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I want to turn Anambra around — Ifeanyi Ubah >> Page 6

Patience Jonathan never met with APGA chairman — Spokesman >> Page 3

Vol. 1. No. 23.

May 21 — May 28, 2013

Nigeria’s first free newspaper

Missing CPC certificate may stall APC registration T

he lost and yet to be found certificate of registration of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the pending court suit instituted by a rival political association, African Peoples Congress, APC, challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for refusing to register it,may stall the registration of the All Progressives Congress. The three parties in the APC merger plan – Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP – in fulfillment of one of the requirements of the Electoral Act 2010 – have concluded their national conventions at which party

Nigeria retake five Boko Haram strongholds

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igeria's military said Monday it had reestablished control in five remote areas of the northeast where Islamist insurgents had seized territory, as it pressed on with a sweeping offensive against Boko Haram militants. The military has "secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorists' camps," a defence ministry CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

members approved for their parties to fuse into APC, several unresolved issues may delay the association’s request to INEC for registration and even jeopardize its chances of registration. Section 84 (5) of the Electoral Act says, “Where the request for the proposed merger is approved, the Commission shall withdraw and cancel the certificates of registration of all the political parties opting for the merger and substitute a single certificate of registration in the name of the party resulting from the merger.” The Electoral Act, in Section 84 (3) (b) states that the application for merger to be sent to INEC shall be accompanied by “proposed full name and acronym, constitution, manifesto, symbol or logo of the party, together with the addresses of the national office of the party resulting from the merger.” It will be recalled that the certificate saga has been rocking the CPC since 2010 when a new National Working Committee, NWC, emerged at a national convention held that year in Abuja. The first National Chairman of the party , Rufai Hanga, who was replaced with the incumbent chairman, Tony Momoh, at the said convention held on to the certificate in protest for being barred from re-contesting for the position. Hanga, a former senator and some members of the former NWC challenged their removal from office in the

Place

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The case is still ongoing.

The CPC hierarchy, sources reveal , considered it politically inexpedient at the time to allow

Mr. Hanga to return to the position in anticipation that its leader and Chairman of Board of Trustees, BoT, Muhammadu Buhari, who hails from the same North West geo-political zone as the former national chairman, would pick the party’s presidential ticket. Buhari hails from Katsina State, Mr. Hanga is an indigene of Kano State. When the formation of the APC took ground , leader of the ACN, Bola Tinubu, met with Hanga in Abuja during which he extracted a promise from the former CPC chairman that he would return the certificate. He CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

How Buhari scuttled CPC/ACN 2011 Alliance — Tinubu

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s the proposed merger of three Nigeria opposition political parties to form the APC rages,the botched alliance negotiations which may have affected the outcome of 2011 presidential polls again comes to mind. National leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in an exclusive interview with UDE EJIKEME in Abuja speaks on the issue which derailed the alliance talks. Excerpts Why did your party’s alliance with the CPC collapse in 2011? It is very unfortunate that the two serious national parties

could not solve their problems earlier than then. We had been

your advert

CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

here


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Perspectives

Checking insecurity via youth empowerment By Francis Onyeukwu

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articipants of the Abia Youth Empowerment Summit (A-YES), which was recently held in Umuahia, underscored the need for government to give priority to youth empowerment programmes. They attributed the high crime rate in the country to unemployment, adding that youth empowerment was the panacea to the rising wave of insecurity. The CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who delivered a lecture at the summit, said that active participation of youths in economic activities would facilitate the reduction of crime in the country. In his lecture titled, “Youth Empowerment as Panacea for Insecurity in Nigeria’’, Sanusi said that governments at all levels were not investing adequately in youth empowerment programmes. He said that this had resulted in breeding an army of youths that were engaged in unprofitable activities. “The aggregate of individual insecurity, which can be either financial, job, marital, economic, and psychological or a sum of them, translate into overall insecurity in the society when they are not adequately addressed,’’ he said. The CBN governor also bemoaned the increasing rate of unemployment in the country. “ Unemployment rose from 15 per cent in the period between 2002 and 2008, to over 20 per cent in the period between 2009 and 2011,’’ he said. Also speaking, Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia said that the introduction of the youth empowerment programme by his administration was a direct response to the confessional statements made by some repentant kidnappers who terrorised Abia residents between 2009 and 2010. “Conscious of the positive and negative roles which youths play in the society, it is imperative for the youth to be integrated in the politics, development, security and total emancipation of the nation,’’ he said. Orji said that the N1 billion agricultural loan given by the CBN to farmers was disbursed in such a way that it particularly favoured youths participating in agricultural activities. He said that the state government had commenced the development of its “Liberation Farms’’ across the state’s 17 local government areas, adding that the farms would provide employment opportunities for young farmers and entrepreneurs. Orji, however, advised commercial township

Gov. Theodore Orji taxi and commercial tricycle operators, as well as others who had benefitted from the government’s empowerment programme, not to sell their means of livelihood. Two hundred vehicles and 700 tricycles were given out to beneficiaries of the programme. Former Senate President Adolphus Wabara, who chaired the summit, commended the governor for embarking on youth empowerment programmes. He stressed that the youth empowerment programmes would facilitate the growth of the state’s economy and the national economy. “By focusing on youth empowerment, the governor has planted a veritable seed to cure many social malaise and address the economic needs of the state; posterity will always remember that as part of his legacies,’’ Wabara said. Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Hyacinth Okoli, the NUJ Chairman in Abia, commended Orji for initiating the youth empowerment programme, adding that it had helped to reduce kidnapping and other crimes in the state. He noted that kidnapping was so rampant in the state a couple of years ago. “On July 10, 2010, four journalists and their driver were kidnapped while returning to their

The mission of reporters dispatch is to place in the hands of every Nigerian the power of information and knowledge. To promote spontaneous reading in a conscious effort to increase the declining reading culture in Nigeria. To empower Nigerians through the provision of facts in an informative and entertaining manner with a view to enabling the populace take decisions and make choices

Mission Statement

destinations after attending the NUJ’s national executive council meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. “While that was being sorted out, 15 innocent school children were kidnapped in September, 2010,’’ he noted. Chief Sam Onuigbo, the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, said that apart from giving support to individual beneficiaries, the youth empowerment programme would also boost the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD). “The beneficiaries of the empowerment programme, apart from making money to take care of themselves; will equally pay tax and other levies, which will boost the government’s Internally Generated Revenue,’’ he said. Onuigbo said that the overall gains of the youth empowerment were enormous, urging other states to emulate the Abia model in their efforts to tackle the menace of unemployment and insecurity. “The integrated approach of empowering the youths in areas of agriculture, transportation, commerce and skills’ acquisition was a veritable means of addressing unemployment, which is now breeding insecurity across Nigeria,’’ he said. Messrs Uzoma Ibe and Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, both beneficiaries of the youth empowerment programme, commended the governor for initiating the empowerment scheme. “Since my graduation from the Abia State University eight years ago, I have been without a job. I found it extremely difficult to cope without any means of livelihood. “With this vehicle I received as an empowerment tool, I feel revived morally and economically. With God on my side, I now have a foundation to make progress as a man,’’ Ibe said. Other speakers at the summit commended the state government for introducing the youth empowerment programme, reiterating that it would boost employment and check the rising crime rate in the state. They, however, urged the government to sustain the programme to enable more youths to benefit. Observers also commend the government for introducing the programme but they urge the beneficiaries to ensure the fulfilment of the programme. They also advise those who were given taxis and tricycles to handle their vehicles with care, while refraining from having the erroneous notion that the government’s gesture is their own share of the national cake.

based on facts rather than rumors and propaganda from spin doctors. To contribute our quota towards the making of a street-wise populace capable of holding their own anywhere in the world. This newspaper shall be provided free in order to reach the masses who form the most important segment of our society. reporters dispatch is a masses newspaper for the Nigerian masses.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

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News

Around Nigeria

Bayelsa Oil Spill: Shell, community disagree over cause of spill

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he Ikarama Community in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa has disagreed with the Shell Petroleum Development Company over the cause of the reported oil spills from nearby oil wells. The spill has contaminated the Taylor Creek in Yenagoa and residents of Biseni/JK4 Road told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they disagreed that the spills were caused by oil theft. Officials of Shell’s Oil Spill Response Unit were seen recovering crude discharged into the environment near the company’s Well 2 in Biseni Area. Mr Ambrose Osuolo, Assistant Secretary, Caretaker Committee of JK4 Edagberi/ Betterland Community, told NAN that the people were convinced that that some of the spill points were traceable to equipment failure. “We noticed the spills on April 30 and Shell came for a joint investigation visit (JIV) on May 3. I represented my community on the JIV, but the investigation was inconclusive

due to different views held about the cause of the spill. “While Shell attributed the cause to sabotage, saying that the pipeline was drilled in, I was not convinced and hence we did not sign the JIV report. “Although Shell came purposely for this particular spill, we discovered two more spill points within this Well 2 environment on that same day. “The affected pipeline conveys crude from Well 2 to the nearby Adibawa Flowstation. We reported to the Bayelsa Ministry of Environment so that the ministry could put pressure on Shell to mop up the spill in the environment,” Osuolo said. An SPDC spokesman, Mr Precious Okolobo, in a statement on May 6 attributed the spill to sabotage of pipeline by oil thieves. The statement said that the preliminary findings indicated that the spill, which was caused by the activities of oil thieves had contaminated the Taylor Creek. “A joint investigation visit (JIV) was executed and the initial reports indicated that the pipeline was sabotaged by a 20

cm long hacksaw cut. “SPDC is committed to cleaning up all spills from its facilities as fast as possible regardless of cause. Majority of the spills in the Niger Delta are the result of third party interference,’’ it said. The statement said that the sabotage included theft of equipment or leaks caused by crude oil thieves who drill into pipelines to steal oil. “On the average, third party interference accounts for around 73 per cent of all oil spill incidents,” SPDC stated. Agip was compelled to shut down its onshore crude production facilities in Bayelsa due to unsustainable levels of oil theft. Agip on March 23, said oil theft from its facilities in the state accounted for a daily loss of 7,000 barrels out of its 40,000 barrels of crude production and declared “force majeure” on its oil output. Force Majeure is a legal clause that frees an oil firm from crude buyers for failure to meet its supply obligations due to circumstances outside of its control.

Encourage albino children to be more relevant in the society — mother

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rs Jane Peter, a mother of two albino children, has stressed the need for parents with albinos to encourage them to be more relevant in the society. She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that parents with children living with albinism should ensure that they were well informed on issues of albinism. According to Peter, I am doing my best to make sure that my kids who are living with albinism do not have freckles by protecting them from the sun. She said, “I always ensure they wear hats and long sleeves when going to school. “The school allowed me to provide special uniform for my children, the school teachers make them seat in front of the class due to their sight.” Peter, therefore, urged the government to continue the good work and ensure that people stopped discriminating against albinos. She also appealed to the government to provide jobs for albinos, especially the qualified ones looking for jobs. Also speaking, her albino child, Miss Golden Peter, told NAN that teachers and educators should be given adequate information about

children living with albinism. She said, “Albinos are human beings like you but they face challenges; with well informed teachers they can overcome some of these challenges. “We can live a meaningful live and become doctors, pilots, lawyers and even teachers.’

She debunked misconceptions that albinos did not eat salt or pepper, that albinism was a contagious condition and that albinos were not intelligent. The young lady, who is always top of her class, said that albinos ate normal diet and that albinism was a genetic condition.

Reps threaten to issue bench warrant against bank CEOs over tax remittance

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he House of Representatives has threatened to issue a bench warrant against chief executive officer of banks who fail to appear before it over failure to render account on tax remittances. The bank chiefs are to appear before the committee to explain their roles in keeping tax payment and remittances. The House Committee on Finance made the threat at the opening session of the House Committee on Finance’s investigation on tax remittances by banks. None of the bank chiefs honoured the lawmakers’ summon, issued on May13. The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdulmumini Jibrin (PDP-Kano), expressed his dissatisfaction over the refusal by 10 chief executive officers of Nigeria’s mega banks to appear before the committee. The banks are expected to appear before the committee and

render explanations on how their respective banks have been remitting taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) in the past three years. However, 11 banks sent representatives and consultants while representatives of the remaining 10 banks were absent. The lawmakers said that they would issue a bench warrant against the 10 bank chiefs if they failed to appear before it on May 22. Jibrin named the defaulting banks as Zenith Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Skye Bank Plc and Keystone Bank Plc. Others are Citi Bank, Enterprise Bank, Heritage Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc and Ecobank Plc. He said that the investigative exercise was in line with global best practices, where banks were placed under tax scrutiny by parliament in view of their strategic role to the economy.

Patience Jonathan never met with APGA chairman — Spokesman

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igeria’s First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan has disassociated her self from the ongoing crisis currently rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, saying that she never had any meeting with its chairman, Victor Umeh. Dame Patience also debunked the rumour that she was supporting the factional chairman of the party, Umeh, saying that any report connecting her to the crisis is far from the truth. The First Lady who reacted to the reports through her spokesman, Ayo Osinlu denied meeting with Umeh, and disassociated herself from the party’s ongoing crisis. A s t a t e m e n t signed by Ayo Osinlu said “We wish to state categorically that nothing is farther from the truth, as the first lady did not at any time meet with Chief Umeh on any account, least of all the crisis in APGA. “She therefore takes strong exception to her being dragged into the mud-slinging between the war-lords of APGA.” Mr.Osinlu said the first lady remains a strong advocate of the rule of law which serves as a guarantee to everyone, either weak or strong, and legitimately expect to benefit from justice and equity and would not be found in any activity or in the company of anyone seeking to pervert the course of justice. Reports in some media had peddled the rumour that Victor Umeh reportedly told close associates on May 12 that he met with the first lady in the company of businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah, and Dan Ulasi on the APGA crisis.

Members of Boko Haram may face war crimes charges for population cleansing – UN

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embers of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in Nigeria, could face war crimes charges for deliberate acts leading to ethnic and religious cleansing, the UN has said. Rupert Colvile, the spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said this in a statement made available at the UN Head quarters in New York . He reiterated calls on Boko Haram and other extremist groups in Nigeria to cease their “cowardly attacks” against civilians, members of government institutions, security forces and foreign nationals. “The High Commissioner noted that members of Boko Haram, if judged to have committed systematic attacks against a civilian population on grounds such as religion or ethnicity could be found guilty of crimes against humanity. “Deliberate acts leading to population ‘cleansing’ on grounds

of religion or ethnicity could also amount to a crime against humanity,” Colville stressed. In recent weeks, more than 220 people have been killed in violent clashes between military forces and the Islamist group, Boko Haram. OHCHR has urged the Nigerian government to abide by human rights principles during security patrols. The rights body also said it was concerned about the large number of casualties, reportedly including many civilians, and massive destruction of houses and property. Colville urged the government to ensure that international human rights law was respected during its emergency operations. Similarly the SecretaryGeneral, Ban Ki-moon had said he remained very concerned about the ongoing instability in the country. He underscored the need for all concerned to fully respect human rights and to safeguard the lives of all Nigerians.


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Business Yahoo! eyes growth, youth in $1.1 bn Tumblr deal

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ahoo! unveiled its biggest deal yet under chief Marissa Mayer on Monday, snagging blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion in a move to get younger users into the orbit of the struggling Internet pioneer. The two firms confirmed weekend reports of the tie-up, a deal which keeps the fast-growing Tumblr largely independent while integrating technology and advertising opportunities. “Tumblr is a game changer,” Mayer said in a conference call discussing the acquisition. “Tumblr is one of the fastest growing media networks in the world,” and “brings a significant new community of users to Yahoo!” she added. “This will grow Yahoo! users by 50 percent.” The companies said the deal is worth $1.1 billion, “substantially all of which is payable in cash.” Yahoo! chief financial officer Ken Goldman said it includes “a small amount of stock” for Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp. Mayer said Tumblr would operate independently but that the groups would “work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.” “We promise not to screw it up,” Mayer said in a blog post on Tumblr, as Yahoo! moved its official company blog to the new platform. “The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve.” Karp, in his own blog post, said he was “elated” about the tie-up and sought to allay staff concerns about any changes. “We’re not turning purple,” he wrote. “Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing... So what’s new? Simply, Tumblr gets better faster. The work ahead of us remains the same — and we still have a long way to go! — but with more resources to draw from.” The deal, approved by the boards of both firms, is expected to close in the second half of the year, the companies said. Yahoo! has been looking at a range of possible acquisitions since Mayer took the helm last year and vowed to revive the company, which has faded in the face of competition from Google. Tumblr could be key to Yahoo!’s strategy because of its popularity with younger Internet users. A survey this year conducted by the online data group Survata found Tumblr more popular than Facebook among those aged 13 to 25. While Tumblr generates very little cash, bringing it in the Yahoo! family could offer the potential for new advertising and other revenue sources. “We hope this significantly contributes to our growth story,” Mayer said, adding that the two firms can create synergies because of their different demographics. She noted that Yahoo! can integrate some Tumblr “streams” in its news and mobile feeds and can help the blogging platform develop better ads for its users. “Tumblr is growing, and we think it can enhance the engagement on our media properties,” she said. Analyst reaction was mixed. Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies said the deal “brings a social element that Yahoo!

is missing and a set of new users.” But Kay added that “paying $1.1 billion for a company with $13 million in revenue seems a little nuts to me... Those numbers aren’t even earnings, which are surely negative. So, even if Tumblr survives

intact, Yahoo is unlikely to get its $1.1 billion back over any interval that falls within a human lifetime.” Justin Post at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said Tumblr “could increase engagement with a younger audience” for

Yahoo!. “Yahoo!’s plan to integrate Tumblr content into Yahoo!’s properties will be an important aspect of the deal,” Post said. “Tumblr should also provide Yahoo more targeted user data as users indicate what content or whom they follow, which could increase the value of Yahoo! network.” Victor Anthony at Topeka Capital Markets called the deal “positive for Yahoo!, giving the company access to one of fastest growing social media assets, as well as access to the teen demographic.” Rob Enderle, analyst and consultant with Enderle Group, was skeptical. “The concept is good, the service goes after a young demographic Yahoo! is missing,” he said. “But I have no evidence that Meyer knows how to do an acquisition like this... the chances this will end badly are very high.” Founded in 2007 and headquartered in New York, Tumblr says it has more than 108 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees. The website ranking site Alexa lists Tumblr as number 32 in terms of global popularity.

Prices of agro-chemicals, seeds up by 20 per cent in Kaduna

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he prices of herbicides and seeds have gone up by about 20 per cent in Kaduna as the rainy season commences, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. A visit to some of dealers selling agriculture chemicals at the Kaduna Central Market indicated that the prices of herbicides such as roundup, atrisin and gramazone had risen from about N750 to as much as N1,050. Also, a two kilogramme bag of maize and guinea corn seeds now sale for N550 from the previous price of N450 before the rainy season, while that of soya beans has risen from N400 to N600. Malam Musa Said, the Organising Secretary, Agro-Chemical Dealers

Association in Kaduna State attributed the increase to high demand. “We are having very high patronage, it is not about inadequate supply. It is a normal situation during the rainy season to have this slight increase,” he said. According to him, the demand is usually more than the supply at the beginning of the rainy season and this often leads to scarcity of the farm inputs. Musa said members of the association were not involved in the e-wallet programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. He explained that even though some of the members were requested to open bank accounts for inclusion into the programme this year, “there is no

response up till now”. The organising secretary expressed fears that the selection of dealers for the Growth Enhancement Service Scheme “may have been politicised”. Musa also spoke on the challenges facing the association, saying that absence of capital was inhibiting the dealers from supplying the required farm inputs to serve the needs of farmers in the state. He solicited the cooperation and support of the state government and companies in the agriculture business to enable members of the association to supply the needed chemicals and ensure stability in prices.

Panyam Fish Farm can generate N1.7bn annually , N2.5bn needed to revive it

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he Plateau State Government said on Monday that Panyam Fish Farm could generate N1.7 billion annually and needed N2.5 billion to revive it. Mr Steven Barko, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos. Barko said that the farm, located in Mangu local government area of the state, had great revenue potential and could repay the N2.5 billion in two years. He said the farm would have been operational by now but expressed regret that funding remained the greatest challenge. The commissioner said that had spent the past one year looking for investors to partner with the state government to resuscitate the farm with little success. ‘’I would have kicked-off the Panyam

Plateau state governor, David Jonah Jang Fish Farm by now, but I am still looking for funds for the past one year. I have been going around, looking for investors

to partner with and revive the farm. ‘’The visibility studies are completed and the farm’s revenue potential is great. With the projected N1.7 billion as annual revenue, the farm can pay off the N2.5 billion in two years. ‘’The farm, which spans 309 hectares, can produce 3,900 tonnes of fish annually and more than 10 million fingerlings could also be raised there. ‘’It also has the potential to generate employment as so many people would be engaged in different activities. ‘’Some could buy the adult fish and process it while others may engage in the marketing of the fingerlings,’’ he added. The commissioner explained that the state opted for investors in resuscitating the farm because the banks contacted offered a very high interest rate. He, however, expressed optimism that by this time next year, the farm would start operations and that it would be run as a company for effectiveness


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

News

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Around Nigeria

Bash Ali turns PDP secretariat gateman in bid to realise ambition T

he National Secretariat of the PDP on Monday became a centre of attraction as the former World Federation Cruiserweight Boxing Champion, Bashi Ali, turned himself into the secretariat’s gateman. Ali, 57, said he decided to embark on the action to draw government’s attention to his quest to actualise his dream of entering the “Guinness Book of Records’’ as the oldest boxer to win a world title. In 2009, Ali had planned to fight Britain’s John Keenton on April 25 in Warri for a Cruiserweight title in his bid to actualise the objective. He also made efforts to secure a venue in Nigerian for his World Boxing Championship fight against Gunn Bobby of the U.S. without any success. Ali told newsmen on Monday that he decided to turn a gateman to draw government’s attention to the need to inaugurate a local organising committee (LOC) for his fight in order to enable him realise his objective. He recalled that the inauguration of the committee was earlier planned for Nov. 9, 2006 and March 5, but could not hold. Ali said he was ready to man the PDP gate as long as it takes the government to respond positively to his request. “I have decided to come here today to resume work as PDP Secretariat’s gateman, pending when they deem it necessary to inaugurate the LOC. “Am not going anywhere, I will continue to open the gate for them today; I will do it tomorrow until they do the right

Bash Ali thing. “What I am doing here today by being their gateman is to dramatise the fact that they cannot continue to drive Nigeria backwards. “I had the opportunity to meet President Goodluck Jonathan on Oct. 22, 2012, oneon-one and we discussed the issue.’’ The boxer explained that he chose the PDP secretariat because of the party’s involvement in the initial arrangement.

“The choice of PDP is because the idea for a LOC was initiated by the party, which promised to do whatever I wanted for me, then.’’ Ali expressed regret that he was being denied an opportunity to excel in his chosen career and to contribute to President Jonathan’s transformation agenda. “Right now we have all the banks that have agreed to put up the money for the fight; they are not asking the Federal

Secretary to the Senate President, Mr Paul Mumeh, said that the National Assembly was neither combative nor competing with the executive arm of government on issues of the budget. “When we ask questions about implementation of budget, we are merely exercising our constitutional powers of appropriation and oversight to expose corruption, inefficiency or administration of laws within its legislative competence. “Our role in budgeting should not be

misunderstood to mean meddling into the functions of the executive. We represent the people and we owe it a duty to let them know,‘’ the statement said. It stated that the 1999 constitution was clear on the functions of each arm of government and that the principle of separation of powers should be respected at all times. It urged them to make accuracy their watchword in budget monitoring, adding that democracy, accountability and rule of law would be enhanced when their reports were independent and unbiased.

Budget: National Assembly not in competition with Executive, says Mark

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he Senate President, Sen. David Mark, said on Monday that observations raised by the National Assembly over the poor implementation of budget was constitutional. Mark stated this at a workshop for civil society organisations and nongovernmental organisations on “Budget Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting”, in Abuja. A statement issued by the Chief Press

...decries influx of terrorists, insurgents across Nigeria’s borders

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he Senate President, Sen. David Mark, in Abuja on Monday decried the continuous influx of mercenaries, terrorists and insurgents across Nigeria’s borders. He made the remark at a one -day public hearing, organised by the joint Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human rights and Legal Matters and States and Local Government Administration. Represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta), Mark said that the Border Communities Development Agency Act was established in 2004 and amended in 2006. “The agency has the responsibility of improving the social and economic lives of Nigerians living in various settlements, villages and towns spread across 96 local governments in the 21 states along Nigeria’s borders,’’ he said. According to him, in spite of the

amendment, the condition of border communities in Nigeria has yet to improve. The Senate president also decried the rise in human trafficking in border communities and attributed it to the inability of government to meet the needs of the people. “The situation is worsened by the dearth of amenities, such as good schools, hospitals, markets and even water and it makes the inhabitants cross to neighbouring countries for them,’’ he said. Mark expressed optimism that the amendment bill would enable the agency to function efficiently to improve the lives of people and tighten security around the borders. In his remarks, the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin (ACN-Oyo) noted that although the Border Communities Development Act was signed into law a decade ago, the condition of people at border

communities had not improved. He attributed the situation to poor funding of the agency and added that the fund got smaller every year with only N436 million budgeted for it 2013. “The downward trend of the budget allocation must be arrested coupled with the need to strengthen the institutional framework of the agency,’’ he said. Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Umaru Dahiru (PDP-Sokoto), said some border towns had become a hub for trafficking of arms, stolen goods, drugs and hostage taking by criminals. Dahiru stressed the need for the Senate to tackle the poverty and dearth of basic infrastructure at the border towns. According to him, the Border Communities Development Agency needs to be strengthened and adequately funded to carry out its duties.

Government for a kobo, but the provision of an enabling environment. “They want the government to bring everybody together and inaugurate the committee but the government has not acted because somebody is being selfish and does not want Nigeria to progress. “Do not forget that the LOC for this project was initiated by the Federal Government and the proposed sponsors are saying that it should be inaugurate so that they can release money through that channel. “America gave me the opportunity to become somebody and this made it possible for my country to give me a national honour. “When they gave it to me they said Bash Ali do more so you can get more. In the process of trying to do more they are trying to kill me; they are trying to strangulate me. “Am not going to fight them. It’s not going to be anything physical, but I will be opening gate pending when they decide to inaugurate the committee,’’ he added. Meanwhile, Ali has appealed to President Jonathan to come to his aid, saying that he planned to establish five boxing academies, and a sports equipment manufacturing factory in the country that would provide employment for the youth.

Driver’s licence: FRSC introduces online certification

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he Federal Road Safety Corp on Monday said it had introduced online certification of fresh drivers performance for licence issuance under its Driving School Standardisation Programme (DSSP). Speaking at a three-day workshop in Osogbo, FRSC Corps Marshal, Mr Osita Chidoka, said the DSSP Website application would help monitor training activities in driving schools. Chidoka, who was represented FRSC’s Head of Section, Manpower Development, Samuel Obayemi, said online operation and certification would be accessed by only proprietors and instructors of certified driving schools. He also urged driving school operators to register their students with the commission through the website and subsequently update their activities. The FRSC boss added that a performance certificate would be generated and issued automatically from the commission’s website to a student once the driving test was passed. While the commission would issue a certificate to students, he said the final verification test and certificate from the Vehicle Inspection Officer would determine if a driver’s licence would be issued.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 6

Interview

I want to turn Anambra around — Ifeanyi Ubah Six months to the expiration of Governor Peter Obi’s administration in Anambra state, an oil mogul, Chief Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, has declared that he has a date with Anambra state for the governorship election fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for November 2013. Ubah made this revelation on the sidelines of a media parley with “IKORO” – association of Igbo media practitioners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), at his Maitama residence in Abuja. He spoke with our man UDE EJIKEME. May we know you Sir, I am Chief Patrick ifeanyi Ubah. I hail from Nwewi in Anambra state. I am the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, the nation’s oil giant that is capable of holding over 1,100 trucks as well as the highest port loading of about 150 trucks in Nigeria. Could you tell us what informed your decision to contest for Anambra governorship race of November 2013 elections? You know every living being has an ambition. In my own case I have paid my dues and also over qualified for the exalted position. What led to my intention was a result of my grouse with peter Obi when I told him of my planned ambition as well as the need for him to conduct Local Government election in the state. As a result of this, he then ganged-up with people to frame up false allegations against me. This manifested well when the problem of fuel subsidy came up and I was roped into the matter. I was detained for 10 days in police cell. Police later gave me administrative bail. I took the matter to the National Assembly (NASS), but was shocked that those people in question who said Ifeanyi Ubah did this and that refused to show-up. I then proceeded to the court with the matter where it granted me N10 million award for unlawful detention for 10 days. Also my businesses abroad and the ones in Nigeria that were grounded by the false-hood were automatically released to me with cash compensation. Based on this, I now say I will contest for the governorship of Anambra state come November 2013. Sir, can you expiate more on this? As I said earlier, I have decided to make this declaration of intention first to “Ikoro” before the generality of Nigerians. I will use “Ikoro” as my pillar for my campaign. My intention to contest is to change things positively. Because, the past leaders of Anambra state failed Anambrians.

Ifeanyi Ubah

I have a destiny with Anambra state. My plan is to open up and develop the state to an enviable height. I can tell you that if proper election is conducted in the state, I will score over 70% of the total votes cast for the election. This is because of my popularity. I will upgrade Awka, the state capital to an enviable status like other state capitals. I regret to inform you that the out-going Governor Peter Obi has failed to upgrade Awka as a state capital, rather he is only interested in his beer business. If I win, I will ensure that Awka is equal to other state capital in Nigeria with the provision of modern infrastructure. May we also know other plans you have for the state that motivated you to seek the peoples’ mandate for the governorship? Well, as I said earlier, I will ensure that every citizen of the state is carried along in the programmes we have for them. First on security which is the biggest problem facing the state and the nation in general, I am going to handle. As I speak to you now, the insecurity in the state is at alarming stage and if not handled with care will ruin the state forever. Kidnappers and ritualists have dented the image of the state. I stand to tell you that my government shall handle and reduce the ugly trend to a zero level. Through what magic?

I am going to introduce a new communication system to tackle this insecurity problem in Anambra state. The communication system, as I said, shall be like a tracker and it shall be mounted, apart from Awka the state capital, in all the local government areas of the state. The equipment shall be imported from Abroad, while my business partners from China will take charge of it. Everybody is aware that Chinese are experts in communications gadgets. As I said before, the idea is to reduce insecurity problems in the state to a zero level. I shall also create employment to our teeming unemployed youths in the state and Nigeria in general. As a result of this, I shall create a parallelgovernment of business that would be transparent. Under one year of my administration, we are going to build 50 factories in all the local government areas to give employment to the youths. These industries shall be built with dormitories where workers shall live to do their work. We also intend to boost tourism potentials of the state. Any product produced from the state shall be made to be known as “made in Anambra” . In the education sector, I will ensure that it comes back to its former position. On health, my government will

ensure that the state shall have the state of the art hospitals for treatment of our people. It will reduce the madrush of Nigerians travelling to India for medical treatments, monthly. Also, each of the local government area shall have specialist hospitals with state of the art equipment. Sir, you are an oil business mogul. May we know the plans you have for your fellow business men in your state? Well, we all know that Onitsha is the commercial nerve centre in Africa, apart from Nnewi and other towns. My administration would ensure that we collaborate with them towards uplifting their business to grow from strength to strength. Igbos are known for business ingenuity and if I fail to assist my people to upgrade their businesses, then what am I talking about. I am one of them and will remain with them forever. It is the business of oil and gas that brought me to the lime-light of the nation’s oil giant. So, I will always support them at all times. As a businessman who has partners in almost all parts of the world, I will use my connection to make the state a hub where people form every part of the world converge for their businesses. After all, Igbos are blessed as first pronounced by God, and also gave us that ingenuity to develop and industrialise. Every living person in Nigeria is aware that Ndigbo manufactured Ogbunigwe and other war materials they used during the Nigeria/Biafra military war that lasted for 30 months in the history of Nigeria. So, as I said earlier, I will attract foreigners to assist me to develop Anambra state to enviable heights. The time for it has come and there is no going back. Governor Peter Obi will soon wind-up his 8-year of the state without conducting local government elections. What is your take on this? Lack of transparency by Governor Peter Obi led to his inability to conduct Local Government elections throughout his eight-year tenure as CONTINUED ON PAGE 7


Page 7

reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Politics

How Buhari scuttled CPC/ACN 2011 Alliance —Tinubu Contd. from Front Page

at it for quite some time. You are aware of the National Democratic Movement, which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was a member before he moved back to the PDP. The movement was left with Atahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, General Muhammadu Buhari and us. From that moment, it would have been a good opportunity to form an alliance. It is not about individuals. It is about the need to form a strong structure. So what really happened? At that time, there was no Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). What we had was The Buhari Organization (TBO). Suddenly, CPC was registered. To me, at that stage, instead of merger to form a unified platform, they started talking about alliance. Alliance in a presidential system has never worked. You need to form a common platform with a common manifesto. To be able to work together and be able to educate the people on the difference between the common platform and the constituting parties. When the merger plan did not work, they dragged us back. I will not blame any person. But Buhari, as a leader who is highly experienced, and has been a statesman and contested election twice and has complained of rigging and irregularities in court for a long time challenging the process, he should have seen that it is not wise to bring CPC in at that time we were rooting for a merger. But we still respected him and wanted to continue with the merger plan, but he said he wanted an alliance. So the merger was suspended. However, if you want alliance, instead of a merger, you must be ready to negotiate, give, and make sacrifices. But it is unfortunate that we are so selfcentered and selfish to the extent that it

beclouds out patriotic sense. They do not want to give, but want to take. We suspended the alliance talk till after the National Assembly election, the result of which showed that Action Congress of Nigeria has better strength and better spread than CPC. So, we should be the leader in the alliance. But the CPC wanted to keep the presidential candidate as well as the running mate, in an alliance where we should be leading the pack. Now, the alliance was not strong enough to produce the Senate President, neither can it produce the House of Representative’s Speaker, so what are we going to get in return? I was ready to sacrifice my two legs to be amputated, but you are not even ready to sacrifice your index finger. They are offering us cabinet positions which you can change your mind tomorrow and sack at will. What did the ACN do in return to CPC, was it after the offer of cabinet position? We were still ready to go along with the plan in the interest of the country. But we later discovered that while we were negotiating the alliance, they are all speaking with the Save Nigeria Group (SGN), to which they had conceded the slot of vice presidency. We accepted him, but asked him to surrender the vice presidential slot. If we do not have that, our platform, which we have labored so hard to build will be in danger. So we proposed a merger which will be implemented after the election. We could not afford to jettison our symbol because it is the symbol of economy, especially for the poor. But we were ready for a joint logo that will show the broom on one side and Buharis pen on another side as a new logo for the future. The negotiation went to that extent. Yet, they refused to commit to that plan. At

that point, it became clear that they are only after using us to win election, without having any regard for our platform. We decided at that point to cancel all suggestions and look at things holistically. Why did the ACN not push for a candidate of the younger generation? We actually did because globally, younger people are taking over governance. They are producing better results, even the very conservative Russia is shifting ground for the younger generation. Our candidate is younger than others. Ribadu is a lawyer and an international man. He built EFCC, which became a deterrent to wide spread irregularity . When Ribadu was at EFCC, Buhari was one of the principal advisers of EFCC. Both of them have a long family history when Ribadu’s father was a parliamentarian. So, he could have become our national hero and our own Mandela, by supporting Ribadu. So, maybe the election will throw up a runoff. Then we can resume the alliance talk. But I got text from chief Bisi Akande that “General Buhari on voice of America Radio said that ACN has already sealed a deal with PDP for some cabinet post and the speaker of house of representatives”. That was false. If it is true that Buhari said so, it is blackmail. I did not expect somebody of his caliber to make such statement. We then resolved to remain committed to our manifesto. Was Nuhu RIbadu really ready to step down for Buhari? Infact, in all honesty, Ribadu was even willing to step down when we consulted him. He was ready to make the huge sacrifice. But the other party remained unbendable. I have never been a part of Federal Government ,

though the democracy we enjoy today is a product of our struggle in National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). I did not take advantage of it when the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was my kinsman, was in power. Or are you going to say he did not invite me? He invited me several times. He even set a booby trap in 2003, I by-passed it and defused that trap. Was CPC formed to frustrate the merger of progressives by fifth columnists? Let us finish the bleeding before the careful analysis and the post mortem of the failure of the alliance will be done. But a leader must be able to identify great opportunities and sit on it, hold on tight. No one can mislead me easily because I examine facts, figures, and factors before taking decisions. So, irrespective of how many columnists, why will a leader see that opportunity and not seize it? I think it is a question of the quality of leadership ability. Sir, there were allegations that the ACN met with president Goodluck Jonathan as regards the failed alliance? If President Jonathan will invite the leadership of the ACN to even have a discussion on collaboration, he has done well. It means he has shown the desire to win that election. But what has Buhari done? Has Buhari ever willingly contacted the leadership of ACN privately? Until we were rallied by some leaders who wanted us to form the alliance, Buhari never took a single proactive step. I believe a man running to be the president of Nigeria and not Emir of Katsina should have the needed flexibility. To be a good leader, you have to be flexible and accommodating. Thank you

I want to turn Anambra around — Ifeanyi Ubah Contd. from Page 6

the governor of the state. It is a very big shame and it is also corruption of the highest order. This has shown that he does not support the autonomy of local government councils. I strongly believe that autonomy for the thirdtier of government would guarantee better and enhanced governance to people at the grassroots. I want to tell you that my administration would work hand in hand with Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) to ensure that election is conducted as at when due according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Sir, may we know some of the beneficiaries of your charity work? Thank you. As I told you God has blessed me, and I also made a promise to God that I will re-pay back through charity to the needy in the society.

For the past 10 years, I have been given free fuel to 50 Okada riders on every Monday. This is to assist them with their families. In return, they do pray for success of my business. I also assist less privileged in the society through cash and material gifts of all kinds. At present, I am building a multibillion naira Nnewi Catholic Church Cathedral that is now up to 70% completion. It is going to be the biggest Cathedral of any church in Africa. I also extended it to the Anglican Church and gave them car and cash donations to assist the running of the church. The list is endless just as Jesus Christ said “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me”. I hail from a Christian family background that has that fear of God, and I have no choice than to emulate my parents. Sir, you did said that you had assisted some people, but they later disappointed you. May we

know some of these people? Yes, they are many. But the person whose own is paining me most is Owelle Rochas Okorocha; I assisted him to become the Governor of Imo state. My only regret today is that he has failed to perform. He has disappointed the good people of Imo state in the areas of rural development of the state. He kicked against having free and fair local government elections. Those that were constitutionally elected, he made it very impossible for them to do their job as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. With all these, how does he think that he will get re-elected in the coming elections in the state. It is an impossible task for him. I threw my weight behind Rochas Okorocha to actualize his dream of becoming the governor of Imo state, and I am happy to say that he won that election. I have never gone to him to ask

for any contract. This is because I have never sought for contract of any kind from either the Federal or State Governments. I am not a contractor, rather I belong in the oil businesses and to the glory of God, Capital Oil and Gas industries limited, has the highest port loading of about 150 trucks in Nigeria. It is one of the nation’s oil giants today. Your plans for media industry? I am planning to open up a newspaper outfit to be known as “Freedom Newspaper”. It is going to be on the news stand very soon. Also, I want to partner with the owners of the Daily Telegraph as one of the their shareholders and would equally assist Ikoro – association of Igbo media Practitioners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, who have made me their patron, in all their programmes for the actualization of Ndigbo’s mandate at home and abroad.


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Metro

City, Crime & Justice

Fashola inaugurates Tribunal of Inquiry on collapsed buildings

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ov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Monday inaugurated a six -man Tribunal of Inquiry to look into the frequent cases of collapsed buildings in the state. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal, made up of members from various professional backgrounds, is chaired by Mr Abimbola Ajayi. Other members are: Mrs Roli Graig, Mr Segun Adedeji, Mr Moses Ogunleye, Mr Joseph Adewale and Mr Biodun Rufai. Inaugurating the tribunal in Ikeja, Fashola said the issue of collapsed buildings posed a big threat to lives and properties in the state. He explained that the problem had challenged the capacity of government to protect lives and the tribunal was a major step to put an end to the unsavoury development. “Over the years, building collapse has been an issue that has challenged the capacity of government to protect lives and properties and this is giving us a big cause to worry. “The problem facing the state used to be incidents of buildings under construction suddenly giving way, but now, what we have is buildings constructed under 10 years ago suddenly

Tenant sue agent over alleged breach of trust

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tenant, Florence Abbas, has dragged one Inusa Inusa, a property agent, to the Kaduna Sharia Court II, Magajin Gari for breach of trust. Abbas told the court that she was forced to vacate the one-room apartment she rented through Inusa, after she had spent N49,450 in repairing it. “When the building collapsed i told Inusa about it and he asked me to repair and present the list of my expenses to him. It amounted to N49,550 but he only paid N4, 000 out of the money,’’ she said. She further told the court that when her rent expired, the landlord demanded for payment and when she asked about the money she spent on the repair they fained ignorance. “They frustrated my life in that house and I had to pack out to another one,” she said, and pleaded with the court to order Inusa pay back the money. Inusa, represented by his counsel, Khamis Banihashim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The counsel told the court that his client was not the owner of the house and that the N4, 000 he gave to her was for a new door she fixed. He further told the court that there was no written agreement between her and his client. When asked to present her witness, the complainant told the presiding officer, Khadi Ibrahim Inuwa that it was a gentlemen agreement between her and Inusa. Inuwa adjourned the case to May 27, for the court to take a decision on the matter.

Gov. Babatunde Fashola collapsing. “This really is a big challenge,’’ he said, noting that while defective buildings could be replaced, lost lives could not. “We understand housing is still a big challenge in the state, but citizens should not risk their lives in the process of getting the house that would send them to their early graves. “While the government will strive to

protect all citizens under our care, residents and all stakeholders should take some responsibility by ensuring that they do things in the appropriate manner,“ he said. The governor said building professionals were partly to blame for the situation as a good number of them used inferior building materials to execute their work. He pointed out that some professionals also contributed to the problem by executing work on buildings outside of the approved plans. “Often times, residents apply for building permits to construct a storey building, but end up constructing a fourstorey building and professionals are involved in all of these. “Now, if you build against the approval we have given, we will pull down the house or we will compel the person to reduce it to the approval he or she got from us,“ he said. Fashola said the reluctance of residents to vacate defective buildings after they had been warned by government officials had contributed to

losses arising from collapsed buildings. He said it was impossible for government to solve the problem alone, appealing to stakeholders to collaborate with the state in bringing the menace to an end. The governor said the government would not hesitate to deal with any of its officials found contributing either directly or remotely to the problem. He urged the tribunal to justify the confidence reposed in them by helping the state with solutions and recommendations that would address the problem. “Your responsibility is to inquire into the immediate and remote causes of building collapse in the state, especially those that collapsed recently. “You should look into the quality of materials used in buildings and inspect buildings and estates in the state to ascertain their state. “You should, within three months, help by submitting measures and recommendations that could help prevent cases of building collapse in the state,“ he added.

32-year-old civil servant docked for allegedly killing own brother

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32-year-old civil servant, Ismaila Ahmed, was on Monday arraigned in a Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court I for allegedly killing his younger brother, Iliyasu Ahmed, with a charmed ring. Ahmed, of Inoziomi quarters in Adavi Local Government of Kogi, is charged with criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide. The offence is, however, not punishable with death contrary to sections 97 and 224 of the Penal Code. According to the police first information report, the accused was alleged to have, on Oct. 27, 2012, at about 6.30 pm, beaten the deceased with a charmed ring. “The deceased, Iliyasu, according to the police was involved in a fight with one Buhari Abdullahi, now at-large, when the accused, in the bid to separate the fight, beat his brother. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Police Prosecutor, Mr Samuel Ikutanwa, urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody. He said that investigation into the matter was still ongoing. Counsel to the accused, Muazu Abbas, pleaded with the court to grant bail to the accused. Abbas said that the court had the power to remand or release, and urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the accused. He said that the accused, before his arraignment, was on police bail. The counsel also tendered a letter written to the court by one Suleiman Obadegba, uncle to the deceased, of the family’s intention not to pursue the case. The Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku, in his ruling, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N100, 000 with a reliable surety. He said the surety must be resident in Lokoja.

7 docked for allegedly stealing Aregbesola’s goat

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even persons accused of stealing a goat belonging to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola were on Monday arraigned before an Osogbo Magistrates’ Court on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing. Those arraigned were Mohammed Moroof,52; Ayeni Abiodun,42; Agboola Fatai,50; Fayinka Gbenga,35; Olowoniyi Jeromu,30; Babatunde Michael, 22; and Olorunfunmi Adeyemi,27. The police prosecutor, Insp Abiodun Fagboyinbo, told the court that the accused persons conspired and committed the offence on May 15 at Government House, GRA, Osogbo. Fagboyinbo said the accused persons stole a black he-goat valued at N8,500.

He said the offence committed was contrary to and punishable under section 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol.11 Laws of Osun, 2003. The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and their counsel, Mrs Nnena Ngwu, applied for their bail. Magistrate Habbibat Basiru granted each accused person bail in the sum of N50,000 and one surety in like sum. Basiru added that each surety must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and must provide evidence of two years tax payment as well as two passport photographs.. The case was adjourned to June 5 for hearing.

Animoku said the essence of bail was to secure the attendance of the accused in court to take his trial. He urged the counsel to ensure that the accused attended to his trial. He adjourned the case to June 13 for mention

Chief Judge to release more inmates awaiting trial in Lagos

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he Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, on Monday said that a new batch of inmates awaiting trial would be released before the end of June. Phillips said this when she led members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, on a visit to the Ikoyi Prison, Lagos. The visit was part of the activities marking the 2013 Law Week of the branch. The Chief Judge, represented by Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Ogundare, said she was already working on a list of inmates, who were recommended for release. “I am assuring you that before the end of this quarter, I will visit you and release those that are qualified to be released,” Phillips said. Also speaking to the inmates, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, the branch chairman, said the purpose of the visit was to offer free legal services to inmates, who could not afford legal representation. Ubani said the NBA was concerned about the large number of inmates awaiting trial. “The Ikeja branch is concerned about you. We are trying to make sure your matter is decided in the court, instead of being on awaiting trial for a long time. “We will render legal services free to those that need it, but cannot afford a lawyer. Your rights must be protected,” he said. Earlier in his welcome address, the Deputy Comptroller, Ikoyi Prison, DCP Emmanuel Bamidele, said over 500 inmates had been trained in various vocational skills. Bamidele said the inmates were trained in skills such as shoe-making, soap and insecticide making, and in the handling of computers, to make them useful to themselves and the society. Phillips had on April 30 released 94 inmates from the Kirikiri Medium and Female Prisons, Apapa.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 9

Peoples Parliament

Overseas Medical Treatment The concern expressed by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in 2012, the alarming rate at which Nigerians travel to India and other countries monthly for medical treatment is genuine and deserves serious attention by the government. It is a notorious fact that most of those involved are senior public officials whose duty it is, in the first instance, to raise the standard of health care delivery in the country to what obtains in other Tola Ola Aduwoke f government and political leaders heed this call, there will be a drastic reduction in the number of those that seek medical attention abroad, and this will bring in its wake a significant drop in the foreign exchange expended on this anomaly. The import of government’s heavy spending on overseas medical treatment for its officials, at the expense of equipping local hospitals, is the erroneous impression that public officers are more important than those who voted them into such offices. Government ordinarily should spend the $500 million to equip public hospitals and raise them to world class standard with specialists.

countries they frequently visit. As a result of this, the NMA said, Nigeria loses over $500 million annually to this unhealthy practice, with $620 million going to India. Abuja street parliamentarians in a vox pop conducted by UDE EJIKEME challenged political leaders in the country to stand in the same queue with ordinary Nigerians to seek medical care and conduct health checks in public hospitals. Excerpts.

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Chinwe Chukwurah Local hospitals are not short of qualified personnel as Nigerian doctors are a toast in many parts of the world. The tragic irony is that most of the hospitals Nigerian leaders travel to for medical attention are manned by Nigerian doctors some of who were trained in various teaching hospitals at home, before they migrated out of the country due to poor working conditions. Worse still, those teaching hospitals have become a ghost of themselves due to years of neglect. And I believe that is the risk ordinary Nigerians are exposed to. Akeme Akhaime The Surgeon, for instance, has become the most frequently used specialist in the health profession and over 95 percent of the cases were for operations that went awry. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) admitted that, “outcomes of operations are more manifest and less arguable than those in internal medicine.” The various institutions (teaching/tertiary) for training

Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu,Nigeria’s Health Minister

Surgeons are facing difficulties due to deteriorating infrastructure and diminishing access to surgical care. The scenario, no doubt, is lamentable. Chief Aboyomi Dada The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan needs to address this anomaly quickly, not only for its implication for the health of Nigerians, but also for its potential political mileage and goodwill. For a start, government should place an embargo on foreign medical treatment for all its officials regardless of their designation or status. Anyone who feels, in his judgment, that only foreign treatment will meet his/her needs should do so at his/her expense. This will curb frivolous trips abroad and halt the major drain it has constituted on scarce foreign exchange. Abdul-Mumuni Yelwa The attitude of government officials in this respect is detestable, as patients in those hospitals are endangered. That is not the essence of a hospital. Many Nigerians have been sent to untimely graves on

account of wrong diagnosis and poor state of local hospitals. Government should identify the areas of strength of some of the existing teaching hospitals, consolidate their competences in those areas and designate them as specialist centers. This should not be by mere expressions, because in the recent past, the federal government designated some teaching hospitals as centres of Excellence, inspiring hope in the process but failing to meet the expectation it engendered. There is still need to resuscitate the programme and build on it.

Osa-Oni Eliafa Nigeria needs well thought – out polices that will create enabling environment for entrepreneurs to fund the establishment of world class hospitals, as obtainable in more serious countries. The corrupt tendencies of public officials must not be allowed to frustrate the good intention of President Jonathan ledgovernment or to scare away potential investors in the health sector. At a time in this country, the University College hospital, Ibadan reached an enviable height of being the 7 th best hospital in the Commonwealth countries. A government that has its eyes on history will strive to re-enact this feat on public hospitals. What is required is a committed and selfless leadership. Ufoma Egenti No developing country can deemphasise primary health care and expect a healthy population, as most medical challenges are essentially located within that sector. As a Nigerian, I think, it is cheaper to nip these challenges in the bud and release their victims from the potentials of crippling complications, man-hour losses and capital flight from perceived needs for medical attention overseas.

Local hospitals are not short of qualified personnel as Nigerian doctors are a toast in many parts of the world. The tragic irony is that most of the hospitals Nigerian leaders travel to for medical attention are manned by Nigerian doctors some of who were trained in various teaching hospitals at home, before they migrated out of the country due to poor working conditions.


Page 10

reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

News

Around Nigeria

Police nab 3 suspected female kidnappers

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he Police Command in Delta on Monday arrested three females suspects in connection with the abduction of the wife of a staff of the Delta State University in Abraka. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikechukwu Aduba, represented by the command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Lucky Uyabeme, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Asaba. He gave the names of the suspects as Jennifer Stephen, Oreva Ofiare and Esther Omemeye. The commissioner said that the

lecturer’s wife who was abducted on April 4 at Obiaruku in the Ukwuani Local Government Area was taken to a hideout in Ozoro in the Isoko South Local Government Area of the state. Aduba said that the police freed the victim, recovered N1.2 million ransom paid to the suspects, a gun and 50 rounds of cartridges. According to the commissioner, a team from the Special AntiKidnapping Unit, acting on information tracked the suspects to a house in Ozoro. “On sighting the squad the suspects opened fire and in a gun exchange that

3 PDP Members Want 11 National Officers Removed An Abuja High Court will on June 10th hear the case filed by three members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to nullify the election of the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Sam Sam Jaja, and 10 others.

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ustice Suleman Belgore, who fixed the case for hearing ordered parties in the case to file all their papers before the adjourned date. He warned that he would not tolerate any distraction from parties involved. Three members of the People’s Dem ocratic Party, Abba Yale from

Borno State, Yahaya Aruwa Sule from Taraba State and Bashir Maidugu from Borno State, had instituted the suit seeking to enforce the Independent National Electoral Commission report which invalidated the election of Mr. Jaja as the party’s deputy national chairman, and the 10 others. The suit is predicated on the grounds that the emergence of the defendants as officers of the PDP was a nullity by virtue of the fact that certain provisions of the constitution of the party were breached. In a 27-paragraph affidavit, the plaintiffs averred that the continuous holding of office by the defendants as national officers of the PDP, will “jeopardise the workings and or activities of the party, including the conduct of future nomination or election of candidates into public offices.” It was further claimed that the INEC monitoring team, which monitored the contentious 24 March 2012 national convention, “observed and reported that the mode of election adopted for single candidates was not in accordance with the mode of election stipulated in paragraph 6.0 (ii) of page 17 of the guidelines for the conduct of year 2012 convention and therefore unacceptable to the commission.” Apart from Mr Jaja, other members of the PDP National Working Committee (NEC), who are battling to keep their jobs by virtue of the originating summons, include: Solomon Onwe (Deputy National

Sam Jaja

Secretary), Bala Ka’Oje (National Treasurer), Bode Mustapha (National Auditor), Umar Tsauri (Deputy National Auditor), Olisa Metuh (National Publicity Secretary). Others are Kema Chikwe (Women Leader), Victor Kwon (National Legal Adviser), and Anunakar Mustapha (National Organising Secretary). The plaintiffs are asking the court to determine whether the purported appointment or selection by affirmation and continuous appointment of all the defendants is a nullity by virtue of the provisions of articles 2 and 85 of the constitution of the PDP. However, in separate preliminary objections, the defendants prayed the court to strike out the suit on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to file the action. The officers also objected to the hearing of the originating summons claiming that the questions raised for determination were not justiciable. They therefore asked the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

ensured, one of the suspect’s who was later identified as Vote Michael suffer fatal gunshots. He said that the command also cracked a gang of armed robbers and kidnappers who terrorising the Warri and Ughelli areas and that five suspects were killed during a gun duel with the police. He said that arrests were made at Warri, Obiaruku, Ogwashi Uku and other parts of the state, adding that items recovered include cash, two AK 47 rifles, locally made guns, magazines and other items. Aduba, however, warned

landlords and tenants in the state, giving their apartments to kidnappers to desist forthwith and report the suspects or face the consequences. He said that the command had so far pulled down six operational bases of the kidnappers, located in different parts of the state with four others identified and marked for demolition. “This warning has become imperative and absolutely necessary as such building or properties stand the risk of being pulled down and the right of occupancy revoked by the State Government,’’ he said.

Missing CPC certificate, acronym dispute may stall APC’s registration Contd. from Front Page has yet keep his promise. After the meeting with Mr. Tinubu, Hanga told journalists”We’re committed to have a change; we have discussed and we will have to consult our people in order to forge ahead. We understand that we have to do it for Nigerians.” “We are part of the APC. We are in court challenging the status of the CPC leadership but with this merger, there would not be anything like CPC leadership or that of any other party that belongs to the merger.” “I am not after clinging to the position of chairman, what we want is to declare them as illegal, but with the proposed merger and our meeting today with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a new leadership that can take us to the Promised Land is coming. We’re ready to do anything that

will make the merger possible. For Nigeria, for the masses and the downtrodden, we are ready to withdraw the case and release the certificate of registration to make the merger possible. For Nigerians, for the masses, for the downtrodden and for what we are suffering now, I am ready to do anything.” Meanwhile investigations reveal that the CPC has approached the police and the court to swear an affidavit that its certificate is missing.Observers of the emerging drama say Hanga risks being arrested. Another hurdle between APC and INEC registration is the court case instituted by the African Peoples Congress which insists that it is not contemplating withdrawing its legal action to pave way for smooth registration of the merging APC.

Nigeria retake five Boko Haram strongholds Contd. from Front Page statement said. All of the areas in northern Borno state near the Cameroon border were considered Boko Haram strongholds. President Goodluck Jonathan, who declared a state of emergency in Borno and two neighbouring states last week, said the insurgents had chased out local officials in some areas and removed the

Nigerian flag. Residents have previously told AFP that New Marte and Krenoa were among the areas targeted by military air strikes in the offensive launched last week. "The troops are already interacting with locals and citizens assuring them of their safety and freedom from the activities of insurgents," the statement further said.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 11

Special Report

Nigeria Must Get Real About Its Oil By Mohammed Dahiru Aminu

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he ultimate goal of every benign government, especially of countries so categorised as ‘developing’, and so intended for a keen march into 21 st century modernity is to adopt global best practices as regards governance. And as regards countries with huge oil reserves, the efficient management of petroleum wealth is of utmost significance for both present and future generations. Oil rich countries must understand that oil is a non renewable resource that will in the long run, run out. Therefore the fact of oil’s non-renewability should signal to governments on how much oil to extract, and on how swiftly or slowly this is done. It is also important for governments to decide on how much of its income from oil is enjoyed by its population in the short term, and how much could be invested for the future. These strategic controls on oil wealth management could serve as a determining factor on how long a country’s proceeds from oil is expended, without being inclined to forget future generations. The discovery of oil in Nigeria dates back to the event in the small village of Oloibiri in southern Nigeria in 1956. Most, if not all of the discovered oil fields were pioneered by the joint efforts of Shell and BP. During the end of the Nigerian civil war in 1970, there was a massive rise in global oil price, and for this, Nigeria was able to garner immediate riches from the oil it has produced. Soon, Nigeria would join the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and equally, the country founded its state-owned company with a mandate of overseeing the major activities in the upstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian economy. Since then crude oil production and export has played a central role in the economy of Nigeria and it has accounted for about 90 percent of the country’s gross earnings. This central role to which the petroleum industry has attained has slightly driven other sectors of the economy, including agriculture; a sector that used to be the mainstay of the economy of Nigeria prior to the discovery of oil. But then again, the story of oil in Nigeria has remained a two-pronged affair. On the one hand, oil discovery has yielded proceeds for the economy, but on the other hand Nigeria could not break away from the often familiar ‘Dutch Disease’. Like the Netherlands, Norway, and Britain before her, oil discovery in Nigeria has directly or indirectly hyped certain social glitches among these a consistent industrial stagnation, and a rising unemployment figures, plus other limited but tangible societal problems. In an effort to curb these societal difficulties, at some point in time, governments in Nigeria have come up with pecuniary plans by establishing government interventions in the form of petroleum development funds of one kind or another. But to what extent have these funds achieved their mandates? In an article titled ‘Avoiding the

Petrolieum Minister, Deziani Alison-Madueke

Curse of the Oil-Rich Nations’, Tina Rosenberg wrote in the New York Times that “every nation wants to strike oil, and after it happens, nearly every nation is worse off for it.” Rosenberg continued that “it may seem paradoxical, but finding a hole in the ground that spouts money can be one of the worst things that can happen to a country.” Likewise, in an attempt to understand the proverbial ‘resource curse’, Stanford University professor, Terry Lynn Karl, annotated that oil dependent countries “eventually become among the most economically troubled, the most authoritarian, and the most conflict-ridden in the world.” It might be, perhaps for reasons of trying to sidestep the resource curse that countries blessed with oil, gas, and in some cases both – that comprise Norway, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Qatar, Algeria, Libya, Kazakhstan, USA (Alabama, Alaska, Texas), Azerbaijan, Brunei, Canada (Alberta), East Timor, Oman, Mexico, Angola, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, Gabon, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, and Papua New Guinea – have set up government interventionists agencies or development funds to cater for its populations. Notwithstanding, as it is, Nigeria is not left out in the list of countries with these development funds—thanks to PTDF, NNDC, and the proposed SWF. Nonetheless as Africa’s economy booms, and as Nigeria remains Africa’s largest oil producer with a superb production value of more than two and half million barrels per day, the country owes its people a duty to manage its oil wealth effectively, for the benefit of all Nigerians both the living and the upcoming. The success in managing the oil wealth of Nigeria will enable the country achieve some set objectives including but not limited to assuming a prudent savings stratagem for the advantage of future generations, while down-casting the habitual splurging of proceeds realised from the country’s oil exports; stabilizing oil prices in order to avoid plunging of such prices below the estimated sum in any financial year; and functioning as the superstructure that would aid the development of the country’s wanting infrastructure. As a minimum, Nigeria should be set to return to agriculture in heft given that the agronomic potentials of the country is barely drawn out. The growth of the agro-industry will arrange for food security, and the delivery of raw materials for our industries. Nigeria could also bring back to life the food processing and preservation industries; livestock and fisheries; irrigation farming and commodity trading; timber and wood processing. Though, no reasonable socioeconomic headway can be attained without stable electricity; security of life and property; refutation of corruption and society’s perception of it; and most of all, education. But by and large, whereas these initiatives are viable and worthy, its actualisation is a challenge that Nigeria must take seriously. Mohammed Dahiru Aminu, wrote from London, United Kingdom. He can be reached at mohd.aminu@gmail.com


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Around the World US senators approve 5,000 visas for Tibet refugees

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S lawmakers debating a landmark immigration bill on Monday approved the provision of 5,000 visas to Tibetan refugees to enter the United States over the next three years. Citing “terrible” and increasing oppression by Chinese authorities against Tibetans, Senator Dianne Feinstein offered the matter as an amendment to the vast legislation aimed at fixing the US immigration system. Feinstein said the measure, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote, would ease conditions for displaced Tibetans living in India and Nepal, where she noted Tibetan resettlement facilities are more than 50 years old. “In Nepal, the government has been essentially following Chinese mandates to make it very difficult for the Tibetan refugee community,” the veteran Democrat told fellow senators. The immigration bill would ultimately provide a 13-year path to citizenship, or longer, for most of the 11 million people living in the United States illegally. However, its prospects of getting through both the Senate and the House of Representatives remain uncertain. The Tibetan visa provision would take effect if the wider bill becomes law. Feinstein also cited the more than 110 Tibetans who have self immolated since 2009, with most dying of their injuries, in demonstrations against what they view as Chinese oppression.

US denounces 'rise' in anti-Muslim sentiment

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he United States on Monday denounced what it called a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia, pointing to restrictions and violence against Muslims including the faith's minority sects. Releasing a wide-ranging annual report on religious freedom, Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced alarm at what he called rising anti-

Jewish sentiment, and filled a position of special envoy to combat anti-Semitism. The State Department report, which covered 2012, said that "Anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions were clearly on the rise -- particularly in Europe and Asia." "Government restrictions, which often coincided with societal animosity, resulted in anti-Muslim actions that

affected everyday life for numerous believers," it said. In Myanmar, officials allegedly fanned deadly antiMuslim violence in Rakhine state while in China, authorities showed less tolerance toward the mostly Muslim Uighur community and Tibetans, the report said. It said that Muslims also faced new restrictions in 2012 in countries ranging from

Belgium, which banned facecovering religious attire in classrooms, to India where schools in Mangalore restricted headscarves. The report also voiced alarm at soaring violence against Islamic minorities including Shiites and Ahmadis in Pakistan as well as discrimination against nonSunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Former UK aircraft carrier towed to Turkey for scrap

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MS Ark Royal, formerly Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier, sailed out of its home port on Monday to be scrapped in Turkey. Britain, which has always prided itself on its sea power, will have to do without the ability to launch jets at sea until 2020 as it tries to balance its books and two new carriers are built. Crowds lined the harbour walls at Portsmouth on the English south coast to say farewell to the “Mighty Ark”. Some onlookers wore black armbands or waved flags. The warship, which saw active service in the Balkans and the second war in Iraq, is being towed to Izmir on Turkey’s west coast. It was sold as scrap to recycling firm Leyal, for £2.9 million ($4.4 million, 3.4 million euros). HMS Ark Royal and its sister aircraft carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Illustrious

were the biggest ships in Britain’s navy — a key part not only of Britain’s defence but also its ability to project power worldwide. Invincible was sold to Leyal for scrap in 2011, while Illustrious is serving as a helicopter landing platform and ministers hope to preserve her for the nation after it retires next year.

Britain will have no carrier strike capability until two new, bigger Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers come into service from 2020. Ark Royal sailed back into Portsmouth in December 2010 as part of eight percent defence spending cuts introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government in a bid to shrink

Britain’s budget deficit. “Ark Royal, like her sister ships, has served this country with great distinction,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman told AFP. “Retiring her five years earlier than planned was a difficult decision but it was the right one that, combined with her sale, has saved over £100 million. “A decommissioning ceremony was held in March 2011 to pay tribute to her 31 years’ service with the Royal Navy.” London decided to decommission the Ark Royal and also retire the fleet of Harrier jets deployed on board. The Queen Elizabeth Class carriers were ordered in part because it would be more expensive to scrap pre-agreed contracts. The government felt it could bridge the 10-year carrier gap by using foreign bases and overfly rights if required.

British PM faces party rebellion over gay marriage

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ritish Prime Minister David Cameron faced deepening splits within his Conservative Party on Monday as a divisive bill to legalise gay marriage returned to parliament. The bill was approved by a comfortable 225-vote majority when it was last debated in February despite the opposition of almost half of Conservative lawmakers. But dozens of disgruntled Conservative MPs are expected to deliver a blow to Cameron’s agenda by backing an amendment saying that if gay couples are allowed to marry, then heterosexual couples should also be able to have civil partnerships. The government warned it was a “wrecking amendment” which could delay the passing of the gay marriage bill by up to two years and cost £4 billion ($6 billion, 4.7 billion euros) in pension changes. The main opposition Labour Party, while it backs gay marriage, had hinted that it could join the Conservative

Prime Minister, David Cameron rebels in backing the amendment because it argues that the government has failed to make a convincing case against extending civil partnerships. But the government and

Labour signalled later Monday they were ready to work together to defeat the backbench bid to derail the legislation. Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted that Cameron’s “inability to control his party must not be allowed to wreck the Equal Marriage Bill”. He added: “Labour’s commitment unwavering.” A source close to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who is responsible for steering the legislation through parliament, said she was “very relaxed” about a Labour proposal for an immediate consultation on extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples. The agreement to put the matter to consultation should defuse the Conservative backbenchers’ demands and allow the gay marriage bill to proceed to the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords, where it is expected to face stiff opposition. Lawmakers are allowed a free vote on gay marriage, meaning they are not required to follow party directions

because it is considered an issue of conscience. The vote comes at a time when Cameron is already under pressure from a large section of his fractious centre-right party over his stance on a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Grassroots Conservative supporters fear that with a general election two years away, Cameron’s backing for gay marriage is driving traditional Tory voters to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), which had its best ever electoral performance last month when it made gains in local elections. A letter signed by more than 30 current and former Conservative local party chairmen and handed to Cameron on Sunday gave a taste of the bitterness in Tory ranks. They accused him of “treating the membership with contempt” over the issue. “The bill could cost us the election... therefore, prime minister, for the sake of the well-being of the country and

the integrity and future success of the party, we urge you not to continue with your policy of redefining marriage,” it said. The vote comes after a member of Cameron’s inner circle fiercely denied claims that he had branded grassroot party members as “mad, swivel-eyed loons”. Party co-chairman Lord Andrew Feldman, a schoolmate of Cameron’s at the elite Eton College, has strenuously denied rumours linking him with the comments and said he was considering legal action. Conservative backbenchers’ fears over the rise of UKIP prompted around 114 Tory MPs last week to back a motion in parliament expressing regret that the coalition government’s plans for the year contained no guarantee of a referendum on EU membership. On Saturday, France became the 14th country to legalise gay marriage when Socialist President Francois Hollande signed it into law, despite fierce protests from the main opposition right-wing UMP party.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 15

Around the World

Egypt braces for subsidy shake up T

he Egyptian government has taken tentative steps towards reducing the roughly US$20 billion subsidy system that supporters say provides vital aid to the one-in-four Egyptians in poverty, and critics say is unsustainable and enriches the corrupt. “Most of the subsidies do not go to the people who really need them,” said Osama Kamal, who until the 7 May cabinet reshuffle was petroleum minister. The government plans a series of piecemeal reforms to revolutionize its decades-old subsidy system in a bid to rein in a runaway budget deficit, and adapt to the conditions of a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. But as Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Auda said recently, the subsidy system protects at least eight million Egyptians against poverty, and any changes are highly sensitive. The government wants to reduce the budget deficit to 5.5 percent in the 20162017 budget from 10.7 percent in the 2012-2013 budget, according to the Finance Ministry. A high priority in the subsidy reform scheme is energy subsidies, which are estimated at 115 billion pounds ($16.8 billion), and bread subsidies, (Arabic) which are estimated at 21 billion pounds ($3.1 billion). Manal Metwaly, an economics professor from Cairo University, says cuts will have a devastating effect on the poor: “The government says the subsidy system opens the way for corruption, but it doesn’t have to slash subsidies in order to fight corruption. “The subsidies keep millions of people afloat, while commodity prices keep rising. This means that any change in the system can affect the lives of millions of people.” What’s the plan to reduce bread subsidy corruption? Subsidized bread is a permanent item on almost all Egyptian tables; it is a lifeline for the poor, but the system is also frequently abused. Egyptians consume as many as 210 million loaves of subsidized flat bread every day, helping to make it the world’s largest wheat importer. The government sells a subsidized loaf of bread at the nation’s more than 25,000 bakeries for five piasters (less than one US cent) whereas the production cost of the same loaf is more than 40 piasters (six US cents). “Bread subsidies are a real headache for the government because, like most other subsidies, they open the way for massive corruption and profiteering by a group of dishonest traders,” Hamdy Allam, a senior official at the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, told IRIN. In order to reduce corruption resulting from the selling by bakery owners of subsidized flour on the black market, the government introduced a new system in April, which has been implemented in several governorates and accepted by 15,000 bakeries. Instead of selling subsidized flour to the bakeries, the bakers buy the flour at the market rate, but are then reimbursed 35 piasters by the government per loaf, to make sure the sales price remains 5 piasters. The system is expected to be implemented across Egypt in the next two months after all the nation’s bakeries sign up to the reforms. The government’s aim here is to reduce corruption rather than financial support for poor consumers. What’s the plan for ration cards? Egypt’s ration cards date back to 1964 when the population was less than 30 million. Back then, the government

more than three people will get 1.5 gas cylinders at the same subsidized rate every month. The government started implementing the first stage (Arabic) of the gas cylinder subsidy reform plan in April by raising the price of the cylinders to eight pounds ($1.15) for homes and 16 pounds for restaurants and shops ($2.30). The government says it will start distributing gas cylinder coupons in July in all governorates. The price of a cylinder without the coupons is expected to rise to 30 pounds ($4.3). The government says the coupon system will save three billion pounds a year. Egyptians consume as many as 360 million gas cylinders every year.

Getting hold of subsidized bread often requires queuing for hours Photo: Amr Emam/IRIN

What might the consequences be? Egypt has long discussed subsidy reforms, but has struggled to change a system seen as both unsustainable but too

Egyptians buy as many as 360 million gas cylinders every year Photo: Amr Emam/IRIN earmarked two million pounds ($301,204) to give citizens rice, sugar, lentils, cooking oil, and tea at subsidized rates. Now, the government spends as much as nine billion pounds (US$1.3 billion) every year on the food subsidies, which go to around 17.6 million families (around 68 million people). In July, the government plans to start limiting ration cards to citizens whose monthly income is below 1,500 Egyptian pounds (US$216), but at the same time is planning to allow children born after 2005 in low-income households to be registered for the cards, reversing a suspension of registrations introduced under President Hosni Mubarak. The minister of supply also announced last week that it would be working to improve the quality of ration card goods, which have a poor reputation. …and for energy subsidies? Energy is by far the largest recipient of subsidies. The Petroleum Ministry produces oil to the value of 165 billion pounds (Arabic) (US$23.8 billion) every year, but then sells these products for 50 billion pounds. Most energy subsidies go on factories and industrial projects, which get their energy needs at less than market prices. But private vehicle owners also benefit.

The government has already started reducing subsidies on car fuel, and targeting 95-octane gasoline was the first step in this regard. The government says that from July it plans to cut subsidies on car fuel by 10 percent in the first stage of the reforms, but this will rise to 50 percent within five years. If applied in July, the government says, the plan will bring overall fuel subsidies down to 99 billion pounds (US$14.5 billion). To do this, it plans to give coupons or smart cards to car owners allowing them to purchase limited amounts of subsidized fuel. …and gas cylinders? Gas cylinder subsidies are enjoyed by almost every Egyptian household. The government says gas cylinder subsidies amounted to 60 billion Egyptian pounds (Arabic) (almost US$8.9 billion) in the 2012-2013 budget. Although the production of one cylinder costs 78 pounds ($11.2), until recently the government sold the same cylinder to the public for five pounds (72 US cents). Now, the government plans to link subsidized gas cylinders to ration cards. Ration card holding families made up of three people will be allowed to get one gas cylinder every month at the subsidized rate of five pounds. Families of

sensitive to reorganize. A senior Muslim Brotherhood official, who asked not to be named, told IRIN the government was determined to push through reforms. “We will not buy votes at the expense of the national economy. This subsidy system must be reformulated in ways that allow the subsidies to reach the people who really need them.” Given the continued street protests and the upcoming parliamentary elections, analysts say the government will need to argue that reforms are about reducing corruption rather than hitting the poor. “Some of the measures we take are unpopular. They will make people hate us. But this is not what we care about. We only care about putting the economy of this country back on track,” said the official. Politicians have always feared social unrest from the inevitable price rises that will result. “The price of one ton of concrete iron [iron bars used in the construction industry] jumped 30 percent as soon as the government slashed the subsidies on energy for concrete iron factories,” Rashad Abdo, head of local think tank Egyptian Economic Forum, told IRIN. “The same will happen with all other commodities. Ordinary citizens will foot the bill at the end of the day.”


Page 16

reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Special Report Was Caverton forced To Disown Rivers State Govt On Amaechi Aircraft saga? Joe Obi writes on the “Amaechi plane” saga and draws attention to salient points which he says have so far been ignored by analysts

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ur attitude would have been to ignore the report because of the politics that is being dragged into purely professional matters. This will, however amount to consent or admission of guilt. We are therefore constrained to clarify, for the umpteenth time, the main issues surrounding the Bombadier Global Express 5000/Registration N565RS allegedly belonging to the Rivers State government. The point to note here is that there are three major issues in contention here. The first is the question of the true ownership of the aircraft while the second and more serious one is the question of operating with falsified Clearances dubiously collected in the name of Caverton Helicopters. The third relates to why the aircraft was still operating in the country even when the false Clearances had expired. On the first score, we want to state again and again that this particular aircraft is foreign registered in the name of Bank of Utah Trustees of 200 E. South Temple, Suite 210, Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1346 in the United States of America. This is the documentation available to the Ministry of Aviation. To date, neither the Rivers State government nor any other individual or corporate organisation for that matter has presented contrary documentation to debunk the fact that this aircraft is owned by the Bank of Utah Trustees. He who alleges must prove. The onus is therefore on the Rivers State government to present documents showing that it is the rightful owner of the aircraft and not the Bank of Utah Trustees. To date, we are yet to see any such documentation. The second and more serious issue has to do with the question of the authenticity or otherwise of the Clearances provided by the NCAA. During the House of Representatives Public Hearing on the various controversies surrounding this aircraft, the question of where and how the Clearances were secured was very clear. These Clearances, we must not forget, were secured in the name of Caverton Helicopters. Who, more than Caverton is more qualified to identify documents emanating from its offices? In the public glare, and in front of television Cameras, the Vice Chairman of Caverton, Adeniyi Makanjuola disclaimed all the Clearances allegedly emanating from its offices. If there is anyone who ought to protect a Client as important as the Rivers State government in this matter, it should be Caverton. So it was not, and can never be in the interest of Caverton to deny its Client-and in public! Caverton has admitted that they had initial contacts with the Rivers State government with a view to helping it import an aircraft, but when the deal fell through, the company seized further contact and communication with the state government as far back as August

Gov. Amaech Rotimi 2012 when the aircraft Management Company, ACASS of Canada told them that they “were no longer responsible for the management of the said aircraft. We have not had any dealings WHATSOEVER with the said aircraft neither have we given any approvals, tacit or otherwise to any third parties to seek or obtain Clearances on behalf of the owners of the aircraft”, Caverton declared in one of its presentations to the Public Hearing. But if anyone was still in doubt as to how the Clearances were illegally obtained in the name of Caverton, the Pilot of the aircraft, Capt. Tosin Odulaja cleared all such doubts. In the glare of everyone and in front of television and still Cameras, the Pilot said they were

collecting the Clearances from the PA to the Managing Director of Caverton. Of course, any layman would know that the PA is not the Right and Proper Person to issue documents as important as Clearances on behalf of Caverton and Mr Adeniyi, the Vice Chairman, said so publicly. Clearly, Rivers state government was securing Clearances from a Kabu Kabu merchant unknown to Caverton. This is a very serious case of forgery and the Ministry is exploring all options of redress. Now, let us assume, even for the sake of argument that the Clearances were authentic and legally obtained from the NCAA using the name of Caverton Helicopters. The last Clearance for the said aircraft to operate within the shores of Nigeria was valid up to April 2nd, 2013 with a 48 hour leeway. So effectively, that aircraft had a ‘Clearance’ up till April 4, 2013. But we are all aware that the aircraft was still flying all over the country up until the incident of April 26 in Akure airport where the intransigence of the Pilot in refusing to provide the flight Manifest as mandatorily required by regulation exposed their illicit operations. Significantly too, this same Pilot admitted before the House Public Hearing that he was wrong not to have supplied the Manifest containing full details of the souls on board, but explained away the misconduct by saying that he was not aware that his Co-Pilot did not supply the full details of those on board. What was presented to Air Traffic Controllers as Manifest, it must be stressed, was Ameachi and 5 (five) others and this is unacceptable. The Pilot has since apologised to the Ministry for his misconduct. So there

was no political victimisation when the Air Traffic Controllers at the airport refused Start Up for the aircraft, which caused a slight delay that was blown out of proportion by Governor Amaeachi. However, immediately the Manifest was provided as stipulated by regulation, the aircraft was allowed Start Up and it departed en-route Port Harcourt. So here we are with an aircraft whose ownership is at best, doubtful; operating with forged Clearances that had even expired at the time the Akure incident occurred. To insinuate, therefore that Caverton, a company that has built a solid clientèle through a track record of operational integrity was politically pressured to disclaim the forged Clearances is a clear case of naked mischief, utterly preposterous and actually begging the question. We however challenge anyone with any evidence of how political pressure by the Aviation Ministry or anyone else in government forced Caverton to disclaim ownership of the said Clearances to present such before the general public. Until that is done, this shameless resort to playing to the gallery and peoples sentiments will be a futile effort at salvaging the pretty bad shape which governor Ameachi and the Rivers state government has wrought upon themselves through unconventional business practices. If this tradition had succeeded and thrived elsewhere, it has failed and will continue to fail in the Aviation sector that is governed by rules, regulations, international standards and best practice. Joe Obi is SA (Media) to the Hon. Minister of Aviation. He contributed this piece from Abuja.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 17

Science & Environment Namesake TV channel breaks National Geographic mold By Fabienne Faur

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ots of people find a home on the N a t i o n a l Geographic Channel, from tuna fishermen to Mormons with more than one wife and “preppers” stocking up their bunkers for the end of the world. The popular cable and satellite TV channel traces its heritage to the 125-year-old magazine of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s biggest non-profit scientific and educational organizations. A scholarly journal at the outset, the magazine with its signature yellowborder cover now claims a global readership of 60 million with its domestic English and 36 foreignlanguage editions. To the chagrin of purists, however, the National Geographic Channel — majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation — has a distinctly more popularist flavor. One of its mostwatched series is “Doomsday Preppers,” which introduced such colorful survivalists as Tom Perez, who’s so involved in preparing for an imminent terrorist attack that he hasn’t worked for 12 years. “Wicked Tuna” hinges on the rivalry between rival fishing crews in G l o u c e s t e r , Massachusetts whose livelihoods depend on catching tuna the hard way, with rod and reel. Its third season is in production. Then there’s “Polygamy, USA” starring a breakaway Mormon sect that stays true to plural marriage; “Ultimate Survival: Alaska,” a deep-freeze test of wilderness wits; and many other so-called “docu-reality” series. “Genuinely, it’s c o n t e m p o r a r y anthropology, and these are really significant subcultures,” said Hamish Mykura, the National Geographic Channel’s head of

international content, based in London. “There will always be some people who think that National Geographic should just be making programs about elephants and glaciers and Papua New Guinea,” he told AFP. “But if you are going to make a TV channel that people want to watch and that is interesting and entertaining, your

challenge is something much more important and significant than that.” The bottom line is characters, added Mykura, a veteran of Britain’s BBC and Channel 4 television networks. “In some ways it’s more interesting to tell the story of a person through their own experience and through

their own words than to have a commentator you don’t see reading a narration and giving an opinion from behind the camera.” For those loyal to oldschool National Geographic values, some of whom may remember its first network TV special “Americans on Everest” in 1965, there’s gnawing sense of heresy. It was those values, for

instance, that saw the magazine a century ago publish the details of Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. “The National Geographic Magazine has always worked hard to stick to the facts,” said Alan Mairson, a former staff writer at the magazine whose Society Matters blog critiques

what it calls the society’s “broken business model.” “The channel is focused on entertainment,” he said. “The magazine is focused on education while it simultaneously tries to deliver riveting stories. The two approaches are f u n d a m e n t a l l y different.” Wildlife documentary filmmaker Michael Parfit, a former contributor to the magazine, said the credibility of the National Geographic Society has been undermined by the Channel’s programming. “A few (programs) seem relatively honest, so they approach documentary quality,” he said. “Many are simply s e m i - s c r i p t e d entertainment with main characters who play themselves when given fictional situations.” “The shows I find most offensive are presented as documentaries or character-driven series about specific subjects that have been fully debunked by science,” he said, citing “Chasing UFOs” as an example. Mairson suspects the Murdoch factor is at play. “What does Rupert Murdoch gain from operating under the National Geographic name? Trust. A sense of authenticity. A comfort level for viewers that was evidently lacking at the Fox Reality Channel,” which Fox took off the air in 2010, he said. For Dave Carraro, one of the stars of “Wicked Tuna,” the National Geographic Channel has done a good job in showing viewers “the highs and the lows” of his risky life on the open seas. His colleague Dave Marciano also appreciates the extra income that comes with appearing on reality TV — a cushion for the time spent waiting for the fish to bite. “They don’t show the 75 percent of the time when we sit up there, picking our noses,” he said. “You’ve got to invest a lot of time. That’s the biggest investment we make, waiting and waiting and waiting.”


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 18

Your Health Sugary Sodas, Fruit Punches, & Kidney Stone Risk It’s important to stay hydrated, but water may be your best choice, experts say higher risk for kidney stones than those who drank less than one serving per week. The study showed that this also was true for those who drank sugary beverages other than soda, such as fruit punch. Two experts said there are already many health reasons to avoid sugary drinks. “While there is no conclusive evidence to show that sugary

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas HealthDay Reporter

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rinking large amounts of sugary sodas and fruit drinks might raise your odds for painful kidney stones, a new study finds. Although drinking extra fluids usually helps prevent stones from forming, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston warn that beverages may come with varying risks or benefits. Coffee, tea and orange juice, for example, are associated with a lower risk of kidney stone formation. On the other hand, “we found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with a higher incidence of kidney stones,” study senior author Dr. Gary Curhan, a physician in the Channing Division of Network Medicine, said in a hospital news release. The study involved more

drinks alone cause kidney stones, other associations with the consumption of sugary beverages has been reported,” said Dr. Michael Palese, associate professor of urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. “This includes diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, which have also been linked to the formation of kidney stones.” Nancy Copperman is director of public health initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. She stressed that, “adults

need to consume 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day to maintain proper hydration” and help prevent kidney stones. Cutting sugarsweetened beverages out of those fluids might also help ward off stones, she added. So what is the healthiest way to stay hydrated? “In general, water is still the best hydrant and certainly, [for] kidney stone prevention, the preferred beverage,” Palese said. According to background information from the researchers, kidney stones will affect 20 percent of American men and 10 percent of American women at some point in their lives. The study was published online May 15 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Maintaining Good Eye Health than 194,000 people tracked for more than eight years. The participants were questioned about their medical history, lifestyle and medications. Information on their diet also was collected every four years. The researchers found that those who drank one or more servings of sugar-sweetened soda daily had a 23 percent

DAILY HEALTH TIPS

Don’t take your eye health for granted. Protect your eyesight with these six tips: 1. Eat for Good Vision Protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E may help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health: ·Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards ·Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish ·Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources ·Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to get obesityrelated diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. 2. Quit Smoking for Better Eyesight Smoking makes you more likely to get cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. Studies show that the more times you try to quit smoking, the more likely you are to succeed. 3. Wear Sunglasses for Good Vision The right kind of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration. Choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare when driving. If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for more protection. 4. Use Safety Eyewear at Home, at Work, and While Playing Sports

If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles every time. Certain sports such as ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection (such as helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses) to shield your eyes. 5. Look Away From the Computer for Good Eye Health Staring at a computer screen can cause: ·Eyestrain ·Blurry vision ·Difficulty focusing at a distance ·Dry eyes ·Headaches ·Neck, back, and shoulder pain Protect your eye health by taking the following steps: ·Make sure your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and adequate for computer use. ·Some people may need glasses to help with contrast, glare, and eye strain when using a computer. ·Position your computer so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. This allows you to look slightly down at the screen. ·Try to avoid glare on your computer from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed. ·Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor. ·If your eyes are dry, blink more. ·Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. At least every two hours, get up and take a 15-minute break.

Carrots are good for your eyes. They help you to see far away.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 19

Living & Style

19 Secrets Women Wish You Knew A Caring Guy Is a Hot Guy hat do women want? For those who’ve ever pondered this question, WebMD offers 19 relationship secrets. They’re based on the study of healthy, happy couples and our changing gender roles. Secret No. 1: Women appreciate a guy with a sensitive side, especially when they’re upset. Put your arm around her and hand her

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a tissue. Nurturing is a powerful way to connect. Chivalry Still Has a Place When it comes to romance, many women do like men to take a traditional masculine role. This is especially true in the wooing stage of a relationship, according to psychologist Diana Kirschner, PhD, who’s written several books about love. She’s perfectly capable of pulling out her own chair or opening a door, but if you see her hesitate, she might just be waiting for you to be the gentleman. Dress to Impress Styles come and go, but a man’s attention to his grooming and clothing should be long lasting. It’s important to women from the first flirtation through the honeymoon and beyond. “You’ve got to figure out if there’s a certain look that she likes,” says Kirschner. “If she likes a guy in tight jeans, you wear tight jeans.” Guy Wears Red, Guy Gets Girl OK, this tip doesn’t come from women, but from clever testing by psychologists of women’s subconscious

things because they are solution-oriented,” says Kirschner. “But to a woman, really listening is a wonderful, wonderful thing that deepens the relationship.” Nodding Is Not Enough Listening is important, but she also wants to know that she is being heard. Nodding along won’t cut it. When she pauses, she’s giving you a cue to respond in a compassionate, caring way, says Kirschner. If she tells you that she is upset because her boss gave her a tough time, she wants to hear you say “I’m sorry that work was such a drag for you today.” And remember: Resist the urge to offer solutions. To be continued

preferences. One intriguing study found that the color red made men seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable to women. There’s a caveat, though. Red doesn’t make guys appear nicer or kinder. That part is up to you. Don’t Hide Your Flaws Nothing captures a woman’s heart quite like a good man who wants to be a better man, according to love guru Kirschner. “Women love

personal growth, they love a man who is thoughtful and sensitive.” She likes it when her man recognizes a flaw — a short temper, for example, or a regularly sullen mood after work — and loves it when he makes an effort to address it. Don’t Try to Fix Her World When something’s bothering her, she wants your ear, not your advice. “Men feel the need to fix


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Around the World Africa loses $50bn annually to illicit fund flow – Mbeki

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r Thabo Mbeki, Chairman, UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, has said that the continent loses, at least, 50 billion dollars annually through illicit fund flows. Mbeki, a former President of South Africa, made the fact known in Abuja on Monday when he led a delegation of the UN panel on a courtesy visit to President Goodluck Jonathan. He said the panel was determined to study the problems and propose solutions. Mbeki said the panel would also like to meet relevant members of the National Assembly in view of the need for legislation to check the potent threat to the survival of the continent. On his part, Jonathan stressed the need for Africa to check the huge funds being illegally taken out of the continent. “The huge funds being illicitly taken out of Africa can solve our infrastructure and other problems, so we must look within and check this haemorrhage,’’ he said. The president said “Africa needs robust assistance from the developed world’’ to check the outflow, adding that corruption would be minimised if there were no places to hide the illicit funds. He urged oil refineries worldwide to ask questions about the source of the crude they refined. Jonathan said his administration was taking definite steps to check the theft of crude oil from Nigeria. He called on the panel to carry out an in-depth and comprehensive study of the issue and produce a template that would help the continent combat the menace. The president directed all relevant ministries and agencies of government to cooperate fully with the panel.

Presidential limbo in Algeria a year before election O

fficial silence about the health of Algeria’s ailing leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika, hospitalised in France last month, is feeding the rumour mill over presidential elections due in less than a year. Calls have grown in the Algerian media for the constitution’s rarely mentioned Article 88 to be applied, according to which, if the president is incapacitated, power temporarily transfers to the Senate leader. Bouteflika was flown to Paris for treatment at the Val-deGrace military hospital on April 27 after suffering a ministroke, and no pictures of him have appeared since, despite officials insisting that he is well. Ali Yahia Abdennour, a veteran opposition leader, called on Monday for Bouteflika to step down, saying his illness made his retirement after 14 years in power “essential”. “The fight for the succession is open, but everything is blocked. No initiative has been taken,” the 92-year-old lawyer and human rights activist said in an interview with popular Algerian daily El Watan.

Before Bouteflika’s latest illness, supporters within the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) had made known their desire to see the president seek a fourth term in the election scheduled for next April. But now there are signs that the succession race has begun, at least unofficially, with several people declaring themselves candidates in recent weeks, despite having slim chances of victory. Those mentioned as serious potential candidates in the media, taking account of the army’s traditional role in deciding who leads Algeria, include economist Ahmad Benbitour, former premier Ahmed Ouyahia and his successor, Abdelmalek Sellal, appointed last year. The president’s condition remains unknown, with official sources only giving indirect information, in the form of strident denials, after the seizure of two opposition newspapers for reporting that Bouteflika had lapsed into a coma last Wednesday. The Algiers public prosecutor accused their chief

editor, Hichem Aboud, of “undermining state security” by making “unfounded” comments to foreign media. The communication ministry said the information published in Aboud’s Frenchlanguage daily Mon Journal and Arabic Djaridati, on the “deterioration” of the president’s health, was “totally false”. Tahar Benbaibeche, the head of opposition party El-Fadjr el-Jadid, said Algeria had never known a situation like the current one in its 50 years since independence. “The absence of the president of the republic has caused paralysis among the ruling institutions. Parliament, with its two chambers, is no longer functioning,” he added. But others, including the far-left workers party, have insisted the country’s institutions are working as normal, while Bouteflika’s FLN party, which has ruled since independence, is treading cautiously. “Either the president will be able to continue his mission or he won’t, and when that moment comes we will be in a

new situation,” said FLN spokesperson Kassa Aissi. In what is seen as further proof that a presidential campaign is already unofficially under way, press reports emerged in the weeks before Bouteflika’s hospitalisation of corruption scandals involving people close to him. His brother Said, a presidential adviser, was among those mentioned, as was former energy minister Chakib Khelil, who has been implicated in a corruption scandal a Algeria’s state-run energy giant Sonatrach. On the ground there are growing signs of absent leadership, with health sector strikes seriously affecting the country’s hospitals, and thousands of unemployed Algerians, particularly in the underdeveloped south, demanding jobs and better housing. And on Monday, state media reported that hydrocarbons exports, which account for 97 percent of total exports, fell 9.0 percent between January and April this year, compared with the same period in 2012.

Tunisia Femen activist arrested for ‘immoral gestures’

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young Tunisian activist who sparked controversy in March by posting topless pictures of herself online has been arrested for allegedly making “immoral gestures,” the interior ministry said on Monday. “The young girl was placed under arrest yesterday (Sunday) in Kairouan... because of immoral gestures,” ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told a news conference, without elaborating. “Our society is Muslim and we do not accept this marginal behaviour,” he said. In videos posted on the Internet, the activist known by the pseudonym of Amina Tyler was in Kairouan where Salafist

group Ansar al-Sharia was to have held a congress on Sunday that was prevented by security forces. The teenager is seen having painted the word “Femen” on a wall near the mosque which was to have been the venue for the gathering. In a country where hardline Muslims have become increasingly active since its January 2011 revolution, her actions have been in support of Ukrainian women’s topless protest group Femen. The 18-year-old sparked both scandal and a wave of online solidarity after she was threatened by Salafists for posting pictures of herself on Facebook, bare-breasted. The interior ministry did

not specify what charges if any were being brought against Tyler, but offences against

morality can be punished by six months in prison under Tunisian law.

but said he was a diabetic who also had heart and kidney problems. The ministry also said that the health of a nurse who had been infected by patients in the Eastern Region was now improving. On Wednesday, the Genevabased World Health Organisation reported that two Saudi health workers have contracted the deadly coronavirus from patients — the first evidence of transmission in a hospital setting. “This is the

first time health care workers have been diagnosed with nCoV (novel coronavirus) infection after exposure to patients,” the WHO said in a statement. On Saturday, the health ministry said a new case had been detected, bringing to 31 the number of officially recorded cases in the country. Since last September, the WHO says it has been informed of a global total of 40 laboratory confirmed cases of the virus, including 20

deaths. While the virus has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, cases have also been reported in Jordan, Qatar, Germany, Britain and France. The virus is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and eventually killing some 800 people.

SARS-like virus claims 16th victim in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi man who had contracted the coronavirus has died, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARSlike virus to 16, the health ministry announced on Monday on its Internet website. “One of the patients who had contracted the virus has died,” in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia where most of the kingdom’s cases have been registered, the ministry said. It did not identify the victim,


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 21

Around the World Fox News Reporter James Rosen May Face Criminal Charges for Reporting on the CIA The government will use any and all information at its disposal to find journalist sources, as shown in The Washington Post’s report this morning on a Department of Justice investigation into Fox News chief correspondent James Rosen, who may face criminal charges for reporting government secrets. In June 2009, Rosen reported on CIA analysis suggesting that North Korea might respond to new UN sanctions with renewed nuclear tests. In order to determine how Rosen learned of the analysis, which had been issued by the CIA only a few hours prior, FBI investigators used every tool at their disposal: analyzing Rosen’s security access card to determine when he entered and left the State Department building, studying his phone records, and subpoenaing his personal email. Ultimately, agents determined the source of the leak was likely the State Department’s Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Rosen and Kim established a high-tech version of the red-flag-in-a-planter system used by Bob Woodward during Watergate: when Kim wanted to meet, he would allegedly send an email to Rosen’s Gmail account containing an asterisk. Rosen detailed the sorts of things he wanted to discuss. He also wrote, according to the affidavit: “What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking news ahead of my competitors” including “what intelligence is picking up.” And: “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.” According to the Post report, that’s what Kim allegedly provided. And the way in which he did so appears to have been indiscreet. Their federally distributed security passes showed that Rosen and Kim left and returned to a building at the same time on the day of the leak. Kim’s department phone records showed a number of calls between him and Rosen. When you work directly for Big Brother, you’re likely to be caught.

That aside, the most alarming detail is the implication for Rosen. Another tool the FBI wants to use to make an example in this case is a federal indictment of the journalist. [FBI agent Reginald] Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the

AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target. Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a “covert communications plan” and quoted from an email exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information. The United States government wants to

China’s Li to pay tribute to heroic Indian doctor

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hina’s premier will pay his respects Tuesday to the family of an Indian doctor who died treating Chinese troops more than 70 years ago, becoming a rare symbol of friendship between the two nations. Li Keqiang, like Chinese leaders before him, will take time out of his busy India visit to meet relatives of Dwarkanath Kotnis, who provided emergency medical aid for four years during the SinoJapanese war of 1937-1945. Manorama Kotnis, one of the doctor’s seven siblings and the only one still alive, will meet the Chinese premier at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in the financial capital Mumbai, along with four of her younger relatives. “I’m very proud and happy that such a big (personality) still remembers my brother,” the 92-year-old told AFP on Monday at her home in Mumbai’s Vile Parle suburb, where old pictures of her legendary brother sit proudly on display. “He was really courageous and he wanted to go out and help people,” she said. While ties between Beijing and New Delhi have often been strained, with a legacy of distrust from a border war in 1962, Kotnis has remained a widely revered figure in China for his war work,

which cost him his life. Born in w e s t e r n Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, he was one of five m e d i c a l volunteers dispatched from India in 1938, following a request for help from the fellow Asian giant. Manorama, who was a teenager when her older brother left, said the team was only supposed to go for a year. But her brother stayed on for four years, joining the Chinese Communist Party and marrying a Chinese nurse, with whom he had a son a few months before he died of epilepsy in 1942, aged 32. Manorama, a former nutritionist, said he struggled with the workload and the lack of proper food on the frontline, where he was required at times to operate continuously for 72-hour stretches. “He developed weakness because of that. Even in the hospital there was not much assistance.” The Indian family kept in touch with his widow Guo Qinglan, who died last year

and whose portrait also sits in the apartment, along with ornamental Chinese gifts from their high-profile visitors over the years. Former Chinese premier Hu Jintao met the family in Mumbai in 2006 and they gave him a copy of the Bollywood film “Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani” (The Immortal Story of Dr Kotnis). A Chinese movie has also documented his life. Li will meet the family on his second and final day in India, which marks his first foreign visit since taking office in March. He is scheduled to address university students in New Delhi before travelling to Mumbai, where he will visit the offices of Tata Consultancy Services, India’s biggest IT outsourcing firm, and meet business leaders in the evening. Li and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged on Monday to resolve a border dispute that has soured ties for decades, saying good relations between the two Asian giants were key to world peace. It is a sentiment shared by Manorama, who expressed sadness that the two countries had failed to forge closer links in the decades since her brother lost his life. “They should come together, live in peace, help each other,” she said.

charge a reporter for reporting on classified information. By agreeing to authorize a search warrant in the case, the Post reports, the judge overseeing the case agreed with the FBI that Rosen might be a conspirator. Whether or not someone in Kim’s position should receive whistleblower protection for revealing a state secret is one debate. Whether or not the person that hears the whistle should be charged is another issue altogether. Linking the Kim case to Julian Assange, similarly investigated for sharing information leaked to him, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald writes: Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. Over the weekend, the CEO of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, was interviewed on CBS’ Face the Nation. Pruitt indicated that Justice’s recently revealed investigation into a 2012 leak is causing existing sources to balk. Already, officials that would normally talk to us and people we talk to in the normal course of news gathering are already saying to us that they’re a little reluctant to talk to us. They fear that they— they will be monitored by the government. How and when the government can seize records form the media is tightly described. As in the case of the AP, the Obama Justice Department has proven more than willing to try to loosen those restrictions. Now we learn that the idea includes extending the chilling effect of prosecutions to the reporters trying to hold them accountable. Culled from Atlantic Wire

Obama to visit 3 African countries at end of June

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S President Barack Obama will head out on his first major African tour since taking office, traveling to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3, the White House said Monday. The National Security Council announced the trip on its Twitter account, without immediately offering further details. Obama, born in the United States to an American mother and a Kenyan father, has so far only been to one sub-Saharan African country since becoming president: Ghana, in July 2009.


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reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Potpourri

Gists, Events, Parties, Entertainment, Tourism and Relationship

Fan Milk’s salesman allegedly bolts with supervisor’s N300,000

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he police in Lagos on Monday arraigned a 24year-old salesman of the Fan Milk Plc, Mike Chinedu, over an alleged theft of N300,000 from a manager of the company. Chinedu, whose address was not stated, is facing a count charge before an Oshodi Magistrates’ Court. The Prosecutor, Cpl. Kehinde Olatunde, told the court that the accused stole the sum from his supervisor, Mr Stephen Iweuno, on May 5, at

No. 19A, Bode Thomas Road, Ilupeju, Lagos. “The complainant, a sales manager of Fan Milk Plc, had asked the accused, a salesman, to offload some products from the company’s vehicle into the factory. “While he was offloading, he saw an envelope containing the amount inside the complainant’s car. He opened the car with a master key and stole the money. “He thereafter absconded to an unknown destination,” the

prosecutor said. Olatunde said that the accused was later arrested at Alakuko, Lagos, and that only N43,940 was recovered from him. He said that the accused was unable to give a satisfactory account of the remaining money. The prosecutor said that during interrogation by the police, Chinedu claimed that the devil tempted him to commit the offence. Olatunde said that the offence contravened Sections

285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. The section states that any person who steals any property is guilty of a felony and liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years. The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Magistrate, Mr Akeem Fashola, granted him bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety. Fashola adjourned the case till June 6 for mention.

Pope statue unveiled in Italian potato field

Beatles guitar auctioned for $408,000 in US

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six-cord electric guitar that Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison played went under the hammer for $408,000, Julien’s Auctions said Sunday. The customized VOX guitar was the centerpiece of the annual Music Icons auction held Saturday at the New York Hard Rock Cafe by the Beverly Hills, California-based auctioneers. Julien’s Auctions had valued the guitar ahead of the auction at between $200,000 and $300,000. The guitar, which had been at several exhibitions prior to auction, was a gift from John Lennon to “Magic Alex” Mardas, an engineer at Apple Records and a friend of the band in 1967, Julien’s

said. Harrison used the guitar while practicing the song “I am the Walrus.” Lennon played it during a video session for “Hello, Goodbye.” Some 450 other items were also auctioned at the event, including the pants that Elvis Presley wore in the “Jailhouse Rock” movie, a jumpsuit worn by 70s pop star David Cassidy and objects from David Bowie, Michael Jackson and the Grateful Dead. An electric guitar that Elvis once played on sold for $50,000, while sunglasses that “the King” once wore sold for $28,125.

Mixed reactions trail Big Brother Africa reality TV show

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head of the eighth season of the popular reality TV show, Big Brother Africa, many residents of Abuja on Monday expressed different opinions on the impact of the programme on the society. The 2013 season with the theme: “The Chase,” is scheduled to begin from May 26, and would feature 26 new housemates from 14 countries, all competing for 300,000 dollars and other prizes. The show that would take place in South Africa will make the contestants spend 91 days in the Big Brother House. While some fans described the show as pretty unique and an entertaining show, some people complained that it demonstrated some level of immorality. Miss Ijeoma Amaefula, a housewife, said that past editions of the TV show recorded special moments and features, expecting the new season to show suspense, emotions, drama, fun and excitement. ‘’I’m super excited that it is back. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past seasons and I look forward to a better season,’’ Amaefula said. Miss Maimuna Idris, said the adventure surrounded by controversies, romances, heartbreaks, conspiracies and alliances make the show to be interesting. “It further creates an avenue to get exposure, I wish I am the one that will represent my country and because of the fame I wish the programme is sustained,” Idris said. However, some others

‘’I could not get any lesson from the little I watched so I suggest the organisers should use the money for better things. ‘’I am not learning anything from the idea of exposing the body and having sex on the screen,’’ Augustine said. Similarly, Miss Tomiwa Aluko, a student, insisted that she was not encouraged by the programme. According to her, it is discouraging with no positive impact on the viewers. ‘’There is always immorality in Big Brother, drinking, smoking, partying and indecent exposure. ‘’There is no lesson there as they are just encouraging nudity and I will tag it corrupt entertainment.’’ Mr Gabriel Aikhomun, an Electrical Engineer, said people, particularly children, were exposed to m e a n i n g l e s s engagements arising from actions of the housemates. M-Net Africa Managing Director,

described the programme as not encouraging and requested it should be stopped. Mr Ufere Chinwendu, a lawyer, said it was addictive and would not encourage the spiritual growth of the citizenry. ‘’It is morally bad, spiritually dwindling and promotes

carnality among the youth because it does not attract any positive change to the society,’’ Chinwendu said. Another lawyer, Miss Fortune Augustine, said she withdrew from watching the programme because she could not get any good lesson from it.

Biola Alabi, said AfricaMagic strives to deliver the best in entertainment ‘’and Big Brother Africa remains at the forefront of our plans. ‘’We want to give audiences and loyal fans of the show, a truly unforgettable viewing experience once again,’’ Alabi said.

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he first-ever statue of Pope Francis has been unveiled in a potato field near Naples — an unorthodox homage to the fact that the Argentine pope’s ancestors were farmers in northern Italy. The statue will be presented to the pope next month by Italian actor Barbato De Stefano, who comes from the village of Cicciano where it was presented and has financed the project. “The poverty of my village is a treasure for the community in which I was born and grew up,” said De Stefano, who praised the pope’s own modest demeanour saying he had “pierced people’s hearts”. The primitive-style statue was shown on Sunday, with a painted background of the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on which the pope stood after his election at a conclave of cardinals in March. De Stefano said that next month he will present the pope with the statue, which has as its background the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on which the pope stood after his election in March. The 76-year-old pope was formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. Like many Italians, his parents emigrated to Argentina between the First and Second World Wars.


reporters dispatch, May 21 — May 28, 2013

Page 23

Sports

Pistorius rules out running in 2013

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urder-accused South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius will not race this season, his agent said Monday, weeks before the

Paralympian’s return to court. The decision means Pistorius will miss out on the August 1018 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

“He’s decided he’s not going onto the track again and have a go at any competitions or anything for the rest of this year,” Peet van Zyl told AFP.

Pistorius had to focus on the upcoming court case and was not physically and mentally ready to compete at top level, the agent said. “It was only going to be a case of if and when Oscar feels he’s ready to train and compete and he’s obviously not mentally and physically ready for that,” he said. The double amputee, known as the “Blade Runner” for his trademark artificial limbs, returns to court on June 4 charged with gunning down his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Van Zyl said he had cancelled all of the champion Paralympian’s events immediately after the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. “That was up until July and we haven’t even contemplated looking at any other sort of competition since then,” he added. Pistorius was snubbed by the organisers of a London event in April, although his side said there had never been any plans to compete internationally. After successfully challenging his stringent bail conditions in March, Pistorius was cleared to travel abroad. Accused of murdering Steenkamp, the athlete claims that he opened fire after having mistaken her for an intruder.

A Look Mourinho flashpoints in Madrid

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ose Mourinho’s three-year reign at Real Madrid has never been short of controversy. Here AFP looks back at four flashpoints that marked his tenure following Monday’s announcement that he was leaving the club at the end of the season: Ramos and Alonso deliberately sent-off against Ajax - November 2010 In a case of trying to be too clever Mourinho instructed Spanish internationals Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso to get deliberately sentoff towards the end of a Champions League match with Ajax in 2010 so that they would then serve a suspension in a meaningless group match before being free to play in the last-16. Unfortunately, the Portuguese’s method of communication through goalkeepers Jerzy Dudek and Iker Casillas wasn’t very discreet and after being caught Mourinho was given a fine and a touchline ban, whilst Ramos and Alonso had their suspensions extended by a game. “Maybe it’s because advertising UNICEF gets you sympathy” - May 2011 The sending-off of Pepe in Real’s 2-0 defeat to eternal rival Barcelona in the first-leg of the Champions League semi-finals proved too much to bear for Mourinho as having had players sent off against Barca when in charge of Chelsea and Inter he inferred UEFA’s referees of always favouring the Catalans. “With our strategy we were not going to lose. So why did we? Maybe it’s because advertising Unicef gets

you sympathy, maybe having (Spanish Football Federation chief, Angel Maria) Villar on UEFA gets you sympathy, or some form of congratulations for being a great football team? Why in a game that was so finely balanced at 0-0, did he have to do what he did? Only the referee can answer that one; but he won’t. Last year, at Inter we had a miracle to progress with 10 men, but another miracle this year simply wasn’t possible.”

Poking Vilanova in the eye - August 2011 With tempers still raging from that Champions League clash at the end of the previous season, the 2011/12 campaign opened with another pair of El Clasico clashes in the Spanish Super Cup. With Barca once again heading for victory in the final minutes of the second-leg at the Camp Nou, Mourinho poked the then Barca assistant boss Tito Vilanova in the eye. Amazingly, Mourinho ended up serving no suspension for the act and afterwards even claimed to have not known who Vilanova was. Dropping of Casillas December 2012 Throughout a fiery final season

in charge, the one topic that seemed to have a whole nation lined up against Mourinho was his decision to drop national icon Iker Casillas. Mourinho was unhappy with the lack of intensity with which the Spanish captain was training and dropped him in favour of the inexperienced Antonio Adan for league games against Malaga and Real Sociedad. The saga rumbled on in 2013 when after recovering his place in the side, Casillas broke a bone in his hand forcing him onto the sidelines for three months. In his absence, Mourinho signed Diego Lopez and even after he returned to full fitness, Casillas never played another game under the Portuguese as Mourinho repeatedly spoke of his preference for Lopez as a keeper.

Haidri said Baig’s brother Mirza Ali was with her but was unable to reach the summit as he was unwell. Baig was among 146 climbers to reach the world’s highest peak Sunday, including the first woman from Saudi Arabia, Indian sisters who were the first twins, and a British climber who gave a live video interview via his smartphone. British mountaineer Daniel Hughes was interviewed by the BBC in what he called the first live video call from the summit, but Nepalese officials told AFP he had broken the law by not seeking official permission to broadcast. In 2010 Baig became the first person to scale the 6,000-metre Chashkin Sar peak in northern Pakistan and the mountain is now named “Samina Peak” in her honour. Pakistan is home to five of

the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres, including the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, but Haidri said mountaineering needed more government support. “I sincerely hope that Samina’s achievement will induce more and more woman to join this sport and help us convince the government to give more funds to us so that our people can attain more height in this department,” said Haidir.

Pakistan celebrates first woman up Everest

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akistan has congratulated Samina Baig on becoming the first woman from the country to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The 22-year-old Baig, from the small town of Shimshal in the Hunza valley in Pakistan’s mountainous north, scaled the 8,848 metre (29,029 feet) peak early on Sunday after a gruelling expedition in rough weather. Karrar Haidri, member executive council of Pakistan Alpine Club (PAC), said Baig had raised Pakistan’s name in the world. “She is a brave girl who summited the peak and sent us a message of her achievement and the whole Pakistan is feeling proud of her,” Haidri told AFP. “She used her own resources and despite rough weather and fears of avalanche she never lost courage.”

Ferguson wins managers’ award

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utgoing Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson heads into retirement with the Premier League manager of the year award. Ferguson picked up the League Manager Association’s honour on Monday. At the reception the 71year-old said he was relieved celebrations to mark his retirement were over. “It has been overwhelming,” he told the awards dinner in London 24 hours after his last match in charge of United, Sunday’s 5-5 draw at West Brom. “The club has been fantastic and congratulations to West Brom with the way they handled yesterday. In a way I am glad it is all over now - because it has been a very hard week. “I think (West Brom manager) Steve Clarke should get an award because anyone who scores five against United deserves it.”

Zamparini in dock over Blatter, Platini comments

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alermo president Maurizio Zamparini is facing disciplinary action after being reported to the Italian football federation (FIGC) for “harming the reputation” of FIFA president Sepp Blatter as well as UEFA chief Michel Platini. Zamparini, a straighttalking owner of the club known for regularly sacking unsuccessful coaches, hit out at both presidents last week when he said both “need a kick up the arse”. Zamparini initially reacted to Blatter’s criticism over a 50,000 euro fine handed to Roma after fans subjected AC Milan players to racist abuse in a match last week. Blatter said in a post on his Twitter account: “Small fines for racist abuse unacceptable. People will always find money.” In an interview last week with Radio Kiss Kiss, which was widely reported in the Italian press, Zamparini labelled Blatter a racist. “When we (Italy) won the World Cup, he didn’t want to give us the award. What do you call someone who hates Italians? He is the racist,” Zamparini said. Zamparini also criticised Platini over the possibility of Napoli having to play their next Champions League home games elsewhere because they need to complete scheduled renovations to earn the required UEFA licence for the games.


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May 21 — 28, 2013

Vol. 1. No. 23.

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President Jonathan thanks Nigerians for support of emergency declaration

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resident Goodluck Jonathan has thanked Nigerians for their support for the state of emergency declared last week in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. Senior Special Assistant to the President, Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe made this known in a statement issued on Sunday: “President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed gratitude to all Nigerians for the overwhelming support they have given to the declaration of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. The President also thanked the leadership of the National Assembly and many of its members, who have through calls and personal visitations, given solidarity and support for this extraordinary step taken by the President in order to halt the mindless killings, bombings and general insecurity that had prevailed in that part of the country. “The President also notes with gratification the positive disposition and understanding of the Governors of the federation especially the Northern Governors Forum, Leaders and Elders in the North, traditional rulers, religious leaders, cultural and political groups nationwide including opposition political parties, civil society organisations and the Media. Dr. Okupe said the President is appreciative of the efforts, loyalty, commitment and sacrifice of members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies who have demonstrated commendable patriotism and gallantry in compliance with the

President Goodluck Jonathan

order of the Commander-in chief. The Presidential aide further stated that: ‘“Mr. President also appreciates the encouragement by members of the diplomatic corps and international community and promises that as a disciplined force, members of the Armed Forces will operate according to acceptable international rules of engagement and will pay particular attention to the safety and well-being of

the citizens of the affected states during this period of emergency rule. “Mr. President also notes that the efforts of the Armed Forces have already started yielding positive results, as available information confirms that the insurgents have been dislodged from their previously safe havens and camps while many have been apprehended, and their activities in the affected states have been brought to a total halt.” The statement also states that President Jonathan has called on Nigerians from all walks of life, ethnic origins and religious affiliations, to rally round the Federal Government in this period of national travail in order that collectively, we will achieve success in this major fight against terror in our land, and return peace and stability to our nation with its attendant prosperity, growth and development in the affected region. “The President has promised that at all times, the Federal Government will not relent or spare any effort that will guarantee the safety and security of all Nigerians, and that all manner of criminality in our country would be fought uncompromisingly with all the powers and might available to the Federal Government,” the statement said.

120 Boko Haram Members Arrested While Burying Dead Commander

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20 suspected members of the Boko Haram were arrested in Maiduguri by the Nigerian Forces while organising a quick burial for one of their Commanders who died during a gun duel with Special Forces. In a statement, Army Spokesman, Brigadier Gen. Chris Olukolade, said the Special Forces have also secured some villages Maiduguri hitherto occupied by Boko Haram. The statement reads: “The Special Forces have now secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorists camps sited in the vicinity of these localities. The troops are already interacting with locals and citizens assuring them of their safety and

freedom from the activities of insurgents. “Terrorists fleeing towards Chad and Niger

Republic are being contained as they have had encounter with Multi-National Joint Task Force in various locations towards the border. Advancing troops also observed a few shallow graves believed to be those of hurriedly buried members of the terrorist groups. “In Maiduguri, about 120 terrorists were arrested as they organized burial of one of their commanders who died in an encounter with Special Forces the previous day. The arrested insurgents are in custody of the Joint Task Force where they are being interrogated.”

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