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Don’t develop Abuja in a rush, else ……. — Amb. Ngbako >> Page 11

Obasanjo at 76: Nigeria lucky to have him — Northern Governors >> Page 24

Vol. 1. No. 15.

March 5 — 12, 2013

Nigeria’s first free newspaper

I will write more expose` - en-fant ter-ri-ble El-Rufai ....says I could write on how many girlfriends each Nigerian leader has

to critics of his book, The Accidental Public Servant , because many of them have not read it. While stating that the critics of his book – which has generated a lot of controversy could attack him on pages of newspapers and electronic media, he added that “the criticism is immaterial because they cannot deny the facts as stated in the book because they actually happened”.

E

nfante’ terrible’ of Nigerian Politics and former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai says he deliberately shunned response

Shell raise alarm over 'unprecedented' oil theft in Nigeria ....highest in 3 years ...over $6billion stolen annually

O

il giant Shell on Monday raised alarm over “unprecedented” oil theft in Nigeria, particularly related to the sabotage of one of its key pipelines, and called for urgent action to address the problem. The comments are the latest from the industry over the problem of oil theft, which has been estimated to cost Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, some $6 billion per year.

“We have now witnessed a significant upsurge in the activities of crude oil thieves,” Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of Shell’s Nigeria division SPDC, said in comments distributed by the company. “The situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented. The volume being stolen is the highest in the last three years — over 60,000 barrels per day from Shell alone.”

The Anglo-Dutch company, Nigeria’s biggest producer, said in a statement that its key Nembe Creek Trunkline in the country’s south had been hit repeatedly between February 22 and 25, causing temporary cuts of 150,000 barrels per day. Nigeria currently produces around 2.0 million barrels per day, but suffers widespread spills due to pipeline sabotage. Sunmonu said he could not

rule out shutting down the pipeline if such activity continued. “It is very clear to me that this is not just an act by desperate individuals trying to make a living,” he said. “This certainly is a well-funded criminal activity, probably involving international syndicates. I really want to put it to you that we are in a crisis.” The company said affected flowstations producing into the CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

Many have come to doubt if El Rufai in writing his book did not break the oath of secrecy he swore to as a minister of the federal government of Nigeria as minutes of Executive council meetings in the Presidential villa were freely quoted. El-Rufai, who spoke during the public presentation of his book in Lagos said, “The book is my contribution to the development of the country, because over 70 per cent of the nation’s population who are below 35 years are yet to experience good governance. There is a lot to write about what has been going on behind the scene at the corridors of power in Abuja. “I could have written about the number of girlfriends these people have because it would sell and it will expose them the more. But, I deliberately left such issues out of the book because I believe it is a personal thing. Such issues are between them and their God, but how the nation was led by our leaders is one issue we should not be afraid to discuss. In fact, I’ve tried just five chapters of the original manuscript and I will still write more books.” El -Rufai’s book has drawn flacks from every corner of the Nigerian Polity. Most people who have reacted to the contents describe the book as a figment of the imagination of the writer.

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reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Perspectives

Reclaiming Nigeria in 2015: Can the Youths Go It Alone? By Abubakar Usman Since the announcement of the emergence of All Progressive Congress (APC) which is a fusion of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA, Nigerians have been exchanging ideas, information and punches as to what difference the party will or can bring to the polity. These are not unconnected to the fact that politically conscious Nigerians hold varied opinions regarding the redemption of Nigeria. For the purpose of clarity, I have segregated these Nigerians based on their opinions into three groups. The first are those who have woefully failed in managing the affairs of this great nation. They are those who do not care about the security and welfare of the common man and that is why for 14 good years, they have not been able to fix the problems in just one sector of the economy. These set of people are those who do not want opposition because they want to rule and loot the nation for 60 years. They are members of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party or their sympathizers who in one way or the other benefit from the party. For these people, APC will never work and even if it has the chance of working as it seems, they will do anything to scuttle it. In the second group are those who believe that what Nigeria needs at the moment is an opposition party that will oust the PDP. To this people, APC is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in recent times as they strongly believe that the problem of Nigeria will be far reduced if PDP can be defeated in 2015. The last of the three groups are those who are neither satisfied with the performance of the PDP nor see the emergence of APC as the solution that Nigeria needs. To these people, the solution to the myriads of Nigeria’s problems lies

in the hands of the youths. What this means is that old politicians should be completely alienated from the scheme of things as far as reclaiming Nigeria is concerned because they are either part of the problem or have at one time or the other being members of the PDP and their supporters who couldn’t solve, but compound our problems. They want the youths to form a party that will be solely comprised of youths who in turn will contest and fill up public and political offices. Anything short of this to these Nigerians is like putting old wine in a new bottle. While this may be true and ideal to some extent, the question that should be asked is does it conform to the realities on ground? Is it something that is achievable in 2015? Agreed that the larger percentage of Nigeria’s population constitute of the youths, but is population alone the only machinery needed to win elections and take over governance? Yes, politics is a game of numbers, but while it is even debatable that a government run solely by youths is not a guarantee that the Nigeria of our dreams will be achieved, especially considering that youths who have had the opportunity to serve in various capacities in the country have done more harm than the old breed politicians, those who are advocating for a wholly youth lead political party all geared towards 2015 need to understand that numbers only become relevant when the things that need to be done as a build up to casting of ballot has been put in place. Politics in Nigeria is not the same as what obtains in other climes. For you to be registered as a political party in Nigeria, there must be structures like the presence of the party in all states of the federation, when you succeed in doing this, you must obtain forms with huge amounts of money from INEC to contest for political offices depending on the position you are contesting; you will campaign, mobilize and even acquire supporters. All these require huge

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

sums of money. How much of this money do the youths have? How much of these financial requirements can the youths raise between now and 2015 to be considered a serious contender for elective offices. I remember telling some people during a discussion that if political parties like the ACN, CPC and ANPP who have built structures over the years and have the financial war chest to prosecute elections are coming together to form alliance, why do we think that the youths who are not structurally on ground can perform better in 2015? The money we see that is flowing with carelessness among political players are not mere contributions of a few thousands by the stock of politicians we have today. As much as I know that a large percentage of this money is stolen from our coffers, they are real money and they play important role in the extent that political parties go. The place of the youths in the democratic process remains cardinal for the growth of the nation especially in a country like Nigeria where over 60 percent of the population constitutes of youths, but as much as I canvass for the active participation of youths, it will be wrong to think that the youths should solely run the country. Youths championed the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, but who are the leaders of the two countries today, Youths? Part of the reason why Nigeria seems to be what it is today is because the old folks politically alienated and socially excluded the youths from democratically participating in governance. We will only be repeating the same mistake if we do the exact opposite. The truth is simply that the two must work together. New breed without old breed, breeds greed as we have seen and that is why as the new breed prepares to take over, we must also involve the old breeds so as to avoid breeding greed. What I think the youths should be preoccupied with at this point in time is how to make positive impact on who

Mission Statement

becomes the next president, governors, senators etc in the forth coming elections, while formulating long term strategies for opening up the space for youths to actively participate in political venture. The youths can set a target date where certain percentage of the governorship, senatorial, house of assembly seats etc will be reserved for the youths within a political party that we choose to align ourselves with. To achieve this however, we must prove that we are a force to be reckoned with, because nobody will give you anything on a platter of gold. Aside political positions, we must harness our numbers to be able to influence the decision making processes of any institution, political party or government we find ourselves. In a truly democratic setting, young people form their opinions and exercise choices as equal members of a community; this we can only achieve if we belong to that community as a bloc. Rather than deceive ourselves that youths will take over the governance of Nigeria in 2015 which is just 2 years away, what we should be doing now with post 2015 as the target is to continue to mobilize an army of youths so as to have a structure with which we can participate actively in the process of governance. This mobilization must involve enlightenment and education so as to bring all youths up to speed as the overall goal and benefits accruable when we play active roles. The process of transfer of leadership is gradual and systematic. If we are able to achieve the above, we will gradually take over the governance of the country and incidences where those who have been in government long before many of us where born remaining in government will be eliminated.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman is a Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria. He blogs on Abusidiqu.com and is available for engagement on twitter @Abusidiqu

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, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 3

News Shell raise alarm over 'unprecedented' oil theft in Nigeria Contd. from Front Page pipeline were now back on line, but that the threat of more sabotage remained. Shell said the sabotaged pipeline was replaced in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 billion, adding that the new line had been repeatedly targeted by crude thieves since it was commissioned. Sunmonu said “this is something which I worry is beyond the capacity of any individual company or beyond the capacity of a country to solve. We really need concerted efforts nationally, locally and internationally to actually get this under control.” A 2009 amnesty deal led to a sharp decline in unrest in the oilproducing Niger Delta region, but criminal activity has since flourished. While Shell blames most of the spills on sabotage, activists argue that the company does not do enough to prevent such incidents and effectively clean up the damage when they do occur. A landmark report from the UN’s environmental agency in August 2011 said decades of oil pollution in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta may require the world’s biggest clean-up.

Around Nigeria SURE-P creates 3,000 jobs for youths, women in Anambra The Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) has created no fewer than 3,000 jobs for the youths and women in Anambra, the state Chairman of the programme, Mr Anayo Nebe, has said. Nebe made this known in Awka on Monday at a one-day workshop with the theme: “Repositioning the value system of the youths for a better society’’. The workshop was organised by the Anambra Achievers Forum in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency

Anambra state governor, Peter Obi

Ekiti partners World Bank to create 40,000 new jobs Ekiti State Government says it has formed a new partnership with the World Bank to generate about 40,000 jobs to employ youths in the next five years. The State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made this known on Monday while launching the Community Development Plans (CDPs) for 18 communities under the State Community and Social Development Agency (EKCSDA), in Ado Ekiti.

Fayemi said that state government had forged a close working relationship with the bank based on the administration’s resolve to eliminate poverty, which informed the new employmentdriven partnership. He said that the state was expected to generate the 40,000 employment in phases within five years under the new arrangement tagged: “Youth Empowerment Strategy (YES)’’.

PPMC redirects pipelines out of reach of vandals The Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) says it has engaged the services of an engineering firm, ENIKKOM, to redirect pipelines from the reach of vandals. Mr Haruna Momoh, the Managing Director of PPMC, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Momoh said that the pipelines would be placed in a manner that would be difficult for the vandals to reach. “The engineering firm is bringing modern technology to bear on the system by burying the pipelines much deeper,” he said. Momoh said that the Federal Government, two weeks ago, begun the rehabilitation of the pipelines’ right of way from Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ibadan. He said that Nigerian Army engineers had been engaged to do the rehabilitation job. “One of the team started the rehabilitation from Atlas Cove in Lagos, while the other team commenced from Arepo Village in Ogun to Mosinmi Depot in Ibadan, Oyo State. “So far about 20 kilometres of the pipelines’ right of way have been cleared by the Nigerian Army,’’ he said. According to him, the pipeline is about 72.8 kilometres stretch from Atlas Cove to Mosinmi Depot. He said that the pipelines had a network of about 5,120 kilometres across the country. Momoh said that NNPC had also built watch towers and police posts at the black spots near the pipelines’ right of way.

(NOA). Nebe said the programme was established to assist youths to develop and integrate into the society. The chairman, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, said that by April 2013, another set of 2,000 youths would be employed under the programme “Those employed are expected to work in their respective communities and they will be paid N10, 000 monthly,’’ he said. Nebe praised NOA for

Dr Kayode Fayemi at the launching of the Community Development Plans (CDPs)

He said that the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), of the state would round up by the end of the year. According to him, this is as a result of the expiration of the agreement between the bank, Ekiti and the Federal Government. The governor, however, announced the willingness of the World Bank to extend the CSDP programme in the state following its effective implementation. Fayemi, who described EKCSDA as a key component in his drive to ensure rapid and all-round development of the state, stressed that the state government would not relent in its determination to continue the “worthy partnership’’ with relevant agencies. While congratulating the 18 benefiting communities, Fayemi urged them to make judicious use of the fund. He said that all traditional rulers, community leaders of the benefiting communities and local government officials must ensure they performed their roles to ensure thorough implementation of the projects.

NGO gives free sandals to 197 pupils in Ogun No fewer than 197 pupils of two public primary schools in Ijebu North-East Local Government in Ogun, on Monday got free school sandals from an NGO, Encouragement Initiative (EI). The two schools whose pupils benefited from the free sandal distribution were St. Michael Primary School, Odedeyo, and Community Primary School, Imewuro. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 98 boys and 99 girls who came to school either barefooted or in slippers, benefited from the programme. Mr Rotimi Akinlesi, the Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, said the initiative was aimed at reaching out to kids

who go to school barefoot or in terrible footwear. Akinlesi said a total number of 6,190 pupils had benefited from the free sandal programme since inception in 2008. “This initiative was borne out of the concern for thousands of poor pupils who go to public schools barefoot. “We cannot leave everything to the government. Whatever we can do as individuals or groups, to help these kids who are the future of our nation, we should do it. “The more we help, the better for our nation.’’ Akinlesi further explained that a total number of 43 pupils who go to school on empty stomach were being

provided with free mid day meal in different schools in the area. “We started a mid day meal project in 2012, and 43 children in different schools from very poor homes, who go to school with empty stomach, were fed free on school days. “These kids now concentrate academically and are now regular in school”. Akinlesi said that EI was also providing free monthly routine medication for over a 100 sickle cell kids. “No under-privileged child because of his/her religious leaning, sex or ethnic background or political stand of his or her parent, will be denied our support”, Akinlesi said.

supporting the youth programmes in Anambra, saying he was impressed that the state took first position in activities organised by NOA. He commended the State Government for prudent management of resources, accountability, and steadfastness in the execution of projects. In his remarks, the state Director of NOA, Mr Obi Enemo, said Nigerian youths, who constituted 43 per cent of the nation’s population, had contributed to national development. He expressed concern about the high unemployment rate among the youths and called on governments, corporate organisations and other Nigerians to create employment opportunities for them. Enemo advised participants at the workshop to ensure that they use information gathered from the workshop to broaden their knowledge. Earlier, the Chairman, Anambra Achievers Forum, Mr Obi Dike, urged the youths to shun thuggery during election and utilise their time to improve the society. Dike also urged the government and private sector to create employment for the teeming youths.

Measles kill 9 children in Katsina The Katsina State Government on Monday confirmed the death of nine children following the outbreak of measles in some areas of the state. The state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Hussani Yammama, told newsmen in Katsina that the outbreak had affected all the 34 local government areas in the state with 1,260 children so far infected. The commissioner said that the refusal of parents to take their children to the healthcare centres for routine immunisation caused it. He, however, said government had already taken measures to curb the spread of the disease. According to him, the measures include procurement of enough vaccines and other medicaments for the treatment of infected children. He, therefore, urged parents to present children for routine immunisation against the six child killer diseases. The commissioner also urged them to report cases of disease outbreak to the nearest healthcare facility for urgent medical attention.


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News Nigeria’s Growing Insecurity:

Yorubas demand National Security Summit Premier Yoruba socio-cultural organization,Afenifere, has called for a National Security Summit to address the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria. In a statement signed by ‘Yinka Odunmakin, its National publicity secretary, the organization drew attention of Nigerians to the alarm raised weekend by a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophillus Danjuma, who described Northern Nigeria as being in the “middle of a civil war”. Danjuma was speaking at the launching ceremony of the Ahmadu Bello University’s N50bn Phase 11 Development project.He said Nigeria was in total anarchy. “Human life is very cheap and impunity has become the norm…” . “There is no defined front in this particular war and worse still, the enemy is faceless and unknown. There is no immunity for anyone.” “Within 48 hours after Danjuma’s declaration, the Kwara state police commissioner, Mr Chinwike Asadu was gunned down in his home state of Enugu while 22 people were killed in Borno state in an attempt to take over an army barrack by members of Boko Haram. “As if to confirm the state of nature that Nigeria has descended into, there is a sense of indifference to these calamities these days as the presidency sparingly issues the photocopied response “we shall fish out the culprits,” the statement said. It regretted that strategizing for 2015 is of greater priority at the moment than paying attention to this state of insecurity. “While bombs are flying like bangers, guns booming in every nook, kidnappers daily nabbing their victims and assassins shooting without missing; the battle for control of Governors Forum and such mundane tussles have taken all the attention of the presidency.” The group also said that any further attempt to treat the insecurity situation in the country as if it provides a good distraction from people asking for good governance is bound to backfire as a full maturation of what is going on will consume everyone. It therefore suggested the immediate convocation of a National Security Summit to bring leaders and stakeholders together from across the country to brainstorm on the causes (s) of the virtual security collapse in the country and proffer solutions to them. “The suggested summit should be a prelude to a NATIONAL CONFERENCE that will address the structures of Nigeria in a way that the constituent units can live peaceably within a proper federation built on justice, equity and fair play.” “This is the irreducible minimum to stop the drift going on,” the statement concluded.

reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Around Nigeria

First Lady’s NGO set to employ 700 women The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, on Monday said that her NGO, Women for Change and Development Initiative (WCDI) would employ 700 women this year. Jonathan spoke in Abuja on Monday at the landscaping, tree planting and beautification of the Airport Road. According to her, Kashton Concepts, a private organisation, will be in charge of remuneration of the women during the period. “I am happy to note that Kashton Concept Ltd. is collaborating with one of my NGOs in this laudable effort to beautify and protect the environment of Abuja. “Kashton Concept Ltd. has also requested that the Women for Change and Development Initiative provide 700 women to be employed and paid on this project by the company for at least one year.’’ The President’s wife added that the exercise was “a good approach towards attaining a sustainable environment which is in line with Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals’’. “Indeed, this was the principal subject of the Earth Summit that attracted the whole World to Rio de Janairo, Brazil, in October 2012’’. “It would be seen then that this treeplanting exercise serves the dual purpose of protecting the environment and ensuring the overall well being of man.’’

First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan The First Lady stressed the need for a beautiful environment, adding “what the World sees is your environment’’. “The world knows Abuja is one of the fastest growing cities and so its beautification should be taken seriously by all and that is why the FCT Minister is working hard to achieving this during his tenure. “I also want to urge all state governors’ wives to replicate this in their states and encourage wives of local government chairmen to do same in the local

government councils.’’ Some of the women who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed happiness about the employment opportunity created by the beautification exercise. Ene Agbo, an applicant from the North Central Zone, said she was overwhelmed by the job opportunity provided by the First Lady. “I am happy to be employed even if it is for a short period. My family and I will be empowered for the next one year.’’ Amina Auwalu from the North Western Zone, said she had been a grassroots politician for the past ten years, adding that after election, nobody remembered them. According to her, this is the first time I am benefitting from the government and I am grateful. Another employee, Obebem Ugochukwu, from the South-Eastern Zone said that she was affected by the recent flooding. “I was still thinking of how to pick up the pieces of my life together when this opportunity came. I thank God.’’ The 700 women are to be placed on a monthly salary of N20,000. The ceremony was attended by wives of the Vice President, Hajiya Amina Sambo, Senate President, Mrs Helen Mark as well as wives of governor’s of Ondo, Bayelsa, Abia, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue and Zamfara States.

Lamido of Adamawa donates N2m, bus to NYSC members The Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo, on Monday donated N2 million cash and a 14-seater bus to the state branch of the Muslim Corpers’ Association of Nigeria (MCAN). The paramount ruler made the donation in Yola while receiving the officials

Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo

of the association, who paid him a homage at his palace. Barkindo, who described the corps members as agents of development, said that they have a vital role to play in promoting cordial relationship, peaceful co-existence and stability of the country. “You are the symbol of peace and leaders of tomorrow, and you have a vital role to play in promoting the unity and development of our dear country. “In this crucial time of security challenges, Nigerians need your services based on your experiences and dedication to humanity,” the Lamido said. The Lamido, who is also the state Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, underscored the importance of the corps members and stressed the need for traditional institutions to give them maximum support and cooperation.

Barkindo thanked the officials for the visit, pledging an open door for them at all times to ensure the success of their welfare and activities. Speaking earlier, the state MCAN Amirul (Leader), Malam Abdullahi Bala, said they were at the palace to intimate the royal father on the success and challenges militating against the association in the state. He identified lack of accommodation and mobility as some of the major problems facing the MCAN. Bala said that part of the activities of the association included building a cordial relationship among the diverse communities in the state. Others, he said, were community based environmental sanitation and free lessons for secondary school students to enable them pass their O’level examinations.

Court sentences ‘fake soldier’ to 7-month imprisonment An Abuja Grade 11 Area Court sitting at Kado on Monday sentenced a fake soldier, George Dawel, 25, to seven months imprisonment. Dawel, a labourer of Sahara Estate, Gwarinpa, Abuja, bagged the sentence for theft, impersonation and criminal intimidation. Prosecutor Mohammed Saliu told the court that on Feb. 28, Mr Inuwa Usman of Kado-Kuchi Village, by Deeper Life Church, Abuja, reported the case to the Gwarinpa Police

Station. He said the accused was caught harvesting water melon and banana from the complainant’s farm at Gwarinpa. Saliu said when the complainant confronted the accused; Dawel intimidated him with a fake Nigerian Military ID card, a knife and a military belt. He said that the accused admitted committing the offence, which contravened Sections 132, 287 and

396 of the Penal Code. The Presiding Officer, Mr Ahmed Ado, sentenced Dawel to seven months imprisonment or an option to pay N5,000 fine. Ado sentence Dawel to three months on count one, two months each on count two and three, respectively. The judge also gave him an option of N2, 000 fines on the first and second count charges and N1, 000 fine on count three.


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 5

News

Business

Nigeria investment soars but fails to fight poverty Bintube calls Bank director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Roaring growth and fiscal stability Foreign exchange reserves are at a drawing investment to Nigeria, but on Nigerians to are 4-year high and Nigeria’s excess crude it won’t trigger the prosperity needed to account, which saves oil earnings over millions out of poverty until the take advantage lift a benchmark price, has $8 billion in it, government reforms infrastructure and more than double when Jonathan took agriculture. office. Credit rating agencies upgraded Africa’s second largest economy and of Jaiz bank’s Nigeria last year and fixed income top oil producer has low debt by investment has soared since Nigerian international standards and projected services bonds were included in JP Morgan’s growth of around 7 percent for the next The Managing Director of Jaiz Bank PLC, Malam Mohammed Bintube, has called on Nigerians to take advantage of an alternative financing option offered by the bank that is practised and accepted globally. The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Jaiz bank plc, which began operations on Jan. 6, 2012, has a capital share of N11 billion. Its aim is to deliver non-interest banking to Nigerians. Bintube made the call while speaking to mark the bank’s special day at the ongoing 34th Kaduna International Trade fair.. He said that the bank was built on strong fundamental principles of high ethics, fairness, objective and transparency. “Jaiz offers financing products and services like other conventional banks except of course, they are devoid of interest. “Our services are available to all Nigerians, irrespective of race or religion and it is about building partnership for mutual interest,” he said. Bintube said the bank had branches in Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Gombe. He also said that 10 additional branches would be opened across the northern part of the country before the end of the first quarter of 2013. The managing director said work was in progress to upgrade its licence which will allow the bank to have branches in all the states of the federation.

four years - a magnet drawing in both foreign direct and portfolio investors. Oil production continues to attract large inflows. Shares in banks and in firms selling consumer goods to the continent’s most populous nation are outperforming emerging market peers. Yet investors remain reluctant to put funds into long term job-creating areas like agriculture or manufacturing until President Goodluck Jonathan makes good on promises to reform things like power, roads and the food industry. “Investors will only begin to care once it becomes attractive to invest in those sectors so the government has to do their bit first,” Renaissance Capital’s SubSaharan Africa Economist Yvonne Mhango said at a conference last month. “Transforming power and agriculture are long-term challenges,” she said, adding that agriculture could attract foreign investors at the earliest “by the end of the decade if all reforms go to plan.” Planned agricultural reforms include direct subsidies for fertiliser handouts to farmers, free mobile phones and some more protectionist measures like higher taxes on food imports. Efforts to fix crumbling roads could have the greatest impact. Agriculture employs around 60 percent of Nigeria’s 170 million people, according to the statistics bureau, and makes up 45 percent of GDP, compared with just 15 percent for oil.

First Bank, Unity Bank introduces mobile money service First Bank of Nigeria plc and Unity Bank plc recently introduced their latest initiative in mobile money services to customers. The Business Development Manager of the First bank in Kaduna, Malam Ado Ibrahim, disclosed this during its special day at the ongoing 34th Kaduna international trade fair. Ibrahim said, “with this initiative, the Bank has extended the scope of its financial services to enable you send and receive money, buy airtime and pay bills, all from your mobile phone without having to open a bank account. “The Firstmonie account can be funded at any FirstBank Branch, ATM machine, directly from your FirstBank account, with your ATM or credit card and at any Firstmonie agent location accros the country,” he highlighted. He stressed that the widespread network provides the bank with a good leverage to implement Firstmonie, and the initiative is currently available on the Etisalat, Glo and Airtel networks. “In order to provide you with continuous conveniences in your transactions, FirstBank has several account packages to suit your various business needs,” he assured. He emphasised that the bank has always been at the forefront of innovative financial services solutions and will continue to lead the innovation drive with mobile banking services through progressive and robust

upgrade of the application to perform additional services. Similarly, the Managing Director of Unity bank plc, Ado Wanka said the bank had also introduced the UnityMobile and Unity PocketMoni service to its customers. “With these products, our customers can complete their banking transactions on their mobile devices using any of the major telecoms networks. “Wanka, represented by the North West zone Executive Director, Ismail Galadanchi, said the Unity PocketMoni services enables a customer to perform transactions without a bank account. He said the bank’s e-product aimed at making transactions safer, easier and accessible from homes, offices and other places.

GMD/CEO, FBN PLC, ‘Bisi Onasanya

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sen Jubril Martins Kuye. Yet it is in a mess. Poor roads mean a lot of produce rots before reaching domestic markets. FDI ON A HIGH Nigeria’s foreign direct investment (FDI) is projected to continue rising, from $5.8 billion in 2011 to $6.8 billion for last year, once the figures are in, the International Monetary Fund says. The IMF projects FDI to grow to $7.3 billion this year, $8.7 billion next and $9.6 billion in 2015. Yet much of this investment remains focused on oil and gas, which has never been very good at spreading wealth beyond a corrupt political elite. “For a qualitative shift in FDI to occur, the authorities will need to speed up the implementation of structural reforms,” Standard Bank’s Samir Gadio said, citing state fuel subsidies and infrastructure as areas that were being reformed too slowly. Economists have praised tight monetary policy from Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi and austerity measures implemented by former World

emerging market sovereign bond index last year, pushing T-bill yields down almost 5 percent. Stocks are up almost 18 percent this year. INEQUALITY Despite a decade of fast growth, official figures suggested last year that absolute poverty was worsening, with 60.9 percent of Nigerians - around 100 million people - only able to afford the bare essentials of food, clothing and shelter in 2010, compared with 54.7 percent in 2004. The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop late last year said poverty had fallen as low as 46 percent, which could mean official statistics may be too pessimistic. Either way, until investment gets refocused into areas that create jobs, poverty in Nigeria will remain stubbornly high. Official unemployment is 23 percent and youth unemployment is more than double that, fuelling anger and unrest. “I hear in Lagos they are building skyscrapers and the fat cats are getting richer. That’s nice for them,” says a frustrated Dauda Yahaya, 33, who runs a small grilled fish restaurant in the northern city Kaduna. “All I need is for government to provide me with electricity and banks to lend me some small capital but it’s impossible. I am someone who could give people jobs but no one is helping.”

Developers of Eko Atlantic project carve space for oil and gas workers Developers of Eko Atlantic Project on Monday said it had carved out 350, 000 metres for operators in the oil and gas sector build facilities for their workers. Mr David Frame, the Managing Director, South Energyx Nig. Ltd., told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the construction of the facilities could begin by end of 2015 after the land reclamation. “Eko Atlantic is destined to set a new pace for living and working in West Africa. “The new city will be created behind a great sea wall and will rise up from freshly- reclaimed land next to Victoria Island in Lagos. “Lagos claimed to be the world’s fastest growing city. “Soon about 25 million people will live in Eko Atlantic City which will relieve pressure on other infrastructure in Lagos State“ Frame told NAN. He said that work was in progress to retrieve nine million metres of land from the sea to provide some of the finest development property in West

Lagos state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola Africa. “Investments in homes, businesses and tourism will flourish in a safe, clean and sustainable environment,’’ he said. Frame assured Nigerians that the reclamation of the land from the sea would not affect the sea ports in Lagos State.


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 6

Around Africa Hostage families urge France to negotiate with Al-Qaeda The families of four hostages being held by Al-Qaeda’s north African branch on Monday urged the French government to seek negotiations with the militant group in the hope of securing their relatives’ release. The call was issued against a background of fears for the lives of the hostages following the reported killing of two Al-Qaeda-linked leaders by French-backed Chadian troops in Mali over the weekend. “France must give AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) clear signals of a willingness to negotiate, in liaison with (the hostages’ employers) Areva and Vinci,” said a statement issued on behalf of the families of four hostages seized at a uranium mine in Niger in 2010.According to Chadian officials, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of an assault on an Algerian gas plant that left 37 foreign hostages dead in January, and AQIM leader Abdelhamid

Abou Zeid were killed last week in an assault on rebel bases in the Ifoghas mountains of northern Mali France has been extremely guarded about the reports, amid concerns the hostages may have been used as human shields or could be subject to reprisal executions. The hostages’ families have repeatedly expressed concern about the possible consequences of France’s military intervention in its former colony but Monday’s statement was the first time they have publicly challenged the government’s approach. “Today we consider that military operations and the use of force will not result in the hostages being saved,” said Rene Robert, the grandfather of Pierre Legrand, one of four hostages seized by AQIM in Niger in September 2010. “We want a strong signal to be sent to AQIM to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate,” he told AFP.

8-Year-Old Boy Marries 61-YearOld Woman In Zimbabwe

About 100 people witnessed the most unusual wedding as 61 years old bride and an eight-year-old groom exchanged marital vows. Both families were present at the wedding of Sanele Masilela (8) and Helen Shabangu (61) and the bride’s husband and her five children were also at the wedding in Zimbabwe. The boy’s aunt, Patience Masilela (46), explained why the wedding took place. She said: “The boy was named after his late grandfather who never had a white wedding, so the ancestors told the boy to get married and he chose Helen to be his bride. The family took his desire to get married very seriously. They paid for the bride in March last year and spent a lot on the wedding because they believed it was what the ancestors wanted.” The bride said: “I’m married and have five kids of my own, but I know that this is what the ancestors wanted – and now they are happy. It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will

get married one day.” The young groom said: “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to. I chose her because I love her and I’m happy that I married her – but I will go to school and study hard. When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age.” The bride’s long-time husband, Alfred Shabangu (65), said that he never had a problem with her marrying the boy because he too knew that it was what the ancestors wanted. My kids and I are happy. We don’t have any problems with it,” he said. However, some community members said they were shocked. One woman said: “How can a family go this far for the ancestors? It shows that people do take messages from the ancestors seriously.” This was a not a legal marriage – it was only done for ritual purposes. The couple as tradition demands sealed their marriage with a kiss in the picture above.

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reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

News

Around Africa

Tight Kenya polls pass peacefully bar police killings

The tense elections — and the all-important reception of the results — are seen as a crucial test for Kenya, with leaders vowing to avoid a repeat of the bloody 2007-8 post-poll violence in which over 1,100 people were killed. Observers have repeatedly warned of the risk of renewed conflict, but the conduct of voting itself passed off peacefully with no major reported violent incidents. Voters standing for hours in snaking lines several hundred metres (yards) long — and several people thick — crowded peacefully outside polling stations to take part in one of the most complex elections Kenya has ever held. Early partial preliminary results showed the two frontrunners Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga with a clear lead. Figures released just after 7:30 pm (1630 GMT) and based on some 5% of ballots cast showed Kenyatta with 400,174 votes and Odinga with 272,519. Given that a total of 14.3 million Kenyans were registered to vote, analysts say no conclusions on nationwide trends can be drawn from the early figures. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said it had decided to immediately make public figures as and when they are sent in by polling stations. “As soon as data hits our screens it will be made available to the media in real time,” James Oswago, IEBC executive director, told journalists before the numbers started coming in. The results from the 2007 poll which Mwai Kibaki won against Odinga sparked a wave of protests, notably because of the absence of transparency in the way the tallying was done at that time. Tensions were high Monday on the coast, including in the port city of Mombasa where six policemen were killed in two separate attacks, including an

ambush by some 200 youths armed with guns and bows and arrows, hours before the opening of polling stations. People began lining up from as early as 4:00 am (0100 GMT) to cast their votes. Polls officially closed at 5.00 pm (1400 GMT), although centres whose opening had been delayed — some for several hours — were to stay open to make up for the time missed. Ahmed Issack Hassan, IEBC chairman, said there had been “challenges” faced in various parts of the country, but that any failure of electronic systems meant only that checking identification had to be done manually. Kenyan police chief David Kimaiyo said the Mombasa attackers were suspected members of the secessionist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), and that 400 officers were sent to beef up security in the popular tourist region. Police have blamed the MRC for a string of attacks last year, and the group had threatened to boycott the polls. Despite the attack, voters packed the streets in the city. Raphael Zuma, a voter in Mombasa, said he had waited eight hours to vote in the steamy heat, but happily held up his ink stained finger after finally casting a ballot. “I had to do it because I wanted to elect new leaders,” he said. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said the attacks “were coordinated and aimed at interrupting voting in these areas.” A remote-controlled bomb was also set off in Mandera — a town in the north east on the border with war-torn Somalia where Kenyan troops are battling Al-Qaeda linked insurgents — but resulted in no casualties, police said. — Polls held peacefully — Neck-and-neck rivals for the presidency, Prime Minister Odinga and his deputy Kenyatta, have publicly vowed

Long lines of Kenyans queued from long before dawn to vote Monday in the first election since violence-wracked polls five years ago, with a deadly police ambush marring the key ballot. there will be no repeat of the bloodshed that followed the disputed 2007 polls. Crimes against humanity trials later this year at The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for Kenyatta and running mate William Ruto have raised the stakes: should they win the vote, the president and vicepresident could be absent on trial for years. Both front-runners have said they are confident of winning the absolute majority needed to avoid a second round run off vote.

“We can win these elections in the first round... At the end of the day we will definitely be declared the winner,” Odinga said after voting in Nairobi’s Kibera shanty town, the scene of some of the worst ethnic clashes after the 2007 poll. Kenyatta, voting in his hometown of Gatundu some 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Nairobi, said he was “ready and prepared for whatever outcome” Kenyans chose. Kenyans cast six ballots, voting for a new president, parliamentarians, governors, senators, councillors and

special women’s representatives, with some 14.3 million registered voters and more than 30,000 polling stations. The 2007-2008 violence exposed deep tribal divisions and widespread disenchantment with the political class and shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability. More checks are in place this time to limit vote rigging, while a new constitution devolving powers has made the poll less of a winner-take-all race.

‘Mad Max’ accused of destroying Namibia desert Namibian environmental groups and tourism companies expressed fury Monday about a film crew’s alleged destruction of sensitive areas in the world’s oldest desert while shooting “Mad Max: Fury Road.” “They added tracks in untouched areas,” tour operator Tommy Collard told AFP from Swakopmund. “What is worse is the film crew tried to remove the marks they left themselves by dragging nets over them, ripping plants out,” Collard added. “Together with other coastal tour operators we have collected a lot of photographic evidence. One cannot rehabilitate the landscape of the Namib Desert,” said Collard. Smaller animals like lizards, geckos and chameleons suffered, as well as the rare lithops cactus, he told AFP. Filming took place in a section of the Namib Desert recently proclaimed as Dorob National Park. The coastal watchdog NACOMA (Namibian Coast Conservation and Management) Project had commissioned ecological scientist Joh Henschel to compile a report on the environmental damage. It was sent to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) last December for response

and actions. “NACOMA contracted me as consultant about the tracks left by the Mad Max film crew and yes – some areas in the Namib Desert were destroyed,” Henschel said. “In one area a ploughing device was used.” He declined to give more details citing “contractual obligations”. A copy of the report seen by AFP Monday laid some responsibility at the door of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. “The permit and environmental clearance granted by the MET to the Mad Max project were not sufficiently specific so as to serve to guide the management of environmental compliance of the project.” In an angry response to media reports about the alleged devastation, the Namibia Film Commission (NFC) placed a full page advertisement in stateowned newspaper New Era to “refute the allegations... in the strongest terms.” “‘Mad Max(4): Fury Road’ has to our satisfaction... faced up to their responsibilities within Namibia... we register no reservations and give ‘Mad Max(4): Fury Road’ a clean bill,” the NFC stated. The film commission blamed local media for reporting alleged “untruths” and wanting “to

tarnish” Namibia’s reputation. Similarly, the ministry of environment’s permanent secretary Simeon Negumbo said the film company conducted land rehabilitation to the ministry’s satisfaction. “From the beginning the experienced, dedicated team used tried and tested methods like vehicle and hand-dragged fishing nets, tyres, brooms, chains, ropes and leaf blowers, which worked perfectly in the area”, according to Negumbo. Namibia last year applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to have a more southern part of the Namib Desert declared the “Namib Sand Sea” to be included on the World Heritage List. According to the application document, in that desert area there are “vast panoramas of majestic dune-scapes, strikingly crystallised in sharply silhouetted forms continually transformed by wind and time.” The World Heritage Committee will meet this June in Cambodia to decide on the application. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the fourth Max film of George Miller and stars Charlize Theron. It was filmed between July and December last year.


Page 8

reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

News 94 Islamists on trial charged with plotting against United Arab Emirates The trial of 94 Islamists accused of plotting against the United Arab Emirates began Monday in the absence of rights activists and foreign reporters, who according to witnesses were barred from the court. The Federal Supreme Court, which also acts as state security court, convened in Abu Dhabi to try the activists arrested between March and December last year. The accused are said by prosecutors to be linked to the Al-Islah group, which has ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. UAE attorney general Salem Kobaish last month said the defendants would be tried for “having created and led a movement aimed at opposing the basic foundations on which the state’s political system is built and at seizing power”. The group had formed a “secret organisation” which was in contact with individuals and organisations “abroad”, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Kobaish said. The attorney general said they had also created or invested in real estate companies to finance their organisation. Relatives posted pictures on Twitter of representatives of human rights organisations standing outside the court building after allegedly being denied entry as observers. Amnesty International said a Kuwaiti lawyer representing it as an observer was denied entry into the UAE. “By denying access to observers from human rights groups, the UAE authorities are blatantly trying to manage what information is made available about the trial to the outside world,” Amnesty International said. The Kuwaiti lawyer, Ahmad Nashmi al-Dhafeeri, wrote on his Twitter account that he was sent back from the airport. “I was prevented today from entering the UAE to monitor the trial of those accused of plotting to overthrow the government as a delegate for Amnesty International,” Dhafeeri wrote on his Twitter account.

Mexico's Slim, Gates, Zara chief Ortega world's richest

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Zara fashion house boss Amancio Ortega of Spain topped the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest billionaires Monday. Slim, who controls Latin American telecommunications power America Movil and retail/industrial group Grupo Carso, came in first among the mega-rich for the fourth straight year, with a fortune estimated at $73 billion, up $4 billion from a year ago. Microsoft chairman Gates, a perennial top finisher in the list, placed second with $67 billion, up $8 billion from 2012. Ortega, whose Inditex fashion group includes the popular Zara chain, vaulted from the seventh position into the third spot. His wealth is now estimated at $57 billion, rocketing from $31 billion a year ago. Slim and Gates were also in the top two spots last year. Warren Buffett, chief of US conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, ranked fourth with $53.5 billion, and Larry Ellison, chief executive of US technology company Oracle, rated fifth with $43 billion. Asia's richest man, Li Ka-shing, came in eighth with $31 billion. He owes to fortune to his sprawling transportation, trading and energy businesses.

Around The World

China grave-robbers sold dead brides Four people have been jailed in China for digging up corpses to sell as brides for traditional “ghost marriages” — where dead single men are buried with a wife for the afterlife — local reports said. Marriage is an important part of Chinese society and, while the practice is increasingly rare, it is still kept up by some families whose young adult sons pass away before having a chance to

wed. Normally it is agreed between the families of the dead, but the Xian Evening News said on Saturday that the group “stole female corpses and after cleaning them, fabricated medical files for the deceased and sold them for a high price”. A court in the northern province of Shaanxi had in recent days sentenced the four to terms between 28 and 32

months, it said, adding they “took advantage” of the “bad tradition” of ghost marriages in parts of Shaanxi and neighbouring Shanxi province. The deceased couples are typically buried side by side after a wedding ceremony of sorts. Citing the court, the report said the gang made a total of 240,000 yuan ($39,000) from the sales of 10 corpses.

Boasting two properties in an exclusive enclave just outside San Diego and an enviable designer wardrobe, the jailed boss of Mexico’s teachers’ union was just another multi-millionaire to her neighbors. As Elba Esther Gordillo, once widely regarded as the most powerful woman in Mexico, languishes in a Mexico City jail on charges she embezzled around $200 million in union funds, her six bedroom, three-floor luxury villa on the Coronado Cays stands empty. Gordillo, 68, has previously denied allegations of corruption. Her lawyer could not be reached for comment. “All I knew was she was Mexican, and somebody said she was very influential, and I knew nothing more,” said Karin Hoad, who owns the property next door to Gordillo’s. “Coronado Cays is very private. If you go there you’d think it’s a movie set. You don’t hear anything, you don’t see anything,” Hoad said by telephone from Costa Rica, where she runs a sanctuary for stray dogs. Gordillo’s home has a mooring dock outside the patio with access to San Diego Bay, and she owns another nearby plot in the same development. She was known to have a residence in the United States, though the value of her assets in San Diego came as a surprise to many in Mexico. Her arrest on Tuesday comes after new President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged to put an end to the corruption that has long plagued public life and the reputation of his ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Political analysts say Gordillo’s detention

serves as a warning shot to any politicians or union bosses involved in corruption, but has raised fears the PRI could be returning to a past trait of cracking down on dissent. The fraud case against Gordillo, herself a former PRI stalwart, hinges in substantial part on the fact that she managed to purchase such expensive properties. Her two Coronado properties are worth nearly $9 million between them, according to San Diego County’s tax assessor, a far cry from Gordillo’s humble beginnings in southern Mexico. Gordillo has publicly denied the allegations of corruption leveled against her over the years in interviews, and said in 2002 her wealth came from an inheritance

from a grandfather. Gordillo said last month she made her money through the “sweat” of her brow. Gordillo’s lawyers, family and supporters have kept a low profile since her arrest. “I’m not going to speak to you because I have instructions from the relatives not to give any interviews until her legal situation is resolved, in order not to get in the way,” her lawyer, Arturo German Rangel, previously told reporters in Mexico City. Politicians close to Gordillo have declined to comment on her arrest. The New Alliance Party she helped found said in a statement it would not issue opinions on the judicial process. Gordillo’s daughter has said she does

Luxury villas, designer labels: jailed Mexico union boss' U.S. oasis

CONTINUED ON PAGE 9

Record 259 nominees for 2013 Nobel Peace Prize A record 259 nominees are in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize — 209 individuals and 50 organisations — with the laureate to be announced in October, the Nobel Institute said. The list is known to include Malala Yousafzai, the shot Pakistani schoolgirl-turned-icon of Taliban resistance, ex-Eastern bloc activists, and former US president Bill Clinton. “The trend is upward, not every year but almost,” the head of the Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, said. “This reflects a growing interest for the prize. The nominations come from the entire world,” he said. The previous record dates back to 2011 when 241 candidates were nominated.

The list of nominees is kept secret for 50 years. But thousands of people are eligible to nominate candidates — including former laureates, members of parliament and government around the world, some university professors, and members of certain international organisations — and they can reveal the names they have put forward. As a result, it is known that Malala and Clinton are nominated, as well as Russian human rights organisation Memorial and Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein. The deadline to submit nominations closed on February 1. The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its choice in early October, and the prize will be

awarded, as tradition dictates, on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the Nobel Prizes’ founder, philanthropist Alfred Nobel. Last year, the prestigious honour went to the European Union, a highly controversial choice as the bloc struggles through its worst crisis since its creation. “There’s no doubt that the choice of laureates in recent years has contributed to the increasing attention” on the award, Lundestad acknowledged. In 2009, the prize also made waves when US President Barack Obama received the nod just months after he took office and as the US was fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

News

Around The World

Luxury villas, designer labels: jailed Mexico union boss' U.S. oasis Contd. from Page 8 not want to talk about it. Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo says Gordillo spent more than $3 million at a Neiman Marcus department store between 2008 and 2011 alone, citing evidence harvested by the government. “She must have bought a lot of things, or very expensive things,” Murillo said in a television interview. The upscale Neiman Marcus sells jewelry, designer clothes and fashion accessories. A spokeswoman for Neiman Marcus declined to comment on any customer’s buying habits but said the company was cooperating fully with the investigation. Gordillo’s spending far exceeded her salary as union head. She had a declared income of 1.3 million pesos ($102,000) a year between 2009 and 2012, according to Mexico’s attorney general. That was a fraction of the sum prosecutors said she spent and deposited in banks during the period. Prosecutors are focusing on funds they say were diverted from union accounts, and on how Gordillo managed to amass millions of dollars worth of property. Two of Gordillo’s Coronado Cays neighbors, who asked not to be named to keep a low profile given the scandal, said she was often seen with a security detail. This caused alarm. “She shows up with her bodyguards in bulletproof vests and displaying semi-automatic weapons, you know that’s a very real consideration,” said one of three full-time residents in the culde-sac. “She has a driver, a maid, a chef, a personal assistant and her cleaning staff, and three or four bodyguards - they all show up and there’s no more parking.” Hoad said she personally never saw any guns. PROPERTY PORTFOLIO Gordillo’s Coronado Cays properties are at the most expensive end of the island of Coronado, in an area where local housing association officials and building inspectors say more than half the homes are owned by foreign nationals including Mexicans. She also owns several upscale apartments in Mexico City, the attorney general says. Deeds reviewed by Reuters show Gordillo’s two Coronado properties are registered to Comercializadora TTS, a company Murillo says was owned by her late mother. Gordillo’s neighbor Hoad said the woman nicknamed “The Teacher” in Mexico had once offered to buy her home too. “She apparently has children and grandchildren, and so her idea was to buy a couple of homes, so that the whole family could get together once or twice a year,” Hoad said, adding that she only met Gordillo once. Workers at the nearby Loew’s Coronado Resort Sea Spa said Gordillo, a self-confessed fan of

Page 9

designer clothes with a vast handbag collection by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Hermes and a penchant for fine dining and artwork, was a good customer and tipped well. The Coronado Cays, as locals call it, is a breezy enclave of about 1,500 luxury homes on a sliver of land called the Silver Strand that separates the Pacific Ocean from San Diego Bay. Many of the properties in the gated, guarded community are second homes for jet-setters, residents say. Having long complained of poor health, Gordillo was moved to a hospital in an another prison in Mexico’s capital on Friday. She faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted although she could move to house arrest when she turns 70. CHANGING HER MIND The Cays is broken into 10 ‘villages’ named for places in the West Indies, including Kingston and Trinidad Cay, where day laborers, landscapers and construction workers park their trucks next to Mercedes Benz, Range Rovers and Rolls Royces. Gordillo herself had a black chauffeur-driven Hummer, her neighbors said. At times, friends of Gordillo would descend in a swarm of Hummers and take up all the parking, they said. There was no way to independently confirm this. In Coronado, it is common for buyers to tear down the home they buy and build another, much larger one, from scratch, locals said. Gordillo has been doing just that with her second plot there. The house Gordillo’s corporation bought in 2010 for $4.08 million is under construction, with outside siding panels in place but the interior raw. At the rear, a swimming pool next to the bay sits empty with construction gear around it. Right after the purchase, contractors tore down the 5,328 square foot house there and filed plans to build a 7,168 sq ft house with a 642 sq ft garage, 935 sq ft decks, an elevator and four fireplaces, according to the planning documents. By the following January, builders had poured the footings, but Gordillo then ordered her contractor to apply for a permit to demolish the new construction. Sweig General Contracting, which was working on the property, declined to comment Gordillo’s name appears on just one of more than 800 pages of planning documents filed with the city and seen by Reuters. The document authorizes a contractor to sign documents for her. According to building permit records, about $13,000 was spent tearing out concrete footings and removing the utility connections that had just been put in. It is not clear how much of the estimated $872,000 of approved construction had been done before work stopped on Thursday morning.

Netanyahu to lobby Obama to free jailed Israeli spy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday pledged to ask President Barack Obama to free an Israeli spy jailed since 1985 when the US leader visits Jerusalem later this month. "This issue will come up during President Obama's visit," the prime minister's office quoted him as saying in a meeting with the wife of Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence for espionage in the United States. "The time has long since

come for Jonathan to go free," Netanyahu told Esther Pollard. Israeli supporters of Pollard Jonathan say more than 95,000 people have so far signed an online petition asking Obama to free him. The White House fears mass protests during the president's visit on March 20-22, according to Israeli media. Pollard, a former US Navy analyst, passed thousands of secret documents about American spy activities in the

Arab world to Israel between May 1984 and his arrest in November 1985. He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995 and officially recognised by the Jewish state as an Israeli spy in 1998. Israelis argue that Pollard's punishment and the longstanding US refusal to reduce his sentence have been particularly harsh, given that he gave information to a friendly nation.

‘Vatileaks’ concern as pre-conclave talks begin Catholic cardinals on Monday pressed for more information about the “Vatileaks” scandal as a series of Vatican meetings got under way to prepare for a conclave to elect a new pope after Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation. “If we’re going to make a good decision, I’m sure we’ll have to have some information on that,” South African cardinal Wilfrid Napier told reporters on the sidelines of the closed-door meetings. Asked whether there would have to be a reform of the Roman Curia, the central government of the Catholic Church, Napier said: “That naturally is going to come into the picture as well.” French cardinal Philippe Barbarin said: “We want to know what’s going on inside the Vatican, which has been a bit knocked about in recent years.” Hundreds of confidential papal documents alleging instances of corruption and intrigue in the administration of the Vatican

Pope after Benedict XVI were leaked to the press last year, causing huge embarrassment. Benedict’s personal butler was convicted in the case but some Vatican watchers say there may have been a wider conspiracy and an inquiry by three cardinals into the affair has been kept secret. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi implied there would be no general discussion on “Vatileaks”, saying cardinals could ask fellow cardinals in

private “for any information they believe useful.” Spanish cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo however played down wider implications from the scandal. “I was a missionary bishop for a long time and I thought of those small communities in North Africa. I don’t think they care a lot about our little internal problems,” he said. — ‘As much time as we need’ — The Vatican meetings will set the date for the start of the conclave later this month and help identify cardinals who could become the next leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. “We’re going to take as much time as we need to think about what sort of pope the Church needs now,” French cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois said. “I’d be keen to have a polyglot, a man of faith, a man of dialogue.... The new pope will certainly have to confront problems within the Curia.”

Russia sets dead lawyer trial for March 11 A Moscow court on Monday set for next week the posthumous trial of a Russian lawyer whose death in jail has upset the Kremlin’s delicate ties with the United States. The Tverskoi District Court deliberated all day in a closed preliminary hearing to set the start of the trial against Sergei Magnitsky for March 11 at 11:00 am (0700 GMT), a spokeswoman for the court told AFP. Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention in 2009 at the age of 37 after being arrested and charged by the very same officials he had accused of organising a $230million fraud scheme. The case has come to symbolise the Kremlin’s failure to crack down on corruption and has prompted a crisis in US-Russia ties. The trial will be Russia’s first against a dead defendant and has been boycotted by Magnitsky’s family. Lawyers for him and codefendant William Browder, the head of investment firm Hermitage Capital that employed Magnitsky, are public defenders appointed by the judge. Browder will be tried in absentia. The public defender for Magnitsky, Nikolai Gerasimov, appealed to the judge to send the case back to Russian prosecutors, but the request was denied,

according to opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Magnitsky’s mother and her legal representatives have appealed to Moscow’s lawyer community not to take part in “raw and outright blasphemy”, arguing that appointment of a public defender to represent a dead man was not possibile under Russian law. “A lawyer is not allowed to take an instruction in a case that is clearly unlawful, and to take a position against the will of the client,” said a complaint written by Magnitsky’s relatives and distributed by Hermitage Capital. “The assertion by prosecutors that the case was initiated at the request from the relatives is a lie,” the letter said. Hermitage Capital was founded by the US born investor Browder, who has since been expelled from Russia and forced to move his business to London. The Russian authorities reopened the case against Magnitsky nearly two years after his death in what Hermitage Capital claims is a bid to deflect attention from the real culprits in the tax fraud. His death has prompted a crisis in US-Russia ties, with Moscow retaliating to a US bill blacklisting officials deemed guilty of persecuting the lawyer by

banning US adoptions of Russian orphans. Hermitage Capital was once the largest investor in Russia, injecting about four billion dollars into the Russian economy, and Browder openly supported President Vladimir Putin’s policies while trying to expose corruption at major state companies in which his firm held shares. He has since turned against Putin and unleashed a campaign to punish corrupt Russian officials, lately lobbying for a similar visa ban list against Russian officials in Europe. Russia’s NTV channel, which frequently airs smear films about the opposition, on Monday previewed a midnight special to be shown Wednesday about William Browder and the Magnitsky case, called “The Browder List”. “Who is Mr. William Browder?” the narrator asks over images of dollar bills and a smiling Browder. “What did Magnitsky die for and how did Browder use this death?” Putin told a major annual press conference at the end of last year that Magnitsky “was not some human rights worker” but worked for Browder, “a man accused of economic crimes in Russia” and dismissed concerns about the case as “politicised”.


Page 10

reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Peoples Parliament

Stealing of Pensioners Fund

In this week’s edition, Nigerians speaks out as captured by UDE EJIKEME on the squandering of billions of naira meant for Nigerian retirees in the hands of Abdulrasheed Maina-led Pension Reform Task team (PRTT), and the penalty awaiting them. Excerpts. Khalid Haruna (Lawyer) When will President Goodluck Jonathan prosecute the N2.6 trillion thieves? I ask this question in reference to July 2012 of an Abuja High Court that granted an interim forfeiture order to the EFCC directing it to take possession of the assets of six accused persons who allegedly defrauded the Police Pension office of N32.8 billion. The interim forfeiture order also covered over 180 properties out of which 140 are located in Abuja. The six suspects are Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira. Kigo was the Director of the Police Pension office before he was made permanent secretary. Are you not surprise that 15 of the 45 properties, which were ordered forfeited on interim basis, belongs to Dangabar, 11 to Onyegbula, 6 to Wada, 5 to Kigo and 4 each to Yusuf and Zira. Now, my question still remain as when will President Jonathan prosecute the N2.6 trillion pension thieves? Mrs. Bibian Amokeodo (Civil Servant) How can the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar say he has no idea of the where about of Maina? Apart from the President and vice-president, Maina goes about with almost the same number of security men. This is because he is afraid that pensioners and their children may attack him for their money he has embezzled. It is a minus in the part of the Nigerian police Chief to openly admitted that the whereabouts of the Pencom boss is unknown to him. This has truly opened the secret file that Nigeria have no security, should there be any external attack to her citizens. This kind of a thing can never happen in other lands. It is a pity. I suggest that both Maina and his team must refund the stolen fund and be jailed for life. Their conduct is man’s inhumanity to man. Period. Barr. Uche Ajah (Advocate) The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s adhoc committee to investigate the rot in the management of pension scheme in the country has failed. The good work started by Maina led Pension Reform Task Team, instituted by the Head of Service, has been rubbished as the manner in which the Senate Committee is going back its investigation leaves much to be desired. The tendency towards leaving the issue to pursue trivialities became obvious and elements of bias began to manifest, eroding the neutrality and objectivity required for this critical assignment and calling the integrity of the legislatures to question. I strongly suspect as alleged by some media reports that money may have changed hands or else how can the seemingly funny attitude of the committee be explained. There are also allegations that some of the members of the committee were seen in a car alongside some of the accused persons. Harold Ugwu (Graduate Applicant) The integrity of the Nigerian police is at stake now. I truly believe that the police is just shielding Mr. Mainia, therefore given the impression to Nigerians that the pension boss has got missing. I disagree with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar that shamelessly declared the thief missing. Go to Kado Estate, you will see either Maina or members of his

Abdulrasheed Maina family at his residence, as well as his state of the art cars. The Police chief is the one hiding Maina. Even members of the National Assembly (NASS) knows his whereabouts. Let that joke be taken not too far. This is my warning. The so-called government officials were the most corrupt as far as this country is concern. Maina, we were told is presently an assistant director. So if he become a permanent secretary, he will sell everybody in Abuja. He must go to jail, after vomiting the looted funds. Shame! Mallam Zakari Gidado (Civil Servant) Allah. Abdulrasheed Maina and his team should be stone to death. There is no need talking much on what to do or what the government needs to do them. The answer is simple. They need to be stone to death. That will serve as a deterrent to other thieves like them. There is no much talk on this. The society does not need them for now. They should die along with pensioners who died while awaiting for their monies seized by Maina and his co-thieves. Femi Rasheed (Taxi Driver) Nigerians should investigate Senate Committee members investigating the rot in the mis-management of pension funds. This is because, it seems as if the committee has been providing cover for the Maina’s group that were obviously found deep in the pension fund scam. Again, in sheer disregard for transparency, the committee is currently muting the idea of a closed door session in its investigations. I see this as an attempt at cover-up, to deny Nigerians the right to fully know what is happening. Andrew Okoro (Businessman) The Senate Committee should stop fraternizing with the Maina led pension team to the detriment of the sanctity of legislative responsibility. I describe as unhealthy the relationship between

Isa Taidi (Consultant)

members of the Senate Committee and some of the officials alleged to have fed fat on the pensioner’s entitlements. Those found guilty should face the music immediately. Kunle Adefarati (National Commentator) Abdulrasheed Maina, recently accused the Head of Service of the Federation for have partake in sharing of the pensioner’s loot. Is this allegation true or not. Let HoS deny or accept it. I strongly believe that Maina wants to sink with those that shared the loot with him. Maybe, that is why they have decided to hide him for a while, so that he will not implicate them. Grace Richardson (Business woman) I am a Nigerian and a resident of Abuja, FCT. It is very sad that I know Abdulrasheed Maina in person. It is also disheartening to hear all these stories. But how can Maina since the Senate ordered for his arrest refused to appear before them? For the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), we don’t know what is happening. It is like Maina is now or have become a spirit that nobody can get him arrested. Or maybe, he is now bigger than Mr. M.D. Mohammed, the Inspector-General of Police. Personally, I see no reason why he cannot be arrested, if the IGP want to get him arrested. And the most funniest thing now is that it is the Police Pensions Fund (IGP colleagues) that Maina has looted. The widows and orphans of the late police officers are suffering and the police chief is telling people that cares to listen, that he does not know the whereabouts of Maina. The widows and orphans of those short changed late police officers are seen hawking about the street in search of their daily bread, and yet IGP is not touched at all. Some of the pensioners that are still alive are dying and nobody cares. But Maina, being the glutton he is, has decided to package their money in his wallet and quietly left the country with it. What annoyed me most now is how can Maina be going about with over 30 security men, for what? He moves about with these security men in what capacity? May be, he is now the governor of the police pension board? I do not think, Ministers goes about with such a volume of security men like Maina. What has the Nigerian Customs Service Security men got to do with him? He also moves with MOPOL, SSS, Strike Force, Army, among others, but yet he ran away and Police chief cannot get him. For now, nobody is chasing him, but I can bet you that he is going to come back. Before he went

into hiding, he organized some women and touts and took them to the National Assembly gate where they alleged that Maina is doing well. Doing well for where? But where is the money in question? These people he arranged and packaged to the NASS gate, he told them to claim that they were widows and orphans of late pensioners. All these are lies. He gave them N500 each to say all those lies in his favour. If he has absconded, let the Interpol get him arrested and bundle him back to Nigeria, so that he will face prosecution and jail. I pray that all the people involved in the stolen of the pensioners funds, that their children will mismanage the money and bring shame to their respective families one by one. Isa Taidi (Consultant) Maina was trying to do a good job but the Cabals did not allow him. Maybe, he knows so much about the whole issues and that is why Senate Committee had invited him. I believe, if he is out of the country, it could be the same Cabals that truly advised him to leave the country in order not to mention their names. The major problem now is the ego. The Cabal don’t want him around, talk less of mentioning their names as part of the people that shared the looted pension funds. Maina, through the effort of these cabals got so much security like the SSS, Police, Army, Customs, and when the Police boss declared him wanted, they advised him to go into hiding and also organize his sneaking out of the country. The cabals are at work and Maina is one of their boys. That is just the truth. Nigerians are watching and waiting to hear the real truth behind the whole saga. Rommy Nwanaka The only thing government can do on Maina, is to use the same security men attached to him to get him arrested, and thereafter, prosecute him. I want those money he is being accused of stolen to get back to the government treasury. Also, those directors in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation should face probe now for their alleged involvement. Their bank accounts should be investigated, and if possible frozen for now until Maina returns. This is because, Maina said those directors working with the Head of Service and the Head of Service himself were very deep into the stolen of the government funds. They should also face probe as Maina has accused them. Those find to be involve should not only return the money, but will also be jailed. That office block housing the office of the Head of Service of the Federation is smelling and should be washed by sacking of all those thieves hiding in the building.

Grace Richardson

Rommy Nwanaka


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 11

Interview

Don’t develop Abuja in a rush, else ……. — Amb. Ngbako Ambassador Ayuba Jacob Ngbako, is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Election Consultative Committee. He is also a founding member of PDP in FCT and the first Chairman/Mayor of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). In this exclusive interview with UDE EJIKEME in his Garki II office, the former Nigerian Ambassador to the Gambia said that the Federal Capital Territory is not meant to be developed in a rush, otherwise the younger generations will not have a place. He also spoke on sundry issues. Excerpts. May we know you sir? I am Ambassador Ayuba Jacob Ngbako. I hail from Garki Village of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. Garki village is now called Garki II. You are one-time NigerianAmbassador to the Gambia. May we know the experience you gathered while in foreign service? There is always experience to tell at the end of every leadership. And the experience always depends on how one was able to cope. Like in the Gambia, the experience I have gathered is that, in the past, Nigerians were saying that the foreign service were not of help. But with the enthronement of democracy, I served from 1999, and was able to change the whole issue. Nigerians can go to our embassy in Gambia with pride that we have a Nigerian House. This is because, it is what is expected from us. And when I was there, that is exactly what I did. And we (officials) said to them (Nigerians), look, this is your House. Whenever you have problem, please meet us for its solution. We advise them on how to obey the laws of the Gambia and let them know that they were ambassadors like us. The only difference is that we are the officiated. So, we tell them that they have to tell Nigerians wherever they are that they are all Nigerian ambassadors in the Gambia. They should also tell their fellow Nigerians in a positive way. In their character. In their obedience to the laws of the Gambia and Nigeria. And so, I think they were very appreciative. And I can say categorically how they appreciated it is that when we call on them, I say we need to leave our foot print in the Gambia, the response was very resounding. While in Gambia, I told them that they need to remember Nigeria as our country. So, I mobilize them, and we initiated a secondary school project. Now, it is called Nigerian International School, Gambia. I was made to understand recently that the permanent site will be commission very soon. I think by April this year. So, I can say that there were a lot of experience. And this experience, I want to thank God that we took advantage of that and today we could be able to say this is our legacy. Will you be able to beat your chest that within the period you served as our Ambassador, you were able to smoothen the relationship that is now existing between Nigeria and the Gambia? Yes. You see, every host country, what they are expecting from the diplomatic society is to be able to put

Ambassador Ayuba Jacob Ngbako their citizens residing in the host country to behave very well, because, no country wants violence. No country want criminal incidences or activities. In this case, that is number one. And the number two is the government to government. I think, the time I was there, our relationship with the Gambian was strengthened. There was a strong relationship of both countries. This is because, the Technical Aides Corps (TAC) became much stronger. They really benefitted on so many other good things. So, really, there was a stronger ties between Nigeria and the Gambia as at the time or period I was there as Nigerian ambassador in that country. Sir, you are the Chairman, FCT PDP Election Consultative Committee. May we know, how far your committee has gone in this all important assignment? Well, our role is to see that those who were aggrieved, there should be mediation. That those who might have left the party because of their antecedents, it is now the work of this committee to tell them to come back, particularly, those who were the pioneers. If you remember, I was a pioneer state chairman (FCT). I was also the founder father of the PDP in FCT. So I have that opportunity, but not only as the founding member but equally as a pioneer chairman. So, they know the dynamic state chairman we have in the name of Wawal Suleiman. We pray that God will give him the wisdom to lead us well. And this committee said, we don’t need to win election with problems, rather, we should be able to compete without fear. So, that is how the setting up of this committee came about. And also, we are using some analysis of

weakness opportunity and strength in every Area Council, that we should be able to identify, put it in our table, when and where do we have threats. So, all these things are what the committee are trying to put together. And we are also going to monitor in every Area Council how is the PDP doing. And I know, the party is doing well by the grace of God. We have done the little best that we can, for example, there were a lot of problems in Bwari, but now it has been solved. Really, we still have problems in Gwagwalada, but I want to assure you that Gwagwalada have been an area PDP find it difficult to win. But by God’s grace, we are not expecting nothing less than the six Area Councils. As the founding father of PDP politics in FCT, Sir, do you have plans of going to the Senate? Well, it pays to be an anointing father. But I have not told you that I am going to the Senate. It means that you are putting me in a contradictory position. If the anointed children are in the Senate, why do I need to struggle with them. So, I want to tell you that my going to the Senate will depend on our collective will between the anointed father and his anointed children. If the anointed children say, look Daddy go to the Senate I will take it gladly. And if the anointed children again say can Daddy go to the Senate, then we will meet and decide. So, I think, that is the issue for now. I can tell you that there are a lot of things for us that we don’t need to jostle about because of power. The anointed father and Daddy have grown, but suppose the children say it is time for you to go to the Senate, will you reject the offer? Also do you have advise for those presently occupying the positions at both Senate and House of Reps? Remember that I have earlier told you that it is a collective will, if my people say so, it is all well and fine. But I can tell you that there are a lot of hurdles that one can equally pass before getting to the red carpet at the National Assembly. And there are also rules for that red carpet. We don’t want to make jostle for the very politicians that will be in that red carpet. This is my position on it. But I always wish those people that are already there well, and tell them to do better. They should not think that they have already attain to anywhere. But let them continue to match towards the mark, as the day they would be able to say that we have done it is the day they can count their blessings and say Lord the hour have come, we need your honour.

Advise to members of the National Assembly (NASS) that choose to be bench warmers? Well, I want to say that Abuja have come to stay. And the only way we can make Abuja a place for everybody is to make it comfortable, and sustainable, by given to Ceaser what is for him and also give to God what is for God. Those who by God’s will have attained leadership position should know that they have to do it to the best of their ability. Because they will surely give account of their stewardship. And I know when we have good governance all these ills will go. I also want to encourage those that are occupying public offices that they should take education of our children very serious. Because it is like a prerequisite for good governance. Once people are educated, they will know what are their rights. They will be able to advise and contribute on issues. And when you are contributing they will tell you, look, this is the thing we think you can be able to do for us. On AMAC chairmanship tussle. What is your take on Micha Jiba, the incumbent Chairman? O yes. You are aware that the primaries have been concluded and he has won. So, what do you want again? As I told you earlier, it is a collective effort. The political Daddy has looked at it and everybody contributed towards its success, and that is what has played out on Micha Jiba’ re-election. There is this issue of land swapping in FCT of which Engr. Bosah is the chairman. What is your take on that issue? Is this land swap between the investors and the government, or between the government and stakeholders? Well, I have not studied the land swap in FCT. I have not studied what are their conditionalities, and how they are going to work. But the essence is, if you say you are swapping, it means you are taking over ones thing for another. Because, the FCT is not meant to be developed in a rush. Otherwise, the principle of sustainable development will suffer at the end. The principle of sustainable development said get it today and also remember the generations yet to come. So if we are rushing in developing the entire Abuja, we may have problems tomorrow. Because the younger generations will not have a place in Abuja. So, we need to be very careful now. Well, I don’t know the wisdom that can come, and I pray that the wisdom will be sustainable. Thank you.


Page 14

reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

dispatch special Abuja Parking Policy:

Illegal policy to check a lawless society By Kevwe Ebireri

The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has for over a year been generating revenue by forcing an illegal and dubious electronic parking policy on residents of Abuja. The administration registered four companies last year and authorized them to generate revenue through the enforcement of an electronic parking system which is not backed by any law. One of the companies involved in the illegal revenue generation scheme, Automaten Technik Haumann Nigeria Limited, registration documents at the Corporate Affairs Commission show, is partly owned by Sanusi Lamido, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Other directors of the company are Yazib Mohammed, Suleima Onuche Adejoh, Abubakar Nuhu, David Momoh, Amina Akpakuru and Ayuba Tadamari. The other companies include Safe Parking Limited and Integrated Parking Services limited. While Safe Parking is owned by Nebolisa Igboka and Igwe Isu, Integrated Parking’s directors are Iliyasu Abdu, Iliyasu Esther and Emmanuel Idoko. None of the companies has any experience or track record in e ticketing or electronic parking. The registered nature of business for all are general merchants, trading or manufacturing. Investigations by icirnigeria.org revealed that each of the companies generates between N750, 000 and a million naira daily from issuing parking tickets to motorists in the metropolis. However, the issue of revenue made from this parking scheme is shrouded in so much secrecy that not much is known about details of how much is really generated. Neither the companies nor the FCT ministry was ready to provide detailed information on how much revenue the electronic parking policy generates and how much really goes into the coffers of the government. In an interview, the managing director of Safe Parking Limited, Nebolisa Igboka, only told our reporter that the company pays 40 per cent of the revenue it generates to the coffers of the FCTA. He declined giving any breakdown. The other companies insisted that it is not in their place to tell the public how much they make or pay to government, while the FCT administration too is not willing to divulge any information on the matter. What is certain, however, that no law has been passed by the National Assembly sanctioning the ticketing regime. When our reporter phoned the chairman of the Senate committee on the FCT, Smart Adeyemi, he said he did not know of any law setting up the e parking system but he would not speak further on the matter. He pleaded that he was busy with legislative assignments and asked to be called another time. But we were subsequently unable to reach him on by phone.

The FCT administration, forces an illegal money making policy on Abuja residents However, it was gathered that the system came about after some private sector businessmen approached the FCTA with a proposal to help it increase its internally generated revenue, IGR. The proposal was that by structuring the parking of cars in Abuja and issuing tickets to parked cars, a lot of money could be generated. The proposal also indicated that knowing how lawless Nigerians could be, a great deal of money would be generated by clamping the cars of offenders and fining them. Without any legal backing, the FCTA approved the proposal and went ahead to register four companies to execute the parking policy. Our findings show that huge sums were expended by the administration in demarcating parking areas and erecting toll information signs in several parts of the metropolis. The companies have made virtually no investments but are taking 60 per cent of revenue generated. Investigations show that they are expected to have installed e -ticketing machines that would issue tickets as well

Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed as parking signs with instructions to motorists but none has so far done so. The new parking policy has caused many a motorist anguish and heartache as operators of the scheme go about clamping people’s vehicles even without any enlightenment campaigns to educate the public. What is worrisome is that, from observing the activities of the parking and ticketing marshals, it is obvious that there is more focus on clamping people’s vehicles and slamming them with N5,000 fine than issuing tickets to motorists for parking their cars for short periods of time. The clamping of the tyres of residents who park their vehicles in the wrong place has generated squabbles and even physical fights between motorists who feel cheated and the electronic parking enforcement teams. Jide Onabole, was a victim about two weeks ago. His Mercedes Benz car had been clamped by traffic management marshals. The young man, a medical doctor, explained that he had parked

along the road in Wuse 2 area of Abuja and stepped into the bank briefly when he did not see any ticketing officer to issue him a ticket. He came out to discover that his car tyre had been clamped. The visibly angry man wondered why he should be punished for not obtaining a ticket when there was no ticketing officer anywhere to be found when he parked his car and refused to pay the N5,000 imposed on him. At about 7:00pm, after a prolonged and heated argument, the medical practitioner decided to seize tools belonging to the company which led to another round of argument. The enforcement team on their part insisted that he had parked in a controlled area and insisted too that he must pay the mandatory N5,000 for breaking the law. Such scenes of tyres being clamped by traffic management marshals are becoming a common site in Abuja. In some cases, arguments arising from the clamping of motorists’ cars have often degenerated into fisticuffs and violent exchanges. In some cases, the parking enforcement officials have been beaten up by victims, particularly when they unknowingly clamp the tyres of vehicles of persons who turn out to be uniformed or security men. But the FCTA insists that it will continue with the strict enforcement of regulated parking in designated parts of the Abuja metropolis to bring about some order in traffic and transport management in the capital city. It is understandable to many residents that the government wants to bring some order into the chaos that is gradually taking over the nation’s capital. Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city is reputed as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, in spite of its transportation challenges among other deficiencies that make it fall short of the definition of a world class city. With new structures spring out almost by the second and a population of 1.5million in 2006 which is believed to have tripled, Abuja is hardly able to provide the infrastructure and social services to support its ever bloating population. The FCT is one of the few cities in Nigeria with a Masterplan but over the years, it has been so badly distorted and the government is only trying to restore it. In the Masterplan, Abuja was designed to have the light rail and bus mass transit systems that would constitute the major land transportation modes, apparently to deal with the population that the city would attract. Sadly however, this aspect of the plan was neglected until recently leading to an explosion of vehicular traffic growth with the attendant congestion on the roads dominated by private cars. The present administration under Bala Muhammed as minister is battling to activate the city’s original transportation plan. In September, last


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 15

dispatch special Contd. from Page 14 year, Muhammed and Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, minister of finance were in China signed a $500million loan to finance the Abuja light rail project. The loan is to be provided by the Chinese Exim Bank. Two weeks ago, a team of 40 Canadian investors, led by the Canadian minister of international trade, Edward Fast, visited Nigeria to discuss opportunities for investment in the Abuja city, especially the rail project. The FCT administration has also embarked on an ambitious bus mass transit, congestion management and legal framework for the regulation of the sector which it believes are necessary to reduce the social, economic and environmental impact of the transportation chaos in the capital city. Last month, the administration announced restriction of route for commercial bus operators within the city central as part of intervention for congestion management. But many have criticized the policy observing that it has made the roads freer for the rich and affluent, while the average civil servant bears the brunt. The FCTA said that the electronic parking system it has introduced is also part of strategies to manage traffic in the city and that it is meant to bring about international road use standard. However, Nigerians have faulted many things about the new policy. Isiaka Yero, security personnel who lives in Abuja, blames the government for approving the building of houses and other structures in the FCT without consideration for parking space. “As is usual government is making us pay for its defective policies and lack of foresight. Look at all the mighty buildings in Abuja, only very few have provision for parking space yet they were approved. So why turn round to punish us or extort money from us when we find space where we can to park,” Yero queried. Some motorists allege that some of the ticketing officers deliberately disappear from their duty posts to lurk in corners, only to appear when the owner of a parked vehicle has left to clamp their car tyres and accuse them of breaking a law. Sometimes too, parking officials go beyond their bounds and go as far as removing the plate numbers of their victims when they have run out of clamps Parking slots within designated territories in the city attract certain charges, the lowest being N50 for 30minutes. There is also a card sold at the price of N1,000, which a motorist can buy and use over a period until it is exhausted and some corporate organizations secure their parking space for year’s period, which is the maximum time before renewal. However, when a car’s tyre is clamped, it attracts an instant fee of N5,000. If the owner is unable to redeem his vehicle before the 5:00pm closing time, the enforcement team of the company is called upon to tow the vehicle and that attracts an additional N10, 000. After the car is towed to the company’s office, the owner would pay N1000 for every day the car remains parked in the compound. Many of the critics of the policy also

believe that all these are indications that it is just a revenue generating scheme for the FCT government. And, from observation, it appears that it pays operators far more to clamp tyres than to collect the stipulated parking fee and these road marshals earn a lot of commission from the business, depending on what they remit at the end of the month, so they employ whatever means to ensure that they meet their monthly targets. From observation also, it is easily apparent that the FCT administration rushed into implementing the motor parking policy without embarking on adequate public enlightenment to sensitise motorists as to areas where they are no longer allowed to park. That was the dilemma of a woman who parked her car on a narrow road in Area 2, Garki district in Abuja recently. Because of the narrow street, she decided to park her car on the pedestrian side walk, to avoid damage to her car and congestion to other motorists. For her and many motorists who had parked like that for years, there was nothing wrong with parking on the sidewalk. After a few hours when she came back from the library where she had gone to read, she found out that her car had been clamped. An enforcement team from Automaten Technik Baumann told her that she was wrong to have parked on the pedestrian walk way and she had to part with N5,000 as fee for the offence. They added that having stayed beyond 5.00 pm, they had called a towing vehicle and that she would have to pay an extra N10, 000 if her car was towed to their office. The furious lady wondered how the team could go about clamping people’s cars when there had been no previous public enlightenment on the issue to warn motorists. After arguing for a while without making any impact, she started pleading and had cough out N7, 000 – N5, 000 fine and N2, 000 for fueling the towing vehicle - both indicated on the receipt. At the office of Automaten Technik Baumann Nigeria, the head of media and publicity, Andrew Steven Ojomini, defended the actions of the task team. He explained that motorists were not

permitted to park on streets designated as controlled areas and that is why there are no ticketing marshals assigned there in the first place. But the problem is that most motorists do not know this because there are no signs indicating that these are no parking zones. So many people still park in these areas only for members of the task force team assigned to such areas to clamp their vehicles. Ojomini could not also state the laws guiding the operations of his company, neither could he show evidence that his company has sufficiently sensitised road users on the new road use policy, even though he claimed to have engaged the media in briefings and other relevant publicity programmes. No matter how he tried to defend his company, the truth played out eventually. This company recruits just about anybody for the job and lacks one important attribute - organization. The staff unreservedly discussed in unrefined English at the reception their

displeasure in working for the company not minding who was listening; some even alleged that they had not been paid for months since joining the company, but Ojomini refuted this claim. In an interview with Igboka, CEO of Safe Parking Limited, he said his company employs more than 100 persons but he could not say which law backs up its electronic parking operation. “I cannot hold brief on behalf of the FCT, but i can also tell you that before we were concessioned, i am sure that the honourable minister and his team wouldn’t have done it in isolation. I’m aware that there is a law, a regulation that was put in place by the Malam elRufai’ administration, in 2005,’ he said, however, failing to mention the law. The public relation officer of the FCT administration transport department, Stella Ojeme, condemned the attitude of those road marshals who seize plate numbers of motorists as a way of compelling them to pay the camp fee, saying the policy was put in place to ensure sanity and ease congestion in the sector, not to harass motorists “It is wrong to remove the plate numbers of vehicles. Some people complain that their plate numbers were removed, it is wrong...parking on pedestrian walk way is also wrong and attracts a fee of N25, 000 to be collected by the VIO,” she said. This statement makes it illegal for the enforcement team of any of the licensed companies to collect monies from motorists who park in such places, but in practice, these operators, especially the ATB, demand monies from offenders in such areas without remitting same to the appropriate agency. Ojeme advised motorists to be patient when they do not see ticketing officers, explaining that sometimes a whole street is assigned to one or two persons, adding that they can also call the numbers usually displayed on their park and pay sign for faster attendance. Abuja motorists are asking the FCT administration to engage in more sensitisation programmes that would enlighten them on the new road use policy, especially how to avoid these extra payments which is making boring deep holes into their pockets. While this is yet to be, it appears that pays more to join public transportation in the Abuja city than to ride in one’s personal car. That way, motorists will worry less about running afoul of new parking regulations that do not have the force of law. -International center for investigative journalism.


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reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Politics Nigeria will fare better as a two party state — Osoba A former governor of Ogun and chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Segun Osoba, on Monday said that Nigeria would fare better as a two-party state. Osoba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview in Lagos that the best for the nation’s democracy was to have two strong structures “as is practised in some other climes.

“We had the experience of a twoparty system before— with the National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Nigeria was better for it. “The NRC/SDP experience grouped politicians above religious and ethnic considerations,’’ Osoba said. According to him, while those in NRC were republicans/conservatives, those in SDP were progressives/democrats.

Romance with APC: You are a failure – PDP tells Okorocha The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has picked on Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha for joining the newly formed party, APC, describing him as a failure and a disappointment to the people of Imo state. PDP also alleged that the governor was yet to achieve anything meaningful since he took over the mantle of leader from Ikedi Ohakim in 2011, regretting that the people of Imo state made a big mistake in electing him. PDP National South-East Vice Chairman, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd), in a release made available to reporters challenged Governor Okorocha to name any project he had started and completed since assumption of office in 2011.The statement accused him of being clueless, unfocused and unprepared to face the challenges of running Imo state. Akobundu said, “Under Okorocha’s watch, Imo has slipped into the failed states category. A state that was once celebrated for strides in education, peaceful co-existence and environmental renaissance has rapidly descended into a beehive for criminality and ecological disaster as a result of abandoned road projects by the Okorocha government.”

But in a swift reaction, Okorocha called the PDP a bundle of ungrateful elements, stressing that he had put the party to shame by spreading monumental development projects to all parts of the state, unlike what obtained when the last PDP governor held sway for eight years. Okorocha who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, said he is poised to use his membership of APC to oust PDP from Imo State and the entire South-East .

Centenary Celebration: Buhari Sacrificed His Life for Nigeria – CPC

As activities gradually pick up towards the country’s centenary celebrations in 2014, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, said former head of State and presidential candidate of the party, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) sacrificed his life for the unity of the country and does not make total enemies. The party said this to clear the insinuation by Nigerians to the effect that the presence of Buhari at the recent flag-off of the centenary celebration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja along with other former heads of state meant he has started romancing the Jonathan administration. Buhari was shown on live TV holding hands with President Goodluck Jonathan when both of them were on their way to light up the centenary torch to kick-off events lined up for the celebration. Nigerians saw the presence of Buhari as unusual at the presidential villa among

Gen. Muhammadu Buhari

other former rulers of the country, and also to participate in such an event led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government because Buhari since PDP occupied the presidential villa in 1999 to date has never been in attendance in any of the council of state meetings where fellow former heads of state address national issues. The party’s national publicity secretary, Rotimi Fashakin speaking to reporters said Buhari has been a true patriot who had laid down his life for the unity of the country during the Nigerian civil war between 1967and 1970 and that his doggedness in the fight against corruption during his stay in power as the head of state and fight against Chadian invasion of some Nigerian villages in Northern Nigeria are a few examples of his patriotism. According to Fashakin “Gen Muhammadu is not the typical politician that believes in making enemies totally; he has never said President Jonathan is his enemy, they only contested a position together in the 2011 election and that is all. Anything that concerns Nigeria, you will find Gen Buhari there. “You talk about a quintessential patriot that is Gen Muhammadu Buhari for you. He has fought a civil war to keep this nation together, meaning that he risked his life in keeping the Nigerian state together.” “When he was General officer commanding the Chadians invaded 19 Nigerians villages and occupied them. Gen Buhari not only drove them away, he drove them 5o km into Chadian territory.

“At that time, I cannot remember anyone defecting to the other party because the ideologies were clearly defined,’’ he said. On the proposal for local government autonomy, Osoba said that the National Assembly had no business tinkering with the law “as it presently stands”. “The Supreme Court judgement on local governments in Nigeria clearly stated that states are solely in charge of local government affairs, but that the National Assembly can only legislate on the mode of election for the councils. “Local government areas are state creations and should be left as such,’’ he said. Also reacting to the call by the Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, for state police, Osoba said it was the

Chief Segun Osoba

way out of the deepening security problem in Nigeria. “When you watch the performance of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) for instance, which is a near example of a state police, there is no doubt that it has not been a political check to anybody, which is the main fear expressed in some quarters

against state police. “LASTMA could be strengthened to function like a state police and it will do so effectively. “The fastest way to tackle crime in a fast growing population like Nigeria is to have state police to complement the efforts of security agencies at the federal level,’’ he said.

Benue commissioners sacked for fraternizing with opposition Mr Baba Agan, the Chairman of the Conference of Nigeria’s Political Parties (CNPP) in Benue, said on Monday that the opposition was accepting some of the commissioners recently sacked by Gov. Gabriel Suswam. Agan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi that some of the sacked cabinet were relieved of their appointments for fraternising with opposition political parties. Agan, who shielded the identities of the affected ex-commissioners, said they (ex-cabinet members) were “merely trying to eke a living in the PDP administration of Gov Suswam”. Efforts by NAN to get reactions from the affected commissioners failed as their handsets were switched off. NAN, however, recalls that Suswam had dropped 11 commissioners out of the 16 that made his new cabinet. Suswam had warned the commissioners to refrain from partisan politics, advising those with partisan interests to resign their appointments to pursue their political ambitions. Some of the dropped commissioners were Mr John Ngbede, Water and Environment; Mrs Elizabeth Ugo, Education; Science and Technology; Godwin Adah, Tourism; Comfort Ajene,Works and Transport. Others were Mr Benjamin Ashaver, Works and Transport; John Tondo, Lands and Survey; Dr Orduen Abunku, Health; Dr Eugene Aliegba, Agriculture; Mr Jacob Omenka, Rural Development And Cooperatives; Mr Simon Kwaghbula, Housing and Urban Development, and Mrs Elizabeth Allagh

Benue state governor, Gabriel Suswam for Women Affairs. The chairman said the upcoming All Progressive Congress (APC) was a national project, saying “this project is for the total emancipation of the Nigerian nation from the clutches of underdevelopment”. He said the CNPP in the state was mobilising support from market associations, student organisations and the business communities towards building a massive structure that would form the next government at the state and national level. “At the moment the APC is preoccupied with issues of unifying the opposition elements in the country for the purpose of forming a strong, reliable and unified political structure. “The party believes in the unity and the oneness of this country and is ready to enhance it through its well elaborate structure,” he said.


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reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Metro

City, Crime & Justice Census tribunal strikes out Man beheads father in Rivers’ case against National Ebonyi over prophesy Population Commission The Census Tribunal on Monday in Abuja struck out a petition filed by Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers challenging the 2006 enumeration figure for the area. Mr Abraham Yisa, Chairman of Tribunal, struck out the case for want of diligent prosecution. Mr Anthony Ibifuro had earlier filed a petition on behalf of the council against the National Population Commission (NPC), alleging that the 72,282 figure declared for the area was inadequate. However, Yisa said that the complainant was not serious in following the case to its logical conclusion.

“The matter was adjourned for continuation of hearing today, neither the complainant nor the counsel communicated to the court the reasons they are not in court,” he said. Yisa said also that the tribunal struck out the petition following application by the counsel to NPC, Mr Obina Chukwu, “to strike it out for want of diligent prosecution’’. Chukwu had earlier told the tribunal that the complainant and the counsel had failed to appear before the tribunal. He said that records showed that the council and its counsel were properly served hearing notice, stressing that by law, they were supposed to communicate to the court the reason for their absence.

One Okechukwu Ogbonna has been arrested by the Ebonyi State Police command for allegedly beheading his 60-year-old father, Ogbonnaya Okereke over prophesies from his pastor. The Ebonyi Police Pubic Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Sylvester Igbo, who confirmed the incident said it happened on Saturday at Isundiede village in Izzi Local Government Area of the state. The deceased had since been deposited at a mortuary, while investigations were on to identify the pastor behind the prophesy. According to him: “when the suspect was arrested he said he took the action because of the prophesy he received from a pastor that his father was manipulating his destiny and

Female Pastor docked for allegedly stealing N790,000 fairly used clothes A 35-year-old female pastor, Nkechi Ujunwa, was on Monday docked before a Surulere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, for allegedly stealing nine bales of fairly used clothes (Okirika), worth N790,000. Ujunwa, who resides at No. 9 Ajibola Aliko St., Okota, Lagos, is facing a threecount charge of conspiracy, stealing and causing breach of peace. The prosecutor, Sgt. Philip Osijale, told the court that the accused had on Aug. 5, 2011, at No. 9 Ajibola St., Surulere, Lagos, stolen nine bales of fairly used clothes worth N790,000

belonging to one Mr John Ojukwu. Osijale said that the accused later sold seven out of the nine bales of used clothes to one Mr Izuchukwu Eze at the cost of N504,000. The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 166(D), 278(2) and 409 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2011. Ujunwa, however, pleaded not guilty. The Magistrate, Mrs Joy Ogbomoiko, granted the accused N100,000 bail, with two sureties in like sum, and adjourned the case till March 28.

IG. of police, Mohammed Abubakar

Court orders man to accept responsibility for ex-wife’s pregnancy An Abuja Area Court sitting at Lugbe on Monday ordered a 40-year-old man, Aliyu Leleyi, to take responsibility for his ex-wife nine-month-old pregnancy and a three-year-old son. The Presiding Officer, Mr Haruna Masanawa, held that Leleyi should pay a monthly alimony of N8, 000 for her upkeep and N5, 000 for the upkeep of their three-year-old son. Masanawa said these financial commitments to his ex-wife, Hadiza Aliyu, 23, and child excluded antenatal and general medical care for both of them. He also ordered the Aliyu to go back to Leleyi’s house and remain there until she is delivered of her pregnancy. “Therefore, the defendant is, hereby, ordered to give the plaintiff the sum of N8, 000 every 30 days from today (Monday March 4). “With regards to the three-year-old child, the plaintiff is, hereby, awarded custody of and the defendant must pay the sum of N5, 000 monthly for his upkeep. Aliyu had asked the court to compel

Leleyi to accept responsibility for her pregnancy one year after he divorced her. Aliyu, who resides at Ido-Sarki Village, Lugbe, a suburb of the FCTAbuja, also accused Leleyi of neglect and lack of care for their three-year-old son since their divorce. She told the court that she had been married to her husband for five years until February 2012 when he just woke up one day and asked her to leave his house. The plaintiff told the court that she was shocked and decided to report the issue to the Village Head, who invited Leleyi for a meeting to resolve the issue to no avail. Aliuy said she had no option than to return to her parents, adding that her parents invited him for a meeting with a view to resolving the matter. The plaintiff said following her parent’s intervention, Leleyi reluctantly took her back only to send her packing again 15 days later. She said she returned to her parents again with her only son, saying that

Leleyi had again failed to take responsibility for her son’s upkeep. Aliyu said she went to Leleyi’s house three months after to console him when he lost a relation as tradition demands. The plaintiff said that she stayed there for three weeks only to discover that she had taken in for him. In his defence, Leleyi said that he divorced his former wife since February 2012, and never had any matrimonial relationship with her to date. “In February, 2012, we had a problem and she left my house for her parent’s house; the problem was resolved later and she came back to my house only to depart again 15 days later. “A few months after, she sent me a message that my three-year-old son who lives with her took ill and I sent her some money to take him to the hospital. “While in the hospital, she said she did a pregnancy test on a doctor’s advice and it turned out positive and she told me that I was responsible, but I disclaimed the pregnancy,’’ Leleyi told the court.

that the reason he also committed the act was because his father did not show any interest in training him in school”. Sources disclosed that as soon as the suspect returned from church, he headed straight towards his father and gave him several cuts in the head. It was further gathered that the suspect before committing the dastardly act had accused his father of neither sending him to school nor showing any interest in his future. The other version of the story held that the suspected murderer had been told from church that until his father dies, he would know no peace.This is suspected to be behind Okechukwu’s decision to kill his father so he could have peace.

German lawmaker urges Nigeria legislators to develop slum communities A German lawmaker, Mr Hartwig Fischer on Monday urged Nigerian legislators to begin to draw the attention of various levels of government to the development of slum communities. Fischer gave the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. He said that he recently led a delegation to Makoko community of Lagos State, where the poor living condition of the inhabitants was seen. “Let me use my delegation’s experience to Makoko community in Lagos State, to appeal to Nigerian legislators on the need to beam development searchlight on slum communities. “We observed that Makoko, in spite of development going on in the state, its inhabitants complained bitterly of lack of access to potable water, electricity supply, good roads and health facilities,“ he said. Fischer, a member, German Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that the inhabitants also told the delegation that their representatives were insensitive to their infrastructure problems. He noted that about 80 per cent of young men and women in the community, were school drop-outs and were “gradually drifting“ into different social vices. Fischer, who is also President, German/Africa Foundation, said that another delegation of German Parliamentarians would visit Nigeria in July, to discuss ways of alleviating the plight of people living in slums with legislators in other states. “We are prepared to support the Nigerian government in achieving sustainable environment, and most importantly, in putting smiles on the faces of those living in disadvantaged communities. “But, parliamentarians in Nigeria should begin to be close to the people in such communities, to enable them know their developmental problems, “ he said. Fischer said the delegation had met with members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the need to come up with workable solutions to the problems of slum communities in the state


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 19

Living & Style How To Read Body Language The 5 Most Common Body-Language Myths Busted By Carol Kinsey Goman “Most liars, especial the most brazen, actually overcompensate to “prove” that they are not lying by making too much eye contact and holding it too long.” When people find out that I write and speak about body language, they immediately get nervous and self-conscious. They react as if I could detect their innermost thoughts with a single glance. Well, I can’t. But that’s only one of the myths people believe about the subject. Here are five others: 1. Body language is 93% of communication A classic study by Dr. Albert Mehrabian is often misquoted as, “The total impact of a message is based on: 7% words used; 38% tone of voice, volume, rate of speech, vocal pitch; and 55% facial expressions, hand gestures, postures and other forms of body language.” But Mehrabian never claimed that you could view a movie in a foreign language and accurately guess 93% of the content by watching body language. His research was focused on the communication of emotions — specifically, liking and disliking. The nonverbal aspect of communication won’t deliver 93% of your entire message, but it will reveal underlying emotions, motives and feelings. In fact, people will evaluate most of the emotional content of your message, not by what you say but by your nonverbal signals. 2. Liars don’t make eye contact The biggest body language myth about liars is that they avoid eye contact. While some liars (especially children) find it

difficult to lie while looking you in the eyes, most liars, especial the most brazen, actually overcompensate to “prove” that they are not lying by making too much eye contact and holding it too long. There is, however, one nonverbal signal that I’ve noticed often follows a less-thantruthful response, and it does require breaking eye contact: After speaking, some liars immediately look down and away, then back at you again in a brief glimpse to see if you bought the falsehood. 3. Crossed arms always means resistance. Of course, crossed arms may indicate resistance, especially if you see someone adopt that gesture right after you’ve made a strong statement. But it can also mean many other things — or nothing at all — depending on the situation. In an audience, I expect to see people with their arms crossed sitting in the first row. I know that without a row of chairs in front of them, most people will create a barricade with their arms (at least initially, before they “warm up” to the speaker and lower their guard). Likewise, if a person sits in a chair that doesn’t have armrests, the limited option increases the likelihood of crossed arms — as would the response to a drop in room temperature. And if someone were deep in thought, pacing back and forth with crossed arms, I’d realize that this was a common way to increase concentration and persistence. Crossing arms might also be the normal position a person assumes when he or she is comfortable. One caveat: Since most people believe this myth, don’t be surprised when you are judged to be resistant or unapproachable

Lose weight by eating pungent-smelling foods If you’re trying to trim your waistline, consider tucking into an aromatic, pungent meal for dinner. Because according to a study published this week in newly launched gastro-scientific journal Flavour, stronger aromas lead to smaller bite sizes — a finding that could be used as a means to control portion sizes, researchers say. For their study, Dutch scientists fitted 10 people aged 26 to 50 with a nose piece that was able to increase the aroma intensity of their sample food: a vanilla custard. As researchers controlled the strength of the aroma, participants controlled the amount of food they pumped in their mouth by pushing a button connected to a feeding tube. Smells ranged between no smell, weak, and strong. The result? Increasing the aroma intensity led participants to take smaller bite sizes, researchers said. “This study suggests that manipulating the odor of food could result in a 5-10% decrease in intake per bite,” reads the study. “Combining aroma control with portion control could fool the body into thinking it was full with a smaller amount of food and aid weight loss.” Meanwhile, the newly launched journal will be published out of the Copenhagen, a hotbed of new, innovative and trendsetting modern gastronomy led mainly by chef René Redzepi of Noma, who has been

credited with shifting the culinary spotlight to northern Europe and Nordic cuisine. Flavour is the latest gastro-journal to launch in the world of academia. Big-name master chefs like Heston Blumenthal, Grant Achatz as well as Redzepi have also lent their names to another scientific journal dedicated to cutting-edge food and cooking technology in theInternational Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science launched in January.In addition to stronger smells, other studies have shown that eating off smaller plates and using bigger forks can also help control portion sizes. -relaxnews international.

when (for any reason) you fold your arms across your chest. 4. Eye direction is correlated with lying Popularized by Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), the idea that looking to the right indicates lying has been shown to be false in new research. The University of Edinburgh completed three different studies to show that there was no correlation between the direction of eye movement and whether the subject was telling the truth or lying. Rather than judging someone from a standard eye pattern, you’d be better off “baselining” each individual so you could spot meaningful deviations. University at Buffalo computer scientists developed a computer lie detection method that tracks eye movements and blink rates, and correctly detects deceit more than 80% of the time. The system employed a statistical technique to model how people moved their eyes in two distinct situations: during regular conversation (their baseline) and while fielding a question designed to prompt a lie. It was found that people whose pattern of eye movements changed between the first

and second scenario were often lying, while those who maintained consistent eye movement were most likely telling the truth. 5. Using body language to make a positive impression is inauthentic This is the myth I hear almost every time I give a speech or seminar. And it often comes from the very participants (managers, leaders, executives) who understand the value of spending hours creating, reviewing and rehearsing what they are going to say to make a positive impression in an important meeting or negotiation. I ask them to consider this: In any business interaction you are communicating over two channels — verbal and nonverbal — resulting in two distinct conversations going on at the same time. While a well-written speech or well-designed bargaining strategy is obviously important, it’s not the only crucial message you send. In a 30-minute business discussion, two people can send over 800 different nonverbal signals. And it is no more (or less) inauthentic to prepare for this second conversation than it is to prepare for the first.

By DietsInReview It’s not really news that our food ingredient labels are riddled with words that require an advanced degree to understand. We typically bypass reading them because it’s easier. However, buried in those multisyllabic nutrition labels are chemical additives that can have adverse effects on our health and how are bodies absorb nutrients. These chemical ingredients are used by packaged food producers and restaurants to increase the shelf life and enhance the flavor and color of food products. This list includes five of the most popular additives, the ones you should be most weary of consuming. You can read more at DietsInReview.com about other chemical food additives to avoid, like Saccharin, Olestra and Potassium Bromate. What it is: It’s been called one of the most dangerous additives in our food supply. Food producers, chefs and home cooks use it in nearly everything we eat and drink. Why it is Used: Preservative and flavor enhancer. The Risk: A diet high in sodium poses a great risk to our cardiovascular health. The RDA for sodium is 2,400 mg, or 1 tsp. of table salt, per day. Fast-food meals can contain a day’s worth of sodium, if not more. Food Sources: Fast Food, Deli Meats, Canned Goods, Processed/Packaged Food What it is: Created using a process that adds more hydrogen to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, making them more saturated. This is indicated on food labels as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated.” Why it is Used: This is a more economical approach for food manufacturers, as they get more product for their money. Additionally, it gives food a longer shelf-life. The Risk: Consuming trans fat can be detrimental to your health because it promotes poor cardiovascular health and premature heart attacks. A food containing Food Sources: Fried Food, Restaurant Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Packaged Cookies and Cakes What it is: The dyes are just a chemical- so they contain no vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. Why it is Used: To liven the color to make manufactured foods more attractive. The Risk: Read food labels closely, and be especially cautious of those listing Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6- all of which have been linked with various tumors and cancers.

Food Sources: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Gelatin, Fruit Cocktail, Sausage What it is: A solid, white salt that is used in food production. Additionally, sodium nitrate is used in fertilizers, rocket propellant and pottery enamel. Why it is Used: This chemical additive gives “cured meats” that salty flavor, and helps to maintain their reddish tint. For example, hot dogs and bacon would be a gray color without it. Food producers say it is used to prevent bacteria growth, critics suggest modern refrigeration does the same thing. The Risk: This additive has been linked with cancers in children and adults. Food Sources: Ham, Hotdogs, Bacon, Canned Meats/Fish, Corned Beef What it is: The chemical that gives the “butter” flavoring. Why it is Used: To give microwave popcorn or other butter products that buttery flavor we love. The Risk: In 2007, Diacetyl caught much publicity for being responsible for “popcorn lung,” causing lung disease in the workers at microwave popcorn factories. That publicity fortunately caused it to be removed from most foods, but still worth examining your food labels. Food Sources: Microwave Popcorn, ButterFlavored Anything Removing these additives can be a major step toward maintaining a healthy diet for you and your family.

5 Common Chemical Food Additives You Should Avoid

Fast food sandwich and french fries2. Trans Fat

Salt shaker1. Salt/ Sodium

lollipop3. Artificial Coloring

popcorn5. Diacetyl hot dog with mustard4. Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate


reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Page 17

inspirational dispatch

Healing Quotes for Your Heart THE BEST COSMETICS IN LIFE:

Truth - for lips Pity - for eyes Charity - for hands smile - for face and Love - for heart Use them well and make Life Beautiful! A relationship is not based on the length of time you spent together, its based on the foundation you built together

Listen carefully to how a person speaks about other people to you. This is how they will speak about you to other people.

A relationship cannot bring you things you should be giving yourself: Validation, Self Worth, and Completeness. - Mandy Hale

You will never know the power of yourself until someone hurts you badly


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reporters dispatch, March 5 — 12, 2013

Your Health The Oil that May Help Relieve Arthritis, Sciatica and Back Pain By Dr. Mercola. Folk healers around the world have used castor oil to treat a wide variety of ailments. You are probably aware that castor oil is regarded by some as a remedy for constipation. But you may not be aware of its reported use as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, or that it has been used topically to treat a variety of skin conditions, reduce pain, and stimulate your immune system. Read on, because I’m about to explore the myth and mystery of this unusual oil, and of course, investigate what modern science has to say about it. However, regardless of what some of the research has suggested, you should be very cautious when experimenting with castor oil since the science is sparse at best, and there are several known reports of unpleasant side effects experienced by some users. History of the Castor Seed: Ricinus Communis Castor oil comes from the castor seedi, Ricinus communis, which has a very unusual chemical composition. Castor oil is a triglyceride, comprised of fatty acids, 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid. This unique fatty acid is found in lower concentrations in a few other seeds and oils (0.27 percent in cottonseed oil and 0.03 percent in soybean oil) and is thought to be responsible for castor oil’s unique healing properties. The castor seed plant is native to India. Centuries ago, the plant was referred to as “Palma Christe” because the leaves were said to resemble the hand of Christ. This association likely arose out of people’s reverence for the plant’s healing abilities. It was later adopted for medicinal use in Ancient Egypt, China, Persia, Africa, Greece, Rome, and eventually in 17th Century Europe and the Americas. Castor oil is now widely used in industry. The stem of the plant is used in the textile industry, particularly in Russia, where castor oil is known as “Kastorka.” The oil has a very consistent viscosity and won’t freeze, which makes it ideal for lubricating equipment in severely cold climates. Modern non-medicinal uses for castor oil include: • Food additive and flavoring agent • Mold inhibitor • Ingredient in skin care products and cosmetics (lipstick, shampoo, soap, and others) • Used in the manufacturing of plastics, rubbers, synthetic resins, fibers, paints, varnishes, lubricants, sealants, dyes, and leather treatments; the lubricants company Castrol took its name from castor oil Castor oil was first used as an

aircraft lubricant in World War I. So, castor oil has a number of handy industrial uses. But did you know that the castor seeds from which castor oil is made can be DEADLY? Part of the Castor Seed Heals— But Another Part Kills! The potent toxin ricin is made from a protein in the castor seeds that, if ingested (orally, nasally, or injected), gets into the ribosomes of your cells where it prevents protein synthesis, which kills the cells. Ricin is made from the “mash” that is left over after processing castor seeds into oil. Just 1 milligram of ricin is fatal if inhaled or ingested, and much less than that if injected. Eating just 5 to 10 castor seeds would be fatal. Once poisoned, there’s no antidote, which is why ricin has been used as a chemical warfare agent. Even though such a toxic component is also derived from this seed, castor oil isn’t considered dangerous. According to the International Journal of Toxicology’s Final Report on Castor Oil , you don’t have to worry about castor oil being contaminated by ricin, because ricin does not “partition” into the castor oil. Castor oil has been added to cosmetic products for many years, without incident. For example, castor oil and hydrogenated castor oil were reportedly used in 769 and 202 cosmetic products, respectively, in 2002. The U.S. FDA gives castor oil a “thumbs up,” deeming it “generally regarded as safe and effective” for use as a stimulant laxative. The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an acceptable daily castor oil intake of up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. This amounts to, roughly, one tablespoon for adults and one teaspoon for children. Taking castor oil orally usually results in a “purging” of the digestive tract in about four to six hours. According to the International Castor Oil Association v, castor oil

studies in which people were dosed with castor oil at dietary concentrations as high as 10 percent for 90 days did not produce any ill effects. In spite of the fact that U.S. FDA and the International Castor Oil Association have pronounced castor oil to be safe, if you are going to try it, as I’ve mentioned previously, proceed with extreme caution because a number of negative side effects have been reported. Castor Oil is NOT without Side Effects Castor Seed Plant Castor oil’s main side effects fall into the categories of skin reactions and gastrointestinal upset, which isn’t terribly surprising given the agent’s actions on your intestinal wall. Castor oil is broken down by your small intestine into ricinoleic acid, which acts as an irritant to your intestinal lining. This effect is what gives castor oil the ability to reverse constipation—but it’s also the reason that some people report digestive discomfort, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal side effects. If you suffer from cramps, irritable bowel, ulcers, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, colitis, prolapses, or have recently undergone surgery, you should probably avoid castor oil due to these possible adverse reactions. Although castor oil has been traditionally used to help stimulate labor in healthy pregnant women, there are widespread reports of nausea, including one study in 2001vii that found nausea to be almost universally experienced by these women. A Home Remedy that’s Survived for Millennia Adverse effects notwithstanding, Indians would traditionally boil seed kernels or hulls in milk and water, and then consume the brew to relieve arthritis, lower back pain, and sciatica. According to Williams’ article, castor seed plants are widely used in India for all sorts of medical problems, including the

following: •Constipation •Dysentery • Inflammatory bowel disease • Bladder and vaginal infections • Asthma Canary Islanders made poultices from the leaves of the castor plant to treat gynecological problems. Nursing mothers applied these poultices to their breasts to increase milk secretion and relieve inflammation of their mammary glands, and applied the poultice to their abdomens to promote normal menstruation. The topical absorption of castor oil is the basis for more modern “castor oil packs,” which I’ll be discussing later in detail. Modern Medicinal Uses for Castor Oil In general, the reported medicinal uses of castor oil fall into the following five general categories: 1. Gastrointestinal remedy 2. Antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal) 3. Labor stimulantix 4. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic 5. Immune system and lymphatic stimulant The oil’s benefits can be derived by topical application, and it appears to be useful for a variety of skin conditions like keratosis, dermatosis, wound healing, acne, ringworm, warts and other skin infections, sebaceous cysts, itching, and even hair loss. Castor oil and ricinoleic acid also enhance the absorption of other agents across your skin. Studies Support Castor Oil’s Efficacy as an Antimicrobial, Anti-Inflammatory, and Immuno stimulant While castor oil has been thoroughly investigated for its industrial use, only a minimal amount of research has been directed toward its medicinal benefits. That said, the healing properties of castor oil appear to have survived countless generations of scrutiny. I believe it has enough history behind it to at least warrant greater scientific exploration, and perhaps a little careful at-home experimentation on your own. Oftentimes, modern day scientific studies end up validating thousands of years of “folklore.” Castor oil studies are hard to track down, but I did find a few notable ones, which I have summarized in the table below. 1. Castor oil has been found to have a strong suppressive effect on some tumors. 2. An Indian study in 2011 found that castor leaf extract showed better antibacterial activity against both Grampositive and Gram-negative bacteria than Gentamycin (their standard for comparison). 3. A 2010 study found that castor oil packs were an effective means of decreasing constipation in the elderly. 4. This 2009 study found that

castor oil effectively relieves arthritis symptoms. 5. A 1999 studyxiv was carried out to determine whether or not topical castor oil would stimulate the lymphatic system. The findings were positive. After a twohour treatment with castor oil packs, there was a significant increase in the number of T-11 cells, which increased over a seven-hour period following treatment. 6. In this 2000 study of the effects of ricinoleic acid on inflammation, researchers found it exerted “capsaicin-like” antiinflammatory properties. 7. Patients with occupational dermatitis may have a positive reaction to castor oil or ricinoleic acid. Castor Oil May Promote Healing by Boosting Your Lymphatic System One of the more compelling health benefits, if true, is castor oil’s support of your immune system. And this healing property does not require you ingest the oil, but only apply it externally. The benefits of castor oil packs were popularized by the late psychic healer Edgar Cayce, and then later researched by primary care physician William McGarey of Phoenix, Arizona, a follower of Cayce’s work and the author of The Oil That Heals. McGarey reported that, when used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system. More specifically, he found in two separate studies that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in lymphocyte production compared to placebo packs. Lymphocytes are your immune system’s disease-fighting cells and are produced and stored mainly in your lymphatic tissue (thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes). Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. This is where castor oil comes in. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to Cayce and McGarey), your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing. Castor Oil Packs a Punch, Topically Castor oil “packs” can be an economical and efficient method of infusing the ricinoleic acid and other healing components of castor CONTINUED ON PAGE 21


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Science & Environment The Oil that May Help Relieve Arthritis, Sciatica and Back Pain CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 oil directly into your tissues. You would be wise to do a “patch test” prior to applying a castor oil pack to make sure you aren’t allergic to the oil. There are several ways to use castor oil topically. You can simply rub castor oil onto an affected area of your skin. Or, you can affix a Band-Aide soaked in castor oil if only a very small area needs to be treated. For larger or more systemic applications, it can be used as massage oil, which is reported especially effective when applied along your spinal column, massaged along your lymphatic drainage pathways. But the coup de grace of castor oil therapy is the “castor oil pack.” To make a castor oil pack, you will need the following supplies: 1. High quality cold-pressed castor oil (see last section of this article) 2. A hot water bottle or heating pad 3. Plastic wrap, sheet of plastic, or plastic garbage bag 4. Two or three one-foot square pieces of wool or cotton flannel, or one piece large enough to cover the entire treatment area when folded in thirds 5. One large old bath towel Below are instructions for making and using a castor oil pack (courtesy of Daniel H. Chong, ND): • Fold flannel three layers thick so it is still large enough to fit over your entire upper abdomen and liver, or stack the three squares. • Soak flannel with the oil so that it is completely saturated. The oil should be at room temperature. • Lie on your back with your feet elevated (using a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing flannel pack directly onto your abdomen; cover oiled flannel with the sheet of plastic, and place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic. • Cover everything with the old towel to insulate the heat. Take caution not to get the oil on whatever you are laying on, as it can stain. If necessary, cover that surface with something to protect it. • Leave pack on for 45 to 60 minutes. • When finished, remove the oil from your skin by washing with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to one quart water, or just soap and water. (Be sure to wash the towel by itself, as the castor oil can make other clothes stink if washed together.) • You can reuse the pack several times, each time adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag or other plastic container in a convenient location, such as next to your bed. Replace the pack after it begins to change color. • For maximum effectiveness, apply at least four consecutive days per week for one month. Patients who use the pack daily report the most benefits.

How scientists made rats communicate with just their minds Duke University researchers successfully test brain-to-brain technology. I know what you’re thinking... By Chris Gayomali Brain-machine interfaces are nothing new. Lab monkeys have spent the last few years controlling robotic arms with their thoughts, and last December, a paralyzed woman was able to feed herself using just her mind and some cutting-edge tech. But now, for the first time ever, neuroscientists from Duke University have successfully connected the brains of two living things: Two rats, sometimes miles apart, connected at the head by a simple electrode one hundredth the thickness of a human hair. Even when held in separate chambers, one rat could beam new information to the other, no squeaking necessary. How’d they do it? First, both rats were trained to learn that in order to get a sip of water, they would have to press the correct lever, which was designated by an indicator light. Then, scientists designated one the encoder rat, and the other the decoder rat, putting them in separate enclosures and connecting their brains with microelectrodes. Whenever the encoder rat pressed the correct lever, its brain activity was sent in the form of electrical stimulation to

the decoder rodent. Meanwhile, the decoder rat was presented with the same set-up but without a light to indicate which lever would produce the reward. Researchers discovered that by attaching the rodents’ brains in the area of the cortex responsible for motor information, scientists found the encoder rat could “train” its decoder pal to hit the correct switch from far, far away.

To be sure, the thoughtbeaming process wasn’t easy. The rats trained one hour a day, for 45 days straight before they were successful. And the decoder rat only hit the correct switch 70 percent of the time. “There is a moment in time when... it clicks,” researcher Miguell Nicolelis tells BBC News. “Suddenly the [decoder] animal realizes: ‘Oops! The solution is in my

head. It’s coming to me’ and he gets it right.” And here’s a scary thought: Researchers are optimistic that the same neural principles can one day translate to humans. That means in the future, we may have the ability to share our thoughts directly with those closest to us, at least as long as we share a tethered (and invasive!) brain implant.

Rare ‘Zodiacal Light’ Visible in Night Sky Soon The solar system’s small bodies have been often in the news lately. There are currently two bright comets in the southern sky, one of which, Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) will soon be moving into the northern sky. An asteroid named 2012 DA14 recently passed close to the Earth. There have been two bright meteors in the past month, one in Russia and one in California. But these types of bodies aren’t the smallest relics of the solar system visible from here on Earth. A rare and hard to spot phenomenon called the Zodiacal Light, made from tiny solar system dust particles, can only be sighted under the best conditions. And a good time to view it is coming up soon. Comets and asteroids Comets and asteroids are fairly similar, mainly differing in their composition and orbits. Comets are made of ice and dust; asteroids of rock. Comets have tails because their ice is melted by the sun and is swept away by the solar wind. Asteroid orbits are mostly circular; some comet orbits are circular, but

many are highly elliptical or parabolic. Although asteroids and comets are much smaller than planets, they are larger than meteoroids, the objects that cause meteors when they encounter the Earth’s atmosphere. Most meteoroids are quite small, smaller than a pea. But there are smaller objects still, so small that they cannot be seen as individual objects. This material is called interplanetary dust, and is spread throughout the solar system, but more concentrated close to the plane of the planets, which astronomers call the ecliptic because eclipses occur in this plane. Interplanetary dust Most stargazers are unaware that they can actually see this interplanetary dust, when conditions are right. In some ways this disk of interplanetary dust is similar in appearance to the Milky Way. The glow of the Milky Way is the result of the combined light of millions of stars too faint to be resolved by the unaided eye. The interplanetary dust

disk, called the Zodiacal Light, is the result of millions of dust particles too faint to be resolved. Unlike the Milky Way, which can be resolved with a telescope, the particles that make up the Zodiacal Light are too small to be resolved by any optical instrument. [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy] So you can forget about using a telescope to see the Zodiacal Light. It can only be seen with the unaided eye, and can only be photographed with a sensitive wide-angle lens. When to look? There are only a few windows of opportunity during the year to see the Zodiacal Light, and one of these is coming up over the next couple of weeks. One factor is that the moon will move out of the evening sky, leaving it darker and making fainter objects more easy to spot. A second factor is that the ecliptic, where the Zodiacal Light is brightest, will be perpendicular to the horizon in the early evening in the northern hemisphere. Wait until the sky is completely free of scattered light from the sun, at least an hour and a half after sunset.

Where to look? First of all, choose an observing location with a very dark sky. It must be dark enough that the Milky Way is easily visible, because the Zodiacal Light is fainter than the Milky Way. At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, the Milky Way is setting in the northwest in the early evening, marked by Cassiopeia and Cygnus. The ecliptic, marked with a green line in the chart, is due west, passing through the faint constellation of Pisces. In a dark sky, you will see the Zodiacal Light and the Milky Way as two distinct but very faint objects. The Milky Way gets wider and brighter higher in the sky, while the Zodiacal Light gets narrower and fainter. The first is a band, the second a cone. If you succeed in spotting the Zodiacal Light over the next few weeks, you will have observed one of the rarest phenomena in the night sky. Good luck! - Starry Night Education, the leader in space science curriculum solutions.


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Potpourri

Gists, Events, Parties, Entertainment, Tourism and Relationship

“Nigerian woman Poured Acid On her Self” -London Police

Police in the United Kingdom are investigating whether injuries suffered by a Nigerian lady acid-burn victim may have been self-inflicted. Naomi Oni, 20, sparked a nation -wide fundraising appeal in the United Kingdom after she was left scarred for life in an apparently random acid attack. However, the police are now said to be considering the possibility that Oni did it herself after they discovered she had researched acid attacks online before she was maimed at the end of last year. They are examining her laptop computer amid reports she looked up information on Katie Piper, the former model who has campaigned for facial disfigurement victims since she was scarred in an acid attack in 2008. Oni ,a Victoria’s Secret shop assistant claims a woman in a niqab threw the unidentified liquid over her as she walked home in Dagenham, east London, on December 30,2012. She suffered what doctors described as full thickness burns to her face, arm, hand and leg and was blinded for two days. After spending nearly a month in hospital, she made an emotional plea for her alleged attacker to come forward. Naomi said: “I just want this person to come forward. How can they sleep at night knowing they have done this?

concentrating on the wrong things at the moment in terms of her researching acid attacks and stuff like that. “They are just coming to a silly conclusion.” She previously told The Sun: “The police haven’t been able to find anyone — they even asked my aunt if I had done it to myself, which really upset me. “Why would anyone do this to themselves?” She also appeared on ITV’s This Morning and has signed a deal for another interview with Take a Break magazine. The Metropolitan Police confirmed they had seized a number of items from Oni and said they were following a number of lines of inquiry. A spokesman said: “Inquiries are ongoing. “A number of items have been seized during the course of the investigation and they are being examined as part of ongoing inquiries.”

“I have stopped hating them. I just feel sorry for them and I wonder what’s going on in their life to want to make someone else suffer like that.” Detectives have quizzed her family members on whether Oni could have hurt herself. Naomi’s law student student boyfriend Ato Owede, 23, said: “The police are not doing enough to catch the person. “I think they did ask her mum if she did this herself — that’s just crazy. They need to keep on investigating. “They’re

Nollywood get N3bn Grant Nigeria’s film industry, otherwise known as Nollywood, at the weekend got a boost as the federal government initiated

‘Project Nollywood’ to fast track the movie industry in Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan, who hosted the cream of

Nollywood to a dinner to mark the 20 years of the industry at the State House, Marina, Lagos on Saturday, disclosed that the sum of N3 billion has been set aside by his administration as a grant to the industry .He said his administration believes that the income accruing from Nollywood will surpass that of

the oil and gas industry which is currently the highest revenue earner for the country. The president also gave a directive to the Nigeria ExportImport (NEXIM) Bank and Bank of Industry (BOI) to give additional impetus to the industry through provisions of loans.

Convicted Pension thief Slumps in Court

President Goodluck Jonathan

Kate Henshaw set twitter abuzz

Since Nollywood superstar and Samsung Mobile brand ambassador Kate Henshaw shared her picture with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron on twitter for her fans to see ,Nigerians have been in a frenzy to comment on the post. Kate had dropped by Starbucks in the UK on Friday morning to grab some coffee and bumped into the Prime Minister and quickly took a photo of the chance meeting.

Convicted pension thief, John Yahaya Yusufu, who is standing trial for alleged false declaration of assets, caused a stir on Monday when he slumped in the dock as his trial was in progress before a Federal High Court in Abuja. The lawyer had told the court that the offence for which his client was standing trial was ordinarily bailable and that the court was empowered by the law to exercise discretion in granting bail to an accused person and urged that the discretion be exercised in his client's favour.

Ex-Kogi Senatorial Candidate arraigned for Impersonation

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he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, March 4, 2013 arraigned a former Kogi Central Senatorial candidate, Alhaji Abdulazeez Bello Azeez, before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, on a two count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence and forgery, contrary to section 363 of the Criminal Laws No 34 Vol. 44 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bello, 49, was arrested recently by operatives of the State Security Services, SSS, at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Lagos, for allegedly impersonating the Director of Operations of the EFCC, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite. He was at the hotel premises to further an advance fee fraud scheme targeted at Mrs Mercy Orji, wife of the Abia State Governor, Mr. Theodore Orji. He reportedly posed as the EFCC’s Director of Operations with a fake identity card bearing the name of E. Adegbite. Reports from the SSS indicated that Bello was arrested on January 27, 2013 while negotiating with some aides of his would-be victim. He was later handed over to the EFCC for prosecution. At the EFCC’s office, the politician-turned conman said that he was working with one Nelson Ndukwe and Chuks Offor, both aides of Mrs. Orji to perfect his nefarious agenda of swindling her. He confessed that he impersonated the EFCC’s Director of Operations. “I’m sorry that I impersonated the Operations Director of the EFCC. I did it to be able to arrest Mrs. Orji’s assistants who are said to be working for her to launder money. It was my first time of doing this. EFCC should help me out of this”, he said. EFCC Counsel, ABC Ozioko, asked the court to fix a date for trial and remand the defendant in prison custody. However, counsel to the defendant, C. O. Taiwo said he had already filed an application for bail and prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on liberal terms. Ozioko however opposed the bail application on the grounds that Bello may abscond owing to the seriousness of the case. In his ruling, Justice Onigbanjo granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) and two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a grade level 12 officer in the civil service and must have a landed property in Lagos. The two sureties must be resident in Lagos state. He adjourned the case to September 10 and 11, 2013 for hearing.


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Sports Eaglets wallop Botswana 9-0 Nigeria U17s, the Golden Eaglets, pounded their Botswana counterparts 9-0 in a warm-up game for both teams in Calabar on Monday. “First and foremost, we give thanks to Almighty Allah for what we have been able to achieve with this team, but we are not going to rest on our oars,” coach Manu Garba said after the game. “This team is still a work in progress and we pray that God crown our efforts in the end,” His Botswana counterparts was also full of praises for the Nigerian team, adding that the experience gained over the friendlies would be useful to his boys at the African Junior Championship in Morocco come April. The Golden Eaglets remain unbeaten in 23 competitive and friendly matches during which they have scored a total of 104 goals. On Saturday, the Eaglets beat their Botswana counterparts with three firsthalf goals much to the dissatisfaction of the crowd who felt the coach Manu Garba boys were wasteful in the second half. Monday’s game was tighter with Botswana ‘packing the bus’ with more players in defence. Coach Kobedi brought in four new players to fortify the team, but in the end it was not enough to stop the rampaging Nigeria’s budding team. Breakthrough came for the Golden Eaglets in the 17th minute, when Musa Yahaya broke free from the left flank and glided the ball on the path of Bernard Bulbwa who dribbled an on-rushing defender before slotting the ball beyond goalkeeper Ezekiel Morake for the opener. Though the Nigerian youngsters enjoyed more possession thereafter, but poor markmanship robbed them of more goals in the first half. However, they turned the heat in the second half of the highly entertaining game and as soon the goals started coming like a torrential rain. Ifeanyi Matthew opened the floodgate in the 53rd minute and he was back in the 65th and 69th minutes to grab a hat-trick of the game. But it was his second goal that unarguably the best goal of the match when he struck a 25-yard half volley – intercontinental ballistic missile- off a pullout from Yahaya. Bulbwa added his second goal in the 57th minute as well as a brace for Musa Yahaya in the 60th and 71st minutes. There were also goals for new comers and second-half substitutes, Chinedu Enedemu and Odigbo Godwin in the 75th and 87th minutes, respectively.

"Only one cup? I beg" - Osaze Odemwingie taunts Keshi on Twitter Again! Osaze Odemwingie has again time taken time out from serious football to vent his spleen on the social media network, Twitter,in tweets which appeared to be directed at Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi. He also used the opportunity to explain his disagreement with former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia. The striker, who was dropped from the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) gold winning Super Eagles team, explained their differences saying it was due to his club commitment. He, however, appeared to

taunt the current Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, when he

insinuated that even a successful coach’s job is temporary. “…a coach the country is praising now will one day be sacked and to his achievements they ll say: only one cup ? I beg,”e tweeted. As an after thought he tweeted again “I changed my mind I am not doing anything haha. To cut the story short. That’s life. U self pack your own and go ! No be so ?” Osaze later deleted the tweets and replaced it with another tweeting, ”Lets pretend none of those tweets ever came. Must I always share ? I tire for my self.”

Beckham named China football ambassador Football superstar David Beckham has been named an ambassador for the Chinese Super League, the country’s football association said, a move that has been widely anticipated but also criticised. The former England captain will visit three times during the season from March to November to promote the sport in China and attract the global spotlight, the China Football Association said in a statement. “Beckham will come to China to promote youth football and serve as ambassador to the Chinese Super League (CSL),” it said, touting the athlete’s success in boosting the popularity of the sport worldwide. “His arrival will bring international attention to Chinese football and at the same time his personal involvement will be a good way to make Chinese football more international.” State media, however, cast doubt on whether Beckham — currently with French club Paris Saint-Germain — could repair the image of a sport scarred by match-fixing and

David Beckham bribery scandals. A three-year inquiry resulted last month in 33 people receiving lifetime bans and the former club of Didier Drogba, Shanghai Shenhua, being stripped of its 2003 league title. The arrival last year of the Ivory Coast striker along with Nicolas Anelka, his former team-mate at English Premier League side Chelsea, signalled to some observers that Chinese football had turned a corner. But both players have since left Shenhua, with Drogba going to Turkish league leaders Galatasaray in disputed circumstances and Anelka

signing for Juventus on loan. When news of Beckham’s appointment began to circulate last month, the People’s Daily online said the departure of two international stars had already hurt CSL’s reputation and “even Beckham would not heal the damage”. “While spending loads of money hiring international stars like Beckham, the CSL should make efforts to improve the quality of its ‘products’,” it said. “Without a truly favourable environment and high-calibre professional clubs, more foreign stars are likely to leave like Drogba and Anelka did.”

A Touching Story About Cristiano Ronaldo “I have to thank my friend Albert Fantrau for my success. We played together for a youth club. When people from sporting arrived, they told us that whoever scored more goals would be be accepted to their Academy” “We won that game 3-0, I scored the first goal, then Albert scored a header, and the third was a goal that impressed everyone. Albert went on one on one with the goal keeper. I was running next to him, he went round the keeper, all he needed to do was just to getthe ball into the empty net. But, he passed it to me and I scored. I was accepted to the Academy. After the match, I approached him and asked him “why” and he answered; “You’re better than me”. Several years after, journalist went to Albert’s house, and asked whether the story was true. He confirmed. He also said that his career as a football player finished after that match and he is now unemployed. “But where did you get such a gorgeous house, a car? You seemed to be a rich person. You also maintain your family…… where is all from? Albert proudly replied; its from Cristiano.

Record 12-goal CAF Cup romp for Gabonese Gabonese club US Bitam created a CAF Confederation Cup record when they overwhelmed Desportivo Guadalupe from Sao Tome e Principe 12-1 at the weekend. The preliminary-round rout was the biggest victory margin in the 10 years of the second-tier panAfrican competition, eclipsing a 90 victory by South African side SuperSport United in the second edition. Bitam entered the return match in northern Gabon with a 5-0 lead and the 17-1 aggregate score is also a record for a competition created after the African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup were discontinued.

A team with limited African experience, Bitam are likely to find scoring much more difficult in mid-March when they travel to Nigeria for a last-32 first leg fixture against Heartland. Former African title winners Gor Mahia and Power Dynamos had mixed luck with the Kenyans winning 5-0 in the Seychelles to advance and the Zambians losing 2-0 in Angola to go out. Gor travelled across the Indian Ocean to Victoria with some trepidation having been held 0-0 at home two weeks ago by Anse Reunion, and having lost four games without scoring in two previous Confederation Cup appearances.

However, it took Paul Kiongera less than one minute to end the goal drought, and he added a second before Christopher Wekesa put the Nairobi outfit three goals ahead just 20 minutes into the game. Edwin Lavatsa and Kevin Omondi netted in the second half to complete a remarkable turnaround by the Kenyans, and the reward is a visit to Egypt for a clash with ENPPI. Gor Mahia are the only Kenyan club to win a CAF competition, defeating hot favourites Esperance of Tunisia on away goals in the 1987 African Cup Winners Cup final. Power Dynamos, who lifted the

same trophy four years later, travelled to central Angolan city Huambo with a one-goal lead, but it was insufficient as they fell 2-0 against Recreativo Caala. Senegalese Alioune Gueye gave Caala an early lead and Ze Augusto snatched the tieclinching second goal midway through the second half to earn Recreativo a crack at US Bougouni from Mali. Bougouni defeated Haut Nkam of Cameroon 2-0 via goals from Mintou Doucoure and Youssouf Camara while compatriots Onze Createurs did even better, whipping Ivorian visitors Stella 30 to book a date with Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.


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Obasanjo at 76: Nigeria lucky to have him - Northern Governors

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he Northern governors have paid tribute to the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as he clocks 76 on Teusday. The governors said that the former Nigerian leader has lived a life of service to Nigeria and humanity. The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Niger State, Mu’azu Aliyu, said Obasanjo remains the reference point for good governance, statesmanship, diplomacy, conflict resolution and prudent management of resources. In a statement, the Northern governors said

Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo

Nigeria is lucky to have former President Obasanjo at every turn in the march to nationhood. “It is no longer news that in 1976, destiny beckoned on General Obasanjo to become Nigeria’s Head of State; an era that ushered in huge developmental drive in our journey to nationhood and in the exercise of greatness, he voluntarily relinquished power and handed it over to a civilian administration in 1979.He returned to the presidency in 1999 from the verge of death to the flourishing tree of democracy he planted, this

time as the gardener and the nourisher,” the governors said in the statement. The governors poured more encomiums on Obasanjo saying he left legacies in all sectors of the economy. They said they are proud to be associated with the achievements of the former leader, especially his contribution to the deepening of the nation’s fledgling democracy. The governors prayed God to grant Obasanjo excellent health, courage and many more years of selfless service to Nigeria and humanity.

Boko Haram denies truce with government

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igerians who heaved a sigh of relief on hearing of a truce between Boko Haram and the federal government may have to wait to a re- think as the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a new statement denied it was into any dialogue or truce with the Federal Government. The leader of the dreaded sect also promised to be more deadly in some of the 19 northern states to avenge killings and arrest of his members on trumped up charges. Shekau’s message which was released via a video CD, prerecorded and not the usual YouTube medium, was made available to a journalists in northeast Nigeria by unknown persons. Shekau denied having any relationship with any or knowing Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdulazeez, the man who claimed to be the second in command to Shekau who announced the truce.

... promises more deadly attacks Abdulazeez had earlier in the year announced a ceasefire. Shekau’s latest message roughly translates; “May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. This is an important message to all people.” “There is this wicked rumour making the rounds that we have dialogued with government of Nigeria which led to a ceasefire on our part. We have also heard how some of our operations and attacks are being credited to criminals. As such, the security agents have been killing our armed members in the name of criminals. We have seen how our members who were out on holy mission are being attacked and killed with the label of criminals.” ‘We are telling the world that whoever kills any of our members in the name of being criminals, would surely be avenged unless

such person repents now. “We are stating it categorically that we are not in any dialogue or ceasefire agreement with anyone. And we have never asked anybody in the name Abdulazeez to represent me, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of this movement.” “I swear by Allah that Abdulazeez or whatever he calls himself did not get any authority from me to represent me in any capacity. I do not know him. And if we per adventure encounter Abulazeez and his group, I swear by Allah, we are going to mete them with the grave judgment that Allah has prescribed for their likes in the holy book.” “I want the world to know that we have no dialogue with government. I have on several occasions attempted to pass this message across via the Internet

and Youtube and we later realised that some agents of government kept removing our messages from the net and preventing it’s online publication so that our messages will not be heard. They know that If the world hears our position on this fake dialogue, their efforts of deceit would be exposed.” “We are also sending this strong message to the people of Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, and any state that whoever kills any of our members should await a grave retaliation from us. God knows that we don’t kill unjustly except those that conspired against us or those that directly fight us, or the government that is waging war upon Allah and His Prophet. We will continue waging war against them until we succeed in establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.”

“This message is prepared by me and targeted towards clarifying the issue of ceasefire. We have never had any dialogue with anyone. How would we have had dialogue with the government when our members are being killed and detained in cells, both women and children. Do you call this dialogue? That is not dialogue or truce in Islam. In Islam there are condition prescribed for us to go into dialogue, and there are also situation in which we cannot go in to dialogue. What we are doing now is what is prescribed for us by Allah and his holy prophet. We are workers in the vine yard of Allah.” “We are not out to cause of destructions, but correct the ills of the society. And Allah is more powerful than all, and He has the might. Allah will surely assist us to victory. This is my message to you. If you have not heard from me all this while, now my message should have reached you all”.

Place your advert here reporters dispatch is published by reporters365 (www.reporters365.com) as a free service. Head Office: No. 3, Cotonou Crescent, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja. Editor-in-Chief: Linda Somiari Stewart Chairman of Board: Sina Sabur Aroyeun Hotlines: 08068573814, 08076007253


Reporters Dispatch Vol1 No 15