, he further shouted, "am I the director to speak on this, go back to him and tell him, that I said he is firing blank. Do I look like the director, so how can he ask you to come to me". At this juncture, he walked our correspondent out of his office. Similarly, when contacted, one of the AEPB prosecutors, Barrister Eze Eze refused to speak on the issues. Meanwhile, when our correspondent visited the headquarters earlier, Ukairo denied being aware of all the happenings. "I have not heard about that. I am not aware of that. All I know is that the mobile courts went on a break due to the Christmas festivity," he said, directing our correspondent to the Legal Department of AEPB for further explanations. Reacting to the situation, the head, Legal Unit, Ahmed Isma'ila also denied knowledge of AEPB officials collecting fines directly from suspects. He however, admitted that due to financial constraints, the 10 mobile courts that had operated had not been sitting. According to Isma'ila, the board is presently, making efforts to address the financial challenge. "We have 24 magistrates. However, in view of the resurgence of the violators, we established 10 mobile courts to do the enforcement. They were sitting daily but due to reduction in the number of their activities and due to the budget, there is a limit to the number of expenditure, so we have just one mobile court sitting at the enforcement office in Area 3 now," he explained. Contrary to this claim, however, investigations at the office revealed that there has not been any sitting at the enforcement office, where the alleged illegalities are been perpetrated by officials.




Kudirat Abiola’s murder: A judgment and its implications From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, presided over by Justice Mojisola Dada on Monday January 30, 2011, finally delivered judgement in the celebrated thirteen year trial of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security officer (CSO) to the late Head of state, General Sani Abacha and Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, a protocol officer in the MKO Abiola campaign organisation, over the murder of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. The court pronounced Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging. Delivering judgement in the conspiracy to murder and murder of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola in June 4, 1996, preffered against the duo by the Lagos State Government, Justice Dada said in view of the overwhelming evidences before the court, it was clear that the principal character in the trial, Al-Mustapha invited Sergeant Banabas Jabila (Rogers) to his office, and instructed him on a special assignment in Lagos to kill Kudirat . Before the verdict, the trial no doubt took various turns and attracted reactions, hence, the believe in the possibility of the judgement going either way given the passion surrounding a very profile political cum criminal case. The implication of the judgement, analysts say, may have a far reaching effect either negatively or positively. According to them, if the judgement went in favour of the accused persons after many years of what they termed unwarranted incarceration, it would amount to an academic exercise and blatant waste of the precious time of the court by the prosecution and government money. However, with the judgement tilted against the accused persons, the Lagos State government and indeed Many in the Southwest who bore the brunt of the June 12, 1993 debacle have felt vindicated. Before the verdict, Founder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Fredrick Fasheun, believed that justice would be done in the matter having witnessed virtually a larger part of the trial. “Am always in court whenever the matter is coming up. I can say confidently that the judge is competent enough to dispense of justice in the matter without bias, “ he said. On his part, President, Centre for the Rule of Law, Olasupo Ojo maintained that though the trial was protracted, the joy of every Nigerians is that the truth would eventually be known after the judgement. Ojo advised Nigerians to strongly believe in the Nigerian judicial system as the last hope of the hopeless in the country. For Nelson Imoh, a Lagos based lawyer, “the law should be allowed

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (middle), acknowledging cheers from his supporters after he was sentenced to death by hanging for the 1994 murder of Hajia Kudirat Abiola, at the court premises, in Lagos on Monday. to take its course on any party that deserves to be vindicated or punished. The expectations or emotions of Nigerians on both side of the divide on the case, was aptly captured by the prosecution and defence in a matter which has kept Major Almustapha and Shofolahan in the court and prison since June 4, 1996. Earlier in its submission on the matter before Monday’s judgement, the defence, led by Mr Olalekan Ojo, maintained that the court should commit the credibility of all the prosecution witness to scrutiny having been dented by numerous contradictions. Ojo who cited numerous Supreme Court decisions on criminal matters, posited that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants in the murder of Kudirat Abiola. “The issue of contradiction on the part of the prosecution witnesses makes it terribly bad. Inspite of the inconsistencies manifest in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, the prosecution did not make any attempt to declare any of them as hostile witnesses.” According to Ojo, “Murder is a very serious offence and the prosecution was not able to establish that Shofolahan was a protocol officer in the MKO Abiola campaign organisation office” and that the prosecution was not able to establish the culpability of the defendants in the killing of Kudirat. He urged “this honourable court to acquit and discharge the defendants accordingly.” But the prosecution led by Lawal Pedro (SAN), asked the court to take judicial notice of the reign of terror on some Nigerians while

the late General Abacha held sway as Head of State and Commander in Chief. The SAN maintained that even though the defendants(AlMustapha and Shofolahan) claimed not to have known themselves until 1999,”My lord, the prosecution have succeeded in proving a case of conspiracy to murder and murder of late Kudirat Abiola against the defendants. “I urge your lordship to convict them accordingly,” Pedro (SAN) added. Replying on point of law, Ojo urged the court to disregard the submission of the prosecution that the regime of Late Abacha should be held liable for the numerous horrible situations in the country at the time and that there must be moral certainty that the defendants committed the offence. Shofolan had on August 17, 2011 told Justice Dada that he was a protocol officer in the MKO Abiola’s campaign organisation tagged ‘Hope 93’. Shofolahan denied ever working for the late Kudirat in any manner. He explained that he got to know Alhaja Kudirat at the Hope ’93 campaign organisation office along with other wives of late MKO Abiola. “I know Alhaja Kudirat Abiola during Hope ’93 campaign. She used to come to the campaign office. Other wives of Abiola such as Doyin Abiola, Bisi Abiola were always coming to the campaign office to collect campaign materials. “Honestly speaking, after Hope ’93, I have never worked for Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. “Some people refer to me as her Personal Assistant, driver, but I never worked for her in my life.” Sofolahan who is the second defendant in the criminal trial stated this while being crossexamined by the Lagos State

Solicitor General, Lawal Pedro (SAN). Shofolahan also informed Justice Dada that he was not aware that the late Kudirat Abiola was killed by gunshot. “I am aware that Alhaja Kudirat Abiola died but I did not attend the burial, but I watched it on the television. I did not attend because I learnt area boys have invaded the campaign office of Hope ‘93 at Opebi”, he stated. He further informed the court that he was one of the youth leaders that led Lagos delegates to the 2million-Man-Match rally in Abuja seeking for the election of General Abacha as a civilian President. Sofolahan who initially denied that he knew that MKO Abiola was in detention as at the time he attended the 2-Million-Man-Match rally at the Eagle Square, Abuja later agreed that Abiola was in detention. He told the court that his confessional statement dated October 8, 1998, was made under duress by the Special Investigation Panel(SIP), to copy verbatim an already prepared statement. Sofolahan told the court that because of the torture he was subjected to, he had no choice but to comply with the directive of the SIP adding that he was ordered to implicate himself in the statement. He told the court that the pains inflicted on him was so severe that if he was instructed to write that he personally shot Alhaja Kudirat Abiola or that he planned a coup he would have done so. Earlier, in his examination – in-chief led by the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, Sofolahan told the court that he has been in detention since 1999 till date. He admitted he was a protocol officer in the campaign organisation of late MKO Abiola

and that he was in charge of providing accommodation for delegates and party officers at the Gate Way Hotel, Ogun state under the direction of the Dr. Jonathan Zwingina who was the Director General of Abiola’s political organisation. He said his schedule as protocol officer included giving out campaign materials such as posters, caps, T-Shirts to people. “At the Special Investigation Panel, I begged AIG Ojomo, the leader of the panel to invite any member of Abiola’s family to identify me as either her PA or her driver but my request was not acted upon even though they promised to do so,” he said. Sofolahan told the court that in 1993 after the annulment of the June 12 election, everybody in the campaign organisation was paid off and that he went back to his previous business as a beer distributor. “I was arrested on October 8, 1999. I was taken to the Police Headquarters. On getting there I was handcuffed backwards. I was first accused of using Obasanjo’s name to collect money in CBN,” said Sofolahan. The second defendant in the murder trial said that he denied the accusation but he had to sign that he knew about Kudirat’s murder when the torture was too much. He said he was made to stay in a cell whose floor was broken, chained in both hands and legs,beaten and even at a point, hanged. Shofolahan said he was asked to copy the said confessional statement and had to do it to get respite. Sofolahan denied the allegation that he gave information to those who murdered Kudirat, adding that he never met Sergeant Rogers and Mohammed Rabo-Lawal until he got to the SIP in 1999. Judgement has been passed but one thing stood out to observers and experts as undeserving of the judgeher seeming lack of neutrality. She strongly condemned the murder of Kudirat and how it was carried out, describing Sofolahan “as a willing tool in the hand of the devil, adding “they (Abiola family) never knew they were harbouring a viper (Sofolahan). “It is clear that light shines in darkness, understand it or notthose who shed blood are those who fear death most. Therefore, according to section 319 of Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2003, I therefore sentence you to death by hanging until you are pronounced dead”. So far, the defendants have now appealed the judgement and awaiting whether the inconsistencies in the prosecution witnesses are good enough to acquit them or to be upheld. This will go a long way in determining the fate of judiciary either as the last hope of the commonman or the tool of the powerful to silence the truth.



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Kaduna Trade Fair: KADCCIMA

Business registration to last less than five days By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


he Federal Government has concluded plans to ensure that registration of companies and business ventures in the country last for less than five days instead of the usual 36 days. Speaking at the first ‘Doing Business’ workshop held in Abuja on Tuesday, Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga disclosed that the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC) had commenced work on a modality that would reduce the duration of business registration in Nigeria. This he said, was part of efforts to make things easy for both local and foreign investors and ease economic growth. Explaining the outcome of the investment climate reform programme embarked upon recently by the ministry, he said, “The Corporate Affairs Commission has started working on reducing the procedures, time and cost to start a business from an average of 36 days to less than 5 days, 77.7 percent of income per capita to less than 10 per cent of income per capita and from nine processes to less than 5 processes in the medium-term.” He further informed the gathering that the long-term goal of the programme was to ensure that

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

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

DANA AIRLINES (MON - SUN) LOS-ABJ: 07.02, 08.10, 12.06, 15.30, 17.10 ABJ-LOS: 07.20, 09.36, 13.05, 14.40 ABJ-LOS (SAT/SUN): 13.05, 18.00 LOS-KANO : 08.10 KANO-LOS: 11.25 KANO -ABUJA: 11.25 ABUJA-KANO : 10.08


businesses can be started in the country within 48 hours. He added that “a number of state governments are also harmonising taxes and levies between themselves and the local governments in their states, to avoid troubling companies in their domain with excessive tax burdens.” He also announced that government was collaborating with the private sector to set up a competiveness council, which would be made up of all key stakeholders. “Once this council is set up, the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the council, our development partners (DFID and World Bank), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) will again set up implementation teams to ensure that the recommendations by this council are fully implemented”.

Power: Interested firms begin due diligence on transmission company By Abdulwahab Isa


wo firms, Manitoba Hydro of Canada and Power Grid of India that indicated interest on the management contract for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have begun due diligence on TCN and its network, preparatory to submission of their technical and facial proposals. Accoring to a statement by Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)

signed by its spokesman, Chukwuma Nwokoh who confirmed the latest development yesterday, said the due diligence on TCN by the two firms follows the issuance of Requests for Proposal (RFP) documents by BPE. The National Council on Privatisation (NCP), had at its third meeting in August 19, 2010, which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja invited Power Grid of India, ESB

International of Ireland and Manitoba Hydro of Canada to resubmit technical and financial proposals in line with current system and industry information for the management contract for Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). TCN is one of the eighteen successor companies carved out of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN.) It combines the functions of a transmission services provider,

a system operator and a market operator, all of which are central to the sustainability and development of the electricity sector. Following unbundling, TCN emerged as one of the successor companies of PHCN and was scheduled for a Management Contract in order to transit the company into a financially sustainable, stable, self-sufficient and market-driven company.

task force committee on the abattoir and animal market in the state with the aim of ensuring wholesome practices. On the Mile-12 market closure, men of the state Environmental Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences Agency stormed the market in the early hours and shut down the market. The state Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, explained that the closure became necessary following failure by the market leaders to comply with the state government directives on ensuring sanity in the market area.

Bello listed three environmental offences committed by the traders to include lack of ability to control drivers of lorries that discharge foodstuff, lack of traffic discipline, poor sanitary conditions and indiscriminate parking by customers along the highway, among others. His words: “We had a stakeholders’ meeting with the market leaders earlier, where they promised to comply with the directive, but after a specified period of time without any improvement, the state government has to move in to save the deteriorating situation.” Bello, however, said the market would not be reopen until they met the above directive by the state government along with

an undertaking, duly signed by market leaders and stakeholders. The commissioner reiterated Governor Babatunde Fashola’s resolve to maintain and ensure healthy standards in all the markets across the state, saying the state government would not hesitate to sanction any offender(s). On the setting- up of fresh task force on the abattoir and animal market, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperative, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, while inaugurating the 17-man committee, chaired by Mr. Olaitan Muaz warned that the state government would not condone any act of uncleanness and lawlessness in meat processing and delivery.

Lagos shuts down popular Mile-12 market From Bimbo Ogunnaike, Lagos


he Lagos state government yesterday wielded the big hammer by sealing the ever busy Mile-12 Market, in IkosiIsheri Local Council Development Area, LCDA over various environmental offences. Similarly, the state government has threatened to close down Oko Oba Abattoir and Lairage in Agege Local Government Area, if unhygienic practices and non compliance with the relevant laws governing meat slaughtering continues, even as it inaugurated a 17 man EXCHANGE RATES


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

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27th Jan, 2012 BUYING 0.2933 204.7869 244.8404 41.5556 158.85

SELLING 0.3133 206.1009 246.4114 41.8222 156.85


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

L-R: Director-General, National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Mr. Peter Kola Ojedele, Managing Director, Hewlett-Packard Nigeria Limited, Mr Ime Umo, UNIDO Representative in Nigeria, Mr Patrick Kormawa, UN Women Representative to Nigeria, Mrs. Grace Onigile, and GM Strategy and Planning/Company Secretary, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Waheed Olagunju, during the official hand over of project equipment to NIEPA, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

BUYING 210 255 40 164

SELLING 212 257 42 165

3 ways to engage employees every day


s a manager, dealing with employees who lack enthusiasm for their jobs or don’t feel connected to the company is a big hurdle. Here are three things you can do daily to engage your people: Facilitate progress.

Employees feel engaged when they make headway toward objectives. Provide clear goals and resources to support their progress. Make work meaningful. Your company doesn’t need a lofty mission to make employees care. They simply

need to see how their actions contribute to company value, like a service or product. Reward and recognise. Don’t wait for milestones. Show appreciation every day for the work your employees do. Source: Harvard Business Review



COMPANY NEWS Professionals stake interest in exploration business


he Minister of Mines and Steel, Musa Sada, has unfolded plans by his ministry to establish mineral cottage industries in all the geopolitical zones in the country.

Crusader Group gets SEC approval to extend public offer …Now closes February 10


rusader Nigeria plc has secured the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to extend its N2.3 billion ongoing right issue to February 10. The offer, which had been on since January 9 and was to initially close on January 27, is being extended following the loss of working days as result of the nationwide strike by labour over removal of fuel subsidy.

Nigeria partners Swedish firms on solid minerals’ exploration


s potential investors in the solid mineral sector grapple with the best options to adopt in order to explore the vastly untapped mineral deposits across the country, the Federal Government has concluded to partner with companies of Swedish origin, to utilise their technological expertise origin, to utilise their technological expertise .

Let Nigerian banks manage foreign reserves Agbakoba


legal luminary, Olisa Agbakoba has made case for the management of the nation’s foreign reserves by Nigerian banks, saying it was high time Nigeria emancipated itself from foreign dominance in all the sectors of the economy.

Reps want N200bn revival scheme for iron, steel firms


he House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to invest N200 billion into the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Itakpe, Kogi state and National Iron Mining Ore Company, Aladja in Delta state.

N100bn Textile Fund: FG, NASS under pressure to investigate disbursements, beneficiaries Stories from Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he Federal Government and the National Assembly is been pressured by traders and other stakeholders in the textile sector to probe the disbursement and beneficiaries of the 100 billion textile bailout fund. Peoples Daily reliably gathered that various petitions and letters have been written to the Presidency and National Assembly by concerned stakeholders in the textile sector who lamented that four years after the disbursement of N100 billion bailout fund for the dying textile sector, the textile market is yet to ‘bubble’ with locally produced products. The textile bailout fund was established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration as a promotional facility to revive and encourage new investments in the cotton and textile sectors to boost production of textile goods in the country. Some of the groups, which included the National Association

of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and the Association of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) called for the urgent investigation of the fund which they say has be a blessing to the revival of textile industry in the country. Other stakeholders promised to continue pressurising the government to the investigate “the beneficiaries, how they emerged, how was the money spent and mode of disbursement of the fund.” The National President of ASSBIFI, Comrade Sunday Salako said, “We call on the Presidency to investigate the N80 billion intervention fund to resuscitate the prostrate textile sector, with N20 billion which was supposedly earmarked for the cotton sub-sector/farmers, N50 billion meant for textile manufacturers, while N10 billion was to be dedicated to strengthening Customs surveillance and non-state actors advocacy targeted on campaigns for Made-in-Nigeria textile products that never achieved it set target.” Also, NANTS President,

Comrade Ken Ukaoha, in a petition to the Presidency said the fund, which was disbursed through the Bank of Industry (BoI) was meant to revive the textile sector but has not materialised till date. Ukaoha also called on President Jonathan to urgently save the textile sector from total collapse, saying the textile sector of the economy, if fully revived by strengthening the Nigerian textile industries, would create over 500,000 jobs. “We have written President Jonathan to remind him that the textile industry used to be the most vibrant sector of our economy, employing at a time, over 500,000 people. Cotton was then in abundance in Nigeria with an average annual production of 320,000 metric tonnes or 111,000 metric tonnes lint. There were over 125 operating textile companies as well as 72 ginneries spread all over the country producing for the yearning Nigerian market. Salako, on his part said, “There were over 125 operating textile companies as well as 72 ginneries spread all over the country

Yakowa seek investors in mining and agriculture

Kaduna Trade Fair: KADCCIMA assures participants of safety



oncerned by the growing insecurity in the countr, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) has assured participants and exhibitors of adequate security arrangements during the 33rd Kaduna International Trade fair. The event, which is themed “Reawaking of Nigerian enterprises towards global competitiveness” will begin on 24th February 2012. President of the Chamber, Umar Yahaya, in a telephone chat with newsmen said, “There is no doubt that there are security challenges. We have a committee working to ensure enough maximum security for the participants. We have been talking to federal and state security agencies, and we have a committee whose task is to handle security issues: the SSS, Police and various other security companies are going to ensure that lives and property are protected. We are trying our best to ensure that life and properties are fully protected. These are the things we tell the participants, assuring them that adequate security measures are in place.” The president said countries like India , Pakistan , Thailand and Malaysia alongside about 600 exhibitors were expected to attend the trade fair.

producing for the yearning Nigerian market, making the industry, apart from the banking sector, to be the most vibrant sector of our economy in the mid 70s, employing at a time, over 500,000 people.” According to Salako, President Jonathan’s administration may need to consider adopting a radical approach through a subtle pronouncement targeted at strongly encouraging Nigerians towards patronising Made-inNigeria textile products, by reviewing Nigeria’s membership and commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as its policies, which in most cases are anti-developmental in nature to the economy of Nigeria. “We critically envisage that such policy pronouncement is very critical towards generating the employment for millions of Nigerians envisaged by the nation’s development agendaVision 20:2020", he said. He also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to create the enabling environment, especially for the survival of the manufacturing industries to revive the textile sector.

Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga

Ms Evelyn Oputu(MD Bank Of Industry

aduna state governor, Mr.Patrick Yakowa has called on prospective investors to look into the direction of mining and agriculture in the state. Yakowa, who is also seeking the collaboration of the Federal Government for the revival of ailing industries, called for new investments in the state. The governor, during a visit to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga said that for Nigeria to attain the Vision 20:2020 goals, a lot of investments must be put in place. He said that Kaduna state is second to Lagos state in the area of industrialisation and expressed regret that most of the industries that had in the past contributed to high employment turnover, such as the various textile mills and automobile companies in Kaduna were now moribund. To ensure that these industries regain their lost glory, the governor sought the collaboration of the Trade and Investment Ministry and other agencies of the ministry like the Bank of Industry (BOI) towards their revival. Mr. Aganga, in his response, reiterated his readiness to work closely with the Kaduna state government, noting that the Federal government was keen on the revival of the textiles and automobile companies that had gone into distress in the country. He also commended the governor for being passionate about the social and economic development of Kaduna state.



Islamic banking in Nigeria: Another option By Sani Adamu Danbatta


slamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking except that it operates in accordance with the rules of Sharia, known as Fiqh alMu’amalat (Islamic rules on transactions). The basic principle of Islamic banking is the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of riba´ (interest). Amongst the common Islamic concepts used in Islamic banking are profit sharing (Mudharabah), safekeeping (Wadiah), joint venture (Musharakah), cost plus (Murabahah), and leasing (Ijarah). In an Islamic mortgage transaction, instead of loaning the buyer money to purchase the item, a bank might buy the item itself from the seller, and re-sell it to the buyer at a profit, while allowing the buyer to pay the bank in installments. However, the fact that it is profit cannot be made explicit and therefore there are no additional penalties for late payment. In order to protect itself against default, the bank asks for strict collateral. The goods or land is registered to the name of the buyer from the start of the transaction. This arrangement is called Murabaha. Another approach is Ijara wa Iqtina, which is similar to real-estate leasing. Islamic banks handle loans for vehicles in a similar way (selling the vehicle at a higher-than-market price to the debtor and then retaining ownership of the vehicle until the loan is paid). There are several other approaches used in business deals. Islamic banks lend their money to companies by

issuing floating rate interest loans. The floating rate of interest is pegged to the company’s individual rate of return. Thus the bank’s profit on the loan is equal to a certain percentage of the company’s profits. Once the principal amount of the loan is repaid, the profit-sharing arrangement is concluded. This practice is called Musharaka. Further, Mudaraba is venture capital funding of an entrepreneur who provides labour while financing is provided by the bank so that both profit and risk are shared. Such participatory arrangements between capital and labor reflect the Islamic view that the borrower must not bear all the risk/cost of a failure, resulting in a balanced distribution of income and not allowing lender to monopolize the economy. And finally, Islamic banking is restricted to Islamically acceptable deals, which exclude those involving alcohol, pork, gambling, etc. Thus ethical investing is the only acceptable form of investment, and moral purchasing is encouraged. Although the N25bn Capital base is one condition for the establishment of an Islamic bank in Nigeria, but we see that there is more to meeting this CBN condition. The most important required conditions are: Managerial commitment, sharia supervisory board, safeguarding Muslim investor’s fund and compliance with AAOIFI standards. Managerial commitment: The management must be fully convinced of the concept and fully committed and dedicated to it. Unless the entire management is committed

and convinced, the business activities and the enterprise will not be foul free or will not escape irregularities and deviation. Regardless of how strict and stringent fatwa and contracts are, this will not ensure sound practices if there is no one sufficiently sincere and committed to implement the principles. There should be a Shari’ah supervisory board for any Islamic bank, and that board should consist of trustworthy scholars who are highly qualified to issue fatawa on financial transactions. Giving our present situation within the Muslims today how do we constitute the members of the board? Another issue is trust from the customers who may use the banks fund, when it comes to profit sharing. Last but not the least is enlightenment, many people even within the Muslim are not aware of how Islamic

banks operate. Therefore there is urgent need for a serious enlightenment to the public on operational modalities and requirement of an Islamic bank. Other options that may be considered by Jaiz International Bank which commenced operations this year or even states like Sokoto, Kano Borno, Katsina etc is to establish an Islamic Micro Finance at local government level. The recently approved micro finance banks can be converted to an Islamic one. In a symposium held at Harvard University on ‘Financing The Poor: Towards Islamic Microfinance’ some time last year, Nazim Ali pointed out that Microfinance is not reaching the poorest of the poor, even though this is its purpose, and loans are going to activities unrelated to entrepreneurship. Islamic finance could, in principle and

Global assets of Islamic finance to hit $1.6tr By Aminu Imam


he global assets of institutions offering Islamic financial services, which has hit the $1 trillion

mark, is expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2012. This was disclosed by the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Non-interest Banking, Dr Bashir A. Umar in

a paper on the “Overview and conceptual issues of non-interest banking in Nigeria” at the CBN 16 seminar for finance correspondents and Business editors which held in Adamawa

Promising signs for Saudi sukuk


ukuk markets in Saudi Arabia have seen steady, albeit unspectacular growth, as leading blue chip names — notably Saudi Electricity Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp.—have repeatedly tapped the market and a handful of others have followed suit. The Saudi Stock Exchange Tadawul now has secondary trading platform for sukuk with a total eight of listed issuances at present.

Recent months have seen encouraging innovation in the market due to new tenors and innovative structures, such as the first-ever true project sukuk by Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP). Sukuk issuance would also enable the government to better manage its expenditure commitments. With the global economic environment still uncertain and potentially

volatile, exploring new financing options makes sense. Even in the absence of actual necessity, diversifying funding sources would support the government’s long-standing strategic commitment to empowering the private sector. This would allow the government to focus its budgetary expenditure more directly on priority areas. (Source: Arab News)

state last year. He said the Special Adviser said that the Islamic banking sector is growing worldwide at 15-20 percent and that its assets and revenue growth outperforms the conventional banking sector in several jurisdictions where a dual model operates. He said that the non-interest banking commonly referred to as Islamic banking has achieved global presence within short span of time and has become mainstream and a recognised entity of the global finance landscape. On the controversies surrounding the introduction of the Islamic banking in Nigeria, Umar said that countries with constitutions that are secular do not regard its introduction as negating their secularity.

in practice, correct these defects. A global director of microfinance for Citigroup, Robert Annibale shared his insights into both Islamic finance and microfinance. He described microfinance institutions as self-styled “bankers of the poor `, originally rooted in domestic, local markets but increasing expanding into larger markets and offering a broader range of services. He noted that the high operating costs, passed on to the customer in the form of high interest rates, are a hurdle for the poor. He felt that this was where there is potential for Islamic finance to make a difference. Under conventional microfinance, risk is borne by borrowers and rarely held by the institutions. Islamic finance focuses on interestfree methods of providing capital, because the Shari’ah holds lending to be a purely charitable exercise, rather than a means of making a profit, Islamic finance is also accustomed to methods of riskreward sharing between the institution and the borrower. Islamic microfinance banks have grown significantly in countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. In fact, Islamic microfinance institutions enjoy greater penetration than traditional commercial banks in Bangladesh. It is high time for us here in Nigeria (particularly in the north because the south have started) to start introducing Islamic microfinance banks which will graduate to a full bank in future. Sani Adamu Danbatta wrote from



FirstBank offers alternative channels with FirstCards One month after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced its cashless policy in Lagos, Mohammed Sada reports that First Bank, through its array of products and services, coupled with the various electronic payment channels has set the pace for a hitch-free implementation of the policy through various electronic payment systems.


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spearheaded a new payment system designed to encourage e-payment and cut banks operating costs. Under the policy, the minimum cash lodgment and withdrawal by individuals and corporate organisations are pegged at N150,000 and N1 million daily, respectively. Also, third party cheques above N150,000 will no longer be eligible for encashment over the counter, as value for such cheques shall be received through the clearing house. According to the CBN, the policy will help to considerably reduce about N150 billion it currently spends to produce, store, transport, protect and destroy naira notes every year. The policy is also aimed at achieving Nigeria 's ambition of becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. By going cashless, discerning business owners who are making technology work for them are now able to save valuable time to pursue other engagements because transactions that could have taken hours to conclude in the banking hall can now be concluded in a timely and secure manner through the use of alternative banking channels such as ATMs, POS terminals, phones and the Internet. Perhaps, the best incentive for bank customers utilising alternative channels is the promise of low transactions costs, convenience, speedy services, and enhanced security. In addition, cashless transactions enhance financial inclusion as even the unbanked can carry out basic banking activities from the comfort of their homes, market places or offices. At the wake of calls for a cashless economy, most experts likened the revolution to that of GSM telephony technology, which revolutionised the communications habits of Nigerians. For instance, from about 500,000 telephone users at inception, 90 million of Nigeria 's 167 million citizens now have active mobile phones. Like the GSM, the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is also set to change the lives of Nigerians. This time around, the change will most likely take less than a decade to become evident considering the

recent cash withdrawal limit policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for banks that will become effective in Lagos by December this year. That notwithstanding, the ongoing campaign for a cashless economy is now deeply rooted across the rural and urban parts of the federation, even as most stakeholders at various fora endorsed the revolution. One thing that is easily measured is the difference

adjudged the "Most Innovative Bank In Africa" at the African Banker Awards in Washington, has various products that enable payments, transfers, cash deposits, and purchases via the Internet, mobile phones, Point of Sale Terminals (Pos) and automated teller machines (ATMs). Peoples Daily gathered that the bank has invested massively in technology to ensure it offers its existing and prospective

Group Managing Director, First Bank, Bisi Onasanya

between the time it will take a person to queue in a banking hall to withdraw money, and the time it will take him to withdraw money from an ATM or conclude financial transactions on a mobile phone. Many financial experts believe that having the right infrastructure, cashless transactions might very well become commonplace for petty traders in far-flung villages and high net worth individuals in the cities. One of the banks that has adequately prepared for the takeoff of this policy is FirstBank. FirstBank, through its array of products and services coupled with the various electronic payment channels, has set the stage for hitch-free implementation of the policy. Some of the products designed to ensure full and seamless implementation include FirstPay, FirstMobile, FirstAlert, and FirstOnline, among others. The nation's leading financial services group is offering its customers these safe, convenient and secure alternative banking channels to facilitate the drive towards a cashless economy, as well as promote financial inclusion. The bank, which recently was

customers the ultimate experience in terms of service delivery. First Bank raised the bar in technology-driven banking through a suite of highly secure electronic banking products and the recent introduction of the biometric Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the first in Nigeria's banking sector. The deployment of the new biometric solution provides convenience and security to the bank's diverse customer segments, and aligns with the financial inclusion strategy of the CBN to address the unbanked population. The FirstBank Visa debit card is a dual currency Chip & PIN Payment card which can be linked to both Naira and Dollar accounts and gives customers online realtime access to their funds to make payment across multiple channels such as ATMs, Point of sale terminals and web merchants. The visa debit card is highly recommended because of its standard composition and components as it contains attractive offers and facilities which enhances efficient transactions, with features like EMV- Chip and PIN card that is benchmarked against global best practices and standards in card

processing and security, a life span of 2 years, The debit card has a VISA logo, which means it can be used anywhere the VISA logos are displayed with additional security PIN for web transactions and also an easy convenient and portable access to funds. It is an international debit card accepted at over 29 million locations and for cash withdrawals at over 1.8 million ATMs in over 200 countries worldwide; wherever the Visa logo is displayed. It also enable a daily ATM withdrawal limit of N100,000(local), maximum daily POS transaction limit of N500,000 (local) and a daily ATM withdrawal of $1,000(international).It offers flexibility in multicurrency purchases and makes online/web purchases easier. First Bank MasterCard is a dollar denominated credit card recognised and accepted wherever the MasterCard logo is displayed worldwide. It is a safe and convenient credit card that is ideal for every day purchases on all available channels and has a standard MasterCard credit card which bears the MasterCard logo and can therefore be used anywhere the MasterCard logos are displayed and a life span of two years and an EMV-Chip and pin card that is benchmarked against global best practices and standards in card processing and security. The card will have a minimum of credit limit of $500 and a maximum limit of $10,000. It allows for daily ATM withdrawal limit of N100, 000 (local) and maximum daily POS transaction limit of N500,

000(local) as well as daily ATM withdrawal limit of $1,000(international). The bank's Naira MasterCard is an internationally accepted debit card issued in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide which allows a customer 24 hour access to his/her current or savings account within and outside Nigeria, with a life span of 2years as well as an EMV-Chip and pin card that is benchmarked against global best practices and standards in the world. The cardholder does not need to carry multiple cards as one card provides both domestic and international acceptance with value added services and access to e-commerce. The card is available to potential and existing customers of First Bank and can be linked to a customer's Naira savings or current account and it can be used for different payments etc DSTV bills, PHCN bills, Airtime recharge and also, airline tickets. FirstBank Visa Gold Credit Card is an international cashcollaterized credit card, issued in partnership with Visa International and is linked to a US Dollar denominated account with a life span of 2 years. The limit assigned to the card corresponds exactly to the amount paid by the cardholder into the Visa Gold card account, less $300 (which includes the issuance fee of $50, annual maintenance fee of $50 and a minimum card account balance of $200). All these various electronic payment channels are available to existing and potential customers of FirstBank.




RH, HIV/AIDS: When stakeholders met to advocate the integration of initiatives in Nigeria collaboration between the ministry of health, NACA and other stakeholders in building capacity for advocacy to enhance the integration of RH, HIV/AIDS. "There is no other way out of this", he said. Adding that it is not even collaboration that is envisaged alone, but a strong partnership between the federal government, NACA and development partners because stakeholders are funding different projects and promoting parallel programmes, thereby further confusing the situation. He therefore called for a strong partnership and the establishment of a framework for intervention and practical steps to achieving the integration. As part of the advocacy, the NGOs visited some apex agencies with responsibility for coordinating HIV/AIDS policies and programs in Nigeria like NACA while a proposed visit to the ministry of health experienced setback.

Stakeholders made up of 20 leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engaged in reproductive health and HIV/AIDS interventions in Nigeria, met for three days in Abuja, under the auspices of an indigenous development research organization based in Kano to advocate for integration of both health initiatives with a view to coordinating and strengthening capacity of service providers for providing effective services to infected people in the country. Jamila Nuhu Musa was there.


he workshop was meant to review the lessons learnt in reproductive health, HIV/AIDS integration at the 2011 International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA), to finalize an NGO best practices draft manual on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS integration in Nigeria, to conduct advocacy visits to apex agencies with responsibility for coordinating HIV/AIDS policies and programmes in Nigeria, and to review the Population Action International call for proposals format with a view towards application for 2012. There is no doubt that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is stabilising in Nigeria. Reports indicate that in 2010, it was 4.5% but that figure dropped to 4.1% in 2011. worldwide; also, a UNAIDS report said, there was a drop in terms of new infections and the number of people dying of HIV/AIDS. A participant at the workshop and director of Advance Action Against Aids Initiative, Linda Abwa agrees. She said "When I came to Nigeria, our clients that were taking anti retro virus were buying the drugs for about N25, 000 every month and these were those that could afford it." "I use to attend burial of my clients 4 to 5 times a week but the situation is different now, last year 2011, I did not attend any burial at all. Still we have a long way to go because we still have high risk groups like commercial sex workers and young boys and girls who think that the world is at their feet and so, HIV cannot catch up with them. The main project sites of Linda's organisation, are Port

Harcourt, Kogi, Warri and Aba but headquarters of the NGO is in Abuja. She said integrating reproductive health and HIV/AIDS projects will go a long way in enhancing status of people living with HIV/AIDS. Corroborating this, in her presentation on 'The importance of Advocacy for CSOs working in RH and HIV/ AIDS,' Dr Chichi Aniagolu Okoye said the importance of linking HIV/AIDS as a part of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is abundantly clear: the majority of HIV cases-about 85%-are sexually transmitted and both HIV/ AIDS and many illnesses linked to SRH have the same root causes. The greater proportion of pediatric HIV infections is spread from mother-to-child in the process of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. In Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, the majority of new HIV cases are among women and girls, a major target of SRH services. Despite these overlaps, HIV/AIDS and SRH services have been historically separate and uncoordinated. The current parallel financing and health service infrastructure for HIV/AIDS was developed in response to the urgent call to address the AIDS crisis and the global health community's understanding of the disease over two decades ago. Notwithstanding the above evidence that linking sexual and reproductive health and HIV is feasible and beneficial, yet very few countries including Nigeria have achieved significant scale-up of integrated service provision. She therefore, urged the

CSOs to advocate amongst other things, adequate funding, favorable policies, and popular support which are important to the success of family planning programs. "Programs need support not only from clients but also from the general public and, especially, from health officials, policy-makers, funding agencies, the news media, employers, health care providers, women's organizations, and religious and community leaders. Such support cannot be taken for granted". Developing country reproductive health programs and their allies often must appeal for support, she also declared. So, they must use powerful evidence and persuasive arguments to make the case for family planning and other reproductive health care, in ways that attract and hold an audience's attention. Dr AniogoluOkoye, pointed out that advocacy is becoming crucial as demand for good-quality reproductive health services rises. In most developing countries including Nigeria, national family planning programs have been instrumental in providing contraception to women who want it, improving health and reducing fertility levels. Adding that now, leadership commitment and financial support are essential if programs are to be able to meet rising demand. An expert in HIV/AIDS, Professor Sani Garko, who spoke on 'Lobbying and Advocacy for Charities and Not-for-Profits', cited some steps involved in advocacy work to include, clearly identifying the issue to be

addressed, finding partners and allies, planning the actions and taking action. Another participant who spoke with Peoples Daily, Mrs. Aji Robinson, who is founder of the Heal The Youth Foundation, an NGO, expressed concern that most infected young people find it difficult to access reproductive health and HIV services, and that integrating both would benefit them greatly. Giving an example of a girl child with an unwanted pregnancy, she said the situation is a reproductive health issue, "When we are talking to young people, what we do is to tell them to abstain from sex mostly, because you do not tell them, engage or use condom", so the messaging is different from when you are talking to adults". She therefore contended that the importance of integrating the health projects is to enable young people to also benefit. In her words: "The fact that the pregnancy is unwanted in the first place makes it difficult for a girl who gets pregnant while in school and drops out, to get RH,HIV/ AIDS services. She is abandoned by the man who puts her in the family way and rejected by her parents and relations". "In such cases the pregnant girl child may also be infected with HIV/AIDS and may find it difficult to go to different hospitals for these services as she has to contend with transport money and other things. But if she is able to receive HIV/AIDS treatment and also attend ante natal in the same place if both are integrated, she will be happier", Aji noted. She stressed the need for

parents to teach their children sex education at an early age. She said though her age target is actually 9 to 10 because that is the stage of development for girls and for boys, 14, she has now discovered that girls get matured from 8 years. But getting mothers to give her the support to lecture sex education to their children when she started the NGO was herculean she disclosed. "I had to go from house to house in my place in Kuru, Jos south of Plateau state to beg the women to release their girls and boys to attend my program". We taught the girls to know why they must not sleep with anyone until they are married, and that they have the right to scream when people who are supposed to be their father, uncle, cousin, teacher and what have you try to abuse them. While for the boys, we try to educate them about changes in their body and why it is so". Aji said stakeholders in the business of RH, HIV/AIDS intervention should be educated on the issues of integration for them to buy into the idea, and that they should also be made to use the guidelines, while the coalition of NGOs that attended the workshop should be empowered to implement the deliberations reached. In his presentation, a consultant in population health and development, Dr Adamu Imam, who also coordinated the workshop, said it aimed at bringing the NGOs in Nigeria working in RH/HIV/AIDS service deliveries together to build their capacity in advocacy for enhanced services in both areas. The impediments

Consultant in population and health development, Dr. Adamu Imam

Director of Advance Action Against Aids Initiative, Linda Abwa

Facilitator, Dr. Chichi Aniogolu-Okoye

however, are challenges ranging from the priorities of stakeholders in the country, the level of work of the NGOs and competing demands, he observed. Imam in explaining the need to integrate the services said there are presently, lots of parallel structures that abound. In his opinion, instead of making service points to be a one stop shop, where a HIV person can also access other services, there are many service points providing single service. "Some are involved in counseling and referral; some in testing for HIV, while others deal with family planning. When you integrate and build capacity, it will help the utilization of resources and make it easier for both clients and service providers". On whether the participants had capacity to implement integration, he said that is one of the challenges of the integration. "Capacity is lacking and there are differences in terms of level of capacity of the NGOs. They are not on the same capacity so even the capacity building initiative had to be based on capacity gap assessment before the capacity building was provided". Imam, canvassed for

Founder, Heal The Youth, Mrs Aji Robinson



EMERGENCY UPDATE From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


he Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said that the agency recently trained over 200 stakeholders and teachers on disaster management proficiency from twenty local government areas of state. The Coordinator of the SEMA, Malam Abubakar Umar, who stated this during a three-day workshop organised for various staff of ministries in the state at the weekend, said the training was in line with NEMA’s effort to enlighten those at local communities on the need to reduce disaster to the barest minimum. According to the coordinator, “the training programme is meant to enhance the capacity of local communities on methodologies of containing and managing disasters in their various localities.” The participants, Umar stated, have been exposed to the basic the rudiments on how to manage emergencies such as fire disaster, windstorm, flood, and communal misunderstanding, saying that “most participants are mainly primary school

Bauchi SEMA trains 200 on disaster mgt headmasters and social welfare officers at the grassroots level.” Umar, who is the UNICEF focal person in the state, recalled that headmasters were in the past tagged as deputy village heads, considering their roles in crisis management at the local levels. He also recalled that the UNICEF in its efforts to reduce the impact of disaster at the grassroots introduced such training two years ago. Umar expressed optimism that participants had at the end of the workshop become knowledgeable

on how to manage disasters in their respective areas. Also speaking, the state Director of Information, Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Bello, said the workshop was aimed at empowering men and women who are directly involve in mobilizing and educating the people on the dangers emergencies at the grassroots level. “This is a train-the-trainer workshop where a few people were trained at the state level to step down to the local government

level. We are expecting each of these people representing the local governments to go back and form teams and train others who will really get to the grassroots”, Bello said. A participant at the workshop, Malam Bala Ibrahim, assured of his desire to spread the knowledge acquired to his colleagues at the grassroots. Ibrahim described the training as “added feather to their caps” which could positively be implemented in the event of instability in their areas.

Ezillo community urged to live in peace


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) have called for peaceful co-existence among the people of Ezillo and Ezza communities in the state. Presenting relief material to victims of the New Year eve communal conflict in Ezillo, the south- east zonal coordinator of NEMA, Dr Bandele Onimode, said peace was necessary for the development of the area. It would be recalled that no fewer than 60 persons were feared dead during the attack by some unknown persons in the area. Onimode, however, appealed to the victims of the crisis to avoid retaliation and put themselves together as they could achieve greater things with hard work, assuring that the agency would re-assess the situation in due course. In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Ebonyi SEMA, Mr Igboke Umunna, applauded NEMA for the prompt attention to the crisis. The Coordinator of Ishielu Development Centre, Mr Lawson Edeh, urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the communal clash believed to be fuelled by politicians. Bags of rice, garri, cartons of bathing soap, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, as well as gallons of vegetable and red oil were among the relief material donated to the community by NEMA and the National Commission for Refugees.

NEMA officials at work at the site of the recent building collapse in Gwarinpa, Abuja

Madalla blast: Israeli govt assists NEMA with relief materials


ollowing the recent bombing at the Catholic Church in Madalla, in Niger State, which killed many and left about 56 persons seriously injured, the Israeli government has presented to the victims, relief materials worth millions of Naira in form of medical equipments and drugs. Delivering the relief items, the representative of the Israeli embassy, Mr. George Deek, said the items were to support National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in its continuous effort to provide succor to victims of various disaster in the country. Deek also commended NEMA on the provision of timely assistance to victims and its commitments in addressing various emergencies. Receiving the relief materials, the DG of NEMA, Muhammad Sani- Sidi, applauded the Israeli government for the gesture, describing it as an affirmation of renewed commitment with Nigeria. Represented by Director of Relief at the agency, Mr. Edward Maigida, the DG assured that “the materials will be judiciously distributed to the intended beneficiaries through hospitals that assisted and treated casualties during the blast.” Also speaking, the Abuja Zonal Coordinator, Mr Ishaya Isah Ochonoko, thanked the Israeli Embassy for its support. Meanwhile, the relief items received included dressing bandages, cotton wool, and neck collar, gloves, plasters, spirit, Consumables (Dettol, izal, and TCP liquid) Analgesics (tablets) Pads and wipes and would be distributed according to number of persons treated in each hospital.

NEMA asks Nigerians to embrace peace, shun violence


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on the entire Nigerian citizens to shun violence and acts that are capable undermining peace and security of lives and property. The north-east zonal

coordinator, Alhaji Aliyu Sambo, who made the appeal in Damaturu, in Yobe State, tasked the victims of the recent crisis in the state to embrace peace for the sake of national development. He stated that the trauma and

pains inflicted on the people of the areas are during the recent crisis was enormous, even as he called on citizens “to work together in restoring peace and harmony that have been eluding our society. We all must cooperate with the security agencies in our

...upgrades PR unit to division By Mohamed Kandi


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has upgraded it Press Unit to a full-fledged Public Relations Division with additional responsibility of facilitating mutual relationships with major stakeholders as well as members of the public on activities of the agency. The promotion, a press statement issued by the agency’s head of press and public relations stated, came after the approval of the Senior Management

meeting of the agency chaired by the Director-General, Muhammad Sani-Sidi recently. With the upgrade, the division is better positioned to discharge one of the core mandates of the agency in the enabling law which states that “NEMA should educate and inform the public on disaster prevention and control measures.” The new development presents the PR division with more challenges and responsibilities, especially in public awareness and sensitization campaigns, while it

is expected to sustained cordial relationship with all the channels of information dissemination including the print and electronic media as well as other online platforms. Excited by the development, the head of the PR division, Yushau Shuaib said “we are excited with the new development which would further ensure that we discharge our duties professionally, responsibly and maturely without undue interferences due to the encouragement and supports from the helmsman.”

communities to reduce the rate of crimes and insecurity pervading the society.” Sambo said the agency was working with an estimated figure of 5, 000 families in Ponponmari District and other parts of the city, after making comprehensive multi stakeholder assessments of the scenes of the crisis. “The agency has constituted a 19 man committee to handle the direct distribution of relief materials to victims of the crisis comprising representatives of the Emir, district heads, village heads, and two representatives each of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and security agencies,” he explained. According to him, “the reason for constituting the committee is to ensure check and balances as well as transparency and accountability in the distribution process even though the agency has a template for distribution of relief materials to affected victims.”



EMERGENCY UPDATE NEMA dispenses relief materials to corps members


he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has distributed some relief materials to over 45 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in Adamawa State. The corps members who benefited from the materials are those affected by the recent crisis in the state and were subsequently relocated to the General Gibson Jalo Cantonment.

The NYSC members, who are on their primary assignments in Mubi, Yola North, Yola South, Numan and Lamurde Local Government Areas of the state, sought refuge following alleged threats to their lives by some hoodlums, as well as the recent killings in the state. Some materials which included food items, beverages and household items were received and distributed by the

State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on behalf of the corps members from the agency’s north-east zonal office. Assuring that the corps members are protected in the military custody, the Brigade Commander of the 23rd Armored Brigade of General Gibson Jalo Cantonment, John Nwogu, said it was the duty of the army to protect the lives and property of the citizens.

NEMA officers at work at the site of the recent building collapse in Gwarinpa District of the Federal Capital Teritory, Abuja in pix

YOUTHS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY By Abubakar Jimoh abujimoh01@yahoo.acom

Averting epidemic diseases in Nigeria


here is urgent need for the government of Nigeria, like those of other parts of the world to step up its quest towards ensuring vivacious health care system in the country giving the fact there has been palpable increase in the statistics of outbreaks of diseases, which has resulted in several deaths annually. In recent times, many Nigerian communities are conversant with diseases such as cholera, meningitis, and polio. Outbreak occurs when a new disease is identified among a given population, and during this period, substantially exceed beyond what is expected based on recent experience. For instance, before 1997, it was reported that over 15,000 people suffered from cerebrospinal meningitis, which left the death toll within the period to about 240 victims daily; while about 1,390 patients were treated for cholera and thousands for measles. It was also learnt that about 25 people were hospitalised in Kwara state as a result of cholera outbreak in July 2011; while no fewer than 194 people were confirmed infected by cholera in Jigawa state. Also, from the international statistical accounts, a study conducted by the United States Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (2010) revealed that influenza spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics; resulting in seasonal epidemics and eventual death of between 250,000 and 500,000 people every year, while on the average, 41,400 people died each year in the United States between 1979 and 2001 from influenza. Owing to several failed attempts tem the high rate endemic diseases in the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recently sought collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigerian Medical Associations (NMA) on the need to help in prevention of outbreaks as well as the provision of adequate and quick response to the victims through public health education and enlightenment particularly in the states and grassroots level throughout the six geo-political in the country. Consequent upon that, NEMA has through its numerous enlightenment campaigns advised on the need for individuals to keep the environment clean. It also accentuated the importance of maintaining germ-free atmosphere as capable reducing widespread social related diseases. For example, in the opinion of the United States Centre for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDCP), it was resolved that since influenza spreads through both aerosols and contact with contaminated surfaces, sanitizing may help prevent some infections. In this case, hygiene would refer to the set of standard practices that prevent spread of disease-causing organism. A hygienic environment can be achieved individuals practice body hygiene, sleep hygiene, personal hygiene, mental hygiene, and dental hygiene in their daily life. In manufacturing of food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics among others, there is a need for the regulatory body such as National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) that is in charge of the supervision to ensure that various goods produce for consumption strictly adhere to the microbial specification appropriate to their uses. This will not only help to prevent individuals from manufacturing related epidemics, but also ensure hygiene related practices in our industrial sector. It would be recalled that the international journal of Hygiene and environmental Health has recorgnised three different types of hygiene for safety living; the body hygiene which includes constant cleanness for healthy living, optimal health, sense of well being, social acceptance, and prevention of spread of illness; while individual personal hygiene practices must comprise adequate medical checkup, regular washing, bathing, and healthy living. Thus, adequate consultation of the nearest medical centre for professional advice would be a vital step combating a disease outbreak. Another method of enhancing pandemics, according to the medical practitioners across the world, is that an infected person be isolated to prevent contagious diseases from being spread among other patients, health care workers, and visitors. They also encourage the use of quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach in hospitals so as to sanitize equipment that have been occupied by patient with influenza symptom; while at home this can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach. This practice can help prevent spread of these diseases among others. Therefore, stakeholders like NAFDAC and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) must partner to ensure conformity of the imported health paraphernalia as it relates to the ongoing economic globalization, which has largely given birth to the emergence of transatlantic diseases across Africa. To be continued



Environmental sanitation: Kaduna govt gives hawkers 3-month ultimatum I

n its effort to improve environmental cleanliness in the state, the Kaduna State Government has given hawkers three months ultimatum to disappear from the streets or face the full wrath of the law. The Director of Environment in the state, Mr Solomon Guruza, who gave the warning recently in Kaduna, the government has directed that all the goods that contribute to littering the atmosphere should be seized at the end of the ultimatum. “The government will not return goods seized; we have given

them three months notice to leave the roads. At the expiration of the ultimatum, government will rid the streets of the presence of illegal traders,” he said. Reacting, some of the hawkers

said that their action was prompted by their inability to secure shops in the various markets in the city. One of them, Adi Abdurasheed, refuted the allegation that they sold fake or substandard items, saying

“It is not true that we are selling fake or substandard items as said by saboteurs; we purchase our goods from dealers in the markets.” “Since we cannot secure shops in the markets we have no option

than moving from one place to another, hawking to make a living,” he explained. Some of them said they preferred to hawk because of high patronage. (NAN)

Gombe govt signs N4.1bn water project contract


he Gombe state Government has signed a contract worth N4.1 billion with a Chinese firm for the provision of water to Gombe metropolis and its environs. Speaking at the signing ceremony recently in Gombe, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, said the contract was for the reticulation and rehabilitation of the Gombe Township Water pipelines and the extension of the scheme to Kwami, Gadam and Bojude villages. He said the network of pipelines would cover a distance of about 150 km across Bagadaza, Riyad, Madaki, Hammadu Kafi, Kagarawal, Tunfure and Tudun Wada Pantami areas in the metropolis. Some other new areas to benefit from the project, he said, included Gabukka, New GRA, Arawa, Checheniya and Kanoyel ``because the pipelines in those areas were old''. Dankwambo also said the project became necessary in view of the influx of people to the state due to its commercial activities, adding that the completion period for the project was 18 months. The Deputy Area Manager of the construction firm, China-GeoEngineering Corporation, Mr Guo Xiaoning, assured the government and people of the state of quality work. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Sule Bage and Alhaji Idris Mahdi, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Town Planning and Environment, signed for the state government, while Xiaoning signed on behalf of the firm. (NAN)

A clean environment is a healthy environment

Live in clean environment, NYSC urged


he coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Community Development Service (CDS) sanitation group, Mrs Chioma Ebere, has urged the people of Kuchingoro village, in Kaura district of Abuja, to live in a clean environment. Ebere made the appeal in Kuchingoro recently during the group’s CDS exercise in the area, urging youth corps members to keep their environment tidy at


Mr Chukwu Lancelot, pointed out that the exercise, which had the backing of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, was designed to improve the environment inhabited by rural dwellers. Meanwhile, the village head, Ibrahim Tizhe, applauded the group and promised to follow all instructions given by the corps members. He suggested that the exercise should be carried out every

month to improve the people’s sanitary conditions. Tizhe also appealed to the government to provide the villagers with social amenities so as to make life more meaningful for the community whose population he put at 10,000. “We appeal to the government to build for us a clinic and schools so that our children can have a better life,” he said. (NAN)

Radiation experts begin assessment of Japan nuclear accident


he sixty international experts to assess the radiation exposures and health effects resulting from accident at Fukushima Daiichi

Fire outbreak: Rivers to acquire modern firefighting equipment he Rivers Government is to acquire modern firefighting equipment to effectively combat incessant fire outbreaks and other emergencies in the state. The State’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Emeka Nworgu, said in a statement in Port Harcourt recently that old

all times. She noted that the cleaning exercise carried out by the corps members was to educate the villagers of Kuchingoro on how to sanitise their environment. “This cleaning exercise is to educate these villagers on the importance of sanitising their environment which will improve their personal hygiene,” the coordinator said. A member of the committee in charge of village sanitisation,

facilities would also be refurbished. Some of the equipment includes fire trucks, uniforms, staff bus, computers, internet facilities and video machines. The commissioner urged men of the fire service to shun corrupt practices while performing their duties. (NAN)

nuclear power plant in Japan, in March 2011, have started a meeting in Vienna. UN, in a statement issued at the Headquarters in New York, said the week-long meeting kicked off on Monday. “We are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, evaluating the exposures of the general public, of workers, and radiation effects, and looking for the missing pieces,” the statement quoted Wolfgang Weiss, Chair of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) as saying. The power plant was damaged following a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 that knocked out water cooling

systems at the plant, contaminating air, water, plants and animals with radioactive plumes dozens of kilometers from the site. A preliminary report will be provided to UNSCEAR’s annual meeting, to be held from May 21 to May 25, while a final report will be provided to the UN General Assembly in 2013. According to the statement, “the meeting will explore critical gaps in the data that are available as well as ensure the quality and reliability of what the assessment is based on.” It noted that Japan was providing data to the Committee together with input from the UN Food and Agriculture

Organisation (FAO), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive NuclearTest-Ban Treaty Organisation, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Established in 1955, UNSCEAR is tasked with undertaking broad reviews of the sources of ionising radiation and the effects on human health and the environment. Its assessments provide a scientific foundation for UN agencies and governments to formulate standards and programmes for protection against ionising radiation. (NAN)



Kwara: Political furore over N10bn loan ANALYSIS


ecently Kwara state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, a former commissioner of Finance and Economic Planning in the administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki, sought for N10 billion loan from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. The loan which has generated a lot of outcries especially from the opposition party, ACN, is being sought to complete all the ongoing projects which were initiated by the immediate past administration. Beside the criticism from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the loan, according to the government would, if properly utilized, bring an end to the water scarcity in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, stabilize the education and economic sector which according to the state government would create more employment for the youths in the state that constitute about 70 percent of the total population. But the question raised by many indigenes of the state were, among others, where are the products of Shonga farm, the commercial agriculture settlement funded by the state through the N30 billion bond sought at the Capital market? Wahat is the impact of Aviation College on the people constructed by the immediate past administration that was established through other bond collected? These and many other rhetorical questions need to be answered. On Wednesday 18 January 2012, the Kwara state House of Assembly approved the N10 billion loan sought by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed from the Guaranty Trust Band (GTB). The governor had, in a letter forwarded to the lawmakers earlier, requested them to consider the loan for approval. While opening the debate at the floor of the house, the majority Leader, Hon. Abraham Ashaolu, representing Oke-Ero constituency moved the motion for the approval of the letter and was seconded by Hon. Suleiman Sunoboro Idris, representing Ilesha-Gwanara constituency of Baruten local government area. Ashaolu, in his argument, said there were many fundamental projects initiated by the immediate past administration under Dr. Bukola Saraki which have direct impact on the lives of the people and have not been completed. It could be recalled that the immediate past administration had sought N30 billion loan from Capital Market to finance some of the capital projects in the state, while about N600 million was being deducted from state allocation every month, to service the loan. He noted that such projects

Recently, the Kwara state chapters of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have expressed divergent opinions over the approval by Kwara state House of Assembly of N10 billion loan sought by the Kwara state government from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). In this analysis, our Correspondent in Ilorin, Olanrewaju Lawal examines the issue as it is viewed by stakeholders in the state. include vocational centre at AjaseIpo, Kwara state university in Malete, cargo terminal, metropolitan square, Ilorin metropolis water reticulation projects, and construction of various roads projects in the local government areas, ultra modern diagnostic centre and International Aviation College among other. Hon. Idris explained that the loan sought by the governor was already included in the 2012 budget and appealed to the State Executive to ensure that the money is utilized appropriately. The Speaker, Barrister Abdulrazaq Atunwa, who presided over the session, however gave the approval to the loan after the lawmakers supported it unanimously. Condemning the action of the state government and the state House of Assembly over the N10 billion loans, ACN state chairman, Mr. Kayode Olawepo, faulted the manner in which the loan was approved by the lawmakers without subjecting it to rigorous deliberation at the assembly and conducting public hearing.


he party, in statement entitled “No to dubious borrowings for phony projects” stated that “We wish to dismiss as dubious, sheer profligacy and mindless disrespect for the Kwara public the decision of the illegitimate PDP government in the state to borrow N10billion to, as they claim, sponsor some phony developmental projects. The hurried manner with which the PDP-dominated House of Assembly rushed to approve the request, without any thorough debate or committee works, raises many questions. “In the first three months of Ahmed’s illegitimate government, between April and June, Kwara alone got more than N16b as federal allocations. Triple that amount has accrued to the state since then; yet, the dearth of infrastructure, for which Kwara is notorious, remains just as bad. We cannot pin those huge funds down to any appreciable capital projects executed by this administration. “Yet the exact debt profile of Kwara remains the exclusive knowledge of PDP power brokers, no thanks to the corruption-ridden administration of former Governor Bukola Saraki, which, perhaps for the first time in our country, refused to give any handover note. Apart from the undisclosed debt profile, the Kwara people, through this administration, are currently

government’s decision to borrow funds from the capital market for vital development projects “further confirms the position of the party that the ACN has nothing to offer the people of Kwara state. “The more this party displays its ignorance about development planning, the more the good people of Kwara state would celebrate their decision to give their mandate to Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed,” the statement said. It argued, ”How can anyone question the importance of the rehabilitation of hospitals, the establishment of an international vocation centre to empower our youth for employment, as well as the completion of the Ilorin metropolis water reticulation project of which phase one has been completed and is being enjoyed by the people of Kwara state?”


Kwara state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed servicing the repayment of N17b bond the Saraki administration raised in the guise of providing infrastructure. For the record, the Bukola administration claimed to have obtained the bond to execute the following projects within a period of two years beginning from 2009: Kwara state Truck Plaza; International Aviation College; Asa Dam Mixed Use Development; New Secretariat; Commercial Agriculture Phase II; KWASU; Ilorin Water Distribution project; and Kwara Advanced Diagnostic Centre. “Of these eight projects, the PDP government said it wanted to execute in two years (2009-2011) with the N17b obtained in the name of our people, only three (KWASU, Aviation College and the Diagnostic Centre) can be said to have been executed – and half way too. To whose pocket has this huge sum gone, whilst public fund is being used to repay the bond? “As if that was not enough, another N1.2b loan not approved by the legislature was taken by the PDP government in the run-up to the 2011 poll. The new N10b from GTB has already been included in the 2012 budget, even before seeking the prior approval of the House of Assembly; so the House was railroaded into approving it when lawmakers discovered the amount during budget approval discussion. The repayment period is said to be 42 months at the rate of 15 per cent interest. The new loan, tagged legacy and continuity

loan, is, in the words of the PDP government, for the completion of the same set of projects which President Goodluck Jonathan had commissioned, and for completion of some road projects and Ilorin Urban System for which billions of naira had been sunk during the Bukola regime . “The people of Kwara cannot be subsiding irresponsible and unaccounted borrowings for which commensurate benefits have not been received by the people. Whilst the act of the borrowing is always known, the spending of the money borrowed has always been shrouded in secrecy. It is on this basis that we reject outright the request and House approval for another N10b loan for phony projects. It is dubious and indefensible. Both the PDP state government and GT Bank must be called to account. And in the event that the Ahmed government goes ahead with the plan, we invite all the anti-graft agencies to probe into these matters.”


n its reaction, the Kwara state chapter of PDP in a statement issued through its Publicity Secretary entitled “N10b loan: ACN ignorant of art of governance” the ruling party described the ACN’s condemnation as “uninformed outburst” and “a display of ignorance of the art of good governance.” PDP noted that the ACN criticism over the state

he party listed the projects executed by state government under the PDP administration to include the Kwara International Vocational Centre, the Kwara Holding Company Limited, Kwara state University, Local Government Road Projects, the International Diagnostic Centre, Irrigation, Cargo Terminal Apron Project, Renovation of 5 General Hospitals, and Ilorin Metropolis Water Reticulation. It stressed that projects such as the Cargo Terminal Apron and the International Diagnostic Centre are important components of the government’s plan to strengthen Kwara state’s emerging reputation as an investment destination and to generate employment. ”The state government needs to complete the apron in order to make the cargo terminal operational; and given the investment that has gone into the diagnostic centre we have no choice but to complete it,” the party added.


DP also reminded ACN to note that “a university is a long term project which cannot be completed for as long as the university is in existence.” It urged the ACN to stop being sore losers and abandon the practice of using falsehood and misinformation as instruments of futile propaganda. It questioned the party’s practice of describing the Ahmed-led administration as “illegal” when both Election Tribunal and Appeal Court have upheld the governor’s election and dismissed ACN’s petitions. “The ACN is questioning the competence of the Supreme Court to whom they have taken their petition to adjudicate on the issue. They should be mindful of running afoul of the highest court in the land and wait for court’s final decision, rather than engaging in potentially libellous and c o n t e m p t u o u s pronouncements,” PDP advised.



Why police cannot check mate Boko Haram, by security expert INTERVIEW


he security challenges facing Nigeria seem to have overwhelmed the security agencies in the country. Why is it that the police are almost powerless, especially since the emergence of Boko Haram? Take this situation and consider the rot in the system. For example, you have Police Service Commission; you have the office of the Inspector General of the Police; you have the Ministry of Police Affairs. All these organs are every year budgeted for with tax payers’ billions of naira. But nobody wants to find out how much of these monies are going into recruitment, training, equipment, housing, mobility and other logistics of the police. If you are to dig, you will find the shocker of your life, because what is going into these areas, you will discover, is not more than 9.3 percent of the total budget. We must start asking where is the money, more than 90 percent of the budget, going? It reaches the extent now that state governors have found a simple way of looting peoples’ money, and later buying some vehicles and small communication gargets and giving them to the police, in the name of helping the security agencies to maintain security. But the real motive is to cover the billions they stole. The question is, is there anything like that in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? The bold answer is No! Since the Federal Government has the responsibility to create, to maintain, to train and provide, principally, for the welfare of the security agencies, state governments should have no business to do with the police. But the state governors find the situation comfortable, not because they want to assist their own states but simply because it is another way of siphoning hundreds of millions of naira from the people’s money. So, considering the poor state of the police, for anybody now to say that they are failing in the discharge of their responsibilities and that’s why terrorism and other crimes are growing by the day, by the hour or by the minute, I want to say we are not being fair to the ordinary common policeman; because the policemen are not angels that we have brought from the moon or from under the earth. They are human beings like us, living with us. They have thoughts, feelings and needs like us. So long as you cannot give them those needs, and things continue to go the way they are going, you have no right to accuse any policeman of not doing his duty. And if you say that the problem is that wrong people were recruited; then who are you going to blame? Who is in charge of the recruitment? Who is supposed to supervise it and ensure that the

Dr. Bawa Abdullahi Wase is a Criminologist, Senior Research Fellow on Inequality, Ethnicity and Human Security and Visiting Chief Instructor at Police Staff College, Jos, for many years. In this interview with Ali Alkali, he explains why the police cannot do their job and why ethnic and religious crises persist, especially in Jos, Plateau state. right people are recruited? These are responsibilities placed on the shoulders of the people managing the highest organs in the security system established and being funded by the Federal Government. In responsible countries, those who are running such security organs, if things go wrong, will honourably resign their appointment because they are lacking in what they are asked to do – that’s protection of lives and property. Why are ethnic and religious crisis increasing, instead of decreasing, despite the fact that we are operating a democratic system? Injustice. That’s why. Some people are made to believe that they are sacred cows. Whatever they do, they will not be punished. For example, in Jos, where I come from there was a time, as far back as 11 years ago, when people were distributing flyers and announcing that they were going to cause trouble. People know them. I know some of them; they were my students at university. They made true their threat when thousands of people were massacred. Let the security agencies tell Nigerians if any of these people was arrested. They were not arrested simply because they killed people who belong to a particular religion that is now a target of persecution in Nigeria. That’s one example. Secondly, I want to tell you there was a situation in the same Plateau state where a whole community was entirely wiped out at Kuru Babba and Kuru Karama. And it took days doing that, including Bukuru and Jos. Let the security agencies tell us, to date, how many people were caught for committing that crime. Does it mean the lives of those victims are meaningless to Nigeria because they belong to certain ethnic or religious faith? Or is it because our so-called leaders in the North are shamelessly hiding in their big gowns and collecting money from those in authority, ridiculing their subjects and watching them being destroyed? Let me tell you the danger of this; it cannot continue forever. People will get tired of ignoring the discrepancies and enduring the discrimination. And once that happens, people will choose to defend themselves at all cost. What made the difference between you and the police are the uniform and the gun. And, of course, we have seen from the histories of other nations of the world that ragtag bands can unseat those in power when people are pushed to the wall.

Dr. Bawa Abdullahi Wase This is why I want to tell our socalled shameless Northern leaders who are watching their people being persecuted that their days are being numbered; because the blood of these people that are being deliberately witch-hunted and massacred can never, I repeat never, allow them to live in peace and in the squander mania they live at the expense of the people they are supposed to protect. I am only making an emphasis on a very important issue; but some people will say that I am making a threat. But if you say I am making a threat, then what is the difference between my threat and the threat from somebody who is said to be the leader of a religious association, who stood before the President and said they are all going to order their own people to defend themselves at all cost? That statement is treason. But what did the President do? Because they belong to the same religion nothing was done. Also, don’t forget, in Bauchi recently when some people were arrested and being guarded by ordinary ranks and file something went wrong, and a general in the army simply because he belongs to a particular religion was put on trial; and for weeks all the newspapers in the nation were carrying him to the extent that some people were making insinuations that he belongs to that particular group known as Boko Haram. While all these and many other things are happening, whenever you hear that someone is arrested you will find out that person or

persons belong to a particular religious faith. That portends a very serious danger to this country. Boko Haram insurgency is now becoming the most dominant challenge in the country. Then suddenly Nigerians heard that one of the arrested suspected members of the group escaped from police custody. What did you make out of this? If we look at the history of escapes in the country, we will find out that for many decades A-rated criminals, that’s criminals who are awaiting death sentences were known to have been escaping from the prison yards and places of custody. So, the escape of the Boko Haram suspect, Kabir Sokoto, cannot be an exceptional thing. What is worrying, however, is the disability of government at top level to arrest the situation. Our police lack motivation and equipment. Pay a visit to our police stations and see their poor state. They cannot even afford the common ‘I pass my neighbour’ power generating set, despite the billions being allocated to the police force every year. To the best of my knowledge, I am yet to see a police station which is provided with this common ‘I pass my neighbour generator’. Imagine a situation where PHCN decides to take off power, and you have a lot of people crammed into a place they call police station which has no proper window, no proper door; how can there be no escape? When the detainees decide

to use the opportunity, how can the police differentiate between the accused, the complainants and passersby? The dilemma the police face in such situation is that if they open fire they may end up shooting entirely innocent people, not the ones they brought. Having made this clear, I want to say that one can, however, detect a conspiracy or cover up in the escape of the Boko Haram suspect, Kabiru Sokoto because of the different versions of stories that emanated from the police after the escape. The stories that we heard from the authorities, each disagree with one another. I will give you examples. Number one: First, the man who is in charge of the public relations of the police said, when he was asked, that as far as he was concerned there was no one that has escaped from any custody under any guise or whatsoever. That’s the mouthpiece of the police. Number two: Later in the day, it was reported that the police took the man where he was residing in Abaji, and after inspecting his house they were bringing him to the house of the chief and that was where youths gathered, barricaded them and collected the man. They had to be shooting to the extent that they killed one man who has a HND or degree in engineering. The question now is, if a criminal or a suspect is arrested and to be taken to anywhere there is a minimum provision of security that is supposed to be attached to that team. Secondly, does it make any sense for the police to go to somebody’s house, after making arrest, to make further investigation before taking him to the house of the chief? If that were to be true, why was the man not taken to the house of the chief first, to ask ‘Is this your subject? We are suspecting him on that and that, we are going to his house for investigation, and from there we are taking him to where we are supposed to take him.’ That was not done. Again, we have heard another story that this man was found in a government lodge of Borno state along with an Air Force police officer. But that was the end we heard about the police officer. So, the questions are: where is that socalled Air Force police officer? Why are they no longer talking about him? What is his name? What was his role? What was he doing in that particular place with Kabiru Sokoto? Why are they silent on him and concentrating on Kabir Sokoto? Another contradiction was that this man, Kabiru Sokoto, had for long been wanted for the bombing of the Church in Madalla. Every Nigerian knows that there is a simple procedure of declaring someone wanted. Can anybody tell us if there was ever a time before his arrest and escape that the police had declared him wanted in print or electronic media? That on its own is self contradictory.



PDP commends INEC over directives on Kogi By Lawrence Olaoye


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for directing that Captain Idris Wada be swornin immediately as the Kogi state governor. Following the sack of the five governors under the umbrella of the party by the Supreme Court with the declaration that they

hand over the reign of government to the Speakers of the House of Assemblies in their various states, controversies emerged as Wada and the Kogi state House of Assembly Speaker, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, were sworn-in simultaneously. The legal puzzle and the perceived air of political uncertainties hanging around Wada were resolved however with the INEC’s declaration. The PDP, in a statement made

available to newsmen and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali, stated “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wishes to commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the swift resolution of the confusion that arose in Kogi state and other states as a result of last week’s judgment of the Supreme Court on tenure of state governors. “The timely intervention of

the Electoral Umpire has no doubt doused the raging tension and uncertainty that citizens of the affected states were thrown into. We wish to particularly applaud INEC for the directive given for the immediate swearing-in of Captain Idris Wada as Governor of Kogi state whose election was already concluded before the judgment. “INEC’s decision to quickly fix new dates for the gubernatorial elections in Adamawa, Bayelsa,

Sokoto and Cross River states, as well as the endorsement of candidates dully nominated by the various political parties, has also gone a long way in calming frayed nerves, reducing tension and bringing back confidence to our democratic process. “We, therefore, call on all our members to fully cooperate with INEC and ensure that they come out en mass to elect our candidates in the affected states,” Alkali charged.

INEC, a PDP stooge, says CPC By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ongress for Progressive Change (CPC) has described the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a biased body, working for the interests and in alliance with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to disenfranchise other opposition parties. This was in reaction to the decision by the INEC to declare Capt. Idris Wada of the PDP in Kogi state, and swear him in as governor of the state. CPC, in a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, accused INEC of straying from its constitutional role as an electoral umpire, to assume the function of the Judiciary, by advising that oath of office should be administered on Captain Idris Wada as governor of Kogi state. It pointed out that the Supreme Court judgment of Friday was unambiguous about the expiration of the tenure of the governors of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Kogi and Sokoto states, wondering why the Speaker of the House of Assembly in Kogi state was not sworn-in as directed by the apex court. In addition, CPC regretted that upon the Supreme Court’s judgment, which it said ‘unsettled the ruling PDP’s invidious electoral schemes for the states’, INEC changed the time-table

without conferring with the political parties in the affected states. “Undoubtedly, the decision by INEC to conduct four governorship elections in the month of February is baseless and unmindful of the logistic implications for the apolitical parties,” CPC stated, adding that the previously scheduled 14th April, 2012 for Cross-river state, being the last in the series, was still within the 90-day limit allowed by the law. The party, therefore, alleged that the dates were changed due to the decision of INEC to dance to the whims and caprices of the PDP, emphasizing that CPC has lost confidence on the independence of the commission. CPC also warned that the trend, if not checked immediately, was capable of turning elections to redundant exercises. Meanwhile, it will be recalled that prior to the Supreme Court judgment, INEC had, in collaboration with the political parties, brought out the schedule for the gubernatorial elections in the five states as follows: Kogi, 3rd December, 2011, Adamawa, 14th January, 2012, Bayelsa, 11th February, 2012, Sokoto, 14th March, 2012, and Cross-River, 14th April, 2012; but this time around, the commission did not involve political parties in fixing the new dates.

LP Rep decamps to ACN By Lawrence Olaoye


member of the House of Representatives from the Labour Party, Ifedayo Abegunde, has defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The lawmaker, who represents Akure North/South from Ondo state, said amongst other reasons, he was leaving the Labour Party because it has been factionalized. Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who read Abegunde’s letter of his intention to cross-carpet, called him to stand up on the floor for recognition. The lawmaker stood up waving two brooms, the symbol of the ACN, and thereafter went to hug the Minority Leader and ACN caucus leader, Femi Gbajabiamila. In a chat with newsmen after plenary, Abegunde said when he

joined the Labour Party, he had thought it would be a party that will be based on progress but that, so far, his expectation for the upliftment of the people have not been met. “The people are poor, no economic empowerment of the people. The people are suffering; they can’t put food on the table, not to mention paying school fees. “Though markets have been built for the people, but they have no money to buy products, and for the few that could buy products, there are no sales because the purchasing power of the people is low.” The lawmaker also cited lopsidedness in developmental projects and appointments, as well as the inability of the current governor, Olusegun Mimiko, to listen to the dictates of the people as some of the reasons he moved to the ACN.

Adamawa state Acting Governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, presenting the state’s 2012 budget at the House of Assembly, in Yola, on Tuesday. Photo: NAN

Oyo re-run: ACN, PDP trade words over presence of military From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Oyo state has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) used federal might to intimidate voters during last Saturday’s re-run election in the Irepo-OrelopeOlorunsogo Federal Constituency through mass deployment of military personnel. The party, in a statement issued on Tuesday in Ibadan by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Dauda Kolawole, wondered why more than 1,500 soldiers, as well as over 2,000 policemen were deployed to the constituency for a by-election. According to ACN, “It is unfortunate that PDP has not yet shed the toga of its do-or-die politics. It is also appalling that the reality has not yet dawned on the party that it has been rejected by the people of the state as a result of its woeful performance and the pains it had inflicted on them in the last eight years. “It was nothing but the fear of losing their faces that has dragged them into using federal might to get soldiers deployed in the area so as to wage psychological war against our people who have unanimously decided to team up with ACN in enthroning good governance in Oyo state,’’

Kolawole said. But in a swift reaction yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) speaking through the Minister of State, (FCT), Abuja, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, explained that soldiers were deployed to the constituency to prevent the ACN from going ahead with its planned rigging manual through the use of paid thugs. The minister commended the joint security team of policemen and soldiers for foiling the attempted rigging and arresting over 100 miscreants. Akinjide, waho spoke through her media aide, Kehinde Isiaka, called on the security operatives not to stop at the arrest of those the party called “ACN criminals” but also get them prosecuted to deter others who might be similarly inclined, adding that it was regrettable that the ACN administration in the state could unleash undesirable elements and hoodlums on its own people because of desperation for power against the popular wish of the electorate in the state. The minister further said, “The fears of the electorate in the area became palpably heightened when the ACN thugs who ostensibly followed Governor Abiola Ajimobi to the area for campaign stayed put and fomented trouble, leading to

the arrest of over 100 of the thugs. “It is hypocritical for the ACN which praised the military to the high heavens during the 2011 general election for maintaining order to now turn back and malign the same security operatives and accuse them of intimidating voters. The blurred memories of those in the ACN should be refreshed and their attention pointed to the fact that the same no-nonsense Federal Government under the able leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP deployed soldiers for the last year’s election. So, why are they now crying wolf where there is actually none? This is nothing but a case of sheer hypocrisy. “If the ACN-led government in Oyo state could be so cruel and wicked in mobilising thugs and criminals to swoop on its people because of election, then it behoves the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people and safeguard their lives. After all, security of life and property is a fundamental responsibility of those in government. “A few days before the election, hired ACN thugs had pounced on a peaceful assembly of PDP faithful and maimed some of them. The unfortunate incident of threat to communal peace and tranquillity was duly reported to the appropriate authority,” Akinjide said.



The remains of victims of the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church bomb blast were laid to rest, at the premises of the church, in Madalla, Niger state, yesterday. Photos: Mahmud Isa

Long petrol queues, at AP Filling station opposite Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, yesterday.



Boko Haram: Between rebellion and jihad (II) B

oko Haram's attacks have intensified since President Jonathan took power last April, in the country's cleanest election since the end of military rule in 1999. Jonathan pledged to fight graft and attract investment. But he is a Christian southerner, and in the eyes of many Muslim northerners it was a northerner's turn to rule. That backdrop doesn't explain how the group went from drive-by shootings and crude petrol bombs to shaping explosives for suicide missions against the United Nations. A video posted on YouTube on January 11 suggests the group's leadership would like to be seen as part of a global jihad. Abubakar Shekau, who has run the group since Yusuf was killed, appears in the 15-minute tape wearing a camouflage bulletproof jacket, sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles. His beard, headscarf and hand gestures recall the style of video pronouncements made by the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But Shekau's message hits local notes. "The reason why I am giving this broadcast is the recent comments of Goodluck Jonathan about us and that of the leader of the Christians and other statements by others, describing us as a cancer to Nigeria. We are neither a cancer nor a disease. If people don't know us, God knows us," Shekau says. He then goes on to cite common complaints about Nigerian politics. Most of the public evidence about what Boko Haram wants and how it operates comes from its avowed spokesman, Abu Qaqa, a mysterious figure who often pops up after an attack to claim responsibility and explain the motives. Speaking by phone to a handful of reporters in Maiduguri in November, Abu Qaqa spoke of the links between al Qaeda and Boko Haram. "We are together with al Qaeda," he said. "They are promoting the cause of Islam, just as we are doing. Therefore they help us in our struggle and we help them, too." But Qaqa offered no concrete details of those ties; the rest of the conversation focused on local issues. He said the group isn't affiliated with Nigerian political parties and described the sect's anger at the governor of Borno state. In claiming the recent Kano attacks, which killed at least 186 people, he cited the killing

Boko Haram’s new leader, Abubakar Shekau. and arbitrary arrest and detention of Boko Haram members. Nigerian and Western security experts believe a small, increasingly ambitious and sophisticated group of extremists controls the very top of the group. A handful of those members have received training outside Nigeria, including from AQIM. Nigeria-based security sources who track Boko Haram told Reuters that members of the group have been going to training camps with brigades of Algerian AQIM for the past six years. Small units of five or six members train at a time; no more than a few dozen have been trained in total, the sources said. The foreign minister of neighboring Niger told Reuters last week that members of Boko Haram received explosives training at AQIM camps in the Sahel region, which runs along the southern edge of the Sahara desert. The U.N. Security Council said this month that it had been told that Boko Haram members had received training in AQIM camps in Mali. Experts say the group has become a convenient cover for opportunists. Criminals,

political thugs and gangs hide beneath the umbrella of Boko Haram, making it hard to judge its size and scope. Most of its foot-soldiers are disillusioned young men who have only loose ties to religious ideology, and are easily drawn in because there are little or no opportunities elsewhere. Jonathan has begun to acknowledge this, telling Reuters last week that the government would "revitalize" northern agriculture to provide jobs for youths who might otherwise be "recruited" by Boko Haram. Aisha Alkali, a human rights campaigner in Maiduguri, says young men in northern Nigeria feel forced to adopt violence to defend themselves. "If you push people to the wall, if you leave them with nothing and take everything, where will they go?" asks Alkali, shrouded in a traditional black abaya and burka with only her eyes and impeccably manicured hands showing. "You make people something they were not." Soldiers patrol the streets of Maiduguri in large numbers these days. By day, they hunch in roadside bunkers; at night, they regularly fight with Boko Haram units. Bomb blasts and


gunshots punctuate the dark. Amnesty International says the joint military task force (JTF) in the city has been behind dozens of unlawful killings there, further stirring the unrest. A report by the human rights watchdog says houses have been raided and burned by the JTF. One of the JTF commanders in Maiduguri told Reuters there had been "excesses," but said mostly the military were doing a good job under difficult conditions. Yirami Bwala, a 42-year-old shop owner, lost his 18-year-old son Markus in a Boko Haram bomb attack in Maiduguri in January. "Most Boko Haram members are just a bunch of illiterates who have been misled about their religion and what tolerance is all about," he said a day after the attack. "The military only make things worse by robbing people and attacking innocent, peaceful people." More than a quarter of Nigeria's 2012 budget has been allocated to security spending. But with the number of attacks up - at least 250 people have been killed in the first three weeks of 2012 alone, according to Human

The leader of the nation of 160 million people has also said that tackling Boko Haram could be worse than Nigeria's civil war, if only because the enemy is faceless and unknown.

Rights Watch - criticism of the way Jonathan has handled the violence is growing. President Jonathan told Reuters that Boko Haram militants have infiltrated the military, police and his own government. He sacked the chief of police and his six deputies last week, after the key suspect in the Christmas Day bombings escaped less than 24 hours after being arrested, in what Nigerian security sources said were "unusual and suspicious" circumstances. The leader of the nation of 160 million people has also said that tackling Boko Haram could be worse than Nigeria's civil war, if only because the enemy is faceless and unknown. Some analysts believe Boko Haram may be targeting Christians to trigger a religious conflict. Nigeria has been here before. In 2009 it ended a militant insurgency in the southeastern Niger Delta by offering an amnesty. The government hints that a new broad political settlement may be on the cards. But dealing with a splintered and secretive group like Boko Haram will be difficult. Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president and a southern Christian, visited the family of Boko Haram founder Yusuf last September for peace talks. Days later, gunmen killed Yusuf's brother-in-law. Boko Haram denied involvement in the killing. But someone wanted the dialogue to end. Concluded (Reuters)



McLaren team reveal new car for 2012 Formula 1 season

At least 73 die in Egyptian soccer pitch invasion


t least 73 people were killed and hundreds of others injured yesterday after a soccer pitch invasion in the Egyptian city of Port Said, healthy ministry sources said, in an incident that one player described as “a war, not football.” The game was between Al Ahli, one of Egypt’s most successful clubs, and al-Masry, a team based in Port Said. Live television footage showed fans running onto the field and chasing Ahli soccer players. Ahli player Mohamed Abo Treika described the violence as war as Masry fans invaded the pitch after the referee blew the whistle, even though the team had beaten Ahli 31. “This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no ambulances,” Abo Treika told the Ahli television channel. “I call for the premier league to be cancelled. This is horrible situation and today can never be forgotten.” State television quoted Hesham Sheiha, deputy health minister, as saying that most of the injuries were caused by concussion and deep cuts. Another match in Cairo was halted by the referee after receiving news of the violence in Port Said, prompting fans to set parts of the stadium on fire, television footage showed. Violence at football matches across north Africa has increased significantly since political unrest sweeping across the region began more than a year ago.

McLaren’s Hamilton cLaren have unveiled the car Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button hope will win one of them the drivers’ title. Hamilton described the MP427, unveiled at the team’s Surrey base, as “the finestlooking car we’ve had for some time”. The car features a notably tightly packaged rear end, after the fashion of the Red Bull that has dominated Formula 1 for the last two seasons. “We’re excited. I’m sure every team is a little apprehensive,” Button said. Among other notable features, the car does not have the platypus-style nose that is expected to feature on many designs this year as a result of a change in the rules requiring a lower nose height. Lewis Hamilton won the drivers’ world title in a McLaren in 2008, with Jenson Button


winning the championship in a Brawn a year later. But Red Bull have won the last two constructors’ championship, with Sebastian Vettel securing the drivers’ title in both seasons. McLaren have not won the constructors’ title since 1998. Button added: “This is a beautiful car many you will see will not be. “There are some good rule changes giving the engineers and aerodynamicists something to really think about. “Everyone seems positive, we will see how it is when we get out on to the track.” McLaren have also abandoned the distinctive L-shaped sidepods that distinguished the 2011 car, reverting to a more conventional shape. Hamilton said: “The back of the car is much neater, it’s much tighter. The focus was on getting it as tight as possible for aerodynamics. “It’s about dropping drag and we have tried to get as much downforce back as possible with the banning of the blown diffuser (where teams directed exhaust gases along the rear floor of the car even when the driver was off the throttle).” He said that the rule change

An unequal football legacy


t was a scene that must come close to defining irony Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang introducing himself to the Libyan players at the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations with a big smile. Since the departure of Muammar Gaddafi, Obiang has taken the prize of being the longest serving leader in Afarica. His country is effectively a one-party state and human rights abuses are well documented. Sound familiar? The Libyan team is a group of players who talk optimistically about the new values they hope their country can represent. But, in Equatorial Guinea, the people are often too frightened to even mention politics. Last year alone a state radio broadcaster was fired on air just for mentioning Libya. He foolishly tried to evade the official news blackout on pro-democracy protests. A recent conversation with a taxi driver is indicative. He happily spoke about football, food and religion but, it was rather different when I asked him about Obiang: “People can have an opinion about politics if they like. But I just want to eat and sleep safely. “Politics is not my business,” he

told me. Since seizing power from his uncle back in 1979, Obiang has gone out of his way to discourage open political discussion. Reporters without Borders has described Obiang as a “predator of press freedom”. It is even said that in the 2002 election, one precinct gave him 103% of the vote. What Equatorial Guinea does have though, is a lot of cash. Rich oil reserves have funded the building of new stadiums in Bata and the capital, Malabo, for this tournament. We have also visited the new town of Sipopo, where the Ivory Coast team are cosseted in five-star comfort. Their hotel, complete with golf course and spa, is part of the $700m development that hosted last year’s African Union Summit. You drive there on a desolate three-lane highway. Lifeless beach resorts and manicured follies are your only company. It is only a few kilometres outside of Malabo but it might as well be on a different planet. Statistics tell you this is one of the richest per capita countries in Africa. But, your own eyes tell a different story. While there is a very wealthy elite here, the vast majority survive on less than a couple of dollars a day. The United Nations estimates that around half the population simply do not have access to clean drinking water. The football facilities that have been built for this event will provide some sort of sporting legacy. It has been heartening to see new training pitches used not only by the visiting teams, but by local sides as well. Beyond the escapist release of a host nation match day though, there is precious little excitement surrounding the event. It is a country with a limited footballing culture and the majority are too busy just trying to get on with their lives. Three weeks of football is what the people have, but sadly it is it not really what they need.

Libya meet Equatorial Guinea in the opening match at the Africa Cup of Nations


had made an obvious difference to the way the car feels, having already driven it in the team’s simulator. Hamilton added: “It’s a lot trickier to drive now than it was but I’m sure, as we get into the season, we’ll get that back.” Both men said they were looking forward to the challenge of the new season, which features six world champions for the first time in F1 history. Kimi Raikkonen has returned to F1 with the Lotus team after two years in rallying, to join fellow champions Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton and Button. “We love to have the competition and we love to have the great drivers out there,” Hamilton said. “We hope there are no world champions added to (the list). “It’s great for the fans and the sport and hopefully we’ll be able to put on a good show. We do have a good looking car and, when a car looks good, it generally is good.” This is a test car - as McLaren have been saying fairly loudly and there will be developments coming along, but at the moment nothing stands out as a concept other teams would struggle to match. But McLaren have had difficulties early on in the last two seasons, so maybe they want to have a solid base to start from. Right now, though, there is nothing on this car that would make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Asked who the drivers expected McLaren’s main competition to be, Button said: “The Red Bulls will be strong, they’re not going to suddenly build a bad car after winning the championship for the last two years. “Do we know where we stand? No, but the important thing is we focus on our own work in testing and in Melbourne we will find out where we are compared to our competitors.” Hamilton added: “Last year we were the team closest to the Red Bulls, that’s comforting, and we improved a lot too. If we can start the season better than last year then we will put good building blocks down. “We have the fastest rate of development, so that should give us a strong position to start the season.” Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “It will be close, it’s a massively competitive championship. No-one in my view is going to run away with it. “We don’t like losing, coming second in the last two years has been frustrating. “We want to win races and world championships. We have two great racing drivers, everyone can see the chemistry between them but they want to beat each other. “There are some very strong competitors out there but we are feeling at the moment as if we are in a good place and we’re looking forward to getting to Melbourne and competing for championships.




ith four different champions in the past four seasons and no overwhelming favourite, the 2012 Six Nations could be the most open and interesting tournament for years. Three of the six teams have switched coaches since last year’s Rugby World Cup, several stalwarts have retired and there are questions to be answered over the next six weeks. Can Philippe Saint-Andre fine-tune a France squad that defied expectations to reach last year’s Rugby World Cup final or will interim England coach Stuart Lancaster engineer a successful title defence with an exciting but inexperienced squad? Perhaps Wales can build on fourth place at the World Cup, or maybe Ireland’s injection of youth is exactly what their experienced squad needs. With Wales hit by injuries to flyhalf Rhys Priestland and prop Gethin Jenkins, France and Ireland appear to be best placed to contest the title. Saint-Andre has picked largely the same squad that lost the World Cup final by a single point even with the players and his predecessor, Mark Lievremont, barely on speaking terms. With the coach and players pulling together, the title is a realistic prospect. The presence of IRB player of the year Thierry Dusautoir and Imanol Harinordoquy means that Saint-Andre, who recalled prop David Attoub a year after his 52-week ban for gouging expired, can rely upon the strong pack he - and France - traditionally favour. “It’s true that rugby since professionalism, teams are fitter, much more analysed and it’s more and more difficult to score tries from 100 metres but I think it’s still possible,’’ SaintAndre said. “For the France team, what is very important is a good base. “We need to play first with a good foundation and then we’ll see.’’ There will be no repeat of Lievremont’s experimental use of scrumhalf Morgan Parra at flyhalf as Francois Trinh-Duc will start in that position in Saturday’s competition opener against Italy. Italy beat France in the Six Nations for the first time last season, but Nick Mallett’s replacement as coach by Jacques Brunel is unlikely to herald much change in Italy’s approach or fortunes. Former France assistant Brunel wants to introduce a more expansive style, but the muscle of No. 8 Sergio Parisse and prop Martin Castrogiovanni is still Italy’s most potent weapon. “I think we can even win the

World Cup finalists France will be hoping to stamp their claim on the northern hemisphere title

All to play for at Six Nations tournament in two or three seasons,’’ Brunel said of his new side. “But we have to learn to do more in so many aspects: more speed, more intensity, more discipline.’’ Italy will play at the larger Olympic Stadium in Rome this season, giving them the lift of about 70,000 fans for matches against England and Scotland. The tone of Scotland’s campaign could be defined by what happens in the opener against England at Murrayfield. Victory over England could galvanise a squad missing the reliable boot of the retired Chris Paterson to retirement and captain Kelly Brown to a leg injury. Defeat in one of their two home matches could leave the Scots, led by hooker Ross Ford, facing another tussle with Italy to avoid last place and the so-called

Wales face an injury crisis before the tournament has even started

wooden spoon. If Scotland needed any more motivation to wrest back the Calcutta Cup from their oldest and fiercest rival, there is the fact that England edged them to a place in the World Cup quarter-finals only with a 77th-minute try from Chris Ashton in the teams’ final pool game. “You use every emotion,’’ Scotland coach Andy Robinson said. “That is what rugby’s about. It’s an emotional game, a passionate game, a physical game, and you’ve got to channel all that into your performance.’’ With Robinson among those to accuse England players of arrogance for their behaviour at the World Cup, Lancaster wants to overhaul his team’s image and mentality just as much as he does its performances and style of play. “There’s a lot of people with opinions,’’ Lancaster said. “The opinions that matter to me are those of the players, the management team and the people surrounding the team. “We want to be known as a humble, honest, grafting team. We want to make sure spectators feel excited watching us and feel connected to us.’’ With Jonny Wilkinson and Steve Thompson retired from international rugby and Mike Tindall no longer in the squad, England’s final links to the 2003 World Cup-winning team have been broken. Instead, Lancaster has given youth their head and - in something of a gamble - given the armband to flanker Chris Robshaw, a veteran of one cap. There will also be a new-look backline that is set to contain the highly rated Owen Farrell, who England fans hope will eventually end up being Wilkinson’s natural replacement at flyhalf.

Without captain and inspirational centre Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland look a less fearsome prospect but their hardened pack of forwards will be a match for anyone, esapecially in their three matches at Dublin. The Irish are still haunted by their failure to turn up in the quarter-final loss to Wales at the World Cup. For that reason, the visit of the Welsh to Lansdowne Road is a perfect opening match. “The mistakes that happened in the World Cup won’t happen in this game,’’ Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy said. Of all the northern hemisphere teams at the World Cup, Wales were the most impressive and would likely have gone on to beat France in the semi-finals had captain Sam Warburton not been sent off in the first half. Yet, a series of untimely injuries has threatened to derail their campaign before it has even begun. Jenkins joined the first-choice lock pairing of Alun Wyn Jones and Luke Charteris on the sidelines, while Priestland, Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate are all nursing injuries. Without the retired Shane Williams, coach Warren Gatland will be hoping fellow winger George North can continue his sensational start to his international career. Gatland, like many others, predicts a wide-open competition. “Any one of the six teams have potentially got a chance of winning this competition, which I think is great for the tournament,’’ he said. “A few years ago, everyone was talking about England and France all the time and everyone else was making up the numbers. That’s not the case now.” Source:



Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Amir released from jail


akistan cricketer Mohammad Amir has been released from jail after serving half of a sixmonth sentence for his part in a fixing scam. The 19-year-old was released from Portland Prison in Dorset on Wednesday morning. In November, Amir and team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were jailed for

a plot to bowl deliberate no balls in a Test match against England in 2010. All three players were also given five-year playing bans. The fixing scandal came to light when an undercover News of the World reporter approached sports agent Mazhar Majeed, who was also jailed for his role, pretending to be a wealthy Indian

businessman seeking players for a tournament. Majeed promised him that Asif and Amir would deliver three no-balls at specific points during the Test between Pakistan and England at Lord’s on 26-29 August, and claimed to have been fixing games for over two years, with seven Pakistan players working for him.

At the trial, judge Mr Justice Cooke, said Amir was “unsophisticated, uneducated and impressionable” and “readily leant on by others”. Amir, who admitted bowling two intentional no-balls at Lord’s, was named player of the series, and many cricket commentators said they hoped the teenager would be given a second chance in his career.

Amir is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in world cricket

Kobe earns rest after Lakers pacify Bobcats


Garra Dembele and Seydou Keita were on the scoresheet as Alain Giresse’s men came from behind to avoid an early exit

Mali Eagles beat Botswana Zebras 2-1 to reach q/ final A

2-1 victory over Group D’s bottom side Botswana was enough to see Mali progress to the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. A static first half was followed by a deft finish from Mogakolodi Ngele, who gave Stanley Tshosane’s side the lead before Garra Dembele and Seydou Keita scored vital goals to put their team into the quarter-finals. Mali went into the match knowing that they had to match or beat Guinea’s result against Ghana in the group’s other clash, and the first half was characterised by great imagination, but poor execution from both sides. Botswana had a string of chances before the break. Mogakolodi Ngele blasted a left-footed shot over from the edge of the area when he should have tested Oumar

Sissoko in the Mali goal, before a Tshepo Motlhambankwe snapshot from a poorly cleared corner went narrowly over a perturbed Sissoko’s goal. The best chance of the match fell to Botswana defender Lemponye Tshireletso, who ran onto a neat back-heel from Ndiapo Letsholathebe, but was only able to scuff a poor effort wide of the goal. Mali, however, were not without chances of their own. Modibo Maiga and Bakaye Traore took it in turns to send efforts narrowly over, before Dembele went on a great run down the left, before sending in a tantalising cross that evaded everyone in the Botswana boss. Shortly after the break, the game got exactly what it needed. Moemedi Moatlhaping played the ball across the face of goal and Mogakolodi Ngele made a late run into the penalty are to send his nation

in front with a slick left-footed finish into the corner. Going behind only served to spring Mali into life. Minutes later, Abdou Traore crossed the ball to Bayake Traore at the far post. The 26-year-old forced a great save from Modiri Marumo, but the ball fell to Demble, who seized his opportunity to get his nation back on level terms. From that point on it was all Mali. Dembele sent a hooked shot over the bar before Ousmane Coulibably went on a mazy run, only to send a toepoke against the bar. They finally went ahead when Seydou Keita played a clever one-two with Cheick Diabete, and placed a beautiful left-footed strike into the corner of the goal. In the end, that was enough to ensure Mali’s passage into the knock-out stages, where they will play Gabon.

obe Bryant’s fast start afforded him the luxury of a late rest as the Los Angeles Lakers made light work of the free-falling Charlotte Bobcats with a 10673 blowout home win on Tuesday. The NBA’s leading scorer notched 18 points in the first quarter and recorded the game-high 24 by halftime, where the Lakers built a substantial lead against the league’s worst team, allowing Bryant to sit out the fourth quarter. An entire quarter on the bench was a rare but welcome treat for the 16th year veteran, who entered the night second in the league in minutes per game. His absence also allowed the Lakers bench to shine and contribute 48 points on the night. “Our bench was terrific, it was great to see,” Lakers coach Mike Brown told reporters. “We moved the ball and guys knocked down shots. It was a fun night to watch guys execute.” Los Angeles (13-9) set the early tone with a 10-0 run in the first quarter, where they grabbed a 12-point lead

before going up by 24 at halftime. The defeat was the latest reverse for the tumbling Bobcats (3-19), who lost their ninth straight game, the most since they dropped a franchise worst 13 in a row in 2006. Gerald Henderson led all Charlotte scorers with 14 points on a night his team shot just 34 percent from the field. The Lakers, on the other hand, were able to break the 100-point mark for the second consecutive game after going 13 without doing so. Andrew Bynum chipped in 20 points and 11 rebounds on the day he learned that he will be named to his first NBA All-Star Game when the voting is announced later this week. “I’ve always wanted to be an All Star,” Bynum said. “It’s great to see it come to fruition.” The Lakers picked up a final home win before they head out on a six-game road trip beginning on Friday. The team has had trouble away from home this season, where they are just 2-7.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant smiles as he hands the ball back to a referee during the second half of the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Target Center in Minneapolis, January 29, 2012.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE “Honesty ma y be the best polic y, may policy but it's impor tant to rremember emember important tha ppar entl y, b y elimina tion, thatt a appar pparentl ently by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy” — George Carlin



Ghana Black Stars top Group D


hana Black Stars were held 1-1 by Guinea in their last Group D game at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Franceville yesterday. The Black Stars scored the first goal against the run of play through a stunning Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu shot while the Syli Nationale drew level through Abdoul Camara. The Guineans started the game on a faster note as they dominated with their attacks, knowing they needed a win to qualify for the quarter-finals. They played with a high defence line and held possession for longer against their opponents who needed only a draw to finish top of the group and avoid co-hosts Gabon in the last eight. The Ghanaians, however, were content to soak up the pressure as they relied on counterattacks to scare their opponents. Against the run of play, the Black Stars took the lead on 28 minutes from only their second corner kick of the game when midfielder Agyemang-Badu shot into the net after good work from Andre Ayew. Ayew's pass to Kwadwo Asamoah was tipped to Agyemang-Badu who flicked it up and rammed past NabyMoussa Yattara in the Guinean goal for a goal of the tournament contender. The Syli Nationale came back out in search of an equaliser and could have gone behind when Asamoah Gyan's penalty appeal was waved away when he was stopped by captain Kamil Zayatte. The Guineans had their own opportunity to equalise when Thierno Bah's lobbed shot was tipped over by Adam Kwarasey. Samuel Inkoom saw his attempt narrowly go wide after his run alongside Gyan put the Guinean defence in disarray. Guinea then capitalised as the first half entered added time when Abdoul Camara powered down the left beating John Pantsil for speed and crossed into the box only to beat Kwarasey who had left his line. It was the first time the Ghanaians had conceded in the tournament. RESULT Ghana 1-1 Guinea, Franceville (FT) Botswana 1-2 Mali, Libreville (FT)


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Time to sack Azazi


here was nothing revolutionary in the retirement, last week, of Hafiz Ringim as the police chief. To put it mildly, it was long overdue. To put it harshly, the former Inspector General had clearly outlived his usefulness. He was, therefore, a liability. He didn't have too many fans. Those antagonistic to his leadership of the Nigeria Police Force said he was catapulted to the high office to do only one thing - use the police to seal the deal of electing an unpopular president. Secondly, Ringim came across as an introvert, minding his business. But Police business is public business. He related to the Nigerian people on "need to know basis". Up till the time he left office, most Nigerians didn't really know him other than he was the police commissioner that arrested the impeached governor of Bayelsa, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, in 2005. Make no mistake about it. Jonathan is unpopular. And lack of popularity has little to do with zoning. His leadership is simply lackluster. 'Clueless' is one of the several unflattering words used to describe the Jonathan Presidency. In the months he has called the shots as commander-in-chief, he has shredded whatever goodwill he had from a vast majority of Nigerians. He has proved beyond doubt that he can't be trusted. Insecurity has heightened. Inflation has tripled. And expectedly unemployment has risen. Therefore, those who say otherwise, I can hazard a guess, are for bread. Tragically, "amala" politics is real. Its original proponent, late Lamidi Adedibu, will chuckle in satisfaction that after his lifetime, his gospel has been embraced at the highest level of governance The president is surrounded by a "provincial" cabal united only in "eating" amala. I used to think late Yar'adua's "cabal" was very provincial. Jonathan's has redefined the word 'provincial' to a new low. When Ringim took charge, there was no cheer. When he left there was much jeer. I had expected the man to throw in the towel a long time ago. Given the profile of the president's kitchen cabinet, Ringim certainly did not belong anymore. Agreed that he was due to retire in March, his assumed 'closeness' to the president would have bought him more time. A presidential extension of tenure would not have been unprecedented. Former Police Chief Mike Okiro enjoyed it. He was due to quit office in June 2008, but late Yar'adua graciously extended it to July 2009. So Ringim would have been in

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good company. Except that those 'closer' to the president thought otherwise. Those who know Jonathan intimately say he is a 'nice guy' who never forgets a good turn. Ringim and Jonathan had a history. Fate brought them

Umaru Musa Yar'adua, Jonathan, as No. 2 logically moved up to No. 1 in the country early 2010. By mid-year, he had become substantive president. By November of the same year, Ringim had become the nation's No. 1 cop. His appointment ruffled quite a few feathers. Expectedly, his seniors kicked. Expectedly, they were retired. For the months he held sway as chief of the police, it had been from one bumpy ride to another. His kinsmen from the North saw him as a lackey of the president. The president's kinsmen, on the other hand, distrusted him. Some said he was going to work for the opposition. After all, he was a 'Northerner' and possibly a Boko Haramite. Caught in between, Ringim's 'tour of duty' was defined by deep mistrust and suspicion on both sides of the divide. With the election over, the Frankenstein monster called Boko Haram ensured that he never slept. And those who also thought he was too 'close' to the president on account of their history made sure that he

Former IGP, Hafiz Ringim

NSA, Gen. Owoeye Azazi

together. In 2005 or thereabout, Ringim's and Jonathan's paths crossed in Bayelsa. Ringim was No.1 cop in the state; Jonathan was No.2 citizen in the state. Soon fate intervened. Jonathan became governor, Ringim remained as commissioner. Not long after, both men moved up. Jonathan became No.2 in the nation, Ringim, expectedly became just a heartbeat away from being the nation's No.1 cop as Assistant Inspector General of Police. In both, all Nigerians old enough to know that our president can't be trusted, recall how he became governor first and president later. In Bayelsa, he assumed office because his principal, the governor, had been impeached. Ringim was dutifully at hand to give cover to Jonathan. Again following the predictable death of the president at the time,

remained awake. Either way, it was just a matter of time before he was booted out. But if truth be told, the real McCoy to sack is the National Security Adviser (NSA) General Azazi (rtd). His advisory role as head of national security has been abysmally low. Curiously, security votes have been superbly high. Under his watch, national security has gone to the dogs. Except for the police force, all the service chiefs and top men of the security apparatchik are from a section of the country. Repeatedly, the nation's security apparatus has been compromised. Sundry crooked elements donning all kinds of toga have waltzed past cordons of security to embarrass the nation. Sometimes I wonder what happened to rudimentary steps in intelligence gathering. For a

on Thursday

man who has conquered the mountain of his professional military career as a soldier, Azazi betrays a profound lack of understanding of his brief. Once he made the Freudian slip in rationalizing the deadly forays of Boko Haram. According to him, terrorism was midwifed into our shores by Boko Haram. He suggested that it was a totally new phenomenon. I am yet to fathom why he stood fact on its head. It can't be that Azazi couldn't have known that before Boko Haram there was MEND. An example of playing ostrich? The murderous actions of the Boko Haram group have been roundly condemned by all Muslims. Its reign of terror in, especially, the North has grinded a once vibrant region to a halt. Currently, the historically bubbling city of Kano is deadly quiet after the rage of this sect has visited. Everywhere you look, from Maiduguri to Abuja, there is a scar left by them. MEND, the acronym for Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta. It was peopled by, mostly Azazi's kinsmen. Stories abound how they sourced their weapons. It was rumoured that a benevolent general furnished them with choice weapons while still in the service of the nation's armed forces. As it were with rumours, this one has refused to vanish. Each time the guns boom in the creeks, the general is remembered. Like Boko Haram, MEND operated in a similarly deadly manner. They walk their talk. On October 1, 2010, it detonated a bomb on the day Nigeria was celebrating 50 years of independence. Before then, they had effectively 'commandeered' the creeks of Niger Delta. That was when the president's game of ostrich playing began to manifest. MEND claimed responsibility for the blast. Mr. President said nay. Playing ostrich has become a defining quality of President Goodluck Jonathan and the men that surround him. Time and again, he has proved that he has not learned anything from his own mistakes. The wise learn from the mistakes of others. The not so wise from their own mistakes. Time and again, he has failed to see that until his security adviser comes to terms with the reality of the prevailing threats to national security, playing ostrich can't help him assert his authority as commander- in chief. If the president had the balls to dare over 100 million Nigerians and hike fuel price, he certainly has the guts to fire Azazi.

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

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday, February 2, 2012  

Today's Nigerian hot news Peoples Daily Newspaper, Thursday, February 2, 2012

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