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Vol. 1 No. 26, Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

N150

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27 ·Page

Enugu Keke riders set for a showdown with govt

ANAMBRA GUBER ELECTION

Lawyers move against Ifeanyi Ubah T 2 ·Page

Demand explanation over graft allegations He does not owe them any explanation – Aide

By Ted Peters & Rex Arum

he governorship ambition of Chief Ifeanyi Ubah in Anambra State has come under a serious threat with two notable lawyers from the state giving him seven days ultimatum to clarify some allegations against him relating to sharp business practices. The lawyers said as indigenes and stakeholders of Anambra State, they are worried by the weight of the allegations leveled against a governorship aspirant like Ubah hence their decision to demand a quick and unconditional explanation on Continues on page 2

Man abandons wife, baby in hospital 0 e2 g a over ·P unpaid bill The Youth wing of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Enugu Chapter staged a solidarity rally in support of their National Chairman, Chief Sir Victor Umeh in Enugu on Friday. Pix by The Advocate

Return of Enugu Mission Schools:

You are biased, Anglican Bishops 3 e g a tell Enugu govt P · Read Advocate online: www.theadvocatengr.com

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Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

ANAMBRA GUBER ELECTION

Lawyers move against Ifeanyi Ubah Continued form cover page his purported dealings with some companies. Chief Tagbo Ike and Chief Chuma Oguejiofor, both Enugu-based legal practitioners, in a letter dated June 21, 2013 and addressed to Chief Ubah copies of which were made available to newsmen in Enugu, yesterday, outlined four major issues for which they sought his immediate explanation to enable the electorate in Anambra decide on his eligibility for the forthcoming election. The two lawyers alleged that Chief Ubah for upwards of 10 months has not paid his staff salaries, aside collecting money running into billions of naira from the Federal Government of Nigeria ostensibly petroleum subsidy which, they claimed, he was not entitled to. They also alleged that the Access Bank Plc through Coscharis Motors Ltd had advanced at least N21 billion to him which he has not repaid or liquidated till date. The legal practitioners further wrote: “That you are standing trial before the Federal High Court Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/228C/2010 in respect of charges of obtaining petroleum products etc by false pretences from a company known as Britania U Nigeria Limited which is the complainant in the case.”

Asking Chief Ubah to send within seven days from the date of the letter, detailed explanation and answers to the above issues, which they claimed were obtained from the internet, newspapers and other media sources, the lawyers vowed to commence a legal action to compel him to give the required explanation. The lawyers noted that when they

heard that Chief Ubah was putting himself forward to contest for the Governorship of Anambra State and to provide purposeful leadership to the electorate if he won, they were happy especially “because you (Chief Ubah) seem to have done well for yourself in the business world.” They added that they believed the late Chief MKO Abiola's saying

that one must be a good manager of resources and manpower to make a successful businessman and by implication, “every successful businessman stands a chance of being a successful politician cum good leader or Governor.” However, they warned that, “In the unlikely event that you ignore this demand or for any other reason fail to give us satisfactory answers to any of the issues raised above, then we shall have no other option in the circumstances than to commence proceedings in court against you to compel you to tell us how you think you can be Governor of Anambra State in the face of those unanswered questions.” “We shall even go as far as using every means available to us albeit legally and within the ambit of the laws of the land to stop you from contesting in the Governorship election scheduled for November 2013 to elect the Governor of Anambra State. “We have a right to know who you are and whether you really mean well for Anambra State, if you do not then you cannot be our Governor, Period!” they further said. Reacting to the lawyers' demand, Spokesman of Ubah's campaign organization, Mr. Afam Ilounoh, said they had no right to demand any explanation from the oil

ADVOCATE magnate regarding his personal business transactions. He said that there is no law in the country that disqualifies anyone from seeking elective public office like the governorship of Anambra State because such a contestant was a businessman, stressing that the lawyers went beyond the boundary of their practice. “These lawyers ought to have known that it is only the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that has powers to question the eligibility of Ubah or any contestant when the need arises. They should also know that whoever is standing trial before any law court is presumed innocent until otherwise proven; even if Ubah has any case to answer before any law court, he has never been convicted for any offence. “He does not owe these lawyers any explanation and again going to the press to make such a demand is clearly in bad faith; the authors of the letter, which we have not received, should wait for the courts to decide on the cases they cited rather than trying Ubah on the pages of the newspaper,” Ilounoh said. Ubah himself had earlier said that nobody can use flimsy allegations to distract him from realizing his political ambition, stressing that even those using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against him would not succeed as he had made up his mind to offer selfless service to the people of Anambra State.

Ojukwu's 'son' Debe, drags family to court, demands N100m

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he legal tussle within the family of the late C h u k w u e m e k a Odumegwu-Ojukwu shows no sign of abating with Debe Odumegwu-Ojukwu suing the family for N100 million for refusing to allow him perform the funeral rites of the Biafran warlord. Debe, a former police officer, is urging the Federal High Court, Lagos, to stop the family's “serial and sustained threats to maim or kill him.” The Igbo leader died in November 2011. Mr. Debe said that the refusal to allow him perform the dust-todust funeral rites of the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu is 'illegal and unlawful” and amounts to a violation of his rights. “The discrimination against the applicant in performing the dustto-dust funeral rites in honour of his deceased father during his burial obsequies…. being his first and eldest son, and the consequent loss of self esteem and good standing before his immediate family, peers and the whole world,” Mr. Debe said in his court

papers. He added that the family's exclusion exposed him to “public derision, great distress, mental torture, psychological disorientation, public odium, ridicule, and obloquy.” Joined in the suit are Ojukwu Transport Limited; Joseph Ojukwu; Emmanuel Ojukwu; Lotanna Ojukwu; and Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu. Others are Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu (Junior); Patricia Ojukwu; Margaret Mogbo (nee Ojukwu); Inspector General of Police; Ibrahim Muktar, former Anambra State Commissioner of Police; and Mike Okoli, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anambra State. Mr. Debe, who is also a lawyer, is representing himself in the suit. In his response, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu (Junior) insisted that Mr. Debe is not the son of his late father. “The applicant, to the best of my knowledge, as well as to the Ojukwu family, is not and has never been a grand-child of the late Sir L.P.O Ojukwu. “The applicant is not the son or the

first son of my father, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. “The last Will and Testament of my late father, dated the 9th day of July 2005, duly certified by the Probate Registry Enugu, did not include the name of the claimant in the list of his eight children. “I was listed as No. 2 and the eldest male child. He (late Ikemba Nnewi) specifically named me as his 'first son',” Mr. Emeka said. Mr. Emeka referred to a paragraph

in the will of the late leader where he listed his eight children with a preceding statement which read: “the following and no others….” “The issue of the applicant (Mr. Debe) being a son of the late Dim Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu and therefore entitled to perform any of the traditional rites he alleges as being denied, is the subject of Suit No. LD/1528/2012 between him and some respondents,” Mr. Emeka stated in his response.

“The applicant was not prevented from performing the traditional funeral rites for a man he claims to be his father. “Nnewi community has its customs and these are respected by all indigenes of Nnewi community. A son cannot be prevented from doing what the custom permits him to do,” he added. Justice Okon Abang has fixed October 7 for the hearing of the case.


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Controversy over Return of Enugu Mission Schools You are biased, Anglican Bishops tell Enugu govt ·Allege Chime wants to make Enugu Catholic State ·Govt has set up committee on it - Commissioner

L-R Bishops Aloysius Agbo of Nsukka, Emmanuel Ugwu of Aninri, Emmanuel Chukwuma of Enugu, Amos Madu of Oji River, Chijioke Aneke of Udi, Daniel Olinya of Eha-Amufu, Evans Ibeagha of Nike and Sosthenes Eze of Enugu-North Dioceses in a press briefing over alleged withdrawal of Anglican mission schools from them by Enugu state government, yesterday.

By Ted Peters

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he eight Dioceses of Anglican Communion in Enugu state have raised an alarm over the withdrawal of 54 primary schools and 10 mission

secondary schools earlier handed over to the church by the state government. The church said the mission schools were all returned to the churches for better management but while other

churches retained theirs, those given to the Anglican church were surprisingly withdrawn by the state government. The church alleged partiality in government's dealing with the

various church denominations in the state and asked the state government to immediately resolve the impasse by returning all their original schools back to them. The church represented by the eight

Gov Obi gives N62.2m to 2,500 ex-Biafran YEFON inaugurated in Yenagoa soldiers, 64 ex-Rangers players oung Engineers Forum of Society of Engineers (NSE) who

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VER 2,500 ex-Biafran soldiers and 64 former players of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu have so far received about N62.5 million upkeep allowance from Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi. While the ex Biafran soldiers received N5,000 each, former Rangers players, many of them who are down with ill health, received amounts ranging from N200,000 to N1 million to enable them obtain medical treatment either locally or abroad, in addition to monthly stipends they received from the state government. Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Chief Joe Martins Uzodike, while handing the cheques to chairman of former Rangers players, Mr. Luke Okpala, for onward distribution to his colleagues on behalf of the governor, said Obi's gesture was to further recognize the heroic roles played by the footballers immediately after the

Nigerian civil war. Uzodike said: “Governor Obi has observed that these people cannot be left to suffer after their enormous contributions in helping to reintegrate Igbos into Nigeria through sports after the war. “The ex Rangers players who receive the monthly stipend are not limited to Anambra or Igbos alone, but all the former players, whether they are from the old Bendel State, South West or the North. “In addition, the governor has secured an office space for the former players at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu for their meetings and social activities.” For the ex Biafran soldiers, the commissioner said the N5000 was to give them a sense of belonging as many of them could no longer fend for themselves. He recalled that only last month, the governor donated about N2 million to the inmates of Oji River Leprosy Center in Enugu State and socialized with them.

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Nigeria (YEFON), Bayelsa State Chapter has been inaugurated in Yenagoa at Nigeria Union of Journalist Press Centre. The colorful event was witnessed by top level Engineers from the National and state levels. YEFON which is an affiliate of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, was established with the aim of catering for the young engineering professionals, a forum for young professional engineers to chart way for the future and for the purpose of providing mentoring schemes among others. The event which has its guest speaker from the national, Engr. Ovens Ehimatie, a member of national society of engineers (MNSE) has a Theme: who is an engineer? He described the engineers as noble professionals, tasking the youth engineers to be very committed to the profession, and so should abide by the ethics of the profession in achieving their goals. In a brief chat with Engineer Raymond Awana, the Chairman of Bayelsa State Chapter of Nigeria

also doubled as the Chairman of the occasion and Engineer E. Wodu, former chairman Nigeria Society of Engineers Bayelsa State between 2010-2012 in their separate speeches commended the young engineers in forming a united front, stressing that as leaders of the engineering field, they should organize and execute communal engineering works in the state, such as clearing of drainages and monitoring of engineering works in the state; which is a way of contributing their quota to development. The newly inaugurated chairman of the young engineers forum of Nigeria, Bayelsa State, Oyeleke Olukemi Olubukola, while making her remarks appreciated the national management of NSE, especially the resource person Engr. Ovens Ehimatie, the state chairman of NSE Engr. R. Awana, former Chairman of NSE Engr. E. Wodu and other top members of the society pledging to enhance collective aspiration of the group, while congratulating the new executives on their successful inauguration.

Bishops of the dioceses in the state led by the Archbishop of Enugu Province and Bishop of Oji-River, His Grace Most Rev. Amos Madu, at a press conference in Enugu, called for the immediate removal of the state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Simon Ortuanya, who they alleged was directly responsible for the alleged marginalization and humiliation of the Anglican Church in the state. The Education Commissioner, Dr. Ortuanya, however, denied the allegation, saying it was not only the Anglican Schools that were withdrawn but every other mission schools in the state. He said that the state government had set up a committee to look into conflicts emanating from hand over of schools back to the mission which was reason for the withdrawals, adding that the committee was still sitting and was yet to submit its report for the government to take decisive action. But the Anglican Bishops insisted that whereas similar missions like the Catholic Church got back their schools and gazetted with the state government, they are yet to get theirs complete and worse still not gazetted. As this was going on, some communities were incited against the Anglican Church while some were taken over by the Catholic. Later we got a letter from the Commissioner for Education that a school like the one at Awkunanwu was wrongly handed over to us. The Commissioner for Education is working against us. The commissioner also denied us allocation of school buses. We have written to the state government but nothing is forthcoming yet. We therefore urge Governor Sullivan Chime to intervene in the matter. "The commissioner's lists should be ignored and we ask for his immediate removal. We pray for the government every Sunday and we wonder why this kind of treatment should be meted to us, the church lamented. In his own remark, the Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma queried if Enugu state has been turned to a Roman Catholic state. Our Catholic counterpart cannot tolerate what we are tolerating. We ask the Enugu state government to listen to us now. There is m a rg i n a l i z a t i o n a m o n g t h e churches, in some mission schools, their buildings and roads are receiving attention but ours have not. We have been patient enough, said Chukwuma. Bishop Chukwuma who alleged that the marginalization is even manifest in appointments, warned that the Anglican Church had been pushed to the wall and will no longer hesitate to react. He said, For instance five catholic schools in Nsukka were given school buses but only one Anglican school in the area was given a school bus, why?


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Tax Default: UNN fails to stop tribunal's hearing

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HE University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has failed in its attempt to make the tax appeal tribunal discontinue hearing in the N106 million tax derailment suit instituted against it by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), as the c o u r t We d n e s d a y dismissed its preliminary objection. Adjourning hearing on the substantive suit till July 23, 2013, the five-man tribunal headed by Prof. C.J. Amasike ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that it was not status barred as contended by the university in its preliminary motion. In a suit in March last year against the university at the tribunal, FIRS had, through its counsel, Haruna Musa, claimed that the UNN defaulted in the payment of Value Added Ta x ( VAT ) a n d withholding Tax to the Federal Government covering the period between 2001 and 2006, a m o u n t i n g t o N106,306,914.94. The Agency, therefore,

asked the court to compel the institution to remit the money to government, explaining that its failure to do so was affecting government policies. However, the university objected to the suit, explaining that the tribunal was not only incompetent but lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter since it was not properly instituted. It further contended that UNN was not a legal entity that could be sued in the manner the plaintiff had done in the action. In the objection filed by its counsel, Chief Ejike Ume (SAN), held that once an action was status barred, it would be a nullity going into its merit, adding that the action for recovery would have started within three months from October 2007, which was the period of default. The respondent added that being a federal university, it is a public office and should therefore be protected accordingly for actions not initiated within three months. Nevertheless, at the

resumed hearing Wednesday, the court resolved all issues against the respondent, stressing that “it would be unjust to foreclose the opportunity to hear the appellant where the respondent clearly admits liability on the face of the processes but merely says that although it had previously agreed to pay, time has passed.” Citing several cases, it added: “Since the tribunal is revenue-oriented, its rules are construed liberally to allow for revenue collection and generation,” so it “dismissed in its entirety the preliminary objection raised by the respondent as to its jurisdiction in this matter.” It, however, made no orders to cost. The tribunal had also given the parties option to settle out of court as indicated by Ume during the last adjourned date, but would go into further hearing if they fail to settle before the return date. It also gave parties option to appeal the ruling. Reacting to the ruling, Ume said they would study it and know the next line of action.

70 arrested over illicit drugs in Enugu

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EVENTY persons have been arrested while substances suspected to be cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) weighing 595.717 kilogrammes had been seized in the last six months by the Enugu state Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The state Commander of the agency, Anthony Ohanyere disclosed this while delivering a lecture entitled “New Psychoactive substances', in commemoration of the 2013 United Nation's international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in Enugu yesterday. The revelation came even as Chairman of Udenu Local Government Area of the state, Dr Godwin Abonyi has recommended the expansion of the NAFDAC's model of pharmacovigilance programme to track new psychoactive substances emerging out of the traditionally listed drugs.

The NLEA commander also suggested the amendment of existing laws so as not to limit it to established drug list but any other substance which experts in future detect to be psychoactive. Giving a breakdown of the arrests, Ohanyere said that 62 of them were males, while eight were females, adding that 6.2 grammes and 0.5 grammes of cocaine and heroin respectively were seized within the period. He stated that 13 persons were successfully prosecuted and convicted at the Federal high court Enugu, while 35 drug addicts were counseled and rehabilitated during the period. In his speech, Abonyi lamented the increasing involvement of the youth in drug abuse and drug trafficking saying increased crime rate, stigmatization, failure in examinations, income loss, crisis in the f a m i l y, d i s o r d e r l i n e s s among others were some of the dangers of drug abuse. Abonyi further said that drug abuse was the foundation for all crimes in the country including rape, armed

robbery, kidnapping and terrorism, adding that government at all levels should take the campaign with seriousness. He stated that it was now more dangerous with the new psychoactive substances, because they were not originally captured in the drug lists, adding that a new legislative procedure was required to bring it under the control of drug laws. The council boss called for increased funding of the activities of the NDLEA, stressing that the agency had so far excelled in her mandate and could do more with more encouragement. He enjoined religious organizations to get more vigorous in their duty as a way of encouraging the youths to live out the issue, adding that massive public enlightenment on the dangers of “known and unknown psychoactive substances and need for people to take any drug prescribed or not with caution and in strict compliance with expert directives” should be upheld.


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Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

Electoral fraud, thuggery gone in Calabar South LGA – PDP state chairman By Edem Archibong, Calabar

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he State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State, Ntufam John Okon has declared that the era of electoral fraud, thuggry, snatching of ballot boxes, gun shooting plus other forms of violence in Calabar South Local Government Area are now over as peace and harmony reign in the area stressing that most reasonable and credible candidates can now participate during electoral process without hostility. Speaking during the electoral affirmation of Mrs Margret Asuquo, the first female Chairman ever nominated to pilot the affairs of the Calabar South Local Government, Ntufam Okon who was accompanied by the party Secretary on a monitoring capacity to the venue of party primary which took place simultaneously across the state expressed gratitude to the people for the peaceful conduct of the exercise. Mr. Okon who happen to emerge as the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party immediately after retiring from the civil service as the former clerk of the Cross River State

House of Assembly at sixty appears very energetic and agile after celebrating his sixty-one years birthday recently, is battle ready to present candidates for the forth coming Local Government elections across the state. He told The Advocate that no other party can beat the PDP in Cross River since the entire eighteen councils area of the state is solely controlled by the party and promised to ensure that his party's candidates will be returned

totally as well as their councilors. In his comments, the out-going Chairman for Calabar South Council Area, Hon. Ekeng Henshaw who was one of the eleven aspirants that bought the party's intent form for a re-run in the election but unfortunately decline his political ambition on what he described as the overriding interest of the party, said that it was a consensus decision of the party to allow the only female candidate in the midst of ten men

to also have a taste of the power as she had earlier been the former Vice Chairman of the same council. On how he had been able to deal with the incessant cases of miscreants and area boys insurgent which had been a common phenomenon in the area, noting that whenever they struck had left the residents of the area at the mercy of God. Hon. Henshaw revealed that the plan to deal with the criminally minded youth was not his making but as a result of the collective decision of the stake holders who

Food poisoning: Church debunks complicity story By Basil Ukwuegbu, Owerri

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he leadership of the external sacred order of the cherubim and seraphim Owerri, Imo State has refuted some recent media report which insinuated that there was some complicity in the eight family members who died after eating Ugba (oil bean) meal at Egbelu Nguru in Ngor-Okpala L.G.A of Imo State branch of the church. In a release signed by the Provincial Chairmen of Owerri

and Ngor-Okpala, elder Humphery Awuzie and Ngozi Okereke respectively, the church averred that the deceased were members of the church at Nguru branch, but according to them, the deceased never died at the church premises as was widely spread. The church said that they only way through which it was roped into the matter, was that two of the victims were rushed to Nguru branch of the church at unconscious state by their mother, Gladys Nwosu for prayers. According to the story, Mrs Nwosu was an ardent faithful of

cherubim and seraphim church who had the belief that prayers are answered in that order. The release stated that the church believes in the diagnosis of the orthodox medi-care and as such would have advised those who brought the victims to the hospital, if they had not given up the ghost the moment they arrived the church. Other members of the Nwosu family including their mother (widow) Mrs. Gladys Nwosu who were not taken to the church died later at the federal medical center

Imo commences construction of Maritime University By Basil Ukwuegbu, Owerri.

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orks have commenced at the first ever marine University in Osemoto town, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, the first of its kind throughout Africa. The Institution is courtesy of the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who while addressing news men shortly after inspecting the site said that with the issue of land settled, work will start in earnest. The University when completed, according to the state governor will be of great benefit both to the host community and the Country at large. Speaking further, the governor revealed that the first phase of the project will cost N2.5billion naira which extends to the construction of perimeter fencing landscaping administrative blocks, class rooms and hostels. He also said that Imo State Oil Producing Development Commission (ISOPADEC),that is funding the project has enough

tinkered in one accord to rid the area off the miscreants under any guise. He added that his administration took a more proactive approach to ensuring that peace is returned to the area and that the decision was supported through wider consultation and bringing the government close to both indigenes and non indigenes alike. Henshaw as well expressed optimism that Hon. Mrs. Margret Asuquo, his expected successor has the capacity to do the same.

fund to complete the first segment of the school project within the

next two years. The helmsman explained that the

state government is collaborating with Korean Marine University, which was a result of OPADEC board visit to the university to ascertain and study the programmes of the institution. Governor Okorocha commended the people of Ose-moto for donating their land for the university and expressed happiness that the land for the institution is on-shore; close to the mapped out site for the proposed Oguta sea port and the naval base which when functional would be of benefit to the institution. Speaking, the Managing Director of ISOPADEC who is also a son of Ose-moto hinted that the commission has the financial muscle to complete the first phase of the project which is expected to gulp the sum of N2.5billion naira. The young politician applauded the state governor for approving the project stressing that the people of Ose-moto are happy to donate their land for the project. He prayed the government to justify and appreciate the gesture by the community, adding that Ose-moto people made the land available for naval base, sea port and the marine university as it will attract youth employment, manpower development and development of the area in particular.

Owerri and Ngor- Okpala General Hospital respectively, where they sought for treatment. The church made it clear that it is now necessary to set the record straight, based on the way in which some print media published the unfortunate incident, adding, “we thought it wise to make the following clarifications for better understanding of the whole matter, as it affects our church at Ngor-Okpala.” The village head of Egbelu Nguru, Linus Eke, according to a reliable source who wishes not be named, had refused to assist the late Gladys Nwosu to take her children to hospital for on-the spot treatment when he was approached before the woman and her family died. The church therefore regrets what it described as negative reportage of the church by some media organizations, adding that the police ought to have carried out further investigation on the matter before arresting and detaining two of the church elders who although have been released on bail, are still under investigation. To the Church it is a mystery how it is clear in the minds of those who concluded that Ugba meal was responsible for the death of the deceased persons and wondered why there will be no other search for the cause of the death; it also wonders why late Mrs. Nwosu prepared the meal that herself, children and labourers in her farm ate, but the meal killed the family but never tampered with the lives of the labourers who equally ate the meal. The church therefore, charged the police to intensify their investigation as to uncover all traces that are yet to be uncovered. “Leadership of the Cherubim and Seraphim therefore urged the police to do a thorough investigation as to ensure that any culprit goes not on punished,” the Church said.


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FG happy with level of work APGA youths back Umeh, at Ajaokuta Steel warn detractors

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HE Federal Government has expressed satisfaction with the level of work done at the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited. Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Musa Mohammed Sada, disclosed this during a visit by the Managing Director of Reprom Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Attah Achimugu, who led his management team and foreign technical partners. Mohammed said, “with appreciable level which the work has reached, operation of some section of the plant will commence soon”. Reprom Company Nigeria Limited had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited in March 2013 for billet conversion project to operate the thermal power plant and light section mill at the steel company. The minister said: “Federal Government has expressed appreciation over progress made to operationalise the thermal power plant and light section mill of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.” He noted that it was a thing of joy to hear from the investor, that work had reached advanced stage to kick start the thermal power plant and light section mill. The minister added that Ajaokuta Steel Company had prospects for the industrialisation of Nigeria and that every well meaning Nigerian was looking forward to the realization of that vision.

He observed that Reprom Company Nigeria Limited and its foreign technical partners were worthy partners to achieve the objective of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited since they understood the technology of the integrated steel plant. The minister advised the company to fast-track implementation and completion of the Memorandum of Understanding on the steel plant in good time. Sada noted that since every Nigerian was passionate about Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited towards the industrial development of Nigeria, Reprom Nigeria Company Limited should keep Nigerians abreast of what it was doing at the integrated steel plant from time to time. The minister thanked the investors for their interest in the project and reiterated that they should keep the spirit of the agreement alive to produce steel at Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited very soon. Earlier in his remarks, Managing

Director of Reprom Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Attah Achimugu, said that the essence of their visit was to brief the minister on the progress of the billet conversion programme for operationalising the Thermal Power Plant and the Light Section Mill of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited . Achimugu disclosed that after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on conversion of billets to operationalise the Thermal Power Plant and Light Section Mill of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited they sought for the technical support of the people who initially designed the constituent plants and assembled them from the three major countries of Ukraine, Bellarus and the Russian Federation who have keyed into the project. He disclosed that 55 technical experts would arrive Nigeria from Bellarus, Ukraine, and Russian Federation next week to commence repair works on some of the plants at Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, with a view to startingoperations at the Thermal Power Plant and the Light Section Mill by sourcing for billets.

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he Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, has closed 36 bank accounts being used for the payment of pensions to its retirees following discoveries that they were being used to siphon funds

Estate Road, Railway Quarters, they heard a loud explosion. What followed next, he stated, were balls of fire. The residents claimed they ran out of their apartments in the confusion, adding that the explosion came from the apartment of the deceased family members. They said three boys, a girl and

Metuh picks form to recontest for PDP scribe

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rstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh has picked nomination form to re-contest the position. A statement by his campaign organisation said Metuh would be soliciting for votes of delegates to the July 20, 2013 Special National Convention of the party. Metuh was before his election as national publicity secretary of the party in the controversial

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undreds of youths under the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Youth Wing, Enugu State chapter, Friday, staged a solidarity rally in favour of the party's National Chairman,

Chief Victor Umeh, with a call on some Igbos who have been allegedly hired to destabilize the party to steer clear or face severe sanctions. They youths, who carried several placards, marched round some streets chanting songs in support of the APGA National leader and

Pension fund scam: Head of Service confirms closure of 36 bank accounts meant for genuine pensioners. The Head of Service, Alhaji Goni Aji, said his office now operates only four pension accounts with different banks and was harmonising all pension fund accounts and putting in place structure for checks and balances

Fire consumes family of 6 in P/H esidents of Portharcourt had been thrown into mourning as an early morning inferno claimed the lives of a family of six. Nobody could say what caused the fire but neighbors of the deceased family said that the fire started at about 2pm. According to the landlord of the house, located at number 17, New

By Ted Peters & Uju Nwankwo

March 2012 convention, the national vice-chairman (South East) of the party. Director General of Olisa Metuh Campaign Organisation, Okey Ezenwa said the decision to re-contest the office was upon consultation with stakeholders who credited Metuh with shoring up the image of the party and the innovations he brought into the publicity machinery of the party.

their parents were those consumed in the inferno. They put the ages of the children at twenty two, seventeen, nine and seven years. According to a source, two other daughters of the deceased parents were not at home when the incident occurred. Our reporter gathered that the two other children relocated from home to write the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE. Neighbors said the father was a taxi driver while the wife was a petty trader. At press time, there was wailing in the compound. The landlord, who did not want his name in print, could not hold back tears, saying he wished lives were not lost in the fire. “If the fire had only consumed the building leaving the lives, we would all have been consoled, but losing a family of six is a heavy loss,” he lamented. Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Angela Agabe, who confirmed the incident, said she was still awaiting details.

to block any loophole through which funds meant for pensioners were being stolen. According to him, the accounts were harmonised and report of all the pension fund accounts being managed by the OHCSF came from the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission. “In that report, what came out was that there were about 40 different accounts being used to manage pension funds. So, with the help of ICPC, these have been reduced to only four banks that are very credible. They are Access Bank, Union Bank, Zenith Bank and UBA, and they are cooperating well,” Aji said. The banks, he added, were providing the OHCSF with monthly report, which it was using as well as information generated in the office to block other outlets that in the past created avenues for mismanagement of pension funds. He said the process would continue until the Pension Tr a n s i t i o n a l A r r a n g e m e n t Department began operation fully. The PTAD, Aji added, would take over all the accounts, including the pension office of the Head of Service and the other pension offices under the old pension scheme. Despite the release of huge funds to the banks by the government for the payment of pensioners, those in charge of the payment had for many years deprived genuine pensioners of their benefits and subjected them to undue hardship.

sending warning signals to his detractors including Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Chief Maxi Okwu to desist from causing unnecessary crisis in the party. Some of the placards read: “Umeh is our National Chairman, we don't want Maxi Okwu; Umeh we support you, you have led APGA well; Gov Obi, Maxi Okwu leave Umeh alone; Ojukwu and Umeh gave Ndigbo good identity with APGA we can't allow enemies of Ndigbo to destroy the party; and Umeh we know, Okwu you have no business in APGA.” The state youth leader of the party, M r. E m m a n u e l O n a h , t o l d newsmen after the rally in Enugu that members of APGA youth wing from all the 17 local government areas of the state decided to stage the protest/solidarity rally to declare their position on the party's leadership tussle. He said that the crisis in the party was instigated by some selfcentered persons in Anambra State whose sole desire was to hijack the party's machinery just to produce the next governor without minding the consequences of their actions on the numerous party supporters in different parts of the country. Onah observed that the decision of Obi to hire Okwu who was not an APGA member and impose him on the party, was undemocratic saying it was wrong for anybody to drag the party into unnecessary litigations in order to achieve his personal desire. “We embarked on the rally to show support and solidarity to Umeh because of what he is going through in the party. We want to show that we are behind him. Maxi Okwu is not known to APGA; we trust Umeh and we want him to continue leading us because he listens to the youths. “Okwu should stop parading himself as Chairman of APGA and if he ignores us and continues to cause confusion in the party, we will not stop the protest until he leaves APGA.,” Onah said. Continuing, the APGA youth leader said that “APGA is not a motor park organisation where anybody can come in and claim whatever position, if he wants to be National Chairman of APGA he should first of all aspire to become a member.” To Governor Obi, Ohah, however, urged him to leave APGA alone “because what he is doing with Maxi Okwu is affecting the future of the youths in the party.” He was optimistic that despite the instigated leadership crisis, APGA would by the special grace of God emerge victorious in 2015 election in Enugu State, adding that the members had become more rooted in their belief in the party.


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Kogi Local Govt Elections: Chairmen and Councillors warned against self enrichment

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ouncil Chairmen and Councilors in Kogi State have been asked not to see their elections as an avenue for wealth acquisition but as a call to service. Capt. Idris Wada,Kogi State Governor stated this at a three day induction/orientation workshop for newly elected Local Government officials in Kogi State,organized by the Kogi State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affiars. The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Yomi Aw o n i y i , s a i d t h e L o c a l Government plays a significant role in a democratic process, and lauded the theme of the workshop, "Enhancing Healthy Relationship between the Executive and Legislative Council in the Local Government system in Kogi State". The Governor, who urged the elected officials to work towards creating a better standard of living for their people, said the state can only make the desired progress when the councils work in unison with the transformation vision of the state government. Wada urged the Council officials to uphold the principle of zero tolerance for corruption in the discharge of their duties. In his speech, Hon Paul Haruna Gowon, Chairman House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said the workshop is aimed at creating a cordial working relationship between the Executive and the

Legislature. The lawmaker said the people at the grassroots level of administration will only benefit

from democracy when a cordial relationship exists between the Executive and the Legislature. Also speaking, Aloysius Okino

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describing the gesture as laudable idea geared towards the sustenance of the growth of Democracy at the grassroots.

Jega admits rot in INEC, unveils 2015 plan ·Says officials connive with politicians to rig elections

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HOUGH the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is supposed to be an unbiased umpire as regards electoral matters, the body is to some extent bogged

down by electoral malpractices. According to the Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, electoral fraud is perpetrated by officials of his agency in connivance with politicians.

Prof. Attahiru Jega

Man jailed 22 yrs for abducting Italian N Asaba High C o u r t h a s sentenced one Bello Okashetu to 22 years imprisonment with hard labour for kidnapping an Italian. The victim, Mr. Renzo Galvagni, an Engineer, according to prosecution, was abducted by a gang of kidnappers on March 8, 2011 on Okpanam Road. The court was told that the victim, however, summoned courage and jumped out of the gang's moving vehicle while being taken to a hideout after the gang had succeeded in disposing him of his

ALGON Chairman commended the State Assembly for accepting to share their knowledge with the various elected Councils

International passport, cheque booklets, two laptops, cash and other valuables at gunpoint. Handing down the sentence, Wednesday, the judge (names withheld) stated that “in considering the plea for mercy by defence counsel, the court is also mindful of the prevailing rate of the crime of kidnapping. "To serve as deterrent to others, I hereby sentence the accused to five years imprisonment with hard labour on count three; seven years imprisonment with hard labour, on count four; and 10 years imprisonment also with hard labour on

count five without option of fine. Only counts four and five are to run concurrently.” Prosecution called three witnesses, including the victim, to prove its case while the accused called no witness but testified for himself. The court also ordered the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of 'B' Division, Asaba to destroy the weapons recovered from the accused which include one AK 47 rifle, 29 rounds of live ammunition and two magazines within 28 days of the judgment in the presence of the Court Registrar.

Jega, who noted that the actions of such members and ad-hoc staff of the commission had continued to rubbish the efforts of the commission in transforming the process of electing public officers, was reacting to various criticisms which the commission received from some chairmen of political parties and stakeholders who converged on Abuja last week to witness the official unveiling and public presentation of Strategic Programme of Action of INEC from 2012 to 2016. The INEC chairman noted, however, that many officials of the commission who were identified to have compromised standards had been either prosecuted or dismissed from their duties in an internal exercise without media hype. Earlier in their reactions to the INEC strategic programmes for credible elections, three different chairmen of political parties , Chiefs Sam Nkire of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chekwas Okorie of the United Progressive Party (UPP) and Victor Umeh of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) had taken turns to urge INEC to improve on its efforts to weed out the bad eggs in the commission, stressing that their activities had continued to inhibit the efforts of the commission as well as cast doubts in the minds of Nigerians in delivering a free and fair general elections in 2015 and beyond. While Nkire stressed the need to checkmate some corrupt INEC officials who he said had given INEC a bad image by working in hand with security operatives from the army and police to rewrite election results, Okorie noted the need to expedite action on the Electronic Voting System (EVS), saying it would limit the mistakes of the commission. On his part, Umeh urged INEC to review its position on the recruitment of ad-hoc workers, saying that given some of their actions, they posed great threats to the success of INEC's efforts in conducting credible elections. In his remarks, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Prof. Sam Egwu restated the organisation's confidence in INEC and its agencies, stressing that UNDP had continuously voted its money for the Democratic Governance Project (DGP) in the country that led to the organization of a free and

fair election in 2011. The agency, however, urged the INEC chairman to use the opportunity of the 2015 elections t o i m p r o v e o n i t s 2 0 11 performance which was adjudged to be credible by the UNDP “For the avoidance of doubt, UNDP is actually supporting the INEC with a number of partners that we are familiar with. But more importantly, as we commend the leadership of INEC for remaining focused on the desire to improve on the credibility of the 2015 elections beyond the remarkable achievements of the 2011 elections, we also urge the commission to improve. The strategic plan that is being unveiled today we know has been a very long and intensive consultative process which INEC leadership has been engaged for the past one year. The strategy we believe is not just to prepare for the 2015 elections, but to put in place a programme to all relevant stakeholders that can lead to the ownership of process as well as ensure that the electoral system will become stable for the progress of the country. It is our belief that we have produced a strategic plan, INEC will follow through to… so that by 2015 and beyond, we will look back and say that we have put our money to support Nigeria in the areas that matter most,” the UNDP representative stated. E a r l i e r, C h a i r m a n , S e n a t e Committee on INEC, Andy Uba who was represented by his deputy, Senator Abdukadir Jagere, said that democracy could only be said to have been sustained in Nigeria if INEC improves on the gains of 2011 general elections. The INEC Programme of Action Plan which spans five years has the following as core objectives: To provide electoral operations, systems and infrastructure to support delivery of free, fair and credible elections;. To improve voter education, training and research;. To register political parties and monitor their operations;. To interact internationally and nationally with relevant stakeholders; and. To re-organise and re-position INEC for sustained conduct of free, fair and credible elections. According to the commission's National Commissioner and Chairman, Strategic Planning, Dr. Nuru Yakubu, the action plan is action-oriented and further seeks to achieve the overall mandate of INEC.


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Gays deserve equality, Obama tells Africans

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S President Barack Obama told Africans Thursday that gays deserve equality under the law, as Nelson Mandela's plight and a global spying drama threatened to detract from his first tour of the continent. Obama struggled to keep the focus on his goals for the weeklong trip, also scheduled to stop in South Africa and Tanzania, as he sought to fulfil neglected African expectations for America's first black president. He stepped on delicate ground when asked by reporters to comment on a landmark US Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage while visiting a country where homosexuality is a crime and rights groups decry gay harassment. Obama said he understood that different religions and cultures adhered to different beliefs and traditions, but that the simple principle of equality should be the guide for states and governments. “I want the African people to just hear what I believe,” Obama said. “My basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you… people should be treated equally.” Senegalese President Macky Sall replied that though Senegal was a

“very tolerant country which does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being”, it was not ready yet to decriminalise homosexuality. “But of course this does not mean that we are all homophobic.” Obama said he still planned to head for South Africa on Friday, despite speculation that with anti-

apartheid icon Mandela apparently close to death, his plans could be thrown into disarray. The president said he was drawn into political activism by Mandela as a student, and had been inspired by his example in embracing his long-time captors in a spirit of national unity.

“I think he is a hero for the world and if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we will all know is, his legacy is one that will linger on through the ages,” Obama said. Obama also had to parry questions about the chase for fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who is holed up in limbo in Moscow airport, but he appeared keen to bring the focus back to Africa. “In the meantime, we've got other business to do. For example, we're here in Africa and I don't want people to forget why we're here,” Obama said. “The fact of the matter is that Africa oftentimes is not focused on by our press and our leadership back home unless there's a crisis.” Obama's tour is meant to promote democratisation, trade and business links on a continent. He said is poised to break out economically, and which has attracted lavish attention from US rivals like China. “I see this as a moment of great progress and great promise for the continent,” Obama said. “It's true that Africa faces great challenges, and meeting these challenges together is a focus of my trip. But all too often the world overlooks the amazing progress that Africa is making.” Washington is keen to highlight Muslim-majority Senegal as an

example of democracy and good governance in a corner of Africa plagued by instability and the threat of Islamic extremism in neighbouring Mali. “Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and one of the strongest partners that we have in the region,” Obama said as he stood side-by-side with Sall. “It is moving in the right direction, with reforms to deepen democratic institutions. I believe Senegal can be a great example.” Later, in a moment of potent symbolism, Obama will take a ferry to Goree Island off the Senegal coast, a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Africans claimed by the slave trade. In a “full circle” moment of history, Obama, the son of a Kenyan father, and his wife Michelle, the descendent of slaves, will acknowledge a dark period of American and African history which resonates today. Obama claims a spiritual connection to Africa, but a crush of international crises in his first term thwarted his hopes to travel extensively on the continent. He did manage a short trip to Ghana in 2009. But there was still disappointment in Africa, where Obama's 2008 election caused euphoria and expectations that he would put US policy towards the continent at the top of his agenda.

Australia: Prime Minister Julia Gillard dumped by ruling Labor party

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n his fifth attempt to restart Israeli and Palestinian peace talks, Secretary of State John Kerry said leaders on both sides were serious about re-starting negotiations. John Kerry, who spoke separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in May, told reporters Wednesday he believes both sides are serious about re-starting peace talks. "I believe they believe the peace process is bigger than any one day or one moment, or certainly more important to their countries than some of their current political challenges," Kerry said at a news conference in Kuwait. "That is why both of them have indicated a seriousness of purpose. I would not be here now if I didn't have the belief this is possible," he added. Negotiations broke down in

Secretary of State John Kerry is joined by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Palestinian

2010, when both sides could not agree on Israeli construction in the West Bank, which Palestinians say should be part of their territory. Kerry also said he did not want to establish a strict timeline, but admitted that some progress - of which there has been little - needed to be shown before September.

"The time is getting near where we need to make some judgments," Kerry said. "I don't want to trap myself or any of the principals in this with arbitrary or somewhat ad hoc time limits." But, Kerry admitted, "Long before September we need to be showing some kind of progress in some way."

RISBANE, Australia Julia Gillard, Australia's Prime Minister, has been dumped as leader by the ruling Labor party in favor of her predecessor Kevin Rudd, three months ahead of national elections. Gillard, who ousted Rudd in 2010, will now leave politics a vow she made when calling the leadership ballot Wednesday after months of destabilizing debate over her tenure. Gillard, who won a previous leadership challenge against the more popular Rudd to become Australia's first female prime minister, has lagged in opinion polls ahead of Australia's general election due on September 14. Her government had been riven by infighting, further damaging its already dim reelection prospects. A conservative coalition led by former trainee priest Tony Abbott is favored to win. Rudd won Wednesday night's leadership ballot by 57 votes to 45, according to live broadcasts of the result. His election to the party leadership did not automatically make him p r i m e m i n i s t e r, h o w e v e r. Technically, Australia's head of state is the Governor-General, a

representative of the Queen, and her permission must be sought to fill the office of Prime Minister. Gillard resigned late Wednesday night, during a visit to the residence of the GovernorGeneral, making Rudd Australia's de facto prime minister. For weeks, there had been speculation about a new challenge by Rudd who won a landslide victory for Labor in 2007 and who many in the party consider Labor's only hope of reelection. While Rudd called the last challenge for the leadership, this time it was Gillard who threw down the gauntlet, according to the Fairfax media. It was seen as a response to reports circulating Wednesday that a petition was being passed among Labor lawmakers calling for a vote to end the destabilizing speculation over Gillard's leadership. She also challenged Rudd to agree that whoever loses should quit politics, a challenge he accepted at a press conference aired on national TV Wednesday evening. An Australian job recruiting website, Seek.com.au, was quick to spot an opportunity amid the turmoil, tweeting:


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Peace, security eluded Nigerians under Jonathan's regime – Bishop Chukwuma The Anglican Diocese of Enugu last week held her 2nd Session of the 15th Synod at St. Bartholomew's Church, Asata Enugu. and the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma presented the presidential address in which he reviewed various national issues adversely affecting the progress of the nation and wellbeing of the citizenry. In the address entitled “Overcoming the Challenges of the Time”, the outspoken Bishop tasked President Goodluck Jonathan and other public office holders on the need to urgently tackle major challenges like insecurity, corruption, fake products, lack of infrastructure, state creation among others. Hear him: By Ted Peters CELEBRATING NIGERIA AT 100 It is an elementary fact of our history that modern-day Nigeria came into being on January 1, 1914, following the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria by Lord Lugard. By this token, Nigeria will, on January 1, 2014, be one hundred years old. This attainment is, no doubt, a milestone in the life of any Country. It is apparently in recognition of this that the government of Nigeria has decided to celebrate the Country at 100. In recent weeks, government has been speaking on this centenary celebration. Government is particularly interested in affirming, as did Lord Lugard in 1914, that "Nigeria is the product of a long and mature consideration ". For government therefore, the centenary celebration is expected to inspire confidence in our ability and determination to rise above our present challenges in order to build a strong and united nation. It will restore hope in the people of Nigeria, arouse their patriotic instincts and reinforce their shared values and beliefs, among other objectives. For these and many more reasons, government believes that Nigeria's centenary is worth celebrating. To give effect to these ideas and concepts, government has rolled out the centenary project to include legacy projects, commemorative events and history and heritage programmes. Some of the centenary projects include Abuja Centenary City, Unity Squares in every state capital and new Abuja City Gate, a m o n g o t h e r s . H o w e v e r, government has said that the centenary projects are going to be strictly driven by private sector initiative. In other words, government will not commit fund to the project. It will only lay the groundwork and provide the enablement that will make it possible for the private sector to take up the programmes and projects.

Bishop Chukwuma No doubt, the reasons adduced by the government in justification of the centenary celebration are in o r d e r. R e g a r d l e s s o f t h e debilitating factors which have impeded Nigeria's progress, the fact remains that the country has trudged on in spite of all odds. But then, Nigerians may not be properly disposed to such celebrations when they take into consideration the fact that certain basic necessities of life which ought to be taken for granted still elude them. The people will rather wish that government redirects its energies and work towards making life worth living in Nigeria. However, the saving grace is that government is not going to be involved in the projects. It has, instead, decided to give the private sector the opportunity to identify with its dreams by inviting them to take over the centenary project. We urge the private sector in Nigeria to take up this challenge. Since most of the projects outlined by government are enduring ones, the private sector in Nigeria will be making itself a good partner in development if it identifies them. Besides, such legacy projects will be better managed and will therefore endure if they are private-driven. While we await the expected positive response of the private sector, government must be seen

President Goodluck Jonathan

to apply itself to the concept and ideas governing the celebration. It must, as it has said, not be involved in the projects beyond laying a good foundation for the private sector to stand upon. Government does not need to distract itself with celebrations of this nature at this point in time. With the formal flag-off of the event on February 4, 2013, the celebrations have effectively taken off. The celebrations are expected to be rounded off in October 2014 with the Centenary National Parade and the commissioning of the Centenary City. The projects and programmes lined up are a mixed bag. Some are clearly ambitious such as the Abuja Centenary City project. We note government's desire to bring to Nigeria something akin to Songdo International business District in South Korea. But then, care should be taken to ensure that the project does not end on paper. Government must be focused on the idea so that the private sector which is supposed to give life to the concept will have confidence in the plan. For the event to succeed there must be necessary synergy between the government and those who are being invited to translate the idea into reality.

RECURRING CRUDE OIL THEFT

The recent disclosure by the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr. Babatunde Ogun, that Nigeria loses $6 billion annually to crude oil theft is disturbing. The shocking report corroborates earlier ones by both the government and major oil companies that the criminal activities of oil bunkerers and vandals are inflicting heavy financial misfortunes on the Nigerian economy. This is more so as the PENGASSAN President also noted that the $6billion excludes an estimated N105 billion loss from theft of refined petroleum products. The unwholesome activities of these crude oil thieves cannot but have adverse effects on the nation's economy and security, especially if the huge funds made from sale of stolen oil get into the wrong hands. The bigger worry, however, is the fact that in spite of these astounding figures, oil theft continues at an alarming scale without any sustained effort to rein in the offenders. We recall a few instances in the recent past that the nation was alerted to the danger posed by oil thieves in the Niger Delta Region. Last year, for example, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told the Finance

Committee of the House of Representatives that the volume of oil theft represents 17percent of Nigeria's daily production. This amounts to about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) out of the daily quota of 2.4 million bpd approved by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for last year. Worst still, figures from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also show that the quantity of oil theft annually outstrips the present production capacity of Ghana, which is pegged at 120,000bpd. According to the Managing Director of Shell in Nigeria, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, the company has been losing about 43,000 bpd to oil thieves, in over 118 incidents at its facilities in the Niger Delta. Shell's estimated daily loss of $1.5 billion is much higher than the projected loss to oil thieves. This excludes illegal refineries in the region, which, according to the Joint Task Force (JTF), were in excess of 300 as at last year before they were destroyed. There is therefore, no disputing the enormous danger that oil thieves pose to the country. At present, Nigeria is listed as harboring the highest number of oil bunkerers among OPEC member-countries. This is bad for Nigeria's image and worse for the economy and security of the country. Bunkering is economic sabotage that should attract the severest of punishments to deter the culprits. Considering the fact that revenue from oil accounts for over 80 percent of government revenue receipts, oil theft should be tackled with all seriousness by those charged with the protection of oil pipelines and the policing of our territorial waters. In that regard, the Nigerian Navy should be up and doing. Government should ensure that relevant security personnel are properly equipped for sea surveillance to check the theft cartel. On several occasions, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) had bemoaned oil theft and its negative impact on government revenue profile. Unfortunately, it appears government is yet to take decisive action on the matter.

S O N A N D SUBSTANDARD PRODUCTS RECENT disclosures by Mr. Joseph Odumodu, Director General of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) that 80 per cent of products imported into Nigeria are fake

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Peace, security eluded Nigerians under Jonathan's regime – Bishop Chukwuma Continued from page 9 and substandard while five percent of such products come from the Nigerian manufacturers did little credit to the image of his organization. Odumodu's revelation is a pathetic admission of SON's failure in the discharge of its statutory responsibility. To that extent, his statement amounts to serious self-indictment. Section 4(1) of the Standards Organization of Nigeria Act empowers the organization, among other functions, to organize tests and do everything necessary to ensure compliance with standards designated and approved by the council". Obvious from this provision is that the job of the organization is not merely to raise alarm or act as a whistle blower, but to tackle headlong the incidence of substandard products, which by its own admission is common place in our markets and public place. That SON is either bereft of ideas or has no capacity, is cognizable from the statement credited to its DG that it would start parading on television importers of fake products, make them apologize to Nigerians for their nefarious activities, as part of Federal Government's zero tolerance campaign...targeted at eliminating, as well as discouraging the importation of substandard products". It is curious that in spite of the socalled zero tolerance campaign, which reportedly began in 2011, markets are still replete with substandard products two years after the take-off of the campaign. When would the campaign start yielding dividend? Imagine the danger posed to lives and property by proliferation of sub-standard tires and electricity cables, which makes the duty of SON highly compelling and urgent. But it seems the organization is shirking its responsibility and the urgency attached to it. The director general reportedly said that his organization had to slow down on the seizure of sub-standard tires in the markets due to what he described as storage problems. Does SON need to store confirmed sub-standard products or destroy them outright? Won't the products find their way back to the market the longer they stay in the storehouse? SON seems ill-prepared for the challenges at hand. Odumodu needs to be proactive. He must go back to the drawing board and come up with a strategy that will rid the markets of fake and substandard products. Also, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) must wake up and be alive to its statutory

Bishop Chukwuma responsibility of seeking means of eliminating hazardous products from the market. It should, in line with its statutory obligation "issue guidelines to manufacturers, importers, dealers and wholesalers in relation to their obligation under the Act, and compel them to certify that all safety standards are met in their products". Right now, only few Nigerians are aware of the existence of the CPA due largely to its obvious inertia. SON on its part must not hesitate to exercise its prerogative "to ban the sale, distribution and advertisement of products, which do not comply with safety or health regulations". A synergy of efforts on the part of SON and CPA will certainly drive fake products out of Nigerian markets.

M U R D E R O F CHINWIKE ASADU The despicable murder of the Kwara State Police Commissioner, Mr. Chinwike Asadu, sometime ago in his home state of Enugu while on a visit is confirmatory of the worsening security situation in Nigeria. If a high profile law-enforcement officer like this could be so callously and easily gunned down, we need no other testament to our security haplessness. It means nobody is safe anymore! What then is the essence of the social contract between governments and citizens? Without mincing words, this is a clear indictment on the federal government and our security agencies. The fundamental duty of any government is the protection of the life and property of its citizenry. This is a foremost

responsibility outlined in the country's constitution. It is only when a government has failed that this kind of hopelessness manifests. No amount of empathic rationalization or official outpouring of emotive condolences can obliterate the fact that we have systematically become endangered species. No day passes now without fatalistic and blood-chilling accounts of how people's lives are cut short in various parts of the country through terrorism, assassination, and kidnapping that occasionally culminates in death, armed robbery, mishaps issuing from dilapidated public infrastructure and corruption that leads to pensioners and other victims' deplorable death. Yet, we have a government that is obviously overwhelmed! The way it stands, this administration seems not to have any solution or even a clue to the parlous insecurity in the land. Instead of addressing this and other challenges bedeviling the country, its leadership is busy strategizing for the next elections in 2015! There is nothing indicative of any effort at combating the growing national tragedy of escalating insecurity. This is no time for politicking, but a sober period for the confrontation of the myriad of problems facing us, particularly insecurity. Asadu's death in the hands of gunmen should make those in the corridors of power to wake up from their slumber. This kind of atrocity is unheard of in-sane and well-governed societies. It is usually rare for a top-echelon officer to be reprehensibly murdered. What it

means is that the life of the ordinary citizen could be blown off anytime, anywhere like a strand of hair! This is a sad commentary on our nationhood. Asadu's brutal murder should not be allowed to go the way of others before it. The government, the Police High Command and other Security outfits should ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are apprehended to foreclose the institutionalization of this perversion that is gaining ascendancy in our national life. The assassins must be made to face the full wrath of the law. That is the only tribute this distinguished cop who was cut short in the twilight of service to his fatherland deserves. Government cannot afford to allow this anarchical state of the country to degenerate. There must be a distinction between a functional entity and a failed one. Those horrendous elements that characterize the latter should not play any role in our territory. The interconnection binding government and the governed is the guarantee of cardinal expectations from both parties. Once one side derails, there is a collapse of the system and a failure of the entire machinery of state. With the current trend of things, it looks like that is where Nigeria is supersonically heading towards. We call on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that this kind of national embarrassment does not keep recurring. Its regularity in the past should belong to history. Apart from the grief this gruesomeness causes, it sends wrong signals to the global community and causes disinvestment for the country. May the soul of Chinwike Asadu rest in peace as we enjoin God to give his family and the police community the fortitude to bear the shocking and tragic loss.

ENDING OF BOKO HARAM We all hail the State of Emergency declared by Mr. President in the 3 States of the North, Yobe, Adamawa and Bornu. It was a right step in the right direction and now they have been declared as terrorists and proscribed Why then the activity? There can never be amnesty for a terrorist. I believe that the committee set up for it will only now face peace and reconciliation. We commend our soldiers and security people for the way they have dealt with this Boko Haram case and hope that we can now have peace in Nigeria. Since this administration came in, we have never enjoyed peace and security, our distant brethren in the North have suffered so much. We thank the President for the money released so far to pay compensation to those who lost their .properties etc. it is hoped that justice will be

done and there would be equity in payment.

FLOOD DISASTER

Another rainy season has come again and we are afraid of what will happen to our people living in the riverine areas. All the money collected last year has not yielded effect or solution because many of the people are not yet rehabilitated. The Government should be honest and do better to avoid a reoccurrence this year

BENEDICT XVI: THE POPE EMERITUS HAD he remained in office, Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger would have clocked eight full years on the throne of St. Peter as the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church in April. But on February 11, 2013 just as the West and the rest of the world that has caught the bug was feverish with last minute plans for Valentines Day in came the news that the Pope would resign effective from February 28. The news had earth-shifting effect and millions were left nonplussed at the Pope's decision. As i write this, it's just been five hours since Benedict XVI's resignation came into effect and he began a life, in his own words, as. "Pilgrim on his last journey on earth". Now to bear the official title of Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict was the first Pope to give up Papacy voluntarily since 1415. April is an important month in the life of Pope Benedict. It was in April, on the 16th day to be precise, that he was born in the German city of Bavaria in 1927. He was on April 19, 2005 elected Pope by the conclave of cardinals when John Paul II passed on and at 78 he was the oldest person to become pope since Clement XII who reigned between 1730 and 1740. Right from the beginning he was something of an unwilling pope. Not, as the records show, for lack of qualification. If anything, he was by most accounts first among equals by the time he was elected. There was probably nobody more qualified for the position of pope than the effacing Ratzinger. His reluctance, it seems now, was informed by his sensitive awareness of his role as a priest whose duty was to illuminate the teachings of Christ to an ignorant world. What better way to do this than as a teacher, a theologian of the Catholic Church? For most of his life before becoming pope, Joseph Ratszinger was an academic of no mean repute becoming a full professor by his thirty first birthday. He taught from one university to another until the late 1970s when he was first appointed archbishop and shortly after a cardinal by Pope Pius VI. Thus he was not a career church man in the traditional sense of it. The newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is in

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Peace, security eluded Nigerians under Jonathan's regime – Bishop Chukwuma Continued from page 10 the same mould. Perhaps the apparent rise of academics as influential leaders of the church, a phenomenon that can be observed even in Nigeria in the careers of the likes of Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, E. A. Adeboye and Daniel Olukoya, among others, testifies to the pedagogical foundation of Christianity. This observation may look surprising now only because of the many generations of charlatans that have emerged as founders/leaders throughout the history of Christianity as well as other religions. Otherwise, religions right from time had been founded and led by teachers, people of knowledge from Jesus Christ and Mohammed through Buddha to Orunmila. But Ratzinger's reputation as an academic was solidly earned and at the last count he has to his name nothing less than 65 books. His rise through the Church was meteoric and his intellectual input prodigious. To be pope is to combine spiritual reverence with earthly power. The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church worldwide, a position that sometimes frames whoever is pope as the leader of Christendom. He is also, as pope, the sovereign head of the Vatican, that is the leader or head of the government of the Vatican. This puts him in the same class as the president of any country, from the US, Russia to Britain and France. It was all of this that Pope Benedict turned his back on to live a life of prayer and contemplation in a monastery. This is one man that has come to full awareness of the vainness of worldly recognition, power and material acquisition. All indeed is vanity Ratsinger says without for once alluding to it. Nobody expected a papacy could carry a retirement caveat. Once elected, a pope dies in office. At least so it's been in the last 600years. But none of those who expected a pope to die in office thought of a Ratzinger. None reckoned with the leadership of a quiet revolutionary in priestly frock and nothing but the firmness of his belief that leadership is service and once such responsibility could no longer be effectively met, the leadership ends. As he put it in his last public audience at St. Peters Church on Wednesday February 27, "one receives life when one gives it up" and "loving the Church means being brave enough to make difficult decisions". He made no show of his retirement plans; gave no indications that he was about to make a momentous decision, nor did he leave room for any pretentious avenues for him to be

talked out of what he thought was the right thing to do. Having prayed and reflected deeply on it, he made his move and announced his retirement. The conclave of cardinals got the news the same way as the rest of the world. Nothing rehearsed, nothing scripted. Failing spiritual and physical strength, both reasons that could be overlooked in an 86years old man, were his reasons. He gave enough room for a successor to be elected by Easter nor did he stay back to influence the choice of a successor. He chose his pontifical name, Benedict, in honour of St. Benedict and the Italian Pope Benedict XV who was pope in the period of the First World War. Well did he choose, for whereas Pope Benedict had the onerous task of uniting a world devastated by the First World War, Benedict XVI's reign had a lot to contend with by way of sex scandals. Aside his mission to forge unity and peace between Christianity and Islam among other religions, his was a pontificate nearly marred by serious allegations of sexual misdemeanor against senior leaders of the Catholic Church. This was very ironical for a pontiff who probably more than any other leader of the Catholic Church fought to stamp out sexual misconduct among Catholic priests. One of such cases involved Keith O'Brien, the Archbishop of Scotland, who had to step down just three days before Pope Benedict left office and has now admitted to sexual misconduct. In his time as the pope, Benedict XVI tried to hold the Catholic Church together in the face of contending forces pulling it at the seams. Whether you agree with him or not, you cannot but admire the life and career of such as Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, a leader and teacher of the Word whose life is a lesson in Christian humility.

SURE P The Intention of the Government for establishing “SURE P” is to create some employment for our youths who have finished their education but have nothing doing. We commend the effort of the Federal Government for this venture. Unfortunately, some officials in various States are now bastardizing it with their selfish and corrupt attitude. It has come to our knowledge especially here in Enugu State that fake names are being compiled and money being diverted to private pockets. The investigation is on as I had reported it with evidence to the Chief of Staff but nothing has happened. We call on Enugu State Government to please do something and all other States to make sure that the good intention

of the “SURE P” Programme is honestly implemented.

A G E L I M I T F O R POLITIC A L APPOINT MENTS W e a r e seriously worried with the caliber of people being given political appointments and board membership. We w o n d e r what sort of criteria is being used. We hereby propose that nobody above 65years should be appointed anymore. The Youths are complaining that when they say they are “leaders of tomorrow” and after 30years when their teacher told them that the same people leading since then are still there. Hence their teachers they say deceived them and lied to them. When will the tomorrow come when they are not given the

chance now? This is why many of them are frustrated today and have therefore joined gang of armed robbers and kidnappers. The Government of our time must consider this and if possible be grafted into our proposed reviewing of our constitution.

CHALLENGE OF NEW CONSTITUTION The question of what our reviewed constitution will be is another challenge facing us this

time. Constitution of a country all over the world is subject to amendment when the need arises and it was against the backdrop of strengthening the 1999 Constitution to meet the challenges of our everyday life that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2006, during the tenure of Senator Ken Nnamani as President, made an attempt to review it with 115 listed items for alteration. The 2006 attempt came up with far-reaching recommendations but was rubbished by the third term agenda hullabaloo. To avoid the situation of having people work and at the end of the day, the process is jettisoned, Senate President David Mark in 2010 began another process of Constitution review with modification that rather than carry out a holistic review, it should be zeroed down to the electoral process where the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC would be strengthened to conduct free and fair election. The one term tenure is very much welcomed. It will surely reduce the heating up of our polity which is currently on today. Also the condition for the creation of more states should be looked into particularly to balance the inequality of the zones especially the South East.

Bayelsa Ascon Alumini stresses on the association collapsed and development right now it is in full swing.” …prepare for inauguration.

By Philip Eke, Yenagoa

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he Bayelsa state chapter of the Alumni Association of Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) has called for public and government partnership towards ensuring the development of manpower of members, as they prepare for their forth coming maiden inauguration ceremony in Yenagoa. Mr. Laurence E. Uguta the chairman of ASCON Alumni Bayelsa state chapter, while answering questions from news men in his office after an enlarged congress meeting of members noted that ASCON is a professional institution established by the Federal Government of Nigeria at Topo in Badagry to train personnel on Administration. Bayelsa state graduates of this great administrative school (Alumni) formed a congress meeting recently to foster unity love and the developmental well being of members. The chairman of the Association who was unanimously elected recently stressed that the new

exco has not been inaugurated hence, the Bayelsa chapter converge to deliberate crucial issues of their inauguration, which according to him would be a grand-breaking ceremony that would attract national members, and other branches nationwide. Mr. Uguta highlighted that it is aimed at improving the administrative impetus of civil servants for quality service delivery in Nigeria, “Right now, private sector is allowed to register as students to acquire perquisite qualifications to enhance staff performance, the programme have study duration of one month, two months and nine months course of Post Graduate Diploma (PGD).” The chairman further noted that ASCON have been in existence in Bayelsa State since 2005, but that several hiccups had hindered its operation Alumni inauguration disclosing that membership of the Alumni had increased considerably. “It has been in existence since DSP Alamieyeseiye's regime, former Governor of Bayelsa State to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Governor of Bayelsa State, but during Governor Sylva's tenure

The state chairman appealed to members to identify with the union in moving the great body to higher level as other professional Associations. In reducing corruption in governance, Mr. Uguta noted that several training has to be made to enlighten people especially public servants on corruption, which he said is so endemic in the society. “Fighting corruption is through collective effort. “You should not think of what your state or country will do for you, you should do something for the overall wellbeing of the state or country.” For the relationship between servants and government, Mr. Ugota said, “it is very friendly, but Bayelsans should not grumble on taxation, which is applicable in other states and even in the developed countries. Bayelsans should learn to pay for the services of government, such as water, electricity, among others.” The Association however appealed to civil servants and the general public to support the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriaki Dickson's Restoration and developmental strides.


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Why Nigeria can't have credible electoral system – Ebri, Ex-Cross River Gov Chief Clement Ebri, former Executive Governor of Cross River State. He served as Chairman Presidential Committee on the Review of the Nigerian Constitution (1999-2001). In a chat with newsmen in Calabar recently, the veteran politician took a critical look at some contentious issues that had retarded the nation's effort to entrench strong democratic culture. Excerpts

Kano state, Governor Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, did one term and could not be re-elected but after eight years he came back and he is doing a great job. Kwankwaso missed a second term but he came out to be a better governor. A chief Executive should

not conduct election while in office By Our Reporter

You cannot remain in office for ever. Let us make laws that will make it virtually impossible for a chief executive to remain in office and conduct an election. Even the five years that we proposed that time I do not even support it any longer because of the changes because at the time we did it Nigeria had just come out of June '99 elections and the level of impunity was not that high. But from what I have seen now I will not even encourage a situation where somebody will remain in office and conduct an election.

The executive has hijacked our electoral system There are certain conditions prevalent in Nigeria's political system now. For instance the electoral system is still in the hands of the executive arm of government. A situation where the president appoints the Chairman of INEC, appoints the Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) in states. This definitely, does not augur well for democracy. The recommendation of Justice Uwais committee was set aside for certain self-serving reasons. If you have a proper electoral system that could not be doctored or manipulated by a lot of people who ought not to be in public offices would not be occupying such offices today. What you find now is intimidation where everything is taken to the centre; powers are appropriated at the centre and instructions are sent back to the states.

Electoral system must be neutral The electoral system has to be polished up completely and it should be so neutral. You saw what happened few years ago in Ghana where somebody is in office and still loses an election. The ruling party came out with more than 49 per cent and the opposition with more than 47 per cent. What that simply shows is that access to political power in that country does not convey undue advantage on the incumbent. And even when there was a run-off the opposition won. You cannot have that in Nigeria because the president is too powerful; he controls the resources; the treasury; Even at the state level the governor has unlimited powers, they can do anything to you. You saw what happened recently in Nigeria; somebody nursing a presidential ambition, his plan is grounded, all of a sudden everything about that state is bad, the commissioner of police instructed to destabilise the state and all of that. The president should not have such enormous powers; so if you allow such a thing for six years it means the country can be

Governor, President should resign before poll

destroyed and the president or whoever will behave like a bull in china shop, destroying everything. If that is done the cost of rebuilding will be so high; we do not want that kind of situation.

Strengthen democratic institutions So the first thing we have to do before we start thinking of the sixyear tenure is to strengthen democratic institutions, let there be a proper election where even the opposition may win and there will be some kind of balance in the legislature; the judiciary should be able to call the Executive to order or even give judgement against the Executive without fear or favour.

We need legislature that can impeach governor We should have a legislature that should be able to impeach a governor within six months or one year in office if that is necessary. But that is not possible today because all the legislators are virtually in the pockets of the Chief Executives of states today. At the national level the Senate and the House of Representatives just managing a little bit to control the Executive, not enough as it

ought to be, to cut them to size and effect necessary checks on the executives because of the enormous powers conveyed on the executives by the constitution. So until we are able to curb these powers we should not think of giving six years to anybody because those six years could be years of torment; years of behaving like the bull in china shop and the amount of damage that could be inflicted in those six years could be so enormous that it may not be possible to reverse.

Four-year tenure should be retained for now While we are still building these institutions I think we should still manage with the system we have which is four year tenure, in fact that should not run consecutively. In fact as Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee between 1999 and 2000 we thought of two-year tenure of five years each but non consecutively. In other words if you go into office you must leave after five years; after a long time if your people feel you did a good job and should come back, they can still bring you back to do one final term of five years. Now see what has happened in

The governor or president should resign before an election. There is an Asian country where the president resigned three months before an election and the retired Chief Justice who was not appointed by the outgoing government will take charge of government and put structures for an election. That kind of thing will also be most suitable for Nigeria. But if somebody should stay for six years he could still come back through other means, bring his cronies to perpetrate the same thing. The president or governor should not have any hand in the appointment of any electoral officer and we should practice true federalism. Why should a governor of a state invite the president to come and commission a project? Does that happen in America?

Power Sharing We should also consider the issue of sharing power. A secretary of state, the deputy governor, Vice president can come from a different party. This will encourage checks and balances and discourage appropriation of various arms of government that should serve as checks to the Executive.

Six-year tenure can't work in Nigeria Six-year tenure may be okay in countries where structures are properly developed, corruption-

free systems where the president or governor does not have enormous powers. But in Nigeria, where the executive have unlimited powers and the capacity to spend state funds the way they like, exploit recurrent poverty that they had created to buy people over and continue to remain in power, it will be wrong for now. Even when we had parliamentary system the chairman of public account committee came from the opposition party. That shows that even our forefathers in politics and governance had envisaged a situation for checks and balance. But now after elections the president, the chief executives of states, become a loose canon Let us remain with what we have now, we can have four-year tenure, subject to second tenure, but let it not be consecutive. And by three months to election they should resign. You should not stay in office to conduct elections either for yourself or for some other person to come in.

Council tenure In some states, some governors are asking for two or three years for local governments. Why did they not ask for more years there? Even if you do one term and go, if you strengthen institutions there will be continuity, transition, either through party structures, programmes and so on. Let us not encourage chop-and-gosituation. At the local government level, for me, the tenure should not be less than three years but let that person be acceptable to the people at the grassroots level. We should equally allow that to apply until the system stabilises. Let the institutions be strengthened first.

Democracy without opposition is like military regime A situation where there are no opposition is no democracy at all. It is akin to the military era as far as I am concern. Those who felt that there are no opposition are not being sincere. There are no opposition because you have disabled them not because there are no opposition but on your ability to utilise state resources against them! The electoral system has been corrupted to discourage opposition.

Next Cross River State Governor should come from Northern zone Well even the Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has pronounced on this. And as somebody who has been governor of this state I believe, that is the right thing to do. It has my support, it makes sense, it has to do with equity. There is no reason why that should not happen and nobody should think otherwise because that is the way it should be.


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'APC will not make progress" – Ezeife ·Says no agreement on guber zoning in Anambra

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r Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Third Republic Governor of Anambra State (January 1992 to November 1993), in this interview warned that the yet-to-be registered All Progressive Alliance (APC) portends danger for the country. Dr Ezeife called the APC 's Sharia merger', arguing that the major proponents of the new party share 'deep religious beliefs'.

How do you assess the yet t o b e re g i s t e re d A l l Progressives Alliance? For those of us who have been lobbying for a two party system in Nigeria, the APC gives the impression of making that to come to fruition. But it is an illusion. I see APC as a danger in the Nigerian political system. When we want two parties, we want one to be little to the right and the other a little to the left, meaning parties based on ideologies. I don't know whether APC is to the left or to the right but what is very clear is that it has a very strong dosage of religion. The major proponents share deep religious beliefs, making some people to call it a Sharia merger and it is dangerous for our system. In the South-West, Muslims and Christians do not just co-exist, they mutually cohabit. The fear is that this APC may end up radicalizing the South-Western Muslims and this is not something theoretical anymore. With the APC, the cleavages that are developing are not very positive and because I believe God exists and is concerned about the future of Nigeria, APC will not make progress. It will not be good for Nigeria if they make progress.

Many Igbo leaders seem to be supporting the Jonathan presidency. How do you reconcile this with the perennial agitation for a P re s i d e n t o f I g b o extraction?

to go for a second term.

take note of the pronouncement of some people that they would make the country ungovernable for him. True to that statement, insecurity has reigned supreme in the country, no thanks to Boko Haram insurgency. We don't know of any leader with whom you can compare Jonathan because all those who led Nigeria before led without major security problems. With Boko Haram, how do you assess what it would have been without the Boko Haram scourge? I believe however that the greatest challenge/accomplishment that Jonathan can make is to transform Nigeria from a shipwrecked country to a country where things work. If he can do this, whatever else he does or does not do, he has beaten everybody.

Given the famed disunity Nigeria is mired in serious among Igbo leaders, how political problems, which can they be trusted to seem to be undermining or speak with one voice? complicating the country's Who says the Igbos are not united? In critical issues of e c o n o m i c c h a l l e n g e s . importance they come together. What do you see as the way Key Igbo leaders took a decision You have to understand the Igbos out? to play a game of co-operation with President Jonathan. Yes, we want to go for Igbo President but we also recognize the right of Jonathan to go for a second term as the constitution provides. The co-operation between the Jonathan forces and the Igbo forces is this: when it gets close to the time for primaries, the two forces will meet and assess the situation on the ground objectively. If we think that Jonathan can win, we will support him but if we don't, we will beg him to support us. It's a win- win game. We want to be president but we don't see it as our role to hound Jonathan out of office, if he merits

from a very utilitarian point of view. The Igbos have voted with their feet for one Nigeria and everybody sees it. Unfortunately they are the only geopolitical zone which has not produced a President for this country [apart from the six-month reign of the late General Aguiyi Ironsi].

There appears to be a consensus that President J o n a t h a n h a s underperformed. How will you assess the Jonathan Presidency?

There must be a constitutional conference where we will look at all the issues on the ground and all the contending ideas and then harmonise them into a document which we will proudly say, “we the people of Nigeria make and give unto ourselves this constitution”.

Are you talking of Sovereign National Conference?

No, I said a Constitutional Conference. The Constitution resulting from the Conference has to be approved by Nigerians in a referendum. Once this is done and Those assessing the successes or it has never been done before in failures of the President should Nigeria we know we have a country.

Sir, let's turn to Anambra CCECC to partner with A'Ibom Govt. State where you were once on Ibaka Deep Seaport Project the State Governor. There

C

hinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) has offered to partner with the Akwa Ibom State government in the realization of the Ibaka Deep Seaport project. The new Managing Director of the Company in Nigeria, Mr. Shi Hong Bing disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief Godswill Akpabio in Abuja. Mr. Bing who was full of praises for the Governor for giving the company the opportunity to be involved in road construction in the State said the company was involved in similar projects in other parts of Africa and pledged their readiness to deploy their resources to make the Ibaka project a reality. The Managing Director said having visited all the States in Nigeria he could confirm that

Akwa Ibom State had the best infrastructural facilities and urged Governor Akpabio to keep up the good work. In his response, Governor Akpabio thanked the Chinese Firm for their interest and said it would be fantastic to collaborate with them in the construction of the Ibaka Deep Seaport and disclosed that the committee on the project which was on a road show would meet with them to work out the modalities of the involvement in the project. Chief Akpabio who described Akwa Ibom State as “work in progress” commended the company for the quality of work they had done in Akwa Ibom State. “CCECC and the government of Akwa Ibom State under my leadership have been good partners, and it is a partnership that has produced

results.” “The first road contract that was awarded to your company was delivered in time, completed with the best street lights and drainages in the country. Recently we signed a contract for the dualization of Etinan-Eket road and more jobs are coming.” “It is not a function of lobbying for the job but that of quality, good pricing and record time delivery. We look forward to continuous partnership” he said. The Governor reiterated that the Ibaka Deep Seaport would promote commerce in Nigeria and compliment the port in Lagos and also serve as a major transshipment point for the West African Coast. He said the project would also offer employment opportunities to thousands of Nigerians.

will be a Governorship election in the State next year. What are your thoughts on this Sir? I want to state my position on Anambra 2014 governorship elections because some people quoted me as saying that 'we don't want cleaned up criminals'. I didn't use those words but I said things meaning the same thing. I said we would want people with clean backgrounds. We want people who are already successful in what they are doing, not people who will use the governorship as a first assignment. We want people who have good adjustments in the Igbo system, not people who trained and stayed overseas and come back to become Governor without a proper understanding of the nuances of the time and place. We want people who will go far in

helping the state. The most important of these qualifications is a well adjusted Igbo who understands the town unions and what sustained us as a people during our most difficult time and how and why we were able to overcome many of the challenges we faced as a people. There is a controversy as to whether it is the turn of a particular group, Anambra North Senatorial Zone to produce the Governor. By the way, I am the grand patron of Anambra North Youth Movement. I was there and they said it was their turn and I told them “you are right. You have a moral right to produce the governor of Anambra state and you can if you unite, back one person with all your votes and your resources. First of all, you need to choose the kind of person who satisfies what we need as a governor. Those things done, Anambra North can produce a governor”. I gave two reasons why I could have sympathy for that. I am complaining that the Igbos have not produced a president for this country. The Igbo or the southeast geopolitical zone has not and if I am the person talking about our right to produce a president, at the local level, I should understand the feeling of the senatorial zone which has not produced a governor for Anambra state. I was the chairman of Power Sharing Committee in 2005. We recommended the rotation of presidents by geopolitical zones, rotation of governors by senatorial zones. Though I understand and sympathise with the moral argument on why Anambra North should produce the Governor, it is also important to underline that moral rights do not make legal rights. There is no agreement on zoning in Anambra State. People from all the zones have been presenting candidates for election and no candidate has withdrawn or been disqualified on grounds of zoning. Therefore, strictly speaking, it is nobody's turn to produce the Governor for the State in 2014. The correctness or rightness of saying it is the turn of Anambra North Senatorial zone does not go beyond the moral argument.

Sir, you have been a State Governor and the Special Adviser to President Obasanjo on political matters. Can we expect a political comeback from you in terms of presenting yourself for an elective political office? [Smiles] Of course you can expect a political come back from me. But that will be in my next incarnation. At 74, I will surely make a political comeback and present myself for an elective position in my next incarnation!


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Nigerian Military Heads of State (4)

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lusẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ, GCFR, Yoruba: (born 5 March 1937) is a former Nigerian Army general and former President of Nigeria. A Nigerian of Yoruba descent, Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation's head of state, as a military ruler between 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979; and as elected President from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. His current home is Abeokuta, the Capital City of Ogun State, where he is a nobleman as the holder of the titles of the Balogun of the Owu Lineage and the Ekerin Balogun of the Egba clan of Yorubaland.

Olusegun Obasanjo

Green Revolution

Family and Early Life Ọbasanjọ was born in Ogun State; and grew up in Owu (Abeokuta). His first name, Olusegun, means "The Lord is victorious". The Oloye Obasanjo's first wife, Mrs. Oluremi (Remi) Obasanjo, is the mother of his oldest children, the most well-known being Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, a Senator of Ogun State. On 23 October 2005 the President lost his wife, Stella Obasanjo, First Lady of Nigeria the day after she had a abdominoplasty in Spain. In 2009 the doctor only known as 'AM' was sentenced to one year in jail for negligence in Spain and ordered to pay restitution to her son of about $176,000. Obasanjo has many children, who live throughout Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States Stella was not the first wife he lost. In 1987, his ex-wife Lynda was ordered out of her car by armed men, but was fatally shot for failing to move quickly. His son, Dare Obasanjo, is a Principal Program Manager for Microsoft.

Career As a young man of 21, he enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958. He trained at Aldershot, and was commissioned as an officer in the Nigerian Army. He was also trained in India at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and at the Indian Army School of Engineering. He served at 1 Area Command in Kaduna. Promoted to Chief Army Engineer, he was made commander of 2 Area Command from July 1967, which was redesignated 2 Division Rear, and then the Ibadan Garrison Organisation. He was also trained in DSSC, Wellington. During the Nigerian Civil War, he commanded the Army's 3 Marine Commando Division that took Owerri, effectively bringing an end to the civil war. Although Brig. Ọbasanjọ did not participate in the military coup of 29 July 1975, led by Murtala Mohammed, he supported it and was named Murtala's deputy in the new government. As chief of staff of Supreme Headquarters, Obasanjo sought advice from Rogerlay of Akobi and gained support of the military. On 13 February 1976, coup plotters, led by Army Col. Dimka,

undertook large-scale irrigation projects in the states of Borno, Kano,Sokoto, and Bauchi with World Bank support. The oil boom revenues led to a rise in per capita income, especially for the urban middle class. Inflation, particularly in the price of food, promoted both industrialisation and the expansion of agricultural production. With the government encouraging food crops, the traditional export earners peanuts, cotton, cocoa, and palm products declined in significance and then ceased to be important at all. Nigeria's exports became dominated by oil. The government embarked on a "Green Revolution", distributing seed and fertilliser to farmers to increase nation-wide productivity in farming.

Education

marked him, Murtala and other senior military personnel for assassination. Murtala was killed during the attempted coup, but Obasanjo escaped death. The low profile security policy adopted by Murtala had allowed the plotters easy access to their targets. The coup was foiled because the plotters missed Obasanjo and GeneralTheophilus Danjuma, chief of army staff and de facto number three man in the country. The plotters failed to monopolize communications, although they were able to take over the radio station to announce the coup attempt. Obasanjo and Danjuma established a chain of command and reestablished security in Lagos, thereby regaining control. Obasanjo was appointed as head of state by the Supreme Military Council. Keeping the chain of command established by Murtala, Obasanjo pledged to continue the programme for the restoration of civilian government in 1979 and to carry forward the reform programme to improve the quality of public service. The second republican constitution, which was adopted in 1979, was modelled on the Constitution of the United States, with provision for a President, Senate, and House of Representatives. The country was prepared for local elections, to be followed by national elections, to return Nigeria to civilian rule.

Oil boom The military regimes of Murtala and Obasanjo benefited from oil revenues that increased 350 percent between 1973 and 1974, when oil prices skyrocketed, to 1979, when

the military stepped down. Increased revenues permitted government spending for infrastructure and improvements on a large scale; critics thought it was poorly planned and concentrated too much in urban areas. The oil boom was marred by a minor recession in 1978-79, but revenues rebounded until mid-1981. The government planned to relocate the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja, a more central location in the interior of the country. It intended to encourage industrial development inland and relieve the congestion in the Lagos area. Abuja was chosen because it was not identified with any particular ethnic group.

Industry Industrialisation, which had grown slowly after World War II through the civil war, boomed in the 1970s, despite many infrastructure constraints. Growth was particularly pronounced in the production and assembly of consumer goods, including vehicle assembly, and the manufacture of soap and detergents, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, beer, paint, and building materials. The government invested strongly in infrastructure from 1975 to 1980, and the number of "parastatals" jointly government- and privately owned companies proliferated. The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion decrees of 1972 and 1977 further encouraged the growth of an indigenous middle class. Heavy investment was planned in steel production. With Soviet assistance, a steel mill was developed at Ajaokuta in Kogi State, not far from Abuja. Agriculture and associated projects generally declined, although the government

Education also expanded rapidly. At the start of the civil war, there were only five universities, but by 1975 the number had increased to thirteen, with seven more established over the next several years. In 1975 there were 53,000 university students. Similar advances were made in the expansion in primary and secondary school education, particularly in those northern states that had lagged behind. During Obasanjo's regime, universal Primary education was introduced nationwide.

Political repression Obasanjo was also accused of being responsible for political repression. In one particular instance, the compound of Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti was raided and burned to the ground after a member of his commune was involved in an altercation with military personnel. Fela and his family were beaten and raped.

Transition to democracy Obasanjo served until 1 October 1979, when he handed power to Shehu Shagari, a democratically elected civilian president-hence becoming the first Military Head of state to transfer power peacefully to a civilian regime in Nigeria . In late 1983, however, the military seized power again. Obasanjo, being in retirement, did not participate in that coup.

Later career and second presidency] During the dictatorship of Sani Abacha (19931998), Obasanjo spoke out against the human rights abuses of the regime, and was imprisoned for his participation in an aborted coup. He was released only after Abacha's sudden death on 8 June 1998. While in prison, Obasanjo became a born-again Christian. He became a follower of the Preacher Dr. Danny McCain

First term In the 1999 elections, the first in sixteen years, he decided to run for the presidency as the candidate of the People's Democratic Party. Obasanjo won with 62.6% of the

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vote, sweeping the strongly Christian Southeast and the predominantly Muslim north, but decisively lost his home region, the Southwest, to his fellow-Yoruba and Christian, Olu Falae, the only other candidate. His loss in the South West has been attributed to his being very unpopular amongst his kinsmen in the South-West. This was because he over the time had come to represent policies and actions that tend to burden the majority of the people. The Yorubas, his kinsmen are known to deride oppressors. Apart from this, he was also against the Yorubas' rigorous quest to revalidate the election won by Chief MKO Abiola in 1993. These aggregates of issues made the Yorubas suspecious of him and they expressed this by massively voting against him in 1999. 29 May 1999, the day Obasanjo took office as the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule, is now commemorated asDemocracy Day, a public holiday in Nigeria. Obasanjo spent most of his first term travelling abroad visiting mostly western countries. He claimed this was to polish the country image and re-establish the country to international scene after being battered and stained by the regime of Gen. Abacha. He succeeded in winning at least s o m e We s t e r n s u p p o r t f o r strengthening Nigeria's nascent democracy. Britain and the United States, in particular, were glad to have an African ally who was openly critical of abuses committed in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe at a time when many other African nations (including South Africa) were taking a softer stance. Obasanjo also won international praise for Nigeria's role in crucial regional peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The international community was guided in its approach to Obasanjo in part by Nigeria's status as one of the world's 10 biggest oil exporters as well as by fears that, as the continent's most populous nation, Nigerian internal divisions risked negatively affecting the entire continent. At home, Obasanjo's first term was marked by widespread criticism over the Nigerian government's response to violent crises in the NorthKaduna and Kano chief among themas well as in the centraleastern state of Benue and the southern oil-rich Niger Delta. International media reports cited figures of more than 10,000 people killed in violent outbursts during Obasanjo's first term. Nigeria's military was criticized for using tactics of mass suppressionnotably burning down towns such as ZakiBiam in Benue and Odi in the Niger Delta state of Bayelsawhich Obasanjo initially defended, before later expressing regret for the lives lost. His party, PDP, was established without him, as when he was called to contest the presidency he was languishing in prison. Thus he was not able to control the party in the direction he wanted. The party

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FROM THE COURT N979.6m subsidy fraud: Court orders arrest of 2 oil marketers

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keja, High Court on Tuesday issued a bench warrant on two oil marketers, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and Habila Theck, for failing to attend their trial without cogent reasons. The warrant was issued by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo on the marketers who are standing trial for an alleged N979.6 million fuel subsidy fraud. The judge also revoked the bail earlier granted to the first accused (Ogunbambo). Ogunbambo and Theck were charged alongside their firm Fargo Energy Ltd. by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They were arraigned on a sixcount charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and use of forged documents. At Tuesday's proceedings, the

duo failed to appear in court, prompting the EFCC counsel, Mr Francis Usani, to ask the

court to issue warrants on them. Usani said there was no medical report to back Ogunbambo's claim that his absence was as a result of ill-health. He said the absence had stalled

the hearing of the application to quash the charges filed by Ogunbambo, through his counsel, Mr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN). Usani said it was a ploy to delay

the trial as the defence legal team was not represented at the last proceedings that led to an adjournment. The case was adjourned till Sept. 16 for further hearing.

Akpabio drops terrorism charge against striking that the Arik plane which was said affected the staff welfare. Airport workers about to land had to divert to He said the staff were victims of By Christopher Okon, Uyo

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overnor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has stated that he would no longer go ahead with his threat to arrest and prosecute the striking Ibom airport workers over alleged acts of terrorism; for causing the black-out which almost caused a disaster involving Arik aircraft on Saturday. It was gathered that the Airport staff had staged a protest that fateful day to press for improved welfare package and allegedly

caused a black-out, a development which led the Arikaircraft with over 100 passengers to divert to Lagos to avert a disaster. But speaking during a meeting with the striking workers held at the government house Banquet hall, on Monday night Governor Akpabio said his intention was to order for the arrest of the all airport workers and charge them for acts of terrorism. He said he had discovered from the security report available that the black-out was not as a result of the protest. ''I was very furious when I learnt

Lagos because the airport was in darkness as a result of the strike, but security reports indicated otherwise. '' My intention was to order for your arrest and charge you for terrorism for almost causing the death of over 100 passengers on board of the Arik plane on saturday but I have dropped the charge, the governor said. He said the Ibom Airport was initially conceived as Maintenance/ Repair and Overhaul MRO and not a passenger airport, saying there were plans by the federal government to take over the airport, a development which he

interim arrangements because as the state was planning how best to improve the airport, the staff were not being considered in the scheme. The Governor, who announced a constitution of two committeesto review the condition of service of the workers and to streamline appointments, however banned any further employment of airport staff. Akpabio said the staffs as presently constituted were too large, stressing that some staff would be redeployed to other state agencies for operational efficiency under civil service rules.

Nigerian Military Heads of State (4) Olusegun Obasanjo Continued from page 14 became its own opposition with various infighting. Although Obasanjo made fighting corruption the stated aim of his first term and managed to pass some anticorruption laws, critics both at home and abroad accused him of doing too little to rein in the excesses, particularly among federal government ministers and state governors, many of which were widely publicized in the domestic and international press. Some of the public officials like the National Assembly speaker and Senate president were involved in conflicts with the president, who had to battle many impeachment moves from both houses. Obasanjo managed to survive impeachment and got renomination.

Second term Obasanjo was re-elected in 2003 in a tumultuous election that had violent ethnic and religious overtones, his main opponent (fellow former military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari) being a Muslim who drew his support mainly from the north. Capturing 61.8% of the vote, Obasanjo defeated Buhari by more than 11 million votes. Buhari and other defeated candidates (including Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the former Biafran leader of the 1960s who was the presidential candidate for APGA), claimed that the election was fraudulent. International observers from the European Union, and the U.S. National Democratic Institute and

International Republican Institute also reported widespread voting irregularities, including in the restive oil producing Niger delta where Obasanjo's party had without explanation won close to 100% of the votes. However, a delegation from the Commonwealth of Nations led by representatives of former colonial power and trading partner Great Britain and African nations that had undergone troubled elections of their own were less critical in their assessment. Much more worrying was the increasing polarisation of Nigeria along geographic and religious lines. Obasanjo swept the South, including the south-west where he had lost four years earlier, but lost considerable ground in the North. For a nation in which ethnicity and religion tie in strongly to geography, such a trend was seen by many as particularly disturbing. Other commentators might simply note that in 2003, unlike 1999, Obasanjo was running against a Northerner and could therefore expect his support to erode in the North. Obasanjo won more Northern states than Buhari, but the latter did well in his region of NW, winning Kano and retaining other ANPP states. Since leading a public campaign against corruption and implementing economic reforms in his country, he has been widely seen abroad as an African statesman championing debt relief and democratic institutions (three times rejecting government change by coups d'ĂŠtat in Africa as the chairperson of the African Union).

Critics of his politics say that he has used the campaign to fight his enemies and not to transform Nigeria.[ Obasanjo's second term was more effective than the first. He had been able to control the party and got effective support from the National Assembly. Many governors, mostly from his party, were either exposed or prosecuted for corruption. Some ministers and state officials were also dismissed or prosecuted for corruption. Also, the Senate President was removed at Obasanjo's insistence, after he had been exposed for receiving cash for budget approval from a minister. The country witnessed the trial and dismissal of senior Naval officers for corruption and similar faith for the chief of police. Some governors too were removed for corruption, though, some judges reversed some decision. Obasanjo himself is seen as a corrupt leader with oil revenues going missing from the federation account and paying out over $50bn on power sector to non-existent companies He was able to attract technocrats and Nigerian expatriates to his administration. They were able to plan various reforms in the country administration. They made effective contribution to the country economic planning and development. His administration had now established future planning and development for the country for the next five years. He was well known for supporting and facilitating many illegal executive actions and ignoring judgements against himself and his government including judgements

delivered by the Supreme Court. Examples included the illegal withholding of funds due to Lagos State Local Governments for more than 2 years after the Supreme Court ordered its immediate release. He also supported the illegal impeachment of several corrupted state governors which the Supreme Court also reversed. The National Judicial Council demonstrated its independence by dismissing several judges who connived with the executive to undermine the constitution during his reign. He was not able to trickle down reforms and development effective to states and local government level, even in the states controlled by his party. The states and local governments are still riddled with corrupt officials. Also, he failed to solve police and security issues in the country. He also didn't provide uninterrupted power supply for Nigerians. While a lot was said against Obasanjo's civilian regimes failures but not much were emphasis on the state of things before he took over. In fact, many institutes and structures were left decade or abandoned. Things like power and national airways were starved of investment for twenty years. His government saw re-investment in many institutions and structures but these were not easily visible by the populace, hence, the cry of failure or accusation of corruption. It must be said; the last two presidents after him suffered the same fate.

Nigeria's GDP growth had been painfully slow since 1987, and only managed 3% between 1999/2000. However, under Obasanjo the growth rate doubled to 6% until he left office, helped in part by higher oil prices. Nigeria's foreign reserves rose from $2 billion in 1999 to $43 billion on leaving office in 2007. He was able to secure debt pardons from the Paris and London club amounting to some $18 billion and paid another $18 Billion to be debt free. Most of these loans were secured and spent by past corrupt officials. In 2005 the international community gave Nigeria's government its first pass mark for its anti-corruption efforts. However, a growing number of critics within Nigeria have accused Obasanjo's government of selectively targeting his anti-corruption drive against political opponents and ethnic militants, ignoring growing concerns about wide-scale corruption within his own inner political circle.

Cabinet (Federal Executive Council)

Obasanjo made frequent changes to his cabinet of Federal Ministers and Ministers of State during his two terms of office, and periodically split or combined ministries. He made a major cabinet reshuffle in June 2000, and in January 2001 dissolved his cabinet. In December 2004 he named 12 new ministers. In June 2005 he made another major Economic growth and debt cabinet reshuffle. In January 2007 a few months before leaving payment office he made yet another drastic Before Obasanjo's administration overhaul.


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earing jeans is an everyday affair for most men and women. Most often we slip into a pair of jeans when we have nothing better to wear. Jeans is comfort clothing for most people. Although jeans are casual and way too common, you can try various ideas to wear these ragged pants fashionably. The accessories you use with jeans define your look, so the accessories you choose with jeans are very important. Apart from the accessories, what you wear with jeans also makes a big difference to your style. You can wear a plain white shirt with a pair of navy blue denims for the classic semi-formal look. You can also wear jeans with a knotted shirt to give you a hip-hop look. Moreover, there are also various shades of jeans available these days. Red and blue jeans are really in this season. You can wear these coloured denims with a variety of tops and accessories. Here are some of the coolest ways to wear jeans and accessorize it well. Try out these

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Two-headed turtle born at US Zoo

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two-headed turtle has hatched at the San Antonio Zoo, with officials naming her Thelma and Louise. The female Texas cooter arrived at the US zoo on June 18 and will go on display in the Friedrich Aquarium. Zoo spokeswoman Debbie Rios-Vanskike said the twoheaded turtle appears healthy and is able to swim and walk. She said experts do not foresee any health issues for Thelma and Louise, named for the female duo in the 1991 Oscar-winning road movie of the same name. The San Antonio Zoo is no stranger to two-headed reptiles. The facility was

home to a two-headed Texas 1978 until the creature's rat snake named Janus from death to 1995.

Man dies after drinking Dangerous pesticide

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he Enugu state command of the Nigeria police Force has commenced a full scale investigation into an alleged incident of suicide involving one Chika Ugwuanyi of Hill Top Nsukka. It was gathered that the victim had allegedly on 18/6/13 drank a pesticide which resulted in his being

hospitalized at Divine Mercy Hospital Nsukka where he was also confirmed dead on 19/6/13 after medical experts had battled to save his life. Meanwhile, the dead body of the deceased is now deposited at the hospital for analysis with a view finding out the root cause that led to his death.

I didn't attempt to flush my baby into toilet – OAU student

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hen news spread that Oyinlola Diana Rotimi, a 400 level student at the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development,

Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe, allegedly attempted to flush her child down the toilet, tongues were wagging as many condemned the act. But recent findings have confirmed

that the lady had no plan to kill her baby as many believed. The Public Relations Officer of the U n i v e r s i t y, M r. A b i o d u n Olanrewaju, in a release, had debunked the rumour, saying that the lady never intended to terminate the baby's life but gave

Heartless!

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esterday in Isashi Lagos a baby born in the night was drowned by his mother just hours after birth in a gruesome manner. Sources state they saw the little unlucky child later and when they came for his rescue he was already swollen and floating lifelessly on the surface of the water. Some women don't deserve to be called mothers. Te a r s p o u r e d f r o m neighbours, especially a young woman who has been trying to give birth for four years to no avail, as the police came to fetch out the baby from the well. After a quick search by the police the mother's blood and placenta was seen on the ground a couple of meters away from the scene of the crime. The main suspect is already on her heels as she was warned by her close friends that the police have been involved.

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Exploding breast implants send woman to hospital

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Beijing woman's breast implants ruptured due to excessive pressure during a video game session. A Beijing woman's breast implant burst after she spent four hours lying on her stomach playing a game on her cell phone. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment. Doctors say poor quality of the material used in the implants, combined with excessive pressure, caused them to rupture. A study by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says China ranks 3rd in the world for plastic surgery; 1.05 million went under the knife in 2011. In 2011, the US led the world in cosmetic surgeries with 3.11 million people undergoing alterations in 2011.

The rise of plastic surgery in China has caused much more than health problems. Last year, a man divorced and sued his wife after she gave birth to what he called an “incredibly ugly baby.” The man was unaware that his wife had undergone plastic surgery before they met. The wife was found guilty and was ordered to pay the man over $700,000 for the damages caused according to the court. There are nearly 20,000 botched plastic surgery operations in China every year. A report says that there is so much demand for illegitimate operations throughout the country that illegal clinics are believed to outnumber legal practices four to one.

birth before due date as she was said to be ignorant of child delivery. ”The truth,” the police image maker said, “is that there was a delivery of a baby boy by an inexperienced mother who, in her naivety, thought she was pressed by call of nature while she was actually in labour pains. ”Prior to the child's delivery, the young, inexperienced mother was bleeding and went to the toilet only to discover that something expelled into the water closet. ”It is overwhelming, it's unexplainable; I can't explain it. I don't know how I feel but it's really great and wonderful.” Those were the words of Oyinlola Rotimi, when our correspondent sought to know how she felt about the birth of the baby boy. She said the allegation that she wanted to flush the baby was untrue. ”It is not true at all. It is blatant lie. I was purging through out the night and I had no idea what labour pain was. Actually, I can't call it labour pain because I was going to the toilet throughout the night till that fateful morning. ”I went through pain going to the toilet all through the night. I went to the toilet that morning to defecate. There was this force that just came out and the baby came out and entered into the closet. I was just there standing and bleeding. People came out when they saw blood coming out of the toilet to help me. It was a friend, Satope, who approached the toilet and found the baby that called an elderly cleaner for assistance. Oyinlola said she was scared because she was not expecting the baby that day. “Seeing the baby was terrifying because I was not expecting the baby to come out yet. She debunked insinuations that she attempted running away when one of the cleaners saw her. “That is untrue! Moremi hostel's toilet is a public place where everybody comes in almost at the same time. People were everywhere while I was in the toilet. Just like me, everybody was scared when they saw me and they had to call the cleaner for help because she is an elderly person.”


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Enugu govt took over our land without compensation – Igwe Felix Ugwu 57-year-old Igwe Felix Ugwu is sure not the first of the Igwes in the South-east but appears to be the most stunning, the people of Emene have ever seen in a long while as there seems to be none more desperate for the development of his people. The Advocate held him up in a long interview at his palace last weekend. Here are the excerpts:

Are conflicts within the community resolved in the Ibiam International Airport to palace or in the courts?

By Mary Chinda & Patrick Okolie

mention a few. However my quarrel with these companies is that, even with their presence in the community, the people are getting poorer as these companies are not alive to performing their corporate social responsibilities. It is most heartbreaking to announce that there is no Emene indigene working in many of these industries. it was just two years ago that the airport authority employed one of our sons as a security man. This is against the labour law which grants that 60% of the lower cadre [level 6] in companies should always be sourced from the catchment area. Every attempt made to curb this pitiable trend has been given a deaf ear by the state government when we've got graduates who know their onus.

Can we meet you, sir? I am His Royal Highness, Igwe Felix Ugwu, (the Emeloha II of Emene), the present traditional ruler of Emene community. I was elected and coronated on the 28th February, 2009 as the successor of late Igwe Isaac Okolo ( the Emeloha 1).

What is your educational background? I am a graduate of Chemical Engineering (class of 1981) from the Institute of Management and Technology, (IMT) Enugu. I obtained my secondary education at St. Patrick Secondary School, Emene in 1976 while my primary education was from the same St. Patrick Primary School, Emene in 1971.

What are the traditional festivals of the Emene indigenes? Well, before Christianity became deep-seated amongst our indigenes, we used to have what I would describe as hard-core traditional festivities which stemmed from our traditional religion. We had festivals such as the Nome, Omaba and Onwasa festivals. The Nome festival was usually held to celebrate our river goddess, Nome, who was believed to be the provider of water in our streams and rivers, hence people used to come from several places to worship at her shrine. On the other hand, the Omaba festival was a masquerade festival exclusive to Emene indigenes only, held every three years to celebrate another goddess called Omaba. This festival was a masquerade festival with a difference as it allowed for females to be initiated into the masquerade cult like their male

About 99% of the civil cases (such as land cases etc) are resolved in palace, while criminal cases are handled in the court of law.

Is the traditional stool hereditary or rotational? It is rotational and strictly on merit. Each time the stool is vacant, the community members come together and elect a new Igwe based on the community's constitution which stipulates the pre-requisites for wearing the crown.

What is your council of chiefs like? The Igwe-in-Council is made of twenty two [22] chiefs who are elected from their clan,with Chief Dennis Ede serving as the Onowu(traditional prime minister).

Aside employment, what What are the challenges are the pressing needs of peculiar to being a royal father of the community? the Emene community?

Tell us about the people of Emene? Firstly, Emene is one of the communities in Nike clan. It comprises of three clans which are Ogulu (regarded traditionally as the senior clan), Otukwu and Amaechi (the younger clan). The people of Emene are predominately farmers as they are richly blessed with huge expanse of land. They are also peaceloving and hospitable people who love to associate with outsiders which accounts for why the community is fast developing into a promising industrial area.

Most importantly, Emene is a waterlogged area, so we need a sound drainage and road network to forestall the usual loss of lives and property witnessed each rainy season if we must like other communities enjoy the dividends of democracy.

Igwe Felix Ugwu (the Emeloha II of Emene) counterparts. Meanwhile the Onwasa festival popularly dubbed the New Yam Festival has remained the only surviving traditional festivity in Emene which survived the silencing blow which Christianity dealt traditional religion in Emene as most of the traditional practices such as the worship of the spirit of dead parents, worship of the sun god called Anyanwu and all other traditional festivals have been swept down the drain. Now the Emene man only celebrates Christian festivals in addition to the new yam festival.

What are the natural resources found in Emene? Land is the largest natural resource we boast about as well as sand from the Ekulu River.

What is the geography of Emene like? The Emene community is located within Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. It shares boundaries with communities such as Nkwubor Nike, Iji Nike, Amorji Nike, Obinagu Nike, Akpugo (Nkanu) and Obiagu and Ugwuaji respectively.

How do you react to the s e e m i n g l y i n c re a s i n g influx of industries in Emene? Naturally, because the people a r e hospitable to visitors, Emene is becoming the hub f o r industrial developm ent as we h a v e several companie s such as t h e Anammco Automobi l e Company, the Juhel Pharmace utical Company, Innoson Company as well as T h e Akanu

We need pipe born water. The current one that is packed up anyway, was laid before the Nigeria civil war. We have desperate need also for transformers, a modern civic centre, construction of more classroom blocks to expand the community secondary school, Emene, which happens to be the only government secondary school, we have ever since the missionaries reclaimed theirs.

‘’

...even with their presence in the community, the people are getting poorer as these companies are not alive to performing their corporate social responsibilities.

‘’

Leadership is all about coordinating the lucrative ideas of the followers and birthing development. The basic challenge I have faced repeatedly is that of finance. This is due to the fact that the state government have collected our lands and distributed them to companies without adequate compensation or even royalties accruing from them. Hence I got constrained attending to the many financial needs which should bring about development. Another challenge is that my people are usually denied employment opportunities in the various companies located in Emene and occasionally when I try to plead with the heads of these establishments , they would always tell me that employment of workers is beyond their power.

What do you think should be the place of traditional rulers in the present democratic governance? The national forum of the traditional rulers have put a request for the roles of the traditional institution to be clearly defined and included in the ongoing constitution amendment especially the distibution of lands. I,like other traditional rulers in this state, am advocating for the institution of the fourth tier of government, that is, community government headed by the Igwes as practiced currently in Imo state. This, I am sure would bring government to the grassroots.


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Man abandons wife, baby in hospital over unpaid bill ·Wife vows to remain in hospital until bill is paid By Emmy-Chuks Nweze, Enugu

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middle age man and a father of four has abandoned his three months old baby boy at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu for what he considered to be an outrageous bill. The man whose name was given as Mr. Jerry Bisong, a native of Ogoja in Cross River State but sojourns at Akwuke Enugu, The Advocate gathered, could not pay the bill of over N140,000 given to him by the hospital which kept his three months old baby in the incubator. The baby was born prematurely at the sixth month in a private hospital in Enugu and was rushed to UNTH that has better facilities for incubation and other medical services. The premature delivery took place on March 6, 2013 and the baby stayed at UNTH till June 6, 2013 when he was discharged but could not go home because the hospital authorities seized him until the parents could pay the bill. As a result of the inability of Mr. Bisong to pay the bill, his wife, Mrs. Happiness Miracle Bsong has literally refused to return to her family as she decided to remain in the hospital until her b a b y i s r e l e a s e d t o h e r. Wednesday March 6, 2013 would have been a very joyous and happy day for the family of Mr. and Mrs Jerry Bisong, a native of Ogoja in Cross River State but who resides at Akwuke in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State but the day was not so, instead it turned to mixed joy and sorrow. Joy, because Jerry's wife, Miracle Happiness Bisong gave birth to a premature baby without a protracted labour. Sorrow, because since the baby was born on the sixth month instead of at the end of nine months gestation period, the baby was rushed immediately to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu that had better facilities for incubator after delivery from a private hospital in Enugu. As the child was kept in the incubator thus Jerry's problem was kept in the incubator as he and his wife kept frequenting the hospital with the attendant transportation cost to and fro Enugu, buying of drugs, baby food and toiletries. The ordeal continued for three good months March 6 to June 6, 2013 when the baby was discharged by the hospital authorities. Instead of being happy that the long awaited baby has been discharged, another headache

Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bisong began for the Bison family who already has three other kids to cater for. The hospital authority billed them N143,720 instantly with a proviso that they will still have to buy 16 packets of pampers and 33 toilet tissues. Jerry Bisong, father of the baby, an artisan who does menial jobs like mason, digging of foundation among other daily-pay jobs, and his wife, Miracle, a house wife could not afford to offset the hospital bill because they had exhausted all they had at the private hospital, the UNTH and feeding in the family. “I have spent all I have in the hospital. The only money I have is to feed my family and there is no money left to pay for the hospital bill. “We have sought financial help from everywhere including our relatives to no avail. I have spent over N50,000 on drugs, tests and baby food. A container of PreNAN costs N1,600 which is only sold at Shoprite and nowhere else in the whole of Enugu Metropolis. I have bought about four containers already,” Jerry lamented. Because he could not afford to pay the bill, he said that the UNTH authorities have taken custody of the baby pending when they were able to settle the bill. The Bisong baby is not the only one in the ordeal. The Advocate gathered that there are other babies too who have been thus discharged but have remained in the hospital because their parents could not afford to offset their bills. As a punishment and to force parents to source funds anywhere they could, the babies are kept without any item of clothing but are stripped naked in spite of the whether condition. To stave off hunger and to check the babies

from dying, the hospital authorities give them milk occasionally and allow their mothers to come occasionally to breast feed them. The UNTH public relations officer, PRO, Mr. Cyril Keleze told The Advocate that there was nothing strange about keeping the new born babies naked. He explained that it could be as a result of the health condition of the babies who might be running temperature. Keleze posited that UNTH though a Baby Friendly hospital was not a charitable organization and for this reason, patients must pay before leaving the hospital. The PRO, who said the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, CMD, Dr. Chris C. Amah was not available to comment on the issue because he was attending a board meeting, further explained why they deny the new born babies clothing. “At times the babies go without clothing if they are running temperature or the weather is very hot, the babies may go without clothing,” Keleze explained.

Keleze pointed out that considering the number of days the Bisong baby spent in the hospital, the bill is not even big considering the consultants, doctors and nurses that attended to the baby and the hospital has to pay them. He pointed out that compared to other hospitals; UNTH was the only hospital that offered adequate medical care but charge less. “You can't get it cheaper elsewhere. It is one of the cheapest places you can access quality health services and be sure that you get the best skilled manpower. “Do you know the team of consultants that come to attend to the patient and you say that the bill is outrageous?” Mr. Keleze further said. In the event that a patient could not afford to pay his bill, the UNTH spokesman said that the person can appeal to the CMD who would use his discretion and do some waiver as the case may be. “If a patient is unable to pay his bill for any reason, particularly if the patient is indigent and has no money and has tried his best and

still couldn't pay there is a way of getting the hospital to assist. “The person should officially appeal to the CMD who will cause the relevant department of the hospital to investigate the authenticity of the patient's claim. “If the patient is found to be really indigent, and has no relatives to help, the CMD may use his discretion to consider one form of waiver of the other. “He does this , the CMD, because the hospital has a human face and the CMD, being human can sometime use his powers as the chief executive to assist an indigent patient who has done his best to pay but is unable to do so for obvious constraint of poverty,” the UNTH image maker explains the modus operandi of the hospital. Meanwhile, the new Baby Bisong who has been discharged since June 6, 2013 is still lying helpless in the hospital which is a clear indication that the parents are indigent and may not be able to pay the bill by the time of filing this report. Already, the hospital has stopped giving the baby any medical attention neither would they give the baby food, not even milk. As a result, the mother and the child are left to fend for themselves and are now living at the mercy of fellow patients who give them leftovers. The baby presented a sorry sight when The Advocate called at the New Born ward of the hospital where the mother, Happiness Miracle Bisong, is b r e a s t f e e d i n g h e r b a b y. “They were giving us milk for the baby but they have stopped doing anything for us. I pray that my husband finds money and take us out of here. I'll not leave here (the hospital) until my child is released to me,” she declared. Unless there is urgent intervention by the UNTH authorities or assistance from public spirited individuals Baby Bisong may have to stay longer in the hospital as his father, Jerry Bisong seems to be at his wits end as to how to source money to secure the release of his baby.

NEWS

Work begins on 2nd Niger Bridge – Julius Berger

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equel to the letter of intent given to Julius Berger on the construction of a second Niger Bridge, the company has confirmed that it has commenced preliminary work such as, soil testing and engineering design at the site. The Managing Director of Julius Berger, Wolfgang Goetsch, said at the 43rd annual general meeting of the company in Abuja that the bridge is to be built under the private public partnership arrangement. Goetsch said: “A consortium that included a company from South

Africa participated in the bidding for the project. In January 2013, our group became the preferred bidder. We are excited because it will be the first of its kind in Nigeria”. He also said mobilization to site for the construction of the 125kilometre Lagos-Sagamu road will begin in 10 days. Five lanes are expected to be added to the road. The Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT, arrangement the Federal Government had with Bi-Courtney Highways Services Limited, had been terminated. At the annual general meeting, Julius Berger declared a profit before tax of N12.34 billion, for the

2012 financial year, as against N9.93 billion recorded in the previous year. Profit after tax stood at N8.02 billion, as against N4.41 billion, while the company approved an increased dividend of N2.50, resulting in a total gross dividend payment of N3 billion. This is a marked improvement over that of 2011 fiscal year, which was N2.40 per share. Retired Air Vice Marshal Nura Imam, chairman of the company, said the performance in 2012 increased by 17.7 percent from 2011.


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House help arrested for stealing master's $100,000

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peratives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, Lagos have arrested a female house help who allegedly connived with her boyfriend and two fake soldiers to rob her master of over 100,000 Dollars. The 23 year-old house help, Adaeze Ijeoma, allegedly sneaked into her master's bedroom located in Maryland, Lagos, last month, after he traveled out of the country. Unsure of where to keep the foreign currency, she reportedly took it to her boyfriend, one Onyebuchi Uche, only for him to flee with the money, leaving Adaeze in doubt. On his part, Onyebuchi , who has been jobless for years, rushed to Alade market, Ikeja where he changed some of the dollars to naira and thereafter, deposited the sum of N8 million in two banks. He thereafter, told operatives at SARS that he also bought a car; 'End of Discussion' and a plot of land in an undisclosed area where he had started molding blocks for building. Determined to get her own share of the loot from him, betrayed Adaeze was said to have confided with one of her relatives identified simply as Nnamdi to help retrieve the money from her estranged lover. Nnamdi and two other persons clad in Military camouflage reportedly stormed Maryland last week where on spotting Onyebuchi, bundled him inside his new vehicle and took him to a hotel in Mende area of Lagos, where they reportedly tortured him and forced him to disclose where he kept the money. They reportedly managed to get the sum of N6.5 million from two separate banks where Onyebuchi kept the money, including the new car he bought. However, just when Adaeze was contemplating on what to do with her own share of the recovered loot, an eight man robbery gang reportedly stormed her master's home, where an unspecified amount including his phones and other valuables were carted away. The robbery case was reported at SARS after which Adaeze and two other persons were arrested. Although she denied having a hand in the recent robbery, she however, disclosed her role in the theft of 100,000 Dollars. In a chat with reporters she said: “I am from Akiri village in Ogbaru Local Government area of Anambra State. I left the village in 2010, after my secondary school education in search of greener pastures in Lagos, where I started working as a house-help for Chief Uche and was paid the sum of N10, 000 monthly. I lived in the same apartment with chief and to be honest to him, he has treated me as a member of the family.”

“I met my boyfriend Onyebuchi after being lonely for a while in 2011. I was tempted to steal my boss's money and gave it to my boyfriend to keep so that we can start our own life. I gave him because he promised he would marry me. I stole the money so that we can, at least, get a lease of life when married. I believed he would use it wisely because he has always had plans for the future.” “But I began suspecting foul play after he stopped picking my calls. When I went to where he lives in Mende, I was told he usually comes home late. Later, those who know us told me he has

started driving a car. That was when I contacted my uncle, Nnamdi to help retrieve the money from him. On the day, he was to go with his two soldier friends, I waited at Mende for Onyebuchi and when I sighted him, I pointed him to them and left for home immediately. After he was tortured, he called me on the phone that he was sick and when I went to see him, he said some robbers stole the money from him and even battered him to stupor. “I swear, I do not know anything about the other robbery operation in the house. The robbers came armed and forced me to take them

round the house. They only got some money in the guest room and took my master's Black berry phone, his gold wrist watch and other things. They also took my phone but left it at the backyard. I did what I did out of love for my boyfriend, not knowing he would betray me. Now he has fled, leaving me to b e a r t h e consequences alone, without having a taste of the money, “she stated in tears. On his part, Nnamdi claimed he was once a military personnel but resigned on his return from a foreign mission where he got the sum of N2 million. Surprisingly, Nnamdi was discovered to be an in-law to Chief Uche. “I am from Akaokwa village, in Ideato North Local Government area, Imo State and the complainant is married to my father's sister. I used to sleep in their house any time I came to Lagos to sell palm oil and at times, I spent one month. “When Adaeze told me about the money, I threatened I was going to

tell her boss. But on second thought, I thought if I got the money, I could use it to enrich myself. I then contacted Chima, my friend who is now at large. It was Chima who contacted a soldier who initially gave his name as Corporal Humphrey. It was later we discovered he was a dismissed soldier. We lodged at Tropicana Hotel in Mende Maryland , where we took Onyebuchi to. I was in full Army uniform while Ajaghe my other friend, was wearing a camouflage cap, pretending to be soldiers. “We tied him to a ceiling fan and beat him in order to force him to tell us where he kept the money. We seized his car. And ordered him to transfer the N2.4 million he said was in First Bank and N5.5 million in Fidelity bank to my account for easy withdrawal. We used ATM card to withdraw the money for one week from one of the banks while we withdrew the rest from separate branches of the other bank. At the end, I gave Onyebuchi's car to Chima to keep and N500,000 to Ajaghe , while I kept the rest, with the hope of giving some to Adaeze and keeping the rest”, he said, adding that he knew nothing about the robbery operation at Chief Uche's apartment. The Commander, SARS, Mr Abba Kyari, said the suspects would be charged to court while efforts were still on to arrest other fleeing members of the gang.

Girl, 16, found dead at block Two killed, 50 industry in Aba cows stolen

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16-year old girl who hawked groundnuts around Eziukwu road was found dead on Saturday at the premises of a block industry in Aba, Abia state. Her remains were dumped at a corner of the industry naked, with her pant hanging on one of her legs and foam oozing out of her nose. The tray of groundnuts being hawked by the deceased was kept on top of a nearby platform very close to where her body was dumped. Some residents at the scene said that the girl must have been strangled but was made naked to make her death seem like a rape case. A man, who pleaded anonymity, said the girl got a call as she was selling groundnut to him around 8 p.m. on Friday from the suspected killers and hurriedly dashed out to attend to her caller. “I know her well. She was selling groundnut to me around 8 p.m. when she got a call. She told the person to be patient with her that she will soon come to meet him. “I jokingly told her that she should make sure she sold the entire groundnut to her caller. She

laughed and hurriedly left to answer her supposed caller,” the source said. Another source close to the victim's family said that the members became apprehensive when they called her phone number repeatedly around 9 p.m. on the fateful date, but the phone was switched off. They were, however, notified on Saturday morning that the girl had been found dead at the premises of a block industry. They said that the brother-in-law to the lady had to notify the police of the crime after residents on the street showed them her corpse.

The Police Area Commander in charge of Aba Area Command, ACP Rabiu Dayi, who spoke at the crime scene, described the incident as unfortunate. He assured that the police were on top of the situation and would, with time, ascertain the cause of her death and the people behind it. Dayi said his men would leave no stone unturned in apprehending the culprits and also make sure that they were brought to justice. Confirming the report, the state Police Commissioner, Mr Usman Abubakar, said that the corpse would be subjected to autopsy, to ascertain the cause of her death. “Nobody was there when it happened. Her body was found dumped in a block industry premises and nobody can say exactly what caused her death. “The foam coming from her nose could mean that she was strangled to death. It is only medical professionals that can tell us the exact cause of her death and that will be through autopsy report. “Whatever that could have led to her death would be unravelled as soon as the autopsy report is out,” Abubakar said.

by suspected militia By Our Reporter, Jos Two people have been reported killed and about 50 cattle stolen at Bakin Kogi in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State by suspected militia. The attackers were said to have struck at Rebet community in the village around midnight on Tuesday killing the duo identified as Yakubu Ishaya and Jawo Gang before rustling the cows. The attack threw the community and surrounding villages into confusion coming at a time when normalcy was thought to be returning to the area. Spokesman of the Special Task Force maintaining security in the state, Captain Salisu Mustapha confirmed the attack saying that “two people were killed and some cattle were rustled.” He disclosed that two people had been arrested in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State in connecting with the attack and that investigations were still on.


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Measles kills 36, infects 4, 000 in North-Central- NEMA

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he North Central zone of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has said that the current measles outbreak in the zone has killed 36 children and infected more than 4, 000 people. NEMA Coordinator for the zone, Mallam Mohammed Abdulsalam, said at a workshop in Jos, Thursday, that the epidemic was ranked third after drought and flood in the emergency data of the 10 top natural disasters in the country. Abdulsalam blamed the high rate of epidemics in the country to illiteracy, ignorance, poor state of personal and environmental hygiene. He added that congestion, reporting and lack of surveillance system are also contributing factors. He explained that the one-day workshop was aimed at creating awareness and to sensitise stakeholders on ways to mitigate the spread of cerebro-spinal meningitis, measles, cholera and lassa fever, especially during the rainy season. Also speaking, the Director, Public Health, Benue State Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Kumba, called on parents to immunise their children and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. According to him, such measures would help in the control of epidemics that may occur during the rainy season. “Communicable diseases are diseases that are within our own levels of control; take cholera for example, you get it from contaminated water source; measles is from person to person

through our respiratory systems. “In this country, we have free routine immunisation that is given to every child under the age of five, and all that are going to be given are antigens that will reduce infectivity. “So, I will advice mothers to take their

children under five, to those health facilities to ensure that they are immunised against measles, against other contagious diseases and against polio. “For our own self, the critical desire we need to put is our

personal hygiene. Most epidemics that occurred in our environment are occurring because of poor environmental hygiene. “I will advice that if your source of water is not hygienically verified, it will be very good for us to boil our

water, filter them before taking them. If we take some of those precautionary measures, we will be able to control a lot of epidemic that would occur, especially during this rainy season,” he said.

'2m children born with sickle cell in Nigeria yearly’

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ore than two million children are born with sickle cell in Nigeria

annually. T h e N a t i o n a l S e c r e t a r y, Nigerians' Forum on Haemoglobin Disorders in the United Kingdom, Dr. Baba Inusa, disclosed this in Abuja, at an event to commemorate World Sickle Cell Day. He said: “In the country, we are aware that Nigeria probably has between two and three million people with sickle cell disease. “The reason we know this is that at birth, in a new born baby, if you have to look at new born population and you test them, you find out that two out of a hundred will have sickle cell disease. “In a year, about 100,000 babies are born with the disease; between 100,000 and 150,000. So, Nigeria has the largest number (in the world) by every imagination. But, that is an opportunity for us to do something about it.” Also at the event, the founder of the Nigerian Sickle Cell Disease Network, NSCD, who is Katsina State governor's wife, Fatima Shema, called for increased

Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu public sensitisation in checking the spread of the disease. She also appealed to all tiers of government in the country to show greater commitment to drastically reduce the burden of the disease. In an address, the Chairman, Department of Paediatrics, K u w a i t U n i v e r s i t y, P r o f .

Adekunle Adekile, said: “It is estimated that 500,000 are born every year with this severe and invalidating condition and that 50 per cent of them will die before the age of five years. “While it is not limited to Africans, the disease is indeed more of a legacy of the Black race, the mutation responsible

for which has been sustained because individuals with sickle cell trait are protected against the scourge of malaria in early childhood. “Therefore, NSCD is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and indeed, Nigeria has the greatest burden in the world because 19 of every 1,000 babies in the country are born with the disease while the trait is present in 25 to 30 per cent. “The disease, present in early infancy is chronic; the most common features being the recurrent severe generalised pain, anaemia and infections. “Some patients would later develop stroke, debilitating bone complications and other chronic organ failure syndromes.” According to him, the proven way to reduce the suffering and mortality from the disease is increasing awareness in the society, early diagnosis and dedicated, comprehensive medical care. Pre-marital and genetic counselling, he said, were necessary for better understanding of the disease and potential reduction of its incidence.

Erring Health workers to be reprimanded– A'Ibom Assembly Christopher Okon, Uyo

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he Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Health has pledged to partner with the Hospital Management Board for a better health service delivery to the people of Akwa Ibom. The assertion was made by Hon. Friday Iwok, the Member Representing Abak State Constituency and Chairman of the Health Committee of the State Assembly, during a working visit to the Hospital Management Board. Hon Friday said he believes the appointment of Sir Val Attah as Chairman of the Board will add value to the system, maintaining that with his health of experience the board can do better. He pointed out that their visit to the Board is part of the Committee's oversight functions to ascertain the condition of the health institutions in the state. He used the opportunity to call on the management staff to give the necessary support to the Chairman and Board members, warning that in line with the 5th Assembly's resolve, the

Committee will not hesitate to initiate disciplinary actions against anyone found wanting in the discharge of his duties. The Health Committee Chairman stated that the Board should ensure that decisions, policies and projects embarked upon by it must always follow due process; he disclosed that the Health Committee is in support of the Board's decision to cancel the last transfer exercise which was trailed by petitions. On the status of the Board, Hon. Iwok assured all that the

Committee is working towards the transformation of the Hospital’s Management Board to a statutory Board, he disclosed that the Bill is presently with the Ministry of Justice and that the House will do justice to it at the appropriate time, adding that he believes the Governor will assent to the Bills which include a Bil to protect HIV-AIDS patients against stigmatization, when passed. While Hon. Iwok assured the Board of their continuos support, he called on health workers to work towards an

attitudinal change in their attitude towards their duties, disclosing that he will continue making unscheduled visits to hospitals and parastatals within the health sector. Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the Hospitals’ Management Board, Sir Val Attah lauded the Committee for making the periodic visits; he particularly commended them for its role in the passage of the School of Health Technology Bill which he said will go a long way to enhance the health sector in the state. While lamenting on the shortage

of manpower, Sir Attah thanked the state Governor for his effort towards rehabilitating the sector, and said that the Members of the Board are ready to reposition the sector. Sir Attah used the opportunity to announce the reversal of the last transfer exercise in the board, arguing that due process was not followed. He called for cooperation amongst board members and management staff to reposition the board for the future.

We'll appeal My Pikin judgement– NAFDAC

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he National Agency for F o o d a n d D r u g Administration and Control, NAFDAC, said it would file a cross-appeal against the judgement of a Federal High Court in Lagos on My Pikin case. The court had sentenced the producers of the baby teething mixture to seven years imprisonment. The two convicts, Adeyemo Abiodun and Egbele Austine Eromosele, who were senior workers of Barewa

Pharmaceuticals Limited (which produced My Pikin) were jailed on May 17 by Justice Okechukwu Okeke, now retired, for offences of conspiracy to sell and sale of the killer drug. NAFDAC, however, said there was overwhelming evidence which Okeke ought to have used to impose more serious punitive measures on the convicts which the judge overlooked. Consequently, the agency said it would seek redress by filing a cross appeal. NAFDAC made this disclosure in

its counter-affidavit to a bail application filed by the convicts, who are seeking bail pending appeal on health grounds. In their bail application, the convicts had prayed the court to grant them freedom to enable them to take care of themselves. The counter-affidavit was deposed by a NAFDAC official, Adumen Jombo Washington, who averred that there were adequate medical facilities and qualified personnel in the prison that could conveniently take care of the convicts' health. He

added that the Prison Service also had internal arrangement whereby it could partner with the families of inmates to refer them to more equipped government or private hospitals. NAFDAC, therefore, prayed the court to reject the convicts' bail application on the ground that there was no justifiable basis for it. The matter, which is before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos, is yet to be fixed for hearing.


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UNIUYO MAYHEM:

Gov. Akpabio calls for investigation By Christopher Okon, Uyo

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overnor Godswill Akpabio has called for the setting up of an investigation panel to probe the riot that erupted in the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa Ibom State resulting in the destruction of property worth millions of naira by 'students', in order to bring the culprits to book. The students of Engineering Department had on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration to the Office of the Vice Chancellor protesting against hike in transport fare from the institution's town campus to the permanent campus, a protest that turned awry in which about two students were feared dead; offices of the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor were torched while several cars and security post were destroyed. Wo r s t a f f e c t e d w a s t h e university's Examinations and Records Department that kept academic records especially transcripts of students who graduated from the defunct College of Education, Uyo, defunct University of Cross River State (UNICROSS) and the present University of Uyo as well

as results of Unified Matriculation Tertiary Examination (UMTE) of students which were set ablaze. Chief Akpabio, who was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Comfort Ekpo in the company of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Professor Paul Ekwere and

FACT BOX Compiled by Patrick Okolie

MOST COMMON SKIN INFECTION Tinea Pedis, commonly known as 'Athlete's foot' is the most common skin infection in humans. The fungus afflicts up to 70% of the world wide population and almost everyone will get it at least once in a lifetime. It affects the skin between the toes which becomes dry, itchy and sore. MOST ACTIVE MUSCLE It has been estimated that the muscles of the eye move more than 100,000 times a day. Many of these rapid eye movements take place during the dreaming phase of sleep SHORTEST WOMAN The shortest ever female was Pauline Musters [Netherlands]. Born on 26 February 1876 she measured 30cm [12 in] at birth. At 9yrs of age she was 55cm [21.5 in] tall & weighed only 1.5kg. She died of Pneumonia with Meningitis on March 1, 1895 in NY City, USA at age 19. A post mortem examination showed her to be exactly 61cm [24 in] there was some elongation after death. The shortest living woman is Madge Bester [South Africa] who is only 65cm [25.5 in] tall. She suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta [characterized by brittle bones and other deformities of the skeleton] and is confined to a wheel chair. Her mother Winnie is not much taller, measuring 70cm [27.5 in] and is also confined to a wheel chair. e-mail: jesuskidallday@gmail.com Phone: 08132597886

D e p u t y Vi c e C h a n c e l l o r (Administration), Professor Okon Ansa, described the riot as “criminal, targeted and premeditated.” The Governor observed that the miscreants took undue advantage of the disagreement between the

school authority and the students targeted the destruction at the school's academic records and policies, saying that it was a preplanned arrangement by the miscreants who hide under the guise as students of the institution. He remarked "This act is a disaster. My observation here is that the destruction of the buildings were targeted at the 20year-old school records and examination results, it was a preplanned arrangement by miscreants, who are "professional students" using the opportunity of the peaceful protest to raze down buildings where the school's academic records were kept". Akpabio called on the Nigerian police to carry out a thorough investigation into the case, and suggested the involvement of visitor to the institution (Mr. President) and the Minister of Education in getting to the root cause of the matter. The State Chief Executive sympathized with the institution for the sad incident, and pledged the state government readiness to build and hand over two hostels to the university as soon as the school allocates a site for the project.

Also speaking, Professor Comfort Ekpo, who was flanked by the university's Registrar, Mrs. Edak Umondak and the school's Chief Librarian, Professor Felicia Etim, hinted that the school had set up a committee and the members discussed and agreed with one another on the payment of new transport fare by the students. Ekpo further explained that the school decided to increase the transport fare from N100 to N200 from the town campus to the permanent campus after the students in the committee had brought a transporter to the school authority for approval, wondering where the disagreement by the students that led to the riot came from. The President of Students' Union Government (SUG) in the university, Lucky Imo Inyang and the Vice President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Ubon Marcus, regretted the incident, blaming it on miscreants who hijacked the peaceful demonstration by the students against increase in the transport fare by the university authorities to unleash such a dastardly act on the institution's records and infrastructure.

…It was a sabotage – Prof. Balogun

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he chairman of the Interministerial Committee on campus Safety, Prof. Bisi Balogun has described as enormous the extent of damage to the University of Uyo during the violent protest which resulted in the death of three students, saying there was sabotage. Speaking with newsmen shortly after an assessment tour round the affected areas, Balogun said he cannot imagine that students could go all out to destroy facilities in the school over N100 increase in the transportation (regime.) '' Students unions in our Nigerians

universities have imbibed the culture of dialogue, If there is nothing behind this dastardly acts it means something has to be done, because one cannot really understand why they have gone to this extent of destroying property this level because of just N100. ''The police is still investigating, the university has set its own committee to investigate the matter but this is certainly beyond the issue of N100, he said. He stated that he went through the minutes of the meeting where the student Union government and the university authority agreed on a private transporter to execute the

transport on behalf of the university and they all agreed. According to him for the students to turn around to embark on such a wanton destruction of their property,which resulted in the killing of some students goes beyond sound reasoning. The chairman noted that whatever differences that existed between the students and the university should not have gone to the extent of killing students, saying the involvement of the death of the students was what prompted his team to come to assess the extent of damage.

Re-introduce civic studies in schools – NOA Boss called By Christopher Okon, Uyo

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he Akwa Ibom state director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs. Catherine Ekpo, has called for the teaching of national symbols in the country's primary and secondary schools which would help preserve flags and national monuments. Ekpo, who stated this while on a courtesy visit the chairman, Ibesikpo/Asutan Local Government Area, Mr. Ekpe

James over the week expressed worry about the way national flags are being handled in various parts of the country. She said a time has come for Nigeria to re-introduce the teaching of civic studies in both primary and secondary schools to acquaint the pupils with the features, meaning and laws governing them. “National Flag and Coat of Arms are crucial symbols of authority and instrument of the state power that should be accorded every necessary decorum and respect,” she said.

She stressed the need for different sectors of the economy to adopt uniformity of all national symbols used throughout the country as a demonstration of oneness and love, disclosing that the agency had begun state-wide enlightenment drive in public establishment to acquaint government officials on the imperative, quality display and features of the national symbols. The chairman Ibesikpo/Asutan Local Area while responding thanked the agency for its visit and enlightenment campaigns and promised to support the enlightenment programmes of the agency.


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Poverty hinders democracy– NCP Chairman By Christopher Okon, Uyo

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hairman, National Conscience Party and Inter-Party Advisory Council, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, has said that poverty is the greatest enemy of democracy, as citizens scramble for the least and immediate gains they can get from those who seek their votes. Tanko while briefing newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Wednesday during a 3-day on Inter-party Advisory Committee workshop said that if the country's leaders were serious about democracy, they would have reduced the level of poverty in such a way that Nigerians no longer sell their votes to get people elected into various political offices. “Poverty is a very sad situation in this country. If you look at the motto of the NCP you will see that our ideology is about abolishing poverty. ‘'We believe that if we can remove poverty from this country,

Nigerians could be better for it so that you will not be easily bribed with N1000 or N5000 to vote for somebody, who does not have credibility.” He said if the leadership could divert the attention of the citizens into productive agriculture, the country could reduce poverty to

the barest minimum. ''You can imagine the by-products of agricultural yields; they are enormous in size. Even the issue of eco-friendly products like corn and the rest of them can be produced for other things that can be useful to the economy and deploy it into other sectors of the

economy, to serve as natural resources for industries'' “If this is done, oil and gas will then be an extra gain for the country rather than allowing oil to be the country's sole foreign reserved earner, he added. He also spoke on inter-party advisory committee saying that

the body was working very hard to seeing that post election litigations are reduced to the barest minimum. “The essence of the gathering here is for us to follow the legal framework. The truth about it is that INEC recorded about 1,165 litigations in 2011 general elections,'' He concluded.

Tension in A' Ibom police command over unpaid only in Akwa Ibom state, the next and next month the same rent allowances thing will happen again'' the sources said

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he inability of the Mechanized Salary Section (MSS) of the Akwa Ibom state police command to release the accommodation allowances due to some officers of the command is causing disaffection among the ranks and f i l e s , T h e A D V O C AT E investigation has revealed. According to the source, about 200 officers and men are allegedly being owed the sum of N20Million as rent allowances for about five months

The affected officers who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed disappointment with the command, alleging that the rent allowances due to them has been fraudulently converted by the police to personal use by the MSS and Ministry of Police Affairs. '' Since January 2013 it was alleged that the police authority has refused or has fraudulently embezzled the rent allowance due to some operatives and that only few persons have been paid, and this is happening

‘' It is the duty of the MSS to prepare salary and the account department of the ministry of Police Affairs to audit and post together with salary. But since January this year the salary and the rent allowance has not been paid together'' The source further alleged that when the over 200 affected persons sought to know why they were pacified on the basis that it was a computer error. ''if you ask the MSS they will tell you it is computer error, wait till

source said. They called on the InspectorGeneral of police, Mohammed Abubakar to intervene to save the affected operatives from starvation. Meanwhile the police public relations officer, Etim Dickson, said that the command was on top of the situation stressing that the plight of the affected officers is being looked into. He said the state police commissioner had addressed the affected officers and promised to intervene in their matters.

Ebonyi School Principals risk dismissal for extortion. By Ngwuta Chinedu, Abakaliki

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rincipals of public secondary schools in Ebonyi State who engage in the collection of unauthorized fees from students in their schools have been warned to desist from the act or risked being dismissed from service. Making the announcement r e c e n t l y, t h e E b o n y i S t a t e Commissioner for Education, Prince Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo gave the warning in a meeting held in the ministry between principals of public secondary schools and officials of the ministry in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital. The warning follows the ban of the collection of N500 lesson fee and other unapproved charges from students of public secondary schools who hitherto were subjected to the payment of unauthorized fees. Prince Chibueze-Agbo, who described the collection of such fees as undue exploitation of the students of public schools in the state, said that the plan to punish those will be caught in the act became necessary because “the collection amounted to extortion and against the free education policy of the Governor Martin Elechi led administration.” According to him, “The collection of N500 from students for extra lessons and money in lieu of handicraft amounted to extortion and negated the free education policy the Governor Martin Elechi administration.” The State's Education Commissioner who frowned at the illegal fees collection from the students further warned principals

who are engaged in the act to desist from it as he stressed that any of them found violating the order risk being demoted or summarily dismissed from service. He enjoined the principals to shun acts which are capable of undermining the ongoing transformation in the education sector as he also appealed to them to demonstrate commitment and dedication in the discharge of their duties in other to consolidate on the already recorded achievements

made in the education sector. Agbo pointed out that expectation from the public and the government to build solid, functional and qualitative secondary school education was high on stakeholders in the education sector, while calling on them to live up to their billings. “As critical stakeholders in secondary school education, the government and the general public expect much from you in our very attempt to build a solid, functional and qualitative secondary education. You have a lot of responsibilities placed on your

shoulders as we partner together to make the future of our students in our schools even brighter by giving them sound and quality education,” he said. “I implore you to display a high level of commitment and patriotism in the discharge of your duties,'' he added. The commissioner called on the principals to ensure effective monitoring and supervision of teachers under them to enhance the promotion of academic excellence and discipline even as he assured them of the government's commitment to uplifting the

welfare of teachers and also providing conducive teaching and learning environment. Chibueze-Agbo commended the school heads for the giant strides in the war against examination malpractice and urged them not to relent. While urging them not to rest on their oars, he said the state was still enjoying the status of 'an examination malpractice free state' conferred on it by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in 2011 which is a clear indication that our policy of zero tolerance to malpractice is yielding positive

2015: Stakeholders endorse Aniekan Akpan administration; they lauded his for a seceond term committed and steady drive … Gov. Akpabio's Senatorial ambition too

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coalition of political groups and stakeholders in Ukanafun have confirmed their resolve to support the present Member Representing Ukanafun State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Rt. Hon. (Elder) Aniekan S. Akpan to run for a second term in office. The coalition of political groups which described Hon. Akpan as pragmatic, said his representation is exemplary, arguing that his track record of achievements speaks for him. The group pointed out that majority of the Ukanafun people will not hesitate to join forces with the House Services Committee Chairman, whom they described as intellectually rich, humble and dedicated public servant who has the interest of Ukanafun people at heart. One of the group’s head and

meeting commended Hon. Aniekan Akpan for giving Ukanafun State Constituency “effective and proactive representation,” urging him to run for a second term in office, stating that NACAY will be strongly behind his candidature. Mr. Umoh used the opportunity to commend Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio for the u n c o m m o n transformation witnessed in the state, declaring that every well-meaning citizen of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district will Gov. Godswill Akpabio vote for Governor Chapter Chairman of National Akpabio, come 2015 Council of Annang Youth Senatorial polls. (NACAY), Mr. Imoh Victor The coalition also reiterated their Umoh; in a chat with our confidence in the Akpabio led correspondent, shortly after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

towards repositioning the state's infrastructural and economic base, stating that Ukanafun has enjoyed the Governor's magnanimity in the appointments of its people into key political offices since his assumption as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. They particularly commended the Governor for the construction Nsekhe-Ikot Akpa-Nkuk Road, unanimously pledging to support the Governor if he decides to join the race for the Senatorial seat in 2015. They emphasized that Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district will indeed experience representation at its best when Governor Akpabio is voted in as Senator. “With Hon. Aniekan Akpan as State legislator and Governor Godswill as Senator, the people of the area can only look forward to the very best of legislative practices and democratic dividends.” They said.


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Flood displace Abakaliki residents By Ngwuta Chinedu, Abakaliki

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eavy rain that lasted for about four hours last week sacked about twenty homes in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital. The flood, which displaced the affected residents and paralyses business activities, was believed to have been caused by the overflowing beyond it banks of the Iyiudele and Iyiokwu rivers. According to our correspondent's report one of the famous hotels in Abakaliki, Salt Lake belonging to a former PDP chairman was affected by the flood as the entire premises especially the relaxation park was flooded. Other affected areas include Hope High International Schools located along Onwe Road Abakaliki and G-spot, a popular relaxation centre close to the

school, both owned by the wife of the State ex-governor, Mrs. Eunice Ukamaka Egwu. Consequently, the school was also forced to shut down until the flood subsides as parents and guardians that brought their children wards to the school took

them back home. Members of Christ Embassy and House on the Rock Churches that make use of the multipurpose halls situated inside the relaxation centre were seen battling with the flood inorder to gain entrance into the church so as to move their property to safety. Also not left out by the ravaging flooded is a part of the International market being constructed by the state government. Meanwhile some residents of the city attributed the flooding to blockage of the canal being built by the federal ministry of environment to direct excess water from the two rivers. Engr Paul Okorie, Ebonyi state

FLOOD:

Kogi govt procures sea worthy vessels for emergency operations

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owards its preparation not to be cut unaware by this year's flood as predicted by Nigerian Metrological Agency, the Kogi State Government has procured some boats and sea worthy vessels for rescue operations. Capt. Idris Wada, stated this when he received in audience, the Assistant Director, Maritime Safety and Nautical Survey of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Capt. Kunle Olagunle Olayiwola, in his office. Capt. Wada noted that the purchase of the boats and vessels followed NIMET's prediction for 2013 and to avoid the self help approach made by some boat owners to move people during last year's flood. The Governor who was represented by his Deputy,Yomi Awoniyi, noted that several contraptions called boats and ferries that were not sea worthy were used during last year's flood by commercial operators. He however thanked God that in all the period the flood lasted in the State no life was lost in the cause of moving persons and vehicles. While noting that the State has established a Maritime Safety Committee on the advice of the Nigerian Navy Lugard, promised to give support to policies and programs of NIMASA that is geared towards safety regulation. Earlier in his speech, Capt. Kunle Olagunle Olayiwola, disclosed that he was in the State to educate Maritime Sea farer's

o n t h e n e e d f o r s a f e t y, prevention, and types of equipments needed by their vessels. He added that the sensitization exercise included the types of certificates and training needed by operators as well as how to construct boats to enable for safety of life and properties. Also speaking, the Commandant

Nigerian Navy Lugard Lokoja, Commander Timothy Dakwat, said the NIMASA's visit was also aimed at seeking ways of collaboration with the State Government and commended the cordial relation existing between the State Government and the Nigerian Navy Lugard Lokoja.

Commissioner for Environment who lamented the situation and described it as unfortunate, blamed the flooding on the delay of the contractors to complete the contract. His words, “I am not surprised that we are experiencing this flooding because Nigerian Meteorological Agency predicted that last year's flood will be a child's play compared to that of this year”. “The international market was also affected, many buildings around Udemezue were also affected and many streets along the banks of Iyiokwu and Iyiudele rivers. It is very unfortunate”. “The federal government awarded contract for concrete channelization of the two rivers and the contract is on-going though not at the speed expected and we shall continue to put pressure on the Federal government and the contractor to act faster than they are doing now so that this contract will be executed in a record time because it will go a long way toward solving this problem”. “Initially the width of the channel was just about 4.9 metres and the height was 2.2 metres but when the state government made a case to the federal Ministry of Environment, it was redesigned and the total depth is now 4.4 metres while the width increased to 6.9 and we believe that if the construction is completed from beginning to end, it will be able to

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carry the water”. “What is happening now is that some areas have not been totally completed so there are blockages here and there leading to obstruction of flow. But if the whole channel is constructed and there is free flow, it might be able to carry the flood water”. “We shall work with the Federal Ministry of Environment to see if the channel can carry. You know what happens sometimes is that when designs are made and whereby all the parameters possibly are not taken into consideration during design then it becomes a problem.” He said the state government will ensure that residents of flood prone areas are relocated before the flood increases to an alarming proportion like that of last year. National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has not shown up to the scene of the flood disaster, for the purpose of giving relief to the affected persons as at press time; a situation described by one of the victims of that disaster who only identified himself as James. He called on the federal government to quickly come to their aid as they have been rendered homeless and their property destroyed. The Southeast zonal coordinator of NEMA, Dr Bandele Onimode when contacted said that his office has not received any report on the Ebonyi flood disaster saying that it is only when such report is made by the State Emergency Management Agency that the federal will act on the situation.

…UN pledges to partner with Kogi in managing flood Federal and State Government to o f in the state bring differences in the lives of Yomi Awoniyi,described last r e b u i l d i n g years flood that ravaged the state infrastructures,appealed for

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he United Nations has a s s u r e d Te c h n i c a l Expertise that will help manage future flood disaster in Kogi State. The United Nations Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Valerie Amos, stated this while on a working visit to flood affected states in Nigeria. The UN under Secretary-General described the flood that devastated nine Local Government Areas in the state last year as unfortunate,said her visit is to seek ways of granting technical assistance to the state to help rebuild lives and damaged infrastructures. Ms Amos described water as life but said the 2012 flood was a threat,occasioned by the impact of climate change. The flood disaster the UN envoy noted calls for better ways for the UN to improve early warning preparation and response to future flood disasters. The UN Secretary General assured of partnership with the

the people whose lively hood were badly affected by the flood. The Technical Expertise to be proided by the UN the Under Secretary disclosed will include building and managing displaced persons camp for future floods. Earlier in his speech,Kogi State Governor Capt Idris Wada,who was represented by his Deputy,

as devastating,affected farmlands,infrastructures and destroyed houses and businesses. The Governor disclosed that several intervention measures has been made to partly mitigate the effect of last year's flood on the lives of the people and in the

support from the UN as the damaged done in the state he noted was overwhelming. Highlights of the visit by the UN envoy was the interaction with people affected by last year's flood and visit to some places and infrastructures damaged by the flood.

Capt. Idris Wada among the best governors – EFCC Consultant Dr. Abdullahi, who delivered a

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apt. Idris Wada has been described as one of the best Governor's in the country in terms of accountability and transparency. Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, Director General of Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa and a consultant to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), made the disclosure while in Lokoja, for a sensitization workshop for Council Chairmen, and other principal officers of the 21 Local Government Area Councils.

paper on “Democracy, Good Governance and Challenges of Development” urged the Council Chairmen to learn the act of transparency as being exhibited by Capt. Wada, adding that he remains one among those serving as Governors, whose records remain a shining example. Dr. Abdullahi, said despite the challenges of limited resources, pressures, ethnicity and corruption that the Council Chairmen may face in discharging their duties ,the council bosses will make remarkable impact if they reorder their priorities.

The EFCC Consultant and Financial expert, urged the Chairmen to be accountable, develop a workable budget and have the fear of God in the discharge of their duties. In his speech, the State Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, who represented the Governor, said the clean bill of transparency so far displayed in Governance by Capt Idris Wada was informed by the need to live above board and by example. The Deputy Governor called on the Council Chairmen to be vanguard of development and support to the State Governor's Transformation Agenda.


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The Advocate Gospel This Week

THE RICH NEED TO BE SPIRITUALLY DISCIPLINED TEXT: 1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (NIV)

NARRATION Wealth gives power to those who hold it: even to believers in Jesus. Poor people trust the Lord more easily than the rich, who trust that their money will secure their ambitions and future. Also, wealth gives pride space to breed; and without a keen sense of spiritual discipline it will make even the strongest believer become arrogant. Although we know that money cannot bring a happy future, we often manage our finances as though that was true. The humble believer will see things differently. We come into the world with nothing and leave with nothing (1 Timothy 6:7), everything we have on earth is not ours, and we hold it in trust. However God has promised to provide generously. He gives us all we need, and whatever He can trust us to enjoy while still giving Him glory. Our hope of the future cannot be based on what we have today because it may go tomorrow; however we can always be confident in the character of God whose love goes on for ever. Rich people need this clear command to rethink their relationship between what they have and who they are in Christ. And church leaders must not shrink from the responsibility of instructing them to discipline themselves. However church leaders must not use the verse to extract money for their own causes, however useful they may be. The command is to embrace the spiritual discipline of holding their wealth in humility and thankfulness, giving glory to God as they enjoy what He has given to them. Sincere giving will only flow from humble hearts that are filled with the compassion of Christ; but arrogance lives in hard hearts which can neither enjoy God's good gifts nor share them with others.

T.B. Joshua predictions, coincidence or reality?

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ollowing the loss encountered by the Nigerian football team against Uruguay in Confederation cup soccer tournament, Pastor T.B. Joshua, a foremost Nigerian Pastor who has always predicted Nigeria's football Matches, was at it again. According to some reliable sources at the Synagogue, T.B. Joshua was heard to have predicted the returning of the Nigerian team back home from the Confederations Cup, after facing heavy shelling from the Spain national team to the tune of 8 goals to Nil. It is not clear how the Nigerian team will react to this new prediction from this man of God, however, after the prediction, the Eagles coach told our correspondent through a phone call that his team was not bothered because of his own words ' T.B. Joshua can predict all he wants, but we all know that his predictions are always the opposite', Keshi went on 'If He says we will win, then I will be scared, but if he says we will lose, then I know that we are winning by 8 goals, so I'm confident'. After the prediction, the Super Eagles, lost to the Spain team who are the world champions by 3-0. Though the Eagles lost the goal margin did not tally as was predicted by the acclaimed man of God.

This tends to put to question the predictions of the Prophet, a situation that seems to create another impression that the numerous prophesies of his may have been mere coincidence. It will be recalled that some of his colleagues in the gospel business had in the past derided and cast aspersions on Prophet Joshua especially as it affects the numerous testimonies from people from all works of life that God has used the man of God to perform in their lives. But the startling thing is that upon all the attacks on the Prophet, he has maintained some kind of un-usual quiet that has made both his followers and non-followers to be docile on whither he derives his power.

58 year old Pastor Performed Sex acts On Young Girls "To Stop Them From Liking Other Females, Catching Diseases And Becoming Pregnant"

Prayer: Gracious God. Thank You for Your kindness in giving me so much and for providing generously for my needs and enjoyment. Forgive me when I have trusted in my wealth or possessions, or when I have failed to give You the glory for everything I hold in trust. Please help me to learn the spiritual discipline of holding lightly onto whatever You have given to me, and cultivating a humble, thankful and generous spirit so that I can use Your resources to Your glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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South Carolina minister has been charged with using private prayer sessions to sexually abuse three

girls. Larry DuRant, of Word International Ministries in Sumter, allegedly performed sex acts on the victims, telling them it would heal them from 'liking females, contracting sexual diseases or becoming pregnant'. The 58-year-old has been charged with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly

abusing the girls, including one as young as 11, over two years. DuRant was first investigated after the parents of one of the alleged victims spoke to their daughter about the healing sessions. Police, who started investigating DuRant in May, believe there may be other young victims who have yet to come forward. 'The manner in which he lured them in, we feel that at some level there's a strong potential that there may be other victims we're talking about a span of, right now, over two years,' Deputy Chief Alvin Holston said. 'It appeared that he may have had a routine on gaining the trust and the private company of some of the juveniles,' he said. Court documents show that since 2011 DuRant, whose wife Melody also works at the church, had offered private prayer sessions at two Word International Ministry centers and his home. The victims told police DuRant had coerced them into sexual intercourse using his position in the church and convincing them that it was part of a 'healing process', a Sumter police spokesman said. According to court documents, one of the victims claims that when she was 18 Durant had sex with her at his home, telling her it was to stop her from 'liking females'. The victim claims DuRant told her not to tell anyone of their 'private prayer session' or to 'go against God's will'.


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Restriction Order:

Enugu Keke riders set for a showdown with govt

By Tosin Adesile

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he Enugu state Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Chukwuka Utazi, at a meeting with riders of tricycle popularly known as “Keke” last week, announced restrictions in their operation within major routes in Enugu metropolis triggering another round of controversies in the urban transportation sector in the state. He said that the reason for the restriction order is to bring back sanity to the city roads. The decision irked the Keke Operators who viewed the action of the government as obnoxious and allegedly targeted at worsening their plights. The tricycle riders shortly after the meeting stormed NTA to express their displeasure against what they described as the “obnoxious law”. Friday Alo, a tricycle rider who plies from ESBS junction to federal government college, said the government has barred them from their route. “We are not needed at those places; we are restricted to plying those roads.

The Government should help us, we into tricycle business and we should be able to work anywhere.” Another tricycle rider, Aniche Christian who spoke extensively said, “All of us are not happy following the statement of the

Commissioner for transport to ban the tricycle riders from major roads. Since motorcycle fondly called,” Okada”, was banned, we started collecting tricycle on higher purchase which cost us between N900,000 and 1 million. And now, the Commissioner has

spoken, we don't know the reason and the way we can survive if the Commissioner does not withdraw the statement maybe owners of the tricycle can collect their Keke back and we operators will be idle and some of us may be forced to go back to robbery, joblessness

and other available options. John Onyedike West, a tricycle rider also said he's not happy even, as our correspondent was talking to him adding, “I'm confused right now.” A tricycle rider addressed as Whiteman who ply timber route and ESBS said tricycle and motorcycle are not the same. They said we should take plate numbers, we did. “So, how do they want us to pay owners of tricycle if we are banished from major towns.” Another tricyclist who preferred anonymity said, “I've only heard and I was not there. So,I don't see any seriousness to the information. On that note, I can't comment to what I'm not sure of.” Also in a swift reaction, Keke passengers urged the state government to focus on other things that would improve the well being of the people rather than engage the poor masses in an unnecessary battle. A passenger who simply identified himself as Femi said government should provide bus alternatives like is done in other advanced countries and engage the services of the drivers of tricycle before disengaging them.


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CBN moves to stabilize Naira

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n a bid to forestall depreciation of the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sold $500 million at the bi-weekly foreign exchange auction. The amount sold represents 66 percent increase when compared to $300 million sold per previous foreign exchange auctions. The increase represents a strong signal from the apex bank about its determination to stabilise the naira. However, despite this increase, the naira depreciated by 10 kobo at the inter-bank foreign exchange market Monday. From N159 per dollar, the interbank exchange rate rose slightly to N159.10 per dollar. But at the official market, the naira remained stable, as the official exchange rate remained N155.75 per dollar. According to the result of the biweekly Wholesale Dutch Auction System, WDAS, CBN offered $500 million, and sold millions of dollars to 21 banks.

“It is a demonstration of capacity and capability to meet foreign exchange demand on the part of the CBN,” said Wale Abe, Executive Secretary, Financial Market Dealers Association of Nigeria, FMDA. He said this would help to eliminate speculation against the

naira in the foreign exchange market. Abe said: “CBN perceived there was a shortfall in supply, which increased demand pressure, hence to reduce this pressure and forestall speculation, CBN decided to intervene to ensure that all outstanding genuine

demand is met. “With this, there is no reason for anybody to speculate about the ability of CBN to meet demand.” Due to increasing foreign exchange demand, the naira has depreciated by N2.53 at the interbank foreign exchange market this year. From N156.67,

£3,000 UK visa bond: We'll defend Nigerians' we can guide the ordinary overstay in Britain after their interest– Minister, Reps Nigerians”. visas have expired.

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ollowing a proposed policy by the British Government requiring Nigerian travellers to the UK to deposit £3,000 as bond in case they overstay their visa limits, the Federal Government has undertaken to defend the interests of Nigerians. The policy requires Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom to produce a cash bond of N730,000 (3,000 pounds, $4,600 or 3,500 euros) before they enter the UK.

R e a c t i n g , M o n d a y, w h i l e rendering account of his stewardship at the Radio House in Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said that although Federal Government was yet to receive any official communication from the UK government “but I can assure all Nigerians that the Jonathan government will defend the interest of Nigerians by whatever means we can. So, when we get their proposal, we will study it and we will see how

“We have received no official communication from the UK government. When we receive communication from them, we will study whatever proposal they bring and know what to do," Ashiru added. The Sunday Times newspaper had reported that visitors from Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ghana whose nationals are deemed to pose a “high risk” of immigration abuse will be required to produce the bond which they will forfeit if they

Food Production Enugu monarch to distribute fertilizer, farm tools free to farmers earlier call on Governor Sullivan “New yam celebration is a big *Decries poor state of rural roads Chime-led administration and cultural event in our community,

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S a way of encouraging rural farmers as well as to boost food production in his community, the traditional ruler of Adogbalato in Awgu local government area of Enugu State, Igwe Chris Oti, has procured over 50 bags of fertilizer and assorted farming implements to be distributed free to farmers during this year's new yam festival. The festival slated for July 20, 2013 would witness the traditional roasting of newly harvested yam which would be served to the dignitaries. Thereafter the natives can eat the new yam in line with their culture and tradition. The royal father who formally

the interbank exchange rate rose to N159.1 per dollar. This is despite increased foreign exchange sales from CBN. From $250 million per auction, CBN had earlier in the year increased foreign exchange sale to $300 million per auction. But this was inadequate to meet increasing demand owing to huge foreign portfolio investment outflow and declining revenue from oil.

announced the festival at a news briefing yesterday, also decried the continued neglect of rural roads by Enugu state government. Igwe Oti stressed the urgent need for governments at all levels in the country and Enugu state in particular to accord agriculture the serious attention it deserves. He noted that since no nation, be it developed or developing including Nigeria, can survive without agriculture,"policy makers in the country should always initiate human oriented programmes in the agricultural sector to enable it boost the nation's economy rather than paying lip service at all times.” The royal father reiterated his

Awgu Council Area, as a matter of urgency provide motorable roads to the community so as to enable his people whom, he said, are predominantly farmers, evacuate their farm produce to the markets and urban centers According to him, if empowered or encouraged, “our community, Adogbalato, has all it takes and the agricultural capacity to feed the entire coal city state of Enugu and beyond. “This year's Adogbalato new yam festival will gulp the sum of N5 million and it would feature a lot of new innovations including masquerade competition among neighboring and host communities.

because it is a time we showcase our cultural heritage as well as entertain ourselves and visitors,' he said, stressing that any race or community without culture is like a people without identity, this is simply because culture remains the peoples way of life and must be respected at all times.” Chairman, Planning Committee for the event, Chief Andrew Ago, in his remarks, applauded the foresight of the royal father, describing him as a true leader. He announced that this year's festival would be quite different from that of the previous years as it would commence with a church service.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, has also condemned the new British visa policy, saying it is discriminatory and unacceptable. Chairman of the committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, in a statement issued in Abuja, said such policy was not in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. “This is totally discriminatory and unacceptable. It is targeted at non-white Commonwealth”, she said. Ukeje (PDP-Abia) said as a Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House of Representatives would take a critical look at the policy as it affects Nigerians and come up with a way forward. According to her, “they should realise that it is not in the best interest of UK. We will, as a country, look at it vis-a- vis our citizens and come up with a decision. We agree totally with the UK Foreign Minister that the policy is totally unworkable and impractical. It is contrary to the commitment made to our President by David Cameron during their last meeting. We believe it is for political reason ahead of general election. We seek that our long historical relationship should take precedence over political expediency,” Ukeje advised. The pilot scheme of the new visa policy is scheduled to commence in November.

2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class launched

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fter performing exceptionally well in first quarter of the year Mercedes-Benz India is using an aggressive strategy and the 2013 EClass has been the company's third successive launch for the buyers, as the manufacturer has already launched the new GL-Class SUV and

A-Class premium hatchback. The E-Class has been launched in three different variants including the E200 CGI tagged at Rs. 41.5 lakh, the E250 CDI priced at Rs. 44.8 lakh and a limited edition E250 CDI for Rs. 49.90 lakh. (All the prices are exshowroom Delhi.) The new E-Class got a mid-life

facelift and comes largely with the cosmetic upgrades. It is the same car, which was unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show. Amidst of all other changes, the new bumpers and headlamps, as the split headlamp assembly is now wrapped in a single form with LED elements for the low beam and DRLs (daytime running lamps) are most evident. The front fascia of the new E-Class gets a new grille; redesigned headlights with LED daytime running lamps, making it look more aggressive than before. The rear end of the new E-Class adorns a revamped tail lamp cluster and exhaust tips. On the inside, the new E-Class gets some design upgrades, and adorns a revamped dashboard, new multifunction steering wheel with gearshift paddles (standard), redesigned aircon vents and control knobs. The command system has a new screen

and gets satellite navigation and a DVD player as well. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class gets two engine options a petrol and a diesel. The E200, the petrol variant comes equipped with a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine that produces 184bhp @ 5500rpm and 300Nm of top torque. The E250 CDI, the diesel model is powered by a 2.1-litre, 4-cylinder engine that churns out 204bhp @ 4200Nm and 500Nm of top torque at 1600-1800rpm. Both the engines are mated to the Mercedes's 7G-tronic automatic transmission. The company has removed the top end E350 CDI model from its lineup. The car offers an excellent fuel economy of 18.6kmpl and 22kmpl for both petrol and diesel model, respectively. Mr. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented on the launch of the new E-Class, “The new E-Class with

its blend of stunning new design idiom, pioneering Intelligence Assistance Systems, exemplary safety and comfort features, luxurious appointments and best in class modern range of infotainment systems, creates a whole new benchmark in the luxury full-size segment. With more than 2000 parts and components used, the new E-Class undoubtedly is the 'Best E-Class ever' and reiterates Mercedes-Benz's prowess as the pioneers of technical innovations towards safety, design, performance and comfort. Its new emotive design reinforced with the Intelligence Assistance Systems, reaffirms the E-Class' position as the most sought after luxury sedan in its segment. The new E-Class is a completely high-tech packageand a very attractively packaged one at that”.


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Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chukwuma Ezenyirioha is not a less popular name in the Guild of Nollywood producers based in Enugu. He was on an interview session during the week with The Advocate correspondent Mary Chinda and had so much to share: Can we meet you sir? I am Mr Chukwuma Ezenyirioha, a Nollywood producer stationed in Enugu state. How long have you been into production in the industry? I ventured into movie production in 2001, which is 12 year ago, but before that, I merely started off as an actor, registering with the Actors guild of Nigeria (AGN), Enugu State Chapter. How have you fared all these years as an independent producer especially with regards to breaking even after each production? Well, it's been a blend of sadness and happiness but largely it has not been smiles all the way because movie production has been increasingly challenging as some greedy marketers greatly frustrate the efforts of producers by being dishonest about the payment for the side of the movies for instance, a marketer is still owing me about N200,000 for the marketing of Flames of Vengeance, a production I did since 2001. This keeps us borrowing from banks, friends and money lenders and leaves us poorer than we were. But as an artist I have refused to give up hoping someday would be a hurray day for me. Hence, these days I no longer sell off my copyrights to these greedy marketers but to those few interested networks who pay us reasonable sums to air the movie. How many movies have you produced since 2001? I have produced 3 movies since then owing to the aforementioned challenges. I have done Flames of Vengeance (2001), Evil Twins (2010) and Evil Father 1 & 2 with its sequel Power from Above 1 & 2 (2013). Which of these productions was the most challenging for you? It does appear the last production was the most hectic and challenging. This was because unlike the natural Nollywood production usually done in 1 week, in this production took us 4 weeks as we shot in different batches which after all gave us a better production which I trust the viewers would greatly appreciate when it is released. Being an actor who doubles as a producer, do you star in your movies? Yes, in all of them. Like in last movie Evil Father 1 & 2, sequelled Power from Above 1 & 2. I played the lead role. Time has proven the viewers appreciate my acting more as they do not only stop at lavishly patronizing the movies but always leave pleasant remarks about my role each time they meet me. What are the challenges peculiar to movie production in Enugu State? Alot!! First, is the problem of securing a good location (house) for shooting. The issue with this is that owners of these houses we rent are becoming increasingly greedy as they believe movie production is money spinning venture, they tend to

outrageously increase rentage of locations arbitrarily, as such cutting our throats. Another is the challenge from the local youths who constitute themselves as area boys in the cocoon of “local security operatives” who go about extorting money from producers especially in rural locations and where the producers refuse to give in to their demand, they often put up fights which disrupt the productions. Others are those who interrupt production in the label of representing women's groups, elders group etc, demanding large sums from the

By Tosin Adesile & Mary Chinda

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t was a gathering of children at the Polo Park as Miss Coal city, Miss Cynthia Uchenna Oduah, organized a party last Sunday in honor of the lesspriviliged children in Enugu as part of her pet project. In her speech, she appreciated the immense support she has received from the Governor of Enugu State, Barrister Sullivan Iheanacho Chime, and a host of other corporate bodies who have partnered with her dream of putting smiles on the faces of these seemingly neglected children from poor homes and orphanages across

producer in the name of “settlement”. This has become a repeated occurrence in some locations like Ngwo, Akpugo, Amaechi and Akwuke in Enugu State. Also, there is the challenge of insecurity as hoodlums sometimes attack the cast and crew in a production robbing them of valuables. What future do you see for Nollywood producers in the light of these daunting challenges? We cannot give up. Tough times would always require tough people to go through it. As independent producers, I believe that if we continue to give our teeming viewers quality productions, we would constantly enjoy their patronage and be perpetually fulfilled. God being on our side, the road is not closed. As an independent producer, would you debunk the feet that producers/directors usually “sexprey” on actresses in order to give them roles? Sincerely, I would not debunk that reality because you have just told the truth. They are producers who have obviously lost the focus of movie production and as such go about propagating this evil practice in the industry. This act is a highly condemnable offence. However, there are still decent and focused producers who insist on doing it right and would not collect

the State. According to her, 'Of all my pet projects, I chose to start with the lessprivileged children as God takes great delight in children and they are the leaders of tomorrow, without whom, there is no future'. Present at the occasion were the Honorable Commissioner for gender affairs,Mrs Ndidi Chukwu represented,CEO Rocana,directors of orphanages and a host of other children lovers. Stressing the need for all and sundry to lavishly reach out to the less privileged children, the beauty queen recalled the passion which Jesus Christ demonstrated to his disciples in John 14:18 when he swore not to leave them as orphans, hence giving them the Holy Spirit as a comforter. The event featured lots of performances, music, dance and presentation of gifts and prizes to the children.

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a dime from actors/actresses in cash or kind before assigning roles to deserving talents. This is why I think there's still hope for the industry. Do you think we can expunge this sexual exploitation in the industry? Sure, we can. By heated sensitization and value re-orientation of the actresses/actors, directors, producers and the rest of the crew, there would be moral sanity in Nollywood. How would you rate Nollywood judging from where we were and are now of the quality of productions? Without bias, I would rate us with 70-80 percent. We have gradually up improved in our camera quality, costume and cast, locations and most importantly, our storylines. That goes to show there is a bright future for the industry not minding there are several idle minds within the industry desperately groping to reproduce the works of others. Where do you see Nollywood in the next decade? I see us going very very far because our productions are no longer common place and are birthed by fertile brains. How do you cope with sourcing funds for your productions? That is the most hypertensive part of our pre-production efforts. This is owing to the fact that many a time, we private producers find it an earthly hell securing loans from the banks because of the incessant demand for heavy collateral. Situation is even worse with money lenders for the same reason. What is your advice for up-and-coming producers in Nollywood? They should really be resilient and intellectually resourceful inspite of the obvious challenges bedeviling the industry. They would equally have to be committed and be patient as they say, patient dog eats the fattest bone.


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Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

ADVOCATE

Nigerian Pioneer football clubs (4)

Bendel Insurance football club of Benin. By Okey Anyichie

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endel Insurance football club was founded in 1972. It was formerly known as vipers football club of Benin. This club was among the 1971 Nigerian football clubs that participated in Amachree clubs' soccer fiesta's second edition's competition in Lagos. However the Benin based club-side did not go far in the competition as another club from the then Bendel starer called River Valley football club of Warri knocked them out of the competition. After this 1971 edition of the competition, the club was reorganized and got a new name of Bendel Insurance football club of Benin. It came under the sponsorship of Bendel Insurance Corporation of Benin in 1972. As if that was the tonic the original club-side, 'Vipers' needed to impact on the national soccer scene, the new soccer out-fit called Bendel Insurance football club impacted vigorously on the national soccer scene in 1972. Hence it was the year, the club won the Nigerian challenge cup for the first time. Bendel Insurance football club beat the indomitable Rangers football club of Enugu in the quarter-final of the Challenge cup now confederation cup soccer competition to sail into the semifinal. After beating Nigerian Air-

ways football club of Lagos, the Benin based football club qualified for the 1972 challenge cup soccer competition, Final where they met mighty jets football club of Jos, then known as the traditional runner-up in the history of the Challenge cup soccer fiesta. Bendel Insurance football club of Benin beat Mighty-Jets of Jos 3-2 after a controversial first encounter that ended in 2-2 draw. Bendel Insurance was thus the 1972 challenge cup champion. In 1978 the club repeated the 1972 feat by

beating Rangers of Enugu in the final by 3-0 to lift the trophy for the second time in their history. In 1980 the club won for the third time. Then in the amateur league soccer championship that started in 1972, Bendel Insurance won the competition in 1973 and 1979. In 1990, when the professional league championship started, Bendel Insurance football club was among the pioneer clubs in this professional league soccer championship. But had never

since that year of 1990 won the championship. At the international level, the Benin based club-side played in the Africa cup of champions clubs in 1974, but was eliminated in the second round by a Senegalese club-side A.S. Goree. Again in 1980, Canon-sportif of Cameroun also eliminated Bendel Insurance F.C. of Benin in the semi-final by 4-2 in Benin. The club also made two appearances in the Cup Winners cup in 1979 and 1982 but fell by the way-side. It was in the newly

introduced CAF cup in 1993 that in the following year, 1994 won it for the second time for Nigeria. 3SC football club of Ibadan won the maiden edition in 1993. The club also played for Nigeria in the West Africa football Union's cup competition in 1993, 1994 and 1996. All these international appearances by the Benin clubside made the club, one of the soccer-out fits that raised the standard of clubs soccer competition in the country. However, it is unfortunate that this glamour soccer side from Benin was relegated to the lower league division in 2007 -08 football season. The club may in future shoot back into the premier league soccer championship, where the elite Nigerian clubsides trade tackles for the premier league soccer championship every season. A winner in this premier league soccer fiesta would then be the Nigerian flagbearer along with a runner-up in the competition in Africa league soccer competition on, Now there is no Nigerian club-side in this Africa league soccer championship as Kano Pillars and Rangers of Enugu had all been eliminated from the competition this year. Up Bendel Insurance football club of Benin, perhaps the future may smile on the club and rise again like the phoniex from the relegation.

Keshi must do a rethink on Osaze, others – Umeh committee.” Chief Umeh said there was nothing bad in Keshi building a squad for the future but that must be done gradually. “It is clear he took a young squad to the Confederations Cup. The young players, particularly the home based players need to be introduced gradually. They need to be

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irst Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Chief Mike Umeh has blamed Super Eagles chief coach, Stephen Keshi for the team's poor showing at the Confederations Cup in Brazil. Umeh said that the absence of

“big boys” in the team caused their defeats to Uruguay and Spain. “We played well but our attack failed us. Keshi need to get stronger boys and we have them. I don't know why he has refused to bring in Osaze,” Umeh said,

with a tinge of frustration in his voice. The NFF chieftain said the football house has always given Keshi a free hand. “Yes, we have always given him freedom to operate, but he must work closely with the technical

polished. You saw how Mikel played. He played very well because he is a big boy who was playing among his contemporaries. He has played in the biggest league and is experienced like the Spanish and Uruguayan players. That is why Keshi must do a rethink on the likes of Osaze and other experienced Nigerian players.”


THE

ADVOCATE

Roger Federer

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IMBLEDON, England (AP) Ten years after his first Wimbledon championship, Roger Federer began his bid for a record eighth title at the All England Club on Monday with the same dominance that has defined his grass-court greatness. Opening the tournament on Centre Court as defending champion, Federer looked right as home as he dismantled Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 in just 68 minutes. This was a grass-court clinic from Federer, who had 32 winners, seven aces and just six unforced errors. He won 90 percent of the points when he put his first serve in. When his serve is clicking, Federer usually is unbeatable. On this day, he won his first 15 service points and 24 out of the first 25. "I'm happy to get out of there early and quickly," Federer said. "So it was a perfect day." Earlier, Wimbledon produced an upset in the women's draw with fifth-seeded Sara Errani eliminated by Puerto Rican teenager Monica Puig 6-3, 6-2. Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka overcame a right knee injury from a scary fall beating Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal 6-1, 6-2. Azarenka screamed in pain after slipping and falling at the baseline in the second game of the second set. She sobbed on court and received medical treatment. Playing the rest of the match with a heavy wrap on her right knee, Azarenka limped noticeably but managed to win comfortably against Koehler, making her Wimbledon debut. "I was in such pain at the beginning, it wouldn't let go," Azarenka said. "I think it calmed down." Azarenka, a semifinalist here the past two years, should get about 48 hours to recover before her next match. "I couldn't believe what happened," she said. "I was in such shock."

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Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

Federer was followed on Centre Court by 2004 champion and thirdseeded Maria Sharapova, who came through a first-set tiebreaker and beat 37th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (5), 6-3. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Sharapova hit a cross-court backhand winner to earn a set point, which she quickly converted with an overthe-shoulder backhand volley winner off Mladenovic's lob. The Russian was in command the rest of the way. Last year, Federer equaled Pete Sampras and William Renshaw with seven Wimbledon titles. He is

now contending to become the first man to win the tournament eight times, which would bring his total of Grand Slam titles to 18. Looking back on the last 10 years, Federer said he has continued to improve. "Because I'm stronger, because I have the experience, because I've played so much, I'm just overall a more complete player," he said. In keeping with tradition, Federer had the honor of playing the first match on the sport's biggest stage as the reigning men's champion. This was the seventh time he strode out first on Centre Court. "It's slightly different," he said. "Nine years ago when I came out the first time, it was the most special thing in the world. It still feels amazing. It was an absolute pleasure playing on Centre Court." Federer came out wearing a white collared jacket with orange trim, then quickly got down to business. He never faced a break point and broke six times. Federer has a habit of making things look easy. And so it was in the opening game when, stranded at the net, he reached behind him for a reflex forehand volley that landed in for a winner. In the third set, Federer lifted a perfect backhand lob over the 6-foot-6-inch (1.98meter) Hanescu for a break and a 50 lead. It didn't take long for Wimbledon to produce its first upset. Puig slugged 38 winners in overwhelming Errani in the first match on Court 18. The 19-yearold Puig, playing her first grasscourt tournament as a pro, completely outplayed the Italian veteran with her hard-hitting

baseline game. Puig said she has been building on a recent run of success, including a third-round showing at the French Open. "(I'm) definitely pulling off some big career wins and not being afraid to close out matches, which was my problem at the beginning of the year," she said. "Finally just having the confidence to close them out." Errani was runner-up at last year's French Open and had reached at least the semifinals of three of the last five Grand Slams. But on the slick grass at the All England club Monday, she had only 13 winners and was broken four times. Puig squandered five match points before hitting a forehand winner past Errani to close out the match. The Puerto Rican dropped her racket to the turf and covered her face in her hands. Errani withdrew from last week's grass-court warmup at Eastbourne with a leg injury, but showed no signs of any physical problems during the match. Asked what went wrong, Errani said "a mix of everything." "Always tough for me to play here on grass and she played very good," Errani said. "She served very good, did not make many mistakes and hit the ball strong. My big problem here is that I can't move how I want." It's the third time a top-5 women's seeded player has lost in the first round at Wimbledon since 2001. The others were Martina Hingis in 2000 and Francesca Schiavone in 2010. Monday's defeat marked another humbling Wimbledon exit for Errani.

Last year, the Italian went an entire set without winning a point in losing 6-0, 6-4 in the third round to Ya r o s l a v a S h v e d o v a o f Kazakhstan. Shvedova was the first player in a Grand Slam to achieve a so-called "golden set" by winning 24 straight points. In another early women's match Monday, former top-ranked Ana Ivanovic of Serbia advanced to the second round with a 7-6 (1), 6-0 win over qualifier Virginie Razzano of France. The 12th-seeded Ivanovic, a semifinalist here in 2007, swept through the second set in 22 minutes, finishing the match with her sixth ace. Another Serb, No. 16 Jelena Jankovic, beat Britain's Johanna Konta 6-2, 7-5. The weather was cloudy but dry for the beginning of the two-week championships. Among those in the Royal Box were former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Prince William's wife Kate. Also scheduled on Centre Court was No. 2 seeded Andy Murray, playing Benjamin Becker of Germany. Murray, who lost to Federer in last year's final, beat the Swiss star a month later for the Olympic gold medal and won his first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open. He is bidding again to become the first British player to win the men's Wimbledon trophy since Fred Perry in 1936. Two-time champion Rafael Nadal, seeded No. 5 this year, was paired against Steve Darcis of Belgium on Court No. 1. Nadal is coming off his eighth victory at the French Open. Defending women's champion and five-time winner Serena Williams plays Tuesday against Mandy Minella of Luxembourg.

F-Eagles hit Cuba 3-0

The Nigeria players line up for a team photograph before the FIFA U-20 World Cup Group B match between Cuba and Nigeria at Kadir Has Stadium.

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lying Eagles got their FIFA U-20 World Cup back on track as they recovered from their opening defeat to Portugal to cruise past Cuba 3-0 in Kayseri. A first-half double from Aminu Umar, followed by captain Abdul Ajagun getting his third of the

tournament, allowing the Flying Eagles to reassert their knock-out stage aspirations, in what was the pairs first meeting at any level of international football. Nigeria were unable to break down the Cuban's early on, with Chidi Osuchukwu's speculative free-kick

the closest they came. Eagles' man of the moment, Ajagun, almost opened the scoring with a superb lob, from the right of the penalty area while running at full pace, but Sandy Sanchez was relieved to see it land on the roof of the net. Seconds later they were ahead.

Ajagun fed Olarenwaju Kayode down the left wing, who got clear of the defence, before squaring to Umar to score what is likely to be one of the simplest goals of his career. Umar had another four minutes later, which had a touch of flair to it. Osuchukwu's deep corner eventually found Abdullahi Shehu, who drilled a cross that Umar flicked between his legs and into the bottom corner. Olaitan Michael almost made it three with a superb right-footed effort that cannoned off the outside of the post. Nigeria were in full control, and that continued into the second period, Kayode breaking beyond the back line and firing wide across goal. He charged forward in similar style moments later, but in choosing to square to Ajagun, Abel Martinez was able to clear. Ajagun did get his goal though, with 67 minutes on the clock. Kingsley Madu's cross deceived Sanchez and Ajagun stooped to head home, seeing him become the top-scorer so far. Ajagun missed the chance to double his tally for the day late on, missing from the penalty spot after Martinez upended Kayode in the area.


Vol. 1 No. 26, Monday, July 1 - Sunday, July 7, 2013

Celestine Babayaro Back page comment

Federal road in Kogi becomes haven for robbers, rapists By Abu Michael

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bu Micheal, Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State deputy governor, looks at the hardship faced by people and commuters who ply Lokoja- Kabba- Egbe Ilorin Road and stated the need for the Federal Government's timely intervention to end the suffering of the people. Bad roads are responsible for most of the accidents that happen on our roads. At the same time, bad roads hasten the process of tear and wear of various cars. Also, pothole infested roads are increasingly becoming the operational zones of criminals particularly, armed robbers. This is true of the O b a j a n a Oshokoshoko-KabbaMopa-Isanlu-Egbe Road. This is a federal road that links most parts of the West Senatorial District to the rest part of Kogi State. It is also the fastest link between Kwara and Kogi states. The road is now in a deplorable state and it has also become a safe haven for armed bandits who now subject motorists plying the route to h a r r o w i n g experiences. First constructed in 1974/75, the road boosted economic activities in the present Kogi West Senatorial District. This district consists mainly of rural communities whose main occupation is agriculture. With the deplorable condition of the road, the farmers are now facing economic hardship as they find it difficult to transport their produces to the market. Also, because of the high volume of traffic that the road used to enjoy, there were petrol stations and other businesses. Similarly there were so many eateries on the stretch of the road which were stop over points for motorists. But, today, many of the eatery operators have either closed shop or been forced to scale down on their operation. The only good portion of the road is that which repair was undertaken by the Dangote Group from Kabba junction to the Dangote Cement Factory site at Obajana. Governor Idris Wada, who has obviously been worried about the deplorable state of the road, took advantage of the occasion of the commissioning of the

third phase of the Dangote Cement project last year and the presence of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to appeal to the Federal Government to make the road a priority in 2013 considering its social and economic importance. The President of the Company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, during a visit to victims ravaged by flood in the state last year, also pledged to complete the remaining stretch of road up to Kabba once the grey areas had been sorted out between his company and the Federal Government. This road has become a major source of concern to many people in Kogi State because the various alternative routes they have been forced to take in order to

connect to Kwara State and some other states in South West often elongates their journey. For those that still ply the route, they have often have to bear high costs of repairs on their vehicles and often fall victims of armed robbers. Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, member representing Kabba/Ijumu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said he will remain unfulfilled as a federal lawmaker if the road is not fixed. Hon. Funso Olumko, the former Liaison Officer 1 for Ijumu Local Government Area, is also as worried as other indigene of Kogi State particularly, at the failure of the Federal Government to include the project in the 2013 budget. Hon. Afolabi Oluyori, member representing Ijumu Constituency in the state House of Assembly, shares similar opinion on the state of the road. He lamented the number of robbery and rape cases on that road as worst in recent time. He called for urgent steps that will help protect lives and properties of motorists on that road.

The traditional ruler of Obajana, were Dangote Cement Factory is situated, Oba (Engr.) Joseph Idowu Isenibi JP, and the Council Chairman of Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area, Hon Funsho Olorunfemi, also spoke on the deplorable state of the road and its implications for Kogi and the Nation. They called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road in view of its socio-economic importance and the hardship faced by the people of the area. Oba Ayodele Irukera, the Baale of Egbe, said the road, which was flagged off in 1974/75, opened up the entire area to a flood-gate of economic benefits, but added that since the last couple of years, those opportunities were no longer available because of the deplorable state of the road. Hon. Shola Adebola, a former Liaison Officer 1 for Yagba East Local Government Area, one of the local council areas linked by the road, said his area had made several position papers to the appropriate quarters all to no avail and called on the Federal Government to make the road a priority in the next budget. It is a gamut of issues. Tr a n s p o r t e r s a n d commuters alike have their own pains also. So, it is for farmers, market women and business men and women who see the deplorable state of the road as the worst pain and suffering inflicted on them by the government not fixing the road after it became bad years ago. The Obajana-Oshokoshoko-Kabba Mopa-Isanlu-Egbe Road, according to Yomi Awoniyi, Kogi deputy governor and an indigene of Mopa, a town the road passes, is one road that is central to the socio-economic life of Okun land, Kogi State and Nigeria. He added that since transporters abandoned the road because of its deplorable state, many businesses along the route have packed up. He added that the state government was not resting until the road was fixed. His words,”I have visited the Minister of Works on several occasions regarding that road and I am optimistic that he will soon live up to his promise”. Abu Michael wrote from Lokoja

Celestine Boyd Jonto Hycieth Babayaro (born 29 August 1978 in Kaduna) is a former Nigerian footballer. He was named after Pope Celestine V.

Club career Babayaro began his playing career at Nigerian side Plateau United, before moving to Belgium club Anderlecht in 1994, and eventually would make a name for himself, quickly gaining first-choice status although still a teenager.

Chelsea Babayaro was signed by Chelsea after being spotted by scout Lewis Durkin in April 1997. He moved for a transfer fee of £2.25 million, a club record paid for a teenager at the time. During his time at Chelsea, the team won the FA Cup, and Charity Shield in 2000, and reached the FA Cup final in 2002. He faced competition from Graeme Le Saux during his sevenyear spell, but managed to play over 200 games for the London side. His acrobatic celebrations with backflips were noted and loved by the fans of the club.

Newcastle In January 2005, he left Chelsea to join Newcastle United on an undisclosed fee, where he established himself as first choice left back. He scored his first and what turned out to be only Newcastle goal in a 31 win over Coventry City in the FA Cup.

Recent activity On 21 January 2008, 29-year-old Babayaro came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Galaxy to join them on a three-year contract, effective immediately. With this move, the Nigerian re-joined Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit who previously brought him to Chelsea in 1997 and spent a season coaching him there.

International career After being part of the victorious Nigerian t e a m a t t h e U n d e r - 1 7 Wo r l d Championships in Japan (1993), Babayaro made his international senior debut in the Afro-Asian Championship in 1995, against Uzbekistan. The following year he was part of the Nigeria Olympic gold medal winning team at the Atlanta 96 football event, making the tournament's all-star team. He scored in the Gold Medal game itself against Argentina. After missing the entire 1997/98 Premier League season with a knee injury, Babayaro recovered just in time to make the France 98 squad. He was also Nigeria's captain at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and took part in the Korea/Japan 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Lawyers move against Ifeanyi Ubah