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Plots to ‘unsea t’ FCT minister thic ken ‘unseat’ thick as Pr esidenc y mo ves to shak e up ca binet Presidenc esidency mov shake cabinet


Vol. 7 No. 64

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rabiul Awwal 9, 1433 AH


11 slain Boko Haram suspects

Parents accuse soldiers of extra-judicial killings From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri


arents of the 11 suspected Boko Haram members re cently shot to death by operatives of the Joint Military

Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, have petitioned the Federal Government over what they described as the “extra-judicial” killing of their “decent” children who had

no record of link with the dreaded group. The JTF had last Saturday claimed that 11 Boko Haram suspects were killed during a gun duel with soldiers at a check-

point. Those killed according to the aggrieved parents were Baba Kaka, Ali Dala, Mamman Mustapha, Mamman Rosi, Hassan Mohammed and

Mohammed Wakil. Others were Bala, Babangida Adamu, Baba Kaka Goni and Adam Konto. Speaking to newsmen yesterday, cross section of the Contd on Page 2

Fuel subsidy removal: Prices to shoot up March By Abdulwahab Isa


igeria’s inflation figure is expected hit a high point of between 14 and 15 per cent in the first quarter of this year as a fall-out of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi forecasted yesterday. Sanusi made these disclosures while exchanging views with journalists at the end of the monthly CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held on Monday and Tuesday in Abuja. Already, the partial removal of petrol subsidies this month which increased the pump price by 50 percent to N97 from N67 has pushed up the cost of transport, food and other goods across the country. The impact of the higher inflation figure forecast is expected to see these costs rise further. Inflation currently hovers at 10.3 per cent but the apex bank boss Contd on Page 4

L-R: Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Emir of Anka, Alhaji Muhammad Attahiru, and Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Ahmadu Aliyu, during the emergency meeting of the Northern Council of Emirs and Chiefs with ACF chieftains on the State of the Nation, in Kaduna, yesterday. Photo: NAN

I N S I D E OPC leader, Fasheun kicks against death sentence for Al-Mustapha

N38bn scam: Court frees Bankole, Nafada

OPC factional leader, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun has kicked against the death sentence passed on former CSO to Late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha– Page 2

An Abuja High Court yesterday threw out the N38bn corruption charges preferred against former Speaker Bankole and his Deputy, Bayero Nafada by EFCC – Page 3 WWW.PEOPLESDAILY-ONLINE.COM

SSS quizzes Shekarau SSS has reacted to media reports on interrogation of the former governor of Kano state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau over alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram with N10 million monthly while in office – Page 4



























You cannot fight Boko Haram, Okoye tells FG, Page 38

International 31-34 Strange World 35 Digest








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Parentsaccusesoldiersofextra-judicialkillings Contd on Page 2

parents of the suspects debunked the JTF claims, saying that their slain children were not members of the sect and had never engaged the soldiers in any shootout. According to Alhaji Dala Abatcha, who alleged that three of his children were killed by the JTF men, all the affected men whose ages ranged between 16 to 23 years, were picked by soldiers from their various homes in the midnight and later killed. “On that fateful day, the military men, at about 12:50am stormed my house and told me that they want to take my children for interrogation. I allowed them to go with them but we were later told that they were killed in a gun battle with security operatives”, Abatcha said. According to him, on hearing of the incident, he went to several military and police formations in search of his sons before tracing their dead bodies riddled with bullets at the morgue of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH). Abatcha said that he knew the character and movement of his children, and could vouch that they were not Boko Haram members, but traders going about their legitimate businesses. “We are not animals; how can you pick somebody in his house and execute him without investigation?”, he queried. He said every Nigerian has a right to fair hearing just as he/she can be investigated and if found guilty, punished. He therefore called on the government to properly investigate the incident. Another parent, Alhaji Adamu Hassan Tella accused JTF of killing his son when four soldiers jumped over the fence of his house and picked up his children in the name of

interrogation, only for him to hear that they were killed in a shootout. The parents also revealed that corpses of their sons were not released for burial because they failed to sign undertakings that the deceased were members of Boko Haram. When contacted, the JTF declined comment on the allegation, as the Field Operations Commander, Col. Victor Ebhaleme, told newsmen that the Defence Headquarters, in Abuja was in a better position to react on the issue. In another development, three suspected Boko Haram members, yesterday afternoon, stormed the Maiduguri Monday market, the major commercial centre in the Borno state capital, killing an unidentified trader. It was gathered that the incident occurred around 1.00pm, when the gunmen raided the market firing sporadic shots into the air, before heading to the shop of their target to shoot him dead. The incident paralyzed commercial activities as traders abandoned their shops and wares and scampered for safety in the pandemonium that ensued. Although the motive behind the killing of the trader could not be ascertained as at press time, sources at the market hinted that the deceased might have been targeted for being an informant to security operatives. The assailants were said to have parked their Volkswagen car behind the exit gate of the market and walked inside. Shortly after the incident, the market was immediately shut down following rumours that several bombs were about to explode. Men of JTF who were on a routine patrol at the main road leading to the market were

attracted by the sound of the gunshots and immediately arrived the spot, shooting into the air. The Field Operations Commander of the JTF, Col Ebhaleme, who confirmed the incident, said the attackers had already fled the scene before the soldiers arrived. Meanwhile, the father of one of the victims of the Boko Haram menace in Maiduguri, Mr. Chidi Ogbuji, yesterday requested for the release of the remains of his son for proper burial. Mr. Chukwuma Ogbuji, 25, a final year student of Sociology, University of Maiduguri, was felled in his prime by the Boko Haram sect. The junior Ogbuji, who hailed from Umuezeukwu Nsulu in Isiala Ngwa North local government Area of Abia state, was reported to have finished with his final year examinations before the incident occurred. According to the account, the victim was killed on Jan. 6, 2012 at 8 p.m. in his Mairi ward residence, south of the university campus. He was slain alongside his female coursemate from Akwa Ibom. The request for custody of the remains of the deceased was contained in a petition addressed to Abia Commissioner of Police and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia. The petition was signed by the family lawyer J. O.J Okpechi. The father of the victim regretted that several weeks after his son was felled by the hoodlums, he had yet to get custody of the remains. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan, the National Assembly and heads of Security Agencies in the country to deliver his son’s remains for final burial.

Major Hamza Al-Mustapha

OPC leader, Fasheun kicks against death sentence for Al-Mustapha


eader of a faction of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasheun has kicked against the death sentence passed on former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza AlMustapha. The former CSO, who was accused of masterminding the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of late MKO Abiola, was sentenced to death by hanging on Monday by Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court after 13 years of trial. But the OPC leader, who spoke to newsmen in Lagos, said Justice Dada’s verdict was not a judgment but a “display of hostility towards a perceived enemy.” “I don’t think that is justice. It is a display of hostility towards a perceived enemy. After 14 years of being kept in prisons custody, are you saying that it took all these while to know that they deserve to be hanged?”, he queried. Fasheun had in the past led a free Al-Mustapha campaign across the country following what he saw as the prolonged incarceration of the former CSO.

Fuel subsidy removal: Prices to shoot up March Contd on Page 2

assured yesterday that the long term benefits derivable from partial subsidy removal outweigh its immediate gains, affirming that the rate of inflation will moderate down to single digit level predictably by the last quarter of 2012, beginning with full implementation of the Federal Government’s palliatives. The MPC however left unchanged key indices that drive the economy, as it upheld Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), the anchor rate for lending at 12 per cent. It also left Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 8 per cent; minimum liquidity ratio at 30 per cent and

exchange rate to dollar at N155. Sanusi, who said the MPC decisions were unanimously adopted by 12 MPC members in attendance, warned against the plan to raise the oil benchmark in 2012 budget above $70 on per barrel and advocated for its retention “as any upward revision would tend to undermine macroeconomic stability”. The CBN governor said a hike in the oil benchmark above $70 which 2012 budget was predicated will not only undermine the growth of the economy, but will also distort the fiscal consolidation and budgetary efficiency. The MPC also commended the Federal Government’s initiative

towards deregulation of the downstream oil sector and urged speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which Sanusi said shall lead to complementing the effects of the fuel subsidy removal. Sanusi said the committee took special cognisance of high output growth recorded and to help generate additional jobs, “it would be essential for the Federal Government to move quickly with the structural reforms such as (a) power sector reforms, (b) implementing the agricultural sector transformation programmes and the associated value chain, and (c) refocusing attention to the provision of

technical and vocational training to bring about skills development that would match the needs of the economy.” On external factors development, the CBN boss said foreign exchange reserves amounted to US$ 32.64 billion as at end December 2011, more or less flat, relative to the US$32.34 billion as at end December 2010, despite the higher oil price in 2011. He said the Committee noted that pressure on the exchange rate emanating from the high demand reflected the import-dependent nature of the economy, which he said was compounded by the activities of speculators.



Reps grill minister over N3bn proposed employment programme By Lawrence Olaoye


he House of Representatives yesterday took the Minister of Youth Development to task over the desirability of the ministry’s proposed N3 billion Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) currently before it for consideration. The minister while defending the ministry’s N76 billion appropriation proposal before the

House Committee on Youth Development chaired by Rep Kamil Akinlabi, had told the lawmakers that the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) was designed to train 250,000 Nigerian youths in the first year with the capacity to enlarge the figure to one million by the end of 2013. According to him, the programme would be executed with the collaboration of the

private sector which is expected to provide the technical expertise for the sustainability of the programme. He said the pilot programme would begin with the selection of 1000 youths from each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory for training in different vocations. Abdullai also disclosed that the Ministry had decided to limit the postings of corps members by the

National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to only four areas with no provision for redeployment. He said beginning from next year, NYSC would only be posting corps members to rural areas and they would be posted to concerns including agriculture, rural health, infrastructure and

Insecurity: North’s monarchs, ACF chieftains meet From Agaju Madugba & Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


L-R: Acting National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, and Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Alhaji Ali Gulak, after their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, at the State House in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

education. But the Committee chairman counseled the minister to carry out critical studies before embarking on the YEP project as he cautioned that similar efforts in the past were hijacked by high-heeled politicians.

orthern traditional rulers and chiefs converged on Kaduna yesterday over what a competent source close to the meeting described as a crucial move to proffer solutions to the problems confronting the north and the nation in general. The closed door meeting which held at the Lugard Hall had in attendance, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, the Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmuminu Kabir Usman, the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Umar Garbai, and the Olofa of Ofa, Musftau Osuoye, among others. Also invited to the meeting

were some chieftains of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). The source noted that the closed door meeting had been convened before Monday’s court judgment which sentenced Major Hamza AlMustapha to death over complicity in the murder of Kudirat Abiola in 1996 but that the matter received a “comment” pending further developments in the case. Essentially, according to the source, “the traditional rulers are disturbed by the wave of killings especially in some areas in the north. This has been a source of concern to them because of the strategic positions they hold.” There was no communiqué at the end of the meeting which lasted about four hours. Yesterday's meeting was held a day ahead of an ACF planned meeting to review the State of the Nation.

Court dismisses N38bn corruption charges against Bankole, Nafada By Sunday Ejike Benjamin, Abuja & Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta


n Abuja High Court yesterday threw out the N38 billion corruption charges preferred against former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy, Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The trial judge, Justice Suleiman Belgore, in his ruling which lasted about three hours, held that the former Speaker and deputy had no case to answer in respect of the 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust preferred against them while in office. Justice Belgore held that there was no contravention of known financial regulations by the former leaders of the House to warrant their being put on trial, even as he stated that the two accused persons cannot be vicariously liable, in criminal law, for the action that

was taken by the general House. On the argument by prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo that the leadership of the House of Reps did not seek approval from the President to source for loans to pay members’ enhanced running cost, which was increased from N27 million per member, per quarter to N42 million, the trial judge held that: “the House of Representatives does not need approval from the President to increase its running cost and also source for loans from a bank, as it is an independent arm of government, which is not in the category of ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs).” Furthermore, the court disagreed with the anti-graft agency that, by not seeking the approval of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the accused persons breached the extant provisions of the Commission’s Act when it asked: “Is the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission

the owner of the money as to make their consents relevant? How can it be relevant that money approved by members need to get the approval of RMAFC before it is disbursed?” The court also clarified that the functions of the accused persons, in their capacities as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, did not include dealings with the funds of the House. Rather, their functions were “purely legislative in nature”. The court also held that, contrary to EFCC’s allegation that, the leadership of the House obtained a loan facility of N38 billion from First Bank Plc. and United Bank of Nigeria Plc., the actual amount of loans taken and rolled over thrice is put at N25 billion only, just as it accused members of the House of being ‘insensitive’ to the plight of those who elected them, as exemplified in the mindless increment in their running costs. “There was no contravention of any financial regulations by the

two accused persons and no prima facie case has been established against them. I find considerable merit in this ‘no case submission’ by the defence", the court held. Meanwhile, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo disagreed with the reasoning and conclusion of Justice Belgore’s ruling, saying that, it is wrong for a judge to allow a public officer to take money from public fund under any guise without reference to the RMAFC He said Section 70 of the 1999 Constitution states that, “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall receive such salary and other allowances as the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission may determine.” “We do not know how the judge arrived at the conclusion that the loans have been fully paid back when the loan obtained from First Bank Plc remain unpaid as manifestly shown in the evidence of PW 9 above (as against that of UBA). “For these and other reasons,

we are totally dissatisfied with the judgement and we are consulting with our client, EFCC on the possibility of an appeal”, he added. In the meantime, it was celebration for the family of the former Speaker as the family house located in Oluwo-Onikolobo area of Abeokuta, Ogun state capital was yesterday filled to brim, as supporters, friends and close associates celebrated the ruling. Well-wishers, comprising of politicians on hearing the ruling stormed the home of the former speaker’s father in hundreds to celebrate with the family, chanting solidarity songs. Our Abeokuta correspondent reports that the immediate family members of the former number four citizen, were full of praises to Almighty for vindicating their son, saying that the trial was purely political. However, Chief Alani Bankole, father of the immediate past Speaker, while receiving the supporters thanked God that his son had been vindicated.



Senate, Presidency on collision course over N766m Aso Villa refreshment vote By Richard Ihediwa


he Senate and the Presidency appear to be on collision course following moves by the Senate to slash the N766 million proposed by the executive for food and refreshment

for the Presidency in the 2012 budget. Members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character had rejected the budget saying it was outrageous especially in the face of the national consensus that cost of government should be

slashed across board. Trouble started when the State House management led by its Permanent Secretary, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, who came to defend the Presidency’s 2012 budget in the Senate on Monday, gave details of the budget, which contained

amounts for food and refreshments, which the lawmakers said were outrageous. Senators particularly frowned at the allocation of N473 million for foodstuff and catering and another N293million for refreshments.

Boko Haram: SSS quizzes Shekarau By Abubakar Ibrahim, Abuja & Edwin Olofu, Kano


he State Security Services (SSS) has reacted to media reports on interrogation of the former governor of Kano state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau over alleged sponsorship of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wajihad (alias Boko Haram) with N10 million monthly while in office. Spokeswoman of the SSS, Mrs Mariylyn Ogar who confirmed the arrest, said Shekarau was merely invited to an interactive session to clarify allegations that he made several payments to Boko Haram. The short statement also stated that Shekarau was not arrested as he was released after three hours of "interaction" with the agency. Speaking on the matter, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the former Governor, Sule Ya’u Sule in a press statement yesterday dismissed the rumours of Shekarau’s arrest and described them as the wicked imagination of persons needlessly unsettled by the growing popularity of the former governor. Earlier, there were strong rumours making the rounds in Kano and on the internet that the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential flagbearer at the April 2011 general elections, was arrested and held in the custody of the SSS over alleged sponsorship of Boko Haram members to maintain peace during his reign as the governor of the state. Shekarau had earlier denied the allegation that his government gave Boko Haram a sums of N5 and N10 million respectively on monthly basis to ensure peace reigned during his eight-year tenure. He said there was no truth in the publication carried by some newspapers over the allegation. Sule said the clarification had become necessary in response to numerous calls from supporters and associates of the former governor who were clearly agitated by his rumoured arrest by security agents.

L-R: Deputy Governor Financial Systems Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Moghalu, CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and Deputy Governor Economic Policy, Mrs. Sarah Alade, during the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

First to fire the salvo was the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Isa Galaudu, who lamented that while other ministries and departments were pruning down their recurrent budgets, that of the State House seemed to be on the increase. “A country where 70 percent live below a dollar per day, 90 percent live below two dollars a day, this budget is absolutely outrageous. I think you need to explain more because our main concern... “Apart from the foodstuff and catering of N473 million, there is another N293million for refreshment. I think, there is need for prudence...” In his explanation, the permanent secretary said the size of the overhead budget was informed by the volume of events and guests received at the Presidency. “Foodstuff from what you saw is N500 million and the refreshment, like I said before has to do with the volumes of meetings that are held every week and there are retinue of people coming. Lately, it is based on the state of the nation. The level of consultations has increased. If you multiply the number of meetings per week and month and then extrapolate into a year, you will appreciate what we are doing”, he said.

Death sentence: Al-Mustapha, Shofolahan appeal ruling From Francis Iwuchukwu, Lagos


ondemned chief security officer (CSO) to late head of state, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Almustapha and Protocol Officer in the ‘Hope 93’ campaign organisation of late MKO Abiola, Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, who were yesterday sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Mojisola Dada of a Lagos High Court have filed notices of appeal against the judgment of the trial court. Justice Mojisola Dada, in a judgment which lasted for about 7 hours on Monday, sentenced AlMustapha and Sofolahan to death by hanging for participating in the

murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of the late acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential elections, Bashorun Moshood Abiola. The decision of the lower court was described by both men as unreasonable, unwarranted and a clear miscarriage of justice. In his notice of appeal, AlMustapha wants the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos to set aside the judgment and discharge him of the of conspiracy and murder. Justice Dada had, while handing down the verdict, held that the prosecution was able to successfully prove that AlMustapha and Shofolahan conspired with others to kill Kudirat on June 4, 1996.

However, Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan are arguing in their notices of appeal filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, that Justice Dada erred in law by arriving at the conclusion that they killed Kudirat. While Al-Mustapha’s appeal was anchored on four grounds, that of his co-convict (Shofolahan) was hinged on five grounds. In ground one, Al-Mustapha submitted that the lower court erred in law by holding that the contradictions in the evidence of Banabas Jabila (aka Sgt Rogers) and Mohammed Abdul (aka Katako) were immaterial, when the same judge had earlier held that both Sgt Rogers and Katako

recanted their evidence in chief under cross-examination, 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 his 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.

relied heavily on citation and report s of similar cases in history” before arriving at conclusive verdict, adding that what they saw from Lagos High court is desperate attempt to eliminate the former CSO. Hadi further explained that a competent court of jurisdiction had in recent past, dismissed the evidenced given by the two star witnesses (Rogers and Katako ) by another Lagos Judge on the attempted murder of late Guardian publisher, Alex Ibru as “unreliable and ‘inadmissible’ in a high profile case . “All these facts and many more are available to the learned judge and yet she ignored them for reasons best known to her. But

the question remains why she has chosen to ignore this important chain of legal process in arriving at a decision on a crucial matter where the life is involved”. Al Mustapha family recalled with nostalgia how the same crown witness in Justice Mojisola Dada’s court disowned his earlier testimony on Al Mustapha, stressing that he was coerced to implicate the former CSO to be rewarded handsomely. Al Mustapha family stressed that “Rogers on that fateful day broke down and cried in the open court, begged the entire defendants, including Al Mustapha for forgiveness. Rogers had stated that he and others had

agreed to the prosecution’s plan because they were promised huge amount of money. The family added that “Two different High courts and the Court of Appeal (3 courts) have pronounced that the statement by Rogers and Katako is too inconsistent to be true, and uptil now no competent court in the land has found the testimony of Sergeant Rogers to be credible, so these three courts have ruled that Rogers and Katako statement are “worthless and false”. The family however stated that they still have confidence in the judiciary as they have directed their legal team to commence the procedure of filing an appeal to seek redress at the Appellate court.

…Family says sentence made mockery of judiciary From Edwin Olofu, Kano


he family of Major Hamza AlMustapha yesterday described the Lagos High Court ruling that sentenced the former Chief Security Officer to late General Sani Abacha as a “mockery of established judicial process. Hadi, the younger brother of the embattled former CSO who disclosed this to newsmen after rising from a crucial family meeting Tuesday afternoon, stated that ‘the strength of evidence relied upon by the learned judge for the conviction was contradictory to subsisting judgment on the same case. He admitted that even though he is not a lawyer “judicial process


Hajj: Zamfara pilgrims’ board warns against sharp practices, gets 5570 seats From Salisu Zakari Maradun, Gusau


he Zamfara state Pilgrims Welfare Agency (PWA), has warned its staff against favouring any non-indigene or foreigner to secure a Hajj seat from the state, as it will not hesitate to deal ruthlessly with anyone caught in the act. It also charged any pilgrim who claimed to have lost his luggage in the last Hajj exercise to come forward with any evidence in respect to his or her lost bags to the agency. Chairman of the agency, Alhaji Lawali Kaura made the disclosure in Gusau, the state capital shortly after a meeting with all the stakeholders in respect of the Hajj exercise at the premises of the agency. Alhaji Kaura who also doubles as the ANPP chairman in the state, further explained that the board has directed that all its members be involved in making arrangements for the exercise at their respective local government areas.

NPAN to audit newspaper business in Nigeria


he Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), is to commission a reputable international audit firm to conduct an audience and readership survey of newspapers published in the country. Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, President of the association who said this in Lagos yesterday at the continued engagement with sectoral groups in the marketing communication industry tagged “The 2012 Advert Summit”, said the exercise will analyse and collate values delivered by the constituent members of the association. A press release signed by Feyi Smith, the executive secretary of NPAN, states that the president spoke against the background of the demand by media buyers for data on segmentation and readership profile of newspapers in the country and the insistence of the print industry that the figures being bandied by agencies as authentic, do not reflect realities in the market place as they affect the industry. The event which was hosted by Vanguard newspapers held at Protea Hotel, Ikeja GRA and was attended by publishers, managing directors, editors, marketing managers and presidents of the sectoral groups in the marketing communication industry.


Plots thicken to unseat FCT minister as Presidency moves to shake up cabinet By our correspondent


nless there is a dramatic change of mind on the part of the Presidency, a Nigerian envoy to one of the Western countries (name withheld) is primed to upstage the present minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Bala Mohammed in an imminent cabinet shake up. Our investigations reveal that the envoy, who held a key position in the Jonathan/Sambo Presidential

Campaign Organisation had actually bid farewell to staff of the Nigerian mission in the country of his assignment, soon after President Jonathan’s re-election prepatory to a ministerial appointment but he was reportedly down cast when he was retained in his former position. Feelers also indicate that the envoy cashed in on the simmering feud between the First Lady and the current FCT minister to achieve his ambition to be appointed to supervise the Federal

capital's ministry. Although the cause of the feud between the incumbent minister and the First Lady remains unknown, sources said the minister has fallen out of favour and may be given the boot anytime soon. Several attempts by our correspondent to get the media aides of the FCT minister to react to the allegations proved abortive. Contacted , the Senior Special Assistant to the minister on Media, Mr. Nosike Ogbuenyi declined

comment, saying he was not in a position to speak on the issues. He said that only the minister’s Senior Special Assistant on Communication, Jamila Tangaza, had the authority to speak and was unfortunately not available. Ogbuenyi, however, said that he could speak, when authorised, and asked our correspondent to see Jamila instead. But, other attempts to reach her were unsuccessful as she was said to be unavailable during several visits to her office.

L-R: VicePresident Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and Deputy Chief of Staff to the State House, Alhaji Abubakar Kachalla, during their meeting on power sector, at the State House, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Joe Oroye

‘Fuel subsidy proceeds will be well spent’ Sokoto acting gov wants F journalists to be fair From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos

ormer deputy governor of Niger state, Dr. Shem Zagbayi has said that proceeds from the oil subsidy removal should be used to develop various sectors of the economy, saying Plateau state would receive over N6.9 billion this year for infrastructure and is not meant for salaries. Dr. Nuhu, who was the guest speaker at town hall meeting held in Jos, said he is confident that the

Plateau state governor would use the said money for the purpose it was meant, maintaining that there is the need to remove the subsidy so that the masses would benefit from the funds recovered from it. According to him, “In the past, government at all levels have disappointed Nigerians hence the apprehension about the deregulation policy but we should give government the chance and watch in six months what would be done with the funds realised”.

He stressed, “Subsidy is discriminatory, shows inequality in the society and at the detriment of the masses that need basic infrastructure. “With it removal, the masses stand to benefit because, there would be limited government intervention in the oil sector, there would be transparency, refineries would be built and investors would be attracted as no one is willing to invest in government business and scarcity will disappear and many people have access to fuel”.

Benue police to sensitise indigenes over Boko Haram From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


enue State Police Commissioner, Mr. John Haruna has disclosed the command’s readiness sensitise people of the state on the methods of operations adopted by the Boko Haram Islamist sect. Mr. Haruna who made this disclosure during a press briefing yesterday at the officers’ mess in Makurdi, said he had already met with bank managers and other financial institutions in the State to educate them on how to track down terrorist.

He maintained that the Boko Haram group comprised of individuals whose modus operandi leaves little to fathom, stating that the command would carry out enlightenment campaign in all local government areas and with community leaders on the need for them to be security conscious. The commissioner also disclosed that over 500 robbers, most of who have been on the wanted lists of the police for a long time, were recently encountered by his men in different operations in the state during which six were killed.

The command also paraded some of the robbers as well as some ammunitions recovered from them which include, locally fabricated guns, welding materials used in fabricating the weapons, live ammunition, pump action guns and pistols, AK 47 amongst others. Mr. Haruna said the robbers were apprehended in collaboration with residents and sued for further co-operation from individuals to track down robbers in the state. He also announced rewards for some gallant police officers and recommended them to Force Headquarters for promotion.

From Muhammad Abdullah, Sokoto


okoto state acting governor, Alhaji Lawali Muhammad Zayyana, has called on the media to always be fair in their reportage by checking their facts before publication. The acting governor made the call yesterday, during a parley with journalists at Government House, Sokoto. According to him, when journalists write balanced reports, it will go a long way in guaranteeing peace and harmony in the state. He described the role of the media as strategic in societal transformation. Alhaji Zayyana pointed out that, there is no country that ever made any progress without contributions from the media.



Chaos as police abandon traffic duties in Kano From Bala Nasir, Kano


he recent security measures taken within Kano metropolis with a view to forestall Boko Haram attacks are causing serious traffic hold ups as unemployed youths take over traffic control at junctions. The security measures which involve stop and search by the combined team of military and police personnel on many roads as well as others on patrol, are some

of the causes of the traffic hold ups. The police have also blocked all roads leading to police stations causing detours, with incoming and outgoing vehicles using one lane of a dual carriageway. Kano state with a population of over 10 million people has about half of this population living within the state capital and its suburbs. The youths have taken charge of traffic control at intersections at a time when uniformed policemen

or traffic wardens are hardly visible on the streets. They however, extort money from motorists and other road users by wielding big clubs to compel them. Those who refused to pay the bribe are blocked until the ones that pay have their way. Our correspondent reports that the boys collect N10, N20 or more depending on individual's generosity for any motorist helped out. At various junctions, these

youths take advantage of the security situation in the state that seemed to have virtually compelled all security operatives to be extra cautious while carrying out their normal duties.. Old tyres and other objects usually put on the roads to block motorists are also guarded by some of them so that any road user who tries to run over them is attacked or runs the risk of having his vehicle side mirrors or windshields smashed. Their business thrives mostly during the busy hours of the day especially in the morning and evening when people rush home

Assault: Oyo lawmakers summon Customs chiefs

NANUS to sue ASUU for prolonged strike

From Inumidun Ojelade, Ibadan


he members of Oyo state House of Assembly yesterday, summoned the head of operation in charge of Oyo and Osun Command of Nigeria Customs Services over the public misconduct of its men. The House’ decision came on the heel of two different petitions sent to it by the principal, Mrs. Titi Aponmode and teachers of the United Secondary School, Ijokodo, Ibadan, expressing displeasure on the assault and injury of its staff by a Customs officer who came to the school. It would be recalled that, a customs officer from the Oyo state command had on Friday last week stormed the school beating up his child’s class teacher to the point of coma because the teacher disciplined a student. In the petition, the principal and teachers of the school explained that, the victim had since been admitted in hospital due to injuries sustained during the assault and called for proper investigation and justice. After thorough deliberation by the members of the House, the Speaker, Hon. Monsurat Sumonu summoned all parties involved to appear before the House next week. Meanwhile, the Minority Leader, Hon. Rafiu Adekunle has advised Governor Abiola Ajimobi to shun the intimidating credentials of people seeking political office without skills to perform. Hon. Adekunle stated this during a screening session for a nominee for the post commissioner in the state adding that people are tired of slow performance of present administration. He disclosed that virtually most of the serving commissioners performed below expectation when compared with their credentials in office saying ‘Chicago’ credentials was not enough. The House later approved the appointment of Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin as commissioner who is taking over from the former commissioner for health, Dr. Lateef Olopoeyan who was sacked by the governor for incompetence.

to beat the 6:00 7:00 am curfew. Places mostly affected are areas like Rijiyar Lemo along Katsina Road, Sabon Titi, Kofar Ruwa, Fagge roundabout and other entry points. The Police Public Relations Officer of Kano state Police Command, ASP Magaji Musa Majia, told our correspondent that the command got wind of the problem and has noted all the affected junctions. The command, he said, would bring the situation under control, urging people in the state to go about their normal businesses.

From Nankpah Bwakan, Jos


Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (middle), in a group photograph with Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAWD), during the association’s visit to the minister in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Security challenges in Niger, threat to foreign investors From Iliya Garba, Minna


he Chairman of the Joint Committee on a bill for a law to provide for the establishment of vigilante group in Niger State, Hon. Bello Ahmadu has said that security challenges has put the state’s economy under threat. Making this known yesterday in Minna at a public hearing, he

said foreign investors would find it extremely difficult to put their finance in an unstable polity. He said the purpose of the bill was to ensure that lives and property were adequately protected across the state. “Niger state has been known for its relative peace, we must endeavour to maintain this peace that was created by all of us and it must be sustained by

all of us”. Hon. Ahmadu expressed regret on security challenges facing the nation and called for concerted efforts both at federal and state levels to address it. The chairman noted that recent events across the nation have informed the need for this proposal in Niger state, “these events have threatened the very foundations of the corporate existence of Nigeria and that is why I think all patriots must rise to the occasion”.

Atiku condoles with acting IGP over wife’s death By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ormer Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has described the death of Hajiya Maryam Abubakar, wife of the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as a great loss at a most difficult moment for the nation’s most

senior police officer. In a condolence message released by his media office in Abuja, the former vice-president said the death of a wife in particular one of many long years of matrimony was a heavy emotional burden on any ordinary human being. While trying to overcome the emotional impact of his wife’s death at a challenging moment for the country’s security, the former

vice-president urged the acting IG not to be distracted by this personal loss. The former vice-president noted that a wife is a major component of a family structure and that he shared the pains of Acting IGP Abubakar in this tough moment. He prayed the Almighty to grant the IGP, his family and relatives of the deceased the fortitude to bear this enormous loss.

pparently tired with the prolonged strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the National Association of Nigerian University Students (NANUS) yesterday threatened to drag ASUU to court to seek an end to the incessant strikes by lecturers. NANUS while addressing a press conference in Jos said it has become very embarrassing that the strike action often delayed students for extra years before graduation, lamenting that most students now prefer to study overseas. NANUS said to change the ugly situation, the body is going to court to seek stoppage of strike in universities permanently. National President of NANUS, Comrade Ngene Offia disclosed that the body has already briefed its team of legal experts on the next line of action because it wants an end to strike actions in universities across the country through persuasions and court action. The students body noted that the issue of infrastructure for which ASUU is protesting were students problems as they stand while receiving lectures and even rent accommodations off-campus due to inadequate lecture rooms and hostel accommodation. Offia said NANUS would take it up with the Federal Government but appreciates ASUU for drawing attention to their challenges. “The association will not fold its arms when the future of the youths of the country is in serious jeopardy, as a result of strike actions embarked upon by ASUU and other associations within the universities”, he said. NANUS however, called on the Federal Government and ASUU to speed up dialogue as well as shift grounds in order to suspend the prolonged strike in the overall interest of the nation’s education sector and that of Nigerian students saying no nation could progress when youths are denied access to education.



SSS parades 10 suspected kidnappers, including 2 girls in Edo From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


L-R: Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Triple Cee Media, Alhaji Ibrahim Jirgi, Executive Director, Strategy and Planning, Triple Cee, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed B.K, member, Ibrahim Bunu Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Bashir Maidugu and Coordinator, Ibrahim Bunu Campaign Project, Alhaji Aminu Yakudima, during their visit to Peoples Media headquarters in Abuja, on Monday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

FCT budgets N3bn for Mark, Tambuwal, others’ official residences By Lawrence Olaoye


he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, on Monday, told the House of Representatives that the official residences of the principal officers of the National Assembly would gulp the sum of N3.044 billion. Bala who appeared before the House Committee on FCT chaired by Rep Emmanuel Jimeh, told the lawmakers that he had relocated the site of the project from its original Maitama Extension to the Three Arms Zone which accommodates the residences of the President, his vice and the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The minister who could not provide the breakdown of how much each of the building would cost in spite of several requests from the members of the committee, said the relocation of the site became imperative because the original site lacked all required infrastructure. The four official buildings according to him would house the Senate President, Senator David Mark; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremandu and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. The project of building new residences for the four principal officers of the National Assembly followed the monetisation policy of the government that made the principal officers of the Sixth Assembly to buy the government properties by virtue of their positions. While the Senate President during the Sixth Assembly, Senator David Mark and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremandu benefitted from the monetisation policy, Speaker Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy, Bayero Nafada

• Relocates site to Three Arms Zone bought over their official residences. Mark and Ekweremandu are currently enjoying the luxury of their former official residencies, now converted to personal properties, while the Tambuwal and his Deputy, Ihedioha are operating from their personal residences with the attendant security challenges. Meanwhile, the committee

has tasked the minister on the need to develop the satellite towns alongside the districts and municipalities even as they pointed out that the satellite towns have been neglected in the developmental drives of the FCT in the 2012 budget. The minister however, insisted that he would have loved to develop the satellite towns alongside the districts and municipalities but for the

paucity of funds. He said most of the projects earmarked for execution in the 2012 budget were rolled-over from 2009. He disclosed that he actually proposed a budget of N401.2 billion but the Budget Office approved only N46.1 billion for the 2012 fiscal year. Nevertheless, the minister told the lawmakers that he intended to bridge the difference by involving the private sector.

Adamawa acting gov proposes N87bn budget From Blessing Tunoh, Yola


he acting governor of Adamawa state, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umar Fintri yesterday presented a budget of N87, 913, 140, 360.00 to the state legislature to appropriate into law for the 2012 fiscal year. Presenting the proposal on the floor of the House of Assembly during the plenary session, the first in two months, Fintri who took over governorship of the state in acting capacity following expiration of former Governor Murtala Nyako’s tenure, said the budget estimate would be used to finance both recurrent and capital development programmes in the state. “As far as the history of budgeting in Adamawa state is concerned, this is the first time that our budget is being prepared on world class standard with international classification codes/ charts of accounts, and by this, I understand all MDAs are now being given unique classification codes for the accounting revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities” Fintri said. He explained that the budget is made up of the sum of N36.506 billion from statutory allocation,

N7.548 billion from VAT as well as N8.140 billion from excess crude and N28.974 from capital receipts, adding that the balance of N6.746 billion is expected to accrue from internally generated revenue efforts. The balance of N42.561 billion representing 48 percent of the budget estimate is to be expended on capital projects and programmes of the state within the fiscal year, with the land and transport sub-sectors getting the highest allocation of N8.599 billion. Health, education and agriculture got the governor stated that the sum of N17.391 billion has been earmarked for personnel emolument; N22.962 billion for overhead cost; and N4.977 billion is being estimated for consolidated revenue fund charges just as general administration is expected to receive a whooping N7.540 billion of the allocation. Our correspondent recalls that the first budget of the Nyako administration in 2008 was presented by the then acting governor, Rt. Hon. James Barka following quashing of the election that brought him to office. However the 2012 budget was delayed because of the indignant

position taken by leadership of the PDP and officials of Nyako’s government who cordoned the House of Assembly complex against Governor Fintri’s speakership.

he State Security Service (SSS) in Edo state yesterday, paraded 10 suspected kidnappers and cultists, including two girls. The state’s director of SSS, Mr. Bakori Tukur, who paraded the suspects before newsmen, said they were involved in various cases of kidnapping in the state. He said one of such incidents was the kidnap of a businessman in Ekpoma, Esan West local government area, who allegedly paid N45 million ransom to secure his freedom. Tukur said the two girls, Doris Sebatie and Queen Sunday, were also part of a kidnap gang which allegedly collected N5 million from their victim. He explained that the suspects used Doris’ phone to negotiate the ransom, but that the girl (suspect) claimed that her sim card was stolen while she was asleep. The SSS director said a male member of the gang was alleged to have abducted an 18-year-olg girl, raped her and collected N18, 000 from the parents. The gang leader, who gave his name as Emmanuel, explained that the victim was his girl friend, and that it was she who faked the kidnapping story to get money from her mother. Items recovered from the suspects include two cut-to-size barrel guns and 18 live cartridges. A suspected cultist, Emmanuel Ighobo, told newsmen that he was a student of the Institute of Management Technology, Usen, Edo, studying Business Administration from whom the two cut-to-size single barrel guns and 36 live cartridges were recovered.

Magistrate transfers Boko Haram suspects’ case to High Court


n Abuja Magistrates’ Court yesterday terminated the First Information Report on three persons accused of being members of the Boko Haram sect and transferred their trial to the Federal High Court. The accused persons are Mohammed Sani, Mohammed Auwal and Jemilu Shuaibu, arraigned on Jan. 20 on the charges of conspiracy and belonging to an unlawful society. The termination of the report and the transfer of the case followed a motion by the prosecutor, Mr. Chijoke Okezie yesterday, praying the court to transfer it to a High Court. Okezie in a motion urged the court to terminate the report and produce the accused persons for further investigation.

He argued in the motion supported by an eightparagraph affidavit that the offence for which the suspects were brought before the court bordered on national security. “There were new issues that bordered on national security which called for further investigation which might lead the charging of the accused person to Federal High Court”, he said. According to him, the accused persons have been summoned to appear before a panel set up to investigate the escape of one Kabiru Sokoto, an alleged Boko Haram member. Senior Magistrate Aliyu Shafa granted the prayers and directed that the suspects should be released to the police for further investigation. (NAN)



Minister inaugurates committee to harness Inland waterways By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


he Minister of Transport, Senator Idris A. Umar, has inaugurated a committee to harness the potentials of inland waterways chaired by Mohammed Nagogo, the Director of Maritime Services in the ministry. A statement issued yesterday by the Assistant Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Abiodun Oladunjoye, said most of the members of the committee were drawn from the private sector, officials of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), as well as some officials of Federal and State Ministries of Transport. The minister charged the committee to provide historical background of Inland Water Transport in Nigeria, identify all navigable rivers and creeks in Nigeria and their roles and potentials for Inland Water Transport, and to also prioritise the rivers/creeks for revitalisation based on their economic viability.

FG pledges 1 million jobs for youths From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


he Minister of State for Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has declared that the Federal Government would create close to a million jobs through investments in technical and vocational education. Speaking with newsmen in Makurdi after a visit to Highbury College, Portsmouth, United Kingdom, where he met with officials of the college, Wike assured of the administration's commitment to the empowerment of Nigerian youths in contributing to national development.

He said that the Federal Ministry of Education has already commenced collaboration with educational institutions in Taiwan, South Korea and United Kingdom to create access to functional vocational education for Nigerian youths. "Our focus is to use technical and vocational education to create jobs for Nigerian youths. We hope to provide quality training that would assist the youths enhance their standard of living. "Our children must have functional skills across different trades. The government will make vocational and technical education very attractive to our youths", the

minister said. He maintained that it was high time technical and vocational education assumed it rightful place to help solve the economic challenges facing Nigerians. "For those trained in trades, they can never be unemployed. The Federal Government is developing a functional curriculum to ensure that graduates of various trades fit into the employment market", Barr. Wike noted The Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Simeon Nswakaudu told Peoples Daily that the principal and chief executive of Highbury College,

Portsmouth, Stella Mbubaegbu confirmed that the school initiated the ministerial visit because it believes that it can partner with Nigeria to develop technical and vocational education. She noted that the school which operates a world class vocational training scheme would avail Nigeria of its expertise in creating a skills base to create jobs. According to her, trades like carpentry, automobile repairs, painting, hair dressing, ship making and web designing could help in creating jobs for a high percentage of Nigerian youths.

Oshiomhole hails Supreme Court From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin


overnor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state has described the recent Supreme Court judgment on the sacked five governors as a vote of confidence on the judiciary. Reacting to the judgment in Benin City, Oshiomhole said "the judgment of the Supreme Court has in several ways reassured the people of Nigeria that justice and fairness is still possible in Nigeria". "All fair-minded Nigerians salute the courage with which those eminent jurists delivered not just the letter but the spirit of our constitution that a man cannot benefit from his own iniquity. We need to salute the judiciary for situating itself in the minds of Nigerians", he noted The governor argued that those who benefited from rigging and were found guilty by a competent court of law should not benefit from their stolen mandate. "There is no reason whatsoever why those found guilty of stealing votes should be allowed to stay longer than eight years in office", he added. "This judgment has enhanced the image of the judiciary several mileage in the hearts of fair minded Nigerians that are committed to democracy. I congratulate the Supreme Court for their courage and for re-assuring the average Nigerians that Justice delayed is not justice denied", Oshiomhole said.

L-R: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, with acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, during the Speaker's condolence visit to the IG over the death of his wife Hajiya Maryam Abubakar, at the IG's official residence in Abuja, yesterday.

Jigawa govt debunks claim of crises in the state From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse


he Jigawa state government has debunked a report that crises in some Northern states including its own was the result of problems associated with influx of people to Bauchi, as false and unfounded. This was contained in a press

statement and signed by the Director of Press to the Jigawa state Governor, Malam Umar Kyari and issued to Peoples Daily in Dutse yesterday. The release stated that the report was received with shock and surprise to many residents of the state. According to the statement, while the Jigawa state government is not ignorant of

25 judiciary reform committee members signed report, says CJN By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


he Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, yesterday, said 25 out of the 29 members of the Judicial Reform Committee signed the committee's report submitted to him on December, 15,2011. The Deputy Director, Publicity of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr. Soji Oye had, in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja refuted media reports that only 14 members of the committee signed the report. According to Mr. Soji, "the

Secretariat of the committee is constrained to inform the public that on December 15, 2011 when the report was submitted to the Chief Justice of Nigeria by the chairman of the Judiciary Reform Committee, Justice M. L. Uwais, it was signed by 25 members and not only 14 as reported by and advertised in some dailies". The CJN who doubles as NJC chairman, said the list containing the names and signatures of the members of the committee that signed the report at the time it was submitted to him on December 15, 2011 could be verified from the report in his office.

the reality of the crises in the region, it is however shocked that the Bauchi state government will list Jigawa among those crises ridden states". "Unlike Bauchi", reads the statement, "Jigawa has known peace since 2007, there has

never been conflict of either religious, ethnic or any humanitarian tragedy of noticeable proportion beyond the 2010 flood, nor was there cases of political thuggery or drug induced youth violence across the entire state”, he said.

Army threatens to demolish more buildings demolition. He regretted that encroached


he Nigerian Army yesterday warned encroachers on its cantonment at Ojo, Lagos to vacate the premises fast or face the demolition of their structures. The head of the demolition team, Ojo Military Cantonment, Col. Timothy Lagbaja, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that many of the encroachers had refused to vacate the land, in spite of notices. He said that the army had demolished about 300 illegal buildings on the cantonment's land since Dec., 2011, and had stopped to give more opportunities to encroachers to vacate willingly. Lagbaja said that willful vacation would avoid destruction of the encroachers’ belongings during

structures had overtaken the cantonment’s shooting range and had become a security threat. “No structure should be erected 20ft away from the walls of the cantonment; this information is clearly displayed around the barracks”, Lagbaja said. He told NAN that the army had since two years ago notified the encroachers of its intention to demolish their structures. “We marked the houses that encroached into the army area, yet they wiped off the marks repeatedly”, he said. He claimed that many encroachers were building houses on the land acquired for the Nigerian Army by the Ministry of Defence in 1974. (NAN)



Mambilla is under threat from Cameroun, says LG chairman From Yusha’u Alhassan, Jalingo


he chairman of Sardauna local government area of Taraba state, Mr. Oliver Wubon has said the area is under threat because of the long border it shares with Cameroon Republic. According to the chairman, Cameroun has the ambition to annex particularly the area where the Mambilla hydro-electric power project is located. Wubon made this disclosure when members of the Senior Course 34 of military officers from the Armed Forces Command and

Staff College, Jaji in Kaduna state, led by Brigadier General Nsor Okpa Ojiji, paid him a visit. Briefing athe chairman of Sardauna local government council at Bizare Hotel, Gembu, General Ojiji said he was leading student officers from Jaji who are touring some selected local governments in the state to source materials for their course work. In his comments, the chairman commended the resilience of the officers for braving the horrendous terrain to the plateau. He disclosed that Mambilla

plateau which has the highest peak in Nigeria stands at latitude 1, 830 degrees above sea level. The chairman described Mambilla plateau as Nigeria’s hidden treasure where virtually all varieties of minerals resources are found, but lamented that the area has remained backward probably because of bad roads and lack of facilities that could attract investors and boost tourism. On socioeconomic development, the chairman said, a five star Hotel and an airstrip projects are in the pipeline to boost tourism in addition to the hydro-

electric power project which when completed would generate job opportunities. The team also paid courtesy call on the acting chief of Mambilla Alhaji Umaru Sulaiman Titong who used the forum to call on both the federal and the state governments to provide social amenities like schools, hospital, and potable water among others to the communities to reduce the hardship they face. The team also visited the Nigeria Beverage Production Company Kakara, producers of Highland Tea.

EFCC vs Ikuforiji: Judge’s withdrawal frustrates arraignment By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem


fforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to arraign the Speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly,

Honourable Adeyemi Sabit Ikuforiji, and his personal assistant, Oyebode Alade Atoyebi at the Federal High Court, Lagos, was unsuccessful as the presiding judge, Justice James Tsogho, declined to hear

the case. The EFCC had sought to arraign the speaker on a 20-count charge of alleged misappropriation of fund totalling N575, 992,584.50. Justice Tsogho declined to hear

the case citing personal reasons. His words: “I decline the hearing of this case for personal reasons. The case file will be forwarded to the Chief Judge for possible re-assignment,” he said. Godwin Obla was the prosecution counsel, while Tayo Oyetibo, a senior advocate, was the defence counsel.

Jigawa govt earmarks N539m for rehablitation of grazing reserves


he Jigawa state government has earmarked N539 million for the rehabilitation of 452 hectares of grazing reserves in the state. Alhaji Muktar Birniwa, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse yesterday, that 46 of the 452 hectares had been rehabilitated. He said the measure was aimed at providing enough grass and water for animals, noting that the gesture would also curtail the incessant clash between pastoralists and farmers over grazing land. “We want to rehabilitate only 50 reserves as soon as possible, as a quick intervention measure. So far, N50 million had been spent on the project”. He said that the committee constituted by government to oversee the project was already working in conjunction with Miyetti Allah (cattle breeders association) to ensure that a qualitative job was done. (NAN)

Nigeria is free from nuclear hazards, says agency From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


cting Director-General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Dr. Martin Ogharandukun, has said that the country is free from hazards of radioactive and nuclear materials. Ogharandukun disclosed this while speaking with journalists at the opening of a three-day retreat for senior management staff of the authority at Rock Garden Hotel, Lokoja. He said the authority in 2011, classified and verified all radioactive materials in the country and recorded no loss of control of any of the materials that could have posed danger. He said the retreat was to enable

articulation of programmes for the year adding: “We are strictly to ensure that anybody who wants to do anything with nuclear and radioactive materials does so safely and in conformity with the law.” According to him, nuclear and radioactive sources could be put to use in many positive ways, saying that sources emitting ionizing radiations were being used medically in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Other areas of utilisation, he said, include oil well-logging in the petroleum industry as well as electricity generation. Ogharandukun revealed that the Federal Government was also pursuing a programme of electric power generation through nuclear energy for rapid industrialisation of the country.

Drivers’ forum charges motorists on safety From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety has urged motorists to support the United Nations road safety campaign, that road users should reduce speed, use seat belts and child restraints, helmets and the avoidance of alcohol. The UN is partnering with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), through the Nigerian Drivers Orientation and Developmental Programme Initiative (NDOADP), in ensuring the safety of Nigerian roads and reducing the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world. NDOADP in collaboration with the FRSC is currently organising Nigerian drivers orientation and development programme towards millennium goal objective tagged ‘Nigerian Drivers Sports Championship 2012’ which is aimed at reducing road

accident by 50 percent by year 2020 utilising sports (football) as a tool to engage the drivers. According to the group, drivers are sometimes reluctant to embark on any orientation programme. The programme initiator, Dr. Temi Gold, said ‘If Nigeria is to emerge as a developed country, it is important that it meets its road safety challenges.’ He added that ‘It is not just introducing traffic signs on the streets to alert speeding traffic of people living nearby, but to train the drivers on proper driving etiquette.’ ‘It is our view that participants’ (drivers) attitudes would be affected positively, hence it would impart positively on their driving proficiency”. While appreciating previous efforts by FRSC, NDOADP said it welcomes the work done by the organisation and other road transport agencies in trying to improve safety on Nigerian roads.


Kano reviews curfew From Bala Nasir, Kano


ano state government has reviewed the curfew imposed on the state’s capital to now start from 6:00 pm to 6:00am instead of 7 pm to 6am. The effective time for the curfew which was reduced by one hour, was announced by the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Umar Faruk, with no explanation for the review. The state government also directed all commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in the state to commence full operation. Commercial banks in the state have since the deterioration of security in the state reduced their operation hours, while many of their ATM machines were left without money. This has compounded peoples’ predicament as there was no enough money in circulation. The commissioner however, assured all the commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in the state, to go about their normal operations fully as government has provided all the necessary security for them.


Yakowa confident on N6bn bridge contract From Lawal Sadiq Sanusi, Kaduna


aduna state Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress of work going on at the 4th bridge and dual carriage way, aimed at solving the perennial traffic gridlock experienced by residents of the state coming from the southern part. Governor Yakowa awarded

and approved the contract for the fourth Kaduna Bridge shortly after he took over from the former Governor, Namadi Sambo. The contract which was awarded to P.W. Nig Limited at a total cost of N6,010,038,947.43, is billed for completion within 16 months in two phases. The first phase was the construction of the bridge at a cost of N1,639,145,926.68, with a

completion period of nine months, while the second phase is the construction of access roads to and from the bridge, at a total cost of N4,370,893,020.73, with a completion period of seven months. While expressing satisfaction with the ongoing construction work when he paid an inspection visit to the site, he however lamented the poor work on the alignment across the bridge linking the main

town. The bridge and road which commenced from the NNPC junction around Kamazo village in Kaduna south is to pass through Gobarau road, Angwan Rimi in Kaduna North and is expected to open up development around the city. Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for works, Engineer Suleiman Yayaha Richifa, who conducted the governor round the various stages of work done, confirmed that the work was going on according to plans and specifications.

Lawmaker advocates revitalization of steel sector


hairman, House Committee on Steel, Saddique Asema Mohammed, yesterday charged the Federal Government to revitalize the steel sector which hitherto has not been exploited, to boost the country’s economy. Mohammed, who made this advocacy at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in Abuja, expressed regrets that the sector was still lying fallow, saying “some developed societies have utilized their steel sector and companies to transform the fortunes of their country.” Acknowledging the absence of enabling laws backing the activities of the sector, he declared that “nations that are blessed with such resources could rapidly fasttrack their economic development.” “We have passion and zeal to ensure that the steel sector is revived to enable us drive the country into achieving the vision 20:20:20,” he explained. While assuring that the National Assembly would partner with the Ministry to restore the sector, he expressed optimism that the sector would create over two million employments for unemployed Nigerians. Speaking earlier, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, solicited legislative support, asking the law makers to create regulations that would further empower the ministry to have full grasp and control of all the agencies and parastatals under it.

Lagos state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (middle), signing into law the Reform Commission Amendment Law 2007 at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, on Monday. With him are his Deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (right), and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye (left).

Tinubu condoles IGP, mourns late Enahoro’s wife From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos


he National leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has described the sudden death of the wife of the acting Inspector General of Police, M.D. Abubakar as “a rude shock and a very sad development” and prayed Allah to grant her soul repose. In his words, “The news of the

sudden death of your wife came to me as a rude shock. I am indeed greatly saddened by this development as a father and husband, and I can only pray that the Almighty Allah would grant her soul repose, and may you find the courage and the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss of your wife’’. While expressing his profound sympathy and that of his family to the Abubakar family, he urged the acting IGP to take heart, stay

Police to investigate alleged destruction of worship centres in Tafawa Balewa From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi


auchi state Police Command will investigate the alleged destruction of places of worship in Tafawa Balewa local government area of the state by some community members. The Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Mohammed Barau, told newsmen in Bauchi that “Police will step up investigation into the matter in order to get the root course of the event and fish out the culprits.”

Responding to the alleged extrajudicial killing of two people arrested by soldiers and handed over to the Police in Tafawa Balewa, he said “the state Commissioner of Police had directed for investigation into the matter.” It could be recalled that the Tafawa Balewa community spokesman, Aminu Tukur, had over the weekend, alleged that miscreants had destroyed all places of worship and houses in the area, despite the presence of heavy security personnel.

focused and consider this development as an inspiration that will spur him onto greater heights in serving Nigeria and humanity at large. Also, the ACN leader has described the death of Mrs. Helen Imayuse Enahoro (nee Ediae) as a “painful and a sad loss” saying it was the “end of an era”. “We would never forget her commitment, honesty and dedication, as she joined the

struggle for a better Nigeria and stood by her husband, Chief Anthony Enahoro, in some of the darkest moments in the history of our country Nigeria”. While expressing his heartfelt sympathy to the entire Enahoro family, Asiwaju Tinubu commended her for her honesty and dedication, assuring that “though we will miss her, the legacy left behind by her and her husband will endure”.

MSH celebrates 40th anniversary treatment project that will support in Nigeria the government in Nigeria to From Auwal Ahmad, Gombe


anagement Sciences for Health (MSH), an international non-governmental organisation, will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in Nigeria with a view to implementing several health projects for capacity building of institutions and civil society organisations among other interventions. In a press release made available to Peoples Daily in Gombe, MSH disclosed that as efforts to enhance productivity in the sector, the organisation is working tirelessly to implement an organised system of AIDS care and

provide comprehensive AIDS care and treatments in 25 sites across six states. However, it will also implement Nigerian Indigenous capacity building projects of NICAB in collaboration with CHAN that is affiliated with the TB- care project through PEPFAR programme. According to the release, the ceremony which is expected to take place on January 31st and February 2nd respectively, is aimed at assisting the Gombe state government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare to implement a sustainable IGA for the vulnerable group





Boko Haram still pushing the boundaries

he January 20 coordinated bombings and gun attacks in Kano for which the fringe Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility were the deadliest yet by the group since it launched its insurgency in 2009. The attacks on police stations and the facilities of other security agencies, including the State Security Services (SSS) and Immigration, reportedly left over 200 dead and hundreds injured. The fatalities included security personnel and civilians caught up in the explosions and the exchanges of gunfire between the fleeing attackers and the police. The following Sunday, a rattled President Goodluck Jonathan flew into Kano to be received by grieving Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, who was witnessing the worst carnage in his domain since the Maitatsine uprising in the early 80s. Holding the monarch's hand, the president, for the umpteenth time, vowed to crush the sect. However, Boko Haram has continued to attack targets in the city and other parts of the country. The other day, the police announced that they had intercepted 10 vehicles laden with explosive devices, apparently meant for new strikes. This and the restriction of movement, regrettably, have not prevented a worsening of the security situation in Kano. The January 20 carnage and the killings that have followed ever since have revealed a sickening contrast: A Boko Haram that has shown resolve, tenacity and commitment even if it is to a devilish cause standing out in cold relief against a Federal Government that has no appropriate response to the challenge.

While Boko Haram keeps pushing the boundaries, the government appears to have run out of ideas on how to confront the insurgency. Apart from the mileage that Boko Haram appears to be gaining, the Kano strikes revealed other things we did not previously know about it. The police authorities said the attackers wore police and military uniforms. How did they come by the uniforms? Are there elements in the police and military sympathetic to the sect's warped ideology? These are questions

The January 20 massacre and the killings that have followed ever since have revealed a sickening contrast: A Boko Haram that has shown resolve, tenacity and commitment even if it is to a devilish cause standing out in cold relief against a Federal Government that has no appropriate response to the sect that only a thorough investigation can answer. The other revelation is that the suspected Boko Haram gunmen spoke a language that has been traced to neighbouring Chad. This seems to confirm reports that Boko Haram not only has links outside this country but draws fighters from Nigeria's northern neighbours like Chad and Niger. Only last week, the government in Niger announced it had

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”

seized a cache of arms, including explosives, its destination unknown. A tighter control of our borders with these countries and collaboration with their governments in the anti-terror efforts will help, hopefully, to dry up the reservoir of Boko Haram recruits from there. However, more work has to be done within our shores to remove that thing that gives Boko Haram its appeal: limited educational opportunities for the youth of the North and strangulating mass poverty in the region. We recall that the Sheikh Ahmed Lemu panel on the 2011 postelection violence in some Northern states and the Galtimari committee that investigated the Boko Haram violence in the North-east zone addressed those twin problems. The former recommended that youngsters who are now out of the school system should be accommodated and jobs created for those with the right knowledge and skills while the latter strongly suggested dialogue with Boko Haram. We at Peoples Daily have said consistently that the government has been wrong to have stubbornly stuck to using force to defeat Boko Haram. This approach has proved embarrassingly ineffectual. President Jonathan belatedly last week came to the same conclusion, saying his government welcomed dialogue. Yes, it is true that Boko Haram does not have an identifiable leadership to negotiate peace with, but it is just as true that its bomb throwers and gunmen live among us. There isn't a shortage of intermediaries like community and religious leaders to use to reach out to the sect. If that will help end the trauma that Boko Haram represents, let's go for it.








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By Adagbo Onoja


igeria is pregnant with change and the only way purposeless and unproductive violence will not be the midwife of that change is if something drastic is done and quickly too. It is to this extent that we must take note of the national security implications of General Babangida’s idea that capitalism is a settled issue as Nigeria’s model of development. He said so while speaking as Chairman of the 9th Media Trust Dialogue on January 26th, 2012 in Abuja. Before doing so, we must, however, commend General Babangida’s indication of a personal readiness to get in to army uniform again to fight a war to preserve the nation at the same occasion. The statement was timely. It has a great psychological import and all others in his category are supposed to do same. By that statement, the General has effectively taken himself out of the list of those that may find themselves at the Hague should any tragedy in the form of ethnocide befall Nigeria or any part thereof, particularly those applying possessive,


IBB, casino capitalism and national security exclusionary pronouns to the president. It ought to be clear to all by now that the British did not assemble Nigeria as an afterthought. They considered so many options before opting for amalgamation. Something could happen profoundly challenging the amalgamation but nothing like that has happened yet. So far, there are only headaches which panadol extra can still cure. Focusing on the pronouncement in respect of capitalism is warranted by the fact that anyone doubting that IBB is the most conscious right wing intellectual to come out of the Nigerian military to date does so at his or her own risk. Notwithstanding my limited interaction with that establishment, I can hardly be challenged on this to the extent that the other formidable and conscious intellectuals

therefrom are of different flavours of conservatism. Their leader must be General T. Y Danjuma whom I chanced upon recently reading Nail Ferguson’s monumental “Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World”. The author of the equally monumental “The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World” remains the reference authority on the modern world being one of the few Historians who survived self-reversal in that area of specialisation. General Danjuma was not only reading the text, he also has a critique of a portion of it. I am not ignorant of the intellectual robustness of the training and orientation in the military but I certainly wasn’t expecting that level from anyone of them. May I be forgiven! It is in the right wing nature of IBB’s own intellectualism

that differentiates him and makes him and his utterances the gauge of the ideological warfare in this country today. In saying so, I take note of his well advertised advocacy for the MIC, (Military-IndustrialComplex) approach to social transformation in Nigeria many years before he barged into power. I do not know of now but the typical African military during the Cold War saw itself as a bulwark against Communism, thereby ending up essentially as conveyor belt or transmission lines for foreign interests. That MIC advocacy fitted perfectly in to that even though the Nigerian military has got this lovely antiimperialist strain in them as demonstrated by Murtala/OBJ, Buhari, (whose regime said that IMF/World Bank conditionalities “aroused the indignation of all-self respecting

and patriotic Nigerians”) and, to a great extent, Abacha. Only IBB continue to profess right wing consciousness, for whatever reasons. So, when he says that the capitalist path of development is a settled issue, it cannot just be understood as his personal opinion or a question of right of opinion but a decisive intervention from an interested party in the make or mar debate on the direction and survival of this country. Before IBB’s arrival in power in 1985, the question of a model that can bring about rapid social change and the re-birth of the Nigerian state was the debate on the ground. IBB commendably wasted no time in intervening. But in the two national debates he organised within his first year in power, i.e. the IMF/World Bank loan debate and the debate on the Continued on page 15

Secession is not the issue with the Ijaw By Olaitan Ladipo


he sophisticated political player that he is known to be, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was not expected to jumb the bandwagon of indelicate sabre rattling by some of the North’s leaders, as they respond to malcontent moves from the Niger Delta. IBB threatened to re-enter active military duty, if need be, to fight again to keep the South-South within Nigeria. It is probable, though, that the crafty former military president was simply underlining the serious threat to the nation’s survival. However, the deadly quagmire in which we find ourselves presently is partly because major players continue to dance around certain glaring truths. Even before the subsidy protests began, it was easily predictable that it was only a matter of time before President Goodluck Jonathan would play the Delta-petroleum card. The country’s anti-democracy forces gave him no choice as they pushed him, gradually towards and eventually to the wall. There is a war in the country between an old political establishment and democratic progress, and the battle is for the near absolute control of Nigeria’s abundant resources. The absurdity of the whole conflict, however, is that each side expects the other to roll over and play dead. In other words, each side disregards the motives, underestimates the capabilities and misjudges the resolve, of the other. While progressive elements imagine, unreasonably going by our experience, that the old order would relinquish their enormous power without a fight

the Northern establishment for reasons best known to them are reluctant to accept that things have moved beyond the Nigeria of the sixties. It does not take a Chike Obi Snr. to deduce that the SouthSouth is only reacting to what they see as a denial of their right to carve the meat, now that it becomes their turn to sit at the head of Nigeria’s dinner table. They want to ensure that the country does not continue to be increasingly ‘ungovernable’ for their son; in doing so which they resorted to the most potent weapon available to them— petroleum. And it has worked. There should not be any illusion that the compromise between government and labour unions on subsidy removal is essentially a result of negotiation. When national labour presumably became an unwitting tool in the hands of oil subsidy beneficiaries and those who lost the last elections; and when labour leaders decided to up the ante by inviting oil field workers to down tools, President Jonathan played his joker. Delta militants threatened to take over oil production facilities. To cap it, presidential sources revealed that the government had begun talks with the United States on ‘military cooperation’ to protect Nigeria’s oil fields. The implications of the threat are obvious, and they produced the desired effect as the usual suspects (and there is a long list) immediately began to express their ‘concerns and regrets’. That was the general situation before Boko Haram last week executed the mother of attacks in Kano. The Kano violence, which by some accounts, claimed more

than two hundred lives, is a jolt to remind us all that there is a big roaring inferno of merciless terrorism, next door to the mere sparkler of anti-subsidy withdrawal. It reminds us that there is a lingering coup d’état against this elected government, to which Boko Haram merely became a handy firearm. That side arm sadly has become major field artillery. Worse still, the Kano attacks fuel suspicion that Boko Haram is now a selfpropelling attack drone on autopilot. It needs no telling them that we must find our way out of this self-made hell quickly, rationally and collectively, but definitely not with puny threats. The election of President Goodluck Jonathan, from a minority group in Nigeria’s ‘wazobia’ mega power tussle, despite stiff opposition from a section of the old Northern political establishment, started the country decidedly on the road to full democracy. However, no one should deny that Nigeria is yet practising a rampant ethnocracy whereby

origin still plays the greatest part in the individuals’ choice of who occupies Aso Rock. It is a peculiar obstacle but which serves as stepping stone or necessary rung on the ladder of Nigeria’s climb to full democracy. Within that context, the Ijaw are currently in power. For a people that reputedly are the fourth largest in the country and a region that has served as Nigeria’s collective manger for fifty odd years, even as their homeland is ravaged, the Ijaw believe they have earned the right to Nigeria’s leadership. To get to Aso Rock, the Ijaw have fought just about everyone along the way, with whom they came in contact— British colonialists, Igbo oppressors in the Eastern Region, Yoruba suppressors in Western Region, Itsekiri and Urhobo competitors in Bendel State and a section of the North. For the sake of fairness, it needs to be said also that some of their smaller neighbours (to be specific the Itsekiri) have in turn accused the Ijaw occasionally of atrocities

For a people that reputedly are the fourth largest in the country and a region that has served as Nigeria’s collective manger for fifty odd years, even as their homeland is ravaged, the Ijaw believe they have earned the right to Nigeria’s leadership. To get to Aso Rock, the Ijaw have fought just about everyone along the way, with whom they came in contact – British colonialists, Igbo oppressors in the Eastern Region, Yoruba suppressors in Western Region, Itsekiri and Urhobo competitors in Bendel State and a section of the North

akin to pogroms. The timing and lump execution of subsidy removal is without doubt ill advised, even though it is necessary – just as the protests served the government right for attempting the old tactic of burying the introduction of a difficult policy in an opportune crisis environment. However, those arguments do not derive and are separate from the fundamental principles of our ethnic democracy.Nigeria has moved, far away, from when one group could browbeat the other, militarily or in any other way. When in 1967 Yoruba ‘owambe’ senior military officers in the then Nigerian Army failed to spearhead the needed military teeth (as Delta militants are now doing) to back the West’s independent position, Chief Awolowo was coerced into a necessary but unequal partnership. Even now, the West is yet to recover from that fateful choice. Interestingly, what trained soldiers could not do in 1967, civilians did in 1993. Dr Frederick Fasheun, a civilian medical doctor and Gani Adams, a civilian trade artisan both championed the formation of Oodua People’s Congress ethnic militia, to defend the Yoruba against a vicious military regime led by late General Sani Abacha. The current battle is, without doubt, a fight for 2015 but if, in the process, we destroy [recently] laid foundations of our fledgling democracy, there might be no basis for new presidential elections. For which nobody should even attempt to blame the victims. Olaitan Ladipo is reachable through



Recognising the heroes of our democracy By Benson Okohue


t will be exactly six years in May this year that the Senate shot down the kite of tenure elongation popularly called Third Term agenda for former President Olusegun Obasanjo. And so, it is commendable that after a long while, the publishers of a national newspaper have decided to honour some of those who stood against the tenure elongation project. The third term debacle was a moment that almost pulled down the political matrix of the country because of the desire of President Obasanjo to remain in office beyond his 2007 terminal date. Of course, the agenda failed to see the light of the day and the president got very angry. The aftermath of his anger decimated the polity in no small measure, as Obasanjo was fixated in casting his venom on those personalities that frustrated his ambition for a third term in office.

Obviously, chief among those membership card revalidation him from participating in the the Ahmadu Ali 2007 presidential election on the on President Obasanjo’s hit list during was his estranged deputy, leadership of the PDP, the platform of the then Action former Vice-President Atiku President further ensured that Congress (AC) remains a reference A b u b a k a r . point of Others included executive the former bringandary President of the Peoples Daily welcomes your letters, opinion articles, text of that time. Senate, Senator T h a t Ken Nnamani, messages and ‘pictures of yesteryears.’ All written Abubakar and many other contributions should be concise. Word limits: Letters - 150 c o u l d parliamentarians words, Articles - 750 words. Please include your name and withstand who spearheaded a valid location. Letters to the Editor should be addressed the storm the anti-Third to: and was able Term campaign to participate in the National The Editor, in the 2007 Assembly. Peoples Daily, 1st Floor Peace Plaza, presidential For many of 35 Ajose Adeogun Street, Utako, Abuja. election those who stood Email: let t h r o u g h on the way of the recourse to t e n u r e SMS: 07037756364 the judiciary elongation bill, as being the their action was akin to standing on the way of a he stood in the ways of these last resort of hope for the common moving train as Obasanjo is personalities even in their man further defined the legendary for his vindictiveness. attempts to actualise their character of our democracy and Not only did President political ambitions in other the statesmanship expected of a modern day politician. Obasanjo engineer a process that political parties. The case of the former ViceIt would also be recalled that deregistered many of these political actors from the ruling President, Abubakar, on whom in spite of the fact that the PDP Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), government alleged phantom had a majority of seats in the through a weird policy of corruption cases to disqualify Senate at that time (and still


has), members of the party in the Red Chambers dropped their toga of partisanship and made the chairman of the party, Ahmadu Ali, to kiss the dust by a way of public apology when he called senators a bunch of rascals. It is doubtful if our present crop of senators could demonstrate such candor, by dwarfing their political ambitions in insisting on respectability of the lawmaking institution. It is therefore not in doubt that history will continue to remember those actors who put their political career and, indeed, lives on the line to ensure that the chain of our democracy is unbroken. They are the heroes of our democracy. The decision of the newspaper to put Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on its list of awardees of Lifetime Achievers is the minimum recognition these gallant men deserve from us. Benson Okohue, a public affairs commentator, wrote in from Benin, Edo state.

Police reform and the restructuring talk By Olaide Omideyi


state is described or referred to as “failed” if the instruments of law and order are not effective either in the whole state, or parts of it. One of the main yardsticks for ascertaining if a state has really failed is its police force. Once the police are still considered effective and seen to be performing their duties, a state cannot be described as “failed”. Every social, political, economic and police affairs specialist had emphasized the importance of the police in maintaining law and order necessary for the pursuit of civilized living and economic activity by the citizens. These commentators and specialists have made recommendations they believed were adequate to address the challenges of managing the police in a dynamic environment like Nigeria. Despite all the recommendations made, the state of the Nigerian police in terms of image, attitude, recruitment, welfare, respect for the rule of law, corruption, the reward system, state of equipment has not significantly changed. The image of the Nigerian police today is a threat to the gains of democratization. Most of the rank and file in the police force can at their best be described as semi-literate, corrupt, frustrated, poorly paid, poorly trained, undependable, unmotivated and unproductive. The public image of the police also leaves much to be desired since the public sees the police as oppressors and enemies to be avoided instead of as partners in progress and agents for maintaining an orderly society. Several commissions, panels

and committees have been formed by successive governments to look into the seemingly intractable problems of the Nigerian police and come up with ways and creative means of solving these problems. Lots have been said and little has been done as most of the recommendations made have not been implemented as a result of the lack of political will to do so. The Nigerian police as presently constituted is not totally hopeless as experiences gained from observing the police officers sent to Liberia have shown. The Nigerian police contingent in Liberia was highly commended for its professionalism, honesty, neatness, excellent human relations and spirit of communal service. These commendations will no doubt sound very strange to most Nigerians since the Nigeria police officers are not known for these virtues but it is true that Nigeria police conducts itself in a professional manner while on international assignments outside Nigeria. The writer once witnessed some members of the Nigerian police contingent stationed around Gbarnga in Bong County, Liberia assisted a motorist push his broken down vehicle from the road and also assist in repairing the vehicle to keep traffic moving. It is also to their credit that no one ever accused them of violating his/her rights, no record of “Accidental discharges”, and payment of money for bail was not heard of. The explanation for this exemplary behaviour is not farfetched; the allowances being paid by the U.N. to the police contingent ($150 US dollars per person/day) was enough deterrent to ensure they behave

themselves so that they will not be repatriated back home. The same observations made in Liberia about the Nigerian Police were validated in Sudan and South Sudan with the same results. The personnel (Officers and rank and file) of the Nigerian police should not bear the whole blame for the mess in the organisation. The government should also share in the blame since it has not been able to come up with measures that will stand the test of time. The utilisation of the Nigerian police to commit human rights violations by successive military regimes only worsened the situation because it allowed the police to develop a culture of impunity. The police was used for blatant cover-ups, violations of fundamental human rights of citizens, be part of assassination teams sanctioned by the government, extra-judicial killings, muzzling of the press and other uncountable atrocities. Many police officers have also been arrested for being members of armed robbery gangs while senior police officers have been arrested for certificate forgery and impersonation. To worsen it all, an erstwhile IGP was arrested and successfully prosecuted for corrupt enrichment and embezzlement of public funds. The strike embarked upon by the rank and file in 2002 over welfare concerns and the recent strike threat by the same rank and file over the same welfare concerns were an ill wind for Nigeria since these actions portrays the nation’s police as unreliable. The failure of successive Nigerian governments in Nigeria to recognize the poverty of police personnel and adopt

measures to alleviate it has always been a problem. Whereas, the government recognize the poverty of the civilian population and take measures, (micro credit lending, empowerment through vocational training etc) such recognition is not accorded the police except cosmetic ones. Where cosmetic measures were embarked upon like the Family economic advancement programme in Nigeria during the Abacha era, the dependents of most police personnel did not benefit from it because the money allocated to the police commands as soft loans for police officers’ wives were mismanaged by commanders. One of the solutions prescribed by one of the erstwhile commissions on police reforms is the recruitment of more personnel into the force. The adoption and implementation of this recommendation has created more problems for the police in the sense that it has increased the challenges of provision of accommodation, equipments, pension, training, salaries and other allowances among others. The policy has also created room for persons that would have otherwise be considered “Poor human resources” to enter the police since most of the requirements have had to be relaxed to meet up with the stipulated figures. Over-centralization of the police force in itself is another constraint hindering the efficient operations of the force. Decisions are taken from Abuja and transmitted to the Zones and thence to the states and so on down the line. The refusal of the federal government to cede policing duties to the various state governments with the federal government retaining

jurisdiction over some cases like arson, kidnapping, homicides and violent robberies is another factor. Federal presence and control in various states is thus maintained, limiting the extent to which the state governors as Chief Security Officers of their states could go in assisting the police formations without being considered “interfering” in police matters. The non-adoption of scientific principles in the determination of the policing needs of Nigeria has created a situation where the policy makers depend on indiscriminate recruitment of persons in the hope that it will solve the problems of policing in Nigeria. Until Nigeria decide on what it wants from its police, the perennial problems associated with the force will remain apparently intractable. For the purpose of this memorandum, we will like to recommend a compact, well trained, well paid, professionalized and educated police force rather than the present rag-tag, poorly trained, poorly paid unprofessional, unmotivated and poorly equipped police force in place. The need to seek solution to the myriad problems facing the police has been very glaring ever since. The acceptance of the fact that the public and corporate organizations might have the capacity to proffer solutions that might assist the government to solve the problems of the police is also commendable as it signals a shift from the era of government knows all to an era of partnership between the government, knowledgeable individuals and corporate organizations with the capacity to make useful inputs. Olaide Omideyi is with the United Nations Mission in Sudan.



Nigerian media and the challenges of corruption, insecurity By Etuka Sunday


he role of the mass media in any society is to inform and guide against deviation from the acceptable standards of behaviours. Nigeria is no exception. It is a fact that Nigeria has problems that affect the socio-economic and political well being of its people but the most worrisome of them all is the ugly reality of corruption and insecurity which has hampered the fast development of the country. It is inconceivable to imagine our country “Nigeria” as it is today without the mass media. Like in most developing countries, the Nigerian mass media play a crucial role of watchdog, beaming their searchlights on the society and

government, searching out instances of malfunctions and corruption. They also exist to inform, educate, entertain and set agenda for public discourse. The recent coverage and reportage of the protest over the fuel subsidy removal and the brutal killings of innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect in Kano by the mass media is commendable. Some of them were severely injured, while some lost their lives in the process. Although that was not the first time of losing Journalists in such circumstances. The likes of Dele Giwa would still be remembered even with the passage of time for their contributions to the national development. With the freedom of information law, the Nigerian mass media are faced with the

task of ensuring a corrupt free society, justice and transparency in governance. They are now better equipped to search deep and to uncover facts that will help to fight corruption and the current insecurity in the country. The mass media has the responsibility of illuminating the activities of public office holders with the view to uncovering what should be the right and needed information and how to access such information. In other words, Nigerians should not be left in the dark; they should be kept in full view of the happenings in the country. The Nigerian mass media should be firm in the discharge of their obligation to hold the government accountable to the people. That could be done with

the help of the freedom of information law readily available to them. Just as the saying “to whom much is given, much is also expected.” They cannot afford to fail with the enormous challenges facing the nation. There is the need for balanced reporting to regain their position in the scheme of things. The sycophantic nature of the mass media today and high level of corruption in the profession has undermined the effectiveness of the mass media in the society. Today, the mass media and indeed journalists are seen as agents of disunity, conflict promoters populated by greedy people who are ready to publish or say anything without proper verification as long as money exchanges hands. Corruption,

greed and lack of self respect in the noble profession have reduced the Nigerian mass media to mere noise makers. Although in this era of information and communication technology (ICT), journalism profession has greatly improved. Therefore, journalists must make use of the available resources to fulfil their responsibilities to the society. They should be free from corruption and involvement in partisan politics but mediate between the government and the people. They must understand that the nature of their work is a service to humanity and should do everything anything possible to protect the image of the profession. Etuka Sunday can be reached on

IBB, casino capitalism and national security Continued from page 13

report of the Politburo, Nigerians voted for state led development strategy. The believers in free wheeling capitalism were roundly and comprehensively defeated. In fact, it was discovered that “workers, market women, students, religious leaders and associations, youth organisations, professional groups including university lecturers as well as roadsides mechanics, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and even elements of the armed forces such as the men of the 82 Airborne Battalion openly voiced their opposition to the Fund and its conditionality clauses”. Even before these debates, all previous ones that took place particularly at the level of informed societies like the Nigerian Economic Society, the bureaucracy and the Constitution Drafting Committee all decided for state interventionism and these are all on records. Above all, the leading politicians at Independence such as Zik, Awo and Aminu Kano were socialists of one variant or another or, in the case of Ahmadu Bello, a bourgeois nationalist. That is the first problem with IBB’s strange wisdom that capitalism is a settled issue in Nigerian politics. Who settled it, where and when? The compromise had been the Mixed Economy model which is more in tandem with comparative global experience since neither Capitalism nor Socialism has ever been a onesize-for-everyone kind of theory or practice. That is why capitalism in the United States of America can be vastly different from capitalism in Germany or Switzerland or

France or in the Scandinavian countries, Japan, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Egypt or post Apartheid South Africa. While some like the Americans tolerate vast income inequality, German capitalism is sensitive to high unemployment statistics while the Scandinavian countries privilege social safety nets along which ‘our great party’, (the PDP) was modeled but decapitated before anybody could even mention safety net. Tragically, the capitalism re-enforced by Structural Adjustment Programme, (SAP), in 1986 and which subsequent governments in Nigeria have wrong headedly implemented is out and out of place in the context of the history and cultural realities of Nigeria. While it is true that Nigerians are enterprising, it is even truer that Nigeria, as Professor Akin Mabogunje said, is but a society trying to emerge from being a collection of kinsmen and/or subjects of some potentates to becoming citizens of a liberal and modernizing nation-state. In all societies like this, the most pervasive actor across the society is the state. Hence the fallacy of ‘government has no business in business’ mouthed by spoilt Nigerian ‘capitalists’. To make matters worse, liberalisation/deregulation in Nigeria has been deliberately misconstrued to mean auctioning State Owed Enterprises, (SOEs) whereas it simply means allowing other operators to invest, to set up enterprises and make profit thereby breaking state monopoly of the business space. It is the competition therefrom that would have even made the government companies to sit up. But, instead of doing that, all we have done since 1986 is to sell off government

companies, not only at give away prices but to the least competent cronies, people who are no investors at all, foreign or domestic as most of them are foreign only to the extent of the color of their skin, (white, brown, yellow and rarely blacks) having generated the money from Nigerian banks to strip existing companies of their assets and either disappear or dig in. What was foreign investment there? The reduction of liberalisation or capitalism in Nigeria to a matter of auctioning government businesses on the basis of no clear criteria beyond the whims of privatisers is what has given capitalism in Nigeria a casino character, particularly from the late 1990s. It must be the extra wonder of the modern world that the power elite in Nigeria was not deterred from its auctioning spree by the economic foolishness of selling one’s assets at a time of world economic recession when prices are down. Why did our own experience of privatisation exclude national security in its politics? For, how could a country develop power generating stations at Kainji, Egbin, Shiroro, Mambilla, Sapele and then wake up one day and decide to sell them? For what reasons? What about the national unity arising from common ownership of power stations, oil pipelines, railways, roads, telecommunication transmission lines and cables? What do we then own in common that makes breaking the country difficult? If the concept of commanding heights of the economy is now inoperative, have the nation states whose bulk of electricity supply comes from nuclear energy privatized them? Is it not the case that an American

President cancelled a bidding in recent years because it was won by some Arabs, pleading national security? And, seen from the point of view of public and popular interests, how do you create demand if you accept advice to cut public spending/public works? How is Nigeria supposed to resolve crisis of low quality education and youth unemployment if there are to be no state run mega plants, state farms or cooperatives? Courtesy of a thoughtless privatisation racketeering, Nigeria is today the only one out of the African giants such as Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa which does not have a national airline. A national airline has been reduced to a cash and carry issue. Yet, apart from funny financial NGOs of the western world rating and applauding growth which did not reflect jobs or infrastructure standards, the economy remains hopeless. And this is after nearly three decades of privatisation. The truth we are confronted with is that Nigeria is not working and democracy has largely been a show here. All manner of rescue formula are being suggested, ranging from a theocratic state, a confederation, restructuring, (whatever that means), the SNC, capitalism, etc. I have not the wisdom to endorse or condemn any one of the above. All I know is that a fundamental answer lies in ending the current economic regime. State capitalism is not dead and all those who have eyes would have seen creative state capitalism at work from the first to the last word of Obama’s last ‘State of the Union’ address. That address accords very well with Professor Sam Aluko

‘s unique concept of “Guided Deregulation” within which he rightly argued for state intervention in the major sectors of the economy in order to promote a self-reliant and dynamic economy in agriculture, industry and commerce, in monetary and fiscal policies, in education, sciences, and technology, at home and abroad. It has nothing to do with whether we like his face or name or tribe or religion. It is about saving Nigeria before something begins to give sooner or later. In this, the presidency and the President must give leadership. The president in particular needs to be more forceful in doing so. It is not difficult and it is not dictatorship. It is still within the ambit of the rule of law. The current reality whereby investible funds earned within the country are transferred and kept outside the country is contradictory. Those who do so should face the first law of economic nationalism, whether local or foreign investor. The Nigerian state is not about protecting one bourgeoisie but about guaranteeing the security of the bourgeois democratic order. People must be tied to the country. People who have difficulty in believing in Nigeria should find it difficult in breaking the country with their silly sentiments or acts of economic sabotage via cruel repatriation, for example. In all cases, it is our local investment and investors that would work better and faster for us. We are in an emergency and we need to get out of it if only to avert 70 year old Generals wearing Khaki and returning to war to preserve Nigeria. War is a dangerous thing. Adagbo Onoja is currently at the University of Ibadan.



FCTA unveils three new districts

Bribery allegation: Development Control director sues developer

By Josephine Ella

he Director, Department of Development Control of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Yahaya Yusuf has dragged an Abuja based developer, before an Abuja High Court, demanding a N500 million compensation. The owner of Sun Rise estate, Peter Oyawunne had in a press conference late last year, alleged that the director demanded for a bribe of 10 units of houses from him to spare his estate from being demolished. In August 2011, the development control demolished the estate which was


ll is set for the unveiling of three new districts in the Federal Capital City this week Thursday. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule indicated that arrangements to this effect have been completed for the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to perform the historical ground breaking. The new districts are Katampe, Maitama Extension and Kagini I, covering 777, 231,798 hectares respectively. This ground breaking marks the official launch of engineering infrastructure which, according to the statement, would in total provide about 70,000 kilometres of road network of different classes including bridges and culverts; drainages, water, sewage, electricity and telecommunication dots. As part of his vision to provide sustainable infrastructure to the FCT, the statement said that the new districts would comprise more than 10,000 plots; thereby ensuring accommodation to the teeming population of the FCT as well as providing business and employment opportunities to help towards decongesting the city. It revealed that these districts would be executed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative that would save the government of scarce resources that have competing needs.

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•Demands N500m compensation

By Josephine Ella


constructed on a buffer contrary to the provision of Abuja Master Plan, an action the developer said was prompted by his refusal to honour the demand of the units of houses in the estate by the director. However, when the case came up for hearing yesterday, at the Abuja High Court 12 in Maitama, the defendant failed to appear before the court. In the absence of the defendant, the court adjourned till February 28, 2012, making it the second time the case was being adjourned. Addressing journalists,

shortly after the case was adjourned, Yusuf said that he resorted to court action to prove his integrity. “When that allegation was made, I made up my mind that I was going to sue to correct that impression. They cast aspersion on my integrity and it has to be corrected “ For the second time we have been here and the defendant has not appeared but they are being given a third opportunity to come and defend themselves, justify or give evidence as to how they met me and I demanded anything from them,” he said.

Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) during a demolition exercise at ACO Estate along Airport Road in Abuja, recently. Photo: Joe Oroye

Galadimawa community appeals to FCDA over demolition exercise c


he Chief of Galadimawa community, a settlement along the Kubwa Expressway, Mr Tanko Zhimiko has appealed for mutual understanding between his community, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and its Development Control Department. Describing his subjects as very law abiding citizens, who would not violet government laws by raising illegal structures in the area, Zhimiko said that the entire village was thrown into confusion when some FCDA officials stormed his village recently without notice acting on unfounded allegations. He said that they were alleged to have been selling illegal lands to non indigenes which he affirmed, never happened in his community. According to him, all the houses that were marked in the area belonged to his children who are now grown up, observing that it is universally acceptable that children who are eighteen and above must not continue to stay with their parent under the same room.

Three men bag death sentence for armed robbery


n Abuja High Court in Gudu, yesterday, sentenced three men to death by hanging for armed robbery. The convicts are James Simon, 32; Joel Ibrahim, 26, and Ibrahim Musa, 32, all of Jabi Motor Park. They were arraigned on December 1, 2005 for criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery which contravenes Section 5, Sub-Section 1 of the

Armed Robbery and Firearms Special Provisions Act, 1990. Prosecution Counsel, Adamu Musa had told the court that the trio on September 8, 2005 invaded the All Saints Guest House at Wuse Zone 5. He said they tied the security men and attacked the guests in the hotel with arms, dispossessing them of various sums of money, handsets and other belongings. The three men had previously

pleaded not guilty to the charge. Delivering his judgment, Justice Abubakar Talba said he had critically examined the evidence before the court, noting that the mere denial of a confessional statement did not make it inadmissible before the court. Talba said that the prosecution had been able to establish that there was a case of armed robbery and that the trio took part in it.

“I am convinced that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the offence of conspiracy against the accused persons; I therefore convict them as charged”. At this point, defence counsel Wilson Ivara prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that the convicts were sober and remorseful. Ivara prayed the court to give the three men a chance to mend their ways by granting them the

last opportunity. However, Talba said that he would be failing in his duty to uphold the sections quoted earlier if ruled otherwise. He, therefore, sentenced the accused persons to death by hanging. The judge said he would recommend them to Mr President through the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy because of the prayers of the defence counsel. (NAN)

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FCT minister commiserates with IGP over wife’s death By Josephine Ella


he Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed has commiserated with the Acting InspectorGeneral of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar over the death of his wife, Hajiya Maryam Abubakar. In a statement issued in Abuja through his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammade Hazat Sule, Senator Mohammed described Hajiya Maryam’s death as sad and painful. He prayed Allah to grant her soul eternal rest by granting the deceased Aljannah Fir-dausi and the family especially the husband, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Woman bags two weeks in jail for smoking Indian hemp


woman, Winifred Lambert, was yesterday, sentenced by an Abuja Senior Magistrate’s Court to two weeks imprisonment for unlawful possession of dry leaves suspected to be Indian hemp. The convict, a residence of Tipper Garage, Nyanya, Abuja, was, however, given the option to pay N1,000 fine after she pleaded guilty to the one-count charge. The Prosecutor, Corporal Silas Nanpan told the court that on January 27, 2012 a team of detectives, led by Corporal Jinan Nimmyel, and three others, attached to Nyanya Division, arrested the convict. Nanpan said that the police team was on surveillance patrol when it arrested Lambert smoking dry leaves suspected to be Indian hemp. He said that during police interrogation, the convict confessed to have been smoking Indian hemp for many years. The prosecutor said the action contravenes Section 17 CAP 5 (1a and b) of the Indian Hemp Act. When the case came up for mention, Lambert pleaded guilty but begged the court for leniency. Senior Magistrate Chinyere Nwancheonwu, however, sentenced Lambert to two weeks imprisonment with an option of N1,000 fine.


Minister defends N46bn FCTA national budget By Josephine Ella


n estimated sum of N46, 1 9 0 , 3 8 3 , 6 4 5 earmarked by the Federal Government on national priority projects, is expected to be expended this year by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration. The FCT Minister, Senator

Security challenges: NIPR tasks journalists on objective reportage

Bala Mohammed revealed this while defending the budget before the House of Representatives Committee on FCT at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja. He assured the law makers that the short fall in the 2012 national budget would be taken care of, through the private sector initiatives in line with the global practice. The minister listed some of these areas where private sector initiative would be exemplified to include the Dallas Carraway District Development, Abuja Town

Mall, and Abuja Botanical Garden amongst others. To facilitate this, he said that the administration would provide an enabling environment in such a manner that private sector would take the driver’s seat of the development of the Territory. According to him, the 2011 national budget of the FCT performed appreciable; saying that work on the 60.67km of the standard gauge light rail track within the FCT is progressing in its development and construction. He said that the rehabilitation and expansion of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

(Airport) and Murtala Muhammed (Kubwa) Expressways, have progressed to an aggregate of 73 percent completion. In a remark, the Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Mr. Emmanuel Jime called for the accelerated development and completion of tanks 1 & 6; Millennium Towers and the Abuja Rail project to impact positively on the lives of the resident. Jime emphasised that the House of Representatives is very passionate about these people oriented project that would also add value to the internally generated revenue of the FCT Administration and the country at large.

By Adeola Tukuru


he Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has urged journalists to be objective in reporting events in view of the present security challenges bedevilling the country. The Chairman, Ohaeri Osondu made the call when he led some members of his executive on a courtesy visit to the Abuja office of Tribune newspapers. He noted that journalists and PR practitioners shared the responsibility of dousing tension and enabling Nigerians to be properly and accurately informed especially given the multiple security challenges currently confronting the nation. The NIPR chairman decried the discrepancy in the casualty figures published by various newspapers following recent terrorist attacks in some parts of the country, and urged the media to emphasize balance and objectivity even while carrying paid advertorials. Responding, the Abuja bureau chief of Tribune newspapers, Mr. Okey Muogbo, expressed regret that the private sector, including the private media, were enduring harrowing economic times, with some resorting to casualization of staff and minimum recruitment in view of emerging challenges affecting almost every facet of the nation’s economy. He said that the situation had inevitably impacted negatively on job performance in some media organizations as most journalists have adopted editorial styles which to a large extent, negates the ethics of the profession.

Staff of the Julius Berger construction company working on the deplorable Life Camp road, pictured last Thursday. Photo: Josephine Ella

Motorists decry recklessness of drivers By Josephine Ella


otorists plying the Life Camp-Karmo road have expressed satisfaction over the renovation of the pothole filled deplorable road; however, identifying the danger the new development is posing to road users. The Life Camp junction, especially, had for the past five years been so much an eyesore that some Good Samaritan had tried at some occasion, to offer temporary relief to road users by filling the pot holes with sand, stone and laterite. However, barely last week Thursday, the Julius Berger Company, started work on the road, bringing it to completion on Monday. Our correspondent had sighted officials of the construction giant with heavy equipment, filling the junction, which had been overflowed with water from a nearby stream with

• As Life Camp road wears new look stones and relaying the asphalt on Thursday. Reacting to the new face of the road, commercial motorists yesterday, expressed their happiness but observed that the now very smooth road now poses a lot of danger to road users as some motorists are now driving very dangerously along the road. “The road was not good before but now that they have renovated it, you see how people are speeding too much even when they are approaching the junction which is very bad,” the Chairman, Gwarimpa Taxi Drivers Association, Bashiru Danladi said. He particularly, pin pointed Keke NAPEP drivers plying the route as being the most reckless as he said: “The only problem we are now facing on the road is over speeding most especially by Keke NAPEP drivers”.

To address this, Danladi advised the relevant government agency to mount a sign board near the junction to specify the appropriate speed limit in order to get drivers to slow down while approaching the junction. A taxi driver, Emmanuel Moscow observed that prior to now, road users were often confronted with traffic jam in the mornings and after office hours due to the bad state of the road. “We are happy about this because the road is free now. There won’t be hold up any more especially in the morning,” he said. In the same vein, a motorist, James Aniche expressed joy over the construction of the road but urged the relevant agencies to ensure that commercial drivers comply with traffic rules that pertain to safe driving.



Boko Haram - between rebellion and jihad (I) A

t about 10.40 one morning last August, Mohammed Abul Barra rammed his ash-colored station wagon into a security gate outside the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, knocking it off its hinges. Barra's 1996 Honda Accord then crashed through the main building's glass doors and slammed against the reception deskOn security tapes of the incident seen by Reuters, a guard peers into the car, evidently unaware that it is packed with explosives. The grainy footage shows a dozen or so people in the reception edge towards the vehicle. Over 10 seconds pass in confusion before one man seemingly realizes what is about to happen. He grabs the person next to him and darts towards the lift. But it's too late. Barra steadies himself, leans forward and the security screens blur into white fuzz. The suicide strike left 25 people dead and the U.N. headquarters in tatters. It also drew global attention to Boko Haram, the mili t a n t g r o u p from northern Nigeria which has claimed responsibility for the attack and a string of bombings since then that has killed hundreds. As the bombings have grown in frequency in recent months, the Nigerian government and Western security officials have begun to grapple with the exact nature of the threat. Is Boko Haram just the latest in a long list of violent spasms in Nigeria, or is it the next battalion of global jihadists, capable of thrusting Africa's most populous nation into civil war? The answer to that is not simple. There is evidence some of it detailed in this story for the first time - that elements of Boko Haram have received training from foreign militant groups, including North Africabased al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM). The August attack was far more sophisticated than anything

Abu Qaqa, Boko Haram Spokesperson. linked to Boko Haram before. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan calls the group a terrorist organization with global ambitions. In an interview in his presidential villa last week, Jonathan said there was "no doubt" Boko Haram has links with jihadist groups outside Nigeria. General Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. military's Africa Command, said last year Boko Haram posed a threat to U.S. and Western interests. At the same time, Boko Haram remains firmly focused on domestic Nigerian issues. When its secretive spokesman claims responsibility for attacks, he almost always lists local grievances that have little to do with the core ideologies of al Qaeda. The group's name means "Western education is sinful" in Hausa, the language spoken in northern Nigeria, the country's Muslim heartland. But its anger is directed not at America or Europe but at Nigeria's elites: at their perceived arrogance, their failure to deliver services, and the brutality of their security forces. Many Boko Haram


members say their focus is on targeting officials who have locked up its members or misused state funds. Even Nigeria's national security adviser, General Owoye Azazi, who sees a link between Boko Haram and AQIM, urges caution in defining the group. "We need to tackle Boko Haram from several perspectives," Azazi said in an interview. "If you go back to history, there are religious concerns, there are concerns about governance, and of course, political implications. It's a combination of so many things." U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived in Abuja within days of last August's attack to help with forensic analysis of the bomb site. A report authored by those agents, Nigerian authorities and independent security teams, paints a portrait of a sophisticated operation. Barra was chosen because he was "low profile (and) well trained" and his attack was "well planned," says the confidential report, seen by Reuters. The car was packed with 125 kg (276 pounds) of manufactured explosives, including the plastic explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and

Boko Haram leaders still cite Yusuf's death as one of the main factors driving the insurgency. The group remains fiercely antigovernment and anti-authority, and resentful of the decades of corrupt, poor governance that have impoverished its home region.

triacetone triperoxide (TATP) both highly powerful and volatile, and more potent than easier-to-build fertilizer-based explosives. The explosives were used in a "shaped charge," which increases damage from a blast. Investigators believe the bomb probably consisted of both stolen factory-made explosives and home-made materials. "The only form of PETN that is commonly available is the core explosive in detonating cord," said Sidney Alford, a British explosives expert. "You can get detonating cord from the manufacturers, the army, or from blasting contractors in the demolition or quarrying industries." The failed 'underpants' bomber Faroup Abdulmutallan, a Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009 in an al Qaeda-style attack, used TATP. Another would-be plane bomber, Richard Reid, had PETN in his shoe in his unsuccessful effort to blow up a flight between France and the United States in 2001. President Jonathan said Nigeria has evidence that Boko Haram members have held meetings in North Africa. Azazi, the national security adviser, said the advancement in Boko Haram's weaponry and tactics points to help and training from outside groups. "We have evidence of meetings between Boko Haram leadership and outside groups," Azazi said, declining to give details. "We have evidence that some Boko Haram leaders are trained outside of Nigeria. Their methods, their bomb-making technologies - who taught them?" Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer, survived a brutal

civil war in the late 1960s in which more than 1 million people died. Repeated rounds of violence since then, often between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, have killed thousands more. The violent spasms are often fueled by politics, and so it is with Boko Haram. The group's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad, meaning "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad." It earned its nickname from the teachings of its founder Mohammed Yusuf in the early 2000s, in the restive northeastern city o f Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Yusuf argued that Western education, or "boko," had brought nothing but poverty and suffering to the region and was therefore forbidden, or "haram," in Islam. He began peacefully mostly preaching - and quickly gained a following among disaffected young men in the northeast. But his antiestablishment rhetoric and hints that Boko Haram was building an arsenal of weapons also caught the attention of the authorities. In 2009, the police clamped down on sect members who were ignoring a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. That sparked a furious backlash. Police stations and government offices in Borno were burned to the ground, and hundreds of criminals released in a prison break, as the violence spread across northern Nigeria. The government and army reacted with force; Yusuf was captured and shot dead in police custody. Five days of fighting left some 800 people dead. Boko Haram leaders still cite Yusuf's death as one of the main factors driving the insurgency. The group remains fiercely antigovernment and anti-authority, and resentful of the decades of corrupt, poor governance that have impoverished its home region. "You would never have believed the Boko Haram phenomenon came from these beginnings," said Shettima Dikwa, a doctor at the University of Maiduguri. Dikwa is one of a number of professionals in the city frustrated at the way Nigeria's government and military have allowed the insurgency to escalate. Like others, he says local politicians sponsored armed thugs to help disrupt the 2007 election and then abandoned them, creating a fertile recruitment field. The governor of Borno state has denied these allegations. (Reuters)



INSIDE 08033644990

- Pg 21

FG terminates Single Window Systems contract

Dangote Pasta captures 65% of pasta market; unveils new advert campaign


he Managing Director of the Dangote Pasta, Oladehinde Brown has expressed the readiness of his company to capture 65 percent of the pasta market in the country, following the fortification of its product with new vitamin and iron. This fortification, already endorsed by the National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) and other relevant agencies, is the first in the industry. Also, the leading foods manufacturing company, on Monday released a new media campaign to drive the marketing of the products. Described as novel in the food and beverages industry, the new pasta products is enhanced with 10 vitamins and Iron, with the management saying it has successfully elevated its pasta products from the snack family to a whole family meal. Brown, who made these disclosures in Lagos during the

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


unveiling of the television commercials and radio campaign for the products, said the development was the result of constant research into how to enrich the products and make a whole family meal rather than seeing pasta as a complimentary food. He expressed the management satisfaction that it was the Dangote Pasta that blazed the trail in the food and beverages industry pointing out that no other pasta either macaroni or spaghetti produced by any of its competitors could boast of such nutrients as vitamins and iron. “I make bold to say that as at today, its only Dangote spaghetti and macaroni that have been fortified with by vitamins and iron which is needed for children’s growth, strong bones and the need of the entire family for sound health. “We are making Dangote Pasta a complete meal away from being a snack, that is why we are adding the nutrients, we are fortifying it with 10 different vitamins and this we have communicated well to the consumers through the macaroni and spaghetti packs. We are also backing up the campaign with the TVC you about to watch now”, he stated. Despite the new nutrients added, Brown disclosed that Dangote Pasta has taken necessary care to ensure the products are appropriately priced, to become pocketfriendly and affordable. Dangote Pasta, a subsidiary of Dangote Flour Plc and reputed to be the largest plant in Africa operates with eight lines with a combined production capacity in excess of 20 million tons per annum. Brown stated that the national demand stood at 18 million tonnes per annum and that Dangote Pasta would churn out about 10 million tonnes this year leaving competitors to do the rest. EXCHANGE RATES


LOS -ABJ: 9.45, 11.45, 2.45

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

27th Jan, 2012

• £ RIYAL $

BUYING 210 255 40 164

SELLING 212 257 42 165

L-R: Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, World Bank Country Director, Ms. Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, and Country Director, UK Department for International Development (DFID), Mr. Richard Montgomery, during a workshop on Framework for Reform of Business Environment in Nigeria, at Transcorp Hotel, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Access Bank concludes merger with Intercontinental From Suleiman Idris, Lagos


ccess Bank Plc yesterday announced that it has completed its acquisition of former Intercontinental Bank as the two financial institutions merged into a single entity. The acquisition, the bank said, is coming after all the relevant regulatory, judicial and shareholder approvals have been granted. A statement made available to journalists disclosed that upon gazetting, Intercontinental Bank stands dissolved without being wound up and all its assets and liabilities are now vested in Access Bank Plc. Accordingly, it said the transaction will create a formidable Nigerian financial institution comfortably positioned in the top 4 ranking of the country’s financial institutions by most metrics. “Similarly, the merger has repositioned the Nigerian banking sector on the African continent as the combined entity has the potential of ranking amongst Africa’s top 10 banks, according to The Bankers’ Magazine’s review of

top African banks in its current edition,” the statement further said. With a customer base of 5.7 million and an asset of over two billion naira, Access Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Aigboje AigImoukhuede said “the transaction is a significant step forward for the Nigerian banking sector; it has preserved thousands of Nigerian jobs, protected the savings of millions of Nigerian citizens and lays the foundation for the creation of a truly great, African bank. “It brings together the proven prudential management of Access Bank and the extensive geographical footprint of Intercontinental Bank, with one of the largest networks of branches and ATMs,” he further stated. Imoukhuede said “All our people have worked hard to deliver this successful integration and the speed and efficiency with which it has been accomplished is testament to the quality of our management team. Importantly, our customers have experienced minimal

disruption and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to them for enabling this successful combination”. He said the 5.7 million customers of the combined bank will benefit from a product range which blends the very best of both Access and Intercontinental Banks products. They will also benefit from an expanded network of 309 branches along with a network of 1600 ATMs across Nigeria. To ensure that the 5.7million customers of the Bank enjoy superior banking services, the Bank said it is committing significant human and financial resources to customer and other stakeholder engagement via its world-class Contact Centre, SMS, and online banking to ensure seamless transaction and impressive experience at any contact with the bank. However, financial analysts who spoke to Peoples Daily opined that the integration has the potential of increasing the Access Bank’s operational costs and depleting earnings in the near term.

Management Tip of the Day Think creatively by using both sides of the brain


reativity is not genetically encoded. Anyone can learn to think creatively. The key is to use both the left and right hemispheres of the brain: logical and intuitive, respectively. Start by immersing

yourself in a problem. Use the logical left side of your brain to understand what you know about the topic. Then switch to the right side by distancing yourself from the issue and mulling over the information. Exercise is a good way to access the visual nature of the

right hemisphere. It often leads to an “ah-ha moment” where you see a new solution. Then switch back to the left hemisphere to challenge your creative breakthrough with rational thinking. Source: Harvard Business Review



Energy firm plans to invest N620bn in Nigeria By Aminu Imam with agency report


ulcan Energy Corp. plans to invest 620 billion naira ($3.8 billion) in Nigeria's oil and natural gas industry within a year, the Trade and Investment Ministry said. According to Bloomberg, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, and California-based Torch Petroleum Inc. also plan to invest 155 billion naira each in Nigeria's oil and gas industry, the ministry said

on Monday in an e-mailed statement. The government has "begun collaboration with the various companies to ensure that the investments are executed within the time-frame given, especially by ensuring that there are no bottlenecks in the way of smooth business for the operators," Olusegun Aganga, the trade and investment minister said. More than 20 companies including USbased GE Corp. and Maire Tecnimont SpA have

proposed to invest 4.9 trillion naira in power, mining, health and transport industries of subSaharan Africa's secondbiggest economy within four years, Aganga said. "The commitments have been on a win-win basis," Aganga said. Nigeria plans to boost foreign investment in industries by making it easier to do business in the country. The government is focusing on changes that can improve the investment climate and on the overhaul of industries.

KACCIMA commiserate with people of Kano over blasts From Bala Nasir, Kano


he Kano state Chamber Of C o m m e r c e , Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KACCIMA) has expressed its sympathy over the recent bomb blasts in some parts of Kano metropolis where a number of people were reported to have lost their lives. Chairman of the Chamber, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu, who had in a statement made available

to Peoples Daily sympathised with the government and people of the state over the incident. “We commiserate with the entire people of Kano and also particularly all those who have lost their loved ones and properties during the sad incident.� He said that Kano, being the hub of commerce of the entire North, has certainly lost human and material resources as a result of the 20th January blasts. The state, he said, needs enduring peace and for

businesses to flourish and provide the required sustenance for social and economic wellbeing for the people. He prayed for the repose of the souls of those that have lost their lives and for the speedy recovery of all those who suffered injuries from the incident. Alhaji Rabiu also prayed for a lasting peace and tranquillity in Kano in particular and in Nigeria in general, for the economy to continue to prosper.

IFC invests N174 m to set up microfinance bank in Oyo state


he International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $1.1 million (N174.5 million) alongside Advans S.A., German development bank KfW and Dutch development bank FMO to establish La Fayette Microfinance Bank in Oyo state. La Fayette, which is expected to start operations during the

fourth quarter of 2012, will serve small and medium enterprises that have limited or no access to formal banking services. Financial surveys indicate that only one in five Nigerian adults owns a bank account, and over half of the country's adult population is excluded from access to financial services. "With the objective of becoming the leading microfinance bank in Oyo

FG terminates Single Window Systems contract


he Federal Government has terminated the contract awarded to Single Window Systems and Technology Limited. This development was confirmed by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in a press statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister,

Paul C Nwabuikwu. The statement said the decision to discontinue the contract was based on an investigation by the Ministry of Finance which looked into the processes and the terms of the contract. The investigation, which was approved by the President, revealed that the contract breached the provisions of both the Procurement Act and the ICRC Act.

state, La Fayette will address a critical gap by providing quality financial services to help small businesses grow and create jobs," said Claude Falgon, Director of Advans S.A. Advans S.A. will be La Fayette's lead shareholder with an equity investment of $3.1 million (N501.0 million). IFC and KfW are each investing $1.1 million (N174.5 million), while FMO is investing $940,000 (N150 million). Within five years, La Fayette expects to establish 11 branches, broadening access to finance and stimulating economic growth across Oyo State. "Microfinance is a vital tool in the fight against poverty and forms a core part of IFC's efforts to support small-scale entrepreneurs in Africa," said Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, IFC's Country Manager for Nigeria. "In Nigeria, IFC aims to increase the number of commercially viable microfinance institutions, especially in under-served areas like Oyo State, so that a vibrant private sector can give rise to economic growth".



Untold story of the Labour-FG fuel subsidy negotiation N

ew facts have revealed that the closed-door meetings between the federal government and the representatives of Labour and Civil Society during the last nationwide strike never discussed fuel price during the negotiations. According to an on-line journal, Premium Times, while addressing members of the Joint Action Front (JAF) on Sunday, the chairman, Dipo Fashina said that the “so called negotiations” were full of blackmails and arm twisting and no mention of the removal of fuel subsidy. “There was no negotiation in Aso Rock,” said Mr. Fashina, who represented the civil society during the talks. “On the first day, Labour met with the Senate President, David Mark, who tried to blackmail them,” he said. Mr. Fashina said that at the second negotiation, which had President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance, the president berated Labour for supporting his presidency during the elections, and now turning against him to call a nationwide strike. There was no mention of petrol price, according to Mr. Fashina. “During Obasanjo’s time when he increased fuel price several times, the talks were all about petrol price change. Now it’s my turn and people are talking about regime change,”

Mr. Fashina quoted the president as saying. “Since it is about regime change, I am going to march out the military because it is now about national security,” Mr. Jonathan reportedly told the Labour and Civil Society leaders. Mr. Fashina added that there were also hints before the negotiations that Labour were plotting with the vice president to oust Mr. Jonathan from office. “There was blackmail, that if Jonathan was removed, vice president Sambo would become president and the vice president is from the same village with one of the leaders of the Trade Union Congress,” said Mr. Fashina. ‘A divided house’ Mr. Fashina noted that the lack of a unified stance on the part of Labour and Civil Society put a major crack on their demands. “The NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) was operating a half house,” he said. “The eastern branches, with the exception of Imo State, were not on strike. The South-South governors were already in advanced talks with their Labour leaders to call off their strike,” said Mr. Fashina. On Monday, January 16, JAF and other civil society groups had begun a march from

Labour leaders singing solidarity song before the commencement of the meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan the NLC Secretariat, Yaba, and had engaged in a face-off with military officers who blocked their procession and demanded that the crowd be dispersed. And then the news of the suspension of the nationwide

strike by organized Labour filtered in, deflating the spirits of the protesters. “Our handicap is that we do not call strikes. It is only the people who call for strikes that can call it off,” said Mr. Fashina.

“As at the time we finished the meeting by 2 a.m, there was no plan to call of the strike. Whatever happened took place between the time we left and the time the strike was called off.” (Source: Premium Times)

MTN renews services with Ericson By Muhammad Nasir


he leading telecommunications company MTN, has renewed it services with Ericson as a managed partner in Ghana yesterday, in an effort to enhance the experience of the company for over 10 million subscribers in Accra, Ghana. In a statement issued by the chief Technical Officer, MTN Ghana said, ‘Our first two years together achieved the result we were hoping for, we could focus on subscriber growth, and Ericson delivered network reliability and efficiencies. In 2011, the company grew by around 18% in the country to serve over 10 million subscribers. According to Ericson’s head of Managed Services Valter D’Avino, with Ericson continuing to run the operations of the network, MTN will be able to dedicate even more time and focus on delivering innovative products and services relevant to the needs of their customers.” He reiterated that MTN will retain full ownership of the network and responsibility for its strategic direction, while Ericson will manage the network operations, optimisation and field

maintenance for MTN’s 3G sites. MTN will retain full ownership of the network and responsibility for its strategic direction, while Ericsson will manage the network operations, optimization and field maintenance for MTN’s 3G sites,

he added. The announcement marks the extension of the first managed services contract between Ericson and MTN, originally signed in 2009 in connection to the rollout of MTN’s 3G network in Ghana.

Under the extension, Ericson is responsible for network operations, field maintenance and optimization. MTN as a leading Communications Company has a presence of 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East,

yesterday announced the extension of it managed services agreement with Ericson for its Ghana operations. MTN is the premier operator in Ghana which is one of Africa’s fastest growing markets with 49% market share.

What to expect from Facebook IPO By Etuka Sunday with agency report


acebook could file papers for its IPO, or initial public offering of the company stock soon, according to Wall Street Journal. Reports have it that it will likely take until May for Facebook stock to actually begin trading on a stock exchange. It is not yet clear which exchange Facebook will trade on. Reports before yesterday said Facebook would likely be valued at $75-100 billion. "If it comes to pass, this will be the largest tech IPO in history, yielding around $10 billion for the social network," wrote Chris Taylor of Mashable. "Google's 2005 IPO, as big a deal as it was, didn't

even reach the $2 billion mark." Facebook is reportedly expected to file a form S-1 with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) this week. The form will be the first insight into the workings of what has so far been a fairly opaque company. The form will list the company's revenue and profits, and is expected to set the company's value between $75 and $100 billion. This is a required step before a company can begin trading publicly. Facebook is going public because Under SEC regulations, Facebook has to make certain financial information public because the company has more than 500 investors. The deadline to file this information expires in April.

This is expected to be the IPO event of the year, and possibly the decade. Analysts say that this offering will change the Internet sector, creating what will be one of the largest Internet companies. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly decided to go public once it became clear that the company had become too big to keep its finances private. By going public, Facebook loses some of it mystery and cool, having to declare profits and losses every quarter - but the company will have access to new cash, it will also be able to use the value of its stock to acquire other companies and to reward its employees. Facebook's 3,000 employees are now poised to

become a brand new gang of Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires. According to wide speculation and reporting, the form S-1 filing will happen after the stock market closes on Wednesday. The rumour mill has been wrong about this before, though even if there is no filing this Wednesday, there will likely be one soon thereafter "You know the story by now: Facebook began in 2004 with Mark Zuckerberg, then a student at Harvard, who joined with a couple of friends (some of them now ex-friends) to find a way for schoolmates to connect online. The idea caught on. Facebook now claims more than 800 million active users worldwide".




Kano: Boko Haram attacks are bringing Muslims and Christians ever closer together to fight the menace “

He said that the Kano Covenant peace move was "quite timely, more so as the period is full of uncertainties and confusion prevalent in the country which was made possible by the rumour making the rounds via text messages". received them. He told his guests that he too was is a citizen of Kano state from Sumaila Local Government Area and that he became a Christian at Gano in Dawakin Kudu Local Government Area. He urged them to continue with the efforts towards uniting the people of the

country, believing that "it will do us good as a nation if individuals should set the pace in bring about peace by initiating similar moves. From there the group visited the Holy Trinity Church on Hausa/Igbo Road in Sabon Gari where Bashir told the Christian faithful that his was "a mission of peace and

hope for all the people of this country". The team then headed for the Seraphim and Cherubim Church on Sanusi Road, also in Sabon Gari, where the Kano Covenant leader also gave a speech on peace. The last, though not the least church, that the group visited is Calvary of Life Assembly Church (CLAC) at No Man's land. The leader of the Church, who incidentally is the Kano state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), is Bishop Ransom Bello. He had been with the Kano Covenant group on its tour of churches. The rousing welcome given to the visitors showed the church's appreciation of the peace

Kano’s Muslim, Christians leaders come together for peace

By Bala Nasir


group of concerned citizens named Kano Covenant recently paid what they called peace visits to churches in Kano with a mission to bridge the seeming gap between Muslims and Christians in the state especially in these trying moments in the country. Chairman of the group, Alhaji Bashir Ishaq Bashir, made it clear to his Christian audience in each of the churches visited that he and the other members of the group were all indigenes of Kano who were dismayed by the violence going on in the state in the name of religion. In the last several months, he told his listeners, there had been a worsening of ethnic and religious tensions, sometimes leading to violence, in some parts of Nigeria, responsibility for which has been claimed by fringe groups that masquerade as defenders and promoters of religion. The Covenant peacemakers were cheerfully received wherever they went. Praise singing and loud ovations greeted them in

every church. While admitting that some of the violence had been perpetrated by common criminal gangs bent on making an already bad situation worse, Bashir lamented that it was always innocent Nigerians, both Muslim and Christian, that got killed and maimed in the process. "Such an unfortunate situation has led to anxiety as well as ethnic and religious tensions in Kano, thus making ethnic and religious minorities in a state apprehensive and fearful", he said. He referred to the false alarms being raised by some individuals over an impending Jihad against nonMuslims, dismissing them as "nothing but a rumour". The way and manner Jihad rumour was spread through text messages and the unethical exploitation of the situation by ethnic and sociocultural groups in the country as well as a section of the media did not help matters at all, he said. "As Nigerians who come from or live in Kano state and

who, in most cases, have no other place to call home but here, we are deeply concerned by these unfortunate developments", Bashir said. He reminded his Christian audiences that "Nigeria is a federation of multiple ethnic and religious beliefs governed by a Constitution that recognizes the freedom of thought. Two, the Nigerian Constitution is not an ordinary document, it is a covenant which commits and binds all Nigerians to all the principles contained in it. "It is, therefore, incumbent upon all Nigerians, especially Muslims and Christians, to respect the principles of the Constitution and give life to them through their utterances, actions and relationships". One achievement of the visit that stood out was the presence of HISBA personnel at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Cathedral, off Airport Road, which was one of the churches visited. They were there principally to provide secure the church, its members and property during the Sunday worship service.

Not only their presence made the atmosphere peaceful but their eagerness to render selfless service at the church and the cooperation they received from the security guards of the church ensured orderliness and peace. Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Cathedral Church pastor, Bishop John Namaza Niyinring, who received the visitors, expressed happiness over the peace initiative by the Bashir-led group. He said that the Kano Covenant peace move was "quite timely, more so as the period is full of uncertainties and confusion prevalent in the country which was made possible by the rumour making the rounds via text messages". After delivering his speech, the Church choir sang songs of peace and unity in a way that held the visitors spellbound. Bashir and his team bade farewell to their Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Cathedral hosts and headed for Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Hausa section, where Reverend Jinta Jatau

A handshake for peace

Bashir's speech received a standing ovation. Then it was Bishop Bello’s turn. He told the gathering that with the peace work of Kano Covenant, "God is now answering our prayers. He urged Christians in Kano state to ignore the rumour about Muslims preparing to wage a holy war on them.

An embrace and a standing ovation awaited Kano Convenant leaders in this church

work of the group. The choir sang heartily in Hausa. Bashir's speech received a standing ovation. Then it was Bishop Bello’s turn. He told the gathering that with the peace work of Kano Covenant, "God is now answering our prayers. He urged Christians in Kano state to ignore the rumour about Muslims preparing to wage a holy war on them. "Those text messages are surely concocted by people with evil minds in order to cause disaffection in the society", he said. He led the gathering in a

special prayer after which the visitors and their hosts retired into the Bishop's chamber to sign the visitor's register and also to agree on the wordings of the communiqué of the visit. A member of the Kano Covenant read to the gathering the sermon of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) concerning the rights and privileges of Christians as guaranteed under an Islamic state. At the end, Bashir and team were seen off by the chairman and executives of Kano branch of CAN and members of the Calvary of Life Assembly as well.



Chasing after shadows BOOK REVIEW By Chuks Oluigbo


he opening of Maik Nwosu’s Alpha Song reads like Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter. But unlike So Long a Letter, it is not just a letter; it is a dying father’s “last will and testament” to his five-year old son. As the book progresses, however, the “will and testament” turns out to be just memories. The protagonist, Taneba, says at the beginning: “And what more precious legacy can I leave you, my son, than my most prized possession? My secrets: my memory.” (p.1). The book begins in the present where Taneba, forty-five years old, and at the point of death, delves into the deep past to unburden his heart of memories that go beyond two decades: the life he had lived, the people he had met and the places he had been. Like Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, Alpha Song re-enacts the motif of the knowledge-seeker. It is a story of insatiable quest, of man’s endless search for meaning, for the true essence of life. But it is a futile search. No one ever finds it. Everything ends in disillusionment. Reading through the pages, one could clearly hear echoes of the voice of the Preacher saying: “Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.” Taneba confesses in his letter to Toshiba: “All my life, I have been searching for something just beyond the edge of my consciousness, just a little above my comprehension. I doubt if I will ever find it…” (p.95) Man is an insatiable being, ever searching. Taneba’s flight from his village to Lagos is a search for meaning. So is his romance with the night. His ultimate aim, he says, was “to catch up with the night”. But it was impossible because the night was always “one step ahead” of him. (p.3) As he would later confess: “I had lived through several ages of the night…wandering and wondering, seeking for a great indefinable essence but finding only small definable pleasures.” (p.212) In the end, he is “rather tired of seeking and not finding.” (p.228) Realising the futility of his search, he traces his way to his roots in Kaiama Creek. The above then underlines man’s search for meaning as a pursuit after shadows. Yet, man cannot stop searching because he is insatiable; because “life is something we go through searching for meaning,” (p.2). Just like Taneba, virtually every other character in Alpha Song goes in search of meaning, his or her own way. Bantus’s wanderings are also a search. He has been to New York and to almost all the islands in the world: Montego Bay, Tahiti, Zanzibar – yet his appetite for adventure is not whetted. He still goes off to Monrovia, to the desert, again to New York, and back to Lagos, all in search of what he does not even know. At one point he tells Taneba

that he has been “to find the heart of the ocean.” (p.122) He too soon realises the futility of his search. “Life is a myth,” he says: …the myth of existence, of living. We don’t live, man; we only go through the motions. Everyman’s life is a myth he tries to retell, to personalise; he doesn’t own it, he doesn’t even understand it. (p.78) But does he stop searching? He sets off again, and rather than find meaning, he gets lost himself. After many years of living in illusion, Faith goes to church in search of God. Yellow’s movement from Papa Real’s house to Mama Zi’s Beach Kingdom is also a search. Taneba also goes to Mama Zi, to Abedie, and finally joins Faith’s church in New York. Man is in constant search, ever trying to know more. Alpha Song is also a story of progression, of endless movement, of passage (of time and people) and of transformation and change. Nature is in a constant state of flux. Nothing remains the same. “Everything passes, except perhaps the essence of things.” (p.2) Thus, Taneba progresses from being the disinherited son of Elias Brass in the little village of Kaiama Creek to working in the sorting department of the general post office in Lagos. Then he begins to hang around the joints in his neighbourhood. When he meets Tamuno again and is introduced into night life, he becomes an incurable night-crawler. He gradually transforms from a celibate dying from the burden of chastity to a chronic patron of prostitutes. He moves from being a stranded fellow at the coast of Monrovia to being the assistant manager in the express mail section of the post office, with an official car; from a fraudulent staff on the verge of imprisonment to

Maik Nwosu, the author

The book cover the manager of Stephen Speed; from the international manager of Stephen Holdings to a prisoner in New York. When he returns to Lagos finally, he discovers that everything has changed. “Time had not stood still,” (p196), and everything he had been or done in the preceding decade suddenly

seemed of no consequence in that “motion of time”. Tamuno’s Heaven had become an embassy; Sundown! a restaurant; 24 a brothel. Only the Red Hat remained a club, although the name had changed to Lingo! The most amazing of the transformations was Music Temple. It had become a church: the Cathedral of St. Toshiba…. How everything changes. (p.227) Col. Briggs transforms from an incurable patron of the night to its most outspoken antagonist. When he is made Minister for Youth and Social Development, he warns young people to “beware of the night for the night is evil.” (p.197) How people change! Bantu deserts his family, reunites with them, renames his wife La Mundo, deserts them again, and then vanishes. In the nightclubs too, there is constant motion of people, staff as well as patrons. In another way, Alpha Song also treats the theme of the inevitability of death. Every man moves ultimately to his death. Taneba’s mother’s mother dies; his mother too dies; and so does his father. Tamuno dies, even though Chief Stephen describes him as a strong breed; Mama Rekia dies; the seemingly ageless Papa Real dies; and Chief Stephen dies, even though he “always seemed strong enough to outlive eternity.” (p.226) Finally, Faith dies. The disappearance of Bantu is also inevitable. In Naomi’s final letter

to Bantu, she writes: “Dear Bantu: It is my fate then to bear this terrible guilt….” Man is a fated being. He cannot run away from his fate, how ever much he tries. Taneba flees from his village in order to obliterate the memory of his father; in order to escape, so to say, from the ghost of his father and his entire past. But like King Odewale in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not to Blame, the farther he runs, the closer he draws to his fate. His escape route leads him inevitably into the arms of Eve, the proposed fourth wife of his father before his father’s sudden death. The “Alpha Song” he so much enjoys turns out to be his father’s own composition. He literally comes face to face with the ghost of his father. In his consternation, he asks: So, what all my life had amounted to – after almost two decades of rejecting and forgetting – was the completion of my father’s marriage programme? What sort of terrible ghost had that terrible man become that he would not let me be? (p.220) He then realises the futility of his flight. He goes home thereafter to perform a symbolic personal burial for his father who died over two decades before. Man is but a pawn in the hands of the supernatural forces. Alpha Song is again a quest into the night and its impregnable “soda ash fountain of mysteries”. “The night is like a spirit and usually possesses different people in different ways”. (p.12) It is also “a time for deaths…” (p.13). Virtually all the evil things in the book are done at night: prostitution, drug business, the attack on Taneba, the attack on St. Notorious and his group, the murder of Tamuno, and so on. This is so because the night frees people “from their daytime inhibitions” (p.13). The book is also a story of depravity, of moral decadence, and of man’s unquenchable crave for pleasure. Taneba moves insatiably from girl to girl and from one nightclub to the other, until he gets into trouble in New York where he is accused of attempted rape. This earns him a two-year jail term, thus fulfilling Mama Zi’s prophecy. The level of decadence is evident in the recklessness with which some families encourage their daughters to sell their bodies for money. Mairo’s mother encourages her to go to Europe for prostitution so as to support the family. Angel’s brother also comes to Lagos to ask her for money, and she tells Taneba, “They think because I’m living with a white man I must be rich.” (p.191) Some of the stories in Alpha Song remind one of Macbeth’s encounter with the three weird sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The image of the supernatural looms very large in the characters Contd. on page 30



Every day is for the thief (I) BOOK REVIEW By Tolulope Ogunlesi


agos is a marketplace, bigger and more exciting than the open-air Samarkand bazaar immortalized by Wole Soyinka in his most recent collection of poems. Samarkand might offer the ‘bric a brac’ and an electrifying wedlock of philosophers and poets, but Lagos’ most marketable offerings are its stories. Its prime position on the list of the world’s mega-cities might account for this. Partly. But then, why bother about the origins of a story when the story itself is there in front of you, swaggering, taunting; daring you to produce one that can trump it. Enter Teju Cole, and his swashbuckling theory of Thieves, Owners, and Ownership, as outlined in his debut novel, Every Day is For the Thief. The phrase itself is the first half of a Yoruba proverb, ojo gbogbo ni tole, ojo kan ni ti olohun - Everyday (is) for the thief, one day (is) for the owner. It is ‘the’ story of Lagos, I deliberately say ‘the’ and not ‘a’ because when you reach the final full-stop in the novel, you get the feeling that you have just crossed the line directly next (in intensity) to actually experiencing the city. Forget that it is a slim novel; it is not the size of the barrel that matters but how full it is. Everyday is for the thief. Thieves abound in Lagos, and in this book. Every minute, every page is for the thief - the pickpocket, the dubious petrol station attendant, the murderous armed robber, the

The book cover compact disc pirate, the hostagetaking area boy, the bribe-taking police, customs and embassy officers, the thieving politician whose actions and inactions account for power failures and fuel scarcities. All of the above are part of the cast of Cole’s story, narrated by a young man who has returned to Nigeria (and more specifically, Lagos), for the

first time in many years, on a visit. It is - to use the hackneyed phrase - a trip down memory lane, the “down” especially apt because coming from New York to Lagos is a literal descent into chaos, into the Hobbesian jungle. The narrator is a thinly disguised version of the novelist, a fictional creation who plagiarizes a real one. This return to Lagos is

therefore a killing of two birds with one stone (more accurately resurrecting two birds with one breath of inspiration); one person travels to Lagos, but two return, the writer and the narrator. This, you should know by now, is something Lagos is highly experienced at accomplishing. One person comes in, and a different one emerges. Four dreams go in, and none return. The author’s note, which seems unnecessary because of the fact that it appears as a ‘snapshot’ of author and narrator side by side, smiling - albeit disowning each other. Cole is adamant in that “he (the narrator) and I are not the same person.” But it is because he has somehow hinted of the fact that there might be two of them that he now has to convince readers that each one is an independent existence. We would have been quite happy on our own to merge and separate the two personas as our imaginations please. This is a book of images, beyond the many that the narrator sketches (in near-filmic detail) through his words, there are also photographic ones as well, miniature renderings of grainy black and white shots captured by the narrator (or the author?), and scattered like chunks of poetry across the pages. They are images of Lagos of hawkers, headgear, fruits, rusted rooftops, ships, cops, etc, the kind of residue that would result from a ‘destructive distillation’ of a city like Lagos, were it possible to take it as a chemical compound. Source:

Chasing after shadows Contd. from page 29 of Mama Rekia, who allegedly buys other people’s dreams for a fee so that she can dream them, until one day she buys a dream about her own death and dies subsequently; Ada Eke, the daughter of the stream, who is said to disappear into the depths of the stream on the night before the Eke market, thus causing the stream to rise, and her reemergence afterwards causes the stream to thin out; Mairo, who is married to a jealous deity who detests her association with mortal men; Mama Zi, who prophesies Taneba’s troubles with women; the ageless Papa Real, who sells reality and who allegedly sacrifices other people to prolong his own life; Yellow who is always up and about on the streets every night and day and never goes to sleep; Eve, who predicts with horrifying precision in her diary recordings Taneba’s future actions in their relationship; the stone boulder in the middle of the road at midnight which disappears at daybreak; the silence, the mounted heads of ram

and the smell of blood in Abedie’s house; and Taneba’s dreams about masquerades and his loss of hair. These stories evoke eerie feelings. So do Bantu’s revelations. But these stories should be seen, not as mere superstition, but as an insight into some beliefs and practices of traditional African peoples. They could also be viewed from the psychoanalytical perspective as embodying the different workings of the human mind. Alpha Song is after all a probe into the inner recesses of the human mind. The greater part of the action in Alpha Song takes place in Lagos. However, through flashback, the setting shifts to Kaiama Creek, to Uzi Quarters, the orphanage of Tamuno’s childhood, and so on. One must also commend the author’s use of the first person narrator. Given the nature of the events, no other character could have told Taneba’s story better than Taneba himself. The author’s manner of introducing the characters is also commendable. Other techniques effectively employed by the author are letters and dreams. Many of the

characters communicate by means of letter writing: Mairo to Taneba, Taneba to Toshiba, Toshiba to Taneba, Bantu’s wife to Taneba, and so on. These letters serve to reveal the thought patterns of the characters concerned. At other times, they tell the reader about some earlier events not directly related in simple narrative. The author seems to question the difference between dream and reality. If Mama Rekia buys a dream about her death and dies subsequently, Yellow suffers insomnia because Papa Real tells him in his dream that his eyes will never know sleep, and Taneba sees himself losing a grey hair each day in his dream and actually loses the hair in real life, then where is the demarcating line between dream and reality? Alpha Song reads like a song, with many of the characters quoting lines from songs. Tamuno sees life itself as a song. His refrain: The robins will sing. Bantu’s revelations embody three songs: alpha song, meridian song, and omega song. Eve enjoys classical songs which she says “speak to the

soul” (p.215), and from which she derives inspiration. In many instances the book reads like poetry. Part of Taneba’s letter to Toshiba reads: I have turned in four directions, into alphabet streets filled with smoke and alabaster, but you are an experience above experiences. You have given me memories, by simple signs of affection and paradisial conjugations, that spiral me into giddy heights…. You have made me, wearied by a million journeys into myself, feel the sacramental power of love… (p.96) All said and done, it must be said that the author has succeeded in shaking the foundations of many of man’s actions without being excessively moralistic. In the end, man has only one person to confront: himself. Alpha Song then is a successful novel in as much as every reader is able to see in Taneba an image of himself or herself. Taneba is like every man, with all the basic human vices. Source:

PEOPLES POEM OF THE WEEK Title: As light as feathers By Unknown author If we weren’t sisters Would we be friends – a rare union? Of inseparable instruments Bend, bend, harvest Closure with the country of your mind I am left with crippled limbs That does not work That fails to embrace you, impress upon You, you, you, your pale face Fingers clenched into fists I am human, lonely and sad, grounded – Madly devoted to you Perfume in your hair On the paper-thin skin of your flesh – Whisper, whisper, whisper, I whisper myself to death This is a belated hope – you’re in sight But not in touch Drowned woman – Drowning woman on the offensive With your string of pearls My thalidomide – Attendee at my tidal wake I imagine The deep gravity of that You’re only a half-formed Weight in my emotional experience Of life so far – a living, breathing Goddess swathed in a golden Light – the surface brittle and cold Like a glass ceiling Stiffening cracks shining Through; there’s stillness in the Air that reminds me of you

QUO TE UOTE “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy



Controversy of Abdoulaye Wade’s presidential bid

Wade's attempt to run for a third term has been a divisive issue [AFP]



s Senegalese voters prepare to head to polls on February 26, a major controversy is surrounding the incumbent president, 86-yearold Abdoulaye Wade. Wade is now seeking a third term in office, against the country's constitution. One year after Wade took power in 2000, he amended the country's constitution to impose a two-term limit for the presidency. He also reduced the presidential term to five years from seven, following the completion of his first term in 2007. After his re-election in 2007, President Wade promised to abide with the constitution and stick to the two-term limit, meaning he would not stand for election in the 2012 poll. However, Wade surprised the nation - or at least his opposition when he announced plans to stand for a third term, saying the two-term limit did not apply to him because he was first elected in 2000, before the constitution officially took effect. To top it all off, Wade also attempted to amend the constitution again, this time for his own good, by lowering the votes required to win the presidential election from 50 to 25 per cent. He later backed down from the amendment, after thousands of young people took to the streets in protest.

Those demonstrations helped trigger a movement known as Y'En A Marre - French for "Fed Up!" - headed by a group of rappers and journalists, who have been mobilise and organise protests against Wade's presidency. Wade's candidacy for a third term has now been approved by the country's constitutional court - the most sniro judicial body in the country. Wade's candidacy was formally submitted on January 24 by his campaign manager, Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye, also the country's prime minister. However, the credibility of the court has been questioned, as each of its judges and justices were named by the president. Many people believe that the court is under Wade's influence, and that has prompted it to rule in his favour. The court, among other things, has the mandate to ensure that the presidential candidate is a Senegalese citizen, literate and at least 35 years old. Violent protests erupted in Dakar after Wade's name was

released as one of 14 eligible candidates for the presidency. Before the announcement, Lamine Souare, an analyst, said there would be issues regardless of which way the court ruled. "If the constitutional council should announce that the he [Wade] is qualified as a candidate for the presidential election there will be problem because the opposition and the youth are already saying that he is not qualified, and his candidacy is not valid," said Souare. "If they should announce that Wade is not qualified, then there will be problem as well because his party militants may protest against that decision. "And this problem could have been avoided long before the election if the council published the list earlier ... but now the release of the list of eligible presidential candidate is very close to the election, so any protest or chaos could undermine the whole election process." There are more than 150 opposition parties in Senegal, but fewer than 20 parties are active


- and those are the ones that will challenge Wade in the upcoming elections. The main opposition parties are the Rewmi Party led by Idrissa Seck, the Alliance for the Republic led by Macky Sall, the Socialists' Party led by Tanor Dieng and the Alliance of Progress Forces led by Mustapha Niasse. Each of these party leaders have been prime ministers under Abdoulaye Wade's regime, but broke away and formed their own political parties. Most of the other parties are marginal and little more than platforms for their leaders. However, several Senegalese opposition parties had, for the past two years, tried to come up with a single candidate to challenge Wade in the election - but their talks were fruitless, unable to reach a unanimous decision, and thus reducing their chances of beating Wade with their individual parties. Despite the divided field, the opposition's best hope is that Wade's votes will not reach the 50 per cent threshold in the first round and thereby force a second - in which it would be possible for

However, as of now, many analysts believe that if Wade, whose presidency has been marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism, is to stand for this election he will win in the first round, as he has the finances to campaign.

activists to unite around a single opposition candidate and defeat the incumbent. The ultimate outcome of the first round will also depend partly on the integrity of the vote, of course; some fear that a rigged or partly rigged election will give Wade more than 50 per cent in the first round, rendering moot the question of how well the various opposition candidates perform. Wade also came to power with the support of opposition parties in 2000. In that election, Wade took second place in the first round, having received 31 per cent of the votes, and for the first time, Abdou Diouf, the incumbent president, did not win a first round majority consequently a second round was held. Wade won this round with 58.49 per cent of the vote, having received the support of candidates from the first round, including third place Moustapha Niasse - now one of his key opponents. In the 2007 presidential election, Wade won in the first round with 55.9 per cent of the vote - far ahead of his nearest opponents: The Rewmi's Idrissa Seck garnered about 15 per cent and Socialist leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng won 13.6 per cent. The opposition parties did not accept the result. However, as of now, many analysts believe that if Wade, whose presidency has been marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism, is to stand for this election he will win in the first round, as he has the finances to campaign. Recently, he is said to have dished out millions of francs, and plots of land, to hundreds of his key party leaders. However, when Wade's campaign convoy is expected to be interrupted by frequent youth protests. They often complain that when he took office, the prices of basic goods started (and have continued) to skyrocket, while the earning power remains stagnant or depreciating. He has widely been criticised for excessive spending on what have been described as "prestige projects". This includes commissioning a 50m bronze statue (the African Renaissance Monument), for which Wade claims 35 per cent of all tourist revenues - because of his "intellectual property" in conceiving the idea. In his New Year's address, Wade said that he envisaged a government of national unity if he won next month. Of the 12.4 million Senegalese population, more than five million are said to have registered to vote in the February 26 elections, up from the 4.88 million voters in the 2007 poll. There is also expected to be a higher voter turnout than the 70 per cent reached in 2007, as many civil society organisations in the country have been offering intensive voter education. The past elections of the country were all termed "free and fair". Source:



AU extends mandate of current head, exposing divisions A Algeria Islamist leader predicts unrest if vote rigged


lgeria's government will ignite an explosion of unrest if it tries to rig a parliamentary election in May to keep its grip on power, according to the leader of an Islamist opposition party vying for a big share of the vote. Algeria, a big energy exporter, is the only North African state largely untouched by the "Arab Spring" upheavals in the region but the election could still act as a catalyst for protests over unemployment, a lack of housing and a government many people feel does not listen to them. Throwing down a gauntlet to the secularist leaders who have run the country since independence from France in 1962, moderate Islamists are building support, buoyed by Islamist resurgence in neighbours Tunisia, Libya and Morocco in the wake of last year's popular revolts. The Front for Justice and Development, a moderate Islamist party widely viewed by Algerians as one of the few credible challengers to the government, was last week given the green light by the authorities to take part in the election. "We hope that we can go towards a democratic system peacefully ... but if fraud is committed during the upcoming elections, it will be the biggest factor that will push the people towards an explosion," party leader Sheikh Abdallah Djaballah, 54, told Reuters in an interview. "We hope that there won't be fraud, but if there is then we will decide what to do," Djaballah said. A broad spectrum of Algerians -- including those close to the government -- say there is no appetite in the country for a radical change, or for bringing Islamists to power, after the country's bloody experience over the past two decades. The authorities annulled a parliamentary election in 1992 which an Islamist party was poised to win. That unleashed a conflict between Islamist militants and the security forces which killed an estimated 200,000 people. Djaballah, an Islamic scholar who was not involved in the conflict, said the violence had not weakened Algerians' support for the Islamist movement.

U extends mandate of current head, exposing divisions The African Union extended the mandate of its commission chief after failing to elect a new head on Monday, highlighting the weakness of a group criticised for slow decisionmaking during political turmoil on the continent last year. Former South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was up against incumbent commission chairman Jean Ping of Gabon, who failed to win an outright majority in four rounds of voting. After hours of deliberations during which South Africa's foreign minister said the deputy chairman would take over as interim commission chief, the African Union said it had decided to extend Ping's mandate for a further six months until the next summit in Malawi in June. "The elections were suspended in line with the provisions of our statute so we took the decision to extend the term of office of the chairperson, the deputy and his commissioners," AU chairman Benin President Boni Yayi told reporters through a translator. The commission is the AU secretariat's top organ and the chair its public face. A Western diplomat said the divisions showed how the power

African Union Commission Chairman, Jean Ping (L) and Benin’s President, Thomas Boni Yayi, newly elected African Union president, talk shortly after the closing ceremony of the 18th African Union (AU) summit balance had shifted in the continent after the death of one of its main patrons, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The AU was founded at a summit in his hometown of Sirte. "It's a fact despite what they say that Africa is divided. Things are changing, the balance of power among the regions are changing with the death of Gaddafi," said the diplomat, adding power was shifting towards southern Africa. Smaller countries said Zuma's candidacy broke an unwritten

rule that the continent's dominant states do not contest the leadership. "South Africa's decision to do so turns everything upside down," a West African delegate said. "You could say they may have not voted for Ping but the smaller countries are skeptical of the big countries," he said. Analysts said Ping's attempts to juggle the diverse views of its 54 members had hampered decisionmaking on Libya after Gaddafi's overthrow. "The weakness that Jean Ping

had was not being forthcoming in putting his own opinion... the commission is a bureaucracy and it doesn't have its own position but that of member states," Mahari Taddele Maru, an African Union analyst at International Security Studies said. The AU recognised the National Transitional Council as Libya's de facto government long after most Western nations. A Libyan delegate, describing the AU as "indecisive up to the last moment," said the commission should be given more authority. South Africa, which has complained the United Nations needs to pay more attention to the pan-African body, especially when it comes to African crises, had pushed Zuma's candidacy hard, saying the AU needed strong leadership. "The incumbent could not win a two-thirds majority after four rounds so this is very very clear, that leaders of this continent want change and they want it now," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane earlier said. She said the rules dictated that the deputy chairman, Kenya's Erastus Mwencha, would become interim chair until the next round of elections.

Libyan militia leader sues former UK spy chief


Libyan militia leader has begun legal action against a former senior British intelligence chief whom he accuses of playing a key role in illegally returning him to Libya to be jailed and tortured under Muammar Gaddafi, his Londonbased lawyers said. Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who commands one of Libya's most powerful militias, is seeking damages from Mark Allen, who was director of counter-terrorism at MI6, Britain's foreign

intelligence agency. Belhadj and a second Libyan dissident, Sami al-Saadi, accuse Allen of complicity in torture, negligence and misfeasance in public office -- the wrongful exercise of his authority. "We are taking this unusual step of preparing legal action against an individual as the documents we have in our possession suggest Sir Mark was directly involved in the unlawful rendition of our clients," said lawyer Sapna Malik, from the

London law firm Leigh & Day, which represents Belhadj and Saadi. An Oxford-educated Middle East specialist, Allen retired from MI6 in 2004 and went on to work for oil major BP and The Monitor Group, a global investment and consultancy firm. He is an honorary fellow of St Antony's College at Oxford University and sits on the advisory board for the London School of Economics' centre for diplomacy and international affairs.

Senegal braces for further protests


enegal is bracing for more demonstrations yesterday, a day after at least two people were reportedly shot dead in confrontations between protesters and police, as opposition parties vowed to continue agitation against President Abdoulaye Wade's controversial bid for a third term.

Leaders of the opposition June 23 Movement, known as M23, and civil society groups called for "a peaceful gathering" on Tuesday at 3:00pm local time [1500 GMT] in Colobane, a suburb of the capital Dakar where a rally on Friday turned violent leading to the death of one policeman.

Abdoulaye Wade's decision to seek a third term has fuelled protest in Senegal

The two deaths were reported in protests by M23 supporters in the northern town of Podor, though details of the incident remained sketchy. Reports suggested those killed were a 17-year-old protester and a 60-year-old female bystander. Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye, Senegal's presidential spokesman, said: "The real combat is the one we must lead to hold a transparent election... being a candidate means nothing." "We deplore the will (of the opposition) to lead the country into chaos... We don't want Senegal to go up in flames." The constitutional council on Monday dismissed all appeals against Wade's candidacy, leaving no legal recourse for opponents who accuse him of carrying out a constitutional coup. The opposition has vowed to continue mass resistance to force Wade to step aside prior to the February 26 presidential vote.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj Senegal, which some see as a beacon of democracy among troubled neighbours, is the only country in mainland West Africa not to have had a coup since the end of the colonial era. Rights group Amnesty International urged the government to halt a clampdown on protesters following the reported deaths in Podor. "Today's bloodshed marks a dramatic escalation in the violence that has plagued Senegal in the runup to its elections," Salvatore Sagues, the UK-based rights body's West Africa researcher, said. The US urged 85-year-old Wade to allow power to pass "to the next generation". "While we respect the process, the political and legal process in Senegal, the fact that he's now been cleared to run, our message to him remains the same: that the statesmanly-like thing to do would be to cede to the next generation, and we think that would be better," Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman, said.



Obama admits Pakistan drone attacks U S President Barack Obama has confirmed that unmanned drones have regularly struck Pakistan's tribal areas in his government's efforts to dismantle what it alleges are al-Qaeda sanctuaries in the region. Obama's rare public acknowledgement of the US drone programme in Pakistan came on Monday during an hour-long online video chat with users of the Google+ social network. Obama said the strikes were a "targeted focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists". The president said "a lot" of the strikes had targeted "al-Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain" in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along the border with Afghanistan, long believed to be a hub of activity for armed groups. "For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military action than the ones we're already engaging

The US drone programme has provoked protests in Pakistan over concerns that many of its casualties are civilians

Troops and Taliban have battled repeatedly after the government launched an offensive to clear Kurram [Reuters]

The controversial drone programme run by the CIA has often been met with protests in Pakistan amid concerns of civilian casualties. The Pakistani government publicly protests the operations, but is believed to support them. A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign ministry reiterated the government's public protest in response to Obama's comments. "Notwithstanding tactical advantages of drone strikes, we are of the firm view that these are unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable," Abdul Basit said. The New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington, says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years. According to the AFP news agency, the number of missiles that struck the tribal region went down from 101 in 2010 to 64 in 2011.

Pakistani forces clash with Taliban


ighting between government soldiers and Taliban fighters over a strategic mountaintop in north-western Pakistan has killed more than 38 people, a government official says. The battle first started a week ago when government troops seized the top of Jogi mountain in the Kurram tribal area from the Taliban, sparking deadly clashes. The fighters' retaliated by attacking the soldiers holding the post yesterday. The attack left 30 Taliban and eight Pakistani soldiers' dead, according to the official. Helicopter gunships were mobilised after "more than 300 Taliban attacked" the check post at around midnight, a senior military official told AFP news agency. The area is home to fighters loyal to Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud. The military launched an offensive in Kurram in July 2011 and declared victory about a month

later, but violence has continued. A similar process has taken place throughout Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region along the Afghan border. The military has launched a series of operations against the Pakistani Taliban in the past few years, and has often declared victory only to see fighting flare up again. The tribal areas have also been targeted by US unmanned drones in an attempt to dismantle sanctuaries for al-Qaeda affiliated groups such as the Taliban. On Monday, the US president, in a rare public acknowledgement, confirmed that the drones have regularly struck tribal areas. Barack Obama said "a lot" of the strikes had targeted "al-Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain" in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along the border with Afghanistan, long believed to be a hub of activity for armed groups.

Syria forces retake Damascus suburbs; showdown at UN


. Syrian soldiers who defected to join the Free Syrian Army are seen among demonstrators during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Idlib, yesterday.


yrian government forces reasserted control of Damascus suburbs yesterday after beating back rebels at the capital's gates as diplomatic pressure mounted on President Bashar al-Assad at the United Nations. Western and Arab diplomats pushed for a U.N. Security Council resolution which would call for Assad to step down to defuse a 10-monthold uprising against his family's dynastic rule. They will make the case for a resolution adopting a plan by the Arab League for Assad to quit, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and Britain's William Hague presenting a united western front. The resolution's fate depends on whether the Arabs and their Western backers can persuade Russia not to veto it. But a senior Russian diplomat

said in Moscow the move would only set the stage for civil war, Interfax news agency reported. "The Western draft Security Council resolution on Syria will not lead to a search for compromise," it quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying. "Pushing it is a path to civil war." On the battlefront, activists in eastern districts of Damascus said troops fired in the air as they advanced beyond areas from which the defector Free Syrian Army withdrew, capping three days of fighting activists said killed at least 100 people. Tanks also swarmed into the area. "The suburbs are under an unannounced curfew. A small grocery shop opened this morning and soldiers came and beat the owner and forced him to shut down," said an activist in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood on Tuesday.



Merkel wants China to cut Iran oil imports, says source


erman Chancellor Angela Merkel will use a planned visit to China this week to encourage Beijing to reduce its imports of Iranian oil, a German government source said yesterday. Last week, the European Union agreed to ban from July 1 all imports of oil from Iran, OPEC's second largest producer, in a drive to pressure Tehran into reining in its nuclear activities. "It is in German interests that China does not raise its imports (from Iran). It would be good if China would reduce its imports," the government source told a news briefing ahead of Merkel's trip to China that begins on Wednesday. China has criticized the EU ban, saying it is "not a constructive approach." Beijing, the world's second largest crude consumer, has long opposed unilateral sanctions that

target Iran's energy sector and has tried to reduce tensions that could threaten its oil supply. The 27-nation EU delayed until July the entry into force of the oil import ban because it also wants to avoid penalizing the ailing economies of Italy, Greece and others for whom Iran is a major oil supplier.

Former Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier should be tried for torture, rape and killings committed during his rule, not merely on corruption charges as proposed by a Haitian judge, the United Nations human rights office said yesterday. The judge handling the case, Carves Jean, told Reuters in Portau-Prince on Monday that Duvalier will face trial for corruption during his 15 years in power, which ended in 1986, but not for human rights abuses. But the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced deep

disappointment and called on Haitian authorities to ensure he is prosecuted for international crimes. "Very serious human rights violations including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings have been extensively documented by Haitian and international human rights organizations to have occurred in Haiti during the regime of Duvalier," U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva. "Impunity for such serious crimes cannot be allowed to prevail and we urge the relevant authorities to ensure that justice is, albeit belatedly, delivered to the many victims of

Italian authorities end search for cruise ship bodies


Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a news conference after a European Union summit in Brussels, on Monday.

talian authorities have ended the search for bodies on the submerged sections of the capsized Costa Concordia, more than two weeks after the giant cruise liner capsized off the Tuscan coast, officials said yesterday. A statement from the civil protection authority said conditions on the wreck had made it impossible for divers to continue working safely in the underwater sections of the 290-metre long

vessel. It said the decision had been finalized after the families of the 15 people still unaccounted for had been informed. As well as the 15 missing, a total of 17 bodies have been recovered since the accident on January 13 in which the Concordia, carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, was holed by a rock after its captain steered to within 150 meters of the tiny island of Giglio.

The search will continue in other sections of the half-submerged ship and in waters up to 18 square kilometres around the vessel, where a number of objects have been spotted which investigators believe could turn out to be bodies. Salvage crews plan to begin pumping more than 2,300 tonnes of diesel from the wreck this week but bad weather has delayed the start of operations expected to take between three weeks and a month.

Duvalier must face trial for serious rights crimes: UN

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ''Baby-Doc'' Duvalier waves to supporters as he drives through a crowded street followed by supporters, in downtown Port-au-Prince, recently.

A scuba diver inspects the inside of the Costa Concordia cruise ship which ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island in this still image taken from video shot by Italian firefighters, on Monday.

Mexico envoy in Venezuela kidnap drama


exico's envoy to Caracas was seized overnight then freed in the latest high-profile kidnapping in Venezuela, where violent crime is routinely listed as citizens' top worry. In the style of "express" kidnappings that are rife in Venezuela, four armed men seized ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife in their car after a reception in the upscale Country Club zone of Caracas, diplomats and officials said. The kidnappers then released the couple in a slum before dawn on Monday. "We're so happy he is safe, I've been up following the case all night," said a senior European diplomat, whose own security has been increased in recent months. Kidnappings, armed robberies

and murders are common in the South American OPEC member nation that has enormous oil wealth alongside widespread poverty. The Venezuelan attorney general's office said a full investigation was underway. Mexican embassy spokesman Fernando Godinez said his boss was recovering well after his release. "His health is okay. He and his wife are giving statements [to the police] right now," Godinez told a local radio station. "We regret this situation deeply." Senior diplomats from Chile and Belarus were also seized in similar incidents last year, according to diplomatic sources. The Chilean consul, Juan Carlos Fernandez, was injured by

a bullet, and beaten during his November kidnapping. Robbery was the assumed motive of those incidents. "We don't know yet what happened last night, if they robbed the Mexican ambassador or asked for a ransom or what," said a foreign security expert at one of the embassies in Caracas, who was tracking the case closely. "It's a worrying trend though." Late last year, Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, also was kidnapped for two days during a visit home, before being released during a raid by security forces on a mountain hideout. Crime is arguably the top issue for voters in the run-up to an October presidential election.

French lawmakers seek rejection of genocide law


rench lawmakers appealed to the country's highest court yesterday to overturn a law that makes it illegal to deny the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago was genocide. The move raises the possibility that the law, which sparked an angry reaction in Turkey, will be dismissed as unconstitutional. The bill, which received final approval on January 23, prompted Ankara to cancel all economic, political and military meetings with Paris. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

attacked the French parliament for passing what he said was

"discriminatory and racist" legislation. [ID:nL5E8CN0RW]

Members of Workers Party shout slogans as they gather to protest France in front of the French embassy in Ankara, recently.

Mexico's ambassador to Caracas and his wife were kidnapped overnight and then freed on Monday [Reuters]



The height of stupidity? Mother defends rock climbing with toddler strapped to her back

Elf and safety: Menna Pritchard has defended her decision to rock climb with two-year-old daughter Ffion strapped to her back single mother with a love and canoeing are all fairly new to me of adrenaline sports has in the last two years but I feel I am in defended her decision to go rock my element. climbing - with her toddler daughter 'The idea is that it's fun and exciting strapped to her back without a helmet. for Ffion too and hopefully I am Menna Pritchard, 26 - who states inspiring her and giving her access to brazenly that 'life is about taking risks' the outdoors. - scales sheer rock faces while carrying 'Ever since Ffion was born I have two-year-old Ffion. been either trying to do mountain The full-time student - studying climbing with her or forest walking for a degree in outdoor education - said or doing beach trips. yesterday: 'Some people would say I'm 'It just felt so good, not only for my taking more risks than are necessary, physical wellbeing but also for my but I am very conscious of safety and I state of mind.' would never do anything with Ffion Ffion was just four months old that I thought would put her in danger.' when Menna carried her up Pen y Menna split from Ffion's father Fan - the highest peak in South Wales. when she was three months pregnant 'She slept through the whole thing,' and moved to Wales to live with her she said. 'She was in a front carrier at parents. that time and it really was incredibly She studies at Trinity St David in safe. Safety is always paramount.' Carmarthen and works part time as She has since walked or climbed an outdoor instructor while juggling with Ffion in The Gower - a coastal her job and education with her love of beauty spot near Swansea - on the adventure sports. Pembrokeshire coast, and in North She said: 'Rock climbing, kayaking Wales.


Yesterday, she defended a photo she posted on her blog taken as she climbed a limestone rock face at Three Cliffs Bay, The Gower - with Ffion strapped to her back. While Menna and her climbing partner wear safety helmets in the photo, Ffion's head is exposed to the potentially deadly dangers of rock fall. Menna said: 'I can appreciate if you didn't realise how safe the environment I was in, it could be worrying, but I was top-roping which means if you fall you don't fall any further than where you came off. 'It is the safest form of climbing you can do. I was also in a beach environment surrounded by experienced climbers. 'Health and safety legislation and the sue and blame culture mean so many people are nervous, so afraid of getting into trouble, and taking small risks. 'Life is all about risks, whether that's something as simple as getting in your car every day or climbing up a rock face.'

Adventurous: Menna Pritchard says that she hopes her outward bound experiences will inspire her daughter

Risk-taker: Life is all about risks, whether that多s something as simple as getting in your car every day or climbing up a rock face,' said Menna, who is studying outdoor education

Picturesque: Three Cliffs Bay in The Gower, where Menna and Ffion are pictured climbing. Menna said: 'It is the safest form of climbing you can do'

The boy who swallowed his twin: Three-year-old has body of parasitic sibling growing inside his stomach

Absorbed his sibling: Leonidas Pacunda with his son Isbac ahead of the toddler's operation to remove his parasitic twin which has been growing inside his stomach


urgeons planning to remove partially formed foetus from Peruvian toddler Surgeons were yesterday preparing to operate on a threeyear-old boy to remove the body of a 'parasitic twin' growing

inside his stomach. Isbac Pacunda was left with the rare condition after absorbing his would-be sibling inside the womb. Doctors in Peru say the partially formed foetus has eyes, bones and hair on the

cranium, but did not develop a brain, lungs, heart or intestines. It weighs a pound and a half (700 grams) and is nine inches (25 centimeters) long. Dr Carlos Astocondor, of the medical team at Las Mercedes Hospital in the northern port of Chiclayo, says the condition occurs in about one of every 500,000 live births. Identical twins form when an egg splits in half after fertilisation. But conjoined twins or foetusin-foetu siblings, as in the case of Isbac, occur when the egg fails to fully separate. Dr Jonathan Fanaroff, a neonatologist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, said some conjoined twins can survive as 'parasites', but not when one twin absorbs the other. He told ABC News that the operation to remove Isbac's twin was likely to be far easier than attempting to separate two living conjoined siblings. Source:

Anxious wait: Mr Pacunda carries his son on his shoulders at Las Mercedes hospital in Chiclayo, Peru, where the three-year-old was due to undergo surgery



Sack of 10 Katsina CPC lawmakers was illegal, says Danmusa INTERVIEW Barrister Mamman Abubakar Danmusa was a former speaker, defunct Kaduna state House of Assembly and a former deputy senate president in the Second Republic. The elder statesman is now a stalwart of the Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC) in Katsina state. He spoke with our correspondent, Lawal Sa'idu Funtua on the lingering crisis bedevilling the party over the sack of 10 lawmakers of the state from the National Assembly


ecently, INEC issued certificates of return to 10 National Assembly members of the CPC which sacked the former occupants of the seats. As an elder of the party and a legal expert, how do you view the development? Well, this is really a very unfortunate situation. I’m so disturbed because I had high respect for the chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega. I felt saddened that a commission under his leadership can do such irresponsible act. The unfortunate thing to say is that most of the people who worked under Professor Maurice Iwu are still there. So, although the head may be good, but all the rest are still maintaining the status co. How can a legal department for that matter said they are referring the judgement of Supreme Court to the consortium of legal experts to advise them. It is unnecessary. The judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on the 16th December 2011 does not give order for anybody to be swornin. And there is a clear provision in section 75 (1) of the electoral act 2010, as amended, which says “the only situation where you can withdraw certificate of return is when either the Court of Appeal or the supreme court nullifies the certificate of return of the person in question.” So it must be in judgement that the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court in case had nullifies the certificate issued by the INEC. In the instance case the Supreme Court in its

judgement did not nullify the certificates of return issued to Senator ‘Yandoma and others. So you can see what INEC had done is completely illegal. The powers of INEC are clearly spelt out in fifth schedule, paragraph 14, of the amended constitution of 2011. The commission is not given the power to cancel certificate of return. The power can only arise when the Court of Appeal, in the case of National Assembly members, or the Supreme Court, in the case of governors or the president, nullifies that certificate of return. In the instance case, there was nothing to that effect. So, you can see it is clearly an illegal act committed by the legal department of INEC. For me, I’m saddened because I know if you want peace, more especially on electoral matters, you need to do justice. This is about people. You cannot just sit in your office and say I hereby nullify what the people had done. You

Barrister Mamman Abubakar Danmusa

don’t have such powers; and with their action, they have created another problem for Katsina state and Nigeria at large; because impunity would only breed chaos and violence. And this is the last thing we want now in this situation. How can somebody who had not participated in the election be given a certificate of return? Section 141 of the electoral act is quite clear. Really I don’t know whether these people still want a peaceful Nigeria or they want a violent Nigeria. INEC people cannot elect or decide who is to represent the people of Katsina in the National Assembly. It is the prerogative of the people of Katsina state to do so; and they have done so. My concern is that if this

thing is not handled with care, only God knows what would happen. Because, certainly, Katsina people are not docile; they know their rights and at the appropriate time they would show they know their rights. So it is very unfortunate for this situation to arise. As a legal expert, we want to know what the Supreme Court says in its judgement of 16th December 2011, over the matter in dispute. What the court says in its concluding judgement is that “in conclusion I hold the view that the courts have no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter in dispute; consequently it is hereby struck for lack of jurisdiction”. That is what the Supreme Court said. So in

These members, ‘Yandoma and others have a valid judgement of the Court of Appeal, which was not nullified by the Supreme Court which returns them as the validly elected members of their people. That judgement is still there, and there is a provision of section 141 of the electoral act 2010 as amended which says “nobody who did not participate in election can be returned as duly elected member.” So, in whatever way you see it, it is an unconstitutional act by INEC.

short, the court is saying the judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja and the judgement of the Court of Appeal Abuja and also the ruling given by the Supreme Court in the same case are struck out for lack of jurisdiction. So, here the Supreme Court did not order anybody or institution to swear anybody. But these members, ‘Yandoma and others have a valid judgement of the Court of Appeal, which was not nullified by the Supreme Court which returns them as the validly elected members of their people. That judgement is still there, and there is a provision of section 141 of the electoral act 2010 as amended which says “nobody who did not participate in election can be returned as duly elected member.” So, in whatever way you see it, it is an unconstitutional act by INEC. CPC cannot replace the courts because the provision in section 75 (1) is quite clear. It is only when the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court nullifies the certificate of return. So the letter written by CPC to INEC to return their members cannot replace the clear provision in the electoral act. If it is the intention of the electoral act to give power to the party to nullify, they could have said so. But, here, there is nothing like that. You can see it is a clear impunity. My only fear is that the explosion may not be quick but would occur. Even in the colonial times, this kind of impunity is never done. Even in the era of NPC and NPN we have not seen this recklessness and injustice. The aggrieved members have gone to court. How do you view the development? Well, that is the only thing because under section 6 of the constitution, it is only the courts that are vested with judicial powers. So, if you felt aggrieved you are not going to engage on self help. If you felt aggrieved you go to court for interpretation. So, now, the honourable members purported to have their certificates of return cancelled by INEC are challenging the action in a court of law; which is right. I have no doubt that we have to be careful about this case; because where an imposter averted the will of the people we are not promoting.



You cannot fight Boko Haram, Okoye tells FG INTERVIEW Barrister Festus Okoye, a foremost human rights activist believes that the Federal Government's efforts at combating the Boko Haram insurgency will remain an exercise in futility, because the Nigerian police and other security agencies lack the capacity to handle terrorism and similar acts of criminality. In this interview with Agaju Madugba he laments that the security agencies are helpless in tracking down crimes.


he Boko Haram group was recently reported as telling non Muslims in the North to vacate the area. What do you consider some of the implications of this order? I think we, as a people and as a country, must begin to reason strategically. When the issue of kidnapping of expatriates, children and rich people started in the South-South and the SouthEast, some people did that to draw attention to the environmental degradation of some of the areas. We know that there were some armed robbers who changed profession and saw armed robbery as no longer lucrative. Now armed robbers bomb banks and steal money and say it is Boko Haram. Some people with grouse against certain other people begin to do things in the name of Boko Haram, some people who do not believe in the unity of this country circulate all kinds of text messages and put the name of Boko Haram there. I think that the time has come when we need to sit down and ask the people we call Boko Haram, what do they want? Are they angry on the grounds that their leader was executed, through extra judicial means and perhaps they want compensation and apology and have checked whether that grouse is genuine? Or, do they want an Islamic state? If that is the case, then we should sit down and tell them that Nigeria is almost equally divided and there is no way we can have an Islamic state because Nigeria is governed by a Constitution; and you cannot force anybody to change from one religion to another. Or, are there some other issues bothering them, that we have not put on the table? When we articulate what the genuine grievances of the Boko Haram people are, then we can begin to isolate some other crimes that are committed in the name of Boko Haram that actually have nothing to do with Boko Haram. My question is, does it mean that any individual or group that puts out a message and says that it is from Boko Haram, then we conclude that the message is from Boko Haram? I believe we should go beyond that and decode which one is genuine and which one is not; and the only way we can do that is to conduct forensic study of the demands of the Boko Haram people and what they want. The

President did set up a committee and what are the findings of that committee. Did the committee meet the genuine people and did they tell the committee what they want? And if they did, what has government done about that? We need to know all these things. There are all sorts of things that people do and they claim Boko Haram and I do not believe they are genuine. Until we know what they want, we cannot separate the wheat from the chaff. The issue is that the security agencies are incompetent and do not have the investigative powers and capability to probe and track down the people who are engaged in these crimes; and they have not been trained in modern investigative techniques and hitech crimes to the extent that some of them do not even know the colour of a bomb and cannot recognize one if they see it. It is very clear that the present Inspector-General of Police including the National Security Adviser do not have the capacity to solve the problem of insecurity; and since so much has happened under their eyes and they could not solve them, the honourable thing for them to do is to resign without waiting to be forced to resign. I support the removal or the compulsory retirement of the former Inspector-General of Police. I also believe that the National Security Adviser should also take a cue and tender his resignation because the problem of the Nigerian police, the problem of our security agencies is more fundamental than the issue of individuals. The fact is that the security agencies and the Nigerian people were living a lie and kept on claiming that the issue of suicide bombing and terrorism were alien to our values and our culture, and that they will never happen here. Countries with similar circumstances like ours and countries that were forward looking prepared for this day; but we did not prepare and that is why the whole thing caught the security agencies and Nigerians unawares. The security agencies do not have modern gadgets and equipment for hi-tech intelligence gathering. And since they lack these things, they are helpless in tracking down crimes.

Do you also share the opinion of some people that President Goodluck Jonathan is not in control, given the seemingly intractable problems confronting the nation? Nigeria is a very complex society; and it needs a skilled manager to pilot the affairs of this country. I believe that what the President should do is to surround himself with people who understand the problems and challenges of the country. He should have people with broad knowledge of the challenges of nationhood. But it seems to me that the people around the President do not give him good advice. Where the President does not get good advice, he may not be in a position to make a good decision. My suggestion is that the President should go and play back the tape of the interview Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN) gave to him during the fuel subsidy crisis.

President who refers everything to a committee. You where part of the civil society groups that joined the Nigeria Labour Congress to organize the anti-fuel subsidy removal protests. To what extent did the NLC actually involve the civil societies especially in negotiations with government that eventually led to the calling off of the protests? The labour union and civil society groups and organizations fought on the basis of a principle, on the fact that the Nigerian people have too many challenges and you cannot add to their burden at this moment in time. Secondly, we were campaigning for good governance and accountability. Our fight is that there is too much wastage in government; and that if the avenues for waste, graft and corruption are blocked, we will not even be talking of the issue of fuel

Barrister Festus Okoye If he plays back that tape, I believe he will see the strategy and the formula on how to deal with some of the fundamental problems we have in this country. Richard Akinjide’s daughter is a minister in this government; but Richard Akinjide advised Jonathan to rely more on politicians when taking decisions with socio-economic and political implications and rely less on technocrats who bandy figures. The President will learn one or two things from that interview. The Nigerian people gave him what he calls a pan-Nigeria mandate and Nigerians want him to exercise powers relative to that pan-Nigeria mandate. Nigerians do not want a situation where rather than the President taking a decision on every issue, he sets up committee and abandons the issue. Those are some of the things that make Nigerians feel that the President is incompetent because he does not take decisions. Nigerians want to see a President who is on top of his job and a President who takes risks on behalf of the people of this country. Nigerians also want to see a President who understands the challenges of governance and who exercises control and not a

subsidy. You know that there was an alliance between the NLC and society groups and organizations and there was no decision which Labour took through out that period that civil society groups and organizations were not consulted. We were consulted at every point in time and when the strike was about to be called off, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association was consulted and informed on the issues that were on ground. Even those of us who were at the forefront of the demonstrations in Kaduna, we had to suspend the street protests and rallies because of the peculiar security challenges of Kaduna state. I think that the lessons of the strike have been learnt and the first lesson is that you can never take the people for granted. The second lesson is that Nigerians have vowed to be more involved in the act of governance and the third lesson is that Nigerians have resolved to demand for accountability from their leaders. I assure you, from the tone of those rallies and demonstrations, from the passion I saw from the demonstrations, Nigeria will never be the same again and Nigerian people have retrieved

their sovereignty and they have told their leaders that power flows from the people and that the powers that a leader exercises emanate from the people. This had hitherto been taken for granted. Yes, we were taken into confidence before the strike was called off. Would you really say the strike achieved the desired goals as some people believe that there is no much difference between N97 and N141; and moreover, some filling stations sell N120 per litre. What do you think? You do not measure the gains of what happened in terms of N141 and N97. If you do that, you miss the point. You measure the gains by several things. One: what is it that the National Assembly is doing today? They are conducting probes into the way our oil revenues are being managed. What is the Minister of petroleum doing today? She is auditing her ministry. The President has promised that he is going to reduce waste and graft in his government. These are broader gains that you can see. So, if you measure the gains from the point of view of N97 from N141, you will not get the point. The point is that Nigerians have told the government that the people can no longer be taken for granted. The strategy of government was hinged on an assumption that the demonstrations would fizzle out after two days; but even after Labour called off the demonstrations the ordinary people still remained on the streets. It was not for nothing that the President deployed troops to Lagos, Kaduna and Kano. The lessons from the protests will live with us for a pretty long time. How do you think that government can actually reduce the cost of governance? What is diverting the attention of people today is this whole issue of insecurity all over the place. That is why the people have their focus on people being killed in Kano, Yobe, Adamawa states and other places. Nigerians have turned their focus to the issue of continued existence of Nigeria as one indivisible nation. The moment we grapple with these issues, we will begin to look at the various states in terms of reducing waste and corruption. You know for sure that there are some state governments that have over one thousand Special Advisers or Special Assistants. These people are a drain on state resources. We will also look at this whole issue of states sponsoring people to go on Christian and Muslim pilgrimages. This is another avenue for graft, waste and corruption. We should look at projects and contract awards, especially where there is nothing to show for the monies expended. I think that we have started a new phase of demanding for good governance and accountability; and Nigerians will never move away from that path. Just wait for the issue of insecurity to be put under control and you will see that the various state governments are going to be under pressure.



Tambuwal gives committees Feb. 6 deadline on 2012 budget


he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday gave standing committees of the House Feb. 6 deadline to submit their reports on the 2012 budget. The House on Jan. 19 suspended plenary session to allow standing committees carry out budget defence by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Tambuwal, who gave the directive at the plenary session of the House, warned that any committee that failed to submit its report risked the right to defend the budget to the Appropriation Committee. “The Appropriation Committee will take over from any committee that fails to submit its report before Monday, Feb. 6. “We will suspend plenary session for Wednesday and Thursday to enable the committees conclude work on the budget,’’ he said. He said that the House cannot afford to keep Nigerians waiting without passing the budget. “We cannot keep the nation waiting, we have given our commitment and it is our responsibility to leave up to that commitment,’’ he said. Earlier, Rep. John Enoh (PDP-Cross River), the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, had informed the House that no committee had submitted report to it. He, however, said that reports were being expected from the committees before the end of yesterday. In another development, the House has urged the Federal Government stop further concentration of its parastatal agencies in state capitals which already had such offices. It also urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Federal Ministry of Works to open federal roads to facilitate citing of new parastatal agencies within the states. This resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Rep. Samuel Williams (ACN-Ogun) which was unanimously adopted without debate. Leading the debate, Williams noted that most of the federal government parastatal agencies were not located evenly at the six geo-political zones. He said that the overconcentration of these parastatal agencies in places like Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt had led to pollution, high cost of living and crime. The motion was referred to the committee on Federal Character for further legislative inputs. (NAN)

L-R: Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Barinada Mpigi, with Committee Chairman, Hon. Jerry Manwe, during the 2012 INEC budget defence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the National Assembly, in Abuja, recently. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Election timetable: ANPP accuses INEC of lawlessness By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ll Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has described as sheer violation of section 31(1) of the 2010Electoral Act, the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fix new dates for the governorship elections in Sokoto, Adamawa, Bayelsa and Cross River states, where the Supreme Court had on Friday terminated the tenure of the serving governors. In a statement issued by the National Chairman of the party, Ogbonnaya Onu, ANPP said that the timetable scheduled by INEC for political parties to conduct their

gubernatorial primaries and submit the names of their candidates, especially in both states of Sokoto and Cross River, does not comply with the relevant section which states as follows: “Every political party shall not, later than 60 days before the date appointed for a general election under the provisions of this Act, submit to the Commission in the prescribed forms the list of the candidates the party proposes to sponsor at the elections.” It added that according to INEC’s timetable, December 29, 2011 and February 7, 2012, were fixed as the last dates for political parties to

conduct their governorship primaries in Sokoto and Cross River states respectively, saying it is below the stipulated two weeks provided by the 2010 Electoral Act. In pursuant of the above section, the party expressed worries that the decision is coming against the clamour by majority of Nigerians for enough time for robust campaigns that would enable the electorates know the programmes which candidates vying for elective offices would implement if elected. “It is disturbing that INEC has seemingly chosen to injure this very important aspect of our electoral process by its

Governor Idris Wada assumes office, promises reconciliation From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


he Governor of Kogi state, Capt Idris Wada, with his deputy Arc Yomi Awoniyi assumed office in Lokoja Kogi state, Monday January 30, 2012, with a pledge not to keep malice with anybody. Governor Wada, who assumed office at 1: 05 pm immediately he arrived from Abuja amidst tight security, said in a radio and television broadcast that “it is not about power to assume office, but the sacred mandate given by the people of the state to move the state forward”. Capt Wada and his deputy Awoniyi who were sworn in on Friday January 27 by the President Customary Court of

Appeal, added that the Supreme Court judgement came with its own challenges, “but though we are not ready to carry out the post-mortem of the events, we should put behind us the event of the past few days and remain focused as one united people of the state for the interest of development of our land.” While promising to constitute a committee of stakeholders to fashion out ways of settling those with genuine grievances, the governor advised that “as a people, the maturity displayed during the Supreme Court judgement has shown the outside world that we can come out of any problem as one indivisible unit.” Captain Wada added, “You cannot be driving vehicle

forward for progress and be looking at the rear mirror”, explaining that all aggrieved persons will be reconciled, believing that it is time for “charity for all and malice for none in our great state, Kogi. “What is upper most in our mind should be how to develop the state for the future of the children yet unborn, so that they will not look at us as offenders who had left the state without development”, Wada said. He noted that governance is a continuous process, reiterating that all political office holders should remain in their respective offices for smooth take off of government, assuring the people of the state quality government without rancour.

unlawful act. We urge INEC to reconsider its position and be guided by the law in the prevailing circumstance,” the statement read in part. The party, therefore, questioned whether the subsisting position of the party is not aimed at weakening the chances of opposition political parties in the affected states.

Marwa mobilizes support in Guyuk, Shelleng From Blessing Tunoh, Yola


arely three days to governorship election in Adamawa state, candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the state, Brigadier General Muhammadu Buba Marwa, has appealed to eligible voters in Guyuk and Shelleng council areas in the state to come out en mass and exercise their civic responsibility come Saturday. Addressing a mammoth crowd at separate campaign rallies in Shelleng and Guyuk council areas of the state, the CPC gubernatorial candidate urged the electorate not to be deterred by the recent security breach in Adamawa, stressing that normalcy has returned. Marwa told his supporters that Adamawa has returned to the peaceful status it was known for; and therefore, called on them to ensure they throng various polling booths to vote for the CPC.



Kogi: CJ, Grand Khadi, others pay homage to new governor From Sam Egwu, Lokoja


ogi state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, Justice Suleiman Olorunfemi, Grand Khadi and some judicial officers, including the controversial President of the State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Shaibu Ibrahim Atadoga, yesterday paid a courtesy visit on the new governor of the state, Captain Idris Wada in his office. The visit, according to our source, may not be unconnected with the need to chart a new course for the state after the leadership tussle in which led the President Customary Court of Appeal to swear-in the governor. The source further hinted that the meeting, which has in attendance some key cabinet members of the new administration, was said to be very successful as the governor

was seen exchanging pleasantries with the legal officers. Captain Idris Wada had formally assumed duty on Monday after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave his mandate a clean bill of health following the dust raised by the Supreme Court judgment on tenure elongation. The governor also received several dignitaries, including some traditional rulers from the eastern part of the state who came to pay traditional homage and some other dignitaries from outside the state before leaving for Abuja to attend state council meeting. Meanwhile, supporters of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Abdullahi Bello, who was sworn-in as acting governor of the state in the wake of the leadership vacuum created by

the judgment of the Supreme Court on January 27, are still adamant as to what remains, on the fate of his leadership because the minister of justice is yet to come up with official comment as regards Kogi state. Although, Honourable

Abdullahi Bello is yet to be seen since he left for Abuja on Sunday January 29, 2012, it was gathered that he had gone to Ilorin for a seminar; but all efforts to speak with his Special Adviser on media, Ibrahim Amoka, met stone walls as all his phone lines

were switched off. Our correspondent reports that security at the government house, Lokoja, still remains water-tight with APC standing at the gate and armed guards hiding behind sandbags, ostensibly to curtail any possible attack from anywhere.

Sack of governors will ensure transparent election, says IEMG By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Independent Election Monitoring Group (IEMG) has expressed hope that the Supreme Court ruling last Friday, which terminated the tenure of five governors of Adamawa, Sokoto, Kogi, Cross River and Bayelsa states, would ensure transparency in the conduct of fresh elections, particularly where the party primaries and governorship elections were characterized by controversies. In a statement issued yesterday by IEMG’s National Coordinator, Festus Okoye, the group urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence fresh plans and preparations for the conduct of fresh elections in all the states under consideration within a period of 90 days from the date of the Supreme Court judgment. On the basis of the fore going, the group drew INEC’s attention to the provisions of section 178(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 25(8) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, which provides that an election to the office of governor of a state shall be held on a date not earlier than 150 days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office. While warning that upholding any of the previous party primaries would generate fresh crisis, IEMG argued that most of the primary elections already conducted were conducted on the basis of a regime termination date, which the Supreme Court has cancelled. According to the group, “Whatever election that was held and primaries conducted in the various states were not

primaries and election envisaged and conducted on the basis of a termination period of May 28th 2011. No advantage can accrue from such primaries and election on dates not envisaged by the constitution.” Further observing that so much funds have been committed to the conduct of elections in the states, in addition to the funds already expended by the political parties and INEC in the conduct of elections in Kogi state, IEMG said it was done in compliance with the directives of the Election Petition Tribunals in the affected states. It also urged stakeholders in the various states to conduct themselves in a manner that does not lead to a breach of the peace; saying that Nigeria is learning the ropes in democracy, which it said is associated with humility and sacrifice.

R-L; Chairman, House Committee on Power, Hon. Patrick Ikhariale, Managing Director, Nigerian Electricity Liability Management, Dr. Samuel Agbogun, and the Vice- Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ibrahim Ebbo, during a visit by the committee to the agency in Wuse Zone 3, Abuja, on Monday. Photo: Joe Oroye

Bauchi: Current legislators are just rubber stamp, says ex-lawmaker From Ahmed Kaigama Bauchi


ormer member of the Bauchi state House of Assembly, Mohammed Aminu Tukur, has lamented the poor quality of the legislators Nigeria now has as its lawmakers, saying that he always felt ashamed and embarrassed over the 7th legislature currently in the country. “I feel very much ashamed of the current kind of legislature that we have in the country. They are more or less like rubber stamp,” he told newsmen in Bauchi yesterday. Hon. Tukur explained that the sixth assembly that he and his

colleagues served remained the only state house of assembly in the country whose members are yet to be paid their severance benefits. He said that all other state houses of assembly were paid on or before the expiration of their tenure as stipulated by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. The former member, who was expressing his disgust about the non-payment of their benefits to newsmen said the personal letter he wrote to the Speaker of the house on the issue was not even made known to the lawmakers. “The speaker of the Bauchi state House of Assembly could not even disclose the content of my

letter to his colleagues. Rather, he wants us to go and wash our dirty linens in public,” Tukur frowned. According to him, the speaker would want the former members to castigate the government in which he is part and parcel, arguing that the house members have every moral right to even make a boycott of the house on their behalf. “We are their colleagues, their immediate past colleagues; and definitely time will come when they will equally be ex-honorable members of the state House of Assembly”, he reminded the lawmakers.

Akwa Ibom guber: Court strikes out amended originating summons against Akpabio By Sunday Ejike Benjamin


Federal High Court in Abuja, sitting before Justice Abdul Kafarati has struck out the amended originating summons filed against Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state by a governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr. Okon Daniel in the last general election in the state. In a short ruling at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Justice Kafarati held that the amended originating summons was not in compliance with the earlier order of the court. The trial judge then directed the Plaintiff to file and serve Respondents an amended originating summons that is in full compliance with the order of the court. Justice Kafarati also directed

the Respondents to file and serve their response within 14 days of service that the Plaintiff should respond within seven days; and adjourned till March 6, 2012 for definite hearing of the suit. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP and Governor Godswill Akpabio, the PDP national chairman and Halliru Mohammed were mentioned as 1st-5th Respondents respectively in the suit. Akpabio, through his counsel, Paul Usoro (SAN) told the court that what is contained in the Plaintiff’s amended originating summons is different from what is contained in the record of the court, adding that the written address in support of the amended originating summons of the Plaintiff introduced fresh materials that were not exhibited

in court, upon which basis the court made its earlier order for amendment. He argued that the Plaintiff has an obligation to comply with the order of the court. But the plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Lasun Sanusi (SAN), in his submission said what the Respondents are referring to as additional materials not before the court are just mere authorities which is allowed, as far as the rule of the court is concerned. According to him, “what the Respondents are referring to in paragraph 18 of the Plaintiff’s written address was just the name of one Femi Ibitoye which has been mentioned in the earlier paragraphs in the earlier paragraphs”. It would be recalled that the Plaintiff, in an originating summons is seeking the

nullification of the judgment of same Justice Kafarati which validated the PDP primary held on January 15, 2011, which produced Governor Akpabio, saying it was illegal and fraudulent. Other reliefs include an order nullifying all acts, tasks and functions purportedly performed during and after January 15 by PDP and Akpabio pursuant to the results of the purported rerun primary election; and an order compelling the PDP to comply with Section 87 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 and Article 17 of PDP constitution. According to him, the election contravenes the 1999 constitution (as amended), PDP constitution, guidelines for the PDP governorship election and the Electoral Act.



Kenya’s Rudisha to kick off Olympic year Down Under Govt plans open


avid Rudisha, Kenya’s 800 metres world champion and world record holder, will kick off his 2012 season in two meetings in Sydney and Melbourne over the next month, Athletics Australia said yesterday. After claiming the world title with an impressive display of frontrunning in South Korea last August, the 23-year-old will be a strong favourite to claim his first Olympic gold in London on Aug.9. Rudisha, who will run the 400 metres at the Sydney Track Classic on Feb.18 and step up to the two-lap race in Melbourne on March 23, said he was looking forward to commencing his season Down Under, as he has for the last two years. “The people are friendly, the meets are good and it works as a

very good start to my year,” he said in a news release. This year we of course have the Olympic Games and that is the big focus for all athletes but I want to run well throughout the year.” Rudisha, who set his 800m world record time of one minute 41.01 seconds in Italy in 2010, said running the 400m in Sydney could lead to a bid to run in the relay in London. “My personal best in the 400m is still from when I ran in Sydney two years ago, so I’m hoping that I can maybe lower that time,” he added. “People have asked me if I will run on our 4x400 relay team, at the moment all I can say is that anything is possible but the focus for me is the 800. Having won the world championships I of course want to add that Olympic title.”

NFF turns down Keshi’s Kenya camp request By Albert Akota


he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) may have turned down coach Stephen Keshi’s proposal to camp the Super Eagles in Nairobi, Kenya

Aminu Maigari

ahead of the Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali on February 29 going by the statement of the Director of the Technical Department of the of the federation, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme. Ikpeme said it would be impossible to assemble with the foreign and homebased players in Kenya for the 14 days camping that Keshi had proposed stressing that no club in the midst of the activities would allow their players that laxity to stay away from their clubs’ engagement. According to him, the team would not camp in Kenya for 14 days before heading for the match because the rules of the game will not permit the players for two weeks period of camping. “Most of the players coaches won’t allow it key players to camp for 14 days before the Rwanda tie on February 29. It is not

possible; the highest they can have is 10 days assuming he wants to have the homebased and the foreign-based players. “We know that the professionals will be the key factor to this game plan because we are not leaving any stone unturned. Our plan is to have all the players’ camp in Nigeria and a day to the match; the team will take a chartered flight to Rwanda for the match. The high altitude of Rwanda will not affect the players negatively,” he said. Keshi had wanted the Eagles to camp in Kenya for that length of time for acclimatization because of the high altitude in Rwanda before the crucial tie on the last day of the month. The camp of the Super Eagles is billed to open on February 5 with the local players, who are scheduled to take on Liberia on February 15 before the match.

Nations Cup

Ghana sure, as Guinea desperate for quarter-finals ticket


he Black Stars are at the verge of the quarterfinals and a draw against desperate Syli Nationale of Guinea with just guarantee that today. Victories over Botswana and Mali have given them the edge while Guinea and Mali, who are equal on three points, both have a chance of going through. With Mali expected to beat Botswana in the other Group D match, Guinea knows it likely has to pull off a shock against Ghana at Stade de Franceville to have a chance. A win for the Guineans along with the predicted victory for Mali would land all three teams on six points and bring goal difference into the equation to decide the quarterfinalists. Guinea humiliated Botswana 6-1 and so doing equaled the record for most goals in an African Cup game and made “a very important point,” Dussuyer said. So it would a huge loss if they crashed out. Speedy winger Abdoul Razzagui Camara and striker Sadio Diallo were rampant against the Botswanians, while center forward Ismael Bangoura should hit form sooner or later after threatening without luck through Guinea’s first two games. Guinea is also no stranger to tense finishes or upsetting big teams having claimed a last-

minute draw in Nigeria in its last qualifying match to seal its place at the tournament. And while Ghana is the strongest candidate to top the group and sail through to the quarterfinals, the overconfidence it displayed to struggle to a narrow win over Botswana was a worry.

Mali should beat Botswana in Libreville at the same time to put itself in pole position for the quarterfinals. The Malians just have to see off the underdog, which was completely outclassed by Guinea in its last match and yet retains hope of a first win at the African Cup.

cheque for Nasarawa United, says chairman


n a bid to engender the return of the glorious days for Nasarawa United, Governor Umar Tanko Al’Makura is planning to give the club an open cheque to avail it of the needed funds to revamp itself and return to the elite league. Club’s management chairman, Barrister Daladi Isaac, disclosed during the pre-season seminar organised by the board of the Nigerian Nationwide League held at the Chida Hotel Abuja, adding that his management has taken the advantage to recruit quality players for the coming season. According to him, the club has so far recruited 15 new players for the season which begins this Saturday and added that his board’s intention is to return the club to top flight football next season. “First and foremost, man proposes, God disposes, the government of the day has shown a lot of commitment, it is ready to support us by giving us all that we need to ensure that this season is different from all other seasons, “Just to put this mildly, my governor has promised to break the banks for us if need be to support the team. He also wants us reciprocate the gesture by performing to expectation. After all to whom much is given, much is also expected,” he said He disclosed that the governor has mandated the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Pastor Daniel Oghazi, to ensure that the club gets promotion to the premiership and possibly the continental ticket by the end of the season. “The target is very clear. We have been given a mandate my his Excellency, the executive Governor of Nasarawa state, Alhaji Umar Tanko AlMakura and also the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Pastor Daniel Oghazi to work hard to achieve our aim. And we are committed to attain this,” he stated. He also confirmed the relocation of the club from Lafia to Kafanchan adding that it was occasioned by the on-going renovation of the Lafia Township Stadium. Daladi assured fans that security agencies are in top gear to ensure their safety during and after the games in Kafanchan.

Nations Cup Gabon 1 Tunisia 0 Niger Rep. 0 Morocco 1 EPL fixtures

Ismael Bangoura Guinea’s top goal poacher

Aston Villa v QPR Blackburn v Newcastle Fulham v West Brom Sunderland v Norwich Bolton v Arsenal



Dolphins don’t scare us, says 3SC coach


estus Allen, coach of the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, has expressed confidence in his players’ readiness to confront defending champions of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Dolphins FC today. The midweek clash which comes up today at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, will be explosive as 3SC will be hoping to regain their balance after losing last weekend game. 3SC’s home matches have been relocated to Abeokuta, by the NPL board until the ongoing renovation work at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, was completed. The Oluyole Warriors’ home matches also could not be held at the state-owned Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan because of the dilapidated state

of the stadium. Allen, who spoke yesterday at the club’s official website ( shortly after the team’s training session at the University of Ibadan Sports complex, said he was not scared of any team, including Dolphins. “We are prepared for the game and will fight very hard to win,” Allen said. He said the training session the club has had so far, would further help him to work on the tactics for the match. Reviewing the team’s last away game against Niger Tornadoes in Minna, Allen said his boys were unlucky to have left Minna without a point. “We did very well but were undone by several offside calls,” the coach added.

The coach also spoke on the inability of his strikers to score goals in the last three games. “As you can see in our training, we have been working on goal scoring and I am happy that the boys scored a lot of goals. I want to challenge the boys to translate what they have learnt in training into reality in their match against Dolphins on Wednesday,” he added. He said that he would continue to work hard in other to accomplish his objective of leading the team back to greatness. The Shooting Stars will host Dolphins on Wednesday in a match they want to win to improve their fortune on the NPL table. The team travelled to Abeokuta on Tuesday ahead of the match.

Ajax unveils Akpabio, gives him jersy No. 5


George Akpabio

ormer Plateau United star, George Akpabio, has been unveiled by his club, Ajax Cape Town of South Africa and will wear jersey number five. Akpabio was handed the number shortly after the conclusion of his deal on Monday and the club looks forward to an exciting time as he plies his trade in South Africa. The former Plateau United goal poacher, who was dropped by Austin Eguavoen during the pre-CAF Olympics Championship camping in Lagos, said his transfer to South Africa was a dream comes true. “I thank God for all that has happened. I’m really overwhelmed with joy to have signed a two-and-a-half year deal with a famous club like Ajax Cape Town,” Akpabio said. He described his transfer to Ajax Cape Town, which is partially owned by former European champions, Ajax Amsterdam, as the best thing to have happened to his career. The forward arrived in Ajax Cape Town on January 9 and was part of the Ajax squad that attended the high

altitude camp in Johannesburg last week. Meanwhile, Plateau United general manager, Bitrus Bewarang, is pleased with the transfer of the club’s top scorer last term, George Akpabio, to South African Premier Soccer League club, Ajax Cape Town. The PSL side, which has a relationship with former European champions, Ajax Amsterdam, recently agreed to sign the Nigerian forward for an undisclosed fee after observing him at close range. “We’re happy that Ajax has signed Akpabio. It’s a good deal for the club and the Plateau State government will be excited with the development,” he said to Bewarang said Plateau United will also earn a percentage from the subsequent transfer of the forward to European clubs. Akpabio joined the club’s junior team as a teenager and was later promoted to the first team. He helped the team to the Nigeria Premier League and turned out to be a revelation as a rookie.

Financial crunch hits Enugu Rangers, as players plan revolt


inancial hard times that afflicted the likes of Dolphins, Kaduna United, Bayelsa United, Sharks and Heartland of Owerri-all teams in the Nigeria Premier League (NPL)- has turned its fangs on Enugu Rangers. The Coal City team are said to be in deep financial mess that could destroy it unless the sponsors respond with dispatch to prevent players’ revolt and a possibly hammer from the NPL. The club, which was founded in 1970, is considered one of Nigeria’s most outstanding traditional clubs following recorded successes on national and continental stages as well as producing great players for the Nigerian national team. Things are, however, not going according to the script for the club this season as players are being owed signing-on fees by their sponsors, the Enugu State government.

Club captain, James Okwuosah, said the players are being owed 70 percent of their signing-on fees from last season. “It has not been easy for us (players) as we are been owed 70 percent of our signing-on fees from last season. Most of us have families and without this money, it is extremely difficult for us to provide for them,” he said. Okwuosah also praised the coach of the club, Okey Emordi for keeping the team united in their moment of difficulty. “I want to thank the coach who has kept us united and is always encouraging us. He has been a father at this moment of our need,” he said. Another player of the club, Ejike Uzoenyi also confirmed the situation. “It’s true, they owe us our signing-on fees for last season but we are hoping they will pay so we will keep on playing,” he said. Rangers have been champions of

the Nigeria top flight on six occasions (1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982 and 1984) and winners of the cup on five occasions (1974, 1975, 1976, 1981 and 1983). Rangers have also been successful on the continent with a win in the African Cup Winners Cup (now CAF Confederation Cup) in 1977.

NPL matches today 3SC vs Dolphins Kwara vs Kaduna Wikki vs Lobi Sunshine vs Tornadoes Wolves vs Jigawa Rangers vs Pillars Gombe vs Sharks Heartland vs Rising Stars Enyimba vs Ocean Akwa vs ABS FC

Lobi Stars boss, Iorfa, blasts Sunshine for ‘deceitful antics’ From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi


ice chairman of Lobi Stars’, Dominic Iorfa, has expressed bitterness over Sunshine FC of Akure’s refusal to honor last weekend’s league game against his side in katsina-Ala. The CAF Confederation Cup semi-finalists had alleged that they were attacked by hoodlums in Ondo while on their way to Katsina-Ala the venue of the game leading to the breakdown of their vehicle. However, Iorfa dismissed the claim instead accused the team of deceit in attempt to cause the rescheduling of the game away from their home ground. He regretted that the deceitful act of Sunshine FC robbed their fans of anticipated excitement and even as he called on the authorities to thoroughly investigate and apply appropriate punishment. It would be recalled the match officials had conducted the mandatory walkover rituals following Sunshine FC’s failure to appear on the pitch for the game as arranged by the NPL. The exercise was conducted by center referee Patrick Nworie from Enugu alongside his assistants Okorie (Rivers), Chinwube Nwoguimo (Rivers) and Victor Akpo (Benue). The three points may be awarded to Lobi Stars if Sunshine FC fail to appeal or the appeal fails. “Sunshine’s attitude is very funny. Mike Idoko keeps playing pranks all the time. Any time Sunshine are to play Lobi Stasr, he should not come to Benue State because he is always alleging that I cannot guarantee his safety”, Iorfa said. Commenting on the team’s new home in Katsina-Ala, the former NFF member said though the playing turf is not TV friendly, the crowd support is overwhelming saying “supporters come from Wukari in Taraba, Logo and parts of the State to watch the team. We are happy here.

Kaduna Utd offset Cooreman debts


igeria Premier League (NPL) club, Kaduna United have cleared all debts owed to their Belgian trainer, Maurice Cooreman. Cooreman had threatened to walk away from the club last month as he was owed salaries and other financial entitlements for nine months. The gaffer confirmed that he has been paid his entitlements by the club. “I have been paid by the club and I will stay on and respect my contract. I was not happy that I was owed for so long but all that is over now,” Cooreman said. The former Enyimba coach also took some time to explain the reasons he has stayed so long in the Nigeria Premier League. Cooreman has coached at Bendel Insurance, Lobi Stars, Gabros, NPA, Ocean Boys and Enyimba before proceeding to his present side Kaduna United at the start of the 2009 season. The veteran trainer said he loves the Nigerian league because of the ‘many talents that abound here.’ “There are many talents that abound here and they are unbelievable. Nigeria has so many good players and I want to help them to improve,” he said. Cooreman also coached Ghanaian club, Kumasi Asante Kotoko in the 2008/ Maurice Cooreman 2009 season.


Transfer window closes


fter 31 days of haggling and horse-trading, the transfer window closed early this morning with various clubs flaunting their new possessions while others were delighted they were able to off loan some excess luggage. However, the deals were a far cry from last seasons when clubs invested in excess of £100m in the English Premiership alone. Though the figures were not clear last night but some four hours to deadline it was still under £45m. But here are some of the sealed deals.

Bridge signs for Sunderland


anchester City defender Wayne Bridge has joined Sunderland on loan until the end of the season. Bridge, which has not played a competitive game since September, has gone straight into Martin O’Neill’s squad for tonight’s Premier League match against Norwich. O’Neill moved for the hugely experienced former England left-back after his defensive resources were further stretched by the loss of Wes Brown to a suspected medial ligament injury at the weekend. Bridge has played just 78 minutes of senior football this season after slipping down the pecking order at Eastlands. His only appearance of the campaign to date came in a 2-0 Carling Cup third-round victory over Birmingham on September 21. Bridge joined City from Chelsea in a £12 million move in January 2009, but has managed only 58 appearances in his three years with the club. Bridge, which has 30 senior England caps, will fill a position which has been vacant for some time at the Stadium of Light.

Iaquinta heads to Cesena


uventus striker Vincenzo Iaquinta will play on loan at relegation-threatened Cesena until the end of the season, the Turin giants have confirmed. Iaquinta, who is under contract with Juve until June 2013, has not played for the Bianconeri since March due to injuries and lack of form. A statement from Juventus read: “Vincenzo Iaquinta will continue his career in Cesena. Juventus has reached an agreement with the Romagnola club to loan the player until June 2012.’’ Iaquinta moved to Juve in the summer of 2007 from Udinese and has scored 40 goals in 108 appearances for the club.


Everton consent Jelavic fee

Inter make triplesigning to boost squad


verton have agreed a fee with Scottish champions Rangers for the transfer of Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic to the Premier League club. The fee is believed to be around £8 million with the Jelavic arriving at Goodison Park to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms yester morning. The Toffees emerged as clear favourites to land the highly-rated Jelavic after West Ham manager Sam Allardyce confirmed that his Championship side had dropped their interest in the 26-year-old after having a £7 million offer rejected. Everton have not paid a significant transfer fee since the summer of 2009 due to financial difficulties but Moyes is thought to have money available following the sale of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. The Russian winger joined Spartak Moscow at the weekend for an undisclosed fee reported to be around £5 million.


nter Milan moved to offset the departures of midfielders Sulley Muntari and Thiago Motta to AC Milan and Paris Saint Germain respectively with a triple signing on transfer deadline day yesterday. Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarin, Italy midfielder Angelo Palombo and Brazilian defender Juan have all joined. Guarin, 25, joins from Portuguese champions Porto on a four-and-a-half year deal following spells at Boca Juniors and French side St Etienne. The Colombia international, who started his career with Envigado in his homeland, won two Portuguese titles with Porto and last season’s Europa League. Palombo, who was part of the Italy squad at the 2010 World Cup, spent the last six months in Serie B after refusing to leave relegated Sampdoria. But the 30-year-old has now joined the nerazzurri on loan until the end of the season with an option to a permanent threeyear deal at that juncture. The 20-year-old Juan, not to be confused with his compatriot and namesake at Roma, has signed from Internacional until June 2016. He can play at either centre-back or left-back.

Bayer Leverkusen land Corluka

Kalu Uche


lackburn Rovers have confirmed the signing of Swedish forward Marcus Olsson, the twin brother of midfielder Martin Olsson, who is already at Ewood Park. Marcus, 23, who can play out wide or further forward, becomes Rovers’ second arrival of the January transfer window, signing for the club on a free transfer from Swedish side Halmstads BK. He has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Rovers that sees him contracted until the summer of 2014. Both brothers were handed a trial at Blackburn in 2005, and whilst Martin secured a permanent move to Rovers, Marcus returned to Sweden. He made a move to Allsvenskan side Halmstads BK in 2008 and earned his first caps at international level earlier this month.

Marcus Olsson

Chelsea teenager Crystal Palace grab Prosenik in Milan new ‘Ian Wright’


C Milan completed the signing of teenage striker Philipp Prosenik from Chelsea on the last day of the winter transfer market. Milan, along with Juventus and Bayern Munich, tried to sign the young Austrian in 2009, but Prosenik opted to join Chelsea’s academy. Prosenik started well in England but has had lengthy spells on the sidelines because of serious injuries. The 18-year-old is the son of former Austria midfielder, Christian Prosenik. Sulley Muntari


rystal Palace have signed 21-year-old Margate striker Kwesi Appiah, who has scored 35 goals in 33 games for the Gate in the Ryman League Premier Division this season. Not a bad turnaround for a man who was released by Blue Square Bet South side Thurrock in the summer. Appiah almost joined Blackpool earlier in January - is he the new Ian Wright?

Uche signs for Espanyol



ayer Leverkusen has signed Tottenham Hotspur defender Vedran Corluka on loan until the end of the season, the Premier League club has confirmed. Corluka was first-choice rightback at White Hart Lane last season, but has been edged out this term thanks to the excellent form of England youngster Kyle Walker. The Croatia international has made 107 appearances for Spurs since signing from Manchester City in the summer of 2008, but has made just one Premier League start this season. German Bundesliga-bound Corluka is the first fringe player to leave Tottenham before Tuesday night’s transfer window shuts at 23.00 GMT, but others could follow. Another seven players including the likes of Giovani Dos Santos, Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavlyuchenko - are known to want out of the club as they are frustrated at their lack of first-team football. Other Spurs players who could be the subject of interest are goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, midfield duo Steven Pienaar and Niko Kranjcar who have been linked with London rivals QPR and England striker Jermain Defoe.

Marcus Olsson makes Rovers move

Wayne Bridge

Hoffenheim signs Lakic from Wolfsburg


offenheim signed Croatian striker Srdjan Lakic yesterday on loan from fellow-Bundesliga club Wolfsburg. Hoffenheim said the move had been agreed subject to a medical examination on the 28year-old player who had joined Wolfsburg from Kaiserslautern last summer and made 10 appearances this season. Hoffenheim have acted quickly to replace Bosnia striker Vedad Ibisevic who has left for VfB Stuttgart. Lakic scored 16 goals in 31 games.

alu Uche turned down offers from clubs in China and the UAE to sign for Catalan side, RCD Espanyol. Uche agreed to sign a oneand-half-year contract with the Spanish La Liga club on Monday and is expected to fit in straight into Mauricio Pochettino’s squad as he will be used in an attacking role. “Kalu Uche, former Swiss Neuchatel Xamax striker, became the second reinforcement for our Club in the so called winter market. “The Nigerian player, holding Spanish Passport, has signed until the end of this season and another one. He is a former Espanyol player who was with us playing for Espanyol B in 2000-2001 season, from where he was transferred to Wisla in Cracow where he played three seasons. Scottish club, Glasgow Rangers were on the trail of the Nigerian but his high wage demand believed to be around £12,000 weekly did not encourage the Ibrox chiefs to grab the free agent. German club, Hannover 96 and Levante were also reportedly tracking the Super Eagles’ midfielder before Espanyol snapped him up. Uche became a free agent after he was released by Neuchatel Xamax due to financial crisis at the Swiss club. The player is expected to be given a squad number before this weekend.

Muntari makes Milan switch


C Milan has signed midfielder Sulley Muntari on loan from city-rivals Inter until the end of the season. Ghana international Muntari, whose contract with Inter expires in the summer, as made just four appearances in Serie A for the Nerazzurri this season. “AC Milan announces it has acquired Sulley Muntari on a temporary loan,” the Rossoneri said in a statement. Milan opted to make a move for the 27-year-old after losing midfielder Alexander Merkel last week to a knee injury for two months. Merkel only returned to Milan earlier this month in joint ownership from Genoa with the Rossoneri facing a shortage in midfield due to the injury problems of Mathieu Flamini, Gennaro Gattuso and Alberto Aquilani. Former Sunderland player Muntari becomes Milan’s fifth reinforcement in the winter transfer market and their second of the day after teenage Austrian striker Philipp Prosenik joined from Chelsea.




hat do you think is the missing link between the players of your generation and today’s players? If you can remember, in our days Nigeria was playing a system that other countries envy and we always had talents for every position, like Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal and all these players when they were playing. Nigeria had ready players to replace them whenever they leave the stage. When I was coming in, Clement Temile and the rest had gone, and I came and met Finidi George and the other fine players who were playing similar style of football. Then, if you look at the other side, you find Adokiye Amiesimaka, Friday Elaho and Emmanuel Amuneke, players other countries didn’t have. So, we have a culture of producing players for same position in Nigeria at that time. But before the 2002 World Cup the authority dropped some of us without any tangible replacement plan and went ahead to bring in players that never played in the national team before and nor were hardly World Cup materials. If we had stuck with the right approach like when I was leaving and Pius Ikedia came, or find somebody who will replace Amuneke and others gradually, it won’t have been this bad. But they took young players who had nobody to look up to, to the World Cup and that was the beginning of the downfall of the Nigerian football. So, the question now is what style are we playing now? Are we going to continue with our traditional way by getting the right players to play in such positions or are we still struggling to play with one striker or 4-4-2 and come back to defend? Our own generation of players is gone but we have to move forward, and that we can do by getting good scouts to monitor the Nigerian league, and also make effort to see that we retain our young players at home so that they don’t go out of the country unripe. With this we can make our football stronger and have the players who will feature in the Super Eagles. Aside from the definite playing pattern, we were disciplined and dedicated and there was team spirit as we played for each other. In your opinion, at what point did Nigeria digress? The restructuring of 2002 after the Nations Cup dislodged the existing structure from its foundation: Youngsters, who were yet to imbibe and adapt to the existing pattern and did not have the quality of national team players, were entrusted with responsibility that was far beyond them. Of course, they messed up things, but no fault of theirs. No, that restructuring ended a tradition that gave Nigeria and, indeed, the Eagles an identity: each position had players of almost equal quality, skill and deftness such that whenever anyone comes on as a

Nigeria must return to its football culture, says Babangida Tijjani Babangida belongs to that generation of Super Eagles that took the world by storm with their delectable display at the US’ 94 and the Atlanta ’96 Games where they won the African Cup of Nations and the Olympic soccer gold. The former Ajax deft right winger packed speed in his feet and used it effectively such as when he consistently outpaced South Africa’s Mark Fish to hand the Eagles easy victory. Now, TJ is the technical adviser of Taraba FC and in that capacity attended the pre-season seminar organized for Nigerian Nationwide League teams. He took time off to bare his mind to Patrick Andrew on sundry issues. substitute whatever formation we were playing would remain unchanged. Again, we had an identifiable playing pattern; we were the product of the domestic league and we were subjected to a pattern developed by (Clemens) Westerhof. Every player was made to adapt to it to fit into the national team. Again, I recalled the Dutch shouting that the restructuring was negative and would lead to no good. Today, who can fault his prophecy? It was pure misadventure and the effect is what we as a nation is reaping today. The intention, whatever it was meant to be, never achieved expected result because nowhere is such holistic restructuring done to good effect. That was where the then leaders went off course. They laid the foundation for the present decay and destruction of our football. The Super Eagles did not qualify for the 2012 Clemens Westerhof Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, as a former Super Eagles player, what is your thinking as to how to reposition ahead of the 2013 edition? We have a very big problem in football because our U-20 didn’t do well and the U-23 team didn’t do well and the Super Eagles even did not qualify for the Nations Cup. So, we need to come back and reorganize ourselves. But at the moment we have an issue to tackle, and that is that any time we are to be busy with preparations, the NFF is taken to court, and I begin to ask is it that these people (those going to court) want our football to grow or they want to be recognized? There are two things here. The first is to paut our house in order and that is to finish the issue of this illegality they are talking about. If you change a name make the papers ready in court before you can change it. The second issue is that we should be sincere in our choice of players that we select for the national teams, especially the ageteams because a A situation where we bring a grade situation where we bring a player who has played five player who has played five years other club to feature in the years for Enyimba or any national U-17 team and keeps quiet will for Enyimba or any other club to everybody not help us, will not augur well for our football. We have to be sincere in our feature in the national U-17… will preparation by picking young players from our local scene for our teams. We not augur well for our football have won the U-17 FIFA World Cup three times but there is nothing to show for it. We have get scouts who will scout everywhere, there should be no sentiments and they must bring in players from the grassroots who will represent Nigeria well. The situation where whenever we come back from the Olympics we digress while other countries improved on all fronts should not be repeated.

If you are to compare the present Super Eagles team with the one of your days, where are you going to place the current team? During our time, we had a generation of players who were exceptional, such that even if Okocha is on the bench, nobody will feel his absence. I remember in the semi-final of the Atlanta ’96 he was kept on the bench and the in the final, he came in and was the Man of the Match and that is a team. You can see Ikpeba, Babangida and other stars sitting on the bench. But if you look at the Nigerian team now, if not for Yakubu Aiyegbeni that we are saying he is old, which striker now will you beat your chest for and say he can come and beat Yakubu who is finishing his football now?

Tijjani Babangida

One would have expected that as a successful player in your hey days would chose a bigger club, but here you are with Taraba FC, what do you want to achieve with Taraba FC? I want to reform the club. Since I came back I have been busy with academies. Just last month I came back from Sokoto Stated and Niger Republic where I went round all the villages in Sokoto and took 30 youth players and travelled with them outside the country in a kind of an empowerment programme. It is the same programme that I took to Taraba when I found out their football is in chaos. Though I am not from Taraba, but I went and met the Governor and told him my mission to reform the club and make it professional and may be two years after I would leave it with the people of Taraba State, but not before I established a truly professional club.

Finidi George


Former NWF president laments poor treatment of weightlifters


ormer President, Nigeria Weighting Federation (NWF), Ajibade Fashina-Thomas, has decried the poor treatment of weightlifters that will represent the country at the London Olympic Games. Fashina-Thomas told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that weightlifting was a veritable avenue for the country to win many medals at the Olympics and as such should be accorded top priority in preparation. “Apart from athletics where we draw our medals from, weightlifting is another veritable avenue of getting medals at the Olympic Games. So, if our weightlifters do not go to the Olympics that would be a disaster because we really bank on having some medals from weightlifting. “I do hope that things will improve in the next month or couple of months and reasons will prevail so as to allow our weightlifters go on training tours and eventually participate in the Olympics.” He expressed concern over the poor preparation of athletes for the Olympic Games, especially the inability of the National Sports Commission to organise training tours for athletes. Fashina-Thomas also said the country should always strive to begin early preparation for competitions, as the usual “fire brigade approach” would never yield good results.


Uche decries deterioration of athletics in Nigeria


ermany-based athlete, Isaac Uche, has attributed the deteriorating state of athletics in the country to the failure of officials to discharge their responsibility of running the sport. Uche said yesterday in Lagos that he was disappointed at the rate deterioration of the sports in general since his days as an active competitor. “Before I came into it athletics was okay and while I was into it was still okay but after I left it’s deteriorating, which is not good for Nigerian sports not to talk of athletics as a whole.” The former athlete said that the problem of athletics was poor administration of the sport, adding: “we do not have the right persons administrating sports in the country. And this is really affecting development, compared to when we started and where we should be by now. We have done badly.” He expressed concern that no concrete plans had been made public even when it was only six months to the commencement of the London 2012 Olympics. “Many developed countries that know the importance of sports have started training their

Solomon Ogba, Athletic President athletes towards performing well at the London event. Uche, then, urged the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to ensure it named a replacement for the late Sunday Bada who, until his death, was technical director of the federation. “The position should not be politicised because it plays a vital role in the development of athletics in the country,” warned. ,” he stated. Uche won a gold medal in the 200 metres event at the 9th All Africa Games staged in Algeria in 2007.

Grassing of Jos Stadium to begin next week, says contractor


he firm handling the construction of the new Jos Stadium says work on the pitch will commence by the middle of February. Mr Plamen Iliev, Managing Director of BCC Tropical Nigeria Ltd, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos yesterday that the multi-million naira synthetic turf was “already on the high sea on its way to Nigeria”. He said the consignment would soon be at the Lagos port for onward movement to Jos. The managing director said that work was being expedited in order to meet the May completion deadline directed by the Plateau State Government. “The Plateau government said it wants the job completed before the celebration of Democracy Day on May 29. Gov. Jonah Jang is keen at celebrating this year’s Democracy Day at the stadium and we are doing everything not to fail him”. Iliev also disclosed that the synthetic turf would be laid along with the athletic tartan tracks after which, attention would be shifted to the seating pavilions. “When the project is completed, the stadium will be one of the best not only in the country, but the entire West African sub-region”. He said that Plateau had the same altitude with Ethiopia, which would provide the right atmosphere for grooming of sportsmen and women.

Nigerian Flamingoes

Onyedinma optimistic of good outing for women football league in 2012


rs Dilichukwu Onyedinma, the Chairman, Nigeria Women Professional League Board, says she is optimistic that the 2012 women football season will be better than last year. Onyedinma told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the 2011 season was characterised by many challenges which brought setbacks to the sport. “If you can recall, in 2011 we were saddled with court cases and arbitrations, and this prevented us from achieving anything tangible. “You could see that most of our international competitions were nothing to write home about, because of the crisis that befell us. “But, I thanked God, all these things are over and we are looking forward to a better tomorrow,” she said. According to Onyedinma, having used 2011 to sort things out, the officials have put ideas together to make sure that the experience of last year will not be repeated. She, however, commended the Flamingos for defeating Kenya U-17 female team 20 in the first round of qualifiers for the 2012 U-17 World Cup, saying that it was the beginning of more victories to come this year. Onyedinma also praised efforts being made to rebuild the Super Eagles by Coach Stephen Keshi.

Imo to host 3rd National Women Cricket Championship


he board of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) has awarded the hosting of the 3 rd edition of the National Women Cricket Championship to Imo. In a statement in Lagos on Tuesday, the General Manager of the federation, George Wiltshire, said that the competition would hold in February. Wiltshire said that Imo was granted the hosting right to ensure nationwide development of the game. ‘We are doing this because we expect Imo will use this opportunity to spread and develop the noble game of cricket at the grass roots level,” Wiltshire said. According to him, the hosting will not only assist the state at developing the game at the grass roots, it will also contribute to the growth of the game among female cricketers. He said that Imo female team emerged second at the 2nd edition held in Lagos last year. “Hence hosting by Imo would serve as an opportunity for the state government to build on its female team,” he said. The chairman, Imo State Cricket Association, Prof. O. Okoh, in a statement, said that the state was prepared to host the tournament. “We have formally communicated with NCF of our acceptance,” Okoh said. The statement added that the federation had also completed arrangements for the South East Championship for the Barr. Chuma Anosike Cup. It said that the competition would hold at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in February. Former Falcons coach urges Flamingoes to crush Kenya Nnenna Etim, a former assistant Super Falcons Coach, has urged the Flamingoes not to relent in their quest for the World Cup ticket as they engage their Kenyan counterparts in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifier. Etim told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that the Flamingoes should not underestimate their East African opponents and should guard against complacency in the return leg on Saturday in Abeokuta. The Flamingoes defeated the Kenyans 2-0 in the first leg at Nairobi and would qualify for the next round with only a draw. The coach called on the team to forget about how well they performed in the first leg and treat the return leg as a different affair. On team tactics, she advised the girls to be more compact in their defensive roles and stay focused for the entire duration of the match. “I am not saying the girls did not try in the first leg of the qualifier but they still need to improve on their defence line, the country is depending on them because they are our last hope,” she said. Lizzy Ogienwonyi, a former Super Falcons player, urged the girls to play the match with all the seriousness it deserved and warned them not to take the Kenyans for granted. Ogienwonyi told NAN that she had absolute confidence in the ability of Peter Dedevbo, the coach of the team to come up with the right tactics the team would need to prevail over their opponents. “I have a strong belief in the girls that they would do well, especially if they don’t underestimate the Kenyans, I believe they have a capable coach too,” Ogienwonyi said.

QUO TABLE Q UO TE UOT QUO UOTE “Sometimes people car carrr y to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem” — W. Somer set Maugham Somerset



LA TEST LATEST Zimbabwe suspends 67 players over match-fixing


he Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has suspended 67 players, including most of the national team, following a long-standing investigation into matchfixing. A ZIFA probe last year led to a number of players admitting that they accepted money from an Asian betting syndicate to lose exhibition games on Far East trips from 2007-09. The ZIFA report said the money was handed out by agents of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is in jail in Finland for fixing activities in that country. ZIFA chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze said implicated players must not be included in the national team unless they are cleared by the organization's ethics committee. The Former Zimbabwe captain Method Mwanjali, Daniel Vheremu, Benjamin Marere and Thomas Sweswe made statements admitting taking money, along with a member of the coaching staff, Joey Antipas. The list of players who featured in the matches includes several key members of the current squad: Nyasha Mushekwi, Khama Billiat and Ovidy Karuru. The decision to suspend the players was made during an emergency board meeting to review Zimbabwe's failure to qualify for the African Nations Cup, which is currently under way in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Chelsea reveal large annual loss


remier League giants Chelsea announced yesterday a total loss of £67.7 million ($106.6m, •81.6m) for the financial year ending June 30, 2011. But for Chelsea, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, this represented a reduction on a previous operating loss of £70.9m as the London club tried to comply with UEFA's new financial fair play rules. Transfer fees were a major factor in the loss but Chelsea were able to declare a record group turnover of £222.3m.


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Police: Corrupt, repressive, irredeemable


ith the New Year 2012, governance of the federation took off in a panic mode. When someone enters a panic mode, we all know that they miscalculate and very often tack actions that can be nothing but politically stupid. Knee-jack reactions often produce results that make the situation worse. In a panic, the government removed subsidy on petroleum products. In a panic, they reversed themselves after a week of the country’s shutdown by a most effective strike ever by labour and civil society. In a panic, the government removed the Inspector-General of Police, about a month short of his retirement following the mysterious escape from custody of a suspected church bomber and the serial bombings of the otherwise peaceful city of Kano in Northern Nigeria. In a panic, government appointed a new Inspector General, Mohammed Abubakar, creating a further confusion by either having failed to check up on his past damaging records or, simply taking the citizens for granted by failing to let them know about new information, if any, absolving the former Commissioner of Police in Plateau state against the accusation of religious partisanship established against him by a Commission of Inquiry. Also in a panic, the government named a committee to reform and restructure the police, chaired by AIG Parry Osayande, the Chairman Police Service Commission. Government did not tell Nigerians what has become a similar exercise earlier by a Committee of past IGPs led by M.D. Yusuf, a former IG, himself. A man who is alleged to harbor a strong dislike for the federal character principle has now been assigned to restructure the federal police. It is not in doubt that the police are in urgent need for a restructure and reform. Following events earlier in Borno and Yobe but particularly recently in Kano, this country does not have a police force to reckon with. A police chased away from zonal and state command headquarters by Boko Haram bandits has lost all respect and should in fact be dissolved to start a new institution from the scratch. When you get into trouble, it is to the police you go to. The primary responsibility to

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Garba Shehu maintain law and order is with the police under our constitution. When such a police cannot defend itself against Boko Haram, how can they defend the population? As the Economist said in a recent edition, Nigeria has a police, onequarter of which is doing protocol duty – the duty of VIP protection and the remaining three-fourth posted to road – blocks where they collect bribes. We have a police that is undemocratic in its creation; in its orientation and in its modus operandi. If anybody wants to change them, here is nowhere to start. Their problem is not just only about appropriate training and equipment commensurate with the ground reality, which we must all recognize. You need a police with correct philosophical orientation, not a police bent on unquestionably following shortsighted, greedy and corrupt rulers in their anti-common people policies. The recent conduct of the police, during the anti-subsidy removal strike and street protests was a blot on our democracy. In the course of those events, the feeling among most ordinary citizens was that the strike and those rallies represented a rare opportunity to put a check on the excessively wasteful policies of our government at all levels. Here I must congratulate former FCT Minister, Nasir el-Rufai, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana and those elements of the civil society for doggedly exposing the misdeeds of government. People everywhere are getting tired of the nonsensical pronouncements of governors, ministers, leaders of the ruling party, the PDP and even the President himself. I think this was the message the Governor of Niger state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu was trying to convey to his partymen. Which is that if the governments don’t recognize the public anger particularly against corruption and the lack of performance by those elected to

serve; that if governments continue in their disrespect for the ideals and values of democracy and take steps to inspire confidence among the people, there is a hefty political price that they will be paying in the next elections. After all, democracy is ideally a government of the people, by the people and for the people. When the government itself becomes a burden to the people, they have a right to pull it down in an election. A police force that arrests and subverts peaceful protesters and protests is undemocratic. Were they afraid that the continuing rallies will expose the web of corruption in which the big fish might end up being found? No democratic government worth the name can deny the people their fundamental right to dissent and peaceful protest. When they were challenged on the issues dealing with corruption at those rallies, government resorted to slurs, ethnic and religious dirty tricks and incrementally raising the levels of repression. A corrupt government lacks the moral authority to restructure and reform the police. The situation is compounded by open concerns that we have a President who has no mind of his own but a pawn in a vicious web of thuggish tribal and religious suckers, and not the cabinet. Lastly, I want to end this discussion with a view on the issue of state police. The idea of state police has gained strength of late and it is noteworthy that respectable security experts including Dr. Bukar Usman who wrote on this page, have thrown their weight behind it. It is on record that following exactly this type of pressure, the country’s President at one time General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida experimented with the localization of police recruitment, training and deployment but the experience at the end of it was not good for the country. Following that policy,

the police in the year 2000 Zangon Kataf riots in Kaduna state took sides and fought in line with their religious loyalties. President Babangida at that time felt so bad after the incident that his government had to build new homes for all of the victims of that senseless violence. Despite the increasing recruitment of graduates into police force, their mental attitude have not changed significantly. With more lawyers and other professional being recruited into the force, one would have expected higher level of civility and respect for citizens’ rights as protected by the constitution. Worse still, the recruitment method into the force is full of questionable criteria. Mere emphasis on physical fitness rather than the individual character of those being recruited cannot produce a credible police. That is how people with criminal records, history of emotional instability, psychopathic personality, drunkenness drug habits and other erratic behaviours can easily gain employment into the force. In Western societies, background investigations are regularly carried out to ensure people with criminal records and erratic behaviours are allowed to find their way into the security system. How can you entrust a gun in the hands of people with drunken habits or emotional instability? Thanks to corruption, the police today harbour all manner of characters. The involvement of policemen in armed robbery reveals the level of corruption and flaws in the recruitment methods. Despite the recent improvements in police salaries, it remains to be seen whether corruption has declined correspondingly. Corruption and brutal repression of the citizens have become second nature to our police force. Former President Obasanjo once made a cosmetic attempt to change the name of the police from the “Nigeria Police Force” to the “Nigeria Police.” The deletion of the word “force” was meant to reflect the emerging democratic order. In practice, however, nothing had fundamentally changed in the behavior and image of the police. Substance is more important than symbolism. Is the police beyond redemption? How far can the Osayande Panel go? Time will tell.

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, Wednessday, February 1, 2012  

Today's Nigerian hot news.

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Wednessday, February 1, 2012  

Today's Nigerian hot news.